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ferns. She knew every inch of her way, for she had always delighted in such rambles, and, feeling her heart lightened and refreshed by the awakening of old associations, she at last, after following a narrow shady lane, found herself on the high road, at some distance from home.
Quiet and secluded that road looked in the rich afternoon sunlight, with the heavy shadows of the wayside trees stretching across it, and casting flickering golden lights on the broad stripes of daisied grass which ran beneath the hedges on either side. A night of soft continuous rain had washed the summer dust from turf and bough, and restored to both something of their early freshness. Long wreathlike sprays of wild honeysuckle strayed over the close-clipt leafy wall of interlacing white-thorn bushes; wild roses put forth their sweet blossoms in every variety of shade, from creamy white to rich pink; the bindweed convolvolus flaunted its graceful garlands of snowy bells and handsome leaves; and on the banks beneath grew a perfect wilderness of almond-scented meadow-sweet and pink willow herb, with Tennyson’s “long purples of the dale."
But I must bave done with the wild flowers, or I shall never get beyond them, and Laura must get on as she can without me. turn to her, then : she passionately loved all flowers, but more especially the “beautiful children of the woods and fields," and she felt something of the child gladness of other days coming over her. Adding many a blossom to the huge bouquet of ferns and shadowloving blooms which she bad already gathered, she sauntered on towards Charlwood, till she heard the sound of wheels behind her, and presently an open carriage passed her. Laura turned her head, and met the gaze of the occupant of the vehicle ; it was Mrs. Errol, and recognition was as mutual as instantaneous. Laura's heart beat fast, ber colour changed, and her limbs trembled; she wished to make some sign, but as the carriage passed rapidly, and no such sign was made her, she lost the opportunity. She felt sore at heart, for a thousand memories of past kindness rose within her, and she felt that her friend was lost to her. She had scarcely time to form the bitter thought, when the horses stopped, and in another moment she saw that Mrs. Errol had descended from her seat, and was coming towards her.
“My dear child," she said; and the next instant Laura was in her arms, crying like a baby.
“ You may go on with the carriage to Charlwood, Wolfe, Mrs. Home and I will walk on slowly. You must give me your arm, my dear; I have not grown younger since we
Laura could not answer, save by pressing the arm she supported. “ Don't, my child, or I sball fancy you are sorry to see me.” Ah!
you know it is not so; but when you passed without speaking, I thought-I feared"
I suppose you thought me such an old fool as to nourish resentment for what is beyond remedy, and what—if we trace events back to first causes—was perhaps more my fault than yours. Arthur himself wished me to pay you this visit. In a little time he will come himself; the bitterest time is over, and I hope still to see the day
when another, if not loved as you have been, may yet be enough so to secure his happiness.”
“You are as kind to me as you have ever been,” said Laura ; “others have not been so indulgent, but I did not expect such tenderness."
“ We will not say another word on the subject now, Laura. I shall not attempt to deny that Arthur suffered keenly for a time; but I knew you would have spared him if you could. Believe me, you have no friend who can wish more ardently for your happiness than he ; but I want to know about yourself; I fancy you are looking pale and
"I have not been very strong of late."
“You should be well now, Laura ; happiness was always the surest medicine for you."
“Yes," thought Laura; “but I begin to think that our wishes are not always granted for our happiness.
She said nothing aloud, however, but with a quivering sigh, which she could not repress, walked on beside her companion. Mrs. Errol gazed anxiously and furtively at the fair pale young cheek and the heavy eyes, beneath the lids of which tears seemed ever ready to start, and round which blue sad-looking shadows had settled. Laura was unconscious of the scrutinising gaze, or she would not have yielded to the thoughts which cast such a look of dejection over her features. Mrs. Errol was a woman of keen perception, and, although of course unable to divine what was the matter, she saw at once that all was not as it should be.
"Not much sign of great happiness there," she said, inly. "I am glad Arthur did not come with me."
But desirous of changing the current of Laura's thoughts, sbe began to ask questions concerning the family at Charlwood, where she had not been for some time.
Mrs. Charlton received her guest with great demonstrations of joy, and all the time she was occupied in marvelling at the good understanding which seemed re-established between Laura and a friend on whom Mrs. Charlton had looked as being completely alienated. There are some minds which, for themselves, can neither forget nor forgive an injury, nor can they imagine the possibility of other minds being more nobly constituted. To minds of this calibre Mrs. Charlton's belonged, and in seeing the affectionate friendliness of Mrs. Errol's behaviour to Laura, and Laura's pretty graceful manner to the elder lady—the step-mother, who was so sharp-sighted as sometimes to see that wbich did not exist-felt convinced that some hidden motive on either side was at the foundation of this reconciliation.
LITTLE TALBOT THE GREAT.
A CUE FROM SHAKSPEARE.
BY FRANCIS JACOX.
The very name of Talbot was a terror in France, and served to still fractious babes, as well as to rout his foes in a panic of dismay, when the Countess of Auvergne longed so to see this redoubtable Englishman, and plotted to take him with guile. In one of the scenes on the battlements before Orleans, in the First Part of King Henry the Sixth, where numbers of the French are gathered together, and the Dauphin and even La Pucelle are amongst them, we have an English soldier suddenly rushing io, with the cry of “A Talbot ! a Talbot !” and incontinently there is an exeunt omnes, leaving their clothes behind them: a coup de théâtre eminently adapted to tickle the patriotism of British spectators when Elizabeth was Queen. The one soldier who has thus put to flight almost an army of the aliens, is an old hand at the trick, which, by his own account, has answered more than once. He makes bold to take their leavings, and informs himself in soliloquy, for the instruction of the " auditorium” at large, that the cry of Talbot serves him for a sword ; "for I have loaden me with many spoils, using no other weapon but his name.” Such a hero it is highly natural in the Countess of Auvergne to desire to see.
course she has formed an idea of his person. A warrior so doughty must needs be of stalwart frame-a man of towering stature and imposing presence. My lady has pictured Talbot to herself as a very Hercules, a Hector at the least, or some equally Muscular Pagan :
Great is the rumour of this dreadful knight,
To give their censure of these rare reports.
Talbot receives a message from “the virtuous lady, Countess of Auvergne," with modesty admiring his renown, in which she entreats him to vouchsafe to visit her poor castle, that she may boast she hath beheld the man whose glory fills the world with high report. At once the Lord Talbot complies.
There is plot and counterplot in the encounter, but with that we are not here concerned. It is with the contrast between the lady's ideal of Talbot, and the physique of the real man himself, that we have to do. Her messenger returns, bringing Talbot with him, and together they enter the court of the castle, where the Countess is already waiting. And then ensues a shock of more than what Wordsworth calls mild surprise :
Enter MESSENGER and TALBOT.
My message craved, so is Lord Talbot come. Yet conditional on the vexed question whether the First of the three Parts of King Henry VI. be Shakspeare's.
Countess. And he is welcome. What! is this the man ?
Is this the scourge of France ?
But even her ladyship, before the interview was over, came to think this little shrimp of a fellow very
like a whale. Agesilaus, the great King of Sparta, was small of size; and when Tachos, King of Egypt, on forming an alliance with him, had his first sight of his petty person, the sum total of the Spartan hero's inches was so absurdly inferior to Egypt's expectations, that Tachos had the ill manners to vent his disappointment in a reference to the mountain which brought forth a mouse. "Ωδινεν όρος, Ζευς δ' εφοβείτο, το δ'έτεκεν μύν. The mountain was in labour, and Zeus himself was all alarm,—but what came to the birth was a mouse. Agesilaus, however, was ready-witted in repartee. Pavňoopa COL TOTE Kà desv, One of these days you'll be thinking me a lion, was his reply, we are told, I to the dull-eyed giber. We must look the mind and not to the outward appearance, said Æsop to his master: 'Αφοράν ουν δει εις τον νούν, και μη εις την όψιν: and Esop spoke feelingly, considering his stunted size and crooked back.
If, says Mr. Emerson, command, eloquence, art, or invention, exist in the most deformed person, all the accidents that usually displease only serve now to please, and to raise esteem and wonder higher. And he quotes a saying of Du Guesclin's, “Since I am so ugly, it behoves me to be bold.” Those who have ruled human destinies, like planets, for thousands of years, adds the essayist, were not handsome men. And he urges, that if a man can raise a small city to be a great kingdom, can make bread cheap, can irrigate deserts, can join oceans by canals, can subdue steam, can organise victory, can lead the opinions of mankind, can enlarge knowledge, it is no matter whether his nose is parallel to his spine, as it ought to be, or whether he has a nose at all; whether his legs are straight, or whether his legs are amputated. “His deformities will come to be reckoned ornamental, and advantageous on the whole."S Perhaps, however, it requires the glasses of a transcendental philosopher to see the particular advantage on the whole.
Of one in old time who wrote as seldom man wrote, it was said by them to whom he wrote,|| and who were disappointed with his person, that his letters indeed were weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible.
Plutarch tells us that the Macedonian notion about Flaminius was of a fierce commander, intent on devastation, breathing menace and slaughter, at the head of a host of barbarians, himself the biggest barbarian of all.
† First Part of King Henry VI., Act II. Sc. 3. Conduct of Life, Essay on Beauty. || 2 Cor. x. 10.
Great, therefore, was their surprise when they met in him “a young man of a mild aspect, who spoke very good Greek, and was a lover of true honour."*-According to Timæus, the Sicilians, at the first appearance of Gylippus, sent from Lacedemon to aid them against the Athenians, “ laughed at his cloak and head of hair;" yet scarcely had he shown himself before they “gathered about him, as birds do about an owl, and were ready to follow him wherever he pleased.”+-Ptolemy is said to have been considerably disgusted at first with Cato's mean dress and appearance, especially when associated with such supercilious manners; but on getting to talk with him, and hearing his " free and nervous eloquence, he was easily reconciled to him.”I
When Julian made his triumphal entry into Constantinople (A.D. 361), an innumerable multitude pressed round him with eager respect, and, says Gibbon, were perhaps disappointed when they beheld 'the small stature and simple garb of a hero whose inexperienced youth had vanquished the barbarians of Germany, and who had now traversed, in a successful career, the whole continent of Europe, from the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Bosphorus. 9-It is in the luminous, or voluminous, pages (which was it, Mr. Sheridan ?) of the same historian that we read how that veteran general Sclerus, who had twice been invested with the purple, as well as twice loaded with chains, being desirous of ending in peace the small remainder of his days, approached the throne of Basil (A.D. 976), an aged suppliant, with dim eyes and faltering steps, leaning on his two attendants, and how the emperor exclaimed, in the insolence of youth and power, “ And is this the man who has so long been the object of our terror ?"' ||
Bacon's saying, that deformed people are good to employ in business, because they have a constant spur to great actions, that by some noble deed they may rescue their persons from contempt, is an assertion which Mrs. Thrale (Piozzi), in her British Synonymy, approves as in some sort established by experience ; many men famous in history having been of this class—“ the great warriors, above all, as it should seem in very contradiction to nature—when Agesilaus, King William the Third, and Ladislaus, surnamed Cubitalis, that pigmy King of Poland, reigned, and fought more victorious battles, as Alexander Gaguinus relates, than all his longer-legged predecessors had done.” Corpore parvus eram, I was of small stature, he says-cubito vix altior, scarcely above a cubit high; sed tamen in parvo corpore magnus eram, Nevertheless, small as was my size, I was a great man. The lady's reference to William III. T suggests an apt quotation from Lord Macaulay, who reckons it probable that among the 120,000 soldiers who were marshalled round Neerwinden under all the standards of Western Europe, the two feeblest in body were “the hunchbacked dwarf [Luxembourg) who urged forward the fiery onset of France, and the asthmatic skeleton [William] who covered the slow retreat of England."** Mr. Hayward, who annotates the quotation
* Plutarch, Life of Flaminius.