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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 708 - July 21, 1877
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 708 - July 21, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 708.      SATURDAY, JULY 21, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



A CORNISH HAVEN.


Come away with me to the sea! Let us go to Cornwall, where sea and air
are of the purest and most exhilarating. Jumping into the train and
proceeding westward until we come to Launceston, there we will leave
the little quiet old-world town behind. So anxious are we to get to the
sea, that we will not even stop to climb the hill and inspect the old
castle which frowns down on us; but we will mount to the box-seat of
the three-horse coach which stands waiting at the station, and drive
away--still westward. Away, over the breezy uplands, where the cattle
chew the cud sleepily beneath the August sun, between hedges set with
brilliant jewels, which we call flowers, past undulating downs in whose
hollows the purple shadows lie dreaming.

We stop presently at a little roadside inn, to give the horses a rest
and a feed; and I climb down from my elevated position and partake of
a cup of tea in the inn kitchen--a primitive flagged kitchen, with
a great high-backed wooden settle by the fire, and pewter bowls and
cups shining on the walls. They pour out my bohea from a teapot which
a fancier of old china would pronounce to be priceless. Genuine old
'Plymouth' it is, I see, and ask if they would be willing to part with
it. But no; 'It was granny's;' and they would rather not sell it; so
I turn my covetous eyes away, and clamber back to my seat beside the
coachman.

Off we go again, along a fairly level road. The country is but thinly
inhabited, and there are long intervals between the houses. By-and-by
we begin to descend a hill, and enter a little sleepy town, where at
first sight it seems to me that there are an inn and one or two shops,
but no inhabitants. Only at first sight; for as we draw up before the
_Hotel_ (such is the proud boast I see over the doorway), and the
driver descends and walks away to deposit a parcel or two and to gossip
awhile with his acquaintances, we are delivered over to the tender
mercies of the whole juvenile population, who surround the coach, climb
on to the wheels, and make audible comments in very broad vernacular
on our personal appearance and on our apparel.

This time we move off slowly, for we have a very steep hill to
encounter, and the tired horses plod somewhat wearily up it. As we
reach the top, and they stop panting to rest, I see far away on the
horizon a silver streak, and my heart gives a throb of delight; for I
have in its intensest form all an islander's love for the ocean, and I
know what that silver streak is on which the sun shines so gaily. On
rolls the coach merrily; the horses sniff the air, and seem to know
that they are nearing home. Yes; here are the breezes we have come
to look for. They peer familiarly under my hat; they blow my veil
aside, and rudely kiss my cheeks; and their breath is fresh and salt,
and whispers of new strength to the tired mind and body. On we hurry
towards the setting sun, who is now mounting the chariot in which he
drives away to the other side of the world. We have lost sight of the
faint line of silver again, and our view is almost bounded by the dusky
hedges. Presently we turn a corner abruptly, and there, apparently at
our feet, lies the blue Atlantic, smiling bright welcoming smiles at us
in the last rays of departing Sol. The active young breezes, which seem
so glad to see us again, revive us with sweet aromatic odours, which
they gather from the weed-strewn rocks. They evidently think we are
wise people to have left those weak-minded little zephyrs coquetting
with the flowers on the lawn at home, and to have followed them to
their sporting place beside the restless ever-changing sea.

In another moment we stop, and all the tired travellers dismount and
stretch their cramped limbs. I hear many around me inquiring for hotels
or lodgings; but we are expected, and here is our landlady's husband
come to meet us; so we hand over our luggage to him, and wend our way
to Cliff Cottage. Here we find a smiling hostess, who tells us how
glad she is to see us; and after we have removed some of the dust of
our journey, we sit down to a well-spread tea-table, on which a noble
Cornish pasty holds the post of honour. We draw the table into the
bow-window, which faces not directly seawards, but towards the bay,
which has been a haven of safety to so many. But it is growing dark
already, and we are weary with our long drive; so, soon we seek our
fragrant chamber, in which the lavender scents struggle faintly to
overpower the pungent aroma of the sea; and it is not long before we
are lulled to sleep by the monotonous thunder of the waves on the rocks
below.

In the morning we peep out at the colliers which ride safely in the
little sunny bay, at the white houses which are dotted here and there
over the cliffs, and at the little village itself lying snugly in the
hollow. To right and left, sweeping far away, stand the great eternal
sea-walls of sombre iron-stone crags, and the grassy downs rolling away
inland, unbroken except by a lonely stone or a patch of golden gorse;
and beneath us lie ancient gray boulders and stretches of yellow sand.
Away on the hill opposite stands the little church, in whose quiet
graveyard rests many a sailor who has found his death in the pitiless
sea. Eleven graves mark the resting-place of the crew of one vessel,
whose figure-head forms an appropriate headstone to the sad group.

The first thing to be done after breakfast is to bathe. It is not
enough to be _by_ the sea; we must be _in_ it, if we wish to rob it of
all the strength and vigour we can; so we start off over the downs to
where a sudden depression in the cliff leads to the bathing beach. Here
we find old Harriet the bathing-woman, browner than ever, who gives us
a cordial welcome. The bathing is primitive in the extreme. Harriet
possesses two tents, which she pitches daily on a smooth spot of sand.
For the use of one in which to disrobe you pay a ridiculously small
sum, which also includes old Harriet's watchful 'surveillance' while
you are in the water. As the number of tents is so limited and the
bathers many, not a few avail themselves of the shelter of a friendly
rock behind which to perform their toilet; but I am squeamish, and
wait my turn for the tent. And oh! how reviving the plunge into the
surf, which comes rolling in frothing and seething like champagne, and
which knocks me over and plays at ball with me as if I were a cork!
The cool waves curl and cling round me, and kiss my arms and hands
lovingly with their wet lips. I let them break over my bowed head,
and clasp them tenderly to my breast; but they slip away from me, and
riot and tumble round me with joyous laughter, sprinkling eternal
freshness from their bounteous hands. I sniff the keen salt air with
delight, and let the foam toss me to and fro at its own sweet will,
until Harriet, who watches me anxiously (she thinks me a somewhat rash
young person, I know), orders me authoritatively to come in, saying I
have had enough of it--for the first time. Very reluctantly I obey; but
it would require a braver person than I am to contradict the withered
old sea-nymph, and soon I emerge from the tent with streaming locks,
feeling like a giant refreshed.

Thank goodness, here are no brass bands, no esplanade; a circulating
library of such modest pretensions that it does not circulate, and
shops in which it is next to impossible to spend any money! At the
chemist's we buy our groceries as well as our drugs, and he is the
only wine-merchant the dear primitive little place can boast. But we
get mutton which transcends Southdown; capital poultry and vegetables;
butter such as I have never tasted before or since; rich cream, which
you must call Cornish (not 'Devonshire'), to please the buxom farmer's
wife who supplies it to you; and plenty of good fruit. And what do you
want more, with such a sky above you, such a glorious sea at your feet,
such a wall of ironstone crags behind you? Down on the beach we go,
and dawdle away the hot summer afternoon. We stretch ourselves on the
tawny sand, where great barriers of rock jut out on each side of us,
beneath the shadow of a dreadful scarped cliff, to which no scrap of
weed or herbage seems able to cling. We look up at it with a sense of
awe. We think of the many ships, nearing home after a weary journey,
which have been driven by the storm's pitiless whip straight into its
terrible arms, there to meet a dread destruction. We think of the many
struggling drowning wretches on whom it has gazed down with its stony
eyes during all the ages it has stood there. The great billows in their
winter's fury have beaten and lashed it until it is scarred all over;
but still it gazes calmly down at them, as if defying their malicious
rage. And yet, cruel as it is, how picturesque the colouring as it
ranges from the intense purple black of the tide-line, through warm
green and brown shadows, to the bright high lights far away above our
heads.

Dark rock-pools lie behind us, lined with queer zoophytes and delicate
sea-anemones; beside us are the crimson lady's finger and the golden
trefoil; the dainty scents of the sea-weed and the fresh wet sand are
in the air, and before us is the smiling sea. Yes; he smiles at us
to-day, though here--with a restless surf breaking eternally on the
beach--he is never calm and rippling, as we see him in more southern
climes.

Presently the sun sinks lower in the heavens; a breeze awakes, and
the day turns cooler; so we go for a walk along the smooth firm sand,
which the ebbing sea has left bare; through a wilderness of weird black
cliffs, which, when the tide is high, range far out into the sea in
castles and turrets and spires of jagged rock; an iron-bound coast
indeed, hopeless to the shipwrecked mariner, save for our friendly
little haven. Far away on the warm horizon hangs Lundy Island, like a
shapely gray ghost; very faint by day, and at night telling us only
by its revolving light where it is. We walk on to a gorge up which
we can make our way to the top of the cliff, and homeward over the
undulating downs and by the banks of golden broom. We pass through a
little village, where the myrtles and fuchsias are all abloom in the
cottage-gardens, and where the great yews brood silently over the
old gray church. The door stands open, and we go in. What a dear old
church, with its quaintly carved oaken pews, and tender-hued stained
glass windows! Evidently the restoration-fiend has not reached here
yet. Let us hope that he will stay away, along with the esplanade and
the brass bands.

Sometimes we spend our afternoon or evening out at the end of the
breakwater, which forms one side of this little mariner's refuge.
It connects a rock which stands right out at sea, with the shore,
and occasionally in spring-tides is quite under water. One evening,
while standing on the far end watching the glorious setting sun, we
forget to look behind us, and turning suddenly, find the breakwater
submerged. A man could still cross it perhaps, but a not over-strong
woman might easily be carried over and drowned by the on-coming surf.
I am not brave enough to face it; so we remain where we are, and enter
into conversation with a stalwart Cornishman, who, with the instinct
of a true gentleman, volunteers--as the lady seems nervous, and as
he knows all about the tides, and exactly how high the sea will rise
to-night--to remain with us until we are released by the ebbing waters.
I rather resent the imputation of timidity, but am very glad he has
imprisoned himself with us, as the night turns darker and darker, and
the waves creep higher and higher, and wheel and foam and thunder
around, as if in impotent rage at their inability to reach their prey.

Our Cornish hero reassures and consoles me, telling me that they cannot
possibly reach to where we sit; and he whiles away the time with
stories of wrecks which he has seen, and also of many hair-breadth
escapes. He tells us how a ship driving straight on to the cruel
rocks, was lifted by one giant wave over the breakwater and 'landed
safely in the harbour beyond;' and I steal a glance behind me, and
see with thankfulness that the waters are abating. In a little while
longer, with the help of our pleasant companion, I am able to get over
dry-shod, and it is with a feeling of relief that I find myself once
more on mainland.

From this breakwater too, on a stormy day we watch the life-boat go
out for practice. How gallantly she breasts the breakers, which seize
her and whirl her backwards, as if defying her to leave the shore. The
seamen tell us that in the great storms which arise here during the
winter she is perfectly useless. No life-boat could live in the seas
which beat upon this heartless coast. Often the coast-guardsmen have to
creep on hands and knees to their signal-station, as, standing erect,
they cannot face the wind. But the rocket apparatus has saved many and
many a life; and we also one night see that fiery messenger of life
and hope speed away into the darkness over an imaginary wreck; and a
fictitious shipwrecked mariner comes on shore in the frail-looking
apparatus, which slides along the rope, swaying to and fro in the angry
wind, looking like a frail thread, suspended as it is in mid-air over
the vexed and tumbling waters below.

Sometimes we make excursions--to Tintagel Castle, where King Arthur
dwelt with his knights; or away to wooded Clovelly, where Will Carey
lived, and Amyas Leigh suffered, and Rose Salterne loved. Or to
Stratton, in the neighbourhood of which a great battle was fought,
in 1643, between the Parliamentary and Royalist troops, in which the
former, under Waller, were defeated. A cannon found on the field marks
the site of the combat; and in the High Street of the town, a slab let
into the wall of an old house bears a legend telling how Sir Bevil
Grenvil, the victorious general, rested there after the fight.

But we like best to spend our days wandering over the sands and the
ancient mussel-clad boulders, or straying across the breezy downs into
the rich smiling corn-country beyond, where in the hedges the pale wild
roses are transforming themselves into brilliant scarlet hips, and the
sun is beginning to dye the blackberries a luscious purple. Then as the
day begins to tire, and prepares to go in royal state to her rest, we
love to sit out on the rocks listening to the weary surges which sing
her a sweet monotonous requiem, and watching the scarlet flames in the
west steeping the wet sands in a crimson stain as of blood. A great
belt of iron-gray clouds encircles the horizon. Slowly the sun sinks
behind it, gilding its edges with a rich luminous glow, which faintly
shadows forth the glories the clouds veil from our eyes. Lower and
lower he droops his head, heavier and still heavier with sleep, until
one brilliant flaming eye is all that we can see. Then the lid drops
over that too, and he is gone. Spell-bound, we sit on, listening to the
sea's mournful dirges, while night swoops down over earth and ocean
with dusky wings. We watch the moon, like a vain lady attiring herself
magnificently in the east before she issues forth on her evening
pilgrimage. She sends her handmaidens, the stars, before her, and they
light up her pathway with their brilliant lamps. Then she comes forth
robed in a filmy veil of pearly lace, and mounts silently into the sky,
until she sits enthroned far above our heads. She kisses the white
crests of the waves, and crowns them with silver, and peers with gentle
eyes at the solemn gigantic black cliffs, until they seem to lay aside
something of their stony harshness in the light of those poetic orbs.
The long oar-weeds waving in the water seem to beckon to her with inky
fingers, and a few giddy young stars obey the summons, for some of them
have fallen into the quiet rock-pools, and gaze up at us out of their
calm depths. The phosphorus awakes and shoots out tongues of lambent
flame, as if seeking to outvie the splendour of the queen of night. The
waters glow as if they were on fire, and the great dark billows rush in
and cast sparkling jewels at our feet.

How shall we resolve to leave all these delights? Wild ocean is so
kind to those who love him and do him homage. He gives them back the
strength of which the struggle and turmoil of the world have robbed
them, and refreshes the weary spirit with his gracious sights and
sounds. Nature is no step-mother, and for those who look at her most
tenderly and love her best, she paints her fairest pictures and sings
her sweetest songs.

But soon, too soon, the day comes when we must bid good-bye to the
kindly folks we have grown to love so well; when we rest for the last
time in our sea-odoured chamber; when we take our last walk over the
downs, and loiter for the last time beneath the shadow of the time-worn
cliffs. We leave the dear quiet little place, where we have for a time
hidden from the busy world, and rested on our march; we leave it to
the winds, which grow ruder and more boisterous day by day, and which
soon will drive many a mariner to take refuge in its friendly haven.
We shall find our own little zephyrs at home quite grown up, and strong
enough to give us many a blow during the winter.

But if there be any who, like me, would love to linger on its quiet
beach, to make acquaintance with its giant wall of rocks, to drink
its keen life-giving breezes, to watch its gorgeous sunsets, or dream
beneath its silver stars--then, let them take coach at Launceston, and
following the declining sun, drive westward away to--Budehaven.



THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.

CHAPTER XXXIII.--'A WOMAN'S ERRAND.'


After making two or three attempts to obtain a private interview with
me, and finding that it was not to be, Philip did not stay very long,
explaining that he had only come down for the papers, and had business
in town for the remainder of the day. Somewhat more gravely and quietly
than usual, he shook hands with Mrs Tipper and Lilian; and then, in a
matter-of-course way, said: 'Come, Mary.'

I knew that I must not refuse. Murmuring an excuse for a moment, I
ran up to my room and fell upon my knees, asking for the strength I
so sorely needed for the coming trial; then joined him again, and we
went out together. As we walked down the lane, I felt that he too was
nerving himself; and presently he asked, in a low grave voice: 'What
made you talk in the way you did just now, Mary?'

I was in a difficult position. If I attempted to justify myself, he
would take alarm at once, and bind me and himself still closer to our
bond. I could only treat it as a jest.

'We all talk nonsense sometimes, Philip.'

'I suppose so; but that is a kind of nonsense you have not taught me to
expect from you.'

'I am afraid you expect too much from me.'

'I certainly expect a great deal.'

Fortunately, I had something to say which would keep off love-speeches;
and without any attempt to smooth the way, I said it.

'Philip, I want to ask you to give me ten pounds. I have spent all my
money.'

Oddly enough, he did not know that I was entirely without money. I had
thought it sufficient to tell him only that my dear mother's income
died with her, not wishing to pain him with the knowledge that I had
been so nearly destitute. I think he imagined that I had a small income
of my own, and as I avoided the subject, did not like to appear curious
about it. Even now, I believe that he did not suspect me to be entirely
penniless, merely supposing that I had spent all that I had in hand.
The five-and-twenty pounds had been expended to the last shilling in
furbishing up my modest wardrobe, and for small incidental expenses in
the way of my share towards the cottages, &c. I had shrunk from the
idea of making him acquainted with the state of my finances; knowing
how large-hearted he was, and how much would be forced upon me if he
once guessed my need. Mrs Tipper was always protesting against the
value and number of the offerings which found their way to the cottage,
whilst Lilian and I were afraid of expressing a wish in his presence.

It was all very different now. It would cheer and comfort him by-and-by
to reflect that I was able to ask a favour of him just at this crisis.
Had I not been so sorely pressed as I was, it would still have been as
well to ask him.

'Ten pounds!' he ejaculated, stopping short in his walk to gaze at
me in the greatest astonishment; asking himself, I think, if _this_
was the explanation of the change which he had observed in me. 'I am
utterly ashamed of my stupidity in allowing you to name such a thing;
though I am sure you will do me the justice to attribute it solely to
want of thought!'

'You see I do not mind asking you, Philip.'

'Mind indeed; of course you do not! I will run back at once and write a
cheque.'

'No; please do not--not if you have as much as ten pounds with you.
Just now, I want only that.'

'Ten pounds! Take what I have about me!' hastily taking out his purse,
and putting it into my hand.

'But indeed I could not take all this!' I returned, seeing that the
purse contained several notes as well as gold. 'I do not want any more
than ten pounds.'

'Nonsense; don't make a fuss over such a trifle.'

But I separated two five-pound notes from the rest, and was very
decided about his taking back the purse.

'Then I shall of course send a cheque as soon as I get back. By the
way, Mary, I am making arrangements for the settlement of three hundred
a year upon you; and of course all is yours, absolutely, in the event
of'----

I broke down for a few moments, leaning against the stile where we were
standing.

'Nay, Mary'---- Then I think that he saw something more in my face than
even the allusion to his death seemed to warrant. He went on with grave
anxiety: 'I fear you are not well. Is your hand painful?'

Ah, my hand--how thankful I was for the suggestion! I slipped it under
my cloak, dragged away the bandage, which again opened the wound.

'Bleeding afresh! You must really have it seen to, Mary.'

'O no; it is really a very trifling affair.' In my misery and despair,
I almost laughed at the idea of being able to feel any physical pain.

He assisted me to tighten the bandage again. But I presently knew that
it would not do to have his hands touching me and his face close to
mine in this way; so, with a little brusque remark about his want of
skill (ah Philip, had you known what it cost me!), I declared that my
hand required no more fussing over. I had the parting to go through,
and needed all my nerve. First, I must make sure of his not coming down
to the cottage for two or three days.

'You said you expect to be very much engaged; and therefore I suppose
we shall not see you again until the end of the week--Friday or
Saturday, perhaps?'

This was Tuesday, and I wanted to make sure of two clear days.

'I will contrive to run down before that, if you wish it, Mary.'

'No; I too have much to do. Do not come before Friday.'

'Very well. You will tell me then which day you have decided upon,
since you will not say now.'

I had waived the decision as to which day the wedding was to take
place; and I did so again, merely repeating 'Friday.'

'All right; take care of yourself; and be sure to have the hand seen
to.' He was stooping down to give me the customary kiss before crossing
the stile; but I took his two hands in mine, and looked up into his
face, I think as calmly and steadily as I had prayed for strength to do.

'God bless you, Philip.' Then I put my arms about his neck, lifted up
my face to his, and kissed him. 'Good-bye, dear Philip.'

I saw an expression of surprise, a slight doubt and hesitation in his
eyes. He had not found me so demonstrative as this before, and was
for the moment puzzled to account for it. But I contrived to get up a
smile, which I think satisfied him. Then with a last wrench, I turned
away, hearing as though from another world his answering 'Good-bye' as
he vaulted the stile.

After that, the rest would be easy. I allowed myself one hour in the
woods--not for the indulgence of regret--I knew too well the danger of
that--but for recovery, and got back to the cottage in time for our
early dinner. Moreover, I forced myself to eat, knowing that I should
require all the strength I could get; and delighted dear kind old Mrs
Tipper's heart by asking for a glass of wine.

It was a terrible ordeal, sitting there under their tender watchful
eyes; but I got through it tolerably I think. Afterwards, I told them
that I wanted to catch the three o'clock up-train, adding a purposely
indefinite remark about having some arrangements to make in town.

'Is Mr Dallas going to meet you, my dear?' asked Mrs Tipper anxiously.

'No; I am going on a woman's errand,' I replied, with a sad little
half-smile at the thought of what their surprise would be if they could
know how very literally I was speaking.

'_Must_ you go to-day?--may not I go with you, dear Mary?' pleaded
Lilian. 'You are looking so pale and unlike yourself; I do not like the
idea of your going alone.'

'I should fancy that there was something really the matter with me, if
I could not go alone so short a distance as that, dearie,' I lightly
replied. 'I think I will allow my age to protect me.'

She drew nearer to me, looking at me in the nervous, half-afraid way
she so frequently did of late, as she laid her hand upon my arm.

'I wish you would not talk like that--dear Mary, why do you?'

I was not strong enough to bear much in this way; so replied with an
attempt at a jest, which made her shrink away again. I daresay my jests
were flavourless enough, and in strange contrast to my looks.

Mrs Tipper's silent, anxious watchfulness was even harder to bear than
Lilian's tender love. It was not my journey to town which puzzled
them--I saw that they imagined I was intent upon preparing some little
pleasant surprise for them at my wedding--but the change they saw in
me, which no amount of diplomacy could hide.

How thankful I was, when I at length made my escape to my own room; but
I was not allowed to go alone. I had to bear Lilian's loving attendance
whilst I was putting on my bonnet and cloak. Indeed, she lingered by my
side until I had got half-way down the lane.

'You will not be very late, Mary?'

'No, dearie; I think not--I hope not.'

'We shall be longing to see you back.'

'And you must not be surprised if I return in a very conceited frame of
mind, after being made so much of,' I lightly replied.

'Only come back _yourself_,' she murmured, giving me a last kiss as she
turned away.

Dear Lilian, did she in truth guess something of what the lightness
cost me? I knew that I did not deceive her wholly. Although she might
be in some doubt as to the cause, I did not succeed in hiding the
effects from her.

I arrived at the London terminus about four o'clock, and took a cab,
directing the man to drive to a West-end street facing St James's Park.
My errand was to one of the largest mansions there, which at any other
time I should have considered it required some nerve to approach in a
way so humble. I could quite understand the cabman's hesitating inquiry
as to whether I wished to be driven to the principal entrance. Probably
I did not appear to him quite up to the standard of the housekeeper's
room. Fortunately I was not able to give a thought to my appearance.
Had I been visiting the Queen, I should have thought of her only as a
fellow-woman, in my deep absorption.

Three hours later I was taken back to the railway station in a
luxurious carriage, borne swiftly along by spirited horses; a slight,
refined, delicate-looking woman, with earnest thoughtful eyes, and
attired almost as simply as myself, was sitting by my side with my hand
in hers, as we now and again touched upon the subject which occupied
our thoughts.

I had found a friend in my time of need, and such a one as I had not
dared to hope for. But this in due time. We parted with just a steady
look and grasp of the hand.

'To-morrow?'

'Yes; between six and seven.'

I returned to the cottage, certainly not looking worse than when I
had quitted it, and was received with a welcome which made me almost
lose courage again. Fortunately it was very nearly our usual time for
retiring. Fortunately too I had much to do, and it had to be done in
the small-hours of the night, so that I had no time to give to the
indulgence of my feelings when I was left alone in my room. First
turning out the contents of my drawers and boxes, I separated from
them a few things which were absolutely needful for my purpose. One
dress and cloak and bonnet were all that I should require, besides a
small supply of under-clothing. The latter I put into a small trunk
which Becky could easily carry, and then replaced the other things in
the drawers again, arranging and ticketing them in orderly methodical
fashion as I wished them by-and-by to be distributed. If 'Tom'
should in course of time prove more appreciative of Becky--which in
consequence of a hint I had received from Lydia, I did not despair of
so much as she did--I pleased myself with the idea that the contents of
certain drawers would make a very respectable outfit for her. The plain
gray silk dress which I had purchased for my own wedding would not be
too fine for hers. In a note placed on the top of the things, I begged
Mrs Tipper to give them to Becky when the right time came. Afterwards
I took out the little collection of my dear mother's jewellery. It
was really a much better one than I had believed it to be. Indeed I
had never before examined the contents of the packet. When it appeared
probable that the jewels would have to be sold, I had avoided looking
at them; shrinking painfully from the idea of calculating upon the
money value of my mother's only legacy to me; and perhaps also in my
time of need a little afraid of being tempted by the knowledge of its
worth. One diamond ring, a large single stone, which even I could tell
was of some value, I put on the finger of my left hand, which would
never wear another now. That was all I would keep. I then put aside a
pretty ruby brooch for my dear old friend Mrs Tipper; and after some
hesitation about making a little offering to Philip, I satisfied myself
with selecting a valuable antique ring which had belonged to my father,
and writing a line begging Lilian to give it to him with the love of
his sister Mary. The rest--I was quite proud of the quantity now--I
packed up and addressed to the care of Mrs Tipper--my gift to my dear
Lilian on her wedding-day.



SUBMARINE CABLES.

WORKING.


The working and maintenance of the existing telegraph lines employ a
vast number of people taken all together; but it is surprising how
few hands are necessary for the working of any single line or system.
This is especially so in the case of submarine cables, where, when
the cable continues sound, it is not necessary to support a staff for
surveillance and repairs. Half-a-dozen stations several hundred miles
apart, and half-a-dozen men at each, are sufficient to carry the news
from one end of a continent to the other.

Without enumerating the telegraph systems that now exist, it may
suffice to say that the British Isles are connected by submarine cables
with nearly every quarter of the globe, and that their number is still
increasing.

A telegraph station abroad, no matter in what Company or country,
presents nearly the same characteristics wherever found. The more
remote the place, the more primitive may be the arrangements; but the
work is the same, the men are about the same, and the instruments
almost invariably so. There is the superintendent; and under him
the clerk in charge, his right-hand man, who oversees the clerks
or operators at their work of sending and receiving messages.
Then, besides these, and partly independent of them, there is the
electrician, a member of the scientific as distinguished from the
operating staff of the Company, whose duties are to take periodical
tests of the cable and land-lines, to report on their condition, and to
keep the instruments in proper working order. Under all these, there is
generally the messenger and battery-man, who may be called the stoker
of the electrical engine, and who, besides, does the odd work of the
establishment.

The station itself generally consists of the superintendent's office or
bureau; the instrument-room, where the messages are sent and received;
the battery-room, generally under ground; and the sleeping-quarters
of the clerks. Occasionally the electrician and clerk in charge
have separate working-rooms; and a smoking-room, with perhaps a
billiard-table and home newspapers, are added for the convenience of
all. Life passes quietly and uneventfully at these stations, except
when something goes wrong with the instruments or the cable, and then
the electrician has his period of anxiety and trouble; while the
operators, on the other hand, find their occupation at a temporary
standstill.

To understand the working of a submarine cable and the actual process
of sending a message, it is necessary to figure in imagination the
several parts of the electric circuit, made up of the battery, the
instruments, the cable, and the _earth_ itself; and to remember that
for a current of electricity to flow through any part of the circuit it
is necessary that the _whole_ circuit should be complete. Starting then
from the battery, which is the source of the electric current, we have
the cable joined to it by means of a key or sending instrument, which
by the working of a short up-and-down lever can connect or disconnect
the conductor of the cable to a particular pole of the battery, the
other pole of the battery being the while connected to the earth. The
cable then takes us to the distant station. Here the conductor is
connected to the receiving instrument, or instrument for making the
signals indicating the message, and through the receiving instrument
it is connected to the earth. The electric circuit is thus rendered
complete. The current passes from one pole of the battery by means of
the key into the cable, through the cable to the instrument at the
other end, and thence to the earth; and inasmuch as the other pole of
the battery is at the same time connected to the earth at the first
station, the conducting circuit is complete, for the earth, no matter
what the intervening distance be, acts as an indispensable part of the
circuit.

We have thus the two stations connected by a cable. At the station
sending the message there is the battery, from which the current
proceeds; the sending instrument, for letting the current into the
cable, or stopping it; and the 'earth-plate,' or metal connection
between one pole of the battery and the earth. At the station
receiving the message there is the receiving instrument, and again the
earth-plate, connecting the earth into circuit. These separate parts of
the circuit, as we have already said, must be 'connected up,' as it is
termed, so as to provide a complete conducting channel for the current
to flow in from one pole of the battery to the distant place and back
again (or virtually so) through the earth. Only at one place can the
circuit be interrupted and the current consequently stopped--that is,
at the key of the sending instrument. Here then the sending clerk
sits, and by manipulating the lever of this key he 'makes and breaks'
the circuit at will, and thereby controls the current. The regulated
making and breaking of this connection is the basis of telegraphing,
whether by submarine cable or by the ordinary land lines. Accordingly
as the clerk maintains the circuit for a longer or a shorter time, so
will the current give longer or shorter indications on the receiving
instrument at the distant station: or again, according as the opposite
poles of the battery are applied to the cable by the key, and the
direction of the current consequently reversed in the cable, so will
the indicated signals on the receiving instrument be of opposite kind.
From the elementary short and long signals, or right and left signals,
so obtained on the receiving instrument, a code of letters and words
may be built up, and intelligible messages transmitted. The Morse Code
is that universally adopted, and for the further information of our
readers we here append it as it is usually written:

  Letter.             Sign.
  A                 . --
  B                 -- . . .
  C                 -- . -- .
  D                 -- . .
  E                 .
  F                 . . -- .
  G                 -- -- .
  H                 . . . .
  I                 . .
  J                 . -- -- --
  K                 -- . --
  L                 . -- . .
  M                 -- --
  N                 -- .
  O                 -- -- --
  P                 . -- -- .
  Q                 -- -- . --
  R                 . -- .
  S                 . . .
  T                 --
  U                 . . --
  V                 . . . --
  W                 . -- --
  X                 -- . . --
  Y                 -- . -- --
  Z                 -- -- . .
  Ch                -- -- -- --
  _é_ (accented)    . . -- . .
  Understand        . . . -- .
  Wait              . -- . .

The numerals run:

  Numeral.     Sign.
  1        . -- -- -- --
  2        . . -- -- --
  3        . . . -- --
  4        . . . . --
  5        . . . . .
  6        -- . . . .
  7        -- -- . . .
  8        -- -- -- . .
  9        -- -- -- -- .
  0        -- -- -- -- --

For other accented letters, fraction signs, punctuation, and official
directions as to the disposal of the message, there are other signs,
but the above are the essentials of the Morse Code. The long and short
signs represent the long and short signals of the receiving instrument,
produced by the long and short contacts of the sending key with the
battery. It will be seen that the letter A is rendered by a short
signal followed by a long one; the letter B by a long signal followed
by three separate short ones; and so on. Hence, in order to telegraph
the letter A to his colleague at the distant end of the line, the
clerk, by depressing the lever of the sending instrument, makes contact
between the cable and the battery, first for a short time, and then
for a longer time. The long and short signals are widely employed in
overland telegraphy; but in submarine telegraphy a saving of time is
effected by signals of _opposite kind_. Thus, if a left deflection, or
deflection of the indicator to the left, signifies a 'dot' or short
signal, a deflection to the right will signify a 'dash' or long signal.
In this case the sending instrument or key has two levers, a right and
left one, corresponding to the distinct signal which each produces. By
depressing the left lever of the key, a pole of the battery is applied
to the cable, which produces a left-hand signal on the receiving
instrument at the distant station; and by depressing the right-hand
lever, a right-hand signal is produced. Proper rests or intervals are
permitted between the separate words, letters, and full stops of a
message.

The battery in common use for submarine telegraphy is either the
sawdust Daniell or the Leclanché. The Daniell consists of a plate of
zinc and a plate of copper brought into contact with each other by
sawdust saturated with a solution of sulphate of zinc; and crystals
of sulphate of copper (bluestone) are packed round the copper plate,
so as to dissolve there in the solution of sulphate of zinc. The zinc
plate forms the _negative_ pole of the battery, and the copper plate
the _positive_ pole. When these two poles are connected together by a
wire or other conducting circuit, such as that made up of the cable and
the earth, a current of electricity--the voltaic current--flows from
one to the other, and always in one direction, namely, from the copper
or positive pole to the zinc or _negative_ pole. Hence it is that by
applying the one pole or other to the cable and the other to earth
through the earth-plate, the direction of the current in the cable is
reversed and opposite signals produced.

The earth-plate is usually a copper plate several feet square, sunk
deep into the moist subsoil near the station, so as to make a good
conducting contact with the mass of the earth.

The receiving instruments for working a submarine cable are different
from those used in working land-lines. Inasmuch as the current travels
full strength, like a bullet, through a land-line, and in the form
of an undulation or wave through a cable, so is it necessary to have
different kinds of receiving instruments for each. In a land-line
powerful currents can be used with impunity, and these can be made,
by means of electro-magnetism, to move comparatively heavy pieces of
mechanism in giving signals. But in a cable the currents are prudently
kept as low as possible, in case of damage to the insulator, and
the receiving instrument must therefore be delicate. In land-lines
the current passes in an instant, leaving the line clear for the
next signal, so that the indications of the receiving instrument are
abrupt and decided. But in a cable the electric current takes an
appreciable time to flow from end to end, so that the separate signals
in part coalesce, the beginning of one blending with the end of that
preceding it, so that the signals become involved with each other. It
is necessary, therefore, that time be allowed for each wave to clear
itself of the cable before another wave is sent in, otherwise we would
have the cable as it were _choked_ with the message. A continuous
current of electricity may be said to be flowing through it, and the
ripples on the surface are the separate signals of the message. It
is to take cognisance of these waves or ripples that the receiving
instrument for cable-work must be designed; and as the quicker the
message is sent into the cable the smaller these ripples will be, the
more delicate should be the instrument.

There are only two instruments in use on long cables, and both are the
invention of Sir William Thomson, the distinguished Glasgow physicist
and electrician. The mirror galvanometer has been already described
in this _Journal_ in a paper on the manufacture of submarine cables;
and the 'mirror' or 'speaker,' the commonest of these receiving
instruments, is but a modified form of the mirror galvanometer. It
consists of a hollow coil of silk-covered wire, in the heart of which
a tiny mirror, with several small magnets cemented to its back, is
suspended by a single thread of floss-silk fibre. A beam of light from
a lamp is thrown upon the mirror, and reflected from it on to a white
screen, across which a vertical zero-line is drawn. When no current
is passing through the coil, the reflected beam of light which makes
an illuminated spot or gleam on the screen, remains steady at the
zero-line. But when a current passes through the coil, the magnets in
its heart are moved and the mirror with them, so that the beam of light
is thrown off at a different angle, and the spot of light is seen to
move from the zero-line along the screen to right or to left of the
zero-line according as the current is made or reversed in the coil; so
that as the key is manipulated at the sending station, so are right
or left signals received by the clerk who sits watching the movements
of this spot of light, and interpreting them to his fellow-clerk, who
writes them down. In the form of instrument here described, and also
in the other receiving instrument for submarine work, the zero is not
fixed but movable. The vertical line on the screen is only the nominal
zero. The continuous current underlying the ripples which form the
message, deflects the spot from the zero-line; but this slow deflection
can be disregarded by the clerk, for over and above it there are
smaller quicker movements of the spot to right and left corresponding
to the ripples, and these are the proper signals of the message. It
requires long practice to make a good 'mirror' clerk, one who can
follow the gleam with his eye through all its quick and intricate
motions, and distinguish between those due to the shifting zero and
those due to the various signals sent. Even this compound-ripple
difficulty, however, is now got rid of by the use of an apparatus
called a 'condenser,' the effects of which are that continuous currents
are neutralised, and the pulsations of the signals sent are _alone_
seen in the movements of the light upon the scale.

The other instrument is the siphon recorder, which permanently records
in ink the signals which the 'mirror' only shews transiently. The
principle of the siphon recorder is the converse of that of the mirror.
In the mirror there is a large fixed coil and a light suspended magnet.
In the siphon recorder there is a large fixed magnet and a light
suspended coil. When the current passes through this coil, the latter
moves much in the same way as the magnet moves in the 'mirror;' that
is, it rocks to right or left according as the current flows. This
rocking motion is communicated, by a system of levers and fibres, to
a very fine glass capillary siphon, which dips into an ink-bottle
and draws off ink upon a strip of running paper. The ink is highly
electrified, so as to rush through the siphon and out upon the paper,
marking a fine line upon it as it runs. When no current passes in the
coil, this zero-line is straight; but when currents are passing, the
line becomes zigzag and wavy; and the right and left waves across
the paper constitute the message. Both of these instruments are very
beautiful and ingenious applications of well-known electric, optical,
and mechanical principles. The great merit of the recorder is that if
a false signal is accidentally made by the sending clerk, the whole
word need not always be lost by the receiving clerk, but may be made
out from the rest of the word written down. Thus much repetition of
messages is saved. There is some advantage too in having a written
message for purposes of after reference.

A singularly ingenious system of telegraphy, termed the _duplex_,
has recently been extended to long submarine cables, and is likely
to become of general, if not universal application. It is effected
by constructing an artificial line, in this case representing an
artificial cable, which shall have the same influences on the current
that the actual cable has. The signalling current from the battery
is then split up at each station between the actual cable and the
artificial cable, so that half flows into one and half into the other.
And there is placed a receiving instrument in such a way between these
two halves of the current that they exactly counterbalance each other's
effect upon it; and so long as sending is going on from a station, the
receiving instrument at that station is undisturbed. But the sending
currents from the other station have the power to disturb this balance
and cause signals to be made. Thus then, while the sending at a station
does not affect the receiving instrument in connection with the cable
there, the currents sent from the distant station cause it to mark the
signals. Each station is thus enabled to send a message and receive
one at the same time; and this is what is called duplex or double
telegraphy.

In ordinary telegraphy, one station is receiving while the other is
sending; but in duplex working, both stations are sending together and
receiving together, so that there is little or no delay in the traffic,
and the carrying power of a busy cable is practically doubled.

In case of accident to the cables each Company maintains a
repairing-ship ready to go to sea at shortest notice. Some 'faults'
are of a nature not seriously to interfere with the working of a
cable; but it cannot be expected that they will remain always in the
same comparatively harmless state. When a flaw occurs in the insulator
it tends to enlarge itself, and more of the current escapes to the
sea, until so much escapes that the current which reaches the distant
station is too feeble to work the instruments there. All traffic
therefore ceases. The electrician's tests having localised the fault
so many miles from shore, the repairing-ship proceeds to the spot.
Here she lowers her grapnel a mile or two on one side or other of the
supposed line of the cable, and when enough rope has been let out, she
steers very slowly under steam, or drifts with the tide across the
cable's track. The grapnel is simply a great iron hook, one approved
form being like a compound fish-hook, with five or six flukes starting
from the shank. A weight of chain drags behind it, to keep it well
down on the bottom. The rope, which is generally of wire and yarn,
passes under a dynamometer, which indicates its tension, and thence
to the steam winch used for hauling in. Often the grapnel catches in
rocks, or mud, and gives rise to false hope of the cable having been
found. The ship is brought to, and hauling in commences; but soon the
obstruction 'gives,' or the grapnel itself breaks, and the true nature
of the 'catch' is found out. When the cable is hooked, the greatest
skill and care are needed, especially when the ship's head lifts with
the waves, to bring up the bight carefully without breaking the cable.
When brought to the surface the cable is cut, and each end is brought
on board in turn and tested. The fault, as we have previously shewn
with the paying-out ship, may prove to be but a few miles distant. The
sound end is thereupon buoyed, and the ship proceeds to pick up or haul
in the faulty end until it is thought the fault must have been picked
up. The electrician then cuts off the piece which contains the fault,
and then he has only to join on a sound piece of cable in its place,
and lay it back to the end that was buoyed, so filling up the gap. But
if it should _not_ contain the fault, the tests are again applied,
until finally the fault is detected and cut out. Repairing is arduous
and trying work; now giving rise to hopes, now crushing them, and anon
deferring them. A great responsibility rests on those who undertake
them, as the gain or loss of a week or two may represent an enormous
sum of money to the Company.



CROSS-PURPOSES.

IN TWO CHAPTERS.--CHAPTER II.


Had Cissy only known it, there was very little in Frank Halkett's
words to cause her any uneasiness. On his entering the drawing-room,
seeing his place by Cissy's side forestalled by the major, whose person
intercepted the beaming smile of welcome she bestowed upon him, he had
turned away and thrown himself into the low chair that stood by Mrs
Leyton's cosy lounge.

'So you have taken refuge with me,' says that lady with a quiet smile.

'Refuge!' repeats Halkett with an innocently puzzled air. 'No; I have
only taken a seat.'

'What's the matter with you, Frank?'

'Nothing. Why? Do I look dyspeptic?'

'You don't look pleasant, certainly, if that has anything to do with
it. Come; I am a witch, you know,' says Mrs Leyton, 'and so can tell
all your secrets. And just to prove my power, I will tell you something
now--you are sulky this evening.'

'Meaning I am stupid, I suppose,' says Halkett; 'but it don't take much
witchery to discover that. I have an awful headache.'

'Oh, but I have not half done yet,' exclaims Mrs Leyton. 'Shall I go
on? I could tell something very important, but that I am afraid of your
heavy displeasure. Will you promise not to be angry?'

'Angry with _you_! Was I ever that?' asks Halkett tenderly. 'I give you
full liberty to say anything on earth you like to me.'

'Do you mean that?'

'Certainly I mean it.'

'Very good then,' says the widow with lazy triumph; 'I will continue my
sorceries; and first--you are in love.'

'"In love!"' reiterates Halkett, forcing himself heroically to meet her
laughing eyes, and reddening very much in the attempt. 'No, no; your
witchcraft has played you false this time.'

'It has not. I persist in my declaration. You are in love--hopelessly,
irretrievably, desperately in love.'

'Well, perhaps I am,' says Frank, with tranquil resignation. 'Is that
strange? Could one be with you, Frances, for so long a time, and
not'----

'Nonsense!' interrupts Mrs Leyton. 'Do not trouble yourself to complete
that sentence. We are much too old friends for _that_, I take it. And
now, Frank, be a good boy; emulate your name, tell me all about it.'

'I really don't know that there is anything much to tell,' says
Halkett, smiling. 'But what there is you shall hear. I admire a certain
young lady more than is good for me; I fancy, until to-day, she
returns my regard. I discover a couple of hours ago that my vanity
has misled me. I see her happy in the arms--no, in the society of
another--I find myself nowhere, hence my dyspepsia, distraction, and
despair.--Don't look so sympathetic, Frances; probably I shall get over
it.'

Though he says this with a laughing face, Mrs Leyton's dark eyes can
see for themselves he is tremendously hard hit.

'And what is her name?' she asks sweetly.

'O Frances! You laying claim to be a witch, and must even ask _that_
question? I decline to answer it. Your fairy lore should enable you to
find out that much for yourself.'

'I love my love with a C because she is candid; I hate her with a C
because she is capricious,' says Mrs Leyton archly. 'Am I "warm?" or
will you still cry "cold?" If you do the latter, I doubt you will be
wronging your conscience. Ah, Frank, I think I am one too many for you!'

'You were always that. What one man is equal to any woman? Well, as you
have guessed so far, I believe I may as well tell you the rest;' and
forthwith he commences to pour forth a tale, the telling of which had
caused Cissy such exquisite anguish.

When he has finished, Mrs Leyton says: 'If you will take my advice, you
will seek the first opportunity that offers, and ask for an explanation
of her coldness.'

'You really think that the best thing to do?' says Halkett,
brightening. 'I will act upon your advice then, and try my chance. Now
let us forget it for the present. Is that a new ring upon your finger?
May I look at it? Does it mark a fresh adorer?'

'No; an old one. Geoffrey Hyde gave it to me last autumn.' She
surrenders her hand to him as she speaks; and he bending over it,
examines leisurely the cluster of brilliants that scintillate and flash
beneath the lamp-light.

'He has been faithful to you for a long time,' says Halkett presently.

'Yes; he is very tormenting. I really believe I shall have to marry
him in the long-run, if only to get him out of the way.' She reddens a
little as she says this, and laughs rather nervously.

'Are you serious?' asks Halkett with surprise. 'Then you are going to
make him a happy man after all?'

'That remains to be proved. Probably I shall make him a wholesome
warning to all obstinate men. But I think when last I saw him I made
him some foolish promise about marrying him in the spring.'

'I congratulate him with all my heart, and you too,' says Halkett
cordially. 'I think he is the only man I know _quite_ worthy of you.'

When the hour comes for bedroom candles to be adjusted, Halkett seizes
one, lights it, and carries it solemnly to Miss Mordaunt. But quick as
he has been, Major Blake reaches her side similarly armed, almost at
the same moment.

'Which shall I take?' says Miss Cissy gaily. 'I suppose I can have my
choice. I think _this_ pleases me most;' and she holds out her hand
towards Blake with a pretty smile. 'Thank you,' she continues, slipping
her slender fingers into his brown palm; 'and good-night. Don't smoke
too much;' and with a little provoking backward nod she trips away,
without bestowing so much as one poor glance upon Halkett. And so ends
his first attempt at an explanation, leaving him so indignant that he
almost vows he will not seek another.

All the following day Miss Mordaunt studiously avoids him, giving him
no chance of obtaining the tête-à-tête she sees is impending. But
Halkett calmly bides his time, knowing it cannot be far distant. As
daylight fades, he feels more than ever determined to bring her to
book before the dawn of another morning; and in this instance at least
the Fates favour him, as there is to be a large dancing-party at the
Hall to-night. She cannot well refuse to give him one dance out of the
many--such palpable avoidance would be rather _too_ marked; and once
he has secured her as his partner, she must be at his mercy until the
dance comes to an end.

This idea of course has also occurred to Miss Mordaunt, and though
dreading the interview, she is still sufficiently indignant to
cause her to make up her mind to be as curt and outspoken on the
occasion as will be in strict keeping with her dignity. In this frame
of mind she goes up-stairs to dress, and being an Irishwoman, it
cannot be altogether said but that she sustains a rather pleasurable
sensation--albeit one largely mingled with something very much akin to
nervousness--as the battle-hour draws nigh.

'What shall I wear, Kennedy?' she asks her maid, sinking languidly into
a chair.

'Well, miss, you know you look well in anything,' says Kennedy
obligingly; 'there is nothing but what becomes you; but if I might be
allowed to suggest, you look lovely entirely in white.'

'I won't wear white; I hate it,' says her mistress pettishly.
'Débutantes, and brides, and corpses wear white; I think--I shall
wear--_black_ to-night.'

'Black? O Miss Mordaunt!'

'Yes; certainly. Is gay clothing so necessary to me, then?'

'Well, miss, there's no doubt but you look real handsome in black; but
the other ladies--they will be so gay--and you'----

'I shall be gayer than any of them, and the greater contrast!' cries
Cissy, springing to her feet. 'Come, Kennedy; despatch, despatch; I
feel I shall hold my own yet.'

And Kennedy throwing herself heart and mind into her task, soon turns
out the most charming picture possible.

As Miss Mordaunt enters the drawing-room she sees Halkett standing on
the hearth-rug in earnest conversation with the widow, who, if there
is a fire anywhere, is never any great distance from it. He has been
telling her of his repulse of the night before, and is looking somewhat
dejected.

'Never mind,' says Mrs Leyton kindly; 'get her _alone_; then _you_ will
have the advantage. I think she must have heard--or fancied--something
that wounds her.'

'I do not flatter myself so far; I merely think she prefers Blake, and
wishes to get rid of me,' says Halkett gloomily.

'Nonsense! Let nothing induce you to believe that. In the first place,
she doesn't even _look_ at the man in the right way.'

Halkett laughs in spite of himself, and immediately afterwards becomes
if possible even more despondent than before.

'How can she like that fellow Blake?' he says ill-naturedly.

'Oh, I don't see _that_. For my part, I think him absolutely handsome.'

'Of course, that goes without telling. All women have a _tendresse_ for
those great coarse broad-shouldered men. And what an accent he has!'

'Do you really dislike it? To me, I confess it is rather pleasant;
mellow, with just a touch of the brogue. Your Cissy, you must remember,
has it too, with perhaps rather more of the mellow and less of the
brogue; but then you are prejudiced against this poor Blake.'

'Indeed I am not; you mistake me altogether: I think him a downright
good fellow. In fact I have a fancy for all Irishmen; they are so full
of go--chic--good-humour, until crossed. And Blake is like all his
countrymen, a most enjoyable companion,' says Halkett with suspicious
warmth.

'Evidently Miss Mordaunt is of your opinion,' says the widow rather
cruelly, pointing to where Cissy is listening with a smiling face to
one of the major's good stories.

Meanwhile the guests are arriving; and the fine old room that has
been given up to the dancers is rapidly filling with pretty girls
and powdered dowagers and men of all ages and degrees. Papas too are
numerous; but these instinctively crowd round Uncle Charlie, and by
degrees edge towards a more dimly lighted room, where instinct tells
them, whist is holding silent sway.

'Will you give me the first dance?' says Halkett to Mrs Leyton, who
readily grants her consent. Major Blake has of course secured Cissy;
and presently, as ill-luck will have it, they find themselves in the
same set, dancing opposite to each other. As Halkett's hand meets
Cissy's, he hardly lets his fingers close round hers; and as she is
also in a revengeful mood, the ladies' chain almost falls to the
ground. Mrs Leyton, in spite of the good-nature that lies somewhere
in her composition, nearly chokes with suppressed laughter as she
witnesses this little by-play. She twits Halkett about it later on, but
he is moody, and doesn't take kindly to her witticisms.

At least half the programme has been gone through before Captain
Halkett asks Miss Mordaunt for the pleasure of a dance.

'If I am disengaged,' she says coldly, not looking at him, and searches
her card with a languid bored air that tantalises him almost beyond
endurance. He is longing to say: 'Never mind it; I wont interfere
with your enjoyment this time,' with his sweetest smile, and rage at
his heart; but he is too sternly determined to have it out with her
to-night, to let his natural feelings win the day.

Cissy examining her card finds she is not engaged for the next dance,
very much to her disgust; and is pondering whether she shall tell the
lie direct and declare she is, when Halkett, as though he divines her
thoughts, says abruptly: 'Not engaged for the next? Then I suppose I
may have it?'

'I suppose so,' returns Miss Cissy reluctantly; and instantly turning
from him, addresses her partner, as though such a person as Halkett
were no longer in existence. Indeed, when after a quarter of an hour,
he finds her in the conservatory and claims the fulfilment of her
promise, it is with the utmost bad grace she places the very tips of
her fingers upon his arm, and looks impatiently towards the ball-room.

'I don't mean dancing just yet; I have something particular to say to
you first,' says Halkett hastily, and almost commandingly, standing
quite still. 'It is hardly private here. Would you find it too cold
to come with me into the garden?' glancing at the open door of the
conservatory.

Cissy hesitates; then fearful of seeming reluctant, says: 'No. If you
will go to the library for my shawl (you will find it on the sofa), I
will go with you.'

'You will stay here until I return?' says Halkett, regarding her
intently.

Cissy stares in turn. 'Of course I will,' she answers rather haughtily;
and he goes.

'Did he imagine I would run away when his back was turned?' she
soliloquises angrily. 'Does he suppose I am _afraid_? One would
think it was _I_ was in the wrong, not he. His conduct altogether is
downright mysterious. I cannot understand him;' and for the first time
it dawns upon her mind that there may possibly be some flaw in the
interpretation she has put upon his conduct.

Returning with the shawl, Halkett places it gently round her shoulders,
and they pass into the quiet night.

'What a beautiful moon!' exclaims Cissy presently, hardly knowing what
to say.

'Yes;' absently.

'And for this time of year, how wonderfully mild it is--not in the
least cold--as one might expect.'

'Yes--no--is it not?'

'I really don't know what _you_ think about it,' says Miss Mordaunt
impatiently. 'I for my part find it almost warm; but of course I cannot
answer for you. Probably all this time you are feeling desperately
cold.'

This little petulant outburst rouses Halkett.

'No!' he says with sudden energy and warmth; 'I am _not_. It is not
in my nature to be cold in any way. I feel most things keenly: more
especially slights from those I love. All ill-concealed disdain, unkind
speeches, fickleness, touch me closely.'

'I can sympathise with you,' says Cissy calmly. 'I think nothing can be
so bad as inconstancy--except perhaps deceit.'

This retort being as unexpected as it is evidently _meant_, puzzles
Halkett to such a degree that he becomes absolutely silent. Miss
Mordaunt, with her white shawl drawn closely round her slight
black-robed figure, walks quietly beside him with the air of an
offended queen, her head held rather higher than usual, a pretty look
of scorn upon her lips.

After a while Halkett pulls up abruptly and faces her in the narrow
pathway. 'What is the reason of your changed behaviour towards me
to-day and yesterday?' he says shortly. 'I think I have a right to ask
that.'

'_Have_ I changed?'

'_Have_ you? Must you ask the question? The whole world can see it. You
treat me with the most studied coldness.'

'I thought I was treating you with as much courtesy as I give to all my
uncle's guests.'

'I don't care for courtesy,' says Halkett passionately; 'your hatred
would be better than your indifference. Yesterday morning I believed we
were friends--nay, _more_ than that; yesterday evening you ignored me
altogether. It is either heartless coquetry on your part, or else you
have a reason for your conduct. Let me hear it.'

'You are forgetting yourself,' says Miss Mordaunt coldly. 'You are the
first person who has ever accused me of coquetry; you shall not do it
again. I was foolish to come here with you, but--I trusted you. I wish
to return to the house.'

'Nay, hear me!' cries Halkett remorsefully, following as she makes
a movement to leave him, and catching her hand to detain her. 'Your
avoidance has so perplexed and maddened me, that I said more than I
meant or intended. Forgive me, and at least let me know how I have
offended. Cissy, answer me!'

For a moment Miss Mordaunt hesitates, then endeavouring to speak
lightly: 'I did not intend to perplex you,' she says; 'one cannot
speak to every one at the same time. I am sorry if I appeared rude
or neglectful; but you did not _look_ very miserable, and surely
Mrs Leyton was an excellent substitute for me.' She smiles as she
says this, but pales a little too beneath the brilliant moon that is
betraying her.

'Mrs Leyton is my very oldest and dearest friend,' replies Halkett;
'but no one on earth could console me for--your loss. Why will you not
confess the truth, Cissy, and'----

'Yet you once loved her, if report speaks truly,' interrupts Miss
Mordaunt, still speaking carelessly, though her heart-throbs can almost
be counted. 'In India, we hear, there was a time when you would gladly
have called her your wife. Is it not so?'

Halkett drops her hand.

'Has that miserable bit of gossip taken root even here?' he says with a
faint sneer. 'Has Blake been making his cause good by such rubbishing
tales? Frances Leyton and I grew up together. I would as soon think of
making love to my nearest of kin as to her. The idea of any romantic
attachment existing between us is more than absurd! Besides, she is to
be married to Geoffrey Hyde early in the coming spring.'

Miss Mordaunt severs a little twig from one of the shrubs, and takes it
to pieces slowly.

'Then _she_ did not give you your favourite mare?' she says quietly,
detesting herself as she asks the question, yet feeling compelled to
solve all her doubts at once.

'No; she did not.' A pause. 'Shall I tell you who gave her to me? It
was my only sister, Lady Harley. She loved the Baby dearly, and on her
death-bed, told me to take good care of the creature, for her sake.'

The twig falls from Cissy's fingers. Surely, surely it cannot be true!
Oh, how he must hate and despise her for all she has said and done!
It is too late now to make reparation. She feels she would rather
die a thousand deaths than give in, and confess to all the wretched
suspicions and jealousies she has been carefully harbouring in her
heart during these two past days.

'However, all this is beside the question,' goes on Halkett; 'you have
not yet told me what I so much want to know. Has Blake anything to do
with your coldness to me? Tell me, Cissy, are you engaged to him?'

Cissy has not expected this, and growing suddenly crimson, lets her
head droop somewhat suspiciously. Halkett's eyes are on her face.

'No; of course not--I am not indeed.' There is a faint stammer in her
speech as she says this, and Halkett's fears become certainties.

'But you _care_ for him!' he exclaims vehemently. 'The very mention
of his name has brought a flush into your cheeks. You hesitate, and
turn your head aside. This then accounts for your sudden change of
behaviour towards me! Having gained your point, you found your first
victim in the way, and hardly knowing how to get rid of so troublesome
an appendage, had recourse to---- Had you told me point-blank my
attentions were unwelcome, it would have been more womanly, more
just'----

'Pray, do not say another word,' says Miss Mordaunt with dignity,
though tears are in her voice and eyes; 'this is the second time
to-night you have spoken words difficult to forget. Do not trouble
yourself to return with me. I prefer going in alone.'

       *       *       *       *       *

When Cissy and Halkett appear at breakfast the following morning,
they take care to seat themselves as far as possible from each
other, and presently it becomes palpable to every one that they are
considerably out of sorts. Uncle Charlie suggests that Miss Cissy has
over-danced herself, or given the wrong man his _congé_; a remark that
has sufficient truth in it to bring the hot blood into her cheeks.
While Captain Halkett, having run through his letters, declares he
must return to town by the afternoon train; at which Mrs Leyton looks
uneasy, and casts a covert glance at Cissy Mordaunt.

That young lady stands fire pretty well, but with all her hardihood
cannot keep her under lip from trembling ever so little. This sign of
weakness be assured does not escape the widow's tutored eye; and she
instantly challenges Major Blake to a game of billiards after breakfast.

'My dear Frank, you can't go to-day,' says Uncle Charlie decidedly.
'To-morrow they have promised us the best run we have had yet. I will
not hear of your leaving. Write and tell her you have sprained your
ankle, and send her your undying love. She will forgive you when she
sees you.'

'I wish I _could_ stay,' says Halkett, laughing; 'but unfortunately my
recall is from my solicitor, not from my lady-love.'

'I don't believe a word of it!' says Uncle Charlie. 'A sudden recall
_always_ means a woman. Why, when _I_ was a young man, I thought
nothing of'----

'My dear!' says Aunt Isabel, with a gentle uplifting of the right hand.

'Quite so, my good Belle,' returns Uncle Charlie, patting the soft
white fingers. 'But seriously, Frank, she will do very well without
you.'

'I have no doubt of _that_,' says Halkett, and raising his eyes meets
Miss Mordaunt's full.

Half an hour later, Cissy, feeling mournful and guilty, steals round to
the stables to take a last look at the Baby, as she is afraid to look
at the Baby's master. Just as she is patting her and rubbing down the
soft velvet muzzle, the door opens, and Halkett enters.

'I am glad to see she is so much better,' says Miss Mordaunt promptly
but nervously, pointing to the injured limb. 'If you go to-day, you
will not take her with you, I suppose?'

'No; I suppose not.'

'_Must_ you go?'

Halkett glances at her reproachfully. 'Yes; of course I must. There is
no other course left open to me. After what you told me last night, it
would be simple madness to remain.'

'What did I tell you? I don't think I told you anything.'

'Well--what you led me to infer.'

'You should not infer things. _I_ never meant you to do so.' As Miss
Mordaunt says this in a very low tone, she turns her head aside and
recedes a step or two. A dark flush rises to Halkett's brow, colouring
all his face, even through the bronze an Indian sun has laid upon it.
A sudden gleam of something akin to hope shines in his eyes for an
instant, but is as speedily suppressed.

'Do you know what you are doing?' he says in a tone sufficiently
unsteady to betray the agitation he is feeling. 'Do you know what your
manner, your words seem to me to mean? Do not, I implore you, raise
within me again the hope I have surrendered, unless---- O Cissy, _you_
will never know how cruel a thing it is to love without return!'

'But--are you sure--_your_ love--has gained no return?' demands Miss
Cissy in faltering accents, and immediately afterwards feels she has
but one desire on earth, and that is for the ground to open and swallow
her.

'Cissy, Cissy!' cries Halkett, '_tell_ me you do not care for that
fellow Blake!'

'Not a bit, not a bit!' says Cissy; and in another moment finds herself
in Halkett's arms, her tears running riot over the breast of his coat.
'Oh, say that you forgive me!' she sobs. 'It was most hateful of
me--about that bedroom candlestick the other night, and everything. But
I misunderstood it all. I thought you loved Mrs Leyton. _Say_ that you
forgive me!'

'I will not hear a word about forgiveness now,' says Halkett, who has
been assiduously employed in kissing her hair, brow, and any other part
of her face that is visible. 'It is taking a mean advantage of me; I
am so happy this moment, I would forgive my bitterest enemy without
hesitation. By-and-by we will discuss the question, and I shall grant
you pardon on my own terms.'

Some time before luncheon there comes a knock, low but decided, at
Uncle Charlie's library door.

'Come in!' calls out the owner of the apartment; and the door opening
admits Frank Halkett and Miss Mordaunt--the latter keeping well behind,
and only compelled by the strong clasp of her companion's hand to
advance at all.

'I have come, sir,' says Halkett mildly, 'to tell you I have, after
all, decided on delaying my departure until next week, as I at first
intended--if you do not object.'

'Indeed, indeed; I am glad of that,' says Uncle Charlie, just a wee
bit puzzled. 'I need not say how welcome you are.--But what about the
business letter, eh, and your hot haste to reach town? What has changed
your plans, eh?'

'Miss Mordaunt,' says Halkett, with a mischievous glance at Cissy, who
is hopelessly confused and horribly shamefaced, in the background.
'Miss Mordaunt has induced me to alter my mind.'

'Eh! what, what?' says Uncle Charlie, rising from his chair as the
truth dawns upon him, and instantly sinking back into it again. 'You
don't _mean_ it! And all this time I could have _sworn_ it was that
fellow Blake!'

       *       *       *       *       *

And so were made happy a pair who, through a mutual misunderstanding,
might have never come together again in this world; who, but for an
accidental timely explanation, might have remained through life victims
to Cross-purposes. Reader, remember that there are two sides to every
story.



POLAR COLONISATION.


Towards the end of February the Naval Committee of the House of
Representatives at Washington reported a Bill authorising the American
government to fit out an Arctic Expedition, which would establish a
colony on Lady Franklin's Bay, and thence despatch exploring parties
to the Pole. To influence congressional action in this matter, two or
three pamphlets have been put forth in America, and circulated among
the members of both houses. In one of these, Captain Henry W. Howgate,
U.S.A., advocates the doctrine, that to reach the Pole with the
greatest certainty, and with the least expenditure of time, money, and
human life, it is essential that the exploring party be on the ground
at the very time when the ice gives way and opens the gateway to the
long-sought prize. This, he affirms, can only be done by colonising a
few hardy, resolute, and experienced men at some point near the borders
of the Polar Sea.

The same idea, in a somewhat different form, is advocated by Mr R.
W. D. Bryan, of the United States' Naval Observatory at Washington,
who, at Captain Howgate's request, has expounded in a brief pamphlet
his views in regard to the best methods of conducting Arctic
exploration. Mr Bryan says that he has given the subject much thought
for many years, and has carefully examined the rich treasures of
Arctic literature. This study, and his own experience and personal
observation during the _Polaris_ expedition, have suggested to him a
plan which seems comprehensive and practicable. He is opposed to all
spasmodic efforts to reach the Pole, because the chances of success
are not commensurate with the necessary outlay. Let a vessel, he says,
be always ready at some advanced post to push forward whenever an
opportunity offers, for it is well known to Arctic explorers that Polar
ice moves, shifts its position, and breaks up, sometimes slowly, and at
other times with great rapidity, and that its position and condition
change from year to year; hence in the same place success in one season
may follow the defeat of a previous one. If, therefore, a vessel be
at hand when the movement carries the ice out of her path, she can
advance; and if, unfortunately, she should have no such opportunity,
her officers and crew, by their observations and their boat and sledge
journeys, would be able to employ their time profitably; the chances,
however, would probably be in favour of their finding some season
sufficiently open to admit of their forcing the vessel towards the
Pole. In connection with the ship which is thus to watch year by year
for a friendly ice movement, Mr Bryan would have a station established
on the land within easy communicating distance, and yet not so far
north as to prevent its being visited at least once in every two or
three years by a ship from the parent country. The plan, no doubt, is
one which would conduce to eventual success; but we should fancy that
even the hardiest enthusiasts would shrink from an undertaking which
would involve their spending annually from four to five months in total
darkness, even though 'the station should afford warm comfortable
quarters for a corps of scientific observers and an active band of
explorers.'

We cannot follow Mr Bryan through all the details of his original
plan, but it will be interesting to glance briefly at a bolder and
more comprehensive one which he develops towards the conclusion of
his _brochure_. He says, and with reason, that a greater certainty
of speedy success and the collection of scientific data beyond all
measure more valuable, would follow the enlargement of the scheme he
has propounded. 'Instead of establishing one station, and having but
one ship watching tirelessly the mysterious movements of the ice, let
there be many stations and many ships placed at intervals along the
whole threshold of the unknown region.' To this, of course, the obvious
objection arises that the plan would involve the expenditure of a large
amount of money; but Mr Bryan is equal to the occasion, and perhaps
taking a hint from the king of the Belgians' proposition with regard
to African exploration, he suggests that the enterprise should be an
international one, for in that case the burden upon any one nation
would be comparatively light. Mr Bryan has gone further, for he has
partitioned the work among the nations. Great Britain is to grapple
with the difficulties of the Behring Strait route, and in addition, to
take a turn at 'the eastern coast of Wrangell's Land or the western
coast, or both.' This, we imagine, would keep Sir George Nares occupied
for some time. For the United States is claimed the right to consider
the Smith's Sound route as peculiarly its own; and the Germans are to
undertake 'the eastern coast of Greenland, the route advocated so long
and so well by their illustrious geographer Dr Petermann.' The Dutch
are to take Spitzbergen for the base of their operations; the Austrians
are to follow up Lieutenant Payer's discoveries in Franz Josef Land;
and the Russians are to establish stations upon Novaya Zemlya and some
of the extreme northern points of their empire. Italy, Norway, and
Sweden, France, Spain, and Portugal have minor parts assigned to them;
but hardy Denmark, oddly enough, is overlooked.

Mr Bryan thinks that the money laid out on these enterprises would be
'well invested, and would give an ample and speedy return in every
department of human industry.'

Since the foregoing was written, intelligence has been received
that arrangements are actually in progress for carrying out Captain
Howgate's bold plan of prosecuting Polar discovery. The expedition, we
hear, will be under the command of Captain Tyson, of _Polaris_ fame,
and it was intended that it should leave at once for the Arctic regions
to select a position for the planting of a colony in 1878. The funds
required for this advance voyage (about ten thousand dollars) will be
raised by subscription in New York; and it is expected that Congress
will in autumn appropriate fifty thousand dollars to cover the expenses
of despatching the colony.



A FEW WORDS ABOUT POULTRY.


There is no species of live-stock less understood or less cared for
than poultry. Almost every farmer and nearly every cottager in the
country keeps hens, as well as a great number of people about the
suburbs of all large towns; and strange as it may seem, if you ask them
as to the profitableness of their stock, you will almost invariably
be met with the answer that 'hens don't pay.' Many people of course
never take the trouble to find out whether they pay or not, but go on
rehearsing the story of others who do take that trouble, and who find
it an unprofitable job. With a large number of poultry-keepers this
is really the case; and there must therefore be a certain fascination
about fowls that induces such people to keep them. The secret probably
is that fresh eggs being such an adjunct to the breakfast-table and
to the making of savoury omelets and puddings, hens are kept to lay
eggs, no matter how few, or at what cost. Some people, however, do
make them pay, and pay well too; but it is only by properly directed
intelligence being brought to bear on the subject, as well as by the
exercise of a good deal of care and attention, that this object is
attained. Many an amateur keeper of poultry is able during the spring
months to sell as many eggs as he can part with at prices ranging from
six shillings to a guinea per dozen--such eggs being the produce of
prize poultry, and such prices being given in order to rear chickens
from them. It is therefore principally amateurs, fanciers, and people
who take delight in and bestow care and attention on their birds, that
are able to reap satisfactory results from the rearing and keeping of
poultry. If care and attention were not brought to bear on the rearing
of horses and cattle, these would not pay either; but hens are, by
farmers especially, usually considered too insignificant to bestow
much trouble on; therefore they are often allowed to run about starved
and ill cared for at one time, and glutted with food at another; while
their roosting-houses from want of cleaning become so filthy that it
is a wonder the birds so frequently escape the diseases which filth
engenders, and to which the feathered tribe are so liable.

It is certainly not creditable to this country that the importation of
poultry and eggs is so enormous, and probably few persons are aware
of its extent. In 1875, the latest year for which the Board of Trade
returns have been completed, no less than seven hundred and forty-one
million of eggs were brought into this country; and the returns of
the immediately preceding years shew that this importation has been
making gigantic strides. Most of these eggs come to us from France;
and when we consider that the French themselves are large consumers
of both eggs and poultry, it may well be imagined to what an enormous
extent our friends across the Channel develop this branch of trade or
commerce. The advantage which our continental neighbours derive from it
is obvious when we consider that not only eggs but fowls are largely
sent over to us; and that about three millions of pounds sterling are
now annually paid by Great Britain for these two staple articles of
consumption. Farmers and poultry-keepers should lay this well to heart,
and endeavour by some means so to increase the production of poultry
and eggs, as not only to secure the retention of a large portion of
this money in our own country, but to fill their own pockets with a
portion of it.

In our observation and experience the point on which most ignorance
prevails with regard to poultry is food. No attention or intelligence
appears to be directed to the kind, quantity, or time of feeding that
is most suitable; and nowhere is this ignorance more noticeable than at
farm-steadings. At such places, hens are generally allowed to surfeit
themselves with grain at one season, while they are starved at another.
Now they do not lay well while they are either in the one condition
or the other; for a starved bird has not the wherewithal to produce
eggs, while an overfed one gets lazy and accumulates internal fat, to
the extinction of egg-production altogether. Hens never lay so well
as when they are kept in a state of activity, running after meat that
is thrown to them, or searching and scratching for it among earth or
rubbish. After moulting-time, or when hens have been as it were resting
from laying eggs, one of the first things that to a keen observer
heralds a speedy return to that state, is the restless activity with
which they scrape and scratch the ground. When their courts or haunts
bear evidence of this by the holes which they make, laying is not far
off. A happy medium in feeding produces the best results with poultry;
and a golden rule is never to give fowls more at a time than they will
greedily pick up. Indeed they should always be made to leave off before
their appetite is satiated. Their meals should be given regularly, and
should be thrown on the ground to them, not left in wooden troughs,
which readily sour and taint the meat. But whether given on the ground
or otherwise, not a particle should be allowed to lie over, for nothing
injures hens more than stale food.

The number of meals in a day may vary according to circumstances,
but for adult fowls no more than three should ever be allowed. Where
hens have full liberty to roam about a farm-yard or in fields, only
two scanty meals should be given both in summer and in winter--one in
the morning as early as possible, and the other about an hour before
they go to roost in the evening. Birds which are confined to courts or
runs should have a more substantial meal--not later than nine o'clock
in the morning in winter, and an hour or two earlier in summer, with
a pick of something at mid-day, besides their evening feed. Grain of
some kind should always be given them at night; wheat, rough barley, or
oats, are all good, but ought to be used singly, not mixed; and it is
well occasionally to change the variety. Indian corn seems to be more
relished than any other grain, but should be sparingly given, and never
longer than a very few days at a time, just for a change, as it has a
very fattening tendency. The morning meal may consist of table-refuse
of any sort mixed to a proper consistency with sharps, middlings, bran,
or barley-meal. The mixture should neither be too sloppy nor too hard,
but such as if thrown on the ground in a lump will break into bits,
not crumble down into a state of powder. Potatoes are bad to use in
large quantities, for like Indian corn they are too fattening; boiled
turnips, however, may be used with advantage for mixing. In winter it
is best to give the morning diet warm, with an occasional sprinkling of
pepper during very cold or wet weather. A very little salt may likewise
be added. The mid-day pick may either consist of the morning's remains
or a little grain; but on no account should soft food be given after it
has stood for any length of time. It can be mixed up at night, but what
is then prepared should all be used up on the following day. Grass or
green food of some kind is requisite to keep poultry in good condition;
and if the birds have not free access to it, a little cut up and mixed
with their food, or a cabbage or lettuce hung up with a string just
within reach of the birds, so that they may get at it with a little
trouble, is a very valuable accessory to the dietary. It is absolutely
necessary that green food be given regularly, if fowls are expected to
thrive; but the amount of it need not be great; only if it is left off
for a time and then resorted to, or given in too large quantities, it
is likely to cause diarrhœa.

It is very difficult to define the exact quantity of food that ought
to be given to hens, and it is well to remember that at some seasons
they will eat much more than at others; but as a general rule for
those in confinement, a ball about the size of a duck's egg in the
morning, half of that at mid-day, and an average-sized handful of grain
at night, is about the proper quantity for each bird; and less than
that of course for those that have fields or farm-yards to roam in.
The tendency with most poultry-keepers is to feed too well, and it is
generally very difficult to get them convinced of this, for hens will
go on eating long after they have had enough; but the consequences are
always bad, such as accumulation of internal fat and the laying of soft
or shell-less eggs. This latter disease--for so it may be called--is
a very common effect of over-feeding young hens, and is sometimes not
observed till it has existed for some time, as such eggs are often
eaten by the birds as soon as laid, and if they are not caught in the
act, those who keep them may be none the wiser. The quickest and most
effectual way to cure the effects of over-feeding is to administer a
good dose of Epsom salts in their soft food in the morning, and to
starve them till the following day. Indeed such treatment to overfed
fowls that have gone off laying will often bring them into that
condition again at once. Poultry should always have access to plenty
of cool fresh water; and if the dish containing it cannot be kept in a
cool or shady place, the water should be frequently renewed, especially
in warm sunny weather, for nothing is worse for hens than sun-warmed
water. It is also important that a handful or two of small stones or
gravel be occasionally thrown into their runs, if the ground itself
is not gravelly, for hens swallow such stones to assist the gizzard
in triturating their food. It is considered that lime or old mortar
is necessary for the production of egg-shell, but we cannot speak
authoritatively on this point, for we have kept hens for years, and
never yet saw them swallow a piece of mortar, although they have access
to it; but we are bound to admit that oyster-shells, broken up small,
are at certain times swallowed with great avidity, if fowls can obtain
them.

Next to the importance of good systematic feeding, if not even
before it, ought to come cleanliness. Some people never think of
cleaning their hen-houses and hen-runs; but it ought to be carefully
and regularly done; and the inside walls and roosting-bars should be
whitewashed at least twice every year. In connection with this, it may
be mentioned that nothing is worse for a hen-house than a wooden floor,
as it soon gets saturated with their droppings, and becomes rotten,
when it is impossible to clean it. A stone or cement floor, or even an
earthen one, is greatly superior to one made of wood; and if such a
floor be kept thickly strewn with fine coal-ashes, sand, or dry earth,
this helps to deodorise the dung, and is easily cleaned--besides the
whole makes a very valuable manure, which can be used in the garden.
The floor or ground of the court or run should be earth, the surface of
which can be lifted off occasionally with a spade, and then dug up to
freshen it. At such times, the birds will get a feed of worms, which
will do them much good.

Fowls clean themselves by means of dust; and if they have not access to
it, they readily become infested with a species of small lice. Finely
riddled coal-ash or dry earth laid in a sheltered corner of their run
will answer the purpose. It should be renewed occasionally, and a
little flowers of sulphur or carbolic powder sprinkled on it. It is
very amusing to see the birds lying in their baths and shaking the dust
all over and through their feathers. They seem to take great delight in
this occupation.

The variety to be kept depends on circumstances, that which suits
one locality being unsuitable in another. Many people keep what are
called barn-door fowls, that is, a cross of all sorts of breeds, but
experience shews that such fowls are not profitable either for the
table or for laying. Occasionally one hears that there is nothing like
them for laying; but those who speak thus have seldom much experience
of pure breeds; and because they now and again find cross-bred birds
laying remarkably well, they are too apt to sound their praise.
A first cross between two pure breeds, such as the 'Dorking' and
'Spanish,' or 'Game' and 'Spanish,' sometimes produces very fine
profitable fowls; but if these are again allowed to mate with other
crosses, the progeny always degenerates. The Dorking is perhaps the
most common and well-known variety in this country, and holds a good
reputation for size and quality as a table bird, also for its laying
powers. It does not thrive, however, in all localities, requiring a
dry soil and extensive range to roam on, and is essentially a farmer's
bird. Dorkings make good sitters and mothers. The variety is bred to
perfection, principally in the counties of Sussex and Surrey. The
general favourites of 'fanciers,' owing to their symmetry of form and
beautiful plumage, are the several varieties of Game; but they are
somewhat troublesome to keep, owing to their fighting proclivities.
Spanish hens are good layers of large eggs, but the breed is a delicate
one, difficult to rear, and difficult to keep in health. Cold and damp
affect them much; but they sometimes do well in confined runs, if these
are dry and sheltered and their houses warm. 'Brahmas' and 'Cochins,'
two Asiatic breeds, created quite a sensation on their first being
brought to this country about a quarter of a century ago, and large
prices were then paid for them. As chickens they take a long time to
grow, but ultimately attain great size. They are both good layers,
especially in winter, when eggs are dear, but are inveterate sitters;
and the time lost by this propensity often neutralises the profit
which might be made from their egg-producing qualities. 'Hamburgs' lay
numerous eggs of a rather small description. The French varieties have
been gaining ground in this country for some years back, the 'Houdans'
being splendid table fowls, with good white flesh and small bones. They
grow very fast as chickens, but do not generally begin to lay till well
matured. 'Crève-cœurs' also grow quickly to a good size, but have not
much reputation as layers. The latest breed--which, however, has not
been known in this country more than a few years--is the 'Leghorn,'
for the introduction of which we are indebted to the Americans, who
imported the first birds of the kind from Leghorn about twenty years
ago, and have since then been improving the variety. It would appear to
excel most others for early development and splendid laying powers, and
is fast taking a prominent place with poultry-keepers. Prize birds of
all distinct varieties are very valuable, sometimes fetching as much as
twenty-five pounds for a single bird to shew and breed from.

It is a great mistake with some people to keep too many birds, and we
have noticed again and again where a keen amateur has very reluctantly
been persuaded to kill off or dispose of a portion of his stock, that
instead of his egg-basket suffering owing to the fewer birds kept, it
has actually become fuller than before. Only a certain quantity can be
kept on a given space, and if more than this is attempted, failure must
be the result. The proper number can be arrived at only by experience,
but no cottager with limited accommodation should attempt to keep
more than about half-a-dozen. The worst layers should be killed after
their first season's laying, just before they commence to moult or
cast their feathers--say about July or August; for if allowed once to
begin this process of renewal, they are useless for the table until
the whole of the new feathers grow again; and this sometimes occupies
months, during the whole of which time laying is generally suspended.
The best, however, should be kept over their second season's laying,
and then killed before moulting; and none but the very best should ever
be allowed to see a third season, for age is a very unprofitable and
increasingly unprofitable possession. From one hundred to two hundred
and fifty eggs may be expected from a good bird in the course of a
year; and those which lay less than a hundred are not worth keeping.
It may be mentioned that the addition of a cock to the run makes
no difference in the number of eggs which the hens will lay; it is
unnecessary, therefore, to keep a cock unless chickens be desired.



THE WALMER LIFE-BOAT.


    Hark! a distant gun is sounding
    O'er the waters, wildly bounding;
    Raging waves are fast surrounding
      Some wrecked ship to-night.
    On the shore the breakers, roaring,
    Loud as thunder now are pouring;
    Far a signal high is soaring,
      Like a phantom light.

    Moon and stars their aid denying,
    E'en to seek the living--dying--
    Who, to prayers and tears replying,
      Will the tempest face?
    Oh! for some brave ocean-ranger,
    Who would, through the cold and danger,
    Go to save, perchance, one stranger!
      Silence, for a space.

    Hark! the Life-boat bell is ringing,
    Gallant men are wildly springing,
    Life and home--their all--they're flinging,
      So the lost they save.
    Rockets now are brightly flashing;
    Through the shingle sharply crashing,
    Off the Life-boat's swiftly dashing.
      Heaven guard the brave!

    Through the night, that wanes so slowly,
    'Little ones,' in accents holy,
    Mothers, wives, in dwellings lowly,
      Breathe their heartfelt prayer.
    When the stormy sea is swelling,
    Aching hearts in regal dwelling,
    All their pride and power quelling,
      Kneel as helpless there.

    While the torches, dimly burning,
    Shew the tide at last is turning,
    Hundreds wait, for tidings yearning,
      Watch, with eager eyes:
    See! the first faint glimpse of morning
    The dim eastern sky adorning;
    Hark! the soldiers' bugle, warning
      That the sun doth rise.

    Then a little speck grows clearer,
    Draws--it seems but slowly--nearer,
    Seen by those to whom 'tis dearer--
      Known by them too well!
    Brighter now the morn is growing,
    Clearer, still, and clearer, throwing
    Light upon the billows, shewing
      'Tis no dream we tell.

    Fast the fatal sands they're leaving;
    Hail! the Life-boat, proudly cleaving,
    Where the angry sea is heaving
      Mountain-waves of foam.
    Onward, homeward, quickly nearing,
    'Mid the ringing, deaf'ning cheering,
    Loving words of welcome hearing,
      Greet the conquerors home.

    Far away the wreck is lying;
    But they bring, 'neath colours flying,
    Five poor Frenchmen, spared from dying,
      Safe to England's isle.
    English hands they're warmly pressing,
    English children they're caressing,
    Asking, praying, Heaven's blessing,
      With a tear and smile.

    Simple words tell acts of daring--
    Unknown heroes laurels wearing,
    Brother-like all honour sharing,
      Now and evermore.
    Speed the Life-boat, England's daughters;
    Bless her path across the waters;
    Tell her gallant deeds of glory;
    Spread the truthful, noble story,
      Far from England's shore!

        AUGUSTA A. L. MAGRA.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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