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short, he must soon abandon the high pedestal A MUSCULAR HYPOCHONDRIAC.
from which he has hitherto contemned his less WELL-MEANING moralists, and young curates, and, fortunate, because flabbier fellow-creatures, is to in fact, all persons addicted to the abuse of meta- feel reduced to the level of a retired pugilist, phorical language, are a little hard on feminine whose example he may almost as well follow, and beauty. They can never touch on the vanity, open a public-house. Henceforth, nothing can brevity, and superficiality of things in general effectually assuage the melancholy of the ex-gladiawithout pointing their dull platitudes by the tor; but such transient gleams of sunshine as most unfair allusions and comparisons to the fair gild his blighted life are when he is judge or sex. No doubt the perfect bloom of all those starter at some athletic meeting; but even then endearing young charms' is soon impaired; but he feels that he is only a sort of male chaperon, beauty is not the only thing which culminates to and the reflection is full of bitterness. decline. Other charms than those of beauty have I do not thus borrow the language of the a scarcely less ephemeral duration. The charms Preacher, because I have felt in my own case how of muscle, for instance, the glory of the calf- bitter it is to retire into private life. Person
ally, I am not muscular, nor ever was. I have That play of lungs inspiring, and again
always been able to pass a fifty-six pound weight Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
without the slightest desire to push it up from Swift pace or steep ascent no toil —
the shoulder; I have always been perfectly conall these are things which endure in their glory tinent in the matter of dumb-bells and Indian and perfection but for a season—a base sea-side clubs. To scull from the barges to Sandford, season. Why, then, can we not have a little with an occasional fantasia in a scratch four, variety in our teacher's parables ? Why not leave was the extent of my powers and the summit the epidermis of the fair, and have an occasional of my ambition. I was rather thinking of-or at, tilt at the muscle of the strong ? Granted that my old college chum, Joe Rullock, with whom I eur dear enslavers may be none the worse for an was spending a few days a short time since. In occasional reminder that their empire is limited our old Oxford days, Joe was to me a sort of self--in time, for it is fleeting; and in space, for it is appointed committee or keeper, considering it his but skin deep. But, O Hercules ! do not our mission to interpose his brawny person between "barbarised athletes' need a word in season too? me and all sorts of imaginary dangers ; and so, in Possibly, the ballroom belle sets too high a value course of time, I came to play an academic Phil on her charms, and is too deeply cast down by Squod to his Captain George ; I used to steer him their decline ; but not her emotions, when she to Iffley, to measure his throws with the hammer, feels she is a budding 'wall-flower'-not the depres- or take his times when he ran at the Marston sion of the gentleman in Wordsworth, who daily ground. In short, he loved me because he looked travels further from the east'-not the forlorn on me as so helpless and feeble—though I am not misery of the love-sick Guppy, can approach the really feebler than Dr Beddoe's average man--and pathetic desolation of the athlete who feels that I loved him that he did pity me. I did indeed he is increasing in the wrong place. To feel that sometimes endeavour to protest against his mild the days are at hand in which he shall no more and benevolent despotism, but he always calmly emulate the baboon on the trapeze, or the flea on waived me off with : "Pooh, my dear fellow; leave the vaulting bar; that he must soon abjure the it to me; you know you are not strong.' What rectangular delights of standing at ninety degrees made my tame acquiescence in this bondage the to a chair ; that he can no more hang on to a more ridiculous was, that I was Joe's senior in bar by his toes or the back of his neck; that, in years and standing. It was therefore but natural
that, when I put on my gown, I should leave my the head, this is too sickening! This is the protector behind me. But this natural course of approach of the sere and yellow with a vengeance. events annoyed him greatly, and caused him as I give you my word, I once got over six foot seven keen a pang as a hen who rears a duck feels when at Mac's. And now I have to sneak over five foot her protégée takes to the water. But I went my six like a girl in petticoats! No offence meant to way, and left Joe in a halo of cricket, and long you, you know, because you never were strong. throws, and tremendous puts, living a life of But to slip through one's six ages into the slippered incredible hardship, on raw meat, but perfectly pantaloon by thirty-five! But it's all those conrecompensed by his inches round the chest, and his founded gymnastics. generally lumpy and tuberous condition, and the *Confounded gymnastics ;' and from those lips ! unanimous commendations of the sporting press. I could not believe my ears. No. The pope night
Ten years elapse between the prologue and the deny his own infallibility, and Bass might advocate next act. I had been serving my country in India, a Maine Liquor Law, but Joe Rullock, the mighty and Joe had retired to his comfortable patrimony, gymnasiarch, the hero of a hundred 'grinds,'* the where he settled down into a model squire. From unwearied haunter of the palæstra, could never time to time reports reached me, through Bell's give the lie to his whole past life, and deny his Life, of his prowess in cricket, and occasionally he own gymnastics. favoured me with a letter. But after while, Come, Joe,' I said soothingly, you're riled, without any diminution of kindly feeling, our old fellow. You must be chaffing about the gymcorrespondence fell through, and the notices of my nastics.' friend in the oracle became rarer and rarer. At 'I tell you,' he repeated with solemn emphasis, the end of ten years, I came home on leave for it's those cursed gymnastics. They bring you twelve months, and I lost no time in getting to into an unnatural state of training and muscular Ashlins, where Joe gave me the warmest of wel- development; and the consequence is that you
He had developed into a magnificent break down twice as early as other men. Look at specimen of an Anglo-Saxon, deep in the chest, me: at five-and-twenty I was a sort of Milo; at broad in the shoulders, firmly set on long, massive five-and-thirty I am a wreck.' thighs, with a full yellow beard rippling over his It was no use trying to argue Joe out of his honest, serious, sun-browned face. His figure, position ; besides, I had no wind to spare for talk, perhaps, was verging on the portly ; but, as yet, as it was all I could do to keep up with this poor he was safe from any curter epithet than portly. wreck, striding along at five miles an hour. But, He wrung my hand with his old remorseless gripe, not being a wreck myself, I soon began to exhibit and patted me on the back with the old Oxford symptoms of distress at this rapid pace, whereon air of protection, so that I felt at home immediately Joe graciously proposed that we should sit on a on the old footing of the feeble dependant. I gate and chat. Beirg anxious to divert him, if observed, too, at luncheon, that my friend's old possible, from the unhappy train of reflections in prowess with the knife and fork still clung by which he was evidently indulging, I started a him. Huge slices of beef crumbled beneath his hobby that I hoped he would deign to ride. •Made molars like corn in a mill; and quart pewters, any long scores lately, Joe?' I inquired. the trophies of his legs and arms, streamed with * What at ?' snapped Joe. bright ale. Afterwards, he smoked his venerable "Why, cricket, of course.' meerschaum, with that deliberate and grave enjoy- "Cricket! Do you think a man can make a ment of which none but physically powerful men score with a pot like mine? No, sir; I'm too are capable. Luncheon over, a walk to the covers fleshy for that sort of fun; too fat, sir. Do was proposed, and we were soon immersed in that you know that I weigh fourteen stone seven? discursive chat, dear to long-parted chums. Unfor. And what have I to thank for it?—Those infernal tunately for our quiet enjoyment, a five-barred gymnastics. They put on great lumps of muscle gate threw its malignant shadow across our path. at high pressure, which, directly you return to a I need scarcely say that I had no more imagina- natural, normal life, turn to fat.' tion apropos of a five-barred gate than Peter Bell I tried to assure the poor fellow that his case, as of a yellow primrose. And I have my private yet, was by no means desperate—that he was far opinion that Joe also had, by this time, got into from a Banting; but he would not be comforted. a way, when alone, of walking through gates, when 'I tell you, I ought to know best, Tom. It has possible, rather than vaulting over them. On the been coming upon me some time now. I had long present 'occasion, however, the association of ideas, had some uneasy suspicions on the subject, but I 1 suppose, was too strong for him, for he put his was brought up sharp about two years ago. I was hand carelessly on the gate and struck his knee taking a team to play the opening match of the heavily against the top bar.
season with the Stalkshire Hedgehogs. Well, sir, *Foot slipped,” explained Joe; and again he when I came to put on my bags, I found I had went at the gate, with the same result as before. precious hard work to draw them on; my thighs A shade of annoyance crossed his face, as if it were seemed to be in tights, and the buttons altogether a humiliation to have to take a run at such a mere refused to meet. At first, I thought they had bagatelle as five feet six. He felt, however, that shrunk in the wash, or possibly I had got a pair he had gone too far to recede with honour ; so he of my brother's by mistake. But, when I tried took a run, and again succeeded in heavily banging another pair, I found it was still the same; and his knee. "The saddening conviction now began to then I realised the stern fact, that I was growing a dawn on poor Joe's mind that he could not get pot. Since then, I have seldom played except over the gate at all. The truth was horrible, but with our own fellows; and I shall give it up irresistible, and the moan of the fallen athlete was altogether next season.' as touching as Wolsey's lament to Cromwell. “Oh, hang it, Tom,' he said with a mournful shake of * 'Grinds,' college slang for athletic sports.
A MUSCULAR HYPOCHONDRIAC.
195 This failure of my best meant efforts dismayed * Proven,' I exclaimed, anxious to check his me excessively, for I saw that I had to deal with reminiscences of disabled heroes, which threatened perfect hypochondriac on the subject of muscular to become lengthy. "You have made good your atrophy. He persisted in regarding himself as a second count. You are damaged, in point of fact shattered athlete, and was perpetually facing the a screw_a broken-winded screw. What next ?' infernal facts,' as he phrased it. The slightest • Besides all this,' continued he, 'I am quite thing set him off; he would go off on the very convinced that strong training makes a man heavy, faintest scent. For instance, when his eldest boy, somnolent, and stupid. Plato, who, to my mind, as fine a lad of eight years old as ever a man is about the only fellow who ever understood the called son, was brought in after dinner, I stumbled subject of education as a system founded on reason, on the unlucky remark, that he was a perfect is quite right in saying that physical and mental little athlete.' Joe was down on me like a knife. training cannot go on simultaneously. Mark Patti
*Don't talk like a fool, Tom. Do you want to son, too, is tolerably well on the spot in what vitiate the poor little fellow's mind already? I he says about the mania for athletics. Only, you once caught that boy playing with a dumb-bell, know, he is a weakling like you, and a man does and I gave him a good licking for it. And if ever,' not like to be put right by a fellow that he could he continued, sternly fixing the boy with his eye, smash.' 'I catch Joe on the bars, or playing the tomfool Well, but the Greeks,' I objected, certainly in any such way, I'll skin him! Remember that, made gymnastics an integral part of their educaJoe ; for I mean it. Gymnastics have caused your tion.' poor father misery enough, without wrecking the " True,' replied Joe ;' but, in the first place, the happiness of his son. I am no heathen, to sacrifice Greeks began their physical education at a time to Moloch.'
when the mind is best fallow, and brought it to "Come, Joe,' I said, 'you seem uncommonly an end in good time. Whereas our fellows grind bitter against your old love. But be a trifle more on the river, or in the gymnasium, at the very explicit ; let us hear the whole of your impeach-crisis of the mind : they burn the candle at both ment of gymnastics. You seem to me to be as ends. Besides, the gymnastics of the Greeks went violent now in your denunciations of them, as you on an entirely different principle from ours. Theirs were formerly unreasonable in your devotion to were systematic, and, so to speak, generic ; ours are them. Come, now, what harm have they done haphazard and special. They cultivated the har
mony of the whole body, we only develop par"Well, in the first place, grunted Joe, 'they ticular parts ; our fellows only aim at putting on bare broken my wind!-I thought of the five lumps here and there. One fellow goes in for miles an hour, but was silent.— At the slightest rowing, and puts a lump on his forearm, and exertion or quickening of the pace, I begin to another behind his shoulder-blades. Another fellow blow like a grampus.
I tried to get up Mont goes in for dumb-bells and parallel bars, and puts Blanc last year ; had to give it up at the Grands a lump on his biceps. Another goes in for running Mulets. If I go in for swimming, I knock up or jumping, and puts a lump on his calf. But after half a mile.'
there is nothing systematic ; it is all chaotic and "Well, but even if this is so, how is it due to idiotic.' gymnastics ?
"Well, I suppose you must have it your own "I'll tell you.
In the first place, as I said way,' I said: 'I will “write you down an ass,” if before, they put on muscle that with the least you like. Let me see: that makes a brokeninaction becomes fat. But besides this, only con- winded asinine screw. Anything else?' sider what fooleries we go in for when we are at “Yes; there are the moral annoyances and vexait! We get into a perfect lather of perspiration ; tions of finding out that you are perpetually losing we immediately shove our heads into a basin of the faculty of doing some absurd thing or other, cold water, or get some fool like ourselves to pour that no one in his senses feels the least desire to a can of cold water down our backs. Of course, do. You saw to-day how I lost my temper because the perspiration is violently arrested, and the I could not vault over a five-barred gate. It was system chilled. The result is that we thicken the same thing the other day at an athletic festival the bronchial tubes, we derange the action of the at Westwich. I was fool enough to let them heart, we become asthmatic, and extremely sus- humbug me into going in for the hammer-"just ceptible of cold
to shew the rustics how to throw it." Well, sir, Well, I admit the first count, old man. You one of my own tenants' sons threw six feet further are, comparatively-very comparatively-speaking, than I did.—But come; we've had enough of this ; broken-winded. What next?
pass the port. A few pounds of flesh more or less "Well
, in the next place, you never yet knew can't make much difference now.-No more? Then a fellow go in heavily for athletics who did not let us go, and have coffee with Annie.? damage himself by overstraining some part or "Just another minute,'I pleaded.
"At this rate, other. You knew Dupoids of Balliol–magnificent we ought not to take any exercise at all. fellow! seen him throw the hammer one hundred I never said that. Take exercise in plentyand twelve feet-well, he strained his left breast, cricket, row, ride, shoot, skate, fence, box, so long and feels it ever since. Long, the mile-runner, as you can do so without leading an unnatural life. brought on varex, and wears an elastic stocking; But if any one wants you to go into training for Doolan, the spurt-runner, went into a consump- any of these things, to knock off your pipe, to limit tion ; my cousin Jack, who won the sculls, has yourself to some absurd pittance of fluid to wear a truss. I sprained the right pectoral with your throat as dry as the Sahara, to variegate muscle when I was playing some stupid antics on your skin with a crop of boils, or to live at the the trapeze, and directly the cold weather sets in, mercy of some brutal trainer or some pigmy cox., I am never free from pain in the damaged part.' take my advice, and do nothing of the sort. It is
per diem, better to remain an abortion like you, Tom, than tongue, though never so grossly as now. Her task to break down like ine. But come up-stairs, and was a hard one, full of most repulsive duties, for then we'll have a pipe.'
disease spared nothing to the dying drunkard, and there was no one to share them with her. In
after-days she wondered how she was sustained in A GOLDEN SORROW.
courage and in bodily strength throughout that CHAPTER XXV.-'WHERE IS WALTER?'
time, with its ever-present horror and its agonising
suspense. With the certainty that under any circumstances Miriam was informed of her father's state, but his life could not be much prolonged, it might have Florence found herself obliged to add that Mr Clint been supposed that some soft, regretful feeling would not receive her unless she came to the Firs would have come to Reginald Clint. He might alone. He positively refused to admit Mr St have been less morose and cynical, less obstinate in Quentin into the house. This was a novel develophis conviction, that in the long-standing quarrel ment of his extraordinary temper, and Mr Martin between himself and his fellows, he only was in and Florence were equally at a loss to account for the right, they absolutely and wilfully in the it. But they presently discovered that he had, by wrong. But, if any observer had indulged such an dint of long brooding over the matter, conceived a expectation, it would have arisen from an imperfect violent animosity against Mr St Quentin, in conseconception of the man's character. We are too apt quence of his victory over him respecting the conto regard sickness and sorrow as direct agents for ditions of his marriage with Miriam. He had been good in themselves, whereas they never absolutely beaten on the point of the settlement; and his turn aside the ordinary current of one's moral life'; morose, ill-conditioned mind, beginning now to be they are what the person who experiences them touched with positive disease, ever seeking nutrimakes them. Reginald Clint believed what Mrtion for its spleen and ill-will, had fastened on this Martin had told him ; indeed, there was a warning fact with peculiar avidity. Miriam night come if voice within him heard, but, in the sense of warn- she chose, but not the plausible old cheat she had ing, unheeded, which affirmed the truth of the married, and would find out some day. She had doctor's words. Nobody but himself could tell how been in such a hurry to get away from her father, difficult he—who, until a comparatively late period, that she had allowed herself to be fooled ; let her had been a strong man—sometimes found it to take care she was not left in the lurch altogether. live ; how easy it would have seemed to him to They could not extract from him any expression of relinquish the effort, and allow that deadly nausea, a desire to see his daughter; beyond she may come that terrible tremulousness, that overwhelming if she chooses,' he would not go. weakness to have their full way. And they wanted Miriam would have gone to the Firs gladly, him to give up drink; to give up the only thing even on such slender encouragement as this ; but that checked all these, and pulled him back from she was destined to feel, in this instance, the full the abyss he so constantly neared! He was not weight of the yoke under which she had heedlessly such a fool as not to know that it was also the and credulously placed herself. If her father was origin of the deadly evil which he felt within his obdurate, so was her husband, and he had a threat frame, but it was too late now; he did not deceive to use which was potent. You go nowhere withhimself; he knew it would always have been too late, out me. If you leave my house, without my perat least ever since the time when, if an intrusive mission, on any pretext whatsoever, you need never vision of his wife's pale face, as he remembered it return to it. Let there be no further discussion of in her welcome coffin, and his wife's rosy face, as the subject. Miriam had ascertained that this was he could not forget it, on her wedding-day, arose no vain threat, no imposition in the true spirit of before him, he got rid of them both by the agency a petty tyrant, on her credulity, but that he had of drink. He would keep off the big bouts which the power to carry it out. So she submitted, and shook his nerves, and inflicted those dreadful hardened her heart against the man who thus attacks of fear upon him, but he would do no more ; treated her-well-nigh driving him mad by her and he was not afraid of death. There might be carefully displayed contempt
. She wrote to Floranother life, perhaps ; he did not know or care ence full particulars of the battle, and, acknowmuch about that ; Reginald Clint had not in him ledging Mr St Quentin's victory, declared her even the beginning of wisdom ;' at all events, he intention of rendering it more costly to him than was getting tired of this present world. People died any number of defeats. Florence in reply entreated very easily sometimes, with the aid of drink, and her to write no more in that strain; she felt she he did not like pain. He had had a good deal of could not bear it, in the deep gloom of the terrible it already, more than any one knew about ; he episode through which she was passing. Miriam wanted to have as little more as possible, and as to hardly understood Florence's feelings, but she avoiding it by giving up drink, he knew better! respected them, and for some weeks their correAt all events—and he came steadily back to this in spondence was almost limited to the despatch of his thoughts—he would not, and he could not. bulletins on the one side, and the acknowledgment
He did not. Within three weeks after the mak- of them on the other. ing of his will, Reginald Clint had brought himself Reginald Clint asked no questions about his to a state which, if he had deferred that proceeding, daughter. Whether he thought of her with affecwould, in all probability, have invalidated it. His tion and regret, or with bitterness and resentment, temper, so far from being softened, was more than no one could tell. He was generally taciturn, even ever intolerable, and his tyranny such that there with Florence, but, at the worst stages of his illness
, was great difficulty in keeping the domestic staff he was pleased when she was with him, and uneasy together. Florence bore the brunt of much of this, in her absence. putting herself as far as possible between him and The night had come, cool, calm, and silent, after those whom he had habitually maltreated with his a day of much suffering to the dying man, and of
incessant fatigue to Florence. Mr Martin had left may have thought me. I know very well what the house shortly before, and Florence's watch was you have been to me. I might have died like a soon to be relieved for a few hours by a hired nurse, dog in a ditch if it had not been for you, and I who had now been in attendance for some days. don't want any one else now. Mr Clint had been asleep for a little while, and O sir, don't say that! If only for my sake, Florence, who was sitting by his bed, had allowed don't say that!' Florence had found words now, her weary lids to close for a few moments. When and was holding his passive hand in both hers, she opened her eyes she found that the sick man while still the ghastly eyes gazed into her face. had turned, and was gazing at her intently. A 'If I have been of any service, of any comfort to change in his face caught her attention immediately, you, I ask for only one acknowledgment, for only
• Do you want anything, sir ?'. She approached one reward. Let me tell your children that you him as she spoke, expecting the usual craving have thought of them with affection, that whatever demand for stimulant, which it had long been use the cloud was which came between you and them less and impossible to resist. But no such demand so long ago, it has quite cleared away. Let me was made, nor did the dim, sunken eyes turn tell them this—to the daughter who will come to eagerly, as they had always hitherto turned on you at once, and to the son who will not be long waking, towards the spot where the bottles were in coming. I hope, I pray, I believe he is on his kept. He still looked at her, but did not reply. way already. But whether he comes soon, or not She held back the curtain, and'inspected him more until he cannot hear it from your own lips, let narrowly. The change struck her still more him know that he is forgiven. Whatever his faults forcibly, but it was not a painful alteration ; it towards you were, he has deeply, bitterly repented consisted rather in general unlikeness to the face of them; he would give all the world can ever she was accustomed to see, than in any threatening bring him to undo them, or to know that they no symptom.
longer dwell in your memory.' Where is Walter ?'
Unheeded, unconscious tears were streaming He spoke the words slowly and distinctly, his from Florence's eyes, and falling on her hands, and eyes still fixed on her face. No answer. Florence on that one which she held. never knew whether her body started, or in any Think of his long banishment from home, of way betrayed emotion, but she felt as if she had his kind and loving heart—I do not think you been shot.
ever knew, him rightly—and spare him the anguish Where is Walter ?'
of knowing that you had left him unreconciled to She gently kneeled down beside the bed, and him, that there was bitterness in your heart. I answered him in a soothing tone, with all her pray that you may be left with us until he comes terror: "Don't you remember, sir ?' Mr Walter is home ; but, lest it may not be so, say some words in California.'
of comfort for him to me. Do say them—ever so "I forgot.
few—here, now, to me!! He closed his eyes, and dozed for awhile—how Her earnestness hurried her away from all caublue and sunken his face was, how irregular his tion and restraint, and yet she did not lose sight breathing !—and she knelt perfectly motionless of her patient's state; her voice was not raised, and beside him. It was the first time she had heard she knelt quite still. his father pronounce her husband's name. Pre- *I dared not mention his name,' she went on, ently he roused himself, and sighed heavily: though I have so longed to speak it to you, all 'Are you in pain, sir ? Can I give you anything ?' these months ; but now, now that you have spoken
No; I am in no pain—but my head is heavy. it to me yourself, I do no wrong. Give me a I thought Walter was here. I suppose I was message of reconciliation to your son.' dreaming.' He spoke very slowly, and with gaps 'Give you the message? What do you know between the words. Then, after another pause, he about my son? Why are you pleading his cause ?' went on : 'I must have been dreaming that Walter Florence took a desperate resolution. She had was here, and there was something he wanted to not any doubt that Mr Clint was dying. His son tell me. I have not seen him for a long time.' should not carry through life the burden she had
"So I have heard, Florence ventured to say. found well nigh intolerable for a few years. She
'I thought he would have come back sooner, but resolved to tell him the truth. I suppose he is doing no good out there.'
• Sir,' she said, you have to forgive him many I have been told that your son is doing well, things, but one thing above all, and it is because sir, and that he hopes to return very soon, and of that great fault, that great sin against you, that prove to you that he has profited by his experi- I am pleading to you now. Only for that, I should ence.
not be here, and Walter would be beside you. I *Ah !'-in a vague manner it will be too entreat you to pardon him, and me too, for I am late soon. He drew his breath heavily, and his Walter's wife!' chest laboured. Florence rose, gave him some
(Walter's wife? You!' wine, which he drank without eagerness, and then There was surprise in the feeble voice, but not quietly resumed her former attitude.
• Walter and anger.
There was something like awe, but not Miriam,' he said, “Walter and Miriam.'
Should you be glad if they were here, sir? Do “Yes, I–I, the girl you were told about-I, you wish to see your daughter? Do you want Florence Reeve.' her?'
She laid her head upon her hands, still folding "No!' but there was no fierceness in his tone, his, which he did not withdraw, within them ; po scornful repudiation of feeling ; 'I don't want and there was no sound but her low sobs for some her-I don't want any one but you.'
minutes. It was all over now; she had done the No words came to Florence.
worst or the best she could, which circumstances 'I have not been so blind and insensible as you must decide ; but, whatever that decision might