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    mtmttKmt'n ^itmnaiUixuMHJ' iittii- ^i ' ' '< '- --.

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    Prats of T. J. Linle * Co.New York. U. ^. A.

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    ContentsPAGEThe Money-Spinner 7

    The Nurse 25The Scholar 37The Mother 47My Lord 67'Melia 83The Laborer 99Intellecta 113The Soldier-Servant . . . .129The Practical Woman . . . .145The Squire 161The Beauty 177The Peasant 191The Frenchman . . , . . 205The Schoolgirl 217The Dog 229The Caretaker 243

    1 B1 S'l-i?

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    The Money-Spinner

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    The Money-Spinner Notre humeur met le prix a tout ce qui vient de la


    He lives, of course, in the most correctpart of town. His sons see to such thingsfor him. They are young men with avery just sense of the responsibility of hisposition, and take care that his moneyshall be spent in the most elegant andfashionable manner possible. Quite re-gardless, therefore, of the trouble therebyentailed upon themand the expensethereby entailed upon himthey havetaken care that his house shall be a de-licious conglomerate of soft carpets, rareflowers, the latest thing in decorationsand furniture, the best French cooks,and the most irreproachable butler. TheMoney-spinner would indeed be an un-grateful fiend if, after expending so much


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    The Moncy-Spinncrtrouble upon it, the sons could not usethe paternal mansion as headquarters fortheir friends, and if he made any objec-tion to his married daughter giving dancesin his drawing-room, and erecting thesweetest little stage in the library for pri-vate theatricals.But there are people who can makemoney and cannot appreciate it. Just asthere are other people who can appreci-ate money but cannot make it. Of thefirst, the Money-spinner might almost betaken as an example. Of the second, hischildren arc undoubtedly admirable in-stances. They are able to say, with avery laudable pride, that they keep thehouse warm and give the servants something to do. They are wont toadd that there is nothing like a largehouse party for keeping up poor oldpapa's spirits. The married daughter,with a taste for society, lays a very greatstress upon this point. As every one saysshe is a devoted daughter, she certainlyought to know what is good for poor oldpapa's spirits.


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    The Money-SpinnerAnd yet, but for her word, one would

    scarcely think the house-party has an en-livening effect upon him. When he creepsdownstairs forlornly he is apt to encoun-ter elegant young ladies in travelling cos-tumes ascending his staircase, followedby immense trunks. Beyond the factthat they are going to be his visitors, afact which, under the circumstances, anyfool could guess, he knows neither whohas invited them, nor how long they pro-pose to stay, nor even what are theirnames. That they are equally ignorantwith regard to him is revealed to him byoverhearing one of them ask another,Who ever is that old thing? Edith(the married daughter) assures him thathe is in very good societybetter, sheinsinuates very sweetly and gracefully,than perhaps he has been used to. Shecannot forget, being a person of very re-fined and delicate tastes, his Claphamorigin. And, knowing always what isbest for poor dear papa, will not allowhim to forget it either.

    Perhaps the society is good. PerhapsII

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    The Money-Spinnerthe Money-spinner thinks, as he looksdown a tableful of guests who are verymuch appreciating his delicate wines andthe French cookingthat it is too goodfor him. He sits at the head of the tablein a rarely broken silence. The youngmen talk across him, after dinner, on sub-jects of which he knows nothing. Occa-sionally one or other of them thinks thatthe old boy seems rather out of things,and attempts to draw him into the con-versation. But they soon find out he hasnever been at Oxford and is consequentlyimpossible. They are so kind as to saythat he is good enough perhaps for dollar-grinding, but a fellow, by Jove, of abso-lutely no cultchah whatever. So he isleft to finger his wine-glass with benthands that shake a little, and says noth-ing. He is left sitting there in the sameattitude when the others have gone tothe library to rehearse the play Edith isso very kindly getting up for a charity.He would sit there perhaps for anotherhour, but the butler, quite firm and po-lite, points out to him that if the table is


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    The Money-Spinnernot cleared the servants' supper will bedelayed. He moves hastily, apologeti-cally, and creeps up to the drawing-room.But it is bare of furniture, and druggetedfor Edith's skirt-dancing party to-mor-row. He had forgotten the party. Heis beginning to forget many things. Inthe library a young ladythe Girl of theStairs is in a stage faint in his particu-lar arm-chair. She wakes up when hecomes in, and says, with an immenselybecoming blush, directed at the eldestson, that if any one else is going to lookon she really doesn't think she can go onwith this utterly ridiculous scene andmake such an awful idiot of herself. You need not mind me, the Money-spinner murmurs in his old voice, for Ishall not be looking at you. Perhaps itoccurs to him afterwards that this is notwhat he was meant to say, that there isa plainness and directness in his form ofspeech which savors odiously of Clapham.One of the sons, who is always so thought-ful, accommodates poor old papa with themusic-stool, the only seat of which the


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    The Money-Spinneractors have not taken possession. Hesits there looking so ridiculously depressedand old that Edith whispers at last thathe is a perfect damper on them all, and ifhe is going to look like that he had bet-ter go to bed. Perhaps he despairs oflooking anything except like that. Sohe goes, slowly, to bed.The theatricals for the charityhavea way of always taking that arm-chair, hefinds. He also discovers that the wholeplot of the piece rests upon one of theOxford men finding, in the fourth act,some one's long lost Will inside the eve-ning newspaper. Further, the Oxfordman considers that this incident giveshim a right to retain that newspaper andread it intermittently through the firstthree acts. The stage is very comfort-ably situated near the fire. Some woman,with an odd compassion, very much outof place, for poor old papa looking so ut-terly ridiculous on his music-stool, asks ifhe cannot sit among the performers dur-ing rehearsals and warm himself there bythe fire ? But she is assured that it would

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    The Money-Spinnerbe horribly unprofessional, and isn't to bethought of.Every one in town says the skirt-danc-

    ing parties are perfectly charming andbrilliantly successful. If the Money-spin-ner is not grateful for all the troubleEdith takes in getting them up, he cer-tainly ought to be. It is not as if theywere for her honor and glory. Not atall. They are given in his name, and itis therefore plainly his duty to make him-self agreeable. Perhaps he tries. Per-haps it is Clapham still cleaving to himwhich makes him so dull, and apathetic,and heavy. Perhaps it is only becausehe is old and tired. Who knows ? If herouses himself to think at all, it is per-haps to reflect that his motherdead,God knows how many years agowouldscarcely have thought, in her bourgeoiseway, that some of the fine ladies he isentertaining were altogether respectable.Perhaps he would thinkif he were al-lowed to think independentlythat theentertainment itself iswell, a trifle vul-gar. But then, as Edith told him this


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    The Money-Spinnermorning, he is so awfully Clapham. Itmust be because his mind is so permeatedwith the commonness of his native soilthat he sees vulgarity even in a chasteand beautiful entertainment, which is thevery height of fashion.

    His wife, for he has a wife, is not acreature of his common and earthy mould.She is far younger, with beauty still, anaristocratic origin, a delicate fragility, anda heart complaint which she dresses toperfection. She only lives in England afew months out of every year. The doc-tors say she is a perfect exotic. A sweetterm, which suits her to perfection. Shehas a villa in Algiers, and bears up won-derfully (her physician says she has a greatsoul although she is so frail) at the part-ing from her husband which takes placeevery year. He is more emotional. Thebourgeois always are. That is one of theways by which one can tell the breed.He has not forgotten the old love he hadfor her years ago. He does not expecthe never expectedthat she should re-turn it. Numbers of those obliging peo-


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    The Money-Spinnerpie who go about the world telling thetruth assure him that he was married forhis money. He accepts the fact meekly.For what else should she, the secondcousin, only a few times removed, of anEarl, have married a creature with aplebeian name, an obscure origin, andthe clumsy hands and feet of the People ?The Exotic tells her dearest friendsandbeing such an eminently charming per-son, her dearest friends are quite unlim-ited in numberthat she sacrificed her-self in marriage to retrieve her papa'sfortune. Her dearest friends are quiteenraptured at so rare and sweet a self-devotion, and say to each other on theirway home that the Exotic is perfectlyaware of the value of money, and had de-termined to marry the Money-spinnerwhen she was a child in the school-room.Such spiteful persons (ladies, for the mostpart, who are probably jealous of the Ex-otic's fine drawing-room and her well-preserved beauty) add that it would havebeen better for the Money-spinner if hehad married upon five hundred a year

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    The Money-Spinnerand lived ever after in a suburban villa(once the height of his ambition). Un-der such circumstances, the ladies add,the Exotic would not have had time forher heart complaint, and would havestayed at home like other people andlooked after her husband and children.Or would have stayed at home and died.They are unable to determine which al-ternative would have contributed more tothe Money-spinner's happiness.He himself has an absolute devotion tohis wifeand a corresponding belief inthat heart complaint. He is too dull,perhaps, to form conceptions of whatmight have been. Or is too shrewd, de-spite his apathy, to think that his wife'saffection for him would have grown bet-ter in a crude villa, perpetually odorifer-ous of cooking, than in her dainty flower-scented rooms in Prince's Gate. He isone of those slow-going people whosefeelings do not change. Even now, whenher name is mentioned, his dim eyesbrighten, and he rouses from the apathyinto which he is falling deeper and deeper


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    The Money-Spinnerr

    every day. She is the only subject uponwhich he can talk with animation. Theson of his old age is vacuous, idle, anddissolute. There is but one interest inthe world left clear and fresh and stroneto himand that is the wife who neglectshim.

    Every day, from the force of old habit,he drives to the City office in which yearsbefore he accumulated his fortune. Thesons say it is perfectly ridiculous. Edithis not quite sure that it is notwell, alittle common. But sometimes, whenthey want an extra check, they will con-sent, so beautiful is their humility andcondescension, to drive to the office andask him for it personally. The sons won-der what the deuce he does there all day.They themselves know nothing aboutmaking moneyonly spending it. Andthat they do to perfection. Edith sayshe grubs about the old Stocks and Shares,and she verily believes is quite fond ofthem. Perhaps he is. They have forhim the attraction of old association. Ashe sits in the very elderly leather chair,


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    The Money-Spinnerwhich neither persuasion nor sarcasm caninduce him to exchange for a better, it ispossible that he recalls his youth. Herecollects the old poverty, the bitterstruggle, the keen ambition. He remem-bers the fierce incentive he had to workthe success coming slowly, slowlyand then bursting upon him like a greatdawn. But Edith has come upfor alittle money, she says. Only people'sideas of what constitutes a little moneydiffer very considerably. My dearpapa, she exclaims, with a tap on hisshoulder, you have been dozing. Andif you only knew how you have beensnoring I verily believe you would nevergo to sleep again.One morning the valet comes to Edithwith a scared face. My master, saysthe man, is ill; and I think a doctorshould be sent for at once.

    Parker always loses his head in ill-ness, says Edith when the man has gone.Poor dear papa I shall go up and see

    him, and then I can judge for myself.But I must say I hope to goodness he20

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    The Money-Spinnerwon't want the doctor; for who can bespared to fetch him this morning, withthe dancing coming off to-night and every-thing/ don't know.The sons do not know either. Nor theguests. No one knows. And so everyone continues breakfast with an assump-tion of cheerfulness which is so very ad-mirably done that it might almost betaken for the real thing. Edith sees papa,and does not think he is nearly so bad asParker makes him out. He seems apa-thetic and heavy, and says very little.But that is all. (Edith has once beenengaged to a physician, so she thinks sheought to know something of medicine.)Still, perhaps they will go round by thedoctor's, and ask him to call, during theirmorning drive. It is hundreds and thou-sands of miles out of their way, but itwill never do to let poor old papa feelhimself neglected. So after a little shop-ping at Shoolbred's, ices at Buzzard's,and a detour by way of Marshall & Snel-grove's, they call on the doctor. He hasjust gone out, so there is a short unavoid-


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    The Money-Spinnerable delay in his coming. But that doesnot matter, because the Money-spinnerhas died some hours before. Parker hasbeen with him, and has bent over himwith a polite affection not born entirely,perhaps, of handsome wages and unlim-ited perquisites. His master says verylittle. He has been in the habit of say-ing very little all his life. He asks that aphotograph of his wifea dressy photo-graph in a theatrical posemay be turnedso that he can see it from where he lies.Once or twice he murmurs her name.His intellect is quite clear. He does notask to see her, but appears to recollectperfectly that she is far away from him,as she has been for more than half theirmarried life. Once he asks for his young-est son, speaking of him by some babyname which has long since dropped intodisuse. Parker explains to his masterthat Mr. Harold does not know his fatheris so ill, and has gone out riding. Afterthat the Money-spirtner never speaksagain. The monotonous ticking of theclock is the only sound that breaks the


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    The Money-Spinnersilence. The old man's withered handsmove restlessly on the bedclothes. Heturns his head once, slowly, on his pillow,and so diesthe most desolate of God'screatures.The evening party has to be put off,

    and Edith goes into very stylish mourn-ing. The vacuous son consoles himselfby marrying a barmaid. It is whisperedthat the Exotic will not long remain awidow, and Parker has found a situationin a titled familv.


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    The Nurse

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    The Nurse II y a de mechantes qualites qui font de grands


    Peg has an excellent situation. Hermistress has often said so herself. Andshe ought to know. Eighteen poundsa year and All Found is a great deal more,George, than most people give theirnurses. And there isn't any one elsewho would put up with what I do fromMargaret.There is no doubt at all that Peg has a

    passionate temper, and, at times, it is tobe feared, a coarse tongue. She is short,sturdy, and eminently plebeian, with lit-tle, quick, black, flashing eyes. She isignorant. The culture and polish of theBoard School are not upon her. Butwhen Nellie, her eldest charge, dares todoubt the statements Peg has made to


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    The NurseJack, a propos of the story of Alfred andthe cakes, Peg chases Nellie round thetable and boxes her ears. It will thus beseen that Peg is no fool.Jacky is her especial care. Jacky is a

    gay soul of four. To say that Peg isproud of him would be but a miserablehalf-truth. She flings, as it were, Jacky'scharms of mind and person in the face ofthe Abigails of less favored infants. Shesteadily exhibits every day, during a con-stitutional walk, Jack's sturdy limbs andpremature conversation to nurses whosecharges have vastly inferior limbs and noconversation at all. It is unnecessary toadd that Peg is exceedingly unpopular.Jack is being ruinously spoilt. Mamma

    says so. Mamma, however, is not a per-son of strong character, and Peg is of verystrong character. So Mamma cannot pos-sibly help the spoiling. Peg indeed makesJack obey her, but does not particularlyimpress on him to obey any one else. Shehas been known, on rare occasions, to ad-minister correction to him with a handwhich is not of the lightest. But when

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    The NurseMamma''punishes him Peg appears in thedrawing-room trembling and white withrage to announce that she will not stay tosee the child ill-used. This day month,if you please, and a torrent of abuse.Of course it is not this day month.Mamma says, I told you she wouldcome round, George. Margaret is per-

    fectly wide-awake, I assure you, andknows a good place when she has it.So Peg keeps the good placeand Jack.One summer she takes him down to a

    country manor to stay with his cousins.Before the end of the first week she hasquarrelled with all the manor servantsespecially the nurses. When Jacky, witha gay smile and guileless mien, puts outthe eyes of cousin Mabel's doll, and Mabelweeps thereat. Peg is seen smacking thatinfant in a corner. This is too much forthe manor. And it is certain if Jackyhad not most inconveniently fallen ill themanor spare bedroom would have beenwanted for other occupants, and Peg and


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    The NurseJacky would have returned home threeweeks too soon.

    There is not much the matter withJacky. Only a croupy cold. And Pegknows all about these croupy colds. Shetries upon it many terrible and ignorantremedies. Will not hear of the doctorbeing sent for, and one night suddenlysends for him herself. And the doctorsends for Jacky's parents. Peg is at thedoorway to meet Mammahystericallyreproachful from the cab window. Pegis quite white, with an odd glitter in herlittle eyes, and does not lose her temper.Before Mamma has been revived by sherryin the dining-room Peg is back again withthe boy. She has scarcely left him fora week. He has already lost his prettyplumpness and roundnessa mere shadowof a child even now, with nothing left ofhis old self except a capacity for laughingwhat a weak laugh gmd an odd senseof humor in grim satire to his wastedbody and the grave faces round him.Only Peg laughs back at him; Mamma


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    The Nursewonders how she can have the heart.But then, of course, one cannot expecta servant to feel what one does oneself.It may be because Peg is, after all, merelyhired (eighteen pounds a year and AllFound), and is no sort of relation to Jack,that she can hold him in her arms, talk tohim, sing to him by the hour together;that she can do with little rest and hur-ried meals ; that she is always alert, sturdy,and competent.Mamma thinks it is a blessed thing thatthe lower classes are not sensitive like weare. It is a very blessed thingfor Jack.Papa is worn out with grief and anxiety

    before the color has left Peg's homelyface.Mamma is incompetent and hystericalfrom the first, and is soon forbidden thesick-room altogether.

    It is melancholy to record that whenthis mandate is issued a gleam of satis-factionnot to say triumphsteals overPeg's resolute countenance.

    He's getting on nicely, doctor, now,isn't he? she inquires of the bigwig


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    The Nursefrom Harley Street a day or two later. He is Jack, of course. The large andpompous physician looks down at herthrough his gold-rimmed eye-glasses, andgives her to understand, not ungentlyfor though she is only the nurse, he thinksshe has some real affection for the childthat Jack is dying. Dying Peg flashes out full of de-fiance. Then what's the use of yourchattering and worriting and upsettingthe place like this, if that's all you cando for him? Dying We'll see aboutthat.From that moment she defies them all.

    The consulting physicians, the ordinarypractitioner, the night-nurse from Guy's,Death itself, perhaps. She never leavesthe child. The shadow of the old Jackylies all day long on a pillow in her lap ;sometimes all night too. When it is pastsaying anything else it says her name. Ithas its head so turned that it can see herface. When she smiles down at it, theforlornest ghost of a smile answers herback. She has an influence over it that


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    The Nursewould be magical if it were not most nat-ural that devotion should be repaid bydevotion, even from the heart of a child.The consulting physician says one day

    that if there is a hope for the boy thathope lies in Peg's nursing. It is thefirst time he has admitted that there canbe a hope at all. Peg's face shines withan odd light which, if she were not whollyplain and plebeian, would make her beau-tiful.One day, when the shadow is lying in

    her lap as usual, the night-nurse puts atelegram into her hand. When she hasread it she lays Jacky on the bed and goesaway. For the first time she does notheed his feeble cry of her name.She finds the father and mother, and,

    with the pink paper shaking in her hand,says that her brother is dying; that shemust go away. Blood is thicker thanwater after all. She has but a few pas-sions, but those few are strong; and thedying brother is one of them.The father, broken dov/n by the wretch-edness of the past weeks, implores her to

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    The Nursestay and save Jacky. But she is un-moved. Her brother is dying, and shemust go.The mother, abjectly miserable, entreats

    and prays, and offers her money, and Pegturns upon her with a flash of scorn fartoo grand for her stout and homely per-son.

    And when she goes back to Jacky awan ghost of a smile breaks through thetears on his face, and he lifts a weazenedhand to stroke her cheek, and says that itAvas bad to go away, and she is not to goaway any more.And she does not.Jacky gets better. It is as if Peg has

    fought with Deathas she would fightfor Jacky with anything in this worldor in any other worldand conquered.Jacky 's case appears in the Lancet,and the medical bigwigs shake their headsover it and are fairly puzzled. They have


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    The Nursenot the cue to the whole matterwhichis Peg.When Jacky is past a woman's carePeg goes away. Papa and mamma don'tspare expense, and give her a five-poundnote as a parting present.But she has another reward, wholly un-substantial and satisfactory. In an under-

    graduate's rooms at Christ Churchanidle dog of an undergraduate, by the wayamid a galaxy of dramatic beauty, andin a terrible plush frame, presented byherself, there is a photoof Peg.And it is believed that the undergradu-ate, who is not in any other way remark-able for domestic virtue, actually writesto her.


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    The Scholar

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    The Scholar Qui vit sans folic n'est pas si sage qu'il croit.

    He is fifty-five years old. He is eru-dite, classic, and scholarly. He knowseverything. What can be duller than aman who knows everything ? He is sci-entific and botanical. He wears graythread glovesa size too largegoloshes,and a comforter. And yet, when hiscousin presents him with a livinga re-mote living in the wilds of a northerncountyhe purposes to be married.

    This Fossil, with traces of an ice ageclearly left on his formal manners andpunctilious and guarded speech, engageshimself to Leonora.Leonora is romantic, as her name de-

    clares. But Leonora's guardian is emi-nently practical. Thinks the living willdo. And so Leonora is betrothed to it.


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    The ScholarLeonora is sweet and twenty. With

    brown curls tied at the back of her headwith a ribbon. With an arch smile. Witha charming gift of singingto the harp.She is not erudite. It is not the fashionfor young ladies to be erudite in her time.When her elderly lover shows her speci-mens through a microscopewhich is hisridiculous old way of expressing admira-tion for hershe is never able to decidewhether she is looking at a flower or abeetle. She is wholly volatile and lovelyand inattentive. AH his love-making isfull of instruction. It is an absurd, pe-dantic way of showing one's affection.But it is almost the only way he has.And there are worse, perhaps.They go for their honeymoon to the

    Riviera. And the Riviera of forty yearsago had much more of heaven and less ofearth about it than the Riviera of thepresent day.Beneath the deep eternal blue and the

    everlasting sunshine of its skies the Fos-sil's punctilious formality melts a little.He still goes about in a comforter and


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    The Scholarsearches for specimens through near-sighted spectacles. But under the balmywarmth of an Italian sunand of Leo-norahis chilliness of manner experi-ences a slight thaw. It is thought thatfor those few brief weeks he is, in somevery slight degree of course, as anotherman might be. It is certain that his bo-tanical friends are considerably disap-pointed in the collection of Italian florahe has to show them on his return home.Perhaps the flos he has studied most isthe flower-faced Leonora at his sideLeonora with her poke-bonnet hung uponher arm, with her curls shaken back, andher wicked, laughing, roguish face turnedup to hislooking for all the world likeone of those ridiculous pictures in an old-fashioned Book of Beauty.Leonora hates scienceand stops the

    scientist's prosy mouth with a kiss. Leo-nora can't bear botany, and likes theflowers much better without those inter-minable Latin names tacked on to them.

    Is she in love with her Fossil ? Whoshall say ? It is preposterous and unnat-


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    The Scholarural that she should be. But the prepos-terous and unnatural both happen occa-sionally.

    Is her Fossil in love with her ? A hid-eous old fright in goloshes, a tedious,moth-eaten old book-worm has no rightto be in love with any one.Then they go home to the country'vicarage. The country vicarage is the in-carnation of dulness, dampness, and ugli-ness. And Leonora sings about the houseand scandalizes the servants. The furni-ture is immensely solid and frightful. AndLeonora's shawl is thrown here, and herworkin dreadful disorderthere, androses from the garden everywhere.The Fossil, before he was married, haddrawn up a solemn code of rules for theguidance of the household. A bell totell them to get up; a bell to tell themto come down; a bell for prayers; a bellto begin breakfast, and a bell to finish it.And Leonora stops her ears when shehears these warnings, and is never lessthan ten minutes late for meals.The Fossil sits in his study, scientific


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    The Scholarand theological, and Leonora breaks inupon this sanctum, without tapping, withher face glowing and laughing, and shutsup the abstruse work with a bang. Shedrags the Fossil into the garden withouthis goloshes. When she wants to dosomething incompatible with his Calvin-istic principles she lays her fresh faceagainst his parchment cheek and says itisn't any good saying No, because shereally Must. And she always does.The Fossil had a great scientific workin hand when he was marriedan elabo-rate treatise upon the Paleozoic Epochbut it proceeds lamentably slowly. Heattempts to write in the evening afterdinner, and Leonora draws out the harpfrom its corner and sings to it. She singsRose Softly Blooming and 'TwasOne of Those Dreams, and the greatwork does not proceed at all.Then Leonora is ill, and the littledaughter is dead before she is born. ButLeonora is soon betterwell enough tolie on the sofa and be sweet, foolish, andtiresome once more. The Fossil sits by


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    The Scholarher side gravely. Sometimes he bringsher flowers without their botanical names.He proses scientifically, as from longhabit; but he looks the while at hertransparent color and her shining eyes,and the science is at times unscholarlyand even incorrect. And Leonora looksback at him with the old arch, laughingglance, and with something more behindit. It is a something they do not saywhich can never be said. Perhaps theone thinks that the other does not knowit. It may be so. To the last Leonorais very much better Nearly quite well,in answer to a daily question. On thelast evening the Fossil is proposing achange to the seaside to complete hercure, and she dies with a smile and a jest,infinitely tender and selfless, upon herlips.The neighborhood, who could not beexpected to like an eccentric old thing like the Fossil, decides that he is shock-ingly heartless. He appears at Leonora'sfuneral actually in a red comforter. Thereare no signs of emotion upon his face.


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    The ScholarThe lines may be a trifle deeper upon it,perhaps ; but then he was always deeplylined, so that does not count.He completes the great work ; he drawsup a new and more ridiculous code ofrules for his household ; and then he mar-ries again. His wife is perfectly virtuousand meaningless. She obeys the bells toa second ; she never interrupts his studies ;she never lets the children disturb him ;his comforter and gloves are never out oftheir places. She is an excellent wifea great deal too good for him.He grows duller and more erudite yearly.A visitor describes him as a Lump of Sci-ence. He composes immensely learnedand dreary sermons. The six yokels whousually form his congregation very sensi-bly go to sleep. The chill formality ofhis manner repulses the parishioners andfrightens his children. He attempts toteach these children out of his fusty storesof scientific lore, but they are too awe-struck to comprehend anythingsuppos-ing that they had the ^ility, which theyhave not.


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    The ScholarTheir mother dies; they grow up and

    go out into the world. As far as theFossil is concerned, they are virtuallydead also; but then, as far as he is con-cerned, they might almost as well neverhave been alive.He is not more lonely than he has been

    for twenty years. He passes all day inhis study among his books. That theroom is damp and dreary, matters littleto him. The books are behind the time.He is behind the time himself. Betweenhim and the musty work over which hisold head bends, comes sometimes a visionof the days that once were and will be nomore. The Italian sunshine above, thetouch of a hand, the sound of a laughingvoice, a girl's face, brilliant and tender,and he seesLeonora.


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    The Mother

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    The Mother L'etre le plus aime est celui par qui on aura le plus


    Mrs. Tasker lets lodgings. She livesin the most remote and unknown of eastcoast watering places. Her modest abodeis not patronized by the fashionable. Shedoes not even pretendthere is, in fact,no pretence about Mrs. Taskerthat hersitting-room has a sea view. Neither doesshe deceive the impecunious hospital-nurse, the soft spinster, and the strug-gling lady artist, who form her clientele,with promises of good cooking or any de-scription of attendance.

    Mrs. Tasker, in fact, lets lodgings, as itwere, upon sufferance. She receives herguests with a cast of countenance per-fectly lugubrious. She has paid no at-tention to her dress so as to create an

    4 49

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    The Motheragreeable impression upon them. Hernormal costume of a dingy skirt, a forlorntop of a different color, and a depressingapron is unchanged. She is on the alertto tell them at the moment of their arrivalall the drawbacks they will find to herself,her rooms, her kitchen-range, and theplace in general. Your neighborhoodis lovely, I am told, says the lady artistwith the sweetest and most propitiatingof smiles.

    I've never seed as it was, answersMrs. Tasker gloomily. She hates thelady artist. She regards all lodgers, in-deed, with a perfectly consistent animos-ity. Her disdain for a class of personswho require frequent incidental cups oftea, hot dinners every day, and desserton Sundays is quite without bounds.Her sentiments towards her guests arewritten large upon a perfectly plain andtrustworthy countenance. When she seesthem sitting with their feet upon her cher-ished Berlin wool-worked arm-chair shebangs their door as she leaves the roomwith a display of feeling which nearly


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    The Motherbrings the house about their ears. Whenone of them ventures to ask if her land-lady has such a thing as a pair of nut-crackers, the satiric scorn on Mrs. Tasker'scountenance for a woman in the prime oflife who cannot crack nuts with her teethcauses the guest to blush, and apologizefor making so unreasonable a demand.

    Mrs. Tasker has, moreover, a habit ofthrusting the dinner things on a tray onto the table in front of the visitor with anexpression which says more plainly thanwords, If you can't arrange them foryourself you must be a fool.She never panders to the Sybarite in-

    clinations of her lodgers by bringing themhot water in the morning. When theyorder for dinner a little kickshaw like amutton-chop she says, with an unmis-takable note of triumph in her voice, Our butcher's run out of all but pork.She always prophesies a continuance of

    wet weather. When it do begin to rain here, shesays, it takes precious good care not tostop.


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    The MotherBut in spite of a disposition so whollyhonest and discouraging, Mrs. Tasker's

    lodgers have a habit of coming back toher. Mrs. Tasker is indefatigably clean.She scrubs and polishes until she is pur-ple in the face. She would scorn the ideaof purloining a single tartlet belonging tothe parlor. She has that vigorous hon-esty which is often found in companywith a bad temper and a good heart.

    In the back kitchen live Mr. Taskerand little Johnnie. Mr. Tasker is thick,agricultural, well-meaning, and beery.Mr. Tasker is not of much account, andJohnnie is the apple of Mrs. Tasker's eye.It is for Johnnie she lets lodgings. Sheand her husband could live well enoughby cutting Tasker off his beeruponthe wages of a day-laborer. But Johnniewants warm underclothing and a doctorwhen he is ill, and presently a first-rateschooling. Johnnie must have nourish-ing foodor what Mrs. Tasker takes tobe nourishing food. For his sake, there-fore, the mother lets lodgings. For hissake she bears with persons who are al-


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    The Motherways wanting meals and ringing the bell.For his sake she controlsin a measure,at leasta temper as rough as her homely-face. For his sake she gets up very earlyin the morning, and creeps up-stairs tobed, with a sigh she cannot wholly stifle,very late at night. For his sake she givesup what she calls her independence, andwhich, after Johnniea very long wayafter, indeedshe likes better than any-thing she has. For Johnnie's sake shedoes not turn the lady artist summarilyout of doors when that enthusiast ruinsthe parlor table-cloth with her oil paints.For the sake of a little snivelling boy,with a perpetual cold in his head and nopocket-handkerchief, she stints herselfand Mr. Tasker in food and clothing andcomforts. She performs, indeed, for hima thousand sacrifices, of which no oneknows, perhaps, the extent or the diffi-culty. She is, a hundred times a day,comparatively polite where her naturaldisposition

    inclines her to be superlativelyrude. She holds her tongue at a greatcost. She is silently scornful where she


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    The Motherwants to be abusive. And she alwaysmanages, for Johnnie's sake, to say onparting with her lodgers that she hopesthey will return to her next year.

    In Mrs. Tasker's love towards the childthere is none of that weakness and soft-ness which distinguish some maternities.Her love, in fact, rarely rises to her lips.It is hidden away in a heart wholly strong,honest, and faithful. The utmost dem-onstration of affection which she permitsherself towards her boy is to occasionallyrub his damp little nose vigorously withthe corner of her apron, leaving thenose astonishingly red and flat. Mrs.Tasker don't hold with spoiling chil-dren. It's a poor way of caring for 'em,she says. And so when little Johnnie isnaughty she whips him very severely, andwhen he is good she cuffs him occasion-ally, just to remind him that the maternallove and wisdom are always watching overhim.At present, and in default of better,Johnnie goes to the village school. Mrs.


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    The MotherTasker neatly describes the schoolmasteras a flat, But would there be any-master good enough to teach Johnnie ?Perhaps not. He is sent off to schoolwhile the lodgers are taking their break-fasts. Mrs. Tasker ties him up tightly ina very hygienic and scratchy comforterwhich she has made with great pains inher rare spare minutes. He is furtherclad in a thick coat, studded with navalbuttons, which Mrs. Tasker bought inplace of a jacket for herself.

    Mrs. Tasker accompanies him to thegate. She watches him out of sight, andshakes her fist at him when he looksround, by way, as it were, of keeping himup to his duties. It is only when he isquite out of sight that something like asmile and tenderness come on her harshface, and she goes slowly back to thehouse. You think a sight on Johnnie, I sup-pose, says Mr, Tasker gloomily one day,in a thick voice suggestive of agriculturalmud. A sight more than I do on you,


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    The Motheranswers Mrs. Tasker snappily, washingdishes.

    Mrs. Tasker has a feeling which shedoes not explain, or try to explain, abouther love for the child. It appears to herto be something sacred and secret ; thatone does not want to talk about; thatone resents being reminded of; of whichthe roots are too deep down in one's heartto bear being dug up and looked at.She is not, indeed, always actually

    thinking of him. She has a thousandthings to occupy her attentionthe lod-gers' meals and the parlor tabie-cloth,and Mr. Tasker's tendency to inebriatehimself. But the child stands by, as itwerealways very close to her heart.

    Everything she does is directly or indi-rectly for Johnnie. She eyes the clothingof other little boys with a view to copy-ing it for Johnnie. She has quite violentdislikes towards children of Johnnie's agewho are fatter and healthier than he is.There are, indeed, many such. But per-haps the maternal affection is only the


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    The Motherstronger because Johnnie is puny, weakly,and plainmaternal affection having beenso constituted by natureor God.One winter, a winter when Mrs. Tasker'srooms are occupied by a soft-spoken Spin-ster who has generously sacrificed heryouth to a slum, Johnnie is very punyand weakly indeed. The Spinster, whotakes an uncommon interest in Johnnie,recommends cod-liver oil. Mr. Tasker,the mother having already denied herselfeverything except the bare necessaries oflife, is cut off his beer-money to provideit. And the Spinster thinks this is a verycold place for your dear little boy, and Iam just starting a school at Torquay, andwon't vou trust him to me ? And theSpinster kisses Johnnie with great self-sacrifice on the tip of his red and humidlittle nose. Mrs. Tasker, into whose facea deep color has come, says in an unusualvoice, I'll think on it, mum. Thatevening, when Johnnie has gone to bed,Mr. Tasker spells out the advertisementof the school from a paper the Spinsterhas lent him.


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    The MotherMrs. Tasker sits with a hand on each

    knee, looking very deeply and fixedlyinto the fire.

    *' 'Ome comfits ? she says doubtfully. And what do she mean by 'ome com-fits ? Will they see as 'is shirt is airedand 'e don't sit in wet boots ?

    Un-lim-i-ted di-et, continues the fa-ther with difficulty, If that means letting 'im stuff 'isself,it'll kill that child, says Mrs. Tasker,pessimistically. What are you a-cryin* for ? inquiresher husband. Mrs. Tasker replies withconsiderable snappishness that she is notcrying, and men is all fools, drat them,with other remarks so uncomplimentaryto the sex that Mr. Tasker prudently lieslow behind the newspaper until the stormis over.The Spinster's blandishments and her

    advertisement prevail. Johnnie goes backwith her to Torquay. She is paid her feein advance, from moaey slowly and hardlysaved for the purpose, and mysteriouslyhidden away i*n Mrs. Tasker's bedroom.


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    The MotherThe mother is very courageous before thisparting, and, it must be confessed, to-wards Mr. Tasker particularly uncertainin temper. She initiates the Spinster intothe mysteries of Johnnie's underclothing.She buys him six pocket-handkerchiefs,and instructs him how to use them with-out assistance. She is up very early mak-ing his preparations, and goes to bed laterthan ever at night. She does not spareherself at all. She is glad, perhaps, thatshe has no time to think. Her hard lifeat this period ages her very considerably.Or she is aged, perhaps, through somefeelings and forebodings of which shenever speaks. She is always very cheer-ful and practical and severe with Johnnie,who is as melancholy at this time as onecan be at six years old. It's for yourgood, she says, shaking him to empha-size her remarks. And you ought toknow as how it is. ' ' Then the end comes.Johnnie's sad little face is sticky with tearsand toffee, which has been administeredto him as a consolation, when he puts itup to be kissed. Mind you're a good


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    The Motherboy, says the mother unsteadily, andwith a grip on his httle arm whichhe understands to mean love, per-haps, better than if it were a delicatecaress. He is going to be a dear, happy littlefellow, says the Spinster sweetly, andthe cab drives away. Two tearslarge,heavy, unaccustomed tears fall downMrs. Tasker's homely face as she watchesit. And then she turns indoors, address-ing herself by opprobrious names for herweakness, and cleans out the late lodger'sapartments viciously.

    Six months later Mrs. Tasker receivesan anonymous letter. It is very illiterateand misspelt. But it is so far compre-hensible that when the mother has readit her head falls upon her folded arms onthe table with a great and exceeding bit-ter cry. Your son, says the letterspelling the word as if Johnnie were thechief of heavenly bodies is being treatedthat bad as if you d6n't come and takehim away will be the death on him. Sheis a Beast. She has done the same by


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    The Motherothers. Only Johnnie is dehcater, andit's kilHng him,

    It's kilHng him. The fierce maternalheart beating in Mrs. Tasker's gaunt per-son makes her tremble in a great passionof rage, love, and yearning. Come andtake him away. It sounds so easy, andis impossible. Tasker is out of workhas been out of work for six weeks. Thelodgers represent the only source of in-come. There may be, perhaps, five shill-ings in the house. But there certainly isnot enough for a journey across England.If there were how could Mrs. Tasker leavethe house ? And what would be the useof sending a lout like Mr. Tasker (men isall fools), who has never been twenty milesfrom his native village in his life, a com-plicated cross-railway journey ?So Mrs. Tasker takes the family pen

    and adds a little water to the remains ofthe family ink, and writes to the Spinsterdemanding Johnnie's return. The motherhas never held much with book learning.Does not know very well how to write, orat all how to express herself. You can


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    The Motherkeep the money, she says. We don'twant that. Send the boy back, or wewill have the law of you. Send Johnnieback sharp, and curse you, curse you,curse you The curses, which she spells cus, arein some sort a relief to this poor, ignorant,angry, loving soul. The coarse vigor ofher ill-spelt abuse comforts her for themoment a little. It is when the letter issealed, stamped, and posted that her ma-ternal tragedy begins. It is in those ter-rible days of waiting, when no answer isreturned to the letter and Johnnie doesnot come home, that she lives throughthe worst hours of her life.A most merciful necessity requires thatshe shall work as usual, that she shallcook the lodgers' food and clean theirrooms, that she shall be perpetually busyfrom morning until evening. But is thereany work that can make her forget John-nie ? It seems to her that his poor,pinched, white little face haunts her.That it comes always between her andwhat she is doing. She does not say


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    The Mothermuch. What is there to be said ? Mr.Tasker smokes a short clay pipe in frontof the fire in stolid gloominess. He doesnot suggest comfort. Suggestions arenot his forte. He is, in a dull manner,shocked when Mrs. Tasker, for the firsttime in her life that he can remember,refuses to eat. She pushes away theplate of untouched food and sits fora minute or two with her elbows onthe table and her head resting on herhands.

    Don't give in, 'Liza, don't give in,says Mr. Tasker almost piteously. It don't matter, says Mrs. Tasker.

    I can make up at tea.But she does not make up at tea. Who

    shall say, in these interminable days, whatterrible, foolish, impossible imaginingscreep into her heart ? She fancies athousand ignorant and unlikely thingswhich may be happening to the child.He was always weakly, she says. It will kill him. She has, indeed,hitherto angrily repudiated suggestionsthat Johnnie is less strong than other


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    The Motherchildren. They recur to her now, andshe cannot disbeheve them.

    He were a pore baby, weren't he ?she says huskily to her husband, and hop-ing for a contradiction.He were, 'Liza, he were, answersMr. Tasker, gloomily.She remembers, how well that frail

    little infancy. She used to compare himwith other babies, and insult their mam-mas dreadfully by vaunting Johnnie's su-periority in her rudest and bluntest man-ner. But his legs were pore little sticks,she murmurs to herself sorrowfully. AndI knowed they were all along.And one night, when she and her hus-band have been sitting silently on eitherside of the hearth watching the embersblacken and die out, her rough, listlesshands fall at her side, and she cries out indespair, and as if she were alone Oh Lord, don't be for hurting ourJohnnie any more We'd sooner he diedoutright.And the next day Johnnie comes. The


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    The Motherbalmy air of Torquay has not been suffi-cient to counteract the baneful effectsof insufficient food and genteel cruelty.Johnnie is very ill indeed. Will he live ? says the mother, God help you answers the doctor,looking into her strong, homely, haggardface. Nothing human can save him,But to this faithless and unbelieving

    generation there remains one great mira-cle-worker, whose name is Love.


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    My Lord


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    My Lord Chacun aime comme il est.

    My Lord is young with George IV.He loses a fortune at play, and another,amassed by a pious aunt in the country,at all sorts of devilries. He has thrashedthe watch and staked an estate on thecards in an evening. He records manyyears after how he enters the ring withthe Regent, and how the First Gentlemanin Europe, with an exquisite ease andurbanity, confesses himself beaten.My Lord is on the turf, where he winsand flings away a fortune with a mad gen-erosity: where he loses, and does not re-trench. He is dressed with the careless-ness that is a part of his nature, and witha richness that becomes the Court of theRegent.


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    My LordMy Lord can sing a song with the best

    over his wine, and take his two bottleslike a gentleman. His speech is gar-nished, even in very old age, with thoseflowers of expression which were in uni-versal vogue in his youth. He recalls,forty years later, a hundred stories of thatmad career of pleasure. He rememberswith a curious accuracy a thousand de-tails respecting his companions and themanners and habits of that wild day. Heknows, and retails with perfect wit andpoint, a thousand stories of the Courtwhich have never crept into print. Hisreminiscences are as interesting as a bookof scandalous memoirs.My Lord, indeed, has pretty well beg-

    gared himself before he is thirty. Hemarries money. And money in the per-son of a shrewish wife is false to his honorand her own. His daughter, who belongsto her mother's faction, marries abroad,and is lost to him for, ever. His son,from whom he has hoped everything, isnot only wildwhich indeed My Lordshould be one to forgive easilybut


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    My Lordbrings dishonor on a great name and diesmiserably.My Lord is not yet sixty years old whenhe retires to Hamblin, the estate in thecountry which his extravagances have leftheavily mortgaged, and his neglect hasleft out of repair. A number of evilstories, gathering astonishingly in volumeand flavor at every stage of the journey,have followed him from town. Virtuepoints out with her positive finger thatthis old age of poverty, solitude, and dis-appointment is but the just and naturalharvest of that astonishing crop of wildoats sown in that wild youth. When MyLord, therefore, appears in the villagewith his lean figure stooping a little, andhis narrow eyes extraordinarily bright andkeen, he excites that exceeding interestand curiosity which it is believed arenever roused by anything less entertain-ing than a reputation for iniquity. Somepersons are quite shocked to see him inchurch on Sunday. There is a terriblestory current of him for a little while, tothe effect that he does not know the po-


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    My Lordsition of the Psalms in the Liturgy. Buthe soon mends this error, and lives a lifeof so much retirement, simplicity, andapparently virtue, as to become whollyuninteresting to everybody.After a time My Lord takes unto him-

    self a domestic Chaplain, who lives withhim the greater part of the year. TheChaplain is round-faced, benevolent, andkindly, with a full chin above his whitetie, bespeaking a hundred pleasant hu-man virtues. The Chaplain enjoys portwine in the most honest moderationisin no sense an ascetichas a heart full ofcharity and good-will for all mena kindlysense of humor, and a very true and self-respecting affection for My Lord his pa-tron.

    I don't come to church to hear yoursermons, Ruther, you know, says MyLord, which are damned long and prosyyou know they are. I come to look atyour wife listening to them.

    The Chaplain's wife, whom he calls72

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    Ivly LordMiriam, is very sweet and simple anddelicate. Miriam has brown curls shad-ing a clear forehead, a brown silk frockrevealing sloping Early Victorian shoul-ders, and the most tender, candid eyes inall the world. Miriam is of gentler birththan her husband, whom she loves andreveres as at once the cleverest, dearest,and best of created beings.My Lord has not often met the Miriamtype of woman. Perhaps never before.At first he does not understand her. Helooks at her across the dinner table withhis unsteady hand playing with his glassand a sort of perplexity in his shrewd oldeyes. So damned innocent, he says tohimself. So damned innocent. Per-haps damned innocence has not been theleading characteristic of the lady acquaint-ances of his youth. He wonders at it alittle at leastin Miriamas if it weresome new thing.

    His wonder, indeed, gives place verysoon to another feeling. He has at lastfor this woman the purest and tenderestafTection he has ever known.


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    My Lord I have the devil of a reputation, Ru-

    ther, says My Lord, grimly. Don't youdo me the honor to be jealous of me ?

    No, my Lord, says the Chaplain,looking at his patron.And indeed My Lord has for Miriamsuch a feeling as, in a happier circum-stance, he might have felt for a child ofhis own.There are a thousand ways in which

    Miriam appeals to My Lord's ancientsense of humor. He likes to hear hersay Hush in her shocked, gentlevoice, when from immemorial habit heornaments his speech with an oath. Hehas not the less a most tender respect forher purity. When she asks questions, inher damned innocence, about his youth, hebowdlerizes his old stories to an extentthat the Chaplain does not even recognizethem.I lie horribly, says My Lord when

    Miriam has left the two to their wine. Past absolution, eh, Ruther ? But the Chaplain, who may very possi-

    bly be right, thinks not.74

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    My LordMiriam's most staunch and simple be-

    lief in My Lord's goodness amuses himvastly at first. Another feeling mingleswith his amusement after a while as helooks into her clear eyes. We were a cursed bad lot in thosedays, he says. If you knew how badyou wouldn't have anything to say to me.

    But Miriam says, Yes, I should, andnods her head so that the brown Victoriancurls shake a little, and puts her gentlehand for a moment into My Lord's wea-zened old fingers.For the first time in his life the wild-

    ness of his youth rests a little uneasilyupon that accommodating organ which iscalled My Lord's conscience. Gad he says, with that light cyni-cism of manner which may or may nothide a deeper feeling. I feel almostlike a convert. No thanks to your prosyold preachings, Ruther. Don't flatteryourself.And indeed the Chaplain, who is themost humble and simple of men, doesnot do so at all.


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    My LordIn the summer mornings it is Miriam's

    habit to play with her children on thegreat sloping lawns before the house.My Lord watches her more often than heknows perhaps from the open windows ofhis library.She comes in to see him sometimes,and looks up with a soft wistfulness in

    her pretty eyes at the great books ontheir shelves. I wish I could read some of these,she says, taking down a French work andholding it up to him.God forbid says My Lord piously.But indeed Miriam's French is neither

    of a quantity nor quality to do her anyharm.She goes back to the children presently.

    My Lord sits long with the book, whichhe does not read, before him. He hasaged rapidly lately. He feels sometimesvery old indeed. The hand, with theruffles of a long-past fashion hanging overit, is very lean and unsteady. He putsdown at first to approaching senility acertain odd sensation of something that


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    My Lordmight almost be shame for that wild pastthat comes to him with Miriam. Heascribes to a weakened intelligence a sortof emotion he knows when Miriam playsHandel and Haydn in the half lights atthe harpsichord. Sometimes on Sundayevenings, after dinner, and before thedarkness has come, she draws out theharp from its corner and sings to it in thesweetest voice in the world. She singsto it the old religious music which is ofno fashion, but for all time. Her whitefrock and the fair piety of her bent facemake one of her hearers at least think, asit is probable he has not often thoughtbefore, of the angels.He sits, as he has told the Chaplain,during the prosy discourses on Sunday,and looks at her tender, rapt face and herquiet folded hands. She brings the chil-dren to him sometimes. One night hecatches sight of her in the room set apartas a nursery bending over one of them inits cot, with a face all beautiful, human,and maternal, and her lips moving in aprayer.


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    My LordHis seared old heart is touched at this

    time by a thousand emotions which it hasnever known, or to which it has long beendead. He is less cynicalto Miriam.The stories of his wild youth have lostsome of their attraction for him, and herelates them, even to the Chaplain, veryseldom.

    Is it a conversion, as he has suggestedwith a sneer ? God knows. Is a conver-sion possible at threescore years and ten,with a character formed by immemorialhabit and marked with the impression ofa life ? God knows also.One day My Lord is taken ill. It is a

    long illness, to which there can be no endbut one. He lies in the great state bed-room, in the great state bed which hassheltered three sovereigns. If he bechanged in heart, as is surmised, he isscarcely changed in manner at all. Thesimplicity of Miriam, his gentle nurse, atonce amuses and touches him a thousandtimes a day. He tells her, in a voicesomewhat feebler than usual, the royalanecdotes of that royal bedchamber. He


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    My Lordlikes to watch her absorbed, reverent faceas she listens, for Miriam is loyalist to thecore, as a good woman should be, and hasthe Divine Right of Kings written indeli-bly on her simple heart. But they were human toosome ofthem, finishes My Lord with a sort ofchuckle, and turning on his pillow to lookat his listener.She sits by his side the greater part of

    the day. She brings her prayer-book anda volume of sermons given to her on hermarriage. My Lord listens with an exem-plary patience to the long-winded wordi-ness of the Georgian divine. He thinks,by a certain stoplessness in the reader'smethod, that she does not always graspthe somewhat obscure meaning. He issure by her sweet voice and tender facethat she is wholly edified nevertheless.Sometimes during the readings she putsone of the babies on the foot of the pa-tient's bed, that he may have the inestim-able privilege of looking at it when hefeels inclined. See us, Ruther, says My Lord when


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    My Lordthe Chaplain finds them thus one day. After my way of living, doesn't thisstrike you as a damned odd way ofdying ? On Sunday Miriam reads the Order forMorning Prayer with My Lord stumblingthrough the responses. The situationstrikes him as ludicrous at first; but Mir-iam is very sweet and grave and good.He hears the rhythm of her voice in thetender majesty of the old prayers as onehears sweet singing in a dream. Miriamis infinitely conscientious, and reads themevery one. And when the Chaplain pointsout to her that, in consideration of thepatient's weakness, she might omit topray for the Parliament, My Lord fromhis bed says, No, no. Dammy, theyneed it, and begs that Miriam may beleft to her own devices.My Lord grows gradually weaker as thesummer advances. Before the flowers have

    faded and the leaves fallen he is too weakto talk at all. He sleeps a great deal.When he is awake his eyes follow Miriam,and when she is more divinely simple than


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    My Lordusual his lips wear a smile. It is appar-ent that when she leaves him he is un-easy. Her simplicity is worth at such atime all the wit and sprightliness in theworld.

    Before the end, in a sultry night,My Lord talks ramblingly, with a newstrength, of his wild youth, of the com-panions long dead, who belonged withhimself to a society most brilliant, cor-rupt, and artificial. He starts once fromhis pillow with an oath. By his bedsideMiriam is kneeling bewildered, a whitefieure in the half-darkness.He repeats the snatch of a wild song inhis dying voice, and cries, with an exceed-ing bitter cry, the name of the son whodisgraced it.

    But, before he dies, for one quiet mo-ment his reason comes back to him. Andthe last impression on the mind of MyLord, who has been a sinner, is of Miriamwith clear uplifted face and folded hands.


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    'Melila L'esprit est toujours la dupe du coeur.

    'Melia is of the gentility, genteel.'Melia's Pashe speaks of him fondly bythis abbreviationis a dreadfully success-ful, fat, pompous, aggressive, well-to-dotradesman. 'Melia's Ma is a stout ladybursting apoplectically out of a satindress. 'Melia's sisters are crushingly su-perior persons in black silk at Peter Rob-inson's. And 'Melia's brothers are theclass of young men who shout witticismsto each other from bicycles on the Brigh-ton road on half-holidays.

    'Melia is perhaps two-and-thirty. Shehas a face very refined and delicate, ataste which leads her into pronouncedfashions and pearls in the morning, anda large and terrible fringe, which she callsher Princess M'y, and wears with per-


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    'Meliafeet modesty, gentleness, and simplicity.'Melia is, it is to be feared, a simple per-son in many ways. At the chic school atwhich her Pa placed her at great expense(mentioning the exact sum it cost himevery day at dinner), 'Melia found herselfunable to take in any of the polite, super-ficial, and wholly unsuitable accomplish-ments which the other young ladies maybe described as having lapped up thirstily.At the present time, when the literaryJulia from Peter Robinson's, reading thelast feminine and fictional treatise on theimmorality of man, with her feet on thesofa, says, Lor, 'Melia, you are a cureand after all Pa spent on your learning,never so much as to take up a bookwell, I'm sure, 'Melia shows by the flushin her pale face that she is sensible of thejustice of the accusation.

    But if her literature never goes beyondthe careful study of a penny fashionpaperand indeed it does notshe hassome little commercial shrewdness totake its place. 'Melia is never to becheated. She is never taken in by the


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    'Meliablandishments of shop-walkers when shegoes shopping in the fashionable regionwhich she speaks of as Up West, orcrushed by the scorn of the stylish personbehind the counter, Through Pa hav-ing been in the linen drapery himself,says 'Melia with perfect simplicity, andmeaning no aspersion upon the parentalcharacter, I know what tricks they'reup to. Which tricks she repudiateswith a flush of excitement and resolutionupon her delicate face. It is fancied,indeed, that 'Melia's own integrity is ofthat kind which would cheat an enemy toserve a friend with perfect straightfor-wardness and a conscience as untroubledas a baby's sleep.At home it is to be feared that she isnot nearly so beloved as loving. Shecan't, in fact, read like Julia, and canonly sit with eyes full of a dumb sort ofwistfulness and a very tender and longingadmiration when Clara dashes out one ofher four marches on the cottage piano inthe evenings, leaving that polite andelderly instrument (which has been


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    bought second-hand from a quietly dec-orous spinster in the country) quiteshocked and astonished. Beyond anaptitude for trimming hats, which is agood deal trespassed on by her femalerelatives, 'Melia has indeed no accom-plishments at all, unless one counts suchvery old-fashioned ones as kindness andlove. 'Melia is devoted to her family.If she is indeed superior to them in re-finement of heart as she is in refinementof feature, her devotion to her Ma, whois a florid and breathless person, is not inthe least disturbed by that lady's com-fortable earthiness, or by seeing her drinkstout in a shay outside a public-house onBank Holiday. While, if 'Melia is her-self vulgar, as persons seeing her in aflower of a bonnet always slightly on oneside, her somewhat disordered PrincessM'y, and a style of clothing which shefondly fancies to be the style Up West,have supposed, she at least escapes thesupreme vulgarity of being ashamed ofvulgar relations.As for her Pa, 'Melia speaks of him


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    rather regretfully, but with no kind ofmalice, as rather harsh. The tradesman,whose god is prosperity, can't, indeed,forgive 'Melia her inability to get on inlife, and a simplicity and unselfishnesswhich would be enough to ruin any one'sworldly progress. But, lor says 'Melia,cominpr in rather flushed and with marksof recent tears on her face to take teawith a friend, after a battle royal withher parent, all Pas have their littlewhims, and us gals have to humor them.She forgives Pa, whose little whims are,it is to be feared, only too frequent, witha forgiveness which is as complete as achild's. She forgives, if she perceives(which she probably does not) that thereis need for forgiveness, the maternalanxiety to marry her off to any one assoon as possible, and the maternal re-sentment against a nature which is full ofthose good things that lead to no Avorldlyadvancement. She is patienthow pa-tient Heaven knows with Julia andClara, who are dreadfully superior andsuccessful. She fits their dresses with


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    inimitable good-temper and her mouthfull of pins. She thinks that their floridcomplexions and show-room figures arevery beautiful indeed. She is proud oftheir good position, and, in some lonely,far-off, indefinable manner, of their pos-session of the young men who walk outwith them on Sundays. She does notindeed wish for a suitor of her own. Hasa self-respect which repudiates with avery fine dignity the advances of theyoung men in Pa's shopPa having nowgone, in his daughter's phrase, into thecrockery. 'Melia, indeed, directly at-tacked on the point, relegates her ownmarriage to some distant period whenshe will, she says, with entire good faithand simplicity, look about among thewidowers.In the meantime the great love of herheart goes out to her brother. Alfred,whom Amelia calls H'alf by way ofendearing diminutive, is, it must be con-fessed, a depressing young man to lookat, with a very mournful complexion. Ashe divides his time between a stuffy shop


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    and a recumbent position on a bicycle,this unhealthiness is not surprising. Itdoes not, at least, take from the quantityor the quality of 'Melia's affection. Shewaits upon H'alf when he comes home inthe evening. She talks about him to herfriends with a quaint pride which istouching, though it possibly also strikesthem in the light of a bore. He is goodenough to allow her to mend his socks,and look at him over them in the even-ing in the parlor with eyes very fond andkind. And when H'alf is taken illnotvery ill at first'Melia at once constitutesherself his nurse.The illness begins about the time of the

    family's annual trip to Great Yarmouth.'Melia has always been told that she en-joys these holidays, and believes it. Herfaith even carries her so far as to makeher think that she enjoys the sea journeywhich begins them. She has been wonton such occasions to sit on deck withher complexion varying from green togray, her fringe very much out of curl,her stylish bonnet tilted dejectedly over


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    one ear, and her eyes full of patience andapology, while Pa, who is dreadfully blus-terous and rather qualmish in temper,abuses her as, You're a nice one, youare, to bring out and give pleasure to.This is a pretty return, this is, for meand Ma having took your ticket, and spentno end to let you travel saloon and gen-teel. This is gratitood after all themoney as has been spent on you, this is and to apologize very humbly indeedfor the base thanklessness of a naturewhich cannot duly appreciate even theYarmouth boat. On this present occa-sion indeed 'Melia thinks nothing of her-self and everything of Alfred. Whenthey have arrived at their destination shewheels the sofa of the smart lodging theyoccupy close to the open window, so thatH'alf lying there may be cheered by hav-ing mysterious musicians, performingfleas, and a low grade of nigger minstrelas close to him as possible.

    In the morning, brazen and hot, withthe keen Yarmouth wind nipping roundthe corners, when the rest of the family


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    'Meliahave started, violently energetic andearly, on some distant excursion, it is leftto 'Melia to wheel the invalid about inhis chair, and bear with the caprice andfractiousness of a failing health. Shetakes him sometimes on to the sands,black with excursionists, buys him Tit-Bits out of a shabby purse, and sits withher back leaning up against his chairwhile she calculates in a simply eccentricmind, whose want of mathematical fac-ulty has greatly enraged her Pa in theshop, the precise amount of benefit eachbreeze from the sea is likely to conveyto her invalid. When H'alf is recom-mended to be on the sea, and not merelyby it, it is 'Melia who takes him what shefatally miscalls a Shilling Pleasurewith a sublime self-sacrifice; and whenH'alf, whom the air seems to revive alittle, observes that 'Melia don't seem par-tial to the motion, 'Melia, fanning herselffaintly with a pocket handkerchief, re-plies, Oh, it don't matter, H'alf. It'sgood for the system, and even attemptsa smile. When the others have returned


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    from their excursion she sHps out some-times, with the chic bonnet blowing abouton her head in a manner which Clara,who is exquisitely neat and selfish, saysis scarcely respectable, and buys H'alf arelish to his tea in the shape of a crab orwinkles, which seem calculated to put anend to his life immediately.He does indeed get worse as the daysgo on, and as he gets worse clings moreand more to 'Melia, who has been sovague and irresponsible all her life thatonly the greatness of the need and of herdevotion could make her different now.The Doctor is himself shocked, first ofall, at the appearance of this nurse, withher simple, flighty manner, her untidyhair, and a style of dress which includesaluminium lockets at nine o'clock in themorning; but he finds, pretty soon, that'Melia is worth many Claras and Julias,and has, under that veneer of eccentricgentility, a heart most faithful and tender.She nurses her patient at least with a

    devotion which has no fault but excess.She is with him all day, and almost all


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    night. When he wakes, as he is accus-tomed to do, in the early dawn, after abrief and troubled sleep, he finds herstanding by his bedside removing curlingpins from her Princess M'y, and lookingdown at him with pitiful eyes. When heapologizes for asking her to shake his pil-lows for perhaps the fiftieth time in anhour she answers as usual, Lor, H'alf it don't matter, with her vague andcheerful smile. She tries to obey theDoctor's mandate, and change the cur-rent of the patient's ideas by describingto him the select fashions that Julia andClara have met on the pier, while sherefrains, with a tact which is geniusorlovefrom conveying to him the leasthint that she misses the sight of theseHories herself. She does indeed run outoccasionally, once to say to a recreantchemist, with her business instincts rousedand her delicate face rather flushed andnervous, None of your stale drugs forus, young man ; while, another time,she runs the length of the parade, withher bonnet as usual half off, breathlessly,


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    'Meliato bribe a Mysterious Musician to takeup his place for half an hour daily beforeH'alf's^ windows, and winks so enor-mously at this artist when he arrives onthe scene of action, as a signal to him topreserve the dark secret between them,that he not unnaturally supposes her tobe mad. She sleepsand says, eagerly,and nervous lest Ma should take her postfrom her, that she sleeps soundlyin achair by the patient's bed. Yet there isnever a whisper of her name from thefeeble lips that she cannot hear; and shehas known, for many weeks at least, nosleep so profound that the touch of a weakhand cannot rouse her. She is, indeed,at every hour, quite willing, loving, pa-tient, and eccentric. She repudiateshelp as she repudiates the idea that herown health will not stand the strain uponit. And a great color comes into herface when Clara suggests that H'alf mustbe getting pretty tired of 'Melia, andwould like to see more of herself or Juliafor a change.To her sisters the sick man is a brother


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    and one of many brothers. To 'Meliahe is the only creature out of all thelonely world to whom she is necessary;the first and only one who has made greatclaim on her time, her attention, and heraffection ; the only one who is in somesense dependent upon her and, as it were,at her mercy. So that it may be imaginedhow she loves him.Towards the end she never leaves him.

    She is gladunconsciously, perhapsthat the nursing is painful and repulsive.If it were easy she would have no way ofshowing her affection. Her simple anddevoted mind takes no account, until verynearly the end, of her own pain and weari-ness of body. And then, compelled forH'alf's sake to heed it, she finishes, in atumbler, the remains of H'alf's discardedmedicines, with a simple satisfaction andan unquestioning faith which seems tohave its reward.For it is not until the hand which she

    has held all night in her living one is coldand dead that the old Doctor, coming intothe room very early in the morning, finds

    7 97

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    'Meliaher asleepin the deep sleep of greatexhaustionat her post.Many years later, when H'alf, whose

    living and dying have been but an episodein their lives, has been more or less for-gotten by his elder sisters, 'Melia, whois still vague and simple, and has not yetfound, or perhaps even looked for, thewidower of her promise, comes to staywith Clara, and is discovered by that cor-rect lady, one Sunday night, crying softlyto herself, with her fhghty head resting,in a very ungenteel manner, upon herarms on the kitchen table. Lor 'Melia, says Clara, what aturn you give me Is anybody dead ? No onenewerthan H'alf, says'Melia, rather brokenly, and with a sortof apology in her voice. But it doseem as he were the only one I ever comeby-;;-who couldn't get on without me.Which is the single excuse that can bemade for such a foolishness and fidelity.


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    The Laborer

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    The Laborer Ce qu'on gagne en gloire on le perd en amour.

    John lives all his life in a remote Nor-folk village. He belongs to a generationthat has almost passed away. When heis a boy the Battle of Waterloo has stillto be fought and the cheap newspaper tobe born.John is just a little thick and agricul-

    tural. He has no wit at all, but perhapsa very little latent wisdom. He can, ofcourse, neither read nor write. In histime such accomplishments are regardedas entirely superfluous for the class towhich he belongs. His knowledge ofpolitics, therefore, does not go beyond adoggerel and patriotic ballad about Bon-aparty which he has picked up in the vil-lage alehouse. His interest as a youngman in the fate of the empire cannot be


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    The Laborersaid to be particularly keen. He is in-deed at that date entirely engrossed inmangel-wurzels and love,John has to get up very early in the

    morning to go about his business. Heearns, by a great deal of hard work, avery modest wage. He puts by some ofitfor a purpose. Every now and thenhe falls into iniquity, and takes a littletoo much beer. But upon the whole hehas a good deal of self-respect, and evena certain sort of independence and dig-nity. When the squire or the parson stopsto have a talk with him he pulls at a red-dish forelock at very frequent intervals,to express a most honest respect. Johnis always in church on Sunday. He singsthe familiar hymns which he learned byheart in childhood in a voice wholly fer-vent and unmusical. During the sermonhe looks at Sally, whom he is going tomarry some day, and who sits very prettyand conscious under her shady hat.John has no club to go to in the winter

    evenings. He dozes comfortably in hisown kitchen instead. There is no CoalI02

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    The LaborerFund, or Savings Bank, or Working Men'sInstitute provided for his benefit. He isnot hemmed in by charities like hisgrandson of to-day. There is no compe-tition to provide for John Hving and topay his funeral expenses when dead. Per-haps John is not the worse man becausehe is wholly self-dependent. When in-deed for the first and only time in hisstalwart life he falls ill, the parson bringshim a couple of bottles of port, and thesquire's daughter, who is pretty andpious, produces quivering jellies from acovered basket. The parson looks inupon John pretty often. He tells a goodstory or two to appeal to the patient'ssomewhat stolid risible faculties, andsays rather clumsily, as he leaves him, Don't let the dust grow on your Bible,John. And John, gratefully remem-bering the port, says, Nay, nay, sir.And when the squire's daughter comesnext day she reads him the Sermon onthe Mount.As a lover John is somewhat clumsy

    and exceedingly faithful. He has lived103

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    The Laborernext door to Sally all her life, and re-members her when she was quite a littlegirl. Sally is very modest and blushing,with a round little waist and bloominrrocountry cheeks. When they are marriedit pleases John very much, as he smokeshis pipe stolidly in front of the fire inthe evening, to see Sally sitting on a foot-stool trimming her Sunday hat and re-garding the blue ribbons, with her prettyhead first on this side and then on that.John does not pay Sally any compli-

    ments. His speech is quite uncouth andto the point. Many of his expressionsare, it is to be feared, what would nowbe considered coarse. But if he useswords and says openly things whichwould cause polite persons to blush,John's heart has many of those finer in-stincts which are invidiously called theinstincts of a gentleman.John has the greatest respect for Sally.

    During their courtship he satisfies hispugilistic tendencies with much zest upona rejected suitor of Sally's who venturesto speak of her disrespectfully. He has


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    The Laborera certain reverence, moreover, in hisaffection for Sally's babies, and is espe-cially attached to the first, who is a littlegirl. John counsels, with a certain heavypaternal wisdom, that the baby be soon took to the parson.

    It keeps 'em healthy, says John.And Sally being also imbued with thissimple superstition, the baby is tookto the parson and christened by a script-ural name as soon as may be.

    John's life is not troubled with event-fulness. Once, indeed, a bad time comes.John is out of work and Sally and thechildren fall ill. The children, withJohn's tender and clumsy help, scramblesomehow into convalescence; but Sallyis very bad indeed. John sits by her bed-side hour after hour. He is very stupidand loving. He does not know at allwhat to do except hold her hand, andnow and then straighten her pillows. You are not a-dying, Sally, are you ?he says desperately. And Sally, openingher eyes and seeing his haggard face,says, No, Johndon't worrit for me.


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    The LaborerAnd John sits very quietly until the

    night covers them both.Once John goes to Norwich, He re-

    gards this as a very great event indeed.He dates all time from this visit. Oldparson died, he says, a matter o' sixyears after I see'd Norwich. Thecoming of the new parson is a great eventalso. The marriage of the squire'sdaughter a momentous occasion, of whichnot a single detail is ever forgotten. That was the time as you had yournew gownd, says John. And Sallysmiles a little as she remembers thegownd fresh and charming. By thistime her youthful prettiness has faded alittle. But though her figure is no longerdelicate or her complexion blooming, Johnis still convinced in his faithful conserva-tism that Sally is the most beautiful crea-ture in the world. He loves her just ashe loved her when they were first mar-ried. They are not, indeed, sentimental.With ten shillings a week and five chil-dren there is no time for sentimentality.But that there is no time for faithful-


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    The Laborerness, goodness, and affectionwho shallsay ?

    In due time the children grow up andwork for themselves. John is still alaborer, having been unable out of tenshillings a week to lay by a competencefor his old age. But either he does notthink of the future at all or else he has,in his stolid way, a never-spoken trust ina Providence who has been always kind.And one day Sally dies, and the light ofhis simple life goes out for ever.To-day in a quaint little almshouse in

    that benighted Norfolk village there livesa very old man. He is so old that thepresent is all dim and obscure to him, andonly the past stands out clearly. Hesits very contentedly in his garden in thesummer sunshine and dozes a great deal.He hears in a pleasant indistinctness themurmuring of the bees and the songs ofthe birds. The voices of the people whocome to see him sound, too, a great wayoff, and the meaning of what they ask himtakes a long time to reach his old brain. He ought to be intensely interesting,


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    The Laboreryou know, says Antiquaria, full of intel-ligence. But he is not. What do you remember to have heardof Waterloo ? asks Antiquaria at the topof her voice.

    Nothing, at first. Then he murmursvery indistinctly a line or two of theold alehouse ballad about Bonaparty.

    Parson said 'twas Waterloo day as Ibought the ring for Sally, he adds moreclearly. Wasn't there great excitement in thevillage about the battle ? persists Anti-quaria.And he looks at her with his old eyesand says, I dunno. 'Twas the day Ibought Sally the ring.That is all. If he had ever taken any

    interest in the fate of Europe, which hedid not, he would have forgotten it. Andnow only remembers a crisis in the his-tory of nations as the day he bought Sallythe ring.As the years pass a thousand changestake place round him, and he does notperceive them. A modern and spiritual


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    The Laborerecclesiastic has long replaced the old par-sons with their muscular Christianity,their good stories, and their port wine.The place in church where Sally sangTate and Brady devoutly beneath the de-murest coal-scuttle bonnet is occupied bycorrect little boys with neat surplices andGregorian chants.The village politicians have long cometo the comforting and fashionable conclu-sion that whatever is, is wrong, and that,as a preliminary to any sort of true justiceand equality, all existing institutionsmust be razed to the ground.And John, who used to be embarrassedto foolishness by the honor of a chat withthe squire, and was not even aware thathe was miserable, downtrodden, and op-pressed, blinks his old eyes pleasantly inthe sunshine and lives in his recollections.He is capable at last of no interest at allexcept in that fair, far past which he spentwith Sally. The present is a vague andpleasantly confusing dream. The peopleround him are only shadows. He has tobe fed and tended like an infant. When


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