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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 735, January 26, 1878
Author: Various
Language: English
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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. 735, January 26, 1878" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS’S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

Fourth Series

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.

NO. 735.    SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 1878.    PRICE 1½_d._]



QUEEN’S MESSENGERS.


Somewhat more than forty years ago, Mr Baillie Fraser published a
lively and instructive volume under the title _A Winter’s Journey
(Tatâr) from Constantinople to Teheran_. Political complications
had arisen between Russia and Turkey‒an old story, of which we are
witnessing a new version at the present time. The English government
deemed it urgently necessary to send out instructions to our
representatives at Constantinople and Teheran; and this could only be
done in those days by means of Messengers bold and hardy enough to bear
a great amount of fatigue in the saddle. Mr Fraser, intrusted with this
duty, told the tale of his hard work. The word _Tatâr_, in Turkey, is
applied to a native courier, guide, and companion, a hardy horseman who
fulfils all these functions, speaking two or more languages, and ready
to do the best that can be done to overcome the multiplied tribulations
of regions almost roadless and innless. When travelling Tatâr, these
men have been known to make truly wonderful journeys on horseback. One
of special character was made in 1815, when the British government
wished to convey to Persia the stirring news of the escape of Napoleon
from Elba. The British Embassy at Constantinople sent a Messenger from
thence to Demavend, a Persian city nearly two thousand miles distant,
across a dangerously rugged country; this amazing horse-ride was
accomplished in seventeen days; averaging nearly a hundred and twenty
miles a day.

Mr Baillie Fraser gives a vivid description of his own experience
in this kind of life, riding day and night, and stopping only when
the absolute need of a few hours’ rest drove him into a wretched
post-house or a mere hovel. It was ‘a Tatâr journey of two thousand
six hundred miles, which for fatigue and anxiety, and suffering from
cold and exposure, I will venture to match against anything of the
sort that ever was done.’ First came seven hundred and fifty miles
across European Turkey, from Belgrade to Constantinople; and then
seven hundred along the whole extent of Asia Minor to Amasia; but
during the remaining seven weeks of the journey, he says: ‘We have been
wading night and day through interminable wastes of deep snow, exposed
to all the violence of storms, drift, and wind, with the thermometer
frequently from fifteen to twenty degrees below zero. Our clothes and
faces and beards were clotted into stiff masses of ice; our boots, hard
as iron, frozen to the stirrup; and our limbs tortured with pain, or
chilled into insensibility by intense cold.’

Another famous journey across European Turkey, in 1849, has been
described by Major Byng Hall, whose volume we shall presently advert
to. A Messenger was directed to haste as fast as horse-flesh could
carry him from Belgrade to the Morava, then on through Alexinitz and
Nissa, across the Balkans, and so on through Sofia to Constantinople‒in
great part the very route which Russian and Turkish troops have been
devastating. When he crossed the Balkans at one of the passes or
ravines, he had been riding continually night and day, and reeled
backward and forward in his saddle; and more than once he nearly fell
to the ground through exhaustion and want of sleep, at places where
precipices were perilously near. He reached Constantinople in five days
eleven hours from Belgrade, contending the whole time on horseback
against wind, mud, and rain. Sir Stratford Canning (now Lord Stratford
de Redcliffe), British ambassador at Constantinople, complimented him
by saying that it was ‘the quickest winter journey ever known.’ Lord
Palmerston adverted in the House of Commons to this journey, on an
occasion when some members were animadverting on the great cost of the
diplomatic service: ‘As a proof of the zeal with which these royal
Messengers render their services to the government of this country,
I will mention an instance in which one of these gentlemen performed
his duty on an occasion when it was required that he should make an
extraordinary effort in order to carry a despatch of very considerable
importance from the Foreign Office to Constantinople, at a time when a
question was pending between Russia and Turkey. He was days and nights
in the saddle without quitting it, and performed the journey in the
worst weather and under the greatest possible difficulties.’

Major Byng Hall, just named, has published a pleasant work under the
title of the _Queen’s Messenger_, recounting some of his own journeys
and those of his colleagues. Amongst others was a sledge-journey to
St Petersburg in midwinter; when his driver got intoxicated, drove
into some sledges coming in the opposite direction, and nearly brought
about a perilous scene of scuffle and bloodshed‒all in a dark night
amid enormous accumulations of snow. He draws attention to the varied
qualifications necessary to any one who fills this office: ‘No man,
be he who he may, who holds the post of one of Her Majesty’s foreign
Messengers, and who must, for the due performance of the constant and
arduous duties intrusted to him, be acquainted with foreign languages,
but must obtain much knowledge by the wayside, impracticable if not
impossible to the holiday traveller’‒which all becomes essentially
serviceable to him in subsequent journeys. A writer in _Blackwood_
pleasantly spoke a few years ago of these ‘foreign Mercuries, who
travel throughout Europe at a pace only short of the telegraph. They
are wonderful fellows, and must be very variously endowed. What capital
sleepers, and yet so easily awakened! What a deal of bumping must their
heads be equal to! What an indifference must they be endowed with to
bad dinners, bad roads, bad servants, and bad smells! How patient must
they be here, how peremptory there! How they must train their stomachs
to long fastings, and their skin to little soap!’

And now for a brief account of the organisation of this small but
remarkable body of men.

The Queen’s Messengers of the present day are virtually _employés_ of
the Foreign Office; seeing that the conveyance of despatches to and
from British ambassadors and representatives at foreign courts is the
chief duty intrusted to them. Many a declaration of war has been thus
conveyed.

About thirty years ago the House of Commons requested and obtained from
the Foreign Office an account of the expense connected with the system
of Queen’s Messengers. The payments to these gentlemen were found to
be made up in an odd way, such as no commercial firm would dream of
adopting. There was a small annual salary, whether the Messenger were
travelling or not. There were board wages, so much per day when in
actual service. There was an allowance for his trouble, anxiety, and
fatigue in riding and driving along‒so much a mile if on horseback, so
much in a vehicle, so much in a steam-boat. There was a reimbursement
for actual outlay for railways, vehicles, horses, postillions,
hostlers, road and bridge tolls, passports, loss on exchange of moneys,
&c. This reimbursement was in nearly all cases more than he actually
paid, owing to the liberal scale on which it was calculated.

Every Messenger, it was found, received about four hundred a year
for himself, and six hundred for travel-outlay. Some of the journeys,
we learn from the parliamentary paper, were enormously expensive;
railways on the continent were at that time comparatively few, and the
old system of posting and horse-riding had still to be kept up over
very long distances. One single journey from London to Frankfurt was
set down at L.46; to Berlin, L.70; to Turin, L.83; to Vienna, L.86; to
Madrid, L.123; to Rome, L.143; to Naples, L.162. The giant items were:
London to St Petersburg _viâ_ Berlin (1964 miles), L.166; and London to
Constantinople _viâ_ Vienna (2192 miles), L.269. It is probable that at
that time there was scarcely any rail beyond Vienna, whatever may have
been the case on this side; and that the Messenger to Constantinople
had to travel by relays of horses or of post vehicles more than eleven
hundred miles of his journey. The outward journey alone is mentioned in
each instance; the homeward was probably about equal to it in cost. One
Messenger, Mr Crotch, went from Calais to Paris (carrying despatches
which had come from London _viâ_ Dover) sixteen times in the year,
and sixteen times in the reverse direction; receiving about L.25 per
journey for expenses and emoluments.

In 1868 the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs resolved that the
time had come for remodelling the system. In a circular addressed to
all British representatives abroad, he pointed out numerous ways in
which the number of despatches sent might be reduced, and the expense
lessened still more considerably. The post and the electric telegraph
might safely be intrusted, under the improved modern arrangements, with
many of the questions, answers, and instructions hitherto conveyed by
Queen’s Messengers. It was also pointed out that, when telegrams were
sent, an unnecessary verbiage was indulged in, tending to increase
the cost without in any way conducing to the intelligibility of the
message. The employment of cipher-writing[A] would be available by post
and by telegraph as well as by Messenger, so long as the key to the
cipher is known only to the Foreign Office.

Irrespective of the quantity of circumlocution involved in the
matter, there is the question of emolument to the Messengers
employed. The Foreign Secretary found, on close examination, that
these gentlemen were in the receipt of eight hundred a year each on
an average. The amount had doubled itself in the course of twenty
years, chiefly by means of the profit derived from the allowance for
travelling‒economical railway and steam-boat fares being charged to
the government as if they were the expensive old-fashioned fares. Thus
the mileage _profit_ increased as the mileage _expenditure_ decreased.
All these lumbering arrangements were swept away, and a fixed salary
decided on, just as for government clerks, &c. Five hundred a year was
the amount decided on, to be paid whether the Messenger were employed
or unemployed, whether at home or abroad.

It need hardly be said that by the introduction of railways the duties
of these Messengers have been immensely simplified. ‘For many years
they have scarcely if ever been called upon to travel on horseback; the
communication with Constantinople, which was formerly carried on partly
by that means, having for some time past been wholly kept up by railway
and steam-vessel. In consequence of the accelerated rate of travelling
by railway, they are rarely kept out of bed as formerly, for six,
eight, ten, or even more nights; and even when they are travelling at
night, they are almost always able to enjoy uninterrupted rest, instead
of being obliged, as formerly, to be constantly on the alert, in order
to stimulate the exertions of postillions and owner.’

The salary was subsequently settled by making the amount five hundred
guineas instead of pounds.

Important personages in their way are these foreign Messengers,
sufficiently high in social position to comprise among their number (at
the present time) an ‘honourable,’ a major, and six captains. Evidently
the post is eagerly sought for when a vacancy occurs. One of those at
present in the service has been a Messenger during the long period of
thirty-five years: what a prodigious amount of travel he must have
gone through! Good salaries are not the only attractions; several past
Messengers have retired on pensions, pretty well wearied of knocking
about Europe; while widows of Messengers receive allowances under
exceptional circumstances.

Smart-looking personages are these messengers, as attired to
distinguish them from ordinary civilians. The official regulations on
this subject tell us that ‘the Messengers must be furnished with a
uniform‒consisting of a dark-blue cloth double-breasted frock coat with
turn-down collar; blue single-breasted waistcoat, buttoned up to the
throat, with edging of gold-lace; trousers of Oxford mixture, with a
scarlet cord down the side seams; gilt buttons embossed with the royal
arms encircled by the crown and garter, and having a greyhound pendent;
blue cloth cap with leather peak, band of black braid, and the royal
cipher and crown gilt in front; a badge of the regulation size, with
the royal crown and silver greyhound pendent, suspended from the neck
by a dark-blue ribbon. This uniform, and more especially the badge,
must be always worn by Messengers when travelling; but the badge must
not be worn at any other time.’

We have said nothing of home Messengers, those who carry despatches
to and fro within the limits of the British Islands. Nor indeed is
there much to say concerning them. They are fewer in number, and less
handsomely paid than those employed abroad. Under the system which
prevailed before the reforms effected eight or nine years ago, each
home Messenger had quite a medley of emoluments‒so much fixed salary,
so much board wages, so much excess or surplus above actual travelling
expenses of all kinds. This is now altered; each Messenger receives a
definite annual remuneration for his services‒less than formerly, but
quite sufficient for the kind of work done. In fact postal facilities
and the electric telegraph are gradually lessening the necessity for
the adoption of the Messenger system. Nevertheless there are times when
a home Messenger is thrown upon his own resources. When the Queen is at
Balmoral, and floods and snow-storms block the railways and render the
roads impassable, the Messenger must perforce get on somehow or other
with his despatch bag, at any cost of money, toil, and anxiety; and he
_does_ get on, although the newspapers are not told much about it.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] The readers of _Chambers’s Journal_ are not without the means of
knowing something of cipher-writing. Vol. XX. (1853), page 161, and
Vol. IV. (1855), page 134, contain much curious information on the
subject, applicable equally to the present time.



HELENA, LADY HARROGATE


CHAPTER V.‒IN THE WASTE.

It was Wednesday, a half-holiday at the village school of High Tor, and
the work of learning and the yet harder toil of teaching were for that
day over. Ethel Gray had seen the last of her released pupils scamper
joyously off homewards, and was busied in putting away books and maps,
when the clatter of heavy shoes caused her to turn her eyes towards
the doorway, wherein stood a tall slip of a girl, looking absurdly
big and bony for the clothes which she had outgrown. Ethel knew the
freckled face, and smiled pleasantly in answer to its owner’s grin of
recognition.

‘If you please, miss,’ said the new-comer, sidling towards the
school-mistress‒‘if you please, mother sent I down from the moor to
say how ’twas my little brother didn’t ’tend here nouther Monday, nor
yetterer Tuesday, nor now. Little Lenny be down in the fever; that’s
why he ben’t here, please.’

‘What fever?’ asked Ethel. She had not been long enough at High Tor to
become thoroughly familiar with the diction of the country folks.

‘_The_ fever, to be sure!’ reiterated the tall girl, who might have
been some fourteen years of age, amazed that so learned a personage as
she took Miss Gray to be should boggle over so patent a physiological
fact. ‘It do be going about most at fall-time; but Lenny’s only a wishy
one, ye know, so he’s took with the shiver fits in June, getting wet at
the hayfield; and so, mother bein’ main fond o’ he, as we ’m all, when
he begs her to “let Miss Gray, to school, know ’twarn’t his fault,”
why mother says: “Betty, get thee down to village and do the child’s
arrand.” That be all.’

The quick tears rose glistening to Ethel’s eyes. There was something
pathetic in the idea of this tiny sufferer tossing on his bed of pain
beneath the rotting thatch of the cottage among the moorlands, and
anxious to excuse his involuntary default to the kind teacher whom
he had already learned to love. He was a pet pupil of Ethel’s, this
wee boy Lenny, or Leonard Mudge by name, as being one of those rare
learners who seem to thirst after the fountains of knowledge towards
which others have to be cajoled or driven. Day after day had the new
school-mistress seen Lenny in class, the readiest to come, the least
eager to leave, his bright large eyes intent upon the face of his
instructress.

The parents had been proud of the little fellow’s cleverness, and with
an unselfishness not universal in the poor and struggling class to
which they belonged, had contrived not merely to save the school-pence
that supplemented the government grant, but to send the boy down under
such escort as could be found for him, day after day. Now it was a
carter, who would perch Lenny on the shaft of his rough chariot; now
a stalwart lass, bent on earning her ninepence for a day’s hard work
at the washing-tub, and who allowed the little scholar to trot by her
side; sometimes a mushroom-gatherer or gleaner of whortleberries
from the waste, and who was not unwilling to take temporary charge of
Lenny. Sometimes, as a great concession, Sister Betty would be spared
from weeding or cow-tending, to convoy Leonard, too young to go alone,
to High Tor. As for Betty herself, she had been relegated, long ago
in the bygone days of her own short schooling, into the category of
unteachables. She was a good girl; but two successive mistresses had
given her up as a hopeless dunce, long before Betty began to earn
two-thirds of her own living, and Ethel Gray to be mistress of High Tor
school.

‘I’ll go and see Lenny. It is a half-holiday for me, you know, as well
as for the children. How far is it, Betty? But I’m sure it is not too
far, for I am a tolerable walker, if you will shew me the way,’ said
Ethel impulsively. Now this, as Betty knew, was the very consummation
which her mother, whose perceptions had been for the time sharpened by
the stimulus of maternal love, desired to bring about. The moorland
lass was not much of a diplomatist, but she was quite well aware that
to exaggerate the difficulties of an enterprise is often to damp the
spirits of those who undertake it.

‘It’s not fur,’ said Betty argumentatively; ‘that’s to say,’ she added,
as her conscience smote her, ‘not to call fur, but a goodish walk. But
’tis mortal fine to-day. And Lenny he’d be so glad!’

Ethel hesitated no longer, but merely mentioning her errand to the
decent old village dame who was her housekeeper and factotum, threw her
rain-cloak over her arm‒no bad precaution in that moist climate‒and
under Betty’s guidance set forth. As to the beauty of the day, Betty
was speaking within bounds when she described it as ‘mortal fine.’ The
sparkling sky was as blue as a sapphire, and the breeze balmy enough to
have blown over the orange groves and geranium hedges of Bermuda. It
was, in short, one of those so-called ‘gaudy’ mornings which rarely,
in the uncertain climate of our latitudes, finish as they have begun;
least of all among the wilds of savage Dartmoor, the very cradle and
nesting-place of bad weather.

A long walk it was, over rough and smooth, over wet and dry, by road
and track of very various quality, to the cluster of moorland cottages,
far off in an upland valley, where dwelt the Mudge family. Betty knew
the mileage pretty well, but she kept the information to herself,
lest, as she said in her own heart, ‘school-mistress’ should be
‘scared.’ She had a very poor opinion personally of the physical powers
of book-learned fellow-creatures; but when she found how well her
companion kept pace with her on the steep hill-side, she paused once to
say, with shy approval: ‘’Tis yarely well ye walk, miss. We’ll be there
before long.’

A curiously contrasted pair would these two have appeared, had any
competent observer been there to note the difference between them,
as they scaled the edges of the lofty table-land, gashed by ravines
and dotted by crags, which constitutes Dartmoor. Betty’s personal
appearance has been mentioned. To say that a young female looks lanky
and gawky, may, however frequently such adjectives are upon feminine
lips, be thought to imply some irreverence towards the sex. But it
would be impossible to conceive an accurate idea of Betty Mudge without
constructing an ideal portrait of her that should depict her as gawky
and lanky, a large-boned, freckled, well-meaning young creature,
willingly accepting the responsibilities of a life of hard work and
contented ignorance.

Ethel Gray, on the other hand, was a very beautiful girl. Beauty, as we
know, is independent of its surroundings, and there is no reason why
a village schoolmistress should not possess that dangerous gift. Her
plain dress, her plain little hat, could not hide the fact that her
figure was faultless, and that she possessed a lovely face and hair
that in its dark luxuriance deserved to be called magnificent. What
was more remarkable was the sweet dignity of her manner, frank and
unpretending as it was. No one could be gentler than Ethel. Children
were at home with her at once. But she seemed to be one of those who
are born to be respected, without advancing any especial claim to
consideration.

Lenny Mudge’s sister ought to have known better than to have entered,
with the rash confidence of youth, on what was really five miles of
rough walking, on that most treacherous of days, locally denominated
as ‘spoiled,’ when a sunny morning is succeeded by the oncoming of a
mist as dense as if it had boiled up from the sullen shores of Cocytus
or Acheron. The fog fell, as Dartmoor fogs did fall before Britain
saw the Roman eagles, with the rapidity of a theatrical drop-scene
cutting off the mimic presentment from the clapping hands and levelled
opera-glasses of the spectators. Only in this case it was stern reality.

‘Doan’t you be afeard, miss,’ said Betty sturdily; ‘I be moorland born
and bred, and I’ll hammer it out somehow.’

But this boast was more easy to make than to fulfil, for everywhere
hung, poised in air, something like a silvery veil, shutting out
from sight all familiar landmarks, and rendering it impossible to
distinguish any object two paces distant. The mist had fallen so
abruptly from the huge Tors, as it seemed, that rose here and there
like watch-towers of the waste, that a fanciful imagination might have
conceived the seething vapour to represent a semi-transparent drapery,
suddenly cast from a giant hand over land and sea.

But a minute or two before, Ethel had allowed her eyes to rest
admiringly on the many-coloured surface of the vast moor, here robed
in purple of imperial splendour, there of tenderest green, and anon
brown or crimson or bluish gray, as shrub and berry and weed and
wild-flower dappled the rolling ocean of heather. Then below was the
cultured plain, furrowed by thickly wooded clefts, through which the
Dartmoor streams ran brawling to the sea, that lay calm and blue and
flecked with white sails, so plainly within the range of vision. And
now all was changed, and it was fog, fog, and fog only, girdling in the
wayfarers on every hand, and there was no knowing whither to turn.

Betty Mudge did her best; but her zeal outran her discretion; and
indeed the task of pilot in that rolling mist was no easy one. Had
there but been a hard road, though never so narrow, beneath her feet,
the girl would have gone on cheerfully enough. But there was no real
road for about half the distance between High Tor and Shaws, as that
solitary spot where stood the abode of the Mudges was called, merely
a congeries of winding cart-ruts, among which, in moderately clear
weather, it was facile for one who knew the country to make short-cuts
at pleasure.

‘If we were to go back?’ suggested Ethel, after a while; but Betty
Mudge by no means accepted the proposition.

‘It be just as easy, miss, to go forrard as to go backarder,’ returned
Lenny’s sister doggedly; ‘but what’s main hard in the thick is to know
which is which.’

They went on for some time without speaking.

‘I was listening,’ at last said the young guide abruptly, ‘for a
sheep-bell. If I could but hear that, shepherd would put us right.’

But though Ethel hearkened also, in hopes of catching the far-off
tinkle of a bell from some folded flock, the silence remained as
unbroken as though man, with all his works and ways, had been banished
from the island. Nothing but blinding mist to greet the eye, nothing
but heather and peat and stones beneath the feet, as the two stumbled
and groped forward, going deeper and deeper, for aught they knew, into
the heart of the wilderness. The misty vapour heaved and rolled like
a billowy sea, taking fantastic shapes, here of a threatening giant,
there of a winding-sheet spread by no mortal hand, there again of a
battlemented castle rearing its towers aloft.

There are landscape painters‒even aspiring young Associates, newly
elected, of the Royal Academy‒whom it would have greatly gratified to
have been on the moor that day, and to have seen the fluctuating hues
of the mist, here fleecy snow, there translucent silver, elsewhere such
pearly grays as the colour-box fails to render, while sunwards a faint
pale shimmering streak of tender opal stretched, like Jacob’s ladder,
almost from heaven to earth. It was a study worthy of an artist’s
heed too, the manner in which the bare bleak Tors, red, brown, gray,
according to the nature of the stone, cropped up from the moor, each
crag rising out of the peaty soil like the bones of a buried Titan.
But poor Ethel became very tired as she wandered on under the aimless
guidance of Betty Mudge, who was herself tired, and who could but
guess, and that wildly, in which direction home might lie.

‘Ware!’ she cried, as Ethel was about to plant her foot unsuspectingly
on an inviting patch of emerald turf. ‘Yon’s bog, yon is, deep enow
to suck down a horse to the saddle-laps. Never trust the green, and
the greener the softer, miss. Send, we moun’t a strayed to Heronsmere
or the Blackpool, for there be swamps there would swallow bigger nor
we. Gran’father, they tell, smouthered in Blackpool, but ’twere in
winter-time.’

Then there came creeping like insidious enemies into Ethel’s mind
all the weird legends which since her stay at High Tor she had heard
regarding the waste. There were tales of belated horsemen and lonely
foot-travellers overwhelmed by snow-storms in winter, and lying dead
among the drifts, the prey of the hill-fox and the carrion crow. There
were tales too of those who had been lost in the blinding mist, and had
either perished in some quagmire, or died miserably of hardship and
exhaustion, after many hours of walking on the moor.

‘It ben’t of no manner o’ good!’ said Betty, after another long spell
of silence. ‘We may walk till we drop. I’m main tired myself. And
what’s the use? For oughter we know, we may be going round and round.’

Ethel too was weary, so weary that it was with difficulty she could
raise her voice to urge on her now desponding companion the expediency
of a renewed effort. ‘Surely, surely,’ she said, ‘we shall, if we
persevere, come upon some road or see the lights‒for it must be getting
late‒in some farm or cottage.’

‘One Tor be terrible like another,’ returned Betty with a sob. ‘I got
no more notion whirrabouts we be, nor if I were fresh dropped out of
the moon. I’m no use here, and can hardly drag. And what’ll mother say!’

And the girl sat down on a fragment of rock which jutted from a bluff
stony Tor rising overhead, and began to weep. And then there forced
itself on Ethel’s mind the dreadful thought that they had perhaps
really been walking in a circle until their forces were spent, and
might die of fatigue, cold, and even hunger before they should be
discovered. Who could tell when the fog would disperse! The mist might
overhang the lofty table-land of the moor for whole days, possibly for
weeks, cutting the lost ones as completely off from succour as some
shipwrecked mariner on his desolate isle. No sound floated to Ethel’s
ears as she listened long and eagerly.

‘Don’t cry, Betty; don’t cry. Something‒I know not what‒tells me that
we shall get through this safely yet,’ said Ethel, as she too took
her seat upon the rock, and laid her hand kindly on that of her young
companion. But Betty only blubbered the more furiously.

‘’Tain’t so much for me, miss!’ she said. ‘It be my fault, every bit
on’t. I brought you here. And Lenny‒and mother’‒‒ The train of ideas
thus conjured up acted so strongly on the untutored imagination of
Betty Mudge, that she wept so loudly and dolefully that her wails
re-echoed through the solitary waste.

What was that? Surely a human voice calling aloud at some distance
through the fog, as if in answer to Betty’s inarticulate plaint. Yes,
there was no mistake this time. It was the hearty halloo of a deep
voice, and the words were: ‘Ho! I say, there! What ails you? Anything
wrong?’

‘We be lost in fog!’ called out the girl by way of answer.

‘It’s a woman or a child,’ exclaimed another voice from the mist.
‘Push on, Bates! The cry came from this direction to the left.’ And
presently, bursting through the floating wreaths of vapour, appeared
the figures of two men, the shorter and sturdier of whom, a gamekeeper
by his velveteen coat and leathern gaiters, and the metal dog-whistle
at his button-hole, led a pony with a creel strapped to the saddle-bow.

‘Here they are, my Lord!’ ejaculated this functionary, as he caught
sight of the forlorn two upon the rock. The gentleman to whom he spoke
came hurrying up across the stony ground, a fishing-rod in his hand.

‘Don’t be frightened, my little maid,’ he called out cheerily to Betty,
who wept more unrestrainedly than ever, now that help was near; and
then, catching a glimpse of Ethel’s pale beautiful face as she looked
up, he exclaimed: ‘Why, this is a lady‒here!’ and instinctively he
raised his hat. ‘Stop! It is Miss Gray from the village, if I am not
mistaken.‒You must let me see you safely off the moor. I live near, at
High Tor; though I daresay you do not know me, Miss Gray. I have seen
you at church.’

‘Yes, I know you, Lord Harrogate,’ returned Ethel, trying to rise,
but sinking back fainting and giddy on her rocky seat. ‘I am sorry to
give you trouble, but’‒‒ Her voice failed her, and her eyes seemed to
be darkened. The quick revulsion of feeling, from what was all but
sheer despair to the consciousness of being saved, had intensified the
effects of great physical fatigue. She heard the young man’s voice
addressing herself, but could not distinguish the words because of the
low droning sound that filled her ears as she sat passive on the rock.
Who he was she quite well knew. It was not possible for the member of
a small congregation such as that in High Tor church to be ignorant of
the features of so notable an occupant of Lord Wolverhampton’s pew as
the Earl’s son and heir. Tall, handsome, and manly, Lord Harrogate was
worth looking at for his own sake; but Ethel had never thus looked upon
him until she found herself thus confronted with him in the mist, as
her rescuer from certain suffering, perhaps from death.

‘If you are able to walk, Miss Gray,’ said Lord Harrogate earnestly,
‘will you take my arm and lean on me? My servant will charge himself
with the child here; indeed I do not think he can do better than to
set her on the pony, as she seems so tired. We must all of us rely on
Bates’s guidance to get clear of the waste. Happily, he is a thorough
moorman, and can pick his way where I should be at fault.’

‘Ay, ay, my Lord,’ returned Bates, flattered by the compliment, but
honestly unwilling to be pranked in borrowed plumage. ‘But if we were
t’ other side o’ Pinkney Ridge or Cranmere way, I’d not be so gey ready
to take the lead in a fog like this one. I’ve heard of moormen straying
round and round, and lying down to die in a drift within gunshot o’
their own house-door. But we were on the hard path just now, so if we
can but strike it again, we’re safe.’

They started, Betty Mudge perched sideways on the pony, which the
keeper led; while Ethel, in spite of her protestation that she could
walk unaided, was glad to avail herself of the support of Lord
Harrogate’s arm. It was not all plain sailing, for so dense was the
fog that even the experienced keeper was puzzled for a time, until his
sharp ear caught the well-known babble of a brook.

‘’Tis running water!’ cried Bates in triumph. ‘Safest plan on the moor
is to follow running water, for that won’t deceive. We’ll win through
it.’

And indeed a short half-hour brought the party to the firm high-road,
with the gates of High Tor Park, topped by their stone wyverns, within
sight. Betty Mudge, who announced herself as having an aunt in the
village at whose cottage she could pass the night, was despatched
under convoy to that relative’s abode. But Ethel Grey looked so worn
and ill, that Lord Harrogate insisted on her retaining his arm up
the carriage-drive leading to the house, where she could receive the
attention her state required.

‘My mother and sisters will take care of you, I know,’ he said, as
he supported her slow steps through the park, where the fog, so
dense upon the frowning hills above, only floated in fitful wreaths.
The house was reached, and great was the surprise of those within
when Lord Harrogate appeared with Ethel, pale, patient, exhausted,
but beautiful still, her dark hair and her dress dripping with wet,
leaning on his strong arm. The Countess was kind; and her daughters,
beautiful golden-haired Lady Gladys, honest-eyed earnest Lady Maud,
even Lady Alice, a clever child of twelve, were still more kind. A
bright wood-fire was soon blazing in what was called the Yellow Room;
and Ethel, seated as near to the crackling logs as her chair could be
placed, and propped up with cushions, was able to dry her wet tresses
and drenched garments; while Lord Harrogate’s sisters, and Lady Maud
in especial, pressed her to partake of tea and other refreshments, and
spoke soothingly to her, and were very full of tender womanly sympathy.

Lady Maud, the Earl’s second daughter, knew the new school-mistress
better than did the others, and liked her. She was herself a constant
visitor at the school-house, and had heard many and many an urchin
stammer through his or her lessons there, and could therefore the
better appreciate the motive which had led Ethel into her late danger,
through a natural wish to comfort little Lenny on his bed of fever.
Warmth, and that kindliness of manner which women shew more than we
do, did much towards bringing Ethel back from that death-in-life which
excessive fatigue and chill tend to produce; and when the carriage
was, in spite of her remonstrance, ‘ordered round,’ to convey her home
to the school, she had strength enough to walk unaided to the door.
Lord Harrogate had disappeared. The Earl had not as yet returned from
some meeting of magistrates. ‘I will come down to see you, Miss Gray,
to-morrow, if I can,’ said Lady Maud, as the carriage drove off.


CHAPTER VI.‒SIR SYKES MAKES AN ANNOUNCEMENT.

‘Lucy, my dear, and Blanche too, I want to know how you would like
to receive here, at Carbery, a young lady who is a total stranger
to all of us; but who, if she comes at all, comes with a distinct
understanding that this house, until she marries, is her home. I ask
you this, my dears, because I have received a letter’‒and the baronet
pointed to a black-bordered envelope that lay, with others, beside his
plate‒‘inclosing one penned, long ago, by a hand which can write no
more. George Willis‒Major, when he died, in the Indian army‒was one
of my earliest and truest friends. He is dead now. He left behind him
this one girl, his only and motherless child, and‒and he begs me, in a
letter, indorsed “After my death to be forwarded to Sir Sykes Denzil,”
to become the guardian of this‒this poor orphaned thing. How do you
say, my girls? Shall we have her here at Carbery, or not?’

It was very neatly and prettily put on the part of Sir Sykes, and
the appeal was all the more effective because of the quietude and
cool indifference of the baronet’s ordinary manner. He was a cold,
unemotional person, in the everyday routine of life; and hence the
quivering of his lips, the faltering of his voice, added much of
pathos to what might otherwise have seemed commonplace.

As for the answer to the question asked, could there be a doubt of it!
It is to the credit of a woman’s heart that it always, when a plea is
well urged, responds to the Open Sesamé of compassion. They may not,
as men do, seek out hidden wrongs to be righted and unseen pangs to
be assuaged. But the distress that lies at their door they seek to
comfort; and had the young ladies of Carbery been very much poorer than
they were, their reply to their father’s question would have been as
generously outspoken.

‘By all means, yes, papa, let us have the poor girl here‒this
Miss‒Willis I think is her name; and we will try to make her happy.
How sad!’ And Blanche and Lucy were all but in tears over the woes of
this Anglo-Indian orphan; while Jasper, hiding his face behind his
coffee-cup, reflected that ‘the governor’ was a cool hand, and did his
little bit of acting in a manner worthy of Barnum himself.

In most houses of sufficient dignity to own a special letter-bag,
the temporary office of post-master is publicly discharged. The old
Earl of Wolverhampton, for instance, found it pleasant to sort and
classify the motley mass of correspondence which came daily to High
Tor; but he would almost as soon have opened a servant’s letter as have
opened the bag otherwise than in the presence of guests and kindred.
Carbery Chase, however, was not High Tor, and Sir Sykes Denzil was a
very different family chief from his noble neighbour. The baronet was
an early riser, as are many men who have spent much of their lives
in India; and he chose that the post-bag should be brought to him in
the library an hour or so before the usual assembling for breakfast.
Jasper, who was of a suspicious temper, resented this exercise of
parental authority; but he was wrong. There may have been passages
in Sir Sykes’s life which would not, if published, have redounded to
his credit, but tampering with letters was not congenial to him. He
never gave a second glance to any envelope addressed to Captain Denzil
or the captain’s sisters, and was as loyal a custodian of the family
correspondence as any gentleman in the whole county of Devon. There
was this advantage in the baronet’s habit as regarded the post-bag,
that nobody could tell what letters Sir Sykes received or when he did
receive them. There are many of us, and those not the least loved
or esteemed, whose letters are as it were public property, and with
whom reticence on the subject of a missive newly received by the
post would diffuse disquiet and perhaps dismay through the domestic
circle. Sir Sykes had never been one of those who wear their hearts,
metaphorically, on their sleeves; he told those around him as much as
he wished them to know, and no more.

There was quite a flutter of pleasurable excitement among the Denzil
girls at the prospect of a new member of the household, a new face at
Carbery. They were sorry for this poor Miss Willis, sorrier for her by
far than for the many orphans whose bereavement is notified to us every
day by a grim list of deaths dryly chronicled in the newspaper. And
they felt doubly disposed to welcome her and be good to her in that she
was lonely and sad, and that her presence would introduce a new element
into Carbery. They made no sacrifice in giving a cheerful acquiescence
to their father’s suggestion that his ward should be received beneath
his roof. In such a house the maintenance of an extra inmate was of no
moment at all. But had Sir Sykes been living in furnished lodgings, and
forced to look twice at half-a-crown, those honest girls would still
not have grudged a share of their hashed mutton and scanty house-room
to the daughter of an old friend of their father’s.

‘I don’t think, sir, that I remember to have heard you mention the
Major’s name,’ said Jasper, stolidly buttering his toast, but furtively
eyeing his father from beneath his pale eyelashes.

‘I think you have heard it,’ answered Sir Sykes, with a self-possession
that all but staggered Jasper’s unbelief. ‘We were quartered together
for years at Allahabad, Cawnpore, and Lahore. There were Reynolds and
L’Estrange, and Moreton who is living yet, and this poor fellow Willis;
the old set, with whom I was intimate. I don’t often bore listeners who
have never been in India, with the details of my eastern experiences,
else I think that the name of Major‒or Captain‒George Willis would be
tolerably familiar here.’

That the girls, in their newly awakened interest, should ask questions
was but natural. But their father had not very much beyond the
substance of his original announcement to communicate. He had, he said,
but a vague recollection of Mrs Willis, his friend’s wife, a bride when
Sir Sykes returned to Europe, and who had now been dead for some years.
She was a quiet domestic little person, from Wales or Ireland, the
baronet did not know which; and she had some pittance of annual income,
which would no doubt go to her child at the husband’s decease. Major
Willis had no private means, at least so Sir Sykes thought. There was
a London lawyer, however, who knew all about the financial affairs of
the orphan, and who would of course render a proper statement to the
baronet’s solicitors. Miss Willis would be entitled, as the child of
an Indian officer, to no pension, being, as Sir Sykes understood, over
the age of twenty-one; but of that again he was not sure, not being
certain of the exact age of his friend’s daughter. She had no very near
relatives, and had never, to Sir Sykes’s knowledge, been in England
before.

‘It was the chaplain of the military station who wrote,’ continued Sir
Sykes, ‘inclosing in his letter that which poor Willis had left for
myself; and unless I telegraph to veto the arrangement, you are likely
to see Miss Ruth‒did I say that her name was Ruth‒very soon, since she
is to start by the next mail from Bombay.’

‘Well,’ muttered Jasper to himself, as some time later in the morning
he sauntered through the plantations, the path across which made a
short cut from Carbery Chase to Lord Wolverhampton’s park at High Tor,
‘I have seen some cool hands; but‒‒ Well, well! It was neatly done,
very neatly. If the governor had not had the rare luck to come into a
fortune, he would have been as fit to make one as any man I ever came
across.’

The young man, whose preference for crooked ways was congenital, and
who knew of no road to Fortune’s temple save miry and devious ones,
began really to feel an admiration for his father’s abilities, since
he had discovered to what profound depths of dissimulation the baronet
could descend. His own craft had enabled him to lift a corner of the
fair seeming mask which Sir Sykes wore before the world, but as yet his
knowledge was too imperfect to enable its possessor to make capital of
the secret. Could he once‒‒

‘Why, Captain Denzil!’ exclaimed a ringing girlish voice, ‘I could
almost give you credit for poetic reveries, so complete is your
unconsciousness of the mere commonplace world around you. You had all
but passed us without a word or a bow.’

Jasper could not repress a slight start, as he found himself in
presence of the three Ladies De Vere and of their brother Lord
Harrogate, in the main avenue of the park. The young man’s moody
countenance brightened at once.

‘I am not, as a rule, greatly given to dreaming in broad daylight, Lady
Gladys,’ he said good-humouredly; ‘and as for the poetry, I’ll promise
to dedicate my first volume of sonnets, or whatever they call them, to
yourself. I am afraid, though, you will have to wait a little before I
take a plunge into literature.’

‘Of books‒of a sort, you have been rather a diligent compiler,’ said
Lord Harrogate, smiling.

Jasper bit his lip; but it was in a careless tone that he rejoined:
‘That’s only too true; but let me tell you, Harrogate, there goes more
of hard thinking to the composition of a betting-book than people
usually suppose.‒I was on my way to the house, meaning to inflict a
little of my dullness on you, Lady Maud, but you are early abroad.’

‘Yes; and you may as well walk down with us,’ said Lady Maud. ‘We
are going to the school, to see how my friend, Miss Gray, the
school-mistress, fares after her moorland adventure of Saturday. You
heard of it, Captain Denzil?’

No; Jasper had not heard of it. And on receiving an account of it from
Lady Maud’s lips, the captain said, with never so little of a sneer,
that the episode was ‘quite romantic.’

‘Come and see the heroine of it,’ said bright-eyed Lady Gladys; ‘and
you who affect to admire nothing, will be compelled to admit that you
have seen a face such as we very seldom behold except in a picture.’

The party walked on together thus chatting until they reached the
village. The young people of the two great houses, High Tor and Carbery
Chase, had naturally been well acquainted with one another from an
early period; and the two elder of the De Vere girls were disposed to
pity Jasper rather than to blame him for the recklessness that had
brought about his exile from the haunts of fashion. But the captain
knew that Lord Harrogate and he were uncongenial spirits. He did not
like Harrogate, and he had a shrewd idea that Harrogate despised him.
We cannot, however, be very eclectic in the depths of the country as
regards those with whom we associate, and hence these two young men,
of natures so dissimilar, tolerated one another because of the ancient
friendship existing between their families.

The school was reached, and Ethel its mistress, still pale, but lovely
as one of the white roses in her tiny garden, came forward to receive
her distinguished visitors, and paid her tribute of thanks to Lord
Harrogate for the service he had rendered her, with a modest grace
which was all the more charming from its extreme simplicity of words
and manner.

‘I was too weak and faint the other evening, my Lord, to say what I
felt as to your‒your great kindness.’

And a princess could not have spoken better. It was Lord Harrogate
who seemed embarrassed, as your honest Briton, gentle or simple, is
embarrassed by being thanked. And then, while Lady Maud eagerly told
how jelly and hothouse fruit and port wine had been despatched from
High Tor to the moorland cottage for the benefit of little Lenny Mudge,
and how the parish doctor spoke hopefully of his small patient, Jasper
looked at Ethel Gray with a sort of wonder, as at the most beautiful
woman that he had ever seen, and the most thoroughly a lady, not
even excepting Lady Gladys De Vere. But he said nothing, and lounged
carelessly off with the party when adieus had been exchanged with Miss
Gray.



STORY OF CAPTAIN GLASS.


About the time of the accession of George III. to the throne, few
domestic events made a greater sensation in the papers and periodicals
of the day than the adventures and fate of a sea-captain named George
Glass, especially in connection with a mutiny on board the brig _Earl
of Sandwich_. This remarkable man, who was one of fifteen children of
John Glass, noted as the originator of the Scottish sect known as the
Glassites, was born at Dundee in 1725. After graduating in the medical
profession, he made several voyages, as surgeon of a merchant-ship
(belonging to London), to the Brazils and the coast of Guinea; and
in 1764, he published, by Dodsley, an interesting work in one volume
quarto, entitled _The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the
Canary Islands, translated from a Spanish manuscript_.

He obtained command of a Guinea trader, and made several successful
voyages, till the war with Spain broke out in January 1762. Having
saved a good round sum, he equipped a privateer, and took command of
her as captain, to cruise against the French and Spaniards; but he had
not been three days at sea, when his crew mutinied, and sent him that
which is called in sea-phraseology a round-robin (a corruption of an
old French military term, the _ruban rond_, or round ribbon), in which
they wrote their names in a circle; hence none could know who was the
leader.

Arming himself with his cutlass and pistols, Glass came on deck, and
offered to fight, hand to hand, any man who conceived himself to be
wronged in any way. But the crew, knowing his personal strength, his
skill and resolution, declined the challenge. He succeeded in pacifying
them by fair words; and the capture of a valuable French merchantman
a few days after put them all in excellent humour. This gleam of
good fortune was soon after clouded by an encounter with an enemy’s
frigate, which though twice the size of his privateer, Glass resolved
to engage; and for two hours they fought broadside to broadside, till
another French vessel bore down on him, and he was compelled to strike
his colours, after half his crew had been killed and he had received a
musket-shot in the shoulder.

He remained for some time a French prisoner of war in the Antilles,
where he was treated with excessive severity; but upon being exchanged,
he resolved to embark the remainder of his fortune in another
privateer, and ‘have it out,’ as he said, with the French and Dons. But
he was again taken in action, and lost everything he had in the world.

On being released a second time, he was employed by London merchants
in several voyages to the West Indies, in command of ships that fought
their way without convoy; and according to a statement in the _Annual
Register_, he was captured no less than _seven_ times. But after
various fluctuations of fortune, when the general peace took place in
1763, he found himself possessed of two thousand guineas prize-money,
with the reputation of being one of the best merchant captains in the
Port of London.

About that time, a Company there resolved to make an attempt to form
a settlement on the west coast of Africa, by founding a harbour and
town midway between the Cape de Verd and the river Senegal. In the
London and other papers of the day we find many statements urging the
advantage of opening up the Guinea-trade; among others, a strange
letter from a merchant, who tells us he was taken prisoner in a battle
on that coast, and that when escaping he ‘crossed a forest within view
of the sea, where there lay elephants’ teeth in quantities sufficient
to load one hundred ships.’

In the interests of this new Company Glass sailed in a ship of his own
to the coast of Guinea, and selected and surveyed a harbour at a place
which he was certain might become the centre of a great trade in teak
and cam woods, spices, palm oil and ivory, wax and gold. Elated with
his success, he returned to England, and laid his scheme before the
ministry, among whom were John Earl of Sandwich, Secretary of State,
and the Earl of Hillsborough, Commissioner of Trade and Plantations.

With truly national patience and perseverance, he underwent all
the procrastination and delays of office, but ultimately obtained
an exclusive right of trading to his own harbour for twenty years.
Assisted by two merchants‒the Company would seem to have failed‒he
fitted out his ship anew, and sailed for the intended harbour; and sent
on shore a man who knew the country well, to make propositions of trade
with the natives, who put him to death the moment they saw him.

Undiscouraged by this event, Captain Glass found means to open up a
communication with the king of the country, to lay before him the
wrong that had been done, and the advantages that were certain to
accrue from mutual trade and barter. The sable potentate affected to
be pleased with the proposal, but only to the end that he might get
Glass completely into his power; but the Scotsman was on his guard, and
foiled him.

The king then attempted to poison the whole crew by provisions which he
sent on board impregnated by some deadly drug. Glass, by his previous
medical knowledge perhaps, discovered this in time; but so scarce had
food become in his vessel, that he was compelled to go with a few hands
in an open boat to the Canaries, where he hoped to purchase what he
wanted from the Spaniards.

In his absence the savages were encouraged to attack the ship in their
war-canoes; but were repulsed by a sharp musketry-fire opened upon
them by the remainder of the crew, who losing heart by the protracted
absence of the captain, quitted his fatal harbour, and sailed for the
Thames, which they reached in safety.

Meanwhile the unfortunate captain, after landing on one of the
Canaries, presented a petition to the Spanish governor to the effect
that he might be permitted to purchase food; but that officer, inflamed
by national animosity, cruelly threw him into a dark and damp dungeon,
and kept him there without pen, ink, or paper, on the accusation that
he was a spy. Being thus utterly without means of making his case
known, he contrived another way of communicating with the external
world. One account has it that he concealed a pencilled note in a loaf
of bread which fell into the hands of the British consul; another
states that he wrote with a piece of charcoal on a ship-biscuit and
sent it to the captain of a British man-of-war that was lying off
the island, and who with much difficulty, and after being imprisoned
himself, effected the release of Glass. The latter, on being joined
by his wife and daughter, who had come in search of him, set sail for
England in 1765, on board the merchant brig _Earl of Sandwich_, Captain
Cochrane.

Glass doubtless supposed his troubles were now over; but the knowledge
that much of his property and a great amount of specie, one hundred
thousand pounds, belonging to others, was on board, induced four of
the crew to form a conspiracy to murder every one else and seize the
ship. These mutineers were respectively George Gidley, the cook, a
native of the west of England; Peter M’Kulie, an Irishman; Andrew
Zekerman, a Hollander; and Richard H. Quintin, a Londoner. On three
different nights they are stated to have made the attempt, but were
baffled by the vigilance of Captain Glass, rather than that of his
countryman, Captain Cochrane; but at eleven o’clock at night on the
30th of November 1765, it chanced, as shewn at their trial, that these
four miscreants had together the watch on deck, when the _Sandwich_ was
already in sight of the coast of Ireland; and when Captain Cochrane,
after taking a survey aloft, was about to return to the cabin, Peter
M’Kulie brained him with ‘an iron bar’ (probably a marline-spike), and
threw him overboard.

A cry that had escaped Cochrane alarmed the rest of the crew, who were
all despatched in the same manner as they rushed on deck in succession.
This slaughter and the din it occasioned roused Captain Glass, who was
below in bed; but he soon discovered what was occurring, and after
giving one glance on deck, rushed away to get his sword. M’Kulie
imagining the cause of his going back, went down the steps leading
to the cabin, and stood in the dark, expecting Glass’s return, and
suddenly seized his arms from behind; but the captain being a man of
great strength, wrenched his sword-arm free, and on being assailed by
the other three assassins, plunged his weapon into the arm of Zekerman,
when the blade became wedged or entangled. It was at length wrenched
forth, and Glass was slain by repeated stabs of his own weapon, while
his dying cries were heard by his wife and daughter‒two unhappy beings
who were ruthlessly thrown overboard and drowned.

Besides these four victims, James Pincent, the mate, and three others
lost their lives. The mutineers now loaded one of the boats with the
money, chests, and so forth, and then scuttled the _Sandwich_, and
landed at Ross on the coast of Ireland. But suspicion speedily attached
to them; they were apprehended; and confessing the crimes of which they
had been guilty, were tried before the Court of King’s Bench, Dublin,
and sentenced to death. They were accordingly executed in St Stephen’s
Green, on the 10th of October 1765.



AN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY ROMANCE.


On a bright cold day in April 1719, a travelling carriage with three
postillions dashed, full of the importance which always attends a
fashionable well-built vehicle, into the famous but not progressive
town of Innsbruck. The carriage contained four persons, said to be
going to Loretto on pilgrimage‒the Comte and Comtesse de Cernes, with
the brother and sister of the comtesse; and as the aristocratic party
alighted at their hotel, they created some sensation among those who
clustered round the porch in the clear sharp twilight. The comtesse
and her sister were very much enveloped in furs, and wore travelling
masks, which effectually screened their faces from the vulgar gaze,
and diverted the curiosity of the homely Tyrolese to the undisguised
figures of the comte and the comtesse’s brother. The former was the
statelier of the two, but the latter was universally pronounced to
be _ein herrlicher Mensch_. There was a certain sprightly grace in
his movements which yet did not detract from the dignity essential in
those days to a gentleman, and which would have saved him from being
addressed with too great familiarity. The news soon circulated among
the loungers that the fresh arrivals were Flemings; and the pleasant
blue eyes of the comte and his brother-in-law‒though certainly not the
sprightly grace of the latter‒accorded with these floating accounts of
their origin.

The pretty Tyrolese hostess, whose face was so charmingly set off
by the trim smartness of her velvet bodice and scarlet petticoat,
together with various silver chains, gleefully returned to her parlour
and her burly good-tempered husband, after attending the ladies to
their apartments. She had seen the Comtesse de Cernes without her furs
and travelling mask, dressed in lilac camlet turned up with silk; so
handsome, so gracious, so talkative, that the hostess thought she must
be French; for the hostess had seen plenty of French people before
now, besides Flemings. The comtesse was dark-haired and dark-eyed; her
sister, who had also divested herself of her mask, did not equal her in
appearance. Every one at the inn was glad that the amiable party from
Flanders were going to rest there four days.

Their supper was ordered in a private room, where the host and hostess
waited on them in person, and consequently had the best of it with
the loungers afterwards. The two gentlemen were in good spirits, and
the hostess thought their talk none the less amusing for being in a
language which she did not understand. Their laughing looks and easy
action conveyed to her mind a sufficient sense of fun to make her fair
face shine placidly in sympathy. Altogether they were the liveliest
Flemings she had ever seen; and their good-humour seemed to be shared
by the three postillions, two of whom were Walloons and one Italian,
and who were making themselves very popular among the _habitués_ of the
inn.

‘Well, this is a pleasant little town of yours, _mes amis_,’ said the
vivacious Walloon outrider, who contrasted strikingly with his great,
tall, quietly smiling companion. ‘One could die of ennui here as well
as at Liege.’

‘No, you could not,’ returned a long spare poetic Tyrolese, who spent
most of his evenings at the inn, but never drank; notwithstanding which
peculiarity he and the host were warm friends. ‘We mountain-folk are
not dull; our hills and our torrents permit of no dullness.’

‘Very well perhaps for you who are born to it, to hang by your eyelids
on rocky ledges, or balance yourselves over what are called in verses
the silver threads of waterfalls, in pursuit of an undoubtedly clever
and pretty little animal; but all that would be dull work to us. And
then you have not a _noblesse_. What should we do without ours? There
would be no one to whom one could be postillion.’

‘We are our own _noblesse_,’ said the spare poetic Tyrolese.

‘And you cannot say, Claude,’ observed the tall Walloon, ‘that
Innsbruck is without _noblesse_ at the present moment; nay more, it
contains royalty in the shape of two captive princesses!’

‘One of them the grand-daughter of the hero who saved this empire from
the Turks, for which the Emperor now keeps her in durance.’

‘Take care, Monsieur,’ said the host (he pronounced ‘Monsieur’
execrably); ‘we are all the Kaiser’s loyal subjects here in Tyrol.’

‘Pardon, _mein Wirth_,’ replied Claude, who pronounced German as badly
as the host did French. ‘You know we men who run about the world laugh
at everything, and too often let our tongues run faster than our feet.’

‘And after all,’ observed the Italian, ‘it is doing the young princess
no bad turn to prevent her marrying a prince out of place, who is not
likely to recover his situation.’

The Flemings spent the few days of their sojourn at Innsbruck in
visiting the churches and seeing what was to be seen in the town.
The Comtesse de Cernes’s brother was the busiest of the party. On
the morning after his arrival he met in a church porch a rather
impish-looking boy in the dress of a ‘long-haired page,’ and the
two held a brief colloquy. To this stylish page, in whom the rather
shapeless Slavonic type of countenance was widened out by smiles of
assurance, the gentleman from Flanders delivered a letter, together
with a wonderful snuff-box, cut out of a single turquoise, ‘for his
mistress to look at.’ On the three remaining days likewise the two met
in different spots; the boy restored the snuff-box, and brought some
letters written in a fashionable pointed hand, in return for those with
which the Fleming had intrusted him.

The party were to set out on their southward way at two o’clock on the
morning of the 28th of April. The evening of the 27th was overshadowed
by clouds, driven by a sharp north-east wind. Notwithstanding the
aspects of the weather, the brother of the Comtesse de Cernes, standing
in the midst of his little party in their private room, donned his
cocked-hat and surtout.

‘Well, Wogan,’ said the comte, ‘if practice makes perfect, you are a
professor in the art of effecting escapes. After having burst your way
out of Newgate, and been valued at five hundred English guineas (much
below your worth of course), and cooled yourself for some hours on
the roof of a London house, and reached France safely after all, you
ought to be able to abstract a young lady from the careless custody of
Heister and his sentinels.’

‘I shall be ashamed if I fail, after wringing from Prince Sobieski his
consent to the attempt, and after his giving me the Grand Vizier’s
snuff-box; but I always find that doing things for other people is more
difficult than doing them for one’s self.’

‘I should say she was a clever girl,’ remarked the comte, ‘and her page
a clever page.’

‘I wonder if Jannetton is ready?’ said the comtesse, retiring into
the bedroom occupied by the ladies, whence she soon emerged with her
sister, who wore her paletot, and was smiling sufficiently to shew two
rows of exquisitely white teeth. The comtesse on the contrary seemed
somewhat affected. ‘_Adieu, Jannetton, mais au revoir._ There will be
no danger to you, and the Archduchess will take care that you join me
in Italy.’

Jannetton vowed she had no fears; and went forth into the deepening
twilight, being shortly afterwards followed by the gentleman in
cocked-hat and surtout. Curiosity did not now dog the Flemish
pilgrims, as it had done while they were altogether novelties, and the
adventurers slipped out unobserved. Meanwhile the ‘long-haired page’
was busy at one of the side-doors of the castle, where he was often
wont to converse with the sentinel on duty.

‘I don’t envy you your trade, Martin,’ he said, standing within the
porch, to the hapless soldier pacing up and down in the keen wind.
‘Glory is one thing and comfort another; but after all, very often no
one hears of the glory, whereas the comfort is a tangible benefit. With
the wind in the north-east and a snow-storm beginning, I at least would
rather be comfortable than glorious.’

‘A man who has seen campaigns thinks but little of a snow-storm, Herr
Konska.’

‘But they generally put you into winter-quarters,’ said Konska, not
wishing the sentinel to pique himself on his hardihood.

‘No matter; a soldier learns what hardship is. I wish you could see a
shot-and-shell storm instead of a snow-storm, or a forest of bayonets
poked into your face by those demons of Irish in the French service.’

‘Well, I say it is a shame not to treat you men better who have braved
all that. See here; there is not even a sentry-box where you can nurse
your freezing feet. Ugh!’ And Konska withdrew, presumably to warmer
regions, while the soldier preserved a heroic appearance as he paced
shivering on his narrow beat. But a few minutes later Konska, stealing
back to the door, saw that his martial friend was no longer at his
post. The impish page pointed for a moment in ecstasy to a tavern
temptingly visible from the sentry’s beat. Then he darted back in
delight to whence he came.

While the snow-clouds were gathering over Innsbruck, and before the
Flemish chevalier had put on his surtout, two ladies conversed in low
tones in a chamber of the castle, of which General Heister was then the
commandant. Only one lady was visible; rather elderly, very stately,
and somewhat careworn in appearance. But that the other speaker was of
gentle sex and rank might be presumed from the tones of a voice which
issued from the closed curtains of the bed. It might even be the voice
of a young girl.

‘I hope you will not get into trouble, mamma,’ said the mysterious
occupier of the bed.

‘Hardly, if you write a proper letter on the subject of your departure,
as the Chevalier Wogan advises. You must cover my complicity by begging
my pardon.’

‘I am afraid you must write it yourself, mamma, as I am _hors de
combat_.’

‘That would not be to the purpose, my dear child: the general would
know my handwriting. I will push a table up to you; no one will
disturb us now till your substitute comes.’ She carried a light table,
furnished with inkstand and _papetière_ to the side of the bed, and
made an aperture in the curtains, whence emerged the rosy bright-eyed
face of a girl‒who certainly did not look the invalid she otherwise
appeared to be‒and a white hand with an aristocratic network of blue
veins.

‘Will that do, mamma?’ she asked, after covering a page with writing
equally elegant and difficult to read. ‘Have I apologised and stated my
reasons for going, eloquently enough? Oh, how I hope that I shall some
day be a queen in my own capital, and that you and papa will come and
live there!’

The mamma sighed, as swift imagination presented to her mind all the
obstacles to so glorious a consummation; but she expressed herself well
satisfied with the letter, which she placed on the toilet table. ‘I
shall leave you now,’ she said; ‘you will find me in my room when you
wish to bid me farewell.’ She spoke with a certain stately sadness as
she left the apartment. The next person who entered it was the Comtesse
de Cernes’s sister in her paletot, with a hood drawn forward over her
face. She only said: ‘_Que votre Altesse me pardonne!_’ (Pardon me,
your Highness.)

Instantly the curtains divided once more, and the whole radiant vision
of the mysterious invalid, clad in a dressing-gown richly trimmed with
French lace, and shewing a face sparkling with animation, sprang forth
laughing: ‘You are the substitute?’

‘Yes, your Highness!’

‘I am sure I thank you very heartily, as well as Madame Misset and the
Chevalier Wogan, and all the kind and loyal friends who are taking so
much trouble for my consort and for me. The Archduchess will take good
care of you, Jannetton.’

Jannetton again shewed her teeth in a courtly smile as she courtesied
deeply. She was already persuaded that she would be well cared for, in
reward for the mysterious services she had come to render the captive
lady. She disencumbered herself of her paletot, and looked amazingly
like a very neat French waiting-maid until she had bedizened herself in
the young lady’s beautifully worked dressing-gown. Then she speedily
disappeared behind the curtains of the bed; while the invalid, wrapping
herself in the paletot, rushed into the next room to embrace with
tears and smiles her anxious mamma, who said but little, and was now
only eager to hurry her away. There too she took possession of her
page, and a small box which was to accompany her flight down the dark
staircases. ‘Your Highness will find all safe,’ said the solemn page,
who was careful to suppress outer signs of his innate roguishness in
the presence of his mistresses.

‘The sentinel will not know me?’ said the young lady.

‘I am sure that he will not. Even if by chance he should look out from
the window of the tavern where he is now ensconced, it is not very
likely that he would know your Highness.’

The black clouds which obscured the blueness of the April night had
broken forth into a lashing storm of hail and wind before the young
girl and the page sallied forth into the darkness. She could hardly
keep her footing in the wet deserted streets; her hood was blown back,
and her fair hair became dangerously visible; her paletot was splashed
with the mud thrown up by her tread, and battered with hail; still she
laughed at all difficulties, for a hero’s blood flowed in her veins,
and now and then steadied herself by a touch on the page’s shoulder as
they floundered on. At the corner of a street they suddenly came upon
a dark figure, whose first appearance as it crossed her path caused
the fugitive to start back in some alarm. But it was only the Comtesse
de Cernes’s brother; and the young lady’s mind was relieved when with
a swift grace he bent for a moment over her hand with the words: ‘My
princess, soon to be my sovereign, accept the homage, even in a dark
street and a hail-storm, of your loyal servant, Charles Wogan.’

‘Oh, my protector and good angel! is it indeed you?’ replied the young
lady. ‘Be assured that I would gladly go through many dark streets and
hail-storms to join my consort!’

And certainly this was a generous expression to use concerning a
consort whom she had never seen. She and the Flemish chevalier were
apparently old friends; and he had soon conducted her to the inn, which
the page Konska, however, was not to enter with his mistress; he was
to wait in a sheltered archway until the Comte de Cernes’s travelling
carriage should pick him up on its way out of Innsbruck in the darkness
of early morning. With a grimace he departed for this covert, while
his mistress was hurried into the warm atmosphere of the Comtesse de
Cernes’s bedroom, where that would-be Loretto pilgrim knelt and kissed
her hand. But better even than loyal kisses were the bright wood-fire,
the posset, and the dry clothes which also awaited her in this room.

‘And you are Madame Misset, the noble Irish lady of whom my good angel
Wogan speaks in his letters! How can I thank you for the trouble you
take for me! I regard him quite in the place of my papa. But you all
seem to be as good as he is!’

‘Madame,’ replied the lady thus addressed, with all the loyalty of
eighteenth-century speech, ‘your Highness knows that it is a delight
to a subject to serve such a sovereign as our gracious prince; and all
that I have done is at my husband’s bidding.’

‘With such subjects, I am sure it will not be long before he regains
his throne. Ah, this delightful fire! Do you know, Madame, it is
snowing and hailing outside as if it were January!’

If Madame Misset felt some concern at the thought of the impending
journey‒if not for her own sake, at least for that of her husband,
she expressed none, except on her Highness’s account. However, her
Highness gaily laughed at hardship and difficulty, and was not at all
depressed at having left her mother in the castle-prison. Her only
fear was that she should be missed from the castle before she had got
clear of Innsbruck. But matters were too well arranged for so speedy a
termination of the romance. By two o’clock of the windy spring morning
the travelling carriage was ready, the Tyrolese landlord and landlady
little suspecting, as they sped their parting guests, that the second
lady who entered it in cloak and mask was any other than that sister of
the Comtesse de Cernes who had arrived four days before.

‘Oh, my good Papa Wogan!’ exclaimed the latest addition to the party
of pilgrims, as they were rolled into the darkness of that wild night,
‘how delighted I am to be free again, and about to join my royal
consort! I owe more than I can express to all, but most to you!’ Which
she might well say, seeing that it was ‘Papa Wogan’ who had selected
her as the bride of this consort to whom her devotion was so great.
She chattered brightly away, with the natural vivacity of eighteen in
an adventure, rejoicing in her new-found freedom however cold it might
be; and the only clouded face in the carriage was that of the Comtesse
de Cernes. She was anxious on account of the vivacious little man who
had formerly been postillion, and who was now riding far behind the
carriage with his tall companion, to keep at bay possible couriers,
who might soon be hurrying to the border fortresses with news that a
prisoner had escaped the vigilance of General Heister at the Castle of
Innsbruck. The two gentlemen in the carriage assured her that no harm
would happen to two such dashing cavaliers; but perhaps the comtesse
thought that to those who are safe it is easy to talk of safety. Not
that any of the party were really safe, but the cheerfulness of the
young lady, whose passport was shewn at all the towns as made out for
the sister of the Comtesse de Cernes, seemed to preclude the idea of
peril to her companions. At Venice the mind of the comtesse was finally
set at ease by the reappearance of the outriders, telling a funny
unscrupulous sort of story about having fallen in on the road with a
courier from Innsbruck, to whom they made themselves very agreeable,
and whom they finally left hopelessly tipsy at an inn near Trent.

‘It was very wrong of you, Messieurs,’ said the escaped fugitive, ‘to
make him drink so much; you ought to have tied him up somewhere. But I
thank you very much for all the dangers you incurred for my sake; and I
assure all of you, my good friends, that your king and queen will never
forget you.’

There were no telegrams in those days; but before a week was over, all
Europe, or rather all political and fashionable Europe, was talking
of the escape of the Princess Clementina Sobieski, grand-daughter
of the hero who repulsed the hordes of Turkey on the plains before
Vienna, from her captivity at the Castle of Innsbruck, where she and
her mother had‒for political reasons connected with Great Britain‒been
placed by her cousin, the Emperor Charles VI. of Germany. It was told
with indignation at the courts of London and Vienna, with laughter
and admiration at those of Rome, Paris, and Madrid, how she had been
carried off by a party of dashing Irish people, calling themselves
noble Flemish pilgrims; and how she had left a French maid-servant in
her place in the castle, and a letter to her mother apologising for
her flight. The prime contriver of the adventure, it was said was that
Chevalier Wogan who had been in mischief for some time past, and had
made his own way with great _aplomb_ out of Newgate.

At Venice, a singular readjustment of the dashing party took place: the
vivacious outrider now appearing in the character of Captain Misset,
the husband of Madame Misset, hitherto called the Comtesse de Cernes;
and the tall outrider in that of Captain O’Toole, both being of the
Franco-Irish regiment of Count Dillon, as was also the gallant Major
Gaydon, _alias_ the Comte de Cernes. The comtesse’s brother was now
no longer related to her, but acknowledged himself to be that Charles
Wogan who had really done much for the Chevalier, having fought for
him, been taken prisoner for him, escaped for him, chosen his bride,
and effected her liberation as cleverly as he had effected his own. In
fact the Italian postillion Vezzosi was the only one of this curious
group who had acted at all _in propriâ personâ_.

The 15th of May 1719 was a gala day in Rome, when a long string of
coaches and the Prince‒whom a large number of British subjects,
expressing their loyalty by peculiar signs of approval, considered to
be rightful king of Great Britain and Ireland‒went out to conduct the
fugitive young lady triumphantly into the Eternal City. She now no
longer had need to use the passport which franked her as the sister
of the Comtesse de Cernes, being openly and joyfully welcomed as the
Princess Maria Clementina Sobieski.



THE MONTH:

SCIENCE AND ARTS.


In 1845 the late Professor Faraday delivered a lecture on the
solidification of gases at the Royal Institution, and demonstrated his
facts by experiments as interesting as they were successful. Under his
skilful manipulation a tube filled with olefiant gas, quite invisible,
was seen to become partially filled with a colourless liquid, which was
the gas in a condensed form. Two conditions were shewn to be essential
to the result‒extreme pressure, and extreme cold. The pressure was
obtained by strong mechanical appliances, and the cold by means of
solidified carbonic acid, which looked like lumps of snow. In this way
the lecturer made clear to a general audience the process by which a
number of gases had been brought into a liquid or solid form; and he
stated that he had ‘hoped to make oxygen the subject of the evening’s
experiment, but from some undetected cause it had baffled his attempts
at solidification.’ Nevertheless, he looked forward to the time when
not only oxygen, but azote and hydrogen would be solidified, and he
agreed with Dumas, of the Institute of France, that hydrogen would shew
itself in the form of a metal.

Faraday’s anticipation is now realised in one particular, for oxygen
has been liquefied. This achievement is due to the enlightened and
persevering efforts of Mr Pictet, an able physicist of Geneva.
Working with apparatus capable of resisting a pressure of eight
hundred atmospheres, and a temperature sixty-five degrees below
zero (centigrade), he succeeded in converting oxygen (invisible)
into a visible liquid which spouted from the tube in which it had
been inclosed for experiment. It is a feat which involves important
consequences for science. It is a further confirmation of the
mechanical theory of heat, according to which all gases are vapours
capable of passing through the three states‒solid, liquid, and gaseous.
Geneva winds up the year with a fine scientific triumph. Will Albemarle
Street supplement it by liquefying or solidifying azote and hydrogen?
Just as these lines are going to press we hear a rumour that it has
been done by a Frenchman at Paris.

Experiments have been made to measure the sound-impulse produced in a
telephone by ordinary speaking; but it is too feeble to excite even
a delicate galvanometer. But a slight swing of the free end of the
instrument affects the needle, which moves in a different direction
according as the swing is south, north, west, or east. There is no
doubt, as we observed in a recent paper on the subject, that in the
behaviour of the telephone and the phenomena of its currents scientific
men have a promising subject of inquiry. Meanwhile, as explained at
the end of this article, the notion that it would at once supersede
other forms of telegraphy or telephony will abate. A telephone has no
advantage over a speaking-tube within the distances where a tube is
available. Moreover the needlessly high price at which it is to be sold
will be an effectual bar to its general use. To ask thirty-five pounds
and twenty-five pounds for an article that could be sold at a profit
for so many shillings, is not and ought not to be the way to commercial
success.

It is stated in a French scientific periodical that underground water
may be discovered by observing the quivering of the air on a clear
calm summer afternoon when the sun is low. If a well be dug at the
spot where the quivering appears, a supply of water will, as is said,
there be found. And as regards the influence of trees on moisture,
careful observation has confirmed the theory that more rain falls on
forests than on open plains; and comparing different kinds of trees it
is found that the pine tribe get more water and retain more than leafy
trees. Hence, it is said, pines are the best defence against sudden
inundations, and the best means for giving freshness and humidity
to a hot and dry climate such as that of Algeria, where attempts at
amelioration have been made by planting, and by the digging of artesian
wells.

Readers of this _Journal_ will not be ignorant of the health-imparting
properties of the Australian gum-tree, or eucalyptus, nor that the
fir and pine possess similar properties, but in a minor degree,
yet still sufficient to enhance the title to salubrity of certain
watering-places. Mr Kingzett, an ingenious and persevering chemist,
had tried for a long time to discover whether the active atmospheric
element, ozone, was evolved from the leaves of plants, and was forced
to the conclusion that the element produced was not ozone, but peroxide
of hydrogen. He then experimented on oils of different kinds, and found
that they absorbed oxygen rapidly, and were thereby in some instances
transformed into new substances. Among them all turpentine proved to be
the best absorber; and it appeared on further experiment that while one
portion became resinified, another portion was converted into peroxide
of hydrogen and camphoric acid. The natural conclusion from this result
was that the eucalyptus and the pine owe their salubrious properties
to the presence of these two substances; or rather to the ‘terpene,’
or principle of turpentine, with which they are imbued. This point
established, measures were taken to produce the sanifying substances
on a large scale; and now a company owning a manufactory in the east
of London advertise that they are ready to supply the new disinfectant
under the name of _Sanitas_ in any quantity. It is not poisonous, will
not stain the materials to which it may be applied, can be used as a
wholesome scent, and is efficacious in preserving articles of food. The
process of manufacture is ingenious, and is so combined that there is
no waste of turpentine even in the form of vapour; but of the details
we need not attempt an explanation here. Suffice it that _Sanitas_,
with full description of its virtues, is now largely advertised in the
public journals.

Professor Galloway, of the Royal College of Science, Dublin,
has published a pamphlet in which he states that salted meat is
unwholesome, and produces scurvy, because by the process of salting
the meat is deprived of important constituents, notably phosphate of
potash. He says that if this salt were eaten with the beef served out
on board ship, the meat would be nutritious, would not occasion scurvy;
and he calls on the Admiralty to test his view by actual experiment.

What a convenience it would be if all the street lamps of a town
could be lighted and put out at once! Mr Lane Fox has proved at a
commercial station in the neighbourhood of Fulham that it can be done.
All the lamps are connected by wires overhead or underground; to each
burner is fitted an electro-magnet composed of a coil of wire round
a soft iron core, and above it hangs a movable magnet. The ends of
the connecting wires are attached to or detached from a battery at
pleasure. When the gas is to be lighted, a current is sent through the
wires; the electro-magnet on each burner is excited; the movable magnet
swings round, and turns on the gas; a current from a powerful coil
is then sent through the wires, and produces a spark at each burner,
and thereby lights the gas. The putting out is effected by a reverse
current. From twenty to forty lamps have been thus treated, and with
entire success; and it is thought that three hundred might be included
in the circuit with a like satisfactory result.

Thus in order to light up London or any other large town, the lamps
would have to be divided into groups of three hundred. The lamplighter,
or man in charge of the battery, would of course require to know that
none had been missed, and this could be made certain by placing the
first and last lamp of the group within sight of his station. If they
are alight, then all are alight. The practicability of the operation
appears therefore to be settled. The next question is‒Will it prove a
saving to the ratepayers?

Complaints that ordinary gas-light is not so brilliant as it ought
to be, are often heard, and not without reason. The Pure Carbon Gas
Company claim for their gas that it is not open to the objections
urged against other gas. The process of manufacture has the merit
of being very simple, and free from the usual noxious results. At a
demonstration made a few weeks since, proof was given that but little
space and little skill are required in the manufacture. The tar formed
during the process, instead of being carried away as at present, is
passed back into the retorts, whereby, as is said, three thousand feet
more of gas can be produced from a ton of coal than by the ordinary
process. An arrangement is introduced which separates the ammonia and
the sulphur, and in consequence this pure carbon gas has but little
smell. Ordinary gas is passed as good if it contains not more than
twenty-five grains of sulphur to the hundred feet: the quantity in
the new gas is less than three grains. We are told that the cost of
manufacture is not more than eighteenpence the thousand cubic feet,
that it does not require skilled labour, that in consequence of its
freedom from smell it could be carried on in a ship or in a house,
while its simplicity renders it applicable to villages where at present
there are no public lights. The Collinge Engineering Works, Westminster
Bridge Road, are mentioned as the place where the demonstration above
described was given.

With a view to account for the presence of mineral oil underground in
certain parts of Europe and in Pennsylvania, some ingenious persons
have assumed that the oil is a decomposition-product of long-buried
organic remains. But the answer to this is that the oil is found in
very old strata ‘where but few organic remains can have existed.’ Mr D.
Mendelejeff, a foreign chemist, having visited the Pennsylvania wells,
puts forward his opinion on this interesting question: The substance of
the earth having been condensed from vapour, ‘the interior of the earth
must consist largely of metals (iron predominating) in combination
with carbon. Wherever fissures have been produced in the earth’s crust
by volcanic action, the water, which of necessity made its way into
the interior, and thus came into contact with metallic carbides at
high temperatures and pressures, must have given rise to saturated
hydrocarbons, which have ascended in the form of vapour to strata where
they condensed,’ and thus formed the oil.

Captain Calver, R.N., has by command of the Admiralty surveyed the
Thames below Woolwich to ascertain whether the discharge of the sewage
of London into the river has created obstructions in the channel. The
captain has published his report, and a very discouraging report it
is, for it makes known that shoals have formed, and are forming, which
in course of time will completely stop the navigation of the river. In
this we have a proof that it is a mistake to send the solid portion of
sewage into a stream, in the hope that it will be effectually carried
away by the tide. It is not carried away; but is deposited at the
bends, and in the eddies, with detriment to health as well as to the
water-way.

Engineers who contend that none but neutralised liquid sewage should
pass into a river are manifestly in the right. To discharge the solids
is a waste as well as a mischief; and if it goes on, the whole of
the land will some day be utterly starved for want of nitrogen. Some
theorists argue that it won’t pay to attempt to convert the solids into
a fertilising material. The answer to this is the experience gained at
Aylesbury, where the solid part of the town sewage is separated from
the liquid by precipitation; is converted into a fertiliser, part of
which is used on the town-farm, and the surplus, in the form of a dry,
scentless powder, is sold at three pounds ten shillings the ton. A
single grain of oats, sown on land treated with this powder, produced
seven thousand grains from one root, and other grains yielded varying
numbers down to two thousand. The powder on analysis seems poor; but
its richness of productive power may be judged of from the foregoing
statement.

A new process for making sulphate of soda has been invented by M.
Fournier, a Frenchman. It leaves behind as waste liquid a large
quantity of a certain chloride, which turns out to be excellent for
the precipitation of sewage. Hence it appears that nature and science
combine to shew how the fertility of the land and the free channels
of rivers may alike be maintained. The process has been patented in
this country, and if all go well we may hope, in time, to hear that
the sewage of London, instead of filling up the bed of the Thames, is
increasing the fruitfulness of fields, gardens, and meadows in Essex
and Kent.

Meteorologists, in their review of the weather, inform us that in the
gale on the 11th of November last, the barometer was lower, the wind
stronger, and the rainfall greater, than on any other day in the year.
The mean velocity of the wind was thirty-eight miles an hour; and the
rainfall in twenty-four hours amounted to a little more than an inch
and a half. The fall for the whole month was in Sussex, eight and a
quarter inches; in Cumberland, nine and three-quarter inches; being, as
regards the Sussex gauge, more than five inches above the average of
the previous ten years. The total rainfall in eleven months, January to
November, was thirty-three and one-third inches: a remarkable excess
over twenty-eight inches, which is the usual average for the whole
year. For those who are curious in comparisons we take a fact from the
weather-records of New South Wales: at Newcastle in that colony there
fell on March 18, 1871, more than ten and a half inches of rain in two
hours and a half.

Two official papers published in India further discuss the
question‒sun-spots and rainfall. ‘The Cycle of Drought and Famine
in Southern India,’ contains a statement of the argument by Dr W.
W. Hunter, and the conclusions to which he has arrived. These are:
‘That although no uniform numerical relation can be detected between
the relative number of sun-spots and the actual amount of rainfall,
yet that the minimum period in the cycle of sun-spots is a period of
regularly recurring and strongly marked drought in Southern India‒That
apart from any solar theory, an examination of the rain registers
shews that a period of deficient rainfall recurs in cycles of eleven
years at Madras ... that the statistical evidence shews that the cycle
of rainfall at Madras has a marked coincidence with a corresponding
cycle of sun-spots ... and that the evidence tends also to shew that
the average rainfall of the years of minimum rainfall in the said
cycle approaches perilously near to the point of deficiency which
causes famine.’ The average is, however, above that point; and though
droughts and famines may recur in the cyclic years of minimum rainfall,
the evidence, in Dr Hunter’s opinion, is insufficient to warrant the
prediction of a regularly recurring famine.

The observations on which these conclusions are founded include
sixty-four years of the present century: too short a period on which
to build a theory; but as no records exist earlier than 1810, it
is by future observation only that the conclusions can be tested.
Meanwhile meteorological observers will be watchful, especially of the
rainfall, for India is a country which affords singularly favourable
opportunities for a comprehensive system of observations.

The other paper referred to above is by Mr H. F. Blanford,
Meteorological Reporter to the government of India. He points out
that Dr Hunter’s views apply exclusively to Southern India, and that
in Northern India famines are most frequent at the epochs of most
sun-spots. This lack of agreement between two competent authorities
shews how great is the need for a lengthened series of observations.

In the recent Arctic Expedition twenty-five species of fossil plants
were discovered in Grinnell Land by Captain Feilden. They are of the
period described by geologists as Miocene, and can be identified with
species of the same period found in Europe, in North-western America,
and in Asia. Among them are two kinds of _Equisetum_, poplar, birch,
elm, and pine. It was suggested at a meeting of the Geological Society
that the bed of lignite in which these remains were met with was in
remote ages a large peat-moss, probably containing a lake in which
the water-lilies grew, while on its muddy shores the large reeds
and sedges and birches and poplars flourished. The drier spots and
neighbouring chains of hills were probably occupied by the pines and
firs, associated with elm and hazel. Among all these which indicate a
primeval forest, the only sign of animal life discovered was a solitary
wing-case of a beetle.

When water-lilies were growing in that now desolate region, fresh-water
must have filled the ponds and lakes. Captain Feilden’s discovery may
be taken as additional evidence of a change of climate, which the
palæontologists and physicists who are now discussing that interesting
question will not fail to make use of on fitting occasion.

A few years ago the British Association appointed a committee of
eminent mathematicians to consider ‘the possibility of improving the
methods of instruction in elementary geometry.’ The Report of this
committee was published in the stout volume which contains the account
of the meeting held at Glasgow. It states that the main practical
difficulty in effecting the improvement is ‘that of reconciling the
claims of the teacher to greater freedom with the necessity of one
fixed and definite standard for examination purposes;’ that ‘no
text-book yet produced is fit to succeed Euclid in the position of
authority, and that a syllabus of propositions in a definite sequence
to be regarded as a standard sequence for examination purposes, might
be published.’ Such a syllabus as is here implied has been brought out
by the Association for the improvement of geometrical teaching; and the
committee recommend it for adoption by the universities and other great
examining bodies of the United Kingdom. ‘It may be well to observe,’
they say in their Report, ‘that the adoption of this or some such
standard syllabus would not necessitate the abandonment of the Elements
of Euclid as a text-book by such teachers as still preferred it to
any other, as it would at the utmost involve only such supplementary
teaching as is contained in the notes appended to many of the editions
of Euclid now in use; while it would greatly relieve that large and
increasing body of teachers who demand greater freedom in the treatment
of geometry than under existing conditions they can venture to adopt.’

Supplementary to our recent notices of the telephone, the following
remarks, translated from a late number of the _Telegraph Bulletin_
of the Ottoman administration, and dealing with a question of some
importance to telegraph manipulators throughout the world, may be read
with interest:

‘Is the telephone, yes or no, destined to replace other telegraph
instruments; and seeing the possibility that people may use it without
special training, is it in the end destined to destroy the career of
telegraph employés? Those questions merit from us the labour of being
examined with care. We think that that instrument will never be able
to be employed in telegraphic working destined to serve governments
and the public. In effect, supposing the instrument perfect, arrived
at the last limits of perfection, and able to work at all distances
with or without relays, then‒1. To transmit a message with all the
advantages offered by the system, it would be necessary that the sender
should be able to speak himself directly with the receiver, without the
intervention of an employé. Now, all those who know the organisation of
the lines know that this is not possible, that there must necessarily
be intermediary offices of deposit, that the public cannot be admitted
to the offices where messages are transmitted or received, and
consequently the sender must give his message _written_. 2. An employé
once charged with the message, the instrument has already lost one
of its principal advantages, for that employé must read the message,
and pronounce it to his correspondent; but if the message is written
in a foreign language, the impracticability is evident. Lastly, the
telegraph administrations now possess instruments which permit them to
send messages with much greater speed than can be attained in sending
them by the voice. Those reasons alone, and there are many others,
ought then to assure the employés that this new invention will not put
in peril their means of existence.

‘This is not to say that the telephone will not be utilised. On the
contrary, it will probably be much used, but in special cases and for
private use. For example: To put any chief in immediate relation with
his employés in offices or manufactories; for the police of towns for
announcing fires; for service of mines; to replace with advantage
electric bells in many cases; and in a crowd of circumstances not yet
foreseen. Let us wish then good success to this invention, which does
honour to the era of steam and electricity.’



THE INTELLIGENT MOUSE.


The following account of extraordinary sagacity on the part of a mouse
has been sent to us by a contributor, who vouches for the truth of the
statement: ‘At my house, in a trap for catching mice alive, which had
been overlooked for some weeks, was found the nest of a mouse with
several young, all alive with their mother; and some _other mice which
had died of starvation_. The only explanation, I think, which can be
given of so strange an occurrence is that the male mouse, knowing by
instinct the condition of his mate, provided for her wants by bringing
to her the materials for her nest, which she pulled in through close
wires, and supplied her with food, while he allowed all the others‒the
non-related captives‒to starve to death. It seems almost more than
instinct that the male mouse should not have entered the trap, where
there was such attraction for him, as though he knew that on his
liberty depended the lives of the mother and her offspring.’

The writer has also favoured us with the following lines, which he
entitles


THE AFFECTION OF MICE.

    Assist me, my Muse, while in verse I would tell
    A tale, true as strange, and so mournful as well.
    No words can depict it; all feeble my lays;
    Such tender devotion strikes one with amaze.
    In a trap which was set to catch mice in my house,
    I had the misfortune to capture a mouse;
    That mouse was a female, and she was with young;
    Yet not hers, but her consort’s, the praise must be sung.
    He knowing her state‒that she’d soon have a brood,
    And would need a warm nest, and must die without food‒
    Searched all through the house to find stuff for her bed,
    And supplied as he could, the food on which she fed.
    The straw, hair, and feathers to meet her desires
    He brought to the trap, and she pulled through the wires.
    Her couch being formed, soon the offspring appeared‒
    A numerous progeny, there to be reared;
    While around her on every side there did lie
    The bodies of those that of hunger did die‒
    And had long been dead, any person could tell
    Who had eyes that would see, or a nose that could smell.
    He only took care to provide for that one
    By affection and instinct he knew was his own.
    What wisdom was his! With attraction so strong,
    He knew, if the life of his mate he’d prolong,
    He must keep himself clear, and have full liberty;
    That to enter the trap was for both them to die.
    That the trap was neglected for months is quite clear,
    From what it contained‒what an odour was there!
    ’Tis pity I had not the power to save
    The creatures, who all found a watery grave.
    The servant‒my house from such pests to deliver‒
    Remorselessly cast them all into the river.


MORAL.

    Unnatural husbands, with minds to discern,
    A momentous lesson from mice you may learn,
    Which have only instinct their actions to guide;
    Be kind to your wives‒for your children provide.

            J. H. DAVIS.

    13 Conyngham Road, Dublin.
        _November 1, 1877._

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._





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