« VorigeDoorgaan »
world boldly enough, forcing himself to
CHAPTER III. do it. There was, however, a subtle hesi
THE FAMILY. tation, a dislike to do it, which affected people strangely who found this pecu- l A BRIGHT spring morning, sharp ard liarity out; it affected them with a cer-cold, but with floods of sunshine everytain vague doubtfulness, not strong where - sunshine on the grass, turning enough to be called suspicion. This fail- the delicate rime into a network of pearls, ing it was, undefined and undefinable, and glittering all along the bare branches, which attracted Nelly's eyes so often to where the brown buds were beginning to her brother's face, and produced the swell - colder than autumn, almost colder “ wrangling" which Mrs. Eastwood pro- than winter, but with a different sentiment tested against. Nelly had, without quite in the air. Spring cold is like the poverty knowing it, a wondering curiosity about of a poor man who has had a fortune left Frederick, though he was her brother, him — better days are coming ; the trees she had not found him out.
felt this already though their buds were " What's the new girl's name?” said pinched, and Nelly felt it as she went Dick, who was exactly like all the other out with her garden gloves on, and a pair young men going in for examinations of scissors. What did she expect to find who abound in English society, and per- in the garden, do you ask? Nothing in haps scarcely impress the general mind the garden, where the crocuses had scarceso much as their universal information ly awakened to the fact that the sun was gives them a right to do. He was not up and calling them ; but away at the end great in conversation, and he was fond of of the lawn, among the roots of that tranasking questions. Some people thought sept of lime trees which crossed the aveit was an admirable omen of his future nue of big elms, there were hosts of hardy success. If there was a new point to be little snowdrops peeping up among the found out in an exhausted topic, a new half-frozen grass, and growing in handfuls detail or particular (for Dick was very las Nature bade them. By what sweet practical) which no one had investigated, piece of good fortune this came to be, I one of his questions was sure to hit the cannot tell; but so it was. Nelly herself, mark. And it was wonderful, seeing the in a jacket trimmed with white fur, was interest all young persons take in proper too bright to be like her snowdrops. She names, that this important inquiry had ran up and down the long avenue to been left to him. “ You talk of her as the warm her delicate little toes. It was a little girl, and the cousin, and so forth ; better way than sitting over the fire. In ain't she possessed of a name?”
|the little open space before the garden “ To be sure ; what is her name?” door, Dick, with a book in his coat cried Nelly promptly.
pocket, was doing what he could to inform Mrs. Eastwood went back into the re- the mind of Winks. Dick was supposed cesses of her memory. She knew it was to get up at seven to improve his own a great family name in the branch of the mind, and, I presume, he believed that Vane's to which her brother-in-law be- the book in his pocket did him some good longed. It was something very unlike by mere contact, if nothing else. He had him ; that she remembered: very much read, at most, one page of it, at the exunlike him ; for she recollected quite well | pense of I don't know how many yawns, thinking so when she heard it first. Not but now his soul was set on the more Angel , oh, no, though that was pretty, congenial task of teaching Winks to carry and quite the reverse of the father. No. a musket and stand on guard. Wink's Now she recollected. Innocent — that looked at the stick which had fallen from was the name.
his unwilling paws, sniffing at it with a “Innocent !” they all said, repeating certain cynical disbelief in the supposed it one after another all round the table. weapon. He was a very dark-coloured It impressed the family somehow, and Skye, almost black, and had a way of made Mrs. Eastwood — I cannot tell you i grinning at Dick with all his white teeth exactly for what reason — cry a little. displayed from his black lips, in a satirical There was something that went to her smile which incensed his instructor greatkind heart in the name.
Ily. Winks had as great objections to beAnd two days after Frederick started ing instructed as Dick had himself, but, for the Continent, to bring the orphan being above those prudential reasons home.
which induced his young master to smother his feelings, the four-footed neophyte had distinctly the advantage. He did
not believe in the feigned fire-arm, and I “Oh, as for that,” said Dick, "of course words could not have expressed the good- I never minded getting up at Eton ; all the humoured disdain with which he wagged other fellows did it, and, for one thing, his tail. “You think this is a gun, I sup- the masters were punished just as much · pose,” Winks' tail said ; “but I who am as we were, and looked just as blue. But your intellectual superior am not to be when you are all of you in your comforttaken in. Take up that bit of wood in able beds, and only me at work!” my paws as if I was a mountebank ! Not “If that was all, I should not mind in if I know it.” “ Sit up, sir, sit up," said the least getting up and sitting with you," Dick in a passion. Winks only smiled the said Nelly ; “but then we should only more and wagged his tail. But the lesson, chatter, and no work would be done. though it amused his cynical humour, be- | And if you work hard, you know it will gan to bore him. All at once he put his soon be over.” head on one side, and pricked up his ears, “Soon over ? yes, till the next one," responding to some imaginary call. The said Dick the disconsolate; “and then pantomime was far cleverer than anything India at the end. There's Frederick now, Dick was capable of. “I think I hear my a lazy beggar, comes down at ten o'clock, mistress calling me,” Winks said in the and everybody thinks it quite right. Why plainest English; but he was too clever to should there be such a difference between escape at once. He paused, contemplat- him and me? You're a girl, and don't ive, consulting heaven and earth. “ Did I count; but why should he be in clover at hear my mistress call ?" Then suddenly the Sealing Wax Office, while I am to once more came the imaginary summons. I be sent to India ?” “ Distressed I am sure, beyond all meas- “ Frederick will never get rich in the ure, to leave you," the polite dog said, Sealing Wax Office; but you may in with a final wag of his tail, triumphant, India. Besides, you know,' said Nelly, yet deprecating. “Confound the little who was impressionable on this point, brute !” cried Dick, indignant; and Winks though she did not altogether trust her chuckled as he ran off on three legs, pre- elder brother, “he would have been in tending to be all eagerness. “Confound the Church had he not been too conscithe little beast !" repeated the boy; entious. Quantities of men go into the “Nelly, come here, and don't dance about Church without thinking what they are in that aggravating way; - just when I doing ; but Frederick had scruples — he thought he had got hold of a new trick!" had doubts even on some points — "
“ Winks is a great deal too clever to “Much anybody would care if I had do tricks,” said Nelly.
doubts,” said Dick; “if I were to set up “Yes, he is as knowing as I am,” said opinions, Nell - " innocent Dick. “I wonder now if there is But this was more than Nelly's gravity any truth in that stuff about transmigration. could stand. The idea of Dick having He must have been an actor, that brute. opinions, and the injured look with which I don't believe my mother called a bit. he announced the probable indifference I don't believe she is downstairs yet of the world to them, sent his sister off cunning little beast! What a jolly lot of into that fou rire which no one can stop. snowdrops, Nelly! Are you going in? “I will race you to the end of the It's not nine yet. Come round the walk, walk,” she said, trying to subdue herself; I want to speak to you. Oh what an aw- and undismayed by the indifference thus ful bore is this exam.!” said Dick, with shewn to his metaphysical difficulties, a deep sigh. “Now I put it to you, Nell, Dick accepted the challenge. He allowed in the spirit of fairness, how can a fellow her to dart past him with all a boy's conbe expected to do mathematics before tempt. He regarded her, indeed, with breakfast? It is bad enough when you something of the same sentiment with have been worked up to it, and supported; which Winks had regarded him. “Girls but at eight o'clock in the morning, with spend all their strength at the first outout so much as a cup of coffee! What set,” Dick said composedly, going steadiare men supposed to be made of ? I am ly on with his squared elbows. “They're sure it never was so in the old times.” like greased lightning for ten yards or so,
“Much you know about it,” said Nelly. I and then they're done – like you, Nell," “When I was at school, and much young- he said, passing her when she paused, er than you, I had to get up and practise panting to take breath. She had made a for an hour and a half before breakfast-hard fight for it, however. She had run cold fingers and cold keys -and not even to within a few yards of the goal before a fire."
she allowed herself to be beaten. Dick
immediately began a lecture to her upon stopping. But when I think of that poor the deficiency of feminine performances, little thing all alone — " which was perhaps too technical for these “ The wind blew nice and strong last pages, but so like many lectures on the night,” said Dick: “it would be pleasant same subject that the reader will have in the Channel. I say, Mamma, I hope little difficulty in imagining it. “You Frederick liked it. How queer he would can never "stay:'" was the conclusion, look this morning! What a thing it is made with much patronizing good hu- not to be able to stand a breeze at sea ! mour. Altogether, it was apparent that You should have seen us off the Needles Dick's general opinion of his sister coin-in the last equinoctial, in old Summercided wonderfully with Winks' opinion dale's yacht.” * of himself. Great wits jump.
“ Don't tell me about it," said Mrs. “Miss Ellinor, your mamma has been Eastwood, closing her eyes and setting a-waiting breakfast this half-hour,” said down her tea-cup. “Some of these days Brownlow solemnly addressing them from you will hear that Mr. Summerdale and the end of the walk. Brownlow was large his yacht have gone to the bottom : and and stout, and filled up the vista formed I am sure, though I would not be uncharby the branches. They had known his itable to any man, I think he deserves it: sway all their lives, and they laughed at carrying boys away in a storm without him between themselves ; but the young the knowledge of their people. I thought Eastwoods had not yet learned to dis- / I should have died.” obey Brownlow. They put themselves. “I was a good bit more like dying, and in motion with the utmost docility. “We I didn't mind," cried Dick. “ It was are coming directly,” said Nelly, running glorious. The noise, so that you couldn't to pick up her basket with the snow-hear yourself talk, and the excitement, drops. Even Frederick did instinctive- and the confusion, and the danger! ly what Brownlow told him. The brother | Hadn't we just a squeak for it? It was and sister went on to the house, follow-gloriously jolly," cried Dick, rubbing his ing the black shadow which moved with hands at the recollection. He looked so dignity before them. “What an awful wickedly pleased with the escapade that old bore he is,” said Dick: “look here, his mother could not help snubbing him Nell, what will you bet that I couldn't on the spot. hit that big red ear of his with this chest- “I hope you have got a great deal of nut? One, two, three - "
work done this morning. Alice tells me "Oh, don't Dick, for heaven's sake!” you got up directly when you were called. said Nelly, catching his hand : “though And you must remember, Dick, how very he is an old bore. I wonder how it is short the time is getting,” she said, in her that we have none but old servants ? softest tones. “I would not for the world Mamma prefers them, I suppose ; though deprive you of a single advantage ; but Frederick, I know, would like another seven-and-sixpence an hour is a very cook, and 1,- oh, no, I couldn't part with great deal to pay unless you take the full old Alice. What a wretch I am to think advantage of it. And now I shall have of it! But she never can help one to al another child to provide for,” Mrs. new way of doing one's hair.”
Eastwood added, sighing faintly. Poor "I always do my hair exactly the same,” | Dick's random mood was over. He said said Dick. “I never require any one to something about mathematics in general help me.”
which was not complimentary to that “Oh, you !” said Nelly, taking her re- lofty science. venge ; “ who cares how a boy looks?” “ If it was to be of any use to a fellow And thus they went in, breathing youth, after I should not mind," he said. “It and fun, and nonsense, and mischief. is the doing it all for no good that Mrs. Eastwood stood warming her hands riles one. If I were to be mathematical by the fire, but Dick and Nelly put them- master somewhere, or head accountant, selves on the other side of the table. or even a bookkeeping fellow - You Their young blood was dancing, their need not cry, 'Oh, oh !! You ain't in young limbs too light to be touched by Parliament, Nell, and never can be, that's the cold.
a comfort. Girls ought to talk of things “I wonder where Frederick will be by that they understand. I don't interfere this time; I wonder when he will reach with your fiddle-de-jigs. That's what Pisa," said the mother. “I suppose it is discourages a fellow. Besides, mathematnot to be expected that a young man ics are horribly hard : ladies that never would go right through Paris without opened a Euclid,” said Dick, with digni
ty, "are quite incapable of forming an | buds and fern leaves. A tall old woman, idea."
in a black gown and cap, stood beside “ They tell the best in the examina- this artist, advising it seemed, and disaption," said Mrs. Eastwood. “When you proving. Ellinor stopped with the anxhave passed you will have no more ious and indeed servile politeness of fear trouble with them. But we must not to speak to this personage. “How kind forget how many marks there are for of you, Alice, to come and help," she mathematics ; and you must not be dis- said; “I hope you like the chintz. Don't couraged, Dick. But you know, children, you think we shall make the room look if we are to have a new member in the nice after all, when it has been papered family, we shall require to think of econ- and cleaned ?” omy more than ever. I do not see any-1 “ There's nothing to be said against thing we can actually put down," the the room,” said Alice, in a Scotch accent, mother said, with deliberation, and a sigh and with a solemnity of tone that spoke to the memory of the carriage. “The more than words. only thing I could think of was the fires « And then we shall all be together. It in our bedrooms, and really that would will be very handy for everything, said not be good for your healths. But we Nelly, with a sickly smile, trying to bear must be generally economical. And the up; “ all the ladies of the family - " very first principle of economy is making “I would like to speak a word to your the best use of what we have. So recol- Mamma about that,” said Alice. She lect, Dick."
pronounced the word “Mammaw," and “ I'm going, Mamma," he said, and somehow those broad vowels added tenpulled the book out of his coat pocket fold weight – or so, at least, Ellinor which had been keeping him company all thought — to the speech. the morning. Mrs. Eastwood followed “Mamma has gone into the little room," him to the door with her kind eyes. said Nelly, with an effort. Mrs. East.
“ I really think, though he is such a wood was a very persuadable woman, and harum-scarum, that he is doing his work, she looked still more persuadable than poor boy,” she said, with that fond ma- she was. Most people thought they them. ternal confidence which is often so in- selves could influence her to anything, differently deserved.
unless, indeed, some one else had fore“ Yes, yes, Mamma," cried Nelly, with stalled them; and, to tell the truth, even some impatience, not feeling all the in- her own family attributed to Mrs. Everterest in the subject her mother did. ard, or failing her to Alice, everything in “But never mind Dick, he'll do very their mother's conduct which was not atwell, I daresay. Come and see what I tributable to their own sage advices. It want to have done to the little room." required a more subtle observer than Nel
The Elms was an old-fashioned house. ly to make out that her mother had in It was built as houses in England are reality a great deal of her own way; thererarely built now-a-days, in those suites fore she was deeply alarmed by Alice's of rooms which are so general on the unfriendly looks, and followed her into Continent. Mrs. Eastwood's room OC- the little room with but slightly disguised cupied the whole width of the wing. It terror. had an alcove, which was like an inner “ Alice is in a bad humour,” she whisroom, for the bed, and abundance of pered to her mother. “ You won't mind space for reading tables and writing what she says ? She thinks the new tables and sofas and book-cases in the paper and the chintz are extravagant. rest of the spacious chamber, which was Don't listen to her, Mamma.” like a French room in every way, with its “ So they are,” said Mrs. Eastwood, dressing-closet opening from the alcove, shaking her head. She was fond of pretand all the less beautiful accessories of ty paper and pretty chintz, and of change the toilet kept well out of sight. Elli- and novelty. She liked furnishing a room nor's room opened from her mother's, I almost as well as her daughter did, and and opening from that again was the lit- she thought she had “taste.” Therefore tle room which was to be prepared for she had defences against any attack on the newcomer. Already it was all pulled that side of the question, which Ellinor to pieces by Nelly's commands, and had not dreamt of. However, even Nelly under her supervision ; and a brisk little was startled and taken aback by the un.. workwoman sat in Nelly's own chamber expected line taken by Alice, who looked surrounded by billows of bright new as if she might have something very imchintz, with a running pattern of rose l-portant to say.
“You remember Miss Isabel, mem ? " | so hasty and premature in everything. I was what she said, looking her mistress am going to speak to cook. Don't trouble full in the face.
me about this any more.” "Dear me, Alice, what a question ! Re- “ It is all your doing, Alice," said Elmember my sister ?” cried Mrs. East- linor, as her mother went away, wood, turning abruptly away from the paper and chintz.
"It's a queer question to ask,” said Alice, with a grim smile : “but dinna go too fast. You mind your sister, and yet you
From The Spectator. are going to put her child — her only
ULTRAMONTANISM AT HOME AND child - here in a room next to your own,
ABROAD. next to Miss Ellinor's ? Between mother | There is something a little humiliating and daughter ? That's where you place in the spectacle of the alarm displayed by Miss Isabel's bairn ?"
Teutonic and British politicians at the " Alice ! ” cried Mrs. Eastwood, almost strategy of the feeble old man who, after angrily. She looked at Nelly's wonder- denouncing modern civilization in the ing face and then at her maid with a half-Syllabus, has persuaded the largest ecclefrightened, half-threatening gesture. She siastical Council ever summoned to dewas annoyed, but she was startled too. clare his official infallibility. He has no
" I say it before Miss Ellinor that you troops at all ; he has hardly any diplommay not do it with your eyes shut,” said atists left; he has not a single faithful Alice. “I'm only a servant, with no right and orthodox population in the world to interfere ; but I cannot stand by, and that is not honeycombed by secret sceptino say a word. I'm no in favour of it," cism, except, perhaps, that of the Tyrol she cried, turning round. “ It would be and that of Ireland; he is regarded as best to provide for her, and no bring her the foe of physical science, and assurhome ; but if you will bring her home edly he distrusts vehemently the bias of and, mem, you are always wilful, though men whose minds have been chiefly nobody thinks so — put her in any place formed by the study of physical science'; but here."
the historians expose the frauds on which "You are dreadfully prejudiced, Alice a good deal of his power has been built -dreadfully prejudiced!"
up; the fourth estate, the estate of letters, "May be I am ; and, mem, you like is penetrated with contempt for him and your own way. We are none of us per- his priesthood, and the sacramental asfect. But your sister Isabel's bairn, the sumptions with which they combat the child of an ill father to the boot, should scoffs of the world ; the wealth of the never come into my house. Maybe you world, as well as its physical power and think, mem, that the features of the mind intellectual life, is fallen away from him ; are no transmitted ? Poor leddy! Poor it would take a miracle, and a miracle leddy! There's enough of her in your of a more startling kind than any which blood already without searching out of the recent chronicle of marvel boasts, your way to find more."
to subjugate again the blunt and sturdy Mrs. Eastwood grew crimson to her habits of any Protestant people to his hair. “If you think any of my children sway; even his faithful Irish, though resemble my sister, Alice, I can assure they may be more devout than ever in you you are very much mistaken,” she their religious duties, are beginning to said, walking up and down the little room refuse the priests that deference in in her agitation. “ Nelly, look here, you all other matters which is the best would think she meant something very | index of religious reverence; and yet dreadful. Your poor aunt Isabella was with all these chances against him and very secret in her way, and liked to make his priesthood, they appear to inspire a mystery. She got me into some trouble such terror that Protestant Germany is when I was a girl through it. That was all. I convulsed with the measures supposed Why it should be remembered against to be necessary for crippling the Papists; her child, or change my natural affections, and not merely Protestant, but veheI can't imagine. Oh, I know you mean mently anti-Catholic England sees its well, Alice, you mean well; but that does most confident and most sceptical journot make it a bit more pleasant. Put nals raising a cry of panic, and threatendown those curtains and things, Nelly, ing“ by the Heavens above and by the put them down. I hate so much fuss. Earth beneath, nay, by the breeches' pockThere is plenty of time. You are always et and all that therein is,” that unless