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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art - No. 688. March 10, 1877.
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art - No. 688. March 10, 1877." ***

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[Illustration CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 689.      SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



ABOUT RABBITS.


We all know that the rabbit is an interesting animal, easily kept in
hutches on a little clover or dandelion. Boys like to keep rabbits,
because they are amusing. In our day, we have kept rabbits, or
_kinnins_, as they were called in the local vernacular, such being a
corruption of the old well-known legal term, coneys. Our coneys though
few in number were an immense source of amusement. We built a house for
them with an exterior courtyard, gathered and brought dandelions for
them, which it was delightful to see them munching. Finally, we made
something of them commercially, which was acceptable in the absence
of pocket-money. They did not bring much--eightpence a pair or so;
but eightpence was a great thing in the days of yore, and was very
serviceable as a means of buying books.

Between the keeping of a few tame rabbits and the liberty enjoyed by
rabbits in a wild state, there is a mighty difference. The tame rabbits
can be kept within bounds; the wild rabbits increase inordinately, and
are apt to do mischief beyond all calculation. Originally a friend to
rabbits, we have lived to know that they are the torment of the farmer.
It is not so much what they consume, but what they contaminate. Whole
fields of hay are ruined by their odious presence. Instances could be
given of farmers claiming damage to the amount of a hundred a year from
their landlords on account of rabbits; and the best thing the landlords
can do is to allow their tenant-farmers to kill all the rabbits they
can lay their hands on. Not until then will there be any peace on the
score of this intolerable nuisance.

The rapid increase of rabbits once they have got a footing is one
of the wonders of nature. We could almost fancy that rabbits were
designed to appropriate the whole earth; for, let alone, there will
spring from a single pair through successive generations in one year
as many as sixty thousand! Of course, at this rate there would soon
be no vegetation left for sheep or cattle, and dead rabbits hanging
up by the heels would be the only butcher-meat. Fortunately nature
adopts means to keep the multiplication of these creatures in check. It
sends birds of prey, such as hawks and other kinds of _raptores_, also
stoats and weasels, whose function is to make constant war on rabbits
and keep their numbers within reasonable bounds. In this way, the
balance of nature is kept up. It would almost seem as if nature, while
creating in profusion, had facilitated the destruction of rabbits; for
so slight is their hold of life, that no quadrupeds, as far as we are
aware, are so easily and painlessly killed. Latterly, the beneficent
balance of nature has been upset, by the reckless shooting of hawks
and other birds of prey, with a view to save the feathered game, and
professional warreners have to be introduced to remedy the error. Yet,
notwithstanding all that warreners and sportsmen can do, rabbits are
apt to become a nuisance.

Considering the enormous trouble which rabbits cause to agriculturists,
it seems incomprehensible how any one should have introduced the animal
into Australia. The act was one of those unwise things which we see
done by heedless though well-meaning people. Some half-mad Scotchman,
thinking of the national emblem, introduced the thistle, which with its
winged seeds has proved bad enough; but nothing so bad, or so wicked,
as has been the introduction of one or two pairs of rabbits. A cry
comes from several parts of Australia that such is the propagation
of these primary rabbit settlers, that unless terrible measures are
adopted, the country will be in a fair way of being eaten up.

A London newspaper, the _Daily Telegraph_, under date January 26,
gives a pitiable account of the rabbit nuisance in Australia. 'At
this moment there are hundreds of square miles to the north of the
famous Burra-Burra Copper Mine in South Australia, where the coneys
swarm to such a degree that they are universally pronounced to be a
nuisance, and "Rabbit Destruction Bills" are the order of the day in
the two legislative Houses at Adelaide. Similar measures will shortly
have to be passed by the legislature of New South Wales, although
the ingenuity of the colonists does not appear to have hit upon any
effectual device for suppressing or controlling the ubiquitous little
pests, which mock the puny efforts hitherto made to thin their numbers.
The "Murray scrub" is alive with them, and even Lord Salisbury's park
at Hatfield--where more rabbits are perhaps to be seen than anywhere
in England, unless it be within the walls of a warren--is left far in
the lurch by the long tongue of land to the west of Adelaide, called
Yorke Peninsula. As their numbers increase, the area over which they
extend their devastating ravages is quickly widened, until the time has
arrived when the growers of cereals must either fight their enemy or
withdraw from the cultivation of plains which might supply corn for the
entire family of man. South Australia has already as many acres of land
under cultivation as her two sister colonies, Victoria and New South
Wales, can shew in combination, and the wheat exported from Adelaide
and other neighbouring ports is of the finest quality, and eagerly
bought by the cities upon the western coast of South America. Viewed
as an agricultural field, South Australia is indeed the most promising
of all the colonies belonging to the Australasian group. She has at
present but a population of from two to three hundred thousand souls
scattered over her enormous surface, which stretches across the length
of the entire continent, and offers verge and room enough for millions
of human beings, provided only that they can learn how to cope with the
rabbits and make rivers of water run in the dry ground.'

Reading this deplorable statement, Lord Elcho comes out with a
suggestion for a cure of the evil: 'I have read in this morning's
_Daily Telegraph_ an article shewing how man is in danger of being
ousted from the Australian world by the fruitful rabbit, unless this
"nimble skipping little animal" is kept within bounds. This certainly
is an alarming prospect for our colonial fellow-subjects; but in this
country, at anyrate, we can as yet secure ourselves in possession
against the invader by the use of guns, traps, snares, and above all,
wire-netting; and my object in now writing is to point out how this
last remedy can be most cheaply and effectively applied. Wire-netting,
as generally used for rabbit-fencing, requires to be made to rest upon
a tolerably deep foundation of broken stones or concrete; otherwise
this "feeble" but cunning "folk" burrow under it. This adds greatly
to the cost, and does not, after all, insure the desired protection,
as the rabbit will even then burrow under the stone foundation. But
if about six or eight inches of the wire-netting at the bottom of the
fence are bent back at a right angle to it, laid down, and pegged
along the ground, the needful result is attained, as the grass, fallen
leaves, &c. soon conceal from view the wire that is thus laid down,
and the rabbit vainly scratches upon it when attempting to burrow
under the obstruction of the upright fencing which stops his way. His
intelligence, great though it be, fails to teach him that his labour is
lost, and that he must commence his tunnel further back. It was at Mr
Hibbert's, near Uxbridge, that I saw wire-netting thus used, with, as
I was assured, the most complete success; and the knowledge of this
cannot, I think, fail to be of use to many of your readers.'

The advice here tendered is well meant, and may be of use in Great
Britain, where arable fields are of a manageable size--twenty acres or
so at the utmost. But the vast stretches of land under crop in South
Australia put all such appliances out of the question. Just about as
well think of surrounding whole counties in England with wire-fencing.
No one could entertain the idea. As the saying is, 'The game would
not be worth the candle.' The Australian agriculturists will have to
try something else. Besides adopting an extensive system of trapping
and stamping, shooting with the adjuncts of dog and ferret, must, if
possible, be resorted to. Rabbits are so nimble in running into their
holes on the approach of danger, that they need to be routed out by a
ferret, a variety of weasel, which seems to be their uncompromising
enemy. English warreners, though smart in the use of the gun, could
do little without the assistance of the ferret, a small and lithe
creature, which they keep for the purpose, letting it loose only when
required. As the ferret, on getting into a hole after a rabbit, would
probably fasten on and make a prey of the animal, it is usual, we
believe, to attach it with a string, one end of which the warrener
holds in his hand, or to cover its mouth with a muzzle of some sort
before turning it loose. This, as a temporary measure, the ferret does
not seem to mind. He goes with great zest after the rabbits, which
being frightened out of their dens, are bagged in nets, or fall under
the pellets of the sportsman. We should say, let our Australian friends
import ferrets--if they can. Whether they could endure the voyage from
England will have to be a matter of experiment, under the care of
experienced warreners.

    W. C.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XII.--UNDER-CURRENTS.


The first sight of Fairview was a fresh trial to Marian Reed's
philosophy: I saw her colour rise, and heard her murmured 'Good
gracious!' as we drove in at the gates and round the sweep to the
house. The men-servants were another test of her power of self-command.
But on the whole it was wonderful how well she contrived to avoid
giving expression to her astonishment. Beyond the first hurried
ejaculation and a momentary catching in of the breath now and again,
she exhibited no sign of the effect which the Farrar magnificence had
upon her.

We turned into the first room we came to, and Lilian bade her sister
welcome in her father's name; tenderly and kindly, if a little gravely,
hoping that she would feel it was her home.

'O yes; I am sure we shall get on together,' good-naturedly returned
Marian. 'What is there to prevent it, you know? I think any one must
be hard to please indeed, not to be satisfied here;' looking round
the room until her eyes met the reflection of themselves in the
chimney-glass, where they complacently rested.

I could not but acknowledge that they were good eyes, and that she was
altogether what is called a fine girl, with a handsome face, which to
an uneducated taste might perhaps be preferable to Lilian's--but, I
insisted to myself, only to an unrefined taste. In truth I was woman
enough to admit that much only grudgingly. Though the features were
good, they were rather large, and the colouring too vivid; eyes and
hair so very black, and complexion so very red and white, made it quite
refreshing to me to turn to Lilian's more delicately moulded and tinted
loveliness. Marian Reed was tall as well as large, two or three inches
taller than Lilian; but the latter was tall enough for grace.

She was attired in the most expensive style of mourning, which was a
great deal more be-frilled and be-puffed than Lilian's plain deep black.

There was a few moments' pause on Lilian's side, and then she nervously
began: 'Mary, perhaps Miss Reed would like'----

'Oh, you must not call me "Miss Reed" now, you know,' she interrupted:
'sisters ought not to be stiff with each other.'

I saw that the 'sister' was not to be lost sight of for a moment.

'I was going to say that perhaps you would like to see my aunt at
once--before going to your room--Marian.'

'Aunt! Have you got an aunt, dear?'

'Yes; my father's sister--my dear aunt lives with me.'

'Oh, indeed!' ejaculated Miss Reed, with a somewhat heightened colour.
She had not calculated upon finding any one besides Lilian. 'But,' she
presently added, as though it had suddenly occurred to her, 'if she is
your aunt, of course she is mine too.'

'Will you come, Marian?'

'Yes; of course I will, dear;' and with a parting glance at the glass,
she followed us to the morning-room.

Mrs Tipper rose to receive us with her company manner; and I saw she
was very much struck with Marian Reed's appearance. It was a face and
figure more attractive to Mrs Tipper than Lilian's. Much as she thought
of the quiet loveliness of Lilian, I saw she was quite dazzled by
Marian Reed; and being dazzled, did not judge with her usual good sense.

'Delighted to see you, I'm sure. Charming morning, is it not? I hope
you have had a pleasant drive;' and so forth; running through all the
polite little speeches which belonged to the genteel phase of her life,
and then leaving the other to carry on the talk.

Marian prided herself not a little upon her boarding-school manners;
and felt, I think, quite in her element as she gave a few fine speeches
in return. Seeing that she could keep it up much longer than could the
dear little old lady, and that the latter was growing more and more
silent and uncomfortable, I put in a word or two, which brought us all
to a level again. I am afraid the means which I took to bring Miss
Reed down were a little trying to that young lady. I should not have
employed them had any but ourselves been present, or had I been able
to think of a better way; but I really could not allow her to begin
by making my dear old friend afraid of her, as I saw she very quickly
would. So I inquired after Mr and Mrs Pratt and the children, hoped
business was still flourishing, and so forth; going on to inform Mrs
Tipper that Miss Reed's uncle kept a boot-shop at Islington.

Lilian looked not a little surprised at my making such an allusion, and
Marian flashed an angry glance from her black eyes towards me. But I
saw that this was a young lady who would very soon reign at Fairview,
if some one did not keep her a little in order; and as there seemed to
be no one else to do it, I undertook the task myself. A more refined
way of proceeding would not, I felt sure, have had the desired effect
with Miss Reed. My little speech made Mrs Tipper comfortable, to begin
with.

'Then you won't mind me, my dear,' she said, with a sigh of relief;
'I've been accustomed to trade all my life, before brother, in his
goodness, brought me to live here; and of course my heart's in it.'
And straightway she threw off her company manners and became her dear
homely self again; fussing about the new-comer with all sorts of
hospitable suggestions. 'If you won't take luncheon, say a glass of
wine and a biscuit, dear. It is nearly three hours till dinner-time,
and you mustn't feel shy with us, you know.'

Miss Reed disclaimed feeling in the least degree shy; afraid, I fancy,
of not appearing quite equal to the occasion.

'Shy! O no; not at all;' stiffly.

To help Lilian, who looked timid and shy enough, I suggested that
perhaps Miss Reed might like to go to her room, where one of the maids
could help her to arrange her wardrobe. She elected so to do; and
Lilian and I went with her to the luxurious bed-chamber which had been
prepared for her. Her eyes turned at once towards the cheval glass,
and I noticed that she was mentally contrasting herself with Lilian,
and that the conclusion she arrived at was entirely in her own favour.
Then she preferred to be left to see to the unpacking, assuring us that
she began to feel quite at home already. Lilian, who had not yet quite
recovered her strength, yielded to my persuasions, and went to her own
room to rest until dinner-time.

After dilating upon Marian Reed's evident predilection for examining
herself in any glass she happened to be near, it is but right to
acknowledge my own weakness that afternoon. On entering my room I
walked straight to the dressing-glass, and stood gazing at myself;
ay, and with some little favour too! I had been so accustomed to
contrast myself with Lilian, that I had come to estimate my own looks
at something below their value. In contrast with Marian Reed, my brown
eyes and pale face and all the rest of it came quite into favour again,
and I told myself Philip might have done worse after all. Smiling
graciously at myself, I now saw quite another face to that which
usually greeted me in the dressing-glass, and the more conscious I
became of the fact, the pleasanter I found it.

When Becky, who at my request was appointed to attend to my small
requirements, presently entered the room, I think she also noticed a
change as I made some smiling remark to her over my shoulder.

'How well you do look this afternoon, Miss! There! I do wish they
could see you now--they couldn't call you nothing to look at now!' she
ejaculated, gazing approvingly at me. 'Why don't you let your eyes
shine like that, as if you was laughing inside, down-stairs?'

'Because I don't often laugh inside, as you term it, down-stairs, I
suppose, Becky,' I replied amusedly.

'Then you ought to try to; for it makes you look ever so much
prettier,' she gravely returned.

'Well, perhaps I ought.'

'Of course you ought, Miss. I only wish I could make myself prettier,
only a-smiling. Tom' (Tom was one of the under-gardeners, of late
often quoted by Becky) 'says it's worse when I smiles; though I want
bigger eyes, and a straighter nose, and a new skin, and ever so many
more things, besides a smaller mouth, before I set up for being
good-looking. And they all says I do grin so. I can't help it, because
I'm so happy; but of course it must be nicer to look well when you
laugh, instead of looking as though your head was only held on by a
little bit behind, as they say I do. And I tell them it's all your own
hair, though they won't believe even that. Mr Saunders says it can't
be; though you manage to hide where it joins better than some of the
ladies. But haven't I watched you doing it up many and many a time.'

I had it in my hands, brushing it out as she spoke; and murmured softly
to myself, looking graciously down at it: 'It _is_ long and thick, and
a nice colour too, I think.'

This was something quite new to Becky, who was in the habit of taking
me to task for not making the most of myself. I fancy she thought that
I was at last becoming alive to the importance of looking well.

'To be sure it is! I call it lovely--the colour of the mahogany chairs.
O Miss Haddon dear, do let me run and fetch some flowers to stick in,
like Miss Farrar does, and then they'll see!'

But to Becky's astonishment, I did not want them to see. My mood had
changed; I hastily put up my hair, and turned away from the glass. 'No;
I think I will depend upon the smiling inside, Becky.'

'But you are not smiling. O Miss, I haven't said anything to vex you,
have I?'

'You, Becky!' I turned, and kissed the face Tom despised, astounding
her still more by the unusual demonstration. 'Foolish Becky!' I added,
as with a heightened colour she bent down and kissed the shawl she was
folding up, 'to waste a kiss in that improvident fashion!'

'I've often seen you kiss that little locket that hangs to your
watch-chain when you thought I wasn't looking,' sharply returned Becky.

An idea suddenly suggested itself to me, and I acted upon it without
trying to analyse my reason for so doing.

'Would you like to see what is inside that locket, Becky?'

'Yes; that I should, Miss! I have wondered about it so.' And she added
gravely, understanding that it was to be a confidence: 'You may trust
me never to tell nobody.'

'Of course I know that I can trust you, Becky,' I said, pressing the
spring and disclosing Philip's portrait.

'My! what a nice-looking young gentleman! Who is he?' she asked
herself. 'I haven't never seen him, have I? Not a young brother?'

'No.'

Then, hesitatingly: 'The young man you once walked out with, Miss?'

I nodded.

'And--he's dead, isn't he, dear Miss Haddon?'

Involuntarily I uttered a little cry of pain. Why did every one suppose
him to be dead? 'No, not dead, Becky.'

'Took to walking out with somebody else, and give you up?'

'No; I have not been given up;' my foolish heart sinking. 'Cannot you
think of something else, Becky?'--a little pleadingly.

'Did he do something wrong, Miss, and that made you give _him_ up?
Though he don't look like that neither;' musingly.

I closed the locket, and found that it was time to go down to dinner.


CHAPTER XIII.--ARTHUR TRAFFORD'S TACTICS.

I found Marian Reed in the morning-room with Mrs Tipper, and she had
already assumed the _haut-en-bas_ tone in talking with the little
lady. The latter had innocently thought that the lowliness of their
antecedents would be a bond of union between them; but Miss Marian Reed
considered that her boarding-school education placed her far above the
level of poor people, though she had for a time lived with them. She
had not of late associated with her aunt and cousins; and she had no
sympathy with one like Mrs Tipper, who was not ashamed to talk about
the times when she had lived in a cottage, and done her own washing and
scrubbing. She was loftily explaining that she had never soiled her
hands with 'menial' work, as I entered the room.

Miss Reed had evidently taken a great deal of pains with her toilet;
and I was obliged to acknowledge to myself that she looked very
striking, and better in a room than in walking-gear. Moreover, she got
through the rather trying ordeal of dining for the first time at a
luxurious table, much better than might have been expected. She did not
suffer from any doubts about herself; and was consequently free from
self-consciousness, as well as being quick to note and imitate the ways
of others. In conversation she was quite at ease. The consciousness
of an acquaintance with Mrs Markham, French, music, and so forth;
and the entire freedom from doubt as to her ability to cope with any
question which might arise, imparted an ease and confidence to her
tone not usually seen in girls of more perception. Moreover, I could
not but acknowledge that she was clever in the way of being quick to
seize such ideas as were presented to her. And yet hers was just the
kind of cleverness which makes some people shrink from the designation
as a reproach--the flippant shallow sharpness which so grates upon
the nerves of the mind. She was the kind of girl who would talk a
philosopher mute, and not have the slightest misgivings about the cause
of his silence.

Her bearing towards me had undergone a change, which for a while
somewhat puzzled me. I was not a little amused when I discovered the
cause. Mrs Tipper had innocently divulged the fact that I was paid for
my services at Fairview; and as I had made her a little afraid of me,
the relief of finding that I could be displaced at will was great in
proportion. She was now loftily condescending towards me, sufficiently
marking her sense of the distance between us; though I think somewhat
at a loss to account for my cheerfulness under it. In truth I was
audacious enough to rather enjoy the fun of the situation, and for the
moment did not attempt to hide my amusement.

But when, after dinner, Arthur Trafford made his appearance, the
new-comer's attention was very quickly diverted from me. He was waiting
for us in the morning-room, and naturally enough curious to see the
new-comer. And however great his objection to her coming there, he was
gentleman enough to greet her in the right way. Indeed, now that the
matter had got beyond his control, he was, I think, desirous to make
the _amende_ to Lilian for his previous too dictatorial objections.
Probably, too, he perceived that he was not likely to carry his point
by such means, though he was not hopeless of doing so by another way.

He took great pains to make himself agreeable to Marian Reed; and it
was very evident that his little courteous speeches had their full
effect. He was doubtless the first gentleman she had conversed with;
and I could see that she was a great deal impressed, I think enduing
his deferential politeness and earnest tone with a deeper meaning than
he intended them to have.

Lilian looked pleasantly on, accepting his courtesy to Marian as
a kindness to herself, after what had taken place. She was very
triumphant about it to me afterwards, as a proof of his goodness of
heart, and so forth. For the present she was content to sit apart,
thanking him with an occasional glance.

But after a while, he appeared to consider that he had done quite
sufficient to earn some reward, and drew Lilian out to the garden. Miss
Reed was thumping away at the piano, playing a showy school-piece for
his delectation; and when she presently looked round, she discovered
that her cavalier had disappeared.

'Why, where's'----

'Mr Trafford is with Lilian in the garden,' I explained.

'Oh, is he? Then I will go too'--rising as she spoke. 'I haven't seen
the garden yet.'

'I think you must put up with my attendance, Miss Reed. Lovers are
privileged to be unsociable.'

'Lovers!' she ejaculated. 'You don't mean to say---- _He_ can't be her
lover!'

'He is, I assure you, Miss Reed. They have been engaged some time; and
will be married as soon as circumstances permit.'

'I should never have thought--he wasn't a bit like a lover--to her,'
she said in an angry tone, her colour more raised than I had yet seen
it. In fact, as I suspected, Miss Reed's fancy had been caught--to
herself no doubt she termed it falling in love, and she was a young
lady of very strong impulses, which were entirely untrained. In their
ultra refinement, Arthur Trafford's good looks were precisely the kind
to attract one like Marian Reed--his fashionable languid air being
specially attractive to one who indulged in the kind of literature
which is not remarkable for backbone. She curtly declined going into
the garden with me, and drew a chair towards one of the windows, where
she sat watching the two figures as they passed and repassed in the
strip of moonlight outside, her brows lowering and face darkening.

Mrs Tipper amiably endeavoured to do her part towards entertaining
her; but Marian Reed was not in the mood to be entertained by Mrs
Tipper; and made it so very evident that she was not, that the little
lady became silent and constrained, though, strange to say, I do not
think her admiration for the girl decreased in consequence. Presently
Marian went to the piano again, and amused herself trying bits of
Lilian's songs; apparently considering neither Mrs Tipper nor me worth
cultivating. But I forced myself upon her notice so far as to tell her
that Lilian might consider it to be too soon after her father's death
for song-singing. Miss Reed opined that that was all nonsense. There
was no necessity for being gloomy, and a little singing and music would
rouse her up a little. The music had certainly a rousing effect, though
not in the precise way she imagined; and her singing! Accustomed as I
was to Lilian's sweet voice and pure style, it was almost excruciating
to listen to her songs as rendered by the other's loud untrained voice.
I sat down by my dear old friend's side at a distant window, and did
my best to make up for Marian Reed's rudeness. But she had not taken
offence. As she generally did in such cases, she simply attributed it
all to her own want of breeding, and that being irremediable, accepted
the consequences without repining. Moreover, she was full of admiration
of Marian Reed's good looks.

'Is she not handsome, my dear?' was her little aside to me. 'And seems
so accomplished too.' (One 'tune,' as she termed it, was quite as good
as another, from an artistic point of view, to Mrs Tipper.) 'Such a
good thing for Lilian that Miss Reed has been educated like a lady; is
it not? To tell the truth, I was rather afraid she might turn out to
be a common person like me, you know. At her age, I should never have
done for Fairview; not even so well as I do now. Knowing the piano and
French, does make such a difference; doesn't it?'

I could but raise the hand I held to my lips, dissenting so entirely
as I did from the notion of Marian Reed's superiority. And I believed
that Mrs Tipper herself was only dazzled for a time; her perception was
too true to be blinded for very long. When the lovers re-entered, I saw
that they were regarded by Marian with a new and uneasy curiosity.

In our _tête-à-tête_ that night, Lilian could talk of nothing but her
lover's goodness and readiness to fall in with her scheme for Marian's
welfare. 'Dear Arthur, he made no objections now. He had only objected
at first, because he felt a little hurt, as it was quite natural he
should, at not being consulted. But everything would be well now.' I
listened in some little surprise to this sudden change in his tactics,
until Lilian unconsciously gave me the key.

'Arthur is quite willing now. She is to be always free to live at
Fairview, as long as she is inclined, and have five hundred a year,
as I wish her to have. But he says there is no necessity for legal
arrangements, as though we could not trust each other, you know.'

Had I considered Marian Reed's claims to be as great as Lilian
considered them to be, I might have tried my influence against Arthur
Trafford's in the matter. As it was, I urged no objection to his
arrangement, though I quite understood its import. It would of course
be quite possible for Lilian's husband so to contrive matters that
Marian Reed would not be long inclined to live at Fairview; and as to
the five hundred a year! Well, I believed it would do no real harm to
her if she were by-and-by reduced to two hundred and her former sphere
again. Hers was not the nature to improve in consequence of having more
power in her hands, and a sister or companion for Lilian she never
would be. It was too late in the day for any radical change in her
tastes and habits. They were travelling different roads, and the longer
they lived the farther they would be apart.

Lilian's sentiments, as days passed by, were not difficult to fathom.
Her very anxiety to make the most of anything in favour of the girl her
whole soul shrank from, spoke volumes to me. Indeed she had no little
difficulty in combating the repulsion which it shocked her to feel
towards her father's child.

Marian did not miss anything or suffer, as the other would have done in
her place. She never perceived the underlying cause of Lilian's anxiety
to please and conciliate her. It was not in her nature to see that
Lilian was, so to speak, always pleading for forgiveness for the wrong
done to Marian's mother, and trying to expiate her father's fault.
Then, conscious as she was of shrinking from the coarser mind, which
was being day by day unfolded to us, poor Lilian was terribly afraid
lest it should be apparent to the other; not herself perceiving the
mere fact of its very coarseness rendering it the more impervious. In
truth, self-assertion and _hauteur_ would have won a great deal more
respect from Marian, than did the too evident desire to please. She was
beginning almost to look down upon the girl she could not understand;
conscious how different she herself would have been were she in
Lilian's place and Lilian in hers; and without any misgivings as to her
own superiority. She was also beginning to assume a great deal, and I
was the only one to do battle with her, though I had some difficulty
in keeping her within due bounds now. As it may be supposed, I did not
gain favour with her. There was the difference that she liked Lilian
and looked down upon her; whilst she disliked me and was a little
afraid of me.

Mrs Chichester made great and palpable efforts to act against her
judgment in noticing Miss Reed; 'for dear Lilian's sake,' as she
confided to Robert Wentworth and me. 'It was the only thing to be done
now. Of course she could not but regret that dear Lilian should not
have asked the advice of some judicious friend in the matter. No one
could doubt its being a mistake to bring Miss Reed to Fairview; now did
not Mr Wentworth think so?'

'Yes; Mr Wentworth did think so.'

'And what did dear Miss Haddon think?'

Miss Haddon had advised Lilian to follow her instincts in the matter.

'But pray excuse me; do not you think that is rather dangerous advice
to give--to some persons?'

'Yes; I do, Mrs Chichester.'

At which Mrs Chichester was in a flutter of consternation, lest I
should for one moment imagine that she had meant to be unkind in
leading me on to make such an admission of fallibility, and prettily
begged Mr Wentworth to give his assistance to enable her to obtain my
forgiveness.

It took their united powers of persuasion, and gave Mrs Chichester
opportunities for all sorts of pretty amiabilities, before Miss Haddon
could be brought to reason; and then the former had to be satisfied
with what she termed 'a very slight unbending of the stern brow,' as an
acknowledgment of my defeat.

Then how pleasant and amiable it was to take all the trouble she
did to put me in a good humour with myself again, by pointing out
that the very wisest of us may sometimes err in our judgment, and so
forth. Matters were progressing thus agreeably, when Lilian wanted
Mrs Chichester's advice about the arrangement of some ferns in the
conservatory, and I was left for a few moments alone with Robert
Wentworth.

'Lilian did _not_ obey her instincts in inviting this Miss Reed to come
to reside with her, Miss Haddon.'

I smiled.

'And believing that, you allowed the stigma of being an injudicious
friend to be attached to me.'

'Because I saw you so willed it; and I do not waste my powers of
oratory when they are not required.'

Then, abruptly changing the subject--there was none of the suavity and
consideration, which Mrs Chichester considered to be so essential to
friendship, between him and me--he went on: 'Tell me what you think of
this Miss Reed. Is she what she appears to be?'

'What does she appear to you?'

'Well, I suppose we could not expect her to be quite a gentlewoman, but
really---- Your little Becky is a great deal nearer the mark, according
to my standard.'

'Yes; I think she is.'

'And time will do nothing for her--not the slightest hope of it! She
would never be a companion for Lilian, if they lived together a hundred
years--of course you see that.'

For Lilian! How plainly he was always shewing that she was the centre
to which all his thoughts converged.

'Yes; I see that they will never be companions; but Miss Reed will miss
nothing; she will do no harm to Lilian.'

'Not in one way, perhaps.'

'Not in any way, Mr Wentworth, other than paining her sometimes.'

'But if that might have been avoided?'

'Neither sorrow nor pain, nor any other thing, will injure Lilian in
the long-run. You ought to know that.'

'I am not an advocate for enduring unnecessary pain, Miss Haddon.'

'I believe Lilian will have to suffer--it may be a great deal--and some
preliminary training will enable her to bear what is to come all the
easier.'

'I am afraid Mrs Chichester is right after all, in considering you to
be a little hard, Miss Haddon.'

'Afraid Mrs Chichester is right! I have a great mind to tell her!' I
ejaculated, rising.

'Have a greater mind, and don't,' he smilingly returned.

'But it might be good for you to go into training a little as well as
the rest of us; and Mrs Chichester might not object to undertake'----

'Could not you try what you could do towards bringing me into a
better frame of mind?' he said. 'It would be like an acknowledgment
of weakness to hand me over to Mrs Chichester, you know. You might at
anyrate try what could be done for me before acknowledging yourself
unequal to the task, in that faint-hearted way.'

'In other words, you want me to stay and talk Lilian to you,' was my
mental comment, as I shook my head and moved away.

As I have said, I liked Robert Wentworth better than any other
gentleman who came to Fairview. Arthur Trafford occasionally brought a
friend with him down to dinner; but his friends were not of the pattern
which pleased me--men who looked, and spoke, and moved as though they
were only playing the part of supernumeraries on the stage of life.
With Robert Wentworth there was all the pleasure of feeling that I was
thoroughly understood. I was indeed able to unfold my thoughts to him,
as I could not even to Lilian, love her as I did. She was a girl, and
I a woman, and she deferred to me as to an elder sister; constantly,
though unconsciously, reminding me of the eleven years' difference
between our ages.

Robert Wentworth and I met on equal terms. With him I neither gave nor
obtained quarter; and our encounters were as refreshing as a tonic to
my mental health. Whatever the subject broached, we freely shewed each
other our thoughts about it; and I learned to give and take a blow with
perfect good-humour. I was sometimes not a little startled to find how
completely he was beginning to track out certain tendencies, which I
had hitherto flattered myself were so safely packed away out of sight
as to be unknown to those with whom I associated. More than once the
common-sense which he bantered me about setting too high a value upon,
was blinded, and I was led on by wily steps into the enchanted regions
of romance, and penetrated by their subtle influence, gave words to my
thoughts before I recollected and was on guard again. But no word or
look of Robert Wentworth's wounded my _amour propre_ at such times;
my little flights of fancy met with the gravest respect. In truth, he
was a great deal more tolerant to what he termed my romance, than to
any little slip in my reasoning; because he had the candour to tell me
my ideality was getting starved for want of nourishment, and needed a
little encouragement, whilst my reasoning powers required an occasional
snubbing. 'And as to pretending you have no romance--you are the most
romantic young lady I know. Don't protest; it would not be the least
use; though I will not expose you to the world--not even to Lilian.'

I only knew that he was gradually teaching me to be less ashamed of
such things than I had latterly been, and so rendering me less morbid,
and more fit to be Philip's wife. Philip should thank him for that as
well as other things, by-and-by. The hope that Philip and he would be
friends, and that there would be pleasant communion between us three
in the future, was very cheering to me. How complete would have been
the picture could I have imagined Lilian in it as the wife of Robert
Wentworth--what a delightful quartet!

Meantime, everything was flowing smoothly on with the lovers again. I
think that I was the only one at Fairview to note the change which was
taking place in Marian Reed. She had never been accustomed to exercise
self-control, and was yielding more and more to an infatuation which
was making her life miserable.

She loved Arthur Trafford, as such natures do love, with a wild,
ungovernable, selfish passion; and with unreasoning anger, altogether
refused to accept the existing state of things. She would not accept
happiness in any way but one; and moodily dwelt upon what she
encouraged herself to believe were her wrongs. Why should she be
without a name, dependent upon others' bounty, and denied the love she
craved, whilst Lilian possessed everything? It was easy enough to be
amiable when you had all you wanted! But she did not covet all--only
love, and that was denied her. All this she shewed me in more ways than
one, which roused my suspicion that she was doing what she could to
attract Arthur Trafford, and would have felt no compunction in winning
his love from Lilian, had that been possible. There were occasions when
it was almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that she was trying to
outvie Lilian, in the only way she knew how to outvie a rival. I knew
that she must be spending a great deal more than was right or necessary
upon dress, so constant were the changes she made, availing herself
of everything which is invented in the way of ornament by fashionable
milliners for fashionable woe; whilst her large handsome white
shoulders were thrust upon our notice a great deal more than was in
good taste. And as to her conversation; partly loud and self-asserting;
partly sentimental, accompanied with languishing glances at her hero
from the great black eyes---- But I must not go on. I am afraid I was
not inclined to allow her a single good quality just at this time; and
therefore my judgment must, I suppose, be taken with a grain of salt.
Nevertheless, allowing for hidden good qualities, which I had not given
her credit for possessing, she really was not pleasant as a companion
just now.

Much as dear old Mrs Tipper admired her personally, even she was
obliged to acknowledge that Miss Reed was not quite so amiable and easy
to get on with as could be desired. Indeed, more than once had I found
it necessary to protect the kind little lady from the ill-humour of
Marian, and the sharp way with which I was immediately retorted upon
did not greatly discomfit me. It was enough that I had the power to
keep her within due bounds towards others.

I think it was specially obnoxious to her to find that I was observant
of her demeanour towards Arthur Trafford, and made a point of putting
in an appearance when she happened to be _tête-à-tête_ with him. I was
gravely displeased, as time went on, to find that he not only suspected
the state of Marian Reed's feelings towards him, but amused himself
by making it more apparent, feeding her vanity with all sorts of
exaggerated compliments, accompanied by languishing glances.

Was this conduct worthy of Lilian's affianced husband? I knew that he
did not in reality even admire Marian's style of good looks, and was
only amused by her too evident predilection for him. But what was he,
to find amusement thus? I asked myself, indignant for Lilian's sake.

'You are very uncomplimentary to Miss Reed, I think, Mr Trafford,' I
said one day, when I had been the witness of a scene bordering upon
flirtation between them, and could no longer keep silence. Lilian was
in the garden with her aunt when he arrived, and Marian Reed had found
it out of her power to get rid of me; though she had not scrupled to
let me see that my company was not desired. Arthur Trafford's flattery
had been rather more marked than usual, and I lost all patience.

'Uncomplimentary!' she ejaculated, looking very much astonished. Had he
not been telling her that she had displayed more than usual taste in
her toilet, and was looking dreadfully killing to-night?

'I meant uncomplimentary to your sense, Miss Reed.'

'I don't know what you mean.'

'I think Mr Trafford does.'

He flushed up, giving me an angry glance. She answered for him.

'I am sure Mr Trafford did not mean to be uncomplimentary in _any_
way;' with a little defiant toss of the head and glance towards him.

Of course he could only protest that he did not; and she was perfectly
satisfied. He evidently knew better than I did the kind of compliments
which would be most acceptable to her. Indeed I suppose she would not
have considered them to be flattery at all, but simply the truth, which
there was no harm in his telling her.

'She likes that sort of thing,' he said, with a little awkward laugh,
when presently he and I were for a few moments alone together. 'And I
don't see that there can be much harm in saying a few complimentary
words to a girl, if it gratifies her, Miss Haddon.'

'Well, I am glad that you do not _gratify_ her in Lilian's presence, Mr
Trafford; she would perceive what Miss Reed apparently does not.'

He reddened again. 'Lilian is so essentially and entirely different in
every way. You can hardly expect the same kind of refinement in the
other.'

'I suppose not; but I cannot see that that is a reason for treating
them both with disrespect. It is quite as ill a compliment to Lilian as
to Miss Reed, to flatter the latter's vanity as you do.'

'I don't see any ill compliment in telling a good-looking girl that she
is so, if she likes to be told it,' he repeated. 'No one can deny that
she is a fine girl, in her way.'

'I suppose she is; but I admire Lilian too much to be enthusiastic
about Miss Reed's style of beauty, Mr Trafford.'

He was getting more decidedly out of temper, muttering something about
some women being so hard upon their own sex, as he turned away.

I had done no good by my interference, only caused them to be a little
more guarded in my presence, and perhaps dislike me more. But Marian
Reed no longer made any effort to conceal the restless discontent which
devoured her. Not for a moment suspecting the cause, Lilian was greatly
puzzled to account for the other's increasing discontent, and redoubled
her efforts to please, though she was only snubbed for her pains.

'Do you think that I leave anything undone, Mary?' she would anxiously
ask me, when she and I were alone. 'Or do you think that Marian's
feelings are really deeper than we at first imagined them to be,
about--the wrong done to her mother, and that all this luxury jars upon
her?' After waiting a moment for an answer, which came not (how could
I express my belief as to the real cause of Marian's discomfort?), she
went on: 'But you know how much I try to spare her, Mary--you know that
I would not for the world do anything to remind her of the shame. Do I
not share it?'

Yes; I did know. But I could only kiss the sweet brow and murmur some
platitude about hoping that things would right themselves in time. I
would not attempt to inculcate any of the worldly wisdom which it had
cost me my youth to obtain. Rather was I inclined to encourage her pure
faith and trust in others--her ignorance of evil--as long as possible.
The pain which comes with one kind of knowledge, I would spare her as
long as possible. For the present, it did her no harm to believe a
little too much in others; at least so I told myself.

Darling! whatever others might think, _I_ knew that your gentleness
and forbearance did not proceed from weakness. When the time of trial
came, they would see! It was nearer than I imagined it to be, and came
in a different and far more serious form than my gravest fears had
foreshadowed. It was nearly six months after Mr Farrar's death, and
there was beginning to be some talk of preparing for the wedding, which
was to take place in two months, Lilian having yielded to her lover's
importunities the more readily from the knowledge that she was obeying
her father's wishes, when like a sudden thunder-clap, the shock came.



COLOUR-BLINDNESS.


The peculiar defect of vision known as colour-blindness to which many
people are subject, is due to various causes; but very little is known
of its real nature. In different persons it has a different effect,
being in some a complete inability to distinguish between the commonest
colours; while in others it is merely a temporary confusion of the
impressions conveyed by different hues, or a tendency to give the wrong
names to colours, which can be perfectly distinguished from each other,
though the mind cannot verify, so to speak, the distinction.

To take the first case first. A man who is perfectly 'colour-blind'
cannot detect the slightest difference between the stripes on the 'red,
white, and blue' flag; to him the red and green lamps of the railways
are the same; and the leaves and flowers of the most variously stocked
garden are more uniform in tone, in the clearest sunlight, than they
would be to an ordinary eye by moonlight. (The effect of moonlight, it
is well known, is to give a monochromous appearance to the most varied
colours.) In the other case, a man who has, say the three cardinal
colours, red, blue, and yellow, placed before him, can tell that there
_is_ a difference between them, but is unable to identify them; and
while perhaps one day he is able to sort a number of pieces of glass
of these three colours, he will be unable to perform the operation the
next day.

Persons who are thus afflicted--for it is an affliction, though often
they do not actually know of the defect to which they are subject--may
possess in every other way the keenest eyesight; and it by no means
follows that a man who is colour-blind has in any other way less
perfect eyesight than an artist or any other person whose calling
requires nicety of distinction in the matter of colours and hues.
The question occurs, To what is colour-blindness due? In certain
cases, to a want of education of the eye in this particular service;
but more generally to local causes and diseases, and to hereditary
defect. Instances occurring under the first-named class are not real
cases of colour-blindness. It is really no more true to say that a
man is colour-blind because he calls red 'green,' or blue 'yellow'
persistently, and with a perfect appreciation of the difference, simply
because he has never been taught, than it is to call a man blind who
calls an oval 'round,' because he has learned no better. But in the
other instances the colour-blindness is a true defect. In Egypt, China,
and other countries where ophthalmia is prevalent, colour-blindness
is common; and the peculiar light which exists in certain localities
where there is a large expanse of flat sandy soil, and which is known
to be very trying to the eyesight, is very often found to produce this
defect where it does not otherwise impair the vision. Hereditary cases
of colour-blindness are common. The painter Turner has been said by
some of his critics to have been colour-blind; and we believe that one
of his sisters had a defect of vision which caused her to confuse one
colour with another in such a way as to prevent her from describing
accurately a picture placed before her.

In reference to the theory that the recent disastrous railway accident
at Arlesey was owing to a mistake of the engine-driver as to the colour
of the signal displayed against him, a correspondent of the _Times_
points out that colour-blindness may be acquired. 'A few years ago,' he
says, 'I was investigating colour appreciation, and the first instance
of the acquired defect that came to my knowledge was in the person
of an engine-driver. This man confessed, after an accident through
his not distinguishing the red signal, that he had gradually lost his
colour-power, which had been perfect; and so sensible was he of his
loss and its disadvantages, that before the accident he had determined
to give up the situation. The manager of the Company, who told me the
circumstance, assured me that this driver had been carefully examined
but a few years back and passed as possessing perfect sight.'

If a person with perfect sight will look steadily for a few moments
at any object, of one of the three primary colours, whether a lamp or
anything else, and then close his eyes, and watch so to speak, with his
closed eyes, he will find the object reproduced in a kind of cloudy
representation, or rather retained on the eye; but its colour will
be changed from the _primary_ to its corresponding (complementary)
_secondary_ colour. Thus the impression of a red object will present
itself as green; yellow as purple; and blue as orange. _Vice versâ_, if
the object is one of those secondary[A] colours, the reproduction on
the retina will be of the corresponding primary colour. In this way,
it is quite possible for a man, who has been looking for any length
of time at a red light on a railway at night, to remove his eyes for
a moment or two; and, on looking again at the lamp, to find that--in
the course of the natural relief afforded by the impression on the eye
resolving itself into the secondary colour--his sight is for a moment
impeded by the floating image (now green instead of red) before his
eyes, and the actual lamp (still red) covered, as it were, by the
retained figure, so that it appears to be green. This curious effect
is no fault of vision, and might easily mislead an engine-driver who,
having first actually seen the red light, has, after withdrawing his
eyes, immediately afterwards imagined it changed to green or white,
in indication of the removal of the obstacle to the progress of his
train. In this way, by continual straining of the eye in search of
a particular signal, especially at night, with no light beyond that
of the glaring furnace of the engine--in itself detrimental to the
eyes--it is quite possible that colour-blindness may be acquired, and
that a man who was once perfectly able to distinguish the most delicate
tints may become insensible to the effects of widely different colours.

Whatever its cause, it is a fact that colour-blindness does exist to a
very considerable extent. In Egypt this is so well recognised a fact,
that engine-drivers and others employed on railways are obliged to
undergo a special examination before they are allowed to proceed to
their duties. Many curious stories are told concerning the attempts
made by men suffering under this infirmity to escape the penalty of
detection; they will often rather run the risk of bringing themselves
and others to sudden death in a collision, than lose the coveted post
by admitting their defective sight. Sometimes a man will successfully
guess at the red, white, and green lamps or flags held before him;
but, if the examiner is as astute as the examinee, he will balk his
calculations by holding out a cap, or some other article not usually
classed among the list of railway signals, and an unguarded 'Red' or
'Green' from the lips of the candidate will send him ruefully off about
his business.

Researches lately made in Sweden shew that this peculiar defect of
sight is prevalent in that country. Out of two hundred and sixty-six
men examined recently by Professor Holmgren, eighteen were found to
be colour-blind; and in our own land statistics prove that Englishmen
are not free from the infirmity. The late Professor George Wilson, who
made a special investigation into the subject in Edinburgh some years
ago, stated that out of one thousand one hundred and fifty-four persons
of various professions examined in 1852, no less than sixty-five were
colour-blind; and of these, twenty-one specially confounded red with
green. A gentleman employing a number of men, writing to the _Times_,
states that recently he directed an upholsterer to cover some article
of furniture in green leather, and that the man used a skin of bright
red leather, not knowing the difference. He could only distinguish
colours in their intensity, all appearing to him as different shades of
gray.

But instances could easily be multiplied. The practical part of
the question is its bearing on the employment of men upon whose
sight and power of distinguishing colours many lives are dependent.
Engine-drivers and signal-men, railway guards and sailors, often have
nothing but a red or green speck of light between the safety and the
death of themselves and perhaps hundreds of their fellow-creatures. How
many of the 'missing ships' that have set forth in hope, with scores or
hundreds of souls on board, and never been heard of again, have gone
to their fate through the colour-blindness of the 'look-out,' who can
tell? How many disastrous railway collisions have been owing to the
same defect on the part of the engine-driver or stoker? The necessity
of a rigid examination of all men employed on our railways, in order
to ascertain their power of distinguishing the colours of the signals
upon which so many lives depend, is being recognised by the directors
and other officials. The same precaution ought to be adopted in the
case of sailors, and not only once, but frequently. Periodical tests of
their eyesight should be made at regular intervals; for in a physical
infirmity of this kind, so apt to be overlooked and remain unrecognised
even by those who are subject to it, lurk more dangers than in the lack
of many other strictly enforced requirements.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] Secondary colours are those which are formed by the combination of
any two of the three 'primary' colours; the combinations of secondary
colours are called 'tertiary' colours.



GOLD-MINE EXPERIENCES.


I was living some years ago in one of our North American provinces,
where, for several seasons, I was employed in constructing a railway,
which at the time I write is in liquidation, and which I shall call the
Swindleville Junction, a name, I trust, sufficiently expressive. The
climate did not suit me, neither did the natives; they were much too
'smart' for my fancy, and I was pretty generally always cheated in my
dealings among them. In one instance, however, I managed to save myself
from being tricked, but I am bound to say that it was from the clutches
of a Yankee that I made my escape, for I fully believe that a native
operator would never have given me a chance.

Gold had been discovered about thirty miles from the town of Radnor,
which was my headquarters, and the miners were making much money
by crushing the quartz. Of course the country was soon inundated
by prospectors, and numerous holes were opened with varying luck.
Curiously enough, the American element did not prevail much in the
district, the fact being that the provincials are more than a match for
an American even with his own weapons.

I happened, however, to fall in with one very impressive American, a
very pleasant plausible fellow. Captain Marcus Cyrus Duckett was his
name. He was a bit of a nautical dandy in his way. Blue surtout and
yellow waistcoat, large gold, watch-guard and a Panama hat, shortish
black trousers and Wellington boots, was his usual dress; and he was
more like an English coasting skipper than an American, being bluff
and stout, with a cheery red face and jolly manner. But I soon found
out that he was as great a desperado as was ever produced, in spite of
his off-hand appearance and rattling style. He had, he said, been a
blockade-runner, and had got safely in and out of Charleston eighteen
times during the civil war; and I heard hints that his success in
that trade was due principally to the fact of his having gained much
experience by eluding British cruisers on the coast of Africa, where he
had been long employed in command of a Spanish slaver trading to Cuba.

I used to meet this character occasionally at a village called
Bleakhausen, where I had frequently to go on business, which occupied
me a few hours; and rogue although he undoubtedly was, it was pleasant
to have a chat with him and hear him relate some of his adventures.
It was a great relief also to hear something else talked than the
everlasting drawl and snivel about pitiful election squabbles and
rates of freight, or prices of salt fish and molasses, which were the
only topics ever discussed among the semi-civilised natives in these
regions. By degrees we got pretty intimate; and one day the captain
informed me that he had discovered that a gold-bearing quartz vein ran
across the country in an easterly direction, and was now profitably
worked; that it passed right through a property near the village, which
he had been lucky in getting hold of very cheap, as all the timber
worth cutting on it had been sawn up, and the place was a barren rocky
clearing, full of half-burned stumps, and almost fit for nothing.
There were, however, the remains of a water-wheel and saw-mill on the
place, and a good fall of water. On these advantages Duckett laid
great stress, as useful to drive the quartz-crushing machines which he
intended to put up. He had sunk a shaft, he said, and run a heading
for some distance into the rock, and that it was looking very well,
although it had cost him 'a power of brass.'

I took little interest in all this, as I had often before had
prospecting schemes submitted to me, and had decidedly refused to mix
myself up with them, as my own business demanded all my attention. And
so speculators had at last ceased to trouble me. One day, however,
having longer to wait than usual at Bleakhausen, my horse being much
knocked up by a long journey, the skipper asked me to go and see his
mine, to pass the time. I agreed. So we took a walk of about a couple
of miles down to it. I was rather astonished when, after a disagreeable
tramp, we came to the place. It was no myth, for there it was in full
swing. The men seemed strangers, sailors they appeared, of various
nationalities; but comfortable shanties had been put up, and everything
seemed all right. A few pieces of the stuff were put in a bag by the
captain's wish, and sent to my wagon as specimens. After this, I drove
home, thinking nothing more of the matter.

One evening, a few weeks afterwards, I was reading a newspaper account
of the gold mines in the province, when it struck me that, as I
was going to the principal town next day, I would take one of the
Bleakhausen specimens, and have it analysed, just for the fun of the
thing, and see if there actually was any gold in it. I did not say
where it came from, that being unnecessary; but in a few days I got a
flattering analysis by letter, which also contained a small piece of
gold extracted by the assayer.

The next time Duckett met me he began to speak of his affairs, and
hinted that he was getting a little crippled for cash, and that the
millwright he had employed would not proceed with the repairs of the
mill or erect crushers without a heavy advance of money; so that, as
he had run himself nearly aground, he was reluctantly thinking of
abandoning the mine altogether.

I had been thinking over this quietly for a few weeks, when one evening
I had a visit in Radnor from the captain, who was much downcast, and
told me his creditors were so pressing that he could carry on no
longer, but must sell the estate for what it would fetch, to pay them
off; and with what balance he might have, would go to sea, and leave
the natives and their mines altogether. I was sorry for the fellow.
We talked long over the matter; and it ended by my becoming owner of
the property for ten thousand dollars, paid in railway bonds, which
Duckett said he could easily negotiate in the States; and I was to
retain him as overseer till the concern was in full working order, at a
salary and percentage on the output, which he solemnly assured me was
worth four ounces a ton; equal to nearly ten pounds a ton after paying
expenses. His estimate was slightly in excess of my experimental assay,
but not much; so I was well enough pleased with my bargain.

Things were going on pretty well under this arrangement, when one night
my groom appeared with a dreadful tale of being beaten by Duckett for
having declared the mine to be a humbug, and wishing I had not been
such an ass as pay him for it, and allow myself to be swindled by a
Yankee pirate. Whereupon the enraged mariner speedily made an example
of him. I began to suspect that it was just possible that Duckett _had_
imposed on me, in which case I should cut a poor figure every way.

The first thing to do was to satisfy myself that the specimen was the
actual produce of the mine; if not, the next thing was to get my bonds
back; by fair means, if possible; if not, by _any_ means; but in any
event to get quit of the Yankee at once. About two o'clock next morning
I saddled a horse myself without disturbing any person, and rode to
the mine, which I reached about five o'clock, and awoke the men in the
shanties. They were very unwilling to let me descend, as Duckett was
not there; but after some altercation, and seeing me very determined,
they gave me a lamp, and lowered me away. I was not down five minutes
when I discovered I had been done outright; the original specimen was
dark-brown coloured, and the stuff in the mine was dark-blue, and not a
trace of gold in it. The rascal had obtained the specimens from a mine
called Mount Benger, some miles away; and had played an old and common
trick--namely, placed the gold specimens among the rubbish, and then
picked them up before my eyes. As soon as I had fully satisfied myself,
I got back to the foot of the shaft; and to my great gratification,
was, on giving the signal, hauled to the top at once, just in time to
see Captain Duckett coming up the hill.

He was in a desperate passion at not having had notice of my visit;
but it was no part of my business to quarrel with him just yet. So I
soon managed to smooth him down with a story about my being restless,
and unable to sleep in the night, and thinking a sharp ride would do
me good, &c.; and I made him even believe that I was pleased, and more
than ever satisfied with my bargain. The captain took it all most
comfortably.

I asked him to breakfast at the inn; but he declined; agreeing,
however, to come afterwards to smoke and talk over matters, which he
did. After some cheerful talk, I hit on a scheme to recover my papers.
I agreed to lay a tramway to the mill from the mine, and requested him
to find some one to furnish us with timber for it; and he was to come
to Radnor on Tuesday and tell me what he had done, and also to meet an
engineer with whom I was in treaty to do the work at the water-wheel.
I called for my horse; but just as I was going to mount, I suddenly
turned round and said: 'Oh, by the bye, captain, Davis the lawyer was
saying yesterday that those bonds are of no use to you until they are
transferred by being indorsed and signed by me. I forgot to speak
about it just now; the tramway put it out of my head; but if you like,
I'll take them in with me and get Davis to do the needful; and you can
get them on Tuesday, when you are in.'

It was a bold stroke for the recovery of my bonds, but the bait took.
'All right,' said he; 'if you'll only wait half a minute, I'll fetch
them;' and away he went, and soon came back with the parcel.

I saw at once I was certain of my game; so, as the packet was a little
bulky, and did not go easily into my pocket, I said to him never to
mind it then, but to bring it to Radnor on Tuesday, and hand it to
Davis himself, which would be the safest plan; and that I would call on
Monday, and tell the lawyer to be ready for him--to which proposal he
smilingly assented; and with that I mounted, and trotted merrily home,
sometimes in the woods almost hallooing with delight. I called for
Davis, and told him that Duckett was coming to see him on Tuesday, and
the purpose of his visit, and that he was to take his instructions, and
I would see him in the course of the day, after Duckett had been with
him.

Davis was not noted for honesty; but he was the only limb of the law in
the place, and our firm had very frequently occasion for his services,
although we knew well enough that we could trust him no farther than
we could see him, and that he would hang his best friend, if he could
make ten cents by the job. So I did not incline to let him know the
exact state of matters till I had the bonds fairly in my own hand,
when I intended to ask his professional opinion on what I was going to
do--namely, to retain possession of them myself.

On Tuesday morning I set a young English boy, called 'the Nipper,' who
was in my employment, but was personally unknown to the captain, to
look out for him when he arrived, and to watch him all day, and keep me
posted up in his movements, and above all to let me know the moment he
traced him to Davis's den. In due time he announced to me in my office,
that Captain Duckett had arrived at Davis's door, and had actually
employed my spy to hold his horse, while he went in with a brown-paper
parcel, and shortly came out again, attended to the door by old Davis;
and the latest news was that he had put up at the hotel, and was then
very busy assisting to demolish a leg of lamb and pumpkin pie. Now was
my time; so I went up to Davis, and asked him to shew me the papers. I
compared them with a note of the numbers I had in my book, found them
all correct, and tied them carefully up and put them in my pocket; and
then proceeded to unfold the transaction to the lawyer, and ask his
advice as to whether I was legally authorised, under the circumstances,
to keep possession now that I had them. Moreover I told him he should
not lose his expected fees, as I would cheerfully pay them myself.

His opinion was that the law would bear me out; but that it was a
dangerous affair, as the pirate, as he called him, was a dreadful
character, and there was no saying what he might do. I quieted his
fears a bit and gave him twenty dollars, but he was still uneasy; and
as soon as I left him, he had his horse put to his wagon and went away
to the country, leaving word that he had been suddenly called from home
and would not be back for some days.

I went to the bank and had my bundle deposited in the safe; and after
that there was nothing more to do than to have the row with the captain
over; so my mind was easy, and I went home to luncheon. When I got back
to the office, I loaded a pair of heavy double-barrelled horse-pistols
which we used when travelling with money on pay-days, and laid them
in an open drawer in my writing-table, just to be handy in case of
accidents. I had scarcely written half a page of a letter, when Captain
Marcus Cyrus made his appearance in no very pleasant temper, and with
a face as red as the rising sun. He began by abusing Davis. 'He had
been to his house, and he was gone.' Where were his bonds? Did I know
anything of them? He would do this, that, and everything; and raged
like a demon.

I let him carry on for a while, and then I opened upon him and told
him what a wretch he was, and that I had fortunately discovered him in
time; that his mine was a swindle; that I would have him apprehended
as a thief and a rogue; and that I had the bonds safely locked up,
and he would never see them again; whereupon out came his revolver,
which in truth, I wondered he had not produced before, and with many a
high-sounding phrase he ordered me to give them up at once (thinking I
had them in the office-safe), or he would riddle me with his Colt.

I did not care much for all this, as a Colt is a very inferior weapon
to a brace of double pistols carrying ounce-bullets; so I snatched my
pistols, and jumped up and closed with him in a second, with one in
each hand, fully determined if he attempted to fire, to put an end to
his rascality for ever. He seemed rather astonished at the sudden turn
matters had taken, and did not appear to relish the look of the four
ugly tubes in such close proximity to his person; so he toned down more
easily than I expected, although he continued to growl like a bear with
a sore head. Ordering him out, I escorted him to the door, and saw
him go down-stairs, putting his pistol into his pocket and slamming
the doors behind him; and I cannot say I was sorry that matters had
passed off so quietly. However, it soon appeared that I was not to be
done with my gentleman just yet; in a short time my scout came to say
that he was away. He had gone to the stables for his horse; then he
lighted a cigar, all the while raging at everybody he came alongside
of; he then went to a hardware store, where the boy learned that he
bought a couple of cold-set chipping chisels, a hammer, a crow-bar,
and some small steel quarry-wedges, with which he drove off, as if
homeward-bound.

When I heard all this, I at once suspected that he intended to come
back at night to break into the office and force the safe; and the
event proved that I was correct in my surmise. I mounted the Nipper on
a pony, and sent him away to find out where the rascal had put up, as
I felt certain that he would not go all the way to Bleakhausen if he
intended to come back at night; and about dusk my messenger returned
with the news that he had marked his game down in a ruinous shanty on
the edge of the forest where an old convict lived, who sold bad rum
and worse tobacco to Indians, negro squatters, and all the scamps in
the neighbourhood. The inhabitants of Radnor are of many and various
creeds and denominations, and they are none of those who tarry long
at their wretched potations, but all get soon elevated and go soon to
bed; by eleven o'clock everything is usually all quiet for the night.
Thus I calculated that if I was to see my nautical friend again, it
would be somewhere about twelve o'clock or one in the morning; and I
took my measures accordingly. I told two of my best gangers to come to
my house at eleven o'clock, but to say nothing to any person about it,
as what I wanted done must be kept quiet. When they came, I explained
my suspicions about Captain Duckett. One of them was a Yorkshire navvy
of the good old stamp, so rare nowadays. Dick was his name. He might
have been in a much better position had he been steady; but poor Dick
must have a spree every pay-day, and by the following Tuesday was
always reduced to poverty; however, he was a decent civil fellow and a
capital hand, for all that. The other was an Irishman, Mike Grady; a
smart fellow too, but always in trouble for fighting with his men; but
for the business I had in hand that was no great disqualification. I
provided each with a stout, long ash hammer-shank and a piece of soft
Manilla white line, after which we went quietly down and ensconced
ourselves among some bushes opposite the office-door, on the other side
of the street. The programme was, that when the captain appeared, Mike
was to steal across as soon as he commenced operations and fell him by
a blow with his ash-stick; when we were to tie him hand and foot and
deliver him to the sheriff in the morning--this being our only chance
of getting him; for to apply to a magistrate would only have caused a
talk, and would likely have scared the ruffian from making the attempt;
and besides that, I wanted to catch him in the very act of burglary,
which would insure a severe punishment.

We had not been very long at our post, when the sound of wheels was
heard at a distance as if coming slowly and cautiously; by-and-by the
noise ceased, leading us to imagine that he had tied up his horse about
two hundred yards from where we were. I peeped carefully out; and as
the night was not very dark, I could see a figure stealing noiselessly
along; and sure enough it was Duckett himself. He had managed to change
his Panama hat for a dog-skin sailor's cap, and his blue surtout for
an old reefing-jacket; he had moccasins on over his boots, to deaden
the sound of his footsteps, and I could see his belt, with his revolver
and a knife sticking in it. He was evidently prepared for mischief,
being armed with a hammer in one hand and the crow-bar in the other.
Stopping at the door he laid down his hammer, and struck a match and
lighted a small lamp he took from his pocket; and he had just inserted
the claw-end of the crow below one of the half-leaves of the door, to
prise it from the hinges, when the too impetuous Irishman, Mike, gave a
howl and ran across to him. The Yankee bolted like a rocket, flung his
bar from him as if it were red-hot, and made off at a pace that defied
capture. We got round the corner just in time to see him jump into his
wagon and commence flogging his mare with the buckle-end of the reins
like a madman, standing up and yelling to her at the same time; he
went off at a rattling gallop, and all the satisfaction I had was to
send a bullet after him to freshen his way. He got home that morning;
and he and all his gang were away from Bleakhausen before daylight,
having evidently had all ready for a sudden start, although compelled
to effect it minus the captain's expected plunder. I got out a warrant
for his apprehension; but it was useless, as we soon heard that Captain
M. C. Duckett and his crew had been wrecked in an American schooner,
and forwarded to Port Royal Harbour, in South Carolina. I never heard
of him again, unless he was the same person whose name appeared in
a New York paper in connection with a gambling riot and murder on
board a Mississippi steamboat of which Captain Marcus Cyrus Duckett
was commander, and it is extremely improbable that there could be two
desperadoes of that name.

The last time I saw my valuable estate it looked dismal enough; the
shanties were burned, and the mill had fallen to pieces; and I had
almost forgotten the whole affair, till I received an intimation a
short time ago from a collector of taxes, that unless many years'
arrears of taxes and mining license were immediately paid, he would
have the place sold to pay them and his expenses; all of which he is
very welcome to try to do, though I pity the purchaser. I could say
much on the subject. But all I need observe is, that my adventure,
which I have related exactly as it took place, offers a fair specimen
of the trickeries that are of constant occurrence connected with
speculative mining operations in various parts of America.



CRUISING ON THE 'BROADS.'


One of the greatest charms in Nature is her infinite variety, as may be
seen even without travelling beyond the limits of our island; almost
every county has its own peculiar expression, differing like the
differing expressions of the human face, and presenting, between the
lofty grandeur of the Scotch mountains and the undulating luxuriance of
Southern England, many gradations of form and colour.

In the eastern extremity of Norfolk there is a part almost entirely
composed of lake, river, and marsh, known as the 'Broad District;'
_Broad_ being the local term for lake. The largest of those, Breydon
Water, lies within the narrow neck of land on which Yarmouth is
built; and towards this lake three rivers radiate from different
directions--the Bure, the Waveney, and the Yare flowing from the
ancient city of Norwich. The author of _The Swan and her Crew_[B] tells
us that 'the banks of the rivers are fringed with tall reeds, and they
flow through miles of level marsh, where, as far as the eye can reach,
there is nothing to be seen but the white sails of the yachts and the
dark sails of the wherries, and occasional windmills, which are used
for pumping the water out of the drains into the river.' Every here and
there the rivers widen into broads, which are sometimes very large, and
swarm with pike, perch, and numerous other fish. Those lakes are all
very shallow, and can only be navigated by boats drawing little water;
'they are surrounded by a dense aquatic vegetation, reeds, rushes,
flags, and bulrushes; and these are the haunts of many rare birds, and
swarm with wild-fowl.'

With a view to navigating these shallow broads in an original way to
facilitate the study of natural history, to hunt for the eggs of rare
birds, to fish and shoot and otherwise investigate the wonders of the
watery region, a boy of sixteen, named Frank Merivale, stands on the
edge of Hickling Broad, deeply engaged in thought. At last a grand idea
strikes him: he rushes up to the house, gets his father's permission to
cut down a tree; and then laden with axes and ropes, he goes to get the
help of his friend Jimmy Brett, who lives in an old-fashioned cottage
near. The two boys proceed to the tree; and after long exertion,
have the satisfaction of seeing the tall young larch fall over with
a crash. Which business over, Jimmy insists on having his curiosity
gratified by hearing what is to be done with the young larch; whereupon
Frank unfolds his great project of building a yacht, a real yacht of
their own, with which they might sail all over the broads and on the
rivers, and naturalise and bird-nest, and enjoy no end of fun. The less
sanguine Jimmy shakes his wise head; but Frank goes on with enthusiasm:
'What I propose is that we build a double yacht. We will make two long
pontoons, and connect them by cross-pieces, on which we can lay a deck.
Such a boat would not draw more than a foot of water; and to make her
sail to windward, we should have a drop-keel or centre-board, which we
could let down or draw up according to the depth of the water. Then I
think a lug-sail and mizzen would suit her best; and we shall build her
in old Bell's yard, and he will lend us such tools as we have not got.'

After a long discussion as to the plan and estimates of cost, the two
would-be boat-builders, with a view to enlisting his aid, go on to see
old Bell, who was a bit of a curiosity, uniting the two dissimilar
trades of tailor and boat-builder. He was a close observer of the
habits of animals, and could often give odd and useful information;
and was a great favourite with the boys, as indeed they were with
him. To this worthy they make known their grand scheme; and while not
particularly sanguine of success, the old man promised to help as much
as possible; and Frank in his impetuous way, at once begins clearing a
space for the keel.

All the spare time is now spent in building the yacht; the two being
joined by Dick Carlton, who being rather delicate, was encouraged
by his father Sir Richard to join in the pastimes of his two young
friends. First of all the pontoons are made, these being merely two
long wooden boxes tapering off to a fine point at each end. Laid on the
ground side by side, with a space of fully three feet between their
centres, they are joined together by strong pieces of wood; while the
seams are caulked with tow and a mixture of red and white lead, and
protected by slips of wood nailed along them. The deck is next laid,
and 'neatly finished off round the edges, with a bulwark of rope
stretched on iron uprights.' A tiny cabin is erected, in which even
the smallest of the crew will be unable to stand erect; but yachtsmen
have to put up with many discomforts, and indeed a great deal of the
pleasure consists in what is termed 'roughing it,' so _three feet six
inches_ is considered sufficiently lofty for the grand saloon. Two low
broad seats are fitted up inside, which are also intended to serve as
beds, should occasion require. A rudder and helm are attached to each
pontoon, and connected by a cross-piece of wood, so that both might
be worked at once; while two drop-keels occupy the space between the
pontoons, and can be raised or lowered with the greatest ease. The mast
also could be lowered whenever it might be necessary, in order to allow
the boat to pass under low bridges.

To those who are interested in the details of such a craft as the
_Swan_, the book furnishes ample information (full dimensions and
all particulars being given). Suffice it to say, that after much
perseverance and many grave difficulties, our amateur boat-builders,
thanks to Frank's energy and skill, at length complete their work.
The yacht is painted white; a tender in the shape of a punt is also
built; and on a bright May morning all is ready for the launch, which
important ceremony is fixed to take place at six o'clock on a Saturday
morning. The three friends meet in Bell's yard, eager to send their
handiwork upon the smooth glancing waters of the broad. But a name is
yet wanting. 'Call her the _Swan_,' says Dick, remembering Wordsworth's
lines; 'because, like the swan "on still Saint Mary's Lake," she will
"float double."'

The name is hailed with approval. The ceremony is most successful; and
soon the craft floats out on the waves, and the three boys enjoy the
rare pleasure of sailing in a boat of their very own making. A light
wind springs up, which shortly increases to a pretty stiff breeze, and
the _Swan_ behaves to perfection, answering her helm so admirably that
the three young sailors are as pleased and proud as possible at the
result of their labours.

And now when fairly afloat, we find that the crew have a double object
in view; first, a topographical investigation of the Broad-region; and
second, the noting of whatever objects of interest in natural history
the broads might hold. During a tack the yacht passed over a bed of
rushes, displacing a nest of the crested grebe, from which a number
of the eggs rolled off into the water. It looked just like a lump of
rotting sea-weed; and to avoid detection, we are told that the bird
covers its eggs with reeds, so that they are scarcely noticeable: thus
strangely does instinct guide to safety. On nearing home, a heron is
disturbed, which rises slowly, flapping his wings in the apparently
lazy manner peculiar to that bird; but on counting, our young friends
found that he flapped his wings no fewer than one hundred and twenty
times in a minute!

The success of the first sail only causes a desire for more adventure
and a longer cruise, perhaps for three weeks, so that the boys might
fully test the capacities of the _Swan_, and explore all the rivers
and broads of Norfolk. The consent of the respective fathers is easily
obtained; but the mothers, with their usual fear of danger, are more
difficult to persuade. Frank, however, arranged that _they_ should
all have a day's sailing, to see how safe it was; and choosing a fine
bright day with a light breeze, the _Swan_ floated so gaily, that
neither Mrs Merivale nor Mrs Brett could find it in their hearts to
oppose the scheme.

Accordingly by the end of May, a hammock is slung between the two
low seats, to serve as a third bed; a gun, butterfly net, fishing
materials, and plenty of provisions, are on board; and arranging to
meet the seniors at Wroxham Bridge, the crew of the _Swan_ set sail. In
the middle of Heigham Sounds, there is a great bed of reeds, locally
called a 'Rond,' into which the boat is run. All hands being on the
watch, a whole flock of birds rises from the reeds--water-hens, coots,
&c.; and then a little duck with a bright, chestnut-coloured head and
breast. A teal; and the young naturalists, bent on finding its nest,
spend a long time fruitlessly, but at length discover it in the very
centre of the rond. Large and beautifully lined with feathers, it is
found to hold twelve cream-coloured eggs, three of which our friends
appropriate, and then proceed to shove off the ship. But alas! the
_Swan_ is firmly imbedded in the mud, and refuses to be moved. There
was no help for it but to strip, and raising the craft, by using the
oars as levers, endeavour to push her off into deep water; but it is
hard work, and the three shew as black (with ooze) as negroes ere it
is accomplished. At last she is afloat. Without waiting to dress, up
go the sails, and being a quiet spot where they are not likely to meet
in with vessels, they mean to bathe and dress at leisure. Suddenly,
however, a sail appears--a yacht with a number of people on board!
And here we are told that its occupants enjoyed a good laugh at the
strange appearance of the _Swan_ and her naked though mud-covered crew!
Jimmy and Dick take refuge in the cabin; but poor Frank who (still
garmentless) is steering, dares not leave his post; so without further
ado, he springs into the water at the stern of the yacht, and holding
on by the rudder, contrives to keep her on her course till Jimmy
reappears with something thrown over him and takes hold of the tiller.
Need it be said that the three lost no further time in restoring
themselves to the white man's usual appearance!

Heigham Bridge is reached; and while the other two are engaged in
lowering the mast, Dick pursues some orange-tip butterflies which are
among the prettiest of the Lepidoptera, and look like a bunch of red
and white rose petals flying through the air. Resuming their progress
up the Bure, till St Benedict's Abbey is reached, where it was resolved
to camp for the night, the _Swan_ is run into a creek and made fast.

Night comes on, the wind howling drearily; and nothing to be seen but
stretches of lonely marshes, fading away into the distance behind the
deserted ruins of the abbey, which occupy the foreground. A sense of
loneliness is felt, but not one of our fresh-water tars cares to own
it, and each tries to assume a cheerfulness he is far from feeling.
Suddenly an unearthly cry sounds from the ruins, and a white form is
dimly seen to glide among its broken arches; visions of ghosts, even
in this materialistic age, rise unbidden; but the phantom after all is
but a harmless white owl. So fright gives place to laughter; the lamp
is lit, and supper is made as cheerful as possible. Sleep, however, is
coy. To our three young friends, nursed in luxurious homes, there is
something rather disturbing in the noise of the waters, the howling of
the wind, and the wild cry of the birds. A loud noise disturbs them,
and rushing on deck, a belated wherry is seen beating up the river,
her canvas making a great noise as they turned on a new tack. The men
sing out 'Good-night' as they pass, which is a comforting, homelike
greeting, and sleep is attempted once more. Anon a patter-patter is
heard on deck; Frank turns out, and sees a stray coot, wandering about
in search of the good things of life. Looking round he spies a strange
wandering light flitting among the marshes; like a Will-o'-the-wisp it
seems here and there, and then appears to vanish for a time. He rouses
Jimmy and Dick, but neither can suggest a solution; so hastily throwing
on some clothes, they take the punt and endeavour to reach the light.
But it always eludes them; and after a fruitless search, they return to
bed and court sleep more successfully than before.

Morning finds them determined to investigate the cause of the light,
and while rowing about the creek for that purpose, a strange bird
arrests their attention. It is standing on a hillock, and is indeed a
most peculiar-looking creature, 'with a body like a thrush, but with
long legs, a long bill, and staring eyes; a brown tuft of feathers on
each side of the head, and a large flesh-coloured ruff of feathers
round its neck.' While they are watching the bird, a man seizes and is
about to kill the ruff (for such it is), when the boys run forward and
entreat him to sell it. The man being a fowler and only wanting money,
is glad enough to make a bargain; and then shews them the nest, made of
coarse grass, and containing four olive-green eggs spotted with brown.

Hastening to the rendezvous at Wroxham Bridge our crew are greeted
with: 'Well, boys, we thought you were lost.' 'No fear, father,'
answers Frank; 'the _Swan_ sails grandly, and we are having no end of
fun;' and then to the anxious mothers' question as to how they have
passed the night, the boys unanimously affirm that they have been most
comfortable. Not one of them would shew even the faintest tip of the
_white-feather_. Sailing about on Wroxham Broad, our young voyagers
and their friends greatly enjoyed its beauty. On one side rich woods
come down to the water's edge; and on the other, marshes stretch
for miles and miles, with waving reeds, white cotton grasses, and
many-coloured marsh grasses, which vary in tint and colour as the wind
waves them or the cloud-shadows pass over them. Taking the punt, they
explore a perfect labyrinth of dykes and pools, pushing their way among
water-lilies and arrow-heads, and gathering many flowers of every hue;
and after such a pleasant day, even the ladies are satisfied with the
safety of the lads.

The following day our young friends see an unknown broad lying to
leeward, and steer the _Swan_ up the narrow channel leading to it.
On goes the boat, regardless of a notice conspicuously placed at the
entrance, stating that this broad belongs to Mr ----, and with the
usual finale, that 'All trespassers will be prosecuted.' All that
is known of this Mr ---- is that he has a big blue yacht. It were
difficult if not impossible to turn; and as they _were_ in, they might
as well take a look before leaving. Stolen waters are sweet, so this
broad seems fairer than the others, and our young naturalists have a
good time of it in exploring its many treasures. Hours pass; Mr ----
and his prohibition are entirely forgotten, until first the sails of
a yacht are seen gliding up the entrance, and then the hull; when
behold, it is the _big blue yacht_!

A chase ensues, which ends in the capture of the _Swan_; the curious
build of which seems to have very much puzzled the formidable
Mr ----, who on hearing that the craft is of the boys' own building, is
mollified at once, compliments them on their skill, and hearing of
their love of natural history, he presents them with some eggs of the
pin-tail duck, which rare bird had made its nest in one of the ronds.

Returning to open waters, and skimming along the margin of the land, a
magnificent butterfly is seen sailing along. 'It was very large, four
inches across the wings, which are of a pale creamy colour, barred
and margined with blue and black, velvety in appearance, and with a
well-defined tail to each of its under-wings, above which is a red
spot. This peculiarity of tail gives it the name of the swallow-tail
butterfly; and it is one of the most beautiful as well as rarest
species.' The yacht is run ashore; but Dick on making too bold a dash
with his net, misses the insect. Frank seizes the net, and gives
chase to another which had come sailing along. He follows it for a
considerable distance, and then disappears, crying loudly for help.
Poor fellow! he had fallen into a bog-hole, and was being rapidly
sucked down into the mud; but preserving calmness, he tells Dick to
bring a rope, while Jimmy flings him his coat; alas! it does not reach
him; and Frank is sinking to the shoulders, when Jimmy, in desperation,
doffs his unmentionables, and Frank holds on by the one leg, while he
manages to keep a grasp of the other, and so supports his friend till,
to their great relief, Dick appears with the rope. But so tightly is
Frank stuck in the mud, that it takes a mighty effort on the part of
the others to haul him out. This must have been a sad damper, for we
find our adventurous trio making their way back to the _Swan_ silently
and thoughtfully--to young bright spirits it being dreadful to be thus
brought so near to danger and death. Frank, however, had managed to
secure the butterfly for his collection, and kept it safe in spite of
his perilous position; and it was preserved specially as a memento of
his narrow escape.

As a relief from the monotony of sailing, our young friends propose a
game of 'Follow my Leader.' On leaping a hedge, Frank's foot caught
the top, and over he fell, right down on a quail's nest, smashing some
of the eggs, and wounding the mother, a poor trembling bird, 'about
eight inches long, rather plump, of a gray colour, and shaped much
like a guinea-fowl.' A fight between a hawk and a weasel next attracts
attention; after a prolonged struggle, the hawk falls a victim; and the
boys, on gaining the spot, carry off both animals, as an interesting
addition to their museum.

The wind having risen, the _Swan_ sails in grand style to Yarmouth,
where she is made fast outside a row of wherries moored to the quay,
while her crew go on shore to inspect the quaint Dutch-looking town,
which has been so often compared to a gridiron. Our young voyagers had
determined on the morrow to sail up Breydon Water; and off they set,
notwithstanding that the gale had increased in severity and the lake
was covered with crested foam. Not a sail is to be seen on the stormy
water; yet the _Swan_ bravely accomplished the dangerous passage, and
with the exception of 'shipping' seas and other unavoidable mishaps,
they reached the smoother waters of the Waveney in safety. Skimming
along for some miles, they anchor near Beccles, where a finely wooded
bank holds out enticement for naturalising. There a hawk's nest is
found, and two of the young ones are captured, our young friends
intending to take them home and train them for the old English sport of
falconry.

The days and weeks fly quickly, and bring new enjoyments and treasures;
but we have not space even to mention a tithe of the spoils.

It will be interesting, however, to add that when winter bound the
broads with ice, our young friends hit upon the plan of fastening
skates to the _Swan_, and so propelling her from place to place.
Raised on runners like large iron skates, and with ordinary skates
on each rudder for steering power, away sped the _Swan_ over the ice
after the manner of ice-ships in Canada; until the return of milder
weather restored her to the waves--bringing to her owners new stores of
information with each cruise.

Although it is not given to every boy to be one of such a merry crew
as that of the _Swan_, or to have opportunity for adventures such
as those so graphically pictured in this volume, still there are
many who, possessing certain opportunities, pass through the world
with their eyes metaphorically shut. Irrespective, therefore, of the
practical hints for the employment of leisure time, here presented to
those who are qualified to profit by them, the moral lesson taught is,
that even in spots looked upon by the great generality of people as
'uninteresting,' Nature is lavish of her charms for those who will take
the trouble to woo them.

FOOTNOTES:

[B] By Christopher Davies. London: Warne & Co.



THE ROCKY BOULDERS OF CORNWALL.


    Piled on the lofty peaks of rugged Tors,
      Strewn down the smooth hill-slope and river-side,
    Scattered upon the lone and dreary moors,
      These ponderous mammoth forms for aye abide.

    Their cold gray hue at dawn's first livid beam
      Is bathed in golden light as hours roll on,
    And all bedecked they glow with purple gleam
      When sunset warns us that the day is done.

    As twilight fades, their outlines seem to change,
      And some appear to float on misty sea;
    Fantastic monsters take new forms, more strange,
      And scare belated wanderers on the lea.

    Just after nightfall, black and dim they rise,
      From shadowy depths of gloom and mystery,[1]
    Looming like spectral gnomes of giant size,[2]
      Shapeless and vague against the boding sky.

    On yonder height a nodding mass appears,[3]
      Crowning the rocky battlement so vast;
    Many a rude monolith itself uprears,[4]
      Bidding defiance to the angry blast.

    Wild legends hang about these time-worn stones;
      Some of them move--at dead of night--they say;[5]
    Others do sigh and utter troubled moans,
      As evil spirits near them wend their way.

    Some possess virtue--so 'tis even thought--
      To grant release from sickness, woe, and pain;[6]
    Whilst other stones such mystic spells have wrought,
      That envious crags have reft themselves in twain!

    Many were poised by Incantation's charm,[7]
      Some by the Giants fiercely have been flung![8]
    Others were wielded by some saintly arm,[9]
      In days when power was great, and faith was young.

    When midnight shrouds the mountains from our view,
      The phantom Huntsman's hounds are heard to bay;
    Unearthly goblins shriek their last adieu,
      While myriad corpse-lights glimmer on their way.

    There stands a group of death-struck impious folk[10]
      Just as they circled, so they must remain,
    Bound by a stony spell--until awoke
      To judgment in their flesh and blood again.

    Where dwellers on the ancient wilds have sought
      'Neath sheltering clefts a refuge and a home,
    Coverts half-built, half-burrowed, they have wrought,
      Closed in above with blocks to form a dome.[11]

    When vivid lightning rends the towering rock,[12]
      And earthquakes do the human heart appal,
    When lurid flash vies with convulsive shock,
      The mighty landslip thunders to its fall!

    And while around the rocks of hill and dale
      Cling weird traditions of the dead and lost,
    So also is there many a doleful tale
      Haunting grim boulders on the frowning coast.[13]

    Hard by the scenes where pagan hosts have striven,
      And where their valiant chieftains fell, 'tis said,
    Great mounds are raised o'er slabs all roughly riven,
      Which serve to guard the ashes of the dead.[14]

    On Long Stones, set erect, brief words are traced,[15]
      Names of the mighty, and their noble sires--
    The memory of their deeds long since effaced!--
      In dark oblivion their renown expires.

    Some rude memorials bear the sacred sign
      Which shews a Christian has been laid beneath;[16]
    Nor need his relics any gilded shrine
      While the fair wild-flowers gem his native heath.

    Dotting the pilgrim-tracks across the moor
      At the Three-turnings, churchyard, market-place,
    Boulder-hewn symbols, carved in days of yore,
      Did guide the erring, and proclaim God's grace.

    W. I.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The Luxulyan Boulders, &c.

[2] Helmen Tor, &c.

[3] The Logan Rock, &c.

[4] The Chimney Rock, &c.

[5] The Menabilly Stone, &c.

[6] The 'Maen-an-tol,' &c.

[7] The Cheese-wring, &c.

[8] Giant's Coit, Devil's Whetstone, &c.

[9] St Keverne and St Just Stones, &c.

[10] The Nine Maidens, the Hurlers, &c.

[11] Fogous, Bee-hive Huts, Gumb's House, &c. (Fogous, plural of fogou.
A fogou is a subterranean retreat built like a dolmen.)

[12] King Arthur's Castle on Tintagel precipices and Island, &c.

[13] The floating stones; wrecks, omens, &c.

[14] Barrows inclosing Cromlechs, &c.

[15] The 'Maen Scryffa,' &c.

[16] 'Long Cross,' &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, 47 Paternoster Row,
LONDON, and 339 High Street, EDINBURGH.

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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