Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[ocr errors]

we

[ocr errors]

by the simple process of repeating what had not the breakfast-room she found Mrs. Cridland in been said.

tears. Mrs. Cridland knew in her heart that An- Oh! what has he said to you, Alison?" she thony could not have said words so unkind, but cried, clasping her hands together. “What has the thing pained and wounded her all the same, the horrid, wicked man been saying?” and she retired with trembling hands and lips. “ Uncle Stephen ?" asked Alison in surprise. She had reason to tremble at the prospect. To · Why is he horrid and wicked, auntie? He has begin with, she had lost, or would probably lose, said nothing. He only asked me for the second her comfortable post and salary; she would have time what I knew of my poor dear mother, whom to fall back upon her little savings, and live in I never saw. To be sure, he wrote down my poverty and pinching; and then there was Ali- replies. But then, as I know nothing about her, son and the terrible calamity which seemed there was not much to be said. And he had an hanging over her.

odd way with him too. What is the matter?” It was not Stephen's present intention to tell Mrs. Cridland breathed more freely on Ali. Alison of his suspicions. As yet he would only son's account. Here was at any rate a respite alarm her and make her anxious.

for her. She did not know, as yet, the miserable He received her with the same grave and thing that was waiting for her, to be revealed at judicial solemnity which he had observed to- the man's good pleasure. So she replied with ward Mrs. Cridland. He was seated now, and reference to her own troubles. had before him a bundle of papers which he “My dear,” she said, wiping her eyes, looked at from time to time as he spoke. Alison are to leave the house, Nicolas and I. Steremained standing

phen has ordered us to go. We are to leave as “Pray excuse me, Alison," he began. “ In soon as the money which is due to me has been my capacity as administrator of these estates I paid. He says I must have cajoled your poor have to trouble you from time to time with mat- father—" ters of business. Tell me, please-I asked you “ But what does he mean? What excuse this once before—all you know about your has he?" your mother."

“ None that I know, except that I said a “ I know nothing."

thing which angered him. And then there is “ At least her name."

the expense of keeping Nicolas and me, To be He began to make notes of her answers. sure, the poor boy has got a large appetite." This irritated Alison.

“Wait,” said Alison. “I will know the rea“Not even her name. Papa once told me- son of this.” She had no notion of a guardian's it was the only occasion on which he seemed to duties extending to the dismissal of her friends speak harshly—that I was never to ask him any and companions. questions about her.”

“O Alison !” Mrs. Cridland sprang forward He took this down in writing.

and caught her by the arm. • Don't go near * But—the lady with whom you lived before him. He is dangerous. You will only make you came here — Mrs. Duncombe. Did she matters worse." never speak to you about your mother?”

Alison tore herself away. “She knew nothing about her. I was brought · Alison, dear Alison, do not, for Heaven's to her a year-old child by papa. That is all she sake, do not anger him!” knew."

But Alison was already in the study. “And the trinkets-nothing to connect you “Uncle Stephen," she cried, with an angry with your mother?"

spot on either cheek, “ will you be kind enough "Nothing except a little coral necklace, which to tell me why you have ordered Aunt Flora out was found in a box of baby-clothes which came of the house ? " with me."

Stephen was already far advanced in one of A coral necklace is nothing,” said Stephen, his most brilliant and uncontrollable attacks of making a careful note of it. “And that was evil temper. all?"

“ I shall certainly not tell you, Alison," he re“That was all, indeed. Why do you ask? plied curtly. Is there anything depending on my mother's “Not tell me? But you shall tell me!” name?"

Stephen remarked, while he felt that he was “There may be, Alison. A great deal may about to measure swords with an antagonist depend upon it. Be assured that I shall do my worthy of himself, that Alison had never before. best to find out the truth. Of course I mean in so strongly reminded him of his mother, espeyour interests."

cially at those moments while the Señora allowed Alison retired, confused and anxious. In herself to be overcome with wrath. These mo

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

66

[ocr errors]

ments, thanks to her son, were neither few nor She left him, and shut the door. far between.

“ Have I been precipitate?" Stephen thought, " I shall tell you, shall I ?” he replied. “You when he had had time to calm down. “Perhaps order me to tell you, do you? Come, this is a little. Yet, after all, what matters ? Sooner or rather good. Be assured, young lady, that I have later the blow must have fallen.” my reasons that Flora Cridland and her little He rang the bell again. devil of a boy shall turn out of this, without any "Give my compliments to Miss Hamblin," he delay, and that, as to my reasons, they are my said ; "ask her if she will favor me with one own business."

minute more.” “ No," replied Alison ; "they are my business. Alison returned. "You are going to explain You are my guardian, I know; but in a twelve- what you said.” month you will be guardian no longer. Let us “I am," he said, “ if

your

abominable temper understand one another, Uncle Stephen. You will allow you to be calm for five minutes. Lishave certain powers for a limited time. Remem- 'ten: Since your father's death I have been diliber, however, that it is but a very limited time." gently hunting in your interests for any record of

“Oh!” said Stephen, looking dark and angry, his marriage. There is none. Do you under"you are going to lecture me on my duties as stand what that means ?” guardian, are you?"

“ No." “No, I am not; but I am ready to tell you “If no proof can be found, Anthony had no that, if Aunt Flora leaves this house, I shall go children—" with her. I do not understand your duties to ex- • No children ? But I am his daughter." tend to depriving me of my companion and pro

“ He said so. Prove your-your descent by tector."

proving your father's marriage. The law does “She is an heiress, this girl,” said Stephen. not recognize likeness as proof of descent." He had left the chair and his papers, and was Still Alison did not comprehend. standing upon the hearth-rug in one of his old • You will find out what all this means in the and familiar rages—one of those with which he course of time. For the moment, the only things would confront his mother in the old times. His you need understand are that your father was bald temples were flushed and his black eyes never married-he never had a wife; he thereglittered. “She thinks she is an heiress. She is fore never had a child, in the eyes of the law. a grande dame. Very good. She tries to hec- He made no will; you can not therefore inherit tor me. Very good, indeed. She shall learn a one penny. The sole heir to all his propertylesson. Listen, Alison. You may threaten any- this house and all that is in it "-he swept round thing you like. At one word from me, at one his arm with an air of comprehensive proprietorsingle word, all this wealth of yours vanishes. ship—“is myself.” Learn, that if I choose, say, when I choose, you “You?” will step out of this house a penniless beggar.” “Myself; no other. In your interests, I have “What do you mean?"

been doing what I could to find proofs of the “Remember every one of my words. They marriage. There are none. Everybody has almean exactly what they say. You depend at this ways suspected this; I have always known it. moment on my forbearance; and, by Heaven! In your interests, and out of consideration to that has come very nearly to the end of the your own feelings, I have been silent all this

time." “You think that I am in your power. Is that “In my interests !” she repeated. it?"

She had indeed the spirit of his mother, her “ That is exactly what I think."

quick perceptions, and her fearlessness. With “Then, Uncle Stephen "-Alison stepped up all his assumed exterior calm, Stephen felt that to him and looked him full in the face. Like her the girl was stronger than himself, as she faced uncle, she was flushed with excitement and in- him this time with every outward sign of outdignant surprise, but her eyes expanded while his raged honor-flashing eyes, flushed cheeks, and contracted under their emotions—“ do not think panting breast. that by anything you can say, or by any facts of “In my interests !” There were scorn and which I know nothing, that I can be brought passion in her tones beyond the power of an into your power.

I used to wonder how two Englishwoman. brothers could be so unlike each other as you Mrs. Cridland, who had stolen timidly after and my dear father. Henceforth I shall be more the girl, fearful that this impious slanderer of his and more thankful for the want of resemblance. dead mother might insult her, stood within the Meantime you will find that I shall not want door, trembling yet admiring. Behind her, the protectors.

pink-faced boy, with the heavy white eyebrows,

rope."

“ He pre

who had just come home from school, gazed with Alison!" whispered Mrs. Cridland, “it is curiosity, wonder, and delight. Uncle Stephen enough. Do not drive him to desperation." was catching it. This was better than pie. Ali- “ He shall be no guardian of mine," the girl son-she really was a splendid fellow, he said to went on. “ Henceforth, he shall be no uncle of himself—was letting him have it. “No one, after mine. O father-father,” she burst into sobs all,” thought young Nick, “when it comes to real and crying, “my poor dead father! Is there slanging, can pitch in like a girl in a wax.” no one to call this man a liar, and give you back

“In my interests !" she pointed her finger at your honor ?” his scowling face and downcast eyes.

Stephen answered never a word. tends that my father was a deceiver of women : Mrs. Cridland drew the girl passively away. he pretends that my father threw away his But young Nick rushed to the front. His honor, and my mother her virtue: he pretends eyes were lit with the light of enthusiastic parthat I am a cheat and an impostor: he pretends tisanship. His white eyebrows stood out like the that everybody has always suspected it: he pre- fur of a cat in a rage. He brandished his youthtends that I have no right to the very name I ful fists in Stephen's face. bear. This man alone, of all the world, has “ I will, Alison," he cried.—“ You hear you! been base enough to think such a thing of my You are a liar and a coward !” Here he dodged father, he alone has dared to say it. In my in- behind a chair. “Wait till I get older, Uncle terests he searches private papers for a secret Stephen. You've caught it to-day from Alison, which would not be there, and rejoices not to and you'll remember it. But that's pancakesfind it. In my interests he seeks to prove that mind--to what you are going to catch when I he is himself my father's heir !"

grow up. Only you wait. Pancakes, it is, and She paused a moment.

parliament, and baked potatoes !" (To be continued.)

[blocks in formation]

HAVING just a week at my disposal before we did one afternoon; and drove along deep val

. the period of my sojourn in England must leys, shut in by great rounded hills well clothed end, I determined to have a glimpse of Cor- with forest-trees, the glens crossing and recrossnish scenery, the kindness of Weymouth friends ing, intersecting each other at various angles, enabling me to join a small party of excursionists and each with its own little gushing stream who were about to proceed from Weymouth as buried in moss and fern. And such moss and far as Boscastle. It is not my purpose to inflictfern ! the former so green and soft and luxuriupon the reader a description of Weymouth, with ant, and the latter with its great spreading leaves its fine promenade and bay; or of our rambles bending gracefully over the chattering stream unthrough Dorset, and that other county, Devon, derneath. There are few spots left in England which, it seems to me, has an immeasurably at once so beautiful and retired as this stretch of higher claim to be called “ The Garden of Eng- broken, confused country on the Cornish side of land” than Kent; I will merely say of Devon the river Tamar. One afternoon we came to a that its gracious climate, beautiful scenery and hamlet placed just at the head of one of these flowers, superb mansions, hedge - embowered valleys. Its whitewashed walls, red roofs, and roads, and exquisite Torquay, impressed me as chimneys surmounted by light curling smoke, a piece of earth more Italian than English. stood out against the mountain-side as some My wish is merely to sketch at random a few of point emerges from the midst of Turner's canthe scenes which interested me in Cornwall — vas-almost smothered in color. A little to the scenes which, from their remoteness, are yet com- lest of the hamlet, on a well-rounded hill fringed paratively unfamiliar even to English tourists, and with larch and spruce-fir, stood the church-a which, from their singular wildness and grandeur, gray old tower covered with green and orange

etical and historical associations, are well lichens which grow everywhere in this moist worthy of, at least, passing remark.

climate, and surrounded by a little knot of firImagine, then, that we have left the lawns trees whose heavy green foliage struck vividly and orchards of Devon behind and crossed the across the hazy outline of the adjacent hill. Noriver Tamar between Pentillie and Cothele. This where else in England had I beheld such cloud

or

a

a

splendor, either, or detected that peculiar azure kyng. . . . Kyng Arthur, whyche ougiit moost to in the sky which constantly hangs over Naples, be remembered emonge us Englysshe men tofore and is always associated with sea and mountains al other crysten kynges.” It is to this romantic and sunshine. The blending of repose, color, and ruin that Tennyson, too, alludes in his “Idylls antiquity was absolutely perfect. As we followed of the King": the road which winds up the hill, we could look back over the retreating valleys through which

“After tempest, when the long wave broke we had passed, and at last, when we got to the

All down the thundering shores of Bude and Boss, top, we had a glorious view over Dartmoor-its

There came a day as still as heaven, and then

They found a naked child upon the sands distant hills bounding the horizon with a bold,

Of wild Dundagil by the Cornish sea; undulating outline. Passing on, we had a view

And that was Arthur!” of a strange-looking, dilapidated church on the Tor—the “ Brent Tor," described so graphically The road was most picturesque, giving us ocby Kingsley in his “Westward Ho!"-where a casional glimpses of the deep-blue sea on our congregation still assembles every Sunday after- right hand, and a wide expanse of Cornish noon for public worship. Presently we turned a scenery on our left, with many a church-tower sharp corner, and the whole view was changed. in sight, round which a village clustered, and in Below us flowed the river, making a grand sweep the far distance, the craggy peaks of Rowtor and under Pentillie Castle, and opposite the bleak Dev- Brownwilly, two of Cornwall's finest mountains. onshire sides of the Tamar, which were sprinkled Lizards were sunning themselves on every mossy here and there with tall mine-chimneys, and bank, the hedges were full of wild flowers, and crowned with a desolate-looking slate-roofed vil- the Osmunda regalis grew tall and luxuriant in lage. Close on our right there stood a great, the sedgy ditches by the roadside. solid-looking, square tower, surrounded by a low The apparently interminable descent into the wall and a fosse. The whole building was grown town of Boscastle gave us the sensation of drivover with ivy, and buried in thick brushwood and ing into an abyss. The grandeur of the scenery large trees, some of which started out of the wall. is indescribable. From the little bridge at the A flight of some half-dozen broken-down steps bottom of the town, we gazed upward awe-struck brought us to the wall of this tower. In the at the threatening craggy hills that inclosed us wall there is a little window, about a foot square, on every side. A Lilliputian at the bottom of a with a granite mullion. Looking through this Tyrolese peasant's inverted hat might be supwindow you see a stone figure on the opposite posed to look upward with much the same feelwall, sitting down on a stone chair, and dressed ings as we were then experiencing. The darkin the long, flowing wig and quaint costume of gray rock burst here and there through its turfy the last century. That is Sir James Tillie, of mantle, and the houses of the town of Boscastle, Pentillie! Who was he? He was a bon vivant built one above another up a precipitous hill, in his lifetime, who laughed at the possibility of gave the idea that if the topmost house received any future state of rewards and punishments. a push, the whole village would fall over like a So opposed was he apparently to all religion that pack of cards. he ordered this tower to be built in order that he As some of our party were unequal to the might be buried in it, not in a recumbent posi- walk of three miles that lay between Boscastle tion, however, like an ordinary mortal, but in a and Tintagel, and our own mules were too tired sitting posture. It was, as far as can be ascer- to proceed farther, we made inquiries about a tained, his own intention that he should be put conveyance, and being unable to meet with one in a chair in this tower with a table in front of at the hotel, we proceeded to climb the village him, on which were to be placed bottles and street, on the strength of a report that a muleglasses, pipes and tobacco, as emblems of a sen- trap could be obtained at the top of the town. sual life. This was not done, however. Some We little knew what we were attempting when years ago, the father of the present owner of we set out, or the most delicate among us would Pentillie Castle opened the vault, and found there have preferred the three-mile walk to Tintagel, the remains of his ancestor, in a sitting posture, over headland and down, to the fatiguing ascent indeed, but inclosed in a coffin. There his bones of the village, and the subsequent drive that was rest still! There stands the old, ivy-mantled in store for them. We had no need to be told tower—the monument of a man who dared to that we were “rambling beyond railways.” The scorn the mysteries of death and futurity. Old World (but not less interesting) appearance

It was on a cloudless day that we left the of the town, and the pursuit under difficulties of grand and wild cliffs of Bude, to spend a few this fabulous mule-trap-of which some whom hours at Tintagel, the reputed birthplace of (to we questioned had heard, and others had notquote from Caxton) “the most renouned crysten bore sufficient testimony to the fact, which was

VOL. VII.-8

a

a

further demonstrated by our discovering the of. He informed us also that at low tide, when identical "trap ” drawn up in front of the last the sea happens to be unusually agitated, a colhouse in the village.

umn of water is violently projected across the Let not the reader suppose that a Boscastle harbor, by means of a passage underground, mule-trap is one of those dainty, morocco-cush- communicating with the open sea, and that this ioned equipages driven by a sınart youth in a action is accompanied by a terrific report. There jaunty cap, which may be seen at fashionable is something melancholy and depressing in this watering-places during the summer months. The iron-bound coast, where even an ordinary fishmule-trap we at length secured was neither more ing-boat can not be launched with any feelings nor less than a tax-cart without springs, drawn of security, and where stories of terror abound, by a bony animal of the size of a small horse, from the awful tales of Cornish wreckers raising with a head ornamented with a gigantic pair of false lights in this immediate neighborhood to donkey's ears. A good-natured woman, with a lure vessels to destruction, down to innumerable loud voice and broad Cornish accent, consented cases of death by drowning, either from the bathto drive three of the party from “ Boskittle" to ers having been sucked out by the irresistible sandTintagel, and three ladies were assisted into the wave, or drawn off by one of the many strong cart; two seated on the bare wooden board that currents that invest these shores. constituted the front seat, and one perched be- On leaving the harbor, we came within sight hind on a high stool, placed for the occasion, of the silent tower of Bottreaux," to which is which performed pleasing little peregrinations as attached one of the most poetical of the many the vehicle jolted forward. We only waited to wild Cornish legends. It is said that a jealousy see the driver mounted on her own seat, which existed between Bottreaux and Tintagel, because consisted of the wooden ridge that formed the the church of the latter village possessed a beaufront of the cart, with a moderate allowance of tisul peal of bells, while the former possessed the lap of the lady immediately behind her; and none; and on summer evenings the musical when she had, by dint of sawing away at the chime of Tintagel bells would be wafted up the reins with her whole strength, and noisily be- coast, to meet with no response from the sisterlaboring the bony back of the poor mule with a tower. The inhabitants of Bottreaux raised a large stick, succeeded in making him crawl for- sum of money to purchase a peal of bells for ward in a zigzag direction, we retraced our own their church, and, after long and anxious waitsteps down the precipice, bestowing many a ing, the day at length arrived when a vessel hove sympathizing thought upon those of our party in sight containing the longed-for and precious who were jolting along the high-road at a snail's freight. As the vessel drew near the shore, the pace, and whose comical faces of woful despair, sweet peal of the Tintagel chimes came over the as they cast a parting look at us, still lingered in water. The pilot, who was a Tintagel man, unour imaginations.

covered his head with feelings of rapture and From Boscastle we walked first to the harbor, thankfulness. “ Thank God!" he exclaimed, which is half a mile from the town. It is a cu- “that I hear those bells once more! With his rious and romantic little inlet, winding between blessing we shall set foot on shore this evening." high rocks, and not a stone's-throw in breadth. "Thank God upon land, you fool!" exclaimed The sea is in constant agitation, so that the cove the captain, in brutal tones ; "on sea thank the itself offers no protection to ships; but at its ex- seaman's skill, the good ship, and the prospertremity there is a space large enough to hold two ous wind." or three vessels at a time, and this is guarded by No sooner were the scoffing words uttered a small pier. The water, owing to the proximity than the wind began to blow high, the fearful of high, dark rocks, is black and dreary-looking, waves of that terrible coast grew stronger and and one could fancy many kinds of death less fiercer; the captain's cheek grew pale, and the fearful than that of being drowned in the gloomy noble ship, with its stalwart crew, sank, never to waters of Boscastle Harbor. We sat for some be seen more, one man alone being rescued from time on a seat at the foot of the headland of a watery grave—the pilot who had “given God Willapark, and watched the curious and some- the glory.” what rare phenomenon of the blowing - hole, So Bottreaux lost her peal within sight of her which is caused by the water being drawn up own gray and lichened walls, and, according to into a fissure in a rock outside the harbor, and the “Echoes from Old Cornwall" ejected again with a volley of spray resembling a jet of steam. A passer-by made our blood run “ Still when the storm of Bottreaux' waves cold with the information that some years before Is raging in his weedy caves, a young lady bathing in the harbor was sucked Those bells, that sullen surges hide, into the blowing-hole, and never afterward heard Peal their deep tones beneath the tide!

a

[ocr errors]

« AnkstesnisTęsti »