The Project Gutenberg eBook of Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 745, April 6, 1878

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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 745, April 6, 1878

Author: Various

Editor: Robert Chambers

William Chambers

Release date: August 24, 2020 [eBook #63031]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Susan Skinner and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at






No. 745.




Long ago—you may say in 1808—when I was a boy at Peebles, the school-children, as a variety in their boisterous amusements, occasionally bombarded with stones a grievously defaced effigy built into the walls of a ruinous old church in the neighbourhood. With savage significance, the unfortunate piece of sculpture was called Borlum, and as Borlum it had been pelted by several successive generations. From the dearth of historical knowledge at the spot, no one could explain who or what was meant by Borlum; and not till some years afterwards, in the course of reading, did I find out that by Borlum was meant Brigadier Mackintosh of Borlum, who commanded a resolute party of Highlanders in Mar’s rebellion of 1715, and who, by their masterly audacity in marching towards the Border, threw the southern counties of Scotland into a state of indescribable alarm. To Borlum, as he was familiarly termed, was thus assigned the character of a bugbear along the whole course of the Tweed; and long after he had passed away, and when the political events in which he was concerned were forgotten, the original terror of his name survived in the vengefully destructive recreations of school-children. In a vicarious capacity, a harmless piece of sculpture, which had nothing at all to do with Borlum, was doomed to suffer for a popular scare nearly a hundred years previously.

In the history of that miserably managed affair, Mar’s Jacobite rebellion, Mackintosh of Borlum—or more properly younger of Borlum, for his father was still living—stands conspicuously out as a military hero, who threw into the shade many of higher title and pretensions. How with five hundred of his clan, with banners flying, he marched to Inverness, and seized that important post. How he hastened on to the Lowlands, eluded the troops designed to intercept him; crossed the Firth of Forth with a large force in open boats, and captured Leith. How, carrying everything before him, he marched onwards to the Border, in order to join the rebel forces of General Forster in Northumberland—are all facts belonging to history. His sagacity, foresight, intrepidity, and daring courage were worthy of a better cause. Getting into England, and mixed up with half-hearted movements, Borlum is very much lost sight of. The enterprise, owing to Mar’s indiscretion, had been shockingly ill considered. The English Jacobites failed to rise in a body, as they were justified in doing, for the auxiliaries which had been expected from France never made their appearance; and the whole thing collapsed, as is well known, by the humiliating capture of the insurgents by General Carpenter at Preston, in Lancashire. Surrendering at discretion, the whole were conducted as prisoners to London—Borlum among the rest. A dreadful downcome to the proud Highland chief, but not more so than to Lords Derwentwater, Winton, Nithsdale, Kenmure, Carnwath, Widdrington, and other Jacobite noblemen.

It is not altogether agreeable to look back on the dynastic struggles which took place in England in the first half of the eighteenth century; for with some redeeming traits of character, they give a very mean view of human nature. The subject has been suggested to us by the appearance of a work which many will appreciate for its lively account of scenes and circumstances hitherto imbedded in the dry records of history. We mean London in the Jacobite Times, by Dr Doran, F.S.A. (2 vols. Bentley and Son). The writer, it is sorrowful to learn, passed away before the work at which he had long patiently laboured had well been published; and we regret that he has not survived to hear the praises bestowed on his endeavours to produce a picture of past times such as is rarely presented. The way the subject is treated is quite unique. Instead of going into regular historical details, which would be alike tedious and tiresome, the author writes in a sketchy and anecdotic style without pause from beginning to end, and we have before us a drama of unflagging interest, extending over the greater part of a century. We do not think, however, that the book would have been the worse of a few preliminary{210} remarks on the strange circumstances by which the Stuarts forfeited the crown, and placed themselves in the grotesquely unhappy condition of kings retired from business.

The flight of James II. from England, and practically his abdication of authority, December 22, 1688, finished the house of Stuart. When a king runs away from his subjects, and stupidly flings down a magnificent inheritance, he has a bad chance of being called back again, particularly when by a course of exasperating and illegal conduct he has forfeited general esteem. Yet, from the date of that fatal flight there were successive plots by Jacobite adherents to bring back the Stuarts to the throne. Throughout the reign of William III. and of Queen Anne, the plottings were of a comparatively obscure character. On the death of Anne in 1714, and the installation of George I. under a parliamentary Act of Settlement, came the crisis. The rebellion of 1715 broke out, and being quenched at Preston, the fierce dissensions of Jacobites and Whigs arose. Dr Doran commences his narrative with the death of Anne, but scarcely awakes to his subject till the droves of rebels from Preston enter London and are dispersed through the various prisons, the more noble of them being conducted to the Tower.

While preserving the forms of law, the government did not put off time in the examination and trials of the captured rebels. The pulpits rang with sermons condemnatory of their crimes. Joseph Addison, in his paper the Freeholder, railed upon them with indecent subserviency. There was no want of evidence to convict the leading spirits in the insurrection; but matters were considerably simplified by the voluntarily proffered testimony of the Rev. Robert Patten, who had been formerly a curate at Preston, and acted as chaplain to the rebel forces. Clapped into prison with his associates, Patten pondered on the best means of escaping the gallows; and the longer he thought of it, he became the more firmly convinced that his best plan was to become king’s evidence. His testimony was accepted; and at the cost of being branded throughout all time as a rascal, he daily stood up in court and told every particular requisite to convict the unhappy noblemen and gentlemen with whom he had been associated, and whose bread he had eaten. Very much through the testimony of this wretch, the prisons were gradually cleared by the exit of batches of convicts on hurdles to Tyburn. The Tower was similarly relieved of two of its noble inmates, Derwentwater and Kenmure, who perished on the scaffold; and there would have been more of them, but for the escape of the Earl of Nithsdale disguised in his wife’s clothes, and for the fortunate reprieve of the Lords Widdrington, Nairn, and Carnwath. On the evening of the day on which the Earl of Derwentwater was beheaded (24th February 1716), London was thrown into a state of commotion by the appearance in the sky of an extraordinary Aurora, in which there were fancied resemblances of armies, flaming swords, and fire-breathing dragons—the Jacobites accepting the phenomenon as a token of the indignation of Heaven at the cruel murders on Tower Hill, and prognosticating the rise of the sun of Stuart! On the estates of the Earl of Derwentwater, this famed aurora was called the ‘Earl of Derwentwater’s Lights;’ and it is said that an aurora is still so named in the vicinity of Dilston.

The government of George I. had some difficulty in dealing with the Earl of Wintoun, who contrived to get his trial put off as long as possible, on the plea that he was not yet prepared with his evidence. The truth is, the earl was a somewhat eccentric being. In his youth he had run away from his home at Seton House, went to France, and hired himself to work as a blacksmith. Returning at the death of his father, when everybody had given him up for lost, he assumed the title, George fifth Earl of Wintoun, and was living quietly at Seton when the rebellion broke out. He had no wish to connect himself with it; but stung by some outrageous proceedings of the authorities, he joined the insurrection, and so got himself into trouble. When brought to the bar of the House of Lords, there was some surprise at the oddity of his behaviour. Whether from cunning or affectation, he did not seem to understand why his trial should be hurried on, though in reality he might have complained of the delay. All the earl’s shifts did not greatly serve him. Patten, on being questioned, said that he had seen the Earl of Wintoun on several occasions with a drawn sword in his hand when the Pretender was proclaimed. After this, of course Wintoun was found guilty, and condemned to be beheaded. Not a pleasant drive from Westminster Hall to the Tower, accompanied by the Gentleman Gaoler, ceremoniously carrying an axe with its edge turned towards the condemned earl. One feels a degree of satisfaction in knowing that after all the Earl of Wintoun escaped his doom. Confined to an apartment in the Tower preparatory to the morning of execution, he brought his knowledge as a blacksmith into play by cutting through the iron bars of his window by files supplied by his servant, and dropping to the ground got clear off. He died at Rome in 1749, his title and estates being meanwhile forfeited. The title has been latterly revived in favour of the Earls of Eglintoun. But with the disappearance of the last of the Setons in the direct line, an ancient and honourable family was blotted from the Scottish peerage.

Mackintosh of Borlum—called by mistake Borland by Dr Doran—was confined along with General Forster and a host of others in Newgate. Borlum and Forster are stated to have often quarrelled regarding the military conduct of the insurrection, their angry debates often furnishing amusement in the corridors, court-yard, and common room in the prison, to which visitors were admitted without hinderance, as to a tavern, for the more eating and drinking there were the better it was for Mr Pitt, the governor. Pitt, himself, was never disinclined to lend his assistance in eating a dinner, or in finishing a bowl of punch. So countenanced, the revelries in Newgate were boundless. Dr Doran affords a glimpse of this state of things. Visitors and sympathisers supplied the prisoners with money. ‘While it was difficult to change a guinea almost at any house in the street, nothing was more easy than to have silver for gold in any quantity, and gold for silver, in the prison; those of the fair sex, from persons of the first rank to tradesmen’s wives and daughters, making a sacrifice of their husbands’ and parents’ rings and other precious movables for the use of the prisoners. The aid was so reckless, that forty shillings for a dish of early peas and{211} beans, and thirty shillings for a dish of fish, with the best French wine, was an ordinary regale!’

Forster was to be tried on the 18th April, but a week previously the town was startled with the intelligence that he had broken bounds; he was off. ‘His escape,’ says Doran, ‘was well planned and happily executed. His sharp servant found means to obtain an impression of Pitt’s master-key, from which another key was made and conveyed to Forster, without difficulty. Pitt loved wine, and Forster seems to have had a cellar full of it. He often invited the governor to get drunk on its contents. One night, Pitt got more drunk than usual, finished the wine, and roared for more. Forster bade his servant to fetch up another bottle. This was the critical moment. The fellow was long, and Forster declared he would go and see what the rascal was at. On going, he locked the unconscious Pitt in the room; and the way being prepared by his servant, and turnkeys, as it would seem, subdued by the “oil of palms,” master and servant walked into the street, where friends awaited them. Pitt sounded the alarm, but everything had been well calculated. A smack lay at Holly Haven, on the Thames, which had often been employed by the Jacobites in running between England and France.’ By this means, Forster effected his escape, and ‘the joy of the Jacobites was incontrollable.’ The government shut up Pitt in one of his own dungeons, and offered a thousand pounds for the recovery of ‘General Forster;’ but pursuit was useless. The general was safe in France.

Borlum, who knew that his trial would speedily take place, meditated on plans for emulating the success of Forster. Strange to say, notwithstanding a knowledge of the irregularities that were carried on in Newgate, the public authorities made no change in the administration of affairs. Wine flowed, punch was sent round, and the prisoners suffered scarcely any stint in their indulgences. Things were indeed rather worse than better—all which was favourable to a plan concocted by Borlum and his fellow-captives. ‘The prisoners,’ says Dr Doran, ‘might cool themselves after their drink, by walking and talking, singing and planning, in the court-yard, till within an hour of midnight. Evil came of it. On the night of the 4th [May] the feast being over, nearly five dozen of the prisoners were walking about the press-yard. Suddenly, the whole body of them made an ugly rush at the keeper with the keys. He was knocked down, the doors were opened, and the prisoners swept forth to freedom. All, however, did not succeed in gaining liberty. As the attempt was being made, soldiers and turnkeys were alarmed. The fugitives were then driven in different directions. Brigadier Mackintosh, his son, and seven others overcame all opposition. They reached the street, and they were so well befriended, or were so lucky, as to disappear at once, and to evade all pursuit. They fled in various directions.’ Some others less fortunate were secured, ‘and were not only heavily ironed and thrust into loathsome holes, but treated with exceptional brutality.’ What a picture of a metropolitan prison in the reign of George I.!

The escape of Borlum from Newgate with certain other convicts produced an immense sensation. For decency’s sake, if for nothing else, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen came down to the prison, and solemnly gathered some evidence on the subject. The least thing in the way of amends was to offer a reward for the capture of ‘William Mackintosh, commonly called Brigadier Mackintosh.’ Placards were profusely posted up describing the appearance of Borlum. ‘A tall, raw-boned man, about sixty years of age, fair complexioned, beetle-browed, gray-eyed, speaks broad Scotch.’ The reward for capturing him was two hundred pounds, to which sum, however, were added a thousand pounds by the government. Every effort failed to secure the old Highland chief. He and his son succeeded in getting on board a vessel in the Thames, by which they reached the coast of France, and there for the present we must leave him.

These furtive escapes did not slacken operations at Tyburn, to which doomed men from Newgate were carried in half-dozens, as if for a public entertainment. We can hardly in the present day realise the brutality of these exhibitions, to which, however, ladies of quality regularly adjourned to see the show. Hanging formed a holiday amusement of the fashionable society of London. Such was the disregard of humane feeling that officers of the law were not ashamed to practise cruel deceptions on convicts at the very scaffold. Dr Doran describes a case of this kind. It was that of a person named David Lindsay, convicted of traitorous visits to France, who was sentenced to die, and carted to Tyburn in spite of an amnesty. ‘When his neck was in the noose, the sheriff tested David’s courage, by telling him he might yet save his life on condition of revealing the names of alleged traitors. David, however sorely tempted, declined to save his neck on such terms. Thereupon, the sheriff ordered the cart to drive on; but even this move towards leaving Lindsay suspended did not shake his stout spirit. All this time the sheriff had a reprieve for the unnecessarily tortured fellow in his pocket. Before the cart was fairly from under Lindsay’s feet, it was stopped, or he would have been murdered.’ Taken back alive to Newgate, a very unusual spectacle, Lindsay, after being nearly starved in a loathsome dungeon, was sent into perpetual banishment; ultimately he died of hunger and exposure in Holland.

As the hanging of some thousands of rebels would have shocked ordinary decency, vast numbers were condemned to be banished, as an act of grace, to the Plantations, or were ‘made over as presents to trading courtiers,’ who might pardon them for ‘a consideration.’ Think of lords and ladies at court being presented with groups of convicts on whom money could be made by selling pardons! The fact throws a new light on this period of English history. As regards transportation, Dr Doran gives some not uninteresting and little known particulars concerning Rob Roy. Twelve years after the rebellion of 1715, Rob was taken to London in connection with the Disarmament Act, and sentenced with many others to be transported to Barbadoes. Handcuffed to Lord Ogilvie, he was marched from Newgate through the streets of London to a barge at Blackfriars, and thence to Gravesend. ‘This,’ says Dr Doran, ‘is an incident which has escaped the notice of Walter Scott and of all Rob’s biographers.’ Before quitting England, the barge-load of convicts were pardoned and allowed to return home.

Matters had considerably calmed down, when the country was startled with the rebellion which{212} broke out in 1745, headed by the young Chevalier, Charles Edward, grandson of James II. It was a daring and romantic adventure, but as badly conceived and supported as that of thirty years previously. No promised auxiliaries were supplied from France; and that the attempt to upset a powerful and settled government by a handful of adventurous Highlanders and the adherents of a few discontented noblemen and gentry should have ended disastrously, as it finally did on the field of Culloden, is not at all surprising. This fresh outbreak in the reign of George II. affords new material for the graphic pen of Dr Doran; and to his second volume we must refer for many painful though curious details concerning the treatment of the unfortunate prisoners. The manners of the more fashionable classes in the metropolis do not seem to have improved. We are told that ‘people of fashion went to the Tower to see the prisoners as persons of lower quality went there to see the lions. Within the Tower, the spectator was lucky who saw Murray [of Broughton], Charles Ratcliffe, Lord Traquair, Lord Cromarty and his son, and the Lord Provost, at their respective windows. Lady Townshend, who had fallen in love with Lord Kilmarnock, at the first sight of “his falling shoulders,” when he appeared to plead at the bar of the Lords, was to be seen under his window at the Tower.’ The Lord Provost, here alluded to, was Archibald Stewart, who, known to be of Jacobite proclivities, was charged with culpable neglect of duty, in having allowed a party of Highlanders to rush in and take possession of Edinburgh. Stewart was tried and acquitted. Lord Cromarty’s life was spared; but Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, and Lovat perished by beheading on Tower Hill. Lovat had expressed a passionate desire to be buried with his head in his own country in Scotland. The wish was gratified. His head was sewed on again by the undertaker before the body was despatched northwards! Lord Traquair was liberated.

The case of Charles Ratcliffe was peculiar. He was a younger brother of Lord Derwentwater who was executed in 1716, and he had himself only evaded the same fate at that time by being one of the prisoners who escaped from Newgate and took refuge in France. Assuming the title of Earl of Derwentwater, he was made prisoner in 1745, on board a French vessel on its way to Scotland with supplies for Prince Charles. The sentence of death which had been passed on him thirty years before was now raked up. He was condemned to be executed; and giving him the benefit of his assumed title of nobility, he was beheaded on Tower Hill, his manly courage and proud bearing not deserting him at the last dreadful scene.

Like Patten, in the former rebellion, Murray of Broughton, who had acted as secretary to Charles Edward, was saved by basely turning king’s evidence, and sending many better men than himself to the scaffold. He retreated into private life under a deserved load of infamy. Years afterwards, as we learn from Lockhart, Murray, several times in disguise, visited Mr Scott, father of Sir Walter, for the sake of professional advice. On one of these occasions, Mrs Scott, from curiosity, intruded with the offer of a cup of tea, which Murray accepted. When he withdrew, Mr Scott lifted the window-sash, and threw the empty cup into the street. The lady exclaimed for her china, but was silenced by the remark: ‘I may admit into my house, on a piece of business, persons wholly unworthy to be treated as guests by my wife. Neither lip of me nor of mine comes after Mr Murray of Broughton.’ As a memento of this curious incident, Sir Walter made prize of the saucer, which he preserved.

The executions of the untitled prisoners were conducted in a wholesale manner on Kennington Common, to which crowds flocked to see the hideous show. Drawers attended to supply wine to the culprits while the ropes were put round their necks, for the Jacobites drank treasonous toasts till the last. At one of these tragic ceremonials, ‘Captain Wood, after the halter was loosely hung for him round his neck, called for wine, which was supplied with alacrity by the prison drawers. When it was served round, the captain drank to the health of the rightful king, James III.’ The slight delay so caused was lucky for another culprit, Captain Lindsay, who was coming up with a second batch. ‘While the wine was being drunk, Lindsay was “haltering,” as the reporters called it. He was nice about the look of the rope, but just as he was courteously invited to get in and be hanged, a reprieve came for him, which saved his life.’ At this period, London could not be deemed a pleasant place of residence for any one with delicate feelings. The entrances to the town were lined with decaying bodies hanging in chains. At length the sights became so offensive as to cause public remonstrance.

Dr Doran winds up his dramatic narrative with some graceful remarks on the altered state of feeling towards the Jacobites in the reign of George III. By the decease of Charles Edward in 1788, after having sunk to the character of a sot, the Jacobite fanaticism was considerably abated, and only lingered as an expiring sentiment till the death of Charles’s brother, Henry, Cardinal York, 1807, when the house of Stuart was extinct.

It is pleasant to know that the royal family always spoke with sympathy of the Stuarts. Charles Edward, as is well known, was unhappy in his marriage with Louise, Countess of Albany, daughter of Count von Stolberg. She left him for a convent in 1780, and subsequently to his death became the wife of the Italian poet, Vittorio Alfieri. By a strange turn in the wheel of fortune, she sought an asylum in England, on the outbreak of the French Revolution, and was well received at the court in St James’s Palace, the king and queen vying to do her honour. She went to see the king in the House of Lords with the crown on his head, when proroguing parliament, 1791. Hannah More speaks of seeing the Countess of Albany on that occasion seated among ladies ‘just at the foot of the throne which she might once have expected to have mounted.’ Finding London dull, with ‘crowds but no society,’ and that the climate of England did not suit her, she returned to the continent.

In his latter years Cardinal York was supported by a pension of four thousand pounds a year from George III.; an act of kindness which was handsomely responded to by the Cardinal giving up to the king the crown diamonds which James II. had carried away with him to France. On the death of the Cardinal, the Countess of Albany became the recipient of an{213} annuity from the king. This she enjoyed till her decease as plain Madame Fabre at Montpelier, in France, in 1824. Such was the sorrowful ending of the broken-down and much-tried widow of Charles Edward Stuart.

We feel that our desultory sketch would be incomplete without some account of Borlum subsequent to his escape to France in 1716. For any such account, however, there are very slender materials in history. To a writer in the Celtic Magazine (Inverness, 1877) we are indebted for some of the following particulars. Borlum remained in France only one or two years, during which his father died, whereupon he became the chief of his house. On what terms, if any, he was allowed to return to his own country there is no statement. At all events, he was again in Scotland in 1719, for in that year he took part in the mad attempt at insurrection by the aid of Spanish soldiers, which was immediately stamped out. That Mackintosh of Borlum should have engaged in so wild an adventure, is an evidence of his Jacobite fervour and indiscretion. He was once more a fugitive, but for a time contrived to elude detection. At length, he was apprehended in the wilds of Caithness, and was conveyed as a state prisoner to Edinburgh Castle.

Few, perhaps, among the gay crowds who throng Princes Street, and cast a glance at the buildings of the castle perched on the summit of rugged cliffs, are aware that in one of these buildings, long used as a state prison, poor Mackintosh of Borlum was confined for the last years of his life. Certainly, a hard fate for the old Jacobite! Cribbed and confined in his airy but miserable den, Borlum did not spend his time uselessly. Before being involved in political troubles he had devoted himself to the improvement and planting of lands. He is said to have planted a row of trees which still ornament the public road near Kingussie. Now that he was locked up, he wrote an Essay on the best means of inclosing and improving lands, which was printed in Edinburgh in 1729. Our authority adds: ‘On the 7th January 1743, after a rough earthly pilgrimage of eighty years, the gallant old soldier passed to his rest, true to the last to the principles which had influenced his whole life. One of his last acts, it is said, was to dedicate one of his teeth to the service of his exiled master, by writing with it on the wall of his room an invocation of God’s blessing on King James!’

How long Borlum was immured in that dismal prison on the castle rock, is not clearly ascertained. The obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine speaks of his having been confined in the castle ‘fifteen years.’ By the authority above quoted, he is said to have been imprisoned ‘for nearly a quarter of a century.’ Truth may lie somewhere between—from twenty to twenty-one years. The Caledonian-Mercury, in noticing his decease at the age of ‘about eighty-five,’ gives him a high character as ‘a complete gentleman, friendly, agreeable, and courteous;’ and for what he had written as regards the improvement of land, he is to be lastingly esteemed as ‘a lover of his country.’ Nowhere is a word said of the cruelty of confining so aged and accomplished a person in the worst species of prison till he was released by death. For the seeming harshness of this prolonged imprisonment, an excuse may perhaps be found in the political apprehensions of the period; but this scarcely lessens our compassion for the sufferings of a man in so many respects estimable. With all his faults, Borlum must be admitted to have possessed that quality of earnestness of purpose which in the ordinary concerns of life is now so feebly demonstrated. It could be wished that some one had done full justice to his biography; for Borlum was undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary men of his time.

W. C.



There is nothing so hard, nothing so difficult as to get a governess nowadays,’ said the Countess of Wolverhampton, quite unaware that she was but echoing the complaint of many ladies of a lesser degree, to the effect that it is next to impossible to procure pattern cooks, prize housemaids, exemplary seamstresses, or model kitchen-maids, in these degenerate times. ‘I mean a really satisfactory governess of course,’ added the noble mistress of High Tor. Lady Wolverhampton and her two elder daughters were the sole occupants of the smallest of the suite of drawing-rooms, the windows of which were yet open to admit the balmy air of the hot evening. Dinner was but just over, and the flush of the sinking sun was faintly visible on the heathy ridges and pine-groves to the west.

‘It is very tiresome, mamma,’ said sympathetic Lady Maud.

‘It is more than tiresome,’ rejoined the Countess. ‘It makes me, on your sister’s account, very anxious. If I had known, when Miss Grainger left us, how very long it would take to replace her, and that dear Alice would be for months at a stand-still so far as her education went, I should not have parted with her so readily.’

‘But she left us because she was going to be married,’ said Lady Gladys smiling; ‘and we could not, I suppose, have forbidden the banns on account of the scarcity of good governesses. I wonder, by the way, how the scarcity can exist, when we are so perpetually informed that the governess market—a phrase which I don’t like, suggesting as it does white slavery, involuntary servitude, and the auctioneer’s hammer—is overstocked.’

‘That sounds clever, Gladys,’ answered Lady Wolverhampton in her plain way; ‘but I am afraid that, like most clever-sounding things, it proves nothing. I could get a highly certificated instructress, a person primed with information on particular subjects, warranted to be worth a handsome salary, a’——

‘A teaching-machine, in fact,’ suggested bright Lady Gladys, seeing that her mother hesitated for the lack of a word.

‘Precisely. A teaching-machine,’ resumed the Countess. ‘But I don’t want one. I wish Alice’s governess, whoever she may be, to be a good sensible young woman, such as Miss Grainger was; and instead of that, all my correspondents write to me of the degrees and diplomas that have been taken out by those they recommend. I suppose I am an old-fashioned person, but I do wish’——

But before the Countess of Wolverhampton{214} could complete her discourse on the governess topic, the door was jerked open, and the old butler, who had permitted himself to turn the handle for once with such unconventional vivacity, stood gasping in the doorway with a face as white as his cravat.

‘Why, Bugles!’ began the Countess, rising in alarm; for that an ox should talk, as Livy tells us that a Roman representative of the bovine genus actually did, is scarcely more calculated to disturb the nerves than that a well-trained servant should crack the ice of his artificial decorum. The Earl, who was, like his wife, a partisan of old fashions, was lingering over his wine in the dining-room, and might of course be ill. Apoplexy was the first thought that rose, like a sheeted spectre, before the Countess’s mind.

‘Fire, my lady! Fire at High Tor; broke out sudden; and all the village is in flames!’ panted out Bugles the butler, who was fat and short of breath. And without were to be vaguely heard other voices and the sound of running feet, and the cry, alarming above all others, of ‘Fire! fire!’ as grooms and gardeners forgot their usual respectful reticence in the first flush of the anticipated struggle with the direst foe of man and his works.

‘There really is a fire, and I’m afraid a great one, to judge by the smoke and the sparks,’ said Lord Harrogate, who at this juncture entered. ‘My father has had his horse saddled already, and has started by this time for the village, and I am going too of course. I only came first to see if’——

‘If we were ready to come too?’ cried Lady Maud. ‘To be sure we will, the moment we can get our hats, Gladys and I. Alice will stay with mamma. We can’t work at putting out the fire, but we may be of use somehow.’

And in an incredibly short space of time the Ladies De Vere and their brother were hurrying down the steep road that led to the scene of the disaster. High Tor House, isolated and on a lofty spot of rising ground, was in no sort of peril from the fire raging beneath; but the indwellers of the great mansion were not disposed, like the divinities of the Pagan Olympus, serenely to contemplate the woes of the inhabitants of earth, and without waiting for orders, nearly every boy and man in the Earl’s employ had hastened down to fight the common foe.

‘The dry weather—unusually dry for this moist district, where the last thing we generally have to complain of is the want of rain—must help the fire sadly,’ said Lord Harrogate, as the lodge-gates were left behind, and the lurid light of the conflagration became more and more distinctly visible through gaps in the high hedges that bordered the road. As they drew nearer, the eddying clouds of smoke, mingled with fiery dots here and there, the dull crimson glow, and the smothered sound of voices mingling with the roar of the flames and the clang of labour, gave unpleasant tokens of the mischief that was going on.

‘I hoped at the first that the report was an exaggerated one, as most reports are,’ said Lord Harrogate, as they came in sight of the burning houses. ‘But this is an ugly business. It is on one side of the street only, by good luck, that the fire is raging, and if we can keep it from spreading’——

The crash of a cottage roof tumbling in, and followed by a shower of sparks and small fragments of flaming wood, drowned the rest of the sentence. Matters were evidently bad enough, though not quite so bad as might have been augured from the first announcement of that herald of misfortune, Bugles the butler. The whole southern side of the long straggling street was more or less in flames; and to keep the fire from communicating itself to the houses on the opposite side of the road was a work which in itself taxed the strength of the whole adult male population to the utmost.

The noise, the smoke, the falling sparks, and the occasional plumping down into the dust of the road of some half-consumed scrap of woodwork, made Lord Harrogate’s sisters, who were physically no braver than the average of their sex, shrink back aghast.

‘Here, Maud!’ cried her brother impatiently. ‘We must not—or I must not—be drones in the hive. You know most of these good people—Mrs Prosser, for instance.—Mrs Prosser, my sisters will stay with you while I go forward to bear a hand in getting the fire under.—Where’s my father? Ah, there he is, in the thick of the smoke!’

And there, sure enough, was dimly to be seen the well-known figure of the old Earl giving orders to such as were cool enough to hearken to them, whilst his frightened horse, held by a groom, stood at some distance. Darting through the clouds of suffocating vapour, which were dense enough to suggest the idea of a battle, Lord Harrogate reached the place where his father was standing.

‘I don’t see any fire-engines!’ exclaimed the young man, looking with a sort of dismay at the chain of buckets passed from hand to hand. ‘What, in the name of all that’s wonderful, are the people dreaming of?’

‘We have sent to Pebworth for help,’ said the Earl, shaking his gray head; ‘but before any arrives, if the wind freshens the houses will be mere cinder-heaps. As for the parish engine, Stickles here has got the same story to tell that is only too common among us in England here.’

And Stickles, who was the clerk, rubbed his hands apologetically together as he faltered out, in reply to Lord Harrogate’s impatient question, the excuses which he had previously addressed to the Earl. The engine of which he was official custodian had been long out of repair, and was to have been ‘seen to,’ and should have been ‘seen to’ after harvest-time, had not the unfortunate outbreak of a very real and practical fire tested the unreadiness of the precautions for putting it out. As it was, the only available means of doing battle with the conflagration was the rude and simple one of flinging water on the flames, and at this task the inhabitants were busy enough. They were busier, however, before long, as, under the direction of Lord Harrogate, whom they respected, they began to tear down some portions of the burning buildings, in the hope of preventing the fire from spreading. A strange sight it was which the village street presented, encumbered as it was by chests and bedding and the poor furniture which had been hastily dragged out from the doors of cottages now blazing, and the wailing of frightened children, and the shrill voices of the women, blended with the hoarse deep roar of the triumphant flames.


‘’Tis a mercy, my lord, it broke out when it did,’ said Charley Joyce, best bowler in the local cricket club and best woodman in the Earl’s employment, and in both of these capacities well known to the Earl’s heir. ‘There’d ha’ been a lot of us burned in our beds, if it had tarried till after midnight. All came,’ he added, ‘of that blessed rock-oil from Ameriky.’

Such indeed was the reported origin of the disaster. A girl, for milking purposes, had taken a tin lamp with her into a cowshed; the cow had kicked over the lamp, and the burning petroleum had set fire to the straw litter, whence the flames had mounted to the thatched roof. Thatched roofs, picturesque to look upon, were only too numerous for safety in that West-country village. The fire had crawled and darted, lithe as a serpent, from gable to porch and from paling to stable.

‘There! Look at the school-house now!’ cried a score of voices; and indeed the flames were pouring outwards through the shattered windows and licking the blackened walls, and withering to charred sticks the pretty hedge where the fragrant woodbine had clung so lovingly to the quickset, and scorching the very flowers in the garden.

‘The fire began near about there,’ remarked Joyce; but Lord Harrogate was already out of earshot, since his keen eye had caught a glimpse of a pale beautiful face, in the midst of the confusion of the crowded street. He pushed his way through the excited throng.

‘You are not hurt, Miss Gray, I hope and trust?’ he said with an eagerness that surprised himself.

‘No; but my house is burning,’ said Ethel in reply; ‘and I am a stranger, and—— But pray, my lord, do not trouble yourself to’—— For the young man had drawn her arm gently but firmly through his.

‘You must let me choose for you,’ he said. ‘My sisters are here, close by, at Mrs Prosser’s, who keeps the village shop—a kind motherly old soul. I must leave you with them.’

Thus Ethel allowed herself to be led to the place where, amidst a knot of women, whose awe-stricken faces told how great was their interest in the spectacle, the Ladies De Vere stood watching the progress of the fire. Lord Harrogate did not linger for an instant, but went back to put heart into the men still battling with the encroaching flames.

It was no trifle, this hand-to-hand combat, as it were, with the fire; the fierce heat driving back the volunteers who ventured very near to the tottering walls to fling water upon the blazing timbers, while the blinding smoke rushed volleying out to blear the eyes and clog the lungs of the workers, and ever and anon some tall chimney or breached roof would fall with a crash, sending showers of bricks and half-consumed wood into the midst of the crowd; and hairbreadth escapes were many and bruises numerous.

At last, however, the two engines from Pebworth came clattering into the street, and water being in that region of streams ready to hand, and the wind happily abating, the fire was fairly conquered, and all further danger at an end. There was no loss of life; but some were singed and many bruised; while thirty humble homes had been turned to heaps of smouldering ruin, and household gear and clothing, snatched from the flames, formed piles here and there in the wet road. Gradually the hospitality of this or that neighbour afforded temporary shelter to the crying children, the lamenting women, and the exhausted men; while a flying squadron of boys chased and led back captive the cows and pigs, the fowls and donkeys of those whose yards and sheds had been made desolate by the conflagration.

But what was Ethel to do? The old dame who served her had been readily received into the dwelling of a neighbour; and indeed nearly all of those so suddenly evicted had kindred, and all had friends to harbour them at this pinch. The young school-mistress looked forlorn indeed, as she stood alone in the midst of so many groups of voluble talkers.

‘You must come home with us, Miss Gray,’ said Lady Maud kindly; ‘must come up to High Tor House, I mean,’ she added, seeing that Ethel did not at first appear to comprehend her words, ‘and stay with us until something can be done. It is the least we can do for you, burned out of house and home in this dreadful way, as you have been.’

Lady Gladys heartily seconded the invitation; but Ethel still hesitated until the Earl drew near.

‘I have been telling Miss Gray here, papa, that we will take care of her at the House for a few days till she can look about her,’ said Lady Maud.

‘Quite right, my dear,’ answered the Earl with his fatherly smile; and thus the matter was settled.


The love of china-ware still continues to be a mania amongst certain classes in this country. In the houses chiefly of the ‘upper ten,’ we see scattered in lavish profusion little Dresden figures, shepherds and shepherdesses, sweet, fresh, smiling, fantastic little loves, leaning on impossible crooks, or ogling us from under trees whose bowery greenery embodies all that is idyllic in crockery. Wonderful little old tea-cups, without handles, transparent as an egg-shell, with no colouring to speak of, faded, washed-out looking, are proudly pointed to as almost priceless. From these our great-great-grandmothers, in all the glories of hoops and furbelows, are said to have drunk their hyson and bohea in their great wainscoted and tapestried rooms, discoursing as they sipped the fragrant nectar, much as we their great-great-granddaughters do still, over our afternoon tea; for the world changes, but the human heart does not. All manner of vanities go the round; trivialities of dress or gossip; much tattling about the mote in our neighbour’s eye, and a careful avoiding, with commendable modesty, any reference even the most remote to the beam in our own. These pale transparent cups going their oft-repeated rounds may have sown in their day the seeds of many a pathetic commonplace tragedy or comedy, disseminating, as they circulated around the board, harmony and peace, or dissension and distrust.

Your true china collector has undoubtedly in him something of the antiquarian Dryasdust spirit, which loves to excavate and unearth the buried treasures of the past; in his case, however, it is gracefully blended with and overlaid by an instinctive fondness for the tender, lovely, fragile object of his regard. He knows, for he has often anxiously weighed it, how frail it is. Every time{216} he looks at it he remembers the tumult of conflicting emotions with which, once secured, he packed it up with his own hands, and the fears for its ultimate safety which tempered the ecstatic pride of his triumph in the bargain which he had just struck.

To the china-hunter, every object in his cabinet or on his brackets is a trophy. That quaint old enamelled tazza of Lucca della Robbia’s, he bought in Rome; and as he gazes at it he thinks not so much of the astute Jew dealer, for whom, as he flatters himself, his own knowingness was fully a match, but of a long-forgotten holiday, with its bright days of sunshine, and the lengthening purple shadows of night deepening over the skies, and the grapes in ripe clusters on the wall. How well he remembers their flavour still, and the hand that plucked them for the stranger, and the eyes that looked into his! What was her name? He has forgotten it. What her fate? He has never known. A most prosaic ending, truly, to a vanished romance. But her charming grace and beauty unforgotten, blend still in his memory like a sweet rhythmical chant, and beautify with a glory not altogether its own this rare old cup of Lucca della Robbia’s.

With a sigh he turns from it to contemplate this old plate of mezza-majolica. Opal-hued, iridescent, it darts at him as he gazes upon it subtle flashes of blue and yellow and ruby-hued flame, rejoicing his soul with a deep unalterable conviction that it at least is real. He acquired it in Urbino, many, many years after he became the happy possessor of the Lucca della Robbia cup. He paid a full price for it too; but although a close man, he does not, and has never regretted the imprudence. At the sight of that beautiful plate, which he is pleased to call unique, his charmed heart melts away into softness, and his purse-strings begin to relax of their own accord. It moves his spleen to see careless visitors pass it by, as they sometimes do, to gaze at the soft beauty of that bright yellow-robed maiden, with dove upon her hand, who hovers self-forgetful upon the very verge of a pea-green china sea. The poor old quaint plate of mezza-majolica, gleaming there like a veritable jewel, is a treasure he jealously guards, and of its history we would say a few words.

The Italian enamelled earthenware which became famous under the name of Majolica, was first produced in 1300 in a town in the duchy of Urbino, which was under the feudal sway of the Malatestas, who were lords of Pesaro. Vessels of red clay such as had been long in use were covered with a thin coating of white earth obtained from the neighbourhood of Siena, and upon this ground different coloured patterns were traced. The vessels were then partly baked and covered with lead-glaze, after which they received a final firing. This delineation of coloured patterns upon an opaque white substance was the humble germ out of which the splendid many-hued majolica ware grew.

The colours employed were usually yellow, green, blue, and black; and the soft lead glaze, which was easily affected by external influences, imparted to the pottery that metallic iridescent lustre which is the special characteristic of majolica. To the Spanish Moors, this art was also well known; and some of their beautiful masterpieces finding their way into Italy, acted as a fillip to the infant art, which long remained swathed in rude and ungraceful swaddling-bands. While it was in this transition state, a new tin glaze was discovered, and applied to terra-cotta bas-reliefs by the famous Lucca della Robbia, and the lordship of Pesaro was sold to the house of Sforza. The new feudal superiors took an extreme interest in the potteries, and granted such special privileges to the manufacturers, that in a short time they succeeded in making Pesaro famous for the production of majolica. Early specimens of the ware manufactured here are generally adorned with Moorish arabesques and coats of arms. Heads of saints are also a favourite study, and so are heathen goddesses; while heads of the popes and Dukes of Urbino abound, the name being affixed, to prevent all mistake as to the portrait.

In the pottery of the Pesaro manufactory, the outlines of the subjects are traced in black or blue, and are in general correctly drawn; but the figures are flat and hard, without a vestige of the breadth and freedom which give such admirable life and vigour to the etchings on the Greek vases; all faults in design or execution being atoned for by the marvellous beauty and finish of the glaze, whose iridescent splendour has been equalled but never surpassed by later artists. The most beautiful specimens of this ware are due to the genius of an obscure artist, whose very name has been forgotten, who flourished in Pesaro about 1480. The dishes he made were large and thick, and were intended not so much for use as for display; as is shewn by holes in a projection behind, through which strings were passed in order to suspend them from the wall. The colours he used were blue and yellow, and they shone with a rare and matchless mother-of-pearl splendour.

At the end of the fifteenth century tin enamel had come into general use, and the potteries of the duchy of Urbino had begun to manufacture a finer majolica ware. The art may be said to have reached its most palmy period. The finest qualities of the old mezza-majolica were retained in the new manufacture, and far greater artistic skill was displayed in the painting and ornamentation. The town of Gubbio acquired a world-wide fame by the beauty of its lustrous majolica; and in the year 1485, Georgio Andreoli, a gentleman of Pavia, was attracted to it. He was a painter and sculptor by profession; and his majolica plates, glowing like jewels with the richest and most brilliant colours, are still famous. He excelled in the use of ruby red and golden yellow, and his ware is generally encircled by a brilliant flame-coloured border. He delights also in the picturesque effect produced by gold arabesques on a ground of vivid blue. His period of greatest activity was from 1486 to 1537. To china-fanciers he is known as the famous Maestro Georgio of Gubbio, and his works now command almost incredible prices. He is charged with having made a secret of his metallic lustre, and with having travelled about the country selling his recipes to the highest bidder; but for this charge there is no good ground. His brothers and his son worked along with him, and they had many assistants, to whom all the processes of the manufacture were known. In the city of Urbino, where Raphael was born, the manufacture of majolica ware was carried on with great spirit and success. Among the foremost of the{217} ceramic artists of Urbino was a certain Orazio Fontana. His designs, which are characterised by great freedom and breadth of style, and truth and fidelity of drawing, are likewise brilliantly coloured and admirably glazed. One of his masterpieces, a magnificent cup, in the possession of Baron Rothschild, has his name inscribed upon it; a frequent practice with the great Italian potters.

All over the duchy of Urbino, potteries of this ware flourished at Gubbio, at Pesaro, at Urbino, and at Castel Durante. From these workshops potters travelled with their secrets to other parts of Italy and also to Flanders. The majolica of Castel Durante is very beautifully finished; and one of its principal manufacturers, Piccolo Passo, wrote a treatise upon the art of making and decorating majolica.

Faenza, which has given its name in France to all soft pottery, also produced much beautiful majolica ware. The Faenza majolica has, like that of Urbino, a rich marzacotta glaze, and some of the more ancient specimens are enamelled in berettino, a pale-blue tint. The later Faenza majolica is in style very like that of Urbino; decorative and embossed embellishments are laid aside, and pictorial designs are generally used.

Such is a brief sketch of an art for which Raphael and Marc Antonio did not disdain to furnish compositions, and whose masterpieces not only found ready access into palaces, but were presented to churches and hung up in cathedrals during the middle ages as votive offerings to saints.



Some years ago I was brought by reverse of fortune to form one of that vast number of women in search of employment, the thought of whom makes one’s heart ache as one looks at their numerous applications for situations in the columns of our daily papers. I had long been an orphan, but not a penniless one, till a great bank-failure, such as have from time to time brought so much misery and embarrassment upon the middle classes of society, swept away my little all, and left me entirely dependent upon my own exertions for future maintenance.

As the shock conveyed by the news of my loss passed away, I was not in utter despair. I had been well educated, was a tolerable musician, and had travelled much; so it seemed to me that I should have no difficulty in finding a situation as companion or governess; and I strove hard to conquer my natural shrinking from the irksomeness of such a life, and to become reconciled to my altered position. Friends promised to help me, and for a time I depended upon their promises. But finding that no situation was forthcoming through their efforts, I determined to try the effect of an advertisement in the Times. I composed it with care, endeavouring to set my qualifications in their best light, and felt sanguine as to the result. I expected to have at least a dozen responses, and was disappointed at receiving only two. The first letter I opened was in a woman’s handwriting, and consisted of a string of impertinent queries, linked to a statement of the writer’s requirements in the governess she engaged for her daughters—requirements which I felt sure I could never fulfil; winding up with a request that if I felt equal to the demands of the situation, I would call at a certain address in the neighbourhood of Regent’s Park. Such a letter checked my expectations, and with some impatience I destroyed it. The next was very different. It was a courteously worded note from a gentleman, informing me that he was seeking a governess, or rather companion, for his ward, a girl of eighteen; and would be glad to have an interview with me, if I would kindly make such arrangements for one as would suit my convenience. The tone of his letter pleased me, and as he gave the address of an hotel not far from the part of London where I was then residing, I immediately wrote a reply, naming an hour at which on the following day I would call upon him.

It was with not a little trepidation that I set out the next morning to fulfil my engagement. I had the vaguest ideas of what I ought to do or say in the new position in which I found myself, and for which my previous experience had ill prepared me. My heart sank within me as I inquired for Mr Aslatt, and was conducted by a waiter to his private room. Would the stranger be a very formidable personage? I wondered. The first glance at him was reassuring. A more benevolent countenance I have never seen; and his tall stately figure and genial though dignified manner, enhanced the pleasing impression it created. He was not a young man; but so bright was the lustre of his steel-blue eyes, so full of life and energy their glance, and his words and actions so quick and lively, that no one would have thought of calling him old, although his black hair was streaked with gray, and his brow somewhat lined by the cares and sorrows which come to all as the years pass on. My fears vanished at his kind reception, and I at once felt at my ease.

‘I do not know whether the services I require will be to your mind, Miss Bygrave,’ he said; ‘but your duties will be very light. I wish to obtain a sympathetic companion rather than governess for my ward, Rose Sinclair, a young lady of most lovable disposition, though high-spirited and, I fear I must add, rather wilful. The fact is she has lived with me ever since she was a little child, and perhaps has been made too much of—spoiled a little, you know. But she is so engaging, so artless, so affectionate, no one could bear to deny her anything. She has had masters and governesses in abundance, but they have seldom known how to manage her. She requires very careful treatment; she may be led and guided, but she will not be ruled. She has very good abilities, but is averse to application. I have released her from regular study; but I should be glad if you could persuade her to read with you, and practise her music and painting, for both of which she has rare talent. Her position is a lonely one; she has no one to depend on but me; and I am most anxious to find for her a companion who might prove a friend also. If you will excuse such a remark from a stranger, I will add that your appearance encourages me to hope that you would prove such a one, if you were willing to try.’

Although Mr Aslatt offered me a far larger{218} salary than I could have expected, and assured me of his desire that everything should be done to make me comfortable and at home in his house, I hesitated for some time before I accepted the situation, for I rather doubted my ability to control a high-spirited spoiled girl of eighteen. Her guardian’s partiality for her evidently led him to think lightly of the difficulties of the post he offered me.

‘I think you cannot fail to be pleased with my ward,’ he continued; ‘she is of such a noble disposition, so generous and gracious; but as I have said before, she needs to be gently checked, and prevented from following all the impulses of her young and ardent nature. I do not think you would find much difficulty in managing her, if you once succeeded in gaining her affection.’

‘But if I were not so fortunate?’ I said inquiringly.

Mr Aslatt smiled, and slightly shrugged his shoulders. ‘I do not think we need fear that alternative,’ he replied pleasantly. ‘But should my hopes be disappointed, and the position prove distasteful to you, you will be perfectly at liberty to resign it whenever you please.’

I thanked him, and after a little more discussion agreed to undertake the office of companion to his ward.

Early in the following week I quitted London, and proceeded to Westwood Hall, as Mr Aslatt’s residence was named, a large country house, situated in a neighbourhood not many miles from the metropolis. I found a carriage waiting for me at the quiet little station where I alighted from the train. After a pleasant drive through pretty country lanes, where the trees often met overhead, we passed through some large iron gates, beside which stood a picturesque lodge, and drove through an avenue of elms to an old-fashioned mansion in red brick. The building formed three sides of a square, and in the space thus inclosed were flower-beds of various shapes, brilliant with many-hued flowers; and in the centre stood an antique sun-dial upon a carved stone base, round which, as I afterwards noted, ran in distinct letters the motto, ‘Time is short; Death is nought; Love is all.’ I had scarcely time to notice the general surroundings of the place, before the carriage stopped at the large oaken door.

Mr Aslatt had apparently been on the look-out for it, for he met me with a cordial greeting before I crossed the threshold, and led me into a large oak-panelled hall which formed the centre of the house. It was a curious apartment. The floor, ceiling, tables, chairs, settee, were all of oak, and most elaborately carved. The walls were decorated with banners, shields, swords, helmets, and various old family relics. Everything was old; and I felt for a moment as if I had been suddenly transported from the nineteenth century, and carried back into the middle ages. But though the oaken furniture was dark with age, the hall did not strike me as gloomy, perhaps because immediately on entering, my eyes rested on the one bright object it contained. A girl was seated upon the settee, whose bright golden hair and dress of pale blue made a delightful spot of colour amidst the prevailing sombreness. A large black dog, of rather forbidding aspect, crouched at her feet, but sprang up as I entered, and began to bark furiously. ‘Quiet, Nero; quiet, sir!’ said the young lady, without rising, while regarding me with an intentness which made me flush.

‘Rose, this is Miss Bygrave,’ said her guardian; and at his word she rose and moved slowly across the polished floor to meet me, still surveying me calmly and coolly with her large blue eyes, as if anxious to arrive at a correct estimate of my character and qualifications. She was tall and womanly in figure, but wore her long golden hair in a cloud over her neck and shoulders, merely confined by a ribbon, as a child’s might have been. Though a beautiful girl, she appeared unconscious of the fact. Her regular clear-cut features were expressive of self-reliance and determination, without being in the least harsh or unfeminine. Her manner was perfectly self-possessed, and her bearing slightly haughty; but it was not long before I discovered that underneath that appearance of womanly dignity there was the simplicity and waywardness of a very child.

‘How do you do, Miss Bygrave?’ she said somewhat coldly, giving me her hand, and scanning my face with a deliberation which I should have resented from any one else, but to which I now submitted humbly, as if it had been the right of the proud young beauty who stood before me. Then as if the result of her scrutiny were satisfactory, she added more graciously: ‘I daresay you are tired with your long drive; come, and I will shew you to your room.’

I followed her up the wide staircase and along a corridor to a room overlooking the extensive garden which lay at the back of the house. I was much pleased with the appearance of my bedroom. From what I had seen down-stairs I was prepared for an oaken chamber hung with tapestry, with gloomy recesses, hearse-like bed, and ancient furniture. Nothing of the kind, however, met my view. Here everything was modern, and even luxurious, and in such style as would have suited the most fastidious taste.

‘I hope you will be comfortable here,’ said Miss Sinclair.

‘It will be my own fault if I am not,’ I replied, as I advanced to the window opening on to a small veranda, from which steps led down into the garden. ‘How pretty the garden looks!’ I remarked. ‘I shall often feel inclined to walk there, I fancy.’

‘You must not think of going there after sunset,’ said Miss Sinclair decidedly.

‘Why not?’ I asked in surprise.

‘Because—— Well, perhaps I ought not to mention it, for my guardian does not like it talked about; and yet you would be sure to hear of it some time or other, so I may as well tell you at once. The truth is the house is haunted; not this part, but the left corridor, where the rooms are very, very old. And the ghost has been seen coming out of the window of the Blue Chamber—which communicates with the garden, as this does—and going down the steps.’

I was astonished at the gravity with which she made this statement.

‘You do not surely believe in ghosts, Miss Sinclair?’ I asked. ‘You cannot really credit such stories?’

She turned from me impatiently, saying: ‘It is easy for you to doubt their existence; perhaps if you had seen what I have, you would think differently.’


‘What have you seen?’ I inquired.

But offended by my scepticism on the subject, the young lady did not choose to reply. She drew herself up proudly, and after inquiring if there was anything I needed, left me to make my toilet.

Vexed with myself for having so soon given offence to my charge, I strove for the rest of the day to ingratiate myself with her; nor were my efforts unsuccessful.

‘I think I shall like you,’ she said frankly; ‘that is, if you do not interfere with me too much. I was dreadfully put out when Cousin told me you were coming, for I like to be sole mistress here. By the way, how do you like my guardian? I always call him Cousin, although I do not at all understand how we are related to each other. I know nothing of my parents, except that they died when I was a very little child. Cousin has promised to tell me about them some day; but he looks so grave whenever I refer to them, that I fancy there must be something painful for me to learn concerning my parentage, and therefore I do not intend to ask any more questions. But you have not told me how you like Mr Aslatt.’

I was amused at her eager curiosity, and told her that although I had had so little opportunity of judging, I had received a most favourable impression of her guardian’s character and disposition.

She seemed pleased with my reply. ‘You can have no idea how good he is,’ she said. ‘But he is a man of strong prejudices, and it is hard to move him when he has once made up his mind with regard to any person or thing. Not that I mean to find fault with him, for as far as I am concerned I have not the least cause of complaint. I cannot tell you how kind he is to me, or how much I owe him. He is the best old darling in the world!’

‘He is surely not so very old,’ I remarked, smiling at her enthusiasm.

‘Don’t you think so?’ returned she. ‘He seems quite old to me; but of course you are much older than I am, and therefore judge differently of age. Would you mind telling me how old you are? I know it is very rude of me to ask, but I always seem to do what I ought not.’

I laughed, and informed her that I was in my twenty-eighth year.

‘Nearly ten years older than I am,’ she remarked, ‘and fourteen years younger than Mr Aslatt; so you see he really is old.’

‘Not old for a man,’ I ventured to say.

‘Yes; he is,’ contradicted my companion impatiently, shaking back her golden hair.

At this moment Mr Aslatt entered the room in which we were sitting. ‘I have just been thinking, Rose,’ he said, ‘that if it is fine to-morrow, we might ride over to Ashdene. I daresay Miss Bygrave would like to see the old Priory there.—Are you fond of riding?’ he added, addressing me.

It was long since I had been in the saddle; but in earlier years I had exceedingly enjoyed the exercise, and I told him so.

‘Then I hope you will enjoy a ride to-morrow,’ he said. ‘I think I have a horse that you will like, and Rose will lend you a riding-habit.’

I thanked him heartily; but Rose said decidedly: ‘I cannot go to Ashdene to-morrow; you forget that it is my day for visiting the school.’

Mr Aslatt’s face changed, and a look passed across it, which I should have called a look of pain had not the cause been so trivial. ‘Surely you need not go to the school to-morrow, Rose,’ he said gently; ‘your visit is not of so much importance, but that Mr Hammond can manage without you for once.’

Rose’s face crimsoned and her lip pouted, but she made no reply; and Mr Aslatt hastily introduced another subject of conversation. But her brightness was gone for the rest of the evening; she replied shortly and coldly to her guardian’s remarks, and flatly refused to sing when he asked her to do so. It was evident that her conduct grieved him, for the look of pain was more clearly visible; but he shewed no sign of resentment, and the tone in which he bade her good-night was as affectionate as if her behaviour had been all that he could have desired.

‘This is the way to the haunted rooms,’ said Rose as we went up to bed together, opening as she spoke a door at the top of the draughty staircase. She raised her lamp, so that its light rendered visible the gloom of the dreary corridor. The air which met us had a close musty smell; and the grotesque figures carved on the oak panels, with the sculptures in the distance casting dim shadows on the opposite wall, had rather a weird appearance in the uncertain light. Suddenly a door creaked on its hinges, and Rose sprang back, uttering a faint cry, and hastily closed the door which communicated with this passage. ‘Did you hear that?’ she asked in an awe-struck whisper.

‘Why, you silly girl,’ I said laughingly, ‘what you heard was only the effect of the wind!’

She shook her head unbelievingly, and replied: ‘Well, remember, I warn you to shun that part of the house, especially when night is coming on.’

The next morning, at an early hour, the horses were brought to the door, and Mr Aslatt, Rose, and I started for Ashdene. Rose had made no further opposition to the expedition, and there was no trace of vexation on her lovely face as we rode off. She looked remarkably well in her riding costume. The close-fitting habit of dark-blue cloth shewed to advantage the exquisite symmetry of her figure; and the little velvet hat, whose sole ornament was a heron’s plume, was very becoming to the fair face. She was an accomplished rider, and controlled admirably, without the least appearance of effort, the spirited movements of the beautiful animal she rode. It was a bright May morning, and the ride was most enjoyable. About noon we reached the little town of Ashdene, where we dismounted; and after partaking of some luncheon at the hotel, proceeded to view the ruins of the old Priory. Here we found so much to interest us that the afternoon was far advanced before we were ready to return. As we were walking our horses up a hill not very far from home, I saw a young man coming towards us dressed in a gray tweed suit. As he came into view, Mr Aslatt urged his horse into a canter; but Rose checked hers as it quickened its pace, and said reproachfully: ‘The horses are tired, cousin; we must not hurry them up this hill.’

As the young man drew near, he raised his hat. ‘Good afternoon, Hammond,’ said Mr Aslatt, rather stiffly I thought.

How it happened I don’t know, but just then{220} Rose dropped her riding-whip, and it fell within a few feet of Mr Hammond. He picked it up in a moment, and handed it to the young lady, who thanked him most graciously, and even bent down from her saddle to shake hands with him. ‘I was so sorry to be absent from my post to-day, Mr Hammond,’ she said; ‘but we were tempted to take advantage of this fine day for a ride to Ashdene.’

‘It was a great disappointment to the scholars not to see you,’ he replied; ‘but they have no cause to complain, for it is so seldom you are absent. I think you are if possible too devoted to their welfare.’

‘That is my opinion too, Mr Hammond,’ interrupted my employer; ‘and you must not be surprised if for the future you do not see Miss Sinclair so frequently at the school.’

‘I trust that will not be the case,’ exclaimed Rose indignantly. ‘I see no necessity for changing my habits.’ She looked quite angry as she spoke, and I felt sorry for Mr Aslatt, he seemed so agitated.

Mr Hammond smiled complacently at Rose’s remark, and there was something almost supercilious in his manner as he bade Mr Aslatt ‘Good afternoon;’ but the bow and parting glance he bestowed upon his ward were most deferential in their admiring homage. As we pursued our way in silence, the expression of Rose’s face plainly shewed that she considered herself injured.

Mr Hammond was a good-looking young man, apparently about thirty, though he might have been older. Good-looking though he was, his countenance did not impress me favourably. His dark eyes had a hard look, in spite of their fine shape and lustrous hue, and there were faint indications of self-indulgence in the curves of his mobile mouth. His manner was easy and suggestive of conceit; in short, his appearance inspired me with distrust. Perhaps the want of cordiality which Mr Aslatt’s manner betrayed, contrasting so vividly with Rose’s gracious greeting, may have given rise to this feeling on my part.

Rose kept up an appearance of offended dignity during dinner-time and as long as she remained in Mr Aslatt’s presence. But as we were strolling in the garden after dinner, she suddenly asked me what I thought of Mr Hammond. Guessing that she had a great liking for that individual, I was guarded in my reply to her query, merely reminding her how impossible it was to form a just estimate of anybody in such a brief interview.

‘Did you notice how rudely Mr Aslatt spoke to him?’ she next inquired.

‘I observed that he seemed impatient of the interruption,’ I replied; ‘but I do not think his words were rude.’

‘I believe he hates Mr Hammond,’ she said quickly. ‘You cannot think how unjust he is to him. You know Mr Hammond is the village schoolmaster. There was no school in the village many years ago, when Mr Aslatt came to reside here, so he built a very nice school-house at his own expense (I must take you to see it to-morrow), and promised always to make up the master’s salary to a certain sum. For years I have been accustomed to go in and out the school whenever I like; and when I asked to be allowed to give the children a weekly singing lesson, Mr Aslatt made no objection, indeed he seemed pleased for me to do so. But since old Mr Green died, and Mr Hammond succeeded him, he has changed his mind on the subject, and can’t bear me to go to the school-house. At first he seemed to like Mr Hammond so much; but lately he has taken a decided dislike to him; though what poor Mr Hammond has done to call forth such a feeling, I cannot imagine. Cousin has tried to persuade me to give up my visits to the school; but that I am resolved not to do, and I have told him so. He also tried to get my consent to our removing to London for the season; but I would not agree to that. So then he could not rest till he had got a companion for me. I made no opposition to that plan, although I did not like the idea, for I saw he had set his mind upon it, and I could not bear to vex him. He is so good to me, and I am not altogether ungrateful, though I do behave so naughtily. I know you thought my conduct very bad at dinner-time, for you looked so dreadfully grave.’

She glanced up at me as she spoke with such a pretty air of deprecation, so like a petted child, that I could not find heart to scold her. Indeed her captivating ways so fascinated me, that although I saw much to disapprove, I was disposed to be very lenient towards her faults.


It would puzzle a philologer to give an exact definition of the ‘sell.’ Nearly related to the hoax, it differs from it in being more innocent in its inception and less mischievous in its consequences. Some little ingenuity is required to concoct a happy ‘sell;’ but any one may perpetrate a hoax who is equal to ‘lending a lie the confidence of truth.’ The latter is a deliberately planned deception, oftenest attaining its end by personation or forgery or something closely akin to it; whereas a sell needs no such playing with edged tools, and may not only be unpremeditated, but even unintentional.

The Irishman who undertook to shew an exciseman a private still, and introduced him to his brother, who had been twelve years in the army and was a private still, sold the guardian of the revenue very neatly; although it is possible the victim of the joke did not see the fun of the thing, any more than the official of the North London Railway Company did, when, overhearing a third-class passenger aver that any one could travel from Broad Street to Dalston Junction without a ticket, as he had done only the day before, he interviewed him when he alighted. The traveller not proving communicative, the zealous railway servant conveyed a coin into his hand, and then asked: ‘How did you go from Broad Street to Dalston Junction yesterday without a ticket?’ ‘Oh,’ was the unwelcome reply, ‘I walked!’

As readily trapped was the amateur musician who responded to the advertisement: ‘Wanted, a trombone-player for Barnum’s Balcony Band,’ by waiting upon the famous showman without delay.

‘You want a trombone-player?’ inquired he.

‘Yes,’ said Mr Barnum.


‘What is the place worth?’ asked the applicant.

‘Oh, about twenty-five dollars a week, I suppose.’

‘Very well, I should like it.’

‘All right,’ said Mr Barnum; and the trombone did frightful execution through the week. Saturday came, and with it Mr Green for his salary, instead of drawing which, he received a paper on which was written: ‘Mr Green to Mr P. T. Barnum.—To playing the trombone on his Balcony one week, twenty-five dollars.’ The recipient smiled.

‘It’s all right, isn’t it?’ asked Mr Barnum.

‘Why,’ said the musician, ‘you’ve made an odd mistake: you’ve made me the debtor instead of you.’

‘No mistake at all,’ said Barnum. ‘You see, this is how it is. There are a good many gentlemen in this city fond of practising on brass instruments; but they cannot do so at home because of their neighbours’ objections. So I find them room on my Balcony during so many hours a day, where the street is so noisy that it does no harm; and they give me so much a week for my trouble in keeping the organisation complete. You don’t think me such a fool as to pay such a wretched lot of players surely? However, as you seem to have been honestly mistaken, you can pay me ten dollars this week; but hereafter I can make no reduction.’ There was a vacancy in the Balcony Band the following Monday.

We take it that the shrewd showman was not quite so much astonished at the way his advertisement was misconstrued, as one A. B., who, recognising a long-lost friend in the stalls of the theatre, but unable to catch his eye, notified in the ‘agony’ column of the Times: ‘If the gentleman who was in the stalls at the —— Theatre on the evening of the 5th inst. will write to the following address, he will hear from the Box above;’ and received nearly a score of replies. The first he opened, ran: ‘My dear Madam—I cannot express to you how delighted I felt this morning on taking up the Times and reading your advertisement. How exceedingly kind and thoughtful of you to communicate with me in this way. Pray, let me know as quickly as possible when and where I may see you. I am burning with impatience to speak to you. Can we meet this evening? Do send me a note, or better still, a telegram, here, on receipt of this.—Yours Most Affectionately.’ The second letter, commencing ‘Mia Carissima,’ suggested a meeting at the Duke of York’s Column, and ended: ‘Good-bye, pet. Yours ever and a day—The Gentleman in the Stalls.’ A third deluded mortal declared he had not slept a wink after seeing A. B. at the theatre. ‘You know Who’ informed the ‘Dearest Being,’ whose himage he still saw before him, that his passion was much too much for ordinary words to tell; that after wandering all his life, mixing in revolutions, &c., he should like to stop at last, and finished somewhat prosaically with: ‘It’s just four o’clock. All are in bed and fast asleap. Good-night. I’m not married.’ And so on with a batch of other aspirants, who evidently deemed the anonymous occupant of the Box nothing short of an heiress.

Many an unpremeditated sell has been perpetrated from inability to resist sudden temptation. One of the judges of the Supreme Court of New York state, visiting the Centennial Exhibition, sat down in a quiet corner apart from the others, to listen to a great cornet-player, and as was his wont in court, drew his gray coat about his head and ears as a protection against possible draughts. His motionless figure soon attracted attention; and the whisper ran that it was the statue of some wonderful character. The judge’s sister wickedly told those near her that they were gazing at the effigy of an Aztec priest from Mexico. The information passed from mouth to mouth, and some hundreds of people were drawn to the spot, to disperse somewhat sheepishly when the object of their curiosity, having had enough of the cornet, readjusted his coat and rose to go.

A good story is told of one Boggs, whose impertinent curiosity was proverbial throughout the country that owned him. He was on one occasion travelling on the Little Miami Railroad alongside a solemn-looking man, who persisted in looking out of window and took no heed of Boggs’ endeavours to enliven the journey with a little conversation. At last the brakeman or guard came round with some water, and the unsociable traveller turned round to take a drink. Seizing the chance, Boggs asked: ‘Going as far east as New York?’

‘No,’ grunted the man.

‘Ah!’ said Boggs, ‘New York is dull this time of year; mebbee you’re striking for Philadelphia?’

The surly one shook his head.

‘P’raps Cleveland’s your destination?’ insinuated Mr Boggs. ‘No? Can’t be going this roundabout way to Chicago?’

No reply was vouchsafed.

‘Well,’ cried Boggs despairingly, ‘I s’pose you’ve no objection to telling where you are going?’

‘Well sir,’ exclaimed the man, ‘I’m going for seven years!’

Then the deputy-sheriff said he would rather not have folks talking to his prisoners, and Boggs gave in.

This puts us in mind of Mark Twain’s anecdote of Artemus Ward and a travelling bore, between whom the following amusing colloquy took place: ‘Did you hear that last thing of Horace Greeley’s?’

‘Greeley, Greeley, Horace Greeley; who is he?’ said Artemus.

Five minutes elapsed, then came: ‘George Francis Train is making a good deal of disturbance over in England; do you think they will put him in prison?’

‘Train, Train, George Francis Train,’ said Artemus solemnly; ‘I never heard of him.’

The tormentor tried another tack; he said: ‘What do you think about Grant’s chance for the Presidency?’

‘Grant, Grant?—Why man!’ said Artemus, ‘you seem to know more strangers than any one I ever saw.’

The man took a walk up the car; coming back, he said: ‘Well, you ignoramus, did you ever hear of Adam?’

The humorist looked up and said: ‘Adam? What was his other name?’

The journey henceforth was made in peace.

Very nicely sold were a couple of tramps who waylaid a wealthy farmer in Louisa County, Iowa,{222} and demanded his money or his life. Disinclined to part with either, he took to his heels. They chased him half a mile down the roughest of lanes, dashed after him through a brier-hedge, and went panting across an old corn-field. Then the chased one struck for the woods, and went wheezing up a steep hill; his pursuers pressing closely behind with blood-shot eyes and shortened breath. The farmer dashed across a forty-acre stubble-field, across a frozen creek, through a blackberry patch, down a ravine, over another hill, across a stump-field, to be run down on the road by the tramps. They overhauled him thoroughly, searched him from top to toe, to find he had not a solitary cent wherewith to reward them for their perseverance.

Our concluding example relates to an affecting romance told by the Detroit Free Press. It was the second time that the hero of the story had accompanied the young lady home from one of those little social parties which are got up to bring fond hearts a step nearer to each other. When they reached the gate, she asked him if he wouldn’t come in. He said he would. Sarah took his hat, told him to sit down, and left the room to remove her things. She was hardly gone before her mother came in, smiled sweetly, and, dropping down beside the young man, said: ‘I always did say that if a poor but respectable young man fell in love with Sarah, he should have my consent. Some mothers would sacrifice their daughters’ happiness for riches, but I am not of that sort.’

The young man started with alarm; he didn’t know whether he liked Sarah or not; he hadn’t dreamed of marriage.

‘She has acknowledged to me that she loves you,’ continued the mother; ‘and whatever is for her happiness is for mine.’

The young man stammered out: ‘I—I haven’t’——

‘Oh, never mind! Make no apology. I know you haven’t much money, but of course you’ll live with me. We’ll take in boarders, and I’ll be bound that we’ll get along all right.’

It was a bad situation. He hadn’t even looked love at Sarah. ‘I had no idea of’—— he began; when she held up her hands saying: ‘I know you hadn’t; but it’s all right. With your wages and what the boarders bring in, we shall get along as snug as possible. All I ask is that you be good to her; Sarah has a tender heart, and if you should be cross and ugly, it would break her down in a week.’

The young man’s eyes stood out like cocoa-nuts in a shop-window, and he rose up and tried to say something.

‘Never mind about the thanks,’ she cried; ‘I don’t believe in long courtships. The eleventh of January is my birthday, and it would be nice for you to be married on that day.’

‘But—but—but’—— he gasped.

‘There, there! I don’t expect any speech in reply,’ she laughed. ‘You and Sarah settle it to-night, and I’ll advertise for twelve boarders straight away, I’ll try to be a model mother-in-law. I believe I’m good-tempered and kind-hearted, though I did once follow a young man two hundred miles and shoot off the top of his head for agreeing to marry my daughter and then quitting the county.’ She patted him on the head and sailed out. And now the young man wants advice. He wants to know whether he had better get in the way of a locomotive or slide off the wharf. If ever a young bachelor was ‘sold,’ Sarah’s young man was in that predicament.


We have much pleasure in laying before our readers the following interesting particulars regarding the elephant, and the way in which the physical strength of that sagacious animal is turned to account in the timber-trade of Rangoon. The notes are contained in a letter from a resident in that town to his brother in England, who has kindly placed it at our disposal. After describing some phases of every-day social life, the writer thus proceeds: ‘The elephants I go daily to see are beauties, fine powerful well-trained animals, and strange to say, the mahout (driver) of one of them is an old servant of my own. It is both interesting and amusing to watch them working the timber. The government have nine elephants employed at the depôt, and there are other animals belonging to natives at work there also. I often take my seat on a teak-log, picking out the cleanest and softest for the purpose, light a cheroot, and watch the performance. Elephants are pretty much like men; I don’t mean in personal appearance, but in character. I can pick out “characters I have met” quite easily among the group of sixteen or eighteen all working there together sometimes. There are willing workers, and there are skulkers; there are gentle tempers, and there are others “as dour as a door-nail.” Some of them will drag a log two tons in weight without a groan; while others, equally powerful but less willing, will make a dreadful fuss over a stick that is, comparatively speaking, nothing.

‘There are a good many female elephants employed. Some belong to the government; but most of them are owned by Karens, who bring them in from the jungle when work is obtainable. They are not so powerful as the males; and the want of tusks is rather against them, because they have to do the pushing or “ounging” part of the work, as the natives call it, with their trunks. These they roll up in a coil, and just at the place where the trunk and the head unite, they press against the log and roll it over.

‘I saw the legs very nearly knocked from under a man two days ago by a lively female who was rolling over a log in this way. She had discovered by experience that it was easier to move a heavy log by a violent jerk than by slow steady pushing; and when the man on her neck called out “Oung!” and pushed her ear forward with his foot—the equivalents in elephant-driving for “Go along, old lady!”—she stood for a moment motionless, then in an instant up coiled the trunk, down went the head, and away rolled the log, one end of it coming round with a sweep which all but made an “Aunt Sally” of the innocent spectator. He sprang from the ground as if he had received an electric shock, and saved himself; after which he received the congratulations of the by-standers for being an ass to stand in the way of an elephant like that.

‘I think the females do a little flirting sometimes when they see a handsome stately tusker working near them. A little one came in from the jungle the other day, and was working away with admirable{223} diligence near the place where my largest elephant was engaged dragging logs. He is really a noble-looking animal, with immense tusks that almost touch the ground when his head is in repose. There is a dignified air about all his movements too which must be very captivating with the other sex. Sometimes the two passed very near each other, and I noticed when this happened that the little lady from the jungle gave utterance to certain peculiar sounds. The only good imitation of them which I can think of at the moment is that strange medley of incoherences which a cornopean is sometimes made to produce when beginners get up steam. Such sounds, for instance, as I have heard proceeding from the house of a neighbour of yours, when I have been enjoying a pipe in the garden on a summer afternoon. At first I thought they were the promptings of fear; but an elephant under these circumstances generally becomes impatient with the driver, thumps its trunk upon the ground and “trumpets.” It was simply a little flirtation, a tender long-drawn-out elephantine kiss thrown at my noble friend.

‘The highly trained male elephants with tusks manage the “ounging” part of their work very skilfully. The trunk is used as a pad or buffer between the ivory and the wood, and the pushing is done steadily. An average log weighs about a ton and a half. When it has to be pushed into the river, the elephant feels the end of it with his trunk, and having ascertained where he can place his tusks with most advantage, he adjusts the buffer, and starts off pushing the log steadily before him. Should it happen to be an extra-heavy one, he stops occasionally to take breath; and as it slides down the muddy bank towards the water, he gives it a finishing slap, as if to say: “There, you’re afloat at last!” Sometimes the logs are awkwardly jammed up together, so that the ends have to be raised in order to get the dragging-chains fastened. This he does by putting his tusks underneath; and passing his trunk over the log to keep it steady, lifts it up to the required height. When it is a very heavy lift, he will go down on his knees to get a better purchase. He stacks the timber most skilfully also by lifting the end of the log as much as nine or ten feet in this manner, places it on the top of the pile, then goes to the other end and pushes it forward till he gets it quite flush with the rest. In all this he is of course directed by his rider the mahout, who uses certain words which the elephant has been accustomed to hear; and signs, the meaning of which he knows perfectly. A push of the foot behind the right or left ear makes him answer the driver’s wish as a boat answers the rudder, and a nudge behind the neck means “Straight ahead.”

‘A highly trained elephant, however, will work among timber by verbal directions as intelligently almost as a collie will among sheep. The finest and best-trained animals are reserved for employment in the saw-mills, where they work amongst the machinery with sagacity and precision. Strangers have sometimes been so much impressed with their admirable qualities in this respect that they have carried away slightly exaggerated impressions on the subject. One case I remember in which a spectator was so profoundly overcome by the careful manner in which he saw the elephant laying planks and slabs on the travelling benches to be cut, that he gravely reported the circumstance in an Indian newspaper, remarking that the animal shut one eye when it looked along the bench, to make sure the timber was laid on for the saw accurately!

‘Some male elephants have no tusks. These are called hines by the Burmese. The most powerful animal I ever had was one of them. He was very tall, and in strength a perfect Samson among elephants. An incident in his history is worth relating here, as I am on the subject. In the month of January male elephants sometimes give trouble. Samson had fallen into a capricious mood, under the influence of a little siren belonging to the herd, and in a fit of jealousy he frightened all the others so thoroughly one night that they broke their fetters and made a bolt of it out of the timber-yard, with Samson in pursuit. One unfortunate member who was on the sick-list at the time and had an impediment in his walk, was bowled over and trampled on several times, and was never fit for anything but the hospital afterwards. The others took to the jungle, and it cost some money to recover them. Samson remained in possession of the timber-yard for three whole days, no living thing daring to venture near him.

‘I have watched a fowl that had thoughtlessly gone to scrape for its morning meal on the accustomed spot in the rear of the elephant-shed, run for its bare life, with Samson after it at full speed, trunk and tail extended! Crowds of people used to collect daily, most of them at a highly respectful distance however, to witness the giant keeping the world at bay. Sometimes an adventurous native, out of pure mischief would approach within thirty yards or so of him spear in hand, when Samson would thump his trunk upon the ground and rush at the intruder, who soon disappeared under the nearest verandah. The poor animal was helpless against such tactics. They were to him what the deprivation of sight was to his prototype; but the desire for revenge was there still, and he tried his strength upon the posts of the building, attempting to push them down. When he had failed in this, he deliberately set about unroofing it with his trunk; whereupon the tormentor pricked his legs from underneath the house with his spear, and made him desist. After carrying on this game till he got tired, he walked off with his companion one night to the jungle, and selected a spot for his future residence close to a mud-pool.

‘For some days he made raids upon the adjoining gardens, eating up the fruit-trees without compunction; and in revenge for some opposition he met with from a market-gardener who did not appreciate his new neighbour’s high-handed way of doing things, levelled his hut to the ground. Things were beginning to get serious. Claims for damages became unpleasantly frequent, and it was absolutely necessary to put a stop to his depredations. Accordingly, I sent out a deputation of elephants to wait upon him, with picked men as drivers and attendants, for the purpose of bringing him to reason. There were ten elephants altogether, the senior member being a very patriarchal-looking animal with an immense pair of tusks—the one, in fact, who was always employed to settle difficulties among the juniors; and in this capacity he had been uniformly successful. When{224} the deputation arrived at the spot, Samson was enjoying his morning bath in the mud, and they surrounded him. The patriarch, with the chief mahout driving, and another good man and true behind him, for the purpose of supplying any lack of moral courage that might manifest itself under trying circumstances, was taken nearest to the renegade. His sweetheart was quietly browsing among the bamboos close by. The moment Samson realised the situation, he made a rush from the bath at the patriarch, who forgetting his wonted dignity of manner, turned tail and bolted. The hook and the spear with which the drivers were armed alike failed to restore courage to the leader. On he went, tearing through the jungle, the branches of trees and thorny creepers making sad havoc with the persons of the men on his back. His bad example demoralised the whole force; they fled for their lives every one of them. At last it came to be a race between Samson and the patriarch, the other elephants having made lateral tracks for themselves and got clear of danger. When it came to close quarters between the two, the mahout thinking discretion the better part of valour, laid hold of the branch of a tree as he passed and held on, leaving the other man to his fate. In a very short time he too was unseated, but in an involuntary manner; the elephant shot under the branch of a tree which did not afford space for the man to pass under as well, and he was swept to the ground. He was able, however, to elude the pursuer, who was so eager to get at the four-footed fugitive that he took no notice of the fallen rider as he crawled along into the thick jungle.

‘Fortunately no life was lost in this most exciting adventure. Even the patriarch got off scot-free. When tired of the pursuit, Samson returned to his rural retreat. The deputation got home in the evening, more frightened than hurt. I administered chlorodyne with much success to those whose bruises and lacerations bespoke a sleepless night; and it has since been regarded as a specific for patients suffering from cutaneous diseases and nervous excitement.

‘But I have not done with Samson yet. He was a valuable elephant, and I was most anxious to recover him. I offered a reward of two hundred rupees (twenty pounds) to any one who would bring him in; and a few days afterwards he came marching into the timber-yard as gentle as a lamb, with a young lad astride on his neck. This youth was the son of the man from whom I had purchased him, and the boy had been familiar with the animal from his childhood. Hearing of the reward that was offered for the apprehension of his old pet, he set off in quest of him. When he found him, he made use of the terms with which Samson had formerly been familiar. There was no longer any difficulty. The youth took him by the ear, told him to give him a leg up—the usual way for mahouts to mount their steeds—and immediately Samson was himself again. Next day he was on duty, looking as if nothing had happened, and his little friend was the possessor of a reward which to him was a small fortune. Such is the affinity between God’s creatures which the law of kindness establishes. The little fellow had really more power in the tones of his voice over the huge animal than a phalanx of its own species under the direction of a score of men!

‘There are elephants that have naturally one tusk only. These are called tays by the natives here. When the single tusk happens to be on the right side of the head, literally as well as metaphorically, and the animal otherwise is large and well proportioned, he is greatly prized by the native princes of India. They seem to regard him with veneration, as the Burmese do the so-called white elephant. There is one of these tays at the depôt at present. He is the largest and most powerful animal in the government herd; but age is telling upon him, and now he is chiefly occupied in doing “the heavy-father” amongst the youngsters. When they have tried their best and given up in despair some log which none of them can drag, the tay is brought to the front, his chain is fastened to it, and as he walks off, apparently without inconvenience to himself, be it ever so heavy, his eye really seems to have “Bless you, my children!” &c. in it. I have watched him often, and I think my interpretation of his feelings is pretty nearly correct. I was told by the superintendent of the depôt that native princes had sent messengers from India to try and purchase this elephant for state purposes, offering as much as five thousand rupees for him; but he has a value where he is which does not consist in a superstitious veneration for his single tusk, but in the virtue which lies in a friend in need.’


Who, soon after going to his first school, wrote home to his mother: ‘I am afraid I am spoiling your photograph by dropping my tears on it. I take it to bed with me every night.’

Couched within thy little nest,
Now the lessons all are done,
Clasp her Picture to thy breast,
Fondly clasp thy dearest one.
Freely let the tear-drops flow,
Tears of love, like showers of Spring;
In thy heart Love’s flowers shall grow,
And shall sweetest comfort bring.
Fear not, if those features fade,
If thy tears their form shall dim;
Prayers ascend, while thou art laid
Murmuring soft thy Evening Hymn.
Living lips, no artist made,
Nor the sun-ray’s magic might,
In thy Mother’s home have prayed
To thy God for thee to-night.
Angels fly from her to thee;
Thee and her good Angels tend;
So your Father bids, and He
Will your dear ones all defend.
Press her Picture to thy heart;
Smile upon it through thy tears;
Never let that love depart
Through the changing, coming years.
Sacred is the Mother’s love,
Dear to God the loving son;
Thou shalt be with her above,
When the work of life is done.
T. S. P.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital,
Feb. 17, 1878.

Printed and Published by W. & R. Chambers, 47 Paternoster Row, London, and 339 High Street, Edinburgh.

All Rights Reserved.