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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art - No. 688. March 3, 1877.
Author: Various
Language: English
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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 688.      SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



ROB GRAHAM

A TWEEDSIDE REMINISCENCE, BY W. CHAMBERS, LL.D.


I propose giving one of my early recollections, which lately turned
up in the memory of the past. It refers to an incident which occurred
only a few years after the beginning of the present century, when I
was a boy at the burgh school of Peebles, a small town on the Tweed.
The school in its way had a somewhat superior reputation, and drew to
it pupils from a distance of several miles around. Trudging in all
weathers, the children of farmers and ploughmen came to be educated
along with boys and girls belonging to the town. Whatever they were,
all were treated alike, and the intermingling of classes was never
found to be in any respect disadvantageous; on the contrary, there
sprung up agreeable acquaintanceships between the town and country boys
that were mutually useful and agreeable.

Among the crowd of country lads who thronged in daily, there was one
I have some cause to remember. His name was Rob Graham. I will try to
give a picture of Rob. Imagine a sturdy boy of twelve years of age,
well knit together, barelegged and barefooted in summer, with coarse
red hair surmounting a brow so large that one would say there were
good brains under it. Rob's face was placid like that of an old man,
and I think was slightly marked with small-pox, as was then not at all
unusual. His dress, of a simple kind, consisted of a pair of dingy
corduroy trousers and waistcoat, and a short coat of that coarse fabric
known as Galashiels blue, with two broad metal buttons staring out
behind; which buttons, from their well-worn appearance, had probably
embellished a succession of coats of Rob's father and grandfather; for
in those days buttons were buttons, and went through a good deal of
service before being dismissed. As the fastenings of the dress could
with a rive of the hand be rapidly torn asunder, the wearer could at
any moment throw off clothes and shirt and plunge into the river stark
naked. As Rob's leather cap, stuck on the top of his shock of red hair,
was worth very little, we should deal liberally in estimating his whole
equipment at the value of twenty shillings.

What signifies, however, the outside of boys? Who cares a farthing how
they are dressed? The bodily physique and interior of the skull are the
things really worth caring for. Rob's big square face and prominent
brow shewed there was something in him. Poorly dressed as he appeared
at school, he took the shine out of boys decked out with frills, shoes,
and stockings. There was not a boy who shewed more dexterity at 'duck,'
a game of pitching a heavy stone at a mark, or who ran with greater
vigour at 'shinty,' on the school green. Rob was also a good fighter,
and few boys, as the saying is, 'dared to take him up.' Yet Rob was
a good-humoured and merry fellow, who did not want to quarrel with
anybody. He even condescended to make himself agreeable to the girls in
the school, by hopping on one leg in their game which they called 'the
beds,' and in dexterously throwing up small shells to be caught on the
back of the hand, and locally known as the 'chucks.' Then, he was so
obliging. If he saw a poor woman carrying with difficulty a backful of
clothes to be bleached on the banks of the mill-stream, he would offer
to help her, and did so without any hope of reward. No wonder that
this poor boy made friends, and was respected for his good conduct and
gallantry. By birth a peasant. By nature a hero!

There in memory does Rob Graham stand before me. Miserably attired and
educated, knowing nothing of the world outside the tranquil valley
in which he was born, Rob had the dash and courage of a Crusader.
Nor was he indebted to good feeding for his diligence and activity.
In the morning before quitting home, his mother doubtless supplied
him with a breakfast of oatmeal porridge and milk. That, in a great
measure kept him going for the day. To stay his hunger, however, a
piece of pease-bannock about the size of your hand, and nearly an inch
thick, which his mother had baked on the girdle, was stuffed into his
right-hand pocket--the left one being occupied with his 'peerie' and
'bools'[1]--and so he was provided with dinner; for beyond the lump
of bannock and a drink of water, which he scooped with his hand from
the Tweed, he tasted nothing till he was comforted with a repetition
of porridge and milk for supper. So much for Rob's dress and mode of
living.

By some unaccountable feeling, I felt interested in Rob. I saw him
daily seated in the left-hand corner of the school as you go in,
poring over his lesson, or playing some prank when the master's back
was turned. On one occasion, I pointed out to him how to work out a
question in arithmetic on his slate; and at another time afforded
some little advice as to his style of penmanship in writing 'a piece'
for the public Examination by ministers, magistrates, and other great
people. As for his reading I did not interfere, for it would have been
useless. Like other pupils, he read aloud with a coarse facility,
lessons from Barrie's Collection, and repeated psalms by heart, with
little regard to points or modulation, and so loudly, that if the
windows were open, you might have heard him a hundred yards off--no one
finding fault, not even old Barrie, in his duffle spencer and brown
wig, who had come a long way in his gig to honour the ceremonial, and
dine afterwards according to use and wont with the magnates of the
burgh.

The trifling intercourse I had with Rob led me to make inquiries about
his origin and place of residence. It was a simple story. He was the
son of a small farmer, or at least the occupant of a cottage and a few
acres, known as Kailzie Park Foot. The place was a kind of offshoot of
the park or pleasure-grounds connected with the mansion of Kailzie,
and situated on the south bank of the Tweed, at the distance of about
three miles eastward from Peebles. Possibly, Rob's father had a charge
of the pleasure-grounds, or he looked after the hedges and ditches on
the property, or did some other work for the laird, for which he was
allowed the cottage, a cow's grass, and certain money perquisites; by
all which a decent appearance was kept up. The family was not large.

Rob had a sister, Jenny, two years younger than himself, who got a
little schooling, but only in summer, as she was unable to undergo the
severity of winter travel to and fro. She was a pretty and interesting
girl Jenny, with flaxen ringlets and bright intelligent eyes. Though
meagrely dressed in a gingham frock, and barefooted, she had a certain
lady-like appearance. And that is what may be occasionally seen among
school-girls of a humble class. However poor be their dress, we see in
their graceful figure, their gentle manner, their flowing hair, their
sparkling intelligent eyes, that they are ladies by nature, and would,
if polished up, do credit to any society in the kingdom. Such was
Jenny Graham, who, unconscious of her girlish beauty, was an object of
general admiration. With good taste, as a bit of decoration, she often
had a rose or a spink, or sprig of honeysuckle, stuck in the breast of
her dress. The boys at the school called her 'The Flower of Kailzie.'

As children together, Rob and Jenny grew up with brotherly and
sisterly affection. In autumn, Rob visited and climbed the gean-trees
at Haystoun Burn, to bring home a capful of geans or wild-cherries
for Jenny. Sometimes ascending the hills he would spend hours in
seeking for and gathering 'craw-croups,' a kind of wild bilberries,
from the lofty ridges which overlook the valley of The Glen--all to
be a posie or offering to sister Jenny. Requiting these attentions,
she accompanied him to the Torwood when he went to scale the tall
pine-trees in quest of young rooks. And the two had often rambles along
the river-bank from Cardrona to Kingsmeadows, on which occasions it was
no unusual thing to see them seated on the green margin of a little
peninsula which diagonally juts into the water. It is a pleasant spot,
nearly opposite the ruins of Horsbrugh Castle, which picturesquely
crown the height on the northern side of the river. Here, on the
edge of the peninsula grew quantities of tall rushes, with which Rob
cleverly plaited head ornaments and necklaces for Jenny, who, proud
of her rustic decorations, scampered home with them in the glee of
innocent childhood.

There was but one drawback in the pleasure derived by Jenny from
these river-side rambles. She felt pretty safe as far as the small
peninsula. Beyond that, westward along the green haugh towards Scott's
Mill, she apprehended danger. On the opposite bank was the farm of
Eshiels, laid out in handsomely shaped fields, and environed with some
young plantations. In one or other of these spacious fields there was
ordinarily a herd of cows grazing, attended by a formidable bull, of
which little Jenny Graham could not help being afraid. She had some
reason to be so. One day, being sent by her mother on an errand to
the family at Scott's Mill, she was tripping merrily along the green
haugh, when to her dismay the Eshiely bull, as it was familiarly
termed, left the herd and at a smart trot made for the river, as if to
cross and attack her. The bull had possibly been roused by seeing a
scarlet tippet on the neck of the young maiden. Be that as it may, the
animal, bellowing with rage, plunged into the stream at a spot where
it could be easily forded, and would inevitably have carried out its
malicious intention of tossing and goring, perhaps killing, Jenny, but
for her presence of mind. She got out of reach of the ferocious beast
by hastily scrambling over a wall that bounded Kailzie Park, and
taking refuge in the policy was safe from pursuit. Being for the time
circumvented, the bull looked glaringly over the wall, and with a growl
which sounded like a threat of taking its revenge some other day, it
slowly retreated to its pastures on the other side of the Tweed.

Jenny never forgot her fright on the occasion. As soon as her brother
Rob came home from school in the afternoon, she told him of the affair,
and that after this she did not dare to go with him in his rambles
along the river-bank, at least not so far as the ground opposite
Eshiels. Rob heard his sister's story, and from that moment resolved to
punish the Eshiely bull for running after and frightening Jenny. He had
indeed for some time been pondering on a plan for quelling this torment
of the neighbourhood.

'Keep yoursel' easy, Jenny, lass,' said Rob; 'I'll mak' the Eshiely
bull pay for chasing you. He'll no try that again.'

'But, Rob,' replied his sister, 'what can you do to the bull? You're
only a laddie, and you may get into trouble. He's an awfu' beast the
Eshiely bull. Let him alane. Dinna gang near him, Rob; dinna gang near
him!'

'I tell you to keep yoursel' easy about me, Jenny. I ken fine what to
do. It will be capital fun, and I'll be as safe as if I were at hame.'

Jenny knew Rob's resolute character, and having also some confidence
in his discretion, let the matter drop. Still she felt uneasy about
what might prove a serious misadventure. It is not surprising that
the affectionate girl was uneasy. Here was a poor lad unprovided with
firearms or any lethal weapon by which he could inflict an injury on
an animal so jealous of approach, so dangerous when threatened with
attack, and yet he was confident that he would successfully, and with
little or no hazard to himself, impose a heavy vengeance on the bull.
He would not do it skulkingly or unfairly. He would go to work with
the spirit of a sportsman. If the bull came to grief, it would have
itself to blame. Brave lad! Like Harry Bluff, 'though rated a boy, he'd
the soul of a man!' In the depths of his consciousness, Rob had made
up his mind what he should do, without consulting any one as to his
extraordinary project.

It was necessary, however, in order to carry out the campaign, that
Rob should have two or three confederates of his own age. These he
was not long in securing, for the Eshiely bull was a public nuisance,
and the youths all round about would gladly take part in any scheme
that promised to give the monster a suitable chastisement for its
audacity. The lads whom he enlisted in the adventure were three school
companions who lived in the neighbourhood. They were Tam Jackson, son
of a ploughman at Laverlaw; Willie Ramage, a son of the farmer at
Whitehaugh; and Sandy Clapperton, son of the grieve at Cardrona Mains.
All entered cordially into the proposed scheme. It was explained to
them that they were to be mere helpers or onlookers. Rob was to take
upon himself the heavy end of the business. The prospect opened out to
them was perfectly charming. It would be the nicest thing they had ever
had all their days.

Like the stage-manager of a theatre in superintending a morning
rehearsal, Rob schooled the three boys in their several and collective
duties. To speak in the language of the Spanish Bullring, they were
to act as _chulos_, whose duty consists in waving flags and otherwise
distracting the attention of the bull, while the _matador_ has the
responsibility of despatching the animal. Rob was to be the _matador_,
only he had no intention of killing the bull. All he proposed to do was
to inflict a punishment that would teach him better behaviour. It was
agreed that next Saturday, if the weather kept fair, the play should
come off, and all were to be at their post under a tree at Scott's
Mill at a specified hour. Meanwhile nothing on any account was to be
whispered on the subject.

It was a well-devised drama. All depended on its proper performance.
Rob was fortunately well acquainted with the scene of operations. Born
and reared within a stone's throw of the Tweed, on its south bank, he
knew every rapid and pool within a stretch of three or four miles.
From Kailzie Park Foot for a certain distance westward, the water was
comparatively shallow, and it was hereabouts that the Eshiely bull had
forded the stream in pursuit of little Jenny Graham. Farther up, the
water deepens until it becomes an unusually deep and broad pool, just
where the river makes a sudden bend at Scott's Mill. Boy as he was, and
with a miserable apparatus, Rob had fished every inch of the water with
fly as well as worm bait, and had now and then brought home a few small
trouts to his mother. One thing he was set upon. It was to try to catch
a large lamprey, or 'ramper eel,' as the Peebles boys called it, which,
considered to be a dangerous water-snake, was a terror to juveniles
wading the river. The lamprey was known to lurk somewhere in the deep
pool at Scott's Mill.

Rob considered it would be of no use trying to lure the dreaded
creature with an ordinary line and bait. He constructed a round
wicker-basket, with a hole in the side, in the manner of a mousetrap,
which would allow the eel to get in, but not to get out. Inclosing a
bait of garbage and a stone to sink it, the wicker trap was tethered
to the shore by a strong cord to a stake, and pitched into the middle
of the river. Rob's foresight and skill were rewarded. Next morning,
he had the satisfaction of hauling in the trap with the lamprey in a
rampagious humour inside. It was, as I recollect--for I went to see
it, stretched on the sward below Scott's Mill--a huge creature, four
to five feet long, with seven holes or gills whereby to breathe on
each side of its head, while it firmly sucks itself to any object with
its mouth. Among all the youngsters of the district from Howford to
Peebles, Rob rendered himself famous by having caught the ramper eel,
and of having skinned it too. As a trophy, he came one morning to
school with the skin of the eel wound round his ankle like a garter. We
mention the circumstance as an instance of Rob's pluck, and that he was
not unqualified to face the Eshiely bull.

Saturday, on which was to be the proposed diversion with the bull, at
length arrived. It was a delightful day. The air serene, the fields
and trees around in their best verdant array. Shielgreen Kips on the
one hand, and the Lee Pen on the other, stood out as prominent peaks
against the bright blue sky. A more charming scene is not found in
Peeblesshire. The Eshiels herd of cows, with the bull a little apart,
were composedly grazing in the field immediately adjoining the pool at
the mill. There had been heavy rain up the country the previous day,
which had swollen and deepened the river, which, without being greatly
discoloured, flowed majestically between its green banks. Its increased
depth was favourable for Rob's purpose. The pool with a swirl here and
there on its surface, was in capital order. All circumstances conspired
to promise success for the intended exploit.

At the appointed hour, the three lads, Jackson, Ramage, and Clapperton,
who were to act as assistants, were at their post. There they were
seated on the grass under an old ash-tree, on the bank of the river
at Scott's Mill. Rob also kept tryst, for his companions had hardly
seated themselves when he appeared on the scene, carrying a short but
very effective oak walking-stick. The stick was a kind of heirloom. It
had belonged to Rob's grandfather, a stirring fellow in his time, and
likely enough the stick had figured as a weapon in brawls at Beltane
fair. The stick was a remarkable stick. At the upper end was a round
knob fashionably carved, near which there was a hole for a cord, which
could be wound round the hand or wrist. The lower end of the stick was
shod with what looked like a pike, that would take a good grip of the
frozen ground in winter, and be formidable in any defensive struggle.
Rob had appropriated the stick for the day, and we shall immediately
see the use he made of it.

Well, here were the four boys met. There were but few words spoken.
The business of the three auxiliaries was to do all in their power to
enrage the bull by shaking handkerchiefs of different colours they
had brought with them; and particularly when Rob was engaged with the
animal, they were to run hither and thither, and by derisive shouts
draw it away in any required direction. This and other measures being
understood, the play commenced.

There was a united shout, the handkerchiefs were wildly waved. Next, a
provoking cry of 'Bull, bull, bull!' assailed the object of attack. It
was like a trumpet summons to battle.

The bull being unacquainted with the programme, was apparently unable
to comprehend the meaning of the sudden uproar. Lifting his head
inquiringly, he viewed the force which invited his attention. 'Only
four boys; I shall soon settle them.' If the Eshiely bull had any
mind at all, that is what he probably thought of them. They were only
worthy of his contempt. Still there came the provoking cry of 'Bull,
bull, bull!' uttered with offensive reiteration. The challenge was to
the last degree insulting. There was an impertinence in it that was
unendurable. Coming to this conclusion, up went the bull's tail, as if
shaking out a banner of defiance, and with a mighty roar he moved at a
trot which gradually increased in speed.

He was a grand sight. There he came frenziedly on with his surly white
face, his generally dun colour, his black muzzle, and short pointed
horns. Well shaped, he would have taken a prize at Islington, even
in these days of advanced culture. At a bound he cleared a low dike
near the river, to which he went as direct as an arrow, with a view to
attack the foe on their own ground. What did he care for the Tweed. He
had forded it dozens of times. He had stood in it up to the middle in
hot days with all the cows about him, cooling their legs and whisking
their tails to keep off the flies. He would at once cross the river.

In his eagerness to get at the enemy, the Eshiely bull with all his
accomplishments failed to remember that at this point fording was
impossible, and that he must inevitably take to swimming, which was
not exactly within his experience. In his sober moments he might have
thought of this. Now, his blood was up, and on he drove right into the
pool.

Like a general at the head of an army, Rob steadily watched the motions
of his antagonist as he came headlong on to the attack. His attitude
was worthy of being pictured by an artist. With delight he saw the
bull advance right onward, instead of making a circuit to a lower and
shallower part of the river--in which case the game would have been up.
When the monster, snorting and bellowing, with flashing eyes, and with
his tail up, plunged into the pool, Rob's time was come. Now or never
he must act.

It was a trying moment, but with teeth clenched, Rob never quailed.
Like a good soldier going into action, he had but one feeling, and
that was to do his duty. Now, then, for it. To throw off his clothes
till he stood stark naked, was the work of an instant. Seizing the old
oak stick and firmly attaching it by the cord to his wrist, he dashed
down the bank into the water. He was a capital swimmer, could dive
and turn with a sort of amphibious instinct, as most river-side boys
can. Courageously he struck out, heading a little to get up stream
and bear down on the enemy. About and about he swam, ever with the
stick dangling from his wrist. The bull saw his approach, and with a
fierce glare turned abruptly towards him. Rob eluded the encounter by
diving out of sight. This sudden and strange disappearance considerably
disconcerted the bull. He could not imagine what had become of Rob, and
in his perplexity determined to proceed towards the bank, on which the
boys kept shouting and defying him; so onward he went, more enraged
than ever, but somewhat confused in mind from the novelty of the
proceedings.

During this by-play Rob had, underneath the water, got skilfully to the
rear of the bull. This is what he had all along wanted. He now felt
that the day was his own. Approaching the bull stealthily, he got hold
of his tail, which was floating conveniently in the water, and with a
degree of dexterity worthy of an acrobat, he leaped at a bound upon
his back. It was a singularly well-managed feat. A terrible fix this
for the Eshiely bull. He never expected to have been made the victim
of such a trick. The superior brain of a schoolboy had out-manœuvred
him. When Rob got fairly astride on the bull, and loosening the cord,
flourished the stick in his hand, his boy-companions, in their mirth,
set up a roar of laughter. It was a pity there was not a larger body of
spectators. The scene would have brought down the house at Astley's.

The bull was of course prodigiously annoyed, besides being enraged
to madness at finding a boy seated on his back, as if he had been a
riding-horse let out for hire. No bull in the universe had ever been
treated with such atrocious indignity. Moved by these heart-rending
considerations, he wriggled, in the hope of getting Rob off his back.
As jockeys would say, Rob was firm in the saddle. A horse may plunge
and rear and throw his rider, but he does so by having good footing.
The bull had no footing at all. He had no _point d'appui_. He was
swimming for bare life, and had enough to do in keeping his head above
water. He had no fins wherewith to propel himself in any required
direction. No webbed feet. His cloven hoofs could make little way in
the water. In short, do as he liked, he could not throw his rider. Rob
had him at his mercy.

As has been said, Rob had no wish to kill the bull, nor did he wish to
maim or seriously injure him. As he used to avow, he wanted to give
him 'a drilling.' He now began operations. With a swing of the arm,
he brought down the knob of the cudgel with a smart blow on the head
of the animal, saying at the same time: 'Tak' that for frightening
our Jenny.' And so on he went, raining down blows on the head and
shoulders, always repeating: 'Tak' that, and that, for frightening our
Jenny. I'll learn you no to be sae ready crossing the river and running
after people.' The bull perhaps did not understand the full force of
Rob's meaning; but he knew he was overpowered in a way to bring down
his pride.

'Hit him on the horns, Rob,' cried Sandy Clapperton. 'He'll no like
that.'

Rob was not a cruel boy. He had true courage and generosity, and would
not take a mean advantage of his enemy. He accordingly did not feel
inclined to strike the bull on the horns, for he might have broken or
dislodged one of these appendages, and damaged the beast past recovery.
So he continued to beat him in a manner to be painful and mortifying
without being absolutely injurious. It was amazing how this untutored
country lad knew the exact length he might reasonably go. There was
in it no small degree of intuitive common-sense. Swimming about in a
lumbering way, the Eshiely bull was for the first time made amenable
to discipline. By the persuasive agency of the walking-stick, he was
constrained to swim in a kind of circle, as if performing in a piece of
horsemanship at a circus. It was important never to let him get so near
the land on either side as to find a footing. He was kept as nearly as
possible in the middle of the pool, round about and round about, beaten
with the oak stick all the way, and told by Rob that he was punished as
a mean-spirited wretch for running after and frightening little girls.

The whole thing was a pretty piece of rude play. Rob was a moral
disciplinarian. Out of his own conceptions of rectitude, he did that
which the public at large ought long since to have done in a regular
and legal manner. The Eshiely bull ought to have been suppressed as
being a nuisance, almost as dangerous to the community as a wild beast.
Nobody interfered to any good effect. The proprietor of the animal was
one of those miserably selfish individuals who, minding only their
own interest, are indifferent to the rights of others. He had been
frequently told of the alarm caused in the neighbourhood by the bull,
but treated the matter as of small consequence. If the bull annoyed or
killed anybody, what did he care? People should keep out of its way.
As a self-constituted minister of justice, Rob Graham, after a droll
fashion, settled the business. By dint of his grandfather's stick he
brought the bull to its senses, forced it to see the error of its ways.

The play lasted about half-an-hour. During that time, in its
gyrations in the water, Rob gave the bull what he considered a proper
chastisement. Reduced to extremity, it had no heart to prosecute
the war. It was fain to get back to its own side of the water. Rob
indulged it in this laudable desire, for he thought he had humiliated
it sufficiently. He let it make for the north side of the river. Just
as its fore-feet touched the ground, he gave it a parting thwack which
it was likely to remember. And dropping off at the tail, he bade the
bull good-morning. The beast staggered away in an exhausted and dazed
condition to whence it came, with its tail between its legs, and cowed
in a way that never bull was before. Having done his duty, Rob swam
across to the southern bank, with his grandfather's stick in his teeth,
and was congratulated on his gallantry by his juvenile companions,
as also by the miller in his dusty garments, and two or three other
spectators who had collected at the spot.

From that day forward the Eshiely bull never crossed the river, nor
did he run impetuously to attack strangers passing on the highway.
The nonsense was taken out of him. As the Peebles folk said, in their
old-fashioned vernacular, he had got 'a staw'--meaning an effectual
surfeit. The proprietor of the bull affected to be angry at the way the
animal had been treated; but was only laughed at. The thing was too
ludicrous to be taken up seriously.

Were this a romance, we should describe Rob Graham as going abroad,
and like another Clive, distinguishing himself in the public service.
But all we have to relate is a simple country story, as events are
recalled by memory. Rob's extraordinary feat in taming the Eshiely
bull, and adroitly suppressing a gross local evil, met with no public
acknowledgment. He moved in too obscure a sphere to be complimented.
Rob, however, never boasted of his exploit, nor did he care for its
being mentioned. The incident is long since forgotten; perhaps not
remembered by a single person alive but the present narrator. As far
as we have heard, Rob Graham, who might be designated the 'gallant
Graham,' dropped into the position of a ploughman, from which he rose
by his industry and intelligence, to be a grieve or land-steward in the
neighbourhood. Unlearned, yet sagacious; valiant, yet docile; humble,
yet manly and independent, Rob might be accepted as a specimen of
those 'hardy sons of toil' spoken of feelingly by Burns in melodious
verse, and of whom the poet himself is recognised as having been an
illustrious example.

'Bonny Jenny Graham,' Rob's sister, is said to have been married to a
farmer in the west country, and this is all we can tell of the gem of
the old burgh school, the 'Flower of Kailzie.'

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Peg-top and marbles.



PHOTOGRAPHIC PROGRESS.


It is doubtful whether any industrial art has made such rapid strides
within the last thirty years as that of Photography. Founded upon
the simple discovery that a certain chemical salt--the chloride of
silver--becomes blackened upon exposure to light, the art has grown
step by step into an important national industry. It would be next
to impossible to estimate the number of persons who, directly and
indirectly, owe their daily bread to King Sol in his character of
Artist. A glance at the advertisement columns of one of the journals
devoted to this interest will give us some idea of the busy number of
camp-followers running in the wake of the huge army of photographic
artists of Great Britain alone. Opticians, paper-makers, chemical
manufacturers, glass-makers, cabinet-makers, besides a host of others
who supply the _et-cæteras_ of the business, vie with each other in
the adaptability of their goods. Other countries can no doubt shew a
similar list--notably France, whose paper is used by photographers
throughout the world.

Although the peculiar affinity of silver chloride for light was
discovered by Scheele just one hundred years ago, its application to
art was not recognised until the year 1839, when Daguerre in France
and Talbot in England almost simultaneously hit upon the method of
rendering permanent the pictures which had been before obtained, but
which had faded away into darkness as quickly as the daylight which
had given them birth. This discovery of _fixing_ the image, as it is
technically called, was really the starting-point of an art, samples
of which, good, bad, and indifferent, are now to be found in every
homestead in the kingdom.

The mysterious power which could seize almost instantaneously the
fleeting appearances of moving life, could not fail to take a strong
hold on the public attention. Other art-pursuits had of course
previously had numerous aspirants, but they came and went as fashions
do, without leaving any permanent good behind them. Not so photography,
which is perhaps unique in owing its present state of perfection to
the exertions and patient investigations of mere amateurs. The reason
of this unusual state of things is probably due to the fact that
photography has required a large expenditure of both time and money to
bring it to maturity; both which commodities are more plentiful with
those who have not to work for daily bread.

The earliest sun-pictures, as produced by Daguerre, and named after
him, were formed on silver plates treated with iodine. After exposure
in the camera, they were developed by the action of mercury vapour,
which attached itself to those portions of the plate which had received
the greatest amount of light. Such pictures were necessarily difficult
of multiplication, each impression requiring a separate exposure and
development. Examples of this early method of photography may still
be seen in many houses, where they have been carefully treasured as
mementoes of friends who have passed away. These pictures are by no
means of a permanent nature, the action of the air contributing with
other causes to tarnish the silver plate, and so gradually to destroy
the image thereon.

The discovery of the collodion process by Archer in 1851, quite
supplanted the previous method, and gave photography an impetus which
has carried it rapidly forward to the present date. Numerous substances
have been tried at different times to support mechanically the delicate
sun-printed image, but nothing has as yet been found to equal collodion
upon glass.

Photographic art has now become such a thing of our every-day life,
that perhaps there is scarcely an intelligent person who does not know
the difference between a negative and a positive. Every one nowadays
has his or her portrait taken at least once, and can well remember the
nervousness incidental to a first visit to the photographic studio.
Usually the photographer is kind enough to allow his anxious client a
glimpse of the picture in its earliest stage, when the lights are where
the shades ought to be, and _vice versâ_. Such is the negative, from
which any number of positives may be printed by the action of sunlight
on prepared paper placed underneath it. These silver prints (for
although the silver _plate_ is banished with the old method, chloride
of silver contained in the pores of the paper still holds its own) have
unfortunately the character of not being as permanent as they might be.
This fault is commonly attributed to carelessness in not thoroughly
eliminating the salt used in fixing the pictures; so that, by a strange
anomaly, the discovery which claimed to make our photographs permanent
is now charged with the sin of causing their ultimate deterioration.
Photographers complain that the great competition, which has led to
the adoption of low-priced work, will not permit them to give to the
washing of the prints the time and attention which permanence demands.
There are no doubt other causes at work in our heavily charged town
atmospheres which have a destructive effect on our photographs. At
anyrate, be the cause what it may, it is the rule and not the exception
to find a paper print of, say ten years old, sadly faded and generally
disfigured. Such a great disadvantage as this has met with an antidote
in the shape of a discovery which has to a certain extent superseded
the practice of silver printing. We allude to the carbon process,
which is dependent upon the curious fact that bichromatised gelatine,
after exposure to light, becomes insoluble. That is to say, a mixture
of gelatine with the bichromate of an alkali--such as the bichromate
of potash--will remain soluble so long as it is excluded from light.
Carbon in the form of lampblack, or indeed any pigment, is mixed with
this bichromatised gelatine, and paper coated therewith is exposed
under a negative in the same way as in the case of a silver print, warm
water being afterwards used to wash out those portions of the prepared
surface which the sunlight has not rendered immovable.

Such, briefly, is the mode of producing the so-called carbon pictures,
which without doubt are, as they claim to be, as lasting as the paper
on which they are printed. They are not equal, in point of brilliancy,
to the better known silver pictures, but this disadvantage is more
than counterbalanced by their good keeping qualities. The word carbon
as here used is a misnomer, for as we have already indicated, other
pigments, most of which have a metallic origin, may be used in the
process.

Photography as now practised may be classed under two general
heads--the wet process and the dry process: the first being solely
dependent upon the use of collodion and the silver bath; the other
dispensing with either or both. Hitherto, the great obstacle to the
landscape photographer has been the cumbrous nature of the impedimenta
necessary to the production of pictures at a distance from home. It
is by no means an easy matter to transport a dark tent containing a
chemical laboratory, together with a camera and the necessary supply of
water, from one place to another. Moreover, the scenes which naturally
tempt the artist lie in unfrequented, and oftentimes in almost
inaccessible places. The use of dry plates, by which the necessity of
a tent is altogether obviated, has rendered the art far more easy of
accomplishment, and has thus placed outdoor photography amongst those
pastimes which a non-professional can successfully pursue. In the wet
process the sensitive collodion plate must be exposed to the air within
a very few minutes of its removal from the silver bath, otherwise it
becomes quite useless; the object of the various dry processes being
to preserve the film in a sensitive state, so that it can be exposed
as occasion may require, and developed in the studio at a future time.
It is needless to point out that this method of photography dispenses
at once with any travelling gear except the camera and lens, and a
convenient light-tight receptacle for the sensitive plates. Many
ingenious contrivances are now used in the form of changing boxes--as
they are called--by which plates may easily be transferred to the
camera without danger of exposing them to any accidental gleam of
light. The jealousy with which a tourist naturally guards his treasured
dry plates has more than once roused the suspicions of the acute
Custom-house officer, who, in his zeal for the welfare of the revenue,
has unwittingly spoilt the produce of many days' careful work, by
insisting upon opening the strange-looking box!

Although it would be beyond the scope of this paper to enter into
detailed explanation of the manner in which dry plates are prepared,
the importance of the subject must claim some attention at our
hands. In order to render a collodion plate capable of being kept
indefinitely in a dried and sensitive condition, it is found that a
solution of some organic substance must be washed over it, and dried
with it. To enumerate all the various agents that have been employed
for this purpose, would be impossible. Tea, coffee, sugar, tannin,
gum, gelatine, with many other compounds, have each found favour with
different experimenters, and with varying success; but the last-named
substance, gelatine, is perhaps likely to supersede all the others, as
giving more satisfactory and constant results. Plates thus prepared,
although almost wholly disregarded by the professional artist, have,
on account of their portable nature, a large sale among the amateur
members of the photographic world. They are also almost exclusively
used in astronomical photography, a branch of the art to which we will
now direct the reader's attention.

It will be remembered that on the occasion of the last eclipse of
the sun, expeditions to observe it were sent out from nearly every
country of the civilised world; each expedition depending largely
upon photography as a means of recording its labours. Although the
state of the weather at many of the selected stations rendered
the apparatus useless, a great number of pictures were actually
obtained, a comparison of which set at rest certain theories relating
to appearances which had up to this time been the subject of much
discussion and speculation. No human hand could have correctly depicted
such an ever-varying object as the sun presented at this time, to say
nothing of the well-known fact that the power of correctly estimating
appearances varies so much with individuals, that a comparison of mere
drawings would be quite useless for the purpose in view. The cause of
the periodical changes in the sun's spots yet remains to be discovered;
and it is probable that the photographs which are being almost hourly
taken (having for their object the solution of this problem) will
ultimately lead to a satisfactory result.

The transit of Venus represents another important field of inquiry
in which photography has done useful work. The expeditions fitted
out two years ago, with their splendid array of modern instruments,
would compare strangely with the preparations for the investigation of
1761, when Captain Cook started on his ill-fated voyage to Otaheite.
Still more vivid does the progress of scientific research become when
we remember that the very first observation of the transit of Venus
was made one hundred years earlier, with no better apparatus than a
bit of smoked glass. When we consider that the main value of such an
observation rests upon the appearances recorded at the moments of
ingress and egress of the planet upon the sun's face, the importance
of a means for securing _instantaneous_ pictures will be appreciated.
It is true that certain optical defects exist in these pictures which
prevent their use for the purpose of reliable measurement; but these
obstacles, we trust, may be overcome by 1882, when the next transit
will be due.

The practice of micro-photography--that is, a combination of the
camera with the microscope--has lately met with some attention among
scientific men, and there are now many workers who are trying to
bring it into the prominence which it deserves. Formerly, drawings of
microscopic preparations could only be secured by means of a prism
(or camera lucida, as it is called), fitted on to the eyepiece of the
microscope, by which means an enlarged spectral image of the object
became apparent on a sheet of paper placed near the instrument; the
lines thus exhibited being rendered serviceable by the careful use
of the lead-pencil. It is obvious that such means afforded a very
imperfect representation of the image as it really appeared in the
field of the microscope, even if the operator possessed some amount of
artistic skill; but now, by the aid of the camera, a picture of the
most unfailing accuracy can be secured in a fraction of a second. Such
rapidity is only required, however, where the object is of a fluid or
animated nature, as in the case of moving organisms. We venture to
think that there is a great future in store for micro-photography.

One of the most recent applications of photography to scientific uses
is exemplified in its adaptation to the spectroscope, by which we are
furnished with evidence of the composition of the heavenly bodies.
Any account of this marvellous device we must, however, leave for a
future paper. In the fine and useful arts, photography now plays an
important part. Portraits, life size, executed in oil, are successfully
painted from small photographic likenesses, at a comparatively small
cost; and with this important advantage, that the likeness in every
case is unchallengeable. This may be considered a great triumph in the
photographic art.

This power of enlargement to any reasonable dimensions is a great
addition to the resources of the photographer; and it is not alone
confined to portraiture, as the numerous large-sized landscapes
constantly exhibited will testify. In former times, when the lenses
then in use were capable of including but a small portion of a view,
the only way to secure large pictures was to take them in sections,
and afterwards to join the paper prints. The lines of junction were
naturally a great disfigurement to the finished result, to say nothing
of the extra labour which such mode of proceeding involved. The
impossibility of preserving the exact tone of colour in these different
sections through all the vicissitudes of printing, toning, and fixing,
was also enough to condemn the process. These difficulties have been
altogether obviated by the construction of lenses which will include
any amount of the view before which they are placed, and which moreover
give a picture so perfect in detail as to admit of being greatly
magnified without injury to its beauty. The enlargement is now carried
out by a copying camera of the form of the well-known magic lantern,
and lighted by an oxy-hydrogen or magnesium burner. The negative takes
the place of the ordinary painted slide, and the enlarged image is
projected upon a sensitive surface.

Perhaps the greatest problem which the photographer has to solve is
the production of landscapes with their natural canopy of clouds. This
difficulty will be understood when we explain that the sky being such
a brilliant object, requires but a very small fraction of the exposure
which is demanded by the grass and trees beneath it. The plan generally
adopted is to secure a separate negative for each of these component
parts of the picture, and to join them mechanically previous to the
operation of printing. The beautiful instantaneous marine studies which
we all admire--and which represent the clouds in every variety of
form--are produced without this double exposure; for it is obvious that
the reflective property of water confers equal brightness on all parts
of the view.

The production of photographic pictures in printing-ink by means of the
press is now receiving a great deal of attention. Most of the processes
adopted owe their origin to the effective mixture of gelatine and
bichromate of potash. It will be necessary to explain that the gelatine
so treated is not only--after exposure to light--rendered insoluble,
but it becomes quite non-absorbent of water. This property is taken
advantage of in the following manner. A thick plate of glass or metal
coated with the mixture is exposed under a negative, and afterwards
placed for a time in cold water. It is then found that those parts
of the plate which represent the lights of the picture remain flat;
whilst the other portions which have been protected from the light
swell up into high-relief. The plate can then be rolled with ordinary
printing-ink, and impressions taken to any reasonable amount.

Space will not permit us to detail the various modifications of this
process which exist under different designations. Metal plates can
now, by a very similar treatment, be made ready for the etching acid.
Wood-blocks which no artist but the sun has touched, can be given
to the engraver ready to his hand. The lithographic printer is also
independent of the draughtsman, for absolutely perfect fac-similes
of maps, plans, &c.; line-subjects can also be produced in endless
quantity.

The applications of this wonderful art are already legion, and are so
continually receiving additions, that we may hope that its sphere of
usefulness will be extended beyond all present calculation. As a means
of livelihood for thousands, its importance in a commercial sense is
invaluable, while as the handmaid of the philosopher, it fulfils a
higher duty, in helping us by sure and certain steps to the attainment
of scientific truth.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XI.--CROSS-PURPOSES.


Our journey back to Fairview was a very silent one. Under the plea of
being tired, Lilian lay back in the railway carriage with her eyes
closed and veil down. I did not disturb her, and for the best of
reasons: I could think of nothing very cheering which could be honestly
said. Marian Reed was an unpleasant fact, which could not be argued out
of existence, nor even smoothed over by all the words in the dictionary
combined. The carriage was waiting for us at the railway station; and
only just as we arrived at Fairview did I venture to speak: 'Are you
going to tell Mrs Tipper to-night, Lilian?'

'Yes. And you will help me, will you not, Mary? I shall depend upon
that;' clinging closer to me, and feeling, I knew, terribly in need of
help.

'Of course I will, if you wish it, Lilian. But I must stipulate that
you first come to my room and rest for an hour.'

She obeyed me like a child--utterly worn out in spirit, holding my
hand fast in hers as she lay on the couch, and murmuring every now and
again: 'Help me, Mary; don't leave me.'

'Since I have promised, I suppose I must, my dear,' I replied in a
rallying tone. 'But I do not generally care much about helping people
who do not help themselves.'

She yielded to a burst of tears.

'That's better, dear--far more sensible,' I remarked, wiping my own
eyes: 'one generally gets on more comfortably after availing one's self
of that privilege.'

'Privilege?'

'"Right," if you prefer the word; one of our rights. If one could
attain the end by more dignified means, it might be as well; but the
grandest of heroines occasionally shed tears; so I suppose it is the
best known method of making one's self comfortable; and harmless enough
when used with discretion--as heroines use it.'

'Ah, Mary, you are not talking like yourself. When you talk like that,
I sometimes think it is to conceal'----

'Well, dear; why do not you go on? To conceal what--that I am _not_
a heroine?' I asked in a jesting tone, only too glad to be able to
draw her sufficiently away from painful reflection for a little
nonsense-talk.

'I sometimes think that having larger needs than other people'----

'Well, dear?'

'Which needs have not been satisfied'----

'There is something still required to make a complete sentence, you
know.'

'Are large needs ever quite satisfied, Mary?'

'Dear Lilian--dear sister--perhaps not.'

'Mary, you said _sister_!' A soft flush in her face, and eager love in
her eyes.

'Because I meant it, I suppose, dearie; I can give no other reason,' I
said, trying still to keep the jesting tone. 'If you do not object to
an elderly sister?'

'Not if elder sisters do not put themselves out of reach of the
sympathy of the younger.'

'Put themselves,' I repeated musingly. 'May not circumstances do that
for them?'

'When will you tell me--dear Mary, when will you let me feel that you
really are like a sister to me?'

At which I morbidly shrank back into my shell again. 'When my
love-story is finished you shall hear it.'

'Finished! As though a love-story ever _could_ be finished--as though
you or I would care to have one, if it could! But you have not told me
even the beginning.'

'You have found out that for yourself, darling.'

'And am I right in thinking--I hope I am not; but---- Dear Mary, am I
to say exactly what I think?'

'Exactly.'

'Then sometimes I think that one you loved---- Mary, is he dead?'

Dead! Philip dead! I laughed in spirit. If he were dead, should I be
alive--in this way? I did not reflect that my silence and the few
tears which stole down my cheeks might seem to bear out her theory
as to my having something to regret. But I presently shook myself
free of sentiment, smilingly observing that we could not afford the
luxury of analysing our feelings just then. Sentiment would be only a
stumbling-block in our way, when we needed all the nerve, courage, and
steady self-control we could muster.

'To begin with: would you like me to make matters smooth and pleasant
with Mrs Tipper before dinner, Lilian? You would then perhaps find less
difficulty in broaching the subject to Mr Trafford, if, as I fancy, you
prefer doing so in our presence?'

'Yes; I do prefer that, ever so much; and I shall be glad if you will
tell auntie, Mary.'

As I had anticipated, we found no difficulty in bringing the dear
little lady to our way of thinking. As soon as she had in some degree
recovered her astonishment at the revelation, she expressed her
entire approval of what had been done. She was not a little shocked
and distressed to find her brother had been less perfect than she had
imagined him to be; but it appeared to her a natural and right thing
that Marian Reed should be asked to come to reside at Fairview. Even my
little 'aside,' which I thought necessary, lest her expectations should
be unduly raised, to the effect that we did not as yet feel quite sure
Marian would be a desirable person to live with, had no weight with
Mrs Tipper. She could only look at the question from one point of
view--whether it was right to do as Lilian had done. Whether the other
would be more or less pleasant to get on with, was, in her estimation,
beside the matter. There were no more complications in Mrs Tipper's
estimate of right and wrong, than there were in her niece's.

Our real difficulty was to come; and although she said no word about
it, I knew Lilian felt that it was. Arthur Trafford was dining with us;
he very rarely missed coming since Mr Farrar's death. But it was not
until after dinner, when we had returned to the morning-room (we all
preferred its cosiness to the drawing-room splendour, now), that the
subject was approached.

In reply to her lover's question, which had been asked more than once
during dinner, and was now repeated, as to how she had got through the
day, Lilian drew nearer to me and murmured: 'Mary and I went to town,
Arthur.'

'To town! What for? Why in the world did you not tell me you were
going? It was not like you, Lilian, to say no word to me about your
intention last night;' with, I fancied, a rather suspicious glance
towards me as he went on: 'I do not like the idea of your running about
like a mere'----

She looked very pale, seeking, I think, in her mind for the best way of
commencing.

'I was obliged to go; and you must try not to blame me for having said
nothing about it to you first, Arthur,' she said, in a low tremulous
tone, which I saw flattered his vanity, as proof of his power, and the
timid yielding spirit, which he was pleased to think so characteristic
of her. Not that he wished her to be timid and yielding to any one
but himself; or was ready to make sufficient allowance for her acting
according to her nature, upon all occasions.

'Blame you, darling! I am only anxious that you should be _properly_
protected'--with an emphasis and glance in my direction, which would
have given me some reason to quake, had Mr Trafford's friendship been
of great moment to me. But I was quite aware that little as I had
been in favour before, I had been steadily and surely declining in
his estimation since Mr Farrar's death; and being, therefore, quite
prepared for what was to come, I took no offence at the 'properly.'

Lilian slipped her hand into mine. 'We were quite safe, Arthur; it
is not that'---- She hesitated a moment; then added, crimsoning
to her temples: 'There is something to tell you. Poor papa made
a--communication to Mary and me, the night--at the last, Arthur.'

'A communication!' I saw he was now really disturbed; too much so
to make objection to the 'Mary and me.' 'What do you mean, Lilian?
The--will'----

'The property was to have been shared' (she again carelessly used
the word 'shared,' in her indifference to the monetary part of the
question) 'between me and--another, if papa had lived to sign his will,
Arthur.'

'But he did _not_ live to sign it!' he ejaculated, heaving a great sigh
of relief, and, somewhat to my amusement, glancing triumphantly towards
me.

I saw now that he had jumped to the conclusion that I was the 'other'
alluded to.

'No; but his last wishes would be binding to me, Arthur; even if I had
not given a promise,' said Lilian.

To spare her--I could see that he was on the verge of giving expression
to what was in his thoughts, which would have unnecessarily pained as
well as astonished her--I came to her assistance.

'Mr Farrar made a revelation to Lilian and me during his last moments,
Mr Trafford. There is another daughter living; and he begged Lilian to
do the justice which he himself was not spared to do; though the will
was prepared in which Marian was provided for.'

'Another daughter! Share!'

In his first astonishment and dismay, he was only able to compass those
two facts. But he presently added: 'He must have been raving. It would
be the height of folly to take such a statement as that seriously; of
course he did not know what he was saying.'

'It has been proved to be true, Mr Trafford. There _is_ another
daughter; and Lilian and I have seen her.'

He had had a few moments for reflection, and something of the truth, I
think, began to dawn upon him. Looking towards me, he said: 'I never
heard that Mr Farrar was married more than once, and I know Lilian was
her mother's only child.'

'Lilian's sister is three or four years older than she is, Mr
Trafford,' I explained.

He understood now, and said: 'In that case, Mr Farrar could never
seriously have contemplated allowing her to share his property with
his lawful child, Miss Haddon.--And it is all the more to be regretted
that you did not take me into your confidence at once, Lilian;' turning
reproachfully towards her. 'Such matters are generally, and very
properly, left to the management of gentlemen; and the lawyer and I
could have spared you being brought into contact with'----

'Papa left it to me to do, Arthur,' said Lilian, in a low voice.

'Because he was not at the time capable of judging what was best to
be done, and he had no male friend at hand. I can never sufficiently
regret happening to be out of the way that night. But you will learn in
time to understand the matter rightly. It would be wrong to his wife
and child--altogether false sentiment--to talk about doing more than is
customary in such cases. Proper provision should, of course, be made;
but I entirely set my face against raising a person of that kind above
the station to which she doubtlessly belongs.'

'Papa begged me to be good to her, and I must obey his last wishes.--A
moment, Arthur? It is indeed too late to draw back now. I have already
seen my--sister, and have asked her to come to live at Fairview.'

'To live! Here--with you? Lilian, have you taken leave of your senses?'

'I have told you--I promised papa to be good to her,' repeated Lilian
with a gentle persistence, for which I think he was entirely unprepared.

'Nonsense, Lilian!' he replied, with an angry glance in my direction.
'You have been badly advised, I fear. You may be good to the girl
without going to such unnecessary lengths as you seem to contemplate
doing. Besides, something is surely due to me in the matter.
Considering our relation towards each other, I have just grounds for
thinking myself very unfairly treated in not being informed of all this
before, and allowed some voice in the matter.'

Had he been anyway different from himself, I might have agreed with
him; but then Lilian would have acted very differently. Though she
knew it not, she had acted as she had done because he was what he was,
and not from any other reason. She had intuitively shrunk from telling
him until it was too late for interference; and he himself had been to
blame for that. And though she was now rather uncomfortably conscious
that, in her anxiety to carry out her father's wishes, she had
overstepped the limits of prudence, it was not because Arthur Trafford
pointed it out to her that she was conscious of it.

'I was so desirous to do what is right,' she murmured.

'And that was the best thing you could desire, my dear,' cheerily put
in Mrs Tipper. 'Never fear but good will come of it; and I really can't
see why we shouldn't all be comfortable together.'

'A sort of happy family, cats, bats, and owls!' angrily ejaculated
Arthur Trafford. 'I am afraid I should not be found sufficiently tame
for such a dove-cot, Mrs Tipper!'

Lilian laid her hand upon his arm, looking with a pained expression
into his face: 'Are you really angry with me, Arthur? Do you give me
credit for _wishing_ to vex you?'

'I am hurt at your want of confidence in me, Lilian. I do not see how
you could expect me to be otherwise.'

These were better tactics. He saw that they were, and kept up the
injured tone. Presently he asked her to go out into the grounds. I
believe he fancied that he had now found the way to influence her,
and that it only needed to get her away from our vicinity, to bring
her entirely round to his own way of thinking. He did not know Lilian
Farrar.

An hour later, she came in looking more wearied and sad, but not
worsted. Moreover, by her absolute silence respecting what had taken
place between them, I knew that she had had me as well as herself to
defend. But, as I had expected, he had not succeeded in inducing her
to alter her plans; and the first shadow of the truth had fallen upon
both. They knew that they were each something different from what the
other had supposed.

During the intervening ten days, the subject of Marian Reed's expected
arrival was touched upon as little as possible between us; though I
believe we could none of us think of anything else, we avoided anything
like discussion upon it. The only words which passed between Lilian
and me on the subject were with reference to the room which was to be
prepared for her, and one hesitating remark to the effect that Marian
might perhaps prefer the relationship not being made known, since she
could only be called Miss Reed.

Arthur Trafford had had time for reflection; and had, I think, come to
the conclusion that his wisest course was to make no more objections
for the present, but to quietly await the issue. Dear old Mrs Tipper
looked anxious and nervous, though she made one or two attempts to
smooth matters, amiably opining that the new-comer might prove an
agreeable acquisition to our circle, and so forth. But it was evident
that she dreaded the arrival of Marian Reed as much as the rest of us.
As to the financial part of the question, she judged that in her own
unconventional fashion, Lilian would be none the less happy for some
diminution being made in her large fortune. Her brother had never been
quite so happy in affluence as when he was working his way to it; and
as to herself, she had more than once confided to me that existence at
Fairview was not to be compared to the old times, when she had been
busy from morning to night keeping her little cottage-home in order.
In truth, such society as she had seen at Fairview had no attraction
for her; and her sympathies were entirely on the side of a modest
competence.

Lilian grew at length so restless and anxious, that for her sake I
was quite relieved when the day fixed for Marian Reed to make her
appearance amongst us arrived. Anything was better than the suspense
we were all in, or rather I thought so then. Lilian had received a
note from Miss Reed, saying that we might expect her the following day
by the mid-day train, and reminding the former of her promise about
sending the carriage. It was written in the orthodox boarding-school,
pointed, illegible style; signed 'Your Affectionate Sister,' and
evidently meant to be an elegant specimen of Miss Reed's epistolary
powers. It must, I think, have cost her no little trouble to join
together so many fine words to convey the intelligence that we might
expect her.

Lilian tried hard to overcome the dread, not to say antipathy, she
felt; honestly tried; but it was no use; first impressions had been
terribly against Marian Reed. The poorest cottager's child seemed a
more desirable inmate for Fairview than the elegant Miss Reed. The
nervous way with which Lilian reminded me: 'You have promised not to
forsake me, Mary,' when the time at length arrived, would have told
me how much she dreaded what was to come, had I not already known. I
made no profession--none was needed between us. She understood, and was
satisfied with my quiet way now.

We nevertheless found it necessary to clasp hands, and look for a
moment into each other's eyes, as a tacit reassurance that whatever
might come to pass we two were to hold together, when the carriage drew
up before the railway station.

We had no difficulty in recognising Miss Reed. The young lady in deep
mourning, her dress trailing half a yard behind her on the ground,
haughtily giving directions to the porter to see to her luggage, was
unmistakable.

'And, look after the carriage; I expect a carriage is'---- She
turned, and caught sight of us advancing towards her. 'Oh, here is
my sister! I thought you would be waiting, dear' (kissing Lilian
very demonstratively; I was uncharitable enough to suspect, more for
the edification of the people standing about the platform, than from
exuberance of feeling). 'Did you come in the carriage?'

'Yes; we drove over.'

This I fancy suggested the idea of a small chaise to Miss Reed; and she
expressed her fear that her boxes 'and all that' would be more than we
could take. Lilian explained that a luggage-cart was in waiting for
that purpose.

'Oh, of course!' And with a negligent air Miss Reed went through the
booking-office with us.

But the first sight of 'the carriage' was almost too much for her
philosophy. She uttered an involuntary ejaculation of astonishment
when she saw the barouche with a couple of spirited horses, and
men-servants. She, however, very quickly recovered her self-possession,
sinking back into her seat with a graceful languor, which seemed to
indicate that if she had not gone through the process before, she had
watched others doing it. She was quite at ease; and as she proceeded
to make talk about the weather, the country we were passing through,
and so forth, I saw that Lilian was much less self-possessed than was
Marian Reed, gladly leaving me to answer for her.

Much as she desired to do right, it would take Lilian some time yet to
feel that this was a sister. Her very anxiety lest she should not be
kind and considerate enough, made her appear nervous and ill at ease.
At the outset Marian Reed had placed us awkwardly, by shewing that
she meant to force the sistership upon every one's notice. I know now
that she herself experienced no sort of shame or delicacy respecting
the relationship; whilst Lilian by her very nature felt so much, and
could not in the least perceive the true cause of the other's attitude.
Indeed the very self-assertion seemed to Lilian but assumed as a sort
of self-defence against people's want of charity in such cases.



CURIOSITIES OF THE RAILWAY-TICKET MANUFACTURE.


In an article on 'Railway Tickets' in this _Journal_ for September 23,
1876, it was stated that all the railway tickets for the whole world,
except North America, are made in one establishment in the north of
England. This statement we have since found requires correction, and
in the correcting we gladly avail ourselves of an opportunity for
noticing a celebrated factory in London, which by the courtesy of the
proprietors, Messrs Waterlow and Sons (now a Company, 'Limited'), we
are enabled to do.

Like many other great establishments, Messrs Waterlow's has grown from
a small affair to gigantic proportions. Beginning with law-stationery,
then advancing to account-book manufacture, then to various kinds of
commercial printing, it has gone on step by step, until at present it
gives employment to between three and four thousand persons. Where the
several factories and commercial offices are situated would be hardly
intelligible save to Londoners; suffice it to say that most of them are
near Finsbury Square.

One of the factories, consisting of lofty buildings surrounding an open
quadrangle, is devoted to ticket making and printing, chiefly railway
tickets; and to the process as carried on there, we will now direct our
readers' attention.

The cardboard for tickets is made of a slightly spongy texture, well
fitted to take paste. It is known technically as 'middles,' and is the
foundation for two external surfaces of paper, white or coloured as
the case may be. The primitive paste-brush has long been discarded.
A cleverly constructed machine pours out a stream of paste on two
rollers, under or over which pass two sheets of paper, each of which
becomes thoroughly pasted on one side. These are then quickly applied
to the surfaces of the 'middle.' The paste-caldrons, in a compartment
by themselves, have a vigorous appetite for flour, alum, and water, and
pour forth volumes of steam. To shew what a 'bit of paste' may become
when multiplied by millions, it will suffice to say that thirteen sacks
of flour _per week_ are used in this one factory! After the pasting,
each sheet of cardboard, large enough for one hundred and twenty-five
railway tickets, is, with others of the same kind, subjected to
flat-pressure, rolling-pressure, and heat, until the surface-papers
are firmly and smoothly attached to the 'middle;' exposure to a high
temperature in heated chambers thoroughly dries them. Cutting-machines
sever the sheets into single tickets, the well-known railway-ticket
size, all precisely alike in dimensions.

Next comes the printing. Messrs Waterlow adopt four different
commercial systems in the supply of these tickets. In the first system
they manufacture the tickets throughout for the railway Companies, who
issue them ready for use to the booking-clerks at the several stations.
In the second, they partially print the tickets, leaving the Companies
to finish them according to the varying exigences of the traffic. In
the third, they sell the blank tickets, properly prepared and cut, to
the Companies; the printing in this case being wholly carried on by the
Companies. And in the fourth, they sell the machines to the Companies,
with a license to use them. To specify the railway Companies that adopt
one or other of these systems would be tedious detail. The principal
machine is a beautiful contrivance invented and patented many years
ago by Mr Lewthwaite, of Halifax, Yorkshire; and various improvements
and new adaptations have been made in it from time to time by Messrs
Waterlow.

A pile of about five hundred blank tickets is placed in an upright tube
or hopper, with just room to sink down readily. The bottom of the tube
is open, allowing the lowermost blank to rest upon a flat metal plate.
A slider, with a rapid reciprocating horizontal motion, strikes the
lowermost blank dexterously aside to a spot where it can be printed on
the back with those cautions, instructions, and references to by-laws
which most of the Companies deem proper to communicate to the public.
Another sharp stroke drives the blank farther on, where the printing
and numbering of the front or principal surface are effected. When
the blank is printed on both surfaces it is struck onward again, and
comes underneath an exit or delivery-tube, just the same height and
dimensions as the hopper or feeding-tube. Up this it is driven by
a series of jerks, until a pile of (say) five hundred is finished.
In travelling horizontally from tube to tube, and vertically up the
delivery-tube, each ticket acts as a kind of cardboard policeman,
saying to its predecessor: 'Move on, if you please.' And they _do_ move
on, all undergoing some process or other at each stage of the movement.
As the pile in one tube lessens, so does that in the other increase in
height, like the two columns of liquid in a syphon. The whole pile can
be removed from the delivery-tube at once by a dexterous hand; but woe
betide the luckless wight who 'makes pie' (as the printers call the
dropping and disordering of types in 'composing' or 'distributing');
for if a single ticket be disarranged, extra trouble is given in the
after checking and correction.

As to the various _colours_ displayed on railway tickets, some depend
on the use of coloured sheets of paper in the first instance; some on
the production of stripes of colour in a way bearing a resemblance
to the making of coloured stripes on earthenware or stoneware in the
pottery district; and some by a process more nearly resembling ordinary
printing. One of the Companies adopts a particular diagonal red line on
all tickets, distinguishing them from other tickets which have to pass
through the railway clearing-house.

The automatic action of the machine or machines is very beautiful. For
_numbering_ each ticket, a peculiarly constructed wheel is used, which
changes its particular digit every time a new blank is presented to it;
and thus the consecutive numbers are produced on a series of tickets
with unerring accuracy. A tell-tale index and a tell-tale bell, both
automatically worked, give information as to the number of tickets
printed, and the readiness of the machine to take in more food; but it
is a matter of practical detail whether and when these tell-tales shall
be deemed necessary. To give the reader an idea of how nicely this
mechanism is adjusted, it refuses to work unless all the tickets are
exactly of equal size, nicely squared, and in perfect order. It strikes
one as being almost like a thing of life to see the machine detect a
ticket from which a piece has purposely been torn off one end; its
language is virtually, 'Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther,' for it
prints as far as the defective ticket, and there stops.

As neither human fingers nor automatic machines are absolutely
infallible, errors in numbering may occur in spite of all precautions.
These are detected in a singular way. All the tickets in one series
are made to pass through a machine with a velocity which the eye can
scarcely follow. When stopped, the numbers are tested by two little
index plates or wheels; if the same number is denoted on both indexes,
all is well; but if any error has crept in, the index notifications
differ, and afford means for determining at what part of the series the
mishap has occurred.

A sheet of cardboard is certainly not a ponderous substance; but it
is surprising how weighty the packages become when large quantities
have to be dealt with. The tickets are tied up into small compact rows
(string and tying being peculiar), and then packed into cubical masses
in tin-lined boxes or cases--so firmly and closely pressed as to be as
dense as a mass of wood. About fifty thousand tickets weigh one and a
quarter hundredweight. The factory turns out two and a half millions
of printed tickets (railway, steamboat, refreshment, &c.) per week,
and ten millions of smoothly prepared but unprinted tickets; these
numbers, multiplied by the fifty-two weeks in a year, give a total
annual production of something like _six hundred and fifty millions_,
weighing upwards of sixteen thousand hundredweight! If these tickets be
taken at two inches in length, and if they were laid flat end to end,
they would reach----But we will leave our junior readers to exercise
their arithmetical skill in solving this problem: merely hinting that
it would require many voyages from England to America, and back again,
to cover a distance equal to the length of this cardboard ribbon. From
such small beginnings do great results ensue.



FISHING EXTRAORDINARY.


There are extraordinary ways of fishing practised by people of
uncivilised countries, which are not the result of ignorance, but of
that ingenuity which is always rendered fruitful by dire necessity and
the instincts of self-support. The Chinese, amongst their many original
ideas, have some curious ones on the subject, and doubtless fish now as
they did a thousand years ago; and though on the coasts they may have
adopted the generally accepted system of working nets, on the waters
in the interior of the country they adhere to the methods peculiar to
their own nation--methods quaint and curious. The lakes and rivers of
China, and especially of the north, are so abundantly stocked with
fish, that in some places the men called fish-catchers make their
living by actually seizing and drawing them out with their hands. The
man goes into the water, and proceeds half walking half swimming,
raising his arms above his head, and letting them drop, striking the
surface with his hands. Meanwhile his feet are moving on the muddy
bottom. Presently he stoops with a rapid dive and brings up a fish in
his hand. The striking of the surface was intended to frighten the
fish, which when alarmed, sink to the bottom; then the naked feet feel
them among the mud, and once felt, the practised hand secures them in
a moment. Catching fish in this manner is of course a trade in itself,
and the plentiful supply it implies is somewhat explained by the fact
that even the little ponds of Northern China swarm with scaly life.

On the great Ning-po river the same principle is used on a more
extended scale with boats and nets. The boats are ready for the flow
of the tide to take them in crowds up the river, and when they halt,
the nets are thrown out, and the oars and sculls beat the water with a
loud plashing noise. After resting in the same place for ten minutes or
a quarter of an hour, they move on again to another station, and there
repeat the beating and splashing. The noise on the surface is meant for
an alarm, as in the case of the fish-catcher; and it is said that this
mode of fishing soon loads the nets.

Another curious method employed by the Chinese is generally practised
at night, and depends upon a peculiar power which a white screen,
stretched under the water, seems to possess over the fishes, decoying
them to it and making them leap. A man, sitting at the stern of a long
narrow boat, steers her with a paddle to the middle of a river, and
there stops. Along the right-hand side of his boat a narrow sheet of
white canvas is stretched; when he leans to that side it dips under the
surface, and if it be a moonlit night, gleams through the water. Along
the other side of the boat a net is fastened so as to form a barrier
two or three feet high. The boatman keeps perfectly still. If another
boat passes by, he will not speak; he is only impatient at the slight
breaking of the silence. While he keeps thus without a sound or stir,
the fish, attracted by the white canvas, approach and leap, and would
go over the narrow boat and be free in their native waters on the other
side, but for the screen of netting, which stops them, and throws them
down before the man's feet.

Every one must have heard of the fishing cormorant, which is actually
trained in China to catch fish. A man takes out ten or twelve of these
web-footed birds in a boat, and as soon as the boat stops, at his word
they plunge into the water and begin at once searching for and diving
after fish. They are most diligent workers, for if one of them is
seen swimming about idly, the Chinaman in the boat strikes the water
near the bird with the end of a long bamboo; and, not touched, but
recalled to a sense of duty, the cormorant at once turns to business
again. As soon as a fish is caught, a word from the man brings the
bird swimming towards him. He draws it into the boat, and it drops
its prey from its bill. There is always a straw or string tied round
the neck, to prevent the fish from being swallowed, and this string
requires the nicest adjustment, lest it may choke the bird--a result
which would certainly follow if it slipped lower down on the neck. The
sagacity and workman-like method of the birds are shewn when they get
into difficulties. If the fish caught is too large for one beak to
secure, another cormorant comes up to the struggle, and the two with
united efforts bring their prize to the boat. On the rivers and canals
near Ning-po, Shanghae, and Foo-chow-foo, the employment of these
birds is by no means an uncommon sight; but they are never to be seen
fishing in the summer months, their work being in the winter, beginning
always about October and ending in May. The birds have of course to be
subjected to a system of training, which is carried on in the cormorant
breeding and fishing establishments, one of which is at a distance of
thirty or forty miles from Shanghae.

Some tribes of Indians catch fish by drugging them. They make the soft
branches of the Indian milk-bush or the euphorbia into pulp, and throw
it into the water of the ponds. When the fish taste it, they lose
the power of swimming, and are easily taken floating helplessly in
the water. They also mix with dough a powder made from the _Cocculus
Indicus_, the effect of which is that when thrown into the water it
intoxicates the fish, and they swim in circles on the surface, where
they can be caught in a hand-net. Lime is sometimes used in the same
way; but the disadvantage of that system is that it causes such
wholesale slaughter that there is danger of small ponds being rapidly
cleared.

A still more singular practice is to be found amongst the Chonos
Indians, who train dogs to help them on their fishing expeditions in
much the same way as the shepherd's dog helps the shepherd. The net
is held by two men standing in the water, and the dogs, swimming out
far and diving after the fish, drive them back towards it. They enjoy
their work just as a good horse, though hard pressed, seems to enjoy
the hunt; and every time they raise their heads from the water they
tell their pleasure by clamorous barking. The Fuegians, one of the
most miserable and degraded races on the earth, train their dogs in a
similar manner to assist them in catching birds. They have a wonderful
contrivance for killing the sharks which abound off their coasts. A log
of wood shaped so as to appear something like a canoe is set afloat,
with a rope and large noose hanging from one end of it. Before long
a shark attacks the supposed canoe, swimming after it, and is caught
in the noose hanging from the stern. It closes on him so that he
cannot extricate himself, and the weight of the log keeps him swimming
slowly without being able to sink. Then the Fuegians in their canoes,
generally steered by women, approach at their leisure and finish the
shark with their spears.

All these contrivances of savage nations or of the strangely civilised
Chinese, are meant to kill or seize the fish by natural means. It
is much nearer home that we have to look to find the element of
superstition prevailing, and useless customs invested with the
importance of charms. An instance may be found in the case of the
Sicilian fishermen, who, when in search of sword-fish, chant a jargon
of words the meaning of which even they themselves do not know. The
song is supposed to be some old Greek verses, which, by time and use
among those ignorant of their meaning, have become so altered as to be
almost unrecognisable. The fishermen regard the medley as a sure means
of attracting the sword-fish, which they harpoon from the boat, when
the charm, as they suppose, has brought them within reach.

Far away in northern regions there is a novel method of fishing under
ice, which shews more ingenuity than the simple lowering and fastening
of a net. A small square hole is cut in the ice, and in this is placed
an upright stick, supported by a cross pin run through it and resting
at each side on the ice; the end of the stick below this cross pin is
short, and to it the line is fastened with the bait and hook attached,
while at the top of the stick is a piece of coloured rag. Now, though
we have called the stick upright, it is meant to fall from that
position and lie along the ice, until a fish seizing the bait pulls
its lower end, when with a jerk it rises. This contrivance is called a
'tip-up,' from the movement which is certain to follow the seizure of
the bait. The fluttering of the coloured rag, as the stick rises, tells
of the capture; and a great number of these self-acting fishers and
indicators may be placed near together, each having its own hole in the
ice; and each, by the fluttering rag, telling its own tale the moment a
fish is caught.

The tip-up not only saves the fisher the trouble of holding his line
in position and watching with particular care, but also makes the fish
itself 'strike' and announce that it is ready to be pulled out! In fact
its ingenuity is only surpassed in the old tale of the Irish monastery,
where at the neighbouring salmon-leap a large pot was hung so as to
be just clear of the falling water, but in the way of any salmon that
leaped recklessly; and a bell was placed so that the fish could not
fail to ring its own knell as it fell; thus announcing to the good
brothers at the monastery that he was there, not only secured, but
actually in the pot, ready to be boiled for dinner.

For the following curious fishing items we are indebted to a writer in
_The Field_. Regarding fishing in the Japanese seas, he says:

'Through an inlet on this coast our small boat is sculled by two sturdy
Japanese fishermen, who drive the light craft across the shadows of
the hills with speed remarkable. Standing on their feet, they swing
with wonderful power a long heavy oar poised on a pin on the quarter;
and while we go, these men are watching the tangle sheltering their
prey--the octopus, the cuttle-fish, and the sea-cucumber. With bodies
blackened by the sun to the colour of the sea-weed, these almost
naked men were incommoded by neither the rain nor the winds. Like the
fishermen of all lands, their restless eyes were wandering from the sea
to the heavens. With no guides but the stars by night and the blue edge
of the land by day, there was need for keen eyesight and watchfulness.
In all the Eastern seas there is no more adventurous race than these
men.

'We could see the floats of burnt wood which buoyed the ends of our
fishermen's lines, and to the nearest of these we were sculled. A kind
of wood, light and buoyant, and with some resemblance to cork, is used
for such floats. It grows in the forests thereabouts, and after being
shaped and charred to prevent decay, lasts, without further trouble,
for a longer time than bladders or skins. With some impatience the
black buoy and the line attached are brought on board. Like an inverted
bell-shaped flower-pot comes the first earthenware jar, hardly the
size of a child's head, attached to the line. Mouth downward, the jar
is pulled up from the bottom, and when all the water has been poured
out, the fishermen give a look inside. No occupant being found, the
jar is once more lowered into the sea by the attached string, which is
overrun till the next jar is pulled up, brought on board, and similarly
examined. When six or seven are examined, and no occupant is found in
any of these, the fishermen shew no impatience. But presently from a
jar an octopus is jerked upon the floor of the boat, and with some
satisfaction the Japanese watch its tentacles wriggle all about the
planks and cling round their legs. Changing its hues, the disgusting
cephalopod loses its redder blotches for paler patches, and eventually
crawls into a darker corner to coil itself away. Pouring the water more
carefully from the inverted pots, the fishermen secure a few more of
these animals, which crawl and twine about with snake-like contortions.
The long string of pots took time to overhaul, but the spoils were
reckoned reward for the trouble. When the fishing was completed, and
the black floats were again left to mark the spot, our boat was sculled
somewhat farther down the land.

'We had then time to learn something more of this fishing for tako, as
the octopus is named by the Japanese fishermen. Through our friends,
we learn that the tako needs no bait to entice it to enter the earthen
jars used by the fishermen to entrap it; but crawling about on the
bottom, or shooting itself through the sea by the expulsion of water,
it finds in the dark earthen jar "a comfortable house," and so occupies
it until the fisherman finds it and captures it. The tako is largely
eaten in Japan, where all the products of the sea are accounted equally
wholesome with those of the land; and beneath an ugly skin the flesh
of this speckled monster is thought very good, cooked in several ways,
and eaten with or without soy or vinegar. Nevertheless, as if to
vindicate the dread its constantly changing hues excite, the eating of
the octopus is not unattended with danger. Through some poisonous taint
either occasionally or always present, but modified by the process of
cooking, people sometimes die from eating this animal. And yet the
knowledge of this interferes but to a trifling extent with the use of
food having such a questionable reputation--indeed at certain seasons
it is largely used by the Japanese, when the cuttle-fish are far more
plentiful and also more wholesome. Caught by trolling a small wooden
fish barbed with hooks, they make good sport, chiefly to the older
fishermen, who are not active enough to go off to sea.'



A RELIC OF ANTIQUITY.


Owing to various causes, the relics of antiquity in our Great
Metropolis are year by year becoming fewer and fewer in number. The
utilitarianism of the age has, doubtless, much to answer for; but much
harm is done by pure carelessness and neglect. Only a few days back the
house in which John Milton lived was pulled down; for that act some
excuse on the ground of public improvement may doubtless be urged; but
none surely can be successfully pleaded for allowing so interesting a
relic as the ancient Pyx Chamber in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey
to go to ruin. Judging, however, from what the Warden of the Standards
states in his recently published Report, this seems likely to be the
case, unless he can induce the Office of Works to do something for its
preservation. We hope that success may attend his efforts. This ancient
historical chamber is so interesting from its associations, and so
curious as a rare specimen of early Norman architecture, that we shall
perhaps be pardoned for abridging some brief particulars respecting it
from the Report alluded to.

This ancient crypt, which forms part of the Saxon or very early
Norman substructure of the outbuildings of the Abbey, is certainly
as old as the time of Edward the Confessor, and is believed to have
been constructed in his reign. It has also been known as Edward the
Confessor's Chapel. The vaulted and groined ceiling is supported by
massive stone pillars, and the building is one of the very earliest
Norman works in the country. The floor is paved with ancient coloured
tiles. After the Conquest, this chamber was used as one of the king's
treasuries, as a sacred place of deposit. The remains of an altar
at the east end, and of a _piscina_, seem to indicate its original
sanctity. There is, however, a tradition that what has the appearance
of a stone altar is the tomb of Hugolin, the Confessor's chamberlain.
In 1303, the thirty-first year of King Edward I., the whole of the
king's treasures were deposited in this ancient chamber, the entrance
to which, on the west or cloister side, was at that time, as now,
secured by two massive doors with seven locks. During the king's
absence in Scotland, when engaged in war, the northern wall of the
chamber was broken through by some of the monks of Westminster Abbey,
and the whole of the treasure carried off. It included four crowns,
with the king's rings, sceptres, jewels, gold and silver coin, and
plate, &c. The greater part of the booty was, however, afterwards
recovered, and the monks tried and found guilty. The depositions at
their trial still exist amongst our ancient records, but the actual
punishment inflicted on the thieves is not recorded; some significant
evidence, however, still remains of what was probably their fate,
inasmuch as an old door on the north side of the chamber, opening into
the passage to the chapter-house, has portions of a human skin still
fastened to it! It would appear that, in consequence of this robbery,
the approach to the chamber on the north side was walled off, and the
room was reduced in size by one-third. After the Restoration, the
regalia and other similar treasures of the sovereign were removed to
the Tower, and the chamber was then known as the 'Treasury of Leagues,'
the original parchment documents of commercial leagues with foreign
states being deposited there. Several large oak presses are still in
existence in which these leagues were kept; some of them are furnished
with drawers, and bear inscriptions on parchment or merely in chalk,
indicating the nature of their former contents. There are also several
large ancient coffers or chests still remaining in the chamber, in one
of which the Standard trial-plates of gold and silver for trials of the
pyx were formerly kept, whence the chamber became known as the 'Pyx
Chapel.' At the present time, no official documents or articles of any
value are kept in the Pyx Chamber, and its interior has been allowed to
get into a very dirty and decayed state; indeed, Mr Chisholm goes so
far as to aver that nothing has been done to it during his period of
public service, now more than fifty-one years!



THE COMMERCIAL TRAVELLERS' SCHOOLS.


A wish has been expressed, in reference to our article 'The Commercial
Traveller,'[2] for a brief notice of the admirable schools belonging to
that praiseworthy body of men at Pinner, near Harrow.

The Institution was founded about thirty years ago; but the present
building dates from 1855, when the ceremonial opening was conducted
by the late Prince Consort. Wings were added afterwards; and in its
present form the establishment accommodates about three hundred boys
and girls--say two hundred of the former and one hundred of the latter.
The Institution clothes, maintains, and educates the destitute orphans
of deceased commercial travellers, and fatherless children of the
necessitous members of the craft. No favouritism would suffice for the
admission of children other than those belonging to this category. As
the Institution is wholly supported by donations and subscriptions, the
donors have rightfully a voting power for the admission of children.
Governors, managers, trustees, &c. are appointed in the manner usual
in analogous institutions. Children are admitted by ballot-voting
twice a year; they begin at various ages, but all quit the Institution
at the age of fifteen, when they are assisted with an outfit and
aid in obtaining suitable situations. The education given is really
excellent, comprising (for boys) reading, writing, arithmetic, algebra,
geometry, geography, map-drawing, grammar, English composition, Latin,
French, English history, class-singing, and instrumental music; and
for girls, most of the above branches, with needlework and domestic
duties. A juvenile band is maintained by the boys, under a professional
bandmaster. Diet and clothing are good and plentiful. A project has
recently been started for an enlargement of the building by adding a
new wing, with fifty-two additional beds, a laundry, swimming-bath, and
infirmary, at an estimated cost of eighteen thousand pounds.

In our former article we spoke of the onerous duties that press upon
many commercial travellers, and of the necessity for probity, energy,
and intelligence on their part. It is well to know what is thought
on these points by those who have the best means of knowing. At the
last anniversary of the Institution, a partner in one of the great
City firms said: 'I spent some of the happiest days of my life among
commercial travellers. They are a worthy, industrious, painstaking
body of men. They are subject to temptations to which hardly any other
class is subject; often leaving home very young, very inexperienced,
with frequently a large command of money, thrown upon their own
resources, without that best safeguard against temptation--home
influence. They must work in all weathers, their energies strained to
the utmost against a great force of competition. Their sea of life
is never smooth, their work never done, a fresh struggle and battle
with the world every half-hour. Sometimes with sickness at home, and
the head of the family away, dreading misfortune which he might have
prevented or alleviated. A traveller, to be successful, should be
sickness-proof, accident-proof, bad-debt proof; and he should be a most
wise and temperate man, moderate in all his ways.' If the 'commercial'
approaches anything near this picture, he must indeed be an excellent
fellow.

The Commercial Travellers' Benevolent Institution, to aid aged and
necessitous members of the body, is another praiseworthy offshoot.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] _Chambers's Journal_, Dec. 16, 1876.



TO THE COMING FLOWERS.


    Awake, dear sleepers, from your wintry tombs;
    The sun has turned the point of Capricorn,
    And 'gins to pluck from Winter's wings the plumes
    Of darkness, and to wind his silver horn
    For your return. Come to your homes, forlorn
    In absence of your odours and your faces;
    Like Rachel weeps for you the reaved morn,
    As often as she views your empty places,
  Erewhile the daily scene of her and your embraces.

    Come, pensile snowdrop, like the earliest star
    That twinkles on the brow of dusky Night;
    Come, like the child that peeps from door ajar,
    With pallid cheek, upon a wasteful sight:
    And shouldst thou rise when all around is white,
    The more thou'lt demonstrate the power of God
    To shield the weak against the arms of might,
    To strengthen feeble shoulders for their load,
  And sinking hearts 'mid ills they could not full forebode.

    Come, crocus cup, the cup where early bees
    Sip the first nectar of the liberal year,
    Come and illume our green, as similes
    Light up the poet's song. And O ye dear
    March violets, come near, come breathing near!
    You too, fair primroses, in darksome woods
    Shine forth, like heaven's constellations clear;
    And come, ye daisies, throng in multitudes,
  And whiten hills and meadows with your saintly hoods.

    Come with thy lilies, May; thy roses, June;
    Come with your richer hues, Autumnal hours;
    O tell your mellowing sun, your regal moon,
    Your dewy drops, your soft refreshing showers,
    To lift their blessing hands in Flora's bowers,
    Nor e'en to scorn the bindweed's flossy gold,
    Nor foxglove's banner hung with purple flowers,
    Nor solitary heath that cheers the wold,
  Nor the last daisy shivering in November's cold!

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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