페이지 이미지

except a fragment which appears beside the seat. But, , from vestiges remaining, it would seem that the semicircular wall was formed of Kentish rag-stones; thus affording a contrast to the other portion of the building. The floor of this room is composed like the former, with the exception of the tesseræ ; for it seems to have been merely strewn with pounded tile.

Beneath the floor appears a hypocaust, (plainly shewn by the partial removal of the covering, to the left of our engraving) formed of columns about two feet in height, each consisting of fourteen, tiles about twelve inches square. These are connected at top by larger tiles, which form the substructure of the floor. Flue-tiles, with varied patterns incised on their surfaces, have been discovered, and which originally conveyed warm air up the sides of the building. The site of the furnace has not yet been made known. A seat, constructed entirely of Roman brick, and wide enough to accommodate two persons, appears on one side of the flat wall of this room.

These remains are about thirteen feet below the level of Thames-street, and are singularly interesting from the circumstance of their foundation being laid upon wooden piles driven into the marshy land which at the time of their construction existed on the spot. A spring of clear water bursts from beneath the walls. The strata of different epochs are shown to great advantage by the present excavations, and, without a great stretch of the imagination, a spectator can form some notion of the features of this district before the civilizing hand of the Roman colonist reclaimed the site from the water, and rendered it habitable, and the chief seat of commerce in Roman Britain.

On the floor above the hypocaust are seen a Roman fluetile, with a pattern deeply indented on its upper surface, a different pattern appearing on the under one, the lid of a Roman vase of black earth, and a flat Roman tile with a simple pattern.

[ocr errors]


The establishment kept by the three accomplished sisters, was called a finishing school-a term still often used, though what is to be understood by it, we cannot devise, unless it may be, that in such schools young ladies are often rendered incapable of further improvement, and may thus be said to be finished.'

Immediately after the second Midsummer vacation spent by Barbara at school, a young lady arrived from a Bath seminary, who, being but seventeen years of age, was to make the most of her time with masters until she was eighteen, when she was to be introduced, or as it is fashionably termed,“ brought out,” and initiated in all the frivolous gaieties of life.

This young lady-by name Emmeline Loveday-had been at various schools, and now she was not to be a common pupil, but a parlour boarder. Miss Loveday elegant, so accomplished, and above all, knew what she esteemed her own consequence to be, so very well, that even the two little Miss Lushingtons were down to the ground to her, praising and flattering and caressing her whenever she honored the school room with her company.

Of course the reader has found out that this Miss Emmeline was the same to whom Barbara addressed the letter which has been before given, * though it really was not written till the Christmas holidays afterwards.

One evening after Miss Loveday had been spending most of its hours in learning from one of the teachers how to do what was called filagree work, which was in high fashion at that time, whilst sitting at supper in the parlour, with the heads of the house, she suddenly said, “By the by, Miss Philippa, who is that little girl in the white frock and purple bracers—with the pale face—who seems to belong to nobody, and is so very much obliged when one gives her a smile ? "

“Miss Barbara Rokeby,” replied Miss Puilippa, “poor little thing ; Mademoiselle will have it, that she is only half-witted, but there is no lack of intellect there, I am persuaded.”

“None in the least,” said Mrs. St. Leger ; “but there is what will be much more against her in the world; she is unlike other

* At page 203.


people; she is what I call an odd girl; and so shut up in herself, that there is no such thing as drawing her out.”

“And how can you expect it, ma'am?" returned Miss Loveday, with the ease of one, who was, as parlour boarder, more a companion than a pupil to the lady she addressed—“I was about to say, that there seems to be a general accordance in the school room to throw contempt on, and to check the little girl, beginning with Mademoiselle and her persiflage, and finishing with those intolerable Lushingtons, with their pride and irony. Surely this is not a mode of treatment likely to draw out a modest little girl's affections.”

* Excuse me, Miss Loveday,” said Mrs. St. Leger, me : you have had little experience in the management of youth, or you would not reject that amazingly powerful agent, in promoting the civilization of the human race-ridicule in all its forms; and though I, as the head of this institution, should not like to exercise it upon any individual, yet I make a point of never checking the use of it in a lady-like way in others. It is a inaxim of mine that those only need fear it, who need its discipline : when any one ceases to want it, he will no longer incur it.”

Miss Loveday was not convinced, but she was silenced for the time being

The next morning as she was leaving the little sleeping room which she had to herself, she met Barbara, and saw she had been weeping. On enquiring what was the matter, she was told that Mademoiselle had found her with her Bible, instead of her French Grammar, and had taken it from her.

“Poor young thing!" said the elder, stooping and kissing her, “ I will get your Bible back for you ;” and there they parted.

Since Barbara had parted from her nurse, she had never received a kind salutation, such as she felt that kiss to be; and yet the day went heavily with her, for Miss Loveday never appeared in the school room, and her Bible was not restored. She was going up that night, with the teachers and her companions, at the usual hour to their sleeping rooms, the elders jesting and tittering in their usual way, and the younger ones laughing and whispering about such trifling things as unhappily they were only familiar with ; when, at the head of the stairs she was met by Emmeline, who having merely said significantly to th French lady, “ You know! Mademoiselle ;" took the hand of the little girl and led her away to her own room, which was at the end of the gallery

Barbara thought no other than that the young lady was going to restore her Bible to her : she was, therefore, by no means prepared for what was to follow. On entering the small room she saw a little bed, placed against the inner wall, leaving indeed but a small space between itself and the larger bed on the other side ; with a small chest of drawers and all things needful for making a proper toilet at its feet, with certain of her possessions ranged on the top of the drawers. But most surprising of all, was the sight of her Bible laid upon the pillow of the little bed, which last was turned down and arranged for the due reception of the person who was to sleep in it. Whilst standing scarcely within the door in speechless surprise, she felt herself suddenly caught in the arms of Miss Loveday, and heard herself thus addressed : “I have always been sorry for you, my dear child, and thought it hard that you might not read your Bible when you wished to do so, since you seem to have such delight in it; and I have made interest for you to sleep in my room, and have had all your goods and chattels brought here, and here you may do what you like, and read what you like, without the fear of being laughed at."

For a moment or more, Barbara was evidently too much overpowered to speak, or even to move ; but suddenly, as if she had only that instant comprehended the kindness, she threw her arms round the young lady's neck, and burst into an agony of tears. Indeed the poor little girl seemed to be so much excited, that Emmeline thought it best to urge her, at once, to lay her head by the side of the Bible, and solicit sleep as soon as possible.

“And this,” thought Miss Loveday, as she descended to the supper room, “this is the child to whom dulness and insensibility, and incapacity are attributed by all the sapient directors of this establishment! This is the child without heart and affections, who was not to be protected even by those who have undertaken her guardianship from the sharp cold blasts of irony, contempt, and high-bred insolence ? But I shall say no more about her to any of them. What must the poor child have suffered, to be so

[ocr errors]

exceedingly thankful for the refuge with which I thought of supplying her!”

When Miss Loveday returned to her room, she found her little friend in a deep sleep, with one arm out from the bed clothes, for it was a hot night, and one hand laid on the little Bible. “Oh! that precious Bible,” she thought, as she quietly lifted it from under the hand; "some dear friend's gift, no doubtperhaps that of her uncle Jocelyn, the simple youth, of whom Mrs. St. Leger told me-whose death threw all the property into the sister's family ?"

Having set down the candle on her dressing table, she carried the book to it, and opening it at the fly-leaf, she read the name of Horace Langford, dated “Rock Cottage,” 1781 ; and some years afterwards, that of Jocelyn Barwell, to which was added, “Horace gave me this, before he fell asleep," the whole of this last entry being made in a very scrawling irregular hand. The name of Barbara Rokeby came next, in a fair but stiff autograph, with these words “Alas! dear Uncle Jocelyn!”

Yes, 1 see,” thought the young lady, as she replaced the book under the hand," I see how it is. The Bible was this precious Uncle Jocelyn's. Well ! it was cruel to take it from her ; perhaps she possesses no other tangible memorial of him ;” and having thus accounted to herself for the value put by the little girl on the object, she laid down to rest, under the sweet impression of having that day done a kind thing, yet scarcely less ignorant of the real value of a copy of the Holy Scriptures, than one of the infidels at that period committing their horrible atrocities in Paris, might have been.

As we have already remarked above, there never had been a time, since England was a nation in which any thing like vital religion was less esteemed than in or about the period of which this narrative now treats. It is very certain that even the most pious teachers are utterly unable to inspire the mind of those under their influence with spiritual views of Christianity, without God's blessing on their labors; but there is much which they may do, even with those not endowed from above with the new and spiritual nature-they may give head-knowledge, compelling attention to scripture, and, as it were, forcing respect to things accounted sacred. But no process of this kind, ever had gone

[ocr errors][merged small]
« 이전계속 »