« ПредишнаНапред »
same time, by some trick of fancy, the The Sir Charles Harcourt, who blooming and vigorous nature of the woke the next morning at Beechurst, country girl whom he had seen in was he who had always possessed it. Maria's company at the farm-house, He now remembered the events of the returned to his heart. Thus cutting past week as if they had been parts short all his perplexities by one violent of his own life. There appeared no resolution, he breathed upon his ring, break in his self-consciousness, nor pronounced to himself the name of had he the slightest notion of the gap James Wilson, and his wish was accom- in his existence which had been filled plished.
by the presence of another person.
Early on Sunday morning, James bright straw bonnet, with its blue opened his eyes in the old farm-house, ribbon, and James his new hat, and dressed himself hastily, and went to the father his with its brim at least six look after the different little matters in inches broad; and, leaving the mother the stable and the farm-yard, which, at home to take care of the house, the even on Sunday, must be attended to three set out to walk through the fields He then returned to the house to make to church. The old man often lingerhimself smart, which he succeeded in ed or turned a step aside, or stopped by dint of clean linen, a new blue coat to speak to some of the neighbours, with large gilt buttons, a white hand and Ann and James could talk almost kerchief round his neck, a yellow waistas freely as if they had been in a wilcoat, and a drab garment below ter- derness. The church was more than minating in top-boots. He certainly usually crowded with people come to looked very well; and while he gazed hear a new organ played, which had into the little twisted looking-glass, he been presented by the kind-hearted even ventured to think so, but some- squire, for it was not Sir Charles Harhow he feared not well enough to court's parish ; but Mr Musgrave, the please Ann. She, too, after helping curate, preached a sermon, in which to prepare the breakfast, had put on he laid bare to the astonished culprits her best clothes. Her long dark hair, the erroneousness of the motives that indeed, was almost hidden under a cap, led them to attend public worship only but still formed a glossy shade around when some strange novelty attracted her forehead. The face it crowned them. But the Wilsons were unwrung, was as winning as bright health, and and enjoyed both the organ and the brighter spirits, high complexion, and sermon, except that Ann was sorry for pretty features, could make it. Nor the poor people who had acted so did her figure look less graceful in the foolishly, and were now so severely white cotton-gown, with little blue reprimanded. The old man pronounflowers all over it, which James had ced the sermon a right good one, and given her, and which she had tied with said that their parson was the best a blue sash. The white stockings and man in that country, only now and neat shoes set off the smallness of her then a little too sharp upon people's feet, and showed that her hands, but faults. In the afternoon, Ann staid at for a life of labour, would not have home, and the other three went to the been less delicate. When at work, she service. In the evening the mother often sang half-inwardly some verse undertook to milk the cows, and the of a gay or sad song, and still went father to attend to all other matters, earnestly about her task ; but when while Ann and James went out to resting, or at meals, and especially walk. when James was with her, her face They strolled arm in arm, saying was in a perpetual play of blushes, little to each other, along the deep and and downcast looks, and hearty laugh- warm lanes overgrown with grass, ter; and eyes, and teeth, and cheeks, and enclosed between high banks and and lips, and soul, all seemed possess. busby hedges. The nightingale was ed by some imp of heedless merriment. still heard in the distance. The wild So was it this morning. . As soon as rose and the honeysuckle climbed on breakfast was over, she put on her either hand, and were interwoven with
the flowers of the bind-weed and the “Our hay is very well saved this nightshade. The perfume from the year, Ann-and it is very pleasant to white and purple clover fields filled be here with you I mean, I like us all the air. Now and then James to be together." caught at a wild flower, and gave it “So do I.” to Ann, who took it, and only said, in " Ann, will you marry me?" a low voice, “ Thank you." And still A long pause followed, and then a low they wandered on, till they turned “ Yes,' and she hung down her head. through a gap into the thick dark Their happiness need not be described. copse. They passed forward through But marble balconies, or silken parithe green shadows, broken here and lions, never witnessed a fonder kiss there by some straggling beam of yels than that in which their lips united, low light, till they reached a point on as they sat upon the old oak-stump. the banks above a little stream, glan- When they returned by moonlight cing away under its screen of hazel to the farm-house, Ann's manner was and alder. Here they found the broad much altered. She went silently grey table left in cutting down an through the kitchen, where the old enormous oak-tree. On this Ann couple sat, to her own room ; and seated herself, and James sat beside James, too, who remained with his her. He poked the ground before parents, held his tongue for a few mihim with his stick. She settled her nutes. Then he burst into a loud nosegay, and stuck it in her breast. laugh, and jumped up and told his At last he said, “ Ann, I have some- story, and hugged his mother in his thing - something – something — to arms, and asked his father's consent, say to you."
and could not finish a sentence till he « Well-well-well-James, what ended in a fit of tears, which changed is it?"
again to laughter. 6 It is a very fine evening."
That night their supper was peaceAnn drew a long sigh, as if relieved ful and joyous, as if it had been a from a great fright, and answered, meal in Paradise before the Fall of 6. Yes, it is, very fine."
The next day, at Burntwood farm, away without writing to you. I reachwas strangely in contrast with this ed London at noon on Tuesday, and Sunday evening. A letter came in in the course of that day, I found out the morning to Mr Wilson, written poor Elizabeth. But as I have writ. in the name of his lost daughter--for ten all about her to father, I shall not she was herself too ill to write-en- say the same things over again to you. treating his forgiveness, and telling of I was advised to take a bed here at the the loss of her husband and child. Black Bear, by Smithfield, where there Their hearts were divided between are very decent, civil people, and a joy at hearing of her, and grief at the great many farmers and graziers. thought of her sufferings. It was But some of them, as I am told, are immediately determined that James only these London chaps dressed up should go to London and see her, and, to look like us from the country, and if possible, remove her to Burntwood. so cheat us unawares. And clever He set out that afternoon. He wrote knowing fellows many of them look. from London to his father, giving an I feel as much ashamed when I look account of his sister's state, and an one of them in the face as if he could nouncing that he would return with see through me, and knew I was never her at once to Burntwood. Ann also in London before. But when any one received, by the same post, a letter seems cross with me for staring at from him, which was the longest and him, I take off my hat like a gentlemost elaborate composition he had man, and make him a low bow, and I ever attempted, or she had ever seen. notice that then they mostly seem
The greater portion of it ran as fol. pleased and good - humoured like. lows:
But, dear Ann, all the farmers and the ~ Dear Ann, I cannot be so long farming men too, in our country would
make no difference in this big crowded know what all inside, that would make place, if they were all here together. a cloth larger than our great net-cloth. When I came into the streets, on the top There are some big shops, too, full of of the coach, I thonght, to be sure it nothing but boots and shoes. But, no was fair-day. So I asked a man who doubt, when the King wants shoes for sat next me, and he said, "Aye, to be his army, he comes here and buys sure, man. In London its always them, and they must wear out a power fair-day for fools. Many a one of of them in those long marches, when them comes here to look for a purse, they are going after glory, which I and goes back without a pocket.' I suppose must be all one with walking knew by his way of speaking he was against time. I judge, too, that the jeering of me. But another gentle. King must use a sight of things for man spoke to me milder, and said, “It himself; for I counted eleven tailor's is always the same in London, for there shops that had,Tailor to the King' are people enough living there to crowd written up upon them. So you may all the fairs in England. And so, to guess what a deal of clothes he wears. be sure, there are unaccountable many I saw, too, nigh as many cake-shops of them, and carriages, and carts, and with Confectioner to the King;' condrays. Oh, Ann, it is altogether a fectioner means a man that makes perplexity! The coach could hardly cakes; but if he eats too many tarts go along the street for them, and some and things, and makes himself sick, of them were long things, like big there is at least one doctor's shop for hearses, only painted bright colours, every cake-shop, with 'Apothecary to and full of live rich people; but the the King' upon it. I have been by poor walk along the sides of the St Paul's Church too, which is the streets, and yet some of them are as biggest thing in the world, since the finely dressed as lords and ladies. Temple of Solomon, and Noah's Ark;
“Since I came, I have walked about and I thought my eyes would never and looked at the different things and get up to the top, it is so high. It has people, and a wonder the place is to a roof like a punch-bowl, with a spike see. The crowd goes along past one, sticking out of it. Only, I think, the as many and as busy as ants, and none punch-bowl must be a good half-mile of them seem thinking of each other, round. And it is all built up with pil. any more than if they were all trees lar work, and windows, so strong, that or stones. In our country, and when it seems it would stand for ever. I go to market or fair, I know most Thought I to myself, I wonder will that of the people by look, and shake hands fine place burn in the great fire that with half of them. But here, in Lon- you know, Ann, will burn down every don, I felt quite lonely among so many thing in the Day of Judgment. What who cared nothing for me, nor I for a blaze that will be! For I am telling them. I saw many scores, ay, hun. no lies when I say, that if you could dreds of fine ladies, some of them ri. lift up the church, you might set it ding in their carriages, with their beau. down over Burntwood, dwellingtiful silk, and lace, and feathers, but house, and barns, and trees, and all, none of them said how d'ye do to me; just, as I could clap an extinguisher and I would have given them all in a over your thimble, and room to spare bundle, and their carriages too, for a too. Now, you must know that all look of yours, though they seem so the while I was going along the streets, proud and high. I daresay they would there was such a whirling, and a clatbe pretty much surprised at it. And, ter, and a squeaking, and a buzzing, oh, Ann, the shops! all the clothes, and a smoke, quite unaccountable, and meat, and wonderful things, more that altogether it made my head turn in one shop than I could tell of in all round inside, as if it had been a millmy life! I have seen eggs enough to stone. And I began to have all man. fill our barn, and frying-pans enough ner of queer fancies as if I never should to fry them all at once, and bacon get back home. And I saw ever so enough to eat with them. I do sup- many black kings on horseback, stuck pose, that in the front of one shop, up in different places, and looking there is glass enough to make a glass- grander and fiercer than the judge at case for our biggest rick, and silks, assizes, just as if they had only to come and satins, and shawls, and I do not down from the stone places they were
on, and ride over all the people like a vered with roses, and she stooped her donkey among the chickens. But I head upon her hand, and gave a great suppose they were put there to keep sigh, and said, “But when that is done, them out of mischief.
still I shall not be married to the man of “ Last night an oldish sort of a far my heart, but quite the contrary. Supmer, that the people here tell me has a pose then I also poison my detested deal of grazing land down in Essex, sat husband. Then, alas! I shall not near me while I was taking my sup- know which of the others to choose, per, and he says to me, quite friendly, for my heart is too tender and cannot • Young man, will you come with me decide for either of them.' Thought to the play?' So I said, “Yes, to I to myself,—Young woman, for all be sure, when I have done this plate your good looks and finery, I am glad of beef.' So he told me to leave my you're not my wife. Then first her watch and my money with the land father came to see her, and wish her lord, all but a few shillings for use, joy of the marriage, and she gave him and off we went, for, as I had had a glass of wine to drink her health, something to eat and drink, I was as and, do you know, that very wine had fresh as a colt. When we got to the the poison in it? We should never playhouse, there was a big paper stuck have thought of that down at Burntup with red letters on it, saying they wood, would we? Then he went were going to act“ Woman's Miseries, away, and in came one of her two or the Victim of the Heart,” transla- lovers, and wanted to kiss her; but she ted from the French. Well, thought treated him very properly, and would 1, if it is any thing about those l'rench not let him touch her, only at last she that we beat last war, it must be good whispered him, loud enough for me fun, because as how they eat frogs for to hear, that he must go kill her hus. mutton, and tadpoles for lamb. We band. paid at the door, and went into a place “ Just then the other lover came in, that Grub-an odd name, isn't it, Ann? and as they were both officers, and --he's the Essex man-told me was had their swords by their sides, they called the pit, and there we sat down drew them, and fought together, while in a big room all full of candles, and the lady fell down on her knees and people making noises and faces, and looked up to the ceiling. Then one looking as strange as could be. Then of them was killed, and fell close by the fiddles played very loud and pret. her, and he gave her such a look be. ty, and then the play began; and they fore he died - O dear! Then she got pulled up a big cloth, and there was up and ran to the other, and put her a place behind it for all the world like arms about him, and said, 1 Brave the floor of our barn. There were Henry, you have won my heart.' So gentlemen and ladies walking on it, they talked about it a bit, just as if and one of them was called Felicity they had been bargaining for a pig at an odd name, isn't it, Ann? She was market, and they settled they would to be married to a gentleman imme- hide the dead man under the garden diately, and it was all settled, and she seat she had been sitting on, and she seemed mighty fond of him. But after sat down on it again, so that nothing she was married, she came forward could be seen. Then the lover went close to us, and told us quite as a secret, away behind the bushes, and she that she did not like him at all, only turned up her eyes, and groaned, and she did not say so beforehand, for fear said, “Now her life was a burtben to it should stop the marriage ; but that her, for she had seen the death of the she liked two other men better. Then only man she loved. Just then her she said her father was an ungrateful husband came in and wanted to talk tyrant, and a Saracen's head, or some- to her in a friendly way, but she thing uncommon, for not having pushed him off, and called him a faithguessed her dislike, and spared her less monster, and an oppressor of inde-li-ca-cy—that was the word—the nocence, though I thought him a very pain of telling it. So, to revenge her- nice civil gentleman; and then she self, she could do nothing but poison upset the seat, in the way a cow upthe poor old gentleman, which I sets a milk.pail, and showed him the thought very hard upon him. Then dead body, and said, " There is the she sat down on a green seat all co- man I loved, the true husband of my heart. Oh, that you had died instead he began to struggle, but it was no of him!' Then the lover heard her use, and they were going away with speak, I suppose, as listeners never him, when the father said, My daugh. hear any good of themselves, and he ter, some one has poisoned me, I hope came in and said, "What, ma'am, it isn't you.' And he fell down, and was it he you loved ? Perfidious wo- rolled his eyes about, and clenched his man, then will I send you to join hands, and died. Then the lady said, him. He was going to run her "Alas! how am I devoted to misery! through with his sword, and I never My destiny has made me wretched; saw the squire angrier at a preacher but my principles have always been than he was with her ; but the hus- sublime. Henry, while you go to band came in the way to save her, death, and I into a nunnery, know and the officer killed him instead, and that my heart has always been true to said that would do as well. Then the you. We shall meet in a better world, father came in with a great many where it is not a crime to love. Take constables and soldiers to carry the this kiss.' Then the cloth was let officer away to gaol. They got hold down again, and I said to Mr Grub, of him, and took away his sword, and I wonder does all that come of eating put a chain upon his wrists, and then frogs ?''
Before the end of the week James left her to her mother's care she fell returned, and with him his suffering into a deep sleep. sister. She was too weak to stand, She dreamed that she was again a but was lifted out of the market cart child gathering cowslips in a wellthat had brought her from the next known green meadow near the farmtown, and was received in her mother's house, and that suddenly she saw standarms. Her own well-known chamber ing close to the high bank, two figures, had been prepared and arranged with one in a white cloak with a white hood all the little objects familiar to her over its head, and the other similarly from childhood; the oaken cupboard, dressed in crimson. They seemed tallthe walnut-wood chest of drawers, the er than men, and with stately looks queer oval looking-glass, and the pice and gestures each invited her to aptures of Spring, in yellow ribbons, proach and to drink of his fountain, and of a brown Abraham about to which gushed out of the bank. The sacrifice a pink Isaac. The small fountain of the white figure she saw bed, with its cross-barred curtains of was milk, and she thought that she had red and white, in which the careless often drank of that, but the other girl had slept so tranquilly, seemed stream was red wine, which she had like a quiet grave opening its arms to never tasted, and she turned to it, and receive the weary widow. Her mother drank of it from the bowl which the undressed her, and laid her down to crimson figure held out to her. Then rest, and then sat beside her and held the white figure sank down, and in her hand, restraining her own grief sinking, uncovered its face, which she at the sight of the wasted faded being saw was that of Mr Musgrave the before her, while a long flow of tears clergyman, and the cloak spread over came from the daughter's closed eyes. him and round from him in a circle, At last she seemed about to sleep, but wider and wider, and the white stream looked up feebly, and said, “Would poured forth and foamed, and met it, and my father kiss me as he did when I the whole turned to white snow and ice. was a good child ?" The mother went But the red figure seemed all wrapped for her husband, who came in with a in red fire, and the wine-stream turned tenderness of aspect such as he never to fire, and flooded the field around showed before, and, bending over her, her, and beat against the snow; and kissed again and again her hot lips, the figure raised its bood and showed and murmured, “ Bless you, my child! the face of her husband. Then sudGod bless you!” “Oh, father!” she denly she felt herself no longer a child, said, “ can you still love me?" His but a woman, with her arms around tears mixed with hers, and when he him, and her clothes caught fire from VOL. XLIV. NO, CCLXXVII,