« 이전계속 »
jurisprudence, on the laws of franchise, and, scattered among these, books of ready-made quotations and extracts; it was a library of bricks and mortar rather than one of gems. Mr. Whitmore turned impatiently from the book-shelves; if he had persevered he might probably have found something more interesting among the books, but he hated dulness, and shrank from it as the dog shrinks from his chain. He had begun to look at the pictures on the walls, when a likeness arrested him; it was a water-color drawing, a likeness of Mr. Bright, taken when he was some years younger, but still very like him; the color was hard, and the drawing stiff and faulty, but there was character and life in the portrait. Mr. Whitmore bent down to examine it more closely, and he saw in the corner the initials N. B. His thoughts flew back to the little incident at the cross roads.
"If Mr. Beaufort is not in in another minute, I must go and find him." This was said very impatiently. He longed to go back and break up the meeting between Will and Nuna. Was he so very sure of her himself? and he thought of Will's handsome face and stalwart frame with something very like contempt.
"Just one of the yellow-haired giants women delight in. Ugh! carcases—when Nature is so over-liberal outside, she seldom does much in inside furnishings."
And yet Nuna had looked so true when she said she was not likely to leave the Rectory, and Mrs. Bright's confidence had shown that it must be her own fault if Nuna were not mistress of Gray's Farm. Still the torment was growing insufferable. The Rector came in at last, less smiling than usual. Mrs. Fagg's discourse was fresh in his head, and when Jane told him who was waiting for him, he felt more than ever vexed that he had made the Rectory an open house to this Mr. Whitmore. We are never so weak for our own interests as when pleading with all our heart to a prejudiced listener. It was very unfortunate for Paul that his usual calmness had been disturbed; if his purpose had been less heartfelt, he would have been less impatient in beginning on it; but he only thought of securing Nuna to himself; he made the confession of his love in an abrupt and hurried manner— and manner was omnipotent with the Rector. Mr. Beaufort got up from his chair, and looked at his visitor as if he thought him insane. "I trust you have said nothing of this to my daughter." His stiff tone did not daunt Paul; he had made up his mind to opposition.
"I have not spoken out, but I think your daughter knows that I love her." The Rector's pride was severely shocked; his prejudices had not quite enabled him to determine that Paul was a gentleman, although his instincts acknowledged him to be one; and that a person of this kind, a person who might perhaps move in a lower sphere of society, should have had both the daring and the opportunity to pay court toj his daughter, took away for the time all his power of reply. Mr. Beaufort's knowledge of that which passed in the world was gathered from books and the dicta of a few country neighbors, people with minds on a dead level, and ideas which had been sprouting on the same unchanged stock for generations without a suspicion that they had become obsolete. The only correct and safe opinion (Mr. Beaufort's creed held but one on any subject) was to be found in the newspaper cherished by his special class, and in Mr. Whitmore there was a way of thinking for himself, a something which did not bear the stamp of class at all. Mr. Whitmore said and did things in an original, out-ofthe-way manner, which found no duplicate in the stereotypes of the rectorial mind. It was most outrageous that such a person should aspire to Nuna.
"Then you must excuse me,"—Mr. Beaufort looked like a poplar-tree for stiffness,—"if I tell you that you have acted in a most unheard-of and unwarrantable manner." Paul smiled; he did not think this quiet, gentle-spoken man would have flown off in such a womanish temper.
"Unwarrantable perhaps, but not unheard-of. You were young yourself once; can't you make some excuse for my overhaste?"
"I am afraid, sir, you have appealed to a most ineffectual sympathy. I can safely say that nothing could have tempted me to offend so grievously against the usages of life." He was too angry to ask how Nuna had received Mr. Whitmore's admiration; he the subject, it jarred his refinement so painfully. "I have no doubt there was no harm in your intention, but the fact remains."
wanted to dismiss the subject finally, without any more detail, and he went on just as if he were driving a ploughshare over every thought and feeling that might be held in opposition to his.
"I must beg to hear no more about this, and I think you will see that it is impossible I can continue to receive your visits at my house." While the Rector spoke Paul had felt his own superiority to the man who was thus ignoring all right and justice in his treatment of him. There was a slight flush on his dark face, but his words came with the calm weight that compels deference.
"I think I must ask you to hear rather more, or at least to give me some reason for your decision. Is your daughter to have no voice in the matter?"
"We will keep my daughter out of the question altogether, if you please." Mr. Beaufort's face flushed. "She is much too young to decide for herself, and too well brought up, I hope, to think of adopting such a course. If I had no other reason, it would be sufficient that I know far too little of you to entertain such a proposal."
"That is a reason which can be so soon got over. I will stay at Ashton as long as you please; and if you will allow me to explain my position and means of living, I have every hope that you will be satisfied."
Paul spoke temperately still, but the flush in his face had deepened. His manner restrained the Rector, but still Mr. Beaufort felt it was useless to temporize, worse than useless for this wild young fellow to think he could have Nuna for the asking. He waxed his hand.
"We need not discuss your position at all. If you had followed me, Mr. Whitmore, you would have noticed that I said if I had no other reason: unfortunately this is not the case; I have another objection, but it would be much pleasanter for us both if you would let the matter end here." Paul bent his dark eyes searchingly on the fretful, anxious face before him.
"You don't understand me," he said, bluntly; "I love your daughter with all my heart, and you have said nothing yet to prove that I am not fit to win her love. I don't say I am worthy of her; no man ever yet was worthy of a pure, good wo
man's love; but unless you make me believe that it is impossible for me to win your daughter, I tell you, with all due regard for you as her father, but still I tell you frankly, I don't mean to give her up." Paul spoke impetuously, and Mr. Beaufort waved both his white hands as if he would soothe away the outburst.
"I consider the reason I have already given, the slightness of our acquaintance, a very sufficient one, but it may perhaps settle the matter more completely if I add, as a clergyman, that you are not quite the person I should choose for my daughter's husband."
"You have implied that before,"— Paul was pale enough now, and he spoke haughtily; "but I have a right to ask you to say plainly what you mean."
"You may have a right, but I question your wisdom in asserting it; there are things best left unexplained, still—"
Paul looked impatient, and the Rector went on faster.
"I can tell you if you wish. When you were here before I objected to your acquaintance with a young woman in a different class of life from your own."
"Will you allow me to finish? I am aware that young men see no harm in such intimacies; they only consider their own amusement; but I believe incalculable mischief is done in this way. Such notice turns a girl's head with vanity, unfits her for association with her equals, and, I fear, where time and opportunity prolong the acquaintance, still worse harm ensues. I dare say you are surprised, but you asked me to give you a reason, and I tell you plainly that I think that if this girl Patty had still been in Ashton, it is quite possible you would have renewed this very objectionable intimacy." At first Paul's haughty annoyance had nearly hurried him away without offering any explanation, but the Rector's earnestness prevailed.
"I should have done nothing of the kind. You have spoken out to me, Mr. Beaufort, and I will be quite frank with you. I had a foolish infatuation for Patty, but there was nothing criminal in my feelings for her." He spoke very frankly and simply.
"I dare say not." The Rector almost wrung his hands in his desire to be rid of
"Your knowledge of it; but that is founded on a mistake. I was so madly in love with Patty that I asked her to be my wife, and she refused me." Mr. Beaufort literally staggered back against the writing-table. Nothing perhaps masters us so completely as the recognition of some quality in another of which we feel ourselves incapable. It was marvellous to hear Mr. Whitmore say that he meant to make Patty his wife, but it was literally astounding to hear him confess that he had been rejected by this village girl. For a few moments this grand frankness overwhelmed the Rector with astonished admiration, and then a very different feeling brought him back to self-complacency. How dared this man even look at Nuna with the notion of making her a successor to Patty Westropp?He grew very red in the face indeed, with virtuous indignation.
"You have said quite enough, more than enough, to justify me in forbidding any attachment between you and my daughter. I could not receive a man as a son-in-law who could dream of marrying such a person as Patty. Really, Mr. Whitmore, for both our sakes, I must ask you to end this interview."
He was amazed to see Paul smile.
"I am going away," he said, "but I am not going to give up the hope of your daughter's love, Mr. Beaufort. I shall write to her: I consider myself justified in writing to explain my conduct in leaving Ashton so abruptly. I go away now in deference to your wishes, but I shall come down here again soon, and if I then have reason to think I have any hope of success, I shall ask you to reconsider your determination." He would shake hands, ignoring altogether the Rector's stiff bow of dismissal, and then he went away.
"Really,"—the Rector threw himself back in his easy chair in a state of nervous agitation,—" that is the most extraordinary person I ever met with in all my life."
(To be continued.)
The looms are broken, the looms are hushed, And a broken weary man
He hears the voice of a world that sings
The spectacle sublime!
St. Paul's. THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE AT LENGTH DISCOVERED. So much attention was directed to the solar corona during the discussions which preceded and followed the late eclipse, that a discovery of extreme importance— but not at all associated with the corona —has received far less attention than it deserves. The discovery I refer to is, in fact, more important in its bearing on problems of solar physics than any which has been made since Kirchhoff first told us how to interpret the solar spectrum. It is also intimately connected with the labors of that eminent physicist. I propose briefly to describe the nature of the discovery, and then to discuss some of the results to which it seems to point. Astronomers have long seen reason to believe that the sun has an atmosphere. And by the word atmosphere I mean something more than mere vaporous or gaseous masses, such as the prominences have been shown to be. A solar envelope, complete and continuous as our own atmosphere, seems undoubtedly suggested by the appearance which the sun's image presents when thrown on a suitably prepared screen in a darkened room; for then the disc is seen to be shaded off continuous towards the edge, where its brilliancy is scarcely half as great as at the centre. The phenomenon is so readily seen, and so un
mistakable, that it is with a sense of wonder one hears that Arago called it in question. To use the words of Sir John Herschel, " the fact is so palpable that it is a matter of some astonishment that it could ever fail to strike the most superficial observer." And, again, not only the light but the heat of the outer portions of the sun's image has been estimated. In this case we do not depend upon the perhaps fallible evidence of the eye, but on that of heat-measuring instruments. Fr. Secchi, measuring the heat of different parts of the solar image, has found that of the part near the centre nearly double that from the borders. Lastly, photography gives unmistakable evidence on the subject. Now, when Kirchhoff discovered the meaning of the solar spectrum, it seemed clear to him that he had determined the nature and constitution of the solar atmosphere. Let us consider the nature of Kirchhoft's discovery.
He found that the dark lines across the rainbow-tinted streak forming the background (as it were) of the solar spectrum, are due to the action of absorbing vapors. The vapors necessarily lie outside the source of that part of the sun's light which produces the rainbow-tinted streak. If those vapors could be removed for a while, we should see a simple rainbowriband of light. Or if the vapors could be so heated as to be no less hot than the matter beneath them which produces the rainbow spectrum, they would no longer cause any dark lines to appear; but being cooler, and so giving out less light than they intercept, they cut out the dark spaces corresponding to their special absorptive powers. To use Mr. Lockyer's striking, though perhaps not strictly poetical, description of their action, these vapors "gobble up the light on its way to the observer, so that it comes out with a balance on the wrong side of the account." Each vapor produces its own special set of lines, occupying precisely those parts of the spectrum which the vapor's light would illuminate if the vapor shone alone. For these vapors, notwithstanding their action in intercepting or absorbing portions of the sunlight, are themselves in reality glowing with a light so intense that the human eye could not bear to rest upon it. If we could examine the vapors we supposed just now removed from the sun, we should obtain the very lines of light which are wanting in the spectrum of the sun. When Kirchhoff had recognized in this way the presence of absorptive vapors around the real light-globe of the sun, he judged that they form the solar atmosphere. Because, although his mode of observation was not such as to assure him that these vapors completly envelop the sun, yet the telescopic aspect of the sun, and especially that darkening near the edge to which I have just referred, seemed to leave room for no other conclusion. But at this stage of the inquiry Kirchhoff fell into a mistake. He judged that the solar corona was the atmosphere which produced the solar dark lines, as well as the darkening of the sun's disc near the edge. The mistake is one which, as it seems to me, he would have avoided had he taken into account the enormous pressure at which an atmosphere so extensive as the corona would necessarily exist under the influence of the sun's mighty attractive energies. It may easily be shown that if the outer parts of the corona were as rare as the contents of our so called vacuum-tubes,or even a thousand times rarer, yet according to the laws which regulate atmospheric pressure, the density would attain even at vast heights above the sun's surface to many hundred times that of our heaviest gases. The pressure would, indeed, be so great that we can see no way of escaping the conclusion that, despite the enormous heat, the gases composing the imagined atmosphere would be liquefied or even solidified.
When the observers of the Indian eclipse of 1868 found that the colored prominences are masses of glowing hydrogen, with other gases intermixed, and when the prominence-spectrum was found to show the hydrogen lines as these appear when hydrogen exists at very moderate pressures, KirchhofTs view had to be abandoned as altogether untenable. Wherever the vapors exist which produce the solar dark lines, they are undoubtedly not to be looked for in the corona. But there the lines are. The absorptive action is exerted somewhere. The question is—Where are the absorptive vapors?
At this stage of the inquiry a very strange view was expressed by Mr. Lockyer—a view which appears to have been founded on a slight misapprehension of the principles of spectrum analysis. He put forward the theory that the absorptive action takes place below the level of the sun's surface as we see it. But observations made by Fr. Secchi at Rome pointed to a view so different from Mr. Lockyer's, as to lead to a controversy which filled many pages of the Comptes Rendus, of the Philosophical Magazine, and of other publications—a controversy conducted, as too many philosophical discussions have been, with a somewhat unphilosophical acrimony. Fr. Secchi had noticed that when the very edge of the sun's disc is examined with the spectroscope, the dark lines disappear from the spectrum, which thus becomes a simple rainbow-tinted streak. He judged, accordingly, that the absorbing atmosphere exists above the sun's real surface; for he believed that just at the edge the bright lines corresponding to the light from the vapors themselves so nearly equal in intensity the light of the solar spectrum, that no signs of difference can be detected; or, in other words, that the dark lines are obliterated. On the other hand, the glowing atmosphere cannot, he argued, reach much above the sun's surface, since otherwise the spectroscope would show the bright lines belonging to