health resorts, both Madeira and the Canary Islands have, I think, a great future before them as places of rest where overworked professional men, jaded politicians, and persons suffering from nervous breakdown can recruit their wasted energy. As a playground the Canaries leave little to be desired. Excursions adapted to every organisation can be comfortably made. Excellent Andalusian horses are to be had; and here and there, there is soft ground where healthy persons may enjoy a good canter. There is also a small breed of native horses admirably adapted for climbing up the bridle roads. Comfortable carriages are also to be found both at Orotava and Santa Cruz. Of the restorative power of Tenerife I can speak from experience. I arrived there completely broken down by a winter of unusually hard work, and at the end of a fortnight I was in perfect health.

For invalids the best time to go to the Canaries is about the middle, or, better still, towards the end of October. English people arriving before that time are apt to find the climate oppressive. They can remain at Orotava till June, or if they go first to La Villa and afterwards to Laguna the whole year can be spent most comfortably (as far as climate is concerned) in the island. For those merely suffering from exhaustion or over-tension of the nervous system, I think the spring is the best time. A trip to the Canaries makes an admirable Easter holiday; there are Guanche mummies and undecipherable inscriptions for antiquaries, quaint rites and ceremonies for the curious, and air and sunlight, sea and mountain for everybody.

In conclusion, a word or two may be said on the general subject of climate with reference to its influence on disease. It is a great mistake for a patient to think that he can go to a place which has the reputation of being beneficial to his complaint, and simply absorb health from the atmosphere without any effort on his own part. As Sir James Clark said many years ago, ' The air, or climate, is often regarded by the patient as possessing some specific quality, by virtue of which it directly cures his disease. This erroneous view of the matter not unfrequently proves the bane of the invalid by leading him, in the fulness of his confidence in climate, to neglect other circumstances as essential to his recovery as that in which all his hopes are fixed.' Climate in fact only helps those who help themselves. A visit to a health resort must not be looked upon as an excuse for neglecting necessary precautions or relaxing salutary rules, but rather as an occasion for still more careful living. Not the least beneficial part of the climatic treatment is the enforced freedom from social temptations which at home would lead to imprudent exposure, excitement, and fatigue. Climate in fact cannot cure any disease; it only removes one of the exciting causes of the mischief, and so far leaves Nature a fair field for the exercise of her healing influence.



• THERE! I have much respect for you, Monsieur le Pasteur, too much respect to attempt to deceive you. I will make no pretence, but you have heard my last word on this subject, and, I pray you, do not touch upon it again. I shall resent it as an intrusion. I promised her to continue family prayers night and morning, and I mean to keep that promise. I shall read one of the lessons every day till I dieI shall, you may rely upon it. But I've done with what you call the Lord's Prayer, which we used to call the Pater Noster. I'll have no more of that. I've lost my Nancy, the only good woman—a real good woman I ever knew. That boy's snooks killed her—broke her heart.' The deep voice trembled and stopped, and the quivering face turned away from my gaze. “Yes! that boy killed her, and I never want to forgive him. I wouldn't if I could. Forgiving him his trespasses ! I tell you I'm not capable of it, and I am no more for trying. If you will come and look in as usual - He shuddered and stopped again; then he humbly held out his vast hand, grasped mine, and bowed his head in silence. Only no more of that Lord's Prayer—that must be the bargain!'

I did not know Mr. Dandelow, when he spoke those words, quite so intimately as I got to know him afterwards; we had during the last six weeks been drawn together rather closely by the illness of his wife, who, less than sixty years of age, had suddenly broken down,' as we say, with no symptom of disease—no symptom, in fact, of anything but senile decay. She had faded and whimpered out of life, and she had just been laid in her grave. I had a great admiration for Mr. Dandelow. He stood at least six feet two inches high, and, though as upright as a bulrush, he must have been at one time much taller—for he was now nearly eighty years old. There was a mystery about the man. No one could doubt that there were generations of gentle blood in his veins. Every now and then he startled you by his delicacy of feeling or by an outburst of wrath against meanness and vulgar baseness. And yet he certainly had passed his life for the most part among horse-dealers and grooms. Nay! I found out at last that there had been a period—I do not think it had lasted long —when he had baunted gipsy encampments, racecourses, and prizefights. He expressed himself well in English, yet he now and then dropped into decided provincialisms; and when he did so he seemed to enjoy the fun and to be drawing upon his memory—a memory which was fetching back words and phrases from a distant past—a past for which he could not always conceal his dread.

He had lived for nearly fifty years in some situation on the Continent, and was a perfect Frenchman at times when he was surprised into forgetfulness of the English personality which he tenaciously clung to after his return to his native country. I first made his acquaintance under somewhat comical circumstances. A beautiful little pony-he never could help dealing in horsefleshwhich he had turned out for a run in a small paddock in front of his house, was showing a decided reluctance to return to the stable, or to be captured by Sam-Mr. Dandelow's boy'—though aided by the lure of a sieveful of tempting oats. The beautiful creature galloped round the field-stood, stared, snorted—looked with bright eyes and ears erect, as if mocking master and man-trotted off again, lifting up his feet as if he were defying the world to produce such action among all the studs that ever were; then he would let Sam approach within a yard of him, playing at being weary and submissive, and was off again like the wind. Mr. Dandelow, leaning over the gate, was, as he would have said, ravished' with delight at the beauty of his favourite. But after a while he manifestly was growing impatient. I was standing some twenty yards from him, watching the game from the roadside, and interested in seeing how it would end. Mr. Dandelow's voice grew louder-he went on to call Sam a fool-he shouted to him in wrath. At last, provoked by some awkwardness of the human or some waywardness of the equine animal, he burst out in tones of thunder : Sac-c-r-r-r-rée bête ! peste de gr-r-r-igou - -- !' and one or two other choice expletives with whose meaning I was not acquainted, but which I guessed to be more forcible than pious. I don't know what possessed me; but, walking leisurely down to the gate, I leant over it, still watching the game. Mr. Dandelow, his brow darkening as he watched Sam and the pony, took no more notice of me than if I had been the gatepost. Just then Sam caught hold of the pony's forelock, but the little creature was too quick for his antagonist, and sent him sprawling on the ground, sieve and all. Before Dandelow could speak, I shouted out as loud as I could bawl, “ Sabr-r-r-re de bois ! Pisto-let de paille ! Gr-r-r-r-renadier de papier !' Mr. Dandelow was betrayed into a look of surprise ; for three seconds he stared full at me as if he were trying to make me out. Then he took off his hat in the most ceremonious Paris fashion and made me a profound bow. "Tiens ! C'est Monsieur le Pasteur !' I lifted my hat and bowed low. We became friends from that hour.


I never read a novel of Mr. Besant's—and what wise man misses reading one of Mr. Besant's novels whenever he has a ehance ?-never without thinking and sometimes saying to myself, 'If I had but this writer's gift of romance, or could acquire the skill he has in the art of fiction, I could really make a sensation by working up into a story the incidents in Mr. Dandelow's life that have come to my knowledge.' Alas! I have none of that sort of imagination and delineative ability which Mr. Oscar Wilde seems to regard as amongst the highest of all gifts--the gift of lying. Whenever I have feebly tried my hand at writing a story, I find that my readers invariably declare that it is all as true as the evidence in a blue book, and it is only when I tell a plain unvarnished tale, every detail of which is true to the letter, that the critics shake their pens and say, This man is really presuming too far upon the credulity of the public.' This morning, as I sit down to put on record some episodes in the career of Mr. Dandelow, I do so with hesitation and reluctance. I only do so at all because I have been strongly urged to write the curious narrative.


Mr. Dandelow had a mother-most men have. She had lived in the house she occupied for nearly seventy years when her summons

She had survived all who knew her story, whatever it was. There were vague rumours among the older people of how, as a mere girl, she had taken possession of the house, 'the winter after Admiral Nelson got shot aboard ship-you mind,' said one. "Why, Jack!' says another warmly, that warn't winter at all! That were May month, I gnaw't. I was a little 'un, and I was set a-crowkeeping for Farmer Dawson, and the foxhounds they come acrost by yon medder, and there was a fox with a cub in her mouth a'most finished, and Farmer Dawson he holloa'd to the huntsmen and he says, “Yow ain't a-going to seethe a kid in its mother's milk, are ye?” says he—for he was that strong in scriptur' you could never find him w'rout it. “What do ye mean, ye old saint ? ” says th' huntsman. “What do I mean ? ” says old Dawson, “I mean that's a shamethat's what I mean, to go and hunt a poor wixen wi' a cub in her mouth." So they whipt off, and as I came by there was Mrs. Dandelow standing by the winder. She lookt as wild as a witch, and her two fists was doubled that tight they looked like wood, and she was white as death, and blest if I didn't think as she'd ha' flown at 'em all. I was on'y a little 'un, as you may say, but I was that scared that I warn't likely to forget that. I tell you that was May month. That warn't winter!'

For five or six years she lived there with her boy. The tradition is, she never spoke to any one. She kept a maid-servant, a brawny female of forbidding aspect, and a man who did' the garden and managed the paddock after a certain rule of his own. One year he took in stock to feed off the grass, and the next year he put it up for hay, and sold it for money down, before a scythe was allowed to be swung. The hay crop, it is said, made enough to pay for two years' straw, and as long as the straw lasted, he kept pigs for the sake of the manure. The maid-servant used to be the joke of the neighbourhood. She had a fierce hatred of half the human race, for to a man she could never be civil. Her mistress she worshipped, as an awful goddess, with fear and reverential wonder. She told no tales. The people only remember her by the name of Towzer. The man was as sullen and morose as man could be. He hated the people-he hated the place. He was afflicted with a bad impediment of speech, and he never could bring out his words except when he was in a passion, and then he swore with fluency. On Sunday morning Mrs. Dandelow marched off to church, nearly a mile off, as regular as the parson. She had a pew to herself. She brought with her a large prayer-book bound in scarlet morocco. They say that at church, and going and coming, she never uttered a sound, and never lifted her eyes from the ground. One day she disappeared, taking Towzer and her boy with her, leaving old Blub to garrison the fortress.

Blub somehow found himself married one day to a widow whose children were off her hands. Fourteen years went by. Mrs. Blub died. Mrs. Dandelow and Towzer returned, and the old life went on exactly as before, except that there was no 'young master Jack.' What had become of him ? That no one knew he was never heard of. There were strange rumours : he had grown up a giant; had been too free with his money; had, as a boy, thrown George Borrow easily in a wrestling match; had stood up against Thurtell like a young lion, and denounced him as a cheat on Newmarket Heath, though fifty ruffians were round him, snarling, threatening, blaspheming; had lost his heart wholly, absolutely, irrecoverably; had been set upon by three big gipsies one night; had literally broken the neck of one of them by clutching the fellow's chin in those terrible hands, and bending his head back till the spine crackt;' finally, that there had been a warrant out against him.

Forty-ay, and nearly fifty years went by. Many Blubs came and vanished—they all came from the shires, up-country somewheres She'd never have none from these parts. There was a Frenchy came once, but he didn't stay long—he talked too much.' Towzer grew old and rheumatic; she had a girl to train and to help her—a bright, intelligent, saucy lass, who, as the years went by, grew to be a very serviceable young woman, and adored her mistress with immeasurably more tenderness and demonstrative affection than old Towzer had ever condescended to exhibit. Then Towzer died. By this time the railroad had invaded us, and a prim and precise old gentleman, with a shirt frill, came down from t'other side London,' and carried off

« ForrigeFortsett »