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idol of Little Biddlebrigham, and the epithets applied not confess that much—the young man had but one. to him ranged through the whole pet-curate scale, Mus or Decimus Green was obstinate-obstinate as a from 80 unaffectedly devout,' down to such a dear pig, as a jackass, as a man with a scientific theory; in darling duck of a man.' What need for any more fact, despite his modesty, no man who did not know advertisements ? Was there any man, whether strictly him could tell how obstinate Decimus Green was. Anglican' or 'purely evangelical,' for whom we would Last summer, our town became so fashionable, that its exchange the Rev. Julian Montacute? Most certainly ordinary accommodations proved insufficient for its not; but as he still refused either to marry, to bury, throng of visitors. The gentlemen, therefore, gave up or to christen, upon the alleged ground of his mere the use of our half-dozen bathing-machines entirely temporary appointment, and as self-willed persons to the ladies, while they themselves migrated into a went on marrying, and dying, and being born in the neighbouring bay, taking their own towels with them, parish just as usual, it became necessary to look out and keeping their sixpences in their pockets: among for another curate. Our secret design, indeed, was them, of course, was the Rev. Decimus Green. Being to restrict the new man to the performance of these somewhat delicate, and having a good deal of indoor routine duties, and to keep our cherished Montacute work to do, he had lately possessed himself of a horse, in on, if it were possible, for preaching purposes. Upon which he took much pride and pleasure. It was a handthe very day, however, that the Rev. Decimus Green some, well-bred mare, but exceedingly self-willed; and and his mother—who was almost another curate, dear our curate, although a tolerable rider, was not quite the good soul, as it turned out afterwards--came down to man to subdue her. She was somewhat tender in the Little Biddlebrigham, Mr Montacute fled. He left a legs, and salt-water had been recommended for them letter upon the squire's breakfast-table to say he was daily by the equine faculty. You may bring a horse very sorry, but that he had never been ordained at all, to water,' says the proverb, but you can't make him and was not a clergyman; and the squire brought it drink;' and you may also bring one to the sea-beach, down to the vestry, and almost turned us into stone without getting it into the sea. Mr Green's man had with the news. The two young brides congratulated been thrown in pretty deep places more than once themselves very considerably that 'the wicked wretch, already, and had given it as his opinion that he was about whom, to say truth, they had always had their engaged to be a groom, and not to be a merman. The suspicions,' had not performed that ceremony about mare, he said, was quite unmanageable in the water; which they had been so anxious. The Wesleyan and our curate, of course, said she was nothing of the minister remarked with a chuckle that he had always kind. To prove this, moreover, he determined to ride understood that clergymen of the Church of England the mare in himself. She was to be brought to him were recognisable to the faithful by some infallible while he was bathing, which was not very early in the sign; while the Ranter assured his again overflowing morning; and then, whether he stuck on her or not audiences the whole affair was a judgment upon Little in the sea, it would be but of little consequence. Biddlebrigham. Nobody else, I hope, was pleased in Myself and several other friends were present upon the our parish.
first occasion, curious to see whether the trial or the Poor Mr Decimus Green, than whom no mortal was curate would come off. The animal was led willingly ever simpler or more truthful, was pestered to death enough to the sands, and suffered her master—who, about his credentials after this, and our theological however, had to swim in and land for that purpose-to stable-door most carefully locked after the stealing of mount her unresistingly; but her complaisance extended the steed. He had not the eloquence of the late no further. Now with her fore-feet planted resolutely usurper of our pulpit, and we were inclined to be on the beach, she protested with her hind-legs against dissatisfied with him just at first; but when we got moving seaward, and now rampant upon these hindto know his earnestness and intrinsic merit, we some legs, she sparred furiously at ocean with her remaining how learned to like his discourses too: they were good, two; but the Rev. Decimus Green sat her like a cenindeed, of themselves, only he could not preach them, taur, or as if he had been fastened on Mazeppawise on account of his being so shy and nervous. It was with cords or cobbler's wax. At length, putting her one of the pleasantest sights in the world to look at head right for the waves, le called out to the groom dear Mrs Green while her son was delivering his to give her the whip; the order was obeyed by a most sermons; her pride in them and him was so entirely | tremendous cut with a hunting-thong. Griseldaunaffected and undisguised, and, at the same time, as it that was the docile creature's name-gave one terrific seemed, so right and agreeable.
bound into the air, turned short about almost before "What did you think of my son Mus, this morning ?' she touched ground again, and flew, with the unfortuwas what she would say to me every Sunday while we nate unclothed Decimus upon her, straight back for waited for him to come out of the vestry, after service, her stable in the High Street. The poor fellow had no in order that we three might walk home together, for time to tlirow himself off: past the beach where the we lived in the same quarter of the little town, quite ladies were sitting and knitting; by the post-office, in the midst of it, and away from the sea: or “Mus is where the mail had just come in, and the crowd were rather long at times; don't you find him so ?' she inquiring for letters; through the little square, where would now and then observe; and when you said, “No, the market-women were bargaining with the fashioncertainly not,' as of course you did, she would smile as ables ; by the squire's lawn, where Mrs Broadland and only mothers can when their boys are praised. In the the Miss Broadlands were gardening after breakfast; summer-time, when little Biddlebrigham was rather by the National School, just emptying its throng of fashionable, and strangers came down to bathe and pupils and amateur teachers ; and 80 to his own stableenjoy the sands, she was doubly interested in what door, where the sagacious Griselda stopped. This is. the congregations thought about him; and it was our what I hear from other sources. I never saw Decimus delight to represent them as being enthusiastically Green from that hour to this
, nor has he since then admiring; for we all loved Mrs Green, I think, and the been seen by mortal Little Biddlebrighamer. For the poor most of all. While Decimus went out among remainder of that day, he shut himself up in his own them with his supply of spiritual comforts, his mother house, and departed from us, with his mother, under made her regular rounds with a great basketful of cover of the ensuing night, for ever. He derived, or temporal ones, and she was certainly not less welcome seemed to derive, no comfort from my written suggesthan her son. Of all the curates which Little Biddle- tion that the thing was, after all, not so unusual, or brigham ever had, indeed, these two, who worked so had been done before at least, for a good purpose, by well together, were certainly the best. The old lady Lady Godiva. 'Never,' he writes, 'never can I look had no fault-or at least, now that she is gone, we will that congregation in the face again.'
This was the last but one of our curates at Little through the root alone it is fed. The soil absorbs the Biddlebrigham; and a delicacy, which I trust will be gases and vapours of the air, and conveys them to the appreciated, causes me to postpone for a while any roots of the plant; and one of the main differences description of our present one.
between a productive and a barren soil, is the degree
in which it possesses this absorbent and assimilatire A GLANCE AT THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM. nature. Humus, which is decayed organic matter, or,
as we commonly call it, manure, possesses it in the TAKING the distinguished botanist Schleiden for our highest degree of all; it incessantly imbibes the watery guide, we will make a hasty survey of the world of vapours and ammonia out of the atmosphere. Clay plants, and note a few of the wonders to be found there. comes next. Science says, therefore, a soil liberally
Since the microscope has revealed the intimate supplied with these two substances ought to be structure of flower and leaf, of root and stem, which especially fertile. Practical experience says it is so. without it was as impenetrably veiled from our eyes Very curious and difficult calculations have been as a remote star in the Milky-way without the made to ascertain what portion of all the water suptelescope ; and chemistry, analysing, weighing, measur- plied to the soil by atmospheric precipitation-rain, ing, has lent its aid to investigate the substance out snow, hail, and dew-is left to vegetation, after the of which these are formed, botany has taken a stride streams, springs, and rivers have taken their share. upwards in the scale of the sciences—has become, in The result of these experiments and calculations is fact, physiological instead of merely systematic. to prove that at least one-third is carried by the
On old damp walls and palings, and stagnant water, great rivers to the sea, and the residue is further we often find a delicate bright green velvety coat. diminished by the evaporation from the ground heat *This is the first beginning of vegetation. It is com
Another series of careful experiments has posed of small spherical cells filled with sap, colourless been instituted to discover what quantity of water a granules, and chlorophyle or leaf-green.' The noble plant consumes. A sunflower absorbs 22 ounces of forest tree, the delicately shaped and tinted flower, is water daily; an acre of them, therefore, allowing each but an assemblage of such cells : each cell complete plant four square feet of ground, would require in all its functions, a little independent organism, 1,826,706 pounds in the four summer months; an acre imbibing and assimilating nutriment-absorbing and of cabbages, more than 5,000,000; and of hops, excreting ; the vitality of the whole plant being only 7,000,000 pounds. In England, the average amount the sum of all these minute vitalities. Fresh layers of rain that falls on an acre in summer does not much are continually deposited on the cell-walls, but the exceed 2,000,000 pounds, and of this vegetation does new layer is never a similar entire membrane.' Some- not get perhaps a quarter. Now, we see why the times it is perforated all over with little chinks, or capacity of a soil for absorbing watery vapour is one with long slits; sometimes it is a network, or winds of its most important characteristics. round in a spiral band, or forms distinct rings. Some Does it occur to the reader as an anomalous thing cells have the power of forming new cells within them, that bog-soil, which abounds both in humus and in when the nutrient matter accumulates up to a certain water, produces only the most useless formless plants : point, and then the mother-cell gradually disappears. sedges, rushes, rank grasses, to which the farmer gives How the endless variety of form, and texture, and the opprobrious name of sour pasture? The explanacolour are produced by means apparently so simple tion of this phenomenon compels us to take account of and monotonous, we shall better understand if we what earth, as well as air and water, yields for vegetable consider that the shape and grouping of the cells is sustenance. When fire consumes a thing, its organic modified in a thousand different ways: sometimes constituents return into the atmosphere, whence they elongated and pressed close together laterally, so as were originally drawn. The residue, the ashes, are to form fibres, as in the wood and bass-cells—the the inorganic constituents—that which mother Earth latter being those flexible threads we weave into has supplied. Combustion dissolves their union, and textile fabrics ; sometimes they become cylindrical, enables the chemist to analyse. The ashes of plants or star-shaped, or prisms. Add to this, the varying consist of lime, phosphorus, magnesia, silex, alkaline of the minute particles and fluids deposited within the salts, in varying proportions. These are conveyed into cells, colouring matter of every liue, all the nutritious the little cells of the living plant in the water it takes substances the vegetable kingdom yields to man—the up. Deposited in the cell-walls, they cause endless caseine, gluten, fibrine, starch, sugar-all are manu- modifications of hardness, brittleness, tenuity, &c. factured in these wondrous little cells. And out of The slender stalk of the wheat could not lift itself to what ?
ripen its grain in the sun's rays unless the soil furMediately or immediately, man is wholly dependent | nished it with silex, through which its cells acquire on vegetable products; his mutton and beef are made that solidity necessary to enable it to maintain an of the sweet grass, the turnip, the mangel. His bread, erect position. The deficiency in bog-soil is occasioned his sugar, all his drinks, the plant furnishes him with. by the redundancy of water dissolving and carrying Out of what does it make so bountiful a provision ? off these invaluable salts and earths; while, on the Out of earth, air, and water; but chiefly out of air. other hand, it is beginning to be believed that the
Our atmosphere is composed of about four-fifths of chief developments and transformations which culture nitrogen, one-fifth of oxygen, doo of carbonic acid, effects-varieties that become stable in the course of and a small but at present unknown proportion of time, gradually passing into sub-species-are due to ammonia. Besides this, it takes pp variable quantities these inorganic elements. Wherever a soil is rich in of foreign matter; watery vapours, large additions to the peculiar salts or earths prevailing in the ashes of its stock of carbonic acid, and ammonia, emitted by any given plant, that plant will gradually alter its soils redolent with decaying organic substances, &c. nature and aspect. The little dry woody stem of the When we say that the plant derives its chief nourish- wild carrot will turn into a sweet juicy vegetable, ment from the air, it is natural to conclude that the weighing five or six pounds. The thin-branched process is a direct one; that those parts, leaf, stem, flowering stem, with green bitter buds of the wild flowers, which come in contact with the air, are cauliflower, become the soft, succulent, snow-white furnished with the means of appropriating the supplies head that makes its appearance upon our tables. The deposited there. But this is by no means the case ; dry stony nature of the soil— looking as if it were all, or at least 99 per cent. of all the plant assimilates only fit to mend the roads—that produces the fine reaches it through the roots ; evaporation and excre- Burgundian grape, is a strong instance of the fertilistion are carried on by means of leaf and stem, but ing power possessed by certain earths.
Botany yields a liberal quota to the fairy tales of that make it so invaluable to man perfect themscience'-true “tales,' that make the wildest or the selves. Here, even in hot-houses, it more resembles most grotesque creations of fancy look timid and the birdlime obtained from our misletoes. If the commonplace.
sap is left to stand, the caoutchouc globules rise to The traveller in South America is haunted at every the top and coalesce exactly in the same way the turn with some one or other of the four hundred butter globules (or cream) do in milk. The list is a species of the cactus tribe. Sporting with ugliness, long and interesting one both of useful and of noxious delighting in the quaintest variations of it, they con- milk-saps. The cow-tree furnishes the Cingalese with stantly arrest his attention by their entire unlikeness a sweet and pleasant drink, which he uses exactly as to all other vegetable forms. Without leaves, mostly we do milk. In Brazil there is a spurge whose milk, without branches, their dull green, dropsical-looking when flowing forth from the stem in the dark hot stems, pinched in here, bulging out there, yet bedecked summer nights, emits a bright phosphoric light. The with glorious flowers, rise often to the height of thirty root of the yucca or mandioc plant blends in close or forty feet. There is the hedgehog cactus, a small union the most wholesome nourishment and potent round prickly ball; and the old-man cactus, with tufts poison; and the process of dissolving this union and of venerable-looking gray hair.
There is the thin, turning each to its appropriate purpose, is a very whip-like serpent cactus, a parasite which climbs from curious one. The Indian pounds the roots to a thick bough to bough; and the torch-thistle cactus, rising in pulp with a wooden club in the hollowed trunk of a a round column, mostly branchless, but occasionally tree, ties it up in a tight bundle with a stone attached ramified in the strangest way, just like a clumsy to the bottom, and hangs it up so that the weight of gigantic candelabra, forty feet high. Sometimes the the stone squeezes out the milk-sap. The pulp is old dead stems remain standing erect, white and further freed from the volatile poison contained in it ghostly among the living stems, after the green fleshy by exposure to heat, then powdered between two rind is decayed. The benighted traveller thankfully stones. And this is the celebrated cassava meal, so avails himself of them, in that scantily wooded region, important an article of diet in South America. After to make a fire or burn as a torch-hence the name the Indian has poisoned his arrows with the sap thus in the dark tropical nights. There are melon-shaped pressed out, it is set to stand for a considerable time; cacti, and some that look in the distance like reposing and the fine white powder deposited by it is—tapioca. Indians, but on near inspection prove low shapeless Strychnine and brucine, two of the most active heaps of a cactus that is thickly set with yellowish red vegetable poisons, occur in other milk-saps ; and there spines. Though growing for the most part under the is a tree-the manchineel-which infects with poison burning rays of a vertical sun, on dry sand nearly the very rain-drops that pass over its leaves, to such a devoid of vegetable mould, and beneath a sky that for degree, that the luckless traveller who takes shelter three-quarters of the year yields them not one drop of beneath, speedily finds himself covered with blisters rain, they are tumid with a watery acid juice of ines- and ulcers. The natives avoid it with as superstitious timable value to the parched traveller. Even the wild an awe as if it were the fabled upas-tree of Java; and ass, cautiously stripping off the dangerous spines with apropos of the upas-tree, that venerable tale which his hoof, knows how to help himself to a delicious blends three real but separate things into one fictitious draught when traversing the desolate steppes. The whole, it comes in our way to be explained here, physicians of America make use of it in various ways. because one of the three facts jumbled up together, The thick leathery cuticle with which the cactus is is the existence of a tree from the milk-sap of the covered prevents evaporation, and enables them to roots of which the upas radia or sovereign poison is hoard the scantily supplied moisture; and they are concocted. A tiny arrow dipped in this, and blown further assisted in this by that absence of leaves which through a hollow reed, 'makes the tiger tremble, characterises nearly all the species ; for it is through stand motionless a minute, then fall as though seized the leaves that plants chiefly evaporate their surplus with vertigo, and die in brief but violent convulmoisture. Another peculiarity is the abundance of sions. In that island of beauty, fertility, and horror, beautiful little crystals of oxalate of lime deposited grow gorgeous flowers whose dimensions are reckoned in the cells of all the cactaceæ. Some species con- by feet instead of fractions of an inch-the Lianes, tain no less than 85 per cent. of it. Nearly all pro- Paullinias, and Rafflesian lilies. True, primeval forests duce small but palatable fruits-a sort of tropical open in majestic aisles, and the bare hundred-feetgooseberries and currants. The wood of the torch- long stems of the lianes coil about and stretch from thistle is so firm, though light, as to be available for tree to tree like the rigging of a ship. The antiar, beams and posts; and if we add that the invaluable with tall, smooth, slender stem, sixty or eighty feet little cochineal insect inhabits and feeds upon the high, crowned by a circlet of glossy leaves, pours forth cactus only, and that the spines of one kind are so from its easily wounded bark, like the manchineel, dangerous that even buffaloes are killed by the inflam-a sap that causes blisters and ulcers to him who mation following a wound from one, we shall have heedlessly touches it. A pes chatter among the boughs, enumerated all that is most important concerning and pelt the traveller with fruit. The melancholy them.
orang-outang wanders gravely about leaning on his There is a little plant with which every school-boy staff. The awful mountains send out a fiery molten is familiar, the spurge or wolf's-milk, in the efficacy flood; and lower down, mud-volcanoes break out of whose milky juice to cure warts he has great faith. suddenly without fire or light, swallowing up in filth This juice, or milk-sap, as it is called, occurs in many fertile valleys with all their men and oxen. There different families of plants, increasing in number as we are streams that petrify the neighbouring trees; approach the tropics. Its properties vary from the springs white with sulphur; little cones of gypsum most useful and nutritious down to the deadliest spouting unceasingly hot or cold water; and, above poison. All the plants possessing it are distinguished all, there is a narrow flat valley, nearly bare of vegeby a peculiar anatomical structure. In the bark and tation, where the ground is strewn with the skeletons in the pith are long, curved, and branched tubes, not of all kinds of animals: the tiger and his prey side unlike the veins of animals containing this thick juice, by side, overtaken by their common foe, death; the which is generally milk-white; but there are yellow, red, vulture in search of carrion, turned to carrion himself; and even blue milk-saps. It consists, like animal milk, dead beetles, dead ants lying in heaps. Man only can of an albuminous fluid with small globules floating in traverse unharmed this valley of the shadow of death, it. All milk-saps contain more or less caoutchouc, because his erect posture raises him above the fatal but only beneath a tropical sun do those qualities exhalations of carbonic acid gas, which, being heavy,
diffuse themselves slowly, and cause death by asphyxia several officers of the line and national guard there; to all near the surface of the soil. It is the same gas amongst them the warlike bootmaker. The company as in the celebrated Grotto del Cane at Naples, and in appeared to be in a state of considerable excitement. the vapour caverns of Prymont. And now we have Sicard was upon his legs, nearly opposite Webbe, the three terrible phenomena which led to the belief in declaiming with lively gesticulation upon Bonapartist a tree whose very shadow was deadly, and from its and Bourbon politics in general, as well as I could boughs the birds that settled dropped down dead. No make out, and with especial and malignant reference, wonder the natives, and the equally credulous, though it seemed, by the fixed direction of his flaming face brave and enterprising travellers of the seventeenth and eyes, to M. Jacques Le Gros. The privateer century, should attribute to a tree yielding so virulent captain, whose back was towards me, had, I supposed, a poison—the slightest particle of it introduced into presumed to differ in opinion from the shop-keeping the blood by a mere scratch caused instant death-the warrior; but feeling quite satisfied that Webbe was destructive action of the intangible, and, to them, quite able to hold his own against a regiment of wordy undiscoverable carbonic acid gas emitted from the assailants, I went on my dismal way to the Rue soil. No wonder they thought it a vapour issuing from Dupetit Thouars. the deadly poison-tree; and to complete the wonder Truly a dismal way! A cold, driving rain was and terror of their tale, further endowed it with the falling; and dirty, dingy St Malo, darkly visible by noxious milk-sap of the tall slender antiar.
the dull light lanterns swung on ropes across the But we need not travel so far from home for narrow streets, looked dirtier and dingier than ever. examples of plants yielding milk-sap of a noxious I had no umbrella, and as the distance was not very kind; our own ugly nettle is possessed of as marvel great, preferred hastening on to returning for one. It lous a little apparatus for mischief as the serpent's thus happened, that butting blindly ahead against the tooth, and so similar to it in structure, that it might wind and rain with my hat pulled down over my eyes, almost be called the vegetable serpent. A snake has I missed the right turning; and after splashing along in the front part of its jaw two long thin curved for more than the time that should have brought me teeth, movable like the claws of a cat, and perforated near Madame de Bonneville's magasin, I found myself lengthways by a minute canal, which terminates in nowhere that I knew of, or could immediately asceran aperture at the point, and in a little gland con- tain, the streets being completely deserted. I made taining poison at the root. When the animal bites, several starts in directions which I fancied should lead the resistance of the thing bitten pushes back the to the Rue Dupetit Thouars, without result, till I ran tooth, so that it presses into the gland, and squeezes against an autorité, as he came sharply round a corner. out the venomous fluid, which runs along the little The collision was violent, and a little irritated the duct into the wound, The hairs on the leaf of the gendarme. nettle are its teeth ; each hair consists of a single Sacre bleu !'he exclaimed; who is this?' To which cell, with a small knob at the tip, and expanded at the I replied by asking him how far off and where the Rue other end into a sac containing the irritating milk- Dupetit Thouars might be. juice. The slightest touch breaks off the brittle How far off? Where? At least a quarter of an knob, and, as with the serpent's tooth, the pressure of hour off, if you walk fast. Go to the top of this alley; the cell-canal in puncturing the hand that has rashly then turn to the right, traverse the Place, ascend the touched it, forces up the juice out of the sac, and Rue St Jean, and inquire again.' discharges it into the tiny wound. The injury is but The cocked-hatted functionary, who was apparently slight from our nettles; but the burning sun of the bound upon pressing business, stayed no further tropics, which matures the venom of the snake into a parley. I went off, as directed, at the top of my weapon of death, ripens too the poisonous sap of the speed, and was traversing the Place, when I was sudnettle: the suffering from the slightest touch of one denly brought to a stand-still by a glimpse of two lasts many weeks, causing the arm to swell; and there women as they rapidly crossed over at some distance is one species by which acute pain, lasting for years, is from me, and disappeared up a narrow street. One caused, and death itself often can only be avoided by of them, there could be no doubt, was Fanchette: the amputation.
face of the other, as I for a moment caught it by the light of a lamp close to which she passed, seemed to be
that of the fierce Frenchwoman I had once seen in KIRKE WEBBE,
the Isle of Wight-of Louise Féron, alias Madame de THE PRIVATEER CAPTAIN.
So gure was I of this, that I impulsively called out
and ran towards the women; with what intent, had I It was less from lack of appetite, than as affording a come up with them, would have puzzled ine to say ; respite from Webbe's blistering banter, that I declined when, having lost sight of the chase, and hot, steaming accompanying him to the table d'hôte. I dined alone; with excitement and exertion, I stopped to take breath not very heartily, to be sure; a depressing sense of and consider what I was to do, or had purposed doing. helpless involvement prevented that. I was perplexed I didn't know at all. Probably a vague desire to cut in the extreme, but it would be scarcely worth while in some way or other the Gordian-knot by which I was to recite the moony meditations in which I remained enmeshed and hampered, had caused the inconsiderate plunged till evening had for some time set in, seeing pursuit. As the reader already knows, I was ever that they resulted in the forlorn conviction that to rash and headlong. Should I meet and be recognised boldly repudiate the absurd marriage urged by Webbe's by Madame de Bonneville, our fine scheme would of overbearing insistance, and the tears and tenderness of course fall to pieces at once, not to speak or think Clémence, would not only break the heart of a gentle of other correlative possibilities. And might not her girl, whose only fault, within my knowledge, was inopportune return to St Malo have the same result? loving too well and most unwisely, but might be in Certainly it might, and it behoved me therefore to be effect to pass sentence of death upon my father. My trebly wary and circumspect; and first of all, to only hope, therefore, was in the girl's concurrence with ascertain beyond doubt that I had not been mistakenthe delaying suggestion embodied in my note, the that Fanchette's woman-companion was really Louise answer to which it was full time I should seek.
Féron. Voices in loud altercation caused me to pause as I This step in mental demonstration was nearly pari was passing forth, and I looked in for a moment at the passu with that, I having quickly resumed walking, guests assembled round the table d'hôte. There were / which brought me to the corner of a street I knew, by
the épicier's shop on the opposite side, to be the Rue such as I, under the circumstances, had I been savage Dupetit Thouars. Fanchette and Madame de Bonne- enouglı, might have expressed towards her. ville-if Madame de Bonneville it was that I had Again a most embarrassing silence, which I put an seen-did not, it instantly occurred to me, turn down, end to by plunging desperately in media res. or, more properly, up that street. They had gone on You have read the note, mademoiselle, which I had in a straight direction. Most likely, then, fancy had the honour of placing in your hands to-day?' fooled me. Besides, when one came to think of it yes, many times over, and believe me, mon ami, seriously, was it likely that a person just arrived with many bitter, bitter tears! I am very young; at home after a long, fatiguing journey by Diligence, entirely without experience of the world; still I feel, would go owling about the town at such a time acutely feel the cruel grief which must ever wring the and in such weather ? The notion was absurd. I heart of one whose devotion is met with the chilling might therefore venture, at all events, to call at the repulse of at best a sorrowing, sympathising compassion magasin, and end all misgivings upon the subject. -a regretful pity, which'I saw by the faint light cast into the dark street Dear Clémence!' I exclaimed, starting up, and from the window, that it was still open, and in a few taking her passive hand in both mine. “Be assured minutes, after peering in, and seeing only the two that'workwomen sewing away as usual at the further end, Do not persist, mon ami,' interrupted the sobbing I opened the door and walked in.
girl. “Captain Webbe has been your faithful, eloquent Is Madame de Bonneville within?' I asked.
interpreter. Me, with all his practised acuteness, he Madame de Bonneville!' was the reply in a tone has not so well understood. It is true, however, that of surprise. 'Mademoiselle, no doubt, monsieur means,' I agree with him in his appreciation of the manifold added the woman with a smile. "Yes.'
advantages that will be derived from our marriage. May Madame is not then returned from Paris, as I I not, dear friend, cast aside at this supreme moment thought she might have been?'
the affectations of girlhood, and speak out frankly, No, monsieur. I do not think she is expected for honestly, as all honest human souls should to each several days.'
other? Yes, I fully appreciate the desirableness, the I had been mistaken. There could be no longer indispensability of this marriage: that it will not only question of it, and I passed on with a more assured step. insure justice, but temper that justice with mercy. I
Clémence received me with a kind of gracious, yield to that paramount consideration; and to-morrow, pensive ceremony. She was alone, nicely dressed, since it must be so, I will pledge you my faith at the and there was positive enchantment in her blushing altar of God-a faith, mon ami, which you need not smile, and the trembling tears which, as seen by the doubt will be kept as sacred as if our hearts beat perlamp-light, kindled her sweet blue eyes with a pene- fectly in unison with each other. To-morrow be it trating, softened lustre. 'After all, thought I, as I then, monsieur; and if'.raised the tips of her fingers to my lips and returned 'Permettez, mademoiselle,' I exclaimed, bewilderedly her low-toned, agitated greeting—'After all, since it interrupting a proposal, equivalent, as interpreted by is my destiny to be wedded in my own despite, Fate the young lady's look and tone of heroic self-sacrifice, might have served me a scurvier trick-have mated to an offer on her part to be chopped into little bits at me with a much less agreeable partner. I shall the command of cruel, imperious duty-Permit me, console myself after a while; never fear. Time will mademoiselle, to say that I would not for the wealth of do more than reconcile me to a young and charming worlds take advantage of the peculiar, the extremely wife, whose disinterested devotedness would excite a delicate circumstances in which you are now placed, grateful tenderness in the coldest, most obdurate of and which cannot but influence a decision of lifelong human hearts.'
consequences. It would be unpardonable to do so. You are wet, mon ami,' said Clémence, without Once restored to your true home-able to appreciate withdrawing her hand, which trembled very much, the vast change in your social position-within reach from mine. "Shall you not take cold ?'
of maternal counsels, you will better'O, dear no, mademoiselle. Water to us amphibious "Ah, my poor friend,' interrupted Clémence, with islanders is a kind of second atmosphere.'
perplexing graciousness; 'Captain Webbe has revealed The girl sighed, blushed, drooped her sad eyes, to me that generous nature; shewn how fully capable and reseated herself upon the canapé. Evidently her you are of concealing, for my sake, the wound, which thoughts were painfully preoccupied. Female instinct would nevertheless continue to bleed and fester inhad, it was plain, detected the false pretence of my wardly. I may not selfishly accept that sacrifice. The note, and she felt, sweet, sensitive child, that I did brilliant future of which you speak, would not, if this not love, though I might esteem, respect, even admire moment realised, change or colour my sentiments in her. I would have given much to liave been able to the faintest degree. It is true that, at first, I did not, as chase away that green and yellow melancholy by it were, feel the beatings of my own simple girl's heart fervid words—true words I doubted not in a future amidst the throbbings of anticipative pride and exultathough not present sense that might deceive her tion; and this is a remorse to me, since, had it not into happiness. Just then, however, I could not, had been so, the fancy excited by my portrait would not my life depended upon doing so, I felt so down-in- probably have grown to a passion which, be assured, the-mouth, so altogether damp, limpid, uncomfortable. though I will not pretend I can at present return,
I broke an embarrassing pause by asking if Fanchette commands my liveliest sympathy, and will hereafter, was at home.
I do not doubt-neither must you, dear friend—compel No, mon ami: she wished to go out, rude as the my warmest affections.' night is; I also,' added the maiden looking up and Plait-il?' said I, using a French idiom which it is regarding me with a penetrating, puzzling look—'I impossible to precisely translate, but expressive, in this also was desirous she should be away, in order that instance, of unbounded mystification and astonishment. at this decisive epoch in our lives we might be secure “Plait-il?' from interruption.'
Another explanatory word or two will be necessary You reason with judgment, with delicacy, made- before proceeding further with this confounding colloquy. moiselle, under all circumstances,' said I, hardly I had risen, as previously stated, and taken the soft knowing in truth what I did say, so much had the little hand of Mademoiselle Clémence in both mine. young woman's peculiar look disconcerted me. II continued so to hold it, and being a tall fellow recognised in it a world of tenderness and purity; benignly bending over a disconsolate damsel seated but, as it seemed to me, a compassionate tenderness, upon a French canapé or sofa, very low upon the feet,