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the richer and more luxuriant) Nature of England, and the rude, shaggy, barbarous Nature which offers us its racier companionship in America. less a change has been wrought among the wildest creatures that inhabit what the English call their forests. By-andby, among those refined and venerable trees, I saw a large herd of deer, mostly reclining, but some standing in picturesque groups, while the stags threw their large antlers aloft, as if they had been taught to make themselves tributary to the scenic effect. Some were running fleetly about, vanishing from light into shadow and glancing forth again, with here and there a little fawn careering at its mother's heels. These deer are almost in the same relation to the wild, natural state of their kind that the trees of an English park hold to the rugged growth of an American forest. They have held a certain intercourse with man for immemorial years; and, most probably, the stag that Shakspeare killed was one of the progenitors of this very herd, and may himself have been a partly civilized and humanized deer, though in a less degree than these remote posterity. They are a little wilder than sheep, but they do not snuff the air at the approach of human beings, nor evince much alarm at their pretty close proximity; although, if you continue to advance, they toss their heads and take to their heels in a kind of mimic terror, or something akin to feminine skittishness, with a dim remembrance or tradition, as it were, of their having come of a wild stock. They have so long been fed and protected by man, that they must have lost many of their native instincts, and, I suppose, could not live comfortably through even an English winter without human help. One is sensible of a gentle scorn at them for such dependency, but feels none the less kindly disposed towards the half-domesticated race; and it may have been his observation of these tamer characteristics in the Charlecote herd that suggested to Shak

speare the tender and pitiful descrip tion of a wounded stag, in "As You Like It."

At a distance of some hundreds of yards from Charlecote Hall, and almost hidden by the trees between it and the road-side, is an old brick archway and porter's lodge. In connection with this entrance there appears to have been a wall and an ancient moat, the latter of which is still visible, a shallow, grassy scoop along the base of an embankment of the lawn. About fifty yards within the gate-way stands the house, forming three sides of a square, with three gables in a row on the front and on each of the two wings; and there are several towers and turrets at the angles, together with projecting windows, antique balconies, and other quaint ornaments suitable to the half-Gothic taste in which the edifice was built. Over the gate-way is the Lucy coat-of-arms, emblazoned in its proper colors. The mansion dates from the early days of Elizabeth, and probably looked very much the same as now when Shakspeare was brought before Sir Thomas Lucy for outrages among his deer. The impression is not that of gray antiquity, but of stable and time-honored gentility, still as vital as ever.

All

It is a most delightful place. about the house and domain there is a perfection of comfort and domestic taste, an amplitude of convenience, which could have been brought about only by the slow ingenuity and labor of many successive generations, intent upon adding all possible improvement to the home where years gone by and years to come give a sort of permanence to the intangible present. An American is sometimes tempted to fancy that only by this long process can real homes be produced. One man's lifetime is not enough for the accomplishment of such a work of Art and Nature, almost the greatest merely temporary one that is confided to him; too little, at any rate, yet perhaps too long, when he is discouraged by the idea that he must

make his house warm and delightful for a miscellaneous race of successors, of whom the one thing certain is, that his own grandchildren will not be among them. Such repinings as are here suggested, however, come only from the fact, that, bred in English habits of thought, as most of us are, we have not yet modified our instincts to the necessities of our new forms of life. A lodging in a wigwam or under a tent has really as many advantages, when we come to know them, as a home beneath the roof-tree of Charlecote Hall. But, alas! our philosophers have not yet taught us to see what is best, nor have

our poets sung us what is beautifullest, in the kind of life that we must lead; and therefore we still read the old English wisdom, and harp upon the ancient strings. And thence it happens, that, when we look at a time-honored hall, it seems more possible for men who inherit such a home, than for ourselves, to lead noble and graceful lives, quietly doing good and lovely things as their daily work, and achieving deeds of simple greatness when circumstances require them. I sometimes apprehend that our institutions may perish before we shall have discovered the most precious of the possibilities which they involve.

MR. AXTELL.

PART VI.

"THE leaves of the second autumn were half-shrivelled in drawing near to the winter of their age.

"I had been to see your mother. She was ill. Mary's death was slowly, surely bringing her own near. We had had a long talk that afternoon. Her visions of life were rare and beautiful. She was like Mrs. Wilton, the embodiment of all that is purely woman. She had wrought a solemn spell over me,-made Eternity seem near. I had been changed since that prayer on the sea-shore, fourteen months before, but now I felt a longing to go away. Earth seemed so drear, mother was sick, — Abraham unhappy, my father deep in the perplexing cares of his profession, mostly from home, Mrs. Percival was dying, the year was passing away, and I, too, would be going; and as I went out of the house to go home, I remembered the day wherein I had waited in the viny arbor for Mary to awaken from sleep, how I had gone down to the sea to waken myself to a

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light that burned before it blessed. Since then I had avoided the place, barred with so many prison-wires. Now I felt a longing to go into it. The leaves were frost-bitten. I sympathized with them. Autumn winds went sighing over their misfortunes; spirit - winds blew past me, on their way to and from the land that is and the land that is not to us. The arbor was dear with a newborn love. I went out to greet it, as one might greet a ship sailing the same great ocean, though bound to a different port. There was a something in that old vine-clad arbor that was in me. I felt its shadows coming out to meet me. They chilled a little, but I went in. I looked at the little white office, across the yard, in the corner. thought of the face that came out that day to see me, the face that drank up my heart in one long draught, begun across Alice dead, finished when I read that letter. The cup of my heart was empty,-so empty now! I looked down into it; it was fringed with stalactites,

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crystallized from the poison of the glass. Oh! what did I see there? A dead, dead crater, aching for the very fire that made it what it was, crying out of its fierce void for fiery fusion. Why did our God make us so, - us, who love, knowing we should not? I knew from the beginning that Bernard McKey ought not to be cared for by me; but could I help it? Now the veil of death, I believed, hung between, and the cup of my heart might be embalmed: the last change, I thought, had come to it, and left it as I that day found.

"Chloe came around the corner, throwing her apron over her head. She looked up and down the way, as if in search of some one, went down the walk to the gate, looked as I had once seen her do at our house, taking it window by window, and finding no one, (the day seemed deserted,) she was walking back. I called to her from the arbor. "I was just looking for you, Miss Lettie. I've got a letter here. Mistress is too sick to read it for me, and Master 's away. Would you?'

"It was addressed to Chloe. I broke the seal and opened it. It seemed a long letter. I gave a sigh at the task before me, and looked over to the end. I saw the signature: it was Bernard H. McKey. After that I saw Chloe's troubled black face written on my vision, and felt dripping drops about my head.

"There, Miss Lettie, it's all over, now. I's so glad you 're come to! I won't bother you with reading any more letters. It would have to be much good in it that 'ud pay me for seeing you so.' "I was sitting in the arbor a little later, alone, reading the letter. Through the rending of the cup dew stole in; the mist was stifling. Still 't was better than the death that reigned before. The contents of my life were not poured out beyond the earth. The thought gave me comfort. It is so sad to feel the great gate shut down across the flume of your heart! to have the stilled waters set back, never more to join those that

have escaped, gone on, to turn the wheel of Eternity! In that hour it was joy enough for me to know that he lived, even if the life was for another. I, too, had my bright portion in it.

"Chloe came back. She had forgotten the letter, when she went in to Mrs. Percival. She said 'faintin' must be good for me; she had n't seen me look so fine in a many days.'

"I told Chloe that the letter had been written to me, that it was not meant for her. At first she did not comprehend; after that I felt sure that a perception of the truth dawned in her mind, she watched me so closely.

"I carried my letter home. That night I compared the two, the one Abraham had found (where I knew not, I never questioned him) with this. They bore no resemblance: but I remembered that two years make changes in all things; they might have effected this. The signatures were unlike; the latter contained the initial H. What if they were not written by the same person? The question was too mighty for me. I was compelled to await the

answer.

"Bernard would be in Redleaf in November. He named the day, -appointed the place of meeting. It was the old tower in the church-yard. I had a fancy, as you have, for the dreary dimness there. As children, we made it our temple for all the worships childhood knows. The door had long been gone; it was open to every one who chose to enter in. Before the coming of the day, I was in continual fear lest the new joy that had come into my life should trace itself visibly on my outward seeming. I took it in as the hungry do food, and tried to hide the sustenance it gave. I saw that my mother's eyes were often upon me, - that she was trying to follow my joy to its source. One day, it was the very one before his coming, she came suddenly upon me when I was wrapt in my mantle of exquisite consciousness. I had gone

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"it will prove to him the truth of what I say."

I hesitated to take that which she proffered.

"You must not disappoint me," she said. "I have spent happy hours since you went away, in the belief that Providence sent you here to me in the greatness of my need. I cannot tell Abraham; I could not bear the joy that will, that must come, when he lays down the burden of his crime,- for, oh ! it will be at the feet of Bernard McKey. You will not refuse me this?" she pleaded.

Anna Percival, in the silence of that upper room where so much of life had come to her, sat at Miss Axtell's side, and thought of the dream that came one Sunday morning to her, sleeping, and out of the memory of it came tolling down to her heart the words then spoken, and, taught by them, she answered Miss Axtell's pleading by an "I will.”

"Good little comfort-giver!" Miss Lettie said; and she left the package, containing the precious jewel, in my hands.

Bewildered by the story, filled with sorrow for sufferers passed away from the great, suffering earth, aching for those that still were in the void of misery, I arose to go. "It was near to mid-day; Aaron and Sophie would wait dinner for me," I said to Miss Lettie's pleading for another hour. Ere I went, the conventionalities that signalled our meeting were repeated, and, wrapped in the web and woof Miss Axtell had woven, I went down the staircase and through the wide hall and out of the solemn old house, wondering if ever again Anna Percival would cross its entrance-porch. Kino heard the noise of the closing of the door, and came around the corner to see who it might be. I stayed a moment to say a few comforting words to the dog. Kino saw me safely outside of the gate by way of gratitude. I walked on toward the par

sonage.

Redleaf seemed very silent, almost

deserted. I met none of the villagers in my homeward walk. "It will be ten minutes yet ere Sophie and Aaron will, waiting, say, 'I wonder why Anna does not come,'" I thought, as I drew near, and my fingers held the tower-key. I had not been there since the Sunday morning memorable to me through all coming time. I lifted the fastening to the church-yard, and went in. My sister Mary lay in this church-yard now. I had until this day known only sister Sophie, and in my heart I thanked Miss Axtell for her story. I went in to look at Mary's grave. A sweet perfume filled the inclosure; it came to me through the branching evergreens; it was from Mary's grave, covered with the pale pink flowers of the trailing-arbutus. I knew that Abraham Axtell had brought them hither. I gathered one, the least of the precious fragments. I knew that Mary, out of heaven seeing me, would call it no sacrilege, and with it went to my tower.

Spring fingers had gathered up the leaves of snow, winter's growth, from in among the crevices of stone. I noticed this as I went in. The great stone was over the passage-opening, just where Mr. Axtell had dropped it, lest Aaron should see. Something said to me that my love for the tower was gone, that never more would I care to come to it; and I think the voice was speaking truly, everything did seem so changed. The time moss was only common moss to me, the old rocks might be a part of any mountain now. I had caught up all the romance, all the poetry, which is mystery, of the tower, and henceforth I might leave it to stand guard over the shore of the Sea of Death, white with marble foam. I went up to the very window whence I had taken the brown plaid bit of woman's wear. I looked out from where I had seen the dying day go down. I heard the sound, from the open door of the parsonage, of Sophie's voice, humming of contentment; I saw the little lady come and look down the village - street for me; I saw her

part those bands of softly purplish hair, with fingers idly waiting the while she stood looking for me. I looked up at the window, down at the floor, down through the winding way of stair, where once I had trembling gone, and, with a farewell softly spoken, I left my churchyard tower with open door and key in the lock. Henceforth it was not mine. I left it with the hope that some other loving soul would take up my devotion, and wait and watch as I had done.

Aaron chanced at dinner-time to let fall his eyes on the door, swinging in the wind. Turning, he looked at me. I, divining the questioning intent of answered,

his eyes, an

"It is I, Aaron. I've left the key in the door. I resign ownership of the

tower."

hurry, Miss, if you 're going on," and in another minute I was at sea.

I had so much to think of, I knew it would be impossible for sleep to come to me; and so I went on deck to watch the twinkling lights of Redleaf and the stars up above, whilst my busy brain should plan a way to keep my promise to Miss Axtell. I could not break up her fancied security; I could not deprive her of the time to think " before crossing the great bridge, by telling her of the stranger sick in Doctor Percival's house, and so I let her dream on. It might be many weeks, nay, months, ere Mr. McKey would recover, hence there was no need that she should know; by that time she would be quite strong again.

Once on deck, and well wrapped from

The grave minister looked pleased. the March sea-breeze, blowing its latSophie said,

"Oh, I am so glad, you are growing rational, Anna!"-and Anna Percival did not tell these two that she had emptied the tower of all its mystery, and thrown the cup afloat on the future. Aaron and Sophie were doomed to wonder why I came to Redleaf. Sophie begged my longer stay; Aaron thought, with his direct, practical way of looking at all things, save Sophie, that I "had better not have come at all, if only to stay during the day-journey of the sun."

The stars were there to see, when I bade good-bye to Chloe at the parsonage, and went forth burdened with many messages for Jeffy. Aaron and Sophie went with me to the place of landing. It was past Miss Axtell's house. Only one light was visible; that shone from Miss Lettie's room. Aaron said,

"I saw Mr. Axtell this morning. He was going across the country, he said."

No one asked him "Where?" and he said no more.

We were late at the steamboat. I had just time to bid a hasty farewell, and hear a plank-man say, "Better

est breath over the sea, I took a seat near a large party who seemed lovers of the ocean, they sat so quietly and so long.

My face was turned away from all on deck. I heard footsteps going, coming, to and fro, until these steps came into my reverie. I wished to turn and see the owner, but, fearing that the charm would vanish, I kept my eyes steadily seaward. I scarcely know the time, it may have been an hour, that thus I had sat, when once again the footsteps drew near. The owner paused an instant in passing me. I fancied some zephyr of emotion made his footsteps falter a little. Nothing more came. He walked, as before, and once, when I was certain that all the deck lay between my eyes and him who so often had drawn near, I turned to look. I saw only a gentleman far down the boat, wrapped in an ordinary travelling-shawl. Neither form nor walk was, I thought, familiar, and I lost my interest.

I began to dream of other things, of the going home, and should I find Mr. McKey improved during my ab? The party near me began to talk; it was pleasant to hear soft home

sence

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