Part 3 out of 12
looked small and shrunken in his memory, beside this glory of
boughs, breaking out into their prophecy of an infinite greenery at
hand. His rooms seemed to occupy the end of a small wing at the
back of the house, as well as he could judge. His sitting-room
windows looked across a small space to another wing; and the windows
of his bedroom, which were at right-angles to those of the former,
looked full into what seemed an ordered ancient forest of gracious
trees of all kinds, coming almost close to the very windows. They
were the trees which had been throwing their shadows on these
windows for two or three hours of the silent spring sunlight, at
once so liquid and so dazzling. Then he resolved to test his
faculty for discovery, by seeing whether he could find his way to
the breakfast-room without a guide. In this he would have succeeded
without much difficulty, for it opened from the main-entrance hall,
to which the huge square-turned oak staircase, by which he had
ascended, led; had it not been for the somewhat intricate nature of
the passages leading from the wing in which his rooms were
(evidently an older and more retired portion of the house) to the
main staircase itself. After opening many doors and finding no
thoroughfare, he became convinced that, in place of finding a way
on, he had lost the way back. At length he came to a small stair,
which led him down to a single door. This he opened, and
straightway found himself in the library, a long, low,
silent-looking room, every foot of the walls of which was occupied
with books in varied and rich bindings. The lozenge-paned windows,
with thick stone mullions, were much overgrown with ivy, throwing a
cool green shadowiness into the room. One of them, however, had
been altered to a more modern taste, and opened with folding-doors
upon a few steps, descending into an old-fashioned, terraced garden.
To approach this window he had to pass a table, lying on which he
saw a paper with verses on it, evidently in a woman's hand, and
apparently just written, for the ink of the corrective scores still
glittered. Just as he reached the window, which stood open, a lady
had almost gained it from the other side, coming up the steps from
the garden. She gave a slight start when she saw him, looked away,
and as instantly glanced towards him again. Then approaching him
through the window, for he had retreated to allow her to enter, she
bowed with a kind of studied ease, and a slight shade of something
French in her manner. Her voice was very pleasing, almost
bewitching; yet had, at the same time, something assumed, if not
affected, in the tone. All this was discoverable, or rather
spiritually palpable, in the two words she said--merely, "Mr.
Sutherland?" interrogatively. Hugh bowed, and said:
"I am very glad you have found me, for I had quite lost myself. I
doubt whether I should ever have reached the breakfast-room."
"Come this way," she rejoined.
As they passed the table on which the verses lay, she stopped and
slipped them into a writing-case. Leading him through a succession
of handsome, evidently modern passages, she brought him across the
main hall to the breakfast-room, which looked in the opposite
direction to the library, namely, to the front of the house. She
rang the bell; the urn was brought in; and she proceeded at once to
make the tea; which she did well, rising in Hugh's estimation
thereby. Before he had time, however, to make his private remarks
on her exterior, or his conjectures on her position in the family,
Mr. Arnold entered the room, with a slow, somewhat dignified step,
and a dull outlook of grey eyes from a grey head well-balanced on a
tall, rather slender frame. The lady rose, and, addressing him as
uncle, bade him good morning; a greeting which he returned
cordially, with a kiss on her forehead. Then accosting Hugh, with a
manner which seemed the more polite and cold after the tone in which
he had spoken to his niece, he bade him welcome to Arnstead.
"I trust you were properly attended to last night, Mr. Sutherland?
Your pupil wanted very much to sit up till you arrived, but he is
altogether too delicate, I am sorry to say, for late hours, though
he has an unfortunate preference for them himself. Jacob," (to the
man in waiting), "is not Master Harry up yet?"
Master Harry's entrance at that moment rendered reply unnecessary.
"Good morning, Euphra," he said to the lady, and kissed her on the
"Good morning, dear," was the reply, accompanied by a pretence of
returning the kiss. But she smiled with a kind of confectionary
sweetness on him; and, dropping an additional lump of sugar into his
tea at the same moment, placed it for him beside herself; while he
went and shook hands with his father, and then glancing shyly up at
Hugh from a pair of large dark eyes, put his hand in his, and
smiled, revealing teeth of a pearly whiteness. The lips, however,
did not contrast them sufficiently, being pale and thin, with
indication of suffering in their tremulous lines. Taking his place
at table, he trifled with his breakfast; and after making pretence
of eating for a while, asked Euphra if he might go. She giving him
leave, he hastened away.
Mr. Arnold took advantage of his retreat to explain to Hugh what he
expected of him with regard to the boy.
"How old would you take Harry to be, Mr. Sutherland?"
"I should say about twelve from his size," replied Hugh; "but from
his evident bad health, and intelligent expression--"
"Ah! you perceive the state he is in," interrupted Mr. Arnold, with
some sadness in his voice. "You are right; he is nearly fifteen. He
has not grown half-an-inch in the last twelve months."
"Perhaps that is better than growing too fast," said Hugh.
"Perhaps--perhaps; we will hope so. But I cannot help being uneasy
about him. He reads too much, and I have not yet been able to help
it; for he seems miserable, and without any object in life, if I
compel him to leave his books."
"Perhaps we can manage to get over that in a little while."
"Besides," Mr. Arnold went on, paying no attention to what Hugh
said, "I can get him to take no exercise. He does not even care for
riding. I bought him a second pony a month ago, and he has not been
twice on its back yet."
Hugh could not help thinking that to increase the supply was not
always the best mode of increasing the demand; and that one who
would not ride the first pony, would hardly be likely to ride the
second. Mr. Arnold concluded with the words:
"I don't want to stop the boy's reading, but I can't have him a
"Will you let me manage him as I please, Mr. Arnold?" Hugh ventured
Mr. Arnold looked full at him, with a very slight but quite manifest
expression of surprise; and Hugh was aware that the eyes of the
lady, called by the boy Euphra, were likewise fixed upon him
penetratingly. As if he were then for the first time struck by the
manly development of Hugh's frame, Mr. Arnold answered:
"I don't want you to overdo it, either. You cannot make a muscular
Christian of him." (The speaker smiled at his own imagined wit.)
"The boy has talents, and I want him to use them."
"I will do my best for him both ways," answered Hugh, "if you will
trust me. For my part, I think the only way is to make the
operation of the intellectual tendency on the one side, reveal to
the boy himself his deficiency on the other. This once done, all
will be well."
As he said this, Hugh caught sight of a cloudy, inscrutable
dissatisfaction slightly contracting the eyebrows of the lady. Mr.
Arnold, however, seemed not to be altogether displeased.
"Well," he answered, "I have my plans; but let us see first what you
can do with yours. If they fail, perhaps you will oblige me by
This was said with the decisive politeness of one who is accustomed
to have his own way, and fully intends to have it--every word as
articulate and deliberate as organs of speech could make it. But he
seemed at the same time somewhat impressed by Hugh, and not
unwilling to yield.
Throughout the conversation, the lady had said nothing, but had sat
watching, or rather scrutinizing, Hugh's countenance, with a far
keener and more frequent glance than, I presume, he was at all aware
of. Whether or not she was satisfied with her conclusions, she
allowed no sign to disclose; but, breakfast being over, rose and
withdrew, turning, however, at the door, and saying:
"When you please, Mr. Sutherland, I shall be glad to show you what
Harry has been doing with me; for till now I have been his only
"Thank you," replied Hugh; "but for some time we shall be quite
independent of school-books. Perhaps we may require none at all.
He can read, I presume, fairly well?"
"Reading is not only his forte but his fault," replied Mr. Arnold;
while Euphra, fixing one more piercing look upon him, withdrew.
"Yes," responded Hugh; "but a boy may shuffle through a book very
quickly, and have no such accurate perceptions of even the mere
words, as to be able to read aloud intelligibly."
How little this applied to Harry, Hugh was soon to learn.
"Well, you know best about these things, I daresay. I leave it to
you. With such testimonials as you have, Mr. Sutherland, I can
hardly be wrong in letting you try your own plans with him. Now, I
must bid you good morning. You will, in all probability, find Harry
in the library."
HARRY'S NEW HORSE.
Spielender Unterricht heisst nicht, dem Kinde Anstrengungen ersparen
und abnehmen, sondern eine Leidenschaft in ihm erwecken, welche ihm
die stärksten aufnöthigt und erleichtert.
JEAN PAUL.--Die Unsichtbare Loge.
It is not the intention of sportive instruction that the child
should be spared effort, or delivered from it; but that thereby a
passion should be wakened in him, which shall both necessitate and
facilitate the strongest exertion.
Hugh made no haste to find his pupil in the library; thinking it
better, with such a boy, not to pounce upon him as if he were going
to educate him directly. He went to his own rooms instead; got his
books out and arranged them,--supplying thus, in a very small
degree, the scarcity of modern ones in the book-cases; then arranged
his small wardrobe, looked about him a little, and finally went to
seek his pupil.
He found him in the library, as he had been given to expect, coiled
up on the floor in a corner, with his back against the book-shelves,
and an old folio on his knees, which he was reading in silence.
"Well, Harry," said Hugh, in a half-indifferent tone, as he threw
himself on a couch, "what are you reading?"
Harry had not heard him come in. He started, and almost shuddered;
then looked up, hesitated, rose, and, as if ashamed to utter the
name of the book, brought it to Hugh, opening it at the title-page
as he held it out to him. It was the old romance of Polexander.
Hugh knew nothing about it; but, glancing over some of the pages,
could not help wondering that the boy should find it interesting.
"Do you like this very much?" said he.
"Well--no. Yes, rather."
"I think I could find you something more interesting in the
"Oh! please, sir, mayn't I read this?" pleaded Harry, with signs of
distress in his pale face.
"Oh, yes, certainly, if you wish. But tell me why you want to read
it so very much."
"Because I have set myself to read it through."
Hugh saw that the child was in a diseased state of mind, as well as
"You should not set yourself to read anything, before you know
whether it is worth reading."
"I could not help it. I was forced to say I would."
"To myself. Mayn't I read it?"
"Certainly," was all Hugh's answer; for he saw that he must not
pursue the subject at present: the boy was quite hypochondriacal.
His face was keen, with that clear definition of feature which
suggests superior intellect. He was, though very small for his age,
well proportioned, except that his head and face were too large.
His forehead indicated thought; and Hugh could not doubt that,
however uninteresting the books which he read might be, they must
have afforded him subjects of mental activity. But he could not
help seeing as well, that this activity, if not altered in its
direction and modified in its degree, would soon destroy itself,
either by ruining his feeble constitution altogether, or, which was
more to be feared, by irremediably injuring the action of the brain.
He resolved, however, to let him satisfy his conscience by reading
the book; hoping, by the introduction of other objects of thought
and feeling, to render it so distasteful, that he would be in little
danger of yielding a similar pledge again, even should the
temptation return, which Hugh hoped to prevent.
"But you have read enough for the present, have you not?" said he,
rising, and approaching the book-shelves.
"Yes; I have been reading since breakfast."
"Ah! there's a capital book. Have you ever read it--Gulliver's
"No. The outside looked always so uninteresting."
"So does Polexander's outside."
"Yes. But I couldn't help that one."
"Well, come along. I will read to you."
"Oh! thank you. That will be delightful. But must we not go to our
"I'm going to make a lesson of this. I have been talking to your
papa; and we're going to begin with a holiday, instead of ending
with one. I must get better acquainted with you first, Harry,
before I can teach you right. We must be friends, you know."
The boy crept close up to him, laid one thin hand on his knee,
looked in his face for a moment, and then, without a word, sat down
on the couch close beside him. Before an hour had passed, Harry was
laughing heartily at Gulliver's adventures amongst the Lilliputians.
Having arrived at this point of success, Hugh ceased reading, and
began to talk to him.
"Is that lady your cousin?"
"Yes. Isn't she beautiful?"
"I hardly know yet. I have not got used to her enough yet. What is
"Oh! such a pretty name--Euphrasia."
"Is she the only lady in the house?"
"Yes; my mamma is dead, you know. She was ill for a long time, they
say; and she died when I was born."
The tears came in the poor boy's eyes. Hugh thought of his own
father, and put his hand on Harry's shoulder. Harry laid his head
on Hugh's shoulder.
"But," he went on, "Euphra is so kind to me! And she is so clever
too! She knows everything."
"Have you no brothers or sisters?"
"No, none. I wish I had."
"Well, I'll be your big brother. Only you must mind what I say to
you; else I shall stop being him. Is it a bargain?"
"Yes, to be sure!" cried Harry in delight; and, springing from the
couch, he began hopping feebly about the room on one foot, to
express his pleasure.
"Well, then, that's settled. Now, you must come and show me the
horses--your ponies, you know--and the pigs--"
"I don't like the pigs--I don't know where they are."
"Well, we must find out. Perhaps I shall make some discoveries for
you. Have you any rabbits?"
"A dog though, surely?"
"No. I had a canary, but the cat killed it, and I have never had a
"Well, get your cap, and come out with me. I will wait for you
Harry walked away--he seldom ran. He soon returned with his cap,
and they sallied out together.
Happening to look back at the house, when a few paces from it, Hugh
thought he saw Euphra standing at the window of a back staircase.
They made the round of the stables, and the cow-house, and the
poultry-yard; and even the pigs, as proposed, came in for a share of
their attention. As they approached the stye, Harry turned away his
head with a look of disgust. They were eating out of the trough.
"They make such a nasty noise!" he said.
"Yes, but just look: don't they enjoy it?" said Hugh.
Harry looked at them. The notion of their enjoyment seemed to dawn
upon him as something quite new. He went nearer and nearer to the
stye. At last a smile broke out over his countenance.
"How tight that one curls his tail!" said he, and burst out
"How dreadfully this boy must have been mismanaged!" thought Hugh to
himself. "But there is no fear of him now, I hope."
By this time they had been wandering about for more than an hour;
and Hugh saw, by Harry's increased paleness, that he was getting
"Here, Harry, get on my back, my boy, and have a ride. You're
And Hugh knelt down.
Harry shrunk back.
"I shall spoil your coat with my shoes."
"Nonsense! Rub them well on the grass there. And then get on my
Harry did as he was bid, and found his tutor's broad back and strong
arms a very comfortable saddle. So away they went, wandering about
for a long time, in their new relation of horse and his rider. At
length they got into the middle of a long narrow avenue, quite
neglected, overgrown with weeds, and obstructed with rubbish. But
the trees were fine beeches, of great growth and considerable age.
One end led far into a wood, and the other towards the house, a
small portion of which could be seen at the end, the avenue
appearing to reach close up to it.
"Don't go down this," said Harry.
"Well, it's not a very good road for a horse certainly, but I think
I can go it. What a beautiful avenue! Why is it so neglected?"
"Don't go down there, please, dear horse."
Harry was getting wonderfully at home with Hugh already.
"Why?" asked Hugh.
"They call it the Ghost's Walk, and I don't much like it. It has a
strange distracted look!"
"That's a long word, and a descriptive one too," thought Hugh; but,
considering that there would come many a better opportunity of
combating the boy's fears than now, he simply said: "Very well,
Harry,"--and proceeded to leave the avenue by the other side. But
Harry was not yet satisfied.
"Please, Mr. Sutherland, don't go on that side, just now. Ride me
back, please. It is not safe, they say, to cross her path. She
always follows any one who crosses her path."
Hugh laughed; but again said, "Very well, my boy;" and, returning,
left the avenue by the side by which he had entered it.
"Shall we go home to luncheon now?" said Harry.
"Yes," replied Hugh. "Could we not go by the front of the house? I
should like very much to see it."
"Oh, certainly," said Harry, and proceeded to direct Hugh how to go;
but evidently did not know quite to his own satisfaction. There
being, however, but little foliage yet, Hugh could discover his way
pretty well. He promised himself many a delightful wander in the
woody regions in the evenings.
They managed to get round to the front of the house, not without
some difficulty; and then Hugh saw to his surprise that, although
not imposing in appearance, it was in extent more like a baronial
residence than that of a simple gentleman. The front was very long,
apparently of all ages, and of all possible styles of architecture,
the result being somewhat mysterious and eminently picturesque. All
kinds of windows; all kinds of projections and recesses; a house
here, joined to a hall there; here a pointed gable, the very bell on
the top overgrown and apparently choked with ivy; there a wide front
with large bay windows; and next a turret of old stone, with not a
shred of ivy upon it, but crowded over with grey-green lichens,
which looked as if the stone itself had taken to growing; multitudes
of roofs, of all shapes and materials, so that one might very easily
be lost amongst the chimneys and gutters and dormer windows and
pinnacles--made up the appearance of the house on the outside to
Hugh's first inquiring glance, as he paused at a little distance
with Harry on his back, and scanned the wonderful pile before him.
But as he looked at the house of Arnstead, Euphra was looking at
him with the boy on his back, from one of the smaller windows. Was
she making up her mind?
"You are as kind to me as Euphra," said Harry, as Hugh set him down
in the hall. "I've enjoyed my ride very much, thank you, Mr.
Sutherland. I am sure Euphra will like you very much--she likes
then purged with Euphrasy and Rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see.
Paradise Lost, b. xi.
Soft music came to mine ear. It was like the rising breeze, that
whirls, at first, the thistle's beard; then flies, dark-shadowy,
over the grass. It was the maid of Fuärfed wild: she raised the
nightly song; for she knew that my soul was a stream, that flowed at
Harry led Hugh by the hand to the dining-room, a large oak hall with
Gothic windows, and an open roof supported by richly carved
woodwork, in the squares amidst which were painted many escutcheons
parted by fanciful devices. Over the high stone carving above the
chimney hung an old piece of tapestry, occupying the whole space
between that and the roof. It represented a hunting-party of ladies
and gentlemen, just setting out. The table looked very small in the
centre of the room, though it would have seated twelve or fourteen.
It was already covered for luncheon; and in a minute Euphra entered
and took her place without a word. Hugh sat on one side and Harry
on the other. Euphra, having helped both to soup, turned to Harry
and said, "Well, Harry, I hope you have enjoyed your first lesson."
"Very much," answered Harry with a smile. "I have learned pigs and
"The boy is positively clever," thought Hugh.
"Mr. Sutherland"--he continued, "has begun to teach me to like
"But I thought you were very fond of your wild-beast book, Harry."
"Oh! yes; but that was only in the book, you know. I like the
stories about them, of course. But to like pigs, you know, is quite
different. They are so ugly and ill-bred. I like them though."
"You seem to have quite gained Harry already," said Euphra, glancing
at Hugh, and looking away as quickly.
"We are very good friends, and shall be, I think," replied he.
Harry looked at him affectionately, and said to him, not to Euphra,
"Oh! yes, that we shall, I am sure." Then turning to the lady--"Do
you know, Euphra, he is my big brother?"
"You must mind how you make new relations, though, Harry; for you
know that would make him my cousin."
"Well, you will be a kind cousin to him, won't you?"
"I will try," replied Euphra, looking up at Hugh with a naïve
expression of shyness, and the slightest possible blush.
Hugh began to think her pretty, almost handsome. His next thought
was to wonder how old she was. But about this he could not at once
make up his mind. She might be four-and-twenty; she might be
two-and-thirty. She had black, lustreless hair, and eyes to match,
as far as colour was concerned--but they could sparkle, and probably
flash upon occasion; a low forehead, but very finely developed in
the faculties that dwell above the eyes; slender but very dark
eyebrows--just black arched lines in her rather sallow complexion;
nose straight, and nothing remarkable--"an excellent thing in
woman," a mouth indifferent when at rest, but capable of a beautiful
laugh. She was rather tall, and of a pretty enough figure; hands
good; feet invisible. Hugh came to these conclusions rapidly
enough, now that his attention was directed to her; for, though
naturally unobservant, his perception was very acute as soon as his
attention was roused.
"Thank you," he replied to her pretty speech. "I shall do my best to
"I hope you will, Mr. Sutherland," rejoined she, with another arch
look. "Take some wine, Harry."
She poured out a glass of sherry, and gave it to the boy, who drank
it with some eagerness. Hugh could not approve of this, but thought
it too early to interfere. Turning to Harry, he said:
"Now, Harry, you have had rather a tiring morning. I should like
you to go and lie down a while."
"Very well, Mr. Sutherland," replied Harry, who seemed rather
deficient in combativeness, as well as other boyish virtues. "Shall
I lie down in the library?"
"No--have a change."
"In my bed-room?"
"No, I think not. Go to my room, and lie on the couch till I come
Harry went; and Hugh, partly for the sake of saying something, and
partly to justify his treatment of Harry, told Euphra, whose surname
he did not yet know, what they had been about all the morning,
ending with some remark on the view of the house in front. She
heard the account of their proceedings with apparent indifference,
replying only to the remark with which he closed it:
"It is rather a large house, is it not, for three--I beg your
pardon, for four persons to live in, Mr. Sutherland?"
"It is, indeed; it quite bewilders me."
"To tell the truth, I don't quite know above the half of it myself."
Hugh thought this rather a strange assertion, large as the house
was; but she went on:
"I lost myself between the housekeeper's room and my own, no later
than last week."
I suppose there was a particle of truth in this; and that she had
taken a wrong turning in an abstracted fit. Perhaps she did not
mean it to be taken as absolutely true.
"You have not lived here long, then?"
"Not long for such a great place. A few years. I am only a poor
She accompanied this statement with another swift uplifting of the
eyelids. But this time her eyes rested for a moment on Hugh's, with
something of a pleading expression; and when they fell, a slight
sigh followed. Hugh felt that he could not quite understand her. A
vague suspicion crossed his mind that she was bewitching him, but
vanished instantly. He replied to her communication by a smile, and
"You have the more freedom, then.--Did you know Harry's mother?" he
added, after a pause.
"No. She died when Harry was born. She was very beautiful, and,
they say, very clever, but always in extremely delicate health.
Between ourselves, I doubt if there was much sympathy--that is, if
my uncle and she quite understood each other. But that is an old
A pause followed. Euphra resumed:
"As to the freedom you speak of, Mr. Sutherland, I do not quite know
what to do with it. I live here as if the place were my own, and
give what orders I please. But Mr. Arnold shows me little
attention--he is so occupied with one thing and another, I hardly
know what; and if he did, perhaps I should get tired of him. So,
except when we have visitors, which is not very often, the time
hangs rather heavy on my hands."
"But you are fond of reading--and writing, too, I suspect;" Hugh
ventured to say.
She gave him another of her glances, in which the apparent shyness
was mingled with something for which Hugh could not find a name.
Nor did he suspect, till long after, that it was in reality
slyness, so tempered with archness, that, if discovered, it might
easily pass for an expression playfully assumed.
"Oh! yes," she said; "one must read a book now and then; and if a
verse"--again a glance and a slight blush--"should come up from
nobody knows where, one may as well write it down. But, please, do
not take me for a literary lady. Indeed, I make not the slightest
pretensions. I don't know what I should do without Harry; and
indeed, indeed, you must not steal him from me, Mr. Sutherland."
"I should be very sorry," replied Hugh. "Let me beg you, as far as I
have a right to do so, to join us as often and as long as you
please. I will go and see how he is. I am sure the boy only wants
thorough rousing, alternated with perfect repose."
He went to his own room, where he found Harry, to his satisfaction,
fast asleep on the sofa. He took care not to wake him, but sat down
beside him to read till his sleep should be over. But, a moment
after, the boy opened his eyes with a start and a shiver, and gave a
slight cry. When he saw Hugh he jumped up, and with a smile which
was pitiful to see upon a scared face, said:
"Oh! I am so glad you are there."
"What is the matter, dear Harry?"
"I had a dreadful dream."
"What was it?"
"I don't know. It always comes. It is always the same. I know
that. And yet I can never remember what it is."
Hugh soothed him as well as he could; and he needed it, for the cold
drops were standing on his forehead. When he had grown calmer, he
went and fetched Gulliver, and, to the boy's great delight, read to
him till dinner-time. Before the first bell rang, he had quite
recovered, and indeed seemed rather interested in the approach of
Dinner was an affair of some state at Arnstead. Almost immediately
after the second bell had rung, Mr. Arnold made his appearance in
the drawing-room, where the others were already waiting for him.
This room had nothing of the distinctive character of the parts of
the house which Hugh had already seen. It was merely a handsome
modern room, of no great size. Mr. Arnold led Euphra to dinner, and
Hugh followed with Harry.
Mr. Arnold's manner to Hugh was the same as in the
morning--studiously polite, without the smallest approach to
cordiality. He addressed him as an equal, it is true; but an equal
who could never be in the smallest danger of thinking he meant it.
Hugh, who, without having seen a great deal of the world, yet felt
much the same wherever he was, took care to give him all that he
seemed to look for, as far at least as was consistent with his own
self-respect. He soon discovered that he was one of those men, who,
if you will only grant their position, and acknowledge their
authority, will allow you to have much your own way in everything.
His servants had found this out long ago, and almost everything
about the house was managed as they pleased; but as the oldest of
them were respectable family servants, nothing went very far wrong.
They all, however, waited on Euphra with an assiduity that showed
she was, or could be, quite mistress when and where she pleased.
Perhaps they had found out that she had great influence with Mr.
Arnold; and certainly he seemed very fond of her indeed, after a
stately fashion. She spoke to the servants with peculiar
gentleness; never said, if you please; but always, thank you. Harry
never asked for anything, but always looked to Euphra, who gave the
necessary order. Hugh saw that the boy was quite dependent upon
her, seeming of himself scarcely capable of originating the simplest
action. Mr. Arnold, however, dull as he was, could not help seeing
that Harry's manner was livelier than usual, and seemed pleased at
the slight change already visible for the better. Turning to Hugh
"Do you find Harry very much behind with his studies, Mr.
"I have not yet attempted to find out," replied Hugh.
"Not?" said Mr. Arnold, with surprise.
"No. If he be behind, I feel confident it will not be for long."
"But," began Mr. Arnold, pompously; and then he paused.
"You were kind enough to say, Mr. Arnold, that I might try my own
plans with him first. I have been doing so."
Here Harry broke in with some animation:
"Mr. Sutherland has been my horse, carrying me about on his back all
the morning--no, not all the morning--but an hour, or an hour and a
half--or was it two hours, Mr. Sutherland?"
"I really don't know, Harry," answered Hugh; "I don't think it
Harry seemed relieved, and went on:
"He has been reading Gulliver's Travels to me--oh, such fall! And
we have been to see the cows and the pigs; and Mr. Sutherland has
been teaching me to jump. Do you know, papa, he jumped right over
the pony's back without touching it."
Mr. Arnold stared at the boy with lustreless eyes and hanging
checks. These grew red, as if he were going to choke. Such
behaviour was quite inconsistent with the dignity of Arnstead and
its tutor, who had been recommended to him as a thorough gentleman.
But for the present he said nothing; probably because he could
think of nothing to say.
"Certainly Harry seems better already," interposed Euphra.
"I cannot help thinking Mr. Sutherland has made a good beginning."
Mr. Arnold did not reply, but the cloud wore away from his face by
degrees; and at length he asked Hugh to take a glass of wine with
When Euphra rose from the table, and Harry followed her example,
Hugh thought it better to rise as well. Mr. Arnold seemed to
hesitate whether or not to ask him to resume his seat and have a
glass of claret. Had he been a little wizened pedagogue, no doubt
he would have insisted on his company, sure of acquiescence from him
in every sentiment he might happen to utter. But Hugh really looked
so very much like a gentleman, and stated his own views, or adopted
his own plans, with so much independence, that Mr. Arnold judged it
safer to keep him at arm's length for a season at least, till he
should thoroughly understand his position--not that of a guest, but
that of his son's tutor, belonging to the household of Arnstead only
On leaving the dining-room, Hugh hesitated, in his turn, whether to
betake himself to his own room, or to accompany Euphra to the
drawing-room, the door of which stood open on the opposite side of
the hall, revealing a brightness and warmth, which the chill of the
evening, and the lowness of the fire in the dining-room, rendered
quite enticing. But Euphra, who was half-across the hall, seeming
to divine his thoughts, turned, and said, "Are you not going to
favour us with your company, Mr. Sutherland?"
"With pleasure," replied Hugh; but, to cover his hesitation, added,
"I will be with you presently;" and ran up stairs to his own room.
"The old gentleman sits on his dignity--can hardly be said to stand
on it," thought he, as he went. "The poor relation, as she calls
herself, treats me like a guest. She is mistress here, however;
that is clear enough."
As he descended the stairs to the drawing-room, a voice rose through
the house, like the voice of an angel. At least so thought Hugh,
hearing it for the first time. It seemed to take his breath away,
as he stood for a moment on the stairs, listening. It was only
Euphra singing The Flowers of the Forest. The drawing-room door was
still open, and her voice rang through the wide lofty hall. He
entered almost on tip-toe, that he might lose no thread of the fine
tones.--Had she chosen the song of Scotland out of compliment to
him?--She saw him enter, but went on without hesitating even. In
the high notes, her voice had that peculiar vibratory richness which
belongs to the nightingale's; but he could not help thinking that
the low tones were deficient both in quality and volume. The
expression and execution, however, would have made up for a thousand
defects. Her very soul seemed brooding over the dead upon Flodden
field, as she sang this most wailful of melodies--this embodiment of
a nation's grief. The song died away as if the last breath had gone
with it; failing as it failed, and ceasing with its inspiration, as
if the voice that sang lived only for and in the song. A moment of
intense silence followed. Then, before Hugh had half recovered from
the former, with an almost grand dramatic recoil, as if the second
sprang out of the first, like an eagle of might out of an ocean of
weeping, she burst into Scots wha hae. She might have been a new
Deborah, heralding her nation to battle. Hugh was transfixed,
turned icy cold, with the excitement of his favourite song so
sung.--Was that a glance of satisfied triumph with which Euphra
looked at him for a single moment?--She sang the rest of the song as
if the battle were already gained; but looked no more at Hugh.
The excellence of her tones, and the lambent fluidity of her
transitions, if I may be allowed the phrase, were made by her art
quite subservient to the expression, and owed their chief value to
the share they bore in producing it. Possibly there was a little
too much of the dramatic in her singing, but it was all in good
taste; and, in a word, Hugh had never heard such singing before. As
soon as she had finished, she rose, and shut the piano.
"Do not, do not," faltered Hugh, seeking to arrest her hand, as she
closed the instrument.
"I can sing nothing after that," she said with emotion, or perhaps
excitement; for the trembling of her voice might be attributed to
either cause. "Do not ask me."
Hugh respectfully desisted; but after a few minutes' pause ventured
"I cannot understand how you should be able to sing Scotch songs so
well. I never heard any but Scotch women sing them, even endurably,
before: your singing of them is perfect."
"It seems to me," said Euphra, speaking as if she would rather have
remained silent, "that a true musical penetration is independent of
styles and nationalities. It can perceive, or rather feel, and
reproduce, at the same moment. If the music speaks Scotch, the
musical nature hears Scotch. It can take any shape, indeed cannot
help taking any shape, presented to it."
Hugh was yet further astonished by this criticism from one whom he
had been criticising with so much carelessness that very day.
"You think, then," said he, modestly, not as if he would bring her
to book, but as really seeking to learn from her, "that a true
musical nature can pour itself into the mould of any song, in entire
independence of association and education?"
"Yes; in independence of any but what it may provide for itself."
Euphrasia, however, had left one important element unrepresented in
the construction of her theory--namely, the degree of capability
which a mind may possess of sympathy with any given class of
feelings. The blossom of the mind, whether it flower in poetry,
music, or any other art, must be the exponent of the nature and
condition of that whose blossom it is. No mind, therefore,
incapable of sympathising with the feelings whence it springs, can
interpret the music of another. And Euphra herself was rather a
remarkable instance of this forgotten fact.
Further conversation on the subject was interrupted by the entrance
of Mr. Arnold, who looked rather annoyed at finding Hugh in the
drawing-room, and ordered Harry off to bed, with some little
asperity of tone. The boy rose at once, rang the bell, bade them
all good night, and went. A servant met him at the door with a
candle, and accompanied him.
Thought Hugh: "Here are several things to be righted at once. The
boy must not have wine; and he must have only one dinner
a-day--especially if he is ordered to bed so early. I must make a
man of him if I can."
He made inquiries, and, with some difficulty, found out where the
boy slept. During the night he was several times in Harry's room,
and once in happy time to wake him from a nightmare dream. The boy
was so overcome with terror, that Hugh got into bed beside him and
comforted him to sleep in his arms. Nor did he leave him till it
was time to get up, when he stole back to his own quarters, which,
happily, were at no very great distance.
I may mention here, that it was not long before Hugh succeeded in
stopping the wine, and reducing the dinner to a mouthful of supper.
Harry, as far as he was concerned, yielded at once; and his father
only held out long enough to satisfy his own sense of dignity.
THE CAVE IN THE STRAW.
All knowledge and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an
impression of pleasure in itself.
LORD BACON.--Advancement of Learning.
The following morning dawned in a cloud; which, swathed about the
trees, wetted them down to the roots, without having time to become
rain. They drank it in like sorrow, the only material out of which
true joy can be fashioned. This cloud of mist would yet glimmer in
a new heaven, namely, in the cloud of blooms which would clothe the
limes and the chestnuts and the beeches along the ghost's walk. But
there was gloomy weather within doors as well; for poor Harry was
especially sensitive to variations of the barometer, without being
in the least aware of the fact himself. Again Hugh found him in the
library, seated in his usual corner, with Polexander on his knees.
He half dropped the book when Hugh entered, and murmured with a
"It's no use; I can't read it."
"What's the matter, Harry?" said his tutor.
"I should like to tell you, but you will laugh at me."
"I shall never laugh at you, Harry."
"Then tell me how I can be sure that I have read this book."
"I do not quite understand you."
"Ah! I was sure nobody could be so stupid as I am. Do you know,
Mr. Sutherland, I seem to have read a page from top to bottom
sometimes, and when I come to the bottom I know nothing about it,
and doubt whether I have read it at all; and then I stare at it all
over again, till I grow so queer, and sometimes nearly scream. You
see I must be able to say I have read the book."
"Why? Nobody will ever ask you."
"Perhaps not; but you know that is nothing. I want to know that I
have read the book--really and truly read it."
Hugh thought for a moment, and seemed to see that the boy, not being
strong enough to be a law to himself, just needed a benign law from
without, to lift him from the chaos of feeble and conflicting
notions and impulses within, which generated a false law of slavery.
So he said:
"Harry, am I your big brother?"
"Yes, Mr. Sutherland."
"Then, ought you to do what I wish, or what you wish yourself?"
"What you wish, sir."
"Then I want you to put away that book for a month at least."
"Oh, Mr. Sutherland! I promised."
"But I am above you; and I want you to do as I tell you. Will you,
"Put away the book, then."
Harry sprang to his feet, put the book on its shelf, and, going up
to Hugh, said,
"You have done it, not me."
The notions of a hypochondriacal child will hardly be interesting to
the greater part of my readers; but Hugh learned from this a little
lesson about divine law which he never forgot.
"Now, Harry," added he, "you must not open a book till I allow you."
"No poetry, either?" said poor Harry; and his face fell.
"I don't mind poetry so much; but of prose I will read as much to
you as will be good for you. Come, let us have a bit of Gulliver
"Oh, how delightful!" cried Harry. "I am so glad you made me put
away that tiresome book. I wonder why it insisted so on being
Hugh read for an hour, and then made Harry put on his cloak,
notwithstanding the rain, which fell in a slow thoughtful spring
shower. Taking the boy again on his back, he carried him into the
woods. There he told him how the drops of wet sank into the ground,
and then went running about through it in every direction, looking
for seeds: which were all thirsty little things, that wanted to
grow, and could not, till a drop came and gave them drink. And he
told him how the rain-drops were made up in the skies, and then came
down, like millions of angels, to do what they were told in the dark
earth. The good drops went into all the cellars and dungeons of the
earth, to let out the imprisoned flowers. And he told him how the
seeds, when they had drunk the rain-drops, wanted another kind of
drink next, which was much thinner and much stronger, but could not
do them any good till they had drunk the rain first.
"What is that?" said Harry. "I feel as if you were reading out of
the Bible, Mr. Sutherland."
"It is the sunlight," answered his tutor. "When a seed has drunk of
the water, and is not thirsty any more, it wants to breathe next;
and then the sun sends a long, small finger of fire down into the
grave where the seed is lying; and it touches the seed, and
something inside the seed begins to move instantly and to grow
bigger and bigger, till it sends two green blades out of it into the
earth, and through the earth into the air; and then it can breathe.
And then it sends roots down into the earth; and the roots keep
drinking water, and the leaves keep breathing the air, and the sun
keeps them alive and busy; and so a great tree grows up, and God
looks at it, and says it is good."
"Then they really are living things?" said Harry.
"Thank you, Mr. Sutherland. I don't think I shall dislike rain so
much any more."
Hugh took him next into the barn, where they found a great heap of
straw. Recalling his own boyish amusements, he made him put off his
cloak, and help to make a tunnel into this heap. Harry was
delighted--the straw was so nice, and bright, and dry, and clean.
They drew it out by handfuls, and thus excavated a round tunnel to
the distance of six feet or so; when Hugh proceeded to more extended
operations. Before it was time to go to lunch, they had cleared
half of a hollow sphere, six feet in diameter, out of the heart of
After lunch, for which Harry had been very unwilling to relinquish
the straw hut, Hugh sent him to lie down for a while; when he fell
fast asleep as before. After he had left the room, Euphra said:
"How do you get on with Harry, Mr. Sutherland?"
"Perfectly to my satisfaction," answered Hugh.
"Do you not find him very slow?"
"Quite the contrary."
"You surprise me. But you have not given him any lessons yet."
"I have given him a great many, and he is learning them very fast."
"I fear he will have forgotten all my poor labours before you take
up the work where we left it. When will you give him any
"Not for a while yet."
Euphra did not reply. Her silence seemed intended to express
dissatisfaction; at least so Hugh interpreted it.
"I hope you do not think it is to indulge myself that I manage
Master Harry in this peculiar fashion," he said. "The fact is, he is
a very peculiar child, and may turn out a genius or a weakling, just
as he is managed. At least so it appears to me at present. May I
ask where you left the work you were doing with him?"
"He was going through the Eton grammar for the third time," answered
Euphra, with a defiant glance, almost of dislike, at Hugh. "But I
need not enumerate his studies, for I daresay you will not take them
up at all after my fashion. I only assure you I have been a very
exact disciplinarian. What he knows, I think you will find he knows
So saying, Euphra rose, and with a flush on her cheek, walked out of
the room in a more stately manner than usual.
Hugh felt that he had, somehow or other, offended her. But, to tell
the truth, he did not much care, for her manner had rather irritated
him. He retired to his own room, wrote to his mother, and, when
Harry awoke, carried him again to the barn for an hour's work in the
straw. Before it grew dusk, they had finished a little, silent,
dark chamber, as round as they could make it, in the heart of the
straw. All the excavated material they had thrown on the top,
reserving only a little to close up the entrance when they pleased.
The next morning was still rainy; and when Hugh found Harry in the
library as usual, he saw that the clouds had again gathered over the
boy's spirit. He was pacing about the room in a very odd manner.
The carpet was divided diamond-wise in a regular pattern. Harry's
steps were, for the most part, planted upon every third diamond, as
he slowly crossed the floor in a variety of directions; for, as on
previous occasions, he had not perceived the entrance of his tutor.
But, every now and then, the boy would make the most sudden and
irregular change in his mode of progression, setting his foot on the
most unexpected diamond, at one time the nearest to him, at another
the farthest within his reach. When he looked up, and saw his tutor
watching him, he neither started nor blushed: but, still retaining
on his countenance the perplexed, anxious expression which Hugh had
remarked, said to him:
"How can God know on which of those diamonds I am going to set my
"If you could understand how God knows, Harry, then you would know
yourself; but before you have made up your mind, you don't know
which you will choose; and even then you only know on which you
intend to set your foot; for you have often changed your mind after
making it up."
Harry looked as puzzled as before.
"Why, Harry, to understand how God understands, you would need to be
as wise as he is; so it is no use trying. You see you can't quite
understand me, though I have a real meaning in what I say."
"Ah! I see it is no use; but I can't bear to be puzzled."
"But you need not be puzzled; you have no business to be puzzled.
You are trying to get into your little brain what is far too grand
and beautiful to get into it. Would you not think it very stupid to
puzzle yourself how to put a hundred horses into a stable with
Harry laughed, and looked relieved.
"It is more unreasonable a thousand times to try to understand such
things. For my part, it would make me miserable to think that there
was nothing but what I could understand. I should feel as if I had
no room anywhere. Shall we go to our cave again?"
"Oh! yes, please," cried Harry; and in a moment he was on Hugh's
back once more, cantering joyously to the barn.
After various improvements, including some enlargement of the
interior, Hugh and Harry sat down together in the low yellow
twilight of their cave, to enjoy the result of their labours. They
could just see, by the light from the tunnel, the glimmer of the
golden hollow all about them. The rain was falling heavily
out-of-doors; and they could hear the sound of the multitudinous
drops of the broken cataract of the heavens like the murmur of the
insects in a summer wood. They knew that everything outside was
rained upon, and was again raining on everything beneath it, while
they were dry and warm.
"This is nice!" exclaimed Harry, after a few moments of silent
"This is your first lesson in architecture," said Hugh.
"Am I to learn architecture?" asked Harry, in a rueful tone.
"It is well to know how things came to be done, if you should know
nothing more about them, Harry. Men lived in the cellars first of
all, and next on the ground floor; but they could get no further
till they joined the two, and then they could build higher."
"I don't quite understand you, sir."
"I did not mean you should, Harry."
"Then I don't mind, sir. But I thought architecture was building."
"So it is; and this is one way of building. It is only making an
outside by pulling out an inside, instead of making an inside by
setting up an outside."
Harry thought for a while, and then said joyfully:
"I see it, sir! I see it. The inside is the chief thing--not the
"Yes, Harry; and not in architecture only. Never forget that."
They lay for some time in silence, listening to the rain. At length
"I have been thinking of what you told me yesterday, Mr. Sutherland,
about the rain going to look for the seeds that were thirsty for it.
And now I feel just as if I were a seed, lying in its little hole
in the earth, and hearing the rain-drops pattering down all about
it, waiting--oh, so thirsty!--for some kind drop to find me out, and
give me itself to drink. I wonder what kind of flower I should grow
up," added he, laughing.
"There is more truth than you think, in your pretty fancy, Harry,"
rejoined Hugh, and was silent--self-rebuked; for the memory of David
came back upon him, recalled by the words of the boy; of David, whom
he loved and honoured with the best powers of his nature, and whom
yet he had neglected and seemed to forget; nay, whom he had
partially forgotten--he could not deny. The old man, whose thoughts
were just those of a wise child, had said to him once:
"We ken no more, Maister Sutherlan', what we're growin' till, than
that neep-seed there kens what a neep is, though a neep it will be.
The only odds is, that we ken that we dinna ken, and the neep-seed
kens nothing at all aboot it. But ae thing, Maister Sutherlan', we
may be sure o': that, whatever it be, it will be worth God's makin'
an' our growin'."
A solemn stillness fell upon Hugh's spirit, as he recalled these
words; out of which stillness, I presume, grew the little parable
which follows; though Hugh, after he had learned far more about the
things therein hinted at, could never understand how it was, that he
could have put so much more into it, than he seemed to have
understood at that period of his history.
For Harry said:
"Wouldn't this be a nice place for a story, Mr. Sutherland? Do you
ever tell stories, sir?"
"I was just thinking of one, Harry; but it is as much yours as mine,
for you sowed the seed of the story in my mind."
"Do you mean a story that never was in a book--a story out of your
own head? Oh! that will be grand!"
"Wait till we see what it will be, Harry; for I can't tell you how
it will turn out."
After a little further pause, Hugh began:
"Long, long ago, two seeds lay beside each other in the earth,
waiting. It was cold, and rather wearisome; and, to beguile the
time, the one found means to speak to the other.
"'What are you going to be?' said the one.
"'I don't know,' answered the other.
"'For me,' rejoined the first, 'I mean to be a rose. There is
nothing like a splendid rose. Everybody will love me then!'
"'It's all right,' whispered the second; and that was all he could
say; for somehow when he had said that, he felt as if all the words
in the world were used up. So they were silent again for a day or
"'Oh, dear!' cried the first, 'I have had some water. I never knew
till it was inside me. I'm growing! I'm growing! Good-bye!'
"'Good-bye!' repeated the other, and lay still; and waited more than
"The first grew and grew, pushing itself straight up, till at last
it felt that it was in the open air, for it could breathe. And what
a delicious breath that was! It was rather cold, but so refreshing.
The flower could see nothing, for it was not quite a flower yet,
only a plant; and they never see till their eyes come, that is, till
they open their blossoms--then they are flowers quite. So it grew
and grew, and kept its head up very steadily, meaning to see the sky
the first thing, and leave the earth quite behind as well as beneath
it. But somehow or other, though why it could not tell, it felt
very much inclined to cry. At length it opened its eye. It was
morning, and the sky was over its head; but, alas! itself was no
rose--only a tiny white flower. It felt yet more inclined to hang
down its head and to cry; but it still resisted, and tried hard to
open its eye wide, and to hold its head upright, and to look full at
"'I will be a star of Bethlehem at least!' said the flower to
"But its head felt very heavy; and a cold wind rushed over it, and
bowed it down towards the earth. And the flower saw that the time
of the singing of birds was not come, that the snow covered the
whole land, and that there was not a single flower in sight but
itself. And it half-closed its leaves in terror and the dismay of
loneliness. But that instant it remembered what the other flower
used to say; and it said to itself: 'It's all right; I will be what
I can.' And thereon it yielded to the wind, drooped its head to the
earth, and looked no more on the sky, but on the snow. And
straightway the wind stopped, and the cold died away, and the snow
sparkled like pearls and diamonds; and the flower knew that it was
the holding of its head up that had hurt it so; for that its body
came of the snow, and that its name was Snow-drop. And so it said
once more, 'It's all right!' and waited in perfect peace. All the
rest it needed was to hang its head after its nature."
"And what became of the other?" asked Harry.
"I haven't done with this one yet," answered Hugh. "I only told you
it was waiting. One day a pale, sad-looking girl, with thin face,
large eyes, and long white hands, came, hanging her head like the
snowdrop, along the snow where the flower grew. She spied it,
smiled joyously, and saying, 'Ah! my little sister, are you come?'
stooped and plucked the snowdrop. It trembled and died in her hand;
which was a heavenly death for a snowdrop; for had it not cast a
gleam of summer, pale as it had been itself, upon the heart of a
"And the other?" repeated Harry.
"The other had a long time to wait; but it did grow one of the
loveliest roses ever seen. And at last it had the highest honour
ever granted to a flower: two lovers smelled it together, and were
content with it."
Harry was silent, and so was Hugh; for he could not understand
himself quite. He felt, all the time he was speaking, is if he were
listening to David, instead of talking himself. The fact was, he
was only expanding, in an imaginative soil, the living seed which
David had cast into it. There seemed to himself to be more in his
parable than he had any right to invent. But is it not so with all
stories that are rightly rooted in the human?
"What a delightful story, Mr. Sutherland!" said Harry, at last.
"Euphra tells me stories sometimes; but I don't think I ever heard
one I liked so much. I wish we were meant to grow into something,
like the flower-seeds."
"So we are, Harry."
"Are we indeed? How delightful it would be to think that I am only
a seed, Mr. Sutherland! Do you think I might think so?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then, please, let me begin to learn something directly. I haven't
had anything disagreeable to do since you came; and I don't feel as
if that was right."
Poor Harry, like so many thousands of good people, had not yet
learned that God is not a hard task-master.
"I don't intend that you should have anything disagreeable to do, if
I can help it. We must do such things when they come to us; but we
must not make them for ourselves, or for each other."
"Then I'm not to learn any more Latin, am I?" said Harry, in a
doubtful kind of tone, as if there were after all a little pleasure
in doing what he did not like.
"Is Latin so disagreeable, Harry?"
"Yes; it is rule after rule, that has nothing in it I care for. How
can anybody care for Latin? But I am quite ready to begin, if I am
only a seed--really, you know."
"Not yet, Harry. Indeed, we shall not begin again--I won't let
you--till you ask me with your whole heart, to let you learn Latin."
"I am afraid that will be a long time, and Euphra will not like it."
"I will talk to her about it. But perhaps it will not be so long as
you think. Now, don't mention Latin to me again, till you are ready
to ask me, heartily, to teach you. And don't give yourself any
trouble about it either. You never can make yourself like
Harry was silent. They returned to the house, through the pouring
rain; Harry, as usual, mounted on his big brother.
As they crossed the hall, Mr. Arnold came in. He looked surprised
and annoyed. Hugh set Harry down, who ran upstairs to get dressed
for dinner; while he himself half-stopped, and turned towards Mr.
Arnold. But Mr. Arnold did not speak, and so Hugh followed Harry.
Hugh spent all that evening, after Harry had gone to bed, in
correcting his impressions of some of the chief stories of early
Roman history; of which stories he intended commencing a little
course to Harry the next day.
Meantime there was very little intercourse between Hugh and Euphra,
whose surname, somehow or other, Hugh had never inquired after. He
disliked asking questions about people to an uncommon degree, and so
preferred waiting for a natural revelation. Her later behaviour had
repelled him, impressing him with the notion that she was proud, and
that she had made up her mind, notwithstanding her apparent
frankness at first, to keep him at a distance. That she was fitful,
too, and incapable of showing much tenderness even to poor Harry, he
had already concluded in his private judgment-hall. Nor could he
doubt that, whether from wrong theories, incapacity, or culpable
indifference, she must have taken very bad measures indeed with her
The next day resembled the two former; with this difference, that
the rain fell in torrents. Seated in their strawy bower, they cared
for no rain. They were safe from the whole world, and all the
tempers of nature.
Then Hugh told Harry about the slow beginnings and the mighty birth
of the great Roman people. He told him tales of their battles and
conquests; their strifes at home, and their wars abroad. He told
him stories of their grand men, great with the individuality of
their nation and their own. He told him their characters, their
peculiar opinions and grounds of action, and the results of their
various schemes for their various ends. He told him about their
love to their country, about their poetry and their religion; their
courage, and their hardihood; their architecture, their clothes, and
their armour; their customs and their laws; but all in such
language, or mostly in such language, as one boy might use in
telling another of the same age; for Hugh possessed the gift of a
general simplicity of thought, one of the most valuable a man can
have. It cost him a good deal of labour (well-repaid in itself, not
to speak of the evident delight of Harry), to make himself perfectly
competent for this; but he had a good foundation of knowledge to
This went on for a long time after the period to which I am now more
immediately confined. Every time they stopped to rest from their
rambles or games--as often, in fact, as they sat down alone, Harry's
constant request was:
"Now, Mr. Sutherland, mightn't we have something more about the
And Mr. Sutherland gave him something more. But all this time he
never uttered the word--Latin.
LARCH AND OTHER HUNTING.
For there is neither buske nor hay
In May, that it n'ill shrouded bene,
And it with newé leavés wrene;
These woodés eke recoveren grene,
That drie in winter ben to sene,
And the erth waxeth proud withall,
For swoté dewes that on it fall,
And the poore estate forget,
In which that winter had it set:
And than becomes the ground so proude,
That it wol have a newé shroude,
And maketh so queint his robe and faire,
That it hath hewes an hundred paire,
Of grasse and floures, of Ind and Pers,
And many hewés full divers:
That is the robe I mean, ywis,
Through which the ground to praisen is.
CHAUCER'S translation of the Romaunt of the Rose.
So passed the three days of rain. After breakfast the following
morning, Hugh went to find Harry, according to custom, in the
library. He was reading.
"What are you reading, Harry?" asked he.
"A poem," said Harry; and, rising as before, he brought the book to
Hugh. It was Mrs. Hemans's Poems.
"You are fond of poetry, Harry."
"Whose poems do you like best?"
"Mrs. Hemans's, of course. Don't you think she is the best, sir?"
"She writes very beautiful verses, Harry. Which poem are you
"Oh! one of my favourites--The Voice of Spring."
"Who taught you to like Mrs. Hemans?"
"Euphra, of course."
"Will you read the poem to me?"
Harry began, and read the poem through, with much taste and evident
enjoyment; an enjoyment which seemed, however, to spring more from
the music of the thought and its embodiment in sound, than from
sympathy with the forms of nature called up thereby. This was shown
by his mode of reading, in which the music was everything, and the
sense little or nothing. When he came to the line,
"And the larch has hung all his tassels forth,"
he smiled so delightedly, that Hugh said:
"Are you fond of the larch, Harry?"
"Are there any about here?"
"I don't know. What is it like?"
"You said you were fond of it."
"Oh, yes; it is a tree with beautiful tassels, you know. I think I
should like to see one. Isn't it a beautiful line?"
"When you have finished the poem, we will go and see if we can find
one anywhere in the woods. We must know where we are in the world,
Harry--what is all round about us, you know."
"Oh, yes," said Harry; "let us go and hunt the larch."
"Perhaps we shall meet Spring, if we look for her--perhaps hear her
"That would be delightful," answered Harry, smiling. And away they
I may just mention here that Mrs. Hemans was allowed to retire
gradually, till at last she was to be found only in the more
inaccessible recesses of the library-shelves; while by that time
Harry might be heard, not all over the house, certainly, but as far
off as outside the closed door of the library, reading aloud to
himself one or other of Macaulay's ballads, with an evident
enjoyment of the go in it. A story with drum and trumpet
accompaniment was quite enough, for the present, to satisfy Harry;
and Macaulay could give him that, if little more.
As they went across the lawn towards the shrubbery, on their way to
look for larches and Spring, Euphra joined them in walking dress.
It was a lovely morning.
"I have taken you at your word, you see, Mr. Sutherland," said she.
"I don't want to lose my Harry quite."
"You dear kind Euphra!" said Harry, going round to her side and
taking her hand. He did not stay long with her, however, nor did
Euphra seem particularly to want him.
"There was one thing I ought to have mentioned to you the other
night, Mr. Sutherland; and I daresay I should have mentioned it, had
not Mr. Arnold interrupted our tête-à-tête. I feel now as if I had
been guilty of claiming far more than I have a right to, on the
score of musical insight. I have Scotch blood in me, and was indeed
born in Scotland, though I left it before I was a year old. My
mother, Mr. Arnold's sister, married a gentleman who was half
Sootch; and I was born while they were on a visit to his relatives,
the Camerons of Lochnie. His mother, my grandmother, was a Bohemian
lady, a countess with sixteen quarterings--not a gipsy, I beg to
Hugh thought she might have been, to judge from present appearances.
But how was he to account for this torrent of genealogical
information, into which the ice of her late constraint had suddenly
thawed? It was odd that she should all at once volunteer so much
about herself. Perhaps she had made up one of those minds which
need making up, every now and then, like a monthly magazine; and now
was prepared to publish it. Hugh responded with a question:
"Do I know your name, then, at last? You are Miss Cameron?"
"Euphrasia Cameron; at your service, sir." And she dropped a gay
little courtesy to Hugh, looking up at him with a flash of her black
"Then you must sing to me to-night."
"With all the pleasure in gipsy-land," replied she, with a second
courtesy, lower than the first; taking for granted, no doubt, his
silent judgment on her person and complexion.
By this time they had reached the woods in a different quarter from
that which Hugh had gone through the other day with Harry. And
here, in very deed, the Spring met them, with a profusion of
richness to which Hugh was quite a stranger. The ground was
carpeted with primroses, and anemones, and other spring flowers,
which are the loveliest of all flowers. They were drinking the
sunlight, which fell upon them through the budded boughs. By the
time the light should be hidden from them by the leaves, which are
the clouds of the lower firmament of the woods, their need of it
would be gone: exquisites in living, they cared only for the
delicate morning of the year.
"Do look at this darling, Mr. Sutherland!" exclaimed Euphrasia
suddenly, as she bent at the root of a great beech, where grew a
large bush of rough leaves, with one tiny but perfectly-formed
primrose peeping out between. "Is it not a little pet?--all
eyes--all one eye staring out of its curtained bed to see what ever
is going on in the world.--You had better lie down again: it is not
a nice place."
She spoke to it as if it had been a kitten or a baby. And as she
spoke, she pulled the leaves yet closer over the little starer so as
to hide it quite.
As they went on, she almost obtrusively avoided stepping on the
flowers, saying she almost felt cruel, or at least rude, when she
did so. Yet she trailed her dress over them in quite a careless
way, not lifting it at all. This was a peculiarity of hers, which
Hugh never understood till he understood herself.
All about in shady places, the ferns were busy untucking themselves
from their grave-clothes, unrolling their mysterious coils of life,
adding continually to the hidden growth as they unfolded the
visible. In this, they were like the other revelations of God the
Infinite. All the wild lovely things were coming up for their
month's life of joy. Orchis-harlequins, cuckoo-plants, wild arums,
more properly lords-and-ladies, were coming, and coming--slowly; for
had they not a long way to come, from the valley of the shadow of
death into the land of life? At last the wanderers came upon a
whole company of bluebells--not what Hugh would have called
bluebells, for the bluebells of Scotland are the single-poised
harebells--but wild hyacinths, growing in a damp and shady spot, in
wonderful luxuriance. They were quite three feet in height, with
long, graceful, drooping heads; hanging down from them, all along
one side, the largest and loveliest of bells--one lying close above
the other, on the lower part; while they parted thinner and thinner
as they rose towards the lonely one at the top. Miss Cameron went
into ecstasies over these; not saying much, but breaking up what she
did say with many prettily passionate pauses.
She had a very happy turn for seeing external resemblances, either
humorous or pathetic; for she had much of one element that goes to
the making of a poet--namely, surface impressibility.
"Look, Harry; they are all sad at having to go down there again so
soon. They are looking at their graves so ruefully."
Harry looked sad and rather sentimental immediately. When Hugh
glanced at Miss Cameron, he saw tears in her eyes.
"You have nothing like this in your country, have you, Mr.
Sutherland?" said she, with an apparent effort.
"No, indeed," answered Hugh.
And he said no more. For a vision rose before him of the rugged
pine-wood and the single primrose; and of the thoughtful maiden,
with unpolished speech and rough hands, and--but this he did not
see--a soul slowly refining itself to a crystalline clearness. And
he thought of the grand old grey-haired David, and of Janet with her
quaint motherhood, and of all the blessed bareness of the ancient
time--in sunlight and in snow; and he felt again that he had
forgotten and forsaken his friends.
"How the fairies will be ringing the bells in these airy steeples in
the moonlight!" said Miss Cameron to Harry, who was surprised and
delighted with it all. He could not help wondering, however, after
he went to bed that night, that Euphra had never before taken him to
see these beautiful things, and had never before said anything half
so pretty to him, as the least pretty thing she had said about the
flowers that morning when they were out with Mr. Sutherland. Had
Mr. Sutherland anything to do with it? Was he giving Euphra a
lesson in flowers such as he had given him in pigs?
Miss Cameron presently drew Hugh into conversation again, and the
old times were once more forgotten for a season. They were worthy
of distinguishing note--that trio in those spring woods: the boy
waking up to feel that flowers and buds were lovelier in the woods
than in verses; Euphra finding everything about her sentimentally
useful, and really delighting in the prettinesses they suggested to
her; and Hugh regarding the whole chiefly as a material and means
for reproducing in verse such impressions of delight as he had
received and still received from all (but the highest) poetry about
nature. The presence of Harry and his necessities was certainly a
saving influence upon Hugh; but, however much he sought to realize
Harry's life, he himself, at this period of his history, enjoyed
everything artistically far more than humanly.
Margaret would have walked through all this infant summer without
speaking at all, but with a deep light far back in her quiet eyes.
Perhaps she would not have had many thoughts about the flowers.
Rather she would have thought the very flowers themselves; would
have been at home with them, in a delighted oneness with their life
and expression. Certainly she would have walked through them with
reverence, and would not have petted or patronised nature by saying
pretty things about her children. Their life would have entered
into her, and she would have hardly known it from her own. I
daresay Miss Cameron would have called a mountain a darling or a
beauty. But there are other ways of showing affection than by
patting and petting--though Margaret, for her part, would have
needed no art-expression, because she had the things themselves. It
is not always those who utter best who feel most; and the dumb poets
are sometimes dumb because it would need the "large utterance of the
early gods" to carry their thoughts through the gates of speech.
But the fancy and skin-sympathy of Miss Cameron began already to
tell upon Hugh. He knew very little of women, and had never heard a
woman talk as she talked. He did not know how cheap this
accomplishment is, and took it for sensibility, imaginativeness, and
even originality. He thought she was far more en rapport with
nature than he was. It was much easier to make this mistake after
hearing the really delightful way in which she sang. Certainly she
could not have sung so, perhaps not even have talked so, except she
had been capable of more; but to be capable of more, and to be able
for more, are two very distinct conditions.
Many walks followed this, extending themselves farther and farther
from home, as Harry's strength gradually improved. It was quite
remarkable how his interest in everything external increased, in
exact proportion as he learned to see into the inside or life of it.
With most children, the interest in the external comes first, and
with many ceases there. But it is in reality only a shallower form
of the deeper sympathy; and in those cases where it does lead to a
desire after the hidden nature of things, it is perhaps the better
beginning of the two. In such exceptional cases as Harry's, it is
of unspeakable importance that both the difference and the identity
should be recognized; and in doing so, Hugh became to Harry his big
brother indeed, for he led him where he could not go alone.
As often as Mr. Arnold was from home, which happened not
unfrequently, Miss Cameron accompanied them in their rambles. She
gave as her reason for doing so only on such occasions, that she
never liked to be out of the way when her uncle might want her.
Traces of an inclination to quarrel with Hugh, or even to stand
upon her dignity, had all but vanished; and as her vivacity never
failed her, as her intellect was always active, and as by the
exercise of her will she could enter sympathetically, or appear to
enter, into everything, her presence was not in the least a
restraint upon them.
On one occasion, when Harry had actually run a little way after a
butterfly, Hugh said to her:
"What did you mean, Miss Cameron, by saying you were only a poor
relation? You are certainly mistress of the house."
"On sufferance, yes. But I am only a poor relation. I have no
fortune of my own."
"But Mr. Arnold does not treat you as such."
"Oh! no. He likes me. He is very kind to me.--He gave me this ring
on my last birthday. Is it not a beauty?"
She pulled off her glove and showed a very fine diamond on a finger
worthy of the ornament.
"It is more like a gentleman's, is it not?" she added, drawing it
off. "Let me see how it would look on your hand."
She gave the ring to Hugh; who, laughing, got it with some
difficulty just over the first joint of his little finger, and held
it up for Euphra to see.
"Ah! I see I cannot ask you to wear it for me," said she. "I don't
like it myself. I am afraid, however," she added, with an arch
look, "my uncle would not like it either--on your finger. Put it on
Holding her hand towards Hugh, she continued:
"It must not be promoted just yet. Besides, I see you have a still
better one of your own."
As Hugh did according to her request, the words sprang to his lips,
"There are other ways of wearing a ring than on the finger." But
they did not cross the threshold of speech. Was it the repression
of them that caused that strange flutter and slight pain at the
heart, which he could not quite understand?
Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said, "I hate,"
To me that languished for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that, ever sweet,
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
"I hate" she altered with an end,
That followed it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who, like a fiend,
From heaven to hell is flown away.
"I hate" from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying--"Not you."
Mr. Arnold was busy at home for a few days after this, and Hugh and
Harry had to go out alone. One day, when the wind was rather cold,
they took refuge in the barn; for it was part of Hugh's especial
care that Harry should be rendered hardy, by never being exposed to
more than he could bear without a sense of suffering. As soon as
the boy began to feel fatigue, or cold, or any other discomfort, his
tutor took measures accordingly.
Harry would have crept into the straw-house; but Hugh said, pulling
a book out of his pocket,
"I have a poem here for you, Harry. I want to read it to you now;
and we can't see in there."
They threw themselves down on the straw, and Hugh, opening a volume
of Robert Browning's Poems, read the famous ride from Ghent to Aix.
He knew the poem well, and read it well. Harry was in raptures.
"I wish I could read that as you do," said he.
"Try," said Hugh.
Harry tried the first verse, and threw the book down in disgust with
"Why cannot I read it?" said he.
"Because you can't ride."
"I could ride, if I had such a horse as that to ride upon."
"But you could never have such a horse as that except you could
ride, and ride well, first. After that, there is no saying but you
might get one. You might, in fact, train one for yourself--till
from being a little foal it became your own wonderful horse."
"Oh! that would be delightful! Will you teach me horses as well,
"Perhaps I will."
That evening, at dinner, Hugh said to Mr. Arnold:
"Could you let me have a horse to-morrow morning, Mr. Arnold?"
Mr. Arnold stared a little, as he always did at anything new. But
Hugh went on:
"Harry and I want to have a ride to-morrow; and I expect we shall
like it so much, that we shall want to ride very often."
"Yes, that we shall!" cried Harry.
"Could not Mr. Sutherland have your white mare, Euphra?" said Mr.
Arnold, reconciled at once to the proposal.
"I would rather not, if you don't mind, uncle. My Fatty is not used
to such a burden as I fear Mr. Sutherland would prove. She drops a
little now, on the hard road."
The fact was, Euphra would want Fatima.
"Well, Harry," said Mr. Arnold, graciously pleased to be facetious,
"don't you think your Welsh dray-horse could carry Mr. Sutherland?"
"Ha! ha! ha! Papa, do you know, Mr. Sutherland set him up on his
hind legs yesterday, and made him walk on them like a dancing-dog.
He was going to lift him, but he kicked about so when he felt
himself leaving the ground, that he tumbled Mr. Sutherland into the
Even the solemn face of the butler relaxed into a smile, but Mr.
Arnold's clouded instead. His boy's tutor ought to be a gentleman.
"Wasn't it fun, Mr. Sutherland?"
"It was to you, you little rogue!" said Sutherland, laughing.
"And how you did run home, dripping like a water-cart!--and all the
dogs after you!"
Mr. Arnold's monotonous solemnity soon checked Harry's prattle.
"I will see, Mr. Sutherland, what I can do to mount you."
"I don't care what it is," said Hugh; who though by no means a
thorough horseman, had been from boyhood in the habit of mounting
everything in the shape of a horse that he could lay hands upon,
from a cart-horse upwards and downwards.
"There's an old bay that would carry me very well."
"That is my own horse, Mr. Sutherland."
This stopped the conversation in that direction. But next morning
after breakfast, an excellent chestnut horse was waiting at the
door, along with Harry's new pony. Mr. Arnold would see them go
off. This did not exactly suit Miss Cameron, but if she frowned, it
was when nobody saw her. Hugh put Harry up himself, told him to
stick fast with his knees, and then mounted his chestnut. As they
trotted slowly down the avenue, Euphrasia heard Mr. Arnold say to
himself, "The fellow sits well, at all events." She took care to
make herself agreeable to Hugh by reporting this, with the omission
of the initiatory epithet, however.
Harry returned from his ride rather tired, but in high spirits.
"Oh, Euphra!" he cried, "Mr. Sutherland is such a rider! He jumps
hedges and ditches and everything. And he has promised to teach me
and my pony to jump too. And if I am not too tired, we are to begin
to-morrow, out on the common. Oh! jolly!"
The little fellow's heart was full of the sense of growing life and
strength, and Hugh was delighted with his own success. He caught
sight of a serpentine motion in Euphra's eyebrows, as she bent her
face again over the work from which she had lifted it on their
entrance. He addressed her.
"You will be glad to hear that Harry has ridden like a man."
"I am glad to hear it, Harry."
Why did she reply to the subject of the remark, and not to the
speaker? Hugh perplexed himself in vain to answer this question;
but a very small amount of experience would have made him able to
understand at once as much of her behaviour as was genuine. At
luncheon she spoke only in reply; and then so briefly, as not to
afford the smallest peg on which to hang a response.
"What can be the matter?" thought Hugh. "What a peculiar creature
she is! But after what has passed between us, I can't stand this."
When dinner was over that evening, she rose as usual and left the
room, followed by Hugh and Harry; but as soon as they were in the
drawing-room, she left it; and, returning to the dining-room,
resumed her seat at the table.
"Take a glass of claret, Euphra, dear?" said Mr. Arnold.
"I will, if you please, uncle. I should like it. I have seldom a
minute with you alone now."
Evidently flattered, Mr. Arnold poured out a glass of claret, rose
and carried it to his niece himself, and then took a chair beside
"Thank you, dear uncle," she said, with one of her bewitching
flashes of smile.
"Harry has been getting on bravely with his riding, has he not?" she
"So it would appear."
Harry had been full of the story of the day at the dinner-table,
where he still continued to present himself; for his father would
not be satisfied without him. It was certainly good moral training
for the boy, to sit there almost without eating; and none the worse
that he found it rather hard sometimes. He talked much more freely
now, and asked the servants for anything he wanted without referring
to Euphra. Now and then he would glance at her, as if afraid of
offending her; but the cords which bound him to her were evidently
relaxing; and she saw it plainly enough, though she made no
reference to the unpleasing fact.
"I am only a little fearful, uncle, lest Mr. Sutherland should urge
the boy to do more than his strength will admit of. He is
exceedingly kind to him, but he has evidently never known what
weakness is himself."
"True, there is danger of that. But you see he has taken him so
entirely into his own hands. I don't seem to be allowed a word in
the matter of his education any more." Mr. Arnold spoke with the
peevishness of weak importance. "I wish you would take care that he
does not carry things too far, Euphra."
This was just what Euphra wanted.
"I think, if you do not disapprove, uncle, I will have Fatima
saddled to-morrow morning, and go with them myself."
"Thank you, my love; I shall be much obliged to you." The glass of
claret was soon finished after this. A little more conversation
about nothing followed, and Euphra rose the second time, and
returned to the drawing-room. She found it unoccupied. She sat
down to the piano, and sang song after song--Scotch, Italian, and
Bohemian. But Hugh did not make his appearance. The fact was, he
was busy writing to his mother, whom he had rather neglected since
he came. Writing to her made him think of David, and he began a
letter to him too; but it was never finished, and never sent. He
did not return to the drawing-room that evening. Indeed, except for
a short time, while Mr. Arnold was drinking his claret, he seldom
showed himself there. Had Euphra repelled him too much--hurt him?
She would make up for it to-morrow.
Breakfast was scarcely over, when the chestnut and the pony passed
the window, accompanied by a lovely little Arab mare, broad-chested
and light-limbed, with a wonderfully small head. She was white as
snow, with keen, dark eyes. Her curb-rein was red instead of white.
Hearing their approach, and begging her uncle to excuse her, Euphra
rose from the table, and left the room; but re-appeared in a
wonderfully little while, in a well-fitted riding-habit of black
velvet, with a belt of dark red leather clasping a waist of the
roundest and smallest. Her little hat, likewise black, had a single
long, white feather, laid horizontally within the upturned brim, and
drooping over it at the back. Her white mare would be just the
right pedestal for the dusky figure--black eyes, tawny skin, and
all. As she stood ready to mount, and Hugh was approaching to put
her up, she called the groom, seemed just to touch his hand, and was
in the saddle in a moment, foot in stirrup, and skirt falling over
it. Hugh thought she was carrying out the behaviour of yesterday,
and was determined to ask her what it meant. The little Arab began
to rear and plunge with pride, as soon as she felt her mistress on
her back; but she seemed as much at home as if she had been on the
music-stool, and patted her arching neck, talking to her in the same
tone almost in which she had addressed the flowers.
"Be quiet, Fatty dear; you're frightening Mr. Sutherland."
But Hugh, seeing the next moment that she was in no danger, sprang
into his saddle. Away they went, Fatima infusing life and frolic
into the equine as Euphra into the human portion of the cavalcade.
Having reached the common, out of sight of the house, Miss Cameron,