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a room full of contrasted lights and shadows, raised too high. “ You may probably find in which the portraits on the walls, and the that you disappoint each other a trifle at living figures moving about in it, must always first." look their very best; lastly, the bedchambers, “Oh, sir !" Geoff would say with an exwhich were really furnished—and not merely pression of great dismay, “ I am not clever fitted up by upholsterers, as in our own time enough, you think I have not worked hard —with their elaborate mahogany four-post enough at Euclid." bedsteads, high-backed sofas in carved wood, “Wait and see,” was Durham's invariable looking-glasses with deep drawers opening rejoinder; "and when the time comes do without a creak, the carpentry unimpaired your best to please, and leave the rest." after a hundred or two years' wear, oak ward- Georgie quite naturally tormented him with robes and chests of drawers with massive misgivings of a kind Durham had not hinted brass handles and locks. All these evidences at. A little excusable jealousy lay at the of good taste and solid fortune handed on bottom of her harmless shafts. from generation to generation impressed the “Geoff," she said, opening wide her handboy deeply. It was, indeed, the first house some brown eyes, “I always had a poor with a family history he had ever entered in opinion of boys of your age, but I never his short life, and the sight set him thinking. expected such absurd behaviour of you. This
“ Will this house be good enough for your wonderful mamma of yours is to turn out a mother, think you?" asked Durham, as the perfect queen, and an angel into the bargain, two strolled about the fine old garden at will. so you think, outvying everybody under the
“Oh,” Geoff cried in an ecstasy of looking sun, as beautiful to look at as my dear mamma forward, " if mamma will not be satisfied with was, and the soul of amiability and goodness this, she must be hard to please indeed ! into the bargain; and for cleverness you seem How happy we shall all be here !"
to think no other woman was ever like her, “My dear fellow," the other answered, forgetting that she has spent all her life on a as soon as your mother arrives in Eng- desert island." land you and I shall cease to be together. “Not a desert island, Georgie. Please You will no longer live in my house ; I shall stick to facts. The Pearl Islands, of which not live in yours.”
papa was Governor, are not desert at all, but “ I am very sorry," was all Geoff could as civilised as Sussex.” say; and, glancing down, his tutor saw that “I do not wish to say anything unkind. the childish mouth was trembling.
It will be your duty to love and cherish your “We must soon have been separated any- mamma every bit as much if she is crabbed how,” Durham said cheerfully. “You were and stupid as if she were sweet and clever," to go to Eton, recollect, and afterwards to Georgie said sagely. “Only why will you Cambridge. This was to be your last year make up your mind that she is to be just with me."
perfection ? Nobody is that, you know, exGeoff made no reply. The afternoon was cept my own darling papa." now waning, and they hastened home in Thus silenced by his two advisers, Geoff silence.
tried to keep his dreams and fancies to himself, a task by no means easy.
He was living, CHAPTER III. —THE DREAM-MOTHER.
indeed, two lives, one with that ineffable As a matter of course, Geoff's head was dream-mother who had breathed romance now full of his mother—that dream-mother into his soul from the remote ocean isles; the crossing the sea to make life blissful for him other with his daily tasks and common assoever after. Very little good did he get from ciates, for all else and every one seemed combooks or tutors, for, though naturally unima- mon to him now. Even Georgie must henceginative, he could not help building castles forth take the second rank in his thoughts now in the air from morning till night. What and affections, he argued. Wondrous spell would the mother of his waking dreams be of motherhood! The careless boy was being like? What kind of happiness was it they already magnetised by this passionate mother's were about to taste together? A dozen and love-loadstone drawing him from afar. He a dozen times he had asked these questions of seemed to belong by right to her above all, Durham and Georgie, his closest friends, and and alone. a dozen and a dozen times they answered Oceanic telegrams are not delivered with him a little impatiently.
much promptness, and it was some weeks “Wait and see, my lad,” Durham would before Geoff was made happy by the news say, fearing lest Geoff's expectation might be that his mother had really started, and that she was on the friendly, hastening sea. There Geoff and his friends belonging to the vulgar were no bounds to the boy's joy then; he herd, stayed where they were. whistled, he sang, he gambolled; his frolic- On the first Sunday in July Garland put some mood made the grave Durham lift his the usual question to Durham, meeting with eyes in wonder at what had come over him. the usual answer. No further news had been Geoff became now so expansive as to link received of Lady Auriol. his arm affectionately in that of his tutor, and “I hope all will turn out well when she occasionally make endearing little speeches does come,” Ralph said, looking significantly to him. He was, indeed, as all of us are at the lad as the family procession walked under the influence of great happiness, in home from church. love with everybody.
“What is there to be afraid of?” replied The house they had looked at was hired, the other carelessly. “We may confidently and beautified from top to bottom in honour expect our traveller safe and sound, since we of its expected mistress. Ralph Garland put have heard of no storms and shipwrecks. in a word or two of advice, Bella and Georgie The pair are pretty sure to be happy together; laid violent hands on this monstrosity and and Geoff is an ordinary lad—so long as his that; with the aid of one and another, Durham mother loves him he will ask no more.” contrived to transform the place. The garden
“ Take care how
call any one ordinary was stocked with summer flowers, faded hang- till he has been tried,” said Ralph. “Who ings and carpets were replaced by new warm- knows what he is himself till he has been tinted textures, cornices were regilt, oak panels born again either in joy or sorrow?" polished; finally, bowls of gold and silver “ You are a romancer. All human nature fish were placed in the windows, singing birds is poetry to you." installed in the conservatory amid tropical “You know absolutely nothing then of flowers and plants, and, to crown all, a peer- Lady Auriol ?.” less Angora cat, milk-white and commanding, No more than you do yourself.” was trained to sun herself in the boudoir. “Her husband's last years must have tried
The last preparations being made, there her much. Diseased alike in body and in was nothing left to do but wait. Geoff
, though mind, helpless, hopeless, all but mindless, in reality brimful of happiness, fancied these what a death in life was that !” intervening weeks of looking forward burden- "Sir Geoffrey managed his official duties some in the extreme. Every morning he till the last, and Lady Auriol always wrote awoke with almost a paganish feeling stirring cheerfully; things may not have been so bad his heart as he gazed on the sea. Oh! as we suppose,” Durham answered. might but the winds be fair and the waves Then they talked of his own plans, and propitious for the mother's voyage, it seemed the use he should probably make of his own as if he should have nothing left to pray for freedom. any more. So foolishly and fondly mused “Do not leave us just yet, anyhow," Ralph the boy as he lay on his little bed, counting said insinuatingly. "In a year or two 'I might the days till his dream should come true. be rich enough to get a glimpse of foreign The sea, he thought, hearkened to him, travel with you. Who knows? The sight of for seldom had been known so calm, so a new lovely land would affect me strangely.” lovely a season. May was fairer than April ; A moment after he sighed at the gosJune was serener, sunnier than May; the samer woof his fancy was weaving. Little summer had come in earnest, and the sea, chance, indeed, had he of seeing any new a sheet of sparkling sapphire, had flotillas of lovely lands with bodily eyes, for every year yellow-winged fishing boats on its calm sur- brought added burdens and tasks, and every face all day long.
year, alas! took something from the fiery Bewitching as the place was then—dim- courage and strength of his youth. pling green hills above, silvery-brown sands That July Sunday Garland's guests would below, gentle breezes blowing off the sleepy never forget, so interminable it seemed, so waves, pearly dawns, crimson and amber unbrokenly happy. The long, beauteous sunsets, matchless star-lit nights—strange to summer day was, indeed, a little life in itself, say, all its inhabitants had fled as from a and morning, noon, and eventide were alike plague-stricken city.
superlative. Not a discord jarred the inner The plain truth of the matter was that harmony; not an adverse breath ruffled the fashion commanded this wholesale flitting in outer surface of things. order to make way for the myriads on myriads As soon as the sun had moved towards of holiday-makers who now came instead. Beachy Head and freshening breezes were
blowing from the sea, all the party went out low-lying on the horizon, straight and sure of doors. They had only to open the front she pursued her way. Soon, with colours door, and there were glorious hills all round spread, she was gaily making for the harbour's about; deep below the dimpling summer mouth. sea. Some went one way, some another, “Let us go down to the shore and see her while a little group collected round Garland, come in,” Garland said ; and with one conwho was dreamily watching the silvery sent, old and young wound their way down sails breaking the blue expanse. The lame the rock-cut staircase leading to the fishgirl sat near him; she regarded it as a market. They were on the beach, Sunday privilege to keep within earshot of which, as is usual in such places, presented the master. Near, also, sat Georgie and no less busy an appearance on Sundays Geoff, who were tired of roaming about. than on working-days. Garland and his Close by Durham lay stretched on the grass, friends, having reached the water's edge, his long limbs affording a nice jumping-bar sat down on the pebbly beach watching the for the two youngest children. Other mem- yacht, now glistening like a silvery-winged bers of the miscellaneous family made up bird between the twilight sea and sky. For the semicircle, all shaded by white-cotton a little time they watched and waited, the soft umbrellas; all, like Garland, fascinated by summer tide rippling at their feet, the church the azure of the waves and the dazzling white bells sounding musically from the shore; no ness of the sails, riding like birds between other noise but the fishermen's voices breakblue and blue.
ing the stillness. By-and-by, they saw that “That sail yonder bearing up channel is the yacht was making to, and soon a boat, no common craft, neither a collier nor fishing plied by two sailors, put off for the harbour. brig,” Garland said, raising his telescope. “Now our curiosity will be gratified,” Gar“Ah, I thought so-it is a yacht.”
land said. “We shall learn not only to whom “May I look?" Geoff asked, with a boy's she belongs, but who is on board. Most pronatural eagerness where a telescope was con- bably the travellers prefer not to come ashore cerned.
till tomorrow, the day being Sunday.” “Look your fill,” Garland replied kindly; Much curiosity had, of course, been excited then, patting the lad on the shoulder, added at this end of the town by the appearance of in a playful voice, “ she is making such haste the yacht, and long before the boat reached its towards this place that we might fancy your destination an eager crowd awaited it on the mother was on board impatient to embrace landing-place. The keel had hardly grazed the her son. Whose yacht can it be? for evidently sand when a dozen rough voices were heard she is coming into port."
clamouring for information. The two new“Oh, if mamma were really on board !" comers also made eager inquiries. Every Geoff cried, then blushed at the foolishness of one wanted to be heard or answered at once. the speech. It seemed to him, although he In the midst of this confusion Garland fancied was afraid to confess the notion even to he heard Durham's name uttered; but the Georgie, that such marvels might well be, and other laughed away the supposition. that those quickening sails might mean the possible!” he said; he knew of no yachtimpatient wings of love longing to fold him owners. Again, however, and this time close. A strange, unconscious depth of feel all heard it; Durham's name was passed ing had become possible to this commonplace from mouth to mouth, and two or three of lad under the new influence of the last few the fisher-lads, who had recognised him months, but none perceived the change. All where he sat, now came that way, beckoning were now intent on watching the elegant and vociferating. little craft as she scudded gaily with the What could it all mean? Durham at last westerly breeze; and a more fascinating sight rose to his feet, hopelessly puzzled, and the could hardly be imagined. So swift, so easy rest of the party followed him to the boat, her course, so airy and lightsome her form, all in no less a maze than himself. that no human-fashioned thing seemed here, “Muster Durham, Muster Durham !” refitted to encounter wild winds and; storms, iterated a sailor belonging to the place—his rather a beautiful phantom, an ethereal vision, speech would have localised him anywhere destined to vanish from sight as quickly as it “these chaps be asking after you. Be a letter
for you from yonder yacht." But no; now catching the full radiance of Then the foremost of the two boatmen the sinking sun, now in deep purple shadow, stepped up and handed him a small white now lost amid the pearly and roseate clouds note, which even the cold, unemotional Durham touched delicately. Mystery of mysteries, it, Durham and Geoff took their seats. The the address was in a well-known hand! boat was shoved forward, the bare -legged
Garland peered over his shoulder and sailors, standing knee-deep in water, gave the read, for the men were so intimate that they signal; then the boatmen plied their oars, had no secrets from each other. Then the and straight and swift the little craft was former-Durham being for the moment dumb. cleaving the glittering waves. Garland and founded-caught Geoff by the arm, and said, his companions watched it dwindle to a in a voice shaken by feeling
mere black speck before they turned home“Heaven bless you, boy ! you have now a wards, pausing as they climbed their mounmother."
tain stairs to look again and again on the Geoff had just half a minute to spare for the panorama below, moonlit sea, terraced town, note, which was written in pencil, and worded with harbour lights and far-off shadowy hills. thus :
“ Pearla !” mused Garland. “ Pearlama "Dear FRIEND, I have come straight lovely name! that should belong to a lovely from Madeira, where I found a friend's yacht. creature. Doubtless fancifully given because Will you bring my boy to me?
she was born on Pearl Island, child of the
“ PearlA.” ocean and its pearly haunts ! To think of a Without a word, quicker than pen can write boy like Geoffrey having such a mother!”
OTHER PEOPLE'S DUTY.
By L. B. WALFORD, AUTHOR OF “Dick NETHERBY,” ETC. IN
former times when England expected pledge to abstain from spirituous liquors
every man to do his duty, it seemed to except during meals, thereby earning for satisfy the man-and England—if he did it. himself the graceful title of a “mealer." B So, at least, vaunters of the “good old goes a step farther, and scouts the bottle times " would have us believe, and perhaps altogether. But how sourly does the latter they are right: we will hope so, but at any regard the one glass of ruby port in his rate we have changed all that in these latter friend's hand after dinner, and how earnestly days. It is, truth to tell, not our own duty does he inculcate on his dear and excellent which many of us are mainly anxious to ful. A the “duty" of abandoning it. He cannot fil; it is the “duty” of other people, of our understand arguments such as suffice for neighbours, friends, and relations, which himself being found inconclusive by his stands out in bold relief before our eyes, it friend. It irks him sorely to find that in is their burden which presses on our shoulders spite of all he can say, and of the evidence and weighs on our consciences, and it is he can adduce in favour of his own views, his their concerns which leave us no time to companion is honestly and sincerely unconattend to our own.
vinced. He has a great regard for A. He Other people, we find, are most provokingly knows him to be as desirous of promoting obtuse about their “duty," and worse than the cause of sobriety as he himself, and yet being blind, they are obstinate. Of course how strange and inconceivable it is that the they ought to see it for themselves, but as this good man cannot perceive what is as plain is just what they cannot or will not do, they as a pikestaff! And how annoying that being might at least with gratitude acknowledge thus fatally dense, he will not submit to be their shortcomings when these are made told his " duty !” clear to them, and follow the lead when it is Mrs. C takes her girls to balls, whereas gratuitously given. Alas! there again they her next-door neighbour draws the line at fail. Other people will not be guided, i.e. musical evenings. Then how great a thorn driven and hustled in the way they should in the side of the latter is the former's go. They refuse to obey the voice of the neglected “duty" in this matter! She knows charmer, charm he never so wisely, and we that it is a mere occasional gaiety of which may talk our throats sore, and waste our she has to complain ; she would herself allow breath and shake our heads like Mandarins that Mrs. C is a virtuous woman and a good to no avail : it remains that we see their Christian, that her daughters are trained in “duty," and other people do not.
the way they should go, that her sons are For instance, my neighbour A is a tempe. useful and estimable members of society, but rance man, and as an example to the district it is nevertheless a constant lamentation with of which he is the leading resident, takes a the good soul that she and her neighbour