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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 695 - April 21, 1877.
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 695 - April 21, 1877." ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 695.      SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



A MARVEL OF ARTISTIC GENIUS.


Coggeshall in Essex is a small market-town, which, in days past was of
some slight importance as a busy little manufacturing place, but which
of later years has been drained of population, like many another place,
to supply material for the great 'centres.' It now has little to boast
of but its fine church, one of the three finest in the county, and some
most interesting ruins, well known to antiquaries; it takes, however, a
great pride in owning the parentage of the subject of this notice.

John Carter was the only son of a respectable labourer in Coggeshall,
but was himself brought up to silk-weaving, that being the staple
trade of the town. He was educated in the usual way at the national
school; but at the age of thirteen was transferred to Sir R. Hitcham's
grammar-school, where he continued about two years. During this
period he was chiefly remarkable for his aptitude for getting into
mischief; and the only sign given of the latent talent which was
afterwards so strangely developed in him was in drawing horses and
dogs of questionable beauty on his slates and copy-books; the walls of
his cottage also were frequently put under requisition for the same
purpose; a mark of talent which his mother in those days could have
readily dispensed with, as not tending to improve the look of her
humble apartment, which she always kept most scrupulously neat and
clean. He was a bright intelligent boy, and this and his high spirits
made him a general favourite, but proved also a great snare to him. He
became acquainted with a set of wild young men, and soon, naturally
enough, became the ringleader in all sorts of daring enterprise.

When Carter was about twenty he married; but though his wife was a
quiet and respectable young woman, his marriage does not appear to have
steadied him. He and his wild companions used to meet at one of the
public-houses and there talk over and arrange their operations. One
of the projects which these choice spirits agreed upon was a rooking
expedition, the young rooks being then in season. It was in the month
of May 1836. The place agreed on was Holfield Grange, there being there
a fine old avenue of elms, in which the rooks from time immemorial had
comfortably settled. The avenue was disused; and as it was some little
way from the house and away from the road and preserves, there was
little chance of their being interrupted by watchmen or gamekeepers.
They arranged to meet in a field outside the town with a given signal,
by which they might know friend from foe; this was to avoid leaving the
town in a body, which might have suggested suspicions of mischief, and
induced a little watching. Midnight found them all at the rendezvous,
and little more than half an hour's walking brought them to the chosen
spot. Carter, foremost as usual, was the first to climb one of the
tall trees, and was soon busy enough securing the young birds. The
trees in the avenue are very old, and stand somewhat close together,
their gnarled and massive boughs frequently interlacing, making it
quite possible for an expert climber to pass from one tree to another.
In attempting to perform this, Carter deceived either in the distance
or strength of a bough, missed his hold and fell to the ground, a
distance of about forty feet. He had fallen apparently on his head, for
it was crushed forwards on to his chest. For a time he lay perfectly
senseless, and the dismay of his wretched companions may be imagined.
Their position was an unenviable one, to say the least. What were they
to do? A mile and a half from the town, in the dead of night, in the
midst of their depredations, which must now inevitably become known,
and with one of their party dying or dead, they knew not which.

After a time, Carter seems to have recovered consciousness partially,
and made them understand, though his speech was so much affected as to
be almost unintelligible, that he wanted them to 'pull him out!' This
rough surgery they therefore tried, some taking his head and some his
feet, and pulled till he could once more speak plainly; and having done
that, seemed to think that there was nothing more they could do.

Would one or two more judicious tugs have fitted the dislocated bones
together again, or would they have broken the spinal marrow? Who can
tell? In either case the world would have lost one striking case of
latent talent developed by a misfortune which seemed indeed only one
remove from death; so we will not complain.

Finding that no further improvement took place in the poor fellow, and
that he had lapsed into unconsciousness, his companions procured a
hurdle, and laying him on it with all the skill and gentleness of which
they were capable, retraced their steps to the town, and bore him to
the home which he had left a few hours before in the full strength and
health of early manhood. They laid him on his bed and then slunk away,
glad to shut out from their sight the terrible result of their headlong
folly, one only remaining to tell to the poor wife the sad story of the
disaster. The doctor was sent for; and the result of his examination
was the terrible verdict that Carter had not in all probability many
days or even hours to live; in any case, whether he lived or not, he
was paralysed without hope of recovery.

He did not recover consciousness entirely till the following night;
and we who have the full enjoyment of our limbs and health can hardly
realise what that poor fellow must have suffered in learning that,
even if life were granted to him at all, it was under such terrible
conditions as at first to seem to him less a boon than a burden. He
would never again be able to move hand or foot, the only power of
movement remaining to him being in the neck, which just enabled him
to raise or turn round his head; that was _all_--there was not even
feeling in the rest of his body. What a dreary blank in the future!
What wonder if the undisciplined soul cried out aloud with repining,
like a wild bird beating against the bars of a cage; what wonder if in
the bitterness of his heart he cried: 'Of what good is my life to me!
Better that I had never been born, since all that makes life sweet is
taken from me.'

Anguish unknown, terrors too great for words, must that poor soul
have met and overcome, ere he had learned the great lesson of sorrow,
that life, true life, does not consist in mere physical capabilities
and enjoyments, but that there is a far higher, nobler life, the
life of the soul and mind, which is as infinitely above the other as
heaven is above earth. His mind being now no longer overridden by his
superabundant physical nature, began to work and put forth its powers
and energies; but it was long ere he found any object on which to
expend those powers; not till he had, through several long and heavy
years of suffering, learned the great and most difficult lesson of
patience--patience, without which he would never have accomplished the
wonderful work which we will now proceed to describe.

Having read one day of some young woman who, deprived of the use of
her hands, had learned to draw little things with her _mouth_, he was
seized with a desire to try the same thing, and was not content till
he had made his first attempt. Deprived of the use of his hands, why
not try his mouth! A butterfly that had fluttered into the cottage
was caught and transfixed; a rough desk extemporised, and with such
materials as a sixpenny box of paints afforded, he made a sketch of the
insect. Delighted with his success, he determined to persevere. A light
deal desk was made after his own directions, on which to fix his paper;
the picture he was about to copy being fastened above, or if large,
hung from the top of the bed by tapes; he always drew in bed, his head
being slightly raised by pillows. A pencil about six inches long and
bound round with thread was put in his mouth, and with this he sketched
his subject. A saucer of Indian ink was prepared, and a fine camel-hair
brush was dipped and placed in his mouth by the attendant; these
brushes were sometimes not more than four inches long. In this way he
produced the most exquisite drawings, equal to fine line engravings,
which were sold for him by his friends and patrons, some of them
finding their way into the highest quarters; and thus he was enabled to
experience the delight of feeling that paralysed as he was, he was not
a mere burden, but was able to contribute to his own support.

Several of the most beautiful of his works are now in America, and we
believe we are right in saying that as much as twenty-five and fifty
pounds apiece have been given for them. Another very fine work, a copy
of 'St John and the Angel,' about eighteen inches by twelve, is in the
possession of Robert Hanbury, Esq., of Poles Ware, Hertfordshire, and
is wonderful in its power and delicacy. In the copies from Rembrandt,
Carter has so completely caught the peculiar touch and style of the
great master, that even a connoisseur would have some difficulty in
distinguishing them from the original.

Carter tried various styles--water-colour, chalks, mezzotint, and line
drawing; but it was the last in which he succeeded best, and which best
displayed his great delicacy of touch. The chalks required too great
pressure, and fatigued him so much that he was only able to finish two
or three pictures in this style, a masterly head of St Peter being one;
but the grand sweep of the unbroken lines in these shews, we think, his
talent more than any of his works.

He found many kind friends who interested themselves in his work, and
supplied him with subjects to copy; notably amongst these, Miss Hanbury
of Holfield Grange, now wife of the Dean of Winchester. Mr Richmond the
artist also came to see him on several occasions, and speaks of him
thus in a letter: 'The first time I saw him [Carter] I was taken to his
cottage by the Rev. Charles Forster, vicar of Stisted, Essex; and the
impression of that visit I shall never lose, for the contrast of the
utterly helpless body of the man with the bright and beaming expression
of his face, which only a peaceful and clear spirit could raise, was
a sight to do one good. It was as it were "the face of an angel,"
and I always think of him in connection with that passage.' This
latter remark is no exaggeration, for Carter was more than ordinarily
handsome, of that old Roman type so common amongst the agricultural
labourers in Essex, which ill-health and suffering had only improved
by adding refinement to his well-cut features; and the expression
of deep humility and patience was most touching in its earnestness.
Richmond, speaking elsewhere of his works, says: 'His power of
imitation was extraordinary--I mean it would have been extraordinary in
one possessing hands to execute his thought with; but to see him with
his short pencil between his lips executing with the greatest precision
and skill intricate forms and describing difficult curves, filled me
with wonder and admiration.'[1]

Carter lived for fourteen years in this helpless condition, during
which time he was a constant attendant at the church. A light frame and
mattress, on which he lay perfectly prostrate, was lifted on to a sort
of little wheel-carriage, and thus he was carried into the church, and
lay during the service. Useful for locomotion, this carriage, sad to
relate, was the cause of his death. One day, the lad who was wheeling
him about, lost his hold at the top of a hill; the carriage ran back
with violence against a wall, and upset the poor fellow into the road.
From that day he sank rapidly, and died on the 2d of June 1850.

There was a post-mortem examination; and the injured portion of the
spine was removed, and presented by Professor Hilton to the Museum of
the College of Surgeons, London, 'where it remains,' as he said in
lecturing on the case at the College, 'a typical specimen almost unique
in interest.'

[The sight of the drawing of the 'Virgin and Child,' by Carter, which
has been submitted to our inspection, is eminently suggestive of
what may be done in the most adverse circumstances, and also rouses
sentiments of profound regret at the sudden and unforeseen death of a
being so highly gifted with the light of genius.--ED.]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See _Memoir of Carter_, with Illustrations, by Rev. W. J. Dampier.
Simpkin and Marshall. 1876.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XIX.--MRS CHICHESTER'S ARRANGEMENT.


When an hour later, I re-entered the drawing-room to make my adieu to
Miss Farrar, I found that the aspect of affairs had altogether changed.
She was lounging in her favourite attitude of negligent ease, in a low
chair, playing with the appendages to her watch-chain; and opposite to
her sat Mrs Chichester.

Marian did not give me time to speak, hurriedly commencing, with
haughty graciousness, the moment I entered the room.

'Oh, it is Miss Haddon.--Come in, Miss Haddon. I am sorry to disappoint
you; but I have been thinking the matter over since I spoke to you, and
have come to the conclusion that I shall not require your services.
The truth is I could not feel quite sure that you would suit me, and
therefore I have made another arrangement--a much more satisfactory
one.'

For a moment I did not quite comprehend the state of affairs, asking
myself if she could have so far misinterpreted my words as to suppose
that I had expressed a wish to remain with her. Then the truth flashed
upon me, and I calmly replied: 'It is quite possible I might not have
suited you, Miss Farrar. If, as I suppose, you have made an arrangement
for Mrs Chichester to reside with you, I believe you will find her much
more amenable and easy to get on with than I might prove to be.'

Marian looked at me doubtfully, not quite sure whether to interpret my
words favourably or not. Mrs Chichester's lips closed tightly for a
moment, then she said with her accustomed gentleness and suavity: 'The
arrangement between Miss Farrar and myself is so essentially different
from ordinary engagements, Miss Haddon; simply a friendly one.'

'Yes, indeed,' said Marian, with a grand air. 'Accepting an occasional
little offering' (here I knew she was quoting) 'is quite different from
receiving a salary, you know.'

I cheerfully agreed that it was different; and was mischievous enough
to congratulate 'Miss Farrar' upon having found so disinterested a
friend in the time of need.

With heightened colour, Mrs Chichester explained that she had only done
what any moderately good-natured person would do, in offering to stay
with one who had been deserted by those who ought not to have deserted
her.

'Yes; that's what I call it!' said Marian eagerly catching at the word.
'I've been deserted by those who ought not to have deserted me! And
here's Caroline, that I never cared for, and who I thought never cared
for me, turns out my best friend. Caroline had taken a great fancy
to me from the beginning, only she was afraid of shewing it, in case
Lilian should be jealous. But since my sister has chosen to desert me
as she has, she can't complain about my choosing a fresh friend. As
you know, I have done all I could to make things pleasant for Lilian.
No one in the world could act more generously than I have done to her.
Any one might tell that, by the heaps and heaps of things which have
been taken out of the house, without my saying a word. And then the
piano, when it was found that it would have to be sold on account of
being too large for the cottage, I paid the price it cost two years
ago. Two hundred and fifty pounds for a second-hand piano, Caroline!
I shouldn't mind if I'd been treated accordingly. But to go away like
this, without so much as saying thank you. As Caroline says, it is
treating one too bad; it really is!'

I glanced smilingly at Caroline's flushed face, and then wished them
good afternoon.

'I hear that you are going to stay at the cottage, Miss Haddon?'

'For three or four months I am, Mrs Chichester.'

'Until you find another engagement, I presume?' she asked, eyeing me
curiously.

'Until I make another engagement,' I smilingly replied.

But the 'three or four months' had aroused her suspicions, though I did
not perceive in what way.

'You have made the best of your sojourn at Fairview, Miss
Haddon'--softly.

'The very best, Mrs Chichester,' was my cheerful response; although I
did not see the whole of her meaning, as I was to see it later. I knew
enough to be sure the drift of it was not very friendly. One thing was
very palpable--I made no advance in Mrs Chichester's good graces.

They followed me to the hall with messages for Lilian.

'I can't forget that she's Pa's daughter, you know,' said Marian, once
more striving to be generous. 'Give my love to her, and tell her not to
hesitate about sending for anything she may require from the garden or
what not; she will miss things so at first, you know. And I don't see
why she shouldn't have milk; cook said we have more than she can use
just now. If we go on keeping two cows she shall always have it. And
say that the very first time we drive out I will call at the cottage.'

Saunders, who opened the door for me, drew his hand across his eyes as
he strove to stammer out a message to the 'dear young mistress.'

'Of course you will come to see her; she will be desirous to hear
how you are getting on, Saunders,' I replied, beginning to find some
difficulty in keeping up my own courage. But there was more to try me
yet. Before I could make my escape, every servant employed in or about
the house had crowded into the hall, down to Tom the garden-boy.

'Tell the dear young mistress our hearts ache for her.' 'Tell her there
isn't one here as wouldn't go barefoot to serve her. God bless her!'
'Tell her her kindness to mother will never be forgotten as long as I
live.' 'Why didn't she let us say good-bye, Miss Haddon?' 'Why didn't
she shake hands with us before she went, Miss?'--they asked one after
the other.

The wisdom of our getting her away as we did was manifest enough. 'It
would have been more than she could have borne,' I replied, in a broken
voice. 'But it will do her good to hear of your shewing so much kindly
feeling, though she never doubted your attachment to her. And of course
she expects that you will all go to see her.'

'Ay, that we will!'

Then I got my own share of parting good-wishes, as we shook hands all
round, not at all disturbed in the process by the sudden slamming of
the drawing-room door and the violent ringing of a bell.

Satisfactory as it all was from one point of view, I congratulated
myself upon having contrived to spare Lilian this scene, as well as the
final good-bye to the home that ought to have been her own.

I turned from the main road and walked slowly down across the fields
at the back of Fairview until I reached the stile at the end of the
lane. Then seating myself upon the cross step, I yielded to a little
sentiment, telling myself that there must be no such indulgence at the
cottage for some time to come. We needed our full share of common-sense
to keep the atmosphere healthy. It was all very well trying to assume
philosophic airs about wealth; it did very well in my own case, for
instance; but I really could not see that it was better for Lilian to
lose her large fortune--and so lose it. Into what different channels
would the money have passed from her hands, how different a class
of people would have been benefited from those who would now be the
recipients of it. Granted that Lilian herself might be as happy in
the future as though she possessed a large income, how many would be
the worse for her not possessing it. The other was already developing
a mean nature, and would grudge expenditure upon anything which did
not immediately minister to her own gratification. And so forth and
so forth I complained to myself in the short-sighted way with which
many of us are apt to judge when looking at a question from one point
of view only. I did not even take into consideration the fact that
the loss of fortune had already brought about one good effect--that
of making Arthur Trafford appear in his true colours, and so sparing
Lilian from much misery in the future.

'How did she bear it, Miss Haddon?'

I looked up to find Robert Wentworth standing on the other side the
stile. I rose, shook hands, and replied: 'As you might expect she
would. But we contrived to spare her a final parting scene;' going on
to tell him how we had managed it.

'A good idea. And Mrs Chichester has stepped in, has she?' he added
musingly. 'Well, I suppose that might have been expected too. Trafford
will have a useful ally.'

I told him of the offer I had received, smiling a little over the
recital.

'Fortunately you are not like other women; you can smile at that sort
of thing. And you will not, I trust, be again subjected to anything of
the kind. You will remain at the cottage as long as you need a home
now?'

'Yes,' I replied in a low voice, feeling the hot colour cover my face
in my confusion at hearing such an allusion from him; wondering not a
little how he had come to know what I had been so reticent, even to
those I loved best, about. His tone and look seemed, I thought, so
plainly to imply that he did know.

'But I suppose that is forbidden ground just at present?' he went on,
as I imagined answering my very thoughts.

'Yes,' I whispered stupidly; shy of talking about my love affair to
him, yet a little ashamed of my shyness, as more befitting a young
romantic girl than myself.

'I will obey'--glancing down at me with grave pleasantness--'if you
will consent that some limit shall be put to the restraint. Shall we
say three months?'

I smiled assent. He really did know then; even to the time Philip was
expected. I did not like to ask him how he had gained the knowledge,
as that might lead to more talk upon the subject than I cared to enter
into. In fact I was completely taken by surprise, and not quite equal
to the occasion.

But I soon contrived to account for his knowledge of my secret. My
engagement was well known to Philip's brother and the latter's friends;
and it was quite possible that Robert Wentworth might know some of
them. But however he had found it out, I was quite content that he
should have done so. It would be all the easier to pave the way towards
a friendship between Philip and him, by-and-by. For the present I
quietly returned to the subject which I believed to be most interesting
to him, and we talked over Lilian's prospects hopefully if a little
gravely, as we walked slowly on down the lane.

'You think there are really some grounds for hoping that she may forget
him?' he asked anxiously. 'I should not judge hers to be a changeable
mind.'

'Changeable! No; if she had really loved Arthur Trafford, as she
fancied she did, there would be indeed no hope.'

'Fancied?'

'Yes; I firmly believe it _was_ fancy. She never loved the real Arthur
Trafford; she is only just beginning to know him as he is.'

'Well, I suppose it is all right, so far as she is concerned; and
yet--constancy in love and friendship is part of my religion. One does
not like to have that faith disturbed?'--with what I fancied was a
questioning look.

'You forget that Lilian was almost a child when the acquaintance
commenced; barely sixteen. Though I hold that she will be constant to
her love, in even ceasing to care for Arthur Trafford. Do not you see
that she has never known the real man until now--that in fact she has
been in love with an ideal?' I replied, under the impression that he
was putting the questions which he wished to be combated, and willing
to indulge him so far.

'It must be rather hard upon a man to discover, after a long
engagement, that he does not accord with his lady-love's ideal--all
the harder if the discovery _does_ not happen to be made until after
marriage,' he said; '_and_ I think you will have to acknowledge that
the ideal you talk about ought to preserve a woman from falling in love
with the counterfeit, rather than lead her to it.'

'You are talking about a woman, and I a girl.'

'You must not forget that she was old enough to engage herself to him.
How if she had continued in her blindness until too late--how if she
had become his wife?'

'If she had become his wife before her eyes were opened, Lilian would
in time have recognised her own weakness in the matter, and blamed no
one else. Moreover, she would have made a good wife.'

'Yes; I suppose it would have been patched up that way; by the slow
heart-breaking process of smiling at grief and all the rest of it. And
of course you mean to imply that her fate would have its use, in the
way of serving as a warning to incautious youth against being in love
with ideals?'

'Of course I meant no such thing, and you know that I did not,' I
replied, laughing outright. 'I should think there is need for a great
deal of the ideal in all love, to keep it alive.'

'Ah, now we are getting on to fresh ground,' he said enjoyably. 'Let me
see, the proposition is that love needs a great deal of the ideal to
keep it alive; and yet'----

But I was not going to indulge him with a disquisition upon love;
giving him a Roland for an Oliver, in my own fashion: 'No one is more
glad that Lilian's has turned out to be only an ideal love, than
yourself.'

'Ah, that is not spoken with your usual accuracy of statement. Should
you not rather have said that no one could be more sorry than I that
her ideal did not preserve her from'----

'She _is_ preserved; and that is what you care most about.'

He smiled. 'Well, perhaps it is.'

When we arrived at the turn in the lane leading to the cottage, he took
leave of me. I did not invite him to go in with me, and I think he
quite understood my motive for not doing so, this first evening of our
entrance upon a new life. But he responded as heartily as I could wish,
when I expressed a hope that he would come as frequently as he could
to the cottage; adding that we should expect a great deal from him now
that he had shewn us how helpful he could be in times of emergency.
'Besides, it will be good for us, I suppose, to occasionally see one of
the lords of creation, lest we should come to forget that we are but
women.'

'Yes; you at least require to be occasionally taken down.'

'You must consider me very amiable to say that in my presence.'

'Did you hurt your hand when you struck it upon the seat the other day?
From the violence of the blow, I was afraid you would suffer a little
afterwards.'

'Surely you did not call that temper?'

'O dear, no; I did not venture to call it anything. What did you call
it?'

'Righteous indignation,' I calmly replied.

'Righteous indignation! O indeed. Then if I have cause to be angry with
a person, it is righteous indignation to attack his friend, and enforce
my arguments by blows upon a piece of wood?'

'You are worse than usual to-night; but come soon to see Mrs Tipper and
Lilian,' I said, smiling.

'Let us shake hands upon that.'

I stood looking after him a moment, as he walked away in the twilight
with the long, easy, swinging motion natural to one of a powerfully
built frame. Moreover I knew that his mental power was at least in
equal proportion to his physical strength, and had no fears as to
Lilian's happiness, by-and-by. The only drawback to her happiness would
be the remembrance of past weakness, and that may not be the worst kind
of drawback one could have in the time of prosperity.

As we sat that night by the open window, the May moon flooding the
lovely scene outside, resting, as I persuaded myself, tenderly on _my_
house by the hill-side, nearly facing us, from the other side of the
village, we told each other that some people were not intended for a
life of luxury and grandeur, and that we were of their kind; heartily
agreeing that we were now in our proper sphere.

Dear little Mrs Tipper was a bright example of content and happiness.
Never had I seen her at such advantage as at present. Energetic and
cheerful, company manners packed away with her best dresses, she
was a happy little woman again, bustling about her small domain in
a print-dress and large apron, and finding a new pleasure every ten
minutes. There was not even the drawback of anxiety about Lilian in her
mind.

She had confided to me that she had never felt quite satisfied with
Arthur Trafford as a husband for her niece, though she had been
afraid to trust to her own judgment in the matter, lest her want of
appreciation might arise from her ignorance of society and its ways.
But she quite shared my opinion as to the probability of Lilian's
getting healthily over her disappointment. There was nothing to prevent
her giving expression to her real sentiments about the change in her
life, and Lilian had the pleasure of knowing that auntie at least could
not be said to be suffering from reverses.

'It does me real good to do it, my dear; it does indeed!' she
ejaculated, when I offered to wash the tea-things for her. 'It all
comes so natural and handy again. Little did I think, when I packed up
these and a few other things and brought them to brother's unbeknown,
that I should have the pleasure of washing them again. I couldn't
bear to sell them, because they were father's present to me on my
wedding-day, and nobody has ever washed them but me. You wouldn't
believe how fond I came to be of this one with the little chip in it,
washing it every day for thirty years. John, he used to be sitting
there by the fire with his pipe,' she went on, pointing to a corner,
and evidently seeing in her mind's eye the old cottage home, 'and
telling me how things had been going on at the office in the day; and
the news out of the papers--very fond of the papers, John was; and he
had the reading of them when the gentlemen had done with them. And I
standing here washing up the tea-things, and saying a word now and then
to shew him I was listening.--It all comes back so plain--doesn't it?'
she added, apostrophising the cup with tearful eyes. 'I can almost hear
the cuckoo clock ticking against the wall.'

It was time to put in a word, which I did as gently as possible, and
she was presently smiling cheerily again.

'You mustn't think I'm low-spirited, dear; no, indeed. There was
nothing in those old times to make me sad; and John's in heaven. All
this only reminded me, you see.'

'I hope you will find Becky useful.'

'That I shall, dear; she's so handy and knows about things so much,
more than you might expect. It would never have done to have a fine
lady, afraid of spoiling her hands, for a servant here, you know.'
Stopping a moment to open the door and call out to Becky, at work
in the little scullery at the back: 'You won't forget to order the
currants and candied peel for the cake to-morrow, Becky. It must not
be said we hadn't a bit of home-made cake when there's dripping in the
house. A good thing I thought of ordering tins; but that's what I said
to the young man; leave it to me to know what is wanted in the kitchen.'

'I won't forget, ma'am,' called out Becky in return.

'And, Becky'--trotting to the door again--'there's bedroom candles and
soap to be thought of when the grocer comes in the morning. There would
be no sense in having to send into the town when we could have it all
brought. Don't forget to look at the little slate, if I'm up-stairs, to
see if there's anything else wanted.'

And so on, and so on, until Lilian and I at last got her up to her
bedroom, fairly tired out, but as happy as a queen.

I was rejoiced to see how much good it did Lilian to find that the dear
little woman took so kindly to cottage ways.

'How much worse things might have been, Mary. How thankful I ought to
be!'

'Yes; I think you ought, dearie.'

She and I stood for a few moments at my bedroom window, gazing at the
peaceful scene without. My room, as they already called it, was at
the back of the cottage; and the window commanded a view of the woods
on the one side, and the beautiful open country on the other. But we
tacitly agreed to avoid sentiment; we were not strong enough for that
yet. We just let the outside peace and quiet steal into our hearts,
as we stood there together for a few minutes, my arm about her, and
her cheek resting on my shoulder, and then bade each other good-night
without any demonstration.



THREE WONDERFUL RAILWAYS.


The 'Three Wonderful Railways' which we propose to notice are the
Brenner, the Semmering, and the Rigi lines.

The Brenner line, which lies between Innsbruck and Botzen, and
constitutes a portion of the railway connecting Bavaria and Italy,
although it passes through tunnel after tunnel, until the weary
traveller is prone to abandon all hope of obtaining any view of the
scenery, nevertheless is not content with getting _through_ the pass,
but proudly mounts to the top and passes over the summit level before
beginning the descent. The pass is a low one, indeed one of the lowest
over the main Alps; but then it must be borne in mind that this 'low'
Alpine pass is four thousand seven hundred and seventy-five feet
high; no mean altitude for a railway. Neither is it merely for its
height that the writer is induced to describe it, nor for its pretty
scenery (it can scarcely be called grand), but for the extraordinary
engineering difficulties which the making of the line presented, and
which have been so ably and ingeniously overcome. Some of the more
ordinary difficulties of the district traversed by the line may be
gathered from the fact that the ascent from Innsbruck involves no fewer
than thirteen tunnels, while in the descent there are ten. The line,
clinging to the side of the mountain, has to penetrate projecting rocks
so frequently that it strongly resembles, except in the lovely peeps
obtained in the momentary intervals, the Metropolitan District Railway;
which is dignified by the name of the 'Daylight Route,' because it is
not always underground. In its course up the valley the railway on one
side sometimes rises above the level of the carriage-road on the other,
sometimes finds itself considerably below it. In climbing the pass, the
rail of course never ceases to ascend; while the more humble road bows
to the obstacles it encounters, and rises and falls according to the
nature of the ground. At last, Nature seems determined to put a stop
to the encroachments of steam, and the railroad finds itself directly
facing a lateral valley, the bottom of which lies far below it.

Now how to get over this valley and pursue the direct course up the
main valley, seems a problem. The road would descend to mount again;
not so the rail. The difficulty and its solution may be well realised
by imagining a railway cut in the face of a long row of houses (which
must be supposed to represent one side of the main valley). This
railway, starting from one end of the row at the basement level,
gradually rises, in order to pass over the roofs (that is, the head of
the pass) of another row of houses at right angles to and at the end of
the first row. In its course it encounters a side-street (the lateral
valley) with no outlet at the other end, and which is too broad to
be spanned with a bridge. Now the line at this point has reached the
second floor; and to get to the opposite houses and pursue its course,
it turns a sharp corner, runs along one side of the blind street,
crosses it at the further or blind end by merely clinging still to the
houses, returns along the other side, rounds the corner into the main
street, and resumes its course. During this détour the ascent has been
continued uninterruptedly, so that on the return of the line to the
desired opposite corner it has mounted to the third floor. Applying
this illustration, the reader will perceive the ingenious yet simple
solution of the difficulty.

The effect on reaching the first corner of the lateral valley is most
remarkable. The line is seen at the opposite corner far above the
traveller's head entering a tunnel; and how he is going to get there
is a puzzle which he hardly solves before he finds himself on the spot
looking down on the corner he has just left, wondering how he ever came
from there.

But even this striking instance of engineering triumphs is eclipsed
by a portion of the line on the other side of the pass. Pursuing the
direction he has already come, the traveller has stopped in the descent
at Schelleberg, a small station perched at an enormous height above an
expansive valley, when he perceives a village five hundred feet almost
perpendicularly below him, which he is informed is the next station.
It would not take long to reach this village (Gossensass) in a lift,
but in a train he has to run far past it, always descending, then turn
completely round, and run back again in the direction he has come
from, but now on a level with Gossensass. But at the point where this
evolution has to be made occurs another lateral valley, much longer
than the first alluded to; and this time one which it is not desired to
cross, as Gossensass lies as it were on the basement of the house on
the third floor of which is Schelleberg. The train proceeds, therefore,
to turn the corner into the side-street as before; but without pursuing
the street to its end, it suddenly dives into one of the houses,
makes a complete circuit of its interior, and emerges in the opposite
direction; returning to the corner whence it started by means of the
same houses, but on a lower floor. The appearance of this engineering
feat is quite bewildering; and after tunnelling into the hill on the
sharp curve, and then finding himself proceeding back towards the
place he has just come from, the traveller experiences a difficulty in
believing that the line parallel with him, but almost over his head,
is the one he has just been passing over. Shortly after Gossensass has
been left behind, the train passes close under and almost into the
gigantic and formidable-looking fort of Franzensfeste; and then after
a few more tunnels, gradually leaves the Alps behind, and descends by
Botzen into the Italian plains with all their luxuriant foliage. It
should be added that the Brenner line was completed in the year 1867,
and that its numerous engineering difficulties entailed an average cost
of about twenty-eight thousand pounds per mile.

The Semmering line, which lies south of Vienna, on the way thence to
Trieste, and which, until the completion of the Brenner, was unique in
the boldness of its conception and execution, as also for the height
to which it attained, is now eclipsed as to altitude in more than one
instance; but as a magnificent engineering achievement it can hold its
own against any railway at present constructed. While resembling the
Brenner in many particulars, it differs from it in some important
points. Among these differences is the fact, that whereas the Brenner
line actually surmounts the pass, the Semmering, on reaching a height
of two thousand eight hundred and ninety-three feet, or about four
hundred feet short of the summit, suddenly, as if tired of so much
climbing, plunges into the ground, and only emerges again nearly a
mile off, and on the other side of the pass, which it then proceeds to
descend. It is thus that it may be said to have been the prototype of
its great successor, the Mont Cenis.

The Semmering further differs from the Brenner in what may perhaps be
considered its most remarkable feature--namely, its viaducts. For while
the latter avoids many a yawning abyss by some ingenious curve, the
former seems almost to seek the opportunity for a magnificent display
of span. These viaducts occur frequently, being as many as fifteen in
number; and in many instances are formed of a double row of arches, one
standing on the other in the manner sometimes adopted by the Romans
in the construction of their aqueducts. To realise the grandeur of
these viaducts, they should not be seen merely from a train, but the
traveller should contrive to view them from below. The finest is over
the Kalte Rinne, and consists of five arches below and ten above. The
line also in places requires to be protected from avalanches of stone
or of snow, and this is effected by means of covered galleries, such as
may be seen on so many Alpine roads. The tunnels too are as numerous as
the viaducts. In fact the train no sooner emerges from a tunnel than it
finds itself skimming over a viaduct, only to plunge once more into a
tunnel or a gallery. The device for crossing a lateral valley described
above in the case of the Brenner is also resorted to here, and need not
be further alluded to.

The proportionate cost of the Semmering railway was more than double
that of the Brenner, being about sixty thousand pounds per mile.
This may be accounted for partly by the fact, that the former was
constructed and opened thirteen years prior to the latter; by which the
latter was enabled to reap the benefit of the engineering experience
acquired in the progress of its predecessor. But the chief cause of
this enormous difference in the cost of construction lies in the
different modes adopted for overcoming obstacles; and the vast viaducts
of the Semmering entailed an expense which was wisely and ingeniously
avoided in the construction of the Brenner.

The gradients, as may be supposed, are very steep on both these
railways, and the rate of speed not great. On the Semmering a long
train has to be divided into two or three portions, to enable it to
surmount these steep slopes, which frequently are as rapid as one in
forty, even on the viaducts and in the tunnels. The reader has only to
notice the numbers on the gradient indicators by the side of an English
railway, to be able to judge what an incline of _one in forty_ is like.

But if one in forty seems steep, what shall be said of one in four,
which is the gradient of a large part of the Rigi railway? No doubt
the ascent of the Rigi has come to be regarded much as the Londoner
regards the ascent of Primrose Hill; though in the latter case the
hardy traveller has to use the means of locomotion with which Nature
has provided him in order to reach the summit; while in the former
he merely seats himself in a railway carriage at the base of the
mountain, and is deposited without the smallest exertion on his part at
or nearly at the top.

Steam here, as elsewhere, has almost entirely superseded the old means
of travel. But as if it were not a sufficiently stupendous undertaking
to have one railway to the top of a mountain, two have here been
constructed, one having its base at Art on the Lake of Zug, the other
at Vitznau on the Lake of Lucerne. Taking the latter, which was first
accomplished, the height to be scaled is four thousand four hundred
and seventy-two feet from the level of the Lake of Lucerne, the total
altitude of the mountain being five thousand nine hundred and five
feet above the level of the sea. Of this four thousand four hundred
and seventy-two feet, the rail accomplishes all but one hundred feet
or so. To do this, an excessively steep gradient must be constantly
maintained, as the formation of the mountain does not admit of wide
sweeps, détours, or zigzags; but the course pursued is round the
shoulder, then along the ridge which communicates with the topmost
heights, and finally up those heights themselves, a distance of not
more than eight miles. It is thus that a gradient of one in four
becomes a necessity. Let the reader mark out a distance of four feet,
and at one end place a foot-rule perpendicularly. A line drawn from
one end of this distance to the top of the rule at the other end will
indicate the gradient of one in four. It is a steeper incline than
horses and carriages are expected to surmount, yet trains pass up and
down constantly without difficulty, and it is confidently asserted,
without more danger than on ordinary lines. The rate of speed is of
course not high, one hour twenty minutes being occupied in the ascent,
and a slightly less time in the descent.

The construction of the train is remarkable. It consists of an engine
with small tender and but one carriage. An ordinary locomotive would
be powerless on such steep gradients, therefore one of peculiar
construction is used, which is of itself an extraordinary object. On
level ground it appears as if it had completely broken down and lost
two of its wheels. This arises from the fact that, being expressly
intended to work on an incline, it is built in such a way as to
compensate for the incline and maintain the boiler in a vertical
position. This boiler in appearance resembles nothing so much as a
large beer bottle standing upright when the train is ascending or
descending, but very much out of the perpendicular when on level
ground. The small tender is of course constructed so as to have its
floor level when on the incline. Its sides are of wire-work, and
are made thus with the object of reducing the weight as much as
possible; an object which is also carried out both in the engine and
in the carriage, which are as light as they can be made, it not being
necessary to prevent the wheels jumping from the rails by the pressure
of great weight as on ordinary lines, where a high rate of speed is
attained. This tender, in addition to its usual functions, performs the
office of carrying surplus passengers on an emergency.

The carriage is an open car, rather resembling a block of low pews
taken from a church, placed on wheels, and surmounted by an awning,
with curtains to let down at the sides, as a protection against
the weather. The seats, which are nine in number, and accommodate
six persons each, all face one way--namely, downhill; and a fixed
footstool serves to keep the passengers from sliding off their seats.
Contrary to the usual order, the carriage on this line precedes the
locomotive in the ascent, and is pushed instead of being pulled up
the incline. In the descent the locomotive takes the first place, and
exercises merely a retarding force. It will be seen, therefore, that
the two portions of the train are necessarily in close connection when
in motion, and for this reason, as well as for purposes of safety,
couplings are dispensed with. Each portion is provided with its own
brake-power, so that in the event of the engine getting beyond control,
the carriage can be stopped and rendered entirely independent, since
it is not coupled to the engine. The brake is of course of a totally
different kind from that in ordinary use, which would be of no service
whatever on such inclines, as the wheels, even if the brake were so
powerful as to stop their revolution, would slide down the hill by
the mere force of gravity. Here, however, the brake consists in an
ingenious adaptation of the means which are employed in driving the
engine.

The roadway is laid with three rails, the outer ones being of the
usual kind, while the central one is a long-toothed rack, of which the
teeth are perpendicular. Into this rack fit the teeth of the pinions
or cogged-wheels with which both engine and carriage are provided.
Now it is apparent that if these wheels are put in motion they will
pull the train along the rack; and if stopped and held firmly in one
position, they will prevent any onward motion by the mere clinching of
the teeth, to use a common expression. One of the cogged-wheels, then,
which are attached to the engine is the driving-wheel, and forms the
special means of locomotion, while the other cogged-wheels of course
merely revolve without exercising any traction. But immediately a halt
is required, all these wheels become of equal importance, and supply a
prompt and most efficient brake, since directly they are locked, the
train is brought to a stand-still, and held as in a vice even on the
steepest inclines. Other brake-power is also applied; but this would
seem to be the efficient means of control in case of accident.

It will be seen, therefore, that the danger of the train running away
is carefully provided against; and no less care has been bestowed on
the means for preventing the train leaving the rails, a danger fully
as alarming as the other on a line which, for the greater part of its
course, runs on the brink of a fearful precipice. Along each side of
the central or rack rail, which is raised some inches from the ground,
runs a projecting edge; and the engine and carriage are provided with
two strong rods, the ends of which are bent in such a manner as to pass
under these projections. Any jerk or jump of the train, therefore,
would be resisted by the pressure of these bent ends against the under
surface of the projections.

It is not within the province of this paper to speak of the hotels
which form such huge excrescences on the mountains' sides and top
(by no means an improvement on nature), or to allude to the hundreds
of tourists who daily swarm in these hotels, or to the hundreds of
others who take the journey for the sake of a 'new sensation.' It may,
however, be mentioned that from one of the stations (Rigi Staffel)
runs a branch-line which communicates with the Rigi Scheideck, where
is situated one of the largest of the hotels; and that the line from
Art joins the Vitznau line near the summit. It will thus be seen that
the Rigi is traversed in all directions by railways; and according to
the opinion of an intelligent Swiss with whom the writer conversed,
these railways owe their origin to the fact that the Germans, who have
now become such a travelling nation, will not penetrate in any numbers
where they cannot travel by horse, by carriage, or by steam; and he
further indicated his opinion of Germans by adding, that no doubt ere
long, a lift would be constructed to work up and down the perpendicular
face of the Matterhorn for their benefit. Who shall say that such a
thing is impossible?



SUNSHINE AND CLOUD.

IN TWO PARTS.

PART I.--SUNSHINE.


CHAPTER VII.--ISAAC IS TOUCHED.

Isaac allowed a few days to elapse before he paid his promised visit;
and then one evening, after an early chop, he sallied forth in search
of the address on Miss Faithful's card, No. 61 New West Road, Holloway.
He found the house without much difficulty; and a snug little house
it was. His three friends were at home, and appeared very pleased to
see him; that is to say, the two younger members of the party appeared
pleased, the elder lady being in a more or less somnolent state in the
arm-chair, and to some extent unconscious of his presence. The first
greetings and the general remarks upon the weather being ended, Herbert
proposed some music. Angela turned to their visitor, and asked him his
favourite songs. If she had asked him his favourite Greek plays, poor
Isaac could hardly have been more nonplussed. He was not much assisted
either by the cursory examination he gave a music-case containing a
number of her songs, which she considerately handed to him; so he was
fain to acknowledge that he did not know any tunes for certain, except
a few hymns he had heard in church, _God Save the Queen_, and a few
popular melodies he had heard the boys whistle in the streets. So
Herbert came to the rescue, and picked out one or two of his favourites
for her to sing. She did so; and then Isaac's mind, which had to a
great extent resumed its original state of reserve, reopened again to
the genial sunshine of her manner and the beauty of her voice; for
there was something irresistible to him in this singing of hers; he
could not account for it even to himself; but it was the 'open sesame'
to his heart and confidence.

She sang several songs and a couple of duets with her brother; and
then, as the evening closed in, the three sat at the open window
chatting--Miss Faithful meanwhile being peacefully asleep in her chair.
Isaac, under the influence of the spell, experienced a nearer approach
to delight than he had ever done before, and quite unbosomed himself to
his new friends. He gave them an account of his parentage, of his home,
or rather lodging, at Dambourne End, of his cottages and garden-ground,
and of his resources and prospects generally. They listened with
evident interest, and with a few judicious questions, obtained the
complete biography of their visitor.

At length the gas was lighted, supper was brought in, and aunt aroused
from her doze. After the meal, Angela went up-stairs with her, and
Isaac and Herbert were left to themselves. But there was not much to
be got from the former in the way of conversation, now the spell was
removed; and as he was in the habit of retiring to bed early (to save
lights), and as he had partaken of an unaccustomed meal in the form of
supper, he soon grew very drowsy, so arose to say good-night. Herbert
called his sister down-stairs to go through this salutation, and said
he would accompany Isaac on his walk to the coffee-house and smoke
his cigar by the way. At parting, he said he should look Isaac up one
evening, and if agreeable to him, they would go together to some place
of amusement. But in the meantime he was to stand upon no ceremony, but
to come and see them whenever he would.


CHAPTER VIII.--THE LEAP.

About a week after Isaac had paid his first visit to New West Road, he
was one evening finishing his solitary meal, when Mr Herbert Faithful
was announced. 'I am come to take you back with me,' he said, 'for
Angela has threatened me with an evening to myself, as she is very
busy trying on a dress for a ball to which we are going; and _I_ can't
stand loneliness if _you_ can; so come with me, and we'll have a cigar
together.'

'I will go with you,' said Isaac; 'but I cannot smoke; I never tried.'

So in a few minutes they were on their way to Miss Faithful's house,
and the conversation turned on the coming ball.

'I quite imagine it will be rather a showy affair,' said Herbert; 'and
I more than half suspect that it is arranged for a special purpose. It
is given by a Mrs Ashton, an old friend of my mother, and her son is
an old sweetheart of Angela. He has never proposed exactly, as he was
considered too young; but this ball is to be given on his birthday, and
I expect Angela will come home an engaged girl. She is a dear girl,'
he continued with a sigh; 'but it is only reasonable that she should be
getting married before long.'

Isaac's heart gave a great bound, but he answered nothing. His
companion was silent also after this, and in a few minutes they reached
his aunt's house.

To her brother's apparent surprise, Angela was in the hall to welcome
them. 'It is all very fine, Master Herbert,' she said, 'for you to run
off as soon as I promise you an evening to yourself down-stairs; but do
not think you are to monopolise Mr Webb's company.'

'But how about the dress?' asked Herbert.

'Oh, that did not take long, for it fits beautifully. But somehow or
other I do not care so much about the ball as I did.'

'Well, I like that!' said Herbert. 'Perhaps you are afraid you will
have to sit down a good part of the evening, for want of a partner. If
you are asked to be any one's partner, be careful to ascertain that it
is for the dance _only_, and not for anything beyond that.'

'Be quiet, Herbert, do,' said his sister, colouring.

'Don't be angry, dear, for a little fraternal solicitude. But come,
suppose you give us a rehearsal of the songs you intend to sing. Mind
there is nothing about love in them.'

'Herbert, you are incorrigible; you don't deserve a song.--What do
_you_ think, Mr Webb?'

Mr Webb coughed, coloured, stammered, and finally said he 'hoped she'd
sing one.'

'Well, it would be a shame to punish the innocent with the guilty, so
I consent; but you must stop your ears, Herbert.' With these words,
Angela looked out one or two songs, opened the piano, and once again
wove the spell around Isaac's mind and heart; so much so, that though
he was not of a jealous nature, he yet could not bear the thought that
she would sing these same songs, and captivate the ear of the man who
would in all probability ask her to be his wife. No; the idea was
horrible; and as he listened, and the spell wrought its power around
him and within him, his heart throbbed bolder and bolder, and he
resolved to make a rush and forestall his hopeful rival. Yes; he would
offer his cottages, his garden-ground, and his heart; and would not,
moreover, risk his chance by waiting until this hateful ball was over.
If he did, it would be lost. And why risk _any_ delay? No; he would
not; so determined he would act that very evening.

But would he be successful? He would have felt but little doubt had
there been no rival, or only a weak one, to forestall; and even as
it was, he did not consider his case was bad, much less desperate.
It was scarcely likely that Angela would throw away a certain chance
for an uncertain one, especially when that chance was Isaac Webb--a
deep shrewd young fellow, and backed moreover by the cottages and
garden-ground. So when the evening had worn itself away, and it was
time for him to take his departure, Isaac requested Herbert to walk
part of the way home with him, as he had something he wanted to say to
him.

'Do you think,' he asked Herbert, when they were on the road, 'that
your sister has made up her mind to accept Mr Ashton?'

'I do not know that he will ask her,' Herbert answered; 'but if he were
to do so, I had no doubt she would until just lately; but now I am not
quite so sure about it. But excuse me; why do you ask such a question?'

'Because,' returned Isaac, 'I--I have been thinking of taking a wife,
and--well, I--I think I should like to have _her_.'

'Well, you _do_ astonish me,' said Herbert. 'And yet,' he continued,
after a pause, 'perhaps I can now account for my doubt as to her
affection for young Ashton. But you had better ask her point-blank
whether she will have you; that is, if you have really made up your
mind about it.'

'That is just what I want _you_ to do,' exclaimed Isaac. 'I want you to
ask her for me.'

'Excuse me, my dear fellow; but it is rather a delicate subject for
me--her brother--to put before her'----

'So much the better,' interrupted Isaac. 'It will come better from you,
and with more weight than from me.'

'But people would say directly that I had somehow caused you to do it.'

'People need not know anything at all about it,' answered Isaac.

'But you have known her such a little while,' urged Herbert; 'and you
may not fully have made up your mind; or you may alter it.'

'No, no!' returned Isaac decidedly. 'I have made up my mind enough, and
I would rather you ask her than me. I should not know quite what to
say.'

'You would know quite as well as I. However, anything for the dear
girl's happiness; and since you will have it so, I will do it. But when
would you like me to ask her?'

'Oh, as soon as you can,' said the amorous Isaac.

'Very well. Then if there's a chance to-morrow, I will see about it,
and will let you know the result.'

'Thank you,' said Isaac, much relieved. So they shook hands and parted.

The love-sick youth was in a considerable state of excitement all the
night long; he tossed about on his bed, and wondered why the traffic
outside made so much more noise than usual. At last he fell asleep,
and dreamed of Angela--and her expectations. The following morning,
contrary to his usual habit, he was very late at breakfast; and when he
had finished, had no inclination for his customary stroll through the
streets, but sat in his room reading, or attempting to read, two very
old newspapers and a playbill. To pass the time, he had his dinner in
the middle of the day, and afterwards dropped off to sleep--an unusual
proceeding, doubtless caused by his disturbed night. He was aroused
about six o'clock by his landlady entering the room.

'A note for you, sir. The lad said there was no answer.'

It was from Herbert, and contained the gratifying announcement that he
had executed Isaac's commission, and that his sister, 'much surprised
and flattered by Mr Webb's sentiments, could assure him that they were
entirely reciprocated by her, and that she would endeavour to make
herself worthy of his choice. Would he be so kind as to postpone a
visit for a day or two, that she might in some degree recover herself
from the flutter of her surprise, and be able to receive him as she
would wish?'

Bravo, Isaac! You are a deep dog; and your life and your schemes seem
flooded with sunshine.


PART II.--CLOUD.


CHAPTER I.--THE SUN IS SLIGHTLY OBSCURED.

Mr Herbert Faithful in his letter to Isaac had requested him to
postpone a visit to his sister for a few days, in order that she might
recover herself from the excitement his proposal had occasioned. This
may have been partly the truth; but the real fact was that Herbert
wished to satisfy himself that Isaac's account of himself was a
truthful one, before he and Angela met for the ratification of their
engagement. So he took this opportunity to make a hurried visit to
Dambourne; and by the brief but well-directed inquiries he made there,
was enabled to arrive at the conclusion that Isaac's version of himself
and of his circumstances was a correct one. Having thus done his duty
as a prudent brother, Herbert sent, as soon as possible after his
return, an invitation to Isaac to visit New West Road.

Angela had apparently made good use of the interval to recover herself
from 'the flutter of her surprise.' At all events she shewed very
few traces of it when Isaac was, for the first time since their
engagement, announced. Not that she appeared unduly unconscious of the
new relations between them; but she carried off all the constraint and
stiffness of manner that were natural under the circumstances, by that
unaffected and lady-like self-possession which formed one of her most
striking characteristics, and which at once put her too self-conscious
lover at his ease. That young man was indeed in such a mingled state of
nervousness and excitement, that it is extremely doubtful whether he
would have ventured to refer to the happy position she had granted him,
but from her meeting him half-way, as it were; for the idea was implied
by her manner that there was no need of constraint on his part, for
that they met on equal terms, and that she could not but be gratified
by his having bestowed upon her his regard. Such at least was the light
in which Isaac regarded Angela's manner towards him on this their
first meeting as lovers, and it had the effect, as has been stated, of
putting him at his ease.

Her brother kindly assisted at this consummation; for he welcomed
Isaac with a frank kindness that made the latter consider him, next to
himself, the best fellow in the world.

The only member of the family who remained as before was the aunt.
Her deafness, poor soul, had, quite suddenly, much increased, and her
general faculties had, in proportion apparently, decreased, so that she
had become a complete nonentity, and her slate and pencil had all but
retired on a handsome competence of illegible scrawls.

After half an hour's general conversation, Herbert pleaded an
engagement, and the lovers were (putting Miss Faithful out of the
question) left to themselves.

'I was so pleased with your brother's letter,' said Isaac. 'I thought,
somehow, that my regard and admiration for you were returned.'

This was not quite what he intended to say; but the part of the ardent
lover was so new to him that he could not all at once settle down into
it.

'Indeed,' Angela replied, 'Herbert's letter could give but little
idea of my surprise and--well, I suppose I need not mind saying it
now--gratification. But I cannot imagine what you have seen in me in
so short a time, to have caused you to make such a proposal as you
have.' Whether she intended it or not, Angela could not have gone more
directly to that most sensitive and vulnerable portion of Isaac's
temperament, his self-esteem. He received her reply as a well-merited
compliment, but he had not the grace to return it.

'I don't exactly know myself,' was his curt rejoinder. 'Don't you
think,' he continued after a pause, 'that we may as well be getting
married pretty soon? I want to be going back to look after the
cottages, and it will come so expensive to be going backwards and
forwards; and I have never been used to writing many letters.'

'Oh, you must talk to Herbert about that. When he thinks it right for
us to be married, I shall be ready.'

It must be confessed that this was a very practical way of looking at
the matter on this the first evening of their engagement; but Isaac
looked on the whole subject of matrimony and its attendant evils,
courtship included, in a very practical and business-like manner. Such,
then, was the opening conversation of these lovers, and it grew no
warmer as it proceeded. After a short time, Angela went to the piano
and sang several songs, to Isaac's great delight. The spell was again
woven around him; and when Herbert returned home, our hero could have
been guided anywhere by him or his sister, had either of them been
disposed to do so.

One circumstance in connection with his engagement was a slight
satisfaction to Isaac: he would be often visiting at Miss Faithful's
house and partaking of her hospitality; so that he would then be able
to live more economically at his coffee-shop. Even this, however,
would not balance the amount of the expense of his absence from home;
so, after mature consideration, he arrived at the conclusion that an
early marriage was desirable; for he dreaded the season of courtship,
and wanted to get the matter closed. So he decided still to remain in
London for the present, and take an early opportunity to urge his views
with Herbert.

It did not occur to Isaac that there was anything to cause delay.
Surely a respectable young woman could be married at any time, and he
did not know of any law preventing them being married to-morrow if
they chose. He did not desire, it is true, anything quite so speedy as
that, but he considered that say three weeks or a month ought to be
sufficient for all preparation. But the mention of some such sentiments
as these to Herbert received from him a very decided check.

'Why,' said he, laughing, 'apart from everything else, you and Angela
have not even decided where you intend to live. It will take you a
month to do that, let alone the furnishing.'

'We shall live at Dambourne End of course,' said Isaac; 'and my
lodgings are quite large enough for two people, or can easily be made
so.'

'Seriously,' returned Herbert, 'that is quite out of the question; for
if _Angela_ agreed to it, I tell you candidly _I_ would not; for she
has always been accustomed to a comfortable home, and you are well
enough off between you to have one when you are married. And between
you and me, I do not think a little country place, such as you have
described Dambourne End to be, is quite a suitable place to which to
take a young wife who has spent the greater part of her life in London,
and has until lately mixed a good bit in society. Not that she wants to
do so again, or to run into extravagance; but to take her away from all
her friends and associations, at all events just at first, and for no
particular reason, would not be quite the thing, I fancy. I don't want
to throw cold-water on your plans, old fellow,' he continued, laying
his hand on Isaac's arm, 'or to seem in any way to dictate; but just
think over what I have said, and I think you will see the force of it.'

Isaac was too much astonished at the idea Herbert had broached to make
any reply to it, so took his leave.


CHAPTER II.--SHADOWS DEEPEN.

Our hero's cogitations on his way home were cut short on his arrival by
a letter which was waiting for him from the old schoolfellow to whom
he had confided the care of his estate at Dambourne. This letter was
calculated to give him some uneasiness. It was as follows:

    MY DEAR SIR--I am afraid there is something not quite right
    about the stranger who took your lodgings at Mrs Clappen's,
    or else about the tenants of your cottages, or both; for when
    I went to collect the rents according to your wish, a week
    or two after you went away, the people in the cottages all
    laughed at me; and when I went again a few days ago, they
    threatened to put me under the pump. The reason that I think
    Mrs Clappen's lodger has something to do with it is that I
    have seen him go into some of the cottages at different times;
    but when I asked his landlady what he did there, she said she
    believed he went giving away tracts. But this morning she came
    to me in a great state of excitement saying two strange men
    were watching her house, and that her lodger had not been out
    of his room all the morning, and had not had his breakfast,
    and altogether she thought there must be something wrong. I
    went back with her and knocked at his door. As he did not
    answer, and as the door was locked on the inside, I broke it
    open; but the stranger had gone--probably through the back
    window and down by the water-butt. Your box is in the room,
    and I find it is _unlocked_. As I do not know what you may
    have left in it, I write to let you know about it.--Yours
    truly,

        FREDERICK JONES.

Here was a pretty state of things. This lodger had most likely broken
open Isaac's box and abstracted what things of value it contained.
Fortunately there was not very much--only about forty pounds in gold
and some title-deeds. He reflected what he should do. Perhaps he ought
to go down to Dambourne End at once, but he did not see what good he
could do if he went; so he decided to wait until the following day, and
let Angela know about it. Accordingly, the next morning he started off
to New West Road, and informed Angela and her brother of his ill news.
It did not, however, make the impression upon them that Isaac expected;
for they made light of it, and said that if his loss were no more than
forty pounds, _that_ was of no very great consequence. They did not
know that _any_ amount of money, however small, was of consequence to
Isaac.

'I'll tell you what,' cried Herbert; 'if you will wait until to-morrow,
Angela and I will go down with you.--Mrs Glubbs will come in and look
after aunt, Angela.'

Isaac hailed the proposition with joy; for he had already grown to have
great confidence in Herbert and his knowledge of the world--indeed he
considered it but little inferior to his own--and he thought that if
there were much wrong down at Dambourne, their united experience and
sagacity would in all probability speedily set it right.

'And now, old fellow, I want a chat with you for an hour, if you can
spare the time,' said Herbert; and as Angela at that moment left the
room, he continued: 'I want to speak to you on the subject we were
discussing last evening. Have you thought over what I said?'

'Yes,' Isaac answered; 'but not much, for this other affair has put it
out of my head for the time.'

'Oh, never mind this little affair,' returned Herbert; 'it is not worth
troubling about. Anybody would think you were not worth forty pence to
hear how you talk. And that brings me to the subject I want to speak
to you about. Angela has an objection to live at your little country
place, though not so great an objection as I have to her doing so. And
there is no need for you to drone your lives away down there; come up
to London and enjoy yourselves. You say you have about two hundred and
fifty a year. Well, my sister on her marriage will come into three
hundred and fifty a year or thereabouts; and she will probably have a
little more whenever anything happens to aunt. The former income she
inherits from mother's family, and it is to accumulate until she is
married, or if single, until she reaches the age of thirty-five--now
twelve years off. Until one or other of these events happen she cannot
touch a penny of it. This puts her in a very peculiar and uncomfortable
position; because though father left us enough to live upon, yet it is
nothing more, and so whatever preparations you make for your wedding,
you must make on trust of what I tell you.'

'O yes,' said Isaac; 'pray do not think--either of you--that I have not
confidence in you.'

'That is very kind and generous of you,' Herbert replied, 'because we
shall be compelled, under the circumstances I have told you, to test
that confidence. Now what we propose is this,' he continued: 'Angela
seems to have a great desire to live in the neighbourhood of London,
and if you will find a suitable house and furnish it, and have it
ready in three months from this time, she will be ready by then to
be married. But it has occurred to us that as you are not very well
acquainted with London, it may save you some trouble and expense
(supposing you agree to our proposition) if you like to leave it to us
to fix on the locality and find a house; more especially as I have many
friends in different parts of London. But if you prefer to act on your
own account, pray do not hesitate to say so.'

Isaac sat and weighed the matter in his mind. Certainly Angela's income
was considerably more than he had any idea of, so he need not be so
very pinching. On the other hand, he did not much relish the idea of a
lavish expenditure over a house and furniture. And yet if Angela would
not live at Dambourne End, it did not matter where they lived, so far
as he was concerned. And again there rose up the three hundred and
fifty a year, and more expectations! Much better than he had expected
to do in any matrimonial speculation he had ever contemplated. In
addition to these reasons he was by no means obstinate in disposition,
and yielded easily to any one in whom he had confidence, and who, as
the term goes, 'got the right side of him.' Angela and her brother had
contrived to do this. So after a few minutes' thought, Isaac agreed to
Herbert's proposal, with one amendment: that if the house were ready in
time, the marriage should take place in two months instead of three.

'And,' said Isaac, when this was agreed to, 'on condition that you make
all the necessary preparations for me.'

'Yes, if you really wish it,' said Herbert. 'But excuse me speaking
plainly: you must advance me the money if I do.'

'Yes, I suppose I must,' Isaac answered ruefully. 'How much do you
think you will want, and when will you want it?'

'I should think five hundred pounds would do, at all events for the
present. Of course I will be as careful with it as I can, for your
interests and Angela's are identical; but you may as well have things
good at first, since they are the more economical in the long-run. The
money you can let me have whenever it is convenient to you.'

'You shall have the sum you mention in about three weeks,' said Isaac.

Angela now came in dressed for a walk, so Herbert and Isaac broke up
their conference, and the three went out together.



IMPORTED BEEF AND MUTTON.


A resolute attempt was made a dozen years ago to import fresh beef
in various forms from Buenos Ayres; and as the meat was sold at a
comparatively low price, there arose high expectations on the subject.
The well-meant attempt failed. It would not do. The meat presented an
unpleasant appearance. The working classes in this country did not like
the flavour, even if the appearance had been good; they would not buy,
although the price was low; and thus the affair died out after a few
months.

Soon after the failure of Buenos Ayres, our own Australian colony of
New South Wales made a bid for the favour of English beef-eaters. Mr
Mort, an enterprising citizen of Sydney, introduced Nicolle's freezing
process for preserving fresh meat in an untainted state. He was
sanguine that the same ship might convey beef and mutton from Australia
to England and emigrants from England to Australia, thereby conferring
a double benefit on the colonies. Queensland and Victoria were also on
the _qui vive_, ready to find a market for their surplus live-stock in
the old mother-country, if events presented favourable symptoms. The
freezing process was not by any means the only one tried in Australia.
One was an adaptation of Appert's plan of putting fresh meat into tins
and drawing out all the air; a second was to exclude warmth by packing
in ice; a third was to exclude moisture in such way as to pack the
meat in as dry a state as possible. A large trade was gradually formed
by a Sydney Company for preserving meat for the English market--not
fresh joints in bulk, but partly cooked in tins. The oxen and sheep
were slaughtered in abattoirs of improved construction, skinned, boned,
and cut up on large tables; the meat was scalded by steam in large
open trays, put into tins, and the tins exposed to a temperature of
230° F., in a bath containing chloride of lime dissolved in the water;
then sealed up, exposed to a second bath somewhat hotter, and finally
to a cold bath. Not only was steamed or parboiled beef and mutton
prepared in this way, but the establishment also sent out tins of
roasted, cured, spiced beef, haricot of mutton, and so forth. We cannot
go into particulars, and have only to say that the efforts, however
meritorious, have not been a commercial success.

It may be stated as a well-known fact that the people of Great Britain
will not, as a general rule, buy inferior kinds of butcher-meat. They
are all glad to purchase at a low price, but the quality must be good,
the look of the meat good, the smell good. We should confidently say
that no people on the face of the earth are such connoisseurs in good
beef and mutton as the English, down even to the humblest classes.
In point of fact, the working classes, as they are called, are more
fastidious as regards quality and superior cuts than persons of
distinction. Laying down this as a rule, it is throwing away trouble
and capital to try to serve the English with anything short of the best
fresh meat, as usually obtained from butchers. Frozen meat will not
do, for it will not keep. Tinned meat half-cooked, and however well
spiced, is also not the thing. One may regret the prejudices often
entertained on this score. But for the sake of all parties it is best
to acknowledge the fact.

The only expedient likely to be successful is that of importing fresh
meat from the United States, owing to the comparatively short duration
of the voyage and the several fleets of fine steamers belonging to
capitalists, who are never slack in throwing themselves into any
trade that promises to be fairly remunerating. The proceedings, in
brief, are managed as follows. Live-stock, brought to New York by
rail from the central and western states of America, are conveyed to
well-arranged abattoirs, where they are quickly slaughtered, skinned,
&c. Several hundred carcases are put at once into a large cool chamber,
where they are kept for a day or two--the period depending on the
state of the weather. They are then quartered, wrapped up in coarse
canvas, and conveyed to the steamer, drawn up alongside a quay or
wharf. A compartment is set aside for the reception of the meat, with
an ice-chamber at one end. A current of fresh air, filtered through
cotton-wool, is driven over the ice by a steam-worked fan or blast, and
thence over the masses of meat. About forty tons of ice are shipped
for keeping cool the carcases of a hundred and fifty cattle: reduced
probably to a third or quarter of this amount by melting during the
voyage. According to the quantity of fresh air forced through the
ice-chamber, so is the degree of temperature produced. After many
experiments, an opinion has been arrived at that a freezing temperature
is neither necessary nor desirable; four or five degrees above that
point are preferred, the meat arriving in a pure and fresh state at
Liverpool. The quantity shipped at once is sometimes very large. The
_Wyoming_ steamer, for instance, brought over at one time in the middle
of the recent month of February two thousand three hundred quarters of
beef and the carcases of four hundred sheep. In one week a million and
a quarter pounds of meat were brought from New York to Liverpool.

Glasgow, as opening direct by the Clyde to the Atlantic, with its
fleet of steamers and enterprising traders, bids fair to be a rival to
Liverpool in the American meat-traffic. Every week there are paragraphs
in the newspapers announcing fresh arrivals. We quote the following
as a specimen from the _Scotsman_ of March 7: 'The extension of the
American meat-trade at all the larger towns in Scotland has been very
marked during the past month, and the import has been quite unequal to
the demand. The steamers belonging to the Anchor line of weekly mail
packets, which have been bringing from eight hundred to a thousand
quarters of fresh meat each voyage, have been compelled to increase
their cool-meat cell accommodation by fully one-half. The State line
of weekly steamers are also being fitted up with the necessary
apparatus for this traffic, and the first steamer of that line with
fresh meat--six hundred quarters--was reported last night at the Clyde.
The Anchor Line mail-steamer _Anchoria_ also arrived yesterday. The
latter vessel brings the largest cargo of fresh meat yet imported into
Scotland, having on board one thousand six hundred quarters beef and
two hundred carcases of sheep. The two consignments (two thousand two
hundred quarters) are nearly equal to any previous fortnight's supply.
About one-half of this quantity of fresh meat will be sold in Glasgow
market, and the other half will be despatched to Edinburgh, Newcastle,
Dundee, and other large towns. In Glasgow and Greenock there has been
a further extension of shops for the sale of American fresh meat. The
Glasgow butchers are now pretty extensive buyers of the imported beef,
and they have again had to lower their prices for home-fed meat by
1d. per lb., making a total reduction on roast and steaks of 3d. per
lb., and on other sorts of 2d. per lb. The American meat, however,
is still from 1d. to 2d. per lb. cheaper than the medium home sorts.
During February the American meat imports at Glasgow, which may be
considered as the landing-place for Scotland, amounted to the following
large aggregates: 4650 quarters fresh beef, 500 sheep, 2440 tierces
salted beef, 1830 barrels salted pork, 1037 barrels hams, 700 barrels
tongues, 9300 boxes bacon, and 20,500 cases of tinned (preserved) meat.
In the previous month (January) the fresh meat imported aggregated
3728 quarters and 620 sheep; while in December the quantity was about
one-half that of January. There is nearly as great an advance in the
import of corned meat, bacon, and salted beef and pork. 950 barrels of
tallow and 700 barrels of lard were imported last month. Butter and
cheese also form an important item in the cargoes from New York; and
last month there was an aggregate of 2500 boxes of cheese and 7050
packages of butter brought in six steamers.'

While Glasgow is the source of supply to various places in Scotland,
Liverpool sends consignments by railways to London, Birmingham,
Manchester, Sheffield, and other large centres of population. Some part
of the conveyance is managed by aid of Acklom's patent refrigerating
wagons. These vehicles, constructed and fitted to keep always cool
in the interior, are drawn up to the ship's side at the docks, laden
with meat, horsed through the streets to a railway depôt, placed upon
trucks, conveyed to any other station, dismounted from the trucks, and
driven to warehouses and storehouses. If there be continuous rail from
the quay to the final warehouse, so much the better.

What do the butchers and the public think of this beef and mutton?
It is now known that the meat should be cooked and eaten as soon
as possible after being landed, else it loses somewhat of its good
flavour. The newspapers stated that a consignment of two hundred
quarters of beef to Edinburgh became deteriorated towards the last,
by remaining too long in shops or stores unprovided with cooling
appliances.

A remarkable enterprise has just been commenced in London in connection
with this subject. An 'Australian Meat Agency Company' has existed
for several years; it imports canistered provisions of all kinds from
our antipodean colonies; but as Sydney and Melbourne have not yet
surmounted the difficulties of establishing a profitable transmission
of fresh joints of meat to England, the Company has laid itself open
to the reception of such meat from any country. Underneath the vast
Cannon Street terminus of the South-eastern Railway are ranges of brick
vaults which the Meat Company has just taken at an annual rental. Fresh
air from the river is admitted into a refrigerating chamber, whence,
after being cooled down, it passes into other chambers where the meat
is placed on broad open shelves; a small steam-engine forces the air
over the ice in the refrigerating chambers, and thence into the several
meat chambers. A sloping road leads up from the vaulted chambers to the
railway level, and there are four landing-stages from the river--thus
affording considerable facilities for the arrival and departure of
large consignments of meat. The expectation is that the meat will keep
cool and good for several days, instead of being forced occasionally
on an unwilling market to avert spoiling; and if this expectation be
realised, the same plan may be adopted for poultry, fruit, and dairy
produce.

The retailing at present is a puzzle. We are told from time to time
that the butchers cry down the American meat in order to keep up the
high price of English and Scotch beef and mutton; that they sometimes
sell slightly tainted English meat under the name of American, to
bring down the fair fame of the latter; and that more frequently they
buy the foreign meat and sell it again as English. The butchers deny
these allegations, and the public are left to find out the truth for
themselves the best way they can. At the Cold Stores, as they are
called, of the Meat Agency Company, above described, the price for
sides, quarters, and large joints varies from about sixpence-halfpenny
to ninepence per pound--small joints being higher per pound than large,
and meat for roasting higher than meat for boiling. The demand for the
latter being much less than that for the former, a rapid sale for the
whole is found to be difficult, unless buyers are tempted by a lower
price for round, brisket, and other boiling-pieces. As a small joint
of the best roasting beef is tenpence per pound, the reduction below
the price for English beef is certainly not considerable, especially as
the sellers do not send the meat to the consumers' houses. If the trade
establishes itself on a firm footing, there will probably be retail
stores in various parts of London (and other large towns) for the sale
of American meat; or else the regular butchers will sell American
as well as English meat, each at its own proper price. One thing is
certain, as already hinted, that unless the Americans send first-rate
qualities of meat, they need not send it at all. Another thing they
must attend to is, that in cutting up the meat it must be neatly
_dressed_. On this score we have heard serious complaints. The quarters
of beef are too often not properly trimmed for market, at least not
sufficiently so to please English wholesale dealers.

Other nations are striving to ascertain whether they can obtain a
share in this new meat-trade. A French Company has built a ship called
_La Frigorifique_, to ply between Buenos Ayres and Brest; it contains
cool chambers which will keep meat at any desired temperature. The
process adopted is that of M. Tellier. Methylic ether, like ammonia,
evaporates rapidly, and absorbs heat from neighbouring bodies in so
doing; the vapour passing through tubes in a cylinder cools down the
air outside the tubes; the cooled air passes into chambers in the hold,
where the meat is either hung up or put on shelves. The methylic ether
can be used over and over again with only little waste. The hope of
the Company is to be able to stow in the ship the meat of a thousand
head of cattle, bring it from Buenos Ayres to Brest in a little over a
month, and sell it at about two-thirds the price of French meat. At the
time we are writing, the _Frigorifique_ is making her first voyage; on
the principle that 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating,' we must
wait awhile to learn the result.

Some of the Liverpool steamers are, it is reported, being fitted up
with refrigerating apparatus for bringing freshly killed meat from
Spain. The continental railways are organising a plan to bring meat
from Hungary in three days in refrigerating cars, at a freight-charge
of a little over a halfpenny per pound, to Ostend or some port whence
it could be shipped to England. Moscow is said to be able to buy fairly
good beef at fourpence per pound, and is calculating whether London
could obtain some of it at about sevenpence.

The new move certainly has some lively elements in it, and we shall
watch with some interest its development. As yet, the introduction of
huge cargoes of fresh meat has had no sensible effect in lowering the
standard market prices. To some extent this may be explained by the
suspended importation of live oxen from the continent, on account of
the dreaded cattle disease. Unless, however, the importation of fresh
meat from America or elsewhere attains a very gigantic scale, we do not
anticipate any very marked reduction of prices. From the increasing
wealth and population in the British Islands, the demand for meat will
long far outrun the means of native supply. The agricultural interest
may as yet keep itself tolerably at ease on the subject.



MOUNT PISGAH, LONDON, W.


It is not much of a mountain, scarcely deserving the name of a hill
in fact, but the name will indicate aptly enough the character of the
inhabitants; for it is here that many look longingly into the social
Promised Land which they cannot enter. Mount Pisgah is the region of
struggling gentility; as Saffron Hill is of organ-grinders; as Brixton
is of merchants; as Westburnia is of Hebrews and Anglo-Asiatics;
as Brook Street is of doctors, and Islington of City clerks. From
the centre and axis of the _haut ton_, which ends at Park Lane,
respectability radiates in a north-westerly and south-westerly
direction; but whereas South Kensington abruptly terminates in
Brompton, the region of Hyde Park, properly so called, merges into
Bayswater and Westburnia, the outer circle ending in Mount Pisgah.
There is a general air of neglect about the neighbourhood, and although
the houses are rather pretentious-looking buildings, they are rarely
troubled with the hands of the painter or plasterer. Corinthian columns
and stuccoed balustrades lose much of their effect when chipped and
scribbled over and used as the vehicle for the artistic displays of
youth--in chalks. The doorsteps are not always very clean; and in the
street, if it is not dusty, it is muddy; and if scraps of paper are
not flying about, orange-peel and broken crockery strew your path. But
then this is also a great place for the 'slut of a servant,' who is
cheap if nothing else; and for the streets, well, the vestry are not
likely to be troubled with complaints from such birds of passage as
the Pisgans all are--or all hope to be, I should say--for too often,
alas, do they find their wings clipped and their stay involuntary. In
Mount Pisgah, majors and colonels are as plentiful as blackberries;
high-wranglers and ex-Indian judges jostle first classmen and 'late
political residents.' Unbeneficed clergymen, who eagerly scan the
_Times_ advertisements each morning for pupils; unsuccessful doctors
and disappointed barristers waiting for the patients and the briefs
that are so long in coming; and others who are seeking to eke out a
scanty income by that very poor crutch but passable walking-stick,
as some one has aptly called literature--all these abound in this
neighbourhood. The only prosperous people are the butchers and bakers
and other trades-people. They nod familiarly their 'Good morning,
Gineral,' or 'Wet day, Mister,' to the humble officer or tutor who
shovels past with the weight of the remembrance of those rapidly
increasing bills for inferior joints and alumed bread, which he must
meet at the end of the quarter.

The commercial ethics of Mount Pisgah are not altogether peculiar
to themselves; but if one rule meets with greater observance than
another, it is, that as bills increase quality shall decrease; and
after all, as Mr Undercut or Mr Crumpet will tell you, they are often
'took in dreadful.' How eagerly pay-day is looked forward to! the brief
interval from the depressing pecuniary cares of their lives that comes
to each four times a year. A 'social' then takes place. Ordinarily,
old Mangosteen, of the --th Native Infantry, meeting Junglebird,
C.S.I., who lived with him in the N.W.P., where they were as brothers,
says 'How do?' and passes on. Each knows that the other has but one
thought--his embarrassments: they respect one another's misfortunes,
and avoid the hollow mockeries to which conversation must necessarily
give rise. But towards the end of each quarter all this is changed;
there is going to be a little dinner; or 'My womenkind are turning the
house inside out for a dance;' or 'The boys are going to row us down to
Richmond;' and then Junglebird and Mangosteen kill their tigers over
again, and chuckle merrily over that roaring night at the --th mess;
and Briefless and Exminus recall the old Combination Room jokes; and
if, as they sip their cheap claret, they think with some regret of that
mellow ruby nectar that the cellars of St Botolph's used sometimes to
produce; they also remember how, when up last autumn for the election
of a 'Silverpoker' (as the Esquire Bedel is irreverently called, from
his emblem of office), they had found two fellows of their own time
martyrs to gout and a nuisance to the whole college--for which that
delicious 'old tawny' was doubtless responsible. The ladies in Mount
Pisgah take quite a different tone too, at this eventful period.
Although at other times not quite so 'solitary' in their habits as
their husbands--for women find a comfort in talking over their common
troubles--they have long discussions upon the chance of Charley getting
a presentation to Christ's Hospital; or of Tommy's cadetship at
Wellington; or how Mr Howling Hawley, the great singing-master, held
out hopes of dear Amelia's voice being a fortune to her; and yet how
dreadful it would be for the poor child to appear before the public;
but then you know, my dear, things have altered so much since our
time, and now you really find quite respectable people performing in
public! But when they give their little dinners and dances and the
rest, you shall see how the Pisgan ladies will rise to the occasion,
and you shall not find in Grosvenor Square a more strict observance of
the rules of etiquette. And if at times it is a little old-fashioned
and somewhat more strict than Society demands in these loose times, it
bears the right stamp, and might indeed be profitably imitated in many
more pretentious houses.

Of course it is a long time since those Pisgans who have belonged to
the Rag or the Oriental, or the Union or Junior, have ceased to be
members of those institutions. Some have found that the seven or eight
guineas required at the most critical period of the year could be spent
to much better purpose; others have felt that the old associations
would be too painful. But they have their clubs nevertheless. Within
the last ten years clubs have become as plentiful as hotels nearly.
And the enterprising City gentleman who fits up a big house with a
dining and reading and smoking and morning and billiard room, and
advertises the inauguration of the Pantheon Club, 'for the benefit of
those gentlemen who are unable to enter the older clubs owing to their
overcrowded condition,' requires names for his committee. Military
Pisgans are admirably suited for this rôle. What a blessing too, that
they have such a place to go to, instead of always pottering about at
home, where they would be but too often in the way.

There are more troublesome things than canaries and poodles,
novel-reading and invitation cards, to be attended to by the mammas
and daughters of Pisgan households. Committees of ways and means;
arguing with the cook who 'hasn't been accustomed' to some obviously
wise little economy; softening the anger of some brow-beating creditor;
twisting and turning, and 'managing,' to make old appear like new, are
all matters in which the presence of a male creature is worse than
useless. So there is a vague sort of tradition that papa goes to his
club to write letters, and to be there if anything should turn up.
And he sometimes writes a few letters, and reads all the papers, and
smokes a good many pipes, and takes a sandwich and moderate tankard of
beer for his lunch, and saunters down Regent Street, or drops into the
British Museum Reading-room or the National Gallery--or into the India
or Colonial Office, to see if 'anything is turning up.' Besides, he
will give you the particulars of a review in Hyde Park, or a boat-race
on the Thames, or a 'demonstration' at the 'Reformers' Tree,' just
as well as the evening papers, for these are all luxuries within his
reach. And in the season you will see him on the wrong side of the Row
looking into the Promised Land. Time was perhaps when he too had joined
a knot of laughing youths at the Corner, or seated on horseback had
tapped his lackered boot with infinite self-satisfaction, or trotted
along at the side of some fair creature with whom he would dance an
unconscionable number of dances that same evening. He was a sub or an
undergraduate at the time, and saw Fortune within his grasp; but he
missed his chance, or Fortune was unkind; and gall and vinegar were his
portion instead of milk and honey.

Some of the inhabitants of Mount Pisgah are fairly off, and merely live
there because they find the place cheap and they are not forced into
any fashionable extravagances. But this is not the case with most.
Their pleasures are negative--the mere temporary absence of care. The
continually recurring question, 'How shall I pay?' or 'What will it
cost?' crushes every sense of comfort and ease out of them. For them is
none of the happy regularity of well-to-do respectability--the wiping
off of unpaid bills as regularly as Mary Jane the housemaid dusts the
escritoire with its dainty pieces of Japan-work and ormolu. Not for
them the pleasant little morning duties; the list for Mudie's; the
tending of the conservatory; the new waltz by Godfrey; the orders for
tradesmen and for dinner (the one crumpled rose-leaf perhaps, this);
the afternoon shopping or visiting; the drive to Pall Mall, or the
Temple, or the City, to bring papa back from his club, or his chambers,
or his office; the pretty frequent theatre and concert; the weekly
'at-homes;' the friendly dances, and more elaborate balls, that are of
constant occurrence when town is full. Life is very hard and ugly in
Mount Pisgah. Captain Burton the great traveller, says in one of his
late works that he wonders how any poor man can ever think of living in
England, or any rich one out of it. If England, perhaps more so London;
and it is only necessary to know a little of Mount Pisgah to learn what
a fascination is exercised over some men's minds by this dear foggy,
hard and tender, rich and squalid, centre of an Englishman's world,
yclept London.



SPRING SHOWERS.


    Sweet is the swart earth
    After the April rain;
    It will give the violets birth,
    And quicken the grass in the plain.

    The woodlands are dim--with dreams
    Of the region they lately have left;
    Like Man and his thoughts of Eden--
    Of something of which he's bereft.

    The stars they have left their veils
    On the everlasting hills;
    And angels have trodden the dales,
    And spirits have touched the rills.

    And truths to be seen and heard,
    Say Love has made all things his own;
    He reigns in the breast of the bird,
    And has made the earth's bosom his throne.

    The pansies peep by the brook,
    And the primrose is pure in the sun;
    The world wears a heavenly look,
    Man's spirit and Nature are one.

    The cottage that glints through the trees,
    And the moss-cushioned, lilac-plumed wall,
    The woodland, and emerald leas
    Are touched with the Spirit of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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