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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 6, Vol. I, February 9, 1884
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 6, Vol. I, February 9, 1884" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART, FIFTH SERIES, NO. 6, VOL. I, FEBRUARY 9,
1884 ***



[Illustration: CHAMBERS’S JOURNAL

OF

POPULAR

LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART

Fifth Series

ESTABLISHED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, 1832

CONDUCTED BY R. CHAMBERS (SECUNDUS)

NO. 6.—VOL. I.      SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1884.      PRICE 1½_d._]



CIRCULATING-LIBRARY CRITICS.


It appears to be a mania with some people to criticise everything which
comes in their way, no matter whether it be the last new bonnet of Mrs
Smith, the pug dog possessed by Mr Jones, or the last new novel by
Mr Brown; and as a true specimen of the ready-made critic, we might
cite those interesting individuals who, having more time upon their
hands than they can comfortably get rid of, endeavour to dispose of
some of the surplus stock by subscribing to a circulating library, and
diligently ‘cutting-up’ and otherwise abusing every author they read.
Novels, of course, are the principal dish of these readers; and it must
candidly be admitted that some of the notes pencilled in the margins
are not altogether uncalled for; though some of them are decidedly
personal, not to say unpleasant; while others, on the contrary, only
raise a smile, and if particularly ridiculous, are underlined by some
sarcastic reader, in order to call more attention to the blunder, which
has probably been committed by some indolent and not very well-informed
critic.

But taken as a whole, this criticism, although in some cases severe,
is but the echo of public opinion, and as such, is entitled to
consideration, no matter how humble the source may appear from which
it springs; and we know of nothing more enjoyable than a well-read
book, which has been some ten or twelve months in circulation. And
such a book would without doubt prove of great service to its author,
could he by any means get hold of a copy; for he would then have the
opportunity of judging for himself how his work was appreciated by the
public; and although some of the remarks would doubtless cause him
annoyance, he should remember that they are the candid opinion of the
readers through whose hands the work has passed. And if he has good
sense and a desire to please the public, he would avail himself of
those critical remarks which seemed to be just, and alter the text in
any future editions. It is an author’s place to write his work to the
best of his ability, and that of his readers to criticise it after it
has appeared in print. Whether the book be good or bad, the author may
be sure that he will have a faithful and industrious army of critics in
the shape of subscribers to circulating libraries, who will diligently
search out all its little defects, and display them in the margin for
the edification of the next reader, who in turn will try his best to
discover something which the other has passed over, and triumphantly
display it in a similar manner. Although ‘the stone that is rolling’
is said to gather no moss, it is a far different thing with a novel;
for the faster it passes from hand to hand, the more and more abundant
becomes its crop; and at a seaside watering-place, the writer has seen
blank sheets of letter-paper inserted between some of the leaves,
because the margins were already too crowded, to admit of some reader
adding his mite to the evidence there accumulated!

This is why we suppose it might be advantageous to an author to get
hold of a copy of his work which has been through a like ordeal; and
let him remember at the same time that his book has probably travelled
through the hands of some people who are intimately acquainted with
certain subjects upon which it treats, and whose opinion is not to be
lightly passed over. As some of the novelists of the present day seem
to think the law a machine which they can work upon as they choose,
without the slightest regard to facts, it might be recommended to
them either to study the subject seriously, or submit any notes which
may appear upon this subject in the margins of their works, to an
experienced lawyer; and in nine cases out of ten, the author will find
that the readers’ notes are correct. This may be taken as a proof that
people, although they may pass rough criticism upon the characters,
situation, and general plot of a novel, are not so eager to criticise
points which touch upon the law, physic, &c., unless they thoroughly
understand the subject. As an instance of this, we have heard of a
doctor who would never read a new novel by a certain author, because
in a former work this gentleman had murdered a man in a manner which
my friend described as being ‘utterly ridiculous;’ for the poison
administered, and of which the character in the novel died, would not
in reality ‘have killed a cat.’

These remarks may serve to show that the public, although they may
accept a taking title, a pretty cover, and a pound or so of toned
paper, as a novel, will also exercise their right of picking its
contents to pieces as soon as possible. To show with what diligence
some of them do so, we quote the following: ‘The red rose actually
_died_ the captain’s cheeks.’ The word in italics is underlined in the
book, and altered in the margin to _dyed_. This, of course, is merely
a printer’s error; but it serves to show how the circulating-library
critic delights in ‘cutting-up’ the work of other people’s brains,
and exposing to the best advantage any little defect he may discover.
Then, again, in the same work, in describing the scene of a shipwreck,
the author makes use of the following words: ‘Quantities of chips, and
pieces of wood, and bits of _iron, were floating about_.’ The words in
italics are underlined in pencil by some incredulous reader, who could
not quite appreciate the joke, and took this method of calling the next
reader’s attention to it. The words might have been a mere slip of the
pen; but, as they stand underlined in the book, it is impossible to
overlook them now.

A little farther on in the same work, an unmarried gentleman is
supposed to have made his will, bequeathing all his property to
friends settled in the colonies; and his relatives at his decease are
disputing the same, when this paragraph occurs, and is supposed to be
uttered by a _lawyer_: ‘But had he lived to marry Lady A——, he would
surely have cancelled this will!’ Probably had the gentleman lived, he
would have done so; but our pencil-critic shows that such an act would
have been altogether unnecessary, by writing against the paragraph:
‘The act of marrying would have rendered it null.’ This is strictly
and legally correct; and as the words are supposed to be spoken by a
lawyer, it shows that the opinion of these gentlemen is not always to
be implicitly relied upon, especially when they air them in a novel.

To turn now to the criticising of situations, we find our amateur
critic is quite as hard upon them as he is upon the characters, and
will not allow a novelist to make use of situations which it is
scarcely probable would happen in real life. A noble lord is forced
through some miraculous circumstances which would rival the adventures
narrated in the _Arabian Nights_, to associate with poachers, who are
well known to the police; and after some time has elapsed, he at length
regains the property, which has wrongfully been kept from him by his
uncle; and to celebrate this happy event, he gives what is styled in
the novel a ‘levée,’ and invites thereto the whole country-side,
_including the poachers_, and also the police of the town. Our critic
could not quite appreciate the novelty of this situation, and therefore
pencils in the margin: ‘Is it likely the poachers would have ventured
there?’ After studying the facts of the case, and reducing the subject
to practical life, which is evidently the meaning of our critic,
and also bearing in mind that the police and poachers were in the
same room, and that several of the latter were ‘wanted’ for various
offences, we may take that bit of criticism as sound.

If our voluntary critics will read novels, they must expect novel
things; but as far as our observation goes, this is the very thing
they criticise most. They will not allow a young and delicate lady to
elope with a handsome Captain on a stormy night with nothing to protect
her from the weather but a flimsy ball-dress, under any consideration
whatever; but feelingly suggest in the margin that the gentleman should
either offer her his ulster or procure an umbrella; a piece of advice
for which I am sure the young lady’s parents would devoutly thank them,
if they only had the pleasure of their acquaintance.

We might easily add to these examples; but the above is sufficient to
show that the novelist who sits down to write a work of fiction merely
for the sake of airing an opinion, or to please a certain person,
neither caring in what language he expresses himself nor how absurd the
book may be, may be sure of a warm reception when his work falls into
the hands of the circulating-library critics.



BY MEAD AND STREAM.


CHAPTER IX.—SLANDER’S SHAFT.

They were still at breakfast when the postman arrived, and Madge was
surprised to find amongst the letters two from the Manor. Both were
addressed in Miss Hadleigh’s large angular writing: one was for her
uncle, the other for herself.

As Madge had long conducted her uncle’s correspondence, she attended
to his letters first; but remembering that still unexplained quarrel,
misunderstanding, or whatever it was, between him and Mr Hadleigh, she
discreetly kept the letter from Ringsford back till she had disposed
of the others. These were all on business, and of a most satisfactory
nature: good prices for grain, good prices for sheep and cattle, and
reports of a deficient harvest in America, whilst that of Willowmere
was excellent. Uncle Dick was in capital humour, and disposed to be on
good terms with everybody. It is wonderful how prosperous all the world
looks when our own affairs are thriving; and how merciful we can be in
our judgment as to the cause of our neighbour’s failure.

Then Madge—sly Madge—opened the Ringsford letter, and read a formal
invitation to dinner at the Manor a fortnight hence, on the eve of Mr
Philip Hadleigh’s departure.

‘You will go, of course, uncle?’ said Madge, looking up with a coaxing
smile.—‘And you will break through your rule of not going to parties
for once, aunt? You know we may not see Philip for a long, long time.’

Aunt Hessy smiled, and looked inquiringly at her husband. Dick Crawshay
was not a man to bear malice; but it was evident that he did not relish
this invitation. He was not frowning, but his face was not quite so
cheerful as it had been a moment before.

‘I don’t know,’ he said, rising. ‘I hate these sort of things at
Ringsford. They’ve always a lot of people that don’t know anything’
(about farming and cattle, he meant); ‘and when I’m there, I always
feel as uncomfortable as a bull in a china-shop that didn’t want to
break the crockery. Certain, I have spoken to some young fools that
knew all about betting lists, but not one that knew the points of a
horse—except Wrentham. They only want me there because they want you,
Madge; and if it wasn’t for you, I’d say no straight off.’

‘But you mustn’t do that, uncle; at least wait till we see what is in
my letter.’

‘You can tell me about it when I come in. That new reaping-machine
ain’t doing what I expected of it, and I want to give it a fair trial
under my own eyes.’

With that he went out, preceded by the dogs; for they had made for the
door the moment their master rose to his feet, and as it opened, almost
tumbled over each other in their haste to be first afield.

‘I hope he will go,’ said Madge thoughtfully; adding, after a pause:
‘We must try to persuade him, aunt.’

‘Why are you so anxious about this, child? I never knew you to be very
eager to go to Ringsford yourself.’

‘Because I am about to disappoint Mr Hadleigh in a matter which he
considers of great importance.’

Then she read the strange letter she had received from him, and
Dame Crawshay was surprised almost as much as Madge herself by the
earnestness of the appeal it contained. She was silent for several
minutes, evidently occupied by some serious reflections. At length:

‘Thou knowest how I love the lad; but that does not blind me to his
faults—nay, it need not startle thee to hear me say he has faults: we
all have our share of them. Perhaps it is lucky for thee that what
seems to me Philip’s worst fault is that he has the impulsive way his
father speaks about.’

‘But all his impulses are good-natured ones.’

‘I do not doubt it; but that makes it the more needful he should have
some experience of the world’s ways before tying himself and you down
to a hard-and-fast line. Nothing but experience will ever teach us that
the hard-and-fast line of life is the easiest in the end. There’s a
heap of truth in what Mr Hadleigh says about Philip, though he doesn’t
seem to me to have found the surest way of keeping him right.’

‘What would you advise, then?’ was the eager question.

‘Thou must settle this matter for thyself, Madge; but I will tell thee
that there is one thing Mr Hadleigh is quite wrong about.’

‘What is that?’

‘In saying that Mr Shield would try to keep Philip from _you_.’

The emphasis on the last word and the curious, half-sad, half-pleased
smile which accompanied it, caused Madge to ask wonderingly:

‘Did you know Mr Shield?’

‘Ay, long ago, before he went abroad.’

‘Have you never seen him since?’

‘Once—only once, and that was a sad time, although we were not five
minutes together. He heard only a bit of the truth: he would not stay
to hear it all, and I daresay he has had many a sorry hour for it
since.’

She ceased, and leaning back on her chair, lapsed into a dream of
sorrowful memories. Madge did not like to disturb her, for she was
suddenly amazed by the suspicion that once upon a time Austin Shield
had been Aunt Hessy’s lover.

But the active dame was not given to wool-gathering, and looking up
quickly, she caught the expression of her niece, and guessed its
meaning.

‘Nay, thou art mistaken,’ she said, shaking her head, and that curious
smile again appeared on her face; ‘there has only been one man that
was ever more than another to me, and that’s thy uncle.... But I’ll
tell thee a secret, child; it can do no harm. Hast forgotten what I was
telling thee and Philip in the garden yesterday?’

‘About the two lovers? O no.’

‘Well, the man was Mr Austin Shield, and the girl was thy mother.’

‘My mother!’ was the ejaculation of the astounded Madge.

‘Yes. It was a silly business on her part, poor soul; but she was
cruelly deceived. She had been told lies about him; and there were so
many things which made them look like truth, that she believed them.’

‘What could she have been told that could make her forget him?’

‘She never did forget him—she never could forget him; and she told the
man she married so. What she was told was, that Austin had forgotten
her, and taken somebody else to wife. At the same time no letters came
from him. She waited for months, watching every post; but there was
never a sign from him. She fretted and fretted; and father fretted to
see her getting so bad on account of a man who was not worth thinking
about. He had broken his word, and that was enough to make father turn
his back on him for ever.’

‘But how did my mother come to—to marry so soon?’

‘She was kind of persuaded into it by father, and by her wish to
please him. He was a kind good man; but he was strict in his notions
of things. He considered that it was sinful of her to be thinking of a
man who had done her such wrong. Then Mr Heathcote was a great friend
of father’s—he was a deacon in our chapel—and he asked sister to be his
wife. He was quiet and well-to-do then; and father was on his side,
though he was twenty years older than your mother. Father thought that
his age would make him the better guide for one who was so weak as to
keep on mourning for a base man. He was never done speaking about the
happy home that was offered her, and in every prayer asked the Lord to
turn her heart into the right path. At last she consented: but she
told Mr Heathcote everything; and he said he was content, and that
he would try his best to make her content too, by-and-by. Father was
glad—and that did cheer poor sister a bit, for she was fond of father.
So she married.’

‘And then?’

Only the subdued voice, the wide, startled eyes, indicated the
agitation of the daughter, who was listening to this piteous story of a
mother’s suffering.

‘And then there came a letter from Austin Shield, and he came himself
almost as soon as the letter. He had been “up country,” as he called
it, for more than a year, and he had been lucky beyond all his
expectations. But there were no posts in the wild places he had been
staying at. He had written to warn us not to expect to hear of him
for many months; but the vessel that was carrying that message home
to us—eh, deary, what sorrow it would have saved us—was wrecked in a
fog on some big rock near the Scilly Isles; and although a-many of the
mail-bags were fished up out of the sea, the one with sister’s letter
in it was never found.’

‘What did my poor mother do?’

‘She sat and shivered and moaned; but she could not speak. I saw him
when he came, and told him that he must not see her any more, for she
was married. I wasn’t able to tell him how it happened, for the sight
of his face feared me so. It was like white stone, and his eyes were
black. Before I could get my tongue again, he gave me a look that I can
never forget, and walked away.... I found out where he was, some time
afterwards, and wrote telling him all about it. He answered me, saying:
“Thank you. I understand. God bless you all.” We never had another word
direct from him; but we often heard about him; and some time after your
mother went to rest, we learned that he had really got married; and the
news pleased me vastly, for it helped me to think that maybe he was
comfortable and resigned at last. I hope he is; but he has no family,
and his sending for Philip looks as if he wants somebody to console
him.’

‘But who was it spread the lies about him at the first?’

‘Ah, that we never knew. It was cleverly done; the story was in
everybody’s mouth; but nobody could tell where it had come from.’

The feelings of Madge as she listened to her aunt were of a complicated
nature: there was the painful sympathy evoked by the knowledge that it
was her own mother who had been so wickedly deceived; then it seemed as
if the events related had happened to some one else; and again there
was a mysterious sense of awe as she recognised how closely the past
and the present were linked together. Philip was the near relation of
the man her mother had loved, and was to be parted from her on his
account for an indefinite period.

Who could tell what Fate might lie in this coincidence?

She pitied the lovers; and her indignation rose to passion at thought
of the slanderers who had caused them so much misery. Then came
confused thoughts about her father: he, too, must have loved as well
as Mr Shield; and he had been generous.

Gentle hands were laid upon her bowed head, and looking up, she met the
tender eyes of Aunt Hessy.

‘I have troubled you, child; but I have told you this so that you may
understand why I cannot counsel you to bid Philip stay or go.’

A soft light beamed on Madge’s face; a sweet thought filled her heart.
She would bid Philip go to help and comfort the man her mother had
loved.


CHAPTER X.—LIGHT AND SHADOW.

As soon as she found that Madge was calm and ready to proceed with the
duties of the day, Aunt Hessy bustled out to look after the maidens in
the dairy and the kitchen. The other affairs of the house were attended
to by Madge assisted by Jenny Wodrow, an active girl, who had wisely
given up straw-plaiting at Luton for domestic service at Willowmere.

When clearing the breakfast-table, Madge found Miss Hadleigh’s letter,
which she had forgotten in the new interests and speculations excited
by her aunt’s communication.

Miss Hadleigh was one of those young ladies who fancy that in personal
intercourse with others dignity is best represented by the assumption
of a languid air of indifference to everything, whilst they compensate
themselves for this effort by ‘gushing’ over pages of note-paper. Of
course she began with ‘My dearest Madge:’ everybody was her ‘dearest;’
and how she found a superlative sufficient to mark the degree of her
regard for her betrothed is a problem in the gymnastics of language.

‘You know all about dearest Phil going to leave us in about a fortnight
or three weeks, and goodness only knows when he may come home again.
Well, we are going to have a _little_ dinner-party all to his honour
and glory, as you would see by the card I have addressed to your uncle.
Mind, it is a _little_ and very select party. There will be nobody
present except the most intimate and most esteemed friends of the
Family.’ (Family written with a very large capital F.)

‘Now the party cannot be _complete_ without you and your dear uncle
and aunt; and I write this _special_ supplement to the card to implore
you to keep yourselves free for Tuesday the 28th, and to tell you that
we will take _no_ excuse from any of you. Carrie and Bertha want to
have some friends in after dinner, so that they might get up a dance.
Of course, in my position I do not care for these things now; but to
please the girls, it might be arranged. Would _you_ like it?—because,
if you did, that would settle the matter at once. We have not told
Phil yet, because he always makes fun of _everything_ we do to try
and amuse him. Papa has been consulted, and as usual leaves it _all_
to us.—Please do write soon, darling, and believe me ever yours most
affectionately,

    BEATRICE HADLEIGH.’

‘_P.S._—If you don’t mind, dear, I wish you _would_ tell me what colour
you are to wear, so that I might have something to harmonise with it.
We might have a symphony all to ourselves, as the æsthetes call it.’

From this it appeared that Philip’s sisters were not aware of their
father’s desire to keep him at home. There would be no difficulty in
replying to Miss Hadleigh—even to the extent of revealing the colour of
her dress—when Uncle Dick had consented to go.

When the immediate household cares were despatched, Madge sat down at
her desk to write to Mr Hadleigh. She was quite clear about what she
had to say; but she paused, seeking the gentlest way of saying it.

‘DEAR MR HADLEIGH,’ she began at last, ‘Your letter puts a great
temptation in my way; and I should be glad to avoid doing anything to
displease you. But your son has given me a reason for his going, which
leaves him no alternative but to go, and me no alternative but to pray
that he may return safely and well.’

When she had signed and sealed up this brief epistle, a mountain seemed
to roll off her shoulders; her head became clear again: she _knew_ that
what Philip and her mother would have wished had been done. A special
messenger was sent off with it to Ringsford; for although the distance
between the two places was only about three miles, the letter would not
have been delivered until next day, had it gone by the ordinary post.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr Hadleigh read these few lines without any sign of disappointment.
He read them more than once, and found in them something so quietly
decisive, that he would have considered it an easier task to conquer
Philip in his most obstinate mood, than to move this girl one
hair’s-breadth from her resolve.

He refolded the paper carefully and placed it in his pocket. Then he
rang the bell.

‘Bid Toomey be ready to drive me over to catch the ten o’clock train,’
he said quietly to the servant who answered his summons.

‘A pity, a pity,’ he repeated to himself. ‘Fools both—they will not
accept happiness when it is offered them. A pity, a pity.... They will
have their way.’

The carriage conveyed him to Dunthorpe Station in good time for the
train; and the train being a ‘fast,’ landed him at Liverpool Street
Station before eleven o’clock.

He walked slowly along Broad Street, a singular contrast to the hurry
and bustle of the other passengers. He was not going in the direction
of his own offices; and he did not look as if he were going on any
particular business anywhere. He had the air of a man who was taking an
enforced constitutional, and who by mistake had wandered into the city
instead of into the park.

He turned into Cornhill, and then into Golden Alley, which must have
obtained its name when gold was only known in quartz; for it was a
dull, gloomy-looking place, with dust-stained windows and metal plates
up the sides of the doorways, so begrimed that it required an effort of
the sight to decipher the names on them. But it was quiet and eminently
respectable. Standing in Golden Alley, one had the sense of being in
the midst of steady-going, long-established firms, who had no need of
outward show to attract customers.

Mr Hadleigh halted for a moment at one of the doors, and looked at
a leaden-like plate, bearing the simple inscription, GRIBBLE & CO.
He ascended one flight of stairs, and entered an office in which two
clerks were busy at their desks, whilst a youth at another desk near
the door was addressing envelopes with the eager rapidity of one who is
paid so much per thousand.

No one paid any attention to the opening of the door.

‘Is Mr Wrentham in?’ inquired Mr Hadleigh.

At the sound of his voice, one of the clerks advanced obsequiously.

‘Yes, sir. He is engaged at present; but I will send in your name.’

He knew who the visitor was; and after rapidly writing the name on a
slip of paper, took it into an inner room. Mr Hadleigh glanced over
some bills which were lying on the counter announcing the dates of
sailing of a number of A1 clippers and first-class screw-steamers to
all parts of the world.

The clerk reappeared, and with a polite, ‘Will you walk in, sir?’ held
the door of the inner room open till Mr Hadleigh passed in, and then
closed it.

Mr Wrentham rose from his table, holding out his hand. ‘Glad to see you
here, Mr Hadleigh—very glad. I hope it is business that brings you?’

‘Yes—important business,’ was the answer.



CURIOUS ANTIPATHIES IN ANIMALS.


I. HORSES.

My late father-in-law, a physician in extensive practice, once
possessed a horse named Jack, which was celebrated for his many
peculiarities and his great sagacity. One of his antipathies was a
decided hatred to one particular melody, the well-known Irish air,
_Drops of Brandy_. If any one began to whistle or hum this air, Jack
would instantly show fight by laying his ears back, grinding his teeth,
biting and kicking, but always recovering his good temper when the
music ceased. No other melody or music of any kind ever affected him;
you might whistle or sing as long as you liked, provided you did not
attempt the objectionable Irish air. One of the doctor’s nephews and
Jack were great friends. The lad could do almost anything with him; but
if he presumed to whistle the objectionable melody of Erin, Jack would
show his displeasure by instantly pulling off the lad’s cap and biting
it savagely, but never attempting the smallest personal injury to the
boy himself, and always exhibiting his love when the sounds ceased;
thus saying, as plainly as a horse could say: ‘We are great friends,
and I love you very much; but pray, don’t make that odious noise, to
which I entertain a very strong objection.’

Jack had another and very peculiar antipathy—he never would permit
anything bulky to be carried by his rider. This came out for the first
time one day when the doctor was going on a visit, and having to sleep
at his friend’s, intended to take a small handbag with him. On the
groom handing this up to the doctor, after he was mounted, Jack—who had
been an attentive observer of the whole proceeding by craning his head
round—at once exhibited his strong displeasure by rearing, kicking,
buck-jumping, and jibing—so utterly unlike his usual steady-going ways,
that the doctor at once divined the cause, and threw the bag down,
when Jack became perfectly quiet and docile; but instantly, however,
re-enacting the same scene, when the groom once more offered the bag
to the doctor. The experiment was repeated several times, and always
with the same singular result; and at length the attempt was given
up, when Jack trotted off on his journey, showing the best of tempers
throughout. Why he should have exhibited this extraordinary dislike to
carrying a small handbag, which was neither large in size nor heavy in
weight, it is impossible even to guess.

On another occasion the groom, wishing to bring home with him a small
sack containing some household requisite, thought to lay it across the
front of his saddle; but Jack was too quick and too sharp for him.
Instantly rearing, and then kicking violently, he threw the groom off
on one side and the objectionable burden on the other. After this, no
further attempts were made to ruffle the customary serenity of Jack’s
rather peculiar temper.

The same gentleman also possessed a beautiful bay mare called Jenny,
remarkable for her sweet temper and pretty loving ways. She was a
great favourite with the doctor’s daughters, and would ‘shake hands’
when asked, and kiss them in the most engaging manner, with a sort
of nibbling motion of her black lips up and down the face. She would
follow any one she liked about the fields, answer to her name like a
dog, and would always salute any of her favourites on seeing them with
that pretty low ‘hummering’ sound so common with pet horses, but never
heard from those subject to ill-treatment. But, with all these graces,
the pretty and interesting Jenny had several peculiar antipathies, in
one of which she too somewhat resembled a dog Wag (to be noticed in a
future article), and that was a marked dislike to the singing voice of
one particular person, a lady, a relative of the doctor’s. This lady
often went to the stable to feed Jenny with lettuces or apples, and
they were always the best of friends; but so sure as she began to sing
anything, Jenny instantly forgot her good manners, lost all propriety,
and exhibited the usual signs of strong equine displeasure, although
she never took the smallest notice of the singing or whistling of any
other person, treating it apparently with indifference. One day, as the
doctor was driving this lady out, he suggested, by way of experiment,
that she should begin to sing. In a moment, Jenny’s ears were down
flat, and a great kick was delivered with hearty goodwill on to the
front of the carriage; and more would doubtless have followed, had not
the lady prudently stopped short in her vocal efforts; when Jenny was
herself again, and resumed her usual good behaviour.

Another and very remarkable peculiarity of Jenny’s was her
unaccountable antipathy to the doctor’s wife. If that lady approached
her, she would grind her teeth savagely, and try to bite her in the
most spiteful manner. What is perhaps even more singular, she would
never, if possible, let the lady get into the carriage, if she knew
it. Jenny would turn her head, and keep a lookout behind her, in the
drollest manner possible; and the moment she caught sight of the lady
approaching the carriage for the purpose of getting in, Jenny would
immediately commence her troublesome tantrums of biting and kicking. So
strongly did she object to drawing her mistress, that more than once
she damaged the carriage with her powerful heels, so that the doctor
was obliged to request his wife to approach the carriage from behind,
whilst a groom held Jenny’s head, to prevent her looking round. Even
this was not always sufficient; for if the lady talked or laughed,
Jenny would actually recognise her voice, and the usual ‘scene’ would
be forthwith enacted. Now, the most singular part of this story is,
that this lady was, like all her family, a genuine lover of all
animals, especially horses. She was very fond of Jenny, and had tried
in every way to make friends with her, and therefore her dislike to
her mistress was all the more unaccountable, as there was not a shadow
of cause for it. We can all understand dislike on the part of any
animal where there has been any sort of ill-usage; but it is wholly
inexplicable when nothing but love and kindness has been invariably
practised towards that animal.

Jenny I am afraid was a great pet, and like all pets, was full of
fads and fancies. One of these was certainly peculiar. Not far from
the doctor’s residence there was a particular gate opening into a
field. As soon as Jenny came near this gate, she would commence
her tantrums, rearing, kicking, plunging, jibing, and altogether
declining to pass it; and it was not until after the exercise of a
great amount of patience and perseverance, by repeatedly leading
her—after much opposition—up to the gate and making her see it and
smell it—thereby proving to her that it would do her no harm—that at
length she was brought to pass it quietly and without notice. What
could have occasioned this strange antipathy to one particular gate,
it is impossible to guess, for, until she came into the doctor’s
possession, she had never been in that part of the county, and
therefore could have had no unpleasant recollections of this gate in
any way. It is, however, possible that the gate in question might
have strongly resembled some other gate elsewhere with which were
associated disagreeable memories; for I well remember that, some years
ago, I often rode a fine young mare which had only recently come from
Newmarket, where she had been trained. At first, she could never be
induced to go down Rotten Row without a great deal of shying, jibing,
and rearing, and other signs of resistance and displeasure. And this
was subsequently explained by the fact, that the place where she was
trained and exercised at Newmarket was a long road with a range of
posts and rails, closely resembling Rotten Row; and doubtless the mare
was under the impression that this was either the same place, or that
she was about to be subjected to the same severe training which she had
undergone at Newmarket; hence her determined opposition.

One more trait of Jenny’s odd antipathies must be mentioned before
I conclude, and that was her fixed aversion to men of the working
peasant class. She would never let such a man hold her by the bridle,
or even approach her, without trying to bite him, and jerking her head
away with every sign of anger and aversion whilst he stood near. But
she never exhibited any feelings of dislike to well-dressed, clean,
comfortable-looking persons, who might have done almost anything with
her, and with whom she would ‘shake hands,’ or kiss in the gentlest
possible manner. Of a truth, Jenny was certainly unique in her odd
fancies and peculiar behaviour in every way; a singular mixture of good
and evil—a spiteful, vindictive temper on the one hand, combined with
the utmost affection and docility on the other.



TWO DAYS IN A LIFETIME.

A STORY IN EIGHT CHAPTERS.


CHAPTER VI.

Five minutes later, Miss Brandon burst into the room in her usual
impulsive fashion. Lady Dimsdale was standing at one of the windows. It
was quite enough for Elsie to find there was some one to talk to—more
especially when that some one was Lady Dimsdale, whom she looked upon
as the most charming woman in the world. At once she began to rattle on
after her usual fashion. ‘Thank goodness, those hateful exercises are
over for to-day. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Arma virumque
cano. How I do detest Latin! My grandmother didn’t know a word of it,
and she was the most delightful old lady I ever knew. Besides, where’s
the use of it? When Charley and I are married, I can’t talk to him in
Latin—nor even to the butcher’s boy, nor the fishmonger. Perhaps, if I
were to speak to my poodle in dog-Latin, he might understand me.’ Then,
with a sudden change of manner, she said: ‘Dear Lady Dimsdale, what is
the matter?’ for Laura had turned, and the traces of tears were still
visible around her eyes. ‘Why, I do believe you have been’——

‘Yes, crying—that’s the only word for it,’ answered Laura with a smile.

‘Do tell me what it is. Nothing serious?’

‘Nothing more serious than the last chapter of a foolish love-story.’
She had taken up a book instinctively.

‘I’m awfully glad it’s nothing worse. Love-stories that make one cry
are delicious. I always feel better after a good cry.’ Her sharp eyes
were glancing over the title of the book in Lady Dimsdale’s hand.
‘“Buchan’s _Domestic Medicine_,”’ she read out aloud. ‘Dear Lady
Dimsdale, surely this is not the book that’—— She was suddenly silent.
The room had a bow-window, the casement of which stood wide open this
sunny morning. Elsie had heard voices on the terrace outside. ‘That’s
dear old nunky’s voice,’ she said. ‘And—yes—no—I do believe it is
though!’ She crossed to the window and peeped out from behind the
curtains.

Stumping slowly along the terrace, assisted by his thick Malacca, came
Captain Bowood. By his side marched a dark-bearded military-looking
inspector of police, dressed in the regulation blue braided frock-coat
and peaked cap. They were engaged in earnest conversation.

‘An inspector of police! What can be the matter? I do believe they are
coming here.’ So spoke Elsie; but when she looked round, expecting a
response, she found herself alone. Lady Dimsdale had slipped out of the
room.

The voices came nearer. Elsie seated herself at the table, opened a
book, ruffled her hair, and pretended to be poring over her lessons.

The door opened, and Captain Bowood, followed by the inspector, entered
the room. ‘Pheugh! Enough to frizzle a nigger,’ ejaculated the former,
as he mopped his forehead with his yellow bandana handkerchief. Then
perceiving Elsie, he said, as he pinched one of her ears, ‘Ha, Poppet,
you here?’

‘Yes, nunky; and dreadfully puzzled I am. I want to find out in what
year the Great Pyramid was built. Do, please, tell me.’

‘Ha, ha!—Listen to that, Mr Inspector.—If you had asked me the distance
from here to New York, now. Great Pyramid, eh?’

The inspector, pencil and notebook in hand, was examining the
fastenings of the window. ‘Very insecure, Captain Bowood,’ he said;
‘very insecure indeed. A burglar would make short work of them.’

Miss Brandon was eying him furtively. There was a puzzled look on her
face. ‘I could almost swear it was Charley’s voice; and yet’——

‘Come, come; you’ll frighten us out of our wits, if you talk like
that,’ answered the Captain.

‘Many burglaries in this neighbourhood of late,’ remarked the inspector
sententiously.

‘Just so, just so.’ This was said a little uneasily.

‘Best to warn you in time, sir.’

‘O Charley, you naughty, naughty boy!’ remarked Miss Brandon under her
breath. ‘Even I did not know him at first.’

‘But if Mr Burglar chooses to pay us a visit, who’s to hinder him?’
asked the Captain.

The inspector shrugged his shoulders and smiled an inscrutable smile.

‘You don’t mean to say that they intend to pay us a visit to-night?
Come now.’

‘Every reason to believe so, Captain.’

‘But, confound it! how do you know all this?’

‘Secret information. Know many things. Mrs Bowood keeps her jewel-case
in top left-hand drawer in her dressing-room. Know that.’

‘Bless my heart! How did you find that out?’

‘Secret information. Gold chronometer with inscription on it hidden
away at the bottom of your writing-desk. Know that.’

‘How the’——

‘Secret information.’

‘O Charley, Charley, you artful darling!’—this _sotto voce_ from Miss
Brandon.

The Captain looked bewildered, as well he might. ‘This is really most
wonderful,’ he said. ‘But about those rascals who, you say, are going
to visit us to-night?’

‘Give ’em a warm reception, Captain. Leave that to me.’

‘Yes, yes. Warm reception. Good. Have some of your men in hiding, eh,
Mr Inspector?’

‘Half a dozen of ’em, Captain.’

‘Just so, just so. And I’ll be in hiding too. I’ve a horse-pistol
up-stairs nearly as long as my arm.’

‘Shan’t need that, sir.’

‘No good having a horse-pistol if one doesn’t make use of it now and
then.’

‘Half-a-dozen men—three inside the house, and three out,’ remarked the
inspector as he wrote down the particulars in his book.

‘And I’ll make the seventh—don’t forget that!’ cried the Captain,
looking as fierce as some buccaneer of bygone days. ‘If there’s one
among the burglars more savage than the rest, leave him for me to
tackle.’

‘My poor, dear nunky, if you only knew!’ murmured Elsie under her
breath.

‘Perhaps I had better lend you a pair of these, Captain; they might
prove useful in a scuffle,’ remarked the inspector as he produced a
pair of handcuffs from the tail-pocket of his coat. ‘The simplest
bracelets in the world. The easiest to get on, and the most difficult
to get off—till you know how. Allow me. This is how it’s done. What
could be more simple?’

Nothing apparently could be more simple, seeing that, before Captain
Bowood knew what had happened, he found himself securely handcuffed.

‘Ha, ha—just so. Queer sensation—very,’ he exclaimed, turning redder in
the face than usual. ‘But I don’t care how soon you take them off, Mr
Inspector.’

‘No hurry, Captain, no hurry.’

‘Confound you! what do you mean by no hurry? What’—— But here the
Captain came to a sudden stop.

The inspector’s black wig and whiskers had vanished, and the laughingly
impudent features of his peccant nephew were revealed to his astonished
gaze.

‘Good-afternoon, my dear uncle. This is the second time to-day that I
have had the pleasure of seeing you.’ Then he called: ‘Elsie, dear!’

‘Here I am, Charley,’ came in immediate response.

‘Come and kiss me.’

‘Yes, Charley.’ And with that Miss Brandon rose from her chair, and
with a slightly heightened colour and the demurest air possible, came
down the room and allowed her lover to lightly touch her lips with his.
It was a pretty picture.

‘What—what! Why—why,’ spluttered the Captain. For a little while words
seemed to desert him.

‘My dear uncle, pray, _pray_, do not allow yourself to get quite so red
in the face; at your time of life you really alarm me.’

‘You—you vile young jackanapes! You—you cockatrice!—And you, miss, you
shall smart for this. I’ll—I’ll—— Oh!’

‘Patience, good uncle; prithee, patience.’

‘Patience! O for a good horsewhip!’

‘When I called upon you this morning, sir,’ resumed Charles the
imperturbable, ‘I left unsaid the most important part of that which
I had come to say; it therefore became needful that I should see you
again.’

‘O for a horsewhip! Are you going to take these things off me, or are
you not?’

‘The object of my second visit, sir, is to inform you that Miss Brandon
and I are engaged to be married, and to beg of you to give us your
consent and blessing, and make two simple young creatures happy.’

‘Handcuffed like a common poacher on his way to jail! Oh, when once I
get free!’

‘We have made up our minds to get married; haven’t we, Elsie?’

‘We have—or else to die together,’ replied Miss Brandon, as she struck
a little tragic attitude.

‘Think over what I have said, my dear uncle, and accord us your
consent.’

‘Or our deaths will lie at your door.’

‘Every night as the clock struck twelve, you would see us by your side.’

‘You would never more enjoy your rum-and-water and your pipe.’

‘I should tickle your ear with a ghostly feather, and wake you in the
middle of your first sleep.’

‘I shall go crazy—crazy!’ spluttered the Captain. He would have stamped
his foot, only he was afraid of the gout.

‘Not quite, sir, I hope,’ replied young Summers, with a sudden change
of manner; and next moment, and without any action of his own in the
matter, the Captain found himself a free man. The first thing he did
was to make a sudden grasp at his cane; but Elsie was too quick for
him, or it might have fared ill with her sweetheart.

Master Charley laughed. ‘I am sorry, my dear uncle, to have to leave
you now; but time is pressing. You will not forget what I have said, I
feel sure. I shall look for your answer to my request in the course of
three or four days; or would you prefer, sir, that I should wait upon
you for it in person?’

‘If you ever dare to set foot inside my door again, I’ll—I’ll
spiflicate you—yes, sir, spiflicate you!’

‘To what a terrible fate you doom me, good my lord!—Come, Elsie, you
may as well walk with me through the shrubbery.’

Miss Brandon going up suddenly to Captain Bowood, flung her arms round
his neck and kissed him impulsively. ‘You dear, crusty, cantankerous,
kind-hearted old thing, I can’t help loving you!’ she cried.

‘Go along, you baggage. As bad as he is—every bit. Go along.’

‘_Au revoir_, uncle,’ said Mr Summers with his most courtly stage bow.
‘We shall meet again—at Philippi.’

A moment later, Captain Bowood found himself alone. ‘There’s
impudence!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s worse than that; it’s cheek—downright
cheek. Never bamboozled like it before. Handcuffed! What an old
nincompoop I must have looked! Good thing Sir Frederick or any of
the others didn’t see me. I should never have heard the last of it.’
With that, the last trace of ill-humour vanished, and he burst into
a hearty, sailor-like guffaw. ‘Just the sort of trick I should have
gloried in when I was a young spark!’ He rose from his chair, took
his cane in his hand, and limped as far as the window, his gout being
rather troublesome this afternoon. ‘So, so. There they go, arm in
arm. Who would have thought of Don Carlos falling in love with Miss
Saucebox? But I don’t know that he could do better. She’s a good
girl—a little flighty just now; but that will cure itself by-and-by—and
she will have a nice little property when she comes of age. Must
pretend to set my face against it, though, and that will be sure to
make them fonder of one another. Ha, ha! we old sea-dogs know a thing
or two.’ And with that the Captain winked confidentially to himself two
or three times and went about his business.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Sir Frederick Pinkerton followed Mrs Bowood and Mrs Boyd out of
the room where the interview had taken place, and left Lady Dimsdale
sitting there alone, he quitted the house at once, and sauntered in his
usual gingerly fashion through the flower-garden to an unfrequented
part of the grounds known as the Holly Walk, where there was not much
likelihood of his being interrupted. Like Lady Dimsdale, he wanted to
be alone. Just then, he had much to occupy his thoughts. To and fro he
paced the walk slowly and musingly, his hands behind his back, his eyes
bent on the ground.

‘What tempts me to do this thing?’ he asked himself, not once, but
several times. ‘That I dislike the man is quite certain; why, then,
take upon myself to interfere between this woman and him? Certainly I
have nothing to thank Oscar Boyd for; why, then, mix myself up in a
matter that concerns me no more than it concerns the man in the moon?
If he had not appeared on the scene just when he did, I might perhaps
have won Lady Dimsdale for my wife. But now? Too late—too late! Even
when he and this woman shall have gone their way, he will live in
my lady’s memory, never probably to be forgotten. He is her hero of
romance. That he made love to her in years gone by, when they were
young together, there is little doubt; that he made love to her again
this morning, and met with no such rebuff as I did, seems equally
clear; and though she knows now that he can never become her husband,
yet she on her side will never forget him. In what way, then, am I
called upon to interfere in his affairs? Should I not be a fool for
my pains? And yet to let that woman claim him as her own, when a word
from me would—— No! _Noblesse oblige._ What should I think of myself
in years to come, if I were to permit this man’s life to be blasted
by so cruel a fraud? The thought would hardly be a pleasant one on
one’s deathbed.’ He shrugged his shoulders, and went on slowly pacing
the Holly Walk. At length he raised his head and said half aloud: ‘I
will do it, and at once; but it shall be on my own conditions, Lady
Dimsdale—on my own conditions.’

There was a gardener at work some distance away. He called the man to
him, and sent him with a message to the house. Ten minutes later, Lady
Dimsdale entered the Holly Walk.

Sir Frederick approached her with one of his most elaborate bows.

‘You wish to see me, Sir Frederick?’ she said inquiringly, but a little
doubtfully. She hoped that he was not about to re-open the subject that
had been discussed between them earlier in the day.

‘I have taken the liberty of asking you to favour me with your company
for a few minutes—here, where we shall be safe from interruption. The
matter I am desirous of consulting you upon admits of no delay.’

She bowed, but said nothing. His words reassured her on one point,
while filling her with a vague uneasiness. The sunshade she held over
her head was lined with pink; it served its purpose in preventing the
Baronet from detecting how pale and wan was the face under it.

They began to pace the walk slowly side by side.

‘Equally with others, Lady Dimsdale, you are aware that, by a strange
turn of fortune, Mr Boyd’s wife, whom he believed to have been dead for
several years, has this morning reappeared?’

‘You were in the parlour, Sir Frederick, when I was introduced to Mrs
Boyd only half an hour ago.’ She answered him coldly and composedly
enough; but he could not tell how her heart was beating.

‘Strangely enough, I happened to be in New Orleans about the time of Mr
Boyd’s marriage, and I know more about the facts of that unhappy affair
than he has probably told to any one in England. It is enough to say
that the reappearance of this woman is the greatest misfortune that
could have happened to him. Oscar Boyd was a miserable man before he
parted from her—he will be ten times more miserable in years to come.’

‘You have not asked me to meet you here, Sir Frederick, in order to
tell me this?’

‘This, and something more, Lady Dimsdale. Listen!’ He laid one finger
lightly on the sleeve of his companion’s dress, as if to emphasise her
attention. ‘I happen to be acquainted with a certain secret—it matters
not how it came into my possession—the telling of which—and it could
be told in half-a-dozen words—would relieve Mr Boyd of this woman at
once and for ever, would make a free man of him, as free to marry as in
those old days when he used to haunt that vicarage garden which I too
remember so well!’

Lady Dimsdale stopped in her walk and stared at him with wide-open
eyes. ‘You—possess—a secret that could do all this!’

‘I have stated no more than the simple truth.’

‘Then Mr Boyd is not this woman’s husband?’ The question burst from her
lips swiftly, impetuously. Next moment her eyes fell and a tell-tale
blush suffused her cheeks. But here again the pink-lined sunshade came
to her rescue.

‘Mr Boyd is the husband of no other woman,’ answered the Baronet drily.

‘With what object have you made _me_ the recipient of this confidence,
Sir Frederick?’

‘That I will presently explain. You are probably aware that Mr Boyd
leaves for London by the next train?’

Lady Dimsdale bowed.

‘So that if my information is to be made available at all, no time must
be lost.’

‘I still fail to see why—— But that does not matter. As you say, there
is no time to lose. You will send for Mr Boyd at once, Sir Frederick.
You are a generous-minded man, and you will not fail to reveal to him a
secret which so nearly affects the happiness of his life.’ She spoke to
him appealingly, almost imploringly.

He smiled a coldly disagreeable smile. ‘Pardon me, Lady Dimsdale, but
generosity is one of those virtues which I have never greatly cared
to cultivate. Had I endeavoured to do so, the soil would probably have
proved barren, and the results not worth the trouble. In any case, I
have never tried. I am a man of the world, that, and nothing more.’

‘But this secret, Sir Frederick—as between man and man, as between one
gentleman and another—you will not keep it to yourself? You will not.
No! I cannot believe that of you.’

He lifted his hat for a moment. ‘Lady Dimsdale flatters me.’ Then he
glanced at his watch. ‘Later even than I thought. This question must be
decided at once, or not at all. Lady Dimsdale, I am willing to reveal
my secret to Mr Boyd on one condition—and on one only.’

For a moment she hesitated, being still utterly at a loss to imagine
why the Baronet had taken her so strangely into his confidence. Then
she said: ‘May I ask what the condition in question is, Sir Frederick?’

‘It was to tell it to you that I asked you to favour me with your
presence here. Lady Dimsdale, my one condition is this: That when this
man—this Mr Oscar Boyd—shall be free to marry again, as he certainly
will be when my secret becomes known to him—you shall never consent to
become his wife, and that you shall never reveal to him the reason why
you decline to do so.’

‘Oh! This to me! Sir Frederick Pinkerton, you have no right to assume——
Nothing, nothing can justify this language!’

He thought he had never seen her look so beautiful as she looked at
that moment, with flashing eyes, heaving bosom, and burning cheeks.

He bowed and spread out his hands deprecatingly. ‘Pardon me, but I have
assumed nothing—nothing whatever. I have specified a certain condition
as the price of my secret. Call that condition a whim—the whim of an
eccentric elderly gentleman, who, having no wife to keep him within the
narrow grooves of common-sense, originates many strange ideas at times.
Call it by what name you will, Lady Dimsdale, it still remains what
it was. To apply a big word to a very small affair—you have heard my
ultimatum.’ He glanced at his watch again. ‘I shall be in the library
for the next quarter of an hour. One word from you—Yes or No—and I
shall know how to act. On that one word hangs the future of your
friend, Mr Oscar Boyd.’ He saluted her with one of his most ceremonious
bows, and then turned and walked slowly away.

There was a garden-seat close by, and to this Lady Dimsdale made her
way. She was torn by conflicting emotions. Indignation, grief, wonder,
curiosity, each and all held possession of her. ‘Was ever a woman
forced into such a cruel position before?’ she asked herself. ‘What
can this secret be? Is that woman not his wife? Yet Oscar recognised
her as such the moment he set eyes on her. Can it be possible that she
had a husband living when he married her, and that Sir Frederick is
aware of the fact? It is all a mystery. Oh, how cruel, how cruel of Sir
Frederick to force me into this position! What right has he to assume
that even if Oscar were free to-morrow, he would—— And yet—— Oh, it
is hard—hard! Why has this task been laid upon me? He will be free,
and yet he must never know by what means. But whose happiness ought I
to think of first—his or my own? His—a thousand times his! There is
but one answer possible, and Sir Frederick knows it. He understands
a woman’s heart. I must decide at once—now. There is not a moment to
lose. But one answer.’ Her eyes were dry, although her heart was full
of anguish. Tears would find their way later on.

She quitted her seat, and near the end of the walk she found the same
gardener that the Baronet had made use of. She beckoned the man to
her, and as she slipped a coin into his hand, said to him: ‘Go to Sir
Frederick Pinkerton, whom you will find in the library, and say to him
that Lady Dimsdale’s answer is “Yes.”’

The man scratched his head and stared at her open-mouthed; so, for
safety’s sake, she gave him the message a second time. Then he seemed
to comprehend, and touching his cap, set off at a rapid pace in the
direction of the house.

Lady Dimsdale took the same way slowly, immersed in bitter thoughts.
‘Farewell, Oscar, farewell!’ her heart kept repeating to itself. ‘Not
even when you are free, must you ever learn the truth.’

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, Mrs Boyd, after lunching heartily with kind, chatty Mrs
Bowood to keep her company, and after arranging her toilet, had gone
back to the room in which her husband had left her, and from which he
had forbidden her to stir till his return. She was somewhat surprised
not to find him there, but quite content to wait till he should think
it well to appear. There was a comfortable-looking couch in the room,
and after a hearty luncheon on a warm day, forty winks seem to follow
as a natural corollary; at least that was Estelle’s view of the present
state of affairs. But before settling down among the soft cushions of
the couch, she went up to the glass over the chimney-piece, and taking
a tiny box from her pocket, opened it, and, with the swan’s-down puff
which she found therein, just dashed her cheeks with the faintest
possible _soupçon_ of Circassian Bloom, and then half rubbed it off
with her handkerchief.

‘A couple of glasses of champagne would have saved me the need of doing
this; but your cold thin claret has neither soul nor fire in it,’ she
remarked to herself. ‘How comfortable these English country-houses are.
I should like to stay here for a month. Only the people are so very
good and, oh! so very stupid, that I know I should tire of them in a
day or two, and say or do something that would make them fling up their
hands in horror.’ She yawned, gave a last glance at herself, and then
went and sat down on the couch. As she was re-arranging the pillows,
she found a handkerchief under one of them. She pounced on it in a
moment. In one corner was a monogram. She read the letters, ‘L. D.,’
aloud. ‘My Lady Dimsdale’s, without a doubt,’ she said. ‘Damp, too. She
has been crying for the loss of her darling Oscar.’ She dropped the
handkerchief with a sneer and set her foot on it. ‘How sweet it is to
have one’s rival under one’s feet—sweeter still, when you know that she
loves him and you don’t! Lady Dimsdale will hardly care to let Monsieur
Oscar kiss her again. He is going away on a long journey with his
wife—with his wife, ha, ha! Fools! If they only knew!’ The echo of her
harsh, unwomanly laugh had scarcely died away, when the door opened,
and the man of whom she had been speaking stood before her.

After bidding farewell to Lady Dimsdale, Mr Boyd had plunged at once
into a lonely part of the grounds, where he would be able to recover
himself in some measure, unseen by any one. Of a truth, he was very
wretched. It seemed almost impossible to believe that one short
hour—nay, even far less than that—should have sufficed to plunge him
from the heights of felicity into the lowest depths of misery. Yet, so
it was; and thus, alas, it is but too often in this world of unstable
things. But the necessity for action was imminent upon him; there would
be time enough hereafter for thinking and suffering. A few minutes
sufficed to enable him to lock down his feelings beyond the guess or
ken of others, and then he went in search of Captain Bowood. He found
his host and Mrs Bowood together. The latter was telling her husband
all about her recent interview with Mrs Boyd. The mistress of Rosemount
had never had a bird of such strange plumage under her roof before, and
had rarely been so puzzled as she was to-day. That this woman was a
lady, Mrs Bowood’s instincts declined to let her believe; but the fact
that she was Mr Boyd’s wife seemed to prove that she must be something
better than an adventuress. The one certain fact was, that she was a
guest at Rosemount, and as such must be made welcome.

When Mr Boyd entered the room, Mrs Bowood was at once struck by the
change in his appearance. She felt instinctively that some great
calamity had overtaken this man, and her motherly heart was touched.
Accordingly, when Mr Boyd intimated to her and the Captain that it was
imperatively necessary that he and his wife should start for London by
the five o’clock train, she gave expression to her regret that such a
necessity should have arisen, but otherwise offered no opposition to
the proposed step, as, under ordinary circumstances, she would have
been sure to do. In matters such as these, the Captain always followed
his wife’s lead. Five minutes later, Oscar Boyd went in search of his
wife.



IN ST PETER’S.


To have spent a winter in Rome is so common an experience for English
people, that it seems as if there were nothing new to be said about
it, nothing out of the ordinary routine to be done during its course.
We all know we must lodge in or near the Piazza di Spagna; must make
the round of the studios; drive on the Pincio; go to the Trinità to
hear the nuns sing; have an audience of the Holy Father; drink the
Trevi water; muse in the Colosseum; wander with delighted bewilderment
through the sculpture-galleries of the Vatican; explore the ruins on
the Palatine; get tickets for the Cercola Artistica; attend Sunday
vespers at St Peter’s; and tire ourselves to death amongst the three
hundred and odd churches, each one with some special attraction, which
forbids us to slight it. These things are amongst the unwritten laws
of travel; English, Americans, and Germans are impelled alike by a
curious instinct of duty to carry them out to the letter. In so doing,
they jostle one another perpetually, see over and over again the same
faces, hear the same remarks, and alas! find only the same ideas. But
notwithstanding this, there are yet undiscovered corners in the old
city, and many quaint ceremonies are unknown to or overlooked by the
_forestieri_. An account of some of these latter may perhaps be found
interesting.

A few winters ago, we learned, through the politeness of a cardinal’s
secretary, that certain services well worth attending would take place
in St Peter’s, commencing at about half-past seven on the mornings
of the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Holy-week. These were the
consecration of the chrism used in baptism and the oil for extreme
unction, the commemoration of the death and passion of our Lord,
and the kindling of the fire for lighting the lamps extinguished on
Holy-Thursday. As no public notice is given of the hours of these
ceremonies, we were glad of the information.

The ‘functions’ formerly conducted in the Sistine Chapel were
transferred some years ago to the Capello Papale, which is in St
Peter’s, the third chapel on the left-hand side of the nave. It is
extremely small and inconvenient, being almost entirely taken up
with stalls for the cardinals, bishops, canons, and vicars lay and
choral. The pope’s own choir always sing here, but are assembled
in full strength only on festivals; then, however, their exquisite
unaccompanied singing is well worth hearing, and in the year of which
we speak, the soprani and alti were specially good. On Holy-Thursday
there is scarcely any cessation of worship in the great church all day;
and at 7.30 A.M. we are barely in time to watch the assembling of the
functionaries who are to assist at the ceremony of the consecration of
the oil. The chrism used in baptism is composed of balsam and oil; and
this and the oil for holy unction are considered extremely precious;
bishops and other dignitaries journey long distances to procure it, and
convey it to their respective dioceses and benefices. Their appearance
adds not a little to the effect of the usual assemblage of canons of St
Peter’s, for their vestments are much more varied in colour; the canons
wearing always violet silk robes, and gray or white fur capes when not
officiating; and their soft hue makes an excellent background for the
brilliant scarlet trains of the cardinals, two of whom are lighting up
the corner stalls with their crimson magnificence.

A number of seats take up the space in the middle of the chapel, and
are arranged in a square, having a table in the centre. The choir
presently commence singing a Latin hymn, and a glittering procession
of canons and heads of orders enters; they take their places in the
square; the chalices with the oil and the balsam of the chrism are
placed on the table, and the officiating cardinal begins the ceremony.
He is an exceedingly handsome man, very tall, with clearly cut
features, and walks in a magnificent fashion; his great white silk
cope, stiff with its embroidery of gold, silver, and precious stones,
seems no encumbrance to him, and he looks a fitting president for
this august meeting. The cardinal blesses the first of the chalices
presented to him, saying the words of benediction in clear distinct
tones, the singing meanwhile continuing softly while he lays his hands
on all the cups placed before him. Then the choir cease, and each
cardinal, bishop, priest, and canon kneels in turn before the table,
saying three times, ‘Ave sancta chrisma.’ The sounds of the different
voices in which the words are said, as their various old, young,
short, tall, fat, or thin owners pronounce them, have a somewhat odd
effect, and it is a relief when the lovely singing is resumed, while
the cardinal’s clear tones pronounce blessings on the oil for extreme
unction. After this, the same ceremony is repeated, except that the
words three times said are, ‘Ave sanctum oleum.’ As there are at least
one hundred and thirty persons to perform this act of devotion, the
service becomes a little tedious; and if it were not for the novelty,
the exquisite singing, and the wonderful effects of light and colour
in the glowing morning atmosphere, we should not have been surprised
at the absence of our compatriots; but there is a sense of freshness
and strangeness in the service which makes us wonder the chapel is
not crowded. The small congregation consists of flower-sellers, women
in black veils—who always belong to the middle classes—beggars, and
shopkeepers from the long street leading to St Peter’s. The magnificent
gathering of officiating priests makes the smallness of the attendance
more noticeable.

After the consecration service, a mass is celebrated, and during
the _Gloria in excelsis_, the bells are rung for the last time till
Saturday.

No mass is sung on Good-Friday; therefore, two hosts are consecrated on
Holy-Thursday, one of which is placed in a magnificent jewelled pyx,
and carried in procession to a niche beneath an altar in a side-chapel;
the beautiful hymn, _Pange lingua_, being sung the while. The niche is
called a ‘sepulchre,’ and is covered with gold and silver ornaments,
and glitters with candles. All coverings are removed from the altars,
and all lights put out on this day, the next ceremony to the mass being
that of stripping and washing the high-altar. The bare marble of the
great table is exposed, and those who have taken part in the earlier
‘functions,’ walk in procession, and stand in a circle round it;
acolytes carrying purple glass bottles pour on it something that smells
like vinegar; and each dignitary, being provided with a tiny brush made
of curled shavings, goes in turn to sweep the surface, places his brush
on a tray, takes a sponge, with which he rubs the marble, and finally
replaces that by a napkin, with which it is dried. By this time the
morning is well on; the worshippers and onlookers in the great church
are many; but there is no crowding or pushing. As the space is so vast,
that all who wish can see, a few of the functionaries who keep order
are quite enough to make things go easily.

At all these services, we are much impressed by the extreme ease with
which everything is conducted. There is a ‘master of ceremonies,’ and
he, one fancies, must have held rehearsals; for from the officiating
cardinal to the smallest acolyte, no one ever moves at the wrong time,
or steps into the wrong place; yet the marching and counter-marching,
the handing, giving, placing, taking, involved in such an elaborate
ceremonial must require nice and careful arrangement and extreme
foresight. The dresses of the priests who assist at these functions
are violet cassocks, and very short surplices edged with lace, plaited
into folds of minute patterns, involving laundry-work of no mean
description. Other priests, and all bishops and monsignore, wear the
same coloured cassocks, but with the addition of red pipings on cuffs
and collars and fronts.

The function of the ‘washing of the altar’ being ended, there is a
pause; and one cannot but imagine that the cardinal retires to the
great sacristy with a feeling of relief that the pageant is over for
the time. The procession winds away to the left, and disappears through
the gray marble doors of the sacristy; and we go home to lunch, feeling
as if we had been spending a morning with our ancestors of three
centuries back. The doings of the last four or five hours do not seem
to agree with the appearance of the Via Babuino as our old coachman
rattles us up to the door of our lodgings.

In the afternoon, we are again in St Peter’s; this time, to find it
almost crowded. At three, the ‘holy relics’ are exposed. These are—the
handkerchief given by St Veronica to the Saviour as He passed on His
way to the cross, and on which there is said to be the impression of
His face; the lance with which His side was pierced; the head of St
Andrew; and a portion of the true cross. They are presented to the
public gaze from a balcony at an immense height, on one of the four
great buttresses which support the dome. There is a rattle of small
drums, and priests with white vestments appear on the balcony, holding
up certain magnificent jewelled caskets of different shapes, amidst
the dazzling settings of which it is quite impossible to recognise any
object in particular. The kneeling throng, the vast dim church, the
clouds of incense, the roll of drums, the sudden appearance of the
glittering figures on the balcony, their disappearance, followed by
the noise of the crowds as they quickly move and talk, after the dead
silence during the exposure of the objects of veneration, combine to
make this a most striking and impressive scene. Then, in the Capello
Papale, follows the service of the Tenebræ, as it is called, with the
singing of the Lamentations and the Miserere. The quietness of the now
densely packed crowd, the soft music, and the glimmer of the few lights
left in the dim chapel, strike one with a novel effect, after the
somewhat careless and florid services usually conducted here.

Emerging thence, the vast space of the cathedral looks larger than ever
in the twilight, and the brilliant line of lights round the shrine
of St Peter seem to glitter with double lustre; these, however, with
all others, are soon extinguished, and the great basilica remains in
darkness with covered crucifixes and stripped altars till Saturday
morning. The ‘crowd’ as it seemed within the small chapel, appears
nothing outside, and one by one the listeners disappear through the
heavy leathern curtain that screens the door, finding by contrast the
great piazza a scene of brilliant light, but quiet with what seems a
strange stillness in the midst of a crowded city.

On Good-Friday morning we are again in the Pope’s Chapel at half-past
seven, and are in time to see the canons take their places in the
stalls. Three priests, habited only in black cassock, and close
surplice with no lace edging, advance to the altar and begin the
service. The first part of this consists simply of a reading in
Latin of the whole of the chapters from the gospel of St John which
relate to the passion. The priests take different parts: one reads
most beautifully the narrative; another speaks the words uttered by
our Saviour; the third, those used by Pilate; and the choir repeat
the words of the populace. It is startling in its simplicity, but
wonderfully dramatic; the dignified remonstrances of Pilate, and the
clear elocution of the reader of the history, making up an impressive
service, not the least part of its strangeness consisting in the
fact of there being no congregation; not a dozen persons besides
the priests and canons are present in the chapel. This ended, the
officiating bishop, who is clothed in purple vestments embroidered with
gold, kneels in prayer before the altar, while the priests prostrate
themselves. The bishop then rises; and the choir chant softly in a
minor key while he takes the crucifix from the altar, uncovers it, and
holds it up to the people. In the afternoon, the relics are exposed,
Lamentations and Miserere sung after Tenebræ, as on the preceding days;
but the church is dark, bare, and silent.

The gloom of Friday is forgotten in the brilliant sunshine of Saturday
morning, and we feel inspired with the freshness and life of a new day,
as we once more gain the great steps leading to the basilica, watch the
rainbow on the fountains, and the dancing lights in the waters of the
large basins in the piazza. The obelisk in the centre is tipped with
red gold, and the clear blue sky makes the figures on the _loggia_ and
colonnades stand out with lifelike distinctness. This morning we are
called to join in an unquestionable festival, the early ceremonial of
rekindling the lights being one of the most cheerful ‘functions’ in
which it is possible to participate.

This service commences outside the cathedral; and ascending the steps
to the _loggia_ or porch, we find it already occupied by an imposing
array of priests and bishops. The handsome cardinal again officiates;
he is seated with his back to the piazza, just within the pillars
of the porch, and facing the brazen centre-doors of the church. In
front of him is an enormous brasier, in which burns a bright fire of
coals, branches, and leaves, which has been lighted by a spark struck
from a flint outside the church. He wears magnificent purple and gold
vestments; his finely embroidered cope and jewelled mitre glitter in
the sun. Around him are acolytes, some of whom tend the fire, while
others carry censers; priests, canons, and bishops all gorgeously
apparelled, and performing their parts in the service with the usual
precision and alacrity. Two priests stand with their backs to the great
bronze doors; one bearing a massive gold cross, the other holding a
bamboo with a transverse bar on the top, and on this are three candles.
After some chanting, the cardinal rises; and an acolyte fills a censer
with live coals from the brasier, and brings it for benediction;
another presents five large cones of incense covered with gold; these
are also blessed and sprinkled with holy-water; then incense is put
on the hot ashes in the censer; and as the smoke ascends, the great
bronze doors, so rarely unclosed, are thrown open, and the procession
enters the cathedral. The effect is strangely beautiful. The lovely
early morning light and sunshine, the great building empty of living
thing, the gorgeous procession throwing a line of brilliant colour into
the dim soft mist of the nave, the choir chanting as the priests walk,
their voices echoing in the great space—all form a combination which
must touch the least impressionable spectator, and which cannot but be
photographed on the memory to its smallest detail. At the door, there
is a pause while one of the candles on the bamboo is lighted; a second
flame is kindled in the nave, and the third at the altar in the choir
chapel. Thence, light is immediately sent to the other churches in
Rome, where also darkness has reigned since Thursday afternoon.

A venerable canon now ascends a platform, and from a very high desk
reads some chapters, recites prayers, and then lights the great
Easter candle which stands beside him. This is a huge pillar of wax,
decorated with beautifully painted wreaths of flowers, and is placed in
a magnificent silver candlestick. He takes the five cones of incense
which the cardinal had blessed in the porch, and fixes them on the
candle in the form of a cross. During his reading, the candles and
lamps all over the church are relighted, and when it is over, all who
formed the procession, bearing bouquets of lovely flowers, and small
brushes like those used on Holy-Thursday, march to the baptistery,
where the cardinal blesses the font, pours on the water in the huge
basin chrism and oil, and sprinkles water to the four points of the
compass—typifying the quarters of the globe.

On the return of the procession to the choir chapel, the cardinal and
others prostrate themselves before the altar while some beautiful
litanies are chanted. Then follows a pause, during which the priests
retire to the sacristy to take off their embroidered vestments. They
return wearing only surplices edged with handsome lace over their
cassocks. The cardinal has a plain cope of white silk and gold.

After this, is the mass; and at the _Gloria_ the bells ring out a grand
peal, all pictures are uncovered, and the organ is played for the first
time during many days. The great church resumes its wonted cheerful
aspect, and light and colour hold again their places.

The afternoon ceremonies consist only of a procession of the cardinal
to worship at special altars, the display of the holy relics, and the
singing of a fine _Alleluia_ and psalm, instead of the usual vespers.

Some pause is needed, one feels, before the cathedral is filled by
the crowds who attend the Easter-Sunday mass; for no greater contrast
can be imagined than that between the scenes of the quiet morning
functions, with the numerous priests and few people, the stillness
and peace of the hours we have been describing, and those enacted by
the thronging crowds of foreign sightseers at the great festivals,
who, pushing, gesticulating, standing on tiptoe, and asking irrelevant
questions in audible voices, seem to look on these sacred services as
spectacles devised for their gratification, rather than as expressions
of the worship of a large section of their fellow-creatures; thus
exemplifying the rapidity with which ignorance becomes irreverence.



AMONG THE ADVERTISERS AGAIN.


Can it ever be said that there is nothing in the papers, when
advertisers are always to the fore, providing matter for admiration,
wonder, amusement, or speculation? One day a gentleman announces
the loss of his heart between the stalls and boxes of the Haymarket
Theatre; the next, we have ‘R. N.’ telling ‘Dearest E.’—‘If you
have the slightest inclination to become first-mate on board the
screw-steamer, say so, and I will ask papa;’ and by-and-by we are
trying to guess how the necessity arose for the following: ‘St James’s
Theatre, Friday.—The Gentleman to whom a Lady offered her hand,
apologises for not being able to take it.’

Does any one want two thousand pounds? That nice little sum is to be
obtained by merely introducing a certain New-Yorker to ‘the Pontess;’
or if he or she be dead, to his or her heirs. ‘There is a doubt whether
the cognomen was, or is, borne by a woman, a man, or a child; if by
the last, it must have been born prior to the spring of 1873.’ If the
Pontess-seeker fails in his quest from not knowing exactly what it is
that he wants, an advertiser in the _Times_ is likely to have the same
fortune from knowing, and letting those interested know, exactly what
it is that he does not want. Needing the services of a married pair as
coachman and cook, this outspoken gentleman stipulates that the latter
must not grumble at her mistress being her own housekeeper; nor expect
fat joints to be ordered to swell her perquisites; nor be imbued with
the idea that because plenty may be around, she is bound to swell the
tradesmen’s bills by as much waste as possible. ‘No couple need apply
that expect the work to be put out, are fond of change, or who dictate
to their employers how much company may be kept.’

When two of a trade fall out, they are apt to disclose secrets which it
were wiser to keep to themselves. Disgusted by the success of a rival
whose advertising boards bore the representation of a venerable man
sitting cross-legged at his work, a San Francisco tailor advertised:
‘Don’t be humbugged by hoary-headed patriarchs who picture themselves
cross-legged, and advertise pants made to order, three, four, and five
dollars a pair. Do you know how it’s done? When you go into one of
these stores that cover up their shop-windows with sample lengths of
cassimere, marked “Pants to order, three dollars fifty cents and four
dollars;” after you have made a selection of the piece of cloth you
want your pants made from, the pompous individual who is chief engineer
of the big tailor shears, lays them softly on the smoothest part of
his cutting-table, unrolls his tape-line, and proceeds to measure his
victim all over the body. The several measurements are all carefully
entered in a book by the other humbug. The customer is then told that
his pants will be finished in about twenty-four or thirty-six hours;
all depends upon how long it takes to shrink the cloth. That’s the
end of the first act. Part second.—The customer no sooner leaves the
store than the merchant-tailor calls his shopboy Jim, and sends him
around to some wholesale jobber, and says: “Get me a pair of pants,
pattern thirty-six,” which is the shoddy imitation of the piece of
cassimere that your pants are to be made of. “Get thirty-four round
the waist, and thirty-three in the leg.” They are pulled out of a pile
of a hundred pairs just like them, made by Chinese cheap labour. All
the carefully made measurements and other claptrap are the bait on the
hook. That’s the way it’s done.’

Traders sometimes give themselves away, as Americans say, innocently
enough, a Paris grocer advertising Madeira at two francs, Old Madeira
at three francs, and genuine Madeira at ten francs, a bottle. A
Bordeaux wine-merchant, after stating the price per cask and bottle
of ‘the most varied and superior growths of Bordeaux and Burgundy,’
concludes by announcing that he has also a stock of natural wine to be
sold by private treaty. A sacrificing draper funnily tempts ladies to
rid him of three hundred baptiste robes by averring ‘they will not last
over two days;’ and the proprietor of somebody’s Methuselah Pills can
give them no higher praise than, ‘Thousands have taken them, and are
living still.’

When continental advertisers, bent upon lightening British purses,
rashly adventure to attack Englishmen in their own tongue, the
result is often disastrously comical. The proprietor of a ‘milk-cur’
establishment in Aix-la-Chapelle, ‘foundet before twenty years of
orders from the magistrat,’ boasts that his quality of ‘Suisse and his
experiences causes him to deliver a milk pure and nutritive, obtained
by sounds cow’s and by a natural forage.’ One Parisian hosier informs
his hoped-for patrons he possesses patent machinery for cutting
‘sirths’—Franco-English, we presume, for shirts. Another proclaims his
resolve to sell his wares dirty cheap; and a dealer in butter, eggs,
and cheeses, whose ‘produces’ arrive every day ‘from the farms of the
establishment without intermedial,’ requests would-be customers to
send orders by unpaid letters, as ‘the house does not recognise any
traveller.’ A Hamburg firm notifies that their ‘universal binocle of
field is also preferable for the use in the field, like in the theatre,
and had to the last degree of perfection concerning to rigouressness
and pureness of the glass;’ while they are ready to supply all comers
with ‘A Glass of Field for the Marine 52ctm opjectiv opening in extra
shout lac-leather étui and strap, at sh 35s 6d.’ This is a specimen of
their ‘English young man’s’ powers of composition that would justify
the enterprising opticians in imitating the Frenchman whose shop-window
was graced with a placard, bearing the strange device, ‘English spoken
here a few.’

An Italian, speaking French well and a little English, with whom ‘wage
is no object,’ advertising in a London paper for an engagement as an
indoor servant, puts down his height as ‘fifty-seven feet seven.’ But
he manages his little English to better purpose than his countryman of
Milan, who offers the bestest comforts to travellers, at his hotel,
which he describes as ‘situated in the centre of an immence parck,
with most magnificient views of the Alp chain, and an English church
residing in the hotel’—the latter being furthermore provided with
‘baths of mineral waters in elegant private cabins and shower rooms,
and two basins for bathin’; one for gentlemen, the oter for ladies;’
while it contains a hundred and fifty rooms, ‘all exposed to the
south-west dining-groom.’

Such an exposure might well cause the Milanese host’s visitors to
become ‘persons dependent upon the headache, or who have copious
perspirations,’ whom a M. Lejeune invites ‘to come and visit without
buying his new fabrication,’ with the chance of meeting ‘the
hat-makers, who endeavour by caoutchouc, gummed linen and others, to
prevent hats from becoming dirt;’ eager to hear the inventor of the new
fabrication demonstrate ‘how much all those preparations are injurious,
and excite, on contrary, to perspiration.’ Equally anxious to attract
British custom is a doctor-dentist who, ‘after many years consecrated
to serious experiences, has perfected the laying of artificial teeth
by wholly new proceedings. He makes himself most difficulty works; it
is the best guaranty, and, thanks to his peculiar proceeding, his work
joins to elegancy, solidity, and duration.’ Considering all things, our
doctor-dentist’s derangement of sentences is quite as commendable as
that of the Belfast gentleman desirous of letting ‘the House at present
occupied, and since erected by J. H——, Esq.;’ who might pair off with
the worthy responsible for—‘To be sold, _six_ cows—No. 1, a beautiful
cow, calved eight days, with splendid calf at foot, a good milker;
No. 2, a cow to calve in about fourteen days, and great promise. The
_other two_ cows are calved about twenty-one days, and _will speak for
themselves_.’

By a fortuitous concurrence of antagonistic lines, the _Times_ one
morning gave mothers the startling information that

    JOSEPH GILLOTT’S STEEL PENS
    THE BEST FOOD FOR INFANTS
    IS PREPARED SOLELY BY
    SAVORY AND MOORE

—a hint as likely to be taken as that of a public benefactor who
announced in the _Standard_: ‘Incredible as it may seem, I have ground
to hope that half a glass of cold water, taken immediately after every
meal, will be found to be the divinely appointed antidote for every
kind of medicine.’

Another benevolent individual kindly tells us how to make coffee:

    Placed in the parted straining-top let stand
    The moistened coffee, till the grain expand,
    Before the fire; then boiling water pour,
    And quaff the nectar of the Indian shore.

But he is not quite so generous as he seems, since he is careful
to inform us he is in possession of an equally excellent recipe
for bringing out the flavour of tea, which he will forward for
five shillings-worth of stamps. Urged by an equally uncontrollable
desire to serve his fellow-creatures, a ‘magister in palmystery and
conditionalist’ offers, with the aid of guardian spirits, to obtain for
any one a glimpse at the past and present; and, on certain conditions,
of the future; but with less wisdom than a magister of palmystery
should display, he winds up with the prosaic notification, ‘Boots and
shoes made to order.’

The wants of the majority of advertisers are intelligible enough;
but it needs some special knowledge to understand what may be
meant by the good people who hanker for a portable mechanic, an
efficient handwriter, a peerless feeder, a first-class ventilator on
human hair-nets, a practical cutter by measure on ladies’ waists,
a youth used to wriggling, and a boy to kick Gordon. Nor is the
position required by a respectable young lady as ‘figure in a
large establishment,’ altogether clear to our mind; and we may be
doing injustice to the newspaper proprietor requiring ‘a sporting
compositor,’ by inferring he wants a man clever alike at ‘tips’ and
types.

It does not say much for American theatrical ‘combinations,’ that the
managers of one of them ostentatiously proclaim: ‘We pay our salaries
regularly every Tuesday; by so doing, we avoid lawsuits, are not
compelled to constantly change our people, and always carry our watches
in our pockets.’ Neither would America appear to be quite such a land
of liberty as it is supposed to be, since a gentleman advertises his
want of a furnished room where he can have perfect independence; while
we have native testimony to our cousins’ curiosity in a quiet young
lady desiring a handsome furnished apartment ‘with non-inquisitive
parties;’ and a married couple seeking three or four furnished rooms
‘for very light housekeeping, where people are not inquisitive.’ Can
it be the same pair who want a competent Protestant girl ‘to take
entire charge of a bottled baby?’ If so, their anxiety to abide with
non-curious folk is easily comprehended.

Very whimsical desires find expression in the advertising columns of
the day. A lady of companionable habits, wishing to meet with a lady
or gentleman requiring a companion, would prefer to act as such to
‘one who, from circumstances, is compelled to lead a retired life.’
A stylish and elegant widow, a good singer and musician, possessing
energy, business knowledge, and means of her own, ready, ‘for the
sake of a social home,’ to undertake the supervision of a widower’s
establishment, thinks it well to add, goodness knows why, ‘a Radical
preferred.’ Somebody in search of a middle-aged man willing to travel,
stipulates for a misanthrope with bitter experience of the wickedness
of mankind; displaying as pleasant a taste as the proprietor of a
wonderful discovery for relieving pain and curing disease without
medicine, who wants a partner in the shape of a consumptive or
asthmatical gentleman.

Your jocular man, lacking an outlet for his wit, will often pay
for the privilege of airing his humour in public. Here are a few
examples. ‘Wanted, a good Liberal candidate for the Kilmarnock Burghs.
Several inferior ones given in exchange.’—‘Wanted a Thin Man who has
been used to collecting debts, to crawl through keyholes and find
debtors who are never at home. Salary, nothing the first year; to
be doubled each year afterwards.’—‘Wanted, Twelve-feet planks at
the corners of all the streets in Melbourne, until the Corporation
can find some other means of crossing the metropolitan creeks. The
planks and the Corporation may be tied up to the lamp-posts in the
dry weather.’—‘Wanted, a Cultured Gentleman used to milking goats; a
University man preferred.’—‘Correspondence is solicited from Bearded
Ladies, Circassians, and other female curiosities, who, in return for a
true heart and devoted husband, would travel during the summer months,
and allow him to take the money at the door.’—‘Wanted, a Coachman,
the ugliest in the city; he must not, however, have a moustache nor
red hair, as those are very taking qualities in certain households at
present. As he will not be required to take care of his employer’s
daughter, and is simply engaged to see to the horses, he will only be
allowed twenty dollars per month.’

A great deal might be said about pictorial advertisements, if the
impossibility of reproducing them did not stand in the way. As it is,
we must content ourselves with showing how an advertisement can be
illustrated without the help of draughtsman or engraver. By arranging
ordinary printers’ types thus:

[Illustration]

an ingenious advertising agent presents the public with portraits of
the man who does not and the man who does advertise, and says: ‘Try it,
and see how you will look yourself.’



A STRANGE INSTITUTION.


Amongst the oral traditions of the past in Cambridge, there is handed
down to the modern undergraduate an account of a secret Society which
was established in the university at a remote period of time, and which
was called the Lie Society. At the weekly meetings of the members, an
ingenious falsehood was fabricated, which frequently referred to some
person locally known, and which was probably not altogether free from
scandal. It was the duty of all the members to propagate this invented
story as much as possible by relating it to every one they met. Each
member had to make a note of the altered form in which the lie thus
circulated came round to him individually, and these were read out at
the next meeting with all the copious additions and changes the story
had received passing from one to the other, often to such an extent
as to leave but little of the original fabric left. After a time the
Society began to languish, and soon after disappeared altogether.

In the dim past, and before the present stringent regulations were made
as to examinations in the Senate House, another secret Society was
organised, called the Beavers, which was for the purpose of enabling
members, when being examined, to help each other by a system of
signals. With this view, one of the members of the Beavers was told off
by lot to perform various duties assigned to him, such as engaging the
attention of the examiners, and giving information as to the papers by
preconcerted signs. This Society soon collapsed. To one of its members
is credited the ingenious watch-faced Euclid, and the edition of
Little-go-classics on sleeve-links.



MY HOME IN ANNANDALE REVISITED.


    I leave with joy the smoky town,
    As pining captive quits his cell,
    O’er shining sea and purple fell,
    Again to see the sun go down:

    As once behind great Penmanmawr,
    A ball of fire, o’er Conway Bay
    He silent hung, then sank away,
    And beauteous shone the evening star.

    My village home at length I reach,
    And stand beside my father’s door;
    His feet are on its step no more:
    From texts like this, Time loves to preach.

    Daylight is dying in the west;
    The leaden night-clouds blot the sky;
    Across the fields, the pewit’s cry
    Only makes deeper nature’s rest.

    The water-wheel stands at the mill,
    The fisher leaves the sandy shore,
    By garden gate and unlatched door
    Lassies and lads are meeting still.

    Beside me stand the kirk and manse,
    On this green knoll among the trees;
    The summer burn still croons to these;
    But where are those who loved me once?

    Only a sound of breaking waves,
    All through the night, comes from the sea:
    But those who kindly thought of me,
    Are sleeping in these quiet graves.

    No sounds of earth can wake the dead!
    I vainly yearn for what hath been:
    The faces I in youth have seen,
    With the lost years away have fled.

    The faintest breath that stirs the air
    Will take the dead leaf from the tree;
    Thus, one by one, have gone from me
    Those who my young companions were.

    A stranger in my native place,
    Wearing the silver mask of years,
    None meet me now with smiles or tears,
    Or in the man the boy can trace.

    My trees cut down, have left the place
    Vacant and silent where they grew;
    From fields and farms, that once I knew,
    I miss each well-remembered face.

    This price, returning, I must pay,
    With wandering foot who loved to roam:
    Thrice happy he who finds a home
    And constant friends, when far away.

    As relics from a holy shrine,
    Dear names are treasured in my heart;
    Death only for an hour can part;
    And all I loved, will yet be mine.

    With blinding tears, I turn away.
    Young hearts round this new life can twine;
    But from my path has passed for aye
    The light and love of auld langsyne.

            KIRTLE.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

_All Rights Reserved._



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