English Serfdom and American Slavery (XHTML)
OURSELVES—AS OTHERS SEE US.
BY LUCIEN B. CHASE,
" THE HISTORY OF THE POLK ADMINISTRATION."
"The celebrated saying of Sir Richard Fletcher, uttered more than two hundred years ago, 'Let me write the ballads for a people, and I care not who make the laws,' might-be transposed by saying—Let me write fictions for a people, and I care not who make the speeches."—national intelligencer.
"Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy."—shakespear.
H. LONG & BROTHER
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-four, by LUCIEN B. CHASE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.
ARISTOCRATIC LADIES OF GREAT BRITAIN
IS DEDICATED THIS WORK,
Wherein the author portrays the graceful equanimity with which they
regard the horrible condition of the substratum of English society.
Credit is also very properly given them for discovering fascinations
in the sooty progeny of Ham—that excellent gentleman, and
especial favorite of the Almighty—which may vainly be
looked for in their own vulgar race: fascinations
that have aroused the admiration of England's
too susceptible Dames, and awakened the
slumbering goodness of her benevolent
politicians, to such a painful degree,
that they are disqualified for a
performance of those charit-
able obligations, which
are imposed upon them, to ameliorate the condition of .
The world is indebted to the philanthropic ladies and gentlemen, who frequent Almacks, and lead London fashion, for several remarkable improvements upon the example set by the Redeemer. Their sensibilities are so much affected by the presence of suffering, that they take especial care to avoid it. At the same time they discreetly compromise with conscience by an ostentatious bestowal of alms upon distant, and, therefore, more worthy objects.
Our Saviour did not avail himself of an expedient which commends itself to persons of less goodness, but greater tact. With him, charity began at home;with them, a commencement there, would preclude the hope of its ever reaching far enough to swell into notoriety; especially where it has so many objects to relieve, as can be found upon every square acre of the British empire. And hence, the folly of making the attempt. Again, Jesus taught humility. Now humility sits very uncomfortably upon a proud man, or woman either, and hence, it is much more agreeable for them to asseverate their own purity, and the sinfulness of the "rest of mankind." They have made a decided improvement upon the teachings of the Saviour, in this regard; for they graciously condescend to point out, and with commendable precision, wherein other nations, and especially the slavery-loving people of the United States, are far less holy than they are. The Redeemer was celebrated for modesty as well as meekness; both of which traits were, perhaps, eminently suited to his time, and to his
divine character. The English nobility, however, have effected changes, in this particular, no less striking than appropriate. He rode into Jerusalem, on a certain occasion, upon the back of an animal, whose venerable appearance cannot fail to win our respect, while the distinguished services rendered by his ancestors, of which mention is made in suitable and flattering terms, by history, sacred as well as profane, places him in the very front rank of four-footed animals. But now, Timothy, Lord Snizzle, and Sir Pertinax McFlummux, would ride their own legs from London to Newcastle, rather than be seen mounted upon a respectable donkey, in the centre of Hyde Park.
There is this striking reason for modification of the crude morality of the Son of God. He was born in a manger, a place that would, of course, preclude him from establishing rules for the government of those who consider poverty highly reprehensible. His circumstances or his inclinations were such, that he neither rejoiced in purple and fine linen, or indulged in the pleasures of the table. There is a marked contrast between his humble career and the dashing life of the English nobility. There is a manifold propriety in the free indulgence by the latter in extravagance and folly, else how could they create a sensation, not having a sufficient amount of brains wherewithal to do so. Their only chance of winning celebrity, is by expending with liberal hands the money which is moistened by the tears of the poor—tears that are entitled to no sympathy, from the aristocracy, because they do not shed them!
But seriously—no thoughtful mind can fail to observe, the zeal with which the nobility and politicians of England seek to withdraw public condemnation from their own political and social organization, by concentrating it upon the peculiar institution of the southern states.
Leaving the tyranny unrebuked, which has debased the spirit, and broken the constitutions of their lower classes, they assail the Americans with a vindictiveness which is only equalled by its unblushing effrontery. Overlooking the ab-
solute control of the Czar of Russia over life and death, through the terrible agency of the halter, the knout, and the snows of Siberia, they launch their curses against those who are allied to them by the bonds of a communism of language, of interest, and of blood.
What is the motive for this energetic and persevering crusade against a people who, so far from having wronged them, are furnishing cotton for their manufactories, employment for their laborers, food for their starving population, and homes for those who are driven by famine from their native land?
Recognizing with apparent sincerity the existence of those ties which trade and commerce would rivet more closely every succeeding year but for an impertinent interference in the domestic affairs of the great republic, why is it that they assail their transatlantic brethren with the combined power of money and abuse?
The motive is indubitable. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose from the example of Russia, and everything to lose and nothing to gain from the example of the United States. The principles upon which the constitution of the model republic is based, are not confined to the western continent. They are wielding a silent but irresistible influence upon the masses of the old world, who are awakening to the grand idea that absolute power is vested in the people alone. To save their rotten institutions from crumbling beneath the tread of the Goddess of Liberty, her great exemplar must be destroyed.
Therefore, they leave their own hemisphere to labor beneath a load of oppression which cries aloud for vengeance, while they cross the ocean in search of objects upon whom they can expend their sympathies, and shed the tears of commiseration. Abolition agents are sent forth, money is expended, the press of London groans under the weight of misrepresentation and calumny, and the pulpit and the forum swarm with Pharisees, who thank God because they are not like other men. To cap the climax of absurdity, the most
illustrious of England's Aristocracy, and the favorite of her Queen, indulges herself in the agreeable pastime of chaperoning a negress!
The patience of a long-suffering people is exhausted. There is a point beyond which detraction cannot go unrebuked. There is a period of time when the assailed will turn upon their foes. That point of time is the present, and by the powerful aid of facts, the author has, in the following pages, exposed the monstrous iniquities which are hourly perpetrated by the slavery-hating government and aristocracy of Great Britain; and with the trenchant blade of truth has assailed cant and hypocrisy, where they seek to entrench themselves behind Pharisaical protestations, a false religion, and a disreputable philanthropy.
New York, January, 1854.
ENGLISH SERFDOM AND AMERICAN SLAVERY.
"Behind the master walks, builds up the shocks."—thomson.
The threatening cloud that had been gathering its forces in the west, urged the already wearied laborers to renewed exertions. Shocks of wheat thickly studded the field, but there yet remained upon the earth long rows of gavels ready to be bound into sheaves. The young farmer cast frequent and anxious glances to the dark mass that rose like a moving wall, and then, by his voice and example, stimulated his companion to increased activity. But the relentless storm heeded not his imploring countenance. It hurtled onward, and vivid flashes of lightning gleamed along the base of the cloud and darted into the blue ether above, followed by quick, sharp peals of thunder that increased in violence as they rolled away until the last report shook the earth. Turning his eyes upward to the summit of the cloud, his vision ranged along the broad belt of whirling vapor, until it rested at the point where the dark mass swept along the ground. There his gaze was riveted, and a look of awe overspread his features. Through the mist that partly shaded the body of the cloud, he saw that the storm was raging furiously. Here and there a tree was twisted off, and the roof of a cottage upon a neighboring hill was carried away. He looked toward his own humble dwelling—the chimney was thrown down. Folding his arms, while his teeth set in despair, he saw the advance guard of the storm sweep up the ascent, heralded by large drops of rain. As it reached the wheat-field, it made a swoop, and those shocks that had been reared with so much labor were scattered over the earth. The next moment the rain descended in torrents.
"Begorra! Misther Christie, thaive lift divil of a shock standin' at all at all."
Christie Kane turned gloomily away, and without seeking shelter from the storm, walked slowly out of the field.
"No wonder the lad takes it to heart, for we've tried hard enough to dry this batch of whate, and now, be me sowl, we must be afther spreadin' it all oot again. Never mind, we poor divils have only got to work all the time; that's some cormfort ony how. So here goes for a dry skin, and a thatch that don't lake."
Saying which, Phelim Savor rapidly proceeded towards the house, dividing his thoughts between the rain that beat through his tattered hat, and the song that had pleased him so much at the last
wake, short snatches of which burst from his lips between the peals of thunder.
"Be the holy St. Pathrick but the rain, bad luck to it, finds siveral crivices in this coat. Never mind, if it lakes now, it is airy in dry weather, that's some satisfaction, ony how.
First she sighed,
To be his bride.'
"Niver a dry rag will Phalim Savor have upon his back in the matter of ten minutes."
First she sighed,
"Arrah! that's the way wid the darlints :—
To be his bride.'
"Whoop, wan't that a smasher! The fayther of the blacksmit' fraternity is forgin' some big thunder to-day, onyhow—
"Suzy Gowrie, what dul ye think of this," said Phelim, as he entered the house.
"It's a braw storm, ee'n for the heelands. But where is Mr. Christie?"
"He's offinded bekase the wind blowed over the whate."
"It did not show mickle care in its course, sure enough."
"Nivir mind complainin', Suzy. It's the duty of the lab'rer to work all the time. Don't the praists tell us that we must be satisfied wid our condition, and if the nobility hiv it all their own way in this world, that, perhaps, we shall be as happy as thim in the nixt?"
"I doan't think it right for half of the human family to work for the other half; and you know I doan't."
"Be azy now, Miss Gowrie darlint, don't git on that subject untwil you have something for me to ate. That's a jewell of a gal; cold praties and bread. Now, let me rayson the matter wid you. Do you suppose the nobility and gintry would like to come out of their iligant houses, into the hot fields and bind up the shafes of whate?"
" Hoot! what a question!"
"Well, of coorse you will say no. An' why should they? Wouldn't the sun scorch their white skin? and wouldn't the rough grain, and the thristles, too, hurt their dilicate hands? Isn't it azier for us, who are accustomed to such hardships, to labor for thim, than for such gintlefolks to work for thimselves? Come now, Suzy, ba ginerous, an' admit it."
"And because we have been their slaves, shall we always be so? Oin't we all flesh and blood? If we receive a blow, do we not feel? If we are cut, do we not bleed? If we are hungry, do we
not want food? If we cease to breathe, do we not die? Hoot mon, you deserve to be a slave!"
And Susan Gowrie proceeded about her work with great, impetuosity.
"There you go now, Suzy, there's no rayson in a faymale, onyhow. Now see here, Suzy, suppose you was Ellen Knowles, would it ba the likes of yez that would be plazed to scrub the kitchen, and stan' all day fernenst the fire?"
Susan Gowrie deigned no other reply save the indignation that flashed from her eyes.
"Havn't they been towld from their hinfancy that they hiv a dervine right to our services; that we are to work while they are not to do a haperth, and when they hiv such expectations, shall we ba afther baing so mane as to chate thim out of their blissed rights?"
The blue veins were swollen upon Susan's forehead, and she replied with great energy.
"An' we, every mother's chiel of us, must suffer hunger, disease, and death, to gratify the lazy aristocracy! We must toil and sweat from morning till night to minister to their whims. We must broil over the fire, or beneath the scorching sun, while they roll in their carriages, or recline upon their couches! Phelim Savor, you are a fool!"
A merry twinkle appeared in Phelim's eyes, during the nervous retort of the girl, but the reply that rose to his lips was checked by the entrance of Christie Kane, whose dripping garments bore evidence of the severity of the storm. Passing through the kitchen, he entered the humble sitting-room, and throwing himself into a chair, reclined his head upon his hand.
"In the dumps again, are ye?" exclaimed the harsh voice of a female.
The young man remained silent.
"Christie Kane! am I always to see you gloomy and discontented? Ever to look upon a frowning brow, and hear nothing but complaints?'' continued the woman, querulously.
Still he deigned no reply.
"Come, come, Christie," she said more kindly; "do not look so disconsolate; your cousin Ellen is in the other room."
A momentary smile crossed the features of the young man, and then they assumed once more an expression of deep gloom.
"Mother, my patience is entirely exhausted."
"Pooh! child; compare your situation with that of your neighbors : is it not far better? "
"No! look at the condition of the upper classes, from the Duke of Sunderland to Sir William Belthoven: what occupation have they but to spend—often in wanton extravagance—the money which is earned by toil and suffering? "
"Yes, but see how many there are who are not so fortunate as ourselves. Look at the poor families in our parish. They can hardly obtain sufficient food to keep them from starvation."
"Aye, that is the result of the accursed political system which is grinding the lower classes—the substratum—into the dust."
"What would you do?"
" Do! I would equalize the condition of the people; educate and elevate the masses; abolish the hunting-grounds and parks of the nobility, and surrender them to the plough; reduce the salaries of corrupt public officers; curtail the benefices of avaricious clergy; and abolish the standing army by rendering its existence unnecessary, when the government is sustained by the affection of the nation. Do? I would apply the knife of reform to the social regulations and laws of England!"
The door was opened, and a girl glided into the room. She had numbered eighteen years, and her form was round and well-developed. Her eyes were blue, and of a strange expression. While the glance of Christie Kane was directed towards her they were demurely turned to the floor, but no sooner was his look withdrawn, than a cunning look gleamed from the sidelong glances of her eyes.
The features of the young man softened as she seated herself in the chair just vacated by Mrs. Kane.
"Ellen, it was kind of you to come over when the sky looked so threatening. I am glad to see you. Did you get here before the rain commenced falling?"
"A few minutes," replied the sweet voice of Ellen Knowles, as her hand rested upon that portion of the chair nearest to Christie Kane.
"What a beautiful hand, Ellen," he said, softly, as he placed the point of his fingers upon it.
As he raised his eyes to her own, the cunning side-long glance was withdrawn. He started to his feet, and turned towards the door.
"You will not encounter the storm again, will you, cousin Christie? The water is still dripping from your coat," said Ellen's gentle voice.
"The rain is over," he replied gruffly, as he stood in the doorway.
"Have I offended you, Christie?" inquired the maiden, as a tear gathered in her mild blue eyes.
"Oh, no, Ellen; you could not," said the young man, as he turned frankly toward her. " Come, will you not walk with me? See how the drops of rain glisten upon the trees. I will show you what sad havoc the storm has committed in my wheat field."
"Excuse me, Christie; I fear the damp earth."
"Good-bye, then, Ellen."
"Good-bye," replied the gentle voice.
"She is a strange girl, and I am half afraid of her," muttered Christie Kane, as he emerged from the house. "Why is mother so anxious for me to marry her?"
The storm was raging still far to the east, but the west presented an unclouded sky. Directing his steps down the lane, Christie entered the high road crossing the small stream, which was swollen by the rain. He was proceeding slowly through the forest that spanned the valley, when his steps were arrested by a carriage which lay in the middle of the road with one of the axle-trees bro-
ken, and a wheel lying upon the ground. Looking around to see what caused the accident, his eyes rested upon the form of a young lady, who was standing beneath the bending trunk of a large oak, which had sheltered her from the storm. The maiden gazed half terrified at the young man, but observing his look of open and respectful admiration, the warm blood returned to the check from whence alarm had banished it; so truly can the gentler sex interpret the impression which their loveliness has produced.
Christie advanced, and with innate courtesy raised his hat.
"Will you suffer me, madame, to inquire the cause of your misfortune?"
"A defective axletree;" and the young man thought the voice exceedingly musical.
''Will you allow me to tender my services? "
"They will hardly be required. My companion has been absent at least half an hour, for another carriage."
"But I shall consider it a great, favor if you will permit me to bring a conveyance. I am certain you will take cold, if you remain long exposed to this damp atmosphere;" said Christie, pleadingly.
A smile wreathed the lips of the young lady at the earnestness of the stranger. After hesitating a moment, she replied,
"Very well, if you return first, perhaps—"
Christie did not wait to hear the conclusion of the sentence, but with a gratified look, proceeded rapidly towards the cottage.
By the exertions of Mr. Savor, the dapple grey was soon harnessed to the plain gig, and having changed his hat, coat, and boots, and donned a smart pair of gloves, Christie Kane, with a flushed countenance, drove rapidly away.
"Why didn't he ask me to ride, as well as walk?" exclaimed Ellen, sulkily.
"I can't tell what has come over the child. He has changed for the worse lately. Formerly he was so gentle and obedient, and now he is morose and abstracted; " replied Mrs. Kane.
"Would yez belave it," said Phelim; "he grumbles bekase the likes of us hiv to support the nobility. He niver wonst remimbers that whilst we do that same, we live ourselves; whin the poor divils who are starvin' hiv no support at all at all. But even they hiv the satisfaction of swelling the population of this mighty koontry, though by the holy St. Pathrick its little their amaciated figgers can swell it, onyhow. What's your opinion, Suzy?"
Susan's only reply was a look of mingled pity and contempt.
As young Kane arrived at the spot where he had left the lady, he observed an equipage approach from the opposite direction, from which a young gentleman descended, and offering his arm to the maiden, observed:
"I hope you have been put to no inconvenience by my long absence."
"And if I have not, it surely cannot be because sufficient time has not elapsed since your departure," she replied, tartly.
"I do not deserve that sarcasm," he said, reproachfully; "I made all possible haste. But come, do not delay any longer."
"I shall ride in this conveyance," and the maiden approached Christie's vehicle, disclosing as she did so, the most bewitching little foot and ankle, encased in the most bewitching little boot that ever caused a thrill in the hearts of the sterner sex. Christie sprang from the gig, and deferentially tendered his hand to aid her ascent, but mentally pronouncing a malediction at the folly which prompted him to wear a glove upon his right hand, thereby depriving himself—voluntarily depriving himself of the pleasure which a touch of the taper fingers of her ungloved hand would produce.
"Thank you," said the musical voice; and she adjusted her dress so as to make room for Christie Kane by her side.
"And now, Melville, let us see who will reach home first."
The person whom she addressed as Melville, stood with folded arms, and frowning brow.
"Ha! ha! ha!" rang forth the merriest laugh Christie had ever heard. "Come, take the reins," she exclaimed; "I dare you to the trial."
Scowling at young Kane, the stranger sprang into his gig, and wheeling his horse's head, dashed furiously onward.
"Thou art a craven," said the merry girl; "but you may have the advantage of the start. May I test the speed of your horse? " she asked, turning to Christie.
"To the death," replied the young man, to whom she had imparted her own enthusiasm.
"Then let me take the whip and reins. Stay, change sides— there, that will do. Now forward, my gallant steed," and the lash fell lightly upon him.
The horse had observed with impatience the departure of the other steed, and now, as he felt the touch of the whip, he darted eagerly onward.
"Soho! a spirited fellow," said the damsel, as with form thrown back, she guided the course of the flying animal. Several times she avoided a collision with the trees, as they rapidly crossed the valley, but now they began to mount the ascent that led from the river. Thus far, the leading horse had gained a little upon the other, and the distance between them perceptibly increased before they reached the summit of the hill. Christie watched the two as though life and death depended upon the result.
"Gently, my noble fellow; you have weight against you. Gently, ho! we shall soon be at the summit. There, now!"
The horse advanced at a tremendous rate of speed, as she gave him the reins, and it was soon apparent that he was the fastest horse of the two. The road now led down a gentle descent, and then stretched out across a broad level plain.
"Untie my hat strings," she said.
The hat had fallen back upon her shoulders. Christie's trembling hand approached her ivory neck, and he made several ineffectual attempts to untie the ribbon.
"What, a blunderer!" she exclaimed, pettishly. "There, now, make haste;" and she turned her flushed countenance towards his
own. With a desperate effort he succeeded, and as the hat was removed, a large mass of dark brown hair fell down her back.
"Did ever any one see such a bungler? You have made me lose at least ten feet by your awkwardness." The horse bounded forward under the application of the whip.
As they swept by each field, the laborers turned their wondering eyes to the road, and twice men were seen advancing rapidly, to arrest what they supposed were runaway horses. Christie's horse was not more than ten yards behind the other, and was fast gaining upon him, when the latter diverged from the road, and entered the private carriage-way leading through the grounds and up to the castle of the Earl of Rossmore. To his astonishment, the young lady also drove through the gate, narrowly missing one of the posts, as the horse swerved to one side.
"For heaven's sake, madam, are you not aware that these are private grounds?" he observed, anxiously. She deigned no reply. Her attention was entirely absorbed by the race; and her triumph was now at hand. The head of her horse lapped the wheel of Melville's gig. Twice she requested him to yield part of the narrow way, but he obdurately kept the centre of the road. They now emerged from the grove and swept along the open space in front of the castle. Its inmates collected upon the portico, as if surprised at the unwonted intrusion upon the grounds. The panting and struggling horses were approaching a small sheet of water that spread out directly in front of the castle. Along its border, and elevated three feet above it, ran the road. Each driver was aware that now was the moment for the final struggle.
"Will you yield part of the road?" exclaimed the maiden.
He did not diverge a hair's breadth from his course.
"Then take the consequence!" She wheeled her horse out upon the greensward. A loud cheer was heard. Casting his eyes toward the castle, Christie saw the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. He had no time for contemplation. They steadily drew forward—she turned the bend of her steed and crowded the other toward the lake. He was forced nearer and nearer, until one wheel rolled over the bank, and Melville was precipitated headforemost into the water. The gig, relieved of its load, bounded upon the bank again, and the horse ran towards the lower end of the park.
Christie anxiously gazed after the form of Melville, but seeing him ascend the bank unharmed, once more addressed the maiden.
"You have triumphed; let us now leave these grounds: we may seriously offend the owner."
The laughing girl heeded him not, but with unabated speed drove in the direction of the goodly company who were cheering and waving their hats and handkerchiefs from the portico. Christie's glance turned from them to his companion, and then back again.
"Why, Kate, mad girl! what prank have you been playing now" said the cheerful voice of Lord Rossmore, as she sprang from the vehicle into his arms.
"Only teaching Melville that he is but an indifferent whip, notwithstanding all his boasting. See what a sorry figure he cuts. Come this way; this way, my Lord Melville."
But he took his dripping garments around an angle of the castle, without confronting the merry party.
"A right noble horse, papa;" said Katharine Montague, caressing the head of the panting steed.
"And swift of foot," replied the Earl. " Will you sell him?" he continued, addressing Christie Kane, who sat in blushing silence.
"I should be loath to part with Surrey, my lord."
"Where did you pick up your country beau, Kate?" inquired the Countess of Rossmore.
The blood rushed to Christie's face.
"You are wrong, Ma'ma; he picked me up:" replied the maiden, quickly; "and what is more, enabled me to achieve a triumph over the vain Lord Melville. Let this be a slight token of the gratification which that triumph has given me," and she took the rose that rested upon her bosom, and placed it in the hand of Christie Kane. He returned his thanks, and raising his hat, bowed to the company; then picking up the reins, proceeded slowly homeward. He started as if an adder had stung him, as a masculine voice observed,
"A well-behaved fellow, for a plebeian, and a clodpole."
"Such are the distinctions of society," he muttered gloomily, as the laughter died away that had recorded the unfeeling jest.
" On man, as man, retaining yet,
Howe'er debased, and soiled, and dim,
The crown upon his forehead set—
The immortal gift of God to him."— Whittier.
It will be necessary, to give the reader a more formal introduction to our characters than was obtained in the last chapter. This we will now proceed briefly to do. Katharine Montague was the only child of Lord and the Countess of Rossmore. With a small circle of friends they were passing a few weeks at the castle of Montague. Lord Melville and his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sunderland, with their guests, were also tarrying at their country-seat upon the adjoining estate. Christie Kane was a tenant of the Duke of Sunderland, and Ellen Knowles was the grand-daughter of a noble duke, her mother having eloped with, and married, a young ensign, who afterwards rose to the rank of a colonel. Mrs. Kane, the sister of Colonel Knowles, had married more humbly, and since the death of her husband, had barely escaped from the horror of want. Robert Kane, Christie's brother, had been in London several years, and only paid brief visits to the paternal roof as a temporary relief from severe toil. The character of each will be delineated during the progress of the story.
Upon the morning of the day succeeding the events recorded in the first chapter, Lady Rossmore was seated in the elegant drawing-room of the castle, entertaining the Duchess of Sunderland and her son. Lord Melville was lounging upon a sofa, casting occa-
sional glances towards the door. If he expected Katharine Montague to enter, he was disappointed, for she was at that moment a mile from the castle, upon the back of a spirited horse.
"Are you troubled with complaints and excuses from your tenants?" inquired the Countess of Rossmore, as she adjusted herself more comfortably in the large arm-chair.
"Constantly. One would really suppose the lazy creatures had nothing else to do but to annoy their masters. And they are so importunate, too. You must listen to the entire catalogue of their grievances, from the failure of the crops to the death of the only horse. It was only this morning that a brazen-faced woman persisted in forcing her way into my presence, and nearly crazed me with her volubility. Her husband had deceased, the rot had destroyed their potatoes, the storm had blown down their chimney, and, to come to the point of the whole story, they could not pay the rent, and she begged me to direct the steward not to turn her out upon the ' wide, wide world,' to use her own expression."
"And what reply did you make, my lady mother?" asked Melville, as he languidly raised his head from his hand.
"I said the steward had informed me that I must expect such applications frequently," replied the Duchess; "but that I should pay no attention whatever to them. He further remarked, if I believed one half the tales of suffering that were poured into my cars by weeping mothers and distracted daughters, every moment of my time would be occupied."
"Well, what said the woman?"
"She assumed a threatening aspect, and half wildly exclaimed, 'have a care, madam, how you treat my request. I may have it in my power to humble your pride.' I called the waiter, and directed him to remove the disagreeable person. She erected her form to its full height, while her eyes flashed fire, as I pointed to the door. My nerves were very much shaken, very much shaken indeed, at the rudeness of the horrid creature."
"What was her name? she shall be taught to respect our position," said Lord Melville.
"I did not take the trouble to recollect it. Some common name, I believe; the steward can tell you; Keen or Kine, perhaps."
"Was it not Kane?''' inquired Melville, eagerly, as he started to his feet.
"Yes, that was it. But what possible interest can you take in such vulgar affairs?"
"More than you suppose," muttered the young nobleman as he left the room.
In a few moments Katharine Montague entered the drawing-room, and addressing her salutations to the visitor, seated herself at an em-broidery frame.
"What have we to do with their hardships?" said the Duchess. "They were born upon our soil, and are sheltered by our roofs; we have claims upon their services instead of being under obligations to them."
Katharine Montague divined at once the subject of conversation, and observed, while a demure expression sat upon her countenance:
"If they hesitate to pay the last farthing, even if it does reduce them to the verge of starvation, it is only exhibiting a proper degree of gratitude and respect for those who are the accidental owners of the soil."
"Very true; I am glad to see you have a just appreciation of our prerogatives. There is nothing more important, my dear Countess, than to apprise the young nobility of the exact scope of their prerogatives."
"And is it not quite as essential to teach the substratum that their duties consist of unceasing toil and suffering?" inquired Katharine Montague, whose eyes were bent upon her embroidery.
" You are right, my young friend," said the Duchess; "there is nothing like commencing a thorough training early."
"And it is quite as important to continue it. There should be no relaxation—no moment of ease—when the toiling millions can raise their heads and wipe the sweat from their aching brows," observed Katharine Montague.
"Precisely so. There is probably no class of serfs so admirably drilled as the English. They yield a princely revenue to the nobility and clergy. They enable us to indulge in costly excursions abroad, and to gratify our taste by the most lavish expenditures at home. We have no trouble in watching over them, except to enforce the payment of rents. It makes not the slightest difference to us whether they are sick or well. They pay their own doctors' bills, and if their crops are blighted, they must resort to the most pinching economy, for the rent must be paid. If long continued suffering or the whispering of demagogues make them restless, the authorities have only to swear in an additional number of constables, and they are reduced to submission. I really can conceive of no condition of society more charming," and the Duchess flourished her ivory fan with the greatest satisfaction.
"And the beauty of the whole system," said Katharine Montague, while a covert meaning played upon her lips, "consists in its justice and fair seeming. We receive the fruits of their labor, but do we not cause them to be respected by other nations? They pour the money earned by days of exhaustion and nights of anxiety into our laps, but do we not arouse the envy of a less fortunate aristocracy. If their own honor and that of England is assailed, do we not evince a disposition to redress it, even to the extent of employing a press-gang to drag them from their helpless families; and rather than permit the indignity to go unavenged, and the stain to remain upon our flag, do we not wash it out with their own blood? "
"Kate, my darling, where did you obtain so just an appreciation of the rights and duties of the English aristocracy?" said the Duchess enthusiastically.
"I think any person of ordinary discrimination cannot fail to observe them. The substratum display great ingenuity in adapting themselves to this condition. They bestow vast wealth upon the clergy, but how are they repaid? By being permitted to stare with open-mouthed gratification at splendid churches, gorgeous robes, and magnificent equipages. They shower untold sums upon the nobility, and how do we reward them? They are allowed to gaze
at processions, crowd around the ball-room, opera-house, or privato dwelling, wondering how much their own money can adorn manhood and beauty, and thank us for generously permitting them to take note of the magnificence with which we lavish their gifts."
"It never occurred to me that there, could be a system in our exhibitions of splendor," said the Duchess of Sunderland.
"Really, my dear madam, you must allow me to think you are too modest. It occurs to me that nothing could be more palpable than the effect which pomp and splendor are designed to produce upon the vulgar. Do you suppose if the famed aristocracy of England should be clothed in the humble garb of the laborer, and suffer the sun's heat to brown their complexions and the rude contact of implements of husbandry to crank and soil their hands, that they could for forty-eight hours overawe and control the peasantry of the British Empire? No! it is the result of no ordinary forethought and sagacity, this wringing its fruits from the hand of labor with the design of ostentatiously displaying it for the purpose of dazzling the giver, thus creating a necessity for still further contributions to be expended in the same manner. And the poor creatures manage by some sort of a mental process to blend our extravagance with their own celebrity."
"Well, that is a fortunate circumstance," said Lady Rossmore, "for it makes them contented with a social position that—that—"
"That none but the substratum are desirous of occupying," interposed Katharine Montague." They ought to be satisfied with the privileges, which, in our gracious condescension, we have deigned to confer upon them," continued the young lady, while the slightest possible approach to a sarcastic smile played about the corners of her mouth. " Are they not allowed to furnish us with food? Do they not construct our railroads, and pave our streets? Are they not suffered to bring to our shores the luxuries and necessaries of life? Have they not our full, I may say unqualified permission to perform the most menial offices? Are they not allowed to fight, our battles, and to bear the cross of St. George in triumph upon the bosom of every sea? And as a climax to our generosity, do we not make their laws and relieve them from the trouble of governing themselves? Nay, suffer them to, throw up their hats, and cheer, while we pass, without even permitting a look of displeasure to cross our features at such familiarity?"
Katharine Montague worked with increased diligence while she gave utterance to these opinions. It was evident that her lady mother listened with a feeling of intense pride to what she considered the wisdom of her daughter.
"But how do you account for the fact, that the aristocracy of England, although occupying different social positions, all unite in defending the system?"
"Easily. It is because there is no one so humble but that he can point to an inferior. The Duke can doff his hat to royalty because the Earl must yield him precedence. The Earl can give up the post of honor to the Duke, because the Baron must recede at his approach, even if by doing so he treads upon the knightly toes of the Baronet, and soon through all the gradations of society,
until you come to the substratum upon whose shoulders rests the vast fabric of .British despotism."
The last words were uttered by Katharine Montague with energy, and as she concluded, putting aside the embroidery frame, she withdrew.
The day succeeding the storm the weather was changeable. The sun emerged from the clouds at short intervals, and then the sky became again overcast, and the rain descended. Christie Kane watched the heavens with the greatest anxiety, for his wheat lay scattered upon the ground. It had already been exposed to one storm since the reaper had performed his task; and he was fearful that before it was ready for the stack it would become mouldy. He was more than usually alarmed, because he not only depended upon it for bread, but with it he expected to lessen somewhat his liabilities for rent. It was, then, with an anxious eye that he saw evening approach before the sun broke through the clouds. It was too late then to accomplish anything, and he was slowly proceeding towards the cottage, when he heard the sound of horses' feet rapidly approaching. Turning his head he saw a party of ladies and gentlemen riding up the road, and a momentary thrill of pleasure was produced as he saw Katharine Montague among them. He was in the act of raising his hat as she passed, but her eyes rested upon him mechanically for a moment, as upon a person she had never seen before, and were then withdrawn.
"Of course she will not deign to recognize me, fool that I was to think so," exclaimed the youth bitterly.
"Yonder is Lady Katharine's gallant," exclaimed Lord Melville, tauntingly, as the rear of the party were riding past. Half-a-dozen persons looked in the direction that he pointed, and then a peal of laughter rang upon the air.
A momentary pang shot to the heart of the poor fellow, and then he bore himself bravely up in the strength of innate nobleness and conscious rectitude.
He met his mother at the gate.
"Well, Christie, I went to see the Duchess for the purpose of getting the time extended for the payment of the rent."
A flash of displeasure shot across the features of her son.
"Mother, how could you so degrade us?"
"Hoot, boy! Degrade us, indeed! What have the poor to say against degradation. Where is the money to pay the rent? What is to keep us from the highway even now? Potatoes destroyed, and with a fair prospect of the entire loss of the wheat, methinks you have little to do with pride, unless you expect to carry your aspirations to a ready market. Degradation, forsooth!"
Christie turned gloomily away.
"Well, she heeded your prayers, did she not?"
"By the foul fiends, no! With a haughty languor she replied that her steward had informed her she might expect frequent applications of the kind. She could not, she really could not think of troubling herself about such vulgar matters! May heaven desert me if she shall not repent, aye bitterly repent, her insolence."
"Ha! ha! ha! Well repaid, my gracious mother, for your condescension."
"Have a care, sir, how you are wanting in respect," said Mrs. Kane, fiercely.
"It is useless for you to attempt to treat me as a child, mother. And while I am upon that subject, let me say once for all, that your tyrannical conduct towards me since I was an infant—the marked contrast in your bearing towards me and Robert—has given you small claim upon my gratitude and affection. I am a man now, and will no longer be treated as a child!"
The air of calm determination with which this was announced, overawed Mrs. Kane for a moment, but her form trembled with rage as her son entered the house.
The pensive eyes of Ellen Knowles met his, as Christie Kane seated himself upon the old fashioned sofa. The subdued bearing of the maiden contrasted so strongly with the harsh demeanor of his mother, that the irritated feelings of the young man were soothed.
"Cousin Christie, I sympathize with you sincerely in your misfortunes."
"You are a good girl, Ellen, and I am grateful for your kindness."
"Why do you not compare your condition with that of others?"
"But you compare it with the fate of those who are more bountifully supplied with this world’s goods than yourself."
"It is natural to do so."
"Nay, but Christie is it wise?" said Ellen hesitatingly.
"I was glancing at the paper while waiting for you to return; that is, I was reading it, having nothing else to do," stammered Ellen, confusedly.
"I understand; well?"
And it gives the most terrible description of the suffering of the peasantry upon the western portion of the Duke's estate."
"And the next column describes the brilliant ball given by the Duchess at his country seat, where the strains of music blended, as they floated away, with the wailings of despair?"
"It does," said the maiden sadly.
"I thought so."
Ellen looked at him with tearful eyes. Their glances met.
"Come, Nell, I will gratify your pitying impulses by listening to those tales of suffering. Read, Nell."
With a grateful look the damsel read extracts from the report made by commissioners appointed by the English Parliament to inquire into the condition of the hand-loom weavers.*
"One witness called before the commission, said—
'Children of seven years old can begin to turn the wheel to spin
*The quotations are taken from a report which was actually made to the British Parliament in 1840, and can be found copied into a speech made by Hon. Charles Hudson (a member of Congress from Massachusetts), in 1842. —The Author.
flax, which is very hard work, and they are kept at work from five in the morning till nine at night. I might enumerate the number of weak and crooked-legged children in towns—an evil that is attributable to this sort of work.'
"A manufacturer testifies that—
'Their dwellings, their clothing and that of their children, evince great misery. There is often great distress among them, They are generally sober, industrious, steady men; hut, with the best intentions, at the present wages, they cannot get a living. Many of the weavers are obliged to apply to the parish for assistance.'
"Mr. Otway, the commissioner who examined into the condition of the weavers in Ireland, says: —
'The cabins that the weavers live and work in are fearful specimens of what habit will enable human beings to endure. The weavers are obliged to pay as high rent for these dens as they ought to get comfortable cabins for. Nothing can equal the distress of the poor cotton weavers. I never witnessed greater misery than, in their cabins and mode of living. The houses of some of the lower classes of weavers are in the most wretched state, with only a little straw and a coverlet for a bed; plenty of children, but scarcely a chair to sit down upon.'
"Erasmus Charlton, a police sergeant, testifies: —
'Sometimes he has had occasion to search the houses of some of the weavers on suspicion of stealing yarn, and had witnessed very distressing cases—children crying for food, and the parent having neither food nor money in the house, nor work to obtain any.'
"Another witness says: —
'A poor weaver came last Sunday to my house, and stated he had had a poor Sunday, not having a potatoe, or even a bit of bread in his house. The weaver had a wife near confinement and three children.'
"Another witness testifies that: —
'He has no doubt many of the weavers and their children, especially young children, die from disease brought on by want of proper nourishment.' "
Christie Kane moved uneasily in his chair. At that moment the merry laughter of the party of equestrians was heard, and, as they cantered by the house, the young man's brow was contracted into a heavy frown. "Others starve while they laugh," he muttered between his teeth.
A suppressed sob escaped from the overcharged bosom of Ellen Knowles. She raised her kerchief to her eyes, and then asked Christie if she should continue. " Oh yes, let us scan the picture in all its details."
Ellen continued—"One of the weavers testified before the commission as follows: —
'Question. —Have you any Children?'
'Answer. —No: I had two, but they are both dead, thanks be to God!'
'Question. —Do you express satisfaction at the death of your children?"
'Answer. —I do. I thank God for it. I am released from the burden of maintaining them; and they, poor dear creatures, are released from the troubles of this mortal life.'"
"Hold! for God's sake! this is too frightful! Accursed despotism, that can perpetrate such horrors; and abominable hypocrisy, that affects great sanctity while it points at and condemns the faults of other systems," exclaimed Christie Kane, as he abruptly left the cottage.
The eyes of Ellen Knowles followed him; but the whole expression of her countenance had changed. Instead of sympathy, a look of triumph sat upon her features as she soliloquized:
"I have pricked your confidence in the nobility, my aspiring cousin, while I have convinced you that persons in your humble position ought to be grateful. If this fails to elicit a declaration of love, I must e'en try some other plan. Shall this inexperienced boy baulk one who boasts of her power to baffle and deceive? Never!" and her pearly teeth pressed her nether lip as she vowed he should yet kneel humbly at her feet.
"Ah! that deceit should steal such gentle shapes,
And with virtuous visor hide deep vice!"—Shakespeare.
Christie kane rose from his bed at an early hour the following morning, and eagerly scanned the appearance of the heavens. His spirits sank as he observed the scarlet-tinted clouds gathering in the east. Slowly the sun mounted from the horizon and cast his rays with a red, angry glare upon the earth, while occasionally a hot breath of air came up from the south. Kane looked anxiously over the field where his wheat lay, fast mouldering upon the saturated ground. The clouds heeded not his imploring glance, but rallied their force until the whole firmament was overcast. Then the rain descended in torrents, and with an imprecation, forced from him in the excess of anguish, he turned moodily away.
"Niver mind, maister Christie, the world owes us a living, for Sir Wm. Belthoven told the fray men so, and said they mustn't make thimselves onasy or discontented, no matter what might be their sufferings, for they'd niver die ontail their time come; an' if they did, for the matter o' that, become a little pinched wid hunger, they must consider it a bountiful affliction of providence as a punishment for their transgressions."
"And what response did the people make?"
"Why, yez say, the farmers who hiv provisions to sell cheered vahamently bakase they did hiv provisions to sell."
"But what said the day-laborers?"
"Why, the ungrateful spalpeens towld him that was mighty poor consolation to a man wid an empty stomach; and then the fanners began to hustle them out; but Sir William, wid one of his banivolent smiles, towld them not to molest the people, bekaze they
had nothing to do wid the matter, as the parliament ralieved thim from the trouble of voting; and said they were compensated fur any little inconvanience they might suffer be manes of hiving nothing to ate, in the magnificent and splendid government that was provided fur them wid their own money. Which rasoning satisfied all parties, and they said Sir William would make a jewel of a mimber."
"Fools! fools! thus to hug your chains," said Kane, passionately.
The storm, now raged, and Christie Kane saw the utter loss of his crop, which he foresaw would be succeeded by civil proceedings, ejectment, and ruin.
The brow of Mrs. Kane wore a deeper frown as they were seated at the dinner-table.
"What think you now of my application to the Duchess of Sunderland? Does your pride still revolt at it? Or does the apprehension of adversity, or rather absolute want, smooth down your self-esteem?"
"Whatever misfortunes destiny may have in store for me, I will never stoop to ask favors of the oppressor. Fate may do her worst."
"We shall see—we shall see. Hunger is a conqueror of stubborn wills. But, Christie," she continued, in a milder voice, "Why do you not seek the hand of your cousin Ellen; I am certain she loves you?"
"Do you think so, mother?" he replied, while a gleam of pleasure lit up his features.
"There is not the slightest doubt of it. Besides, you will always be able to secure a competence through the influence of Colonel Knowles."
"And become a pensioner upon his will," replied Christie, sternly. "Did ever any one see such a suspicious and unmanageable boy."
"I am no longer a boy, and I will take my natural position among the thinking, resolute men of my time."
"And bravely, no doubt, will a peasant succeed. Ha! ha! Without money, without friends, without a name. Go on, my self-willed child, and let us see how far you will ascend the ladder of fame!"
"But, mother, renown has been acquired by the humbly-born," said Christie, in a low, half-imploring voice.
"Yes, by a few pampered menials of the crown."
"No! no! by some of the ablest and purest of philosophers, orators, and statesmen. Newton, whose mind could not be controlled by the shackles of nature—Boyle, who dissected with the knife of a master the organization of matter—Thurlow, the dispenser of equity, and the custodian of the king's conscience (which I assume to have been a very difficult, task)—Locke, who laid bare the process of reasoning, and the foundation and development of human judgment—Erskine, whose magic eloquence swayed the senate and controlled the bench—Cromwell, glorious Cromwell, who convinced a despotic king and a corrupt nobility that popular vengeance is sometimes terribly appeased when justice is outraged — and
Washington, immortal Washington, who taught a rapacious monarch that an empire was the price of unmerited rashness: all—all of those illustrious men carved their renown with their own hands, and in diameters that lime can neither mutilate nor efface."
Christie Kane spoke with the fire of enthusiasm, and for a few moments his mother was startled by his language; and then she remarked, with cutting irony.
"And, pray, is it in the field of philosophy, eloquence, or war, that, you intend to commence your career? Will you become a competitor of Newton in philosophy, of Locke in ratiocination, of Erskine in oratory, of Cromwell in treason; or does your patriotism prompt you to emulate the conduct of Washington by instigating the Canadians to revolt, or, mayhap, to place yourself at the head of some tribe in Hindoostan, or of a few straggling cannibals in South Africa? If these enterprises are not sufficiently lofty for your ambition, you can mount Surry, and, placing Phelim astride the cow, for the want of a more showy animal, start forth, Don Quixote like, in search of adventures."
"Mother,'' said Christie, with a forced laugh, " I am sure, if you had been an acquaintance of Job's wife, you would have caused her to break one of the commandments.''
"Because she would have coveted your tongue for the purpose of pulling the patience of her long-suffering husband to a final test."
The conversation, which was in danger of becoming personal, was interrupted by the entrance of Ellen Knowles, who extended her hand to Christie Kane. Her voice was subdued, and the melting eyes were cast to the floor, as if her bashfulness could not remain unmoved in the presence of Christie.
"Ellen, you are always welcome; I am glad to see you."
"Thank you, Christie; the assurance gives me much pleasure. I came to offer my sincere condolence upon the distressing condition of your agricultural affairs. I fear your wheat crop will be destroyed; is it so?" and the maiden's voice trembled with anxiety.
"And what will you do, Christie?"
"Do? that is difficult to tell; only I shall preserve my independence."
"Faugh!" exclaimed Mrs. Kane, with extreme disgust.
"No, no, Aunty, you are wrong," said the mild voice of Ellen.
"You are always defending his absurdities. In your estimation Mr. Christie. Kane cannot err."
"Oh, Aunty, why did you divulge—''
"Never mind, cousin Ellen, she has only increased the high opinion I have always entertained for you."
The blushing cheek of the girl was shaded by a mass of curls as she turned her glance to the window, but her features wore an expression of triumph which the young man did not observe.
"Come, Ellen, your presence has brought sunshine once more. Will you walk with me?"
This time she did not refuse, and together they passed through
the garden and entered the little thatched roofed arbor that was separated from the highway by a hedge.
"Ellen, you have manifested an interest in my affairs. I will confide to you my hopes, for I am certain of your sympathy."
She smiled gratefully.
"I cannot pay the rent, and unless I greatly misunderstand the disposition of the Duke's steward, if not the Duke's son, I shall be ejected from the house in which I was born."
Ellen Knowles eagerly caught at his words.
"What reason have you for supposing that Lord Melville will prove your enemy?"
"It is needless to explain them; suffice it to say, I cannot be mistaken."
Again a gleam of triumph shot across the features of the girl, but was as quickly succeeded by a look of solicitude, which Christie attributed to an intense interest in his affairs.
"In the event of such disasters befalling you, what will you do?" and the large, expressive blue eyes were fixed tearfully upon his face.
"I will leave England for ever."
Ellen was visibly affected by this annunciation, and her cheeks rested upon her hands. But her mind was eagerly revolving the results which must ensue from such a course. With the quickness of thought she foresaw it would aid her own views, but she had too much tact not to appear unhappy at the prospect of a separation. The tears trickled through her fingers and a deep sigh escaped her.
"Dear Ellen, does this intelligence give you pain?"
Another, and a louder sob succeeded, but she did not speak, for she knew that silence was more eloquent than words. Christie contemplated her well-formed head and blooming form, and taking her soft white hand in his own he bent his head down until her glossy curls touched his cheek. His attention was attracted by the approach of his mother who stalked into the garden. Perceiving that the intrusion was untimely, she retraced her steps, but the spell was broken, and Christie rose abruptly to his feet. Ellen Knowles bit her lips, and a scowl of rage disfigured her brow, as they proceeded towards the house.
The conversation between the aunt and niece was brief after they separated from Christie.
"You are always thrusting yourself where you are not wanted," said Ellen, with calm insolence.
"Indeed, Miss Malapert! and I should like to know what prospect you would have for winning Christie's hand without my assistance, eh!"
"On the contrary, your offensive and turbulent interference is the most formidable obstacle I have to contend with. It is strange what a savage beast you make of yourself."
Mrs. Kane seized Ellen by the arm, and bending a fierce glance upon her, exclaimed:
"You are a deceitful, lying, hypocritical hussy, and can cloak the most intense meanness under an appearance of candor and gen-
tleness. Have a care, miss, or I will thwart your designs upon Christie."
"No you won't, because in doing so you will thwart your own, my precious Aunty. So good bye. No, you will think better of it, because you can't afford to thwart my designs upon Christie Kane, and you told a lie when you said so, dear Aunty. Just peep into the glass now, and see how beautifully you look when you froth so at the mouth. See how much better my placid face appears, especially when I smile. Good bye, Aunty; you won't thwart my designs upon Christie, will you? Ha! ha! ha!"
With a graceful courtesy she departed, leaving Mrs. Kane overcome with rage.
Slowly the maiden proceeded homewards, revolving in her mind the most effectual plan to accomplish her designs upon her cousin.
"It is strange how difficult it is to force a declaration from the obstinate fellow," she soliloquised, "and yet I am considered handsome, and, thanks to my powers of deceit, as Mrs. Kane calls it, I am thought very agreeable. Others call me beautiful, for their eyes tell me so. And Lord Melville, too, could not disguise his admiration. It is strange what an influence his lordship exercises over me since I was magnetised by him at Bath. I am certain there is a peculiar charm in being magnetised by a lord that a common person cannot elicit. The sensation that stole through my limbs and crept along my arteries, was, I am sure, more extatic than if any one but a lord had produced the excitement. And then the dreamy delight which succeeded was more soothing and profound. Most decidedly should I prefer being excited into the delicious state of magnetism by one of the nobility; the pressure of whose fingers could produce such delight as those of a lord? Who could, with such assurance, instil the mysterious and rapturous bliss into my frame! But the reaction that succeeded! I attended a concert the same evening, and when he entered the room, a cold shudder passed through my frame, which, without my seeing him, warned me of his approach. I was obliged to leave the room, and during the long night they were anxiously watching over my couch. The restoratives produced a temporary relief, but it was only by several days of repose that I was freed from the excess of animal magnetism with which my body was surcharged by the graceful Lord Melville. Mrs. Skewton was affected by his lordship in the same way. It is strange that her form is so easily excited, for she is quite thirty-four; a period of life when it is supposed the nerves of the human form are not so easily influenced by contact, as at a more youthful age, especially if, as in the case of Mrs. Skewton, the female has given birth to three or four children, besides having been troubled for any number of years with those complaints incident to our sex. Be that as it may, Mrs. Skewton declared that she should never, she was certain she should not, be relieved from the overdose of magnetism which Lord Melville condescended to give her. And her eyes did have a languishing appearance, and her form did tremble as if it desired the sustaining arm of his Lordship, notwithstanding she is upon the shady side of life, and her frame has been tested in the manner—but here I am
talking to myself. Enough of Mrs. Skewton. I shall suffer Lord Melville to cultivate me, and perchance he can assist my ' designs,' as Aunty calls them, upon Cristie Kane."
The unscrupulous girl, with a sneering response to her mother's salutation, entered her room and banged to the door. Standing in front of the glass, she gazed with savage delight upon the gentle face that was now transformed into the lineaments of a fiend.
"Ha! ha! won't I astonish master Christie when he is mine? I'll teach the prudent and courteous boy that hell is preferable to my company. Won't I adopt every expedient to torture the gentleman? Hatefulness shall, for the future, he what deception has been for the past—my study—my thought by day—my dream by night; and when he turns to upbraid me and meets a look like this, won't he shudder? Ha! ha! ha!"
And the face of the girl was contorted into an expression that a maniac would have envied.
Throwing herself upon the sofa, her face once more assumed its natural beauty and repose. It was one of those clear, open, frank, countenances, which, as well as the fair complexion and the light auburn hair, may sometimes be called emblematical of gentleness, but whose possessors often become notorious for their diabolical cruelty. It was that complexion and color of hair which we find so difficult to associate with Lucrezia Borgia, while we mistakingly attribute to her the darkest hair and lineaments of her country.
She matured her plans by resolving to call upon Lord Melville for assistance. It was necessary for Christie Kane to be persecuted. The most rigorous enactments of the law were to be put in force for the collection of rent, even to the extremity of turning her aunt and cousin from home. She saw no other way of humiliating Christie so that he would apply to her father for that assistance which would alone save him from absolute want, if not from the rigors of a prison. With a triumphant expression upon her face, she approached the window and clapped her hands with joy as she saw Lord Melville riding up the avenue leading to the house.
She welcomed the young nobleman with downcast eyes and faltering words, as though she was agitated by his presence. Melville made his salutation with, that easy assurance which the English aristocracy exhibit while in the presence of their inferiors, and which, by the way, is in marked contrast to their bearing when confronted by their superiors.
"Existence has been unendurable, Miss Knowles, since I saw you last, and it gives me the most intense delight to behold you again."
And he gave the hand of the placid maiden a prolonged squeeze.
"Your lordship is altogether too condescending, to keep my poor self so long in your memory."
"You do me shocking injustice, 'pon me honor you do, me charming damsel. Now, really, I have been dying to see you again."
"I cannot believe your language is candid."
"And why not, pray?"
"Because you act cruelly towards my relations."
"Don't say so. To whom have I been guilty of wrong? I was not aware that you had any lovely cousins."
Ellen could not repress a feeling of disgust at the egotism of the nobleman, yet she replied calmly:
"I do not refer to any one who may have found the graces of your person, and the fascination of your manners too powerful for their susceptible hearts."
"To whom, then, can you possibly allude, loveliest of your sex."
"To my cousin, Christie Kane."
"Is it possible, Miss Knowles, that the boor, Kane, can be your cousin?”
"It is true; but I hope your lordship will have the kindness to overlook a fault which cannot strictly be laid to me, as we may not always have it in our power to locate our relatives in precisely the grade of society most suited to our tastes, This fact your lordship will not be disposed to controvert, as your great aunt formed a tender connection with her footman."
"Hell and damnation!" muttered the nobleman.
"Now I have a great favor to ask of your lordship," continued Ellen innocently, as if unconscious of the affect produced by her sarcasm.
"Oh, very well, you have put me in the proper mood for granting it," said Melville savagely.
"That was what I was desirous of doing. My cousin is a tenant of your gracious father. It is hopelessly out of his power to pay his rent."
A gleam of joy, which did not escape the notice of Ellen, flashed across the countenance of Melville.
"He cannot pay the rent, hey?"
"Your lordship understood me correctly."
"And you wish me to interfere in his behalf?” he continued, rubbing his hands gleefully.
"If your lordship can forget how immeasurably he is beneath your family in position, if we may except the great aunt whom I mentioned as having formed an attachment for her foot―"
"Your cousin shall hear from me," exclaimed Melville in aloud voice, as he rose abruptly.
"Pray be seated, my lord. I hope you will not mention to Christie Kane, or to any one likely to communicate the information to him, that I have been instrumental in averting misfortune from him."
"He shall remain profoundly ignorant of all the benefits which your information will confer upon him," said the other sarcastically.
"I thank your lordship," said Ellen, with a grateful look, "for the pleasure which this assurance gives me. You know we cannot feel otherwise than solicitous for our kindred, notwithstanding their plebeian origin, as in the case of my cousin Christie, or any departure from the strict rules of propriety, as in the case of your great―"
"Good morning!" shouted Melville, as he closed the door violently.
Ellen Knowles watched the receding form of her visitor as, plunging the rowels into his horse, he rode furiously away.
"He is in a delightful mood now for attending to the case of Christie Kane. Thanks to the faux pas of his great aunt, I was enabled to stimulate his ferocity and arouse his revenge by lancing his family pride. Every conceivable crime of which England's monarchs and England's nobility have been guilty, gives the humbler born a glorious opportunity of calling a little of the 'best blood' to the cheeks of their descendants." Thus soliloquized this flint-hearted girl, whose native talents were desecrated to the purposes of malignity and revenge.
She had not miscalculated the effect produced upon Lord Melville by her information and the taunts by which it was accompanied. That person had not forgotten the part taken by his father's tenant in the race which resulted in his immersion in the sheet of water that ornamented Montague park. It was, then, with the most determined malice that he sought his father's steward and gave him specific directions to enforce every remedy which the law gave him upon Christie Kane. Leaving wickedness to its work, we must call the reader's attention to Robert Kane, another character whose career we have undertaken to delineate.
" Go, then—'tis vain to hover
Thus round a hope that's dead;
At length my dream is over:
'Twas sweet—'twas false—'tis fled!"-—moore.
In a narrow street in the city of London was a small tenement inhabited by several families. They belonged, with one exception, to that poor but honest class who manage, by the aid of pinching economy, to live from "hand to mouth," as the independent sometimes call it. Although to the uninitiated it may be a very amusing expression, yet to those accustomed to test its bitter experience, it often presents the dread reality of anguish and despair. The tenants of this dilapidated building, however, were, in the main, exempted from those vicissitudes which the day-laborer so much apprehends. They managed to return, at a late hour, with sufficient money to supply their moderate wants for the next twenty-four hours. One family, however, that helped to make up the little world, possessed no ostensible means of support, and yet they were rather more bountifully supplied with the necessaries of life than the rest. In what manner they were acquired, no one knew, although all had their suspicions. The members of this family consisted of the father, two boys, and one little girl. They remained at home during the day, hut sallied out at night, and returned long after their wearied neighbors were asleep. The father was a diminutive fellow, with a dark, sinister-looking countenance. It was impossible to encounter his furtive glance without a feeling of ap-
prehension. He conversed with no one; and if by chance he was met in the little hall, or upon the narrow stair-case, the only recognition he vouchsafed was a stealthy look from his half averted eye. His children, too, were morose; and if they met those of their own age, it was with grim little countenances. Even the girl, a toddling thing, three years old, had an elfin look. The whole family were regarded with a feeling of apprehension by all who knew them; and, to add still more to their unpopularity, the father was suspected of being an agent of the press-gang, whose recent operations had carried terror into the houses of the poor. This man was known as Matthew Riley. It was in this humble dwelling that Robert Kane, the brother of Christie, resided. He occupied but one room, and within its narrow limits were his wife and children. The former had won the affections of Robert Kane by her sweet face and gentle deportment, and despite his humble prospects they were married. Three children were the fruits of this union, a boy eight years, a girl four years, and an infant eight months old. Into this lowly habitation we will now introduce the reader. Mary Kane was busily engaged in preparing the morning meal. Her countenance wore a contented expression; and.she alternately talked with Robert, and addressed a few words, in the language of a mother, to the baby. Kane was dressing the little girl in his awkward way, while Henry, the oldest child, was playing upon the floor with "Frank Tot," as he called the infant.
"Why, what an awkward fellow you are," she exclaimed, as she held the tea-kettle in both hands; "you have put Dolly's shoe on the wrong foot, and, as I live, one stocking is wrong side out. Men never can do any thing right."
"Only rig ships well, Mary."
"Yes, you can do that, for I heard the foreman say there was not a more skillful rigger in his employ."
"And I can do something else."
She put down the tea-kettle, and coming over to where he sat, pinched his ear, while his stalwart arm encircled her waist.
"I believe you are a humbug, Robert. But come, breakfast is ready, and I want you out of the room so that I can put it to rights, for I have ever so much to do to-day."
"Why, wash, and iron, and mend Henry's coat, and cut out Dolly's frock, and get your supper ready, for you always come home so hungry, you know."
"Yes, that is one consolation the poor have."
"What is that?" Plenty to do, and a good appetite."
"Ha! ha! Come, now, every thing is ready; place Henry's and Dolly's chairs to the table, and give me the baby."
"Sha'nt I hold him?"
"Catch me trusting him with you; Frank is too precious to be scalded." Squeezing him to her bosom, she inflicted half a dozen kisses upon his rosy cheeks.
"And now," she said, when the frugal meal was over, "you may go. Mr. MacDougal likes, punctuality. Here is your dinner; all ready."
"Thank you, Mary."
"What a careless man you are. Don't you see it looks like rain, and you going without your thick coat. There, now, good-by."
"Good-by, baby; give me a kiss."
He raised the child cautiously, as though he was fearful that his rough hands would mar the delicate limbs. The boy waited until his father's face was within reach of his dimpled hand, and then he inflicted a little blow upon his cheek. Straightening himself up for a moment, as if he had performed a wonderful feat, he broke out into an infantile laugh, which was re-echoed by Dolly and Henry. Robert bent his head until his stout beard came rather roughly in contact with the baby's face. The laughter was hushed, the lip curled, and a sob—a premonitory symptom of a tear—was heard, when he was suddenly raised to the full height of Kane's elevated arm. Clapping his hands, every sign of grief disappeared from his chubby countenance.
"There, there now, will you never have done with such folly. It was only last week that Daniel Doughty let his child fall, and broke one of his legs."
"I'm going. Take good care of the children."
And the happy fellow went whistling down stairs. In the lower hall he met Riley, who was just returning from his night wandering. He threw a stealthy glance at Kane, and was sneaking past him, when the latter arrested his footsteps by placing his stalwart form in the centre of the passage.
"Don't you touch me, Robert Kane, if you do, I will call in the police," exclaimed Riley in a sharp voice.
"Look you," said Robert, sternly," it would require a strong provocation to induce me to soil my hands by touching your carcass. But if, as I suspect, you are in any way connected with the press gang, you had best get your neck insured, that's all."
"Threaten me, do you? I'll see whether her Majesty's liege subjects are to have their lives put in danger." He made a motion as if to approach the door, but his progress was arrested by the strong arm of the other.
"Mathew Riley, I am a hard working, honest man, and support my family by daily labor. You never work, and it is thought you obtain money by means that only a villain would resort to. Now then, if you take food from the mouths of my wife and children, by causing me to be arrested, I will slay you as if you were a mad dog. Go!"
The malignity of a fiend gleamed upon the cadaverous features of Riley as he glided away.
Mary Kane, with a light heart attended to her household duties. She first washed up the breakfast things, and then commenced cutting out the frock for Dolly.
"Ma, shan't Dolly and I go out and play while you put Frank Tot to sleep?"
"Do you want to leave me?"
"No, but ma, I can't keep Doll from laughing, and she will be sure to wake Tot. She is always a giggling."
"And for the matter of that I think you are fond of laughing as well as Doll."
"That's because she says such funny things. She told me yesterday she should he very happy if I could be quiet, for she was sick and tired to death with my nonsense. What a speech for little Doll to make, wasn't it, ma?"
"It was rather funny," replied the fond mother.
"Ma, let Henry and me go into the great park in the next street and play with all the fine little boys and girls."
"You can't go there, my dear."
"Why not, ma?"
"Because no one but rich people's children go there."
''And why are no poor little boys and girls let go in?"
"Because what, ma?"
"Because the parents of poor children do not own the land?"
"What does own the land mean?" inquired Henry, for Dolly was pondering over the hard fate of poor little children.
"To do with it as they please, I suppose."
"Then I will tell my father to buy some land, for it would make Dolly so happy to run through such shady walks as those in that park. And brother, too, wouldn't he clap his hands? Father must buy some land when he goes out to-morrow. And then I would let all the poor children—all the good poor children, run through the park, and all the rich children, too; for they must all be good or they would not be dressed so fine."
"Oh, yes! do let pa buy a park, won't you, ma? He will do anything for you," exclaimed Dolly, joyfully.
Mary Kane was silent, and tears gathered in her eyes as she contemplated the hard fate which her offspring were doomed to encounter in their brief journey through life. Thinking it better to apprise them at once, as far as she was able, of the distinctions made by the political and social laws of England, she laid the baby in the cradle, and quietly rocking it with one foot, took Dolly upon her knee, and proceeded to reveal her stock of information.
"Well, ma, tell us; me and sissy."
"You have, my children, seen ladies and gentlemen riding on horseback and in carriages?"
"Dressed in rich clothing?"
"Oh, yes, such beautiful dresses!" exclaimed Henry.
"Well, those are called favored people."
"Because they perform no labor, and go where they please."
"Don't they eat?" asked Dolly.
"Of course they eat."
"And don't they work so as to get bread like father does?"
Both the children paused in mute wonder, for they could not comprehend how people could live without work.
"But, ma, aint they human beings, like we are?" said Henry, returning to the attack.
"Well, the bible says that the descendants of Adam shall earn their bread by the sweat of their brows. But perhaps they are not the descendants of Adam, for they look so much handsomer than ragged persons."
"They are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and the reason why they are so much more beautiful is because they have never been accustomed to toil."
"If they are human beings they ought to obey the bible, and work," said Henry positively.
"Ma, if they don't work, who gives them bread, and meat, and tea?" asked Dolly anxiously.
"A certain portion of the inhabitants of England, by the operation of laws which they have themselves made, live in idleness, while all the rest labor to support them."
Dolly pondered over this information as though she was sadly puzzled, but Henry, after a few moments' reflection, inquired,
"Did God make these laws?"
"Then why do the poor people obey them?"
"Our masters are so powerful that we have to submit."
"But father, I am sure, is stronger than either of those richly clothed gentlemen; why don't he make them work?" said the boy eagerly.
"They make some of the lower class, as they call them, force the rest to perform labor."
"And do they?"
"I would not," he exclaimed stoutly.
"Then they would make the others kill you."
Dolly opened her eyes at this intelligence, and throwing her arms round her brother's neck, Clung convulsively there.
"I will explain the matter to you as I have heard your father tell it. The nobility, and gentry, have divided the kingdom among themselves, each renting the portion allotted to him to landlords, who in turn underlet to the farmers. The landlords pay rent to the nobility, and gentry, and the farmers pay rent to them, so that the land is cultivated, the crops are raised and sent to market, so that the privileged classes receive their rent and live without work. But as the laboring part of the people think this is wrong―"
"So do I!" cried Henry.
"The government have taken measures to see that it is done."
"You have seen the soldiers marching through the streets with flags and drums?"
"Oh yes; and I have often wished that I might be a soldier too."
"These soldiers are dressed up and armed with guns and swords to make the poor people perform their tasks."
"Then I will never want to become a soldier again."
"But they will make you, perhaps."
"And force me to fire upon poor creatures?"
"Whose strength cannot endure the heavy burden they are compelled to perform, and upon whose cheeks the sweat mingles with their tears."
"I tell you I won't do it," exclaimed the child passionately, as his lips curled, and the large tears gathered in his eye.
"I will tell you how they will force you. They will reduce your wages as a laborer so low that you cannot buy bread enough to keep you from starving; and when you are very, very hungry, you will be willing to do anything to obtain food, even if it is to enlist as a soldier."
Henry rested his head upon his hand as he felt the truth of her words.
"If they should fail in this, they will seize upon your person if necessary."
"What, ma, in free and happy England, as Mr. Kossuth said it was."
"My child, there is no freedom in England for the poor; it only exists for the favored class. We are crushed to the earth by laws that force us to toil from daylight until dark for the paltry pittance which is scarcely sufficient to keep starvation from our doors, while the rest is exacted to fatten a pampered aristocracy. No, Henry, there is no freedom for you, for when the government requires your services as a soldier or a sailor, the press-gang will seize you as they have seized thousands before."
"But, ma, why do they become soldiers?"
"Because a disobedience of orders is punished with death."
"I would die, then."
"No, you would not; you would follow the examples of those foolish men who, for the shadow of military glory, will turn their arms against friends as well as foes."
"What is the shadow of military glory, ma?" asked Henry.
"It is losing one's health, and limbs, and life, for nothing but to confer honor and glory upon one's masters. The common soldier gains nothing by the battles in which he perils his life; on the contrary, he rivets more closely the chains which bind his class, because he increases the power and renown of his tyrants."
"But I heard father say that money and honors had been given the iron Duke. Why do they call him the iron Duke?"
"Because he won those honors and that money by sacrificing, without remorse, the lives of his men. Yes, they have showered honors and wealth upon the Duke of Wellington, but what has become of those poor fellows by whose aid he acquired his renown?"
"Do yon mean his soldiers, ma? Ain't they the officers I see so handsomely dressed and who ride such splendid horses?"
"Alas! no, my child. Most of them have crumbled into dust, and now enrich the soil of Portugal, Spain, and Belgium, or are lying far down in the deep, dark sea."
"But if they cover up soldiers in the ground, and, as father said,
without coffins, and put the sailors into the sea, for the fishes to eat, why are they so careful to put the dead bodies of the Iron Duke and Lord Nelson where not even the worms can get at them? Didn't the soldiers and sailors fight for their country too?"
"Yes, they suffered more than life officers."
"Then why should they be treated like dogs?" said Henry impatiently.
"Because, having won victories for England, and lost their lives, the government could gain nothing by decently burying their remains. But they can strengthen their own power by fawning upon the chieftain."
"Are Wellington's and Nelson's men all dead, ma," he inquired sorrowfully.
"Not all; there are some survivors."
"They must be well fed and clothed," he said, confidently.
"Henry, did you ever pass by the Workhouse in ― street?"
"Yes, ma," he replied with a shudder.
"And you have seen half a dozen old men with trembling limbs, snow white hair, and shriveled faces?"
"Oh, yes, and I have pitied them so often. The boys call them crazy."
"Want of food and hard labor caused a loss of mind, and now those helpless old men are left to drag out the remainder of their miserable lives, with no home, no relations, no friends."
A loud sob burst from Dolly, whose cheek rested upon her mother's bosom, as she listened with all her little might to the conversation.
"Mother!" exclaimed the boy, springing from his chair, " you don't mean to say them old men were at the battle of Waterloo?"
"Then if I wasn't afraid to swear, I would curse the government for its meanness."
"Hush! you must not talk so."
"I would, ma, so I would, and I will too when I am old enough not to be afraid of swearing."
With doubled fists he paraded across the narrow floor for several minutes, until his excited feelings were calmed down, and then he seated himself again, while Dolly continued to weep over the sufferings of the poor old men.
"But why don't they give them something more to eat?"
"It takes all the money to pay for the fine clothes, splendid carriages, and magnificent buildings of the nobility."
"And the old soldiers and sailors must be hungry?"
Henry was silent for several minutes, and then he exclaimed, joyfully,
"Ma, ma, I'll tell you what can be done for them. Food can be raised from the ground, and then they will not be hungry."
"The earth will only yield a certain quantity."
''Yes, but the earth is not all cultivated. Don't you remember when we were at grandma's I saw a large park belonging to the Duke of Sunderland, in which nothing grew? Now, enough
wheat and potatoes would grow in that park to feed all the soldiers and sailors, I am sure there would; and then they would look cheerful and he happy, wouldn't they, ma?"
Dolly's face brightened at this new idea, which she managed, with some difficulty, to comprehend.
"You forget, Henry, that those parks belong to the nobility. There are deer, and pheasants, and other game in them, which the rich people hunt during certain portions of the year."
"And be the parks only used by game?"
"That is all. They are devoted to the pleasure of the nobility."
"And does it give the nobility pleasure to do anything that will make the poor hungry?"
"What odd questions you do ask, Henry! Come, you had better get your hat and go out to play. I don't like to think, much less to talk, upon this subject, for it always puts me in an ill humor, and then I'm not cheerful when your father comes home."
"Dear ma, answer my question. Does it give the nobility pleasure to make the poor hungry?"
"Oh! I suppose they don't think anything about it."
"But don't they see the ragged clothes and pale faces of the poor?"
"Then why don't they tell them to go into the park and raise food, instead of letting wild beasts occupy them."
Mrs. Kane did not reply.
"Perhaps they think the old soldier is not as good as wild beasts?"
"Heaven forbid that I should say that!"
"Well, they don't think an old man is as good as a hound."
"Because I saw Lord Melville strike an old man with his whip, when he slily picked up a piece of meat that Lord Melville threw to his dog."
"The English nobility inherit their power by descent, my child, and they are accustomed to think of nothing but their own pleasure. They regard the lower classes only as soulless, feelingless instruments to minister to their happiness."
"What is inheriting power by descent?" .
"The wealth and power of the father belongs to his oldest son after the parents' death."
"What becomes of the other children?"
"They have to take care of themselves."
"What funny people the nobility are. Don't you love brother and sis as well as you do me?"
"That I do," and she pressed Dolly fondly in her arms.
"Why do they love the oldest child the best then."
"I suppose they do not, but the law, I believe, settles the property upon the oldest child."
"Don't they make the laws?"
"Yes, but they wish to keep the wealth and power of the kingdom in the hands of a few individuals."
"The nobility,” said Henry, musingly, "give their property to
the oldest son, and they would let poor little brother, Frank Tot, take care of himself, and they feed beasts and let poor old people starve. I think the nobility are bad, mean, persons; that I do."
"Come, now, take Dolly and go play in the street. I will call you when dinner is ready."
With compressed lips and a stern brow the boy took his sister's hand, and together they descended the staircase, muttering as he went—
"Poor old soldiers treated worse than dogs."
"What's dat you say, Henry?" asked Dolly.
"Let us go and sit down upon that bench, and I will tell you all about it."
Together they seated themselves upon the old bench, and Henry recapitulated all that he remembered of the grievances of the lower classes, and the oppressions of the rich. Her tears flowed afresh, and she sobbed herself to sleep. Resting her head upon his lap, he took off his coat to prevent her from catching cold. And there he sat, watching over the sleeper until the sun had mounted to the meridian. She was sleeping sweetly when three boys smartly dressed came down the street, loudly talking and laughing.
A flush of anger overspread the face of Henry Kane, when he discovered they belonged to a class who were guilty of such heartless cruelty as his mother had portrayed. The youngsters, who were about his own age, stopped near where Henry sat.
"Oh, here is fun for us!'' exclaimed one of them, as he directed the attention of his companions to the sleeping child.
Henry raised his hand with an imploring gesture as they approached; but their laughter awakened her. Rubbing her eyes, she looked up, and, gazing upon the derisive countenances of the rude boys for a moment, she clung to her brother for protection.
"See how his sweetheart clings to him. Ha! ha!"
"She is my little sister; go away, you frighten her."
"His little sister. Come, little sis, look this way, and let us see if you are handsome."
"You are bad, bad boys, to scare a little child so. Go away, I tell you. Pray, Mr. Riley, make these wicked lads leave us alone."
The mischievous fellows turned in momentary alarm; but seeing the malicious grin upon the face of Riley, and the smile of the one-eyed man who stood by his side, they followed the retreating forms of Henry and his sister.
"Go it, my young gallants!" exclaimed Hurdy, the one-eyed fellow, who was known as a savage member of the press-gang that infested the neighborhood.
One of the boys seized Dolly's frock, and held her fast.
"Leave her alone!" exclaimed Henry, fiercely.
The only reply was a violent jerk, which threw her upon the pavement, from whence she arose with the blood flowing from a cut in her cheek.
A sudden blow from Henry's clenched fist knocked the offender down. Springing to his feet, he returned the assault.
"At him, my little gentleman; show the beggar how you can beat him," cried Hurdy.
Again the aggressor tumbled upon the pavement: and this time he ran bawling away, with the blood spouting from his nose.
"Let them both at him," whispered Riley.
"I'm d―d if you aint right. At him both of you," exclaimed the brute.
'' No, no! be Jasus! fair play is a jewel; one at a time," said a stout, voice from across the street.
During this scene Dolly stood by a post, watching them in silent terror.
Another of the boys now rushed upon Henry, and they fought until their strength was nearly exhausted. He seized Henry by the hair, and bending his head down, kicked him several times in the abdomen. Dolly screamed. "Foul play!" exclaimed the man who had already interposed in behalf of the persecuted lad.
Rallying his strength, Henry released himself; and grasping the other by the throat, bore him back, until, no longer able to maintain his feet, he fell, and his head came violently in contact with the curb stone. He lay upon the ground still and motionless.
Henry stood in the street; and with panting form, but flashing eye, awaited the attack of the remaining boy. But, rendered cautious by the fate of his companions, he recoiled a step from before the glance of the little hero.
"Now's your time for an easy victory," said Hurdy, patting him on the shoulder.
"But he fights so."
"He's weak and exhausted, and you can beat him easily," whispered Riley.
''Oh don't, pray don't let them hurt brother any more. See, his face is all bloody," cried Dolly.
"At him, my little gentleman," said Hurdy. "This way;" and taking the boy's hand in his own he thrust it with such violence against Henry, that, already weakened by the prolonged conflict, he fell heavily to the ground.
"You have killed my poor brother Henry—I know you have killed him," sobbed Dolly, as she tried to raise his bruised head upon her lap.
''That was a mane act of yourn, Master Hurdy, an', be the holy St. Patrick! I'll tell Robert Kane."
"Will yez? " replied Hurdy, imitating the Irish brogue. "Thin, by the inemy of all the toads in that same koontry of yourn, I don't care if yez do tell him."
"Away wid yez, for a bragging kidnapper, as ye are."
"Take care,"Mr. Pat, that I don't kidnap you."
"Ye'll get a broken pate first."
" May be so."
Mary Kane, coming in search of her children, saw her boy lying upon the pavement, with his face bruised, from which Dolly was trying to wipe the blood away. A crowd, who had enjoyed the spectacle, were standing around making their comments upon the scene; the more humble portions of it congratulating themselves upon the bravery of Henry Kane, while those whose affinities were with the aristocracy were saying that the spirit of the lower classes
must be subdued. Through this assemblage Mrs. Kane forced her way, and raising the helpless body of her child, bore it towards the house. The motion roused him, and opening his eyes he looked around as if rallying his thoughts. When at last the recollection of the conflict burst upon him, he exclaimed, "My sister—where is my sister!"
"Here I is," said the troubled voice.
The assurance satisfied him, and his head fell upon his mother's bosom.
"Oh! that I should ever witness such a spectacle as this. And what will his poor father say when he sees this mangled face," said the agonized mother.
"Don't cry, ma, I am not much hurt. I shall soon be over it. I would rather been hurt a great deal more than have them bad boys frighten Dolly."
Sadly she ascended the stair-case, and laid Henry upon the bed. Dolly pushed a chair to the side of the bed, and ascending it laid herself by him, and placed her cheek, down which the tears trickled, close to his own.
Slowly the day wore along. Mrs. Kane bathed his face, and prepared some soup for the sufferer, and although he tried once to sit up, so as to be well when his father returned, a sudden dizziness forced him to lie down again. It was evident that when he fell last his head was very much injured. Darkness now began to steal over the earth, and the anxious mother expected every moment to hear the welcome sound of Kane's footsteps upon the staircase. But time wore on. She had never known him to remain out so late before. The suppper was already upon the table, except the tea, which was never drawn until he entered the room. His chair was at the right spot; the boot-jack was placed beside it, and his slippers lay upon the hearth-stone.
"What can have happened," said the anxious wife.
Henry raised his throbbing head.
"Has father come?"
"Not yet," replied Mrs. Kane, in a cheerful voice.
"I want to see him."
"He will come soon, I hope."
"He will be hungry," she murmured to herself, "very hungry; and he cannot be much longer away. I will draw the tea. Oh, no, he must return immediately, for it is nine o'clock."
And humming an old song, as if that would hasten his return, she placed the steaming teapot upon the table.
''There, now, all is ready."
The minutes flew by. The clock struck ten; eleven; and the hands indicated a near approach to midnight. Still her husband did not return.
"Oh, I was certain misfortunes would not come singly; what can have happened to poor, dear Robert? If he should be taken from me. And Henry too; how his head throbs; and his pulse beats so fast, and his mind wanders, I am sure it does, for he talks so wildly. Hark! that is Robert."
Opening the door, she rapidly descended the stairs, and throwing
her arms around his neck burst into tears. Silently he pressed her in his arms.
"Oh, Robert! what, could have kept you away so late? " " Is—it—late—dar—ling?" he stammered.
A terrible thought Hashed like fire upon her brain. Her steady and industrious husband had for the first time returned intoxicated. "And at such a moment, too,” she said, as she sank upon the steps.
"What's the—the matter—Ma—ree—"
"Matter? why our boy, Henry, is going to die, but, alas! you are too drunk to comprehend me. Come, go up to your bed."
"Hush! not—drunk—no, not drunk—Ma—Mary," he muttered, as he staggered into the room.
Mary anxiously scrutinized his countenance as the light fell upon it. His features were hueless, a white foam was upon his lips, and a crimson stream trickled down his face from a cut in his forehead.
"Too true. Poor dear Robert, how could you so have forgotten yourself?"
Reeling forwards, he gazed for a moment upon the flushed cheeks of his boy, and then muttering—
"Doctor—send—" he fell upon the bed. Mary started.
"Why did I not think of that before; yes, the Doctor, I must bring the Doctor."
She hesitated as she was closing the door. Could she leave them alone? A drunken father and a sick child. But there was no other recourse, and emerging into the open air she proceeded rapidly along the street in the direction of Dr. Aldway's office. Fortunately he was at home. Explaining her wishes, she started upon her return, and had nearly reached the house when she encountered Matthew Riley. His sinister face was more than ordinarily forbidding, and a low chuckling laugh issued from his grinning mouth, as her progress was involuntarily arrested. "
Your husband is out late to-night, Mrs. Kane?"
"How do you know that?"
"Wives have to sit up late when Dwyvilie Hurdy nabs their mates."
"What! the leader of the press gang? "
"Ye'll find it out, soon enough, pretty dame."
"Tell me, monster, have the press gang been after Robert Kane?"
"Monster, indeed! yes, they have, and it's a sore head Mr. Kane will have the morrow on board the king's ship. Dwyvilie Hurdy don't let his stick fall upon the heads of his victims for nothing."
"Dear Robert, how have I wronged you!" exclaimed Mary, as she sped onwards.
Throwing open the door, she knelt by his side. "Robert, Robert, look up; forgive me, say that you forgive me, only say that, and I will be happy."
The sufferer breathed heavily, but made no response.
"He will die, I am sure he will die," sobbed Mary,'" and I wronged him so. Dear Robert, wake up, only say that you forgive me."
He opened his eyes, and a thrill, of anguish darted through her frame as she saw they were lead-like.
Footsteps were heard mounting the staircase, and the Doctor entered the room.
He looked upon the form of Kane.
"What, honest Robert intoxicated?" he said in a low voice.
"No, no, not that, I was guilty of harboring the thought. He has been in the hands of the press-gang."
"So, so, and they inflicted a blow here, is it not so?"
He parted the hair upon the forehead.
"Yes, here it is, and an ugly cut too. Don't cry. I trust it is nothing serious."
"Then why don't he awaken from that stupor?"
"The functions of the brain are suspended by the blow. Bring me a bowl; I must bleed him."
With that perfect reliance upon the doctor, which is so often witnessed, she obeyed his directions, and with blanched cheeks saw him tighten the cord upon the arm; but averted her face as the polished steel entered the vein. The dark blood flowed slowly at first, and then, as the body began to reassume its powers, the crimson tide spouted forth from the stalwart arm.
The sleeper opened his eyes and asked for water.
"I am much better now," he said.
Mary pressed his hand in silence.
"Has the Doctor seen Henry?"
"What, another sick person? why, this has been a day of wrongs!"
"Has Henry been abused too?" asked the father, quickly.
"Come, Mr. Kane, you must remain quiet. He is not dangerously hurt, and you will both be better to-morrow. You must keep them quiet during the night, and I will call early in the morning."
The next day Mary told her husband all that had occurred during his absence, and learned from him, that returning home at the usual hour, he was attacked by the press-gang, under the leadership of Hurdy. After a desperate resistance, during which he was knocked down, he was bound and carried to the Thames. He managed, however, to make his escape, and eluding his pursuers, reached his home—that castle in which the most humble of England's subjects are sovereigns.
"But there is no safety for us here, Mary," he continued.
"Where shall we go?" she anxiously inquired.
"Any where, rather than be torn from you and our little ones. To leave you to starvation, perhaps to insult, if not dishonor? The thought is too horrible."
"But have you no plan for the future? Have you no idea in what direction to escape?"
"I have thought," he said in a low voice, "we had better seek the friendly shores of America."
"And leave England forever? "
"What have we received from England but ill treatment?”
"But here we were born; here repose the ashes of my father and mother; here lies buried the dead body of our first child; and here, too, are my brothers and sisters." She wept at the thought of a separation from every tie that bound her to the land of her nativity.
"Yes, but Mary, look upon the other side of the picture; nothing but wrongs here; a happy home with no one to make us afraid in the United States. One of my cousins has been there several years. He has now a farm of his own, and he writes to me that they are happy and contented."
"Well, Robert, I am willing to do anything that you think best," replied Mary, as she wiped the tears from her eyes and smoothed down her white apron.
"Thank you, dear Mary, and now you have said that, I will frankly tell you that during the long hours of the past night I have pondered upon the subject, and have come to the conclusion to leave England at once."
"Yes, there is no time for delay. We cannot tell how soon I may be again seized by the press-gang."
"Oh, let us go at once, then," she exclaimed eagerly."
"I have enough money to pay for a steerage passage, and if the voyage is not too long, the supply of provisions which I shall be able to buy will be sufficient to prevent us from suffering much for want of food. When once we get to the United States I can earn enough to keep you all comfortable, and to educate the children." Mary's face brightened at his cheering words.
"I am willing, Robert. We will go as soon as you please. Shall you visit your brother and mother?"
"I would gladly do so, but the necessity of leaving England at once is too pressing to admit of delay——what was that?" he whispered, proceeding towards the door. His cheek turned a shade paler as he saw Riley moving stealthily from the door." In less than a week we must bid adieu to merry England," he said bitterly.
"Do I merit pangs like these,
That have cleft my heart in twain?
Must I, to the very Ices,
Drain thy bitter chalice, pain?"—morris.
There was no prospect of a harvesting day. The sky still looked threatening, and at short intervals the rain fell copiously. Christie Kane filled a portmanteau with provisions, and, accompanied by Phelim Savor, started in his gig for the western part of the Duke of Sunderland's estate, situated six miles distant.
"Phelim, what makes you always so cheerful?" inquired Christie Kane, abruptly.
"Is it me, maister Christie? "
"Och! plinty to ate, an' no care, I belave."
Christie was struck with the reply. He thought there was philosophy in it.
"Plenty to eat and no care," he said, musingly."
But suppose you did not have plenty to eat, Phelim?"
"By me sowl, but I belave in that case there would be a fierce struggle betwane natril good humor and rebillion."
"We are going where, I fear, we shall witness absolute want."
"Thin there is one matter of consolation to the parties interested. They will be the better plazed whin the temporary restriction is removed, and the supply is equal to the demand, as Sir William Belthoven said tother day to the independent fraymen."
"How is that?"
"You see, the Baronet was a candidate for mimbcr of Parliament, and so he made the fraymen—yez see they call them fray-men bekaze they fall upon others to bate knowledge into other's heads wid shellalaghs—an' he towld thim that it gav him uncommon satisfaction to address voters so remarkable for their intilli-gence as that same body of men tul whom he was at that moment spaking. Yez say, they are called wery intilligent becaze they don't begrudge the use of thim same shillalaghs. Whin they heard sich gintlemanly language from Sir William, all about their own wisdom, and sich like, they giv their hats a tirl and cheered untwil they got red in the face. When he had done justice to their mirits, he tould thim a heavy duty must be laid on foreign importations, so as to exclude them from our markets. Bad luck to his strange words, I didn't know what heavy duty meant, and so I axed a stout bit of a lad, who was a very intilligent frayman, for his scalp was cut in siveral places. He said I must ha' coomed from the koonty Clare, which he towld me was the greenest koonty of the Green Isle. 'Not know what heavy duty manes,' he cried in a voice so loud that Sir William paused, and all eyes were directed to me.
"Why, heavy duty means to attach something so weighty to the importations that they sink into the depths of the ocean," and don't land at all at all.
"The crowd chared, and Sir William smiled, and bowed graciously, and said: —
"A very good explanation, my intilligint frind."
"An' the person who was thus publicly complimented looked as wise as St. Pathrick, afther the small toad investment, and the fray-men tided their hats again, for they were plazed that Sir William appraciated their intilligence. Yez say people like to hear nice spaches all aboot their own good qualities, and especially their intilligence; it puts them in good humor directly, and makes thim feel decidedly comfortable."
"Well, what more did Sir William say?"
"Afther he had done justice to the frayman wid the cut head, he towld us—for having obtained the valuable bit of information about the heavy duty, I considered meself a frayman in embree—he towld us that a heavy duty would exclude—sink thim, mind ye—
foreign provisions, and thin the supply would be less thin the demand, which would make the price of food very high. An' thin the fraymen twirled their hats agin, for yez say they had provisions to sell. At that moment some unlucky divil said, ' that if it was to increase the price of food, thin he for one, was fernenst heavy duties.' Ye ought to hiv been there thin. Och! but didn't they hustle out the ' Paddy whack,' as they called him. 'Is it the likes of yez that'll ba afther expressing an opinion? Sure an' you hiv no vote, onyhow, an' what business is it of yez whether provisions is high or low.' Two or three brawny divils flourished their shillalaghs over me own head, and axed me did I endorse the treasonable sentiments of me ignorant coonthryman. I towld thim I had inflexible confidence in hivy duties. An' thin they said I might hiv the binefit of Sir William's spach. But Sir William was determined to be universally popular, an' so he towld thim to listen to his explanation, which was to the effect that if provisions did become higher, thim's as had praties and whate to sell would be plazed, and thim as had to buy, would hiv sich excellent appetites, be razon of the scarcity, that they would relish amazingly what they did git to ate. An' thin the fraymen, an' the 'Paddy whack,' an' mesell, tirled our hats. Some gintleman, who was sated fernenst Sir William, on the stand, laughed an' towld him he explained that matter beautifully. An' his benevolent countenance was covered wid smiles too : an' then I exclaimed, begorra, nis honor's an illigant spaker. The gintleman smiled agin, but the frayman wid the cut head thumped me in the ribs, and towld me not, to spake agin untwil I was axed, an' so I—"
"This is the house, Phelim," interrupted Christie Kane, and they alighted from the gig.
Passing through a narrow wicket gate, the lower hinge of which was broken, they approached the door of a hut. It was scarcely twelve feet square, and a bank of dirt encircled the outside to the height of four or five feet. The dilapidated thatch roof was elevated about two feet above the bank, and, between the two, was an aperture—it could not be called a window, because there was no glass—for the admission of light and air. The entrance to the hovel was reached by mounting three steps, and as Christie Kane ascended, he saw the miserable apology for a cellar was tenanted by a very weakly pig. In the corner of the hut was a filthy straw bed lying on .the floor, upon which the water was dripping from the thatch. The room—for there was but one—was entirely destitute of furniture, save one chair with three legs.
With folded arms Christie Kane contemplated the objects of destitution around him. Upon the straw bed was the skeleton form of a little girl, some eight years of age, whose wan cheeks and sunken eyes, betrayed the effects of hunger and disease. Her lips were dry and cracked, the eyes were bright and restless, and the body emaciated to such a degree, that the bones protruded from the skin.
"Be me sowl, but this is too bad, intirely," said Phelim, in a low voice, while big tears rolled down his cheeks.
The wistful glance of the tortured child rested upon the port-
manteau, while her fleshless fingers played convulsively with the ragged bed-clothes.
"Ye needn't be coming after the rent, for it's nothing you can get but the pig below, and ye'll have to carry him away, for he can't walk," said the mother, in a cracked voice. It was evident her sensibilities were deadened by suffering.
"You mistake the object of our visit, good woman,'' said Christie.
"Although poor ourselves, we come to commiserate, if we cannot relieve."
"Well, it's all the same to us now. Little Mary can't live long," replied the woman, with a look of hopeless despondency.
"Do not say that," exclaimed the young man. " She cannot, she must not starve to death, in a country which boasts of its wealth, power, and philanthropy. It would be too horrible."
"I tell you it is too late," said the female, sternly. "Not all the wealth of the avaricious Duke of Sunderland could now preserve the life of that victim."
"Hush, you will alarm her."
"Not at all, she is as willing to die as I am to part with her. Her form is too weak to suffer any more."
"My God! I cannot endure this!" burst from the lips of Kane.
"Then you are more tender hearted than our landlord."
"Does the Duke know of your condition? " eagerly inquired Christie.
"Of course. Lord Melville, his son, came here with the steward yesterday, accompanied by a distress officer, but it's very little they found to seize, except the pig, and he couldn't stand."
"But surely Lord Melville relieved your wants."
''Hoot! you must have lost your senses. He told the officer to turn us out of the hut. But the steward, as unfeeling as he is was shocked at the proposition, and so they left Mary to die in peace."
"May the divil get the unfaling spalpeen," cried Phelim, whose good nature was not proof against such atrocities.
"Mother," said the child, faintly; and she pointed to the portmanteau.
"The darlint little crater shall hiv something to ate amadately," said Phelim, as he hastily opened the leather-bag.
She turned her eyes away with an expression of utter hopelessness, as she felt that the nourishment, which a few days before would have been so eagerly seized, the stomach now loathed. Her glance fell again, but mechanically, upon the portmanteau, and then she whispered, "Mother," with more earnestness, for she saw a bowl of fresh and delicious blackberries.
"Ah! that may prove a welcome present," said the woman, more gently.
The little, wan face seemed to brighten as her look followed the movements of her mother while she pressed the juice from the berries, mixed it with water, and sweetened it. An expression, almost of happiness, overspread her pale and attenuated features, as the female raised her head and applied the grateful beverage to her parched lips. But as she swallowed one draught, she coughed vio-
lently, the lower jaw dropped, the eyes closed, the pallor of the countenance deepened, the rattle was heard in her throat—she was dead.
Loud laughter was heard in the highway. Christie turned to the door with a frowning brow, as if he would rebuke unseemly merriment. It was a party of equestrians convoyed by Lord Melville.
Their laughter mingled with the sob of the mother, and the last moan of the dying child.
"Proud and boastful government, unequal and tyrannical laws, exacting and unfeeling aristocracy, may the trenchant blade of truth lance thy canting hypocrisy, and expose thy unblushing wrongs!" said Christie Kane, as his eyes followed the receding horsemen.
Heart-broken sobs burst from the bosom of the mother. It was evident, notwithstanding the willingness she had manifested to have her child relieved from suffering, that now the link was severed which bound her to her offspring, the uneffaceable strength of a mother's love would reassume its dominion over her feelings. She laid her down upon the homely bed, and adjusted her body and limbs with a tenderness which the living form could have felt without pain; and then, falling upon her knees, with the hand of the dead clasped within her own, she wept long and violently.
Christie waited until the first outburst of grief had subsided, and, then he uttered the words of consolation.
"Oh! if you only knew," said the wretched mother, wiping the scalding tears from her cheeks, "how her poor father, and I almost worshipped her when she was an infant—-what happy, hours we passed watching over her cradle, for we were then well off. How often he came during the day to look at her, for he said he was afraid to touch her with his big hands. And then when she grew to be a little toddling girl, and could run about the room, with what gentleness he raised her to his knees, and how patiently he taught her to lisp her first words. I am sure when he comes home—if he ever does come—and finds she is dead, it will break his heart; I am sure it will," and the poor creature cried as though her own heart was breaking.
"Where is your husband? Why is he not here to aid you in the hour of affliction?"
"Alas! sir, he cannot return. Three years ago we were happy. We had a small house in London, and my husband, by his industry, obtained a comfortable living. One evening he did not return at the hour when I always expected him. The minutes flew by. Mary cried, for her father always petted her before she was placed in her little bed. Midnight, morning came, still he was absent; I had not closed my eyes during the long hours of darkness. I started forth in search of him, but when I reached the next street, I met an acquaintance. He was terribly cut about the head. The truth at once flashed like fire through my brain. My husband had been seized by a press-gang! The wounded man informed me that as my husband and himself were returning home, having been unavoidably detained until after dark, they were beset by a press again. They resisted stoutly; but my husband's right arm was broken, and then he was knocked down. In piteous accents he
implored them to release him. He told them he had an unprotected wife and a helpless child at home, who would he reduced to beggary, perhaps to starvation, if he was forced away. They replied with derisive laughter, and told him that his wife would console herself with another lover, and his child would find another protector. On his knees he supplicated; but, they answered him with scoffs. At last he implored them only to suffer him to bid his wife and child a last farewell. Enraged at his pertinacity, one of them dealt him a heavy blow upon the head, and he was borne insensible on board ship. The other sought an opportunity, when the attention of the gang was directed elsewhere, and by a powerful effort made his escape. But my poor husband was less fortunate, for I have never seen him since."
"Have you never heard from him?" inquired Christie, deeply affected by the tale of woe.
"Only once. He was then attached to one of her Majesty's regiments in the East."
"An unwilling victim, pouring out his blood as an offering to the Moloch of insatiate ambition!"
"We remained in London until we were reduced to beggary, in the hope he would return; for I looked forward to that event, oh so anxiously. Then I saw the cheeks of my darling—his darling, Mary, becoming pale and thin, and we left London; and hearing there was employment here, we came down to the Duke of Sunderland's estate. Bitterly have I repented the step. For eighteen months we have existed in this hut. My exertions alone could not keep us from want; and Mary, at the lender age of seven years, began, to turn the wheel. I tried to have her task lightened; but they required her to work from five in the morning until nine at night, sixteen hours, or else to give up the situation. I told them it would kill her. They answered it was not their fault; they could not change their regulations; the precedent would be a bad one. The dear child saw that labor and anxiety had enfeebled my frame, and with the most touching devotion she insisted upon performing her daily work, until over-exertion in the performance of labor too great for her strength, brought on an attack of sickness. I could not leave her side; and then commenced that pinching want, which gradually increased to starvation. Aye, to starvation! Do you know what that means?" she inquired, with a look of wildness. "Starvation! that yearning for food until you feel that your frame is in the grasp of dissolution—that horrible torture of the nerves and fibres, the bones, and sinews of the body, as though about to be severed by mortal agony! It is too, too frightful for contemplation."
The poor creature started to her feet, and staggered wildly around the room.
At length she became more calm, and seating herself by the wretched pallet, gazed upon the wan features of the dead.
"It is better that she is relieved from suffering. Her whole life would have been one of toil and hardship. Yes, yes, I am glad she is dead!—glad she is dead! But what will her father say? Oh, the thought is horrible!"
And again the foundations of her grief were broken up, and the tears streamed down her checks, while her body moved backward and forward in the intensity of woe.
Christie, Kane saw that consolation could avail nothing, and promising to make arrangements for the burial of the child, left some food, and emerged from the hut.
As he entered the gig he saw Lady Katharine Montague seated upon a horse, some twenty rods down the road. She appeared to be looking for some person, and beckoned to Christie, as soon as her eyes rested upon him. Without regarding the signal, he wheeled his horse, in the opposite direction.
"See, yon lady wants yez," observed Phelim.
"I care not if she does. If I am poor, I am not a lacquey."
"Ah! but maister Christie, she may be in danger."
On the instant the horse was turned, and they rapidly approached the lady. Phelim sprang to the ground, and touching his hat, placed his hand upon the rein of her horse, while young Kane sat erect in the gig. She tossed a small portmanteau, which hung upon the frame of her saddle, to Phelim, and then sprang lightly to the earth.
"Thank you, my good man. Take charge of these horses until my return. Here,'' she continued, turning to Christie, " take the portmanteau, if you please, and come with me."
The hot blood mantled the cheek of Christie as he replied quickly,
"I am neither your father's tenant nor the footman of your ladyship."
She gazed at him a moment with a look of surprise, and then a glance of approval flashed across her features.
"Tie the bridle of my horse to the fence," she said, addressing Phelim. "If your master, if such he be, is too proud to aid me in a mission of charity, he will not be so ungenerous as to refuse me your aid."
"I beg your pardon for misjudging your intentions. Here, Phelim, take charge of both horses. Your ladyship may command my services."
"Then take up the portmanteau."
Passing over the stile she entered the narrow path. Raising the folds of her apparel, so as to prevent the rich and spotless material from coming in contact with the grass and weeds which surrounded the way, she disclosed the exquisitely shaped limbs where they tapered into the well booted, small Norman feet. Sinner as he was, Christie Kane could not withdraw his gaze from those little feet, as they quickly but noiselessly touched the ground, as she rapidly proceeded, only pausing to gather up her clothes as the obstructions of the pathway loosened them in her grasp. The lady was extremely modest, only her companion was far below her in rank, and her thoughts dwelt upon her mission.
Passing through a portion of the Duke of Sunderland's park, they emerged into a small country thoroughfare, upon the wayside of which several small huts were situated. Grateful voices welcomed Katharine Montague; children ran out from each of the
houses to kiss her, hand, while some of them pressed their tips to her dress. Several aged persons clasped their hands, while tears of joy coursed down their furrowed cheeks. Even some emaciated dogs staggered forward, wagging their tails, and whining, to express their pleasure at the approach of the maiden.
"Will you open the portmanteau? "
"Certainly," responded Christie.
From its ample store each person was supplied, and even the curs were not forgotten. She now beckoned Christie to follow her. They entered the most, wretched of the hovels. There were two rooms upon the ground floor, if, indeed, that could he called a floor which was only misshapen boards with wide crevices between them, made by the touch of time. The rude door was opened, and Katharine Montague entered the first room.
"Many, many thanks to your ladyship," said the weak voice of a female. "I am grateful to you for your kindness; indeed I am.”
"You are better?"
"I feel like a different person since I eat the food you brought me."
"Very well; here is something still more nourishing. How is the occupant of the next room? ”
"He was able to go out in search of work, though I fear it's little he'll get for it. But there is a still more distressed object down yonder."
"What! in the cellar?"
"Yes, ma'am. He rented the apartment yesterday, and to-day he has a raging fever."
"The apartment!" muttered Kane, bitterly.
"We will descend; give me a light."
The woman obeyed, and delivered the candlestick into the hand of the maiden.
They descended the damp and mouldy stairway, which possessed scarcely sufficient strength to support their weight. The cellar was dimly lighted by an open space beneath the sill of the house, but it was too indistinct to enable the visitors to discover the dweller of the miserable abode of wretchedness, without the aid of the candle. Their attention was attracted to the corner of the cellar by the quick, short breathing, and restless motions of the sick man. He had rolled from his rotten bed of straw, and lay upon the cold, damp earth. His feet were in a pool of stagnant water, upon whose slimy surface there was a dark green coating. His head rested by another festering and loathsome pool, from the border of which several toads leaped sluggishly away as Katharine Montague and Christie Kane approached. In his delirium, the sufferer quenched his raging thirst in this fetid and putrid mass.
The cheek of the lady grew pale, her head swam round, and she would have fallen had not Christie sprang forward to her assistance. In a moment she rallied, and passing her hand across her brow as if to dispel, an unpleasant dream, when her sight again rested upon the stern and terrible reality.
"Such are the fruits of an accursed system," said Christie Kane, as he raised the form of the unconscious man and placed
him upon the miserable pallet. His eyes met the glance of the maiden. Perhaps, as one of the class who exist upon corporal and mental agony, she felt herself justly accused, for her eyes fell.
Kane turned moodily away.
The mind of the sick man wandered. He spoke at first mutteringly, and then his fevered thoughts became more connected.
"Ah! that's it," he said. " The vast mass; the physical power of this empire are no longer to be crushed into the earth. They are going to do us justice! yes, sir, they have found out that we can suffer. Thank God, for teaching them that we are human beings, as well as themselves. And now they are enlightened upon this important subject, they voluntarily right our wrongs. Ain't they generous?"
He muttered incoherently for a few moments, and then he exclaimed, vehemently—
"I tell you, I am not mistaken. I have reflected too long, suffered too long, to be mistaken. Can you not see for yourself? Look yonder! The magnificent hunting grounds attached to the domain of Sunderland are now fields of waving grain. No not all, for he has been suffered to retain—1et me see—ten acres for a park. But the remainder, instead of feeding worthless deer, and affording cruel sport to hunter, horse, and bound, will now feed those who are starving. So courage, friends—courage, brave friends; our sufferings will soon be over. They are, indeed, terrible; oh, almost too terrible for human endurance."
The sick man pressed his band upon his side, and then in the delirium of his fever inflicted a heavy blow upon his forehead.
"They cannot last. See, the grain assuming a golden hue, waves in the breeze as I loved to see it in infancy. How deliciously it smells. Let me see: That field of grain will be ready for the sickle in one week. In one day more it can be cut down; then it will take one day—-will one day be enough? —yes, if it is a fair day, it will be dry enough to thresh. But suppose it should rain? Ha! ha! that would be delightful; delightful to persons starving. Ha! ha! ha! how merry it would make them. Ho! ho! ho! By the gods, it's too funny." The dreary abode rang with maniacal laughter, but suddenly assuming a serious look, he continued—
"There would even then be one cause for congratulation, we should have water, yes water. The earth would no longer be parched with thirst, I could then wet my fevered lips. Thank Heaven! There is a cloud even now. See, it grows darker and darker; but Father of Mercy! can it withstand, much more overspread, that painfully lurid and scorching sky? It pales before the intense heat, it will be consumed. No! no! by heaven, no. It struggles bravely. Noble, gallant cloud, move on! Now it spreads out its dark wings like an army with banners. Hark! listen to the roar of cannon; the rattle of muskets; the neighing of steeds. Let me buckle on my sword and once more join my regiment. Alas! I am too weak. But I can witness the conflict. Now they are moving hitherward. Take care; the enemy is crowding his legions upon your left wing. Fool, fool! reinforce it, or he will cut you
off in detail. Ah, that was well done. Glorious! Now follow it up with another charge. How the cannons roar! It is music— sweet music. Blood is poured out like rain; see, the earth is saturated with its crimson tide. It forms a rivulet. If it would only flow this way I could quench my raging thirst. It does! it does! Nearer, nearer, here it is. Thank God!"
He crawled eagerly in the direction of the putrid water. As Christie Kane arrested his movements, he struggled fiercely, but soon, overcome with exhaustion, sunk upon the ground. A sob burst from the aching bosom of Katharine Montague.
She pointed to the portmanteau. Kane eagerly searched its ample folds, and drew forth a bottle of cordial. Raising the head of the sick man he applied the grateful beverage to his lips. With a convulsive start he pressed it for a long time to his month, and then sunk back, while a calm smile played upon his fevered countenance.
"The man has seen better days, but poverty is a remorseless leveller," said Christie Kane in a low voice.
The feelings of the spirited girl were subdued in the presence of such horrors.
"What shall we do for this poor fellow?" she inquired.
Young Kane's heart thrilled as her melting eyes rested upon him.
"He must be removed from this loathsome spot, and receive medical assistance."
"Yes, and at once," she responded energetically.
Giving directions to the occupant of the room above to watch over the sufferer, she retraced her steps to the place where she had left her horse in the charge of Phelim. Suddenly halting in her progress, she confronted Christie Kane with the bearing of an accuser.
"You scan with a sharpened vision, each fault of the aristocracy; what excuse can you offer for the brutal conduct of those people who permitted a human being to toss upon the damp earth without an attempt to alleviate his sufferings? "
"Their exculpation is found in the fact that their sensibilities have been brutalized by the aristocracy. Brutalized, because it was necessary to gratify their inordinate vanity," replied Kane, with an unflinching gaze.
Katharine Montague pondered upon the reply a few moments, and then she resumed her walk. Arriving at the stile, she mounted her horse, and bestowing some pieces of silver upon Phelim, galloped rapidly away, without recognizing the existence, even, of her late companion.
Christie Kane gazed after her, until her form was concealed by the foliage of the wood.
"Be me sowl, she is a beautiful and ginerous lady, thot same, and long life tul her," exclaimed Phelim, as his eyes wandered from her receding form, to the silver, before he consigned the latter to his pocket. "It's well there is two, to keep each other company, for its few of the likes of yez that iver pay a visit to the pockets of Phalim Savor, onyhow. An' ye needn't ba afeerd of mating
wid an inimy of another color. Begorra, the Pace Society might rist from their labors if foes were as scarce outer dooers as these bits of siller in the breeches pockets of Mr. Savor. Fur the matter o' that, I might as well have no pockets at all at all, ony its better to ba afther kaping up apparances, like the rest of the world; though if there was as little rayson fur thim same apparances, in gineral, as there is fur mesell hiring pockets, the world is beautifully humbugged, onyhow, don't yez think so, Maister Christie? "
But Kane suffered the observations of Mr. Savor to pass unheeded, and bidding him enter the gig, proceeded homewards, muttering, sotto voce, "She is a haughty maiden, but she may find me as proud as herself."
"Will no man throttle him, once for all? "—Schiller.
"What kind of a country is America, ma?" inquired Henry Kane, when he had sufficiently recovered to be apprised of the contemplated emigration to the United States.
"The people are the sovereigns there."
"Is there no king? "
"Well, who abuses poor people there? "
"No one, Henry."
"Then I shall like America," he said, quietly. "But ma, who governs the people, for they must have rulers? "
"They chose their own public servants, as they call them."
"What does that mean? "
"Persons to make laws for them."
"Just as they wish them? "
"And will the press-gang ever seize father?"
"They have no press-gangs in the United States."
"I am sure I shall be happy there. Why don't all the poor people go to America? If they did, the nobility would have to wait upon themselves, and I think they wouldn't like that."
''They are emigrating by thousands, and more would doubtless go if they were not so poor, or if they were not so lamentably uneducated as to be ignorant of the advantages which a more favored country possesses."
"Does the English Government try to keep them in ignorance?"
"The government plays what is called a shrewd game. It manages to let out as many of our criminals as possible, and also the very poor from the impoverished districts, while it practises the most ingenious methods to retain the hardy and serviceable."
"That is cunning of John Bull, ain't it ma? But when shall we start. I am so anxious to go.”
"We shall know when your father returns; and here he is; come in, Robert, what success had you?"
His cheerful countenance bore evidence of flattering hopes.
"Phil Hogan says I shall have my money to-morrow."
"But can you rely upon his word? "
"He has never failed me yet."
"If he pays you, father, when can we leave this hateful place? " asked Henry.
"The day after."
"Oh, I shall be so happy," and he clapped his hands with joy.
With smiling faces, they commenced packing their little store in a substantial wooden box purchased by Kane; even little Dolly contributing her feeble aid, with troublesome zeal.
The next day Robert started for the money that was absolutely necessary to ensure the success of his plans. As he reached the hut, he saw Hurdy and Riley in conversation. They both regarded him with malicious eyes, and for a moment the strong man faltered beneath their glance. His agitation elicited a coarse laugh from the kidnapper.
Kane approached them.
"Have I injured you in any way, Mr. Hurdy?" he asked in a steady voice.
"I won't tell you."
"Why do you persecute me? Have you no compassion for the humble? You ought, for you belong to that class yourself."
"Aye, but I am not so humble as to work, Mr. Kane. I can live without that. He! he!"
''Because you live by means that none but a scoundrel would resort to," exclaimed Kane passionately.
"Very well; very well. You only strengthen a determination I had already formed, Mr. Kane; so be on your guard, Mr. Kane."
"Miscreant, you will find me prepared. It will be more than your carcass is worth to attack me again."
" We shall see; he! he! he! We shall see."
With frowning brows Robert strode onwards, inwardly resolving to inflict a terrible chastisement upon Hurdy if he molested him again. Arriving at the house of Hogan, he was excessively disappointed to learn that the money he expected to receive could not be paid for several days. This was the more vexatious because every hour's delay periled his liberty. It was, therefore, with a sad heart that he returned to his wife.
With that hope which is so firmly implanted in the female mind she attempted to reassure him.
"God will not desert us, Robert; I know he will not. We have injured no one, and we are only trying to escape from oppression; be assured, then, all will be right, yet. You incur no danger in the house, and they will not attempt to seize you in the day time. So we must wait patiently."
"But our limited means, Mary. We shall require them all to take us across the Atlantic. I would continue my employment, but it is so late when we are dismissed that it is dark before I can reach
"Then do not attempt it. It is better to suffer a little for the want of food than to lose a home where you will indeed enjoy freedom."
Slowly the days rolled away to this anxious family, but at last Robert returned with the much coveted money—that pitiful amount of dross, upon which was staked the happiness of five human beings. Rarely do those who are accustomed to the immunities of wealth think how much of joy or woe is periled for the want of what, to them, is the merest trifle. The importance of money is measured by necessity, and when that necessity is pressing in its demands, at what point will honesty wage an unequal conflict with crime? Let him who has been put to the test answer; none other can.
The final preparations had been made, and Robert Kane and his family were seated at their last supper in the city of London. Now the time for departure had arrived, all the recollections of the past crowded upon them. Memory, with a gentle hand, softened the hardships through which they had struggled, and gilded with a bright radiance the joys that had checkered their career. A subtle negotiator is memory, when it seeks to elevate the realities of the past above the dread uncertainties of the future; for it presents the beautiful outlines of an existence that is seldom entirely destitute of green spots, while the unseen terrors of that which, is to come are impressed upon the imagination with ineffaceable power. Life had been, however, to this humble family, chary of its favors, and with pleasant recollections, there was sprinkled too freely the
remembrance of suffering and wrong. It is true that a final separation from the presence of the living, and the ashes of dead, relatives, caused more than a temporary pang. But to them alone was paid the tribute of a tear. The municipal and social laws of England merited and received the bitterest execration. That which the privileged classes so often favor with their laudations, and with such offensive bigotry require others to endorse, was viewed by the Kanes, as it is by all who are not bribed to defend it by money or position, with the most intense disgust. If there is any one thing which becomes a subject of amusement to foreigners, more than another, when the transparent egotism of John Bull—we mean the well fed John Bull, if, indeed, it would not be considered a "bull" to intimate that a person pinched with hunger could represent that burly character—is displayed, with his hereditary vanity, it is the complacency with which, overlooking the misery that is plainly visible to the whole world beside, he congratulates himself upon the evidences of wealth and power which his country exhibits. With such ludicrous intentness are his eyes riveted upon these objects of his idolatry, that it is utterly impossible for him to see, much more to relieve, the world of human agony upon which rests the vast and hideous superstructure of British despotism. But while he invariably overlooks the suffering that is visible upon every square yard of the British Empire, he engages with characteristic zeal in the small business of pointing out the short-comings of his neighbors. He manifests at this game more than his accustomed malignity and tact. In short, John Bull, by his prying hab-
its, has acquired the reputation of being among nations what the musquito is to the insect tribe, always busy, never satisfied; and like that loquacious insect, no crevice is too small for him to enter while attempting to instil his poison. Such, at least, is the general reputation of John Bull among those who know him sufficiently well not to be deceived by his pretensions, or who do not suffer their judgment to be controlled by his own opinion of what constitutes a powerful, wealthy, and charitable people.
So far as his experience guided him, Robert Kane entertained these opinions. And it was, therefore, with a satisfaction greatly overbalancing regret that he severed the tie which, to him and his, had been fruitful of misfortune.
"And now, Mary, since we have concluded to start to-morrow, how do you feel?"
"Very happy, Robert."
"And you, Henry? "
"I shall never have to light any more to keep sis from being hurt."
"That seems to run in your head."
"Because the pain hazent left my head yet, I suppose."
The fond parents exchanged approving glances.
"And what says little Dolly? "
The little girl brushed away the drowsiness that began to settle upon her eyelids.
"I'se will go any where wid you, and ma, and Henry, and—and Frank Tot."
A knock was heard upon the door. Mary's cheek blanched, while the lines on Robert's brow deepened into an angry frown. Walking to the desk, he took from it a long dirk-knife, and inserted it in his bosom; and then, elevating his form to its full height, he said, in a stern voice,
The door creaked upon its hinges, and the round, jolly face of Hogan was seen. Robert's features relaxed.
"Welcome, Phil, I am delighted to see you."
A glad smile was Mary's only salutation; the reaction was too powerful for words.
''You leave to-morrow, Robert?"
"If no unforeseen difficulty prevents me."
"Will you have the kindness to walk over to Martin Lennon's; he wishes to send a message to his son."
" Oh no! no! he must not go into the street to-night," almost shrieked Mrs. Kane.
" Why not? Surely no harm can happen to him going the matter of half a dozen streets."
"To tell you the truth, Phil, I am fearful of being attacked by the press-gang."
"Oh, if that is the case, I will not insist. I would not have asked you to go over at all, only the old man seemed so very anxious to see you."
"Did he seem so?" asked Robert, musingly.
"Why did he not send a letter?"
"I axed him that, an' he said he was too old to write."
Mary, with parted lips, watched the thoughtful countenance of her husband.
"It is shameful that an Englishman, should be afraid to carry a message from an old soldier to his son. I will go."
Robert raised his head from his bosom, and, taking his hat, stood in the door-way.
"But dear, dear Robert, if any thing should happen to you, what will become of us?" and her eyes wandered to her children.
"Mary, that old man assisted me once, when I thought all mankind were my foes. He has but one son, who is now in the United States. If I can lighten the grief of the scarred veteran, and make his few remaining days happy, shall I hesitate to do so, because we apprehend, perhaps, imaginary dangers?"
The lip of his wife trembled, while she regarded him with tearful eyes.
"Father, I would do so much for the old soldier."
"You are right, my boy."
"But if they should—oh, if they should------"
She could say no more, for she burst into tears.
"Mary, don't cry; Phil will go with me, and I will return in half an hour. There, now, cheer up."
He encircled her waist with his arm, and pressed his lips to her own.
"Good-night, Mrs. Kane, I will see you off to-morrow."
"Good-night," she replied, sorrowfully, as she followed the receding form of Robert to the door; and as he left the house, she sank upon the floor overcome with apprehension.
Robert, accompanied by Hogan, proceeded rapidly towards the house of Martin Lennon. The streets were quiet and deserted, and there was no appearance of danger.
But Robert's departure had been observed by Matthew Riley; and with stealthy steps he descended into the street a few moments after the other left the house, and swiftly proceeded towards the head-quarters of Dwyville Hurdy and his band.
"I have him now," he muttered, with fiendish joy. "Fool that he was to venture out to-night. And I have him, too, just at the moment when he thinks he will escape me."
"What—are you talking about ship-mate!" exclaimed a gruff voice, whose language was accented by drunkenness.
"About nothing that interests you," replied Riley as he attempted to pass the other upon the narrow side-walk.
"Heave to and show your colors, or I'll stave in your bulwarks," retorted the seaman, as, steadying himself with great difficulty, he prepared to exercise a little of that "wholesome discipline," to which, having been freely subjected himself, he felt at liberty to practice upon all the queen's subjects who happened to be under sail at that late hour.
"I tell you to let me pass or I will call the police."
"Avast there, comrade, don't you know that martial law is sup-
su-supe-su-pe-re-er to civil law. I leave to, and run up yer colors or I'll sink yer."
"Let me pass, you drunken beast," cried Riley fiercely.
"Boarders, to the assault," shouted the sailor.
Poising his huge frame for an attack, totally unexpected by Riley, he hurled himself forward, rather than aimed a blow, and his fists coming in contact with the stomach of that individual, he was doubled up, and before he could regain his natural attitude, he came violently in contact with a lamp post. The sailor would have been seriously injured in his fall upon the sidewalk, but for the relaxed condition of his frame; a circumstance to which all inebriates, as well as opossums, are indebted for an exemption from broken bones.
With endeavors that appeared for some time of doubtful success, the sailor attempted to regain his feet, but seeing the difficulty of accomplishing that desirable object without the aid of extraneous assistance, he scratched his head, and setting his hat firmly upon his brows, proceeded to "take possession of the disabled craft," as he called the insensible form of Riley. To that end he crawled along upon his hands and knees, and pulling out a flaming handkerchief turned Riley over, and commenced binding his arms to his side.
''You see the victor always runs up his own colors, messmate, so you will be after excusing me for displaying this little bit of bunting."
Riley slowly returned to consciousness, and at length fixed his eyes upon the sailor with a perfect recollection of what had taken place. Retaining a firm grasp upon the handkerchief, the sailor addressed his captive with the confidence of a man who had performed a brilliant exploit.
"Steady, ho! Don't remain any longer upon your beam ends. Right yourself, man. There now, hoist my sheet anchor; the wind is fair, heave away! You see, I'm not the first heavy craft that's run aground in following a light one into shoal water."
"Now I hope you are satisfied. Let me go."
"Not so fast, I must take you into port. You'll make a handy little craft for the cabin."
"What, you don't mean to say you are going to impress me," shrieked Riley, appalled at the fate he was endeavoring to inflict upon Kane.
"Call it what you like, landlubber, though in seaman's phrase it is known as making use of a prize, so come along."
"But I have a helpless family at home who are dependent upon me for bread," said Riley, as the cold sweat gathered upon his forehead.
"Shall we try it yard-arm and yard-arm again," said the sailor, squaring himself.
"Oh, no, not that," replied the other, shivering with terror.
"Then let me bring you into port."
The old salt reeled along the sidewalk, and at every lurch hauled Riley after him. The latter individual, now almost palsied
with fright, cast eager glances around in hope of a rescue, but no footsteps fell upon the pavement except their own.
At length a thought flashed upon his mind. He had often heard of the liberality of sailors.
"Come," he said, coaxingly, "you will not take me on board ship without treating me?"
The sailor arrested his footsteps, and in gaining an equilibrium the form of Mr. Riley was made to swing back and forth like the vibrations of a pendulum.
"For a small craft what a lurch you have, shipmate. Treat you? To be sure I will, if I have any money left. Let me overhaul the old chest. I gave that soldier one crown; his pretty daughter another. By the shade of Columbus, her build is beautiful. I spent another at the Ball and Anchor, and I had four, so there ought to be another amidships."
Releasing his hold upon Riley, he was attempting to find the crown that, perhaps, existed only in his imagination, when his prisoner suddenly darted away and ran swiftly down the street.
Only for a moment astounded by the audacity of the escape, the sailor gave chase.
"Heave to! how dare you set sail from beneath my very guns. I'll pour a broadside into you. Heave to! heave to!"
But the sailor ran awkwardly, and with legs wide apart so as to meet any sudden lurch of the earth. In the meantime Riley turned down first one street and then another with such rapidity that at last he disappeared altogether.
The sailor, completely baffled, drew up against a post.
"I'll rest here for a fresh breeze. Did any one ever see a prize 'cut out' more beautifully; and if the piratical villain has not cleaned me of my last crown well, he deserves it, for, by the shade of Columbus, it was handily done."
Matthew Riley, notwithstanding his narrow escape from imminent peril, felt no commiseration for Robert Kane; on the contrary, he was prompted by a fiendish impulse to lead him on to that doom, the mere contemplation of which had palsied his own heart with terror.
With heaving chest and trembling limbs Riley entered the room where Hurdy could usually be found.
"Where is Hurdy?" he inquired, eagerly.
"Gone to Fletcher's."
"Hell and furies! was ever any thing so unfortunate. Here, release my arms. There may yet be time;" and he rushed into the street.
Courage! noble, generous Kane, there is still hope for you!
He had received the message of the aged soldier with a promise to deliver it, and was retracing his steps homeward, having assured Hogan that his presence would not be required. His heart bounded with that strange delight which is rarely felt, and then only when some great success is the reward of an enterprise, upon which doubt serves to rivet our hopes with greater intentness.
So absorbingly did his thoughts dwell upon the picture, that he failed to observe the crowd that was gathering around him. One
by one they dropped into the street from before and behind, from each dark alley, or more public thoroughfare, until, as he stood motionless, he was surrounded by a dark, and evidently a hostile group. Conspicuous among them he recognized the face of Dwyville Hurdy, from whose solitary eye gleamed an expression of ferocious joy, while across the way stood the scoundrel who had, betrayed him. For a few moments they glared upon their victim. Kane paused like a stag at bay, and then aware that his only chance of escape was to act on the offensive, he drew his dirk and bounded forward. Knowing that to shed blood where none but perjured villains could witness the provocation was almost as much to be dreaded as to be overpowered in the conflict, he endeavored to force a passage without using his weapon. Three of the gang were hurled to the ground by his muscular arm, and but one foe opposed his flight, when the powerful grasp of Hurdy was laid upon his shoulder; the dirk was wrested from his grasp, and he stood powerless in the midst of his enemies.
"Men! men! why do you hunt me like a beast? I am flesh and blood like yourselves; for God's sake let me return to my wife and children. They will starve without me."
The only response to this appeal was a roar of laughter.
"I implore you, in the name of your mothers, of your sisters, of your wives, to release me. If you only knew the agony that my poor, dear, helpless wife will feel when she hears of my fate, I am sure, oh, I am very sure, you would release me."
"Tush, man, don't bellow so. I'll take your wife under my protection."
Again a coarse laugh, accompanied by rude jests, rang upon the night air.
"Merciful heaven! is our fate indeed so terrible?" groaned Robert, in the anguish of his heart.
The sound of wheels was heard approaching, and by the light of the moon Robert saw a liveried driver seated upon the box. A faint hope that one of the aristocracy might have a greater respect for what that class are so fond of calling the rights of Englishmen, than the fiends in whose clutches he found himself, prompted Kane stoutly to resist the attempt to force him into a dark alley leading from the street.
The resistance aroused to desperation the angry passions of the gang.
"Kill him if he will not yield," shouted Hurdy, as he leveled a blow with a heavy cane which fell upon the side of Robert's head with such force that the blood gushed from a long cut in the temple. He staggered under the effects of the blow, and came down upon one knee.
"Will that make you go quietly?" exclaimed Hurdy, savagely.
"My wife, one more struggle for my wife!" and with a mighty effort he shook off his assailants and reached the carriage.
"Oh, Lord Melville! thank God it is you! I know your lordship will save me."
"I don't know you, fellow; you are impertinent," replied his lordship, mincingly.
"But let me wipe the blood from my face; there, you recollect me now; I am the brother of Christie Kane, your father's tenant."
"Then to hell with you, as well as your brother," said Melville, fiercely.
"But mercy, have mercy, my lord; my wife—" "Drive on, Hartman."
"She will die—:"
"On! on!" screamed his lordship.
"What an obstinate brute!" yelled Hurdy. "But may perdition seize me if I do not subdue you." Again the staff descended upon Robert's devoted head, and this time it fell upon the scarcely healed wound he had received a few days before. Human nature could endure no more, and the poor fellow sunk powerless to the earth. Raising him in their arms they bore him to the Thames, where he was taken on board a small government craft and heavily ironed. Thus were crushed the bright hopes of liberty and protection which that humble family had so fondly cherished. And yet such aggravated cases of human woe are never alluded to by those who are always boasting of the bliss enjoyed by the inhabitants of merry England!
There was a solitary person near the scene of the late conflict. Matthew Riley was still gloating over the recollection of human suffering. So intense was his delight that he could not tear himself from the spot, and he rubbed his hands and chuckled gleefully. Suddenly he was aroused by a heavy hand that grasped his shoulder. The marrow in his rattling bones seemed to crawl as he cowered beneath the glance of the sailor.
"I've overhauled you, shipmate, after a long starn chase, and this time I will take care that you don't escape under convoy of my good nature. And first of all, I will release your hold of the crown you piratically took from me. Yes, here it is. You not only escaped with arms, but captured prize money."
Riley saw from the determined manner of the sailor, who was now sober, that remonstrance would be useless, and with bloodshot eyes and hueless features, submitted to his fate.
"You have only to serve his majesty faithfully for three years, and then if there is no necessity for your services, and you fight gallantly, or are killed, or so maimed as to be unserviceable, perhaps you won't be wanted any longer. So cheer up, messmate. Lord love you, I have been pressed into the service three times. First it went hard, as it. will with you, mayhaps. But avast there, you will get accustomed to it, and like it, too. And they have such wholesome discipline; the beating which seemed to give you so much pleasure a few minutes ago, is nothing to it."
"To be sure the officers break heads sometimes in moments of passion; but the genteel way, and one which they enjoy the most, because it requires no exercise—nothing but calm, placid delight— is to see the skin of the sailor cut and mangled by the cat. It often happens during a voyage, and sometimes when it is deserved. My back has been cut into every kind of shape, and I have the satis-
faction of knowing that, although the operation has been performed seven times, it was merited twice. That's some gratification. They didn't lacerate my skin them times for nothing, anyhow;" and the old salt chuckled gleefully. "But here we are on the bank of the Thames."
"Will you, oh! will you release me?"
"Avast! shipmate, I might have let your wretched craft escape before the wind if you had not stole my money under the false flag of good fellowship! Even that I might have forgiven, if you had not proved yourself so destitute of feeling when that gallant fellow begged so hard for his wife and children. In then with you, and thank yourself at the prospect of the world being rid of such a monster through the agency of a cannon-ball or boarding-pike. Into the boat with you."
The terror that had appalled the craven heart of the coward faded before the feelings of shame and rage that took possession of his soul as he found himself in the presence of Robert Kane, like him heavily ironed and strictly guarded.
" A troop of tull horsemen! how fearless they ride!
'Tis a perilous path o'er that steep mountain side."—nead
A succession of stormy days utterly ruined the wheat crops of Christie Kane. This misfortune destroyed all prospects of paying the rent, and there was no other recourse but ejectment from the premises. This was a hard fate, because Christie Kane had exerted his energies to the utmost for the purpose of keeping a home for his mother. Now, hope had abandoned him, for he expected in a few days to be turned houseless and homeless upon the world. Not a result to be much dreaded by a young man with a strong frame and a stout heart, but to be feared as a calamity when a female relies upon him for shelter and support. Christie Kane became more gloomy and morose, notwithstanding the taunts of his mother and the cheerful sallies of Phelim Savor, whose good humor was unconquerable. A settled conviction had fastened itself upon his mind that the political and moral structure of the English government and society was all wrong. He felt that he walked the earth as noble and as worthy of freedom as the proudest lordling in the kingdom; and yet the strong arm of the government, which ought to protect him, only sought to crush him. It first tried to debase the spirit that God had implanted in his bosom, and then seized upon the earnings that had been won through storms and heat. He was conscious of possessing a cultivated mind, generous impulses, and honorable principles; nevertheless, fashionable society had placed its ban upon him, and he was socially outlawed. His position was expressed by one word—he was a plebeian. It is not strange that his proud spirit fretted at its destiny, it perhaps would act have forced itself upon his mind with quite so much
power, if he had not daily witnessed the exercise of authority by persons in every way inferior to himself. Power was conferred upon titled spendthrifts, to control the happiness and health of tenants and operatives, and in some instances he had seen it wielded with a remorseless cruelty that brought its victims to their graves at an early age. And yet the infamous laws of England legalized these atrocious murders.
While he was contemplating the destruction of his crops, the festivities in the castles of Momlow and Montague were at their height. Large accessions had been made to the guests of the Countess of Rossmore and Duchess of Sunderland; and as both of those ladies moved in the same circle in London society, there was a constant interchange of civilities between them, so that their guests were often thrown together. They had exhausted all the ordinary sources of amusement, when it was determined to have a grand steeple-chase, to be followed by a magnificent ball at the Castle of Montague. Great preparations were made for both events. Not only the nobility and gentry, who resided in that part of the kingdom, prepared to attend, but large additions were made from the list of those who could only be induced to leave "charming London for the stupid country" by some extraordinary attraction. The had at length arrived. The sun, tired of having his rays obscured by the clouds which rolled up from the west as if they would never cease, now burst through the wall of vapor, and cast his beams over the earth. It was a ''glorious day," was the universal exclamation.
Phelim Savor had taken more than ordinary pains with the dapple gray. He was favored with a bran new pair of shoes. His hair had been rubbed until it exhibited a beautiful gloss; and, in the estimation of Mr. Savor, Surry was as fine an animal as could be seen in the United Kingdom.
"Yez needdent ba ashamed of yersel' to-day, Maister Christie, ony how, for the likes of that horse will ba hard to find at the steeplechase. I wish he could have a trial wid the rest of them; for, be the holy St. Patrick! there's niver a horse of bitter pidigree in all England. And why should'ent ye? if yersel', Maister Christie, aint quite a-noble-blooded as the lords beyant, Surry can make it up, for he can boast a longer line of distinguished ancestors, on both sides of the house, too, than any nobleman who will ride to-day; and sure, honey, that ought to make the thing aquil."
"Do you wish to see the race, Phelim?" asked Christie Kane, as he threw himself into the saddle.
"Very much, indade, if yez plaze."
"You will have to walk there."
"I would walk the matter of ten miles ony day to see a steeplechase."
"You can witness it from here, as the course crosses a portion of our farm."
Phelim resorted to that method of his class to show his embarrassment. He scratched his head.
"Well?" suggested Christie.
"I should like to see Surry among blooded horses, Maister Chris-
tie, it is so sildom he gets into the company of thim as can call thimselves aristocratic horses. Though, be my sowl! there's divil a horse will ba seen on the estate of Lord Rossmore this blissed day that can boast sich a noble birth as the dapple gray."
"Go, then," replied Christie, as he turned Surry's head towards the castle of Montague.
"Whoop!" ejaculated Phelim, as he sprang into the air, and cracked his heels twice together before he came down: a flourish that, we regret to say, was performed without the usual appendages of shoes and stockings. They were, not considered by Phelim as absolutely necessary appendages to that portion of the human frame which is brought in contact with the ground. An opinion which he had been known to defend, upon the assumption that the feet were no better than the earth, because Adam's whole body, feet included, were manufactured from that material, and he did not consider himself any better than Adam. If made out of the earth, he was wont to say, it could be no disgrace for them to come freely in contact with it, if it was only to show a proper regard for kith and kin. Mr. Savor admitted that, with gentle folk, it might be altogether a different affair, because their feet having been so long separated from the ground, there was no obligation to recognize the relationship, only so far as they condescended to cozen it out of nearly all the generous bounties it bestowed upon the human race.
From an early hour throngs of people crowded to the spot selected for the competitors to start for the prize. They came in carriages, on horseback, and on foot. From far and near, the wealthy, the aristocratic, and the poor gathered to witness an event which is always regarded with interest by the patrician and plebeian. No obstacle was interposed by Lord Rossmore and the Duke of Sunderland, upon whose estates the steeple-chase was to occur, to the ingress of the lower classes. It was one of the cheap ways of purchasing their acquiescence in the present order of things, for they had a happy faculty of identifying the princely exhibitions of the landed proprietors with their own humble fortunes. The sight of a steeple-chase made hundreds unmindful of hunger when they went supperless to bed.
The carriages of the Duke of Sunderland and the Earl of Montague had arrived upon the ground, each followed by a long train of distinguished persons. The judges' stand was erected upon the brow of an elevated plateau, commanding an extensive and beautiful view of the surrounding country, including hill, dale, wood-land, lakes, and streams.
Along the slope of the hill were ranged the carriages of the most illustrious of the spectators; and in the centre of the group, Katharine Montague, who was to bestow the reward upon the successful competitor, sat upon a milk-white steed, that scattered the foam upon his glistening hair as he impatiently shook the reins. She was attired in a black riding-dress of rich material, and wore a black hat without feathers.
"My lord, I hope you may be more successful in your trial to-day than you were on the occasion of your unwilling visit to the
lake in front of Montague Castle," said Katherine Montague, as Lord Melville rode up and made his salutations.
"Lady Katharine, I hope you will forget that affair some day," he replied, with evident annoyance.
"Not until memory fails me," said the merry girl.
"What adventure do you refer to?" inquired Sir William Belthoven.
"Lord Melville will relate it."
"Lord Melville will do nothing of the kind, with your ladyship's permission," responded the irritated noble, as he spurred his horse to the judges' stand.
He was mounted upon a black horse that had made some attempts at the Derby stakes, and not without fair prospects, if he had been ridden with judgment.
He was a thorough-bred and powerfully-built animal. He had many admirers too among the fairer portion of the company, but whether the brilliant prospects, and really fine person of his rider, added to the beauty of the animal, none of them took occasion to explain.
"Lord Melville seems annoyed at your remarks," observed Sir William Belthoven, who being an M. P., did not think it just to his constituents and the government, to peril his invaluable life in the uncertain chances of a steeple-chase.
"It will make him contend with more fearlessness for the prize, though to do him justice, he is a bold rider."
"Well, Kate," said the Earl of Rossmore, a fine specimen of the English nobility, "a goodly number of gallants will contend for the prize you will have the pleasure of bestowing."
"How many have entered the lists? "
"Fifteen, already, and half an hour more must elapse before they will be closed. What, my lord of Delmore; it is an unexpected pleasure to see you once more on the turf."
This salutation was addressed to a gentleman somewhat advanced beyond the morning of life, his whiskers and bearing betrayed the old bachelor.
"How could it be otherwise, when your charming daughter bestows the guerdon of beauty?"
Lord Delmore gracefully raised his hat, and bowed.
"Always yourself, my lord," replied Katherine Montague, extending her gloved hand, which the veteran and accomplished beau reverently pressed to his lips, as an acknowledgment to what he considered a graceful compliment.
"Your lordship is well mounted," observed the lady, casting an admiring glance at the superb bay Lord Delmore strode. "I am glad to see his points indicate great powers of endurance, for your form appears more portly to me than when I first saw you, now some fifteen years ago."
Lord Delmore was very sensitive upon the subject of his size, and nothing annoyed him more than an allusion to his increasing weight, for not many years had elapsed since he considered himself little less faultless than the Apollo-Belvidere. His lordship, how-
ever, had been too long in society to suffer his annoyance to be observed, and be replied with a grateful smile,
"I am glad your ladyship is kind enough to notice the relative extent of my proportions, for to be observed by the fair sex is evidence that we are still of some consideration."
"Doubtless, my lord, you are yet of very decided importance, for I heard old Lady Margaret Summerville observe the other day, with a simper, that she knew of no one who would be more likely to tempt her so far to forget the dear defunct Sir Charles Summerville, as to enter the holy estate of matrimony, as Edward Lord Delmore."
"Why, she is old enough to be my mother!"
"She says you attended the same school; that you were her beau; and even as a child possessed something of that fascination as a lover, which has rendered you so dangerous to our sex, as a man for the last twenty-five years."
Lord Delmore did not know whether to be pleased or angry, the biting sarcasm of her words being so modified by what he regarded as a delicate compliment.
Before he could reply, the venerable Marquis of Hungerford rode to the side of Katharine Montague. Her look, half merry, half defiant, at once changed, and her countenance assumed an expression of the most deferential regard.
"My lord, this is an unexpected honor," she frankly said, removing her glove, and pressing his shrivelled hand with her soft, taper fingers.
"I could not suffer the occasion to pass, my young friend, without witnessing the scene over which I understood you were to preside. I thought I should realize again something of the poetry of youth, and I am grateful to you because such is the fact."
"Oh, thank you, I can assure your lordship that the pleasure is mutual, for to be honored by the presence of one so celebrated for every quality that proclaims a man, gives me no ordinary pleasure."
The marquis bowed profoundly. The attention of Katharine Montague was drawn to " a horseman who might have been seen" riding rapidly towards the judges' stand. She immediately recognized the dapple gray, and, in the rider, her quondam acquaintance Christie Kane.
The young man rode into the centre of the group of competitors with a bearing quite as lofty as the most imperious. All eyes were turned upon him, for he was unknown, except to Lord Melville, whose eyes flashed scornfully as he recognized the "country beau of Katharine Montague."
"What seek you here, fellow?" he exclaimed, fiercely.
Kane cast a glance of contempt at the interrogator, but deigned no other reply. Turning to the judges, he said,
"I come to enter the list of competitors for the award of beauty." And he casts, furtive look at Lady Katharine, whose countenance was impassive.
"Why, gentlemen, he is my father's tenant; a clodpole by the name of Christie Kane," replied Lord Melville.
"And does that deprive me of the pleasure this day's amusement must afford?" said Christie, still addressing the judges.
"That depends upon circumstances," replied one of them; "in your case it probably will."
Katharine Montague looked with admiring eyes upon the splendid animal which Kane bestrode, he had enabled her to achieve a triumph over Lord Melville, and she felt a strong desire to see the dapple gray enter the lists.
"Why in my case?" replied Kane, calmly.
"Because by the rules we have established, no person under the rank of a baronet can become a competitor unless he is allied to the nobility, by affinity or consanguinity, within the sixth degree."
"That I am."
"How, fellow?" cried Melville, haughtily.
"Who can prove your statement?" asked the umpire.
"The word of a man of honor ought to be sufficient."
"A man of honor!—the plebeian a man of honor!" retorted Melville. "I will have you punished for this insolence."
"If no one will vouch for you, it will be our duty to exclude you," replied the judge.
Lady Katharine Montague was in the act of addressing the judges, and had turned her horse for that purpose, when the clear, authoritative voice of a gentleman in the undress of a colonel of infantry, said,
"I know him; he is the nephew of my wife, a daughter of the Duke of Rollston."
"Ah! Colonel Knowles, your word is sufficient," replied the urbane voice of the oldest judge; "the young man may enter the lists."
"Then I will withdraw from them," said Melville. "A prize for which he contends cannot be worth the wearing."
A flash of indignation overspread the face of Katharine Montague, which was succeeded by an ashy paleness.
"Come, Melville, you are wrong," replied Lord Delmore. "We will have the satisfaction of showing him that a relationship to the well-born by affinity merely, will not enable him to contend successfully with the best blood of England."
"He shall bitterly, bitterly regret thrusting himself where he is known only to be despised."
"And, Lord Melville, you, too, shall pay dearly for your unmanly taunts," retorted Christie Kane, haughtily.
"Gentlemen, you will assume your positions," said the judges.
The course marked out for the horsemen to take led along the level plane to the right of the judges' stand for one fourth of a mile, and then passed through an open wood, the " underbrush" from which had been removed. The ground sloped gradually through this wood; and just before it opened into the valley, the horsemen could not be seen from the judges' stand. At the termination of the forest, a brook wound its course, the banks of which were very abrupt. Here was the first serious obstruction to the riders. After passing the valley, a hedge, five feet in height, crossed the course. This presented a formidable barrier, because the ground was un-
even on both sides. But now commenced a succession of rocky and dangerous hills, and hollows, terminating in a low piece of ground that was marshy in certain places. This brought them to a stream whose banks were separated a distance of nearly twenty feet. The summit of each shore was of solid earth, yet the leap was fearful. The river at that point flowed in the direction of the judges' stand, so that it was in plain view of the spectators assembled upon the plateau. A succession of gentle slopes succeeded, until the course led to the foot of the plateau, when a formidable hedge and ditch crossed the way. This barrier safely passed, and the acclivity of the hill which teminated upon the plateau was the only obstacle to be surmounted by the horsemen. The herald proclaimed the conditions of the steeple-chase, which were, that the horseman who passed-around the course between the flags, and arrived first at the stand, should receive the prize from Lady Katherine Montague, and be honored with her hand in opening the hall that night at Montague Castle.
Seventeen horsemen sat upon impatient steeds that were grinding their bits between their teeth and stamping the earth, while they shook their reins and occasionally reared in the air. They were a splendid collection of horses, nearly all being thorough-bred. Not one among them was more beautifully formed than the dapple grey. Both Surrey and his rider attracted much attention in their humble position upon the left, and slightly in the rear of the line of aristocratic horsemen.
Christie Kane saw in that vast crowd the face of but one anxious friend, and that was Phelim Savor's. The solicitude which was stamped upon the features of the honest fellow, strange as it may appear, reanimated the courage and the hopes of the young man, as he sat among that group, the only untitled competitor for the prize. And he mentally exclaimed—
"Do not doubt me, for I will vindicate the claim of the plebeian to the honors of the day, or perish."
The bugle gave the signal; the ground trembled beneath the charge, and the excited spectators breathed more freely. Lord Melville took the lead as they descended the slope through the woods, having, in the impetuosity of his feelings, plunged his spurs into the flanks of his horse. Lord Delmore followed next, and Christie Kane, with his form thrown back in the effort to check the speed of his horse, brought up the rear. As they emerged from the bank of the brook which we have described as flowing past the foot of the declivity, four riderless horses dashed across the plain, but neither of them was the dapple grey. As the horsemen reached the open country, and approached the hedge, their relative positions were the same.
"Neither of the dismounted horsemen is Melville, for there he is, nobly leading the way," said Lord Rossmore. "I am afraid, Kate, the horse with whose assistance you accomplished a triumph over Melville will prove less successful in a struggle with practiced thorough breds. See, he is still far behind."
"But four miles is a long way, and they have not accomplished a fourth of the distance. My noble grey may yet triumph."
The earl shook his head incredulously. They approached the hedge and Melville gathered the legs of his horse well under him and then darted at the barrier. The horse passed it with a splendid bound.
"Well done, Melville," said the Duke of Sunderland.
"Yes, that was a magnificent leap," replied Katharine Montague, approvingly.
Lord Delmore came next; his horse stumbled upon one of the hillocks, and his rider was thrown heavily to the ground. The ladies shuddered.
"A few more such falls as that, and Delmore's bachelor days will be over," said the Duke of Sunderland, coolly.
Only eight horses passed the hedge when the dapple grey approached. With a tremendous bound he cleared the barrier, landing several feet beyond it.
"By the memory of Queen Bess, but that was splendidly taken," said the Marquis of Hungerford, enthusiastically. The dapple grey swept by one after another of the horsemen until only two led him. They crossed the uneven part of the course, and approached the marsh. Christie Kane, instead of attempting to pass them, suffered his horse to follow in the footsteps of Lord Melville's, being convinced that his lordship had often examined the ground, while he had never crossed it before. But as his horse readied the plain which bordered the river, for the first time he gave him the reins. His powers had not been overtasked, and he rapidly approached Lord Melville; the head of the dapple grey lapped the the quarter of the leading horse; he drew ahead until, as they struck the bank of the stream, they were neck and neck. It was evident the riders were utterly reckless, for they made no attempt to arrest the headlong speed of their horses. As they sprang from the bank with fearful bounds a thrill of awe ran through the frames of the stoutest hearted. A moment of intense anxiety succeeded, while the noble animals swept through the air. It was succeeded by prolonged cheers as both horses alighted upon the opposite bank at the same moment.
"Well done! well done!" exclaimed the Marquis of Hungerford, as he waved his hat in the excitement of the moment. "He is a splendid rider, if he is a plebeian."
Katharine Montague did not reply, but she eagerly watched the progress of the headmost horsemen. Sir Edward Donnelly, who next approached the stream, did so more cautiously. His horse made a gallant attempt to pass it, but his strength failed him, his fore feet struck the bank, and he rolled backward into the water. The next horse shared the same fate, and warned by their fate the other competitors drew up their steeds upon the bank and watched the progress of the two horsemen who alone now contended for victory. And it was a matter of doubt which must triumph, for a blanket would have covered them as they crossed the plain between the river and the inequalities that grooved the land at the base of the acclivity. The excitement became intense as they ascended and descended hills, and bounded across chasms. Quick, almost, as thought, the panting steeds reached the formidable hedge and
ditch that now presented the only obstacle that intervened between them and the termination of the course. Christie Kane checked the speed of Surrey so as to approach the hedge cautiously: Lord Melville followed his example, Both riders reached, the barrier with frowning brows and set teeth. For the first time Christie applied the spur to the flank of Surrey. With an angry snort he cleared the hedge and landed upon the solid earth beyond the ditch, and then gallantly dashed up the hill. Lord Melville also passed the barrier at the same moment. Cheer after cheer rewarded these splendid efforts, and upon the brow of the plateau could be seen a long line of waving hats and handkerchiefs. Katharine Montague alone sat apparently unmoved, upon her white steed, but excitement was perceptible in her dark blue eyes.
"Magnificently done," said the Marquis of Hungerford, as he re-covered his silvery hair with his hat.
With the last great effort of passing the hedge and ditch, the powers of Melville's horse were exhausted; from that moment the dapple-grey slowly left him, and Christie Kane arrived at the judge's stand a dozen yards ahead.
The nobility received the victor with faint praises, with the exception of the Marquis of Hungerford and Lord Rossmore, whose magnanimity rose above the pride of caste, but the humbler portion of the spectators were vociferous in their demonstrations of joy.
A solitary figure emerged from their midst, and regardless of the distinguished presence in which he found himself, threw his arms around the neck of the panting Surrey.
"Och! but this is the blissedest day of me whole life. Surrey, Surrey! its mesel know'd you would bate every mother's son of thim, an' now yez hiv jist done it, an' so beautifully." And the happy fellow stroked the arched neck of the dapple-grey, while the tears ran down his cheeks.
Christie dismounted, and delivered his horse into the charge of Phelim Savor, to be led away—surrounded by the admiring but humble portion of the spectators.
The young man was conducted by one of the Heralds to the side of Katherine Montague's horse, and bowing, while his face was covered with a deep crimson, awaited his award.
Her voice was steady and musical as she said :
"Mr. Kane, you have contended successfully for the prize which I have been selected to award to the victor in the hazardous, but manly amusement of the steeple-chase. By your boldness and skill as a horseman, aided by the splendid qualities of your magnificent steed, you deserve the reward which I now bestow."
Bending forward, she placed the ribbon, elegantly embroidered by her own hands, and to which a gold medal was attached, upon his neck. For a moment his eyes met her own, as he raised his head. He spoke not, but their eloquent glance betrayed the emotions of his heart.
Having performed her duty, she lightly touched her horse, without further noticing the humble victor, and led the way to Montague Castle.
"And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With 'old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint when most I play the devil."— shakespeare.
It is impossible to describe the agony of mind experienced by Mrs. Kane, when her husband did not return at the time she expected him. She did not close her eyes during the long hours of the night. She started early in the morning for Martin Lennon's, with the faint hope that he might still be there. She was doomed to disappointment. A visit to Hogan's was alike unsuccessful. The most rigid search was instituted by her humble friends, and even the police, as is unusually the case, with that self-sufficient and independent fraternity, promised to rectify an evil they ought to have prevented. But they meant nothing by their promises, for like all idle words, they cost them nothing. Mrs. Kane could not promise a reward to stimulate their sense of duty, or what is of far greater importance, their vigilance was not aroused by having a bribe placed in their hands. It is amusing to see with what complacency these gentry pocket rewards for the recovery of articles, when they are employed to prevent the thief from stealing them. When an amount sufficiently valuable is stolen to justify the offer of a liberal reward, the property is often recovered, a consummation that seldom gratifies the sufferer who cannot arouse the cupidity of our "guardians'' by the tender of money. Nothing has such a magical effect in impressing upon the minds of these worthies the absolute necessity of maintaining justice in all its purity, as a liberal bribe, slily thrust into their hands, when no one can observe the delicate operation.
The machinery of justice runs much better on gold, and if the reader doubts it, let him make the experiment, not only in England but in any other corner of the earth, where he may require the services of the police. But there is one condition which must not be forgotten, the tender must be made in private, as their sense of duty and propriety would be outraged provided a third person should witness an open assault upon their virtue. This makes all the difference in the world, as any one will discover by the angry rebuff he will receive provided he thoughtlessly tenders money before folks to an individual who would take it without the slightest qualms of conscience; under the very different circumstance, however, of there being no witnesses present. The efficacy of the bribe depends upon secresy; and there is a manifest propriety in the fact, because the goddess of justice is represented as being blind; and what is unnecessary for her to see, the agents of her will should not of course be required to divulge to the gossiping multitude.
Hogan thinking himself not altogether blameless, although his
intentions were honest, with what money he could command sought the presence of one of those Bow-street officers who are so often employed by persons who can "bleed" well. It was with many misgivings that he ventured into the presence of the renowned officer, painfully conscious that his rough garb was not in keeping with the place. The officer looked at him from behind his spectacles with a suspicious glance, and Hogan involuntarily trembled for fear some rascality, unknown to himself, would be ferreted out by the most celebrated of the detective police. He could not rally his thoughts, so thoroughly had the officer confused him. There was something about him strangely inconsistent. His form was stout, even corpulent, and when Hogan looked at that he thought the mind which controlled it must be frank, if not jolly. He verily believed that it would not be too much to attribute downright jollity to such a rotund figure. But when he encountered the piercing gaze of those coal-black eyes, he doubted if the figure had ever felt the luxury of one good, hearty laugh.
"Well," grunted, rather than spoke, the officer.
Hogan was certain he had unconsciously been guilty of some monstrous rascality, and that, from behind those spectacles, there was being taken a detailed account of the whole transaction.
"Well!" move loudly grunted the voice.
Aroused to a pitch of desperation, Hogan muttered—
"I never—done any thing of the kind—"
"Are you certain? " thundered the other.
"At least not that I know of. It must have been some other, or I did it in my sleep."
"What do you want then!" responded the officer, with a rumbling kind of a laugh at the effect produced by his glance.
"I come to see if you would undertake a little matter for me, and I brung some money to pay any expenses that might—if there be any—"
He took from his pocket a handful of coin, among which there could be discovered only one piece of gold.
"How dare you think of bribing one of her Majesty's executive officers?"
"With such a paltry sum," distinctly whispered a voice.
The policeman frowned, and Hogan looked furtively about without being able to ascertain from whence, the voice proceeded.
"If I could have—brought—more I would have done so—" he faltered:
"Silence! Here, Fizgig, see what you can do for this fellow. Are you positive, sirrah, that you were not, at least, an accessory before the fact in the murder case?"
"Never! sir, never!"
"Then begone; but if I ever set eyes upon you again I shall be sure to think you were an accessory either before or after the fact."
Hogan found himself in the presence of Fizgig. That individual received him blandly, and Hogan came to the conclusion that he had found the right person, and his supposition was true, for Mr.
Fizgig had only acquired sufficient reputation to justify any one in bribing him, unless he belonged to Hogan's class in society.
Mr. Fizgig received him blandly, but it was a cool blandness, that could be either softened or hardened as pecuniary considerations might justify.
Hogan began his negotiations by drawing forth his small store. The sharp eyes of the policeman saw nothing but copper coin, here and there set off by a piece of silver, that varied in amount from a sixpence to a crown. The face of the officer said as plainly as words could have expressed it,
"Your case, my dear fellow, is utterly hopeless."
But Hogan, not being skilful at translating the shades and lines of the human countenance into words, proceeded to unfold his wishes, backing up his solicitation for aid by turning over the coins in his hand so as to make as great a display as possible of the silver pieces aforesaid.
The blandness of the policeman stiffened very perceptibly as he replied,
"I fear there is no hope for your friend. He has doubtless been arrested by the press-gang, and it is with great difficulty that we can rescue him, even if they have not taken him from their haunts on board a government vessel. Besides, an attempt would put me to very great trouble and expense."
The blandness of the officer became as stiff as buckram while he cast a contemptuous glance at the copper and silver which Hogan, instead of continuing ostentatiously to display, now sought to conceal with both hands, as though he had been guilty of stealing it.
But a sudden light broke upon his mind; he had not offered enough to stimulate the confidence of the officer in the success of the undertaking or the justice of his cause. He thrust his hand again into his pocket, and ushered into the light a bright yellow piece.
The starch disappeared from the blandness of the policeman like snow before the warm sun. In fact, it wilted right down into the most affable complaisance. He was happy in his mental conformation, was Mr. Fizgig, for his good nature possessed a sliding scale that was capable of expressing either the most insinuating regard or the most frigid politeness.
"I expected, of course, to remunerate you for all your trouble, but as you think there is no hope—"
"I trust you will excuse me for saying you slightly, very slightly misunderstood me; a misapprehension that was doubtless owing more to the want of copiousness and flexibility in the English language than to any fault of mine or your own."
Hogan stared at Fizgig as though he did not exactly comprehend him. The officer paused with a smiling countenance, to give him an opportunity of making a further demonstration; but Hogan suffered the money, gold and all, to slide into his right-hand pocket, for that was his treasury; the other being devoted to his knife and tobacco.
"I am sorry the prospects of my friend are so gloomy, but if it can't be helped, it can't, that's all. Good morning."
The affability of Mr. Fizgig took another slide, as the prospect of obtaining the money, especially the sovereign, diminished.
"My language must have been unfortunate, indeed, if it led you to suppose that your friend's—your insulted friend's—case is hopeless. Nothing was farther from my intention. The exertions of so generous a person as you are willing to prove yourself, ought not, I may say, must not, be unavailing."
Hogan began shrewdly to doubt the good faith of the officer, and he therefore buttoned up his pocket as he said,
"I tell you what, Mr. Fizgig, I'm a poor man, but I would spend all my money to rescue Robert Kane, because, you see, he has done me a good turn afore now, and he is an honest, hard-working fellow, with a family dependant upon him; and there's no saying how soon I may want him to keep a fatherly eye upon my own little children. Now, Mr. Fizgig, if you will produce Robert Kane to me, face to face, I will give you all the money I have here, and as much again, besides."
Fizgig suffered a starchy laugh to escape from his thin lips.
"You are too kind, Mr. Hogan, but we like to have these trifles arranged beforehand, you know, to prevent it from escaping our recollection; a mere matter of form, you will bear that in mind, Mr. Hogan."
"My memory is likely to be quite as good as yours. Not a penny will I pay till I see Robert Kane." And with something of the sturdiness of the old English character, Hogan set his hat firmly upon his head.
Mr. Fizgig's blandness underwent another change; for the atmosphere of London is not susceptible of more frequent variations than was the humor of Theophilus Fizgig.
"Do you agree to my terms?"
"You are pleased to be facetious."
"Can you doubt it?"
For the first time the smile of Mr. Fizgig looked spiteful, yet it was so blended with a not unpleasant grin, that Hogan was for a moment doubtful whether he had interpreted it correctly; but he was then satisfied, and involuntarily his fists doubled.
"I thought any one who would suffer himself bribed, must, in the end, turn out to be an infernal scoundrel, and now I'm certain of it. An' yer all alike too, the fat devil in there, whose eyes makes one think he's a villain when he is not; an' yer own smooth, deceitful manner, that leads one to believe he's an honest man, when he may be just as far from the truth. The only difference is that you are a cheaper rascal than him. Out upon ye all for a set of thieves."
"Mr. Hogan, you will please to recollect that you have been aspersing the honest and faithful officers of the realm," said Mr. Fizgig in a soft voice.
"Honest and faithful!" retorted the other scornfully.
"And that severe and condign punishment awaits all such disrespectful and contumacious individuals."
"Is that person here yet?" exclaimed the officer with the spectacles, throwing upon the door of the adjoining room.
"Yes," responded Fizgig.
"Well, if he is to be found here in one minute from this time I will have him arrested, not as an accessory, but as a principal in the —"
Hogan waited neither for the minute to expire, nor for the policeman to finish his sentence, but moved with great vivacity towards the door, muttering, with dissatisfied earnestness, as he put the barior between himself and the eys that made him so nervous, "I'm dammed if I ain't afraid of that cuss."
Every attempt made to find Robert Kane proved unvailing; and at the end of a week the painful truth was ineffaceably impressed upon Mary's mind that she should never see him again. The money he had obtained from Hogan he thoughtlessly took with him on that fatal night, and she was now penniless. It is true, Hogan insisted she should accept the small amount he intended to expend in searching for her husband; but that some would soon be gone, and even if he was inclined to aid her further, he would not have the power, for his own family intirely depended upon him for support. Great as we as were her trails, the spirit of the noble woman was not crushed. Happiness, it is true, had taken its departure; but that unfaltering and holy love which mother feels for her spring, specially when they are threatened with danger, now exhibited its power. They would soon cry for bread, and she could not— oh! She could not let them starve!
Dolly hourly asked for her father, unconscious of the tears that her mother often turned her head to wipe away. Almost from the moment of their misfortune, Henry had become apprised of their loss, and with a sad face wandered about trying his best, but unsuccessfully, to let his mother see that he would be a little man.
A week after the disappearance of Robert Kane, they were in the room together, about the time when he used to return. Mrs. Kane was rocking the cradle, in which the baby, at an earlier hour than usual, had nestled herself to sleep. Her features were much paler and thinner than when the reader last saw her. It was apparent that she had quaffed the cup of misery deeply; and yet her eyes beamed with devotion as they rested upon her children—his children. Dolly was humming a tune her father had taught her a few weeks before as she put her doll to sleep. Henry stood by the window leaning his head against a pane of glass, as he was wont to do, while watching for the welcome wave of his father’s hand as he turned the corner of the street. The big tears were rolling down his cheeks,while a suppressed sob, in spite of himself, occasionally reached his mother's ear. It became darker and darker, but still no father appeared. Every body else passed by that he had everseen before; but the one whose approach would have sent an indescribable gush of joy through the hearts of that family, was still absent. It was too much for the little fellow; and throwing himself upon the bed, he wept long and bitterly.
"Poor child." Said Mary, as she parted the hair upon his forehead and kissed it.
With a heroic effort he closed the fountains of his grief, and, taking his mother's hand, looked anxiously into her face.
"Ma, we have no one to give us money, now father is gone."
She shook her head despondingly.
"And we cannot get bread without money."
"And without something to eat, you, and sis, and I would starve; and Frank Tot, too, for I heard father tell you to eat a good deal, or you would not have enough milk for Tot."
Mrs. Kane was visibly affected, in spite of herself.
"I diddent mean to make you cry, ma; only I thought I should like to know what we are to do to keep from starving."
"God only knows, Henry."
"But if God knows, what good is that going to do us; he don't give people manna now, does he?"
"Well, if neither God nor any body else is going to help us, mussen't we help ourselves?"
"God sometimes extends aid to the unfortunate, with an unseen hand."
Henry pondered upon these words.
"Mother, I am hungry now; and do you think, if we get no assistance from heaven by to-morrow morning, it would be any harm to help ourselves?"
"What do you mean by helping ourselves?"
"Take bread from the baker, and meat from the butcher."
"Why, that would be stealing."
"If it is only to keep us from dying?"
"That makes no difference."
"But are we not God's creatures?"
"Does it make him happy to see Frank Tot hungry?"
"No, he is a kind and merciful being, and the happiness he destined for his children has been destroyed by the nobility and aristocracy of England, who appropriate that which would otherwise keep us from suffering, for the purpose of gratifying their own caprices."
"Why does he let them act so wickedly?"
"Because the human family are free agents."
"What is that!"
"They have the right no, the power of doing as they please."
"Then it will please me to steal some bread and meat," he answered, promptly; "to keep us all from being so very hungry."
Mrs. Kane was puzzled, for she saw her explanation was somehow or other, incorrect.
"Perhaps my answer was not right, Henry; I believe the multitude the nation, possesses the power of doing as it pleases, but that individuals are restrained by laws."
"If the nation, which must mean the English people, have the power of doing as they please, why don't they make the rich a little less happy, and the poor a little less miserable!"
"Why, by giving the rich money enough to buy chickens, and game; and turkeys, and geese, and cakes, and wine, and ever so many good things, and let the poor people keep enough to buy coarse bread, and the cheapest and toughest kinds of beef, most as good as the nobility give their dogs; would that be unreasonable, ma?"
"Well then, why don't they do it?" he exclaimed, impatiently.
"Because those most interested in keeping things as they are, have induced the majority to believe that it is all right."
"What, them with empty stomachs?"
"Yes, even some of them, I believe."
"Then they have no brother, or sister, or mother, to pity when they hear them cry for bread,"
"There are not many, probably, who can make themselves happy while they endure pinching want, but others, who gain a precarious subsistence, prefer the evils that are not quite intolerable, to the certainty of death or transportation if they attempt to uproot the despotism which is so strongly protected by those whose interest it is, in a greater or less degree, to defend it."
Henry reflected upon this answer, while his mother placed half of the pittance left in the house upon the table. At length his face brightened.
"Ma! ma! oh! I've got it, I've got it!"
"What, my child?"
"The plan to relieve us. I'm so happy. Tot won't look so pale to-morrow night; none of us will be hungry then. Ha! ha! why didn't I think of it before?"
"Hush! Henry, you are crazy!"
"No I ain't, ma, I'm only very happy, that's all. You see this is it," he continued, with a look of immense importance; "I went t'other day up into Dexeter Hall, with another boy, Bill Wilson, and we sat down, way far back and listened. There were ever so many kind, good natured people in that great big Hall. They seemed all pious persons too, for they wore white cravats, and they had such sweet amiable faces; and they were such charitable men and women too, for there were a great many women in the Hall— Dexeter Hall. Well, one of the most pious looking among the men, with long white hair, and such a good face, stood up and commenced speaking. He told them how degraded were the negroes in America, and his voice was so tender, and he told so many stories of how the slaves were whipped and beat, that nearly all the men and women cried, and Bill Wilson and I cried too. And then another man got up and said they had collected, I don't know how much, but whole oceans of money, for the purpose of sending it to America, and the people clapped their hands, as I do when I want to amuse Frank Tot, and Bill Wilson and I clapped our hands too, for it seemed to make the speaker happy, and we thought such-a good man ought to be made happy. And then they agreed to send all this money to liberate the poor slaves. They were not decked out in silks and ruffles, them good people wasn't. Their clothing seemed to be rich enough, but they was cut plain, and
Bill Wilson said he knew some of them were economical, and wanted to save as much as they could, to send to the slaves, for they wore broad brimmed hats, to keep off the rain, so they would not have to buy any umbrellas."
''Well, what has all this to do with our situation?"
"Why, don't you see, ma? You must go up to Dexeter Hall tomorrow, for I heard them say they would meet there again tomorrow, and you must tell them you have three children, who would work their fingers off to get bread for you, if they were old enough, but that they ain't. Tell them father has been stolen and carried off to fight; that he may be killed," and the tears gathered in his eyes, and his lip quivered—"and—and—that we shall starve to death unless they give us a little bit, only a little bit of that money they are going to send to America."
"And do you suppose they would give me a penny?"
"Yes, wouldn't they?"
"Not if it was to save us all from starvation."
The boy was appalled; his bright hopes were instantly dashed to the ground.
"But ma, they said they were going to send away all that money for charitable purposes. Do they know there is any need for charity here?"
"As well as you and I do."
"Then their bible is not like ours, for that says charity beginneth at home."
"It is precisely the same."
Henry seated himself, and crossing his legs, tried to divine the cause of this inconsistency. But apparently his efforts were unsuccessful, for he again leaned his arms upon his mother's lap.
"If they know there is need of charity here, why don't—they— they—"
"I'll tell you why they seek distant objects upon which to bestow their alms. It is because they obtain more notoriety by doing so."
"What is notoriety?"
"It is getting their names frequently in the papers, so that the world may talk about their generosity and goodness."
"But you must tell them that the bible says the left hand must not know what the right hand giveth."
"I am afraid that would be the most unpleasant thing I could say to them. You must think of some other method of obtaining money, Henry, for an application at Dexeter Hall would be unavailing. But it is time for you to go to sleep now."
Henry lay awake a long time, and the result of his reflections was a determination to go to Dexeter Hall himself the next day, in the hope that his mother had been misinformed as to the character of those pious and charitable looking men, who had made such a powerful impression upon his mind.
After breakfast he told his mother he would go out a short time, and having found Bill Wilson, they proceeded towards Dexeter Hall―that renowned building, within whose walls cant and hypocrisy hold their court where the meek and truly charitable spirit.
of the Redeemer seldom finds an entrance, and then only to be grieved by the unblushing effrontery with which miscreants seek to cloak their impure and unholy ambition with its spotless and divine character.
Turning into a thronged street, their progress was slower than suited the excited feelings of Henry Kane.
"Let us get into the next street, Bill."
"Oh no, this is so bustling and gay, I like it best."
"But it will be so long before we get there," pursued Henry, as he turned his head first on one side and then another, in the hope of finding some opening in the crowd.
"Them long-winded chaps take a good deal of time to pray up in old Dexeter, which is very kind of them, considerin' how much better they all are than anybody else; and besides, we shall be sure to see somebody punch somebody else's head this morning, the street is so crowded;" and William Wilson looked up and down the street to see if the hackmen, carmen, and omnibus drivers would not emphasize the gesticulations they were favoring the air with by a few blows administered with an earnestness indicative of a superabundance of bile and a hearty good will. His expectations were gratified, for there were unmistakable signs of a difficulty at the knot of drays, carriages, and stages that seemed to be inextricably wedged together at the corner of the street. The belligerents were favored with an impromptu and more attentive audience than generally rewards a dull lawyer or a stupid preacher.
"Here's a good place, Henry," said Bill, as he scrambled up a tree; "a capital place can see it all." He made a parenthesis at each hitch, and a rent, likewise, in his pantaloons, that could already boast of as many colors as the garment which excited the virtuous indignation of Joseph's brethren. But William at last reached a knot upon the tree whose unaccommodating outlines forced him to change the local part that was submitted to its sharp point, oftener than was consistent with his comfort or an attentive observation of the hostile parties below.
A dray and hackney-coach had locked wheels. The respective drivers tested the strength of their horses, and all the draymen cheered because the two hackney-coach horses could not move the enormous dray horse.
"Take 'em out; lean 'em up agin a post to rest."
"Put them in bed; thems weakly hanimals!" Aroused to fury by these taunts the coachman lashed the beasts unmercifully. They sprang forward, and under the impetus which the start gave them, they rolled back the dray. The drayman turned the head of his horse until he cramped the wheels of the coach, and it was again brought to a dead stand.
The coachee, whose red head and squinting eyes by no means gave indications that he possessed the placid temper that has been attributed to Job the myth, changed his whip into his left hand and knocking the hat up from his forehead with the right, squared himself for an indignant speech.
"You scum of the earth, how dare you treat the driver of ha hackney coach so?"
The other belligerent was a short, stout, thick-set little man, whose bullet head was set jauntily on his bull neck. As the preliminary flourish to a reply, he doffed his round skull-cap, and retaining it in the same hand that he scratched his head with, exclaimed―
"I per-sume a honest drayman is as good as the superfluous driver of ary hackney-coach in Lon'on!"
The low obeisance with which this annunciation was accompanied was followed by a sudden erection of the drayman's figure into rather more than its natural attitude, which position it retained with the scornful eyes elevated above the head of the coachman at an angle of at least forty-five degrees, where they remained immovably fixed, as if the pompous little man expected to see a foe worthy of his fists emerge from the sky. But if such were his ambitious aspirations they were doomed to disappointment, for a blinding cut fell from the whip of no more exalted a person than Timothy Spriggins, the coachman, upon the uplifted eyes of Daniel Buzzle, the drayman.
"Take that, ye vagabond."
"An take that, you damned old Hessian, and that, and that, too!" exclaimed the drayman, who had leaped upon the box of the coach, and having encircled the neck of his antagonist with one arm, was poking sundry blows with the doubled-up end of the other, into the abdominals of Mr. Spriggins, an unwarrantable proceeding which the coachman acknowledged with divers grunts, that corresponded exactly to the number and vigor of the aforesaid applications.
The combatants were cheered on by their respective friends until the police gathered in sufficient force to separate them and disperse the crowd.
"Come, we have been here too long already," said Henry.
"Yes, the fun is all over. I told you we should see them punch each other. Didn't they do it well?" And he trudged along much better satisfied than before.
Collisions that end in blows are not common among the drivers in London, owing to the efficiency of the police in preventing obstructions in the great thoroughfares. In that particular the reader will recollect the great metropolis is much better regulated than many smaller cities.
The two lads now pursued their walk diligently, and soon arrived at the Hall. Bill Wilson, after obtaining a glimpse at the stand where all the most sanctimonious and celebrated of that charitable congregation were assembled, whispered to Henry.
"I'm blowed if they ain't prayin' yet; I told you they were long-winded, them good people, for nobody but the most piousest have religion enough to put up sich long prayers."
"Oh, no, they ain't praying yet."
"I tell you they is," replied William Wilson positively.
"Don't you hear his voice; do they ever say 'yah,' as if they would never stop; and so through their noses, like, when they are not praying? You?"
Here the dissertation of Master William Wilson on nasal into-
nation, becoming rather too audible, was cut short, by an ominous frown from a police officer; an arbitrary interference with the freedom of opinion, and the right of speech, which that youngster, not having the privilege of denouncing in set phrases, contented himself with allowing his horror and detestation of, by divers contortions of the mouth from right to left, and from left to right, accompanied by sundry flourishes of the tongue, all of which are known to the initiated as giving expression to illimitable contempt and aversion.
The hammer of the president was now heard upon the desk, the sound of which echoed through the spacious hall with a gloomy distinctness, calculated to impress the lounging spectators with a solemn respect for the cause that had elicited the prayerful attention of the salt of the English Church.
"The subject for to-day's consideration is now open for remark," said the venerable president; "it is the awful condition of American slaveholders. Brother Rumfelt will address you."
Brother Rumfelt did not discredit his name; and, therefore, an audible titter ran along the benches upon the frontiers of the hall, when his florid countenance and rotund figure became visible upon the speaker's stand.
"I' god, he don't belie his cognomen, Harry; his face is as red as a beet."
The man who made this most unfeeling and irreverent observation was sitting near Henry and his friend. William Wilson had not observed it before, but now he thought the Reverend Ebenezer Rumfelt's face did look like a beet decidedly like a beet. The likeness became so strong, and the idea was so ludicrous, that when the general titter had subsided which greeted the advent of Mr. Rumfelt, and he had begun to charm the vast auditory with his eloquence, a young, shrill, uncontrollable, though brief laugh, ran through the hall, at once and forever upsetting the most brilliant period in the exordium of that celebrated orator. Every body's eyes were turned in all directions to discover the culprit whose profanity merited condign punishment. But no sooner had Master William Wilson's throat given vent to his feelings than his countenance resumed an expression of the severest gravity. The policeman happened to be in another part of the building, and the person whose comparison caused the involuntary explosion was the only person who was certain that the lad was the offender, and as he felt an interest in one who laughed at his joke, it was not probable he would expose Master Wilson.
Mr. Rumfelt pursued very much the same line of argument that the abolitionists have adopted since the days of Wilberforce; indulging, perhaps, rather more in anecdote and pathos than is customary with even that sympathetic class, which aroused the deepest indignation of the audience at the cruelties practiced upon human beings all the way off in America.
"I have, Mr. President, ladies, and gentlemen, reflected much and deeply upon the crimes of our transatlantic brethren, and I have wondered, Mr. President, that divine wrath has not, in some special manner, like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, been
poured out upon them for their iniquities. To buy human beings! to sell parents and children, body and soul, into endless captivity, is too horrible for contemplation! What a contrast does the soil of England present, for the foot that once rests upon it is instantly free." (Loud and prolonged applause.) "Yes, sir, free, noble, happy England; rich enough in Christian faith, moral culture, aye, and in pecuniary wealth, too, not only for her own population, but with abundance to spare for benighted Africa and slavery-accursed America." (Loud and prolonged applause.)
Henry, who managed to catch that part of the speaker's words, which intimated that there was money enough for suffering mortals in England and America, and Africa, too, thought that was the time to proclaim the distressing condition of his mother, and, with the courage prompted by affection and despair, he mounted the bench, and, with a preparatory hem, was in the act of interrupting Mr. Rumfelt in his sublime peroration, when the police-officer, in a stern tone, bade him descend from the bench. He would have demurred to the proceeding if the policeman had not taken him by the arms and seated him, but with a pressure upon his delicate limbs that made him writhe with pain. The vast assemblage, unconscious of the pain, as they were of the agony he was trying to avert when the authority of England first laid its hands upon him, with vociferous applause rewarded the last eloquent flight of the Reverend Ebenezer Rumfelt in denunciation of every thing like oppression without the limits of the British empire.
"Please, sir, I want to tell them mother's starving," said Henry, imploringly, as the tears fell fast upon his hands as they were clasped before him.
“Hush! you beggar's brat," exclaimed the policeman, in a savage voice.
"I ain't a beggar's brat, sir, only my mother has three children, and I am the oldest; and I'm only a weak, little boy, and she hazent got a bit of food in the house; and it's almost dinner-time, and they will be so very very hungry; do, pray do let me tell them to give me only a few shillings of all the money they are going to send away, far away from England oh, pray do, sir, do!"
"Why, the brat is up to all the beggar's tricks. Now, you little whelp, if you do not keep quiet, I'll pitch you out at the door, d'ye hear?"
If any one had thought he was a practiced beggar after observing the earnest manner of Henry Kane, and had seen the tears that fell as he pleaded so hard for his dear mother, the indignation that flashed from his eyes when the officer, calling him a second time "a beggar's brat," assured him that he thought so, would have removed an impression so degrading to the feelings of even that poor child. A gentleman who sat near him observed the agony that was visible upon the face of Henry as he urged his request, and it deepened his enunciation as, rising, he said, in a voice that filled to its entire compass the spacious hall.
There was something ominous and startling in the harsh voice, of the self-lauding audience like the
application of a rusty saw. It was therefore with a slight trepidation that the president inquired—
"Is the gentleman a member of the charitable association for the abolition of slavery in the United States, and for the reformation and amelioration of our black brethren in Africa?"
"I have not the honor of being numbered with that sanctimonious class of Englishmen. Yet, I suppose, a person who has contributed to benevolent institutions elsewhere may be heard here." There was a prolonged and biting emphasis upon the word sanctimonious, which caused the president to move uneasily in his soft chair; yet the saving remark that he had contributed to benevolent institutions, produced a marked effect upon the less discriminating members of the society, and therefore cries of "hear him! hear him!" came from all parts of the hall, and no where more vociferously than from the "outsiders," who were crowding together in the vicinity of the stranger; drawn thither, not more by his clarion voice than by the scorn and contempt that flashed from his light grey eyes.
"As it is the wish of the society to hear the gentleman, he will please ascend the stand and give his name," said the president.
With a form slightly stooping, the stranger walked up the aisle, and mounted the stand. "John C. Jones," he said in a low voice, replying to the secretary.
The stranger was rather more than six feet high. His thin, wiry frame seemed indurated by exercise. His face, too, was long and thin; his mouth large and capable of wonderful expression; his voice, sometimes sonorous, had also tremendous depth of compass, that ran down like the harsh and grating lower notes of an organ, sending the blood thrilling along the arteries.
"Mr. president, ladies and gentlemen," he began, with the self-possession of a practiced orator "this society is world-renowned.'' As this announcement flattered their vanity, it was of course loudly applauded. "No other has acquired such extensive notoriety for its far reaching charity." This annunciation was also loudly cheered, and the cheers were, of course, disinterested, because they were uttered by men who were blowing their own trumpet; and they were vigorous, for who else would expend their breath with such hearty good will. Having thus exhibited their entire concurrence in all the complimentary things he could possibly say about them, they prepared to listen with sympathies expanded to any imaginable degree, to the soothing words that might fall from the lips of the orator.
"The, human family can never sufficiently express their gratitude to this society for taking under its especial control the fallen members of our race. No other society is favored by almighty power with such a superabundance of piety, which enables you to lift up your eyes in public places, and thank God, like the Pharisees of old, that you are not as wicked as other men. Few, very few associations called into being by a desire to ameliorate I believe, Mr. President, that was your expression ameliorate the condition of mankind, and to obtain for the members thereof a gratifying
notoriety, have been favored with such marked success as the one I have now the honor of addressing."
The speaker dwelt upon "notoriety," as if he would never enunciate the word, and the president did not breathe half so hard when each prolonged syllable had visited every nook and corner of the hall. That sagacious individual listened as if they had been "sold" from the start, and he now intimated that he trusted some of his more illustrious associates were of the like opinion, by exchanging ominous glances with them. Profound silence reigned in the hall as that harsh, emphatic voice continued to pour forth a resistless torrent, the effect of which was, to bring the irreligious portion of the audience to their feet, and to cause the members to cower involuntarily in their seats.
"You have been fortunate, wonderfully fortunate, for renown such as you have acquired is enough to gratify the ambition of the most aspiring. When you, Mr. President, are seen in public, the welcome shout reaches your ears, 'There goes the benevolent President of the Dexeter Hall Society.' What could be more soothing to your feelings? You exhibit a commendable improvement upon the example of our Saviour, whose modest demeanor, and secret charities, though, perhaps, very proper eighteen centuries ago, and no doubt in strict consonance with the divine character, is quite inconsistent with this enlightened age, and totally at variance with the ostentatious and pharisaical religion of the present day. And herein lies the grand secret of your success, Mr. President. It is idle to suppose that money will be freely given for charitable objects, if the excellent donor is not to reap a quick return upon his investment. He cannot, with reason, be asked to give liberally of his abundant store, to relieve those who are less fortunate, if the sound of his contribution, as it falls into the box, is never to be echoed by public approbation. It is not enough that bread scattered upon the waters shall return after many days. Quick returns and large interest are more suited to these commercial times, than to that primitive period when one of the most illustrious of the apostles engaged in the humble avocation of a fisherman. And if the Saviour should make a second appearance upon the earth, for the purpose of regenerating the human family, he would doubtless call to his assistance the members of this society, who have made such decided and highly respectable improvements in the method of extending alms over that practiced by the Redeemer and his lowly followers when they were satisfied with the simple plan of giving in secret."
The President honored with a reproving glance one of the leaders of the Society, who joined in the call made upon Mr. Jones to address them, which said, unmistakably,
"Now I hope you are satisfied."
And the humble way the chastened brother met the glance plainly indicated he was.
"But what adds still more to your fame, and merits the attention of the civilized world, is the fact that you have religiously obeyed the glorious mandate that 'Charity beginneth at home' before seeking to reform abuses in another hemisphere."
The eyes of the President were fixed still more remorselessly upon the offending brother.
"You have relieved the suffering and oppressed throughout England. The streets are destitute of beggars, the wail of anguish is no longer heard in the factories, the howl of despair is hushed in wretched hovels, crime walks no more in London, vice has left the great metropolis. Shivering, clotheless forms are no longer exposed to the blasts of winter; and starvation, with all its untold horrors, stalks no more, Mr. President, among your tenants. You no longer take bread from infants, no longer wring parental hearts with agony, that you may make an ostentatious display of your charities!"
The terrible irony with which these words were uttered caused the President to start to his feet, and exclaim with great agitation,
Turning upon him a glance of fire, while his mouth was contorted into an expression of overwhelming contempt, the orator said,
"I am not out of order, unless to recapitulate what you ought to have done, before im--per--ti--nent--ly meddling with the affairs of others, is considered out of order," and he shook his bony finger threateningly at the President.
"In order! in order!" came like a tempest from the outskirts of the building.
"Resume the chair, Mr. President!" he continued in a stern, commanding voice.
The President sunk into his seat.
"My mission here is to expose cant, to uncloak hypocrisy, and to tear the thin, but impervious covering from that which you have dignified with the appellation of charity, but which is no more than the painted sepulchre condemned by that blessed Redeemer, in whose name you have perpetrated the most infamous rascalities, practised hypocrisy that would have disgraced the most abject felon, and consummated iniquities that a just God will punish with eternal damnation. You shall now hear what an American thinks of you."
This annunciation produced a marked effect, but the silence with which it was at first received, was broken by the thunder of applause that shook the building. Cheer upon cheer welcomed the speaker from the vast throng of spectators who, having filled the rear of the hall, now crowded along the aisles, so that the members of the society could not escape the malediction of the indignant orator, if they would.
The President now sat in stupid silence until the storm, which the American had raised, should pass away.
"The gentleman who preceded me indulged in remarks that displayed a lamentable ignorance of the peculiar institution of my country, from the moment it was founded, against our wishes, by British obstinacy and cupidity, to the present hour. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that slavery is an evil, it is one that English avarice established, and one that English jealousy, and not English philanthropy, now seeks to destroy."
This assertion was loudly applauded by the outsiders.
"It cannot be forcibly eradicated without the total destruction of our government. And does it not come with a bad grace from those who planted slavery in America, to ask us to abolish it at the imminent risk of subverting the most glorious system evoked by the wisdom of the human race! And for what? To uproot the principles upon which the great Republic is based, solely for the purpose of strengthening the crumbling foundation of despotism.
"The gentleman referred to the dreadful sale and separation of families in the southern states. Who does not know that necessity, stern, implacable, resistless necessity is daily sundering the bonds which rivet the affections of your serfs? Nay, within this hour I heard a poor child say that his father had been seized by a press-gang, and that his mother has been left to wage an unequal contest with hunger, if not with dishonor; and he begged so piteously to have the privilege of asking you, you, Mr. President, for a few shillings of that vast sum you are about to expend in the cause of abolitionism to keep his mother from starvation. And here within the walls of Dexeter Hall where rotten-hearted philanthropy revels in its foetid corruption, yonder minion of power, whose livery conceals the heart of a hyena, savagely repulsed him."
A storm of hisses were levelled at the officer, and fierce cries of, "He's a brute―he's a brute," met his startled ears.
"Now, Mr. President, how much will this society appropriate of the money collected to forward the unholy crusade of abolitionism, for the purpose of ameliorating the condition of that noble lit-tie boy, and others, in the same situation?" The speaker paused.
"Come, sir, I will yield the floor that the motion may be made."
"The proposition is out of order," muttered the president.
"Out of or–der! Yes, it is out of or–der to relieve the agony that is visible upon this floor, and that pleads with a child's voice for succor; but it is not out of 0r–der– English order, to let him starve. Well, sir, what will you give out of your own funds for the relief of this family?"
"Your conduct is unusual, sir; your remarks are personal, sir," responded the presiding officer.
"My application was personal; it was made to you, Solomon Greasebeans, in your individual capacity, and the response is accompanied with quite as little aid as when I appealed to Solomon Greasebeans, the president of a celebrated society. What is the conclusion that must be forced upon every unprejudiced individual in this assemblage? That a contemptible ambition is the groundwork of your benevolence. In the United States we sell the father, but the wife and children are fed, clothed, and nursed in sickness. The law in its mercy requires it; the interest of the owner is a double guarantee for its fulfillment. Here you steal the father, through the agency of a press-gang, and leave the wife and children to misery, dishonor, sickness, and death! There families are separated by executive sale; here by a necessity quite as irresistible. There our slaves are well fed and clothed; here the traveller is at a loss to know whether to laugh at the scanty raiment, which is sometimes an apology for clothing, or to weep over the emaciation that nakedness reveals. There the young negroes are
rarely taken from the play-grounds; here little white serfs drop into the grave, with broken constitutions, at seven years of age. Such are the contrasts drawn by stern reality. I will leave you to contemplate them, remarking, in conclusion, that we are annually giving homes to thousands and tens of thousands of what you complacently call the 'surplus population' of England. We feed, clothe, and educate those whom you would mercifully starve. We enable them to send five millions of dollars annually to relieve the wants of those who are so unfortunate as to be unable to escape from servitude who are still subjected to the oppressive laws of the British empire. While we remember these facts, we can afford to despise the canting hypocrisy which emanates from the renowned society of Dexeter Hall."
The orator descended from the stand, after having given utterance to the most caustic speech ever heard in that temple of the philanthropic. The president sat motionless, while the speaker was greeted by prolonged cheers, that had more of earnestness in them, and less of sanctity than was usually vouchsafed to that venerable pile.
Henry was as much excited as the most enthusiastic, and he exclaimed, as he clapped his hands,
“Oh! he'll do something for ma, I know he will do something for ma."
"Now you little rascal, out with you," said the officer, as, seizing him by the collar, he led him towards the door.
''Oh don't, don't, till I've seen him; pray don't."
"Will you hush?" screamed the policeman, as he shook him violently.
"Shame! shame!" cried several of the crowd.
The officer paused for a moment and scowled upon them. "Perhaps you will try to effect a rescue, gentlemen?"
They were appalled by his words, and moving on, he pitched the child into the street.
When Mr. Jones reached that part of the hall where his attention had been attracted to Henry, he paused. "Have you seen the little child to whom I alluded," he asked of a bystander.
"Yes, but a moment ago the officer thrust him out."
The gentleman pushed his way rapidly through the crowd, but when he arrived at the portico, the boy was no longer to be seen; his slight figure had been borne irresistibly along by the vast multitude.
"Cheerful glows the festive chamber;
In the circle pleasure smiles:
Mounts the flame, like wreath of amber,
Bright us love its warmth beguiles."—Percival.
Scarcely had the full moon risen and faintly brought the angles and turrets of Montague Castle into view, gently mellowing and subduing the evidences of decay, as we love to see them represented upon canvas, when the flower of the English aristocracy began to assemble, for the purpose of joining in the festivities of the occasion. Carriage after carriage rolled up beneath the portals of the castle, with their livened coachmen, and their precious freight of wit, beauty, and intelligence. A long line of magnificent robes and sparkling diamonds swept into the hall and mounted the staircase to the dressing-room. The castle was brilliantly illuminated. Each window, tower, and balcony sent its rays into the night. Lamps were placed among the trees that ornamented the ground, and their light mingling with the smile of the moon, presented an appearance of more than oriental beauty. Among the guests who arrived at an early hour were Lord Delmore and Sir William Belthoven. The former carried his arm in a sling, which, from pure accident, no doubt, was made of the finest material the market afforded. Sir William Belthoven was radiant with satisfaction at being still preserved for the benefit of his constituency and the service of his queen; which, in his estimation, consisted (of what, in England, is not a peculiarity), of a willingness to tax his constituents to any amount the wants of her majesty or the public service might require. This, he imagined, entitled him not only to the lasting gratitude of those whom he enabled thus to manifest their loyalty to the throne, but to a seat in parliament so long as he could succeed in humbugging electors not hitherto remarkable for their sagacity in detecting the grossest impositions. As John Bull is fond of being humbugged, Sir William considered himself as occupying, to some extent, the position of a public benefactor, which added in no inconsiderable degree to his complacency.
Lord Delmore having paid his salutations to Lord and Lady Ross-more gracefully bowed his way through the crush of laces and silks, to that part of the room where Lady Katharine was
surrounded by hosts of admirers.
"I regretted to see, Lord Delmore, that my forebodings were too well founded."
"How so?" inquired his lordship.
"That you have become so corpulent it is no longer safe for you to encounter the hazards of a steeple-chase."
"The fall was occasioned by anxiety lest I should fail to win the prize your fair hand was to bestow."
"Over weight, my lord."
"The dread of failure."
"Too much rotundity."
"Have it as you will, I am still spared, and remain the most devoted of your admirers," replied the veteran and unconquerable beau.
"Oh! thank you," replied the lady, as she made a low and graceful courtesy, in mock humility.
"My mother says you have often made the same observation to her," remarked the' young and transparently simple Lady Emily Snizzle, sister of the reader's acquaintance of the same name.
"An observation I am fearful your ladyship will never elicit," remarked the peer, with a stately air, which had the effect of rendering that young lady extremely taciturn for the rest of the evening. He put a quietus upon her in his own peculiar manner, which, by the way, he always adopted in silencing "sap heads." And it is a remarkable fact, that in the estimation of his lordship, it made not the slightest difference whether the "sap head", was attached to the shoulders of a person whose great-grandfather was a peer of the realm or a tinker; and therein consisted the solitary proclivity of his lordship for republicanism. A proclivity which had its origin in a contempt for dullness, whether it was palliated by social position and costly raiment, or displayed itself in the garb of poverty, rather than from a constitutional love for the lower orders.
Timothy, Lord Snizzle, now advanced to pay his respects to Lady Katharine. It was observable that "Tim Snizzle," as Lord Delmore irreverently called him, (with a reprehensible disregard for the said Timothy's position, as the heir apparent to a dukedom,) could see much better in genteel society without requiring the assistance of his eye-glass, than among the wealthy parvenus, who assumed that every thing done by a lord must be worthy of admiration. His grimaces were not, therefore, half so painful to contemplate, as when he was conscious of awakening mingled emotions of envy and delight which his contortions elicited from that portion of his acquaintance. Habit, however, sometimes made him unconsciously thrust the glass into the socket of his eye. Upon such occasions the left orb instead of the right performed the unpleasant task of making him short-sighted, and the grimaces thereby awakened were not half so fearful to contemplate as those with which the right eye was accustomed to favor the substratum of London society.
"Look here, Snizzle," said Lord Delmore, "they have an eye infirmary in the city; why do you not have an operation performed? for you cannot, of course, expect any prudent young lady to ally herself to such a face as you now present. Judge for yourself; look in the mirror."
Lord Snizzle turned to the mirror, and for a moment regarded the contortions that had drawn up the lower part of his left cheek to meet the upper part which had a corresponding depression.
The exertion had the effect of disclosing several sharply pointed teeth, thereby giving to his mouth a voracious expression.
The muscles of his face collapsed as he finished a rather cursory
examination, and the eye-glass fell to the length of a pretentious chain.
"Snizzle," continued Delmore, "it is a great mistake to suppose that any defect of vision can add to the attractions of an individual. The eyes are remarkably true evidences of mental conformation. Thus, if a person is cross-eyed, you will find a corresponding obliquity in his moral perceptions. If he is near-sighted, his conduct will seldom square with the recognized standards of propriety or common sense. There may be exceptions to the rule, but I have not been so fortunate as to meet with them. In either case, you will find their possessors have crafty or turbulent dispositions, wayward and uncontrollable passions, or are governed by a thorough contempt for the sacred and necessary regulations which morality has established for the control of society."
Lord Snizzle had a great respect for the opinions of the veteran beau, because he was always cordially welcomed in the most select circles, and he inwardly resolved never to use his eye-glass except among plebeians, where he knew it couldn't fail of producing a sensation.
The guests continued to arrive, and the spacious rooms were thronged. The hour had come when the ball was to "be opened."
"Kate, has the hero of the steeple-chase yet presented himself?" asked Lord Rossmore.
"No, papa," she replied.
"Has he sent no message?"
"Not that I have received.''
"It is remarkable. I should not judge from his bearing that he could be guilty of discourtesy."
"We could expect nothing else from a person occupying his position," said the maiden, as her nostrils dilated and a flush suffused her cheeks.
"Perhaps he may be ill, or more probably, his bashfulness could not brave this, array of illustrious names."
"He certainly ought not to expose me to the taunts which the impertinent will indulge in, notwithstanding my hand in the dance would be an honor the most illustrious noble in the castle might be proud of. But it is idle to look for well-bred manners in a boor," replied Katharine Montague, as her eyes flashed, and her little foot impatiently tapped the velvet carpet.
At this inopportune moment Lord Melville made his way through the press of silks to the side of Lady Katharine.
"I congratulate your ladyship," he said spitefully, "on the happiness which is vouchsafed you in being honored with the hand of my father's tenant in the dance."
"An honor for which I am indebted to your lordship's want of skill and courage as an equestrian, whereby your father's tenant convinced your father's son, that so far at least as one accomplishment is concerned, which denotes a man, the high-born noble is not the equal of the humble retainer," replied the maiden sarcastically.
"Baulked, hey, Melville?" exclaimed Delmore gayly. "Why, man, have you not measured lances often enough with Lady Kath-
arine Montague to discover your inferiority in the tournament of wit!"
"And if I have, I believe I am not the only one who has been favored with the same experience," replied Melville sarcastically.
"Perhaps not; but at all events you are the only case that has come to my knowledge where experience has not produced caution. But there is an old adage, scriptural or classical, I have forgotten which, that says, whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. If there is any truth in it, your prospect for a long enjoyment of sanity is very slender."
Melville controlled his indignation with a powerful effort, as he walked away.
"Bilious, decidedly bilious," remarked Sir William Belthoven; "he ought to offer for a seat in Parliament; that would teach him patience, I'll be bound."
With an anxiety that caused Katharine Montague to smile through her blushes, she glanced around the room. But the humble tenant whose presence, under the circumstances, would have caused a thrill of pleasure, did not make his appearance.
It was with a face flushed with a scarlet hue that she addressed even Lord Delmore, the oldest and most esteemed of her acquaintances.
"My lord, I hope you will excuse the liberty I take in asking you to favor me with your hand in opening the dance to-night. The individual who was to have had that honor, has, it seems, proved a recreant knight," and a faint smile wreathed the lips of the haughty beauty.
"Certainly, my dear Lady Katherine; nothing could give me greater pleasure than this unexpected honor," replied Lord Delmore with the greatest deference.
The dancers took their places, and the gorgeous music floated through the spacious saloon. The figure was the stately quadrille which so well shows off the beauty of form and grace of motion. The polka and waltz were excluded: the polka and waltz, for whose voluptuous embrace less refined maidens pant, as though with it their fortunes thereby meaning rich husbands and fine establishments were made, and without it they were doomed to perpetual celibacy: the polka and waltz, borrowed from the out door, sky-ceilinged, leaf-walled ball-rooms of the Rhine, and the less romantic and respectable quartiers of the Parisian grisettes. The polka and waltz, intended to display the accomplishments of those whose heels can be cultivated, but whose heads cannot: the polka and waltz, whose days are numbered, and whose votaries will soon go to the wall, when heels will occupy the position where brains have long been stationed. Then the class known as the species snip, instead of thrusting their capering stupidity, where wisdom modestly appears, will resume their rightful position among the outsiders. No more will be seen the forms of men who, gifted with imposing presence, yet stoop to the attitude of monkeys for the purpose of enabling gaudy-dressed sapheads to show off their figures advantageously. The beardless stripling may no longer attempt to strain himself up to manhood, by the waist of
some spinster who could boast of maturity at least half a dozen years ago. That enchanting combination of hops, shuffles, and skips, that is simply a prelude to the more violent features of the main performance, though surpassing them in the spasmodic motions which strongly resemble a double representation of St. Vitus's dance, will never more cause the hearts of adoring mammas to overflow with happiness; never more cause the feminine member of the jigging partnership to cast devotional glances into the eyes of the male member as a reward for encircling her waist with a more vigorous arm, under an implied understanding that it is not, squeezing―though very like it―only necessary support. Never again suffer demure yet observant glances to flash around, as she whirls past, to see if some other beau is not dying of envy because his arm is not around her zone; to estimate the probabilities of that fine-looking stranger desiring an introduction, to encourage which she suffers several additional pounds of her invaluable weight to rest in the arms of her partner. Never again will she whirl around the room until her strength is completely exhausted, in the hope that all the spectators will have an opportunity of admiring the grace with which she can balance herself upon one foot, while the other cuts two or three fantastic flourishes unseen, if it is fashioned after a shovelish mould; a performance that is duly rewarded by suffering that foot to obtain a few moments' rest in gratitude for its vigorous demonstrations, while the other is made to cut the same fascinating shake.
The figure was the graceful and stately quadrille, and the most observed among the dancers was Katherine Montague. Her spirit was not in the amusement, for she dreaded the biting sarcasm of Lord Melville. To avoid meeting him she withdrew from the saloon when the figure was over. Passing along the balcony, she turned an angle of the castle. The night was exceedingly lovely. The moon had mounted above the trees, and was casting a flood of light upon the rich foliage that surrounded the castle. The stars were good-naturedly winking at the festivities of the hour. The soft breezes of departing summer gently agitated the trees, and upon the fragrant air, mellowed by distance, floated the music of the band.
The maiden contemplated the scene with emotions of tranquil delight. Hers was a mind that could elevate itself above a dance, the newest fashions, and the opinion which one-half the word had formed and expressed of the other half. With all her pride of ancestry, and of caste, there was at the foundation of her character a lively regard for the rights of the masses; less philosophical, perhaps, than impulsive. It was this that prompted her to indulge in those ironical allusions to the government and social regulations of England which were listened to by the Duchess of Sunderland and the Countess of Rossmore with such lively satisfaction. The abolition opinions of the former she assailed with a power of sarcasm that nothing but the wretched condition of the tenantry upon the Sunderland estate could have enabled her to indulge in.
She gladly turned from the gay crowd for a few moments to gaze upon the beauties of nature. The private grounds of the
castle, with their flowers and shrubbery, lay invitingly open. The beckoning trees waved her onwards, and descending the staircase she entered the garden, slowly proceeding along the gravel walk leading to the stream that bounded the garden in that direction.
She seated herself in a bower that overlooked the water and commanded a view of the undulating park which stretched away to the south. She was aroused from her recumbent posture by the wailing of a child. Ever alive to the voice of distress she listened. The cry became fainter, not as she thought by distance, but by weakness. It seemed to proceed from the carriage-way that led through that part of the grounds. Her sympathies were excited, and apprehending no danger where she was known to the humble only to be idolized, she descended the pathway leading to the stream and crossed the rustic bridge to the other side. Ascending to the summit of the acclivity, she paused to listen. The voice of a man uttered words of encouragement and consolation. There could be no risk in meeting one who was evidently engaged in the cause of mercy, and she advanced in the direction from whence faint moans were now heard.
As she emerged from the cluster of trees that bordered the carriage-way, she saw the form of a man bending over a child, whose head he was sustaining upon his arm. He turned his head at her approach, and she met the glance of Christie Kane. The young man raised the boy to his feet, still sustaining his weight with his arm.
"And this is the reason why you did not keep your engagement at the castle?" she observed, in a tone that was in the slightest degree tremulous.
"No, madam," responded Christie Kane, decidedly.
"And, pray, to what other cause may your rudeness be attributed?" she curtly inquired.
"Not to thrust myself where I should only be welcomed by scoffs, can hardly be termed an act of rudeness."
"You misunderstand, sir, the courtesy of our house. Whom we admit within its precincts, we know how to treat with civility."
"Probably, after they are admitted; but there is a way to exclude an individual who may know what is due to himself, if he is a peasant," replied Kane, sarcastically.
"How? what do you mean?"
"I mean, lady, that nature has endowed me with too much pride, if I am humbly born, to pledge the grateful offering of the spirit's fealty at the summons of a mortal like myself," said Christie, sternly.
The smiling eyes of the lady apologized, for the curling lip.
"Enough, sir. Whom have we here?"
"One of the unfortunate tenants of the Duke of Sunderland, who has been so long without food that he cannot stand alone."
"Poor child," she said, in a tone of deep commiseration.
"Withhold your sympathy, madam; the most illustrious of the guests, who are now enjoying the festivities of yonder castle, can boast of at least a score of human beings who are dying, literally dying of starvation; and they will soon thank God at the near approach of death, unless her grace, the Duchess, with the assistance of the charitable ladies who meet at Strafford House for the pur-
pose of ostentatiously displaying their benevolence, should, at a sufficiently early clay, succeed in ameliorating the condition of the whole world beside, when she may, possibly, find time to direct her benevolent eyes to the appalling situation of her own peasantry. While there is a foreign subject, however, upon which her charities can be expended in a way to arrest attention and command applause, she will not be able to discover the miserable condition of her own tenants. Her grace's moral eyesight possesses the rare faculty of only coming to a focus beyond the limits of Europe. So nearly parallel are its rays, that domestic suffering never meets with domestic alms."
The boy moaned,
"I can carry you to the gig; it is only a few steps now. I hope your ladyship will pardon me for trespassing upon the grounds of Earl Rossmore."
Raising the child in his arms Christie Kane proceeded down the road, and his form was soon lost amidst the shrubbery that overhung the way.
"An implacable enemy of our class," said Katharine Montague, as she retraced her steps to the castle.
The grounds in front of the castle were thronged by the retainers of the houses of Sunderland and Montague, and the peasantry of the surrounding estates. The most healthy portion of the population were out; and as Lord Rossmore had ordered tables to be loaded with; food beneath the trees, gayety prevailed without as well as within the castle. He was known as one of the most liberal and kind of the English aristocracy, and he was, consequently, very popular with the substratum, the country round. He had sufficient tact to comprehend that such gorgeous displays as were now witnessed in; the castle of Montague, if not participated in by the substratum, might occasion heart-burnings, if not disaffection. He knew how easily they were satisfied, and wisely conceded something to natural prejudice by giving an humble entertainment upon the greensward, which proved quite as satisfactory to them as the display within the castle did to his courtly guests. With two violins and abundance to eat, the few might for them rule the world. And Lord Rossmore knew it.
Among the happiest and most grateful of the out-door guests was Mr. Phelim Savor. Phelim was ordinarily blessed with unquenchable good nature; but a well-lined jacket added surprisingly to his facetiousness. It created a well of thankfulness that he considered inexhaustible, and he, therefore, drew largely from it.
Phelim was the centre of an admiring circle, and he proceeded to expatiate largely upon popular themes, for Mr. Savor possessed enough sagacity to know, that to become a favorite, one must never broach unpleasant subjects. He therefore enlarged upon the generosity of Lord Rossmore for his bounty, which he was then availing himself of to an extent that a strict regard for truth will not justify us in pronouncing moderate. Having, after the manner
of more literary and refined gentlemen, expressed his gratitude to his entertainer, (which elsewhere is manifested by personal laudation of the host, or in extravagant praises of what he may have invented, or may have to sell, or, as by no means is unfrequently the case, may have prepared for the benefit of the traveling public) for his liberal hospitality, he launched off into praises of Christie Kane, the hero of the steeple-chase. As Christie belonged not exactly to their set, but to a few shades, only, above it, he was deemed worthy of almost as much applause as Earl Rossmore, and if the occasion had been any other than one which displayedthe Earl’s generously, and therefore awakened their gratitude to an unusual degree, the name of Christie Kane would have been welcomed more enthusiastically than any other.
"Fill yez, glasses," said the cheerful voice of Mr. Savor : "wid the permission of the gintleman beyant, whose iligant spach have been so properly and purposely praised, I will prayface me last toast wid a sentiment which will, as Sir William Belthoven says, meet wid universal approbation; bekase, as Sir William says, it will be unineasurably liked. Christie Kane, the gintleman—the humble gintleman"—(added Mr. Savor, upon perceiving the word gintleman was not well received by his audience, and he had learned from Sir William that offensive remarks were to be avoided) "who so significantly trumphed over the nobility beyant at the steeple chase, is me imployer." Phelim paused when he announced the relative position of the idol of the hour and himself; a position that in fact consisted of service upon the one side for the consideration of very plain fare, and no wages on the other. Phelim did not attempt to be accurate as to terms; he only wanted to apprise his hearers that he was something more than an ordinary acquaintance of the victorious horseman. In this respect Phelim Savor followed the example of thousands who are satisfied with reflecting the honors that are showered upon favorites by merely knowing them and being seen their presence; a common failing, by the way, of sapheads in general, who are conscious that the observation of the curious can be won by no other process.
"Be rayson of me faymiliarity wid Mr. Christie Kane," continued Mr. Savor, after an impressive and significant pause; "I can spake understandingly, as Sir William Belthoven says, maning thereby, under the comprehension of the fraymen; a bootiful figure of spache. Mr. Kane is proud of his success to-day, bekase he belongs to the poor devils (three vociferous cheers) who give the nobility money to display their extravagance, as they are doing this blissid night in yon castle, (scowling visages were directed to the illuminated building) an enable Lord Rossmore to give us a magnificent intertainmint like a noble gintleman as he is. (Earl Rossmore was loudly cheered.) Yes say its kind in the aristocracy to ba afther lettin' us enjoy a sight of steeple chases and balls, for empty stomaches don't feel half so bad for siveral days, bekase whin the mind runs fernenst a jolly time, its amazin' how it takes one's thoughts from temporal affairs. Some discontinted devils thry to make us belave we are human beings, and his rights, natural rights, aquil tul the prudent nobleman in England. But don't we all
know they are unrasonable spalpeens? Jist look at Arthur Wellington William Pitt Smithers, yonder, wid his knees through his pantaloons, thrying till scrape acquaintance wid his elbows, which are in the same predicament, as yez will obsarve. Now will ony man say that Mr. Smithers is a human baing to the same extint as Earl Rossmore?"
"No! no!" and derisive laughter.
"Of koorse not. Thin Arthur Wellington William Pitt Smithers must be thrated accordin. He can't expict onything but savare labor for thim as has more naturaller rights thin himsilf. If he was a human baing tul the same extint as thim blissid aristocracy up yonder, we would all work and toil and sweat for Smithers as charefully as we would for ony other superior baing."
"How do you make it out that they are superior beings, Mr. Savor?" asked a voice in the crowd.
"How do I make it out? There's an ignoramus for yez! Don't we labor and suffer, and don't they laugh and enjoy themselves. Ain't we ragged? ain't they well clad? Ain't we hungry? ain't they well fed? Ain't they bootiful? ain't we ugly as sin, especially yezsilf! How do I make it out?" quoted Phelim indignantly; "don't" the blissid prastes, whin they cancel ony little rascalities we hev committed, tell us obadience to the laws is the nixt thing in importance to paying the tithes? Begorra, the gintilman who axed that question must be a heretic who has niver been blissid wid the pardonin' power of the prastes long life tul thim and may they ba long spared to open the hivenly gates for poor divils to enter or been fayvored with the illegant diskoorse of Sir William Belthoven. Didn't that distinguished parliamentary man tell the fraymen the day afther he was elected whin they coome to congratulate him, that obadience to the government was the best koorse for them tul pursue, and that they must not expict much from the government, bekase the government had all it could do tul take care of itself, and that if they obayed the laws, paid the rint and the tithes, and all other taxes, and conducted thimselves as orderly citizens, the government would be satisfied, and would not molest thim, unless it wer nicessary to hiv their sirvices in foreign parts, whin they would be fayvoored by a visit from the press-gang, whose praysadings would be very quiet and orderly. One ongrateful spalpeen said it wer his opinion that foreign parts claimed too much attintion, bekase the philanthropists were neglicting the poor white people here to send money tul the niggers, and the government wer stealin' white people to send off to Africa to prevent niggers baing stolen, and it seemed to him the niggers wer considered more of gintilmen than himsilf. By the holy St. Pathrick, but yez ought to hiv sane how they hustled him out, an ongrateful boogger as he manifisted himsilf. But--"
"Mr. Savor, don't you think you had better let us drink your toast and conclude your speech afterwards. Eloquence has made us very dry, down here," said a voice from the lower end of the table.
"I returns me thanks to the gintleman for the compliment," observed Mr. Savor, bowing. "Allow me to propose the health
And happiness of me employer, Mr. Christie Kane, who niver carries two faces under one hat.”
The sentiment was drank with all the honors, and by none with a deeper expression of regard, than by Mr. Phelim Savor himself, who imbibed the grateful beverage so freely that his ideas became rather confused, and he did not feel altogether equal to the work of continuing his brilliant discourse.
The company began to leave the castle, and soon with that unaccountable apprehension of being last—which is almost as much dreaded as being first—the gay throng bid adieu totheir hospitable entertainers, and the castle was deserted, save by those guests who were to remain all night beneath its roof.
Following the example of the aristocracy, that portion of the Earl's company who had been enjoying themselves where there was plenty of air, also withdrew; prompted, however, by the annunciation that the gates were to be closed, rather than by an apprehension of being last, which we are bound to admit would, in a considerable number of cases, have been deemed a consummation devoutly to be wished, in view of sundry bottles of liquor yet uncorked.
The moon was hiding her roguish smile behind the trees; the stars were slily winking, and the gentle breeze was rustling the green foliage. Katharine Montague leaned from the casement. Her cheeks were still flushed with excitement, and her disheveled, hair fell to her feet. How much happier was the accomplished, beautiful, and idolized daughter of that illustrious house than those who made themselves miserable by envying her lot!”
"We all have our troubles," she sighted, as she closed the casement.
How many of the sorrowful and harassed pilgrims to the other world can repeat her language, as they toil along the dreary pathway of life, across which despondency would cast its dark shadow, if it was not dispelled by rays from the lighthouse of hope?
"Who dare confide in right or a just claim?"— Goethe.
It was with a heart bursting with grief that Henry Kane returned from the meeting at Dexeter Hall. His hopes had been raised to such a height before he entered the edifice dedicated to the cause of foreign charities with loudly proclaimed asseverations of domestic piety and abstinence from all sinful desires or gratifications, that now, when he was convinced they would not stoop from their exalted situation to his lowly condition, the reaction in his feelings made him very miserable. He could not eat the pittance his mother had kept for him, and he was glad of it, too, for both his mother and Dolly looked as thought they were very hungry.
"But you must eat, Henry, indeed you must, or you will be sick."
"I cannot, ma, I am so full hero," and he clasped his throat with his hands.
"Do, oo feel sick, Henry?" said Dolly, taking his hand.
"Not very, Dolly, only I can't eat. Here, take the bread; eat it yourself, Dolly."
"No, is wont." But she eyed it wistfully.
"Yes, you must."
"But I don't want it, Dolly."
"Pon zoo honor?"
"No," he said, smiling.
"Take half of it, then."
And she broke the hard piece of bread, with great difficulty, and gave him the largest part.
"Ma, why don't you write to grandma, and tell her all about our condition?"
"And what did she say?'' he inquired, eagerly.
"That they had been turned from home by their landlord."
"And could not help us."
He reflected a few moments.
"Ma, I'll tell you what I must do," he said, resolutely.
"Go and get employment in a weaving establishment."
"At your tender age―it is impossible."
"Oh no, it ain't; there's ever so many little boys, and little girls, too, no bigger than I am, who work there."
"But what good would it do?"
"I heard 'em say a smart, little boy could earn six or seven pence a day, and that, you know, would buy us a loaf of bread; and I will be so smart, I am sure I shall please them."
"And ruin your health at the same time," responded Mrs. Kane, sadly.
"Better that than starve, ain't if? I shall stand it bravely, for I shall think all day long how
happy it will make Dolly to eat the bread I bring home to her at night."
She pressed him silently in her arms.
"And if I do that nobody can call me a beggar, as that bad officer did. You will let me try,
won't you, ma?"
"Yes, you may try," she said.
"Thank you, dear ma―to-morrow?"
There was a brief struggle in her mind at the idea of having his tender form so soon tested by hard labor. He observed her working countenance.
"I shall be very miserable and unhappy if you refuse."
"Well, well, you may go to-morrow―yes, to-morrow."
His countenance lighted up with as much pleasure, as if her consent had exempted him from every care little people are in the habit of thinking their parents concoct, with a great deal of inge-
nuity and no small amount of labor, for their particular and individual annoyance.
At an early hour the next day, Henry Kane sallied forth with a clean face, and in the clothes that had but one patch upon them, and that one neither upon the seat, nor paid for by the public as a judicial and, therefore, necessary expenditure. He sought no adventure, like the worthy knight, Don Quixote; but his stomach, poor boy, was as destitute of food as that redoubtable champion's head was of brains. No; the lad set forth with hopeful feelings in search of the practical, unromantic employment of a wheel-spinner, that he might contribute, in a small way, to the support of his destitute family. What an example did he set to the youth who live only for pleasure, without bestowing a thought upon those who are less fortunate, or pausing to raise their eyes for a moment to Heaven in thankfulness for every earthly blessing! Faint with hunger, he threaded the streets, only kept from sinking in despair upon the ground by a sense of duty. He passed confectionery shops, where cakes and fruits were temptingly displayed; refectories from which issued the smell of beef and the aroma of coffee; into these he cast wistful, but momentary glances, and sped onwards. Passers by noticed his pale cheeks; yet the sight was so common in London that they did not proclaim it a novelty by turning their heads. One boy, trimly dressed, and who had evidently teen favored by some liberal person with an extravagant amount of pennies, judging from the artillery of rolls, the magazine of cakes, and the embankment of candies with which his person was fortified, spied Henry from afar off. As they approached each other, the stranger sidled away, not that he supposed the pale child was about to forage upon his possessions, but only to obtain a more accurate survey of his person. His jaws moved less and less rapidly as they neared one another, until, as Henry was passing him, they altogether ceased masticating the compound of cake, bread, and candies, with which his mouth was distended to its greatest, not to say its most alarming capacity. Whether there was something in the emaciated appearance of the wan face that excited his compassion, or whether the superabundance of good things with which he had supplied himself, had enlarged his sympathies as they had his stomach, and made him desirous of imparting something of the superabundance, as a new convert does that blessed religion which is more than enough for his own bliss, will to the latest time remain unexplained. Either the emaciated appearance of Henry, or the world of good things which the stranger possessed, one or the other, or both, prompted him to advance a step and make earnest gesticulations. Henry stood still, while his eyes followed the bread which the other was flourishing diligently in default of speech, for his mouth seemed to be hermetically sealed by the compound there imprisoned. Finding that the gesticulations did not have the effect of expressing his charitable desires, he thrust the bread into Henry's hand, articulating at the same time with manifest difficulty.
The face of Henry was crimsoned in a moment, as he drew back. He had never taken alms.
"Do take it," said the other in a kind voice. "You look so pale and thin. Come, I've got ever so much beside, and see all, the pennies too."
"Henry took the bread.
"I am sure I am very much obliged to you," he said, gratefully.
"You're welcome. Here, take this roll too."
Henry looked surprised at his generosity.
"Oh, I've eaten enough myself, I couldn't swallow as much as would choke a mouse."
The child thought of the hungry ones at home, and he put the roll in his pocket, and then he thanked the good boy again, and then he walked along more briskly than ever. The sun
seemed to shine more brightly, and the faces of all the people he met looked more cheerful, and he turned his head to catch one more glimpse of the kind stranger, who was still watching him, with a pleasant consciousness that he had made him happier than he was before.
Henry soon reached the large weaving establishment, and timidly entering the office, stood by the door, with his hat in his hand. One of the partners was there, and seemed to be in consultation with a foreman of the establishment. Henry modestly waited until their attention might be directed to him. A large black Newfoundland dog, whose fat proportions spoke of good living and gentle treatment, regarded the child with sleepy eyes, and seemed to be in doubt whether he was, in fact, a veritable boy, or the huge form of the mastiff, that had been troubling his dreams. After a long examination, during which, judging from a growl, he had a reasonable―or rather an instinctive, conviction that the identical mastiff was then and there present, and that too, in a most offensive position. When this impression had ripened into certainty, the shaggy monster was not long in defining his position. Without attempting to disguise his purposes with gracious and complimentary notes, intended only to deceive, such as our renowned diplomatists are accustomed to write to each other, the gallant Newfoundlander sprang to his feet, and without any more formal declaration of hostilities than a bark, prepared to repulse the enemy from his territory. No sooner, however, had he thus proclaimed his ultimatum, and that too with a dog-matical resolution to enforce it―an example which might be appropriately followed by certain crowned heads―than he was apprised of the futility of even canine opinions. If his warlike preparations were unhesitatingly made, no one, not even the Emperor of France, could express more undisguised satisfaction, that peace could be preserved upon honorable terms. If one could not brook a continental war that would light the fires of a revolution, which must turn up the rotten foundations of despotic governments, because his sympathies were aroused for those who might fall in a conflict that must give freedom to Europe, the other could not visit that indignation upon a poor little boy, which might rightfully be poured out upon the head of an offending mastiff. So he walked up to Henry with a separate and distinct proclamation of neutrality in each wag of his
tail, and the offer of an alliance offensive and defensive in every glance from his good-natured eyes.
"What do you want?" said the partner, as he surveyed Henry over his spectacles―those lighthouses standing out upon the nose, as a disregarded warning that he was rapidly approaching the great port to which his sea-beaten craft had directed her course for more than half the brief period allotted for a passage from time to eternity.
"Please, sir, I want employment."
"Employment! It seems to me all the brats in London come to me for employment."
"Perhaps they can't find it any where else?"
"Hity, tity! and if they could, I suppose they would not come here; eh?"
Henry was grieved to think he had made a disagreeable remark, and he was silent, not knowing what to say.
"Hey! is that it?"
"I don't know, sir, only I didn't mean to offend you."
''Didn’t, you? Well, I should not think it would be worth your while to do it, if you think of working for me! Hey, Dykeman?"
"Hear that, you little spawn?"
"Well, what can you do?"
"I don't know, but I am willing to do anything."
"And how much will you give me to learn you to do something for yourself?"
Henry was appalled, for a moment.
"Give you, sir? I've not got one single penny in the world. I am very poor."
"I do not see how you could well be more so; do you, Dykeman?"
"You don't expect me to pay you anything, do you?" he asked in a voice calculated to make Henry believe that such expectations were little less criminal than theft.
But despair was not to be put down by looks, or words either.
"I must have money, sir."
"You must; why?"
"Because if I don't, my little sister and little brother, and mother too, will starve!"
"The old story, Dykeman."
"Yes. Poor people will persist in the foolish idea that if they don't eat they must die!"
"Especially when bread is scarce."
"And potatoes have the rot."
"How much do you expect a day?" said the commiserate Mr. Greasebeans, for he was no less a personage than the President of
the Dexeter Hall Association, for the Amelioration, &c., &c., of the African Negroes, &c., &c., and the American Slave, &c., &c.
"I hope seven pence a day will not be too much?" said Henry, alarmed at the magnitude of the amount, as he mentioned it.
"Think of that, Dykeman!"
"Seven pence a day!"
"Ain't they coming to it?"
"They have no consciences."
"Nor bowels, except for food."
"You may think yourself fortunate if I give you three," said the charitable Mr. Greasebeans, who had subscribed five hundred pounds at the recent meeting at Dexeter Hall, to aid the cause of Emancipation in the United States.
"Then I can't work for you," said Henry sadly, as he put on his hat and moved towards the door.
"Well, how little will you take?" inquired Mr. Greasebeans; "come, now, if we make your work light;" and he winked at Dykeman, a freedom totally at variance with the orderly and well-regulated features, such as the president of a renowned society might be supposed to possess.
Henry recollected that his mother had expressed her anxiety, about his health, and he was grateful, therefore, to Mr. Greasebeans for the intimation that he would make his work light. He hesitated for a few moments, and then he thought he would come down a penny, and that was a great deal to him.
And he told him so.
"Sixpence! Do you hear that, Dykeman?"
"Did you ever hear such exorbitant demands?"
"The world is surely coming to an end!"
"On fire now!"
"Where?" exclaimed Greasebeans, in evident alarm.
"Deep down in the earth, so the geologers say."
"I'll give you fivepence, boy."
Henry again moved towards the door, and the rich man, thinking that he had chaffered long enough with human misery, not only to satisfy his partners of his business sagacity, but also to maintain his own reputation in tact, finally agreed to give Henry the liberal sum of sixpence a day, adding sternly―
"But recollect, I have bought your time, youngster, from five o'clock in the morning until seven, at night."
"So many hours as that?" asked the child falteringly.
"Yes, every moment of it. For that time you are sold to me. If you come one minute too late it will be theft; do you understand theft?"
For a moment he thought of giving up the place at once, but
then the images of his mother and Dolly and Frank Tot rose up before him.
"Yes, I will do it."
''Very well, now you may go."
Henry left the office, and then he thought the time for receiving his wages had not been fixed, and he returned, honestly wishing that there might he no mistake.
"Please, sir, you will pay me the sixpence every night, won't you?"
"Do you hear that, Dykeman?"
"Is it not too outrageous?"
"I told you they would persist in not letting their stomachs grow up," replied Dykeman cynically.
"Must I humor him?"
"I suppose so, unless you can make him believe it is just as agreeable and quite as well in the long run, to fast for a month or through one quarter, as it is to eat. And I do not know why you should not, for you accomplish things in a money-making way almost as difficult."
"He! he! he!" shrieked the delighted Mr.Greasebeans. The compliment of Dykeman had evidently expanded the heart of his patron, for that individual said with an expression of benevolence upon his features―
"Yes, my little man, you shall receive the total amount of sixpence each day."
"Thank you, sir," replied Henry, and he went home very happy to think he had obtained situation where he could get sixpence a day to support hid family and pay the house rent, and for which he only had to task his strength fourteen hours a day, and that, too, in the service of a person who had written his name upon the record of humanity in unmistakable characters by his liberality in the crusade of Abolition. A crusade which sought to improve the condition of young, negroes who, at the age when Henry had sold himself to work fourteen hours a day for sixpence, were scampering unchecked in their playgrounds, or earning double that sum by holding "Massa's horse."
"To whom with dark displeasure Jove replied:
Base and side-shifting traitor! vex not me
Here sitting querulous; of all who dwell
On the Olympian heights, thee most I hate
Contentious, whose delight is war alone."—Homer.
It was a severe trial for Henry Kane to get up every morning at four o'clock, for it took an hour to eat his breakfast, and get to the factory at five. An hour was allowed at dinner, so that in making up his complement of fourteen hours, he could not start upon his return until eight. A great many children were employed
in the same room with him, all of them engaged in the laborious task of turning wheels. That it required too much exertion for their strength was proved by the deformed limbs, that had become misshapen under the ordeal. Crooked legs, uneven hips, arms out of all proportion, round shoulders, arid bent heads, that presented upon their little bodies the most quaint, old fashioned, grotesque appearance. To see them at work, with their sad faces and bent forms, would make a person think he had been favored with one of those sights which were vouchsafed to Gulliver, and which he recounts (after the manner of the present day) with such apparent truth, in his "personal recollections." He would come to the conclusion that he was in the rightful territory of a nation of Lilliputians, and with all due speed would beat a retreat before "each individual hair" on his cranium was made to "stand" out he a peg.
Mr. Dykeman had the overseeing of this part of the establishment, and to do that functionary justice, he was by nature and a thorough training sufficiently unfeeling to do credit to the discipline of "Messrs Greasebeans, Snodgrass & Co," the successors to the celebrated house of the ''Snodgrass Brothers," who had themselves succeeded the "Brothers Snodgrass," business descendants of "Snodgrass and Son," the original founders of the establishment, and supposed, also, to have been the originator of the partnership term of "Brothers Snodgrass," and also that of "Snodgrass Brothers," a phrase whose mellifluousness of tone and easy gracefulness of expression, finds much favor at the present day. Be that as it may, Hugh Dykeman had no more feeling for human suffering than might be supposed to emanate from a piece of leather that had undergone the process of tanning for seven years. Hugh prided himself upon his stolidity; so did Messrs. Greasebeans, Snodgrass & Co. It suited him to annoy the poor creatures over whom he was set as guard, for he seemed to revel in human suffering. If he could not, by taunts, wring tears from them, he sought an opportunity, when overpowered nature took a few moments for rest, to steal softly up to the offender and dash his raw hide into his flesh, and then he would laugh gleefully, and rub his hands as the victim danced about the room. No galley slave ever dreaded the approach of his task-master more than that band of helpless children did the presence of Dykeman. It was useless to complain to the proprietors, for he at once exculpated himself to their entire satisfaction by informing them that their interests would be advanced if he was allowed to use the raw-hide freely. And so their lacerated forms continued to bear evidence that Dykeman still enjoyed his favorite amusement.
Henry had hitherto escaped the vengeance of this monster. This was probably owing to the fact that he was strong and resolute compared with those who had been longer subjected to arduous labor. But after he had performed his task a few days, his strength began to fail him. He required more nourishing food than bread, which was all that now passed his lips. Exhausted with fatigue, he had fallen asleep during the hour of rest, and failed to hear the bell which called them again to their work. Dykeman saw it, and stole on tiptoe with the rawhide stretched forth. His companions