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The kiss, which made my cheeks tingle for a second, partly because I did not like to be treated as a child before the chocolate coloured beadle,—who, the moment previous to my nurse's appearance, had been on the point of handing me the paper in order that I might read the political questions of the day,—and partly because I had been, for some time, unaccustomed to this mode of salutation, completed the beadle's thawing, and warmed him so much that he unbuttoned his coat so as to let the human sympathy in his breast have freer play, put his hands into his trousers pockets, and allowed his features to relax into an approving smile, expressive of his approbation of the proceedings, so far, generally.
“He's my boy, Mr. Swingle, he is,” said Nurse, proudly stroking my hair. “ I've always called Master Cecil my boy; haven't I, dear ?"
I nodded, and she continued, just to show my importance in the world, and her own position with regard to the aristocracy, “How is your good father, Sir John?”
The beadle raised his eyebrows, and became deeply interested.
“He is very well,” I answered.
“Married !” I exclaimed, almost indignantly, though I really did not know why ; “no, of course not.”
"Of course not,” she returned. “It would not be fair. If you should ever have a stepmother as was not inclined to be as kind as she ought to be, you'll know where to come to, won't you?"
“Yes, Nurse," I answered, understanding her to mean that I was to seek her for consolation. The beadle seemed to wish to be comprehended in this invitation, but said nothing.
“Now you will come and see my room, and if you're not above taking tea with your old Nurse- "
I stopped her at once by laying hold of her arm. Mr. Swingle ventured to make a suggestion.
“If a crumpet would be any assist ance," said Mr. Swingle, “ I've a couple
here, and can send Jim out for a cake, Mrs. Davis.''
“If you can spare 'em," said Nurse Davis, “and it won't be robbing you."
Mr. Swingle assured her that in his attitude towards muffins, crumpets, and such like articles of tea-cake confectionery he was a perfect Gallio, inasmuch as “he cared for none of these things,” and that therefore he was in no way to be credited with the merit of a bounty in presenting them to Mrs. Davis's tea-table, where they would be thoroughly appreciated, and, he sincerely trusted, perfectly digested. Not that he expressed himself in this form ; he simply said,
“You're welcome, Mrs. Davis. I don't hold with such things myself, except occasionally, as being a trifle puffy. They agrees with some,” he added, " but what I say is, wholesome is as wholesome does."
Whereupon we took the crumpets, and Jim, an errand-boy, having answered the summons, Nurse Davis gave him a shilling, for which he was to bring back a pound-cake flavoured with citron, to which Nurse remembered me to have been, in bygone days, peculiarly partial.
“I'll just see to the tea-things, for 1 didn't expect a visitor, and come back, Master Cecil. You won't mind staying here with Mr. Swingle, will you ?”
“No, I'll stay," I answered, whereat I fancied Swingle quite brightened up. Had I left him to accompany Nurse, I am convinced that man would have become a misanthrope : he would have ceased to believe in gratitude, and would have lost all confidence in the sincerity of youth, and the purity of its motive.
“Plenty of life here," said Mr. Swingle, putting a chair for me, so that I could kneel on it, and, placing my elbows on the window-ledge, could look out on to the busy thoroughfare. “Plenty going on all day : 'busses, cabs, carts, carriages, all sorts. Wonderful few run over, considering."
“Run over by carts ?" I asked.
“Yes," he returned, “by carts, or some vehicles. 'Orrid careless most on 'en is. Casuals come in circles, so to speak.
At one time there's a run on broken In another minute the insensible form legs, then on arms, then heads. It's a of the woman, crushed and mangled, head's turn now."
was borne into the accident ward of the He stood behind, looking over me Winifrid Hospital. A crowd hung about and propounding his theory quite the steps, and were disposed to resent cheerfully. It was the widest part of any attempt at excluding them from the the street opposite the hospital, and in building, as an infringement of their the middle of the road, like an eyot in rights as citizens, and as unfair to those a river, was a small paved piece, in who had found her, and had helped to the centre of which was a lamp-post carry her in. surrounded by four ordinary posts at the Nurse Davis passed anxiously down four corners, bearing altogether some the plain unfurnished passage, carrying resemblance to the arrangement of a bottle and glass. I followed nervously, skittles, the lamp being the king. It and entered the casualty ward. Two was an island of refuge for old ladies, young surgeons were examining the a breathing space for the adventurous, a wounds, and I heard the dull, heavy place of observation for the cautious, and sound as of a person groaning in sleep. a sort of Roman camp for a policeman. “No hope?” inquired a man's voice
Across the road, on the farthest side that struck me as familiar. from my window, stood at the edge of “None,” was the surgeon's reply. the kerb a flauntingly dressed woman. “She may live half an hour ; she may She had but just arrived, and her ex- live half a day. It is improbable that traordinary actions were attracting the consciousness will return. You know attention of the bystanders. She was, her?”. evidently, addressing them, and waving “Yes," the familiar voice replied in a her parasol to the crowd already in. hard tone. “I regret to say, yes.” After creasing rapidly.
a pause it said, “I should like to send a Suddenly running towards her, came message." a respectably dressed man, who, on ap- Nurse Davis indicated the writingproaching, began to remonstrate with table. her, and tried to induce her to enter a I was standing by it, unable to obtain cab which he had hailed. She refused, more than a glimpse of the dying woman, and, scarcely able to walk steadily, made and feeling very sick and nervous. Toa dart forward into the road, right in wards this table the man with the front of the cab, with a view as it familiar voice turned quickly. seemed to gaining the paved refuge. At It was Mr. Venn. that same instant, a horse, whose reins We stared at one another. It all at had been dropped by the driver on his once occurred to me that I had seen jumping down from his cart, suddenly him with this woman twice before. Now, took fright, and dashed towards the very in encountering him, I recognized her. spot for which the unfortunate woman It was she who had stopped me at school: was already making. A shriek of horror it was she who, with Venn, had met arose, audiblein our room, as the wretched Cavander in Kensington Gardens. I creature, in her struggle to free herself was not, therefore, so surprised, as I from the man who had frantically seized otherwise should have been, at his first her arm in order to drag her away, fell question to me, which wassideways, in a heap, right under the cart, “ Do you know where Mr. Cavander the wheels of which passed rapidly over lives?” her head and legs, as the horse, mad- “Yes." dened by the yelling and shouting, gal- He thought for a second, then he loped headlong towards Oxford Street, said, “Is he likely to be at your and the man, who had in vain tried to father's ?” avert the catastrophe, fell forward, un- All that I had intended as to my hurt, on the pavement of refuge. return home flashed across me.
“Yes," I answered ; "he will be there terrogatories to Mr. Venn, who appeared to dinner at five. He dresses there." lost in thought. Mr. Cavander touched
“They may be back before that,” his elbow, to recall him to himself. Mr. observed Mr. Venn, hastily writing a Venn, as if he had not understood the few lines and enclosing them in an en- inquiry as addressed to him, looked up, velope. “Take this at once and return." and the question was repeated.
Mr. Swingle saw me into a cab, and He answered, with a strange sort of carefully gave the necessary instructions. nervous hesitation
Neither my father, nor Mr. Cavander, “I beg your pardon. The event has had as yet arrived. They were expected shocked me considerably. She was a every minute. In the midst of all this connection of mine by marriage. I had hurry and excitement, I remembered my not seen her for years. She was, latterly, jacket, and changed it for my ordinaryoccupying apartments in the same house attire. Understanding that Mr. Venn with myself.” Here he gave his address. expected me to return, I left the note on “Her name ?". the hall table, and was driven back in “Her name ? "repeated Mr. Venn, as the cab to the hospital.
if putting the question to himself. On reaching it I found my father's The window of the glass screen of brougham already at the door, and in the porter's room was open, and before the casualty room stood my father, with it my father paused for a second, as Mr. Mr. Venn and Mr. Cavander, besides Swingle opened one of the front folding the surgeon and Nurse Davis, whose doors leading on to the steps. arm was supporting the heavily breath- The man's pen hovered above the page ing, helpless figure on the mattress. as he looked up, over his shoulder, at
Once it was the only time I could Mr. Venn, awaiting his answer. look at her—I saw her head roll slowly, My father turned his head quickly from side to side, as if in mute agony; towards Mr. Venn. Their eyes met, I saw her glassy eyes open on to the and were withdrawn instantly. Mr. hopelessness of life for the last time. Swingle pulled open the door, and as Then from her heaving breast came forth my father was passing out, Mr. Venn, a deep sigh, heavily laden with the in a firmer tone than he had hitherto weariness of sin and misery, a sigh, pray used, answeredGod! of the poor soul's contrition, a “Her name was Sarah Wingrove." sigh of eternal gratitude from the penitent, laid at last to rest in the arms of Divine compassion.
CHAPTER XIX. Dead.
HOLYSHADE AND THE HOLYSHADIANS. I heard Mr. Cavander saying, that, having known the poor woman in better The incident mentioned in the previous circumstances, he would be answerable chapter closes, as it were, the first book for any expenses that might be incurred. of this present chronicle of the Colvin This was to Mr. Venn. My father sat Family. To retrace my pathway through apart for a while, pale and motionless, My Time, and to note carefully what with his eyes fixed on the covered I have done with it, has been a task corpse. He did not seem to notice my forced upon me by circumstances, with presence. Nurse Davis placed a glass which, in due course, my readers will be of wine before him, but he only inclined made acquainted. his head slightly.
We are now arrived at the second An official book was in Mr. Swingle's part of my narrative, which commences room on a desk, in which the name of at Holyshade College, the most celethe deceased, and whatever particulars brated of our public schools. were requisite, had to be entered. The To be a Holyshadian is to be impressed man whose duty it was to make such with the guinea stamp of currency for entries put one of these necessary in- life. Enrolment among the glorious band of Holyshadian youth has in it, It seems as though the Collegers, like the not to speak it irreverently, something Indians of South America, had gradually resembling, what is termed, "the cha- yielded to the advance of the white racter” of Orders.
skins : the white skins representing the Once a Holyshadian, always a Holy- aristocracy. shadian. Boy and man, the Holyshadian A barbarous and uncivilized set were is supposed to bear the indelible mark at one time, and that not so very long of the grace conferred.
ago, the aboriginal “Tugs," as these For to be a Holyshadian does confer poor Collegers were called, in allusion to some special grace ;—the grace in the sheep whereon they were, traditionquestion, as far as I am able to ascer- ally, fed, and which they were supposed, tain anything certain on this matter, being half famished, rather to “tug" at being that of an easy, gentlemanly and tear, like hounds worrying, than to deportment. This grace then, if my eat soberly and quietly, by the aid of presumption is correct, is of the exte- those two decorous weapons of well-fed rior, visible to the world. It remains, civilization, the knife and fork. The as a rule, even to the most interiorly epicure who invented the knife and graceless Holyshadians. The disrepu- fork must have been well able to wait table Holyshadian is, in comparison with for his dinner. other disreputables, as Milton's Lucifer, Yet, theoretically, this Tug tribe holds Son of the Morning Star, to the other the post of honour. Their chief is the fallen angels. A swindler who has had Captain of Holyshade: the chief of the the advantage of a Holyshadian educa- Oppidans having but a brevet rank : tion, has in his favour far greater chances being, like a volunteer, only Captain by than all other swindlers. Ā Montmorenci courtesy. may cheat you out of five pounds, The Collegers are, by right, Royal where a Muggins couldn't do you out scholars, just as the actors at Drury of a brass farthing.
Lane are Her, or His, Majesty's serThe pride of Holyshade, as a public vants. In consequence, there were privischool, is to produce--- Gentlemen. leges. One of the inestimable privileges Scholars if you will, Christians if you enjoyed by the aforesaid comedians, can ; but, in any case, Gentlemen. Yet was, I have been informed, the right to the veritable aboriginal Holyshadian is a dinner at the Royal Palace daily; and ex officio a scholar. He is on the Founda- Messrs. Clown and Pantaloon, if only tion, which means that his education is bona fide members of the Drury Lane bestowed on him by way of charity; Company, would be only in the due and, in order that the aboriginal may exercise of their prerogative, were they never forget this, he is clothed differ- to walk down to St. James's Palace, call ently from those who are not on the for the chief butler, and order chops for Foundation, wearing a coarse sort of two to be ready hot and hot with mashed college gown winter and summer, and 'taters and bottled stout at half-past four being fed and boarded according to in the afternoon, so that they might be certain ancient rules. These birds of in good order for performing in the like plumage flock together, and do not evening's pantomime. Such privileges consort with the noble strutting pea- as these have fallen into desuetude : cocks, called Oppidans, save occasionally, actors are no longer the monarch's and then on sufferance.
trenchermen ; they have suffered loss These veritable Holyshadians have for with many another institution; and their nest the grand old rookery called Holyshade in its old age, like the faded The College. The Oppidans have built mistress, once Queen by a royal caprice, without the precincts of its walls, but can boast only of favours, which, in within the bounds of its domain. The time past, she was wont, so regally, to number of the Collegers is limited. The confer. There still are some privileges, Oppidans are to them as seven to one. but of late years they have been sadly,
but tenderly, shorn of their glory, and that time, passed for true wit among the the gates of even their particular para- habitués of Capel Court. Laborious study, dise, St. Henry's College, Cambridge, once or application to one particular line, never for the entrance of only the Holyshadian entered into his vague scheme for my elect, are now thrown open to all the preferment. He knew nothing of the world. True, there are yet some reser- existence of scholarships, fellowships, vations for poor Holyshadians, as there the attainment of high degrees, and are for a few nobly connected, at the other similar incentives to the study of aristocratic College of All Souls, which the various branches of learning, and, by recent enactment, due to a liberal consequently, he was unable to question policy, has well-nigh passed into the with my instructors, or to go over the hands of All Bodies.
ground with myself. He showed himself Of all such matters of schools, of not in the least interested in my schoolcolleges of All Saints, and universities ing, and so I came to look upon schoolof All Sinners, my father knew nothing. time only as a pleasant enough interval All he had to do was to send me to between the vacations, my one aim and some place, or places, where they would object being to devote these intervals to “make a man of me;" which in his view the cultivation of as much enjoyment was, as I have said, a sort of degree. as my supply of pocket-money would
Had he mixed with his equals in permit. rank, who would have been ready enough The cuckoo places its egg in another to welcome him, I should probably have bird's nest, being ignorant of the art of benefited by his enlarged experience. hatching. By a cuckoo-like instinct But he preferred his own pleasure, in his my father placed me in nest after nest, own way, his own sociable gatherings of belonging to other birds, in the hope, City friends, and his own circle of family perhaps, that I should turn out an eagle. relationship. Left to himself, Sir John Alas ! hatched and fledged, he found me Colvin, of an old title, might have played still of his own brood. an important part in society. But he was My new nest was not in the College no more his own master than is the vessel Rookery at Holyshade, but among the obeying the turn of the helm. Whose fine Oppidan birds. object it was to sail him round and Not baving been specially trained for round this wretched pond, letting him Holyshade, as I have before said, I had think that he was making progress on to begin at the beginning. The beginning the sea of life, will be gradually evi- was the Fourth Form Lower Remove. dent, as it is to me now, in the course After, what I may call, my Comberof this history. My father worked for my wood Christmas holidays, I went to future, and for the best, as he viewed Holyshade. I did not anticipate meetthat future. He had been brought uping any friends there, except the Bit: in a money-making school, to consider a fords, who had been with me at Old good percentage the one thing necessary. Carter's. I was an utter stranger to the From this bondage he had emancipated boys of the place, and found myself himself so far as to have started me isolated. with very different ideas. From one I t was a raw, dull day, and wretchedly extreme he went to the other. Business cold, when my father took me to Holy. had been everything to him; it was to be shade, and introduced me to my tutor, nothing to me. Yet, in his inexperience in whose house I was to board. of all walks of life which were not The Rev. Matthias Keddy was a lanky, within the City Labyrinth, he imagined disjointed-looking person, with a clerical his son taking the highest position to white neckerchief, so untidily twisted which a commoner could rise, by such as to give its wearer the appearance of mere sharpness and quickness as might having been suddenly cut down in a serve for answering a conundrum, or for stupid attempt at hanging himself; an uttering the flippant sort of jest that, at idea which his way of holding his head