Abbildungen der Seite

meet with a waggonette waiting outside the door of the principal inn, the driver of which was continually reminding the people that it was the last conveyance to Trottingcover that evening. I was the first to take my place in the waggonette. Then came a musician and his wife, who made the driver take them for a fare and a half. Then came crowds of soldiers at sixpence a-head, who filled up every inch of space, some being obliged to let their legs hang over the sides, and others holding on to one another on the conductor's step behind. And so we drove along; the musician and his wife singing professionally, apparently for the edification of each other; the soldiers making a long chorus of "When Johnny comes marching home," putting in verses of their own when the original ones were exhausted; and myself wondering how it was that we were not overturned, or run into, or brought to grief in some way or the other.

The rain did not come down after all; and when we past the "Cat" people were sitting at tables in front of the inn, drinking, singing and waving their glasses about like an opera chorus. It was 7 p.m. when we reached Trottingcover, and there would be no train until 9.30.; so for some two hours I must wander about and accept whatever amusement Trottingcover offers. I soon found out that the only amusement to be obtained would be of my own providing; so I made up my mind for a long stroll through the dreamy old town; and I never enjoyed an evening more. The shops are being shut, the lights are disappearing from the windows, and people are no doubt beginning to think of supper and bed. All is very quiet, and it seems as if Trottingcover people kept to the old-fashioned notion that from sunset to sunrise was the time for rest. But, considering it was the night of the races, they might have made their town more lively. In the lower part of it (for it is a large town and has many districts) there is more life, if a few shops half-open and people gossiping at the street doors can be called life. I tumble over a theatre which has been long closed against the regular drama. Bills announce that a well-known lady entertainer will come there in a few weeks time, which announcement has little interest for me. Hearing music from the first floor of a large inn, I go upstairs and find myself in a ball-room, with no company but the musicians. The landlady tells me that^being race night, and having a licence for music and dancing, she attempted to get up a ball; but public dancing seems to be a dead failure as far as Trottingcover is concerned.

Then I wander into the genteel quarter of the

town, where I find a London organ-man grinding away at London tunes all by himself, in a dreary, desolate, seemingly-uninhabited square; stately-looking houses frown down upon me— houses that have seen grand goings on in their time, but are now either leased by retired merchants and tradesmen, or let in lodgings. I begin to wonder what sort of people live inside, and what makes them all go to bed so early; for there is not a light gleaming from any of the lower windows, and the glow from the upper storeys is gradually becoming less. Desolation, darkness, and a dreamy sort of dreariness reign everywhere. Not that I am complaining of the state of things. If I were living in the town, instead of just coming away from the noise of the race-course into its deserted streets, I should have thought such a quiet, peaceful night-time delightful. What a blessing to be able to walk out without meeting gangs of the lower class of shopboys, undersized, foulmouthed, blocking up the path, and insulting all who do not belong to their own vile set! How pleasant to walk through a town after dark, without having to pass miserable, poorly-dressed, vicious looking women, who stand in groups at the top of courts and alleys, yelling and jeering at any passer-by whose worldly circumstances may be a shade better than theirs! How nice to have no jolly dogs shouting insane melodies as they reel home at early hours of the morning, waking all but the soundest sleepers! Nothing does more good for people who have much brainwork to get through than a quiet walk after dark, when thoughts can be collected without the thinker being taken for a lunatic. In most towns this is impossible. The roughs (and they are not only men) are monarchs of the streets after nightfall, and well-disposed people who invade their territory find it very unpleasant, often extremely unsafe. Here was the only town I have wandered through after dark without meeting mongrel boys playing at men in the public thoroughfares to the annoyance of everybody. Rest and quietness in your houses, silence and security in your streets, O Trottingcover, Trottingcover! what a home you would be for hundreds of people who are wearing out their minds through having to work amidst all that is favourable to nervous disorders, and have no chance of proper sleep and rest when work is over 1

For a wonder the train was not late, and I was home and in bed before eleven. When the days are short and the nights cold, it is pleasant to think of summer days; and one of the pleaeantest I passed in '66 was when I went "over the hills to the races."

John Churchill Brbnan.


My D»ab C ,

In spite of our Grand Exhibition we are not happy. The political horizon is dark and gloomy, and keeps us continually floating between hope and fear. Now War is certain— now Peace is possible; we are no sooner reassured than we begin again to tremble. Last week it was noised abroad that the Emperor, in a moment of exasperation against Monsieur de Bismarck, had sent his ultimatum to Prussia; that the Empress, accompanied by several Ministers of State, had gone and thrown herself at his Majesty's feet, imploring him to recall his despatch; that it was not until after great supplications and prayers that Napoleon was persuaded to stop the ultimatum. Then it was said that the Emperor was about to strike another coup d'e'tat, close the two Houses, levy a million of men, and go and seize the coveted dukedom by force. Others affirmed that Prussia, elated by her recent success, had demanded a French province as her natural limit, and no doubt would come to take it, while most of the papers seemed to add coals on the burning fire, and did all in their power to push the Emperor to declare hostilities. "It is the only thing that will reinstate him in public opinion," said those who see all on the black side, " and he is very low in Parisian estimation since he allowed the conquests of Prussia, and the alliance of Italy with that power." Add to all this the illness of the Prince Imperial, whom some declare to be attacked with an incurable disease. That report may be nothing but party malignity, there has been so much said of that child. The palace account is that he fell while taking his gymnastic exercises, and hurt his leg, which caused a tumour in the thigh. His convalescence has been several times announced, and he was expected to be at the opening of the Exhibition, but was not there—" a sure sign," say the dissatisfied, "that he is worse than acknowledged." The possibility of his death causes people to speculate on future events, and the Orleans family has of late been much talked of.

The Opening of the Exhibition was very splendid, and the weather fine by exception. When I say splendid I mean by the great concourse of spectators who surrounded the outside of the building. The entrance being twenty francs that day, the happy few alone penetrated under the green-and-gold velvet velum spread for a long distance over the. grand entrance for the reception of the Court. Several thousand workmen, employed in turning the vast space opposite the Champ de Mars called The Trocadero into a park, left their work just as the imperial carriages arrived, and, with their spades and shovels on their shoulders,

formed a row on each side, as a guard of honour for their Majesties, whom they cheered witl mighty lungs. There is a very beautiful link pavilion in the park, near the principal door. erected for the Emperor and Empress: nothing can be more elegant and pretty. Of course:: was not finished—nor was anything' else. I: will take at least a month longer to have everything in order. The English soldiers with tbei* red coats attracted great attention as the Coot: passed down the British section. The first week was all five-franc days; but few cared about going amidst workmen, dirt, and dust at thai price: since then the franc days have been established, which is cheap enough. Weekly tickets, at six francs, have also been issued; but, in order that you may not lend your ticket, yon must send your photograph, and your ticket is stuck on it. It is the same for the seasontickets, for which ladies pay sixty francs, and gentlemen one hundred francs. As the papers have not yet published the number of them tickets sold. I fancy that there has not beer many; nor do I think that the number ot visitors has as yet been very prodigious.

The Empress is to inaugurate soon th; reserved Park, where there are to be daflj concerts, resembling those of the Champ'; Elysees. This part of the Exhibition is spoken of as the gem of the place. Amongst other curiosities the Turks have made an oriental public square, with a fountain in tbe middle, a mosque, a habitable kiosk, and a bathing-house. For the delusion to be complete they ought to have peopled it with Turkish men and women: the Frenchmen about it spoil the whole affair. The public pay extra to visit this park. There is also to be a flower-show here every fortnight. It is here, too, that the famous carp, from Fontainbleau, have been transported, and gambol about in the aquarium made on purpose for them. Some of these carp are said to be more than two hundred years old. What is certain is that they are very old, several being blind from age. What a pity that they should have been touched I it being more than probable that many will die from this change in their element. Such remnants of the past ought to be sacred; but is anything sacred here! In the public park, near the principal entrance, the Protestants have erected a church and Sunday-school-room, which were inaugurated the other day by Lord Shaftesbury and the Baron de Chabaud la Tour, so that there will be no excuse for not going to church even at the Exhibition. The Bible Society of London distributes gratis, here, a copy of the Gospel according to St. Luke, to all the passers by, much to the amusement of our freethinking journalists, who pretend that the salvationof their souls is no business of their neighbours. One of them seems to be greatly offended, even, at having bad a Gospel offered to him, while he was quietly smoking his cigar, and, in revenge, spent no end of nit in trying to turn the Society into ridicule, though it is very probable the society will never know the ink and paper spent about them, and will not therefore be able to profit by the suggestions of their adviser. It is easy enough to get to the Exhibition, but not so easy to get from it; not a cab is to be seen near it— they say, because strangers are not generous to the cabmen. The Parisians give always two or three sous more than the fare. The strangers, I imagine, are not aware of that, so give nothing, and are obliged to trudge home on foot, there not being sufficient omnibuses for all. But enough of the Exhibition, though there is very little else going on now in Paris; half the salons are closed, and many of their owners gone into the country for the Easter holidays.

Two or three new comedies have appeared on the stages, but no decided hit has been made since "Leg Idea's de Madame Aubray," which continues to attract full houses. The journalists again marry Mdlle. Patti, and regret the coming departure of Mdlle. Nilsson, so charming both in person and voice.

The spring races at Vincennes and at the Bois de Boulogne are a pleasant diversion every Sunday afternoon to those who love such sport, or who have an eccentric dress to show. Miss Cora Pearl and kindred sport their red hair and fine horses to the satisfaction of their delighted admirers; and small bonnets, if possible, are smaller than ever; so that there is no chance of false hair going out of fashion, let your English critics say what they will of the propagation of head diseases, in which I have no belief, as false hair (in France at least) is boiled and cleaned with the greatest care before ornamenting a lady's head. After all, false hair is not such a new fashion as one would suppose by the cries of the men; seventy or eighty years ago children even wore wigs, or at least young girls of fourteen or fifteen; and there is an anecdote of a lady (Madame de Pastoret) who, at a grand ball given by the ambassador of Austria, in Paris, in 1829, had the misfortune to see a part of her fair locks, ornamented with flowers, fall off her head while waltzing. The ladies present were shocked, and exclaimed with horror, to the great confusion of the poor lady. A young English lady, impatient to hear them, said: "Good gracious, ladies, let the one amongst us who has not a little false hair on her head throw the first stone!" The voices were hushed.

I told you of our last invention—false stomachs. A French paper pretends that you on the other side of the Channel are not less fecund in inventions for the improvement of the female species than we are, and that you offer false ears in return for our stomachs; so that if

a lady has ugly ears she can change them. Query—what does she do with her own f Are they cut off, if too large? or what?

You remember the much-talked of yacht that made such a rapid voyage from America, with only the owner on board? This gentleman, it seems, had been on very friendly terms with the Prince Louis Napoleon, when a refugee in America. Having on board his yacht a cask of a liqueur called Appel- sack, fabricated only in New Jersey; and, remembering that the Prince, in former days, used to be partial to that liqueur, the thought came into his head to send the cask to the Tuilcries, with the address— "Mr. James Butler to the Emperor Napoleon." A few hours after, Mr. Butler received a note written by the Emperor himself, in which he requested his former friend to come and dine with him without ceremony. Of course the gentleman had no previous engagement to prevent him, so to the Tuileries he went. The Emperor received him in a small dining-room, without the least pomp, and during the repast quite astounded his visitor by his prodigious memory of former days, enquiring after mutual acquaintances and recalling the most minute details of events that had been long forgotten by Mr. Butler, who left the palace enchanted with his Imperial Majesty.

A decree has just abolished the military bands in the cavalry, one regiment alone (Les Guides) excepted. The towns in the country are not pleased: all regret their music; but the measure is a great economy of horses, and economy is necessary. The papers say that the Emperor intends paying the Guides from his private purse.

It was very kind of your operative tailors to send their money over to our operative tailors, and thus encourage the latter in their strike, just at the moment when we wanted to be in our best to receive the strangers who visit our Exhibition—another trick played us by "perfidious Albion," who, from jealousy no doubt, wished to see us make a shabby appearance before all the World and his wife.

For the last week the Seine has almost become a little Thames: we have loaded steamers running to and from the Exhibition every five minutes, to the great astonishment of the loungers on the bridges, who run from one side of the bridge to the other, unwilling to lose a glimpse of this new amusement for them.

The new opera, "Romeo and Juliet," by Gounod, is to be represented on the 23rd, at the Theatre-Lyrique. Report says that the music is very pretty, and worthy the author of "Faust." So come, come to our Exhibition s we will amuse you and vnus ("corcherons aussi: it is our most ardent desire.

[merged small][ocr errors]


THE TWO WILLIE S. of that friendless sufferer, who had died of neg.

lect and privation. Chap, I.--DEATH IN A Hovel.

But whither wandered the child Willie, when

strange-faced men bad nailed down the coffin“ God of the fatherless! I leave this orphan lid, and when his tearful gaze beheld a dark in Thy hands !"

hearse driven from the narrow alley? Was it A faint glimmer, a sudden flare, a flickering the hand of his father in heaven that led the gleam, scarcely breaking the room's shadows. poor boy out of this desolate home, and directed The candle was melting in its socket, for it was his young eyes, all blinded with weeping, away near midnight, and the dim wick had been from those dreary tenant-house walls, that had, wasting untended since night-fall.

till now, surrounded him ? Half disclosed, or obscured, as the flame Mother! dear mother! where are you?" waxed or waned, was a low pallet, on which, Sobbing thus, Willie wandered through the covered by tattered blankets, lay a woman thoroughfares. His tattered garments brushed whose life was ebbing as the candle flickered. the rich apparel of many who passed hiin Beside her reposed a little boy, whose quiet res.

| by unheedingly; his feeble cry sunk all unheard piration mingled with the painful breathing of amid the bustle and tumult of traffic and pleahis dying mother.

sure. But still, as the tiny figure of the little When the flowers of summer-time withered child threaded the crowd, he lifted his sorrowfal upon their stems, and the brown autumn foliage eyes, and stretched out his imploring handsdrifted silently from the trees-and when, after- | crying, always wards, sad winds of November rustled the fallen

"O mother! when will God find you for me?" leaves into dry heaps by the way-side-a young, pale-faced widow, dwelling in one of those mi. serable hovels that are often found in the rear of fashionable streets, had wasted slowly, upon Chap. II.-Death In A PALACE. her bed, drifting from life, until now, at the winter's coming, her wearied dust was to be A little white crib in the corner, and beside it gathered among the dry heaps of a pauper burial- a pair of sinall boots, with grass-mould of the ground.

garden still soiling them; in the corner a vacant But the instinct of love was strong as death. chair, over the back of which hangs a boy's She pressed her shrunken hand upon the head satchel. A child's velvet cap lies upon the of the little boy beside her, and, with her last chair; and near it sits & pet spaniel, with its tremulous breath, murmured a prayer to the black eyes fixed steadily upon the white-clothed Merciful One :

crib. it is Carlo, the good little dog. “God of the fatherless ! I leave this orphan But where is Willie, whose shining ringlets in Thy hands!”

used to dance so lightly on the breeze, as he The child, awakened by his mother's embrace, frolicked with Carlo up and down upon the clung, frightened, to her bosom; for the candle- greensward, swinging his velvet cap, to make wick, nearly consumed, gave out, at intervals, the little dog leap high and bark merrily? Ah, only a sullen tinge that could not dissipate the me! Carlo has nobody to play with him nowgloom.

nobody to love, as he loved his kind young “Mother, mother! it is dark! where are you?" master; ~ Willie, I am going from you”

But Carlo remembers-0, he must always “Mother"

remember-how once, in the woods, he was “My child !-God will find-you a-mother!" chasing a silver-winged butterfly, down among

One convulsive clasp of her boy's neck in the the daisies and buttercups, by the brook-side ; darkness-one tremulous movement of her lips, sharply barking as the bright insects circled as with a parting kiss; and then the widow's above him; and how a cunning snake darted spirit soared beyond its earthly habitation, and quickly from a tree's root, to strike with his Willie clung to his mother's lifeless breast-an cruel fangs; and then how brave Willie, who orphan.

was following close behind his little dog, frightDwellers in other hovel-like apartments of the ened the wicked adder back to his covert tenant-row-neighbours poor as the departed again. Ah! perhaps, if Carlo could talk, he widow-came and stilled the child's loud grief would tell everybody how much he remembered with soothing words. Closing the eyes and and loved the dear boy who saved him. straightening the limbs of the dead, they waited, But Willie-sweet Willie is dead. His curiously, while a coroner hurried through his musical voice will not any more awaken his tenroutine, and the alms-house officer gave orders der mother, calling for her first kiss in the mornfor a pine coffin, wherein to cover up the dust ing. His sunny ringlets lie damp on his pale

forehead; his while hands are crossed upon his bosom. Willie is not any more a child in the world, but an angel in heaven, with a bright crown upon his beautiful head, and a golden harp in bis bands.

Maybe, it was from Willie's harp, that Buch soft music came last night, seeming to float through the chamber, when bis mother, weary with sorrowful watching, closed her eyes, for a few moments, and dreamed of her lost darling. But Willie now lies cold in his mamma's bed, and his little white crib is vacant. Only Carlo creeps closely beside it, placing his paws on the low pillow, and moaning for his absent playmate. And now, outside the house, how solemnly the carriages are drawn up in the street, one behind another—a long line, reaching from the great hall door to the corner; ay, and around past the alley, that leads to a row of wretched tenant-houses, a square in the rear. The coachmen sit silently upon their boxes, looking up at the closed blinds of the splendid mansion. They know that within the carved doors are many sorrowing hearts.

Sorrowing indeed 1—around the little rosewood coffin, wherein is lying a beautiful sunnyhaired boy, with eyelids sealed forever to the light of earth: mourners, weeping for the departed; friends, who rejoiced so lately in his presence; playmates, of a short month since, who cannot believe their favourite gone.

The good minister opens the Holy Book, and prays fervently beside the bier, speaking softly of our blessed Jesus, who loved little children so tenderly upon earth, and calls them to himself in the bright immortal heaven.

Now, the pale mother kisses her boy for the last time; the little coffin is lifted very gently, and placed under its velvet pall. Slowly and solemnly, then, through the long streets, Willie is borne away to the silent tomb.

Birds sing still among the evergreens of the cemetery, though russet leaves are piled upon the graves, over which also flowers have been scattered by the hand of affection. But the mother of little Willie heeds not the singing birds, and the flower-cups are to her only as withered leaves.

Chap. III.—"god Temfkus Tub Wind."

"It is all over! Was that harsh grating of earth upon the coffin-lid the last sound that shall ever connect the living with the dead? Is the darling one folded away from earth, henceforth forevcrmore r"

The mother of Willie falls back upon the cushions of her carriage, with a desolate sinking of the heart. She strives to hide the sorrow that she cannot hush.

Thus, away from the place of tombs, and back to the city, the carriages of mourners and friends were hurriedly whirled, That one only which contained the bereaved mother, was tardy on its way | for the old servant who sat upon the box t>*d no heart to urge hit hortei to a rapid pace,

The slow ferry was crossed, and at length the coach rattled through paved streets of the great town.

Very quiet, upon the carriage rug, at the feet of bis late play-fellow's mother, the little dog Carlo lay, with head resting on his crossed paws. At intervals the poor animal would lift his eyes to the face of his mistress, as if sympathizing in her grief for Willie.

At last, the carriage was"drawn up before the house, whence it had followed the sable-plumed hearse, and the mother of the dead alighted at her own door. It was quite dusk. Indeed, the gas-lights began to gleam far down the streets, making luminous vistas upon the walks. One bright lamp centred its rays upon the broad white steps of the lady's mansion, up which Carlo the dog leaped quickly, whilst the sad mother ascended with slow steps, weary _ from long vigils of sorrow.

Suddenly, little dog Carlo stopped, and barked sharply—then looked around and downward to attract the notice of his mistress; who raised her eyes, and saw upon the marble steps a sight that .caused her to tremble with strange emotion. A little boy was lying upon the white door 6tone, even as her dead darling had reclined upon his bier; his arms folded over his bosom, his eyes closed, and their long lashes resting upon cheeks pale as the marble which they pressed. Ringlets, like those of the lost one, clustered in disorder around the forehead of this stranger child, and a smile dwelt upon its sealed lips, even as those of her dear Willie, now shrouded away, beneath his flower-crowned tomb. The sorrowing mother clasped her hands, as she regarded the little boy, reposing thus, like death, upon the threshold, and then, yielding to a pitying impulse, sank on her knees beside him, murmuring—" Is this poor child likewise with the dead?"

Carlo the dog barked shrilly, and, leaping on his mistress, began to lick the face of the poor little sleeper, who opened his eyes in astonishment and terror.

"O mother!" he murmured, lifting his delicate hands—" when will you come to your Willie?"

"Willie!-Willie!" sobbed the lady; and she clasped the outstretched hands of the young outcast; for, alas! this child, lying at her door, was only that orphan boy whose mother had been carried from her squalid bed in the tenanthouse, and who had been wandering through the city streets, till at last, from weariness, he bad fallen asleep upon these marble steps. His small feet were naked and bruised by the harsh stones, over which they had travelled. His clothes were rent and soiled, and very neglected was his whole appearance; for he had known no mother's care during the long weeks of the widow's|sickness.&But ye£his smile was beautiful, and his voice touohingly soft, while he murmured—

"Mother! dear mother! when will God find you for me?" Was that tattered and desolate outcast a met*

« ZurückWeiter »