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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 723 - November 3, 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. 723 - November 3, 1877" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

FOURTH SERIES

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 723.      SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1877.      PRICE 1½_d._]



THE GAELIC NUISANCE.


It is not a very creditable fact that after centuries of national
consolidation, there should be communities within the British Islands
who use different vernacular tongues and are ignorant of English. In
other words, there are large numbers of persons who cannot in ordinary
circumstances be directly communicated with. They can neither send
nor intelligibly receive letters through the post-office. Summoned as
witnesses on civil or criminal trials, they are in the position of
foreigners, and stand in need of interpreters. Cut off from English
books and newspapers, a correct knowledge of history, of science and
art, and of passing events is scarcely possible. They necessarily
vegetate amidst vague legends and superstitions. Theirs is a life of
stagnation and impoverishment, in the spot where they were born; for
anything like voluntary emigration to improve circumstances is only
exceptional. And all this has been complacently tolerated, if not
pampered, for hundreds of years by a nation full of enterprise, and
which, with no injustice, aspires to be in the front rank of general
civilisation.

We are quite aware that much the same thing can be said of most of
the continental nations. All are a little behind in this respect. The
ancient Breton language survives in France, as does the Basque in
Spain. Switzerland, Germany, and Russia are respectively a jumble of
spoken tongues. In Holland and Belgium, we have the Dutch, French,
Flemish, and Walloon. To accommodate the inhabitants of Brussels, the
names of the streets are stuck up in two languages. These continental
diversities do not greatly surprise us. In frequent wars, revolutions,
conquests, annexations, along with want of means, and a host of
inveterate prejudices to be encountered, we have an explanation of
the strange mixture of languages and dialects which still prevails in
continental Europe.

The case is somewhat different in the United Kingdom, where everything
but old prejudices would seem to favour a uniform native language
which all can use and understand. Yet, as we have said, there exist
communities who are still less or more ignorant of English. Centuries
have rolled on, and notwithstanding all appliances, groups of people
are yet found speaking a language which was common a thousand years
ago, but now occupies an obscure and fragmentary position. We do not
say that matters have not been advancing towards uniformity. Little
by little, outlying communities have been satisfactorily Anglicised,
not by anything like legal compulsion, but by what might be termed a
natural process of assimilation. We may speak of two important cases.
In the Shetland and Orkney Islands the Norwegian language existed
until within the last two centuries. It is now totally gone, and the
vernacular is a pure English; vastly to the advantage of the natives,
who besides being open to common civilising influences, are prepared
for pushing their fortunes in any part of the British dominions;
some of them indeed making no mean figure in current literature. The
other case is that of Galloway, a district embracing two counties in
the south-west of Scotland, where the Gaelic prevailed longest in
any part of the Lowlands. 'The wild Scots of Galloway' was once a
well-known phrase. It has passed away along with the Gaelic speech.
The Gallowegians--abounding in men of genius--are now a lively and
prosperous English-speaking and English-writing people. For them the
change has been a very happy one.

With a knowledge of these two instances of social improvement, there
is the more reason to regret the protracted existence of non-English
speaking races. No one will say that any good has come of the continued
prevalence of Erse, the old Irish tongue; nor of Manx in the Isle of
Man; nor of Welsh, though that, as regards literature, is considerably
ahead of any branch of the once universal Celtic tongue. Considering
what spirit is demonstrated in the way of books, newspapers, and
otherwise, Welsh rises to a comparatively prominent position; but there
always remains the unpleasant reflection, that interesting as the
Welsh tongue may be, it distinctly mars national unity, and must be a
drawback on those adhering to it alone, and reared in ignorance of
English. To this cause is doubtless attributable the lingering of many
whimsical superstitions in the Principality.

Should any one desire to see what mischiefs are effected by adherence
to a language long since out of date, he should visit some parts of the
Highlands and the Western Islands of Scotland, where, by a well-meant
but mistaken policy, Gaelic is still perseveringly maintained. Some
years since, it was our fortune to pay a visit to Barra, one of the
Outer Hebrides; and the feeling which rose in our mind was that what we
beheld was a specimen of Scotland as it existed in the sixth century,
when St Columba spread a knowledge of Christianity in the western
Caledonian regions. We seemed to step back twelve hundred years. It
was a marvellous kind of look into antiquity. In their language, in
their rude dwellings of stone and turf, in their religious forms, and
in their dress, the people belonged to a far-back age. Their existence
was an anachronism. And the curious thing was to find this condition of
affairs within four-and-twenty hours of Glasgow, with its enterprise
and prodigiously busy population. We have seen the Micmacs living in
a way little better than dogs in the wilds of Nova Scotia, but one is
not greatly astonished to see Indians dwelling in a state of primitive
wretchedness. The sentiment of wonder is raised on finding natives
within the British Islands still living as their ancestors did at a
time coeval with Vortigern and the Saxon Heptarchy. There they are, for
anything we can see, unimprovable. Speaking Gaelic and nothing else,
they, in their dismal isolation, are left behind in all ordinary means
of advancement. Who has not heard of the institutions plausibly and
benevolently set on foot to enlighten the aborigines of the Highlands
and Islands? Well, here, after all that is done, things are much as
they were in the era of St Columba--people living almost like savages,
without the ability to hold intercourse with strangers, or the power
to improve their circumstances, in consequence of knowing no other
tongue than Gaelic. That language is their bane. It keeps them poor, it
keeps them ignorant. So far as they are concerned, the art of printing
might as well never have been invented. The intelligence communicated
by books and newspapers is for them wholly unavailing. Practically,
they are living hundreds of years before the ingenious discoveries of
Gutenberg and Coster. To think that with all the costly apparatus of
national education, such should be going on within the compass of the
British Islands!

It is no use to mince a matter so grave in its results. The upholding
of Gaelic as a vernacular tongue is, in our opinion, an error to be
lamented and abandoned. In saying so, we are reminded that an effort
has been made by an eminently enthusiastic Professor to gather funds
for the purpose of endowing a Celtic Chair in the University of
Edinburgh. To that effort, which is likely to prove successful, we make
no special objection. Let Celtic, like any other ancient language, by
all means be cultivated among the higher aims of philology. Students
who like to pursue learned inquiries of this kind may do so. But it is
a wholly different thing to maintain a system of elementary teaching
in schools which tends to perpetuate Gaelic as a spoken tongue to the
exclusion of English. Apart from social intercommunication, there may
be a difficulty in substituting English for Gaelic. Teaching to read
English alone in Gaelic-speaking districts is said to be of little use.
The pupils learn to pronounce the words without attaching any meaning
to them. Impressed with this awkward consequence, the Society for the
support of Gaelic schools, which has been in existence upwards of
seventy years, suggests that the best way to promote a knowledge of and
taste for English is to begin by teaching pupils to read Gaelic. 'The
people,' it is represented, 'having once got a taste for learning, are
not satisfied with their children being able to read Gaelic; a number
of them pay the teacher for instructing them also in reading English
and writing at extra hours.' There may be some truth in this view of
the matter; but unfortunately we are confronted with the greater truth,
that considerable numbers in the Highlands and Islands still speak
Gaelic, and are ignorant of English to any useful purpose.

If it be absolutely necessary that schoolmasters must begin by teaching
to read the Gaelic, they ought not to end there, but proceed to
offer, by a close translation, the requisite knowledge of English.
There are surely teachers qualified to make Gaelic-speaking children
understand the meaning of English words. The trouble to be taken
may be considerable, but there are few things either great or good
which can be effected without trouble. We cannot doubt that Highland
school-boards might find a way to make pupils understand English
provided they have the will to do so. Indifference and the grudging
of expense perhaps lie quite as much at the root of the difficulty as
traditional prejudice. It is open to conjecture that, but for undue
fostering, Gaelic would stand a fair chance of disappearing altogether
from the Highlands and Islands, as it did in Galloway and elsewhere
simply through the operation of natural causes.

The question, Gaelic or no Gaelic, has, we fear, been too long treated
in a sentimental point of view. For example, we see it fervently
argued that Highlanders should be able to understand and relish the
ancient Gaelic poetry, as if an acquaintanceship with a few old songs
and ballads were a primary concern in life. Poor people nailed to
a sterile soil by their hereditary ignorance of English, are to be
congratulated for their knowledge of some poem which the world at large
never heard of, and does not care about! Happy people, to whom food,
clothing, and cultured intelligence are as nothing in comparison to the
enviable pleasure of singing a ditty ascribed to Fingal or some more
modern and less apocryphal Celtic bard! It is gratifying to know that
Highlanders themselves are a little scandalised by these and similarly
absurd propositions. Sensibly, they observe that it is time to get
rid of Gaelic, as being entirely out of date, and only an impediment.
Two years ago, in a Glasgow newspaper, one who subscribed himself a
'Western Highlander,' took exception to the unreasonable clamour that
had been got up for the maintenance of Gaelic as a spoken tongue. He
says very rationally: 'We Highlanders have a language that, whatever
its beauties, suffices merely for speech; a language by which we
cannot acquire knowledge in art, science, history, commerce, or--if we
exclude the Bible--even religion. With a poor and infertile soil, we
live alongside a people rich in every gift of nature, possessing every
advantage that can insure worldly prosperity. We are debarred from all
the stores of wisdom locked up in the English language. Thus heavily
weighted, we cannot hope to rival our neighbours' wealth, but we can
wish and strive to make the best of our opportunities. We intend to win
our way if industry and thrift can do it. We can endeavour to improve
our infertile soil, to attract capital to our agriculture, to establish
better communication with the rest of the world. Proud as we are of the
mountain and the glen, we know that we cannot live by scenic beauty
alone. We are tired too of kilted glory, and of dressing and acting
up to Cockney sentiment about the savage Celt. We wish to recognise
and study the conditions of existence, the methods of supporting life
and securing comfort. And to do all this, if our much-loved language
has become an impediment rather than a gain, why, let it go. We shall
remain good Highlanders regardless of any particular mode of speech.
At a time when the first whisperings of prosperity are beginning to
reach us, when steamers deeper and deeper laden ply to every corner of
the west, when the completion of a railway will soon make Oban a great
commercial centre, when comforts hitherto undreamt of are everywhere
obtainable--is it right at such a time of promise to intensify our
disadvantages and to make our backwardness more backward still?' Shrewd
remarks these, well worth taking to heart.

It cannot be ascertained from any official Reports what is the exact
number of persons--men, women, and children--whose language is wholly
confined to Gaelic. In the second Report of the Education Commission
published in 1867, it is said to be 'probable that the population of
the parishes within which Gaelic continues to be the only language
which is understood by the majority of the people cannot exceed a
hundred and fifty thousand; these being chiefly the parishes of the
Hebrides, which are wholly insular, and the mainland parishes of the
west coast of the counties of Sutherland, Ross, Inverness, and Argyle.'
It is believed that since 1867, the number whose speech is limited
to Gaelic has diminished through various influences, among which
commercial intercourse by means of steam-vessels and otherwise has
been conspicuous. We should almost aver that Hutcheson's magnificent
fleet of steam-vessels, whether devoted to the carrying of goods or
passengers, had done more to introduce a knowledge of English, along
with conditions of prosperity, into the Hebrides than any other
appliance whatsoever. In the remoter or lesser islands which are little
visited by strangers, there is a corresponding backwardness. Barra we
have already spoken of as still in a singularly primitive condition. At
Coll, Tyree, and some other islands, the knowledge of English is also
unhappily deficient. In comparatively recent times, a great change in
proprietorship has come over these islands. The old families--such as
the Macneils and Macleans--have mostly disappeared, and new landlords
with the means and desire to improve the condition of the soil and the
population, find themselves obstructed by the difficulty of holding
any intelligent intercourse with the natives. The disadvantage is
mutual, for on all hands the Gaelic-speaking inhabitants are unable
to make their wants and feelings known to those who wish to be their
friends. A melancholy case of a rigid adherence to Gaelic, is that of
the extremely remote island of St Kilda. Here, as was described a few
months ago by Mr J. Sands in our pages, the natives speak Gaelic and
nothing else; in Gaelic they are preached to by a minister originally
from the mainland; he and his wife being the only individuals who know
English. Of course the natives can hold no epistolary correspondence
with the exterior world, on whose sympathy they are forced to rely. A
present of English books would be valueless, for they could not read
them. They could not emigrate unless accompanied by an interpreter,
much after the manner of a party of travellers in the East under the
guidance of a dragoman. We ask, Is that a position in which any of Her
Majesty's subjects should continue to be placed through the effect of
custom or prejudice? Such an afflicting condition of affairs is little
better than a national disgrace.

It is hard to run counter to long-cherished and in the main amiable
feelings. It is hard to find fault with persons and institutions whose
motives in encouraging Gaelic have been alike pious and benevolent.
But circumstances oblige us to be candid in a matter so momentous to
public welfare. The Gaelic language may be as copious and energetic as
the Greek; it may be not less suitable for poetry than the Italian; it
has strong archæological claims as a relic of the tongue which in its
various forms was at one time spoken all over the British Islands, if
not over all Europe; but it has survived its usefulness, and is out
of place as a vernacular. In short, looking to the wants of modern
society, and seeing the mischief it produces, we are--however hateful
the term--warranted in characterising Gaelic as a NUISANCE, which every
one should aid in removing with all reasonable speed.

    W. C.



FROM DAWN TO SUNSET.

BY 'ALASTER GRÆME.'


IN THREE PARTS.--PART II.


CHAPTER THE SEVENTEENTH.

No one but Mistress Margaret and Marjory knew that Deborah and Kingston
Fleming were betrothed. Meantime Deborah, with her love-secret folded
like a flower within her heart, devoted herself to her father, and
Kingston remained with them. But Deborah's presence was required at
Lincoln; the tenantry were anxious to welcome the new mistress; and
like a dutiful daughter, fondly hoping that the change would restore
her father, she determined, by Kingston's advice, to go there at once,
and to leave Enderby to undergo thorough repair. So they left the dear
old place. 'What will happen,' thought Deborah Fleming, 'ere I see
Enderby again?' Mistress Margaret would not leave Enderby, for certain
private and sufficient reasons of her own; so she pleaded to be left
behind. She was in daily expectation of receiving a secret summons to
follow her husband, and her heart clung to her old father and the old
place.

They arrived at Lincoln Castle in the late summer gloaming. Groups of
solemn cedars were just visible, and the little melancholy bats were
flitting round like spirits; the grand old ivied keep loomed darkly
before them; and beyond, under a glimmering archway, were lights and
figures. Deborah shuddered; she knew not whether to weep or pray, as
she laid her head on her father's shoulder, and thought of herself
entering in triumph as Adam Sinclair's bride. She felt a traitor,
taking Kingston there, her lover, her betrothed, even though he was
going away that night; and the grim presence of Adam Sinclair pervaded
all the place. The same in the gorgeous rooms, gloomy though full of
brilliant lights. On one side walked her tall kinsman-lover, and on the
other stalked the spectre of Adam Sinclair. Deborah shivered, and clung
to Kingston's arm. She went out with him under the stars to bid him
good-bye. Two tall cedars met overhead, and the night-wind just sighed
amongst their branches; the night-flowers were exhaling their fragrant
odours.

'Deb,' whispered Kingston, 'I have half a mind to leave thee, love!
Men of rank and position would flock to woo my beautiful one. Thou'rt
very young. Wait; and let me come and know thy mind hereafter. _Wait_,
Deb. I speak no jest. Wert thou poor, I would make thee wed me now; but
love--as thou art--I cannot. Wait, Deb; and I will exact no promise
from thee.'

'Thou never didst know me, King, and never will! My love was quick to
come, but it was and ever will be changeless. Dear, I have seen many
men; and more than thou wott'st of have made love to me. But what are
they all to thee? From childhood, _thou_ hast been my love; I feel no
shame to tell it thee. And wilt thou, for my poor fortune, leave me?
Why, thou dost tempt me to fling it all away as dross, rather than lose
thy love. King, if thou leavest me, I shall _die_! For old kin's sake,
thou couldst not! Remember that we are kin near and dear! Thy father
and mine were boys at Enderby, and played in the same old haunts;
companions near and dear. Ah well, King as thou lovest me, promise soon
to come back!'

He took her face between his hands and hesitated. Perilously dear was
she to him; but oh! that golden casket in which his jewel lay--he hated
it! Kingston Fleming was proud where he loved.

'If thou wilt not promise,' said Deborah, 'thou shalt not go! _I_ shall
do the wooing!--Oh, I am too bold! But my heart saith thou lovest me.
Then fling this pride away. King, darling, do not break my heart!'

He was vanquished. Vows, caresses, sighs, and the lovers parted.


PART III.--NIGHT.


CHAPTER THE FIRST.

The young and beautiful Lady of Lincoln won all hearts; not that she
visited any but the poor in those days; but the fame of her beauty and
sweetness spread abroad even so; and the 'Rose of Enderby,' though
not to be seen, was known to be brightening the stern old castle. The
tall gaunt father and the beautiful girl lived in utter seclusion,
except when amongst the poor--always together. Strangely enough, he
never tried to wander. She never had him left alone day or night; but
he never seemed happy save with Deborah. And still she watched for
and prayed for a change in him. She talked to him, waited on him,
sang to him from morning till night. Out in the broad sunny court that
lay between the door and the entrance-gates, Deborah and her father,
and often old Marjory with them, would sit and look up the long grass
avenue that stretched far away, a vista of giant trees, ever twilight,
where the antlered deer would trot past, to seek fresh shade and
pasturage, and where the far-away murmur of country life, the lowing
of cows, the tinkle of a sheep-bell, the bark of a dog, the shout
of a boy, or the cries of children at play, would be wafted to them
musically.

One morning, left alone, Sir Vincent said to his child: 'Where are we,
Deb?'

Often he had asked the same question before; and she answered as
before: 'At Lincoln Castle, father.'

But he went on: 'Who lives here?'

'You and I, father, and I hope Charlie soon. Adam Sinclair gave us this
place. Wasn't it good of him?'

'Adam Sinclair?' He looked bewildered, and shook his head. 'I know
naught of him, Deb. Deb, little Deb, I was thinking of Kate Shaw. I saw
her yesterday.'

'Who was she, father, dear?'

He stared at her. 'Why, your mother!'

Her heart fluttered. 'My mother! And did you see her yesterday?'

'Ay; she was walking under the trees yonder. But she looked ill, sadly
ill; her hair was as white as mine. She gave me such a look!'

Deborah went and kneeled by her father, and put her arms around him.
'Poor sweet father! This could not be. Thou knowest my mother died
long, long ago. And was her name Kate Shaw, father?'

'Ay;' and he smiled. Wrapt and intent, his eyes seemed gazing far
through and away. 'She was Kate Shaw, Deb; a gipsy lass, and beautiful
as the dawn. No one like her! Such eyes, such feet, such grace! Sweet
Kate! sweet Kate!'

Deborah knew that her mother's name had been Kate. She marvelled,
trembled.

'I walked with her yesterday, Deb; didn't I? Yes; under the trees at
Enderby; and I found she loved me. Little witch! She was hard, hard to
win; so coy, so whimsical! She had a gipsy lover too. I made short work
of _him_.'

'Didst shoot him, father?'

Sir Vincent laughed aloud, then feigned to look greatly scandalised
amid his mirth. 'Shoot him? Fie, fie, Deb! Ask me not what I did,
child. Why, one day she cared for him, the next for me. I could not
stand it. A Fleming too! The Flemings woo maidens honourably. 'Fore
heaven, I made Kate my Lady Fleming--my sweet little wife Kate! But I
let her go no more to the camp. Sometimes I think she pines. She talks
sometimes about her mother, in her dreams--that old hag! My wife must
give up all, and cleave to me. Kate, Kate! dear love!' Then he said no
more, nor did Deborah; but she marvelled at what she had heard, and
what could have recalled her mother so vividly.

It happened one afternoon a few days after this and their arrival at
Lincoln, Dame Marjory entered with a pale face. 'My Lady Deb, there's
a poor woman round there at the gates wantin' to see thee; she is very
ill. She lies there; 'tis like she's dyin'; so Master Coleman thinks.
She can't be moved away.'

'I will come,' cried Deborah. 'Send Coleman to father. I will speak to
her.' Beautiful, pitiful, Deborah appeared in her long black robes to
the vision of the dying woman, bending down to her. She was an old, old
woman, with wild and wintry hair; death in her face, but life in her
great burning eyes, and those were fixed on Deborah. Deborah started
back. It was _the_ gipsy! A hundred doubts and certainties rushed
surging to her brain. The gipsy beckoned her nearer.

'Speak to her,' whispered old Marjory emphatically. 'Go nearer.' And
then Marjory, standing by gaunt and grim, waved the other servants away.

Deborah kneeled and bent her ear to the dying woman's lips. 'Girl,'
said the faint voice, 'I forgive and forget! Let me die like a woman,
not like a dog. I am thy mother's mother, an' I have been round day an'
night to seek thee. _She_ cast me off--Kate Shaw, thy mother. Because
she was my Lady Fleming, she forgot her old mother. I was the dirt
under her feet. Thy servants turned me off, Mistress. But take me into
your grand house an' let me die in peace.'

Deborah rose to her feet, and turned like a ghost on Marjory. 'Nurse,'
she whispered, 'is this my grandmother?'

'Yes, Mistress Deborah; it is true.'

Then Deborah beckoned to the men, and bid them bear the dying woman in
and lay her on a bed. And then Deborah, with Marjory on the other side,
sat down beside her. She seemed almost gone; the breath came labouring.
But the breeze that swept in at the open windows seemed to revive her.
It blew on the long white locks straggling across the brow; on those
glazing eyes, so dark, sunken, piteous--eyes that burned up again, and
sought Deborah's face as the embers of a dying fire flicker up and
throw into the room an unexpected light.

'My girl,' she said, 'if Kate had been like _thee_! Hark! I hated, an'
yet I always loved thee! _Thou'dst_ ne'er ha' treated me like a dog.
An', ah me! I loved her like my soul!'

'Grandmother,' answered Deborah sweetly and with a clear utterance,
that pierced to the dying ears, 'my mother loved you. Only the other
day I heard that great as she was, she never forgot you, even in her
dreams. Day and night she thought of you; but her promise to her
husband kept her from you, though she pined to see you once again.
Oh, be merciful then! Forgive her! You are going now to meet again. O
forgive her! that God may let ye meet in heaven!'

The great eyes stirred not from Deborah's face. 'Shall I win to
heaven, lass? Speak to me o' heaven.' And Deborah described to her
that beautiful place, that land glorious with promise and with bliss,
that 'eye hath not seen, nor heart of man conceived.' The dying gipsy
listened with her soul in her eyes. Then said she, very faintly:
'I am goin'. O Jesus, let me come! O Kate--my Kate!' Then, with
wonderful sudden life and fire: 'Hi! you, my lass! Where's the boy? the
rogue--"wild Charlie" they called him. Where's _he_?'

'In Ireland. Gone to fight for the Irish, grandmother.'

She laughed exultantly. 'Why, I tell thee why--_his mother_ was Irish,
an' he knew it. Mad boy, mad boy!'

Deborah laid her white hand on the old brown trembling hand, and
smiled. She watched to see again and again a strange look of Charlie
in that faded face and those large and wistful eyes. A great new-born
love was flooding Deborah's heart for the dying vagrant. But death was
taking the wanderer away. 'O Jesus, let me come!' Deborah heard her say
again.

The fire died out; the flame sank low; the embers of life just
smouldered, nothing more.... The fresh wind blew in vain on the wild
gipsy face. She was gone.

Scarcely had Katharine Shaw been laid in her grave when Sir Vincent
Fleming became very ill--so ill, that Deborah despatched a letter
post-haste to Mistress Margaret Fleming, begging her to make known the
fact to Charlie at once. But Mistress Fleming had started for Dublin;
and this is how it befell. One morning a letter came to her. She often
received such; but this one had cost her a laugh and a cry of joy. Just
as she was in the perusal, old Jordan entered, and stared in wonderment
at the glorious happiness of her face. 'Why, my maid,' he said, 'what
hast got there? It's naught but paper, is it?'

'No, dad; but something writ upon it. Father,' she said, and rose and
slid the beautiful arm around his neck, 'haven't I been a good daughter
to thee? Proud and pursed up with mine own conceit, the lads o' the
village have always called me. But, father, "Mistress Dinnage" has been
a good daughter unto thee?'

'Ay, ay, lass, thou hast! What wouldst be comin' at? What ails thee
now, Mistress?'

'Why, I come to ask thy blessing on me. Don't look scared, father; no
shame will ever fall on thee through Mistress Dinnage. But I will out
with it, for I can never beat about the bush. Father, I am Charles
Fleming's lawful wife!'

Jordan seized his child by the shoulders, and his old grotesque visage
grew dignified and terribly stern in its earnestness as he almost
shrieked: 'Not--not unbeknown to the Master--an' Mistress Deborah?'

'Unbeknown that we are wedded, but not that we love, father. Mistress
Deborah has known and wished it long; and Sir Vincent--he has seen us
twice together, father, when we were walking secretly, an' has smiled
on us. Mistress Deborah has heard him say a hundred times that he would
fain, if he had wealth, have for his daughter-in-law an "honest poor
man's child." So father, dear father, ye must not be angered.'

'Child, child! thou'st done wrong in keepin' it hid. Married?
What--_married_? Honestly?'

'Ay,' was the proud answer. 'Charles Fleming and Margaret Dinnage went
to Daxford Church, and were wed; we came out man and wife. Ask Master
Rawdon. Father, he's in Ireland; but it's kept secret from all but
Mistress Deborah. He's gone soldiering, father; and in this letter he
asks me to go. Father, I am his wife!'

'Ay, an' _Jordan's daughter_, Meg,' said the old man brokenly. 'I'm
a'most dazed. And thou'rt goin' to leave the old man alone--alone!'

'Only for a little time, father--a little, little time; for soon
Charlie, when all the trouble's over, will come home to Enderby. It's
all arranged between Lady Deb and me. A fine home-comin' it'll be, an'
it please thee, Master Dinnage! Father, I won't go for long, dear. But
o' nights, thinkin' o' Charlie, I well nigh go distraught. There is
danger, father, as thou know'st! Hundreds o' men are slain. I must be
_there_. I must go, dear; but I won't be long.'

'Go, go!' muttered Jordan irefully. 'Thou'dst allus the bit atween thy
teeth, Mistress Dinnage; so had thy poor dear mother. Go along! I've
no need o' thee; yon brave young fellow hath. Thou'lt be killed next,
girl, killed, ay, an' wus than killed, at the hands o' the wild Irish.
But, go, go! I don't want thee here.'

Anger, pride, and sorrow struggled fiercely in the brave old heart;
but 'Mistress Dinnage' knew how to take him. 'Father,' she said,
sorrowfully regarding him, with her head slightly on one side, and her
hands playing nervously with her apron, in her earnest pleading, 'if
thou wert newly wed, an' so parted from mother by land an' sea--an' she
in trouble, needin' thee sore--thou'dst wade through fire an' water,
only to win to _her_. My heart is broke in twain 'tween thee both--one
half is at home with thee, an' the other gone to Charlie. Though I
don't speak or cry, my heart is wounded with every man that's killed,
an' trouble wears me sore. Think of mother, my father! Think when thou
wert first wed, what it would be for one to part thee--think o' it, an'
bid me go!'

So Mistress Margaret won the day.



OUR INDIAN PETS.


Among the many, many good things swept from India by the great Mutiny
storm was the time-honoured order of Griffs--that is, officers under a
year's service in the country. Every regiment owned one or two members,
and in large stations they were usually to be found by the half-dozen.
They were generally the life of the station, and in every way were
our _prime_ pets. What would Mrs General and Mrs Brigadier have done
without their griffs to patronise and make use of in various ways,
such as filling up sudden vacancies at their dinner-tables, or helping
to fill their ball-rooms? Griffs invariably started Indian life with
the three animals which are also included in the list of 'our Indian
pets'--namely the horse or his humble representative the pony, the dog,
and the monkey. No griff considered his establishment complete without
these three animals; there would be a general uniformity among the
monkeys; but a collection of griff horses, ponies, and dogs formed a
rare aggregation of screws and curs of all sorts, sizes, and colours.

There is a peculiar charm about Indian life which is rarely seen
at home, and that is the compactness and domesticity of each
establishment. In each household the master, and if he is married,
his wife and children, is in direct contact with his servants and his
animals; all are housed near him; and the daily morning stroll leads
him from the stables to the farm-yard, then to the garden, and so
home by the tree beneath which the monkey is chained, the dogs being
in close attendance. The horses are brought up to be fed under their
master's eye, and generally receive a crust of bread, a biscuit, or a
chupátee (an unleavened wheaten cake like a pancake; the 'unleavened
bread' of Scripture) from his or his wife's hands; the dogs have the
free run of the house, and at their stated hours have their meals
under some one's eyes; while the farm-yard is under the direct charge
of the mistress, who fusses about among the cows, looks after the eggs
and chickens, and makes over the victims selected for the table. Then
on the march we are in still closer contact with our servants and
animals; for a few steps only separate us from all. Emerging from the
tent, a few paces to the rear bring us to the cook's tent, and behind
or beside it is that belonging to the servants. Behind them are our
horses and dogs, the latter generally tied up during the day and loose
at night.

So it happens that in cantonments, and more especially on the march,
we are virtually monarchs of all we survey; and I well remember that
in the pleasant days of my griffinage, on the occasion of my first
march, I felt quite patriarchal as I sat in the tent-door with all my
earthly belongings around me; the bearer (valet) and the other servants
attending to their various duties, my dear Caboolee horse Tom dozing in
the sunshine, my faithful setter Belle lying at my feet, and my monkeys
Jacko and Moony busy with their own affairs.

And now to 'our Indian pets;' and I purpose passing some of mine
in pleasant review; but in doing so I shall not record anything
remarkable, or what any kind observer of animals and their habits
cannot fully indorse.

One of my first purchases was a horse we called Tom, a gray,
thoroughbred, thick-necked, and sturdy Caboolee, for whom I paid
ninety rupees (nine pounds); and right valuable did he turn out. I
bought him in 1854, rode him from one end of the presidency to the
other, through the Mutiny, and up to 1866, when I pensioned him. In
1869 he was attacked by black cancer, and at length I was sorrowfully
obliged to put an end to his existence, to save him from a cruel,
lingering death. There was nothing about him externally different
from other thoroughbred Caboolees; but being made a great pet of,
his mental abilities shone more remarkably, especially under daily
observation. For instance, he had a strong sense of the comic. If I
spoke to him when mounted, he would turn his head as much as he could
and look at me; or he would take a cake or bit of sugar-cane out of
my stretched-out hand, and munch it as he went along; or if I tickled
one ear with my cane, he would unmistakably present the other ear to
be similarly treated. He was a great thief, and I had great difficulty
in restraining him from plunder when riding through crops. He was very
fond of my wife's horse Punch, and neither would be stabled apart from
the other; and it was most amusing to watch their nose-rubbings across
the stall partition. Much, however, as he loved Punch, he would never
allow him to precede him in the walk or canter, nor would he move until
the dogs had been let loose and had jumped up to his nose. He knew his
name perfectly, and would trot up to me when called, from any part
of the field. He carried me unflinchingly through the Mutiny until
wounded, and thought nothing of our weary rides of between thirty and
forty miles a night.

On one memorable occasion we were escaping from a threatened attack,
and I had dismounted to look at the girths; a shot from the rear
elicited the exclamation: 'I wonder where that bullet has gone to;'
and I again mounted, but had hardly gone two paces when Tom began to
limp. I got off at once, and then found that the bullet had struck him
just outside the off-knee, had run round under the skin, and lodged
in front. I tried to cut it out then and there; but the horse was too
restive, and I again mounted, but only to find the poor brute getting
more and more lame. I was now well behind, and the rest of our party
urged me to come on. As I still lagged, they cried out to abandon the
horse, as we were being pursued. This I grudgingly did, and trudged
on hurriedly to join our party; having done this, I looked back, and
saw poor old Tom hobbling after me. I could not stand this, so brought
him on at once. When we reached comparative safety some days after, I
extracted the bullet.

I have already mentioned Punch my wife's horse. He was ridden as a
charger through the battle of Gujrát in January 1849, and with his
rider, had a remarkable escape from a shell, which exploded between
his rider's foot and his own off-shoulder. The wound inflicted left a
scar, into the hollow of which you could thrust half a fist. He was a
perfect lady's horse, and quite free from vice, possessing a gentle and
affectionate disposition. He was fonder of Tom than Tom was of him,
and used to exhibit great anxiety when, in his opinion, his friend
was longer absent from his stall than usual, his return to which was
greeted by a loud neigh of welcome. I have never seen so gentle or
loving a horse. He quite understood the difference between adults and
children, and would allow the latter to take all kinds of liberties
with him, and was perfectly aware how to behave when they mounted him,
as they always did when he returned from the morning or evening ride.
He was a darling horse, and like true friends, his and Tom's best
qualities came out under trial. Both had suddenly to exhibit their best
points when the Mutiny broke out, and both behaved nobly. When Tom
was disabled, I rode Punch, and during these weary days and nights he
fully understood his position; many a time had we to snatch an hour or
two of sleep when we could on the bare road; I would lie down with the
bridle round my arm, and he would sleep standing beside me. One morning
we broke down together, and both fell asleep while progressing, being
rudely awoke by finding ourselves in a large roadside bush. Poor old
Punch was subject to a disorder which eventually carried him off in
November 1864, in the twenty-third year of his age. Unlike Tom, he was
hale and hearty to the last. Peace to the memory of these two humble
and faithful friends! Several horses have subsequently been in my
stables, and I might narrate something about each, did time and space
allow, but none of them ever took our affections so completely as did
Tom and Punch; they were our first and best equine loves.

Let me pass some of my dogs in review; and how tender are the memories
which some of their names recall! Dear old Belle, an English brown and
white setter, leads the way: she was too old for active service, had
been left in the country by her former master, and had passed from one
hand to the other, getting thinner and thinner with each change. When
I got her she seemed to think a new master a matter of course, and
accepted the change without emotion; but when she saw that she had
really found a permanent master and a comfortable home, then all her
pent-up affection welled forth, and she seemed to feel that she could
not shew enough of it. She was my constant and faithful companion in
the early years of my service, and I felt her loss keenly when carried
off by distemper, which on that occasion killed all my dogs. Her last
acts were to lick my hand and feebly wag her tail as I bent over her
prostrate form.

Belle number two comes on the scene: a small black and white spaniel,
which I had as a pup. She was specially noted for an intimacy she
struck up with another dog Topsy, and a cat; and the romps of the three
were most amusing, but at the same time most destructive to a bed of
melons they always selected for their invariable game of Hide-and-seek.
The gardener protested in vain against their romps, though he allowed
that Belle effectually protected the melon-bed from the jackals at
night. She accompanied me in our flight in the Mutiny; but, poor
little thing, was lost on the road. Topsy was a great pet; a very
singular-looking little animal of a mixed breed, very peppery, full
of life, and immensely affectionate. Her peculiarities were--intense
antipathy to jackals, whose howl she would at once imitate if you
called to her: 'Jackals, Tops;' and the clear manner in which she
articulated grand-mam-má-á-á, if you interrupted her growling with your
finger. She accompanied her mistress to England as a co-refugee from
the Mutiny, and was made much of in consequence, returning to this
country only to die prematurely, dear little Tops.

Rosie! Rosie! Here is a small liver and white smooth terrier, very
affectionate, and noted for her antipathy to musk-rats and squirrels;
the former she invariably killed, and the latter she tried hard to,
but rarely succeeded, as they were too agile, and always got up the
nearest tree. I have had to drag her away from the foot of a palm-tree,
at which she had been sitting all the morning watching a squirrel. Her
first litter consisted of one pup, about which she made an immense
fuss, and was inclined to resent a great liberty I took with her. I
found one day a starving outcast kitten, and bringing it home, put
Rosie on her side, and told her to be kind to it. The kitten ravenously
seized a teat; and Rosie was very uneasy, not quite making out the
animal which was draining her, and evidently suspecting it to be a
squirrel. After a day or two she took to the stranger; and the kitten
at once made itself quite at home; rather too much so, for she would
claw at the pup most unmercifully, while it yelled complainingly, the
mother not knowing what to make of the arrangement. But the tables were
turned as soon as the pup got its teeth and legs; and then it fiercely
maintained its rights, and there used to be regular scrimmages over a
favourite teat; Rosie looking on in blank amazement, and wincing under
the scratches of her strange pup. The three pulled on together in a
way; but there was never much love lost among them.

My monkeys Jacko and Moony I bought as a griff at Umballah for the
large sum of one rupee. They were just emerging from babyhood, and so
required some care and looking after. I never taught them anything;
for such education, as with dogs, always necessitates more or less
severity; but I carefully cultivated the talents they possessed.
The looking-glass was always a standing joke. Either monkey would
cautiously approach its image, making the usual recognition grimaces,
which of course were duly returned; then it would sit close up to the
glass, and now and then look sideways at the reflection; or it would
put a hand behind the glass, as if feeling for the other monkey. If I
seized the hand, a fight with the glass at once ensued, which I kept up
with my hand, and then suddenly dropped the glass. The amazement of the
monkey at the sudden disappearance of its adversary was most ludicrous
to behold.

Moony was very fond of a delicacy well known in India as mango-fool.
The spirit of mischief induced me one day to add a teaspoonful of
spirits of wine to her daily saucer of mango-fool, and for the first
and last time in my life I saw an intoxicated monkey; her antics and
attempts to keep the perpendicular were most absurd. She certainly
attempted to dance and clap her hands, but ultimately was obliged
gradually to subside and yield to the soporific influence of the
spirits. As a great treat I used occasionally to loosen both monkeys
and let them scamper up a large tree. At first they appreciated my
kindness and came down at call to be tied up for the night; but the
sweets of liberty were too great, and they gradually began to be tardy
in their descent, and at last Moony preferred to spend the night in the
tree. To prevent the return of such behaviour, I bombarded Moony next
day with my goolél or pellet-bow (a weapon with which in those days I
was remarkably skilful), and soon brought her to my feet. Both monkeys
were familiar with the goolél, for I often harmlessly tested their
agility by shelling them with it; but Moony now learned for the first
time the punishment it could inflict; and ever thereafter, if I merely
called out (when she hesitated to descend) to the bearer: 'Goolél lao'
(Pellet-bow bring), she would hurry down the tree repentant. This
story savours somewhat of the American colonel and opossum; but it is
strictly true.

Moony had her first young one when about fifteen months old; and the
fuss she made with it, and the fierce affection she exhibited, were
interesting to behold. Her babe was still at the breast when the
Mutiny broke out. Among the ruffians who burned my bungalow was one
who provoked her in some way or other. She attacked him at once, but
was killed by one blow of a láthee (stout bamboo staff), her young one
sharing her fate. Jacko escaped in the confusion, and became a vagrant.

A native gentleman once presented me with a black gibbon (_Hylobates
agilis_), called by the natives from its yell, Hookoo or Hoolook. Its
tremendous teeth and unearthly yell impressed me unfavourably, and
I kept it in confinement, much against my will, as it always seemed
so gentle. The poor brute soon died. Some time after, when staying
with a dear and congenial friend at Alipore, near Calcutta, I became
acquainted with a second gibbon, which was quite tame, and allowed to
be at large. We at once exchanged confidences, and the poor creature's
loving affection for me became quite overpowering. So thoroughly did
I trust it, that I allowed my boy of three years of age to play with
her, and the way the two rolled over on the turf was most amusing
to behold. The agility of the animal was simply marvellous. I have
seen it go round the large house hanging by its finger-tips to the
cornice beading which went round. To run up the rain-pipes was as easy
to it as a ladder would be to a man; in fact, it could go anywhere
and everywhere, and so often vexed us by its depredations. It found
out where my boy's milk was kept, and helped itself in this strange
fashion. Its great length of arm prevented it from drinking direct
from the vessel, as monkeys do, the arms always intervening between
the vessel and the animal's mouth; so she was obliged to sit at some
distance from the vessel, and scoop out its contents with her fingers,
letting the milk drop from them into her mouth. She did not drink from
the hollowed hand, but let the fingers drip the liquid into the mouth.
One day the gibbon had annoyed my friend by eating some of his papers,
and in the afternoon we were conversing together in his study, when
suddenly it appeared, and sidled up to me. With a half-angry laugh, my
friend made a gesture as if to throw a book at it, and exclaimed: 'Get
out, you mischievous brute.' She accordingly got out, in her silent
mysterious manner, and we went on talking. We then adjourned to the
roof for a view, and I drew my friend's attention to the gibbon, which
was timidly surveying us from behind a distant chimney. Playfully
shaking his fist at her, we walked together to the opposite end of the
roof and leaned over the parapet. Presently I saw the gibbon stealing
quietly towards us along the parapet. As soon as she saw that she was
observed, she boldly ran up to me, threw her long arms around me, and
nestled into my breast. Could I resist such an appeal for forgiveness
and protection? We were both much touched by it, and winked at many of
her subsequent misdoings.

So much for our principal pets: minor ones are cats, pigeons, parrots,
cockatoos, minas, squirrels, and the mongoose. I might devote an
article to each of these animals; but time and space warn me to stop.



THE ADMIRAL'S SECOND WIFE.


CHAPTER X.--ONLY TWO LETTERS!

At length the day for the party arrives. A hundred or more invitations
have been accepted, and much expectation and curiosity is evoked at
Seabright about the coming grand entertainment. Lady Dillworth's
eagerness intensifies, and doubts spring up in her mind. What if the
charade should prove a failure after all? She is nervous at having to
sing in character, and angry with herself for her trepidation. She even
tells Walter of her cowardice; and after the last rehearsal, as he goes
away, she implores him to help her as much as he possibly can.

'Do, do come early, and manage everything, for I feel as if I
were going to break down in the very midst. Recollect, the whole
responsibility of making it a success rests on you.'

Walter promises all she requires; but Katie is not convinced, and her
doubts increase as the time draws near.

The morning of that day does not begin auspiciously. A fierce storm
has been raging for many hours. When the Admiral glances over the
newspapers at breakfast, his face becomes grave as he reads down the
long list of disasters and wrecks. Presently the footman hands him a
letter, and then his face becomes still graver.

'Anything wrong, Herbert?' asks her Ladyship.

'A ship aground on the Short Reefs,' replies he shortly.

'O dear, how dreadful! What is the name of the ship, Sir Herbert?' asks
Liddy clasping her hands, and opening her eyes very wide.

'The _Daring_; and unless they get her off at the top of spring-tide, I
fear she will go to pieces on the rocks.'

The Admiral drinks his coffee quickly, and prepares to leave the room.

'Where are you going, Herbert? You haven't taken half a breakfast.'

'I can't stay, Kate; for I must give orders about sending off help to
the _Daring_.'

'Are any lives lost?'

'Not so far, I'm thankful to say. I hope we shall have her afloat
before long;' and he goes to the library with the letter in his hand.

Lady Dillworth is very busy that morning, and not the least of her
engagements is trying on her 'Lucia' dress. Before she goes up to her
dressing-room on this important business, she runs into the library to
ask Sir Herbert what time he is to be home to dinner. But the room is
empty. The Admiral must have been called out suddenly, for a letter,
still glowing with wet ink, lies open on his desk. His wife glances at
it in passing, then pauses, and bends over it closely. The words are
few, written off in her husband's bold dashing hand, and the contents
are evidently for her father. It is an order for the _Leo_ to be
despatched at once to the assistance of the unfortunate _Daring_.

Lady Dillworth stands aghast. How can the charade party get on without
Captain Reeves? It will be an utter disappointment, and she will be
overwhelmed with mortification and vexation in the eyes of all her
guests!

'Why did Herbert fix on the _Leo_? There are numbers of other ships;
any one of them would do as well. The _Leoni_, for instance,' she
exclaims half aloud.

In an instant the pen is in her hand, and with an impulse that seems
irresistible she adds two letters to the _Leo's_ name, and is surprised
to see how exactly she has imitated her husband's writing.

'Of course I must tell Herbert, and explain why I did it. What will he
think of my daring?' she asks laughingly, as she returns the pen to its
place.

Then she goes up-stairs, and is soon closeted with her dressmaker; and
the recollection of ships and all such matters is soon banished from
her memory; for the dress is an odious fit! The alterations required
are legion. Madame Darcy may be clever at fashionable modern dress;
but in medieval costume she has failed utterly. Katie waits patiently
while the assistant, with scissors and needle, brings the garment into
wearable shape. After the woman is gone, Lady Dillworth recollects
about the letter, and returns to the library to tell her husband of the
change she has made in it. But the letter has vanished, and the footman
meets her with a message.

'My Lady, Sir Herbert told me to say he would not be home to dinner.'

'Did your master say where he was going?'

'No, my Lady; but the groom told me he was called off to Hillview, and
was to go by the twelve o'clock train; and it's half-past twelve now,
my Lady.'

So there is no help for it; the explanation cannot be given now; and
Katie is fain to console herself by thinking that one ship is as good
as another, and it can't matter much whether the _Leo_ or the _Leoni_
goes off to the rescue.

The day passes quickly. When it grows dark, Katie and Liddy, still
in their morning dresses, and shivering a little from the cold, find
their way up to Lady Dillworth's 'boudoir'--a cosy retreat, with
its bright fire and closely drawn curtains. Here are Katie's books,
her writing-table, and all the odds and ends that somehow gather in
work-boxes and baskets. Here are periodicals uncut, for she has not had
much time for reading of late, and drawing materials which are rarely
touched.

On a round table near the fire is spread a delicately pink-tinted
set of tea-things; and Dresden china baskets filled with tea-cakes
and shortbread give promise of a dainty little meal. Miss Delmere,
in a most becoming morning dress, with a warm blue shawl round her
shoulders, plunges herself into the depths of a large arm-chair, places
her feet on the fender-stool, and looks up brightly out of her merry
blue eyes.

'How cosy this is, Kate! I'm quite enjoying it.' She pours a supply of
cream into her fragrant tea and sips with keen relish.

'I wish Herbert were here,' sighs Katie in reply.

'Is he dining at Hillview this evening?'

'I hardly know, for he left no message about that; but I rather think
he will dine at Belton Park, which is only a couple of miles from
Hillview.'

'Is Lady Ribson gone back to Scotland yet?'

'No; she leaves Belton Park to-morrow; and I'm _so_ sorry I have never
once seen her, for Herbert is very desirous we should know each other.
I believe old Lady Ribson is his _beau idéal_ of what a woman should
be. She is his god-mother; and her niece Bessie was his first wife.'

'You've never had time to go to Belton Park, Katie.'

'I know that; but I'm sorry now I didn't "_make_ time," by setting
other things aside. This hateful charade business has taken up every
spare minute.'

'Hateful!' echoes Liddy reproachfully.

'Perhaps that is too strong a term; but the preparations have swallowed
up all my time and everything else.'

'Don't begin to croak at the last minute. _I_ mean to enjoy myself
thoroughly!' exclaims Liddy, putting her cup down for more tea. Then
she asks confidentially: 'Do you think Sir Herbert altered? Captain
Reeves says he never saw a man aged so much in so short a time: he
thinks the Admiral looks very ill.'

Lady Dillworth starts up impatiently: 'I don't know why Captain Reeves
should think any such thing. My husband is _not_ ill; I have never once
heard him complain.'

'Ah! his is one of those grand reserved natures that would rather
suffer anything than make a moan,' says Liddy, stirring her tea calmly.

'Why did you not tell me about Herbert's looking ill before, Liddy? I
declare you make me quite uneasy.'

'Oh, I daresay it's all imagination on Walter's part. I'm sorry I ever
mentioned it,' Liddy replies quickly.

'You needn't regret telling me; for if there _is_ anything the matter,
I ought to know it.'

Liddy is vexed at having introduced so disquieting a subject, for Katie
remains silent and thoughtful during the rest of the repast, then goes
languidly up-stairs to dress for the party.


CHAPTER XI.--THE CHARADE PARTY.

The bitter storm raging over the country, and spreading woe and terror
and desolation far out at sea, does not much affect the expected
guests. Carriage after carriage drives in at the gates of Government
House; and ere long, many eager eyes are fixed on the drop-scene,
the owners of them ready to be pleased or otherwise by the coming
performance. Curiosity and criticism are on the alert; some of the
audience are just as much inclined to find fault as to admire. When
Lady Dillworth 'comes on' she feels unaccountably agitated at seeing
her 'dear friends' sitting in solemn state on rows of chairs, all
ready to detect her slightest shortcomings. For the moment she feels
as though she would fain dart away beyond their range of vision. But
this nervousness speedily vanishes. Amidst the bursts of applause that
greet her, she begins to catch somewhat of the spirit of a successful
_débutante_, and her pulse throbs triumphantly. Her voice rings out in
strains of pathetic melody; she forgets her qualms, her trepidation,
and almost even her own identity, so carried away is she by the
intensely tragic music.

During the first part, the singing goes on faultlessly, then a somewhat
awkward sense of failure begins to steal over the performers. Major
Dillon and Walter differ about some minor points, and the former nearly
bewilders the others with his eccentric proceedings. The chorus get
out of tune, and the Major reproves them so vigorously that he nearly
banishes all sense of harmony out of their heads.

Liddy Delmere is much amused, and she and Walter make themselves
conspicuous with ill-timed mirth. This is unfortunate, as the irate
mother of the hapless 'Lucia' should be grave and dignified. But Liddy
forgets her part, the words and air and everything, and only remembers
Walter Reeves is beside her. Lady Dillworth calls her to order with one
of her haughtiest looks.

'Liddy, Liddy! do be reasonable. Don't you see what wretched idiots
we are making of ourselves? We are only bringing down ridicule on our
heads.'

Then in a pause, when she is not wanted to sing, Katie slips away to a
room adjoining, that has been fitted up temporarily for the performers.
She lifts the window-blind, and looks out on the rather grim garden,
dimly lighted up with flickering coloured lamps. Dense clumps of
evergreens glitter with raindrops, and cast deep uncertain shadows on
the grass. The bare branches of the beech-trees are swaying wildly in
the wind, and flinging themselves about like gaunt weird arms. Above in
the troubled sky, heavy masses of storm-cloud are driven rapidly past,
giving glimpses now and then of an almost full moon.

'Oh, what a fearful night this must be at sea!' muses Katie, and
then a sudden shudder comes over her as her thoughts fly off to the
unfortunate ship _Daring_, perhaps even now wrecked and broken up on
the fatal Short Reefs.

'What have I done? what have I done?' she exclaims wildly, as like a
lightning flash, a sudden revelation of the possible result of her act
that morning comes before her. She has prevented the _Leo_ from going
to sea by altering her husband's order; her own meddling fingers have
kept back the very aid that might have saved the ship. The _Leo_ is
at that moment safely riding at her anchor in Seabright harbour; her
captain is sporting himself in delightful ease. But what about the
_Daring_? Where is she?

Even now the pitiless waves may be dashing over her, even now she may
be breaking up on the sharp rocks. Perhaps the storm that rages past is
bearing on its wild wings the awful death-shrieks of sailors as they go
down into the pitiless waters.

Ah, they may be crying for help, that never comes!--help, _she_ has
kept back from them, foolishly, wickedly kept back! Souls, precious
souls, may be going to their doom, in life's full prime, with
unrepented sins on their heads; and she indirectly may be the one
who has hurled them to their end. These thoughts rush through Lady
Dillworth's mind with a crushing force, and with a vividness that makes
her heart bound, her whole frame tremble. In the howling of the wind,
as it sobs with wild violence through the trees, she fancies she hears
the cries of the sailors writhing in agony amidst the surging waves.
She thinks they are calling on _her_--accusing _her_, and her brain
whirls and her heart beats almost to madness.

'"There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet." O God! help these
poor men in their distress--lay not their death to my charge!' she
cries almost aloud, and then she looks up, and sees Liddy Delmere
watching her with alarm.

'O Lady Dillworth! what _is_ the matter? How pale and ill you look!
Shall I call any one? Shall I get anything?'

'Be quiet, Liddy; I insist. I feel faint; but you need not proclaim the
fact to the whole world.'

Katie covers her face with her hands, and stands for a minute trying to
recover herself--trying--while the angry wind howls like an avenging
spirit in her ears. Presently she looks up: 'I feel better now. What do
you want of me, Liddy?'

'Have you forgotten our duet comes on when this chorus is over? Are you
well enough to sing?' asks Miss Delmere, as she gazes with amazement at
Lady Dillworth's haggard face and startled eyes.

'O yes; I will sing. Don't be uneasy; I shall not break down.' She
takes Liddy's arm, and they make their appearance on the stage just
in time. Much license has been taken with the score of _Lucia di
Lammermoor_--new songs and duets have been introduced, and it is one of
the latter in which Katie is now required to take a part.

With a great effort she composes herself, and begins. As she goes
on, her voice regains its rich fullness; no one would suppose such a
tempest of agony had so lately swept over her.

While she is sustaining a rather prolonged cadence, she sees the
Admiral enter the room. He stands for a minute looking at her, and
listening; then he catches a glimpse of Walter Reeves, and goes
quickly towards him. Though in the middle of her duet, Katie notices
the start her husband gives and the quick frown that gathers on his
brow. She sees him beckon Walter aside; the heads are bowed a moment as
an excited whisper passes, then they leave the room together. Ere her
part is over, she sees Walter return alone, and quietly make his way
among the groups of people till he gets near the stage again, and there
he takes up his position. The moment Lady Dillworth is free she is at
his side, questioning and eager.

'I saw Sir Herbert here a minute ago. Where is he now?'

'He went out to find your father, for he said he must see him at
once. I offered to go; but Sir Herbert would not hear of that.--How
splendidly you sang in that duet, Lady Dillworth! Your voice came out
in perfection.'

'Why did he want to see my father?' she asks impatiently.

'Sir Herbert did not say; but something appears to have annoyed him
very much. I never saw him more put out, though he gave no explanation.'

Katie changes the subject abruptly.

'Is it very stormy at sea to-night, Captain Reeves? I mean, is there
any danger to ships?'

'I should think there _is_. We haven't had such a storm as this since
last winter. Every roar of the wind only makes me congratulate myself
on being in such snug quarters. There's a wonderful difference between
this fairy scene, with its music and mirth and its galaxy of youth
and beauty, and what one would meet with out on the wild billows
to-night.--What a charming evening you have given us, Lady Dillworth!'

Katie can hardly keep herself from stamping her little foot with
impatience, as she looks up at Walter's self-satisfied face, beaming
with enjoyment; and then she watches the smile with which he presently
bends down to whisper something to Miss Delmere. Liddy responds with a
flash of her bright blue eyes, and a heightened colour springs to her
cheek as she makes room for Walter beside her. Never has she looked
better than on this evening; the quaint antiquated costume contrasts
capitally with her fair laughing face. At last the charade comes to
an end; there is a subdued murmur of applause as everybody says how
cleverly it has all been done. They make wild guesses at the word, and
Walter has at last to explain the secret. Lady Dillworth listens to
the comments of her guests with an abstracted air; and when the last
carriage drives away, she summons the footman and inquires whether Sir
Herbert has returned.

Hunter is an old servant of the Admiral's, and has followed his
master's fortunes in various places and homes, and was with him when
the first Lady Dillworth died; so he knows his ways, and sees more
than perhaps his employers give him credit for. He turns a grave face
towards his mistress, as he replies: 'Yes, my Lady. Master came in just
when the acting was over; and when he saw the company wasn't gone, he
told me to tell your Ladyship he was very tired, and would go to bed at
once, instead of going back to the drawing-room.'

'_Very_ tired, did he say?'

'Yes, my Lady; and he looked weary-like.'

'That will do, Hunter. We want breakfast very early to-morrow morning,
as Miss Delmere is going away by the first train.'

Then Katie goes up to her boudoir. The fire is still burning brightly,
and the lamp is throwing a soft light through the curtained room.
Still in her fancy dress, the stomacher flashing with jewels, she
seats herself in the arm-chair; and there, while the warmth steals
over her, she covers her face with her hands, and thinks bitterly,
confusedly--the loud shrieking of the wind and the fury of the cruel
storm keeping up a wild accompaniment to her musings.

She wonders what she had better do. Shall she rouse her husband from
his slumbers, and tell him all, or shall she wait till events call
forth a confession? Never has she felt such a poor, mean, despicable
coward. She hates herself for her irresolution; and all the time her
fancy pictures up the surging whirlpools, the jagged rocks, the dashing
waves, the yawning gulfs, and the drowning men with their despairing
eyes, ever calling for the help that does not come!



REMINISCENCES OF QUEBEC.


For the following reminiscences connected with the stay of one of
the British regiments at Quebec during the winter of 1870-71, we are
indebted to an officer of the garrison. He writes as follows:

Until the close of 1871, Quebec was a fortress occupied by British
troops; but before the winter set in, the _Orontes_ and other
store-ships carried away the troops and their possessions, and the
stronghold passed for ever away from the rule of Great Britain.

Quebec, the principal fortress of Canada, also known as the 'Gibraltar
of the West,' is built upon the strip of land projecting into the
confluence of the St Lawrence and St Charles rivers. Originally a
French settlement, it afterwards became one of the colonies of Great
Britain, and has continued to be so until the present date.

'There is but one Quebec, and its beautiful scenery,' remarked a valued
friend to the writer, as one autumn afternoon we scanned the view from
the Levis Cliffs, and watched the 'Fall fleet' preparing to depart for
England ere winter had closed the St Lawrence. 'The scenic beauty of
Quebec,' says an old writer, 'has been the theme of general eulogy.'
The majestic appearance of Cape Diamond, surmounted by fortifications;
the cupolas and minarets, like those of an eastern city, blazing
and sparkling in the sun; the loveliness of the panorama, the noble
river like a sheet of purest silver, in which one hundred vessels may
ride with safety; the graceful meandering of the river St Charles
before it finds its way into the St Lawrence; the numerous village
spires scattered around; the fertile fields clothed with innumerable
cottages, the abodes of a rich and moral peasantry; the distant Falls
of Montmorenci; the rich park-like scenery of Levis; the lovely Isle
of Orleans; and more distant still the frowning Cape Tourment, and
the lofty range of purple mountains of the most picturesque forms,
which bound the prospect, unite to make a _coup d'œil_ which without
exaggeration is scarcely to be surpassed in any part of the world.

In the winter-time there is much more leisure for the merchants than
in summer, as the St Lawrence from the end of December until the end
of April is one vast ice-field, isolating Quebec from water-commerce,
but giving full employment to numbers of 'ice-men' to saw out great
oblong masses of clear bright ice to fill the ice-houses with this
much-needed summer luxury. The ice and snow are also turned to account
in the fashionable amusements of snow-shoeing, tobogganing, skating,
sleigh-driving, &c. Snow-shoeing is capital exercise, but somewhat
trying at the commencement; for with a pair of snow-shoes fastened to
the feet, the beginner is rather apt to find himself immersed in a
snow-drift, and it is a difficult matter to get upon his legs again.
This pastime, however, is so well known in theory that we pass to the
more favourite one of tobogganing. The toboggan or Indian sleigh--one
or two thin planks neatly curled round at one end--is drawn over the
snow to the top of a hill. The passengers sit down, carefully 'tucking
in' all articles of dress; a slight push is given, and away glides the
toboggan at the rate of from twenty to thirty miles an hour. Starting
is easy enough; but to descend to the desired spot is not so easy as
might appear at first sight, and requires some skill in steering; for
if that important matter be unskilfully performed, the toboggan, like
a boat, gets 'broadside on' to the hill, twists and turns, shooting
out its passengers, who rarely escape some hard knocks. If, however,
the steering is successful, the tourists have, in school-boy phrase,
a 'jolly ride,' and glide along the level ground at the foot of the
slope for a considerable distance. There is, of course, the bother of
pulling the toboggan up to the top of the hill; but such effect has the
exhilarating dryness of the atmosphere upon one's spirits, and such is
the charm of the amusement, that this labour is cheerfully undertaken.

One favourite run was down the citadel glacis, through a gap in a fence
and into a closed yard at the base; another, also from the glacis, but
running in the direction of the Plains of Abraham. The former being
the most dangerous slide, was the favourite one, and many hard blows
were given and received. One young gentleman met his fate in the form
of a deep cut across his knee, by being tossed out of the toboggan
among some scrap-iron and old stove-pipes hidden under the snow. Much
sympathy was felt for him, for the wound took a long while to heal, and
prevented him tobogganing more that winter. Another gentleman coming
down the slide by moonlight with two young ladies in his toboggan, in
place of steering through the fence, steered into it, and his face came
in contact with a post; unluckily for him, the post was the hardest,
and he escaped with a broken jaw, and the ladies with more or less
bruises. There was a laughable upset on another occasion. A lady,
said to be at least forty (also 'fat and fair'), with a friend of the
opposite sex, tempted fortune in a toboggan; but as they approached the
gap above mentioned she lost her nerve, and threw herself out as the
toboggan was rushing down the steepest part of the slide. In less time
than the reader will take to peruse this incident, she was on her head
in the snow, and her feet, incased in very black boots, in the air; she
then tumbled across the slide; the toboggan with its remaining occupant
flew lightly over her, and then this frisky matron and her friend
rolled like a pair of frolicksome lambkins to the foot of the slope,
the toboggan of course arriving before them.

Skating at Quebec is chiefly carried on at the Rink, a large building
about one hundred and seventy feet long and seventy wide, the
earth-floor of which is flooded. The ice is carefully swept daily;
and each evening the rink-keeper 'dusts' it with just enough water to
fill up the cuts made in it by the skaters; so that each morning finds
a fresh field of glittering smooth ice. The wooden shed does three
duties--namely, keeps out the heat of spring, keeps off the snow, and
keeps in the cold of winter; so that skating can often be had at the
Rink and nowhere else.

The band of the Rifles often played at the Rink, which was sometimes
lighted up at night by gas; and visitors to Quebec had capital
opportunities of seeing its young ladies exhibit their skill in the
execution of sundry intricate skating-figures. Some years ago, there
was a fancy-dress ball on the Quebec rink, and we have extracted
a portion of its description from one of the local papers of that
date: 'The bugle sounded at nine o'clock, and the motley crowd of
skaters rushed on the ice, over which they dashed in high glee,
their spirits stirred to the utmost by the enlivening music and the
cheering presence of hundreds of ladies and gentlemen. Over the
glittering floor sped dozens of flying figures, circling, skimming,
wheeling, and intermingling with a new swiftness, the bright and
varied colours, the rich and grotesque costumes succeeding each other,
or combining with bewildering rapidity and effect. The gentlemen, in
addition to the usual characters, introduced some novelties: an owl,
a monkey, a monster bottle, a tailor at work, a boy on horseback--all
capital representations and by good skaters. Among the ladies were
representations of "Night" and "Morning," a vivandière, a habitant's
wife, and other characters that appeared to advantage. The skaters
presented both a varied and brilliant appearance, their parts being
well sustained as to costume and deportment, and their movements on the
ice being characterised by that grace and skill of movement bred of
long practice. The dances included quadrilles, waltzes, galops, &c.'

That this elegant accomplishment can be turned to use is proved by a
legend of two settlers in the Far West who saved their lives by the
aid of a pair of skates. One had been captured by Indians, who did
not intend to let him live long; but amongst his baggage was a pair
of skates. The Indians' curiosity was excited, and the white man was
desired to explain their use; he led his captors to the edge of a wide
lake, where the smooth ice stretched away as far as the eye could see,
and put on the skates. Exciting the laughter of his captors by tumbling
about in a clumsy manner, he at length contrived to get a hundred yards
from them without arousing their suspicion, when he skated away as fast
as he could, and finally escaped.

The other settler is said to have been skating alone one moonlight
night; and while contemplating the reflection of the firmament in the
clear ice, and the vast dark mass of forest surrounding the lake and
stretching away in the background, he suddenly discovered, to his
horror, that the adjacent bank was lined with a pack of wolves. He at
once 'made tracks' for home, followed by these animals; but the skater
kept ahead, and one by one the pack tailed off; two or three of the
foremost, however, kept up the chase; but when they attempted to close
with the skater, by adroitly turning aside he allowed them to pass him.
And after a few unsuccessful and vicious attempts on the part of the
wolves, he succeeded in reaching his log-hut in safety.

The cold during the winter of 1870-71 was often extreme, the
thermometer ranging as low as forty degrees below zero. Upon two days
the writer had the pleasure of witnessing the beautiful phenomenon
called silver-thaw--that is, the trees and shrubs encircled with
ice-crystal, the glitter of which on the twigs and branches in the
sunlight is wonderfully beautiful. Occasionally the St Lawrence is
entirely frozen over opposite Quebec, and ice boats (on skates) are
popular, and the bark glides along at a pace that depends upon the
wind and quantity of sail carried. Sleighing was much in fashion; and
it is agreeable enough rushing through the extremely cold but dry
atmosphere with a pretty young lady nestling against you as you fly
along the noiseless track to the music of the sleigh bells, which the
law requires each horse to carry on its harness.

Practical jokes are not unknown at Quebec, and several silly ones
without wit or purpose were perpetrated that winter; but one of a
special and decidedly original character played upon the Control
Department, may be worth recording. The Control Department--at the
head of which was Deputy-Controller Martindale--was intrusted with
the providing of fuel, food, ammunition, bedding, transport, &c. for
the British troops, and for some reason or another that branch of the
department at Quebec is said to have been somewhat unpopular in the
garrison.

On the 23d and 24th February the following advertisement appeared in
the columns of the principal French paper, _l'Evénement_:[1] 'CHATS!
CHATS! CHATS! 50 CHATS sont demandés pour donner la chasse aux Rats et
Souris qui infestent les Magasins du Gouvernement. Toute personne qui
apportera un Chat au Bureau du Député-Contrôleur Martindale, entre 11
heures et midi un jour quelconque jusqu'au 28 du courant, recevra en
retour un Dollar (1 $) par Chat.--Par ordre,

    _D. C. MARTINDALE, Député-Contrôleur._
  _QUEBEC, 23 Fév. 1871--3f._'

The powers of advertising were in this instance wonderfully
exemplified, for at least eight hundred cats were duly brought to the
Bureau; but the unfortunate cat-merchants did not receive a dollar.
Some, being of a speculative turn, had bought up a number of their
neighbours' cats at prices varying between ten cents and twenty-five
cents each; and what with the ire of the cat-merchants at the hoax,
the astonishment and indignation of the Control officers, and the
caterwauling of the pussies brought in boxes, baskets, bags, &c., the
scene was one which will long be remembered in Quebec. On Sunday,
26th February (according to a local custom of treating _government
advertisements_), the doors of the churches in the country districts
round Quebec had the 'cat advertisement' duly posted up, so that on
Monday the 27th a bountiful supply of mousers was brought from suburban
districts to complete the Control catastrophe.

Of course very strict inquiries were made, with a view of ascertaining
the author of the hoax; but that individual has not yet presented
himself to public notice, and judiciously made use of the post-office
to carry the letter to the _Evénement_ respecting the insertion of the
advertisement. We also understand the editor of the _Evénement_ was
politely requested to render his account for the advertisements to the
Control Department. There is, we believe, an old proverb, 'A cat may
look at a king;' but many of the inhabitants of the Quebec suburbs did
not like to look at cats for some time afterwards.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Cats! Cats! Cats! 50 Cats are required to capture the rats and mice
that are infesting the Government Magazines. Whoever shall bring a cat
to Deputy-Controller Martindale's office between 11 and 12 o'clock on
any day up till the 28th inst., shall receive one dollar per cat. By
order, &c.



FRENCH FISHER-FOLK.


They live by themselves and to themselves, these French fisher-folk;
an amphibious race, as completely cut off from the shore-staying
population as any caste of Hindustan. The quaint village that they
inhabit consists of half a score of steep and narrow lanes, and as
many airless courts or alleys, clinging to the cliff as limpets
anchor to a rock, and topped by the weather-beaten spire of a church,
dedicated of course to St Peter. Hard by there may be a town rich
and populous; but its wide streets and display of plate-glass are
not envied by the piscatorial clan outside. They have shops of their
own, where sails and shawls, ropes and ornaments, high surf-boots and
gaudy gown-pieces, jostle one another in picturesque profusion. From
the upper windows of the private dwellings project gaffs and booms,
whence dangle, for drying purposes, wet suits of dark-blue pilot cloth
and dripping pea-coats. Everywhere prevails an ancient and fish-like
smell, struggling with the wholesome scent of hot pitch simmering for
the manufacture of tarpaulins and waterproofs. Half the houses are
draped in nets, some newly tanned to toughen them, others whose long
chain of corks is still silvered with herring-scales. The very children
are carving boats out of lumps of dark wreck-wood, or holding a mock
auction for tiny crabs and spiked sea-urchins. The whole atmosphere of
the place has a briny and Neptunian savour about it, and is redolent of
the ocean.

A word now as to the fishers themselves; as proud, self-reliant, and
independent a race as those hardy Norsemen from whom ethnologists
believe them to descend by no fictitious pedigree. Of the purity of
their blood there can be little doubt, since the fish-maiden who mates
with any but a fisherman is considered to have lost caste; precisely as
the gipsy girl who marries a Busné is deemed to be a deserter from the
tribe. Marrying among themselves then, it is not surprising that there
should be an odd sort of family likeness among them, with one marked
type of face and form, or rather two, for the men, curiously enough,
are utterly unlike the women. Your French fisher is scarcely ever above
the middle height, a compact thick-set little merman, with crisply
curling hair, gold rings in his ears, and a brown honest face, the
unfailing good-humour of which is enhanced by the gleam of the strong
white teeth between the parted lips.

The good looks of the women of this aquatic stock have passed into
a proverb; but theirs is no buxom style of peasant comeliness. Half
the drawing-rooms of London or Paris might be ransacked before an
artist could find as worthy models of aristocratic beauty as that of
scores of these young fish-girls, reared in the midst of creels and
shrimp-nets and lobster-traps. Their tall slight figures, clear bright
complexions, and delicate clean-cut features, not seldom of the Greek
mould, contrast with the sun-burnt sturdiness of husband, brother, and
betrothed; while the small hands and small feet combine to give to
their owners an air of somewhat languid elegance, apparently quite out
of keeping with a rough life and the duties of a workaday world.

Work, however--hard and trying work, makes up the staple existence of
French fisher-folks, as of French landsmen. In the shrimp-catching
season, it must indeed be wild weather which scares the girls who
ply this branch of industry, with bare bronzed feet and dexterously
wielded net, among the breakers. Others, a few years older, may be
seen staggering under weighty baskets of oysters, or assisting at
the trimming and sorting the many truck-loads of fish freighted for
far-away Paris. The married women have their household cares, never
shirked, for no children are better tended than these water-babies,
that are destined from the cradle to live by net and line; while the
widows--under government authority--board the English steam-packets,
and enjoy the sole right of trundling off the portmanteaus of English
travellers to their hotel.

The men, the real bread-winners of the community, enter well provided
into the field of their hereditary labour. The big Boulogne luggers,
strongly manned, and superior in tonnage and number to those which any
other French port sends forth, are known throughout the Channel, and
beyond it. They need to be large and roomy, since they scorn to be
cooped within the contracted limits of the narrow seas, but sail away
year after year to bleak Norway and savage Iceland; and their skippers,
during the herring-fishery, are as familiar with the Scottish coast
as with that of their native Picardy. It is requisite too that they
should be strong and fit to 'keep,' in nautical parlance, the sea;
for Boulogne, lying just where the Channel broadens out to meet the
Atlantic, is exposed to the full force of the resistless south-west
gale, that once drove Philip II.'s boasted Armada northward to wreck
and ruin.

These south-west gales, with the abrupt changes of weather due to
the neighbourhood of the fickle Atlantic, constitute the romance, or
compose the stumbling-block of the fisherman's life. His calling may
seem an easy and even an enviable one, to those who on summer mornings
watch the fishing fleet glide out of harbour; the red-brown sails
gilded by the welcome sunshine and filled by the balmy breeze, the
nets festooned, the lines on the reel; keg and bait-can and windlass,
harmonising well with the groups of seafaring men and lads lounging
about on board; too many, as the novice thinks, for the navigation of
the craft. But at any moment, with short warning, the blue sea may
become leaden-hued, and the sky ragged with torn clouds and veiled with
flying scud, and the howling storm may drive the fishers far from
home, to beat about as best they may for days and nights, and at length
to land and sell their fish (heedfully preserved in ice) at Dunkirk,
Ostend, Flushing, or even some English harbour perhaps a hundred and
fifty miles away.

The conscription, that relentless leech which claims its tithe of the
blood and manhood of all continental nations, in due course takes toll
of the fishers. The maritime population, however, supplies the navy,
not the army with recruits. It is not until flagship and frigate are
manned, that the overplus of unlucky drawers in that state lottery
of which the prizes are exemption, get drafted into the ranks. These
young sailors find military life a bitter pill to swallow. The writer
of these lines has before his eyes a letter from a conscript to his
mother in the fishing village, and in which the young defender of his
country describes last year's autumn manœuvres in Touraine, the Little
War as he calls it, from a soldier's point of view. There is not a
spark of martial ardour or professional pride in this simple document.
All the lad knows is that he is marched and countermarched about vast
sandy plains from dawn till dark, wet, hungry, and footsore; and how
difficult it is at the halting-place to collect an armful of brushwood,
by whose cheerful blaze he may warm his stiff fingers and cook his
solitary pannikin of soldier's soup.

As might be expected, in a community which more resembles an overgrown
family than the mere members of a trade, there exists among these
people an unusual amount of charity and rough good-nature. The
neighbourly virtues shine brightly amid their darksome lanes and
stifling courts, and a helping hand is freely held out to those whom
some disaster has crippled in the struggle for existence. Bold and
self-assertive as their bearing may be, there are no Jacobins, no
partisans of the Red faction among these French fishers. They are pious
also in their way, seldom failing to attend _en masse_ at the church of
St Nicholas or the cathedral of Notre-Dame, before they set out on a
distant cruise.

Once and again in early summer, a fisher's picnic will be organised,
when in long carts roofed over with green boughs, Piscator and his
female relatives, from the grizzled grandmother to the lisping little
maiden, who in her lace-cap and scarlet petticoat looks scarcely larger
than a doll, go merrily jolting off to dine beneath the oaks of the
forest. In their quiet way, they are fond of pleasure, holding in
summer dancing assemblies, where all the merry-making is at an end by
half-past nine, and which are as decorous, if less ceremonious, as any
ball can be. They are patrons of the theatre too, giving a preference
to sentimental dramas, and shedding simple tears over the fictitious
sorrows of a stage heroine; while in ecclesiastical processions the
brightest patches of colour, artistically arranged, are those which are
produced by the red kirtles, the blue or yellow shawls, and the snowy
caps of the sailor-maidens.

The gay holiday attire, frequently copied, on the occasion of a fancy
dress-ball, by Parisian ladies of the loftiest rank, with all its
adjuncts of rich colour and spotless lace; the ear-rings and cross of
yellow gold, the silver rings, trim slippers, and coquettish headgear
of these French mermaidens; no doubt lends a piquancy to their beauty
which might otherwise be lacking. Sometimes an exceptionally lovely
fisher-girl may be tempted by a brilliant proposal of marriage, and
leaves her clan to become a viscountess, or it may be a marchioness,
for mercenary marriages are not universal in France. But such
incongruous unions seldom end very happily; for the mermaiden is, alas!
entirely uneducated, and proves at best too rough a diamond to appear
to advantage in a golden setting.



EMERGENCIES.


Accidents of various kinds are continually occurring in which the
spectator is suddenly called upon to do his best to save life or
relieve suffering without the aid of skilled advice or scientific
appliances. A body has been drawn from the water in an insensible
condition, and thus far a rescue has been effected; but the scene may
be more or less distant, not only from the residence of the nearest
doctor, but from any house; and unless the by-stander is able to apply
prompt means to restore respiration and warmth, a life may yet be lost.
Again, a lady's dress is in flames, or it may be fire has broken out in
a bedroom--accidents which, if immediate steps be not taken, may end
fatally to life and property, long before the arrival of the physician
or fire-brigade. One's own life too may be placed in such instant
jeopardy that it can only be preserved by active and intelligent
exertions on our own part. Situations of this kind attend the sailor,
soldier, and traveller as 'permanent risks;' while in the city or
field, and even in the security of home, dangers of different kinds
confront us which are best described by the word emergencies.

The pressing question in any emergency is of course, 'What is to be
done?' Unhappily, the answer is not always at hand. We are often
altogether unprepared to act, or we act in such a way as only to
increase the danger. The most humane onlooker in a case of partial
drowning may at the same time be the most helpless. While in any of the
frequent casualties to children--such as choking, scalding, &c.--the
tenderest mother may but contribute to the calamity, either by the use
of wrong means or the inability to apply right ones. How common this
is in respect of many kinds of accidents, and how many of those cases
returned 'fatal' might have had a happier issue had the spectator but
known 'what to do.'

The terse advice supposed to meet every species of emergency is to
'keep cool.' We admit its force, and agree that it cannot be too
frequently insisted upon. Without presence of mind, neither the zeal
of self-interest nor the solicitude of affection itself can act with
effect. In some instances even, special skill and knowledge may be
paralysed by an access of nervousness and its consequent confusion
of mind. Again there occur many grave situations in which tact and
self-possession are all that are necessary to avert serious calamity.
The following anecdote illustrative of this went the round of the
newspapers shortly after the disastrous fire in Brooklyn Theatre. Some
stage-properties suddenly took fire during a performance before a
crowded audience at a certain European theatre. The usual panic ensued.
A well-known actor aware that the danger was not serious, and dreading
the result of a sudden rush from the house, coolly stepped in front of
the curtain, and in calm tones announced that his Majesty the Emperor,
who then occupied the imperial box, had been robbed of some valuable
jewels, and that any one attempting to leave the theatre would be
immediately arrested. The threat would of itself have been useless, but
the fact and manner of its delivery conveyed an assurance of safety to
the excited people which no direct appeal to their reason could have
done. They resumed their places; the fire was subdued; and not till
next day did they learn the _real_ peril they had escaped by the timely
ruse of the great actor. How terrible a contrast that unhappy and
unchecked panic which led to the loss of life at Brooklyn!

The effects of panic and confusion have sometimes their amusing side.
We have seen ordinarily sane people casting crockery and other brittle
ware into the street from a height of several stories--_to save it from
fire_; and there occurs a passage in one of Hood's witty ballads which
seems to prove the incident by no means a rare one:

    Only see how she throws out her _chaney_,
    Her basins and tea-pots and all;
    The most brittle of _her_ goods--or any;
    But they all break in breaking their fall.

But while a jest may be pardonable in such a case, this losing one's
head too often takes place in circumstances involving loss of life or
property. An excited pitying crowd, for example, is gathered round a
person struck in the street with apoplexy. An alarm has been given,
and a curious gaping group has come to witness a case of suicide by
hanging. A concourse of people stand before a house from which issue
the first symptoms of a fire. In such cases the spectators are usually
nerveless and purposeless: the danger to life or property is in the
exact ratio of the number of onlookers. How curious and instructive to
note the change which comes over the scene on the arrival of a single
sensible and self-possessed person. One of the idle sympathisers of
the apoplectic patient suddenly frees the neck and chest; a second
goes sanely in search of temporary appliances; a third runs zealously
for a doctor, and the remainder go about their business. One stroke
of a knife and the would-be suicide has been placed in the hands of a
few of the more intelligent by-standers for resuscitation. The precise
locality of the fire has been reached, and the fire either extinguished
promptly with the means at hand, or kept under until the arrival of the
fire-engines which have been at once sent for.

Now, what is the real source of this exceptional self-possession--so
all-important in an emergency? Is it not, after all, the quiet
confidence begot of knowing what is best and proper to be done under
given circumstances? It is quite true, no doubt, that presence of mind
is a moral quality more or less independent of technical knowledge,
but in a plain practical way it is directly _its result_. To become
familiar with difficulties is to divest them of their character as
such, and to enable us to act with all the coolness and precision
exercised in ordinary events. To a surgeon, an accident is a 'case,'
not an 'emergency;' while even an abstract knowledge of 'what to do'
arms the mind of the non-professional against excitement or confusion.
The possession of one little fact, the recollection of some read or
heard of device or remedy, is often, sufficient to steady the mind and
enable it to act effectively. How frequently some half-forgotten item
of surgical knowledge, some stray prescription, or some plan casually
recommended ever so long ago, is the means, here and there, of eluding
the fatal possibilities of an emergency.

There is really little excuse for ignorance of the means and methods
required to meet ordinary cases, seeing that information in abundance
is to be had at trifling cost and with little trouble. There are
surgical and medical works, published at almost nominal prices, the
expressed aim of which is to instruct the public what steps to take in
most kinds of accidents, in the absence of professional assistance.
There are works also which, treating mainly of household matters,
contain valuable hints to parents and others on the subject of
accidents to children, as also of fires to person and property; while
here and there in our serial literature may be found useful advice on
such special kinds of emergencies as the bolting of horses, capsizing
of boats, bites by poisonous snakes, &c. But above all, to those who
care to remember what they read, the columns of the daily newspapers
afford much sound instruction in every species of untoward event. In
spite, however, of the ease with which people might inform themselves,
and in spite of frequently bitter experience, there is a very general
apathy regarding such matters. In upper and middle class families, a
certain amount of interest is no doubt evinced, and books of reference
are found in their libraries; but the practical importance of knowing
their contents, and so forearming against contingencies, is by no means
widely recognised. It is scarcely surprising then to find the masses so
indifferent, and as a consequence so helpless to assist themselves or
each other in any unusual situation.

The idea of giving the subject some place in the common school course
is one, we think, worthy of consideration. Physical education receives
a fair share of encouragement in the higher class of schools; and some
of the exercises enjoined, such as running, climbing, swimming, and
rowing, are direct provisions against accidents by field or water;
while all of them, by giving a degree of confidence to the mind, are
of the greatest value as a training to meet emergencies generally.
Physiology too is gradually making good its claim to the attention of
teachers; and the instruction in Domestic Economy prescribed for girls
comprises hints how to act in what may be called household emergencies.
All this is very satisfactory; and were some pains taken in addition to
point out to pupils of both sexes the commoner dangers by which life is
beset, and were they told in a plain practical way how these are best
averted, we believe the case would be very fairly met. To the skilled
teacher, a short series of lessons of this kind would not necessarily
be any great tax upon his time, but would rather form one of the most
interesting of those 'asides' to which he properly resorts as an
occasional relief to the tedium of school-routine.

To children of a larger growth, we can only repeat that the means of
informing themselves are not beyond reach. There are, of course, now
and then such combinations of circumstances as no knowledge or training
can provide for, just as there are many accidents which no human
foresight can prevent. Leaving these out of the question, however,
few of us pass through life without having at one time or other to
exercise our intelligence and knowledge to preserve either our own life
or property, or the life or property of others in circumstances where
these may be exercised successfully. Our interest and duty alike enjoin
us to take reasonable pains to forearm ourselves, and the neglect to do
so is clearly culpable. But we may have occasion by and by to present
our readers with a few practical hints on the subject of 'What to do in
Emergencies.'



THE TRADE IN ARTIFICIAL EYES.


On this subject, the _New York Sun_ gives some amusing particulars:
'Between eight and ten thousand eyes are sold annually in the United
States. An eye-maker gives one in one hundred and twenty-five as the
proportion of one-eyed people. Computing the population of the country
at forty-two millions, this rate gives three hundred and thirty-six
thousand as the number of persons with only one eye in the Republic.
Consequently, while ten thousand people supply their optical deficiency
with an artificial eye, two hundred and twenty-six thousand go without.
In proportion to the population, the eye-maker said, there are more
one-eyed people in Paterson, New Jersey, than any other town in this or
any other country. All towns that have many foundries and factories,
and whose air is impregnated with soot and smoke, count their one-eyed
inhabitants by the score; but Paterson is ahead of the rest. The
eye-maker knew of the three proprietors of a single foundry there each
losing an eye. Pittsburg comes next. In this city one-eyed folks abound
in the neighbourhood of manufacturing establishments. Once he had four
patients from near a foundry in West Eleventh Street alone. Not only
the foul atmosphere destroys the sight, but flying pieces of metal burn
out the eyes of the workmen. An importer who sells one thousand five
hundred eyes annually sends one-third to Canada; Chicago takes three
hundred; and Cincinnati more than St Louis. New Orleans, Nashville,
and other towns west and south buy the remainder. The colour for eyes
most in demand is what is known as "Irish blue," a peculiarly light
azure that predominates in Ireland. The average cost of an eye is ten
dollars. He sells comparatively few eyes in this city, as New Yorkers
prefer to have their eyes made to order.'



A NOBLE OCCUPATION.


A newspaper records as follows: 'The Duke of Hamilton left Hamilton
Palace for the south yesterday. During his stay of six days he shot
373½ brace of grouse, 4 brace of black-game, 4 hares, and 2 snipes.'
This makes a slaughter of seven hundred and sixty-one animals in six
days, or at an average upwards of a hundred and twenty-six per diem.
Hard work!

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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