Billeder på siden

was in

her some such alliance as seemed say that he and Sophy had removed impossible while he was thus drag- from Montfort village to the vicinity ging her down to his own level, of London. Time enough to say ever since that day the old man had more when Mrs Crane returned to said to himself, “I live too long.” England ; and then, not by letter, While Sophy was by his side he but in personal interview. appeared busy at his work, and Once a-month the old man went merry in his humour; the moment to London to inquire at the General she left him for Lady Montfort's Post-office for any communications house, the work dropped from his his correspondent might there adhands, and he sank into moody dress to him. Only once, however, thought.

had he heard from Mrs Crane since Waife had written to Mrs Crane the announcement of his migration, (her address then was at Paris) on re- and her note of reply was extremely moving to Twickenham, and begged brief, until in the fatal month of her to warn him should Jasper medi- June, when Guy Darrell and Jasper tate a return to England, by a letter Losely had alike returned, and on directed to him at the General Post- the same day, to the metropolis; and office, London. Despite his later then the old man received from her trust in Mrs Crane, he did not deem a letter which occasioned him proit safe to confide to her Lady Mont- found alarm. It apprised him not fort's offer to Sophy, or the affectionate only that his terrible son nature of that lady's intimacy with England-in London; but that Jasthe girl now grown into womanhood. per had discovered that the persons With that insight into the human embarked for America were not the heart, which was in him not so habitu- veritable Waife and Sophy, whose ally clear and steadfast as to be always names they had assumed." Mrs Crane useful, but at times singularly if erra- ended with these ominous words :tically lucid, he could not feel assured “It is right to say now that he has that Arabella Crane's ancient hate to descended deeper and deeper. Could Sophy (which, lessening in propor- you see him, you would wonder that tion to the girl's destitution, had only I neither abandon him nor my receased when the stern woman felt, solve. He hates me worse than the with a sentiment bordering on re- gibbet. To me and not to the gibvenge, that it was to her that Sophy bet he shall pass—fitting punishment owed an asylum obscure and humble) to both. I am in London, not in my might not revive, if she learned that old house, but near him. His confithe child of a detested rival was dant is my hireling. His life and his raised above the necessity of her pro- projects are clear to my eyes_clear tection, and brought within view of as if he dwelt in glass. Sophy is that station so much loftier than her now of an age in which, were she own, from which she had once re- placed in the care of some person joiced to know that the offspring of whose respectability could not be a marriage which had darkened her impugned, she could not be legally life was excluded. For indeed it had forced away against her will; but been only on Waife's promise that he if under your roof, those whom Jaswould not repeat the attempt that per has induced to institute a search, had proved so abortive, to enforce that he has no means to institute Sophy's claim on Guy Darrell, that very actively himself, might make Arabella Crane had in the first in- statements which (as you are already stance resigned the child to his care. aware) might persuade others, though His care-his-an attainted outcast! well-meaning, to assist him in sepaAs long as Arabella Crane could see rating her from you. He might pubin Sophy but an object of compas- licly face even a police court if he şion, she might haughtily protect thus hoped to shame the rich man her; but could Sophy become an ob- into buying off an intolerable scanject of envy, would that protection dal. He might, in the first instance, last? No, he did not venture to con- and more probably, decoy her into fide in Mrs Crane further than to his power through stealth; and what might become of her before she perience of you supplies the defence was recovered ? Separate yourself you suppress—it reverses the judgfrom her for a time. It is you, ment which has aspersed you. And, notwithstanding, your arts of dis- more ardently than before, I press on guise, that can be the more easily you a refuge in the Home that will tracked. She, now almost a woman, shelter your grandehild." Noblewill have grown out of recogni- hearted woman ! and nobler for her tion. Place her in some secure ignorance of the practical world, in asylum until at least you hear from the proposal which would have blisme again."

tered with scorching blushes the Waife read and re-read this epistle cheek of that Personification of all (to which there was no direction “Solemn Plausibilities,” the House that enabled him to reply) in the of Vipont! Gentleman Waife was private room of a little coffeehouse not scamp enough to profit by the to which he had retired from the ignorance which sprang from genergaze and pressure of the streets. The ous virtue. But, repressing all argudetermination he had long brooded ment, and appearing to acquiesce in over now began to take shape-to the possibility of such an arrangebe hurried on to prompt decision. ment, he left her benevolent delight On recovering his first shock, he unsaddened--and before the mornformed and matured his plans. That ing he was gone. Gone in stealth, same evening he saw Lady Montfort. and by the starlight, as he had gone He felt that the time had come years ago from the bailiff's cottage when, for Sophy's sake, he must lift - gone, for Sophy, in waking, to the veil from the obloquy on his own find, as she had found before, farename. To guard against the same well lines, that commended hope and concession to Jasper's authority that forbade grief. “It was,' he wrote, had betrayed her at Gatesboro', it ‘for both their sakes that he had set was necessary that he should explain out on a tour of pleasant adventure. the mystery of Sophy's parentage and He needed it; he had felt his spirits position to Lady Montfort, and go droop of late in so humdrum and through the anguish of denouncing settled a life. And there was danger his own son as the last person to abroad — danger that his brief abwhose hands she should be con- sence would remove. He had consigned. He approached this subject fided all his secrets to Lady Montnot only with a sense of profound fort; she must look on that kind humiliation, but with no unreason- lady as her sole guardian till he reable fear lest Lady Montfort might turned-as return he surely would; at once decline a charge which and then they would live happy ever would possibly subject her retire- afterwards as in fairy tales. He ment to a harrassing invasion. But, should never forgive her if she were to his surprise as well as relief, nó silly enough to fret for him. He sooner had he named Sophy's paren- should not be alone; Sir Isaac would tage than Lady Montfort evinced take care of him. He was not withemotions of a joy which cast into out plenty of money-savings of the shade all more painful or dis- several months; if he wanted more, creditable associations. "Hence- he would apply to George Morley forth, believe me," she said, “your He would write to her occasionally ; Sophy shall be my own child, my but she must not expect frequent own treasured darling !-no humble letters; he might be away for months companion-my equal as well as my —what did that signify? He was charge. Fear not that any one shall old enough to take care of himself ; tear her from me. You are right in she was no longer a child to cry her thinking that my roof should be her eyes out if she lost a senseless toy, home—that she should have the or a stupid old cripple. She was a rearing and the station which she young lady, and he expected to find is entitled as well as fitted to adorn. her a famous scholar when he reBut you must not part from her. I turned.' And so, with all flourish have listened to your tale ; my ex- and bravado, and suppressing every attempt at pathos, the old man went fact, the old man, on resolving to conhis way, and Sophy, hurrying to summate his self-abnegation, strove Lady Montfort's, weeping, distracted, more and more to wean his grandimploring her to send in all direc- child's thoughts from his image. He tions to discover and bring back the deemed it so essential to her whole fugitive, was there detained a captive future, that, now she had found a guest. But Waife left a letter also home in so secure and so elevated a for Lady Montfort, cautioning and sphere, she should gradually accusadjuring her, as she valued Sophy's tom herself to a new rank of life, from safety from the scandal of Jasper’s which he was an everlasting exile ; claim, not to make any imprudent should lose all trace of his very beattempts to discover him. Such ing; efface a connection that, ceasing attempt would only create the very to protect, could henceforth only harm publicity from the chance of which and dishonour her; that he tried, as he was seeking to escape. The neces- it were, to blot himself out of the sity of this caution was so obvious, world which now smiled on her. He that Lady Montfort could only send did not underrate her grief in its first her most confidential servant to in- freshness; he knew that, could she quire guardedly in the neighbour- learn where he was, all else would be hood, until she had summoned George forgotten-she would insist on flying Morley from Humberston, and taken to him. But he continually murmured him into counsel. Waifé had per- to himself, “ Youth is ever proverbimitted her to relate to him, on strict ally short of memory; its sorrows promise of secresy, the tale he had poignant, but not enduring; now the confided to her. George entered with wounds are already scarring overthe deepest sympathy into Sophy's they will not reopen if they are left distress; but he made her compre- to heal.” hend the indiscretion and peril of any He had, at first, thought of hiding noisy researches. He promised that somewhere not so far but that once he himself would spare no pains to a-week, or once a-month, he might ascertain the old man's hiding-place, have stolen into the grounds, looked and see, at least, if he could not be at the house that held her-left

, perpersuaded either to return or suffer haps, in her walks some little token her to join him, that he was not left of himself

. But, on reflection, he destitute aud comfortless. Nor was felt that that luxury would be too this an idle promise. George, though imprudent, and it ceased to tempt his inquiries were unceasing, crippled him in proportion as he reasoned by the restraint imposed on them, himself into the stern wisdom of was so acute in divining, and so activé avoiding all that could revive her in following up each clue to the wan- grief for him. At the commencement derer's artful doublings, that more of this tale, in the outline given of than once he had actually come upon that grand melo-drama in which the track, and found the very spot Juliet Araminta played the part of where Waife or Sir Isaac had been the Bandit's child, her efforts to decoy seen a few days before. Still, up to pursuit from the lair of the persethe day on which Morley had last cuted Mime were likened to the arts reported progress, the ingenious ex- of the sky-lark to lure eye and hand actor, fertile in all resources of from the nest of its young. More stratagem and disguise, had baffled appropriate that illustration now to his research. At first, however, the parent-bird than then to the Waife had greatly relieved the minds fledgling. Farther and farther from of these anxious friends, and cheered the nest in which all his love was even Sophy's heavy heart, by letters, centred fled the old man. What if gay though brief. These letters have Jasper did discover him now, that ing, by their postmarks, led to his very discovery would mislead the trace, he had stated, in apparent pursuit from Sophy. Most improanger, that reason for discontinuing bable that Losely would ever guess them. And for the last six weeks no that they could become separated ; line from him had been received. In still more improbable, unless Waife, imprudently lurking near her home, travel-stained, draggled, with droopguided conjecture, that Losely should ing head and melancholy eyes--yea, dream of seeking under the roof of as I see him there, jostled by the the lofty peeress the child that had crowd, to whom, now and then, pointfled from Mr Rugge.

ing to that huge pannier on his arm, Poor old man ! his heart was break- filled with some homely pedler wares, ing; but his soul was so brightly he mechanically mutters, “Buy”comforted, that there, where many, yea, I say, verily, as I see him thus, I many long miles off, I see him stand- cannot draw near in pity-I see what ing, desolate and patient, in the cor- the crowd does not-the shadow of ner of yon crowded market-place, an angel's wing over his grey head; holding Sir Isaac by slackened string, and I stand reverentially aloof, with with listless hand-Sir Isaac unshorn, baited breath and bended knee.

Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.

[blocks in formation]

SPECTACLES have been often events award of honours, the celebration of in the world's history. Pageants victories, the thanksgiving for blesshave been the expressions of civilisa- ings, the anniversaries of the great tion. They belong not to simple or men and the great events which

have primitive stages, but ever, as he has moved the destinies of a people. gathered wealth and raised power Even the sober men of Manchester, around him, has man delighted to who disdain pomp, and scowl at celebrate his acts and inaugurate his display, delight in demonstrating works by the pomp and splendour of their own doings by processions and pageant. It has ever seemed fitting banquets. If there be an occasion to him that the great events of the when the spectacle rises to the diggreat monuments of his age should nity of an event, it is the triumph by not appear noiselessly and unobtru- which man proclaims that, in the sively in their places, but be an- perfection of a work which shall nounced and demonstrated with all astonish and benefit coming generaacclaim; be affirmed in the presence tions, he has conquered the obstacles of multitudes by all the circumstance of Nature and challenged Time. It is of spectacle. Sometimes these page- then, if ever, that he may be allowed ants have only illustrated the pride the accessories of fêtes and ceremoof kings or nations, and such have nies to inaugurate a success achieved passed away from the memories and by the strength of his will and the annals of mankind. Again, they have energy of his labour. Such a triumph inaugurated epochs in the existence did the fêtes at Cherbourg proclaim, of a people, or the completion of great “Quatre-vingts ans de travaux et works, and then have lived as events. plus de deux cents millions de déNor has the love of pageant and spec- penses, voilà le Cherbourg de nos tacle yet died out-our utilitarian jours.” age adopts them in fact, though it The sea had been arrested-huge repudiates them in profession. They basins of refuge hewn out of the may have changed their outward rock—a harbour made—a fortress form, lost much of their show, grown constructed—the plan of one generasimpler in their character, yet still tion had been carried on to the nextare they deemed necessary proclama- dynasties had changed-yet republics, tions of every occurrence, great or and empires, and kings, still acceptsmall, the laying of a stone, the open- ed and adopted it; different celebraing of a college, the accession of an tions had marked its

progress; and heir to his estate, the exhibitions of now that the design of centuries had art, agriculture and horticulture, the been fulfilled, the work of years comVOL LXXXIV.—NO. DXV.


« ForrigeFortsæt »