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But with my larger experience den, but with an unmistakable and knowledge of his sex, I am look of anguish in her poor inclined to doubt it, and attrib- harassed
eyes, of a blue ute his vindictiveness to dull and troubled as her commere masculine hatred of ugli- plexion; and a certain twitchness in woman rather than to ing of her thin tight lips was the teacher's legitimate wrath. eloquent enough of her unproHardly a Tuesday went by but voked hurt. he sent the inoffensive, great, Mr Parker, with his simpering meek creature into floods of disgusted air of ill-natured little tears; and while she wept and dandy, flourished a perfumed sobbed, looking less lovely than handkerchief about his face, to ever in her sorrow, he would sustain his affronted nerves, no snarl and snicker at her, imi- doubt, placed an arm gingerly tate her jeeringly, and cast about the flat square waist, obloquy on her unshapely feet. clasped her outer hand in evi
“A ploughboy would be dis- dent revulsion, and began to graced by such feet as Miss scamper and drag her round the Twycross's,” he would hiss
hiss room in the steps of a wild at her, and then rap schotische. Most of us tittered them wickedly with his bow. -could we be expected to mea
The art of dancing, Mr Parker sure the misery of the girl, proved to us, is insufficient to while nature made us excruciatmake a gentleman of its adept. ingly alive to the absurdity of Once his unsleeping fury against her tormentor? the unhappy girl carried him to As a girl myself I have often singular lengths. He bade us laughed in recalling the inciall be seated, and then, with dent; but I own that the brute his customary inflated and fool- should have been kicked out of ish air, began to address us the establishment for such an upon the power of art. With object-lesson in the art of comart you can achieve anything, municating grace. As for his you can even lend grace to the boasted achievement, even ungraceful.
babies could perfectly under“I will now choose from your stand that there was not much ranks the most awkward, the to choose between his jerky most pitiable and clumsy of her waxwork steps and the heavy sex. The young lady unassisted stamp of his partner. She at cannot dance a single step; but least was true to nature and such is my consummate skill, so moved as she looked, an honest finished is my art, that I shall cow - like creature, whom you actually succeed in bestowing were at liberty not to admire, some of my own grace as but who offered you no reason dancer upon her. Advance, to despise her. While he, her Miss Twycross.
vindictive enemy, I leave you to picture the sen- natural little body, sheathing a sations of the unfortunate so base, affected, silly little soul, addressed and so described. She fiddling and scraping away his advanced slowly, square and sod- days which were neither digni
fied nor manly, he offered him- harlequin of the pantomime. self to the unlimited contempt We imitated him together; we of even such microscopic human- played at him, as we played at ity as ours. We felt he was not soldiers or fairies or social entera man with the large capacity tainment. Had we learnt that of manhood, but a disgraced and he was dead or ill, or driven to laughable thing, a puppet mov the poorhouse, it would have ing upon springs and speak- been just as if we had heard ing artificially, manufactured as such news of harlequin, or heard dolls are, for the delectation of that Peeping Tom had fallen little folk.
from his window and smashed We enjoyed Mr Parker, but his head. Mr Parker was not we never regarded him as more a person at the Ivies; he was a human than the clown or the capital joke.
The succeeding years in Lys- table, the cold ham, the bacon terby are blurred. Here and and eggs at breakfast, the bread there I recall a vivid episode, and marmalade, all served on a an abiding impression. Papa spotless table-cloth, and outside came over with one of my elder the smell of the roses and honeysisters. They arrived at night, suckle, and the exciting rumble and I, half asleep, was dressed of flies up and down the narrow hurriedly and taken down to street ! I was so happy that the parlour. A big warm wave I quite forgot my woes, and did of delight overwhelmed me as not remember to complain of my stepfather caught me in his my enemies. There was so much arms and whisked me up above to eat, to see, to think of, to his fair head. It was heaven feel, to say! I not only wanted to meet his affectionate blue to know all about everybody at eyes dancing so blithely to the home, but I wanted to see and joy of my own. Seated
upon understand all about me. his shoulder, I touched a mole In the Abbey we saw Vanon his broad forehead, and dyke's melancholy Charles, and cried, as if I had made a dis- it was a rare satisfaction for covery
me to be able to tell how he “You've got the same little had been beheaded. At the ball on your forehead, papa, great Castle we saw Queen that you had when you used to Elizabeth's bed with the jewelcome down to Kildare."
wrought quilt, and my romantic Bidding me good-night, he elder sister, fresh from readpromised to come for me early ing The Last of the Barons,' next day, and told me I should passionately kissed the Kingsleep in the Craven Arms, and maker's armour. She told us spend two whole days driving the thrilling tale as we sat in about the country with him. the famous cedar avenue, when How comforting the well-filled the earl's daughter, all sum
VOL. CLXV.—NO. DCCCCXCIX.
mery in white muslin and Polish countess Napoleon loved ? Leghorn hat, passed us with And those letters from Egypt her governess, and although she to Josephine, and Josephine's was a fresh slip of a girl just shawls and flowers, and the like my sister, because of her ghost-stories of Malmaison, and
we felt that a living the last adieu the night before breath of history had brushed the divorce. Hard would it be
She was not for us to say whom I most loved and insignificant girl of our own deeply pitied, the unadmirable century, but something belong- Josephineor the admirable queen ing to the King-maker, a breath- of Prussia. My sister read aloud, ing memory of the Wars of the as we sat up in bed together, I Roses, the sort of creature the holding the candle, and gazing dreadful Richard might have in awe and delight, wet-eyed, at wooed in his hideous youth. the coarse engravings.
And then at night, in the old Other sisters came in quick inn, we discovered two big illus- succession, but they remained trated volumes about Josephine strangers to me. They fawned and Napoleon. I had not got on Sister Esmeralda, whom I so far in history as Napoleon, hated: they were older and and here was an unexplored wiser than I; they aspired to world, whose fairy was my the ribbon of the Chiīdren of voluble and imaginative sister. Mary, and walked submisWith a touch of her wand she sively with the authorities of unrolled before my enthralled Church and State. They played vision scenes of the French Re “Il Baccio” on the piano, and volution and the passionate loves a mysterious duet called the of Bonaparte and the young “Duet in D.” The only sister I Viscountess de Beauharnais. I remember of those days as an inwish every child I know two dividual was Pauline, who had such nights as I passed, listen- opened to me a world of treasing to this evocative creature At school, she naturally revive so vividly one of the forsook me for girls of her own intensest and most_dramatic ' age; but on play-days, when hours of history.
Thanks to we were free to do as we liked her eloquence, to her genius, all day, she sometimes condeNapoleon, vile monster, became scended to recall my existence, one of my gods. I think the and told me with an extraordithrilling tale she read me was nary vivacity of recital the by Miss Mulock. Impossible stories of East Lynne,' The now to recall the incidents that Black Dwarf,' “Rob Roy,' and sufficed to turn succeeding weeks 'Kenilworth.' into an exquisite dream. Who, But for the rest she was a for instance, was the beauteous great and glorious creature who creature in amber and purple dwelt aloft, and possessed the velvet, with glittering diamonds, golden key of the chambers of that usurped such a fantastic fiction. My immediate friend place in the vague aspirations was Polly Evans, whose mamof those days? And the lovely ma once took me to tea in an
old farmhouse along the Kenil- ceremony, each with a white worth road.
rosette in his button-hole. None There were strawberries and of us took the rite very seriously. cream on the table; and de- We found it droll to be tapped licious little balls of butter in on the cheek by a white episcoblue-and-white dishes, and ra pal hand and told that we were dishes, which I had never before soldiers, and we watched the eaten; and the air was dense boys to see if their bearing were with the smell of the flowers on more martial than ours. They table, sideboard, mantel - piece, seemed equally preoccupied with and brackets. Polly and I, with us, and looked as if they felt her brother Leonard, played all themselves fools, awkward and the long afternoon in the hay- shamefaced. They stared hard field, drunk with the odour, the at our noble youth, Frank, in sunny stillness, the hum of the his eternal skirts—his curls had bees — drunk, above all, with recently been clipped — and this transient bliss of freedom nudged and giggled. Much of and high living
a soldier looked Frank! Heaven Another time Mrs Evans took help the religion of Christ or me with Polly and Leonard to the Constitution if either reKenilworth Castle, where we posed faith in his prowess ! dined among the ruins on ham, Whither has he drifted, and cold chicken, fruit, and lemon- what has life made of the meanade. Yet she herself is no re est little rascal I ever knew ? membered personality : I cannot Has he learnt to tell the truth recall a single feature of hers, at least? Has some public and even Polly herself is less school licked him into shape, clear in memory than Mary and kicked the cowardice and Jane of Kildare, than the ab- spitefulness out of him? When ominable Frank.
I became acquainted with Years after, in womanhood, Barnes Newcome afterwards, I Polly and her brother visited always thought of that boy Ireland as tourists, and having Frank. “Sister So-and-so, that all that time treasured my par- nasty Angela is teasing me.” ents' address, called to see me. “ Mother This, I can't eat my But I was abroad, a hopeless bread-and-milk; that horrid wanderer. Leonard, I learnt, Angela has put salt into it.” was quite a fine young fellow, And then, when no one with a romantic attachment to looking, and a child weaker me. Polly was sprightly and than himself was at hand, what pretty, it seems, engaged too.sly pinches, and kicks, and But I never saw them again. vicious tugs at her hair. Noble
An eminent bishop came to youth, future pillar of the Britconfirm us, and we were taken ish empire, I picture you an addown to town church, where, to mirable hypocrite and bully! our infinite amusement, we oc I wonder why the bishop cupied several rows of benches singled me out of all that small opposite a boys' school, also crowd for a stupendous honour. brought hither for the same He had asked my name, and
after a luxurious lunch with a took it from the plate, and few privileged mothers in the placed it in my willing grasp. convent, he requested somebody "A fine and most promising to fetch me. The nuns did not little face," I distinctly heard fail to impress the full measure him say to the superioress. “But of this honour upon me, and be careful of her. A difficult when I came into the refectory, and dangerous temperament. where the bishop was enthroned All nerves and active brain, like a prince, I caught a re- and a fearful suffering little assuring beam from my dear heart within. . Manage her, friend, Mother Aloysius ! manage her. I tell you there's
The bishop pushed back his the stuff of a great saint or a chair and held out both arms to great sinner here, if she should
I was a singularly pretty see twenty-one, which I doubt." child, I know. My enemy, Sister Alas! I have passed twentyEsmeralda, had even said that one years and years ago, with I was like an angel with the difficulty, it is true, with ever heart of a fiend. A delicate, the haunting shadow of death proud, and serious little visage, about me, and time has revealed with the finish, the fairness, the me neither the saint nor the transparency of a golden-haired sinner, just a creature of ordidoll, meant to take the prize in nary frailty and our common an exhibition. But this would level of virtue. If I have not hardly explain the extraor- exactly gone to perdition-an dinary distinction conferred on uncheerful proceeding my sense me by a man who has passed of humour would always guard into history,—a grave and noble me from—I have not scaled the nature, with as many cares as heights. I have lived my life, a Prime Minister, a man who by no means as well as I had saw men and women in daily hoped in the days we are privibattalions, and to whom à leged to hope and to dream, strange little girl of nine he not as loftily, neither with dishad never spoken to, could tinction nor success; but I have scarcely seem a more serious not accomplished any particular creature in life than a rabbit or villany, or scandal, or crime that a squirrel.
would justify my claiming an He had a kind and thought- important place in the rank of ful face, deeply lined and strik- sinners. I have had a good ing. I liked his smile at once, deal more innocent fun, and and went up to him without known a great deal more sufany feeling of shyness.
fering, than fall to the common He lifted me on to his knee, lot; and I have enjoyed the fun kissed my forehead, and looked with all the intensity of the steadily and long into my steady mercurial Irish temperament, eyes. Then he kissed me again, and endured the other with and called for a big slice of what I think I may proudly plum-cake, which Mother Aloy- call the courage of my race. I sius, smiling delightedly at me, have not injured or cheated a was quick to hand him. He human being, though I have