« PreviousContinue »
far less weary and worn than this twentyyear-old girl. Agnes Herbert's sweet, tired face positively pained me.
"Then Agnes must be at her service," said the farmer promptly. "So, my girl, go and put on your wraps, and you can come with us through the fields. The walk will do you good, this fine sunshiny day."
She rose to obey, smiling and silent. It was the silence about her which was so pitiful. For silence is the leaden shield with which we meet the inevitable. Hopelessness is silent. So is Death.
She was ready in a few minutes, and we three started from the back-door- "the field way," as Mr. Herbert called it. He was quite eager to show me every object of interest, and I don't for one moment suppose that he identified me as the Cockney traveller whom he had half anathematized for peering at his crops. Agnes stood beside us, while we discussed sundry items of agriculture, and she answered when addressed, but when left alone, I don't think she listened. However, when the conversation passed to haymakers, and similar "odd hands," and I remarked that we hoped to establish a little village refuge, which might be useful to such, or to others in distress, she suddenly looked up into my face, and said
"That will be very good."
"Aye, so it will," observed her uncle; "they can put up there on days when we farmers don't want them, and then they'll be at hand when we do."
"I shall ask you to subscribe, Mr. Herbert," I said.
Well, I'll give something-it will save me bribing 'em to hang about idle, - picking and stealing."
"And you too, Miss Agnes?" I queried. "I have so little money," she answered. "Then Ruth must find out how else you can help us," I remarked.
"I'll thank her if she does," said Mr. Herbert. "Aggie sat and looked at the fire all last winter, and all this summer she has looked at the grass. Anything will be better than that whether it does good to others or no."
"I'll not grant anything of the kind," returned the farmer, with his bluff laugh; "but every man must stand up for himself, and I don't blame your boy for following his fortune."
"Ye'll no think him ungratefu'," said Mr. M'Callum. "He'll ne'er forget that wantin' your kindness he could na hae bided here till the bricht turn came. Heil aye remember that, sir."
There's nothing to remember," said Mr. Herbert; "I had a chance of a good workman cheap, and I took it. Tell him he can go away whenever he likes, M Callum; he need not wait to give me proper notice. And you can hand him that from me," and he slipped something into the old man's hand, "just a kind of farewell blessing, you understand."
"Ewen will be prood, prood, if he can e'er serve you or yours, sir," returned Mr. M'Callum, but the farmer waved off his thanks and strode on, calling on us to follow.
"I'm called a near' man, Mr. Garrett," he said presently. "So I am. I wouldn't give a man high wages for the world. Bad principle. Keep 'em in their place. Make it up in presents. High wages make 'em independent in their service. Presents bind 'em to it. High wages set all the labourers round plaguing their masters for the same. Presents only make 'em anxious to get to the master who gives them."
"But, Mr. Herbert, is it just to give a Iman less than he is worth, and then bestow his own upon him as a boon?" I asked.
"Justice is an excellent lady, sir," he answered jocularly, "only she's blind, and there's no knowing where she'll lead one. She has taken some people so far that they think it's sinful for one to be rich and another poor. They may go on till they find out that some have no righ to be tall while others are short."
"That is mistaken indeed," I said; "but the rich have no right to grind the poor because they are poor; and in a crowd a tall man looks none the shorter for letting a little one stand in front.”
"Ah, right enough," assented my companion. "Live and let live' is a good motto. But when you stand aside to let another pass, I like him to notice that you needn't do so if you don't choose."
"Then you are very fond of power, Mr. Herbert," I remarked.
So we walked on through meadow after meadow, yet we did not find Ewen, but only his grandfather, who told us the young man was away in the cart." I announced my proposal to the patriarch, who received it with very eager gratitude. "It will be the making of the lad, not that he ever said "Indeed I am," he answered candidly. a word against his work, but it's no the "And if any one under my control is senricht sort for him-ye'll grant that, sir?"sible enough to understand me, he can get pretty much his own way; but if he flies in
to Mr. Herbert.
my face and rebels- well as I said before, I don't govern him, and I don't help him, that's all."
"But then you throw away the much stronger influence which patient forbearance would win," I observed.
He looked a little blank, but he only gave a whistle and stopped short, saying that he must turn back, and would send for Agnes in the course of the evening. So he shook hands with me, and sent his respects to my sister, and Miss Herbert and I proceeded to our house.
My sister received the young lady very kindly. I saw she noticed how girlish and transparent the fair face looked when the lace bonnet was removed. But she only rattled on in her sweet, old-fashioned hospitality, calling Miss Herbert's attention to sundry quaint knick-knacks scattered about our parlour, and giving their little histories. Our visitor merely answered "yes" and "no;" but she listened in the grave, pondering way of those who strive to bring every new idea to bear upon some old problem. After dinner Ruth let the conversation flag, and Miss Herbert did not take it up, but leaned back in the easy-chair, and seemed quite satisfied with the silence. As her uncle had said, she sat and looked at the fire, and I will confess that I sat opposite and looked at her. Gradually twilight stole over us, and as I watched her with half-dozing eyes, I became conscious of one of those strange revelations which come to us at such times, when out of the familiar face grows another face, different and yet the same, sometimes showing how the old man looked when he was young, sometimes prophesying how the boy will look when he is old. And lo! the hopeless face before me grew calm and firm, but no longer girlish, and the peace thereon seemed not of the simplicity which looks up at life's struggle, but rather of the wisdom which looks down upon the same. But the spell of my dreamy gaze was suddenly broken by Phillis bringing in the lamp, and Ruth rousing herself from the sofa behind me, and saying she guessed Miss Herbert would think us a fine set of sleepyheads.
So the fire was stirred and tea ordered. Alice brought it in, and when she left the room Miss Herbert made her first spontaneous remark
"That is Alice M'Callum, is it not?' she said. "She looks happier than she has looked for a long while."
"I dare say you know she has been in great trouble," observed Ruth; "but, thank
God, there is no sorrow so dark that it cannot be lightened in God's good time."
"I it be God's will," Miss Herbert whispered softly.
"And I think it is always God's will," answered my sister in a clear, cheerful voice. "Sometimes He chooses not to take away our cross, but it is our fault if He do not help us to carry it, and when once He does that, the worst is over."
And I saw Miss Herbert paused, and let those words print themselves on her mind. "Let us hope that in every sense the worst is over for Alice," I observed.
"Alice has never lacked blessings," returned Ruth. "Her troubles have not wasted her life, but rather ennobled it. Her calamities have compelled her to work harder than before, and more for other people than herself. All sorrow should lead to that, only it's a great blessing when we are put between two hedges, and so can't mistake the meaning of the signpost."
"Yet it seems to me that those who have done most for the world have been happy people," remarked Miss Herbert.
"Certainly," said my sister, “just because those who do good cannot be miserable. If we make smiling faces round us, we learn the habit of smiles."
Just then there came a gentle tap at the door, and Alice's face appeared, very bright, indeed, as she said, "Ewen has come up, if you please, sir, because he would like to thank you."
"Show him in," answered my sister.
The young man entered, and his sister retired. He was not in his farm clothes, but in such dress as he must have worn in the office at Mallowe-a suit probably never used since that time. He was a tall, wellmade fellow, and I was glad he would certainly make a good first impression on my city friends, and I noticed that Miss Herbert looked at him with surprised interest. Naturally enough, he spoke shyly and stiffly. He was evidently very glad of the impending change, yet in the gladness was a reservation which he seemed unwilling to express. It came out at last. "Grandfather will be so lonely."
"Ah, we must see about that. For the first few days Alice can stay with him, and come to her work here while he is out," answered my sister. "And after that, some new plan may suggest itself. Does Mr. M'Callum speak of it?"
O no, ma'am," replied Ewen; "for that matter, I've been such bad company that he won't miss me much."
"Have you seen Mr. Herbert?" I asked. | "Yes, sir; I happened to meet him in the road. He was very kind," with a glance at our guest.
"Well, Ewen, you are the first person I have recommended to my old firm," I said, you must get me a good name for insight and discretion, just for the sake of those who may come after. Do you know any one in London ?"
"Not a soul!" he answered, with the gaiety of one who is not sorry for oblivion.
"Then take care what friends you make," I responded. "There are one or two Scotchmen in the office, to whom your nationality will serve as introduction. And for the matter of evening recreation - I know you are well-educated have you any favourite pursuit chemistry, or anything?" Ewen smiled and blushed a little, and then answered, "I always had a taste for drawing, sir."
"Oh yes, I know," exclaimed Agnes Herbert, and checked herself.
"Then go to a drawing class as soon as you can afford it; and even before that, there are many free evening lectures and exhibitions by which you can improve yourself. An inclination for any study is the cheapest and best pleasure a man can have. Pursuing it, he gains insight into other things, and is thrown in the way of congenial company. But don't let your taste run away with you; don't let it intrude on business, or sleep, or exercise. Don't allow yourself to be an indifferent clerk, for the sake of being an indifferent artist. Be thorough in your duties, and you will elevate the standard of your taste."
"And don't forget to be regular in your letters home," said Ruth, practically. "Let them be expected on certain days, so that Alice need not waste her time waiting for the postman."
"And write to me whenever you like," I added, as the young man rose to depart. "But I suppose we shall see you again before you go."
"I don't think so, sir," he answered. "Alice and I have talked it over, and she says I can be ready to go by the train to morrow morning, and she'll send the rest of my things after me."
"You are indeed glad to get away, my boy," I said, as we shook hands.
I'll not deny it, sir," he replied, "but please God, I'll win to such a life that those who believe that black chapter will be willing to forget it."
And is there no one else to whom you
I'll go," he said. "I'll go before I return home." And so he shook hands with Ruth and me, and was going away with a bow to Miss Herbert; but that young lady sprang up briskly and shook hands too.
"One of Nature's gentlemen," I remarked, when he was gone.
"A brave, honest man," said Ruth. "You think him innocent?" queried our visitor.
"That we do," answered Ruth.
Supposing he were guilty?" said Miss Herbert again.
"Then, as he asserts his innocence, he would be very base indeed," returned my sister.
"I think him innocent," observed the young lady after a pause. "I always thought so. so." "Did you express that opinion whenever you could?" asked Ruth.
"I said so to my uncle; but he did not care whether or no; and I don't speak to any one else."
Then you should," answered Ruth, decidedly; "we should all keep a seat for ourselves in the parliament of public opinion. A single vote may turn the scale sometimes."
"But I am so fond of solitude," pleaded the girl; "yet still," she added, eagerly, "I would make myself like society if I could do good in it. But if I had gone to all the village tea-parties, and lifted up my voice for Ewen's innocence, I could not have helped him as you and your brother have, Miss Garrett."
Certainly not," returned Ruth; "your time for that has not come. Youth is the season for gaining a place and a voice in the world. Influence is like everything worth having: we must work a long while to gain it."
"Well, Ruth," I said, "Miss Herbert has her uncle's permission to help you about your refuge. That will be a beginning for her. I think she is like you -in favour of refuges."
"Is that so, my dear?" asked Ruth. "Yes," answered the girl, very softly
indeed; "because they give one more chance to the lost ones."
"There are none 'lost' between earth and heaven," said my sister; "wherever they go they can't get away from God. And He gives them chance after chance to the very end."
"But He is angry with the wicked," whispered Agnes Herbert, with dilating eyes.
"Just as a loving father is angry with his naughty children," returned my sister. "He loves them none the less for His anger. He is angry because He loves them. Like a father, too, He waits to forgive."
"But some fathers are not ready to forgive," said Agnes.
"Then they need to ask their children's pardon for their hard-heartedness," replied Ruth;" and God help them to see the necessity before it be too late!"
There followed a short silence, which Miss Herbert broke by the abrupt inquiry, —
Surely many more than go elsewhere," answered Ruth," for God's love is stronger than Satan's malice. And heaven is broader than our charity. There will be some there whom we scarcely expect. Ah, it would be a woeful world if we could not always hope that!"
At this the strange, reserved girl suddenly sprang up, and kissed my sister with the bursting enthusiasm of one who has just heard unexpected tidings of joy. She would have subsided as suddenly, but my sister held her for a moment, and kissed that sensitive forehead—once, twice, thrice. Agnes's impulsive embrace was like the electric shock which flashes across the sea the glad news that two nations have but one heart. Here Phillis entered with the announcement that Miss Herbert was fetched, and
that the rector's servant had brought a letter, which she handed to my sister, who presently passed it to me; and while Agnes put on her bonnet, I read aloud: - The Rev. Lewis Marten sends his best regards to Miss Garrett, and he has found a house which he thinks exactly suits her ideas of a refuge. If convenient, he will wait upon her to-morrow morning, and take her to see it. He must add that he has named the subject to some of his parishioners, and has secured one or two donations; which is very promising."
Would you like to join us?" inquired Ruth of Miss Herbert. "Come over here early, and take the walk with us. Remember, I shall quite expect you."
"Tell your uncle, and then he will take care to send you," I said, smiling. And so the matter was settled.
"A very sweet girl," remarked Ruth, when our visitor had departed. "At first I thought her listless. I don't think so now. And she has an energetic face."
"She seems like one defeated," I said, "who has no heart to re-commence the battle."
"Then we must get her into it unawares," returned Ruth.
And I told her all I had seen and heard at the Great Farm about the girl's loneliness and her uncle's evident solicitude, and about the strange shadow of household tragedy that haunted the family dining-room.
"Doubtless she will tell us about it in due time," said Ruth, meditatively. "In the little intercourse I have had with people round, I have heard nothing about the Herberts. Very likely Alice could explain it. But she is not the girl to tell, and we are not the people to ask her. Whatever it be, they had better have taken the picture down and put it out of sight. Turned to the wall, indeed! What folly!"
Mr. LOVER is well known as the writer of several popular ballads in which a certain kind of Irish sentiment is gracefully and cleverly inclosed. Ireland has never yet had a truly national bard, capable of making songs for the people, but she has had several native composers capable of making songs for other people to sing about her.
From The London Review. | ritch in its place. When a lady shows you the new moon, it is, for you, a sign and token of good luck. When a baby smiles in its sleep it is supposed to be talking with angels. All these subjects are severally sung by Mr. Lover, and many of them are love can ne'er forget" is a very sweet and well known to singers of ballads. melodious relation in verse of the story of of sight, after twenty years had passed, Carolan, the Irish bard, who, when deprived recognised his first love by the simple touch of her hand. Here is an anecdote of a dif ferent kind, which is also made the theme of a poem:
Moore was entirely too artificial and ornate either to touch the real soul of feeling in his country or to express it. His verses sparkle with a vivacity charmingly attractive and telling, but there is more wit than humour in them; and Irish feeling is much more humorous than witty. That heart which is so marked in Burns is entirely absent in the author of "Lalla Rookh." Davis, a rebel writer, who filled columns of the Nation in 1848 with Tyrtæan poems, occasionally turned from war to love, and managed to express a sad minor pathos of sentiment, which underlies the Celtic nature. Mr. Lover understands the comedy of Hibernianism with something of the same sort of comprehension of it displayed upon the stage and in his plays by Mr. Bourcicault. It is not altogether untrue to the reality, though it is still too theatrical to be acknowledged by those of whom it treats. It is, in fact, Irish sentiment dressed for the English market, and very well dressed it is. The legendary beliefs and superstitions amongst the Irish are, in many instances, as poetical as they are amusing. Croker made the mistake of selecting for his work mostly those which were of a ludicrous description, but he might have found to hand many as picturesque and suggestive as those of the Rhine. Mr. Lover has caught up several of the more attractive notions, and has set them in pleasing and musical measures. "Watch well by daylight, for then your own senses are awake to guard you; but keep no watch in darkness, for then God watches over you," a very beautiful superstition, has been treated with considerable tenderness and freedom. Some of these superstitions are very singular. A fourleaved shamrock is of such rarity that it is supposed to impart miraculous power to its fortunate finder. A dream at night may be false, but a morning dream is likely to be true. When a handsome child pines and sickens, the peasant believes that the fairies have taken away the infant and put an eld
The Poetical Works of Samuel Lover. London: Routledge & Sons.
"The Earl of Kildare, Lord Deputy of Ireland, ruled justly, and was hated by the small oppressors whose practices he discountenanced. They accused him of favouring the Irish to the King's detriment, but he, in the presence of the King, rebutted their calumnies. They said, at last, Please your Highness, all Ireland cannot rule this Earl.' Then,' said Henry, 'he is the man to rule all Ireland,' and he took the golden chain from his neck and threw it over the shoulders of the Earl, who returned with honour to his government."
The comic pieces, although they partake more or less of the stage Irishman order of and faithful at least to their own ideal. The poetical business, are genuinely humorous, blunders made by the courting swains of these verses are involved and funny enough to satisfy the most cultivated appetite for Celtic bulls. Even the "ochs," and "bedads," and "mushas," which are almost as rare in Ireland as the "forsooth" or "pish of novels are rare in real life anywhere, are Mr. Lover, like Mr. Bourcicault, takes care plentifully sprinkled over these pages. But not to degenerate into mere capering and duce some exaggeration, which, although on shillelagh-flourishing; he manages to introthe brink of the bathos, are telling as however, is a specimen of pure fun, which pieces of pathetic colouring. The following, refers to a festival which has very recently been celebrated, and at which our neighdition inscribed to the practice in the last bours happily did not perpetuate the con