« VorigeDoorgaan »
possible to give effect; regarding all that read the prophetic year by the Julian calenpasses around it with a smile of senile mad- dar, or otherwise, would be thus significant. ness; the patron still, so far as it can or dare In point of fact, both periods have been very act upon them, of the very principles which significant,— the first as heralding the Euroled it to persecute Huss and Luther; the pean Revolutions (and amongst them, that at lion still, but an old lion, with teeth broken Rome) which led to the occupation of Rome and claws pared; with the worst possible by the French ; and the second as signalgovernment of its own, and acting as a uni- ised by the imperial Convention which is to versal obstructive (wheresoever it has influ- terminate it. But, as already said, it is imence) to the formation of others that are bet- possible not to distrust minute interpretater; giving the world infinite plague, and a tions of unfulfilled prophecy. While we source of perpetual difficulty and .worry to hold with Bishop Butler, that it is imposEurope ; with its subject nations more and sible for any man who compares the history more divided as to the extent of their alle of the world with the prophetic pages of giance, and as to the measure of the faith to the Bible, not to be struck with the general be reposed in its Decrees; while on the other conformity between them; and, while we hand, we see it about to be deserted by the may well believe that, as the scroll of the secular supports which have so long upheld future is read by the light of events, that it, and challenged to try whether it can view will be strongly corroborated, it is difkeep itself from tumbling down. If the ficult to imagine, from the very nature of French Emperor had studied, for ten years prophecy, (addressed as it is to a world together, how to involve it in difficulties, governed by moral laws, and yet predicting and perhaps Europe with it, he could not events which are to admit of no possibility have thought of anything better than of being either accelerated or frustrated,) bis somewhat enigmatical “ Convention.” that it can be otherwise than conjecturally Whether fairly carried out with all its interpreted. He who would pry too closely appendant conditions, or not, it offers al- into unfulfilled prophecy, is like the too cumost equally perilous alternatives to rious Athenian, who wished to knows what Rome. It is impossible for any man not it was that the philosopher was carrying to presage,
as Huss and Luther could concealed under his cloak ?” I carry it in their day — tbat a time of startling there," was the reply, “ for the very purchange is at hand.
pose of concealing it." It is much the If we could put faith in what most of us same with the enigmas of unfulfilled prophemust always be very distrustful of, - the in- cy till the event makes them plain. ‘And if terpretation of unfulfilled prophecy, it would we too importunately inquire as to the fube difficult not to be startled by the singu- ture, that may be said to us, which was said lar coincidence that the time fixed by many to those who asked the Saviour, “ Lord, wilt interpreters, (and some of them lived long thou at this time restore the kingdom to ago,) for the denouement of the great pa- Israel ?”. “It is not for you to know the pal drama synchronises with that fixed for times or the seasons which the Father hath carrying out the imperial Convention, name. put in his own power.” ly, the year 1866; for surely it is not easy Meanwhile, it does not require any great to imagine the Emperor Napoleon determin- sagacity to believe that startling changes ing his policy by conjectural interpretations are coming upon that wonderful fabric of the Apocalypse ! It is very certain, not which it took so many centuries to compact, only that some recent interpreters have fix- and has already taken so many to disinteed on that year as being a significant epoch grate; that, " after the Convention,” chaos; for the Papacy, but that Fleming, more and that none need particularly covet to be than a hundred and fifty years ago, predict- in Rome in the month of December, 1866. ed that either 1848 or 1866, according as we
upon the sick
He felt every
please God to send him back safe, he would
put his fate to the touch. And till then he ROGER HAMLEY'S CONFESSION. would be patient. He was no longer a boy
to rush at the coveted object; he was a man Roger had a great deal to think of as he capable of judging and abiding. turned away from looking after the carriage Molly sent her father, as soon as she could as long as it could be seen. The day be- find him, to the Hall; and then sate down fore, he had believed that Molly had come to the old life in the home drawing-room, to view all the symptoms of his growing love where she missed Cynthia's bright presence for her, — symptoms which he thought had at every turn. Mrs. Gibson was in rather been so patent,
- as disgusting inconstancy a querulous mood, which fastened itself to the inconstant Cynthia ; that she had felt upon the injury of Cynthia's letter being that an attachment which could so soon be addressed to Molly, and not to herself. transferred to another was not worth hav- “ Considering all the trouble I had with ing; and that she had desired to mark all her trousseau, I think she might have written this by her changed treatment of him, and to me.” so to nip it in the bud. But this morning “ But she did her first letter was to her old sweet, frank manner had returned you, mamma,” said Molly, her real thoughts - in their last interview, at any rate. He still intent upon the Hall puzzled himself hard to find out what could child - upon Roger, and his begging for have distressed her at breakfast-time. He the flower. even went so far as to ask Robinson wheth- “ Yes, just a first letter, three pages long, er Miss Gibson had received any letters that with an account of her crossing; while to morning ; and when he heard that she had you she can write about fashions, and how had one, he tried to believe that the letter the bonnets are worn in Paris, and all sorts was in some way the cause of her sorrow. of interesting things. But poor mothers So far so good. They were friends again must never expect confidential letters, I after their unspoken difference; but that have found that out.” was not enough for Roger.
“ You may see my letter, mamma," said day more and more certain that she, and she Molly ; " there is really nothing in it." alone, could make him happy. He had telt " And to think of her writing, and crossthis, and had partly given up all hope, while ing to you who don't value it, while my his father had been urging upon him the poor heart is yearning after my lost child'! very course he most desired to take. No Really life is somewhat hard to bear at need for “trying ”to love her, he said to times.” himself, — that was already done. And yet Then there was a silence - for a while. he was very jealous on her behalf. Was “Do tell me something about your visit, that love worthy of her which had once been Molly. Is Roger very heart-broken? Does given to Cynthia ? Was not this affair too he talk much about Cynthia ?” much a mocking mimicry of the last ? “No. He does not mention her often; Again just on the point of leaving England hardly ever, I think.” for a considerable time ! If he followed her “ I never thought he had much feeling. now to her own home,- in the very draw- If he had had, he would not have let her go ing-room where he had once offered to Cyn- so easily." thia! And then by a strong resolve he de- “I don't see how he could help it. When termined on this course. They were friends he came to see her after his return, she was now, and he kissed the rose that was ber already engaged to Mr. Henderson - he pledge of friendship. If he went to Africa, had come down that very day," said Molly, ħe ran some deadly chances; he knew bet- with perhaps more heat than the occasion ter what they were now than he had done required. when he went before. Until his return he My poor head!” said Mrs. Gibson, putwould not even attempt to win more of her ting her hands up to her head. love than he already had. But once safe see you've been stopping with people of rohome again, no weak fancies as to what bust health, and — excuse my saying it, might or might not be her answer should Molly, of your friends — of unrefined habits, prevent his running all chances to gain the you've got to talk in so loud a voice. But woman who was to him the one who excelled do remember my head, Molly. So Roger all. His was not the poor vanity that thinks has quite forgotten Cynthia, has he ? Oh! more of the possible mortification of a re- what inconstant creatures men are! He fusal than of the precious jewel of a bride will be falling in love with some grandee that may be won. Somehow or another, next, mark my words! They are making a
pet and a lion of him, and he's just the kind | I should have thought that it was a little of weak young man to have his head turned mortifying to Roger — who must naturally by it all; and to propose to some fine lady have looked upon himself as his brother's of rank, who would no more think of marry- heir — to find a little interloping child, balf ing him than of marrying her footman.” French, half English, stepping into his
“I don't think it is likely,” said Molly, shoes !” stoutly. Roger is too sensible for anything “ You don't know how fond they are of of the kind.”
him, the squire looks upon him as the “ That's just the fault I always found with apple of his eye.”
sensible and cold-hearted ! Now, that's Molly! Molly! pray don't let me hear a kind of character wbich may be very you using such vulgar expressions. When valuable, but which revolts me. Give me shall I teach you true refinement - that rewarmth of heart, even with a little of that finement which consists in never even thinkextravagance of feeling which misleads the ing a vulgar, commonplace thing ? Provjudgment, and conducts into romance. erbs and idioms are never used by people of Poor Mr. Kirkpatrick! That was just his education. Apple of his eye!'I am realcharacter. I used to tell him that his love ly shocked.” for me was quite romantic. I think I have “ Well, mamma, I'm very sorry; but after told you about his walking five miles in the all, what I wanted to say as strongly as I rain to get me a muffin once when I was could was, that the equire loves the little boy ill ?"
as much as his own child; and that Roger “ Yes !” said Molly. “It was very kind oh! what a shame to think that Roger of him.”
And she stopped suddenly short, as if she “ So imprudent, too! Just what one of were choked. your sensible, cold-hearted, commonplace “I don't wonder at your indignation, my people would never have thought of doing. dear!” said Mrs. Gibson. “ It is just what With his cough and all.”
I should have felt at your age. But one “ I hope he didn't suffer for it ?” replied learns the baseness of human nature with Molly, anxious at any cost to keep off the advancing years. I was wrong, though, to subject of the Hamleys, upon which she and undeceive you so early - but depend upon her stepmother always disagreed, and on it, the thought I alluded to bas crossed which she found it difficult to keep her tem- Roger Hamley's mind !” per.
“ All sorts of thoughts cross one's mind “ Yes, indeed, he did! I don't think he it depends upon whether one gives them ever got over the cold he caught that day. harbour and encouragement," said Molly. I wish you had known him, Molly. I some- “My dear, if you must have the last times wonder what would have happened word, don't let it be a truism. But let us if you had been my real daughter, and talk on some more interesting subject. I Cynthia dear papa's, and Mr. Kirkpatrick asked Cynthia to buy me a silk gown in and your own dear mother had all lived, Paris, and I said I would send her word People talk a good deal about natural af- what colour I fixed upon - I think dark finities. It would have been a question for blue is the most becoming to my complexa philosopher.” She began to think on the ion; what do you say?" impossibilities she bad suggested.
Molly agreed, sooner than take the trou* I wonder how the poor little boy is ?” | ble of thinking about the thing at all; she said Molly, after a pause, speaking out her was far too full of her silent review of all thought.
the traits in Roger's character which had “Poor little child ! When one thinks lately come under her notice, and that gave how little his prolonged existence is to be the lie direct to her stepmother's supdesired, one feels that his death would be a position. Just then they heard Mr. Gibson's boon."
step downstairs. But it was some time beMamma! what do you mean?” asked fore he made his entrance into the room Molly, much shocked. Why every one where they were sitting. cares for his life as the most precious “How is little Roger ?” said Molly, thing! You have never seen him! He is eagerly. the bonniest, sweetest little fellow that can Beginning with scarlet fever, I'm afraid. be! What do you mean?”
It's well you left when you did, Molly. “ I should have thought that the squire You've never had it. We must stop up all would bave desired a better-born heir than intercourse with the Hall for a time. If the offspring of a servant, - with all his ideas there's one illness I dread, it is this." about descent, and blood, and family. And “But you go and come back to us, papa."
“ Yes. But I always take plenty of pre- pleasure to hear his name) — “and I both cautions. However, no need to talk about agree that his mother knows much better risks that lie in the way of one's duty. It is how to manage the boy than his grandfaunnecessary, risks that we must avoid." ther does. I suppose that was the one
“Will he have it badly?” asked Molly. good thing she got from that hard-hearted
“I can't tell. I shall do my best for the mistress of hers. She certainly has been wee laddie.”
well trained in the management of children, Whenever Mr. Gibson's feelings were And it makes her impatient, and annoyed, touched, he was apt to recur to the lan- and unhappy, when she sees the squire give guage of his youth. Molly knew now that ing the child nuts and ale, and all sorts of he was much interested in the case.
silly indulgences, and spoiling him in every For some days there was imminent dan- possible way. Yet she's a coward, and ger to the little boy; for some weeks there doesn't speak out her mind. Now by bewas a more chronic form of illness to con- ing in lodgings, and baving her own sertend with ; but when the immediate danger vants — nice pretty rooms they are, too; was over and the warm daily interest was we went to see them, and Mrs. Jennings past, Molly began to realize that, from the promises to attend well to Mrs. Osborne strict quarantine her father evidently Hamley, and is very much honoured, and thought it necessary to establish between all that sort of thing - not ten minutes' the two houses, she was not likely to see walk from the Hall, too, so that she. and Roger again before his departure for Africa. the little chap may easily go backwards and Oh! if she had but made more of the un- forwards as often as they like, and yet she cared-for days that she had passed with him may keep the control over her child's disciat the Hall! Worse than uncared for; days pline and diet. In short, I think I've done on which she had avoided him; refused to a good day's work,” he continued, stretchconverse freely with him; given him pain ing himself a little; and then with a shake by her change of manner; for she had read rousing himself, and making ready to go in his eyes, heard in bis voice, that he had out again, to see a patient who had sent for been perplexed and pained, and now ber him in his absence. imagination dwelt on and exaggerated the “A good day's work !” he repeated to expression of his tones and looks.
himself as he ran downstairs. "I don't One evening after dinner, her father know when I have been so happy!” For said,
he had not told Molly all that had passed “ As the country-people say, I've done a between him and Roger. Roger bad bestroke of work to-day. Roger Hamley and gun a fresh subject of conversation just I have laid our heads together, and we as Mr. Gibson was hastening away from have made a plan by which Mrs. Osborne the Hall, after completing the new arrangeand her boy will leave the Hall."
ment for Aimée and her child. “What did I say the other day, Molly ? ” “ You know that I set off next Tuesday, said Mrs. Gibson, interrupting, and giving Mr. Gibson, don't you ?” said Roger, a Molly a look of extreme intelligence.
little abruptly. " And go into lodgings at Jennings' "To be sure. I hope you'll be as sucfarm; not four hundred yards from the cessful in all your scientific objects as you Park-field gate,” continued Mr. Gibson. were the last time, and have no sorrows “ The squire and his daughter-in-law have awaiting you when you come back.” got to be much better friends over the little “Thank you. Yes. I hope so. You fellow's sick-bed; and I think he sees now don't think there's any danger of infection how impossible it would be for the mother now, do you?” to leave her child, and go and be happy in "No! If the disease were to spread France, which has been the notion running through the household, I think we should in his head all this time. To buy her off, have had some signs of it before now. One in fact. But that one night, when I was is never sure, remember, with scarlet fe. very uncertain whether I could bring him ver." through, they took to crying together, and Roger was silent for a minute or two. condoling with each other; and it was just “ Should you be afraid,” he said at length, like tearing down a curtain that had been " of seeing me at your house ?” between them; they have been rather “ Thank you ; but I think I would rather friends than otherwise ever since. Still decline the pleasure of your society there Roger” – (Molly's cheeks grew warm and at present. “It's only three weeks or a her eyes soft and bright; it was such a month since the child began. Besides, I
shall be over here again before you go. the interview which I trusted might end in I'm always on my guard against symptoms the renewal of our relations,— engaged to of dropsy. I have known it supervene.” Mr. Henderson. I saw her walking with
“ Then I shall not see Molly again!” said him in your garden, coquetting with him Roger, in a tone and with a look of great about a flower, just as she used to do with disappointment.
I can see the pitying look in Molly's Mr. Gibson turned his keen, observant eyes as she watched me; I can see it now. eyes, upon the young man, and looked And I could beat myself for being such a at him in as penetrating a manner as if blind fool as to- What must she think of he had been beginning with an unknown me? how she must despise me, choosing the illness. Then the doctor and the father false Duessa.” compressed his lips and gave vent to a “ Come, come! Cynthia isn't so bad as long intelligent whistle. “Whew!” said that. She's a very fascinating, faulty creahe.
ture." Roger's bronzed cheeks took a deeper "I know ! I know! I will never allow any shade.
one to say a word against her. If I called “ You will take a message to her from her the false Duessa it was because I wantme, won't you ? A message of farewell ? " ed to express my sense of the difference behe pleaded.
tween her and Molly as strongly as I could. “Not I. I'm not going to be a message- You must allow for a lover's exaggeration. carrier between any young man and young Besides, all I wanted to say was,
I'll tell my womenkind I forbade think that Molly, after seeing and knowing you to come near the house, and that you're that I had loved a person so inferior to hersorry to go away without bidding good-by. self, could ever be brought to listen to me?.” That's all I shall say."
"I don't know. I can't tell. And even “ But you do not disapprove?-I see if I could, I would not. Only if it's any you guess why. Oh! Mr. Gibson, just comfort to you, I may say what my experispeak to me one word of what must be ence has taught me. Women are queer, in your heart, though you are pretending unreasoning oreatures, and are just as likenot to understand why I would give worlds ly as not to love a man who has been throwto see Molly again before I go.”
ing away his affection.” My dear boy !” said Mr. Gibson, more “ Thank you sir!” said Roger, interruptaffected than he liked to show, and laying ing him. “I see you mean to give me enhis hand on Roger's shoulder. Then he couragement. And I had resolved never pulled himself up, and said gravely enough : to give Molly a hint of what I felt till I re
“ Mind, Molly is not Cynthia. If she were turned, — and then to try and win her by to care for you, she is not one who could every means in my power. I determined transfer her love to the next comer.” not to repeat the former scene in the former
“ You mean not as readily as I have done,” | place, in your drawing-room, however replied Roger. "I only wish you could I might be tempted. And perhaps, after all,
. know what a different feeling this is to my she avoided me when she was here last.” boyish love for Cynthia.”
“Now, Roger, I've listened to you long I wasn't thinking of you when I spoke; enough. If you've nothing better to do with but, however, as I might have remembered your time than to talk about my daughter, afterwards that you were not a model of I have. When you come back it will be time constancy, let us hear what you have to enough to enquire how far your father say for yourself.”
would approve of such an engagement.”. * Not much. I did love Cynthia very “ He himself urged it upon me the other much. Her manners and her beauty be- day — but then I was in despair — I thought witched me; but ber letters, -- short, hur- it was too late.” ried letters, sometimes showing that she " And what means you are likely to have really hadn't taken the trouble to read mine of maintaining a wife, -1 always thought through, — I cannot tell you the pain they that point was passed too lightly over when gave me! Twelve months' solitude, in fre- you formed
engagement to quent danger of one's life — face to face Cynthia.
I'm not mercenary,
Moily has wth death — sometimes ages a man like some money independently of me, that many years' experience. Still I longed for she by the way knows nothing of, — not the time when I should see her sweet face much; — and I can allow her something. again, and hear her speak. Then the letter But all these things must be left till your at the Cape ! — and still I hoped. But you return." know how I found her, when I went to have “ Then you sanction my attachment ? ”