페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

a

Island, in the middle of winter. As far as their way-I got safely across to Cape

Shediae, the terminus of the New Brunswick Traverse. and European Railway-for so I believe it Politics are now convulsing Prince Edis called—was plain sailing, but from thence ward Island. Every one talks Confederathe journey was the most uncomfortable one tion by the yard: the ice boatmen to their I ever performed. First of all, a cold and passengers, the shopkeepers in the metrodreary drive in a one-horse sleigh to Cape polis to their customers, the policemen to Tormentive. From this place, a flat-bottomed their prisoner: even the small boys assert, skiff, tinned over and mounted on runners, with manly oaths, that they are “Antis.” A alternately hauled over ice and paddled drunken man, engrossed in this all-absorbing across patches of open water, carries mails topic, wanted to embrace me on the strength and passengers to the island. From land of it, and then wanted to fight me. I took a to land, as a bird would fly, is only eight middle course, and liquored. Finally, when miles; but the distance traversed by the wearied of politics, and sick of Confedeice-boat is infinitely greater, as the tide runs ration, I tried to snatch a few moments' strong; and when toiling over fields of rough rest on a sofa in the hotel, my landlady ice, one is drifted many miles out of the stood over me with outstretched arms—like direct course.

When storms arise during a gladiator about to give the finishing touch the passage the consequences are serious; to his vanquished opponent-and poured but the ice boatmen are clever navigators, forth Confederation with horrid volubility. and very cautious, never attempting to cross Goaded to madness, I dashed out of the when the weather appears threatening. I house, and sought for peace in the forest cannot help thinking that, with a little enter- primeval; but even there Confederation met prise, the navigation to the island might be me face to face in the form of a noble savage, kept open all the year round; at most there in a tall, battered-in hat and mocassins. To are but three or four weeks in each year in me the native: which properly rigged steamboats could not “What time of day, mister?” ply. I was unfortunate enough to find the ice- I told him, thinking there could be no boat at the other side, and had to put up at danger. the Cape Tormentive Hotel-save the mark! “Thank ye, sir-me Anti! Yes, sir! No The landlord of this vile den had lost all his Confederate, this Injun. Give me leetle bit toes and a few of his fingers in the ice, and baccy?” spent his time in dignified repose. Rum Further resistance being useless, I gave and tobacco seemed to be his only. suste- in; and, (temporarily) a harmless idiot, re

His mother-in-law happened to be turned to the society of the local politicians, on a visit to him. The dissensions caused talking Confederation as I went with the redby meddling mothers-in-law are proverbial, skin, and blessing (?) the spread of civilizaand this old lady, with the purest inten- tion. tions, was the cause of a fracas which served Judging by what I heard as a stranger, I to enliven my sojourn at Cape Tormentive. came to the conclusion that Confederation It seems that she had instigated her daugh- is an unpopular measure. The islanders ter to lock up the rum; and hence the dis- wish to remain as they were; but sooner than turbance. Our worthy landlord naturally re-join the dominion of Canada—with whom sented this interference, and became grossly they have no ties of interest, or affection, abusive; whereupon the old lady, assisted or trade--they would prefer to cast in their by her daughter and the servant girl, very lot with the United States, with whom they properly proceeded to thrash him. The have a considerable and growing trade. veteran belaboured the drunken ruffian with Their land is the most fertile of all the the tongs, whilst the younger women skir- provinces, and their fisheries the richest. mished with plates, dishes, and firebrands. Within a few years a mine of wealth has Everything breakable in the house was been opened up close to their very doors; broken. It was late when peace was re- for the island is so indented with creeks and stored; and, supperless, I retired to rest arms of the sea, that every settler is within amid the ruins, wrapped up in my blanket. reach of the tideway, and here are accumuThis served as good training for the next lated vast quantities of mussel-mud, soday, when, after eight hours' as hard labour called—an extremely rich and valuable maas ever I had-for passengers must work | nure, abounding in animal substances and

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

:

[ocr errors]

lime. Such are its fertilizing effects, that private school. He was associated with the the hay crop is said to have been doubled late Charles Dickens in the celebrated amaon the island since its discovery—for so Iteur performances at Tavistock House. In may call it--some three or four years ago. 1859-60, his famous story of “The Woman On every side, in winter,"dredging machines in White" appeared in “All the Year may be seen at work scooping it up through Round.” holes in the ice, and loading it on sleighs. Besides “ The Woman in White," Mr. Col

There is much pleasure and much health lins is the author of the following works of in this long winter; but there is also, I must fiction:-" The Queen of Hearts," “No confess, much monotony. So when the first Name," "The Moonstone,” “My Miscelgeese are heard flying over their ice-girt lanies," "Mr. Wray's Cash Box; or, the shores, there is joy among the Blue Noses. Mask and the Mystery: a Christmas The geese arrive about the 20th of March, Sketch,” “Man and Wife,” “Poor Miss and are Nature's first messengers to tell us Finch,"

."Miss or Mrs.," "Hide and Seek," that spring is at hand—not that we see much “The Dead Secret,” “ Basil: a Story of Mosign of it as yet; still everything is clothed dern Life," "Armadale," " Antonina; or,

” in white. Early in April we commence the Fall of Rome," “ After Dark;” and he daily to scrutinize the ice in the harbours was, jointly with Charles Dickens, the auand rivers, and one fine morning the glad thor of two of the Christmas stories pubsound goes forth that the "ice has started.” | lished as supplementary numbers of “All But it does not give in without a struggle. the Year Round.” For days a fierce battle rages between the He has written also a life of his father, frozen and the unfrozen element. Sooner or Mr. W. Collins, R.A., published in 1848, later the ice must give way; and, with groans, entitled "Memoirs of the Life of William masses of it are piled on the banks. Occa- Collins, with Selections from his Journal sionally, it makes a sturdy stand, and then and Correspondence"; and a book of a "jam” ensues, behind which the water sketches, called “Rambles beyond Railrises to a great height; and then, victorious, ways; or, Notes in Cornwall taken a-Foot.” bursts forth with fury, carrying the ice along As a writer of fiction, Mr. Collins is rewith it, and not unfrequently doing great markable for the ingenuity of his plots, and damage to wharves and buildings. The al for the air of mystery that he contrives to · manacs say that a new year commences on throw over commonplace events. He-in

the first day of January; but, let them say striking contrast to many writers of much what they will, our year commences on the greater eminence and merit-devotes the day the first steamer comes. On that day, greatest care to keeping his story "close and that day alone, the crowd on the wharf together.” Everything in his books has a --talking, laughing, gesticulating, and hand-bearing on the issue of the plot. Not a shaking—might be taken for a crowd of ex- window is opened, a door shut, or a nose citable Celts rather than of stolid Blue Noses. blown, but, depend upon it, the act will On that auspicious occasion, men turn up have something to do with the end of the that you have not seen for a year before, book. Yet no book of Mr. Collins's can comand will not see again for another year. It | pare in this respect with Scott's “Bride of is the first day of a new little life; kind words Lammermoor,” where every chapter is neare exchanged, hatchets are buried, cheering cessary-not one is redundant; where every drinks are in demand, and—the new year line contributes to the final and splendidly commences.

effective climax. And in this quality alone

can Mr. Collins's novels be compared, with MR. WILKIE COLLINS.

advantage to their author, with the greater

works of greater men. THE 'HE subject of our cartoon, Mr. Wilkie His plots are commonly intricate. Often

Collins, is one of the most successful it is too difficult for the reader to hold all the novel writers of the day.

threads for it to be a pleasant task to peruse He is the eldest son of the late Mr. W. his books, for he has the trick of ending Collins, R.A., an artist of great ability in every chapter with a bang. He is admirthe delineation of rustic landscapes. Mr. ably suited to supply the wants of periodiWilkie Collins was born in London in the cals to whose readers a sensational story is year 1824, and received his education at a the one attraction-e.g.

[ocr errors]

On the white dress of the child was traced, groaned, sighed, and nagged. Nancy had a in letters of blood, the word

cold, and Janet a headache. "HELP!"

“What can be expected when the poor (To be continued in our next.)

dear girls are buried alive at Bow, with their

blighted hopes blasted in their tender buds? This habit is contrary to every true prin- What does their father care? Funerals are ciple of art, and is dictated, probably, by the performed cheap. A family grave to hold wants of periodical literature.

three is only a matter of a few pounds; and The characters in Mr. Collins's books are

the patent crape and the cloth hatband, some of them very original and striking, which makes a shabby hat equal to wearing being manifestly sketches from real life; but

a new one, won't cost a week's income." the situations in which these puppets are

And this sort of aggravating groaning and placed by the wire-puller are often wildly moaning from morning till night for a whole improbable. “Fact is stranger than fiction,” month. There was nothing for it but caving Mr. Collins will reply. Indeed, he threatens in. Woman rules—unless she is a fool or us with a production which shall put the the man is a brute. plot of “The Woman in White" in the shade,

“The treadmill may be bad-particularly made from materials kindly sent him by when the corns are soft and the breath is various correspondents. These are, of course, short but worse than house-hunting it narratives of fact.

cannot be. I have had none of it since His English is not drawn from the purest marriage, Gummer, but a feast of it in sinfount, nor is his literary style to be com- glehood. Poor pa was a regular quarterly pared with that of several living writers.

The fuss, the flurry, and the sitting He is a manufacturer of interesting works

on the stones whilst waiting for the van, of fiction, pure and simple. He has made

He has made and the sleeping on the floor, agreed with it his business in life. And, under the cir- him. It would have been a little fortune cumstances, it is perhaps a little provoking to him to have kept his own van." that he should so often ring the changes on A day in Belgravia convinced Mrs. Gumsuch phrases as “my art," "my purpose in mer that it was above our mark. writing the book," "the object I had in

“It's no use going anywhere to be only view," &c., &c., &c., as each of his later fiddling little mice among live lions, prouder novels has probably brought him £4,000. than cart-horses stuffed with corn."

And he is at present publishing books Mrs. Gummer searched every neighbourrather fast.

hood round London. The houses were so We should place "Man and Wife” among different to the descriptions in the adverhis best productions; but in literature he tisements. Agents give cards to view, and will be remembered as the author of “The when you arrive you are told that the house Woman in White.” That wonderful story

was let the quarter before last. When a made him famous.

house seemed suitable the rent was a killer,

or else there was a premium and the fixtures GUMMER'S FORTUNE.

to be bought at a valuation. BY JOHN BAKER HOPKINS.

“Mind you, Gummer, I won't listen to

fixtures at a valuation, which are rubbish CHAPTER II.

you can't sell again, as poor pa knew to the

cost of his poor fleeced family." GE ENTILITY hates the East-end; and The girls would not look at a house in a

perhaps West-end and East-end are row. The persons in charge of empties were natural enemies, for they have always been irritating and depressing. Here is a specisharp at spiting each other. The West sent

The West sent men of a conversation between one of those her swell criminals to the Tower in the cantankerous creatures and Mrs. Gummer. East; tit for 'tat, the East sent her worst Mrs. G.—"Are you sure the house is not criminals to be hanged at Tyburn in the damp?” West.

Person. -“Can't say as how I 'as sufFor a whole month I stuck to my “No;" fered; though my husband - as is in the and the Iron Duke, with Torres Vedras to Force—is at times that there bad of his back him, could not have been more firm. limbs as makes regulation boots a 'orrid torNancy moped, Janet was pert, and mamma ture and a hagony."

AT CORCYRA VILLA.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mrs. G.—“Those marks on the walls look blinds were too small. The Bow carpets like damp."

would only do for bed-rooms. New oilPerson.—“The agent do say as how a cloth. New stair-carpets, as far as the pipe bust; but in course I can't say, as I drawing-room, which was on the first floor. aint seen it busted.”

Our furniture looked nothing in the rooms, Mrs. G.—“How long has this house been and more things were required. Mrs. Gumto let?"

mer went to sales, and to brokers; but the Person.—“Not so very long now, ma’am; bargains came to a lot of money. More. but it were last year. Somehow or other, over, one servant would not do; for what is people is always a-coming and a-going.” the use of going to a genteel villa, and not

Mrs. G.—"Are the taxes heavy ? ” keeping up appearances? So we hired a

Person.—"Can't say, ma'am; but I have tall, thin boy. Mrs. Gummer made him a heerd that the rates is dreadful.”

livery out of my old clothes, and two dozen Mrs. G.–“Is the landlord willing to do of large brass buttons. We had an idea of for his tenants what they require?"

powdering his hair; but Mrs. Gummer obPerson.—“Of course it arn’t for me to jected because it would take no end of say; but of course I don't want to deceive grease and flour, and she could not bear to you, ma'am, and I must say as the landlord waste food. is looked upon as an uncommon close-fisted “Why, Gummer, keeping that boy's hair 'un."

artificial old would take the making of three Mrs. Gummer has a double set of eye good pie-crusts a-week.” teeth.

The wages of our page were strictly “Gummer, if my ears are not long, they economical; but his appetite was tremenought to be. If you were to tell a fish- dous. hawking body she should have all the fish "Gummer, growing servants, either boys she did not sell, would she cry ‘Live, oh!'? or girls, would be ruinous dear if they took Is it likely that a person in charge of a com- no wages and paid a trifle for their places. fortable place will be in a hurry to let it, They eat equal to the amount of six grownand turn herself out of a rent-free house up wages. “But such an eater as James I that suits her? We will have no one in our never saw before, and hope I never may empty, but leave the key next door.” again, unless at an eating match.”

When the women were nearly exhausted, At the end of the first quarter, we found and I was secretly chuckling at their failure, that our calculations about expenses were they came across Corcyra Villa, in the Green wrong. What with the rent, the taxesLanes. It stood on its own grounds-about which were not light—the boy, the extra ten yards before, ten behind, and one on price of provisions—for Matilda could not either side. There was a big portico, and go to market late on Saturday nights to pick two bells—one for visitors, and the other food for next to nothing, as she had done for servants. The rent was ninety pounds, at Bow—and a whole string of odds and which was thirty pounds above our limit; ends, the tightest pinching could hardly keep but Mrs. Gummer and the girls were in love the spending at the level of the incoming. with the place, which they said was “made At Bow there was no pinching, and nioney for us.”

saved. At Corcyra Villa, every sixpence “Gummer, we will pinch for the extra was spent before it was received. rent; and the taxes are light. With good “If we will have cream, Gummer, we management we can laugh at the expense.” must pay the price; but give me milk, which

“Besides, pa,” said Nancy, “with such is more wholesome, besides being cheaper. sweet, lovely air we shall never want to go | Do you think, Gummer, I would stand to the sea, and that will be a saving." another quarter of this eating your eggs

“And then,” observed Janet, “we can before they are hatched or thought of, if it grow our own vegetables.”

were not for the sake of the poor dear girls?

For the comfort of it, Gummer, gentility After a feeble protest, Corcyra Villa was isn't worth the marrow of a picked bladetaken on a three years agreement. Then bone, and it would gobble up a mine of came the moving, the fitting up, and the hundred-carat, hall-marked gold before you extra furnishing. It was like beginning could think where you are and where you housekeeping all over again. The Bow are going. Get the girls off, Tom, and no

more gentility for me so long as I am in what I thought it would be like; but that this mortal world.”

is life. We very seldom get what we ex

pect, and when we do it is not like what we When our Nancy was at school, and just expected. To avoid being disappointed, out of pot-hooks and hangers, she had this never expect anything, and make up your sentiment for a text-hand copy—“Every- mind that what you get will not be like thing is of use;" and being an inquisitive what you think it will be. This may sound child, she was perpetually puzzling us before nonsensical, but it is the truth. other people about the use of the queerest It was our experience at Corcyra Villa. things she could think of.

Our hopes were disappointed, and gentility “Pa, what is the use of ugly black was the reverse of our expectations. The beetles?"

girls had no offers. We were cold-shouldered I leaped that difficulty by replying- by the whole neighbourhood. At church,

“My dear child, ugly black-beetles keep where we had a pew in the middle aisle, away uglier things.”

handsomely fitted up, the cushions and “Then, pa, what is the use of the uglier hassocks being the work of Mrs. Gummer, things?"

we were glared at with eyes which said — I made no answer. An inquisitive child “What you Gummers are we don't know, is sometimes dreadfully aggravating. and we don't care, for you are not our

Once, when Mrs. Gummer was favoured species!” When James, the thin boy, with with a visit from quite a lady, who lived at his buttons glittering like gold, followed us Stratford, Nancy asked her

up the aisle, and handed in the books before “Ma, what is the use of fleas?"

he went to a free seat, some of the Green It quite upset Matilda; but, like the boy Laners sneered. Perhaps it was the fault of in Mangnall's “Greece,” who looked serene the men who moved us talking in the public as a dosing mackerel whilst the stolen fox where they beered about our being Eastwas eating his inside, she did not show her enders, for we were stupid enough to engage upset, and replied

a Bow van. We did our best to get into so“My dear, fleas are sent to make lazy ciety; but, as Mrs. Gummer said, we might people wash under the beds every day in as well have sowed mustard and cress on a summer, and once a-week in winter."

sheet of ice, and looked for a small salad. I have met with persons who considered There was a bazaar for the benefit of the things useless because they did not know schools. The girls went to the rector's wife,

offering to contribute and to take counters. “What is the use of City, companies? The answer was that donations would be They do nothing but gorge,” says the re- thankfully received, but the counters were former, who hates anybody to have any full. Gentility does not refuse the money, enjoyment. Now, I happen to know that though it scorns the society, of vulgarity. City companies are schools of useful know- Mrs. Gummer stopped the single curate in ledge. They educate the palate. A client the street, and asked him to call at Corcyra of ours invited me to the Bowyers' feed, or Villa. So he did-drank a glass of wine, I should have been as ignorant of the taste appeared sweet on the girls, and promised of real turtle as a waggon horse. No matter to call again; but he did not. Nancy whether my ignorant stomach and my un- worked him a pair of slippers, and I sugtaught palate shied at the lumps of green fat, gested they should be made up.

, or whether the turtle and the iced punch "Your grandfather, who was in the line, obliged me to physic on Saturday night. used to say that it was no kindness to give What I say is, that if Tyler or Cromwell had worked slippers, because the shoemaker put down the City companies, the taste of charges more for making up ladies' work real turtle would have been a stranger to my than for a whole pair of the finest slippers.” palate. Take the case of pine apple. I had “Really, Gummer, you are provoking. If bought West Indians, which looked real, we were intended to be always looking back, and which eat like a mash of apple and pear our eyes would be behind and not in front. gone measly, and sweetened with strong How can we get on if Bow is for ever to be molasses. Until I dined with the Bowyers, flung at our heads? A flower need not be I had no idea of the flavour of a genuine ashamed of its roots; but it would be a British hothouse pine. It was not like fool to pull them up and show them.”

their use.

[ocr errors]

a

« 이전계속 »