The Project Gutenberg eBook of Chambers's journal of popular literature, science, and art, fifth series, no. 119, vol. III, April 4, 1886

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Title: Chambers's journal of popular literature, science, and art, fifth series, no. 119, vol. III, April 4, 1886

Author: Various

Release date: March 9, 2023 [eBook #70245]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: William and Robert Chambers, 1853

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. 119.—Vol. III.




A pair of gloves, if you please.’—‘Yes, sir. Kid gloves?’ The customer indicates the kind of gloves he requires; and down comes a long shallow box, divided into several compartments, in each of which there lies a neat bundle of gloves of various colours and shades, held together by a band of paper. ‘What size, sir?’ The size is mentioned; and one of the bundles is lifted out of its compartment and quickly and carefully opened at one end. Gloves of the exact size and shade required are selected, the price is paid, and there, for the most part, the transaction ends. How many of the thousands who every day go through this process have any idea of where and how the soft, delicate, tight-fitting gloves they wear are made?

Enormous numbers—said to exceed two-thirds of the entire consumption—are imported from France, Germany, and Sweden. But there is a large home manufacture, which is carried on to a considerable extent in and about Worcester, but principally in the west of England.

If the reader will glance at a railway map, and let his eye follow the main line of the London and South-Western Railway, he will find, about midway between Salisbury and Exeter, a station marked Yeovil Junction. Should he actually travel down the line and change at this junction, he would speedily find himself landed at the ancient market-town of Yeovil, the centre and capital of the glove-trade, or as it is locally described, ‘the gloving’—a town of about eight thousand inhabitants. A visitor from the North or the Midlands would probably be surprised, on entering the gloving metropolis, to find nothing of the noise or dirt which is usually associated with manufacturing industry. No tall chimneys belch out black clouds of smoke; no gaunt factories rear themselves aloft above the houses; no ponderous machinery makes its throb felt even by passers-by in the streets. No obtrusive signs of the trade which is being carried on meet the eye anywhere. The place is clean and bright and quiet; and surrounded by green hills and luxuriant valleys dotted over with magnificent timber. Yet it looks—what, indeed, inquiry proves it to be—a prosperous and thriving town, presenting a marked and agreeable contrast to most of the sleepy old towns whose glory has long since departed, in this beautiful west country that Kingsley loved so well. In this respect the capital is a fair sample of all the gloving centres—a general air of prosperity pervades them all.

The area over which the trade extends is not large. A line drawn east and west through Yeovil and continued for ten miles in each direction would intersect the whole district, which lies on the borderland of Somerset and Dorset, and includes some half-dozen small towns and fair-sized villages, of which Milborne Port, Sherborne, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, and Martock are the principal. Nor can the trade itself be compared for magnitude with many other industries; it is a mere pigmy beside the cotton, the iron, or the woollen trade.

Let us have the pleasure of conducting the reader over one of the glove factories, fourteen or fifteen of which may be found in Yeovil alone, that he may see the present state of one of the most ancient industries in the country, and have an idea of the number and variety of the processes and hands through which his gloves have passed.

Beginning at the beginning, we enter a room in which the raw material lies before us in the shape of hundreds of bundles of sheep-skins tanned and bleached as white as the driven snow. Handling them, we find them soft and elastic to the touch. These are not the skins of our high-bred English sheep, which are wholly unfit for the purpose, but the skins of half-wild mountain-sheep, which are collected by Jews over the east of Europe and the western part of Asia. The glover does not care for the skins of your wool-producing sheep; his dictum is, ‘the rougher the hair, the better the pelt’ (skin). These skins were formerly imported untanned;{226} but the German tanners have now beaten the English tanners out of the market, and they are bought in the condition in which we now see them here, in Berlin or Vienna. As the skins are required, they are taken out of the store and soaked in a vat containing the yolks of eggs, in the proportion of ten dozen skins to one gallon of yolks. In order to secure that every part of the skins shall be thoroughly soaked, they are trodden by men’s feet. This is done, it is said, ‘to feed or nourish them;’ or, in other words, to make them still softer and more elastic. The soaking over, the skins are next taken to the dyehouse, and laid face uppermost on a slightly convex, lead-covered board. Here they are rapidly and frequently brushed over with dyestuff until they have absorbed a sufficient quantity to give them the desired colour, when they are again brushed with what is called ‘a striker’—that is, a liquid preparation that will fix and render permanent the dye already put on them.

The skin is next hung up in a stove or heated room, where it rapidly dries. When dry, it is handed over to a man whose business it is to examine it; and if, as is almost always the case, it is too thick for the purpose for which it is intended, or is of unequal thickness, to pare it down until it is of the required thickness and of one uniform thickness all over. In some places this process is carried on in the factory, but more commonly in an outbuilding attached to the workman’s home. It is done by means of a peculiar knife, shaped like a quoit, the outer edge of which is kept very sharp. Fixing the skin, by a dexterous movement of the hand, to a horizontal bar in front of him, he lays hold of it with the left hand to keep it stretched, and with the right hand scrapes off so much of the fleshy matter at the back of it as may be needed. Considerable skill is required to pare the skin without cutting it, and should the workman be awkward, he may not only injure his work but seriously cut himself.

The skins are next passed under the eye of an experienced workman, who assorts them into their various qualities. After this, they are passed on to another room, where they are first rolled up in damp cloths, very much after the manner in which a laundress rolls up clothes preparatory to wringing the water out of them; and, when so rolled up, they are vigorously pulled, so as to develop their utmost stretching capacity from head to tail. Then they are spread out on a broad flat table, and carefully, though very quickly, for the workman’s eye gets exceedingly sharp, examined for flaws or defects of any kind, such as the scar left by a wound or thorn-scratch, or a thin place, which when found is instantly made into a hole. The examination over, the cutter has made up his mind how this particular skin before him can be cut up to the best advantage—that is, in such a manner as to leave as little waste as possible. His mind made up, he lays on a paper pattern, taking care to place it so that it shall be the right way of the grain and not across it; then, with a pair of shears, resembling sheep-shears, he cuts it into as many oblong squares—each of which is just large enough for one glove—as the material will admit of. Out of the parts left he cuts pieces for the thumbs and fourchettes or sides of the fingers—usually pronounced ‘forgets’—and for the binding round the top and the opening just above the palm of the hand, which are called ‘welts.’ Having cut a number of skins, he proceeds to pair the pieces, endeavouring to match them exactly in colour and quality, and to make up little bundles containing all the pieces necessary for each pair of gloves. This process is one of the most important of all those through which the leather passes. A clumsy or careless workman will cut it to waste, getting several pairs of gloves less out of a dozen skins than a clever and careful one. As we watch the process, we are struck with the rapidity with which the work is done, and with the skill shown in dealing with flaws in the leather. Here, for example, is a skin with a hole in the best part of it about the size of a shilling; with seeming rashness, the man cuts the leather so that that very hole comes into one of the oblong squares. We call attention to the fact, when, with a smile, he points out that at that precise point a hole will be required for the thumb-piece.

The pieces of leather, called in the trade ‘trancs’—for they are no longer skins—are now passed on to another room, where they are cut into their final shape. Hitherto, we have been dealing with the preparation of the material for gloves, and a stranger might have followed all the processes so far without gathering from what he saw any indication of the use to be made of these pieces of leather. But now they begin to assume a shape which cannot be mistaken. The reader, especially the fair reader, has doubtless often seen, if not used, the shapes with which pastry is cut into leaves, circles, squares, and so on. Now, if you will put your two hands together, palms uppermost, and imagine a shape that would cut out the figure made by these two hands, minus the thumbs, and treating the two little fingers as one, you will have a very fair idea of a glover’s punch or ‘web.’ In the room we now enter we find quite a number of these punches, agreeing with the number of sizes manufactured. One of them is laid on a sliding table edge uppermost; then six of these oblong squares of leather—which have been placed face to face in pairs, so that right and left hand gloves may be cut together—are laid upon it, and covered with a thick pad of wood or vulcanite. The table is pushed forward until the punch and its burden rest under an iron press, not unlike a printing-press. One pull at the powerful lever, and the press comes down, and the leather is cut. The thumb-pieces are next treated in the same manner. Up the back of every pair of gloves there are three lines of ornamental work of some kind. If these gloves are to have the heavy silk-work on the back called tambouring, they will now be laid upon a block and punctured with as many holes as there are to be stitches in the tambour-work. Before leaving this room, the size of the gloves is stamped on the inside of one, and a consecutive or matching number is written inside each of the two pieces of leather that are now an embryo pair of gloves, so that if, in any of the subsequent processes, they should be accidentally separated, they may be identified and brought together{227} again. After they have been looked over and carefully perfected with scissors wherever the punch may have left a jagged edge, they are ready to resume their travels.

Tied up in bundles of a dozen, they are given to women, who do the ornamental work on the back of the gloves. Some of these women work on the premises, and others at home. Most of the tambouring, which is very popular, is done in cottage homes. Entering one of these cottages, you may see a woman rocking a cradle with one foot, and giving an occasional glance at the dinner cooking on the fire, while she bends over a frame on which the gloves are stretched, and with a crochet-hook, and apparently little more attention than a knitter gives to her stocking, she quickly adds those three times three rows of silk-work up what will be the back of the gloves. Carrying back the gloves to the factory, she will receive ninepence a dozen for her work.

The gloves are next given out to other women, who also work at home, to be stitched—that is, to have the fingers completed and the thumbs put in. This is now nearly all done by a recently invented and cleverly adapted sewing-machine, the needle of which comes down on the tip of an upright iron finger. Gloves are not all stitched in the immediate neighbourhood of the factories, but are often sent long distances into remote country villages, where, work being scarce, labour is cheap. And to facilitate this, a class of middle men (or women) has grown up—people who come in from the country to the factories, and take away a hundred or a hundred and fifty dozen a week, which they distribute among the women of the village in which they live, collect again when finished, and bring back to the factory. These putters-out or bagmen are paid the usual price, some half-crown a dozen for the stitching, and make their own bargain with the actual workers. They are generally supposed to make a profit of about threepence a dozen; but, as a matter of fact, being shopkeepers, they commonly make two profits—one on the gloves, and another on the goods the sewers purchase at their shops. These people have a somewhat difficult part to play, as they stand between two fires; but they are a most useful class, and carry work and its rewards into many villages where, but for them, they would never come. They have done much to stay the exodus of the population from this part of the agricultural districts, enabling parents to keep their young people, and especially their young women, at home, instead of sending them to the great towns to seek for employment.

Having come back from the stitchers, the gloves are sent out once more. If they are heavy winter gloves, they are sent out to be lined with warm soft cotton material. If they are lighter goods, they are at once despatched to be welted—that is, to have the binding put round the top and the opening at the wrist. The buttons or clasps, as the case may be, are next added; that done, they come back to the factory for the last time, and pass the final examination.

They have still a rough, tumbled, unfinished look, which would prove anything but tempting to a purchaser. They are now forwarded to the laying-out room, where they are stretched with ordinary glove-stretchers, and then put on heated steel hands, which take out all the creases and improve their appearance. Nothing now remains but to assort them, to put them up in neat bundles according to size, to pack them in boxes, and to send them to market.

The special gloves that we have been following through all their stages are those which are known in the trade as ‘grain’ goods, and are sold to the public under the name of dogskin, Cape, and other names, each name indicating some peculiarity in the quality and finish of the leather. Many other kinds of gloves are made in the district, such as calf and buck and doe skin; the calf gloves are made from English calf-skins, and the buck and doe from English lambskins. There is also a large manufacture of fabric gloves—in other words, of gloves made of cotton, woollen, silk, or merino material. Real kid, however, is nowhere made in this district. The processes through which leather gloves of every kind pass are very much the same as those described above, and the manufacture of fabric gloves differs only in the comparative fewness of its stages, beginning with the process of punching the material into the required shape. After that, its course is undistinguishable from that of the manufacture of leather gloves.

There are altogether about five-and-twenty factories in the district, ranging from one which claims to be the largest glove factory in the world, and is capable of turning out forty thousand pairs per week, to some which produce only from five hundred to a thousand pairs in the same time. These factories give employment to nearly ten thousand persons, five-sixths of whom are women. Only about a quarter of the employees work in the factories; the rest take the work home, and in many cases do it in time which would otherwise be wasted. By thus finding employment for the wives and daughters of an immense number of agricultural labourers—an employment which in no way interferes with their domestic duties—the gloving brings a large amount of comfort into the homes of the peasantry of the west, and alleviates a lot which would under other circumstances be hard and hopeless in the extreme.



It was the very next day when the governor’s wife came to call. In any case, Lady Modyford would have had to call on Marian; for etiquette demands, from the head of the colony at least, a strict disregard for distinctions of cuticle, real or imaginary. But Nora Dupuy had seen Lady Modyford that very morning, and had told her all the absurd story of the Hawthorns’ social disqualifications. Now, the governor’s wife was a woman of the world, accustomed to many colonial societies, big and small, as well as to the infinitely greater world of London; and she was naturally moved, at first hearing, rather to amusement than to indignation at the idea of Tom Dupuy setting himself up as the social superior of a fellow of Catherine’s and barrister{228} of the Inner Temple. This point of view itself certainly lost nothing from Nora’s emphatic way of putting it; for, though Nora had herself a bountiful supply of fine old crusted West Indian prejudices, producible on occasion, and looked down upon ‘brown people’ of every shade with that peculiarly profound contempt possible only to a descendant of the old vanquished slave-owning oligarchy, yet her personal affection for Marian and Edward was quite strong enough to override all such abstract considerations of invisible colour; and her sense of humour was quite keen enough to make her feel the full ridiculousness of comparing such a man as Edward Hawthorn with her own loutish sugar-growing cousin. She had lived so long in England, as Tom Dupuy himself would have said, that she had begun to pick up at least some faint tincture of these newfangled Exeter Hall opinions; in other words, she had acquired a little ballast of common-sense and knowledge of life at large to weigh down in part her tolerably large original cargo of colonial prejudices.

But when Nora came to tell Lady Modyford, as far as she knew them, the indignities to which the Hawthorns had already been subjected by the pure blue blood of Trinidad, the governor’s wife began to perceive there was more in it than matter for mere laughter; and she bridled up a little haughtily at the mention of Mr Tom Dupuy’s free-spoken comments, as overheard by Nora on the Orange Grove piazza. ‘Nigger people!’ the fat, good-natured, motherly, little body echoed, angrily. ‘Did he say nigger people, my dear?—What! a daughter of General Ord of the Bengal infantry—why, I came home from Singapore in the same steamer with her mother, the year my father went away from the Straits Settlements to South Australia! Do you mean to say, my dear, they won’t call upon her, because she’s married a son of that nice old Mr Hawthorn with the white beard up at Agualta! A perfect gentleman, too! Dear me, how very abominable! You must excuse my saying it, my child, but really you West Indian people do mistake your own little hole and corner for the great world, in a most extraordinary sort of a fashion. Now, confess to me, don’t you?’

So the same afternoon, Lady Modyford had powdered her round, fat, little face, and put on her pretty coquettish French bonnet, and driven round in full state from Government House to Edward Hawthorn’s new bungalow in the Westmoreland valleys.

As the carriage with its red-liveried black footmen drove up to the door, Marian’s heart sank once more within her: she knew it was the governor’s wife come to call; and she had a vague presentiment in her own mind that the fat little woman inside the carriage would send in her card out of formal politeness, and drive away at once without waiting to see her. But instead of that, Lady Modyford came up the steps with great demureness, and walked into the bare drawing-room, after Marian’s rather untidy and quite raw black waiting-maid; and the moment she saw Marian, she stepped up to her very impulsively, and held out both her hands, and kissed the poor young bride on either cheek with genuine tenderness. ‘My dear,’ she said, with a motherly tremor in her kind old voice, ‘you must forgive me for making myself quite at home with you at once, and not standing upon ceremony in any way; but I knew your mother years ago—she was just like you then—and I know what a lonely thing it is for a newly married girl to come out to a country like this, quite away from her own people; and I shall be so glad if you’ll take Sir Adalbert and me just as we are. We’re homely people, and we don’t live far away from you; and if you’ll run round and see me any time you feel lonely or are in want of anything, why, you know, of course, my dear, we shall be delighted to see you.’

And then, before Marian could wipe away the tears that rose quickly to her eyes, fat little Lady Modyford had gone off into reminiscences of Singapore and Bombay, and that dear Mrs Ord, and the baby that died—‘Your sister, you know, my dear—the one that was born at Calcutta, and died soon after your dear mamma reached England.—No, of course, my dear; your mamma couldn’t know that I was here, because, you see, when she and I came home together—why, that was twenty-two years ago—no, twenty-four, I declare, because Sir Adalbert—he was plain Mr Modyford then, on three hundred a year, in the Straits Settlements colonial service—didn’t propose to me till the next summer, when he came home on leave, you know, just before he was removed to Hong-kong by that horrid Lord Modbury, who was Colonial Secretary in those days, and afterwards died of suppressed gout, the doctors said, at his own villa at that delightful Spezzia. So you see I was Kitty Fitzroy at that time, my child; and I daresay your mamma, who’s older than me a good bit, of course, never heard about my marrying Sir Adalbert, for we were married very quietly down in Devonshire, where Sir Adalbert’s father was a rector in a very small parish, on a tiny income; and we started at once for Hong-kong, and spent our honeymoon at Venice—a nasty, damp, uncomfortable place for a wedding tour, I call it, but not nearly so bad as you coming out here straight from the church door almost, Miss Dupuy told me; and Trinidad too, well known to be an unsociable, dead-alive sort of an island. But whenever you like, dear, you must just jump on your horse—you’ve got horses, of course?—yes, I thought so—and ride over to Government House, and have a good chat with me and Emily; for, indeed, Mrs Hawthorn—what’s your Christian name?—Marian—ah, very pretty—we should like to see you as often as you choose; and next week, after you’ve settled down a little, you must really come up and stop some time with us; for I assure you I have quite taken a fancy to you, my dear; and Sir Adalbert, when he saw Mr Hawthorn the other day, at the Island Secretary’s office, came home quite delighted, and said to me: “Kitty, the young man they’ve sent out for the new District judge is the very man to keep that something old fool Dupuy in order in future.”’

Lady Modyford waited a good deal longer than is usual with a first call, and got very friendly indeed with poor Marian before the end of her visit; for coarse-grained woman of the world as she was, her heart warmed not{229} a little towards the friendless young bride who had come out to Trinidad—dull hole, Trinidad, not at all like Singapore, or Mauritius, or Cape Town—to find herself so utterly deserted by all society. And next day, all female Trinidad was talking, over five-o’-clock tea, about the remarkable fact, learnt indirectly through those unrecognised purveyors of fashionable intelligence, the servants, that that horrid proud Lady Modyford—‘who treats you and me, my dear, as if we were the dirt beneath her feet, don’t you know, and must call with two footmen and so much grandeur and formality’—had actually kissed that brown man’s wife, that’s to be the new District judge in Westmoreland, on both cheeks, the very first moment she saw her. Female Trinidad was so inexpressibly shocked at this disgraceful behaviour in a person officially charged with the maintenance of a high standard of decorum, that it was really half inclined to think it ought to cut Lady Modyford direct on next meeting her. It was restrained from this extreme measure, however, by a wholesome consideration of the fact that Lady Modyford would undoubtedly take the rebuff with unruffled amusement; so it contented itself by merely showing a little coldness to the governor’s wife when it happened to meet her, and refusing to enter into conversation with her on the subject of Marian and Edward Hawthorn.

As for Marian herself, she had a good cry, as soon as Lady Modyford was gone, over this interview also. Kind as the governor’s wife had wished to show herself, and genuinely sympathetic as she had actually been, Marian couldn’t help recognising that there was a certain profound undercurrent of degradation in having to accept the ready sympathy of such a woman at all on such a matter. Anywhere else, Marian would have felt that Lady Modyford, motherly as she was, stood just a grade or two by nature below her; in fact, she felt so there too; but still, she was compelled by circumstances to take the good fat body’s consolation and condolence as a sort of favour; while anywhere else she would rather have repelled it as a disagreeable impertinence, or at least as a distasteful interference with her own individuality. It was impossible not to be dimly conscious that coming to Trinidad had made a real difference in her own social position. At home, she had no need for anybody’s condescension or anybody’s affability; here, she was forced to recognise the fact that even Lady Modyford was making generous concessions on purpose in her favour. It was galling, but it was inevitable. There is nothing more painful to persons who have always mixed in society on terms of perfect and undoubted equality, than thus to put themselves into false positions, where it is possible for equals, or even for natural inferiors, to seem to patronise them.

Nevertheless, that evening, Marian said to Edward very firmly: ‘Edward, you must make up your mind to stop in Trinidad. I shall never feel so much confidence again in your real courage if you turn and run from Nora’s father. Besides, now Lady Modyford has called, and Nora has been here, I daresay we shall get a little society of our own—people who know too much about the outer world to be wholly governed by the fads and fancies of Trinidad planters.’

And Edward answered in a somewhat faltering voice: ‘Very well, my darling. One’s duty lies that way, I know; and if you’re strong enough to stand up and face it, why, I must try to face it also.’

And they did face it, with less difficulty even than they at first imagined. Presently, Mrs Castello came to call, the wife of the governor’s aide-de-camp: a pretty, pleasant, sisterly little woman, who struck up a mutual attachment with Marian almost at first sight, and often dropped in to see them afterwards. Then one or two others of the English officials brought their wives; and before long, when Marian went to stay at Government House, it was clear that in the imported official society at anyrate the Hawthorns were to be at least tolerated. Toleration is a miserable sort of standing for people to submit to; but in the last resort, it is better than isolation. And as time went on, the toleration grew into friendliness and intimacy in many quarters, though never among the native planter aristocracy. Those noble people, intensely proud of their pure white blood, held themselves entirely aloof with profound dignity. ‘Poor souls!’ Sir Adalbert Modyford said contemptuously to Captain Castello, ‘they forget how little it is to be proud of, and that every small street arab in London could consider himself a gentleman in Trinidad on the very self-same grounds of birth as they do.’


Never treat money affairs with levity—money is character.’ It is to be feared that many neglect this wise caution, and do not put conscience into the spending of their money, whatever they may do as regards the making of it. Rich people think that it is good for trade to be free-handed with wealth, and do not always distinguish between productive and unproductive expenditure. They are frequently guilty of demoralising the poorer classes by careless almsgiving and the bad example of their thoughtless money-spending.

Of course, so far as they are influenced by religious considerations, the rich recognise the truth that all their possessions are held in trust, and only lent to them by a superior Power for the service of their fellow-beings. But the rich have difficulties as well as the poor, and one of these lies in determining how to distribute their expenditure in a way that shall prove beneficial to society. The question, ‘To whom or to what cause shall I contribute money?’ must be a very anxious one to conscientious men of wealth. ‘How are we to measure,’ we may suppose rich men to ask, ‘the relative utility of charities? And then political economists are down upon us if, by mistake, we help those who might have helped themselves. It is easy to talk against our extravagance; tell us rather how to spend our money advantageously—that is to say, for the greatest good of the greatest number.’ The fact is, riches must now be considered by all good men as a distinct profession, with responsibilities no less onerous than those of other professions. And this very difficult profession of wealth ought to be learned by studying social science and otherwise with as much{230} care as the professions of divinity, law, and medicine are learned. When in this way the rich accept and prepare themselves for the duties of their high calling, it will cease to be a cause of complaint that, in the nature of things, money tends to fall into the hands of a few large capitalists.

Nor is the money-spending of the poor less careless than that of the rich. During the time of high wages, labouring people buy salmon and green peas when they are barely in season; and Professor Leone Levi computes that their annual drink-bill amounts to thirty-six millions. That is exactly the sum which the working-classes spend in rent; so, although better houses are the strongest and most imperative demands for the working-classes, those classes are spending, on the lowest estimate, a sum equal to what they are spending on rent.

Some two years ago, an eminent London physician went into Hyde Park and sat down upon a bench, and there sat down by him a pauper eighty years of age. The physician entered into conversation with him, and asked him what his trade was. The man said he was a carpenter.

‘A very good trade indeed. Well, how is it that you come at this time of life to be a pauper? Have you been addicted to drink?’

‘Not at all; I have only taken my three pints a day—never spent more than sixpence daily.’

The physician, taking out a pencil and a piece of paper, asked: ‘How long have you continued this practice of drinking three pints of ale a day?’

‘I am now eighty, and I have continued that practice, more or less, for sixty years.’

‘Very well,’ continued the physician, ‘I will just do the sum.’ He found that sixpence a day laid by for sixty years amounted, with compound interest, to three thousand two hundred and twenty-six pounds; and he said to the old carpenter: ‘My good man, instead of being a pauper, you might have been the possessor of three thousand two hundred and twenty-six pounds at this moment; in other words, you might have had one hundred and fifty pounds a year, or some three pounds a week, not by working an hour longer or doing anything differently, except by putting by the money that you have been spending day by day these sixty years on ale.’ The physician’s conclusion, however, should perhaps be modified by the consideration that if this man had ceased spending sixpence on beer, he might have required to spend a portion of that sixpence on an increased supply of food. But notwithstanding this, the physician’s argument is in the main a sound one.

It is not ‘ologies’ that the working-classes require to be taught so much, as the right use of money and the good things that can be purchased with it. It often astonishes the rich to see the wasteful expenditure of the poor; but an explanation will be found in the caution which Dr Johnson gives to men who fancy that poor girls must necessarily make the most economical wives. ‘A woman of fortune,’ he says, ‘being used to the handling of money, spends it judiciously; but a woman who gets the command of money for the first time upon her marriage, has such a gust in spending, that she throws it away with great profusion.’ That was excellent advice also which Dr Johnson gave to Boswell, when the latter inherited his paternal estates. ‘You, dear sir, have now a new station, and have therefore new cares and new employments. Life, as Cowley seems to say, ought to resemble a well-ordered poem; of which one rule generally received is, that the exordium should be simple and should promise little. Begin your new course of life with the least show and the least expense possible; you may at pleasure increase both, but you cannot easily diminish them. Do not think your estate your own while any man can call upon you for money which you cannot pay; therefore begin with timorous parsimony. Let it be your first care not to be in any man’s debt.’

People beginning to keep house should be careful not to pitch their scale of expenditure higher than they can hope to continue it, and they should remember that, as Lord Bacon said, ‘it is less dishonourable to abridge petty charges than to stoop to petty gettings.’

What an admirable manager of money was Mrs Carlyle! ‘There was,’ writes Mr Froude, ‘a discussion some years ago in the newspapers whether two people with the habits of a lady and a gentleman could live together in London on three hundred pounds a year. Mrs Carlyle, who often laughed about it while it was going on, will answer the question. No one who visited the Carlyles could tell whether they were poor or rich. There were no signs of extravagance, but also none of poverty. The drawing-room arrangements were exceptionally elegant. The furniture was simple, but solid and handsome; everything was scrupulously clean; everything good of its kind; and there was an air of ease, as of a household living within its means. Mrs Carlyle was well dressed always. Her admirable taste would make the most of inexpensive materials; but the materials themselves were of the very best. Carlyle himself generally kept a horse. They travelled, they visited, they were always generous and open-handed.’ All this was done on an income of not quite four hundred pounds. Of course Carlyle, as well as his wife, was imbued with Scotch thrift, showing itself in hatred of waste. If he saw a crust of bread on the roadway, he would stop to pick it up, and put it on a step or a railing. ‘Some poor creature might be glad of it, or at worst a dog or a sparrow. To destroy wholesome food is a sin.’

The thrifty wife of Benjamin Franklin felt it a gala day indeed when, by long accumulated small savings, she was able to surprise her husband one morning with a china cup and a silver spoon from which to take his breakfast. Franklin was shocked. ‘You see how luxury creeps into families in spite of principles,’ he said. When his meal was over, he went to the store and rolled home a wheelbarrow full of papers through the streets with his own hands, lest folk should get wind of the china cup and say he was above his business.

It is a great blessing to have been trained hardily. Those who have few wants are rich. Hundreds of middle-class people are heavily handicapped in the race of life because they find it hard to do without luxuries which they can ill afford to buy, but which they would{231} never have missed if they had not been accustomed to them in childhood. This must become every year more apparent, because the classes that have hitherto had the monopoly of education have now to compete with the working-classes trained to privation for generations.

But although the creeping-in of luxury should be guarded against at the commencement of married life, people should learn how to grow rich gracefully. It is no part of wisdom to depreciate the little elegances and social enjoyment of our homes. These things refine manners and enlarge the heart. A gentleman told Dr Johnson that he had bought a suit of lace for his wife. The Doctor said: ‘Well, sir, you have done a good thing and a wise thing.’ ‘I have done a good thing,’ said the gentleman; ‘but I do not know that I have done a wise thing.’ ‘Yes, sir,’ continued the Doctor; ‘no money is better spent than what is laid out for domestic satisfaction. A man is pleased that his wife is dressed as well as other people; and a wife is pleased that she is so dressed.’

We should be particular about money, but not penurious. The mistress of a well-ordered house takes broad and liberal views of things, and while cutting her coat according to her cloth, and as much as possible shielding her husband from the constant demand for money, which few masculine tempers can stand, she refrains from the wearying, petty economies which often enough are not worth the trouble and discomfort they entail. Economy is altogether different from penuriousness; for it is economy that can always best afford to be generous. Those who are careless about personal expenditure are often driven in the end to do very shabby things. Burns tells us that, ‘for the glorious privilege of being independent,’ we should ‘gather gear by every wile that’s justified by honour.’

‘Do not accustom yourself,’ said Dr Johnson, ‘to consider debt only as an inconvenience; you will find it a calamity.’ Only the other day the writer was speaking to an officer in the army who was so far from considering the debt which he owed to his tailor as either an inconvenience or a calamity, that he seemed to be quite proud of it. ‘My tailor,’ said he, ‘never duns me for the money. When I have a pound or two which I don’t want, I send it to him, just as other people put it in a bank.’ It was no use telling him that five or ten per cent. on the amount of his bill was being charged every year, and that on a day when he least expected it, payment would be demanded. Had this officer never heard of the General Order which was issued by Sir Charles Napier, in taking leave of his command in India? Sir Charles strongly urged in that famous document that ‘honesty is inseparable from the character of a thorough-bred gentleman;’ and that ‘to drink unpaid-for champagne and unpaid-for beer, and to ride unpaid-for horses, is to be a cheat, and not a gentleman.’

Men who lived beyond their means might be officers by virtue of their commissions, but they were not gentlemen. The habit of being constantly in debt, the general held, made men grow callous to the proper feelings of a gentleman. It was not enough that an officer should be able to fight; that, any bulldog could do. But did he hold his word inviolate? Did he pay his debts? He should be as ready to utter his valiant ‘No,’ or ‘I can’t afford it,’ to the invitations of pleasure and self-enjoyment, as to mount a breach amidst belching fire and the iron hail of machine-guns.

The Duke of Wellington kept an accurate detailed account of all the moneys received and expended by him. ‘I make a point,’ said he, ‘of paying my own bills, and I advise every one to do the same. Formerly, I used to trust a confidential servant to pay them; but I was cured of that folly by receiving one morning, to my great surprise, duns of a year or two’s standing. The fellow had speculated with my money and left my bills unpaid.’ Talking of debt, his remark was: ‘It makes a slave of a man. I have often known what it was to be in want of money, but I never got into debt.’ Washington was as particular as Wellington in matters of business detail, and he did not disdain to scrutinise the smallest outgoings of his household—determined as he was to live honestly within his means—even while holding the high office of President of the American Union.

To provide for others and for our own comfort and independence in old age, is honourable, and greatly to be commended; but to hoard for mere wealth’s sake is the characteristic of the narrow-souled and the miserly. ‘We must carry money in the head, not in the heart;’ that is to say, we must not make an idol of it, but regard it as a useful agent.

Some of the finest qualities of human nature are intimately related to the right use of money, such as generosity, honesty, justice, and self-sacrifice, as well as the practical virtues of economy and providence. On the other hand, there are their counterparts of avarice, fraud, injustice, and selfishness, as displayed by the inordinate lovers of gain; and the vices of thriftlessness, extravagance, and improvidence, on the part of those who misuse and abuse the means intrusted to them. ‘So that,’ as it has been well said, ‘a right measure and manner in getting, saving, spending, giving, taking, lending, borrowing, and bequeathing, would almost argue a perfect man.’



I obeyed Miss Cleabyrn’s injunction not to follow her, though I wished to restore the watch and chain she had left with me; but I strained my gaze in the direction she had taken. In the continued bellowing of the wind and through the driving rain, it was difficult to hear or see anything, even when close at hand; yet I fancied I could hear her footsteps, as she reached the lane which was at the foot of the railway bank, and could see her.—Yes! again I heard footsteps; but surely they were not hers; and the vague, shadowy glimpse of a form I obtained was not Beatrice Cleabyrn, and—I might be confused by the rain; but if not, there were two others.

It was in vain to strain my sight any longer; I could see and hear no more, so I returned to my duties; and in the morning I might almost have persuaded myself that all had been a dream,{232} but for the presence of the articles which Miss Cleabyrn had left with me.

I felt at liberty, and indeed felt bound to take my mother into the secret, as her house would probably be the place of refuge for the captain; but I did not tell her all I have now said. She was not informed of what I well knew was the true reason for Miss Cleabyrn seeking me out and intrusting me with so dangerous a secret.

The old lady, who was a confirmed student of the newspaper, and had long been interested in the fate and fortunes of the captain, was glad to have the chance of being of service to him, and arranged at once where he should sleep. We had not much choice, our cottage being but of four rooms.

My mate told me, when I went on duty, that it was rumoured at the Chequers that Captain Laurenston was in the neighbourhood for certain, and would be caught, worse luck! It was impossible that he could get away, there was such a lot on the lookout for him. I returned some indifferent answer, for, of course, I could not tell him how terribly I could have corroborated his tale. I could, however, and did, echo his last wish at leaving, that the officer might beat all his enemies.

It was again a soaking wet night; the wind had gone down, so that the rain did not drive as on the previous day, and there was no violence in the downpour, but it was steady and drenching enough. The usual passenger and goods trains had passed, and I grew nervous with expectancy. No idea had been given me as to when Captain Laurenston would make his appearance; but I could not help thinking it would be about the same time as my visitor had come on the previous evening; and I was right.

I took the precaution to turn my lamp down a little, so as to diminish the light; for there was no knowing what eyes might be on the watch, and I was standing at the entrance to my hut, striving to pierce the darkness, when I was startled by two figures coming suddenly before me. I knew them. They entered, and I closed the door.

‘Thank heaven, you are safe, so far, Oswald!’ exclaimed the lady—Miss Cleabyrn, of course—‘and I know you can confide in our friend Waltress; so I trust you are out of the toils.’

‘Yes,’ said the captain, turning to me and grasping my hand. I knew him by his voice and by Miss Cleabyrn’s words; but had we met casually, I assuredly should not have recognised him. His glossy moustache and full whiskers were gone, while a light wig hid what was left of his dark curls. ‘I know I can trust him,’ he said; ‘I knew it the first time I saw his face.—But leave me now, dearest; it will only be for a time—a short time, ere we meet again. Thank our friend Waltress, and let us say farewell.’

Miss Cleabyrn offered her hand—there was such a queer thrill in my own veins as I touched it, such a recalling of past days!—and she said a few words expressive of her gratitude. These were only few; but with her soft voice in my ears, and the sight of her now swimming eyes before me, I would have dared death in her service.

She then threw her arms round the captain’s neck, and strove to frame a farewell, but broke down terribly, so that for a few minutes she was hysterical, and I dreaded lest she might scream aloud, and thus give the alarm to any chance traveller, or, it might be, any concealed watcher. But she recovered herself as quickly as she had broken down, dashed the tears from her eyes, gave one passionate kiss, and then fled into the darkness.

‘My poor dear girl,’ said the captain, with some hesitation in his voice, as he gazed after her. ‘I feel that I ought to have gone with her, and yet I know it would have been madness.—We were traced here, Waltress, for all I know; the watch upon me has been very close.’

I told him how I fancied I had seen two persons, when Miss Cleabyrn had left my box on the previous night.

‘Yes,’ he said, with a smile; ‘I joined her at the foot of the bank. But you must have good eyes.’

I explained that he misunderstood me; that I thought I had seen two persons follow the lady, although, in such a storm and in the darkness, it was impossible to be certain. He was a good deal disturbed at hearing this, being evidently at once convinced that my suspicions were well founded.

He had not been long in my hut, and we were talking about the best method of first concealing him and then getting him away, when I suddenly stopped in my speech and listened at the door.

‘What is the matter?’ asked Laurenston.

‘I heard a step of some one walking round the box,’ I returned; ‘and I am sure there is a man on the rails. No one has any business there at this time.’

In another instant a low whistle was heard.

‘They mean mischief,’ I said; ‘you are caged! These men are following you.’

The captain turned pale, and thrust his hand into his breast.

I guessed he had some weapon concealed there, so I exclaimed: ‘That will not do!—Here! There is just one chance; put on this coat and cap.’ They were those left by my mate.—‘Quick!’ I cried; ‘I can hear them coming!—Now, sit down, and write anything in this book. Don’t seem to shrink from’——

A sharp rap at the door interrupted me. Before I could answer it, the door was thrown open, and I saw three men—strangers—before me. Another was standing at some distance, so that I could not see him distinctly.

‘Your name is Waltress,’ said the foremost sharply, and with a quick glance round the interior of the hut. ‘We are in pursuit of a criminal, and have traced him to this spot.—Have you seen any stranger here?’

‘I have not been here all the evening,’ I said; ‘but no one has been here except—— Bill!’ I exclaimed to my supposed mate, ‘have you seen any fellows hanging about here?’

‘Bill’ turned half round; but the peak of his cap being drawn down over his face, and the collar of his coat being turned up, as was natural{233} on such a night, he was effectually disguised, especially as his appearance was, as I have described, so completely changed. He spoke with his pen in his mouth, and said: ‘About three hours ago there was a fellow at the gates that I didn’t like the look of.’

‘We have seen our man, or he has been seen, since then,’ returned the speaker. Then addressing those behind, he said: ‘He may be hiding in those trucks,’ pointing to some on the other side of the line.

At that moment a man was really heard to leap from one of the trucks and to hurry along the road. I knew who it was, and that it was his duty to see to certain arrangements, before the train came through which would pick them up. The man who was standing apart also heard the noise, and called to the others; then, without another word, they all hurried to where the trucks were standing.

‘A near chance that,’ I said, turning to the captain, but stopped in my speech, from the shock his changed appearance gave me. He was deathly pale.

I began to feel more uneasy in my new undertaking than I had hitherto been, especially when I heard another step approaching and saw that some one bearing a light was coming to the hut.

I thought it was a second search, and felt that we could scarcely expect to repeat our success. However, it was only Charley Pearse, the night-goods foreman, who had come down to send the trucks off, and had crossed over to my box to tell me of a ‘rum go’ he had had with some queer-looking strangers, who had insisted on searching the trucks. ‘If they had been civil,’ said Charley, with a knowing wink and nod, evidently directed at my companion, ‘I might have told them something good; but they were preciously uncivil, talking to me as if I was a nigger or a convict, so I sent them to the Pike and Perch’—this was a beer-house some two miles off—‘and so, you know, if any gent’s in trouble and wants to clear out, now’s the time.’

It was at once clear that Charley knew, or pretty closely guessed, what was afoot. The captain looked anxiously at me. By a sudden inspiration I saw how to make a benefit of this new danger. ‘Charley,’ I exclaimed, ‘this is Captain Laurenston, who thrashed the major. You know all about him, I am certain, for we have often talked about the affair.’

Charley nodded.

‘If he does not get away to-night,’ I continued, ‘he will be caught, for there are spies about him everywhere.’

‘Well, what is the captain going to do?’

‘You can help him, Charley,’ I said. ‘Your brother goes down with the night-goods, and I know his wife’s brother is steward aboard the French packet. Get the captain down with the goods and smuggle him aboard.—Here! this will make it worth your while.’ As I said this, I drew out the watch and chain from my desk and pushed them towards Charley. His eyes sparkled, and I saw the business was as good as done.

Charley made a feeble objection to taking such valuables; but there was no time for fencing of this kind, so he picked the treasures up, and left, telling the captain to go outside and wait under the signal, as dangerous eyes might be upon the box.

The captain took his advice, after shaking my hand, and saying: ‘But what are you going to have for yourself, Waltress?—Well, never mind, I will see to that; you know I will do so, I hope.’

‘One thing is quite certain,’ I replied, ‘that I would not rob Miss Cleabyrn of her valuables, if they were a hundredfold as valuable.—Now, don’t argue, captain; but go and wait where Charley tells you.’

With another clasp of my hand, he went; and I was more nervous than I ever remember to have been before in my life, until the engine came and commenced ‘shunting;’ and then it was actually worse. Every moment I fancied I could hear a struggle, and I thought the engine had never been half so long over its work. But it went away at last; and its puffing was still faintly heard in the distance, when, without the slightest warning, the door of my hut was thrown open and there were the strange men again.

The leader exclaimed fiercely: ‘Now you, sir! where is the man who was here just now? We are up to your tricks. Where is he?’

‘Hush!’ said one of his companions, and whispered to him.

‘No proof!’ he exclaimed; ‘the scoundrels are all in league together. A woman with a man was seen coming towards this box, and where are they? We will have them; and you too, Mr Signalman, if you attempt any tricks upon us.’

I could see that half-measures or timid words would not do, so I boldly—in appearance at anyrate, although I was a good deal frightened—defied him. I told him point-blank that if I did know, or could know, where the persons he wanted were, I should not tell him.

This conduct was the best I could have adopted; the party were convinced I knew nothing of the fugitive, and so went away. But after they were gone, I felt horribly nervous; it had been so near a thing, that I would not have passed through the same excitement again for any money.

Charley and his friends were true to their trust. This was greatly to their credit, as there was a large reward out, which they could have earned by a few words; and they had not been in love with the captain’s sweetheart, as I had been. Charley brought me a note on the next day, written by the captain on board the French boat, and on the day following I got another from France; so Laurenston was safe.

I took an early opportunity of seeing Miss Cleabyrn as she was walking near her home, when I told her how I had disposed of the watch and chain. She looked at me with her old smile, which I remembered so well—remembered then!—why, I have not forgotten it now!—and said I must have my own way; but she would try to find a mode of conciliating even my disinterestedness; and she did so.

I heard nothing for some few weeks of any of the parties in the affair which had been so exciting to me; indeed, Miss Cleabyrn must have left home directly after the interview I have just spoken of, for I never saw her again—not for years, at anyrate. But I had a letter{234} from her, a thing I had never dreamed would happen to me. It was dated from Boulogne, where she had arrived, she said, the previous day; and after thanking me for my services, and saying that Messrs Primer, her solicitors, had instructions to write to me, the letter was signed—I could hardly believe my eyes!—Oswald Laurenston and Beatrice Laurenston! So the secret was out!—they were married.

When I recalled the little scene in my hut, her passionate, unrestrained farewell, I felt that I ought to have known it then; but, if I may indulge in a philosophical reflection, I would say that all through life you are always looking back and blaming yourself for not having seen more plainly the things which were passing before your eyes.

Well, this was nearly the end of my adventure with Captain Laurenston; yet one or two incidents which remain to be told were perhaps as important to me as any that had gone before. There was at the end of our lane a cottage, somewhat larger than its neighbours, with quite a nice piece of ground attached, a great deal superior, indeed, to the others. To my amazement, Messrs Primer, of Lincoln’s Inn, sent down a clerk with the title-deeds of this house and land, which were actually presented to me as from Captain Laurenston.

It made my fortune, I may say. I was married to Patty within six months, and with her I have been thoroughly happy. But it was many a long day before I told her as much as I have written here. The captain and his wife must have had excellent information from some one in the neighbourhood of what went on—which was easy enough, as they were on friendly terms with old Mr Cleabyrn—for they sent Patty a beautiful silk dress and an amethyst brooch as wedding presents.

After a good many years, they returned to England, when Major Starley—who had been forced to resign—was dead, and the affair had blown over. They lived a long way off, however, and I only saw them once or twice. When I met Mrs Laurenston, leaning on her husband’s arm, or saw her riding in the pony carriage with some of her six pretty children, why, I laughed. But once I could not have laughed.


Great interest is generally shown throughout the country about the month of March in the preparations that are made at our two chief English universities for the annual boatrace; but few of those that read the newspaper accounts of the daily practice of the two crews know how much energy and time have been devoted by their individual members to acquiring the skill which will qualify them for a seat in the ‘’varsity eight.’ Hence we propose here to give a short account of rowing at Oxford, and the different college races that a man has almost invariably taken part in before he is even tried for ‘the ’varsity.’

The academical year commences with the October term, and it is in that term that the majority of freshmen come into residence; accordingly, this is the time chosen by the captains of the various college boat-clubs for testing the rowing capabilities of the freshmen of their college, and ‘coaching’ all those who wish to go in for boating. Every afternoon during the greater part of this term, the captain and other members of the college eight may be seen standing up in the stern of ‘tub-pair’ or four, instructing and exhorting their crews, as they paddle swiftly down to Ifley lock, or toil up again against the swollen stream. Towards the end of the term, the men who have been coached in this way are formed into regular crews; and after one or two weeks’ practice together, these crews row against each other in ‘tub-fours’ for the Silver Challenge Oars, or some prize given by the college boat-club.

Passing over to the next, that is the Lent term, we come to the first eight-oared college races, which at Oxford are better known as the Torpids. In these races, the colleges compete against one another for the honour of first place or ‘head of the river.’ No man who has rowed in his college ‘eight’ in the previous year is eligible to row in his Torpid; the majority of the crew consist of men who have received coaching in the October term, and have taken part in the four-oared races described above.

The first week or two of this term is occupied by the captain in selecting and arranging his crew; when that is made up, regular practice is the order of the day, for the most part on the stretch of water between Oxford and Ifley, but occasionally varied by a ‘long course’ to Abingdon, a distance of seven miles. Coaching is done by members of the ‘eight,’ who run with the boat along the towpath, shouting at the top of their voices to the different members of the crew, and sometimes, when the floods are out and the towpath is covered, splashing through water nearly up to their knees. Practice of this kind is continued daily, no matter what the weather is, until the races take place, which is usually about the middle of the term. Each college is represented by one boat, and in some cases by two boats, so that there are generally from twenty to twenty-five boats entered, and these are divided into two divisions. The races occupy six days, each division rowing once each day, the second division always commencing. The boats are placed one behind the other in the order in which they left off the year before, with a clear space of about two boat-lengths between each. The object aimed at by each boat is to overtake the boat in front and bump it. If successful in doing this, these two boats at once draw out of the way, and leave room for those following to pass; and on the next day they change places. The head boat of the second division is called the ‘Sandwich’ boat, and rows again the same afternoon at the bottom of the first division, in this way forming a link by which a boat may pass from one division to the other.

Having paddled down to their respective positions, the boats are turned, and preparations are made for the race. A line attached to the bank is held by the cockswain, and this, with the{235} assistance of a waterman with a long pole, helps to keep the boat in position and prevents it drifting out of its place. Meanwhile, the first signal-gun has been fired, and the crews are divesting themselves of jackets and mufflers. Soon the second gun is heard, and there is now one minute before the signal to start is given. What an anxious minute that is, so much depends upon getting off well, especially with a crew in which many of the men are rowing in one of these bumping races for the first time. A bad start causes flurry and unsteadiness in the boat, and then there is sometimes a risk of being bumped before the men settle down together to a long and even stroke. Bang! The starting gun has fired, and off go the dozen or more boats in a long line; the towpath is crowded with men, running with their respective college crews, shouting, blowing horns, and making use of every conceivable instrument of noise to urge on and encourage their representatives. By the time the barges, which are crowded with spectators, are reached, great gaps will have appeared in the line, as most of the bumps take place below; though here too, sometimes, a most exciting race is witnessed, when some boat, almost overlapped by its rival, is seen struggling to reach the winning-post without being bumped. Nor is this bumping so easy as it might at first seem; but a good deal of skill is required on the part of the cockswain to effect it. In the first place, there is always the danger of making the shot too soon, in which case the boat, missing the stern of the one in front, shoots half-way across the river, and thereby loses a good deal of ground. Again, when one boat is overlapping another, the cockswain of the first, by pulling his rudder towards the bow of his rival, can cause such a wave of water to wash against the latter as to ward off for a time the actual bump; then, by a judicious spurt on the part of his ‘stroke,’ when the rudder is again straightened, he may be enabled to draw away and steer his boat in safety past the winning-post.

These races conclude the rowing for this term, though sometimes the last few days are spent in coaching the best men from the Torpid on ‘sliding seats,’ by way of preparation for the next term’s practice for the ‘eight.’

We now come to the summer or May term, the pleasantest term of all, as far as boating is concerned. The most important races during this term are those in which the college eights compete. They are carried out in exactly the same manner as the Torpids described above, the only difference being in the kind of boat used. The Torpids row in what are called clinker-built or gig-boats, which have a small keel, and of which the seats are fixed; whereas the ‘eights’ are rowed in smooth, keelless boats—the bottom somewhat resembling that of a small canoe—and fitted with sliding seats, by which the stroke can be lengthened and more use made of the legs. The extremities of the boat are covered with canvas, to prevent the water washing in over the side. The crew of a college eight is composed of the best men the college can muster, all of course being members of the college.

The races, as we mentioned before, are arranged in the same way as those in which the Torpids compete, though perhaps more interest is shown in the eights; and as they come off at a pleasanter time of the year, and are undoubtedly one of the sights of the university, the spectators include many more strangers. The ’varsity ‘sculls’ and the ’varsity ‘pairs’—the former open to any member, and the latter to any two members of the ’varsity boat-club—conclude the rowing at Oxford for this term; though it should here be mentioned that two or three of the boats that have shown themselves above the average in the eight-oared races, often keep in practice for Henley regatta, which takes place soon after the close of this term.

We have now given a brief description of a year’s college rowing at Oxford, that is, rowing in which a college crew competes with members of its own or other colleges. Starting again with the October term, we propose saying something about rowing for the ’varsity, the chief event in which is the annual race with Cambridge. There is, however, one college race not yet mentioned, which takes place in the October term—namely, the ’varsity ‘Fours,’ open to all the colleges. For this event there are not generally more than from six to eight boats entered, as considerably more skill and watermanship are required than for the college eight. The boats used, though of much the same construction as the latter, are of course smaller, and therefore more difficult to sit; moreover, they do not carry a cockswain, the steering being done by one of the crew with his feet, by means of wires connecting the rudder with a lever attached to his stretcher, so that, by moving this lever with his foot to one side or the other, a corresponding motion is given to the rudder. This race takes place in the first half of the term, and immediately afterwards the work of selecting a crew for the inter-university boatrace is commenced.

With this object in view, the names of two or three of the best men from each college are received by the President; and the remaining weeks of this term are spent in testing on the river these fifty or sixty men and selecting from them the best sixteen; these, again, are divided into two regular crews, which are known by the name of the ‘Trial Eights.’ A race takes place at the end of the term between these crews; they are coached by the President, and their rowing is carefully watched by him and his advisers. Those who have displayed the greatest ‘staying-powers’ and the most perfect style, or are likely to develop into the best ‘oars,’ are picked out, and, along with any members of the last year’s crew that may be available, form the material out of which the ‘’Varsity eight’ is composed.

The process of selecting the actual crew out of these men that have been chosen from the ‘Trial Eights,’ and arranging them in the places they are best fitted to occupy, takes up the first few weeks of the next or Lent term. Their strength and ‘staying-powers’ are tested by long rows to Abingdon and back, and at the same time they are coached by the President, or by some ‘old-blue’ who has come up to help him.

By the middle of the term, the crew is generally settled upon, and on Ash-Wednesday they go into strict training. The old theories of training on raw meat, &c., have quite died out; a{236} plentiful supply of plain, well-cooked food is allowed, but only a very moderate amount of liquor, and smoking must be entirely knocked off. For breakfast and dinner the crew meet together in each other’s rooms, each man entertaining the rest for one day in turn while they are still at Oxford. Lunch is only a light meal. The rowing is almost entirely done during the afternoon. Ten days or a fortnight before the time fixed for the race, the crew go up to Putney to complete their practice on the tidal water and the course over which the race is to be rowed. Their doings here and the race itself need no description in this paper. Their daily practice on the London water, the time they occupy in rowing over the course, even their very movements are watched and recorded by the daily press. Suffice it to say that this notoriety is not at all desired by the members of the crews, and that, owing to the inconvenience and obstruction it sometimes causes to their practice, the proposal to hold the race on other and quieter waters has been more than once discussed.


Leap is not a name suggestive of things Irish, yet the place so called is as pure a specimen of the primitive Irish village as one might wish to find. There it was our happiness to spend a holiday in the summer of 1885. During our few weeks’ stay we made the acquaintance of a people whose character and modes of life have the flavour of an age innocent of the civilities of the nineteenth century. The village of Leap is in County Cork, at the extreme south-west corner of Ireland, about eighteen miles to the east of Cape Clear, and about forty to the west of the city of Cork. It stands at the head of Glandore Bay, one of the numberless inlets that are so striking a feature of this part of the Irish coast.

Glandore Bay is itself worth a lengthened pilgrimage. In Scotland or England it would have been famous, and would long since have been a fashionable seaside resort. The transatlantic steamers cross its mouth at no great distance; and it is an impressive spectacle to see them flash across in the darkness, with all their portholes lit, and at what appears to be something like railway speed. The village of Leap is cut in two by a streamlet, over which a bridge has now been thrown. Across this stream, we are told, a deer, hard pressed by the hunters, once took a desperate leap; hence the name of the village. In former times, this same stream was the limit of English law in Ireland. ‘Beyond the Leap,’ it used to be said, ‘beyond the law.’ And indeed, the country beyond the Leap is a perfect paradise for outlaws. The very sight of it is sufficient to deter the further progress of the most hot-headed officer of justice. This corner of County Cork, therefore, was the haunt of pirates, smugglers, and various outlawed persons. There is no part of the British isles richer in tales of blood and adventure. The district retained its lawless character down to comparatively recent times; but in modern days, the private manufacture of a little poteen is the extent of its misdemeanours.

The country surrounding Leap consists of a hopeless confusion of hills, none of which, however, have either the shape or the size to give them any dignity. These hills are in their turn covered with excrescences in the shape of huge knolls of all possible contours and sizes. As the natural vegetation is of a rankness quite unknown on the other side of the Channel, it will be imagined that the general aspect of the country is singularly harsh and wild. Yet this unpromising region is made to yield surprising crops of potatoes, and even of grain. From base to summit, every hill that the spade can scratch is cultivated. In many cases, indeed, it is but picking the bones of nature. It is pathetic to watch the desperate struggles of some poor soul to ‘bring in’ a piece of new ground. To see him with his spade and pickaxe, a stranger might fancy he was rather about to open a quarry than lay out a field, where he proposes to rear crops of turnips or potatoes. The crofts are also of miserable dimensions. Three or four acres must in the majority of cases suffice to maintain an entire family. Where, however, there is any depth of soil, we were told on the best authority, it has a productiveness unsurpassed by the best land across the Channel. But the whole district is vastly over-populated; and it is extremely difficult to see how any possible legislation could make the land yield a comfortable subsistence to the present numbers of its people. Some years since, an active emigration went on from the neighbourhood; but it has now almost ceased. As illustrative of the tenacity with which the Irishman clings to his wretched allotment, a land-steward told us an experience of his employer. This gentleman was desirous of acquiring a small croft adjoining his own estate. The rental may have been equal to about thirty shillings; and fifty pounds were offered as a liberal price for the land. The owner thereupon declared that to no other person would he part with his ground but to this particular gentleman, and that to him he would give it for five hundred pounds! The croft is still in the possession of its hereditary owner.

It does not seem that the formidable distance of America keeps them at home, since, judging by their way of talking, one is led to believe that they think of New York as nearer than London or Liverpool. They also more readily think of strangers as Americans than Britons. It may be mentioned in this connection that the most earnest counsel given to young Irishmen who do emigrate from this part of the country is to give O’Donovan Rossa and his associates as wide a berth as possible. That redoubtable personage was born in Rosscarberry, a village some five miles to the south-east of Leap. It was in Skibbereen, a place also{237} in the immediate neighbourhood, that he attracted the attention of Head-centre Stephens by his outspoken and bitter hostility to all things English. We met several persons who knew Rossa well in his young manhood, and it is but just to say that they all spoke of him as an upright and generous fellow. His subsequent career, however, is spoken of in the neighbourhood in language anything but complimentary.

At first sight, one would be inclined to say that the district should at least be well stocked with game; but the truth is that game of all kinds is exceedingly scarce. During our stay, we did not see a single ‘head.’ The extinction of hares, indeed, can be traced to a very recent date and a very efficient cause. When the Land League agitation was at its height a few years ago, bands of the people, often three or four hundred strong, mustered every Sunday after second mass, and scouring the country with dog and gun, made indiscriminate butchery of everything in the shape of game that came in their way. Gamekeeper and policeman, as may be imagined, kept well out of sight while they did their work. Next morning, the booty was on its way to the suspects in Kilmainham jail, who, during the whole term of their detention, were regularly catered for.

The cabins of these Cork crofters present externally a more respectable appearance than the cabins of the same class in many parts of the Highlands and islands of Scotland. These Irish cabins are mostly built of stone, which in this part of the country is easily obtainable. Their interior, however, would scarcely satisfy an exacting sanitary officer. It consists of two apartments, the upper and the lower. The upper is the sleeping apartment of the family, and the lower is the common room of the household and all the live-stock. There is usually, indeed, a shed adjoining the house for the special accommodation of the latter; but there is a constant intercourse between the two domiciles, and donkeys, pigs, geese, cocks and hens, sheep, and goats enjoy quite undefined household privileges. Passing a cabin one day shortly after our arrival in the place, we heard an appalling sound, and immediately afterwards a voice exclaiming: ‘Be quoite, sir!’ It was a donkey sharing the hearthstone with his master. The donkey, in truth, though his master’s dearest possession, would also seem to be his peculiar torment.

The sanitary officer has found his way even to this corner of the empire, and objects to the domestic privileges of donkeys. Like most despised races, however, donkeys have ineradicable opinions, and one of these appears to be their prescriptive right to their master’s domicile. As the Irishman, however, would seem to incline rather to the opinion of his donkey than to that of the sanitary officer, it will be seen that misunderstandings are apt to arise. The donkey is a still further source of mischief in that he utterly refuses to make any distinction between his owner’s ground and other people’s. He breaks in utter unconcern through neighbouring fences, and browses at large at his own caprice. Altogether, the donkey, as he is found in Ireland, cannot fail to excite the admiration of the stranger. On the other side of the Channel he is abroad, and has the exile’s numbness of feeling. But in Ireland he is at home; he has the inspiriting sense of a numerous brotherhood, and one may easily see that he has a vivid consciousness of his social importance.

The diet of the Irishman in this part of the country is, of course, potatoes and milk. As he himself puts it, he has potatoes twenty-one times a week. In the event of a blight, such as the historic one, the result in certain parts of Ireland could scarcely be less disastrous than at any former period. If one may judge by the physique of its consumers, the diet requires no recommendation of the medical faculty, for a more stalwart race it would be difficult to find. In this corner of the country so long ‘preserved,’ we should expect to find the natural Irishman, and we certainly found him. The native Irish is almost universally spoken; but at the same time, the majority of the younger generation speak English with a brogue of the most exquisite flavour. Here, also, we have the Irishman in the typical attire to which caricaturists have accustomed us. To the visitor from the other island, it is a ludicrous picture to see him in tall hat, blue tailed coat, and knee-breeches, at work in his wretched plot, like a philosopher out for a little recreation. It is not so much the style of his garments, however, that makes their picturesqueness; it is their positively miraculous raggedness. We feel that this raggedness has quite passed the stage of disreputability, and has actually become ornamentation. But it is above all the hat that fixes the attention. We have often closely inspected it; and our wonder never ceased how, in the course of a single life, any hat, however weather-beaten and however brutally used, could attain that pre-Adamite look.

It is the great charm of travel in Ireland that one can become acquainted with its people in so short a time and on such easy terms. The Irishman is the most approachable of human beings, and as the very Irishman the stranger wishes to know is in most cases his own lord and master, intercourse is thus made doubly easy. If in the course of a solitary walk you should desire the solace of a little conversation, you have but to take your seat on one of the turf walls that form the fences in these parts of the country. If you are a smoker and produce your pipe, you will present an additional inducement. Before you are well seated, you will be saluted with: ‘A fine day, sir, God be praised!’ and a careless figure will be seen approaching with spade or pickaxe over his shoulder. Sharing your tobacco with him, it will remain with yourself to conclude the interview. Before ten minutes have passed, you will have had the outlines of his family history, and his views on things in general, not even excepting his priest. At the end of as many hours’ conversation as you please, he will speed you on your way with a fervent ‘God preserve you long!’ and part with you as if you had been his lifelong friend.

The peasant women of Cork and Kerry bear a name for good looks; but their style of dress certainly does not display their charms to advantage. The married women of the west of Ireland wear a long, coarse, black cloak, descending to their feet, and furnished with a commodious{238} hood which partially envelops their features. A more ungraceful garment than this cloak it would be difficult to imagine; and in bright summer weather it strikes one as the most perversely unreasonable of all human adornings. The unmarried women, though disallowed the use of the cloak, yet contrive to disfigure themselves with equal success by means of a shawl, in which they invariably envelop their heads as well as their shoulders. But in native sweetness and gracefulness of speech, the Irish countrywoman leaves her English and Scottish sister far behind. It is worth the trouble of a hundred greetings to hear her ‘It is a fine day, thank God!’ By the way, these greetings sound very oddly at first in Scottish ears. ‘It is a fine day, sir, thank God;’ or, ‘It is a fine day, your honour, the Lord be praised!’ are the ordinary salutations of the Irish country-people in this district. Their pious ejaculations occasionally go beyond this. Speaking with us of the changeable weather, an old Irishman suddenly exclaimed: ‘May the blessed Son of the Holy Virgin have mercy on our sowls! but we’re never continted. When it is wit, we wish it dry; and when it is dry, we wish it wit.’ On entering their cabins, it is considered good ‘form’ to say: ‘God preserve all in this house;’ and the response is: ‘Thank ye kindly, sir (or lady); may God preserve ye long!’

Life with the Irish crofter is reduced to its very simplest elements. In summer he dawdles through a few months’ work; and in winter he chews the cud of his summer’s exertions. Sundays and saints’ days alone vary the monotony of his year. He is a most devout and regular attender of all religious ordinances; and no state of the weather will keep him from eight o’clock mass of a Sunday morning. When second mass is over, he gives himself up to secular enjoyment with a freedom unknown across the Channel. Sunday afternoon, indeed, is the period when his spirits are at their best, and according as his humour is for drinking, or sport, or argument, allows them their fullest scope. In the part of Ireland of which we are speaking, drunkenness is certainly rarer than in most parts of England and Scotland. This may be partly due to greater moderation, but it may also be attributed to the drink most largely patronised. This beverage is known as ‘Clonakilty porter,’ a drink famous throughout all this part of the country. It is the very cheapest of all spirituous liquors, and probably the most innocuous. It would overtax ordinary powers of credence to specify the quantity disposed of at one bout by an ordinary man or woman—for the women have a pronounced liking for this particular beverage. The potato diet, though one would not think it, is said to account for this abnormal drinking capacity; and some explanation is certainly needed.

The parish priest is, of course, the central figure of every neighbourhood. As far as an outsider may judge, the relations of priest and parishioner would appear to be of the most cordial nature. The kindly feeling is doubtless fostered by the fact that the priests as a class come of the small farmers of the country. Their own early training, therefore, expressly fits them for dealing with their people. It cannot be gainsaid that the priests as a body look exceedingly good fellows, and invariably have that prosperous appearance that betokens happy relations with ourselves and others. During our stay in Leap, we witnessed a very pleasing proof of this mutual good understanding between the priest and his people. The priest of the village was returning from a holiday in England, and his parishioners took the opportunity of showing their esteem and affection for him. The houses of the village were all decked with flowers, and flags suspended across the streets bearing various inscriptions in English and Irish, such as, ‘Welcome home, our worthy priest,’ &c. As the reverend gentleman approached, he was met by a large body of his people on foot, on donkeys, on horses, and in cars. His horse was taken out of the traces, and his vehicle drawn into the village by a number of young men amid immense enthusiasm of the entire population. At night, the village was brilliantly illuminated, a candle being set in every pane, and paper lanterns suspended at various corners of the street. Later, a burning tar-barrel was borne through the street, the priest himself heading the procession; and the proceedings closed by his addressing his assembled flock from his own doorstep. Judged by the frequent and obstreperous applause of his hearers, his address would seem to have met their fervent approval. It is only in political demonstrations that Scotsmen exhibit similar unanimity; and the entire proceedings seemed in our Scottish eyes a pleasant novelty in things religious.

Few of the people in the district have been beyond their native parish, and the priest is for the majority of them the reservoir of all secular as well as spiritual knowledge. He conveys instruction to them on all subjects, and on Sundays often closes his ministrations with hints of practical bearing on their temporal concerns. During one of the weeks of our stay in the neighbourhood, a mad dog got at large, and wrought considerable mischief on man and beast. Indeed, the achievements of this dog would furnish material for a history of some length. On Sunday, after the celebration of mass, the priest made reference to the wonderful doings of this dog. He began by saying that if any one had a dog that should go mad, his best plan was at once to shoot it; and he proceeded to explain minutely the various methods of treating a bitten person. This reference to the event of the week was evidently taken quite as a matter of course; and one could easily gather that the importance of local events is measured by the style of the priest’s reference to them on Sundays.

The old Irish style of conducting funerals is still in vogue in this district, though among the more respectable classes it is falling into disuse. During our stay, we saw one of these old-fashioned funerals. Heading the procession was a dogcart with the driver and the priest—the priest, of course, intricately enwrapt in white linen, of which, by the way, he usually receives a fresh suit from the relatives of the deceased. Then followed a common cart strewn with straw, containing the coffin and the chief mourner, who on this occasion was a woman. She was clad in the ordinary dress of her class; and with hood{239} drawn closely over her face and chin resting on her knees, she keened in the most dismal manner. Immediately behind the cart came a crowd of women similarly attired, and all keening, though in rather a mechanical and half-hearted fashion. Then followed a straggling concourse of men, all on foot, in their workaday garb, and with faces unwashed. These made no demonstration whatsoever. The rear was brought up by a number of young men, sons, perhaps, of well-to-do farmers, also in their ordinary dress. They lounged on in the easiest fashion, with hands in pockets, their waistcoats open—the day was hot—and certain of them actually smoking. The Celtic races have the reputation for natural delicacy of feeling. In such exhibitions as the above, this delicacy certainly does not show itself.


The advice has been given to those who wish to make something out of their peat-mosses, that their best course is just to let them alone, as the more they are interfered with, the greater the loss will be; but this Lord Melbourne ‘Why-can’t-you-let-it-alone’ way of treating every subject may be occasionally overdone. The writer having of late years been utilising the peat on his farm, and being greatly satisfied with the result, now ventures to give a short sketch of his operations.

He has a small hill-farm, where, in byres[1] and covered closes, he winters a breeding-stock of about fifty cattle, of different ages, and having only, on an average, about forty acres in white-crop; and as straw in the neighbourhood is difficult to buy, he was occasionally pinched both for fodder and bedding. For reasons which need not here be stated, he does not wish to diminish the number of the cattle so wintered. This being the state of matters, and being exercised how to make his fodder and bedding last through the winter, it occurred to the writer that he might greatly economise his bedding, and so the more easily get over the winter, were he to use a quantity of peat in the closes and byres. He happens to be favourably situated, having an abundant supply of peat of a fine grain within a short distance of the steading. The cost of cutting and bringing a fair cartload—about fifteen hundredweight—to the steading he calculates at about sixpence. Thus, by putting on three carts, three men, and a boy—two of these cutting and filling, and two going with the carts—he can deliver at the peat-shed about forty-five carts per day, or about thirty-five tons. As the bog grows good grass, the turf is lifted, and is relaid on the lower level. In this way the carts can in dry weather be backed up to the face of the peat.

The peat-harvest is commenced after the turnips are in, as not only the horses have then little work to do, but especially as at that time of the year the bog and its approaches are dry. He has then fully two hundred and fifty loads taken from the bog. A portion is heaped up at the back of a wall near the steading, for use in autumn and early winter; but the greater part is stored in sheds. Being thus stored and kept dry, and exposed as much as possible to the summer sun and winds, it forms, when put into the closes, a dry comfortable bed for the cattle, and acts as a sponge, absorbing the liquid manure, and thus storing away the ammonia. Further, as in some places the bog is too soft for carts to go into, the writer, each summer and autumn, has some two hundred tons harrowed out on to hard ground, piled into as high a heap as possible, and allowed to remain until the following summer, when it is found to be dry, and easily carted. The cost of such wheeling-out is about fivepence per ton.

In autumn, after the manure which has lain in the closes all the summer has been carted out, the floor of the closes is covered with some twelve or fifteen inches of moss, sprinkled over with straw or bracken. The cattle, when first put in, appear to dread putting foot on the peat; but in a short time become quite accustomed to it. In about ten days, the closes get another dressing of some five inches of peat, covering slightly with straw, as before. It might be supposed that with so much moss and so little straw, the cattle would lair; but this is not so, unless on the first day or two. On the contrary, the manure-bed is firm and elastic under foot. The above dressings are continued all through the winter and spring, the consequence being that the ammonia and other chemicals, instead of being evaporated detrimentally to the health of the cattle, are stored away and preserved. The air in the closes is sweet and wholesome. Pigs do not crinkle in their legs by boring in over-heated manure—a very common complaint in covered closes—the feet of the cattle are kept cool, a necessary condition, if one looks for perfect health, and which can only be imperfectly got in a straw-bedded covered close by frequent removals of the manure. The water-supply to the closes—should the pipe lie below the manure—is kept perfectly cool, instead of being tepid, as the writer has seen it.

When the writer began to use peat, he rather thought that there would not be a perfect amalgamation—that, when the closes came to be emptied, he should find several distinct layers of peat, possibly difficult of removal. As a matter of fact, the peat placed in the floor of the close alone retains its identity; it certainly comes out peat the same as when it was put in, but apparently plus a large percentage of ammonia, of which it smells strongly. As to the other peat put on in layers, it almost totally disappears; but the whole manure is black and compact. Last autumn, peat taken from the floor of the closes was put on a piece of stiff, poor clay-ground, part of a lea-field which was being ploughed for a crop of oats. The result is very satisfactory, the corn on such part being very healthy and strong.

The result of such peat operations is, that a good supply of bedding is provided, the cattle are kept in a more healthy state, and there is a large extra quantity of excellent manure obtained at a cost of under one shilling per ton. The turnip crops grown with such manure and a little phosphate have been perfectly satisfactory. The writer’s byres are under the same{240} roof as the closes, and drain into them. Peat is freely used in them, especially behind the cows—the result being that much of the liquid manure is sucked into the peat, and thus not only the atmosphere of the byres is sweetened, but the drainage is more easily managed.

Any farmer having a peat-bog on his farm, can with very little trouble prove the truth of what is here stated.


In his Voyage autour de ma Chambre, De Maistre discusses the very curious phenomenon of the independence of the mind and the body. He tells us how, in a fit of absent-mindedness, he often drew on his stockings wrong side out, and had to be reminded by his invaluable servant Joannetti of his mistake. Many readers will call to mind experiences of their own of a similar nature. It seems quite common to put one’s watch-key to one’s ear to ascertain if it is going; and many people are in the habit of winding their watches, and three minutes after, pausing to wonder whether they have done so or not.

Who has not heard of the philosopher who boiled his watch while he calmly held the egg in his hand to note the time! Or of the equally erudite man of science, who, having peeled the apple, threw the apple itself over a cliff, and then discovered that the rind alone remained!

Another individual had the habit—not such a very uncommon one—of forgetting his own name at awkward moments. One day he presented himself at the post-office for letters, when, much to his disgust, he could not think of his name. He turned sadly homewards, racking his brains in the vain endeavour to discover who he was. Suddenly a friend accosted him: ‘How are you, Mr Brown?’—‘Brown, Brown, I have it!’ cried the absent-minded one; and leaving his astonished friend, he rushed back to the post-office to get his letters.

Sometimes absence of mind produces very ludicrous effects. Harry Lorrequer’s appearance on parade in the character of Othello is well known. A somewhat similar occurrence in real life happened not long ago. A student on leaving his rooms one afternoon to take a stroll in the fashionable street in a university town, suddenly remembered that his fire needed coals, and returned to replenish it. On issuing from his lodging the second time, he was surprised to see people looking at him with an amused smile. Presently, some ragamuffins at a street corner began to make audible remarks. On looking down, he discovered, to his horror, that he was serenely carrying the fire-tongs in place of his umbrella!

One day an English savant wrote two letters, one to a business house in London, the other to a friend in Paris. In stamping them at the post-office, he placed the penny stamp on the letter for Paris, and the other on the business letter. Remarking to the post-office clerk that he would correct the error, he changed the addresses! It was not till after he had posted the letters that he understood why the clerk had not been more impressed with his brilliant idea.


All day the land in golden sunlight lay,
All day a happy people to and fro
Moved through the quiet summer ways; all day
I wandered with bowed head and footstep slow,
A stranger in the well-remembered place,
Where Time has left not one familiar face
I knew long years ago.
By marsh-lands golden with bog asphodel,
I saw the fitful plover wheel and scream;
The soft winds swayed the foxglove’s purple bell;
The iris trembled by the whispering stream;
Gazing on these blue hills which know not change,
All the dead years seemed fallen dim and strange,
Unreal as a dream.
Unchanged as in my dreams lay the fair land,
The laughter-loving lips, the eager feet,
The hands that struck warm welcome to my hand,
The hearts that at my coming higher beat,
Have long been cold in death; no glad surprise
Wakens for me in any living eyes,
That once made life so sweet.
Slowly the day drew down the golden west;
The purple shadows lengthened on the plain,
Yet I unresting through a world at rest,
Went silent with my memory and my pain;
Then, for a little space, across the years
To me, bowed down with time and worn with tears,
My friends came back again.
By many a spot where summer could not last,
In other days, for all our joy too long,
They came about me from the shadowy past,
As last I saw them, young and gay and strong;
And she, my heart, came fair as in the days
When at her coming all the radiant ways
Thrilled into happy song.
Ah me! once here, on such a summer night,
In silent bliss together, she and I
Stood watching the pale lingering fringe of light
Go slowly creeping round the northern sky.
Ah, love, if all the weary years could give
But one sweet hour of that sweet night to live
With thee—and then to die!
The old sweet fragrance fills the summer air,
The same light lingers on the northern sea,
Still, as of old, the silent land lies fair
Beneath the silent stars, the melody
Of moving waters still is on the shore,
And I am here again—but nevermore
Will she come back to me.
D. J. Robertson.

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

All rights reserved.


[1] Cow-houses.