Imágenes de páginas


"It is true, my dear, that men-servants do consent The advantages we have hitherto enjoyed exclusively to wear the badge of servitude; but would they are being largely shared in by others. There is no consent to do so if the practice had been until now longer a monopoly of education, nor a monopoly of that they should wear plain clothes ? I think not. communication, for example ; and we must keep our Your idea of putting female servants into a kind of position by extra exertion, if we keep it at all. The livery would certainly be quite impracticable.'

locomotive plunges through the land at forty miles an "Fifty years ago, female servants dressed quietly hour, and drags behind it both peer and peasant; the and becomingly at any rate, and that is what I would penny-stamp franks the letter of “ « Jeames

as well enforce now. Our grandmothers' maids didn't strive as that of " my lord;" and soon we may hope that a to imitate their mistresses.'

more or less liberal education will be within reach of all "They did not; that is, not to the extent well-paid but the lowest. We must progress ourselves, and not servants do now; but the cause of the change is plain attempt to keep down those beneath us, even in such enough. The class from which servants are drawn a thing as dress-an attempt which will certainly have acquired tastes and ideas very different from fail, and deservedly so. How should we of the middle those which satisfied them a generation or two back, class like to be told that we ought to confine our tastes and of course those tastes and ideas will shew them to the standard which prevailed in the middle class in selves even in domestic service. Education, imperfect the days of our grandfathers ?' and partial as it is, has certainly somewhat refined the 'I don't know, Charles, why you should call us of tastes of the lower classes, and the “ Betty" who would the middle class. You know that dear mamma's have been enraptured with a cherry-coloured cap rib- maternal grandmother was descended from a younger bon, has given place to the “Miss Elizabeth " who cuts branch of her dresses out by the prints in the Illustrated London I know all about that, my dear; indeed, your News. In short, as education advances, the tastes of mother takes care I shan't forget that fact, if I forget all classes will more nearly assimilate. The age is a everything else; but we are of the middle class, neverlevelling one ; but one in which, happily for all, the theless ; and a few years since, even so simple a luxury level is produced rather by raising the low, than by as muslin window.curtains was thought too good for pulling down the high.'

My grandmother's first pair of muslin curtains Really, Charles, I had no notion that you would were considered quite as absurd in one of her station run on so merely because I object to the width of as you consider Caroline's hoop is in hers.' Caroline's dresses ; but this, I suppose, is what you Nonsense, Charles. How you run on!' call treating the subject philosophically?'

'Run on, my love. I was never more serious in Certainly, my dear, I wish to discuss this question my life. My grandfather rented a large farm under a with you calmly and without prejudice. I am anxious wealthy peer; and on one of her excursions to the to convince you that your determined hostility to the market town, my grandmother purchased some muslin taste for dress which now exhibits itself in the class of window-curtains. My grandfather, good man, thought domestic servants, is unwise and inexpedient; and I they were almost too grand for such folk, but they am desirous that you should reconsider your deter- were forthwith put up in the best parlour-middle-class mination to part with a servant against whom, as you people had no “drawing-rooms" then-to the great freely declare, you have no other fault to allege than admiration of the whole house. Now, it chanced that this-if fault it be.'

“my lady," in taking her airing on horseback, rode past 'It certainly is a fault, Charles ; and if education my grandfather's farmhouse that very day, and being tends to awaken in the lower orders a taste for fine struck with astonishment at the sight of the white dressing, it seems to me that they won't gain much by drapery at the windows, at once galloped back to the it, and I am sure that we shall not.'

hall, and thus addressed her lord, who came forth, 'I can't agree with you there, Kate. Education, wondering at her sudden return: “Wail, my lord, undoubtedly, has this tendency in many ways, and the what do you think I've seen ? Haw! haw! why, result was not difficult to be foreseen. We must muslin curta-i-ns at Fawmer Bra-w-ns, my lord. expect that the refinements of manners and ideas con- Pawsitively! fawmers with muslin curta-i-ns. Haw! sequent on the spread of education, will shew itself haw! haw! It's almost as absurd as their asking last most distinctly in those things which commend themyear for bells-pawsitively.". selves most readily to ordinary minds, and which find Very funny indeed, Charles,' said my dear Kate, the most favourable soil prepared for them. It would with rather a forced laugh, as if not quite relishing the be most unphilosophical to expect that when refine- application of my anecdote; "and I suppose I ought to ment penetrates the masses, it will shew itself only in give up opposition to loops for my servants, and agree their virtues, and not in their vices. This would be to to'expect to create a class beneath us having all our good That's a good little Kitty,' said I. 'I knew you qualities, and none of our failings—a most chimerical were too reasonable a girl not to see the thing in a notion truly, and one arguing, in the person enter- proper light, when it was once set before you. Nobody taining it, great ignorance of human nature. Now, thinks muslin curtains a luxury only fit for the rich love of personal adornment is universal; and Caroline's and great now; and so it will be, nay, is, with the dress taste being more refined than that of her class half a of our female servants. All classes are now clothed century back, instead of buying a dress of a flaming much more alike-a change not without advantage pattern and half-a-dozen yards of blue ribbon, she even to the most elevated. When gentlefolks were aspires to petticoats as wide as her mistress's. If broadly distinguished from their inferiors by their that were the only evil inseparable from education, dress, they could afford to be coarse in manners and it would surely be but a very small drawback on its vulgar in mind. Now, they must be superior in order immense benefits.'

to look so. But I won't moralise any more; I think I "Well, Charles, & poor ignorant woman can't be have said enough to convince my dear Kate that she expected to be a match for such a philosopher as you has been somewhat hasty in her determination with pretend to be; but I do say that what with one thing regard to the dismissal of a servant who has no other and what with another, it seems to me, as dear mamma fault than a little natural love of dress.' says, that the world is turned upside down.'

* Upon my word,' replied my wife, 'you assume very "I presume, my dear, that your mamma means that coolly that you have the best of the argument; but other classes are treading on the heels of our class now, that you have done philosophising, I should like rather too closely. Well, there is no denying that we to ask you a question, to which must have a plain must go ahead ourselves, if we wish to keep ahead. I answer. We poor women, you know, can't argue a


bit, and always go round in a circle, as you call it; Short sleeves and low dresses,' said my wife so I will only ask you a plain question. Will you maliciously. answer it?'

Well-yes,' I replied, somewhat relieved even by "I'll do my best, my dear,' said I, as cheerfully as I such a suggestion as that, for I began to feel consicould; for I did not quite like the triumphant look derable embarrassment in defining the exact point at Kate had suddenly assumed, and I began to have some which I should consider the convenable to have been misgivings as to the security of my victory.

disregarded. “Yes, at short sleeves and low dresses, Now, then, Charles,' said my wife, you have as you say, or at anything of that kind.' proved entirely to your own satisfaction, if not exactly You will excuse my laughing, Charles'-and the to mine, that a taste for personal adornment being little minx did laugh most provokingly—but really it common to all my sex, it is neither just nor expedient is amusing to see the philosopher obliged to adopt a to oppose that taste, now that it shews itself so strongly plain common-sense view of this weighty matter, after in our household servants. I believe I have stated all. However, I don't complain. Why should I? We your argument fairly; have I not ?'

are getting nearer every minute. I agree to the word • You have put it very broadly, Kate; but that convenable, and it only remains for you to strike out most certainly is the substance of what I maintained. a few of the articles you include under that word, and Taking, you see, a philosophical view of

for me to admit-you see how reasonable I am-a few of my parlour-maid's dress,' interrupted Kate, to which I object; and we shall be able to come to laughing heartily, for she thought she was getting the some ground of common action.' better of me, we ought to say nothing about it. But My dear Kitty,' said I, 'you really would make an now for my question. You are, of course, quite pre- excellent man of business. Nothing can be fairer pared to carry out your own doctrine to its legitimate than your proposition; and precedent, perhaps, will consequences. Having come to a most philosophical be our safest guide as to what we ought to allow, and conclusion, you are prepared to abide by it. I ask what to forbid. What other people's servants wear, you, then—Will you permit your servants to indulge let ours wear.' their taste for dress to any extent they please; and No, Charles, I can't agree to that, and I wonder if not, why not? If not, why not? Tell me that, you should propose it. You must think me very Charles.'

stupid, for it is you that are arguing in a circle now. 'My dear,' I began, 'I don't—that is, if I am I maintain that certain articles of dress are not proper to'

for my servants to wear, and thereupon you protest 'No, Charles, no ifs, if you please. As you remarked that they are proper, because the same things are just now, let us be precise in our language, or we shall worn by others in the same rank of life. No, no. It talk till midnight without getting any further. I have is easy to find a precedent for anything, however disasked a plain question, and I want a plain answer to gusting. Didn't your brother tell us the other day, it. Why do you hesitate to give it me?'

that in the far west of America the servants at the 'But, my love'

inns waited on him with bare arms, and low, very No buts, Charles; I want neither ifs nor buts. I low dresses ? What others do, therefore, will be no want you to tell me where you would stop, and why guide for me. We ought to decide on principle, you would stop, without any ifs or buts whatever. Charles, not on precedent.' Surely a philosopher cannot be at a loss to answer a 'My dear girl," said I, in a mild way-for I perceived poor simpleton like me.'

that I should have to make very important concessions Why, my dear, you will admit that the best rules

-I must own, that, in the heat of argument, I have of conduct may be pushed to absurd extremities; and not been careful to limit the principle for which I when I said that servants should not be scolded because have contended within practical bounds. No doubt they indulge in a taste common to all womankind, of there is a point at which we should be justified in course I did not mean that their taste should be carried remonstrating with a servant who indulged a taste to an outrageous excess. In that case, I should remon- for dress; but you cannot deny that mistresses are strate kindly with the offender on the impropriety of apt to be somewhat unreasonably severe. If, thereher conduct.'

fore, I am prepared to concede the existence of a Impropriety! Gracious me, Charles, why, you point, dividing that which is, from that which is not, seem to have come quite round to my side of the convenable in the dress of our female servants, you question. At last, then, even you will admit that must be prepared to allow of a wider latitude to there is a point beyond which a servant cannot be Caroline and her class than you have hitherto consuffered to indulge a love of dress. You see, I am sented to do. I have taken what may be called the not so illogical and absurd, after all, and have already philosophical view of a by no means unimportant reduced the question between us to one of degree. question, and you have regarded it from what may Pray, now, at what point will the philosopher stop? be said to be the practical side of it. But is there Your point is not at skirts eight-breadths wide-at not some truth in both ? Between—I won't say the jackets, at tucks, at flounces - dear mamma hates short sleeves and low bodies of the “helps” in Wisconsin those flounces !— at smart little caps, at lace sleeves, -but between very dressy dressing, and the notions at silks, at muslins, at parasols'

of your mother, there is a very wide range; and 'For Heaven's sake, my love!' cried I, don't talk so surely it will never be difficult for a mistress, possessfast; you fairly take away my breath. Do let me get ing only half as much kindly feeling and good sense a word in edgewise.'

as you do, to find the means, without giving offence, . No, Charles—not a word till you tell me wliere of keeping a good servant within the bounds of you will stop. What do you consider going too moderation.' far?'

But, Charles,' said my wife, when I had concluded Well, my dear,' said I desperately, 'I would stop what I Aattered myself was a speech calculated, by its when the dress is not-I must use a French word, i moderation and the little compliments it contained, to can't think of any English word which will express my bring me respectably, if not triumphantly out of the meaning so accurately-when, then, the dress is not contest; 'but, Charles dear, what do you say to that convenable. Yes, that's the word. When a servant's creat- to Caroline's hoop ?' dress does not appear to me to be convenable, I should Now, really, my good Kate, you are enough to interpose with my authority, not before. For example, provoke a saint. I thought the hoop-question was I should interpose at -e, at —e-e-e. Dear me, how amicably settled at any rate.' very absurd I am-at-e-e.'

Perhaps it is, my dear,' replied Kate with pro




voking sang-froid. “But in that case, you consent to with the utility of this arrangement to man; since put the obnoxious article into our common index without limestone, the iron manufacture would probexpurgatorius.'

ably come to a stand-still, because to extract and melt Consent! Not I, indeed. Why, all my argument the iron-ore--which is usually found in veins parallel went to shew that such trifles ought not to be inter to the coal-a flux or mixture is needed, composed of fered with.'

the ore, coal (or coke), and limestone. 'I know it did, Charles; but to my mind it didn't The millstone grit is of the least commercial conseshew anything of the kind; and as dear mamma quence in the whole series. It generally consists of

a very hard gritty stone, filled with quartz pebbles, Oh con'

and is looked on with a good deal of disgust, both by Charles !'

the colliers below ground and the farmers above

ground-the former, because they know that when MY EXTINCT GARDEN.

they arrive at it, they will get no more coal; and the

latter, because the sterile character of the stone seems I LIVE a thousand feet above the sea, perched up on to communicate a similar effect to the soil above, a hill, shut in on every side by dark mountains and which, as a general rule, only supports a dry, heathery dreary moors, the prevailing aspect of which is pasturage for sheep. In the north of England espedecidedly black. Black roads, black houses, black cially, there are large districts composed of millstone faces shew pretty plainly what a black inside the grit-in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Northumberland, as world has. Being fond of gardening, I determined to may be seen on reference to the colouring of a geological have such a garden as should outshine all the sur-map. In the South Wales basin, the thickness averages rounding blackness; but after a desperate contest with about 200 feet, and it goes by the expressive name the wind and weather, I gave it up in despair. The of Farewell Rock, indicating to the colliers that they frost killed the rhododendra, while the east wind have come to the end of their tether; though, as there nipped the roses ; so I turfed up my beds, and sulkily are exceptions to every rule, there are sometimes thin took to planting potatoes instead; when a happy beds, called, in Wales, Rosser reins, found interspersed accident diverted my horticultural exertions into a in the grit. Finally, above these groups, we arrive at new channel, and with better effect. My new garden the coal-measures, which are of very variable thickness; had some decided advantages over the old one. It is in the vale of Neath, no less than 8000 feet; although unchanged by weather; summer's heat and winter's this calculation must not be understood to mean the snow have no effect on its contents; and yet, strange amount of thickness of coal only, but is inclusive of to say, at Kew or the Crystal Palace, they require the the beds of sandstone and shale which intervene. most careful tending and the most uniform tempera- The coal-measures are again subdivided into the ture. My garden is not so neatly kept as some tidy upper and lower groups by a thick set of beds, called people might like, but yet there is order amidst the the Pennant grit, a coarse sandstone, filled with carrubbish. Instead of walks neatly gravelled and turf- bonaceous specks, and much used for roofing purposes. trimmed, we use iron rails, and in lieu of spades and Amongst these grits are some coal-beds, in most places such-like tools, ponderous pickaxes and shovels; yet scarcely worth the working; in the neighbourhood notwithstanding these formidable weapons, and the of Swansea, however, they assume a more important stalwart appearance of my numerous gardeners, the character, being 2125 feet in thickness, and possessing flowers themselves are of the most delicate description; a dozen valuable seams. The South Wales coaleven so fine as to require the aid of a microscope to measures all belong to the lower group; hence, develop their minuter characters. What is, then, the throughout the district, long ridges of Pennant grit real state of affairs? In the number of Chambers's are seen running from north to south, towards the Journal for April is an interesting paper, 'A Day Bristol Channel, dividing the country into narrow with the Woolhope Field-club. Now, such a garden parallel valleys, which teem with their hundreds and as mine comes most particularly under the notice of thousands of population, brought hither by the riches both botanists and geologists of a naturalist's club, beneath. 80 I will describe as briefly as I can a most inter- As regards my garden, then, we will dismiss the esting spot in the earth's past life, without, I hope, upper coal-measures, which are principally to be seen tiring the reader's patience overmuch with geological in the north of England. The number and thickness technicalities.

of the workable seams differ in many parts of the basin, Low down, then, in the earth's crust, we arrive ranging in number from ten to twenty, and in thickat the carboniferous formation, whose hidden trea-ness from 2 to 8 feet. The same seam of coal, too, sures have contributed so materially to England's will be of varying thickness at different works : thus, greatness. The reader may learn from the paper to the Bydellog vein is, at Beaufort, in Monmouthshire, which I have referred, that it is divided into three 3 feet thick; at Ebbwvale, 3 feet 9 inches; at Nantyglo, important groups of strata, of which the lowest-4 feet; at Clydach, 2 feet 3 inches; at Blaina, 5 feet that of the mountain limestone, with its numerous 6 inches; and at Cwm-telery, 5 feet. The seams are characteristic shells and corals-is succeeded by the separated from each other by layers of shale, iron-ore, millstone grit, which is rather barren as regards or hard rock, also of different degrees of thickness, fossils—although some are to be found—and the latter, which are all gifted with some familiar name, according in its turn, is overlaid by the coal-measures. The way to the locality. Finally, access may be had to the in which these respective divisions lie in or upon one different seams vertically or horizontally-by pit or another, may be exemplified by three basins, placed level. Everybody knows what a pit or shaft is; but a inside each other, each of which is smaller than the level is not so common. When a country is very hilly, one beneath it, and therefore allowing a belt or rim a way can be pierced through the hill to reach the of the lower one to be visible. These groups are of seam of coal, which has the advantage of not requiring variable thickness, but always preserve their relative the costly apparatus of shaft, engines, or pumpingpositions. Thus, though one or both may be absent, gear, and which, in fact, is nothing more than a long yet the grit is never found above the coal, or the tunnel. Hundreds of miles are thus scooped out in limestone above the grit; and, as an example of this level, making an easy and inexpensive way of reaching absence, we may mention the Dudley coal-field in the coal. But when a vein runs very near the surface, Staffordshire, where the coal-measures rest imme- as, for instance, round the shoulder of a hill-then diately upon limestone of a Silurian character. As the coal and iron-ore are reached from the surface in everything else of nature's handiwork, we are struck | the rock is excavated, leaving, as the work goes on,


precipitous escarpments, from which the ore, or, as shaped ; and many, many others, which it would be they are generally called, “balls of mine,' are extracted; tedious for the general reader to enumerate. The while lower still, the collier is hewing away at the coal, perfect preservation of this ancient flora could not a sort of work which is called patch-working. Here fail to interest the observer, whether geologically is then a fine opportunity for the geologist to see, by inclined or not. the light of heaven, how the strata run; and here Before we close this subject, let us take a glance it was in the highest seam, called the Ellid Vein at the state of the earth in which they flourished. - that I found my garden.

We behold, in our mind's eye, huge forests, growing The coal - measures have long been favourably in rank luxuriance under a tropical atmosphere. known to geologists for the abundance and beauty of Every tree strikes us as being vast in size and strange the fossils contained in them; indeed, as early as in form. We see strange and wondrous forms of fish 1697, we hear of a geological Welshman, Llwyd by peopling the waters which surround this primeval name, who made an excursion into Breconshire, and jungle; almost the only signs of animal life visible remarked on the singular construction of the levels, the mailed holoptychius, the fine-toothed cælacanwherebie two horsemen could ride abreaste;' but thus, and the huge megalichthys. But a change at what puzzled him most was meeting with a large length takes place. There is a fearful convulsion of mass of shale, fluted regularly, and marked all over nature, the consequence of which is a subsidence of with little pits or depressions. He referred to what the forest, which is covered by the waters of a fresh sea. is now called a stigmaria, a fossil which has only Ages roll on, and a new forest takes its place, and of late years found its proper place in natural history. flourishes like its predecessor, only to be engulfed in Every seam of coal may be seen to possess three its turn. This goes on until a new geological system distinct divisions; of which the uppermost, the roof, arrives, and the world puts on a new aspect, with new is a mass of slaty clay or shale, often the most prolific inhabitants, both animal and vegetable. The result of portion as regards vegetable remains in good preser- these repeated subsidences is, that each fresh forest vation; in the middle is the veritable coal, which in has been compressed by an enormous weight, and at itself is nothing less than the carbonised remains of an enormous heat, causing the carbonisation of all its trees and plants, of which only the external structure contents, and giving us in after-ages a seam of coal remains. Lastly, underneath it all is a stratum of for every time the process was repeated. thick clay, technically termed 'underclay,' which is invariably present in a true coal-seam, and always contains the stigmariæ, which are the roots and bases

KIRKE WEB BE, of the gigantic trees which afterwards composed the

THE PRIVATEER CAPTAIN. coal. Many of these trees have been found in situ, in Lancashire, Derbyshire, and Northumberland, where, within half á mile, twenty upright stems were dis- Passion had not entirely swamped the slight stock of covered on the coast, proving in reality their vegetable nature, and that the underclay was the soil in which common-sense I was possessed of; and restraining they grew.

myself by a strong effort from forthwith denouncing The number of species of coal-plants is about a Webbe's treacherous villainy to his face, I hurried off thousand, of which the greater part belong to the fern to bed, there to reflect quietly upon the course I ought class. Of this number, about two hundred have been to adopt. But quiet reflection was no more possible found in Great Britain; and, singularly enough, species than sleep, till the wordless rage of mortified self-love, identical with these have been discovered in America, aggravated by the savage consciousness of what an Australia, and Greenland ; shewing how great a change egregious booby my own absurd conceit had helped to has taken place in the temperature of these regions make me, had in some degree exhausted itself

, partly, since the carboniferous epoch. From the slabs of shale, which lie about in my garden in such utter as I remember, by furiously punching the pillows, confusion, I have obtained above fifty different forms as imaginary substitutes for the privateer captain's of fruit, flower, and fern, of the utmost delicacy head, and, but less frequently and fiercely, that of M. of form. Most abundantly appear the sigillaria, Sicard. • As easily led by the nose as asses are,' was carved in such regular and quaint •rows, each little I! Why, ay, hitherto; but not quite so easily for the depression marking the place from whence fell off the future, he shall find, now that I thoroughly know the petiole or leaf-stalk. These are the trees of which the stigmariæ, before mentioned, are considered to be the gentleman who fancies he has got that prominent roots, and of which I have five or six varieties—the feature of mine so securely betwixt his finger and oculata, or eyed sigillaria, the reniform or kidney- thumb. It strikes me very forcibly, noble captain, shaped, the tesselated, and others, named according do you know, that, clever and cunning as you are, to the notions of the discoverers. Next comes the and close upon the winning-post as you and that lepidodendron, or scaled tree, a gigantic member of Jezebel Féron believe yourselves to be, it will not be the lycopodiaceæ or club-moss family, which reached impossible to trip up the heels of both, for all that's the height of sixty feet or more, gradually diminishing, come and gone yet. Very far from impossible; though until it finished off with a small tuft or plume. If well examined, each of the innumerable lozenge-shaped assuredly whoever would successfully contend with hieroglyphics will be seen to be full of a yet more such wily, practised devils, should maturely meditate delicate sculpture. Associated with these are num- his plan of battle. bers of cones or lepidostrobi, the fruits of the lepido I anxiously sought to do so. One considerable dendron. Very frequent also are the calamites, or advantage that partially overheard conference certainly reed-plants, allied to the marestail, which, unlike the gave me: I now knew that Webbe and the woman degenerate reeds of the present day, were upwards of Féron were not only confederate with each other in 40 feet high, and 3 feet thick. “There were giants the abduction of Mrs Waller's child, but sworn accomin those days. More numerous than all these are the specimens of the fern tribe, of which there are plices in the scheme which was 'to utilise' that 150 species known, not one of them identical with atrocious deed. I was no longer in the dark, then, as existing ferns. The neuropteris, with its finely veined to the sinister complicity of the privateer captain with leaves; the delicate sphenopteris, or wedge-shaped the pretended mother of Clémence; and I comprefern; the pecopteris ; the glossopteris, or tongue hended that, whilst playing into each other's hands

up to a certain point, they had individually a separate was bound to keep in view; and if that could only be game to bring to a triumphant issue. * Remember, gained by forwarding a mésalliance between Lucy Webbe, that you cannot play your own game out Hamblin and Jacques Sicard, the distasteful condition

Sicard bore & fair successfully without first winning mine. This marriage must e'en be complied with. first, or, by all that's sacred or infernal — quoth character. Mrs Waller's daughter did not need to

marry a rich husband, and the young people were the woman, the unspoken threat evidently implying strongly attached to each other : '80 that, positively, that she would at all hazards mar his particular unless all novel-writers were arrant block heads-a project, should he prove false to her. Yes, but what notion not to be entertained for a moment-I should could be the particular project contemplated by be doing a highly meritorious act in assisting to legally Webbe, to which my marriage with Clémence was the unite two loving, ardent hearts, which must else be enforced, indispensable preliminary? There I was at cruelly sundered—broken, perhaps, who knew! Still, sea again, without rudder or compass. The obtain in deference to an absurd social prejudice which i ment of the reward promised by my mother, and bootmaker should, I re-determined, be the last bait

could not quite away with, the bonne bouche of the largely augmented as well as guaranteed by Mrs with which I would tempt the timid maiden to break Linwood! What else could it be? But how, on the the strong fetters of habitual fear and subjection, and other hand, would that marriage, simply because I boldly seize the fortunate opportunity, which missed, should be tolerably rich, 'utilise' her crime to the might never again court her acceptance. woman-conspirator's so complete satisfaction ? She A good plot-an excellent plot; one that, unless might, it was true, count safely enough that in that case I blundered grossly, could hardly fail of success; the affection, mingled with fear, with which she had and who then would have been led by the nose ? — inspired the stolen child, would stand between her and the private marriage, bridegroom personally unknown

William Linwood or the valiant captain who arranged the legal vengeance of the Linwoods; but that, it was to the retained priest, settled the scheme of flight, and now apparent, she had boldly challenged by disclosing, kept Baptiste in readiness to ferry over the happy through Webbe, the secret of her pretended daughter's pair to the British shore and safety! birth. The realisation of the reward, which there Really, for a while, I could scarcely credit my own could be no doubt she would share, was again the only cleverness in devising so glorious a turning of the rational solution I could arrive at; and tiring at tables —80 delicious a hoist of the engineer with his length of a barren cogitation in which I only slipped own petard ! Modest misgivings as to the perfect from one untenable hypothesis to another, I bent my

soundness of my calculations did not long disturb

or keep me wake; and after a comfortable snooze, I mind to the elaboration of a counter-plot, which, if leaped out of bed'in a state of entire self-satisfaction, carried out successfully, would effectually confound and with a confidence in my own sagacity as cool and their knavish tricks, of whatever nature or design clear as the bright wintry morning streaming in broad those tricks might be.

daylight through the chamber-windows. I must make a confidante of Clémence, to begin with.

If Vanity, o paradise of fools, so frequently leads She would, of course, have already comprehended that, domain, it not the less delights to plunge them,

otherwise sufficiently sensible men into thy dreamafter her impassioned apostrophe, in my hearing, to the while they sleep, into the real and fatalest quagmires wounded bootmaker, marriage with me, were she still which lurk beneath thy cloud-like, illusive surface! As herself disposed to acquiesce in that dreadful martyr- thus with me: dom, was quite out of the question. Then Madame de My haste in dressing was arrested by the discovery, Bonneville's conversation with Webbe would prove to that the puce-red redingote and blue silk vest were her that that lady was on the verge of ruin, only to irretrievably ruined by large patches of lamp-oil. In be averted by that impossible marriage, or, as I should whirling the lamp round my head on the previous put it, by her, Clémence's

, flight with me to England, evening, I had managed to plentifully besprinkle those under the protection of some respectable female, again was impossible. I was consequently obliged to

garments with the inodorous liquid, and to wear them whose services a handsome douceur would easily secure, have recourse to my original wardrobe; and as the taking with us the necklace, armlets, and other pièces pale-blue pants contrasted abominably with a decent d'accusation; I, on my part, solemnly pledging myself English black coat and waistcoat, they also were for Mrs Waller and my father, that not only no legal exchanged for less gay integuments. The transforprosecution of Madame de Bonneville should be insti- mation thus effected in my personality mightily tuted, but that half the reward, at least, promised to pleased me; and necessity having compelled me to so Webbe should be given to her upon the simple con

far cast off the piebald costume of the Pas de Calais,

and as I was, besides, to leave France in a day or dition, that she made a formal declaration, upon oath, two at furthest, it seemed to me that I might e'en of all the circumstances attending the carrying off the venture to complete the operation. I did so: discarded child Lucy Hamblin. I could further represent that if the atrocious ear-rings, and not without considerable she, Clémence, should remain obstinately constant to labour and expenditure of soap and water, disthe cordwainer, the Wallers might, possibly, be brought Brutusised my hair. The change was really marvel. to acquiesce in her wishes ; whereas it was plain that lous: I was myself again; and having always piqued Madame de Bonneville would, for obvious reasons, re- myself, upon being a well-dressed young fellow, the main inexorably adverse to such a connection. Finally, tion as I surveyed myself to as great an extent as

thought flashed through me with a glow of exultaI resolved that, should all other inducements fail in possible in the diminutive dressing-glass, that Madedetermining Clémence to take wing at once from moiselle Clémence would now see to somewhat better France, I would propose that she and Sicard should advantage the individual, to accept whom as be forthwith united in the holy bonds of wedlock, husband had involved, on her part, so distressing a and that he should accompany us to England. Í sacrifice. There was certainly no accounting for taste; would not, however, have recourse to that temptation still, as between me and that bullet-headed bootmaker, except in the last resort, and after all less potent there could, I flattered myself, be nopersuasives had been tried and failed. The rescue of Quick footsteps outside, and a sharp knocking at the my father's name from ignominy was the great end I chamber-door, suddenly challenged my attention to an


« AnteriorContinuar »