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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 720, October 13, 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. 720, October 13, 1877" ***

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[Illustration:

CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 720.      SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



THRIFT AND UNTHRIFT.


We lately said a word on Rich Folks, hinting that so far from being
the monsters of iniquity which moralists and preachers have for ages
denounced them, they are, taken all in all, public benefactors; for
without the accumulation of wealth, by means of thrift and honest
enterprise, the world would still have been in a deplorably backward
condition. Riches are of course comparative. An artisan who by savings
and diligence in his calling has insured for himself a competence for
old age, is doubtless rich and respectable. Doing his best, and with
something to the good, he is worthy of our esteem. What he has laid
aside in a spirit of economy goes to an augmentation of the national
wealth. In a small way he is a capitalist--his modicum of surplus
earnings helping to promote important schemes of public interest.

Great Britain, with its immense field for successful industry and
enterprise, excels any country in the capacity for saving. In almost
every branch of art there is a scope for thrift beyond what is
obtainable elsewhere. Thriftiness, however, among the manual labouring
classes was scarcely thought of in times within living remembrance.
Savings-banks to receive spare earnings came into existence only in
the early years of the present century. Now, spread in all directions,
and established in the army and navy, they possess deposits amounting
to nearly thirty millions sterling. Besides these accumulations, much
is consigned to Friendly Societies; and it is pleasing to observe
that within the last twenty years, the artisan classes have expended
large sums in the purchase of dwellings purposely erected for their
accommodation. All this looks like an advance in thrifty habits--a
stride in civilisation.

But after every admission of this kind has been made, it is too
certain that vast numbers live from hand to mouth, save nothing
whatever from earnings however large, and are ever on the brink of
starvation. In this respect, the working classes, as they are usually
styled, fall considerably below the peasantry of France, who, though
noted for their ignorance, and for the most part unable to read,
have an extraordinary aptitude for saving; of which there is no more
significant proof than their heavy loans to government when pressed to
pay an enormous war indemnity to Germany. As the thrift of the French
agriculturists sinks to the character of a sordid parsimony, which is
adverse to social improvement, no political economist can speak of it
with unqualified admiration. It only shews what can be done by two or
three things--the economical use of earnings, the economical use of
time, and the strict cultivation of temperate habits. From each of
these predominating qualities a lesson might be judiciously taken.
Though a lively race, fond of amusement, the French peasantry, and we
may add, the peasantry of Switzerland, know the value of time. In them
the 'gospel of idleness,' so pertinaciously preached up by indiscreet
enthusiasts, has no adherents. In all our experience, we have never
seen such assiduity in daily labour from early morn till eve, as
among the French and Swiss rural population. They would repudiate any
dictation of a hard and fast line as to hours. Time is their beneficent
inheritance, to make the most of for themselves and families.

Pity it is that in our own country time is so unthriftily squandered.
Obviously there is a growing disposition among the operative classes
to diminish the daily hours of labour, to the detriment of individual
and general prosperity. When we began life, ten hours a day, or sixty
in the week, were considered a fair thing. Then came a diminution
to nine, to eight hours, along with whole and half-holidays, but no
lowering of wages. How this is to go on, we are unable to explain. We
fear that unless something like common-sense intervene, a degree of
individual and national disaster will ensue scarcely contemplated by
the votaries of 'St Lubbock.' In his late speech at the opening of the
Manchester Town-hall, Mr Bright adverted to the awkward consequences
of indefinitely shortening the hours of labour. He is reported to
have said: 'We have for many years past been gradually diminishing the
period of time during which our machinery can work. We are surrounded
by a combination whose object is not only to diminish the time of
labour and the products of labour, but to increase the remuneration of
labour. Every half an hour you diminish the time of labour, and every
farthing you raise the payment of labour which is not raised by the
ordinary economic and proper causes, has exactly the same effect upon
us as the increase of the tariffs of foreign countries. Thus we often
find, with all our philanthropy in wishing the people to have more
recreation, and with our anxiety that the workman should better his
condition through his combination, that we are ourselves aiding--it
may be inevitably and necessarily--but it is a fact that we are aiding
to increase the difficulties under which we labour in sending foreign
countries the products of the industry of these districts; and we
must bear in mind that great cities have fallen before Manchester and
Liverpool were known; and that there have been great cities, great
mercantile cities on the shores of the Mediterranean, the cities of
Phœnicia, the cities of Carthage, Genoa, and Venice.' Such sentiments
are worth taking to heart. The preaching up of recreation, otherwise
idleness, has gone rather too far. We begin to perceive that wages can
be paid only in proportion to work done, and that if people choose to
amuse themselves, there must correspondingly be a new adjustment of
payments.

At the late meeting of the British Association, there was some
profitable discussion on work, wages, and thrift. One speaker
emphatically pointed out that unthrift was more concerned in producing
poverty in families than a deficiency in wages. He said, that where
there was a deficiency of food 'it would mostly be found that what
was wanted had been consumed in drink.' Adding, 'As a matter of fact,
the large families did the best, and the greatest men in science and
as statesmen were mostly members of large families and younger sons
upon whom early struggles for mental growth had produced brilliant
results.' This corresponds with ordinary experience. Within our own
knowledge, the greater number of persons distinguished in literature,
the arts, and in commerce have been the sons of parents whose means of
bringing up their families did not exceed a hundred, in some instances
not eighty, pounds a year. Yet upon these slender resources, through
the effects of thrift--as, for example, the case given by the late Sir
William Fairbairn--families of six or seven children were respectably
reared, and attained prominent places in society.

In almost every large town is observed a painful but curious contrast
in the administration of earnings. On one side are seen the families
of small tradesmen making a manful struggle to keep up respectable
appearances at a free revenue of not more than a hundred a year;
while alongside of them are families earning two pounds a week and
upwards, who make no effort at respectability, and are constantly in
difficulties. The explanation simply lies in thrift and unthrift.
In one case there are aspirations and enlightened foresight; in the
other there is a total indifference to consequences. A few weeks
ago, the Rev. F. O. Morris, of Nunburnholme Rectory, Hayton, York,
communicated to the _Times_ some remarkable revelations concerning
unthrift. 'A gentleman of my acquaintance,' he says, 'living in a
midland manufacturing town, gave me, two or three years ago, the
following instances of the unthriftness, or rather the outrageous
extravagance, of the artisans there; such cases being quite common,
the exceptions only the other way. I must premise that many of them
with families were at that time earning from eight to twelve pounds a
week; a single man as much as five pounds a week, and yet, though paid
on Saturday evenings, they would come on the following Monday night to
ask the manager for an advance of the next week's wages. And this not
for any legitimate expenditure, for even those who had families lived
generally in one room, kept no servant, and only employed charwomen.
Nevertheless, well they might be in want of ready-money, for often you
would see a party setting out on a Sunday for an excursion to some
place or other in a carriage with four horses, and dressed in the most
extravagant manner, but at the same time with much taste, owing no
doubt to their employment being in the lace-trade.

'A charwoman told the wife of my informant that she knew one married
couple who can earn seven pounds a week who often came to her on a
Thursday to borrow a shilling, their money being all gone. They lived
in two rooms, very badly furnished. A needle-woman also told the lady
that she knew a couple who earned eight pounds a week, or even more,
between them, who lived in two rooms wretchedly furnished, without even
a cup or saucer, besides the two they used, to give a friend a cup of
tea; that the woman would give four or five guineas for a dress, and
had given as much as six guineas, which she would wear all day, from
the first thing in the morning till it was shabby, when she would buy
another as expensive, or even more so, according to the fashion. She
never cooked their own dinner, but bought the most expensive things,
took them to a public-house to be cooked, and dined there, eating and
drinking afterwards. The "hands" in the trade of the place would often
order, for one week, black tea at 4s. a pound, and green at 6s. Thy
would also buy cucumbers at 1s. and 1s. 6d. apiece, beefsteaks for
breakfast at 1s. 3d. a pound, and would only eat them fried in butter;
salmon in like manner when it first came in at 3s. or 4s. a pound, and
lamb at a guinea a quarter. For more light fare they would buy oysters
at 2s. or 2s. 6d. a dozen, put down gold on the counter, and eat them
as fast as a man could open them for them. My friend saw two men thus
eat 10s. worth standing at a stall in the market-place. A man earning
L.3 a week, paid on the Saturday evening, got into a row with the
police on the Sunday, was fined 25s. on the Monday, and not one out of
a hundred or more of his fellow-workmen could advance him the money
to pay the fine with, and he had to borrow it of the foreman. Another
was earning L.4 a week. His master told him he ought to lay by. "Oh,"
said he, "I can spend all I make." "But," said the master, "what shall
you do, if the times are bad, with your wife and children?" "Let 'em
go to the Union," said he. The master himself told my friend this. Mr
Baker, the Inspector of Factories, in one of his Reports, stated that a
moulder, his wife, and boy on an average earn L.5, 10s. 6d. a week. He
mentions a case of a moulder, his wife, and three children earning L.8,
7s. 2½d.

'How can we wonder, with such facts as these before us, that Mr
Sandford, Her Majesty's Inspector, stated in one of his Reports: "Out
of 50 (lads) examined in nine different night schools, 29, or 58 per
cent., could not read. These night scholars are certainly not the most
untaught of the collier lads. 'There's none of them as can read in our
pit,' I heard two young colliers say; 'no, nor the master neither.' And
yet we wonder that our colliers do not invest their earnings wisely."'

Loud and prolonged has been the denunciation of public-houses as
the cause of crime and misery--so easy is it to mistake secondary
for primary causes. While admitting that public-houses scattered in
profusion are the cause of many evils, we go a little farther, and
looking for what produces the cause, find that it consists in depraved
tastes, want of self-respect, unthrift. To a man of elevated tendencies
and intelligent foresight, the number of public-houses is a matter
of no importance. He passes by the whole with indifference. Their
allurements only excite his pity. He scorns their temptations. It is to
this pitch of fortitude we should like to see the weak-minded brought,
through education and the habitual cultivation of self-respect,
along with a deep consciousness of responsibilities. In therefore so
exclusively attacking public-houses as the cause of intemperance, we
are in a sense beginning the process of cure at the wrong end. We are
expending energies on secondary causes, leaving the seat of the disease
untouched. Under infatuations of this kind, the misdirection of moral
power is pitiable. The subject is wide, and might be expatiated on to
any extent. We here confine ourselves to the remark, that the thing
to cultivate is Thrift--not only as regards the expenditure of money
but expenditure of time, and in saying this we fear that those who
have systematically, though with good intentions, advocated a degree
of recreation that must be deemed excessive and dangerous, have not a
little to answer for in promoting habits of unthrift.

    W. C.



FROM DAWN TO SUNSET.


PART II.


CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH.

It was about this time, or some three or four days after Kingston's
arrival, that Mistress Dinnage was sitting--languidly for her--at the
door of the lodge. Mistress Dinnage lived a life of constant energy;
she did not sit and lament; she had her sorrows; but they were closed
within the proudest heart that ever beat, and no man knew of them. But
all the more dangerous is the stern sorrow that feeds upon itself, the
aching, ever-present grief, so stoically disregarded. Mistress Dinnage
indulged in neither tears nor regrets; bravely she did her duty day by
day, and never would sit down to court a sweet and fancied dream. But
when evening came, what had she to do? Father was not home; the tall
clock in the corner went tick, tick, tick! Lady Deb was busied with
her kinsman Kingston Fleming; old Marjory was no companion to Mistress
Dinnage. Lives are so different. In some more genial lives, in some
gay changeful or adventurous life, sorrow and despair are kept at bay.
In contrast to this life of Margaret's, there was May Warriston far
away, dreaming through courtly galleries, gazing on splendid pictures,
listening to ravishing music, kneeling before gorgeous shrines. Amid
such scenes as these, the heart-strings may be tuned to never a
discordant note. But in eternal calm, in depressing sickness, in dreary
hours of solitude, _then_ the grim spectre looks on us face to face. We
may work; ay, but when we pause to rest? Work, everlasting work, gives
a stern sense of satisfaction and the comfort of 'something done;'
but unlightened by sweeter moments, neither softens the heart nor
strengthens the mind. Under that stern government, imagination sleeps,
thought grows torpid, the poor wounded soul is grasped within the iron
hand it defies, Nature herself lies bruised and bleeding.

In the hours of hard work and daylight, sorrow was to Margaret Dinnage
unheeded, unheard, uncared for; but when forced inaction came, when the
little room darkened slowly, and the lightest whisper of the breeze
began to be heard above the hushed tumult of the world, then the tall
clock told a monotonous tale moment by moment to the proud still
heart--a tale of solitude and hopeless calm. She would go to the porch
not to hear it; but to go out and roam about the happy fields she could
not, for there she had played when a child. No; better stand at the
door and watch; father would be coming soon.

One evening as Mistress Dinnage thus watched, the gate swung to; not
the stooping form of old Jordan Dinnage, but a tall and tower-like
figure loomed through the gloaming and darkened the doorway. Loud and
full beat the heart of Mistress Dinnage; she could not speak. For the
first time for years, she and Charles Fleming were alone.

'Who is at Enderby?' he asked, in a short stern voice.

'Mistress Deborah,' she answered, with hurried breathless utterance,
'an' Master Kingston Fleming.'

'Not my father?'

'No.'

'Has Master Sinclair been here lately?'

'Yes; he was over yesterday morning.'

Then the gloaming parted as it were to admit of a blink of sunshine,
and the dark eyes that were gazing up sought the haggard eyes that were
gazing down upon them, and all in a flash. Twilight and the wild sweet
solitude around them drew those proud hearts together with a power
that yearning nature could not resist. The spell of Love was woven
around them. Not one word was uttered: stern silence, weary endless
longing, pride, grief, trouble, despair, all were now hushed in one
long embrace. Long and wordless as had been estrangement, so swift and
wordless the wooing; no syllable was needed to tell what the soul had
known.

What mattered it in that supreme moment that he was a hunted ruined
fugitive--that she was a poor and penniless girl--that they met but to
part again? The sweet summer breeze was blowing round them; the trees
trembled with gladness overhead; they were young; the world was wide
and free. The solemn warning voice of the old clock, for them spoke in
vain.

When Mistress Dinnage could speak, she whispered on his breast:
'Thou'rt in trouble.'

'In trouble? Yes.' Then, with a reckless laugh, he took her face
between his hands, and answered by wild and passionate kisses.

'Nay; thou must speak,' she went on earnestly, and holding back his
head with her little hands. 'Kisses will not aid thee, or I would kiss
thee till I died. Speak, Master Fleming! Art thou ruined?'

'Ay; stick and stone.'

'I saw it in thy face, only now the love-light covers it. Oh, how
canst thou look so glad for my poor love, when thou'rt ruined and
_disgraced_? Bethink thee, Master Fleming. Thine old home will go to
strangers. Thy sister will share in thy disgrace. Thy father will go in
sorrow to the grave. Thou'rt ruined, disgraced, _dishonoured_!'

He caught her to his heart, and then held her wildly from him,
regarding her with infinite pathos. '_And wilt thou throw me over,
Meg?_'

Then spoke she anxiously: 'What is it thou mean'st? Speak out to me.
Let there be no secrets and no riddling. Dost thou love me _truly_?'

Then answered the proud liquid glance of those dark eyes; and whispered
the youth low in her ear: 'I would like to kill thee for this
questioning! _Truly_, love? Dost thou know Charles Fleming so little,
that thou'rt in doubt? that thou canst believe he could wrong the only
girl he ever loved? Ruffian, gamester, roysterer though I be, I would
keep thee pure as snow--snowdrift. Thou shalt make me a better man, who
knows? For thy love I thirst, Meg, and have thirsted long. Now--ruined,
an outcast, a fugitive, is the moment I choose to seek thee! Wilt have
me, Meg, for better, for worse? Wilt share the fortunes of a sinner?
Perilous, comfortless, will be thy lot, love. Wilt thou be my wife?'

She could not speak; she answered by a low cry of love and joy. What
recked Mistress Dinnage of the proud grand home and the heir of the
Flemings, all passed away! She loved--with all the pure abandonment of
a woman's love--this houseless wanderer.

So came Charlie Fleming, and went, and haunted in the twilight round
Enderby, and no one knew of it save Mistress Dinnage. She was put
about, dismayed, torn by anxiety by all she heard; and the two loves
of her life, the loves of father and lover, were wrestling wildly in
her soul. Though fearing for her lover, yet, strange inconsistency, her
step was light as air, her heart was filled with a new joy, and her
eyes with happy tears.

       *       *       *       *       *

'I must go,' thought Kingston Fleming desperately to himself, the
morning after the above scene. 'The old fellow won't turn up, neither
does Charlie. I mustn't compromise _her_. But she must not be alone.
I doubt--I doubt sorely about the future. Poor sweet child! I will
speak to old Marjory; she must hold that flighty Mistress Dinnage in
the house. And I will get Deb to send for May Warriston.' So thinking,
Kingston went into the garden, where he saw Deborah at her flowers, and
abruptly he began: 'I am come to say farewell, Deb. Don't look scared,
little coz; you shall not be left alone.'

'Then whom shall I have, King?' she asked, clinging suddenly to his
arm. 'Father is away; Charlie is away; and I am in hourly fear of evil
tidings. You say, _not alone!_ O King, I shall be alone indeed!'

'Little one, I am going to write to May Warriston, to beg her to come
and bear you company. Meantime, I am going to see your father. I know
his whereabouts, love; I will send him home to-night. And have ye not
Marjory, Jordan, and your beloved Mistress Dinnage?'

'Ay, I have them all. But what are weak women and a poor old man
compared to your size and strength? With you, King, I am safe. In your
presence I can be thoughtless and glad again. In your presence--I am
happy.'

'O Deb, Deb! Don't persuade me. I mustn't stay with you. Ill tongues
will be talking of you and me.'

'What! of brother and sister? Of kinsfolk? It cannot, cannot be. But
let the world talk! What matters it? Will you, for paltry slander,
forsake me at this strait?'

'Not forsake you, but consider you. Let go my hand, Deb! I am easily
unmanned nowadays. I must go.'

'Well, go, go!'--and she pushed him from her. 'And indeed I would
have you seek my father, King, for I am very sad at heart. Cheer him
up; comfort him; wean him from his temptation if you can. It is that
terrible gambling that is the ruin of the Flemings. Oh, tell him so!
But above all things, send him home, for I have a dark, dark foreboding
on me; and this night alone at Enderby would drive me mad.'

'He shall come.'

'Then go, King, quickly.'

'You are in a hurry to be rid o' me, now. Good-bye, sweet Deb;
good-bye. You will not come and see me off?'

'Nay; I cannot.'

'Well, good-bye, Enderby.' Kingston Fleming bared his head and gazed
round, strangely moved, at the old familiar scene. His keen blue eyes
grew dim. It did not shame his manhood that tears were drawn like
life-blood from his heart, as he nobly renounced a sore temptation.
'Good-bye, Enderby; good-bye.'

He was gone. But still Deborah Fleming, amid her gay and dazzling
flowers, seemed to see him standing there, a tall graceful figure, a
face full of sadness and regret, a bared head that reverently bowed
its adieus; and the words still rang in her ears: 'Good-bye, Enderby;
good-bye.' Ten short minutes and all life had changed for her; only
when he was gone, she waked to her despair. The sun had ceased to
shine, the birds had ceased to sing, the flowers to bloom. She left her
gathered flowers to die, and went home like one stunned.


CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.

Sir Vincent did return that night; he had seen Kingston, he said. He
was very late, and he was tired. He asked Deborah if Mistress Dinnage
were with her.

'Yes, dear father. But you are going to sleep at home?'

'Ay; but I may be off early--too early for even thee, my bird of dawn.'

'Nay, father; I will be up, not to see thee off, but to hold thee here.
Thou shalt not go tomorrow!'

He smiled. He looked pale. He kissed her fondly.

'Lady Wilful, I must. I want to see my boy. He is ever in trouble.'

'Nay; think not about it to-night, father. King has promised to find
him out.'

And so they parted. Weary-hearted, with all the brightness called up
for her father laid aside, Deborah sought her chamber, weeping. She
recalled, the night when her father had told her Kingston Fleming was
betrothed, her wild despair. But she was a child, and the bright morrow
had then brought hope and healing. Now she was a woman, and a woman's
sorrow lay deep within her breast. Tired out, Deborah undressed and
lay down on her bed, not to wake and weep, but to sink into a deep
dreamless slumber....

With a start she awoke. A start often wakes us from the soundest sleep,
as if some spirit spoke. Deborah Fleming was so wide awake in a moment
that she saw through her open window the little pale ghost of the
waning moon, the drifting clouds flitting by. A strange feeling was on
Deborah. Had she been dreaming that she had seen a light shining under
her father's door? Dream or vision, she seemed to see it still, and was
irresistibly drawn thither by a mysterious inner sense of alarm. She
must go to her father's room, to see that all was well. With a wildly
beating heart, she threw on her dressing-gown and went swiftly out.
Gray dawn filled all the passages, a gray cold dawn, and the little
birds were beginning to twitter. But yes--oh, strange and true, a light
was glimmering under her father's door!

Deborah heard him moving; she knocked. 'Father!'--No answer.--'Father!'

'Who is there?'

'Deborah! Father, open your door; I must speak with you at once.'

She tried the door: it gave way; and Deborah saw a room scattered over
with papers, in the wildest confusion. The window stood open, and Sir
Vincent, looking gray and haggard in the uncertain light, stood against
the table in the middle of the room. He was dressed; his long white
hair was ruffled; his face was gray, pale; his eyes gleamed strangely
on Deborah from under their lowering brows.

'Father!' said Deborah, 'my father!' A great trembling was on her, he
looked at her so strangely; but she kept outwardly calm. She laid her
hands upon his arm, and then her eyes fell from his troubled face to
his trembling hand, which was striving vainly to hide something amongst
the papers on the table. Deborah saw the handle of a pistol; she drew
it out, and regarded him steadfastly. 'Father, father! what is this?'

He turned from her; his white head was bowed with shame in his hands,
and she heard a bitter sob.

'I know it now,' said Deborah, with terrible calmness. 'God called me
here. O dear father, what have you thought on? To get free of ruin, you
would kill your soul. Kind heaven have mercy on thee! You would leave
me, father; you would leave me and Charlie.' She flung the pistol out
of the room; she threw her arms round him. Sobs were shaking the strong
man's frame.

'O never think to leave me alone, father dear. It was sinful of you
not to call me; you might have known your little daughter would sooner
share your death, than wake to find you dead.'

'God forgive me, Deb; God forgive me;' and he sank into his chair
faint, trembling, shuddering. Deborah, on her knees beside him,
scarcely knew her proud father, he was so unmanned. She waited in
silence, with her head laid down on his knee. When he could speak, he
said: 'I see God's hand in this; I believe in Him as I never believed
before. Child! nothing less than a miracle brought thee here, as heaven
is my witness; in another moment, Deb, I should have been a dead man. I
had the pistol in my hand; may He forgive me, Deb!'

Then Deborah looked up white and calm: 'What could have induced you,
father? What ruin could be great enow to justify so great a sin? The
loss of house and lands? Let them go. You and I had better live in
some poor honest way, than keep at Enderby. Let it go. It is no great
matter, so long as you have your children's love.'

He groaned. 'It isn't all, Deb; ruin isn't all. We have that, and
enow. But ye know the old saying, "Death before dishonour."--Charlie,
Charlie!' and the father's tremulous lips struggled piteously to utter
more.

'Has Charlie _disgraced_ us then? How, father?'

'God forbid that I tell thee how. My boy has killed me.'

'Will _money_ save him, father?' The stern low voice scarcely seemed
Deborah Fleming's.

'Money, ay; but we are beggars.'

Deborah started to her feet. 'Well, think of it no more; you are
wearied to death, my father. Thinking won't right you nor save Charlie.
Sleep in peace, father, for I will save ye both this day.'

He stared in her face. 'Heaven bless thee, Deb. I know not what thou
say'st. I think my brain is shaken, Deb. But _thou'rt_ my only stay.'
With that, the heart-broken old man, fallen so lowly from his high
estate, lay down, and fell into a deep sleep. Not so Deborah.

Late in the morning, Sir Vincent awaked, and called for his daughter.
It seemed that she was near, for he had scarcely called before she
stood beside his bed. His strength was recruited; the strong and
nervous spirit had regained its power, and lived again in torture. He
gazed up at Deborah, piteous in his grim sorrow; still, in all his
strength, he turned to her: 'Deborah, my child, what is to be done?'

'I am decided, father. I will be Adam Sinclair's wife. He has money
enow to buy Enderby. Look you, you have nothing more to say; only see
that he knows he may marry me.'

'Thou'lt marry Adam Sinclair! Deb, art in earnest? Can ye do this? But
does it vex ye, love? Does it grieve ye _too_ much?'

She looked so calm, he could not believe this sacrifice, but half
believed her indifferent; he was sorely trembling.

'Nay, father. How vexed? how grieved? Ask me no questions. You know,
father, I was always "Lady Wilful," and very firm. Here now is a note
writ by mine own hand to _him_. I am decided.'

Sir Vincent rose up; he knew not if he were most glad or grieved or
scared, as he took her in his arms and blessed her. Never had Deborah
received love or blessing so passively. She put the note in his hands,
and looking at him with her great gray earnest eyes: 'Sweet father,'
she said, 'it must needs be soon; and that he may know that I am in
earnest, I have left that "soon" to him. I am sincere with him, father,
and I tell him I have no love to give; but I would fain save Enderby;
and so I ask him if he will save Enderby for love of me, and yet leave
me free. There is a loophole, father, for I have no wish to wed. But if
he must wed Deborah Fleming, and only this will move him, I am ready.
But as he will choose the wedding-day, I stipulate for freedom till
that day, never to write nor meet till the bells ring for the wedding.
Let me be Deborah Fleming till then, and forget Adam Sinclair! Lovers
and wooing I cannot abide. And life is long enow from the wedding to
the grave!'

Sir Vincent stood with the letter in his hand. 'Deborah, ye speak
strangely; yet you are smiling, and your eyes and cheeks are bright.
Little one, tell thy wretched father if thou'rt unhappy over this?
Speak, Deb, darling; and if it grieves thee, I will see myself in jail,
and Charlie on the gallows, ere thou shalt sacrifice thy life. Deborah,
be honest with me.'

'Why, I am honest always. It will not hurt _me_. I will be a good wife
to him till the day I die, if it must needs be so. But would you have
me say I love him, reverence him? This cannot be. But if he will not
save Enderby otherwise, I will be his wife. Of the rest--I will not ask
you--I dare not. But Charlie shall be saved.'

At these words Sir Vincent fell on his knees, and kissed his child's
dress like one beside himself, and then pale and wordless, rushed
away.... Then Deborah was left _alone_. The gay sun was shining in, and
the birds were singing from far and near; away up, Deborah's pet bird
the skylark was pouring out his supreme song of freedom in the blue
fields of space. She heard the trilling cadence from the wild bird's
throat. It drew her to the window, where she leaned out, and drank in
those delirious strains of joy, and stretched out her arms to the blue
sky, and thought of the little nest where the bird would drop, when
tired with wandering and with song. Could she be Deborah Fleming? Would
the messenger now speeding to Lincoln Castle bring her back freedom, or
death in life? She must wait, she must wait! Meantime, the o'ercome was
ringing in her ears of an old song that Kingston Fleming whistled when
a boy, and the sweet warm sun was shining on her, and Deborah laid her
aching head and her arms down on the window-sill and fell fast asleep.
It was then that Mistress Dinnage stole in; her face too was pale and
grave, but not so pale as the sleeping one over which she leaned. With
her hands clasped, she stood regarding it till her lips quivered,
and tears of troubled anxiety started to her eyes. 'Ay,' she said
with stern tenderness, 'you will die for him yet; but _I_ would die
for _him_ and _you_.' Then softly and in tender care, young Mistress
Dinnage passed a soft cushion under the little head, and laid a light
shawl over Deborah to shield her from the sun, and stole away.



MARKET-GARDEN WOMEN.


While the fruit-harvest is in progress, travellers through the western
outskirts of London will doubtless have noticed the numerous gangs
of women employed in gathering and packing fruit and vegetables
for market; the railway in that district running for several miles
through market-gardens and orchards. The peculiar dress of these
women--consisting of a large calico sun-bonnet, brightly coloured
neckerchief, short skirts reaching scarcely below the knee, and large
holland aprons--is alone sufficient to attract attention, even in the
momentary glimpse one obtains of them as the train sweeps past. Daily,
in sunshine and rain, these women are busy collecting the fruit and
vegetables which are nightly conveyed to the London markets; and as
some knowledge of their manner of life and the amount of their earnings
may prove interesting, we offer to our readers the substance of a
conversation held with a member of one of the gangs during the earlier
part of the season.

'Do we get pretty good wages? Well, you see, sir, it all depends on
the season. Just now, when strawberries are in and peas, we can earn
as much as thirty shillings a week--some weeks more. Raspberries and
beans we do pretty well with, but gooseberries and currants ain't so
good: eight-and-twenty shillings a week is as much as we can make at
those, working hard and long for that. Of course we have to work long
hours, beginning at four or five o'clock in the morning, and keeping
at it till eight and sometimes later at night, generally taking about
an hour's rest at dinner-time. But as we gather all the fruit by
piece-work, and so to speak, our time is our own, what dinner-time we
take depends on what sort of a morning's work we've made--sometimes
longer and sometimes shorter. You see, this is how we work. In my
gang there's six of us, that have always worked together for a good
many years now. We get one on each side of a row of strawberries or
raspberries or peas, or what not; and when one basket is full, we puts
a few handfuls in our apron, always managing so as to take in all the
baskets full together; and then at night, when our work is counted up,
we share it equally amongst us. We always know every night how much we
have made, but only get paid once a week, on Saturdays: Saturday, you
know, being an easy day with us, on account of there being no market on
Sunday. Our missis is very good that way: every Saturday, afore twelve
o'clock, there is our money, much or little; though there is some of
the masters as think nothing of keeping their women waiting about till
six or seven o'clock at night before they pay them, and perhaps then
only gives 'em a part of it; which comes hard on folks as live from
hand to mouth, as we have to do; the shop at which we deal only giving
one week's credit--pay up one Saturday night, and run on as much as you
like till the next; or if you don't pay up, no more credit till you
does.

'Apples and pears and such-like fruit we have nothing to do with--men
gather _them_ in. In fact as often as not the master sells the fruit
as it stands on the tree, and the buyer has to get his own men to
pluck it. But there's always some sort of fruit or vegetables to be
gathered from the beginning of spring till the end of summer as we
can do by piecework; and then the potatoes come in, which we pick up
after they've been turned out of the ground by men or by a machine;
but that we does by day-work, getting one-and-sixpence a day when we
work from six to six; and one-and-twopence when we work from eight till
dark. In winter-time there's always something to be done dibbing in
cabbage-plants, weeding, and such-like; but what with sharp frosts and
heavy snows, we don't earn much then, perhaps doing three or four days'
work in a week. Of course if we haven't had the sense to put by some of
the money we make in the good times of summer, times come cruel hard on
us in the winter; and very few of us like to apply to the parish if we
can anyhow help it. Not but what our missis is good to us in that way,
often finding us a day's work when it ain't needed, and always giving
us a half-pint of beer at the end of the day; which we can't claim, you
know.

'We don't take much count of rain either winter or summer, because,
you see, people will have their fruit and vegetables fresh gathered;
and so we wrap ourselves well up and make the best of it. As I said
before, Saturday we don't do much; but then we have to make up for it
on Sundays, so as to send the fruit fresh to Monday's market.

'Don't we suffer from rheumatics? Well, you mightn't think so, but it
ain't often any of us ails much. You see, being out in all weathers, we
get hardened to it; and besides, we always take good care to keep our
feet warm and dry--that's why we wear such heavy boots; and that's the
chief thing to look after, if you don't want to catch cold; so people
say. There ain't many of us but what is on the wrong side of thirty;
four out of _my_ gang being widows this many a year, with grown-up
sons and daughters; and it's the same in most gangs. Sometimes we have
young women amongst us; but there's not many of 'em stays at it after
they are married; not all the year through, I mean; perhaps coming for
a day or two at the busiest times; but even then it hardly pays them,
if they have a young family about 'em. The gangs of young women as you
sometimes see, we don't count as belonging to us; they only coming up
from Shropshire mostly--for a month or six weeks at the busiest part of
the season. Children we never have working with us, I suppose because
they wouldn't be careful enough about not crushing the fruit; which as
_you_ know, it would never pay to send crushed fruit into market. For
my part, I'm very glad as there is no children allowed amongst us, as
though it ain't very hard work, it's terribly tedious and back-aching.
When our children is old enough, we send the girls out to service
somewhere; and there's always plenty of work for the lads, of some
sort, about the farms; which is a good deal better than breaking their
backs at _our_ work.

'We all of us in my gang live hereabouts, in those little cottages that
you see yonder. Three shillings a week the rent of 'em is; but then
there's a good piece of garden-ground at the back; and most of us has
lodgers, young men what work on the farms and in the gardens mostly.
Four rooms there is in my cottage; and I have three lodgers, sometimes
four, two sleeping in one room. Good lads they are too. You see, as
they get home before I do, I always lay my fire in the morning before I
go out; and a neighbour of mine sets it alight in time for the kettle
to be a-boiling when they come in to their tea at six o'clock; and they
never misses leaving a potful of good strong tea for me to have when
I get home; which you may be sure is all the more grateful through
being the only hot drink I get all day, having only a drop of cold tea,
which I carry in that can there, for my breakfast. And maybe if we are
working near a public-house, we club up, and one of us goes and gets a
drop of beer to drink with our dinners.

'If it wasn't for the lodgers, the gardens wouldn't be much use to us;
but they generally take it in hand, and often comes to take a pride in
it; so that we are never short of such vegetables as are in season;
which helps a good way towards the rent. They also chop up my wood and
fetch my water for me, and make themselves handy in a score of ways;
indeed if I lost my lodgers, I don't know what I should do. It ain't
much cooking I do in the week; but what there is to do I do after I
come home. On Sunday the lads always look for a hot dinner; which when
I'm at home, I cook for them; and when I'm at work I get all ready on
Saturday night, and one of 'em takes it to the bakehouse to be baked.
When we do work on Sundays, if we anyhow can manage it, we try to get
done by three or four o'clock, so as we may be in time to dress and go
to church; which as a rule we mostly do.

'I can't read nor yet write, and I don't suppose as there's a-many
amongst the oldest of us as can. It wasn't much chance of schooling
girls like us got in my time, as we was sent out to work at something
or other when we was about nine or ten. I did go to school for a
little while; but if I learnt anything I must have forgotten it again.
The young ones are better off for the matter of that, and are always
willing to read or write a letter for us when we want 'em.

'Nineteen years I've been at it regular now, sir; and though I was
left a widow with seven children, the oldest of 'em only ten and one
at the breast, I'm proud and thankful to say as we've never had any
need to ask once for a loaf of bread even from the parish, and trust
as we never shall. I ain't the only one either, for there's Mrs Amblin
as lives next door to me was left with nine children, oldest only
twelve, and has lived to see 'em all doing for themselves without being
beholden to nobody for a crust of bread. Some years, when the fruit
has been backward or scarce, we've had a very close push to make ends
meet; but it has only taught us to be more careful when we have a good
season, and to put by a little more towards a bad one. We don't use
any bank, bless you! what little we can manage to put by, we generally
likes to have handy where we can put our hand on it when we want it. Of
course, there's no telling what may happen; but while I have my health
and strength left me, I shall always be able to earn as much as I need;
and if it should happen as _they_ fail me, well, what with lodgers and
the shilling or two my children will help me with, I daresay I shall
struggle along somehow. Mostly, though our children don't come to be
much more than field-hands and farm-labourers, when the time comes
they don't begrudge what is due to their parents, and manage somehow
to keep 'em out of the workhouse. Not but some of 'em goes to the
bad, as might be expected, seeing the little schooling we can afford
to give them, and the temptations there is for them nowadays; but it
is only here and there one, and they generally finish up by listing
for a soldier, which soon steadies 'em. One of my lads is away now in
the East Indies; and though I don't often hear from him, he seems to
be getting on quite as well as ever he'd ha' done at home. Our girls
mostly gets acquainted with one or other of the men working about the
place where they are at service, and get married, sooner perhaps than
what we old folks think they ought to--about nineteen or twenty--and
settle down near where their husbands work.

'We don't get much chance of holidays when once the season begins,
until it is over; because, you see, sir, the master must keep the
market supplied; and if he finds one of us not to be depended on to do
our work every day, he very soon gets somebody in her place that is;
which perhaps is one reason why young women never care to settle down
to our life. Altogether, our work ain't so very hard; and if we do
have to keep at it for a many hours at a stretch, it's all in the open
air, which is a good deal better than being shut up in the walls of a
factory; and if we are anyways steady and careful, we can always make
sure of a pretty good living. So that you see, sir, there's many as is
worse off than us poor garden-women.'



SEA-SPOIL.


Somewhat more than a year ago, we called attention to the changes which
are to be perceived in the relations of land and water; the action
of rivers on the land, and the influence of delta-lands in restoring
land, to the earth, being noted in the article alluded to; whilst the
destructive action of the sea on many points of the coast was also
detailed. In the present instance we purpose to examine a few of the
more typical cases of sea-action viewed in its destructive effect upon
the land, and also some aspects of earth-movements which undoubtedly
favour the destructive power of the ocean.

As regards these destructive powers, much depends of course on the
nature of the rock-formations which lie next the sea. A hard formation
will, _cæteris paribus_, resist the attack of the waves to a greater
extent than a deposit of soft nature; and the varying nature of
the coast-lines of a country determines to a very great extent the
regularity or irregularity of the sea's action. A well-known example
of a case in which the ocean has acquired over the land an immense
advantage in respect of the softness of the formations which favoured
its inroad, is found on the Kentish coast. Visitors to Margate and
Ramsgate, or voyagers around the south-east corner of our island,
know the ancient church of Reculver--or the 'Reculvers' as it is now
named--as a familiar landmark. Its two weather-beaten towers and the
dismantled edifice are the best known objects amongst the views of the
Kentish coast; and to both geologist and antiquary the 'Reculvers'
present an object of engrossing interest. In the reign of Henry
VIII. the church was one mile distant from the sea; and even in 1781
a very considerable space of ground intervened between the church and
the coast-line--so considerable indeed, that several houses and a
churchyard of tolerable size existed thereupon. In 1834 the sea had
made such progress in the work of spoliation, that the intervening
ground had disappeared, and the 'Reculvers' appeared to exist on the
verge at once of the cliff and of destruction. An artificial breakwater
has, however, saved the structure; but the sacred edifice has been
dismantled, and its towers used as marine watch-houses. The surrounding
strata are of singularly soft nature, and hence the rapidity with which
the eroding action of the waves has proceeded.

An equally instructive case of the destructive action of the sea is
afforded by the history of the parish of Eccles in the county of
Norfolk. Prior to the accession of James VI. to the English crown
the parish was a fairly populous one. At that date, however, the
inhabitants petitioned the king for a reduction of taxes, basing
their request on the ground that more than three hundred acres of
their land had been swept away by the sea. The king's reply was short
but characteristic. He dismissed the petition with the remark, that
the people of Eccles should be thankful that the sea had been so
merciful. Since the time of the niggardly sovereign just mentioned,
Eccles has not been spared by the sea. Acres upon acres have been
swallowed up by the insatiable waves, and as Sir Charles Lyell informs
us, hills of blown sand--forming the characteristic _sand-dunes_ of
the geologist--occupy the place where the houses of King James's
petitioners were situated. The spire of the parish church, in one
drawing, is indeed depicted as projecting from amongst the surrounding
sand-dunes, which the wind, as if in league with the ocean, has blown
in upon this luckless coast.

The comparison of old maps of counties bordering on the sea with modern
charts, affords a striking and clear idea of the rate and extent of
this work of destruction. No better illustration can be cited of the
ravages of the ocean than that exhibited in maps of the Yorkshire
coast-lines, and particularly in the district lying between Flamborough
Head and the mouth of the Humber. Whilst the district between the Wash
in Lincolnshire and the estuary of the Thames shews an equally great
amount of destructive change. Three feet per annum is said to be no
uncommon rate for soft strata in these localities to be carried away;
and the geologist may point to the famous Goodwin Sands--notorious
alike in ancient and modern history--as another example of the results
of sea-action, and of the wear and tear exercised by the mighty deep.
The contemplation of such actions fits us in a singularly apt manner
for the realisation of the full force and meaning of the Laureate's
words:

    There rolls the deep where grew the tree.
    O Earth, what changes hast thou seen!

It is highly important, however, to note that the sea receives aid of
no ordinary kind in its acts of spoliation by the operation of certain
forces affecting the land itself. Land frequently disappears from sight
beneath the surface of the sea by a process of subsidence or sinking.
We must therefore clearly distinguish between the land which the sea
literally takes by its own act, and that which becomes its property
through this curious subsidence and sinking of the earth's crust. No
doubt the result is practically the same in each case; the sea being
in either instance the gainer, and the land the loser. But the sinking
of land being a phenomenon less familiar to the ordinary reader, we
venture to note a few of its more prominent aspects.

A primary consideration to which it is needful to direct attention
consists in the due appreciation of the fact that the land and not the
sea is to be here credited with the action under discussion. When a
considerable part of a coast-line formerly existing above tide-marks is
found to gradually sink below the sea-level, the observer is probably
apt to assume that the sea has simply altered its level. The idea of
the sea being a constantly changing body is so widely entertained,
and that of the land being a solid and immovable portion of the
constitution of the earth, is also so deeply rooted in the popular
mind, that it may take some little thinking to throw on the land the
burden of the change and alteration. It is nevertheless a fact that
the great body of water we name the ocean in reality obeys the laws
we see exemplified in the disposition of the water contained in a
cup or bowl. The water of the sea thus maintains the same level, and
is no more subject to violent and permanent alterations than is the
water in the cup or bowl. Hence when part of a coast-line appears to
become submerged, we must credit the land with being the seat of the
change, seeing that the sea must be regarded as stable, unless indeed
it could be shewn that the level of the sea had undergone a similar
change on all the coasts it touches. Thus if the southern coast of
England were found to have been depressed say to the extent of six
feet, we must credit the land with the change, unless we could shew
that the sea-level on the opposite or French coast had also changed.
Now the alterations of land are mostly local or confined to limited
areas, and are not seen in other lands bounded by the same sea or ocean
as the altered portion. Hence that the land must be regarded as the
unstable and the sea as the stable element, has come to be regarded as
a fundamental axiom of geology.

When, therefore, the works of man--such as piers, harbours, and
dwellings--become the spoil of the sea, the action has either been
one effected by the force of the waves without any change of level
of the land, or one in which land has simply subsided independently
of the destructive action of the sea. In the extreme south of Sweden
this action of land-subsidence is at present proceeding at a rate
which has been determined by observations conducted for the past
century and a half or more. The lower streets of many Swedish sea-port
towns have thus been under water for many years, and even streets
originally situated far above the water-level have been rendered up
as prey to the sea by this mysterious sinking of land. Linnæus (as
on a former occasion we remarked) in 1749 marked the exact site and
position of a certain stone. In 1836 this stone was found to be nearer
the water's edge by one hundred feet than when the great naturalist
had observed it; the subsidence having proceeded at this rate and
degree in eighty-seven years. The earliest Moravian missionaries in
Greenland had frequently to shift the position of the poles to which
they moored their boats, owing to the subsidence of land carrying
their poles seawards, as it were, by the inflow of the sea over what
was once dry land. On the coasts of Devon and Cornwall the observer
may detect numerous stumps of trees--still fixed by their roots in the
soil in which they grew--existing under water; the site being that
of an old forest which was submerged by the sinking of the land, and
which has become converted into the spoil and possession of the sea.
Even the long arm of the sea--the 'loch' of the Scotch and the 'fjord'
of Norway--which seen in the outline of a map, or in all its natural
beauty, imparts a character of its own to the scenery of a country,
exists to the eye of the geologist simply as a submerged valley, whose
sides were once 'with verdure clad,' and on whose fertile slopes
trees grew in luxuriant plenty. The subsidence of the land has simply
permitted its place to be occupied by water, and the vessel may sail
for miles over what was once a fertile valley.

Occasionally the fluctuations of land may be exemplified to an extent
which could hardly be expected, a fact well illustrated by the case of
the Temple of Jupiter Serapis at Puzzuoli on the Bay of Naples. This
temple, now in ruins, dates from a very ancient period, three marble
pillars remaining to mark the extent of what was once a magnificent
pile of buildings. Half-way up these pillars the marks of boring
shell-fish are seen; some burrows formed by these molluscs still
containing the shells by means of which they were excavated. At the
present time, the sea-level is at the very base of the pillars, or
exists even below that site. Hence arises the natural question--'How
did the shell-fish gain access to the pillars, to burrow into them
in the manner described?' Dismissing as an irrelevant and impossible
idea that of the molluscs being able to ascend the dry pillars, two
suppositions remain. Either the pillars and temple must have gone
down to the sea through the subsidence of the land, or the sea must
have come up to the pillars. If the latter theory be entertained, the
sea-level must be regarded as having of necessity altered its level
all along the Bay of Naples and along all the Mediterranean coasts.
And as this inundation would have occurred within the historic period,
we would expect not only to have had some record preserved to us of
the calamity, but we should also have been able to point to distinct
and ineffaceable traces of sea-action on the adjoining coasts. There
is, however, no basis whatever for this supposition. No evidence
is forthcoming that any such rise of the sea ever took place; and
hence we are forced to conclude that the subsidence or sinking of
the land contains the only rational explanation of the phenomena. We
had thus a local sinking of land taking place at Puzzuoli. The old
temple was gradually submerged; its pillars were buried beneath the
waters of the sea, and the boring molluscs of the adjacent sea-bed
fixed on the pillars as a habitation, and bored their way into the
stone. Then a second geological change supervened. The action of
subsidence was exchanged for one of elevation; and the temple and
its pillars gradually arose from the sea, and attained their present
level; whilst the stone-boring shell-fish were left to die in their
homes. The surrounding neighbourhood--that of Vesuvius--is the scene
of constant change and alteration in land-level; and the incident is
worth recording, if only to shew how the observation of the apparently
trifling labours of shell-fish serves to substantiate a grave and
important chapter in the history of the earth.

The statistics of wrecks and of the amount of human property which have
fallen a prey to the 'sounding main' may thus be shewn to be not only
paralleled but vastly exceeded in importance and extent by the records
of the geologist, when he endeavours to compute the losses of the land
or the gains of the sea. But on the other hand, the man of science
asks us to reflect on the fact that the matter stolen from us by the
sea is undergoing a process of redistribution and reconstruction. The
fair acres of which we have been despoiled, will make their appearance
in some other form and fashion as the land of the future; just indeed
as the present land represents the consolidated sea-spoil of the past,
which by a process of elevation has been raised from the sea-depths to
constitute the existing order of the earth. Waste and repair are simply
the two sides of the geological medal, and exist at the poles of a
circle of ceaseless natural change. So that, if it be true that the sea
reigns where the land once rose in all its majesty, as the Laureate has
told us, no less certain is it that--to conclude with his lines--

    There where the long street roars, hath been
    The stillness of the central sea.

Thus the subject of sea-spoil, like many another scientific study,
opens up before us a veritable chapter of romance, which should possess
the greater charm and interest, because it is so true.



THE ADMIRAL'S SECOND WIFE.


CHAPTER IV.--LAURA BROUGHT TO TASK.

The Admiral says 'good-night' to the last of his guests; then he turns
to his daughter, who is evidently preparing for a speedy retreat.

'Don't run away yet, Laura; we keep early hours at Government House,
but it is not very late yet.'

Rather reluctantly, Mrs Best obeys. She knows perfectly well why her
father wishes her to remain, and she shrewdly suspects what subject
of conversation he is likely to introduce. Now that she has had her
triumph, by carrying out a pet plan with regard to Katie, that very
success makes her uneasy, for she knows she will be called to account.
However, she resolves to be brave, and at once leads the way to the
music-room. The servants have already put out most of the lights, but
here the wax-candles are throwing lustre over scattered music and
deserted seats. Laura gathers up some of the songs, wondering when
her father will begin, and how the attack will open. She knows it is
coming, for he is restlessly pacing to and fro the room with that
quarter-deck march of his, that betokens an uneasy mind.

'Why were the Greys not here this evening, Laura?'

She smooths out the leaves of an Italian duet, lays it on the
music-stand, and replies with apparent indifference: 'Because they were
not invited, papa.'

'Why not? I gave you the list, and I'm certain their names were down.
Why did you omit them?'

'Is it always necessary to invite the same people over and over again?
The Greys have been at every party that has taken place since I came
here to stay.'

'Had you any _particular_ reason for leaving them out, Laura?' asks the
Admiral, turning round quickly, as he notes his daughter's slightly
scornful tone of voice.

For a moment Mrs Best is undecided. Perhaps a slight meaningless excuse
will do. But only for a passing second does she think thus. Her frank
loyal nature asserts itself, and she says in a quick earnest manner,
with her eyes a little lowered, her cheeks a little flushed: 'I had a
good reason, papa. Kate Grey makes herself far too much at home here.
One would imagine she has some special privilege in this house.'

'Well, and I am always glad to see her.'

'She knows that, and presumes on the knowledge. People seeing her so
much at home at Government House, are beginning to talk in a most
unpleasant manner.'

'What do they say, Laura?'

'They say you mean to make her your second wife. O papa, surely,
_surely_ you will never do that! A girl so selfish, so ambitious, so
fond of admiration, so, so'----

'Stop, Laura! The category of faults you lay to poor Katie's charge is
surely long enough. So people say I mean to make her my second wife, do
they?'

A flush passes over the Admiral's face, and mounts to his brow. A
quick throb rises at his heart, as for the first time he hears Katie's
name coupled with his own. Till this moment, his thoughts about her
have been vague and unsettled. He admires her very much--more than any
other lady he knows; but the idea of making her an offer of marriage
has never seriously entered his head. But now, his daughter's very
cautions, her very reports of the world's gossip, shadow forth to
him that a marriage between him and Miss Grey may not be so very
preposterous after all, not such utter madness as he himself would have
called it a few months ago.

Laura, seated on a music-stool, her hands clasped before her, and her
eyes fixed on her father's face, reads its meaning at once; and as a
brave, a loving, and a fearless daughter, she will not shrink from the
duty she believes is required of her now. 'Dear papa,' she exclaims,
'let me entreat you not to risk your future happiness! Kate Grey would
never make you a good wife. She cares far too much for herself ever to
study the true interests of any other person.'

'Why are you so bitter against Miss Grey?'

'I am not bitter. I only tell the real sad truth. Don't let her come
to rule in your house; don't let her rob me of my father's love.'

Sir Herbert draws near his daughter, and looks tenderly down at her
flushed face and moistened eyes. 'Be reasonable, my child! No one can
ever rob you of my love; but' (here he pauses, as though hesitating how
to word his meaning--adding composedly enough) 'should I ever marry
Miss Grey or any other lady, you must not be prejudiced against my
choice, Laura. My marriage can never injure you in the least. Remember,
your poor mother's fortune was all settled on you before you married
Robert Best.'

'I am not thinking of money, papa. Mere money considerations do not
influence me in the least.'

'Possibly not. But let me allude to the subject once more while we are
talking. Robert has left you mistress of his fine estate. You have
duties and responsibilities that separate you almost entirely from me
now. Is not that the case?'

'Yes. I wish I could be more with you.'

'You cannot, Laura, without neglecting your own interests. Therefore
I am at times lonely--very lonely in the midst of surrounding society
and occupation. My house needs a head. My heart yearns sometimes for
congenial companionship. Don't grudge me happiness, Laura, if I can see
my way towards gaining it.'

'I hope and pray every possible happiness may be yours, papa; but don't
look to Katie Grey for such a thing. She would marry any one to obtain
position and wealth.'

Sir Herbert turns away, and walks to the end of the room; but he soon
comes back again, and sees his daughter watching him with eyes that are
misty and tearful.

'I am thinking of my own precious mother. Oh, how different she was
from this girl! Miss Grey is all unworthy to take her place.'

In her earnestness, Mrs Best has risen from the music-stool, and stands
before her father with great tears coursing down her cheeks. She raises
her clasped hands to him in the most imploring of all attitudes. The
snowy crispy dress with its white folds gives her a shadowy, almost
ghost-like look; and as her pathetic entreating face turns to the
Admiral, it almost seems to him as though the soul of her mother is
appealing to him through Laura's eyes. Never has the likeness struck
him so much. It is as though his beloved Bess had come from the grave
to bid him beware.

The daughter sees the impression she has made, and like many another,
presumes too much on her success, and goes a step too far. Had she
stopped at this point, perhaps her father would have given her the
promise she requires, that he will not marry Kate Grey. But Laura wipes
away her tears, and exclaims: 'You are coming round to my views, papa!
You are beginning to see how unfit this Katie is to be your wife. Miss
Grimshaw quite agrees with me about her true character.'

Sir Herbert steps back--draws himself up to his full height. 'And what
in the world does Miss Grimshaw know about the matter?'

'She has great powers of discernment. Indeed it was she who first
raised my suspicions, and set me to watch Katie's manœuvres.'

'Very kind of her! I ought to be particularly grateful for her
surveillance!'

A cloud gathers on the Admiral's brow; but Laura, unwarned, goes on:
'Adelaide Grimshaw is _all_ kindness. O papa, I wish you would fix on
_her_! She would fill the position of mistress to your household with
tact and taste, and would make you an excellent wife.'

'Thank you for your suggestion, Laura; but be assured if ever I do
marry, Miss Grimshaw will not be my choice.'

He shudders as memory recalls to his mind the lank figure of the very
elderly lady his daughter commends to his notice. He recalls the faded
face, the thin wiry curls, the lymphatic eyes, the bleating plausible
voice, with which, in the calmest manner, she is wont to gossip over
the frailties of her neighbours, and pass hard judgments on those who
are younger and more attractive than herself. Then his thoughts revert
to Katherine Grey. Whatever her faults may be, fortunately they are
all the very opposite of Miss Grimshaw's: mind and body are altogether
formed in a very different mould. After this, the conversation comes
to a close, and father and daughter separate--she to lament over the
Admiral's infatuation; he to wander for an hour or two more through the
dimly lighted empty suite of rooms.

Laura's words have moved him strangely. His pulse quickens as he
remembers that what has been to him a half-formed purpose, a whispered
secret, is already the town's talk, and that everybody is watching to
see what will come next.

Has Katie herself heard of these reports, and begun to trace out the
shadow of possible coming events? Would she be very much surprised if
he tried to give these airy rumours a solid foundation?

Such is the train of thought which floats through Sir Herbert's mind
long after the great house is closed for the night, and left apparently
to sleep and silence. He hears the measured tramp of the sentry on the
cold damp pavement outside; the distant sound of the ships' bells in
the harbour, as it is borne in by the wintry blast; and the musical
peals from the church steeples that chime the small morning hours;
but the question still rings its changes in his mind and finds no
satisfactory answer.


CHAPTER V.--THE QUESTION ANSWERED.

The next morning Katie takes up her position at her father's
writing-table. She has a letter to answer--a very confidential one
from her friend and confidant, Liddy Delmere--and she feels bound to
return confidence for confidence. Ere the epistle is finished, she
starts up and thrusts it into her desk. Her eyes have been constantly
wandering from the paper to the cold slippery streets, where people are
jostling against each other as they make their way through the showers
of falling sleet and gusts of rough wind. Surely no one would venture
out except in a case of absolute necessity; yet the girl evidently
expects _some one_; and by the rapid closing of her desk, no doubt the
'somebody' is in sight.

A tall upright figure may be observed emerging from the crowds of
passers-by; an officer, by the gold buttons on his rough outside coat.
Guiding his umbrella skilfully, Sir Herbert walks quickly on, and soon
Katie hears his well-known knock at the door, and his well-known step
in the hall, as he takes his way to her father's library downstairs.

'He will come up here presently with some apology to me, or I'm much
mistaken,' muses Kate, as she takes a swift look at herself in the
glass; and ere long the door is thrown open, and Sir Herbert Dillworth
announced. He glances quickly round the room, and this is what he sees:
a pretty, well-harmonised interior, a blending of soft warm colours,
and a blazing fire in the grate, that reflects itself in the polished
steel surrounding it. And Kate Grey, the brightest point of the whole
scene, is sitting beside the writing-table, and looking up with a smile
to greet him. She wears a morning dress of ruby Cashmere, and a single
knot of the same colour in the thick rolls of her dark hair. There is
not a shadow of resentment in those lustrous eyes as she holds out
her hand, frankly and pleasantly, to her visitor. Feeling perfectly
self-possessed herself, she owns to a degree of satisfaction as she
notices how disturbed Sir Herbert looks. The fact is his daughter's
words are still ringing in his memory--'People say you mean to make her
your second wife'--and he is wondering what Katie herself would say on
such a subject. Will she ignore the dreary barrier of years that lies
between them? Will she forget that he has gone some distance farther
on in life's journey, while she is in the very prime and flush of
girlhood? These thoughts flash through his mind, and make him appear
nervous and absent as he begins to talk about last night's party. But
his mind is made up.

'We missed _you_, Miss Grey. Will you pardon us that you had no
invitation? My daughter is not much accustomed to sending them out.'

'Please, don't mention it, Sir Herbert. I am very glad to go to
Government House when I'm wanted there; but one cannot always be
invited, you know.'

'But I like you always to come. The omission shall not happen again. We
had a wretchedly stupid gathering. Spare me similar disappointments in
future, Miss Grey, by--by taking the right of arranging these matters
into your own hands.'

The girl looks up inquiringly. Nothing can be more unsuspecting and
guileless than the questioning eyes that meet Sir Herbert's.

'Will you _take_ the right, Katie? My life has grown strangely desolate
and lonely of late; will you cheer it with your presence? In short,
will you be my wife?'

The question is asked now, eagerly and impassion'dly, and Miss Grey's
eyes droop under the Admiral's gaze. This vision has been dazzling her
mind so long; she has dreamt of it, thought of it; and now the offer
of marriage has really come! Though the triumph is making her heart
throb, she can hardly tell whether she is glad or sorry. But she does
not draw back. For the treasure of Sir Herbert's loyal affection, for
his true earnest love, she will give in exchange her youth and beauty.
She thinks the bargain a fair one, and wonders can anything more be
required.

When Sir Herbert leaves his affianced wife, he goes down to her father,
to tell him of what he calls his 'good fortune.'

'Yes; and mamma and Helen shall hear all about it from me. Won't they
be surprised!' adds the young lady with a short low laugh, as the
Admiral goes out of the room. She hears him close the library door, and
then says to herself with another little spasmodic laugh: 'Every one
will be surprised, as I am myself, to think how quickly it has all come
about. Last evening I was excluded from Government House, and now I
have promised to rule and reign there. Which has conquered--Laura Best
or I?'


CHAPTER VI.--FAMILY COUNSEL.

Mr Grey's library is a curious little room, fitted up quite in his own
way. Maps cover the sides of the walls, and a large bookcase holds the
books, which are mostly nautical. Models of ships and steamers are on
various shelves, there is an astrolabe near the window, and a sextant
and some pattern guns on the table. Mr Grey is busy at the moment with
official papers; his nimble fingers are copying a 'General Memo.' with
wonderful rapidity. Hearing the stately step of his chief coming along
the passage, he naturally supposes the Admiral has returned to give
further directions about some orders ere long to be circulated amongst
the ships. So he glances up over his spectacles pen in hand. Great is
his surprise at seeing evident signs of agitation in Sir Herbert's
face, as he says in a low tone: 'Put aside your papers for an instant,
Grey. I want to consult you on quite another subject. I have come to
ask your consent to my marriage with your daughter Katie.'

'Your marriage with my daughter, Sir Herbert!' and Mr Grey lets a huge
drop of ink splash on his 'General Memo.' in his surprise.

'You seem astonished, Grey. Have you any objection to accept me as your
son-in-law?'

'Pardon me, Sir Herbert, pardon my hesitation; but you startled me for
the moment. I am conscious of the honour you are doing us; but have you
considered how young and inexperienced Katie is? A mere girl, in fact.
She is but little used to the ways of the world; hardly wise enough to
hold the high position you offer her.'

The Admiral smiles. 'I will take the risk of all that. Katie is
willing, and I am ready to marry her just as she is.'

'Then I give my full sanction.'

'Wish me joy, Grey. You don't say a word about that.'

'I will wish you something better and deeper than mere joy, Sir
Herbert. I pray you may have true and unmixed happiness with my
daughter. May she prove a wife worthy of you, and may you never regret
your choice.'

There is a tremble in Mr Grey's voice as he grasps the Admiral's hand
and ratifies the new bond sprung up so suddenly between them; and he
looks thoughtfully after Sir Herbert as he leaves the room. Surely
women are fickle, and his daughter Katie the most fickle of her sex!

Only two months ago, Walter Reeves had come into that very same room
on the very same kind of mission. The same, but with a difference.
He has not actually proposed for Katie, but had asked permission to
visit at the house with that intention, in the event of his love being
reciprocated. And Katie knows all this, and up to the present has
received Walter's attentions, and seemed to take them as her right.
But now all this is set aside, and a man nearly as old as her father
himself has stepped in and won the girl as a willing prize. Well may
the old sailor marvel! Things have changed since the days 'long ago,'
when _he_ wooed his wife, and waited nine long years for her because he
could not afford to marry sooner. His true old-fashioned love has but
intensified as years have sped on; the trials of life have but drawn
the wedded pair closer to each other. Will this be the experience of
Katie and the Admiral?

Worthy Mr Grey cannot settle that point; so he goes up-stairs to hear
what Katie herself has to say on the subject.

Miss Grey lingers in the drawing-room after the Admiral has gone. There
seems something strangely sad and vague and solemn in the whole affair,
now it has gone so far; and when her mother comes into the room with
Helen leaning on her arm, she exclaims at once, with glowing cheeks and
flashing eyes and defiant tone: 'Wish me joy, mother, and Helen! I am
going to be married!'

'I'm glad it is settled at last, Katie; and I hope you will be very
happy. Walter has had plenty of patience, I'm sure,' says Mrs Grey in
her quiet voice, as she settles Helen comfortably on the sofa and turns
round to give Katie a kiss of congratulation.

But her daughter draws back with a look of annoyance.

'Why do you talk of Walter? I am not going to marry _him_. My intended
husband's name stands far higher in the Navy List. I'm going to be
married to Admiral Sir Herbert Dillworth!'

'Sir Herbert!' exclaim Helen and her mother together.

'Yes. Why are you surprised?'

'I'm sure we've good reason for surprise, considering all that has gone
on about Walter. Katie, Katie! what new fancy has hold of you now?' The
voice is Mrs Grey's, the tone one of reproach.

Katie is growing angry. 'The fancy is no new one, mother. Had you not
all been very blind, you might have guessed what was coming long ago.'

'Do you really love Sir Herbert?' asks Helen, with that deep-seeing
look of hers, that somehow always makes her elder sister a little in
awe of her.

'I like him; the rest will come by-and-by; and I'm glad and proud of my
lot.'

There is a ring in Katie's voice, as though she has flung down the
gauntlet of self-approval, and challenges any one to take it up and
contradict her. Her father is not the one to do this. He comes into
the room at the moment, hears Katie's asseveration, and feels as if
a world of doubt had rolled away from his mind. Considering his own
word 'his bond,' he judges his daughter by the same standard. 'That's
right, Katie, and sounds earnest. You may well be proud of your lot,
and of Sir Herbert too: there isn't a better, braver, more honourable
man alive; he's unselfish and high-principled to his heart's core. I've
served three commissions under him, and ought to know him well; and I'd
rather see a child of mine lying in her grave, than that she should
bring discredit on his name. Kiss me, my girl! I wish you happiness.
Well may you be proud of our Admiral!'

Katie receives the kiss just a little impatiently; she believes she has
won 'high stakes,' and does not relish any doubts on the subject.



THE CROCODILE AND GAVIAL.


Two species of crocodile inhabit our Indian rivers, and both are
especially numerous in such streams as the Ganges and its tributaries,
the Berhampooter, and many others. Sir Emerson Tennent, in his _Natural
History of Ceylon_, points out an error which Anglo-Indians and
others are often given to--namely, of applying the term _alligator_
to animals which are in reality _crocodiles_. There are no alligators
in the Indian peninsula. The true alligator is the hideous cayman of
South America, and differs in one or two important respects from the
crocodile of the Nile and Ganges.

The first and by far the most widely distributed of the two saurians
inhabiting our Indian rivers is the common crocodile, exactly similar
to the animal frequenting the Nile and other streams of Northern
Africa, and known throughout Bengal by its Hindustani title of
'Mugger.' The second species is the Gavial or Gurryal (_Gavialis
Gangeticus_). This reptile is, I believe, only found in Hindustan, and
is indigenous to the Ganges; hence its specific title.

The habits of the two creatures are in general very similar, but yet
differ in one or two important points. The mugger often grows to an
enormous size, not unfrequently reaching twenty feet in length, and
is thick built in proportion. The limbs are short, feet palmated, the
fore-feet furnished with five, the hind with four toes. The head (which
in aspect is extremely hideous) is broad and wedge-shaped, the muzzle
rather narrow, the eyes small, deep set, and of a villainous glassy
green hue. The jaws when shut lock as closely and firmly together as a
vice. The teeth are of a formidable description, varying much in size
and length. When the mouth is closed, the tusks in the extremity of the
lower jaw pass completely through and often project above the tip of
the upper. The body is incased with scaly armour-plates, very thick and
massive on the back, but to a less extent on the sides of the body. The
reptile breathes through its nostrils, which are situated near the tip
of the snout. By this wonderful provision of nature, the crocodile is
enabled to lie in wait for its prey with the whole of its body, except
the nostrils, concealed beneath the surface of the water.

The gavial much resembles the mugger in general structure (though the
body is not usually so thickly built), with one notable exception, and
that is the totally different shape and character of the snout. The
jaws of the gavial are long, straight, and narrow; the teeth, which
are regular, wide apart from one another, and even, are of a far less
formidable description than those of the common crocodile. They much
resemble in general appearance the rows of jagged teeth which garnish
the edges of the upper jaw of the saw-fish. The snout is often several
feet in length, and there is a peculiar knob or protuberance at the
tip; and the nostrils, as in the other species, are situated near the
extremity.

The gavial has been described by some writers as 'the scourge of the
Ganges' and a 'ferocious animal;' but I venture to say that this is a
highly exaggerated if not an altogether erroneous statement. It is
possible that occasionally--though I am convinced _very rarely_--the
gavial may seize a human being; but the reptile is essentially a
fish-eater, and unlike the mugger, is little to be dreaded by the
swimmer or bather. I have frequently, when strolling along the banks
of our Indian rivers, observed the head of a gavial momentarily raised
above the surface of the water in the act of swallowing some large
fish held transversely across its jaws, the long beak and rows of
sharp teeth with which nature has furnished it, greatly assisting the
creature in snapping up such slippery prey.

Crocodiles frequent the wide open channels and reaches of our large
Indian rivers, especially in the neighbourhood of large towns, such
as Dinapore, Allahabad, or Benares. In such resorts, whole families
of both gavials and muggers may be seen lying together side by side
on points of sand or low mud islands left dry by the current of the
stream; they delight to bask in the scorching rays of the mid-day sun.

The animals always lie asleep close to the margin, and generally with
their heads pointing away from the water. They are extremely watchful;
and on being alarmed by the near approach of some boat gliding past or
human beings walking along the bank, after contemplating the objects
of their suspicion for a short space of time, they one after another
awkwardly wheel round, and with a splash and a flounder speedily vanish
beneath the surface of the water, to reappear again so soon as the
cause of their alarm has passed.

Though hideous and repulsive in appearance, these reptiles nevertheless
fulfil a most useful office as scavengers. In the neighbourhood of
large towns on the banks of the Ganges, hundreds of dead bodies are
daily cast into the holy river by the Hindus; and in a tropical
climate like India, were it not for crocodiles, turtles, and vultures
assembling and devouring the corpses, speedily some dreadful plague
would break out and spread death around.

Judging from the accounts of travellers, the crocodiles inhabiting the
African continent must be far more dangerous than their confrères of
Asia; for though we sometimes hear of muggers taking to man-eating,
especially in Lower Bengal and parts of Assam, yet such practices are
not the rule, as is generally supposed.

I have, however, seen patches of water near the foot of ghats or
flights of steps fenced round with a close and strong hedge of bamboo
stakes, driven firmly into the river-bed, for the purpose of protecting
bathers or women drawing water from the assaults of man-eating
crocodiles; and it is a dangerous practice at all times to bathe in
pools frequented by such monsters. Cows, horses, sheep, goats, and
dogs, besides the numerous wild inhabitants of the jungle, all form a
prey of the mugger. The cunning animal, well acquainted with some spot
where, towards sunset, flocks and herds, after the heat of the day has
passed, are in the habit of drinking, there lies in wait concealed amid
the sedge bordering the margin. Presently some unlucky victim in the
shape of a poor bullock parched with thirst, comes hurrying down the
bank and eagerly approaches the water; but hardly has its mouth reached
the surface, when the blood-thirsty crocodile seizes it by the nose;
and if once successful in securing a firm grip, the chances are, that
unless the herdsman is at hand to render assistance, the unfortunate
bullock, in spite of struggling desperately to free itself, is soon
dragged down on to its knees, and later beneath the surface of the pool.

It has been asserted that tigers ere now have been seized, and
after a hard fight, overpowered by the crocodile. Possibly this may
occasionally happen; but I imagine such an occurrence to be extremely
rare; and my impression is, that such redoubtable champions, each
capable of inflicting severe punishment on his opponent, would avoid
rather than risk coming to blows.

It is generally imagined that the plated coat of mail covering the
crocodile's body renders the animal invulnerable to bullets. Such may
have been the case in the days of brown-bess; but a spinning conical
ball fired from a Martini-Henry or other grooved weapon of the present
day, will not only readily pierce, but even pass completely through the
body of the largest crocodile.

It is the extraordinary tenacity of life with which all the lizard
family are endowed, that has in a great measure given rise to
this notion of their invulnerability; for unless shot through the
head, neck, heart, or such-like vital part, the crocodile, even
when desperately wounded by a bullet through the body, will almost
invariably gain the water, only shortly afterwards to sink dead to the
bottom, to be devoured by some of its cannibal relations.

Near a station where I happened to be quartered for many years in
Central India, there was a large lake where crocodiles were known
yearly to breed. After some trouble, I procured two mugger's eggs from
some fishermen who frequented the spot. They were of an oval shape,
dirty white colour and rough surface. The female crocodile about the
month of May, having scraped a hole with her feet in the sand or mud of
some dry island, deposits her eggs therein, and carefully covers them
up, leaving the heat of the sun to hatch out her progeny. Meanwhile she
hovers about the spot, till at length the thin layer of sand covering
the eggs upheaves, the young issue forth, and escorted by the mother,
take to their natural element, the water.

    J. H. B.



SHAMROCK LEAVES.

A WEDDING.


At Irish country weddings of the lower orders, the priest is paid
by voluntary contributions of the wedding guests. The marriage is
generally celebrated in the evening, and is followed, especially among
the farming classes, by a grand festivity, to which his "Riverince" is
always invited. After supper, when the hearts of the company are merry
with corned beef and greens, roast goose, ham, and whisky-punch, the
hat goes round.

Honor Malone was the prettiest girl in the barony; and a lucky boy on
his marriage day was the bridegroom; albeit on the occasion he looked
very ill at ease in a stiff, shiny, brand-new, tight-fitting suit of
wedding clothes. Lucky, for in addition to her good looks, the bride
had fifty pounds to her fortune and three fine cows.

Very pretty and modest she looked seated beside the priest, blushing
a great deal, and wincing not a little at his Reverence's somewhat
broad jokes. And most becoming was the 'white frock' in which she
was attired; a many-skirted garment, resplendent with 'bow-knots' and
trimmings of white satin ribbons.

'As good as new,' my lady's-maid at the Castle, from whom she had
bought it, had assured her. 'Made by the grandest French dressmaker in
all London, and worn at only a couple of balls; her young ladies were
so cruel particular, and couldn't abide the suspicion of a crush or a
soil on their gowns.'

In the midst of his jokes and his jollity (and with an eye to future
dues, nowhere is a priest half so good-humoured as at a wedding), while
apparently absorbed in attention to the pretty bride, whose health had
just been drunk in a steaming tumbler, Father Murphy perceived with his
business eye that preparations were being made for sending round the
plate in his behalf.

The stir began at the end of the table where the 'sthrong farmers'
mustered thickest. A goodly set they were, in their large heavy
greatcoats of substantial frieze, corduroy knee-breeches, and bright
blue stockings; their comely dames wearing the capacious blue or
scarlet cloth cloak with silk-lined hood, which, like the greatcoat of
the men, is an indispensable article in the gala toilet of their class,
even in the dog-days.

In the midst of the group was Jim Ryan. Now this Jim Ryan was the sworn
friend and adherent of Father Murphy; he would have gone through fire
and water to serve his Reverence. He was rather a small man in the
parish as regarded worldly goods, having neither snug holding nor dairy
farm; but he was highly popular, being considered a 'dhroll boy' and
good company.

When the proceedings of this devoted follower met the priest's
business eye before alluded to, they caused considerable surprise to
that intelligent organ, insomuch as greatly to damage a very pretty
compliment his Reverence was in the act of making to the bride.

First Jim Ryan took hold of the collecting plate, and seemed about to
carry it round. Then, as if suddenly recollecting himself, he stopped
short, and dashed it down on the table with a clatter and a bang that
made Mrs Malone wince, for it was one of her best china set.

Jim's next proceeding was to try all his pockets. He dived into his
waistcoat, breeches, and swallow-tailed coat receptacles, one after
another, but without finding what he wanted. At last, after much
hunting and shaking, and many grimaces of disappointment, he pounced on
the object of his search, and drew carefully from some unknown depths a
large tattered leather pocket-book.

By this time every one's attention was fixed upon him. Deliberately
he opened the book, and peering inside--having first ascertained by
a covert glance around that the company were observing--he extracted
from it a bank-note. This, when unfolded, he spread out and flattened
ostentatiously on the table, so that all who looked might read 'Ten
Pounds' inscribed upon it!

A flutter of astonishment ran through the guests, not unmixed with
signs of dismay among the richer portion. Fat pocket-books that a few
moments before were being pompously produced by their owners, were
stealthily thrust back again. A sudden pause was followed by a great
whispering and consulting among the farmers. Anxious and meaning
looks were bestowed on the latter by their wives, to say nothing of
expressive nudges, and digs into conjugal ribs where practicable. For
there was always much rivalry in these offerings. Misther Hennessy, who
drove his family to mass every Sunday in his own jaunting car, would
scorn to give less than Misther Welsh; though _he_ too was a 'warm'
man, and always got top price for his butter at Limerick market. And
now to be outdone by Jim Ryan! To proffer his Reverence five pounds,
when the likes of him was giving ten! It was not to be thought of! So
the result, after Jim had deposited his note with a complacent flourish
on the plate, and had gone his rounds with the latter, was the largest
collection that had ever gladdened the heart or filled the pockets of
Father Murphy.

As the priest was leaving the place, Jim came up to him and laid his
hand on the horse's bridle: 'A good turn I done yer Riverince this
night, didn't I? Such a mort of notes an' silver an' coppers I niver
laid eyes on! I thought the plate would be bruk in two halves with the
weight. An' now'--in a whisper, and looking round to see there was no
one listening--'where's my tin pound note back for me?'

'Your ten pound note, man! What do you mean by asking for it? Is it to
give you back part of my dues, you want?

'Ah then now, Father Murphy dear, sure an' sure you niver was so
innocent as to think that blessed note was mine! Where upon the face
of the living earth would a poor boy like me get such a sight of money
as that? Tin pounds! I borryed it, yer Riverince, for a schame; an'
a mighty good an' profitable schame it's turned out. Sure I knew the
sight of it would draw the coin out of all their pockets; an' by the
powers! so it did.' A fact his Reverence could not deny, while--not
without interest--he refunded Jim's ingenious decoy-duck.



THE ITALIAN GRIST-TAX.


In our own favoured realms millers have their troubles, no doubt,
as well as other folk, but at anyrate they are not tormented with
a _grist-tax_; and indeed in these enlightened days we should have
thought that such an impost was unknown in all countries claiming to
have attained a high degree of civilisation. Mr Edward Herries, C.B.,
late Her Majesty's Secretary of Legation at Rome, in the course of his
elaborate Report on the Financial System of Italy, has, however, shewn
us our mistake; and in tracing the history and present position of the
tax, he furnishes us with some curious particulars respecting it.

As our readers will doubtless be struck with the anomaly of a powerful
government having recourse nowadays to indirect taxation to augment its
revenue, it may be well at the outset to cite a brief paragraph from Mr
Herries' Report, in order to shew how it happened that the grist-tax
came to be reimposed upon the people of Italy.

Towards the close of the year 1865, he writes, M. Sella, then Minister
of Finance, having to meet a deficit estimated for 1866 at upwards of
two hundred and sixty-one million lire (say ten million four hundred
and fifty thousand pounds), and being compelled, he said, to have
recourse to indirect taxation for a large increase of revenue, urged
upon the Chamber of Deputies the revival of the grist-tax, which he
considered as fulfilling more completely than any other new impost that
could be found the essential conditions of great productiveness, wide
diffusion, and equal pressure on all parts of the kingdom.

The impost seems to have made its first appearance in Sicily, where it
was a source of revenue during the Norman period, and there, no one
was allowed to carry corn to be ground without first obtaining, after
much delay, a permit, for which he had to pay the duty chargeable on
the grinding of the corn. The attestation of the officer in charge
of the mill was requisite for the removal of the flour, for which a
certain route was prescribed, and which was always to be accompanied
by the permit. The miller was not even allowed to keep the key of
his own mill, and was prohibited from grinding corn between sunset
and sunrise. The wants of the population, however, sometimes made it
necessary to relax this rule; and in such cases the miller (whose
family was never to remain in the mill with him) was securely locked
and barred in for the night, without any means of communicating with
the outer world, whatever might happen. This treatment, however, was
at length seen to be cruel; and permission was granted to any miller
exposed to imminent peril from fire, flood, or other calamity, to free
himself from nocturnal incarceration by breaking (if he could) through
the door, window, or roof. It does not seem to have been foreseen,
Mr Herries aptly remarks, that such a gracious concession might be
rendered nugatory by the strength of the barriers or the feebleness of
the miller!

Up to 1842, the millers themselves were considered as responsible
fiscal agents; but after that time, the supervision of every mill was
intrusted to an official called a 'weigher' (_custode pesatore_);
but not being usually a very faithful guardian, bribery soon became
rampant. In the Ecclesiastical State, where the tax was farmed out to
contractors, the mode of its exaction was in many respects similar to
that existing in Sicily. By an edict of 1801, which deserves notice
as a legislative curiosity, a miller was liable to be sent to the
galleys, besides paying a heavy fine, for a variety of offences--such
as that of grinding corn not regularly consigned to him in the manner
prescribed; of receiving corn or sending out flour at night; and others
of similar enormity. In the district of the Agro Romano, all bread had
to be stamped; and the absence of the proper stamp exposed the guilty
baker to a fine of one hundred scudi and corporal punishment, or even
to slavery in the galleys. The inhabitants of this district were only
allowed to use bread baked within it, and they might be compelled to
declare where they got their bread.

Though the tax was temporarily abolished in its last strongholds in the
year 1860, it was subsequently revived, until all the statutes relating
to the subject were finally consolidated in 1874. The tax, which must
now be paid to the miller at the time of grinding, is charged at the
rate of two lire (of about tenpence each) per hundred kilograms on
wheat; and one lira on maize, rye, oats, and barley. The miller pays
periodically to the collector of taxes a corresponding fixed charge
for every hundred revolutions of the millstone, to be ascertained by
an instrument called _contatore_, which is affixed to the shaft at the
cost of the government. The amount of this charge is determined for
every mill according to the quality and force of the machinery and the
mode of grinding. The miller may refuse the rate as first calculated;
in which case the revenue authorities have the power to employ an
instrument which will record the weight or volume of the corn ground;
or of collecting the tax directly by their own officers, or of farming
the tax. Should they not think fit to exercise such powers, the rate is
determined by experts. The impost, it is perhaps hardly necessary to
say, is an eminently unpopular one, and was only consented to under the
pressure of extreme necessity.

The great difficulty in the way of the smooth working of the grist-tax
was the impossibility of procuring the mechanical means of control
contemplated by the law; and in point of fact, when it came into
operation no effective instrument was in existence. By the end of
August 1871, however, matters had changed, and no fewer than 78,250
registering instruments were supplied, and by 1874 the greater number
of these _contatori_ were in active operation. The _contatore_,
however, does not give universal satisfaction; and Mr Herries thinks
that what is wanted to remove doubts as to fair treatment, is some
instrument capable of recording the weight or the quantity of wheat
ground. Best of all would be the abolition of the grist-tax; but in
a country where the mass of the people consume no articles of luxury
which can be taxed by revenue officers, and also from whom no direct
impost could be exacted, the continuation of the grist-tax seems to be
an absolute necessity.



SWEET LOVE AND I.


    Sweet Love and I have strangers been
      These many years,
                      So many years.
    He came to me when Life was green
      And free from fears,
                      These present fears.

    He came, and for a little space
    My life was gladdened by his grace;
    But soon he fled, and joy gave place
                      To grief and tears.

    'O Love, come to me once again!'
      My lone heart sighs,
                      So sadly sighs.
    'Recall thy fearless nature, then,
      Sweet Love replies,
                      Softly replies.

    'Thou canst not? Then I cannot be
    The same that once I was to thee.
    There's no room in the heart for me,
                      Where fears arise.'

        A. C. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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