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in the afternoon. Percy Sibwright sang admira- | so far we flattered ourselves that our feast altobly, and with the greatest spirit, ditties in many gether excelled the parson's. The Champagne languages. I am sure Miss Rosey thought him especially was such stuff, that Warrington re(as indeed he is) one of the most fascinating marked on it to his neighbor, a dark gentleman, young fellows about town. To her mother's ex- with a tuft to his chin, and splendid rings and cellent accompaniment Rosey sang her favorite chains. songs (by the way, her stock was very small- The dark gentleman's wife and daughter were five, I think, was the number). Then the table the other two ladies invited by our host. The was moved into a corner, where the quivering elder was splendidly dressed. Poor Mrs. Maemoulds of jelly seemed to keep time to the music; kenzie's simple gimcracks, though she displayed and while Percy played, two couple of waltzers them to the most advantage, and could make an. actually whirled round the little room. No won-ormolu bracelet go as far as another woman's der that the court below was thronged with ad- emerald clasps, were as nothing compared to the mirers, that Paley, the reading man, was in a other lady's gorgeous jewelry. Her fingers rage, and Mrs. Flanagan in a state of excite- glittered with rings innumerable. The head of ment. Ah! pleasant days, happy old dingy her smelling-bottle was as big as her husband's chambers illuminated by youthful sunshine! mer- gold snuff-box, and of the same splendid mater songs and kind faces—it is pleasant to recall rial. Our ladies, it must be confessed, came in you. Some of those bright eyes shine no more: a modest cab from Fitzroy Square; these arrived some of those smiling lips do not speak. Some in a splendid little open carriage with white poare not less kind, but sadder than in those days; nies, and harness all over brass, which the lady of which the memories revisit us for a moment, of the rings drove with a whip that was a and sink back into the gray past. The dear old parasol. Mrs. Mackenzie, standing at Honey. Colonel beat time with great delight to the songs; man's window, with her arm round Rosey's the widow lit his cigar with her own fair fingers. waist, viewed this arrival perhaps with envy, That was the only smoke permitted during the “My dear Mr. Honeyman, whose are those beau entertainment-George Warrington himself not tiful horses ?" cries Rosey, with enthusiasm. being allowed to use his cutty-pipe-though the The divine says with a faint blush- “ It is gay little widow said that she had been used to ah-it is Mrs. Sherrick and Miss Sherrick, who smoking in the West Indies, and I dare say spoke have done me the favor to come to luncheon." the truth. Our entertainment lasted actually un- « Wine merchant. Oh!" thinks Mrs. Mao til after dark : and a particularly neat cab being kenzie, who has seen Sherrick's brass-plate on called from St. Clement's by Mr. Binnie's boy, I the cellar-door of Lady Whittlesea's chapel; and you may be sure we all conducted the ladies to hence, perhaps, she was a trifle more magnilotbeir vehicle : and many a fellow returning from quent than usual, and entertained us with stories his lonely club that evening into chambers must of colonial governors and their ladies, mentioning bare envied us the pleasure of having received no persons but those who “had handles to their two such beauties.
names," as the phrase is. The clerical bachelor was not to be outdone by Although Sherrick had actually supplied the the gentlemen of the bar; and the entertainment Champagne which Warrington abused to him in at the Teinple was followed by one at Honey confidence, the wine-merchant was not woundman's lodgings, which, I must own, greatly ex ed; on the contrary, he roared with laughter at ceeded ours in splendor, for Honeyman had his the remark, and some of us smiled who underluncheon from Gunter's; and if he had been Miss stood the humor of the joke. As for George Rosey's mother, giving a breakfast to the dear Warrington, he scarce knew more about the town girl on her marriage, the affair could not have than the ladies opposite to him, who, yet more been more elegant and handsome. We had but innocent than George, thought the Champagne two bouquets at our entertainment ; at Honey- / very good. Mrs. Sherrick was silent during the man's there were four upon the breakfast-table, meal, looking constantly up at her husband, as besides a great pine-apple, which must have cost if alarmed and always in the habit of appealing the rogue three or four guineas, and which Percy to that gentleman, who gave her, as I thought, Sibwright delicately cut up. Rosey thought the knowing glances and savage winks, which made pine-apple delicious. “The dear thing does not me augur that he bullied her at home. Miss remember the pine-apples in the West Indies !" Sherrick was exceedingly handsome: she kept cries Mrs. Mackenzie ; and she gave us many the fringed curtains of her eyes constantly down; exciting narratives of entertainments at which but when she lifted them up toward Clive, who she had been present at various colonial govern- was very attentive to her (the rogue never sees ors' tables. After luncheon, our host hoped we a handsome woman, but to this day he continues should have a little music. Dancing, of course, the same practice)—when she looked up and could not be allowed. “That,” said Honeyman, smiled, she was indeed a beautiful young creawith his “soft-bleating sigh," “ were scarcely ture to behold—with her pale forehead, her thick clerical. You know, besides, you are in a hera arched eyebrows, her rounded cheeks, and her maitage ; and (with a glance round the table) full lips slightly shaded-how shall I mention must put up with Cenobite's fare." The fare the word?--slightly penciled, after the manner was, as I have said, excellent. The wine was of the lips of the French governess, Mademoiselle bad, as George, and I, and Sib agreed ; and in Lenoir.
Percy Sibwright engaged Miss Mackenzie with at this juncture, of which Mrs. Sherrick partakes, his usual grace and affability. Mrs. Mackenzie with lots of sugar, as she has partaken of numdid her very utmost to be gracious; but it was berless things before. Chickens, plover's eggs, evident the party was not altogether to her liking. prawns, aspics, jellies, creams, grapes, and what Poor Percy, about whose means and expectations not. Mr. Honeyman advances, and with deep she had in the most natural way in the world respect asks if Mrs. Sherrick and Miss Sherrick asked information from me, was not perhaps a will not be persuaded to sing. She rises and very eligible admirer for darling Rosey. She bows, and again takes off the French gloves, and knew not that Percy can no more help gallantry shows the large white hands glittering with rings, than the sun can help shining. As soon as and, summoning Emily her daughter, they go to Rosey had done eating up her pine-apple, art. the piano. lessly confessing (to Percy Sibwright's inquiries) "Can she sing?" whispers Mrs. Mackenzie, that she preferred it to the rasps and hinnyblobs “ can she sing after eating so much?” Can she in her grandmamma's garden, “Now, dearest sing, indeed! O, you poor ignorant Mrs. MacRosey,” cries Mrs. Mack, “ now, a little song. I kenzie! Why, when you were in the West InYou promised Mr. Pendennis a little song." dies, if you ever read the English newspapers, Honeyman whisks open the piano in a moment. you must have read of the fame of Miss Folthorpe. The widow takes off her cleaned gloves (Mrs. Mrs. Sherrick is no other than the famous artist, Sherrick's were new, and of the best Paris make), who, after three years of brilliant triumphs at the and little Rosey sings, No. 1 followed by No. 2, Scala, the Pergola, the San Carlo, the opera in with very great applause. Mother and daughter England, forsook her profession, rejected a hundentwine as they quit the piano. “Brava! bra- red suitors, and married Sherrick, who was Mr. va !" says Percy Sibwright. Does Mr. Clive Cox's lawyer, who failed, as every body knows, Newcome say nothing ? His back is turned to as manager of Drury Lane. Sherrick, like a man the piano, and he is looking with all his might of spirit, would not allow his wife to sing in pubinto the eyes of Miss Sherrick.
| lic after his marriage ; but in private society, of Percy sings a Spanish seguidella, or a German course, she is welcome to perform : and now, lied, or a French romance, or a Neapolitan can with her daughter, who possesses a noble conzonet, which, I am bound to say, excites very tralto voice, she takes her place royally at the pilittle attention. Mrs. Ridley is sending in coffee ano, and the two sing so magnificently that every body in the room, with one single exception, is old gentleman gives a very knowing nod as he charmed and delighted; and that little Miss Cann speaks). “When I am gone, keep the lad from herself creeps up the stairs, and stands with Mrs. harm's way, Pendennis. Meanwhile Mr. Sherrick Ridley at the door to listen to the music. has been a very good and obliging landlord; and
Miss Sherrick looks doubly handsome as she a man who sells wine may certainly give a friend sings. Clive Newcome is in a rapture; so is good- a bottle. I am glad you had a pleasant evening, natured Miss Rosey, whose little heart beats with boys. Ladies! I hope you have had a pleasant pleasure, and who says quite unaffectedly to Miss afternoon. Miss Rosey, you are come back to Sherrick, with delight and gratitude beaming from make tea for the old gentlemen ? James begins ber blue eyes, “Why did you ask me to sing, to get about briskly now. He walked to Hanover when you sing so wonderfully, so beautifully Square, Mrs. Mackenzie, without hurting his ankle yourself? Do not leave the piano, please; do sing in the least." again.” And she puts out a kind little hand to- “I'm almost sorry that he is getting well," says ward the superior artist, and, blushing, leads her Mrs. Mackenzie, sincerely. “He won't want us back to the instrument. “I'in sure me and Emily when he is quite cured.” will sing for you as much as you like, dear," says “Indeed, my dear creature !" cries the Colonel, Mrs. Sherrick, nodding to Rosey good-naturedly, taking her pretty hand and kissing it. “He will Mrs. Mackenzie, who has been biting her lips and want you, and he shall want you. James no more dramming the time on a side-table, forgets at last knows the world than Miss Rosey here; and if I the pain of being vanquished, in admiration of the had not been with him, would have been perfectly conquerors. “It was cruel of you not to tell us, unable to take care of himself. When I am gone Mr. Honeyman," she says, “of the-of the treat to India, somebody must stay with him; and you had in store for us. I had no idea we were and my boy must have a home to go to," says the going to meet professional people; Mrs. Sherrick's kind soldier, his voice dropping. “I had been in singing is indeed beautiful."
hopes that his own relatives would have received * If you come up to our place in the Regent's him more; but never mind about that,” he cried Park, Mr. Newcome,” Mr. Sherrick says, “Mrs. | more cheerfully. “Why, I may not be absent a S. and Emily will give you as many songs as you year! perhaps need not go at all-I am second like. How do you like the house in Fitzroy for promotion. A couple of our old generals may Square ? Any thing wanting doing there? I'm drop any day; and when I get my regiment I a good landlord to a good tenant. Don't care come back to stay, to live at home. Meantime, what I spend on my houses. Lose by 'em some while I am gone, my dear lady, you will take care times. Name a day when you'll come to us; and of James; and you will be kind to my boy !". I'll ask some good fellows to meet you, Your "That I will !" said the widow, radiant with father and Mr. Binnie came once. That was pleasure, and she took one of Clive's hands and when you were a young chap. They didn't have pressed it for an instant; and from Clive's father's a bad evening, I believe. You just come and try kind face there beamed out that benediction, which us-I can give you as good a glass of wine as always made his countenance appear to me among most, I think," and he smiles, perhaps thinking the most beautiful of human faces. of the champagne which Mr. Warrington had slighted. “I've ad the close carriage for my wife · SHARPENING THE SCYTHE. this evening,” he continues, looking out of win- TN the heart of a high table-land that overlooks dow at a very handsome brougham which has just 1 many square leagues of the rich scenery of drawn up there. “That little pair of horses steps Devonshire, the best scythe-stone is found. The prettily together, don't they? Fond of horses? whole face of the enormous cliff in which it is I know you are. See you in the park; and going contained is honeycombed with minute quarries ; by our house sometimes. The Colonel sits a half-way down there is a wagon road, entirely horse uncommonly well: so do you, Mr. New formed of the sand cast out from them. To walk come. I've often said, “Why don't they get off along that vast soft terrace on a July evening is their horses and say, Sherrick, we're come for to enjoy one of the most delightful scenes in a bit of lunch and a glass of sherry?' Name a England. Forests of fir rise overhead like cloud day, Sir. Mr. P., will you be in it?"
on cloud ; through openings of these there peeps Clive Newcome named a day, and told his father the purple moorland stretching far southward to of the circumstance in the evening. The Colonel | the Roman Camp, and barrows from which looked grave. “There was something which I spears and skulls are dug continually. Whatdid not quite like about Mr. Sherrick," said that ever may be underground, it is all soft and bright acute observer of human nature. “It was easy above, with heath and wild flowers, about which to see that the man is not quite a gentleman. I a breeze will linger in the hottest noon. Down don't care what a man's trade is, Clive. Indeed, to the sand road the breeze does not come; there who are we, to give ourselves airs upon that sub- we may walk in calm, and only see that it is ject? But when I am gone, my boy, and there quivering among the topmost trees. From the is nobody near you who knows the world as I do, camp the Atlantic can be seen, but from the sand you may fall into designing hands, and rogues road the view is more limited, though many a may lead you into mischief: keep a sharp look bay and headland far beneath show where the out, Clive. Mr. Pendennis, hcre, knows that ocean of a past age rolled. Fossils and shells there are designing fellows abroad” (and the dear are almost as plentiful within the cliff as the
scythe-stone itself, and wondrous bones of ex- | this scythe-stone trade. The few agricultural tinct animals are often brought to light.
| laborers there to be met with may be distinguished All day long, summer and winter, in the som- / at a glance from their brethren of the pits; the bre fir-groves may be heard the stroke of the bronzed cheeks from the hectic, the muscular spade and the click of the hammer; a hundred frames from the bodies which disease has weakmen are at work like bees upon the cliff, each in ened, and which dissipation helps to a more swift his own cell of the great honeycomb, his private decay. The cottages are not ill-built, and genpassage. The right to dig in his own burrowerally 'stand detached in a small garden; their each of these men has purchased for a trifling little porches may be seen of an evening thronged sum, and he toils in it daily. Though it is a with dirty pretty children, helping father outside narrow space, in which he is not able to stand his cavern by carrying the stone away in little upright, and can scarcely turn—though the air baskets, as he brings it out to them. in it that he breathes is damp and deadly—though Beside the Luta rivulet, which has pleasanter the color in his cheek is commonly the hectic of nooks, more flowery banks, and falls more musical consumption, and he has a cough that never than any stream in Devon ; beside this brook, leaves him night or day—though he will himself and parted by a little wood of beeches and wild remark that he does not know among his neigh-laurel from the village, is a very pearl of cottages. bors one old man-and though, all marrying Honeysuckle, red-rose, and sweet-briar hold it early, few ever see a father with his grown-up entangled in a fragrant net-work; they fall over son, yet, for all this, the scythe-stone cutter the little windows, making twilight at midnoon, works in his accustomed way, and lives his short yet nobody has ever thought of cutting them life merrily, that is to say, he drinks down any away or tying up a single tendril. Grandfather sense or care that he might have. These poor Markham and his daughter Alice, with John men are almost without exception sickly drunk- Drewit, her husband and master of the house, ards. The women of this community are not used to live there, and they had three little chilmuch healthier. It is their task to cut and shape dren, Jane, Henry, and Joe. the rough-hewn stone into those pieces where- A little room over the porch was especially with “the mower whets his scythe.” The thin neat. It was the best room in the cottage, and particles of dust that escape during this process therein was lodged old Markham, who had, so are very pernicious to the lungs; but, as usual, far as the means of his children went, the best it is found impossible to help the ignorant sufferers of board as well. He was not a very old man, by any thing in the form of an idea from without; but looked ten years older than he was, and his a number of masks and respirators have been more hand shook through an infirmity more grievous than once provided for them by the charity of the than age. He was a gin-drinker. John Drewit neighboring gentry, but scarcely one woman has had to work very hard to keep not only his own given them her countenance.
household in food and clothing, but also his poor • The short life of the scythe-stone cutter is also old father-in-law in drink. always liable to be abruptly ended. Safety re- John was a hale young man when first I knew quires that fir-poles from the neighboring wood him, but he soon began to alter. As soon as it should be driven in one by one on either side of was light he was away to the sand-cliff by a him, and a third flat stake be laid across to make pleasant winding path through the beechwood the walls and roof safe, as the digger pushes his and up the steps which his own spade had cut. long burrow forward. Cheap as these fir-poles One or two of them he had made broader than are, they are too often dispensed with. There is the rest, at intervals, where one might willingly scarcely one of the hundred mined entrances of sit down to survey the glory spread beneath ; the disused caverns here to be seen, through which low, white, straw-thatched farms gleaming like some crushed or suffocated workman has not light among the pasture-lands, the little towns been brought out dead. The case is common. each with its shining river, and the great old city A man can not pay the trifle that is necessary in the hazy distance; the high beacon hills, the to buy fir-poles for the support of his cell walls ; woods, and far as eye could see, the mist that the consequence is, that sooner or later, it must hung over the immense Atlantic. This resting almost inevitably happen that one stroke of the on the upward path, at first a pleasure, became pickax shall produce a fall of sand behind him, soon a matter of necessity, and that, too, long and set an impassable barrier between him and before the cough had settled down upon him; the world without. It will then be to little pur- few men in Whiteknights have their lungs so pose that another may be working near him, whole that they can climb up to their pits without prompt to give the alarm and get assistance ; a halt or two. tons upon tons of heavy sand divide the victim The old man helped his son-in-law sometimes; from the rescuers, and they must prop and roof he was a good sort of old man by nature, and their way at every step, lest they too perish. not a bit more selfish than a drunkard always Such accidents are therefore mostly fatal, if the must be. He ground the rough stones into shape man was not at once crushed by a fall of sand at home, minded the children in his daughter's upon him, he has been cut off from the outer air, absence, and even used the pick himself when he and suffocated in his narrow worm-hole. White-was sober. John, too, was for his wife's sake knights is a small village at the foot of this cliff, tolerant of the old man's infirmity, though half inhabited almost entirely by persons following his little earnings went to gratify the old man's appetite. At last necessity compelled him to be, there was no light from candle or from sun as he thought, undutiful. Print after print van- before and behind was utter blackness, and there ished from the cottage walls, every little orna- was a noise like thunder in his ears. The whole ment, not actually necessary furniture, was sold : hill seemed to have fallen upon them both, and absolute want threatened the household, when many tons of earth parted the father from his John at last stated firmly, though tenderly, that child. The sand about the boy did not press on grandfather must give up the gin-bottle or find him closely. A heavy piece of cliff that held tosome other dwelling. Alice was overcome with gether was supported by the narrow walls of the tears, but when appealed to by the old man, passage, and his fate was undetermined. He pointed to her dear husband, and bowed her head attended only to the muffled sounds within the to his wise words. .
rock, from which he knew that his father, though For two months after this time, there were no they might be the sounds of his death struggle, more drunken words nor angry tongues to be still lived. heard within John's pleasant cottage. Nothing To the people outside the alarm had instantly was said by daughter or by son-in-law of the long been given by the other child, and in an incredibly score at the public-house that was being paid off short space of time the laborers from field and by instalments, the daughter looked no longer cave came hurrying up to the rescue. Two only at her father with reproachful eyes, and the could dig together, two more propped the way children never again had to be taken to bed behind them foot by foot; relays eagerly waited before their time-hurried away from the sight at the entrance; and not an instant was lost in of their grandfather's shame. At last, however, replacing the exhausted workmen. Every thing on one Sunday evening in July, the ruling passion was done as quickly, and, at the same time, as had again the mastery ; Markham came home in judiciously as possible; the surgeon had at the a worse state than ever ; and in addition to the first been ridden for, at full speed, to the neighasual debasement, it was evident that he was boring town ; brandy and other stimulants, a rude possessed also by some maudlin terror, that he lancet—with which many of the men were but had no power to express.
too well practiced operators—bandages and blankLeaving him on his bed in a lethargic sleep, ets were all placed ready at hand: for the disJohn sallied forth as usual at dawn; his boys, aster was so common at Whiteknights that every Harry and Joe, carrying up for him his miner's man at once knew what was proper to be done. spade and basket. Heavy-hearted as he was, he Those who were not actively engaged about the could not help being gladdened by the wonderful cave, were busy in the construction of a litterbeauty of the landscape. His daughter told me perhaps a bier-for the unhappy victims. that she never saw him stand so long looking at How this could have happened? was the whisthe country—he seemed unwillingly to leave the pered wonder. John was known to be far too sunlight for his dark, far-winding burrow. His prudent a man to have been working without burrow he had no reason to dread. Poverty never props, and yet fresh ones had to be supplied to had pressed so hard upon John Drewit as to in the rescuers, for they found none as they adduce him to sell away the fir-props that assured vanced. The poor widow-every moment made the safety of his life. Often and often had his more sure of her bereavement-stood a little way voice been loud against those men, who, knowing aside; having begged for a spade and been reof the mortal danger to which they exposed their fused, she stood with her two children hanging neighbors, gave drink or money in exchange for to her apron, staring fixedly at the pit's mouth. them to the foolhardy and vicious. Great, there- Down at the cottage there was an old man infore, was his horror when he went into his cave voking Heaven's vengeance on his own gray that morning, and found that his own props had head and reproaching himself fiercely with the been removed. They had not been taken from consequences of his brutal vice; he had stolen the entrance, where a passer-by might have ob- the poles from his son's pit on the previous mornserved their absence; all was right for the first ing, to provide himself with drink; and on that twenty yards, but beyond that distance down to very day, even before he was quite recovered from the end of his long toil-worn labyrinth every pole his yesterday's debauch, he was to see the victim was stripped away. Surely he knew at once of his recklessness brought home a lifeless heap. that it was not an enemy who had done this; he He saw John so brought in, but with the eyes of knew that the wretched old man who lay stupefied a madman; his brain, weakened by drunkenness, at home, had stolen and sold his life defense for never recovered from that shock. drink. All that the poor fellow told his boys Basket and barrow had been brought full out was that they should keep within the safe part of the pit a hundred times; and it was almost of the digging while he himself worked on into noon before, from the bowels of the very mountthe rock as usual. Three or four times he brought ain as it seemed, there came up a low moaning out a heap of scythe-stones in his basket, and cry. “My child, my child,” murmured the then he was seen alive no more.
mother : and the digging became straightway Harry, his eldest son, was nearest to the uneven yet more earnest, almost frantic in its speed propped passage when the sand cliff fell. When and violence. Presently into the arms of Alice be heard his father call out suddenly, he ran at little Harry was delivered, pale and corpse-like, once eagerly, running toward the candle by which but alive ; and then a shout as of an army was the miner worked, but on a sudden all was dark; set up by all the men.