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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 700 - May 26, 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. 700 - May 26, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 700.       SATURDAY, MAY 26, 1877.       PRICE 1½_d._]



SUNNY DAYS ON THE THAMES.


When city folk, weary of heat and dust, are beginning to think
of distant flights--to Switzerland and its eternal snows; to the
romantic legendary Rhine; perhaps even farther afield, across the
great Atlantic to wondrous Niagara; or farther yet, to that new old
world on the shores of the Pacific--I too tire of the closeness
and turmoil of the town, and turn my steps towards the pleasant
country. I am not going very far, scarcely more than a few miles,
but I doubt if any of the travellers on their long journeys will
see a lovelier spot.

It is late on an afternoon in early June as I drive along the shady
green lanes from the quiet country station, and stop before the
gate of a dear old red brick house, which I know and love well.
The door stands hospitably open, and in the porch I see kind and
friendly faces framed in a wealth of glorious roses and many-tinted
creepers, which cling lovingly to the time-stained walls. Good old
'Belle' the black retriever comes to meet me, wagging her tail
affectionately; and looking up in my face, seems to ask me what I
have done with the curly black puppy I ruthlessly stole from her
the last time I was here.

How pleasant the sunny garden looks! How sweet the flowers smell!
How delightful does everything appear after the bricks and mortar
I have left behind me; and yet here are bricks and mortar too, but
ah! not town bricks and town mortar. Time touches the old house
with tender hands, and mellows it year by year into richer tints.

A queer old house it is, with odd bits added on to it here and
there, in defiance of all the laws of architecture, and startling
you with unexpected corners and angles; with quaint tall chimneys
springing from the moss-grown roof, out of which the smoke curls
lazily in blue-gray clouds, and round which twine the Virginia
creeper and purple clematis, trying curiously to peep in at the
top of them; with ivy-framed windows flashing in the sun, and
overhanging eaves, beneath which the sparrows chirp merrily. The
rooms are low, but _so_ comfortable; whether great Christmas logs
crackle on the hearth, throwing sparkles of light here and there,
and leaving the distant corners all dim and shadowy; or whether,
as now, the windows stand open to the summer air, and the rooms
are invaded by the sweet country scents and the perfume of the
mignonette borders outside.

But better than all else of beauty here do I love old Father
Thames, and I run rapidly through the house on to the lawn on the
other side. There the river wanders at the foot of it, lying across
the verdant fields like a silver ribbon on green velvet.

'Let us go to our drawing-room,' says one of the girls who has
followed me. 'We shall just have time to do that before dinner.'
So we jump into the boat and scull into a neighbouring back-water,
where we have christened by the name of 'our drawing-room' a
little creek which runs into the bank, and is fringed with pollard
willows, making a pleasant shade overhead. We chat cosily there
for half an hour, the water licking the sides of the boat with a
refreshing sound. A dear little brown water-rat comes and sits near
us, and looks curiously at us out of his bright eyes; a kingfisher
flashes by us like a sapphire; then the midges come and dance gaily
round us, singing a song of which the 'refrain' is ever, 'It will
be fine to-morrow!'

       *       *       *       *       *

To-morrow has come, and the midges have foretold aright! The sun
pours a brilliant flood of light into my room, calling me to come
to the royal feast he has spread for me (poor weary citizen), of
flowers and sweet perfumes and soft balmy breezes. I open the
window with welcoming hands as he streams in, and stand there
a moment listening to the birds chanting their joyous matins,
to the rooks clamouring cheerfully in the tall elms, and to the
busy sparrows who twitter noisily just above my casement. Roses
have climbed the wall, and are peeping in at me, some still shyly
folding their petals around them in virgin modesty, others already
baring their glowing hearts to the kisses of the amorous air. The
beds of scarlet geranium make brilliant spots of flame on the
diamond-studded grass; and the river is no longer a silver ribbon,
for it has caught the sun's reflection, and flows like molten gold
between the meadows. It is still early when I betake myself with a
book to my favourite seat on the lawn. But I cannot read. The great
book of Nature lies open before me, and dwarfs all other literature
into insignificance.

After breakfast (even on such a morning as this we must breakfast),
as is our wont, we load the boat with books, work, sketching
materials, and lastly with ourselves. Two of us take the oars,
and to their lazy cadence we glide down the sunlit river in the
direction of one of our favourite haunts. The boys, as we still
call them, stalwart young Britons though they are, have already
disappeared with their fishing-tackle in their canoes; but we shall
very likely meet by-and-by, as they know all our pet nooks and
corners.

We take our way past the green banks, on which the wild-flowers
make delicate jewelled mosaics; by tall beds of graceful wandlike
reeds, beneath the shadows made by hanging woods bending to kiss
their own reflections in the stream, until we come to a cool and
shady retreat, hiding itself away modestly from the sun's bold and
ardent eyes. Here we fasten the boat to a willow-stump and prepare
to spend our morning happily in this sanctuary of Nature's own
making. Some of us begin to sketch a gnarled old tree crowned with
a diadem of feathery foliage; others take out their work; and one
among us lays hands on a book, as an excuse for silent enjoyment.

Though what silence is there here? The merry insects hum and whirl
around us, saying: 'Summer has come, summer has come;' the weary
winds, faint with their long winter's strife, sigh softly in the
tall tree-tops; a moor-hen calls shrilly from her nest among the
rushes; a lark pours from the stainless heavens a rain of melody;
and the silence overflows with music. The bright motes dance in the
still air, trying to get into our shadowy abode.

Sol is in his kindliest humour to-day; not harsh and fierce, as
he will be later in the year, smiting with cruel hands the tender
flowers, until they droop their sad heads beneath his hot anger;
but wooing them with warm and genial smiles from their gentle
mother's breast, beneath which they have been sleeping safely
through the chill winter. All things beneath his beams rejoice. The
river; the fields in their delicate green robes, which, as they
grow bolder under his gaze, they will change for sweeping kirtles
of ruddy gold; the silver clouds cradled in the sky's fair arms;
even the modest river-buds which scarcely lift their shy eyes above
the water. Around us float the pure cups of the water-lilies. The
banks by which we sit are fringed with pale forget-me-not; and
delicate ferns push their tender fronds through their beds of
last year's fallen leaves--life springing from death. The pale
pink water-grasses rear their heads above the ripples, and the
sun stares them out of countenance, until by-and-by they blush a
celestial rosy red; kingfishers gleam by, their blue wings flashing
streaks of turquoise.

How sharp and clear the shadows lie in the embrace of the soft
stream! Which is the real world, I wonder? The one shining so
joyously around and beyond us, or that other lying cool and still
beneath our keel? How I should like to plunge down and see! But
perhaps if I did, the water-pixies might throw their spells around
me, and I might never return to the world above, which after all
is fair enough for me.

As I make this reflection, we see the bow of a canoe peeping into
our watery bower; and I am brought back to earth by hearing a
merry young voice inquiring if we have any lunch to spare. So we
unpack our baskets, and landing, spread our sweet country fare on
the sward--crisp home-made bread, pats of golden butter, fragrant
honey, and fresh creamy milk. Then the talk, which has languished
before, becomes brisk; and many a gay jest is bandied round the
fallen moss-clad tree which forms our rustic table.

'Read us something,' says one of the merry group--'something suited
to the scene.' So a book is taken up by willing hands, and a voice
we all love reads us fair thoughts which have arisen in poet-minds
while gazing on Nature's lovely works. High and noble thoughts they
are, and to me they are dear familiar friends; but to-day, my eyes
wander to the poetry in God's creations round me, and I whisper to
myself:

          Ye are living poems,
    And all the rest are dead.

So the bright afternoon wears away, pleasant talk alternating with
snatches of luxurious silence, and the evening draws on apace.
The shadows begin to lengthen, and lie like swartly-clad giants
along the grass. The birds hush their song, and here and there the
curious fishes spring from their cool bed to take a last look at
the dying day. Reluctantly we turn our faces homewards.

Right before us the sun is sinking with passionate glowing cheeks
into the murky arms of Night. The gates of heaven open to let
Phœbus pass through, and from out them streams a sea of wondrous
light, in which pearl and opal clouds float in a lake of delicate
green and amber. The trees look inky black against the sky's pure
spiritual face. An owl hoots mournfully from yonder, stately
poplar; the silent bat flits by on noiseless wing; here and there
a glow-worm is lighting its tiny lamp; and the frogs croak us a
cheery 'Good-night!' as our boat glides softly by the rushes. But
not yet do we return it. We say: 'We will come out again when the
moon is up.'

And so we do. In defiance of any rheumatic or neuralgic future
which our elders prophesy for us, evening after evening we come out
to watch the fair Night lighting her beacon-fires overhead.

The mist-wreathed elms stand by the water like rows of ghostly
sentinel monks with gray cowls drawn over their heads; the willows
look like silver trees transplanted from some far Peruvian garden;
and the water drops from the wet blades of the oars in little
showers of diamond dew. Above our heads the nightingale is pouring
his liquid melody over the land. We listen, still and hushed.
Surely our hearts grow purified, and the cares and sorrows of the
world drop from us unheeded as we listen.

Philomela's song makes the silence round us seem deeper and more
calm. The flowers have folded their delicate robes more closely
around them, and have lain down to dream beneath the stars; even
the river seems asleep, and the dark shadows clasped so tightly
to his breast. Slowly the pale moon climbs the purple vault of
heaven, casts from her her gauzy veil, and looks down on us with
her pure and vestal eyes. The stars awaken one by one, and come
forth to do her homage. The gold-hearted cups of the water-lilies
drink long draughts of silver dew. The willows, like Narcissus of
old, gaze wistfully at their own fair faces in the stream; and the
aspens quiver with eerie thoughts unknown to us. Surely, riding on
the moonbeam which rests on yonder ripple, I see a water-pixie;
and resting beneath the shadow of the dock-leaves, I spy a
wood-elf! But some one speaks, and they are gone. We drift silently
homewards; silently, for our enjoyment has become too deep for
words. Silently we land, and still silently I seek my chamber, and
opening my window, gaze into the moonlit garden beyond.

The flowers have folded their leaves beneath the soft kisses of the
night, and lie sleeping placidly in the dim and tender light; the
air is laden with their fragrant breath, which is always sweetest
when they lie dreaming beneath the summer stars. The flame-coloured
geraniums, the white and wandlike lilies, and the many-tinted
roses, are all alike, misty and indistinct; and the sinuous and
mossy paths, touched here and there by the soft light, lose
themselves in darkness beneath the dusky hedges. Beyond them lies
my beloved river, on which the starry river-buds float tremulously.
The earth is all at rest, and above it the moon hangs like a silver
lamp in the star-lit sky; and overhead one nightingale, the last,
for the rest have sunk into silence, trills forth his Elysian
chant, and mingles with the dreams of the sleeping flowers.

What a fair world! Is it possible that sorrow exists, that these,
God's ineffable works, can ever be defaced by sin?

Such are the days and nights I spend when I make holiday in the
old house by the river. Alas! that ever the day should dawn when
turning my back on its poetry, I return once more to the prose of
our work-a-day world.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XXV.--IN THE LANE.


I had had a motive, which I fancied she did not perceive, in asking
Lilian to accompany me on my errand to the Home that morning. It
was Arthur Trafford's wedding-day. Mrs Tipper and I had done our
best to keep the knowledge of it from her until it was over, and
flattered ourselves that we had succeeded.

As we drew nearer home the sound of bells ringing merrily in
the distance reached my ears; and in the hope of diverting her
attention I talked on, apropos of anything or nothing. I fancied
she was heeding, until she said gently: 'It is fortunate they have
so fine a day, Mary.'

'I suppose it is,' I replied ungraciously. Then I presently added
more pleasantly: 'But it is even more fortunate that you can say
so.'

'Dear Mary, what did you expect me to say?'

I took the sweet face between my hands, and looked into the clear
eyes, which did not flinch under my gaze, as she added in a low
voice: 'I am not in love with another woman's husband, Mary.'

No; I came to the happy conclusion that she was not. There was no
cause for further anxiety upon that score. Had I only been right in
my fancy about Robert Wentworth, how pleasantly might things now
have arranged themselves!

Again I felt obliged to postpone telling Lilian about my coming
happiness. It had seemed difficult to talk of my engagement
the night before, how much more so now--on Arthur Trafford's
wedding-day. I must still wait for a more fitting season, I told
myself.

Mrs Tipper had done her best to make the little parlour appear as
cheerful and home-like as possible; and I saw that she watched
Lilian with loving anxiety. She had prepared quite a feast for
our favourite meal that day. If hot cakes and everything else the
dear little woman could think of in the way of dainties had been
remedies for disappointed love, Lilian might have owed her recovery
to them, so plentifully were they provided. She had the comfort of
seeing her niece partake of the good things with an appetite which
quite set her mind at rest.

If it really cost Lilian something so to gratify her aunt, I
believe it was very little. She shewed too that her thoughts
had not been absent during our morning's work, by joining very
earnestly in my narration of what had taken place, and giving a
very decided opinion about Mrs Gower. Before we bade each other
good-night, Lilian had succeeded in satisfying Mrs Tipper, as she
had satisfied me, that she was 'not in love with another woman's
husband.'

As days passed on my news remained still untold. Something seemed
always to be intervening to cause me to put off the telling it
until the morrow. Looking back, I see how very slight were some of
the causes which I allowed to prevent me from opening my heart to
my companions; although at the time they appeared sufficient.

Meantime we were occupied from morning till night, Lilian and I
working together as with one mind. But we presently began to miss
our master, as Lilian laughingly termed him, and I grew more than
anxious as the days he had accustomed us to expect him passed
without our seeing him. Not once had we heard from or seen him
since that never-to-be-forgotten night. Did he really blame me?
Could he not forgive me? I tormented myself with all sorts of
doubts and fears, in my heart of hearts dreading something even
worse than his blame or anger. Robert Wentworth was not the man
either to judge harshly or to be unforgiving.

It was nearly a fortnight since we had seen him, when one evening
Becky mysteriously beckoned me out of the room. Lilian was playing
one of our favourite sonatas, and I made my escape unobserved.

'Another letter, Becky?' I asked, putting out my hand for it with a
smile.

'No, Miss; it's a woman this time,' returned Becky. 'She says that
she wants to see you alone, and she won't come in. I was to tell
you she's waiting down at the end of the lane, and to be sure to
say you are to go by yourself.'

'What kind of woman is she, Becky?' I asked, my thoughts at once
reverting to Nancy Dean.

'A more disagreeable one I never see,' very decidedly returned
Becky. 'And as to behaviour, she seemed just ready to snap my nose
off when I asked what name I should tell you. "No name at all," she
said.'

'I will go, Becky.'

'Poor Nancy!' was my mental ejaculation; 'she has got into trouble
again. It was perhaps too much to expect her to remain with people
who believe her to be so much worse than she really is, just when
she needs to be encouraged and strengthened.' I was stepping from
the porch, when Becky earnestly pleaded for permission to accompany
me.

'Do, please, let me come too, Miss Haddon, dear!' she whispered. 'I
could stand a little way off, so as not to hear; and if she touches
you'----

'She will not hurt me, Becky. Do not fear it. I know who she is.'

Becky stood aside, silenced if not convinced. I went out into the
summer-scented air, and just pausing by the way to gather a rose
for Nancy, passed on down the lane.

Not the slightest doubt as to whom I should see for a moment
crossed my mind. My surprise was all the greater when I came in
sight of a woman standing erect by the stile with her arms folded
across her chest; who, a moment's glance told me, was not at all
like Nancy--a tall thin woman, dressed in a long old-fashioned
cloak, and what used to be termed a coal-scuttle bonnet.

Quite taken by surprise, I paused a moment to reconnoitre before
advancing. She turned her face towards me, and although I did not
immediately recognise who she was, I knew that I had seen her
before.

'Do you wish to speak to me? I am Miss Haddon.'

'Yes; I know you are.'

Then it flashed upon me who she was.

'You are Mr Wentworth's housekeeper?'

'Yes.'

My heart sank with a foreboding of some evil, and for a moment I
could not utter a word. Then screwing up my courage, I asked in as
matter-of-course a tone as I could assume: 'He is quite well, I
hope?'

'Nobody cares whether he's ill or well, I expect.'

'You are very much mistaken!' I replied, in some agitation. 'Every
one who knows him would care a great deal! You ought to know that
they would.'

I suppose my face and tone satisfied her that I was so far saying
what I thought, though she only shifted her ground of offence in
consequence.

'If he was ill he wouldn't be wanting people's pity.'

'But I hope---- Is he ill?'

'Why should he be ill?' she rejoined angrily. Then endeavouring
to command herself, she went on: 'But I haven't come here to talk
about that. Ill or well, he doesn't know I've come here, and would
be very angry if he did. You must please to recollect that. I
should have been here before, but it took me two days, putting this
and that together, to find out where you live. You are living with
the ladies at the cottage down there?'

'Yes.'

'Well, that can't be much of a place; but I suppose situations are
not so plentiful, and anything is better than'----

'What is it you have come to say to me?' I asked shortly.

'You are very masterful, and know how to get your way when you want
it. You two are a match for each other; and I knew you would find
that out. I knew no good would come of it when I let you get the
better of me that day; and I'd sooner do anything than come to you
now. You may be sure of that.'

'I know that for some foolish reason you took a prejudice against
me; but being disliked _before_ one is known, ought not to distress
one, though I should prefer not being disliked.'

'If you're not hurt you needn't complain,' she replied, as though
determined not to yield an inch.

'What have you come to say to me?' I repeated. 'I suppose you did
not come all this way to remind me that you are prejudiced against
me?'

'No.' She looked over the hedge and around in all directions before
continuing; then said in a low voice: 'You thought my master's
looked but a poor place for a gentleman born to live in, that day.
I saw how sharp you was to notice, and how poor and shabby you
thought it all was.'

'You are too ready to ascribe thoughts to me,' I replied.

'But you did now; didn't you? You can't say that you didn't think
things looked a bit poor?'

'Mr Wentworth can afford to be more careless about appearances than
can most people,' I said, not in the least comprehending her drift.
'It was all well enough for a bachelor's home.'

'Ay, well enough for a bachelor's home perhaps; but not for a
married couple, eh?'

'Really!'

'Try to keep your temper for another five minutes, if _you_ please,
Miss. I know there's no love lost between us two; but I've come
here because I've got something to say; and proud and masterful as
you are, I know you are the sort to be trusted, and I'm going to
trust you. I carried Master Robert in my arms when he was a baby,
and I know him and love him more than any fine madam ever can. He
was left very poor, and he worked very hard, and a better master
or kinder gentleman---- But that's not what I've come to say;
nobody will ever know his goodness as I do'--jealously. 'He was
poor, and I was poor, and I've had some ado to keep things together
for him. But about three years ago my brother died, and things
changed for me. He was a small farmer down in Gloucestershire, and
everybody called him a miser; but it is not for me to complain of
his scraping and saving, for he left all he had to me, and a nice
little nest-egg it turned out to be. It's been down in my will
for Master Robert from the first day I had it; and it has been
'cumulating ever since; not a penny of it have I ever touched. The
pleasure has been to think that there it was all ready for him,
though I was too proud to see how much he liked working his way up
in the world, to tell him about it before he wanted it.'

'I am sincerely glad to know he has so faithful a friend,' I said,
holding out my hand to her.

'Wait a bit, Miss; let me say my say. To-morrow morning that money
will be made over to Master Robert, and he will be told that he'll
never see no more of me if he won't take it; and the lawyer he
says it brings in pretty nigh ninety pounds a year, now!' Pausing a
moment to give me time to recover that.

What could I say? Growing hot and confused and pained as her
meaning began to dawn upon me, I murmured: 'It is a good
sum--and'----

'And that's not all,' she said eagerly. 'You must remember Master
Robert is getting on now and being talked about. I've brought this
paper down with me that you may see his name in it for yourself;'
taking a newspaper from her pocket, hastily unfolding it and
pointing out with trembling finger a short but eulogistic notice of
a pamphlet by R. Wentworth. 'There's no gainsaying that, you know.'
Slipping it into her pocket again, she earnestly went on, laying
her hand upon my arm, and seeing only him in her increased anxiety:
'I don't say that prudence isn't a good thing; I'm not for foolish
marriages when there's nothing to depend on; but there's the ninety
pounds a year, and what he earns, besides a house to live in, and
my services for nothing; and master says my bark's worse than my
bite; bless you, _his_ wife's no call to be afraid of me!'

'Hush, pray hush!' I murmured, seeing all her meaning now. 'Do you
think any one who loved Robert Wentworth would care about all that!'

'Then it is that he isn't loved? God help him!' The cold, hard, set
look came into her face again--though she would seem cold and hard
now to me never again--and she folded her cloak about her.

'Will you tell me how Mr Wentworth is?' I could not help asking.

'Oh, he's well enough; nobody need think he's going to die of a
broken heart. And you must please to remember that he knows nothing
about my coming here, ma'am. And perhaps it isn't _too_ much to ask
you not to mention what a foolish old woman has been talking about?'

'I should be as much grieved as you could possibly be for him to
know anything about it, Hester,' I replied in all sincerity.

'Then I wish you good-night, Miss.'

'Will not you shake hands with me?'

'I'm never much for shaking hands, Miss, thank you'--stiffly, both
hands folded in her cloak.

'Not for your master's sake? Mr Wentworth is my friend, and I think
he would be sorry'----

'He can't be sorry about what he doesn't know.'

'Well, you cannot prevent my respecting you, and that I shall do as
long as I live.'

She went on down the lane, and I turned away, burying my face in my
hands. Could I ever forgive myself!

Something--for a moment I thought it was a falling leaf--lightly
touched my arm, and looking round I saw a large bony hand put
from behind. I clasped it without a word; without a word it was
withdrawn, and I presently found myself alone. I turned and
walked slowly and thoughtfully homewards. How completely though
unconsciously she had shewn me her motive for seeking an interview
with me! She had divined that her master had had a disappointment,
and must have drawn the conclusion that he had been refused solely
from prudential motives. Consequently she had come for the purpose
of giving me a better knowledge of his prospects than he himself
could have done, and was ready for his sake to try to overcome her
prejudice against me. Nevertheless, my interview with old Hester
tended to make me more rather than less anxious respecting her
master.



SEA-EGGS.


The visitor to the sea-side must frequently in his rambles along
the beach have picked up specimens of the curious animals which
are popularly known as 'Sea-eggs' and 'Sea-urchins.' The former
name is applied to these creatures when they are found cast upon
the shore and present the appearance of rounded or ball-shaped
objects, each inclosed within a hard but brittle limy shell. Whilst
the term 'urchin' is given to the same objects when they are seen
in their more natural and perfect state, and when the outside of
the shell literally bristles with spines. The name 'urchin,' in
fact originally applied to the hedgehog, has been extended to
denominate the sea-eggs, from their presenting the spiny appearance
so familiarly seen in the common tenant of our woods and hedgerows.
Thus the sea-egg is the sea-urchin with its spines detached and
rubbed off by the unkindly force of the waves; and the animal
thus popularly designated is the _Echinus_ of the zoologist, and
belongs to the large class of animals of which the Star-fishes are
well-known representatives.

The entire history of the sea-egg is of so curious a nature that
the most casual reader may well feel interested in the account of
the animal's present and past life; whilst the feeling of mere
curiosity to know something of one of the most 'common objects of
the shore,' should prompt every sea-side visitor to make the closer
acquaintance of the Echinus.

Suppose that we begin our examination by looking at the hard case
or 'shell' in which the soft parts of the animal are inclosed.
We find on referring to the development of the animal, that this
'shell' actually represents the hardened skin of the animal, and
that viewed in this light, it closely corresponds to the shell of
the lobster or crab. The shell is flattened at each pole, and we
can readily perceive that it is composed of rows of little limy
plates, which are disposed in a regular manner from pole to pole,
or after the fashion of the meridian lines on a globe. Counting
the series of plates, we find the shell to be composed of twenty
rows; but we may also perceive a difference between certain of the
plates of which the rows are composed. Thus we find two adjoining
rows of plates, which are perforated with holes. The next two rows
are not so perforated; whilst the third two rows possess holes like
the first rows. We may, in fact, proceed round the shell, and come
back to the point at which our examination began, with the result
of finding that we may group the whole of the twenty rows of plates
of this curious limy box into two sets--those with holes and those
without; and we may further discover that there are five double
rows of perforated plates, and that these alternate with other five
double rows which do not possess holes.

Each little plate of the sea-egg's shell may be most accurately
described as being hexagonal or six-sided in form; but this shape
may be more or less modified in certain regions of the shell. The
five double rows of the shell which are perforated with holes, it
may be remarked, are those through the apertures in which the small
'tube-feet' of the animal are protruded. And it may also be noted
that in some of the sea-eggs these perforated rows do not extend
from pole to pole of the shell, as in the common species, but are
limited so as to form a rosette-like figure, on the upper surface
or at the upper pole of the shell. This modification is well seen
in a group of sea-eggs, not uncommon round our coasts, and which
are popularly named 'Heart-urchins' from their peculiar shape.

The outside of the shell presents us with some curious features;
the zoologist's study leading him thus to carefully note points
which an ordinary observer would hardly deem worthy his attention.
When we examine the outer surface of the shell, we find it to be
thickly studded over with little rounded knobs or 'tubercles,'
which are, if anything, most numerous on those parts or rows of
plates which are not perforated. And if we carefully study one of
the spines we shall find that it is hollowed out or is concave at
its base. Clearly then, the spines are meant to articulate by means
of these hollowed or cup-shaped bases with the rounded knobs on the
outside of the shell, and in each case a true ball-and-socket joint
is thus formed. The spines are thus intended to be moved, and they
are not only firmly attached by a ligament or band of fibres to
the surfaces of their tubercles, but appear to be moved by special
muscles, which form a thin investing layer on the outer surface
of the shell. The spines undoubtedly serve as organs of defence,
but in some species they are employed as boring-organs to scoop
out holes in the sand or shallow beds in rocks, in which their
possessors lie snugly ensconced.

The outer surface of the shell also bears certain very peculiar
appendages, known as 'Pedicellariæ.' These little organisms also
occur on the outer surface of Star-fishes and other members
of the sea-egg's class; but regarding their exact nature and
functions, zoologists are still in doubt. The form of one of these
pedicellarians may be best imagined by figuring to one's self a
small or minute stalk attached to the shell, and bearing at its
free extremity two or three little jaws, which move actively upon
one another, with a quick snapping motion. These little jaws can
be seen to seize particles of food, and there is no doubt whatever
that they possess a life and vitality independently of the sea-egg
or other organism upon which they reside; since their movements
are seen to continue after the death of the animal which affords
them lodgment. Some naturalists have regarded them as 'peculiarly
modified spines;' but the reasons or grounds for this belief are
anything but clear, since it is difficult to imagine any reasonable
explanation of the means whereby a spine could acquire an active
living and independent nature. By good authorities, who have
not ventured to theorise so boldly, the pedicellariæ have been
regarded as _parasites_ of some kind or other; and they may also
possibly represent stages in the as yet unknown development of
some organisms. Whilst, assuming them to be fully-grown beings,
their function, as they exist on the shell of our sea-egg, has been
supposed to be that of seizing particles of food, and of removing
waste or effete matters.

The internal structure of the sea-egg shews its near relationship
with the Star-fishes and Sea-cucumbers. The mouth is the large
orifice opening at the lower pole of the shell; so that as our
sea-egg crawls slowly and mouth downwards over the bed of the sea,
or over the floor of its native pools, it can procure food without
any very great trouble as regards its conveyance to the mouth. The
internal furnishings of the body include a stomach and complete
digestive system, along with a very peculiar set of jaws or teeth,
lying just within the mouth, the points or tips of the jaws being
usually protruded from the mouth-opening. This arrangement of teeth
is named the 'Lantern of Aristotle,' and comprises five conical
pieces, so arranged together and so provided with muscles, as to
be perfectly adapted for bruising the sea-weeds and other forms
of nutriment on which the sea-eggs subsist. Their near neighbours
the Star-fishes do not possess any teeth; although curiously
enough, the unarmed sea-stars prefer a richer dietary than that
which contents their sea-egg neighbours, since they devour large
quantities of oysters and other molluscs. Our sea-egg possesses a
heart for circulating its blood, in the form of a simple tube; and
although no distinct breathing-organs are developed, naturalists
believe that the blood may be purified by being circulated through
a delicate membrane which is named the 'mesentery,' and which
serves to suspend and support the digestive organs to the wall of
the shell. The fact that this membrane is richly provided with
the delicate vibratile filaments known as 'cilia,' and that it is
bathed in the sea-water--necessarily containing oxygen--and which
is admitted within the shell, would seem to favour the idea that it
constitutes the breathing-organ of these animals.

The sea-egg is not destitute of means for obtaining some degree of
knowledge regarding its surroundings; and it obtains its _quantum_
of information through the same channel by which man is brought
into relation with the world in which he lives--namely the nervous
system. The sea-urchin possesses no structure corresponding to a
brain--indeed in all animals of its nature, the nervous system
exists in a comparatively low and unspecialised condition. We do
not find, in other words, that development and concentration of
the parts of the nervous system seen in the highest groups of
animals, and which enables these latter to form definite ideas
regarding their surroundings and respecting the world at large.
A cord of nervous matter surrounds the gullet of the sea-egg,
and from this central portion five great nerves are given off;
one nerve-trunk passing along the inner surface of each of the
perforated double rows of plates of the shell, to terminate at the
upper pole of the body. The only organs of sense developed in the
sea-eggs appear to consist of five little 'eyes' of rudimentary
nature, each consisting of a little spot of colouring matter and
a lens. These eyes are situated on five special plates of the
shell, developed at the upper pole or extremity of that structure.
We thus remark that the parts of the nervous system, along with
other portions of the sea-egg's structure, are developed in a
kind of five-membered symmetry--if we may so express it. And it
is a singular fact that not only throughout the sea-egg's class
do we find the number five to represent the typical arrangement
of parts and organs--as is well exemplified in the five rays of
the common star-fish--but we also discover that this number is one
exceedingly common in the symmetry of flowers. This fact apparently
struck an old writer--Sir Thomas Browne--as being a curious and
noteworthy feature of the Star-fishes and their allies, since we
find him inquiring 'Why, among Sea-stars, Nature chiefly delighteth
in five points?'--although to this suggestive query, the learned
and eccentric author of the _Religio Medici_ gives no exact or
satisfactory reply.

The movements of our sea-egg are effected by means of an apparatus,
which forms one of the most noteworthy parts of its structure. If
a star-fish be dropped into a rock-pool, it may be seen to glide
slowly but easily over the bottom of the miniature sea in which we
have placed it. When we examine the lower surface of this animal's
body, we at once perceive the means whereby its movements are
performed; for existing in hundreds, in the deep groove which runs
along the under surface of each ray, we see the little tube-feet or
_ambulacra_, each consisting of a little muscular tube, terminated
in a sucker-like tip. By means of an apparatus of essentially
similar kind, the sea-egg is enabled to crawl slowly over the floor
of the sea. The tube-feet existing to the number of many hundreds
in the sea-egg, are protruded, as has already been remarked,
through the holes existing in each of the five double rows of
perforated plates of the shell. The mechanism of their protrusion
depends on the presence of a special system of vessels, known as
the 'ambulacral' vessels, which carry water to the little feet, for
the purpose of their inflation and distension.

Thus on the upper surface of the shell we find a single large plate
perforated with holes like the lid of a pepper-box. This plate
opens into a long tube called the 'sand-canal'--a name which is
decidedly a misnomer, since the function of the plate resembling
the pepper-box lid is to allow water to enter this tube, but at
the same time to exclude particles of sand and like matters.
The sand-canal terminates in a circular vessel, which, like the
nerve-cord, surrounds the gullet; and from this central ring a
great vessel, like a main water-pipe, runs up each of the five
rows of perforated plates in company with the nerve-cord. At the
base of each little tube-foot is a little muscular sac or bag, and
into these sacs the water admitted by the sand-canal ultimately
passes. When therefore the sea-egg wishes to distend its feet for
the purpose of protruding them through the shell-pores, and of thus
walking by applying their sucker-like tips to fixed objects, the
water in the little sacs is forced into the feet, which are thus
distended. Whilst conversely, when the feet are to be withdrawn,
the water is forced back, by the contraction of the feet into the
sacs, or may be allowed to escape from the perforated tips of the
feet, so as to admit of a fresh supply being brought in from the
interior.

The development of the sea-egg may be briefly glanced at by way
of conclusion, along with a few points in its economic history.
The animal, solid as it appears in its adult state, is developed
from a small egg, which gives origin to a little body, usually
named the 'larva,' but which, from its resemblance in form to a
painter's easel, has received the name of _Pluteus_. This little
body does not in the least resemble the sea-egg; possesses a
mouth and digestive system of its own, and swims freely through
the sea. Sooner or later, however, a second body begins to be
formed within and at the expense of this Pluteus-larva; whilst as
development proceeds and ends, the sea-egg appears as the result
of this secondary development, and the now useless remainder of
the first-formed being is cast off and simply perishes. Thus the
development of the sea-egg is by no means the least curious part of
the animal's history, and presents a singular resemblance to the
production of the Star-fishes and their neighbours.

The mere mention of the economic or rather gastronomic relations
of the sea-eggs may appropriately form a concluding remark to
our gossiping remarks concerning these animals. With our British
prejudices in favour of eating only what our forefathers were
accustomed to consider wholesome, it is not likely that the
sea-eggs will appeal with success to be included as culinary
dainties. Yet on the continent these animals are much esteemed as
articles of dietary and even of luxury. The Corsicans and Algerians
eat one species, whilst the Neapolitans relish another kind; and
in classic times, when variety rather than quantity or quality was
the chief feature of high-class entertainments, the _Echini_ were
esteemed morsels at the tables of the Greeks and Romans. Here then
is an opportunity for another Soyer to tempt the modern cultivated
appetite with a new and wholesome dish. Considering that crabs and
lobsters are so highly esteemed, the sea-eggs but wait a suitable
introduction to become, it may be, the favourite tit-bits of future
generations.

A wise philosopher--the great Newton himself--remarked concerning
the limitation of our knowledge, that we were but as children,
picking up at most a few stray grains of sand on the sea-shore,
whilst around us lies the great region of the unknown. Our present
study may not inaptly be related to Newton's comparison, since
it serves to shew that even the brief and imperfect history of
a stray shell picked up on the sea-beach may teem with features
so curious and with problems so deep, that the furthest science
may be unequal to the explanation of the one or the elucidation
of the other. Whilst the subject no less powerfully pleads for
the wider extension of the knowledge of this world and its living
tenants--knowledge which in every aspect reveals things which are
not only wondrously grand, but also 'fair to see.'



THE TWELFTH RIG.

IN SIX CHAPTERS.


CHAPTER V.--THE WORKING OF THE CHARM.

The theatre was crowded with an assemblage of fashion and beauty,
and many were the glances directed towards the boxes, and numerous
the comments of those who came to see rather than to hear, on the
beauties who shone there like so many stars striving to outsparkle
each other.

In one of the side-boxes Eliza was seated with her husband.
Passionately fond of music, she seemed to have forgotten her
sorrows, till, on turning to Charles to make some observation,
she perceived that some young men, acquaintances of his, had
entered and were conversing with him. One of them was directing
his attention to a particular box. Following their eyes, she
observed a young lady, all in fleecy white and pale blue, with
pearls glimmering in her dark hair. A most radiant beauty, her
eyes sparkling with extraordinary brilliancy, and seeming to far
outshine the lustre of the diamonds that gleamed around; the rich
damask of her cheek putting to shame the roses she held in her
hand. Several gentlemen stood around her, attentive to every word
and look, each striving to win her special regard. She appeared in
buoyant spirits, and conversed with great animation, smiling often
with singular sweetness. But her smiles, though so bewitching, were
distributed carelessly, and she never distinguished any one of
those about her above the rest.

Eliza, struck with admiration, gazed at her earnestly. The young
lady looked in that direction. Their eyes met. A thrill passed
through Eliza's frame. All at once the gay assemblage seemed to
vanish from her sight, the lights burned dim and lurid, and the air
grew heavy as if with death. The voices of the singers retreated
far away. She heard the murmur of mountain rivulets, and the
soughing of the wind over a wide space. Before her eyes uprose a
lonely field, with the moonbeams shimmering over its dark ridges.
She saw herself, and fronting her a shadowy white face and form,
like the dim reflection in a stream, of a human figure. Then,
mingling with the distant music, the words 'Doomed, doomed!' smote
on her ears like a wailing cry of agony, or the scornful laugh of a
mocking fiend.

With this scene before her, with these words ringing around her,
she sat on, as if in a dream. Had she looked towards her husband,
she would have seen a dark cloud on his forehead and a moody look
in his eye. Could she have seen into his mind, it would have
troubled her more.

'How lovely!' he thought. 'What grace, what ease and animation! And
she might have been my wife. What a fool I was! Eliza is pretty
enough still, but compared to her'--he turned, that he might make
the comparison, but she was unconscious of it. 'Ah! mere country
prettiness, which loses half its charm out of its place. Vivacity
was her attraction, and that gone, what has she? She looks now
as if she did not know what was going on around her. And for her
I gave up the beauty that brings all Paris to its feet, lost a
handsome fortune, alienated my family, and endangered my prospects
from them. Yet that is not the worst. I see now that my marriage
with Eliza was a mistake in every way. I was mad to throw away my
prospects and happiness thus; to forsake her whom I really loved,
and who loved me--then at least. Blind fool that I was!'

There was a stir in that box towards which so many glances were
directed. The young lady had risen, and pale as death, leaning
heavily on the arm of a middle-aged lady, prepared to leave the
theatre. 'She is fainting; the heat is too much for her,' was
whispered around. A dozen gentlemen sprang forward to wrap her in
her mantle and call her carriage; she thanked them with a faint
sweet smile, but uttered no word. When the carriage had driven
away and all were out of sight, she cast herself sobbing on her
companion's breast, and trembled from head to foot.

'Oh, do not bring me to these scenes any more!' she cried; 'I
cannot bear it; indeed I cannot; they are torture to me. I know
you meant it kindly, dear friend--thought to rouse and cheer me;
but it will not do; I cannot be gay like others while my heart is
breaking. Oh, take me far away to some quiet spot, where I may pass
the short time that remains to me in peace and seclusion!'

'Darling, we shall leave Paris to-morrow, if you really wish it,'
returned the middle-aged lady; and her tone betrayed alarm, as if
she feared for the result of so much emotion.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Eliza!' said Charles, somewhat roughly; 'don't you see all is over
and everybody is going away? Are you dreaming?'

She started and looked up with a bewildered air; then she saw how
dark his brow was, and the cause puzzled her.

All that night Eliza lay awake tossing feverishly; she made an
effort to dispel the thoughts that distracted her and compose
herself to sleep; but when she closed her eyes, faces seemed to
press close up to hers, familiar faces, that she used to see every
day. It was useless to think of sleep, and she lay watching wearily
till dawn.

In the morning, Eliza was so feverish and ill that she felt unable
to rise. A doctor was sent for. Before he arrived, she had become
delirious, and raved pitifully about her old home and her father.
Another name too was often on her lips. The doctor, who was an
Englishman, as he stood by her bedside, supposed it might be that
of her husband. 'Will! Will!' she repeated over and over, sometimes
in tender loving accents, then in tones of wild despair. When the
physician took her hand she seemed to become conscious of who he
was and of her own illness.

'I shall die,' she said in a sad quiet tone. 'I know I shall.
There's no use in your coming to me. You may be the greatest doctor
in Europe, but all your skill won't save me. I am doomed, doomed!'

He thought her still raving, in spite of her calm tone; but in
reality she was not so now. Her youth and beauty, joined to her
piteous look and tones, moved him. Some of her wanderings seemed
to shew that she had once been accustomed to a sphere of life far
beneath that in which he found her. He thought some sorrow or
trouble weighed on her mind, and tried to discover if such were the
case. But in answer to his kind questioning she only shook her head
or moaned feebly.

On leaving his patient, the doctor sought Crofton. He found him
lounging, with a very gloomy brow, over a late breakfast.

'I have seen Mrs Crofton,' he said. 'I do not apprehend any danger
at present. It is a touch of fever, which will pass. But I wish
to mention that change of air and scene are absolutely necessary
for her. I was told by her maid that she has been in the habit of
remaining very much within doors of late, and that she has been
depressed in spirits.'

'She need not have remained within doors if she did not choose,'
returned Charles coldly; 'and if she was depressed, it was totally
without cause.'

The other looked at him. It was a strange tone for the husband of
one so young and beautiful; and not long wedded, as he had been
given to understand.

'Well,' he replied after a pause, 'I recommend that she should be
removed to a quiet country place as soon as possible--to-morrow,
if she is able to bear the journey.'

'As you say so, of course it shall be done. My own arrangements do
not permit of my leaving Paris at present, but that need make no
difference; Mrs Crofton can go accompanied by her maid.'

Again the doctor looked at him, the tone was so indifferent, as
if he wished to dispose of the matter at once, and be troubled no
more. Merely mentioning the place he thought most suitable for
his patient, a quiet little town in the south of France, he bowed
coldly, and withdrew.

Charles rose and sauntered to the mantel-piece. 'She acts the fine
lady well,' he muttered to himself. 'Ill and out of spirits! _She_
has no cause to be so. As much as I lost she has gained. Yet she
acts and speaks sometimes as if she had made a sacrifice for me. I
could almost fancy that she regrets that clodhopping fellow. It is
a pity, after all, she was so ready to jilt him. She can't expect
that I will coop myself up in a wretched dreary place. We are not
so very devoted now, either of us, that we require no other company
than that of the other.'

In the evening Eliza was better; the feverishness had passed, and
it was thought she would be able to leave next day; so Charles went
to her room to inform her of the doctor's command, and the fact
that the journey was to be made without him.

'I have arranged to remain here yet, and can't alter my plans,'
he said. 'But my presence could do you no good; and when you are
better you can join me; that is, if you wish to do so.'

_If_ she wished to do so! He would not then care if she did not
join him! His words and manner implied that she had become a burden
to him, which he would willingly cast off, were it possible; since
it was not possible, absent himself from her as much as he could.
She turned, sighing, away; and Charles left the room without
another word, without a kiss.

It had come now that he was actually estranged from her! He could
let her go from him alone, ill as she was, and in a foreign land,
the land he had brought her to! It was not with any wild passionate
pang, such as she would have felt had she loved him, that she
thought this; but a dead cold weight pressed on her heart, and a
sense of utter desolation came over her.

'Alone, alone!' she murmured. 'Father, lover, friends, home--I
abandoned them all, and for what?--for what?'


CHAPTER VI.--THE CHARM DISSOLVED.

Next day Eliza set out, accompanied only by her maid. No one, to
see her, would have fancied she was not yet one year a wife.

In the sweet quiet spot to which she went her illness passed away;
but she was weaker than before, and her health precarious. Her
spirits too sank daily, and the rich glow of her cheek, dimmer
during the last few months than it used to be, faded more and more.
The sparkling smile of other days, or the discontented pout which
had always betrayed any little 'temper,' never dwelt on her lips
now. A softened subdued shade settled on her countenance. In her
sadness and loneliness, forsaken by him to whom she would still
have clung even when love was gone, she turned, in her sorrow,
to thoughts which had never occupied her before, to religion, the
one source of consolation that remains to the disappointed and
unfortunate; fortunate if they can embrace it, and find peace and
full satisfaction somewhere at last.

In a peaceful nook, embosomed among a grove of beech-trees, there
was a lonely little chapel. Thither Eliza went every evening,
and kneeling among the few quiet worshippers, lifted her eyes to
the sculptured form above the altar, whose mild angelic face and
outstretched arms seemed to speak of pity and sympathy with human
woe.

One evening she lingered till dusk began to gather in the quaint
old place. It was now again the eve of All-Hallows, and her
thoughts reverted to the past and all that had happened during
one short year. Looking up at last, she found that the others had
gone and she was alone. The pale spectral rays of a rising moon,
broken and intercepted by the fluttering trees without, stole in
at the windows and crept with a kind of stealthy motion across the
floor. The silence was tomb-like. It smote on Eliza's heart. Part
of the chapel, where the moonbeams did not pierce, was veiled in
gloom, and in the darkness the draperies about the altar seemed to
stir and take strange form. Indistinct masses, which looked as if
they might at any moment become endowed with animation, filled the
corners. Eliza could almost fancy that the dim dead who slept in
the vaults beneath were rising round her. She turned to leave the
place, and then perceived that she was _not_ alone.

A female figure knelt at a little distance, the face buried in the
hands. As Eliza moved down the aisle it rose slowly and turned
round. With a low shuddering cry she sprang back, and almost sank
to the ground. She gasped for breath. She tried to speak, but for
some moments in vain. At last, in a loud cry, her voice broke
forth: 'In the name of the blessed God and by this holy sign!'
(crossing herself rapidly), 'speak! Who and what are you, that
twice before have crossed my path? In the lonely field; in the
crowded theatre, suddenly changing from an aspect of light and
beauty to a ghastly corpse-like image; and now again!'

The figure approached a few steps, the lips moved, but no sound
came. Eliza shrank back to the wall, pressing against it as if
she would force herself through the stone. A low sigh sounded, a
faint tremulous voice spoke: 'Twice before have _you_ started up to
bewilder and affright me: in the lonely field, when the night-wind
was sighing; in the gay assemblage; and here again, the third time.
Who and what are _you_, let _me_ ask?'

Eliza rose. 'One who is lonely and unhappy,' she answered; 'who,
having deserted others, is herself left alone now. If you would
know my name, it is Eliza Crofton.'

There was a pause, then in low, awestruck tones, the last word was
repeated: 'Crofton! And I am Ellen Courtney.'

'And we meet thus, for the first time knowing each other, though I
have often heard your name, and you mine! Did you too, then, go to
the Twelfth Rig last Hallow-eve night?'

'Listen, and I will tell you. He did not come home that
evening--he, I mean, who is now your husband. There was company
at the house, and he was expected. There was dancing and music,
but I could not join in it. I stole away to my own room, and
afterwards wandered out into the fields. I had heard of the charm
of the Twelfth Rig, but it was not with any settled intention of
trying it that I went out. When I got to the field, overcome with
sorrow and weariness, for I had walked a long distance, I sank
down; and thinking that nothing stirred in that lonely spot but
the night-wind, gave loose to the grief and despair that filled my
heart. When at last I rose up, I saw a figure wrapped in a cloak
standing motionless in the centre of one of the ridges, pale, with
wild eyes, and black dishevelled hair. As I gazed, it uttered a
dreadful scream, and turning, fled. I had heard stories of the
banshee, and I thought this must be it, or some spirit of doom,
that had appeared to warn me of my approaching death. I believe I
sank down again on the ground. My senses seemed to leave me. I know
not what I did, but I heard a voice crying "Doomed, doomed!" and I
think it was myself that uttered the words.'

'I heard it,' said Eliza. 'It pursued me as I fled, repeated, I
suppose, by the mountain echoes. Ah! how it has haunted me. I
tried to crush back the thought; but it was there still, though
I wouldn't face it, and I felt in my heart that my days were
numbered. Has the clearing up come too late? I have suffered so
much, I scarcely feel fit for life now.'

'It comes too late for _me_. Though it was no spirit that stood in
the midst of the Twelfth Rig, the charm will work still. I was ill
after that night, very ill, else we might have met before you left,
and recognised each other. Then came the shock that tore up by the
roots the last hopes that lingered in my heart. You know to what I
allude. I may speak of it now with calmness, standing as I do on
the brink of the grave.--Why do you look so shocked? Have you never
heard that Ellen Courtney was dying--dying of a broken heart?'

'No, no! I never heard it, never dreamt of it. O heaven!'--wringing
her hands, and raising them above her head, with a despairing
gesture--'then I am a murderess! The punishment has descended in
full force now. A curse could not but attend my marriage. Did not
friends warn me again and again? and yet I persisted--persisted,
though faith had to be broken on both sides, a heart cast aside,
and trampled on. It was an unholy marriage, and the blessing of
heaven could not sanctify it. It was that which made my husband
cease to love me, shrivelled up my own heart, and made everything
become valueless in my eyes. I was content to suffer myself; it was
only reaping what I had sowed. But that _you_ should suffer--suffer
and die; you, who never injured any one, who must be gentle and
good as an angel. But oh!' she pursued, dropping on her knees, and
raising her dark eyes pleadingly, as sinner might to saint, 'remove
the curse before you die--if heaven so wills--before _I_ die, as
perhaps I shall, and give me back my husband's love, the only thing
that remains to me now.' The last words were uttered in a piteous
moan.

'Do not speak so wildly,' entreated Ellen, sitting down on one of
the seats, and raising her hand (Eliza marked its transparency) to
her damp white forehead. 'You are not so much to blame. Life and
happiness could never have been mine, even had you not intervened.
If he ceased to love me, as he must have done soon, for he never
loved me truly, I could not have borne it. My heart would have
broke, and I should have died all the same. You have my forgiveness
fully and entirely--and he has too. Do not fret yourself for the
lover you forsook. His wound is healed. He has found happiness with
one who long loved him in secret. This was the appointed day for
his marriage with your cousin, Mary Conlan.'

Eliza started, and the blood rushed to her face. He then had
forgotten her; and the thought sent a bitter pang through her
heart; yet she thanked heaven that it was so.

'Part of the weight is lifted from my soul,' she said. 'And I have
your forgiveness too. Lay your hand on my head, and say again that
you forgive me, and breathe a blessing on me.'

The shadowy white hand was raised. It lay like a spotless lily,
emblem of heaven's pity and forgiveness, on the dark bowed head.

'I forgive you from my heart. If my earnest wishes can make you
happy, be so.--Now I must go.' She rose, but tottered as she
attempted to walk.

'You are weak,' exclaimed Eliza. 'Let me go with you.'

'No, no; there is no need. I have not far to go.'

'But still, let me walk with you, and lean on me. I shall think you
cannot bear my presence near you, if you refuse.'

'Be it so then.'

They left the chapel together. Not a word was spoken as they walked
slowly on till Ellen paused before the gate of a villa.

'Good-bye, Eliza. We shall never meet again on earth. This third
meeting, in which each first knows the other, is the last. Even if
I lived, we could not be friends, our paths should lie far asunder;
though your words, and still more your looks, tell me how it is
with you, that we are sisters in disappointment and misfortune. But
there'--she lifted her eyes, calm and serene, to the sky, where the
moon, now fully risen, gleamed fair and radiant--'there we may meet
and be friends for ever. Farewell, Eliza.'

Overcome with emotion, Eliza cast herself, weeping, on the other's
breast. For a few moments they mingled their tears together.
'Farewell, Eliza;' 'Farewell, Ellen.' A faint breeze swept through
the beechen wood. It came wandering by them, and seemed to murmur
in unknown tongue some sentence or benediction over their heads.

There was silence. Eliza felt her companion lean heavily on her.
She grew alarmed. At last she said: 'It is not well for you to
linger in the night-air. Will you not go into the house now?'

Ellen replied not. Heavier and heavier she leant, with a helpless
weight that almost over-powered the other. Eliza raised the
drooping head. A white, white face, a dim fast-glazing eye, met her
gaze. It was the dead that lay on her bosom.

That night Eliza was very ill, so ill that a telegram was
despatched in haste to her husband to come at once, if he wished
to see her alive. He arrived next day, but only in time to gaze on
a sweet marble face, that changed not even in the presence of the
dread remorse that then awoke in his heart, and to clasp in his
arms a fair but lifeless child, whose tender eyes had never opened
on this world's light--whose only baptism was tears.

A few days after Hallow-eve, Daly received a black-sealed letter.
It was that which Eliza had written to him, but never sent.

So they both slept. The remains of Ellen Courtney were conveyed
to her own land; and on a dark November morning, when all nature
seemed in mourning for the young and beautiful that had passed with
the summer flowers, she was laid with her kindred, amidst streaming
eyes and voices that blessed her name--

    Poor victim of love and changeless faith.

But Eliza lay in a foreign soil, where the myrtle waved above her
head, instead of her own mountain-ash--an exile even in death, from
friends and home.



LIFE IN ST KILDA.

CONCLUDING PAPER.


On the 16th August I ascended the hill called Connaghar, where all
the men had gone to catch and the women to carry home fulmars,
leaving the village deserted. The weather was very warm, and
although I carried my coat over my arm, I was fain to stop on my
way up and cool myself in the light sea-breeze. About half-way up
I saw my old friend Tormad, with his ruddy face and large white
beard, seated on the edge of the cliff, with his attention fixed
on the rope he held in his hands. 'Who is below?' I asked as I sat
down beside him. 'Neil,' he answered. 'Is he far down?' 'Far--far,'
he replied. Neil's voice could be heard calling from the abyss.
In a little a crash sounds from below. Tormad looks anxious, and
with craning head listens with deep attention; whilst two girls
who had joined us, step with their bare feet to the very verge
of the precipice and peer below. One of them, who has a light
graceful figure, looks very picturesque as she stands poised on
that stupendous cliff. She has a Turkey-red handkerchief on her
head, and wears a coarse blue gown of a quaint shape, girdled at
the waist, and only reaching to her knees. Her limbs are muscular
and browned with the sun. She is engaged to Neil, and naturally
feels anxious on his account. A shower of large stones had fallen,
any one of which would have knocked his brains out had it chanced
to hit; but fortunately a projecting crag above his head saves him.
Tormad shifts his position to where he thinks the rock is less
frangible. I leave him, and climb to where the cliffs form a lofty
head or promontory which commands a view of the face of Connaghar.
This hill rises one thousand two hundred and twenty feet above the
sea, and is a precipice almost to the summit. The bottom of this
tremendous cliff had been cleared of fulmars the previous day by
men who had ascended from boats. Now the work had to be done from
above.

It is a dreadful trade. A sound like the crack of a musket is
occasionally heard, and one sees a huge stone bound and rattle
with great leaps into the sea below. Parties of two or three men,
laden with birds on their shoulders, are seen climbing by steep and
perilous paths to the summit. From the spot where I lie basking in
the sun, a path leads downwards to a steep grassy _brae_ bounded by
a cliff. This is considered a safe road for women, and a number of
them go by it to where the men can bring them fulmars. Some of the
girls can carry about two hundred pounds' weight, and seem rather
proud of their strength; but as they toil up the dangerous path
to where I recline, I hear them breathing heavily and in apparent
distress; but in a few minutes they are all right again.

In the intervals of work a number of them sit around me and offer
me a share of their oat-cakes and cheese, and hand me the little
tub covered with raw sheepskin in which they carry milk: 'Drink,
drink! you have taken none!' A number of the men also come up the
path with coils of ropes and bundles of inflated gannets' craws
on their backs. They are all barefooted and stripped to their
underclothing. A pile of fulmars has been collected beside us, and
the men whilst they rest economise time by extracting the oil. The
receptacle for holding the oil is the stomach of a solan-goose,
which is held open by one man, while another takes a fulmar, and
squeezing the body, forces the oil in a stream from its gaping
bill. When the fulmars and oil are carried home they are equally
divided. The birds are plucked, and the feathers are sold to the
factor for six shillings a St Kilda stone of twenty-four pounds.
The flesh is pickled and used as food in winter and spring. The oil
is sold to the factor for one shilling a St Kilda pint, which is
equal to about five English pints. Over nine hundred St Kilda pints
were exported in 1875. I ought to mention that it is the young
fulmars that are caught in autumn. No art is required to capture
them, as they are unable to fly; but they offer all the resistance
in their power by spitting their oil in the faces of the men. The
oil has a disagreeable odour. The old fulmars are caught in summer
when hatching; a noose tied to the end of a rod being slipped over
their heads. About the end of August all the fulmars leave St Kilda
and take the young to sea for their education. They are absent for
about two months and a half, and return lean and worthless.

On the 1st of September I began to be slightly alarmed that I
might be detained on the island until the succeeding summer. No
vessel had called since my arrival on the 21st of June. My stock
of provisions had become exhausted, and I had to give up tea and
coffee, and subsequently bread. The people began to pluck up their
little crops, neither sickle nor scythe being used. The oatmeal
supplied by the factor being done, the islanders had to depend on
the grain grown on the island. The oats are thrashed with a flail;
are scorched in a pot or in a straw basket containing hot stones,
previous to being ground. The grain is then ground with hand-mills
by the women, who work like furies.

On the 7th the new boat went to Stack Lee for _gougan_ or young
solan-geese, and returned in the evening with a few--about forty
to each man. As at the Bass and other fowling stations, so also
here are the gougan killed by blows on the head with a stick.
The flesh of the gougan is wild and fishy in flavour; but when
baked is an article of food. Every morning when I went up the
village the usual salutation included expressions of fear that
no ship would arrive. But my anxiety about the arrival of a ship
was naturally less than theirs, for they were burning to receive
further intelligence about the boat that was supposed to have been
lost fourteen years ago. 'Is my poor wife alive? Is my mother, my
brother, my son, my father, living or dead? Was my husband saved
in some mysterious way, like Donald MacKinnon? Is he married
again? Are all the women black in Africa?' Such were the agitating
questions that passed through the minds of the people, and often
found expression. Every time I went up the hill with my glass I
would be questioned by some one on my return whether any vessel was
visible, and my answer that there was not, was shouted from one end
of the village to the other. The poor people were straitened for
oatmeal, which was anxiously expected from the factor.

On the 5th of October in the evening, whilst I was sitting alone
in a cloud of peat-smoke, gazing at nothing by the dull light of
an iron lamp, my door was suddenly thrown open, and a woman in a
state of alarm bawled out that there were strangers in the glen.
I suggested that they were probably shipwrecked sailors, whom it
would not be right to leave in the glen all night, cold, hungry,
and without shelter. This seemed to move the women; and it was
arranged that five men armed with staves should go to the top of
the hill that separates the village from the glen and shout. In an
hour or two the five men returned wet to the skin, and reported
that, although they had whistled and shouted loudly, they had got
no reply, and that they were sure there must be a mistake. But the
woman still insisted that there were strangers in the glen. Next
day a steamer was seen bearing away from the island, and it was no
doubt her fog-whistle which had created the alarm.

In October, when the nights were getting long, spinning-wheels
began to be busy in every house, making the thread which the men
afterwards wove into cloth; and I spent the evening in one or other
of the cottages, chatting with the people, and endeavouring to
improve my Gaelic, and penetrate into their unsophisticated minds.
I tried to tell them stories--such as _Blue Beard_--in which they
seemed to feel a deep interest; the women sometimes improving my
grammar, and helping me out of any difficulty. They would also tell
me _sgeulachdan_ or tales.

On the 21st October and for many days afterwards all the
inhabitants went down the cliffs to pluck grass for their cattle.
I saw the women lying on the narrow sloping ledges on the face of
the rocks. A false step, and they would have fallen into the sea,
hundreds of feet below, or been mangled on the projecting crags.
About this time I gave up all hope of getting off the island until
the following summer. My oatmeal was done, and after that I was
obliged to depend on the people for a share of theirs. But I never
wanted, although I put myself on short allowance.

On the 7th November a meeting was held in the church to return
thanks for the harvest. A sudden change occurred in the weather:
the sky became charged with thick vapour, and there was a heavy
fall of hail accompanied by thunder and lightning. On the 8th
December I went to the top of the hills, and notwithstanding my
light diet, felt remarkably well; but slipping when twenty yards
from home, I sprained my ankle, and lay for some time in torture.
I crawled into the house, and after a time succeeded in cooking
my dinner. I slept none; and next day my room was filled with
sympathising male friends and ministering angels. Some brought me
presents of potatoes and salt mutton, turf and fulmar-oil. On the
10th I held a levee, the whole people coming to see me between fore
and afternoon services. The men about this time began to weave the
thread which the women had spun. Both sexes worked from dawn of
day until an hour or two after midnight. Their industry astonished
me. I soon began to limp about in the evening; and when the nights
were dark I got a live peat stuck on the end of a stick, to let me
see the road home. At this time I made a miniature ship and put a
letter in the hold, in the hope that she might reach the mainland.
I was anxious that my friends should know that I was alive. Shortly
afterwards I made a lantern out of a piece of copper that had come
off a ship's bottom. A large limpet-shell filled with fulmar-oil
served for a lamp inside. This lantern, a clumsy affair, was
more admired than my sketches. On the 12th of January, which is
New-year's-day in St Kilda, service was held in the church; and to
celebrate the occasion, the minister preached a sermon.

On the 17th the most remarkable event occurred that had happened in
St Kilda for many years. The people had just gone to church when,
happening to look out at my door, I was startled to observe a boat
in the bay. I had been nearly seven months on the island, and had
never seen any ship or strange boat near it all that time. Robinson
Crusoe scarcely felt more surprised when he saw the foot-print on
the sand, than I did on beholding this apparition. I ran to the
shore, where there was a heavy sea rolling, and shouted to the
people in the boat; but my voice was drowned by the roar of the
waves. A woman who had followed me gave notice to the congregation,
and all poured out of the church. The St Kildans ran round the
rocks to a spot where there seemed to be less surf, and waved on
the boat to follow. I went with the others. When we arrived at the
place indicated, the islanders threw ropes from the low cliffs to
the men in the boat; but the latter declined to be drawn up, the
captain bawling 'Mooch better dere,' pointing to the shore before
the village, and putting about the boat. All ran back; but before
we got to the shore the strange boat had run through the surf.
Instantly all the men in her leaped into the sea and swam to the
land, where they were grasped by the St Kildans. In a few minutes
their boat was knocked to pieces on the rocks.

The strangers were invited into the minister's house and dry
clothes given them. They proved to be the captain and eight of the
crew of the Austrian ship _Peti Dabrovacki_, eight hundred and
eighty tons, which had left Glasgow for New York five days before.
The vessel had encountered bad weather; her ballast had shifted,
and she lay on her beam-ends about eight miles west of St Kilda.
Seven men had remained in her, and no doubt perished. The ship was
not to be seen next day. When the survivors had got their clothes
shifted, they were distributed amongst the sixteen families that
compose the community, the minister keeping the captain, and every
two families taking charge of one man, and providing him with a bed
and board and clean clothes. I myself saw one man (Tormad Gillies)
take a new jacket out of the box in which it had been carefully
packed, and give it to the mate to wear during his stay, the young
man having no coat but an oilskin. The oatmeal being done, the
islanders took the grain they had kept for seed and ground it to
feed the shipwrecked men. The hospitable conduct of the St Kildans
was all the more commendable when one considers that their guests
were all foreigners. But long before the five weeks had elapsed
during which the Austrians lived on the island, they had by their
good behaviour removed the prejudice that had prevailed against
them at first. They were polite and obliging to the women, and went
from house to house to assist in grinding the grain.

On the 28th January 1877 the wind blew violently from the
north-west with heavy showers of sleet. It was the worst day I had
seen in St Kilda. The huge waves came rolling into the bay against
the wind, which caught them as they fell on the shore and carried
them off in spin-drift. Yet many of the women went to church
barefoot.

On the 29th the captain and sailors called on me and felt
interested in seeing a canoe I had hewn out of a log. They helped
me to rig her and to put the ballast right; but we had to wait
until the wind was favourable. We put two bottles in her hold
containing letters, which we hoped would find their way to the
mainland and be posted.

This canoe carried a small sail, and was despatched on the 5th of
February, the wind being in the north-west, and continuing so for
some days. I thought she would reach Uist; but the Gulf Stream
was stronger than I calculated on, and she went to Poolewe in
Ross-shire, where she was found lying on a sandbank on the 27th by
a Mr John Mackenzie, who posted the letters. Five days previous
to the date when we launched the canoe, we sent off a life-buoy
belonging to the lost ship. I suggested that a bottle containing
a letter should be lashed to it and a small sail put up. This was
done; but no one had much hope that this circular vessel would be
of service. She was sent off on the 30th January, and strange to
relate, drifted to Birsay in Orkney, and was forwarded to Lloyd's
agent in Stromness on the 8th February, having performed the
passage in nine days. During my residence in St Kilda, several
canes that the Gulf Stream had brought from some tropical clime
were picked up by the men. One was hollow and several inches in
diameter. The St Kildans split these canes and make them into reeds
for their looms.

On 17th February the Austrian skipper offered ten pounds for a
passage to Harris in the new boat, for himself and men. The St
Kildans accepted the offer, and arranged to send seven of their
own men to bring her back. They would not allow the Austrians
to go alone, being afraid that they (the St Kildans) might be
left without a boat, and have no means of getting seed-corn and
provisions. They drew lots who were to go, and it was stipulated
that I was to be one of them. All was settled except the weather.
We were waiting for a promising day, when, on the 22d, about seven
in the morning, as I was lying in bed and thinking of getting up
to make my breakfast, I was startled by hearing the sound of a
steam-whistle. I lay back again muttering: 'It was the wind;' when
hark! the whistle is repeated. I leaped up, ran to the door, and
saw, sure enough, a steamer in the bay! Huddling on my clothes,
I rushed barefoot up the village, rattling at every door, and
shouting 'Steamer--strangers!' In a few minutes all the people
were astir and hurrying to the shore. I had just time to throw
the articles that lay handy into my trunk and to get on board
the steamer's boat, which I saw belonged to Her Majesty. Then I
discovered that I had left my purse and other property in the
house; but the surf was too great to allow me to land again. I
got on board the steamer, which I found to be the _Jackal_. 'How
did you know we were here?' I inquired of one of the officers who
stood on the quarter-deck. 'From the letter you wrote and put into
the bottle lashed to the life-buoy.' I ran to the side of the
ship muttering to myself: 'There is a Providence that shapes our
ends, rough-hew them as we will;' and bawled to the St Kildans in
the boat alongside: 'It was the life-buoy brought this steamer
here, you incredulous people;' for they had smiled, although
good-humouredly, at my efforts to send a letter home. A small
supply of biscuits and oatmeal was given to them; and waving an
adieu to my good St Kildan friends, we were speedily receding from
the island.

I found all the officers extremely friendly and agreeable, and
here beg to return my hearty thanks. I was made to feel quite at
home. The shipwrecked captain and I were accommodated in the cabin.
The Austrian sailors were well taken care of forward, and seemed
particularly delighted at again having as much tobacco as they
could use. We had been all smoking dried moss.

The wind had risen and the sea become rough; and if the _Jackal_
had been half an hour later, she would have been obliged to return
with her errand unexecuted; for it would have been impossible for a
boat to approach the shore. We reached Harris the same evening, and
anchored in the Sound all night. But as this part of the journey
has appeared in the newspapers, I need not repeat it. Suffice it
that I arrived barefoot and penniless, but in good health and
spirits, in Greenock on the 26th. Here my narrative ends.

[Many of the facts related in the foregoing narrative were
published in various newspapers in the early part of the present
year, and led to considerable discussion. Stormy seasons, as we
have seen, may set in, and communication with the proprietor or
his factor be rendered impossible; the most anxious efforts to
transmit provisions may be rendered abortive, and famine, if not
actual starvation, be the result. Various hints for the melioration
of the poor St Kildans have been thrown out, amongst others that
those isolated beings should quit the island for good, and seek a
new home in the more civilised Hebrides or elsewhere. One thing is
sufficiently obvious, if the people are to remain on the island,
they should be taught to speak and write English. Their adherence
to Gaelic condemns them to innumerable privations, above all it
excludes them from communication with the outer world, on whose
sympathy they are forced to rely. Half a century ago, Dr John
Macculloch lamented this exclusive use of Gaelic; and we echo all
he said on the subject. We have no objection to Gaelic being made a
philological study, but its continuance as a spoken language is in
all respects to be regretted.--ED.]



THE MONTH:

SCIENCE AND ARTS.


The 'season' is at its busiest: crowds of sightseers are looking
at the pictures in the Royal Academy, the Grosvenor Gallery, and
in other resorts, and painting and sculpture are everywhere talked
about; while fine art rejoices in its annual holiday, and 'art
sales' (which are too often artful) draw throngs of competing
buyers. The debates in parliament on reform of our universities
have revived the education question; and sanguine talkers who
believe that education can do everything, have had to be reminded
once more that endowments however ample cannot create genius; that
our greatest achievements in science, art, or literature have
been wrought by unendowed men, and that nature will not produce
a larger proportion of highest quality brain even though schools
be multiplied. Meanwhile the experiment for the promotion of
scientific research initiated by government has advanced a stage,
and the investigators recommended by the Council of the Royal
Society have received grants of money from the Paymaster-general
to enable them to carry on their work. As this experiment is to be
continued for five years, we may reasonably expect that it will
assist in resolving the endowment question.

The cost of the expeditions sent out by this country in 1875 to
observe the transit of Venus has been ascertained: it is forty
thousand pounds; the estimate was twenty thousand pounds. As
will be remembered, other nations engaged in the work as well as
ourselves; and we have it on the authority of the Astronomer-royal
that the total expenditure 'may amount to two hundred thousand
pounds.' This is a large sum to pay for the endeavour to solve
the problem of the earth's distance from the sun; but the problem
is one of essential importance in astronomical science, and there
is reason to hope that when all the computations are completed
the true answer will appear. Remembering as we do the eclipse
expeditions assisted by the Treasury and the Admiralty, and the
expensive and abortive Arctic expedition, we agree with the learned
functionary above referred to that 'the government has been very
liberal.'

By a method known to astronomers, observations of the planet Mars
can be made available for determining our distance from the sun.
Sir George Airy speaks of this method as 'the best of all;' and as
Mars is this year in the most favourable position for these special
observations, a private expedition is to be sent to St Helena or
to Ascension to make them. The expense will be about five hundred
pounds; and this is to be provided by gifts from scientific men,
and by a contribution from the Royal Astronomical Society.

The formation of meteorites is a question which has long been
discussed by mineralogists and physicists. Professor Tschermak,
after much study, has come to the conclusion that the active agent
in the process is volcanic. He points out that the meteorites
which fall to the earth are angular in form, that they have no
concentric structure even in their interior, that their external
crust is not an original characteristic, and that they are
evidently fragmentary. Examination of the crust has shewn that
during the later stages of flight, disruption of the meteorite
itself sometimes takes place; and it is a fact worth record, that
guided by the appearance of the crust and peculiarity of shape,
Professor Maskelyne once succeeded in reconstructing a meteorite
from fragments which had fallen miles apart.

From much evidence of this character Professor Tschermak has been
confirmed in his views. He argues that 'the finding of hydrogen in
meteoric iron is a proof that permanent gases and perhaps vapours,
which are the great agents in transmitting volcanic energy, have
played some part in the formation of meteorites; and although it
may ever be impossible to obtain direct evidence of the volcanic
activity which is supposed to have hurled these mysterious
masses of stone and metal into space, yet such evidence as the
violent gaseous upheavals on the solar surface; the action of our
terrestrial volcanoes; and the stupendous eruptive phenomena of
which the lunar craters tell the history, lend powerful support to
any theory which assumes that meteorites owe their formation to
volcanic agency.'

Professor Boyd Dawkins in giving an account to the Manchester
Geological Society of his visit to the crater of Vesuvius said: 'A
coating of yellow sulphur about three inches thick covered the lip,
and beneath this the loose gray ashes gave out aqueous vapour at
every pore, which deposited on them in some places white powdery
sulphate of lime, in others common salt, sal ammoniac, green
chloride of copper, and specular iron ore, which looked like little
pieces of shattered mirrors scattered through their substance.
It was obvious that here we had a striking proof of the mode in
which water, in passing through heated rock, can carry minerals in
solution and ultimately deposit them. In these deposits we could
easily recognise the mode in which the various metals were brought
up from deep down in the earth's crust, and deposited in holes
and crannies in the rocks which are accessible to man as mineral
veins.' In this description we seem to have an approach towards an
answer to the oft-repeated question--Where do metals come from?

Further particulars, which will be regarded as surprising, have
been published concerning the Pennsylvania oil-wells. The Delameter
well, sixteen hundred feet deep, sends forth gas at such a vehement
pressure that a plummet-line weighing sixteen hundred pounds can
be pulled out of the bore-hole by hand. The ascending speed of the
gas is seventeen hundred feet per second; the quantity amounts to
one million cubic feet per hour, or more than fourteen hundred tons
a day; and the heating power is twenty-five per cent. greater than
that of good bituminous coal. After this explanation it is easy
to understand that the well, situated in a valley surrounded by
mountains, furnishes heat and light to the whole neighbourhood.
From one of its pipes, three inches in diameter, a flame rushes,
'the noise of which shakes the hills, and is heard at a distance
of fifteen miles. For a distance of fifty feet around the earth is
burnt; but farther off, the vegetation is tropical, and enjoys a
perpetual summer.'

It is known to chemists that turpentine when oxidised in a
current of air in presence of water, yields peroxide of hydrogen,
camphoric acid, acetic acid, camphor, and certain other less
defined substances. The progress of the oxidation is an interesting
study, and the solution produced is found to have great power
as an antiseptic and disinfectant. White of egg, milk, and beer
treated therewith are kept fresh for some time. 'From a series
of experiments undertaken with the view of ascertaining to which
constituents of the solution the antiseptic and disinfecting
property is to be ascribed, the power was found to be distributed
between the peroxide of hydrogen and camphoric acid; but the former
of these is able to evolve large quantities of oxygen, which in
this state is nascent, and of a powerful oxidising nature.'

A curious case of glass-making is published in the Proceedings of
the Newcastle-on-Tyne Chemical Society. A large mass of esparto
grass was burnt by accident. Lumps which might be called grass
clinkers were found among the ashes; and these on being properly
treated in a kiln produced glass which is described as 'a very good
sample of bottle-glass.' From this it is easy to understand that in
past ages some great bonfire of vegetable matter may have led to
the discovery of glass. Farmers who are unfortunate enough to have
their stack-yards burned, might possibly find straw clinkers among
the débris. This would be worth noting, for silica enters largely
into the composition of all grasses and cereals.

In South Russia, Hungary, parts of Italy, in Egypt, India, and
other parts of the world where no coal is to be had, different
kinds of vegetable refuse are used as fuel for steam-engines. In
a paper read at a meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineers
a table is given of the heating value of the refuse as compared
with coal. It has been found in Russia that a little more than
four acres can be cultivated with the waste straw of one acre,
which when compared with the results of steam-plough trials at
Wolverhampton shews that one pound of coal is equivalent to four
and one-sixth pounds of straw. An engine to burn vegetable waste
requires a greater heating surface than an ordinary engine; and
those of the most improved construction are self-feeding. In Egypt
the stalks of the cotton-plant and megass, or waste sugar-cane,
are the principal fuel; and the equivalent quantity of these to
one pound of coal is less than of straw. But there are engines in
England which burn vegetable waste; and the author of the paper
above mentioned is of opinion that 'as the demand for mechanical
appliances increases, so will the difficulties increase of
obtaining the best qualities of fuel for steam-boilers in rural
districts.' And he suggests that the only method of rendering the
use of steam-power universal, particularly for agriculture, would
be to construct the boiler of the engine so as to utilise the local
supplies of combustible material of every kind.'

Among scientific novelties worthy of notice are the Harmonograph,
an instrument constructed by Messrs Tisley and Spiller. It combines
a series of pendulums, susceptible of motion in every direction,
one of which carrying a pen, traces curves of remarkable forms
on a sheet of paper. Some of these curves represent waves of
sound as given off by a musical instrument, and certain waves of
light. Thus the invisible is, so to speak, made visible, with
manifest advantage to natural philosophy.--Next, the Otheoscope,
a modification of the radiometer designed by Mr Crookes. In this
little instrument the vanes do not rotate, but are fixed near a
horizontal disc free to move. The influence acting on the vanes is
thrown from them upon the disc, and the disc spins round with great
rapidity. The useful applications of this novelty have yet to be
discovered.--And Mr N. J. Holmes has invented a flaring projectile
or shell which when fired from a ship at sea falls into the water
at a distance of two miles if required; floats for an hour, and
throws out a powerful light, which in dark nights would be useful
in detecting the position and watching the movements of a hostile
fleet.

The Registrar-general pursuing the even tenor of his way amid the
world's excitements, has just published his Report on the public
health of 1876. He tells us that the area of London (taking the
registration division) is one hundred and twenty-two square miles,
with fifteen hundred miles of streets, about two thousand miles
of sewers, and 417,767 inhabited houses. The population numbered
nearly three millions and a half; but taking in the outlying
districts, 'greater London' as the Registrar calls it, contains
4,286,607 inhabitants, among whom the births were 153,192, and the
deaths 91,171. Some of these inhabitants live in the Plumstead
Marshes, eleven feet below, while the dwellers at Hampstead are
429 feet above high-water mark. These differences of level imply
different conditions of health; but the death-rate was not more
than 21.3 per thousand; which contrasts favourably with the
death-rate in other towns and cities within the kingdom and in
other parts of the world.

Economy is an important element in the maintenance of health, and
Dr Farr points out what looks like a waste of resources. He says:
'The capital engaged in the gas and water companies of London
is L.22,492,157, which realised in the year ending April 1876,
a profit of not less than L.1,676,542, or seven and a half per
cent. all round. Now, if this amount of capital were required
to construct all the works necessary to supply London with the
best gas and pure soft water at high-pressure, it could probably
be raised at four, or certainly three and a half per cent. less
than is now paid in dividends. If the capital were raised at four
per cent. L.776,856 would be set free; out of which, after the
companies were adequately compensated, there would be a large
revenue for education and many municipal purposes.' The facts set
forth in this paragraph should be taken into serious consideration
by all concerned.

A paper on the Climate of Scarborough in the _Quarterly Journal_ of
the Meteorological Society is worth attention, as it sets forth the
atmospheric movements to which that fashionable watering-place owes
the amenity of its summer climate. The highest summer temperature,
we are informed, is seventy degrees; and the temperature of the
sea is commonly five degrees below the temperature of the air.
'Another noticeable fact is, that in hot weather, with a tolerably
clear sky and a temperature between eight and nine A.M. of about
sixty degrees, rising to a maximum during the day of nearly
seventy, the wind, which in the morning is blowing from south-west
or west-south-west, generally backs to the south-south-east by the
middle of the day, bringing in a cool refreshing breeze from the
sea. This backward movement of the wind is easily accounted for,
when it is remembered that with such a high temperature and an
almost cloudless sky, the ground becomes much heated, causing the
lower stratum of warm and rarefied air to ascend, while the cooler
and heavier air is then drawn in from the sea to supply its place;'
and the moisture in this sea-breeze by tempering the sunshine
renders outdoor life the more agreeable.

As Fiji is now one of our colonial possessions, enterprising
emigrants will perhaps resort thither. They may find information
concerning the productions and weather of the group of islands
in a paper by Mr R. L. Holmes, published in the last number
of the _Quarterly Journal_ of the Meteorological Society. The
first quarter of the year comprehends the 'hurricane months;'
from January 1 to March 28, 1875, ninety inches of rain fell; an
inch a day. The driest month is July; the south-east trade-winds
are then strong; so strong indeed as to blow away the cotton,
which then 'breaks out with a rush,' unless it be quickly
gathered. The climate generally is described as healthy; fevers,
liver-complaints, and cholera, diseases almost always fatal in
a tropical country, being almost unknown. But a painful disease
of the eyes is common; and small wounds, even mosquito bites,
have a tendency to become serious sores, very difficult to heal.
The natives are a decidedly healthy race, notwithstanding that
they prefer to build their villages on swampy ground. That no
harmful consequences ensue may be due to the position of the
islands in the region of the trade-winds, whereby breezes always
prevail. Emigrants from Europe soon lose much of their fresh ruddy
appearance, their blood gets thin, and they probably lose in
weight; but if they will abstain from indulgence in ardent spirits
they may become acclimatised with but little risk of health.



SICILIAN BRIGANDAGE.


A writer on this subject in the _Edinburgh Review_ for April
more than confirms all that we stated on Italian Brigandage in
an article last January. We have in particular from this writer
a clear account of that system of organised iniquity known as
the _Mafia_, with its kindred associations the _Camorras_. The
Mafia, in fact, has an endless ramification of spontaneous and
illegal societies, and it comes pretty much to this, that society
in Sicily, high and low, official and non-official, is one great
confederacy to rob and murder at will, and otherwise defy or
circumvent the law in any way that seems best. The curious thing
is how any show of orderly civilised usages can be maintained.
Externally, in Palermo and other places, there is an aspect of
peacefulness and honesty; but beneath the surface nearly all
proceedings are regulated by force and deceit. The very attempt to
seek protection from the law brings down vengeance so remorseless
that well-disposed persons are fain to be silent under extortion.
There are three hundred and sixty communes in Sicily, and every
one of them, says this writer, 'has its own Mafia, of which the
character varies according to local tendencies and interests. In
one place its energies are devoted to the conduct of the elections
and the manipulations of the ballot-box; in another, to directing,
by means of a _Camorra_, the sale of church and crown lands; in
a third, to the apportionment of contracts for public works....
By a singular anomaly, the middle class--that very class of which
the absence is deplored in the rest of Sicily as the absence
of an element of order--forms in Palermo the chief strength of
the Mafia. Its proverbial virtues of prudence, industry, and
foresight are here exercised in the calling of crime. The so-called
_Capi_-mafia are men of substance and education. To them is due
the consummate ability with which the affairs of their association
are managed--the unity of direction, precision of purpose, and
fatality of stroke. They determine with unerring tact all the nice
points of their profession; in what cases life may be taken, and
in what others the end in view can be attained by mere destruction
of property; when an important capture is to be effected; when
a threatening letter sent, or a shot of persuasion fired; when
it is advisable to suspend operations, and when to inspire
terror by increased ferocity. By them, relations are maintained
with government offices in Rome, whose intrigues are generally
successful in obtaining the dismissal or removal of obnoxious
officials; so that complicity with crime is an almost necessary
condition of permanence in any responsible position.'

For this state of affairs, which violates all our conceptions of
a civilised community, the reviewer offers no practical scheme
for redress. Reform, in the ordinary acceptation of the word,
seems impracticable. Society is leagued to maintain a universal
terrorism. Judges, magistrates, police-officers are incorporated
in the gang of evil-doers. The military sent to preserve order
are inefficient. Whether from fear or favour, brigandage is
triumphant. Evidently the Italian government is powerless to
cure the disorderly condition of Sicily. The very members of the
government labour under suspicion of complicity. More probably,
they are afraid to give offence by acting with persistent vigour.
Constitutionalism carried to excess in a region wholly unprepared
for it, even in a moderate degree, might be described as the bane
of the country. It is in vain to appoint new native magistrates and
new police, for all are bad together. The feeble military force
sent to support the law is out-manœuvred or laughed at. Without
denying that things may mend in the course of ages, we should say,
that what Italy wants is a Cromwell with his Ironsides to stamp out
by military execution the ingrained villainy which now afflicts one
of the finest and most productive islands in the world. As there
is, however, no chance of a soldier of the Cromwell type casting
up, Sicily, we presume, must continue to be a disgrace to Italy and
as great a scandal to Europe as Turkey.

    W. C.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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