Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 17,

Part 3 out of 5

immutable; laws. It was an American in this our Quaker City who
reduced the wind to a commonplace effect of a most ordinary cause.
Franklin, one winter's day passing with a lighted candle out of a warm
room into a cold one, saw that as he held it above his head the flame
was blown outward before him: when he held it near the floor, the
flame was blown into the room. The shrewd observer stood in the
doorway, instead of hurrying out, as most of us would have done,
to save the wasting candle. The warm air in the heated room, he
conjectured, was expanded by the heat, consequently it rose as high as
it could, and made a way for itself out of the room at the upper part
of the doorway, while the heavier cold air from without rushed in
below to fill the vacated space. What if he took the equatorial
regions or great tracts of arid desert for the heated room? The air
over them, subjected by the heat to constant rarefaction, must
rise, must overflow above, and must force the colder air from the
surrounding regions in below. Two sheets of air will thus set in
vertically on both sides, rise, and again separate above. Here was an
explanation of the great, steady, uninterrupted aerial currents which,
at the rate of from fifteen to eighteen miles per hour, sweep the
surface of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The candle, no doubt, was
wasted, but the secret of the trade-winds was discovered.

The idea was correct as far as it went. It did not go very far, it is
true. It had not taken into account the earth's rotation, whose force,
according to Herschel, "gives at least one-half of their average
momentum to all the winds which occur over the whole world;" nor the
infinite variation in the movements of the atmosphere which we call
winds, caused by the change in the sun's motion, by the differing
amounts of vapor held in them, by the physical configuration of the
earth below, by the vicinity of the sea or arid deserts, and by the
passage of storms or electric currents.

The science of meteorology, especially as regards wind, is as yet
searching for general principles, which can only be deduced from
countless facts. We do not now, like Saint Paul, talk of the wind
Euroclydon as of a special agent of God, but describe it by stating
that it is an aerial ascending current over the Mediterranean,
produced by the heated sands of Africa and Arabia. We can even measure
its heat at 200 deg. Fahrenheit, and its velocity at fifty-four miles per
hour. But it attacks us just as unexpectedly as it did the apostle,
and brings disease and death to Naples or Palermo to-day just as
surely as it did to Cambyses. The popular verdict on the matter
would no doubt be that when meteorologists can not only describe the
sirocco, but give warning of its coming, their science will justify
its claim to consideration. The common sense of mankind always demands
as a royalty from every science daily practical benefits to the mass
of men and women. It is not enough for meteorologists to have proved
that the atmosphere varies in weight, in temperature or velocity of
motion according to fixed rules, or to be able to explain why no rain
falls on a certain portion of the coast of Portugal, while a like
coast-exposure in England is incessantly drenched; or to have
determined beyond a doubt that precisely as the ocean of water,
under the influence of the moon and wind, ebbs and flows and has
its succession of storms or calms, the ocean of air in which we
are enveloped answers to the influence of the sun in great tidal
movements, and has also its vast steadily moving waves of cold or heat
or moisture. These discoveries of general truths must be brought to
bear directly on men's daily life before they will have fulfilled
their true purpose. It would seem as if nothing were more easy than to
bring them so to bear. Meteorology, more intimately perhaps than any
other science, concerns our ordinary affairs. The health of mankind,
navigation, agriculture, commerce, the hourly business and needs of
every man, from the merchant sending out his cargo and the consumptive
waiting for death in the east wind, to the laundress hanging out
the family wash, are ruled by that most mysterious, most uncurbed
of powers, the weather. We may rub along through life with scanty
knowledge of the history of dead nations or the philosophy of living
ones, but heat and cold, the climate of the coming winter, yesterday's
rainfall or to-morrow's frost, are matters which take hold of every
one of us and affect us every hour of the day. Now, to bring the known
general truths of this science to practical rules, or to base upon
them predictions of storms or changes in the weather during any
future period, requires, as Sir John Herschel stated twelve years ago,
"patient, incessant and laborious observations, carried on in
every region of the globe." One reason why this is required is the
perpetually shifting conditions of heat, wind and storm. A man who sat
down to work a mathematical problem in the days of Job, if there was
such a man, found its result just the same as the school-boy does
to-day: figures not only never lie, but never alter. But the man who
solves an equation of which the winds and waters are members finds
that the sum to be added varies with every hour. There are, so far
as is yet known, no regularly recurring cycles of weather on which
to base predictions: the conditions of heat and wind and moisture are
never precisely the same at any given point. Hence the necessity, if
we would give the science stability and bring it to bear on our daily
life, of educated, skilled observers at different points to collect
and report simultaneously the daily details of the present conditions.

It is this daily detail of fact which the United States government
supplies through the little stations of observation one of which we
have stumbled into on the Jersey beach. Americans, indeed, have from
the first taken hold of this science with a most characteristic effort
to reduce it to practical uses, to bring it at once to bear on the
well-being at least of farmers and navigators. Dove had no sooner
published his chart of isothermal lines and charts, showing the
temperature throughout the world of each month, and also of abnormal
temperatures, than our government issued the _Army Meteorological
Register_ for the United States, which for accuracy and fullness had
never been equaled. In these the temperature and rainfall for each
month of the year were shown. The forecasts of the weather now
published daily in this country, and which come so directly home to
every man's business that Old Probabilities is a real personage to
us all, have been given in England for several years under the
supervision of Admiral Fitzroy.

But it is high time now that we should come back to our little wooden
house on the beach, and tell what we know of its occupants and uses.
The courteous gentleman (in a blue flannel suit for "roughing it")
who sits at the telegraphic wires is Sergeant G----, belonging to the
Signal Service Department of the army. Instruction in this department
is given at Fort Whipple, Va. One hundred officers besides Sergeant
G---- are now in charge of stations, with 139 privates as assistants.
The average force at Fort Whipple is 140 men. These men are, in point
of fact, soldiers liable to be called into active service in the
field: their duty there, however, is not fighting, but signaling and
telegraphy--a duty quite as dangerous as the bearing of arms. Fresh
recruits for this service are divided into those capable of receiving
instruction only in field duty and those for "full service," which
includes, with military signaling and telegraphy, the taking
of meteoric observations, the collating and publication of such
observations, and the deduction from them of correct results. Passing
two examinations successfully in the latter course, the signal-service
soldier is detailed for duty at a post as assistant, and after six
months' satisfactory service is returned to Fort Whipple for the
special instruction given to observer-sergeants. When qualified for
this work he is detailed, as a vacancy occurs, for actual service.

Having thus discovered how our friend the sergeant came into his
post, we looked about to see what he had to do there. The
brilliantly-colored flags overhead drew the eye first. These flags
serve the purpose of an international language on the high seas, where
no other language is practicable. Twenty thousand distinct messages
can be sent by them. Rogers's system has been, adopted by the United
States Navy, the Lighthouse Board, the United States Coast Survey and
the principal lines of steamers. Each flag represents a number, and
four flags can be hoisted at once on the staff. With the flags there
is given a book containing the meaning of each number. Thus, a wrecked
ship cries silently to the shore, "Send a lifeboat" by flags 3, 8, 9,
or says that she is sinking by 6, 3, 2; or a vessel under full sail
hails another by 8, 6, 0, or bids her "_bon voyage_" with 8, 9, 7.
Owing to the difficulty of distinguishing colors in cloudy days or
when the flags will not fly, other systems of signaling are used: that
of cones similar to umbrellas being considered in the English service
one of the most efficient, a different arrangement of cones on the
staff representing the nine numerals. Men may convert themselves into
cones in an emergency by raising or letting fall their arms, and two
men thus give any signal necessary. As the flags, however, belong
more especially to Sergeant G---- 's duty on the field of battle or to
exceptional cases of storm and danger, we pass them by to examine into
his daily round of duty. Outside, a queer little house of lattice-work
perched on a headland shelters the thermometers and barometers: on
a still higher point directly over the foaming breakers is the
anemometer, the little instrument which measures the swiftness of the
fiercest cyclone as easily as the lightest spring breeze. It consists
of four brass cups shaped to catch the wind, and attached to the ends
of two horizontal iron rods, which cross each other and are supported
in the middle by a long pole on which they turn freely. The cups
revolve with just one-third of the wind's velocity, and make five
hundred revolutions whilst a mile of wind passes over them. A register
of these revolutions is made by machinery similar to a gas-meter.
The popular idea, by the way, of the speed of the wind runs very far
beyond the truth: we are apt to say of a racer that he goes like the
wind, when the fact is the horse of a good strain of blood leaves the
laggard tempest far behind; the ordinary winds of every day travel
only five miles an hour, a breeze of sixteen and a quarter miles an
hour being strong enough to cause great discomfort in town or field:
thirty-three miles is dangerous at sea, and sixty-five miles a violent
hurricane, sweeping all before it.

Our friend the sergeant examines seven times a day at stated periods
the condition of the atmosphere as to heat, weight and moisture, the
velocity of the wind, the kind, amount and speed of the clouds, and
measures the rainfall and the ocean swell: all these observations are
recorded, and three are daily reported to headquarters at Washington.
In these telegrams a cipher is used--as much, we presume, to ensure
accuracy in the figures as for purposes of secresy. In this cipher the
fickle winds are given the names of women with a covert sarcasm
quite out of place in the respectable old weather-prophet whom every
housewife consults before the day's work begins. Thus, when the
telegraph operator receives the mysterious message, "Francisco Emily
alone barge churning did frosty guarding hungry," how is he to know
that it means "San Francisco Evening. Rep. Barom. 29.40, Ther. 61,
Humidity 18 per cent., Velocity of wind 41 miles per hour, 840
pounds pressure, Cirro-stratus. N.W. 1/4 to 2/4, Cumulo-stratus East,
Rainfall 2.80 inch."?

Besides these simultaneous reports from the one hundred and eight
United States stations which are telegraphed to the central office
at Washington, there are received there daily three hundred and
eighty-three volunteer reports from every part of the country, these
being the system of meteorological observations under control of the
Smithsonian Institution for twenty-four years, and given in charge to
the Signal Service Bureau in 1874. In addition to these, again, are
simultaneous reports from Russia, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
France, England, Algiers, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain,
Portugal, Switzerland, Canada--in all two hundred and fourteen. When
we add together, therefore, the

United States Signal Service reports 108
Volunteer reports 383
International reports 214
Reports of medical corps of army 123

we have a grand total of eight hundred and twenty-eight daily
simultaneous reports received at the central office, where
Brigadier-General Albert J. Myer and his brevet aide, Captain H.W.
Howgate (or, if you choose, Old Probabilities himself), wait to scan
through these many watchful eyes the heavens around the world
and utter incessant prophecies and warnings. Besides the regular
observations, report is also made of casual phenomena--lightning,
auroras, time of first and last frosts, etc., etc.

The history of the Signal Service Bureau and the establishment of
these stations and telegraph-lines, bringing the whole country under
the instant oversight of one intelligent observer, would, if it were
briefly written, be full of points of dramatic interest. As yet it
must be gathered out of acts of Congress and official reports. The
service has now existed for fourteen years, but is still without that
full recognition by Congress which would ensure its permanency.
"With interests depending on its daily work as great as can by any
possibility rest upon any other branch of the service, it is yet
regarded as an experiment, an offshoot of regular army service
existing on sufferance, liable at any moment to be hindered in its
operations, if not totally abolished." The benefit of this daily work,
however, affects too nearly and constantly the mass of the people to
allow much danger of its final extinction. What the real value of this
practical work is can be gathered not only from the dry statistics of
annual reports, but from the increased confidence placed in it by the
people, the unscientific working majority.

The help given to farmers should rank perhaps first in estimating the
value of this work. At midnight of each day the midnight forecast is
telegraphed to twenty centres of distribution, located strictly with
regard to the agricultural population. The telegrams, as soon as
received, are printed by signal-service men, rapidly enveloped in
wrappers already stamped and addressed, and sent by the swiftest
conveyance to every post-office which can be reached before 2 P.M. of
the same day, and when received are displayed on bulletin-boards. The
average time elapsing from the moment when the bulletin leaves the
central office until it reaches every post-office from Maine to
Florida is ten hours. In 1874, 6286 of these farmers' bulletins
were issued, and when we consider that by each one of them reliable
information as to the chances of success or failure in planting or
reaping was given, we gain some idea of the directness and force of
the work of this bureau.

The river reports of the office include not only regular daily
observations of the changing depths of the great water-highways,
but forecasts of coming floods or sudden rises and falls of the
river-levels. Before the great floods in the Mississippi Valley in
1874 the warnings given by this means, and which could have been given
by no other, saved an incalculable amount of property and human life.
Bulletins are also issued regarding approaching freezing of our canals
in the winter months, and have enabled shippers to avoid the accidents
common heretofore when enormous quantities of grain, etc. in transit
have been detained by this means, to the serious disturbance of the

Cautionary day and night signals are displayed at the principal ports
and harbors when dangerous winds or storms are anticipated. In
one year 762 of these warning signals were displayed, and 561 were
verified by storms of destructive winds which otherwise would not have
been foreseen. In not a single instance during the last two years has
a great storm reached, without warning from the office, the lakes or
seaports of the country. The amount of shipping, property and life
thus saved to the country is simply incalculable.

Tri-daily deductions or probabilities of the weather, wind and storms,
with part of the data on which they rest, are published in all the
principal papers of the country, and each man and woman can testify as
to their use of them. Who now goes to be married or to bury his dead
or to begin a journey without consulting the two oracular lines in
italics at the head of the leading column? They have come to take part
in our domestic lives. The people would miss politics or the markets
or literature out of the paper with less regret than Probabilities
should the service be discontinued.

Besides this practical labor, there is the publication of nine daily
charts on which are inscribed 2160 readings of different instruments,
giving an accurate view of the general meteoric condition; monthly
charts and charts condensing the results of years of observation;
records furnished for the study of scientific men more comprehensive
and regular than can be offered by any similar institution in any

A special bit of history comes to light respecting our little wooden
shed at the head of Barnegat Bay. An act of Congress approved March,
1873, authorized the establishment of signal stations at lighthouses
or life-saving stations along dangerous coasts, and the connection of
the same by telegraphs, thirty thousand dollars being appropriated
for that end. In consequence, signal stations were established on the
Massachusetts coast, from Norfolk, Va., to Cape Hatteras, and
more closely along this dangerous lee-shore of New Jersey, and
telegraph-lines were laid connecting them with each other and also
with the central office. The plan for the future is to net the whole
coast--the lake, Atlantic and Pacific shores--with these stations and
telegraph-wires. By this means information of coming storms can be
conveyed by signal to vessels, or of wrecks, by telegraph, to other
life-saving stations: the close watch kept upon the ocean-swell
and currents will give warning inland of approaching changes in the
weather; for it is a singular fact that the ocean-swell communicates
this intelligence more quickly than the barometer, in quite another
sense than the poet's

Every wave has tales to tell
Of storms far out at sea.

Our little station belongs to the advanced guard of this proposed line
which is to encircle the coast, the whole work of establishing these
stations and telegraph-lines having been, done by Sergeant G----
and his comrades. Indeed, when we look at all the work done by our
blue-coated friend, his steady, unintermitting attention to duty by
day and night year after year, his comfortless quarters in the wooden
shed on the lonely beach, and the almost absolute solitude for an
educated man during many months of the year, we begin to think his
station not the least honorable among the soldiers of the republic.
Almost any man, set down on the battle-field, one army to meet and
another to back him, with the crash of music and arms, the magnetic
fury of combat blazing in the air, would rise to the height of the
moment and prove himself manly. But to be faithful to petty tasks hour
after hour, through all kinds of privation and weather, for years, is
quite a different matter.

The reports of the chief officer give us a hint of some of the
privations borne by the observer-sergeants, educated young fellows
like our friend. In 1872 the chief ordered one of these men to
establish a station on the western coast of Alaska and on the island
of St. Paul in Behring Sea, which was done, the observer continuing
for a year in that farthest outpost. His record of frozen fogs which
wrap the island like a pall, of cyclones from the Asian seas that lash
its rocky coast, of vast masses of electric clouds seen nowhere else
which sweep incessantly over it toward the Pole, reads more like the
story of a nightmare dream than a scientific statement.

In the next spring the chief ordered another sergeant to found a
station on Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain-peak east of the
Mississippi. Professor Mitchell discovered and measured this mountain
about twenty years ago. While taking meteorological observations upon
it he was overtaken by a storm, lost his way, and was dashed to pieces
over one of its terrible precipices. Several years after his death the
government, suddenly recognizing his right to some acknowledgment from
science, ordered his body to be disinterred and buried on the topmost
peak of the mountain. It was a work of weeks, the body in its coffin
being carried by the hardy mountaineers up almost impassable heights.
But it reached the top at last, and lies there in the sky above all
human life, with the mountain for a monument. One is startled by such
a pathetic whim of poetic justice in a government. It was to this peak
that the sergeant was ordered to carry his instruments and to make an
abiding-place for himself. And here, after two days' journey from
the base, he arrived at night in a storm of snow and hail--the guides
having cleared the way with axes--set up his instruments, and took
observations above the clouds while trees and rocks were sheeted with
ice, and there was no shelter for himself or his companions from
the furious tempests. A hut was built after a few days, and here the
observer remained with the lonely grave as companion, taking hourly
observations during several months.

Another officer was sent to the top of Pike's Peak, where he lived in
a rudely-constructed cabin until his health broke down; he was then
replaced by another, who after a year was obliged to yield also. As
soon as one soldier succumbs in these perilous outposts another goes
forward. The rarity of the air at this great altitude (nearly thirteen
thousand feet) produces nausea, fever and dizziness: added to this
were the intense cold and exposure to terrific storms. Sergeant
Seyboth records several nights when he with his companions were
forced, in a driving tempest, to leave the shelter of their hut and
work all night heaping rocks upon its roof to keep it from being blown
away; beneath them, many thousand feet, was the rolling sea of clouds.
Again and again these men were lost in the drifted snow of the canons
while passing from station to station, and barely escaped with their
lives. So imminent, indeed, was their danger during the winter of 1873
that prayers for their safety were offered continually in the churches

Frederick Meyer, another of these signal-service soldiers, was sent on
the North Polar expedition with Captain Hall. No such marvelous tale
as that contained in his formal report was ever found in fiction.
Sergeant Meyer made observations every three hours on the voyage
north, and hourly when coming south, during a year and two months. At
the end of that time, as is well known to our readers, he, with part
of the crew of the Polaris, was deserted by the ship, and left on a
floe of ice in 79 deg. north latitude, the steamer going southward without
attempting their relief. Even in that moment of extremity he made
an effort to secure the case containing his observations, but it was
washed away from him by heavy seas. For six months these nineteen
human beings drifted on the mass of ice over the polar seas, through
all the darkness and horrors of an Arctic winter, without fire except
such as was made by burning one of their boats--a feeble blaze
daily, enough to warm a quart of water in which to soak their
pemmican--without shelter save such as the heaped ice and snow
afforded, and on starvation diet. After four months the floe began
to melt so rapidly that it was but twenty yards wide. "We dared not
sleep," says Sergeant Meyer, "fearing the ice would break under us and
we should find our grave in the Arctic Sea." Several times the ice did
break beneath them, and they were washed into the flood, but scrambled
up again on the fast-melting floe. During the whole of this time the
signal-service soldier continued faithful to his work, taking such
observations as were possible with the instruments left to him. The
boat had been burned long before, and they warmed their water with
an Esquimaux lamp. On April 22d their provisions consisted of but ten
biscuits. Starvation was before them when a bear was shot, and they
lived on its raw meat for two weeks. At the end of that time a steamer
passed within sight. The poor wretches on the ice hoisted a flag and
shouted, but the vessel passed out of sight. Another ship a few days
later came within the horizon and disappeared. The next day was foggy:
again a steamer was sighted, and for hours the shipwrecked crew strove
to make themselves seen and heard through the fog, firing shots,
hoisting their torn flag and shouting at the tops of their voices.
They were seen at last, and taken aboard the Tigress, "more like
ghastly spectres who had come up through hell," says one of the
narrators, "than living men."

The pay of the signal-service soldiers is small, and it is hardly to
be supposed that they are all enthusiasts in science, or so in love
with meteorology that they cheerfully brave danger and hardships such
as these for its sake. We must look for the secret of their loyalty
to their steady, tedious work in that quiet devotion to duty which
we find in the majority of honest men--the feeling that they must
go through with what they have once undertaken. And, after all,
the majority of men are honest, and loyalty to irksome work is so
commonplace a matter that it is only when we see it carry a man
steadily through great and sudden peril, or consider how in its great
total the work of obscure individuals has lifted humanity to higher
levels in the last three centuries, that we can understand how good a
thing it is.

At some future time we shall ransack the lower floor of the little
house on the beach and discover what is to be found there.



O Rose! within my bloomy croft,
Where hidden sweets compacted dwell,
The wanton wind with breathings soft,
To perfect flower thy bud shall swell,
Then steal thy rich perfume,
Tarnish both grace and bloom,
Until, thy pearly prime being past,
Withered and dead thou'lt lie at last.

O gleaming Night! whose cloudy hair
Waves dark amid its woven light,
Bestudded thick with jewels rare,
Than royal diadem more bright,
Lo! the white hands of Day
Shall strip thy gauds away,
And in the twilight of the morn
Mock thy estate with cold-eyed scorn.

My love, O Rose! hath had a day
As fair, a fate as quick, as thine:
All wrapped in perfumed sleep I lay
Till my fond fancies grew divine,
And sweet Elysium seemed
Around me as I dreamed.
The rose is dead, the dawn comes fast:
Joy dies, but grief awakes at last.



"Le dernier gentilhomme de France vient de mourir!" exclaimed the
_Figaro_ a short time ago when recording the death of the Count de
Cambis. But the announcement has been made so often during the last
century that we are led to hope that the race may not be extinct
yet. Every generation of Frenchmen has boasted the possession of its
"first" and lamented the loss of its "last" "gentilhomme de France,"
and on each occasion have hasty English journalists of the day joined
both in the glorification and the lamentation over the individuals
thus commemorated by their own countrymen. The term "gentilhomme" is
so liable to be confounded with "gentleman" that it needs explaining,
for, despite the similarity of derivation, no two words can be more
distinct. The French gentilhomme must be of noble blood: he must be
of ancient and distinguished race, for no _nouveau parvenu_ can ever
aspire to be cited as a _vrai gentilhomme_, while the qualifications
necessary for sustaining the character seem to be wholly confined to
the one virtue of generosity. Whenever you hear it said of a man, "Il
s'est conduit en vrai gentilhomme," be sure that it means no more than
that he performed a simple act of justice in a courteous and graceful
manner. The sacred and self-imposed qualities which make up the
significance of the English word "gentleman" no Frenchman, nor
indeed any foreigner, can understand, and the word itself is never
translated, but always left in its original English. Bulwer defines
the appellation more clearly than any other author when he says, "The
word _gentleman_ has become a title peculiar to us--not, as in other
countries, resting on pedigree and coats-of-arms, but embracing all
who unite gentleness with manhood."

Now the gentilhomme of France is an entirely different type. He _must_
rely on pedigree and coats-of-arms; he must be sudden and quick in
quarrel; he must fling away his money freely amongst the _roture_; he
must be what is called a _beau joueur_--that is to say, he may lose at
the gaming-table the dowry of his mother, the marriage-portion of
his sister, everything, in short, save his temper; he may defraud a
creditor, and be the first to laugh at the fraud. "One God, one
love, one king!" is the cry of the good old English gentleman. But in
religion the gentilhomme Francais may declare with Henri Quatre that
"Paris vaut bien une messe;" in love he may pledge his faith to as
many mistresses as that same valiant sovereign; and in politics he
may cry, "Vive le Roi! vive la Ligue!" and yet remain a _parfait
gentilhomme_ in spite of all.

Every generation seems to have furnished its _parfait gentilhomme par
excellence_. The court of Louis Quatorze boasted of its Chevalier de
Grammont, from whose own confession we learn that he gloried in the
skill with which he cheated the poor Count de Camma at Lyons and the
cunning with which he eluded payment of his bill at the inn.

Then came M. de Montrond, and he again was _premier gentilhomme de
France_ while he lived and _le dernier des gentilhommes Francais_
when he died. M. de Montrond belonged to two generations, two
strongly-contrasted epochs. At his first ball at court he wore a
powdered _cadogan_ and danced in _talons rouges_: at his last he
lolled with bald head against a doorway, in varnished boots and
starched cravat. His existence has remained an enigma to this hour.
Although solicited to accept office by every party that rose to power
during his life, he steadfastly refused, and yet, by virtue of
his quality of premier gentilhomme de France, possessed unbounded
influence with them all. The explanation he gave of his system was
cynical enough: "A man must march straight to the cash-box and secure
the money, without waiting in the ante-room or the bureau: the power
is sure to follow." He chatted politics sometimes, but never "talked"
them, and seldom failed to introduce the names of one or more of the
forty-three duchesses, countesses and marquises whose peace of mind he
boasted of having wrecked for ever. Is it not strange that such frothy
frivolity could have obtained dominion for more than fifty years over
the most critical people in the world? But Montrond always declared
that no man in France would ever take the trouble to read a book
if once he had taken the trouble to read the preface. Even by the
capricious and pedantic yet ignorant society of fashionable London his
fantastical dominion was acknowledged; and the reason of this will be
understood at once in the fearlessness with which he uttered his rule
of conduct: "Every man of distinction should settle his income at ten
thousand pounds a year, and never trouble himself whether or not he
possesses as much for the capital." This premier gentilhomme de France
was proud of his want of reading, and used often to declare that the
only two books he had ever skimmed were the wearisome _Henriade_
of Voltaire and the frivolous _Liaisons Dangereuses_ of Laclos.
No research, no analysis of character, can be found to explain the
strange inconsistency by which M. de Montrond was, notwithstanding,
entrusted by every government under which he lived with the most
important secrets, the most serious negotiations--sent abroad to stay
revolutions, summoned home to remodel constitutions, and consulted
on every point as though he had spent his whole life in the study of
Montesquieu or Colbert. Such was the moral life of the man pronounced
the premier gentilhomme de France by the fathers and grandfathers of
the present generation.

Let us glance at the physical side of his existence--the outward and
visible sign of the distinctive title with which he was honored. M.
de Montrond began his career by the study of arms, wine, women and
dice--which constituted the accomplishments necessary for a gentleman
of the period--in the regiment of Royal Flanders. Theodore Lamette
was his first colonel, Douai his first garrison-town. Soon after his
arrival there every man in the place became his devoted friend, every
woman his willing slave, and every tradesman his ready creditor. It
so happened that a detachment of Royal Cravattes had sought temporary
quarters in the same town; and among the officers was a certain Comte
de Champagne, a great duelist and gamester. From this man, by some
good fortune, over which a veil has always been thrown by Montrond's
friends, he won a considerable sum, and on finding, after suffering
a considerable time to elapse, that no sign of payment was made,
he proclaimed his intention of taking steps--not according, but in
opposition, to the law--in order to obtain his due. Montrond knew
himself to be a wretched swordsman, and therefore resolved at once
to replace his want of skill by audacity. He sent his servant to the
stable where four-and-twenty goodly steeds belonging to the Count de
Champagne were champing their oats in all security, with orders to
carry them off and leave in lieu of the magnificent animals a message
to the effect that M. de Montrond would sell the stud to pay himself,
and hand over the balance to the Count de Champagne. In a few hours,
as he had expected, he was called to the field, and presented himself
before the great duelist with a phlegmatic humor which completely
upset the count's own self-possession. Montrond was hit hard at
the first lunge. He had intended to be; and the result has become
historical in the annals of dueling. He had been pierced in the breast
by his adversary's sword, and was evidently thought by the latter to
have received his death-wound. In token of this belief the Count de
Champagne lowered his weapon, and then M. de Montrond, making one
desperate thrust, drove his sword right through his adversary's heart.
The Count de Champagne fell dead without a cry, without a struggle.
Then M. de Montrond rose covered with glory and with honor, for in
such adventures lay the fame of the gentilhommes of that time.

It would be impossible to recount the long catalogue of M. de
Montrond's triumphs after this. He became the idol of fashion--as much
with the Directoire as he had been with the old court--and under the
patronage of Madame Tallien he was permitted to carry amongst the
stern republicans the habits and morals of the Regence. It was at
this moment of his life that the one act of expiation of the past took
place. He worked with right good-will for the benefit of the exiled
nobles, many of whom were recalled through his influence, which was
so great that he found means to persuade the unkempt rulers of the
Republic to invite to their banquets the pardoned emigres, and to show
that they felt no rancor and experienced no dread.

We were about to follow the example of Montrond himself, and forget
that he was married--"just as little as possible," as he was wont to
say, but legally, notwithstanding. He married during the Revolutionary
movement a _grande dame_, a divorced lady, a certain Duchesse de
Fleury, who had sought in this union nothing more than the protection
of her property against the name of her first husband, through which
it would have been infallibly condemned to confiscation. Many of
the great ladies of that time had done likewise, thus defrauding the
Republic. But the Duchesse de Fleury neglected the most important
precaution of all--that of securing protection against the protector
she had chosen, who at once seized the property--more gayly perhaps,
but quite as effectually as the Republic would have done. The terms
of the marriage-contract may be quoted as a specimen of the motives
by which the premier gentilhomme de France was governed in the
transaction. After the declaration that the Duchesse de Fleury had
brought to the _communaute_ certain houses and lands, besides an
income of forty thousand livres, we find added by way of set-off to
this fortune that the count engaged himself to bring yearly the sum
of a hundred thousand francs--the produce of his wits. After a little
while, the premier gentilhomme having exercised the said wits in
spending the produce of the houses and lands of Madame de Fleury, and
Madame de Fleury not being able to return the compliment by selling
the wits of the Count de Montrond, the two went on their respective
ways, leaving to Providence the task of redeeming the lands which the
wits had sold and the income which the wits had scattered to the four
winds of heaven.

Space is wanting to recount the struggles of the different parties
which succeeded each other with such frightful rapidity in France
to obtain possession of the Count de Montrond's influence. But he
remained true to one principle, the one with which he started--"to
make straight for the cash-box." Yet with all this prosaic prudence,
amid the poetry of his position, the moral of this man's life was
fulfilled to the very letter. The Count de Montrond managed to outlive
every pecuniary resource save the one afforded by the remembrance of
"auld lang syne" and the unforgotten days of bygone love. He died in
the house of Madame Hamelin, after having been soothed and sheltered
by this friend and protectress through the revolutionary storm of
1848. He died dependent, subject to the same changes and caprice he
had so long inflicted upon others.

Montrond's successor, the Count de Cambis, the man who has represented
the premier gentilhomme de France in our day, died lately at as good
an old age as the Count de Montrond. _Autres tems, autres moeurs_: no
more cheating at cards, no more beating the watch, as in the case of
the Chevalier de Grammont; no more dueling and killing the adversary
by surprise, as in that of the Count de Montrond. When the bourgeois
king, Louis Philippe, succeeded to the elder branch, the gentilhomme
Francais entirely lost his prestige, and the necessity of his
existence was ignored. Everything bourgeois had become the fashion at
court: the court itself was denominated a _basse-cour_ (farm-yard) by
the Faubourg St. Germain, and all who frequented it "les oies de Frere
Philippe" or "les canards d'Orleans." The Count de Cambis appeared at
that moment at the Tuileries in search of office. His name stood high
in the annals of the French noblesse: society had, however, ceased to
confound the gentilhomme with the roue. The conditions necessary
to fulfill the character were changed, and it was now the bourgeois
gentilhomme and not the gentilhomme roue whose claim to the vacant
place was more likely to be accepted. The Count de Cambis had held the
place of honorary equerry to the Duc d'Angouleme, having obtained
it less on account of his patent of nobility than by reason of his
unblemished character. He was now in search of some place about the
court, and soon found favor in the eyes of the citizen-king, to whom
the quiet virtues of the Tiers-Etat were of more value than the flash
and tinsel of the Regence. The count was of fine, commanding person
and handsome countenance: moreover, he was "the man with a story," and
a painful one it was, creative of the greatest interest in the tender
bosoms of the Orleans princesses. Although poor, belonging to a ruined
family, his prospects had been good at the court of Charles Dix, and
one of the greatest ladies of the court had cast her eyes upon him as
a suitable _parti_ for her daughter. The young lady, nothing loath,
had accepted with alacrity the proposition of marriage, seconded as
it was by the Duchesse d'Angouleme, and backed by the promise of high
office on its realization. A marriage is easy to arrange in France;
not so the execution of the marriage-contract, which is rendered as
wearisome by delays as the still more dilatory proceedings of the law;
and therefore it was deemed advisable, in order to pass this dismal
period, to despatch the Count de Cambis to Holland for the purchase of
horses for the royal stable. Arrived at The Hague, he was seized with
an attack of smallpox, which laid him prostrate on the low flock bed
of the miserable little inn to which he had been conveyed on landing
from the boat. Here he lay for some time incognito, his identity
unknown to any save the faithful valet who attended him, until he had
perfectly recovered from the disease, which, however, was found to
have left the most frightful traces of its passage in scar and seam
and furrow from forehead to chin. The handsome young cavalier who
landed so full of hope and spirits on the quay at The Hague rose from
his bed with a face bloated and discolored, seamed and scarred
and pockmarked, his once luxuriant locks grown thin and dank, his
eyelashes gone, his whole appearance so changed that as he gazed at
himself for the first time in the looking-glass he was overwhelmed
with such despair that, as he owned afterward to his friends, he would
have thrown himself from the window at which he stood into the canal
below had he not been prevented by the strong arm of his servant,
Dulac. A terrible period of anguish and depression followed on this
first excitement, but he awoke from it and returned to life once more,
a sadder and a wiser man. When the first impression of horror and
dismay had passed away his resolution was taken at once. He resolved
to disengage the lady from her vow, and sat down to write the words
which were to rend his heart in twain. At that moment Dulac entered
the room with a packet of letters just arrived from Paris by
estafette. Amongst them was one from the young lady's mother, full of
sweet pleasantry and graceful mirth, describing the gay doings at the
Tuileries, and the delight her daughter had experienced at the idea of
being allowed to attend the Duchesse d'Angouleme to the ball about to
be given in honor of the visit to Paris of some one or other of the
Spanish princes. She described with the greatest vivacity all the
details of the toilet to be worn by her chere petite Adele and the
kindness of the royal princess, and ended with the most affectionate
expressions of regret at the absence from the fete of her daughter's
affianced lover, writing in playful terms of the danger in which
Adele's heart would have been placed at the accession of so many new
and handsome cavaliers in attendance on the Spanish prince had it not
been for the precaution of wearing, as the safest shield against all
attacks, the locket which contained the portrait of her brave and
beautiful lover--the miniature he had given her on his departure.
He turned from the perusal of the letter with a deadly chill at his
heart: he crushed it in his hand, and threw it on the blazing logs
upon the hearth, holding it down with the tongs until every fiery
spark had disappeared, then watched the blackened flakes as they flew
one by one up the chimney; and when the last had disappeared he dashed
the tears from his eyes, and, to the great surprise and consternation
of Dulac, ordered him to pack up and prepare for their immediate
return to France.

That very evening he set out by the passage-boat, and arrived in
Paris on the very night of the ball at the Tuileries. With the strange
self-immolation which is generated in some characters by despair
he caused himself to be driven by the quay round to the Place Louis
Quinze, and made the driver stop so that he might torture himself
with the sight of the lights and the shadows of the dancers. He then
alighted at his own door beneath the gateway in the Rue de Rivoli,
which at that hour was silent and deserted, for the line of carriages
were all setting down in the courtyard of the Place du Carrousel. The
gaping valets merely nodded acquiescence to the password he muttered
as, muffled up to the chin, he glided noiselessly over the polished
floor of the vestibule and hurried up the stairs. Dulac was well
pleased to be home again, anticipating with delight the enjoyment of
that repose which after such a long arid rapid journey he had well
earned. What, therefore, was his consternation when _Monsieur le
Comte_ announced his intention of attending the ball, ordering him
to prepare in all haste his court-costume for the purpose! Dulac was
accustomed to obey without opposition, and, although wondering at this
sudden vagary on the part of his master, usually so reasonable in
all things, hastened to do his bidding. The toilet was completed in
silence. A few tears were shed by Dulac over the thin lank locks he
was called upon to friz, and when all was completed and he held aloft
the girandole to light him down the back stairs used by members of the
royal household to gain admission to the state apartments of the
royal palace without passing through the crowd in the ante-room, the
faithful fellow turned heartbroken to his master's chamber.

The Count de Cambis entered the ballroom at the moment when a
quadrille was being made up, and the very instinct of his love--for
it could not be mere chance--led him at once to the room and the place
where Mademoiselle de B---- was seated beside her mother. The count
has often told his friends that he trembled so violently that for a
few minutes he could neither speak nor move, but stood gazing upon
the young lady silent, motionless, as if rooted to the spot. The
whole seemed as if passing before him in a magic-lantern, and when
at length, recalled to himself by the amazement expressed upon the
countenances of both ladies, he ventured to ask his beautiful fiancee
for her hand in the dance, it was no wonder that she did not recognize
his voice, so choked and husky was it with emotion. But the young lady
turned abruptly away with an impatient gesture, and looked imploringly
at her mother for help against the intrusion of the repulsive gallant
she had secured. At a signal from the matron, which did not escape
the count, she bent her head, and the count, stooping also, caught the
whisper, "Nay, mon enfant, ugly as he is, he must not be refused, or
you cannot dance with any other partners all night." With pouting lips
and tearful eyes the young lady extended her hand, but by the time
she had raised her eyes again the suppliant had vanished through the
doorway, his disappearance as mysterious as his first apparition, and,
strange to say, was seen no more. He had caught sight of the locket,
the miniature of himself, with the bright eyes and flowing hair, the
long black eyelashes and glossy moustache. It seemed to reproach him
with the fraud he was premeditating against the lovely girl to whom,
if he listened to the dictates of honor, he must henceforth be as one
dead--as one, indeed, who had died many years before.

His anguish was intense. The test of love had been deceptive, the
ordeal had failed, the verdict had been given against him. He went
back to his chamber, where Dulac was still busily engaged in unpacking
his valise, bade the astounded valet replace everything he had already
taken out, and hurry at once to the Poste aux Chevaux to command
horses for the return journey to The Hague. As soon as he arrived at
that place he wrote a long letter to the young lady's mother releasing
her daughter from all obligation toward himself, and announcing his
determination never to intrude himself upon her notice again. The
Duchesse d'Angouleme, whose experience of life was of its bitterness
alone, is said to have interfered to prevent the affair from becoming
public, and to have assisted in finding another _parti_ for the
deserted fair one.

Meanwhile, the Restoration with its disappointments and broken vows
was replaced by the government of Louis Philippe with its hopes and
promises. The Count de Cambis, whose official position was annihilated
by the storm which swept over the kingdom, found himself immediately,
with the whole army of officials, compelled to choose between poverty
and obscurity or treachery to his former benefactors. When this combat
is allowed to take place between the heart and the stomach, the latter
generally carries the day; and so it did in this case. The Count de
Cambis did but follow the majority in binding himself at once to the
interests of the Orleans family. Louis Philippe, who, like all French
sovereigns, displayed undue eagerness to make use of the old servants
of the preceding dynasty, was not slow to avail himself of the offer
of service made by the Count de Cambis. A place was found for him as
superintendent of the royal stud, and here he really displayed that
disinterestedness in his dealings which entitled him to the highest
consideration. The Duke of Orleans, whose aristocratic tastes always
inclined him to favor distinction of birth, treated the Count de
Cambis with especial preference; and on his side the count was careful
to flatter the instincts of His Royal Highness by assuming the manners
and gait of the ancient raffines of the Garde Royale. One of
the duke's chief delights consisted in fashioning his household
regulations after the model set by the Due d'Angouleme, and the count
became his chief counsel and adviser in every matter concerning
the etiquette to be observed in a well-ordered court. The tradition
preserved to the latest hour of the existence of the royal stables
tells of the fatality which rendered the Count de Cambis the avenger
of the Restoration he had denied through his share in the catastrophe
which deprived the throne of July of its heir.

It was the 13th of July, 1842. The day was fine. The duke appeared at
a window which looked into the courtyard where the Count de Cambis
was giving orders concerning the day's service. "The victoria to-day,"
called out His Royal Highness from the balcony.--"And Tom?" was the
question sent upward to the duke.--"No, let me have Kent: he goes
best with Ridge," returned the duke.--"But Kent has been much worked
lately, monseigneur, and--."--"Well, well, Cambis, as you like: you
know best," was the final reply as the duke turned away from the
window and retreated into the chamber. Just then one of the grooms,
who had been standing at a respectful distance and had overheard the
words, came forward and in a voice full of mystery begged to inform M.
le Comte that something was wrong with Tom, who had been observed to
be restless and irritable the whole morning, and inquired whether it
would not be well to have him doctored. "Pooh! pooh!" exclaimed
the count. "You are all chicken-hearted in _your_ stable--always
complaining of Tom, whose only fault lies in his spirit. He only shows
his thorough breeding, and the duke wishes to make a gallant display
on starting. There is a crowd already gathered round the gate to
see him drive off." So Tom was harnessed, and the postilion who rode
Piedefer declares that from the very first he argued ill of Tom's
temper, for he observed a vicious expression in his eye, and a
distension of the nostrils which never boded good.

The Duke of Orleans was driven from the palace-gate full of health and
spirits. He was to proceed to Neuilly to bid farewell to his mother,
Queen Amelie, at the little summer chateau there. Detractors of
the duke's character will tell you that on the way he stopped and
prolonged to undue length a visit he should not have made at all, and
that consequently he was compelled to urge the postilion to greater
speed. Whatever the cause, just at the entrance of the Route de la
Revolte the dreaded outburst of temper on the part of the irascible
Tom took place. At first merely fidgety, and managed with the greatest
delicacy by the English postilion, then ill-tempered and capricious,
swerving from side to side, necessitating in self-defence the use of
the whip--"But only gently and lighthanded, as one's obliged to do
sometimes, just to show 'em who's master," was the poor fellow's
explanation amid the bitter tears he shed when recounting the
catastrophe--when suddenly Tom reared and plunged, and set off at a
mad gallop which no human hand could have had the power to arrest.
The postilion kept a cool head and steady seat: not so the Duke of
Orleans, who rose to his feet in alarm just as the wheels of the
carriage struck against a stone. The shock caused him to lose his
balance: he was dashed violently to the ground, and in a few hours the
hope of France lay dead in the small back shop of a petty tradesman in
the avenue.

The blow was a dreadful one--far heavier than that of a mere domestic
bereavement. It was felt that the royal family had lost its hold, not
of authority, but of sentiment, upon the nation--that the dynasty for
which such sacrifices had been made was wrecked for ever. But no blame
was attached to any individual save by the Count de Cambis himself,
who acknowledged the grievous responsibility he had incurred by
instantly sending in his resignation and withdrawing from court. In
vain did Louis Philippe endeavor to persuade him to return; in vain
did the queen herself, even amid the desolation of the first storm of
grief, disclaim any imputation of blame to the count; in vain did
the Duc de Nemours write with his own hand the urgent request that he
would resume office, were it only for a time, in order to display to
the world the conviction felt by every member of the royal family of
the utter absence of any neglect or carelessness on his part. It was
of no avail: the Count de Cambis remained steady to his purpose of
retirement, and disappeared entirely from court.

It was not until the summer of 1847 that a renewal of intercourse took
place. The day was a festival, and the approaches to the palace were
thronged till a late hour. A garden below the windows, surrounded by
a low iron grating, and called the garden of the Count de Paris, had
just been closed for the night; the sound of the drums beating the
_retraite_ was already dying in the distance; the crowd had all
withdrawn, and yet one solitary figure still remained, leaning
disconsolately against the railing, gazing wistfully into the garden,
and every now and then casting furtive glances up at the balcony into
which opened the window of the apartment occupied by the Duchess of
Orleans. Presently a child came down the steps and walked straight to
the gate against which the stranger was leaning, his forehead pressed
against the grating, his hand grasping the iron bars. In a moment the
key was turned in the lock, a little hand was placed within that of
the Count de Cambis, and a gentle voice whispered in his ear, "Come
in! come in! We are all there to-night--grandpere and all. We want
to see you so much. It is mamma's fete." There was no resisting this
appeal. Le premier gentilhomme de France would have been compelled
to forego his title had he refused the invitation, and clasping
the child's hand he traversed the garden in silence, and soon found
himself in the midst of the royal family assembled to celebrate the
fete of St. Helene in the privacy of domestic affection. The sight
of the well-remembered faces, the smiles and greetings of the royal
family, the cordial kindness of the king, the silent sympathy of
the queen, the gentle welcome of the duchess, at length brought
consolation to the wounded spirit of the count, and without further
ado he consented at once to resume his old position; and the next day,
when he was seen galloping beside the royal carriage up the Champs
Elysees, he was greeted with hearty shouts of recognition by the
promenaders on either side. Everything now went on in the old train.
He was readmitted to the intimacy of the Orleans family, and retained
his place and the confidence of his master until the revolution
of February drove the Orleans family into exile. He retired into
obscurity with a grace and dignity befitting the premier gentilhomme
de France--without reproach, without a stain upon his escutcheon. He
refused the most tempting offers of employment at the imperial
court, and was seen no more, save when now and then, passing down the
boulevard with hurried steps, he was recognized by his long white hair
and braided jacket, with the persistent cipher of the royal house to
which he had been for so many years attached. Then, as he hastened
along with riding-whip in hand and jingling spurs upon his heels,
some old bourgeois sipping his demi-tasse at the door of a cafe would
exclaim, "There goes the Count de Cambis, le dernier gentilhomme de

A desperate attempt was made by the imperialists to set up a premier
gentilhomme of their own in the person of Count Morny, who sought to
revive the traditions of De Grammont and of De Montrond. He was brave,
he was witty, his _physique_ might be said to realize the ideal of the
role, but his _morale_ was founded on the theories of the Bonaparte
school. De Grammont tells us how he cheated the greasy cattle-dealer;
De Montrond makes us laugh when he relates how in his tour of
mediation with Prince Talleyrand he was wont to take bribes from two
rival princes, each willing to pay a heavy sum that the other might
be baffled; but neither De Grammont nor De Montrond would ever have
consented to soil his hands with such vile commercial speculations as
the Houilleres d'Anzin or the Vieille Montagne, or condescend to such
disgraceful financial mystification as the "Affaire Jecker" of Mexico.

It would be impossible to explain the difference which exists between
the "gentilhomme" and the "gentleman." It is felt and understood,
but cannot be described. The term "gentleman" itself is conventional.
Neither birth nor accomplishments, nor even gentle manners, are
necessary for undisputed assumption of the title. The man who acts
as a lawyer's clerk cannot be called a gentleman, according to Judge
Keating's decision, because, the title having no place in the language
of the law, if he chanced to be indicted for a criminal offence he
would be denominated a "laborer." Serjeant Talfourd's sweeping theory,
of the term "gentleman" being legally applicable to every man who has
nothing to do and is out of the workhouse, cannot be accepted, as it
would of necessity include thieves, mendicants and out-door paupers.
The American police have been compelled, to defend the border-line of
gentility against the encroachments of their vagabond gold-seekers,
card-sharpers and ruffians, and confine the term to those of
respectable calling. In California the term may be applied to every
individual of the male gender and the Caucasian race, the line being
drawn at Chinamen. An American writer contests the acceptance of the
term, in England as being too vague and uncertain for comprehension by
foreigners, and suggests that some less conventional designation than
those now in use should be found to indicate the idea. To the moral
sense it would be natural to suppose that character rather than
calling would be the most important point in the consideration of
the question; but it is not so. In the four-oared race of gentlemen
amateurs held last year at Agecroft in Lancashire the prize of
silver plate was won by a crew taken from a club composed entirely of
colliers, who had been allowed to row under protest, they not being
acknowledged as "_gentlemen_ amateurs." The race over and the prize
won by the colliers, an investigation took place by the committee.
The result was unanimity of the vote against acceptance of the
qualification of the winners. Here, then, occurred the best
illustration of the comprehension of the term by the moderns, for
the "gentlemen," deeming that money _must_ be a salvo to pride in
the bosom of all whose quality of gentleman remains unacknowledged,
subscribed a handsome sum to be distributed amongst the disappointed
crew. But here, again, the proof was given of the vague uncertainty of
the term, for the crew of colliers were _gentlemen_ enough to refuse
the proffered gift with scorn.



Time, bring back my lord to me:
Haste, haste! Lov'st not good company?
Here's but a heart-break sandy waste
'Twixt this and thee. Why, killing haste
Were best, dear Time, for thee, for thee!

Oh, would that I might divine
Thy name beyond the zodiac sign
Wherefrom our times-to-come descend.
He called thee _Sometime_. Change it, friend:
_Now-time_ soundeth far more fine.

Sweet Sometime, fly fast to me:
Poor Now-time sits in the Lonesome-tree
And broods as gray as any dove,
And calls, _When wilt thou come, O Love_?
And pleads across the waste to thee.

Good Moment, that giv'st him me,
Wast ever in love? Maybe, maybe
Thou'lt be this heavenly velvet time
When Day and Night as rhyme and rhyme
Set lip to lip dusk-modestly;

Or haply some noon afar,
--O life's top bud, mixt rose and star!
How ever can thine utmost sweet
Be star-consummate, rose-complete,
Till thy rich reds full opened are?

Well, be it dusk-time or noon-time,
I ask but one small, small boon, Time:
Come thou in night, come thou in day,
I care not, I care not: have thine own way,
But only, but only, come soon, Time.






If Madame de Montfort could not teach Leam some of the things
generally considered essential to the education of a gentlewoman, if
her orthography was disorderly, her grammar shaky, her knowledge of
geography, history and language best expressed by _x_, and her moral
perceptions never clear and seldom straight, she was yet far in
advance of a girl whose training in all things was so infinitely below
even her own dwarfed standard. Madame could read with native grace
and commendable fluency, making nimble leapfrogs over the heads of the
exceptionally hard passages, but Leam had to spell every third word,
and then she made a mess of it, Madame did know that eight and seven
are fifteen, but Leam could not get beyond five and five are ten and
one over makes eleven. If madame thought deception the indispensable
condition of pleasant companionship, and lies the current coin of good
society--in which she certainly sided with the majority of believing
Christians--Leam would be none the worse for a little softening of
that crude out-speaking of hers, which was less sincerity than the
hardness of youthful ignorance and the insolence of false pride. If
madame was only lacquer, and not clear gold all through, Leam had not
the grace of even the thinnest layer of varnish, and might well take
lessons in the religion of appearances and that thing which we call
"manner." Madame did know at least how to bear herself with the
seeming of a lady, and could say her shibboleth as it ought to be
said. Thus, she ate with delicacy and held her knife nicely poised and
balanced, but Leam grasped hers like a whanger, and cut off pieces of
meat anyhow, which as often as not she took from the point. Mamma had
eaten with her knife grasped also like a whanger, and why might not
she? she said when madame remonstrated and gave her a lecture on the
aesthetics of the table. And why should she not make her bread her
plate, and hold both bread and meat in her hand if she liked? Why
was she to wipe her lips when she drank? and why, traveling farther
afield, was she to speak when she was spoken to if she would rather be
silent? Why get up from her chair when ladies like Mrs, Harrowby and
Mrs. Birkett came into the room? They did not get up from their chairs
when she went into their rooms, and mamma never did. And why might she
not say what she thought and show what she disliked? Mamma said what
she thought and showed what she disliked, and mamma's rule was her

All these objections madame had to combat, and all these things to
teach, and many more besides. And as Leam was young, and as even
the hardest youth is unconsciously plastic because unconsciously
imitative, the suave instructress did really make some impression;
so that when she assured the incredulous neighborhood of Leam's
improvement she had more solid data than always underlaid her words,
and was partly justified in her assertion.

Religion, too, was another point on which the forces of new and old
met in collision. Madame was of course what is meant by the word
"religious." Like all persons trading on falsehood and living
in deception, her orthodoxy was undoubted, and the most rigid
investigation could not have discovered an unsound spot anywhere.
She would as soon have thought of questioning her own existence as of
doubting the literal exactness of the first chapter of Genesis,
and she thought science an awfully wicked thing because it went
to disprove the story of the six days. She firmly believed in the
personality of Satan and material fires for wicked souls; and the
sweet way in which she lamented the probable paucity of the saved was
extremely edifying, not to say touching. This childlike acceptance,
this faithful orthodoxy, was one of the things for which the rector
liked her so well. He had a profound contempt for science and
skepticism together; and an unbeliever, even if learned in the stars
and old bones, ranked with him as a knave or a fool, and sometimes
both. His pet joke, which was not original, was that there was only
one letter of difference between septic and skeptic, and of the two
the skeptic was the more unsavory.

Being then pious, madame had hung about her walls short texts in fancy
lettering, with a great deal of scroll-work in gold and carmine to
make them look pretty. When she came into possession of Leam's mind,
she was shocked at her ignorance of all the sayings that were so
familiar to herself and other persons of respectability. Leam knew
nothing but a few barbarous prayers to saints, used more after the
fashion of charms than anything else, the ave and the paternoster said
incorrectly and not understood when said. Wherefore madame caused to
be illuminated some texts for her room too, as lessons always before
her eyes, and counter-charms to those heathenish invocations in which
the child put her sole faith and trust of salvation. And among other
things she gave her the Ten Commandments, very charmingly done.
Round each commandment were pictures, emblems, symbolic flowers, all
enclosed in fancy scroll-work of an elaborate kind. Really, it was a
very creditable piece of bastard art, and Mr. Dundas was moved almost
to tears by it. Madame did it herself--so she said with a tender
little smile--as her pleasant surprise for poor dear Leam on her
fifteenth birthday. And Leam was so far tamed in that she suffered
the Tables to be hung up in her bedroom, and even found pleasure in
looking at them. The pictures of Ruth and Naomi; of the thief running
away with the money-bags; of a woman lying prostrate with long hair,
and a broken lily at her side; of a murdered man prone in the snow,
and a frightened-looking bravo, half covering his face in his cloak,
fleeing away in the darkness, with a bowl marked "poison" and a dagger
dripping with blood in the margin,--all these pictures, which stood
against the commandments they illustrated, fascinated her greatly. The
colors and the gilding, the flowers and the emblems, pleased her,
and she took the texts sandwiched between as the jalap in the jam. At
first she thought it impious to have them there at all, because they
were in the Bible, and mamma used to say that good Christians never
read the Bible. It was a holy book which only priests might use, and
when those pigs of Protestants looked into it and read it, just as
they would read the newspaper, they profaned it. But by force of habit
she reconciled herself to the profanity, and by frequent looking at
the art got the literature into her head. And when it was there she
did not find anything in it to be afraid of or to condemn as too
mysteriously holy for her knowledge. All of which was so much to the
good; and Mr. Dundas had no words strong enough whereby to express his
gratitude to the fair woman who had saved his child from destruction
by giving her the Ten Commandments made pretty by adjuncts of bastard

But had it not been for Alick Corfield, Madame la Marquise de Montfort
would not have made quite so much way. Alick and Leam used to meet
in Steel's Wood; and when Leam carried her perplexities to Alick, and
Alick told her that she ought to yield and gave her the reasons why,
after first fiercely combating him, telling him he was stupid, wicked,
unkind, she always ended by promising to obey; and when Leam promised
the things agreed to might be considered done. In point of fact,
then, it was Alick who was really moulding her, in excess of that
unconscious plasticity and imitation already spoken of. But this was
one of the things which the world did not know, and where judgment
went awry in consequence.

Of course the neighborhood saw what was coming--what must come,
indeed, by the very force of circumstances. The friendship which had
sprung up from the first between Mr. Dundas and madame could not stop
at friendship now, when both were free and evidently so necessary
to each other. For madame, with that noble frankness backed by wise
reticence characteristic of her, had told every one of her loss by
which she had been necessitated to become Leam's governess; always
adding, "So that I am glad to be able to work, seeing that I am
obliged to do so, as I could not borrow, even for a short time: I am
too proud for that, and I hope too honest."

Wherefore, as she was evidently Leam's salvation, according to her own
account, and Sebastian was confessedly her income, and a very good one
too, there was no reason why their several lines should not coalesce
in an indissoluble union, and one home be made to serve them instead
of two. As indeed it came about.

When the year of conventional mourning had been perfected, on the
anniversary of the very day when poor Pepita died, the final words
were said, the last frail barrier of madame's conjugal memories
and widowed regrets was removed, and Sebastian Dundas went home
the gladdest man in England. All that long bad past was now to be
redeemed, and he had made a good bargain with life to have passed
through even so much misery to come at the end into such reward.

Nothing startled him, nothing chilled him. When madame, laying
her hand on his arm, said in a kind of playful candor infinitely
bewitching, "Remember, dear friend, I told you beforehand that I have
lost _all_ my fortune; in marrying me you marry only myself with my
past, my child and my liabilities," his mind repudiated the idea of
the flimsiest shadow on that past, the faintest blur on its spotless
record. As for her child, it was his: he would give it his name, it
should be dearer to him than his own; which, all things considered,
was not an overwhelming provision of love; and her liabilities,
whatever they were, he would be glad to discharge them as a proof of
his love for her and the forging of another golden link between them.

He doubted nothing, believed all, and loved as much as he believed.
He was happy, radiant, content: the woman whom he loved loved him, and
had consented to become his wife. In giving her dear self to him she
was also accepting security and devotion at his hands; and what more
can a true man want than to be of good service to the woman he loves?
If women like to minister, it is the pride of men to protect; and if
the vow to endow with all his worldly goods is a fable in fact, it is
true as an instinctive feeling.

When Mrs. Harrowby heard that the marriage was positively arranged,
she sat with her daughters at a kind of inquest on their dead
friendship with Sebastian Dundas, and came to the conclusion that
they must know something more definite now about this person calling
herself Madame la Marquise de Montfort. As a stranger it was all
very well to overlook the vagueness of her biography--they were
not committed to anything really dangerous by simply visiting a
householder among them--but it was another matter if she was to be
married to one of themselves. Then they must learn who she really
was, and Mr. Dundas must satisfy them scrupulously, else they should
decline to know her.

"It will make a great gap in our society," said kindly Josephine, who,
having the most to suffer, had forgiven the most readily.

"Gap or no gap, it is what we owe to ourselves," said Mrs. Harrowby.

"And to Edgar," added Maria.

"I shall call on Sebastian to-morrow," said Mrs. Harrowby, laying
aside her knitting with the air of a minister who has dictated his
protocol and has now only to sign the clean copy.

"Sleep on it, mamma," pleaded Josephine.

"It will make no difference," returned the mother; and her elder two
echoed in concert, "I hope not."

The next day Mrs. Harrowby did call on Mr. Dundas, and, finding that
gentleman at home, succeeded in speaking her mind. She conveyed her
ultimatum as a corporate not individual resolution, speaking in the
name of the "ladies of the place," which she was scarcely entitled to

Mr. Dundas declined to satisfy her. Indeed, it would have been
difficult for him to have done so, seeing that he knew no more of
Madame de Montfort, his intended wife, than what they all knew; which
was substantially nothing, unless her fancy autobiography could be
called something. He spoke, however, as if he had her private memoirs
and all the branches, roots and hole of the family tree in his pocket;
and he spoke loftily, with the intimation that she was superior; to
all at North Aston, Mrs. Harrowby herself included.

This interview, with its demand unsatisfied and its assertions
unproved, sent the coolness already existing between the Hill and
Andalusia Cottage down to freezing-point; and the worst of it was that
Mrs. Harrowby did not find backers. The neighborhood did not take up
the cause as she expected it would. It halted midway and faced both
sides, in the manner so dear to English respectability--less cordial
to Mr. Dundas and madame than it would have been had Mrs. Harrowby
been friendly, but unwilling to follow her to the bitter end. As they
said to each other, it was all very well for Mrs. Harrowby to be so
severe on the marriage, because she was angry and disappointed--and an
angry and disappointed mother is ever unreasonable--but they who
had no daughters to marry, really they did not see why they should
persecute that poor madame who was such pleasant company, and
had behaved herself with so much propriety since she came. And if
Sebastian Dundas was going to make a second mistake, that was his
lookout, and would be his punishment.

On the whole, the neighborhood when polled was decidedly more friendly
than hostile. The Corfields and Fairbairns were, as they had always
been, neutrals of a genial tint, more for than against; Mr. and Mrs.
Birkett were warm partisans; and only Adelaide joined hands with the
Hill and said that Mrs. Harrowby was justified in her renunciation
and that madame was a wretch. And for the first time in her life
the rector's daughter spoke compassionately of Leam and humanely of
Pepita, saying of the one how much she pitied her, having such a woman
for a stepmother; of the other, that, horrible as she was, at least
they knew the worst of her, which was more than they could say of

She made her father very angry when she said these things, but she
repeated them, nevertheless; and she knew that he dared not scold her
too severely before the world for fear of that little something called
conscience, and knowledge of the reason why he believed in Madame de
Montfort so implicitly.



The announcement of her father's intended marriage with madame came
on Leam with a crushing sense of terror and despair. Unobservant youth
sees little, and even what it does see it does not comprehend. Though
the girl had accustomed herself by slow degrees to many works and ways
which mamma had never known; though the faculties which had been, as
it were, imprisoned by that close-set, hide-bound love of hers were
now a little loosened and set free; though the activities of youth
were stirring in her, and her inner life, if still isolated, was a
shade more expanded than of old,--yet she had no desire for greater
change, and she had no keener vision for the world outside herself
than before. She saw nothing of that diabolical thing which her
father and madame had been so long plotting as the outcome of their
friendship, the parable of which her education had been the text. If
her intelligence was warping out from the narrow limits in which her
mother had confined it, it was still below the average--as much as her
feverish love and tenacious loyalty were above. All that she knew
was, mamma dead was the same as mamma living, only to be more tenderly
dealt with, as she could not defend herself; and that she wondered how
papa could be so wicked as to affront her now that she was not able to
punish him and let him know what she thought of him.

When he told her that he was going to give her a new mother, one whom
she must love as she had loved her own poor dear mamma--- he was so
happy he could afford to be tender even to that terrible past and poor
Pepita--Leam's first sensation was one of terror, her first movement
one of repulsion. She flung off the hand which he had laid on her
shoulder and drew back a few steps, facing him, her breath held, her
tragic eyes flashing, her face struck to stone by what she had heard.

"Well, my dear, you need not look so surprised," said Mr. Dundas
jauntily. "And you need not look so terrified. Your new mother will
not hurt you,"

"She shall not be my mother, papa," said Learn: "I will not own her."

"You will do what I tell you to do," her father returned with
admirable self-command.

"Not when you tell me to do a crime," flashed Leam.

Mr. Dundas smiled. "Your words are a trifle strong," he said.

"It is a crime," she reiterated. "But if you have forgotten mamma, and
want to affront her now that she cannot defend herself, I have not,
and never will."

Mr. Dundas smiled again. If he was so happy that he could afford to
be tender to the past, so also could he afford to be patient with
the present. "Foolish child!" he said compassionately: "you do not
understand things yet."

"I understand that I love mamma, and will not have this wicked woman
in her place," said Leam hotly.

"I think you will," he answered, playing with his watch-guard. "And in
the future, my little daughter, you will thank me."

"Thank you? For what?" asked Leam. "You made mamma miserable when she
lived: you and your madame helped to kill her, and now you put this
woman in her place! Papa, I wonder Saint Jago lets you live."

"As Saint Jago is kind enough to leave me in peace, perhaps you
will follow his example. What a saint allows my little daughter may
accept," said Mr. Dundas mockingly.

"No," said Leam with pathetic solemnity, "if the saints forget mamma,
I will not."

"My dear, you are a fool," said Mr. Dundas.

"You may call me what you like, but madame shall not be my mother,"
returned Leam.

"Madame will be your mother because she will be my wife," said
Mr. Dundas slowly. "Unfortunately for you--perhaps for myself
also--neither you nor I can alter the law of the land. The child must
accept the consequences of the father's act."

"Then I will kill her," cried Leam.

Her father laughed gayly. "I think we will brave this desperate
danger," he said. "It is a fearful threat, I grant--an awful
peril--but we must brave it, for all that."

"Papa," said Leam, "I will pray to the saints that when you die you
may not go to heaven with mamma and me."

It was her last bolt, her supreme effort at threat and entreaty, and
it meant everything. If her words of themselves would have amused
Mr. Dundas as a child's ignorant impertinence, the superstition of an
untaught, untutored mind, her looks and manner affected him painfully.
True, he did not love her--on the contrary, he disliked her--but, all
the same, she was his child; and, dissected, realized, it was rather
an awful thing that she had said. It showed an amount of hatred and
contempt which went far beyond his dislike for her, and made him
shudder at the strength of feeling, the tenacity of hate, in one so

If more absurdity than good sense is talked about natural affection,
still there is a residuum of fact underneath the folly; and Leam's
words had struck down to that small residuum in her father's heart. It
was not that he was wounded sentimentally so much as in his sense of
proprietorship, his paternal superiority, and he was angry rather than
sorrowful. It made him feel that he had borne with her waywardness
long enough now: it was time to put a stop to it. "Now, Leam, no more
insolence and no more nonsense," he said sternly. "You have tried my
patience long enough. This day month I marry Madame de Montfort, with
or without your pleasure, my little girl. In a month after that I
bring her home here as my wife, consequently your mother, the mistress
of the house and of you. I give you the best guide, the best friend,
you have ever had or could have: you will live to value her as she
deserves. Your own mother was not fit to guide you: your new one will
make you all that my dearest hopes would have you. Now go. Think over
what I have said. If you do not like our arrangements, so much the
worse for you."

"The saints will never let her come here as my mother. I will pray to
them night and day to kill her." said Leam in a deep voice, clenching
her hands and setting her small square teeth, as her mother used to
set hers, like a trap.

Naturally, the second Mrs. Dundas could not be brought home without
a certain upsetting of the old order and a rearrangement of things
to suit the new. And the upsetting was not stinted, nor were the
exertions of Mr. Dundas. He superintended everything himself, to the
choice of a tea-cup, the looping of a curtain, and racked his brains
to make his beloved's bower the fit expression of his love, though
never to his mind could it be worthy of her deserving. There was not
an ornament in the place but was dedicated to her, placed where she
could see it on such and such an occasion, and shifted twenty times a
day for a more advantageous position. Everything which the house
had of most beautiful was pressed into her service, and even Leam's
natural rights of inheritance were ignored for madame's better
endowing. Lace, jewelry, trinkets, all that had been Pepita's, was
now hers, and the man's restless desire to make her rich and her home
beautiful seemed insatiable.

But there was always Leam in the background with whom he had to
reckon--Leam, who wandered through the house in her straight-cut,
plain black gown, made in the deepest fashion of mourning devisable,
pale, silent, feverish, like an avenging spirit on his track; undoing
what he had done if he had profaned an embodied memory of her mother,
and as impervious to his anger as he was to her despair.

One day he carried from the drawing-room to the boudoir which was to
be madame's, and had been Pepita's, a certain Spanish vase which had
been a favorite ornament with her because it reminded her of home.
He firmly fixed it on the bracket destined for it, opposite the couch
where he longed so ardently to see his fair and queenly loved one
sitting--he by her side in the lovers' paradise of secure content; but
the next time he went into the room he found it lying in fragments on
the floor. None of the servants knew how the mischance had happened:
the window was not open, and none of them had been in the room.
How, then, came it there, broken on the floor? When he asked Leam,
wandering by in that pale, feverish, avenging way of hers, he knew the

"Yes," she said defiantly, "I broke it. It was mamma's, and your
madame shall not have it."

"If you intend to go on like this I shall have you sent to school or
shut up in a lunatic asylum," cried Mr. Dundas in extreme wrath.

"Then I shall be alone with mamma, and shall not see you or your
madame," answered Leam, unconquered.

"You are a hardened, shameful, wicked girl," said her father angrily.
"Madame is an angel of goodness to undertake the care of such a
wretched creature as you are. I could not do too much for her if I
gave her all I had, and you can never be grateful enough for such a

"She is not my mother, and she shall not pollute mamma's things," Leam
answered with passionate solemnity. "If you give them to her I will
break or burn them. Mamma's things are her own, and she shall not be
made unhappy in heaven."

Provoked beyond himself, Sebastian Dundas said scornfully, "Heaven!
You talk of heaven as if you knew all about it, Leam, like the next
parish. How do you know she is there, and not in the place of torment
instead? Your mother was scarcely of the stuff of which angels are

"Then if she is in the place of torment, she is unhappy enough as
it is, and need not be made more so," said faithful Leam, suddenly
breaking into piteous weeping; adding through her sobs, "and madame
shall not have her things."

Her tenacity carried the day so far that Mr. Dundas left off
rearranging the old, and sent up to London for things new and without
embarrassing memories attached to them. On which Leam swept off all
that had been her mother's, and locked up her treasures in her own
private cupboard, carrying the key in the hiding-place which that
mother had taught her to use, the thick coils of her hair. And her
father, warned by that episode of the vase, and a little dominated,
not to say appalled, by her resolute fidelity, shut his eyes to her
domestic larceny and let her carry off her relics in safety.

So the time passed, miserably enough to the one, if full of hope and
the promise of joy to the other; and the wedding morning came whereon
Sebastian Dundas was to be made, as he phrased it, happy for life.

It had been madame's desire that Leam should be her bridesmaid. She
had laid great stress on this, and her lover would have gratified her
if he could. He had no wish that way--rather the contrary--but her
will was his law, and he did his best to carry it into effect. But
when he told Leam what he wanted--and he told her quite carelessly,
and so much as a matter of course that he hoped she too would accept
her position as a matter of course--the girl, enlightened by love if
not by knowledge, broke into a torrent of disdain that soon showed him
how sleeveless his errand was likely to be.

He did his best, and tried all methods from pleading to threatening,
but Leam was immovable. No power on earth should bend her, she said,
or make her take part in that wicked day. She go to church? She would
expect to be struck dead if she did. She expected, indeed, that all of
them would be struck dead. She had prayed the saints so hard, so hard,
to prevent this marriage, she was sure they would at the last; and if
they did not, she would never believe in them nor pray to them again.
But she did believe in them, and she was sure they would punish this
dreadful crime. No, she would take no part in it. Why should she put
herself in the way of being punished when she was not to blame?

So Mr. Dundas had the mortification of carrying to his bride-elect
the intelligence that he had been worsted in his conflict with his
daughter, and that her hatred and reluctance were to be neither
concealed nor overcome.

Madame was sorry, she said with her sweetest air of patience and
liberal comprehension. She would have liked the dear girl to have been
her bridesmaid: it would have been appropriate and touching. But
as she declined--and her feelings were easy to be understood and
honorable, if a little extreme--she, madame, elected to be married
as a widow should, with only Mrs. Birkett and Mr. Fairbairn as the
witnesses, Mr. Fairbairn to give her away for form's sake. The dear
rector of course would marry them in this simple manner. They must
hope that time and her own unvarying affection--Mr. Dundas called it
sweetness, angelic patience, greatness of soul--would soften poor Leam
into loving acceptance of what would be so much to her good when she
could be got to understand it. Meanwhile they must be patient--content
to go gradually and gain her bit by bit. She, madame, would be
quite content with her presence in the room, when they returned to
breakfast, in the pretty white muslin frock ordered from town as the
sign of her participation in the event.

But when the morning came, where was Leam? The most diligent search
failed to discover her, and the only person who could have betrayed
her whereabouts was the last whom they would have thought of asking.

Of course, Mr. Dundas was properly distressed at this strange
disappearance, and madame was unduly afflicted. She proposed that the
marriage should be delayed till the girl was found, but the lover was
stronger than the father, and she was overruled--yielding because it
is the duty of the wife to yield, but only because of that duty--for
her own part desirous of delay until they were assured of the safety
of Leam.

The ceremony, however, was performed within the canonical hours, the
rector a little tremulous and apparently suffering from sore throat;
and as the happy pair drove away, madame, remembering her advent and
her objects more than a year ago now, could not but confess that she
had done better than she expected, and, her conscience whispered,
better than she deserved.

All this time Leam was sitting on the lower branches of the yew tree
beneath which that godless ruffian had murdered his poor sweetheart
two generations ago in Steel's Wood. It was a lonely corner, where no
one would have gone by choice at the best of times, but now, with its
bad name and evil association, it was entirely deserted. Leam had made
it her hiding-place ever since madame had taken her in hand to teach
her the correct pronunciation of Shibboleth, and she had escaped
from her teaching and run away into the wood, armed banditti and wild
beasts notwithstanding. And one day, hunting in it for fungi, Alick
Corfield had found her sitting there, and thenceforth they had shared
the retreat between them.

No one knew that they met there, and no one suspected it--not even
Mrs. Corfield, who believed, after the manner of mothers who bring up
their boys at home, that she knew the whole of her son's life from end
to end, and that he had not a thought kept back from her, nor had ever
committed an action of which she was not cognizant.

Alick had installed Leam as the girl-queen of his imagination, and
paid her the homage which she seemed to him to deserve more than many
a real queen crowned and sceptered or princess born in the purple. It
pleased him to write bad poems to her as his Infanta, his royal rose,
his pomegranate flower, his nestling eagle waiting for strength to
fly upward to the sun--all with halting feet and strained metaphor.
He drew pictures of her by the dozen, mostly symbolic and all out
of drawing, but expressive of his admiration, his hope, his respect;
while to Leam he was little better than a two-legged talking dog whose
knowledge interested and whose goodness swayed her, but on whose neck
she set her little foot and kept it there. She always treated him with
profound disdain, even when he told her curious things that were like
fairy-tales, some of which she did not believe if they were too far
removed from the narrow area of her personal experience. Thus, when he
assured her that certain plants fed on flies as men feed on meat, she
told him with her sublime Spanish calm, "I do not believe it." And she
said the same when he one day informed her that the planets could be
weighed and their distance from the earth and the sun measured. In
the beginning she knew nothing--neither whether the earth was round or
flat, nor what was the meaning of the stars, nor the name of one wild
flower excepting daisies, nor of one great man. That fallow waste
called her mind was virgin ground in truth, but Alick was patient,
and labored hard at the stubborn soil; and when madame had given the
credit to her own tact and those ugly little books from which she
taught, it was to him really that Leam's microscopic amount of
plasticity and reception was due.

These secret meetings amused Leam, and kept her from that ceaseless
inward contemplation of her mother which else was her only voluntary
occupation. They gave her a sense of power, as well as of successful
rebellion to her father, that gratified her pride. To be sure,
they were not what mamma would have liked. Alick Corfield was an
Englishman, and mamma hated the English. But then, Leam reflected, she
had not known Alick: if she had, she would have seen there was no harm
in him, and that he was not teaching her things which a child of Spain
ought not to know, and which Saint Jago would be angry with her for
learning. And perhaps now that mamma was up in heaven, and knew all
that went on here at home, she would not mind her little Leama seeing
Alick Corfield so often. In her prayers she told her very faithfully
all that she had done and felt and thought; she never deceived her a
hair's breadth; and as she had asked her permission so often and so
humbly, she made sure now that it was granted. Mamma could not refuse
her when she asked her so earnestly; and she was not angry, but on the
contrary glad, that her little heart had such a good dog to care for
her, and that she was defying el senor papa, that false image of the
false saint.

For the rest, it was only natural that she should like the air of
quasi adventure and independence which this unknown, intercourse with
Alick gave her. And as she was still in that conscienceless phase of
youth when liking means everything, and honor without love is a grass
having neither root nor flower, she continued to meet her faithful
dog, and to learn from him--not all that he could tell her, but what
she chose to accept.

So here it was, perched among the lower branches of the yew tree in
Steel's Wood, that Leam spent her father's wedding-day with Madame la
Marquise de Montfort; and when she became hungry Alick went home and
brought her some dry bread and grapes from Steel's Corner, Dry bread
and grapes--this was all that she would have, she said. She was not
greedy like the English, who thought of nothing but eating, she added
in her disdainful way; and if Alick brought her anything but bread and
grapes, she would fling it into the wood. On his life he was not to
touch anything on papa's table. She would rather die of hunger than
eat their wicked food. She wondered it did not choke them both.

"Now go," she said superbly, "and come back soon: I am hungry," as if
her sense of inconvenience was a catastrophe which heaven and earth
should be moved to avert.

But young and so beautiful as she was, her little tricks of pride and
arbitrariness were just so many additional charms to Alick; and if
she had not flouted and commanded him, he would have thought that
something terrible was about to happen: had she become docile,
grateful, familiar, he would have expected her to die before the day
was out. He liked her superb assumption of superiority. She was his
girl-queen, and he was her slave; she was his mistress, and he was her
dog; and, dog-like, he fawned at her feet even when she rated him and
placed her little foot on his neck.



"I hope you will not be bored, my boy, but I am thinking of bringing
that wretched Leam Dundas here for a few days. I don't like a girl
of her age and character to be left for a full month alone. It is
not right, for who knows what she may not do? If she ran away on the
wedding-day, she may run away again, and then where would we all be?
I cannot think what her father was about to leave her unprotected like
this. So I shall just take and bring her here; and if you are bored
with her, you must make the best of it."

Mrs. Corfield and Alick were sitting in the "work-room" on the morning
of the fifth day after the marriage, when the thought struck the
little woman of the propriety of Leam's visit to them for the month of
her father's absence. She did not see her son's face when she spoke,
being busy with her wood-carving. If she had, she would not have
thought that the presence of Leam Dundas would bore or annoy him. The
clumsy features gladdened into smiles, the dull eye brightened, the
dim complexion flushed: if ever a face expressed supreme delight,
Alick's did then; and it expressed what he felt, for, as we know, the
one love of his boyish life was this girl-queen of his fancy. Not that
he was in love with her in the ordinary sense of being in love. He
was too reverent and she too young for vulgar passion or commonplace
sentiment. She was something precious to his imagination, not his
senses, like a child-queen to her courtier, a high-born lady to her
page. He bore with her girlish temper, her girlish insolence of pride,
her ignorant opposition, with the humility of strength bending its
neck to weakness--the devotion and unselfish sweetness characteristic
of him in other of his relations than those with Leam. Judge, then, if
he was likely to be bored, as his mother feared, or if this project of
a closer domestication with her was not rather a "bit of blue" in
his sky which made these early autumn days gladder than the gladdest

To will and to do were synonymous with Mrs. Corfield: her motto was
_velle est agere_; and a resolve once taken was like iron at white
heat, struck into the shape of deed on the instant. Darting up from
her chair, birdlike and angular, she put away her work. "Order the
trap," she said briskly, "and come with me. We will go at once, before
that poor creature has had time to do anything, wild, or silly."

"I do not think she would do anything wild or silly, mother," said
Alick in a deprecating voice. It galled him to hear his darling spoken
of so slightingly.

"No? What has she ever done that was rational?" cried his mother
sharply. "From the beginning, when she was a baby of three months old,
and howled at me because I kissed her, and that dreadful mother of
hers flew at me like a wildcat and said I had the evil eye, Leam
Dundas has been more like some changeling than an ordinary English
girl. I declare it sometimes makes my heart ache to, see her with
those awful eyes of hers, looking as if she had seen one does not
know what--as if she was being literally burnt up alive with sorrow.
However, don't let us discuss her: let us fetch her and save her from
herself. That is more to the purpose at this moment."

And Alick said "Yes," and went out to order the trap with alacrity.

When they reached Andalusia Cottage, the first thing they saw was a
strange workman from Sherrington painting out the name which in his
early love-days for his Spanish bride Sebastian Dundas had put up in
bold letters across the gate-posts. The original name of the place had
been Ford House, but the old had had to give place to the new in
those days as in these, and Ford House had been rechristened Andalusia
Cottage as a testimony and an homage. Mrs. Corfield questioned the
man in her keen inquisitorial way as to what he was about; and when
he told her that the posts were to show "Virginia" now instead of
"Andalusia," her great disgust, to judge by the sharp things which she
said to him, seemed as if it took in the innocent hand as well as the
peccant head. "I do think Sebastian Dundas is bewitched," she said
disdainfully to her son as they drove up to the house. "Did any one
ever hear of such a lunatic? Changing the name of his house with
his wives in this manner, and expecting us to remember all his
absurdities! Such a man as that to be a father! Lord of the creation,
indeed! He is no better than a court fool." Which last scornful
ejaculation brought the trap to the front door and into the presence
of Leam.

Standing on the lawn bareheaded in the morning sunshine, doing nothing
and apparently seeing nothing, dressed in the deepest mourning she
could make for herself, and with her high comb and mantilla as in
olden days, her eyes fixed on the ground and her hands clasped in each
other, her wan face set and rigid, her whole attitude one of mute,
unfathomable despair,--for the instant even Mrs. Corfield, with all
her constitutional contempt for youth, felt hushed, as in the presence
of some deep human tragedy, at the sight of this poor sorrowful child,
this miserable mourner of fifteen. Instead of speaking in her usual
quick manner, the sharp-faced little woman, poor Pepita's "crooked
stick," went up to the girl quietly and softly touched her arm.

Leam slowly raised her eyes. She did not start or cry out as a
creature naturally would if startled, but she seemed as if she
gradually and with difficulty awakened from sleep, or from something
even more profound than sleep. "Yes?" she said in answer to the touch.
"What do you want?"

It was an odd question, and Leam's grave intensity made it all the
more odd. But Mrs, Corfield was not easily disconcerted, and it was
"only Leam" at the worst.

"I want you," she answered briskly, "Tell the maid to pack up your
box, take off that lace thing on your head, and come home with me for
a day or two. You need not stay longer than you like, but it will be
better for you than moping here, thinking of all sorts of things you
had better not think of."

"Why do my thoughts vex you?" asked Learn gravely. "I was not thinking
of you."

Mrs. Corfield laughed a little confusedly. "I don't suppose you
were," she said, "but you see I did think of you. But whether you
were thinking of me or not, you certainly look as if you would be the
better for a little rousing. You were standing there like a statue
when we came up."

"I was listening to mamma," said Leam with an air of grave rebuke.

Mrs. Corfield rubbed her nose vigorously. "You would do better to come
and talk to me instead," she said.

Learn transfixed her with her eyes. "I like mamma's company best," she
said in the stony way which she had when stiffening herself against
outside influence.

"But if you come to us, you can listen to her as much as you like,"
said Alick soothingly. "We will not hinder you; and, as my mother
says, it is not good for you to be here alone."

"I like it," said Leam.

"Nonsense! then you should not like it. It is not natural for a girl
of your age to like it. Come with us," cried Mrs. Corfield: "why not?"

"I have something to do," Leam answered solemnly.

"What can a chit of a thing like you have to do? Come with us, I tell
you." Mrs. Corfield said this heartily rather than roughly, though
really she could not be bothered, as she said to herself, to stand
there wasting her time in arguing with a girl like Leam. It was too

Leam looked at her with mingled tragedy and contempt, and disdained to

"What have you got to do?" again asked Mrs. Corfield.

"I shall not tell you," answered Leam, holding her head very high.

How, indeed, should she tell this little sharp-faced woman that she
was thinking how she could prevent madame from coming here as her
home? The saints had deserted her; she had prayed to them, threatened
them, coaxed, entreated, but they had not heard her; and now she had
nothing but herself, only her poor little frail hands and bewildered
brain, to protect her mother's memory from insult and revenge her
wrongs. The fever in her veins had given her mamma's face sorrowful
and weeping, meeting her wherever she turned--mamma's voice, faint
as the softest summer breeze in the trees, whispering to her, "Little
Leama, I am unhappy. Sweet heart, do not let me be unhappy." For five
days this fancy had haunted her, but it had not become distinct enough
for guidance. She was listening now, as she was listening always, for
mamma to tell her what to do. She was sure she would show her in time
how to prevent that wicked woman from living here, bearing her name,
taking her place: mamma could trust her to take care of her, now that
she could not take care of herself. As she had said to papa, if all
the world, the saints, and God himself deserted hers she, her child,
would not.

She would not tell these thoughts, even to Alick. They were a secret,
sacred between her and mamma, and no one must share them. If, then,
she went with this bird-like, insistent woman, she would talk to her
and not let her think: she and Alick would stand between herself and
mamma's spirit, and then mamma would perhaps leave her again, and go
back to heaven angry with her. No, she would not go, and she lifted up
her eyes to say so.

As she looked up Alick whispered softly, "Come."

Feverish, excited, her brain clouded by her false fancies, Leam did
not recognize his voice. To her it was her mother sighing through the
sunny stillness, bidding her go with them, perhaps to find some method
of hinderance or revenge which she could not devise for herself. They
were clever and knew more than she did; perhaps her mother and the
saints had sent them as her helpers.

It seemed almost an eternity during which these thoughts passed
through her brain, while she stood looking at Mrs. Corfield so
intently that the little woman was obliged to lower her eyes. Not that
Leam saw her. She was thinking, listening, but not seeing, though her
tragic eyes seemed searching Mrs. Corfield's very soul. Then, glancing
upward to the sky, she said with an air of self-surrender, which Alick
understood if his mother did not, "Yes, I will go with you: mamma says
I may."

"It is my belief, Alick," said Mrs. Corfield, when she had left them
to prepare for her visit, "that poor child is going crazy, if she is
not so already. She always was queer, but she is certainly not in her
right mind now. What a shame of Sebastian Dundas to bring her up as he
has done, and now to leave her like this! How glad I am I thought of
having her at Steel's Corner!"

"Yes, mother, it was a good thing. Just like you, though," said Alick

"You must help me with her, Alick," answered his mother. "I have done
what I know I ought to do, but she will be an awful nuisance all the
same. She is so odd and cold and impertinent, one does not know how to
take her."

Alick flushed and turned away his head. "I will take her off your
hands as much as I can," he said in a constrained voice.

"That's my dear boy--do," was his mother's unsuspecting rejoinder as
Leam came down stairs ready to go.

Steel's Corner was a place of unresting intellectual energies. Dr.
Corfield, a man shut up in his laboratory with piles of
extracts, notes, arguments, never used, but always to be used, an
experimentalist deep in many of the toughest problems of chemical
analysis, but neither ambitious nor communicative, was the one
peaceable element in the house. To be sure, Alick would have been both
broader in his aims and more concentrated in his objects had he been
left to himself. As it was, the incessant demands made on him by his
mother kept him too in a state of intellectual nomadism; and no one
could weary of monotony where Mrs. Corfield set the pattern, unless
it was of the monotony of unrest. This perpetual taking up of
new subjects, new occupations, made thoroughness the one thing
unattainable. Mrs. Corfield was a woman who went in for everything.
She was by turns scientific and artistic, a student and a teacher, but
she was too discursive to be accurate, and she was satisfied with a
proficiency far below perfection. In philosophy she was what might be
called a woman of antepenultimates, referring all the more intricate
moral and intellectual phenomena to mind and spirit; but she was
intolerant of any attempt to determine the causation of her favorite
causes, and she derided the modern doctrines of evolution and inherent
force as atheistic because materialistic. The two words meant the same
thing with her; and the more shadowy and unintelligible people made
the _causa causarum_ the more she believed in their knowledge and
their piety. The bitterest quarrel she had ever had was with an old
friend, an unimaginative anatomist, who one day gravely proved to her
that spirits must be mere filmy bags, pear-shaped, if indeed they
had any visual existence at all. Bit by bit he eliminated all the
characteristics and circumstances of the human form on the principle
of the non-survival of the useless and unadaptable. For of what use
are shapes and appliances if you have nothing for them to do?--if you
have no need to walk, to grasp, nor yet to sit? Of what use organs
of sense when you have no brain to which they lead?--when you are
substantially all brain and the result independent of the method?
Hence he abolished by logical and anatomical necessity, as well as the
human form, the human face with eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and by
the inexorable necessities of the case came down to a transparent bag,
pear-shaped, for the better passage of his angels through the air.

"A fulfillment of the old proverb that extremes meet," he said by
way of conclusion. "The beginning of man an ascidian--his ultimate
development as an angel, a pear-shaped, transparent bag."

Mrs. Corfield never forgave her old friend, and even now if any one
began a conversation on the theory of development and evolution she
invariably lost her temper and permitted herself to say rude things.
Her idea of angels and souls in bliss was the good orthodox notion of
men and women with exactly the same features and identity as they had
when in the flesh, but infinitely more beautiful; retaining the Ego,
but the Ego refined and purified out of all trace of human weakness,
all characteristic passions, tempers and proclivities; and the
pear-shaped bag was as far removed from the truth, as she held it, on
the one side as Leam's materialistic conception was on the other. The
character and condition of departed souls was one of the subjects on
which she was very positive and very aggressive, and Leam had a hard
fight of it when her hostess came to discuss her mother's present
personality and whereabouts, and wanted to convince her of her

All the same, the little woman was kind-hearted and conscientious, but
she was not always pleasant. She wanted the grace and sweetness known
genetically as womanliness, as do most women who hold the doctrine of
feminine moral supremacy, with base man, tyrant, enemy and inferior,
holding down the superior being by force of brute strength and
responsible for all her faults. And she wanted the smoothness of
manner known as good breeding. Though a gentlewoman by birth, she gave
one the impression of a pert chambermaid matured into a tyrannical

But she meant kindly by Leam when she took her from the loneliness of
her father's house, and her very sharpness and prickly spiritualism
were for the child's enduring good. Her attempts, however, to make
Leam regard mamma in heaven as in any wise different from mamma on
earth were utterly abortive. Leam's imagination could not compass the
thaumaturgy tried to be inculcated. Mamma, if mamma at all, was
mamma as she had known her; and if as she had known her, then she was
unhappy and desolate, seeing what a wicked thing this was that papa
had done. She clung to this point as tenaciously as she clung to
her love; and nothing that Mrs. Corfield, or even Alick, could say
weakened by one line her belief in mamma's angry sorrow and the
saints' potent and sometimes peccant humanity.

Among other scientific appliances at Steel's Corner was a small
off-kind of laboratory for Alick and his mother, to prevent their
troubling the doctor and to enable them to help him when necessary: it
was an auxiliary fitted up in what was rightfully the stick-house. The
sticks had had to make way for retorts and crucibles, and as yet no
harm had come of it, though the servants said they lived in terror of
their lives, and the neighbors expected daily to hear that the inmates
of Steel's Corner had been blown into the air. Into this evil-smelling
and unbeautiful place Leam was introduced with infinite reluctance
on her own part. The bad smell made her sick, she said, turning round
disdainfully on Alick, and she did not wonder now at anything he might
say or do if he could bear to live in such a horrid place as this.

When he showed off a few simple experiments to amuse her--made crystal
trees, a shower of snow, a heavy stone out of two empty-looking
bottles, spilt mercury and set her to gather it up again, showed her
prisms, and made her look through a bit of tourmaline, and in every
way conceivable to him strewed the path of learning with flowers--then
she began to feel a little interest in the place and left off making
wry faces at the dirt and the smells.

One day when she was there her eye caught a very small phial with a
few letters like a snake running spirally round it.

"What is that funny little bottle?" she asked, pointing it out. "What
does it say?"

"Poison," said Alick.

"What is poison?" she asked.

"Do you mean what it is? or what it does?" he returned.

"Both. You are stupid," said Leam.

"What it does is to kill people, but I cannot tell you all in a breath
what it is, for it is so many things."


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