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The English Fllustrated Magazine. 


DECEMBER, 1884. 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 


is strange how often in 
matters of art the accident 
of time forces a com- 
parison between talents 
that have but little in 
common. In our own day 
we are all familiar with the 
controversy so often re- 
newed, and always so fruitlessly waged, over 
the respective claims of two distinguished 
novelists. It is almost impossible in any 
general company to speak warmly of Dickens 
without arousing a counterblast in favour 
of Thackeray, or to mention the author of 
Vanity Fair without being instantly chal- 
lenged for a judgment upon the merits of 
Pickwick. The history of English painting 
offers an example of the same unlucky pre- 
dicament. In the art of the eighteenth 
century the names of Reynolds and Gains- 
borough are inseparably linked together, and 
the individual genius of these distinguished 
painters is nearly always appraised by an 
exhaustive process of comparison that some- 
times does less than justice to both. Nor is 
it altogether possible even at this time to 
escape from inveterate usage. In reality 
they were men of opposite temperament, 
very differently endowed by nature, and 
offering in their work the most striking con- 
trasts of system and style ; and yet so narrow 
was the world of art in which they moved, 
so little liberty of choice did it afford even 
to men of the highest eminence in their 
profession, that Reynolds and Gainsborough 
were forced into constant competition from 
the mere fact that they were continually 
engaged in a common employment. Out of 
hecessity, rather than by any process of 
election, they became the rival portrait- 
painters of their day. At that time, indeed, 
No. 15 


it was difficult for a painter to hope for 
success in any other branch of art, or to 
resist the rewards: which the successful 
practice of portraiture so freely offered. And 
yet it may be doubted, in spite of the fame 
they enjoyed, whether in either case the 
artist’s ambition was fully satisfied. Rey- 
nolds, as we know, even to the end of his 
long life, was dreaming of the greater achieve- 
ments of the art of Italy. While he was 
busily engaged with a host of fashionable 
sitters, his secret and unsatisfied longing was 
to follow in the footsteps of Michael Angelo, 
and his last injunction to the students 
gathered around him was that they should 
seek to acquire that grandeur and nobility 
of design which he had been forced merely 
to admire. 

Gainsborough too must have had his 
regrets, but how different in kind. In 
the midst of his successes in Bath or in 
London, his thoughts would wander back, 
not td the achievements of an earlier time, 
but to the pleasant scenes in which he had 
passed his boyhood. It must have been with 
something of bitterness that he noted his 
growing fame as a painter of portraits, and 
the comparative indifference with which the 
fashionable public by whom he was employed 
regarded those studies of English landscape 
that gave to the artist himself a keener 
pleasure and a higher enjoyment. ‘“ Gains- 
borough’s landscapes,” says Sir William 
Beechey, “stood ranged in long lines from 
his hall to his painting room, and they who 
came to sit to him for their portraits rarely 
deigned to honour them with a look as they 
passed them.” And yet it was as a lover 
of outward nature that Gainsborough first 
asserted his powers as an artist; and if we 
are to judge his work aright we must never 

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130 


forget this youthful passion of his for the 
simple beauties of his Suffolk home. As 
Mr. Wedmore has happily observed, he 
painted portraits for his own generation, but 
he painted landscape for himself and for us, 
and now, in the clearer light of a later time, 
it is not difficult for us to enjoy what he has 
left .behind him in this kind, or to fix the 
place which Gainsborough occupies in the 
advancing development of a branch of art 
that has a peculiarly national character. 
Thus it will be seen at the outset that al- 
though, under an influence that was stronger 
than the will of either of them, Reynolds and 
Gainsborough met on common ground, the 
special predilections which they brought to 
their task are sharply contrasted. The one, 
deeply learned in all that art had achieved, 
carried to the practice of portraiture some- 
thing of the dignity, and sometimes also a 
little of the artifice that was derived from 
a study of the schools: the other, without 
the knowledge or perhaps even the ambition 
which his rival possessed, added to a quick 
and lively appreciation of -character the 
freshness and charm of a painter who is wont 
to draw his inspiration directly from nature. 
Gainsborough interpreted a lovely face or a 
graceful form as he would have painted a 
landscape, seizing first upon the merely 
picturesque aspect of his subject, and not 
searching anxiously to emphasize the subtler 
qualities of character. Thus it happens that 
his pictures have often less intellectual 
weight than those of his rival, and at the 
same time a finer and more delicate reality 
of outward bearing. They register with 
greater felicity those transient graces of 
gesture and expression which would some- 
times escape the more serious student of 
character, but his triumphs in this kind, even 
when they are most admirable, were rarely 
gained without some corresponding sacrifice, 
and we have now and then to acknowledge 
that he has scarcely penetrated beneath the 
surface of his subject, and his sitter only, lives 
for us in the particular attitude that he has 
struck upon the canvas. And it follows as 
a natural consequence alike of the qualities 
and of the limitations of Gainsborough’s genius 
that he is better in his portraits of women than 
of men, and that he is more successful in 
the rendering of beauty than in the record 
of character. How little his genius was pre- 
occupied by any reference to the inner life 
or experience of those who sat to him, and 
how strikingly in this respect it differed from 
that of Reynolds’s, is very clearly marked 
in the portraits of Mrs. Siddons which these 
painters have left for us. When Reynolds 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A, 


came to paint the famous actress he thought 
of her art, and he presented her as the em- 
bodiment of the Tragic Muse, whereas in 
Gainsborough’s portrait, also a masterpiece 
in its style, the actress appears only as a grace- 
ful and charming woman, with no suggestion 
of intellectual supremacy and no reference to 
the career which made her illustrious. 

It is not surprising, when we consider the 
peculiar characteristics of Gainsborough’s 
art, that there should be so little to record 
concerning the facts of his life. Rey- 
nolds lived among the men whose faces he 
has preserved for us; he was interested in 
all the intellectual movements of his time, 
and, even apart from his reputation as a 
painter, he was received on a footing of 
equality by the brightest wits and the 
keenest intellects of his generation. Gains- 
borough, too, loved society, and his genial 
disposition must have always made him 
welcome ; but his position in this respect 
was by no means the same as that of his 
great contemporary. Apart from his paint- 
ing, he seems to have had but one strong 
passion—a love of music, and, if report 
speaks truly, he was himself a tolerable per- 
former on the violin. This taste he had 
acquired even before he left his native home, 
and at a time when his prospects as a painter 
were by no means brilliant. Of his fitness to 
take high rank in his profession there can, 
however, never have been any question. His 
mother, we are told, devoted much of her 
time to flower-painting, and it may have been 
from her example that he derived his earliest 
impulse towards the study of art; but how- 
ever this may be, we know for certain that 
even as a boy at school he was already 
exhibiting the promise of future accomplisb- 
ment. 

The painter’s father, John Gainsborough, 
was a respectable trader in the little town of 
Sudbury, in Suffolk. His business is variously 
described at different times as that of “a 
milliner,” a “ clothier,” and a “ crapemaker,” 
but throughout his life, and in whatever 
occupation he was employed, he seems to 
have been regarded as a man of a kindly 
and generous disposition, well loved by his 
children, and respected by his fellow towns- 
men. Nor was his good repute in that day 
at all affected by the fact that he was wont 
to carry on a contraband trade with Holland, 
and the circumstance indeed would scarcely 
be worth mention here but for the conjec- 
ture that through the old man’s visits to the 
Low Countries the son may have learned 
something of the principles of Dutchart, It 
is by no means improbable that in this way 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 131 


some few examples of the landscape painting 
of Holland may have found their way into 
the Sudbury home, and it is at least certain 
that Gainsborough’s earlier work in this kind 
betrays unmistakable evidence of some ac- 
quaintance with the Dutch masters. Owing, 
however, to the impenetrable stupidity of 
the painter’s first biographer, we know but 
little of the facts of his youthful career. 
Thicknesse would seem to have written his 
bald account of Gainsborough’s life with no 
other purpose than to make known to. the 
world that he was the artist’s earliest patron, 
“the first man.” as he himself modestly 
announces, “who perceived through clouds 
of bad colouring what an accurate eye he 
possessed, and who dragged him from the 
obscurity of a country town at a time when 
all his neighbours were as ignorant of his 
great talent as he was himself.” Very little 
beyond this do we gather from the work of 
the incapable Thicknesse, save indeed the 
wearisome details of a quarrel between him- 
self and the painter, which occurred in later 
life, and which could at no time have had 
any sort of interest for the world. And 
yet, foolish and worthless as this little book 
undoubtedly is, it was at least written by 
one who actually knew Gainsborough in his 
youth, and for that reason alone we seize 
eagerly even upon such miserable crumbs of 
fact as its pages offer. It is pleasant, for 
instance, to learn that the painter himself 
used to say of this time that “ there was not 
a picturesque clump of trees, nor even a single 
tree of any beauty, nor hedgerow, stem, or 
post,” for miles around his home that was not 
accurately impressed upon his boyish mind. 
In these days, and for long after, Gains- 
borough indeed had no other thought but 
for the beauty of landscape. At the age of 
ten he was already a pupil of the Sudbury 
Grammar School, kept by his uncle, Mr. 
Burroughs, and even then he was already at 
work making sketches of the scenes around 
his home. It is true that his first recorded 
effort of imitation was of a somewhat differ- 
ent order. Art has often been strangely 
connected with forgery, and it was by means 
of an innocent experiment in forgery that 
the young Gainsborough first drew attention 
to his powers as an artist. His achievement 
in this direction was not so serious as that 
by which Michael Angelo deceived his patron 
at Rome, but it at least effected its purpose. 
He did not produce a false antique, but, in 
order to obtain a holiday which his father 
had refused to grant, he forged an exact 
imitation of that respectabie old gentleman’s 
signature, and successfully imposed upon his 


master. He wrote out in his father’s hand- 
writing the simple request, “ Please give Tom 
a holiday,” and the holiday was secured 
accordingly, At first, as it would seem, the 
father was sufficiently irate. “Tom will 
one day be hanged,” was the old gentleman's 
laconic comment upon his son’s perverted 
ingenuity ; but the mother, taking a kindlier 
view of the matter, produced for inspection 
some of the truant Tom’s boyish sketches, and 
the father’s forecast was thereupon changed 
to the more hopeful prophecy, that Tom would 
“one day be a genius.” 

In this case, certainly, second thoughts 
were best, and fortunately for the little artist, 
his father acted on the assumption that the 
boy was destined to be a painter and not a 
criminal, After many a solemn family council, 
at which the outraged schoolmaster assisted, 
it was decided that Thomas, who was then 
fifteen years of age, should be sent to London. 
Of his sojourn in the great city we know 
but little, save that he was befriended by the 
engraver, Gravelot, that through his good 
offices he was admitted into the St. Martin’s 
Lane Academy, and that he subsequently 
attached himself to the studio of Frank 
Hayman, from whose companionship he is 
supposed to have derived some taste of con- 
vivial life, if not any added knowledge of 
his art. Fulcher, a biographer, whose work 
seems almost brilliant after the pompous 
dulness of Thicknesse, seems to hint that at 
this time Gainsborough was chiefly employed 
in sowing his wild oats; but his excesses 
cannot have been carried very far, for after 
three years’ study he set up for himself as a 
portrait painter in Hatton Garden, and it 
was only from lack of patronage that ie was 
forced, in the year 1745, to return to Sudbury. 
It may be too that he was haunted by the 
desire to return once more to the scenes he 
had learned to love as a boy. For although 
his vision of the possibilities of art in London 
must have already convinced him that in the 
practice of portrait painting lay the only 
road to fame, he did not then, or at any later 
time, forget or neglect his early devotion te 
landscape. Once safely back in Suffolk, he 
betook himself again to his outdoor studies, 
and it was during one of these sketching 
excursions that he first beheld the lady who 
was to become his wife. Or so, indeed, the 
legend runs, for now we are asked to believe 
that it is only a legend, and that his first 
vision of the beautiful Miss Burr was gained 
at some sittings she gave him for her portrait. 
Anyway the attachment was romantic enough, 
for the young lovers were married when 
Gainsborough was only eighteen years of age, 

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MRS. GAINSBOROUGH. 


By Tuomas GarnsBorouaH, R.A. 


and the lady a year his junior. And there 
is this added element of mystery about their 
love, that of Miss Burr’s parentage nothing 
seems to be clearly known save the fact that 
she was in receipt of an annuity of 200/. a 
year. By some authorities she is said to have 
been the daughter of one of our exiled 
princes, and this account of her origin is 
partly supported by some recorded expres- 
sions of the lady herself in later life, but 
the better opinion seems to be that she was 
the natural daughter of the Duke of Bedford. 
However this may be she proved a faithful 
and loving wife to the painter, true to him in 
his early struggles and true to the end. And 
his struggles at this time were sufficiently 
severe. Soon after their marriage the young 
couple settled at Ipswich, renting a cottage 


of 6/. a year, and to this time belongs the 
anecdote that, being sent for one day by a 
squire of the neighbourhood, Gainsborough 
found on his arrival that it was not an artist 
who was required, but a painter and glazier. 
He was not, however, altogether without 
friends who could better understand his 
worth. First in order came one Joshua 
Kirby, who introduced himself to the artist 
while he was sketching on the banks of the 
Orwell, and whose friendship endured while 
Kirby lived. Then in 1754 followed the 
pompous patron in the shape of the afore- 
mentioned Philip Thicknesse, of whom the 
best that can be said is that by his persuasion 
Gainsborough ultimately removed to Bath, 
and so established his fame as a painter of 
portraits. Other friends and patrons too are 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 


briefly mentioned by his biographers, and we 
know from their report that at this time he 
was strongly attached to the study of music, 
and even in the Ipswich cottage, he was wont 
to gather his musical companions about him. 

It is, however, from his settlement in Bath 
that Gainsborough’s success as an artist 
clearly dates, and for the sudden change in 
his fortunes which was thereby brought 
about Thicknesse deserves some credit. From 
this time also there is no longer any doubt 
as to the particular branch’ of art in which 
Gainsborough’s reputation was destined to 
be made, A fashionable painter at Bath 
could be nothing else than a fashionable 
portrait painter. Nor need it be supposed 
that in finally devoting himself to portraiture 
Gainsborough did any violence to his own 
feelings. We have spoken of him as being 
before all things a lover of landscape, and 
the passion for the beauty of nature that was 
in him from the first remained strong enough 
to the end to allow him even among his many 
commissions to return again to his first love. 
And in truth, if we glance at the history of 
art we shall find that there is some natural 
alliance between the two pursuits, and that 
they have again and again been practised 
together. In our own time we have an in- 
stance of a great portrait painter, who is 
also a keen student of outward nature, and 
when landscape first emerged as a separate 
and distinct department of art it was under 
the guidance of a genius who was also famous 
in portrait. Of the modern feeling for land- 
seape Titian may be said to have been the 
discoverer, and from his time onwards it 
constantly became an alternative study 
with men whose principal function in art 
was the interpretation of human character. 
We may cite the eminent examples of Rubens 
and Rembrandt ; and even of Vandyck we 
have evidence in his drawings that he might 
under different conditions have left his mark 
in this department of art. There was there- 
fore no good reason why Gainsborough should 
not have divided his energies between por- 
trait and landscape, gaining equal fame in 
both. It was the taste of his time rather 
than the genius cf the artist which deter- 
mined that he should concern himself mainly 
with the former, and it is a convincing proof 
of the painter’s loyal devotion to nature that, 
despite the comparative indifference with 
which his work in this kind was regarded, 
he should nevertheless have accomplished 
enough to fix his rank as in some sense the 
founder of the English school of landscape. 
For although his manner of interpreting the 
beauty of our native scenery offers no mere 


133 


literal transcript of reality, it clearly broke 
away from tradition, and is thus strongly op- 
posed to the work of his great contemporary, 
Richard Wilson. Gainsborough’s manner, in 
short, was the outcome of his own individu- 
ality, and if he changed or modified the 
actual truths presented to him it was with 
the design of fixing upon the canvas a purely 
personal impression of the chosen scene. 
Wilson, on the other hand, worked in obedi- 
ence to certain settled principles of classical 
style. His genius shines through the con- 
ventions of his art, but the conventions exist 
nevertheless, and it is obvious in all his 
work that he had no desire to cast them 
aside ; rather, it may be said, he treated 
them with reverence, and sought to preserve 
them from attack. It follows, therefore, 
that however admirable his art, it was little 
calculated to inspire a school or to open a 
wider field to the student of nature. Later 
English landscape art owes to him little more 
than the example of a sincere spirit finely 
trained according to a long-accepted concep- 
tion of beauty and style ; whereas to Gains- 
borough, on the other hand, our landscape- 
painters may almost be said to owe their 
liberty. And this fact was indeed recognised 
at the time, though in terms not always 
favourable to the painter’s genius. When 
Reynolds says of him that he gave “a faith- 
ful if not a poetical representation of what 
he had before him,” we know what he means 
because we know in what at that day the 
poetical element in art was held to consist. 
Looking back at Gainshorough’s work now, 
it would seem rather to be open to the oppo- 
site reproach. Its limitation, to our later 
sense, seems to lie not on the side of poetry 
but of fidelity, and the criticism which it 
excites is that in obedience to an imaginative 
impulse he handled nature too freely, and paid 
too little regard to the absolute. If, for 
instance, we compare Gainsborough’s studies 
of rustic character and peasant life with the 
work of an artist like Jean Francois Millet, 
they appear rather fanciful creations than 
veracious portraits. And so indeed they are, 
for the time had not yet come when art 
could hope to win the deeper kind of beauty 
which has grown out of a profounder know- 
ledge of the actual life of the toilers in the 
fields, Despite their picturesque rags, Gains- 
borough’s peasant people are for the most 
part only playing at poverty. They fill their 
place in the landscape with a pleasing grace 
that sorts with the scheme of the picture, 
but they scarcely convince us of their reality. 
And yet, judged in reference to the ideas of 
his day, Gainsborough was undoubtedly some- 


134 


thing of a revolutionist in landscape, and to 
his courage and independence all later stu- 
dents remain heavily indebted. His example 
prepared the way for the stronger realism of 
Crome and the wider freedom of Constable. 
He broke the fetters which Wilson was con- 
tent to wear, and so gave courage to others 
who were destined to win triumphs greater 
than his own. 

Gainsborough was thirty-three years of 
age when he took up his residence at Bath, 
and his artistic gifts were already fully de- 
veloped. At first, however, the position he 
occupied in the gay city of the west was 
modest enough. His price for a head was 
no more than five guineas, and it was only 
when patrons became numerous that he 
raised it to eight guineas. A little later he 
made a further advance upon this modest 
tariff, charging forty guineas for a half 
length and a hundred guineas for a full 
length portrait. But while his income re- 
mained small as compared to the higher 
rewards which the modern artist has learned 
to expect, his fame grew quickly. Nor was 
the reputation he won at Bath merely local. 
In our time it would scarcely be possible for 
a painter of Gainsborough’s ambition to 
remain for fourteen years in a provincial 
town, and for the very sufficient reason that 
we have now no provincial town of the rank 
which fashionable society of the last century 
chose to assign to Bath. Thither the bright 
world of London was wont every season to 
betake itself ; in a certain sense it formed an 
integral part of the capital, and a painter or 
a musician who had succeeded in winning 
favour from the visitors at Bath had little 
more to expect from fortune. Writing in 
1779, only five years after he had removed 
to London, Gainsborough says of himself : 
“My present position with regard to en- 
couragement, &c., is all that heart can desire, 
and I live at a full thousand pounds a year 
expense.” He had already, even before he 
left Bath, become a favourite of the court, 
and a member of the newly-formed Royal 
Academy. As early as the year 1767 George 
ITI. had been attracted by his portrait of 
General Honeywood, shown in the exhibition 
of the Society of Artists, and it was perhaps 
owing in some measure to royal influence, 
that at the first exhibition of the Royal 
Academy he figures in the catalogue as a full 
member. It is clear at any rate that in the 
list of original members submitted to the 
king his name does not appear, and his election 
was therefore in some sense an afterthought. 
Gainsborough, however, seems at no time to 
have greatly concerned himself with the pro- 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 


ceedings of this august body. For many years 
he was a contributor to the annual exhibition, 
but he attended no meetings of the society, 
and held no office therein. Indeed at one 
time the council were of a mind to strike his 
name off the list of members, but happily 
this foolish resolve was never carried into 
effect. He cannot, however, have been very 
popular with his fellow Academicians, for he 
had more than once to complain of the 
manner in which his pictures were hung. 
In the year 1772 he became so dissatisfied 
on this ground that for the four succeeding 
years he absented himself altogether, and in 
1784, on the occasion of another disagree- 
ment, he finally took leave of Somerset 
House, never again exposing himself to the 
annoyance of a quarrel. The cause of the 
dispute was trifling enough. He had sent 
for exhibition the full-length portrait group 
of the three princesses, now reproduced in 
our engraving, and had made a special 
request that it should be hung upon the 
line. But it was then and is still the rule 
of the academy that full-length portraits are 
not to be hung upon the line, and accordingly 
the council for the time being declined to 
entertain Gainsborough’s application. There 
is no evidence that he felt very deeply on the 
subject. He did not wholly sever his con- 
nection with the Academy,’ nor was he 
tempted, like Barry, to publish his wrongs 
to the world. All that happened was, that 
he ceased henceforth to contribute to the 
annual exhibitions. It is very possible, 
however, that the incident may have affected 
his relations with Reynolds, who as_ the 
President of the Academy might no doubt 
seem to Gainsborough in a measure respon- 
sible for its action. Unless, indeed, we 
assume some such undercurrent of feeling, 
it is difficult to understand the estrangement 
between these two distinguished men. That 
their differences never assumed a deeply per- 
sonal character is sufficiently shown in the 
circumstances of their reconciliation ; and as 
Gainsborough is known to have had some 
frailties of temper it is probable that of the 
two he was the more to blame. On his 
death-bed he sent for Reynolds, and his last 
words, which must always remain memorably 
pathetic, were whispered to one who could 
not consciously have done injustice to him 
or to any man. 

“We are all going to heaven, and Vandyck 
is of the party’’—such was Gainsborough’s 
simple leave-taking of the world. And it is 
a characteristic sentence, for it marks the 
special direction of his own art and it shows 
us also whom it was he most constantly looked 


MISS LINLEY AND HER BRUTHER. 


By Tuomas GarnsBoroven, R.A. 


to as his master. Reynolds, if a like fancy 
had come into his mind at such a moment, 
would, we may think, have had another 
name upon his lips. But Gainsborough was 
content with Vandyck, and with his nar- 
rower ambition he escaped the sort of failure 
that his rival was forced to confess. Not 
that we here set up Gainsborough as the 
equal of Vandyck: he himself would have 
been the first to repudiate any such preten- 
sion. The introduction of Vandyck’s name 
need only serve to point to the particular 
ideal which the English painter had chosen 
for himself. Master and follower had at 
least this in common, that neither was deeply 
concerned with the intellectual problems of 
art and that both will live as painters when 
much that boasts a higher purpose is for- 
gotten. For it is as a painter, pure and 
simple, that Gainsborough appeals to us, 
and it was as a painter that the truth and 
beauty of nature appealed to him. He had, 


perhaps, not the ambition, he certainly had 
not the power, to use his art as a means of 
imaginative expression, but for the more 
immediate truth of character his appreciation 
was certain and keen. His vision was not 
profound, but it was quick and delicate, and 
if he did not exhaust the beauty of any subject 
he was at least careful never to disturb the 
lighter graces of expression which a more 
profound analysis is sometimes apt to miss. 
During his residence at Bath Gainsborough 
made acquaintance with many of the bright 
spirits of the time. It was there he painted 
the portraits of Quin and Garrick, of Lady 
Grosvenor, Lady Ligonier, and Captain Wade. 
Mrs. Garrick used to declare that Gains- 
borough’s was the best portrait of her husband 
ever produced, and this says much for the 
painter’s skill in catching a likeness, for it is 
reported that the great actor was wont to 
vary the sittings by the most grotesque efforts 
of mimicry which gave to his face the 


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THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 137 


changing character of a chameleon. It was 
at Bath, too, that Gainsborough was first 
charmed by the voice and fascinated by the 
beauty of Miss Linley, and his portrait of 
her with her brother deserves to rank with 
Reynolds’s exquisite rendering of the same 
subject. His delight in music seems indeed 
to have found ample exercise at Bath, and 
there are quaint stories of the manner in 
which his enthusiasm displayed itself. When- 
ever he listened to any eminent musician he 
was immediately possessed by the boyish 
illusion that he could himself reproduce the 
excellence of the performance if only he 
could purchase the instrument. In this way 
he bought Giardini’s violin and Abel’s viol- 
di-gamba. At another time he was fascinated 
by Fischer’s hautboy and Crosdil’s violoncello, 
and finally, having seen a lute in a picture 
by Vandyck, he cast about until he had 
discovered a German professor who owned 
such an instrument, when, according to his 
biographer, the following amusing scene took 
place. Bursting in upon the professor, who 
was quietly smoking his pipe, the impetuous 
artist thus accosts him :— 

“T have come to buy your lute. Name 
your price and I will pay it.” 

“T cannot sell my lute.” 

“Not for a guinea or two perhaps ; but 
you must sell at some price, and so I tell 

ou.” 
a My lute is worth much money— ten 
guineas.” 

“Indeed it is—-quite that; see, here’s 
your money. Good-day.” 

Scarcely, however, had the painter quitted 
the room than he was back again. 

“T have forgotten something. What is 
your lute to me if I have not your book of 
airs?” 

“ Ah, Master Gainsborough, I cannot part 
with my book.” 

“ Nonsense. You can make another at 
any time. See, here’s the book I want, and 
here’s another ten guineas for it.” 

The transaction seemed now complete ; 
but at the last moment it would seem sud- 
denly to have occurred to Gainsborough that 
he did not know how to play upon the lute. 
He accordingly returns once more. 

“Dear me, what is the use of your book 
to me if I don’t understand it, or of your 
lute if I cannot play on it? Come home 
with me at once, and give me the first 
lesson.” 

“T will come to-morrow.” 

“ Come now.” 

“T must dress.” 

“You are admirably dressed.” 


“T must shave.” 

“7 honour your beard.” 

“T must,.-however, put on my wig.” 

“Confound your wig! Your cap and beard 
become you well enough. Do you think if 
Vandyck wanted to paint you he'd let you 
be shaved? Come at once.” 

And so the poor professor was dragged off 
and all earlier musical passions were forgotten 
in the new enthusiasm for the lute. 

Gainsborough was so happily placed at 
Bath that it is likely enough he might not 
have removed to London at all but for his 
quarrel with Thicknesse. The particulars of 
their disagreement do not deserve discussion, 
but the quarrel had at least the effect of 
relieving Gainsborough of the obtrusive 
patronage of a bore, and of establishing his 
fame in the capital. The painter must at 
this time have felt very sure of future pros- 
perity for his domestic arrangements be- 
tokened none of the hesitation he had exhi 
bited on the occasion of his entry into Bath. 
He at once took possession of a part of Schom- 
berg House in Pall Mall at a rental of £300 
a-year, and within a very short time he was 
in receipt of more commissions then he could 
possibly execute. George ITI. and his Queen 
sat for their portraits, the leaders of fashion 
followed the example of the court, and even 
the painter’s landscapes came in for a share 
of public recognition, It was in 1778, four 
years after his arrival in London, that he 
painted his famous portrait of the Duchess 
of Devonshire, which is now best remembered 
by the mysterious circumstances of its 
sudden disappearance. This was not, how- 
ever, the first time this notable lady had sat 
to him. At Althorp there is a delightful 
little picture by him of the Duchess as a 
child, which invites comparison with Rey- 
nolds’s portrait taken about the same time. 
The resemblance between the two is so strik- 
ing that there would seem little ground for 
the charge sometimes brought against the 
President of the Academy that his portraits 
were not likenesses, for if he failed on this 
occasion Gainsborough must have failed in 
the same degree. But even the lost Duchess 
is scarcely so well known as another picture 
also produced about the same time. On the 
Continent Gainsborough’s reputation lives by 
“The Blue Boy,” the famous portrait of 
Master Buttall, said to have been executed for 
the- purpose of exposing the fallacy of certain 
principles of colouring which Reynolds had 
laid down. Whether this be so or not 
Gainsborough’s success in the task he had 
set himself is no longer questionable. .To 
a genius in painting there are no rules that 


138 


may not be broken, and it is certain that the 
author of “The Blue Boy” has proved that 
a picture may be brilliantly lighted even 
though two cool tones be allowed to pre- 
dominate. Side by side with this famous 
experiment may be set the portrait of the 
Honble. Mrs. Graham, now inthe National 
Gallery at Edinburgh. 

The fame to which he had so quickly risen 
in London did not cure Gainsborough of his 
original fondness for the country. At one 
time he made a lengthened tour to the Eng- 
lish Lake district, and during the summer 
months of every year he was wont to betake 
himself to a cottage at Richmond, where he 
would constantly force into his service as 
models the children of peasants living in the 
neighbourhood. Once, indeed, he revisited 
Sudbury, but there is no evidence that he 
renewed in later life his earlier studies of 
Suffolk landscape. It is probable that he 
had in his portfolios sketches enough and to 
spare for any number of landscapes had he 
been encouraged to paint them. Numbers of 
these sketches have indeed survived to us, 
executed after a curious fashion of his own 
in a mixture of pencilling and wash, some- 
times varnished over soas to give the appear- 
ance of a painting in oil. 

In the early part of the year 1787, Gains- 
borough began to exhibit signs of failing 
health. One day when he was dining with 
Sir George Beaumont and Sheridan, his 
friends noted a marked change in his 
demeanour. He who was usually so merry 
sat silent and melancholy, and before the 
dinner was half over he left the table and 
signed to Sheridan to follow him. “I shali 
die soon,” he said when they were outside 
the room; “I knowit; I feel it. I have 
iess time to live than my looks infer; but 
for this Icare not. What oppresses my mind 
is this. I have many acquaintances and few 
friends, and as I wish to have one worthy 
man to accompany me to the grave I am 
desirous of bespeaking you. Will you come, 
ay or no?” Sheridan gave his word and 
when they returned to the table Gainsborough 
resumed his wonted high spirits. But his 
gloomy presentiment proved, nevertheless, to 
be well founded. In the following year 
during the trial of Warren Hastings, at 
which he was present, the painter felt the 
first premonitory warning of the disease that 
was to end his life. What was at first pro- 
nounced to be only a swelling of the glands 
proved unhappily to be a cancer, and on the 
2nd August he died at his house in Pall Mall. 
“A great name his,’ writes Mr. Ruskin, 


THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A. 


“whether of the English or of any other 
school, the greatest colourist since Rubens, 
and the last I think of legitimate colourists ; 
that is to say of those who were fully ac- 
quainted with the use of their material : 
pure in his English feelings, profound in his 
seriousness, graceful in his gaiety, there are, 
nevertheless, certain deductions to be made 
from his worthiness which I dread to make, 
because my knowledge of his landscape works 
is not extensive enough to justify me in 
speaking of them decisively: but this is to 
be noted of all that I know, that they are 
rather motives of feeling and colour than 
earnest studies; that their execution is in 
some degree mannered and always hasty ; 
that they are altogether wanting in affec- 
tionate detail, and that their colour is in 
some degree dependent on a bituminous 
brown and conventional green, which have 
more of science than of truth in them.” 
This is surely a generous and a just appre- 
ciation of Gainsborough’s genius, which will 
commend itself to those who have closely 
studied his work ; for although in some of his 
earlier Jandscapes there is evidence of a 
feeling for detail that was afterwards lost, 
Mr. Ruskin’s judgment remains true of the 
general characteristics of his style. To his 
unquestioned eminence as a landscape-painter 
Reynolds had already long before borne 
testimony, and it was on one occasion when 
he was speaking of his dead rival as the 
greatest landscape-painter of his age, that 
Wilson was heard to mutter, “ Ay, and the 
greatest portrait-painter too.” That opinion; 
however, has not yet received confirmation. 
The recent opportunities which the public 
have enjoyed of studying Reynolds’s collected 
works still leave his supremacy undisturbed. 
Great as a portrait-painter Gainsborough 
undoubtedly was, and in the more fortunate 
moments of his art, when his fine natural 
gifts were happily inspired, the result leaves 
no room for rivalry. As a mere painter he 
will always hold his own, but behind his 
gifts as a painter, and always enriching by 
their presence even the simplest essay in 
portraiture, Reynolds possessed intellectual 
qualities to which his rival can lay no claim. 
By their aid he was enabled to penetrate 
more deeply into character, and to bestow 
upon even a commonplace countenance some- 
thing of his own intellectual dignity. Gains- 


borough’s mind had an equal, and perhaps a 
greater magic, but he had not the same force 
of individuality, and his pictures have for 
that reason less variety of characterisation. 
J. Comyns Carr. 


Shap 


— 


Where “# jimall 

each one holds “ It seems to me” 
Equivalent to Q. Z. D., 
And if you dare to doubt his Word 
Proclaims you brainless or absurd. Bones !” 


4 0 DO, so idle as to waste 


“T have a reasonable good Ear in Music ; let us have the Tongs and the Bones,” 
: Midsummer Nights Dream. 


And most-let that sad Truth be written— 


cle} , Im this litigious Land of Britain, 
he Hap tie | OTS ye C pe yc - 
&iclia [elie ik Be Le le is bs la ie fF Ie 
——— 
HT - 


} Take Bottom, 


Possessed a “reasonable Ear ;” 
He might have had at his Command 
The Symphonies of Fairy-Land ; 
Well, our immortal Shakespear owns 
The Oaf preferred the “Tongs and 


And then, too often; the Debate 
This Life disputing upon Taste ; Is not ’twixt First and Second- 
Some narrow Issue, 


2 ma? » Of more or less can’t matter much, 
{| fé 4 | But, and this makes the Case so 
= | 


; 17 || Betwixt undoubted Good and Bad. 
| Nay,—there are some so strangely 


So warped and twisted in their 


B That, if the Fact be but confest, 
They like the baser Thing the 


who for one, 


ss 


= 


~ = —— 


- 


| 
! 


“ae 


—— nS 
er 7, 


} 


Gz | quire < Fgmespass from Clod-Hall rode 


down, 
As the Phrase is—“ to see the Town ;” 
(The Town, in those Days, mostly lay 
Betwixt the Tavern and the Play.) 
Like all their Worships the J.P.s, 
He put 7 at the Srorenien ; 


— "<> S z SI, _— Then sallied forth on Shanks his 


. q % Mare, 
See. oe, ~ Rather than jolt it in a Chair,- 
That curst, new- wienaie’ Little-Ease, 

Which knocks your Nose against your Knees 


. ~~) : . < ‘~ . 

NY > Poti , : 
1A Md 

; Hence, as he wandered to and 


am : SE ies ay fro, 
= es Nothing could please him, high or 
For the good Squire was Country-bred, low. 
And had strange Notions in his Head, As Savages with Ships of War 
Which made him see in every Cur He looked unawed at Temple-Bar ; 
The starveling Breed of Hanover ; Could scarce conceal his Discontent 
He classed your Kickshaws and Ragoos With Fish-Strest and the Monument ; 
With Popery and Wooden Shoes ; And might (except at Feeding-Hour) 


y a . Have scorned the Lion in the Jower, 
Railed at all Foreign Tongues as Lingo, 


And sighed o’er Chaos Wine! for Stingo. ee 
S as And for the Moment there was none. 
* Query, Cahors. At length, blind Fate, that drives us all, 
Brought him at Even to Vauxhall, 
- What Time the eager Matron jerks 


Her slow Spouse to the Water-Works, ._-@ 


And the coy Spinster, half-afraid, 


Consults the Hermit in the Shade. 


et ie 
SOE 


Sa # 
Woe 


" 


Dazed with the Din and Crowd, the ’Squire The Faustinetta, fair and showy, 
Sank in a Seat before the Choir. Warbled an Air from Arsinoé, 
Playing her Bosom and her Eyes 
As Swans do when they agonise. 
Alas! to some a Mug of Ale 
Is better than an Orphic Tale / 
The Squire grew dull, the Squire grew 
bored ; 
His Chin dropt down; he slept; he 
snored., 
Then, straying thro’ the “ poppied 
Reign,” 
He dreamed him at Clod-Hall 


again ; 


THE SQUIRE AT VAUXHALL. 143 


He heard once more the well- 


known Sounds, 
The Crack of Whip, 
the Cry of 
Hounds. 
He rubbed his 
Eyes, woke up, 
and lo! + cel 
A Change had come upon the Show. Se SS eo Sas 
Where late the Singer stood, a Fellow, = 
Clad in a Jockey’s Coat of Yellow, 


re) 
’ 


Was mimicking a Cock that 


——>— , 
See 
crew. + AeA 


oro VA, ~ 
LJ bh = SSS SS 
Then came the Cry of & Z S 


Hounds anew, ;, YF ; & 
Yoicks ! Stole Away / 


Say 


and harking back ; 
Then Ringwood leading 
up the Pack. ' 
The Squire in Trans iM ; ; vi 
port slapped his Ys i } , 
knee GY r a Wi 
At this most hugeous 4 , ATP 
Pleasantry. "a hid \ 


The sawn Wood followed ; last of all 
The Man brought something in a Shawl,— 
Something that struggled, scraped, and squeaked 
As Porkers do, whose tails are tweaked. 
Our honest ’Squire could scarcely sit 


So excellent he thought the Wit. 


144 THE SQUIRE AT VAUXHALL. 


But when Sir Wag drew off the Sheath And, to his dying Day, he’d swear 
And shcwed there was no Pig beneath, That Nought in Town the Bell could bear 
From “ Jockey wi’ the Yellow Cvat. 


His pent-up Wonder, Pleasure, Awe, 
That had a Farm-Yard in his Throat!” 


Exploded in a long Guffaw: 


Mora. THE Frrst you may discover : 
The ’Squire was like Titania's lover ; 
He put a squeaking Pig before 

The Harmony of Clayton's Score. 


MoRrAL THE SECOND—not so clear ; 
But still it shall be added here : 
He praised the Thing he understood ; 
"Twere well if every Critic would. 
Austin Dosson. 


<< 


PRINCESS ROYAL, PRINCESS AUGUSTA, AND PRINCESS ELIZABETH. 


By Tuomas GainsBorovucn, R A., Engraved by W. Biscompge GARDNER. 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


}INLOCH and myself had 
to ride long and hard to 
fulfil the tryst we had 
made to spend our Christ- 
mas Day with the cheery 
comrades of Sir Sam 
Browne’s headquarter 
staff. It had seemed a 
light thing, that promise, 
as we had ridden out of Shere Ali’s dilapidated 
military cantonment on the bare plain of 
Dakka, three weeks previously. Kinloch’s 
work with Maude’s division, lying about the 
foot of the fortress-crowned crag of Ali Mus- 
jid, offered no prospect of being anything 
more than routine duty ; and [had merely to 
make a hurried journey down to Lahore to 
gather up the skeins of the rather compli- 
cated political tangle. Be Sir Sam’s head- 
quarters where they might, we should be 
with them without fail for that Christmas 
dinner, on the preparations for which Hill of 
the Goorkhas, the headquarter caterer since 
poor old “ Jock”? Mure had gone back sick 
to Peshawur, had already begun to bring his 
ingenuity to bear. 

It is all “Khyber Pass” in the broad 
sense from where, at the mouth of the gap 
between the two grim precipices, the fort of 
Jumrood frowns out on the plain of Pesha- 
wur ; and those crumbling ramparts of Jella- 
labad, erstwhile so staunchly held against 
Afghan force and guile by the “ illustrious 
garrison’ which the gallant Sale com- 
manded, and in which Broadfoot and Have- 
lock served as staff officers. For the Briton 
who traverses that rugged road between 
Jumrood and Cabul there are many memories 
—many sombre, others inspiriting. It is the 
road by which, during our occupation of 
Cabul which ended in ’42, precarious commu- 
nications were maintained with the plains of 


India. It is the road along which Elphin- 
stone’s hapless column, in its fatal effort 
at retirement from the Afghan capital, 
struggled through blood and snow and misery 
and humiliation incalculable, till utter anni- 
hilation befell it, where yet the bones of 
British soldiers bleach in the dark crannies 
of the Jugdulluck Pass. It is the road by 
which Pollock marched his “army of retri- 
bution,” through the gloomy gorges of the 
Lower Khyber, up to where the “ illustrious 
garrison” were holding Akbar Khan at bay 
outside the earthquake-rent ramparts of 
Jellalabad ; and onward through victorious 
fighting at Jugdulluck and Tezeen, till the 
British standard waved again from the turrets 
of the Bala Hissar of Cabul. The Khyber 
route has fewer associations with our more 
recent experiences beyond the Sulieman range, 
for it was from the more southerly Kuram 
valley that Roberts darted over the craggy 
Shuturgurdan to exact retribution for the 
massacre of the gallant Cavagnari; and, 
although the troops who were more or less 
within sight of Ali Musjid when the Afghans 
evacuated that place of strength in Nov. ’79, 
wear a clasp on which is graven its name, it 
cannot be said that the distinction was earned 
by any memorable display of prowess. 

We “took our risks,’ as the American 
phrase goes, when we rode out of the Dakka 
camp and set our faces toward the plains. 
The Dakka force was in truth all but in a 
state of siege. No man was safe a thousand 
yards beyond the British lines. Communi- 
cations between the posts established at 
various points on the line were maintained 
only by armed parties in some strength. The 
hill-men ruthlessly cut up baggage parties, 
and native stragglers died the death at their 
hands without mercy. The day before our 
start the post-escort had been driven back, 

L 


146 


the mail-bearer killed, and the bag containing 
Cavagnari’s despatches to the viceroy and 
the correspondents’ letters to their journals 
in England, carried off into the craggy fast- 
nesses wherein dwelt the Upper Shinwarries. 
The army chaplain had miade good his pas- 
sage, if not by the sword of the. Lord and of 
Gideon, by dint of the free use of his Smith 
and Wesson; but the camel that bore his 
canonical vestments, as well as the holy 
man’s clean shirts, had fallen a prey to the 
fell Upper Shinwarries, who had “cut up ”— 
that was the grim phrase current—his ser- 
vant and the camel-man, and carried off the 
clerical plunder into their precipices. We 
had been offered an escort, but had declined 
the offer. There were three of us white 
men—for Lord William Beresford, who after- 
wards won the V.C. so worthily in Zululand, 
was accompanying Kinloch and myself; and 
a posse of four or five native servants leading 
spare horses followed us. We were all well 
armed, and it was scarcely likely that the 
hill-men would tackle so large a party. As 
for their dropping fire at long range, which 
was sure to be an incidental accompaniment 
of our journey down the Khyber, no escort 
could fend that off. 

Our sole casualty from the straggling 
jezail bullets was a héle through a brass 
vessel strapped to the cantle of a servant’s 
saddle. But we had not gone three miles 
from the camp when we had to put up with 
contumely at once irritating and amusing. 
The Upper Shinwarries, with all their faults, 
have a fine sense of humour. On that rocky 
peak three hundred feet above the hollow 
through which we were riding, stood a 
strange tall figure. White robes depended 
from his broad shoulders, and waved from 
his limbs out on the breeze. In one hand he 
brandished a fluttering scroll as of white 
paper. As we drew nearer, he faced us, and 
made as if reading to us in a loud voice from 
the scroll in his hand, while with the other 
he performed gestures of an uncomplimen- 
tary nature. Kinloch adjusted his binocular, 
and intently regarded him. “The scoun- 
drel!” he presently exclaimed, “he has 
arrayed himself in the parson’s canonicals, 
and I verily believe that is Cavagnari’s looted 
despatch he is pretending to read. He is 
cursing us by his gods, and using the most 
unparliamentary language in his infernal 
Pushtoo!” ; whereupon Kinloch took a shot 
with his revolver at the extremely imperti- 
nent Upper Shinwarry. That humorous 
person answered to the fire by bursting in- 
continently into a war dance of a violently 
gymnastic character. Cassock and surplice 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


were whisked about in wild gyrations, and, 
as for the despatch, it was applied to panto- 
mimic uses of the most contumelious kind. 
When the hill-man had had his fill of dancing, 
he picked up his gun and sent a bullet or two 
after us by way of parting salutation. 

From the clump of trees by Lundi Khana 
where Magenis’ battery lay camped by the 
little stream, we climbed to the bleak Lundi 
Kotul by the zig-zags of the old road that 
Mackeson had made forty years before, now 
fallen into bad dilapidation. Past Afghan 
tower-villages, whence the hill-men are wont 
to watch, jezail in hand, for a shot at the 
neighbour (and probably brother) with whom 
endures the ruthless blood feud ; past Khoti 
Khestia and its tanks, down the precipitous 
hill face opposite to which Macpherson and 
his men had slidden to intercept the retreat- 
ing garrison of Ali Musjid ; across the Khyber 
stream, in whose clear sparkling water lurks 
a subtle poison, and through the gruesome 
gorge which the horrid rocks overhang on 
either side, and where the only pathway is 
the rugged bed of the stream ; then out on 
the graveyard-meadow at the base of the 
fortress-rock of Ali Musjid, with its me- 
mories for us of two days’ starvation while as 
yet supplies had not come up; and up on to 
the Shaghai Ridge, whence the huge missiles 
from the 40-pounders had gone whistling to 
explode against the ramparts of Ali Musjid, 
and over which I had ridden at a headlong 
gallop carrying to the telegraph wire down at 
Jumrood the tidings of the abandonment of 
the fortress by its Afghan defenders. Over 
against us was the slope where poor Birch 
and Swetenham, with their valiant Sikhs 
about them, had fallen in the vain effort to 
gain the Afghan line of outlying swngahs. 
And, grateful sight for weary travellers, the 
garden ground in the hollow and the bare 
brow of the ridge were studded with the tents 
of friends. 

Up in the Khyber, among your minor 
inconveniences, was the utter impossibility 
of reckoning on a night of unbroken quiet. 
On this particular night, as well on to mid- 
night the gunners’ mess broke up, and under 
the glorious moonlight we sought our sleeping- 
places, you might well have been excused for 
the conviction that there was not a hostile 
hill-man within the amphitheatre bounded 
by the cincture of jagged peaks. As I 
finished my cheroot outside the long empty 
sepoys’ tent in a hospital dhooly inside 
which my man had made my bed, no sound 
broke the stillness save the occasional neigh 
of a cavalry horse down among the gardens, 
and the contented grunt emitted by one of 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


the artillery elephants chained in a row right 
in my front. Two hours later there raged a 
din as if the fiends were having a “ night 
out.” A bicker of musketry fire rattled 
down in the valley, intermingled with the 
wild yells and defiances of the hill-men, who 
were making a chapao or night attack on the 
camp. Mules were braying, horses squeal- 
ing, bullocks lowing ; and the elephants in 
front of me were rattling their chains as they 
trumpeted uneasily. For my own part, I 
had grown callous to these pestilent chapaos. 
They were never pushed home, nor meant to 
be; their sole aims were to harass our 
people and stampede some of our animals, 
which then became the prey of the hill-men. 
Besides, in the confusion bullets were apt to 
fly about promiscuously ; and if it is unplea- 
sant to get shot at all, I have always thought 
it additionally unsatisfactory to be hit in a 
stupid casual fashion by a bullet that when 
it set out on its career had not known its 
own mind. So [I lay still in the dhooly, and, 
indeed, being weary, had begun to doze off 
again. Suddenly there was a crash, the tent 
caved in, and the canvas came huddling down 
on my dhooly. There was a rushing sound, 
and then the dhooly splintered into frag- 
ments about me as I lay. I was quite 
unhurt, but the occurrence seemed peculiar, 
and deserved investigation ; so I extricated 
myself from the wreckage, and began to 
take observations. These gave me the im- 
pression that I had had rather a narrow 
escape. A chance bullet had gone through 
the ear of one of the artillery elephants 
chained just in front of the tent. Ina 
paroxysm of pain and scare, she had broken 
loose, wheeled about, and in her frantic 
stampede had blundered right over the tent, 
and either trodden on or fallen over the 
dhooly in which I had been lying. 

At Jumrood we lost Kinloch, who remain- 
ing with Maude’s division shouted after me 
as I rode away, “‘ Remember our Christmas 
compact!” From Peshawur Beresford, I 
think, made a dash into the Kuram, in the 
forlorn hope that with Roberts he might find 
a spell of that fighting for which his soul 
longed as the hart panteth after the water- 
brooks ; and I took dak down to Lahore, 
which for the time was the virtual capital 
of India, since the Viceroy had come down 
from Simla to get his finger closer on the 
pulse of events, and was devoting himself to 
the duties of his high office with that en- 
grossed sedulousness which the situation no 
doubt demanded, but against which frivolous 
Anglo-Indians murmured vehemently, and 
longed for the gay days of the Northbrook 


147 


régime back again, as an alterative to what 
they denounced as the dreary workfulness of 
his successor’s vice-reign. A few days in 
Lahore gave me freedom to set my face 
again toward the Khyber and its Christmas 
obligations. A generation is passed since 
the home-folk of this island of ours were 
taking thought of Christmas comforts for 
their loved ones confronting the enemy on 
foreign soil. But in hall and cottage among 
us, there are yet alive women with whom 
the memory to this day is fresh how thirty 
years ago they were filling boxes with the 
love-gifts designed to gladden the hearts and 
help to the comforts of sons, brothers, and 
husbands in those bleak encampments from 
out which daily the trench-parties tramped 
down through mid and snow to maintain 
the staunch weary struggle that resulted in 
the fall of Sevastopol. Too few of those 
souvenirs attained their destination in the 
confusion ; of those that through multifarious 
vicissitudes at length reached the camp, some 
were over late to speak to the soldier of the 
tender home-thought that had prompted their 
despatch, since in battle, trench, or hospital, 
death, swift or lingering, had come to him. 
But our sisters in India, somewhere or other 
around whose borders campaigning, if not 
actual fighting, is almost constantly going 
on, are practised experts in the minor science 
of forwarding to their men-folk in the field 
the opportune and welcome Liebesgaben. I 
am not prepared to be definite, after five 
years, as to the number of plum puddings 
forming that little hillock on the top of my 
dik-gharry between Jhelum and Peshawur, 
on the apex of which sat the faithful John 
amidst a whirl of dust. .At Peshawur the 
heap of Christmas gifts were loaded into the 
panniers of a camel, and the ship of the 
desert started on its measured solemn tramp 
up through the defiles of the Khyber. 

I remained behind for a day that I 
might be the spectator of a strange spec- 
tacle—a camel chase, gentleman riders up. 
The competitors had been named after a 
somewhat startling fashion. I remember 
that at first “ Viceroy’s Ultimatum” cut out 
the pace, but died away, when “Chamber- 
lain’s Mission” took the running for a it. 
“Russian Chicanery” was well up as far as 
the distance, but compounded when collared, 
and was not persevered with. “ Frontier 
Policy” was never in it, and “Retreat” 
bolted off the course. Finally “ Peace with 
Honour” staying well, made up his lost 
ground, and his rider coming with quite a 
Chifney rush at the end, landed him an easy 
winner. Camels when they eanter are in- 


148 


describably ludicrous animals ; their best pace 
is the trot, in which they give one a vivid 
idea of a four-legged ostrich. At a trot a 
good camel can travel a short distance at the 
rate of eight miles an hour, but it may be 
said as a general thing that he infinitely 
prefers a walk at the rate of two miles an hour, 
and is much more partial to squatting down 
than to travelling at all. Up in the Khyber 
the camels used to squat down never to rise 
again, in most embarrassing frequency. ° They 
were supposed to find sustenance in grazing ; 
but is the digestion even of an ostrich equal 
to boulders seasoned with gravel and sand ? 
On this fare the camel trudged on, carrying 
his load to the bitter end, and with now and 
then a groan that had a curious plaintive 
eloquence in its rumble ; till the day came it 
could go no further, and then it let itself 
down with all its wonted gingerliness, and 
the poor, ugly, patient head dropped help- 
lessly sideways on the sand. 

Reaching General Maude’s headquarters 
at Jumrood on the outside of a commissariat 
mule, for I had been forced to leave both my 
own horses sick at Peshawur, my earliest 
inquiries were for Kinloch. Kinloch was in 
camp right enough, and had not forgotten 
his tryst, but meanwhile there were military 
duties to be done. The nuisance of fighting 
with the Afghans and the hill-men their con- 
geners is this, that you never can tell when 
your work is over. You may have bribed 
them into apparent peacefulness, and as like 
as not you will be attacked when returning 
from handing over the money. Then you 
will take out a detachment against that par- 
ticular tribe, exchange a few long shots with 
fellows who somehow have attained inacces- 
sible pinnacles, burn their wretched outhouses 
and the paltry stores of straw and brushwood 
gathered in and around them, blow up their 
rubbishing tower, and scour the whole vicinity 
with horse and foot, the net result being 
the capture of an old woman in a condition 
of abject dotage. All this achieved, you 
will be marching home in triumph, your 
“political” full of self-complacency because 
of the “example” and the “lesson” which 
he is never tired talking of, when, just as 
your little force is in that awkward defile, a 
brisk fire opens upon you on flanks and rear. 
Then you of course unlimber that solitary 
field-piece again, blaze away into space, 
follow up your shell fire by a large expendi- 
ture of the Empress of India’s rifle ammuni- 
tion, lose a man or two, and have no alter- 
native but to bustle out of the tight place 
with what speed you may regard compatible 
with a show of decency, chased by the hill- 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


men till you get out into the open, when they 
cease to molest you, after having in a loud 
voice hurled expersions on your nearest 
female relatives, and bestowed on yourself a 
varied assortment of disparaging epithets. 
My views in regard to Afridi hill-men, derived 
from some little experience, are much those 
I entertain in relation to hornets’ nests— 
that both are wisest left alone. 

But the Anglo-Indian “ political” on the 
war-path is a strange and unfathomable 
creature. For a long time he forbids the 
troops to fire a return shot at a tribe who 
keeps them in a chronic fidget by cutting up 
stragglers, blazing at sentries, and stealing 
stray live stock. The nuisance has quieted 
down and the irritation is being forgotten, 
when some fine day the “ political,” with a 
Delenda est Cartago air, proclaims the tribe’s 
cup of provocation to be full and running 
over, and enjoins the commander of the 
troops to move out and chastise it. Such 
was the crisis when I reached Jumrood on 
my return journey up the Khyber. A high- 
land clan called by the barbarous name of 
the Zukkur-Kehls, were to be proceeded 
against ; Kinloch, in his capacity of staff 
officer had to accompany the expedition, 
while I had to go too, because there might 
be some fighting for me to write about. The 
programme was a night march to be followed 
by a surprise, but both details miscarried, 
since we lost our way, and were ourselves 
surprised by daylight before we had nearly 
reached the remote valley of the Zukkur- 
Kehls. Well, we duly burnt their wretched 
huts, caught and confiscated a few wretched 
cattle and scraggy sheep, and brought their 
towers down by a few-charges of powder. The 
force from Jumrood started back whence it 
had come ; but General Tytler had brought 
through the hills from Dakka a co-operating 
column, and since at Dakka we should be 
the nearer to our friends of Sir Sam Browne’s 
headquarters, Kinloch and I transferred our- 
selves to it when it turned to march back. 
Tytler determined to make his exit from the 
Zukkur-Kehl valley by a previously unex- 
plored pass, toward which the force moved 
for its night’s bivouac. About the entrance 
to the glen there was a fine forest of ilex 
and holly ; large, sturdy, spreading trees, 
whence dangled long sprays of mistletoe ; the 
mistletoe-bough was here indeed, and Christ- 
mas was close, but where the fair ones whom, 
under other circumstances, the amorous 
youth of our column would have so enthusi- 
astically led under that spray which accords 
so sweet a licence? The young ones prattled 
of those impossible joys; but the seniors, 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


less frivolous, were concerned by the increas- 
ing narrowness of the gorge, and by the 
dropping fire that hung on our skirts as we 
entered it. However there was but one 
easualty—a poor fellow of the 17th Regt. 
had his thigh smashed by a bullet—and we 
spent the night under the ilex trees without 
further molestation. 

But next morning brought us into mis- 
chief. Surmounting a rocky ridge, the head 
of thecolumn plunged into a ravine stupendous 
in its stern grandeur. The sun in places 
never reached the bottom of this gorge, and 
the little streams as they trickled over the 
rocks were frozen into miniature glaciers. 
Our way was toilsome, nor was it any the 
pleasanter because of the straggling fusilade 
that came down on us from the overhanging 
crags. There was no surgeon with the 
advance, and I had to put into practice what 
rough knowledge of surgery campaign ex- 
perience in other lands had brought me. 
None of the wounds had been dangerous 
until we reached a bend where the crags 
somewhat receded, leaving an open space of 
the torrent-bed’s shingle, athwart which way- 
farers had to pass. From a knot of hill- 
men on a ledge above the open space the 
bullets came slapping on to the stones rather 
thickly. We hurried under cover of the 
bank, but as I turned round I noticed that 
the soldier next to whom I had been walking 
had gone down and was lying on his back 
on the exposed spot. The men of the 
17th gave me plucky assistance in bringing 
in their comrade from his exposed situation, 
but we could find no satisfactory shelter, 
and I had to see to him with the bullets 
splashing on the stones all about us. It was 
a bad case, a bullet right through the thigh, 
and the only expedient practicable was to 
plug the wound and bandage it tightly, 
after which we got him into a dhooly and 
went on. As we were working at him— 
poor fellow, there was no more Christmas 
for him, for he died next morning under the 
knife—a curious thing happened. None of 
us were touched, but a bullet found its billet 
in the chest of the poor fellow whose thigh 
had been smashed the previous evening, and 
on whom, carried on a dhooly, I had been 
attending in the intervals between other 
calls. He was already all but moribund 
from the first wound; the second wound 
but quickened up inevitable death. The 
world is a very small place. Having done 
the best for my patient, I had jotted on 
a scrap of paper a word or two about the 
nature of the wound and what I had done in 
the nature of what is technically called “ first 


149 


dressing,” and as the custom is among 
German military surgeons in similar circum- 
stances, I had pinned the paper to the collar 
of the soldier’s tunic for the information of 
the surgeon into whose hands he might come 
at the Verband-platz. The other day I was 
presented to a lady at a garden party, who 
told me she had this scrap of paper in her 
album, given to her as a little souvenir by 
her husband, the army surgeon who dealt 
with the wounded soldier at the dressing- 
place. 

Our start from Dakka next morning was 
delayed because of the funeral of the two 
British soldiers in whom I had a natural 
interest, and it was past noon ere Kinloch 
and myself rode through the Khoord Khyber 
Pass and struck across the bleak stony ex- 
panse of the Basawal plain to Chardai, our 
halting place for the night. It was Christmas 
Eve when we sat chatting with young Beat- 
son in his lonely post by the Chardai 
streamlet ; but a few hours of morning riding 
would carry us to Jellalabad whither Sir 
Sam Browne’s camp had been advanced, and 
we were easy on the score of being true to 
tryst. As in the cold grey dawn we resumed 
our journey, leaving the young officer who 
had been our host to concern himself with 
the watchfulness of his picquets and the 
vigilance of his patrols, there was a sound of 
unintentional mockery in the conventional 
wish of a “ Merry Christmas” to the gallant 
lad, and there was a wistfulness in his 
answering smile. From off the stony plain 
flecked with dead camels, we cantered through 
the tombs of Ali Boghan, and before us lay 
the fair expanse of the Jellalabad plain—the 
garden of the Khyber; which to us, after 
the monotonous stony mass of the region 
we had been traversing, seemed a veritable 
garden of Eden. The sombre-silvery foliage 
of the wild olive groves glistened dully in the 
sunlight, the reaches of the Cabul river 
gleamed like burnished silver, the villages 
girt about with trees had a distant beauty 
that closer inspection might have dispelled. 
Flocks and herds straggled over the meadow- 
land by the river side, and the snowy ridge 
of the Sufed Koh, on which the sunbeams 
shed a glory of tender brightness, added to 
the scene a fresh and rare beauty. The 
road to the encampment, the white canvas 
of whose tents showcd through the inter- 
vening hills, was traversed at a hand gallop ; 
and presently Kinloch and myself found 
ourselves in the street of the headquarter 
camp, shaking hands with friends and com- 
rades, and trying to reply to a medley of 
disjointed questions. 


150 


The bugles were sounding for the Christ- 
mas Day church parade, as we finished a 
hurried breakfast. Out there on the plain 
the British troops of the division were stand- 
ing in hollow square, the officers grouped in 
the centre. The chaplain was arrayed in his 
clerical uniform; perhaps the Upper Shin- 
warry man had yielded up his loot. There 
were some notable fighting-men in the group 
in whose forefront stood the parson. He was 
winning the Victoria Cross in the heart of a 
mélée of Sepoy mutineers, when a trenchant 
tulwar stroke severed at the shoulder the left 
arm of the tall grizzled old chief, but since 
that day the Queen’s enemies once and again 
have known to their cost that it was not his 
sword arm which Sir Sam Browne lost at 
Seerpoorah. The ccmpact, ruddy man whose 
every lineament showed his highland extrac- 
tion, was that Herbert Macpherson who won 
the Cross by the dashing capture of the Sepoy 
battery at the Charbagh Bridge, when Have- 
lock was cutting his path to the succour of 
the beleaguered garrison in the Lucknow 
Residency ; and whose higher fame as fine 
commander, not less than gallant soldier, was 
waiting for him further into the heart of 
Afghanistan and on the Egyptian desert 
among the sand-parapets of Tel-el-Kebir. The 
name of “Jenkins of the Guides” is a 
terror in every glen of that turbulent fron- 
tier-land in which he has been fighting off 
and on for the past twenty years. By 
Jenkins, his second-in-command, the chival- 
rous Battye, the finest soldier of all his 
gallant race, stood, alas, on his last Christ- 
mas parade. A little apart Cavagnari, his 
usual environment of fierce-eyed hill chieftains 
left squatting among their quaint weapons in 
front of his durbar tent, was absently drawing 
lines on the sand with his sword scabbard, 
his fine Italian face grave with thought. For 
that bold, subtle brain there was little rest 
in those troublous times ; the shadow of the 
lurid future, if it haply lay across the com- 
plications of the present, brought no concern 
to a man who for years had been confronting 
a violent death every hour of his strange, 
audacious life. Of such men as Cavagnari is 
our empire of India—a thinker, a doer, a 
darer. The skein had not been woven that 
knit with his fate, the fate of the blithe- 
faced stalwart young Guide officer whose 
fine-poised head rose above the group of 
comrades among whom he stood. Young 
Hamilton was by Battye’s side when the 
latter fell; a few months later, among the 
bloody embers of the Residency at Cabul, he 
was himself to die, confronting to the last, 
with the calm, cool smile on his young 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 


English face, the fierce surge of the maddened 
fanatic horde. 

“ How you English leave your dead about 
the world!” There was something of cold 
cynicism in the comment, uttered as it was by 
a casual French visitor to Sir Sam Browne’s 
headquarters, one of a little party that after 
church parade had strolled into the old city 
of Jellalabad, and to whom a survivor of the 
memorable defence, by rare chance still 
soldiering in the division now lying before 
the place was describing incidents and locali- 
ties still fresh in his memory after nearly 
forty years. The Frenchman’s tone rather 
jarred on us Britons; but we were looking 
down on an illustration of the truth of 
the remark. Below the rampart in which 
we stood there was a bit of waste ground, 
covered with the rubbish of an Oriental city. 
“ Down there was our burial ground,” said 
Major Bayley, who as a sergeant in the 13th 
Light Infantry—Havelock’s old regiment— 
had been of the “illustrious garrison.” Yes, 
under that area of dirt, old pack-saddles and 
broken crockery poor General Elphinstone, 
whose body, after his death in captivity up 
among the mountains, was brought down to 
Jellalabad by his faithful soldier-servant, 
sleeps that long sleep which ended all his 
troubles and misery ; there, too, lies valiant 
Colonel Dennie of the 13th, slain in a success- 
ful sortie against Akbar Khan ; and there 
also are the graves of the nameless dead of 
the long, stubborn, heroic defence. The 
squalor of this British dead-place Major 
Bayley explained :—“After the abandonment 
of the city, had the place been marked, the 
Afghans would have disinterred our dead ; 
so we carefully obliterated every token of 
interment, and left it intentionally much as 
you see it.” As we sauntered round the 
ramparts we came to the “Cabul Gate” of 
Jellalabad, the watchers on which, as they 
looked anxiously up the wide valley down 
which should lie the path of the Cabul force 
which they knew to have commenced its 
retreat, saw that January afternoon a sight 
which chilled their blood. That lone survivor 
of all the slaughtered thousands, tattered, 
bloody, sore-wounded, huddled in a heap on 
his saddle as he urged his fagged pony on 
with what strength was left him, riding from 
out that fearsome valley of death to the city 
of refuge that he had not dared to hope he 
might reach—is not the scene depicted in all 
its awful significance, in Miss Elizabeth 
Thompson’s wonderful picture? Until not 
many years ago, a quiet elderly Scottish 
gentleman fed his sheep and raised his oats 
on his Ross-shire farm, prescribing now and 


a 


ae 


wm ONS FS am 


—_ “<9 


— | 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS. 151 


then for an ailing shepherd, or the sick 
bairn of a neighbouring crofter. I have 
often thought what memories must have 
haunted this man as he strolled about the 
north-country braes and straths. For he was 
none other than the Surgeon Brydon whom 
the officers on the Jellalabad gate-work saw 
riding down the grey slope to them, saved, 
he alone, from the pilgrimage of slaughter 
that began outside the Cabul cantonments 
and ended at Gandamuk. And a later only 
less fell experience was among the surgeon- 
farmer’s memories. It befel this man whom 
fortune buffeted yet spared alive through so 
much, to bear his part in all the terrible 
vicissitudes of the long memorable defence of 
the Lucknow Residency. 

The sun was in the west when we left 
Jellalabad with its strange medley of associ- 
ations, and strolled back through the gardens 
to the camp. The headquarter street we 
found swept and garnished, the flagstaff 
bedecked with holly, and a regimental band 
playing “ Home, sweet home.” Dear old Sir 
Sam Browne did not believe in luxury when 
on campaign, but now for the first time I saw 
him at least comfortable. This snug tent 
with the spreading awning in front, and its 
cane chairs and carpets, was rather an im- 
provement on that chill bivouac among the 
rocks on the Shagai Ridge, that refuge in a 
tomb on the Ali Musjid graveyard-meadow, 
and that cave above the Lundi Khana stream 
in whose damp recesses a rheumatic night had 
been spent after a meal composed of a mystic 
stew to which everybody had contributed some 
detail of provender. But over against the 
general’s residence was a grander tent than 
that inhabited by the old chief. A large 
double-poled marquee had been set up for the 
use of the headquarter mess, and under its 
shade a table groaned with cold joints, while 
beer flowed like water from a great barrel in 
the corner. An informal luncheon was just 
flickering out. Men had eaten beef and had 
drunk beer; but they lounged about the 
place, casting lingering contemplative glances 
at a huge wickerwork crate, on the lid of 
which sat Captain Knox, the confidential 
ally of Hill, the mess caterer. Knox was on 
duty over that crate, with the firmest orders 
to keep its lid down against all odds, no 
matter how overwhelming. The contents of 
it were magnums of champagne. Not with- 
out arduous planning and loyal co-operation 
had this triumph been achieved at so great a 
distance from what, in military phrase, might 
be termed the champagne base of operations. 
It had been Hill’s daring idea. It need not 
now be described by what genius cf plan 


and what energetic persistence in execution, 
his conception had grown into triumphant 
realisation. Suffice it to say that within that 
outwork of wickerwork there reposed eight 
magnums of Christopher's Perrier-Jouet. In- 
cluding the recent arrivals, Kinloch and 
myself, the Christmas-day diners at the head- 
quarter mess would number sixteen. A 
trifling arithmetical calculation gave the 
result that to the lot of each diner, supposing 
the drinking were fair, would fall a bottle of 
champagne. Was it then to be wondered at 
that an ardour of expectation should burn in 
the bosoms of the prospective participants, 
when it is told that the camp had: known no 
champagne for many weeks, and that there 
had been periods when the mess had been 
forced to go without even the ration of 
commissariat rum } 

Hili and I were old cronies; but on this 
afternoon I instinctively felt he was in no 
frame for light gossip. A sense of responsi- 
bility possessed his mind ; on his manly brow 
the frown of strong thinking made wrinkles 
as he sat apart and absorbed in his tent, with 
chance interludes in the shape of raids into 
the open-air kitchen in the rear, whence his 
voice would rise in strident objurgation of 
his native subordinates. Nor were there 
wanting occasional howls, indicating to the 
intelligent listener that discipline sterner than 
mere scolding was being administered. In 
the short eastern gloaming the committee 
of arrangement gathered in the mess-tent 
under a solemn sense of responsibility ; on 
its members devolved the duty of setting out 
the tables. Not that, in strict truth, there 
were any tables ; that luxury was as yet un- 
known in the headquarter camp. But sub- 
stitutes were available in planks raised on 
boxes, in the lids of those boxes, and in a 
couple of half doors that had been picked up 
somehow. These appurtenances so dis 
as to bear securely the viands that presently 
were to be spread, the question of seats 
gave some trouble. The regular company had 
stools or chairs of their own, but there were 
the two French noblemen who had straggled 
up the Khyber with letters of introduction 
to Sir Sam, and my baggage with my camp- 
stool was not up. To the Frenchmen was 
allotted the empty champagne crate ; to me was 
assigned the beer barrel set up on its end. 

The mess ante-room was the camp street 
outside the dining tent; and at the fashion- 
ably late hour of eight we “went in” to 
dinner, to the strains of the Roast Beef of 
Old England. It was a right jovial feast, 
and the most cordial good-fellowship pre- 
vailed. He would have been a cynical 


152 


epicurean who would have criticised the 
appointments ; the banquet itself was above 
all cavil. Rummaging among some old 
papers the other day, I found the menu, 
which deserves to be quoted :— “Soup— 
Julienne. Fish—Whiteb<it (from the Cabul 
River). Entrées—Cotelettes aux Champig- 
nons, Poulets 4 la Mayonaise. .Joints—Ham 
and fowl, roast beef, roast saddle of mutton, 
boiled brisket of beef, boiled leg of mutton 
and caper sauce. Curry—Chicken. Sweets 
—Lemon jelly, blancmange, apricot tart, 
plum pudding. Grilled sardines, cheese 
fritters, cheese, dessert.” 

Truth compels the avowal that there was 
no table-linen, nor was the board resplendent 
with plate, or gay with flowers. Table 
crockery was deficient, or to be more accurate, 
there was none. All the dishes were of 
metal, and the soup was eaten, or rather 
drunk, out of mugs and iron tea-cups. But 
it tasted none the worse on this account, 
and let it be recorded that there were cham- 
pagne glasses, while between .every two 
guests: a portly magnum reared its golden 
head. Except “The Queen” of course, there 
were but two toasts after the feast—one 
was “ Absent Friends,” drunk in a wistful 
silence, and the other, the caterer’s . health, 
greeted with vociferous enthusiasm. The 
gallant officer who gave the latter toast 
proved himself as eloquent at the board as 
he was known to be vigorous and forward 
in the field; and only Anglo-Indians can 
appreciate the full significance of the title 
“Bobajee Bahadur,’ which amid general 
acclamation he conferred on the comrade 
who had contrived so purposefully for our 
Khyber Christmas feast. The Bobajee 
Bahadur was not an orator, but as one 
watched him resting from his labours, now 
that his bundobust had ripened into trium- 
phant fulfilments one noted how the glow of 
modest complacency irradiated his manly 
countenance. Our Bobajee Bahadur is a 
brevet-major now, and a staff officer, and 
may scorn the gifts that in other days made 
him popular among us. Yet if he live to be 
a field-marshal, that will be no loftier title 
than Bobajee Bahadur. 

A few fields off the wood had been collect- 
ing all day for the Christmas camp-fire of 
the 10th Hussars, and by ten o'clock the 
blaze of it was mounting high into the 
murky gloom. A right merry and social 
gathering it was round the bright glow of 
this Yule-log in a far-off land. The flames 
danced on the wide circle of bearded faces, on 
the tangled fleeces of the postheens, on the 
gold braid of forage caps, on the sombre 


A CHRISTMASTIDE IN THE KHYBER PASS, 


hoods of beshliks. The bright streaks of the 
firelight alternating with the dark shadows 
would have rejoiced the soul of an artist. In 
the half gloom behind the seated or reclining 
inner circle stood groups of stalwart troopers, 
ready with cheery chorus or deep-voiced solo ; 
for the recognition of good comradeship 
between all ranks on service never in a well- 
ordered regiment tends to the relaxation of 
discipline. In the foreground native servants 
regarding the heat with salamander-like indif- 
ference, attended to the supply of refresh- 
ments, or rather of refreshment ; for it was 
campaigning time, and there was no variety. 
A kettle of neat rum was kept on the boil, 
and from this reserve store the cups were 
kept supplied with a fluid whose warmth was 
on a par with its strength ; and the dandies 
of a corps that “don’t dance” but knows 
how to fight lay or sat on the dusty ground 
and sipped with hearty relish the red-hot 
rum. It was a pleasant rendezvous of friends ; 
but there were those round the camp-fire 
who missed one soldier-figure from the circle, 
and recalled with sad hearts other days with 
the 10th, when the leading spirit, alike in 
the field and in the mess-room, was one who 
was ever staunch comrade as good soldier, and 
who has been sore punished for an offence 
for which he himself never pleaded excuse. 
The songs ranged from gay to grave; the 
former mood in the ascendency. But occa- 
sionally there was sung a ditty the associations 
with which brought it about that there came 
something strangely like a tear into the voice 
of the singer, and that a yearning wistfulness 
fell upon the faces of the listeners. The 
bronzed troopers in the background shaded 
with their hands the fire-flash from their 
eyes; and as the familiar homely strain 
ceased that recalled home and love and trailed 
at the heart strings till the breast felt to 
heave and the tears to rise, there would be a 
little pause of eloquent silence which told 
how thoughts had gone astraying half across 
the globe to the loved ones in dear old 
England, and were loath to come back again 
to the rum and the camp-fire in Jellalabad 
plain. Ah, how many stood or sat around 
that camp-fire that were never to see old 
England more? The snow had not melted 
on the Sufed Koh when half a squadron of 
the troopers were drowned in fhe treacherous 
Cabul river. No brighter soul or sweeter 
singer round that fire than Monty Slade ; but 
the life went out of Monty Slade with his 
face to the foe and his wet sword grasped in 
a soldier-grip ; and he lies under the palm 
trees by the wells of El Teb. 
ARCHIBALD Forses. 


i ioe a 


7 ‘i PACE has in Clovelly 
~ two directions, as gener- 
ally necessary and con- 
venient for the con- 
duct of life. that is 
to say, up along and 
down along. The 
street is “up along,” 
if we look at Clovelly from 
the beach; “down along,” if we 
enter it from the top of the hill. 
Not that the two directions are 
straight or simple. On the con- 
trary, the twistings and varied 
inclinations of the street exhaust 
the possibilities of space of three 
dimensions. From this summary 
statement it will be perceived that 


to the convenience of land 
traffic. It looks as if the sea 
had thrown it up the cliff, 
and left it there. And all 
its interests are of the sea, and of that which moves therein. It is a habitation of sea-folk 
and fisher-folk. Their talk is of herrings, as the talk of the landsmen up the country is 
of bullocks. The houses are full of Mediterranean curiosities: bits of coral, and engraved 
horns, and those marvellous pictures of Malta and Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, executed 
in some kind of shiny medium unknown to other masters ancient and modern, which the 


CLOVELLY PIER FRO:{ THE HOBBY. 
From a Drawing by L. R. O’Brien. 


English sailor loves to bring home from his 


voyages. There are men here, too, who have 
in their time commanded smart vessels in the 
Mediterranean trade, and will give you their 
impressions of Constantinople and Smyrna, 
Some have gone round the world as masters 
or mates. The association of picking up a 
lobster-pot may move an ancient man, who 
perhaps has seen better days, to tell one of 
the multitude of lobsters to be caught off 
Labrador. Whence again it may be inferred 
that those who love not the sea had better 
leave Clovelly alone: and some of those who 
love both the sea and Clovelly are apt to 
wish that this abstinence were more largely 
practised. If, therefore, the reader expects 
to be told of the precise geographical situa- 


tion of Clovelly, the distance from the nearest 
railway station, the resources of the “ New 
Inn ” and the “ Red Lion,” and such branches 
of learning, he is hereby warned that it is 
not our purpose to tell him of these things. 
Quite enough people know them already who 
do not deserve it. As for those who are 
deserving, and do not yet know, there will 
doubtless be ways and means for their 
instruction. One hint I will add for these, 
and for these only. Clovelly is not to be 
known in a day. It may be disappointing 
the first day, and I should say that no man 
can really know whether Clovelly suits him 
—or, rather, whether he is worthy of 
Clovelly—in less than about three weeks. 
There are fortunate lovers, indeed, whose 


CLOVELLY. 155 


i \> yea 
forth- 
with inducted 


into the ways of the place. I 
carried away a vision of sunshine, 
v-> of brilliant sea, and of free unspoilt 
““\ "life, mixed with an aromatic savour of 
the boats and nets of the quay-pool, and 

7 the salt air of the bay. Not many weeks 
~* passed before I was there again. We lived 
after the manner of reading parties, careless 
wif and secure, while the bolts of war were 
Zé - being hurled across France. One afternoon 
% there came down the street a man with a 
fe. - little half-sheet of printed paper, about a 
hand’s breadth of it. This was an extra 

supplement of some Exeter journal, 
with news of the crowning 


love of Clovelly isat = ,.2% Fy" To See se ow 

first sight, and has no 2-/-¢f = SS ds my aes ————7 
Sak chives: to. bat ee Pg cet ; sa a 
to grow into a fixed affection. Among 
such I claim to count myself, and 
I think my friend Mr. O’Brien, 
whose pencil has seized the features 
that words cannot describe, will 
allow me to say as much for 
him. It was inthe summer _ —. = 
of 1870, the last or almost 
the last of old-fashioned fine 
summers, that I had my § 
first sight of Clovelly, steal- \f-_ 
ing a day from attendance ( 
on my lords the Queen’s f 
justices at Exeter assizes. | 
A Cambridge reading |', 
party was there estab- | 
lished, by whom I was 


"4 


156 


catastrophe of Sgdan ; and so it was known 
in the sunny peace of Clovelly that the 
Second Empire no longer cumbered the earth. 
Since those days I have gone back to Clovelly 
sundry times, by land and by water, in fair 
weather and in foul, for longer visits and for 
shorter, never coming without eagerness, and 
never parting without regret. 

Clovelly exists by reason of sea-fishing, 
and in particular of the herring fishery. 
Quaint and intricate as is the access it gives 
to the sea, there is no other in Bideford Bay, 
save by the less steep but more exposed 
combe where the tiny village of Bucks 


CLOVELLY. 


in the pool for sundry days. But, again, 
there is no other harbourage to speak of from 
Bideford to Padstow. Steep limestone cliffs, 
broken by rugged combes full of wild vege- 
tation (the delight of the painter and the 
plague of the pedestrian everywhere on this 
coast), run westward to Hartland Point, a 
mighty promontory of contorted rocks. After 
nightfall alternate white and red flashes from 
the lighthouse, and in thick weather strident 
blasts of compressed air from a double fog- 
horn, warn the mariner off one of the most 
dangerous coasts of England. Thence the 
cliffs trend sharply southward, fronting the 


RETURN OF THE HERRING BOATS. 
From a Drawing by L. R. O'BRIEN. 


(formerly written Bokish, and still pro- 
nounced Bucksh) maintains a few boats on 
its open beach. That is a strange place, with 
a stranger people, unlike their neighbours in 
speech and complexion, and dwelling apart 
from them. A local tradition or conjecture 
says they are descended from a crew of ship- 
wrecked Spaniards, and there is nothing 
unlikely in it. The black-eyed children one 
sees at play in Bucks might be studies by 
Murillo. To return to Clovelly, its little 
harbour is tidal, and will float nothing bigger 
than a trawler, and these are now and again 
“‘beneaped ” at low tides, and stick helpless 


unbroken force of Atlantic winds and waves, 
and shattered by them into a grim array of 
jutting points which remind one of Mr. 
Browning’s imagined iceberg “hungry with 
huge teeth of splintered crystals.” He that 
has seen rough weather at Hartland Quay, 
a few miles below the Point, will not think 
lightly of the shelter of Clovelly. Thus 
nature has marked out Clovelly for a local 
centre of some importance, until the herring 
ceases to frequent our coasts, or men cease 
to eat herrings—both improbable events. 
It has also made Clovelly incapable of ex- 
pansion. The village just fills up the 


CLOVELLY. 


157 


5 ae TE 


? Dona, aed "ert 


From a Drawing by L. R. O’Brien 


“Tie . =2 


e. at 
7 hollow in the cliff, and further space could 
be won for building only by costly and 
difficult engineering. Therefore, as we know 
that Clovelly was there eight centuries ago, 
we may guess that even then it was not 
new, and that its general aspect was never 
very different from what it is at this day. 
When the name of Clovelly was enrolled in 
Domesday’, the fishermen doubtless went 


1 Little more than the mame is to be found in 
Domesday or the Hundred Rolls, but the name is 
there. The lord of Clovelly in the thirteenth century 
had all things about him that a lord should, such as 
a gallows and assize of bread and ale. In Domesday 
there is mention of a fishery at Bideford, doubtless a 
salmon fishery in the river. As for the stories of 
Clovelly having been a Roman station and the name 
being from ‘‘ pn vallis,” he may believe them who 
will. This etymology is less plausible than the current 
and ancient, but exceedingly doubtful, explanation of 
Chamounix as ‘‘ campus munitus.” 


Pear forth in the autumn 
2 = ae evenings much as 
they do now; and 
the build and rig of 
their boats, though 
not unchanged by 
time, have varied 
but little as com- 
pared with the revo- 
lutions of  ship- 
building on a larger 
scale. And here, a 
little way above the 
quay-pool, is a sight 
not to be met with 
every day, or, in 
every fishing vil- 
lage. It is the 
workshop of a man 
who can build a 
boat with his own 
hands, to the finish- 
ing of every plank 
and seam of her, 
and sail her right 
well when she is 
launched ; a North- 
Devon Odysseus of 
many resources, 
ever busy, much 
sought after for 
counsel, a whole- 
hearted crafts- 
man and 
loving his work, 
and surely more 
beloved of Pallas 
Athene, if the gods 
still have any care 
for men, than many 
a solemn professor and incompetent practiser 
of the fine arts. The name of the crafts. 
man (my old friend) is John Mill. 

Down to quay we shall see more speci- 
mens of John Mill’s finished work. But 
what is down to quay? The reader who 
knows Clovelly will not ask. But you, 
good reader, who as yet know not Clovelly, 
conceive that you have descended the street, 
no common street, but a kind of staircase ; 
that you have paused at “look-out,” the 
little terrace that stands out in a com- 
manding position about half way down, 
where the men of Clovelly hold a perpetual 
irregular folk-moot ;~that you have gone on 
through the short passage where the street 
is built over, nicknamed Temple Bar, and 
close under John Mill’s shop, whence you 
are like enough as you pass to hear the 
ring of hammer-strokes or the sharper sound 


158 


of the caulking-iron ; and that you can go 
down no farther, but stand on the level pier 
half encircling the pool and the fishing-boats 
that, according to the state of the tide, float 
or lie aground therein. Now you are down 
to quay, and this is quay-pool. Only, think 
not, I beseech you, that guay sounds to us 
here like key, or that our pool has the same 
vowel as a Frenchman’s poule. Not being 
skilled in the arts of Mr. Ellis or Mr. Sweet 
(neither could you be expected to understand 
them if we were) we shall hazard quaiy-piiiil 
as a rough symbolic hint of the true local 


CLOVELLY. 


round about: the new six-inch map of the 
county on the walls (to take one branch 
for example), and the children taught, not to 
repeat lists of names, but really to read the 
map; then the 25-inch map of the parish 
itself, and, if it can be had, a good relief 
map of the county too, so that valleys and 
watersheds may be tangible facts. Once I 
talked with a lad who had passed all the 
standards, and said he had learnt geography. 
Perhaps they had taught him the longitude 
and latitude of Pekin. All I know is that 
he was wholly ignorant whether Exeter was 


THE QUAY POOL, CLOVELLY. 
From a Drawing by L. R. O'Brien. 


pronunciation. And if ever the Board 
School “up along” causes the children of 
Clovelly to think quaiy-piiiil vulgar and to 
mince key-pool with lip-service of book- 
English, may all those punishments fall on 
the teachers which are denounced on evil 
schoolmasters in the Water Babies by Charles 
Kingsley, a true Devon man and lover of 
Clovelly. Or, what is simpler and more 
appropriate to the offence—putt ’en in quaiiy- 
piiil, I would fain see every village school 
a centre of local knowledge and of pride 
in whatever is worth seeing and knowing 


north, east, south, or west of Clovelly, and 
how he would set about going there. But 
let us back to quay-pool. 

Here we are at the centre of affairs, and 
it is bad luck if we fail to find something 
stirring. Donkeys go clattering up and 
down, laden with coals for the lime-kiln or 
what not. It has already sufficiently ap- 
peared why and how there is no place for 
wheeled traffic in Clovelly. The said lime- 
kiln is the imposing structure in the fore- 
ground of Mr. O’Brien’s view Up Along, 
which might be taken for a ruined keep. 


CLOVELLY. 


When the water is in, we may watch one of 
the trawling skiffs floating out or being 
warped in, and the various minor operations 
incident to the general order and harbour 
police of quay-pool. For truly we are 
discreet and lawful men, and have a coast- 
guard station, and a harbour-master, and 
ancient and laudable customs ; of which not 
the least is that you may lounge “down to 
quay” as much and as long as you have a 
mind without any one rebuking you for 
idleness. But we shall do better still to go 
out sailing ourselves if there is a breeze ; and 
let no man think that a well-built herring- 
boat is not good to sail in. The bay and its 
glories of sea, sun, and air are all before us. 
With favourable weather we may peradven- 
ture run even to Lundy; but this is a 
voyage undertaken, as a rule, only with 
deliberation and in a somewhat larger craft. 
Lundy we say here; the makers of guide- 
books, drivers from inland parts, and other 
strangers who know no better, vainly and 
perversely talk of Lundy Island; whereas 
the final y or ey signifies as much already, and 
the witness of our true folk-speech is accord- 
ant. I fear some of the inhabitants, by way 
of deference to visitors, have begun to give in 
to the corruption. Thus is pure English 
broken down right and left ; and, more’s the 
pity, those whose business it ought to be to 
check the mischief oftentimes aid and abet it 
out of pure ignorance. In calms and vacant 
hours a man may do much worse than take 
his Odyssey to the pier, or to the breakwater 
jutting from its foot, and realise Homer on 
this shore where they still push down the 
black hull into the divine sea, and set up the 
mast and rig the sail. They do not commonly 
smite the sea with oars. I know not whether 
Homer’s men had yet invented the art of 
“ sculling ” out of the stern with one paddle 
(a wholly different thing from the sculling of 
a river oarsman), which is mostly in favour 
with the moderns for harbour work. A 
herring-boat can indeed be fairly rowed if 
needful. It has to be done inacalm. But 
it is not a pleasant form of rowing. Of the 
little fleet of boats of this kind which 
Clovelly maintains, or rather which maintain 
Clovelly, one might say much. Their going 
forth in the evening for the drift-fishing, 
their returning in the morning with so many 
mease! of herrings, and their not infrequent 
perils of tempest, which have sometimes, 
though happily not often, had a fatal ending, 


1 Pronounced, and sometimes written, maise. The 
number is 612, thus made up:—three fish = one 
cast (as much as can be held in one hand); 50 
cast (or a long hundred of 120 + 10 cast) + one 


159 


would suffice for a study by themselves. 
Neither will the economist fail to note the 
co-operative system of dividing profits which 
prevails throughout the fisheries of this 
coast. The movements of the boats in the 
herring season may serve as an excuse, if 
excuse we must have, for visiting quay-pool 
after dark. Moonlight has its obvious 
attractions ; but perhaps it is even better on 
a fine moonless night, when the lights of the 
village reflected in the pool mingle with the 
ruddy streak of Mars or the white of Jupiter, 
and the wash of the waves against the pier- 
head and on the shore is marked by ever 
changing phosphorescent gleams. These are 
the certainties of quay-pool from morning to 
evening. It has its events of casual excite- 
ment also ; the putting out of the lifeboat 
for her quarterly exercise, or the like per- 
formance of the coastguard men with the 
rocket apparatus. But these are such things 
as may happen anywhere by the sea, and we 
will only say that, if the Clovelly lifeboat is 
worked down and up the slip leading from its 
house to the beach with no small shouting, 
and the discipline and smartness are not 
quite up to the mark of a Queen’s ship (and 
it takes no great thought-reading to see that 
the stout-limbed petty officer of the coast- 
guard here, who is hauling away on the ropes 
with the rest of us, is of that opinion), yet 
the boat, a novelty when first we knew 
Clovelly, has more than once done good 
service in time of need. In the season of 
vacation tourists there is twice a week, or 
sometimes oftener, another diversion we 
could well dispense with. A steamer disgorges 
a motley throng of passengers from the 
regions we know as “up channel,” who, to 
judge by all appearances, would have done 
better for their own enjoyment as well as for 
the peace of Clovelly to stay where they 
came from. They get landed with more or 
less tribulation—less when they can be rowed 
into quay-pool, more when they must be put 
out on the beach. They toil grumbling up 
the street, evidently regarding Clovelly as a 
show place kept up for their particular benefit, 
and much surprised to find | it inhabited by 
real men and women who have concerns of 
their own. They feed at the inns, ravage 
the ferns in the Hobby and the park, and 
come back running violently down steep 
places at the call of the steamer’s whistle, the 
belated ones distracted between fear of the 
steamer going without them and greater fear 
of slipping on the perilous steps of the 
thrown in = 153 (the number of the miraculous 


draught, curiously enough); 4 xX 153 = 612, or 
a& mease. 


160 


street : and so they return to the unfamiliar 
sea, which even in fine weather will vex 
them with richly-deserved qualms. Lt magno 
impetu grex precipitatus est in mare, et 
suffocati sunt in mari. 

From the pier we may wander along the 
beach on either hand, but it is a walk that 
few people will choose, being over pebbles of 
the most inconvenient size, too large for 
shingle and too small forrocks. There is no 
sand unless at very low spring tides. It is 
worth while to go some score paces eastward 
and get a view of the pier itself, and, a little 


CLOVELLY. 


welcome as a landing-place, and communicat- 
ing with the parapet by a massive wooden 
ladder, The stones of it look solid enough, 
but a couple of years ago an autumn storm 
knocked them about like logs, and did worse 
mischief too, for good men were lost in it. 
Since that a lantern has been set up on the 
end of the pier asa guide to the herring-boats 
coming in of dark nights: not that a Clovelly 
man is very likely to come to harm for want 
of knowing his way into quay-pool, be it 
light or dark. But the lantern will be of 
real use if it is lit only when there is water 


HERRING NETS—DRIFTING. 
From a Drawing by L. R. O'Brien. 


farther on, a close inspection of the stream 
that comes tumbling over the cliff—a mere 
thread in dry weather, a torrent after a rain- 
storm—and is called. by right of eminence 
Freshwater. Otherwise the coast is better 
seen from seaward or from above. 

Here we take in the whole seaward side of 
Clovelly : the scattered boat-houses along the 
beach, the drying-ground for nets, the life- 
boat. house, gigantic in comparison of the 
cottages among which it stands, the craft 
lying under the pier, and the pier itself laid 
out in a higher and a lower platform. Outside 
the pier is a rough breakwater, sometimes 


enough in the pool, thus doing for Clovelly 
what has long been done on a larger scale by 
tide-signals, both day and night, for the 
entrance to Bideford and Barnstaple over 
the bar at Appledore. 

After this near view of the pier, we may 
get a striking distant one from the hillside 
beyond, at a point about a mile along the 
Hobby road. This road is engineered much 
after the manner of an Alpine carriage pass ; 
but for my own part I find analogies at 
every turn, perhaps oftener of an invisible 
than of a visible kind, between the Alps and 
Devonshire. Anyhow there is cream in both. 


‘NIU .O “HT Aq Ourmnaq %y) oss “ANOKVaNGUg “Y Aq pravsbug 
‘AqGIL ATVH LV Wald ATTAAOTO 


CLOVELLY. 161 


— the length of devious road that in fact 
remains to be covered is a puzzle of topo- 
graphy and perspective. If we are parting, 
Clovelly seems to have pursued us unawares, 
and to present itself in this upexpected 
fashion for a farewell glance. At the back 
of the village rise the cliffs of Gallantry 
Bower, not vertical (very few things in 
nature are, fine writing and picture-books 
notwithstanding), but about as steep as 
limestone cliffs can well be, and as impos- 
ing either to look up at or to look down 
as any one can reasonably require. For 
the Hobby, we will not stay there longer 
at present. It is one of the sights of 
Clovelly which nobody can help seeing 
who spends even a day there; indeed it 
“ is the way 

o mostly taken 

in fine 
weather by 
those arriv- 
ing from 


Following the 
coast line far 
more closely than the 
public road inland, the 
Hobby turns the heads of 
combe after combe by abrupt 
zigzags, so that the traveller’s 
bearings are constantly being 
changed. Thus, at the point in 
question, the view of Clovelly 
breaks upon us with a kind of 
illusion. If we are approaching, we ~~ — 
seem to be suddenly quite near to the me 2 . “<r 
pier, the pool, and the cluster of houses y uf WHCRien. 

that start up almost at our feet, and 


& 
aA 


162 CLOVELLY. 


the land side. 


made accessible. 


The approach to Clovelly by the turnpike 
road is singularly uninteresting till one is close 


upon the village. 


Let us imagine ourselves once more down 
to quay, and thence let us turn upwards 
again for the park; but we need not retrace 
A short 
and steeper cut will take us up from a 
transverse place or short street known as 
North Hill, much frequented of painters. 
Mounting through a meadow and hanging 


our way through the main street. 


Only one thing we may remark, 
that the Hobby is a private road made and 
maintained by the owners of Clovelly Court ; 
that the public have the enjoyment of it for a 
nominal payment, by courtesy ; and that carry- 
ing off the owners’ ferns in basketfuls is an odd 
way of showing gratitude for having one of 
the finest pieces of coast scenery in England 


IN CLOVELLY PARK. 
From a Drawing by L. R. O'Brien. 


wood, we come out upon the east gate of 
Clovelly Park. Now the grounds of Clovelly 
Court have been described to death in county 
guide-books and, for this and other good and 
sufficient reasons, but chiefly because Mr. 
O’Brien’s pencil is here more to the purpose 
than any sort of word-painting, we do not 
intend to add to the number of describers. 
In one word, we doubt if there exists any- 
where else in England so perfect a union of 
marine and woodland scenery. Sea and 


cliffs we can find in many places, and woods 
we can find. But in how many shall we find 
these forest trees with sea gleaming through 
them—this rich carpet of turf and fern and 
heather down to the very cliff’s edge, these 
thickets barely a furlong from the beach, 
where one might, but for the sound, think 
the sea long miles away? The Cornish cliffs, 
I admit, are heather-covered, and are splendid 
in colour, but they have not the trees. Coming 
out at the western end of the park, we are 


ac EEE Se 


a ETI A 


CLOVELLY. 163 


at Mouth Mill (one might expect the inlet 
to be called Mill Mouth, but we give you the 
name as it is always spoken at Clovelly), 
formerly a haunt of smugglers, now a little 
bay made human by one house and a deserted 
lime-kiln, where the breakers may be watched 
as they cast up their spray under the fantastic 
arch of Black Church Rock, or the rock- 
shallows explored at low water for anemones 


and other sea-creatures, the “ dry pied things” 


of which Lord Tennyson, always exquisite in 
his descriptive epithets, most justly spoke 
when our fathers were young men, to the 
astonishment of Quarterly Reviewers. Did 
you ever know an anemone lose his temper ? 
He may do so not less than an oyster may 
be crossed in love. Offer him a morsel of 
prey for a few seconds, and then take it 
away, and you shall see him in a proper rage. 
Hence we may work along the coast towards 
Hartland, or make for the farm road running 


from Clovelly along the opposite ridge of the 
valley across which we look inland. But, 
if we are in a strolling mood, we shall be 
more apt to choose some of the variations of 
route that the park itself offers. In truth, 
Clovelly is not a place to encourage long 
walks. It wears out canvas shoes (nothing 
is so good as india-rubber soles for going up 
and down the street), and saves nailed boots. 
The top of the street and the bounds of the 
deer-park and the Hobby seem to shut one 
off from the outside land-world in which 
people wear boots and stiff collars, and con- 
sider the respectability of their hats. It is 
better not to strive against the charm. 
Clovelly is one of the most difficult places 
in England to get out of—even on paper ; 
and as I fail to see the way to having any 
particular reason why I should leave off 
rambling about Clovelly, I cut the doubt 
short by leaving it abruptly 
FREDERICK POLLOCK. 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 
By Hueu Conway, Author of “Called Back.” 


CHAPTER VIII. 
MRS. MILLER TAKES A HOLIDAY. 


RS. MILLER the respect- 
able, middle-aged widow 
who had, in spite of her 
lack of properly authen- 
ticated service-testi- 
monials, been installed 
in the place vacated by 
the nurse-girl whose 
amorous tendencies sent 

such a thrill through Hazlewood House, 

continued to give the greatest satisfaction. 

She was a living proof that a broom which 

swept clean when new, may continue to do so 

after the newness has departed. Moreover, 

Mrs. Miller was a broom which raised very 

little dust as it swept. 

She was a pale-faced woman with strongly- 
marked features. The nose was aquiline, 
the cheeks thin, almost hollow; the mouth 
and chin told of a certain force of character, 
the eyes were dark, and at times shone 
with peculiar brightness. In spite of the 
calm, methodical way in which she went 
about the place in discharge of her duties, 
one skilled in the study of the face would 
have said that this woman possessed a highly 
nervous temperament—that her quiet was 
but the result of years of self-control, that 
had she lacked that strong mouth and chin, 
Mrs. Miller’s true nature would have shown 
itself at every hour of the day. 

She was thin, and in the dark gowns 
which she invariably wore, looked almost 
ascetic. To men she presented few attrac- 
tions. The under gardener who had been 
‘reprimanded, but not dismissed, found the 
change of nurses a sorry one for him. Had 
he wished to do so, I doubt if the most 
forward manservant would have dared to 


put his arm round Mrs. Miller’s sombre 
waist. 

But her masters liked her, Miss Clauson 
liked her, the boy liked her, and, above all, 
Whittaker liked her. This last was an 
important matter, as in the servant’s hall 
Whittaker, by virtue of long service and 
irreproachable character, reigned supreme. 

The new nurse was in many ways a servant 
after his own heart. She treated him with 
the respect which was his due, and neither 
by word nor action ridiculed his masters— 
the crime common to nearly all the retainers 
of Hazlewood House. The only fault which 
Whittaker could find with Mrs. Miller was 
on account of her religious sentiments. 

For Whittaker was an intelligent man, 
who in his hours of leisure improved his 
mind. For theology he read good old- 
fashioned, one-sided works which proved 
beyond doubt that through the porch of the 
parish church lay the only road to Heaven. 
Every one knows that it is delightful to give 
a new-comer the benefit of one’s own religious 
tenets—to point out where one is right and 
the other wrong. It was but natural that 
ina kindly paternal way Whittaker should 
take an early opportunity of ascertaining 
Mrs. Miller’s orthodoxy. 

He did this in the butler’s pantry, whither 
she had one day come on some errand. It 
was on a Monday, and Whittaker began by 
commenting on Mr. Mordle’s sermon of the 
preceding night. He little guessed what a 
storm his words would raise—how by sheer 
accident he had stumbled on a way of turning 
this calm-looking woman into a wild en- 
thusiast. But he had, in fact, struck the 
fire from the flint. 

She forgot all about her errand, and 
entered into religious discussion in a way 
that took the male disputant’s breath from 
him. She talked about selection and pre- 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 165 


destination—the utter inefficacy of works or 
faith to save—she pounded him with terrible 
texts which cut off the hope of mercy from 
all save the elect, until poor old Whittaker 
fairly gasped. His one-sided studies furnished 
no weapons with which to meet her vehement 
attack, All he could do was to shake his 
head pityingly and sigh for the state of her 
mind. In this he was little different from 
many reputed teachers of men. 

Suddenly, as if remembering where she 
was, Mrs. Miller grew calm; but evidently 
by a great effort of self-control. She even 
apologised for her excitement, which she 
hoped Mr. Whittaker would forget. Then 
she left him. 

In his responsible position his first thought 
was that his masters ought to be informed of 
the heterodox views held by the nurse. But 
this seemed scarcely fair to the woman, who, 
in spite of all, went to church as regularly as 
the other servants. So he did not mention 
the matter to the Talberts, but, overtaking 
Mr. Mordle as the latter was one day walk- 
ing into the town, he, with all respect, told 
him what strange ideas Mrs. Miller held on 
religious subjects. This may seem presump- 
tion on Whittaker’s part, but the ‘ruth is, 
that the dream of his life was, that had not 
fate made him a butler he might have been 
a clergyman. And a very imposing one he 
would doubtless have made. 

“Ah!” said Mordle. ‘“Calvinism—dreary 
religion—most dismal and dreary of all.” 

The curate was rather short with Whit- 
taker. He thought the old servant rather a 
nuisance and somewhat of a prig. 

“Will you see her and talk to her, sir?” 
asked Whittaker respectfully. 

“No—Calvinists are incurable. But tg 
please you, Whittaker, I'll preach at her 
some Sunday.” 

It may be presumed that Mrs. Miller did 
not inflict her Calvinism upon Beatrice, as 
the latter seemed to find the new nurse per- 
fectly suited to her duties. It was clear 
that Mrs. Miller had become strangely 
attached to her young mistress. Nothing 
seemed to give her such pleasure as perform- 
ing any small personal service which Miss 
Clauson required. When Beatrice passed 
her, the woman’s dark eyes followed her 
with an expression of almost dog-like affec 
tion. On her part Beatrice treated the nurse 
with a consideration not always shown by 
the most amiable towards their servants. It 
was vulgarly said among the household that 
Mrs. Miller, quiet as she was, had managed 
to get the length of Miss Clauson’s foot. 

Whether Mrs. Miller was unduly favoured 


or not, things at Hazlewood House ran on 
smoothly. Perhaps it was the perfect order 
in which the gear worked that induced the 
nurse to take a day’s holiday. 

It was the day after Mr. Mordle had made 
and lost his venture. Horace and Herbert 
pottering about the gardens, saw the bright- 
haired boy going out in charge of the parlour- 
maid. This was an infraction of rules which 
could not be overlooked. They demanded 
the cause, and were told that Mrs. Miller 
had gone for a day’s holiday. 

Of course the brothers said no more, 
but upon seeing Beatrice they mentioned the 
matter to her. “Yes,” she said, “I told 
her she might go for the day.” 

The Talberts were too polite to blame 
Beatrice in words, but a slight elevation of 
four eyebrows showed their owners’ discon- 
tent. Beatrice,in giving a servant a holiday, 
had taken a liberty. 

“Where has she gone?” asked Herbert, 
who liked to know that his servants were 
spending their time properly. 

“To London, I suppose,” said Beatrice, 
carelessly. 

Now the way in which Mrs. Miller spent 
her holiday was as follows :— 

She rose at an early hour and walked from 
Hazlewood House to the cross roads. Here 
she waited until the lumbering old-fashioned 
*bus came in sight. She took a seat in it, 
and was in due time deposited at the Black- 
town station. At Blacktown she took the 
train to Weymouth, which fashionable water- 
ing-place she reached about eleven o'clock. 

It was, however, clear that she had not 
come here to enjoy a day at the seaside. In- 
stead of going at once to the gay esplanade, 
she sought the shades of the general wait- 
ing-room—here she remained an hour. 

She then embarked in another train; one 
that ran on a single line of railway—ran 
nearly the whole of its way with the sea on 
one side, and a mighty hill of smooth, rounded 
pebbles, known as the Chesil Beach, on the 
other, whilst in front of it loomed tall, 
serrated, precipitous cliffs, at the foot of which 
was its destination. 

Mrs. Miller paid no attention to the 
natural scenery of the place. She stepped 
from the train and walked out of the little 
station in a methodical, business-like way. 
It was evident that the woman had not come 
so far on a mere pleasure jaunt. 

It was a burning day. The sun shot 
down its rays fiercely on the treeless, 
shadeless, barren island, or so-called island. 
Mrs. Miller’s black garments seemed scarcely 
suitable to such weather—her frame certainly 


166 


not strong enough to toil up those cliffs of 
oolitic limestone which frowned down upon 
her. No wonder she turned to the cabstand. 
The two or three cabs which it boasted were 
rickety old machines, but the horses which 
were between the shafts were strong ones. 
Horses need be strong to earn a living in 
this land. 

She drove a bargain after the manner of 
her kind, then took her seat in one of the 
dusty vehicles. She was driven through the 
little grey town which lies at the foot of, 
and stretches a long way up the hill. The 
horse toiled up the steep street: on and on 
until the occupant of the cab looked down on 
the tops of the houses which she had just 
passed. Then a turn, and a bit of level ground, 
another turn and a steep hill ; so on and on 
in a zigzag course until the table-land which 
lies at the top of Portland Island was some- 
how reached, an event which must have been 
grateful alike to the horse and the occupant 
of the cab, supposing the latter only possessed 
of nerves of ordinary strength and therefore 
apt to rebel against being drawn up hills 
as steep as the side of a house. 

Some time before the cab reached the top of 
the cliffs it had at intervals passed gangs 
of men working by the roadside. At a dis- 
tance these men looked little different from 
ordinary navvies, but a closer inspection 
showed that the garments of most of them 
consisted of a dark yellow jersey covered by 
a sleeveless jacket of light fustian or some 
such material. This jacket, moreover, was 
stamped in various places with the govern- 
ment broad arrow. Every man wore gaiters 
and a curiously- -shaped cap, under which no 
hair was visible. Occasionally one might be 
seen who moved with a certain stiffness in his 
gait, as if something which he would willingly 
have dispensed with restrained the natural 
elasticity of his lower limbs. Here and there 
the monotony of the attire was broken by the 
appearance of some who were dressed in blue 
instead of yellow; but taken altogether the 
dress, if comfortable and enduring, was 
scarcely one which a man being a free agent 
would choose for himself. 

The gangs which Mrs. Miller passed on 
the roadside were for the most part engaged 
in handing lumps of turf from man to man. 
They performed these duties in a listless per- 
functory manner, although standing on the 
hill-side above every band of workers were 
two men in long dark coats with the shining 
buttons of authority, and each of these men 
held a rifle with fixed bayonet. 

Farther away in the quarries could be seen 
many other such gangs, digging, delving, 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


hauling, wheeling barrows, and performing 
other operations needful for extracting the 
famed Portland stone from the ground. 

After passing various sentries, and driving 
for some distance along the level ground, 
Mrs. Miller’s cab reached a beautiful, tall, 
buttressed wall; skirting this it turned at 
right angles and very soon drew up before 
an imposing entrance built of grey stone, 
and bearing over the archway the royal arms 
of England. This was the entrance to Her 
Majesty’s prison of Portland. 

In front of it, across the road, stretched 
the governor’s garden, still brilliant with 
flowers, and looking like a glorious oasis in 
the midst of a barren land. A man who in 
discharge of his duties has to live on the top 
of Portland Island, wants a garden or some- 
thing of that sort. Without it the monotony 
of the place would drive him mad. 

But Mrs. Miller did not even look at the 
gay beds. She dismounted, and after telling 
the cabman to wait for her, walked boldly 
through the prison gate. 

She was immediately accosted by a portly 
good-tempered-looking janitor, whose gold- 


. laced cap spoke of superior standing. He 


ushered her into a little waiting-room just 
inside the gate, and asked her to state her 
business. Mrs. Miller’s business was to see 
one of the convicts, by name Maurice Harvey. 

Now, convicts are only allowed to see their 
friends once in six months ; so the janitor 
shook his head dubiously. Still, as Mrs. 
Miller was a most respectable-looking woman, 
he said he would mention the matter to the 
governor. He begged the lady to take a chair 
and then left her. 

She sat for some time in the bare little 
waiting-room, the walls of which were 
decorated with notices requesting visitors to 
the prison not to offer the warders any 
money, but to deposit such donations as they 
wished to make in boxes which were hung 
against the wall for the benefit of discharged 
prisoners and the officers’ schools respec- 
tively. After a while the good-natured 
janitor returned. He told Mrs. Miller that 
the convict had not seen a friend for many 
months, so upon his return from work he 
would be asked if he would like to see her. 
She must give her name. 

She wrote it down ; then waited patiently. 
By and by there was a measured tramp of 
many heavy feet, and she knew the convicts 
were returning to dinner. After the tramp 
had died away, a warder made his appearance 
and told her to follow him. 

It was but a step. He opened a door in 
the rear of the waiting-room, and Mrs. Miller 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


found herself in a place which could suggest 
nothing else than a den at a zoological garden, 
one side of the room being formed of iron 
bars about six inches apart. And opposite was 
a similar den with its front turned towards it 
and entered by another door, and between 
the two was a space, a narrow den, entered 
by another door and containing a stool. 

Presently the door of the middle den 
opened and a warder entered and seated him- 
self upon the stool: then the furthest door 
opened, and one of the blue-habited convicts 
walked up to the bars, and gave his visitor 
a nod of careless recognition. 

As a rule when a female friend is per- 
mitted to see a convict there is weeping and 
wailing. Hands are stretched out through 
the bars across the open space, and if the 
two persons are of ordinary stature, finger- 
tips may just meet. This is better than 
nothing. Time was when no open space 
divided the friends; they could kiss and 
almost embrace through one set of bars. 
But it was found that the visitor’s kiss 
often transferred a half-sovereign from her 
mouth to the convict’s. A kindly action, 
no doubt, but one which when discovered 
led the man into trouble, knocked off good- 
conduct marks, and lengthened his time 
of imprisonment. So now there is a space 
of: something like five feet between the 
visitor and the visited. 

With these two there was no weeping, no 
stretching out of hands. Im fact, as Mrs. 
Miller looked at the caged creature in front 
of her, an expression very nearly akin to 
hatred settled on her strongly-marked fea- 
tures. Yet, in spite of his close-clipped 
crown, shaven cheeks, and ugly attire, the 
convict was by no means ill-looking. His fea- 
tures were straight, and might even have been 
called refined. He was above the middle 
height, broad-shouldered, and healthy-looking. 
His teeth were good, and his hands, although 
rough and hardened with toil, were not the 
hands of one who has laboured from his 
childhood. His eyes had a cruel, crafty look 
in them; but this look might have been 
acquired since his incarceration. Indeed, 
Mrs. Miller had noticed the same expression 
in the eyes of every convict whom she had 
met on the road to the prison. 

Mrs. Miller looked through her bars at 
the convict ; the convict looked through his 
bars at Mrs. Miller; the warder between 
them sat on his stool sublimely indifferent, 
and for a while there was silence. The 
convict was the first to break it. 

“ Oh, it’s you, is it?” he said. 

“Yes, it’s me,” said Mrs. Miller. 


167 


“ Well, what do you want? 
am getting on?” 

He spoke quite jauntily. His visitor gazed 
at him scornfully. 

“Oh, I’m in splendid health,* he con- 
tinued. “ Physically, I’m twice the man I 
was when I came here. Regular hours, re- 
gular meals, regular work. Constitution 
quite set up. No chance of my dying before 
my term’s up.” 

“No, I'm afraid there isn’t,’ said Mrs. 
Miller with such bitterness that the impassive 
warder glanced at her, and wondered what 
manner of prisoner’s friend this was. 

The prisoner's face changed. He scowled 
at her as darkly as she had scowled at him. 

“ When will your time be up?” she asked 
sharply. “Can you tell me?” she added, 
turning to the warder. 

“Can’t say exactly,” answered the warder. 
“‘ He’s in blue, so he’s in his last year.” 

Mrs. Miller shuddered. Her hands clenched 
themselves involuntarily. 

“TI want to know,” she said, addressing 
the convict, “‘ what arrangements you will be 


To see how I 


willing to make when you come out. That 
is the object of my visit.” 
The man looked at her mockingly. “I 


have thought of nothing as yet,” he said, 
“except the joy I shall feel at once more 
returning to the arms of my devoted wife.” 

The woman’s dark eyes blazed. She leant 
her face against the bars, and glared at the 
shaven face before her. “ How much money 
do you want?” she whispered. 

The convict shrugged his uninteresting- 
looking shoulders. “ Money is an after consid- 
eration—TI am pining for connubial felicity.” 

She turned and paced the narrow space. 
The warder grew quite interested in the 
interview. As a rule his duties were very 
monotonous. He recognised the fact that the 
present conversation was out of the ordinary 
ran. The woman seemed to have forgotten 
his presence. She stamped her foot, and 
turned fiercely to the convict. 

“Look here,” she said; “will you go to 
America, Australia, anywhere? Money will 
be found.” 

“Certainly not,” said the polite convict. 
“ Besides, sir,” he added, turning to the 
warder with an assumed air of deference, 
“T believe it is a sine gud non, I mean it is 
indispensable, that for some time I must 
report myself to the police once a month?” 

The warder nodded. 

“God help us!” murmured the woman. 
Then turning to the convict, she said :— 

“You'll let me know when you are re- 
leased ?” 


168 


“Oh, yes. I'll let you know fast enough. 
You'll be one of the first I shall come and 
see. Now, if you've nothing more to say, 
I'll ask to be taken back tomy dinner. Good 
and plentiful as the fare is, I like it warm 
better than cold.” 

The stolid warder could not help smiling. 
The time usually allotted for an interview 
with a prisoner had by no means expired. It 
was a new experience to find a convict of his 
own free will curtailing his privilege. He 
turned inquiringly to Mrs. Miller. 

“Got anything more to say to him?” he 
asked. 

“No,” she answered sullenly. The convict 
made her a polite bow as she turned and 
walked to the door of her own den. She 
stood outside on the gravel for a moment, 
and gazed moodily after No. 1,080 as he was 
conducted by his guardian across the open 
space and vanished from sight round the 
chapel on the way to his own cell. Then 
she entered the waiting-room, where she 
found the civil official who had at first 
accosted her. 

From him she ascertained the proper office 
at which the inquiry she wanted answered 
should be made; and upon applying there 
learnt that No. 1,080, supposing he continued 
to conduct himself as he had hitherto done, 
that is, earning the maximum of eight good 
marks a day, would obtain his ticket-of-leave 
in about six months’ time. 

“Then what becomes of him?” she asked. 
“Do you just put him outside the gate, and 
tell him to be off?” 

The officer smiled. “Oh dear, no. He is 
asked if he has any friends to go to, or where 
he wants to go to. His fare is paid to that 
place. He is given a suit of clothes and a 
little money. After that he must do the best 
he can.” 

Mrs. Miller looked thoughtful. “ Is there 
any one I could write to and ask to be told 
the day he will come out?” she asked. 

“Certainly. If you are a relation or friend, 
and willing to look after him, and wrote to 
the governor to that effect, no doubt you 
would hear from him.” 

“Thank you,” said Mrs. Miller. Then she 
gathered up her black skirts, and left the 
prison. She found her cab, and was driven 
back to the railway station. It was some 
time before a train left for Weymouth ; so 
she climbed to the top of the Chesil Beach, 
and sat down gazing out over the sea. Her 
lips moved, although the rest of her body 
was motionless. She was praying, and the 
petition she offered up was that Heaven in 
its mercy would remove from earth a certain 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


convict before the day came upon which he 
would be entitled to demand his freedom. A 
curious prayer for a religious woman to make, 
but after all not stranger than the prayers 
offered up by antagonistic armies. 

The train started at last, and took her to 
Weymouth. Here she obtained refreshment, 
of which, indeed, she stood much in need. 
Somehow she made a mistake in the time, 
and missed the afternoon train. The conse- 
quence was that it was past eleven o'clock 
when she rang the bell of that methodically- 
conducted establishment, Hazlewood House. 
And the rule of Hazlewood House was that 
no servant should on any pretence be out of 
doors after half-past nine, or, unless the 
presence of company demanded it, out of bed 
after half-past ten. 

Her masters were in waiting, and at once 
took her to task. She explained that she had 
missed the train. 

“ What train?” asked Horace. 

“The train from Weymouth, sir.” 

“ But Miss Clauson told us you were gone 
to London.” 

“Miss Clauson made a mistake, sir.” 

Horace felt nettled at the idea of any one 
who held even a vicarious authority from 
himself making a mistake. So he said, with 
some asperity, “This must not occur again, 
Mrs. Miller.” . 

“ And,” added Herbert, “the next time 
you want a holiday kindly mention the fact 
to us as wellas to Miss Clauson. We have a 
rule in these matters.” 

Mrs. Miller curtsied, and left the room. 

“She is a curious-looking woman,” said 
Horace. “I wonder if we were right in 
taking her without a character?” 


CHAPTER IX. 
JUMPING AT CONCLUSIONS. 


Mr. Morpie went away the next week. 
He carried his sorrow with him, manfully 
resolved to do all he could to leave it on the 
summit of Mont Blanc or the Matterhorn, 
to sink it in the Lake of Maggiore or Como, 
or to cast it upon the flowing Rhine. He told 
himself with such cheerfulness as he could 
muster that he was deeply wounded but not 
killed. Before he tied the label on his port- 
manteau he discharged what his keen sense 
of honour told him was a duty. He called 
on the Talberts and informed them how he 
had fared with Beatrice. 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


They were very busy bottling off a quarter- 
cask of sherry. They found that buying 
their wine in wood saved them, Heaven 
knows how much. Now, bottling wine is a 
nice, dignified, yet, withal, cheerful operation, 
in the performance of which a duke need not 
be ashamed to be seen. If I had the wine 
to bottle I would work at it ten hours a day. 
So when the brothers heard that Mr. Mordle 
wished particularly to see them, he was asked 
to step down into the cellar. 

Into the cellar he went. Not a bed place 
on such a sultry day. He found Horace 
seated on a low stool with his long straight 
legs spread out on either side of the cask, in 
something of the attitude of a reversed 
Bacchus. He was filling the bottles with 
the golden fluid, whilst Herbert stood near 
him and after dipping the corks into a little 
basin full of wine manipulated them with a 
cork squeezer and eventually drove them into 
their resting-place by aid of a small spade- 
shaped mallet. As each bottle was filled, 
corked, and put aside, Herbert made a chalk 
mark on a board, and every fourth mark he 
crossed with another so that the tally could 
be easily counted. The whole performance 
was beautifully methodical and businesslike, 
reflecting great credit on the actors. 

With their native politeness, the moment 
Mr. Mordle came in sight, they ceased their 
occupation. Horace turned the tap and rose 
from the half-filled bottle, Herbert left the 
cork half driven in. They greeted their 
visitor and apologised for bringing him down 
to the lower regions. Although they wore 
large coarse white aprons fashioned somewhat 
like a girl’s pinafore, they looked two well- 
bred gentlemen. 

“T say,” said the curate nervously, “ you 
know I’m off the day after to-morrow.” 


“Yes. We wish you a pleasant trip.” 
“Thanks. Sure to enjoy myself. I want 
to tell you something before I go.” They 


begged him to speak. They thought it 
was some petty parish matter on his 
mind. 

“Do you mind taking off your aprons for 
a minute? Somehow my news doesn’t seem 
to fit in with them.” 

Mr. Mordle was a privileged person. He 
could say and do what few others could. 
Moreover, his manner showed them he had 
something of importance to communicate. 

Without a word they untied their pinafores, 
folded them up, and laid them across the 
sherry cask. 

“ Shall we go up stairs?” asked Horace. 

“Oh dear, no. This will do capitally. 
What I want to tell you is this. Last week 


169 


I asked Miss Clauson to marry me. 
refused. Thought you ought to know.” 

Horace looked at Herbert ; Herbert looked 
at Horace. They stroked their beards medita- 
tively, but for some time neither spoke. 

“ Well,” said Mr. Mordle, “ that’s all.” 

“TI think, Mordle,” said Horace sadly, 
“you should have consulted us first.” 

* Quite so,” said Herbert. 

“Don’t see it at all. Miss Clauson is of 
age. But it doesn’t matter—I tell you now.” 
The brothers shook their heads gravely. 

“T tell you,” said Sylvanus, “ because I’m 
going away to cure myself. When I come 
back I should like to be able to visit you as 
before. You needn’t be afraid.” 

‘Miss Clauson must decide,” said Horace. 

“ Exactly so,” said Herbert. 

So the matter was left and Mr. Mordle 
went away on his hard-earned holiday with a 
clear conscience if a heavy heart. 

The brothers returned to their fascinating 
occupation, and worked away for some time 
in silence. Three dozen of sherry must have 
been bottled before Horace spoke. 

“Tt is time Beatrice was married.” 

“Yes,” said his brother ; “ but she isn’t a 
marrying girl. She takes after us, I think.” 

There was always a comfort in this reflec- 
tion ; especially now, when the fame of Miss 
Clauson’s good looks had spread through half 
Westshire. 

It was indeed time that a suitable suitor 
made his appearance. The chances were 
that in a year or two the girl might fall 
into her uncles’ old-maidish ways. For the 
Talberts were now getting into a domestic 
groove down which it seemed likely they 
would slide until the end of their lives. 
They had of course seen the great world and 
the vanities thereof, and now they found 
that there was nothing like home, sweet 
home—especially when the disposition of the 
home lover is such that he takes an immense 
interest in every detail which makes up that 
sweetness. With the exception of the peren- 
nial visit to town, they had not left Hazle- 
wood House for any length of time, since 
they settled down to rule its fortunes. They 
went to London this year for the last week 
in May and the whole of June. But Miss 
Clauson did not accompany them. She said 
outright that she hated London, and loved 
Oakbury and its belongings. So at Oakbury 
she stayed. A very curious choice on the 
part of a young lady who might, had she 
wished to do so, have spent the London 
season mingling in the pursuits and gaieties 
of what is called the upper circle. 


However, her decision was a certain relief 


She 


— 


or 


Se Se ee ee ee eee 
EE > 


- ae 


| 
‘ 
| 
| 
1 
| 


170 A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


to her uncles. Had she selected to accompany 
them to town, they would hardly have known 
what to do with her. A handsome niece 
staying with them at their hotel would be— 
well, if not a nuisance, a responsibility. 
Approving as they did in the main of her 
treatment of Lady Clauson they could not 
counsel her to go to her father’s house. 
There were, of course, many families they 
knew who would have been glad to have 
taken charge of a niece of theirs, but Beat- 
rice’s staying at another establishment whilst 
Sir Maingay was in town would clearly show 
the world that there was a family feud. 
Nothing in the Talberts’ eyes was worse 
than a proclaimed family feud. Hence it 
was that even now they spoke of Beatrice 
as only being on a visit to them. This deli- 
cacy on their part was a costly matter, for 
had they brought themselves to consider the 
girl as part of the house, they might with 
perfect justice and propriety have associated 
her with themselves in the June audit, so 
giving Horace another opportunity of show- 
ing his skill in accounts and estimates. 

So when Miss Clauson refused to go to 
London she extricated her uncles from a 
dilemma. She stayed at Hazlewood House 
and for five weeks ruled Whittaker and the 
other staid servants as well as she could. 

The Talberts had now settled down for the 
remainder of the year. Autumn or winter 
would make little difference to them. They 
were not, as may easily be imagined, enthusi- 
astic sportsmen. Sometimes they accepted 
an invitation for a day or two’s shooting ; 
but that acceptance depended more on the 
quality of the host than on that of the sport. 
Although when they did shoot, they shot 
fairly well—as they did most other things— 
it may be taken for granted that their 
knowledge of the proper treatment of game 
was more valuable when the game was lying 
in the larder, than when it was flying or 
running about. They could advise you how 
to baste a hare much better than how to 
shoot him. So it was that after their visit 
to London they looked upon themselves as 
pretty well fixed at Hazlewood House until 
the next spring. 

Beatrice was now just past twenty-two ; 
It really was high time that a suitor 
came, and the “Tabbies,” who could easily 
have adapted their feminine gifts to match- 
making, began to think over the eligible 
young men in the county. 

Then Fate produced some one, whom, until 
now, she had kept in the background. But 
whether eligible or not is a matter we must 
discover by and by. 


Beatrice entering the library one morning 
early in August found her uncles in high 
conclave. She saw at once that something 
had happened, and for the moment feared to 
hear that the red currant jelly recently made 
from their own receipt, and almost under 
their own supervision, had turned mouldy. 
It was not that Miss Clauson was particularly 
fond of red currant jelly, her fears were 
simply on account of the distress such a 
catastrophe would cause her uncles’ kindly 
natures. However, the matter was not so 
serious as she imagined. 

Uncle Horace handed her an open letter. 
“ Read that, my dear, and tell us how we 
shall answer it.” She read the following :— 

“Dear Mr. Talbert. Youand your brother 
have several times asked me to pay you 
a visit. May I come for a week or two 
this vacation? I am rather knocked up by 
hard work, and my doctor tells me I had 
better spend some time in a quiet place in 
the country. So I remembered your kind 
invitation ; and if quite convenient to you, 
would come straight from Oxford to your 
house. Of course, although rather over- 
worked, I am not an invalid or I should not 
think of trespassing on you. Yours sincerely, 
Frank Carruthers.” 

“Who is Frank Carruthers?” asked 
Beatrice. ‘Some relation to us, is he not?” 

“ His mother was my father’s half-sister.” 

“What relation does that make him to 
me?” 

Herbert stroked his beard and grappled 
with the problem. “He must be your half 
first cousin once removed,” he said at last. 

“ Exactly so,” said Horace. 

This point being settled, Miss Clauson 
requested further information about Mr. 
Carruthers. Thereupon Horace went into 
family history, which it will perhaps he 
better for us to look up on our own account. 
On such occasions Horace was apt to become 
rather prosy. 

Old Talbert’s half-sister; who was some 
years younger than himself, married, just 
before the successful coup came off, a man 
named Carruthers. It was no great match, 
and if Mr. Carruthers found domestic bliss 
it was well ‘that he made his matrimonial 
arrangements before the “boom” in oil, 
tobacco, corn or whatever it was, sent Mr. 
Talbert to Hazlewood House and county 
society. Had he deferred it till then the 
chances are that Mr. Talbert would have 
insisted on his sister doing better; for 
Carruthers had only a moderate fixed income, 
as manager of some works in the north. 

Somehow, after her marriage his half-sister 


ontute 


ext. 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 171 


slipped away from Mr. Talbert’s life. As 
whole sisters and brothers so often do the 
same this fact is not astonishing. Mrs. 
Carruthers had several children—but one 
after another they died off. She wrote to 
her half-brother announcing the birth or 
the death of each. He answered her letters 
in a congratulatory or consolatory way as 
the occasion required. This was about all 
the correspondence which passed between 
them. When Horace and Herbert were 
lanky boys in Eton jackets and round collars, 
Frank Carruthers was born, and actually 
lived long enough to give promise of growing 
up. Indeed, his father before he died saw 
his only surviving child a strapping young 
fellow of seventeen. 

Mr. Carruthers left his widow an annuity 
for life and a few hundreds in ready money. 
She lived well within her income and ex- 
pended her capital in finishing her son’s 
education. She may have had some of old 
Talbert’s views of things in general although 
lacking his means of carrying them out. Any- 
way she sent her boy to Oxford. There, for 
three or four terms he behaved disgracefully. 

He got into scrapes, difficulties, and debt. 
So far, indeed, into the last that his mother 
for the first and only time in her life, applied 
to Mr. Talbert for assistance. This was 
given readily and the young man was once 
more set off straight. 

Then suddenly Mrs, Carruthers died. 
Out of her annuity she had saved enoygh 
each year to pay a premium of assurance, 
and Frank, then just twenty-one, found that 
her foresight and love put him in possession 
of some seventeen hundred pounds. 

Whatever his faults might have been he 
was passionately attached to his mother. 
Her death seemed to make a changed man 
of him. He immediately paid back Mr. 
Talbert’s loan—better still, he went to work 
like a horse—an intellectual horse, of course. 
The consequence was that he became one of 
the most shining lights of his year and was, 
in due time, rewarded by a fellowship. 

This was lucky; for after having repaid 
Mr. Talbert he had only enough money left 
to carry him to the end of his Oxford course. 

Eventually he settled down to try and make 
his living, or augment the emoluments of his 
fellowship, as an Oxford “coach.” At that 
particular time the supply of coaches was 
beyond the demand, so for some years, in 
spite of his brilliant reputation, passengers 
—or pupils—were few. But he stuck to 
the business and latterly had been given as 
much, even more, than he could manage. 
Hence the overwork. 


All this uncle Horace told Beatrice in his 
own fashion—all except the wild-oat episode. 
That was past and gone; Frank was now a 
successful man, so his youthful sins might 
be forgotten. 4 

Beatrice until now knew nothing about 
her fractional cousin. An intermittent and 
languishing correspondence had existed be- 
tween her mother and Mrs. Carruthers, but 
upon the death of his first wife Sir Maingay 
had not the least interest in keeping up any 
form of relationship with Mrs. Carruthers. 
It is doubtful whether he even knew of her 
existence. The Talberts, who were far too 
proud to disown any of their kin, had met 
the young man several times and had liked 
what they had seen of him. They had asked 
him to Oakbury, and after excusing himself 
once or twice he was now coming there. 

“Ts he a clergyman?” asked Beatrice. 
“ He must be, I suppose.” 

“No,” said Herbert. “He never took 
orders. The fellowship he holds did not 
make that indispensable.” 

“They ought all to be like that,” said 
Beatrice. ‘Men oughtn’t to be forced or 
bribed to enter the church. Besides,’ con- 
tinued she, “they ought not to make a man 
give up his fellowship when he marries. 
Just as he wants more money they take 
it from him. He must either give up his 
wife or his income.” 

Miss Clauson was growing quite a philo- 
sopher on the subject of marriage. She 
spoke about it as if it were an impossibility 
that she herself would ever be interested in 
the matter. 

“My dear,” said uncle Horace, gallantly, 
“T don’t think a man would consider two 
hundred a year a great sacrifice if you were 
in the question.” 

She smiled faintly at the compliment. 
“Still the system must be bad,” she said. 
“Tt might lead to all sorts of unhappiness. 
A man might keep his marriage a dead 
secret—might not marry at all. All sorts 
of misery might result.” 

“You may be sure,” said .Herbert, “ what 
is—is best.” 

“ Exactly so,” said Horace. 

“ T am sure it is bad,” she said, decisively. 

Miss Clauson must have been in advance 
of her day, the authorities now having in a 
great measure adopted her views and changed 
the system. 

“Shall we write and tell him to come?” 
asked Horace.. “It won’t be any annoyance 
to you?” 

“Why should it be—what difference will 
it make? Ask him by all means.” 


172 


Then, hearing the patter of little feet 
outside, she left her uncles to answer their 
letters, and in a few minutes was out in the 
garden romping with the child. 

Horace wrote a beautifully worded letter 
to Frank Carruthers expressing the pleasure 
he and his brother felt at hearing of the 
promised visit. He begged him to fix his 
own day for coming and to stay as long as 
he conveniently could. The letter was handed 
to Herbert for perusal and approval. Her- 
bert read it, and after nodding his head 
continued to hold the letter in his hand, 
whilst a kind of puzzled, thoughtful look 
spread over his face. 

Strange to say Horace also fell into a 
reverie. For some ten minutes the two 
brothers sat facing one another, stroking 
their beards. If that vulgar wretch from 
whose rank mind that feline nickname first 
sprung could have seen them he would, I 
am afraid, have been quite satisfied that he 
had chosen an appropriate designation, when 
he dubbed them the Tabbies. 

Herbert and Horace knew without: speak- 
ing that their thoughts were running in 
parallel lines. They often thought of the 
same thing without a previous word on the 
subject. The similarity of their natures, no 
doubt, accounted for this. 

“ Herbert,” said Horace at last, “ you are 
thinking of what Beatrice said?” 

“Yes, I am.” 

“Soam I. It seemed a revelation, but we 
oughtn’t to jump at conclusions.” 

“No,” said Herbert, “but the fact re- 
mains. Some four years ago he had nothing 
but his fellowship to live upon.” 

“You are right, nothing. Beatrice spoke 
justly. She may by chance have struck the 
mark.” 

“T am afraid so. Still, we must not be 
hasty. Yet, whoever sent the child, must 
have fancied it had some claim on us.” 

“Tt is ridiculous to suppose that an 
entiré stranger would have done such a 


thing.” 

“iaite so,” said Herbert. 

“He may have been much tempted ; at 
that time have been driven to his wits’ end. 
It is a sad affair—let us try and piece it 
together. 

Then, like a couple of old women, they 
began to construct their new theory. 

“We will say,” began Horace, “he was 
married four years ago.” 

“ Yet was dishonourable enough to conceal 
it ; so that he might hold his fellowship.” 

“Of course this is all supposition,” said 
Horace. The word dishonourable in con- 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


nection with one of his own kin grated on 
his ear. 

“ Exactly so,” said Herbert. “I should 
suspect that the wife died—perhaps recently, 
perhaps shortly after the birth of the child.” 

“The latter Ishould think. Frank makes 
a large income now, and could afford to give 
up two hundred a year.” 

“Yes,” said Herbert, “the wife died after 
the birth of the boy. The older the child 
got the more trouble he found it to conceal its 
identity. Thereupon he sends it to us, trust- 
ing we may keep it.” 

“ And now,” capped Herbert, “after de- 
clining former invitations, he comes to us 
himself. The further we pursue the matter 
the clearer it becomes.” 

They were quite in a state of mild excite- 
ment. That they could draw logical infer- 
ences we have seen by the affair of Ann 
Jenkins’ stockings. The brothers had both 
been distressed that all their speculations as 
to little Harry’s origin had fallen to the 
ground for want of proper support. Now, 
at last, was a theory which, if it reflected 
dishonour on a connection of theirs, was at 
least tenable. It was improbable, but the 
whole affair was so monstrous that it needed 
an improbability to account for it. They 
absolutely argued themselves into believing 
they had found the truth. 

“ Didcot is the junction for Oxford,” con- 
tinued Herbert, after a pause. 

“ Besides,” said Horace, “ we cannot forget 
that his conduct once was not what it should 
have been.” 

That’s the worst of going wrong. No 
amount of straight running wili make people 
cease to look at times askance. The work of 
reformation is child’s play to that of making 
your friends believe you have reformed. 

Therefore Horace Talbert’s remark was a 
clincher. Herbert toyed with the open letter. 

‘** Shall we send this?” he asked. 

They fell to stroking their beards once 
more, and continued the operation until the 
natural kindliness of their hearts reasserted 
itself. 

“ After all,” said Herbert, “ it is all purely 
conjectural.” 

“Completely so.” 

“ He had better come then.” 

“T think so. Besides, it will give us an 
opportunity of seeing him with the child— 
surely the instincts of paternity must show 
themselves.” 

“ They are supposed to be very strong.” 

But as neither of them knew anything about 
paternity, these remarks were made in a 
doubtful tone, and were subject to correction. 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


The polite letter was sent, and a week 
after the ending of the Trinity Term the 
young Oxford tutor packed up his things, 
and started for Oakbury. 

As there is no occasion to make super- 
fluous mysteries, it may at once be said that 
Frank Carruthers knew no more of the 
existence of the child whom his amiable 
uncles had argued themselves into believing 
to be in some way his property, than he 
knew of—for the sake of a simile—say the 
presence at Hazlewood House of a grey-eyed 
girl, whose beauty would satisfy every 
demand of his rather fastidious taste. 


CHAPTER X. 
THE FRACTIONAL COUSIN. 


Miss Cxiauson showed very little interest 
in the approaching visit. To this curious 
and, at times, almost apathetic young woman, 
it seemed as if all young men were alike, 
although we have seen that she was capable 
of showing strong feeling and emotion, as 
when she rejected Mr. Mordle’s love. 

The only sentiments Miss Clauson felt 
about Frank Carruthers were these. She 
was rather glad he was not a clergyman, and 
rather sorry he was a sort of cousin. She 
was not very partial to clergymen, and she 
thought that male cousins were apt to presume 
on their relationship. Perhaps they do. 

She had not even the interest which falls 
to the lot of hostess in preparing for the 
arrival of a guest. Herbert himself had 
seen that the large feather bed in the chintz 
room had been carried down and aired at the 
kitchen fire. He had with his own hands 
given out the needful blankets, counter- 
panes, sheets, and pillow-cases, had even 
looked to the match-box and pincushion. 

So, with something akin to indifference, 
Beatrice saw the lodge gate open, and Horace 
bring the horses and large wagonette up to the 
door. She noticed that the young man who 
sat beside him looked rather pale and washed 
out. She saw several portmanteaus handed 
out, so came to the conclusion he intended 
making a long stay. Then she resumed the 
book she was reading. It was far more 
interesting than any young man. 

Nor was she disturbed for some time. It 
was close upon the dinner, indeed Beatrice 
was already dressed; so the Talberts took 
their guest to his room, and left him to make 


173 


his evening toilet. Just before the gong 
sounded the three men entered the drawing- 
room, and Frank was duly presented to Miss 
Clauson. 

When a young man and woman know it is 
their fate to spend several weeks together in 
a country house, and when there is a family 
connection between them, it is no use com- 
mencing by being distant to one another. 
At least, so thought Frank Carruthers, for 
he shook hands with Miss Clauson, and began 
talking to her as if he had known her all his 
life. Beatrice felt certain he meant to presume 
on his relationship. 

Still she was very civil and kind to him, 
and welcomed him to Oakbury. By and by, 
in the course of his easy conversation, he 
made what struck her as being an original 
remark. What it was is not recorded, but, 
as original remarks grow scarcer every day, 
any young man who makes one a minute 
after his first introduction to a young lady, is 
something out of the common run. So 
Beatrice, for the first time, really looked to 
see what he was like. You may depend he 
had made up his mind about her looks at 
once. 

He was pale, and appeared thin and over- 
worked. By the side of Horace and Herbert 
he seemed a short, slight man, although he 
was quite middle height, and if thin had 
plenty of muscle. He was very handsome in 
his own style, and had a clever, intellectual 
look in his face. His eyes were dark and 
keen—not restless eyes, yet seemed to glance 
at everything quickly, and enable him in a 
second to make up his mind about the object 
at which he looked. There was an expression 
hovering about his mouth which a physiogno- 
mist would have told you hinted at sarcasm, 
and his chin proclaimed that he had a will of 
his own. 

By the time Beatrice had finished her 
survey, and before she had come to any 
decision, except that he was by no means ill- 
looking, the gong sounded. Horace offered 
his arm to his niece, and led her the 
dining-room, followed by Herbert and Frank. 

They dined at a round table, pulled almost 
up to the window. It was pleasant at this 
time of year to be able to look out on the 
garden. If everybody knew the comfort of 
a round table when the party is small, the 
whole stock in the country would be at once 
bought up. 

After all, in spite of his pale face, there 
seemed little the matter with Mr. Carruthers. 
His appetite was a fair one; but if a man 
could not make a good dinner at Hazlewood 
House his interior organisation must be in a 


174 


state past redemption. So he ate like a hale 
man and talked like one whose brain was in 
full working order. 

“It’s very good of you to take charge of 
an invalid like me,” he said across the table 
to Beatrice. 

“You must thank my uncles. - I am only 
a visitor like yourself, Mr. Carruthers.” 

“And both very welcome,” said Horace 
courteously. 

“Exactly so,” said Herbert. 

“ By the by,” said Frank turning to Horace, 
“tell me what I shall call you and your 
brother. Mr. Talbert seems too stiff—Horace 
and Herbert too familiar. I could, like Miss 
Clauson, call you uncle, if you liked; but 
you are not old enough.” 

“1 think as we are cousins we had better 
use the Christain name simply.” 

This was a great concession on their part. 
Only persons like Lady Bowker, who had 
known them from boys, called the Talberts 
by their Christian names. 

“Thank you,” said Frank. “ Now enlighten 
me as to my relationship to Miss Clauson.” 

Herbert explained the matter. 

“Half first cousin once removed. An 
unknown quantity. If I were a mathema- 
tician I would try to express it in figures. 
It doesn’t seem: much, but it’s better than 
nothing.” 

Beatrice felt sure this young man meant 
to include her in the arrangement just made 
with her uncles. She was wrong; it was 
many days before he called her anything 
except Miss Clauson. Love always should 
begin in a most respectful manner. 

Then the Talberts, who had the knack of 
always interesting themselves in their guest’s 
affairs, and who were, moreover, capital 
listeners, asked him questions about his life 
at Oxford. . 

“ Life!” he said ; “ it can scarcely be called 
life. All term time from nine in the morn- 
ing to nine at night I try to fill up a vacuum 
—created by nature, but which nature does 
not seem to abhor—in young fellows’ brains. 
You look upon a tutor’s calling as rather an 
intellectual one, don’t you?” 

“ Naturally we do.” 

“Then be undeceived. A man who keeps 
a shop requires far greater gifts. He has a 
variety of things to sell, and a variety of 
customers to send away equipped with what 
they want. My customers are all the same 
—my wares don’t vary. I assure you, Miss 
Clauson, the dull, level stupidity of the 
typical undergraduate is appalling.” 

“Then it needs a clever man to improve 
them.” 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


“ Perhaps so—but clever in what? Not 
in learning. Clever in knowing what they 
are likely to be asked in examination, Clever 
in cutting off all superfluous work. As for the 
learning, the tutor need only be a page ahead 
of his pupil, and that does not constitute a 
supreme effort. Did you ever see a firework 
manufactory ¢” 

He asked Beatrice this. It seemed a sudden 
departure from the subject. Of course she 
had never seen a firework manufactory. 

“Well, they ram this and that into the 
empty cases. So do I. Saltpetre—Latin. 
Sulphur—Greek. Charcoal—history. Balls 
of coloured fire—various information. I ram 
and ram. The case is full and in place. The 
examiner applies the match and looks for the 
result. Then s 

“They burst in the wrong place,” said 
Beatrice slyly. She was amused. 

“Yes—many of them—burst and scatter 
the unburned charge to the winds in a ludic- 
rous manner. Some, of course, fly straight 
and only come down like sticks after fulfilling 
their appointed tasks.” 

“But some succeed like yourself,” 
Horace. 

“My dear Horace!” Frank fell into the 
Christian name arrangement with the great- 
est ease. “The more I see of undergraduates 
the humbler I grow. I was successful, but 
if my competitors were like those I coach 
it’s nothing to be proud of.” 

“Yet your learning brings these pupils to 

ou. 
om Not a bit of it. I have a knack of 
bringing dull fellows on, that’s all.” 

“ And perhaps the reason why you get all 
the dull fellows,” said Beatrice. 

“There’s something in that,” said Car- 
ruthers laughing. 

“You read Latin,” said Frank, suddenly 
turning to Beatrice. 

“Yes. How could you tell?” 

He laughed and gave her one of his quick 
glances. 

“ There is a little line between your brows 
—a very little one. Young ladies always 
knit their brows when they study hard. 
Latin for a lady is hard study.” 

“ Other things besides study bring lines,” 
said Beatrice, rather coldly. 

“Yes—trouble. But you can have had 
none. Pride may bring them. You are 
proud, but not severely proud. So I am 
right.” 

Certainly this young man was presuming. 
Beatrice, half displeased, said nothing. 

“ Won’t you have some more champagne, 
Frank?” said Horace, noticing the young 


said 


od 


A FAMILY AFFAIR. 175 


man declined Whittaker’s mute offer of re- 
filling his glass. 

“No, thank you. I drink very little: 
although your wine is enough ‘to shake the 
sternness of an anchorite.’” 

“ That is Byron, is it not?” asked Herbert. 

“ Byron misquoted,” said Beatrice quietly. 
Frank gave her a quick glance. 

“ Are you sure?” he said. 

“Certain. I looked it up last week. It 
is ‘ saintship’ not ‘ sternness.’ ” 

“T looked it up some months ago. No; I 
remember, I couldn’t find the book, so trusted 
tomy memory. I was wrong it seems.” 

“Homer sometimes nods,” said Horace. 

Beatrice was looking rather inquisitively 
at Frank. ‘“ What did you want the quota- 
tion for?” she asked. 

“ For—something or another—I forget 
now. As soon as I am allowed to work my 
brain I'll try and remember.” 

“Don’t trouble—I know. 
quotation last week.” 

Frank shrugged his shoulders. 

“Of course, you wrote the paper,’ continued 
Beatrice. 

“You are provokingly acute, Miss Clauson.” 

“What did Frank write?” asked Horace. 

Beatrice smiled. She felt she was now 
going to take her revenge for Mr. Carruthers’s 
remark about the Latin. 

“That paper in the Latterday Review on 
landowners’ responsibilities,’ she said de- 
murely. 

“Nonsense, Beatrice! Frank couldn’t 
have written that. Did you?” continued 
Horace, more doubtfully, seeing his guest 
manifested no horror at the accusation. 

“ Young ladies should not read the Latter- 
day,” said Frank. 

“ Anonymous writers should not misquote,” 
retorted Beatrice. 

“But did you write it, Frank?” asked 
Herbert. 

The two brothers looked the picture of 
anxiety. Frank laughed. 

“ Miss Clauson is horribly acute,” he said. 

Therefore they all understood that Mr. 
Carruthers was the author of the article in 
question, an article which, from the bold and 
original views it ventilated, had attracted a 
great deal of attention. Horace and Herbert 
looked aghast. 

“Frank,” said the former in a solemn 
voice, “ you must be a radical.” 

“ You must,” said Herbert sorrowfully. 

Even the respectable Whittaker, who had 
listened to the conversation, pulled a long 
face, and seemed to say to himself “ he must 
be a radical.” That his masters’ cousin 


I saw the mis- 


should so disgrace the family was very 
distressing. 

“Oh dear, no,” said the culprit. 
not—are you, Horace?” 

The utter absurdity of the question made 
them all laugh. Horace and Herbert thanked 
Heaven they were not radicals. 

“ But there are respectable radicals, are 
there not?” asked Frank innocently. 

“ A few,” said Horace. Sad as the truth 
was he was obliged to confess that there were 
one or two radicals of his acquaintance whose 
social position raised them above consideration 
of their political creed. It was a fault in 
what was otherwise a fairly well-organised 
world. It was a satisfaction to have Frank’s 
word that he was nota radical. They told 
him so gravely. 

“T fancy Mr. Carruthers is a communist,” 
said Beatrice mischievously. 

“Then my expressed opinion of your 
shrewdness suffers.” 

“But what are your views, Frank?” 
asked Horace. 

“ T have none in particular. I am willing 
to be guided by the best authorities—your- 
selves, for instance. Tell me why you hate 
radicals so?” 

“They are so—so—un-English.” 

“Ah. Then I detest them. 
know what I am. 
English, Horace?” 

They told him solemnly they hoped and 
believed they were English to the backbone ; 
but they told themselves they were English- 
men with insular excrescences rubbed off by 
foreign travel. 

“ Yes,” said Frank, “it’s a great thing to 
be English. Few people realise what it 
means. I do most thoroughly.” 

“ That’s right,” said Horace. In spite of 
the landowner article, he was growing quite 
easy about his guest. 

“IT would pass a law,” said Frank gravely, 
“making it penal for any Englishman to 
learn a word of a foreign tongue. Every 
time an English child conjugates a French 
or German verb he retards the millennium.” 

“The millennium!” said Beatrice, aston- 
ished. 

“ Yes—my idea of the millennium—which 
is when the whole civilised world speaks 
English. If we could only converse in our 
own tongue, every nation would be forced to 
learn it, and so hasten the happy day. 
Wherever the English language gets a 
good footing, it conquers.” 

“Of course you speak only your own lan- 
guage?” said Beatrice. She was by now 
getting quite interested. 


“ Tm 


Now you 


I am English. Are you 


176 A FAMILY AFFAIR. 


“In my ignorance of what was right I 
learned one or two others. Iam trying to 
forget them, but I can’t do so.” 

“ Well, in what other way would you show 
your patriotism!” asked Horace, who was 
amused. 

“ T would cling to every bit of foreign land 
we acquired, whether gained by force, fraud, 
purchase, or discovery. I wouldn’t think 
whether it paid to keep it or not. It must 
benefit the original owners to become Angli- 
cised ; and whatever place it. is, it is sure to 
come in useful some day.” 

“ No wonder you hate radicals,” said Her- 
bert, approvingly. 

“Well, what else?’’ asked Beatrice. He 
had been for the most part addressing his 
remarks to her, so she had a right to ask. 

“Lots more. But, as we are also English, 
let me ask you a question. Doesn't it some- 
times jar upon your pride to think that we 
are obliged to anoint full-blooded Germans 
as our kings and queens? How much 
English blood has the Prince in his veins?” 

That was a very startling question. The 
Talberts immediately began to run down 
the Royal Family-tree. Frank took a piece 
of bread. 

“ll show you by an illustration,” he said. 
“You'll be frightened. Here’s James the 
First,” he pointed to the bread. “ Here is 
his daughter Sophia,” he cut the bread in 
half. ‘ Here’s George the First,” he cut the 
bread again. ‘ Here’s George the Second,” 
cutting again. ‘“ Here’s George the Third,” 
cutting again. “Here’s Edward, Duke of 
Kent,” cutting again. ‘“ Here’s the Queen, 
God bless her,” cutting again. “ Here’s 
Albert’ Edward, Heaven preserve him!” 
He cut the bread for the last time, and 
sticking the tiny morsel that remained on a 
fork, gravely handed it to Beatrice. 

“Tt’s a mortifying state of things, isn’t 
it,” he asked, “for those who are so tho- 
roughly English as ourselves? Don’t you 
sympathise with the Jacobites, Miss Clau- 
son ¢” 

“T think you are talking rank treason,” 
said Beatrice. She scarcely knew whether 
he was in jest or earnest. Perhaps he didn’t 
know himself. 

The dinner proper was just over. Whit 
taker came in with the crumb-brush, and 
swept away James the First and his descen- 
dants through the female side. As soon as 
the wine was placed on the table the door 
was opened, and Beatrice’s little boy trotted 


into the room. He was allowed to make his 
appearance for a few minutes at this time 
whenever there was no company. The 
Talberts, remembering their theory, put up 
their eye-glasses to note the paternal instinct 
their guest might display. 

“ Halloo,” he cried, “another pleasant 
surprise.’ No doubt he meant to imply that 
Miss Clauson’s presence at Hazlewood House 
was the first. 

“ Now, who is this?” he asked as the boy 
ran to Beatrice’s side. “ Will he come to me? 
I am really fond of children.” 

Tempted by the irresistible bribe of grapes 

the boy trotted round the table. Frank 
picked him up, kissed him, tickled him, 
stroked his golden hair, and admired him 
greatly, but showed none of those emotions 
which the Talberts imagined they would 
detect. In fact, the way in which he met 
the boy removed their base suspicions entirely. 
They were glad of this, although it plunged 
them back into darkness. They felt very 
friendlily disposed towards their cousin and 
were glad to be able to think him as honour- 
able a man as themselves. Probably, they 
never really doubted this. 
' So in reply to his question as to whose 
child this merry, laughing boy was, they 
told him the history of his appearance, and 
how Beatrice had begged that he might be 
kept at Hazlewood House. 

“ T don’t wonder at it,” said Frank. “I wish 
some one would send me another just like him.” 

Beatrice gave him a look of gratitude. 
Every word that confirmed her in possession 
of the child was welcome to her. She had 
not yet looked at Mr. Carruthers in any way 
which carried emotion with it. Her glance 
was a revelation. ‘Till then he had no idea 
of what dark grey eyes could express. 

She soon left the men ; but to rejoin them 
when they took a stroll round the grounds. 
Frank was here shown many clever little 
devices by which the Talberts perfected the 
out-of-door arrangements. He learned how 
they checked the consumption of corn and 
hay in the stables ; how they regulated the 
amount of coke used for the hothouse. 
Indeed, as he was quick of comprehension 
and in detecting peculiarities of character, 
he was not so very much surprised when, 
having returned to the drawing-room, he 
greatly admired a fine piece of knotted lace, 
to hear that the uncompleted piece of work 
was not Miss Clauson’s, but wrought by 
that accomplished artist Uncle Herbert. 


(Zo be continued.) 


anne 


Bi, 


THE HONOURABLE MRS. GRAHAM. 
By Tuomas GarnsporovcnH, R.A., Engraved by W. BiscomBe GARDNER. 


“4, 
I 
My 


“@ 


. 


STS, 


. = 
> 


LZ I ° ido ran out at the garden gate into a sandy lane, 


and down the lane till he came to a grassy bank. He caught hold of the 
bunches of grass and so pulled himself up. There was a footpath on the 
top which went straight in between fir-trees, and as he ran along they 
stood on each side of him like green walls. They were very near together, 
and even at the top the space between them was so narrow that the sky 
seemed to come down, and the clouds to be sailing but just over them, as 
if they would catch and tear in the fir-trees. The path was so little used 
that it had grown green, and as he ran he knocked dead branches out of 
his way. Just as he was getting tired of running he reached the end of 
the path, and came out into a wheat-field. The wheat did not grow very 
closely, and the spaces were filled with azure corn-flowers. St. Guido 
thought he was safe away now, so he stopped to look. 

Those thoughts and feelings which are not sharply defined but have a 
haze of distance and beauty about them are always the dearest. His 
name was not really Guido, but those who loved him had called him so in 
order to try and express their hearts about him. For they thought if a 
great painter could be a little boy, then he would be something lke this 
one. They were not very learned in the history of painters: they had 
heard of Raphael but Raphael was too elevated, too much of the sky, and 
of Titian, but Titian was fond of feminine loveliness, and in the end some- 
body said Guido was a dreamy name, as if it belonged to one who was full 
of faith. Those golden curls shaking about his head as he ran and filling 
the air with radiance round his brow, looked like a Nimbus or circlet. of 
glory. So they called him Saint Guido, and a very, very wild saint he was. 

St. Guido stopped in the cornfield, and looked all round. There were 
the fir-trees behind him—a thick wall of green—hedges on the right and 
the left, and the wheat sloped down towards an ash-copse in the hollow. 
No one was in the field, only the fir-trees, the green hedges, the yellow 
wheat, and the sun overhead. Guido kept quite still, because he expected 
that in a minute the magic would begin, and something would speak to 
him. His cheeks which had been flushed with running grew less hot, but 
I cannot tell you the exact colour they were, for his skin was so white and 
clear, it would not tan under the sun, yet being always out of doors it 
had taken the faintest tint of golden brown mixed with rosiness. His 
blue eyes which had been wide open, as they always were when full of 
mischief, became softer, and his long eyelashes drooped over them. But 

177 N 


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as the magic did not begin, Guido walked on slowly into 
the wheat, which rose nearly to his head, though it was 
not yet so tall as it would be before the reapers came. 
He did not break any of the stalks, or bend them down 
and step on them; he passed between them, and they 
yielded on either side. The wheat ears were pale gold, having 
only just left off their green, and they surrounded him on all 
sides as if he were bathing. A butter-fly painted a velvety red 
with white spots came floating along the surface of the corn, 
and played round his cap, which was a little higher, and was so 
tinted by the sun that the butterfly was inclined to settle on it. 
Guido put up his hand to catch the butterfly forgetting his iS 
secret in his desire to touch it. The butterfly was too quick— 
with a snap of his wings disdainfully mocking the idea of catch- {f 
ing him, away he went. Guido nearly stepped on a humble-bee 
—buzz-zz !—the bee was so alarmed he actually crept up Guido’s eS 
knickers to the knee, and even then knocked himself against a 
wheat ear when he started to fly. Guido kept quite still while a 

the humble-bee was on his knee, knowing that he should not be \ 

stung if he did not move. He knew, too, that humble-bees have \/A 
stings though people often say they have not, and the reason people’ jf 
think they do not possess them is because humble-bees are so good- / ib 
natured and never sting unless they are very much provoked. Next ji 
he picked a corn buttercup ; the flowers were much smaller than the 
great buttercups which grew in the meadows, and these were not 
golden but coloured like brass. His foot caught in a creeper, and he 
nearly tumbled—it was a bine of bindweed which went twisting 
round and round two stalks of wheat in a spiral, binding them 
together as if some one had wound string about them. There was 
one ear of wheat which had black specks on it, and another which 
had so much black that the grains seemed changed and gone leaving 
nothing but blackness. He touched it and it stained his hands like 
a dark powder, and then he saw that it was not perfectly black as 
charcoal is, it was a little red. Some thing was burning up the corn 
there just as if fire had been set to the ears. Guido went on and found 
another place where there was hardly any wheat at all, and those stalks 
that grew were so short they only came above his knee. The wheatears 
were thin and small, and looked as if there was nothing but chaff. But 
this place being open was full of flowers, such lovely azure cornflowers 
sa which the people call bluebottles. Guido took two they were curious 


Pr 


bt 
 % 


flowers with knobs at the top or round with little blue flowers like a 
(3 lady’s bonnet. They were a beautiful blue not like any other blue, not 
of like the violets in the garden, or the sky over the trees, or the geranium 

¥, inthe grass, or the bird’s-eyes by the path. He loved them and held 
we il them tight in his hand, and went on, leaving the red pimpernel wide 
PAY open to the dry air behind him, but the May-weed was everywhere. The 
May-weed had white flowers like a moon-daisy but not so large, and 


178 


—— 


leaves like moss. He could not walk without stepping on these mossy 
tufts, though he did riot want to hurt them. So he stooped and 
stroked the moss-like leaves and said, “I do not want to hurt you, but 
you grow so thick I cannot help it.”” In a minute afterwards as he 
was walking he heard a quick rush, and saw the wheat-ears sway this 
way and that as if a puff of wind had struck them. Guido stood 
still and his eyes opened very wide, he had forgotten to cut a stick to 
fight with : he watched the wheat-ears sway and could see them move 
for some distance, and he did not know what it was. Perhaps it was 
a wild boar or a yellow lion, or some creature no one had ever seen ; 
he would not go back, but he wished he had cut a nice stick. Just 
then a swallow swooped down and came flying over the wheat so 
close that Guido almost felt the flutter of his wings, and as he passed 
he whispered to Guido that it was only a hare. “Then why did he 
run away?” said Guido; “I should not have hurt him.” But the 
swallow had gone up high into the sky again, and did not hear him. 
All the time Guido was descending the slope, for little feet always go 
down the hill as water does, and when he looked back he found that 
he had left the fir-trees so far behind he was in the middle of the field. If 
any one had looked they could hardly have seen him, and if he had taken his 
cap off they could not have done so because the yellow curls would be so 
much the same colour as the yellow corn. He stooped to see how nicely he 
could hide himself, then he knelt, and in a minute sat down, so that the 
wheat rose up high above him. Another humble-bee went over along the 
tips of the wheat—burr-rr—as he passed ; then a scarlet fly, and next a 
bright yellow wasp who was telling a friend flying behind him that he knew 
where there was such a capital piece of wood to bite up into tiny pieces and 
make into paper for the nest in the thatch, but his friend wanted to go to 
the house because there was a pear quite ripe there on the wall. Next came 
a moth, and after the moth a golden fly, and three gnats, and a mouse ran 
along the dry ground with a curious sniffling rustle close to Guido. A shrill 
cry came down out of the air, and looking up he saw two swifts turning 
circles, and as they passed each other they shrieked—their voices were so 
shrill they shrieked. They were only saying that in a month their little 
swifts in the slates would be able to fly. While he sat so quiet on the 
ground and hidden by the wheat, he heard a cuckoo such a long way off 
it sounded like a watch when it is covered up. “Cuckoo” did not come 
full and distinct—it was such a tiny little “cuckoo” caught in the hollow 
of Guido’s ear. The cuckoo must have been a mile away. Suddenly he 
thought something went over, and yet he did not see it—perhaps it was the 
shadow—and he looked up and saw a large bird not very far up, not farther 
than he could fling or shoot his arrows, and the bird was fluttering his wings, 
but did not move away farther as if he had been tied in the air. Guido knew 
it was a hawk, and the hawk was staying there to see if there was a mouse 
or a little bird in the wheat. After a minute the hawk stopped fluttering 
and lifted his wings together as a butterfly does when he shuts his, and 


179 N 


bo 


down the hawk came, straight into the corn. “Go away!” 
shouted Guido jumping up, and flinging his cap, and the hawk, 
dreadfully frightened and terribly cross, checked himself and 
rose again with an angry rush. So the mouse escaped, but 
Guido could not find his cap for some time. Then he went on, 
and still the ground sloping sent him down the hill till he 
came close to the copse. 

Some sparrows came out from the copse, and he stopped and 
saw one of them perch on a stalk of wheat, with one foot above 
the other sideways, so that he could pick at the ear and get 
the corn. Guido watched the sparrow clear the ear, then he 
moved, and then the sparrows flew back to the copse, where 
they chattered at him for disturbing them. There was a ditch 
between the corn and the copse, and a streamlet ; he picked 
up a stone and threw it in, and the splash frightened a rabbit, 
who slipped over the bank and into a hole. The boughs of an 
oak reached out across to the corn, and made so pleasant a 
shade that Guido, who was very hot from walking in the sun, 
sat down on the bank of the streamlet with his feet dangling 
over it, and watched the floating grass sway slowly as the 
water ran. Gently he leaned back till his back rested on the 
sloping ground—he raised one knee, and left the other foot 
over the verge where the tip of the tallest rushes touched it. 
Before he had been there a minute he remembered the secret 
which a fern had taught him. First, if he wanted to know 
anything, or to hear a story, or what the grass was saying, 
or the oak-leaves singing, he must be careful not to interfere 
as he had done just now with the butterfly by trying to catch 
him. Fortunately, that butterfly was a nice butterfly, and 
very kindhearted, but sometimes, if you interfered with one 
thing, it would tell another thing, and they would all know 
in a moment, and stop talking, and never say a word. Once, 
while they were all talking pleasantly, Guido caught a fly in 
his hand, he felt his hand tickle as the fly stepped on it, and 
he shut up his little fist so quickly he caught the fly in the 
hollow between the palm and his fingers. The fly went buzz, 
and rushed to get out, but Guido laughed, so the fly buzzed 
again, and just told the grass, and the grass told the bushes, 
and everything knew in a moment, and Guido never heard 
another word all that day. Yet sometimes now they all knew 
something about him ; they would go on talking. You see, 
they all rather petted and spoiled him. Next, if Guido did 
not hear them conversing, the fern said he must touch a little 
piece of grass and put it against his cheek, or a leaf, and kiss 
it, and say, “ Leaf, leaf, tell them I am here.” Now, while 
he was lying down, and the tip of the rushes touched his foot, 
he remembered this, so he moved the rush with his foot and 
said, ‘ Rush, rush, tell them I am here.” Immediately there 
came a little wind, and the wheat swung to and fro, the oak- 
leaves rustled, the rushes bowed and the shadows slipped 
forwards and back again. Then it was still, and the nearest 
wheatear to Guido nodded his head, and said in a very low 


p ~ VO igs 
j Pr ah 4 A ; ,) 1 \ en ‘ 
e 4 De iN’./f | Ary 5 W Lp 
a Pe \'G 
a Wea) Var Se pee, sf NS 
180 


tone: “Guido, dear, just this minute I do not feel very happy, 
although the sunshine is so warm, because I have been thinking, for 
we have been in one or other of these fields of your papa’s a thousand 
years this very year. Every year we have been sown, and weeded, 
and reaped, and garnered. Every year the sun has ripened us, and 
the rain made us grow ; every year for a thousand years.” 

“ What did you see all that time?” said Guido. 

“The swallows came,” said the Wheat, “and flew over us, and 
sang a little sweet song, and then they went up into the chimneys and 
built their nests.” 

“ At my house?” said Guido. 

“Oh, no, dear, the house I was then thinking of is gone, like a leaf 
withered and lost. But we have not forgotten any of the songs they 
sang us, nor have the swallows that you see to-day—one of them 
spoke to you just now—forgotten what we said to their ancestors. 
Then the blackbirds came out in us and ate up the creeping creatures, 
so that they should not hurt us, and went against the oaks and 
whistled such beautiful sweet low whistles. Nor in those oaks, dear, 
where the blackbirds whistle to-day ; even the very oaks have gone, 
though they were so strong that one of them defied the lightning, and 
lived years and years after it struck him. One of the very oldest of 
the old oaks in the copse, dear, is his grandchild. If you go into the 
copse you will find an oak which has only one branch, he is so old, he 
has only that branch left. He sprang up from an acorn dropped 
from an oak that grew from an acorn dropped from the oak the 
lightning struck. So that is three oak lives, Guido dear, back to the 
time I was thinking of just now. And that oak under whose shadow 
you are now lying is the fourth of them, and he is quite young, 
though he is so big. A jay sowed the acorn from which he grew 
up ; the jay was in the oak with one branch, and some one frightened 
him, and as he flew he dropped the acorn which he had in his bill 
just there, and now you are lying in the shadow of the tree. So you 
see, it is a very long time ago, when the blackbirds came and 
whistled up in those oaks I was thinking of, and that was why I was 
not very happy.” 

“But you have heard the blackbirds whistling ever since?” said 
Guido ; “and there was such a big black one up in our cherry tree © 
this morning, and I shot my arrow at him and very nearly hit him. 
Besides there is a blackbird whistling now—you listen, then, he’s 
somewhere in the copse. Why can’t you listen to him, and be happy 
now 1” 

“T will be happy, dear, as you are here, but still it is a long, long 
time, and then I think after I am dead, and there is more wheat in 
my place, the black birds will go on whistling for another thousand 


EM, 
ey 
te a 


rn 


years after me. For of course I did not 
hear them all that time ago myself, dear, 
but the wheat which was before me heard 
them and told me. They told mé, too, and 
I know it is true, that the cuckoo came and 
called all day till the moon shone at night, 
and began again in the morning before the 
dew had sparkled in the sunrise. The dew 
dries very soon on wheat, Guido dear, because 
wheat is so dry ; first the sunrise makes the 
tips ever so faintly rosy, then it grows yellow, 
then as the heat increases it becomes white 
at noon, and golden in the afternoon, and 
white again under the moonlight. Besides 
which wide shadows come over from the 
clouds, and a wind always follows the shadow 
and waves us, and every time we sway to 
and fro that alters our colour. A rough wind 
gives us one tint, and heavy rain another, 
and we look different on a cloudy day to 
what we do on a sunny one. All these 
colours changed on us when the black- 
bird was whistling in the oak the lightning 
struck, the fourth one backwards from me ; 
and it makes me sad to think that after four 
more oaks have gone, the same colours will 
come on the wheat that will grow then. It 
is thinking about those past colours, and 
songs, and leaves, and of the colours and the 
sunshine, and the songs, and the leaves that 
will come in the future that makes to-day 
much. It makes to-day a thousand years 
long backwards, and a thousand years long 
forwards, and makes the sun so warm, and 
the air so sweet, and the butterflies so lively, 
and the hum of the bees, and everything so 
delicious. We cannot have enough of it.” 

“No, that we cannot,” said Guido. “Go 
on, you talk so nice and low. I feel sleepy 
and jolly. Talk away, old Wheat.” 

“Let me see,” said the Wheat. “Once on 
a time while the men were knocking us out 
of the ear on a floor with flails, which are 
sticks with little hinges—” 

“ As if I did not know what a flail was!” 
said Guido. “I hit old John with the flail, 
and Ma gave him a shilling not to be cross.” 


“While they were knocking us with 
the hard sticks,” the Wheat went on, “we 
heard them talking about a king who was 
shot with an arrow like yours in the forest— 
it slipped from a tree, and went into him 
instead of into the deer. And long before 
that the men came up the river—the stream 
in the. ditch there runs into the river—in 
rowing ships, how you would like one to 
play in, Guido! For they were not like the 
ships now which are machines, they were 
rowing ships—men’s ships—and came right 
up into the land ever so far, all along the 
river up to the place where the stream in 
the ditch runs in; just where your papa, 
took you in the punt, and you got the water- 
lilies, the white ones.” 

“And wetted my sleeve right up my 
arm—oh, I know! I can row you, old 
Wheat : I can row as well as my papa can.” 

“But since the rowing ships came, the 
ploughs have turned up this ground a 
thousand times,” said the Wheat; “and 
each time the furrows smelt sweeter, and 
this year they smelt sweetest of all. The 
horses have such glossy coats, and such fine 
manes, and they are so strong and beautiful. 
They drew the ploughs along and made the 
ground give up its sweetness and savour, 
and while they were doing it, the spiders in 
the copse spun their silk along from the ash- 
poles, and the mist in the morning weighed 
down their threads. It was so delicious to 
come out of the clods as we pushed our green 
leaves up and felt the rain, and the wind, and 
the warm sun. Then a little bird came in the 
copse and called, “ Vip—sip—-sip, sip, sip,” 
such a sweet low song, and the larks ran 
along the ground in between us, and there 
were blue-bells in the copse, and anemones. 
Till by and by the sun made us yellow, and 
the blue flowers that you have in your hand 
came out. I cannot tell you how many 
there have been of these flowers since the 
oak was struck by the lightning, in all the 
thousand years there must have been alto- 
gether—I cannot tell you how many.” 


182 


“ Why didn’t I pick them all?” said Guido. 

“ Do you know,” said the Wheat, “ we have 
thought so much more, and felt so much 
more, since your people took us, and ploughed 
for us, and sowed us, and reaped us. We 
are not like the same wheat we used to be 
before your people touched us, when we 
grew wild, and there were huge great things 
in the woods and marshes which I will not 
tell you about lest you should be frightened. 
Since we have felt your hands, and you have 
touched us, we have felt so much more. 
Perhaps that was why I was not very happy 
till you came, for I was thinking quite.as 
much about your people as about us, and 
how all the flowers of all those thousand 
years, and all the songs, and the sunny days 
were gone, and all the people were gone too, 
who had heard the blackbirds whistle in 
the oak the lightning struck. And those 
that are alive now—there will be cuckoos 
calling, and eggs in the thrush’s nests, and 
blackbirds whistling, and blue cornflowers, a 
thousand years after every one of them is 
gone. So that is why it is so sweet this 
minute, and why I want you, and your people, 
dear, to be happy now and to have all these 
things, and to agree so as not to be so 
anxious and careworn, but to come out with 
us, or sit by us, and listen to the blackbirds, 
and hear the wind rustle us, and be happy. 
Oh, I wish I could make them happy, and 
do away with all their care and anxiety, and 
give you all heaps and heaps of flowers! 
Don’t go away, darling, do you lie still, and 
I will talk and sing to you, and you can pick 
some more flowers when you get up. There 
is a beautiful shadow there, and I heard the 
streamlet say that he would sing a little to 
you, he is not very big, he cannot sing very 
loud. By and by I know, the sun will make 
us as dry as dry, and darker, and then the 
reapers will come while the spiders are spin- 
ning their silk again—this time it will come 
floating in the blue air, for the air seems 
blue if you look up. It is a great joy 
to your people, dear, when the reaping-time 


arrives : the harvest is 
a great joy to you 
when the thistledown 
comes rolling along in 
the wind. So that I 
shall be happy even 
when the reapers cut 
me down, because I 
know it is for you, and 
your people, my love. 
The strong men will 
come to us gladly, and 
the women, and the little 
children will sit in the 
shade and gather great 
white trumpets of convol- 
vulus, and come to tell their 
mothers how they saw the 
young partridges in the next 
field. But there is one thing 
we do not like, and that is, 
all the labour and the misery. 
Why cannot your people 
have us without so much 
labour, and why are so many 
of you unhappy? Why can- 
not they be all happy with 
us as you are, dear? For 
hundreds and hundreds of years now the 
Wheat every year has been sorrowful for 
your people, and I think we get more sorrow- 
ful every year about it, because as I was 
telling you just now the flowers go, and the 
swallows go, the old, old oaks go, and that 
oak will go, under the shade of which you 
are lying, Guido, and if your people do not 
gather the flowers now,. and watch the 
swallows, and listen to the blackbirds whist- 
ling, as you are listening now while I talk, 
then Guido, my love, they will never pick 
any flowers, nor hear any birds’ songs. They 
think they will, they think that when they 
have toiled, and worked a long time, almost 
all their lives, then they will come to the 
flowers, and the birds, and be joyful in the 
sunshine. But no, it will not be so, for then 
they will be old themselves, and their ears 


183 


their eyes 
dim, so that 
the birds will 
sound a great 
distance off, 
and the 
flowers will 
not seem 
bright. Of course, we know that the greatest 
part of your people cannot help themselves, 
and must labour on like the reapers till their 
ears are full of the dust of age. That only 
makes us more sorrowful, and anxious that 
things should be different. I do not suppose 
we should think about them had we not been 
in man’s hand so long that now we have got 
to feel with man. Every year makes it more 
pitiful because then there are more flowers 
gone, and added to the vast numbers of those 
gone before, and never gathered, or looked 
at, though they could have given so much 
pleasure. And all the work and labour, and 
thinking, and reading and learning that 
your people do ends in nothing—not even one 
flower. We cannot understand why it 
should be so. There are thousands of wheat- 
ears in this field, more than you would know 
how to write down with your pencil, 
though you have learned your tables, sir. 
Yet all of us thinking, and talking, can- 
not understand why it is when we consider 
how clever your people are, and how they 
bring ploughs, and steam-engines, and put 
up wires along the roads to tell you things 
when you are miles away, and sometimes we 
are sown where we can hear the hum, hum, 
all day of the children learning in the school. 
The butterflies flutter over us, and the sun 
shines, and 
the doves are 
very, very 
happy at their 
nest, but the 
children go on 


hum, hum inside this house, and learn, learn, 
So we suppose you must be very clever, and 
yet you cannot manage this. All your work 
is wasted, and you labour in vain—you dare 
not leave it a minute. If you left it a minute 
it would all be gone, it does not mount up 
and make a store, so that all of you could 
sit by it and be happy. Directly you leave 
off you are hungry, and thirsty, and miser- 
able like the beggars that tramp along the 
dusty road here. All the thousand years of 
labour since this field was first ploughed 
have not stored up anything for you. It 
would not matter about the work so much if 
you were only happy ; the bees work every 
year, but they are happy ; the doves build a 
nest every year, but they are very, very 
happy. We think it must be because you 
do not come out to us and be with us, and 
think more as we do. It is not because 
your people have not got plenty to eat and 
drink—you have as much as the bees. Why 
just look at us! Look at the wheat that 
grows, all over the world; all the figures 
that were ever written in pencil could not 
tell how much, it is such an immense quan- 
tity. Yet your people starve and die of 
hunger every now and then, and we have 
seen the wretched beggars tramping along 
the road. We have known of times when 
there was a great pile of us, almost a hill 
piled up, it was not in this country, it was 
in another warmer country, and yet no 
one dared to touch it—they died at the 
bottom of the hill of wheat. The earth 
is full of skeletons of people who have 
died of hunger. They are dying now this 
minute in your big cities, with nothing but 
stones all round them, stone walls and stone 
streets ; not jolly stones like those you threw 
in the water, dear—hard, unkind stones that 
make them cold and let them die, while we 
are growing here, millions of us, in the sun- 
shine with the butterflies floating over us. 
This makes us unhappy ; I was very unhappy 


this morning till you came running over and 
played with us. It is not because there is 
not enough, it is because your people are so 
short-sighted, so jealous and selfish, and so 
curiously infatuated with things that are not 
so rich or so good as your old toys which you 
have flung away and forgotten. And you 
teach the children hum, hum, all day to care 
about such silly things, and to work for them 
and to look to them as the object of their 
lives. It'is because you do not share us 
among you without price or difference ; 
because you do not share the great earth 
among you fairly, without spite and jealousy 
and avarice ; because you will not agree, you 
silly, foolish people, to let all the flowers 
wither for a thousand years while you keep 
each other at a distance, instead of agreeing 
and sharing them. Is there something in 
you—as there is poison in the nightshade, 
you know it, dear, your papa told you not to 
touch it—is there a sort of poison in your 
people that works them up into a hatred of 
one another? Why, then, do you not agree 
and have all things, all the great earth 
can give you, just as we have the sunshine 
and the rain? How happy your people 
could be if they would only agree! But you 
go on teaching even thelittle children tofollow 
the same silly objects, hum, hum, hum, all 
the day, and they will grow up to hate each 
other, and to try which can get the most 
round things-—you have one in your pocket.” 

“Sixpence,” said Guido. “Its quite a 
new one.” 

“ And other things quiteas silly,” the Wheat 
continued. “All the time the flowers are 
flowering, but they will go, even the oaks 
will go. We think the reason you do not 
all have plenty, and why you do not do only 
just a little work, and why you die of 
hunger if you leave off, and why so many of 
you are unhappy in body and mind, and all 
the misery is because you have not got a 
spirit like the wheat, like us; you will not 
agree, and you will not share, and you will 
hate each other, and you will be so avari- 
cious, and you will not touch the flowers, or 
go into the sunshine (you would rather half 
of you died among the hard stones first), and 
you will teach your children hum, hum, to 
follow in some foolish course that has caused 


“feel like us. 


unhappiness 
a thousand 
years, and 
you will not 
have a spirit 
like us, and 


Till you have 
a spirit like 
us, and feel like us you will 
never, never be happy. Lie 
still, dear, the shadow of the 
oak is broad and will not move 
off you for a long time yet.” 

“But perhaps Paul will 
come up to my house, and 
Percy, and Morna.”’ 

“Look up in the oak very 
quietly, don’t move, just open 
your eyes and look,” said the 
Wheat who was very cunning. 
Guido looked and saw a lively 
little bird climbing up a branch. 
It was chequered, black and 
white, like a very small mag- 
pie, only without such a long 
tail, and it had a spot of red 
about its neck. It was a pied 
woodpecker, not the large green woodpecker, 
but another kind. Guido saw it go round 
the branch, and then some way up, and round 
again till it came to a place that pleased it, 
and then the woodpecker struck the bark 
with its bill, “tap-tap.” The sound was quite 
loud, ever so much more noise than such a 
tiny bill seemed able to make. “Tap-tap!” 
If Guido had not been still so that the bird 
had come close he would never have found 
it among the leaves. “Tap—tap!” After 
it had picked out all the insects there, the 
woodpecker flew away over the ashpoles of 
the copse. 

“T should just like to stroke him,” said 
Guido. “If I climbed up into the oak per- 
haps he would come again, and I could catch 
him.” 

“No,” said the Wheat, “he only comes 
once a day.” 

“Then tell me stories,’ said Guido, im- 
periously. 

“T wiil if I can,” said the Wheat. “Once 


185 


upon a time, when the oak the lightning struck was still living, 
and when the wheat was green in this very field, a man came stagger- 
ing out of the wood, and walked out into it. He had an iron helmet 
on, and he was wounded, and his blood stained the green wheat red 
as he walked. He tried to get to the streamlet, which was wider 
then, Guido dear, to drink, for he knew it was there but he could 
not reach it. He fell down and died in the green wheat, dear, for he 
was very much hurt with a sharp spear, but more so with hunger 
and thirst. 

“T am so sorry,” said Guido; “and now I look at you, why you 
are all thirsty and dry, you nice old Wheat, and the ground is as dry 
as dry under you ; I will get you something to drink.” 

And down he scrambled into the ditch, setting his foot firm on a 
root, for though he was so young, he knew how to get down to the 
water without wetting his feet, or falling in, and how to climb up 
a tree, and everything jolly. Guido dipped his hand in the streamlet, 
and flung the water over the wheat five or six good sprinklings till 
the drops hung on the wheatears of that bunch. Then he said, “ Now 
you are better.” 

“Yes, dear, thank you, my love,” said the Wheat, who was very 
pleased, though of course the water was not enough to wet its roots. 
Still it was pleasant, like a very little shower. Guido lay down on 
his chest this time, with his elbows on the ground, propping his head 
up, and as he now faced the wheat, he could see in between the 
stalks. 

“ Lie still,” said the Wheat, “the corncrake is not very far off, he 
has come up here since your papa told the mowers to mow the 
meadow, and very likely if you stay quiet you will see him. If you 
do not understand all I say, never mind, dear, the sunshine is warm, 
but not too warm in the shade, and we all love you, and want you to 
be as happy as ever you can be.” 

“It is jolly to be quite hidden like this,” said Guido, “ no one could 
find me, if Paul were to run all day he would never find me; even 
Papa could not find me. Now go on and tell me stories.” 

“Ever so many times, when the oak the lightning struck was 
young,” said the Wheat, “ great stags used to come out of the wood 
and feed on the green wheat ; it was early in the morning when they 
came. Such great stags, and so proud, and yet so timid, the least 
thing made them go bound, bound, bound.”’ 

“Oh, I know!” said Guido; “I saw some jump over the fence in 
the forest—I am going there again soon. If 1 take my bow I will 
shoot one !” 

“ But there are no deer here now,” said the Wheat; “they have 


SG) XA 


a” 


Sf x 


- O22 I 


been gone a long, long, time; though I think your papa has 
one of their antlers.” 

“Now, how did you know that?” said Guido ; “you have 
never been to our house, and you cannot see in from here 
because the fir copse is in the way; how do you find out these 
things?” 

“Oh!” said the Wheat, laughing, “we have lots of ways 
of finding out things. Don’t you remember the swallow that 
swooped down and told you not to be frightened at the hare? 
The swallow has his nest at your house, and he often flies by 
your windows and looks in, and he told me. The birds tell us 
lots of things, and all about what is over the sea.” 

“ But that is not a story,” said Guido. 

“Once upon a time,” said the Wheat, “when the oak the 
lightning struck was alive, your papa’s papa’s papa, ever somuch | 
farther back than that, had all the fields round here, all that you 
can see from Acre hill. And do you know it happened that in time 
every one of them was lost or sold, and your family, Guido dear, were 
homeless—no house, no garden or orchard, and no dogs or guns, or anything 
jolly. One day the papa that was then came along the road with his little 
Guido, and they were beggars, dear, and had no place to sleep, and they slept 
all night in the wheat in this very field close to where the hawthorn bush 
grows now, where you picked the May flowers, you know, my love. They 
slept there all the summer night, and the fern owls flew to and fro, and the 
bats and the crickets chirped, and the stars shone faintly, as if they were made 
pale by the heat. The poor papa never hada house, but that little Guido lived 
to grow up a great man, and he worked so hard, and he was so clever, and 
every one loved him, which was the best of all things. He bought this 
very field and then another, and another, and got such a lot of the old fields 
back again, and the goldfinches sang for joys and so did the larks and the 
thrushes, because they said what a kind man he was. Then his son got some 
more of them, till at last your papa bought ever so many more. But we 
often talk about the little boy who slept in the wheat in this field, which was 
-his father’s father’s field. If only the wheat then could have helped him, and 
been kind to him, you may be sure it would. We love you so much we like 
to see the very crumbs left by the men who do the hoeing when they eat their 
crusts ; we wish they could have more to eat, but we like to see their crumbs, 
which you know are made of wheat, so that we have done them some good at 
least.” 

“ That’s not a story,” said Guido. ‘ 

“There's a gold coin here somewhere,” said the Wheat, “such a pretty one, 
it would make a capital button for your jacket, dear, or for your mamma, 
that is all any sort of money is good for; I wish ail the coins were made 
into buttons for little Guido.” 

“ Where is it?” said Guido. 

“T can’t exactly tell where it is,” said the Wheat. “It was very near me 
once, and I thought the next thunder’s rain would wash it down into the 


— 


aall'\! lis 
 * 
Lay 


u 


Py NPA weighs! 


streamlet—it has been here ever so long, it came here 
first just after the oak the lightning split died. And 
it has been rolled about by the ploughs ever since, and 
no one has ever seen it; I thought it must go into 
the ditch at last, but when the men came to hoe one 


wf Vi 
iy ? of them knocked it back, and then another kicked it 
CAL 


along—it was covered with earth—and then, one day, a 
rook came and split the clod open with his bill, and pushed 
the pieces first one side and then the other, and the coin went 
one way, but I did not see; I must.ask a humble bee, or a 
mouse, or a mole, or some one who knows more about it. It is 
very thin, so that if the rook’s bill had struck it, his strong bill 
would have made a dint in it, and there is, I think, a ship marked 
on it.” 
“Oh, I must have it! A ship! Ask a humble-bee directly; be 
uick !” 
, Bang! There was a loud report, a gun had gone off in the copse. 
“That’s my papa,” shouted Guido. “I’m sure that was my papa’s 
gun!” Up he jumped, and getting down the ditch, stepped across the 
water, and, seizing a hazel-bough to help himself, climbed up the bank. 
At the top he slipped through the fence by the oak and so into the copse. 
He was in such a hurry he did not mind the thistles or the boughs that 
whipped him as they sprang back, he scrambled through into a path, 
' meeting the vapour of the gunpowder and the smell of sulphur. Ina 
minute he found a green path, and in the path was his papa, who had just 
shot a cruel crow. The crow had been éating the birds’ eggs, and picking 
the little birds to pieces. 


Za 
~~ 


—_ 


RIcHARD JEFFERIES, 


an) key ae 


SS 


_ avila 


Lao "4 


THE CATHEDRAL AND GROUNDS, ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. VILLiEeRs. 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


Severat weeks before the arrival of the 
British envoy at Massowah, Commander 
Crowe, of H.M.S. Coquette, was in treaty 
with the sheiks of the district to procure 
transport animals for the coming expedition. 
The palace or government-house had the 
appearance of a large caravanserai, as the 
presents and necessary gear for the road 
arrived, and were stored in its spacious 
corridors and rooms. Capt. Speedy was an 
early arrival, and Flag-Lieut. Graham who 
came in the same steamer, immediately 
started with Crowe to visit Ras Allula, the 
Abyssinian frontier-chief, or Lord Warden 
of the Marches, to inform him that the 
Admiral would soon be coming. In a week 
they returned after a favourable reception 
by the Ras with a message to the Admiral, 
saying that he was prepared to receive him. 

We now daily expected Sir William Hewitt, 
and more than once was the guard trumpeted 
out of their barracks at the alarm of the 
arrival of the flag-ship, which after all turned 
out to be some Khedivial packet boat. It was 
not till midday of the 7th of April that this 
guard of honour of Egyptians was finally 
trotted out to show their odd sizes and odd 
notions of presenting arms. They seemed to 
have been run out so often under false alarm 
that when the supreme moment arrived, the 
excitement was too much for them, and they 


clearly lost their heads, making their salute 
more artistic than military, with its variety 
of broken lines and curves. There is one 
thing that can be said about an Egyptian 
soldier—he always looks clean, and if there 
is not much sparkle individually, there is a 
good deal about their Remingtons, which 
they polish with the greatest care, making 
them quite dazzling in the sunlight. There 
was a good deal of this dazzle and sparkle 
to-day, the vicinity of the palace becoming 
quite bright and gay when the guns of the 
forts thundered forth the announcement of 
the Admiral’s landing, for the Bunyans in 
gay Indian attire and the leading native 
merchants of Massowah in gabardines of 
varied hues arrived to greet the commander- 
in-chief of the Red Sea littoral and East 
Indian stations. 

The last load of pack-saddles now arrived, 
and in a short time the last load packed to 
the satisfaction of Captain Kennedy of the 
Royal Highlanders, who was requisitioned 
from his regiment to act as transport officer 
by Sir William Hewitt, and the mules started 
at a brisk pace and filed over the long cause- 
way towards the distant mountains. At 
three o’clock the Admiral and His Excellency 
Mason Bey, the Egyptian representative, 
mounted, and with a guard in advance, of 
fifty bashi-bazouks running on fvot, and 


 ————————————— 


190 


followed by a crowd of the most loyal of the 
inhabitants, we started on our first stage to 
the court of King John. A few miles from 
Massowah we passed Monkolu, where the 
brethren and the converts of the Danish 
mission-house turned out to wish us “ God 
speed,” and our escort of loyal citizens 
now returned to their homes. The moon 
began to rise before we had quite quitted 
the plains of Massowah, and -by her re- 
freshing grey light we passed over the 
sandy, broken ground and dried river beds in 
the neighbourhood of Sahatti. About ten 
o'clock we had covered thirteen miles of our 
journey and found our tents already pitched 


MR, BRU, OUR ABYSSINIAN INTERPRETER. 
From a Drawing by F, V1Lurers. 


near the wells of this place, which are simply 
holes dug in the bed of a dried-up water- 
course, yielding a thick tepid liquid which 
when boiled and filtered makes indifferent 
water. Though Sahatti is a few hundred 
feet higher than the sea level, there was no 
perceptible difference in the temperature. 
Fatigue was a sedative, and most of us slept 
well, though mosquitos and heat acted as 
a medium to disturb our slumbers. Day- 
light found us repacking mules and striking 
camp, and we marched in a south-westerly 
direction, immediately -ascending and de- 
scending, rocky hilly country, occasionally the 
ground rising to some considerable height, 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


our route assuming the dignity of a pass, 
narrow and tortuous enough, from the top 
of which the plains of Ailet and the imposing 
heights of the Abyssinian chain of moun- 
tains could be seen in gentle, blue undulations 
gradually waving up into rugged mountain 
peaks. Ailet was reached about nine o’clock 
the same morning, and we camped near the 
village for two days, principally to re-arrange 
our gear and to exchange guard, for this 
part of the country is more or less debatable 
ground between Egypt and Abyssinia, and 
thus far, but no farther, would it be advisable 
to take our Mohammedan escort ; so the fifty 
bashi-bazouks returned to Sahatti, a small 
guard of Abyssinians who came down from 
the hills taking their place, and we left 
Ailet, the last village we should meet with en 
route till we reached Asmara eight thousand 
feet above us. 

From the glistening, parched plains, the 
wooded heights of the Mai-Hensi mountain 
can be plainly seen, and a few puffs of cloud 
lingering lazily till late in the morning round 
its verdant sides told us of dewy valleys 
and cooler temperature. This was almost 
refreshing, for in our camp near the village 
of Ailet, the thermometer registered 110° in 
our tents, and many of us were compelled 
to wind wet towels around our heads and go 
about in a state that would almost shock the 
habitués of a Trouville strand. Though the 
vicinity of Ailet was hot, there was neverthe- 
less one great charm—game teemed around 
in the prickly mimosa, from lion, antelope, 
and wild pig, to hare, guinea-fowl and 
franklin, and our guns were soon occupied in 
bringing down some of the latter, to the 
satisfaction of the Admiral’s cook and our 
appetites at mess. 

On the 10th of the month we commenced 
the serious part of our journey—the climb 
to the plateau above. At this season of the 
year the foliage in the mountains is very 
luxuriant. Up steep passes, down through 
flowering valleys of wild clover and butter- 
cups, through gorges, where swift torrents 
had not yet ceased to run, reminding 
one of Scotland or niches of the Balkans. 
The scenery would suddenly change, as we 
skirted some mountain side; from the mild 
beauty of European, we would discover a 
scene of African tropical luxuriance—a valley 
of flowering aloes, and the Euphobia gigan- 
ticus, the candelabra in full bloom with its 
various-coloured apples topping each arm. It 
only lacked the sprites and coryphées of a 
ballet to make it like the fantastic scene 
from an extravaganza. So the mission 
journeyed on till the plains below were lost 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


in the mist of the heat of their own exhal- 
ations, and our atmosphere became rarer and 
cooler day by day. In some parts, so rocky 
and precipitous was the route, that our sturdy 
little mules seemed inclined to give up the 
climb in despair, but the shout of the mule- 
teers and the crack of a whip stimulated 
them to further exertions, and away they 
scrambled. Occasionally one or two would 
stumble, and the road was blocked till their 
load was shifted and they again placed on 
their feet. So we wandered on. Some of our 
escort would make a kind of flute from the 
hollowed branch of a tree, and the music 
they produced was both sweet and mellow ; 
and of a forenoon even the birds along the 
route, seeking shelter from the glare of the 
sun, were aroused into song from their leafy 
shades as the sweet notes of this instrument 
echoed in the gorges and swelled from the 
valleys. 

It was on the 13th that this arduous 
though happy part of our journey was brought 
to a close, and we arrived on the top of the 
Mai Hensi and passed on to the great plateau 
of Asmara. As we wended our way through 
a pass that was gradually widening into open 
country, suddenly, from the hills on either 
side of us, masses of wild-looking horsemen 
shouting, brandishing their spears, and flou- 
rishing their swords, charged down upon us ; 
and when within a few paces, pulling their 
chargers up on to their haunches, the warriors 
bowed their heads and lowered their lances 
in front of the Admiral ; then careering across 
our front swerved round to right and left, 
falling into irregular lines in our rear, their 
officers and chiefs with difficulty preventing 
them overlapping the flanks of our party in 
their anxiety to see the English chief. 

Presently a bend in the road showed us 
on a height about a mile off a solitary tent 
and a mass of men through which a broad 
lane was kept from the base of the hill to the 
marquee. As we slowly advanced we became 
gradually impressed with a dull methodical 
drumming sound, and Capt. Speedy told us 
that great Abyssinian kettledrums were 
beating out a welcome, and presently the 
pulsations distinctly formed Amharic words 
equivalent to our “How do you dot” 
“How do you do?” as the Admiral and suite 
advanced up the lane of musket and spear- 
men to meet the great Ras, who, stepping 
towards the queen’s representative, shook 
him by the hand. The sight around was of the 
wildest description. The horsemen were not 
one like another in costume with the excep- 
tion that all wore some kind of toga but each 
differently arranged about their dusky figures. 


191 


Head gear they had of various coloured 
handkerchiefs, cotton or silk, some wear- 
ing a simple white band round their closely 
curling hair, others with the mane of a 
lion fringing their fierce faces, making 
them look almost as ferocious as that 
animal himself. A few sported the ears 
of elephants cut star-shaped crowning their 
plaited locks. Shields, barred and bolted 
with silver, swords, broadheaded spears, and 
the metal-plated trappings of their richly 
caparisoned horses, coruscated in the bright 
sunlight through the clouds of dust created 
by the restless steeds. 

Suddenly emerging on a scene of this 
description from journeying up almost in- 
accessible heights, through solitary mountain 
forests eight thousand feet straight up from 
the plains below, seemed like taking one long 
step with the “seven-leagued boots” into 
another world, for the atmosphere that was 
ninety-four degrees of heat below was at the 
same hour forty-three on this airy tableland, 
and the inhabitants from the people of the 
Red Sea littoral in comparison almost as 
widely differed. On the shimmering stretches’ 
of sand and mimosa beneath us men moved 
about in a state of nudity, ate rice and ghee, 
drank water, and wore their weapons like 
the rest of the fighting world. But here at 
Asmara, a distance of not more than twenty- 
four hours and only a few miles as the crow 
flies, people strut about in togas almost 
Roman in their picturesque folds, capes of 
lion and leopard skin, drink intoxicating 
beverages, eat raw meat, and speak with their 
kettle-drums, and, out of pure perversity, to 
be unlike any other people, wear their sabres 
on the right side of their bodies, and draw 
with their right arm and hand. The only 
link that connects them with the world below 
is that they profess Christianity, and like 
many of their brethren don’t by any means 
practice it, for they are as fanatical in their 
belief as the Mohammedans girdling the 
country they habitate. 

Ras Allula received us politely and we were 
all favoured by drinking tedge with him, 
which was served to us in little glass decan- 
ters with long necks, the contents of which 
we were supposed to take off at one pull, but 
the concoction of fermented honey was un- 
palatable and heady, so many of us left it 
for the servants who anxiously look out for 
this perquisite. After two days’ sojourn at 
Asmara to deliver presents we had brought 
for influential chiefs, we struck tents and 
commenced our journey over the plateau to 
Adowa, where we expected to find King John. 
Travelling by way of Addi-Techlai, Allula’s 


192 OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


stronghold built on the table of a rocky 
eminence of ironstone standing out of a plain. 
Allula himself we left for a time. He had 
escorted us thus far with two thousand of his 
horse and foot, who enlivened our journey by 
assaults-at-arms and sham battles en route. 
We now marched by easy stages across the 
Hamasen plateau, and on the 22nd entered 
the Gundet valley, descending several hundred 
feet, passed over the ground where Colonel 
Arundrup Bey and Count Zichy with ‘their 
army of Egyptians fought their first and 
last fight against the Abyssinians in Novem- 
ber, ’75. Their bleached bones still littered 


fully pronounced, so much so that Sir William 
Hewitt sent word through the Ras to King 
John, informing him that unless the prohibi- 
tion was not withdrawn he could not proceed. 
Some days after, the Ras arrived with a 
message from the king stating that we were 
to wait. for him in Adowa, that he would be 
coming soon, that he was taking some baths. 
Though this Negus Negusti, king of kings, 
of Ethiopia, or as a young wag of our mission 
freely translated it, Nigger of Niggers, wasonly 
three days’ march from Adowa he made it a 
four weeks’ journey before he condescended 
to come to receive the Queen’s letter and 


THE CAMP OF THE BRITISH MISSION AT ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. VILLIERs. 


the way, and one of our escort riding by my 
side dismounted, and with spear in hand, pan- 
tomimed how his countrymen had advanced 
under cover of the mimosa trees and finally 
rushed on to the foe, who on that occasion stood 
his ground heroically, forthe silent tokens that 
lay around of the bloody day were as much 
Abyssinian as those of the hated Turk. In 
the afternoon we crossed the river Mareb and 
were now out of Ras Allula’s district. We 
soon felt this, for the peasants became reluct- 
ant to sell us supplies, and this became 
more serious as we advanced. Arriving 
at Adowa we found this behaviour more 


presents from the British Government. And 
while he was coming he kept us virtually as 
prisoners in a corner of the Adowa valley 
where we were jealously watched by a strong 
guard and not allowed to move without an 
escort. All this inconvenience to us was 
undoubtedly caused by the king not being 
fully acquainted as to the tone of our mission. 
It has been generally accredited to the Easter 
fast and ceremonies ; that is impossible, as 
the fasts and feasts were over a few days 
after our arrival at the capital. Foreign 
intrigue also had a hand in it, and stories 
were undoubtedly circulated that were suffici- 


4% 


FEEDING THE PIGEONS. 


LIngrared by W. Biscompe Garpwer, from the Picture by C. E 


Hate. 


VIEW OF THE RIVER ASSAM AND THE TOWN OF ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. VILLIERs. 


ent to awaken the suspicions of a monarch 
as susceptible as Johannis. At all events, 
awaiting the arrival of the king, we had 
more time to look about us while encamped 
in the vicinity of the Tigrian capital. It is 
built on some spurs on the south-east side of 
the valley of Adowa, the houses with their little 
walled-in gardens of fig, pomegranate, and 
olive trees cluster on the slopes and base of 
the hills fringing and overhanging the cliffs 
of a nullah through which runs the rivulet 
called Assam that supplies the town with 
water. The streets are so narrow that in 
some places it is necessary for one of the 
passers to go to the wall, and so short and 
angular are they and so often ending in culs- 
de-sac that the maze at Hampton Court 
Palace in comparison would be a very small 
mystery. The rocky and stony path compels 
one’s mule to think twice before he takes 
another step, and if the birds and hyenas 
have not quite finished their repast off some 
dead animal that has been thrown across the 


roadway, the mule will rear and swerve from 
his course, bolting back through the labyrinth 
of streets he has with great difficulty threaded, 
and the dilemma soon presents itself of dis- 
covering a new route to avoid this block of 
carrion, or dismounting to find one’s way on 
foot to one’s destination. The majority of 
houses have a second story, at least, a sort of 
attic under the extinguisher roof of thatch, 
rimming a circular frame of dried mud or 
wood resting on the angles of four walls 
of mud and stone, either in square, or the 
ground plan taking the lines of a Greek 
cross, and the interior face is surrounded 
by a circular outer wall of the same 
material. 

Within live the occupants, with their 
cattle, fowls, dogs, cats, and a Noah’s ark of 
insects, which the natives foster with the 
greatest care by not touching soap and by 
using very little water. The excessive dis- 
regard to cleanliness is quite a mania with 
Abyssinians. It is not from a want of water. 

° 


KING JOHN OF ABYSSINIA RECEIVING THE BRITISH ENVOY, 


From a Drawing by F. ViLurers. 


There is plenty ; and the famous soap tree, 
called indoed, grows everywhere, the seeds of 
which, when carefully dried in the sun, may 
be worked into a good lather that is very 
cleansing. An Ethiopian will tell you with- 
out a blush that he is necessarily washed at 
birth, washes himself on his marriage morn, 
and hopes to be washed after death : that once 
every year he dips himself in the river on the 
festival of St. John, and every morning he 
wets the end of his toga with the moisture 
from his mouth and freshens up his eyes. 
Whenever he feels hard and uncomfortable, 
he will anoint himself with mutton fat till 
his head and body glisten in the sun. This 
extreme unction on the part of the natives 
creates an inflammability of body and wear- 
ing apparel, if not dangerous to the com- 
munity at large, very often individually, 


when once the clothes are ignited. On our 
first arrival at Adowa, Dr. Gimlett was called 
to two cases of burning, one was that of a 
little girl who had her right side literally 
roasted. Though calling in the doctor, the 
parents paid no attention to his orders, the 
mother simply crying and moaning over the 
little sufferer in the most helpless way. The 
child died during the night, and at sunrise 
next morning she was buried, all the mourners 
after the interment wending their way to 
the market-place, where the women, over two 
hundred in number, arrived first, and squatted 
on the grass, forming a circle round the 
mother. Standing up, supported by a com- 
panion who held her gently round the waist, 
she swayed herself to and fro, tearing her 
hair in her grief, extolling the beauty and 
goodness of her lost babe, while her friends 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


around wailed in a low tone in sympathy. 
Presently the priests, attended by their men- 
at-arms and the male mourners, slowly 
marched on to the ground and sat down at a 
respectful distance from the women, quietly 
listening to the funeral dirge till the time 
came for the chosen friends to return to the 
house of mourning, to regale themselves 
with beer and tedge. At the funerals of old 
people or chiefs, the wailing by their bereaved 
friends takes place for several days. An 
effigy representing the dead person—a cloth 
covered over some cushions generally serves 
—will be placed in the centre of the circle of 
mourners for the Mark Antony to act unto. 
It was my lot the same day to see another 
custom, an ordinary wedding. I noticed a 
great commotion in one of the streets, and 
presently from one of the houses a man came 
running by carrying a woman in his arms, 
followed by another man holding over both a 
toga. Close behind them were men with 
tom-toms and long trumpets blowing and 
beating their hardest, followed by a crowd of 
young girls and boys clapping their hands 
and jumping for joy. Gaining the outskirts 
of the town and arriving on the spot where 
the mourners wailed at the break of day, the 
bride—for the abducted lady was no less the 
happy one—being deposited on the ground 
with the toga still held over her, became the 
centre of a boisterous circle, the drums be- 
coming more deafening and the trumpets 
braying their loudest. Several male relatives 
of the bride stopped under the toga to wish 
her good luck, and, though I was afterwards 
contradicted by a native, I am sure I dis- 
tinctly heard loud kissing. Presently, from 
the direction of the city, the bridegroom 
advanced mounted on a mule, with one or 
two footmen carrying fire-arms and his shield 
and spear. The presence of this happy 
gentleman was the cause of more noise from 
drum and trump, and when he dismounted, 
and, taking the bride to his bosom, kissed 
her under his new European umbrella, the 
little girls and boys got so excited that I am 
sure they would have shouted “Hurrah!” but 
that that expression of enthusiasm is unknown 
in Abyssinia; so they shrieked and made a 
loud noise, which I suppose did quite as well. 

In Ethiopia marriages are civil contracts, 
dissolved at pleasure. It is only after many 
years, if the parties find they still agree, and 
love each other, that they pledge themselves 
to fidelity by taking the Sacrament together 
in church. The bridegroom, directly he is 
engaged to a lady, is not supposed to see her 
till he is about to marry her. On the bridal 
morning she is carried away by her male 


195 


relatives to a place of hiding. Her future 
husband has to seek her, and claim her from 
her people by his expressions of devotion, 
love, and long waiting. There was not much 
secreting the bride on this occasion, nor 
much difficulty on the part of the bride 
groom in claiming her. Many presents were 
placed at their feet, consisting of cloth, honey, 
red pepper, a sheep, and an ox, and they all 
returned rejoicing to the town to feast and 
drink tedge. 

On the bridal night a most novel custom 
is observed by the groomsmen—they occupy 
the bridal chamber with the married pair. 
This, no doubt, is in case the husband, taking 
too much tedge, begins to quarrel so early 
in the honeymoon, they are there to keep 
matters amicable. 

A wedding feast is like all banquets in 
this country, more or less composed of the 
Abyssinian piece de resistance—raw flesh. If 
you should happen to be seated near the 
open door on these occasions, you may see 
this course prepared. An ox is brought into 
the compound, and his throat is skilfully cut. 
Before the animal has fairly breathed his 
last, skinning is commenced, the stomach 
taken out, and the flesh cut into long strips, 
and brought in with the animal’s heat still 
in it to the hungry and impatient guests, 
who devour it, not like wild beasts, but use 
knives of all kinds, from daggers, or swords, 
to pocket knives. The consumer of this deli- 
cacy takes one end of the strip or string of 
meat into his mouth, placing it between his 
teeth. In his left hand he holds the meat 
bodily, and with his right gives a drawing 
cut with his sabre from left to right through 
the meat, severing it close up to his lips, and 
so hunks his meal away. 

This mode of feeding requires some prac- 
tice, and has its inconveniences, especially to 
people with long noses and a thirst for strong 
drink ; for it is generally a sign that when 
noses begin to suffer cutaneous losses from 
a too close proximity to dagger or sabre that 
the host’s tedge (native drink) has been both 
plentiful and strong. : 

To flavour the otherwise insipid taste of 
raw flesh, large quantities of red pepper are 
consumed, ground up with fat into a paste, 
and larded over the viand. Abyssinians are 
quaint in their food, if not nasty ; for some 
pure ox-gall from the freshly-killed animal 
serves as a picquante to a curry made out of 
its intestines. Milk is never used fresh from 
the cow, but is always taken sour, made so 
by never washing the utensil in which it is 
kept. 

Domestic animals have a sorry time at all 

02 


196 


of these feasts. The crumbs from the rich 
man’s table are fought for by beggar boys 
and servants, who struggle for the stray bits 
round the legs of the guests. The Ethiopians 
have a curious superstition regarding eating 
in the open air ; they will never do so unless 
they be well covered by a cloth or toga to 
keep off the evil eye. We Europeans sur- 
prised them very much by our disregard in 
this respect, especially as we were not affected 
by our audacity. To them a fit of indiges- 
tion from over-eating would mean the evil eye 
and they would feel assured that some part 
of the performance of appeasing their appe- 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


eye. A good stout gingham would do, such 
as is the delight of a loving couple on a 
rainy day. 

Even royalty is not exempt from this 
terrible intruder into Abyssinian privacy. 
Our Dr. Gimlett was sent for one morning 
to see his majesty, found him suffering from 
an attack of sciatica, and recommended and 
used an embrocation ; while the rubbing was 
going on king and doctor were both carefully 
covered by a shemma or toga from any evil 
eye that might be rolling around. If an 
Abyssinian sells you anything of value and 
is friendly inclined, he will caution you to 


EEE 


WOMEN GRINDING CORN AT ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. Vituicrs. 


tite had been observed. As to the evil eye 
people carry amulets containing prayers, 
and rolls of parchment several yards long 
with pictures and verse illustrative of the 
triumph of the Good Spirit over that 
wicked orb are kept in their houses. I 
am inclined to think Mr. Sangster or some 
other umbrella maker of enterprise would do 
an extremely brisk business if a large, durable, 
white evil-eye protector were imported into 
this country. They already have what may 
be called a sunshade made of the pith of a 
cane neatly interlaced. It is flat and circular 
like a Japanese tea tray for three, without 
the rim, and is no protection against the evil 


keep it indoors or covered up, for if an evil 
eye falls upon it, it may spoil, break, or dis- 
appear, which latter contingency is much 
more likely ; in this country I have seen evil 
eyes going about of this description. In 
camp at Asmara I caught one of them walk- 
ing off with some dollars from a pile in 
our paymaster’s tent. He innocently smiled 
when caught, but waltzed around when well 
kicked. 

The most prominent buildings in Adowa, 
as in most European cities, are its churches. 
Like all other Abyssinian edifices the exteriors 
are circular, and the roofs are extinguisher- 
shaped, thatched with grass; but that 


A el EE oe 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 197 


they are larger, and | 
generally in com- 
pounds surrounded | 
by trees, there is no- 
thing to distinguish 
them from the 
houses of chiefs but 
the Coptic cross 
which tops them all 
and with silver gilt 
sparkle their sanc- 
tity to your notice. 
There are four 
churches, one assum- 
ing the dignity of a 
cathedral. ! 
Their interiors are 
all alike based on 
the lines of a Greek 
cross; they are cov- 
ered with Scripture 
historical pictures, 
and in the cathedral 
with the exploits of 
the present ruler of 
Abyssinia, Johannis. 
His victories over 
the Egyptians at 
Gundet and Gorra 
are fully represented 
in tones of Reckitt’s 
blue, Colman’s mus- 
tard, red lead, and 
lamp black. Though 
limited to these 
colours, which are 
the only pigments 
obtainable in the 


country, the artist 
does not make up 
for crudeness of 
colour by the accu- 
racy of his drawing, and if the pictures have 
any merit it is in their originality of treat- 
ment ; for instance, at Gondar, in a picture 
representing the passage of the Israelites 
across the Red Sea, Pharaoh is armed with the 
latest system in six-shooters and a binocular, 
while his Egyptian host carry Remingtons. 
All movement of figures is to right or left, and 
in all pictures heads are full-faced with the 
exception of Satan and the Egyptians who are 
painted in acute profile to show their lack 
of honesty and good faith in not looking you 
straight in the face. It isa deplorable fact, 
and ladies will say at once, proves the ignor- 
ance and barbarity of the Ethiopians, that the 
devils in these compositions is always represent- 
ed by the softer sex, generally showing their 
naughtiness by exhibiting their tongues. The 


A GREEK MERCHANT'S STORE AT ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. Vituers. 


church painter goes so far as to question the 
gallantry of St. George, the Abyssinian patron 
saint, by depicting that warrior, instead of 
doing battle with the dragon, spearing the 
graceful undulations of a long-tongued woman. 

Abyssinia is a priest-ridden country, the 
church being almost as profitable a profession 
as that of the army. There is no regular 
pay attached to either, but the followers of 
both loot and live upon the people. There is 
no encouragement to ambition or advance- 
ment, for as soon as a man begins to grow 
wealthy he is spiritually robbed by one, and 
materially by the other. The chief or head 
of the church is the Abuna, a foreigner, who 
is supplied by the Coptic Church in Alexan- 
dria. This dignitary lives alone in a village 
hard by, called Abunatown, and is a celibate, 


198 OUR MISSION.TO. _ABYSSINTA. 


and is kept more or less a prisoner within his 
own compound, and held by the Church a 
sort of ecclesiastical bogey to frighten the 
ignorant with that terrible threat of excom- 
munication which he more or less trades upon 
for a big fee. Tne Etchége comes next to the 
Abuna. He is a native, and is the temporal 
head of the Church. The rev. gentleman, 
unlike his colleague, receives pay, possessing 
large fiefs and revenues from the state. The 
priests seem to be more or less after the order 
of Friars Grey, and any excess of debauchery 


facturing of-love philters, which have more or 
less curious effects upon .the : unconscious 
recipient. Our doctor was applied to while 
we were stationed at Adowa by a-man -for 
some means of alleviating the distress of his 
brother who was acutely suffering from the 
effects of one of these concoctions adminis- 
tered by some jilted young lady, who wanted 
this ungallant youth to look upon her with 
love and devotion, but the -philter had the 
contrary effect and had turned his stomach 
to stone, at least this was the expression used 


AN INTERIOR AT ADOWA, 
From a Drawing by F. ViL.iers. 


and drunkenness at feasts or on the public 
ways does not seem to lessen the respect and 
love of their congregation. 

Attached to the Church are deftaras or 
scribes, another kind of parasite that preys 
on the general ignorance and superstition of 
the people. Besides copying the Holy Book, 
they write charms worn as amulets against 
diseases of all kinds, both for man and beast. 
They pretend to practice witchcraft, and by 
occasional jugglery gain belief in their mir- 
acles, and they also profess medicine ; but one 
great source of income to them is the manu- 


by the messenger. At first I thought this 
unromantic result must be a mistake, but I 
have found out by personal observation that 
the seat of affection in an Abyssinian gene- 
rally lies where the unfortunate philter 
attacked the doctor’s patient. For feasting 
seems to be the only joy and comfort he has 
in this country. The quantity of raw flesh 
the native will consume and tedge he will 
drink is astonishing. The Church, luckily 
for him, controls the seat of his affections to 
a certain extent, for there are numerous 
severe fasts to which the people rigidly 


THE ONLY EUROPEAN IN ABYSSINIA—THE GUNSMITH OF ADOWA. 
From a Drawing by F. VILurers, 


adhere. But for feasting and fasting and a 
lazy cultivation of the soil to bring forth 
“sufficient for the day,” and superintending 
the grazing of the cattle, the people are no 
more removed from the “ beasts that perish ”’ 
than the animals they milk. They are filthy 
in their habits. Morality is not known. 
Petty theft is no crime, and highway robbery 
rather a noble profession. Even the Admiral’s 
mail bag was broken open and robbed on the 
road to Adowa by one of the king’s officers. 
Their ignorance and arrogance is astonishing. 
I was asked the other day if we ploughed in 
England, whether we had such a large city 
as Adowa, and if we had such good water. 
On my answering that we ploughed by steam, 
that London was at least five hundred times 
as large as Adowa, and that more people 
were born and died in that town in one day 


than the whole population of Adowa, my 
friend laughed outright ; and when I finished 
by informing him that Adowa could be placed 
in one of our reservoirs and still there would 
be room in which to duck him—a proceeding 
he fully deserved for his impertinence—he 
nearly stifled himself with merriment. 

Their superstition and fanaticism are carried 
to a ridiculous extreme. One of our Abys- 
sinian muleteers was asked to saddle a fresh 
mule. He stoutly objected because, he said, 
it was a Mohammedan mule. 

There are very few aliens living in Adowa, 
only one or two Syrian merchants who trade 
in cloth and tobacco snuff which the natives 
carry about with them in little tin boxes, 
occasionally taking pinches which they place 
between their lower teeth and nether lip and 
eject the condiment as it becomes soluble, 


200 


much in the same manner as a sailor and his 
quid. 

There are no shops in Adowa or in any 
other Abyssinian town. All trade is done 
within the trader’s home or compound over a 
glass of tedge or mastic, Flour is ground 
by the women of the house ; on the. premises 
bread is made ; tedge and mead are brewed in 
each household. Each house rears its own 
cattle as well as children—baby, goats and 
lambs, fowls and chickens are brought ‘up 
together, and are playmates from their youth. 

The Marie Therese dollar-piece is the 
only coin. Cloth and bars of rock salt ten 
inches long by two wide and deep, bound with 
a reed serve as their ordinary medium of 
barter. Members of our mission traded a 
good deal with empty beer bottles, receiving 
two chickens and a dozen eggs for a quart. 
I made everlasting friendship with a village 
chief by making him a present of an empty 
Worcester sauce bottle; the glass stopper 
appearing to be a source of delight and 
comfort to him. Abyssinians seem to require 
“but little here below” as regards variety 
in their diet, and are very conservative as to 
the paucity of vegetables. Onions, with an- 
other savoury plant almost as obnoxious to 
the nasal organs, with the addition of capsi- 
cums are all they seem to care about. Potatoes 
were introduced some time ago, but are never 
allowed to come to maturity and are eaten 
green. M. the only European resident 
in the country who came to Abyssinia to repair 
muskets, introduced watercress, which now 


OUR MISSION TO ABYSSINIA. 


grows near all the brooks round about Adowa, 
but the natives do not patronise it. When 
the gunsmith called upon the Admiral to pay 
his respects with that flowery politenéss pro- 
verbial to Frenchmen, he presented him with 
a bouquet of these pungent little leaves, and 
supplied us ever afterwards while we re- 
mained in Adowa. This solitary man of 
Marseilles had lived in the country over 
fifteen years, and had only been once back to 
his native land. He was now making good 
money out of his smithy and seemed quite 
content. 

So we went wandering about Adowa prying 
into the manners and customs of its inhabit- 
ants, with the assistance of an interpreter 
like Mr. Bru, who was even more interesting 
than the city itself, with his comical broken 
English and yarns about the expedition of 
’68, for he was with the British in the same 
capacity in those days. At last the city as 
well as the interpreter became exhausted, 
and we were glad when one morning, before 
the sun was up, the monotonous beating of a 
drum over the hills and far away signalled 
the approach of the king. His majesty 
received us coldly at first with his shemma 
or toga over his nose to show that even a 
black king can be dignified. However, our 
presents and the queen’s letter thawed this 
icy majesty, and the tact and patience of Sir 
William Hewitt and urbanity of His Excel- 
lency, Mason Bey, had their proper effect, and 
the mission of 1884 was allowed to return 
to the coast. 

FRED. VILLIERS. 


A COURTIER OF KING JOHN. 


From a Drawing by F. Vituiers. 


nas 


oe rte Ee SRE nyc T ae meen: ee ete 


: 


eT OTTNONTE ELLA ong FEL Eaters 


Tue Calvados 
milkmaid is up des 
potron minette, as 
they say in her 
country. She does 
not even wait for 
Angelus, which 
rings out religious- 
ly at four o'clock 
of a summer’s morning, and at six in winter 
time. It is true this primitive maiden lingers 
but sparingly over her matutinal toilet ; she 
twists her abundant locks, guiltless of brush 
or comb, under a close-fitting cap, slips over 
her linen shift a stout woollen short gown and 
petticoat, with abbreviated skirts that defy 
the early dews, supported by a pair of sabots, 
well stuffed with hay, and turned up at the 
toes after an old-fashioned model now going 
into disuse among well-to-do folk. But our 
milkmaid makes small pretence to elegance 
or display. Probably her parents were farm 
labourers before her, or, perhaps, by a mis- 
fortune not infrequent in rural districts, she 
fell to her grandmother’s charge at birth, 
another hapless enfant trouvé. Her child- 
hood was passed in one of those moss-grown 
cottages which open close upon the roadside, 
and take every passer by into the confidence 
of their dark and picturesque interiors ; or, 
better still, she first saw light in the corner 
of an ancient grange, deep buried among 
lush and fruitful orchards, yet within sound 
of the surf rising and falling, where the mild- 
tempered kine kissed her baby face between 
unceiled partitions, and an odour of cider 
apples, stored each autumn under the high 


Spe 


thatched roof, imparted an early taste for 
that national beverage. 

Apart, however, from such stolen draughts 
as childish ingenuity can compass, and the 
irregular contributions of field and sea, our 
luckless little champie returns often to a 
regimen of the scantiest, with scarcely the 
flavour of meat to her pét-auw-feu from one 
year’s end to another. Yet unstinted fresh air 
works miracles we know every day, turning 
out to admiration the sturdy country vaga- 
bond, ruddy as a berry, bright-eyed as a bird, 
and hardy as the young colts with whom he 
races the pasture fields ; and this in lieu of 
the pinched and pallid town urchin, whose 
proper nourishment has doubtless been every 
whit as generous. Certainly our little waif 
thrives bravely among the other pretty wild 
creatures, though her meals are precarious, 
and fostering care even less assured. Some- 
times she gleans in the grain-fields, holding 
fast to her grandmother’s skirt, or in the 
apple orchard after the sour north-country 
vintage ; thus, a little cider is squeezed out, - 
a ber in the big sounding cask, and a mouth- 
ful of bread secured in advance for winter 
use. Often she trudges bare-legged after the 
old woman for weary miles across sand bars, 
and through salt pools left by the receding 
tide, in quest of shell-fish; or the parish 
shepherd shares with her his solitary watch 
and crust of pain-brié, recounting long his- 
tories by the way, monotonous as waves on 
a shallow beach ; the while his flock climbs 
the bluff, or lingers appreciatively about 
some green oasis formed by a sweet water 
brook before its last leap on to the treacherous 


202 


sands. Growing older she is promoted to the 
position of goose-keeper at a neighbouring 
farm, and now her course runs inland, 
through labyrinthine lanes, where the white 
flutter and irritable outcry of her charge 
make sudden tumult in a sylvan gloom. 
Such light pursuits as these, moreover, are 
by no means unremitting, and eight months 
out of the twelve poor Fauvette is free to flit 
the country over, in rain or shine, heat or 
cold, as little pervious to inconveniences of 
that kind as any other wild creature which 


CALVADOS. 


better than the best of us this awful mystery 
of death, but all confused at finding herself 
thus slighted by the old care-taker, together 
with a new brood of yellow gosiings, just 
broken from their shells, and of far greater 
significance. With a frightened pang she 
stops to listen for the familiar cadence of a 
thin old voice, ever scolding and complaining 
in senile discontent. She looks for the bent 
old figure, beating linen by the brookside, o1 
plying lace bobbins in some sheltered corner. 
The discoloured green cushion rests in its 


CHEZ PERE BONNECHBRE. 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hennessy. 


feels the natural discomforts of an incle- 
ment season, while accepting all in blind 
good faith and resignation. 

But suddenly an ominous event breaks in 
upon this careless existence, like the deep 
sluice which turns a hillside brook from its 
career over bright pebble stones to labour at 
the mill-wheel. Oneday monsieur le curé is 
called in haste, for old Bonne-femme des 
Champs lies grey and speechless under the 
chintz canopy of their one good bed. Her 
faded eyes stare blindly at poor Fauvette, 
who wanders in and out, not understanding 


accustomed place on the chimney ledge; 
there is even a strip of unfinished lace 
dangling at one end, and the brass-headed 
pins are arranged in their appointed pattern ; 
but to-day death’s rude hand brushes aside 
all this anxious labour and minute life- 
spinning with scant ceremony. 

Presently monsieur le curé comes in sight, 
picking his steps down the water-lane, and 
Fauvette watches his progress from behind a 
quickset hedge, little heeding, for her part, 
a steady downpour of chilly spring rain. 
Monsieur le curé, more circumspect, holds 


FAUVETTE AND THE SHEPHERD. 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hznyessy. 


aloft a wide spreading red cotton umbrella, 


and gathers up his long robe. At his heels 
shambles a shock-headed clerk in draggled 
soutane, and sabots several sizes too big ; 
but where the good priest stumbles and 
splashes, the country lad jumps like a goat, 
and has an ugly grimace to spare for poor 
Fauvette between the hawthorn twigs. 
Another day, and old Mére des Champs 
takes her last earthly journey, and another 
mound is heaped among those ragged 
graves which seem to huddle for protection 
about their fair mother church, clinging to 


her skirts, as it were, and shedding big, 
oblong teardrops (skifully delineated in 
white or blue paint on black wooden crosses), 
while crying in every form of piteous suppli- 
cation—“ Mother of mercies, pray for us! 
save us! without thee we are lost!” A 
group of kinsfolk in decorous black follow 
the shining silver cross borne aloft, the priest 
chanting his solemn litany, with the clerks 
and brothers of charity, these latter carrying 
on their shoulders the funeral bier. They file 
cautiously along a brookside, where clusters 
of pale primroses have sprung into bloom 


CALVADOS. 


does not seem to call for that full meed of 
commiseration we so eagerly pay the rich 
landed proprietor, when he also is compelled 
to accept his narrow portion of churchyard 
mould, in lieu of fruit-bearing orchards, 
fragrant meadow lands, milech cows and 
swine, grain at the mill, and linen in the 
chest. 


205 


stone-hewn sarcophagus is one of various 
souvenirs bequeathed by the forgotten past 
to our rural neighbourhood, in curious in- 
congruity with its remote and pastoral 
character. There is a low-browed smithy, 
whose threshold bears the impress of other 
tread than that of the bucolic sabot, and 
which in its day has rung to the tune of 


AFTER YEARS OF TOIL, 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hesxxessy. 


But no one is more impatient than wild 
Fauvette to hear the last of the melancholy 
service, and breathe fresh air again untainted 
by incense fumes. She hangs back reluc- 
tantly on her mother’s hand, watching the 
flutter of some yellow butterflies about an 
ancient stone coffin, which has caught a 
few drops of sun-warmed rain water in its 
empty cavity, to attract their sport. This 


finer metal than was ever wrought into 
clumsy horse-shoe ; a ruinous chateau, half 
stuffed with farm produce at present, and 
half crumbling away, since assiduous peasants 
have delved in search of hidden treasures, or 


confiscated stones for the foundation of many 


a humble homestall, still lifts a haughty 
front, and dominates the village with weird 
sightless windows ; while within the rudely- 


204 


since yesterday’s rain, but soon quit the 
water-lane for a path more feasible across 
fields. Here flowers, white and golden, gem 
the greensward, clouds of cherry blossoms 
shine against a blue rain-washed sky, birds 
sing like mad, and our wild Fauvette can 
searce refrain from joining in their chorus, 
or from practising the antics of a merry 


CALVADOS. 


would press about a rich parishioner’s open 
grave, prepared to cast therein the first 
handfuls of consecrated earth — the last 
offering of holy water; nor does the old 
bell-ringer haul his rope with quite that 
unction which is reserved for the benefit of 
more lucrative souls in stress of purgatory ; 
even the ruddy young farmers perform their 


A NORMANDY PEASANT GIRL, 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hennessy. 


lambkin, which leaps away at approach of 
this lugubrious procession. In its slow pro- 


gress the mourning company is further 
augmented by kindly disposed neighbours, 
who wait at gates and stiles, cross them- 
selves piously, and stepping forward, prayer 
books in hand, proceed with it to climb the 
steep church-way between hedgerows of 
aromatic box. 


No such throng certainly as 


office of fréres de charité with somewhat 
a perfunctory zeal, lending preoccupied 
thoughts to budding fruit-trees, to half- 
ploughed fields, to the plaint of new-born 
creatures in byre or paddock. Human 
nature is strong in Calvados, as elsewhere ; 
and, after all is said, the destiny of our old 
Mother des Champs, whose worn sabots could 
almost cover her every earthly possession, 


De TN 
va a ~ 
PALO | foe 


AUCTION AT A NORMANDY FARM HOUSE, 
From a Drawing by W. J. HENnNessy. 


and late finds her attentive to her duties 
amid the flock, or abroad seeking through 
orchards and byways those toothsome titbits 
of wild parsley or chicory which are most 
appreciated in the rabbit hutch. 

Nor is existence altogether without relax- 
ation at our warm farmstead, where the 
comfortable plenty which smiles from thrifty 
thatch and teeming barnyard is pleasantly 
reflected in the jolly bronzed visage of the 
peasant proprietor and his fat /fermiére. 
Church and village fétes are of frequent 
occurrence, and religiously maintained, though 
Sunday mass is not considered obligatory 
during the press of summer work, when, in 
point of fact, according to homely logic, le 
bon Diew might not be pleased to lend an 
indulgent ear to those avaricious petitioners 
who leave meanwhile His good gifts already 
conceded rotting afield for lack of care. But 
at all other times farm lad and lass are free 
to observe every Church festival, and display 
their finery at every village gathering. Gilles 
dons his finest embroidered blouse, rustling 
in pristine freshness, a pair of white corduroy 
trousers, wooden shoes, and the inevitable 
casquette, worn jauntily at the back of a 


much-anointed shock of curly black hair. 
His companion on the other hand carefully 
hides every tress, brune or blonde, under a 
stiff, white-winged cap, whose quaint shape 
varies with different communes, but is rarely 
seen nowadays in the vicinity of large towns, 
or fashionable coast resorts. Our modest 
farm maid, however, could ill afford to set 
aside her grandmother’s embroidered and 
belaced head-gear, a work of art and value 
in its way, or the gay foulard which still 
holds its colours, and shines with a lustre un- 
known to modern fabrics of the kind. Yet 
innovation is at work even in our remote 
parish, and has already discarded the elegant 
red mantle and apron, not long since con- 
sidered indispensable, but now folded away 
in old-fashioned wedding armoires. Their 
material was a thick turkey-red cotton, soft- 
ened and mellowed through manifold wash- 
ings, and embellished by an infinite labour of 
fine gatherings, together with a high lace- 
covered plastron which set off to advantage 
the silver cross, or saint-esprit bright with 
pebble brilliants. In wealthy families this 
tablier was often of moire-antique silk, red, 
black, or deep violet coloured; and accom- 


206 


boarded portal a sculptured stairway sweeps 
up in splendid ease from cow stable to hay- 
loft, where ghostly visitors may still be 
supposed to jostle each other at their 
midnight revel, in pale phantasmagoria of 
brocade and feather, gleaming steel or jewel. 
The parish church also appears oddly out of 
proportion to the needs of a scattered rural 
population, affording kneeling space on its 
broken flagging for a whole caravan of 
devout pilgrims, who might, moreover, serve 
to dislodge a trio of impish echoes from their 
vantage ground in the empty place. It is 
true some difficulty would be experienced in 
tracking the road thither, for our forgotten 
village lies perdu with all St. Gatien’s forest 
at its back, and before a labyrinth of deep 
rutted water lanes, and grass-grown paths 
even more perplexing. But, once this puzzle 
solved, the adventuresome lover of the pictu- 
resque finds his pains rewarded by a bit of 
old-world Arcadia, such as is not often 
encountered on the highways of travel. No 
roof of the pretty hameau de cent feux that 
does not wear the primitive thatch, some 
golden in fresh-laid straw, others bending 
under many seasons’ growth of moss and 
flowering plant, and all alike crowned at the 
apex by a bristling phalanx of flower-de-luce. 
A forest brook traverses the village cour, 
beneath umbrageous pear and apple trees— 
unlike the open English common—and hurry- 
ing by, lends its services to busy housewives 
plying their washing battoirs,: to flocks of 
loquacious ducks, to a cluster of willow trees, 
and finally, as it splashes down the water- 
lane, to turn the wheel of a grist-mill, whose 
ancient timbers seem planted in their place 
by the waterside as spontaneously as the 
willow trees themselves, or overgrown banks 
of elder and flag. 

Meanwhile the funeral bell is tolling its 
closing notes, faint and fainter, for our old 
Bonne-femme des Champs—requiescat in pace 
—and Fauvette pulls more impatiently than 
ever at her mother’s detaining hand, when 
suddenly monsieur le curé steps forward with 
his eye fixed upon her. He still wears the 
imposing funeral vestments, and his silvery 
white hair straggles out from a black skull 
cap; no smile relaxes his austere counte- 
nance. “ How is this, Mére Madeleine?” he 
inquires ; “from whence, then, springs this 
little heathen that she has not yet been up 
with other children of her age for instruction 
in catechism, and preparation for her First 
Communion ¢” 

Mére Madeleine reddens and stammers ; 
she endeavours to explain that la bonne mére 
had taken charge of the child, while she 


CALVADOS. 


herself worked in a distant quarter of the 
parish ; that with advancing years the aged 
woman had found this steep climb church- 
ward beyond her strength ; as for la petite, 
never was wild creature so shy and intract- 
able, like a fish in the brook, or hare under 
the forest bracken. But monsieur le curé 
waives aside these apologetic details, and 
turning again to wild Fauvette he presents a 
few searching questions which soon divulge 
her ignorance-crasse of the most simple 
formulas of Christianity, not to mention 
those “ three principal mysteries of the Holy 
Catholic religion,” and “ten commandments 
of God, and six of the Church,” which have 
staggered more than one youthful aspirant. 
From this day Fauvette’s wild wings are 
clipped. She no longer flits at liberty behind 
hedgerows, and through marsh grasses to the 
sands. Already a green web has grown 
across her light foot-tracks, her leafy nest is 
deserted in the old grange by the water lane, 
and the embers are black where Mother 
des Champs was wont to stir her frugal pét-a- 
Jeu. The humble household gods have also 
vanished from their place, for an auction sale 
followed the funeral, to defray its expenses, 
when worm-eaten armoire and bedstead, lace 
cushion and threadbare linen were dispersed 
for what they would bring under the fiat of a 
town-bred huissier-priseur. At present modest 
Marguerite des Champs comes up to church 
punctually each Sunday for religious instruc- 
tion, and in due timetakes her place with other 
sober-faced young peasants at the solemn 
rite of First Communion. Through the sum- 
mer she works by her mother’s side in the 
cultivated fields adjoining /e clos Jolivert, 
weeding garden plots, or sowing bean and 
potato seed in long curving furrows—none 
the less tedious for following that famous 
line of beauty ; or, more weary still, she 
passes many a burning hour in decapitating 
the hydra head of yellow colza which creeps 
from a neighbouring plantation into her 
master’s grain-field and there blazons it out 
in jubilant flower. Each task in turn appears 
to her child’s comprehension as monstrous 
and impossible as any the wicked old sorcerers 
of the contes bleus could have devised for an 
innocent’s destruction. Happily young shoul- 
ders soon fit themselves to the burden, and 
with sound doctrine well inculcated under 
monsieur le curé’s eye, together with a sub- 
stantial provision at home of country bread, 
cabbage soup, meat twice a week, and boisson, 
i.e. watered cider, ad libitum, our rustic maid 
gains apace both in Christian grace and sturdy 
capacity. Already sole charge of the basse 
cour has been put into her hands, and early 


“2. wate 


& 


THE WEDDING TROUSSEAU. 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hennessy. 


CALVADOS—THE GLEANERS. 
Engraved by T. W. Lasce.ies, from the Drawiny by W. J. HENNESSY. 


(nate nl I i 


A WAYSIDE AUBERGE, 
From a Drawing by W. J. HENNESSY. 


panied by the fine muslin or foulard fichu, 
the long ear-drops and breast pendant, and 
above all the stately lace-winged cap which 
frequently cost, first hand, from three to 
four hundred francs — without reckoning 
a half dozen gold and silver pins used 
in fastening it to the card-board frame 
—must have formed altogether a costume 
worthy those early princesses of France who 
are supposed to have first set the fashion. 
At present our Calvados paysanne chooses 
her colours in neutral tints, lending favour 
in particular to quiet shades of blue which 
blend harmoniously enough with the green 
and misty landscape. She wears her woollen 
petticoat and apron plaited in heavy folds 
about the hips, while sufficiently scant below 
to display in their dazzling purity a pair of 
snow-white stockings. At no time would 
she tolerate on her person the faintest 
approach to yellow, not even a flower of that 
hue, since it is held among her country folk 
as a stigma significant as the scarlet letter 
of puritan New England. 

After high mass on Sunday, and other 


festal occasions, the favourite rendezvous of 
our village community is chez Pére Bonne- 
chére. Hither resort young and old, all 
trudging afoot—for the stout farm horse has 
also earned his day of leisure. In the cider 
cour Mére Jolivert unpacks from her ample 
basket a supply of country bread, Pont 
l’Evéque cheese, radishes in season, and an 
immense flat short-cake marked with a cross 
on the brown crust. The farmer calls loudly 
for ten measures of cider, as many cups of 
black coffee, avec gloria, and one and all, 
master and servants without distinction, sit 
down under the green apple boughs to a 
joyous féte-day repast. The cabaret itself 
faces close upon a dusty strip of road where 
poultry, of that pretty little Norman breed 
made famous by Couturiére’s brush, discuss 
the pleasant weather. Peach and nectarine 
trees are crucified against the house wall, 
pots of scarlet geraniums blaze out, a quaint 
signboard swings overhead, and in the gaping 
black doorway sits knitting old Bonne-femme 
Bonnechére, like an etching after Rembrandt. 
The threshold crossed, an interior of low 
P 


A NORMANDY BROOK. 
From a Drawing by W. J. HENNESSY. 


beams, brick floor, and greasy tables and 
benches emerges slowly through the dense 
and smoke-laden atmosphere ; brass and 
copper vessels also come to light, ranged 
along the blackened mantel-tree, many of 
them shapely as antiques, and worn through 
much scouring to wafer-like attenuation. 
Within the vast fireplace Ptre Bonnechére 
himself is dimly visible, or Victoirine, his 
black-browed granddaughter blowing the 
embers, and performing mysterious incant- 
ations about a tripod and brewing-pot, whose 
grateful odour of coffee, however, soon puts 
to flight any sinister misgivings. Otherwise 
the fumes exhaled from this peasants’ club 
room (deserted for the cour in clement 


weather) are anything but agreeable, and 
one gladly escapes by another door, which, 
hanging ajar at the lower end, discloses a bit 
of sun-lighted orchard shining in the darkness 
like some fabulous emerald in a necromancer’s 
den. 

Once outside, a sweet breath of budding 
leaves from St. Gatien’s forest mingles 
with the sea breeze, fresh herbage slopes 
away to a brook, where poplar and beech 
make noonday shade for groups of ruminat- 
ing cattle, and on every hand the famous 
Norman apple tree spreads its fantastic boughs 
wreathed in spring-time with garlands of 
sunset pink, in summer cradling deep nests 
of fruitful green, later on tossing to the 


ea 


A VILLAGE CHURCH IN NORMANDY. 
From a Drawing by W. J. Hennessy. 


wind a spendthrift wealth of small, brightly- 
tinted cider apples, more tempting to the eye 
than palate, and finally, when winter has 
stripped the last russet leaf, discovering 
clumps of vivid mistletoe tangled among its 
hoary branches. On one side a collection of 
thatched farm buildings shuts in the orchard, 
and clusters about an ancient well-pulley and 
pigeon tower whose grey stone masonry looks 
solid enough to withstand a Middle Age 
siege. Pigeons, white and purple, plume 
their wings on the steep roof, barn-yard fowl 
strut abroad, pigs loll at leisure, and a fat 
white mare dozes in placid oblivion of her 
foal’s mad pranks. Everywhere is rustic 
cheer and movement; old folks have gathered 
about the tables to clink and drink “A ta santé, 
compere,’ in heady ceur de cidre ; young men 
dispute over their game at bowls, assisted by 
an audience of blue blouses and white caps ; 
children romp ; mothers nurse their babes ; 
lovers walk apart arm-in-arm ; and among 


them all our little farm lass takes her plea- 
sure sedately, for has she not attained the 
age of reason at present, and does not the 
anxious mother, and kindly farm mistress, 
and severe village priest enjoin the utmost 
sobriety of conduct on a young girl in her 
position? All the same, her pretty round 
face glows with youthful health and high 
spirits under her grandmother’s stately head- 
gear, her sabots are ready to clatter away with 
the best when this good Pére Bonnechére 
pipes up shrilly “A /a ronde, mes enfants,” 
and she discovers as intuitively as any ball- 
room coquette the soft sheep’s eyes cast in 
her direction by more than one good-looking 
young farmer. 

As a rule the fair sex is fair only by 
courtesy in rural Calvados, where hard work 
and continual exposure to sun and wind soon 
roughen the skin, and rob adolescence of its 
bloom. The large Norman features also lend 
themselves more favourably to male beauty 

Pp 2 


than to woman’s softer charm: and while 
examples of fine manhood are not uncommon 
among the blouses, the bonnet-blanc often 
serves, more remorselessly than need be, to 
expose plain, weather-beaten faces, whose only 
palliation lies in their expression of sound 
good health and native wit. Of course 
there are exceptions, and a beauty peculiarly 
rare and noble is sometimes encountered— 
the type which George Sand delineates with 
loving hand in her tales of peasant life—as 
well as the more ordinary comeliness of 
bright eyes and fresh cheeks. 

To this latter category belongs our gentille 
fille des Champs, and the gargon Jolivert— 
who is home on a few days’ leave of absence 
from military service, and parades the cowr in 
tightly-belted frock coat, inflated red trousers, 
and képi tilted jauntily over one ear—this 
brave Celtic cock is heard to declare roundly 
that many a fine demoiselle of his acquaint- 
ance, both in town and country, might well 
envy the little milkmaid her pretty face and 
well set up figure. 

Aside from the féte which flourishes per- 
ennially in Pére Bonnechére’s cider cour, 
needing no invitation more pressing than a 
pleasant Sunday and spare time, there are 
other village festivals of annual recurrence 
and weightier import. Paramount among 
these comes the féte patronale, when visitors 
may be expected from neighbouring parishes, 
and it behoves every goodwife of respectable 
standing to turn her house out of doors at 
the broom’s end, and pass each brass and 
copper utensil of the batterie de cuisine 
through a searching application of sand and 
stinging-nettle. The village church also 
receives its yearly scouring, with an acces- 
sion of green mildew and damp rot. As this 
observance is not held to come within 
woman’s peculiar sphere, monsieur le maire 
in person is called upon to take the initia- 
tive, and at the clamorous call of church 
bells, accordingly, he rides forth, seated 
astride a huge water-cask filled from the 
brook below, and bearing himself with all 
that dignity and self-importance which cha- 
racterises a genuine rural official, in spite of 
his patched blouse, straw-stuffed sabots, and 
birch-twig broom stuck between the legs. 
A reluctant donkey tugs before, behind half 
a score men and boys push and jostle, bran- 
dishing their brooms, and dripping from 
impromptu shower-baths. At the church 
porch monsieur le curé steps out to receive 
the grotesque crew, an unused smile wrink- 
ling his severe visage. All fall upon the 
water-butt, carrying it up in triumph, and 


CALVADOS. 


in another moment the dim and incense- 
haunted sanctuary resounds to loud guffaw 
and uproarious horse-play, while a turbid 
stream splashes from chancel to door, leaving 
behind, here and there in hollow places of 
the ancient pavement, circles of water to 
reflect the pale window light or yellow 
flicker from an altar lamp. Meanwhile 
draughts of cider, well seasoned with Cal- 
vados, i.e., apple brandy, are passed from 
hand to hand, and soon a glorious hilarity 
prevails, which might almost arouse from 
their repose under the churchyard sod those 
peasant fathers of °92, who in their day 
climbed this same hill for purposes of peni- 
tence and prayer, but stayed to celebrate a 
memorable bacchanalia within the sacred 
precincts, when consecrated vessels served 
for boozing-cups, and prie-diew and holy book 
for the illumination of a scene out of pande- 
monium. This remarkable phenomenon was 
afterwards gauged to the nicety of a bottle 
by the contents of the seigneurial wine- 
vaults, and another opportunity of like 
nature might to-day produce the same result 
among these lineal descendants of the law- 
less and deep-drinking Northmen, who still 
lead in French statistics for crimes of violence 
and drunkenness. Fortunately circumstances 
rarely repeat themselves, and our brave pea- 
sant limits his appetite at present to such 
potations, deep and strong, in honour of his 
patron saint as an economical purse will 
warrant, supplemented, perhaps, now and 
then, by a roaring carouse chez Pére Bonne- 
chére, which, echoing afar in ribald song and 
blasphemy, causes the old curé to cross him- 
self as he makes his nightly round after 
replenishing the sanctuary lamp. 

Among rural fétes no one is more charm- 
ing in its way than that attending the grande 
lessive, or lye-wash; none certainly more 
cherished by Marguerite of the farm. Early 
autumn and fruit-blossoming time are the 
seasons chosen for its festivities, when, like 
Princess Nausicaa of old, the house mistress 
calls together her maids and neighbours, and 
all resort to the brookside, bearing great 
baskets of household linen, which meanwhile 
has been stored away, or rinsed from week 
to week through running water, and set 
aside for these salutary rites. A peasant 
girl often brings no mean marriage portion 
in the form of this coarse home-spun linen, 
for, as it is handed down from mother to 
daughter, a vast hoard, satin-soft with age, 
and scented by the bay and lavender of 
countless Jessives, is gradually accumulated, 
and stored away in the armoire de la mariée. 

Mary MATHER. 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


CHAPTER IV. 


RS. PATTERSON smiled. 
“Tt is not such plain sail- 
ing aS that, Mr. Everard. 
In the first place, I doubt 
whether you could per- 
suade Laura to close her 
doors against Count Sour- 
atkin; in the second, I 

don’t think you would be able to thrash him ; 

and in the third, I am quite sure you would 
not be able to frighten him. There is only 
one way of releasing Laura, and that is to 
oppose a stronger will than his own to the 
count. It is a forlorn hope, I fear, but it is 
worth trying ; and there is just this in your 
favour, that Laura herself will fight, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, on your side. If 
you can get her to refuse him anything, no 

matter how small, you will have gained a 

great victory. Now, do you think you have 

patience and strength enough to undertake 
this struggle? It will be along one, and the 
chances are against you.” 

Everard was pacing up and down the room 
with his hands in his pockets. “I should 
prefer a rougher and readier method,” he 
remarked. 

“ There is no such method,” 

“So be it then. But if your plan fails I 
shall take the liberty of reverting to mine. 
The fact is that I don’t know much about 
my adversary’s weapons, whereas I do know 
how to use my fists.” 

The clearness and decision with which 
Mrs. Patterson had stated her case impressed 
Everard a good deal more than the supposi- 
tion upon which it was founded. It vexed 
him to think that Souratkin’s tricks—for as 
such he regarded them—should have inspired 
the woman whom he loved with awe, and he 
was personally convinced that the count was 


more or less of an impostor. He had, how- 
ever, the sense to perceive that this was not 
the point at issue. Whether the state of 
slavery to which Laura had been reduced 
was the result of Souratkin’s strength of 
will or of her own over-excited imagination 
signified comparatively little ; the main thing 
was that it should be put an end to, and for 
that purpose Mrs. Patterson’s suggestion was 
perhaps the best that could be adopted. 

In the meantime Everard thought that it 
could do no harm to get a little more infor- 
mation about this mysterious personage, so 
he applied to a friend of his in the Foreign 
Office who promised to make inquiries at the 
Russian embassy. In the course of a few 
days this gentleman sent in his report. 

“Tt seems,” he wrote, “that your man is 
a deuce of a fellow. They call him exceed- 
ingly dangerous, and if ever he crosses the 
Russian frontier again he will find himself 
at the bottom of the deepest dungeon in 
St. Petersburg before he knows where he is. 
He began life as a man of fortune and a 
staunch supporter of the dynasty, but he 
gambled away the last of his money some 
years ago, and since then he has been a 
wanderer upon the face of the earth and has 
espoused advanced liberal ideas. It is not 
certain whether he is actually a member of 
the Terrorist party, but there seems to be 
no doubt that his sympathies are with it. 
If he has not assassinated any generals or 
prefects of police with his own hand it is 
probably because he has always found it easy 
to get others to do such jobs for him, for his 
personal influence is said to be extraordinary. 
This seems to show that he is no fool, and 
as he is reputed to be a first-class player at 
games of skill and chance (this is my in- 
formant’s description of him, and he gave it 
without a smile) I don’t think I should 
cultivate his acquaintance if I were you.” 


The above communication was rather 
pleasant to Everard, since, when summed 
up, it amounted to a confirmation of his own 
opinion that Souratkin was a clever scamp. 
While waiting it he had abstained from 
calling upon Miss Denham, but now he 
betook himself to her house, prepared for 
the struggle in which he was about to engage, 
and more confident of success than Mrs. 
Patterson would have wished him to be. 
He found Laura at home and alone, and 
was surprised by the joyous expression of 
her face. 

“Ought I to receive you when Aunt 
Sarah is out?’ she asked. “I suppose I 
ought not, but I can’t resist telling you the 
good news. Count Souratkin has gone off 
to Paris.” 

“Oh, has he?” said Everard, thinking 
that he had better not seem to attach too 
much importance to this announcement. “I 
sincerely hope he will stay there.” 

The girl sighed and shook her head slightly. 
“ At any rate, he is gone for the present,” 
she said. And then, passing her hand across 
her forehead, as if to sweep away all gloomy 
thoughts—“*I want to be happy now and 
to enjoy myself; I have an attack of wild 
spirits coming on. Do you ever have attacks 
of wild spirits, Mr. Everard ?”’ 

“T sometimes had them when I was your 
age,” answered Everard, smiling. 

“Oh, but you are still quite young; and 
as for me, I often feel as old as the hills. 
Age has nothing to do with the number of 
years that one has lived. One is always 
young so long as one has one’s faculties of 
enjoyment, and you are not past enjoying 
things, are you?” 

“ Well, no; I am not quite so ancient as 
all that.”’ 

“Would you enjoy going to the opera 
to-morrow night, for example?” 

“T should—with you,” answered Everard. 

“Because Lady Denham has sent to say 
that I can have her box, and they are going 
to give the Barbiere, and I thought that 
perhaps, if you had nothing better to do, you 
would dine with us and take us to Covent 
Garden afterwards. And Mr. Fellowes—I 
wonder whether he would come.” 

“TJ will ask him,” answered Everard. 

“ And then do you think it would be very 
wrong if we were all to come back here after 
it was over and eat oysters? I can’t eat 
raw oysters myself, but I dare say you can, 
and I know that Aunt Sarah is simply a 
victim to them. My share of the feast will 


be confined to brown bread and butter, but 
what I shall value will be the reckless dissi- 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN, 


pation of it. I have heard of people partaking 
of oyster suppers after the play, but I never 
did such a thing myself, and very likely I 
never shall again; so you see, if you and 
Mr. Fellowes will consent to be present at 
this one you will provide me with a cheering 
memory for my declining years. When the 
other old ladies begin talking about the 
wonderful things that they did when they 
were young I shall be able to wag my head 
knowingly and say that I, too, could tell a 
tale if I would.” 

- Everard smiled to himself as he walked 
away, thinking of this speech. After all, 
that old father of hers could not have been 
quite such a reprobate as he had been repre- 
sented, or Laura would hardly be still the 
child that she was. He was not sure whether 
he liked her best in her childish or in her 
graver humours, but indeed the question 
was of no great consequence, for he had 
reached that absurd condition of mind in 
which one person, and one only out of the 
whole world, seems perfect at all times and 
under all circumstances, 

Fellowes was disengaged and was quite 
willing, as he said, to fulfil the functions of 
the harmless necessary fourth party. If his 
friend did not have an uninterrupted téte-d- 
téte with Miss Denham when the appointed 
evening came that was not his fault, but 
Laura’s, who apparently preferred that the 
conversation should be general. Everard, 
for his part, was content to have it so. He 
had never expected to win her love quickly 
and, for the time being, what he chiefly 
desired was to see her merry and careless, as 
girls of her age ought to be. 

In that respect she left him very little 
to wish for. At dinner and at the opera 
afterwards she talked incessantly and some- 
times rather excitedly. Her gaiety infected 
her companions, her eyes were sparkling, 
there was a faint pink flush upon her cheeks, 
and Everard, who did not himself talk very 
much, thought he had never seen her looking 
so charming. He did not take his eyes off 
her for a moment, and thus he at once de- 
tected a change which came over her manner 
after the second act, and which escaped the 
notice of the two other occupants of the box. 
When he saw the colour fade out of her 
face, when she ceased speaking, and when 
that nervous twisting of her fingers began, 
he immediately suspected that she had caught 
sight of Souratkin, and getting up, he swept 
the house with his glass in the full expecta- 
tion of discovering the Russian somewhere. 
But he was disappointed. Souratkin was not 
visible, and he was driven to conclude that 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


Laura’s obvious uneasiness must have some 
other cause. She had turned so white that 
at last he could not forbear bending over 
her and asking whether she felt ill. 

She started and half rose from her chair. 

“No,” she answered in an odd, hurried 
way, “ but—but I think I must go away.” 

“Do you wish to go home?” he inquired. 

“ No—at least, I don’t think so—I don’t 
know.” 

All of a sudden she started to her feet, 
dropping her fan and cloak, and made for 
the door of the box. Fellowes turned round 
and stared, while Mrs. Patterson threw a 
significant glance at Everard, who perceived 
that the moment had come for him to try 
his strength against Souratkin’s. 

“You cannot go away now,” Miss Den- 
ham,” he said quietly. “ Your carriage will 
not be there, you know.” 

He had placed himself in front of her, and 
was looking steadily into her eyes, which met 
his with a piteous, bewildered gaze. “Oh, 
what shall I do!—what shall I do!” she 
murmured faintly. 

“Stay where you are,’ he answered 
smiling. “Nothing is going to happen to 
you, and you will feel all right again 
directly.” 

“Ah, you don’t know!” she exclaimed, 
with a long, shuddering sigh. 

Nevertheless, she dropped into the chair 
which he placed for’ her; and at the same 
moment the curtain rose. Several times 
after this she started convulsively, and made 
a movement as if to escape, but always she 
met Everard’s eyes, and fell back again— 
whether with relief or with resignation, he 
could not determine. Gradually the fit, or 
whatever it had been, seemed to pass away 
from her, leaving her pale and exhausted, 
but apparently calm. She did not open her 
lips again unti] Everard was helping her into 
her carriage, when she turned to him with a 
ghost of a smile, and said: “I don’t think 
we will have our oyster supper to-night; I 
am too tired.” 

Mrs. Patterson put her head out of the 
window to whisper: “I congratulate you ; 
you have won your first victory.” 

It might be so; but the whole business 
was provoking and ridiculous to Everard, 
who was very reluctant to take Count 
Souratkin’s power seriously, and yet found 
himself unable any longer to make light of 
it. His was one of those essentially Britan- 
nic minds, to which the incomprehensible 
and the incredible mean pretty much the 
same thing, and which, in the presence of 
phenomena which can neither be explained 


215 


nor denied, are apt to grow defiant, and 
conclude that the best way out of the diffi- 
culty is to punch the phenomena-monger’s 
head. Everard did not punch Count Sourat- 
kin’s head, because, for one thing, he ‘did not 
know where that head was to be found, and, 
for another, he thought it well to hold physi- 
cal force in reserve ; but he strongly suspected 
that the reserves would have to be called out 
before the campaign had proceeded much 
farther, and the prospect of the preliminary 
operations was in no way attractive to him. 

As for these, he had not long to wait 
before embarking upon them. Walking 
down Oxford Street the next day, on his 
way to inquire whether Miss Denham had 
recovered from her fatigue, he was a good 
deal astonished at meeting the object of his 
solicitude near the Marble Arch. She was 
alone ; she was hastening eastwards with an 
odd, uncertain gait, as if she did not quite 
see whither she was going; and indeed the 
vacant expression of her eyes seemed to show 
that she had not all her wits about her. She 
would have passed Everard without noticing 
him, had he not intercepted her, and when 
she recognised him she only smiled faintly, 
and made as though she would have pursued 
her way. 

3ut he had no idea of allowing her to do 
that. “I was intending to call upon you, 
Miss Denham,” he remarked. ‘“ Where are 
you going in such a hurry, if I may 
ask?” 

“To the Langham Hotel,’ she answered. 
“At least, I think so—yes; it must be 
there.” She paused for a moment ; .then 
seemed to collect herself. ‘ I must go now, 
Mr. Everard,” she said. “Perhaps you 
could come and see us to-morrow?” 

“ Indeed,” said Everard, “1 think you had 
better let me take you home. You ought 
not to be walking through these crowded 
streets all by yourself.” 

“What does it signify?” she returned, 
rather impatiently. “At any rate, 1 must 
go on, whether it is proper or not.” 

“Why must you?” 

“ Because—because—oh, I can’t tell you 
why ; only I must! It is impossible to do 
anything else.” 

“T assure you you are mistaken. It is 
perfectly possible for you to go back to your 
house with me, and I will prove it to you.” 

Edward had called a hansom while he was 
speaking. He now gently forced Laura to 
enter it, gave the address to the driver, and 
sat down beside her. 

“Qh,” she exclaimed under her breath, 
“ you don’t know what you have done!” 


“Don’t I? Well, at least I have shown 
you that it could be done.” 
She looked up at him with a smile and a 


sigh. “Thank you,” she said; “you are 
very kind to me. Only I am afraid it is all 
no use.” 


She sank back with an air of exhaustion, 
just as she had done the night before at the 
opera; and Everard began to talk uncon- 
cernedly about the first thing that came into 
his head. It did not much matter what 
subject he chose, since she was evidently 
not listening to him. 

When they reached her house she did not 
ask him to come in, but he took the liberty 
of doing so uninvited, for he was anxious to 
have a few words with Mrs. Patterson. 
Laura, after remaining for a moment in the 
drawing-room, went away to take off her 
bonnet, and then Everard seated himself 
beside the old lady. 

“Now, Mrs. Patterson,” he said, “this 
sort of thing won’t do you know. By a 
lucky chance I met Miss Denham in Oxford 
Street, and induced her to come back here 
with me ; so for this time no harm is done; 
but one can’t count upon such a thing hap- 
pening twice, and if I had not stopped her 
she would have gone straight to the Langham 
Hotel, where I suppose I may take it for 
granted that Count Souratkin is staying.” 

Mrs. Patterson threw up her arms. “ This 
is most marvellous! You are quite right ; 
that terrible man is at the Langham Hotel. 
He returned from Paris unexpectedly, and 
called yesterday afternoon while we were 
out; but I took care not to spoil poor 
Laura’s pleasure by saying a word to her 
about it, aud she could not have known that 
he was in London, much less have found out 
his address. Yet, you see, she has twice 
within twenty-four hours been irresistibly 
impelled to go to him. The only thing that 
reassures me is your having been able to 
prevent her from yielding to the impulse. 
That shows that you are beginning to exercise 
a counteracting influence upon her.” 

Everard did not look pleased. “ It seems 
to me,” he observed, “that you might have 
done a little more in the wav of counter- 
acting influence yourself. Surely, after what 
you saw last night, you might have antici- 
pated this !” 

“ What could Ido? Icould not lock my 
niece up in her own house.”’ 

“Tam by no means sure that it might not 
have been better to do that than to let her 
expose herself to such risks. At the very 
least, you might have insisted upon accom- 
panying her when she went out.” 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


“But I had no suspicion that she was 
going to the Langham Hotel. It seemed 
impossible that she should know £ 

“ Just look at that!” interrupted Everard 
suddenly. He had picked up from the table 
a visiting-card, which bore the incription of 
Le Comte Souwratkin, and the words “ Langham 
Hotel” written in pencil underneath the 
name. 

Mrs. Patterson looked confused and peni- 
tent. “It was very stupid of me,” she 
murmured. “I did not know what had 
become of the card—I thought I had put it in 
a book which I was reading yesterday [ 

“And where, of course, Miss Denham 
found it. The thing is as plain as a pike- 
staff. She knew the man was in London ; 
she over-excited herself in trying to forget 
him, and that scene at the theatre was 
nothing more nor less than the effect of the 
reaction. The truth is that you are so 
anxious to have your nonsensical supersti- 
tions confirmed that you will accept any 
explanation of an occurrence rather than the 
natural and obvious one.” 

“ But, Mr. Everard, even if Laura did see 
the card, that would not account for the 
magnetic attraction which drew her towards 
a man whom she hates.” 

“When the existence of the magnetic 
attraction is established, it will be time 
enough to try and account for it. In my 
poor judgment, she is simply the victim of a 
delusion, which it is our business to dispel, 
if we can.” 

“Ah, no! there is no delusion. She is 
possessed—possessed by a devil, poor child! 
and no one can save her, except by exorcising 
him.” 

“ Very well, very well,” returned Everard 
irritably ; “I'll exorcise him with a thick 
stick, if necessary. But in the meantime, 
since you won't help me, do let me beg of 
you to remain neutral, and not to play the 
enemy's game. The man will come to the 
house, of course, there’s no help for that ; 
but I mean to keep Miss Denham out of the 
house all day and every day until her mind 
has recovered its balance a little. You 
won't put obstacles in my way, I trust.” 

“Oh, no,” replied Mrs. Patterson with a 
despondent shake of her head ; “on the con- 
trary, I will do all that I’can to assist you. 
But you little know Count Souratkin, if you 
imagine that he will not find her out and 
follow her, wherever she may be.” 

“ Well,” said Everard” he shall not find 
her alone, anyhow.” 

And at that moment Laura’s entrance put 
an end to the dialogue. 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


“Shall we have some music?” she asked, 
as composedly as if nothing unusual had 
occurred. 

She sat down at the piano, and began to 
play one of those solemn, stately composi- 
tions of the old masters, for which our 
feverish generation, with its taste for all that 
is odd, fantastic, or far-fetched, is ceasing to 
care. 

“That is better than Le Délire, is it not?” 
she said, after a time, with a quiet smile, 
of which Everard easily interpreted the 
meaning. 

He nodded, but made no articulate reply, 
knowing that Beethoven could say all to her 
that he could, and could say it a thousand 
times more convincingly. She went on play- 
ing while he sat silently watching her, and 
while Mrs. Patterson dozed over her book, 
and when at length he rose to take his leave, 
he did not think it necessary or advisable to 
refer to what had taken place earlier in the 
afternoon. 

But after he had said good-bye, and was 
half-way down the stairs, he heard the 
drawing-room door shut behind him, and 
Laura followed him to the landing. 

“T wanted to thank you for your kind- 
ness,” she said simply, “ and to tell you that 
TI understand it all. I don’t know why you 
should be so good to me.” 

Everard hesitated. If he told her that 
he loved her, he might at once and for 
ever lose all power of giving her help. 
Fearing that his self-control might desert 
him, and that he might say too much, he 
erred a little in the opposite direction. 

“Oh, everybody’s nerves are apt to get 
unstrung at times,” he answered lightly, 
“and when one is out of sorts in that way 
one is sure to see visions and dream dreams. 
I'll undertake to put you all right in no 
time, if you'll let me prescribe for you, 
and what I should recommend first of all is 
plenty of fresh air. I don’t believe either 
you or Mrs. Patterson have ever seen Rich- 
mond or Windsor, or any of the pretty places 
that are within reach of London. Won’t you 
allow me to do the honours of the neighbour- 
hood for you? I would get Fellowes to join 
us, and we would have a series of happy days 
in the country. 

He could see that she was a little hurt by 
this way of treating her affliction. “Yes,” 
she answered, “of course you think it is all 
nonsense, and though it is not nonsense, 
perhaps it is best that you should think so. 
Yes, I should like very much to go to all 
those places with you, and so would Aunt 
Sarah, I know.” She paused, and then held 


217 


out her hand to him. “TI will try to do 
exactly as you tell me,” she said, “ since you 
are so good as to take all this trouble. Only 
you will not lose patience with me, will you? 
I have confidence in you, but I have none in 
myself. Indeed, I sometimes think that I have 
no self left, that I am only the shadow of 
another person.” 

“You will think differently a short time 
hence, I hope,” answered Everard. “ For 
the present, we are going to enjoy ourselves, 
and forget all about bogeys.” 


CHAPTER V. 


“No,” said Fellowes,” good-humouredly, 
but firmly, in reply to a suggestion of 
Everard’s ; “I’m sorry I can’t oblige you, 
old chap; but enough is as good as a feast, 
and, fond as Iam of Mrs. Patterson’s ghost 
stories, I doubt whether I could stand seven 
or eight hours of them at a stretch. So long 
as you keep inside the four-mile radius ’m 
with you; but if you want somebody to take 
complete charge of an old woman during 
several long days in the country, you had 
better advertise, and offer suitable pay. I 
don’t much think you'll get any one to do it 
out of pure friendship.” 

Everard had not the face to ask another 
friend to undertake the task which Fellowes 
had declined; so that Mrs. Patterson was 
conducted to the environs of London without 
a special cavalier. She did not, however, 
object to this arrangement, nor was she 
herself found in any way objectionable as a 
chaperon by her companions. A bench in 
the shade was all that she asked for, and 
she would sit contentedly nodding over a 
book for as long a time as it pleased them to 
wander away and leave her there. 

Well was it for her that she was so 
patient ; for both Everard and Laura were 
very apt to forget all about her on these 
occasions. The former had every reason to 
believe that his regimen was working satis- 
factorily. Whether Laura had seen Souratkin 
again he did not know, not having cared to 
mention the man’s name to her; but if she 
had, the meeting had evidently done her no 
harm, and it was certain that she had benefited 
both in health and spirits by these daily 
excursions, 

“How delightful it has all been!” she 
exclaimed one afternoon. “But we shall 
soon have seen every place that there is to 


218 


see, I suppose, and then the only thing to be 
done will be to stay at home and practise 
one’s neglected scales. I wish London had 
more sides !” 

It was upon the Terrace at Windsor that 
she breathed this aspiration, so welcome to 
her hearer. They had visited the State Apart- 
ments ; they had strolled leisurely beneath 
the elms in the Long Walk; they had at- 
tended the afternoon service at St. George’s, 
and now they were enjoying the view of 
the distant spires and antique towers which 
crown the wat’ry glade, while Mrs. Patterson 
was taking a little well-earned repose at the 
White Hart. 

“There are thirty-two points of the com- 
pass,’ Everard remarked. 

“Yes; but there are not thirty-two 
Windsors, nor thirty-two days in July, and 
if there were, I shouldn’t have the heart to 
condemn you to thirty-two consecutive holi- 
days. I wonder whether I have beena great 
bore to you?” 

“Is it necessary to answer that question?” 
asked Everard, smiling. 

“ Well, no, considering that you could only 
make one answer. And perhaps, after all, 
you haven’t been very much bored, so far. 
You would be, though, if this sort of thing 
were to go on much longer.” 

“T should like this sort of thing as you 
call it to go on to the end of time,” Everard 
declared with pardonable exaggeration. 

She did not seem to hear him. She was 
silent for a few seconds, leaning on the 
parapet, and gazing down at the blue smoke 
of the town beneath and the river all aflame 
with the setting sun. “I am not sure 
whether you know that I am very grateful 
to you,” she said suddenly. “I want you to 
know it.” 

“Tcan’t help being glad that you should 
feel so ; but in reality it is 1 who have reason 
to be grateful to you.” 

“In a way, perhaps you have. <A doctor 
is grateful to a patient who allows himself 
to be cured, I dare say; but naturally the 
patient is still more grateful to the doctor 
who cures him.” 

“ You consider yourself cured, then?” cried 
Everard joyfully. 

“No, no—not that ; how can I tell? All 
I know is that I have tried to obey you 
implicitly and that I have been much the 
better for it. My disease may be incurable, 
but it is something to have been free of it for 
a time.” 

“Don’t you think,” said Everard, “ that 
you might free yourself from it finally, if 
you would?” 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


“If I would! But the very nature of 
the disease is that my will is gone.”’ 

“You fancy so; but the proof that you 
are mistaken is that you desire to escape.” 

“Desire is one thing, and will is quite 
another. It has been owing to yom will, 
not mine, that I have escaped for a weck. I 
know that what I say sounds absurd to you,” 
she added, with a despondent gesture, “and I 
don’t wonder at it. There was a time when 
I thought all such things just as absurd as 
you think them now.” 

“T don’t consider everything absurd that 
is outside the range of my intelligence, Miss 
Denham,” said Everard, sitting down beside 
her ; “only I cannot believe that this super- 
natural power 8 

“1 don’t know that we need call it super- 
natural,” interrupted Laura. 

“ Natural or supernatural, I should be very 
slow to admit that absolute power over a 
fellow-creature could be committed to any 
man. Let us assume, however, that it is as 
you say. Even so, you would be safe, ac- 
cording to your view, so long as I am with 
you.” 

“ But you cannot be always with me.” 

“Why not? I have very little to offer ; I 
am neither rich nor clever, nor as young as I 
once was ; but I love you. Will you not 
let me stand between you and harm?” 

Laura started to her feet with an affrighted 
look. “Oh, no!” she cried, catching her 
breath ; “don’t ask me! It is impossible— 
utterly impossible !” 

Everard felt a momentary pang of bitter 
disappointment, but he concealed it bravely. 
“ You mean that you don’t love me,” he said, 
in a quiet, steady voice ; “I could not expect 
that you should. But I believe that you 
might come to love me some day ; otherwise 
I would not say another word. If I can 
give you nothing else, I can give you peace 
and protection. Think it over, and allow me 
a day or two of hope before you refuse me 
decisively.” 

“You don’t consider what it is that you 
ask for!” exclaimed the girl, trembling and 
clasping her hands. “I am not a free agent 
—you have seen that yourself—and neither 
you nor I can tell what my happen in the 
future. I might make your life miserable— 
I might even have to leave you. Oh, no! 
I should care very little for you if I could 
consent to drag you into my trouble.” 

“Is it for my sake, then, that you reject 
me?” asked Everard. 

“Yes, for your own sake,” she answered 
unguardedly. “I dare not take what you 
offer me ; it is too great a risk.” 


1h et nS iG AEB 5 2A 


ar es 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 219 


“Put the risk on one side for a moment. 
If it did not exist, could you care for me, do 
you think ?” 

She made no reply ; but, looking into her 
face, he saw there all that he wanted to 
see. ‘ My dear,” he whispered, drawing her 
towards him, “ your troubles are over and 
done with now for ever.” 

Certainly that was rather a bold thing to 
say about anybody who was not yet dead ; but 
the circumstances of the case were, perhaps, 
such as to justify a little hyperbole even in 
so sober-minded a man as Everard. And 
indeed his language did not strike Laura as 
hyperbolical. From the beginning of their 
acquaintance she had relied instinctively upon 
him; she had been greatly impressed by 
what she considered as his successful resist- 
ance to Souratkin ; finally, she was young 
and could not help being sanguine, in spite 
of the gloomy forebodings to which she had 
just given expression. 

The two lovers paced up and down the 
Terrace arm-in-arm, until long after sunset, 
oblivious of poor Mrs. Patterson ; oblivious, 
too, of the time agreed upon for their return 
to London. But Everard, when at last it 
occurred to him to consult his watch, observed 
that trains left every half hour or so and 
that there really was no need for hurry. 
However, it clearly behoved them to go and 
wake up their long-suffering chaperon, and 
they prepared to leave the precincts of the 
Castle accordingly. 

Beneath the first archway Everard felt 
Laura’s hand tighten convulsively on his 
arm, and, looking up, became aware of a tall 
figure looming up in the dusk which was 
unmistakably that of Souratkin. If there 
was one thing about this man which exasper- 
ated Everard more than another, it was his 
theatrical way of appearing suddenly out of 
space. Upon this occasion he was more than 
usually annoyed by it ; for he had been taken 
by surprise and had started, and he knew 
that Laura must have felt him start. For 
this reason he said in the most matter-of- 
course tone possible :— 

“How do you do, Count Souratkin? I 
suppose you heard from Mrs. Patterson that 
we were here.” 

“ Precisely so,” answered the Count blandly. 
“She was becoming alarmed and sent me to 
look for you.” 

He did not explain how he came to be at 
Windsor at all ; but that cireumstance hardly 
required explanation. Everard was sorry 
that Laura thought fit to ask the question, 
and still more sorry when Souratkin only 
replied to it by a low laugh. To counteract 


the effect of this ominous sound, he himself 
said: “Oh, all foreigners make a point of 
seeing Windsor ; and they are quite right. 
There is nothing finer in England.” 

“That is not my view,” remarked Sourat- 
kin. “To me a building like Windsor Castle 
is a hideous blot upon the landscape—the 
symbol of tyranny—the abode of generations 
of oppressors.” 

“T don’t know that it is the symbol of 
anything in particular, except of monarchy, 
which still exists, in a constitutional form, in 
this country,” said Everard. “As for her 
Majesty, she has neither the wish nor the 
power to oppress her subjects.” 

“ Ah, the power—perhaps not ; but there 
is no monarch who would not be a tyrant if 
he could. What can be more absurd than a 
ruler who is not allowed to rule? Happily, 
the day of kings and queens is nearly over. 
A few more charges of dynamite and paff !— 
there will be an end of the whole accursed 
race.” 

“Tf you hold these opinions, you had 
better have the courage of them and go and 
blow up your own emperor,” observed Ever- 
ard drily ; “ but it is easier and safer to talk 
about committing murder than to do it.” 

Souratkin laughed again. He either had 
his temper well under command or did not 
think it worth while to quarrel with the 
Englishman. They all three walked down 
the hill together, Laura, who had relinquished 
Everard’s arm, keeping her head resolutely . 
turned away from Souratkin, who strode 
along beside her, with his hands behind his 
back, and darted a swift glance at her every 
now and again from between his half-closed 
eyelids. When they reached the turning 
which leads down to the Great Western 
station he volunteered to go and fetch Mrs. 
Patterson, an offer which was at once accepted 
by Everard. 

Laura had grown grave and silent, and 
perhaps her companion was not very well 
advised in remarking: “I think we should 
encourage our friend the Nihilist to carry a 
few dynamite cartridges about with him for 
the removal of tyrants. The tyrants would 
not be at all likely to suffer in consequence, 
and there would always be the chance of his 
own abrupt removal to another sphere.” 

“Don’t laugh at him,” pleaded Laura 
earnestly, “and pray, pray don’t quarrel 
with him! I assure you he is not a man 
to be laughed at. He thinks nothing of 
taking the life of any one who is obnoxious 
to him, he has told me so often.” 

“T should venture to disbelieve a good 
deal of what he told me. Besides, I thought 


220 


he seemed to be in a particularly amiable 
humour to-night.” 

But she said: “Ah, that is just what 
frightens me. He would not have been like 
that if he had meant well. And I am sure 
he knows about—about you and me.” 

“Tf he doesn’t, it will give me great 
pleasure to tell him,” said Everard. 

Laura raised both her hands to her head 
and then let them fall dejectedly. “Oh,” 
she sighed, “I hope I have not done wrong 
—I hope you will not live to regret that 
you ever met me! But I am afraid !—I am 
afraid |” 


CHAPTER VI. 


EvERARD was not a little disappointed 
when, on calling at Laura’s house the next 
day, he was told that she was not well enough 
to receive him. It was nothing serious, the 
servant said, but Miss Denham had a bad 
headache and could not leave her room. Mrs. 
Patterson had just gone out. Under these 
circumstances, there was nothing for Everard 
to do but to scribble his regrets and sympathies 
on his card and retire ; but he had an uneasy 
suspicion that Laura’s malady was more 
mental than physical, and for the remainder 
of the day he wandered about restlessly, 
not knowing what to do with himself, and 


- half regretting that he had not forced 


an entrance, or at least demanded fuller 
particulars. 

So intolerable did his suspense become 
that he could not bring himself to wait 
twenty-four hours before repeating his call, 
but betook himself to Bayswater on the en- 
suing morning. “ After all,” he thought, “I 
have a right to dispense with formalities 
now.” 

He was admitted this time, but found only 
Mrs. Patterson in the drawing-room; and 
as soon as he saw the old lady’s face he 
perceived that there was something wrong. 

“ Where is Miss Denham?” he asked in a 
rather peremptory tone. 

“Don’t scold me,” pleaded Mrs. Patterson, 
plaintively ; “I am not to blame; and I am 
sure, if it depended upon me to make things 
smooth for you both, you would have no 
reason to complain. Unfortunately, nothing 
depends upon me, not even the power to say 
whether you shall be let into the house or 
not.” 

* Do you mean that Miss Denham wishes 
to forbid me her house?” asked Everard, 
turning a little pale. 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


“Oh, no; not Laura. Poor girl! she 
would be very unlikely to wish that. But 
you know, I warned you that you must not 
anticipate an easy victory, and now exactly 
what I foresaw has happened. Count Sour- 
atkin will not hear of your eugagement to 
my niece.”’ 

Everard broke into an angry laugh. “You 
don’t say so! Then of course there must 
be an end of it. Count Souratkin’s right to 
interfere in the matter is incontestable, and 
I ought certainly to have asked his consent 
before I ventured to speak to Miss Denham. 
My only excuse is that it really did not 
occur to me to do so. As it is too late to 
gain his consent now, I shall—what do you 
think I shall do, Mrs. Patterson? It’s very 
astonishing ; but I shall make so bold as to 
dispense with it.” 

Mrs. Patterson shrugged her shoulders. 
“Tt is quite useless to go on like that. Sit 
down, and let us talk things over quietly.” 

Everard took a chair. “I am willing to 
listen to anything that you may have to say, 
Mrs. Patterson,” he remarked ; “ but I may 
as well tell you at once that I shall not allow 
this fellow to stand for a moment between 
me and Laura. She has told me that she 
loves me ; she has promised to marry me; 
and after that, the approval of Count Sour- 
atkin is a matter of no more interest or 
importance to me than the approval of the 
crossing-sweeper over the way.” 

“That may be; but his approval is of 
great importance to her.” 

“Why should it be?” 

“She herself could not tell you why ; but 
we must accept facts. At first I really 
thought that she would succeed in defying 
him. He flew into a passion and frightened 
me out of my senses ; but she did not care 
a bit, and it was only after he had recovered 
his coolness that she seemed to waver. You 
can’t imagine anything more curious to 
watch than the way in which her will 
staggered, as it were, and then suddenly 
broke.” 

Mrs. Patterson’s manifest enjoyment of 
this spectacle was infuriating to Everard, 
who nevertheless subdued his wrath. 

“ T think it will be all right when I have 
seen her,” he said quietly. 

“I hope so, I’m sure; but you cannot see 
To begin with, he has forbidden 


“ This is monstrous!” interrupted Everard, 
jumping up. “Do you suppose that I am 
going to submit to his commands?” 

“Dear Mr. Everard, remember what I 
told you; you must have patience, and plenty 


— 


dees iv tina 


A RNAI Pi A 5 re 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 221 


of it. 
to talk to you today. 
knocked up, and if she did see you, you would 


Besides, Laura is really not in a state 
She is completely 


gain nothing by it. 
think ¢” 

“T shall be very glad,” answered Everard, 
sitting down again. 

“Well, then, I think that, instead of 
fighting Count Souratkin, you had better try 
to make terms with him, He did not tell 
Laura distinctly that he meant to marry her 
himself ; but he gave me to understand as 
much, and I feel convinced that what he 
wants is not her, but her money.” 

“ That is extremely probable.” 

“ And what you want, I imagine, is not 
her money, but her.” 

“Do you mean to suggest that Miss Den- 
ham should hand over her fortune to this 
man?” 

Mrs. Patterson sighed. “I believe that, 
if she did, he would leave her in peace ; and 
peace is better worth having than money.” 

“T could never be a party to such a trans- 
action. I can’t prove to you that I am not 
mercenary ; but I will ask you to take my 
word for the fact. As for aiding and abetting 
Count Souratkin, or any other rascal, in a 
robbery, I wouldn’t do such a thing to save 
my life. Added to which, I can imagine no 
surer way of strengthening his hold upon 
Laura than yielding to him.” 

“He would cease to persecute her when 
there was nothing further to be gained by 
doing so.” 

“So long’as she or her husband had a 
guinea theré would always be something to 
be gained. No, Mrs. Patterson ; that plan 
will not do. And now, in spite of what you 
have said, I must beg you to let Laura know 
that I am here, and ask her to speak to me, 
if it is only for five minutes.” 

Mrs. Patterson obeyed ; but presently she 
returned, shaking her head. “ Laura is very 
sorry,” she said; “she hopes you will for- 
give her, but she does not feel equal to meet- 
ing you to-day. If you will call to-morrow 
afternoon between four and five o’clock, she 
will be down stairs, and of course I will leave 
you together. Perhaps you are right about 
the money; but I have my misgivings, I 
own. You are not fighting with a man, but 
with the devil.” 

“ Never yet,” remarked Everard, “ have I 
heard that it is good policy to give way to 
the devil. Moreover, Count Souratkin is not 
the devil at all, but a vulgar Russian impostor. 
However, I know that it is vain to try and 
persuade you of that.” And so he departed, 
with an uncomfortable conviction that the 


Shall I tell you what I 


vulgar impostor had got the better of him 
this time. 

He had not proceeded a hundred yards 
down the street when he encountered, and 
almost ran against, the subject of his thoughts, 
Souratkin smiled, raised his hat, and made 
as though he would have passed on; but 
Everard, not over wisely perhaps, detained 
him. 

“ If you are on your way to call on Miss 
Denham,” he said, “I can save you the 
trouble of going any farther. She is not 
well enough to receive visitors.” 

Souratkin’s smile was ironical, and even a 
trifle insolent. “That isa pity,” he answered ; 
“but I shall ask for Mrs. Patterson, who is 
no doubt at home.” 

“ Count Souratkin,” said Everard brusque- 
ly, “ I don’t know why I shouldn’t use plain 
language with you. You are aware that 
Miss Denham and I are engaged to be 
married, and I hear that, for reasons best 
known to yourself, you have been trying to 
put a stop to the engagement. Now I wish 
you to understand, once for all, that I am 
not going to tolerate that kind of thing.” 

Souratkin raised his eyebrows. “But, 
dear sir, how can you help tolerating it?” 
he asked suavely. “Iam an old friend of 
Miss Denham, an old friend of her father, 
and I should think to fail in my duty if I 
did not advise her when an important crisis 
of her life presented itself. I am not able 
to advise her to marry you—no; I do not 
think you a suitable person to be her hus- 
band. It grieves me to say this; but in 
honesty—” 

“In honesty,” interrupted Everard, “ you 
would have to say something quite different, 
and that would not serve your purpose. 
Well, I only wanted to warn you that you 
will find me a rather tougher customer than 
Mrs. Patterson. Use your influence with 
Miss Denham, by all means, and I will use 
mine. We shall see who will win.” 

For an instant Souratkin’s face clouded 
over and a gleam shot out from his narrow 
eyes. “Your influence!” he exclaimed 
roughly ; “ you have no influence.” But he 
recovered himself immediately and said, with 
the same bland air as before, “So be it, 
then. As you say, we shall see who will 
win. I may be mistaken; but I do not 
think that it will be you, my dear sir. Good 
day to you.” f 

Whether Everard had advanced his own 
interests in any way by provoking this en- 
counter seemed doubtful; but at least he 
had thrown down the gauntlet openly to his 
adversary, and to have done that is always 


222 


a comfort to a straightforward man. More- 
over, Souratkin’s momentary trouble had 
not escaped his notice, and on reviewing the 
situation calmly that night, he was disposed 
to flatter himself that he had taken the most 
sensible course. The man’s hold upon Laura 
had evidently been obtained by an affecta- 
tion of mystery, by a carefully undefined 
menace of his power to do something dread- 
ful to those who thwarted him. If he could 
be quietly defied in her presence to do. his 
worst, and if it should then appear that he 
could do nothing more than use his eyes 
in a peculiar fashion, the spell would probably 
be broken there and then. 

When, therefore, the. appointed hour on 
the following afternoon came round, and 
Everard bent his steps once more in the 
direction of Bayswater, it was with the de- 
termination of asking Laura to let him meet 
the enemy face to face. He did not mean to 
be over-gentle or persuasive with her; he 
intended to tell her plainly that she must 
choose between him and Souratkin, and he 
had very little doubt as to what her choice 
would be. 

He was kept waiting for some time before 
his ring was taken any notice of, and when 
at length the door was opened a couple of 
inches, the dirty face of an old charwoman 
peered out at him through the aperture. 

“ Fam’ly’s left,” said this person curtly. 

“Left!” ejaculated Everard; “what on 
earth do you mean ¢” 

“Why, gone out o' town—gone to the 
country, I s’pose,” replied the old woman ; 
“T don’t know nothin’ about ’em.”’ 

“But surely they must have left some 
address or—or note ¢”’ 

“They ain’t left neither one nor t’other 
with me. I should say you was best go to 
Mr. Mason’s the ’ouse-agent’s ; *twas ’im as 
put me in ere this mornin’. He can tell you 
their address, I dessay. Second turn to the 
left, the first large furnitur’-ware’us you 
come to.” 

But Mr. Mason, when applied to, professed 
himself quite unable to do this. “ Really, 
sir, I am very sorry,” he said, in answer to 


(To be continued.) 


THAT TERRIBLE MAN. 


Everard’s reiterated demands; “but I can 
give you no information at all. We were 
told last night that Miss Denham was called 
away suddenly, and only two days ago we 
received the rent for the coming month. 
This morning I went round myself to take 
the inventory, and I made a particular point 
of inquiring whether there was any address 
for letters to be forwarded to; but I was 
given to understand that no letters were 
expected.” 

‘Did you see Miss Denham herself?” 

“No, sir; I saw no one except a tall 
gentleman, a foreigner by the look of him. 
I made the remark to him that it was rather 
unusual for a family to move in that sudden 
way, without saying where they were going ; 
but he was very short in his manner ; and as 
all claims were paid quite correct, of course 
it was not for me to say anything more.” 

Everard ground his teeth in impotent 
rage. It had never entered into his head 
that such a thing as this could happen, and 
he could not believe that Laura would have 
allowed herself to be spirited away without 
giving him some clue as to her destination. 
He hurried back to his rooms, half hoping 
that he might find a letter from her awaiting 
him ; and there, sure enough, upon the table 
lay an envelope addressed in her hand- 
writing. _He tore it open and read the follow- 
ing words : 

“Good-bye. I cannot fight against my 
fate, and I must not ruin your life. It would 
only have made us both more unhappy if we 
had met to-day. I know you will want to 
follow me; but pray do not attempt that. 
It would be useless, and indeed I have no 
idea where we are going. I shall never 
marry any one else—that is all that I can 
promise you. Forgive me, if you can, and 
try to forget me. You must see by my 
going away now that I cannot have been 
worthy of you. Any one who had loved you 
as you deserved to be loved would have been 
able to resist doing that. Thank you a thou- 
sand times for all your goodness to me, and. 
goodbye again. 

“Laura.” 


THE MUMBLES LIGHT HOUSE. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


HEN Charles 
Dickens was writ- 
ing Hard Times 
the “ Black Coun- 
try,’ as it was 
YW called, was one of 
& the sights of Eng- 
y land, and everybody 
whose business call- 
ed him in that direc- 
tion made a point 
of travelling on the 
Trent Valley line at 
night in order to 
enjoy the full effect 
of the blast fur- 
Nt naces—great 
towers of brick- 
work, filled with 
burning coal or coke, 
melting limestone and 
ie fluid iron, from the top 
whereof issued a crest of 
GA flames visible from afar. There 
- was something grim in these old 
towers perpetually vomiting flame 
and Stygian smoke and gases then suffered 
to run to waste, but now utilised as we 
shall presently see. What struck my 
juvenile mind with awe was the fact that 
these fiery monsters went on without cessa- 
tion. They roared aloud and belched flames 
year out and year in, week-days and Sundays, 
morning, noon, and eventide, high days holi- 
days and bonfire nights, as the people were 


wont to say in my own purely agricultural 
county. To the youthful mind much given 
to serious reading they formed a perfect 
illustration of “the fire that is not quenched.” 
I have since learned that at Sheffield the 
“chaps,” as the natives love to call them- 
selves, take great delight in “a good smoke,” 
that is, a solid cloud which plunges all who 
dwell in the busy town of three rivers into 
Cimmerian darkness. For a thick smoke 
shows that trade is good and furnace and 
forge in full blast. It is only when times 
are distinctly hard that furnaces are blown 
out or damped down, like the spirits of those 
who live by them. But the modern blast 
furnace keeps its secret better than its pic- 
turesque ancestor in Trent Valley, and as 
the train passes Landore and goes on to 
Swansea, the fire which shines out through 
rain and storm is only that of a regiment of 
coking ovens, the blast furnaces keeping 
their heat to themselves for excellent econo- 
mic reasons. 

Since the iron railings which stood till 
the other day around St. Paul’s Cathedral 
were made, English iron and steel-making 
has undergone many changes of method 
and locality. Just now it would seem as if 
wrought iron would in no very long time be 
superseded by steel, a fact which favours the 
makers of Barrow-in-Furness and South 
Wales, the former of whom have hematite 
ore on the spot, and the latter water-com- 
munication with Bilbao, whence the fine 
Spanish hematites may thus be cheaply 


224 


carried. The railings just referred to were 
made in the cradle of the now enormous 
English iron industry, at Mayfield, the home 
of St. Dunstan in the Weald of Sussex, once 
forming part of the great forest of Anderida. 
It was at Mayfield that the Prince of Dark- 
ness came upon the Saint, who, happening to 
be at work, caught his visitor by the nose 
with a pair of hot pincers. The heat ought 
not to have been disagreeable, but it proved 
so to the baffled enemy, who made but 
a hop step and a jump to Tunbridge Wells, 
where he plunged his nose into the spring 
and imparted to it its chalybeate qualities. 
All around Mayfield may be found the ponds 
marking the site of the ancient forges, 
which by degrees devoured the immense 
forest of oaks only just beginning in parts 
to recover itself. Furnaces fed with charcoal as 
these were make short work of a forest, as may 
be seen here and there in Switzerland in the 
side-valleys off the great roads, where deserted 
mining villages show how the hills became 
denuded of trees. What would have hap- 
pened in England if Dud Dudley had not 
shown people in Staffordshire how to smelt 
iron with “pit cole” is not difficult to 
imagine. The iron trade would have settled 
like a blight upon the woodlands until they 
were swept clear of every twig. Luckily 
iron-making went. to Staffordshire, where 
coal, iron, and limestone are handy to one 
another ; to Yorkshire, and more especially 
to Hallamshire where the steel-trade had 
early taken root. Later yet it has attained 
vast proportions in Scotland, and again later 
in Cleveland. South Wales has been occu- 
pied for a long time past with iron-making, 
the works at Cyfarthfa and at Dowlais being 
almost historical, the old water-wheels at 
Cyfarthfa having remained in use till very 
recently. Steel, however, is the form of 
iron towards which production in South 
Wales is most keenly directed, and at the 
Siemens Steel. Works at Landore the newest 
devices for economising fuel and labour may 
be favourably studied. 

Before attempting to describe in plain 
familiar language the latest scientific im- 
provements to be seen at Landore, a few 
words may be spared concerning the blast 
furnace, that potent engine which has given 
part of Staffordshire its uninviting title of 
the Black Country, and has at Middleborough- 
on-Tees—which consisted some forty odd years 
ago of a solitary farmhouse—created a rich 
and populous town. Perhaps the clearest 
idea of its purpose is conveyed by the clay 
hand-furnace used by the natives of India in 
Marco Polo’s time as to-day in the manufac- 


IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


ture of sword-blades of excellent quality. 
Marco imagined that the blades known as of 
Damascus or as of Persian make were made 
from ore called “ondanique” dug from a 
certain mountain. The ambassador of Kublai 
Khan had probably other weighty matters to 
occupy his mind, and just repeated what was 
said to him. As a matter of fact, however, 
the “wootz” or Indian steel is made of 
various carbonates of iron, requiring more 
treatment than the oxides such as the 
hematites. The carbonates require roasting 
to get rid of the carbonic acid before they 
are put into the furnace, and the Indian does 
all this carefully. Then he puts charcoal 
and ore into his little furnace with limestone, 
and applies the blast with a hand- or more 
generally foot-bellows. The result of this 
operation is metallic iron more or less impure 
according to circumstances. This is ham- 
mered and heated over and over again, and 
when thoroughly purified is placed in a cruci- 
ble with various leaves and sticks of wood 
supposed to communicate some kind of virtue 
to the metal, and the crucible is placed on a 
fire and raised to a very high temperature. 
Thus decarbonised and purified and then re- 
carbonised to the degree required, the Indian 
iron ore is made at vast expenditure of labour 
and time to yield fine steel. The result of 
all this hand-labour is perfect. What science 
and civilisation do is to produce fine steel 
much cheaper than is possible by this 
primitive method, and also in masses of im- 
measurably greater size, fit for the armour 
of a war ship or the breech pieces of mighty 
ordnance. 

It is not altogether advantageous to make 
iron in too large pieces all at once, hence the 
“pigs” of commerce. If a certain man 
found a mountain of metallic iron in his 
field it is very questionable whether he could 
make much of it. If it were not close toa 
canal or railway the chances are that it 
would cost more to cut it and carry it than 
it would be worth. On such nice questions 
of carriage for arrival and means of delivery 
does the success of ironmaking depend. It 
is not so easy at the first glance to see why 
the manufacture of iron and steel should not 
be a continuous process without suffering 
loss of heat. But this has been tried in 
Styria, and “the practical man,” a very 
stubborn fellow, has decided against it. Ap- 
parently: he cannot “sort” his metal and 
mix his qualities to his satisfaction till the 
“pigs” are cold. Thus the work of making 
iron and steel is entrusted to different hands. 
In the Indian workman’s clay furnace with 
foot-bellows we have the remote ancestor oi 


COTTAGE CHILDREN. 


By Tuomas Garysporovon, R.A., Engraved by E. Oume. 


IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


the costly structures we see to-day at Landore, 
Europe having got but little beyond Asia, 
till just of late. The small furnaces of the 
kind known as Catalan were long used for 
producing malleable iron, and blast-furnaces 
of slight elevation prevailed till a compara- 
tively recent period as they do now, where 
charcoal is used as fuel, North America ex- 
cepted. Blast furnaces have been made 
higher and bigger until they are sometimes 
one hundred feet high. The Staffordshire 
furnaces now seem as trifling as a colliery 
chimney beside the great black towers of 


226 


In former times for all kinds of steel—and 
still at Sheffield for the manufacture of the 
finest qualities of cast steel—the pig-iron 
obtained by “tapping” the blast furnace 
was reduced to the condition of “ puddled- 
bars,” that is made into pure soft iron by the 
application of the process of “ puddling” in- 
vented by Cort, who, like many more genuine 
inventors, took very little by his invention. 
Swedish bars are perfectly refined iron smelted 
with charcoal and then “ finished” into bars. 
Such costly material as this is best for the 
process known as cementation, or carburation. 


ON THE SANDS AT SWANSEA. 


From a Drawing by A. Morrow. ~~ 


Landore and other modern works. In every 
variety of such furnace the blast, instead of 
being supplied by a pair of bellows, is forced 
by powerful machinery driven by steam. 
The “charge,” as it is called, consists of ore, 
limestone, and generally coke, but sometimes 
coal or charcoal, poured in at the top, in fresh 
layers as the lower ones are devoured by the 
tremendous fire, maintained by a constant 
blast of hot air. The invention of the hot- 
blast by Neilson marks an epoch in thé iron 
trade. When it is thought proper to run off 
the fluid metallic iron the blast furnace is 
“tapped,” as it is called. 


This process is effected by putting the Swedish 
bars into carefully prepared receptacles in a 
furnace and subjecting them to a great heat. 
The carbon in this process is supplied by finely 
powdered charcoal, mixed sometimes with 
lamp-black or other animal carbon, the 
vegetable carbon being found in the charcoal. 
This operation requires several days, and is 
not quite clearly understood from a scientific 
point of view. The result, however, is what 
is called “blister steel” which, after subse- 
quent rolling, hammering, and re-heating 
becomes the fine steel of commerce. Bessemer 
steel again is made by blowing all the carbon 


Q 


& 
dy 


%, 
i 


TAPPING THE FURNACE. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


out of fine pig-iron by a tremendous blast, 
and then adding just as much “ spiegeleisen ” 
or iron containing manganese as will supply 
the requisite proportion of carbon. This is 
as if one washed the original carbon out of 
pig-iron in order to be certain of the quantity 
one put back again. The Siemens “ open- 
hearth” steel is yet another metal, in making 
which raw iron ore of the high quality of 
oxide such as hematite and scrap steel are 
used in the Siemens furnace to decarbonise 
melted hematite pig, which is afterwards 
treated with manganese and converted into 


steel. It would be an interesting inquiry to 
hunt out the origin of the application of 
manganese to iron to make it into steel. 
From stories I have heard of Huntzmann 
and of the unhappy inventor mentioned by 
Charles Dickens, it would seem that among 
the Indian secrets of venerable age that of 
applying manganese to purified iron to con- 
vert it into steel was one. An Indian civil 
servant thought to make something of this 
in England, but his patents were disputed 
and he was ultimately killed off. Sir Henry 
Bessemer had made a previous fortune by a 


: 
: 


aS alle 


IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 227 


clever invention, and when he applied man- 
ganese to decarbonised iron he had forty 
thousand pounds to fight his enemies with. 
Consequently he made a million sterling— 
probably the largest profit secured by any 
inventor since the world began. 

Landore is a short drive from Swansea, 
and is within a few miles of the Mumbles 
and the long waves of the Atlantic. Swansea 
is essentially a mineral seaport. It has 
copper works and zinc works, as well as tin- 
plate works. There isa flavour of smelting 


sO pronounces science, to vegetable and the 
lower types of animal organisms. Be this as 
it may, the workpeople at Landore look 
healthy and vigorous as other iron-workers, 
which is not saying a great deal, for the heats 
and colds of iron-making appear to agree 
marvellously well with the human organism. 
But perhaps the wages earned by skilled 
forgemen, puddlers, and melters have as 
much to do with their healthy appearance as 
the profuse perspiration caused by their 
work. 


WATCHING A MELTING OVEN. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


all over Swansea. Sentimentalists have 
complained of the aspect of the grass in this 
peculiar locality; but sentiment has been 
completely answered by science and experi- 
ence. There is, it must be confessed, a 
species of yellowness about the grass, and 
that the absence of trees is not less remark- 
able It is.thus an arid drive to Landore. 
It is, however, asserted to be a healthy place. 
There is a local superstition that from the 
smelting of copper comes an antiseptic fume, 
which, while killing off grass, is useful in 
destroying any sign of typhoid. It is fatal, 


The first objects visited are the coking 
ovens, seen last night through the storm. 
For a variety of reasons iron and steel makers 
like to make their own coke. Many go so 
far as to have their own coalpits, but the 
profit of this part of the scheme is great or 
small according to the market. During the 
coal famine of a dozen years ago those iron- 
makers who raised their own coal gained 
enormously by their independence of the 
market, but since half a dozen years it has 
been perhaps cheaper to buy coking-coal than 
to run a colliery. Small coal is used for 

Q 2 


228 IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


coke, and is made still smaller by a crushing 
machine which grinds ‘the coal very fine 
indeed, with fearful noise and amid a storm 
of dust. In the great broad alley way be- 
tween two rows of coking-ovens we find men 
busy in charging the furnaces with the 
pulverised coal, and in drawing the charges 
converted into huge grey rocks as massive 


OVER A GAS-PRODUCING OVEN. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


and solid as itis in the nature of coke to be. 
This walk between the coke-ovens is much of 
the nature of a valley of desolation, evil to 
the scent, and by no means grateful to the 
eyes, which, when clear of coke-dust, repose 
with pleasure upon hillocks of red hematite ore 
from the Bilbao mines. This rich oxide of 
iron requires none of the roasting necessary 
to carbonates, and is quite ready for the 


furnace like the masses of limestone just 
now being broken into convenient pieces, 
All this enormous bulk of material will be 
quickly devoured by the blast furnaces hard 
by. Instead of being built of brick alone, 
as in Staffordshire in the olden time, these 
huge edifices are cased with iron jackets. 
Looking at the furnace now, just about to 
receive an additional charge, it is seen to 
have two similar towers somewhat smaller in 
size standing close to it as its attendants or 
henchmen, and very important these auxili- 
aries are. Walking round the great central 
tower we are reminded that between its 
black hide of brick-lined iron—vast and round 
like the carapace of a pre-historic monster— 
and the actual edifice containing a column of 
molten iron, limestone, and incandescent coke, 
there is a space most important as checking 
the radiation of heat. The cost of the fuel 
employed in the smelting of iron is so great 
that every resource of ingenuity is exercised 
to reduce its consumption by economising 
the heat once created. Thus the gases gene- 
rated in the blast furnace itself are no longer 
suffered to pour out at the top and waste them- 
selves in empty air, but are carefully stored 
and employed to drive the blowing engines and 
to heat the blast itself in the supplementary 
towers devoted to that purpose. Above, 
below, and all around are large iron 
conduits, serving to carry heat from 
the spot where it is not wanted—that 
is, the top of the blast furnace—to the 
apparatus for heating and driving the 
blast of hot air forced into the base 
thereof through the tubes called 
“tuyeres,’ which are only kept 
from melting by a jet of cold 
water which continuously 
2 pours upon them. Strange 
me. to say, it is not impossible 
= to look into the blast fur- 
»~ nace and see what is 
».. going onthere. Cunning- 
= ly devised sighting tubes 
with coloured glasses allow 
the spectator to see the 
burning tears of metal 
dripping from the upper 
strata into the Phlege- 
thon beneath. 

Not a few steps must be mounted before 
the summit of the blast furnace is reached, 
and another aspect of the strange structure 
is won. Dancing upon an imaginary volcano 
is another thing from standing on the roof 
of a column of fire seventy feet or there- 
abouts in height, and suggesting weird 
thoughts of Matthias and Zhe Bells as well 


Z 
4 


Cen ee 


ea aaa tS tte 


WD iilitn. 


as uncanny 
stories of sudden disappear- 
ances in the rough old time 
of the Black Country. From 
beneath the cone which hangs “2 
by a chain from overhead, flames 
burst ever and anon beneath our feet. 
Around this upper opening of the blast 
furnace are trucks of ore, fuel, and lime- 
stone for flux. With some caution we select 
the weather side of the roof, and presently 
the cone descends, and by leaving a space 
allows the torrent of material tilted on to it 
by the trucks to fall pell mell into the fiery 
tower, from which flames now shoot up. 
The charging of a blast furnace is a sight 
not easily forgotten, any more than the tap- 
ping of it if that operation be performed at 
night. The great blaze up of the inflam- 
mable gases, kept in by the cone at other 
times and conducted wither they can be made 
useful, is striking, as a bursting-out of pent- 
up fires generally is. 

The tapping of a blast furnace at night is 
a sight to see. During the afternoon we can 
see the casting-yard being arranged by a 
man who plans and plots out its area. This 
casting-yard is a kind of garden of an arid 
kind, attached to the blast furnace, and 
spreading for some considerable distance in 
front of it. In it grows nothing but sand 
and occasionally iron. It is prepared and 
plotted out with great care, as if for several 
series of miniature flower-beds connected by 
trim walks and avenues. All this work is 
done by a practised hand, and when it is over 
the hollow spaces blocked out in the sand 
mould are called collectively the “sow” and 
her “pigs.” When it is time to tap the blast 
furnace the clay stopping is knocked away, 
and the molten contents pour in an incan- 
descent stream into the casting-yard. There 


BRUNEL’S VIADUCT, LANDORE. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


are men stationed to knock away the little 
sand-barriers placed to direct the fiery flood, 
and presently the plan moulded by the work- 
man is traced in flame. Not like a lightning- 
flash, but slowly, and amid a thousand sparks 
the lurid mass bestows itself in the spaces 
of the odd kind of maze laid out by the 
caster. It is a beautiful sight, and enduring 
longer than could be imagined. Bit by bit 
each intricacy of the maze is revealed, but 
after a while the light sinks low, and the 
“pigs” of iron are left to grow cold in the 
semi-darkness. 

This is the process, with very slight varia- 
tions, of making raw iron, whatever its 
quality may be, whether fine hematite pig, 
ealled in the trade Bessemer, after the famous 
inventor, Scotch pig or Cleveland. Pig iron 
requires a great deal of working, like the 
Indian or the Catalan raw iron, before it is 
fit for use. When cold, samples are broken 
off the pigs to discover by the fracture 
whether the quality can be depended upon, 
and they are then re-melted for casting, 
puddled into wrought iron, or made into steel 


230 IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


by the Bessemer or the Siemens process. 
The former method has had the effect of 
revolutionising the iron trade and increasing 
the production of steel five hundred fold. At 
Dowlais and at Rhymney, as at Sheffield, 
there are “converters” for making Bessemer 


THE BLAST FURNACES. 
From a Drawing by A. Morrow. 


steel out of the pigs of raw hematite. It is 
a curiously beautiful process, perhaps the 
most strikingly beautiful on a large scale in 
the working of metals. A small tower called 
a cupola is the furnace used for melting the 
pigs selected for conversion. When the 


molten iron has been heated to a high 
temperature it flows in a luminous white 
river into the receptacle known as the “ con- 
verter,” in which the transmutation of metal 
actually takes place. This converter is an 
enormous vessel, like a Brobdingnagian de- 
canter, moving its vast 
gullet up or down on a pair 
of “ears” or elbows, so 
that it can be tilted at any 
moment to the angle re- 
quired. It is made of 
sheet iron, and lined with 
fire-brick or some other 
silicious material capable 
of resisting fire. In some 
respects the converter may 
be considered as a handy 
blast furnace, for it is 
furnished with numerous 
“tuyeres” for administer- 
ing a terrific blast. It is 
very pretty to see the con- 
verter at work. While the 
charge, of some four or five 
tons, of melted pig iron is 
being run in at a red heat, 
it bows in one direction, 
and when the steel is made 
in another. What occurs 
in the converter is the com- 
plete washing of carbon 
out from the iron and the 
addition of just as much as 
will convert it into steel. 
This washing-out, or in a 
harder word, decar-burisa- 
tion, can be effected in two 
ways, by the system of 
Bessemer and that of Sie- 
mens. To continue with 
the former, the molten 
metal in the converter is 
subjected to a blast raising 
it to a temperature which, 
before thetime of Bessemer, 
was supposed to be im- 
possible. Soon after the 
blast is turned on a shower 
of sparks issues from the 
gullet of the decanter. The 
colour of the changing 
flames and sparks, beautiful 
as the bouquet of a cun- 
ning pyrotechnist, reveals the changes in 
the composition of the iron until the carbon 
is entirely expelled. This charming experi- 
ment of practical chemistry on a large scaie 
displays beautiful changes from yellow to 
violet when watched through the spectro- 


4 


IRON AND STEEL MAKING IN SOUTH WALES. 


scope, which tells exactly when the iron is 
thoroughly quit of carbon. Then a charge 
of manganiferous iron is added, the lip of 
the great decanter is lowered, and the incan- 
descent draught poured into a ladle moved 
by strange hidden force as by the arms of 
captive giants. This ladle moves around a 
casting pit and pours into the already pre- 
pared moulds the iron, now converted into 
steel, of such strength, density, and quality 
as may be required. 

The Siemens process pursued at Landore 
differs in some essential particulars from that 
of Bessemer. The pig iron which requires a 
high temperature for proper cleansing from 
carbon is not subjected toa blast as in the 
Bessemer converters, but is boiled, absolutely 
boiled, at an astounding temperature in the 
Siemens gas furnaces, together with raw 
ore and scrap steel. The condition of the 
metal when it is at boiling point can be 
easily judged through a pair of blue spectacles. 
It is not possible, even for eagles, to look upon 
it with the naked eye. Confessedly it was not 
a new idea on the part of the late Sir William 
Siemens to devise a method of cleansing iron 
from carbon by means of boiling it at an 
enormous temperature and mixing with it 
native ore. But it was nevertheless a question 
of temperature, and it was the gas furnace, 
supplied on the spot with material, which 
solved the problem. With tremendous tem- 
perature hematite pig will undoubtedly give 
off its carbon to the iron oxide introduced in 
the shape of raw ore.’ This is, told simply, 
the rationale of the Siemens process, a ques- 
tion of heat and of the introduction of oxygen 
toabsorb carbon. Through the blue spectacles 
it is easy to see a silver sea. The furnace, 
holding a charge of two or three tons of melted 
pig, contains nine inches deep of seething 
iron. On its surface, when the door of the 
furnace is opened, may be seen little wavelets 
and ripples like those seen under a light 
breeze at summer sunrise. It is a little lake 
of molten metal with more than its ordinary 
fluidity. As a rule molten iron and other 
metals have a peculiarly greasy or oily char- 
acter, but the high temperature of the 
Siemens furnace seems to make the metal 
more fluid and to increase its vivacity, so 
that it seems to sparkle when seen through 
the eye-protecting medium. To the purified 
metal is added spiegeleisen sufficient to con- 
vert it into steel, the furnace is tapped, the 
huge ladle called to work, and the iron, now 
converted into steel, is poured into ingot 
moulds. 

Sometimes, if intended to be sold as ingot 


231 


steel, it is allowed to become quite cold, and 
is then shipped by the canal hard by to the 
purchasers. In other cases it is made at once 
into bar, sheet, or angle steel. It is con- 
sidered advisable to lose caloric in letting the 
pig iron cool on account of the advantage of 
sorting the metal, but as little as possible is 
sacrificed during subsequent operations at 
the forge or rolling mills. It is a pretty 
sight to see ship-plates or plates for bridges 
rolled. Let us look for an instant at the 
“three-high ” rolls engaged in rolling a plate 
for the Forth bridge. A little detachment 
of men is laid on to deal with a plate weigh- 
ing some two tons and two hundredweight. 
The great mass of steel is being raised to 
the heat necessary for rolling in a fur- 
nace in the immense building devoted at 
Landore to rolling and hammering purposes. 
At the proper moment the furnace is opened 
and the luminous mass is dragged from its 
burning bed on to a light, but sufficiently 
strong, truck and pushed quickly towards the 
rolling mills. An ingot or “bloom” of the 
great weight specified is not easy to move, 
and it is amusing to see the skill with which 
it is dealt with. Wheeled at a white heat up 
to the “ rolls,” the mass is at first as it were 
reluctantly accepted, and passes into their 
jaws with some difficulty. Then it becomes 
by degrees flatter and flatter until it seems 
that it may become a plate. Backwards and 
forwards, spurting out flames as the jaws of 
the rolling mill close upon it, the great mass 
of incandescent steel is kneaded as if it were 
dough, and flattened out to the required size. 
As the fiery sheet pours out of the rolls boys 
run beside it with brooms soaked in water to 
wash off the oxidised skin of the metal, and 
thus leave a clean surface. While this is 
going on at one set of rolls, others are turn- 
ing out plates and girders, angles and rods, 
and the iron floor on which we stand becomes 
so hot that we are glad to move into a pool 
of water to cool our burning soles. One by 
one the great plates are rolled and laid out 
on the floor. In the course of rolling they 
have become stretched a little at the sides, so 
that they have the look, as they lie red-hot 
on the ground, of the skins of mighty beasts 
recently torn from them and flung down by 
the hunters. Scarlet and crimson in every 
shade they are allowed to cool to a deep grey 
before they are cut by a machine, which 
makes nothing of their weight and thickness, 
into the exact parallelograms required for 
the Forth bridge, and for ship-building pur- 
poses, after which they are stacked in heaps 
ready for delivery. 
Bernarp H. Becker. 


A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


THE little village 
of Cotignola lies in 
what is called 
bassa or low 
Romagna, just 
upon the line 

where the 


high Apen- 
nine country 
steps down 


northward to 
join hands with 
. the great plain of 

Lombardy. It is 

about fourteen 

miles to the west of 
Ravenna, thirty-five or forty south of Ferrara. 
Here it was that—as tradition goes—a pea- 
sant of the village was at work one day in 
the closing years of the fourteenth century. 
As it chanced, a small body of mercenary 
soldiers were passing by, who fell into con- 
versation with the labourer, and admiring, 
we may suppose, the thews and sinews of the 
man, whose name was Muzio Attendolo, tried 
their best to persuade him to quit his homely 
life and join their company. They wrought 
so far with him that at last he resolved to 
commit the decision to fate. He threw his hoe! 
into the tree, saying that if it stayed there 
he would forsake his fields and accept their 
proposals ; if it came down again he would 
resume his daily work. The hoe did stick in 
the tree and Attendolo became a mercenary ; 
in course of time became much more ; became 
one of the most distinguished condottieri or 
leaders of mercenary soldiers in Italy and 
the founder of the house of Sforza. These 
condottieri did not always abide by their 
patronymics. They often adopted — most 
likely to please their men in whose favour 

1 Hatchet, as some relate. 


FRANCESCO SFORZA. 


all their fortunes lay—the nicknames of the 
camp in place of the names they had in- 
herited: so that you have from among 
them such new families as the Badheads 
(Malatesta), such surnames as Spotted Cat 
(Gattamelata), as Strong i’ th’ arm (Forte- 
braccio), or as Piccinino (Petit Caporal, let 
us say). Attendolo, being a man given to 
strong language and strong ways of various 
kinds, got the family name of Sforza, which 
he bequeathed to his children; his son 
Francesco went by no other. 

A remarkable figure this Attendolo Sforza 
and the begetter of men still more remark- 
able. He was born in 1369, and was already 
a famous general at the time of the birth of 
his son, the great Francesco Sforza, just at 
the beginning of the fifteenth century, July 
21 (or 23), 1401. So, if we consider that the 
father had at this date passed through his 
years of probation and had already founded 
the fortunes of his family, we should say 
that the greatness of the house of Sforza 
lasted exactly one century ; for it came to an 
end in 1500. It was just fifty years in rising 
to its climax, which it reached in 1450, when 
Francesco Sforza, long acknowledged the 
greatest general in Italy, became, as Duke 
of Milan, likewise its greatest prince ; and 
then, during the next fifty years it went 
gradually to its decay. 

The century, too, of this family history was 
the very halcyon season of Italian history. 
It was the blossoming time of the Renaissance, 
an age in which, if in moral excellences the 
country did not show at its best, it was by far 
the most influential over the rest of Europe. 
And of the history of the whole country 
during this age the history of the Sforza 
family is in many ways the epitome and the 
type. 
Italy in the fifteenth century of our era 


\ 


— 


A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 233 


has been compared to Greece of the fifth or 
fourth centuries before Christ. To make the 
likeness closest we need in one country to 
travel northward when we have travelled 
southward in the other. Thus, in place of 
Macedon we should have Naples, the most 
feudal of all the Italian states ; for Athens 
and Sparta we should have Florence and 
Venice, for Boeotia and Phocis combined— 
the territory of Thebes and Delphi—we have 
Romagna, the centre of religion, and, as it 
chanced, the nursery ground of great captains 
(for most of the condottieri came from that 


not territorial, but yet, if we knew it, or if 
they themselves had known it, the real 
kingdoms of Italy during this age: for they 
were the only true depositories of power. 
I mean the mercenary armies. It was the 
existence of these and the perfection to which 
the system of mercenary soldiership had been 
carried out in the more modern state which 
made the real difference between ancient 
Greece and Renaissance Italy. Among the 
many arts which Italy has invented and 
passed on to other nations, surely this of 
mercenary soldiership is not the least im- 


FRANCESCO SFORZA, DUKE OF MILAN. 
From a Medal by Speranpio. 


district). But the northern country, Milan, 
lying as it did upon the borders of the “ bar- 
barians,” we can only compare with Ionia in 
the days when it lay in continual dread of the 
powers of the Great King. For the struggle 
for the hegemony between Athens and Sparta 
and Thebes we have in Italy a constant en- 
deavour on the part of Naples and Milan to 
extend their rule over the whole peninsula 
counteracted by an effort equally constant on 
the part of the great republics to preserve 
the balance of power. But there is one other 
thing to note. Beside these territorial king- 
doms in Italy there had sprung up others 


portant: some have defined it as the art of 
getting vicariously performed one of the 
first duties of citizenship—the defence of 
one’s homestead and one’s children. 

Had the mercenaries known their power 
and used it in combination they might have 
obtained the mastery of the whole peninsula. 
But at present they were wholly unconscious 
of their own strength. They were now, in the 
fifteenth century, chiefly divided into two 
opposing bands which preserved little of 
constancy except an almost unquenchable 
animosity towards each other. A kind of or 
ganised anarchy, little else we must call these 


mercenary bands, significant of a deep, fast- 
spreading anarchy in all political life, which 
amid the magnificence and prosperity of those 
days went on unperceived. To be at the head 
of one of the great bands of mercenaries rose 
Attendolo Sforza, at the head of the other 


* 
* 

¥ 
* 
SI 
~ 


GALEAZZO SFORZA. 


was another Romagnese generai, Braccio di 
Montone. Long after the deaths of their 
first commanders the twin corps were known 
by the names of Sforza and Braccio. 

One thing, let us note, which added to the 
general sense of instability in Italian affairs, 
was the uncertainty which began to prevail 
touching ail rights of succession. About 
this time the hereditary princes of Italy began 
to scheme for the succession of their illegiti- 
mate sons to the exclusion in many cases of 
the rightful heir. A precedent was given 
when Sigismond Malatesta succeeded to the 
lordship of Rimini. After old Niccolo d’ Este, 
of Ferrara, came two bastards in succession, 
though he left legitimate children. Finally, 
at Milan, the last of the old line of dukes 
was about to die and leave the succession to 
his natural daughter. This indifference to 
the claims of birth marks how far Italy had 
freed herself from feudal traditions. But in 
lowness of origin, as in many other ways, 
Francesco Sforza outdid all his contem- 
poraries. He was the bastard of a peasant. 

The chief activity of the elder Sforza lay 
in the kingdom of Naples, where also the old 
line was dying out—dwindling down to a 
debauched, middle-aged woman, Joan. She, 
in the hands for the most part of her effete, 
middle-aged lovers, was glad enough to retain 
as her High Constable this famous general, 
who, we may suppose, was more reasonable in 
the matter of payment in fiefs and offices 
than the middle-aged lovers were. And in 
the cause of Joan, Attendolo generally fought ; 


234 A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


only changing sides now and then according 
to the habits of the mercenary soldier of those 
days; so that once, when he came to take his 
oath as High Constable, and there arose some 
dispute over the form of the oath, the queen 
had to say, “ Ask Sforza ; nobody has taken so 
many oaths to me and to my enemies as he has 
done.” But in the main Attendolo seems to 
have been an honest kind of man. We have 
a letter of his written to his son on the 
occasion of Francesco’s marriage, in which he 
exhorts him “to be assiduous above all things 
in the observance of justice to every one. 
When in future years you come to rule, it will 
not only be pleasing in the sight of Heaven, 
but it will cause you to be especially beloved 
by men.” After much fighting Attendolo 
Sforza found himself in the late autumn of 
1423 within sight of the end of his labours ; 
so at least he might reasonably have deemed. 
Alfonso of Aragon, lately her declared heir, 
was now a claimant to the throne of Queen 
Joanna, and had been asserting his claims by 
arms. But in this autumn of 1423 he had 
decided to give up the attempt for the present, 
Sforza, we suppose, proving too invincible. 
He had actually returned to his hereditary 
kingdom ; now there only remained his par- 
tisan in central Italy the Braccio di Montone 
before spoken of, who was at this time engaged 
in besieging Aquila. To relieve the town, 
and, if possible, to bring Braccio to an engage- 
ment and so end the war, Attendolo hastened 
to the north, although the year was drawing 
to a close and the mercenary soldiers were not 
accustomed to fighting in the winter. After 
much maneuvering and delay he arrived 
before Aquila at the beginning of the year 
1424. The town was protected in the front 
by the River Pescara. But Sforza’s plan was 


BONA SFORZA, WIFE OF GALEAZZO. 


to ford the river and fall upon the enemy’s 
rear, and this, on the 4th of January, he 
proceeded to carry out. Unfortunately the 
stream was greatly swollen by winter rains. 
Attendolo and his son Francesco, a seasoned 
soldier now, though not yet twenty-three, had 


.-aemenial 


iteaiite~ 


A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 235 


both crossed, but the former, turning back, 
saw that a large body of his troops were still 
hesitating on the farther side. Being the 
most impatient of men he immediately plunged 
in to re-cross the river and hurry forward 
their passage, not considering how his horse 
might be able to perform this double journey ; 
which in the event it proved quite incapable 
of performing, but after some vain struggles 
swirled round and threw its rider into the 
water. There he, being in heavy armour, 
was seen to rise once and then disappear 
for ever. 


leader who could promise them the highest 
honours and rewards. A general of those 
days had need to add to his other accom- 
plishments some of the talents of a parlia- 
mentary leader. This was, indeed, one of 
the great crises in Francesco Sforza’s life. 
Unless he could persuade his soldiers to 
commit their fortunes to his keeping the 
whole edifice of power which his father had 
built up with so much labour would have 
crumbled to pieces. Such were the con- 
ditions of a condottiere’s life. Braccio, too, 
as soon as he heard of the death of his 


NICCOLO PICCININO. 
From a Medal by PisaNe.o. 


To his son Francesco, aged just twenty- 
two years and six months, now fell the task of 
ruling over the strange nebulous imperium in 
tmperio to which, as his father’s heir, he had 
in a manner succeeded. In a manner only ; 
for though there was a certain code of honour 
and loyalty in these bands, it was of the 
loosest. Sometimes they had been known to 
recognise the rights of succession so far as 
to pass over to the service of the widow 
of their general. But far more frequently 
they considered that the death of their 
captain absolved them from all ties, and that 
they were free to offer themselves to the 


rival, sallied from Aquila expecting an easy 
victory. But he was repulsed. Sforza 
then turned to address his soldiers with 
that ready and convincing eloquence which 
all through his life was a weapon in his 
hands as valuable as his skill and courage 
in the field. He persuaded his band to 
adhere to their old name and the family of 
their commander ; and then he prepared to 
lead them to triumphs far greater than 
any which they had yet achieved. 

Presently he left the scene of his father's 
labours, and entered upon that which was 
destined to be for ever associated with the 


236 A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


greatness of his name. He passed for the 
first time into the service of Filippo Maria 
Visconti, the Duke of Milan. * We are told 
that he made a great impression on the old 
duke by his good looks, by his grace and elo- 
quence—what we should call the gentleman- 
like manners of him. If one can form an 
estimate of his character—a thing hard 
enough out of the lapidary style of biogra- 
phies in those days—Francesco must, among 
all great generals, have been most like to our 
Duke of Marlborough; an imperturbable 
cast-iron soul, humane and just in the main ; 
that is to say, when humanity and justice 
were not too inconvenient, outwardly adorned 
with an unruffled grace of bearing and of 
speech ; graces perhaps not less strange in 
the son of an English squire of the seven- 
teenth century than in the son of an Italian 
peasant of the fifteenth. The portraits which 
we have of Francesco—and the same is true 
of Marlborough—belong to a time when 
he has passed his meridian. All youthful 


GALEAZZO SFORZA. 


softness and beauty have given place to the 
firm hard lines which bespeak the soldier 
and the politician and the life of the camp. 
The stiff roll of hair about the neck seems to 
tell of the constant pressure of a helmet, 
which has, too, we see, worn bald the top of 
his head. 

Francesco, though he held no supreme 
command, soon won golden opinions in the 
Milanese army. He was throughout the 
whole of his long life almost universally 
successful in the field. Only once or twice 
did he come near to receiving a dangerous 
reverse. But his military good-fortune did 
not secure him an unclouded* prosperity in 
other ways. Philip of Milan—the very 
caricature of a suspicious man—was to be 
depended upon for only one thing: that he 
would be sure to distrust any favourable 
impression he had formed either towards a 
person or towards one line of policy. It 
was not long before his suspicions, fanned 
by the whispers of his court, turned towards 


Sforza. He sent messengers to the camp 
ordering him to return to Milan, and with 
secret instructions if necessary to bring him 
by force. Sforza had, indeed, little to fear 
while surrounded by the soldiers of his own 
band, and all his friends urged him not to 
trust himself with such a man as Philip. 
But the condottiere saw that his fortunes 
would be ruined if at that time he had to 
leave the service of the duke. He trusted 
in his own powers of persuasion and, as the 
event proved, he did not trust in vain. 
Philip professed to be completely satisfied, 
and sent him away loaded with fresh honours. 

It may have been this warning, however, 
which determined Sforza to seek a new field 
of enterprise. His marriage with Philip’s 
natural daughter, Bianca Maria, had been 
talked of ; indeed, she had been in a manner 
already promised to Francesco. Never- 
theless, he determined to trust no more 
alone to the fickle favours of his employers, 
as other captains did, but to set to work to 
carve out a principality for himself by the 
arms of his free company. He seized from 
the States of the Church a large territory 
round Ancona. .The Pope was not only 
powerless to resist these encroachments, he 
was obliged even to give them the sanction 
of his authority, and to create the district 
which Sforza had conquered into a marquisate 
of which he made Francesco the marquis. 
At the same time he conferred upon him the 
title of gonfaloniere of the Holy See. This 
acquisition of the Marquisate of Ancona 
marks an era in the history of the Sforza 
family, and as represented by them in the 
fortunes of tho condottiere in Italy. The 
free captains had hitherto been content with 
what one may call the “floating capital” of 
power which was represented by the command 
of their mercenary bands. Many of these, 
who were territorial princes, had neglected 
their hereditary rights to enjoy this freer 
kind of kingship. Some few among those 
who had no hereditary lordship sought to 
obtain one over a single city. Francesco 
was the first of his order whose ambition 
stretched far beyond this point. He dreamed 
of gaining a great principality ; and the first 
step in that direction was taken when he had 
acquired the Marquisate of Ancona. Let us 
note that the acquisition was made in the 
year 1433, so that, according to our previous 
computation, just one-third of a century has 
been occupied in raising the Sforzas to this 
height. We have already said, and shall see 
in the sequel, that to raise them to their 
summit of power took a period of fifty 
years. 


A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


It would seem that the greater princes of 
Italy now for the first time perceived what 
a dangerous military power had risen up in 
their midst. It was well enough to use the 
condottieri in deciding the disputes between 
the great principalities or the ancient repub- 
lics ; convenient enough to have these states 
saved the trouble of personally engaging in 
the combat. But now these mutual jealousies 
had, as it were, hatched the cockatrices’ 
egg; the cockatrice himself anon appeared 
full grown, and began to ask how he was to be 
fed. The only course was to combine, and, if 


237 


advancing from the south ; Philip despatched 
another from the north under Piccinino, the 
hereditary rival of Sforza—for he had suc- 
ceeded to the command of Braccio’s troops— 
and esteemed next to Sforza the first captain 
of his day in Italy. 

Never before or after did Francesco's 
fortunes sink so low. He was now forty- 
two. It was thirty years since he had put 
on armour ; and since his boyhood he had 
been scarcely ever free from the harness. 
Yet it seemed that now the fruits of all his 
toils were about to be snatched away. The 


SIGISMONDO MALATESTA, LORD OF RIMINI 
From a Medal by PisaNnewio. 


possible, to crush the monster. For once the 
powers of Italy laid aside their enmities and 
seemed united for the destruction of the 
Marquis of Ancona. A league was formed 
against him in 1443. The Pope was of course 
only too ready to win back his territory and to 
revenge the insult he had received in being 
stripped of it. Francesco had two years 
before married the daughter of Philip Vis- 
conti. But for the present the Duke of 
Milan was among the bitterest of his enemies. 
At the instigation of Philip and the Pope, 
Alfonso, now King of Naples, joined the 
league. He appeared at the head of an army 


thanes flew from him. Sigismond Malatesta, 
the condottiere, his son-in-law, became the 
more exacting for the pay of his troops the 
more he saw his father embarrassed; and 
the seeds of a quarrel were sown between 
the two which had a tragic ending. Even 
Alessandro Sforza, brother of Francesco, had 
to bow his head to the storm and appear 
among the number of his brother’s enemies. 
Two of Francesco's generals in whom he had 
placed unbounded trust deserted with special 
treachery. Sforza, by an artifice as base, 
obtained his revenge. He wrote letters to 
them which he allowed to fall into the hands 


238 A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


of the enemy. In these letters the deserters 
were addressed as if they still secretly ad- 
hered to the cause of Sforza, and they were 
urged to carry out the project for which they 
had gone over to Alfonso’s camp. The King 
of Naples, of course, fell into the trap. The 
captains were arrested, their troops were 
fallen upon and in great part massacred. 
Shortly afterwards Alfonso, diminished in 
numbers, and suspicious of more treachery, 
withdrew his army from the field. 

Then Sforza turned to meet his foes from 
the north. He had been already reduced 
almost to the last gasp for want of funds, 
most of his cities in Ancona had gone, to- 
gether with all his fiefs in Naples. But he 
showed his enemies that he was still dan- 
gerous. He beat the elder Piccinino at 
Monte Lauro. This was in November, 1443. 
In August of the next year he beat still 
more decisively Piccinino’s two sons Francesco 


LUDOVICO SFORZA. 


and Jacobo at Mont’ Olmo, and this victory 
for the while re-established his fortunes. On 
this occasion it is said that during the earlier 
part of the combat he chanced to be separated 
from the rest of his troops, and when stand- 
ing a moment without his helmet, he was 
surrounded by a body of the enemy. He 
was entirely at their mercy, but the majesty 
of his presence was such that they were 
afraid to lay hands upon him, and let him 
pass through them. 

And now having seen the fortunes of 
Sforza at their lowest ebb, we see them 
rapidly rise. He did indeed -never recover 
the territory he had lost in Ancona; but a 
far more brilliant prospect opened out before 
him by the death in 1447 of his father-in- 
law the Duke of Milan, with no other issue 
than Bianca Maria, Sforza’s wife. Three 
years more of struggle were necessary before 
he firmly established himself in the dukedom. 
But in 1450 this was accomplished, the last 


rung of the ladder was surmounted. Thus 
had Sforza demonstrated that the real king 
in Italy was the greatest general of her 
mercenaries. Had he chosen, it is probable 
that he might have extended his power over 
the whole peninsula, but he was contented 
with what he had won. By the peace of 
Lodi a general tranquillity was secured to 
Italy, founded on a mutual recognition of 
existing rights: a few brief years of rest 
fcr the land before calamities far greater 
than any which she had known for a century 
burst upon her. For after all this mercenary 
warfare, as it had been perfected in Italy, 
might have its advaritages in the eyes of 
those who wished, as we have said, to per- 
form their citizen’s duties vicariously. It 
was a wonderfully humane kind of warfare— 
at least as regarded the soldiers engaged. 
We read sometimes of only two or three 
men being killed in an important engage- 
ment: nay, in one case—a famous battle 
too, that of Anghiari—of only one victim, 
a man-at-arms who fell off his horse and got 
trampled to death, quite accidentally we 
may hope and believe. But such playing at 
war was not the best preparation against 
external foes. The rest of Europe had been 
engaged during this fifteenth century in wars 
of quite a different sort. English invasions 
in France, English expulsion from the same ; 
Wars of the Roses ; Sieges of Granada—the 
last struggle between Christian and Saracen 
in Spain; Zisca and his Bohemian Wars— 
the first struggles between Protestant and 
Catholic in Germany; these had been the 
baptism of fire for the rest of Europe. We 
may predict, therefore, that after these in- 
ternal strifes were ended, should any other 
nation choose to come to blows with Italy, 
with the latter country it would not fare 
so well. 

Francesco left six sons. Three of them 
rose to some eminence, good or ill: Galeazzo 
the eldest, preeminent very much in the 
latter way as a monster of cruelty and vice, 
was assassinated on Christmas Eve, 1476. 
Another son was Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, 
whose tomb the sightseer sees in Sta. Maria 
del Popolo at Rome. He narrowly missed 
being chosen for Pope at the time when 
Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (Alexander VI.) was 
in fact chosen. Ludovico, the youngest but 
one, made himself guardian to Galeazzo’s 
infant boy Gian, and at last rose to the 
dukedom by putting Gian out of the way— 
as was generally believed at the time. In 
truth, for all the ability which still remained 
to it, the fortunes of the house of Sforza 
were now surely on the decline. 


PROP 00 


A FAMILY OF ADVENTURERS: THE SFORZAS OF MILAN. 


There are many instances in history, and 
most of us could cap them with instances 
from our personal experience of a family 
which through the lives of two generations 
has been continually on the rise, and during 
the third has fallen down through an are the 
equal of that along which it ascended. Like 
Dryden’s oak upon a diminished scale— 


“Through one man’s life it grows, through one it 
stays 
, be : » 
Supreme in pride, and in one more decays. 


The House of Lancaster in our national 
history is the type of such a family. The 
Sforza family is an example scarcely less apt. 
The evil fortunes of the house began with 
the murder of Galeazzo in 1476. The con- 
spiracy which brought about this event was 
indeed abortive, in so far as it aimed not 
only at getting rid of a tyrant, but at the 
fall of a dynasty. But destructive forces 
more powerful even than domestic discontent 
were slowly maturing elsewhere. Two years 
after this murder of Galeazzo happened an 
event, small enough in itself, but neverthe- 
less significant as the herald of a storm. 
In 1448 there arose some dispute between 
the Milanese upon the Swiss border, and 
their neighbours beyond it, chiefly with the 
men of Uri. Most of the cantons wished for 
peace, but the Uri men were obstinate, and 
insisted upon that support from the Confede- 
ration to which they were by law entitled, 
and thus in the autumn of the year, 10,000 
Swiss marched into the territory of Milan. 
The Milanese made their best preparations 
to receive them. Presently the great body 
of this army, perceiving that a winter of 
unusual severity was approaching, thought 
it wiser to make their way back to their 
native land, and thither they returned with- 
out ever coming to blows with the Milanese. 
There remained behind, however, less than 


239 


one thousand men—obstinate Uri men doubt- 
less—who had not made such speed to return. 
Against these came on the Milanese com- 
mander with a fine army of fifteen thousand 
troops, chiefly men-at-arms, thinking no 
doubt, that he should give a good account of 
the handful of Swiss foot-soldiers. The 
latter, who were encamped in the little town 
of Giornico, at the approach of the Milanese 
army, withdrew towards the hills behind the 
town. But before they did so the Swiss 
captain had the forethought to open the 
sluices of the meadows in the plain, so that 
they were covered with water, which one 
night’s frost turned into a sheet of ice. On 
came the heavy armed Milanese cavalry, 
when in a moment, without warning, they 
found themselves upon the ice. Their horses, 
floundering about, were unable to advance or 
to retreat. In this plight the Swiss came 
down upon them ; that terrible Swiss phalanx 
which the Burgundians had known two years 
before at Morat and at Granson: which the 
Italians were now to encounter for the first, 
but alas! not for the last time. The Milanese 
were mown down like grass, and the whole 
of Italy, accustomed to the mildness of its 
mercenary wars, saw with horror the carnage 
which a little band of mountaineers were 
capable of committing. 

Twenty years later Italy had an oppor- 
tunity of seeing these same Swiss at a nearer 
view ; when in the army of Charles VIII. 
they passed to the extreme limit of the 
peninsula, and bore their part in the con- 
quest of Naples almost without the need to 
strike a blow. A little later still came 
another French army under Louis XII. to 
the conquest of Milan and the extinction of 
the House of Sforza. But these events 
belong to the history of the whole nation, 
not to that of the single house of adventurers 
which was associated therewith. 

C. F. Keary. 


er Sa 


: 


2 oe 


—.— += - 


THE PATH 


AM glad I said to you the 
other night at Doubleton, 
inquiring—too inquiring 
—compatriot, that I 
wouldn’t undertake to 
tell you the story (about 
Ambrose Tester), but 
would write it out for 
you ; inasmuch as, think- 

ing it over since I came back to town, I see 

that it may really be made interesting. It 
is a story, with a regular development, and 

for telling it I have the advantage that I 

happened to know about it from the first, 

and was more or less in the confidence of 
every one concerned. Then it will amuse 
me to write it, and I shall do so as carefully 
and as cleverly as possible. The first winter 
days in London are not madly gay, so that 

I have plenty of time, and if the fog is 
brown outside, the fire is red within. I like 

the quiet of this season; the glowing 

chimney-corner, in the midst of the Decem- 
ber mirk, makes me think, as I sit by it, of 
all sorts of things. The idea that is almost 
always uppermost is the bigness and strange- 
ness of this London world. Long as I have 
lived here—the sixteenth anniversary of my 
marriage is only ten days off—there is still 

a kind of novelty and excitement init. It 
is a great pull, as they say here, to have 
remained sensitive—to have kept one’s own 
point of view. Imean it’s more entertaining 
—it makes you see a thousand things (not 
that they are all very charming). But the 
pleasure of observation does not in the least 
depend on the beauty of what one observes. 
You see innumerable little dramas; in fact 
almost everything has acts and scenes, like 
a comedy. Very often it is a comedy with 
tears. There have been a good many of 
them, I am afraid, in the case I am speaking 
of. It is because this history of Sir 
Ambrose Tester and Lady Vandeleur struck 
me, when you asked me about the relations 
of the parties, as having that kind of pro- 


OF DUTY.! 


gression, that when I was on the point of 
responding, I checked myself, thinking it a 
pity to tell you a little when I might tell you 
all. I scarcely know what made you ask, 
inasmuch as I had said nothing to excite 
your curiosity. Whatever you suspected, 
you suspected on your own hook, as they 
say. You had simply noticed the pair to- 
gether that evening at Doubleton. If you 
suspected anything in particular, it is a proof 
that you are rather sharp, because they are 
very careful about the way they behave in 
public. At least they think they are. The 
result, perhaps, doesn’t necessarily follow. If 
I have been in their confidence you may say 
that I make a strange use of my privilege 
in serving them up to feed the prejudices of 
an opinionated American. You think Eng- 
lish society very wicked, and my little story 
will probably not correct the impression. 
Though, after all, I don’t see why it should 
minister to it ; for what I said to you (it was 
all I did say) remains the truth. They are 
treading together the path of duty. You 
would be quite right about its being base in 
me to betray them. It is very true that 
they have ceased to confide in me; even 
Joscelind has said nothing to me for more 
than a year. That is doubtless a sign that 
the situation is more serious than before, all 
round—too serious to be talked about. It 
is also true that you are remarkably dis- 
creet, and that even if you were not it 
would not make much difference, inasmuch 
as if you were to repeat my revelations in 
America, no one would know whom you 
were talking about. But all the same, I 
should be base ; and, therefore, after I have 
written out my reminiscences for your delecta- 
tion, I shall simply keep them for my own. 
You must content yourself with the explana- 
tion I have already given you of Sir Ambrose 
Tester and Lady Vandeleur : they are follow- 
ing—hand in hand, as it were—the path of 
duty. This will not prevent me from telling 
everything ; on the contrary, don’t you see ? 


- } Copyrighted in the United States by Henry James. 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 241 


I. 


His brilliant prospects, dated from the 
death of his brother, who had no children, 
had indeed steadily refused to marry. When 
I say brilliant prospects, I mean the vision of 
the baronetcy, one of the oldest in England, 
of a charming seventeenth-century house, 
with its park, in Dorsetshire, and a property 
worth some twenty thousand a-year. Such 
a collection of items is still dazzling to me, 
even after what you would call, I suppose, a 
familiarity with British grandeur, My 
husband isn’t a baronet (or we probably 
shouldn’t be in London in December), and he 
is far, alas, from having twenty thousand a- 
year. The full enjoyment of these luxuries, 
on Ambrose Tester’s part, was dependent 
naturally, on the death of his father, who 
was still very much to the fore at the time I 
first knew the young man. The proof of it 
is the way he kept nagging at his sons, as 
the younger used to say, on the question of 
taking a wife. The nagging had been of no 
avail, as I have mentioned, with regard to 
Francis, the elder, whose affections were 
centred (his brother himself told me) on the 
wine-cup and the faro-table. He was not an 
exemplary or edifying character, and as the 
heir to an honourable name and a fine estate 
was very unsatisfactory indeed. It had been 
possible in those days to put him into the 
army, but it was not possible to keep him 
there, and he was still a very young man 
when it became plain that any parental 
dream of a “career” for Frank Tester was 
exceedingly vain. Old Sir Edmund had 
thought matrimony would perhaps correct 
him, but a sterner process than this was 
needed, and it came to him one day at 
Monaco—he was most of the time abroad— 
after an illness so short that none of the 
family arrived in time. He was reformed 
altogether, he was utterly abolished. The 
second son, stepping into his shoes, 
was such an improvement that it was 
impossible there should be much simula- 
tion of mourning. You have seen him, 
you know what he is, there is very 
little mystery about him. As I am not 
going to show this composition to you, there 
isno harm in my writing here that he is 
—or at any rate he was—a remarkably 
attractive man. I don’t say this because he 
made love to me, but precisely because he 
didn’t. He was always in love with some- 
one else—generally with Lady Vandeleur. 
You may say that in England that usually 
doesn’t prevent ; but Mr. Tester, though he 
had almost no intermissions, didn’t, as a 


general thing, have duplicates. He was not 
provided with a second loved object, “ under- 
studying,” as they say, the part. It was his 
practice to keep me accurately informed of 
the state of his affections—a matter about 
which he was never in the least vague. 
When he was in love he knew it and rejoiced 
in it, and when by a miracle he was not he 
greatly regretted it. He expatiated to me 
on the charms of other persons, and this 
interested me much more than if he had 
attempted to direct the conversation to my 
own, as regards which I had no illusions. 
He has told me some singular things, and I 
think I may say that for a considerable 
period my most valued knowledge of English 
society was extracted from this genial youth. 
I suppose he usually found me a woman of 
good counsel, for certain it is that he has 
appealed to me for the light of wisdom in 
very extraordinary predicaments. In his 
earlier years he was perpetually in hot water ; 
he tumbled into scrapes as children tumble 
into puddles. He invited them, he invented 
them ; and when he came to tell you how his 
trouble had come about (and he always told 
the whole truth), it was difficult to believe 
that a man should have been so idiotic. 

And yet he was not an idiot ; he was sup- 
posed to be very clever, and certainly is very 
quick and amusing. He was only reckless, 
and extraordinarily natural, as natural as if 
he had been an Irishman. In fact, of all the 
Englishmen that I have known he is the 
most Irish in temperament (though he has 
got over it comparatively of late). I used to 
tell him that it was a great inconvenience 
that he didn’t speak with a brogue, because 
then we should be forewarned, and know with 
whom we were dealing. He replied that, by 
analogy, if he were Irish enough to have a 
brogue he would probably be English, which 
seemed to me an answer wonderfully in 
character. Like most young Britons of his 
class he went to America, to see the great 
country, before he was twenty, and he took 
a letter to my father, who had occasion, 
& propos of some pickle of course, to render 
him a considerable service. This led to his 
coming to see me—I had-already been living 
here three or four years—on his return ; 
and that, in the course of time, led to our 
becoming fast friends, without, as I tell you, 
the smallest philandering on either side. But 
I mustn’t protest too much; I shall excite 
your suspicion, “If he has made love to so 
many women, why shouldn’t he have made 
love to you?”—some inquiry of that sort 
you will be likely to make. I have answered 
it already, “‘ Simply on account of those very 

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THE PATH OF DUTY. 243 


“ No, it isn’t you,” said my visitor, betray- 
ing by his tone that it was some one, though 
he didn't say whom. “That’s all rot, of 
course ; one marries sooner or later, and I 
shall do like every one else. If I marry 
before I die, it’s as good as if I marry before 
he dies, isn’t it? I should be delighted to 
have the governor at my wedding, but it 
isn’t necessary for the legality, is it?” 

I asked him what he wished me to do, and 
how I could help him. He knew already 
my peculiar views, that Iwas trying to get 
husbands for all the girls of my acquaintance 
and to prevent the men from taking wives. 
The sight of an unmarried woman afflicted 
me, and yet when my male friends changed 
their state I took it as a personal offence. 
He let me know that so far as he was con- 
cerned I must prepare myself for this injury, 
for he had given his father his word that 
another’ twelvemonth should not see him a 
bachelor. The old man had given him carte 
blanche, he made no condition beyond exacting 
that the lady should have youth and health. 
Ambrose Tester, at any rate, had taken a 
vow and now he was going seriously to look 
about him. I said to him that what must 
be must be, and that there were plenty of 
charming girls about the land, among whom 
he could suit himself easily enough. There 
was no better match in England, I said, and 
he would only have to make his choice. That 
however is not what I thought, for my real 
reflections were summed up in the silent 
exclamation, “ What a pity Lady Vandeleur 
isn’t a widow!” I hadn’t the smallest doubt 
that if she were he would marry her on the 
spot ; and after he had gone I wondered con- 
siderably what she thought of this turn in 
his affairs. If it was disappointing to me, 
how little it must be to her taste! Sir 
Edmund had not been so much out of the 
way in fearing there might be obstacles to 
his son’s taking the step he desired. 
Margaret Vandeleur was an obstacle. I 
knew it as well as if Mr. Tester had told me. 

I don’t mean there was anything in their 
relation he might not freely have alluded to, 
for Lady Vandeleur, in spite of her beauty and 
her tiresome husband, was not a woman who 
could be accused of an indiscretion. Her 
husband was a pedant about trifles—the shape 
of his hat-brim, the pose of his coachman, 
and cared for nothing else; but she was as 
nearly a saint as one may be when one has 
rubbed shoulders for ten years with the best 
society in Europe. It is a characteristic of 
that society that even its.saints are suspected, 
and I go too far in saying that little pin- 
pricks were not administered, in considerable 


numbers, to her reputation. But she didn’t 
feel them, for still more than Ambrose 
Tester she was a person to whose happiness 
a good conscience was necessary. I should 
almost say that for her happiness it was 
sufficient, and, at any rate, it was only those 
who didn’t know her that pretented to speak 
of her lightly. If one had the honour of her 
acquaintance one might have thought her 
rather shut up to her beauty and her 
grandeur, but one couldn’t but feel there was 
something in her composition that would 
keep her from vulgar aberrations. Her 
husband was such a feeble type that she 
must have felt doubly she had been put upon 
her honour. To deceive such a man as that 
was to make him more ridiculous than he 
was already, and from such a result a woman 
bearing his name may very well have 
shrunk. Perhaps it would have been worse 
for Lord Vandeleur, who had every pre- 
tention of his order and none of its amia- 
bility, if he had been a better, or at least, a 
cleverer man. When a woman behaves so 
well she is not obliged to be careful, and 
there is no need of consulting appearances 
when one is one’s self an.appearance. Lady 
Vandeleur accepted Ambrose Tester’s atten- 
tions, and heaven knows they were frequent ; 
but she had such an air of perfect equilibrium 
that one couldn’t see her, in imagination, 
bend responsive. Incense was incense, but 
one saw her sitting quite serene among the 
fumes. That honour of her acquaintance of 
which I just now spoke it had been given me 
to enjoy ; that is to say I met her a dozen 
times in the season in a hot crowd, and we 
smiled sweetly and murmured a vague ques- 
tion or two, without hearing, or even trying 
to hear, each other’s answer. If J] knew that 
Ambrose Tester was perpetually in and out 
of her house and always arranging with her 
that they should go to the same places, I 
doubt whether she, on her side, knew how 
often he came to see me. I don’t think he 
would have let her know, and am conscious, 
in saying this, that it indicated an, advanced 
state of intimacy (with her,.I mean). 

I also doubt very much whether he asked 
her to look about, on his behalf, for a future 
Lady Tester. This request he was so good 
as to make of me; but I told him I would 
have nothing to do with the matter. If 
Joscelind is unhappy, I am thankful to say 
the responsibility is not mine. I have found 
English husbands for two or three American 
girls, but providing English wives is a dif- 
ferent affair. I know the sort of men that 
will suit women, but one would have to be 
very clever to know the sort of women 

R 2 


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242 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


engagements.” He couldn’t make love to 
every one, and with me it wouldn’t have 
done him the least good. It was a more 
amiable weakness than his brother’s, and he 
has always behaved very well. How well he 
behaved on a very important occasion is 
precisely the subject of my story. 

He was supposed to have embraced the 
diplomatic career; had been secretary of 
legation at some German capital ; but after 
his brother’s death he came home and looked 
out fora seat in Parliament. He found it 
with no great trouble and has kept it ever 
since. No one would have the heart to turn 
him out, he is so good-looking. It’s a great 
thing to be represented by one of the hand- 
somest men in England, it creates such a 
favourable association of ideas. Any one 
would be amazed to discover that the borough 
he sits for, and the name of which I am 
always forgetting, is not a very pretty place. 
I have never seen it, and have no idea that 
it isn’t, and I am sure he will survive every 
revolution. The people must feel that if they 
shouldn’t keep him some monster would be 
returned. You remember his appearance, 
how tall, and fair, and strong he is, and 
always laughing, yet without looking silly. 
He is exactly the young man girls in America 
figure to themselves—in the place of the hero 
—when they read English novels, and wish 
to imagine something very aristocratic and 
Saxon. A “bright Bostonian” who met him 
once at my house, exclaimed as soon as he 
had gone out of the room, “ At last, at last, 
I behold it, the moustache of Roland Tre- 
mayne !” 

“ Of Roland Tremayne !” 

“Don’t you remember in A Lawless Love, 
how often it’s mentioned, and how glorious 
and golden it was? Well, I have never seen 
it till now, but now I have seen it!” 

If you hadn’t seen Ambrose Tester, the 
best description I could give of him would 
be to say that he looked like Roland Tre- 
mayne. I don’t know whether that hero 
was a “strong Liberal,” but this is what Sir 
Ambrose is supposed to be. (He succeeded 
his father two years ago, but I shall come to 
that.) He is not exactly what I should call 
thoughtful, but he is interested, or thinks he 
is, in a lot of things that I don’t understand, 
and that one sees and skips in the news- 
papers—volunteering, and redistribution, and 
sanitation, and the representation of minors 
—minorities—what is it? When I said just 
now that he is always laughing, I ought to 
have explained that I didn’t mean when he 
is talking to Lady Vandeleur. She makes 
him serious, makes him almost solemn ; by 


which I don’t mean that she bores him. Far 
from it ; but when he is in her company he 
is thoughtful ; he pulls his golden moustache, 
and Roland Tremayne looks as if his vision 
were turned in, and he were meditating on her 
words. He doesn’t say much himself; it is 
she—she used to be so silent—who does the 
talking. She has plenty to say to him; she 
describes to him the charms that she dis- 
covers in the path of duty. He seldom 
speaks in the House, I believe, but when he 
does it’s off-hand, and amusing, and sensible, 
and every one likes it. He will never be a 
great statesman, but he will add to the soft- 
ness of Dorsetshire, and remain, in short, a 
very gallant, pleasant, prosperous, typical 
English gentleman, with a name, a fortune, 
a perfect appearance, a devoted, bewildered 
little wife, a great many reminiscences, a 
great many friends (including Lady Vande- 
leur and myself), and, strange to say, with 
all these advantages, something that faintly 
resembles a conscience. 


IL 


Five years ago he told me his father 
insisted on his marrying—would not hear of 
his putting it off any longer. Sir Edmund 
had been harping on this string ever since 
he came back from Germany, had made it 
both a general and a particular request, 
not only urging him to matrimony in the 
abstract, but pushing him into the arms of 
every young woman in the country. Ambrose 
had promised, procrastinated, temporised ; 
but at last he was at the end of his evasions, 
and his poor father had taken the tone 
of supplication. ‘ He thinks immensely of 
the name, of the place and all that, and he 
has got it into his head that if I don’t marry 
before he dies, I won’t marry after.” So 
much I remember Ambrose Tester said to me. 
“It’s a fixed idea ; he has got it on the brain. 
He wants to see me married with his eyes, 
and he wants to take his grandson in his 
arms. Not without that will he be satisfied 
that the whole thing will go straight. He 
thinks he is nearing his end, but he isn’t— 
he will live to see a hundred, don’t you think 
sot—and he has made me a solemn appeal 
to put an end to what he calls his suspense. 
He has an idea some one will get hold of 
me—some woman I can’t marry. As if J] 
were not old enough to take care of myself !” 

“ Perhaps he is afraid of me,” I suggested, 
facetiously. 


atc 


244 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


that will suit men. I told Ambrose Tester 
that he must look out for himself, but, in 
spite of his promise, I had very little belief 
that he would do anything of the sort. I 
thought it probable that the old baronet 
would pass away without seeing a new gene- 
ration come in ; though when I intimated as 
much to Mr. Tester, he made answer in sub- 
stance (it was not quite so crudely said) that 
his father, old as he was, would hold on till 
his bidding was done, and if it should not be 
done, he would hold on out of spite. “Oh, 
he will tire me out;” that 1 remember 
Ambrose Tester did say. I had done him 
injustice, for six months later he told me he 
was engaged. It had all come about very 
suddenly. From one day to the other the 
right young woman had been found. I 
forget who had found her; some aunt or 
cousin, I think ; it had not been the young 
man himself. But when she was found, he 
rose to the occasion ; he took her up seriously, 
he approved of her thoroughly, and I am not 
sure that he didn’t fall a little in love with 
her, ridiculous (excuse my London tone) as 
this accident may appear. He told me that 
his father was delighted, and I knew after- 
wards that he had good reason to be. It 
was not till some weeks later that I saw the 
girl; but meanwhile I had received the 
pleasantest impression of her, and this im- 
pression came—must have come—mainly 
from what her intended told me. That 
proves that he spoke with some positiveness, 
spoke as if he really believed he was doing a 
good thing. I had it on my tonguc’s end to 
ask him how Lady Vandeleur liked her, but 
I fortunately checked this vulgar inquiry. 
He. liked her evidently, as I say ; every one 
liked her, and when I knew her I liked her 
better even than the others. I like her to- 
day more than ever; it is fair you should 
know that, in reading this account of her 
situation. It doubtless colours my picture, 
gives a point to my sense of the strangeness 
of my little story. 

Joscelind Bernardstone came of a military 
race, and had been brought up in camps—by 
which I don’t mean she was one of those 
objectionable young women who are known 
as garrison hacks. She was in the flower of 
her freshness, and had been kept in the tent, 
receiving, as an only daughter, the most 
“particular” education from the excellent 
Lady Emily (General Bernardstone married 
a daughter of Lord Clanduffy), who looks 
like a pink-faced rabbit, and is (after Josce- 
lind) one of the nicest women I know. 
When I met them in a country-house, a few 
weeks after the marriage was “ arranged,” 


as they say here, Joscelind won my affections 
by saying to me, with her timid directness 
(the speech made me feel sixty years old) 
that she must thank me for having been so 
kind to Mr. Tester. You saw her at Double 
ton, and you will remember that though she 
has no regular beauty, many a prettier 
woman would be very glad to look like her. 
She is as fresh as a new-laid egg, as light as 
a feather, as strong as a mail-phaeton. She 
is perfectly mild, yet she is clever enough to 
be sharp if she would. I don’t know that 
clever women are necessarily thought ill- 
natured, but it is usually taken for granted 
that amiable women are very limited. Lady 
Tester is a refutation of the theory, which 
must have been invented by a vixenish 
woman who was not clever. She has an 
adoration for her husband, which absorbs 
her without in the least making her silly, 
unless indeed it is silly to be modest, as in 
this brutal world I sometimes believe. Her 
modesty is so great that being unhappy has 
hitherto presented itself to her as a form of 
egotism—that egotism which she has too 
much delicacy to cultivate. She is by no 
means sure that if being married to her 
beautiful baronet is not the ideal state she 
dreamed it, the weak point of the affair is 
not simply in her own presumption. It 
doesn’t express her condition, at present, to 
say that she is unhappy or disappointed, or 
that she has a sense of injury. All this is 
latent ; meanwhile, what is obvious, is that 
she is bewildered—she simply doesn’t under- 
stand, and her perplexity, to me, is un- 
speakably touching. She looks about her 
for some explanation, some light. She fixes 
her eyes on mine sometimes, and on those of 
other people, with a kind of searching dumb- 
ness, as if there were some chance that I— 
that they—may explain, may tell her what 
it is that has happened to her. I can 
explain very well—but not to her—only to 
you! 


III. 


It was a brilliant match for Miss Bernard- 
stone, who had no fortune at all, and all her 
friends were of the opinion that she had done 
very well. After Easter she was in London 
with her people, and I saw a good deal of 
them, in fact, [rather cultivated them. They 
might perhaps even have thought me a little 
patronising, if they had been given to think- 
ing that sort of thing. But they were not; 
that is not in their line. English people are 


be Lend en Slip Behe A Rie at ate 


an 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 245 


very apt to attribute motives—some of them 
attribute much worse ones than we poor 
simpletons in America recognise, than we 
have even heard of! But that is only some 
of them ; others don’t, but take everything 
literally and genially. That was the case 
with the Bernardstones ; you could be sure 
that on their way home, after dining with 
you, they wouldn’t ask each other how in 
the world any one could call you pretty, or 
say that many people did believe, all the same, 
that you had poisoned your grandfather. 
Lady Emily was exceedingly gratified at 
her daughter's engagement; of course she 
was very quiet about it, she didn’t clap her 
hands or drag in Mr. Tester’s name ; but it 
was easy to see that she felt a kind of mater- 
nal peace, an abiding satisfaction. The young 
man behaved as well as possible, was con- 
stantly seen with Joscelind, and smiled down 
at her in the kindest, most protecting way. 
They looked beautiful together—you would 
have said it was a duty for people whose 
colour matched so well to marry. Of course 
he was immensely taken up, and didn’t come 
very often to see me ; but he came sometimes, 
and when he sat there he had a look which I 
didn’t understand at first. Presently I saw 
what it expressed; in my drawing-room he 
was off duty, he had no longer to sit up and 
play a part ; he would lean back and rest and 
draw a long breath, and forget that the day 
of his execution was fixed. There was to be 
no indecent haste about the marriage ; it was 
not to take place till after the session, at 
the end of August. It puzzled me and 
rather distressed me that his heart shouldn’t 
be a little more in the matter; it seemed 
strange to be engaged to so charming a gir] 
and yet go through with it as if it were 
simply a social duty. If one hadn’t been in 
love with her at first, one ought to have been 
at the end of a week or two. If Ambrose 
Tester was not (and to me he didn’t pretend 
to be), he carried it off, as I have said, better 
than I should have expected. He was a 
gentleman, and he behaved like a gentleman 
—with the added punctilio, I think, of being 
sorry for his betrothed. But it was difficult 
to see what, in the long run, he could expect 
to make of sucha position. If aman marries 
an ugly, unattractive woman for reasons of 
state, the thing is comparatively simple ; it is 
understood between them, and he need have 
no remorse at not offering her a sentiment of 
which there has been no question. But when 
he picks out a charming creature to gratify his 
father and les convenances, it is not so easy to 
be happy in not being able to care for her. 
It seemed to me that it would have been 


much: better for Ambrose Tester to bestow 
himself upon a girl who might have given 
him an excuse for tepidity. His wife should 
have been healthy but stupid, prolific but 
morose. Did he expect to continue not to be 
in love with Joscelind, or to conceal from her 
the mechanical nature of his attentions? It 
was difficult to see how he could wish to do 
the one or succeed in doing the other. Did 
he expect such a girl as that would be happy 
if he didn’t love her? and did he think him- 
self capable of being happy if it should turn 
out that she was miserable? If she shouldn’t 
be miserable—that is, if she should be in- 
different, and, as they say, console herself, 
would he like that any better ? 

I asked myself all these questions and I 
should have liked to ask them of Mr. Tester ; 
but I didn’t, for after all he couldn’t have 
answered them. Poor young man! he didn’t 
pry into things as I do; he was not analytic, 
like us Americans, as they say in reviews. 
He thought he was behaving remarkably 
well, and so he was—for a man ; that was 
the strange part of it. It had been proper 
that in spite of his reluctance he should take 
a wife, and he had dutifully set about it. As 
a good thing is better for being well done, he 
had taken the best one he could possibly find. 
He was enchanted with—with his young 
lady, you might ask? Not in the least ; 
with himself ; that is the sort of person a 
man is! Their virtues are more dangerous 
than their vices, and heaven preserve you 
when they want to keep a promise! It is 
never a promise to you, you will notice. A 
man will sacrifice a woman to live as a gentle- 
man should, and then ask for your sympathy 
—for him! And I don’t speak of the bad 
ones, but of the good. They, after all, are 
the worst. Ambrose Tester, as I say, didn’t 
go into these details, but synthetic as he 
might be, was conscious that his position was 
false. He felt that sooner or later, and 
rather sooner than later, he would have to 
make it true—a process that couldn’t possibly 
be agreeable. He would really have to make 
up his mind to care for his wife or not to 
care for her. What would Lady Vandeleur 
say to one alternative, and what would little 
Joscelind say to the other? That is what it 
was to have a pertinacious father and to be an 
accommodating son. With me, it was easy 
for Ambrose Tester to be superficial, for, as 
I tell you, if I didn’t wish to engage him, I 
didn’t. wish to disengage him, and I didn’t 
insist. Lady Vandeleur insisted, I was afraid ; 
to be with her was of course very complicated ; 
even more than Miss Bernardstone she must 
have made him feel that his position. was 


246 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


false. I must add that he once mentioned to 
me that she had told him he ought to marry. 
At any rate it is an immense thing to be a 
pleasant fellow. Our young fellow was so 
universally pleasant that of course his fiancée 
came in for her share. So did Lady Emily, 
suffused with hope, which made her pinker 
than ever; she told me he sent flowers even 
to her. One day in the Park, I was riding 
early ; the Row was almost empty. I came 
up behind a lady and gentleman who were 
walking their horses, close to each other, side 
by side. Ina moment I recognised her, but 
not before seeing that nothing could have 
been more benevolent than the way Ambrose 
Tester was bending over his future wife. If 
he struck me as a lover at that moment, of 
course he struck her so. But that isn’t the 
way they ride to-day. 


ag 


One day, about the end of June, he came 
in to see me when I had two or three other 
visitors ; you know that even at that season 
I am almost always at home from six to 
seven. He had not been three minutes in 
the room before I saw that he was different 
—different from what he had been the last 
time, and I guessed that something had hap- 
pened in relation to his marriage. My 
visitors didn’t, unfortunately, and they staid 
and staid until I was afraid he would have to 
go away without telling me what, I was sure, 
he had come for. But he sat them out; I 
think that by exception they didn’t find him 
pleasant. After we were alone he abused 
them a little, and then he said, “ Have you 
heard about Vandeleur ? He’s very ill. She’s 
awfully anxious.” I hadn’t heard, and I 
told him so, asking a question or two; then 
my inquiries ceased, my breath almost failed 
me, for I had become aware of something 
very strange. The way he looked at me when 
he told me his news was a full confession—a 
confession so full that I had needed a moment 
to take it in. He was not too strong a man 
to be taken by surprise—not so strong but 
that in the presence of an unexpected occasion 
his first movement was to look about for a 
little help. I venture to call it help, the sort 
of thing he came to me for on that summer 
afternoon. It is always help when a woman 
who is hot an idiot lets an embarrassed man 
take up her time. If he too is not an idiot, 
that doesn’t diminish the service; on the 
contrary his superiority to the average helps 
him to profit. Ambrose Tester had said to 


me more than once, in the past, that he was 
capable of telling me things, because I was 
an American, that he wouldn’t contide to his 
own people. He had proved it before this, as 
I have hinted, and I must say that being an 
American, with him, was sometimes a ques- 
tionable honour. I don’t know whether he 
thinks us more discreet and more sympathetic 
(if he keeps up the system : he has abandoned 
it with me), or only more insensible, more 
proof against shocks ; but it is certain that, 
like some other Englishmen I have known, 
he has appeared, in delicate cases, to think I 
would take a comprehensive view. When I 
have inquired into the grounds of this dis- 
crimination in our favour, he has contented 
himself with saying, in the British-cursory 
manner’ “Oh, I don’t know; you are dif- 
ferent!” I remember he remarked once 
that our impressions were fresher. And Iam 
sure that now it was because of my nation- 
ality, in addition to other merits, that he 
treated me to the confession I have just 
alluded to, At least I don’t suppose he would 
have gone about saying to people in general, 
“Her husband will probably die, you 
know ; then why shouldn’t I marry Lady 
Vandeleur?” 

That was the question which his whole 
expression and manner asked of me, and of 
which, after a moment, I decided to take no 
notice. Why shouldn’t he? There was an 
excellent reason why he shouldn’t. It would 
just kill Joscelind Bernardstone ; that was 
why he shouldn’t! The idea that he should 
be ready to do it frightened me, and in- 
dependent as he might think my point of 
view, I had no desire to discuss such abomin- 
ations. It struck me as an abomination at 
this very first moment, and I have never 
wavered in my judgment.of it. I am always 
glad when I can take the measure of a thing 
as soon as I see it ; it’s a blessing to feel what 
we think, without balancing and comparing. 
It’s a great rest, too, and a great luxury. 
That, as I say, was the case with the feeling 
excited in me by this happy idea of Ambrcse 
Tester’s. Cruel and wanton I thought it then, 
cruel and wanton I thought it later, when it 
was pressed upon me. I knew there were 
niany other people that didn’t agree with me, 
and I can only hope for them that their con- 
viction was as quick and positive as mine ; it 
all depends upon the way a thing strikes one. 
But I will add to this another remark. I 
thought I was right then, and I still think I 
was right ; but it strikes me as a pity that 
I should have wished so much to be right. 
Why couldn’t I be content to be wrong? to 
renounce my influence (since I appeared to 


ee 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 247 


the mystic article), and let my young 
friend do as he liked? As you observed the 
situation at Doubleton, shouldn’t you say it 
was of a nature to make one wonder whether, 
after all, one did render a service to the 
younger lady? 

At all events, as I say, I gave no sign to 
Ambrose ‘Tester that I understood him, that 
I guessed what he wished to come to. He got 
no satisfaction out of me that day; it is 
very true that he made up for it later. I 
expressed regret at Lord Vandeleur’s illness, 
inquired into its nature and origin, hoped it 
wouldn’t prove as grave as might be feared, 
said I would call at the house and ask about 
him, commiserated discreetly her ladyship, 
and in short gave my young man no chance 
whatever. He knew that I had guessed his 
arriére-pensée, but he let me off for the 
moment, for which I was thankful; either 
because he was still ashamed of it, or be- 
cause he supposed I was reserving myself 
for the catastrophe—should it occur. Well, 
my dear, it did occur, at the end of ten days. 
Mr. Tester came to see me twice in that in- 
terval, each time to tell me that-poor Van- 
deleur was worse ; he had some internal in- 
flammation which, in nine cases out of ten, 
is fatal. His wife was all devotion, she 
was with him night and day. I had the 
news from other sources as well ; I leave you 
to imagine whether in London, at the height 
of the season, such a situation could fail to 
be considerably discussed. To the discussion 
as yet, however, I contributed little, and with 
Ambrose Tester nothing at all. I was still 
on my guard. I never admitted for a moment 
that it was possible there should be any 
ehange in his plans. By this time, I think, 
he had quite ceased to be ashamed of his 
idea, he was in a state almost of exaltation 
about it ; but he was very angry with me for 
not giving him an opening. 

As I look back upon the matter now, 
there is something almost amusing in the 
way we watched each other—he thinking 
that I evaded his question only to torment 
him (he believed me, or pretended to believe 
me, capable of this sort of perversity), and 
I determined not to lose ground by betraying 
an insight into his state of mind which he 
might twist into an expression of sympathy. 
I wished to leave my sympathy where I had 
placed it, with Lady Emily and her daughter, 
of whom I continued, bumping against them 
at parties, to have some observation. They 
gave no signal of alarm ; of course it would 
have been premature. The girl, I am sure, 
had no idea of the existence of a rival. 
How they had kept her in the dark I don’t 


know ; but it was easy to see she was too 
much in love to suspect or to criticise. With 
Lady Emily it was different; she was a 
woman of charity, but she touched the world 
at too many points not to feel its vibrations. 
However, the dear little woman planted her- 
self firmly ; to the eye she was still enough. 
It was not from Ambrose Tester that I first 
heard of Lord Vandeleur’s death; it was 
announced, with a quarter of a column of 
“ padding,” in the Jimes. I have always 
known the Times was a wonderful journal, 
but this never came home to me so much 
as when it produced a quarter of a column 
about Lord Vandeleur. It was a triumph 
of word-spinning. If he had carried out his 
vocation, if he had been a tailor or a hatter 
(that’s how I see him), there might have 
been something to say about him. But he 
missed his vocation, ke missed everything 
but. posthumous honours. I was so sure 
Ambrose Tester would come in that after- 
noon, and so sure he knew I should expect 
him, that I threw over an engagement on 
purpose, But he didn’t come in, nor the 
next day, nor the next. There were two 
possible explanations of his absence. One 
was that he was giving all his time to con- 
soling Lady Vandeleur ; the other was that 
he was giving it all, as a blind, to Joscelind 
Bernardstone. Both proved incorrect, for 
when he at last turned up he told me he 
had been for a week in the country, at his 
father’s. Sir Edmund also had been unwell ; 
but he had pulled through better than poor 
Lord Vandeleur. I wondered at first whether 
his son had been talking over with him the 
question of a change of base; but guessed 
in a moment that he had not suffered this 
alarm. I don’t think that Ambrose would 
have spared him if he had thought it neces- 
sary to give him warning ; but he probably 
held that his father would have no ground 
for complaint so long as he should marry 
some one; would have no right to remon- 
strate if he simply transferred his contract. 
Lady Vandeleur had had two children (whom 
she had lost), and might,. therefore, have 
others whom she shouldn’t lose; that would 
have been a reply to nice discriminations on 
Sir Edmund’s part. 


Vv. 


In reality, what the young man had been 
doing was thinking it over beneath. his 
ancestral oaks and beeches. His counte- 


248 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


nance showed this—showed it more than 
Miss Bernardstone could have liked. He 
looked like a man who was crossed, not like 
a man who was happy, in love. I was no 
more disposed than before to help him out 
with his plot, but at the end of ten minutes 
we were articulately discussing it. When 
I say we were, I mean he was; for I sat 
before him quite mute, at first, and amazed 
at the clearness with which, before his con- 
science, he had argued his case. He ‘had 
persuaded himself that it was quite a simple 
matter to throw over poor Joscelind and keep 
himself free for the expiration of Lady 
Vandeleur’s term of mourning. The delibe- 
rations of an impulsive man sometimes land 
him in strange countries. Ambrose Tester 
confided his plan. to me as a tremendous 
secret. He professed to wish immensely to 
know how it appeared to me, and whether 
my woman’s wit couldn’t discover for him 
some loophole big enough round, some honour- 
able way of not keeping faith. Yet at the 
same time he seemed not to foresee that I 
should, of necessity, be simply horrified. 
Disconcerted and perplexed (a little), that 
he was prepared to find me; but if I had 
refused, as yet, to come to his assistance, 
he appeared to suppose it was only because 
of the real difficulty of suggesting to him 
that perfect pretext of which he was in want. 
He evidently counted upon me, however, for 
some illuminating proposal, and I think he 
would have liked to say to me—“ You have 
always pretended to be a great friend of 
mine ’’-—-I hadn’t; the pretension was all 
on his side—“and now is your chance to 
show it. Go to Joscelind and make her feel 
(women have a hundred ways of doing that 
sort of thing), that through Vandeleur’s 
death the change in my situation is complete. 
If she is the girl I take her for, she will 
know what to do in the premises.” 

I was not prepared to oblige him to this 
degree, and I lost no time in telling him so, 
after my first surprise at seeing how definite 
his purpose had become. His contention, after 
all, was very simple. He had been in love 
with Lady Vandeleur for years, and was 
now more in love with her than ever. There 
had been no appearance of her being, within 
a calculable period, liberated by the death 
of her husband. This nobleman was—he 
didn’t say what just then (it was too soon)— 
but he was only forty years old, and in such 
health and preservation as to make such a 
contingency infinitely remote. Under these 
circumstances, Ambrose had been driven, for 
the most worldly reasons—he was ashamed 
of them, pah !—into an engagement with a 


girl he didn’t love, and didn’t pretend to 
love. Suddenly the unexpected occurred ; 
the woman he did love had become accessible 
to him, and all the relations of things were 
altered. Why shouldn’t he alter, too !—why 
shouldn’t Miss Bernardstone alter, Lady 
Emily alter, and every one alter? It would 
be wrong in him to marry Joscelind in so 
changed a world—a moment’s consideration 
would certainly assure me of that. He could 
no longer carry out his part of the bargain, 
and the transaction must stop before it went 
any further. If Joscelind knew, she would 
be the first to recognise this, and the thing 
for her now was to know. 

“Go and tell her, then, if you are so sure 
of it,” Isaid. “I wonder you have put it 
off so many days.” 

He looked at me with a melancholy eye. 
“Of course I know it’s beastly awkward.” 

It was beastly awkward certainly ; there 
1 could quite agree with him, and this was 
the only sympathy he extracted from me. 
It was impossible to be less helpful, less 
merciful, to an embarrassed young man than 
I was on that occasion. But other occasions 
followed very quickly, on which Mr. Tester 
renewed his appeal with greater eloquence. 
He assured me that it was torture to be with 
his intended, and every hour that he didn’t 
break off committed him more deeply and 
more fatally. I repeated only once my 
previous question— asked him only once 
why then he didn’t tell her he had changed 
his mind. The inquiry was idle, was even 
unkind, for my young man was in a very 
tight place. He didn’t tell her, simply 
because he couldn’t, in spite of the anguish 
of feeling that his chance to right himself 
was rapidly passing away. When I asked 
him if Joscelind appeared to have guessed 
nothing, he broke out, “ How in the worl| 
can she guess, when I am so kind to her? I 
am so sorry for her, poor little wretch, that 
I can’t help being nice to her. And from 
the moment I am nice to her she thinks it’s 
all right.” 

I could see perfectly what he meant by 
that, and I liked him more for this little 
generosity than I disliked him for his ne- 
farious scheme. In fact, I didn’t dislike 
him at all when I saw what an influence my 
judgment would have on him. I very soon 
gave him the full benefit of it. I had thought 
over his case with all the advantages of his 
own presentation of it, and it was impossible 
for me to see how he could decently get rid 
of the girl. That, as I have said, had been 
my original opinion, and quickened reflection 
only confirmed it. As I have also. said, I 


BD tilicncs 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 249 


hadn’t in the least recommended him to 
become engaged ; but once he had done so I 
recommended him to abide by it. It was all 
very well being in love with Lady Vande- 
leur ; he might be in love with her, but he 
hadn’t promised to marry her. It was all 
very well not being in love with Miss 
Bernardstone ; but, as it happened, he had 
promised to marry her, and in my country 
a gentleman was supposed to keep such 
promises. If it was a question of keeping 
them only so long as was convenient, where 
would any of us be? I assure you I became 
very eloquent and moral —yes, moral, I 
maintain the word, in spite of your perhaps 
thinking (as you are very capable of doing) 
that I ought to have advised him in just the 
opposite sense. It was not a question of 
love, but of marriage, for he had never 
promised to love poor Joscelind. It was 
useless his saying it was dreadful to marry 
without love; he knew that he thought it, 
and the people he lived with thought it, 
nothing of the kind. Half his friends had 
married on those terms. “ Yes, and a pretty 
sight their private life presented!” That 
might be, but it was the first time I had 
ever heard him say it. A fortnight before 
he had been quite ready to do like the others. 
I knew what I thought, and I suppose I 
expressed it with some clearness, for my 
arguments made him still more uncom- 
fortable, unable as he was either to accept 
them or to act in contempt of them. Why 
he should have cared so much for my opinion 
is a mystery I can’t elucidate ; to understand 
my little story, you must simply swallow it. 
That he did care is proved by the exaspera- 
tion with which he suddenly broke out— 
“Well, then, as I understand you, what you 
recommend me is to marry Miss Bernard- 
stone, and carry on an intrigue with Lady 
Vandeleur !” 

He knew perfectly that I recommended 
nothing of the sort, and he must have been 
very angry to indulge in this boutade. He 
told me that other people didn’t think as I 
did—that every one was of the opinion that 
between a woman he didn’t love and a 
woman he had adored for years it was a plain 
moral duty not to hesitate. ‘ Don’t hesitate 
then!” I exclaimed ; but I didn’t get rid 
of him with this, for he returned to the 
charge more than once (he came to me so 
often that I thought he must neglect both 
his other alternatives), and let me know again 
that the voice of society was quite against 
my view. You will doubtless be surprised 
at such an intimation that he had taken 
“society”’ into his confidence, and wonder 


whether he went about asking people whether 
they thought he might back out. I can’t tell 
you exactly, but I know that for some weeks 
his dilemma was a great deal talked about. 
His friends perceived he was at the parting 
of the roads, and many of them had no diffi- 
culty in saying which one they would take. 
Some observers thought he ought to do 
nothing, to leave things as they were. Others 
took very high ground and discoursed upon the 
sanctity of love and the wickedness of really 
deceiving the girl, as that would be what it 
would amount to (if he should lead her to 
the altar). Some held that it was too late to 
escape, others maintained that it is never too 
late. Some thought Miss Bernardstone very 
much to be pitied ; some reserved their com- 
passion for Ambrose Tester; others, still, 
lavished it upon Lady Vandeleur. The pre- 
vailing opinion, I think, was that he ought 
to obey the promptings of his heart—London 
cares so much for the heart! Or is it that 
London is simply ferocious, and always pre- 
fers the svectacle that is more entertaining ? 
As it would prolong the drama for the young 
man to throw over Miss Bernardstone there 
was a considerable readiness to see the poor 
girl sacrificed She was like a Christian 
maiden in the Roman arena. That is what 
Ambrose Tester meant by telling me that 
public opinion was on his side. I don’t think 
he chattered about his quandary, but people, 
knowing his situation, guessed what was 
going on in his mind, and he on his side 
guessed what they said. London discussions 
might as well go on in the whispering-gallery 
of St. Paul’s. 

I could of course do only one thing—I 
could but re-aflirm my conviction that the 
Roman attitude, as I may call it, was cruel, 
was falsely sentimental. This naturally 
didn’t help him as he wished to be helped— 
didn’t remove the obstacle to his marrying 
in a year or two Lady Vandeleur. Yet he 
continued to look to me for inspiration—I 
must say it at the cost of making him appear 
a very feeble-minded gentleman. There was 
a moment when I thought him capable of an 
oblique movement, of temporising with a 
view to escape. If he succeeded in post- 
poning his marriage long enough, the 
Bernardstones would throw him over, and I 
suspect that for a day he entertained the 
idea of fixing this responsibility on them. 
But he was too honest and too generous to do 
so for longer, and his destiny was staring him 
in the face when an accident gave him a 
momentary relief. General Bernardstone 
died, after an illness as sudden and short as 
that which had carried off Lord Vandeleur.; 


250 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


his wife and daughter were plunged into 
mourning and immediately retired into the 
country. A week later we heard that the 
girl’s marriage would be put off for several 
months—partly on account of her mourning 
and partly because her mother, whose only 
companion she had now become, could not bear 
to part with her at the time originally fixed 
and actually so near. People of course looked 
at each other—said it was the beginning of 
the end, a “dodge” of Ambrose Tester’s. I 
wonder they didn’t accuse him of poisoning 
the poor old general. I know to a certainty 
that he had nothing to do with the delay, 
that the proposal came from Lady Emily, 
who, in her bereavement, wished, very natur- 
ally, to keep a few months longer the child 
she was going to lose for ever. It must 
be said, in justice to her prospective son-in- 
law, that he was capable either of resigning 
himself or of frankly (with however many 
blushes) telling Joscelind he couldn’t keep 
his agreement, but was not capable of trying 
to wriggle out of his difficulty. The plan of 
simply telling Joscelind he couldn’t—this 
was the one he had fixed upon as the best, 
and this was the one of which I remarked 
to him that it had a defect which should be 
counted against its advantages. The defect 
was that it would kill Joscelind on the spot. 

I think he believed me, and his believing 
me made this unexpected respite very wel- 
come to him. There was no knowing what 
might happen in the interval, and he passed 
a large part of it in looking for an issue. 
And yet, at the same time, he kept up the 
usual forms with the girl whom in his heart 
he had renounced. I was told more than 
once (for I had lost sight of the pair during 
the summer and autumn), that these forms 
were at times very casual, that he neglected 
Miss Bernardstone most flagrantly and had 
quite resumed his old intimacy with Lady 
Vandeleur. I don’t exactly know what was 
meant by this, for she spent the first three 
months of her widowhood in complete 
seclusion, in her own old house in Norfolk, 
where he certainly was not staying with her. 
I believe he staid some time, for the part- 
ridge shooting, at a place a few miles off. 
It came to my ears that if Miss Bernard- 
stone didn’t take the hint it was because she 
was determined to stick to him through 
thick and thin. She never offered to let him 
off, and I was sure-she never would; but I 
was equally sure that, strange as it may 
appear, he had not ceased to be nice to her. 
I have never exactly understood why he 
didn’t hate her, and I am convinced that he 
was not a comedian in his conduct to her— 


he was only a good fellow. I have spoken 
of the satisfaction that Sir Edmund took in 
his daughter-in-law that was to be; he 
delighted in looking at her, longed for her 
when she was out of his sight, and had her, 


with her mother, staying with him in the — 


country for weeks together. If Ambrose 
was not so constantly at her side as he 
might have been, this deficiency was covered 
by his father’s devotion to her, by her 
appearance of being already one of the 
family. Mr. Tester was away as he might 
be away if they were already married. 


VI. 


In October I met him at Doubleton ; we 
spent three days there together. He was 
enjoying his respite, as he didn’t scruple to 
tell me, and he talked to me a great deal— 
as usual-——about Lady Vandeleur. He didn’t 
mention Joscelind’s name, except by implica- 
tion in this assurance of how much he valued 
his weeks of grace. 

“Do you mean to say that, under the cir- 
cumstances, Lady Vandeleur is willing to 
marry you?” 

I made this inquiry more expressively, 
doubtless, than , before; for when we had 
talked of the matter then he had naturally 
spoken of her consent as a simple con- 
tingency. It was contingent upon the lapse 
of the first months of her bereavement ; it 
was not a question he could begin to press a 
few days after her husband’s death. 

“ Not immediately, of course, but if I wait, 
I think so.” That, I remember, was his 
answer. 

“Tf you wait till you get rid of that poor 
girl, of course.” 

“ She knows nothing about that— it’s none 
of her business.” 

“Do you mean to say she doesn’t know 
you are engaged #” 

“How should she know it, how should she 
believe it, when she sees how I love her?’ 
the young man exclaimed ; but he admitted 
afterwards that he had not deceived her, and 
that she rendered full justice to the motives 
that had determined him. He thought he 
could answer for it that she would marry 
him some day or other. 

“Then she is a very cruel woman,” I 
said, “and I should like, if you please, to 
hear no more about her.” He _ protested 
against this, and, a month later, brought her 
up again, for a purpose. The purpose, you 
will see, was a very strange one indeed. I 


Pe eee 


nhc 16 et aia ale RE AGATE 


‘] 
a 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 


had then come back to town; it was the 
early part of December. I supposed he was 
hunting, with his own hounds; but he 
appeared one afternoon in my drawing-room 
and told me I should do him a great favour 
if I would go and see Lady Vandeleur. 

“Go and see her? where do you mean, 
in Norfolk?” 

“She has come up to London—didn’t you 
know it? She has a lot of business. She 
will be kept here till Christmas ; I wish you 
would go.” 

“Why should I go?’ I asked. “Won't 
you be kept hero till Christmas too, and 
isn’t that company enough for her ?” 

“Upon my word, you are cruel,” he said, 
“and it’s a great shame of you, when a man is 
trying to do his duty and is behaving like a 
saint.” 

“Ts that what you call saintly, spending 
all your time with Lady Vandeleur? I will 
tell you whom I think a saint, if you would 
like to know.” 

“You needn’t tell me, I know it better 
than you. I haven’t a word to say against 
her; only she is stupid and hasn’t any per- 
ceptions. If I am stopping a bit in London 
you don’t understand why ; it’s as if you 
hadn’t any perceptions either! If I am here 
for a few days, 1 know what I am about.” 

“Why should I understand?” I asked— 
not very candidly, because I should have 
been glad to. “It’s your own affair, you 
know what you are about, as you say, and 
of course you have counted the cost.” 

“ What cost do you mean? It’s a pretty 
cost, I can tell you.” And then he tried to 
explain—if I would only enter into it, and 
not be so suspicious. He was in London 
for the express purpose of breaking off. 

“ Breaking off what—your engagement ?”’ 

“No, no,damn my engagement—the other 
thing. My acquaintance, my relations— 

“Your intimacy with Lady Van—?” It 
was not very gentle, but I believe I burst 
out laughing. “If this is the way you break 
off, pray what would you do to keep up?” 

He flushed, and looked both foolish and 
angry, for of course it was not very diffi- 
eult to see my point. But he was—in a 
very clumsy manner of his own—trying to 
cultivate a good conscience, and he was 
getting no credit for it. “I suppose I may 
be allowed to look at her! It’s a matter 
we have to talk over. One doesn’t drop 
such a friend in half an hour.” 

“One doesn’t drop her at all, unless one 
has the strength to make a sacrifice.” 

“ It’s easy for you to talk of sacrifice. You 
don’t know what she is!” my visitor cried. 


251 


“T think I know what she is not. She 
is not a friend, as you eall her, if she 
encourages you in the wrong, if she doesn’t 
help you. No, I have no patience with her,” 
I declared ; “I don’t like her, and I won’t 
go to see her!” 

Mr. Tester looked at me a moment, as if 
he were too vexed to trust himself to speak. 
He had to make an effort not to say some- 
thing rude. That effort, however, he was 
capable of making, and though he held his 
hat as if he were going to walk out of the 
house, he ended by staying, by putting it 
down again, by leaning his head, with his 
elbows on his knees, in his hands, and groan- 
ing out that he had never heard of anything 
so impossible, and that he was the most 
wretched man in England. I was very sorry 
for him, and of course I told him so; but 
privately I didn’t think he stood up to his 
duty as he ought. I said to him, however, 
that if he would give me his word of honour 
that he would not abandon Miss Bernard- 
stone, there was no trouble I wouldn’t take 
to be of use to him. I didn’t think Lady 
Vandeleur was behaving well. He must 
allow me to repeat that; but if going to see 
her would give him any pleasure (of course 
there was no question of pleasure for ier) 
I would go fifty times. I couldan’t imagine 
how it would help him, but I would do it as 
I would do anything else he asked me. He 
didn’t give me his word of honour, but he 
said quietly, “ J shall go straight ; you needn’t 
be afraid ;” and as he spoke there was honour 
enough in his face. This ieft an opening, 
of course, for another catastrophe. There 
might be further postponements,; and poor 
Lady Emily, indignant for the first time in 
her life, might declare that her daughter's 
situation had become intolerable and that 
they withdrew from the engagement. But 
this was too odious a chance, and I accepted 
Mr. Tester’s assurance. He told me that 
the good I could do by going to see Lady 
Vandeleur was that it would cheer her up, 
in that dreary, big house in Upper Brook 
Street, where. she was absolutely alone, with 
horrible overalls on the furniture, and news- 
papers—actually newspapers—on the mirrors. 
She was seeing no one, there was no one to 
see ; but he knew she would see me. I asked 
him if she knew, then, he was to speak to 
me of coming, and whether I might allude 
to him, whether it was not too delicate. I 
shall never forget his answer to this, nor 
the tone in which he made it, blushing a 
little, and looking away. “ Allude to me! 
Rather!” It was not the most fatuous 
speech I had ever heard; it had the effect 


252 


of being the most modest ; and it gave me 
an odd idea, and especially a new one, of the 
condition in which, at any time, one might 
be destined to find Lady Vandeleur. If she, 
too, were engaged in a struggle with her 
conscience (in this light they were an edifying 
pair !) it had perhaps changed her consider- 
ably, made her more approachable ; and I 
reflected, ingeniously, that it probably had 
a humanising effect upon her. Ambrose 
Tester didn’t go away after I had told him 
that I would comply with his request. He 
lingered, fidgeting with his stick and gloves, 
and I perceived that he had more to tell me, 
and that the real reason why he wished me 
to go and see Lady Vandeleur was not that 
she had newspapers on her mirrors. He came 
out with it at last, for that “ Rather !” of his 
(with the way I took it) had broken the ice. 

“You say you don’t think she behaves 
well,” (he naturally wished to defend her). 
“ But I daresay you don’t understand her 
position. Perhaps you wouldn’t behave any 
better in her place.” 

“Tt’s very good of you to imagine me 
there!” I remarked, laughing. 

“ It’s awkward for me tosay. One doesn’t 
want to dot one’s i’s to that extent.” 

“She would be delighted to marry you. 
That’s not such a mystery.” 

“Well, she likes me awfully,” Mr. Tester 
said, looking like a handsome child. “ It’s 
not all on one side, it’s on both. That’s the 
difficulty.” 

“You mean she won't let you go?—she 
holds you fast?” 

But the poor fellow had, in delicacy, said 
enough, and at this he jumpedup. He stood 
there a moment, smoothing his hat; then 
he broke out again. “Please do this. Let 
her know—make her feel. You can bring 
it in, you know.” And here he paused, 
embarrassed. 

“ What can I bring in, Mr. Tester? That’s 
the difficulty, as you say.” 

“What you told me the other day. You 
know. What you have told me before.” 

“ What I have told you. . .?” 

“That it would put an end to Joscelind! 
If you can’t work round to it, what’s the 
good of being—you?” And with this tribute 
to my powers he took his departure. 


VII. 


It was all very well of him to be so flat- 
tering, but I really didn’t see myself talking 
in that manner to Lady Vandeleur. I 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 


wondered why he didn’t give her this in- 
formation himself, and what particular value 
it could have as coming from me. Then [ 
said to myself that of course he had men- 
tioned to her the truth I had impressed upon 
him (and which by this time he had evidently 
taken home), but that to enable it to produce 
its full effect upon Lady Vandeleur the 
further testimony of a witness more indepen- 
dent was required. There was nothing for 
me but to go and see her, and I went the 
next day, fully conscious that to execute Mr. 
Tester’s commission I should have either to 
find myself very brave or to find her 
strangely confidential; and fully prepared, 
also, not to be admitted. But she received 
me, and the house in Upper Brook Street 
was as dismal as Ambrose Testcr had repre- 
sented it. The December fog (the afternoon 
was very dusky), seemed to pervade the 
muffled rooms, and her ladyship’s pink lamp- 
light to waste itself in the brown atmosphere. 
He had mentioned to me that the heir to the 
title (a cousin of her husband), who had left 
her unmolested for several months, was now 
taking possession of everything, so that what 
kept her in town was the business of her 
“turning out,” and certain formalities con- 
nected with her dower. This was very ample, 
and the large provision made for her included 
the London house. She was very gracious 
on this occasion, but she certainly had remark- 
ably little to say. Still, she was different, 
or at any rate (having taken that hint), I 
saw her differently. I saw, indeed, that I 
had never quite done her justice, that I had 
exaggerated her stiffness, attributed to her a 
kind of conscious grandeur which was in 
reality much more an accident of her ap- 
pearance, of her figure, than a quality of her 
character. Her appearance is as grand as 
you know, and on the day I speak of, in her 
simplified mourning, under those vaguely- 
gleaming lambris, she looked as beautiful as 
a great white lily. She is very simple and 
good-natured ; she will never make an advance, 
but she will always respond to one, and I saw, 
that evening, that the way to get on with 
her was to treat her as if she were not too 
imposing. I saw also that, with her nun-like 
robes and languid eyes, she was a woman who 
might be immensely in love. All the same, 
we hadn’t much to say to each other. She 
remarked that it was very kind of me to 
come, that she wondered how I could endure 
London at that season, that she had taken a 
drive and found the Park too dreadful, that 
she would ring for some more tea if I didn’t 
like what she had given me. Our conversa- 
tion wandered, stumbling a little, among 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 


these platitudes, but no allusion was made on 
either side to Ambrose Tester. Nevertheless, 
as I have said, she was different, though it 
was not till I got home that I phrased to 
myself what I had detected. 

Then, recalling her white face, and the 
deeper, stranger expression of her beautiful 
eyes, I entertained myself with the idea that 
she was under the influence of “suppressed 
exaltation.” The more I thought of her the 
more she appeared to me not natural ; wound 
up, as it were, to a calmness beneath which 
there was a deal of agitation. This would 
have been nonsense if I had not, two days 
afterwards, received a note from her which 
struck me as an absolutely “exalted” pro- 
duction. Not superficially, of course ; to the 
casual eye it would have been perfectly com- 
monplace. But this was precisely its pecu- 
liarity, that Lady Vandeleur should have 
written me a note which had no apparent 
point save that she should like to see me 
again, a desire for which she did succeed in 
assigning a reason. She reminded me that 
she was paying no calls, and she~ hoped I 
wouldn’t stand on ceremony, but come in 
very soon again, she had enjoyed my visit so 
much. We had not been on note-writing 
terms, and there was nothing in that visit to 
alter our relations; moreover, six months 
before, she would not have dreamed of ad- 
dressing me in that way. I was doubly con- 
vinced, therefore, that she was passing through 
a crisis, that she was not in her normal state 
of nerves. Mr. Tester had not reappeared 
since the occasion I have described at length, 
and I thought it possible he had been capable 
of the bravery of leaving town. I had, how- 
ever, no fear of meeting him in Upper Brook 
Street ; for, according to my theory of his 
relations with Lady Vandeleur, he regularly 
spent his evenings with her, it being clear to 
me that they must dine together. I could 
answer her note only by going to see her the 
next day, when I foundabundant confirmation 
of that idea about the crisis. I must confess 
to you in advance that I have never really 
understood her behaviour—never understood 
why she should have taken to me so suddenly 
—with whatever reserves, and however much 
by implication merely—into her confidence. 
All I can say is that this is an accident to 
which one is exposed with English people, 
who, in my opinion, and contrary to common 
report, are the most demonstrative, the most 
expansive, the most gushing in the world. I 
think she felt rather isolated at this moment, 
and she had never had many intimates of 
her own sex. That sex, as a general thing, 
disapproved of her proceedings during the 


253 


last few months, held that she was making 
Joscelind Bernardstone suffer too cruelly. She 
possibly felt the weight of this censure, and 
at all events was not above wishing some 
one to know that whatever injury had fallen 
upon the girl to whom Mr. Tester had so 
stupidly engaged himself, had not, so far as 
she was concerned, been wantonly inflicted. 
I was there, I was more or less aware of 
her situation, and I would do as well as any 
one else. 

She seemed really glad to see me, but she 
was very nervous. Nevertheless, nearly half 
an hour elapsed, and I was still wondering 
whether she had sent for me only to discuss 
the question of how a London house whose 
appointments had the stamp of a debased 
period (it had been thought very handsome 
in 1850) could be “done up” without being 
made esthetic. I forget what satisfaction 
I gave her on this point ; I was asking myself 
how I could work round in the manner pre- 
scribed by Joscelind’s intended. At the last, 
however, to my extreme surprise, Lady 
Vandeleur herself relieved me of this effort. 

“TI think you know Mr. Tester rather 
well,” she remarked, abruptly, irrelevantly, 
and with a face more conscious of the bear- 
ings of things than any I had ever seen her 
wear. On my confessing to such an acquaint- 
ance, she mentioned that Mr. Tester (who had 
been in London a few days—perhaps I had 
seen him) had left town and wouldn’t come 
back for Several weeks. This, for the moment, 
seemed to be all she had to communicate ; 
but she sat looking at me from the corner of 
her sofa as if she wished me to profit in some 
way by the opportunity she had given me. 
Did she- want help from outside, this proud, 
inscrutable woman, and was she reduced to 
throwing out signals of distress? Did she 
wish to be protected against herself—ap- 
plauded for such efforts as she had already 
made? I didn’t rush forward, I was not 
precipitate, for I felt that now, surely, I 
should be able at my convenience to execute 
my commission. What concerned me was 
not to prevent Lady Vandeleur’s marrying 
Mr. Tester, but to prevent Mr. Tester’s 
marrying her. In a few moments—with the 
same irrelevance—she announced to me that 
he wished to, and asked whether I didn’t 
know it. I saw that this was my chance, 
and instantly, with extreme energy, I ex- 
claimed— 

“ Ah, for heaven’s sake don’t listen to 
him! It would kill Miss Bernardstone !” 

The tone of my voice made her colour a 
little, and she repeated: “Miss Bernard- 
stone?” 


254 THE PATH OF DUTY. 


“The girl he is engaged to—or has been 
—don’t you know? Excuse me, I thought 
every one knew.” 

“ Of course I know he is dreadfully en- 
tangled. He was fairly hunted down.” 
Lady Vandeleur was silent a moment, and 
then she added, with a strange smile, “ Fancy, 
in such a situation, his wanting to marry 
me!” 

“Fancy!” I replied. I was so struck 
with the oddity of her telling me her secrets 
that for the moment my indignation did not 
come to a head—my indignation, I mean, at 
her accusing poor Lady Emily (and even the 
girl herself) of having “trapped ” our friend. 
Later I said to myself that I supposed she 
was within her literal right in abusing her 
rival, if she was trying sincerely to give him 
up. “I don’t know anything about his 
having been hunted down,’ I said ; “ but this 
I do know, Lady Vandeleur, I assure you, 
that if he should throw Joscelind over she 
would simply go out like that!” And I 
snapped my fingers. 

Lady Vandeleur listened to this serenely 
enough ; she tried at least to take the air 
of a woman who has no need of new argu- 
ments. “Do you know her very well?” she 
asked, as if she had been struck by my 
calling Miss Bernardstone by her Christian 
name. 

“Well enough to like her very much.” 
I was going to say “to pity her ; ” but I 
thought better of it. 

“She must be a person of very little spirit. 
If a man were to jilt me, I don’t think I 
should go out!” cried her ladyship with a 
laugh. 

“ Nothing is more probable than.that she 
has not your courage or your wisdom. She 
may be weak, but she is passionately in love 
with him.” 

I looked straight into Lady Vandeleur’s 
eyes as I said this, and I was conscious that 
it was a tolerably good description of my 
hostess. 

“Do you think she would really die?” 
she asked in a moment. 

“Die as if one should stab her with a 
knife. Some people don’t believe in broken 
hearts,” I continued. “TI didn’t till I knew 
Joscelind Bernardstone ; then I felt that she 
had one that wouldn't be proof.” 

“One ought to live—one ought always to 
live,” said Lady Vandeleur; “and always 
to hold up one’s head.” 

“ Ah, I suppose that one oughtn’t to feel at 
all, if one wishes to be a great success.” 

“What do you call a great success?” she 
asked. 


“Never having occasion to be pitied.” 

“Being pitied? That must be odious!” 
she said; and I saw that though she might 
wish for admiration, she would nevér. wish 
for sympathy. Then, in a moment, she 
added that men, in her opinion, were very 
base—a remark that was deep, but not, I 
think, very honest ; that is, in so far as the 
purpose of it had been to give me the idea 
that Ambrose Tester had done nothing but 
press her, and she had done nothing but 
resist. They were very odd, the discrepan- 
cies in the statements of each of this pair ; 
but it must be said for Lady Vandeleur that 
now that she had made up her mind (as I 
believed she had) to sacrifice herself, she 
really persuaded herself that she had not had 
a moment of weakness. She quite unbosomed 
herself, and I fairly assisted at her crisis. 
It appears that she had a conscience—very 
much so, and even a high ideal of duty. 
She represented herself as moving heaven 
and earth to keep Ambrose Tester up to the 
mark, and you would never have guessed 
from what she told me that she had enter- 
tained ever so faintly the idea of marrying 
him. Iam sure this was a dreadful perver- 
sion, but I forgave it on the score of that 
exaltation of which I have spoken. The 
things she said, and the way she said them, 
come back to me, and I thought that if she 
looked as handsome as that when she 
preached virtue to Mr. Tester, it was no 
wonder he liked the sermon to be going on 
perpetually. 

“T dare say you know what old friends we 
are; but that doesn’t make any difference, 
does it? Nothing would induce me to marry 
him—I haven’t the smallest intention of 
marrying again. It is not a time for me to 
think of marrying, before his lordship has 
been dead six months. The girl is nothing 
to me; I know nothing about her, and I 
don’t wish to know; but I should be very, 
very sorry if she were unhappy. He is the 
best friend I ever had, but I don’t see that 
that’s any reason I should marry him, do 
you?” Lady Vandeleur appealed to me, but 
without waiting for my answers, asking 
advice in spite of herself, and then remem- 
bering it was beneath her dignity to appear 
to be in need of it. “I have told him that 
if he doesn’t act properly I shall never speak 
to him again. She’s a charming girl, every 
one says, and I have no doubt she will make 
him perfectly happy. Men don’t feel things 
like women, I think, and if they are coddled 
and flattered they forget the rest. I have 
no doubt she is very sufficient for all that. 
For me, at any rate, once I see a thing in a 


N 
x 
4 
| 


THE PATH OF DUTY. — 255 


certain way, I must abide by that. I think 
people are so dreadful—they do such horrible 
things. They don’t seem to think what 
one’s duty may be. I don’t know whether 
you think much about that, but really one 
must at times, don’t you think so? Every 
one is so selfish, and then, when they have 
never made an effort or a sacrifice them- 
selves, they come to you and talk such a lot 
of hypocrisy. I know so much better than 
any one else whether I should marry or not. 
But I don’t mind telling you that I don’t 
see why I should. I am not in such a bad 
position—with my liberty and a decent 
maintenance.” 

In this manner she rambled on, gravely 
and communicatively, contradicting herself 
at times ; not talking fast (she never did), 
but dropping one simple sentence, with an 
interval, after the other, with a certain rich- 
ness of voice which always was part of the 
charm of her presence. She wished to be 
convinced against herself, and it was a com- 
fort to her to hear herself argue. I was 
quite willing to be part of the audience, 
though I had to confine myself to very super- 
ficial remarks; for when I had said the 
event I feared would kill Miss Bernardstone 
I had said everything that was open to me. 
I had nothing to do with Lady Vandeleur’s 
marrying, apart from that. I probably dis- 
appointed her. She had caught a glimpse of 
the moral beauty of self-sacrifice, of a certain 
ideal of conduct (I imagine it was rather 
new to her), and would have been glad to 
elicit from me, as a person of some expe- 
rience of life, an assurance that such joys 
are not insubstantial. I had no wish to 
wind her up to a spiritual ecstasy from 
which she would inevitably descend again, 
and I let her deliver herself according to her 
humour, without attempting to answer for 
it that she would find renunciation the road 
to bliss. I believed that if she should give up 
Mr. Tester she would suffer accordingly ; but 
I didn’t think that a reason for not giving 
him up. Before I left her she said to me 
that nothing would induce her to do any- 
thing that she didn’t think right. “It 
would be no pleasure to me, don’t you see? 
I should be always thinking that another 
way would have been better. Nothing 
would induce me—nothing, nothing!” 


Vill. 


She protested too much, perhaps, but the 
event seemed to show that she was in earnest. 
I have described these two first visits of mine 


in some detail, but they were not. the only 
ones I paid her. I saw her several times 
again, before she left town, and we became 
intimate, as London intimacies are measured. 
She ceased to protest (to my relief, for it made 
me nervous), she was very gentle,and gracious, 
and reasonable, and there was something in 
the way she looked and spoke that told me 
that for the present she found renunciation 
its own reward. So far, my scepticism was put 
to shame; her spiritual ecstasy maintained it- 
self. If I could have foreseen then that it would 
maintain itself till the present hour I should 
have felt that Lady Vandeleur’s moral nature 
is finer indeed than mine. I heard from 
her that Mr. Tester remained at his father’s, 
and that Lady Emily and her daughter were 
also there. The day for the wedding had 
been fixed, and the preparations were going 
rapidly forward. Meanwhile—she didn’t tell 
me, but I gathered it from things she dropped 
—she was in almost daily correspondence with 
the young man. I thought this a strange 
concomitant of his bridal arrangements ; but 
apparently, henceforth, they were bent on 
convincing each other that the torch of virtue 
lighted their steps, and they couldn’t cenvince 
each other too much. She intimated to me 
that she had now effectually persuaded him 
(always by letter), that he would fail terribly 
if he should try to found his happiness on an 
injury done to another, and that of course 
she could never be happy (in a union with 
him), with the sight of his wretchedness be- 
fore her. That a good deal of correspondence 
should be required to elucidate this is perhaps 
after all not remarkable. One day, when I 
was sitting with her (it was just before she 
left town), she suddenly burst into tears. 
Before we parted I said to her that there 
were several women in London I liked very 
much—that was common enough-—but for her 
I had a positive respect, and that was rare. 
My respect continues still, and it sometimes 
makes me furious. 

About the middle of January Ambrose 
Tester reappeared in town. He told me he 
came to bid me good-bye. -He was going to 
be beheaded. It was no use saying that old 
relations would be the same after a man 
was married ; they would be different, every- 
thing would be different. I had wanted him 
to marry, and now I should see how I liked 
it. He didn’t mention that I had also 
wanted him not to marry, and I was sure 
that if Lady Vandeleur had become his wife, 
she would have been a much greater im- 
pediment to our harmless friendship than 
Joscelind Bernardstone would ever be. It 
took me but a short time to observe that he 


was in very much the same condition as 
Lady Vandeleur. He was finding how sweet 
it is to renounce, hand in hand with one we 
love. Upon him, too, the peace of the Lord 
had descended. He spoke of his father’s 
delight at the nuptials being so near at 
hand; at the festivities that would take 
place in Dorsetshire when he should bring 
home his bride. The only allusion he made 
to what we had talked of the last time we 
were together was to exclaim suddenly— 
“How can I tell you how easy she has 
made it? She is so sweet, so'noble. She 
really is a perfect creature!” I took for 
granted that he was talking of his future 
wife, but in a moment, as we were at cross- 
purposes, perceived that he meant Lady 
Vandeleur. This seemed to me really omi- 
nous. It stuck in my mind after he had 
left me. I was half tempted to write him 
a note, to say, “ There is, after all, perhaps, 
something worse than your jilting Miss 
Bernardstone would be; and that is the 
danger that your rupture with Lady Van- 
deleur may become more of a bond than 
your marrying her would have been. For 
Heaven's sake, let your sacrifice be a sacrifice ; 
keep it in its proper place !” 

Of course I didn’t write ; even the slight 
responsibility I had already incurred began 
to frighten me, and I never saw Mr. Tester 
again till he was the husband of Joscelind 
Bernardstone. They have now been married 
some four years ; they have, two children, 
the eldest of whom is, as he should be, a 
boy. Sir Edmund waited till his grandson 
had made good his place in the world, and 
then, feeling it was safe, he quietly, genially 
surrendered his trust. He died, holding the 
hand of his daughter-in-law, and giving it 
doubtless a pressure which was an injunction 
to be brave. I don’t know what he thought 
of the success of his plan for his son; but 
perhaps, after all, he saw nothing amiss, for 
Joscelind is the last woman in the world to 
have troubled him with her sorrows. From 
him, no doubt, she successfully concealed that 
bewilderment on which I have touched. 
You see I speak of her sorrows as if they 
were a matter of common recognition ; 
certain it is that any one who meets her 
must see that she doesn’t pass her life in 
joy. Lady Vandeleur, as you know, has 
never married again; she is still the most 
beautiful widow in England. She enjoys 


THE PATH OF DUTY. 


the esteem of every one, as well as 
the approbation of her conscience, for 
every one knows the sacrifice she made, 
knows that she was even more in love 
with Sir Ambrose than he was with 
her. She goes out again, of course, as of old, 
and she constantly meets the baronet and 
his wife. She is supposed to be even “ very 
nice” to Lady Tester, and she certainly 
treats her with exceeding civility. But you 
know (or perhaps you don’t know) all the 
deadly things that, in London, may lie 
beneath that method. I don’t in the least 
mean that Lady Vandeleur has any deadly 
intentions ; she is a very good woman, and 
I am sure that in her heart she thinks she 
lets poor Joscelind off very easily. But the 
result of the whole situation is that Joscelind 
is in dreadful fear of her, for how can she 
help seeing that she has a very peculiar 
power over her husband? There couldn't 
have been a better occasion for observing the 
three together (if together it may be called, 
when Lady Tester is so completely outside), 
than those two days of ours at Doubleton. 
That’s a house where they have met more 
than once before; I think she and Sir 
Ambrose like it. By “she” I mean, as he 
used to mean, Lady Vandeleur. You saw 
how Lady Tester was absolutely white with 
uneasiness. What can she do when she meets 
everywhere the implication that if two people 
in our time have distinguished themselves 
for their virtue, it is her husband and Lady 
Vandeleur? It is my impression that this 
pair are exceedingly happy. His marriage 
has made a difference, and I see him much 
less frequently and less intimately. But 
when I meet him I notice in him a kind of 
emanation of quiet bliss. Yes, they are 
certainly in felicity, they have trod the clouds 
together, they have soared into the blue, and 
they wear in their faces the glory of those 
altitudes. They encourage, they cheer, in- 
spire, sustain, each other ; remind each other 
that they have chosen the better part. Of 
course they have to meet for this purpose, 
and their interviews are filled, I am sure, 
with its sanctity. He holds up his head, as 
a man may who on a very critical occasion 
behaved like a perfect gentleman. It is only 
poor Joscelind that droops. Haven't I 
explained to you now why she doesn’t 
understand ? 
HENRY JAMES. 


ee 


na nt ADEE as 


A NORMANDY MILKMAID. 


Engraved by J. A. QUARTLEY, from a Drawing by W. J. Hennessy.