Page images
PDF
EPUB

by coin, and when she had completed her this was the lawyer's sarcastic way of tále, the tube could be unscrewed, and telling him

he had been dismissed. taken away. It was afterwards discov- “Why, Tom, I've been working hard ered, from papers in Frewen's possession, for you, and I'm happy to tell you that that one of Aunt Betsy's leading ideas I've succeeded in establishing your claim was, that the inhabitants of the earth to the money that was found in your were destined to be swept away by a aunt's house. She made no mention of second deluge - all but the faithful; and it in her will, and she didn't dispose of with a strange mixture of practical saga- her residue, and as there's no reasonable city and flighty whimsey, she had come to doubt but that it's your aunt's money, it the conclusion, that even in the new state comes to you as her heir. The crown of things, a supply of ready money would won't claim it, I've ascertained, and be an inestimable advantage, and had there's nobody else to dispute it with you. taken the most ready way of securing it. So I've had the money paid into the bank Flocks and herds, houses and barns, to your account; and all I've got to say is, might be swept away, but the floods take care of it, for you'll never get such would surely spare Aunt Betsy's hoard. another haul.”

The first question that arose was : To “What, sir !” cried Tom, his lips dry whom does the money belong? Frewen and pallid with emotion ; " aren't you had a long fight with himself before he joking, sir - laughing at me? No! Is could make up his mind to let it go with the money really mine? Ten thousand out a struggle. If he had only got Tom pounds, and all mine! O Lizzie, Lizto convey the manor to him before this zie !" was found, he would have seized the coin Tom broke down, and began to cry. as treasure-trove, and fought both the Presently, when he had recovered himcrown and Aunt Betsy's heirs valiantly, self a little, he turned to Frewen and before he would have given it up. · As it said: “Sir, I've a confession to make. was, however, he didn't see that he would I hope it won't make any alteration do himself any good by trying to keep about the money, but I must speak out." the money; and so he quickly made up Then he went on to tell about the letter his mind that Tom with ten thousand he had found in the cellar addressed to pounds was likely to be more useful as a Mrs. Rennel's successor. “And I opened friend than as a foe.

it," said Tom. “It was very wrong, I So he drove over to see Tom a few know, but I did it.” days after the discovery, and found him Frewen put his hand before his face sitting up in bed quite convalescent. It to conceal a smile. "Well, and what was Christmas eve ; a fine bright spark- was there in the letter ?” ling winter's day:

“Oh, a lot of rigmarole, it seemed to Well, Tom,” said Frewen, shaking me; but there was something at the end him cheerily by the hand, “glad to see of it that made me think she meant the you round again."

money for whoever came to the prop“You're very kind, sir, to come and erty.” see me, after all that's happened. There Well, you know," said Frewen, laughwon't be much loss though, I think.ing, “that's their look-out. I know all Skim had spent about fifty pounds of the about that letter. Like you, I thought money, but pretty near all the rest is got it all rigmarole; but you see there was back; and I'm sure, sir, if the parish will something in it after all. It was meant keep me on, I'll work' it all out before for her successor ; well, let him have it, long."

and you stick to the money." Tom had heard of all the money that " Then you think there is nothing in had been found in Aunt Betsy's iron that letter to take it away from me?" chest, but he never dreamt that any of it “ Certainly not,” said Frewen. could possibly come to him. Nothing “Another thing I want to ask you," had been left him in the will, and it had said Tom : "how did she come there ?" not occurred to him that he could ever “Oh, that was in the secret instructake any benefit under it.

tions she left me. She was to be kept Oh, we'll have a better place than that there in her life-boat all the time the for you, Tom; you shan't be the assist-house was shut up. She forgot to say ant overseer of the parish any longer ; how she was to be kept; and as I didn't you shall be the squire of it."

want to raise the parish against me for a " What do you mean, Mr. Frewen?” nuisance, I sent for some Italian chaps said Tom, quite frightened; he thought to come and petrify her."

“ To petrify' her ? ” cried Tom in Many years have yet to run before Mill amaze.

ford Manor will be opened to the light of “Yes,” said Frewen, chuckling :: “a day, and the old lady's bones finally connew device they've got. They couldn't signed to consecrated earth. Young do it in their best style, of course, the Herbert Rapley, however, bids fair to time was so short, but they warranted live to claim the prize ; for since the her to keep for twenty years; and as I lucky discovery of Aunt Betsy's hoard, got a hundred a year for acting as her he has been brought up in the sunshine, guardian, there she shall stop till her with plenty of modest comforts about time's up."

him. “ And you're going to have the house Tom Rapley still lives at Milford, in a blocked up again ?”

neat little house that he has built for “Yes ; as soon as the inquest on himself at the end of the village, beyond Collop and Skim is over.”

the Royal Oak. He has invested part of "Well, old woman," said Tom, as soon his money in the brewery at Biscopham, as Frewen had gone, “there's plenty of and drives over there daily to look after time for you to run over to Biscopham bis affairs. He has a young family growand get a new bonnet; and just to testing up about him ; and Emily Collop acts the thing, Lizzie, and make sure it's true, as their governess, and lives with the call and ask at the bank if they'll let me Rapleys as friend and companion. Sailor have a five-pound note."

superintends the garden and poultryLizzie borrowed Mr. Brown's dog-cart, yard and the amusements of the boy's, and drove over to Biscopham, returning and might live with them altogether if he in a few hours laden with packages. liked, but he will not abandon his old There were warm bright things for the cottage. Aunt Booth and he still carry children, a bonnet and shawl for her- on a time-honoured placid Airtation, self, a gay scarf for Tom, groceries for which shews no signs of developing into the Christmas pudding, and above all a any warmer attachment or nearer tie. goose, a very paragon of geese, young and Coming down the hill from Brook's fat, and of enormous size.

clump, you may see the village of Milford “ Then they gave you the money at lying warm and snug in the sunshine ; the bank ?" cried Tom.

the mill is grinding merrily, the ducks “O yes. They said you ought to have are squattering about noisily in the plasent a cheque, but it would do if I signed cid stream. The resonant hum of a your name for you, as you were ill; and threshing machine in yonder stack-yard so I did ; and'o Tom, when I saw the tells of the golden grain that is pouring money come out so easily, I was sorry I plentifully into the farmer's sacks; the didn't ask for more."

lark is shrilly singing at heaven's gate ; Sailor was the only guest at the Rap- and the bells from the old gray tower are leys: Christmas dinner, in gala costume, clanging out a lazy chime. Everything with the medals he won in China hanging tells of tranquil pleasant life and passaon his best blue coat. “I call this first ble content. But from one time-stained rate," he cried, as they all drew round the roof no curling smoke ascends ; the barns kitchen fire, a jug of fragrant punch mel. and stables about it are empty and bare lowing on the hob. “And now, com- of stock or store; a chilly silence has rades, I'll finish telling you about what brooded long over the place. Even the happened to me and Jack Waters when home-loving swallows refuse to build we was roun'ing Cape Horn."

under its eaves; it is shunned alike by But here a doleful wail from the baby man, and beast, and bird. No one could caused Mrs. Rapley to hurry away up- be got for love or money to act as cusstairs; and then Farmer Brown came in todian of the dismal house at Milford. to congratulate Tom on his luck, and one or two, tempted by the advantages drink success to him in the often replen- offered, have tried it for a while, but have ished jug, and in the noise and clatter, soon given it up, declaring that starvapoor Sailor's voice was finally lost and tion is better than a residence at Milford swallowed up.

Manor. Still, after a fashion, Aunt The inquest on Collop and Skim re- Betsy has had her way, and kept her sulted in a verdict of accidental death; memory green, though in very sorry and after that, the old house was once fashion; and thus it will remain till time more walled up, the secret passage filled shall rid this pleasant valley of its disin, and Aunt Betsy left to her repose. mal blot.

[graphic]

From The Cornhill Magazine. garden and mossy lawns, called BuckROBERT SOUTHEY'S SECOND WIFE. land Cottage. There, in 1787, Caroline CAROLINE BOWLES, who, somewhat Bowles was born, a first and only child. late in life, became the second wife of Two years afterwards, on the 27th of Robert Southey, the Poet Laureate, June, 1789, George the Third, accompabelonged to the same family as Canon nied by the Queen and three elder PrinLisle Bowles ; from whose works he was cesses, honoured Sir Harry and Lady wont to say he “had derived even more Neale with a visit; and were received at benefit than from Cowper's.” Her the Town-hall (then standing in the midmother was sister to General Sir Harry dle of the High Street) by the Mayor and Barrard, who was made a baronet for his Corporation, who, being introduced by services, and died in command of the Lord Delawarr, had the honour of kissFirst Grenadier Guards, at Calshot Casing their Majesties' hands. At that tle; of which old fortress on the Solent moment the King's attention was drawn he was the governor.

to a gaunt figure draped in a red gown On an arm of the sea, not very far ornamented with yellow braid, who teld from Calshot, and opposite the Needles, what looked like a gilt club, and gazed at stands the ancient borough-town of him with the profoundest veneration Lymington, which sent two members to from the further end of the hall. Parliament under the patronage of the “What is that singular-looking personBurrards of Walhampton, until the pass- age ?" asked the King of Lord Delawarr. ing of the Reform Bill. At that eventful "Our mace-bearer, your Majesty, Jeditime the senior member was Admiral diah Pike," was the whispered answer. Sir Harry Burrard-Neale, Bart, K.G.C.,

But the name caught its owner's ear, who had long been Naval Aide-de-Camp and supposing that he had been sumand a Groom of the Bedchamber to moned, he advanced hastily. Overcome, George the Third ; and it is noteworthy however, by his feelings, and seeing the that he was at once re-elected as the royal eyes fixed upon him, honest JediConservative member, by the free elect- diah prostrated himself, mace and all, at ors of Lymington.

the foot of the “haut-pas,” looking up A beautiful obelisk which overlooks from the ground with an expression of the town from the opposite side of the such passionate loyalty that the King not river, backed by the Walhampton woods, only burst out laughing, but also told him marks the esteem in which he was held to get up and kiss his hand, which he by them, in the navy, and in Parliament, was sure so good a subject deserved to by the royal family, and by all who ever do. Long afterwards he spoke of “old knew him.

Pike,” with the same hearty laughter. A century ago Lymington retained a This incident illustrates the general peculiarly quaint and picturesque char- feeling of Lymington in those days, when acter; travellers then rode well armed "a divinity” did, indeed, “hedge a through the dangerous tracts of the New king." Forest on their way towards London, and Nowhere was loyalty more truly a reliprayers were duly offered in church for gion than at Buckland Cottage. The their safe arrival there.

little daughter of the house was educated The town carried on a good coasting- entirely at home. Her father, who had trade as far as Cornwall, and was famous been in the army, was remarkably silent, both for its salterns, and its timber-yards and devoted to the quiet art of angling and shipwrights. The principal street This taste was easily gratified in a forestran from the quays on the river, straight country abounding in shadowy pools up a long hill (is it still does), and was fringed with water-weed, and in rivulets composed of a singular variety of houses that drained the valleys, and often and shops, of all heights and sizes. Near sparkled in the sunshine. Of these, St. Thomas' Church many large pleasant Royden Stream was the most beautiful ; old dwellings, with shady walled gardens, and there he often took her as soon as and ivied gables, and court-yards, may she was able to trot by his side with her still be seen. From this upper end of basket. He invariably carried a wellLymington the road to the right leads to worn copy of Isaac Walton in his pocket, Buckland Rings, a well-defined Roman which she read with delight when a mere encampment on the verge of the Forest, baby in years. Whether from Kit Marand overgrown with trees. At its foot lowe or holy Master Herbert she caught stood an old-fashioned small house, with the knack of rhyming, or from the great great elms partly overshadowing its trim' store of ballads sung by her mother, she

began making stories in verse even before the manners of la vieille cour long surshe could write. When she had mas- vived their disappearance in France. tered that accomplishment, which she Her husband was brother to Sir Harry did also very early, she would let no one Burrard, warden of the New Forest, and but her father catch a glimpse of her governor of Calshot Castle, who became verses. She never had a very good ear the first baronet of Walhampton. He for music, but if she heard poetry repeat- had early been betrothed to a handsome ed, its rhythm haunted her sleeping and and wealthy Jersey heiress by a family waking till she had composed something compact, and the marriage was to take in the same measure. Mrs. Bowles, place when his regiment returned from alarmed by this precocity, endeavoured Flanders. They had seen little of each to keep books of poetry out of her reach. other, but they parted with the promise The most anxious parent could hardly of keeping up as constant a correspondhowever have feared over-excitement ence as the uncertain posts of those days from Gesner's “ Death of Abel," and that allowed. Great was the young soldier's accordingly she was allowed to read; happiness when, as time passed on, each and it filled her mind with images of letter from Mademoiselle D - became pastoral purity and devotion, which all more delightful than the last. She had seemed connected with an altar and appeared to him rather cold and imperisacrifices.

ous, and he fancied she had accepted his And God must still,

addresses too much as a matter of So with myself I argued, surely love

course ; but her letters undeceived him, Such pure sweet offerings. There can be no and left him no doubt of her affection. harm

They contained the fullest accounts of In laying them, as Eve was wont each day, her daily life at the old château, with all On such an altar : what if I could make

the little adventures that befel herself Something resembling that! To work I went and her friends, described in the most With the strong purpose which is strength amusing way, and with a childlike zest

and power, And in a certain unfrequented nook

and womanly grace, that promised deOf our long rambling garden, fenced about lightful companionship in the future. By thorns and bushes, thick with summer

At last he obtained a short leave of leaves,

absence, and hurried to Jersey, to assure And threaded by a little water-course her better than he could do in writing of (No substitute contemptible I thought the warm affection that had succeeded on For Eve's meandering rills), uprose full soon his own part to the somewhat chilly cerA mound of mossy turf, that when complete

emonial of their former intercourse. I called an altar : and with simple faith,

Mademoiselle D— had often alluded Aye, and with feelings of adoring love Hallowing the childish error, laid thereon

to a summer-house at the end of the nutDaily my floral tribute, yet from prayer,

tree avenue, leading from the garden to Wherewith I longed to consecrate the act, the neighbouring woods, as her favourite Refraining with an undefined fear

spot for writing. On hearing, therefore, (Instinctive) of offence : and there was doubt when he arrived unexpectedly at the chaOf perfect blamelessness (unconscious doubt) teau, that the Seigneur and Madame were In the suspicious unrelaxing care With which I kept my secret. — The Birthday Mademoiselle Madeleine were in the

paying visits, but that she and her cousin (1836).

summer-house, he lost not a moment in Caroline Bowles was an exceedingly seeking her there. Full of hope and joy pretty child, and old relations of hers and he stood for a moment on that glowing of the writer's, often spoke of her fairy- afternoon near the pretty pavilion, afraid like appearance when found reading or of startling his promised bride by so sudwriting in the hollow trunk of some old den an appearance. The summer leaves tree, or in a mimic cave, with one flat! were thick, and the noisette-roses clusstone for a floor, overhung with ferns and tered round it, but he heard a well-known ivy, by the side of Royden Stream. voice exclaim: “Will you never have

She spoke French as soon as she did done, Madeleine, with that tiresome letEnglish, for her grandmother, Mrs. ter ? Thank goodness, it is one of the George Burrard, or, as she was usually last we need send, for he seems likely to called, Madame Burrard, was a Jersey be here before long! It is lucky we lady, and always spoke her native lan- write alike, I should hardly have patience guage in her own family. She was con- to copy all you find to say nected with all the old Norman families Perhaps George Burrard took another of the island, where feudal customs and I turn in the nut-tree walk before he presented himself; but when he entered the girl, and she always said Mr. Gilpin had summer-house he saw his betrothed tying first put a pencil into her hand. Her porknots of various coloured ribbons that trait of him in his library, while she stood lay on the rustic table, and her young by to watch Irim draiv, is one of her best cousin writing, with a shower of golden pieces of descriptive poetry. Here are a curls falling over her face, as she held few lines of it -her desk on her lap. There was some- How holy was the calm of that small room! thing in that blushing face which told the How tenderly the evening light stole in story of the letters, no less clearly than As 'twere in reverence of its sanctity! Mademoiselle's exclamation, and it fixed Here and there touching with a golden gleam his fate and hers.

Book-shelf or picture-frame, or brightening up When at last all obstacles had been The nosegay, set with daily care (love's own) overcome, and “la petite Madeleine " Upon the study table. Dallying there was his wife instead of the proud heiress, Among the books and papers, and with beam she brought with her to Lymington a The old man's high bald head and noble

Of softest radiance, starring like a glory maid, who lived with her and her de

brow – scendants till extreme old age. She was There still I found him, busy with his pen always called “ma bonne," and treated (Oh, pen of varied power ! found faithful ever ! as a friend. She continued, like her mis- Faithful and fearless in the one great cause !) tress, the dress of her youth, and wore Or some grave tome, or lighter work of taste her high cap, and long gold earrings, and (His no ascetic, harsh, soul-narrowing creed). short jackets, to the last. Madame Bur-Or that unrivalled pencil, with few strokes, rard, as she also grew old, used to be car- And sober tinting slight, that wrought effects ried from the porch at Buckland Cottage Most magical ; the poetry of art ! --The Birihin a sedan chair to her pew in church.

day. There, I am afraid, she bowed and curt- Lymington had long been a depôt for sied to her friends before the service be- English troops, owing to its neighbourgan ; but I am quite sure that she stood hood to Portsmouth and the passage by up in her little high-heeled shoes of black the Needles to the Channel. During the velvet with silver buckles, and that a dia- French Revolution and the subsequent mond crescent sparkled just in front of war with France, a large body of Royalher powdered hair, which was drawn up ists were encamped near the town; the on a cushion under a lace cap and hood. group of trees was long pointed out un

The rest of her dress was invariably der which were the tents of those gallant black ; but she also wore the lace ruffles, leaders who fell with their little army at neckerchief, and apron, that had been in Quiberon. A large depôt of foreign fashion when she was exactly like what troops was afterwards established ; and her little granddaughter afterwards be- the town and neighbourhood were also came. She had a delightful manner of full of naval and military officers, who telling stories, as well as of writing; and were either stationed there or invalided, it was always said that Caroline inherited Society, therefore, was remarkably varied her peculiar vein of conversation. She and animated ; German, Dutch, French, had the same beautiful hair, dark grey and Italian officers, as well as the families eyes, and finely formed forehead, with a of the emigrant noblesse, took their part slight graceful figure, and a hand as deft in it; and the writer has often heard the and light as ever held needle, pen, or Lymington balls of those days described pencil, though she never had patience to as the gayest that ever were known, not learn to spin. This was an art in which excepting those of Bath itself. On one her charming grandmother excelled, and occasion Caroline Bowles, who was usushe always kept with affectionate care the ally very fond of dancing, let her mother pretty wheel from which Madame Bur- go to a ball without her. She amused rard used to draw the finest lace-thread herself with making a sketch of the prinof any lady in Hampshire.

cipal groups certain to be seen at it; and The Rev. William Gilpin was vicar of though slightly caricatured, they were Boldre (the parish to which Lymington so like, that people thought, when Mrs. belongs) during Caroline's childhood. He Bowles showed it to her friends, that it is still remembered as the author of a must have been taken on the spot. No work on forest scenery, to the beauties one could imagine where the artist could of which he first drew attention, and be- have been hidden! This drawing, with ing an excellent artist, his illustrations some alterations, was afterwards lithowere as much admired as his writing graphed, with another equally clever. He was very fond of the intelligent little' They both had considerable success un

« PreviousContinue »