Изображения страниц

been in infancy, so as to throw the halo of time and mystery over it, worships the idea as a sort of guardian angel, to the wronging often of those living and loving far more.

[ocr errors]

She was sitting at the foot of one of the enormous stone masses of clustered columns, which looked almost as large as a house in itself, and she gazed up into the mighty labyrinth of arches and roofs above her head. Each part in a Gothic structure seems to grow out of each by a natural and ever-fied, you'd soon see. varying sequence, there is something so living in it; while a Palladian or Italian building obtains height by simply piling a repetition of column and architrave and niche one upon the other again and again, a far more awkward and inartificial manner of accomplishing it. When the storm of solemn sound thrilling through the aisles came to a stop, the dead stillness seemed to have a charm for her which was almost a music in itself. She woke up from a sort of trance into which it had thrown her, and, as she got up timidly to go out after the choristers, she saw Everhard standing watching her a little way off from behind a grim grating. She was not surprised; somehow, she felt as if all good and true things must be born of that glorious gift of sound.

"Lettice," said he, impatiently, "I saw you passing with your uncle towards the Close, a long way off, and followed after, but the choir door was shut in my face before I could get in; and there I have been trying all this while to make you turn, and you never so much as stirred, sitting there looking so calm and quiet, and I chafing outside. What are you doing here?" he went on, in an aggrieved tone.

"We came part for to see my father, if so be I could," said she, sadly. "He's been took, ye know, and has broke his leg, and



she thought to herself, but she did not speak.

"I only heard about what he'd done yesterday, and came up here directly, and flung it at him that he'd broke his word with me; and I'm not bound any longer to wait, as I promised. Come off with me somewhere, and let us be married quick. Why should we wait any longer like this? Once it were done, they'd all be quiet enough, and satis


Yes, I know," he answered, hurriedly; and then, anxious to get her off the line of thought which the subject led to, "A wonderful bad time we had in the Channel t'other night, you may depend on't."


You got all safe back?" said she, with a little emphasis on the "all," which he understood, and looked at her suspiciously, not liking the Caleb topic much better than the last. He made a third attempt.


There are no such decided measures taken as by a somewhat undecided man—partly perhaps because he is governed by impulse, and partly because he is very much afraid of being governed by any one else.

"But I can't leave 'um all that way; and yer father's quite right, maybe, not to let ye take up with my father's child," said the poor girl, looking up anxiously at him through her gathering tears. We mustn't go agin him as is, after all, thinking for your good; and, maybe, if we wait patient he may come round after a bit, as ye said; but the other thing we never can undo."


"You don't care for me, Lettie," he said, flinging away her hand, but taking it again directly: "you care for some one else; you throw me over when ye are out of sight. Why did ye never answer my letter which I wrote to the Woodhouse so long ago?" he went on, vehemently. "I've been true to you; I've quarrelled with my father about it all, so that I've scarce been near home all these months, and there you've been forgetting me with strange new people and things. What was that Caleb to you, or you to him, when you were troth-plighted to me?" he said, working himself up into a state of wrathful indignation, with a sort of dim sense that to declare himself wronged, although he could not exactly tell how, gave him a kind of power over her, and kept off the thought of the way in which they had last met, and the reason she had to complain of his attack upon her father.


Nothing, nothing; he weren't nothing to me, and never were; how could I ever think o' he? I couldn't help it if he cared for me," cried Lettice, timidly.


"Well, then, what reason can there be why you shouldn't give consent to marry ? " How can I leave uncle Amyas, as has been so good to me, in his trouble?" said the poor girl. "And you know we mustn't do what can't be done openly before God and man."

'Your uncle's come about the mortgage, I suppose? I wrote you word how that I thought to have stopped all about it with my father, and that he'd promised the matter should lay by," he went on, drawing her arm within his, and hurrying on with her, he did not care where, up into the transept. 'Twould settle a heap o' things, about "Oh, that was the letter as was lost," | money and mortgages and all."

"You'd be doing him most good by marrying me, Lettice; you must see that.


"And then my father? I must see my father; and till it's all settled what's to happen about him?" said she, with a shiver "how can I think o' marrying, or giving in marriage? and you know there's things hanging over us that you mayn't maybe wish it yerself then."

Everhard winced, but he recovered himself. By this time he was hotly in earnest, on horseback on his new thought. The very strength of the passion into which he had worked himself, and the opposition, which he did not expect from her, goaded him on, perhaps farther than he would have gone in cold blood.


I don't care about your father; it isn't him I want to marry; it's you, and you know it. And, Lettice, just see here: it's me as wants now to make all straight for yer uncle, and planning all sorts of sacrifices for you, and you won't move an inch for me. Let us alone," he said, turning angrily to the beadle who, regardless of delicate perplexities, was driving them remorselessly before him out at the door. "There's a shilling for you to leave us quiet," he went on, remembering there was no other form of words understood by that functionary.

"Oh, mother!" cried poor Lettice, as they passed and repassed under the marble bust round which she had chosen to hang her longing desire for a mother, "what ever shall I do? won't you help me and tell him it ain't right, and we musn't do it?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"You must turn out if ye don't want to see the moniments. There's St. Swithin's, what brings the rain, or, maybe, the bit o' a skull and the plait o' red hair o' a Saxon lady as were found in an oak coffin three feet six inches below the stone floor when 99 pursued the inexorable beadle, returning upon them. It's tea-time," he explained, as they turned a deaf ear to this delightful offer. "I can't wait no longer, unless so be it were to Everhard would have compounded for the sight of any amount of scalps of any colour, but Lettice walked rapidly away down the nave, and in a few minutes they were once more in the open air.


He did not cease his urging, as he kept close by her side; but her gentleness had no touch of weakness in it; she had by this time made up her mind what was right, and as Mary had once said of her, nothing then would turn her- she "was like a little rock." As they crossed by the corner of

the Close they came upon Amyas, who was coming back to fetch her.



"Leave her alone, young man," said he, gravely. What is it you want her to do, as you should urge a lone girl like that? and he took his niece's arm within his own almost angrily.

"He's been doing all he could wi' his father for us, uncle Amyas," whispered Lettice anxiously, as Everhard still kept close alongside them.


He've no business with it, any way: let him go his way, and leave us to follow ourn. It ain't real love of you, but love of hisself, if he drives and strives wi' a woman like that. What is it, Lettice, as he wants you to do so sorely ?"

But neither of them gave any answer. "You'd speak fast enough both on ye if 'twere anything to be proud on," said Amyas bitterly.


You always turn it against me, whatever it is I do," answered Everhard indignantly. "I'm not ashamed one bit of what I wanted: I asked her to marry me out o' hand, and have done with it. You'd soon all be content enough once it were finished and settled."


Has yer father took back his word any more since that day I heard him swear he'd see you ruined first ? " Everhard was silent.


Have ye even got a blessed sixpence you can call yer own for to nourish her, or a home to shelter her in, as isn't his'n ?"

"Russell's very angry at me being out so much; he's just said I sha'n't stop in the office any longer," blurted out Everhard, incautiously; but I'll find something else to do,"


"There!" said Amyas, walking on faster as he spoke, and drawing Lettice with him. In his dislike for the young man, he was as unjust to the love which was, after all, making him risk everything for her, as Everhard was to him. "You and yours has got the Woodhouse, and a'most everything belonging to us. If ye want my ewe lamb, as is pretty nigh all is left me, you come wi' yer father's consent i' yer hand like a man, fair and open afore the world that's what I have to say to ye, Everhard Wallcott, and then we'll see!" They had reached the busy street; the young man caught one glimpse of the little gentle face looking sadly and regretfully back, and then they parted.

[ocr errors]

From The London Review.

when told that Julius Cæsar in danger of drowning swam to land carrying his Commentaries in his teeth-he exclaims audibly or mentally, "the beast." In these latter days flogging seems to be pretty well abolished, but we will venture to say that a boy who is worth anything will feel less disdishonoured by a caning than by the scolding of a savage and spiteful man.

almost all of us retain a very lively recollection. Not that we were all whining, or all crept unwillingly to school; but, nevertheless, the joys and sorrows of those days are indelibly printed on our memories, rather as happening to some boy or girl of our acquaintance, and who was dear to us, with whom we sympathized, and whom we pity or admire still, than as having occurred to us in our own early youth. In those days joy was ecstasy and sorrow was despair; sensation was intense but brief; now it is faint and long drawn out. There were terrible moments in that spring-time of life. Who does not remember the first day at school when turned into the playground among a lot of big, rough, unsympathizing, strange boys?-good fellows, most of them, but terrible in their want of veneration for all appertaining to the home and adjuncts of their small new schoolfellow. Then to some came nights when they lay down in misery, and mornings when they awoke with an undefined sensation of dread, all because of that Greek or Latin in which they were consciously deficient. There used to be, too, masters who, not content to punish with cane or task, would scold with a shrewish, reckless tongue; from long practice clever at wounding the feelings of children, knowing their tenderest parts both in body and spirit. It has happened to a boy who has broken down in a line of Latin to be denounced by his master, before the whole school, as a thief who was picking his father's pocket, in that he had not learned what his father had paid for his being taught. Of course the dull and careless boy puts his tongue in his cheek and grins the moment the master's eyes are turned away, while one who is sensitive and high-spirited is filled with passionate indignation. Such a boy feels injured and outraged, and the in-sciousness comes near the band of whispersult rankles in his heart, possibly for the ing savages, there will be a lighter heart rest of his life. He never hears of or thinks within his breast than within that of many a of his old master but- - like the schoolboy more successful and perhaps many a better

But to leave schoolmasters and come to the parents themselves. Do they, as a rule, treat their children with an intelligent sympathy? A man whose days are spent in the City, and whose talk is of stocks and funds, of law, or the produce-market, what is generally his idea of duty to his children? Probably it is to leave them as much money as possible. He forgets the romance of his childhood, and how he once was entranced by Robinson Crusoe; how his soul went out with that desolate hero as he built his hut to dwell in; how his flesh crept on his little bones at the footprint in the sand; and how he felt that to be shipwrecked on a desert island was a blessing reserved by the gods for those especially favoured by them. If a man would only call these things to mind, he would tell the good wife at home to be a little blind to the torn knickerbockers aud dirty boots of the boys, who have their own desert island, their canoes, their savages, and their wild beasts, even as he had in the days that come not again to him. Perhaps, though, they may come again to him, if, instead of ridiculing the romance of his children's lives, and chilling the best and most joyous side of their natures, he sympathizes with them. Then, perhaps, they will let him watch them as they make their own cave, and plant the willow wands that are to sprout and grow and hide the entrance to their retreat. If he has been a companion to them both in body and in spirit, they will take him into their confidence, and use his greater muscular strength to assist them in their labours; of his intellect in such matters they will, at best, we fear, have but a low opinion, for he must not expect to rival the great Crusoe himself. Then, as he becomes their beast of burden, their hewer of wood, their delver in the soil, perhaps those long lost days may come again. If then, with the sweat of unaccustomed labour on his brow, he lies on the green turf, a little off from the wild shrubbery where the children have their own domain, and watches the little Crusoe as he walks around his island, and in pretended uncon

PERHAPS there is no truer thing in Shakespeare than his division of the life of man into so many ages, each of which is represented by a separate player upon the world's stage. It is not easy for any one in after life to realize the fact that he or she was once, and not so very long ago, a damp, unpleasant baby. Of that first part of our existence none of us know much; but of our second part —

"The whining schoolboy, with his satchel, And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school,"

worst, it cannot rob them of the remem brance of the past joys, which are their in heritance forever.

From The London Review. CHAUCER'S ENGLAND.*

THIS is, in all respects, a singular work. One is no less surprised than gratified to meet a writer who has at once the frank audacity and the skill to take up materials which time and tradition have almost ren

man. On the other hand, if he has treated his children's romances with ridicule, has made fairies a laughing-stock, denied the existence of the great Crusoe, and has sat in the seat of the scorner, he had better not go near the children when their small hearts beat high, and their souls pant after the unknown. The first glance of an unsympathizing person scatters their imaginations; each one will walk off in a different direction, and while the intruder is near their joys are ended. Perhaps the sight of this may make him touchy, and he takes the opportunity to remark upon troublesome children always digging holes, making them-dered sacred, and, by the admixture of perselves dirty, and tearing their clothes. The sonal opinion, odd suggestion, and intelliman who does this may be pronounced by gent and far-reaching comparison, to create his friends a good father, he may leave his out of these a thoroughly fresh and enterchildren abundance of money, and when he taining book. It would be hard to name is dead and gone they may remember him anything which is not in this picture of with respect as an excellent man of business, prudent and honourable, but their hearts will not go up to him with passionate yearning and affection, nor until they themselves are old men and women will they always mention his name with that tenderness of voice and look of love that should keep his memory green to his children's children after him.


Chaucer's England" except dulness. It abounds with passages of the finest and most sensitive literary criticism which we have met with for many a year. It contains historical parallels in which the writer shows the rare gift of being able to grasp the results of long transitorial periods. It has poetry, fiction, antiquarianism, brought in to lend a helping hand in causing a certain time in the history of England to thrill with life and colour. Indeed, as we have already hinted, the book deals with Chaucer's England, plus Matthew Browne. Whenever some stately pageant or some humorous show comes before us, we are conscious at the same moment of the presence at our elbow of an acute and intelligent observer, who explains, and points out, and compares. Instead of this book upon the England of Chaucer's time being, as it might have been, a laborious and well-meant compilation of curious memoranda a bundle of antiquarian rags and tatters, very curious, but not very inviting—it is a series of illustrations, full of minute accuracy and information, and yet lambent with the picturesque glow and colour of the writer's imagination. For instance, we are not in the habit of having the influence of worldly reminiscences upon the mind of a chronicling old monk "described in this fashion :

It is given but to very few of us to hand down to posterity a name made great and famous in the world's strife. We are most of us plodding, uninteresting folk, who seem to leave no mark on the world: history will never know us. But the capacity for producing either misery or happiness is hereditary, and does not stop with us. The children of captious, exacting parents are often themselves captious and exacting; while the memory of loving sympathy bestowed upon ourselves in our young days begets in us the like sympathy towards others. In this way we can all do a good work in the world, and leave behind us loving remembrances. What is it a man dwells upon in the memory of his parents passed away? We fancy it is the games played and races run together rather than the money left behind them. It is the parents who must educate the child; the schoolmaster will never do it. He may cram a certain amount of Greek and Latin into a boy's head, but there he stops. He will never supply the place of the father. It is for the latter to rouse in a child a taste for what is noble and beautiful. Above all, youth should be a time for love and peace and happiness; for none can say what shall come after! Who does not creep with pain is impossible, try as we may, to make real to at the cry of a child? Let the little ones, the mind the feelings of a religious recluse with at all events, have a happy childhood to look back upon, and then, let fate do her vols. London: Hurst & Blackett. Chaucer's England. By Matthew Browne. Two

"So long as the house of the religious recluse was a centre of hospitality, and a sanctuary in times of violence, the monks must have possessed a considerable knowledge of the outer world, and then, being debarred from any share in its activities, they would naturally enough become their chroniclers and commentators. It




respect to the outer world, in a day when the lines of demarcation between the sacred and the Becular were so sharply and decisively drawn; but for a priest of any imagination and moral force, points of contact would be found. Let any man, having given himself up to the spirit of the place, and heard the chanting, and thought himself back a few hundred years as well as he can, stand in the nave of Westminster Abbey, and, under those awful columnar arches, which seem as if they would draw closer and closer every moment, look up at the painted window through which shines the bright afternoon sun. The feeling of the vowed recluse, accustomed to the cell, the cloister, the vigil, and the silence he cannot have; the use and wont he must miss; but he may help his imagination by permitting the long aisle of Gothic arches to do their natural work upon him. Neither the square nor the round arch affects the mind like the pointed, in which the spire is added; and while the lofty point appears as if it might for ever go on rising, the columns and the arch seem as if they might for ever draw closer and closer around and over

I should like to have the mediaval

the man who stands below and looks upwards. In the distance, indeed, the movements of approach seems already begun - there is motion in these arches a stifling sense of being shut in comes over me as I stand. Suddenly I lift my eyes to the stained window, and what is the effect? All the outer world seems to come in and descend upon me, through the bright colour and the shining that will not be shut out. The plumed knight goes cantering by, with the light on his corslet; the fair lady on her ambling palfrey, with her peaked head-gear and blue velvet bodice; the statesman, the citizen, the Was there ever a brighter, freer, more musical labourer, the poor man's wife, the motley of the suggestion put into a couplet? For two things streets; the king's pleasure-barge, the swans, I have many a time sat in a waking dream and and the wherry boat on the river; the Tower, wished myself for a short space in the middle and the markets, and the bordering fields; the ages. young men and the maidens, the old and the Christian faith for a day; to sit in a cathedral, mature, who are yet full of life, the husbandman join in the service, thrill at the Dies Iræ,' with the fail, the churl in the stocks, the magis-listen to the tread of the passing worshipper as trate on the seat of justice-the world I have if he were walking in the very aisles of everquitted for my cloister pours in upon me like lasting fate, and watch, with fear and passion, motes in a shaft of suggestion; and for me to the face of my dear lady as the light through write a chronicle will be as natural as for Crusoe the painted window slanted over her brow. And I should like to go out hawking with my to notch his stick." dear lady, for a morning also. True, my love and I would need to be much more hard-hearted than men and women of gentle nurture in the days of Victoria; but let that pass, for a day only. And let me go forth with her into the open, and trot to the river-side, with the fal coners at such a distance that they cannot hear our talk, which is, I need not say, of Lancelot, Sir Isumbras, the Tale of Troy, the last tournay (at which I won with my lady's colours on my shoulder), and my own undying passion. of many a travelled mile, and gently buffets my Up sweeps the wind, charged with the soft odours lady's cheek till it is like an apple, the side that's next the sun.' We see the river a little ahead. A king-fisher darts up from among the tall rushes. There is a heron, and we mean to have him. Take off the hood, let go the jesses,

For the reasons suggested above, we prefer the first of these vol.mes to the second. The first deals more with Chaucer and his writings, illustrating them as chance requires by descriptions of their surroundings; but the second volume, dealing more particularly with these surroundings themselves, is necessarily more of a compilation. Very interesting the compilation is, the author having evidently spared no pains in making his book a trustworthy reflex of Chaucer's times. "If the plan of this book," says Mr. Matthew Browne, in a postscript, had been different, my own taste and my own notion of what ought to be interesting would have led me to compose it entirely of extracts,


with a very few brief explanatory comments." We are very glad that Mr. Browne was not allowed to follow out this notion. Anybody can make extracts; and there are always a large number of people engaged in so manufacturing books. But that they are interesting, except to people who can again

make use of the raw material thus raked The together, we are inclined to doubt. particular excellence of the present work lies in the very fact that the antiquarian jottings about "Chaucer's England," which are more or less familiar to cultivated readers, have here found a translator and exponent capable of transfusing into them his own personal feeling, and lending to them the light of his own interpretation, so that, instead of a Manual of Dates," we have a series of bright and interesting essays which would be delightful even if they were founded on fiction. Here, for instance, is a passage upon hawking, which is surely very different in style from the work of the


"extracter: "

"It was the gun, of course, that at last put an end to hawking. No doubt, shooting with the fowling-piece is a less cruel method of catching birds than catching them by setting birds of prey at them; but it is hard not to regret the charming sport,

Only a page that carols unseen,
Fitting your hawks their jesses.'

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »