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Even the pope himself rattled their cradle-box, felt a little comover her name, when he read the forted that her weakness had been prayer for the dead, as though he a passing indisposition, and that had no recollection of the family Marcova would be with her before to which she belonged.
night was far advanced. It was Sophia Petrovitch sighed a little only three hours later, when Boris as she thought of the prospect and his brethren straggled in to before her.
supper, wrangling over their ryeThe snow was falling steadily bread and cabbage soup like a now, in small close flakes.
flock of shrieking starlings, that it few hours the roads would be im- transpired that the boy had forpassable and dangerous if the wind gotten the popadia's message alrose and drove it into drifts before together in the enthusiasm of his the frost froze it to an even sur- afternoon's sport. It was too late face. If old Marcova Marcovitch then to do anything; indeed no was to come to her, as the pope
in one thought of repairing the omishis hurry had suggested — rather sion, any more than of apologising out of a desire to leave himself for it. Only the popadia felt as more free than from any special if some prop on which she had solicitude about his wife ---Alex- been leaning had snapped under ander must fetch her at once, be- her; but she said nothing, for there fore nightfall and the increasing was none to listen. snowfall rendered her coming im- Presently, when all the boys possible. But to catch Alexander, were asleep, even the twins quiet and to coerce him into doing any- for a brief interval, the popadia thing that might be of use to any crept to bed, missing with body else, was a task beyond the unwonted feeling of tenderness feeble power of the popadia. Per- the hearty snores of her consort, haps Boris, the third boy, might which generally gave evidence of be amenable to her wishes, pro- his unruflled conscience and unvided his elder brothers did not disturbable digestion for an hour jeer him out of countenance; and or so before the house-mother manold Marcova had better come—at aged to slip into her place beside once—if this weakness
him. To-night the tired woman fel “Dear Virgin, Holy Mother, and into a broken sleep, disturbed by blessed St Joseph, thou protector dreams of confusion and distracting of all poor women on whom the
cross-purposes : that long broken burden of housekeeping falls heav- strap which kept slipping, slipping ily, keep this deadly faintness through her numbed fingers had back until old Marcova comes !” the pope's little wallet at the end
Boris, who was lurking in the of it; but when at last she drew region of the wood-stack behind it up, she found nothing but a the house, agreed in his happy-go- crying infant dangling just out of lucky fashion to fetch the old reach, and some one shrieked with
as he had com- high-bred company laughter, like pleted the sparrow-trap which he the Countess, and cried in her ear was constructing out of forked with shrill importunity, “ How twigs and bits of slate, to take can you make up the dozen, if advantage of the imminent snow- there are really thirteen?” It fall; and his mother, creeping back was repeating the word “thirteen,” to the living - room, where the fateful out of very meaninglessness twins were roaring lustily from to all Russians, that the popadia
woke at last, to find that a new in her way, she liked him, wished morning had come, in outward him to enjoy his stay, and gave appearance very much like the old him the advantage of any tit-bits night, but filled to the brim afresh and warm corners that she couldwith work and responsibilities, partly out of careless good-nature, care and toil and pain.
and partly to satisfy the super“Ah, the thirteenth!" murmured stitious disquiet of a thoroughly Sophia Petrovitch, stuffing back irreligious character brought into her tumbled hair into her woollen proximity with what, in Russia, cap and tying it more firmly under passes for a spiritual power. It her chin, so as to cover her ears; salved the Countess's conscience “it is the thirteenth child that to fill the pope's plate and glass : often steals away the life of the in a day or two the wrinkles in mother. For
I should not his furrowed cheeks would be complain but for the pope." She perceptibly lessened, and such a had reached this point before in result would go to the credit side the same train of thought, and had of her ladyship’s moral account, stopped short; it was one that she debited, to her occasional mental dared not pursue.
For the Rus- inconvenience, with many a nesian pope there is no second mar- glected mass and scamped conriage permissible in the event of fession. It was not often that the popadia's death, and very few the lady of the Castle did anything parish priests can afford to keep a for anybody besides herself, but servant in place of a wife, who the comfortable assurance that the requires no wages. Heaven help priest was having a good time the family where the wife and diffused a glow of satisfaction mother is cut off untimely ! through her which was eminently
Up at the Castle time was pass- pleasing. ing joyously. There was
It was late in the evening of skat-playing; but the Count had the second day that a message made this easy for the pope by came from Nitchvorad to summon handing him an envelope with the pope to the village. Somehow notes in it, which the priest had the Countess received it first, sitbeen delighted to pocket. There ting in her easy-chair in the yellow had been a visit to the horse-fair drawing-room after dinner; while too, where the stranger guests had the gentlemen, in the inner room, listened with amusement to the were cutting for partners at cards. pope's cautious chaffering in their The lady's face was rather white interest; and from time to time and scared as she whispered to her there had been adjournments to husband, and they both glanced immense meals of game and meat, anxiously at the pope, who, overand sweets and wine, very
differ- come with the warmth and the ent from the parsonage fare-a pleasant after-effects of an excelfixed quantity of black bread, lent meal, had fallen asleep in a and unsavoury vegetable soup, corner of the sofa, waiting his turn which had to be stretched round to cut in when required. Some to meet the requirements of the orders were given, and a carriage pope's increasing family. The hastily prepared. The pope was Countess's sharp impertinent eyes roused, and his host hurriedly inwatched the poor parson's shame- formed him of the summons that faced greediness of appreciation had come: one of his parishioners, with scarcely veiled insolence. Yet, a woman, was very ill, and desired
the last consolations of Holy muttered his explanation at the Church. They almost pushed him window. Ere it was half - way across the hall to the carriage door, through, the pope, with starting in their eagerness to get him off; eyes, had flung himself out of the for, puzzled with the sudden awak- carriage and into the house, crashening and the but half-explained ing against an open door and recall to duty, he was fain to overturning a stool as he rushed linger, rubbing his eyes and ask- through the living-room to the ing a dozen questions which no bedroom beyond. But the noise one seemed inclined to answer. did not startle the popadia, where It was the Count himself who she lay white and still on the bed, wrapped him in a big fur cloak her long, long day's work over at and shut the carriage door. The last. A peasant woman—not old footman, looking frightened and Marcova, but a neighbour sumsulky, took his place on the box- moned in terrified haste by Alexseat, with a last word of direction ander - pushed a little shabby from his master. Then the car- bundle of flannel at him, with a riage rolled heavily away in the vague instinct of consolation. The snowy darkness, and the Castle twins from their box shouted lustiparty looked at each other with ly; the whispering group about the sighs of relief.
door crept nearer to have a glimpse “It was the best thing to do,” of the death-chamber; even the averred the Countess, picking up young footman from the Castle, her novel, which had fallen on who felt he had played a somethe floor. “There would have what important role in the catasbeen a scene and all that, and trophe, determined to have just he will find it out fast enough.” one peep, so as to report to the
“ Was he fond of her ?” some maidservants at supper how the one asked — a stupid question popadia had looked. enough, had he stopped for a mo
But the pope
saw nothing: ment to consider; but one often with a terrible
he flung himsays these sort of things to make self across the bed where his wife conversation when matters are for lay. “Oh, little mother! little a moment a little uncomfortable. mother! who will care for us now
"Oh, it will be a real misfor- that thou art gone?” tune, poor fellow !” replied the There was no voice, nor any Count, snufling the wax candles that answered, for the question on the card-table.
“He may not
was indeed unanswerable. Byremarry, as you know; and there and-by they brought the pope the are, of course, about twenty chil- vodka-bottle, and he drank, and dren. Baron, will you deal?” fell into an uneasy slumber, while
“A dozen-a dozen exactly; do the women creaked about the not exaggerate,” murmured the room, attending to the puling Countess in the next room. infant, and whispering with sup
Two or three of the villagers, pressed enjoyment of the situaand some of the pope's boys, were tion; but the popadia lay wbite hanging about the doorway as the and unmoved in their midst, for Count's carriage drove up. to her neither husband, children, poor shamefaced young footman nor neighbours mattered any got down from the box, and longer.
G. B. STUART.
THE LOSS OF HI.M.S. VICTORIA.
AN ANNIVERSARY LAMENT, JUNE 22, 1894.
DEEP, buried deep,
Far down, alone,
Shall we forget, -
Or much condemn
Who, when he erred,
Are poets gone ?
Or they who died
-The months have sped :
Can none to-day
And shall no soul
1 Drowned in the Irish Channel,
2 The Royal George.
O fatal skill
More hope had they
All forms of death
Yet short their pain :
They sank to rest;
They rose to fame;
Nor mean their tomb :-
Where none may gaze,
There close they lie, With all their panoply, In peaceful glory wreathed, while earth shall last.
The storms may rave Above that lonely grave, The waves may roar and lash themselves, in vain ;
For far below,
Above their head,
Till comes the day
Where all is peace, Where surface-discords cease, And silence broods, till time is known no more.