Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

was a profane and discourteous wish in regard to the umbrella and its owner, muttered as Jeremiah hastily took his departure, and many a day passed before Lloyd Flemyng saw his eccentric friend again. Jeremiah seemed to have grown years older as he sat at home lost in thought that evening, too much absorbed in his reflections to heed even his beloved pipe lying neglected on the mantel. Yes, the old man had lost something that day which he morbidly told himself could never exist for him again; he had lost confidence in himself, almost self-respect, as he looked back over the long years of his life, and, utterly blind to any good things which he had done, saw with startling evidences his folly in allowing the treachery of one man to embitter him against all his fellow-creatures, and wither all generous, unselfish impulses which might have caused him to carry light and gladness where now he was only a churlish, unloved member of the community, to be shunned and feared. And how cruel and heartless he had shown himself to his sister, in thus deserting her at the beginning of what he knew must prove her hour of need Had the cloud which separated him only two short years later from the woman he had so loved been sent as a sort of retribution for his utter lack of sympathy with his sister, when she, too, had so entiringly and trustingly given her heart away? “Surely my sins have found me out,” the old man muttered, as lie thought of the nephew from whom he had an hour before so abruptiy parted, and whom he was already growing to love with an affection which all these years seemed to have been keeping in reserve for him. How proud and happy he would have been to take this young man into his lonely, unloved life, and make the care of his future the absorbing interest of his declining years, which now seemed to stretch so gray and empty before him . But of this happiness he deprived himself by that wicked, heartless oath which he now would have given the half of his wealth to recall, but which he never dreamed of breaking. No, he could never hope to make good to the son in the smallest degree the injury he had done the mother. His punishment was hard, but he acknowledged the justice of it. It was nearly two weeks after that Jeremiah sat in his accustomed corner at the club, looking much as usual to an ordinary observer, but certainly engaged in a most unusual and incongruous occupation—he was reading a love-letter . He had merely dropped in for a moment to refresh his memory in regard to an advertisement in yesterday's paper, and, without laying aside his overcoat, soon found what he sought. Concluding to cut out the advertisement for future use, he hastily thrust his hand into one of his overcoat-pockets, where he always carried a knife, but only came upon a small piece of paper folded like a letter. “I thought something would happen when I was fool enough to leave my overcoat in that thieves' den of a dressing-room at the theatre last night !” he muttered, testily. “It is lucky that Ileft nothing more valuable in my pockets. But what is this 2 I don't usually leave letters or bills in my overcoat"; and he opened the paper and read: – “MY DEAR FRIEND: All night I have been sitting in my room trying to look the future in the face—a future that I atlast see so clearly you and I must pass apart; and now, just as the dawn is breaking, I am writing you a sad farewell, for I have finally resolved to put an end to this weary struggle, and tell you plainly that I can never be your wife. It would be worse than useless for me to disguise the feeling I have for you, my love. My heart has been yours alone since I have known you, and will be true to you in all the weary years I may still have to live. To become your

wife seems to me to be the happiest fate in this world; but duty must come before happiness, my love, or how could the latter exist at all? You are sure to make for yourself an honorable position in the end, but I well know that years of toil and struggle lie before you, in which I, instead of being any assistance, could only be a weight to keep you back. This on your side; for myself, even if everything else were favorable, how could I ever leave an invalid mother, with no help or dependence but myself and my exertions?”

So far Jeremiah had read, when an odd sort of feeling that he was doing something very like breaking into a sanctuary, caused him to reverently fold the letter, without reading further, and to restore it to his pocket. As he did so, the name signed caught his eye—“Ernestine Eyre Morrison " “Ernestine Eyre " he muttered, dropping the letter on the table before him, and gazing at it with eyes that somehow grew strangely misty. “How many events have taken place lately to bring back the past ! Can it be that I am on the trace of my lost Ernestine 2 It must be ; the name is not common enough to admit of a doubt. Surely it was the hand of Providence that placed this letter in my way. What a noble creature the writer of it must be Can it be Ernestine's daughter 2 Thank God . there is an address on the letter: 122 Street, Philadelphia. I shall follow the clew immediately ''' + o: * * + + “Can you tell me the way to Street, young lady ?” asked a thick-set, stern-looking gentleman, not altogether prepossessing in appearance—our friend Jeremiah, in fact—one evening, a few days later, addressing a young girl who had stopped for a moment before one of the most attractive of Philadelphia's many tempting shop-windows. The girl turned, and as Jeremiah met the glance of a pair of deep-blue eyes, looking gravely at him from under the heavily-fringed lids, he started violently, and drew a deep breath, feeling as if the ghost of his vanished youth had risen up before him ; then, without leaving the young lady time to reply, he went on: “I am going to your home, Miss Morrison; perhaps you will kindly act as my guide. I am a very old friend of your mother's, whom I have not seen for over twenty years, and recognized you by your likeness to her. I hope you will allow me to accompany you.” How many years was it since Jeremiah Thomson had so humbly and deferentially asked a favor 2 Surely some strangely humanizirg influence was at work within him. “Certainly, sir,” answered the girl, quickly; “we have a very short distance to go.” Neither Jeremiah nor his guide spoke again until they stood at the door of a dwelling so small as to scarcely aspire to the name of a house, when the young lady asked her companion to wait in the hall while she prepared her mother for his visit. “We have but one sitting-room,” she explained, simply. The next moment Jeremiah, trembling a little, and with eyes full of a mist which for an instant obscured everything, was standing beside the sofa of his early love, while the voice which he had thought never to hear again save in his dreams was bidding him welcome. In afterward looking back upon the hour which followed, it seemed to him that more of his life had been compressed into it than in all the dreary twenty years which had gone before. In that short time forgiveness had been sought and found, dark places made clear, wounds healed, hidden motives brought to light, and above all a cold, hardened heart, aching with the burden of its own chill

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

making any complaint at the dreariness and emptiness of to know something of the young man, and, upon my her young life, she is the light and gladness of our little word, nothing could please me better than this news. home ; but that is not the worst. For a year she has | We must see how this matter can be brought right. For been betrothed to a young lawyer in New York, to whom old acquaintance' sake, Ernestine, you must forgive me if she is devotedly attached. He returns her affection fully, I take a sort of fatherly interest in your girl, and meddle but last week she decidedly put an end to the engage in her affairs most abominably. You can scarcely imament, and all for my sake, I know. She has sacrificed gine how alone I am in the world, and what a blessed difherself and her love to her mother without a murmur, ference it would make in my life to have some one but even without acknowledging that it is so, declaring that I myself to think of. Will you make me happy during

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

MOUNTAINEERING IN COLORADO.- ADVENTURE OF A MULE. – SEE PAGE 56. it is only because the young man has not the means to the remainder of my life by allowing me to make your support a wife.”

girl's future my care ?" "Bless my soul !" cried Jeremiahı, in much excitement. “It would take the greatest load from my heart," an. “I wonder if there is any man living good enough for swered Mrs. Morrison, her voice trembling. that girl? What did you say the fellow's name is ?" Jeremiah's visit in Philadelphia lasted only four days.

“I don't think I have told you yet. His name is but in that time a great deal was accomplished, and cerLloyd Flemyng.”

tainly Jeremiah could remember but few happier days * The deuce !" shouted Jeremiah. Then, seeing Mrs. in his life. He left Mrs. Morrison and her daughter inMorrison's look of startled reproach, searching wildly installed in a large house on one of the brightest and airiest his mind for an expletive suitable for feminine ears : streets of the city, surrounded with every comfort anles "I_I mean—good gracious! Here's a nice sort of dé- | many luxuries as he could induce them to acc. pt. Miss nouement! I beg your pardon, Mrs. Morrison ; I happen Morrison's pupils had been informed that they must fine

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Immediately upon reaching New York, Jeremiah sought his nephew at the address the young man had previously given him. Fortunately he was at home, and Jeremiah, with his customary abruptness, lost no time in broaching the object of his visit. “My dear boy,” he began, after the first greetings were over, “I have a story to tell you, which will certainly surprise, if it does not please, you. Did you ever know that your mother had a brother ?” “No, Mr. Thomson. My mother never spoke of her family, and I fancied she was an only child.” “And she never told you of the brother who heartlessly cast her off at her marriage, and never offered help or sympathy in all the trials which followed that unlucky event 2 Your uncle is not a pleasant sort of man, Lloyd, but such as he is, he now stands before you; will you give him your hand * Then, as the young man hesitated and drew back a little : “I like you the better, my boy, for resenting your mother's wrongs, but I honestly repent my conduct at that time, and would give years of my life to be able to atone for it !” And Lloyd Flemyng cordially shook the hand extended to him. “It is better to have matters understood at once, Lloyd,” said Jeremiah, a few moments later. “I swore once that I would never assist you financially during my lifetime, nor should you inherit any of my property, and this oath I cannot, of course, retract. Yesterday I made a will, bequeathing everything I have to the daughter of an old friend. I cannot give you the money which in justice should be yours, but if you should happen to take a fancy to this young lady, and she puts no obstacle in your way, I, of course, should have no right to interfere.” “Mr. Thomson,” answered his nephew, rather haughtily, “the interest you seem to take in my affairs is, doubtless, kindly meant, but I hope to be able to support myself without the assistance of a wife. I have no intention of marrying at present.” “Ha, ha, ha!” laughed rude Jeremiah, rubbing his hands in glee, while his nettled and astonished nephew scowled darkly at him, until a few apologetic words restored something like order. “You are not looking well, my boy; rather down in the mouth, in fact,” remarked Jeremiah, before taking his departure. “I am going to Philadelphia to-morrow for a few days. Come with me ; a little change may help you. I should like you to call on the young lady I spoke of.” “Very well, uncle, I will go,” answered Lloyd, flushing a little as his uncle spoke of Philadelphia; “but I must remind you that your scheme in regard to the lady can certainly come to nothing.” “All right, my boy "responded Jeremiah, cheerfully. “I dare say she wouldn't have you. But before I go I will trouble you for my overcoat in exchange for this one I have been wearing for the past week.” “And was it really your coat I was stupid enough to take at the theatre, instead of my own 2 What a strange coincidence!” cried Lloyd, in surprise. “I have been

trying ever since to find an owner for the property I appropriated. What put you upon the right scent 2" “I will explain that when I have more time,” replied Jeremiah, glancing at his companion with an odd expression, very mysterious to the latter, after which he rather hastily took his departure. Jeremiah left his nephew alone in Mrs. Morrison's pretty drawing-room the next day, pondering upon the fallibility of human judgment. “All along I have been taking my respected relative for a regular thundercloud of the stormiest kind,” he reflected, “and suddenly he shows himself to be such a loquacious, jolly old cove, that I should certainly have suspected him of taking a drop or two more than was good for him, if he hadn't been so uncommonly clear about those business matters we were talking over this morning.” Meanwhile Jeremiah, on his way to prepare Mrs. Morrison for what was about to take place, met Ernestine in the hall. The young girl began a few eager, tremulous words of gratitude for the last great benefit she had received from her mother's friend, but was interrupted. “Never mind that now, my dear. The nephew of whom I told you is in the drawing-room. Kindness shown to him is the best thanks you can give me.” And the unsuspecting girl entered the room, leaving Jeremiah chuckling to himself from pure lightheartedness. The old man was certainly growing young again. The occupants of the drawing-room had been left to themselves for nearly an hour, when Jeremiah, with several significant, premonitory coughs, and much unnecessary rattling of the door-knob, finally entered; but, in spite of the ample time so considerately given, matters seemed to have progressed very slowly. A few almost incoherent words of gratitude and a shake, or rather wringing, of the hand, which spoke volumes from Lloyd, and— yes, actually l—a pair of soft arms around his neck, accompanied by the first kiss that had touched his forehead for twenty-five years, were the greetings to which the old man had to submit, followed by Ernestine, exclaiming, in a voice which seemed wavering between tears and laughter, while her sweet face glowed as red as the roses in the étagére: “You will help me, I know, Mr. Thomson, but what will you think of me when I tell you that all this time I have been imploring your nephew to marry me, and he objects because I am no longer poor. He hasn't quite consented yet.” “My dear, I have forgotten my came ; will you go to your mother's room and bring it?” answered Jeremiah, irrelevantly, and the young girl obediently went to do his bidding. “Lloyd,” began Jeremiah, when the two men were alone, laying his hand on his nephew's shoulder, and gazing at him with eyes full of an earnest gravity, contrasting strongly with his previous demeanor, “I can, of course, scarcely hope my words to have more effect with you than those of the girl who just left us; but as every little helps, perhaps the knowledge that my hopes of peace and happiness during my few remaining years depend mainly upon your decision, may induce you to change your mind. As I told you before, I swore long ago that you should never inherit my wealth, but I did not tell you that this has been weighing upon my heart and conscience ever since I knew you—to whom alone my money should hereafter justly belong—until now a merciful Providence has seemed to intervene and—by your marriage with the girl whom I had already made my heiress before I knew of your connection with her—avert the consequences of that rash, cruel oath. Will you allow a mistaken pride to destroy the happiness of three people, my boy 2 How could I hope to meet your mother in the hereafter if I had carried my vindictive, revengeful spirit to the grave—or, what is the same, had done nothing to ward off its evil results? I don't profess to be disinterested, you see, but men are apt to grow selfish as old age comes on after a life spent alone, and this has grown to be such a bright hope to my heart, Lloyd: such a blessed release from the web in which my own folly has entangled me." . “Uncle,” exclaimed Lloyd, cordially, “I could have resisted Ernestine about five minutes longer, I fancy; but if anything could have been needed to add weight to her words, it would be what you have said, for certainly your kindness to Ernestine when she sorely needed a friend, gives you every claim upon my gratitude. Here she is now.” “I am so sorry that your cane is not to be found, Mr. Thomson,” said the young girl, as she entered the room. “Could you have—” “Oh, never mind; it is probably in the hall with my hat," interrupted Jeremiah, cheerfully. “I dare say you two can spare me now, my dear, so I will say good-by for a few days. Don't forget, Lloyd, my boy, we must return to New York by the five o'clock train.” As he smokes in his library again in the evening, Jeremiah is scarcely conscious that he is alone, so filled seems the place with pleasant visions of the future, and the pictures that his life's one tried and true friend—his pipe— shows him, all tell of an old age of peace and usefulness. Regretful memories of the past, that now and then arise, only make brighter in comparison the hopes of the future, where glad young faces about his fireside seem to restore his own youth, while chubby baby fingers close and cause to be forgotten like a tale that is told the dreary, selfish record of years. “Yes," he murmured, softly, as he knocked the ashes from his pipe, and restored it to its velvet case, “I have kept my oath, and yet I think little Claire would be satisfied."

[graphic]

A QUEEN'S NEW YEAR'S GIFTS.

A NoTED antiquarian, Dr. Drake, has expressed the opinion that the wardrobe and jewelry of Queen Elizabeth were principally supported by these annual contributions on New Year's Day. He cites lists of the New Year's gifts presented to her, and from these it appears that the greater part, if not all, the peers and peeresses of the realm, all the bishops, the chief officers of state, and several of the Queen's household servants, even down to her apothecaries, master-cook, sergeant of the pastry, etc., gave New Year's gifts to Her Majesty—consisting, in general, either of a sum of money, trinkets, wearing apparel, etc. The peeresses gave rich gowns, petticoats, shifts, silk stockings, garters, scent-bags, doublets, mantles, ete, Although the Queen made presents in return, she took sufficient care that the balance should be in her own onvor.

A TALKIxa Dog.—The learned Liebnitz drew the attention of the French Academy to a dog which a Saxon peasant-boy had trained to pronounce certain words. The animal was three years old when its lessons commenced, and after three years' patient and daily tuition it could articulate thirty words, calling for tea, chocolate, and other things, repeating the words after its master on every occasion, and with great apparent reluctance.

PRAISE-GOD BAREBONES.

IN troublous times, when the worship was changed to “the Presbyteriall way,” lived, in the parish of St. Dunstan's, Fleet Street, London, the notable person called by the quaint and forbidding name of Mr. Praise-God Barebones. To say that he was a Puritan is not defining his character very accurately, for that class of men were composed of great varieties of character and principles. He was a leather-seller in Fleet Street, and possessed a house near Crane Court, known by the name of the Lock and Key ; we first hear of him as preaching in a conventicle in Fetter Lane, in the year 1641, along with Mr. Green, a feltmaker. What was the subject of his discourse we do not know, but he probably held forth against the faithlessness of the King and his party, and against prelatical domination in the Church. In the year 1648 the vestry voted that all who had served the office of constable of the parish and upward should belong to the vestry, except such as were scandalous in their lives and conversation. At the succeeding vestry meeting Mr. Praise-God Barebones is named as constable, and he afterward appears in the following year, 1649, as Common Councilman. At this time the title of Saint, as applied to St. Dunstan, was dropped, being thought to savor of idolatry, and the parish is called for a few years by the name of the Parish of Dunstan's. Our friend Barebones's opinion gained strength and influence in the vestry, and we may see this indicated in the following language, used in the records of that time: In the year 1650, it is ordered that “six pounds shall be paid to Mr. Strong, the lecturer, for his extraordinary paynes in preaching in the afternoon.” In 1653 Oliver Cromwell, with the well-known scene in the House of Commons, dissolved the Long Parliament, and in their stead he called a new kind of Parliament of his own, issuing summons “for divers persons fearing God, and of approved fidelity and honesty.” About 120 of them came together on July 4th, 1653, and sat continuously till December 12th, in the same year. This Parliament has been called Barebones's Parliament, because this worthy parishioner of St. Dunstan's was a member of it. It has been the fashion to cry it down as an assembly of hypocritical and fanatical men, but if we look at what was attempted and passed by them, though it was afterward repealed, we see nothing to justify such censure, but rather the contrary. They were hasty, enthusiastic, and too little acquainted with the art of legislating, but they only desired to bring about reforms, many of which the British people are anxiously endeavoring to achieve at present. As Carlyle says, “it was the first and last attempt at bringing religion heart and soul into the management of politics, and it did not fail in itself, but in not satisfying the expectations of those who set it up in order to knock it down.” Barebones often spoke in this Parliament, and was evidently an active member of it, although we should cer. tainly have had a better opinion of him had he not so often been connected with sequestrations and spoliations. He seems to have been a thorough-going Puritan, but much more consistent as such than those who, as Blake and George Monk, were joined with him as members of that Parliament. It was dissolved at the end of 1653, and we do not hear of Barebones till 1659, when we find him appointed Comptroller of Sequestrations, at a salary of £300 a year. This office, however, he did not hold long, for the tide was on the turn ; the word “Saint"

« ПредишнаНапред »