bre coloring is artistically toned down of individual types is limited, and the and the author has drawn three living general characteristics have been sterportraits. The sisters who are laid eotyped by time and custom. It is as to rest in the green graves after a sad tacking and beating about in a land.. though short experience of life's fitful locked Highland loch to launching fever, fall victims to the intensity of out on the wide Atlantic or braving their mutual love, to the insane the storms of Cape Horn. crotchets of a feather-brained mother, and to the caprice of a gay young cave alier, who courts, who conquers, and who rides away.

But we feel more for the sufferings of the grave clergy

From The National Roviow. man who, having petted the luckless A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S MARRIAGE. children in the nursery, and won the love of the elder and more thoughtful,

Mr. Anthony Santal, a gentlemanburies his affections in one of the

commoner of Christchurch, Oxford, graves, and is doomed to an old age

was a person of some distinction, beunconsoled by oblivion. Yet really he ing young, handsome, and possessed has no cause for regret, since sorrow

of large landed property at Minsterhas sanctified a worldly nature. In

acres, in Derbyshire. He had been de"Robert Urquhart,” the canvas is

prived in early youth both of father rather overcrowded with such paro- and mother, but had attained his machial worthies as flourished in Glen jority in the year 1816, and entered Quharity and Drumtochty, but though

on the enjoyment of his estate. the author seeks his adventurous he

It was on the last day of the sumroes among school teachers, he makes

mer term in that year that Mr. Santal, them human, impressionable, and in- whilst walking in the High street at flammable. They make love with a

Oxford, noticed in the window of a. spirit and gallantry which leaves little jeweller's shop a gold signet ring exto desire, and their experiences among posed for sale. Its solid and antique the Scottish Bohemianism of literary construction arrested his attention, London are as exciting as those in and he entered the shop and inquired Mr. Barrie's "When a Man's Single."

its history and price. The jeweller Whether the popularity of the new stated that the ring had been dug up Scotch novel will endure is a question at some village in the north of Oxfordwe hesitate to answer in the affirma- shire, and had been brought to him by tive. A moderate amount of the semi

a laborer. It bore an incised coat of intelligible Scottish dialect must go a arms of which Santal was shown an long way with Southern readers, and impression; and the man added that a already we see signs that even the competent antiquarian had blazoned it apostles of the new dispensation can- heraldically as Barry nebuly of six arnot repeat themselves with impunity, gent and sable, showing that the wavy preserving freshness and originality. bands by which the shield was crossed There is a certain picturesqueness in were alternately silver and black. He weaving Thrums, and there is the sub- had not been able to ascertain to what limity of Highland grandeur in Drum- family these arms belonged, but there tochty; but, after all, a novelist must was cut on the inside of the ring a rely upon human interest for his ef- motto, Beando Beatior, which was, he fects, and even genius must sooner or gathered, to be translated, In blessing later exhaust the materials in a back- thou shalt be blessed. Santal's fancy of-the-world industrial townlet, or was attracted by the ring, and as the secluded Highland glen. The variety price asked by the jeweller was by no



means excessive, he bought it forth- fields, and perceived that he had lost with, and with a youthful fancy, put his path. As he picked his way careit on the third finger of his left hand, fully through the darkness, he met which it fitted tolerably well.

with a belated peasant who at first He had determined to make the re- seemed alarmed and endeavored to turn journey from the university to pass on, but on Santal speaking to him his home on horseback this summer excused himself by saying that it was instead of by stage-coach as was his St. John's Eve when spirits walked, custom; and as the distance from Or- and that he had not known what to ford to Minsteracres was long enough think of a horseman met in so lonely to occupy several days, he was to take and unusual a spot. He told Santal with him a riding servant to carry his that Winterbourne was still eight mails. He left Oxford on the evening miles distant, but led him to a lane of the 22d of June, 1816, and passed which would bring him direct to his the first night at Woodstock. Late on destination. Santal gave him money the afternoon of the 23d he found him- and set out at a brisk trot, but he self on the confines of Warwickshire; heard the man shouting after him diand desiring to see Laffontine Abbey, rections to be very careful in fording which lay a little off the main road, he a brook which crossed the road a mile struck across the meadows to the from Winterbourne. ruins, but sent his servant forward to After riding for three-quarters of an the village of Winterbourne, where an hour he saw a wide sheet of water inn called the Bejant Arms had been gleaming before him, and recognized recommended to him as a good rest- in it the ford of which the man had ing-place for the night.

spoken. But on coming to the brink The remains were sufficiently pic- he hesitated to cross, for the heavy turesque to induce him to make a pen- rain had evidently swollen the stream, cil sketch of them, for he was more so that it had overflowed its banks, than a tolerable draughtsman. His and was now crossing the road in a picture so engrossed his thoughts that raging torrent. The breadth of the he paid little attention to the extreme water was at least twenty yards; and sultriness of the air, or to the contin- though white posts had been placed ual mutterings of distant thunder, un- on either side to mark the ford, they til a heavy raindrop fell on his paper, were in the middle almost entirely and he looked up to see the sky behind covered. him black with ominous thunder- Glancing round in some doubt, he clouds.

saw on the right hand, among trees, The storm broke with unusual fury, the lights of a house; and turning his and though he found shelter in the horse towards it determined to inquire ruins both for himself and for his there as to the depth of the water, and horse, two hours elapsed before he if he found it impassable to ask shelventured to resume his journey. It ter for the night. The lights were at was now past ten o'clock and the thun- no great distance, and the undulating der and rain had ceased, but the rising turf, studded at intervals with large wind swept masses of clouds across the trees, convinced him that he was ridsky, and the night was growing ex- ing through a park; though he had ceedingly dark. Santal was anxious noticed neither paling nor any other to lose no time in pushing on to Win- enclosure. The sky had grown a little terbourne, and took what he thought lighter, and he was soon able to make was a short cut back to the highroad, out against it the huddled outline of but after a quarter of an hour's rid- a large house; but although he was ing found himself in miry tillage certainly approaching the front of it, LIVING AGE, VOL. XII.


he could not distinguish any road or cakes and fancy bread, cold meats, drive. In a moment more he pulled tankards of liquor, and drinking-cups. up before a projecting porch with an The room was entirely empty, though arched doorway in the centre of the the tables showed that the company house, and dismounting, knocked on had but recently left it; and Santal the heavy oak door with the butt of was surprised to see that the panelled his riding-whip.

walls were festooned at intervals with His attention was now engrossed by bunches of black crape. Again he esthe behavior of his horse. Ever since sayed to question his guide; but the entering the park the animal had man left the room, saying that he showed signs of terror and excite would fetch his mistress. ment, frequently stopping short, start- A few moments elapsed, and then ing aside, and making obstinate en- through a side door, which opened on deavors to turn back. The butt of to the dais, there entered a very beauSantal's whip had scarcely sounded on tiful girl of eighteen or nineteen the door when it swung slowly open, years. She was tall in stature, and as if his coming had been awaited; her pale face and red eyes showed but at the same moment his horse signs of recent weeping. Her dress reared with such suddenness as to snap was of pure white silk; she wore a the rein, and, breaking loose, rushed lace stomacher, and a mass of flaxen madly away into the darkness. In hair was confined in a net of heavy wheeling round the animal struck its gold thread. She walked straight master with its flank, and flung him towards Santal, and said, speaking in violently to the ground.

a low but very clear and musical voice, For a moment Santal was stunned, “You are welcome, sir, to such hospibut almost immediately gathering tality as our poor house can offer. You himself up he saw standing before come at a sorry time, and it is but a him in the porch a sober-faced man, sorry greeting that we can give you. dressed entirely in black, and having I pray you be seated and eat, though the appearance of a lackey. Santal these are but funeral meats; for we was about to ask to whom the house are to-morrow to lay my poor father's belonged, and to beg that a servant body in the grave, and are even now might be sent to look for the runaway engaged in devotions for the repose horse, when the man, without speak- of his soul.” ing, turned back into the house and With that she motioned him to be beckoned to him to follow.

seated, and sinking herself on a bench On this invitation Santal entered, hid her face in her hands and wept and noticed that the hall was bare ex- bitterly. Santal was deeply moved, cept for a few oak settles, and a quan- and his sorrow and sympathy overtity of pikes, helmets, and armor coming his astonishment, he tried which hung on the walls. The floor every means to comfort and console was strewn with sprigs of evergreen her, but she remained for some minshrubs, and there was a smell in the utes immersed in grief. After a time air of resin and spices with which the she collected herself sufficiently to trodden leaves mingled a peculiar lift her head and to enter into converodor. Following his conductor, he sation with him. She took from him passed through the corridor and en- his heavy riding cloak, hanging it over tered a lofty banqueting hall or din- the back of an oaken settle; and then ing-room, with a large oriel window pressed him to eat and drink. “For opening on to a dais at the far end. the hospitality of my father's house, Here were oaken tables on which were she said, “hath never failed, nor shall placed trenchers of various kinds of it now, though you be the last to


whom it shall ever be offered.” She estates passed by entail to a distant took from the table curiously cousin, who would have her marry wrought bottle, and, filling a silver him, and whom she hated; and then beaker with wine of a deep golden she hid her face again and sobbed as color, said, “Drink this; it is old Pas- though her heart would break. caret and came from Laffontine Ab- They were alone in the shadowy bey; it will save you from chills, and hall, and Santal felt an infinite pity from our sorrow palling on you.” steal over him. He moved nearer and Santal thought of Laffontine Abbey as sat by her side. "Lady,” he said, and he had seen it a mass of ruins that his own voice sounded strange to him very evening, and it seemed to him and like another's, “do not grieve as that the wine must indeed be strangely one without hope. I, Anthony Santal, old.

will give you a home: I will be your Bowing to his hostess, he drank protector, and you shall be my wife.” deep; the generous liquor warmed He put his arms about her and drew him; he felt a strange strength and her to him. She did not resist, but gladness niove through every limb, rather moved towards him, and a and the incidents and fatigues of the great tenderness mastered him as he evening became scarce remembered felt her young form pressed against things. While he humored her by him. She hid her face on his breast, partaking of the food she set before and he bent down and kissed very revhim, he learnt so much of her history, erently the flaxen hair, and then raised without unduly pressing her or ap- the tear-stained face to his and kissed pearing to ask questions, as informed her on the lips. So she sat, locked in bim that she was Cecilia Bejant, only his arms; it seemed a minute; and yet child to the late Roger Bejant, who it seemed a lifetime, for the event of a had died two days before.

lifetime had happened to him, and his She filled his silver cup again, and old life stood far away. when he drained the second draught They spoke little, and no one enhe saw how wonderfully beautiful she tered to interrupt their sweet fancies; was. The great room was but faintly but at length the tinkling of a bell, lighted; there were only a few candles heard faintly from within, roused of wax placed here and there, but one their attention. The girl rose, and stood on the table opposite her, and taking her lover by the hand, led him the light fell full on her face. Her hair through several passages to another was of the lightest flaxen, her eyes part of the house. They reached at Were liquid blue, and her countenance length a Gothic archway, and passing Wore an air of unmistakable distinc- through, Santal found himself in a tion.

chapel. Here was a strong scent of Santal drained a third draught and incense, and the air was heavy with felt a new fire coursing in his veins, the fume. A few candles shining and knew that it was love. She spoke through the haze gave a look of unagain in her low, clear voice; and now reality to the objects on which their she no longer kept her head bowed light fell, and left the greater part of but raised it, looking at him as she the building wrapped in vague gloom. spoke, and their glance meeting, he In the aisle there was placed a coffin, gazed into the depths of her eyes, and supported on tressels, and covered read there answering love. She told with a rich pall. There were a numhim that to the bitterness of her fath- ber of persons present, all kneeling, er's death was added the bitterness of motionless, and apparently devoutly leaving her home and going as an out- following the service which a priest cast, she knew not whither. All the was conducting at the altar, his low

monotonous chanting seeming only to

there was no light in the chapel, but intensify the stillness. The girl loosed he could see that there was over the her hand from Santal's, and, motion- altar a large window of the Gothic ing to one of the benches towards the style, divided by stone mullions; and west, on which only one man was sit- that the roof was lofty with much orting, she passed on up the aisle, and nate timber-work, although the details knelt on a fald-stool which had evi

were lost in obscurity. High up on dently been placed for her near the the walls were suspended helmets, head of the coffin. Santal copied the frayed banners, and funeral hatchattitude of his neighbors, and fell on ments with elaborate coats of arms, his knees; indeed, the strange solem- which the faint light did not permit nity of the scene was well calculated of his distinguishing. to inspire feelings of sorrow and rev- And still the monotonous chanting erence to the exclusion of all ordinary went on, and at intervals rose the verthoughts and everyday concerns. The sicle, “Subvenite Sancti Dei, occurrite low chanting of the priest was only Angeli Domini,” and the motionless, varied at long intervals by his reciting kneeling mourners responded, "Susin a louder voice the versicle, “Subve- cipientes animam ejus." nite Sancti Dei, occurrite Angeli Dei," The figure of Santal's betrothed, for to which the congregation responded so he now regarded her, kneeling with in a deep murmur, “Suscipientes ani- her flasen hair and white dress mam ejus.”

against the pall of the coffin, caught Santal's attention was at first en- the light from the candles and shone grossed in the service that was going out curiously from the surrounding forward, and in the effort to distin- gloom. She reminded him of kneeling guish the words of the Latin prayers

statues of alabaster that he had seen that the priest was reciting. But after on ancient funeral monuments; her a while the monotony wearied him, head was bent, and she was absorbed his thoughts wandered, and he began in her devotions. Then his eye wanto observe his surroundings more ac- dered from the bowed form to the curately. He perceived that the forty pall, and he saw that the coat of arms or fifty persons present were all men, embroidered on it was a plain shield, and all habited in black gowns, and crossed by wavy bars of silver and that the priest kneeling at the altar black alternately. The tall silver canwore a black cope with a Calvary em- dlesticks which stood at the side of broidered in scarlet on the back. The the coffin flung a light sufficiently altar itself was draped with purple, strong to enable him to decipher the having on it four lighted candles, and motto repeated in Gothic characters a silver crucifix in the centre. Beside under each shield, and he found it to the coffin also were lighted wax can- be "Eeando Beatior.” This discovery dles, of a taper shape, three on either at once arrested his thoughts and side, in tall silver candlesticks; and by brought him back for a moment to the the candles stood mutes gowned in realm of ordinary life, for he rememblack, whose heads were bowed in an bered that the gold ring that he had attitude of grief, and entirely veiled in bought at Oxford was charged with hoods or cowls. The coffin itself was similar arms and motto. He took it placed with the feet to the east, and off his finger and examined to make covered with a black pall, bordered There were the same wavy bars with silver, and embroidered with a across the shield, and on the inside the coat of arms, many times repeated. same inscription, “Beando Beatior,” Except for the candles on the altar which he now recognized as a motto and those which stood by the coffin, punning on the name of Bejant, in the


« VorigeDoorgaan »