Puslapio vaizdai

garden by railings that, in this summer season, of epigrams in which the fat historian had just are thickly garlanded with clustering roses and been worsted by Politian, the graceful foliage of the wisteria, soon to be Farther off to the west is a stalwart stonecrowned for the second time by scented wreaths pine, which even in Scala's time must have been of lilac-blossoms. Then turning in by the por- of long growth, and our one western window ter's lodge under the arcade, we climb one of the looks down on a soft, green lawn dotted with steepest stairs in Florence, and have time to lose azaleas and inclosed by a grove of lofty trees. our breath before being stopped by a tall iron And, climbing another and still steeper flight of gate beyond which more stairs await us, and stairs, we come out on a turreted terrace, from which is our frontier fortress. And, to add to its which we can see half Tuscany. The city lies defensive appearance, there is a small opening before us against its background of southern in the wall above through which the garrison hills; Fiesole is behind us ; to the east we look may ascertain whether friends or foes are ringing away to the Falterona, Vallambrosa, and the the modern substitute for the horn of the middle Arezzo Mountains; to the northwest we have ages. But as the gate closes behind us, and the the chain of the Pistojan Apennines; to the door at the head of the stairs is opened, we have southwest the translucent Carrara Peaks are visa glimpse of Dante's Florence, for we see three ible. Trees and gardens fill the foreground; beslender towers in a gracious group beyond inter- yond are towers and domes and cypress-streaked vening groups and gardens.

hillsides dotted with numerous villas. All day These are Arnolfo's Tower, its smaller rival the landscape quivers with white heat, mists, or of the Bargello, and the spired belfry of the Ba- soft blue haze. Toward evening these clear dia. The marbled mass of the Duomo hides away, and sky and hills rival each other in glofrom us all save one corner of Giotto's Campa- rious tints found nowhere but on Nature's palnile, and quite shuts out the lovely hill of Bellos- ette. By day swallows cry sweetly in their cirguardo. Going out into the long balcony that cling flights; by night nightingales raise their stretches from wing to wing of this southern voices in the Gherardesca thickets; the chin-owl front, we look over the garden where huge mag- gently hoots his little joys and troubles; the nolias hold up to us their creamy chalices of screech-owl perches on a neighboring roof and scent, and great South American firs sweep the gives out his dismal note; frogs innumerable lawn near the camellia-hedge with their trailing babble and trill and croak in all the pieces of wabranches. Close to our farthest window a tall ter; fire-fies flash among the trees like falling tulip-tree stands almost within reach, and cov- fragments of the stars gleaming overhead; and ered with pale, red-flecked flowers about which only now and then a rattle of wheels and passforaging parties of bees are ever circling. Be- ing shouts in the quiet street remind us that neath is the arcade where Tito Melema showed we are not in the country, but within half a his stolen gems to rtolommeo Scala, and mile of the

noisy he

of the city of Florbrought his learning to bear on that bitter strife ence.


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network of human miseries is so artfully conCHAPTER VII.

structed, that when you have got rid of the most

pressing and troublesome by some clever coupTHE DAY AFTER.

de-main, you find you have only opened the door

to other unsuspected causes of suffering. The WHEN

THEN Anthony Hamblin rashly jumped at earth is like that island seen by Lucian, which

the conclusion that by effacing himself he was planted everywhere with knives, swords, could remove all trouble at one stroke and ena- daggers, pikes, lances, and spears, so that the ble everybody else to live happy ever after, he wretched inhabitants constantly spiked, lacerated, calculated on that one trouble alone. Now, the gashed, and ripped open their unlucky skins. Nature is always ready to stick in her knife in some There is somewhere a subterranean population, place where we least expect it. At any rate, to so to speak, of buried folk; they are ghosts in run away never helps : assume rather a bold the flesh; they are cousins, brothers, uncles, front, and buy a pennyworth of court-plaster. nephews, long since mourned as dead, now As every copy-book which has room on the gambling and drinking under new names. Some text-hand page says, “Temerity dismays the day I will visit such a place and get their secrets. Foe."

out of the men over Bourbon whisky, under Yet it seems so easy simply to run away. promise of inviolable secrecy. In England there Fighting is troublesome and exciting. It re- are no such townships of refuge ; but Alsatia quires physical activity; it prevents the solid en- exists, and has always existed. It used to be joyment of mealsz it interrupts the calm flow of somewhere about Blackfriars—it is now, I beideas; it makes a Christian man angry, inclined lieve, somewhere east of Thames Tunnel. The to evil thought, and harsh speech, and desire of unburied dead—those who have generously disrevenge. You run away, and there is no trouble- appeared—when they do not go to America, take some fight at all. To be sure, you may find that refuge in the vast, unexplored, monotonous Eastyour self-respect has been left on the field of End. Here all alike live and die in a gray and battle. In Mr. Hamblin's case that would not sunless obscurity; here a man may pass a hunmatter, because there was not going to be an dred years forgotten and unsuspected. Anthony Hamblin any more. There are, too, so many situations in life when flight would seem Mr. Hamblin never returned to claim his desirable: when you have got so clogged and great-coat. The policeman waited; as long as bemired with debts that there is no help but in a she could, the girl waited too, attracted by the complete change of identity; when you have done singular fascination of a coat which in all probasomething, and it is going to be found out; when bility belonged to a drowned man. Presently you have got into a mess of a domestic kind, and the Humane Society's officer, Harris, came back, are threatened with a breach-of-promise case; his work of dragging and rescuing over for the when you are let out of prison; when your con- present; then the girl went away, and the two science—this case is very, very rare-smites you men waited. The scared and terrified skaters for having given your relations so much trouble, had all left the ice. and you resolve that they shall have heard the The afternoon came on; policemen and offilast of you, lent their last five-pound note to you, cers were still at their posts; the banks were written the last letter of remonstrance, appeal, crowded with those who came to gaze on the and indignation, and forgiven you for the last, gap in the ice, the sudden grave of so many; the four hundred and ninetieth time; when you the early evening closed in—but Mr. Hamblin find that you have been on a wrong tack-an- appeared not. other rare case—and have advocated mischievous When Harris carried back his tent to the and mistaken doctrines; when you find that your office of the Society, and his day's work was marriage has proved a failure, and that the poor done, he, with the policeman, made their way to woman tied to you would be certainly happier as Clapham Common, and delivered up the coat a widow, and perhaps happier with another man; and told their story. when you consider how detestable a father, hus


It was then nearly six o'clock. Reporters band, brother, son, cousin, and distant relation had already got hold of lists, so far as they could you have been, and how very satisfactory it would be arrived at. One or two had learned from be to the whole family to put on mourning for Harris that the owner of the coat, by which he you. “He is gone, poor fellow; but one can not kept so steady a watch, was a great City magfeel otherwise than relieved. When a man is nate, chief partner in the well - known firm of irreclaimable, he is better—under the sod.” You “Anthony Hamblin & Company"; and in the would hear this said, being in reality alive, al- later editions of the evening papers it was ruthough hidden away.

mored that Mr. Anthony Hamblin was among It is possible to multiply such cases indefi- the missing. Yet no word of this report went nitely. There are, indeed, many men, of my down to the house in Clapham Common, where own personal acquaintance, who may perhaps Alison, wondering a little why her father had not take a hint, should they read these pages, and kept his appointment on the Mount Pond, sat in consider how much better it would be for every- quiet happiness, expecting no evil, and dreaming body if they were only as good as dead. I be- of Gilbert Yorke. lieve, indeed, that there must be whole town- When the two men came to the house in the ships, with gay billiard-saloons, churches, and evening, they were like unto Joseph's brethren daily papers, somewhere in the States, in which when they brought with them their false pièce de all the inhabitants are men who have disappeared. conviction, inasmuch as they bore a coat, saying,


“This have we found; know now whether it be to seek one with Stephen. What was it he thy father's coat or no.”

wanted to talk about? There could surely be Surely, surely, had her father thought of Ali- no unpleasantness about past and future adson's grief and terror, he would have spared her vances ; that was altogether unlike Anthony. the cruel blow. Had he thought of her long Some slight anxiety, however, weighed on the watches in the night, of her agony, her hoping mind of the younger brother. He had a foreagainst hope, he might have found some better shadowing of something disagreeable. So that it way.

was almost with a sense of relief that at half And yet, he might have said : “Suffering is past five he gave up the hope of seeing Anbetter than shame. What are the tears of a thony, and resolved to wait for him no longer. night, of a week, of a season, compared to the Stephen went to the reading-room of his wound which never heals, the scar which can club. There was no one in the place whom he not be hidden, the mantle of disgrace which knew. All along the streets he had heard the must be worn like the canvas suit of a life-long boys shouting as they brandished their papers : convict—till death brings an end?”

“Dreadful accident on the Serpentine! List of When the coat came, they sent messengers the drowned !” and inquiries everywhere. Mr. Hamblin had not Things like domestic calamities, national misbeen to the City; his partners had not seen him fortunes, or the affairs of other nations, troubled at all that day; he had kept none of his appoint- Stephen very little. He had not the curiosity to ments.

buy an evening paper : at the club he had not On Sunday morning, when messages came the curiosity to look at one. He sat by the fire, from all quarters to ask whether Mr. Hamblin had with a French novel in his hand, one of a school returned, there were no news of him ; but Miss which is now unhappily coming to the front. Hamblin was like a wild thing, they reported. The author was determined on being more than for grief and anxiety, and Mrs. Cridland could do realistic ; he would spare the reader nothing; he nothing to ease or soothe her.

invented details. Stephen had read and fully reThe latest editions of the evening papers alized all the dreadfulness of a low and small added to the first brief account of the accident workshop crammed with work-girls; he had lists of the drowned, as accurately as could be read their talk; he saw them before him in all obtained. Among them was the name of Mr. their squalor; he was beginning to think that the Anthony Hamblin.

other sex had better never have been invented, “ It is greatly feared,” said the “ Globe," when the clock struck seven, and he remembered “that among those who have met a sudden end that his luncheon had been scanty and early. He in this dreadful disaster is Mr. Anthony Ham- threw away the novel, which he never afterward blin, senior partner in the house of Anthony finished, took an evening paper, and descended Hamblin & Company, of Great St. Simon Apos- to the dining-room. There is one thing about a tle, City. The unfortunate gentleman was last good dinner which I do not remember to have seen and spoken to by an officer of the Royal seen noticed anywhere—it demands a fitting sucHumane Society-Harris by name—to whom he cessor; you can not, without doing a violence to was well known as a liberal supporter of the in- the best and most gastric impulses of our hustitution. Mr. Hamblin expressed his intention manity, follow up a great and glorious dinner by of going on the ice for an hour, and intrusted to a common steak. Stephen, though he did not the man's care a heavy overcoat. He had skates put his thought into words, felt this. He orwith him. This was about half an hour before dered a little purée, a red mullet, a cutlet, and a the breaking of the ice. He did not return for golden plover. He said he would take a bottle his coat. As yet, the body has not been identified of champagne, Heidsieck—a bottle, not a pint. among those recovered. We learn by telegram And then, while the soup was being brought, he that he had not up to six o'clock returned to his sat down and began the evening's news. residence on Clapham Common. Mr. Hamblin, He threw down the paper with an oath. who was greatly respected in private life, was a · Always my cursed luck?" he said. “ Just widower, and leaves one daughter."

when I wanted him worse than ever." Stephen Hamblin had been in his chambers Some men have been known to shed tears at all the afternoon, waiting for his brother, who hearing of a brother's sudden death; some have did not keep the appointment. He was anxious instinctively considered how the calamity would to see Anthony for one or two special reasons of affect his widow and children. Stephen and a his own, connected with that shortness of cash certain American boy (he, on learning that his we have already alluded to. It was not usual father was drowned, lamented that his own with Anthony to miss an engagement, nor was pocket-knife was gone with him) are the only it, on the other hand, a common thing with him two of whom I have heard that they immediate




of your

ly thought of their personal and selfish interests. the coat? The body will be recovered, likely, Some feeling of regret might have been looked to-day." for, some expression of sorrow for a brother who But it was not. had done so much for him. But there was none. He scowled at the paper; he brooded over the The news was heard by Mr. Alderney Codd news. It spoiled his dinner, took the sparkle out at eight o'clock, as he was sitting among a circle of his champagne, the flavor out of the plover. of friends at a certain tavern near Fleet Street. When he had finished he walked quickly to his They were as yet only beginning their whiskychambers in Pall Mall, packed up some things, and-water, and the night was young. Generally and drove to Clapham Common. The partners the conversation on Saturday nights turned on were there ; Gilbert Yorke was there; they were various projects of ambitious financing, histories looking in each other's faces, dismayed. Mrs. of coups which had been made, and of others, Cridland was somewhere weeping with Alison; much grander, which had been missed. It is althe boy was standing by the fire in the study, ways so: the things in which we fail are ever so ready to run wherever he might be sent, awed much gr er than the things in which we sucand tearful.

ceed. Yet it gives a feeling of superiority to “Stephen," said Augustus, taking him by the have missed an event greater than any that has hand, “I am glad you are come. This is your fallen in the way friends. place in the present dreadful anxiety."

When Alderney Codd had partly recovered Yes,” he said, loudly and defiantly. “Tell the first shock of the sad news he became at Miss Hamblin, Charles”—this to the footman- once the hero of the evening. He proceeded to “or better, Mrs. Cridland, that I have arrived.— relate, with many digressions and dramatic Yes, Augustus, this is my place, with my niece. touches which seemed to brighten the situation, I shall remain here for her protection."

how, only the very night before, he had borrowed No one went to bed in the Hamblin house- of his cousin Anthony Hamblin that very coat, hold. Alison walked up and down all night, fur-lined, wondrous, which now, an object of venstarting at the merest sound, rushing to the door eration, hung upon the wall before them for all as if she thought she heard the sound of wheels. eyes to see. He said that he was tempted to With her watched Mrs. Cridland and the boy. retain that coat in memory of the lender, and as Stephen sat in the study. He had no thought of a special mark of his cousin's affection and essleep; his mind was strangely agitated ; from teem for him. He gave free scope to his imtime to time he took a glass of brandy-and-wa- agination in discoursing on the greatness of the ter; and as the night went on, when the hands Hamblin family and on his own connection with of the clock pointed to those small hours when, if the cousinhood. And he naturally assumed ada man be awake, his conscience tells him all the ditional importance as a possible, nay, a probreal truth about the past, and his terrors preach able, legatee. It was later—in fact, next mornmost of the possible truth about the future, his ing, when the glow of the whisky-and-water had despondency became so extreme that he could departed—that honest Alderney reflected with not bear to sit still.

sadness on his own personal loss, not only of a When, at length, the long winter's night was kind friend, but of a ready lender. And it was over, and the slow dawn appeared, Stephen be- with a heart unfeignedly sad that he walked over gan to take a little comfort.

to Clapham, and watched awhile with Stephen. “He must,” he said, “have left me some- There was another man, more deeply interthing. He would not give everything to that ested in the event than either, who read the news girl. He could not leave me absolutely depen- with a strange feeling of coldness, as if he were dent on her whims."

indeed dead. This was Anthony himself. He In the kitchen sat the servants, watching in had taken a cheap lodging over a small coffeesilence. If one of the younger maids dropped house in the Commercial Road, and saw the off, she was awakened by the others and ac- 'news in the Sunday morning paper, while eating cused, in whispers, of betraying a hard and un- the richly-flavored egg and dubious butter which feeling nature.

they brought him for breakfast. He had already At eight Harris came and saw Stephen. so changed himself in appearance, by cutting off

“There's eight-and-twenty bodies,” he said, his beard and presenting smoothness of chin and " waiting identification, but not one like Mr. cheek to the eyes of mankind, that it would have Hamblin."

been difficult for his nearest friends to recognize " What do you think?" asked Stephen. him. It is a moot question among gentlemen of

"What is a man to think?" replied the man. the burglaring and other professions which re" It was a cold day. If Mr. Hamblin did not go quire ready disguise, whether the bearded man down with the rest, why didn't he come back for who shaves, or the smooth man who puts on a

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false beard, has the better chance. I think the apprehension of Anthony Hamblin to be taken feeling is in favor of the former. As regards out all the same.” Anthony Hamblin, he added, for greater secu- “Good Heavens !” he cried, “ you can not rity, a pair of green spectacles. Instead of his ask for the arrest of a dead man!” usual hat he had a billycock, and instead of a “I wish to show the world the real nature of frock-coat he wore a nondescript garment of the his character." pea-jacket kind, only longer, such as might have This was revenge indeed. But Miss Netherbeen sported by a racing-man or a publican of sole had to yield to her legal adviser's represenbroad views. There was not in all Scotland tations. He said that he refused to make himYard a single officer able to recognize him with- self and her ridiculous. out close scrutiny.

“What you feel, no doubt,” he said, blandly, He read the paragraph in the paper with “to be a conscientious measure dictated by pure great care and attention. Then he laid it down, justice, other people would call revenge." and began to consider.

“I am the Instrument,” she began in her After breakfast he went to the bedroom which stern, cold manner. was his for the day, and considered again. Yet Madam,” the lawyer interrupted,

no doubt there was nothing to consider about, so far as —no doubt; but death has removed your victim. Alison was concerned, because the coup was Heaven has interfered. Your instrumentality is struck. What was done,” he said to himself, no longer required. As for this claim, it becomes “could not be undone.” Yet, with regard to a money-matter. Leave it as such with me; and himself, there was ample ground for meditation. I will present it, at proper time and place, to the He had not provided for the step. He had little deceased gentleman's executors.” money with him, only the three or four pounds “So that they will know him-as he was, in which a man may generally carry in his pocket; his real light?” he had drawn no check, and it was now too late. Undoubtedly; they will know all that I tell In addition to his little purse, he possessed, he them—all that I have learned from you. If your reflected, his diamond studs, his one ring, his gold claim be disputed, we can then seek a remedy in shirt-links, and his watch and chain. The watch an action at law." alone had cost him four-and-twenty guineas. But, “So that then all the world would know ? " after the proceeds of all these gauds were spent, “ All the world," he echoed.

In that case, what was he to do next?

which is not at all likely to happen, all the world Anything, except one thing. He would never would know.” return home.

Rachel Nethersole went away. She retired Another person heard the news, but not until to her house at Newbury, where she resumed the Monday, because that person, who was Rachel exercises peculiar to her sect, and tried to feel Nethersole, never dreamed of the iniquity of look- satisfied with the result of her instrumentality. ing at a Sunday paper.

But she was not. She was profoundly disShe was deeply disappointed—not so much satisfied ; she had looked for nothing less than shocked as disappointed.

going to the police-courts and crying: “Your “ I told him," she said to the faithful servant dead man, whose virtues you extol, was a comwho followed her to the modern Babylon, “that mon cheat and forger. Here are the proofs. I was compelled-being an Instrument-to follow Had it not been for his death, I should have had him to his death or to his ruin. I I little thought- him arrested on this criminal charge.” And now but the judgments are swift—that his death was she was told that she could do nothing—nothing

I imagined”-she sighed plaintively, at all; and the world would go on ascribing viras if she meant that she hoped—“that it was his tues to this citizen cut off so suddenly. Her ruin which was imminent. We are purblind home, which for three months had been glorified, mortals; and yet he warned me, being so near so to speak, by the lurid light of coming revenge, his end, when men are sometimes granted was dull and quiet now that light had gone out a vision of the future, that if I continued to of it: her daily life had lost its excitement, and pursue the case I should entail consequences was monotonous. The old pleasures pleased no the nature of which I little dreamed of. Such more. consequences came as he little dreamed of. She had been so certain of revenge; she had, What a pity!”

with her own eyes, gloated over her enemy as She sniffed violently and with temper. How- she announced to him the things which were to ever, at the hour appointed, she repaired to her befall him; and now—and now, to think that he lawyer.

had escaped her clutches by an accident which “I should like," she said, to his intense as- had never entered into her calculations! Why, tonishment_“I should like the warrant for the if John of Leyden had hanged himself, or John

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So near.


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