« VorigeDoorgaan »
high rank in the present day to of the East Marches, and constable exchange uniforms with a private of his beloved Norham Castle. soldier would be to avoid danger at It is greatly to be desired that the expense of the private, but, some one with adequate leisure, owing to the effects of the ransom and with the turn for archaic system, Edward was doing pre- language, should undertake a transcisely the reverse : he was incur- lation of that part of Scalacronica' ring greater risk of his life by which was printed for the Maitdisguising himself as one of lower land Club, carefully collating it degree.
with the original manuscript at Of side - lights on individual Cambridge. It would prove a characters there is abundance in useful work for students of history, • Scalacronica.' The estimate and would furnish, besides, a deformed by Gray of that unhappy lightful picture of social and miliprince Edward II. deals very tary life not less vivid than gently with a tarnished memory:- Froissart's, and with the advan
tage of having been drawn by an “He was sensible, gentle, and ami- observant soldier. Further, were able in conversation, but maladroit the volume to be adorned with the (mesoeurous) in action. He was skilful in what he performed with his shields of all the knights menown hand. He was very sociable tioned, printed in gold and colours, among his intimates, but solemn to- as in Mr Wright's edition of the wards strangers, and far too much ‘Roll of Caerlaverock,' what a addicted to the society of one person splendid record of chivalry we at a time.”
should have! Such records, alas !
run to a great deal of money, and Sir Thomas Gray died in 1369, we are not allowed now to raise two years after the date at which the necessary funds by holding bis chronicle closes, being at the wealthy gentlemen to ransom. time one of the English wardens
DARIEL: A ROMANCE OF SURREY.1
CHAPTER XII.-IN THE BACKGROUND.
SURELY as the world of night smile that abased them. She made goes round, with clusters of stars no pretence to any varied knowthronging after one another, and ledge, or power to settle moot loose wafts of vapour ever ready to questions—though she would have flout them, and the spirit of dreams known where Daghestan was—and flitting over us, without any guid- as for contradiction, her tongue was ance of mind or matter, so surely never made for it, though her mind will the dawn of our own little must have whispered to her often days bring new things to us, which enough that brother George's words we cannot understand in the clear- outran his wits. In spite of all est light of our wits beneath the this, it was possible to put her in a
And of this I must give an very noble passion, when one had instance now, sorry as I am to the time to spare. And it certainly do it.
was worth while for the beauty of My sister Grace (the very sweet- the sight, as well as for increase est girl, always excepting one of of perception concerning the turns course, that ever tied a hat-string), of the feminine mind. The first what did she do but take a little sign of success for the most part touch of Cupid, without knowing was a deepening of the delicate and anything about it? She denied it limpid tint that flitted on the soft strongly, and hotly even; as curves of cheek ; and then if one Swiss hotel-keeper abjures scarlet went on with calm aggravation, that fever. But I insisted the more upon terrible portent, lightning in the it; because it was quite picturesque blue sky of the eyes, and a seam to see Grace Cranleigh in a passion. (as of the finest needlework of an I found it worth while to go as angel who hems her own handkernear the brink of a downright lie chief) just perceptible and no more, as a truthful man can step, without in the white simplicity of forehead. falling over, in order to rouse and And after that (if you had the heart work up this dear girl, till she to go on), no tears, none of that actually longed to stamp her feet. opening of the dikes, which the There was a vivid element—the Low Country quenches an invasion father calls it gold, and the brother with, but a genuine burst of rightcalls it carrots—in her most abund- eous wrath-queenly figure, and all ant locks; and if you could only hit that sort of thing, such as Britanupon a gentle strain of chaff, which nia alone can achieve, when unmust have a little grain left in it, feeling nations have poked fun at and pour it upon her with due her too long. gravity, she became a charming Filled with a spirit of discontent, sight to a philosopher.
and a longing to know how girls Her affection was so deep, and behave when they are beginning to her character so placid, that a sharp think about somebody-for Dariel word or two, or a knowing little must be a girl, as well as an Archsneer, produced nothing better than female-Angel—I contrived to fetch a look of wonder, or sometimes a Grace to a prime state of wrath, the
Copyright, 1896, by Dodd, Mead & Co. in the United States of America.
very first morning after her return like this, was enough to annoy the from London. And I assure you most superior brother. But to let that I learned a lot of things by her see that, was beneath me. that, which served me a good turn “I have thriven very tidily, in my own case. A woman might while you have been away. My call this a selfish proceeding. But buttons never come off, when I sew what is love, except self flown sky- them on myself. But you know ward, and asking its way through well enough what I mean about the Alphabet of Heaven?
young Earls, and for you to pre“ This is a nice trick of yours," I varicate is quite a new thing. said, with a careless air and an What I mean is about that young elderly smile; “to go waltzing milksop of a fellow, who writes about in hot weather with young verses, makes sonnets, stuff he calls Earls, as if you thought nothing of poems—fytte 1, and fytte 2, enough your brother hard at work.”
to give you fifty fits. Lord Honey “I have not the least idea what something. What the deuce is you mean, brother George. I am his name?” thinking of you, George, wherever “If you mean the Earl of MellaI may be. I never see anybody to dew, the only thing I regret, dear compare with you."
George, is that you have not a “Thousands of much better fel- particle of his fine imagination. lows everywhere.” True enough Not that you need write poems, that was, although I did not mean George ; that of course would be it. “Brilliant young men in gor- wholly beyond you; but that the geous apparel. I am not fit to hold gift of those higher faculties, those a candle for them.”
sensitive feelings, if that is the " Then hold it for yourself, right name, makes a man so much George, as you have the right to larger in his views, so very superior do. And for all of us as well. to all strong language, so capable of For if ever there was an industrious, perceiving that the universe does simple, unselfish fellow" not consist of men alone."
“I never like to hear about that, “Sensitive feelings ! I should as you know.
The little I can do rather think so. He has got them, is altogether useless. I only want and no mistake, my dear girl. Why to hear about the romantic young the year we licked Eton at Lord's, Earls."
I happened just to graze him on the “Young Earls !” exclaimed funny-bone with a mere lob, nothGrace, with an innocence so pure ing of a whack at all for a decent that it required a little mantle on fellow; and what did he do but her cheeks ; “I fear that you have throw down his bat, and roll about not been looked after properly, as if he was murdered? What while I have been away, dear could ever be the good of such a George; or else you have over- Molly-coddle ?” exerted yourself. Coming home “It comes to this then. Because also so late at night, several times, you hurt him sadly when he was a they tell me! Continuing your boy, you are inclined to look down labours for our benefit, nobody upon him for life. Nice masculine seems to know exactly where! logic ! And you nearly broke his Such frightful work makes you arm, I daresay." quite red in the face.”
“Scarcely took the bark off. But If that were true, all that I can I'll break something else, if I catch say is, that the idea of being him piping love-ditties down here. brought to book by a young girl I should have hoped that you would have shown a little more myself, having made the great misself-respect."
take of reasoning. “All of you girls “Well, I don't quite understand begin to talk, as if you were to rule what my crime is, George. And to the universe. No man is good fly into a passion with anybody, enough for you, unless he is a perwho dares so much as to look at fect wonder of intellect. And then me! That is all Lord Melladew if you condescend to accept him, has done. And even that seemed his mind is to be in perfect servitoo much for his courage. I believe tude to yours—yours that are occuif he had to say boh to a goose, he pied nine minutes out of ten with would call for pen and paper, and considerations of the looking-glass.” write it down. But your anxiety “Can you say that of me, about me is quite a new thing. Is George? Now with your love of there any favoured candidate of truth, can you find it in your conyours down here ?"
science to say such a thing of me?” How sharp girls are ! This was "Well, perhaps not. And for extoo bad of her, when I was doing cellent reason. You have no need my utmost for her good. The to make a study of it. Whatever twinkle in her eyes was enough to you do, or whatever you wear, it show that she suspected something; makes no difference; for you are and if she found it out, all up alwaysthenceforth with the whole of my “What? What am I? Come, scheme for her benefit.
tell me the worst, while you are so “Yes, to be sure there is," I put out with me.
What are you answered in some haste, for if I had going to call me now?” said no, it would have been untrue, "The sweetest, and the best for I thought more highly every girl in the world." I should not day of Jackson Stoneman, whereas have put it quite so strongly, exLord Melladew was scarcely better cept for the way she was looking off than we were, and through the at me. But it was too late to same ruinous policy; "where will qualify my words. Before I could you find a nicer fellow, or one more think again, Grace was in my arms, highly esteemed (at any rate by and her hair in a golden shower himself), than my old friend, Tom falling on my breast.
“ After all, Erricker? And when the tinning this is the best way to reason," she business comes to you, Harold will said with a smile that contained a invent you a new process every day, world of logic; and I only anuntil we are enabled to buy back swered, “At any rate for women;" all our land. Though that would because it is not for them to have be a foolish thing to do, unless he the last word always. could find some new crop to put
However I had not changed my upon it. I cannot see why you opinions, and did not mean to think so little of Tom Erricker." change them. For Jackson Stone
“Do you think much of him, man, whom I had at first repulsed George, in earnest? Is he a man and kept at a very stiff arm's to lead one's life? Would you like length, was beginning to grow to see your favourite sister the wife upon me as people say
not of a man she could turn round her through any affection for his finger ? ”
money; so far from that, indeed, “Confound it! There is no such that the true reason was, I could thing as pleasing you ;" I spoke, think of him now without thinkwith a sense of what was due to ing of his money. When we first know a man of great wealth, es- To pass
from all this to the things pecially if we happen to be very one can see, it was either that very short of cash ourselves, we are apt same day or the next that I came to feel a certain shyness and desire away out of the harvest-field, just to keep away from him ; not from for a morsel to eat and a pipe, in any dislike of his money, or sense snug place under the fringe of a of injustice at his owning such a wood, where a very small brook, pile, but rather through uneasiness fit only for minnows and grigs, about ourselves, and want of per- made a lot of loops and tinkles. fect certainty in the bottom of our Two or three times I had been hearts, that we may not try—like there before, and in fact was geta man who steals his gas-to tap ting fond of it, because I believed, the “main chance" behind the or as good as believed, without meter, and fetch a little into our knowing every twist of it, that own parlour on the sly. And even this little water in its own modest if our conscience is too brave to way never left off running until shrink from that, we know that if it reached the Pebblebourne ; and we walk too much in amity with after that it must have gone a this man of gold he will want, or little faster, till it came to the at least he ought to want, to pay place where Dariel lived. the piper who besets every path of Possibly if I threw in a pint every kind in England; whereas bottle, after scraping off the red it hurts our dignity to be paid for, pyramid, who could say that it except by our Uncles, or the Gov- might not land at the very feet to ernment.
which all the world they ever trod But supposing Jackson were to upon must bow? become a member of our family, Encouraging these profound rewhat could be more inspiring and flections, I sat upon the bank, and graceful, as well as delightful, for pulled out my pocket-knife, being him, than the privilege which must a little sharp-set for the moment, fall to his share, of endeavouring and aware of some thrills in a to please his relatives? And look- quarter near the heart. There was ing at the matter from a point of very little more to be done that view even more exalted, I began afternoon, the week having ripened to perceive the course of duty very into Saturday, when no
man of clearly staked out for me. And the any self - respect does more than conversation above recorded made congratulate himself upon his init doubly manifest. My sister had dustry; and on this point few neither admitted, nor denied, that have a stronger sense of duty than this young Melladew had been the cultivator of the soil of Surrey. attracted by her, while she was No matter what the weather is, or staying at her sister's house. She how important the job in hand had spoken of his courage with may be, his employer may repose some contempt; and any percep- the purest confidence in him, that tion of such a defect would be fatal he will make off with holy zeal, to his chances with nine girls out right early on a Saturday. of ten. But Grace had her own Therefore when I heard a step little pet ideas; and to shoot with behind me, I knew that it could swan-shot at a swarm of gnats is be none of our "enlightened operbetter worth the cost than to reason atives”; not even Bob Slemmick with such girls. They are above would pull his coat off at that reason; and there's an end of it. hour, though he would sometimes