Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

of things I go without. It takes all I can on one of her cheeks. “You are fond of

I scrape and spare to buy saucers for them crying,” she said, “so take sometbing to chickens to break. li's a shame of the cry for — for once." master not to buy proper drinking dishes But Nancy did not cry; she stood still, for them; and when I asked him for staring in a bewildered way at the burning some, he said your father could dig a hole log upon the hearth, the flame from which and sink the old copper boiler in it, and danced upon her reddened cheek. fill that with water for them, just as if he Had Fred remained a little longer in hadn't the sense to see as how every the orchard, trouble might have been pre. blessed chicken 'ud get drowned, and me vented; for he would have seen Nancy, be blamed for it, as usual.”

whom Mrs. Forest sent to bring in the “ Here is half-a-sovereign as the master new linen which was bleaching. Mrs. gave me for you to pay for the sacks. Forest gave her this to do, because she Couldn't Nancy have some of that?" could not bear to see her stand so silent inquired John, fumbling in his pockets for and dazed. She was, indeed, heartily the coin.

ashamed of the act she had committed Mrs. Forest took the money from his the moment it was over, but knew what hand and placed it upon the chimney- was done couldn't be undone. She bad piece, intending to put it away presently never struck her daughter before, and rein the teapot in the corner cupboard, solved never to do so again ; but it did which, however, she forgot to do, other- not occur to her to tell Nancy so. Had wise this story would never have been she done so, the warm-hearted child would written.

have responded at once to such an ad“ I want all that ten shillings to get a yance; but she only said: “Well, well; new cocoa-matting for the front room have done staring in the fire, Nan; and floor,” she said decidedly. " The bricks run and fetch the linen from the orcbard." strike as cold as the grave since the old Nancy obeyed mechanically, little matting was took up.'

knowing who had just left the spot, and " I must go and grind the turmits for feeling in her young beart all the bitterthe sheep, and move 'em into the other ness of utter desolation. fold for the night,” said John, knocking out the ashes from his pipe and rising to go. As he was closing the door behind A NIGHT of sorrow is said to give place him he called to his wife, “You let the to a morning of joy. This would be a cocoa-matting bide, and give Nan a shil. comforting thought were it not that the ling or two for her gloves."

morning must likewise give place in its “ That I shall do nothing of the sort, turn to another night. then,” shouted Mrs. Forest after her The morning which followed the right husband; then, turning on her daughter of Nancy Forest's bitter humiliation was angrily, she asked: “What do you want certainly a bright one- at least, by con gloves at all for, I should like to know ? | trast; and, unfortunately, much so-called I don't wear gloves; and why should you, happiness is only such. Were the world who do nothing to earn them?”

not a dark and naughty one, a good deed " I shall be out of my time soon,” Nancy might not shine so brightly. In the first answered, beginning to cry; "and I will place, Nancy was young and healthy; so pay you back then all I have cost.” the wintry sun, though it shone on a frozen

Í dare say,” sneered her mother; “it'll ground, cheered her. Then Mrs. Forest take all you can earn to deck yourself out was unusually amiable at breakfast, and to catch young Mr. Fred's eyes. Don't paid some attention to her daughter, which you think as I'm not sharp enough to see she generally found herself too busy to which way the wind blows.”

do. Her father made much of her, as was “ Mother !” cried Nancy, rising indig- his habit. He had apparently heard noth. nantly to her feet, her eyes flashing, hering of last night's episode. cheeks burning with shame and anger. The walk across the hills to Shenton “ How dare you talk to me so ? You have was exhilarating, and at the end of it a no right!”

pleasant surprise awaited Nancy. She “ Haven't I no right?” almost shrieked found Miss Michin already at work on a Mrs. Forest. “I stand none of your im- dress for Miss Sabina Hurst when she pudence !” And with these words her arrived. The good-natured little woman passion so took possession of her that greeted her apprentice brightly. “You she leaned forward and with her open are looking better, Nancy; the walk has hand struck her daughter a stinging blow given you a color.” Then she reached out

III.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

66

her hand to a table near her, and took a all now. But she looked at the old piano, little parcel from it and gave it to Nancy. and recalled her sister-in-law's pretty baby

" It is nothing,” she explained, as the looks and tragic end, and prophesied evil girl looked at it curiously. Open it, for Fred. Jacob Hurst laughed the whole dear; it is a trifle for a Christmas gift. I business to scorn. The one being in wish it was more."

Shenton who could have genuinely reNancy could only say Oh, Miss joiced at Fred's success knew nothing Micbin how kind!” to begin with. about it. Then she unwrapped the paper and saw a Nancy's thoughts were constantly with dainty pair of brown kid gloves with ever him, however, and when her work ended so many buttons. This matter of the but- for the day, and she walked homeward tons was not unimportant in Nancy's eyes. across the hills to Braley Brook, she conHad her mother given her the money, she nected many an inanimate object she thought, she could never have bought passed with some look or word of his. gloves with more than two buttons. These looks and words had always been

This is just what I needed - oh, so kind, so gentle, that as the brook, where thank you so much,” she exclaimed, when the forget-me-nois grew in summer, or the she had looked at them.

bank in the hollow where the primroses “That was what I thought,” said the grew thickest in spring, or the fallen tree, dressmaker; “so now we must set to work which, as the weeks passed, would beand get a good day."

come golden with moss and lichen again And Nancy did work well that day, as all these would awaken to summer never looking up from her work, except sunshine and gladness so would her once to glance across to the post-office at heart. Fred's love for her - she felt sure the time she knew Benny Dodd usually he had loved her --- was only hidden away came out to go to the church. She couid like the flowers under the snow, to bloom not see Fred, so it was some pleasure to forth again in spring. It was her winter, her to look at the small boy who blew the that was all, she told herself. She must organ for him.

wait as the flowers did. But Benny did not perform that office When she reached home, her mind was for the young musician on this day, for filled with hope - hope which but too Fred Hurst had gone to London that soon was to give place to despair. Last morning, summoned thither by a letter night Mrs. Forest had struck her — but from Messrs. Hermann and Scheiner, then she had not looked nearly so angry music publishers. The marked success as she did now when her daughter apof " Winged Love” had disposed these peared before her. gentlemen to make the young composer a “Where is my ten shillings?” she cried good offer for his next song. The more menacingly, as Nancy closed the kitchen immediate cause of their determination door behind her. 6 What have you done was the fact that Señor Florès had chosen with it, you ungrateful, unaatural girl ? ” to sing “Winged Love” at the last Satur- she repeated loudly. day afternoon concert at St. James's Hall, “Indeed, mother, I know nothing of it,” and its reception had been such as to poor Nancy answered, trembling violently. establish a certain sale for songs from the "Is it in that there teapot ?" inquired same hand.

“Who is this Fred Hurst?” the enraged mother, thrusting the article people in London were asking.

in question close to the frightened girl's Miss Sabina, in her showy drawing- face. Nancy glanced rapidly from the room up at the Manor Farm, thought over empty teapot to the chimneypiece. the event all day in her own critical way,

• You needn't look there, you hussy,” and predicted evil as the result. There Mrs. Forest continued, seeing the direction was an old Broadwood grand piano in the Nancy's eyes were taking. “There's nothroom where she sat, covered with a pile ing on the chimneypiece – the money's of old music - Beethoven, Mendelssohn, gone, and you've took it, because your Haydn, and all the composers whose music father said you were to - it wasn't his Miss Sabina disliked. This music had to give — did he mend the sacks? tell belonged to Fred's mother, a fair and un- me that! I'll have my money back fortunate creature, whose own story I every halfpenny, so you'd better give it shall some day write. Miss Sabina's per- me before I make formances upon the pianoforte were lim- "* Mother, I have not touched it; I know ited to such compositions as the “Canary nothing about it, really I don't,” said Birds' Quadrilles, · My Heart is Over Nancy desperately. the Sea," etc., which she never played at “What's that you've got in your hand ? »

[ocr errors]

you.”

[ocr errors]

66

IV.

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

demanded Mrs. Forest, catching sight of more, she might perhaps be calm enough the parcel containing the gloves.

to think. Nancy did not answer; she was looking at the round table, which was covered with “ WHERE is Nan ? " asked Jobo Forest, the shining brass ornaments which had when he entered the house, an hour after been removed from the chimneypiece in Nancy had left it. the search for the missing coin. There “Oh, she'll be here presently," replied they were — candlesticks, pans, snuffer- the mother evasively. Of course Nancy tray, and beer-warmer, articles she remem- would come soon, she thought to herself, bered from earliest childhood as never in and what was the use of rousing John ? use, and always highly polished. Now as Another lour passed. “Nan's very late the firelight flickered upon them they to-night," said her father. “I've a mind seemed to be looking at the distracted girl to go and meet her.” with countless fiery eyes which twinkled You bide by the fire, John,"responded in malice. Nancy could not take her eyes his wife. Nancy's in a tantrum be. from these other eyes, she could not think cause I found out as she'd took that bag for the moment. She vaguely knew that money, she'll come in when she's a her mother took away her parcel, and mind." presently Mrs. Forest's rasping voice re- “ The bag money!repeated John, in a called her from her stupefied reverie. puzzled way.

" Nan take it ! - she never So you spent it in gloves, did you? did, barring you give it her.” Six-buttoned ones, too! Oh, you ungrate- “She did then, and bought gloves with ful, selfish, wasteful girl.”.

it, to do up with six buttons, and there " Mother, mother," wailed Nancy, tak. they be now beside you on the settle," reing hold of Mrs. Forest's gown with one toried Mrs. Forest. John looked in the hand convulsively, while she pressed the place his wife had indicated, and there, other to her brow, where her wavy locks sure enough, lay the brown kid gloves. of hair lay all damp and ruffled. “You This evidence did seem conclusive. John should believe you must believe me - shook his grey head as he held the dainty Miss Michin gave me the gloves — I have gloves across his rough palm, and pres. never seen your money -oh, mother, I ently said, “ You have kept her too short, couldn't have touched ii. I couldn't." wife — girls wants their bits of things."

" Don't add lies to it,” broke out Mrs. He paused and sighed heavily, and then Forest in a greater passion than ever. added, “ I'll go and look for her.”

Than this last remark, nothing could “It's all your fault, John," broke out have easily been more unjust. Nancy had his wife as he rose to go. You as good always been a very truthful child.

as told her to do it." “ If you can no longer trust me, it is “ You ought to bave given her some perhaps better for me – to – to go away,” money, Eliza, and you've been nagging at said Nancy softly.

her and driven her out this cold night; if go - go now,” replied her harm comes of it ” said John as he mother, who had arrived at that stage of went out. rage when people used words little heed- “ Fiddlesticks about harm; what harm ing their meaning:

can come to her, I should like to know?" Nancy buttoned her little jacket once retorted his wife, without allowing him to more, and tied a silk bandkerchief round complete his sentence. Then ibe door her neck, and passed out at the door in a closed and Eliza Forest was alone, with wild, hurried fashion.

the ticking of the eight-day clock to bear Mrs. Forest looked at the door and her company. smiled. “She'll none go,” she said to her. Slowly the hand of the clock travelled self ; " where could she go to ?

A clock is a weird companion – But Nancy did not resemble her mother above all, one that strikes the hour after a in hasty moods, she was rather the subject preliminary groaning sound as this clock of permanent impressions. Her mother's did. Mrs. Forest tried to occupy herself conduct had wounded her to the quick. with the stocking she was knitting, but She could no longer endure it, she thought. she was uneasy and let her work fall in her Hitherto, her father's love had rendered lap while she reflected to the accompaniit bearable - but now, even that seemed ment of that meiallic “tick-tick” of the powerless to keep her under the same roof clock. • My mother always said that my as her mother.' Where could she go? temper would get me down and worry me,' She would walk on, no matter in what she meditated; "and I believe it will be. direction; then, when she could walk no fore it's done."

66

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on.

[ocr errors]

66

66

Ten o'clock struck - -eleven o'clock, | Hermann and Scheiner, he was in the and Mrs. Forest grew really alarmed. She highest possible spirit; a whole future rose and placed her knitting on the high seemed to open out before him. chimneypiece – she generally put it there It may appear that Fred was conceited, out of the way of the cat, who played with and “ too sure; ” but we must record that the ball — and opened the door and peered he went to a jeweller's and bought a little out into the darkness. There was a sound pearl ring for Nancy, meaning to place it of footsteps along the frozen highroad. on her third finger next day when her lips She listened intently, but the horses began should have given him the promise he to move about in the stable close by and knew her heart had long since given. she could no longer hear the footsteps. Having made his purchase he took train

The cold wind blew right against her, from Liverpool Street to Exboro', from chilling her through and through. But she which place he would have to walk to still stood there in the doorway. By and Shenton, where he could not arrive until by there were urmistakable footsteps near one o'clock in the morning. He had perat hand. A moment more and John was formed some miles of his walk across the beside her. He was alone. “ Wife," he hills, and was within an appreciable dis. began in a hollow voice,“ Nan left Miss tance of Braley Brook, when he observed Michin as usual; has she been home?” a dark figure crouching on a fallen tree.

“ I told you she had,” gasped the mother. He was at first a little startled, for it was “ I told you she and me had had a tiff most unusual to meet any one in this about the money."

piace, above all at such an hour; it was John Forest made no comment, he was after midnight. On coming nearer he saw too desperate for that. He knew well that the figure was that of a woman. It enough that if his quiet, patient little Nan might be one of the cottagers from Shenhad gone away, she must be in a state of ton

who had been to Exboro' and been mind out of which tragedies come. He taken ill on the way home – he would see. would go and rouse Jim Lincoln, who slept He came close and touched the crouchin the stable loft, and they would search ing figure, and asked gently, “ Are you ill? for her. Mrs. Forest watched her hus. Can I do anything for band disappear in the dim starlight, and The figure started violently and looked then went back to the kitchen. Vague up at him, and in the starlight he recogfears took possession of her. She dreaded nized the face of Nancy Forest. she knew not what. All her unkindness In a moment he was seated on the fallen to Nancy, culminating in last night's blow, tree beside her, and had placed his arm seemed to rise up against her. Even as about her. “Nancy, dearest Nancy,” he to the taking of the money, Nancy bad cried, pressing burning kisses on her cold had her father's sanction, and might have cheek — the first he had ever given her. thought that enough. But Nancy denied " Nancy, speak to me ; tell me what is the having touched the money; what if, after meaning of your being here.”. all, she had spoken the truth! She had But she could not answer him then ; she always been particularly truthful in even simply laid ber cheek against his shoulder the smallest matters. Mrs. Forest would and wept bitterly. But she did tell him try not to think any more; it was too pain- all presently; and he told her what he had ful. She would reach down her knitting long since wished to tell, and they walked and try to“ do ” a bit.

together to the old farm, for, of course, She rose and took down the half-knit Nancy must return to her parents for a stocking, but the spare needle was miss- little time — only a very little time, they ing. She felt, with her hand upon the decided. When they reached the farm, chimneypiece, but could not find it. Then Join Forest and his wife were standing she mounted a chair and searched. It was by the round table in the house-place, nowhere to be seen. “It may have slipped where the half-sovereign lay. John was into the nick at the back," she thought, hard and relentless ; his wife was sobbing and she got a skewer and poked it into aloud. And then the door opened, and the narrow groove. Out fell the needle

and Fred stood before them. and something else which made a clinking With a wild cry, Eliza Forest clasped sound as it fell upon the brick floor. She her daughter to her heart, imploring her stooped to see what it was, and there glit- forgiveness. My temper.welly'worried tering in the firelight lay the missing half- me this time, Nancy,” she said ; “but sovereign.

after this I will worry it."

So here the story properly ends, for Mr. When Fred Hurst had seen Messrs. Hurst, to the surprise of every one, yielded

you ?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Nancy.

[ocr errors]

Owner

an

FRANCE.

PART II.

a ready consent to the marriage, and even remarkable at once, had not Gambetta at offered an allowance to the young couple the time been covering every one by his and one of his small farms to live in. shadow, and M. Clémenceau, willy.nilly, Miss Sabina allowed her old interest in had to resign himself to walk under that Nancy to revive, and sent her the material shade. He became the lieutenant under for her wedding dress, which Miss Michin this captain, and was at the beginning an announced her intention of making up obedient and submissive subordinate. herself - every stitch. Nor was this all. In his appearance, M. Clémenceau has Mrs. Dodd, the worthy post-mistress, with something of the character of a Puritan of whoin Nancy had always been a favorite, Cromwell's court. He is a middle-sized begged her acceptance of a prettily fur- man, thin, with a big, bony head, straight, nished work-basket which she had made a thick eyebrows, and deep-set, twinkling journey to Exboro' to buy.

eyes. To those who look closer at the And the half-sovereign?

face it bears traces of continual effort and It was never spent, but was always in premature fatigue, traces of a something sight under a wine-glass, to remind the which might be politely qualified as scep

so she said of how her tem- ticism. When he speaks his voice is per nearly worried her.”

sharp and his words short, his gestures JEANIE GWYNNE BETTANY. are decisive, and, even when his face is

in movement, his delivery remains calm.

In the tribune he is a powerful antagonist. Just as in his exterior appearance

there is an affectation of calm and austerFrom The Leisure Hour. STATESMEN OF EUROPE.

ity, so in his speeches there is an appearance of the most rigid precision appearance with which he deceives himself

and others. He starts in his political conNEVER yet prime minister, but among ceptions from three or four à priori ideas the most conspicuous and iofluential which other men might account unproved, of French statesmen, is Clémenceau. and which he pushes relentlessly to their Georges Benjamin Clémenceau belongs logical conclusion. A Frenchman has said to a Vendée family. He came to Paris that Clémenceau's chain of reasoning, as a medical student, but turned his atten- which looks so logical and strong, is tacked tion at once chiefly to politics.

After a

on to a rotten old stake ; strike that, and rapid journey to America to study the in the chain comes away in your hand. The stitutions of that commonwealth, he came criticism is characteristic, though not alback to Paris, and took up his abode be- ways applicable. He is the theologian of a tween Montmartre and Belleville, in order theology without God, or, if we may coin that he might live right in the very midst the word, the demologian of democracy of revolutionary Paris. He soon gained raised to the level of a dogma. Masterful a rapid popularity among his obstreperous and authoritative with his colleagues, he is neighbors, and found himself among the all honey and flattery with his electors new men called to the front by the events flattery of the grossest and vulgarist kind, of September 4. At that time he was calculated to catch the suffrages of the twenty-nine, but was nevertheless elected mob. According to him, the upper classes to be mayor of his arrondissement, though are corrupt, vile, grasping; the people he had neither services nor titles to show. alone is lofty, grand, pure, impeccable, the His first move was in the direction of source of all light, and all right. Accordlaicising the schools; his first misfortune, ing to him, all those who think with him are the assassination in bis arrondissement good and loyal Republicans; all others are of the generals Lecomte and Clément traitors - he has no gentler word to beThomas. He has often been accused of stow. Probably he is not singular in thus complicity, and has as often pleaded his dividing the world of politics. innocence, or rather, his impotence.

When MacMahon formed the Rocbe. It was in October, 1876, that he first bouet ministry, the so-called ministry of became member of the Chamber. At the resistance - which resisted three weeks Municipal Council of Paris, whence he - the Republicans leagued themselves issued, his influence had been preponder- together, and answered by appointing a ant. He had incarnated in his person committee of eighteen members, whose Radical and Revolutionary Paris, and he duty it was to watch MacMahon, and avert entered the Chamber in the same quality. a monarchical reaction. Clémenceau was He would, no doubt, have made himself | one of the eighteen. This committee be

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »