Part 2 out of 4
"See! I borrowed sixty pounds six months ago of a friend, so now I owe
"All right!" giggled the unfriendly visitor at the door, whose departure
had been more or less fictitious.
Christie, by an impulse, not justifiable, but natural, drew her
oyster-knife out, and this time the man really went away.
"Hairtless mon!" cried she, "could he no do his am dirrty work, and no
gar me gie the puir lad th' action, and he likeit me sae weel!" and she
began to whimper.
"And love you more now," said he; "don't you cry, dear, to add to my
"Na! I'll no add to your vexation," and she gulped down her tears.
"Besides, I have pictures painted worth two hundred pounds; this is only
for eighty. To be sure you can't sell them for two hundred pence when you
want. So I shall go to jail, but they won't keep me long.
Then he took a turn, and began to fall into the artistic, or true view of
matters, which, indeed, was never long absent from him.
"Look here, Christie," said he, "I am sick of conventional assassins,
humbugging models, with dirty beards, that knit their brows, and try to
look murder; they never murdered so much as a tom-cat. I always go in for
the real thing, and here I shall find it."
"Dinna gang in there, lad, for ony favor."
"Then I shall find the accessories of a picture I have in my head--chains
with genuine rust and ancient mouldering stones with the stains of time."
His eye brightened at the prospect.
"You among fiefs, and chains, and stanes! Ye'll break my hairt, laddy,
ye'll no be easy till you break my hairt." And this time the tears would
not be denied.
"I love you for crying; don't cry;" and he fished from the chaotic drawer
a cambric handkerchief, with which he dried her tears as they fell.
It is my firm belief she cried nearly twice as much as she really wanted
to; she contrived to make the grief hers, the sympathy his. Suddenly she
stopped, and said:
"I'm daft; ye'll accept a lane o' the siller fra me, will ye no?"
"No!" said he. "And where could you find eighty pound?"
"Auchty pund," cried she, "it's no auchty pund that will ding Christie
Johnstone, laddy. I hae boats and nets worth twa auchtys; and I hae forty
pund laid by; and I hae seven hundred pund at London, but that I canna
meddle. My feyther lent it the king or the queen, I dinna justly mind;
she pays me the interest twice the year. Sac ye ken I could na be sae
dirty as seek my siller, when she pays me th' interest. To the very day,
ye ken. She's just the only one o' a' my debtors that's hoenest, but
never heed, ye'll no gang to jail."
"I'll hold my tongue, and sacrifice my pictures," thought Charles.
"Cheer up!" said Christie, mistaking the nature of his thoughts, "for it
did na come fra Victoree hersel'. It wad smell o' the musk, ye ken. Na,
it's just a wheen blackguards at London that makes use o' her name to
torment puir folk. Wad she pairsecute a puir lad? No likely."
She then asked questions, some of which were embarrassing. One thing he
could never succeed in making her understand, how, since it was sixty
pounds he borrowed, it could be eighty pounds he owed.
Then once more she promised him her protection, bade him be of good
cheer, and left him.
At the door she turned, and said: "Chairles, here's an auld wife seeking
ye," and vanished.
These two young people had fallen acquainted at a Newhaven wedding.
Christie, belonging to no one, had danced with him all the night, they
had walked under the stars to cool themselves, for dancing reels, with
heart and soul, is not quadrilling.
Then he had seen his beautiful partner in Edinburgh, and made a sketch of
her, which he gave her; and by and by he used to run down to Newhaven,
and stroll up and down a certain green lane near the town.
Next, on Sunday evenings, a long walk together, and then it came to
visits at his place now and then.
And here. Raphael and Fornarina were inverted, our artist used to work,
and Christie tell him stories the while.
And, as her voice curled round his heart, he used to smile and look, and
lay inspired touches on his subject.
And she, an artist of the tongue (without knowing herself one), used to
make him grave, or gay, or sad, at will, and watch the effect of her art
upon his countenance; and a very pretty art it is--the _viva voce_
story-teller's--and a rare one among the nations of Europe.
Christie had not learned it in a day; when she began, she used to tell
them like the other Newhaven people, with a noble impartiality of detail,
wearisome to the hearer.
But latterly she had learned to seize the salient parts of a narrative;
her voice had compass, and, like all fine speakers, she traveled over a
great many notes in speaking; her low tones were gorgeously rich, her
upper tones full and sweet; all this, and her beauty, made the hours she
gave him very sweet to our poor artist.
He was wont to bask in her music, and tell her in return how he loved
her, and how happy they were both to be as soon as he had acquired a
name, for a name was wealth, he told her. And although Christie Johnstone
did not let him see how much she took all this to heart and believed it,
it was as sweet music to her as her own honeysuckle breath to him.
She improved him.
He dropped cigars, and medical students, and similar abominations.
Christie's cool, fresh breath, as she hung over him while painting,
suggested to him that smoking might, peradventure, be a sin against
nature as well as against cleanliness.
And he improved her; she learned from art to look into nature (the usual
process of mind).
She had noticed too little the flickering gold of the leaves at evening,
the purple hills, and the shifting stories and glories of the sky; but
now, whatever she saw him try to imitate, she learned to examine. She was
a woman, and admired sunset, etc., for this boy's sake, and her whole
heart expanded with a new sensation that softened her manner to all the
world, and brightened her personal rays.
This charming picture of mutual affection had hitherto been admired only
by those who figured in it.
But a visitor had now arrived on purpose to inspect it, etc., attracted
A friend had considerately informed Mrs. Gatty, the artist's mother, and
she had instantly started from Newcastle.
This was the old lady Christie discovered on the stairs.
Her sudden appearance took her son's breath away.
No human event was less likely than that she should be there, yet there
After the first surprise and affectionate greetings, a misgiving crossed
him, "she must know about the writ"--it was impossible; but our minds are
so constituted--when we are guilty, we fear that others know what we
know. Now Gatty was particularly anxious she should not know about this
writ, for he had incurred the debt by acting against her advice.
Last year he commenced a picture in which was Durham Cathedral; his
mother bade him stay quietly at home, and paint the cathedral and its
banks from a print, "as any other painter would," observed she.
But this was not the lad's system; he spent five months on the spot, and
painted his picture, but he had to borrow sixty pounds to do this; the
condition of this loan was, that in six months he should either pay
eighty pounds, or finish and hand over a certain half-finished picture.
He did neither; his new subject thrust aside his old one, and he had no
money, ergo, his friend, a picture-dealer, who had found artists slippery
in money matters, followed him up sharp, as we see.
"There is nothing the matter, I hope, mother. What is it?"
"I'm tired, Charles." He brought her a seat; she sat down.
"I did not come from Newcastle, at my age, for nothing; you have formed
an improper acquaintance."
"I, who? Is it Jack Adams?"
"Worse than any Jack Adams!"
"Who can that be? Jenkyns, mother, because he does the same things as
Jack, and pretends to be religious."
"It is a female--a fishwife. Oh, my son!"
"Christie Johnstone an improper acquaintance," said he; "why! I was good
for nothing till I knew her; she has made me so good, mother; so steady,
so industrious; you will never have to find fault with me again."
"Nonsense--a woman that sells fish in the streets!"
"But you have not seen her. She is beautiful, her mind is not in fish;
her mind grasps the beautiful and the good--she is a companion for
princes! What am I that she wastes a thought or a ray of music on me?
Heaven bless her. She reads our best authors, and never forgets a word;
and she tells me beautiful stories--sometimes they make me cry, for her
voice is a music that goes straight to my heart."
"A woman that does not even wear the clothes of a lady."
"It is the only genuine costume in these islands not beneath a painter's
"Look at me, Charles; at your mother."
"Yes, mother," said he, nervously.
"You must part with her, or kill me."
He started from his seat and began to flutter up and down the room; poor
excitable creature. "Part with her!" cried he; "I shall never be a
painter if I do; what is to keep my heart warm when the sun is hid, when
the birds are silent, when difficulty looks a mountain and success a
molehill? What is an artist without love? How is he to bear up against
his disappointments from within, his mortification from without? the
great ideas he has and cannot grasp, and all the forms of ignorance that
sting him, from stupid insensibility down to clever, shallow criticism?"
"Come back to common sense," said the old lady, coldly and grimly.
He looked uneasy. Common sense had often been quoted against him, and
common sense had always proved right.
"Come back to common sense. She shall not be your mistress, and she
cannot bear your name; you must part some day, because you cannot come
together, and now is the best time."
"Not be together? all our lives, all our lives, ay," cried he, rising
into enthusiasm, "hundreds of years to come will we two be together
before men's eyes--I will be an immortal painter, that the world and time
may cherish the features I have loved. I love her, mother," added he,
with a tearful tenderness that ought to have reached a woman's heart;
then flushing, trembling, and inspired, he burst out, "And I wish I was a
sculptor and a poet too, that Christie might live in stone and verse, as
well as colors, and all who love an art might say, 'This woman cannot
die, Charles Gatty loved her.'"
He looked in her face; he could not believe any creature could be
insensible to his love, and persist to rob him of it.
The old woman paused, to let his eloquence evaporate.
The pause chilled him; then gently and slowly, but emphatically, she
spoke to him thus:
"Who has kept you on her small means ever since you were ten years and
seven months old?"
"You should know, mother, dear mother."
"Answer me, Charles."
"Who has pinched herself, in every earthly thing, to make you an immortal
painter, and, above all, a gentleman?"
"Who forgave you the little faults of youth, before you could ask
"My mother! Oh, mother, I ask pardon now for all the trouble I ever gave
the best, the dearest, the tenderest of mothers."
"Who will go home to Newcastle, a broken-hearted woman, with the one hope
gone that has kept her up in poverty and sorrow so many weary years, if
this goes on?"
"Nobody, I hope."
"Yes, Charles; your mother."
"Oh, mother; you have been always my best friend."
"And am this day."
"Do not be my worst enemy now. It is for me to obey you; but it is for
you to think well before you drive me to despair."
And the poor womanish heart leaned his head on the table, and began to
sorrow over his hard fate.
Mrs. Gatty soothed him. "It need not be done all in a moment. It must be
done kindly, but firmly. I will give you as much time as you like."
This bait took; the weak love to temporize.
It is doubtful whether he honestly intended to part with Christie
Johnstone; but to pacify his mother he promised to begin and gradually
untie the knot.
"My mother will go," whispered his deceitful heart, "and, when she is
away, perhaps I shall find out that in spite of every effort I cannot
resign my treasure."
He gave a sort of half-promise for the sake of peace.
His mother instantly sent to the inn for her boxes.
"There is a room in this same house," said she, "I will take it; I will
not hurry you, but until it is done, I stay here, if it is a twelvemonth
He turned pale.
"And now hear the good news I have brought you from Newcastle."
Oh! these little iron wills, how is a great artist to fight three hundred
and sixty-five days against such an antagonist?
Every day saw a repetition of these dialogues, in which genius made
gallant bursts into the air, and strong, hard sense caught him on his
descent, and dabbed glue on his gauzy wings.
Old age and youth see life so differently. To youth, it is a story-book,
in which we are to command the incidents, and be the bright exceptions to
one rule after another.
To age it is an almanac, in which everything will happen just as it has
happened so many times.
To youth, it is a path through a sunny meadow.
To age, a hard turnpike:
Whose travelers must be all sweat and dust, when they are not in mud and
Which wants mending in many places, and is mended with sharp stones.
Gatty would not yield to go down to Newhaven and take a step against his
love, but he yielded so far as to remain passive, and see whether this
creature was necessary to his existence or not. Mrs. G. scouted the idea.
"He was to work, and he would soon forget her." Poor boy! he wanted to
work; his debt weighed on him; a week's resolute labor might finish his
first picture and satisfy his creditor. The subject was an interior. He
set to work, he stuck to work, he glued to work, his body--but his heart?
Ah, my poor fellow, a much slower horse than Gatty will go by you, ridden
as you are by a leaden heart.
Tu nihil invita facies pingesve Minerva.
It would not lower a mechanical dog's efforts, but it must yours.
He was unhappy. He heard only one side for days; that side was
recommended by his duty, filial affection, and diffidence of his own good
He was brought to see his proceedings were eccentric, and that it is
destruction to be eccentric.
He was made a little ashamed of what he had been proud of.
He was confused and perplexed; he hardly knew what to think or do; he
collapsed, and all his spirit was fast leaving him, and then he felt
inclined to lean on the first thing he could find, and nothing came to
hand but his mother.
Meantime, Christie Johnstone was also thinking of him, but her single
anxiety was to find this eighty pounds for him.
It is a Newhaven idea that the female is the natural protector of the
male, and this idea was strengthened in her case.
She did not fully comprehend his character and temperament, but she saw,
by instinct, that she was to be the protector. Besides, as she was
twenty-one, and he only twenty-two, she felt the difference between
herself, a woman, and him, a boy, and to leave him to struggle unaided
out of his difficulties seemed to her heartless.
Twice she opened her lips to engage the charitable "vile count" in his
cause, but shame closed them again; this would be asking a personal
favor, and one on so large a scale.
Several days passed thus; she had determined not to visit him without
She then began to be surprised, she heard nothing from him.
And now she felt something that prevented her calling on him.
But Jean Carnie was to be married, and the next day the wedding party
were to spend in festivity upon the island of Inch Coombe.
She bade Jean call on him, and, without mentioning her, invite him to
this party, from which, he must know, she would not be absent.
Jean Carnie entered his apartment, and at her entrance his mother, who
took for granted this was his sweetheart, whispered in his ear that he
should now take the first step, and left him.
What passed between Jean Carnie and Charles Gatty is for another chapter.
A YOUNG viscount with income and person cannot lie _perdu_ three miles
First one discovers him, then another, then twenty, then all the world,
as the whole clique is modestly called.
Before, however, Lord Ipsden was caught, he had acquired a browner tint,
a more elastic step, and a stouter heart.
The Aberford prescription had done wonders for him.
He caught himself passing one whole day without thinking of Lady Barbara
But even Aberford had misled him; there were no adventures to be found in
the Firth of Forth; most of the days there was no wind to speak of; twice
it blew great guns, and the men were surprised at his lordship going out,
but nobody was in any danger except himself; the fishermen had all
slipped into port before matters were serious.
He found the merchantmen that could sail creeping on with three reefs in
their mainsail; and the Dutchmen lying to and breasting it, like ducks in
a pond, and with no more chance of harm.
On one of these occasions he did observe a little steam-tug, going about
a knot an hour, and rolling like a washing-tub. He ran down to her, and
asked if he could assist her; she answered, through the medium of a sooty
animal at her helm, that she was (like our universities) "satisfied with
her own progress"; she added, being under intoxication, "that, if any
danger existed, her scheme was to drown it in the bo-o-owl;" and two days
afterward he saw her puffing and panting, and fiercely dragging a
gigantic three-decker out into deep water, like an industrious flea
pulling his phaeton.
And now it is my office to relate how Mr. Flucker Johnstone comported
himself on one occasion.
As the yacht worked alongside Granton Pier, before running out, the said
Flucker calmly and scientifically drew his lordship's attention to three
The direction of the wind--the force of the wind--and his opinion, as a
person experienced in the Firth, that it was going to be worse instead of
better; in reply, he received an order to step forward to his place in
the cutter--the immediate vicinity of the jib-boom. On this, Mr. Flucker
instantly burst into tears.
His lordship, or, as Flucker called him ever since the yacht came down,
"the skipper," deeming that the higher appellation, inquired, with some
surprise, what was the matter with the boy.
One of the crew, who, by the by, squinted, suggested, "It was a slight
illustration of the passion of fear."
Flucker confirmed the theory by gulping out: "We'll never see Newhaven
On this the skipper smiled, and ordered him ashore, somewhat
Straightway he began to howl, and, saying, "It was better to be drowned
than be the laughing-stock of the place," went forward to his place; on
his safe return to port, this young gentleman was very severe on open
boats, which, he said "bred womanish notions in hearts naturally
dauntless. Give me a lid to the pot," added he, "and I'll sail with Old
Nick, let the wind blow high or low."
The Aberford was wrong when he called love a cutaneous disorder.
There are cutaneous disorders that take that name, but they are no more
love than verse is poetry;
Than patriotism is love of country;
Than theology is religion;
Than science is philosophy;
Than paintings are pictures;
Than reciting on the boards is acting;
Than physic is medicine
Than bread is bread, or gold gold--in shops.
Love is a state of being; the beloved object is our center; and our
thoughts, affections, schemes and selves move but round it.
We may diverge hither or thither, but the golden thread still holds us.
Is fair or dark beauty the fairest? The world cannot decide; but love
shall decide in a moment.
A halo surrounds her we love, and makes beautiful to us her movements,
her looks, her virtues, her faults, her nonsense, her affectation and
herself; and that's love, doctor!
Lord Ipsden was capable of loving like this; but, to do Lady Barbara
justice, she had done much to freeze the germ of noble passion; she had
not killed, but she had benumbed it.
"Saunders," said Lord Ipsden, one morning after breakfast, "have you
entered everything in your diary?"
"Yes, my lord."
"All these good people's misfortunes?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Do you think you have spelled their names right?"
"Where it was impossible, my lord, I substituted an English appellation,
hidentical in meaning."
"Have you entered and described my first interview with Christie
Johnstone, and somebody something?"
"Most minutely, my lord."
"How I turned Mr. Burke into poetry--how she listened with her eyes all
glistening--how they made me talk--how she dropped a tear, he! he! he! at
the death of the first baron--how shocked she was at the king striking
him when he was dying, to make a knight-banneret of the poor old fellow?"
"Your lordship will find all the particulars exactly related," said
Saunders, with dry pomp.
"How she found out that titles are but breath--how I answered--some
"Your lordship will find all the topics included."
"How she took me for a madman? And you for a prig?"
"The latter circumstance eluded my memory, my lord."
"But when I told her I must relieve only one poor person by day, she took
"Your lordship will find all the items realized in this book, my lord."
"What a beautiful book!"
"Alba are considerably ameliorated, my lord."
"Plural of album, my lord," explained the refined factotum, "more
delicate, I conceive, than the vulgar reading."
Viscount Ipsden read from
"MR. SAUNDERS'S ALBUM.
"To illustrate the inelegance of the inferior classes, two juvenile
venders of the piscatory tribe were this day ushered in, and
instantaneously, without the accustomed preliminaries, plunged into a
familiar conversation with Lord Viscount Ipsden.
"Their vulgarity, shocking and repulsive to myself, appeared to afford
his lordship a satisfaction greater than he derives from the graceful
amenities of fashionable association--"
~ "Saunders, I suspect you of something."
"Me, my lord!"
"Yes. Writing in an annual."
"I do, my lord," said he, with benignant _hauteur._ "It appears every
"I thought so! you are polysyllabic, Saunders; _en route!"_
~ "In this hallucination I find it difficult to participate; associated
from infancy with the aristocracy, I shrink, like the sensitive plant,
from contact with anything vulgar."
~ "I see! I begin to understand you, Saunders. Order the dog-cart, and
Wordsworth's mare for leader; we'll give her a trial. You are an ass,
"Yes, my lord; I will order Robert to tell James to come for your
lordship's commands about your lordship's vehicles. (What could he intend
by a recent observation of a discourteous character?)"
His lordship soliloquized.
"I never observed it before, but Saunders is an ass! La Johnstone is one
of Nature's duchesses, and she has made me know some poor people that
will be richer than the rich one day; and she has taught me that honey is
to be got from bank-notes--by merely giving them away."
Among the objects of charity Lord Ipsden discovered was one Thomas
Harvey, a maker and player of the violin. This man was a person of great
intellect; he mastered every subject he attacked. By a careful
examination of all the points that various fine-toned instruments had in
common, he had arrived at a theory of sound; he made violins to
correspond, and was remarkably successful in insuring that which had been
too hastily ascribed to accident--a fine tone.
This man, who was in needy circumstances, demonstrated to his lordship
that ten pounds would make his fortune; because with ten pounds he could
set up a shop, instead of working out of the world's sight in a room.
Lord Ipsden gave him ten pounds!
A week after, he met Harvey, more ragged and dirty than before.
Harvey had been robbed by a friend whom he had assisted. Poor Harvey!
Lord Ipsden gave him ten pounds more!
Next week, Saunders, entering Harvey's house, found him in bed at noon,
because he had no clothes to wear.
Saunders suggested that it would be better to give his wife the next
money, with strict orders to apply it usefully.
This was done!
The next day, Harvey, finding his clothes upon a chair, his tools
redeemed from pawn, and a beefsteak ready for his dinner, accused his
wife of having money, and meanly refusing him the benefit of it. She
acknowledged she had a little, and appealed to the improved state of
things as a proof that she knew better than he the use of money. He
demanded the said money. She refused--he leathered her--she put him in
This was the best place for him. The man was a drunkard, and all the
riches of Egypt would never have made him better off.
And here, gentlemen of the lower classes, a word with you. How can you,
with your small incomes, hope to be well off, if you are more extravagant
than those who have large ones?
"Us extravagant?" you reply.
Yes! your income is ten shillings a week; out of that you spend three
shillings in drink; ay! you, the sober ones. You can't afford it, my
boys. Find me a man whose income is a thousand a year; well, if he
imitates you, and spends three hundred upon sensuality, I bet you the odd
seven hundred he does not make both ends meet; the proportion is too
great. And _two-thirds of the distress of the lower orders is owing to
this--that they are more madly prodigal than the rich; in the worst,
lowest and most dangerous item of all human prodigality!_
Lord Ipsden went to see Mrs. Harvey; it cost him much to go; she lived in
the Old Town, and he hated disagreeable smells; he also knew from
Saunders that she had two black eyes, and he hated women with black eyes
of that sort. But this good creature did go; did relieve Mrs. Harvey;
and, bare-headed, suffered himself to be bedewed ten minutes by her
For once Virtue was rewarded. Returning over the North Bridge, he met
somebody whom but for his charity he would not have met.
He came in one bright moment plump upon--Lady Barbara Sinclair. She
flushed, he trembled, and in two minutes he had forgotten every human
event that had passed since he was by her side.
She seemed pleased to see him, too; she ignored entirely his obnoxious
proposal; he wisely took her cue, and so, on this secret understanding,
they were friends. He made his arrangements, and dined with her family.
It was a family party. In the evening Lady Barbara allowed it to
transpire that she had made inquiries about him.
(He was highly flattered.) And she had discovered he was lying hid
somewhere in the neighborhood.
"Studying the guitar?" inquired she.
"No," said he, "studying a new class of the community. Do you know any of
what they call the 'lower classes'?"
"Monstrous agreeable people, are they not?"
"No, very stupid! I only know two old women--except the servants, who
have no characters. They imitate us, I suspect, which does not say much
for their taste."
"But some of my friends are young women; that makes all the difference."
"It does! and you ought to be ashamed. If you want a low order of mind,
why desert our own circle?"
"My friends are only low in station; they have rather lofty minds, some
"Well, amuse yourself with these lofty minds. Amusement is the end of
being, you know, and the aim of all the men of this day."
"We imitate the ladies," said he, slyly.
"You do," answered she, very dryly; and so the dialogue went on, and Lord
Ipsden found the pleasure of being with his cousin compensate him fully
for the difference of their opinions; in fact, he found it simply amusing
that so keen a wit as his cousins s could be entrapped into the humor of
decrying the time one happens to live in, and admiring any epoch one
knows next to nothing about, and entrapped by the notion of its
originality, above all things; the idea being the stale commonplace of
asses in every age, and the manner of conveying the idea being a mere
imitation of the German writers, not the good ones, _bien entendu,_ but
the quill-drivers, the snobs of the Teutonic pen.
But he was to learn that follies are not always laughable, that _eadem
sentire_ is a bond, and that, when a clever and pretty woman chooses to
be a fool, her lover, if he is wise, will be a greater--if he can.
The next time they met, Lord Ipsden found Lady Barbara occupied with a
gentleman whose first sentence proclaimed him a pupil of Mr. Thomas
Carlyle, and he had the mortification to find that she had neither an ear
nor an eye for him.
Human opinion has so many shades that it is rare to find two people
But two people may agree wonderfully, if they will but let a third think
for them both.
Thus it was that these two ran so smoothly in couples.
Antiquity, they agreed, was the time when the world was old, its hair
gray, its head wise. Every one that said, "Lord, Lord!" two hundred years
ago was a Christian. There were no earnest men now; Williams, the
missionary, who lived and died for the Gospel, was not earnest in
religion; but Cromwell, who packed a jury, and so murdered his
prisoner--Cromwell, in whose mouth was heaven, and in his heart temporal
sovereignty--was the pattern of earnest religion, or, at all events,
second in sincerity to Mahomet alone, in the absence of details
respecting Satan, of whom we know only that his mouth is a Scripture
concordance, and his hands the hands of Mr. Carlyle's saints.
Then they went back a century or two, and were eloquent about the great
antique heart, and the beauty of an age whose samples were Abbot Sampson
and Joan of Arc.
Lord Ipsden hated argument; but jealousy is a brass spur, it made even
this man fluent for once.
He suggested "that five hundred years added to a world's life made it
just five hundred years older, not younger--and if older, grayer--and if
"Of Abbot Sampson," said he, "whom I confess both a great and a good man,
his author, who with all his talent belongs to the class muddle-head,
tells us that when he had been two years in authority his red hair had
turned gray, fighting against the spirit of his age; how the deuce, then,
could he be a sample of the spirit of his age?
"Joan of Arc was burned by acclamation of her age, and is admired by our
age. Which fact identifies an age most with a heroine, to give her your
heart, or to give her a blazing fagot and death?"
"Abbot Sampson and Joan of Arc," concluded he, "prove no more in favor of
their age, and no less against it, than Lot does for or against Sodom.
Lot was in Sodom, but not of it; and so were Sampson and Joan in, but not
of, the villainous times they lived in.
"The very best text-book of true religion is the New Testament, and I
gather from it, that the man who forgives his enemies while their ax
descends on his head, however poor a creature he may be in other
respects, is a better Christian than the man who has the God of Mercy
forever on his lips, and whose hands are swift to shed blood.
"The earnest men of former ages are not extinct in this," added he.
"Whenever a scaffold is erected outside a prison-door, if you are earnest
in pursuit of truth, and can put up with disgusting objects, you shall
see a relic of ancient manners hanged.
"There still exist, in parts of America, rivers on whose banks are
earnest men who shall take your scalp, the wife's of your bosom, and the
innocent child's of her bosom.
"In England we are as earnest as ever in pursuit of heaven, and of
innocent worldly advantages. If, when the consideration of life and death
interposes, we appear less earnest in pursuit of comparative trifles such
as kingdoms or dogmas, it is because cooler in action we are more earnest
in thought--because reason, experience, and conscience are things that
check the unscrupulousness or beastly earnestness of man.
"Moreover, he who has the sense to see that questions have three sides is
no longer so intellectually as well as morally degraded as to be able to
cut every throat that utters an opinion contrary to his own.
"If the phrase 'earnest man' means man imitating the beasts that are deaf
to reason, it is to be hoped that civilization and Christianity will
really extinguish the whole race for the benefit of the earth."
Lord Ipsden succeeded in annoying the fair theorist, but not in
The mediaeval enthusiasts looked on him as some rough animal that had
burst into sacred grounds unconsciously, and gradually edged away from
LORD IPSDEN had soon the mortification of discovering that this Mr. ----
was a constant visitor at the house; and, although his cousin gave him
her ear in this man's absence, on the arrival of her fellow-enthusiast he
had ever the mortification of finding himself _de trop._
Once or twice he demolished this personage in argument, and was rewarded
by finding himself more _de trop._
But one day Lady Barbara, being in a cousinly humor, expressed a wish to
sail in his lordship's yacht, and this hint soon led to a party being
organized, and a sort of picnic on the island of Inch Coombe; his
lordship's cutter being the mode of conveyance to and from that spot.
Now it happened on that very day Jean Carnie's marriage was celebrated on
that very island by her relations and friends.
So that we shall introduce our readers to
THE RIVAL PICNICS.
We begin with _Les gens comme il faut._
PICNIC NO. 1.
The servants were employed in putting away dishes into hampers.
There was a calm silence. "Hem!" observed Sir Henry Talbot.
"Eh?" replied the Honorable Tom Hitherington.
"Mamma," said Miss Vere, "have you brought any work?"
"No, my dear."
"At a picnic," said Mr. Hitherington, isn't it the thing for
somebody--aw--to do something?"
"Ipsden," said Lady Barbara, "there is an understanding _between_ you and
Mr. Hitherington. I condemn you to turn him into English."
"Yes, Lady Barbara; I'll tell you, he means---do you mean anything, Tom?"
_Hitherington._ "Can't anybody guess what I mean?"
_Lady Barbara._ "Guess first yourself, you can't be suspected of being in
_Hither._ "What I mean is, that people sing a song, or run races, or
preach a sermon, or do something funny at a picnic--aw--somebody gets up
and does something."
_Lady Bar._ "Then perhaps Miss Vere, whose singing is famous, will have
the complaisance to sing to us."
_Miss Vere._ "I should be happy, Lady Barbara, but I have not brought my
_Lady Bar._ "Oh, we are not critical; the simplest air, or even a
fragment of melody; the sea and the sky will be a better accompaniment
than Broadwood ever made."
_Miss V._ "I can't sing a note without book."
_Sir H. Talbot._ "Your music is in your soul--not at your fingers' ends."
_Lord Ipsden, to Lady Bar._ "It is in her book, and not in her soul."
_Lady Bar., to Lord Ips._ "Then it has chosen the better situation of the
_Ips._ "Miss Vere is to the fine art of music what the engrossers are to
the black art of law; it all filters through them without leaving any
sediment; and so the music of the day passes through Miss Vere's mind,
but none remains--to stain its virgin snow."
He bows, she smiles.
_Lady Bar., to herself._ "Insolent. And the little dunce thinks he is
_Ips._ "Perhaps Talbot will come to our rescue--he is a fiddler."
_Tal._ "An amateur of the violin."
_Ips._ "It is all the same thing."
_Lady Bar._ "I wish it may prove so."
[Note: original has music notation here]
_Miss V._ "Beautiful."
_Mrs. Vere._ "Charming."
_Ips._ "You are aware that good music is a thing to be wedded to immortal
verse, shall I recite a bit of poetry to match Talbot's strain?"
_Miss V._ "Oh, yes! how nice."
_Ips. (rhetorically)._ "A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. P.
Q. R. S. T. U. V. W. X. Y. Z. Y. X. W. V. U. T. S. O. N. M. L. K. J. I.
H. G. F. A. M. little p. little t."
_Lady Bar._ "Beautiful! Superb! Ipsden has been taking lessons on the
_Hither._ "He has been _perdu_ among vulgar people."
_Tal._ "And expects a pupil of Herz to play him tunes!"
_Lady Bar._ "What are tunes, Sir Henry?"
_Tal._ "Something I don't play, Lady Barbara."
_Lady Bar._ "I understand you; something we ought to like."
_Ips._ "I have a Stradivarius violin at home. It is yours, Talbot, if you
can define a tune."
_Tal._ "A tune is--everybody knows what."
_Lady Bar._ "A tune is a tune, that is what you meant to say."
_Tal._ "Of course it is."
_Lady Bar._ "Be reasonable, Ipsden; no man can do two things at once; how
can the pupil of Herz condemn a thing and know what it means
_Ips._ "Is the drinking-song in 'Der Freischutz' a tune?"
_Lady Bar._ "It is."
_Ips._ "And the melodies of Handel, are they tunes?"
_Lady Bar. (pathetically)._ "They are! They are!"
_Ips._ "And the 'Russian Anthem,' and the 'Marseillaise,' and 'Ah,
_Tal._ "And 'Yankee Doodle'?"
_Lady Bar._ "So that Sir Henry, who prided himself on his ignorance, has
a wide field for its dominion.
_Tal._ "All good violin players do like me; they prelude, not play
_Ips._ "Then Heaven be thanked for our blind fiddlers. You like syllables
of sound in unmeaning rotation, and you despise its words, its purposes,
its narrative feats; carry out your principle, it will show you where you
are. Buy a dirty palette for a picture, and dream the alphabet is a
_Lady Bar., to herself._ "Is this my cousin Richard?"
_Hither._ "Mind, Ipsden, you are a man of property, and there are such
things as commissions _de lunatico."_
_Lady Bar._ "His defense will be that his friends pronounced him insane.
_Ips._ "No; I shall subpoena Talbot's fiddle, cross-examination will get
nothing out of that but, do, re, mi, fa."
_Lady Bar._ "Yes, it will; fa, mi, re, do."
_Tal._ "Violin, if you please."
_Lady Bar._ "Ask Fiddle's pardon, directly."
_Sound of fiddles is heard in the distance._
_Tal._ "How lucky for you, there are fiddles and tunes, and the natives
you are said to favor, why not join them?"
_Ips. (shaking his head solemnly)._ "I dread to encounter another
_Hither._ "Come, I know you would like it; it is a wedding-party--two sea
monsters have been united. The sailors and fishermen are all blue cloth
and wash-leather gloves."
_Miss V._ "He! he!"
_Tal._ "The fishwives unite the colors of the rainbow--"
_Lady Bar._ "(And we all know how hideous they are)--to vulgar, blooming
cheeks, staring white teeth, and sky-blue eyes."
_Mrs. V._ "How satirical you are, especially you, Lady Barbara."
Here Lord Ipsden, after a word to Lady Barbara, the answer to which did
not appear to be favorable, rose, gave a little yawn, looked steadily at
his companions without seeing them, and departed without seeming aware
that he was leaving anybody behind him.
_Hither._ "Let us go somewhere where we can quiz the natives without
being too near them."
_Lady Bar._ "I am tired of this unbroken solitude, I must go and think to
the sea," added she, in a mock soliloquy; and out she glided with the
same unconscious air as his lordship had worn.
The others moved off slowly together.
"Mamma," said Miss Vere," I can't understand half Barbara Sinclair says."
"It is not necessary, my love," replied mamma; "she is rather eccentric,
and I fear she is spoiling Lord Ipsden."
"Poor Lord Ipsden," murmured the lovely Vere, "he used to be so nice, and
do like everybody else. Mamma, I shall bring some work the next time."
"Do, my love."
PICNIC NO. 2.
In a house, two hundred yards from this scene, a merry dance, succeeding
a merry song, had ended, and they were in the midst of an interesting
story; Christie Johnstone was the narrator. She had found the tale in one
of the viscount's books--it had made a great impression on her.
The rest were listening intently. In a room which had lately been all
noise, not a sound was now to be heard but the narrator's voice.
"Aweel, lasses, here are the three wee kists set, the lads are to
chuse--the ane that chuses reicht is to get Porsha, an' the lave to get
the bag, and dee baitchelars--Flucker Johnstone, you that's sae
clever--are ye for gowd, or siller, or leed?"
_1st Fishwife._ "Gowd for me!"
_2d ditto._ "The white siller's my taste."
_Flucker._ "Na! there's aye some deevelish trick in thir lassie's
stories. I shall ha to, till the ither lads hae chused; the mair part
will put themsels oot, ane will hit it off reicht maybe, then I shall gie
him a hidin' an' carry off the lass. You-hoo!"
_Jean Carnie._ "That's you, Flucker."
_Christie Johnstone._ "And div ye really think we are gawn to let you see
a' the world chuse? Na, lad, ye are putten oot o' the room, like
_Flucker._ "Then I'd toss a penny; for gien ye trust to luck, she whiles
favors ye, but gien ye commence to reason and argefy--ye're done!"
_Christie._ "The suitors had na your wit, my manny, or maybe they had na
a penny to toss, sae ane chused the gowd, ane the siller; but they got an
awfu' affront. The gold kist had just a skull intil't, and the siller a
deed cuddy's head!"
_Chorus of Females._ "He! he! he!"
_Ditto of Males._ "Haw! haw! haw! haw! Ho!"
_Christie._ "An' Porsha puttit the pair of gowks to the door. Then came
Bassanio, the lad fra Veeneece, that Porsha loed in secret. Veeneece,
lasses, is a wonderful city; the streets o' 't are water, and the
carriages are boats--that's in Chambers'."
_Flucker._ "Wha are ye making a fool o'?"
_Christie._ "What's wrang?"
_Flucker._ "Yon's just as big a lee as ever I heerd."
The words were scarcely out of his mouth ere he had reason to regret
them; a severe box on the ear was administered by his indignant sister.
Nobody pitied him.
_Christie._ "I'll laern yet' affront me before a' the company."
_Jean Carnie._ "Suppose it's a lee, there's nae silver to pay for it,
_Christie._ "Jean, I never telt a lee in a' my days."
_Jean._ "There's ane to begin wi' then. Go ahead, Custy."
_Christie._ "She bade the music play for him, for music brightens
thoucht; ony way, he chose the leed kist. Open'st and wasn't there
Porsha's pictur, and a posy, that said:
'If you be well pleased with this, And hold your fortune for your bliss;
Turn you where your leddy iss, And greet her wi' a loving--"' _(Pause)._
"Kess," roared the company.
_Chorus, led by Flucker._ "Hurraih!"
_Christie (pathetically)._ "Flucker, behave!"
_Sandy Liston (drunk)._ "Hur-raih!" He then solemnly reflected. "Na! but
it's na hurraih, decency requires amen first an' hurraih afterward;
here's kissin plenty, but I hear nae word o' the minister. Ye'll
obsairve, young woman, that kissin's the prologue to sin, and I'm a
decent mon, an' a gray-headed mon, an' your licht stories are no for me;
sae if the minister's no expeckit I shall retire--an' tak my quiet gill
_Jean Carnie._ "And div ye really think a decent cummer like Custy wad
let the lad and lass misbehave thirsels? Na! lad, the minister's at the
door, but" (sinking her voice to a confidential whisper) "I daurna let
him in, for fear he'd see ye hae putten the enemy in your mooth sae
aerly. (That's Custy's word.)"
"Jemmy Drysel," replied Sandy, addressing vacancy, for Jemmy was
mysteriously at work in the kitchen, "ye hae gotten a thoughtfu' wife."
(Then, with a strong revulsion of feeling.) "Dinna let the blackguard* in
here," cried he, "to spoil the young folk's sporrt."
* At present this is a spondee in England--a trochee in Scotland The
pronunciation of this important word ought to be fixed, representing, as
it does, so large a portion of the community in both countries.
_Christie._ "Aweel, lassies, comes a letter to Bassanio; he reads it, and
turns as pale as deeth."
_A Fishwife._ "Gude help us."
_Christie._ "Poorsha behooved to ken his grief, wha had a better reicht?
'Here's a letter, leddy,' says he, 'the paper's the boedy of my freend,
like, and every word in it a gaping wound.'"
_A Fisherman._ "Maircy on us."
_Christie._ "Lad, it was fra puir Antonio, ye mind o' him, Lasses. Hech!
the ill luck o' yon man, no a ship come hame; ane foundered at sea,
coming fra Tri-po-lis; the pirates scuttled another, an' ane ran ashore
on the Goodwins, near Bright-helm-stane, that's in England itsel', I daur
say. Sae he could na pay the three thoosand ducats, an' Shylock had
grippit him, an' sought the pund o' flesh aff the breest o' him, puir
_Sandy Liston._ "He would na be the waur o' a wee bit hiding, yon
thundering urang-utang; let the man alane, ye cursed old cannibal."
_Christie._ "Poorsha keepit her man but ae hoor till they were united,
an' then sent him wi' a puckle o' her ain siller to Veeneece, and
Antonio--think o' that, lassies--pairted on their wedding-day."
_Lizzy Johnstone, a Fishwife, aged 12._ "Hech! hech! it's lamentable."
_Jean Carnie._ "I'm saying, mairriage is quick wark, in some pairts--here
there's an awfu' trouble to get a man."
_A young Fishwife._ "Ay, is there."
_Omnes._ "Haw! haw! haw!" (The fish-wife hides.)
_Christie._ "Fill your taupsels, lads and lasses, and awa to Veneece."
_Sandy Liston (sturdily)._ "I'll no gang to sea this day."
_Christie._ "Noo, we are in the hall o' judgment. Here are set the
judges, awfu' to behold; there, on his throne, presides the Juke."
_Flucker._ "She's awa to her Ennglish."
_Lizzy Johnstone._ "Did we come to Veeneece to speak Scoetch, ye useless
_Christie._ "Here, pale and hopeless, but resigned, stands the broken
mairchant, Antonio; there, wi scales and knives, and revenge in his
murderin' eye, stands the crewel Jew Shylock."
"Aweel," muttered Sandy, considerately, "I'll no mak a disturbance on a
_Christie._ "They wait for Bell--I dinna mind his mind--a laerned lawyer,
ony way; he's sick, but sends ane mair laerned still, and, when this ane
comes, he looks not older nor wiser than mysel."
_Flucker._ "No possible!"
_Christie._ "Ye needna be sae sarcy, Flucker, for when he comes to his
wark he soon lets 'em ken--runs his een like lightening ower the boend.
'This bond's forfeit. Is Antonio not able to dischairge the money?' 'Ay!'
cries Bassanio, 'here's the sum thrice told.' Says the young judge in a
bit whisper to Shylock, 'Shylock, there's thrice thy money offered thee.
Be mairceful,' says he, out loud. 'Wha'll mak me?' says the Jew body.
'Mak ye!' says he; 'maircy is no a thing ye strain through a sieve, mon;
it droppeth like the gentle dew fra' heaven upon the place beneath; it
blesses him that gives and him that taks; it becomes the king better than
his throne, and airthly power is maist like God's power when maircy
_Robert Haw, Fisherman._ "Dinna speak like that to me, onybody, or I
shall gie ye my boat, and fling my nets intil it, as ye sail awa wi'
_Jean Carnie._ "Sae he let the puir deevil go. Oh! ye ken wha could stand
up against siccan a shower o' Ennglish as thaat."
_Christie._ "He just said, 'My deeds upon my heed. I claim the law,' says
he; 'there is no power in the tongue o' man to alter me. I stay here on
_Sandy Liston._ "I hae sat quiet!--quiet I hae sat against my will, no to
disturb Jamie Drysel's weddin'; but ye carry the game ower far, Shylock,
my lad. I'll just give yon bluidy-minded urang-utang a hidin', and bring
Tony off, the gude, puir-spirited creature. And him, an' me, an'
Bassanee, an' Porshee, we'll all hae a gill thegither."
He rose, and was instantly seized by two of the company, from whom he
burst furiously, after a struggle, and the next moment was heard to fall
clean from the top to the bottom of the stairs. Flucker and Jean ran out;
the rest appealed against the interruption.
_Christie._ "Hech! he's killed. Sandy Liston's brake his neck."
"What aboot it, lassy?" said a young fisherman; "it's Antonio I'm feared
for; save him, lassy, if poessible; but I doot ye'll no get him clear o'
yon deevelich heathen.
"Auld Sandy's cheap sairved," added he, with all the indifference a human
tone could convey.
"Oh, Cursty," said Lizzie Johnstone, with a peevish accent, "dinna break
the bonny yarn for naething."
_Flucker (returning)._ "He's a' reicht."
_Christie._ "Is he no dead?"
_Flucker._ "Him deed? he's sober--that's a' the change I see."
_Christie._ "Can he speak? I'm asking ye."
_Flucker._ "Yes, he can speak."
_Christie._ "What does he say, puir body?"
_Flucker._ "He sat up, an' sought a gill fra' the wife--puir body!"
_Christie._ "Hech! hech! he was my pupil in the airt o' sobriety!--aweel,
the young judge rises to deliver the sentence of the coort. Silence!"
thundered Christie. A lad and a lass that were slightly flirting were
_Christie._ "'A pund o' that same mairchant's flesh is thine! the coort
awards it, and the law does give it.'"
_A young Fishwife._ "There, I thoucht sae; he's gaun to cut him, he's
gaun to cut him; I'll no can bide." _(Exibat.)_
_Christie._ "There's a fulish goloshen. 'Have by a doctor to stop the
blood.'--'I see nae doctor in the boend,' says the Jew body."
_Flucker._ "Bait your hook wi' a boend, and ye shall catch yon carle's
saul, Satin, my lad."
_Christie (with dismal pathos)._ "Oh, Flucker, dinna speak evil o'
deegneties--that's maybe fishing for yoursel' the noo!---'An' ye shall
cut the flesh frae off his breest.'--'A sentence,' says Shylock, 'come,
Christie made a dash _en Shylock,_ and the company trembled.
_Christie._ "'Bide a wee,' says the judge, 'this boend gies ye na a drap
o' bluid; the words expressly are, a pund o' flesh!'"
_(A Dramatic Pause.)_
_Jean Carnie (drawing her breath)._ "That's into your mutton, Shylock"
_Christie (with dismal pathos)._ "Oh, Jean! yon's an awfu' voolgar
exprassion to come fra' a woman's mooth."
"Could ye no hae said, 'intil his bacon'?" said Lizzie Johnstone,
confirming the remonstrance.
_Christie._ "'Then tak your boend, an' your pund o' flesh, but in cutting
o' 't, if thou dost shed one drop of Christian bluid, thou diest!'"
_Jean Carnie._ "Hech!"
_Christie._ "'Thy goods are by the laws Veneece con-fis-cate,
Then, like an artful narrator, she began to wind up the story more
"Sae Shylock got to be no sae saucy. 'Pay the boend thrice,' says he,
'and let the puir deevil go.'--'Here it's,' says Bassanio.--Na! the young
judge wadna let him.--'He has refused it in open coort; no a bawbee for
Shylock but just the forfeiture; an' he daur na tak it.'--'I'm awa','
says he. 'The deivil tak ye a'.'--Na! he wasna to win clear sae; ance
they'd gotten the Jew on the hep, they worried him, like good Christians,
that's a fact. The judge fand a law that fitted him, for conspiring
against the life of a citizen; an' he behooved to give up hoose an'
lands, and be a Christian; yon was a soor drap--he tarned no weel, puir
auld villain, an' scairtit; an' the lawyers sent ane o' their weary
parchments till his hoose, and the puir auld heathen signed awa' his
siller, an' Abraham, an' Isaac, an' Jacob, on the heed o' 't. I pity him,
an auld, auld man; and his dochter had rin off wi' a Christian lad--they
ca' her Jessica, and didn't she steal his very diamond ring that his ain
lass gied him when he was young, an' maybe no sae hard-hairted?"
_Jean Carnie._ "Oh, the jaud! suppose he was a Jew, it was na her
business to clean him oot."
_A young Fishwife._ "Aweel, it was only a Jew body, that's my comfort."
_Christie._ "Ye speak as a Jew was na a man; has not a Jew eyes, if ye
_Lizzy Johnstone._ "Ay, has he!--and the awfuest lang neb atween 'em."
_Christie._ "Has not a Jew affections, paassions, organs?"
_Jean._ "Na! Christie; thir lads comes fr' Italy!"
_Christie._ "If you prick him, does he not bleed? if you tickle him, does
na he lauch?"
_A young Fishwife (pertly)._ "I never kittlet a Jew, for my pairt--sae
I'll no can tell ye."
_Christie._ "If you poison him, does he not die? and if you wrang him"
(with fury) "shall he not revenge?"
_Lizzie Johnstone._ "Oh! but ye're a fearsome lass."
_Christie._ "Wha'll give me a sang for my bonny yarn?"
Lord Ipsden, who had been an unobserved auditor of the latter part of the
tale, here inquired whether she had brought her book.
"Here's my music-book," said Jean, roughly tapping her head.
"And here's mines," said Christie, birdly, touching her bosom.
"Richard," said she, thoughtfully, "I wish ye may no hae been getting in
voolgar company. Div ye think we hae minds like rinning water?"
_Flucker (avec malice)._ "And tongues like the mill-clack abune it?
Because if ye think sae, captain--ye're no far wrang!"
_Christie._ "Na! we hae na muckle gowd maybe; but our minds are gowden
_Jean._ "Aha! lad."
_Christie._ "They are not saxpenny sieves, to let music an' meter
through, and leave us none the wiser or better. Dinna gang in low voolgar
company, or you a lost laddy."
_Ipsden._ "Vulgar, again! everybody has a different sense for that word,
I think. What is vulgar?"
_Christie._ "Voolgar folk sit on an chair, ane, twa, whiles three hours,
eatin' an' abune drinkin', as still as hoegs, or gruntin' puir every-day
clashes, goessip, rubbich; when ye are aside them, ye might as weel be
aside a cuddy; they canna gie ye a sang, they canna gie ye a story, they
canna think ye a thoucht, to save their useless lives; that's voolgar
She sings. "A caaller herrin'!"
_Jean._ "A caaller herrin'!"
"Come buy my bonny caaller herrin', Six a penny caaller from the sea,"
The music chimed in, and the moment the song was done, without pause, or
anything to separate or chill the succession of the arts, the fiddles
diverged with a gallant plunge into "The Dusty Miller." The dancers found
their feet by an instinct as rapid, and a rattling reel shook the floor
like thunder. Jean Carnie assumed the privilege of a bride, and seized
his lordship; Christie, who had a mind to dance with him too, took
Flucker captive, and these four were one reel! There were seven others.
The principle of reel dancing is articulation; the foot strikes the
ground for every _accented_ note (and, by the by, it is their weakness of
accent which makes all English reel and hornpipe players such failures).
And in the best steps of all, which it has in common with the hornpipe,
such as the quick "heel and toe," "the sailor's fling," and the "double
shuffle," the foot strikes the ground for every _single_ note of the
All good dancing is beautiful.
But this articulate dancing, compared with the loose, lawless diffluence
of motion that goes by that name, gives me (I must confess it) as much
more pleasure as articulate singing is superior to tunes played on the
voice by a young lady:
Or the clean playing of my mother to the piano-forte splashing of my
daughter; though the latter does attack the instrument as a washerwoman
her soapsuds, and the former works like a lady.
Or skating to sliding:
Or English verse to dactyls in English:
Or painting to daubing:
Or preserved strawberries to strawberry jam.
What says Goldsmith of the two styles? "They swam, sprawled, frisked, and
languished; but Olivia's foot was as pat to the music as its
echo."--_Vicar of Wakefield._
Newhaven dancing aims also at fun; laughter mingles with agility;
grotesque yet graceful gestures are flung in, and little inspiring cries
His lordship soon entered into the spirit of it. Deep in the mystery of
the hornpipe, he danced one or two steps Jean and Christie had never
seen, but their eyes were instantly on his feet, and they caught in a
minute and executed these same steps.
To see Christie Johnstone do the double-shuffle with her arms so saucily
akimbo, and her quick elastic foot at an angle of forty-five, was a
The dance became inspiriting, inspiring, intoxicating; and, when the
fiddles at last left off, the feet went on another seven bars by the
And so, alternately spinning yarns, singing songs, dancing, and making
fun, and mingling something of heart and brain in all, these benighted
creatures made themselves happy instead of peevish, and with a day of
stout, vigorous, healthy pleasure, refreshed, indemnified, and warmed
themselves for many a day of toil.
Such were the two picnics of Inch Coombe, and these rival cliques,
agreeing in nothing else, would have agreed in this: each, if allowed
(but we won't allow either) to judge the other, would have pronounced the
_"Ils ne savent pas vivre ces gens-l'a."_
Two of our personages left Inch Coombe less happy than when they came to
Lord Ipsden encountered Lady Barbara with Mr.----, who had joined her
upon the island.
He found them discoursing, as usual, about the shams of the present day,
and the sincerity of Cromwell and Mahomet, and he found himself _de
They made him, for the first time, regret the loss of those earnest times
when, "to avoid the inconvenience of both addressing the same lady," you
could cut a rival's throat at once, and be smiled on by the fair and
That a book-maker should blaspheme high civilization, by which alone he
exists, and one of whose diseases and flying pains he is, neither
surprised nor moved him; but that any human being's actions should be
affected by such tempestuous twaddle was ridiculous.
And that the witty Lady Barbara should be caught by this chaff was
intolerable; he began to feel bitter.
He had the blessings of the poor, the good opinion of the world; every
living creature was prepossessed in his favor but one, and that one
despised him; it was a diabolical prejudice; it was the spiteful caprice
of his fate.
His heart, for a moment, was in danger of deteriorating. He was
miserable; the Devil suggested to him, "make others miserable too;" and
he listened to the advice.
There was a fine breeze, but instead of sailing on a wind, as he might
have done, he made a series of tacks, and all were ill.
The earnest man first; and Flucker announced the skipper's insanity to
the whole town of Newhaven, for, of course, these tacks were all marine
The other discontented Picnician was Christie Johnstone. Gatty never
came; and this, coupled with five or six days' previous neglect, could no
longer pass unnoticed.
Her gayety failed her before the afternoon was ended; and the last two
hours were spent by her alone, watching the water on all sides for him.
At last, long after the departure of his lordship's yacht, the Newhaven
boat sailed from Inch Coombe with the wedding party. There was now a
strong breeze, and the water every now and then came on board. So the men
set the foresail with two reefs, and drew the mainsail over the women;
and there, as they huddled together in the dark, Jean Carnie discovered
that our gay story-teller's eyes were wet with tears.
Jean said nothing; she embraced her; and made them flow faster.
But, when they came alongside the pier, Jean, who was the first to get
her head from under the sail, whipped it back again and said to Christie:
"Here he is, Christie; dinna speak till him."
And sure enough there was, in the twilight, with a pale face and an
uneasy look--Mr. Charles Gatty!
He peered timidly into the boat, and, when he saw Christie, an "Ah!" that
seemed to mean twenty different things at once, burst from his bosom. He
held out his arm to assist her.
She cast on him one glance of mute reproach, and, placing her foot on the
boat's gunwale, sprang like an antelope upon the pier, without accepting
Before going further, we must go back for this boy, and conduct him from
where we left him up to the present point.
The moment he found himself alone with Jean Carnie, in his own house, he
began to tell her what trouble he was in; how his mother had convinced
him of his imprudence in falling in love with Christie Johnstone; and how
she insisted on a connection being broken off which had given him his
first glimpse of heaven upon earth, and was contrary to common sense.
Jean heard him out, and then, with the air of a lunatic-asylum keeper to
a rhodomontading patient, told him "he was one fool, and his mother was
another." First she took him up on the score of prudence.
"You," said she, "are a beggarly painter, without a rap; Christie has
houses, boats, nets, and money; you are in debt; she lays by money every
week. It is not prudent on her part to take up with you--the better your
bargain, my lad."
Under the head of common sense, which she maintained was all on the same
side of the question, she calmly inquired:
"How could an old woman of sixty be competent to judge how far human
happiness depends on love, when she has no experience of that passion,
and the reminiscences of her youth have become dim and dark? You might as
well set a judge in court, that has forgotten the law--common sense,"
said she, "the old wife is sixty, and you are twenty--what can she do for
you the forty years you may reckon to outlive her? Who is to keep you
through those weary years but the wife of your own choice, not your
mother's? You English does na read the Bible, or ye'd ken that a lad is
to 'leave his father and mother, and cleave until his wife,'" added she;
then with great contempt she repeated, "common sense, indeed! ye're fou
wi' your common sense; ye hae the name o' 't pat eneuch--but there's na
muckle o' that mairchandise in your harns."
Gatty was astonished. What! was there really common sense on the side of
bliss? and when Jean told him to join her party at Inch Coombe, or never
look her in the face again, scales seemed to fall from his eyes; and,
with a heart that turned in a moment from lead to a feather, he vowed he
would be at Inch Coombe.
He then begged Jean on no account to tell Christie the struggle he had
been subjected to, since his scruples were now entirely conquered.
Jean acquiesced at once, and said: "Indeed, she would be very sorry to
give the lass that muckle pain."
She hinted, moreover, that her neebor's spirit was so high, she was quite
capable of breaking with him at once upon such an intimation; and she,
Jean, was "nae mischief-maker."
In the energy of his gratitude, he kissed this dark-browed beauty,
professing to see in her a sister.
And she made no resistance to this way of showing gratitude, but muttered
between her teeth, "He's just a bairn!"
And so she went about her business.
On her retreat, his mother returned to him, and, with a sad air, hoped
nothing that that rude girl had said had weakened his filial duty.
"No, mother," said he.
She then, without explaining how she came acquainted with Jean's
arguments, proceeded to demolish them one by one.
"If your mother is old and experienced," said she, "benefit by her age
and experience. She has not forgotten love, nor the ills it leads to,
when not fortified by prudence. Scripture says a man shall cleave to his
wife when he has left his parents; but in making that, the most important
step of life, where do you read that he is to break the fifth
commandment? But I do you wrong, Charles, you never could have listened
to that vulgar girl when she told you your mother was not your best
"N--no, mother, of course not."
"Then you will not go to that place to break my heart, and undo all you
have done this week."
"I should like to go, mother."
"You will break my heart if you do."
"Christie will feel herself slighted, and she has not deserved this
treatment from me."
"The other will explain to her, and if she is as good a girl as you
"She is an angel!"
"How can a fishwife be an angel? Well, then, she will not set a son to
disobey his mother."
"I don't think she would! but is all the goodness to be on her side?"
"No, Charles, you do your part; deny yourself, be an obedient child, and
your mother's blessing and the blessing of Heaven will rest upon you."
In short, he was not to go to Inch Coombe.
He stayed at home, his mother set him to work; he made a poor hand of it,
he was so wretched. She at last took compassion on him, and in the
evening, when it was now too late for a sail to Inch Coombe, she herself
recommended a walk to him.
The poor boy's feet took him toward Newhaven, not that he meant to go to
his love, but he could not forbear from looking at the place which held
He was about to return, when a spacious blue jacket hailed him. Somewhere
inside this jacket was Master Flucker, who had returned in the yacht,
leaving his sister on the island.
Gatty instantly poured out a flood of questions.
The baddish boy reciprocated fluency. He informed him "that his sister
had been the star of a goodly company, and that, her own lad having
stayed away, she had condescended to make a conquest of the skipper
"He had come in quite at the tag-end of one of her stories, but it had
been sufficient to do his business--he had danced with her, had even
whistled while she sung. (Hech, it was bonny!)
"And when the cutter sailed, he, Flucker, had seen her perched on a rock,
like a mermaid, watching their progress, which had been slow, because the
skipper, infatuated with so sudden a passion, had made a series of
"For his part he was glad," said the gracious Flucker; "the lass was a
prideful hussy, that had given some twenty lads a sore heart and him many
a sore back; and he hoped his skipper, with whom he naturally identified
himself rather than with his sister, would avenge the male sex upon her."
In short, he went upon this tack till he drove poor Gatty nearly mad.
Here was a new feeling superadded; at first he felt injured, but on
reflection what cause of complaint had he?
He had neglected her; he might have been her partner--he had left her to
find one where she could.
Fool, to suppose that so beautiful a creature would ever be
neglected--except by him!
It was more than he could bear.
He determined to see her, to ask her forgiveness, to tell her everything,
to beg her to decide, and, for his part, he would abide by her decision.
Christie Johnstone, as we have already related, declined his arm, sprang
like a deer upon the pier, and walked toward her home, a quarter of a
Gatty followed her, disconsolately, hardly knowing what to do.
At last, observing that she drew near enough to the wall to allow room
for another on the causeway, he had just nous enough to creep alongside
and pull her sleeve somewhat timidly.
"Christie, I want to speak to you:"
"What can ye hae to say till me?"
"Christie, I am very unhappy; and I want to tell you why, but I have
hardly the strength or the courage."
"Ye shall come ben my hoose if ye are unhappy, and we'll hear your story;
He had never been admitted into her house before.
They found it clean as a snowdrift.
They found a bright fire, and Flucker frying innumerable steaks.
The baddish boy had obtained them in his sister's name and at her
expense, at the flesher's, and claimed credit for his affection.
Potatoes he had boiled in their jackets, and so skillfully, that those
jackets hung by a thread.
Christie laid an unbleached table-cloth, that somehow looked sweeter than
a white one, as brown bread is sweeter than white.
But lo! Gatty could not eat; so then Christie would not, because he
refused her cheer.
The baddish boy chuckled, and addressed himself to the nice brown steaks
with their rich gravy.
On such occasions a solo on the knife and fork seemed better than a trio
to the gracious Flucker.
Christie moved about the room, doing little household matters; Gatty's
eye followed her.
Her beauty lost nothing in this small apartment; she was here, like a
brilliant in some quaint, rough setting, which all earth's jewelers
should despise, and all its poets admire, and it should show off the
stone and not itself.
Her beauty filled the room, and almost made the spectators ill.
Gatty asked himself whether he could really have been such a fool as to
think of giving up so peerless a creature.
Suddenly an idea occurred to him, a bright one, and not inconsistent with
a true artist's character--he would decline to act in so doubtful a case.
He would float passively down the tide of events--he would neither desert
her, nor disobey his mother; he would take everything as it came, and to
begin, as he was there, he would for the present say nothing but what he
felt, and what he felt was that he loved her.
He told her so accordingly.
She replied, concealing her satisfaction, "that, if he liked her, he
would not have refused to eat when she asked him."
But our hero's appetite had returned with his change of purpose, and he
instantly volunteered to give the required proof of affection.
Accordingly two pound of steaks fell before him. Poor boy, he had hardly
eaten a genuine meal for a week past.
Christie sat opposite him, and every time he looked off his plate he saw
her rich blue eyes dwelling on him.
Everything contributed to warm his heart, he yielded to the spell, he
became contented, happy, gay.
Flucker ginger-cordialed him, his sister bewitched him.
She related the day's events in a merry mood.
Mr. Gatty burst forth into singing.
He sung two light and somber trifles, such as in the present day are
deemed generally encouraging to spirits, and particularly in accordance
with the sentiment of supper--they were about Death and Ivy Green.
The dog's voice was not very powerful, but sweet and round as honey
dropping from the comb.
His two hearers were entranced, for the creature sang with an inspiration
good singers dare not indulge.
He concluded by informing Christie that the ivy was symbolical of her,
and the oak prefigured Charles Gatty, Esq.
He might have inverted the simile with more truth.
In short, he never said a word to Christie about parting with her, but
several about being buried in the same grave with her, sixty years hence,
for which the spot he selected was Westminster Abbey.
And away he went, leaving golden opinions behind him.
The next day Christie was so affected with his conduct, coming as it did
after an apparent coolness, that she conquered her bashfulness and called
on the "vile count," and with some blushes and hesitation inquired,
"Whether a painter lad was a fit subject of charity."
"Why not?" said his lordship.
She told him Gatty's case, and he instantly promised to see that artist's
pictures, particularly an "awfu' bonny ane;" the hero of which she
described as an English minister blessing the bairns with one hand, and
giving orders to kill the puir Scoetch with the other.
"C'est e'gal," said Christie in Scotch, "it's awfu' bonny."
Gatty reached home late; his mother had retired to rest.
But the next morning she drew from him what had happened, and then ensued
another of those dialogues which I am ashamed again to give the reader.
Suffice it to say, that she once more prevailed, though with far greater
difficulty; time was to be given him to unsew a connection which he could
not cut asunder, and he, with tearful eyes and a heavy heart, agreed to
take some step the very first opportunity.
This concession was hardly out of his mouth, ere his mother made him
kneel down and bestowed her blessing upon him.
He received it coldly and dully, and expressed a languid hope it might
prove a charm to save him from despair; and sad, bitter, and dejected,
forced himself to sit down and work on the picture that was to meet his
unrelenting creditor's demand.
He was working on his picture, and his mother, with her needle, at the
table, when a knock was heard, and gay as a lark, and fresh as the dew on
the shamrock, Christie Johnstone stood in person in the apartment.
She was evidently the bearer of good tidings; but, before she could
express them, Mrs. Gatty beckoned her son aside, and announcing, "she
should be within hearing," bade him take the occasion that so happily
presented itself, and make the first step.
At another time, Christie, who had learned from Jean the arrival of Mrs.
Gatty, would have been struck with the old lady's silence; but she came
to tell the depressed painter that the charitable viscount was about to
visit him and his picture; and she was so full of the good fortune likely
to ensue, that she was neglectful of minor considerations.
It so happened, however, that certain interruptions prevented her from
ever delivering herself of the news in question.
First, Gatty himself came to her, and, casting uneasy glances at the door
by which his mother had just gone out, said:
"I want to paint your likeness."
This was for a _souvenir,_ poor fellow!
"Hech! I wad like fine to be painted."
"It must be exactly the same size as yourself, and so like you, that,
should we be parted, I may seem not to be quite alone in the world."
Here he was obliged to turn his head away.
"But we'll no pairt," replied Christie, cheerfully. "Suppose ye're puir,
I'm rich, and it's a' one; dinna be so cast down for auchty pund."
At this, a slipshod servant entered, and said: "There's a fisher lad,
inquiring for Christie Johnstone."
"It will be Flucker," said Christie; "show him ben. What's wrang the noo
The baddish boy entered, took up a position and remained apparently
passive, hands in pockets.
_Christie._ "Aweel, what est?"
_Christie._ "What's your will, my manny?"
_Flucker._ "Custy, I was at Inch Keith the day."
_Christie._ "And hae ye really come to Edinbro' to tell me thaat?"
_Flucker (dryly)._ "Oh! ye ken the lasses are a hantle wiser than we
are--will ye hear me? South Inch Keith, I played a bowl i' the water,
just for divairsion--and I catched twarree fish!"
_Christie._ "Floonders, I bet."
_Flucker._ "Does floonders swim high? I'll let you see his gills, and if
ye are a reicht fishwife ye'll smell bluid."
Here he opened his jacket, and showed a bright little fish.
In a moment all Christie's nonchalance gave way to a fiery animation. She
darted to Flucker's side.
"Ye hae na been sae daft as tell?" asked she.
Flucker shook his head contemptuously.
"Ony birds at the island, Flucker?"
"Sea-maws, plenty, and a bird I dinna ken; he moonted sae high, then doon
like thunder intil the sea, and gart the water flee as high as Haman, and
porpoises as big as my boat."
"Porr-poises, fulish laddy--ye hae seen the herrin whale at his wark, and
the solant guse ye hae seen her at wark; and beneath the sea, Flucker,
every coedflsh and doegfish, and fish that has teeth, is after them; and
half Scotland wad be at Inch Keith Island if they kenned what ye hae
tell't me--dinna speak to me."
During this, Gatty, who did not comprehend this sudden excitement, or
thought it childish, had tried in vain to win her attention.
At last he said, a little peevishly, "Will you not attend to me, and tell
me at least when you will sit to me?"
Set!" cried she. "When there's nae wark to be done stanning."
And with this she was gone.
At the foot of the stairs, she said to her brother:
"Puir lad! I'll sune draw auchty punds fra' the sea for him, with my
As she disappeared, Mrs. Gatty appeared. "And this is the woman whose
mind was not in her dirty business," cried she. "Does not that open your
"Ah! Charles," added she, tenderly, "there's no friend like a mother."
And off she carried the prize--his vanity had been mortified.
And so that happened to Christie Johnstone which has befallen many a
woman--the greatness of her love made that love appear small to her
"Ah! mother," cried he, "I must live for you and my art; I am not so dear
to her as I thought."
And so, with a sad heart, he turned away from her; while she, with a
light heart, darted away to think and act for him.
IT was some two hours after this that a gentleman, plainly dressed, but
whose clothes seemed a part of himself (whereas mine I have observed hang
upon me; and the Rev. Josiah Splitall's stick to him)--glided into the
painter's room, with an inquiry whether he had not a picture or two
"I have one finished picture, sir," said the poor boy; "but the price is
He brought it, in a faint-hearted way; for he had shown it to five
picture-dealers, and all five agreed it was hard.
He had painted a lime-tree, distant fifty yards, and so painted it that
it looked something like a lime-tree fifty yards off.
"That was _mesquin,"_ said his judges; "the poetry of painting required
abstract trees, at metaphysical distance, not the various trees of
nature, as they appear under positive accidents."
On this Mr. Gatty had deluged them with words.
"When it is art, truth, or sense to fuse a cow, a horse, and a critic
into one undistinguishable quadruped, with six legs, then it will be art
to melt an ash, an elm, and a lime, things that differ more than
quadrupeds, into what you call abstract trees, that any man who has seen
a tree, as well as looked at one, would call drunken stinging-nettles.
You, who never look at nature, how can you judge the arts, which are all
but copies of nature? At two hundred yards' distance, full-grown trees
are more distinguishable than the animal tribe. Paint me an abstract
human being, neither man nor a woman," said he, "and then I will agree to
paint a tree that shall be no tree; and, if no man will buy it, perhaps
the father of lies will take it off my hands, and hang it in the only
place it would not disgrace."
In short, he never left off till he had crushed the non-buyers with
eloquence and satire; but he could not crush them into buyers--they beat
him at the passive retort.
Poor Gatty, when the momentary excitement of argument had subsided, drank
the bitter cup all must drink awhile, whose bark is alive and strong
enough to stem the current down which the dead, weak things of the world
are drifting, many of them into safe harbors.
And now he brought out his picture with a heavy heart.
"Now," said he to himself, "this gentleman will talk me dead, and leave
me no richer in coin, and poorer in time and patience."
The picture was placed in a light, the visitor sat down before it.
A long pause ensued.
"Has he fainted?" thought Gatty, ironically; "he doesn't gabble."