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it is. Montfort is the kindest, most tractable being that ever was, except where he takes a dislike. He dislikes two or three people very
"True; how he did dislike poor Mrs Lyndsay!" said one of the listeners, smiling.
"Mrs Lyndsay, yes-dear Lady Montfort's mother. I can't say I pitied her, though I was sorry for Lady Montfort. How Mrs Lyndsay ever took in Montfort for Caroline I can't conceive! How she had the face to think of it! He, a mere youth at the time! Kept secret from all his family-even from his grandmother-the darkest transaction. I don't wonder that he never forgave it." FIRST LISTENER.- "Caroline has beauty enough to
LADY SELINA (interrupting). — "Beauty, of course-no one can deny that. But not at all suited to such a position, not brought up to the sort of thing. Poor Montfort! he should have married a different kind of woman altogether-a woman like his grandmother, the last Lady Montfort. Caroline does nothing for the House-nothing-has not even a child -most unfortunate affair."
SECOND LISTENER.-" Mrs Lyndsay was very poor, was not she? Caroline, I suppose, had no opportunity of forming those tastes and habits which are necessary for-for-"
LADY SELINA (helping the listener). "For such a position and such a fortune. You are quite right, my dear. People brought up in one way cannot accommodate themselves to another; and it is odd, but I have observed that people brought up poor can accommodate themselves less to being very rich than people brought up rich to accommodate themselves to being very poor. As Carr says, in his pointed way, it is easier to stoop than to climb.' Yes; Mrs Lyndsay was, you know, a daughter of Seymour Vipont, who was for so many years in the administration, with a fair income from his salary, and nothing out of it. She married one of the Scotch Lyndsays-good family, of course with a very moderate property. She was left a widow young, with an only child, Caroline. "Came to town, with a small jointure. The
late Lady Montfort was very kind to her. So were we all-took her uppretty woman pretty manners worldly-oh, very!-I don't like worldly people. Well, but all of a sudden, a dreadful thing happened. The heir-at-law disputed the jointure, denied that Lyndsay had any right to make settlements on the Scotch property-very complicated business. But, luckily for her, Vipont Crooke's daughter, her cousin and intimate friend, had married Darrell-the famous Darrell-who was then at the bar. It is very useful to have cousins married to clever people. He was interested in her case, took it up. I believe it did not come on in the courts in which Darrell practised. But he arranged all the evidence, inspected the briefs, spent a great deal of his own money in getting up the case-and, in fact, he gained her cause, though he could not be her counsel. People did say that she was so grateful that after his wife's death she had set her heart on becoming Mrs Darrell the second. But Darrell was then quite wrapt up in politics-the last man to fall in love-and only looked bored when women fell in love with him, which a good many did. Grand-looking creature, my dear, and quite the rage for a year or two. However, Mrs Lyndsay all of a sudden went off to Paris, and there Montfort saw Caroline, and was caught. Mrs Lyndsay, no doubt, calculated on living with her daughter, having the run of Montfort House in town and Montfort Court in the country. But Montfort is deeper than people think for. No, he never forgave her. She was never asked here-took it to heart, went to Rome, and died."
At this moment the door opened, and George Morley, now the Rev. George Morley, entered, just arrived to join his cousins.
Some knew him, some did not. Lady Selina, who made it a point to know all the cousins, rose gra ciously, put aside the slippers, and gave him two fingers. She was astonished to find him not nearly so shy as he used to be-wonderfully improved; at his ease, cheerful, animated. The man now was in his right place, and following hope on the bent of inclination. Few men are
shy when in their right places. He asked after Lady Montfort. She was in her own small sitting-room, writing letters-letters that Carr Vipont had entreated her to write-correspondence useful to the House of Vipont. Before long, however, a
entered, to say that Lady Montfort would be very happy to see Mr Morley. George followed the servant into that unpretending sitting-room, with its simple chintzes and quiet book-shelves--room that would not have been too fine for a cottage.
In every life, go it fast, go it slow, there are critical pausing-places. When the journey is renewed, the face of the country is changed.
How well she suited that simple room-herself so simply dressed her marvellous beauty so exquisitely subdued. She looked at home there, as if all of home that the house could give were there collected.
She had finished and sealed the momentous letters, and had come, with a sense of relief, from the table at the farther end of the room, on which those letters, ceremonious and conventional, had been written come to the window, which, though mid-winter, was open, and the redbreast, with whom she had made friends, hopped boldly almost with in reach, looking at her with bright eyes, and head curiously aslant. By the window a single chair and a small reading-desk, with the book lying open. The short day was not far from its close, but there was ample light still in the skies, and a serene if chilly stillness in the air without.
Though expecting the relation she had just summoned to her presence, I fear she had half forgotten him. She was standing by the window deep in reverie as he entered, so deep that she started when his voice struck her ear and he stood before her. She recovered herself quickly, however, and said with even more than her ordinary kindliness of tone and manner towards the scholar"I ar am so glad to see and congratulate you."
"And I so glad to receive your congratulations, answered the scholar, in smooth, slow voice, without a stutter.
"But, George, how is this?" asked Lady Montfort. "Bring that chair, sit down here, and tell me all about it. You wrote me word you were
cured, at least sufficiently to remove your noble scruples. You did not say how. Your uncle tells me by patient will, and resolute practice."
"Under good guidance. But I am going to confide to you a secret, if you will promise to keep it."
"Oh, you may trust me; I have no female friends.'
The clergyman smiled, and spoke at once of the lessons he had received from the basket-maker.
"I have his permission," he said, in conclusion, to confide the service he rendered me, the intimacy that has sprung up between us, but to you alone-not a word to your guests. When you have once seen him, you will understand why an eccentric man, who has known better days, would shrink from the impertinent curiosity of idle customers. Contented with his humble livelihood, he asks but liberty and repose."
"That I already comprehend," said Lady Montfort, half sighing, half smiling. "But my curiosity shall not molest him, and when I visit the village, I will pass by his cottage."
Nay, my dear Lady Montfort, that would be to refuse the favour I am about to ask, which is that you would come with me to that very cottage. It would so please him.'
"Because this poor man has a young female grandchild, and he is so anxious that you should see and be kind to her, and because, too, he seems most tenacious to remain in his present residence. The cottage, of course, belongs to Lord Montfort, and is let to him by the bailiff, and if you deign to feel interest in him, his tenure is safe."
Lady Montfort looked down, and
coloured. She thought, perhaps, how false a security her protection, and how slight an influence her interest would be, but she did not say so. George went on; and so eloquently and so touchingly did he describe both grandsire and grandchild, so skilfully did he intimate the mystery which hung over them, that Lady Montfort became much moved by his narrative, and willingly promised to accompany him across the park to the basket-maker's cottage the first opportunity. But when one has sixty guests in one's house, one has to wait for an opportunity to escape from them unremarked. And the opportunity, in fact, did not come for many days-not till the party broke up-save one or two dowager she-cousins who "gave no trouble," and one or two bachelor he-cousins whom my lord retained to consummate the slaughter of pheasants, and play at billiards in the dreary intervals between sunset and dinner-dinner and bed-time.
Then one cheerful frosty noon George Morley and his fair cousin walked boldly, en evidence, before the prying ghostly windows, across the broad gravel-walks-gained the secluded shrubbery, the solitary deeps of parkland-skirted the wide sheet of water and passing through a private wicket in the paling, suddenly came upon the patch of osier-ground and humble garden, which were backed by the basket-maker's cottage.
As they entered those lowly precincts a child's laugh was borne to their ears-a child's silvery, musical, mirthful laugh; it was long since the great lady had heard a laugh like that a happy child's natural laugh. She paused and listened with a strange pleasure. "Yes," whispered George Morley, "stop-and hush! there they are.'
Waife was seated on the stump of a tree, materials for his handicraft lying beside, neglected. Sophy was standing before him-he, raising his finger as in reproof, and striving hard to frown. As the intruders listened, they overheard that he was striving to teach her the rudiments of French dialogue, and she was laughing merrily at her own blunders and at the
solemn affectation of the shocked schoolmaster. Lady Montfort noted with no unnatural surprise the purity of idiom and of accent with which this singular basket-maker was unconsciously displaying his perfect knowledge of a language which the best-educated English gentleman of that generation, nay, even of this, rarely speaks with accuracy and elegance. But her attention was diverted immediately from the teacher to the face of the sweet pupil. Women have a quick appreciation of beauty in their own sex-and women, who are themselves beautiful, not the least. Irresistibly Lady Montfort felt attracted towards that innocent countenance, so lively in its mirth, and yet so softly gay. Sir Isaac, who had hitherto lain perdu, watching the movements of a thrush amidst a holly-bush, now started up with a bark. Waife rose-Sophy turned half in flight. The visitors approached.
Here, slowly, lingeringly, let fall the curtain. In the frank license of narrative, years will have rolled away ere the curtain rise again. Events that may influence a life often date from moments the most serene, from things that appear as trivial and unnoticeable as the great lady's visit to the basket-maker's cottage. Which of those lives will that visit influence hereafter the woman's, the child's, the vagrant's? Whose? Probably little that passes now would aid conjecture, or be a visible link in the chain of destiny. A few desultory questions-a few guarded answers-a look or so, a musical syllable or two exchanged between the lady and the child-a basket bought, or a promise to call again. Nothing worth the telling. Be it then untold. View only the scene itself as the curtain drops reluctantly. The rustic cottage, its garden-door open, and open its old-fashioned lattice casements. You can see how neat and cleanly, how eloquent of healthful poverty, how remote from squalid penury, the whitewashed walls, the homely furniture within. Creepers lately trained around the doorway. Christmas holly, with berries red against the window-panes; the bee-hive yonder; a starling, too, outside the threshold,
in its wicker cage. In the background (all the rest of the neighbouring hamlet out of sight), the church spire tapering away into the clear blue wintry sky. All has an air of repose-of safety. Close beside you is the Presence of HOME-that ineffable, sheltering, loving Presence-which, amidst solitude, murmurs not solitary;" a Presence unvouchsafed to the great lady in the palace she has left. And the lady herself? She is resting on the rude gnarled rootstump from which the vagrant had risen; she has drawn Sophy towards her; she has taken the child's hand; she is speaking now-now listening; and on her face kindness looks like happiness. Perhaps she is happy at that moment. And Waife? he is turning aside his weatherbeaten, mobile countenance, with his hand anxiously trembling upon the young scholar's arm. The scholar whispers, "Are you satisfied with me?" and Waife answers in a voice as low but more broken, "God reward you! Oh, joy!-if my pretty one has found at last a woman friend!" Poor vagabond, he has now a calm asylum-a fixed humble livelihood-more than that, he has just achieved an object fondly cherished. His past life alas! what has he done with it? His actual life-broken fragment though it be-is at rest now. But still the everlasting question-mocking, terrible question-with its phrasing of farce and its enigmas of tra
gical sense-"WHAT WILL HEDO WITH IT?" Do with what? The all that remains to him-the all he holds !the all which man himself, betwixt free-will and pre-decree is permitted to do. Ask not the vagrant aloneask each of the four there assembled on that flying bridge called the Moment. Time before thee-what wilt thou do with it? Ask thyself!—ask the wisest! Out of effort to answer that question, what dream-schools have risen, never wholly to perish! The science of seers on the Chaldee's Pur-Tor, or in the rock-caves of Delphi, gasped after and grasped at by horn-handed mechanics to-day in their lanes and alleys. To the heart of the populace sink down the blurred relics of what once was the lore of the secretest sages-hieroglyphical tatters which the credulous vulgar attempt to interpret" WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?" Ask Merle and his Crystal! But the curtain descends! Yet a moment, there they are age and childhood-poverty, wealth, station, vagabondage; the preacher's sacred learning and august ambition; fancies of dawning reason;
hopes of intellect matured;-memories of existence wrecked; household sorrows-untold regrets-elegy and epic in low, close, human sighs, to which Poetry never yet gave voice;
all for the moment personified there before you-a glimpse for the guess-no more. Lower and lower falls the curtain! All is blank!
VOL. LXXXIII.—NO. DIX.
ZANZIBAR; AND TWO MONTHS IN EAST AFRICA.
CHAPTER IV.-DEPARTURE FROM MOMBAS.
"The sweeping sword of time Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruined fanes."-Queen Mab.
A REPORT prevalent in Mombas— even a Sawahili sometimes speaks the truth-and the march of an armed party from the town which denoted belief in their own words, induced my companions and myself to hasten up once more to the Rabai Hills, expect ing to find the mission-house invested by savages. The danger had been exaggerated, but the inmates strongly advised to take temporary shelter in the town. Left Kisulodiny on the 22d of January 1857. Some nights afterwards, fires were observed upon the neighbouring hills, and Wanika scouts returned with a report that the Masai were in rapid advance. The wise few fled at once to the Kaza, or hidden and barricaded stronghold, which these people prepare for extreme danger. The foolish many said, "Tomorrow morning we will drive our flocks and herds to safety." But ere that morning dawned upon the world, a dense mass of wild spearmen, sweeping with shout and yell and clashing arms by the mission-house, which they either saw not or they feared to enter, dashed upon the scattered village in the vale below, and left the ground strewed with the corpses of hapless fugitives. Thence they rushed down to the sea, driving their plunder, and found a body of Belochies and Arabs, Sawahilis and slaves, posted with matchlocks to oppose progress. The robbers fled at the first volley. Like true Orientals, the soldiers at once dispersed to secure the cattle; when the Masai, rallying, fell upon them, drove them away in ignominious flight, and slew twentyfive of their number. They presently retired to the hill-ranges, amused themselves with exterminating as many Wanika as they could catch, and, full of blood and beef, returned triumphant to their homes."
Not a head of game, not a hippopotamus, was to be found near Mombas. We finished our geographical inquiries, shook hands with divers acquaintances, returned to the "Riami,” and on the 24th of January departed with gladdened hearts. The accidents of voyage turned in our favour; there was a bright fresh breeze, and a current running southward thirty or thirty-five miles a-day. After six hours of drowsy morning sailing, "Ras Tewy," a picturesque point, hove in sight, and two hours more brought the "Riami" to anchor in Gasy Bay. This coast has more coralline reefs than harbours; mariners dare not traverse the seas by night, and in the open roads they are ill defended from the strong north-eastern gales. Gasy is a village of wattled huts, chiefly inhabited by remnants of the proud Mazrui, still exiled from Mombas: the land belongs to the Wadigo savages, and is fertile enough to repay plantation. The settlement lies at some distance from the shore, deep bosomed in trees behind a tall screen of verdure; only the coco nodding over the dense underwood betrays its position from the sea. Our crew armed themselves to accompany my companion on shore: he was civilly received, with sundry refreshments of coco-nut water and rasped pulp made into cakes with rice flour. The footprints of a small lion appeared upon the sand, but we were too old sportsmen to undertake the fruitless toil of tracking him. Ensued a cool breezy night on board the "Riami." Our gallant captain, a notable melancholist, sat up till dawn chatting with Said bin Salim, who trembled at the sounds of scattered washes and the wind moaning round the small coralline island, which here breaks the swell of the Indian Ocean.