begged that the young gentleman would | fondness in the tone and gesture, as he come to him.

grasped Eric's hand.

"If your father says that you may go, you should go," Eric quietly answered. Roland departed with lingering steps, halting at intervals, but still he went.

"I give you permission to go," the father said.

"But I would prefer to remain with you here," Roland replied.

There was an expression of childlike

THE BULWER SCANDAL. - A London corre- | baby cry. I haven't heard such a sound for ten spondent writes that Lady Bulwer, who was years." The audience applauded this sentiment, once the torment of her husband's life, publish- the orchestra stopped, and the baby continued ing novels every year or two-in which he was its performance amid unbounded enthusiasm. the villain, and his death described as the most desirable of events- is now, I believe, out of "harm's way." She is understood to be in a lunatic asylum. A peeress by right, she has never enjoyed the honors of the station. Lady Bulwer was always a passionate woman; she was a hot-headed Irish girl of the middle classes, who could not brook the least contradiction or apparent neglect.

Bulwer was fond of her, and dedicated one of his early novels to her in affectionate terms. When the quarrels began, the husband's mother made things worse, and after disgraceful scenes had been enacted, a separation was agreed to. When Bulwer was a Cabinet Minister, he sought to get her confined in an asylum, but she obtained her release, posted to the country town at which he was to present himself for re-election, and harangued the farmers from a wagon! Their only surviving child, Mr. Robert Lytton, now rising fast in the diplomatic world, and known 88 Owen Meredith," undertook to live with his mother and keep her from mischief; but her violence became at last real insanity. Some of her books, such as 66 Chevely; or, The Man of Honor," are clever, though the hatred of her husband which they reveal is sickening. She extended this feeling to his friends, and "Mr. Ben Araby" (Disraeli) and Mr. Dickens figure prominently in her works. When Mr. Dickens took the world into his confidence and narrated the fact of his separation from his wife, Lady Bulwer was in ecstasies. She claimed it as proving the justice of all she had said.

In the early days of the settlement of California, when nearly the whole population were adult males, a baby began to cry just as the orchestra was tuning up for the opening of a performance at a San Francisco theatre. A man in the pit cried out, "Stop those fiddles, and let the

THE COBRA-POISON. - Dr. Charles R. Fran

cis, of Calcutta, has been carrying out an extended series of observations on the action of the cobra-poison, with a view to ascertaining the direction in which an antidote may be best sought. Professor Halford, of the University of Melbourne, contributed last year to our pages observations indicating a remarkable and rapid change in the blood-globules occurring immediately after venomous snake-bite. This, however, neither Indian nor American observers have been able to observe. The whole train of symptoms seems to point to nervous shock and subsequent lethargy; and the most valuable remedies yet known are admitted to be powerful diffusible stimulants and continual and forced exertion, as in opium-poisoning. In the very interesting brochure which Dr. Francis has just issued, containing an account of his adventurous experimentation, we (British Medical Journal) find a case which seems clearly to indicate that the milk of an animal bitten by a venomous snake may become poisonous-a fact not previously ascertained.

SNOW EYES.-Ellis, in speaking of the Es"Their snow eyes, as they quimaux, says: very properly call them, are a proof of their sa ivory, formed to cover the eyes, and tied on begacity. These are little pieces of wood, bone, or hind the head. They have two slits of the exact length of the eyes, but very narrow. This invention preserves the eyes from snow blindness, a very dangerous and powerful malady, caused by the action of the light reflected from the snow. The use of these eyes considerably strengthens the sight, and the Esquimaux are so accustomed to them, that when they have a mind to view distant objects, they commonly use them instead of spy-glasses."



saw it growing before," added he, catching sight of a flower, "and such a sphinx butterfly."

"You're enough to drive a man mad, lad, I declare! I'm talking about business to you, and you go off about a lot of stupid weeds and flies of no use nor signification whatever except to a silly nincompoop like you!" said Walcott, angrily.

IT was nearly ten years since Edward had departed. Ten years makes but little difference in people of a certain age: Amyas and Mrs. Wynyate were neither of them much altered; the wrinkles in her face were a little more numerous, and the furrows of care deeper in his, but this was all; Job and John had remained exactly what they were, though John had sought his fortunes elsewhere; but to Lettice the "What a pretty spot," said he, admirchange had been one from a child to a ingly, as they crossed the meadow and woman, and Edward had become a trust-looked over the waving trees in the dell to worthy officer of his Majesty's Revenue the pool at the bottom, and the peeps at Department. blue distances over the brow on the other

Things had gone on much the same at the Woodhouse. A good deal more timber had been cut, the money-lender had been down more than once upon Amyas; but he had contrived hitherto to keep, not his whole head perhaps, but his eyes and nose, as it were, out of water.

But the years had been bad, the interest accumulating, and this summer Wallcott, with wrath in his soul, was again riding up hollow lane on his road to the Woodhouse. He was not alone this time: he had brought his son with him; and as they rode along together he expounded his schemes to the young man who did not seem to take the smallest interest in them, but was gazing with much fervour into all the hedges and ditches as he passed, his whole attention engaged upon the plants and insects there. "And now, said his father, "I sha'n't go on any more after this fashion: I've had patience too long. I've just bought up the last bit o' the mortgage, and I shall foreclose for certain sure. It's as pretty a bit of property as there is about: just look at the trees shows what land it is if it were made anything like proper use of."

Everhard was looking at the trees, and with great attention.

"I never saw so old a hornbeam," said he; "and those twisted roots of the pollardoak that grow down into the lane-why, they're as big as trunks!"


[ocr errors]

I wasn't talking of that rubbish," answered his father, testily; "I meant the large elm above- as good a stick of timber as ever I saw grown." "Yes," said his son, dreamily looking round, "it is a beautiful place."

The dark lane was fringed with exquisite ferns bright pink lichens and blue harebells shone out between; it was hung with wreaths of wild hop, briony and honeyBuckle; nothing could be more lovely.

"And there's that rare vetch! I never

Everhard was silent, and followed his father as he rode in once more at the fieldgate.



Well, I'm glad you've sense enough to see that," answered his father, a little soothed.

"And six butterfly orchises together, I declare!" muttered Everhard to himself, luckily unheard.

They rode on towards the house.

"I've bought this last lot of timber standing-under Filmer's name not to be cut till called for," observed Wallcott. "It won't do to strip the place; it'll bring its money better with the trees growing, than they'd fetch if they were down."

"I never saw anything prettier than it is," answered his son, enthusiastically, as they rode along up the old avenue.


[ocr errors]


Well, I'm pleased you think so much on it," said his gratified father. never telled ye on it before, but it's yer mother's money mostly as is set on it, and I've been thinking as p'r'aps we might keep it and come and live here ourselves when it falls in some time. If ever I got tired of business, it 'ud make a nice box; and there's capital fishing for you if it were preserved-it's some of the best water in the country: it'll be dirt cheap, after all, considering everything.'


What, does the land run down to the river?" inquired Everhard eagerly. He was an ardent angler, and it was the first time that he had seemed to understand what his father was driving at: they generally, indeed, talked and thought in two parallel lines, which never touched each other at any one point.

Old Wallcott was the owner of a small paper-mill on the little river, where it ran through the cathedral town some fifteen miles away; but new inventions had come in since the war — there had been some difficulty about the water, and the business had gradually been suffered to go to decay. He had married for the second time a widow

with some property, and employed his su- it," said his mother consolingly.
perfluous energies, which were great, in lend-
ing money in small sums and at high inter-
est up and down the country. The Wood-
house was by far the largest of his ven-
tures; he had gradually possessed himself
of the other mortgages on the property,
and the net was fast closing in, as poor
Amyas's chance of repaying became smaller
every year.

[ocr errors]



what for, ye know, did ye have him called Everhard (such an out-of-the-way name) if ye didn't want to make a gentleman of him?" added she with a sort of sigh; for, after all, she felt that her son was drifting a long way from her, and she had begun to suffer from the gulf which a great difference of education between parent and child inevitably brings with it, even with the most affectionate intentions.

Everhard, was a curious son of the old money-lender; but nature seems often to Meantime the father and son rode on indemnify herself for over-exertion in one together, and the old wood-yard at last generation by a contrary extreme in the opened upon them, with the deep dark next. He was fond of beasts, and birds, shadows lying across it. A peacock sat and flowers, and insects bug-hunt- sunning himself on a red cart, and all kinds ing, as it was irreverently called in the of living things were enjoying themselves shipowner's office where he was at work. sleepily in the bright summer's day. He had that amount of poetic instinct which enables a man to see with his eyes and hear with his ears what nature is doing, and having been a weakly child, the last survivor of many, his father had impatiently endured these most unnatural, absurd tastes as some of Everhard's "maggots."

In right, too, of his weakliness, he had spent most of his time near the sea at his grandfather's, where his mother had persuaded the old curate of the village to look after his education. Mr. Denver, however, had infused a very small quantity of useful knowledge into the lad-whom he taught as a great favour — and a large amount of the natural history and geology which interested himself: all the things, in short, which were considered in those days most "useless and out of the way;' " and Wallcott uttered deep sighs whenever he thought of the waste of good money upon "such a lot of ridic'lous nonsense."

"If I'd ever known Mr. Denver's head was addled after such like rubbish," grumbled he, Everhard shouldn't never ha' gone nigh him."


"But he's got his health," said his mother, who, with a puzzled, awe-struck respect for her son's education, was nearly as much disappointed as her husband at the turn it had taken. "He's grown quite strong and hearty, and eats his vittles as well as e'er a gentlefolk of 'um.”


"I should like to know how ever he's to earn his living," groaned his father. Yer cousin a took he into his office, but he'll never do nothing at the work! He knows no more about getting money nor Lord Hopton's son," added he with a dismal pride.

"At all events them things don't spend

* Insects of all kinds are “bugs."

"Hey, I say, who's at home? come out, somebody!" cried Wallcott somewhat consequentially before the porch, as became an owner in petto. "Get off, Everhard," said he as he threw his own still active leg off the saddle. They fastened their horses to the broken fence and went in. As before, Mrs. Wynyate stood at the door.


Amyas is not in," said she shortly, as Wallcott made his way past her into the hall.

"Well, Mrs. Wynyate, he never is when I call! I can't think what he fancies I'm made on - sugar, I suppose, to melt in his mouth- - that he is to go on in this fashion with arrears, and the interest on arrears compound interest."

"He's in the wood close; I'll send for him if you wish to speak with him,” replied she without moving a muscle.

"No; I'll go to him myself, and see what the crops are like with my own eyes. Come, Everhard," said he, looking over his shoulder, as he turned on his heel, followed by Mrs. Wynyate.

But Everhard did not seem to hear.

The large low old room, with its panelled walls and ornamental ceiling, half hall, half kitchen, was cool and pleasant coming out of the hot glaring June day: a dark oak screen shut it in from the entrance, against which were fastened some branching antlers; a leathern Jack hung from one of these: a rusty helmet, matchlock, and partizan were laid across the rest, a bad portrait or two were against the walls, and a great tankard of old blue china stood above some polished carved black furniture. It struck the young man's sense of beauty, or rather, it all served as a becoming frame to the picture in his mind, which he remembered unconsciously after


At the other end of the room, just risen

from her place in the old-fashioned window- | away in the hay-field, and she carried in an seat, stood Lettice, with her work in her armful of the scented grass to the manger. hand the sunshine, subdued by the lat-There was a little wicket gate opposite the ticed windows, and the vine and jessamine place where they were standing, arched in leaves outside, threw changing shadows with great "snowballs" and sweet-smelling upon the pure lines of her face, the clear, lilacs, which led into the orchard. soft complexion, a little pale, the long dark eyelashes and soft eyes: there was a peculiarly tender, delicate expression about her whole manner and appearance.

"She looks like a white violet," said the young man to himself.

There was metal more attractive here than quarrelling about compound interest out of doors. Instead of following his father and Mrs. Wynyate, the young man walked straight up to her, drawn on as if he could not help himself.

"I hope Mr. Wallcott is not going to be angry with uncle Amyas," said she, gravely and anxiously, looking after them without the least shyness, and quite unconscious of the expression in the young man's eyes.


"May I go into that cool place?" said he, turning from the glare. The sun shone fiercely between the barns and brick walls of the outhouses.

They passed together into the shady silent orchard, girdled in with great trees, and with the rich luxuriant vegetation which is so striking in the southern counties of England. Two little milk-white calves, with soft dark eyes, came running up to her, and rubbed affectionately against her shoulder.

"They're very fond of me," said Lettice, apologetically, putting her arms round one of them.

"I dare say they are," said the young man in a very convinced tone.

Lettice had lived all her life chiefly with men, and was not in the least shy with them; but this was quite a new variety of the species: she did not understand what he could mean, and looked up surprised.

"I feed them with milk, you know," she said simply, explaining.

"I don't think that's the reason," an

"I believe Mr. Wynyate has been behindhand with his money lately," answered he, with sudden interest in the mortgage, and trying to remember what his father had said about it; but it was so jumbled up in his mind with a host of like transactions, with which he had always been bored, that his recollections were of the most hazy de-swered he; "we seem to think beasts care scription. for nothing but their stomachs. A dog Uncle Amyas is so good to every- loves his master best, though other people body," said the girl, with tears in her may feed him; and even bees have eyes, "and so just. I'm sure he'd pay if their likes and dislikes. Don't they sting he could." one person, and let another do what he Everhard had no time to explain that pleases ?" these were not the usual terms on which money was lent in the world, even if he had wished it, for at that moment the horses outside began to bite and kick each other, and a loud neigh of complaint came from the aggressor (as usual), who had begun the fray and was least hurt.




"Yes," observed Lettice, thoughtfully. "The hives always sting granny, and they let me come quite nigh when they're swarming even."

He smiled. "People talk a great deal of rubbish about the difference between reason and instinct," said the young man 'Oughtn't they to be put into the sta- warmly, growing grand, pragmatical, and ble?" said Lettice, looking out through the instructive with such an exceptionally atquarrels" of the lattice. "They'll hurt tentive listener. "I should like to know each other, I'm afraid." And taking up where they draw their line, and what's the the little sun-bonnet by her side, she went difference between an elephant and a stupid out, followed by Everhard, undid the reins man that isn't to the elephant's advantage." of the nearest to her, and led the way into Lettice listened with the utmost reveran empty stable, lower down in the farm-ence: it was beautiful," she thought, to yard. hear such talk. Uncle Amyas was very clever and very kind, but he had grown very silent of late with the weight of his anxieties, and besides, his discourse was never half so fine as this. She had never heard anything of the kind before: observations on isolated facts were chiefly dealt with at the Woodhouse.

"I'm glad it was my horse she got hold of instead of father's," said the young man to himself.

He fastened them both up. "Shall I give them a lock of fresh hay?" said she, going to a laden waggon which had just been brought in. No one was to be seen about the farmyard: all the world were

[ocr errors]

They walked on into the orchard, green

and still in its deep shade, full of the flush of the hot June day, with nothing stirring but a buzzing beetle: even the birds were silent with the heat — the exquisite shadows of the great trees were thrown across the sward, the brilliant lights gleaming on a bunch of May in one direction, or the golden cluster of laburnum in another. Through the tall trunks were peeps at the little dark pools in the dell beneath the ancient fish-ponds of old Catholic days: three of which lay one below the other at the bottom of a steep descent, cool and delicious to look at, in the midst of a wide tangle of hollies and oak and hawthorn, hung with travellers'-joy and honeysuckle, while the tall foxgloves grew in groups with a sort of stately grace, and were reflected in the water.

"What a pleasant place," said Everhard, with much enthusiasm ; "and it's so hot and hard and dusty in the world outside." They strolled on in and out of the shadows.

"What enormous nests those are up in the high elms yonder," said he.


The herons build in those trees," answered Lettice, shyly.

"There aren't above a dozen heronries in all England, I believe," cried he, with great interest, as he went on artfully extracting all the lore concerning the birds, beasts, and fish of the Woodhouse which the departed Edward had so carefully instilled into his niece in the past days.

What's lovelier than the new-blown rose?
What's sweeter than the new-mown close?.
The breath of love, —

says the old Handel duet, and this was beginning to be felt in the air, as a just faintly added perfume.

At last Wallcott's loud voice was heard in the distance, on the other side of the house, in the still air, and Mrs. Wynyate's shrill and angry answers.

"They'll be wanting

- us," Lettice was going to say, but it sounded too intimate to her, and she changed it into "the horses," as she led the way hurriedly through the back-door into the house. Everhard went off in haste to the stable, and Lettice remained in the shadow of the porch, watching Wallcott, who was talking loudly and rudely, Mrs. Wynyate scolding angrily in return, while her uncle stood by in perfect silence, with the drawn look on his face which she could not bear to see.

No one paid the smallest attention to her. The old money-lender got upon his horse and rode away, declaiming on his wrongs in a loud voice, followed by his son. And Amyas came slowly and wearily back into the house with his mother..

"I wish it were all over a'most!" said he, after a pause. "I can't do more: he must take it if he will! What, are you there, little one?" he went on, as Lettice came behind him; and taking hold of the hand which she laid upon his shoulder, "I care as much They turned home again by a favourite for you and mother's having to fight your haunt of Lettice's, shut in by a great cedar-way in this hard world as anything, the tree, one of the relics of the past glories of the place, where a few straggling flowers grew in a quiet nook sheltered by the old brick wall of the neglected kitchen-garden, with its curiously moulded coping, the rich shades of dark red variegated with lichen, half hidden under showers of clematis and ivy, and where the air was murmurous with bees. The wind, soft and low, began to breathe in the tall tree tops above their heads with a soothing ripple of sound.

[blocks in formation]

young and the old. I'm hardly fitter than you are, I do believe, to make both ends meet, and that's a bad thing to say of a man; it must be my own fault partly. I wonder how it ought to have been done? he went on musing. "I'm so stupid at business. I'm sure I thought the interest had been paid for last year.


He's a rogue is Wallcott!" cried his mother, angrily; "you may depend on't as you paid it."



Nay, I'm not at all sure," said Amyas. I'm so muddle-headed about figures. I know he had the money, but he says it went only for the compound interest of the year before. Lettie, get the figure-book, and see what that would come to?" he added, wearily.

"And then you've been so drained every way," said his mother, as the girl almost disappeared in the recesses of the deep old black oak press; "everybody casts their burdens upon you. I should like to know what Norton means by never paying yer

« VorigeDoorgaan »