The Project Gutenberg eBook of Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 27, Vol. I, July 5, 1884

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Title: Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, Fifth Series, No. 27, Vol. I, July 5, 1884

Author: Various

Release date: July 18, 2021 [eBook #65862]

Language: English

Credits: Susan Skinner, Eric Hutton and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)






No. 27.—Vol. I.






Illness in some form is so often amongst us, that it may safely be said there is no occupation of more universal importance than the care of the sick, and there are few women worthy of the name who at some time or other are not called upon to minister to the needs of sufferers by disease or accident.

Much has been done of late years to improve the tone of nursing amongst those who take it up as a profession, so that the ‘Sarey Gamp’ of old times has practically given place to the skilled, conscientious nurse, who has been trained to look upon her work as something more than a mere means of livelihood. But whilst this is true of those who devote their lives to nursing, there still remains a vast amount of ignorance, even of its very elements, amongst those who are only occasionally called upon to bedside-ministration, and it is our object in this series of papers to give our readers such information as may fit them to act on an emergency, if not with the skill of the trained nurse, with at least so much knowledge and intelligence as shall give the patient some chance of comfort and help. Not, of course, that the practical work of nursing can be acquired by any amount of book-knowledge alone; but for those who cannot spare time for regular hospital training, it is of great importance to understand at anyrate what should be aimed at in nursing; and were this more widely understood, it would do much towards mitigating the avoidable sufferings inflicted on unhappy patients who have to be nursed by those who are full of love indeed, but without any idea of the work they are undertaking.

This brings me to a point on which I can hardly be too emphatic. In cases of serious illness, especially where there is much acute pain, secure, if possible, the services of a trained nurse. Apart from her superior knowledge of means for giving relief, the patient will be much more likely to yield to the authority of a stranger, and at the same time the stranger being used to the sight of suffering, will have command over her countenance, and will not show the distress which it is hardly possible for inexperience to conceal. Indeed, patients of self-controlled habits will sometimes put such strain upon themselves to hide their pain from too sympathising friends, as really to increase their sufferings; whilst with a stranger the relief of expression may safely be indulged in. Perhaps such cases of self-repression are rare; but at anyrate the trained nurse will often have resources at command of which the uninitiated know nothing, and will be able to handle and attend to the patient with the steadiness and tact only to be learned in the school of experience. I admit the tender sound of the sentiment which fancies that no hand is like the hand of affection; but, as a practical matter, no love, however great, can supply the place of skill and knowledge.

I remember meeting with the case of a widow, whose only son was attacked with one of the most terrible forms of disease, accompanied with anguish that wrung cries of agony from the strong man’s lips. Unable to help himself, yet restless to a painful degree, his case demanded the utmost watchfulness and attention, in addition to which he was of such an unselfish nature that his sufferings became doubled as he saw their effect upon his mother. She, ignorant as a child, refused to listen to any suggestion of sending for a nurse; and in answer to the remonstrances of friends, exclaimed with indignation: ‘As though any one could do as well for him as his mother.’ Alas! poor fellow, it might almost have been said: ‘As though any one could do worse for him than his mother;’ and none of those who witnessed the pitiable condition he was allowed to get into, felt any surprise at hearing him eagerly welcome death as release from misery. I do not say that the best of nursing would have saved his life, though it might have given him a chance; but beyond a doubt, skilled hands could have ministered to{402} his wants in such a way as to have obviated a large amount of distress and pain.

But apart from such grave cases, there are many forms of illness which may safely be trusted to home-care, provided there is a fair amount of knowledge of those general rules which lie at the root of all degrees of successful nursing. Not that every woman is fitted to undertake the care of a sick-room. A certain, and not small amount of physical strength is absolutely needful, as well as some special qualifications, natural or acquired, which are equally essential. In this connection, there is a popular fallacy which demands notice. What a common thing it is to hear a person described as ‘a born nurse,’ with the implication that therefore she is fitted at any time, and under all circumstances, to take her place in the sick-room with confidence of success. Now, the expression ‘born’ applied to any other special calling will show how much value it possesses. Who in his senses would speak of the ‘born’ painter or musician as thereby exempted from the necessity of further training? And—to take a more homely example—there are few mistresses, I fancy, who would engage a servant on the sole recommendation of being a ‘born cook!’ Yet it may easily be conceived that the rejector of such an aspirant would consider it natural that she should undertake more important and delicate sick-room work, on precisely those grounds which she rightly looks upon as unsatisfactory in the matter of dinners. The truth is, that in every department, those who have special gifts require no small amount of thoughtful care and perseverance for the full development of their natural abilities. In regard to nursing, the low standard of the past has given rise to the erroneous idea of ‘birth’ qualification as supreme; but now that the standard is becoming increasingly high, there is good reason to hope that there will be a better general understanding of how much scope nursing affords for intelligence and skill; with this, too, will come comprehension of the fact that natural taste and ability are valuable only as grounds to work upon.

We will now proceed to the consideration of those qualifications which are essential to the good nurse. In the first place, I would urge every reader to cultivate self-control as a habit of daily life, for without it, there will be little power of helping in a sick-room. Not that it is always possible to help feeling shocked and startled at the sight of suffering, especially sudden suffering, with which there is no familiarity; but a habit of self-control will give power to suppress all expression of alarm, and so to keep one’s presence of mind as to be able to consider what means of relief can be adopted.

But there are some people able to meet sudden emergency who yet fail to keep their self-control during the wear and tear of long illness. The patient is irritable, seems unreasonable, and demands constant attention; and the nurse becomes so weary as to allow herself to show by lagging movements or vexed looks, if not by actual rebuke, that her work is a burden she would willingly give up if she had the chance. Need I say that such conduct is incompatible with good nursing? And I cannot too strongly urge the necessity for keeping control over face and tongue, as well as over actions. In home-nursing this is one of the greatest difficulties, especially where the illness is straining resources, and there is the additional anxiety of wondering how both ends may be made to meet. But at any cost a nurse must keep watch over herself, and strive after that cheerfulness which is a second element in good nursing. Perhaps only those who have grieved over recovery retarded by the gloom and depression of attendants, can understand the full force of the stress I would lay upon the duty of keeping a bright face and cheerful voice. No amount of devotion in other respects can atone for their absence. It is possible for a nurse to spend time and strength lavishly in day and night vigils, to be the best of poultice-makers, and the most careful administrator of food and medicine, and yet to fail utterly in helping the patient back to health and strength. Over and over again I have found patients sorrowful, perhaps crying, over the sense of being ‘such a burden;’ this, too, where there has been real affection on the part of nurses, but where the first duties of self-control and cheerfulness have been neither understood nor practised.

Of a kindred nature is the third requisite, patience, a virtue which is sure to be largely needed in most forms of illness. Even where a nurse is fortunate enough to have to deal with an amiable, unexacting spirit, the hundred-and-one details of daily nursing are apt to become very wearisome to those unaccustomed to minute and monotonous duties, and the temptation is strong to hurry the patient or to slur over details. I have seen a patient’s languid appetite chased away by his nurse’s evident anxiety to regain possession of cup or plate; and where having the hair brushed is the one pleasure of the day, the admonition to ‘be quick and turn your head’ does not give an added charm to the operation.

But, unhappily, the patience is sometimes tested in a far more trying way. Apart from the helpless tediousness of a long illness, which alone may affect the patient’s temper and cause varying degrees of irritability, there is, with some diseases, an accompanying fretfulness or moodiness most difficult to manage. So marked may this become, that occasionally the patient seems to have changed his character, and the most amiable and unselfish in health may become the most impatient and exacting in illness. The trained nurse, accustomed to watch the effects of disease, will understand and make allowance for such perversion; but in private nursing I have known patients’ friends suffer acutely from manifestations of ill-temper, for which they could only account on moral grounds. To the inexperienced, I would say: remember how closely body and soul are bound together, and believe that the changed temper is only a fresh symptom to be reported to the doctor as faithfully as any alteration in the bodily condition. But even taking this view, it is trying not to be able to do or say the right thing, to have the kindest actions misconstrued, and perhaps to hear of complaints made against you in your absence. Your best help will be to keep constantly in mind the fact that it is your patient’s misfortune, and not his fault, and that it causes him far more discomfort than it does you. So, be very careful not to aggravate him by opposition or by reference to exciting topics;{403} answer quietly, and at once, his most vexing speeches, but as far as possible, do not argue about even the most irrational statements. If you are blessed with tact as well as patience, you may be able to divert attention, and lead to happier channels of thought, always bearing in mind that you can do no greater kindness than to lead your patient away from his misery. This is a point so often overlooked, that it will bear dwelling upon, for the nurse’s own discomfort under such a dispensation is so great, that she is very apt to forget that the patient’s impressions are as real to him as though they were actual facts, and that he fully believes it, when he declares that you are trying your hardest to worry and annoy him, and not to let him get well. Think of the wretchedness of such a belief, and spare no pains to soothe and compose the sufferer.

At the same time, there is such a thing as spoiling a patient, even though he be past the age we generally associate with the word ‘spoil.’ Illness often brings back some of the wayward peevishness of childhood, and you get such things to contend with as positive refusal to take food or medicine, or to comply with some order of the doctor’s. How to meet these special difficulties we will consider later on; but as regards the question of how far to give in to a patient’s whims and fancies, there is no better general rule than this: oppose his wishes only on questions of right and wrong; and when opposition becomes a necessity, use special efforts so to keep your self-control as to avoid all expression of anger or impatience. How far you succeed in steering your patient through such troubled waters will depend greatly upon what measure you possess of that invaluable gift, sympathy—in other words, the power of putting yourself in another’s place, seeing from his point of view, and feeling with him in his difficulties. A hard, cold, or even a merely narrow nature cannot be trained into a really good nurse; and indeed, as a broad rule, lack of health and lack of sympathy are the only two absolutely insurmountable obstacles in the way of those who desire to be helpful in the sick-room. For observe that the other qualities I have named—self-control, cheerfulness, and patience—though much easier to some than to others, are within the reach of all who earnestly strive to possess them; and moreover, each and all are capable of being developed and cultivated to an almost unlimited extent. Sympathy, on the other hand, though capable of development by its fortunate possessor, is one of those natural gifts which no amount of training can impart, and which is no more within the reach of all than is that good health without which attempts at nursing cannot but end in failure. Given these two special gifts of health and sympathy, and you have the ‘born nurse,’ needing, indeed, much patient care and training, but one who may confidently count upon success.

Various other qualities and habits, such as humility, gentleness, firmness, order, and accuracy, are useful in nursing, and to these we shall refer in giving more specific details of a nurse’s work. There are also various gifts, as good hearing and sight, cleverness of fingers, and natural quickness of apprehension and of movement, which, though very desirable, are not absolutely indispensable, and on these it is not necessary to dwell. Those who have them may rejoice; and those who have not, need not be disheartened, as they can very well be dispensed with, provided there is thorough, conscientious effort made to acquire those more necessary things which are to be had for the trying.




There was nobody in the house, Mr Culver; but I knew you would be here, and so came on.—Where is Pansy?’

Thus Madge, as she entered the vine-house, where Sam, the Scotch gardener, standing on steps, was busy amongst rich clusters of grapes.

‘Oh, it’s you, Missy. Good-day to you,’ he answered, looking over his shoulder with that serious contraction of the muscles of his thin face which friends accepted as a smile. ‘This is washing-day; and if Pansy is no in the house, she’ll be on the green wi’ the clothes.’

‘I shall find her; but I am glad to have an opportunity of speaking to you first. Can you spare five minutes?’

‘Ten, or more, if it be to pleasure you, Missy,’ answered the gardener, with as near an approach to gallantry as he had ever made. He came down from the steps, and dusted them carefully with his apron. ‘I have no chair to offer you; but you can take a rest here, if you’re no owre proud.’

‘You will not think that of me,’ she said, smiling, ‘although I prefer to stand.’

‘Please yoursel’, Missy, just please yoursel’, and you’ll no dee in the pet. That’s what I aye say to onybody that maun hae their ain way.’

‘And what do you say to those who cannot have their own way?’

‘Oh, I say to them, you’ll just hae to do as you are bidden.’

‘Is that what you would say to Pansy, if she wanted very much to have her own way about something?’

‘That would depend on what was the way she wanted,’ was the cautious reply.

‘Well, Mr Culver, I am going to do what will offend you’——

‘That’s no possible.’

‘Or what you will take as a proof of my liking for Pansy, according to the light in which you regard it. At anyrate, I hope you won’t be annoyed with me.’

‘No a bit, no a bit, whatever it be.—But what is’t?’

‘Pansy does not know that I am going to speak to you about it, so you must not be displeased with her, whatever you may think of me. Philip says there can be no harm in speaking to you, and wishes me to do it.’

‘Guid-sake!—is there onything wrang?’

‘No, no; we think everything is right, and that they will be a very happy couple. Have you never considered that Pansy will want to marry some day?’

Sam was relieved. Although Madge had been speaking with a smile on her face all the time, he had been a little puzzled, and for a second{404} vaguely alarmed on his daughter’s account. When he heard this question from her, he began to understand.

‘Ay, whiles the notion has come into my head—she’s a bonnie lass and a guid lass, and it’s natural for women-folk to think about marriage. But it appeared to me that there was time enough to fash about thae things, and I just let the notion gang by.’

‘But you will have to consider it seriously—and soon. Suppose the man she wanted did not please you: would you say that she must do as she is bid, and refuse him?’

Sam took up the dead stem of a fern, and whilst he was breaking it into small pieces, considered very wisely.

‘Wha is the man?’ he asked abruptly, comprehending what Madge was hesitating to explain, and coming to the point at once.

‘He had the misfortune to offend some people who did not understand him, but I hope you are not one of them: I am sure you will not be when you know him. It is Caleb Kersey.’

Sam looked stolidly at the ground; no surprise, pleasure, or displeasure expressed on his features. Madge observing him closely, was busy collecting her arguments in favour of Caleb.

‘Now, that’s very queer,’ he began slowly. ‘When he was coming about the house at first, I suspected that he was hankering after my lassie, and I’m obliged to own that it wasna exactly the kind o’ match that I would have liked her to make; but when she was spoken to, she just said nothing. Syne, thinking that there was nae harm in his coming, and seeing what fine work he was making of the harvest, I took a notion o’ the lad because he was fond o’ flowers— especially geraaniums. Do ye know, daft-like as it was, I thought it was the geraaniums he had a fancy for.’

There was a comic pathos in the air of dejection and disappointment with which he made this confession, whilst he rubbed his soft cap slowly over his head, as if he would rub out the stupidity which had caused him to make such a mistake.

‘I have no doubt that the geraniums had something to do with bringing him here,’ was the consolatory comment of Madge. ‘You may be certain that Caleb would never say he liked anything if he did not. His outspoken ways are the causes of the ill-favour he has fallen into amongst the farmers. You know as well as I do that he is a good worker; he is steady; and Philip bids me assure you that he is now in a position which he is exactly fitted for, and he will be able to earn a good wage. I believe that Pansy likes him, and that they are both held back from speaking because they are afraid of you.’

‘Feared for me! How can that be? I never did anything to scare them; and I’m sure I have ta’en mair pains in letting him into a’ the secrets of the culture of geraaniums than I ever did wi’ onybody afore. Maybe I should have tried him wi’ the pansies.’

‘He has found out that secret for himself,’ said Madge merrily as Sam chuckled at his own little joke. ‘Then I may tell them that you will not be cruel—that you will not interfere with them?’

‘Oh, if the young folk have settled the matter for themsel’s, there would be no use of me interfering; and if they ha’ena, there’ll be no need.’

‘I cannot tell you how much pleasure you have given me, Mr Culver; and Philip will be delighted, for he began to think that poor Caleb was going to be ruined by his anxiety about this matter. I must go and find Pansy now.’

‘But there is no need to be in haste about it,’ said the gardener, and there was evidently some anxiety underneath his dry manner: ‘she is a young thing yet, and I’m no sure that I could get on without her.’

‘Perhaps you would not require to be separated from her; but all that can be arranged by-and-by.’

As Madge quitted the vine-house, she was aware that Sam was meditatively rubbing his head with his cap, and she heard him muttering: ‘Ay, ay, it wasna the geraaniums after a’. Weel, weel, weel; I daursay it’s natural.’ He always returned to his native dialect when speaking familiarly, or when under the influence of emotion whether of affection or rage.

The washing-house was a small erection jutting out from the back of the cottage, and thither Madge hastened with the agreeable news, which she believed was to make two young people ‘happy ever after.’ The door stood wide open as she approached, but a mist of steam hid everything within, and boiling water running over the floor prevented her from entering. A figure appeared in the mist—stooped—groped for something—and presently darted out, stumbling against Madge.

‘Why, Pansy, what in the world is the matter?’

The girl was flushed and panting with excitement.

‘I am so stupid to-day.—I hope I did not hurt you,’ she gasped. ‘The tap of the boiler—I forgot to turn it off; and the place was full of steam in a minute, and I’ve upset the tub on the floor, and dirtied all the clothes. O dear!’

‘Never mind about the clothes. You might have been suffocated or scalded to death. Are you burned?’

‘I don’t know. I think my hand was a little, when I turned off the tap just now.... O dear! I am so stupid to-day.’

The left hand was already puffed up with a white swelling, which looked more dangerous than it was in reality. Madge hurried her into the cottage, and poured oil over the scalded hand into a bowl. When the bowl was half-full of oil, she bade the girl keep her hand in it. Pansy submitted with a patience that was akin to indifference; but as she continued at intervals to utter little cries of distress, it was some time before Madge became aware that they had nothing to do with the injury the girl had sustained. She did not look at her hand at all, but stared at the window, as if she saw something outside that made her unhappy.

‘I suppose you have not got any lint in the house. Well, you must find a bit of soft rag; and when we have steeped it in the oil, I will fasten it on your hand until we get Dr Joy to dress it properly. You can walk down to the village with me.’

‘It’s no use—it doesn’t matter. I must finish the washing.... O dear!’


‘Is it paining you very much?’

‘O yes.—He looked so bad, that it scared me to see him; and I ran away, and I don’t know what I was doing.’

‘Who are you talking about?’ asked Madge, alarmed lest the girl’s fright was to have more serious consequences than she had anticipated.

‘About him—Caleb.’

Her eyes were still fixed on the window; and observing this, Madge also glanced in that direction, half expecting to see the lover outside. Seeing no one, she became more and more uneasy about Pansy’s odd behaviour.

‘He will come soon,’ she said cheeringly; ‘and I have great news for you and for him. You would never guess what it is.’

‘No; I never would guess. I am not able to try.’

‘Ah, well, you will have all the more pleasure in the surprise. I always knew your father was a sensible and just man, who would never allow any prejudice to affect his judgment of others; but he did surprise me when I spoke to him about you and Caleb. He gave me leave to tell you that he will not interfere between you. Now, is not that great news!’

Madge expected to see her flush with joy and rouse from the dazed state into which she had fallen. Instead of that, Pansy started to her feet, pale, and all consciousness of the scalded hand had evidently vanished.

‘I am sorry to hear that.’

‘Sorry!... Why?’

‘Because I am not going to have him,’ was the half-petulant, half-sobbing answer.

‘O Pansy, what is this?’ exclaimed Madge astonished, puzzled and regretful. ‘When we last spoke about him, you made me believe that you liked him very much, and that you only hesitated because you were afraid your father would not be pleased.’

‘And I do like him—like him so much, that it upsets me to put him out or trouble him. But I’m not going to have him, and I’ve told him so. He was asking me just before you came, and—and I told him.’

There was real distress in voice and look; but there was an under-current of sulky defiance, as if being conscious that she had not behaved well to the man, she was eager to defend herself, and finding no ready way of doing it, was angry with herself whilst ready to anticipate blame.

Madge’s expression of astonishment changed to one of grave concern, although Pansy’s confession of anxiety to spare Caleb suggested that there was nothing worse to apprehend than some misunderstanding between the lovers, which would be put right as soon as the girl got over her excitement. So she proceeded quietly to bandage the injured hand, without speaking for several minutes. Pansy was evidently unhappy; the silence of her friend was a more severe rebuke than any words of blame could have been. She could endure it no longer.

‘Oh, what shall I do?’ she burst out; ‘you are vexed with me now, like him.’

‘You must not think that, Pansy. I am very much grieved to see you in such a state as this; but I am sure it only needs a little forbearance on your part to put everything right again. There is nothing uncommon in a little tiff between lovers, and you will soon get over it. I will answer for Caleb that he will be ready to make it up as soon as you speak a kind word to him.’

‘But I can’t speak the word he wants, for I am not to have him.’

That was sufficiently decisive. Then Madge examined her closely, and became very anxious, for she perceived that Pansy’s distress had a deeper source than ‘a little tiff.’

‘You do not mean to say that Caleb is not the one you care most for?’

There was sullen silence.

Now, of all the feminine frailties which nature and training had taught Madge to shun, coquetry stood foremost. An acted falsehood!—What could be more abominable? A falsehood which, by inspiring baseless hopes, may cause an honest heart long days and nights of pain, when the truth becomes known? Can there be pleasure in seeing another suffer? There are women who consider coquetting with any decent-looking fellow a legitimate form of amusement, and avail themselves of it without a suspicion of immodesty or a single pang of conscience; yet the same women would scream at a mouse or at sight of a bleeding scratch. Demure glances, soft tones, a confiding touch on the arm—meaning nothing more than to gratify a mania for admiration at any cost—have played the mischief in high and low life many a time.

If anybody might claim a privilege to coquet, Pansy might, for she had been praised and flattered by everybody, whilst she had been guarded by her father as if she had been a flower almost too precious for the common eye. Hitherto, she had shown few symptoms of the weakness which too often makes such a position dangerous. Although there were many lads in the district who would fain have been suitors, not one dare say that she had deceived him by word or look. Caleb Kersey could say it now.

‘Come and sit down, Pansy, and let us talk about this; you will feel better when you have told me all about it. Besides, it will do you good to have a little rest before we start for the doctor’s.’

There was really no need to hurry to the doctor, as the wound had been dressed so cleverly. Madge drew her gently down on the chair and, holding her hand sympathetically, waited. Like a glow of sunlight breaking through a rain-cloud, the sullen gloom was dispersed with a sob and a burst of tears. Pansy’s head rested on her friend’s shoulder, whilst she clutched her hand, as if seeking courage and support in the assurance of her presence. The time for words had not come yet.

By-and-by, the girl lifted her head and wiped her eyes with a corner of the big white apron which covered her from the neck to the ankle.

‘I’m right ashamed at myself for taking on this way—that I am,’ she said bashfully; ‘and there ain’t no reason in it either, barring that I’m vexed for vexing him, and that he’ll feel worse when he finds there’s no help for it.’

‘Why have you not answered my question, Pansy?’

‘There ain’t no answer.’

‘Somebody else has spoken to you before Caleb, and has been luckier than he.’


‘Nobody else has spoken to me—if you mean in the way of asking me.’

This cleared away a simoom of disagreeable speculations which had been whirling through Madge’s brain. Caleb’s happiness was not wrecked yet.

‘And there is nobody you expect to ask you?’

‘Oh, I don’t say that—I don’t know. Who can tell what may happen? But there’s no use speaking about that. I wish things hadn’t gone so far with Caleb.’

Madge agreed that there was no use speaking any more at present; but although she did not feel quite so assured as she had done a moment before of Caleb’s speedy restoration to favour, she was hopeful that he would be in the end, since no one else had spoken. At the same time, she was satisfied that there was another who had contrived to catch the wayward fancy of the girl by touching some hidden spring of vanity. Worst of all, there was the unpleasant probability that this ‘other’ who disturbed the peace of two honest folk was one whose position was so different from her own that the girl was afraid or ashamed to confess her folly at once. But this would be transient, and Pansy would come back to her senses in good time. Clearly, whatever silly notions possessed her for the moment, it was Caleb she loved, or she would never have been so much worried on his account.

Having, however, some conception of the headstrong nature of the man, Madge was aware of the importance of promptitude in clearing up the misunderstanding between the lovers, and she did not see how that could be done unless Caleb remained steady and patient. She and Philip must persuade him to be so. For the present, nothing more could be said to Pansy with advantage.

The girl was glad of the excuse to go to the doctor’s, as it afforded her time to recover self-possession before she came under the keen eyes of her father. On their way through the forest, no further reference was made to Caleb, although Madge talked about Philip’s work, and the happy future which they believed was in store for every man who laboured under him. Of course she intended her companion to understand that Caleb would share largely in that brilliant future. Whether it was this suggestion or the brisk exercise which had the effect, Pansy looked sufficiently composed on their arrival in the village not to attract the particular attention of passing acquaintances.

The injured hand was attended to, and Dr Joy complimented Madge on her skill as a dresser.

‘There will be no need to ask you to come to my lecture on the art of dressing ordinary wounds,’ said the little doctor gallantly; ‘but I hope you will come, for I shall then feel that there will be at least two people in the room who have some idea of the subject—you and the lecturer. Meanwhile, you are not to go away without seeing Mrs Joy. She has one of her patients with her—a poor woman who has got into a dreadful muddle with her domestic economies. What a pity that we cannot get the simple rule driven into their heads, that a penny saved is a penny gained.—That’s her going now. Come this way; and you’ll excuse me—I have a couple of patients to see immediately.—My dear, here is Miss Heathcote with Pansy Culver.’

The doctor hurried away as Mrs Joy advanced with both hands extended to Madge.

‘I am so delighted to see you, dear; I have’—— She interrupted herself, and without releasing Madge’s hands, said in parenthesis: ‘How do you do, Pansy; and how is your father? Please sit down.’ Without waiting for a reply, she proceeded with what she had been about to say to Madge. ‘I have such an interesting case to report to you. Of course you remember Edwin’s lecture last year called “Penny wise and Pound saved”—that is his playful way of dealing with that wicked saying of “penny wise and pound foolish,” which has done incalculable harm to poor people—and rich people too, I am sure. You remember it?’

‘I am sorry to have to own that I missed the lecture.’

‘What a pity! However, there was a poor labourer present—Wolden is his name—and he was so deeply impressed by what he heard, that he determined to lay by one penny regularly every week. That is a most gratifying proof of the benefit of real practical counsel: but what is most gratifying is that the man actually carried out his good resolution. Think of that! He has fourteen shillings a week, and out of each payment he regularly put by one penny in a hole above the fireplace, which was only known to himself and his wife. Well, he kept to his good resolution in spite of many temptations, and he only wanted three weeks to make out a complete year of that noble self-denial. Think!—what a glorious proof of the value of the lessons which Edwin and I have been teaching. This man, who never before had a shilling he could call his own, had actually stored away in the course of forty-nine weeks four shillings and one penny!... It is so delightfully marvellous to observe how atoms grow and multiply into mountains!’

Mrs Joy was so much pleased with the idea which the last words conveyed to herself, that she paused to repeat and admire them with a view to their future use when she should offer herself as a candidate for the local School-board.

‘The doctor and you must be greatly pleased,’ said Madge, cordially appreciating the effect of Dr Joy’s wise admonitions.

‘We are—we were; but’—here Mrs Joy shook her head with a smiling regretfulness at being obliged to own the existence of human weakness—‘but to-day there came to him a friend who required him to take a parcel into London—a parcel for a friend of yours, Mr Philip Hadleigh. His fare there and back was to be paid, and half-a-crown for the service. Wolden had often thought, if he were in London, he would buy something useful with his savings. Here was the opportunity. He ran home for his savings; and what did he find? The hole in the wall was empty; and his wife was obliged to own that she had used the money for a pair of boots for one of the children. Think!’

Madge did think; but it was not about the doctor’s lecture or the misfortune of his convert—it was about the person who had been suddenly employed to carry a parcel to Philip. Pansy’s thoughts jumped in the same direction.

‘How unfortunate,’ said Madge; ‘the poor man’s{407} disappointment must have been awful. But who gave him the parcel for—Mr Hadleigh?’

‘Most unfortunate—terribly disappointing,’ proceeded Mrs Joy, apparently unconscious of the question which had been asked. ‘The man became so wild, that the poor woman ran out of the house and came to me for advice and assistance. I scolded her, I can tell you—scolded her roundly for having deceived her husband in such a way. She was very penitent. I always scold, and they are always penitent. She promised never to do anything of the kind again; and I gave her the money, in order that she might start on her new course with a clear conscience. You should have seen how grateful she was, dear; and it is most delicious to feel that one can save a household from destruction by such simple means—good advice and four shillings and a penny!’

Mrs Joy was so lost in contemplation of the small expense at which morals and domestic economy could be instilled into the minds of the people, that she did not observe the anxious expression of Madge, or the frightened look of Pansy.

‘Forgive me, Mrs Joy, but I have a reason for again asking you who was the sender of the parcel to Mr Hadleigh?’ said Madge.

‘Oh, how ridiculous of me to forget. It was Caleb Kersey.—It seems that he has some idea of emigration; and this poor fellow Wolden caught up the notion, and threatened to leave his wife and family to the parish. That was what put the woman in such a state; but he will stay at home now that he has got back his four shillings and a penny.’

‘Caleb Kersey going to emigrate!’

‘That was what she said.’

Madge looked at Pansy. Her face was white and lips quivering.

‘Will you excuse us, Mrs Joy? We must go now.’

Theoretically, every one is supposed to be familiar with the law of the land he lives in, and to know exactly what he may do unto others, and what others may do unto him. Practically, lawyers themselves have too often to acquire that knowledge at the expense of a client, the burden of whose song might be, ‘From court to court they hurry me,’ if Law were not much too dignified a dame to hurry herself or those having dealings with her.

It was not until the matter had been disputed for a couple of centuries, that it was settled that ‘from the date’ and ‘on and from the date’ were synonymous phrases. But for the perseverance of a stubborn gentleman, who was not satisfied by being beaten in two courts out of three, we should not now know wherever the words ‘value’ or ‘annual value’ are used in a statute that they mean ‘net,’ not ‘gross’ value. It took the Canadian Court of Queen’s Bench half a year to decide whether ‘Old Tom’ came under the definition of ‘spirits.’ A majority of experts were of opinion that it did not, being only a compound of spirits, sugar, and flavouring matter; but the Court ultimately decreed that Old Tom belonged to the family of spirits, and that to hold otherwise would be a mere trifling with words.

The courts of the United States have found it more difficult to settle what is and is not a ‘saloon.’ In Michigan, it may be a place for the sale of liquors, or it may be a place for the sale of general refreshments. In Texas, a saloon may be a room for the reception of company, or one set apart for the exhibition of works of art. The legal luminaries of Connecticut hold that neither an inclosed park nor an uninclosed platform, where lager beer is retailed, can be considered to be a saloon, house, or building, within the meaning of the statute forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors upon Sunday; while in Massachusetts it has been declared that a cellar is a house, when used for that purpose. In New Hampshire, ‘spirituous liquors’ are not to be confounded with ‘fermented liquors.’ In Indiana, the mere opinion of a witness that brewer’s beer is intoxicating is no sufficient proof that it is so, unless that opinion is founded on personal experience of its effects; but in Massachusetts, the evidence of a man who had merely smelt some ale was accepted as proof of its overcoming quality. In Iowa, wine is not an intoxicating drink if made from grapes, currants, or other fruits grown within the state; while in Maine, wine and cider of native growth are intoxicating liquors—if a jury chooses to think them so.

What is a date? Certain would-be voters for Marylebone sent in their claims, properly filled up and signed, but dated merely ‘August 1883.’ After a week’s cogitation, the revising barrister came to the conclusion that that was a sufficient date, as it showed that the claims were made between the first and the twenty-fifth of August, as required by the Act; the fact of their being in the hands of the overseers proving delivery on or before the twenty-fifth day of the month. What is a vacant and what an unoccupied house, were two questions submitted to a court in the United States, under rather peculiar circumstances. A gentleman owning a house in which he and his family lived from May to November, left it for the rest of the year to be looked after by a farmer living near, visiting it occasionally himself to see that all was right. This house he insured under two separate policies. It was burned down; and when called upon to pay, the insurers repudiated all liability. By the terms of one policy they undertook to make good the value of the house, if burned, ‘unless it should become vacant or unoccupied;’ by the terms of the other, their liability ceased if the house ‘became vacant and unoccupied.’ The court determined that no claim could arise on the first policy, since, to be occupied, a house must have human beings in it, using it as their customary abode; but the Company was liable under the second policy, as, although the house was unoccupied, it was not vacant, so long as the furniture and cooking-utensils were in it.

A very nice question was raised by an English Accident Insurance Company, anxious to escape paying a thousand pounds to the representatives of a policy-holder who was drowned in a river near Edgbaston. It was contended that the unfortunate man fell into the shallow stream, and was suffocated through being unable to raise his head above the water from exhaustion caused{408} by a fit; and that the Company was not liable for any injury consequent upon natural disease or exhaustion, while one of the conditions of the policy specified that no claim should arise ‘for any injury from any accident, unless such accident shall be caused by some outward and visible means.’ The court held that the insured died from drowning in a brook while in an epileptic fit, and drowning had been decided to be an injury caused by an accident from outward and visible means. The death did not come within the words ‘natural disease or exhaustion,’ but resulted from an accident, which was drowning, and the Company must pay.

Thief-catching is best left to the police, amateurs may so easily overreach themselves. Hearing a noise outside their house, after they had gone to rest, a worthy couple arose, and ascertaining that a man was prowling around, came to the conclusion he was bent upon robbery; so they unbolted the outer door, and waited. Sure enough, the man entered, was promptly seized, handed over to the police, and committed for trial at the Manchester assizes; but the grand-jury, under the judge’s instructions, threw out the bill—the accused could not be charged with breaking into a house which he had entered by merely raising the latch. As lucky a let-off awaited the American actor Frayne, when arraigned for the manslaughter of Miss Behren, by shooting her upon the stage, in performing a modern version of Tell’s feat. The defence was, that Frayne did not point his rifle at the actress, but at an apple a few inches above her head; and the court holding that the gun being pointed at an object, and not at the person, there could be no charge of manslaughter, the prisoner must be discharged.

Some recent decisions of the courts of the United States are notable for their common-sense. In a lawsuit against a Railway Company, in which the relatives of a young man who had been run down by a train, sought to recover ten thousand dollars by way of compensation for their loss, Judge Love gave judgment in favour of the Company, saying, the young man had no business walking on other people’s property, while the Company did have business running its trains there; a railway is not a public highway, but private property, and people must not trespass. In another court it was decided that a Telegraph Company could not limit its liability by printing on its forms a notice disclaiming responsibility for mistakes unless the message was repeated—of course, at the customer’s cost. Any rule or regulation seeking to relieve the Company from performing its duty with integrity, skill, and diligence, was in contravention of public policy; and if it were necessary, in order to secure correctness, to repeat a message, the duty of repeating it devolved upon the Company. Per contra, a Company’s customers must use their rights with discretion. A subscriber to the telephone in Cincinnati was deprived of his privilege by the Company because of his using a word—which is too frequently in the mouths of Englishmen—in his communications. He sued to be reinstated. One judge said the obnoxious word was not profane according either to the decalogue, the dictionary, common law, or statute law; but the majority of the court were of a different way of thinking, and declared the word to be coarse, unbecoming, and profane, or if not profane, improper. The rule prohibiting improper language was a reasonable one. The telephone reached into all classes of society, and into many family circles. It is possible for a communication intended for one individual to reach another. Moreover, the operators are in many cases refined ladies, and even beyond this, all operators are to be protected from insult. The inventors, too, have a right to be protected, and to have the instrument placed in a respectable light before the world, otherwise it might go out of use. For all which reasons they concurred in non-suiting the profane plaintiff.



I can’t stand it any longer, and I won’t! It isn’t so much that he jeers at me and ill-treats me; perhaps I could manage to put up with that, if he gave me a kind word now and then, and didn’t leave me so much alone. But he is away sometimes for days and nights together; and where he goes to I don’t know, though of course I can guess pretty well; and he will never tell me anything except to mind my own business. And when he is at home, he never speaks except to taunt and sneer at me because I’m not a lady, as he says. He hates me, and I’ve come to hate him, and I’m afraid of my life with him. You can’t imagine what he’s like when he’s in a temper. I cannot, indeed, bring myself to tell you of all the shame and the infamy he puts upon me.’ And the Honourable Mrs Ferrard buried her face in her hands and sobbed despairingly.

Mr Cross, auctioneer, rested his great square chin on his hands, and gazed across his library table at the flushed and weeping figure before him. ‘So it has come to this at last, Amy?’ he said. ‘You deceived and disobeyed your old father, that loved you, and deserted him, and pretty well broke his heart, all for the sake of this grand husband of yours; and now you have to come to me to help you against him. Well, well; I’m not a bit surprised, my girl. I’ve been expecting you. I wasn’t coming to you, you know; I knew you would have to come to me, sooner or later. Now, sit still and quiet yourself, while I think a bit.’

He continued to gaze across his writing-table, but with eyes that saw nothing. This was his only child, all that was left to him of her dead mother; and he had loved her, and still loved her, with an intensity which her insignificant little intelligence was far from comprehending. It had been his study from her childhood to gratify every fancy which entered her shallow pate; all that money could buy had been lavished upon her—except the training and education of a lady. ‘I’m not going to have my girl,’ said he, ‘brought up so that she’ll be ashamed of her father and her father’s friends. No; let her learn to play the piano, if she cares to—I always liked a good tune—and to draw and paint and talk French, so that it don’t worry her. But none of your fine finishing schools for me, where she’ll mix with a lot of stuck-up fools and get all sorts of notions into her head.’


So Amy Cross went to a very respectable establishment in North London, where she acquired, to a limited extent, all the above accomplishments; and was sent back to her home very pretty, vain, and vulgar, very proud of her piano and her French, and without a single useful or graceful idea in her head.

This being so, it was not perhaps to be wondered at that Miss Amy Cross should fall an easy victim to the wiles of Lord Englethorpe’s youngest son, the Honourable James Ferrard. That gentleman was at Canterbury, attending the races at Barham Downs with a kindred spirit of his former regiment (then quartered in that city); his commission in which he had been permitted—and only just permitted—to resign; and it had occurred to him that it would be amusing to run over to Margate and contend for a time with humbler Don Juans for the smiles of the Cockney beauties of the place. It so happened that Amy was just then staying there with some relations; and the two met on the jetty, and were mutually attracted by one another’s good looks. The gallant captain found no difficulty in introducing himself both to the girl and her friends; on all of whom his appearance and manner—so different from those of the gentlemen of their society—made a most favourable impression. They met frequently; and he soon succeeded in captivating the heart of poor Amy.

It is due to the captain’s pride of birth and ancestry to say that, at first, flirtation and not marriage was in his thoughts. But when he discovered that the girl’s father was a man of very great wealth, and that she was an only child, he began to think that the game might be worth keeping up in London, with a view to honourable matrimony, immediate comfort, and succession in the future to the old man’s money. For it would have been difficult for Captain Ferrard to have indicated with any precision his present means of existence. It was notorious that his family had long declined to hold any communication with him, further than that the earl allowed him the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds a year, which indeed was all that he could afford, being—for a peer—almost penniless, with a good many children to provide for. The sum named was about enough to keep the young gentleman in gloves and cigars. The balance of his expenditure had to be made up by means of credit, the turf, billiards, pigeon-shooting, and cards. But the first was nearly at an end; the second required capital; the next two are not improved by overmuch tobacco and brandy; and at the fifth the captain was becoming a little too skilful. He was in a desperate state. Why should he not betake himself to his last weapon? He was twenty-eight, with a manly and well-made figure, smooth-faced as a boy of eighteen, brilliant of complexion, with eyes of a peculiarly dark blue. It was more the face of a beautiful woman than that of a man; but there was something wrong about it. The forehead was too retreating, the mouth too hard, and too often expanded in a smile. His manner and bearing were extremely pleasant and ingratiatory. How should an ignorant little girl, fresh from a North London seminary, or her auctioneering papa, detect the festering vices and the cruel heart beneath that fair outside? So he asked permission to call on Miss Cross in London, and readily obtained it.

He called accordingly, saw her alone, and made most satisfactory progress. The second time, he was introduced to papa. Papa, in fact, having heard of the former visit, and knowing the visitor well by repute through certain bill-discounting acquaintances, had left instructions with a faithful retainer—the cook—that he was to be fetched from the City immediately on a repetition of the visit. The result was not quite what Captain Ferrard had expected. Papa sat glum and moody through the interview; when it was over, he attended the visitor to the door, and with some coarseness of manner and roughness of tone, requested him to take notice that his attentions were not desired. Not all Captain Ferrard’s smoothest explanations and assurances sufficed to appease the auctioneer, who simply replied that he didn’t believe a word of them; and that, supposing them to be true, his girl did not want any fine gentleman for a husband, least of all of the stamp of Captain Ferrard, as to whose character and pursuits he further expressed himself pretty roundly. The captain answered with aristocratic contempt and insolence, applied with an ease and absence of emotion which reduced the auctioneer to speechless fury; and so departed.

The only result of this was that the ill-regulated girl, whose lover was the first toy which had been denied to her, became mutinous. She entered, first upon a clandestine correspondence, then upon a series of secret meetings, and ultimately left home one fine day just after she had attained twenty-one, and was married at a suburban church by license. Ferrard calculated that when once the irrevocable step had been taken, a reconciliation with her father and a handsome dowry would be a matter of only a few weeks, and that the plebeian alliance, gilded with the auctioneer’s gold, would be condoned by his family, and would even cause him to be received by them with open arms. But everything went wrong. The bereaved parent, whatever may have been his sufferings in private, did not hasten to clasp his erring daughter to his bosom. When at last she wrote him a letter, carefully dictated by her husband, the only reply received was from a lawyer, stating that Mr Cross declined all communication with Mrs Ferrard or her husband; but that as he did not desire that his daughter should starve, he proposed to make to her exactly the same allowance as her husband received from the Earl of Englethorpe. That nobleman, who had been waiting to see what would happen before finally committing himself, thereupon wrapped himself with much dignity in his family grandeur, and refused to receive either his son or his son’s wife, or to add a farthing to the two hundred and fifty pounds a year.

All this was so far beneath the Honourable James’s just expectations, that he became not a little disgusted with his bargain, with the usual results. Indifference and neglect were speedily followed by quarrels, upbraiding, and taunts; at last by covert, yet none the less positive, unmanly cruelty on the part of the husband, and a return to his former mode of life. This, indeed, he had never really abandoned, though{410} he had put some sort of restraint on the open indulgence of his vices so long as it appeared that anything might be got by doing so; and even now, having regard to what the day might bring forth, he was cunning and cautious to the last degree. At length, Amy fled in despair to her father, who received her coldly, but without anger, in the interview with which this tale commences.

Amy sat on the sofa, her wild sobs becoming less frequent, for she saw that her father was thinking. Weak and foolish as she was, she instinctively appreciated his strength of character enough to know that when Mr Cross took to thinking, something generally happened in consequence; and she hoped that he would find some means of extricating her from the trouble which she had brought upon herself.

Some time had gone by, and the auctioneer remained in the same vein of thought, seemingly forgetful of his daughter’s presence. At last she spoke to him, and he roused himself with a start.

‘Ten o’clock,’ he said, looking at his watch; ‘time you were home.’

‘Home, papa? I dare not. I don’t know what he won’t do, when he finds where I’ve been, and he’s sure to get it out of me. Oh, don’t send me back!’ and she burst into a fresh fit of hysterical weeping.

‘Hush, hush, my girl!’ he said soothingly. ‘Nonsense! A married woman oughtn’t to be away from her husband. I’m going to write him a letter for you to give him, and you’ll find he won’t be so angry as you think. I suppose you’ll see him to-night?’

‘Yes. He said he should be home to-night, and he generally is when he says so.’

‘That’s well,’ said the auctioneer; and sitting down, he wrote a few lines:

Sir—I should like a word with you on family matters, and will call on you at eleven o’clock to-morrow.—Yours faithfully,

R. Cross.’

‘There!’ he said; ‘you give him that, and it will quiet him down. Now, get on your bonnet, and I’ll send for a cab.’

Captain Ferrard did come home, and in a very queer temper. Before he could proceed to vent it, his trembling wife put the note into his hand; and with a sharp glance at her, he opened and read it. ‘O ho!’ cried he. ‘So,’ he said, after musing a little, ‘you have been to see papa, eh? Singing your husband’s praises so well, that our good papa is anxious to make his acquaintance.—Is that it, Mrs Ferrard?’

She did not answer, but cast down her eyes.

He reflected again. ‘Well,’ he said at last, ‘I don’t much care what you have been saying, or what you have not. Perhaps it may turn out to be the best thing you could have done. Anyway, I’ll see him to-morrow—“comes he in peace, or comes he in war”—and on his behaviour, my pet, will depend our future happiness.—Now, get to bed!’

Meanwhile, Mr Cross had returned to his old position at the table and remained deep in thought far into the night. He was a man strong in his likes and dislikes, but his feelings towards this Ferrard surprised himself. In the first place, the man belonged to a class which the auctioneer, with or without reason, had come to despise or dislike. Secondly, he possessed the three vices which are most hateful to a steady and prosperous man of business—he was an idler, a gambler, and a spendthrift. On the above grounds alone, the very name of Ferrard was obnoxious to Mr Cross. But this worthless fellow, after coolly insulting him on his own doorstep, had succeeded in robbing him of his daughter—his daughter, as to whom the dream of his life had been, that she would repay his tenderness and care by becoming the solace of his age, until she should be honourably and happily married to some prosperous young votary of commerce, and should surround him with a troop of grandchildren, who would recall to him their mother’s childhood. To realise such hopes, he had worked like a slave, and had accumulated money until his name was a proverb for wealth. All over now—he was childless and alone with his riches—a gloomy and cheerless old age was coming fast upon him, and he owed it all to this gentleman of long descent, at whose patrician hands ill-usage and shame were his child’s portion.

How should he answer her cry for aid? How rescue her? Was it in any way—by any sacrifice—possible to undo the miserable past; to wipe the slate clean, and to start afresh, with the hope of realising the old dreams? This was the problem the auctioneer set himself to work out, sitting there in the silence. And his heart sank, as he bitterly acknowledged to himself that the chances were but of the slenderest. Money would no doubt buy the man off, so that the father might have his girl safe in his home once more—but not to send her from it again as the happy wife of a husband after his own heart. Of course, legal proceedings might be instituted; but their success might be doubtful. The whole of Amy’s conversation with her father has not been detailed; but it was clear from what she had said that the ill-treatment inflicted upon her had been carefully confined to those petty and spiteful persecutions which a cruel and cunning man is so skilful in inflicting, which cause neither wound nor bruise, elicit no cries of anguish, yet in their power of breaking, by constant repetition, the proudest spirit, are like the continual dropping which wears away the rock.

As he thought of these things, the heart of the auctioneer swelled within him with perplexity and rage. He was not a cruel or revengeful man; he was a church-goer, and would have taken it extremely ill if any one had told him that he was not a Christian. Yet he did most heartily and fervently desire that the worthless and disreputable destroyer of his happiness would take himself with all convenient speed out of the world, so that the distress and difficulty which he had originated might perish with him. ‘I wish he were dead!’ he muttered to himself—‘I wish he were dead!’ And the wish, once formed, refused to quit his mind, but presented itself again and again as an eminently desirable solution of the whole question.

But Ferrard was young and strong, and not at all likely to oblige Mr Cross by dying for some time to come; so the auctioneer rose and paced the room, forcing himself to regard the{411} matter in another and more wholesome light. He had formed no particular plan of action for the morrow, having had in making the appointment merely a vague idea that he would endeavour in some way to arrange matters for his daughter’s happiness, if money could do it. He now told himself that, after all, Ferrard might not be so black as he was painted. He had not, perhaps, had a fair chance; he had been exposed, still young, to great temptations, and had succumbed to them. He was without a friend—a true friend—in the world, and might well be reckless and desperate. He, the auctioneer, would endeavour to make his acquaintance; he would invite him to his house; he would inquire into his affairs; he would see whether it would be possible to take him by the hand and—as he phrased it—‘make a man of him.’ There would be no harm, at anyrate, in trying to make the best of a bad job—indeed, it was the one sorry resource left. He could but fail; should he do so, then it would be time to think of other measures. What a miserable, wearing business it all was! If that wish would but come true, what a cutting of the knot it would be!


The possibility of prolonging human life has undoubtedly, from the most ancient times, afforded a fascinating and extensive field alike for the visionary and the deepest thinkers. Plans for prolonging existence have ever been amongst the principal allurements held forth by empirics and impostors; and by thus imposing upon the credulity of the public, many notorious charlatans have acquired rich harvests of ill-gotten gold. Men of science have throughout all ages devoted their attention to the subject, as one deserving of the most profound investigation. And their researches have been attended with more or less benefit to posterity. We find that Bacon himself attached so much importance to the matter that he prosecuted inquiry in that direction with the utmost assiduity. Although it would be almost impossible to review all the schemes advanced, yet a review of the most notable theories advocated for prolongation of life is certainly deserving of attention. At the same time, an elucidation of their fallacies, as occasion may arise, is of no small moment, in order to ascertain with greater certainty their true value. It is indeed interesting to observe the various and often opposite means advocated by enthusiasts for attaining the same end.

Even as far back as the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods, we find the idea of prolonging life prevalent. The Egyptians bestowed considerable attention to the attainment of longevity, and they believed that life could be prolonged through the efficacy of sudorifics and emetics continually used. Instead of saying, ‘How do you do?’ as an ordinary salutation, they inquired of each other, ‘How do you perspire?’ In those days, it was a general custom to take at least two emetics during each month. Hippocrates and his disciples recommended moderation in diet, friction, and well-timed exercise, which was certainly a step in the right direction.

It was during the darkness of the middle ages, ripe with fanaticism and superstition, that the most absurd ideas of witchcraft, horoscopes, chiromancy, and empirical panaceas for the prolongation of life first became disseminated. The philosopher’s stone and elixir of life were then vaunted by the alchemists. Foremost among the prolongers of life we find Paracelsus, an alchemist of great renown, and a man of considerable attainments. He claimed to have discovered the elixir of life. So great was his influence, that even the learned Erasmus did not disdain to consult him. Patients and pupils flocked around him from every quarter of Europe. Notwithstanding his famous ‘stone of immortality,’ he died at the age of fifty. His vaunted elixir was a kind of sulphur similar to compound sulphuric ether. Nevertheless, to the researches of Paracelsus we are indebted for our primary knowledge of mercury, which he was the first to use as a medicine.

About this epoch, one Leonard Thurneysser attained world-wide celebrity as an astrologer and nativity-caster. He was a physician, printer, bookseller, and horoscopist all in one. He professed that, by the aid of astrology, he could not only predict future events, but likewise prolong life. He published yearly an astrological calendar, describing the nature of the forthcoming year and its chief events. His calendar and other quackeries enabled him to amass the sum of one thousand florins. He declared that every man lay under the influence of a certain star, by which his destiny was ruled. On ascertaining from what planet a person’s misfortunes or sickness proceeded, he advised his patient to remove his residence within the control of a more propitious luminary. In short, to escape from the influence of a malignant to a more friendly satellite was the basis of his theory.

Marsilius Ficinus, in his Treatise on the Prolongation of Life, recommended all prudent persons to consult an astrologer every seven years, thereby to avoid any danger which might threaten them. During the year 1470, an individual named Pansa dedicated to the Council of Leipsic a book entitled The Prolongation of Life, in which he most strongly urges all persons desirous of longevity to be on their guard every seven years, because Saturn, a hostile planet, ruled at these periods. According to the teachings of astrology, metals were believed to be in intimate connection with the planets. Thus no doubt it was that amulets and talismans originated, as reputed agents for prolonging life. The disciples of this creed had amulets and talismans cast of the proper metal, and under the influence of certain constellations, in order to protect themselves from the evil influence of adverse planets. These absurd conceits were at a later period revived by Cagliostro, of whom we shall have more to say presently. It would indeed appear that the more mysterious and ridiculous the conceptions of fanatics and impostors were, the greater was their success.

The example of the renowned Cornaro affords a brilliant instance of the superiority of an abstemious life to the foolish doctrines put forth at that period. Up to forty years of age he was excessively intemperate both in eating and drinking, so that his health suffered considerably. He then resolved to submit himself to a strictly temperate regimen, and for the remaining sixty years of his{412} life, which almost reached one hundred years, he continued the observance of his rules, with the result given. Although life might be prolonged by exercising greater moderation in eating and drinking than is generally adopted, yet, nevertheless, few persons could safely follow so strict a dietary.

Shortly after the death of Louis XIII. of France, who was bled forty-seven times during the last ten months of existence, a contrary method came into fashion. Transfusion was for a time relied upon as a means for invigorating and prolonging life. The operation was performed by aid of a small pipe conveying blood from the artery of one person to another. In Paris, Drs Dennis and Riva were enabled to cure a young man who had previously been treated in vain for lethargy. Further experiments not being so satisfactory, this device as a prolonger of life became discarded.

Francis Bacon held somewhat unique ideas regarding the possible prolongation of existence. He regarded life as a flame continually being consumed by the surrounding atmosphere, and he thence concluded that by retarding vital waste and renewing the bodily powers from time to time, life might be lengthened. With the object of preventing undue external vital waste, he advised cold bathing, followed by friction. Tranquillity of mind, cooling food, with the use of opiates, he advocated as the most suitable measures for lessening internal consumption. Furthermore, he proposed to renovate life periodically, first by a spare diet combined with cathartics; subsequently, through choice of a refreshing and succulent diet. With some degree of modification, there seems to be much wisdom in his views, excepting as regards the use of opiates, which are decidedly of a prejudicial nature.

Numerous charlatans have appeared, and still appear at intervals, loud in their asseverations of having discovered the veritable elixir of life—gold, tinctures, and many other nostrums with which they mendaciously promise to prolong life. The most notorious of these empirics was the Count de St Germain, who with barefaced effrontery protested that he had already existed for centuries by aid of his ‘Tea of Long Life,’ which he declared would rejuvenate mankind. On close examination, his miraculous philter was ascertained to consist of a simple infusion of sandal-wood, fennel, and senna leaves.

A great stir was created in 1785 by the occult pretensions of a fanatical physician in France named Mesmer. He vaunted the possession of extraordinary magnetic power, which enabled him forthwith, by its agency, to remove every disease and prolong life. At the king’s desire, a commission was instituted to report upon this phenomenon, in which Dr Franklin took a leading part. The only practical result of this inquiry was the discovery of animal electricity. At one time, Mesmer refused three hundred and forty thousand livres for his secret. After Dr Franklin’s investigations, Mesmer lapsed into obscurity.

Last, but not least in the foremost rank of impostors was Joseph Balsamo, alias Count de Cagliostro. This charlatan appeared just before the first French Revolution. During his remarkable career, Cagliostro made more than one fortune, which he subsequently lost, and died in prison in 1795. The distinguished Cardinal de Rohan was one of his chief dupes. Like St Germain, Balsamo boasted that he had discovered the elixir of life, and throughout Europe, found persons of all degrees eager to possess his panacea. This elixir was a very powerful stomachic, possessed of great stimulating properties, tending to augment vital sensations. It is a fixed law of nature that everything which increases the vital forces tends to abridge their duration. Concentrated and potent stimulants, which are usually the active principle of most elixirs, although for the time increasing physical strength, are in truth very prejudicial to longevity.

We will now pass on to examine other theories more worthy of attention, before we proceed to establish what at present appears to be the most certain means for promoting longevity. The plan of ‘hardening’—based upon a false supposition that by toughening the physical organs they would wear longer—obtained at one time numerous followers. When we reflect that the main principle of life depends upon the pliability of every organ, combined with free circulation, it naturally follows that rigidity must be unfriendly to longevity. Perpetual cold baths, exposure to keen air, and exhausting exercise, were advocated by the ‘hardening school.’ Like most enthusiasts, they carried their ideas to excess, a limited use of which would have been beneficial. Later on, a theory well suited to the idle and luxurious gained many adherents, namely, to retard bodily waste by a trance-like sleep. One enthusiast, Maupertuis, went so far as to propound the possibility of completely suspending vital activity. Even Dr Franklin, having observed the restoration of apparently dead flies by exposure to warmth, was struck with the feasibility of promoting long life by the agency of immobility. The misconception of this theory, from a physiological point of view, is at once self-evident, as want of exercise is simply poisonous to health. Upon a constant metamorphosis of the tissues, physical well-being must depend to a great extent. A destructive plethora would most certainly be induced by attempting ‘vital suspension.’

That celebrated sect of mystical philosophers, the Rosicrucians—famous for their profound acquaintance with natural phenomena, and the higher branches of physical, chemical, and medical science—considered that human existence might be protracted far beyond its supposed limits. They professed to retard old age by means of certain medicaments, whose action upon the system should curb the progress of natural decay. The means by which they professed to check senile decrepitude, were, like other mysteries of their fraternity, never revealed. The celebrated English Rosicrucian Dr Fludd, whose writings became famous, is said to have lived a century.

The principal disadvantage of the various plans which have been set forth for promoting longevity appears to be that they are all deficient in this important respect—that they only regard one object, and neglect the rest. However beneficial any theory may prove, it must be materially inadequate in fulfilling its purpose, should numerous other matters of the greatest importance bearing upon the human economy be ignored.{413} Hufeland, in his luminous work The Art of Prolonging Life, is of opinion that the real art of longevity consists in cultivating those agents which protract existence, and by avoiding all circumstances tending to shorten its duration. This is undoubtedly the most reasonable method for obtaining the end in view. Moderation in all things (avoiding as far as possible every morbific condition), and open air exercise, are far more reliable means of prolonging life than any of the elixirs and panaceas ever advocated. Finally, health and longevity can only be attained by an intimate acquaintance with and obedience to those natural laws which govern our physical economy.


Many years ago, or, as children’s stories say, ‘once upon a time,’ when Bath was in all its glory, and Beau Nash reigned as its king, two ladies were journeying towards that fashionable town in a postchaise. Why two middle-aged ladies should in those unsafe times have undertaken a journey without any male escort, I cannot say; the result proved that they were very ill advised in doing so. It was broad daylight, and not very far from Bath, when the postboy suddenly pulled up the horses, and the chaise-door was thrown open from without with the usual stern command: ‘Your money, or your life!’

I need hardly say anything as to the state of terror into which the ladies immediately fell; no doubt they screamed, in spite of the uselessness of such a proceeding; but it is not upon record that they fainted. On the contrary, the one nearest to the door submissively handed her watch, purse, trinkets, &c., to the masked highwayman; and the other, a Mrs C., was hastily preparing to get rid of her valuables in the same way, when the robber turned to remount his horse, as though he had overlooked the second occupant of the carriage.

Such an unbusiness-like proceeding certainly did not bespeak him an accomplished ‘gentleman of the road;’ for in those days the search for valuables was usually conducted in a thorough and energetic manner, often accompanied with more or less violence, especially if the searcher had reason to suspect that the notes were ‘sham Abrams,’ or the watches from the manufactory of Mr Pinchbeck.

By the way, do any of the present generation know the term of ‘Pinchbeck’ for sham-gold? and if any of them do, are they aware how the term arose? To meet violence with craft, the travellers of those days provided themselves very frequently with false bank-notes and imitation gold watches, to be given up as booty, while the genuine articles were carefully hidden; and a Mr Pinchbeck started a manufactory of these watches. But the ‘gentlemen of the road’ soon got up to this trick, and to prevent such mistakes, they insisted on their victims taking solemn oaths as to the notes being those genuinely signed by ‘Abraham Newland,’ the cashier of the Bank of England; and also that the watches had not been supplied by Mr Pinchbeck.

What passed through Mrs C.’s mind as the highwayman turned away with only half his spoil, it is impossible to say. Perhaps it occurred to her that he might find out his mistake, come back, and take vengeance on them for their involuntary deception. Or perhaps she never thought at all, but acted on a terror-struck impulse. I do not suppose that she herself ever knew why she acted as she did, but she actually called to the highwayman to come back!

‘Stop, stop!’ she cried; ‘you have not got my watch and purse!’

The ‘gentleman of the road’ came back again to the chaise-door, and held out his hand for the watch and purse which Mrs C. seemed so anxious to get rid of. But that watch and purse had unknowingly been the bait of something very like a trap; at anyrate, the turning back was a fatal move, for as the robber turned quickly to relieve Mrs C. of her valuables, the quick movement of his head, or a passing puff of wind, blew aside his crape-mask for a moment, and Mrs C. saw his face distinctly.

When the ladies arrived at Bath, they were condoled with by their friends on their fright and their loss; and no doubt Mrs C. had to stand a good deal of joking about her kindly calling the highwayman back to take her own watch and purse. But such occurrences were too common for the condolences to be deep or long continued, or to cause interference on the part of any one whose duty it might have been to attend to the peace and safety of the public; and the ‘nine days’ wonder’—if it continued so long—certainly did not last any longer.

I am inclined to think, however, that Mrs C. kept her own counsel as to one result of that calling back, and told no one of her having seen the robber’s face unmasked.

Some weeks had passed away, when one evening Mrs C. was at the Assembly Rooms, together with all ‘the rank and fashion’ of Bath. She was talking to a friend, a gentleman named Mr M., and at the same time surveying the ladies and gentlemen who frequented the Assembly, when she suddenly exclaimed: ‘There’s the man who robbed me!’

‘Where?’ asked Mr M., in great astonishment.

Mrs C. pointed to a fashionably dressed young man who was talking to some of the company.

‘My dear Mrs C.,’ said Mr M., ‘pray, be more careful. You really must not bring such an accusation as this against that gentleman. Why, he is young H., son of Mr H. of ——, a very wealthy and well-known man; and young H. is in all the best company. I know him well as a friend.’ This was said in a joking manner, as Mr M. thought that Mrs C. was making an absurd mistake, deceived perhaps by some slight, or even fancied, resemblance.

But Mrs C. said seriously: ‘I do not care who he is, or what his father is, or even as to his being a friend of yours. That is the man who robbed me! I am quite certain about him, for when he turned back to take my purse and watch, his crape-mask blew aside, and I distinctly saw his face. I remember it perfectly.’

Mr M. again tried to persuade her that she was mistaken; but to no purpose. Still trying to make a joke of her supposed extraordinary delusion, he said to Mrs C.: ‘I will bring him here, and introduce him to you, and then see{414} if you will still assert he is a highwayman!’ Before she could decline the introduction, Mr M. crossed the room to where the young man was standing, and said with a smile: ‘Here’s a joke, H. That lady over there declares you are a highwayman, and that you are the man who robbed her a few weeks since! Come and be introduced to her.’

But young H. did not take the joke as his friend meant it; on the contrary, he answered in rather an ill-tempered manner: ‘I do not want to be introduced to the old fool!’

‘Well,’ said Mr M., ‘you need not have taken it in that way, and lost your temper about such a trifle. Of course I was only in fun. I thought you would have enjoyed the joke, and tried to persuade her that you were an honest man, and not a gentleman of the road. Pray, do not be offended.’ So saying, Mr M. returned to Mrs C., and reported that the young gentleman had taken the joke in ill part, and refused to be introduced to her.

Once more Mrs C. declared it was neither a joke nor a mistake, but that in serious fact young H. was the highwayman whom she had called back to take her watch and purse. The subject was then allowed to drop; and after a little conversation on other matters, Mr M. took his leave of Mrs C., with the intention of smoothing the matter over with his friend H., as he did not want their friendship to be interrupted, and he had clearly seen that Mr H. was much annoyed. With this friendly intention he looked about in the Assembly Rooms for young Mr H., but without success. He then inquired of some mutual friends, and was told that young Mr H. had left the Rooms almost directly after he, Mr M., had last spoken to him, and had seemed much annoyed and disturbed.

This account made Mr M. all the more anxious to find his friend and put the matter right with him. Leaving the Rooms, Mr M. looked in at their club, and at two or three other places where he thought it likely he might find Mr H. But his search was unsuccessful; and he had to go home without seeing his friend, comforting himself with the thought that he would next day call on Mr H. at his father’s house, where he lived.

But next day young H. was not at his father’s; nor indeed did he ever again appear in Bath. When he left the Assembly Rooms, he returned home, changed his dress, and at once left Bath, and—it was supposed—left England also at the earliest opportunity.

Of the grief and agony of his father and of his family, I will not speak; it can easily be imagined what distress and shame they suffered.

Mr H., the father, was a wealthy man, of good position and family; but the young man, an only son, brought up to no profession, but only to inherit his father’s riches, had fallen, probably from sheer want of employment, into bad company, had played for very high stakes—lost—played again—exhausted his father’s patience in paying his debts, and at last had ‘taken to the road’ to replenish his purse—a not very uncommon proceeding in those days—while at the same time keeping his place in society.

From his unbusiness-like haste and want of looking after the whole of the booty, in the case of Mrs C. and her friend, it is to be presumed that he had only lately adopted the practice of—as it was politely called—‘collecting his rents on the road,’ even if it was not his first attempt. How long, however, he might have continued the ‘collection,’ but for the accident of the mask having been blown aside, is another question.

If this were fiction, I might enlarge on young H.’s future career in another land. I might, on the one hand, make him go from bad to worse, and end his career by murder and a murderer’s death. Or, on the other hand, I might depict him as leading a new life in a new country, and eventually returning to England, to the joy and comfort of his family, and worthily inheriting his father’s wealth and position. I might even describe his penitent introduction to Mrs C., and his deep gratitude to her for checking him in his downward career; and still further might end the romance by his falling in love with, and marrying Mrs C.’s daughter. But romance is denied to me, for the story is not fiction, but fact in all its details. Mrs C. was an ancestress of the writer’s, and the story has been handed down in the family.

Being, therefore, obliged to keep to facts, I am compelled to admit that I know nothing as to young H.’s after-life; so I must close my true history by supposing that he was never again heard of in his native country for good or evil, after his detection by Mrs C. as ‘a gentleman of the road.’


There is no lack of literature about Cornwall. Hardly any other county in England finds so many to write about it. It is a favourite with novelists as a place in which to give their imaginary characters ‘a local habitation and a name;’ and Tre, Pol, and Pen abound in their pages. Every year there is a crop of articles about it in the newspapers and magazines for the benefit of those who choose it for the scene of their autumn rambles, or who wish to renew their recollection of its rocky headlands, washed by the deep-blue Atlantic waves, its sheltered coves, its glorious sunsets, and its wealth of ferns and rare birds and flowers. In nine cases out of ten, it is of the Land’s End and its neighbourhood that people thus write; indeed, in the minds of many at a distance, the Land’s End is Cornwall, much as the Fens are popularly supposed to be Lincolnshire. But there is much that is interesting about the county and its people which only those who live in Cornwall are likely to observe. It is not as other counties, and the Cornish are not as other folk who live ‘up the country’—the local name for all beyond the Tamar. They have peculiarities of custom and of speech, not to be accounted for merely by the fact that they are far away from the great centres of national life, and are, as it were, living in the day before yesterday. They are of a distinct race, the kindred of the Welsh, the Irish, and the Bretons, but a race whose language has perished, save in the names of places and people; and the tongue they speak is not the English of to-day, but, with a mixture of Celtic idiom, the English of two centuries ago, the English of our translation of the Bible. Cornwall is emphatically an ancient county, and there is an unmistakably{415} old-world flavour about everything that belongs to it.

One thing which particularly strikes any one who converses much with the labouring classes is, that they speak much more grammatically than their compeers usually do. There are the peculiar idioms which we have just mentioned; but apart from these, the language is rather that of educated people than what one usually hears in other counties. This arises from the fact that English was scarcely introduced into Cornwall until the Elizabethan age, and that when it was introduced it was by the upper classes. The rest, who used Cornish for their intercourse with each other, learned English as a foreign tongue, and learned the refined form of it. That form it still retains; and hence, quaint and odd as it is when used in the Cornish way, from the lips of these western folk it is never vulgar. We are not well enough read in the mysteries of the ancient tongue to know the reason for the singular use of the personal pronouns, but certain it is that they seem to have a rooted antipathy to the objective case. ‘Tell it to she,’ ‘Bring he to I,’ and ‘This is for we,’ are the universal forms. Then the preposition ‘to’ is always used instead of ‘at,’ as, ‘I live to Bodmin.’ In Cornwall, too, people are never surprised, but ‘frightened’ or ‘hurried;’ never in a bad temper, but in a ‘poor’ one; and the very eggs and milk, if kept too long, go ‘poor.’ When they live beyond their means, they ‘go scat;’ and if they are not too particular as to honourable dealing, they ‘furneague.’

But in spite of these peculiarities, one hears the ring of good old English speech, such as nowadays we may look for vainly elsewhere, save in the pages of the Bible. Girls are spoken of as the maids or the maidens, and when they leave the house, they ‘go forth.’ ‘Come forth, my son,’ is an invitation one often hears, occasionally even when ‘my son’ turns out to be a horse or a dog. And if we wish to know the name of any little boy whom we may meet, the best chance of getting an intelligible answer is to put the question in the form of, ‘How are you called, my son?’

In things that meet the eye, too, we seem to have come into an older world in Cornwall. There are the old-fashioned earthen or ‘clomb’ pitchers, of exactly the pattern we see in the pictures of old Bibles in the hands of Rebekah or Zipporah; though we cannot say we ever saw one balanced upon the top of a woman’s head. Till very lately, oxen were still used to draw the plough; and to this day, in the country districts, kitchen stoves, and indeed coal-fires of any sort, are hardly known. The fuel is commonly dried furze, which is burned either in an earthen oven or on a wide open hearth. It is thrown on piece by piece with a pitchfork, till the iron plate on which the baking is to be done is considered hot enough; then the plate is swept clean, and the cakes—biscuits, as they are termed—or pasties having been ranged in order upon it, an iron vessel shaped somewhat like a flower-pot is turned over them, the furze is again piled on, and a large heap of glowing embers raked over all. No further attention is paid to the cooking; but when the embers are cold, the things are done. And those pasties, what wonderful productions they are to the uninitiated; there appears to be scarcely any article of food that does not find its way into them. Parsley pasties, turnip pasties (very good these are, too), ‘licky,’ that is, leek pasties, pasties of conger-eel, of potatoes and bacon, of all kinds of meat and of all kinds of fruit, the variety is endless.

In the old days, the Cornish were great smugglers. Indeed, the natural features of the coast are such, that they would have been almost more than human if they were not. Even when it did not pay very well, the love of adventure enlisted the whole population in its favour. The farmers who did not themselves help to run a cargo on a moonless night, would, when the riders—the coastguard—were out of the way, lend their horses to those who did, so that long before daylight the kegs were all carried off far inland, or stowed away in the hiding-holes which nearly every house possessed. A darker page of Cornish history is that of the days of wrecking. Terrible sights have some of those pitiless beaches witnessed, when the doomed vessel was lured on by false lights to be the prey of men more pitiless still. At St Eval, between Padstow and Newquay, a lame horse used to be led on stormy nights along the cliffs with a lantern fixed on its head; and many a craft, supposing it to be the light of a ship riding at anchor, was then steered by her luckless crew straight into the very jaws of death. Wrecks were looked upon as a legitimate harvest of the sea, even as things to be prayed for, like a shoal of pilchards or a lode of tin. The remains of that feeling are not extinct even yet. A few years ago, a vessel laden with Manchester goods was wrecked on the north coast. Her name was the Good Samaritan. Of course such of her cargo as was saved was supposed to be handed over to the coastguard, according to law; but a good deal of flotsam and jetsam was quietly appropriated notwithstanding, the fortunate finders never dreaming that there could be anything morally wrong in such acquisitions, though they might not be strictly legal. Some months afterwards, a lady of the neighbourhood was visiting the cottagers and asking them how they had got through the hard winter that was just over; and she was told by one of the simple folk that times had been bad indeed, that work had been slack and wages low, and that it had been a severe struggle to keep a home together. ‘And indeed I don’t know what we should have done, if the Lord hadn’t sent us the Good Samaritan!’

It is reported of a worthy old parson on the west coast at the end of the last century, when wrecks were considered as godsends, and it was an article of faith that the owners of a ship lost all title to their property the moment her keel touched ground, that in the long extempore prayer which, in defiance of the rubrics, was then generally indulged in before the sermon, he was accustomed, as the winter drew on, to introduce a reference to this grim ocean harvest, in some such style as this: ‘Lord, we do not pray for wrecks; but since there must be some, grant, we beseech Thee, that they may be on our beach.’ Perhaps this was the divine who was in the middle of his sermon when the news reached the church that a vessel had just struck and was going to pieces in the bay, and who instantly concluded with the benediction, and{416} left his surplice in the pulpit, so that he and his congregation might start fair upon the shore. Yet eager as was the rivalry for what could be snatched from the sea, there was no pilfering from any man’s heap. To this day, you have but to put a stone upon anything you find upon the beach, in token that it has been ‘saved,’ and you may leave it in perfect safety, for no Cornishman will take it then. If, on your return, you find it gone, you may be sure that some less scrupulous ‘up-country people’ have been by that way.

As to the ferns, every botanist knows the green treasures of this western land. Indeed, we wish he did not know quite so well; for though men of science may be trusted to pursue their researches without wanton destruction of the beauties of nature, it is too often far otherwise with the tourist. It is not only ’Arry who is to blame in this matter; those from whom one might expect more consideration for the feelings and the rights of others are not seldom the greatest sinners of all. Only last summer, a young man actually stripped two large hamperfuls of the beautiful sea-fern (Asplenium marinum) from the roof of a cave, utterly ruining its beauty for several years to come. There were plenty of specimens to be had elsewhere upon the cliffs for the climbing; but he must needs get a ladder and take fifty times as many as he could possibly want, just where it most grieved the inhabitants of the neighbourhood to lose them. But we fear our righteous indignation at the iniquities of the tourist will run away with us—how he ruthlessly exterminates rare ferns; how he comes into churches where service is going on, and walks about and stares around him; how he strews scenes of natural loveliness with his sandwich papers and his broken bottles; how he thinks to add interest to the rocks and cliffs by inscribing his name and the date of his visit upon their face. It is his mission, we suppose, to ‘vulgarise creation.’ But Cornwall will take a great deal of spoiling yet, and so will its people and its language, menaced as this last is by the penny paper and the Board School. And those who like a peep into a world which, in spite of railways and telegraphs and newspapers and nineteenth-century ideas, is still an old world, and full of old and quaint and beautiful things, will find enough in Cornwall to occupy them, as a Cornishman would say, for a ‘brave little bit of time.’


The Rev. Harry Jones, writing in the Sunday at Home, says: ‘Some people, especially if they marry young and on the impulse of some taking fancy, without a due consideration of the very grave nature of the state they are entering, discover afterwards that his or her mate does not come up to the expectations which had been formed. The light and laughing love of the marriage and the early periods of married life are succeeded by a sense of disappointment. Then comes domestic indifference, perhaps recrimination. Both man and wife are deceived, and undeceived. Unintentionally perhaps, but really. Both feel, as it were, entangled. They have married in haste, and repent too often, not at leisure, but with mutual bitterness and ill-concealed unconcern for one another. Each generally thinks the other most to blame. And I do not believe that I am overstepping the limits of appropriate language when I say that the idea of being caught in a net represents their secret convictions. Here is a disastrous state of affairs. In this country, such a net cannot be easily broken. The pair have married for worse, in a more serious sense than these words are intended to bear in the marriage vows. What is to be done? I should very imperfectly express my advice if I simply said, “Make the best of it.” For though this is a rude rendering of the advice needed, much might be said to show how this can be done after a Christian way.... It is a great Christian rule that, to be loved, we must show kindness and consideration, and not expect to receive what we do not grant ourselves. “Give,” says Christ, “and it shall be given unto you. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.” And if this applies anywhere, it applies most in the case of those who are in the close relationship of husband and wife. Clouds sometimes come over the married life because too much consideration is expected. Show it, I would say, rather than demand it, if it has seemed to come short. Do not think to mend matters by a half-grudging endurance, but ask God to give His sacred help to the keeping of the rule “bear and forbear.” So may a hasty marriage, the beauty of which has been spoilt by some misunderstandings, ripen into the true affection which should mark this holy estate, and the cloud of disappointment give place to a love which rests upon no passing fancy, but upon an honest Christian observance between man and wife of the vow betwixt them made. So may the miserable afterthought of having been entangled in a relationship be blotted out, and succeeded, as years go on, by a love cemented with the desire to do right before God, in whose presence, and with prayer for whose blessing, the relationship was begun.’


An August day
Now passed away
For ever;
A sunny smile,
A little while
Two eyes so bright,
Still by their light
I’m haunted;
A small soft hand,
A fairy wand
A mossy seat,
So cool, and sweet,
And pleasant;
Who could despond,
Or look beyond
That present?
A river cool,
A deep, dark pool,
Still waters;
A word of love
To fairest of
Eve’s daughters.
A shady walk,
A little talk,
And laughter;
So days may go,
But grief and woe
Come after.
Sweet August day,
So far away
You left me gay,
I’m now for aye
Nora C. Usher.

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