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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 717, September 22, 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. 717, September 22, 1877" ***

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[Illustration:

CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 717.      SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



BURIAL ECCENTRICITIES.


In all times and countries there have been queer notions about
burial. We here offer to our readers a few instances of this kind of
eccentricity.

Mr Wilkinson, one of the founders of the iron manufacture in Great
Britain, loved iron so well that he resolved to carry it to the grave
with him. He had himself buried in his garden in an iron coffin, over
which was an iron tomb of twenty tons' weight. In order to make all
right and secure, he caused the coffin and tomb to be constructed
while he was yet alive; he delighted to shew them to his friends and
visitors--possibly more to his pleasure than theirs. But there were
sundry little tribulations to encounter. When he died, it was found
that the coffin was too small; he was temporarily laid in the ground
while a new one was made; when buried, it was decided that the coffin
was too near the surface, and it was therefore transferred to a cavity
dug in a rock; lastly, when the estate was sold many years afterwards,
the family directed the coffin to be transferred to the churchyard.
Thus Mr Wilkinson had the exceptional honour of being buried three or
four times over. Mr Smiles tells us that, in 1862, a man was living who
had assisted at all these interments. Mr Wilkinson was quite pleased
to make presents of iron coffins to any friends who wished to possess
such mementos of death and iron. In a granite county such as Cornwall,
it is not surprising to read that the Rev. John Pomeroy, of St Kew, was
buried in a granite coffin which he had caused to be made.

Some persons have had a singular taste for providing their coffins
long beforehand, and keeping them as objects pleasant to look at, or
morally profitable as reminders of the fate of all, or useful for
everyday purposes until the last and solemn use supervenes. A slater
in Fifeshire, about forty years ago, made his own coffin, decorated it
with shells, and displayed it among other fancy shell-work in a room
he called his grotto. Another North Briton, a cartwright, made his own
coffin, and used it for a long time to hold his working tools; it
was filled with sliding shelves, and the lid turned upon hinges. It
is said that many instances are met with in Scotland of working men
constructing their own coffins 'in leisure hours.' Alderman Jones of
Gloucester, about the close of the seventeenth century, had his coffin
and his monument constructed beforehand; not liking the shape of the
nose carved on his effigy on the latter, he had a new one cut--just in
time, for he died immediately after it was finished. One John Wheatley
of Nottingham bought a coffin, and filled it with clove cordial; but he
brought himself into bad repute by getting drunk too frequently, for
his coffin became to him a sort of dram-shop. A young navy surgeon, who
accompanied the Duke of Clarence (afterwards King William IV.) when he
first went to sea as a royal middy, rose in after-life to an important
position at Portsmouth; he had a favourite boat converted into a
coffin, with the stern-piece fixed at its head, and kept it under his
bed for many years. A married couple in Prussia provided themselves
with coffins beforehand, and kept them in a stable, where they were
utilised as cupboards for the reception of various kinds of food;
but the final appropriation of the coffins was marked by a singular
_contre-temps_. The man died; the widow packed the contents of both
coffins into one; while the body was deposited in the other. By some
mishap, the coffin full of eatables was lowered into the grave. Next
day the widow opening the lid of the (supposed) cupboard, was scared at
finding the dead body of her husband. Of course the interment had to be
done all over again, with an interchange of coffins.

The custom of being buried in an erect position has been frequently
carried out. Ben Jonson was buried upright in Westminster Abbey,
a circumstance which gave occasion for the following lines in the
_Ingoldsby Legends_:

    Even rare Ben Jonson, that famous wight,
    I am told is interred there bolt upright,
    In just such a posture, beneath his bust,
    As Tray used to sit in to beg for a crust.

Military heroes have in more cases than one been buried by their men
in upright positions on the battle-field, sometimes lance or spear
in hand. One such was found at the Curragh of Kildare; on opening
an earthen tumulus, the skeleton of an old Irish chieftain was seen
upright, with a barbed spear in or near one hand.

It is of course quite easy to bury in an upright posture, by setting up
the coffin on end; but where, as in many recorded instances, the body
is placed in sitting posture, coffins were of necessity inadmissible.
When the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa opened the tomb of Charlemagne at
Aix-la-Chapelle, he found the body of the great man seated on a kind of
throne, as if alive, clad in imperial robes, bearing his sceptre in one
hand and a copy of the Bible on his knees. At Shoreditch churchyard,
some years ago, a tomb could be seen from the high-road, placed there
by a quack doctor named Dr John Gardiner. Or rather it was a high
head-stone, with an inscription denoting that the inclosed spot was his
'last and best bedroom;' he had the tomb and the inscription prepared
some years before his death, and was (so rumour stated) buried in a
sitting posture; but on this last point the evidence is not clear.

Some folks have been buried with a mere apology for a coffin. Such was
the fate of Mrs Fisher Dilke, during the time of the Commonwealth. Her
husband, Mr Dilke, did not seem to regard her remains as deserving of
a very high expenditure. He caused a coffin to be made from boards
which lined his barn. He bargained with a sexton to make a grave in the
churchyard for one groat; two groats cheaper than if it had been in
the church. He invited eight neighbours to act as bearers, for whom he
provided three twopenny cakes and a bottle of claret. He read a chapter
of Job to them while all was being got ready; then the cakes and wine
were partaken of, and the body carried to the churchyard; they put
her in the grave, each threw in a spadeful of earth; and the bereaved
husband and his neighbours retraced their steps. Another instance of
an apology for coffins was that near Horsham, in an old mansion which
had been a nunnery; when, on one occasion, the kitchen floor was taken
up, there were found twelve skeletons all in a row, each between two
planks; they were supposed to have been nuns.

And some folks have been buried without any coffin at all. A military
officer, some half-century or so ago, directed by his will that his
body should be opened by medical men, bound round with cere-cloth, and
interred without a coffin in a particular part of his park. Acorns were
to be sown on the spot, the most promising plant from which was to be
allowed to grow there, 'in order,' as he said, 'that his remains might
be useful in nourishing a sturdy British oak.' He left a legacy to his
gardener to weed and water the plant. A goodly-sized oak-tree now marks
the spot. This reminds one of the strange burial, or rather absence
of burial, in the case of Jeremy Bentham, the celebrated jurist and
philosopher. In accordance with his will, a head of wax was affixed to
his skeleton (after dissection); the figure was stuffed to the proper
size, and clad in Bentham's own garments; he was placed seated in his
own arm-chair, with his own walking-stick in one hand. A wag made a
very whimsical anagram out of this, by simply transposing two letters
in Jeremy Bentham's name--'Jeer my bent ham.'

Miscellaneous instances crowd upon us of burial without coffins. There
is a parish in the Isle of Thanet the register of which contains
entries of eightpence for burying in a coffin, and sixpence without
a coffin; and in the register of an adjoining parish (more than two
centuries back), eightpence 'in a coffined grave,' and sixpence 'in a
sheet.' About a century ago, in Dorset, a gentleman directed that his
uncoffined remains should be buried ten feet deep in a particular field
lying near his house, and the field to be then thoroughly ploughed
over, as if to obliterate him as completely as could well be the case.
The family of the St Clairs of Rosslyn were for many generations (the
men at anyrate) buried without coffins. The latest of such burials took
place towards the close of the seventeenth century. When the vault
was next opened, the body of Sir William St Clair was seen lying in
his armour with a red velvet cap on his head; nothing was decayed but
a part of the white fur-edging to the cap. In some parts of Ireland
it was at one time customary to carry the body to the grave-side in a
coffin, upon which the body was taken out and reverently deposited in
the earth. There was one Augustinian abbey graveyard in particular,
near Enniscorthy, in which certain families were generally buried in
this fashion, the graves being scrupulously prepared with boards,
earth, sods, and grass. It is said that the Superior of the first
Cistercian abbey founded in England since the Reformation lies buried
in this fashion in the chapter-house of the abbey in one of the midland
counties. Mr Thomas Cooke, a merchant who had well befriended Morden
College, Blackheath, directed that his body should be buried in a
winding-sheet, _minus_ coffin, in the college grounds.

And as some people have been buried without coffins, so have there
been instances of coffins buried without people. Fraud, more or less,
may be suspected in such cases. About a dozen years ago the death of
a foreigner was entered in the register of an Essex parish on the
faith of a medical certificate, apparently authentic; a coffin was
bought; and a grave ordered to be dug in a Roman Catholic graveyard.
The funeral, or _a_ funeral, took place, all in decent order. A few
weeks afterwards a claim was put in by the widow for a hundred thousand
francs, due from an insurance office. The (alleged) deceased was known
to have been a fugitive fraudulent bankrupt. The aid of the detective
police being obtained, the grave and coffin were opened, and--no corpse
was there. The rascal had made out the certificate of his own death,
ordered his own grave and coffin, and followed his own coffin to its
last home as chief mourner!

With or without coffins, many persons have been buried in spots other
than churchyards or graveyards; such, for instance, as in their own
gardens, farms, parks, or plantations. There is a family residence
in Northamptonshire marked by the singularity of having a coffin
placed as it were a table in a summer-house. Sir William Temple,
before his death in 1700, ordered his heart to be inclosed in a silver
casket, and buried under a sun-dial in his own garden at Moor Park,
opposite a particular window. Where the body was interred we have
no record. William Liberty, a brickmaker in Herts, was buried in a
tomb constructed by himself at the side of a lonely footpath across a
field; and room was afterwards found in the same tomb for his widow.
Sir James Tillie, of Pentillie Castle, Cornwall, was at his own desire
laid under a tower in a summer-house in a favourite part of his park.
Baskerville the printer was buried under a windmill near his garden; a
dancing-master in a plantation near Macclesfield; a barrister beneath
a tower which he had built at Leith Hill, Surrey; a Yorkshire squire
in his own shrubbery, 'because he had passed some of the happiest
hours of his life there;' a shepherd of the Chiltern Hills on the
chalky slopes of the hills themselves, with an inscription cut in the
grassy covering. The wish of a captain in Cromwell's army to bury
his favourite charger in the churchyard of Houghton-le-Spring, was
frustrated; whereupon he had it buried in his own orchard, and left
orders that he himself was to be buried by the side of the horse. The
editor of a Newcastle journal was buried in his own garden; and a
Northumbrian gentleman under a tomb in his own orchard. Körner, the
German soldier-poet who fell at Gadebusch, was buried on the spot under
an old oak; and many military men have found a similar resting-place.

Many queer stories are extant, resting, however, on tolerably good
authority, of bodies being left unburied, or in some way or other kept
above-ground, in the hope of cunningly defeating some law or other.
The old stage-coachmen on the Great North Road, when driving through
Stevenage, were wont to point to a barn in which the body of a former
owner, Mr Trigg, was kept; it was inclosed in lead, and placed upon a
beam of the roof. The gossips of the neighbourhood had two theories to
explain this. One was to the effect that Trigg had expressed a desire
that his body should be kept there 'until the day of judgment;' the
other, that he believed he would return to life again thirty years
after his death, and left his property subject to this contingency.
He died in 1721. After the thirty years his representatives 'gave
him three days' grace,' then buried him, and finally disposed of his
property. Just about a century ago, a legacy of twenty-five pounds a
year was left to a woman 'so long as she remained above-ground.' Her
husband, on her death, put a crafty interpretation on these words; he
rented a small room in a neighbour's house, and kept the body there
in a coffin during the long period of nineteen years, receiving the
annuity because the woman was still 'above-ground.' A gentleman, rather
earlier in the same century, left orders that, when dead, he should be
placed in a coffin perched up on end in a cellar. He had bequeathed all
his property to charitable uses, and had a notion that his relatives
would try to defy the will unless his body were kept unburied; that is,
not actually interred in the ground.



FROM DAWN TO SUNSET.


PART II.


CHAPTER THE FIFTH.

Two winters shed their snows, two summers spread their blooms round
Enderby; and old Time, who gives and takes so much, turned his
hour-glass, and the sands ran on. Beauty, hoar hairs, the feeble tired
heart of age, the fresh and throbbing heart of youth, all bend to
the death-sweep of his sickle. But his loans to the living are rich
and rare; though he scaths and saddens, he seldom fails to beautify
and bless. Each life, in early dawn, wins from the old graybeard's
hands hope and love and joy in very showers; youth is so beautiful,
youth is so hopeful, youth is so bright! Old Time gives more than he
ever takes away, for he gives days replete with life and strength and
gemmed with golden hours; but when he asks them back, they are shrunken
and worthless, mere empty shells, from which man has extracted the
sweetness and the goodness to his own vitality or destruction. Old Time
is merciful; if he wounds with that keen scythe of his, he as often
cures with healing balm. More often he spares from cruel hurts the aged
and the young. The young spring joyously over his scythe, and he pelts
them with flowers, and loves them for their daring and content; they
fear him not. Strong manhood rushes at him, wrestles with him, strives
to wrest from him more than he will ever give; so perchance he throws
that strong man, or pitilessly severs a limb. But the aged he loves,
because they are like to him; their bleeding wounds he numbs, their
failing hands he takes within his own, and leads them gently on the
way; then filling their poor hearts with blessed memories of youth and
spring, draws his scythe around them, and lays them gently down to rest.

The Rose of Enderby was favoured by old Time, who called Dame Nature
to him, and bade her paint her darling with colours rich and rare;
to filch somewhat from the red beauty of the bud; to subdue it to a
fainter softer hue; to darken the gold tints in the amber hair; to
deepen the lustre in the laughing eyes; to whisper to the heart of
the rose, so that the sweet voice of Nature might flutter that maiden
heart, and raise the maiden blush, that fairest gem in maiden's dower.

Deborah Fleming was a very proud maiden. She heard those whispers;
she felt those fairy knockings at her heart, but she barred the door
against them. She had grown so beautiful in her flush of dawn and grace
of womanhood, that if all eyes had not told her she was beautiful,
she must still have known it; and a proud happy consciousness took
possession of her and made her fairer. Yet these were dark days for
Enderby. You might not have thought it, to hear Deborah's songs and
laughter, and to see the father and daughter together; but how often
it is so--ruin is laid away like an ugly dream, not to be realised,
not to be believed in, till the inevitable end. Then there was hope,
hope that never dies out but with life, and Deborah threw hope round
her two darlings; but she _did_ suffer for them as much as her wild
buoyant spirit and hopeful heart would let her. She did pray for them
sometimes, not often. Deborah had well-nigh forgotten her mother's
prayers, and learned no new ones. Heaven help her! But in those days
Deborah's noble heart kept her true to God and man, so that she did not
stray far away in her wild and wilful youth. She did strive to lead
her darlings right, the old man and the young. She was their one link
to good. Her woman's eloquence and woman's love had sometimes saved
them. She knew their danger; she saw the dark cloud that gathered and
ever deepened over Enderby. With her feeble hands she strove to avert
it, and yet looked and laughed with undaunted brow, feeling the joy
and gladness in her heart, that outshone all else, and broke out in
uncontrollable sunshine over all. 'Oh, Charlie was young; he must sow
his "wild oats" like other men.'--'Oh, that rich old uncle who had gone
to America, and made fabulous wealth, and been no more heard of, would
come home and die, and leave father all his fortune, to build up the
fortunes of Enderby.'--'There were joyful days to come!'

Meantime Kingston Fleming was travelling abroad as a tutor, having
carried off high honours from Granta. Deborah had not seen him for
more than two years. Betrothed, folks said, to Beatrix Blancheflower,
and they would marry soon. Charlie had left Granta, nor was he very
often seen at Enderby. May's grandmother was dead, and May was an
heiress, living in Italy with a stern old guardian, and sometimes
dreaming of going again to Enderby, and sometimes writing a long, long
letter to Deborah. 'Mistress Dinnage' lived at home, and kept her
father's house, and dismissed all rustic lovers. Deborah now used the
grand saloon at Enderby, long uninhabited. You approached it by the
picture-gallery, which was lighted on one side at regular intervals
by high windows; while on the opposite wall hung faded portraits of
Flemings innumerable, knight and lady. The guests (what guests there
were) were ushered along this gallery by grim old Marjory, and so into
the presence of the beautiful Deborah Fleming; or if Deborah were not
there, her spirit would seem to pervade the place. The roses blooming
about in careless gay luxuriance; the curtains thrown back; the sun
streaming in brightness through the great semicircular window, lighting
up even the gloomy walls, and bringing out in curious distinctness the
grotesque figures woven in the ancient tapestry; the work and flowers
scattered about; the little white fluffs of kitlings disporting on the
rug; the flowery perfumed atmosphere--all breathed of Deborah Fleming
and summer-time.

We don't know if the stately old guest whom Dame Marjory ushered in
that morning was insensible to the charm or no. He walked to the window
and sniffed at scent of the roses, looking, as he did so, blind and
grim. He was an old man, but still a straight and stately one; his
features were strongly marked, and intersected by deep lines of passion
and craft; but he looked a thorough-bred old gentleman, so clean, so
calm, so placid--and all evil passions seemed to be at rest. There was
something even pathetic in the dim gray eyes and expression of gloomy
weariness. He had not the appearance of a formidable foe, or of being
full of cruel passions either, as he stood in the morning sun. It might
be that the dark tales and rumours of old Adam Sinclair were all false;
it might be envy, it might be jealousy, that made men talk thus of the
wifeless and childless master of Lincoln Castle, who was the owner of
lands so broad and brave. At all events he proved a friend in need to
Sir Vincent Fleming, and therefore Sir Vincent gave no credit to those
tales.

Now Adam Sinclair had thrice seen Deborah Fleming--once as a laughing
mischievous child, grimacing at him unheeded from behind her father's
chair. Again, riding with a gay cavalcade in the streets of Granta,
when a young fop whispered Deborah, and she laughed (was it at _him_?);
and he did not forget the girl on the black horse. Again he met her in
the hall late one night at Enderby--he met her face to face, and Sir
Vincent introduced him, under circumstances which we shall here relate.

Sir Vincent and his boon companions had been drinking deeply that
night. From a far-away chamber Deborah heard the sounds of song and
laughter and loud voices. She knew too that there was something more
than drinking going on, that fortunes perhaps were being lost and won.
She sat on and listened, looking stern and grave for her, and the
great clock struck the hours two, three, four! Deborah had got it into
her head that those men were all pitted against her father, and were
laughing at his ruin. She walked restlessly to and fro; her cheeks
began to fire and her wild eyes to flash. Suddenly her father, looking
pale and unsteady, and leaning on the arm of a tall angular old man,
entered the hall. Both started as if they saw a ghost; Sir Vincent
grasped Adam Sinclair's arm, and so Deborah Fleming faced them in all
her beauty.

'Child,' muttered Sir Vincent huskily, 'my old friend. Shake Master
Sinclair by the hand. He's your father's good friend.'

Adam Sinclair smiled suavely, and bowed well-nigh to his knees; _he_
was quite sober, and now beheld the superb figure he had seen on
horseback at Granta, and a face of exquisite loveliness and disdain.
But when he extended his long lean palm, Deborah put her right hand
behind her back, laid the other on her father's arm, and knitted her
dark brows at Sinclair with the glance of a tigress. So passed that
formal introduction.

       *       *       *       *       *

Merriment, disdain, angry passion--he remembered all, and still Deborah
Fleming stood before him as she had stood on the night of his repulse.
He _must_ see her again and talk with her. Twice he called in vain at
Enderby, and still those falcon eyes pursued him. Day and night, he
pictured some man, young and handsome, kneeling at Deborah Fleming's
feet, and then he shook with the maddening thought. Then he bethought
him of his own broad lands and his grand old castle, and he had hopes
of he knew not what. But trembling, he rode again to Enderby. Sir
Vincent was not at home; 'Mistress Fleming' was. Thus he stood, waiting
for Mistress Fleming's step: he was not deaf, when it came; he counted
each light reluctant footfall, and his heart beat violently, like a
boy's. So the courtier and the country maiden met for the first time,
alone. Master Sinclair apologised again, as he had done by Marjory,
for the intrusion, but begged the favour of a few moments' interview
with Mistress Fleming. Mistress Fleming bowed in proud silence, and a
faint colour tinged her cheeks, at the thought of her former reception
of this grave old man; she thought in her heart she had been rude and
unmaidenly, perhaps unjust to him; still an unconquerable dislike and
shrinking made her sit as far away from him as might be. He staid a
long half hour, and he paid her delicate and courtly compliments; he
shewed by his looks and conversation that he thought her not only a
beautiful girl but a thoughtful intellectual woman. Deborah was half
charmed against her own heart; and he found her so sweet and gentle,
that the next day he rode over again, trembling with eagerness, wild
hopes, and sore anxiety, and had asked to see Sir Vincent Fleming.
Deborah was out. She returned from a ride in one of her mad fits of joy
and animal spirits, and with loosened hair and flying step, entered the
hall where Sir Vincent was alone. It was a fair spring evening; the old
baronet was smoking his pipe, and striding thoughtfully to and fro, but
somehow Deborah stopped on her way to his arms; she knew by his face
that something unusual had happened.

'Come hither, Rose of Enderby,' said Sir Vincent, and threw down
his pipe, and gathered his little daughter in his arms. 'Let me
congratulate thee on thy first conquest.'

'What do you mean, father?' asked Deborah, blushing as red as any rose.

'Why, a fellow has been here this morning asking ye of me--asking ye in
marriage--no less than Master Adam Sinclair, of Lincoln Castle!'

What a flood of colour rushed into Deborah's face, dyeing her very
brow! She was startled, she was shamed, she was half proud, she was
disdainful. 'Does _that_ old man want to wed me, father?'

'Ay; that old man, the greatest man in the county.'

'In riches, father.'

'And in land: he has a goodly home. He has done your father good
service, Deb. And he is charmed with Mistress Fleming.'

'Well, let him be charmed. I find no charms in _him_. Nay; shake not
your head, good father. Not only do I find nought to charm me, but my
heart rebels against the smooth-tongued old man who calls himself my
father's friend. Father, I love him not. Not for twenty castles, would
I be Master Sinclair's wife!'

'Wrong, wrong, Deb; too rash by half. Think it over, child; ask
yourself if ye are not hot-headed, blind, and prejudiced; and if it
were not better to wait and know Master Sinclair better, before
casting from ye the prize that has been for many years the vain desire
of every maid and matron round. Wait, Deb, and let me have your sober
answer to-morrow, or later still.'

Deborah grew very pale. 'Father,' she said, 'd'ye really, truly love
and respect this Adam Sinclair in your heart? Is he so dear to you--and
can ye trust him _so well_, that after a few hours' thought ye are
ready and willing to give up your one daughter to him for _life_? For
life, father--_for life_--and no love to bear me up.'

'He is an old man, Deb.'

'Yes; and he will die soon, you would say, and leave Lincoln Castle
to me! But first, I would sell my soul, father, and drag on through
days of unutterable horror, as Adam Sinclair's wife, before I could be
released. And God might judge me, by taking me the first. O father,
father! Say thou lovest me. Do not break my heart. Say thou hast some
great and secret reason for liking this old man. Say thou'rt in a
grievous strait, to need this help of me. Or only say, sweet father,
that it wrings thine heart to ask me to part from thee. Anything,
but that thou'rt willing to be rid of Deb! Ah me! Thou art cool,
father--thou art indifferent, while my soul aches for sorrow at the
very thought of parting from thee! Ah, but thou wilt have thy darling
still--thy Charlie; while Deb, poor Deb would languish as Mistress
Sinclair, with no more hope in life. _I_ should have nought but memory,
and memory would be like to drive me mad!'

Sir Vincent was fairly taken by storm, by Deborah's burst of fiery
feeling; he grew pale as herself, he folded her to his breast; for
indeed under his exterior coolness, he had been sore pressed, and
feeling deeply; his heart had been loudly crying out on him, for this
temptation to give away his young and only daughter to a man more
than double her years, and such a man as Adam Sinclair. 'Deb, Deb,'
he faltered, 'thou hast vanquished me! _Love_ thee, child--love thee,
little sweet blossom! Thy mother's living image, my hope, my _stay_!
Nay; keep in my heart, and shelter here! It is all I have to offer
thee. Don't unman me, love, by these tears. 'Twas sore temptation
tempted me to give thee up--to have thee the greatest lady in the
county, instead of nought but the daughter of a beggared and a ruined
man.'

Deborah dashed aside her tears; all her heart spoke in her brave bright
upward smile upon his breast: 'Nay, father, nay--not beggared, not
ruined. These are strong words. And thy love is greater treasure to
me than all the wealth of Master Sinclair. Put thine arms round me.
There; I am as happy and hopeful as a queen; so thou wilt be happy too.
And who knows but Deborah Fleming may do great things yet? Why, if
Master Sinclair finds something in this poor Deborah Fleming to love,
a greater and grander may. I am not so modest but that I know my worth
either.'

'Ah, thou'lt make many a heart ache, Deb, before thy day is done.
Meantime, be kind and friendly to Adam Sinclair, for my sake, if he
will be friends. I tell ye he will not give up hope. I know Adam.
Repulse him not, Deb; let him hope on; it will sun Adam's declining
days.'

'I will give him no false hopes, father. Tell him from me that I can
never be his wife; thus he may be looking elsewhere. Then if it pleases
him to come to Enderby for my friendship's sake, he can. But father,
does he not _darken_ Enderby?'

Sir Vincent frowned. 'How mean ye, child?'

'Why, father, he professes too great love for you; I doubt a little
these mighty professions. My love makes my eyes like lynx's eyes, to
see through all who work _thee_ harm.'

'Then they have proved too keen. Adam Sinclair would cut off his right
hand for me. I say not for love; he comes not of a loving kind, and men
o' the world deal not in such stuff one towards another; but because in
former years I saved him from a worse trouble than ever _I_ have known.
There; it is _gratitude_ that binds this man to me, and he has shewn
it.'

'Ah! Then I will thrust away this distrust that is not worthy of me. I
never knew the heart that was not grateful for great service done. And
what is more, I'll ne'er believe in ingratitude. Dear Adam Sinclair!
Good old man! Grateful, grim, old, true friend of my father, I will
strive to forget that you have ever wished to wed me; so I may grow to
like you as a friend.'

Sir Vincent laughed. 'And this is hard? What dost like? Whom dost like,
Deb? Of all the brave fellows thou seest in the hunting-field, whom
couldst thou choose?'

'Faith, father, I can see no "brave fellow" there but the poor gallant
one streaming along in the bushy-tailed red-brown coat!'

'Sir Reynard? Ha, ha! Thou'rt thy father's true daughter. But not one
beside Master Fox?'

'Not one.'

'I am glad on't. They are all rattle-pates or penniless. I wish to give
thee to better folk.'

'Hark to him! Thou ambitious old dear! Well-a-day, I am in no haste to
wed. As Deborah Fleming, I am happy. Oh, that I might never change that
name!'

'Pshaw! Thou'lt not say this always; but unless with thy full and free
consent, Deborah Fleming thou shalt remain.'

'This is the gipsy prophecy,' said Deborah, as she went up the great
oak stairs. 'The grand old man who would meet me at the gates of my own
home.' Then in her own room, musing: 'But "love and greatness should
come hand in hand." God forbid that I ever love ye, Adam Sinclair!
Unless some false witch should blind my eyes with "love in idleness,"
I never will. Oh, keep me from it, kind Providence! If ever so deluded
and deceived, I would wake up to misery! If I saw father _starving_,
would I? No; for in so doing, I would kill both my body and _soul_. I
wonder, will King Fleming ever return? I had well nigh forgot him. And
he will be for wedding Mistress Blancheflower. Why she must be getting
old. Ah, well-a-day, we all grow old.'


CHAPTER THE SIXTH.

It was about this time that a distant kinswoman of Deborah's died,
leaving her a legacy of twenty guineas a year. It seemed a fortune to
Mistress Fleming. With the twenty golden pieces in her hand, she sat
revolving in her mind what she would buy with them, happy as the blue
fly that buzzed about her sunny room, she who had so often looked on
grim poverty face to face. Our heroine was full of joy. The bells of
Enderby were ringing out their glad gay peals. The air was radiant
with sunshine, and heavy with fragrance. Kingston Fleming was coming
home, and coming to Enderby. The murmur of the bees about the ivy,
the scent of clambering roses and honeysuckle, brought back the days
of childhood. There, were the great boughs in the wych-elm where they
swung; there, were the green woods where they played.

Deborah, with her arm leaning on the warm sill, was in a very dream
of bliss, and then her wandering thoughts came back. Yes, half must
be laid by in case of need, or as much as could possibly be spared;
she would say half. Then there must be a new cap for Marjory, a book
for Mistress Dinnage--a tale of love and romance; a hunting-knife for
Jordan. And what for dear old Charlie? She must think that over. It
was difficult to know what could be nice enough for one so fastidious
and so dear. And what for herself? A new cap to match the lace she
had; for she was no longer a hoyden with tangled locks, but 'Mistress
Fleming.' She would ride into Granta the next day, and buy that
little cap. Drawing the curtain which shut out the alcove, the maiden
threw her money on the bed, and there too was laid a soft and sheeny
dress, trimmed with costly cobweb lace, a dress of her grandmother's
modernised artfully by herself and Mistress Dinnage. Deborah's heart
beat and her colour rose. Girls are silly beings. She could think of
and pine for nought but that coquettish cap which would jauntily set
her love-locks.

While thus musing, the door opened abruptly, and in stalked a
travel-stained figure, a tall figure, with wild dishevelled hair.
It was Charlie Fleming, with the passions of his boyhood darkened
and deepened, in the sombre beauty of the face that had grown stern
and set. He was pale through his bronze; his long hair streamed back
from his heated brow, and his whole air betokened a reckless fugitive
spirit. Deborah had not seen him for weeks; she gave a cry of joy, and
sprang into his arms. The roughness of the boy had passed from Charlie
Fleming, but his rare demonstrations of affection were shewn to Deborah
only. 'I am only here for half an hour, Deb. I must saddle horse afresh
and off to Lincoln Castle. I am in rare trouble, Deb. Hush, child! I am
come to thank ye for refusing Adam Sinclair. Better poverty, Deb, than
that. Better starvation. I'd blow his brains out sooner than see you
his wife. See that ye are never talked into this. I know your generous
madness, child; let _no misery_ move ye to it.'

'Nay, Charlie; it never shall! But if you are so averse to him, do
not go to Lincoln. I hate him. I distrust him more and more. You are
pale and tired too, Charlie. Is it the _old_ trouble?' Deborah leaned
forward, where she sat opposite him; the sweet confidante of father and
brother was wont to forget all her own joys and sorrows in theirs.

Charlie raised his dark beautiful eyes to hers, then dropped them;
the furtive glance was enough. Deborah thought of her gold, and her
heart began to throb with tumultuous joy. 'Is it _much_, Charlie? More
than--twenty guineas?'

Charlie laughed a bitter laugh. 'Don't ask me, child,' he said; 'you
cannot help me, Deb. I am undone!'

'Not so undone but that I can help you a little,' whispered Deborah
softly, and ran towards the bed. Then she drew Charlie's hands down
from his moody face, and with her own all radiant, laid her treasure in
his hands. 'See, Charlie! This is _mine_, my very own. I have never had
such riches before. Just before you came in, dear boy, I was racking my
brains as to what I could buy you with these guineas, and now I give
them all to you in place of presents. Don't thank me; it is thanks
enough to let me stand thy friend. For what need have _I_ for money? To
me it would be worthless!'

'Who gave ye this, Deb?'

'A fairy--a true fairy, who knew your need.'

'Not May Warriston?'

'May Warriston? No! What ails you?'

'Deb, I cannot rob thee, dear. Thou needst a thousand little gewgaws
such as women love. Say no more o' this;' and Charlie gave her back the
gold.

But Deborah was on her knees, putting her soft face up to his.
'Charlie, it will break my heart if you disdain my poor gift. I tell
you again, I have no need for money--only as a temptation for finery
and trinkets which it would be sin for me to wear. Old Charlie, sweet
old Charlie, I _will_ be mistress here!' And Deborah poured her gold
into his pocket and closed it up. 'You will not go to Lincoln _now_?'

Charlie Fleming took her face between his hands; a melancholy smile
fluttered about his lips; and she, so radiantly happy: '_Will_ you go?'
she urged.

'Yes.'

'Oh, wilful, headstrong, obstinate! To this one time I give consent;
but after this, you shall go no more to Lincoln, to be the companion of
that bad old treacherous man. He would fain ruin us all; I know it!'

'Tush, tush! Deb. I know just how to take Adam Sinclair. And if he
wrongs mine by word or deed, let him look to it!' And the young giant
rose to his feet.

Deborah caught his arm. 'You are not going to _fight_ him?'

'Fight him? No; we are friends, bosom friends, like as thyself to
Mistress Dinnage.'

'Well, be not rash and hot-headed. I know your fiery temper, and am
ever in fear and trembling, with such a man as Master Sinclair too,
that you should quarrel and hurt him sorely. Quarrel not about _me_,
Charlie; he is always courteous to me.'

'I hope so. Good-bye, sweet Deb, good-bye.' The brother and sister
kissed, and Charlie sped to the court-yard.

Old Jordan held Bayard for him, ready saddled. 'Thanks, good Jordan.
Where is my father?'

'I ain't seen him these three days, Master Charlie. An' now thou'rt
goin' away agen, these be dull days for Enderby an' Mistress Deborah.'

'Where's Mistress Dinnage?' asked Charlie, dropping his keen glance to
the old man's face.

'In the manor here; she well-nigh lives with Mistress Deborah, an' well
she may.'

'I never see her about.'

'She's there though, Master Charlie.'

'Good-bye, Jordan. Take care of them.' And Charlie Fleming, striking
spurs to his horse, rode away; not so fast but that one pair of dark
eyes, full of proud reluctant tears and lingering passion, looked from
a window overhead, and watched him as he sped away.

'Poor little Deb!' muttered Charlie, as his good horse bore him far
away. 'I will not forget thee, dear. Poor little maid! It has eased her
heart. A drop, a drop in the ocean of my troubles, is Deb's gold to me.
Poor child! Now, if you fail, Adam Sinclair, flight is my only chance.'



HOTEL HOSPITALS.


Some years ago, a Birmingham medical man--Mr West--in a very ably
written contrast between English and French surgery, drew attention to
a kind of hospital common abroad, and much appreciated there by the
class for whose benefit these institutions are intended, but of which
in Britain we have no examples, or at most one or two experimental
wards on a very limited scale. These institutions are hospitals where
patients of the middle class who can afford and are willing to pay
a moderate sum, can be received when serious illness or accident
unfortunately necessitates medical aid--'a special kind of hospital,'
said Mr West, 'unknown in England, which I think of great utility, and
of which there is, I believe, an urgent need, not only in London, but
also in every large town throughout the provinces.'

Mr West's paper does not appear to have borne much fruit at the time;
but recently the question has appeared again, and this time, so much
has been done to give prominence to the movement, that a public
meeting was held last June at the Mansion House, to discuss points in
connection with this great subject. There cannot be two opinions as
to the general advisability of establishing such hospitals in this
country, and as was to be expected from the honourable desire of the
medical faculty always to do what appears best for suffering humanity,
we find that the scheme has the cordial approval of the presidents of
the great medical bodies and the chief members of the profession in
London, who agree that this is a much-needed institution.

Out of England, there are various examples of such hospitals, such as
the State Hospital at Christiania, which is entirely supported by such
paying patients; the famous Maison Municipale de Santé in Paris; and
various institutions in Germany and the United States, where for a
moderate fixed payment, men or women of limited means, or who have no
home in a large city, can obtain adequate care and proper nursing in
case of illness. The great French hospital, the Maison Municipale de
Santé, is a model of what such an establishment should be. It is under
the control of the municipal authorities, and has nearly six hundred
beds ready for the treatment of sick and wounded persons of the class
now alluded to, who, for a daily payment varying from four to twelve
francs, can obtain medical and surgical advice--medicine, food, baths,
and all else necessary for their proper alleviation or cure. There are
two physicians and a surgeon on the staff of the hospital; but if the
patients choose, they can call in consultation any of the Parisian
hospital doctors, and the fees paid to them are the only extra expense
that inmates are liable for. 'The hospital,' says Mr West, 'is clean,
well-furnished, comfortable, and contains every variety of bath that
the patients can possibly require.'

What a boon such an establishment would be, not only for the large
numbers of clerks and assistants in our shops and warehouses, who
live in lodgings, and are far from the tender hands of a loving nurse,
but also for a class who are anxious to have the advantages of a
well-managed hospital and its careful nursing, rather than subject
near and dear ones at home to all the trouble and anxiety of nursing
and watching, besides the great risk of infection. There is certainly
a strong and no doubt very natural feeling against the idea of being
away from home when sickness overtakes us; but in process of time this
dislike must yield to the undoubted fact, that in a well-organised
hospital, a case has, as a rule, a far better chance than elsewhere
of being thoroughly attended to according to the directions of the
physician. The loving hands that smooth the pillow under the uneasy
head need not be absent here; but it must be remembered that it is
not given to every mother or wife to be a good nurse. Nervousness
and inexperience, over-anxiety from the very great interest in the
issues of life and death for the loved one, are often causes of
risk to the patient. Then, too, house accommodation may be limited:
perfect isolation of the infected patient, especially in the 'flats'
of such a town as Edinburgh, may be well-nigh impossible; while the
disease may be, like small-pox, of a kind that drives all but the most
self-sacrificing of friends away.

In one of the many letters written on this subject we get a pitiable
instance of such a case as this: A young man, living with a lady and
her daughters, became ill with small-pox. His mother was dead, his
father in India. When it was clear what disease he had, every one left
him but one servant. His doctor sent him to a small-pox hospital, but
it was full; and he had to be brought back again, and put under the
care of a nurse from an Institution; but at ten P.M. this Mrs Gamp
was found to be quite drunk, and another had to be sent for. But how
infinitely better would it have been if he could have been sent to a
paying hospital. The present writer knew of a case some years ago that
peculiarly illustrates the value of such institutions. A young married
man of limited but not straitened means was seized with illness at
home about a week before the 'flitting term,' at which time he was
to remove his household goods to another town. The doctor pronounced
it fever, and said that if he was to be removed at all, it must be
immediately. It was absolutely necessary he should leave his house when
his tenancy expired; and as they had no friends in town to whom to go,
no course was open but to send the sick man to the public hospital;
which was done. Here was a distinct perversion of the objects of such
an institution; and though in this case some compensation was made in
the form of a donation, yet here again, how much better for all parties
if that hospital had had a wing, where he could have been taken in on
the distinct footing of payment for its advantages.

Various proposals have been made as to the mode of instituting such
hospitals. Sir Rutherford Alcock is in favour of a certain number of
wards in good existing hospitals being set aside for the accommodation
of paying patients at varying rates, to suit their varying means;
others advocate the building of distinct wings or pavilions to existing
hospitals; while many think that buildings separate in every way should
be specially built. The advantages in favour of connection are that
in these hospitals there is already an organised staff of physicians,
surgeons, and nurses; and that while the extra expense of an expansion
of this staff would be comparatively small, the payments from the
new class of patients would largely help the funds of the hospital
in its charitable purposes. It is probable, however, that a distinct
institution--an 'Hotel Hospital' it is proposed to call it--will soon
be set on foot, as a limited liability company is spoken of for the
purpose.

The London _Figaro_ some time ago advocated the establishment of
dispensaries where a man of the middle class could get for a small fee
first-rate medical advice. In this material respect the workman is
decidedly better off than the struggling member of the middle class,
who, if he has to consult a leading physician, must pay fees beyond
what he too often can afford, while to the poor man the highest medical
advice in the kingdom is as free as the air he breathes. The _Figaro_
shews how this would be not only a great advantage to middle class
people but to the medical profession, in which at present many young
men have to be content with a local practice, because they have no
opportunity for obtaining hospital practice, which is so necessary for
qualification as a general physician.



DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND.

A GRANDFATHER'S STORY.


About sixty years ago I was in Paris for the first time in my life.
Bonaparte still lingered at St Helena; and the adventurers, good, bad,
and indifferent in character, who had served in his armies had not yet
lost all hope of the return of their idol, and consequently had not yet
thought it worth while to settle down into thorough peace and quietness.

Young Paul Ferrand, whom I frequently met at the café, and who had
served as a captain at Waterloo, was sure that the Little Corporal
would come back again soon. 'You have not yet beaten him,' he would
tell me laughing. 'You sent him to Elba, but he returned; you have sent
him to St Helena, and he will return again. We shall see.'

Ferrand was an exceedingly nice fellow; and although he professed to
cherish an unquenchable hatred for England and everything English, he
had, by some means or other, become attached to Alice Rae, a young
English lady of my acquaintance, and who had been living with her
mother since the conclusion of peace at Paris, not far from the abode
of the ex-captain. And he was always very friendly with me too. He
would, it is true, abuse my countrymen most unmercifully; but he was
always particularly good-natured; and whenever he found himself saying
a little too much, he would arrest himself and apologise so heartily,
that I never could be angry with him. I was alone in the French
capital, and had few friends there except Mrs Rae, her daughter Alice,
and Paul; and so it happened that I passed a good deal of my time in
the society of these three. The mother, a woman still in the prime of
life, and the widow of a king's messenger, was a connection of mine by
marriage, and that fact gave me a good excuse for offering my services
as escort whenever she and her pretty daughter thought fit to go to
the theatre or the opera. At such times Paul always had a seat in the
stalls; and between the acts he would come up to my box, to the delight
of Alice, who was in love with him, and to the no small satisfaction
of Mrs Rae, who herself had quite a maternal affection for the young
Frenchman, and did not in the least discourage his attentions to her
daughter. If there were no formal engagement between the two, it was at
least perfectly understood by all parties that as soon as Paul should
get an appointment, for which at the time he was a candidate, he was to
marry Alice; and I, though only a few years her senior, was to give her
away.

One night the opera-house was crowded more than usual. A great singer
was to appear, and a new work by a renowned composer was to be
performed. But Paul Ferrand, sitting in the stalls, seemed scarcely
to listen to the music or to notice the acting; and much more often
were his eyes turned in the direction of my box than in that of the
stage. Alice and her mother were with me; and as the curtain fell at
the conclusion of the first act, Paul came up to us. He was in high
spirits, for he had heard that the minister had decided to give him
the coveted post, and he expected to hear in a few days that his
appointment had been signed by the king. We congratulated him; and as
he left us to return to his seat, I whispered to him: 'You'll be a
happy man in a month or two now, Paul.' He smiled, and shut the door.

We watched him as he threaded his way to his place. It was in the
centre of the second row from the orchestra, and he had left his
opera-glasses on the chair, in order to preserve his right to it;
but during his absence a tall, military-looking man had appropriated
it, and had coolly put the glasses on one side. Paul approached the
stranger with the utmost politeness, and I suppose, for naturally I
could not hear, requested him to move. The interloper did not deign
to answer, but sneeringly looked up at Ferrand, as though to ask him
what he meant by his intrusion. Paul pointed to the opera-glasses; but
the stranger neither replied nor moved, but continued to appear as
though he did not hear. I saw that matters were assuming a dangerous
complexion, for in the new-comer I recognised Victor Laroquière, an
ex-Bonapartist officer like Paul, a notorious bully, and one of the
most celebrated duellists in France. But what could I do? I could
only sit still, much against my will, and witness the inevitable
consequences. I thought Alice would faint when Laroquière in the
calmest way rose before the crowded assemblage and struck Paul in the
face with his glove; but she recovered herself, and like a statue
watched her lover pick up his opera-glasses, bow to his insulter,
and without a word, leave the building. There were some exclamations
from the audience; but the duellist again rose, and with a theatrical
air gazed round, mockingly imitated Paul's parting bow, and resumed
his seat. This was too much for poor Alice. She could not remain any
longer; she must go home; and so, with some difficulty, I got her and
her mother to my carriage, told the coachman to drive them home, and
myself walked quickly to Paul's lodgings.

He had arrived before me, and was already writing when I entered his
room. 'Of course,' he said, as he saw me and came towards me with
both hands outstretched, 'you, my dear friend, will assist me. It is
impossible to do anything but fight. Even Alice could not make me alter
my conviction upon that point, the insult was so public.'

'Suppose you leave the country?' I suggested.

'Then I should have to give up the appointment and Alice too. No, my
dear fellow, I am a Frenchman, and I must fight; and you must arrange
matters for me. If he shoots me, it cannot be helped; if I shoot him, I
shall have shot the biggest scoundrel in Paris. I beg you to call upon
Laroquière to-night. I have already discovered his address. Here it is.'

'But must you really fight? It is suicide to fight with a professional
duellist.'

'Ah,' he said, shaking his head, 'I am afraid it is suicide; but I
_must_ fight; so please don't try and persuade me that I need not. And
I will fight, too, as soon as possible. You can arrange everything for
to-morrow morning. I must have the matter over. In a day or two I might
be a coward.'

By his looks he implored me to go to Laroquière; and constituted as
French society was at that time, I had no other course open to me than
to do as he wished.

'If Monsieur come from M. Paul Ferrand,' said a man-servant when I
inquired whether I could see his master, 'M. Laroquière has sent to
say that he has not yet left the opera. He has, however, sent this
pencilled note, which I am to give to the gentleman who comes from M.
Ferrand.'

I tore open the missive. It contained two cards, one bearing the name
of the duellist, and the second that of M. Fernand Delaraie, Rue
Vivienne 18. Certainly it was an off-hand way of acquainting me with
the name and whereabouts of Laroquière's second; but as I wished to
pick no quarrel, I walked on to the Rue Vivienne, and in a few minutes
was ushered into the presence of M. Delaraie himself. This worthy was
a young man, aged about three-and twenty, and dressed in the very
extreme of fashion. His ruffles were immaculate, and most symmetrically
arranged; his lace handkerchief was steeped in essences; his gloves,
which lay on the table--for he had only just returned, at Laroquière's
request, from the opera--were small and delicate; his fingers were
covered with valuable rings; and the bunch of gold seals depending
from his fob was unusually heavy and brilliant. He did not strike me
as appearing particularly warlike; but nevertheless, after formally
saluting me, he at once touched upon the object of my visit; and before
I had been ten minutes in his company, had arranged to meet Ferrand and
myself at a certain spot, dear to duellists of the time, at an early
hour next morning, and to bring Laroquière with him.

'I don't think we shall need a surgeon,' he said to me quite affably at
parting; 'but if you please, you can bring one. In his last affair my
principal shot his man through the temples, and he died immediately. I
sincerely hope, Monsieur, that your friend is as clever.'

'Confound the fellow!' I said to myself as I left the house and sought
the residence of my own medical man. 'I am afraid poor Ferrand is not
such a consummate murderer as Laroquière.'

After seeing the surgeon, to whom I briefly explained matters, I called
upon Mrs Rae. She was doing her best to comfort her daughter, who was
in the greatest possible distress. 'Are they going to fight?' she asked
me.

'My dear Alice,' I said, 'they are. I have done my best to dissuade
Paul; but he says, and I am obliged to agree, that he must fight. Let
us hope for the best. He has a sure eye and a steady hand, and he has
right on his side. The other man is a scoundrel. And you must remember
that poor Paul is not an Englishman. If I were he, I would not fight;
but as it is, the matter cannot be overlooked, and indeed everything is
arranged.'

'You are to be with him?' said Mrs Rae, looking as white as a sheet.

'Yes; they are to meet to-morrow morning, and by breakfast-time Alice's
suspense will be over. She must bear up.'

'You must prevent the duel,' sobbed the half-heart-broken girl. 'Cannot
Paul let the insult pass? But no; it was so public.'

'You can only hope,' I said. 'I will see you in the morning; but now I
must go back to him, and see that he gets some sleep.'

'Tell him,' cried Alice, 'that if he is killed I shall die. Come here
directly it is over. Come, even if he falls: you must tell me about
it. I must hear everything.' She buried her face in her hands; and I,
escaping from the unhappy girl, hurried to Paul.

He was still writing, and his hair was in disorder, and his face pale
when he turned towards me. 'I am no coward,' he said, 'but I am saying
good-bye to her, for I shall die to-morrow.'

'My dear fellow,' I exclaimed, 'you will shoot Laroquière, and be
married next month. You must finish your writing at once and go to bed.
I will sleep here to-night, for I must see that you turn out in time
to-morrow morning; so be as quick as possible.'

He wrote for another half-hour, addressed the document to Alice Rae,
placed a lock of his hair within it, and after sealing it up, gave it
to me.

'Give that to her,' he said, 'if Laroquière kills me outright--and I
know he will. If it were not for Alice, I declare that I should be
quite glad to meet him. Now for bed.'

He undressed; whilst I lay down on the sofa in the next room and lit a
cigar, for I could not afford to sleep myself. Soon all was quiet, and
I stole in to see Paul lying as quiet as a child with a smile on his
face. Probably, nay assuredly, I passed a more uncomfortable night than
he did. Only with the greatest possible difficulty could I keep awake;
and the hours seemed to linger for ever. At last, however, daylight
dawned, and I called Ferrand, who woke refreshed and in comparatively
good spirits. After a hurried breakfast we muffled ourselves up; I
placed a flask of brandy, some powder and bullets, and a brace of
pistols in my pockets, and we sallied forth in the cold morning air.
Scarcely any one was abroad, except a few sleepy watchmen, who seemed
to make very shrewd guesses at the object of our expedition; and
through the silent streets we went for a mile or so, until we reached
the meeting-place.

Laroquière and Delaraie were there before us, and my friend the surgeon
arrived immediately afterwards in his carriage, which waited near at
hand. The pistols were produced and loaded. Laroquière chose one, and
I gave the other to Paul; and then the two men took up positions at a
distance of twenty paces from each other, and waited for Delaraie to
give the signal to fire.

'Stay!' cried the bully, as his second stepped back; 'let the young
hound listen to this. I am not trifling with him: I shall shoot him
only where he wishes, for I am generous, parbleu!'

'If I do not kill you,' said Paul quietly, 'I prefer to die.'

'Then I shoot him through the heart,' coolly observed Laroquière. 'It
will teach others not to challenge me.'

There was something to me unspeakably horrible in the way in which
these last words were pronounced. I shuddered, and looked at Paul. He
smiled at me, and at the same instant Delaraie gave the signal.

There was but one report, for Ferrand's pistol flashed in the pan.
The poor fellow turned round towards me with fixed eye and pale face,
and with the name of Alice on his lips, fell dead. Laroquière turned
on his heel, and departed quickly in company with Delaraie, while I
aided the surgeon in his brief examination of Paul's body. Surely
enough, the bullet had passed through his heart. He must have died
almost instantaneously, for he did not move after he fell, and the last
smile with which he had looked at me was still upon his face. It was a
melancholy business in every respect. I had to break the sad news to
Alice and her mother; and the two ladies were so terribly overcome,
that I feared the shock would have some permanent effect upon their
health. For my part, I was obliged to hurry to England as soon as
possible; and Laroquière, I heard, also got away, and remained out of
France until the affair had blown over.

I kept up a correspondence with Mrs Rae, and was glad after a time to
hear from her that Alice, though still terribly upset, had learned to
look with a certain amount of philosophy upon her misfortune, and had
to some extent recovered her usual health, if not her usual spirits.
Meantime I settled down in London, and unable to forget my Parisian
habits, usually dined at one of the then much frequented taverns in
Fleet Street. The _Cheshire Cheese_, which was then in much the same
state as it is now, was my favourite haunt; and there, as months passed
by, I gradually picked up a few pleasant acquaintances, chief amongst
whom was an extremely well-mannered young gentleman named Barton, a man
of independent means, good family, and first-rate education.

One day, after he had been dining with me, the conversation turned upon
continental manners and particularly upon duelling. As an illustration
of my abhorrence of the system, I told my companion about poor Paul's
death, a matter in which Barton appeared much interested. He asked me a
good many questions about the parties concerned, and after expressing
a remarkably strong opinion to the effect that Laroquière was a
blackguard, bid me good-night. I went home to my rooms in the Temple;
and next day, on visiting the _Cheshire Cheese_, found no Barton. He
had left word with one of the waiters that urgent business had called
him away, but that he hoped to see me on his return. Weeks passed, and
then months, and still Barton did not come back; and I confess that I
had begun to forget him altogether, when one evening he dropped into
dinner as though he had not been absent for more than a day or two.

'Where have you been?' I asked, after I had heartily shaken hands with
him.

'I have been to Paris,' he said. 'On arriving there I found out
a little more than you told me about Laroquière, and when I had
thoroughly convinced myself that he was the blackguard you painted him,
I arranged for a series of lessons at a pistol-gallery. Every day for a
month I went and shot for an hour or two, until I was so perfect as to
be able to hit a small coin every time at a distance of twenty paces.
After satisfying myself as to my proficiency, I took a box at the
opera; it may have been the same box that you used to have. Laroquière
was pointed out to me. He sat in the stalls, and between the acts he
left his seat in order to speak to a lady in another part of the house.
I descended as quickly as possible and took his place. He returned,
and asked me in an overbearing tone to move. I refused. He persisted.
I struck him. He sent me a challenge, and we met upon the same spot,
curiously enough, where he had killed your friend Ferrand. Before the
signal was given, I said: "M. Laroquière, listen to me. I am not here
to trifle with you: but I am as generous as you were with Paul Ferrand.
I will shoot you only where you wish." He turned deadly pale. "We will
see," he said, "whether I shall not make you a second Ferrand!" "Then
I will shoot you," I returned, "as you shot him--through the heart. It
will teach other bullies not to challenge me." Whether he was so upset
as to be incapable of aiming or not, I cannot say; but my dear fellow,
I shot him as dead as a dog, right through the heart, and avenged your
friend, at the same time ridding Paris of its biggest villain. It was a
case of diamond cut diamond.'

'Well done, Barton!' I exclaimed.

'Wait,' he said, 'and let me finish the drama. We managed to keep the
matter very quiet; and before leaving France, I was able to call on Mrs
Rae, who is now at Boulogne, for I had a letter of introduction to her
from a Parisian acquaintance. When I saw her first, she knew nothing
of the affair, but at last I broke the intelligence to her and to her
daughter. I found Alice to be a pretty girl, somewhat spoilt by her
long mourning, and not very much inclined to listen to me; but my dear
fellow, after three weeks of hard persuasion she gave in, and now she
and her mother are coming over next week. I believe you were to give
Alice away. When she arrives, you shall have a capital opportunity.'

'And,' I added, shaking my friend's hand warmly, 'I shall be delighted
to do so.'



MODERN SUPERSTITIONS.


Most people accept it as a fact that superstition went out with the
advent of steam, the telegraph, and the penny-post. A little honest
observation, however, will assure us that there still exist a number
of pitiable though petty superstitions. Among certain classes there
are lucky and unlucky days in their calendar. They will not attempt an
important task on Friday. The horseshoe still hangs behind or over the
door in the Highlands, and in some places much less removed from the
centres of civilisation. East-coast fishermen will yet occasionally
burn or otherwise destroy a boat from which the lives of any of the
crew have been lost, no matter how seaworthy or valuable the boat may
be. A hare crossing the path of one of these hardy sons of the sea
will cause him to forego an intended journey or voyage. To rustic
and fisherman alike a concourse of magpies is an evil omen. As for
dreams, the belief that they are the forecasts of events is perhaps the
strongest of all the forms of their superstition. We might multiply
examples, but have said enough to suggest that the follies of their
great-grandfathers have still no slight fascination for the ignorant,
in spite of the strides which intelligence has made.

But have superstitious beliefs quite left the more intelligent ranks
of society? On the very subject of dreams itself is there not a
sneaking credulity which goes far to prove the contrary? True, any
one of us is quite able to account in a natural way for the character
of his or her dreams. Nevertheless, the lady who chides her children
for repeating the interpretation which the housemaid has put upon
their sleeping vagaries, and sagely instructs them on the subject of
imperfect digestion and its effects upon the brain during sleep, is
not ashamed to impart to her husband any morning the particulars of
her own shocking dreams, or to piously express the hope that something
untoward is not about to happen. Her better-half pooh-poohs the matter
doubtless, as becomes his superior dignity, but is visited none the
less with a vague sense of uneasiness when he remembers that he himself
had a vision of losing a tooth or seeing a house on fire. Having
courageously quizzed his wife at the breakfast-table on the folly of
_her_ augury, and bade her and the children good-bye for the day, he
inwardly deplores the unlucky omen of having to turn back for his
forgotten umbrella or pocket-book!

How many curious but innocent little customs too are still current,
and with the sanction of the wisest. An old slipper is still cast
after a bride: it is considered necessary to christen a new ship with
a bottle of wine: a fine day is still royal weather; and so on. These
and many others most of us would indeed be sorry to see extinct. They
are not only harmless, but in their very departure from strait-laced
common-sense, give an agreeable and perhaps even healthful relief to
the prosiness of ordinary life. To sacrifice them to the strict letter
of reason, would be to sacrifice much of the sentiment of life, to
banish imagery from poetry, to take the perfume from the rose, to guide
into a Dutch canal the current of human affections, which left free
will gush and eddy, prattle and murmur by rock and meadow, carrying
music and health throughout its living course.

Would that modern superstitions never took less innocent shapes! Having
discarded the ghostology of olden times, many people, and among these
some men and women of considerable culture, have set up for themselves
a novel system of intercourse with the unknown world. Brownies and
fairies, with all the fine romance that surrounds the history of their
doings among human folks, are dismissed with contempt. Spiritualism
has swept all these ethereal puppets off the boards of ordinary life.
To substitute what? We might at least look for an improved exhibition
and more interesting 'characters;' but the truth is that nothing
could be less satisfactory than the modern attempt at demon-craft.
There is something so clumsy and inartistic in the whole get-up of the
'spiritual' drama, that it is less surprising to find it very generally
scouted than to see it obtain even a partial notoriety.

Ignorance is the parent of superstition, without a doubt; and the one
never exists apart from the other. There is, however, a second wise saw
that tells a great deal of the truth about the origin of that world-old
bugbear of the human mind, namely, 'The wish is father to the thought.'
What we strongly desire to be, we are next door to believing to be. The
appetite of man's vanity is unappeasable, and in catering for it his
fancy plays tricks with his reason. He longs for intercommunion with
the unknown, and indulges the wish by creating fictitious agents for
that purpose. Tokens, signs, omens, and auguries are also outgrowths
of the various forms of desire and vanity. We believe we shall have
luck if we turn the money in our pocket when looking at new moon. Men
have _waited_ in all ages for the appearance of some favourable sign
before beginning any enterprise of importance. If the sun shines on our
wedding-day, how auspicious! Palpably in each case because we desire
these things to be! But having set up omens with such an object, we,
in the cleft-stick of our own superstition, are bound to believe their
absence or converse, the foreshadowers of evil.

In many ways modern credulity frees itself from such mechanical
trammels as those we have mentioned, to take a form and complexion
from the age, losing meanwhile not one jot of its vigour. To dream
three times of a hidden treasure and set about, Whang-the-Miller-like,
to lay bare the foundations of one's house, is an exploit not to be
thought of by the veriest wiseacre of our day; but the desire to
obtain wealth easily and rapidly being, if anything, more active and
rampant, the belief in some magical means for attaining it is the
most natural thing in the world. An Eldorado is required, and lo! an
Eldorado is implicitly thought to exist. The projectors of a bogus
company for 'utilising the clippings of old moons' or 'extracting
starch from granite chips' are the good fairies whom by propitiating
with a portion of our substance we hope to enlist in our behalf, and
obtain a thousand-fold return. Where such a superstition exists, and
it is broadcast, any scheme however absurd, any swindle no matter how
transparent, will serve for a bait to catch the unwary and over-eager
fish. Nothing is so purblind as undue acquisitiveness. The ancient
Highlander with his keen eye to the main chance and happy facility for
'attaching' whatever came in his way, found a beautiful horse in rich
trappings, browsing ownerless in his path, and following the instinct
of his desire rather than the prudence which tradition should have
taught him, rashly mounted. In an instant he was borne aloft, then
plunged for ever beneath the dark waters of a tarn on the back of the
wily and terrible water-kelpie. We too have our illusory steeds in this
so vaunted age, and neither the teachings of history nor the bitterest
experience seems able to prevent the speculator from vaulting into the
saddle, and forthwith launching into perdition.

Charms are things of the past, or believed in merely by the vulgar;
that is to say, those pretty and fanciful conceits which led our
ancestors to attach a healing or sanitary virtue to certain objects and
ceremonies are now almost extinct. A spray from the rowan-tree is no
longer a safeguard against an epidemic, nor the hand of majesty a cure
for scrofula. Ladies do not now believe that the presence of a piece of
cold iron on their couch, '_while uneasy in their circumstances_,' will
secure a happy consummation; nor is a child's caul in much request in
these days as a protection against fire and drowning. True, we have got
over these beliefs pretty thoroughly. But is the desire for infallible
remedies and potent protectives done away with also? Not in the least;
and though science is doing its best to provide honest substitutes
in a natural measure, the public is not satisfied with its efforts.
Quacks are the modern magicians, and quack medicines the charms of
latter days. Those who are bald, for instance, will not accept their
fate while a single well-puffed elixir with a Greek name remains
untried. There is something saddening if not sickening in the evident
success which attends the pretences to cure chronic and irremediable
diseases, to effect miracles in short with the most trumpery of means
and execrably silly devices. Our forefathers were imposed upon no
doubt, but there was method in their madness. The 'simples' with which
spae-wives and charlatans professed to cure ailments were in many cases
effective and now recognised drugs, and were at the worst perfectly
harmless; while the rites with which they were administered, if quite
apart from the purpose, yet appealed gracefully to the imagination.
Nowadays, however, the 'simples' are the patients and not the
medicines! The old story. Child-like, the age cries for something that
it cannot get, rejecting the good that is within reach.

In a recent number of this _Journal_ we had occasion to refer to
the amazing credulity of Americans on the subject of professional
'mediums.' The worst of it is that the extent to which this has been
laid bare is insignificant compared with that which really remains
unexposed. The desire to work with supernatural tools in effecting the
paltriest and meanest of human ends would seem to have divided a people
of accredited shrewdness into the two classes of rogues and dupes. But
as we have seen, we too have been singed at the same fire. There are,
moreover, other, if minor superstitions in our midst that suggest the
propriety of beginning the task of reformation at home. An occasional
glance, for instance, at the stock advertisements of leading journals
will convince any one how widespread is the infatuation that believes
in spurious offers of advantageous employment. Some of these have,
under our own observation, been repeated with little variation for more
than twenty years; and we have no doubt that the wily advertisers are
able to calculate to a fraction the number and gullibility of their
dupes. We have from time to time drawn attention to swindles of this
class, as well as to those tempting offers of 'Money to Lend,' which
appear with equal regularity in newspaper columns. We are afraid,
however, that friendly warning and experience are alike unavailing to
stem the mischief. The spread of education itself would appear unable
to outstrip the spread of imposture or the eager credulity that
supports it; for superstition merely shifts its ground from time to
time, without losing appreciably its original dominion over the human
mind.



ODD MISTAKES AND MISCONCEPTIONS.


At the last Christmas race-meeting at Ellerslie, New Zealand, just
as the course was being cleared for the event of the day, uproarious
sounds of merriment arose behind the saddling paddock, and a number
of sailors belonging to Her Majesty's ship _Sapphire_ were seen
scurrying along, a stalwart blue-jacket in their midst bearing in
his brawny arms the form of a woman. No screams resounded above the
din created by the abductors; but nothing doubting that the capture
was an unwilling one, a gallant newspaper editor and a detective,
eager to aid beauty in distress, started in hot pursuit, and after a
smart chase across country, overtook the miscreants. To the officer's
stern demand for the instant release of their fair prisoner, the tars
replied by dropping their prize, whereupon the brave rescuers, rushing
forward, tenderly raised the prostrate figure. Judge, however, of their
feelings of mortification upon being told by the sailors that having at
the interesting game of Aunt Sally, fairly demolished the old lady's
pipe, and the accustomed sixpence for the adroit achievement not being
forthcoming, they had carried off the old lady in reprisal!

For a dressed-up doll to be taken for a lady seems as improbable
as that a lawyer should be taken for a thief, but even that has
happened--so liable are men to be led away by appearances. Daniel
Webster travelling by the night-stage from Baltimore to Washington with
no companion save the driver, contemplated that worthy's forbidding
features with a very uneasy mind. He had nearly reasoned his suspicious
fear away, when they came to the dark woods between Bladensburg and
Washington, and Webster felt his courage oozing out of his finger-ends
as he thought what a fitting place it was for murder. Suddenly the
driver turned towards him and gruffly demanded his name. It was given.
Then he wanted to know where he was going.

'To Washington; I am a senator,' said Daniel, expecting his worst
thoughts were near realisation.

The driver grasped him by the hand, saying: 'How glad I am, mister,
to hear that. I've been properly scared for the last hour; for when I
looked at you, I felt sure you were a highwayman.'

Upon another occasion a young gentleman accosted a stately looking
personage at a Washington wedding reception with: 'Good-evening; I'm
delighted to see you; we have not met since we parted in Mexico.'

Ignoring the outstretched hand, the gentleman addressed said: 'I fear
you have the advantage of me.'

'Why, is it possible you don't recollect me?' exclaimed the mortified
young fellow. 'Certainly I was much younger when I was in Mexico with
my father.'

'To tell the truth,' said the other, 'my remembrances of ever being in
Mexico are very indistinct.'

'Are you not Sir Edward Thornton?' inquired the puzzled one, beginning
to suspect there was a mistake somewhere; a suspicion becoming a
certainty when the reply came: 'By no means; I am Judge Poland, of
Vermont.'

A few nights after this rebuff, the youth happened to be at another
party, and seeing the judge there, made up to him, and after a word or
two about the weather, observed: 'That was an awkward blunder of mine
the other evening, to take you for old Thornton!'

'And whom do you take me for now, may I ask?' was the reply.

'Why,' said he, feeling rather bewildered by the other's manner, 'you
told me you were Judge Poland, of Vermont.'

'On the contrary, sir, my name is Thornton,' was the annihilating
response.

The victim to this case of awkward duality was not so much to be pitied
as his fellow-countryman Slimmer, who fared worse from a similar
mistake that was none of his making. Slimmer, a modest young bachelor,
peeping into the ladies' waiting-room at a railway station, found a
pair of plump arms round his neck, a lady's head resting lovingly on
his manly bosom, and half-a-dozen youngsters of nicely graduated sizes
clasping his legs, tugging at his coat-tails, and crying 'Papa!' at the
top of their voices. While the half-strangled victim was struggling to
disentangle himself from his affectionate surroundings, a gentleman
rushed into the waiting-room, took the situation in at a glance,
floored the innocent Slimmer with his carpet-bag, and then sat upon
him. When he came to himself he was in bed in the infirmary, a bruised
and battered bachelor; and all he got for his pains was a grumbling
apology from his assailant for the unfortunate mistake his wife had
made. The common lot of sufferers from the mistakes of such over-hasty
folk.

Jealous-minded people are particularly prone to misconceptions
involving serious results. The captain of a schooner trading between
San Francisco and Mexico left his wife in a tenement house in San
Francisco. He had been away some twelve months, when one night as
his wife was nursing the baby _of a neighbour_, the door of her room
opened and she saw her husband standing looking at her. She rose to
greet him; but repulsing her with an oath, he turned on his heel and
was gone, leaving her to cry herself to sleep. A knock at the door
awoke her. Before she could reach it, her husband was in the room, his
hand at her throat. Dragging her shrieking to the window, he would
have thrown her from it; but her cries had drawn a crowd in front of
the house, and the unhappy woman managed to extricate herself from
his strong grasp, only to feel a knife enter her flesh, and to fall
senseless to the ground. The infuriated seaman made for the stairway,
where he was met by a crowd of men. Threatening to shoot the first who
came near him, he smashed in a door of a room, jumped through a window,
and although pursued, reached the Chinese quarter, and was lost in its
labyrinths. The occupant of the room through which he had dashed so
unceremoniously, hearing the commotion without comprehending it, sprang
out of bed and fired a shot; upon which somebody outside in the hall
fired another. 'Lynch him!' was the cry; and in a very short time the
guiltless occupant of the room was under a lamp-post, and would have
been dangling from it but for the intervention of the people about,
who assured the excited mob that the actual assailant of the woman was
already beyond reach. The woman was not killed; but whether her hasty
mate discovered his mistake and atoned for it, is not recorded.

Not so tragical in consequence was another instance of jumping to
conclusions. A blushing damsel of forty summers or so entered the
town-clerk's office at Wheeling, West Virginia, and asked for a
license. The clerk took down her name and address and asked for
that of 'the other party.' 'Faithful; he lives with me,' said the
applicant. The clerk eyed her curiously, but keeping his thoughts to
himself, filled up the paper and handed it over. The lady glanced at
it, shrieked out 'Monster!' and swept out of the office, leaving the
offender dumfounded at the explosion; till it flashed upon his mind
that possibly a dog license, not a marriage license, was what the
spinster wanted.

Equally unhappy in interpreting a lady's meaning was a timid young man
of Titusville. Calling upon a pretty girl one evening, she said: 'I
want to propose to you'----

'You are very kind,' gasped the alarmed visitor; 'but I am not
worthy of such happiness; in fact none of our family are marrying
people--besides, my income is limited, and I have to meet a friend, and
I'm afraid I'll be late.' He was making his exit without waiting to put
on his overcoat, through the door of a cupboard.

'Why,' said the young woman, 'I wanted to propose to you to accompany
me as far as Main Street; that was all.'

'Oh, in that case,' answered the relieved gentleman, 'I shall be only
too happy.'

Ladies should eschew ambiguous expressions, and ambiguous actions for
that matter. A lady visiting a great public library for the first time,
grateful for the assistance rendered her by an assistant-librarian,
slipped half-a-crown into his hand; of course the gentleman immediately
returned it whence it came; and by-and-by had the pleasure of
overhearing one of his fellows say to another: 'Well, I saw it all, but
can't make out whether he was making love to the lady or the lady to
him: but they were squeezing each other's hands!'

Mr Sayre of Lexington was troubled with a lisp. One day the overseer of
one of his farms came to headquarters to say he wanted some porkers.
'Very well,' said Mr Sayre. 'Go and buy four or five thowth and pigth,
and put them on the farm.'

The man inquired if he should take the money with him to pay for them.

'No,' said Sayre; 'they all know me. Thend them here, and I'll pay.'

In a fortnight's time the overseer reappeared with the information that
he had been all over the country, but could not get more than nine
hundred pigs.

'Nine hundred pigth!' exclaimed his employer. 'Who told you to buy nine
hundred pigth?'

'Why, you did, sir,' said the overseer. 'You told me to buy four or
five thousand pigs; and I tried to do it.'

'I did no thuth thing,' said Sayre; 'I told you to buy four or five
thowth and their little pigth; a pretty meth you've made of it!'

Among the many good stories told by Colonel Stuart in his
_Reminiscences of a Soldier_, are the two following. A sentry at
Chatham, when the captain of the guard questioned him as to his orders,
replied: 'My orders are, sir, if a fire broke out, I'm to take my
musket and shoot the nearest policeman.' The officer suggested he had
made some mistake, but the soldier stuck to his text; and with 'I pity
the policeman,' the captain of the guard walked on without giving the
correct instruction: 'If a fire breaks out, fire your musket, and alarm
the nearest policeman.'--A Scotch subaltern at Gibraltar was one day on
guard with another officer, who falling down a precipice, was killed.
He made no mention of the accident in his guard report, leaving the
addendum, 'N.B. Nothing extraordinary since guard-mounting,' standing
without qualification. Some hours after the brigade-major came to
demand an explanation, saying: 'You say, sir, in your report, "Nothing
extraordinary since guard-mounting," when your brother-officer, on
duty with you, has fallen down a precipice four hundred feet and been
killed.' 'Weel, sir,' replied he, 'I dinna think there's onything
extraordinary in it: if he'd faun doon a precipice four hundred feet
and _no_ been killed, I should hae thought it vary extraordinary
indeed, and wad hae put it doon in my report.'

Taking things too literally is a fertile cause of amusing blunders.
Two costermongers claiming proprietorship of one donkey, went to the
Westminster county court to get the dispute decided. After hearing
a part of the evidence, the judge said they had better settle the
case out of court during the adjournment for luncheon. Upon the
court reopening the defendant told His Honour it was all right; the
donkey was his. Turning to the plaintiff, the judge saw his personal
appearance was altered for the worse; but before he could put any
questions, the defendant went on to say that they had found a quiet
yard to settle it in, as His Honour had suggested. He had been rather
rough on the plaintiff, but couldn't help it; they had only half an
hour to pull it off in, and plaintiff was a much tougher customer
than he looked to be. The explanation was conclusive, if not quite
satisfactory to the court, and the donkey became the prize of the
victor in the fight.

'Come up to the Capitol while we are in session, and I'll give you a
seat on the floor of the House,' said a member of Congress to one of
his supporters, who called upon him in Washington.

'Wall, no; I thank you,' said the West Virginian; 'poor as I am, I
always manage to have a cheer to sit on at home, and I ha'n't come here
to sit on the floor.'

A doctor, called in for the second time just in time to save the life
of a man who during fits of intoxication was given to dosing himself
with laudanum, rated his patient roundly for a good-for-nothing
scoundrel, who, if he really intended to kill himself, should cut his
throat and have done with it. One night the doctor's bell was pulled.
Putting his head out of window, he saw the self-poisoner's wife, and
heard her call out: 'He has done it, doctor.' 'Done what?' asked he.
'John has taken your sensible advice,' replied the woman; 'he has cut
his throat, and will save you further trouble!'

The American poet must have been either very angry or very much
amused, when his note to a friend, 'Come and see me; I am at
Barnum's'--meaning the hotel of that name in New York, elicited the
answer: 'I am sorry you are going to exhibit yourself. If you had stuck
to literature you would have made your mark and fortune. Whereabouts
is the show now?' Ill-natured people might suspect the mistake was
wilfully made. We should be sorry to suppose anybody capable of
thinking the same respecting the extraordinary misconception under
which an eminent divine laboured at a dinner-party. He was so dull and
silent, that the lady next him expressed her fear that he was unwell.
'To tell the truth,' said he, 'I am not quite the thing; I have a
presentiment that a serious illness is hanging over me--a peculiar
numbness all down my right side seems to forebode paralysis; for I
have been pinching my right leg all dinner-time, and can elicit no
responsive feeling whatever; the limb seems dead.' 'If that is all,'
said his fair neighbour, with a good-natured smile, 'you need not alarm
yourself: the leg you have been pinching all the evening belongs to
me!'--Honi soit qui mal y pense.



A FEW FRENCH NOTES.


Our lively neighbours, as journalists still sometimes delight to
designate the practical, money-getting French of post-imperial days,
have learned much in the stern school of adversity. Saddled with a
weight of taxation that might crush the spirit and cripple the energies
of a more robust race, they shew wonderful elasticity in developing new
and unexpected sources of national wealth, and leave no stone unturned
the turning of which may yield a profit.

If there was one branch of industry the revival of which seemed
hopeless, it was the home manufacture of kelp, virtually driven out
of the market by South American barilla. At its best the kelp trade
had but helped the inhabitants of the Hebrides, the western Highlands,
and other barren shores, to eke out a scanty livelihood by burning the
sea-weed that the waves washed to their feet; while the preparation
was primitive enough to have dated from the days of Ossian's shadowy
heroes. Science, however, embodied in the form of M. Emile Moride of
Nantes, has seriously taken in hand the task of utilising the heaps
of wreck-weed that strew the bleak Breton coast, so as to derive the
highest return for labour and capital invested. With the aid of a
portable furnace, a ventilator or set of bellows for continuous blast,
and two wheelbarrows, M. Moride provides for the cooking of his raw
material. The furnace is built of dry stones, wrapped round in fresh
wet weed, and is supplied with apertures which promote the rapid
cooling of the 'sea-weed charcoal,' so called. The ventilator insures
quick combustion; but the beauty of the process is that the bromium
and iodine, apt, in the old-fashioned method, to be lost through
over-roasting, are now preserved. There are at Noirmoutier alone two
hundred of these furnaces at work, producing two million gallons of
carbonised weed. Each furnace earns its annual fifteen or twenty pounds
sterling, supplying as it does soda, potash, and other chemicals to the
wholesale druggist, along with phosphates and salts of lime invaluable
to the farmer. The pecuniary advantage over the ancient system is
roughly estimated at sixty per cent.

France, which exports so enormous a number of eggs, is naturally
desirous to content her chief customers, ourselves, by sending over
the fragile freight in good preservation. Rubbing the shells with
butter, lard, or moistened gum is the mode hitherto practised, but the
grocer's stores have never quite rivalled the fresh products of the
hen-yard. They may do so now, if we are careful to follow the advice of
M. Durand, the Blois chemist. He coats over the shells of his new-laid
eggs with silicate of soda, lays them separately to dry, being heedful
that no speck of surface remains accessible to air, and consequently
to decay, and stows them, for a year if required, in a cupboard. M.
Sace of Neufchâtel, a Swiss chemist, not a French one, is reported to
achieve as much by the help of paraffine.

Should we have the ill-fortune to be half-drowned, suffocated by
unwholesome gases or vitiated air, or to fall down in a fit, Dr
Woillez is ready with his new apparatus for artificial respiration.
The patient's person, all but the head, is placed in a cylinder of
iron, from which one stroke of a powerful pump extracts the air; the
lungs and chest of the sufferer expanding as the vacuum is formed.
Eighteen such mechanical breathings can be produced in the minute, and
at each of these a quart of air--double the quantity inspired in normal
health--rushes in to oxygenate the blood. The _spirosphore_ is beyond
all doubt a potent agent in serious cases, but some cautious surgeons
have expressed fears as to the secondary results which might attend its
use.

Nothing but praise can be bestowed upon the successful efforts of M.
Lenoir to construct a looking-glass which should neither grow yellow,
and give us back a bilious presentment of ourselves as silvered mirrors
do, nor destroy the health of the workmen, as was the case in the old
process of mercurial amalgamation. The new glasses are backed with
silver, washed with quicksilver certainly, but in solution not in
vapour, and therefore innocuous to those who handle it.

Alcohol, as we know, can be distilled from almost anything; but
Apothecary-Major Ballard, of the Cherchell Hospital, in Algeria,
deserves some notice for finding out that Barbary figs, so called,
will yield it in profusion and of excellent quality. The stoniest
tracts of North Africa are indeed dappled with the flaming red blossoms
of the prickly pear or cactus, and the fruit, guarded by its thorny
envelope, can be had for the gathering. One ton and a half of these
wild figs will give about sixteen gallons of colourless alcohol, at
eighty-five degrees, and with a _kirschwasser_ flavour. The same weight
of beetroot yields but fifteen gallons of the far weaker spirit in
common commercial demand; while beetroot, an exhausting crop, can only
be grown on the best and most highly cultivated land.

The most enthusiastic advocates of ballooning would have hesitated
to declare that submarine surveys were within the province of the
aëronaut. Such, however, seems to be the case, since M. Duruof and his
companion going up in a balloon, on the twenty-fifth of last August, at
Cherbourg, and being at an altitude of five thousand feet, were amazed
to see beneath them, with startling distinctness, every rock, fissure,
and depression at the bottom of the sea. And yet the sea opposite Cape
Lévy, where the aërial voyagers obtained this bird's-eye-view, has an
average depth of above two hundred feet. So limpid did the water appear
that the under-currents were perceptible, whilst nothing would have
been easier than to sketch or map the bottom of the sea.

A novel and perhaps a practically useful property of madder, hitherto
only known as the active principle of a red dye, has been found out by
M. de Rostaing. Meat covered with a layer of dry madder powder defies
decomposition. It dries, however, slowly, wasting by desiccation so
much that in the course of months it is reduced to less than half its
weight. A more economical means of preserving meat is that employed
at Buenos Ayres, whence beef, mutton, and even entire animals are
constantly forwarded, in a state of perfect conservation, to Antwerp
and Havre. The solution in which the meat is steeped contains borax and
boric acid, saltpetre and a little salt, borax being the prime agent.
The experiments of M. Dumas prove that borax destroys the soluble
atmospheric leavens which would otherwise promote decay; and so far so
good. But another _savant_, M. Peligot, who has dosed the plants in his
garden with borax and killed them very promptly by so doing, suggests
an ugly doubt as to the perfect wholesomeness of meat steeped in borax
as an article of diet.

In spite of all the progress that has been made in electric science
since first Volta put together his 'crown of cups,' a perfect galvanic
battery is yet to seek. M. Onimus has done something towards this in
availing himself of the virtues of the new, tough, and supple material
which bears the name of parchment-paper. Every electrician knows
that the great theoretical merits of Professor Daniell's 'constant'
battery are counterbalanced by the trouble, care, and annoyance which
it entails. All double liquid batteries have hitherto proved bulky,
vexatious, and expensive; but M. Onimus simplifies matters by using
parchment-paper instead of a porous cell, the copper spiral encircling
the parchment, which is wrapped around the cylinder of zinc, and the
pair of elements being simply plunged into a solution of sulphate of
copper.

M. Leclanché, whose battery has for years past set in motion half the
electric bells of Europe, has put what he considers the finishing
touches to his well-known invention. He now, to compose his negative
element, adds to his mixture of peroxide of manganese resin and hard
gas-charcoal finely powdered, about four per cent. of the bisulphate
of potassium, wedges the mass in a steel mould capable of enduring
enormous pressure, and brings it first to a dull red-heat, and then
under the action of the hydraulic press. We are assured that one cell
of the improved Leclanché battery can heat a platinum wire to redness.
A single element of Grove's or Bunsen's arrangement can do no more than
this; and the result is the more creditable to the ingenious Frenchman
that his is a 'constant' battery, excited by one fluid (the muriate of
ammonia), and in which the consumption of zinc, always an important
item, has been reduced to a minimum.

What we call vegetable isinglass, and the Chinese by the name of
_thao_, and which has hitherto been derived from Eastern Asia, is now
extracted from French sea-weed, and made useful in French factories.
It is in its crude state a yellowish gelatine, which the Industrial
Society of Rouen has, after repeated experiments, succeeded in
converting into what bids fair to be the best sizing for cotton cloths
ever known. Macerated in water for twelve hours, boiled for fifteen
minutes, strained, and stirred till it is cold, the thao gives a clear
solution, which does not again become a jelly, and which can be laid
cold upon any textile fabric, and left to dry. One invaluable property
it has, since it defies, at common temperatures, damp and mildew; and
is therefore already being applied to give lustre, not only to Rouen
prints and Mulhouse muslins, but to the woollens of Puteaux and the
silks of Lyons.

Ozone, the newest and the least stable of the gases, has recently
been made to do good service in the sick-room. It makes short work
with those miasmata and organic impurities of vitiated air which the
Italians describe by the expressive name of malaria, and which every
physician knows to be among the most baneful influences with which the
convalescent patient, whose tenure of life is not yet quite assured,
has to contend. A mixture should be made of permanganate of potash,
peroxide of manganese, and oxalic acid, in equal parts, and two large
spoonfuls with some water put into a plate and placed on the floor
of the sick-chamber. Care should be taken, however, to remove steel
fenders and fire-irons, and to cover up brass door-handles, since ozone
will rust all metals meaner than gold and silver.



AUTUMN IN THE WOODS.


    Every hollow full of ferns,
    Turning yellow in their turns;
    Straggling brambles fierce and wild,
    Yielding berries to the child;
    Oakballs tumbling from the tree,
    Beech-nuts dropping silently.
    Hosts of leaves come down to die,
    Leaving openings to the sky;
    Bluebells, foxgloves, gone to seed,
    Everything to death decreed;
    Nothing left of flowers or buds:
    Such is Autumn in the woods.

    And so is there an Autumn known
    To the heart. It feels alone,
    Fearing its best days are past;
    Sees the future overcast;
    Fond acquaintance broken through,
    Friends departed, friends untrue;
    Human flowers cold and dead
    Covered by a grassy bed;
    Hopes, late blossoms putting out,
    Withering soon, and flung about
    By cruel winds; dread doubts and fears
    Finding vent in sudden tears;
    Yes, there is an Autumn known
    To some hearts thus left, alone.

    Yet, there's this thought after all--
    Ferns may fade and leaves may fall,
    Hearts may change or prove untrue,
    All may look as these woods do--
    Though sad Autumn here is given,
    Spring-time awaits the just in heaven.

        A. B.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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