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you may suppose that my sensations were not pleasant when I found that during the night spent in that cave I had been robbed of my despatches." "Robbed of your despatches!" she said, in a tone of surprise; but I could have judged its genuineness better had I been able to look below the mask. "I knew nothing of that. M. de Marigny, whom, by the by, I have not seen since, hurried me off in the morning-would not even have you wakened to give you our thanks-and after all you had been through you slept sound. It was for that I requested you should be presented to me when I saw you here you had your mask off as you talked with the Prince-to thank you. But now you talk to me about repayment. I do not understand-no," she repeated with a petulant haughtiness, "I do not understand."
I was puzzled, perplexed. I stood before her with a feeling of confusion, even of humiliation. I had begun by taking the ground of the accuser. She had so turned the tables upon me, either by feminine cunning or genuine innocence, that I found myself now rather in the position of seeking excuses a schoolboy before his dame.
"Is it possible," I said, "that you did not know? I found myself, when I awoke, alone. You were gone, you and your compatriot, with my despatches."
"What!" she interrupted quickly. "It was he-Henri de Marigny-that had stolen your despatches?"
"It was your friend, madame, who came with you."
"My friend-yes," she said in an undecipherable tone. "And so But how do you know he had them? How was it proved?"
"By the most conclusive means, madame. By catching him and taking them from him."
"And you thought-ah, yes, you thought-" She laughed as she said it, but her tone grew hard and a little
"You shrill and unpleasant to hear. thought I had helped him to steal them -that I was his accomplice! Of course, I understand now. It was natural. But we must talk no longer here already people are beginning to look and smile and remark it. I must see you-where? Did not I hear that you were a friend of the Vicomtesse d'Arcy? She is my good friend too-related a little, a long way off. Will you be there? To-morrow afternoon, say, at one o'clockmay I expect to see you? Au revoir." She lifted her domino a moment as she turned away, leaving me in the most singular confusion of sensations and ideas.
Towards noon of the following day the sun came out brightly after a showery morning, and the promenaders, like snails after the rain, thronged upon the Steyne. As I leaned upon the rails, watching the company go past, unheeding me, I chanced now and again on scraps of conversation that promised to be of no little interest could I have followed their thread. This being impossible, I was thrown back on the burden of my own thoughts, when my ears were of a sudden caught by the phrase, "Young! My good sir-young, did you say? Deuce take me; but she's as old as Phoebe Hessel."
Several promenaders passed me at the moment, and as I hastily looked up I was not able to distinguish which of them was the speaker, and before I could hear more they had moved on. "Phoebe Hessel, that was the name."
Ranging my eye over the now crowded Steyne, I soon had the fortune to espy him of whom I was in search, the Master of the Ceremonies, standing disengaged, as luck would have it, in the neighborhood of Donaldson's Library.
"Can you tell me?" I said, as soon as
our formal salutations were exchanged -"you know everybody in Brightoncan you tell me if there is such a lady here, and known to you, as Miss, or Mrs., or Lady-for aught I know to the contrary-Phoebe Hessel?"
"Phoebe Hessel?" he repeated, and looked at me in such surprise. "Am I to take you seriously? Do you really wish for an introduction to Phoebe Hessel?"
"Before all things in life at the moment," I said earnestly.
"Well," said he, glancing at his watch with the air of a person of tremendous engagements, "yes, I have a minute or two to spare for you. Permit me, my dear sir," he added, linking his arm in mine and marching me off with him down the Steyne towards the sea. "Last evening," he said, as we went along, he with his hat perpetually in his hand, saluting those we passed "Last evening I had the honor of presenting to you, at their desire, two of the most distinguished people in Brighton. This noon I have the privilege, at your own request, of introducing you to the third. The Duke of Orleans," he said, naming a person to whom he lifted his hat. "Ah, and there is Lady Jane Seymour, coming home from her drive on the Downs. His Grace of St. Albans," &c., &c. It was a liberal education in polite society to walk this couple of hundred yards or so with the Master of the Ceremonies. We were arrived on the sea front before I had time to put any further questions on the subject of this Phoebe Hessel that occupied my mind. Very shortly we turned into Marine Parade, by old Steyne Street, at the corner whereof sate an old woman in a chair beside a basket of fruit, comfits, pincushions and other pretty trifles made from the shells gathered on the beach.
1 It has been stated to me that there was no lady of this historic name in Brighton.or elsewhere at that time. No matter; it is
Before this good dame my conductor came to a sudden anchor, and bowing with all his courtly grace, said: "Permit me, sir, the honor of presenting you to Mrs. Phoebe Hessel."
For a moment I stood stock-still and dumfounded with surprise--why, I can hardly say. I had formed no distinct image of this Phoebe Hessel in my mind; yet assuredly she was a very different figure from any that my idle fancy had conjured up. Certainly it would have been contrary to all the probabilities had a lady of rank or position been the go-between of myself and the Skipper of Darby's Cave; yet such was the atmosphere of romance in which, by the circumstances of my meeting him, he had been invested in my mind, that I think any such medium would have surprised me less than this. However, it took me no long time to recover my wits and commence asking the old lady, who appeared of a great age, though of undiminished vigor, the price of her wares.
On a better inspection of her she appeared a singularly picturesque figure, clad in a brown serge dress, with a faultlessly clean white apron, a black cloak with a hood, and a spotted red and white kerchief about her neck. On her head she wore an old-fashioned black bonnet over a white mob-cap. With the fine tact belonging to his office, the Master of the Ceremonies had withdrawn a few steps, and was pensively gazing over the bathingmachines out to sea.
The old lady struck me as a person of little blandishment, and it was with a gruff voice and manner, resembling that of a man rather than woman, that she told me the price of the various wares contained in her basket. But no sooner had I mentioned, after a cautious look round to assure myself that
doubtless a trivial error in a name, with no bearing on the narrative.-H. G. H.
no loiterer was within hearing, my purpose in seeking an introduction than her bearing underwent a marvellous change.
"The Skipper of Darby's Cave? Ay, the good boy, the great boy. How can I serve your honor with him?"
"Merely by conveying him a brief note," I said, "or message."
"Ay, a message," she said; "a message, dearie, rather than a note. He does not like the written words much. Neither do I; for the matter of that I cannot read them. But your message is safe with me, if it be not too long for my old wit."
"So he assured me, Mrs. Hessel," I said. "It is, 'Let the man go'; that is all. And as for the sender-he does not know my name-tell him it was 'Nelson's friend' that sent it."
In the course of our conversation I had told the smuggler that the great Admiral had admitted me to some small share of his friendship, and I am aware that the fact had not counted for little in the good aid he gave me.
"Ay, 'Nelson's friend,'" she said, "and, 'Let the man go.' I can remember so much. No fear, this night, sir, he shall have the message; that is, if he be at his usual haunts. The message that I shall send him will make good speed. Ask me no questions and I ask you none. 'Let the man go'; that is enough."
"That is enough, that is all I want to say to him. He will not fail to know its meaning."
"The brave boy," she said; "he will not fail. I thank your honor kindly," as I placed a piece in her hand. "Your honor is generous, and I will ask you to take your pick of my basket as a keepsake of old Phoebe Hessel."
I chose a pretty trifle in shellwork, and left her to rejoin Colonel Wade, with many apologies for the minutes I had kept him waiting.
"By no means, sir," said he. "The sea-I love to gaze upon the sea. With what glorious sensations does it inspire the human bosom-when seen from the land, that is," he added, with the apprehensions of a landsman. "But now, alas! I am a slave to the world of artifice and fashion. The world of nature, that is my true delight, I can rarely study as I should wish." So saying the good Colonel, as arrant a lover of the artificial and conventional as fashion ever made out of man, linked his arm again in mine, and we took our way back towards the Steyne.
"Tell me," I said as we went, "who is this Phoebe Hessel? She seems a fine old child of nature-a fine strong face."
"It is a remarkable history, sir. One of the most remarkable stories of the time I may perhaps say the most remarkable. As I have told it not much less than one thousand and one times, I can tell it, perhaps, fluently, and even parrot-like, with scarce a knowledge of the sense of the words. This Phoebe Hessel was born at Stepney, in London, in the spring of 1713. She has therefore, you see, judging by her present state of health, some prospect of living to be a centenarian." (As a matter of fact, I may now say that she died but a few years ago at the remarkable age of 108.) "Her life of adventure commenced at the early age of fifteen (she being then, as she says, 'a fine lass for her years') with her falling in love with one Samuel Golding, a private in the regiment famous under the name of Kirke's Lambs. In 1728 the regiment was ordered to the West Indies, whereupon the fair Phoebe, rather than be parted from her lover, doffed the petticoat, donned the breeches, and enlisted in the 5th Regiment of Foot, which also was at that time under orders to proceed to the West Indies under the command of General Pearce. She bore a good character in the regiment, not a soul sus
pecting her secret, and when the regiment came home she served with the Duke of Cumberland's army in the Low Countries, and received a wound from a bayonet in the sword-arm at the battle of Fontenoy. Still the secret of her sex remained her own; she will tell you, should it interest you to question her, that she dug a hole in the ground a gallon big and told her secret to the earth; for even a woman, as she says (and she has some scorn for her sex), will not want to tell a secret to mortal soul if she have already confided it to the ground. Maybe it is so; and 'twere well if other ladies that we may know would practise the like precaution. To resume. Phoebe in the course of her further service was stationed with her lover at Gibraltar, where he fell sick; and he being invalided home, she told General Pearce's lady of her sex and history, who procured her her discharge and sent her home to England. The excellent woman nursed Golding through his illness and married himbetter late, you perhaps will say, than never-when he came out of hospital. No matter, sir," said the Master of the Ceremonies, striking his gold-topped cane emphatically on the ground, "such faithfulness you will rarely find in woman, whether within or without the holy bond of wedlock."
"A marvellous history, indeed," I answered him. "I had fancied that her manner had in it something of a military abruptness and despatch. But tell
me that is not the end of Phoebe. We have left her Golding; she now appears by the name of Hessel."
"Golding, sir, died after twenty years of married happiness, and the good Phoebe paid his memory the compliment of marrying after a brief widowhood a man named William Hessel, with whom she lived until his death, and for the last ten years or more has subsisted in the manner that you see now, save that for a while she had a donkey on which she used to trade about with fish and various wares to neighboring villages. Now, as you see, she grows a trifle old, being in truth well over ninety years of age, and contents herself with sitting on sunny days to eke out her pension with such profit as she makes from the wares carried in her basket."
"No wonder," I said, "that you-and another who spoke to me about hershould expect that I should know a personage so interesting. But you must let me keep you no longer. I owe you a thousand thanks. You have done me more service than you know. We enter again the world of fashion."
"Alas, alas! my dear sir, the frivolities of the time! How much better and more peaceful the scene by ocean's waves! Ah, my lord, your humble servant." And with that the good old hypocrite, hat in hand, was bowing to an aged bishop who mingled with much content in the throng of fashionables.
(To be continued.)
Horace G. Hutchinson.
THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY.
"Above all thy rarities, old Oxenford," said Charles Lamb, “what do most arride and solace me are thy repositories of mouldering learning, thy bookshelves-;" and of these he and M. Bourget put the Bodleian en première ligne. Some such sentiment all studious Oxonians must feel when they watch the proceedings at the forthcoming celebration of the Tercentenary of this the most beautiful and charming of the institutions symbolizing their University.
Unlike the annals of many similar institutions, the story of the foundation and growth of Bodley's is a pleasant aside in our national history. The earliest record of a University Library relates to a small collection preserved in St. Mary's Church. It was only when Bishop Cobham of Worcester made a handsome gift of some MSS. that a library room was built adjoining St. Mary's. As this was but 45 feet by 20 feet, a donation of six hundred MSS., worth "a thousand pounds and more," from Duke Humphrey of Gloucester made another move necessary. An upper floor was built to the Divinity School, which lies between the Sheldonian Theatre and the garden of Exeter College. This became known as "Duke Humphrey's Library," and is now the oldest part of the Bodleian. In course of time the name of the "good" Duke might have been permanently associated with the object of his beneficence. In 1550, however, Edward the Sixth's reforming Commission bethought themselves that a much needed reform was the destruction of papistical literature. Being apostles of "thorough," the well-meaning iconoclasts seized and burned all books that appeared popish. Other works they sold to tailors as measures, and to
bookbinders for covers. The ruin was complete: only four or five of the Duke's gifts have been recovered; and the replenishing of fires was the last base use of the shelves and desks.
To Sir Thomas Bodley fell the labor and honor of refounding. He was born on the 2nd of March, 1544-5, at Exeter. His father, driven from England during the Marian persecutions, settled on the Continent. Hence Thomas received his early education at Frankfort and Geneva, under the distinguished guidance of Chevalerius in Hebrew, of Phil. Beroaldus in Greek, and of Calvin and Beza in divinity. At the death of Mary he was sent to complete his studies at Magdalen; took B.A. in 1563, exchanged to Merton in 1564, and took M.A. two years later. He became proctor in 1569, and soon afterwards officiated as public orator. Meantime he had begun a Greek lectureship in the college hall without stipend; but with such success that the lectureship became a permanent institution. Leaving the University, he travelled in France, Italy, and Germany long enough to acquire a proficiency in modern languages. He returned to take up the post of gentleman-usher to his queen-and, we must add, to marry a wealthy widow of Devon, for a part of the 10,000l. he spent on the Bodleian came from this connection. He carried the ability and energy which seem to have been characteristic of him into his next employment as diplomatist, insomuch that when he returned home in 1597, after serving in France and Holland, it was with the hope of soon enjoying a Secretaryship. It had been promised to him twice. Burleigh commended him. Essex praised him. Who gave him the heartier support is, in fact, a matter for