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LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS,
STATE OY METEM PSYCHOSIS WHICH CONCERN US ALL.
IN OCCASIONAL CHAPTERS.
out of it. It was a reprehensible act, but it was BIM. AMONG THE BEASTS:
necessary to the development of my story. Its BEING A BOY'S ADVENTURES IN THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, immediate effect, as above described, was familiarity WITH SOME INTERESTING REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE of address ; its consequence, which shewed itself
directly he began to move, was ignorance of direction.
whether he stood on his head or his heels, and, *One more glass, Uncle Toby. Just one.' indeed, the facts of the case were soon comprised
My dear Bim., what would mamma say ?' within still narrower limits, for he was unable to
All Londoners, and most visitors from the to took place in the refreshment room in the Zoolo- country, who did not depart this life anterior to gical Gardens, where Uncle Tobias was treating the year 1800, when the terrace was built (and him to buns and brandy-cherries. The boy had I am not addressing those who did), must be seen eight summers, but only seven winters, because acquainted with Bantling Terrace, Regent's Park. he had been born in the spring.
It is a splendid range of mansions in the stuccoA little cherry-brandy, my lad (like learning), is relievo style of architecture; and towering proudly a dangerous thing, especially at your age,' remon- above its humbler neighbours, looks down upon strated Uncle Tobias.
the Zoological Gardens. All night long, its inhab'I know it is, uncle; that is why-or at least one itants enjoy the advantage, so rare in temperate of the reasons why'[for Abimelech-as the name climes, of hearing the Hyena's sarcastic laugh, or implies in the original-was the Soul of Truth] “I the laboured but successful breathing of the Gramwould like some more.'
pus; while in the day, and especially in the The Young Frys are a numerous race. There summer noons, the air is made fragrant by Musk are few houses in the metropolis, with the excep- and Civet, or by the still more pungent odours of tion of the clubs, without a Young Fry in them, the Putorius fætidus, obtained direct from the and even there I have recognised some specimens, Mart. Abimelech Young Fry resided in this though endeavouring to pass themselves off as favoured terrace, so that Uncle Toby had not to Gronups, a branch of the same family of whom carry him far, and besides, they arrived in a they are most unreasonably envious.
Hansom: he was put to bed, very unwell, and Tobias Calebs hesitated. He was not a Young sorry for himself; let us draw down the windowFry himself, being Bim's maternal uncle, and he blind, and forbear to contemplate the night he did not quite understand the peculiarities of the spent. family.
The sun and he arose simultaneously, but pre"Will another glass get into his head, I wonder ? senting a very different appearance. With that of To be or not to be ?' reflected the good-natured old the former, those of us who sit up late at night are fellow,
accidentally familiar; but as to Bim.'s, this
shall *To be,' answered the young gentleman, like an not describe it. Reverentia debetur pueris. We echo ; 'to be, Toby. He had taken the silence should not bear too hardly upon the follies of the which had ensued while his uncle's judgment was young. His first act was to seize the water-jug, maturing, for consent ; and had drained the goblet, and—no, he was not violent; nor had he, I am which held nearly a teaspoon and half, when the sorry to say, any particular desire to wash himself teaspoon with which you collared the cherries was at any time-he did but swallow the contents at a
single draught. His first reflection was in the look- Now, for the first time, was he to make acquainting-glass, and a very dishevelled one it was : his ance with the banded Bandicoot, to be brought face next was a passionate regret for his conduct of to face with the white-fronted Lemur, the sooty the previous day. The occurrence to which we
Phalangist, and the ingenious but secretive Tucuhave been compelled to make allusion happened tuco-animals whom, I confess for my part, if I early in the afternoon, when only half the animals unable to recognise, as much from ignorance as
were to meet in the street to-morrow, I should be had been visited. With those on the north side from alarm. of the tunnel, in consequence of his own disgrace- As Bim. drew near the main entrance of the ful conduct, he had not made acquaintance; and he gardens, he took the bone out of his breast (where was genuinely sorry, not only for what he had he had kept it carefully buttoned up), and, for the done, but for what he had not done. He not only first time, perceived that one side of it had these suffered remorse, but yearned to make reparation. printed words upon it, Royal Horticultural Society. He would see those animals willy-nilly-whether His truant exodus from his mother's house, his unhis mother would let him or no, like the frog in authorised annexation of her private property, and the ballad. It was not likely, after his late mis- all his reprehensible conduct, had thus benefited conduct, indeed, that she should let him, and how, him nothing. He knew he should no more be able then, was he to accomplish his end ? He was a to move the incorruptible janitor of the Zoo' by the good deal divided upon this question for his head presentation of a ticket from any opposition estabached so that it seemed split in two--but at last lishment, than by the offer of a stick of alicama happy idea occurred to him, if, at least, an idea pane, which (he knew) had been tried in vain only deserves to be called “happy' which is wrong. As last week by another boy in his terrace, and he laid he stood at the window, flattening his little nose his head against a neighbouring pillar letter-box, against the pane, and gazing longingly at the head and sobbed as though his little heart would break. of the giraffe, which can always be seen for nothing, Nor even then was his cup of humiliation full, and without difficulty, he heard the mower whet- for what he had taken for a letter-box was in fact ting his—no, the bear whetting his tusks, in antici- one of the dirt-receivers which have been recently pation of his morning meal. Was it ivory, thought erected by the Board of Works, so that he literally Abimelech dreamily, or was it bone? Bone! bemoaned himself in dust and ashes. Eureka. . (He had just been put into Greek.) His But though Abimelech Young Fry was, as has mother had a bone down-stairs, which, he had been abundantly shewn, far from being a pattern heard, was the sign of her membership to the boy, he had some redeeming points about him: he Gardens, and would admit any one who carried it was what the coachman called a good plucked one,' into those enchanted regions, at any hour ; nay, it and the female domestics 'a regular Turk,' a term was even whispered, though he had never heard which, of course, in his case had neither an Infidel of its being employed for so sacrilegious a purpose, nor a Polygamous meaning. that it was available on a Sunday.
He had got up very early—earlier probably than To seize his shoes and stockings (which he did, the gatekeeper-and he was not going to be done however, in their reverse order), to thrust his little out of his visit to the Zoological Gardens. "No, legs into their roomy nickerbockersto struggle not if he knew it,' said Abimelech. If the man into his jacket and waistcoat, and to snatch his was not there, he would-but here he came in cap from its peg on the wall, was not as I know sight of the turnstile, and there was the man. The you all expected it to be— the work of an instant ;' whole empyrean (which means air) seemed to ring for he was very shaky, was Master Abimelech with the Hyena's satiric laugh, as he beheld this Young Fry, and took as long to dress himself as unwelcome spectacle, and he also became conscious his eldest brother, who had to shave his beard off of a monotonous voice which repeated in an underevery morning (which it was lucky he had not to tone: 'Members are respectfully requested not to do), or his eldest sister, who had to put one on- admit boys, or others, with whom they are unat the back of her head. But he did get dressed acquainted, through the turnstiles.' at last, and boning the bone from the drawer in If Bim. had only possessed the small sum requisite the hall-table, where it was usually kept, let him- to obtain admittance, then things would not have self softly out of doors.
distressed him : nature would have worn a totally It was a lovely sunımer morning, and the sounds different aspect; but everything, alas, seems to of awakening life that saluted his ears would have breathe of scorn and contumely to him that is been all that boy could wish, but for his conscious-without a shilling.' On the other side of the road ness of not deserving to hear them. The trumpet- was the clip-gate, a piece of mechanism so contrived ing of the elephant, the drumming of the gorilla that visitors can pass out of the gardens, but are on his (empty) stomach, the cheerful tootling of unable to return by the same means. It was dreadthe horn of the rhinoceros, and the piano of the fully tantalising to gaze through its open bars at guinea-pig, which ran through all as clearly as the the Paradise into which entrance was denied to water-mark on a bank-note-made up a concert such him, and to hear the grunts and shrieks, the roars as must be heard to be appreciated, and which, and whines from its various inmates, sounding even then, does not always succeed in being so. like so many invitations, which circumstances over
Abimelech was well acquainted with natural which he had no control compelled him to decline. history from its very earliest stages, as exemplified While sucking the bars, from which, perhaps, to in the contents of the Ark, down to the latest his excited fancy, some slight flavour of wild additions in Wood (the Rev. J. G.); but of the beasts was capable of being extracted, he became actual carnivora, in hesh and blood, he knew but conscious of a small voice, that murmured musically little, his family having only recently migrated to into his ear: Bantling Terrace from the Isle of Wight, where Push on, push on; why don't you push? specimens of the fera naturæ are not numerous. The boy that funks ain't worth a rush.
Bim. pushed with all his might, and, to his surprise understand it thoroughly ; but to beginners, it is a and delight, the hinge yielded ; and he found little awkward, and it's just the same, when one is himself in the first department of the clip-gate, first disembodied (ask any militiaman else), and hedged in on both sides with iron bars.
begins to flit. You go very fast, but it is by fits and · And now,' remarked a still small voice, but not starts, and you can't
stop yourself exactly when you the same which he had heard before, for this was the please. To be sure, you can't fall, or if you did fall voice of his own conscience and now I have been even backwards it would not matter, since there is and done it; I am a prisoner here for life, which is nothing to fall upon ; but it is irritating, to say the only what my undutiful behaviour deserves. It least of it, to find one's self flitting past some object would be his doom, he thought, to remain there to which we would have wished to give time and through the revolving years, himself stuck fast, attention, and going a long way on before one can as a warning to other boys, who eat too many pull up, like a train that overshoots the platform. brandy-cherries (those were always on his mind, nor And this is exactly what happened to Bim. He could he get the taste of them out of his mouth), was particularly anxious to read a certain Notice to and sacrilegiously stole bones; he would be a Visitors he saw stuck up on a board, for, like many shocking example' to generation after generation of other persons who have committed great offences, holiday-seekers, from Easter-Monday to Easter- he was exceedingly anxious to comport himself Monday, besides opposing a serious impediment to agreeably to every little regulation that should not the traffic ; an object of reprobation to man and interfere with his pleasure. If the notice should beast and bird ; &- But here the same gentle request him not to picnic in the gardens, nor to voice was heard again which had first addressed pluck the flowers, nor to give bags of paper (as him, and it sounded like the voice of his youngest some bad boys do) to the elephant instead of buns, sister at home (whom he loved dearly, and to whom he had made up his mind to obey it very cheerhe was uniformly kind), though he well knew she fully; but upon gliding back to the board, he was fast asleep in her cot in Bantling Terrace, and found inscribed on it no such prosaic requests, but not even dreaming of such a thing as a burglary these beautiful verses in letters of gold : at the Zoological Gardens ;
Who moves yon gate the wrong way round, Push on, push on, repentant brother,
A voice shall hear in each brute sound;
To him the talk of bird and beast
Shall be an intellectual feast; And once more the hinge turned accordingly, and Not Æsop's self, nor Poet Gay, the bars seemed to melt before him, and he found Has heard what he shall hear them say. himself on the right side of the hedge that kept The effect of poetry upon the mind of Abimelech the public out of the Beast Paradise. Something else too had happened to him, though Carlyle, he was of opinion that, if anybody has
Young Fry was to confuse it. Like the great Mr he did not quite know what it was. For one thing, anything particular to say to his fellow-creatures, he felt lighter ; and he noticed that the sun, though he had better say it in prose. It was therefore by this time quite in a position to do it, did not cast quite a relief to his mind to perceive under the his shadow on the ground. Just at that moment notice-board a hand, with gold rings on the fingers, a window of the cottage opposite, which was the and this plain statement attached to it: For residence of the sub-superintendent of the gardens, further information apply to the Secretary Bird. opened, and that great official, who had heard the
And “Where does he live, I wonder ?' inquired gate go click, looked out to see what had happened. Bim. aloud. Before that eye, before which every beast of the
• His official residence is the first cage to the left, forest quailed, Abimelech (for so he was called when young gentleman, so soon as you get through the he did wrong, and not by his loving nickname) | tunnel,"answered a shrill squeaky voice. trembled with terror, but not in his shoes ; he
'And who are you?' replied the astonished seemed to have no shoes, nor anything material youth, looking all about him. The sound seemed about him, with the trifling exception of the bone to come from a neighbouring enclosure, in which of the Royal Horticultural Society; and the reason
were some logs of trees on an island in a pool of (curiously enough) why the sub-superintendent did not see him was, because he looked him water, but there was nobody to be seen.
“Oh, I'm Castor Fiber ; castor the hat, and fibre through and through.
what it's made of-the Beaver.' It's very odd, observed the official.
And it was the Beaver. It's very cold,' answered a female voice (that of the sub-superintendent's superintendent), from within the room, and I'll thank you to shut the
A RACE FOR LIFE. window.'
Abimelech breathed again, though he could not see the vapour of his breath, and ventured to move The journey across the plains was not marked stealthily on a little ; not to walk, you must under by any very noteworthy occurrence. We were stand, for that means of locomotion had failed him, tolerably safe from Indian attacks, since our escort but to flit-not as they 'flit'in Scotland, where the numbered no less than eighteen sabres, and it is word means to change houses, though he had done well known that the red men, unless when smartthat in a sense—but to glide noiselessly on, as the ing under recent injury, avoid any conflict which cloud-shadows glide along the hills, or rather as is certain to cost them dear. We saw the curling the shadow of the slide of a magic-lantern in un- smoke of their fires on distant bluffs, and someskilful hands flits upon the suspended sheet ; for, times the dim figures of shadowy horsemen at present, he was not used to the motion. Skating appeared for a few minutes on the horizon, just is a most delightful accomplishment, and as easy as as we saw certain lines of black specks, which we lying-I mean lying down, of course-to those who were told represented migratory berds of the bison.
IN EIGHT CHAPTERS.-CHAPTER VIII.
as a woman.
But presently buffaloes and Indians vanished like case, true as Annie was, she inight ultimately be ghosts at cock-crow; and except that there was induced to forget luckless George Fern as his image once a prairie-fire of respectable dimensions, which faded in absence. might have proved dangerous, had not the wind • By-the-bye, George,' said Willy, fumbling in fortunately swept the billowy flames to southward the pocket of a loose overcoat that formed part over the sea of grass, we encountered few perils, of his travelling gear, here is a letter for you. and none but unavoidable and trifling hardships. It arrived at Carthage before you were quite up to
At Platte City, within the limits of the state of the mark of attending to business, and I put it Missouri, we parted with our good friends of the aside, and forgot it, until I fished it out in hunting government train; and after some inquiry, decided for my truant sketch-book.' on availing ourselves of a farmer's offer to take us The letter was from Richard Brownrigg. My down the river in his broadhorn as far as Westport, old schoolfellow wrote very kindly and feelingly where we should be sure to find a steamer to take to say that he had heard, from my patron on the us to the state capital of Jefferson. The large Board of the Assurance Company, to whom Willy boat, laden with golden ears of ripe maize, and had communicated the news immediately on my manned by six negro rowers, required careful arrival, of my severe illness at Carthage. How steering as we made our way among the shoals sorry he was for my misfortune, Dick declared his and shallows, the willow-fringed islands, and the own inability to make me understand; but the dear half-sunken trees embedded in mud-banks, which old fellow vowed that he could scarcely restrain combine with the violence of the current to give himself from starting off across the plains (although its bad name to the upper waters of the Mad no horseman, Fern, as you know), to nurse me in Missouri. But there had been no recent rains to my fever. But he knew I was in better hands, and swell the turbid flood, so that the stream was that Willy would prove as tender and thoughtful comparatively gentle; while the farmer's son, a sunburnt stripling in homespun, steered with remark- As regarded the secretaryship, Brownrigg spoke able dexterity, and under press of sail and oars, down very fairly indeed. Hementioned, modestly enough, the river we went before the favouring wind. that he had been the successful candidate. That
The grinning, sable-skinned crew, who, like result was inevitable, when my absence, and the many enfranchised slaves, had elected to work for great probability that I should succumb to the wages under a reasonably good master, in prefer- fever in that wild place, where neither good medical ence to running the risks of an unknown labour advice nor good drugs were attainable, had caused market in the Southern towns, chattered and sang the directors to consider me as out of the race. gaily as they plied their oars; but as their employer, Brownrigg was now secretary to the Phænix Far a heavy, elderly man, slept nearly all the way, and West, but he diffidently protested that he took his son had quite enough to do with the manage the preferment with many regrets and misgivings, ment of the tiller-ropes, Willy and I were thrown and that he would not hope to do such justice to on our own resources as regarded conversation. his principals as 'dear George Fern' would have
But, George, old boy, what do you mean to do ?' done. asked my younger brother, rather anxiously. It *I hope soon,' the lucky competitor wrote, "to was by no means the first time that Willy had see you in as good a financial position as that which addressed me with that pertinent question, but I now occupy, nor shall any exertions of mine never with any satisfactory result.
be spared to bring about a good turn of Fortune's 'I don't know, I answered, listlessly, letting wheel for one who so well deserves it. As it is, my thin fingers dangle in the rushing water that I shall do my best and earn my pay, all the time swirled beneath the gunwale; 'and, to tell you feeling that I stand in the shoes of a better man.' the truth, brother, I don't much care. Not that Now, Willy, did you ever see a more beautiful I intend to be an idler. But an industrious man letter !' said I, quite warmly, when my brother, at who knows something of the West can pick up a my desire, had thrown his eyes over Dick's friendly livelihood without much difficulty, and I have no epistle. But, to my surprise, my brother's knitted right to aspire to anything further just now.' brows and pursed-up lips indicated a very different
I sighed involuntarily as I spoke ; and Willy opinion. looked sad enough, for he knew perfectly well the 'I don't quite agree with you, this time,' said cause of my moody humour. My prospects were Willy, drumming with his forefinger on the thwart utterly spoiled. The secretaryship was gone, of beside him. Then, after a pause, he burst ont course, and with the downfall of that comfortable in a perfect flame of anger. George, I can't castle in the air, all my dearest hopes were involved speak with common patience of the fellow. You in ruin. It was not only that my marriage with are basely deceived. A light breaks in upon me Annie Morgan was now indefinitely to be deferred stronger and more strongly as I think things over. -for when could I hope that a fresh opportunity This very man, this Brownrigg, is the hidden foe of equal value should fall in my way?- but there we have so long been looking for !-he, and no was only too much probability that the parting other, wrote the letter that lured you to your ruin, between my darling and myself might prove a tinal and well nigh to your death!' one. Her father, the old vice-consul, had a pre- • What! Dick Brownrigg ?' said I, incredulous, judice against long engagements, and had more hurt. "Don't speak thus, brother, of a dear old than once told me that he would as soon see Annie school-chum, of an honest worthy man. I would in her coffin, as watch her pining and withering vouch for his integrity anywhere. He harm me! in one of those dreary, interminable troth-plights Impossible !' of which in England we see so many. Captain But Willy was not to be silenced. Morgan had, as I knew, a strong wish to claim the 'I don't say,' he persisted, “that it was Brownpension to which he was now entitled, and return rigg's hand which traced the words of the letter, to lay his bones in the old country ; and in that but you may be sure that his head planned the
pretty scheme in its minutest details. As for his in the centre of the mob was, towering over the regard for you, and his merits, George, I have my heads of the bystanders, a sort of improvised gibbet, own ideas of both. Didn't I see him twenty times hastily constructed out of the boat-masts, with a at St Louis, a smug, smooth-tongued villain, if long and substantial sapling, newly cut, to do duty ever the world held one, but just awkward and for a cross-beam. As yet, this ominous structure rough enough to get credit for a tender heart was unfinished, but already from the cross-bar within an uninviting husk! I always felt that the there dangled a noosed rope. Round this spot the man would turn rogue on the first chance that throng was very dense, and somewhat of a scuffle, roguery should be quoted at a premium. But I to judge by the trampling and jostling and babes never dreamed that he would rise on your fall, of discordant voices, was going on. There were build his house, as it were, on the ruins of yours ! several women holding shrill converse on the outer Who but he had anything to gain by your absence? verge of the crowd, and I inquired of one of these Who but he preferred that you should be among the meaning of the disturbance. the Rocky Mountains, buried in the garden of A swindling, murdering Yankee to be hanged!' some prairie tavern, or that your bones should cried the thin-lipped matron to whom I had bleach beside those of the murdered on the plains, addressed my question, and who was as fiercely and
your scalp dry in an Indian lodge, rather than excited as the men; and swing he shall, I say, that you should walk as secretary into the hand- whatever Mr Sheriff yonder chooses to preach to some offices of the new Company, and draw their us. There wasn't a decenter lad in the county liberal salary? You are praising a fellow, George, than Nick Bates, and his mother's that proud and who, if we lived in the Palace of Truth, would be fond of him, 'twill break her heart when they carry hissed and scouted out of the pale of humanity.' him back to the farm, cold and stiff.'
It cost me some trouble to persuade Willy to be By this time, Willy had extracted more coherent calm, nor could I conquer the hostile preposses- information from another bystander. It is what șion towards Brownrigg which had taken hold of often happens in these wild parts, he said. "A his mind. He had not converted me to his sus- Northern adventurer-one of those fellows who picions, certainly not ; but I will admit that what come to the West to live by their wits—is accused he said in his impetuous way had produced the of cheating a young farmer from whom he had effect of rendering me supremely uncomfortable. bought some hogs at market, making him halfFew of us can bear to have our rooted beliefs, our drunk, and paying him in “ bogus," or forged notes. cherished convictions, roughly disturbed, without The trick was discovered and denounced by a being made restless and miserable by the shock; clever youngster named Bates, a cousin, I believe, and it was anything but agreeable to me to be of the dupe, and then a quarrel ensued, and a fight; set' to speculate on Brownrigg's motives, and to and the passer of the counterfeit notes, who is, I criticise his character. When we have been for am told, a notorious rogue, made an unfair use of years under a firm conviction of the excellence of his revolver'some one against whom a sudden accusation has Yes, Mister, he did,' interrupted a man who been brought, the process of reviewing that per- had been listening to this explanation ; 'for when son's antecedents is sure to be a painful one ; but poor Nick had throwd him fair in the rough and it is often surprising how many petty, half-for- tumble, and got his knee on his chest, the cowardly gotten incidents recur to the memory, and insist woodchuck begged off and asked for mercy, and on shaping themselves as links in the lengthening then, when he was let to rise, rapped off two leaden and strengthening chain of suspicion which our sugar-plums into Nick's ribs unawares—ay! and minds are forging. I began to feel ugly doubts when his pistol missed fire, he knifed two citizens invade my soul, and was by no means content. afore we could tie his hands. So we'll make him
Broadhorns, even with a fair wind to fill the dance at the end of a cord, I'm thinking, in spite triangular sail of striped cotton, and with six oars of sheriff and squire. Legal behaviour only means to help the boat's downward drift, do not voyage Jefferson Penitentiary for a villain that deserves to Fery swiftly, and it was deep in the afternoon of eat no more corn-bread, he don't. And Regulators' the second day when we caught sight of the many- Law is good enough for Aretas Woolley: coloured roofs and irregular buildings of Westport. Up to this moment, my brother and I had taken Here, at anchor in the little fresh-water haven, no keener interest in the turmoil than is natural were sundry market-boats and river-craft of various when the question of even a stranger's life and rig and tonnage, and one or two steamers, one of death is involved ; but now there arose a new which latter, to judge by the pale wood-smoke element of interest. The name of Aretas, one of eurling in lazy wreaths around its red-and-white the rarest of those Bible names by which perhaps chimney, was the boat bound for Jefferson City. two-thirds of the descendants of the Pilgrims of There was evidently some unusual stir in the tiny New England are called, at once reminded us both town, for men swarmed, black as a cluster of flies of the fictitious clergyman, the writer of the around a honey-jar, on the quay and pier, and the perfidious letter that had called me away from St hoarse roar of excited voices came floating to our Louis on the eve of the election. ears long before we reached the landing-stage. • Aretas Woolley ?' said I. 'Pray, what sort of
* There's a muss, I'm thinking,' said our youth- calling did he follow ?' ful steersman : "tain't mere marketing for produce Our informant laughed grimly. 'He war of sets all the citizens rampaging so.
most trades, I reckon. Thief one day, missionary When we got ashore, we found it scarcely next; coiner, forger, bonnet at a gaming-house, possible to make our way through the excited tutor in a school, driver on a plantation, just as he crowd of townsfolk, mixed with countrymen in hails by the names of Woolley, Carnell, Cushman, homespun, with bargemen in red shirts, and White—which, some say, is his real name-or hunters in semi-Indian attire of bleached deer- Marston' skins. All seemed very angry and vociferous, and But here Willy excitedly broke in : 'Marston !