Puslapio vaizdai


being smooth and passable, this being the dry season. Almost the entire island is under cultivation, and during the wet months, the chief time for planting, it is of a vivid green, so profuse is the vegetation. So fertile is the soil that crops are always in progress, three and often four being obtained each year. The farm implements are very primitive; the plow is unknown; and only the hoe, which only turns up the surface soil, is used. Clumsy bullock carts, with heavy, solid wooden wheels and axles, draw the farm produce lazily to the stores. chief vegetable productions are maize, manioc, beans, and castor-oil, which are grown in alternate rows of maize and manioc, or maize and beans, or manioc and castor-oil. Maize is the chief production, the entire crop being consumed on the island. A little fine manioc is made for the officers, but most of the root is exported to Pernambuco for manufacture and re-importation in a coarse, dark form, for sale to the convicts. The plant here cultivated is apparently the sweet Cassava. I went into a small rough factory, where medicinal oils and also a coarse, bad-smelling lamp oil is made from the castor-oil bean. The small black and the brown "macass" bean is the product of a leguminous shrub named Fajung. Sugarcane is grown in small quantities, but, like the island water, its juice is brackish. Cotton, very white but small in the pod, is grown in trifling quantity for exportation, but might be more extensively cultivated. Rice might be profitably introduced. The "caju"-tree, yielding a large almond-shaped plum-like fruit, and the "almenda" fruit-red and plum-like, with a large stone, is common. There is a plantation of cocoa-nut and another of banana and fig-trees, all yielding good fruit. Mammoe apples, sweet lemons, oranges, water and marsh-melons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and a small variety of tomato, are also grown. The introduction of modern farm implements and other improvements, combined with more systematic, energetic, and skilled management, would contribute much toward better cultivation and greater productiveness. There are about one hundred and sixty or one hundred and seventy horses and five hundred cows on the island, belonging chiefly to the sergeants. Milk is abundant, and usually bought by the convicts. Cattle are occasionally killed for the soldiers. Besides these, pigs and dogs, and also rats and mice, common in the fields, the island has no other quadrupeds. There are fowl

and wild doves, lizards and wasps, and a black burrowing cricket (gryllus). The water birds include the wide-awake, gannet, tern, booby, noddy, boatswain bird, etc. Fish are abundant, large, and good.

As along the Brazilian coast, the seasons are the wet, lasting over March to the middle of July with heavy rains night and day, and the dry, during the rest of the year, when the sun is hot in the shade, but tempered in the open by the breeze. The island lies about the isotherm of 80° Fahr. and 70 of latitude south of the thermal equator. Being thus beyond the equatorial doldrums, even when these are farthest south, its climate is comparatively cool for the latitude. The temperature at the anchorage during our visit ranged from 770 to 79° Fahr., the relative humidity of the air being 80°, and the prevalent winds south-east and east-south-east, the month being September. The climate is healthy and fine, as shown by the appearance of the convicts and soldiers. As in other intertropical islands, it is not those working in the sun who suffer from the heat or deteriorate in health, but those indoors and sedentary. Diarrhoea and dysentery occasionally prevail on account of the heat and the muddy, brackish water, not over-abundant, and only found near the beach. Malingering is common among the convicts, because when in hospital they are fed by Government. The military surgeon is the only medical man on the island.

As we sauntered along, my companion informed me, in confidence, that the two in front were convicts and one a murderer. He evidently did not wish to be regarded as a felon himself. After walking about a mile we struck off to the right along a pathway leading into a thicket, emerging soon after into a small clearing planted with bananas, where we entered a log hut. The other two were already there, but they could only speak Portuguese. We sat chatting. But my companions were evidently ill at ease, and did not approve of my keeping a heavy geological hammer I carried with me in my hand, and asked me why I did so. There was clearly a mutual suspicion and distrust. I was alone, far from the ship, otherwise unarmed; and though they too were weaponless, they were three to one, all powerful men, and I felt not over-confident in their good intentions or antecedents. Discretion being the better part of valor, and both parties being uneasy, I soon took my leave, hammer in hand, ready for any emergency

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"WON'T you try it then, Jeanie ?" There was a world of persuasion in the voice that uttered this entreaty, as well as in the dark-blue eyes that seconded it. Janet's own brown ones wavered as she answered:

"I wish I could, Arthur; oh, I do wish I could! But indeed it would be madness. You know your father's words-and you know what he is. He would never forgive us."

"Then if we must, we will do without his forgiveness, and do quite as well, too, I dare say. Don't look so grave, dear; you know I mean no disrespect, but is it reasonable we should spend our best years waiting on a whim of his, so long as I have a pair of hands, and a head equal to compound fractions?" said Arthur, ending with a smile what he had begun with a frown. "They say Heaven helps those that help themselves, and I've no fear but we could take care of ourselves."

"We might venture, perhaps, if we had only ourselves to care for," answered Janet, shaking her head. "But you know, Arthur, it is not so. When you marry me you marry my family along with me-"

"And am ready to marry all your thirtieth cousins into the bargain, if only it were along with you."

"Yes, I know how foolish you are," rejoined the girl, still in her former half-jesting tone. "So you see, Arthur, I have to be wise for two. As if a wife weren't burden enough-hush, sir! they are burdens; don't all the magazines say so?—without loading you with two more encumbrances. For Angie must have her comforts, poor thing, and Harry is going to college if I have to go on my hands and knees to get him there! No, there is nothing for it but to wait and hope another year; who knows what may happen in a whole year?"

"Well," said Arthur, after a pause, during which he had stood considering with knitted brows, "I never could quite see the beauty of the Micawber policy myself, but I suppose there is no appeal from your decision."

The girl sighed in silence, but as she followed him into the passage she laid her hand on his arm.

"Arthur, you don't think me selfish?" she whispered.

“Don't I!” said he; and the accompanying caress seemed to imply that Arthur rather

liked selfishness than otherwise. "The most selfish, obstinate little lamb I ever saw; always set on sacrificing herself to somebody else."

With the shutting of the door that shut him out of sight, the happy glow faded from Janet's face, and she turned back with another patient sigh. Waiting and hoping, so easy to preach, would have been less hard to practice had they been more evenly proportioned. For, in their circumstances, what could a year, or even ten years do? Might they not wait a life-time in vain ?

While Arthur Irvin walked along, revolving their difficulties with as much anxiety but considerably less patience, her words recurred to him: "You know what your father is." Truly did he know but too well. The jesting reproach he had just used to her might have applied in sober earnest to his father; so far, at least, as selfishness and obstinacy went, for anything in any respect less like a little lamb than Mr. Irvin, Senior, could hardly have been imagined. That member of the animal kingdom which he most suggested, perhaps, to an unprejudiced observer, was a pig, at the moment when he plants his four feet firmly, cocks up his ears and nose, and turns his small red eyes with a look of stubborn defiance on the hapless mortal who vainly seeks to coax him in the way he would not. Mr. Irvin, it must be allowed, was scrupulously neat, and even nice in his personal habits, which the pig certainly is not; otherwise the resemblance was undeniable. Filial respect doubtless prevented Arthur from dwelling on it, but it could hardly have failed to strike him.

The words Janet had just recalled were spoken during a certain conversation carried on in the counting-room, when Arthur had rather nervously unfolded a project which he had very much at heart. Mr. Irvin listened in perfect silence, not even lifting his eyes from some invoices he was looking over. Then at last, pushing them aside, he said in a matter-of-fact tone:

"We might as well come to a definite understanding on this subject, Arthur; it may save some time and trouble. You know my plans for you about Emily Warner, twenty thousand dollars down. But it seems you can plan better for yourself, eh? Very well, now I'll make a bargain with you. No beggar enters these doors as my daughter,

and if you choose to throw yourself into the gutter, why you may stay there forever for any help of mine; you shall, sir, by the Lord Harry! and you know if I generally mean what I say. I picked you out a wife and a fortune; if you don't choose to take the wife, I shall look to you for every cent of the money. That settled, you may marry when, where, and whom you like. The day that Miss Janet Hollister can give you her hand with twenty thousand dollars in it, I shall be happy to make her acquaintance; until then I don't care to hear her name. So now we understand each other."

And Mr. Irvin with hard self-satisfaction leaned back in his comfortable chair, while Arthur, looking at the pursed-up lips, bit his own hard to keep back certain unfilial remarks trembling on them.

Months had passed since then, and the matter still stood exactly the same. Arthur once or twice, indeed, had attempted to re-open the question, but a dogged "You have my ultimatum," from his father, warned him that he would be urging his cause at its own risk. It was a hard trial, and one that the young man would never have borne but for Janet, who would neither come between his father and him, nor consent to let his love for her be the means of his worldly ruin.

"Better, I am afraid, to give me up at once," she had said; "but if you care too much to do that, let us wait patiently for possibilities.


So was she preaching hope to him out of her own hopelessness. For what chance had she of ever fulfilling Mr. Irvin's conditionshe, whose utmost efforts were needed even to pay her way from day to day? Was she not, after all, selfish to accept the sacrifice of Arthur's best years of life? Ought she not, even at the cost of some present pain to him, to save him the long, wearing trial that seemed so likely to be unrewarded after all? This was what, more sadly than usual, she was thinking, as she shut him out of her sight and went back, with a sigh, to her small daily worries.

"Is Arthur gone at last?" was the greeting that reached her on opening the door, in a voice sweet through all its querulous impatience. "Not that it makes much difference to me, for now I suppose you're going to that dreadful old woman, and she'll keep you forever, as usual. How people can be

so selfish!"

"Never mind, Angie dear," said Janet soothingly, bending down to the face on the

pillows, a face as white as they, but with a kind of pathetic beauty in the wasted outlines and over-large blue eyes. "If she is exacting, it's not for me to complain, for it gives me bread-and-butter, you know."

"Spread thin enough, though," grumbled the invalid. "I declare, Jenny, in common justice she ought to make it up to you in her will. Besides, you're some sort of cousins, aren't you, like all the Scotch ?"

"Rather too diffuse relationship to do me much good, I'm afraid," answered Janet, laughing, as she began putting on her outdoor things.

Angie was quite right, however; there was a cousinship near enough to reckon between her half-sister Janet Macdonald Hollister, and this old lady who bore the same name. So, at least, Mrs. Macdonald had declared, and demonstrated it to her own satisfaction. Their acquaintance was entirely a chance. one, made through the medium of the advertising columns. Janet, left with the charge of a sickly half-sister and young brother, looked about for something to help herself out, and thought she might satisfy the requirements of an old lady who did not expect to secure a finished professor in music, art and languages, for a smaller stipend than she would have paid her cook. The result was a call on Mrs. Macdonald, and an engagement which had lasted ever since. It was not likely to last much longer now, for it had grown but too plain to Janet that her employer's days were numbered. Her warm heart could not help a thrill of pity sometimes, at thought of the stoical old woman, dying by inches, alone in the midst of her riches. Not, indeed, that she need have been alone, as she grimly remarked to Janet one day when she had been amusing herself by tracing out a relationship through twists and turns too intricate for any but a Scotch head.

"I've relations enough, I can assure ye, Miss Janet, fond ones, too, that would make naught of giving up the pleasures of this world to smooth my path into another. But I'd rather take the will for the deed, you see; they're welcome to my old shoes when I'm done with 'em, but so long as I do stand in 'em, I'll have nobody treading on my heels. Now, it's different with you; you're one of the clan, to be sure, but then you weren't brought up to look upon your rich old cousin as your natural prey. Now I dare say if I were to take a notion to leave you enough to buy some sort of mourning fol-de-rol, you are just silly enough to let it

give you a kindly thought of me, instead of | although aware that her claim defrauded no hating my memory because 'twasn't more; one, was considering how to withdraw it, hey, child?" when the lawyer's voice broke the momentary pause.

"There are two codicils," said Mr. Rand. "The first provides that if the will be not carried out to the letter, in every point, the whole bequest shall lapse to the asylum fund for poor widows already named in the will." Mr. Rand lifted his eyes and glanced keenly over the surrounding faces, which had suddenly exchanged angry protest for acquiescence. For each, in his own interest, must now support the interest of the others.

"Codicil second," resumed the lawyer, "relates to the watch worn by the deceased, the only piece of property excepted from the general sale. It is an old-fashioned article, of no very great intrinsic worth, and valuable to the deceased's friends chiefly as a souvenir, having on the two cases miniatures of the late Mrs. Macdonald and her husband. The will provides that whoever may take it shall forfeit five hundred dollars of his legacy :-'In consideration that the watch will serve mostly as a souvenir, and it is only fair the fool should pay for his folly. Moreover, on pain of forfeiting it, he shall carry it every three months to Mr. Sandham, who has regulated it for years. If there is nobody cares to indulge in so expensive a piece of sentiment, it shall be sold for what it will bring, and the proceeds given to the poor of St. Leonard's parish.' These are the words of the will, ladies and gentlemen," concluded the lawyer, "and here is the article in question."

The late Mrs. Macdonald's relatives gathered around for examination, but all, with a shake of the head and a curl of the lips, turned away again, beginning in a low tone to converse among themselves, as if the day's business were closed.


The property proves considerably less than I supposed," said one.

"Well, yes; but I know she had some rather heavy losses a few years ago. Then that asylum fund—”

"I am to understand, then," interposed Mr. Rand's quiet voice, "that the watch will be sold as undesirable-"

And the old lady tapped her companion on the shoulder, whereat Janet turned her face upward with such a ray of wondering pity in the soft, deep gray eyes, as pierced straight through the customary mask on the cynical old face, which responded for a moment with the womanly trust and tenderness latent now beneath a crust of many years. She did not speak a word, but let her hand rest again on the young girl's shoulder, looking down into her eyes the while with a look half sad, half comforted. And always after that, Janet felt that there was a stronger bond between them than the mere give and take of convenience.

The end seemed very near to Janet this morning, as she stood by the sick woman and looked down into the ashy, wrinkled face, out of which the eyes gleamed with a keen contrasting fire. It was little she could do to-day for her employer, who was too restless for continued reading, but she found such evident satisfaction in the young girl's presence, that the latter finally, with some hesitation, offered to come and nurse her. This, however, the old lady would not hear of.

"No, no," she said. "Best let well alone. I'm not denying it's a comfort to hear and see you, but I've got too set in my ways to go out of 'em at the last-and after all, it's as easy dying as living alone; eh, lassie? No, you'll just come for your bit hour or two daily, as we agreed, till time saves us both the trouble."

Time was not long in doing that. Mrs. Macdonald failed so rapidly that before many days all was over. Janet, as she was bidden, attended the funeral, remaining likewise to hear the reading of the will. The great, gloomy parlor, old-fashioned and set as its late mistress, was sprinkled about with Macdonalds, relatives in every degree of Scotch cousinship, who looked cautiously at each other and coldly at Janet, subduing to a decent sadness the eager glances that sought the man-of-law in whose hands the will had been placed.

It was a decent sadness, however, that was unfeigned when the testament had been read. For not one was satisfied, though not one was forgotten. All fared exactly alike, even to the "beloved cousin Janet Macdonald Hollister," to her own amazement and that of the others. The last, indeed, was so unpleasantly evident that sensitive Janet,

"Oh, no," here interrupted Janet with timid eagerness, drawing near, and regarding through a grateful, pitiful mist, the pictured face of her benefactress, the unwept old woman whom careless hands had just carried out from that very room to her hardly more lonely tomb. "I will take it if no one else."

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