Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

not? You are still in the possession of a Poor Geoff! poor Pearla ! Poor Pearla reasoning faculty, yet you deliberately assent and poor Durham ! Little did these two, to such a proposition as this."

fondest mother and faithfullest friend, imagine Geoff again held down his head without a what was passing in the boy's mind. They word. Durham, in despair, took quite a dif- saw the outward discontent, the unconcealed ferent tone.

moroseness, but they could not unravel the “My dear lad,” he said entreatingly, even workings of the heart or decipher the signs coaxingly, “ do make an end of this sorry of that clouded brow. They could only sorfarce. Be your old honest, cheerful self

. row for what was on the surface. Geoff, Give me your hand. Go to your mother with in reality, suffered no less than themselves. the word that shall set all right.”

If his silence wrung Pearla's heart, and But Geoff was neither to be castigated nor injustice wounded Durham's sensitiveness ; persuaded into a right frame of mind. Turn- their enforced coldness, interpreted by him ing away his face, appearing not to see his as indifference, sent him to his closet with tutor's proffered hand, he said in a low bitter tears, and made his waking up a thing dogged tone :

of unspeakable forlornness. Only my mother can say that now.” His new studies could not be begun till He looked as if he wanted to go, and October, and meantime how spend the inDurham, feeling that he had exhausted every tervening months so pleasantly and profiteffort, let him have his way. This interview ably as in seeing the world? had been brief, but no confabulations, how- Seeing the world is a phrase susceptible of ever long, could have brought out more many meanings, and the object of Geoff's clearly the true state of Geoft's mind. He desire was one that naturally occurs to us at was determined not to be conciliated, still eighteen and a half. less to conciliate. That hitherto easily moved, Two days before, a collier from Newcastle and as some had opined, even shallow nature, had steamed into the little harbour, and as it was manifesting a strength of will and con- came at full speed, all sails set, imagination centration of purpose little looked for from could hardly frame a more captivating sight. Is those who should be its best judges. Whither not a ship indeed one of the loveliest, most such obstinacy would lead him, upwards or fairylike things of human invention ? Those downwards, who could determine? One tawny sails on a bright sea, that flashing sheer, thing seemed inevitable, Geoff must be left took hold of Geoff's imagination. The ship to himself for the present. Durham had no was come, it waited, it invited. He would go. need to explain this to Pearla when he re- So without saying a word to any one, and joined her at the tea-table; a blank look, circumstances favouring, he quietly went a disconcerted smile sufficed.

down to the beach an hour or two before

the vessel was to start for the north, and CHAPTER XXVIII.-"LORD OF HIMSELF."

asked the skipper if he might return with So Geoff was now left to himself. Every him. The thing had never been done before, one of his kind physicians having lost but as Geoffrey Auriol was a favourite among heart by turns, they finally handed him over the fishing population, and as he had a to the all-potent healer, Nature. The youth well-filled purse, the desired permission was for the first time in his life now enjoyed readily accorded. absolute freedom. No one vouchsafed a yea Pearla, quite unsuspicious of evil, awaited or nay. He was made to feel that, as he him that evening as usual. It was one of had set himself against his natural advisers, those seasons, traditional we may almost now he must take the direction of affairs into his begin to regard them, when the last meal of own hands. By placing himself in direct the day might be taken out of doors, and antagonism to his mother and guardian, he delicious indeed was Pearla's garden this had tacitly shaken off all authority. For balmy July night. better, for worse, he was now his own master. Strangely enough, as she stood on the Durham and Pearla were compelled to let upper ground of her little domain, she was him go his own way, with some show, not of now watching the very ship whither Geoff had hardness, but of indifference. Such it seemed fled as a refuge—and from what? the tenderest at least to the unhappy lad, as he brooded mother in the world. As she watched the over his fancied wrongs. The liberty now beautiful fairylike thing gaily steering eastaccorded could but mean want of affection. ward between glowing heavens and sea, she The silence regarding his plans arose from thought of just such a summer evening three want of interest in them.

years ago.

XXIV–37

Yes, just three years ago she had come She seemed only half to take in the sense to this sweet place, borne by sails as swift of the implied reproach. and on seas as calm, with airiest hopes “But, Fairfax," she added after a moment's stirring her bosom. And now, although one thought, “ Mr. Durham should know this at deep, unlooked-for joy had come, where were once. Will you go to him without delay? the rest of those airy hopes? Yonder ship He ought to be consulted in what is best to hastening on its way was not farther from her do. Pray start and try to reach Stoneham than her boy's heart.

to-night." She sighed as she gazed, and was about to “There is just time enough," Fairfax rere-enter the house when she met the old plied as he looked at his watch. “Has my man-servant Fairfax with a dismayed counten- lady any other message to Mr. Durham?" ance. He carried a cloak on his arm, for “None,” Pearla replied, with just a touch the faithful old fellow had ever a chivalrous of imperiousness, for she knew well enough care of his sweet mistress when the master, what the old servant wanted her to say. as he now called Durham, was away. Before Then wrapping her shawl about her still opening his lips, he bestowed it carefully closer, for she was shivering, though with about her shoulders; then, motioning her sorrow and not with cold, she left the unback to the spot she had just quitted, he touched teatray and entered the house. lifted a finger in the direction of the vessel. Crestfallen and making sundry signs of

"Master Geoffrey is gone away in yonder discomfiture to himself, Fairfax followed his coal-brig, my lady,” he said.

mistress into the house. Would it come to “Oh! Fairfax, conceal nothing from me,” this ? he pondered; would that young scapePearla asked anxiously. “What ship is that?" grace, Master Geoffrey, be the means of

"'Tis a collier bound to Newcastle, and estranging as sweet a lady and as proper a Master Geoffrey is bound to Newcastle too. gentleman as Heaven ever designed for each The wind is fair, he'll take no harm, 'tis but other? a freak," said the old man.

Not for worlds, however, would he have “No," Pearla answered; "this is more unclosed his lips on such a topic in the than a freak.” Then with almost desperation servants' hall; and without a hint as to his written in her sweet face she added—“ I have errand he quickly gave his orders and set forth. lost my son.”

Pearla went to her room, now flooded “Let me send for Mr. Durham,” suggested with the mellow light of a July moon, to the old man, taken aback by his mistress's spend perhaps the forlornest night of her distress. He had looked for a fainting fit, existence. The disillusion of her early or burst of sobs at least, and regarded such married life had not touched her so nearly, cbullitions of feeling as safety valves invented because the perceptions are

so much by nature to let off feminine emotion. more acute at thirty-eight than at eighteen.

“Mr. Durham can do nothing," Pearla And she could not resist a certain feeling of said with a deep sigh.

self-reproach. She had accepted love, but “Better for me to hear that than the at what a cost? If Geoff went wrong, she master, madam,” Fairfax ventured to say. I felt now that the sin would be her own.

LONDON HAUNTS. .

A ROOKERY DISTRICT. ГТ T falls to the lot of the present writer to being, socially speaking, a “hot 'un." In

have charge of what is popularly known what special capacity I am in charge of it is as a “rookery” district in the great metro. of no particular importance in the present polis. Than a human rookery there can, to connection. Sufficeth it to say here that it a thoughtful mind, be no more sorrowful is a secular and official capacity, and one in spectacle. As an institution and even in which I have acted for a number of years. these days of supposed “sweetness and light” The discharge of the duties of my office it is an institution—it is the great blot on brings me daily into contact with the inha“the resources of civilisation"-the veritable bitants of the district, and gives me perforce earthly inferno. This being a general feeling an intimate knowledge of their ways of life. upon the subject, my district naturally, and 1 I see them in their habits as they live; see may add deservedly, bears the reputation of them as they are seen among themselves, and as others do not see them, especially it lines; if instead of saying to “ The Local such others as are occasionally brought sight- Authority” “You may,” it had said, “ You seeing under police guidance and protection. must demolish dwellings which, though used Taken generally, the locality affords a prac- as, are unfit for, human habitations”-if this tical illustration of the saying that one half had been the case my district, as it at present of the world does not know how the other exists, would long ere this have been swept half lives. It lies well inland in that half away. Fit for human habitation its dwellings world situated on Poverty's side of the social certainly are not, though they are very much gulf, and the supposed warmth of its social inhabited, overcrowding being the rule in atmosphere causing it to be avoided by them. The houses are small, and in outward strangers, but little is known of the modes of appearance dirty and dilapidated. Within existence prevailing in it, even by the dwellers they are gloomy as well as dirty. There is, on the threshold of “Society's" side of the generally speaking, quite as much rag and gulf. Though the life of the quarter, as a paper as glass in the windows, and in more whole, is by no means so strange, or savage, than one instance or sensational as many good people to whom

“The hole that serves for a casement it is a terra incognita imagine, it is yet suf

Is glazed with an ancient hat." ficiently distinctive and curious to form an Many of the doors show odd or broken panels, interesting, and even a graphic study in soci- and the original paint alike of doors and ology. It is a fairly representative district of window-frames has been altogether overlaid its kind. It is not large, but it is compact by a dispiriting arrangement in various and densely populated, its inhabitants num- shades of weather-stain and worn-in dirt, bering twenty thousand all told. Roughly “picked out” by irregular touches of sunspeaking, it forms an oblong with a series of blister. Such metal "fixings” as scrapers narrow streets running across its length, these and door-handles, knockers, or numbers, have streets being in their turn intersected by a in the majority of instances long gone the network of still narrower slums and alleys. way of the marine stores. The furnishing Longitudinally it is bounded on the one edge of the homes is always upon the scantiest by the fore-shore of the river, and on the possible scale, and in the roughest and most other by the general high-street of the larger rickety style. The walls and timbers of the neighbourhood, of which my ground forms apartments are permeated with a malodorous the " low" quarter. Running parallel with “reek of humanity," not to speak of their these boundaries, and about midway between being permanently colonised by those dothem, is a long and comparatively wide street, mesticated insect tribes that are not usually which, cutting right through the cross streets, named to ears polite. Save in a few rare Las the effect of partitioning off the rookeries cases, even the smallest houses are occupied into two distinct sets, to both of which it by two or more families, and numbers of the serves as a special high-street, its shops and larger--the six-roomed-houses have their methods of trading being adapted to the family per room. This leads to the windows means and tastes of a London slum's popula- of upper stories being a good deal used by tion. The lower rookeries, those bordering way of doors. Even in the winter, opposite on the river, are occupied by irregularly neighbours gossip across the street from them, employed dock-labourers, deal-porters, and and exchange " catches” with loaves, shoes, coalheavers, the unskilled hands of both bundles of firewood, and other the like sexes) employed in chemical works, white- borrowings and lendings. All manner of lead factories, and other such unhealthy or things are “heaved” or hoisted up to them unpleasant trades established on the river from the pavement, and pails of dirty water, banks, watermen fallen upon evil days, and or baskets of ashes, or other household refuse * waterside characters.” The inhabitants of are freely flung down. This latter practice is the upper rookeries constitute a still more mis- not here the danger that it would be in a cellaneous gathering, made up chiefly of odd different locality. It is known to be "a cusjob men, costers, hawkers—licensed and unli- tom of the country” by the natives and such censed--tinkers, sandwich men, shoe-blacks, official foreigners as have recognised business crossing -sweepers, and all other manner there, and it is very rarely indeed that any of street people, a small colony of what others penetrate into the district. Passers-by their neighbours call “ the wild Irish," and a are therefore taken to be generally forewarned, liberal sprinkling of the no-visible-means-of- and are supposed to keep a bright look-out on support class. If the Dwellings Improvement open windows, and to have their ears open Act had not been framed on the how-not-to-do- for the warning cry of “ Below there !" which it is due to the lady denizens of the upper worn piano "jangled out of tune," while the floors to say they are careful to whoop out | audience furnish the vocal “ talent.” Ladies before " letting go" with their slop-pails or and gentlemen who fancy they can sing-and dust-baskets. As passengers, from mere force to judge from their efforts, such a fancy upon of habit, do keep on the alert it is very sel- their parts must in most instances involve dom that any accident occurs. Occasionally great powers of imagination—“oblige the a woman may get a bucket of water ver her company." The company in return drink from a second-floor window, but in most such the “health and song" of each performer, cases this is the result, not of accident, but of and all goes pleasantly, that is to say, profita "plant,” the “doused” and the “ douser” ably for the landlord, however it may be being at enmity, and “ bucketing" being a with his customers. The organ-grinder and favourite method of attack in the feminine the street ballad-singers are welcome visiwarfare of the district. The streets, as I have tants in a rookery district. Curiously enough, said, are narrow, and they are also ill-paved, however, the members of the street-singing badly drained, and over-guttered, for practi- fraternity who are resident in a district, or cally the entire roadways are turned into habitual frequenters of its common lodging. gutters. And in these gutters the children of houses, find themselves, like prophets, with the rookeries may be seen disporting them out honour in their own country. The fact selves at all hours of the day-the School is, the modern wandering minstrel is, as a Board notwithstanding-comparatively happy rule, likely to fare better the farther he in their dirt and freedom. The adult inha- wanders from where he is best known. bitants, also, show out of doors a good deal; The language current in a rookery is full not, of course, tumbling about the gutters, of strange oaths, and so slangy as at times but sitting on the door-steps or window-sills, to be understood but of few not native or lounging or reclining upon the pavement. and to the manner born. The manners preThis is most markedly the case in the summer vailing are a good deal mixed, ranging from months, when the multitudinous insect colo- the abjectly "'umble" to the brutally ferocious. nists of the dwellings are given to show them. The customs are undesirable but curious. selves tormentingly active in the struggle for That as a body the inhabitants of such a existence. Donkeys and goats are quartered locality as we have been describing are a pretty much as members of the families to rough, and in some respects a "fearsome" set which they belong, and the fowls, which are is but over true ; but any aversion that may numerous though not choice, have about as be felt towards them should in justice le free a run of the houses by night as they tempered with pity. That they are as they are have of the streets by day. All sorts of odd is at least as much their misfortune as their and obscure industries are also carried on fault. Their obnoxious characteristics are indoors, so that upon the whole these ram- in a great measure an inevitable result of, to shackle dwellings are very fully and variedly use the phrase of the day, the law of environutilised. The parish dust-cart is rarely seen ment. Their surroundings, material, moral, in the district, but the parish fever and small and social, preclude development in the pox cabs find a good deal of their work graces of life. More literally than most there; so likewise do the parish doctor and others, they are born to trouble as the the relieving officer; while the wife-beatings, sparks fly upwards. Many of them inherit violent assaults, street rows, and public-house physical defects, or sickly constitutions, and scrimmages, for which the quarter is notorious, there can be little doubt that a considerable furnish neighbouring hospitals and police proportion of them are born with the drink courts with some of their most interesting craving, which to them is the root of all evil.

They are uneducated, have been “ dragged Like other and better people, the inha- up," or have had to“ tumble up," without even bitants of a rookery district must have their the help of parental dragging, and they are amusements. Chief among these—especially steeped to the lips in poverty with all its with the younger men and women-are the attendant ills and coarsening effects upon the public-house - Harmonic Meetings.” Ad-human character. Whether or not there is mission to these entertainments is free, the any far-off touch of truth in their own theory, publicans looking for their gain to the extra i vaguely and variously expressed, that they drinking “ for the good of the house,” which are Society's martyrs, certain it is that their in these cases it is found in practice music (?) actual lot in life is a hard one, and on the has charms to promote. Mine host supplies whole they bear it bravely. They are for the the instrumental music, generally a much- most part unconscious philosophers, making the most of any passing good that may be with the poor, they argue, and “ever will be fall them, and as for the rest, going upon the till the world shall end.” But there are those principle that sufficient unto the day is the evil among them who are not without hope that thereof. Generally speaking, they do not there is a good time coming, and we can but look forward to any improvement in the con- trust that this more cheerful view may prove dition of their class. It has always been thus i prophetic. THE RIVERSIDE VISITOR.

cases.

FRAGMENTS OF TEACHING IN EVERSLEY CHURCH.

BY THE LATE CHARLES KINGSLEY.

IV. -DIVES AND LAZARUS.

IT
T has been an open question with some now, when the minds of civilised men are

whether the parable of Dives and Laza- more exercised about the next life and endrus, which we find in the sixteenth chapter of less punishment therein than they have been St. Luke's Gospel, must not be interpreted for several centuries. Vast numbers, not figuratively throughout; whether, like many merely of the most thoughtful and learned, of our Lord's sayings which are popularly but of the most pious and virtuous, are supposed to refer to the next life, it does troubled with honest doubts on the matter. not speak of the fate of the Jewish nation; Their numbers are increasing, and it is not whether the Scribes and Pharisees (the only too much to say that the fate of the Church men whom our Lord ever denounced) are not of England, and of Christianity itself, in these meant by the rich man helped with God's islands may depend mainly on what decision special favour, clothed in purple and fine is arrived at during the next generation or linen, and faring sumptuously every day; and two upon the awsul subject of punishment whether the poor man be not the heathen after death. Christianity, I repeat, may stand diseased with sin, fallen to the likeness of or fall therewith and thereby. brutes, who lay at their doors, longing in vain How important, therefore, should this for teaching

parable be to us, for it is almost the only But there are objections to this interpre- instance in Scripture in which the life after tation, the most serious of which is, that it death is certainly described. Many other would not have been so understood by those well-known texts may not apply to the next who heard it; that they would have natu- life at all : but, I think, this parable must. rally supposed our Lord to speak of an actual It is an open question, for instance, whether rich man, an actual poor one, and their actual the "outer darkness” spoken of does not death and fate. Considering this, it is safer mean that outer darkness of barbarism and to interpret the parable, as the first hearers degradation into which too many nations would have done, to be of two actual men, and have sunk back since our Lord's time. It look reverently and cautiously while our Lord is an open question whether "the worm that deigns to lift the veil off one nook, at least, dieth not, and the fire which is not quenched" of the world beyond the grave, and learn does not reser, like the similar passage in what we can from this parable, as He Isaiah, to Gehenna, the Vale of Hinnom, Himself has spoken it, without inserting beneath the walls of Jerusalem, where everany doctrines or fancies derived from else- lasting fires were kept up to burn the offal where.

of the city, and where the unburied bodies of And let no one suppose from my interpre- great criminals were cast out. tation of this parable that I do not believe that But is the subject of this parable an open sin is punished, and punished terribly—that question? It surely speaks of the next life. we must give an account of the deeds done The poor man died, we read," and was in the body, whether good or evil-that as carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom ; a cup of cold water given in Christ's name and the rich man died likewise, and in hell will in no wise lose its reward, so we shall he lift up his eyes in torment." answer in the day of judgment for every idle If then our Lord condescends for once to word spoken on earth, and that it is better lift off the veil, in part at least, of the unseen to cut off our right hand or pluck out our world, how reverently and how cautiously right eye than let

them lead us into sin. should we look at what He deigns to show us. The subject is especially important just | Reverently and cautiously. And we shall

« ForrigeFortsett »