תמונות בעמוד

“ Things being so," Augustus concluded, “we have resolved that it will be better for me, and could not but feel that for you and your fortune for you too, if I renounce my scheme of living to be at the mercy of a man who has never shown abroad, and instead, become your father, guareven the most common prudence in money mat- dian, and best friend. As for my former life, it ters would be a very disastrous thing. And it has been, I admit, devoted to pleasure; that is was with the greatest joy that we received from all finished. I was then a man without ties, and him an assurance that he was willing to accept therefore, to a certain extent, a selfish man. Now an annuity, and not to take upon himself the re- I have you, my daughter, I have some one else in sponsibilities of paternity. In other words, my the world to live for. My brother Anthony actdear child, you will be in exactly the same posi- ed, no doubt, for the best, but he acted wrongly tion as if you were really Anthony's daughter." toward me. Had I known, had I suspected, that

“I have seen him,” said Alison, quietly. “He you were my child, my course would have been has told me that he does not want a daughter. different indeed; perhaps it would have been as He can never feel any affection for me; it is bet- blameless as that of my cousin, Alderney Codd.” ter that we should part.”

Alderney jumped in his chair and changed “Much better,” said Augustus.

color. It was to be hoped that Stephen was not "I confess that it would be impossible for me going to begin revelations at this inconvenient to practice the same respect and obedience to- time. ward him as to my dear fath-I mean my uncle “I say so much, Alison,” Stephen went on, Anthony-"

while Mrs. Cridland sat clutching Miss NetherAlways your father, Alison," said Gilbert. sole's hand in affright, and the partners with the

· Quis desiderio,by Alderney again, when old lawyer stood grouped together-Gilbert rethe door was thrown open, and the new father tained his position behind Alison—"I say so appeared.

much because you ought to know both sides. He was acting elaborately; he had thrown It matters little, now, why my cousins have beaside the dark and down look with which he re come my enemies. You see that they are. I ceived Alison in the afternoon; he had assumed come here to-night proposing new relations. I an expression of candor mixed with some kind of take blame for the things I said this afternoon, sorrowful surprise, as if he was thinking of the Forgive me, my child. Your father asks for his past; his dark eyes were full, as if charged with daughter's forgiveness." repentance.

“Oh!” cried Alison, moved to tears by this “Alison,” he said, looking about the room, speech of the père prodigue, “do not speak so. "I see you are with my cousins, my very good Do not talk of forgiveness. There is nothing to friends, and Mr. Billiter, my well-wisher from forgive." youth upward. I have disturbed a family gather Together, my dear, we can face our eneing. May I ask, my child, what poison concern- mies, and bid them do their worst.” ing your father they have poured into your ears? He drew her to his side and laid her hand on Miss Nethersole! Is it possible?"

his arm, in a manner as paternal and as true to Aunt Rachel shook her head violently, and nature as an amateur heavy father at private pushed her chair back. But Stephen thought of theatricals.

“ This is truly wonderful,” said Mr. Billiter. Alison sprang to her feet, but was silent. Let them do their worst,” continued SteShe tried to speak, but could not. Gilbert held phen. her hand.

" Why, in Heaven's name—" began Augus“Stephen,” cried Augustus, “what is the tus, but was stopped by Stephen, who went on meaning of this language?' You have already without taking the least notice of him. forgotten the interview of this morning. Must “Miss Nethersole,” he said, “I owe to you we tell your daughter all ?”

an explanation of a very important kind. I have “All that you please,” said Stephen, airily; read to-day the journal of my late wise, with feel“you are free to tell Alison whatever you like.” ings of the deepest sorrow. My neglect was not He took her hand and drew her gently from Gil- willful, but accidental ; the reduction of my wife's bert. “Alison, my daughter, let me repeat your allowance was due to a heavy pecuniary loss; our own words: ‘We have thought hard things, we separation was by mutual consent; I never rehave said hard things of each other. That was ceived any letters from her at all. I concluded because we did not know the truth. Now we that she had carried her threat into execution and know it, let us not be separated.'

left me. When I had my remittances returned “I was wrong this afternoon, because I had from Lulworth, I concluded that she had gone not yet realized what it meant to me, this gift of away from me altogether.” a daughter. I have thought it over since, and “But, man,” said Rachel Nethersole, puzzled

the message.

spare her.”

with this glib show of explanation, “ you went on tion was Stephen. He was quite certainly the drawing her allowance from me.”

heir to the great estate; everything, including "I did," said Stephen, frankly—“I did ; and his daughter, was his, and in his power. The the hardest, the most cruel, the most unjust ac- difficulty about the Letters of Administration cusation ever made against any man was made could not any longer stand in his way; the crime against me this morning by my own cousin. was forgiven for the daughter's sake ; and what, -Alison, you shall hear it, unless, indeed, they in Heaven's name, would be the end of the great have already told you.".

Hamblin estate, grown up and increased through “What we have spared your daughter,” said so many generations, developed by patient inAugustus, solemnly, “ you, too, would do well to dustry and carefulness to its present goodly pro

portions, fallen into the hands of a profligate, a “Spare her!" Stephen repeated. “It was black sheep, a prodigal son, who would waste, out of no consideration for me. Rachel Nether- dissipate, lavish, squander, and scatter in a few sole, I drew that hundred and fifty pounds a year years what it had cost so many to produce ? for six years after my wife's death. She could “ It is a sad pity,” said Mr. Billiter, speaking not, poor thing, receive any of it. But how was the thoughts of all. I to know that? Who told me of her death? "Stephen," said Alderney, "if you are really What did I know?"

going to take over the whole estate for your“ This is truly wonderful !” said Mr. Billiter self—" again.

“I certainly am," Stephen replied with a · Dora, before we parted to meet no more, short laugh. signed a number of receipts. It was understood “ Then there are one or two things that you that she was not to be troubled in the matter. I must do. As a man of honor and generosity, heard no more.

I went on presenting the re- you must do them. There is Flora Cridland, for ceipts. I drew the money. That money, Rachel instance; you must continue to behave toward Nethersole, has been strictly and honorably laid her as Anthony did.” up ever since, to be returned to you when occa “Go on, Alderney." sion should serve. I first laid it up for Dora, but, “Here is Gilbert Yorke, engaged to Alison.” after six years, I heard from Anthony that she

“ Go on.” was dead, and then resolved to hand it over to His face expressed no generous determination you. But my life has been, as I said before, a to do anything at all. selfish one.

The money was there, but the oc “Well,” said Alderney, his nose becoming casion never came. At the same time, Rachel, suffused with a pretty blush, “ if you can not I thank you most heartily for the message of for- understand what you have to do, I can not tell giveness sent me by Alison. Although there was you." nothing to forgive, I accept the message as a “I know what you mean. I am to continue token of good will."

to give my cousin, Flora Cridland, a lavish alRachel stared at him, as one dumfounded. lowance for doing nothing. Flora, you know my

“Am I,” she asked, "out of my senses? Is sentiments. I am to take, with my daughter, all this true ?"

the hangers on and lovers who may have hoped Mr. Billiter laughed in his hard, dry way. to catch an heiress. Mr. Yorke, at some future

· Quite as true, madame," he said, “as any time you may have an interview with me, in orother of the statements you have heard. Pray der to explain your pretensions. Lastly, Aldergo on, Stephen."

ney, I am to lend you as much money as Anthony “No; I shall not go on. I have said all I did, am I?” had to say to Alison, my daughter, and to Miss “I was not thinking of myself,” said AlderNethersole, my sister-in-law. To them explana- ney meekly. "I only thought, as the poet says, tions were due. To you, my cousins, and to you, Suave est ex magno tollere acervo.' It is delawyer of the devil, I have nothing to say ex- lightful to help yourself from a big pile. Howcept that, as this is my house, you will best please ever—" me, its owner, by getting out of it at once." But Alison broke away from her father's

The position was ludicrous. They who had arm, and caught the protective hands of Gilbert. come to tell Alison gently how her father, having · No,” she said, with brightening eyes, “Gilbeen such a very bad specimen of father or citi- bert will not need to ask your permission; he zen, had acquiesced in their proposal and was has my promise. And he had the encouragegoing to the Continent for life, never again to ment of my—my uncle Anthony." trouble anybody, stood looking at each other “Right, girl,” said Rachel Nethersole ; "you foolishly, the tables turned upon them. They are right. If he turns you out, you shall come were quite powerless. The master of the situa- to me.” She too crossed over to her niece, and


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a pretty group was formed of Alison in the nothing to suspect or to disbelieve. I did not middle, Gilbert at her right, and Rachel at her know for six years and more of the death of my left.

wife-" Stephen's face darkened; but he forced him He did not hear the door open behind him : self to be genial.

he hardly observed how Alison, with panting “Well,” he said, with a smile, “one can not breast and parted lips, sprang past him: he did expect daughters like mine to become obedient not hear the cry of astonishment from all, but in a moment. Marry whom you please, Alison. he felt his dead brother's hand upon his shoulYour husband, however, must look to please me der: he turned and met his dead brother before any settlements are arranged. Rachel face to face, and he heard him say: "SteNethersole, I am sorry to see that your usual phen, that is not true; you knew it a week after common sense has failed you on this occasion.” her death."

Rachel shook her head. She mistrusted the All the pretense went out of him: all the man by instinct

confidence : all the boastfulness; he shrunk toIf I could believe you," she murmured—“if gether: his cheek became pallid : his shoulders only I could believe you—"

fell and were round : his features became mean : There happened, then, a strange sound in the he trembled. hall outside—shuffling steps—a woman's shriek Go,” said Anthony, pointing to the door-the voice of young Nick, shrill and strident, "go! I know all that you have done and said ordering unknown persons to be silent; in fact, go ; let me never see you more, lest I forget the they were William the under-gardener, and promise which I made by the death-bed of our Phæbe the under-housemaid, and he was enter- mother." ing the house with his captive when they rushed Stephen passed through them all without a up the steps and Phæbe screamed, thinking in word. the twilight of the June night that she was look In the general confusion, no one noticed Aling upon the face of a ghost.

derney. “Silence, all of you !” cried young Nick, ex He waited a moment and then crept furtively citedly, trying not to speak too loud; “you chat- out, and caught Stephen at the door. tering, clattering, jabbering bundle of rags, hold Courage,” he said ; " Anthony will come your confounded tongue! Take her away, Wil- round. All is not yet lost.” liam, stop her mouth with the handle of the “You stand by a fallen friend, Alderney ?" spade-choke her, if you can! Now, then." said Stephen, bitterly. “Nay, man, go back and

They hardly noticed the noise in the study. get what you can. I am ruined." It happened just when Miss Nethersole was ex Dives eram dudum," replied the Fellow of pressing her doubts as to Stephen's perfect ve- the College. • Once I was rich. Fecerunt me racity. Everybody was discomfited. Mrs. Crid- tria nudum — three things made me naked : land was miserably wiping her eyes, thinking of Alea, vina, Venus. You are no worse off, Stethe days of fatness, gone for ever: Miss Nether- phen, than you were." sole was uncomfortably suspicious that the man As Stephen walked rapidly away across the had not told her anything like the truth : the common, it was some consolation to think that two partners were silent and abashed—they felt at this, the darkest moment of his life, he could like conspirators who had been found out: Gil- reckon on the friendship of one man in the bert was hot and angry, yet for Alison's sake he world—and on the promise made at a death-bed was keeping control of his temper. Stephen by another. As for the game-he had played himself was uncomfortable, trying to devise some for a high stake-he stood to win by long odds method of restoring confidence, cursing Alderney —and he lost. for forcing his hand. Alderney was ready to sit “Oh, my dear! my dear!” cried Alison, fordown and cry: Mr. Billiter was apparently say- getting her father altogether, as she clung to ing to himself for the third time :

Anthony, and kissed him a thousand times. “This is truly wonderful!"

“Oh, my dear! I said you would come back to And then Alison broke from Gilbert and me some time - somehow. I said you would Rachel, and, standing like a startled deer, cried : come back.”

“I hear a step-I hear a step!” And for a moment she stood with her hands outspread, listening

Ten minutes later, when the confusion was Stephen took no notice of his daughter's ex over, young Nick touched his uncle on the arm, traordinary gesture. He addressed himself to and whispered : Rachel, having his back to the door.

“It's all right about that desk in the office, of " I repeat, Rachel," he said “ that you have course ? Very good. And now, if I was you, I

would sneak up stairs and change my boots, and I give notice that I am about to change my name. put on another coat. I'll amuse Alison while Henceforth I mean to be known as Nicolas Cridyou are gone. ... Old lady,” he stood in the land-Hamblin, Esquire, about to become, as soon full light of the gas, with his right hand modest- as I leave school, a clerk in the firm of Anthony ly thrust into his bosom, and his left hand on his Hamblin and Company, Indigo Merchants, Great thigh—“old lady, and everybody here present, St. Simon Apostle, City.”




R. BUCKLE'S reputation is unique in more kitchen over, gave his nurse's daughter a pea

ways than one; after a long preparation shooter, and had shooting-matches with her; he burst upon the world with a masterpiece, and and on another occasion, when he went to call this masterpiece was received with instant ac- on his old nurse, turned everything there topsyclamation by the public, and depreciated so far turvy, romped about, threw the daughter's cat as possible by most of those to whom the public out of the window, and, finally, walking with generally looks for guidance. The most singular them down the street, sang and was generally thing of all is that during the period of prepara- uproarious, seizing fruit from the open shops, and tion he deliberately abstained from any partial or behaving so as to make them quite afraid that he tentative work, and that he entered upon the would get into trouble.” He was sent again work of preparation with an utterly undisciplined, to a private tutor's, and there, though he never not to say unexercised intelligence. He was a seemed to learn his lessons, he was always forevery delicate child, and had hardly mastered his most. His health, however, failed, and again he letters at eight, and was quite indifferent to child- had to be taken home. In the latter part of this ish games. Dr. Birkbeck was of opinion that he time his father's conversation gave him an interought to be spared in every possible way, and est in politics and political economy, and by the never made to do anything but what he chose. time he was seventeen he had composed a letter His great delight was to sit for hours by the side to Sir Robert Peel on free trade. His father, a of his mother to hear the Scriptures read. Up cultivated man who had been at Cambridge, and to the age of eighteen he read hardly anything used to recite Shakespeare to his family, wished but the “ Arabian Nights," “ Don Quixote,” Bun- his son to be an East India merchant like himyan, and Shakespeare, whom he began at fifteen. self. Buckle entered the office much against his He was sent to school for a short time to give will, but when he was a little over eighteen he him a change from home, with strict directions was released by his father's death, which occurred that he was never to be punished or forced to on the 22d of January, 1840. His last words leam ; nevertheless, out of curiosity, he learned were to bid his son "be a good boy to his mothenough to bring home the first prize for mathe- er.” Buckle was taken fainting from the room. matics before he was fourteen. Being asked He always repaid her self-sacrificing devotion what reward he would have for this feat, he chose with the tenderest attachment; he never really to be taken away from school. He knew hardly recovered from the shock of her death. She was anything, and was proud of showing off what he: a very remarkable woman. Miss Shirreff said, knew. He would stand on the kitchen-table, and after meeting her in 1854: recite the Creed and the Lord's Prayer in Latin and French, translating sentence by sentence, she was a very interesting person to know. It is cu

Apart from her being the mother of such a son, He would play with his cousin at “Parson and rious how many people there are on whom their own Clerk,” always preaching himself

, according to lives seem to have produced no impression ; they his mother, with extraordinary eloquence for a

may have seen and felt much, but they have not rechild. This is more like a precocious child of Aected upon their experience, and they remain apfour than a clever and backward child of four- parently unconscious of the influences that have been teen. The same may be said of his less intellec- at work around and upon them. With Mrs. Buckle tual amusements. On one occasion, for in- it was exactly the reverse. The events, the persons, stance, he turned every chair and table in the the books that had affected her at particular times or

in a particular manner, whatever influenced her ac* Life and Writings of Henry Thomas Buckle. By tions or opinions remained vividly impressed on her Alfred Henry Huth. New York: D. Appleton & Co. mind, and she spoke freely of her own experience,

[ocr errors]

He was

and eagerly of all that bore upon her son.

now in better train for reading than I was at the joy, even more than the pride of her heart. Hav- first, so that I think, on an average, I may say ing saved him from the early peril that threatened eight days will suffice for each history.” He was him, and saved him, as she fondly believed, in a aware that this proceeding was hasty and supergreat measure by her loving care, he seemed twice ficial, and he looked forward to completing his her own ; and that he was saved for great things, to knowledge by further study of larger and more do true and permanent service to mankind, was also elaborate works, such books as Sismondi's “Hisan article of that proud mother's creed, little dream. ing how short a time was to be allowed even for toire des Français," and by reading in biographisowing the seeds of usefulness. ... When I said cal dictionaries the lives of all the notabilities of above that Mrs. Buckle spoke freely of her own ex

the period he was studying, for he made it a rule perience, I should add that her conversation was the to go through a period in many books, instead of very reverse of gossip. It was a psychological rather going through many periods in one book. One than a biographical experience that she detailed. I can not say that his method of study was exactly rarely remember any names being introduced, and uncritical ; he found out the first day that Dr. never unless associated with good.

Lardner quite deserved his reputation for inac

curacy, but he took no precaution against having It is natural to compare Buckle's training, or to unlearn more important errors than a wrong want of training, with Rousseau's, and perhaps name or date. A professional scholar does not the reason it turned out so differently was, that it feel that a fact is the foundation of an opinion till was conducted by a Calvinist mother instead of he is sure that he has reached the right point of by a libertine father, and that the physical condi- view. In all but very exceptional cases this tions were healthier. Rousseau when a child method leads to more questions than answers, habitually turned night into day; it was an event and constructive effort has to restrict itself inwhen Buckle sat up to write to Sir Robert Peel. creasingly to monographs, and the largest specuEntering life at eighteen his own master, with lation generally turns upon the application and powers that had never been taxed, with an im- extension of one or two conceptions, such as the agination ceaselessly stimulated, it is no wonder primitive family or the survival of the fittest. that he was enormously ambitious. He set to Now Buckle, like Bacon, thought that it was work at once to gratify his ambition. He trav- possible to pick out facts from the best seceled] for more than a year on the Continent with ond-hand authorities, like Hallam, or even from his mother and an unmarried sister, studying the authorities which were not the best, like the manners of different countries, and taking les. “ History of Helvetia," in two volumes, which he sons in the languages from masters, who taught picked up for eighteenpence in a book-stall, and him to talk them fluently, but could never break then to tabulate the facts picked out, and graduhim of his British accent; the grammar he found ally sift them into a system. he could master more quickly and thoroughly Wherever he could he used translations, beby himself. At the same time he began a cause he could go through them faster, but, as course of omnivorous reading, and his wonder- many works were not translated, he learned nineful memory very soon made him seem a prodigy teen languages, seven of which he could write of information, especially as, like Dr. Johnson, and speak serviceably (he introduced himself to he had the talent of tearing the heart out of a Hallam by interpreting for him in Germany). At book.

first he still found time for travel, and formed The

way he began his studies with a plan of æsthetic preferences; he thought, till he saw the “ History of Civilization” in his mind is ex- Egypt and Petra, that he preferred beauty of ceedingly characteristic. He began the “ Histo- form to beauty of color. He had a marked disry of the Middle Ages " in Lardner's “ Cabinet like to being bullied or cheated, which reminds Cyclopædia,” finishing thirteen pages in two us of Schopenhauer. At Naples, for instance, hours, during which he referred to Hallam and the boatmen threatened to leave him in a cave at Hawkins's little work on Germany for verification Capri unless he would pay more than he had barof dates. “This brings me from the invasion of gained for. He gave them his purse, but took Clovis in 496 to the murder of Sigebert by Frede- care to stay and have them punished. At Dresgonde in 575. I have at the same time made den a chess-player gave out that Buckle was not copious abstracts of the times referred to." This good enough for him to play with; he placarded is from the first entry in his diary, October 15, a challenge to play the braggart for five hundred 1843. Ten days later we read : “ The sketch, thalers, with the result that he did not venture to then, of the history of France during the middle show his face till Buckle left. Again, when he ages has occupied me just ten days, but then on had bought a new carpet from a man who had one of those days I did not read at all (on ac- promised him discount for cash, and then asked count of a thick fog). And, besides that, I am for the whole sum, Buckle quietly returned the

« הקודםהמשך »