« ForrigeFortsett »
INTO the arms of a little bay,
He has turned and struck out shcreward again, Rock-encompassed on either side,
And he swims with might and mainDredging the many-hued stones as they lay,
Why is his strength so vain ? Tore and thundered the passionate tide.
The great green rushing mountains of sea All up the slippery slabs of the rocks,
Are coursing shoreward impetuously, With long white arms and back-strewn locks,
And they lift him high Like forms of Despair that shrieked and sang,
In their surging by,
Then drop him low in the hollow to lie;
That lifts him high on its awful breast,
Must carry him onward; but never more
Nears he that coveted shore !
Oh, sweetest mother !-oh, gentlest wife !
Thy loved one is struggling for thee and for life ! Marbled with emerald and pearl
The winds have heard that one dread cry, And the backward foam of the yeasty swirl.
“I am drowning! Oh, help me!”—but they pipe by,
Singing their storm-song lustily :
And thou, sweet mother, art smiling with joy And the father said, “Oh, were it not joy
As they blow in the locks of thy blue-eyed boy.
A current is sweeping out of the bay
With an under-sucking might;
And ended at last in the deadly fray,
And fought the desperate fight.
He is rolled in the billow with none to heed,
And none to help, for the thunderous roar
Is all that is heard on the foam-wreathed shore.
The boy has gazed at last on the sea-
“Oh! where is my father ? Oh! where is he ? " But the father he fought through the battling wave,
And his heart turns faint, and his straining eye And out from the land struck joyous and brave.
Glares in a speechless agony
Can it be?-can it be?
Who will tell her ? Oh! who will dare?
Who will go to her there?
Who will say that the splendid wave
Is of all her life the grave-
That the light of the home is gone,
That the life of her life is done,
That the heart of her heart is no more ?
There she smiles as she sits on the shore.
Oh! who will go to her there? Bat he dared it then as he struck from the land.
Who will dare ?-who will dare ?
The wind fell as the sun went down.
Next day it was calmly bright:
And there on the sandy reaches brown,
With the manifold sea-weed strown, With his little bare feet
In the glittering morning light, Venturing near as the waves retreat,
Smiling, as if in happy play, Then running away,
The sea gave up its prey. Half afraid, half in play,
There, in its awful soulless glee, Shouting, “Oh, mother, look, look at the sea ! With a musical wash the ebbing sea, It was such a big one; it nearly caught me!”
As it bared the broadening lands, Sweetest of mothers ! she smiles in her joy
Laid him down exultingly, She smiles for her love of her merry-voiced boy. Face upwards on the sands.
W. WALSHAM BEDFORD.
spent by the fifteen-year-old Geoff and long sermon, no mental exertion was required his tutor at Georgie's home near the sea ? of him; the weather almost always admitted of Books were put by for a whole long day; the usual walk after church, and then came the and Geoff, in spite of such teaching as few lively family dinner eaten by Georgie's side, boys get, hated every book in the world ex- and nothing but perfect contentment till night. cept the “Waverley Novels" and "Master- No evil chance came to mar the perfection of those Sundays, and, though one was very coloured ribbons, very properly frowned at much like the other, each seemed to the boy encountering Geoff's smile ; then, having said more charming than the last. Dressed in his her preliminary prayer, occupied herself with Eton suit of fine blue-cloth, kept expressly the children. The boy in her charge had to for holiday use; his chimney-pot hat, an have his collar pulled straight, the girl her article of apparel as delectable to English shoes buttoned, gloves drawn on, and both youths as without doubt was the manly toga had to be awed into silence by whispered to schoolboys of ancient Rome, scrupulously admonitions from time to time. brushed; a flower, if the season admitted, in Bella, the eldest of the family, taller, larger, his button-hole, and a few drops of eau-de- more imposing in appearance than Georgie, Cologne on his white cambric handkerchief, with the same abundance of black hair, but Geoff was always ready full ten minutes be- no red ribbons coquettishly knotting it, and a fore the last bell began to ring. He would less vivacious slightly sentimental expression, put his tutor's hat, coat, and Prayer-book was also obliged to divide her attention beready, would open the front door an inch, tween the prayers and her young charges. stand first on one foot, then on another, On the whole, the little things behaved pretty finally venture to tap at the study door, and well, for everything was old-fashioned and say—“It must be time to go, I think, sir." unattractive at St. Margaret's, except the
Whereupon the usual careless reply would benches. Only two hymns were sung, only issue from within, not uttered impatiently, the Te Deum and Benedicite were chaunted, but in an indifferent tone, that rendered fur- the Litany formed an invariable part of the ther remonstrance out of the question. So service, and the sermons were always longer Geoff had nothing to do but open the door than those delivered from any other pulpit an inch wider, prick up his ears for the sound in the town. Formerly the time-honoured of the second bell, arrange hat, coat, and pews screened restless youngsters and drowsy Prayer-book, if possible, after handier fashion, veterans from the eyes of the congregation; and again begin the gymnastics before named, but these had been superseded by the newUll at last he heard the welcome words- fangled benches of modern times, which com"Come, my lad, I'm ready now."
pel alike young and old to behave themA minute later and tutor and pupil were selves, at least with some show of decorum. on their way to the picturesque old church of Georgie and Bella had occasionally a difficult St. Margaret's: the former a tall, spare, scho- task, but they performed it admirably, and larly man of eight-and-thirty; the latter a could boast that, even in the hottest day of well-grown, innocent-looking boy in that stage summer, they contrived to keep their little of his existence when ears are unusually con- charges awake. spicuous, long legs, in spite of a good deal of The longest sermon, however, must come drilling, given to dangle rather than walk, to an end at last, and Geoff's face wore a feet and hands the reverse of symmetrical, radiant look as the usual hand-shaking took and cheeks glowing with almost infantine place outside the porch. Then the large smoothness and bloom. The two descended party, reinforced by another detachment of the zigzag path leading from their cosily Georgie's family who had attended morning nestled home on the slope of a green hill, service elsewhere—it was hardly to be exthen in a few minutes' time had taken their pected that one church could accommodate accustomed places, Geoff looking up to see them all—poured down with the rest of the conif Georgie were in hers, his companion, after gregation towards the sea. There was a cerbending his head for a minute in prayer, tain portion of parade in this southern waterleaning back absently. At the very lasting-place that seemed by right to belong to moment Georgie and a detachment of the the parish of St. Margaret's and its unfashionlarge family to which she belonged would able inhabitants. Although it joined the long, hasten up the aisle, the little ones looking unbroken promenade of the modern town, aggrieved and uncomfortable, much as if flanked with handsome new houses, the exact pins were pricking them, which, seeing the counterpart of Marinas elsewhere, it remained hurry of their toilet, might very likely be St. Margaret's Parade always. Belgravia in the case; the elder girls flushed and tri- velvet and white feathers never put her dainty umphant; and, indeed, to have dressed so foot within the precincts of her twin sister, many children in time for church, and them- the picturesque, rugged, grand old fishingselves into the bargain, was an achievement. town, a Wapping by comparison. And on
Georgie, a large promising girl of fourteen, Sundays, after church, Geoff and his oldwith black hair tied up by vermilion | fashioned friends preferred to stroll up and down the little parade adjoining the fish of freshness and vitality was here! Surely market, rather than mingle with the aristo- by the sea we should never grow old. cratic crowds on the Marina.
By-and-by, the little procession turned Geoff naturally fell into his place by homeward. Georgie's father, Ralph Garland, Georgie's side, and the pair, without saying and his old college friend, Edgar Durham, much that perhaps either of them could re- Geoff's tutor, going first, the young people member next day, found each other's society following, all, from the youngest to the oldest, very agreeable. Georgie, no longer frowning making light of the steep walk leading to their at him, and relieved on account of the little destination, a very eagle's nest perched on the ones that the long sermon was over, looked edge of the cliff. Half an hour later the family sparkling and rosy. She was a girl who liked party, numbering nearly a score of souls, sat the feeling of Sunday clothes and the admira- down to the hospitable board. The master tion they inspired in a companion of the presided, a large, shaggy, handsome man still other sex.
young, with a dreamy expression but a fine “Oh, Geoff !” she said, looking at him practical flow of animal spirits, and a patrialmost affectionately, they were such very archal air that seemed to want a furrowed good friends, and always told each other brow and white beard. By his right-hand, in everything. “You don't know it. I have a high-backed chair, sat a very old woman got a new umbrella !"
indeed, she must have been verging on " That's too bad,” Geoff said, pouting. ninety, who wore that expression of almost “I was going to give you one on your birth- triumphant hilarity, seen in the extremely day. But let me carry it for you.”
aged who have outlived several generations “No!" she replied stoutly. “Boys break without losing their health or their faculties. everything, and it has an ivory handle, as you They are proud of such singularity, and no see. You must not touch it on any account.” wonder. She was muffled up in so many
“Ah, there is nothing too bad for you to wraps and shawls that you saw nothing of her say about boys !” he said reproachfully. but a withered, cheerful face, brown as an “Girls are perfect, I suppose ?”
Arab's, and a pair of diminished eyes, bright “Not so loud, Geoff, please. People are as beads. She was the grandmother-by looking at us. How absurd you are! As if adoption--of the family, a great-aunt of the breaking umbrellas had anything to do with dead Mrs. Garland, who being left homeless perfection. You cannot help being awkward in her old age, had here found love and and breaking things, because you are a boy, shelter. On the other side of the master,
sat another adopted member of the family, Thus they prattled on, as they had prattled generally known as Cousin Alice. She was a score of times before, neither in foolisher no cousin of the Garlands, indeed nobody's fashion nor wiser, not instructing or edifying cousin at all, for this poor little lame crookeach other, but certainly doing each other no backed girl, or woman—who could guess her harm. And their young hearts were as light age?—had not a single living soul with whom as the little white clouds sailing overhead. to claim kith or kin on the face of the earth. How breezy and pleasant was this corner She also had been gathered to this warm of the ancient town on such spring-tide friendly fold from the cold bleak wilderness Sundays! A dozen little fishing-boats, flags of the outside world, and although disinherited up, signs of a good haul, were scudding both by nature and fortune, here felt herself before the south-westerly breeze into the rich as a queen. harbour; the sea, of deep Olive green streaked The remaining places were occupied by the into silvery lines, seemed the very personifi- nine children, one of whom was also a little cation of undying joy, youth, and strength; waif, the servants, whose Sunday privilege it the deep rushing of the waves exhilarated was, for the benefit of the conversation, like the music of trumpets and clarions; the to dine in the parlour, and by our old friends, sky, clean washed with recent storms of wind Geoff and Durham. Two little girls sat and rain, gleamed in splendour above sea-en- opposite their father at the other end of the circling green hills. Over against the strollers table. Since his wife's death four years by the shore, cresting a bold rock, rose the before, Ralph never permitted any one to grey ruins of the castle after which the place, preside in the beloved Bertha's place. foremost of historic towns in England, was Grace was said; then with the relish of called. But excepting the character of anti- mountaineers--as indeed they might be called, quity lent by these crumbling bastions to seeing that they lived at an elevation of several be seen for miles round, what å welcome air hundred feet above the sea-level and the
high spirit of school boys and girls on break- “Geoff," she began by way of changing ing up day, the company proceeded to dine. the conversation, “I do want to learn out of It was dining in earnest, for one invariable your books. Will you lend me some of the feature of that Sunday banquet consisted in hard ones? Papa gives us lessons at odd the certainty of everything being eaten up. times in everything, when he can, but that is This happy household was not vexed with not often, sometimes scarcely once a week. the dire culinary problem of odds and ends. I think I shall never grow clever at that rate.” Nothing was ever spoiled, because everything “What do you want to be clever for?” straightway vanished. It seemed the rule of asked the lad. the house that it should be so, and the duties “I have already taught the little ones all of both cook and housekeeper were thereby that I know, and I want to be able to go on much lightened.
with their studies," Georgie replied; then, There was no other certainty about the with a proud little toss of the large curly. dinner, for never was ordinary so made up of black head, added, “I intend to be a superior attractive variety as this, sometimes being person.” on a scale of palatial costliness, at others “ Like Bella, I suppose ?” homely as that of a poor-house. To-day “ Bella would like to learn some things too, the plumage of a pheasant would flash though she is very superior already, but she above such a pastry as baffles description, has the house to keep and the children to and choicest old wine or golden liqueur would mind, and not a spare minute. be handed round in crystal of dainty pat- is going to say grace." terns. The next, a vast volume of steam The benediction given, all rose from the would screen the guest from the opposite table. Ralph, having conducted grannie to the neighbours, as it cleared away revealing a drawing-room and comfortably seated her in pyramid of potatoes steaming in their skins, her easy-chair, retired with Durham to smoke the centre-piece and leading feature of that a quiet cigar in his tiny study below. Some day's feast. These genial souls were every- went one way, some another; every corner of thing by turn, gourmands, wine-bibbers, the house was soon animated with gay young vegetarians, total abstainers, and it would be voices. Geoff and Georgie undertook to give hard to say which conditions became them the very little ones what they called a Scripbest. How easy, how charming, how gracious, ture object-lesson, by means of Noah's ark was the master as he pressed every one to and other toys. Bella assembled the rest partake largely of the best! How readily round the piano and in a sweet, untrained the guests caught his mood and showed voice taught them little songs and hymns, themselves in their gayest, pleasantest cousin Alice joining, grannie waking up humour! How the children listened, smiled, occasionally to nod and smile approval with enjoyed! It was incomparable.
the pleasant assurance of being perpetually Geoff sat by Georgie's side as usual, and amused. thought her new dress perfection. Bella had Meantime the two men, after the usual had the principal hand in making it, she long discussion upon metaphysics, literature, told him, pointing admiringly to its scarlet or their immediate work-both were authors trimmings.
in widely different fields—finished up with a “And Bella's new dress will be ready by little practical talk. next Sunday,” she added. “But please taste “ Is it decided that Geoffrey goes to a this pastry, it is of my making. I do not public school, then ?" asked Ralph. expect it to be very good. I am not fond of “I suppose so, although a definite answer cooking. I think I should care more about has not come from his father.
He now Latin and Euclid.”
goes to the grammar-school daily, as you “Then when we live together, in our little know; but, much as I disapprove of public house, you shall read in the study and I will schools, I find that he wants more see to the dinner in the kitchen."
panionship than I can give him. Whilst the Geoff made this little speech unblushingly, other lads were in the house it did very Most growing lads, with huge appetites and well." an affection for pastry, regard the career of “ True. He needs what all young people a chef with envy. Georgie turned the conver- should have—life in a little world, before sation demurely. It was an understood trying that of the great stage on which he thing that they were to be married some day, must play his part. You make him good and but she thought it folly to make such frequent happy, but you do not try him as he must be allusions to it before other people.
tried on a large scale hereafter.”