« AnteriorContinuar »
travelling with his uncle, Jacques Le Gros, also of explanation, satisfaction, justice; which explanation,
speaking before me in a patois I do not comprehend. It
"Well, what have you to say? Why are you
retorted Sicard. 'O Dieu de la miséricorde, as if your I thought the woman was poking fun at me; but own conscience, if you have one, does not tell you no, she was serious as a judge. Her husband, what I must have to say—why I am here! Well, evidently intending the highest compliment possible then, I have to say you are a — But I restrain to human speech, declared I was completely Françaisé; myself; I resolved to do so when finally deciding to and Webbe assured me I looked remarkably well. seek you here. Jacques Sicard, mon garçon, I said to
I resigned myself; and Messieurs Jacques and Jean myself, be moderate, be wise! Thou hast had provocaLe Gros reached by due course of diligence-about tion enough to exasperate a saint; nevertheless, be three miles an hour, exclusive of stoppages—the dingy, moderate, be wise. Thou art a tradesman, established dirty city of St Malo, and took up their quarters in three years, prospering and well respected; it is thy the Hôtel de l'Empire.
duty, therefore, to set an example to others. I shall do Webbe, I must state in explanation, was, he informed so; and therefore I do not say what you are, Monsieur me, known to but very few persons in St Malo as Jacques Le Gros; but as to why I am here, I beg Captain Renaudin, and those few, fast friends upon to say, I am here to obtain explanation, satisfaction, whose silence he could depend; and it being absolutely justice; and if not justice, vengeance-vengeance ! necessary to baffle young Le Moine, the last change of Jacques Le Gros,' he added, grinding his teeth and name and disguise was extemporised. I had feared rolling his eyes, after a most formidable fashion. there would be a difficulty with respect to passports ; Webbe laughed, mockingly, as few but he could. but they were found to be perfectly en règle; a seeming Jacques Sicard danced, gesticulated, screamed with justification of Webbe's frequent remark that, as a rage. police regulation, the passport-system was the greatest I am a Frenchman,' he shrieked. "My heart, my humbug ever devised. It is, however, possible that blood, is French-French! Do you understand ?' the confusion into which the public business had every- Perfectly! You are a French boot and shoemaker!' where fallen, facilitated the procurement, by Baptiste, I interposed. The poor fellow seemed almost of the requisite papers.
demented with passion, and I was anxious to hear Webbe left the hotel on the following morning, soon what he had to say. after breakfast, and did not return till near four in the Calm yourself, Monsieur Sicard,' I said ; neither afternoon. He was in high spirits. Madame de my uncle nor myself wishes to insult, distress you.' Bonneville had left home for Paris only two days pre- A la bonne heure!' said Sicard, subsiding into viously, and on the morrow we twain were to dine, by comparative moderation, and wiping his beady forespecial invitation, with the charming Clémence, and head, as he sat down. That is polite, that is reasonFanchette.
able, and good French, moreover, though the accent is “The game, or I err greatly, is in your own hands,' detestably provincial-guttural in the extreme.' said Webbe. Clémence-Lucy, that is to say-already • We are from near Calais; and as the English long sees-thanks to certain hints of mine-the glories of a held possession of that town, they may have left their milady about to descend upon her. But the table- accent behind as a souvenir,' said Webbe. d'hôte dinner-bell has already rung twice. After we 'I have nothing to say to you,' retorted Sicard; 'I have dined, I shall have more to say and shew. shall talk to your nephew only. This,' continued the Allons.
excited bootmaker, “is the case in a few words. Not The privateer captain sat long at table, and drank many months ago, I was upon the best terms with my freely—his custom always when there was no peril of relatives, the De Bonnevilles. Madame de Bonneville seas or land to guard against; but at last we were had a sincere regard for me; and I-I-why should I alone; and after much rigmarole preface, designed to not confess it? I loved, adored her only child and convince me of the loyalty of his motives, he drew daughter, la charmante Clémence, who'from his pocket-book a much-worn printed bill, and Who in return,' interrupted Webbe, 'loved, adored was about to place it in my hands, when M. Jacques le charmant Jacques Sicard, bottier de Paris.' Sicard was announced; and without pausing an instant 'I shall not talk to you, old rogue !' replied Sicard for permission, in bounced that gentleman, evidently with rekindling fury. "No, that is wrong; I withdraw in a high state of inflammation.
“old rogue;" but I shall only address your nephew. Rather a good-looking, intelligent young fellow, let I have no pretension,' he resumed, “to say Clémence me break off a moment to say, spite of his round bullet loved me in return; but at least she permitted me to head and stout barrel-like body, inadequately sup- accompany her to church; sometimes, with madame's ported by legs that were well enough of themselves, permission, to a walk on the ramparts when the bands though not quite equal to the situation, a deficiency were playing. In fine, I was well satisfied with the which I more than suspected had been artificially progress of the affair, till one fine day I find Monsieur increased within the previous hour.
Jacques Le Gros chatting to her in the magasin. Once 'I present myself sans façon, messieurs,' he began, or twice afterwards I witnessed the same thing, but it . as it is my right to do, when coming to demand did not trouble me. I did not even ask the man's name. Why should it trouble me that Clémence some certainly the last persons likely to take to tittle-tattle; times conversed with an ugly old rogue? Ah, wrong being neither young nor elderly; on the whole, perhaps again! I withdraw “rogue,” but not old and ugly, rather bright' than stupid ; having plenty to do and which is exact, demonstrable. I repeat, it did not to think of-too much, indeed, since they came on trouble me to find Clémence conversing more than an enforced holiday out of that vortex in which London once with an old, ugly-monsieur. Ha! I little knew whirls her professional classes round and round, year what a venomous serpent was whispering at the ear of by year, till at last often nothing but a handful of dry my Eve! I shall not withdraw that! It is exact, bones is cast on shore. They came to lodge at the demonstrable! Clémence was no longer the same; village of—X— let me call it, as being an “un. the poor child's head was turned. She no longer known quantity,' which the reader will vainly attempt discerns any merit in Jacques Sicard; and is ever to find out, since it is just like some hundred other dreaming of riches, grandeur, castles in Spain without villages-has its church and rector, great house and number. Well, that malady of the brain yields slowly squire, doctor and lawyer (alas ! poor village, I fear to time and the remonstrances of myself and Madame its two doctors and two lawyers); also its small select de Bonneville: Clémence recovers her charming spirits; society, where everybody knows everybody—that is, again recognises the devotion of Jacques Sicard. their affairs; for themselves, one half the parish Madame de Bonneville sets out for Paris, and I make resolutely declines knowing' the other half-somean appointment to call on Clémence this very evening, times pretermittently, sometimes permanently. Of and escort her and Fanchette to the theatre. I am course, not a single soul would have ventured to know happy, joyous even. I dress myself with care-it may Bob and Maria—as I shall call the strangers—had be admitted with some taste—and I proceed to the they not brought an introduction to one family, under Rue Dupetit Thouars. Ha! I am spurned, derided ! the shelter of whose respectability they meekly placed I hear from Fanchette that that old, ugly rogue--that their own. A very worthy family it was, which shewed venomous serpent- I withdraw nothing !' con- them all hospitality, asked them to tea continually, and tinued Sicard, springing to his feet again in a fresh there, in the shadow of the pleasant drawing-room, access of rage, and emphasising with his fist upon the which overlooked the street, indoctrinated them into table—not even rogue; that that old rogue and all the mysteries of X-, something in this wise : serpent, whose name I hear for the first time, has been Dear me! there's Mrs Smith; she has on that there again! I understand, of course, that I have identical yellow bonnet which has been so long in Miss been calumniated, supplanted ! and I come here for Miffin's shop-window. Got it cheap, no doubt: Mr explanation !—satisfaction !-justice !-vengeance !! Smith does keep the poor thing so close! Annabella,
Bang, bang, bang! I thought he would have smashed child, make haste ; just tell me whether that isn't the the table. Instead of that, the resounding blows same young man who called on the Joneses three times brought two waiters into the room.
last week! Red whiskers and moustaches. One of • Have the goodness to turn this drunken rascal out those horrid officers, no doubt. My dear Miss Maria, I of our apartment,' said Webbe.
never do like to say a word against my neighbours ; • Drunk! drunk!-I-I,' ejaculated the poor fellow, but before I would let my Annabella go about like the vainly struggling in the throttling gripe of the waiters, Jones' girls — Bless my life! there's that cab at the 'I-I am Ja-a-cques Si-Sicard, a respect-respect- corner house again-and her husband out! Well, if I able'
ever could have believed it, even of silly, flirty Mrs • Bottier de Paris,' suggested Webbe.
Green! whom people do say old Mr Green married * And I-I will have sat-satisfaction! jus— out of a London hosier's where he went in to buy a pair justice'
of gloves. What a shocking place London must beThe door closed upon his struggles, and I thought But I beg your pardon, my dear'- And so on, and we were quit of him. Not so: escaping by a sudden so on. effort from his captors, he darted back, partially This, slightly varied, was the stock conversation, opened the door, shewed us his flaming face, and which seemed amply sufficient to fill the minds and shaking his clenched fist, exclaimed: 'And vengeance! hours of the whole family, and, indeed, of every family -scélérats !-vengeance!'
likewise. He was re-seized, and this time effectually got rid of.. Maria and Bob used to go home laughing, and
thanking their stars that they did live in that shocking A WOMAN'S THOUGHTS ABOUT WOMEN.
place London. Bob made harmless jokes at the expense of the unconscious household who,
Pinnacled dim in the intense inane, ONE of the wisest and best among our English ethical writers, the author of Companions of my Solitude, says, could drop down, hawk-like, upon reputations, bonnets, apropos of gossip, that one half of the evil-speaking of and beaus. Maria gave vent to a majestic but indigthe world arises, not from malice prepense, but from nant pity; and both hugged themselves in the belief mere want of amusement. And I think we may even that never, under any circumstances, could they sink grant that in the other half, constituted small of mind to such a dead-level of vacuity, spite, and folly. or selfish in disposition, it is seldom worse than the Weeks passed-rather slowly, especially when, of natural falling back from large abstract interests, which autumn evenings, they found themselves minus books, they cannot understand, upon those which they can- piano, theatre, concerts, society-in fact, in precisely alas ! only the narrow, commonplace, and personal. the position of the inhabitants of X— all year round.
Yet they mean no harm ; are often under the delu. So, as daylight was less dull than candlelight, they sion that they both mean and do a great deal of good, used to rise at unearthly hours ; dine-shall I betray take a benevolent watch over their fellow-creatures, the Goths ?-at 11.30 A.M., take tea at 4 P.m., and and so forth. They would not say an untrue word, or go to bed as soon after dark as they could for shame. do an unkind action—not they! The most barefaced At last, from very dulness, Maria got into the habit slanderer always tells her story with a good motive, or of sitting at the window and telling Bob what was thinks she does ; begins with a harmless' bit of gossip,' passing in the street, interspersed with little illustrative just to pass the time away-the time which hangs so anecdotes she had caught up just as bits of human heavy! and ends by becoming the most arrant and nature.' One, the stock scandal of the place, interested mischievous tale-bearer under the sun.
them both so much, that they watched for the heroine's Ex. gratia—Let me put on record the decline and carriage every day for a week; and when at last fall, voluntarily confessed, of two friends of mine, Maria cried : *There it is!' Bob jumped up with all
the eagerness of Annabella herself, and missing the and invariably veracious. Men lie wilfully, deliberately, sight, retired grumbling: What nonsense! I declare on principle, as it were ; but women quite involunyou're getting just as bad a gossip as anybody here!'tarily. Nay, they would start with horror from the (N.B.- The masculine mind, in an accusative form, bare thought of such a thing. They love truth in their always prefers the second person of the verb.) hearts, and yet-and yet--they are constantly giving
Well,' observed Maria, shall I give up telling you to things a slight colouring cast by their own indiviany news I happen to hear?'
duality; twisting facts a little, a very little, according O no! You may tell what you like. As the man as their tastes, affections, or convenience indicate: said when his wife beat him-it amuses you, and it never perhaps telling a direct lie, but merely a deformed doesn't harm me.'
or prevaricated truth. Finally, I have it from Maria's own confession And this makes the fatal danger of gossip. If all coming in one afternoon absorbed in cogitations as to people spoke the absolute truth about their neighbours, what possible motive Mrs Green could have in telling or held their tongues, which is always a possible alter
Miss Elizabeth Jones she wished to call on her, Maria; native, it would not so much matter. At the worst, and what on earth would be done if Annabella, whose there would be a few periodical social thunder-storms,
mamma wouldn't allow her even to bow to Mrs Green, and then the air would be clear. But the generality of should happen to call at the same time—she was quite people do not speak the truth: they speak what they startled by Bob's springing up from the sofa to meet see, or think, or believe, or wish. Few observant her, with an air of great relief.
characters can have lived long in the world without So you're back at last. Well, wlio did you see, learning to receive every fact communicated secondand what did they say to you? Do sit down, and hand with reservations—reservations that do not neceslet's hear all the gossip going.'
sarily stamp the communicator as a liar, but merely Gossip!' And meeting one another's eyes, they make allowance for certain inevitable variations, like both burst into a hearty fit of laughter, declaring they the variations of the compass, which every circumnever again would pride themselves on being a bit navigator must calculate upon as a natural necessity. better than their neighbours.
Thus, Miss A., in the weary small-talk of a morningAy, fatal and vile as her progeny may be, the call, not quite knowing what she says, or glad to say mother of mischief,' says the proverb, “is no bigger anything for the sake of talking, lets drop to Mrs B. than a midge's wing.' Nay, as many a vice can be that she heard Mrs C. say: 'She should take care to traced back to an exaggerated virtue, this hateful keep her boys out of the way of the little Bs'-a very propensity to tittle-tattle springs from the same pecu- harmless remark, since, when it was uttered, the little liarity which, rightly guided, constitutes womanhood's Bs were just recovering from the measles. But Miss A., chiefest strength and charm; blesses many a worthless an absent sort of woman, repeats it three months afterman with a poor fond, faithful wife, who loves him for wards, forgetting all about the measles ; indeed, she nothing that he is or does, but merely because he is has persuaded herself that it referred to the rudeness himself; forgives to many a scapegrace son or brother of the B. lads, who are her own private terror, and she a hundred sins, and follows him to the grave or the thinks it may probably do some good to give their scaffold, blind to everything except the fact that he is over-indulgent mamma a hint on the subject. Mrs B., her own. Personal interests, personal attachments, too well-bred to reply more than 'Indeed!' is yet personal prejudices, are, whether we own it or not, the mortally offended ; declines the next dinner-party at ruling bias of us women: it is better to own it at the Ce, and confides her private reason for doing so once, govern, correct, and modify it, than to deny it to Miss D., a good-natured chatter-box, who, with the in name, and betray it in every circumstance of our laudable intention of getting to the bottom of the lives.
matter, and reconciling the belligerents, immediately Men, whose habits of thought and action are at once communicates the same. • What have I done!' more selfish and less personal than ours, are very seldom exclaims the hapless Mrs C. 'I never said any such given to gossiping. They will take a vast interest thing !' 'Oh, but Miss A. protests she heard you say in the misgovernment of India, or the ill cooking of it.' Again Mrs C. warmly denies ; which denial goes their own dinners; but any topic betwixt these two back directly to Miss A. and Mrs B., imparting to such as the mismanagement of their neighbour's house, both them and Miss D. a very unpleasant feeling as or the extravagance of their partner's wife is a matter to the lady's veracity. A few days after, thinking it of very minor importance. They canna be fashed' over, she suddenly recollects that she really did say with trifles that don't immediately concern themselves. the identical words, with reference solely to the It is the women-always the women-who poke about measles; bursts into a hearty fit of laughter, and with undefended farthing candles in the choke-damp congratulates herself that it is all right. But not so: passages of this dangerous world; who put their feeble the mountain cannot so quickly shrink into its ignorant hands to the Archimedean lever that, slight original mole-hill. Mrs B., whose weak point is hier as it seems, can shake society to its lowest foundations. children, receives the explanation with considerable For, though it irks me to wound with strong language dignity and reserve; is sorry that Mrs C. should the delicate sensibilities of my silver-tongued sisters, have troubled herself about such a trifle ;' shakes I would just remind them of what they may hear, hands, and professes herself quite satisfied. Nevercertainly one Sunday in the year, concerning that theless, in her own inmost mind, she thinks—and her same dainty little member, which is said to be a fire, countenance shews it—'I believe you said it, for all a world of iniquity . . . . and it is set on fire of hell.' that.' A slight coolness ensues, which everybody
Verily, the Silent Woman '-a lady without a head, notices, discusses, and gives a separate version of; all who officiates as sign to many a country inn-had which versions somehow or other come to the ears of need to be so depicted. But it is not the gift of the the parties concerned, who, without clearly knowing gab,' the habit of using a dozen words where one would why, feel vexed and aggrieved each at the other. The answer the purpose, which may arise from want of end of it all is a total estrangement. education, nervousness, or surplus but honest energy Is not a little episode like this at the root of nearly and earnest feeling-it is not that which does the all the family feuds, lost friendships, “cut acquaintharm ; it is the lamentable fact, that whether from a anceships, so pitifully rife in the world? Rarely any superabundance of the imaginative faculty, careless- great matter, a point of principle or a violated pledge, ness of phrase, or a readiness to jump at conclusions, an act of justice or dishonesty ; it is almost always and represent facts not as they are, but as they appear some petty action misinterpreted, some idle word to the representers, very few women are absolutely repeated-or a succession of both these, gathering and
gathering like the shingle on a sea-beach, something with knowing smiles; no engagements on or off' to fresh being left behind by every day's tide. Not the speak our minds about, nosing out every little circummen's doing—the fathers, husbands, or brothers, who stance, and ferreting our game to their very hole, as have no time to bother themselves about such trifles, if all their affairs, their hopes, trials, faults, or wrongs, and who, if they see fit to quarrel over their two grand were being transacted for our own private and pecucausæ belli
, religion and politics, generally do it out- liar entertainment! Of all forms of gossip— I speak right, and either abuse one another like pickpockets of mere gossip, as distinguished from the carrionin newspaper columns, or, in revenge for any moral crow and dunghill-fly system of scandal-monging—this poaching on one another's property, take a horsewhip tittle-tattle about love-affairs is the most general, the or a pair of pistols, and so end the matter.
most odious, and the most dangerous. No. It is the women who are at the bottom of it all, Every one of us must have known within our own who, in the narrowness or blankness of their daily lives, experience many an instance of dawning loves checked, are glad to catch at any straw of interest--especially unhappy loves made cruelly public, happy loves the unmarried, the idle, the rich, and the childless. imbittered, warm, honest loves turned cold, by this As says the author I have before referred to: 'People horrible system of gossiping about young or unmarnot otherwise ill-natured are pleased with the misfor- ried people — evening' to one another folk who have tunes of their neighbours, solely because it gives them not the slightest mutual inclination, or if they had, something to think about, something to talk about. such an idea put into their heads would effectually They imagine how the principal actors and sufferers smother it; setting down every harmless free liking will bear it; what they will do; how they will look ; | as 'a case,' or 'a flirtation;' and if anything 'serious' and so the dull bystander forms a sort of drama for does turn up, pouncing on it, hunting it down, and himself.'
never letting it go till dismembered and ground to the And what a drama! Such a petty plot-such small bone. Should it ever come to a marriage—and the heroes and heroines-such a harmless villain! When wonder is, considering all these things, that any lovewe think of the contemptible nothings that form the affair ever does come to that climax at all, or that daily scandal-dish of most villages, towns, cities, or any honest-hearted, delicate-minded young people ever communities, and then look up at the starry heaven have the courage to indulge the world by an open which overshines them all, dropping its rain upon the attachment or engagement-heavens and earth! how just and the unjust-or look abroad on the world, of it is talked about! How one learns every single item whose wide interests, miseries, joys, duties, they form of what he said, and she said, and what all the such an infinitesimal part, one is tempted to blush for relations said, and how it came about, and how it one's species. Strange, that while hundreds and thou- never would have come about at all but for So-and-so, sands in this Britain have not a crust to eat, Mrs E. and what they have to live upon, and how capable or should become the town's talk for three days, because, incapable they are of living upon it, and how very owing a dinner-party to the Fs, Gs, Hs, and Js, she much better both parties would have done if they clears accounts at a cheaper rate by giving a general had only each left the choosing of the other to about tea-party instead. So mean! and with Mr E.'s large four-and-twenty anxious friends, all of which were income too !'-That, while millions are living and quite certain the affianced pair never would suit one dying without God in the world, despising Him, forget another, but would have exactly suited somebody else, ting Him, or never having even heard His name, Miss &c., &c., ad libitum and ad infinitum. K., a really exemplary woman, should not only refuse, Many women, otherwise kindly and generous, have even for charitable purposes, to associate with the Ls, in this matter no more consideration towards their an equally irreproachable family as to morals and own sex or the other, no more sense of the sanctity benevolence, but should actually forbid her district and silence due to the relation between them, than if poor to receive their teaching or their Bibles, because the divinely instituted bond of marriage were no they refuse to add thereto the Church of England higher or purer than the natural instincts of the beasts Catechism. As to visiting them—Quite impossible; that perish. It is most sad, nay, it is sickening, to see they are dissenters, you know.'
the way in which, from the age of fourteen upwards, The gossip of opposing religionism-I will not even a young woman, on this one subject of her possible call it religion, though religion itself is often very far or probable matrimonial arrangements, is quizzed, from pure 'godliness'—is at once the most virulent and talked over, commented upon, advised, condoled with, the saddest phase of the disease; and our sex, it must lectured, interrogated-until
, if she has happily never be confessed, are the more liable to it, especially in / had cause to blush for herself, not a week passes that the provinces. There, the parish curate may at times she does not blush for her sex, out of utter contempt, be seen walking with the Unitarian or Independent disgust, and indignation. minister, if they happen to be well-educated young men Surely all right-minded women ought to set their of a social turn; even the rector, worthy man! will faces resolutely against this desecration of feelings, to occasionally have the sense to join with other worthy maintain the sanctity of which is the only preservamen of every denomination in matters of local tive of our influence-that is, our rightful and holy improvement. But oh! the talk that this gives rise influence, over men. Not that, after the school of to among the female population! till the reverend Mesdames Barbauld, Hannah More, and other excelobjects of it—who in their daily duties have usually lent but exceedingly prosy personages
, love should be more to do with women than with men--another exorcised out of young women's lives and conversations involuntary tribute to those virtues which form the -query, if possible ?—but let it be treated of delibright under-side of every fault that can be alleged cately, earnestly, rationally, as a matter which, if against us--are often driven to give in to the force of they have any business with at all, is undoubtedly public opinion, to that incessant babble of silvery the most serious business of their lives. There can waters which wears through the rockiest soil.
be-there ought to be--no medium course; & loveThe next grand source of gossip--and this, too, affair is either sober earnest or contemptible folly, if curiously indicates how true must be the instinct of not wickedness; to gossip about it is, in the first womanhood, even in its lowest forms so evidently a instance, intrusive, unkind, or dangerous; in the second, corruption from the highest-is love, and, with or simply silly. Practical people may choose between without that preliminary, matrimony. What on earth the two alternatives. should we do if we had no matches to make, or mar; Gossip, public, private, social-to fight against it no “unfortunate attachments’to shake our heads over; either by word or pen seems, after all, like fighting no flirtations to speculate about and comment upon with shadows. Everybody laughs at it, protests
against it, blames and despises it; yet everybody does that issues from her mouth, absolute truth. I say culit, or at least encourages others in it: so innocently, tivate, because to very few people--as may be noticed unconsciously, in such a small, harmless fashion-yet, of most young children-does truth, this rigid, literal we do it. We must talk about something, and it is veracity, come by nature. To many, even who love not all of us who can find a rational topic of conver- it and prize it dearly in others, it comes only after sation, or discuss it when found. Many, too, who in the self-control, watchfulness, and bitter experience of their hearts hate the very thought of tattle and tale- years. Let no one, conscious of needing this care, be bearing, are shy of lifting up their voices against it, afraid to begin it from the very beginning; or in her lest they should be ridiculed for Quixotism, or thought daily life and conversation fear to confess: "Stay, I to set themselves up as more virtuous than their said a little more than I meant'-'I think I was not neighbours; others, like our lamented friends, Maria quite correct about such a thing'-Thus it was; at and Bob, from mere idleness and indifference, long least, thus it seemed to me personally;' &c., &c. Even kept hovering over the unclean stream, at last drop in the simplest, most everyday statements, we cannot into it, and are drifted away by it. Where does it be too guarded or too exact. The hundred cats' that land them? Ay, where?
the little lad saw 'figliting on our back-wall,' and If I, or any one, were to unfold on this subject only which afterwards dwindled down to our cat and our own experience and observation-not a tittle more another,' is a case in point, not near so foolish as it —what a volume it would make! Families set by seems. the ears, parents against children, brothers against * Believe only half of what you see, and nothing that brothers-not to mention brothers and sisters in law, you hear,' is a cynical saying, and yet less bitter than who seem generally to assume, with the legal title, the at first appears. It does not argue that human nature legal right of interminably squabbling. Friendships is false, but simply that it is—human nature. How sundered, betrothals broken, marriages annulled-in can any created being with its two eyes, two ears, one the spirit, at least, while in the letter kept outwardly, judgment, and one brain-all more or less limited in to be a daily torment, temptation, and despair. Ac- their apprehensions of things external, and biassed by a quaintances that would otherwise have maintained a thousand internal impressions, purely individual—how safe and not unkindly indifference, forced into absolute can it possibly decide on even the plainest actions of dislike-originating how they know not; but there it another, to say nothing of the words, which may have is. Old companions, that would have borne each gone through half-a-dozen different translations and other's little foibles, have forgiven and forgotten little modifications, or the motives, which can only be known annoyances, and kept up an honest affection till death, to the Omniscient Himself? driven, at last, into open rupture, or frozen into a In His name, therefore, let us “judge not, that we be coldness more hopeless still, which no after-warmth not judged. Let us be quick to hear, slow to speak;' will ever have power to thaw.
slowest of all to speak any evil, or to listen to it, about Truly, from the smallest Little Peddlington that any body. The good we need be less careful over ; we carries on, year by year, its bloodless wars, its harmless are not likely ever to hear too much of that. scandals, its daily chronicle of interminable nothings, ‘But,' say some—very excellent people too—are we to the great metropolitan world, fashionable, intellec- never to open our mouths ?-never to mention the ill tual, noble, or royal, the blight and curse of social and things we see or hear; never to stand up for the right, civilised life is gossip.
by proclaiming, or by warning and testifying against How is it to be removed? How are scores of well- the wrong?' meaning women, who, in their hearts, really like and Against wrong - in the abstract, yes; but against respect one another-who, did trouble come to any one individuals-doubtful. All the gossip in the world, or of them, would be ready with countless mutual kind- the dread of it, will never turn one domestic tyrant into nesses, small and great, and among whom the sudden a decent husband or father; one light woman into a advent of death would subdue every idle tongue to matron leal and wise. Do your neighbour good by honest praise, and silence, at once and for ever, every all means in your power, moral as well as physical bitter word against the neighbour departed-how by kindness, by patience, by unflinching resistance are they to be taught to be every day as generous, against every outward evil—by the silent preaching of considerate, liberal-minded -in short, womanly, as your own contrary life. But if the only good you can they would assuredly be in any exceptional day of do him is by talking at him or about him-nay, even adversity ? How are they to be made to feel the to him, if it be in a self-satisfied super-virtuous stylelittleness, the ineffably pitiful littleness, of raking up such as I earnestly hope the present writer is not doing and criticising every slight peculiarity of manner, -you had much' better leave him alone. If he be habits, temper, character, word, action, motive foolish, soon or late, he will reap the fruit of his folly ; household, children, servants, living, furniture, and if wicked, be sure his sin will find him out. If he has dress: thus constituting themselves the amateur rag- wronged you, you will neither lessen the wrong nor pickers, chiffonnieres—I was going to say scavengers increase his repentance, by parading it. And if-since but they do not leave the streets clean-of all the there are two sides to every subject, and it takes two blind alleys and foul by-ways of society, while the to make a quarrel-you have wronged him, surely whole world lies free and open before them, to do you will not right him or yourself by abusing him. their work and choose their innocent pleasure therein In Heaven's name, let him alone. -this busy, bright, beautiful world?
Such a revolution is, I doubt, quite hopeless on this side paradise. But every woman has it in her power
MAUNA LOA AT WORK. personally to withstand the spread of this great plague Vesuvius is very well in its way. When really in of tongues, since it lies within her own volition what earnest, it affords a pretty sight for our lady and she will do with her own.
gentlemen tourists, who transport thei knapsacks All the king's horses and all the king's men
or carpet-bags to the Bay of Naples to see it, and
makes the trouble of the holiday excursion well worth cannot make us either use or bridle that little member. taking; but he who wanders over the world of waters It is our never-failing weapon, double-edged, delicate, that rolls between Asia and America, demands somebright, keen; a weapon not necessarily either lethal thing greater and grander: and he finds it. In the or vile, but taking its character solely from the very middle of the lone Pacific, Mauna Loa raises her manner in which we use it.
august brow to the height of nearly 14,000 feet; and, First, let every one of us cultivate, in every word | when the fit is on her, flings a glare over the ocean