Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

She is too delicate, and it will kill "What do you want, then? If I give her money, she will not take it." "Not if it is given churlishly." Churlishly! Are you also turned against me?

the zest off the pleasure of having a grand | ling.
new house of his own. He had no diffi- her."
culty in getting the money advanced by
the bank; he was pretty well known to be
a man who made gold by turning it about
in his hands. It flattered his pride to be
able to borrow so easily, and yet it galled
him to know that the house was not abso-
lutely his own till the debt was cleared
away.

The house was finished; and it had seven red windows in the upper story, and three on each side of the door below. To the door led a flight of slate steps, and the door opened into a spacious hall. The house looked larger than it really was, because it was shallow. The hill rose too rapidly in the rear to allow of much back premises. In the garden was a summerhouse, as he had seen in his dream, painted green, with a gilt knob at the top, very fresh and shining.

When the house was complete, and ready for him, he arrived from Somersetshire; and in the evening, when the children were in bed, his mother put the key on the table. "There!" said she. "Tomorrow we leave this old cottage for the new house. Richard, why not take possession of it with a new heart? You are in the wrong now. She has been here many months, and all speak well of her. She works for her living, and works hard. There are no pride and stubbornness left in her; all that has passed from her into you; and the gentleness and pity and meekness are gone from you into her."

He moved impatiently. He took up the key and threw it down; then he pushed it from one side of the table to the other, and his face was sullen. "6 Mother," he said, "I would not allow another to speak to me of her. It is enough. You have said your say. I have suffered too much from her. I have said it. We are parted forever."

"You have not seen her."

66

[ocr errors]

"You are acting wrongly. I would not say so to another; I would not let her suppose that I reproached you; but in my heart I think it. I also went on for years harboring my wrong, and believing that I could never forgive it; but the time came when I was forced to forgive; and you, Richard, you also must do the same.'

"You have said this before. I cannot

listen. I shall go away again;" and he put his hat on his head and went forth.

Next day, the few things required to be removed from the cottage were carted to the new house; but Richard would not move into it till evening, when there would be no one about to observe the migration.

The sun had set when they all started for Red Windows, the father leading, then Mrs. Cable and little Bessie, and the rest two and two, the twins of course together. The youngest carried their toys, a battered doll, a wooden horse; and the elder, sundry treasures that could not be intrusted to other hands to transport. The evening was still, soft, and summery; bats flew about and screamed ear-piercingly. The hedges were full of foxgloves and wreathed with honeysuckle. Glowworms shone in the banks, jewelling the way, as pixy lamp-bearers welcoming them to their new home. The procession moved slowly, because Bessie was heavy to carry, and because Susie could not walk fast. It moved silently, because the children were depressed in spirits, sorry to leave their little rooms and garden - the known for the new, the loved for strange.

Cable spoke; but his voice startled him and the rest. He felt not as if he were being advanced in position, but as if he were going to execution. He turned and looked at his mother. "Let me carry Bessie now," he said. "What are you whispering?"

"I do not choose to see her." "But you should. She is greatly changed, and looks weak and frail. You do not think that the great alteration in her mode of life must hurt her. She is like a flower taken out of a garden and put on the moor, where every wind blows her about, and every animal that goes by tramples on her." "Who has dared to touch her?" asked cork in water." Cable, flaring up.

"I do not mean that any one has purposely wronged her; but she is in a place and among people who do not understand her, and she cannot endure rough hand

"I was not whispering."
"I saw your lips moving."

"I was repeating to myself some words that kept coming up in my mind, like a

"What words?"

"Merely a text, and I cannot say why they rise.'

"What is the text?"

"He shall lay the foundation in his

first-born, and in his youngest shall he set up the gates.'

"What do you mean by that?”

"I mean nothing; but I cannot get the text out of my head. It seems to point"

Cable laughed. "This is mere superstition, mother. You have Cornish blood in you. Besides, the foundations are laid and the gates set up, and nothing has occurred."

She said no more, nor did he; but the words she had spoken did not help to cheer him. Presently, he found his own lips moving; he was repeating the ominous words; and a fear fell on him lest they might apply not to the bare walls and wooden gates, but to the domestic life in the new mansion -a new life to be built up amid new surroundings and in a new sphere. For, indeed, Richard by this move mounted the social scale. In the cottage, he was but a cottager; in the grand new house, he was transferred to the middle class. As Josephine went down, he went up.

He opened the garden gate, and the feet of the little procession trod the newly gravelled path. There were flower-beds, but no flowers; a lawn, but the grass was battered and cut up with the traffic of the builders. They came to the flight of steps; and Cable went up, put the key in the door, and tried to open it; but the wood was swollen, and the door stuck. He put his knee to it and forced it open, and the noise reverberated through the empty house like thunder. Then the children came in. The air within smelt of lime and paint. He struck a match and lighted a paraffin lamp. The children looked round in astonishment, but expressed no pleasure; they shivered; the night air had been cold, but the interior of this new house seemed colder still.

In the dining-room a cold supper was laid-lamb and salad, whortleberry tart and cream, blancmange-"Shaky trade that is bluemange," the woman called it who had cooked the supper, an old cook from the parsonage, married in the place. "Sit down," said Richard. "Eat heartily your first meal in Red Windows."

But the children were not hungry; his mother did not care to eat, and he himself had no appetite. He forced himself to take lamb, but he could hardly swallow it. The children were silent, looking about them at the walls and ceiling, and the chimneypiece with the mirror over it. "Well," said Cable, "as no one seems hungry, the sooner to bed the better."

So they parted for the night. Next morning he was in his garden. The blacksmith appeared at the gate.

[ocr errors]

Neighbor," said he, "glad to see you well quartered. I'm sorry I haven't been over the house; the iron-work was not given to me, but to a Camelford man. I'd have served you better. However, I bear no malice. I should like to see over the box, if you've no objections."

"Box! What box? Do you call a mansion with seven windows on the front in the upper story and six below-a box? I have objections to show my box, as you call it."

"Oh, I meant no offence," said Penrose. "I'll come another day." "This is not a show place," said Cable curtly.

The next to come was the innkeeper. "Halloh! Mr. Cable! Shake hands. Glad to see you. We've lost our guar dian died the other day; so we've had a vestry meeting and elected you guardian of the poor, unanimous."

[ocr errors]

"I guardian of the poor! the poor of St. Kerian?" He laughed bitterly. "No one cared for me and watched over me when I was poor and ill. Why should I care for your poor, and be their guardian, now I am rich?"

"Come, Cable, don't be sour. Give a sovereign, and we'll have the bells rung for your house-warming."

"Not one penny. It concerns no one but myself and my family that I enter Red Windows.'

The taverner shook his head and went away.

Dr

Then his mother came to him, and said: "Richard, why do you not meet the St. Kerian people in a friendly way, when they make the first step towards good-fellowship? Why do you refuse the hand that is held out for yours? Why should you be angered that they look on you now with other eyes than those with which they saw you enter the parish? Wh you broke stones on the road, what was there in you to attract their estee? When they saw your love and care your children, they respected you when they found you were making mo they acknowledged that you had bra Was not that natural and reasonable right? When you were poor, with s hungry mouths crying for food, there others worse off than yourself, and sympathy did you show them? W crippled beggar came through the vi did you rush after him, take off you and offer him hospitality? Why,

[graphic]

ad

ad

en re

at

a

ge,

at,

en,

are you angry with the St. Kerian people | where it fell like a spark and burnt him, because they only begin to touch their that he uttered a suppressed cry. hats and notice you, now that you are well off? You are well off because you have talents above their level, and this they recognize.'

[ocr errors]

"I wonder what she thinks, now that we are in our house, when she sees the smoke rising from the chimneys, and the windows lighted up?"

"She thinks that a cottage where love is, is better than a thirteen-windowed mansion where there is hardness of heart and pride."

Richard did not answer; he walked away, and went about his grounds and planned improvements, and seated himself in his garden house, and tried to believe he was happy. At night, when alone, he sat again in his summer-house with the door open, and looked down at St. Kerian, which lay in the valley, with a gossamer veil hanging over it, the vapor in the air condensing above the stream. The church tower stood out like ivory against the black yews. He could see the chimneys of the parsonage, and the glitter of the tiny conservatory flashing the moonbeams back. He heard the soothing rush of the water in the mill "leat " running the waste water into the river. In the wood behind, the owls were hooting. On such a night as this he had stood at his cottage window there below, two years ago, and resolved to realize his dream. He had accomplished what he had determined, and was he satisfied? He strained his eyes to see the old cottage, but it was dark; but, through the soft haze, he saw one golden pin-point, from where the post-office stood. Was that her light? Was she sitting there, at the window, looking up, out of the valley, at his grand house, on which the moonlight shone? What were her thoughts?

Richard Cable's breast heaved, and a choke came in his breath. He turned his face away and looked at the hills, at the gray moor frosted with moonlight, at the deep sky, and tried to spell stars in it, but could not, because of the suffused light. Then his eyes went back to the golden speck, the one spangle of yellow in the cold scene of white and gray and black. Then he stood up, and sat with his back to the door, and looked into the gloom of the interior, and down at the rectangular oblong patch of white, like snow on the floor, laid there by the moon. But he could not long study that. He turned on his seat, and once again the golden speck shot into his brain and down into his heart,

"It is all stubbornness and pride," he said, rubbing the bench with his hand, as if to polish it. "She is determined to show me that she can do without me. What does my mother mean by saying the rough life is killing her? She has chosen it out of obstinacy, to spite me. If I were to give her five pounds a week, she would throw them down at my feet. I can do nothing. If she is determined to kill herself, she must do so. She is proud. Why is her light burning now? She is working on late, that she may earn money and do without help. It is flint and steel striking, and the spark- there it is, and it is burning me."

From Temple Bar.

LORD CARTERET.

THE jubilee year has not been encouraging so far as literature is concerned. New books and readers of books have been alike wanting. At the Library Association the other day a horrified somebody had observed at the Birmingham Free Library that fifty out of a hundred of the supposed readers were asleep. This is an appalling fact. How is it accounted for? Well, we think it is owing to the great excitement which prevails in the country. The newspapers, filled with sensational news, are more than sufficient for mankind. The religious and political world are alike convulsed. We should have thought that the Salvation Army would satisfy noisy religionists, but that does not seem to be the case; for a new army has risen, which dwells in what it pleasantly calls a "Glory Hole," and its members adopt Scriptural names. It seems a very rowdy association, and Father Abraham and King Solomon have lately fallen into the clutches of the police. Sussex is the headquarters of this belligerent power. It has already, under the auspices of "Brother Jonah," invaded the quiet county of Kent, and serious rioting has been the consequence of the campaign. We might survive this; but, alas! there is a vain old gentleman, belonging to the political world, who resides in a "Glory Hole," and if he remained there all would be well. But he will keep "popping up," to spread mischief and confusion in the land. His "Brother Jonah," in the shape of Sir William Harcourt, is howling and shouting in favor of lawless

ness and sedition. The police are now | Darlington; a fierce-eyed, red-faced, intolerthe objects of attack. We read lately the diary of a guardian of the peace in a small village, written during the war between Charles the First and the Parliament. There is the following pathetic entry in the diary: "And there never was such a time in England, especially for constables. Similar times are now approaching. It is painful to see a late prime minister, totally forgetting the glorious traditions of English statesmen, deliberately forcing on his country “red "red ruin, and the breaking up of laws."

ably fat woman-a really great character, if size is to be the criterion. She was so ponderous that the amused English people compared her to an elephant and castle; but fat. Some of the English ladies of larger George could stand a very large quantity of bulk, seeing the royal predilection that way, did what they could to increase the magnitude of their attractions. "Some succeeded and others burst," sneers Chesterfield, less unjustifiably than usual. They say that this overpowering Countess had been beautiful once, though now she had got into this mere giantess condition, finding all warm weather spite of her imperious influence in the Court oppressive. The world has forgotten her in of George I. How much did she weigh? posterity asks with languid interest, and learns with the completest indifference that the amount is unknown.

The other favorite was a singular con

It is pleasant to turn away from such a sickening spectacle, and to read the account of the career of Lord John Carteret, admirably related by Mr. Archibald Ballantyne. "The world knows nothing of its greatest men." It certainly, until this book was published, knew little very about this extraordinary man. Lord Car-trast to the weighty lady thus described; teret was descended from a grand old Jer- but she seems to have had far more influsey family which had been renowned since ence with the king. She was very avarithe time of the Conquest. On his moth- cious; in fact, every finger was a fisher's side he was descended from Sir Rich-hook, and the bribes she is said to have ard Grenville of the Revenge, and from Sir Bevill Granville, who died for the Stuart cause at the Battle of Lansdown. Lord Carteret was the most accomplished nobleman of his time, well versed in the literature of Greece and Rome, a proficient in seven European languages, a genial companion, eminently handsome, incorruptible in the corruptest of times, with a temper alike serene in adversity and prosperity, sui profusus, but not alieni appetens, careless of money and power, excellent in all the relations of family life; the story of his career is valuable, "as exhibiting the English aristocracy at the height of its culture, lofty spirit, and greatness."

Lord Carteret was born in 1690, and on coming of age he became a strong supporter of the Hanoverian succession. It certainly says much for the abilities of the statesmen of the time that they could place on the throne and keep there two kings who had nothing in common with the ideas of Englishmen.

Mr. Ballantyne gives us a very graphic account of the two ladies who accompanied his gracious Majesty George the First to England:

From Hanover, George brought with him to England two leading favorites who are inextricably entangled in the political life of his reign. One of these Teutonic women is best remembered by the title of the Countess of

Mesdames Kilmansegge and Schulenberg.

received are fabulous. Lord Chesterfield married her niece, who was left twenty thousand pounds by the will which was destroyed. Lord Chesterfield is said to have threatened George the Second about the matter, and obtained the money.

[ocr errors]

The other favorite, a woman of various German and English titles, still vaguely hangs on to memory as Duchess of Kendal. Physically, she was a great contrast to the Countess of Darlington. Not at all beautiful; "a very tall, lean, ill-favored old lady," was Horace Walpole's boyish reminiscence of her. She was so tall, gaunt, and scraggy that she was Except familiarly known as the "Maypole. for her insatiable appetite for money, in which the Darlington fully equalled her, there was no particular harm in this simple old creature. Her abilities were too trifling to require any mention. Chesterfield plainly says that she was very little above an idiot. She was so complacently foolish that her society was very attractive and soothing to George I.; and, in spite of her deficiency in fat, her influence with him was considerably greater than her rival's.

She was a Lutheran, with a reputation for

piety of a sort; painfully going seven times every Sunday to Lutheran chapels in London.

How the courtiers who recollected the beautiful mistresses of Charles the Second

must have stared and wondered at the strange taste of their new sovereign, who deigned to come over the sea to defend the Protestant faith! Madame Schulenberg, who was created Duchess of Kendal, had the greatest influence with the king. This the courtiers soon discovered. Mr.

Ballantyne tells us that "in the reign of George I. favor was only to be obtained through channels of a somewhat unsavory kind.' Carteret disliked these channels, but Walpole handled such tools with a sort of cynical good humor.

Of course these two remarkable women were accompanied by an unlimited supply of camp-followers, eager to enjoy the spoils of the land of Goshen. George had also two Turkish servants added to his train, which gave quite an Eastern aspect to his seraglio.

A hungry, slightly vulgar crew, these Germans looked upon the good things of England as plunder providentially supplied for persons of more limited Hanoverian ways and means; and Walpole and Townshend, who took a different view of the subject, stood in their way with annoying effectiveness. Of Bothmar, one of the chief of these objectionable foreigners, Townshend said that he had every day some infamous project or other on foot for getting money. Robethon, another of them, whom Swift in one of his political tracts calls "a very inconsiderable French vagrant, was publicly spoken of by Walpole in the House of Commons as a mean fellow-an impertinent busybody; and the Government took it as a matter of course that he would do them all the harm he could. Bornsdorf, as interested and corrupt as any, seems to have been considerably a fool in addition; a mischievous, stupid old creature, poking about with solemn stupidity in whatever dirt offered the possibility of an acceptable shilling; puzzling in negotiations "with the adroitness of a cow," said Secretary Craggs, who was always uncomplimentary to the bovine Hanoverian. To one of these grasping vagrants, detected in some mendacity in the King's presence, Walpole once exclaimed, in the only dialect in which he could communicate with Germans, "Mentiris impudentissime!" "You are a most impudent liar!"-but George only laughed.

The German invasion was not at all popular with the London mob. The Schulenberg put her head out of the window of the carriage, and tried to mollify them by stating, "We are coming for your goots. "Yes, d-n you!" roared the mob; "and our chattels too!"

On the accession of George the First, Lord Carteret was appointed lord of the bedchamber; his mother was created Countess of Granville in her own right, and he also became lord-lieutenant of Devonshire. But in 1719 he began his diplomatic career, and was sent as minister to the court of Sweden, where he displayed the greatest ability in endeavoring to restore peace between that country and her neighbors, with whom she was at war.

Such was his success in this difficult mission, that in 1721 he was offered and accepted the secretaryship of the southern department. He soon ingratiated himself with the king, principally by his knowledge of the German language, so that Walpole, who could only converse with his Majesty by talking bad Latin, became jealous of him, and made him resign his appointment.

In 1724 Lord Carteret was made lordlieutenant of Ireland, which was then convulsed, owing to the attempt to introduce a copper coinage into that country. Wood, a Staffordshire manufacturer, had received a patent, through the influence of the Duchess of Kendal, who was very well paid for her patronage. It is well known how Swift seized this opportunity cf venting his spite against the Walpole ministry.

Lord Carteret, on his arrival in Ireland, found it in a state of wild excitement. Swift's third "Drapier Letter" had just been published. Lord Carteret determined to issue a proclamation offering a reward of £300 for the discovery of the author. This was opposed by some of his advisers, as likely to disturb the peace of the country. Carteret answered quietly, "As long as I have the honor to be chief will be kept." And it was kept. governor here, the peace of the kingdom

While

Carteret held a levée at the Castle. The day after the issue of the proclamation, the official politenesses were proceeding, Swift entered the drawing-room, and made his way through the crowd to the circle. He wasted no time on ceremony, but directly and emphatically addressed himself to Carteret:

[ocr errors]

'So, my Lord-Lieutenant, this is a precious exploit that you performed yesterday, in issuing a proclamation against a poor shopkeeper, whose only crime is an honest endeavor to save his country from ruin. You have given a noble specimen of what this devoted nation is to hope for from your government. I suppose you expect a statue of copper will be The crowd of courtiers were struck dumb at created to you for this service done to Wood." such a scene and such a profanation of their sacred mysteries. Carteret alone was not in the least disconcerted. He listened to Swift's speech with quiet composure, and replied to his friend in Virgil's line,

Res dura et regni novitas me talia cogunt
Moliri.

The whole assembly was struck with the up in good-humor, some extolling the magnabeauty of this quotation, and the levée broke nimity of Swift to the skies, and all delighted with the ingenuity of the Lord-Lieutenant's

answer.

« ElőzőTovább »