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have been thirty-six ministers of the It was no new thing, this waiting for interior. It is relatively satisfactory, the scapegrace son; the girl had grown with regard to the continuity and sta- up to it, for she would not know her bility of French foreign policy, to know brother should she meet him in the that there have been only half as many street. Since sight had left the old ministers of foreign affairs. On which mother's eyes she had fed her heart his comment is that these frequent upon this hope. changes keep up a certain excitement, He had left them eighteen years beand do not seem to do the country much fore in a fit of passionate resentment harm. He thinks that ministerial in- against his father, whose only fault stability appears to act like a sedative, had been too great an indulgence for and to prevent more serious complica- the son of his old age. Nothing had tions. We are glad to believe that the been too good for dear Stephen-hardly English temperament is essentially anything had been good enough. Edudifferent from that of the French; but cated at a charity school himself, the should we ever realize the fond dreams simple old clergyman held the nrisof our advanced Radicals, and have taken view that no man can be eduannual Parliaments with paid members, cated above his station. we may go through a course of some
There are some people who hold this what similar experiences, which will at view still, but they cannot do so much least give us "a certain amount of ex- longer. Strikes, labor troubles, and citement."
the difficulties of domestic service; socalled gentleman farmers, gentleman shop-keepers and lady milliners-above
all, a few colonies peopled by univerFrom The Cornhill Magazine. sity failures, will teach us in time that THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.
to educate our sons above their station "Yes, mother, he will come. Of course is to handicap them cruelly in the race he will come!" and the girl turned her of life. drawn and anxious young face towards Stephen Leach was one of the early the cottage door, just as if her blind victims to this craze. His father, havmother could see her action.
ing risen by the force of his own will It is probable that the old woman di- and the capabilities of his own mind vined the longing glance from the from the people to the Church, held, is change in the girl's tone, for she, too, such men do, that he had only to give half turned towards the door.
his son a good education to ensure his a habit these two women had acquired. career in life. So everything-even to They constantly looked towards the the old parson's sense of right and door for the arrival of one who never wrong—was sacrificed to the education came through the long summer days, of Stephen Leach at public school and through the quiet winter evenings; university. Here he met and selected moreover, they rarely spoke of other for his friends youths whose futures things, this arrival was the topic of were ensured, and who were only passtheir lives. And now the old woman's ing through the formula of an educalife was drawing to a close, as some tion so that no one could say that they lives do, without its object. She her- were unfit for the snug government self felt it, and her daughter knew it. appointment, living, or inheritance of a
There was in both of them a subtle more substantial sort that might be sense of clinging. It was har to die waiting for them. Stephen acquired without touching the reward of a won- their ways of life without possessing drous patience. It was cruel to de. their advantages, and the consequence prive the girl of this burden, for in was something very nearly approachmost burdens there is a safeguard, in all ing to ruin for the little country reca duty, and in some the greatest hap- tory. Not having been a university piness allotted to human existence. man bimself, the rector did not know
that at Oxford or Cambridge, as in the little exclamation of surprise and alarmy, one may live according to one's most of fear. tastes. Stephen Leach had expensive "Mother,” she exclaimed, “there is tastes, and he unscrupulously traded some one coming along the road.” on his father's ignorance. He was The old lady was already sitting up iu good-looking, and had a certain bril- bed, staring with her sightless orbs ilancy of manner which "goes down" towards the window. well at the 'varsity. Everything was Thus they waited. The man stopped against him, and at last the end came. opposite the cottage, and the two At last the rector's eyes were opened, women heard the latch of the gate. and when a narrow-minded man's eyes Then Joyce, turning, saw that her are once opened he usually becomes mother had fainted. But it was only stony at the heart.
momentary. By the time she reached Stephen Leach left England, and be the bed her mother had recovered confore he landed in America his father sciousness. had departed on a longer journey. The “Go," said the old lady breathlessly, ne'er-do-well had the good grace to "go and let him in yourself.” send back the little sums of money Down-stairs, on the doorstep, the girl saved by his mother in her widowhood, found a tall man of thirty or thereand gradually his letters ceased. It abouts, with a browner face than Enwas known that he was in Chili, and giish suns could account for. He looked there was war going on there, and yet down into her eager eyes with a strange the good old lady's faith never questioning wonder. vered.
“Am I too late?” he asked in a voice
which almost seemed to indicate a hope “He will come, Joyce,” she would say; "he will surely come.”
that it might be so. And somehow it came to be an un- "Vo, Stephen,” she answered. “But derstood thing that he was to come in mother cannot live much longer. You the afternoon when they were all ready are just in time.” for him—when Joyce had clad her The young man made a hesitating pretty young form in a dark dress, and little movement with his right hand when the old lady was up and seated and shuffled uneasily on the clean in her chair by the fire in winter, by stone step. He was like an actor called the door in summer. They had never
suddenly upon the stage, having no imagined his arrival at another time. knowledge of his part. The return of It would not be quite the same should
this prodigal was not a dramatic sucho make a mistake and come in the
No one seemed desirous of morning, before Joyce had got the learning whether he had lived upon
husks or otherwise, and with whom he house put right.
had caten. Yet, he never came. A greater iu
The quiet dignity of the firmity came instead, and at last Joyce girl, who had remained behind to do
all the work and bear all the burden, suggested that her mother should not
seemed in some subtle manner to deget up in bad weather. They both knew what this meant, but the episode prive him of any romance that might
have attached itself to him.
She igpassed as others do, and Mrs. Leach
nored liis half-proffered hand, and was bedridden. Still she said:"He will come, Joyce! He will surely turnjug into the little passage, led the
way up-stairs. come.”
Stephen Leach followed silently. He And the girl would go to the window
was rather large for the house, and and draw aside the curtain, looking especially for the stairs; moreover, be down the quiet country road towards had a certain burliness of walk, such as the village.
is acquired by men living constantly in 'Yes, mother, he will come!" was her the open. There was a vaguely-pained usual answer; and one day she gave a look in his blue eyes, as if they had
suddenly been opened to his own short- times. What a great moustache! I' comings. His attitude towards Joyce knew you had been a soldier. And the was distinctly apologetic.
skju of your face is brown and a little When he followed the girl across the rough. What is this? what is this, threshold of her mother's bedroom, the Stephen, dear? Is this a wound?” old lady was sitting up in bed, holding “Yes," answered the Prodigal, speakout trembling arms towards the door. ing for the first time. “That is a sword
Here Stephen Leach seemed to know cut. I got that in the last war. better what to do. He held his morbe! a colonel in the Chilian army, or was, in his arms while she sobbed and mur- before I resigned.” mured out her joy. He had no words, The old lady's sightless eyes were but his armis meant more than his lizys fixed ou his face as if listening for the could ever have told.
echo of another voice in his deep quiet It would seem that the best part of tones. happiness is the sharing it with some "Your voice is deeper than your
father's ever was," she said; and all "Joyce” was the first distinct word the while her trembling fingers moved the old lady spoke, "Joyce, he has come lovingly over his face, touching the at last. He has come! Come here, deep cut from cheek-bone to jaw with dear. Kiss your brother. This is my soft inquiry. “This must have been firstborn-my little Steve."
very near your eye, Stephen, PromThe young man had sunk upon his ise me, dear, no more soldiering." knees at the bedside, probably because "'I promise that,” he replied, without it was the most convenient position. raising his eyes. He did not second his mother's propo- Such was the home-coming of the sal with much enthusiasm. Altogether Prodigal. After all, he arrived at the he did not seem to have discovered right moment in the afternoon, when much sympathy with the sister whom the house was ready. It sometimes he had left in her cradle.
does happen so in real life, and not only Joyce came forward and leaned over in books. There is a great deal that the bed to kiss her brother, while the might be altered in this world, but old lady's hands joined theirs. Just
sometimes, by a mere chance, things as her fresh young lips came within come about rightly. And yet there reach he turned his face aside, so that was something wrong, something the kiss fell on barren ground on his subtle, which the dying woman's duller tanned cheek.
senses failed to detect. Her son, her "Joyce," continued the old lady fever- Stephen, was quiet, and had not much ishly, “I am not afraid to die now, for to say for himself. He apparently had Stephen is here. Your brother will the habit of taking things as they came. take care of you, dear, when I am There was no enthusiasm, but rather
a restraint in his manner, more espeIt was strange that Stephen had not cially towards Joyce. spoken yet; and it was perhaps just as The girl noticed it, but even her small well, because there are occasions in life experience of human kind had taught when men do wisely to keep silent. her that large, fair-skinned men are
“He is strong,” the proud mother often thus. They are not "de ceux qui went on, “I can feel it. His hands s'expliquent," but go through life placare large and steady and quiet, and his idly, leaving unsaid and undone many arms are big and very hard."
things which some think they ought to The young man knelt upright and
say and do. submitted gravely to this maternal in- After the first excitement of the reventory.
turn was over it became glaringly ap“Yes," she said, “I knew he would parent that Stephen had arrived just grow to be a big man. His little fin- in time. His mother fell into a happy gers were so strong—he hurt me some- sleep before sunset; and when the ac
tive young doctor came a little later in and the prospects of her daughter; in the evening he shook his head.
a word, he asserted his authority as a “Yes,” he said, “I see that she is brother, and Joyce was relieved and asleep and quiet-too quiet. It is a happy to obey him. foretaste of a longer sleep; some old It is not in times of gaiety that people have it."
friendships are formed, but in sorrow For the first time Joyce's courage or suspense. During that long evenseemed to give way. When she had ing this brother and sister suddenly been alone she was brave enough, but became intimate, more so than months now that her brother
there, of prosperous intercourse could have woman-like, she seemed to turn to him made them. At ten o'clock Stephen with a sudden fear. They stood side quietly insisted that Joyce should go by side, near the bed, and the young to bed, while he lay down, all dressed, doctor involuntarily watched them. on the sofa in the dining-room. Stephen had taken her hand in his with “I shall sleep perfectly; it is not the that silent sympathy which was first time I have slept in my clothes,” natural and so eloquent. He said noth- he said simply. ing, this big, sun-tanned youth; he did They went up-stairs together and told not even glance down at his sister, who the nurse of this arrangement. Joyce stood small, soft-eyed, and gentle at remained for some moments by the his side.
bedside watching her mother's peaceful The doctor knew something of the sleep, and when she turned she found history of the small family thus mo- that Stephen had quietly slipped away. mentarily united, and he had always Wondering vaguely whether he had feared that if Stephen Leach did return intentionally solved her difficulty as to it would only kill his mother. This, the fraternal good-night, she went to indeed, seemed to be the result about her own room. to follow.
The next morning Mrs. Leach Presently the doctor took his leave. fully conscious, and appeared to be He was a young man engaged in get- stronger; nevertheless, she knew that ting together a good practice, and in his the end was near. She called her two own interest he had been forced to give children to her bedside, and, turning up waiting for his patients to finish her blind eyes towards them, spoke in dying.
broken sentences:“I am glad you are here,” he said to “I am ready now-I am ready," she Stephen, who accompanied him to the said.
“Dears, I am going to your door. “It would not do for your sister father-and-thank God, I can tell to be alone; this may go on for a couple him that I have left you together. of days.”
I always knew Stephen would come It did not go on for a couple of days, back. I found it written everywhere but Mrs. Leach lived through that in the Bible. Stephen-kiss me, dear!" night in the same semi-comatose state. The man leaned over the bed and The two watchers sat in her room until kissed her. supper-time, when they left their "Ah!" she sighed, "how I wish I mother in charge of a hired nurse, could see you-just once before I die. whose services Joyce had been forced Joyce!" she added, suddenly turning to to seek.
her daughter, who stood at the other After supper Stephen Leach seemed side of the bed, "tell me what he is at last to find his tongue, and he talked like. But-I know, I know—I feel it. in his quiet, almost gentle voice, such Listen! He is tall and spare, like his as some big mem possess, not about father. His hair is black, like his himself or the past, but about Joyce father's—it was black before he went and the future. In a deliberate, busi
away. His eyes, I know, are darknesslike way, he proceeded to investi- almost black, He is pale-like a Spangate the affairs of the dying woman iard!"
LIVING AGE. VOL. XII. 586
Joyce, looking across the bed with "He asked me to come and tell you,” slow horror dawning in her face, he added. "I shall go back now." looked into a pair of blue eyes beneath They stood thus: he watching her tawny hair, cut short as a soldier's face with his honest soft blue eyes, she hair should be. She looked upon a failing to meet his glance. man big, broad, fair-English from “May I come back again ?” he asked crown to toe--and the quiet command suddenly. of his lips made her say:
She gave a little gasp, but made no “Yes, mother, yes.”
answer. For some moments there was silence. “I will come back in six months,” he Joyce stood pale and breathless, won- announced quietly, and then he closed dering what this might mean. Then the door behind him. the dying woman spoke again:
HENRY SETON MERRIMAN. "Kiss me," she said. “I am going. Stephen first-my firstborn! And now, Joyce-and now kiss each other-across the bed! I want to hear it-I want-to tell-your-father.”
From The Gentleman's Magazine, With a last effort she raised her ENGLISH AND AMERICANS IN FRENCH lands, seeking their heads. At first
FICTION. Joyce hesitated, then she leaned for- Novelists can expect lasting celebrity ward, and the old woman's chilled fin- only in proportion to the importance gers pressed their lips together. That and permanency of their subjects; for was the end.
principles and topics have their vicissiHalf an hour afterwards Joyce and tudes in common with all buman this man stood facing each other in the things. It is the province of the novellittle dining-room. He began his ex- ist to throw light on characters, and planation at once.
since the rapid development of the “Stephen," he said, "was shot-out means of travelling, fiction is becoming thereas a traitor. I could not tell her more and more international every that! I did not mean to do this, but year.
M. Jules Verne has taken us what else could I do?”
"Round the World in Eighty Days," He paused, moved towards the door and now the foreigner is frequently inwith that same strange hesitation troduced into the fiction of the three which she had noticed on his arrival. great book-producing countries of the At the door he turned to justify him- world-France, England, and the self:
United States of America. It may be “I still think,” he said gravely, “that true that the Mistress Jones and Sir it was the best thing to do."
Williams in French novels are rather Joyce made no answer. The tears poor translations of Mrs. Jones and Sir stood in her eyes.
There was some- John Williams seen in London drawingthing very pathetic in the distress of rooms, and the Transatlantic Britons this strong man, facing, as it were, an seen through Parisian authors' emergency of which he felt the deli- glasses are not "such real flesh-andcacy to be beyond his cleverness to blood men and women of the States” as handle.
those, for instance, whom Mr. Henry "Last night," he went on, “I made Jaques so well limns; but the French all the necessary arrangements for your people introduced into English and future just as Stephen would have American novels are also frequently made them as a brother might have exaggerated specimens of humanity. done. I-be and I were brother-officers The wonderful series of cosmopolitan in a very wild army. Your brother- novels written by M. Jules Verne, and was not a good man. None of us the skilfully drawn descriptions of the were."
adventures of the English and AmeriHis hand was o:) the door.
can tourists among the Greek brigands