moment) wrought out by a process so ab- to sentiment but to calm common sense solutely automatic, a sequence of physical (which means intuitive reason) to answer cause and effect, so rigidly prescribed by the question, whether, even upon that unswerving natural laws, that the com- supposition, the sublime doctrines of nat. plete twin-worlds of animal and vegetable ural theology are in even the slightest delife were virtually predestined when mat- gree shaken, or its attitude towards the ter first formed itself into animated self-human intellect on the one side, and tomultiplying cells ! Can either natural wards the universe on the other, weaktheology or revealed religion make any ened ? severer demand on faith, or offer any My contention is, that to employ scien. more astounding mystery than this stu- tific hypotheses, whether universally acpendous hypothesis ?

cepted or not, as engines for the suppres. Adaptation, by automatic modification, sion of religious belief, is as great a to variable circumstances, is in human crime against science as to employ the workmanship justly reckoned a trium. authority of religion to suppress scientific phant proof of foresight and skill. Com- inquiry is a criine against religion. pensation pendulums or balance wheels,

EUSTACE R. CONDER. by means of which variations in tempera. ture correct the very errors in the speed of a chronometer which they produce, are admirable examples. Suppose that a chronometer could be constructed which

From The Cornhill Magazine.

NO NEW THING. would lengthen or shorten its hours according to a ship's motion in longitude, in a voyage round the world, and mark Greenwich time when the ship again anchored in the Thames, such a miracle MRS. WINNINGTON bad not lived for a of science-guided art would immortalize matter of sixty-odd years in the world the inventor. What then are we to say without having acquired a measure of of a

scheme of adaptation to circum- philosophy. Experience had not, per. stances, which reaches through all time, haps, taught her wisdom, but it had given from the first appearance of life on our her son knowledge of the nature of men globe ; which enlists all the forces of the and things, and it had dowered her with universe, co-ordinates all the conditions a certain dogged patience, which enabled of life, bases birth and growth on decay ber to put a good face upon temporary and death, and maintains in stable equi- checks. When, therefore, Tom Stanni. librium this immense living whole, every forth left Longbourne without making member of which is momently undergoing any declaration of his sentiments with dissolution and reconstruction? Results regard to Edith, she did not for a moment such as these must have an adequate give way to despair. Love at first sight

The process itself is what we was, as she was aware, an exceptional have to account for. Method is not causa- phenomenon and one which could not be tion, any inore than circumstance is cause. counted upon as likely to occur in any By what logic or philosophy does evidence individual case; nor indeed had Mrs. lose its worth or force just when its com- Winnington, in her most sanguine moods, pass and grandeur are infinitely enlarged? expected to bring matters to a crisis The compensation pendulum required a within the space of a few weeks. So mind to account for it. Is the mechanism speedy a success would have been a rare of natural selection (supposing it real) stroke of fortune, just as it would be a simpler than that of a clock ?

piece of singularly bad luck if Mr. Stanli does not belong to my purpose to at.niforth, who had remained a bachelor for tempt the invitiny task of analyzing and more than half his life, were to yield to testing the evidence alleged in support of other fascinations before he saw Edith this doctrine. It consists of an enormous again.. Mrs. Winnington accepted the mass of facts, of richest significance and chances of the game with all the outward profoundest interest. All that is wanting equanimity of a practised player, and is a logical nexus between the facts and smiled sweetly upon her prey as she bade the conclusions. The major premiss is him good-bye, cordially re-echoing his conspicuous by its absence. But I have wish that they might meet in London next gone upon the assumption that natural spring, if

She. hoped it selection, as well as organic evolution, is might be sooner, she said, and added scientifically true. I have appealed not within herself an asseveration that it most




She is very

certainly should be ; but that this joyful person's loss is very commonly another's reunion was to be brought about no later gain; and if Edith had to pass through than in the following month, through the a period of vicarious martyrdom, those instrumentality of Mr. Brune, was more whom she had left behind her at Longthan she bargained for, Mr. Stanniforth bourne enjoyed, by way of compensation, not having thought it necessary to men- a brief taste of the blessings of peace. tion the circumstance.

Philip, who was much in Nellie's sociIt is often instanced as a proof of the ety at this time, declared to her that he good-will of Providence towards mankind had never been so happy before in his that horses, elephants, and other domes life. “All things considered,” said he, tic animals should be ignorant of their “ I am inclined to think that nothing suits own strength : perhaps we ought to be me like domesticity. Meg and I lead a no less thankful that ladies of Mrs. Win. sort of Darby and Joan life, and we enjoy nington's stamp seldom succeed in gaug. it prodigiously. We don't talk much; for ing the measure of man's timorousness. there is an unspoken agreement between It would be difficult to say why Tom us to avoid all mention of absent friends Stannisorth should have been afraid of a and other unpleasant topics; we sit beamfat, smiling woman who had no hold over ing at one another and hugging ourselves him and could do him no possible injury; in a sybaritish contentment. but the fact remains that he was so, and busy, as she always is, in a quiet, leisurethat, knowing what her wishes were, and ly sort of way, with her correspondence having very nearly made up his mind not and her charities and what not; and I to gratify them, he drew a long breath of twirl my thumbs and watch her, which is relief as soon as he had escaped from her delightful. Did you ever notice what a presence.

soothing kind of person Meg is to watch? Far, however, as that mature strategist She is never in a hurry; she doesn't was from being dismayed, she was a little upset things, or catch her drapery upon disappointed and somewhat out of tem- corners of the furniture, and her dress per; and when Mrs. Winnington was out doesn't accompany all her movements of temper those about her fared sadly, with a maddening swish-swish, like the For several days she made the lives of dresses of some ladies whom we know, the inhabitants of Longbourne a burden I should doubt whether there is another to them; after which she discovered that woman in the world so pleasant to live the state of her health absolutely required with as Meg. She never rubs you the three weeks of Homburg, where, as she wrong way; she never asks you whether had seen by the papers, the fashionable you would like this or that; she knows by world which her soul loved was at that intuition what you want, and there it is time largely represented.

always at your elbow." “It is a ruinously expensive journey," “She spoils you,” said Nellie. she remarked to Margaret. * Of course

"Just so; and if there is a thing I love we shall travel like the paupers that we it is being spoilt. I should like to go on are, going straight through, and engaging existing in this way to the end of my a couple of rooms on the second floor of days.” some lorrible little public house when we " It wouldn't be good for you,” said arrive. I am sorry for poor dear Edith's Nellie, shaking her head wisely. sake that everything will be so uncom- · Don't you think so? Perhaps you fortable; still I feel that it is a positive are right. Nice things never are good duty to go.”

for one, and no doubt a little bracing is Mrs. Stanniforth did not accompany expedient from time to time. Well, we the travellers to Germany. Her share in shall all be braced soon, when Mrs. Winthe expedition was confined to the de- nington comes back with renewed vigor frayal of its cost and to telegraphing to to tell us about all the dukes and duchsecure suitable lodgings for her mother esses whom she has encountered at Hom. and sister at their journey's end. As the burg, and to ask me whether I have yet waters promptly brought the gout out of decided upon some means of making an the former lady's system, and had the honest livelihood. There is no complaint effect of keeping her (as she wrote) “ upon so tantalizing as the gout. It is forever the fat of her back in screaming ago threatening terrible things, but somehow nies” for ten days, it may be presumed or other it won't proceed to extremities — that Miss Winnington bad a bad time of or rather it won't proceed beyond them. it. Happily, however, the workings of And yet there are so many vital points human affairs are such that what is one I open to attack. Possibly Mrs. Winning.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


ton may not possess á heart, but I know to encumber themselves with a store of she has a stomach, and, considering the cheap presents for those whom they have reckless manner in which she often treats left behind them. It was not Mrs. Winit, it certainly ought not to be an invul- nington's habit to give money to the nerable one. Still, it is borne in upon me servants at Longbourne; there were too that she will die in a green old age, after many of them, she said; and, besides, having worried all the rest of us into our they ought not to be led to expect tips graves. Meanwhile, let us make the most from one of the family; still, she should of an interval of calm.”

like them to think that they had all been "If you are so fond of a quiet life, why remembered. Consequently, on the even. are you perpetually running away from ing of her return from abroad, she would it?" asked Miss Brune pertinently. sail majestically into the housekeeper's

“Business,” answered Philip. “I have room, bearing an ancient leather bag, business sometimes, though you might from whence issued a bountiful supply of not think it, to look at me. Í shouldn't thimbles, Palais-Royal jewellery, and the go to London at this time of year if I like, while at the bottom of this cornucould help it.”

copia there commonly lurked some speThe answer was a moderately truthful cially hideous gist, destined for the mis

It was indeed a sense of duty rather tress of the house. than inclination that led Mr. Marescalchi “It is so difficult to choose anything to pay occasional Aying visits to Coomas- that dear Margaret will like,” Mrs. Win. sie Villa at this season; and although, nington would often say; " but I think when once he was there, the mystery and one is always safe with some little ornafun of the thing pleased him well enough, ment for the drawing-room table.” he was never sorry to return to the supe. This time, however, the drawing-room rior luxuries and refinements of Long. was spared, and it was the hall that was bourne. True to her established rule of decorated with a loud - voiced cuckoo conduct, Margaret asked no questions, clock, which had been picked up a bargain thereby escaping the proverbial fate of at Interlaken. The slumbers of the enthose who thus court deception. When tire household were disturbed by the Philip remarked casually that he was go-periodical hootings of this delightful acing up to town from Saturday to Monday quisition up to two o'clock at night, when to do some shopping and get his hair cut, it triumphantly gave forth its note thirtyshe did not remind him that Saturday six consecutive times; after which it afternoon is not a favorable time for mak- suddenly ceased from troubling, and the ing purchases in London, or point out that weary bad rest. Nothing would induce it was physically impossible that his hair it to resume its labors on the following could be any sliorter than it was already. morning, and suspicions of foul play She said nothing ; but went about her rested upon various persons; but, fortuavocations with a smiling face and an un-nately, Mrs. Winnington had come home easy heart, telling herself that in this she in the best of humors, and was not diswas but submitting to the destiny of all posed to quarrel with anybody. fond and wise mothers, and taking com. At breakfast she gave, as Philip had fort from the lesson which experience had predicted she would, a detailed description taught her, that as soon as her boy got of all the exalted personages whom she into trouble of any serious nature, he had fallen in with at Homburg, and of how would be tolerably certain to come to her delighted they had been to see her again, in order to be helped out of it.

and how they had been wondering, all Thus the summer slipped quietly and through the London season, what could imperceptibly away: The mornings and have become of her, and how Lady This evenings became chilly; the fields grew and Lady That had inquired very kindly ripe for the sickle, and patches of red and after dear Margaret, and had said what a yellow began to show themselves upon the pity it was that she should shut herself green of the woods. Then came harvestup so. And what made these reminis. time and the slaughter of the partridges. cences so cheering was that the great It was not until.the middle of September | people had not confined themselves to that Mrs. Winnington, who had proceeded empty civilities. from Homburg to Switzerland (by the doc- “Dear Margaret, I don't know what tor's orders, she averred), reappeared, you will think of me. It seems very unbringing her sheaves with her. She was kind to leave you again so soon, after one of those persons who think it their having been away all this time; but I am duty, whenever they visit the Continent, I afraid we cannot manage more than three

[ocr errors]

with you:

weeks here at present. People laugh at seem 'expedient to do so, had no idea of me when I say that my time is not my being thrown over by him; “do you mean own; and they won't believe that I would to say that he is actually staying in the far rather remain quietly here than rush house, and never told you he was comabout visiting from house to house. Of ing? Oh, I simply can't believe it!” course there is this to be said, that, for "I met Nellie at church this morning, dear Edith's sake, I ought not to drop old and she told me,” Margaret said. "I friends; and with so many, you know, it was a little annoyed about it, because I is a case of out of sight out of mind. Very cannot understand why Tom should not cordial and kind if they bappen to meet have come to this house if he wanted to one; but if they don't Mrs. Win- be in these parts at all; and also because nington finished her sentence with an — well, because, for many reasons, I think expressive shrug of her ample shoulders. it is a pity that he should have come at "In any case, you may count upon us for this particular time. But Nellie says his Christmas,” she added reassuringly. appearance was quite unexpected. Her

All this was very nice; but there was a father gave him a sort of general invitacloud upon Margaret's brow, a certain tion when he was here before, and yesterguilty unwillingness to meet her mother's day they got a telegram from him in the eye, which that observant lady could not morning, saying that he would arrive in help detecting in the long run. As soon time for dinner, unless he heard from as breakfast was over, she took her daugh- them to the contrary:” ter aside, and interrogated her affection- "Upon my word!” exclaimed Mrs. ately.

Winnington. And, after a short pause “ Now, my dear child, I do trust you “ Now I don't want to triumph over are not feeling hurt at my running away you, dear Margaret; I detest people who from you. It really is a matter of duty: are forever saying I told you so,' and I If it were not for dear Edith, I should never do it myself. Still, I can't help just ask for nothing better than to be always reminding you – what did I always tell

I am sure you must be aware you about that man?” of that."

" I don't remember. Nothing that was Margaret, without intentional irony, not in his favor, I am sure. I thought assured her mother that she had never you had such a very high opinion of entertained the smallest doubt upon that Tom.” point, and added that she was only too “No, no; I don't mean him; I mean glad that Edith should have every oppor- that Brune man. I am very seldom detunity of seeing the world and people. ceived in a sace, and there is a look of “Especially men. It would be a great slyness about his which has repelled me misfortune if she were to decide her fate, from the first. I warned you that he was or if it were to be decided for her, too not to be trusted, and now you see! As hastily."

for the girl, she has been setting her cap “Oh, my dear, I have decided nothing. at Mr. Stanniforth all along. I saw it Mr. Stanniforth would be suitable in a plainly enough, but it really did not seem great many ways, but of course I don't worth while to take any notice of it, parmean to say that she might not do better. ticularly as I suspected that it was almost Indeed, I almost think that she ought to as much a desire to spite me as to catch do better, if only one were not so cut off him that was at the bottom of her behav. from all society! But if it is not that, ior. And now their telegraphing off for what is it that is troubling you, Margaret? him on the very day of my return puts it I know you have something upon your beyond a doubt. Óh, yes, my dear Marmind.”

garet, I know what you would say. You “ Indeed I have not."

are so innocent yourself that you fancy Oh, but, my dear, I can see,” per- everybody else must be like you;


you sisted Mrs. Winnington.

sure don't know the world, my dear, and you that there is something:

never will. Well, I confess I am asion. No; at least, nothing of any impor- ished. Ingratitude one expects; but a tance. I was rather astonished this morn- deliberate, coarse insult! – for this is ing to hear that Tom Stanniforth had nothing less to me there is something arrived at Broom Leas last night, that is more shocking, more repulsive in vulgar. all."

mindedness, than in any mere external What!cried Mrs. Winnington, who, vulgarity.” however prepared she might have been to Margaret did not smile, even inwardly. throw Mr. Stanniforth over if it should If her mother was vulgar-minded, she


"I ain

[ocr errors]


was unaware of the fact, or at all events | little to admire - when so beautiful and was able to shut her eyes to it. She felt charming a girl as Edith might be his for it incumbent upon her, however, to exon- the asking. Consequently there was no erate the Brunes from the charge brought cause for agitation. The Brunes, to be against them, explaining that Nellie pos. sure, had been guilty of gross insolence, itively disliked Tom Stanniforth, and had and should be duly chastised for it at a gone rather out of her way to show that fitting opportunity; but this was only a she did so.

matter of detail. “Oh, my dear child, what a stale old The Longbourne party walked over to trick! I should not have thought that Broom Leas late in the afternoon, and that pretence of a little aversion could found Mr. Stanniforth clad in white fanhave taken in even you. I don't for a nels and playing a vigorous game of lawnmoment suppose that the girl has a chance tennis with Walter and two younger menof success, but it is sickening to think bers of the Brune family, while Nellie that any one can behave in that way. and her father looked on. After the Poor Mr. Stanniforth ! don't you think it usual greetings had been exchanged, and would be as well to ask him to come on the chances of the rain holding off till here when he gets away from those peo- night exhaustively discussed, Mrs. Win

nington bore down upon the culprit with “I would rather not,” answered Mar. ponderous playfulness. garet slowly. And, besides, I doubt “We are very much offended with whether he could come. Nellie said he you; we have a great mind not to speak was only able to run down for a day or to you at all. Of course we know that two, and that his object was to see their you must have been dreadfully bored harvest-home. I suppose they don't have when you were in this stagnant neighborharvest-homes in the neighborhood of hood before; but we did think that if Manchester.”

anything made you wish to return to it, “Harvest-home!” The depth of Mrs. you would have given our house the prefWinnington's scorn was not to be ex. erence, dull as it is." pressed in words. “Of course," said she, “ But I wasn't asked,” answered Tom,

we shall be expected to attend this rus- with a side glance at Margaret, whose tic festivity.”

eyes were resolutely fixed upon a noisy “I was thinking that perhaps we might fight of rooks overhead. make some excuse."

Oh, Mr. Stannisorth, I am afraid that · Not for the world! They would think will never do! you must really find some we were offended, which is the very last more plausible excuse than that. Marga. thing one would wish them to imagine. ret, dear, I am telling this very uncivil No! you may do as you like; but I shall brother-in-law of yours that we shall cerbe there."

tainly not forgive bim unless he promises And in the ring of Mrs. Winnington's to come to us next week, and stay until voice, as she announced this decision, he is told to go away. She won't listen there seemed ample promise that she to me. Do you know, Mr. Stanniforth, I would not be there for nothing.

really believe she is a little offended. Of Nevertheless, when the time came, she course I was only in fun; but, joking showed herself under no aggressive as. apart, I think dear Margaret is the least pect, and advanced to the attack with a bit in the world hurt. She is very sensigreat deal of affectionate sprightliness. tive, and you know there are not many She herself would have said that she was people whom she is strongly attached to. too well-bred to behave otherwise; but Do you think it was quite kind to come the truth was that she felt: no serious down and stay with comparative stranalarm, and thoroughly despised her ene gers, and not even to let her know that my. She was a woman of very limited you would be here?" perceptions, and could never really be. Mrs. Winnington had stationed herself lieve that there were people in the world in the middle of the tennis-court, and had whose tastes and opinions differed from broken up the game; a circumstance her own. When she encountered any which had perhaps escaped her notice, such, she usually set them down as mad but which would not in any case have or dishonest. Now, Mr. Stannisorth be struck ber as being worthy of attention. ing neither the one nor the other, it was The two boys had strolled away towards impossible that he should entangle him- the farmyard, grumbling under their self with Nellie Brune - a person in breath. Walter was talking eagerly to wbom Mrs. Winnington could see but | Edith, whose color was coming and go


« VorigeDoorgaan »