페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

floor of the house but this. Your servant had bet- Steyne's sister could not have looked more diater see to your room, Lady Kew. That next is bolical.) “Have you had advice for her ? Has mine; and I keep the door, which you are trying, nursing poor Kew turned her head. I came to locked on the other side.”

see him. Why have I been left alone for half an "And I suppose Frank is locked up there!" hour with this mad woman? You ought not to cried the old lady, " with a basin of gruel and a trust her to give Frank medicine. It is posbook of Watts's hymns." A servant entered at itively—" this moment, answering Lady Walham's sum-/ “Excuse me," said George, with a bow ; “I mons. “Peacock, the Countess of Kew says that don't think the complaint has as yet exhibited she proposes to stay here this evening. Please to itself in my mother's branch of the family. (She ask the landlord to show her ladyship rooms," always hated me," thought George ; " but if she said Lady Walham; and by this time she had had by chance left me a legacy, there it goes.) thought of a reply to Lady Kew's last kind speech. You would like, ma'am, to see the rooms up

“If my son were locked up in my room, ma- stairs? Here is the landlord to conduct your ladam, his mother is surely the best nurse for him. dyship. Frank will be quite ready to receive you Why did you not come to him three weeks soon when you come down. I am sure I need not beg er, when there was nobody with him?"

of your kindness that nothing may be said to agiLady Kew said nothing, but glared and show. tate him. It is barely three weeks since M. de ed her teeth-those pearls set in gold.

Castillonnes' ball was extracted ; and the doctors “ And my company may not amuse Lord wish he should be kept as quiet as possible." Kew"

You may be sure that the landlord, the courier, “ He-o-e!” grinned the elder, savagely. and the persons engaged in showing the Countess

“ But at least it is better than some to which of Kew the apartments above, spent an agreeable you introduced my son,” continued Lady Kew's time with her Excellency the Frau Grafinn von daughter-in-law, gathering force and wrath as she Kew. She must have had better luck in her enspoke. “Your ladyship may think lightly of me, counter with these than in her previous passages but you can hardly think so ill of me as of the with her grandson and his mother; for when she Duchesse d'Ivry, I should suppose, to whom you issued from her apartment in a new dress and sent my boy, to form him, you said; about whom, fresh cap, Lady Kew's face wore an expression when I remonstrated-for though I live out of the of perfect serenity. Her attendant may have shook world I hear of it sometimes you were pleased her fist behind her, and her man's eyes and face to tell me that I was a prude and a fool. It is looked Blitz and Donnerwetter ; but their misyou I thank for separating my child from me- tress's features wore that pleased look which they yes, you—for so many years of my life ; and for assumed when she had been satisfactorily punishbringing me to him when he was bleeding and al- ing somebody. Lord Kew had by this time got most a corpse, but that God preserved him to the back from the garden to his own room, where he widow's prayers ; and you, you were by, and awaited grandmamma. If the mother and her two never came near him."

sons had in the interval of Lady Kew's toilet tried "1-I did not come to see you-or-or-for to resume the history of Bumble the Beadle, I this kind of scene, Lady Walham," muttered the fear they could not have found it very comical. other. Lady Kew was accustomed to triumph, “Bless me, my dear child! How well you by attacking in masses, like Napoleon. Those look! Many a girl would give the world to have who faced her routed her.

such a complexion. There is nothing like a moth“No; you did not come for me, I know very er for a nurse! Ah, no! Maria, you deserve to well," the daughter went on. “You loved me no be the Mother Superior of a House of Sisters of better than you loved your son, whose life, as Charity, you do. The landlord has given me a long as you meddled with it, you made wretched. delightful apartment, thank you. He is an exYou came here for my boy. Haven't you done tortionate wretch ; but I have no doubt I shall be him evil enough? And now God has mercifully very comfortable. The Dodsburys stopped here, preserved him, you want to lead him back again I see, by the travelers' book-quite right, instead into ruin and crime. It shall not be so, wicked of sleeping at that odious buggy Strasbourg. We woman ! bad mother! cruel, heartless parent !- have had a sad, sad time, my dears, at Baden. George !" (Here her younger son entered the Between anxiety about poor Sir Brian, and about room, and she ran toward him with fluttering you, you naughty boy, I am sure I wonder how I robes and seized his hands.) “Here is your have got through it all. Doctor Finck would not grandmother; here is the Countess of Kew, come let me come away to-day ; but I would come." from Biden at last ; and she wants—she wants “I am sure it was uncommonly kind, ma'am," to take Frank from us, my dear, and to-give- says poor Kew, with a rueful face. him-back to the Frenchwoman again. No, “That horrible woman against whom I always no! O, my God! Never! never !" And she warned you—but young men will not take the adflung herself into George Barnes's arms, fainting vice of old grandmammas—has gone away these with an hysteric burst of tears.

ten days. Monsieur le Duc fetched her; and if “ You had best get a strait-waistcoat for your he locked her up at Montcontour, and kept her on mother, George Barnes," Lady Kew said, scorn bread and water for the rest of her life, I am sure and hatred in her face. (If she had been lago's he would serve her right. When a woman once daughter, with a strong likeness to her sire, Lord forgets religious principles, Kew, she is sure to

go wrong. The Conversation Room is shut up. it was; many and many a day I used to say so to The Dorkings go on Tuesday. Clara is really a myself, and longed to get rid of it. I am a poor dear little artless creature; one that you will like, weak devil, I know, I am only too easily led into Maria--and as for Ethel, I really think she is an temptation, and I should only make matters worse angel. To see her nursing her poor father is the if I married a woman who cares for the world more most beautiful sight; night after night she has than for me, and would not make me happy at sate up with him. I know where she would like home.” to be, the dear child. And if Frank falls ill again, “Ethel care for the world !" gasped out Lady Maria, he won't need a mother or useless old Kew; "a most artless, simple, affectionate creat, grandmother to nurse him. I have got some ure; my dear Frank, she” pretty messages to deliver from her ; but they are Ho interrupted her, as a blush came rushing for your private ears, my lord ; not even mammas over his pale face. “Ah!" said he, w if I had and brothers may hear them."

been the painter, and young Clive had been Lord "Do not go, mother! Pray stay, George !” Kew, which of us do you think she would have cried the sick man (and again Lord Steyne's sis chosen ? And she was right. He is a brave, ter looked uncommonly like that lamented mar- handsome, honest young fellow, and is a thouquis), “My cousin is a noble young creature,” sand times cleverer and better than I am.” he went on. “She has admirable good qualities, “ Not better, dear, thank God," cried his mothwhich I appreciate with all my heart; and her er, coming round to the other side of his sofa, and beauty, you know how I admire it. I have thought seizing her son's hand. of her a great deal as I was lying on the bed yon- “No, I don't think he is better, Frank,” said der (the family look was not so visible in Lady the diplomatist, walking away to the window. Kew's face), and—and I wrote to her this very And as for grandmamma at the end of this little morning; she will have the letter by this time, speech and scene, her ladyship’s likeness to her probably."

| brother, the late revered Lord Steyne, was more “ Bien! Frank !" Lady Kew, smiled in her frightful than ever. supernatural way) almost as much as her portrait, After a minute's pause, she rose up on her by Harlowe, as you may see it at Kewbury to this crooked stick, and said, “I really feel I am unvery day. She is represented seated before an worthy to keep company with so much exquisite easel, painting a miniature of her son, Lord virtue. It will be enhanced, my lord, by the Walham.

thought of the pecuniary sacrifice which you are "I wrote to her on the subject of the last con-making, for I suppose you know that I have been versation we had together," Frank resumed, in hoarding-yes, and saving, and pinching-denyrather a timid voice, “the day before my acci- ing myself the necessities of life, in order that my dent. Perhaps she did not tell you, ma'am, of grandson might one day have enough to support what passed between us. We had had a quarrel; his rank. Go and live and starve in your dreary one of many. Some cowardly hand, which we both old house, and marry a parson's daughter, and of us can guess at, had written to her an account sing psalms with your precious mother; and I of my past life, and she showed me the letter. have no doubt you and she-she who has thwartThen I told her, that if she loved me she never ed me all through life, and whom I hated-yes, would have showed it me: without any other I hated from the moment she took my son from words of reproof I bade her farewell. It was not me and brought misery into my family, will be all much, the showing that letter; but it was enough. the happier when she thinks that she has made a In twenty differences we have had together, she poor, fond, lonely old woman more lonely and had been unjust and captious, cruel toward me, miserable. If you please, George Barnes, be good and too eager, as I thought, for other people's ad- enough to tell my people that I shall go back to miration. Had she loved me, it seemed to me Baden;" and waving her children away from her, Ethel would have shown less vanity and better the old woman tottered out of the room on her temper. What was I to expect in life afterward crutch. from a girl who before her marriage used me so ? Neither she nor I could be happy. She could be So the wicked Fairy drove away disappointed gentle enough, and kind, and anxious to please in her chariot with the very dragons which had any man whom she loves, God bless her! As for brought her away in the morning, and just had me, I suppose, I'm not worthy of so much talent time to get their feed of black bread. I wonder and beauty, so we both understood that that was whether they were the horses Clive and J. J. and a friendly farewell; and as I have been lying on Jack Belsize had used when they passed on their my bed yonder, thinking, perhaps, I never might road to Switzerland? Black Care sits behind all leave it, or if I did, that I should like to lead a sorts of horses, and gives a trinkgelt to postillions different sort of life to that which ended in send all over the map. A thrill of triumph may be pering me there, my resolve of last month was only mitted to Lady Walham after her victory over her confirmed. God forbid that she and I should lead mother-in-law. What Christian woman does not the lives of some folks we know; that Ethel like to conquer another; and if that other were should marry without love, perhaps to fall into it a mother-in-law, would the victory be less sweet? afterward; and that I, after this awful warning I Husbands and wives both will be pleased that have bad, should be tempted back into that dreary Lady Walham has had the better of this bout: life I was leading. It was wicked, ma'am, I knew and you, young boys and virgins, when your tum

comes to be married, you will understand the hid-, don't mean her beauty merely, but such a noble den meaning of this passage. George Barnes bred one! And to think that there she is in the got “ Oliver Twist” out, and began to read there- market to be knocked down to- I say, I was in. Miss Nancy and Fanny again were sum- going to call that three-year-old, Ethelinda. We moned before this little company to frighten and must christen her over again for Tattersall's, delight them. I dare say even Fagin and Miss Georgy." Nancy failed with the widow, so absorbed was A knock is heard through an adjoining door, she with the thoughts of the victory which she and a maternal voice cries, “It is time to go to had just won. For the evening service, in which bed!" So the brothers part, and, let us hope, her sons rejoiced her fond heart by joining, she sleep soundly. lighted on a psalm which was as a Te Deum after the battle--the battle of Kehl by Rhine, where The Countess of Kew, meanwhile, has returned Kew's soul, as his mother thought, was the ob- to Baden; where, though it is midnight when ject of contention between the enemies. I have she arrives, and the old lady has had two long said, this book is all about the world and a re- bootless journeys, you will be grieved to hear that spectable family dwelling in it. It is not a ser- she does not sleep a single wink. In the mornmon, except where it can not help itself, and the ing she hobbles over to the Newcome quarters; speaker pursuing the destiny of his narrative finds and Ethel comes down to her pale and calm. such a homily before him. O friend, in your life How is her father? He has had a good night: and mine, don't we light upon such sermons daily? | he is a little better, speaks more clearly, has a don't we see at home as well as among our neigh- little more the use of his limbs. bors that battle betwixt Evil and Good ? Here, “I wish I had had a good night!" groans out on one side, is Self and Ambition and Advance- the Countess. ment; and Right and Love on the other. Which " I thought you were going to Lord Kew, at shall we let to triumph for ourselves—which for Kehl,” remarked her granddaughter. our children?

"I did go, and returned with wretches who The young men were sitting smoking the Ves- would not bring me more than five miles an hour! per segar. (Frank would do it, and his mother I dismissed that brutal grinning courier; and I actually lighted his segar for him now, enjoining have given warning to that fiend of a maid.”. him straightway after to go to bed.) Kew smoked “And Frank is pretty well, grandmamma?”. and looked at a star shining above in the heaven. “Well! He looks as pink as a girl in her first Which is that star? he asked; and the accom- season! I found him, and his brother George, plished young diplomatist answered it was Ju- and their mamma. I think Maria was hearing piter.

them their catechism," cries the old lady. "What a lot of things you know, George!” “N, and M. together! Very pretty," says cries the senior, delighted; " You ought to have Ethel, gravely. “George has always been a been the elder--you ought, by Jupiter. But you good boy, and it is quite time for my Lord Kew have lost your chance this time."

to begin.” “Yes, thank God!" says George.

The elder lady looked at her descendant, but “And I am going to be all right--and to turn Miss Ethel's glance was impenetrable. “I supover a new leaf, old boy-and paste down the pose you can fancy, my dear, why I came back ?” old ones, eh? I wrote to Martins this morning said Lady Kew. to have all my horses sold; and I'll never bet “Because you quarreled with Lady Walham, again—so help me—so help me, Jupiter. I made grandmamma. I think I have heard that there a vow-a promise to myself, you see, that I used to be differences between you.” Miss Newwouldn't if I recovered. And I wrote to cousin come was armed for defense and attack; in which Ethel this morning. As I thought over the mat- cases we have said Lady Kew did not care to aster yonder, I felt quite certain I was right, and sault her. “My grandson told me that he had that we could never, never pull together. Now written to you," the Countess said. the Countess is gone, I wonder whether I was “Yes; and had you waited but half an hour right-to give up sixty thousand pounds, and the yesterday, you might have spared me the humi. prettiest girl in London?"

liation of that journey." “Shall I take horses and go after her? My - You—the humiliation-Ethel!" mother's gone to bed, she won't know," asked “Yes, me !" Ethel flashed out. “Do you supGeorge. “Sixty thousand is a lot of money to pose it is none to have me bandied about from lose."

bidder to bidder, and offered for sale to a gentleKew laughed. “If you were to go and tell man who will not buy me? Why have you and our grandmother that I could not live the night all my family been so eager to get rid of me? through; and that you would be Lord Kew in Why should you suppose or desire that Lord the morning, and your son, Viscount Walham, I Kew should like me? Hasn't he the Opera; and think the Countess would make up a match be- such friends as Madame la Duchesse d'Ivry, to tween you and the sixty thousand pounds, and whom your ladyship introduced him in early life? the prettiest girl in England: she would by- He told me so: and she was good enough to inby Jupiter. I intend only to swear by the hea- form me of the rest. What attractions have I in then gods now, Georgy. No, I am not sorry I comparison with such women? And to this man wrote to Ethel. What a fine girl she is !-I from whom I am parted by good fortune; to this

[ocr errors]

man who writes to remind me that we are sep- century, who took a month to make the passage. arated your ladyship must absolutely go and People who are now fifty years of age have still ontreat him to give me another trial! It is too a longer time before them than Michael Angelo much, grandmamma. Do please to let me stay and Voltaire had at the moment when they were where I am; and worry me with no more schemes laid in the cradle. Independently of birds thus for my establishment in life. Be contented with enjoying more of life than all other beings in the the happiness which you have secured for Clara same given number of years, time seems to glide Pulleyn and Barnes; and leave me to take care over them without leaving a trace of its effects; of my poor father. Here I know I am doing or rather, time only improves them, reviving their right. Here, at least, there is no such sorrow, colors and strengthening their voices. Age inand doubt, and shame, for me, as my friends have creases the beauty of birds, while in men it brings tried to make me endure. There is my father's on ugliness. bell. He likes me to be with him at breakfast, A bird is a model ship constructed by the hand and to read his paper to him."

of God, in which the conditions of swiftness, “Stay a little, Ethel,” cried the Counters, with manageability, and lightness, are absolutely and a trembling voice. “I am older than your father, necessarily the same as in vessels built by the and you owe me a little obedience, that is, if chil- hand of man. There are not in the world two dren do owe any obedience to their parents now. things which resemble each other more strongly, adays. I don't know. I am an old woman—the both mechanically and physically speaking, than world perhaps has changed since my time ; and the carcass and framework of a bird and a ship. it is you who ought to command, I dare say, and The breast-bone so exactly resembles a keel, that we to follow. Perhaps I have been wrong all the English language has retained the name. through life, and in trying to teach my children The wings are the oars, the tail the rudder. That to do as I was made to do. God knows I have original observer, Huber the Genevese, who has had very little comfort from them: whether they carefully noticed the flight of birds of prey, bas did or whether they didn't. You and Frank I even made use of the metaphor thus suggested to had set my heart on; I loved you out of all my establish a characteristic distinction between row. grandchildren-was it very unnatural that I ers and sailers. The rowers are the falcons, who should wish to see you together? For that boy have the first or second wing-feather the longest, I have been saving money these years past. He and who are able, by means of this powerful oar flies back to the arms of his mother, who has been to dart right into the wind's eye. The mere sailpleased to hate me as only such irtuous people ers are the eagles, the vultures, and the buzzards, can; who took away my own son from me; and whose more rounded wings resemble sails. The now his son toward whom the only fault I ever rowing bird is to the sailing bird what the steamer committed was to spoil him and be too fond of that laughs at adverse winds is to the schooner, him. Don't leave me too, my child. Let me which can not advance against them. have something that I can like at my years. And The bones of highflyers, as well as their feathI like your pride, Ethel, and your beauty, my ers, are tubes filled with air, communicating with dear; and I am not angry with your hard words ; a pulmonary reservoir of prodigious capacity. and if I wish to see you in the place in life which This reservoir is also closely connected with the becomes you—do I do wrong? No. Silly girl! | air-cells which lie between the interior muscles, There-give me the little hand. How hot it is! and which are so many swimming-bladders by aid Mine is as cold as a stone—and shakes, doesn't of which the bird is able to inflate its volume, and it ?—Eh! it was a pretty hand once! What did diminish its specific gravity in proportion. In Ann--what did your mother say to Frank's let- birds that are laden with a heavy burden of head, ter ?"

Nature has interposed so decided a gap between “ I did not show it to her," Ethel answered. skin and flesh, that there results an almost com

“Let me see it, my dear,” whispered Lady plete detachment of the skin. Consequently, they Kew, in a coaxing way.

can be stripped of their coating just as easily as “ There it is,” said Ethel, pointing to the fire- a rabbit can. In man, and other mammifers, the place, where there lay some torn fragments and blood, in the act of breathing, advances ready to ashes of paper. It was the same fire-place at meet the air ; in birds, air enters to find the blood, which Clive's sketches had been burned.

and comes in contact with it, every where Hence

an ubiquity of respiration and a rapidity of hamaA FEW WORDS ABOUT BIRDS. tosis, which explains the untirability of the wings RIRDS, says M. Toussenel, a distinguished of birds. The muscles do not get fatigued, beD French Ornithologist, live more in a given cause they receive new vigor every second from time than any other creatures. For, to live, is the influence of the ever-revivified blood. A stag not only to love; it is also to move, act, and or a hare drops at last, when hunted, because its travel. The hours of the swift, which in sixty | lungs, rather than its legs, are tired. minutes can reach the distance of eighty leagues, Between the different members of a bird's body are longer than the hours of the tortoise. because there exists a sort of equilibrium and balance, they are better occupied, and comprise a greater which prevents any one organ from obtaining unnumber of events. Men of the present day, who due development without another losing in the can go from America to Europe in little more than same proportion Thus, exaggerated length of a week, live four times as much as men of the last wing generally coincides with very small feet and

legs. Examples : the frigate-bird, the swift, and eminently nervous animal, to whom the science the humming-bird. Feathered feet and legs are of galvanism is greatly indebted. The chaffinch, mostly short, as in pigeons, bantams, ptarmigan, in unsettled weather, recommends the traveler to and grouse. Nature always contrives to econo- take his umbrella, and advises the housekeeper mize out of one part of a bird's body the material not to be in a hurry to hang out her linen. Cerwhich she has too lavishly expended upon an- tain mystic geniuses have attributed this faculty other. Good walkers are bad flyers, and good of divination possessed by birds, to some special flyers are bad walkers. First-rate runners and sensibility, acquainting them with the action of divers are deprived of the power of rising in the the electric currents that traverse the atmosphere, air. Half-blind individuals, like owls, are aston- and accurately informing them of their direction. ishingly quick of hearing. Creatures clad in Nor is there any scientific argument which can plain costume are recompensed by the powers of be confidently opposed to such a theory. song. The lark and the redbreast, victim species After the organs of sight and touch, the senso (both being greedily eaten in France), have the of hearing comes next in importance. The deligift of poesy bestowed upon them to console them cacy of the auditory powers of birds is sufficientfor their future sorrows.

ly apparent from the passion for vocal music The most exquisite sense a bird possesses, is which many of them manifest. It is a unisight. The acuteness and sensibility of the retina versally admitted physical law that, in all aniare in direct proportion to the rapidity of wing. mals, a close and invariable correspondence exThe swift, according to Belon's calculation, canists between the organs of voice and those of see a gnat distinctly, at the distance of more than hearing. Now, birds, it will be seen, are the five hundred yards. The kite, hovering in the Stentors of nature. The bull, who is an enorair at a height beyond our feeble vision, perceives mous quadruped, endowed with an immensely with ease the small dead minnow floating on the capacious chest, does not roar louder than the surface of the lake, and is cognizant of the im- bittern. In Lorraine, they style him the bauf prudence of the poor little field-mouse as it tim- d'eau, or “water-bull.” A crane, trumpeting idly ventures out of its hole. All God has done two or three thousands yards above the surface and made, He has thoroughly well done and of the earth, pulls your head back just as violentmade. If He had not exactly porportioned the ly as a friend who asks you, “ How do you do?" visual powers of the bird of prey, or the swallow, from the balcony of a fifth-floor window; while to its dashing flight, the mere extreme velocity the thundering Mirabeau, who should venture to of the bird would have only served to break its harangue the Parisian populace from the top of neck. Partridges constantly kill themselves the towers of Notre Dame, would run a great risk against the iron wires of electric telegraphs; and of not being able to convey a single word to a nothing is more common than to find thrushes single member of his congregation. and larks with dislocated vertebræ, when they Ascend in the air, by means of a balloon, in fall into the large vertical net which is used in company with an old Atlas lion, whose formidaFrance by twilight sportsmen.

ble roaring once struck terror throughout AlgePerhaps, after all we have said and seen, the rian wildernesses; and, when you have risen sense of touch is the most perfect in birds, and only half a mile, make your traveling companion the organs of feeling are endowed with a subtilty give utterance to the most sonorous of his fine of perception more exquisite even than those of chest-notes. Those notes will spend themselves sight. In fact, air being the most variable and in empty space, without descending so low as unstable of elements, birds would be endowed by the earth. But the royal kite, floating another nature with the gift of universal sensibility, en- half mile above you, will not let you lose a sinabling them to appreciate and foretell the slight-gle inflexion of his cat-like mewings, miniatures est perturbations of the medium they inhabit. In though they be of the lion's roar. It is probable, consequence, the feathered race are armed with says M. Toussenel-M. Toussenel is always a nervous impressionability which comprises the speaking, through our humble interpretation different properties of the hygrometer, the ther- that nature has expended more genius in the mometer, the barometer, and the electroscope. construction of the larynx of a wren or a nightA tempest which takes the man of science by ingale, than in fabricating the ruder throats of all surprise, has, long before, given warning to the the quadrupeds put together. birds of the sea. The noddies, cormorants, gulls, l Smell and taste are but feeble in birds; and and petrels, know twenty-fours beforehand, by | they have no great occasion for either sense. A means of the magnetic telegraph which exists bird's appetite must be enormous, in order to supwithin them, the exact day and moment when I ply the animal heat necessary for the maintenance ocean is going into one of his great rages, open- of its superior nature. A bird is a locomotive of ing wide his green abysses, and flinging the angry the very first rank-a high-pressure engine, which foam of his waves in insult against the forehead of burns more fuel than three or four ordinary mathe cliffs. Some birds are the harbingers of win-chines. “Animals feed; man eats,” says worthy tery storms; others usher in the advent of spring. | Brillat Savarin. “Clever men alone know how The raven and the nightingale announce the com- to eat properly.” This strictly true gastrosophic ing of the tempest by a peculiar form of bird's aphorism is more exactly applicable to birds than expression, which they both seem to have bor- to quadrupeds. Birds feed, to assuage their hunrowed from the vocabulary of the frog-a pre- ger and to amuse themselves; not to indulge in

VOL. IX.-No. 54.-3 E

« 이전계속 »