Thou miniature of woe!

Thy half-clad, meagre form Along the streets doth goStarvation's spectre! Sun and storm

To thee alike

Unheeded strike That head which ne'er did covering know.

Thy ravenous eyes do glare

Like a young wolf's, dread boy!
Fearful is childhood's stare,
Bereft of childhood's joy :

It makes me wild

To see a child
Who never gladdened at a toy.

Oh, hard must be the lot

That makes a child a dread! Where children's smiles are not, Thorns grow in flowerets' stead;

A child's glad face

Is Heaven's own grace Round manhood's stern existence shed.

Turn off that hungry eye,

It gnaws at Pity's heart!
Here's bread--but come not nigh-
Thy look makes agues start!

There-take the whole

To thy starved soul
No crumb of joy will bread impart.

Thine is the famished cry

Of a young heart unfed,
The hollow spirit's sigh
For something more than bread.

" Give! give !" it says

Ah, vain he prays To man, who prayer to God ne'er said !

Wert thou of woman born

Did human mother's breast Nourish thee, thing forlorn ? Hath any love carest

Tbine infant cheek ;

Did'st ever speak,
Or hear, the name of father blest ?

No, no, it cannot be !

Thou art the birth of Want-
Thy sire was Misery,
Thy mother Famine gaunt !

Thou hadst no home,

The naked dome Was all the roof earth thee could grant.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]




A LITTLE group of reverend gentle you can call handsome in the outer men stand in the porch of Briarford man of good John Green ; and poor school. The subdued hum behind, Angelina, though she sighs over them full of awe and a little excitement, most dolefully, cannot manage to the sun-burnt urchin peeping from the bleach those refractory neckcloths window, with his hand over his eyes into anything like the purity of Mr for custom's sake, to shade him from Wyburgh's. This prosaic and comthe sun, though no sun is here—the monplace care is a very novel one for neat little woman curtseying and re the Curate's pensive bride ; but, after spectful behind, taking leave of the all, she would do her duty if she could; Vicar and his reverend associates, and it is melancholy to see the Rev. give you note that some pastoral John, how he holds out these neckoversight or examination has been cloths at arm's-length, and shakes his going on in this small noisy sheepfold head with a comic ruefulness before to-day.

he puts them on-though he is, after First of all, here is Mr Wyburgh, all, so much of a sloven by nature, vicar of the parisb. If the good man that this is a fitting chastisement of were minded to disguise himself, his own evil ways. Mr Green's coats, scarcely a scarlet coat could serve however made, wear into a peculiar the purpose, for his trim and snowy fashion of their own : the skirts so linen, bis close clerical vest and spot- soon learn to hang heavy with ponless costume, his stiff plain band of derous volumes, of which burden they white neckcloth, is not more distinctly retain the shape even when itself is and decorously professional, than is removed ; and the collar stands out the very voice and smile, the little high and distinct from the neck, wbich gesture of the reverend band, and slants away from it, stooping forward. measured cadence of the respectable Mr Green carries a prodigious stick, a footstep, so familiar on all parochial most truculent and suspicious-looking highways. You will perceive that bludgeon, and has a wardrobe of the Rev. Richard Wyburgh is what, bandkerchiefs of all the colours of the when we would speak after a compli- rainbow thrust into one pocket, to mentary fashion, we call “ under the balance the book in the other. So it middle size" - in plainer words, a is in reality a very odd figure which small spare figure, without an ounce overshadows the Vicar, drawing back of superfluous weight to encumber his a little within the porch of the village activity; not a strong man by nature, school. but knitted into sinewy vigour by a T he third person is Mr Powis, reclife of patient exertion, undemonstra- tor of the small adjoining parish of tive and unboastful; a little short. Woodchurch, cadet of the antedilusighted, as those concentrated puckers vian great family in Wales, servant round lis keen, kindly, twinkling eyes and suitor of Margaret Vivian of the bear witness ; a little bald, with thin Grange; and it is needless to say locks half-way between white and how unstained and glossy, how irresand colour in complexion, and proachable, at once in worldly fashion strangely feathery in texture, fringing and in clerical propriety, is the coshis well-formed head ; otherwise not tume of Mr Powis, in whom is nothing a sign of age about him-as quietly odd, nothing characteristic, not a alert and full of spirit as in his youth. stray lock or a spot of dust, to sag

A singularly different person is Mr gest to you that he has not newly Wyburgh's curate, who stands beside stepped from bis dressing-room-or him. Tall, lank, stooping, and “ill “from a bandbox," as the village criput together," there is not much that tics say. Daylight does not detract


from the good looks of Mr Powis; he “Rogues and reprobates," said Mr is still a very handsome young man, Green laconically, shaking his head. and not exactly a coxcomb either, but “The more reason we should do with grace enough to be slightly shy something for them—the more reason," in his consciousness of his own good said Mr. Wyburgh. “Philip Vivian looks. You could not find in all the must take measures, sir, to improve county three men who have less the condition of his tenantry, now natural affinity; and Mr Powis, with he is come to man's estate. Not that distinct politeness, and Mr Green, I complain of his mother-a most with a lumbering impatience much admirable person ; but Philip is more sincere but not quite so courte- young, and has all his life before him. ous, stand lingering and holding apart, We must do great things in this parish to hear the little lecture on education, yet.” on its importance, and the extreme “Do they have much intercourse necessity of clerical supervision, which with Castle Vivian, I wonder?" said Mr Wyburgh delivers with his clear Mr Powis. “Sir Francis is a very voice and his forefinger, for the in influential person. Are our friends struction of his juniors, who are by on good terms with the other branch no means anxious to be instructed. of the family, Mr Wyburgh ? "

And now they advance along the "I have heard of Sir Francis Vi. village street towards the Vicarage; vian," said the Vicar, in his turn Mr Wyburgh and Mr Powis, ex- shaking his head; “ but I think my tremely decorous representatives of knowledge goes no further. They the ecclesiastical estate, proceeding in are on good terms undoubtedly; fagood step and line; Mr Green some mily feuds are unknown at the times straying a little before, some- Grange ; but I suppose there is little times falling a little behind. And intercourse. I never remember to have now before the vision of the reverend seen their relation here." brethren appears the high - seated “A great pity," lamented Mr Grange, overlooking village and coun- Powis. “So influential a person as try, with its background of trees Sir Francis Vivian is an invaluable waving in the brisk Cheshire gale; friend for young men. I have heard the clouds afloat around it like aerial he has a great deal in his power." companions, and the sun striking red A slight half-perceptible sigh conand cheery upon its shining roof and cluded this speech. The Vicar turned picturesque gables, but leaving the his quick eyes with an intelligent front in shade. A smile in which there penetrating glance upon his young was just a suspicion of complacency companion, and there was something and simpering, and a little sigh senti- of irony in the Vicar's smile. mental and conscious, came to the lip "Church preferment, a large share? of the young Rector, in acknowledg- I have heard of that," said the Vicar ment of the home of his lady and love. quickly.

“A pleasant family the Vivians, “I cannot say. General influence a great addition to the society here," in the world, and active life, is what I says Mr Powis, with an air of abstrac- mean," said MrPowis, with momentary tion. Society is a word very much in confusion. “Largelanded propertyand Mr Powis's mouth.

wide family connections make almost “ Capital young people, sir-excel- any man important, and Sir Francis lent girls," answers the Vicar. “Many is an extremely energetic man-cera cottage in Briarford will miss Miss tain to advance any one in whom Vivian when she is married. That is he took an interest - an invaluable to be immediately. By the by, Mr friend." Green, I think of asking Philip for a " Good for Percy Vivian," said bit of ground behind the hill' yonder the Curate, “ if Percy were a steady for our district school; a good situa- fellow, and would work at anythingtion, sir; capital for the poor brick- which he won't do." makers, who begin to squat about " Time enough, sir, time enough. there in these wretched huts of theirs. We never do great things when we We must do something for these poor are boys at home," said the kind fellows, Mr Green."

Vicar. "I would rather not trust to

a Sir Francis, for my part. A good away, knocking half-a-dozen little life and a true, where independence books off a table with a whisk of is, has more comfort in it than prefer- his heavy skirt as he passed, and ment. I have always found it so." putting in serious jeopardy Angelina's

"I cannot see what possible cause inkstand, and the light-coloured there is why the one should compro- carpet which an ink stain would mise the other," said Mr Powis cold- "ruin." Escaping rather more swiftly ly, but with an increasing colour and than he intended, after this, Mr Green some annoyance; and the young saw nothing of the dark slender figure Rector was very well pleased to turn in shadow of his wife's green curtains, aside, and take leave of Mr Green at who had heard all he had to say; and the Vicarage door. Mr Powis was to only some ten minutes after, when, dine at the Vicarage to-day, not glancing up from his own window at greatly to his own enjoyment; but it à passing shadow, Mr Green saw was one of the professional duties Zaidee Vivian hurry forth from the which this most proper and exemplary door, did the horror of having made youth would not neglect on any score. this speech to other ears than his

Mr Green, who had dined already, wife's break upon him. Starting up, lumbered on upon his way; and shoot. he hurried again, lumbering and dising like a great cloud into the dim little quieted, to Angelina's parlour. Yes, parlour, where Angelina had at last without dispute, Zaidee had been been persuaded to have a fire, stood there. turning his back upon the shadowed “ She will never think of it again," window, and spreading his great said the Carate, rubbing his forehead hands over the grate for a moment ruefully. “That girl is always before he sought his own more spe- dreaming and abstracted — she will cial retirement.

never think of it more." So saying, 6 There's that young Powis asking Mr Green charmed away his own all sorts of questions about some great annoyance by the headlong plunge friends the Vivians have in the other he made into next week's sermon, end of the county," said the Curate. wherein the divine speedily forgot “ If your friend Miss Margaret is to that there was such a family as the have him, Lina, she had better look Vivians in the world. up all her connections. A pretty Nor could the Curate have guessed, fellow! I believe he likes her too; by any possible reasoning, how heavyet if they could not help him up the ily these words fell upon poor Zaidee's ladder, Margaret Vivian might pine heart, or how she lingered on her herself to death for aught he cared. homeward way, desolate and solitary, Pity that she gives him such a chance with the last overwhelming drop But we're alĩ fools enough in such hanging on the brim of that cup of concerns."

bitterness, which was almost too So saying, the good Curate swept much for her hand to hold.


“ I think, mamma, it would be confidence in each other surely now, good for Zaidee to go with me," said that we cannot speak without disElizabeth ; "she grows very pale, guise. If it displeases Bernard, he and looks very sad. Poor child, will tell me; but I do not think it the change would rouse her again.

can." What can be the matter, I won “ Bernard will not like to share der ? But I think she should go with your company with any one. I me."

should not be pleased if he did," said " Bernard would not like it, Eliza- Mrs Vivian." Your Aunt Blundell beth," said Mrs Vivian.

is going to London. I did think I “ Bernard could say so, mother,” should send Sophy and Zaidee with said the bride, with her sweet tran- her for a little change. I confess, Elizaquil composure, and her faint passing beth, Zaidee bewilders me; and she blush. “ We have not so slight a is not ill either, for I have spoken to

« VorigeDoorgaan »