Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 750, May 11,

 

CHAMBERS’S JOURNAL
OF
POPULAR
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.

CONTENTS

A VOYAGE IN THE SUNBEAM.
HELENA, LADY HARROGATE.
WORK IN THE LONDON DOCKS.
PRETTY MRS OGILVIE.
BURNABY’S RIDE IN TURKEY.
WEDDING EXTRAVAGANCES.
CANINE CUNNING.
IN MEMORIAM.



No. 750.

Price 1½d.

SATURDAY, MAY 11, 1878.


A VOYAGE IN THE SUNBEAM.

We have not for a long time perused a more lively and interesting book than that written by Mrs Brassey, purporting to be an account of her voyage round the world, in the yacht named the Sunbeam. The lady was accompanied by her husband, Mr Thomas Brassey, M.P., also her children and a few private friends. The yacht, a handsomely fitted up and commodious vessel, possessed three masts, and had a powerful sailing capacity, but was provided with a screw and steam-power, to be used as occasion required.

Though laying no claim to literary skill, Mrs Brassey writes pleasingly in the form of a diary; and she may be complimented on her untiring energy in bearing fatigue, and the good taste with which she describes the multiplicity of scenes and circumstances calling for observation. Mr Brassey, usually called Tom in the narrative, was his own navigator, which infers no small degree of nautical knowledge; and we are led to believe that this was not his first expedition with the Sunbeam. He was, of course, assisted by a sailing-master, a boatswain, and engineer, besides a crew of at least twenty able-bodied seamen; the full compliment being made up by a steward and stewardess, cooks, nurse, lady’s-maid, and other domestics.

One can fancy the pleasurable excitement in preparing for a year’s voyage of this kind, the arrangements to be made, the articles to be taken; the hopes probably predominating over the fears, the farewells on going on board. It is the fate of few to have so splendid a chance of making a tour of the globe, carrying from clime to clime not a few of the comforts of home—an elegant saloon for daily resort, a library of seven hundred volumes for amusing reading, nicely fitted-up cabins, baths, a first-rate cuisine and larder, everything else to make life pass away agreeably; letters of introduction, abundant means, liberty to sail where and when you like. What more could anybody desire? Such is yacht-life. It was brought to perfection in the Sunbeam. Looking to the elegant form of the vessel, and the large quantity of sail she carried, we can form an idea of her great speed when running before a favourable wind. The only drawback, it can be supposed, was the small draught of water, about nine feet, wherefore in rough weather there must have been a considerable tumbling about. However, that is what will be expected in yachting, which differs materially from performing a voyage in large sea-going ships.

The Sunbeam, sailing from the Thames, set out on the 1st July 1876, and steering westward by the Isle of Wight, suffered some rough weather in getting into the Atlantic. On the 13th there was a cry of a ‘sail on the port-beam;’ but on investigation it proved to be an abandoned vessel tossed about on the ocean, with masts gone, and the sea washing over the half-broken-up deck. This unfortunate derelict was visited; it had been laden with wine, of which several casks were carried away, and then it was left to its fate; though, had time permitted to take the hulk into port, a considerable salvage might have been realised. The party were beginning to settle down. At meals there was much pleasant talk; Mrs Brassey read and wrote a good deal, and learned Spanish; one of the gentlemen taught the children, and the commissariat department was satisfactory. The land first reached was Madeira. At Funchal, the vessel dropped anchor; and with jaunting about to see the island, there was a stay of several days. Many friends came on board before departure, and ‘all admired the yacht very much, particularly the various cosy corners in the deck-house.’

On the 20th July, off for the Canary Islands; and these being reached, there was an expedition on horseback to the Peak of Teneriffe. Tremendous as was the ascent of a mountain which rises eleven thousand four hundred and sixty-six feet above the level of the sea, Mrs Brassey did not shrink from the undertaking. She, however, did not attempt to climb the cone of five hundred and thirty feet, composed as it is of hot ashes, into which the feet sink at every step, while sulphurous vapours pour from the various fissures. View from the summit magnificent. Of the picturesque{290} scenery drawings and photographs were taken. Teneriffe being exhausted, off went the Sunbeam, still holding in a southerly direction by the Cape de Verde Islands.

Rio de Janeiro, on the coast of South America, was reached on the 18th August. A graphic account is given of excursions in Brazil. The eye everywhere was struck with the brilliant colours of the humming-birds, flowers, and butterflies. Palm, orange, lemon, and citron trees were among the common objects of vegetation. A variation in the general amusement consisted of a voyage up the River Plate and a journey on the Pampas. Splendid country, and well farmed, but under what an infliction—the locusts. Of these terrible creatures Mrs Brassey heard a good deal, and she longed to see them, and her wish was gratified. She says: ‘In the course of our ride we saw in the distant sky what looked very much like a heavy purple thunder-cloud, but which the experienced pronounced to be a swarm of locusts. It seemed impossible; but as we proceeded they met us, first singly, and then in gradually increasing numbers, until each step became positively painful, owing to the smart blows we received from them on our heads, faces, and hands…. As the locusts passed between us and the sun they completely obscured the light; a little later, with the sun’s rays shining directly on their wings, they looked like a golden cloud, such as one sometimes sees in the transformation scene in a pantomime.’ We pass over much that is described in the Argentine Republic, as of little or no interest in this country.

The Sunbeam set off in its course southwards on September 28th. While lying down to rest after breakfast, Mrs Brassey was summoned to come on deck to see a ship which had signalled being on fire. A boat being despatched to discover the condition of affairs, the vessel was found to be the Monkshaven, sixty days out from Swansea, bound for Valparaiso with a cargo of smelting-coal, which had taken fire by the spontaneous ignition of gases. As it was evident that the unfortunate ship could not be saved, prompt assistance was given in bringing the crew on board the Sunbeam. ‘The poor fellows,’ says Mrs Brassey, ‘were almost wild with joy at getting alongside another ship, after all the hardships they had gone through, and in their excitement they threw overboard many things which they might as well have kept, as they had taken the trouble to bring them. Our boat made three trips altogether; and by half-past six we had them all safe on board, with most of their effects, and the ship’s chronometers, charts, and papers…. While we were at dinner the ship was blazing like a tar-barrel.’ The last time the Monkshaven was seen, she was burned down nearly to the water’s edge. From the information given respecting the ill-fated ship, it was learned that a large American steamer had passed quite close to her, and disregarding signals of distress, had steamed away southward, leaving all on board to their fate. The kind attention shewn by Mr Brassey comes strongly out in contrast with such heartless conduct. The unexpected addition of the crew of the Monkshaven to those on board the Sunbeam proved a trial on the commissariat, but the difficulty was overcome. The inconvenience was fortunately for only a few days. The Ilimani, one of the Pacific Company’s mail-steamers, came in sight on the route for England, and to this vessel the crew of the Monkshaven were consigned. Besides affording this relief, ‘the captain of the Ilimani kindly gave us half a bullock, killed this morning, a dozen live ducks and chickens, and the latest newspapers.’

On the 6th October, the Sunbeam was off the coast of Patagonia; the rugged mountains of Tierra del Fuego rose on the sky, and now the yacht shaped its course for the Straits of Magellan. To get through these tortuous narrows is reckoned one of the clever feats in navigation. There are many sunken rocks to be avoided, and the natives scattered about the coast are not to be relied on. The scenery, which is described as singularly picturesque, is well represented in some beautiful illustrations.

The narrow channels were got through on the 12th October; the sun pierced through the clouds, and the broad Pacific was in view. What a triumph in navigation to have piloted ‘the yacht through the Straits, for it would do credit, not only to any amateur, but to a professional seaman.’ Sails were hoisted; and now begins what we deem to be the most amusing part of the work; for after touching at Valparaiso, the voyaging was among the groups of islands which, dotting the Pacific, lie basking in the profuse beauty of the tropics. Valparaiso, the most important trading town of Chili, left some agreeable impressions. Several English gentlemen were solicitous that the party should stay for a few days; and there were excursions in the neighbourhood. An emporium of Panama hats was visited. These hats are a curiosity, and are worn by almost everybody on the coast. They are made of ‘a special kind of grass, split very fine,’ and are sold at an extraordinary price; fifty to sixty guineas being not an unusual price for a single hat, though some are sold at a cheaper rate. Their recommendation is that they are light, pliable, and so enduring that they will almost last for ever. Very wonderful hats, as Mrs Brassey thinks, but gravely adds, that where ‘so many hats are lost overboard, they would prove rather an unprofitable investment.’ Some curious details are given respecting the abundance of eggs, which are offered in profusion at meals. Eggs on all occasions are the order of the day, and poultry in superlative abundance. Valparaiso, in short, is the paradise of eggs. It is stated that there are good shops, but everything is ‘frightfully dear.’ We can at all events say that there is a considerable import of English books and periodicals.

The route adopted from Valparaiso was westward to the Society Islands, lying in nearly the twentieth degree of south latitude. They may be said to be at the very middle of the Pacific, and out of the way of general navigation. It was a charming sail, but rather slow work; and looking to the great stretch of ocean to be traversed, there were qualms of feeling as to how provisions and water would last—fear that there will have to be a dependence on potted meats; and talking of these meats, we are assured that none at all equal those of American preparation. Slipping on at the rate of five miles an hour under sail, but sometimes accelerated by a breeze, the Sunbeam went onward night and day with nothing to look at but the ocean and sky. Much time was spent in reading, and there was some amusement{291} in noticing the paroquets, monkeys, and other pet animals that had been domesticated on board. On Sundays, as was customary throughout, all hands were summoned for Divine service, just as at home in England. The length of the service depended on the weather. When circumstances permitted, Mr Brassey read a sermon in addition to the usual prayers. One likes to read of these continued acknowledgments of Divine care by a whole ship’s company, amidst the perils of the deep.

The Society Islands were reached on the 26th November. For the very interesting account of these islands we must refer to what is described by Mrs Brassey. But for the rise of coral reefs, these islands would scarcely have an existence. This is one of the wonders of nature. Our authoress is at a loss to describe the beauty of the scene. ‘Submarine coral forests of every colour, studded with sea-flowers, anemones, and echinidæ, of a brilliancy only to be seen in dreamland; shoals of the brightest and swiftest fish darting and flashing in and out; shells, every one of which was fit to hold the place of honour in a conchologist’s collection, moving slowly along with their living inmates: this is what we saw when we looked down from the side of the boat into the depths below.’ On landing at one of the islands, the party were hospitably received by the natives. Piles of cocoa-nuts, fish, and fowls were laid down as presents at their feet. From the cocoa-nuts they were refreshed by a drink of cool milk offered for their acceptance. For these gifts there was a proper requital. Mrs Brassey says: ‘The women were gentle and kind, and were delighted with some beads, looking-glasses, and knives I gave them; in return for which they brought us quantities of beautiful shells.’ At the island of Tahiti there was a similar exchange of courtesies. Papiette is described as quite a town, with a market affording an immense choice of articles for sale.

The pleasures of a tropical clime are unfortunately apt to be marred by certain torments. During the rainy season, water falls in solid masses which no temporary shelter can withstand; that, however, is nothing in comparison with the invasion of insects. A small party which set out in an American wagon for a drive of two days round Tahiti, passed the night at an inn where the insect pest was experienced in an unmistakable way. The rooms were swarming with cockroaches ‘about three inches long’, which climbed the walls and were seen in every crevice. ‘Then there were the mosquitoes, who hummed and buzzed about us, and with whom, alas! we were doomed to have a closer acquaintance. Our bed was fitted with the very thickest calico mosquito curtains, impervious to the air, but not to the venomous little insects, who found their way through every tiny opening in spite of all our efforts to exclude them…. Amidst suffocating heat, in the moonlight, were seen columns of nasty brown cockroaches ascending the bed-posts, crawling along the top of the curtains, dropping with a thud on the bed, and then descending over the side to the ground.’ Being unable to stand it any longer, Mrs Brassey rose, emptied her slippers of the cockroaches, seized on her garments, and fled to the garden; whence, however, she was driven back by torrents of rain. Such is a picture of certain inconveniences in these tropical islands. Prodigious beauty of vegetation, flowers magnificent, all seemingly a kind of paradise—but the plague of insects.

Making a run northwards, the Sunbeam reached Hawaii, one of the Sandwich Islands, on the 22d December. Here was the same profusion and beauty of flowers. The women and girls are described as being gaily decorated with wreaths and garlands, and wearing a dress of a very simple yet not inelegant fashion, consisting of ‘a coloured long-sleeved loose gown reaching to the feet’—no tying at the waist, all flowing and free, with no restraint in walking or sitting down. Our space does not permit us to follow the movements of the party in their excursions through interesting scenery. Hawaii, like all the other islands in the group, is of volcanic origin. Kilauea, which is still raging, is reckoned to be the largest volcano in the world, for its crater is nine miles in circumference. This extraordinary volcano, situated at the top of a mountain six thousand feet above the level of the sea, was visited by Mrs Brassey, although the journey to it is fatiguing, and the approach to it is attended with some peril. There happens to be a comfortable inn near the brink of the crater, at which travellers are accommodated and are furnished with guides to conduct them with safety to points of interest.

According to Mrs Brassey’s account, the scene was horribly grand. ‘We were standing on the extreme edge of a precipice, overhanging a lake of molten fire, a hundred feet below us, and nearly a mile across. Dashing against the cliffs on the opposite side, with a noise like the roar of a stormy ocean, waves of blood-red, fiery, liquid lava hurled their billows upon an iron-bound headland, and then rushed up the face of the cliffs to toss their gory spray high in the air. The restless heaving lake boiled and bubbled, never remaining the same for two minutes together…. There was an island on one side of the lake, which the fiery waves seemed to attack unceasingly with relentless fury, as if bent on hurling it from its base. On the other side was a large cavern, into which the burning mass rushed with a loud roar, breaking down in its impetuous headlong career the gigantic stalactites that overhung the mouth of the cave, and flinging up the liquid material for the formation of new ones. It was all terribly grand, magnificently sublime; but no words could adequately describe such a scene.’

Perhaps the specimens now presented will incline readers to undertake a thorough perusal of this unique and interesting work, which (published by Longman) we doubt not will be found at all the libraries. The route homewards of the Sunbeam from Hawaii was by way of Japan, the China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, Ceylon, the Bay of Bengal, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean, about all which there are many amusing details. As regards the traffic on the Suez Canal, the gratifying fact is mentioned, that on the day the Sunbeam entered the Canal, the sum of six thousand pounds was taken as dues at the Suez office alone. The climate of the Mediterranean, which we are in the habit of extolling as beneficial to invalids from northern countries, suited badly, as we are told, with the delicate constitution of the pet animals brought{292} from the South Pacific and other warm regions. Although tended with great care, several pined and died, from the effects of acute bronchitis or other ailments, after passing Malta. All these victims to a change of climate ‘were placed together in a neat little box, and committed to the deep at sunset, a few tears being shed over the departed pets, especially by the children.’

Mrs Brassey with her family and friends reached home—a palatial mansion on the south coast of England, near Hastings—on the morning of the 27th May 1877. In the whole voyage round the world, no hitch nor any misadventure had occurred. We can imagine that the expedition will have left an agreeable topic of conversation for life, and that its surprising success will inspire others equally qualified to follow the brilliant example offered by ‘A Voyage in the Sunbeam.’

HELENA, LADY HARROGATE.
CHAPTER XXV.—AT THE PHEASANTRY.
‘I have letters to write—one to the Lord-lieutenant in particular, on county business,’ said the Earl, smiling, and addressing himself to Captain Denzil; ‘otherwise I daresay that I too should have been able to find something worth the showing you out of doors. As it is, you young people must go without me.’

Jasper, who had a lazy man’s horror of improved implements, Dutch dairies, new patent draining-tiles, and cattle-food, and who knew the Earl’s passion for farming, felt inwardly grateful to the Lord-lieutenant for detaining his noble host within doors. The Countess had not the slightest intention of accompanying her guests in their visit to the pheasantry. Except in a carriage, or in dry weather among the well-rolled paths of the rose-garden, Lady Wolverhampton scarcely ever left the house. Her age, though she looked younger, was within a year or two of that of her lord, and he was by far the stronger of the two. Indeed it was mainly due to her declining health and growing incapacity for exertion that the High Tor family had for this year foregone what most persons of their rank regard less as a pleasure than as a duty, the passing of at least a portion of the season in London.

The party from Carbery Chase had been very cordially received. People can afford yet to cultivate the old-fashioned quality of cordiality in rural retirement, where it answers to detect hidden merits and to see in the best light the things and persons in the midst of which and whom our lives have to be passed.

‘I am glad,’ said the Countess, ‘that Captain Denzil was able to come over with you to-day, my dears.’

With Sir Sykes’s two daughters the mistress of High Tor was on sufficiently familiar terms; but their brother’s character was not quite so much esteemed by the De Vere family as were theirs. Still, in the country, a young man and an elder son is per se a being of some importance, and to Jasper, with his arm yet in the black silken sling, there attached somewhat of romance, on account of his late accident and the adventurous way in which he had incurred it. He had not been expected, and his presence at High Tor was taken as a compliment.

Scarcely had the Ladies Maud and Gladys De Vere had time to don the pretty hats that so well set off the comeliness of the one and the bright beauty of the other, before their brother came into the room. Lord Harrogate had a riding-whip in his hand, and a long ride over the purple moorlands in prospect; but he was easily induced to defer it, and to make one of the party, that presently sauntered across the park towards a sunny sandy nook, screened from cold north winds by a friendly belt of fir and pine, where the new pheasantry had been established.

Near to the place where a footpath led to a sequestered dell, the new governess Miss Gray and her pupil met the group of advancing sight-seers. Ethel would have passed on with a quiet graceful bow of recognition; but Lady Alice had no notion of being thus shelved.

‘You are going to look at the pheasants,’ she said; ‘and we have just seen them. They seem rather frightened, but so very pretty!’

The words which young Lady Alice had employed when speaking of the exotic birds would have been singularly appropriate to Ethel Gray. The new governess looked timid and something more than pretty during the general hand-shaking and interchange of civil conventional phrases which now ensued. Jasper, whose acquaintance with Ethel was of the slightest, had contented himself with lifting his hat; but he had stared at her beautiful face with as cool a steadiness of gaze as though she had been a picture or a statue. Why Lord Harrogate should have resented this, it would have been no easy matter for his lordship to explain; but there was scorn, and anger too, in the glance which he shot at unconscious Jasper; while it was not without some embarrassment that he addressed a word or two of polite commonplace to Miss Gray. Then the governess and her pupil pursued their way to the house, and the rest of the party strolled on towards the pheasantry.

‘How handsome she is!’ exclaimed honest Lucy Denzil, looking back after the angular form of Lady Alice, and the graceful figure that contrasted so strongly with the bony awkwardness of the school-girl; and Lady Maud echoed the praise, and Lady Gladys smiled approval. The Earl’s second daughter was, as has been said, very lovely, and her golden hair and blue eyes had produced the usual effect of fascinating for the time being Jasper’s fickle fancy. It is quite possible to be very hard and at the same time very weak where women are concerned; and Captain Denzil, wary man of the world as he boasted himself to be, and selfish as he certainly was, could not at the moment resist the spell of the enchantress.

‘Cripple as I am,’ said Jasper, glancing at his injured arm, ‘you see that I could not resist the temptation to come when you asked me.’

‘They are not my pheasants; they are Maud’s, you know,’ returned Lady Gladys, as though wilfully misunderstanding him.

‘Fortunate birds!—that is if you condescend to take an interest in them,’ said the captain, nonchalant as ever, but contriving to throw into his tone and look a something of suppressed tenderness, that was not perhaps wholly feigned. Ruth Willis saw the look, although she was not near enough to overhear the words, and her eyes flashed and her white teeth closed sharply, almost{293} savagely, on her pouting lip. She felt the mortification which an angler might feel did he see the half-hooked salmon, the silvery patriarch of the pool, desert his bait, and leap provokingly at the artificial fly of some rival disciple of Piscator. She could not forget how, an hour or two ago, the heir of Carbery had deigned to devote to her service those very tricks of manner—in her anger she mentally called them so—which now before her very eyes he was practising for the benefit of another. She did not care for him; but he piqued her, by the very effrontery of his fickleness, into attaching to him a value which in calmer moments she would never have set on one so intrinsically base as Jasper Denzil.

In spite of world-old experience and sage aphorisms, each sex remains to some extent a standing problem to the other. So Ruth Willis, nettled, baffled, wrathful, still did not fathom the depths of Jasper’s worthless nature one half so clearly as she would have done had her keen powers of observation been exercised at the expense of a woman. She even felt angry with Lady Gladys, though most unreasonably, for the proud beauty wore her most glacial armour of chilling haughtiness when she perceived that Jasper was disposed to pay her what is popularly known as ‘marked attentions.’

The innocent pheasants, the ostensible end and object of this expedition, were duly inspected, and lavishly fed with the millet and barley, the chopped eggs and crushed maize, which young pheasants love. They were fair enough to look upon, these shy pretty captives, still timorous and bewildered by their close confinement in the darksome baskets wherein they had been crammed by the irreverent poultry-merchant who had consigned them to High Tor; and not yet quite at home in their new abode, which had been so freshly decorated for their reception that the paint on the wood and the lacquer on the wires were barely dry. Golden pheasants there were, and white or silver pheasants, and pencilled pheasants, worthy descendants of a feathered ancestry that had pecked and strutted in the gardens of coral-buttoned mandarins, in far-off China.

The curious thing was, that except by their mistress Lady Maud and the elder of the two Denzil girls, who was a kindred spirit, the pheasants were scarcely looked at with regardful eyes. Is it not always so? At launch or military review or polo-match, or when a princely trowel of pure gold condescendingly applies a dab of sublime mortar to a glorified foundation-stone of some new building, how very, very few of the nominal spectators concentrate their thoughts and their vision on the show, which the reporters will presently describe with such graphic power! Private affairs, hopes, fears, interests, are all of them petty magnets sufficient to neutralise the great avowed attraction of the hour.

There was Ruth Willis, her whole attention stealthily concentrating itself upon Captain Denzil at the side of the Earl’s second daughter; there was Jasper, vainly trying to thaw the ice of Lady Gladys’ disdain; and Lord Harrogate, whose thoughts seemed at times to wander away from the present scene and company. Add to these Blanche Denzil, sorrowfully conscious that Lord Harrogate himself, in whose eyes she would have given much to find favour, was thinking of anything rather than of her preference for him, and it will be seen that the real amateurs of fancy pheasants were but in a narrow minority.

A good girl who loves a man worthy of her esteem, yet who is constrained by maiden modesty and the rules of good-breeding to hide away the sentiment as though it were a sin, deserves more pity than often falls to her lot. It is never Leap-year for her. She cannot be the first to speak. And if there be one point upon which men are exceptionally blind, it is to the perception that their merits may be highly appreciated by some young lady to whom they never give a thought when absent from her. Poor Blanche had trouble enough now and then to keep down the rising tears that welled up to her eyes as she noted twenty signs of the painful fact that Lord Harrogate regarded her with that amicable indifference which cannot readily ripen, as dislike sometimes can, into love. But Blanche was too gentle to grow bitter over a disappointment, as did Ruth Willis, although for her too the pleasure of the day was damped and dulled.

The visitors from Carbery would not, on getting back to the broad gravelled drive where the basket-carriage awaited them, re-enter the house. They had taken leave of the Earl and Countess, and declined all hospitable proffers of luncheon beforehand. There was some kissing among the girls and a good deal of hand-shaking, and then the ‘double basket’ again received its living load, and ‘good-bye’ was said, and off dashed the mettled Exmoor ponies under Lucy Denzil’s guidance.

Two of the party from the Chase carried back with them to Carbery hearts that were heavier than when they had first set out for the projected visit to the pheasantry at High Tor. Sir Sykes’s ward, so talkative two hours ago, had become sullenly mute. Ruth Willis was smarting under her defeat, for she had measured herself with Lady Gladys, and could not but acknowledge to herself that her own elfish piquancy was quite thrown into the shade by the superior charms of the Earl’s daughter. Blanche was sad and thoughtful. Jasper, twisting his well-waxed moustache, seemed unaware, in the preoccupation of his own mind, that Ruth was resentful and Blanche melancholy, while Miss Denzil frankly wondered why conversation languished as it did. Excellent Lucy had had no by-play to distract her attention from the object of the expedition; she had seen the birds and chatted with her friend, and was mildly gratified with her outing. Nevertheless it was but a silent party that the Exmoor ponies whisked back along the well-kept road that led to Carbery Chase.

CHAPTER XXVI.—THE NEW BROOM.
‘Clever enough, and too clever! It’s your look-out, sir, of course, and not mine; but I can’t help thinking that to give my friend Mr Wilkins an estate to manage is uncommonly like turning a fox into a poultry-yard to take care of the chickens.’

Such was Jasper Denzil’s remonstrance with his father, on hearing the baronet’s announcement of his intention to transfer the reins of local government to the willing hands of the City solicitor, vice Pounce and Pontifex superseded. Privately, Sir Sykes was of much the same{294} opinion as his son; but as he was merely seeking to put a good face on what he felt to be really a surrender to a demand imperiously urged, he shook his head, saying: ‘You are prejudiced against this person, Jasper, and perhaps not unnaturally so. His manners, I admit, are not prepossessing, and his moral code has probably been shaped in a rough school of ethics; but I consider him to be one of those men whom it is pleasanter to have for a friend than for an enemy.’

Jasper’s expressive upper lip wore a curl of disgust. It was to him very disagreeable that Mr Wilkins, who had got the better of him, as he resentfully felt, in many an encounter of wits, should be often at Carbery, and right-hand man to its owner. He resolved on one more attempt to dislodge the intruder.

‘I would not, were I you, sir,’ said he, ‘either trust Wilkins a yard farther than I could see him, or be guided by his advice as to the management of the estate. You yourself heard the fellow say, at luncheon to-day, that he should not know turnips when he saw them unless there were boiled mutton in the middle of them. Wilkins only meant to raise a laugh when he hashed up that old joke against the Cockney sportsmen who ride to hounds, but he was nearer the truth than he was aware of.’

‘Ah, well,’ returned the baronet blandly, ‘I daresay his agricultural knowledge is after all pretty much on a par with that of Messrs Pounce and Pontifex.’

And then Jasper shrugged up his shoulders and was silent, for he perceived that it was hopeless to deprecate a foregone conclusion. For good or for ill, Sir Sykes had made up his mind to convert Mr Wilkins into a grand-vizier over the broad acres that lay within the circuit of his wide-stretching ring-fence.

Enoch Wilkins, gentleman, had on that morning reached Carbery Chase, and was in a fair way of earning for himself any rather than golden opinions from its inmates. Mr Wilkins, as he often and not untruly boasted, knew the world, that is to say he had a minute and almost microscopic acquaintance with one or two sections of the shady side of it. He understood turf-men, as a smart prison-governor understands convicts, and knew the natural history of the fast-living and embarrassed young officer as well as some lecturer on entomology knows the ways of beetle and butterfly. In a lower social grade, he was deeply versed in the arcana of Loan Societies, and could apply the thumbscrew of the County Court in nicely calculated proportions to a struggling debtor. Of what he called swell society Mr Wilkins had but a limited experience. He had shared, as the purveyors of welcome cash often do share, in the costly banquets given at Greenwich or Richmond hotels by wild young gentlemen of blood and fashion. He had even, at the instance of some needy man about town who curried favour with any dispenser of ready-money, received a card which entitled him, now and again, to be crushed and jostled and trodden upon by distinguished company at the maddening ‘At Home’ of some berouged and bewigged old peeress.

There was, as Mr Wilkins felt with some inward misgivings, a difference between forming part of a mob at Macbeth House or at the Baratarian Embassy, and mixing on intimate terms with such a family as were the Denzils. Yet, as the French idiomatically twist the phrase, he paid it off with audacity, being greasily familiar with Sir Sykes; on terms of brotherly frankness where Jasper was concerned; and for the benefit of the young ladies, assuming the character of the facetious and agreeable rattle, as he conceived incumbent on a regular Londoner and a bachelor to boot, when on a visit in the country.

Blanche and Lucy Denzil scarcely knew whether to let amusement or dislike predominate in their minds as Mr Wilkins rattled on, pouring out miscellaneous anecdotes and jokes that, if worn threadbare in the metropolis, would, he was convinced, retain enough of their original gloss and sparkle to pass muster in the country. That the man was coarse, pushing, and unscrupulous, was evident even to critics so lenient as the baronet’s daughters; while Sir Sykes, behind his urbane smile, suffered martyrdom from his new agent’s deportment.

There was one member of the family circle at Carbery whom Mr Wilkins eyed with quite an exceptional interest. He rarely addressed himself in conversation to the Indian orphan, Sir Sykes’s ward, but he watched her narrowly, and the more he saw of her the harder he found it to adhere to his original hypothesis as regarded the young lady whom Richard Hold, master mariner, had recommended to his good offices.

‘If that demure manner and those downcast eyes do not belong to as sly a puss as ever lived, write me down a greenhorn!’ was the mental reflection of Enoch Wilkins, of St Nicholas Poultney, in the City of London, gentleman. ‘That she sets her cap at the captain, Sir Sykes Denzil’s hopeful heir, I take for granted. Her communicative friend, the pirate fellow, implied as much. The Lancer does not seem, however, disposed to come forward in a satisfactory style, and play Philemon to her Baucis.’

And it was a fact that since the morning which had witnessed the drive to High Tor and the visit to the pheasantry, the snares of Miss Ruth Willis had been vainly set for the capture of that bird of dubious feather, Jasper Denzil.

Why Jasper, who had so much to gain by the match on which his father’s mind was inexplicably bent, should hang back and prove recalcitrant, it was hard to say. His was not an independent soul. He was free from any trammels of a too scrupulous delicacy, and would have fingered any money got through the grimiest channels, without fear of soiling those white useless hands of his, the manliest work of which had hitherto been to grasp a bridle-rein. Yet Jasper had been very remiss of late in his attentions towards Ruth Willis, and apparently indifferent to the bribe of an income and establishment to be earned by marrying her.

‘Now look here, Sir Sykes!’ said the lawyer after dinner, as he edged his chair nearer to that of his host, refilled his glass, and assumed a tone of waggish confidence—‘look here, Sir Sykes! You want brushing up down here at Carbery, you do indeed; ay and a little fresh air let in upon you. In an old estate like this, and under such management as those of Pounce and Proser—beg his pardon; I mean Pontifex; ha, ha, ha!’—pursued Mr Wilkins, having his laugh out, without so much as a sympathetic titter from Jasper or a smile{295} from Sir Sykes—‘in an estate of this kind matters are apt to stagnate, and all sorts of abuses and jobs to grow up, like the green duckweed on the surface of a pool. Your head-gamekeeper now, Sir Sykes, I never saw him, but I’m sure that he’s a rogue.’

‘Leathers is an old servant,’ answered Sir Sykes coldly; ‘I have had no reason to think ill of him.’

‘I’ll go bail that he’s a rogue, for all that,’ returned the unabashed lawyer, holding up his glass to the light, to admire the ruby claret before he swallowed it. ‘The head-keeper of an easy-going, moneyed gent of your standing—excuse me, Sir Sykes—must be a saint, if he’s not a sinner. Think of the temptations! Why, the rabbits alone must be a cool two hundred a year to the man; and then the pheasants, and the black-mail from the tenants for keeping the ground-game within reasonable numbers, and the percentage on watchers’ wages. I’ll get you a contract with a London poulterer, Sir Sykes, that shall stand you in something handsome, provide you with a keeper twice as useful as Leathers, and insure your having a hot corner for your friends at battue-time. I’m a new broom, and sweep clean.’

‘You promise well, at anyrate!’ said Jasper with a languid sneer.

‘And did you ever know me not ready to implement when I had once promised?’ briskly retorted the solicitor. ‘I merely mention the gamekeeper to shew that all’s fish that comes to my net, and that I am not above attending to such minor fry as a fellow in velveteen with a dog-whistle at his button-hole. We must go on commercial principles, Sir Sykes, if we want to manage an estate so as to make it pay, nowadays. All that feudal nonsense of an affectionate tenantry and a liberal lord of the manor is about as dead as Queen Anne. You should get a new steward as well as a new gamekeeper, Sir Sykes.’

The baronet stirred restlessly in his chair. He did not at all like this. Carbery, and the fair estate that went with it, had never yet been administered on commercial principles, especially when applied by so sweeping a reformer as Mr Wilkins of St Nicholas Poultney. ‘Mr Cornish keeps his accounts very correctly,’ he said in a hesitating tone. ‘Old Lord Harrogate gave him the stewardship, which his father had had before him, and his tenure of it has satisfied me.’

‘Because you can afford, or fancy you can, to be robbed right and left,’ said the lawyer, gulping down his wine. ‘It is your plausible hereditary steward, that has fattened and battened on the plunder of successive generations, who sucks the very marrow out of the land. Don’t tell me! I’ll overhaul Mr Cornish’s accounts in a way he’s little used to. But first you must introduce me to the farmers, Sir Sykes, and give me time to worm out of them what they pay, in kind or money, by way of fines, good-will, premium, and so forth, for the honour of tilling your under-rented acres. I’ll raise your rent-roll, never fear me, but not with a native chawbacon for prime-minister.’

‘So the steward must be flung overboard, it seems, as well as poor old Leathers the keeper,’ observed Jasper, half amused, but half annoyed.

‘And I’ve got another peg to fit into the vacant hole,’ said the lawyer, again addressing himself to the claret. ‘With your permission, Sir Sykes, to-morrow we’ll wire for him to run down from London for your approval. A sharp fellow is Abrahams. You won’t mind his persuasion? Jew as he is, he’s thoroughly at home in a farmhouse, counts every sheaf of wheat in the barn, and every house-lamb in the kitchen on frosty days, and wheedles out of the women what the husbands are too dogged to tell.—This is delicious claret, but no one except myself seems to drink it. Suppose we join the ladies?’

‘What has the governor done,’ groaned Jasper, as he lit his cigar, ‘to be under the thumb of such a man as this?’

WORK IN THE LONDON DOCKS.
In the metropolis there is always to be found a vast amount of ‘labour unattached,’ recruited from men in nearly every rank of life. To form an idea of the surplusage in the labour market, advertise for a ‘light-porter,’ and you will have at least two hundred applications before eleven o’clock the next day. If you desire a clerk at a salary of, say, twenty shillings a week, half a thousand eager candidates will apply for the vacancy. While if you have anything of a superior sort to offer, such as the secretaryship of a charitable institution, or hospital, suitable to the talents of retired military officers and others, probably a thousand competitors will offer themselves to your discrimination. Of course many people will be surprised that such numbers should prefer living in semi-idleness, hunting after any opportunity that offers, rather than exert themselves to obtain employment in less crowded localities; but then in London there is the great magnet of the ‘lucky chance’ constantly before their eyes. If one obtains a situation at a pound a week, there are constantly opportunities of bettering one’s self, especially in large firms, who carefully select and promote their men according to capability and merit. Then, again, a man may be starving in a garret, poorly dressed, existing somehow by borrowing a shilling or two occasionally when you meet him in the street; but in a month or two may be in a good position in an insurance company or an actuary’s office. But as bread must be obtained somehow until the golden opportunity offers itself, a number of men who have seen better days are compelled by sheer necessity to fly to that paradise of the destitute, the Docks.

The great Dock Companies in London, fully aware of the superabundance of labour always in the market, do not employ, permanently, one-third of the men they require, since they are usually able to procure at least twice as many hands as they need at a moment’s notice. Indeed so great is the competition for even Dock employment, that unless you are known to one of the foremen, or in some way furnished with an introduction to one of the Company’s officials, you stand a very poor chance of obtaining work, save occasionally, when a sudden pressure of business comes on and they are glad to accept any one that offers. Sometimes a huge ship comes in requiring to be discharged in a few days; and everybody who can work may, by offering himself, obtain employment for a brief period; but, the time of pressure over, he will present himself at the Dock-gates day after day in vain. The Company’s foremen of course give the preference to their regular hands, and the{296} stranger who has helped them in their time of need is passed over. So the best thing you can do if you desire employment at the Docks is to obtain a letter of recommendation from some broker or merchant who does business with the Company, and according to the influence he possesses so will your work be regulated. It will require great influence to enable you to be placed on the ‘permanent’ or ‘extra-permanent’ staff; and the utmost you can hope for is to obtain employment by the day so long as any ships are at work, with the prospect of losing a few days now and then when things are dull.

The clock has struck a quarter past seven in the morning, and already may be seen clustered round the Dock-gates small groups of men, with hands invariably in their pockets and short pipes in their mouths, discussing the prospect of work for the day, and the only chance they have of obtaining a meal of food and a night’s lodging. These are the ‘chance’ or ‘odd-time’ men, who if they are not taken on the first thing, loiter about the entrance all day, waiting a ‘call’ from one of the foremen; sometimes making two, four, or five hours, as the case may be. Of all this class of men, it may be truly said that they are waiters upon Providence, for they are usually the last selected; and as to their garments (their sole earthly possession), very few of them could obtain a shilling for all they wear from head to foot. Indeed so dilapidated are some of their shoes, that it is no uncommon thing for them to be paid off after an hour’s work or so, because their feet will not retain a footing upon a slippery floor. It also occurs at times that they come in to work so famished that they sink exhausted after a little exertion, though in this case the foremen who employ them are generally kind-hearted enough to advance a few pence to obtain a little food to enable them to hold out the day. As the clock nears the half-hour (7.30 a.m.) the regular ‘outsiders’ come up. These men are in better condition than the others; but there is a seedy, ragged appearance about most of them, which tells the unmistakable tale that their chief earnings go to the public-house. And now there is a stir. A small wicket in the gate is open, and a foreman comes out, and calling out the names of the men he requires, they pass in. These are engaged by the half-hour, and are liable to be dismissed as soon as their work is completed, let the time be what it may. Usually they remain at work the whole day; but, should any unforeseen occurrence—such as stoppage of a ship’s discharge on account of weather, or a break-down in some of the machinery for removing cargo—prevent them labouring, the word is passed to ‘wash up,’ and they are paid off at once, perhaps an hour or two after they have been engaged.

After this crew come the Company’s ‘recommended’ men, persons who through the influence of some merchant obtain employment. With them also arrive the ‘extra-permanent’ men; and these two classes always have a preference when any work is going on. They are engaged by the day and paid by the day; and each man on entering receives a numbered ticket about the size of a railway ticket, which will entitle him to receive his wages in rotation at the pay-box in the afternoon. The pay for all alike is fivepence per hour; but the highest class of all, the ‘permanent’ men, receive twenty shillings per week all the year round, be the hours long or short, and are always certain of their money whether the Company can find work for them or not. In the months of November, December, January, and February, the work is from nine to four, and the remainder of the year from eight to four, with extra pay for overtime to all alike when any is to be made. Thus it will be seen that with pretty constant employment a fair living is to be made at the Docks; but in addition, many men make something extra in the evenings, either as ‘supers’ at one of the theatres, chairmen at those convivial meetings known as ‘Free-and-Easies,’ or in some other capacity. In short, at the Docks, as elsewhere, it is only the idle and disreputable class that starves; for the Company’s officials naturally select the best men first, and only employ the ‘duffers’ when they cannot possibly do without them.

At a few minutes before eight we are all at our posts; men are on board ship commencing to roll out the bales of merchandise from the ‘hold;’ the ponderous hydraulic ‘ram’ swings out from the warehouse, and three or four bales are hooked on and hoisted ashore. It is (we will say) a large Australian wool ship; and as soon as the bales are landed, they are pounced upon by a man with stencil-plate and brush, who with nimble fingers marks the name of the ship on each. Then an individual with stentorian lungs (probably a broken-down auctioneer) shouts out to the check clerk at the table the mark on each particular bale, and this is recorded in a book called a ‘tally-sheet.’ Next, a couple of muscular men attack with axes the iron bands with which the bales are clamped, and sever them, so that the wool expands to nearly double its size; for it is all pressed by hydraulic machinery previous to being stowed in the ship, in order to economise space. The bales thus released are now trotted off by active truckmen to the scales, where they are weighed, marked, and sorted in different piles according to their mark. All this is done in less time than it takes to read about it, amid a storm of shouts, execrations, commands, and other noises in every conceivable variety.

Let us take a walk round the Docks and warehouses and inspect the vast piles of merchandise lying about in every direction. Yonder is a ship discharging brandy, with a vigilant Custom-house officer watching every cask as it comes ashore. In another place they are emptying on the floor hogshead after hogshead of coffee, to be weighed for duty. That sedate-looking man with a needle in his hand sewing up rice-bags has been a schoolmaster, and can write excellent hexameters. A little farther on, a solicitor, unfortunately struck off the rolls, is wheeling a truck; and farther on a once prosperous merchant is assisting to push along a hogshead of sugar. The conclusion one arrives at, after making the round of the Docks, is, that nearly everything we eat and drink is manipulated first by the dirty classes, who shovel our necessaries about at their pleasure, and tread over them as if they were so much dirt. See those dingy men with garments tattered and patched stooping and working on those sloppy floors. They are scraping up the molasses which has filtered out from the sugar-casks, and putting it into tubs. This will be all sent away to the{297} sugar-boilers’, and converted into cheap sugar, and go to localities where it will be bought by housekeepers who study economy in the kitchen. This sort of sugar always has a lumpy clear appearance, with a slight clammy taste in the mouth, and can be detected with a little practice at a glance. It is usually sold alone, but is often mixed with better sugar, in order to make that half-penny difference in the pound so tempting to certain housewives.

We are warned that it is noon by the tinkling of a bell, which resounds all over the Dock; and at the first stroke everything is dropped out of hand immediately, and to the cry of ‘Bell ho!’ every one rushes out of the warehouses for dinner. A few of the more provident have brought some in their pockets; but the majority go straight to the old man or old woman who is permitted by the Company to supply them with bread, cheese, beer, soup, and pudding, all of an indifferent sort; and if they have any money, buy something to eat; and if they have none, try and borrow a penny or two from somebody else; or cajole the refreshment caterer into giving them credit until four o’clock. Very few of them have knives wherewith to cut their food decently; they gnaw it anyhow; in fact their chief rule seems to be to buy nothing that they are not absolutely compelled to buy, for fear the vendor should cheat them; and if some of them could observe this rule so far as the beer-shop is concerned, they would make their fortunes, many of them possessing talents, as experts in ‘tasting,’ of no common order.

Their meal finished, some now creep on board ship to smoke, a thing they are not allowed to do in the warehouses; others of a larcenous disposition, prowl about the cook’s galley to appropriate anything they can, such as meat, knives, brushes, in short any small portable articles, which they either devour, or else sell at any price to somebody else. At twenty minutes past twelve the bell again summons them to work, and each man crawls slowly back to his post, the majority of cheeks indicating apparently the existence of gum-boil to the uninitiated, but which abnormal appearance is due solely to the companionable ‘quid’ of tobacco.

By this time a number of vans are in the yard waiting to take away goods, and the foremen are pretty nearly sure to want some extra hands to assist. Consequently out they go to the gates, and select as many as they require from the forest of palms held up before them. In this way work goes on until a few minutes before four, when all parties knock off, unless the ship should have to work an hour or two longer. At the pay-box the men arrange themselves in numerical order, and are paid with great celerity by the cashier, the exact amount due to each man being handed to him as he passes the window. At the exit gate are stationed two of the Company’s constables, who search any one they have cause to suspect, for in spite of the utmost vigilance and the aid of a large staff of police, pilfering is constantly going on within the Docks, and it requires great watchfulness to prevent the men taking anything out. As it is, things are occasionally smuggled out, though, when an offender is convicted, he usually meets with a severe penalty.

The London and St Katherine’s Docks (now amalgamated under one Company) cover an area of about forty-five acres, and have nearly as much warehouse accommodation as all the other Dock companies put together. The capital embarked in them, inclusive of loans and debentures, may be stated at about eight millions sterling, and the employés of all classes about three thousand daily. The annual imports into these Docks are seldom less than seventy millions, the exports being also considerable. With all this enormous trade and this vast amount of business, things are managed with great, though of course not perfect accuracy; every man knows his place, and there are seldom any mistakes but such as will occur at times from unavoidable hurry and confusion.

PRETTY MRS OGILVIE.
All the women are jealous of her; there is no doubt about that. The first time she appears in church with crisp mauve muslins floating about her and a dainty mauve erection on her head, which presumably she calls a bonnet, I know at once how it will be. And of course the other sex will range themselves on her side to a man; that is also beyond question. As she rises from her knees and takes her little lavender-gloved hands from her face and looks about her for a moment with a sweet shy glance, she is simply bewitching; and I doubt if any male creature in our musty little church pays proper attention to the responses for ten minutes afterwards. A new face is a great rarity with us, and such a new face one might not see more than once in a decade, so let us hope we may be forgiven.

As I gaze at the delicate profile before me, the coils of golden hair, the complexion like the inside of a sea-shell, the slender milk-white throat, and the long dark eyelashes, which droop modestly over the glorious gray eyes, shall I own that I steal a glance of disapproval at Mary Anne, my Mary Anne, the partner of my joys and sorrows for twenty years, and the mother of my six children? Mary Anne’s figure is somewhat overblown, her hair is tinged with gray, and the complexion of her good-humoured face is slightly rubicund. But she has been a good wife to me; and I feel, with a twinge of compunction, that I have no right to be critical, as I think of a shining spot on the top of my own head, and of a little box I received from the dentist only a month ago, carefully secured from observation. But as we emerge from church I draw myself up and try to look my best as we pass the trailing mauve robes. Jack, one of our six, stumbles over the train; which gives me an opportunity of raising my hat and apologising for the brat’s awkwardness; and I am rewarded with a sweet smile and an upward glance out of the great gray eyes which is simply intoxicating.

‘We must call on Mrs Ogilvie at once,’ I observe to Mary Anne as we proceed across the fields on our homeward walk. ‘It is my duty as her landlord to find out if she is comfortable. She is a ladylike person,’ I continue, diplomatically forbearing to allude to the obvious beauty; ‘and I daresay, my dear, you will find her an agreeable neighbour.’

‘Ladylike!’ cries my wife, with a ring of indignation in her voice. ‘I don’t call it ladylike to come to a quiet country church dressed as if she{298} were going to a flower-show. Besides, she is painted. A colour like that can’t be natural. But you men are all alike—always taken with a little outside show and glitter.’

‘But my dear,’ I remonstrate, ‘perhaps she did not know how very countrified and bucolic our congregation is; and I really do think it will be very unneighbourly if we don’t call. It must be very dull for her to know no one.’ I ignore the remark about the paint, but in my heart I give the assertion an emphatic contradiction.

Mrs Ogilvie has rented a small cottage which I own in the west-country village in which I am the principal doctor. She is the wife of a naval officer who is away in the Flying Squadron, and has settled in our sleepy little hamlet to live quietly during his absence. All her references have been quite unexceptionable, and indeed she is slightly known to our Squire, as is also her absent husband. ‘A splendid fellow he is,’ Mr Dillon tells me, ‘stands six feet in his stockings, and is as handsome as Apollo; indeed I don’t believe that for good looks you could find such another couple in England.’

The following day Mary Anne, with but little persuasion, agrees to accompany me to the cottage to call on Mrs Ogilvie. The door is opened by a neat maid-servant. She is at home; and we are ushered into the drawing-room, which we almost fail to recognise, so changed is it. Bright fresh hangings are in the windows, a handsome piano stands open, books and periodicals lie on the tables in profusion, and flowers are everywhere. ‘Evidently a woman of refinement and cultivated tastes,’ I think to myself; ‘the beauty is more than skin deep.’

Presently Mrs Ogilvie comes in, looking if possible even lovelier than she did the day before. She is in a simple white dress, with here and there a knot of blue ribbon about it; and she has a bit of blue also in her golden hair. Her manner is as charming as her looks, and as she thanks my wife with pleasant cordial words for being the first of her neighbours to take compassion on her loneliness, I can see that my Mary Anne, whose heart is as large as her figure, basely deserts the female faction and goes over to the enemy. Mrs Ogilvie is very young, still quite a girl, though she has been married three years she tells us.

‘It is dreadful that Frank should have to go away,’ she says, and the tears well up in her large gray eyes; ‘that is the worst of the service. But I suppose no woman ought to interfere with her husband’s career. I am going to live here as quietly as possible until he returns. See; here is his photograph,’ she continues, lifting a case from the table and handing it to Mary Anne. ‘Is he not handsome?’

He is most undeniably so, if the likeness speaks truth, and we both say so; Mary Anne, with the privilege of her sex and age, adding a word as to the beauty of the pair.

‘O yes,’ replies Mrs Ogilvie without the smallest embarrassment: ‘we are always called the “handsome couple.”’

I suppose something of my astonishment expresses itself in my countenance, for she smiles, and says: ‘I am afraid you think me very vain; but I cannot help knowing that I am good-looking, any more than I can help being aware that my eyes are gray, not black, and that my hair is golden. It is a gift from God, like any talent; a valuable one too, I think it; and I own that I am proud of it, for my dear Frank’s sake, who admires it so much.’

Yes, this is Mrs Ogilvie’s peculiarity, as we afterwards discover—an intense and quite open admiration of her own beauty. And indeed there is something so simple and naïve about it, that we do not find it displeasing when we get accustomed to it. She always speaks of herself as if she were a third person, and honestly appreciates her lovely face, as if it were some rare picture, as indeed it is, of Dame Nature’s own painting. She is equally ready to admit the good looks of other women, and has not a trace of jealousy in her composition. But often you will hear her say, in describing some one else: ‘She has a lovely complexion—something in the style of mine, but not so clear.’ Or, ‘She has a beautiful head of hair, but not so sunny as mine;’ &c. &c. At first, every one is astonished at this idiosyncrasy of hers, but in a little while we all come to laugh at it; there is something original and amusing about it; and in all other ways she is so charming.

My wife, with whom she speedily becomes intimate, tells me that she is sure she values her beauty more for her husband’s sake than her own. ‘She evidently adores him,’ says Mary Anne; ‘and he seems to think so much of her sweet looks. She says he fell in love with her at first sight, before he ever spoke to her.’

But Mrs Ogilvie has many more attractions than are to be found in her face. She is a highly educated woman, a first-rate musician and a pleasant and intelligent companion; and more than all, she has a sweet loving disposition, and a true heart at the core of all her little vanities. She is very good to the poor in our village, and often when I am on my rounds, I meet her coming out of some cottage with an empty basket in her hand, which was full when she entered it.

In a quiet little neighbourhood like ours, such a woman cannot fail to be an acquisition, and every one hastens to call on her, and many are the dinners and croquet parties which are inaugurated in her honour. To the former she will not go; she does not wish to go out in the evening during her husband’s absence—much to my wife’s satisfaction, who approves of women being ‘keepers at home’—and it is only seldom that she can be induced to grace one of the croquet parties with her presence.

But when she does, she eclipses every one else. She always dresses in the most exquisite taste, as if anxious that the setting should be worthy of the jewel—the beauty which she prizes so highly. She is always sweet and gracious, and vanquishes the men by her loveliness, the women in spite of it. But she is in no sense of the word a coquette; and the only admirer she favours is our Jack, aged fourteen, who is head-over-ears in love with her, and is ready at any moment to forego cricket for the honour of escorting Mrs Ogilvie through the village, and the privilege of carrying her basket. So the quiet weeks and months glide by, linking us daily more closely together.

She has been settled at the cottage rather more than two years and is beginning to count the weeks to her husband’s return. We do not number them quite so eagerly, for when he comes he will take{299} her away from us, and we shall miss her sorely. It is summer again, a hot damp summer; it has been a very sickly season, and my hands are full.

‘I shall have to get a partner, my dear,’ I say to my wife as I prepare to go out. ‘If this goes on I shall have more to do than I can manage. There is a nasty fever about which I don’t like the look of; and if we don’t have a change for the better in this muggy weather, there is no saying what it may turn to.’

‘I am glad all the boys are at school,’ observes Mary Anne, ‘and I think I will let the girls accept their aunt’s invitation and go to her for a month.’

‘It would be a very good plan, and I should be glad if you would go too. A little change would do you good.’

‘And pray who is to look after you?’ asks my wife reproachfully. ‘Who is to see that you take your meals properly, and don’t rush off to see your patients, leaving your dinner untasted on the table?’

Mentally I confess that I should probably be poorly off without my Mary Anne; but it is a bad plan to encourage vanity in one’s wife, so I say: ‘Oh, I should do very well by myself;’ and with a parting nod betake myself to my daily duty.

In the village I meet Mrs Ogilvie, basket in hand. She doesn’t look well, and I say so.

‘You have no business out in the heat of the day,’ I tell her. ‘You are not a Hercules, and you will only be knocking yourself up. What will your husband say, if he does not find you looking your best when he comes back?’

A shade passes over her face. ‘Ah! he would not be pleased,’ she says rather gravely; ‘he always likes to see me look my very best and prettiest.’

‘Well then, as your doctor, I must forbid your doing any more cottage-visiting just at present. You are not looking strong, and going into those close houses is not good for you. I will come and see you on my way back.’

Which I do. I find there is nothing the matter with her; she is only a little languid. Perhaps the weather has affected her; perhaps she is wearying for her husband; and I prescribe a tonic, which I think will soon set her to rights. I do not remain long with her, for I have an unspoken anxiety, and I am in a hurry to get home.

‘You had better send the children away to-morrow morning, Mary Anne,’ I say as soon as I get in. ‘Mrs Black is very ill, and I am afraid—I cannot quite tell yet, but I am afraid—she is going to have small-pox. Of course I shall have her removed at once, if I am right; but it may prove not to be an isolated case, and it will be as well to get the children out of the way. I shall try and persuade every one in the village to be vaccinated to-morrow.’

‘You will be clever if you manage that,’ says my wife. ‘I am afraid some of the people are very prejudiced against it. You know when the children and I were revaccinated three years ago, you could not persuade any of the villagers to be done at the same time.’

On the following day we despatch the children early to their aunt’s, under the care of an old servant; and as soon as I have seen them off, I go down to Mrs Black’s. To my consternation I find Mrs Ogilvie just leaving the house.

‘I have been disobedient, you see,’ she says gaily; ‘but I promised to bring Mrs Black something early this morning; and she seemed so ill yesterday that I did not like to disappoint her. But I am not going to transgress orders again—for Frank’s sake,’ she adds softly.

I give an internal groan. Heaven grant she may not have transgressed them once too often! And I hasten into the cottage, to find my worst fears confirmed. Mrs Black has small-pox quite unmistakably.

For some hours I am occupied in making arrangements for her removal to the infirmary, and in vaccinating such of my poorer patients as I can frighten or coerce into allowing me to do so; and it is afternoon before I am able to go and look after Mrs Ogilvie.

She seems rather astonished when I inform her what my errand is—that I want to vaccinate her (for of course I do not wish to frighten her by telling her about Mrs Black); but she submits readily enough when I say that I have heard of a case of small-pox in a neighbouring village (which I have), and think it would be a wise precautionary measure.

‘It is very good of you,’ she says in her pretty gracious way as she bares her white arm. ‘I have never been vaccinated since I was a baby, so I suppose it will be desirable.’

Desirable? I should think so indeed! And I send up a prayer as I perform the operation that I may not be too late.

I am so busy for the next few days that I am unable to go down to the cottage. One or two more cases of small-pox appear in the village, and I am anxious and hard-worked; but Mary Anne tells me that Mrs Ogilvie has heard of Mrs Black’s removal and is dreadfully nervous about herself. ‘I hope she will not frighten herself into it,’ adds my wife.

‘If she hadn’t contracted it before I vaccinated her, I think she is pretty safe,’ I reply; ‘but there is just the chance that she may have had the poison in her previously.’

Almost as I speak a message comes from Mrs Ogilvie, who ‘wishes to see me professionally.’ My heart sinks as I seize my hat and follow the messenger; and with too good reason. I find her suffering from the first symptoms of small-pox; and in twenty-four hours it has declared itself unequivocally and threatens to be a bad case. I try to keep the nature of her illness from her, but in vain. She questions me closely, and when she discovers the truth, gives way to a burst of despair which is painful to witness. ‘I shall be marked; I shall be hideous!’ she exclaims, sobbing bitterly. ‘Poor Frank, how he will hate me!’

In vain I try to comfort her, to convince her that in not one out of a hundred cases does the disease leave dreadful traces behind it; she refuses to be consoled. And soon she is too ill to be reasoned with, or indeed to know much of her own state. She is an orphan, and has no near relatives for whom we can send, so Mary Anne installs herself in the sick-room as head-nurse; and as I see her bending lovingly over the poor disfigured face, and ministering with tender hands to the ceaseless wants of the invalid, my wife is in my eyes beautiful exceedingly; so does the shadow of a good deed cast a glory around the most homely countenance.

For some time Mrs Ogilvie’s life is in great{300} danger; but her youth and good constitution prevail against the grim destroyer, and at length I am able to pronounce all peril past.

But alas, alas! all my hopes, all my care, all my poor skill have been in vain; and the beauty which we have all admired so much, and which has been so precious to our poor patient, is a thing of the past. She is marked—slightly it is true; but the pure complexion is thick and muddy, the once bright eyes are heavy and dull, and the golden hair is thin and lustreless. We keep it from her as long as we can, but she soon discovers it in our sorrowful looks; and her horror, her agony, almost threaten to unseat her reason. My wife is with her night and day, watching her like a mother, using every argument she can think of to console her, and above all, counselling with gentle words submission to the will of God. But her misery, after the first shock, is not so much for herself as for the possible effect the loss of her beauty may have on her husband, who is now daily expected. His ship has been at sea, so we have been unable to write to him; and only on his arrival in Plymouth Sound will he hear of his poor young wife’s illness and disfigurement. Before her sickness she had been counting the hours; now she sees every day go past with a shudder, feeling that she is brought twenty-four hours nearer to the dread trial. At length his vessel arrives, and I receive a telegram telling me when we may expect him, and begging me to break the news gently to his wife. She receives it with a flood of bitter tears and sobs, crying out that he will hate and loathe her, and that she is about to lose all the happiness of her life. My wife weeps with her; and I am conscious of a choking sensation in my throat as we take leave of her half an hour before Mr Ogilvie is expected, and pray God to bless and sustain her.

We are sitting in rather melancholy mood after dinner, talking of the poor young husband and wife, when Mr Ogilvie is announced, and I hasten to the door to meet him.

‘She will not see me!’ he says impetuously, coming in without any formal greeting. ‘She has shut herself into her room, and calls to me with hysterical tears that she is too dreadful to look upon, that I shall cease to love her as soon as I behold her, and that she cannot face it.’ And the strong man falls into a chair with a sob.

‘It is not so bad as that,’ I begin.

‘I don’t care how bad it is,’ he cries; ‘she need not doubt my love. My poor darling will always be the same to me whether she has lost her beauty or not.’

Whereupon I extend my hand to him and shake his heartily; and I know my wife has great difficulty in restraining herself from enveloping him in her motherly arms and embracing him.

‘We must resort to stratagem,’ I say. ‘I will go down to the cottage at once, and you follow me in ten minutes with my wife. I will try and coax Mrs Ogilvie to come out and speak to me, and you must steal upon her unawares.’

Mrs Ogilvie at first refuses to see or speak to me; but I go up to her door and am mean enough to remind her of my wife’s devotion to her and entreat her, for her sake, to come down to me.

‘Where is Frank?’ she asks.

‘I left him at home with Mary Anne,’ I reply, feeling that I am worthy of being a diplomatist at the court of St Petersburg, as she opens the door and descends the stairs. I take her out into the garden and begin to reprove her for her conduct, with assumed anger. She listens with eyes blinded by tears. I, on the look-out for it, hear the latch of the garden gate click; but she, absorbed in her sorrow, does not notice it. I look up and see Frank Ogilvie’s eyes fixed hungrily on his wife. Her changed appearance must be an awful shock to him; but he bears it bravely; and in a moment he has sprung forward, clasped her in his arms, and the poor scarred face is hidden on his true and loving heart!

Then Mary Anne and I turn silently away, and leave him to teach her that there are things more valuable, of far higher worth than any mere beauty of face or form.

After all, we do not lose her, for Mr Ogilvie coming into some money, leaves the navy and purchases a small estate in our neighbourhood, on which they still reside. Mrs Ogilvie is no longer young, and has a family of lads and lasses around her, who inherit much of their mother’s loveliness. But one of the first things she teaches them is not to set a fictitious value on it; ‘for,’ she says, ‘I thought too much of mine, and God took it from me.’ No one ever hears her regret the loss of her beauty; ‘for through that trial,’ she tells my wife, ‘I learned to know the true value of my Frank’s heart.’

She simply worships her husband, and is in all respects a happy woman. Indeed, seeing the sweet smiles which adorn her face and the loving light which dwells in her eyes, I am sometimes tempted to call her as of yore—Pretty Mrs Ogilvie.

BURNABY’S RIDE IN TURKEY.
In his volume of travels in Turkey, Captain Burnaby has given such a large variety of amusing particulars, that it is eminently worthy of perusal. The following are a few rough notes:

Radford, the captain’s English servant, was one of the veritable descendants of Uncle Toby’s Corporal Trim; men—for there are a large family of them—to whom the word duty means obeying the word of command, no matter what form it may happen to take, be it to cook a dinner or storm a trench. At Constantinople another servant was required and engaged—one Osman, a Mohammedan, a very smart fellow, in every sense of the word. Picturesque in dress, tall and fine-looking into the bargain, and fully alive to the worth of the Effendi’s gold, to which he helped himself unsparingly, without hurt to his conscience or hinderance to his prayers. The devotions of this worthy proving a fruitful source of misery to the captain, he came to the conclusion that religious servants are a mistake, especially in the East.

At Constantinople there was some little delay occasioned by having horses to buy and friends to see, and then there were the cafés, which are always amusing more or less; for the proprietors find that good voices and pretty girls are sure attractions, whether for Giaour or Turk. But the poor girls have a hard time of it. By birth they are chiefly Hungarian and Italian. They act as waitresses mostly, and are compelled by the Turks who frequent the cafés to sweeten, by tasting, all that they order. The violence thus{301} done to their digestive organs may be imagined. One Italian girl bemoaned her lot, saying: ‘It is such a mixture. I have a pain sometimes (pointing to the bodice of her dress). I wish to cry; but I have to run about and smile, wait upon visitors and drink with them. It is a dreadful life! Oh, if I could only return to Florence!’

Captain Burnaby found the Turkish women’s faces ‘sadly wanting in expression;’ at least those he had an opportunity of seeing, for the women all go veiled. Still their veils are of very thin muslin, and man’s curiosity is penetrating. But this noticeable lack of expression is not to be wondered at, when we hear that they are wholly uncultivated in mind—only one in a thousand among them can read or write. They amuse themselves in gossip and eating.

The Ride was not at all times agreeable. It was not pleasant, for instance, having to cross wooden bridges without parapets, and to see the river below through holes in the wooden planks beneath the horse’s feet; or to wade up to the horse’s girths through lanes of water. But such is the fortune of travelling in the unknown.

At the village of Nahilan the caimacan or governor was hospitable, and soon the whole population was in attendance to see and talk with the traveller. He was given the seat of honour on a rug near the fire. The caimacan in a fur-lined dressing-gown came next, the rest of the party in order not according to rank, but according to their possessions—the man who owned one hundred cows being seated next the governor. Conversation at first did not get on any better there than at home. But some one made a plunge, and the state of the roads was discussed. This opened the way to politics and the prospect of English help, about which the Turks were eager and anxious to learn. The war was the one topic of interest among them, as well it might be. The scenery in the neighbourhood was lovely, and Captain Burnaby wished that he had been born a painter, to have caught the impression of the beauty around him, and have fixed it for ever on canvas. He has painted at least one little sketch successfully in words: ‘A succession of hills, each one loftier than its fellow, broke upon us as we climbed the steep (leading towards Angora). They were of all forms, shades, and colours, ash gray, blue, vermilion, robed in imperial purple, and dotted with patches of vegetation. Our road wound amidst these chameleon-like heights, whose silvery rivulets streamed down the sides of the many-coloured hills.’

But we must leave this pretty scene to describe the night’s lodging at the next halt, which gives us an insight into Turkish beds and bedrooms. No bedsteads are used. ‘One or two mattresses are laid on the floor; the yorgan, a silk quilt lined with linen and stuffed with feathers, taking the place of sheets and blankets. These yorgans are heirlooms in a Turkish family, and are handed down from father to son. It is a mark of high respect when a host gives you his wedding yorgan to sleep under. Captain Burnaby found the honour a trying one, as many generations of fleas shared it with him. Osman grew eloquent on the subject of yorgans. He had one so beautiful that neither his wife nor himself liked to use it.

Hearing that he was married, Captain Burnaby questioned him about his wife. Did he love her? Was she pretty? To which Osman replied: ‘She is a good cook. She makes soup. Effendi, I could not afford to marry a good-looking girl. There was one in our village—such a pretty one, with eyes like a hare and plump as a turkey—but she could not cook, and her father wanted too much for her. For my present wife I gave only ten liras (or Turkish pounds); but she did not weigh more than one hundred pounds. She was very cheap. Her eyes are not quite straight, but she can cook. Looks don’t last; but cooking is an art that the Prophet himself did not despise.’

At every place a cordial reception awaited the traveller. The Turks are not ungrateful; and English help during the Crimean War is still remembered. At Angora, a town of importance, there was an English vice-consul, a married man, living in a house furnished with every English comfort. He is the only Englishman, or rather Scotchman, in the place. A Turkish gentleman gave a dinner-party in honour of the traveller. These Turkish dinner-parties are compared to Turkish music, and declared to consist of a series of surprises. ‘In music the leader of an orchestra goes from andante to a racing pace without any crescendo whatever. The cook in the same manner gives first a dish as sweet as honey, and then astonishes our stomach with a sauce as acid as vinegar. Now we are eating fish, another instant blanc-mange. And so on throughout the feast were the startling contrasts continued. Servants were abundant and pressing. Each guest ate with his fingers, helping himself according to his rank or social status.’ When dinner was over the host rose, not forgetting to say his grace: ‘Praise be to God.’ A servant then poured water over the hands of each, according to his rank, for precedence is duly observed in the veriest trifle; and then they all adjourned to another room to smoke and drink coffee.

Nothing can exceed the hospitality and generosity of the Turk. Admire what belongs to him, and he begs you to accept it, be it a book, a horse, or a servant. Talking of servants, it was amusing to hear Osman railing at the man in charge of the pack-horse for allowing the horse that carried the valuables, in the form of groceries and cartridges, to lie down in a river, thus injuring the contents of his pack. The Eastern method of abuse is to attack a man’s female relatives—a point on which all Easterns are most sensitive—in language the reverse of choice.

In Anatolia and in most parts of Asia Minor, every man is his own architect and builder, on the following simple principles. When old enough to marry, a man chooses a bit of oblong ground, on the side of a hill if he can, and digs out the earth to the depth of several feet. ‘Hewing down some trees, he cuts six posts, each about ten feet high, and drives them three feet into the ground, three posts being on one side of the oblong, three on the other. Cross-beams are fastened to the top of these uprights, and branches of trees, plastered with clay, cover all.’ The doorway is of rude construction. In the interior, a wooden railing divides the room into two, one-half of which is occupied by the animals, the other by the family. A hole in the ceiling is the only mode of ventilation, and in cold weather this is stopped up. The ‘family’ often consists of{302} twelve in number, and at night they lie huddled on the floor, which in poorer houses is covered with coarse rugs of camels’ hair, and Persian rugs among the wealthier. The close proximity to livestock invites a third and irrepressible population of fleas in most of these houses. The misery of a night spent with legions of these insects must be felt to be thoroughly understood and appreciated. They formed the chief discomfort of the travellers, whose English skins were not case-hardened to the assaults of the lively banqueteers. When sickness overtook them (as it did when they had advanced far on their journey) and sleep became imperative, the misery of our travellers grew serious. To be ravaged by fever as well as by fleas would at once try the strongest. At last in one village a hint was given that if the Effendi’s skin were attacked, no bucksheesh would follow. Instantly the host had a remedy at hand. He had a cart in his yard; and the Effendi at last had the comfort of a few hours of undisturbed slumber.

At various places the Armenian churches were visited. It is the custom among the Armenians, as among the Jews, to separate the women from the men during divine service. The Armenians take the further precaution of hiding the women behind a screened lattice-work. Great pity was expressed for our English clergymen when it was found they used no such precaution in their churches, and it was remarked: ‘They must find it difficult to keep the attention of their flock, if the ladies are as pretty as they are said to be.’ In the Armenian churches, however, the precaution is used to keep the women devotional; but such is the power of attraction, that in many places Captain Burnaby noticed that the lattice had been broken away! The interior of an Armenian church resembles a mosque, and is carpeted with thick Persian rugs. As the Armenian Christians worship pictures, the walls are hung with several in gaudy frames. The service is ritualistic in the extreme, and politic to temporal no less than spiritual rulers; for on the occasion of Captain Burnaby’s attendance, the service opened with two songs sung by the choir—one in honour of the Queen of England, out of compliment to the visitor present; the other for the Sultan. Some of their traditions are curious. One is, that a prince of theirs, a leper, living at the same time as Christ, heard of his miracles, and wrote a letter to the Saviour, inviting him to come and take up his abode in Armenia and cure him of his disease. The Lord is supposed to have replied: ‘After I have gone, I will send one of my disciples to cure thy malady and give life to thee and thine.’ With the letter, Christ is supposed to have sent at the same time a handkerchief which had received the image of his face by being pressed to it; and it is this tradition which they adduce to justify their adoration of pictures.

The Turk’s religion is a compound of faith and fatalism, sprinkled occasionally with due precaution. Here is an instance of their fatalism. When Captain Burnaby was at Kars, the streets were in such a filthy condition, owing to the sewage of the town being thrown in front of the buildings, that the hospitals were full of typhoid, and cholera was anticipated; and yet neither soldiers nor inhabitants would stir a finger to remove the source of their miseries out of the streets; the soldiers declaring that they were not scavengers, and the inhabitants making some other excuse. When warned of the consequences, each took refuge in kismet or fate. Allah was great and able to perform miracles. If Allah saw fit, there would be no cholera—although their streets were reeking with the seeds of disease.

In most of the towns, excitement prevailed in organising battalions for the seat of war. The Turks are essentially a warlike nation, and fight for their country without a murmur, in the face of such disadvantages as bad food and long arrears of pay.

We have not before spoken of a new travelling companion who took Osman’s place—one Mohammed by name, who was as faithful as the Prophet himself. Osman turned out a very bad bargain. His fidelity to the Effendi’s purse became at last greater even than his love of prayer; and his keen eye after an exorbitant percentage was worthy of a London usurer. Remonstrance was in vain. At last he was dismissed, having been caught thieving, and Mohammed reigned in his stead, to the comfort of all parties. He was a soldier and a mountaineer, brave and hardy on land, but a coward at sea. He loved his lord the Effendi, and dearly loved his ‘brother’ Radford’s cooking. His ‘brother’s’ opinion of him at parting was characteristic: ‘That Mohammed was not such a bad chap after all, sir. Them Turks have stomachs, and like filling them they do; but they have something in their hearts as well.’ And so Mohammed shewed—for in illness he was a kind nurse, and faithful to his ‘lord’s’ interests throughout. On one occasion, Mohammed complained of rheumatism, and Radford applied a mustard paper. What a sensation it created among the Kurd villagers—some of whom were spectators of course—when they heard that the wet paper had produced the fire under which Mohammed lay writhing and groaning. It was a miracle; and forthwith the Effendi was hailed everywhere as a hakim or doctor, and his fame spread from place to place on the road. A Persian asked, and even admitted him into his harem, to prescribe for his pretty wife, to whom he gave small doses of quinine. Another time a Kurd asked him to cure his toothache; but mustard papers were powerless here; so Radford was called in consultation, and said it ought to come out. But there were no instruments at hand, and the operation had to be declined. ‘Give me something for my stomach then,’ asked the Kurd. Three pills were then handed to him, which he chewed deliberately, declaring, when he had finished them, his tooth was better!

At one place, after passing over a narrow wooden bridge that spanned the Euphrates—only forty yards wide at this point—the travellers crossed the Hasta Dagh (mountain); presently they came to a glacier, the frozen surface of which extended a hundred yards, the decline being steeper than the roof of an average English house. ‘Should it be taken?’ was the question asked with much consternation, and decided in the affirmative. The guide rode his horse to the glacier. The poor animal trembled when it reached the brink; but a reminder from Mohammed’s whip hastened the poor brute’s decision, and he stretched his forelegs over the declivity, almost touching the slippery surface with his girth. Another crack from Mohammed, and horse and guide were{303} whirling down the glacier, and only pulled up at last by finding themselves buried in a snowdrift six feet deep. When his turn came, Captain Burnaby describes the sensation as if he were ‘waltzing madly down the slippery surface.’ To witness the descent of the others was something fearful; though not so dangerous as it appeared. When Radford emerged from his snowy burial, he exclaimed: ‘I never thought as how a horse could skate before. It was more than sliding, that it was; a cutting a figure of eight all down the roof of a house.’

Our travellers at last reached Batoum, where they parted from Mohammed, and where we must part from them, not without sincere regret. After this, they took ship across the Black Sea to Constantinople, and all adventures were over. We shall not quickly forget the two thousand miles of ground so graphically described, and over a portion of which we have travelled with them in the saddle. Nor will the reader of Captain Burnaby’s volume of travels throughout the land of the Osmanli, easily forget the scenes and incidents and people so graphically depicted. We omit with regret many good stories we should like to have told; but space is inexorable. To those who are inclined to echo this regret, we can only say: ‘Do as we have done, and take the ride with Burnaby for yourselves.’

WEDDING EXTRAVAGANCES.
The following sensible observations on the wastefulness which often takes place on marriage occasions, are from the pen of Camilla Crosland—our old and esteemed contributor originally known as Camilla Toulmin. They appear in Social Notes, a weekly periodical not unlike our own, edited by Mr S. C. Hall, and which has our best wishes for its success.

‘How many people there are who in fine clothes and with smiling faces “assist” at a modern wedding, yet in their heart of hearts think the profuse outlay and the general festive arrangements usual on the occasion a piece of tiresome folly! Few, however, like to make a dead set against time-honoured customs, unless strong personal feelings or personal interests are concerned.

‘Marriage may certainly lay claim to being the most important event in life, and as such there must ever be solemnity associated with it. In fact our Prayer-book speaks of the solemnisation of matrimony. Of course it is right that there should be a certain publicity attached to every marriage ceremony, and probably in this fact originated the custom of inviting friends to be present on the occasion, till by degrees wedding-parties have become more and more crowded, and now it is a common thing for a vast assembly to congregate at them. Of course where there is great wealth, and people love this sort of display, and bride and bridegroom have nerve for it, and are, moreover, happy in possessing “troops of friends,” there is no reason why money should not circulate—the confectioner revel in chefs-d’œuvre, the florist realise a week’s ordinary income in bouquets, and the milliner make her mint of money by rich toilets. But a vice of the English middle class is to ape the rank above it; and I confess it has often to me seemed pitiable to know at what a cost of after self-denial a showy wedding has taken place.

‘It is desirable that when two young people, suitable in age, character, station, are warmly attached, they should be married as soon as prudence permits. Let us take, for instance, the case of an accomplished but portionless young lady, the eldest of several daughters, who has been accustomed to utilise her talents in the home circle. She has been engaged, say four years, to a gentleman in a government office with a slowly rising salary. He is about thirty, she five or six and twenty. He has saved enough money to furnish a pretty little suburban dwelling, and she will be provided by her father with a modest trousseau, and they think it now high time to “settle.” Their income, even including a fatherly allowance for pin-money, will be considerably less than five hundred pounds per annum, and they, being good arithmeticians, know they must live quietly, visit and entertain only in a homely, friendly manner, and neither go to nor give formal parties. Of what use is the costly white silk bridal dress, which in all human probability will never in its original state be worn again? It will, of course, be laid up carefully, and looked at occasionally with tender sentimental interest; but by-and-by, in a year or two, it will seem old-fashioned, and most probably be picked to pieces and dyed some serviceable colour. Then there were probably at least four bride’s-maids, each to be presented with a jewelled souvenir by the not too affluent bridegroom, and the costly wedding-breakfast to be provided by the father. One mischief of the thing being that the whole arrangement becomes a precedent, so that the next sister who marries would seem slighted if she were to have a less stylish wedding.

‘Perhaps the costly entertainment—which is often a great trial to the feelings of the parties most chiefly concerned—can only be given by dipping into a very slender capital, or by relinquishing the autumn seaside holiday. The worst of the matter is that the class a little below the one I have attempted to describe, imitates the bad example in its own way and to its own detriment.’

Mrs Crosland, in conclusion, mentions a case in which persons of respectable standing consulted economy and common sense in their marriage arrangements. ‘Due arrangements having been quietly made, the young lady one morning, dressed in ordinary attire, escorted by her father to “give her away,” and accompanied by a younger sister to serve as bride’s-maid, walked to the parish church, where the expectant bridegroom was ready to receive them. There the ceremony was performed, the little party returning to partake of the family luncheon before the wedded pair started on their tour. Was not this an example worthy under many circumstances to be followed?’

CANINE CUNNING.
The following is from a correspondent: ‘A near neighbour of mine has a large mongrel dog, a terrible nuisance to all passing the house, which unfortunately stands near the highway. The brute has the nasty habit of rushing out and attacking every passing vehicle. Complaints were loud and numerous; and at length the owner hit upon a plan which he thought would effectually{304} cure his dog. He attached a small log of wood or a “clog” by a chain to his collar. This answered admirably; for no sooner did the dog start in pursuit of anything than the clog not only checked his speed but generally rolled him over into the bargain. Now this would not do. Doggie was evidently puzzled, and reflected upon the position; and if he did not possess reasoning powers, he certainly shewed something very like them, for he quickly overcame the difficulty, and to the surprise of all, was soon at his old work, nearly as bad as ever. And this is how he managed. No longer did he attempt to drag the clog on the ground and allow it to check and upset him, but before starting he caught it up in his mouth, ran before the passing horse, dropped it, and commenced the attack; and when distanced, would again seize the clog in his mouth, and resume his position ahead, and thus became as great a pest as ever. Even on his ordinary travels about he is now seen carrying his clog in his mouth, instead of letting it drag on the ground between his legs.’

LOST DOGS.
Few facts will better illustrate the vast scale on which almost everything presents itself in the English metropolis, even so humble a subject as that of poor dogs that have temporarily lost their masters, than one mentioned in the Annual Report of the Chief Commissioner of Police. He informs us that nearly nineteen thousand (more than 18,800) stray dogs were taken charge of by the police in the metropolis during the year 1876! A little romance might be mixed up with the story of most of these homeless wanderers, if we could but know it: how Carlo or Boxer was distressed at losing his protector. The animals were either taken for a while to the Dogs’ Home at Battersea, or were otherwise provided for.

IN MEMORIAM.
(M. A. W.—POETESS. ÆTAT 25.)

O Noble heart! so gentle, kind;
Thy life, like a brief summer wind,
Hath passed away,
And left me here on earth to mourn
Thine early flight to that sweet bourne
Where angels stay.
There may my soul from slumber ’wake
When heaven and earth their concord break,
And Time is o’er;
When Christ, in his enthroned array,
Proclaims aloud his Advent Day
From shore to shore!
There may we meet at last and find
(Mind, heart, and soul for aye entwined)
Eternal rest;
There tread together Eden’s bowers—
The land of life and light and flowers—
With souls as blest.
Brief was thy sojourn here, sweet girl;
And life, with all its glittering whirl,
Soon passed thee by;
Leaving the flower to droop unseen,
The world rolled on, not heeding e’en
Thy dying cry.
In that dark hour, thy fleeting soul,
Regardless of Death’s stern control,
Broke forth in song;
And as the falt’ring numbers came,
By angels fair thy hallowed fame
Was borne along.
O well-beloved! enseamed in light,
If thou canst gaze upon my night
Of lonely grief:
Behold me now, and mark the tears
That still must flow through future years
Without relief.
Yet the dread tomb which steals away
From brightest gem its purest ray—
The Life sublime!
Must know we can its power defy,
For thou art safe beyond the sky,
And for all time.
Yea; thou art safe with that great God
Who rules Creation with a rod
Of love and light;
The Being of a glorious mien,
Whose majesty is Grand, Serene,
And Infinite!
Oh, better far thou shouldst be there,
Removed from this world’s doubt and care—
A gloomy train;
Full-veiled in peerless robes of light,
Enthroned where comes nor storm, nor night,
Nor grief, nor pain.
And could I gaze above and see
The glow of immortality
That veils thy soul,
And feel thy holy presence near,
To guard me from ungodly fear,
And its control:
Then should I bless the hidden blow
That laid my darling’s bosom low
Within the grave;
And own that Love’s immortal Hand
Did guide the swift unerring brand
Which struck to save.
J. A. E.
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