[Illustration: CHAMBER'S JOURNAL
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.
NO. 682. SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 1877. PRICE 1½_d._]
HYGEIA: A MODEL CITY OF HEALTH.
A remarkable attempt has been made to bring into one focus numerous suggestions put forth, within the last few years by social improvers and sanitary reformers. These suggestions, as our readers are aware, take a very wide range. Matters relating to water-supply, drainage, disposal of refuse, lighting, ventilation, dry foundations and dry walls to houses, stoves and fireplaces, cookery and kitchen arrangements, washing and drying appliances, cleanliness of person and of garments, cleanliness of rooms and of bedding, special arrangements for unwholesome but necessary trades and employments, provision for the sick that may not be perilous to other persons, moderation in diet and regimen, avoidance of vicious indulgences--all these and many other subjects have engaged the attention of thoughtful persons in a marked degree; and it can be indisputably shewn that the annual death-rate is lowered in districts where improvements in such matters have been extensively adopted. Mr Edwin Chadwick, perhaps the chief worker in this laudable direction, is so confident in the eventual success of such endeavours, that he announces the possibility of building a city that shall have any assignable death-rate or annual mortality, from a maximum of fifty or more in a thousand to a minimum of five or less in a thousand. Dr B. W. Richardson, a physician and physiologist of eminence, has taken hold of Mr Chadwick's idea, and sketched the plan of a city that shall shew the lowest rate of mortality. No such city--we need hardly say--exists, and he has neither the time nor the means to build one; but his purpose is to shew that it _can_ be done, whenever public opinion is ripe for it.
Dr Richardson, in an Address to the Social Science Association, afterwards published in a separate form, speaks of his _Hygeia_ or City of Health in the present tense, as if it already existed. This is done for vividness of description and brevity of language, and will be understood by the reader in the proper sense.
Hygeia, then, is a city for a hundred thousand inhabitants. (The main principles could be worked out in a much smaller community, but in a less complete form.) It has twenty thousand houses on an area of four thousand acres of ground: apparently rather densely populated, but not too much so when good sanitary arrangements are adopted. There are no very lofty houses. In busy thoroughfares, where shops are required, there are three stories or floors over the shops; and some of the best streets in private or 'west-end' neighbourhoods have four stories in all; but in others the general number is three. Underground living-rooms and kitchens there are none; instead of these, every house is built upon arches of brickwork, which form channels of ingress for fresh air, and of egress for all that is required to be got rid of. Running along beneath each main street is a railway for the transport of heavy commodities. All the streets are wide enough to admit plenty of cheerful sunlight and fresh air, and rows of trees are planted between the foot-ways and carriage-ways; the carriage-ways are paved with wood set in asphalt, and the foot-ways with stone pavements ten feet wide. Tramways are not permitted, as they cut up the roadway; omnibuses above ground and railways below will suffice instead.
All the interspaces between the backs of the houses are laid out as gardens. Churches, hospitals, theatres, banks, lecture-rooms, and other public or large buildings, follow the same alignment as the houses in the streets, but all detached; and every one flanked by a garden-space, however narrow.
There is no occasion for those unsightly concomitants of London sanitation, scavengers' carts. The accumulation of mud and dirt in the streets is washed away every day through side-openings into subways, and is with the sewage conveyed to a destination apart from the city; there are neither gratings nor open drains; and there are no 'gutter children,' because there are no gutters for children to paddle and dabble in, and because we may hope that, eventually, 'young Arabs' will disappear from our towns.
There being no rooms or offices whatever below the level of the street, how, it may be asked, are the domestic arrangements carried on? The kitchens and offices are at the top of the house instead of the bottom. Plenty of light and ventilation are thus obtained; while hot odours, being lighter than common air, pass away without contaminating the living and sleeping apartments. All the larger houses are provided with lifts, up which provisions and stores can be conveyed. As there is a constant service of water, available to the highest story of every house, the kitchen boiler may be kept constantly filled; hot water from the boiler can be distributed by conducting pipes to the lower rooms, as well as cold water from the tank or cistern--an inestimable advantage, especially in bed-rooms. Every floor or story has a sink for waste water, whereby the carrying of the uncomfortable slop-pail up and down stairs is rendered unnecessary. The scullery, adjoining the kitchen, has an opening to the dust-shaft; and so have the several floors or stories, every opening being provided with a sliding-door or shutter. The dust-bin, into which the shaft descends, is under the basement of the house. The roof of the house is nearly flat, paved with asphalt or tiles; it serves either as a pleasant little garden or as a drying-ground for clothes--the wherewithal for a laundry being provided in connection with the scullery.
The houses are built of a kind of brick which has the following sanitary advantages--glazed, so as to be impermeable to water and moisture; perforated, so as to admit of circulation of fresh air through the very substance of the walls; glazed in different colours for the interior of the rooms, thereby dispensing with the necessity for paint, paper-hanging, or whitewash, and affording scope for tasteful design in the selection and arrangement of the tints; smooth and hard, so as to be easily cleaned by washing; and some of them flattened into tiles for more convenient use as ceilings. Sea-sand is excluded from the mortar employed, on account of its tendency to imbibe and exude moisture. The chimneys, arranged on a plan prepared by Mr Spencer Wells, are all connected with central shafts; the smoke, drawn into these shafts, is passed through a gas-furnace to destroy the free carbon, and finally discharged colourless into the open air. 'At the expense of a small smoke-rate, the city is free from raised chimneys and the intolerable nuisance of smoke.' On the landing of the middle or second stories is a bath-room, supplied with hot and cold water from the kitchen above. The houses being built on arched subways, great facilities exist for the admission of gas and water into the several domiciles, and for the exit of sewage and refuse. All pipes are laid along the subways, and up thence into the houses; and workmen have easy access to these subways for the adjustment and repair of the several pipes. Abundance of water is at hand for flushing the sewers, which are laid along the floor of the subways. All the domestic offices of every kind being within the four walls of the house itself, there are none of these unsightly outhouses which so much disfigure most of our towns, and so greatly lessen the available garden-space.
In the living-rooms an oak margin of floor about two feet wide extends round the room; this is kept bright and clean by the old-fashioned beeswax and turpentine, the centre only of the floor being carpeted or otherwise covered. In the bed-rooms twelve hundred cubic feet of space is allowed for each sleeper; and all unnecessary articles of furniture, bedding, and dress are excluded--the use of a bedroom as a lumber-room being a fertile source of weakened health to the inmates. The lift already spoken of, for conveying provisions and stores to the upper story of the house, is a simple affair: a shaft runs up in the party-wall between two houses, and in this a basket-lift is raised by a rope; while side-openings connect this lift with the middle story or stories. The living-rooms have the open cheerful fireplace which English folks so much prefer to the closed stoves of many continental countries; but at the back of the fire-grate is an air-box communicating by a passage with the open air, and by another opening with the room; the heated iron box draws in fresh air from without, and diffuses it in the upper part of the room--on a plan similar to that devised by Captain Galton.
Walking through the streets, what kind of aspect does Hygeia present? There is an absence of places for the sale of spirituous liquors. Whether by permissive bills or by temperance pledges, this kind of abstinence is so far enforced; and a drunkard would be forced out of the city by the frown of public opinion. Another moral restraint which, however, is one extremely difficult to impose--we will mention in Dr Richardson's own language, as it evidently expresses his opinion as a physician: 'As smoking and drinking go largely together--as the two practices were, indeed, original exchanges of social degradations between the civilised man and the savage (the savage getting very much the worst of the bargain)--so do the practices largely disappear together. Pipe and glass, cigar and sherry-cobbler, like the Siamese twins who could only live connected, have both died out in our model city. Tobacco, by far the most innocent partner of the firm, lived, as it perhaps deserved to do, a little the longest; but it passed away, and the tobacconist's counter, like the dram counter, has disappeared.'
The streets have plenty of life and movement in them, but a minimum of rattling jarring noises, owing to the heavy traffic being conducted through the underground railways. Most of the principal factories are at a short distance from the city; as are also large clusters of workrooms let out singly. A workman can have a workroom on payment of a moderate weekly rent; in it he can work as many hours as he pleases, but must not make it his home. Each block is under the charge of a superintendent, and under the supervision of a sanitary inspector. The artisan goes away from his home to work, like the lawyer, the merchant, or the banker. There might appear to be some waste of time in this arrangement; but it is more than compensated, in the opinion of the citizens of Hygeia, by comparative immunity from disease: 'It has,' says Dr Richardson, 'been found in our towns generally, that men and women who are engaged in industrial callings, such as tailoring, shoe-making, dressmaking, lace-making, and the like, work at their own homes among their children. That this is a common cause of disease is well understood. I have myself seen the half-made riding-habit that was ultimately to clothe some wealthy damsel rejoicing in her morning ride, act as the coverlet of a poor tailor's child stricken with malignant scarlet fever. These things must be, in the ordinary course of events under our present bad system. In the model system we have in our mind's eye, these dangers are met by the simple provision of workmen's offices or workrooms.'
Public laundries are a feature in Hygeia. If the washing of a small family is done at home, the housewife knows with what she has to deal; but when 'the washing is put out,' the linen of the family may, for aught she knows, have been mixed before, during, or after the process of washing with the linen from the bed or the body of some sufferer from a contagious malady. Some of the most fatal outbreaks of disease are known to have been communicated in this manner. To avoid these evils, public laundries are established in the outskirts of Hygeia, each with an extensive drying-ground, and all under sanitary inspection.
There is no one gigantic hospital, nor any hospital for special diseases--with perhaps one or two exceptions. Numerous small hospitals are distributed equidistant throughout the city; each constructed according to the most approved and efficient plan, and surrounded by its own open grounds. One of these would suffice for about five thousand inhabitants. The current system of large hospitals is abandoned, as being equivalent to 'warehousing diseases on the largest possible scale;' while special hospitals are deemed unnecessary--'as if the different organs could walk out of the body and present themselves for separate treatment.' Each hospital has an ambulance ready to be sent out to bring any injured persons to the institution; the ambulance drives straight into the hospital, where a bed of the same height on silent wheels receives the patient, and conveys him or her to a ward. The staff is so appointed that every medical man in the city has in turn the advantage of hospital practice; whereby the best medical and surgical skill is fairly equalised through the whole community.
Homes for little children are abundant. In these the destitute young are carefully treated by intelligent nurses; so that mothers, following their daily callings, are enabled to leave their children under efficient care.
In a city so organised, it is believed that insanity would be very small in amount, and that a few small special establishments would suffice for its treatment. For the same reason huge buildings as workhouses for the destitute would be neither desirable nor necessary; small well-managed establishments, with useful work for all who are not really incapacitated, will be better both for the unfortunates themselves and for the ratepayers of the city. Ablution-baths, swimming-baths, play-grounds, gymnasia, public libraries, public schools, fine-art schools, and lecture-halls, are good and plentiful in Hygeia.
At a distance from the city are the water and gas works, and the sewage-pumping works. The water, drained from a river unpolluted by sewage, is filtered, and conveyed to the houses through iron (not lead) pipes. The sewage, brought from the city partly by its own flow and partly by pumping apparatus, is conveyed away to well-drained sewage-farms at a distance, where it is utilised as a fertiliser. Scavengers traverse the streets in early morning, and remove all refuse from roads, pavements, yards, and stables in covered vans to the sewage-farm. The public slaughter-houses, at some distance from the city, are under the control of inspectors, who examine all animals before being killed for food; and painless slaughtering, which is now known to be practicable, is adopted. The city cemetery is artificially made of fine carboniferous earth, on which vegetation springs up quickly. The dead, either in shrouds or in baskets or cradles of wicker-work, are placed in the earth, and vegetation soon covers them; and anything in the nature of a monumental slab or inscribed stone is placed in a spacious covered hall built for the purpose. The burial system is thus a compromise between the old graveyard usages to which England has been accustomed for a thousand years or more, and the very un-English process of cremation which has a few advocates among us.
Such is Hygeia, the imaginary City of Health. Dr Richardson states his reasons for thinking that mortality would lessen to eight per thousand per annum in the first generation, in a community thus domiciled and organised; and afterwards lessen to five per thousand. He says, to the audience he addressed: 'Do not, I pray you, wake up as from a mere dream. The details of the city exist; they have been worked out by the pioneers of sanitary science; I am but as a draughtsman who has drawn out a plan, which you in your wisdom can modify, improve, perfect.' Whether by speculative landowners, architects, and builders, or by social reformers who have no interested or professional motives, a scheme has been brought forward for a City of Health to be called _Hygeopolis_, somewhere on the Sussex coast; but it is only in the rough, without any detail of 'ways and means.' We fear that the whole project is little better than a dream. It is certain that a city such as Dr Richardson portrays in imagination could not be established without a revolution in our social habits; that a species of communism would supplant a good deal of individual enterprise; and that the local rates, however imposed and however collected, would be enormously heavy. Nevertheless, many of the suggestions are admirable, and could be singly worked out in most of our existing towns.
THE LAST OF THE HADDONS.
On opening the envelope sent to me by Mr Wentworth, I found a five-pound note, and a few words to the effect that Mr Farrar desired to do what was usual in the way of paying all expenses incidental to the journey and so forth, which might be incurred by the lady who accepted the engagement.
How can words express my appreciation of the good fortune which had come to me? I sat thinking over it in deep thankfulness; realising its blessedness in the sudden renewal of faith, and hope, and trust which it had brought to my fainting spirit. Then I presently recollected what had to be done, and went down-stairs and tapped at the door of the back-parlour, which was my land-lady's sitting-room.
I occupied one room at the top of the house at the modest rental of five shillings a week, slipping in and out on sufferance, as it were; and I had hitherto seen very little of Mrs Sowler, sending down my week's rent and receiving the receipt by the small maid Becky. Becky had not yet arrived at the dignity of waiting upon the first or second floor lodgers; being only a drudge to the other servants, of whom I had seen as little as of their mistress. Indeed I had no right to expect much in the way of attendance for the sum I paid. Such small services as I had received from Becky had been for the most part rendered from goodwill, and so to speak surreptitiously, as was the little I had been able to do for her. There was a sort of freemasonry between us. We had been some little comfort to each other in a quiet way, and without injury to any one else; it being understood that complaining or ill speaking was undignified, and beneath people who knew how to endure. We simply helped each other to make the best of the position we found ourselves in.
Mrs Sowler, who had been a ladies' maid, had married the butler in the family she lived with, and they had invested their joint savings in furnishing a lodging-house. She was a very great personage in the eyes of Becky, who had great reverence for elegance of attire, and considered it quite natural to be 'a bit set up, when you were dressed better than your neighbours.'
From the little I had seen of Mrs Sowler I judged her to be sufficiently 'set up;' but that in no way offended me.
Obeying a request to enter, I opened the door and walked in. Mrs Sowler had half-risen from her seat; but at sight of me she sank languidly back again.
'Oh, it's you, Miss--Miss'----
'Haddon,' I smilingly suggested, taking a seat unbidden. 'I have come to pay my next week's rent, and to say that I am going away, and shall not require my room after to-morrow morning, Mrs Sowler.'
'Going away!' she repeated, in a somewhat raised voice. 'I am sure you've had nothing to complain of here. Very few houses such as this let rooms at five shillings a week, with a member of parliament on the first floor, and a---- Why, it's worth five shillings to any one who wants to be thought respectable, to have letters addressed here! Not that it makes any difference. A paltry five shillings a week is not of much consequence to me, of course; and if you are not satisfied, you are quite welcome to go as soon as'----
'But I am, and always have been satisfied, Mrs Sowler. I can assure you I have quite appreciated the advantage of having a respectable shelter at so small a cost. It is not that'----
'Then what is it? I think I have a right to ask that much?' said Mrs Sowler, looking as though there was no exaggeration in certain rumours which had reached me to the effect that the partings with her lodgers were not always got through in the most amicable way. 'If Becky has been saucy'----
'No, indeed: she has'--I was going to say, 'been extremely good to me;' but reflected in time that Becky's goodness to me might not impress her mistress so favourably as it did me, so quietly added--'done quite as much for me as I had any right to expect, Mrs Sowler. I am leaving simply because I have succeeded in obtaining a situation.'
'A situation! O indeed!' ejaculated Mrs Sowler, sinking languidly back into her seat again; graciously adding: 'Well, you have conducted yourself in a quiet respectable way since you have been here, and I hope you will do well.'
'Thank you, Mrs Sowler;' putting down the money for the week's rent as I spoke.
'_Good_-evening; I will send a receipt up by one of the servants. And if Becky can be of any assistance in cording your boxes or what not, I have no objection.'
'I am much obliged. Good-evening, Mrs Sowler.'
Having thus taken leave of my landlady, I informed Becky--who had returned with her purchases, still in a state of wonderment at my extravagance--of my intended departure.
'I thought there was something the matter!' she ejaculated, sitting down on the edge of my small bedstead and gazing forlornly at me, as the tears began to make for themselves a channel down the poor grimed cheeks.
'I have found a home, Becky,' I said gently.
'I know I ought to be glad, for you could never have bore going on much longer like this; but I can't be just yet. O Miss Haddon, dear, it isn't your mending my stockings and things; please don't think it's because of that.'
'I do not think it, Becky. I am sure you care for me as much as I do for you, and we will both try to prove our friendship by sparing each other as much as possible at parting.'
'You will soon find other people--lots.'
'I shall find no one who will make me forget an old friend.'
'O miss, how can I be your friend?'
'You have been my only one here, Becky. But we will now put away sentiment, and try to make the most of the afternoon. You are to be my company.'
'Yes. Go down to Mrs Sowler; give my compliments to her, and say I shall be much obliged if she will kindly allow you to spend the rest of the day with me.'
'No good,' returned Becky, with a very decided shake of the head.
'Tell Mrs Sowler that I have a dress and a few other things to spare which we might easily alter to fit you,' I replied, feeling that that was the best way of appealing to Mrs Sowler's feelings. Becky had been taken from the miserable home of a drunken mother out of charity, as she was very frequently reminded, and was not as yet considered to have any claim to wages; depending upon such odds and ends in the way of clothes as fortune might bring her.
She was quick enough to see that I had hit upon the best means of inducing her mistress to consent; and at once went down to make the request. It was graciously granted; and Becky presently returned with the front of her hair well greased, and her face red and shining from hasty friction with soap and water and a rough towel, which was as much preparation for being company as she had it in her power to make.
I had some little difficulty at first to induce her to share my feast. She resolutely turned her eyes away from the cake. 'I'm not hungry, thank you, miss.'
But I soon succeeded in proving to her that I should enjoy it a great deal more with her assistance, and that much would have to be wasted without. 'Think of having to throw plumcake away, you know, Becky'--plumcake being an acknowledged weakness of Becky's. Her scruples once overcome, Becky and I feasted in good earnest, enjoying our strong tea and all the rest of it in the most convivial manner. She at first tried hard not to laugh at my little jests, with, I fancy, the notion that laughter was not proper for the occasion. But I soon had her stuffing her handkerchief into her mouth, and burying her head in the bed, to prevent the sound reaching the other lodgers, in the old fashion. Such very small jokes did for Becky, and I was not going to have my first tea-party made flat and dismal. Afterwards we passed a pleasant evening patching and contriving.
'O Miss Haddon, do you think you'd better? Are you _quite_ sure you can afford it?' again and again ejaculated Becky, quite overwhelmed by the magnificence of the gifts, and afraid I should afterwards suffer for the want of such treasures.
I smilingly unlocked two of the largest boxes, and shewed her the contents--my wedding outfit, which had remained untouched, so far as linen and so forth went, for eight years. Fortunately for me, the fashion seemed to be veering round again to that which it was when they were purchased, and the two dresses I had carefully preserved as too good for ordinary wear, would serve me for best at Mr Farrar's, until money was due to me.
'They _are_ clothes!' exclaimed Becky, looking in extreme surprise at the little heaps of linen and what not.
'What did you think my boxes contained, Becky?' I inquired in some amusement.
'Well, we knowed you paid for everything you had; but missis said you'd never be living a-most upon dry bread if there was much left in your boxes; and as to their being heavy, master said bricks would do that!'
It was impossible to divest Becky's mind of the idea that I had suddenly become recklessly and extravagantly generous, as her heap of belongings increased; and when I added a small box to contain them, with a key, her gratitude knew no bounds.
'My very own! What's give me is my own; isn't it, Miss Haddon, dear?'
I was very decided about that.
'And if I was to run away in them, it would not be thieving, would it?'
'No; it would not be thieving; but I should be very sorry if you were to run away, for then I should not be able to find you, in case I am able to obtain a situation for you near me, by-and-by. It would be wiser as well as braver to endure a little longer, Becky.' At which Becky screwed up her mouth, and gave me a little nod, which I knew meant enduring and staying.
Thus pleasantly was spent my last evening in the small room where I had many a time passed half the night anxiously speculating upon the chances of being able to earn sufficient to keep me. It had seemed but a forlorn-hope answering that advertisement, without being able to offer any testimony of previous experience. But I was becoming desperate, knowing that if I once began to sell my small belongings in order to obtain food, it would very soon be out of my power to accept an engagement, should one offer.
I set forth for the railway station the next morning on better terms with myself and the world than I had been for many a long day, Becky and I comforting each other at parting with a smile instead of a tear, as we had agreed to do.
What was my new home going to be like? The only impression which had been conveyed to me about Mr Farrar had been that he was rich and liberal. Mr Wentworth had given me no clue to the characters of either father or daughter beyond saying that the former was liberal and the latter sensitive. Liberality seemed to speak for itself; but sensitiveness might or might not be a charm, according to circumstances. A refined, self-depreciative nature is not sensitive from the same cause as is a self-loving one; and unfortunately it is not the latter kind of sensitiveness which is least prevalent. But I comforted myself with the reflection that they must indeed be difficult to please, if one so desirous of finding a home as I was could not please them.
The station at which I stopped was about twelve miles from town, and I found that Fairview was distant a short drive from thence. I took the advice of the driver of a solitary fly in waiting, and engaged it to convey me and my luggage, instead of having the latter sent, and walking, as I had intended to do. 'They'll charge you eighteen-pence for the barrow up to Fairview, and I'll take you and the luggage too for half-a-crown, miss,' said the man, in a fraternal kind of way, which seemed to indicate that he understood the cause of my hesitation, and put the case accordingly.
Very curiously did I gaze about me as the fly jogged slowly through part of a primitively built little village, and turned into a high-road, rising ground the whole way. I caught sight of some exquisite bits of Kentish scenery; beautifully wooded hill and dale, with picturesque-looking homesteads dotted about it; and pictured to myself a delightful old family house to match the scene--a gable end or mullioned window appearing here and there amidst grand old elms, with rooks cawing about them. Dwelling upon this picture, I did not notice that we had left the main road, and turned into a newly-made one branching from it, leading to the top of a hill. It was only as the fly turned sharply in at some showy-looking lodge gates that an enormous structure of bricks and mortar--a modern palace--met my view. Even as I was driven round the sweep, something, which I then tried to persuade myself was size and grandeur, but to which I now give a different name, jarred upon me, and dispelled all my rosy visions of a country home.
A man-servant came out to see to my luggage, looking somewhat surprised at my paying the driver myself, and methodically counting my boxes before ascending the steps. At the hall-door I was received by another servant, and conducted to what he termed the library--a large and lofty room, furnished in costly modern fashion. 'But where were the books?' I asked myself, gazing around. How jealously they were guarded, if they were kept in those closed and lined book-cases! There was not a book nor a paper to be seen, and all the elaborate appliances for study looked new and entirely unused. I could only suppose that Mr Farrar had taken a dislike to the room, and gathered his favourite authors about him in some cosy study, where ideas would flow more freely.
I sat waiting, as patiently as might be, for about ten minutes, when the man-servant looked into the room: 'Will you come this way, if you please, miss?'
I rose and went across the hall, where he threw open a door and ushered me into a large drawing-room, gorgeous with amber satin hangings, and gilded furniture, immense pier-glasses, and every conceivable expenditure in the way of decoration. Still no one to be seen! It almost looked as though I had been taken from room to room in order that I should be duly impressed with the Fairview grandeur. But I presently found that there were other things besides furniture in the room; beautiful works of art, collected from all parts of the world. Indeed they were in such excess as to destroy the general effect, by fatiguing the eye. One longed to isolate them from their too brilliant surroundings and examine them at leisure.
I had contrived to forget where I was and what had brought me there, in examining some treasures on an engraving-stand, when the man again made his appearance: 'Mr Farrar will be glad to see you, if you will please to step this way, miss.'
Mr Farrar at last! I rose and followed the servant across the hall again, feeling anything but as calm and collected as I tried to appear. I was, in fact, oppressed with a sudden dread lest I should not find favour in Mr Farrar's sight, and the consciousness that when I had given the change out of the note to him, I did not possess sufficient money of my own to pay my fare back to my old lodgings again. I suppose the self-restraint which was necessary to conceal my anxiety made me appear to greater disadvantage than usual. Whatever the cause, I was very soon made to understand that first impressions were unfavourable to me.
'I did not expect you to arrive so early, Miss Haddon,' were the first words, not very graciously uttered, which met my ears as the doors closed behind me.
'I thought it best to come at once, Mr Farrar, in case you should require'----
'O yes; very right--very right and proper.'
The _haut en bas_ in the tone strengthened me in a moment, bracing my nerves as suavity and gentleness would not have done.
'I presume you have heard from Mr Wentworth respecting'----
'Yes, O yes; I received a letter this morning apprising me of his success in finding a lady to act as chaperon to Miss Farrar. Pray be seated, Miss--O yes--Haddon, Miss Haddon. Unfortunately, I am just at present an invalid. It is that, in fact, which necessitates the engaging a lady to act as chaperon to Miss Farrar.'
Miss Farrar again; not his child; not his motherless girl, but Miss Farrar! I bowed, leaving him to proceed.
'Not that she is the only lady here; my--sister resides with me, Miss Haddon. But she--in point of fact, she belongs to the old school, and therefore is not altogether fitted--that is, she is independent of anything of the kind, and does not care to undertake the duties required. I came to the conclusion that a somewhat younger lady would be more fitted for the office, and consequently begged my friend, Mr Wentworth, to undertake the selection of a lady for me.' He paused a moment, then went on, half interrogatively, I thought. 'He understood that it was a desideratum that the lady should be one accustomed to the best society, and in other respects a suitable companion for a young lady who will, at a future period, be the wife of a man of family holding a distinguished position in the world.'
This was serious. A lady accustomed to the best society, and capable of inducting a young girl into the mysteries (they were mysteries to me) of fashionable life. The only society I had been accustomed to was that to be found in my dear mother's sick-room, and such faded gentility as people who live about in second-class lodgings are likely to meet with. Undoubtedly my mother was a gentlewoman, and Philip a gentleman according to my creed; but what _society_ might think about it I did not know.
I anxiously debated the matter in my own mind for a few moments. Was I justified in accepting the position? What if I gave Mr Farrar an exact account of my past life, and left him to decide? I could have done so without a moment's hesitation to Mr Wentworth. But I very quickly came to the conclusion that it would not do here. The cold, calculating eyes, narrow brow, and heavy, loose lips, seemed to indicate a very different character to that of his friend; and it was therefore probable that he had a very different standard as to what constitutes a gentlewoman. Then there arose the difficulty--could I satisfy my own conscience in the matter? which presently brought me back again to the question, what constitutes a gentlewoman? and I resolved to make the attempt.
He had been drumming his fingers on the arms of his chair, waiting, I suppose, rather impatiently for some sort of rejoinder to his peroration; but I was obliged to think the matter carefully over in my own mind, and he had to wait a few moments. He was probably not in the habit of being kept waiting for a reply, as he went on in a somewhat irritated tone: 'Mr Wentworth informs me that you are well connected, Miss Haddon?'
The very best speech he could have made, in the way of leading up to what I felt obliged to say, and yet rather shrank from saying.
'My father was a Haddon of Haddon, and held a commission in the Guards, Mr Farrar,' I replied, hardly able to repress a smile at the thought of making them useful to me at last and in this way. If they were of any service to me now, it would be for the first time.
'Oh, indeed; very good; the Haddons of Haddon. Yes; that is satisfactory certainly--Haddons of Haddon; _quite_ satisfactory.'
I could only smile, making a deep mental courtesy to the Haddons of Haddon. To think of my former want of reverence for so great a power!
With a wave of the hand he graciously went on: 'I was sure I might trust to Mr Wentworth's discrimination. I hope you will soon feel at home here, Miss Haddon' (I could not help noticing that the name was uttered in quite a different tone now); 'I keep a good housekeeper; and I trust you will find all the servants in my establishment treat you with proper respect.'
'I expect one generally gets one's deserts in that way, Mr Farrar,' I replied, smilingly; 'I will try to deserve their respect.'
He looked a little dubious. 'A strong hand--a firm hand.' Then, I fancy, reverting to the Haddons of Haddon again, he added pleasantly: 'But of course they will be kept in their place by you. And now, perhaps you would like to see my daughter.'
'Allow me first to give you this change from the five pounds, and to thank you, Mr Farrar.'
'O yes; Wentworth mentioned something about it. He knows I like everything of that kind done in a large spirit. No consequence--no consequence at all, Miss Haddon,' as I put the change on to the table at his elbow, and mentioned something about third class, the cost of which was all I had deducted.
'I am sorry you came third class, Miss Haddon. But in future it must be always first, as befits a lady of gentle breeding.'
'You are very kind.'
'Not at all--not at all.' He rang the bell within reach of his chair, and inquired of the man who obeyed the summons: 'Is Miss Farrar in, Drew?'
'Shew this lady to the morning-room;' adding, after a moment's hesitation: 'Mrs--Tipper is there, I suppose?'
He half rose from his chair, keeping his hands on the arms, and bowed to the Haddons of Haddon. Their representative bent low in return, and then once more followed the man-servant.
What a palace the place seemed in size! I was ushered into a fourth great room, although I was much relieved to find that this last had an entirely different aspect from the others I had seen. A cheerful homelike room, with windows to the ground, looking on to terraces and flower-gardens, and different, in every other way, from the show-rooms to which I had previously been introduced. I breathed a sigh of relief; quite refreshed by the sight of books, work, an easel, &c., the usual pretty feminine litter of a morning-room. Some one at anyrate played at having ideas here.
But a slight cough drew my attention to a corner of the room near one of the open windows; and I saw a lady rising from an easy-chair--a short, stout, little lady, of about sixty years of age, who could never have resembled her brother at any time, and was a great deal pleasanter to look at now. To me she was quite pretty, in a homely, motherly way, with bright blue eyes, a mouth used to smile, and a dear little button of a nose, which combined charmingly with all the rest. The simple honesty and thorough good-nature so evident in every line of her face, appealed directly to my heart; and I felt that if she and I did not become friends, the blame would rest with me. The sight of her was my first welcome to Fairview.
'You are the lady'---- she began, a little hesitatingly.
'My name is Mary Haddon, and Mr Farrar has just engaged me to act as companion to his daughter, madam.'
'Oh, indeed--O yes, I am charmed I am sure. Charmed to make your acquaintance, Miss Haddon. Lovely weather we are having, are we not?' with a tone and manner in such singular contrast with her appearance, that I was for the moment dumb with astonishment. She half extended her hand, then drew it back again, and gave me a stiff little bow instead. 'May I offer you any refreshments after your journey, Miss Haddon?'
I declined rather stiffly, not a little chilled and disappointed. One really had a right to expect something different from this homely, good-natured looking little woman. She appeared rather at a loss what to do next, and presently hoped I was not fatigued with the journey.
No; I was not fatigued with the journey. Then, after a moment or two's reflection, I went on: 'The truth is, I am not a fine lady, Mrs Tipper; I have been accustomed to all sorts of endurance, poverty amongst the rest, and it takes a hard day's work to fatigue me.'
It was an inspiration. In a moment, her whole bearing changed to one which appeared to come a great deal more naturally to her.
'I'm heartily glad to hear it, my dear. I mean, about your not being a fine lady, you know, it does make such a difference, does not it? Do come and sit in this chair, and make yourself comfortable, if you are _quite_ sure you won't have a little snack before lunch! Or perhaps you would like to be shewn to your room at once? Make yourself at home--now do.'
I smilingly seated myself on the chair by her side, explaining that I preferred sitting a short time with her, if she would allow me. Half an hour with this kind old lady--I knew now that my first impression had been a correct one, and that she was as kind and good as she looked--would help me to become better acquainted with Fairview. After once more suggesting refreshments, in a kindly, fussy, homely fashion, she drew her chair closer to mine, and proceeded to take me into her confidence.
'To tell the truth, I have been quite uncomfortable at the thought of your coming--no, not _your_ coming, my dear; but the sort of lady I was afraid you were going to be. The relief it is to see you as you are, instead of being some grand lady too fine to speak to me, as some of the great people who come here are, is more than I can tell.' Here she became amiably afraid lest I should think that she meant to imply that I was not a lady; and anxiously began to apologise and explain. But I soon succeeded in setting her mind at ease upon that score; and she was chatting confidentially on again. 'You see, my dear, I'm not a lady.'
I smiled. 'Like myself, you are not a _fine_ lady, perhaps, Mrs Tipper.'
'It's very kind of you to say it; but _I_ know the difference between us, my dear,' she replied, her eyes beaming with kindness. 'Jacob would be very vexed with me if he knew I said it to you; but if I did not, you would soon find it out for yourself; and I am sure you would not like me any the more for pretending to be different in the beginning, would you?'
'I should be very sorry to see you different, Mrs Tipper,' I replied in all sincerity.
'I don't know, my dear. It's been very trying for Jacob. But I tell him it's no use beginning now. I am too old to learn new ways, you know; not that I haven't tried; no one could have tried harder than I did, when Brother Jacob brought me to live with him; it was only my duty so to do. Between ourselves, I took lessons of a lady who advertises to teach ease and elegance to those unaccustomed to society. Worked hard, that I did, making courtesies and all the rest of it; but it wasn't much use. I can manage pretty well when there's a large party and I've only got to smile and bow, and say I'm charmed to see you, and all that; but as I told Jacob, it would never do with a lady living with us. You must not think that Jacob is not kind, for he is very kind. He was not so ashamed of his old sister as to let me live somewhere out of the way by myself, as I wanted him to do, when first I was left a widow. He wouldn't hear of it, my dear; and though I know he feels the difference between me and his great friends, and of course it's trying to have a sister named Tipper, he always treats me in the kindest way. You must excuse my saying all this to you, my dear; but really you look so kind, and I thought it was just as well for you to know the worst about me in the beginning.'
'You have begun in the kindest way possible for me, in giving me the hope that I have found a friend, Mrs Tipper,' I replied, lifting the hand she had laid upon mine, to my lips.
'You said you have seen my brother, and that it is all settled about your staying with us?' she inquired, looking a little doubtful; not, I fancy, quite understanding how it was that I could satisfy tastes so very opposite as were her brother's and her own.
'Yes; Mr Farrar was quite satisfied,' I returned, half smiling as I thought of the very different means by which he had been satisfied. Not for the world would I have introduced the Haddons of Haddon here!
'And I am sure I am a great deal more than satisfied, and so will Lilian be; though you must not think she is like me; no, indeed: my darling is quite a lady, like her mother before her. My brother's wife was a beautiful young creature, and as good as she was beautiful. It was said that she had married him for his money; but no one who knew her would believe that. It was a love-match on both sides; and poor Jacob was never the same after her death. Lilian was almost a baby when her mother died, and Jacob kept the promise which he made to his wife on her deathbed. Lilian was sent to a lady who was a connection of her mother's, where she was brought up, and did not come home to stay until six months ago, when her education was finished. You will find her everything a lady ought to be.'
I was a little dubious upon that point. The idea of Mr Farrar's daughter 'finished,' was rather depressing; and I became somewhat _distraite_ as Mrs Tipper went gently ambling on about Lilian's beauty, Lilian's accomplishments, elegant manners, and so forth. But it presently occurred to me that a 'finished' young lady might possibly be inclined to be critical about the appearance of her chaperon, so I asked the kind little lady to allow me to go to my room. She rang the bell, and the man-servant summoned a housemaid, by whom I was conducted to a bedroom so large and luxuriously furnished that, in my ignorance, I imagined she must have made a mistake, and brought me to one of the state chambers, until I noticed my boxes with the covers and straps off. She pleasantly offered her assistance in unpacking, adding the information that she was appointed to attend to my bedroom bell for dressing or what not. This was grandeur indeed! I could not help noticing the contrast between this well-trained and well-dressed servant and poor Becky, and made a mental vow to procure equal advantage for the latter as soon as I had it in my power so to do.
I told Lucy that I was accustomed to wait upon myself, and should therefore trouble her very little, dispensing with her assistance for the present.
MR MARGARY'S JOURNEY FROM SHANGHAE TO BHAMO.
For a period of nineteen years the western provinces of China, embracing a rich and fertile region of great extent, were the scene of a disastrous civil war. This was terminated in 1874 by the complete subjection of the Mussulman insurgents, and the establishment of the Emperor of China's dominion throughout the Burmese territory. The return of the country to a state of tranquillity afforded the Indian government what seemed to them a good opportunity of reopening a trade-route between India and China through Burmah. The great advantages that would result from the establishment of such a route, both of a diplomatic and commercial kind, had been long apparent to the Indian authorities; in fact, as early as 1868 an expedition commanded by Major Sladen had been equipped for this purpose. It had penetrated as far as the city of Momien, in the province of Yun-nan, when its further progress was checked by the opposition of the two hostile factions then struggling for dominion in Burmah.
But now a fresh opportunity arose, and it seemed good to the Indian government to avail themselves of it. In 1875, accordingly, a mission was got ready, led by Colonel Browne, for the proposed undertaking. Having received assurances of safe conduct from the Pekin government, and being provided by them with the necessary passports, Colonel Browne started to traverse China from Burmah to Shanghae. It was also deemed advisable that some one should be despatched from the China side to meet the mission on the Burmese frontier, and act as escort to it during that portion of the route which led through Chinese territory. For this post, Mr Augustus Raymond Margary, a young officer attached to the British consulate in China, was chosen. Mr Margary possessed, as was subsequently most fully proved, all the qualifications requisite for the difficult task to which he was appointed, chief among which was that in the course of a six years' residence in China he had made himself master of the language of the country, and thoroughly familiar with the ways and customs of its people.
The leading facts of Mr Margary's journey and its sad termination are known to the general public; but lately there has been issued the journal which he kept on that occasion, which gives many details hitherto unpublished, the whole forming a record interesting and valuable, for several reasons. No book that has yet appeared presents us with so clear, simple, and exact a picture of the people among whom Mr Margary's journey led him; and it has thus supplied us with an amount of accurate knowledge that may prove of the greatest service to future travellers through the same regions.
Mr Margary started on his journey under what seemed the most favourable auspices, himself in high spirits, despite that he was only recovering from a trying illness. He was of course supplied with passports, and also with Chinese despatches from the Tsung-li-Yamen at Pekin to three governors-general who were in authority over the territories he was about to traverse. These latter, he was assured, would secure him every protection and assistance in his enterprise from the magistrates and their officials along his route. He had to pass through nine hundred miles of a country hitherto almost unknown to Europeans, his journey being estimated to extend over about six months. His suite consisted of a cook, an official messenger, and a writer. He started from Shanghae on the 22d of August; and in one of his letters home, dated on the eve of his departure, he writes that he expects to be 'completely buried out of sight till the end of November, and shall probably hear no news of you or the world in general till next year.'
The first portion of Mr Margary's journey was performed by steamboat up the great river Yang-tse-kiang, which is now navigated for upwards of seven hundred miles of its course by American steamers. On reaching Hankow, five hundred miles up the river, he embarked in a small native boat, and still following the main channel of the Yang-tse, traversed the province of Sze-chuen, along the gorges and rapids of Ichang, on through Chung-khing, lat. 29° 30', long. 107° E.; thence to Yunnan-fu, lat. 25° 30', long. 102° E.; and thence travelling nearly due west to a town called Yung-chang-fu, on the Chinese borders.
Although unable, from frequent illness and debility, to enjoy the country through which he was passing to the full extent he could have wished, Mr Margary contrived, nevertheless, to make pretty careful observations of its main characteristics, which he sets forth in fresh and vivid language. The river Yuan, which waters the province of Hou-nan, he describes as a marvellous stream, winding through mountain gorges of great beauty, full of wonderful rapids, the hills on its banks clothed with the most luxuriant vegetation and fine forests of pine and ash. Several prolific beds of coal were also passed, in which large solid blocks lay bare to the view. These deposits were worked by the natives in a very primitive and miserable fashion--namely, by simply scraping the coal-dust into baskets and carrying it down to the towns. In these regions, the lover of botany fares better than the geological student. The plant-collector is regarded as in some sort a doctor, and accordingly held in respect; while the geologist and his hammer are looked upon with doubt and suspicion.
From Ch'en-yuan-fu, Mr Margary continued his journey by chair. Among the steep mountain passes there was not a little discomfort in this mode of travelling, and sometimes danger. The accommodation with which the traveller had to be content was often of a sufficiently meagre kind. The inns were dirty; there was sometimes a scarcity of food, and little or no variety in the daily fare. Against these disadvantages the very moderate hotel bills which Mr Margary was called upon to settle may have been some set-off. The sum of fourpence generally covered his expenses for one night.
Bending his course westward, Mr Margary entered the fine and fertile province of Kwei-chou. This region is slowly recovering from an incursion made upon it some few years ago by the Maiotsze, a wild and lawless mountain tribe, who swarmed down upon the valleys, spreading desolation everywhere in their path. They were at last quelled by the imperial troops, and the country is now gradually returning to a condition of cultivation and prosperity.
From the province of Kwei-chou, Mr Margary passed into that of Yun-nan. This extensive and important province was for more than seventeen years as good as lost to China owing to the Mohammedan rebellion which lasted during that time. It was at length put down by the government troops, hardly a rebel being suffered to survive; but the country still shews traces of the desolating effects of the rising, and the war of extermination which was its sequel.
Mr Margary had scarcely entered Yun-nan, when the most formidable part of his enterprise began. He soon experienced a marked decrease in the amount of civility and assistance which he received from the local authorities. This was no doubt in a great measure due to the fact that, seven years previously, Major Sladen, during his expedition, had sought to treat with the Mohammedan insurgents as friends--a circumstance that was still in the recollection of the people and their rulers. The manner in which Mr Margary was received generally throughout his journey deserves consideration, as shewing the amount of protection and aid which despatches and passports from the Pekin authorities may be expected to secure for a traveller in remote parts of the Chinese empire. Mr Margary's experience varied considerably, but his treatment at the hands of the provincial magistrates and officials was on the whole as favourable as could be expected. By the terms of his despatches, he was entitled to ask two escorts from any magistrate to whom he should apply for such aid. Sometimes an attempt was made to put him off with only one guide, and sometimes his escorts were of a very inefficient kind, as on the occasion when the Yao-yuan magistrate, having provided for his progress to the next magisterial town a small boat of the commonest sort, sent as guides 'a couple of disreputable-looking rascals--dirty scullions or some other such menials out of the nasty crowd that infest all yamens.'
Occasionally he suffered considerable inconvenience and discomfort from the crowding and hustling of the mob. In one instance a rabble, consisting chiefly of soldiers, 'the fruitful source of trouble everywhere,' would not allow his luggage to be brought into their town. On appealing to the local magistrate, he was treated by that functionary with great discourtesy. Mr Margary indignantly remonstrated, and produced his passport and letters; whereat the magistrate lowered his tone and consented to provide him with a body-guard. But the crowd was too much for the guard, and Mr Margary and his party were obliged again to seek protection in the magistrate's house. It was attempted to upset his chair, and he had to be carried backwards through the mob. While all this was going on, to give an instance of Chinese apathy, a military mandarin of distinction was passing close by, 'under whose command were half the rioters round, and yet he made no more effort to repress them than a private individual.'
The above are instances of the more disagreeable of Mr Margary's experiences. But he had many others of quite a different character. At Kwei-chou he was received with much courtesy by the magistrate, 'a brisk old man full of energy and intelligence,' who, on Mr Margary's taking leave of him, did him the honour of conducting him to his chair, bestirring himself in so doing to a much greater extent than many mandarins of far lower rank would have deigned to do. In fact, during the latter portion of his journey Mr Margary was treated with great consideration and civility by all the local authorities, with one or two exceptions only.
Between China and Burmah there stretches a wild tract of hilly country known as the Kakhyen Hills. These are inhabited by a bold and lawless tribe of people, in travelling among whom Mr Margary had to be very watchful and cautious. He was at this stage of his journey accompanied by a guard of forty Burmese, whose whole assistance he now required.
At last all Mr Margary's difficulties were overcome, and his journey drew to a close. He descended from the hills to the Burmese plains, and on the 17th of January met the English mission at Bhamo, receiving a warm welcome from Colonel Browne, 'with hearty congratulations on his splendid journey.'
The mission started from Bhamo early in February, and progressed as far as the bases of the Kakhyen Hills without interruption. But here indications appeared of dangers in advance. It was reported that the savage Kakhyens were determined to oppose the mission. Mr Margary, however, laid little stress on these rumours. Had he not passed safely through the Kakhyen territory alone but a fortnight previously? Why should there be any more danger now? He proposed, therefore, to Colonel Browne that he should go on in advance, and prepare the way for the mission's further progress. To this Colonel Browne consented; and Mr Margary started, having as escort a few Burmese muleteers, in addition to his private servants who had accompanied him from Shanghae.
Mr Margary reached Manwyne in safety, and sent back word to Colonel Browne that all was so far secure, and that the mission might advance; which it did as far as Seray, the first frontier town in Burmah. Here it was observed that the Seray chief and all his soldiers were armed; a suspicious circumstance. More reports of a threatening nature also reached the mission. And no further news came from Mr Margary at Manwyne. On the morning of the 22d the camp was attacked by a large armed force, and it was with great difficulty that the mission managed to make good its retreat back into Burmah. But for the fidelity of the Burmese guard, who, besides resisting all attempts at bribery, fought bravely in defence of the mission, it is probable that Colonel Browne and his party would all have lost their lives. Just previously to the attack upon the mission, letters reached Colonel Browne from Manwyne announcing that Mr Margary had been treacherously and cruelly murdered; news which filled the party with deep sorrow. During their brief acquaintance with him, all had learned to esteem Mr Margary as an old and dear friend.
The manner of Mr Margary's murder is not certainly known. There are two reports of it: one that he was attacked while riding out to visit a hot spring in the vicinity of Manwyne; and another that he was set upon at a dinner, given professedly in his honour by one of the local dignitaries. It may be expected that when the report of Mr Grosvenor's recent inquiries into the circumstances of Mr Margary's murder is published, it may throw light upon this point, as well as upon that as to who must be charged with the crime, a question which, while we write, remains also in doubt.
Thus then ended the second attempt to establish a trade-route between China and India. In a concluding chapter to the work under notice, Sir Rutherford Alcock reviews at some length the subject of the two missions, that of Major Sladen's and that of Colonel Browne's. His remarks are very suggestive, and seem to set the question before us in its proper light. On the whole he thinks that the second expedition was not well timed. Considering the great suspicion which the Chinese have of any attempts made to extend the rights of foreigners in the interior and western provinces, and that they still bore resentment from recollections of Major Sladen's expedition, which had sought to make terms with the Mohammedan rebels, he is of opinion that the authorities at Pekin were not made sufficiently aware of the nature of the mission, and had some cause for complaint. But this is in no way an excuse for the treachery and barbarity to which Mr Margary fell a victim, and for which it is absolutely necessary that reparation should be made.
Moreover, having once made the attempt to open up a highway for foreigners through Central China, it is not advisable that we should give up the endeavour without renewed effort; for this would be to acknowledge defeat, which, since our position in the East is one of prestige, would be most damaging to the British influence among Asiatics. It would tend greatly to weaken the moral power by which, more than by physical force, we hold sway among those peoples, and by which alone our presence in their midst may affect them for good. Having once attempted to advance, we cannot, either with safety to ourselves or what we believe would be real benefit to the Chinese, retreat.
As to the commercial value of a trade-route between China and Burmah, Sir Rutherford Alcock is doubtful; but still he thinks that renewed effort must be made on our part to establish such a route, for we have now committed ourselves to it, and the question is no longer one of money cost. The only proper way by which what we seek can be accomplished is by 'direct negotiation with the Chinese government, without concealment or disguise as to what is required, and the real object in view.'
But with the desirability of opening up a commercial highway through China and Burmah, or whether our last attempt to do so was well timed or judiciously planned, it will be seen that Mr Margary had nothing whatever to do. He was appointed to perform a work, and he performed it. A hazardous and responsible enterprise was by him nobly gone through, and that it terminated so fatally as it did for himself was due to no want of foresight, energy, or courage on his part.
The impression which we gather of Mr Margary from his own journal, simple and unconscious revelation of character as it is, is a very pleasing one. We see him pressing on through his long and wearisome journey patiently, steadily; determined upon doing his duty under whatever difficulties; lonely and often sorely tried, hampered continually on this hand and on that, attacked by one disease after another of the most prostrating kind, yet always undismayed, hopeful, and cheerful. When placed in some difficult situation, in dealing with the people about him, his tact and good temper never desert him, and his experiences all tend to prove how much further a kindly and sympathetic attitude towards races of different civilisation from our own go than 'treaties, gun-boats, and grape-shot.' Day after day he encountered vexations and crosses of all kinds, both grave and trivial. These had of necessity to be met with firmness, but while so meeting them he always preserves his self-control and courtesy. Only thus could he have passed through such an extent of wild and unknown country so rapidly and securely as he did. Despite the not unfrequent, to say the least, indifferent usage he meets with, he generally contrives to find 'the people everywhere charming, and the mandarins extremely civil.'
The information contained in Mr Margary's journal is, as we have said, valuable. The geography of the country, its physical aspect, climate, and scenery; the products and natural resources of the different provinces; the character and habits of the people; the amount of consideration which imperial letters and passports are likely to insure for European travellers in distant parts of China: on all these important points, Mr Margary's journal supplies us with new and exact knowledge.
It is not too much to say that most of the pioneer work of the world has been done by our fellow-countrymen. Whenever a call has seemed to come from some hitherto little known region of the earth, either simply to explore its trackless wilds, or it may be to bring succour to the oppressed, it has very frequently been England that has answered it; and prominent on the noble roll may surely be placed the name of Augustus Raymond Margary.
 _A Journey from Shanghae to Bhamo._ By Augustus Raymond Margary. London: Macmillan.
A CURATE'S HOLIDAY.
IN FOUR CHAPTERS.--CHAPTER III.
When left alone by the farmer at whose house I had so unexpectedly become a guest, I looked around the room in which I was to pass the night. It was small, ill furnished, and carpetless, but not uncleanly; and as I listened to the gusty wind, and heard the rain pelting against the casement, I felt thankful to be under cover of a roof, however lowly. Securing the door by the only means it possessed, a rough wooden bolt, I said my prayers, got into bed, and was soon fast asleep.
How long I had slept I have no means of judging, before I awoke with a start from a dream in which one of the farmer's six sons--magnified into a giant--had been poising me by the hair over the 'Devil's Hole' at the Spike Rocks.
The dream disturbed me so greatly, that for a long time I could not again compose myself; but at length I was just upon the point of relapsing into unconsciousness, when a sound, too confused to be at once explicable, but which appeared to come from the neighbourhood of Mr Morgan's room, struck upon my ear, rousing me in an instant to renewed wakefulness. Wondering what it could be, I strained my attention to listen; but it was not repeated. Presently, however, I became conscious of other sounds, faint in themselves, and partially drowned beneath the wail of the wind, but which, nevertheless, my hearing, rendered acute by anxiety, distinctly reported. They were an intermittent creaking of the distant staircase, accompanied by a shuffling kind of tread upon it, such as might be occasioned by the cautious descent of several persons bearing a heavy weight. That at least was the interpretation which, with a sickening conjecture as to what that weight might be, I put upon these mysterious midnight noises. Slipping from bed, I crossed the room on tiptoe, applied my ear to the crevice of the door, and bent all my faculties to hearken. I am not, I think, a coward; but I must own to experiencing a strong sensation of alarm when, after standing there for a few moments, during which I not only heard the wind whistling through the passage below, but actually felt a powerful draught, I knew from the cessation of both that the entrance-door, which must have been opened, had been again closed.
Noiselessly but swiftly I passed over to the window, and pressed my face against it, in the hope of discovering who and _what_ it was that had left the house at so strange an hour. But the night was pitchy dark; I could see nothing beyond a foot from the pane; and shivering, less from exposure to the cold than from a horrible idea which had taken possession of me, I crept back to bed.
Several hours appeared to have elapsed, though I have no doubt it was in reality less than half a one, before, by an intuitive perception, I became aware that the individuals who had quitted the farm had returned to it. Trembling with dread, none the less overwhelming from its being in a measure vague, I once more concentrated all my powers upon the act of listening, and was soon informed by my terror-quickened senses that the stairs were again creaking--this time beneath a lighter tread. Then--yes! I was sure of it--a stealthy step was coming down the passage, slowly approaching my room! It paused before the door, and in another instant a wary hand was at work upon the fastener. Some kind of instrument had been inserted between the door and its frame, by means of which the bolt was being gradually pushed backwards in the socket.
With a rapidity not unusual in moments of excitement or danger, my mind flew in an inconceivably short space of time through a course of reasoning, which shaped all my previous surmises and brought me to the following conclusions.
Firstly, that my friend and I had fallen into bad hands, and that by some means or other the villainous inmates of the farm had found out about the money in Mr Morgan's custody. Secondly, that the poor gentleman had been robbed and perhaps murdered upon its account. And lastly, that those who had done the deed, having returned, were now meditating the commission of a similar offence upon myself.
Scarcely, however, had I arrived at this terrible judgment ere there darted upon me a hope of escape from the apprehended danger. It was brought about by the reflection that in my case there was no booty--save the very insignificant one of a few sovereigns and a clumsy silver watch--to tempt to the commission of so great and dangerous a crime. If therefore, I sanguinely endeavoured to persuade myself, I could but manage to deceive the amiable individual who was so considerately striving to force a way into my room without disturbing my slumbers, into the belief that he had made it unobserved, an examination of my effects might end, possibly, in both them and myself being left untouched. The experiment, at all events, I resolved should be tried, the more especially as upon further consideration I felt sure it offered my only chance of safety; for, as I recollected with an access of consternation, it had been arranged that Jonathan should sleep in a hayloft apart from the house, and consequently, should my solution of those ominous sounds be correct, I was alone amongst these wretches, and entirely in their power. Resistance, whatever might be their design, would, I saw, be worse than useless; and accordingly, though my heart throbbed violently when I knew that the door had at last yielded and that the intruder was in the chamber, I lay perfectly still, breathing loudly and regularly.
The adoption of this line of conduct in all probability saved my life, for as the issue of the event proved, it was not to rob me, but to discover whether or no I were asleep, that my surreptitious visitor had entered my apartment. This fact became sufficiently patent when, after leaning over my bed for what, measured by my mental suffering was an eternity, during which, with a difficult exercise of self-control, I continued to respire like one in heavy slumber, he stole away again, without having meddled with my clothes or gone near the rude dressing-table upon which lay my watch. But my trial was not yet over. For I should think fully an hour after he had quitted the bed-chamber and carefully replaced the bolt, my unknown watcher remained listening outside the door; and throughout that time I neither dared stir a limb nor remit my sonorous breathing. Eventually, however, an exchange of whispers with some person or persons, who had evidently been awaiting, not far off, the result of this protracted test, was followed to my intense relief, by the sound of retreating footsteps.
Upon how I passed the remainder of that dreadful night, with the long-drawn-out hours of early morning which succeeded, I am not about to dwell. But that no sleep visited my eyelids, and that, tortured by suspense and enforced inaction, my hard couch was by no means a bed of roses, it will readily be believed. Upon that couch nevertheless I forced myself to remain until considerably after seven o'clock; then, rising and dressing, I bathed my face in cold water, and studying it in the tiny mirror, strove carefully to remove all traces of solicitude or want of rest.
But when ready at length to go forth from that chamber of horrors and satisfy myself, as I had been so feverishly longing to do, as to the truth or falsity of the theory (for after all it was little else) which I had based upon the events of the night, I shrank from doing so.
After another earnest prayer, however, for strength to meet whatsoever might be in store for me, and to act the part upon which I had determined, I summoned up courage, drew the bolt, and passed out. On reaching the room allotted to Mr Morgan upon the previous evening, I found the door standing wide open, and with mingled feelings of awe and curiosity, I entered. It was, as a single glance shewed me, in perfect order. The bed, of which the coverings were turned down, was ruffled no further than it would have been by a peaceful slumberer, and the coarse sheets were unstained by the slightest mark of blood. Nowhere could the faintest indication of disturbance be discovered; and as the welcome thought suggested itself, that had any deed of violence really taken place, its evidences could scarcely have been so cleverly effaced, I turned with a heart lightened by hope, which was well-nigh assurance, and went down-stairs. A clatter of crockery greeted my ears as I neared the kitchen; and upon arriving there, I found the farmer with his family and Jonathan the driver seated at breakfast by a large centre table. A smaller one, laid with cups and plates for two, stood nearer the fireplace; but the little minister, a rapid survey of the apartment satisfied me, was not present. Instantly my strong hope perished, giving place to a pang of keen disappointment. But commanding my features to an expression of unconcern, I returned the good-morrows which were showered upon me, and replied to a question from my host as to how I had slept, with the assurance that I had passed an excellent night, and that indeed I was at all times a remarkably sound sleeper.
Whilst making this statement, however, I was fully conscious that in each of the several pairs of eyes which I saw directed towards me there was a hard, scrutinising look. But instead of disconcerting, that inquiring gaze rather emboldened me. Convinced thereby of the absolute necessity for enactment of the rôle upon which I had decided, I felt my spirit rising to meet the occasion. Crossing the floor, I seated myself by the smaller table, and inquired in a firm voice, and with a smile upon my face, where Mr Morgan was, remarking, that in passing his room, I had noticed that it had been vacated.
'Well, inteet yes sir; it is more as an hour I should think since the goot gentleman will be come down-stair, and that he is gone out for a walk,' composedly returned the farmer, to whom I had addressed myself. 'It is to see the Spike Rocks that he will be gone, it wass no doubt. But I 'oold be glad he came now to breakfast, for he is a long while away, whatever.'
'The Spike Rocks!' I exclaimed, feeling that I was turning pale, and almost losing my self-possession. 'Surely, we are not near the Spike Rocks?'
'But yes inteet sir,' rejoined the old woman, who was standing up, cutting bread for the rest, and in whom I detected a large amount of suppressed excitement. 'It wass but very little way off the Rocks, this farm. And it is name, sir, the Spike Rock Farm. In the summer-time there wass a many ladies and gentlemen will call here to'----
'Spike Rocks!' I cried, interrupting her rudely, and turning to Jonathan in a violent rage, which for the moment swallowed up all thought of caution--'how dared you, sirrah, bring us again to this horrible spot? You _must_ have known where you were driving. You--you; or,' I added, stammering, as a highly discomposing suspicion flashed across my mind, and finishing the sentence differently from what I had intended--'or you must have been more drunk than I had imagined.'
'But sir, I wass _not_ drunk no more than you wass yourself,' rejoined the hunchback in a threatening tone, glaring at me fiercely. 'And it is of no use that you will scold me sir, not of any at all; for, sir, I did not know that we wass come here myself--not till this morning whatever. And by'----
'Silence, man!' I interposed, with an assumption of dignity and a strenuous effort to appear collected; 'swearing and passionate language will not convince me that you are speaking the truth any better than quiet words would do. But I will go and meet Mr Morgan,' I concluded, rising as though to put an end to the incipient quarrel; and taking up my hat, I prepared to leave the house.
Following me to the door, the farmer politely proposed that he, or one of his sons, should walk with me for company. But upon my declining the attention, it was not pressed; and contrary to my fears, I was allowed to pass out alone. Owing to the storm, I had on the previous evening been able to pay no attention to the farm's surroundings, and my bedroom window, as I had this morning found, looked out merely upon an orchard by its side. But now, scarcely had I opened the wicket of the little garden, than, with a start of surprise, I distinctly recognised the locality in which I stood. There, to my right, at not many yards distant, appeared the identical white gate by which our conveyance had waited yesterday whilst the little minister and I paid our visit to the Spike Rocks. It was down this very road we had driven; and upon looking back thereat, I even recollected the farm itself. I recollected something else too, which made me involuntarily quicken my steps, and which confirmed beyond doubt the suspicion which I had just conceived--that Jonathan might be in collusion with the people at the farm. I had thought nothing of it at the time; but I now well remembered, upon our return to the dog-cart, observing a man, who, it struck me, was our obliging host himself, walking away from it in the direction of the house.
The longer I ruminated upon the aspect of affairs, the uglier they now became, and the more clearly did I begin to perceive that the whole thing had been a preconcerted plot. It was by no _mistake_, I presently told myself, that Jonathan had turned up that lane, and by no _accident_ that the horse had lost its shoe. We had been expected last night at that farm-house, and we had been taken there deliberately, in order that Mr Morgan might be robbed of his money. Jonathan had either discovered the existence of the three hundred pounds, or he had been informed of it. But how or by whom? The answer to this question was not far to seek, and being supplied, it furnished the completing link in the chain of evidence I was mentally working out. The landlord of the _Ship and Anchor_ was the dwarf's cousin; he had seen the minister's money. I recalled his covetous glance, his suspicious presence in the closet, the fact that he had proposed our taking the dog-cart; and everything grew transparent as daylight. But had the little Welshman really been _murdered_? And was my method of accounting for the noises of last night accurate? I could not doubt it; nor could I dismiss a hideous idea as to how his body had been disposed of, which, directly upon learning that I was in this vicinity, had taken possession of me. It was in fact with an implicit belief that my late companion was lying at the bottom of it, that I now approached that Hole which on the previous day had affected me so disagreeably. Leaning over the brink upon gaining it, I experienced that peculiar kind of fascination which attends the horrible, as gazing into its depths, I watched the water foaming and whirling, and occasionally rising in great sheets to cast itself with angry impatience against the confining barrier. Noting its fury, which appeared to have increased since my former visit, I saw to a certainty that, even were it possible to reach the bottom without being dashed to pieces upon the rocks, no life could be retained for an instant in that boiling pool. To fall or to be thrown down here would be certain and instantaneous death. There would be no chance of being exhumed for interment in a more hallowed spot, for what diver could be found daring enough to descend below those gyrating waters! No! had my friend been cast into this 'Devil's Hole,' here he must remain. There could be no tales told by his body as to how he had met with his death, for that body would be seen no more by mortal eye.
But to me the manner of that death had now become no longer a mystery. Shut out from the supposition that there had been actual violence, by the total absence of any proof of it, I had lighted upon another hypothesis respecting the crime, which to my mind, however, was no hypothesis, but a well-assured fact. It was, that by means of something mixed with the whisky of which he had drunk just before retiring to rest, the poor little minister had either been drugged into unconsciousness or actually poisoned, and in that condition conveyed from the house and disposed of as I had said. But although all this appeared to myself so lucid and certain, I knew well that I could bring forward no legal proof of the well-arranged villainy, and, that consequently, the scoundrels who had perpetrated it would in all probability escape punishment, and Mr Morgan's disappearance be attributed to accident. Inwardly raging at this thought, I was about to move away from the place of his entombment--for so I felt confident it was--when something occurred which arrested my steps, and made my heart leap. What that something was, I will endeavour to relate in as simple a manner as possible.
For some time, during which the reflections I have recorded had been passing through my brain, my eyes had been resting quite unconsciously upon an abutting fragment of rock some twelve or fourteen feet below the level of the ground. The rock sloped sharply upwards, forming an acute angle with the well-nigh perpendicular walls of the 'Hole,' of which it constituted perhaps the chief irregularity. My gaze, I repeat, chanced to be resting upon this inclined abutment, when, with what indescribable amazement and awe may be imagined, I all at once saw a human hand and arm emerge from what appeared to be the solid granite of the upright side, and grasping the projecting shelf, draw after it the head and shoulders of a man. During the first moment the back of the head only was presented to my view; then slowly, and as though with difficulty, a white face was turned upwards! Although pale, and drawn as though in intense pain, I recognised it perfectly: it was that of the little minister. But before my bewildered faculties could collect themselves, or my paralysed tongue articulate a syllable, the hand had relaxed its hold, and the figure had slid back as it were, right into the rock. The suddenness and strangeness of this appearance so upset my nerves that my knees trembled and shook beneath me. Yet not for an instant did I entertain the idea that I had seen an apparition. That face I felt sure was the face of a living man, and belonged to none other than Mr Morgan himself. But notwithstanding my assurance upon this point, I was so startled by the unexpected phenomenon, that until I could hit upon some way of accounting for his presence in and disappearance from that singular spot, I could not even rejoice in the knowledge that my friend was alive. I did, however, hit upon a way of accounting for it, directly the dazing effect of my astonishment passed sufficiently to allow me to consider at all. And in truth the explanation was obvious enough. Behind that projecting crag, and entirely concealed by it, there must be, it was plain, a hole or cavern so large in size as to admit a man's body. Upon being cast over the precipice (about which there could now be no further question), the little Welshman, in a state of insensibility, had by a merciful providence fallen upon that rocky escarpment, and had either crept into the sheltering crevice upon coming to himself, or--what was the truth of the case--had rolled into it by force of the descent.
This problem worked out to my satisfaction, and with the blood now coursing through my veins with delight and excitement, I leant forward with the intention of calling out to attract Mr Morgan's attention, in order that I might warn him to keep carefully hidden, and assure him that if he did so, I would undoubtedly effect his rescue. Happily, however, the warning which I was just preparing to utter had not left my lips before a voice at my elbow inquired: 'Is it something in the hole, sir, you wass seeing?' The shock of this abrupt address almost sent me over the precipice. But recovering my self-possession by a suddenly inspired effort, I turned, and seeing two of the farmer's sons close behind me, angrily addressed the nearer: 'You stupid fellow, you!' I exclaimed, 'don't you see that you had nearly been the death of me? Why did you so suddenly speak before letting me see you! You might have known, surely, that I couldn't hear the sound of your footsteps over the soft grass. I was listening to the booming of the waters down there. What an unearthly noise they make! But come away; it's an awful place,' I added, moving a step backwards, and striving not to betray the uneasiness I felt.
'Ay inteet sir, it _is_ an awful place--as awful a place as there is in the whole 'orld, I wass well belief,' returned the young man to whom I had spoken, fixing upon me a curious searching gaze. Then letting his keen black eyes follow those of his brother, he peered eagerly into the chasm, and observed: 'Pless us! it 'oold be a pad job, look you, if a man wass to fall over here. The prains of him 'oold soon be dashed out; 'ooldn't they, sir?'
'There's not much doubt of that, truly,' I replied, not daring again to direct my own glance into the Hole, and praying, as I had never prayed in my life before, that the little minister might not at present emerge from his hiding-place. 'But where _can_ Mr Morgan be?' I subjoined, shading my eyes with my hand, and affecting to look carefully in all directions. 'Do, pray, come and help me to look for him, like good fellows, for I want my breakfast;' and in the hope that they would follow, I began to walk slowly away.
My request was obeyed, though not immediately. But as a matter of course, the pretended search proved fruitless; and returning to the farm, I breakfasted alone, forcing myself to eat, and expressing the while much displeasure at my companion's lengthened absence.
The meal over, I paced the sanded kitchen for nearly an hour, looking every few minutes from the window, and simulating increasing impatience and anger. My estimable host meantime, with his wife and several of their hopeful sons, remained with me, observing me closely though stealthily, and alternately making testing suggestions as to what had become of the 'goot gentleman.' All these, however, I pooh-poohed, and obstinately adhered to the opinion I professed to have formed myself respecting the matter, namely, that in a fit of absent-mindedness--to which I declared he was subject--Mr Morgan had extended his walk to a great length, and not having noticed where he was going, had ended in losing his way.
My acting I could see completely lulled all suspicion; and when presently, I informed the company that I was engaged to preach in England upon the following day--which was Sunday--and affirmed, that unless I returned to Lleyrudrigg at once, I would be unable to catch the train by which I must travel, no opposition was offered to the proposition that Jonathan should forthwith drive me there, and return again for Mr Morgan.
The horse (already re-shod by one of the sons, who had learned the trade of blacksmith) was accordingly put into the dog-cart; and promising, as a further blind, that before setting off for England, I would inform the landlord of the _Ship and Anchor_ about my friend's disappearance, and leave it to him to take the proper steps for his discovery, in case he should not have reached the farm before Jonathan's return to it, I tendered the farmer a sovereign, and with an exchange of civilities, drove off.
CRIME IN ITALY.
As a Supplement to our recent article on Italian Brigandage, we give the following, which appears in a newspaper from a Roman correspondent. Referring to the effort now making in Italy for the total abolition of capital punishment, he says: 'It is a wonderful reply to the urgent demands from every part of the country, and I might almost say from every part of Europe, that the brigandage, which is rapidly destroying the civilisation of large districts of Italy, and is portentously and undeniably increasing, should be put an end to. The real truth, however, is that the proposed alteration of the law would but bring it into conformity with the universal practice. And it would be but another step in the same direction to legalise brigandage. We are not far from it. Take as a proof the following story, told in the _Opinione_, on the 17th instant: Ten men, all Sicilians, all old convicts of the worst possible antecedents and character, have been tried at Naples under the following circumstances. They had all been condemned to _domicilio coatto_--a species of imprisonment somewhat resembling transportation--in the island of Ischia. There these ten men forthwith established a _camorra_. Among other things they imposed a tribute of ten centimes (a penny) a day on all the other prisoners. There was, however, one, and only one, who persistently refused to pay this demand. A meeting of the camorrists was therefore held, in which he was condemned to death; and lots were drawn to decide who should be the murderer. The man to whom the task fell undertook to do it; but his heart failed him, and he went to the authorities and revealed the whole affair. The first thing done was to place him in an inaccessible prison, to secure his life. Then the man who was to have been murdered was summoned and questioned, and all his replies entirely confirmed the relation of the other, even to the telling that he had been warned that he was condemned to death. One morning the informer was found by the jailer hanging to the bars of his window. He had tried to kill himself from terror of the camorrists, who, he felt assured, would sooner or later wreak terrible vengeance on him. However, the jailer was in time to save his life. The ten men were all taken to Naples to be tried, the public prosecutor demanding two years of imprisonment for nine of them, and six months for the informer. The tribunal, however, acquitted them all! The _Opinione_ with much indignation asks what could have been the motive of such an acquittal. Not want of sufficient evidence, certainly. But the reply to the question asked by the _Opinione_ is but too clear and unmistakable. These men were acquitted because if they had been condemned the lives of all who had any part in condemning them would have been in danger--and no little danger--nay, would in all probability have been taken. But under such circumstances it was very evident that the thing to do was to change the venue, and take these criminals, say, to Turin to be tried. But Europe, in the face of the line Italy is taking, has the right to say, if not that Italy does not wish to eradicate crime, at least that she is very far from being duly impressed with the necessity of doing so, and does not wish it at such cost as is absolutely necessary to pay for it. Perhaps the commission which has just followed the instinct which impels Radicals to diminish the strength of the law in deciding on the abolition of the punishment of death, were moved to their decision by the declaration in court of a man who had murdered his wife in Tuscany, where capital punishment has for some years past been erased from the code, to the effect that he had come to Tuscany for the express purpose of committing the crime, because he could not there be punished with death for it.'
A FRAGMENT FROM THE BERWICKSHIRE COAST.
I had been but three years married--short and happy years they were--when Archie, my husband, was called away to Queensland in Australia, where an uncle of his, long settled there, was ill, and required the presence of one whom he could trust to keep, as the old saying is, goods and gear together on his farm. I do not mind owning now that I was very unwilling that Archie should go far away from his bairn and me, to the opposite side of the world; but go he would. 'My darling!' he said, bending down his tall head to kiss me, for I am but a little thing--'don't cry; and don't fear for me, for have I not been, as an engineer, in worse climates than that of Australia? See, Alice, my dear; I cannot refuse to go to Uncle Scott now, he that was so good to me as a boy, and first put me in the way of earning a living. But with Heaven's help I'll be back next year, safe and well, wifie!' So Archie Raeburn went over the waste of waters to the far-away lands that lie beneath strange stars that never shine upon us at home in Britain; and his poor little wife, with our one child, wee Lilian, went back to live at my native place, East Craig, on the sea-coast, where I was known, and felt less lonesome than elsewhere. I was an orphan when Archie married me, and there was none of my kindred left living there; but still I loved the old place and the familiar scenes, and chose to wait there for my husband's return.
We lived in a bit cottage close down upon the sea-shore, so near to the tide-mark that the roar and roll of the waves in rough weather, or their plaintive plash when it was fine, were seldom absent from my ear; and often I looked for hours together over the changeful surface of the sea, dreaming rather than thinking of Archie, so far off. Then came ill news. The _Good Intent_, the ship in which my husband had taken his passage for the homeward voyage, was given up for lost. She was long, hopelessly overdue. No vessel had spoken her, no tidings been received concerning her, for weary months. There could be no doubt but that the _Good Intent_ had gone down with crew and passengers.
I was a widow then, and I so young, and with my baby child to support as best I might. Brave Archie, my own only gallant love, was gone! Weeping and pale, the mere ghost of myself--so folks said--I went about, in my new-made mourning, that I felt I never should put off again, striving to live, for the sake of the helpless bairn in her black frock, that nestled to my side and clung to my hand. We were poor--sadly poor; for the small stock of money waned cruelly fast; and the embroidery and other needlework for which I had received such praise when a girl brought in very, very little, though I worked with aching eyes and heavy heart deep into the night.
How it jarred upon my ear, the merry talk of the neighbours on the blithe Hogmanay (New-year's eve) that followed the sad news about Archie! They all seemed--young and old--so gay and full of hope in the glad incoming of a new year, while I--what had the year to bring to me? What I had saved and gained had waned so low that soon we must leave the cottage and East Craig, and go to some great noisy city, where employment might possibly be found. That night, as the bairn lay peacefully asleep in her cot, I could not close my eyes through the long hours of the darkness, but turned my throbbing head from side to side. Archie, Archie! How I sorrowed for the loss of my man. Weariful and wae, how thankfully would I have rested beside him for ever; but then there was the bairn to claim my care. Towards morning I fell asleep.
CHAPTER II.--NEW-YEAR'S DAY.
I awoke, after my short sleep, in the gray dawn, to find the world astir already, the great sea before my window spreading far away, calm and glistening as a lake, and the sun shining cheerily in the pale blue of the morning sky. The people without, in their holiday attire, seemed happy and hopeful; but for me, alas! there was not much of either hope or happiness. I began to think very seriously of the future. Yes; I must leave East Craig, and try in Edinburgh or Glasgow, or, who knew, even in London! to earn a livelihood for Lilian and myself. I could surely sew, or work, for the bread we both needed. My bonny Lilian unconsciously added to my sorrows on that bright, sad morning of the new year, by the way she lisped her little prayer for 'dear father;' but I managed, for her sake, to be strong and brave again, and came down-stairs with a smiling face.
'I'm wishin' ye a happy new year, ma'am!' blurted out Jeanie, the lassie from a cottage hard by, who performed the rougher household duties of our modest household for such wages as content a girl of thirteen. Oh, but it was hard, to preserve a steady demeanour, and acknowledge Jeanie's well-meant greeting, and sit down to breakfast with little Lilian in her black frock beside me, and---- A knocking at the door, quick and strong. The heavy tread too of a man's impatient foot upon the shingly path that led up from the wicket of the narrow garden. My visitors, I need not say, were few, and I knew none who were likely to come thus early. 'I can see no one now!' I cried apprehensively to Jeanie, as that active lass bustled forward to answer the peremptory summons.
'Not even me!' answered a voice, the sound of which made me tremble and grow white, as they told me later, to my very lips, while the door burst open, and with dilated eyes I gazed as on a vision. Yes; the tall, bronzed, bearded man who rushed into the room and caught me to his heart, and kissed me and the bairnie again and again, was Archie, my Archie, my dear goodman that I had believed to be dead and cold, far off beneath the measureless waters of the Pacific.
'And you thought me dead, did you?' said Archie, when, feeling safe in his strong arms, I had sobbed out some portion of my short and simple story. 'No wonder, for the _Good Intent_ was cast away, but luckily without loss of life, on the Van Ruyter Islands, so called from some early Dutch navigator; and being out of the track of ordinary ships, we wrecked folks had trouble enough to keep alive on shell-fish and sea-fowls' eggs, until we were rescued by an American whaler. Many's the night, Alice, love, that as the wind moaned around the wave-worn rock, I have knelt and prayed, with the bright stars of the Southern Cross shining overhead, that God's mercy would lead me back to my wife and child; and here at last I am!--We are rich now,' said Archie later, when we could talk more calmly, and the first transport of my half-incredulous joy was spent; 'for poor Uncle Scott, who is dead, left me heir of all he had, land, cattle, and money; but the land is the best of it; and if you do not fear to follow me so far, Alice, we will settle in Australia.'
'Gladly and thankfully,' I answered him; and had Australia been a land of cold and barrenness, instead of one of warmth and plenty, I would have followed him cheerfully to the very ends of the earth. As it is, we are all happy and healthy in Queensland, and it is there that I write these lines; and Lilian and I, I need scarcely say, wear black no more, and can look back smilingly to the day, now long ago, when all our joy and happiness came to us with the glad New Year.
SONG OF THE CARILLONEUR.
Ring out, my bells, in accents clear; Ring soft and sweet, And take a message true and dear To hearts that beat. Soothe the soul with sorrow aching; Cheer the life when all's forsaking; Sing of joy to hearts now breaking; Ring on, my bells!
Ring out, my bells, across the plain; Ring wild and free, And wake the echoes back again To melody. O'er the mountains waft my dreaming, Where the sunset glory's streaming, Where the purple vines are gleaming; Ring out, my bells!
Ring out, my bells; ring full and strong. My soul, to-day, Upon inspiring notes of song Would float away. From the gray old minster sending Tones that, in such concord blending, Tell of harmonies unending; Ring out, my bells!
Ring out upon the listening air Your silver spell; Ring out the music quaint and rare I love so well: Hope to every faint one bringing, Peace on earth for ever ringing, And of Love eternal singing; Ring on, my bells!
H. K. W.
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Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, 47 Paternoster Row, LONDON, and 339 High Street, EDINBURGH.