[blocks in formation]

As past that form we marched, we seemed

To hear in the music's swell : “Old England well hath kept the post,

Keep ye the post as well.

“ Rich is the store she leaves her heir

In mine, in farm, in fold,
But she leaves a treasure richer far

Than corn, or mine, or gold.

“ Proud will she be to see you grow

In wealth by land and main,
But prouder when misfortune's power

Is met and leaves no stain.

“ This Fort that yesterday was ours,

That is your trust to-day, Stands where, while 'Victory' rent the sky,

Wolfe's spirit left its clay.

“Swear that if e'er by fortune's spite

To yonder foe it fall, He shall enter not through the trait'rous gate

But over the ruined wall.

That flag ye bear and we have borne,

On the unconquered rock Gleamed through the gathering mists of death

Upon the eyes of Brock.

“Swear, if again the invader come

Vaunting, as then he came,
Defeat perchance that flag may know,

But never shall know shame."

The halt is called, the guard relieved,

Old England's work is done : As the new warder took his post, A nation's life begun.




[ocr errors]


the wretched lodging to which the poor art

ist had been driven, and would have got MARGUERITE AND HER FATHER.

him fresh commissions had he been able to HRISTIAN Kneller was of German execute them. But nothing could now re

parentage, but he had lived nearly all store Edward Hervey's failing strength; he his life in Paris and, for many years, was

sank rapidly, and died in a few weeks, comwell known there as a rich and enterprising forted by the thought that his wife's last print-seller and publisher. One day a pale days—for she, too, was dying,—would be delicate looking Englishman entered his cared for as his had been, and his child shop and offered some very clever sketches adopted as a daughter by their kind and for sale at a price much below their value. generous benefactor. On enquiry Christian Kneller found that the Before many days Christian Kneller laid stranger was an artist of great, though pecu- Madame Hervey beside her husband. He liar and fantastic, genius who had come to had now to provide a home for the little Paris in the hope that his works might meet one thrown on his protection, and her nurse more appreciation there than they had Monica, a simple, affectionate Norman woreceived in London. Proud, sensitive, shy, man, who had taken care of the child from her he was altogether unfitted to contend with birth, and would have endured any hardship the difficulties which always lie in the way rather than be separated from her darling. of those who have to create the taste to “Oh, be kind to Monica," said Madame which their works appeal. One disappoint- Hervey, the last time she saw Christian ment after another crushed his hopes and Kneller,“ be kind to her, and never part energies and weakened his health. In despair her and the child. She has been a good he gave up the struggle, and was now dying angel to me and mine, and though God will of consumption brought on by anxi- reward her whether man does or not, you ety and privation : compelled at last to whom He has given so many gifts and, to sell the sketches and designs on which he above all, the will to use them nobly, must had built his hopes of fame for whatever let Monica also feel your goodness.” scanty sum the picture-dealers and print-sel- Ah, le bon Dieu ! I want nothing,” exlers chose to give for them, or to see his claimed Monica,“ except to be always near wife and child perish with hunger. Chris- the little one. I would have worked my tian Kneller's interest was excited by this fingers to the bone, before she should have sad story, and still more by the dying painter's known want, but she has found a better faithfulness to his ideal of art in spite of the friend than I could ever be, and all I ask ignis fatuus it had proved to him. He now is leave to stay with her.” bought the sketches at the price they really “Do you think I could be so cruel as to deserved, not that which the artist's necessi- deprive her of her second mother?” said ties had set upon them, and made every Christian Kneller. “Certainly, you shall effort in his power to serve him. He found stay with her and, as far as it rests with me, purchasers for the works lying neglected in you shall never be separated."

So after Madame Hervey's death Chris- cere nature understood and appreciated all tian Kneller sent Monica and her young his good and admirable qualities, and scarcecharge to board at a convent where, for ten ly could a young knight of romance have years, they lived a peaceful and happy life, been better loved by his fair lady than this only varied by visits from their kind bene- homely tradesman, nearly fifty years old, by factor. The lovely child of six had then this beautiful girl of sixteen. grown into a beautiful young woman, and This pure spontaneous love, so freely and the Lady-Superior of the convent had already artlessly given to him, brightened and beaudropped many hints as to the future destiny tified Christian Kneller's whole life which of Mademoiselle Hervey ; at last seriously till now had been, though a prosperous, a assuring Monsieur Kneller that it was time somewhat joyless one. All the tenderness of to provide her with a suitable fiancé, if he his nature which, from want of a fitting obwas determined not to allow her to adopt a ject to draw it forth, had hitherto lain latent, religious life, for which the piety and sweet- was now called out. Now he had found ness of her disposition so well fitted her. some one whom he could make happy, and This last suggestion thoroughly roused and whose sweet and gentle disposition at once frightened Christian Kneller. Though a twined itself round his, insensibly softening Catholic, he was a cool and philosophical and charming away all that was harsh and one, and he would as soon have permitted rugged in his character, till their lives were this young girl to be shut up in a prison as inseparably blended in a union of perfect in a convent. To take her from thence and unbroken harmony. Proud that his before a husband was provided for her young wife was an Englishwoman, and anxiwould, in the Superior's eyes, have been a ous to surround her with the comforts of an heinous offence against the convenances of English home, he bought the house and society ; and where was a husband to whom garden where Maurice Valazé had visited he could fearlessly trust her fate to be found ? him, and furnished it as much as possible in Resolutely putting aside, as he believed, the English fashion. To this house he every consideration but the true welfare of brought her, as fair and as happy a bride as his protégée, and the way in which that could ever entered a good man's dwelling ; here be best secured, after days of anxious she lived for fifteen years a happy wife and thought, he at last—with a degree of hesita- mother ; here she died after a short and tion and uncertainty of manner so different almost painless illness, and with her died all from his usual straight-forward self-posses- the sunshine of Christian Kneller's life. sion as almost terrified Mademoiselle Her- Grief for her loss weakened his mental and vey out of her wits—asked her to be his bodily energies ; he neglected his business, wife. Under the circumstances, he scarcely lost his customers and gradually suffered his expected to meet with a refusal, but his sur- affairs to fall into hopeless confusion. A prise was almost as great as his joy when paralytic stroke, which, for a time, affected he found that to her loving and grateful his intellect brought matters to a crisis. His heart all the happiness of earth seemed com- creditors becoming urgent, two or three of bined in the position he had offered her. his friends undertook to arrange his affairs, Taught by the good Monica to reverence and when all claims on his property had him as the noblest and best of men, full of been satisfied, placed the small remainder in gratitude for his kindness to her parents, and the funds, thus securing him a small yearly the great debt she herself owed him, the income for life. affectionate and enthusiastic girl loved him Contrary to all expectations, he grew betwith a depth and sincerity which could ter, and when he was sufficiently recovered hardly have been greater. Her simple, sin- | to bear the intelligence, his daughter Marguerite, as gently and considerately as possi- At first Christian Kneller proposed that ble told him of his altered circumstances. they should sell their house and garden and The shock was not as great to him as she take a cheap lodging, but to this Marguerite had feared it would be ; for long before his would not consent. She knew how great a illness he had known his impending fate. sacrifice it would be to her father to leave Looking sadly and steadfastly at Marguerite, the home which her mother had so much he put out his left hand, for his right was loved, and where every object was tenderly powerless, and drew her towards him. associated with her memory; and besides,

“ Three years ago," he said, “I had in his state of health, the garden where he health and strength, and my life was full of might daily enjoy the open air, seemed absojoy in the present, and hope for the future; lutely necessary to his existence. She then the one great blessing that brightened thought that by letting the upper apartments all the rest was taken from me : your moth- and selling fruit and vegetables from the er died, and all the zest and flavour of life garden, with his small yearly income to infor me died with her. I wasted my days in sure her father such comforts as he required, selfish grief and idleness; I forgot I had their little household could be provided with children ; and it is only fit that I should pay all that was necessary in the quiet and simthe penalty. Now I am lying here helpless ple mode of life she had planned. Her and poor, to see my children beggared, and father was easily induced to consent that a to be a burden to them instead of their sup- trial should be made, and henceforth this port and protector.”

young girl of seventeen took upon her all " Oh, no, dear father," cried Marguerite, the cares and responsibilities of the family. clinging to him, “ there can be no burden She had an invaluable assistant in the faithwhere there is so much love. If you will ful Monica (whom they always called Mère not grieve we shall be perfectly happy now Monica) and, besides teaching Claire and you are restored to us again. Claire is too waiting on her father, she found time to young to care about being poor, and as for

earn money by copying pictures for a picme, I am almost glad that we are no longer ture-dealer, who was an old friend of her rich, for you know you have often told me father's, and who, though he had not sufficiI was born to be a painter, and now per- ent taste and judgment to appreciate Marhaps I shall fulfil my destiny."

guerite's genius, had the highest admiration "You are a good child, Marguerite, and for her industry, good sense and affectionate a clever girl,” said her father, “but you do devotion to her father. not know what poverty is."

Thus four years passed. Christian Knel“Oh, yes, father, I do," said Marguerite ler's right side was still helpless, but his earnestly. “Mamma has often told me how mind had recovered its strength, and he was her father and mother suffered before they always cheerful and contented. Thanks to knew you,

and she has often taken me to see Marguerite's good management, their means poor people. She said I ought to know were sufficient for all their simple wants about such things that I might learn to pity and nothing disturbed the peaceful tenor of and help those that were in want. Now their existence. But Marguerite never foryou shall see her lessons have not been got her resolve to be a great painter and thrown away upon me.”

by patient study, by earnest thought and "May God bless thee, my child,” said her constant labour, she strove to draw nearer father, tenderly kissing her, “I know not day by day to that haunting ideal which, whose head thou hast got, but I know thou in her waking and sleeping dreams, seemed hast thy mother's heart.”

ever beckoning her towards its shining goal.

« ForrigeFortsett »