Part 6 out of 7
Cost his father a farthing he would not. So he started forth into the
wide world with nothing but his wits and his science, an anatomical
professor to a new college in some South American republic.
Unfortunately, when he got there, he found that the annual revolution
had just taken place, and that the party who had founded the college had
all been shot. Whereat he whistled, and started off again, no man knew
"Having got round half the world, daddy," he wrote home, "it's hard if I
don't get round the other half."
With which he vanished into infinite space, and was only heard of by
occasional letters dated from the Rocky Mountains, the Spanish West
Indies, Otaheite, Singapore, the Falkland Islands, and all manner of
unexpected places, sending home valuable notes, zoological and
At last when full four years were passed and gone since Tom started for
South America, he descended from the box of the day-mail at Whitbury,
with a serene and healthful countenance, shouldered his carpet-bag, and
started for his father's house.
He walked in, and hung up his hat in the hall, just as if he had come in
from a walk. Not finding the old man, he went into Mark Armsworth's,
frightening out of her wits a pale, ugly girl of seventeen, whom he
discovered to be his old playfellow, Mary. However, she soon recovered
her equanimity, and longed to throw her arms round his neck as of old,
and was only restrained by the thought that she was grown a great girl
now. She called her father, and all the household, and after a while the
old doctor came home, and the fatted calf was killed, and all made merry
over the return of this altogether unrepentant prodigal son.
Tom Thurnall stayed a month at home, and then went to America, whence he
wrote home in about six months. Then came a long silence, and then a
letter from California; and then letters more regularly from Australia.
Sickened with California life, he had crossed the Pacific once more, and
was hard at work in the diggings, doctoring and gold-finding by turns.
"A rolling stone gathers no moss," said his father.
"He has the pluck of a hound, and the cunning of a fox," said Mark, "and
he'll be a credit to you yet."
So the years slipped on till the autumn of 1853. And then Tom, at the
diggings at Ballarat, got a letter from Mary Armsworth.
"Your father is quite well in health, but his eyes have grown much
worse, and the doctors are afraid that he has little chance of
recovering the sight, at least of the left eye. And something has
happened to the railroad in which he had invested so much, and he has
given up the old house. He wants you to come home; but my father has
entreated him to let you stay. You know, while we are here, he is safe."
Tom walked away slowly into the forest. He felt that the crisis of his
life was come.
"I'll stay here and work," he said to himself finally, "till I make a
hit or luck runs dry, and then home and settle; and, meanwhile, I'll go
down to Melbourne tomorrow, and send the dear old dad two hundred
And there sprang up in him at once the intensest yearning after his
father and the haunts of his boyhood, and the wildest dread that he
should never see them.
Half the village of Aberalva is collected on the long sloping point of a
cliff. Sailors wrapped in pilot-cloth, oil-skinned coast guardsmen,
women with their gowns turned over their heads, while every moment some
fresh comer stumbles down the slope and asks, "Where's the wreck?" A
shift of wind, a drift of cloud, and the moon flashes out a moment.
"There she is, sir," says Brown, the head-boatman to the coastguard
Some three hundred yards out at sea lies a long, curved, black line,
amid the white, wild leaping hills of water. A murmur from the crowd.
"A Liverpool clipper, by the lines of her."
"God help the poor passengers, then!" sobs a woman. "They're past our
A quarter of an hour passes.
"God have mercy!" shouts Brown. "She's going!"
The black curve coils up, and then all melts away into the white
The coastguard lieutenant settles down in his macintoshes, knowing that
his duty is not to leave as long as there is a chance of saving--not a
life, for that was past all hope, but a chest of clothes or a stick of
And with the coastguardsmen many sailors stayed. Old Captain Willis
stays because Grace Harvey, the village schoolmistress, is there,
sitting upon a flat slope of rock, a little apart from the rest, with
her face resting on her hands, gazing intently out into the wild waste.
"She's not one of us," says old Willis. "There's no saying what's going
on there in her. Maybe she's praying; maybe she sees more than we do,
over the sea there."
"Look at her now! What's she after?" Brown replies.
The girl had raised her head, and was pointing toward the sea. Then she
sprang to her feet with a scream.
"A man! A man! Save him!"
As she spoke a huge wave rolled in, and out of it struggled, on hands
and knees, a human figure. He looked wildly up and around, and lay
clinging with outstretched arms over the edge of the rock.
"Save him!" she shrieked again, as twenty men rushed forward--and
stopped short. The man was fully thirty yards from them, but between
them and him stretched a long, ghastly crack, some ten feet wide, with
seething cauldrons within.
Ere they could nerve themselves for action, the wave had come,
half-burying the wretched mariner, and tearing across the chasm.
The schoolmistress took one long look, and as the wave retired, rushed
after it to the very brink of the chasm, and flung herself on her knees.
"The wave has carried him across the crack, and she's got him!" screamed
old Willis. And he sprang upon her, and caught her round the waist.
"Now, if you be men!" shouted he, as the rest hurried down.
"Now, if you be men; before the next wave comes!" shouted big Jan, the
fisherman. "Hands together, and make a line!" And he took a grip with
one hand of the old man's waistband, and held out the other for who
would to seize.
Strong hand after hand was clasped, and strong knee after knee dropped
almost to the rock, to meet the coming rush of water.
It came, and surged over the man and the girl, and up to old Willis's
throat, and round the knees of Jan and his neighbour; and then followed
the returning out-draught, and every limb quivered under the strain; but
when the cataract had disappeared, the chain was still unbroken.
"Saved!" and a cheer broke from all lips save those of the girl
herself--she was as senseless as he whom she had saved.
Gently they lifted each, and laid them on the rock; and presently the
schoolmistress was safe in bed at her mother's house. And the man, weak,
but alive, had been carried triumphantly up to the door of Dr. Heale,
which having been kicked open, the sailors insisted on carrying him
right upstairs, and depositing him on the best spare bed, saying, "If
you won't come to your patients, doctor, your patients shall come to
The man grumbled when he awoke next morning at being thrown ashore with
nothing in the world but an old jersey and a bag of tobacco, two hundred
miles short of the port where he hoped to land with L1,500 in his
To Dr. Heale, and to the Rev. Frank Headley, the curate, who called upon
him, he mentioned that his name was Tom Thurnall, F.R.C.S.
Later in the day Tom met the coastguard lieutenant and old Captain
Willis on the shore, and the latter introduced him to "Miss Harvey, the
young person who saved your life last night."
Tom was struck by the beauty of the girl at once, but after thanking
her, said gently, "I wish to tell you something which I do not want
publicly talked of, but in which you may help me. I had nearly L1,500
about me when I came ashore last night, sewed in a belt round my waist.
It is gone."
Grace turned pale, and her lips quivered. She turned to her mother and
"Belt! Mother! Uncle! What is this? The gentleman has lost a belt!"
"Dear me! A belt! Well, child, that's not much to grieve over, when the
Lord has spared his life," said her mother, somewhat testily.
Grace declared the money should be found, and Tom vowed to himself he
would stay in that little Cornish village of Aberalva until he had
So after writing to some old friends at St. Mumpsimus's Hospital to send
him down some new drugs, and to his father, he settled down as Dr.
Heale's assistant; and Dr. Heale being addicted to brandy and water,
there was plenty of room for assistance.
Tom Thurnall had made up his mind in June 1854, that the cholera ought
to visit Aberalva in the course of the summer, and, of course, tried his
best to persuade people to get ready for their ugly visitor; but in
vain. The collective ignorance, pride, laziness, and superstition of the
little town showed a terrible front to the newcomer.
"Does he think we was all fools afore he came here?"
That was the rallying cry of the enemy, and sanitary reform was thrust
out of sight.
But Lord Minchampstead, who owned the neighbouring estates of
Pentremochyn, on Mark Armsworth's advice, got Tom to make a report on
the sanitary state of his cottages, and then acted on the information.
Frank Headley backed up Tom in his sanitary crusade, the coastguard
lieutenant proved an unexpected ally, and Grace Harvey promised that she
would do all she could.
Tom wrote up to London and detailed the condition of the place to the
General Board of Health, and the Board returned, for answer, that, as
soon as cholera broke out in Aberalva, they would send down an
Then in August it came, and Tom Beer, the fisherman, and one of the
finest fellows in the town, was dead after two hours' illness.
Up and down the town the foul fiend sported, now here, now there,
fleshing his teeth on every kind of prey. He has taken old Beer's second
son, and now clutches at the old man himself; then across the street to
Jan Beer, his eldest; but he is driven out from both houses by chloride
of lime, and the colony of the Beers has peace awhile. The drunken
cobbler dies, of course; but spotless cleanliness and sobriety do not
save the mother of seven children, who has been soaking her brick floor
daily with water from a poisoned well, defiling where she meant to
clean. Youth does not save the buxom lass who has been filling herself
with unripe fruit.
And yet sots and fools escape where wise men fall; weakly women, living
amid all wretchedness, nurse, unharmed, strong men who have breathed
fresh air all day.
Headley and Grace and old Willis, and last, but not least, Tom Thurnall,
these and three or four brave women, organised themselves into a band,
and commenced at once a visitation from house to house, saving thereby
many a life. But within eight-and-forty hours it was as much as they
could do to attend to the acute cases.
Grace often longed to die, but knew that she should not die till she had
found Tom's belt, and was content to wait.
Tom just thought nothing about death and danger at all, but, always
cheerful, always busy, yet never in a hurry, went up and down, seemingly
ubiquitous. Sleep he got when he could, and food as often as he could;
into the sea he leapt, morning and night, and came out fresher every
time; the only person in the town who seemed to grow healthier, and
actually happier, as the work went on, in that fearful week.
The battle is over at last, and Tom is in London at the end of
September, ready to go to war as medical officer to the Turks. The news
of Alma has just arrived.
But he pays a visit to Whitbury first, and there Lord Minchampstead sees
him, and his lordship expresses satisfaction at the way Tom conducted
the business at Pentremochyn, and offers him a post of queen's messenger
in the Crimea, which Tom accepts with profuse thanks.
Before Tom left for the East old Mark Armsworth took him aside, and
said, "What do you think of the man who marries my daughter?"
"I should think," quoth Tom, wondering who the happy man could be, "that
he would be lucky in possessing such a heart."
"Then be as good as your word, and take her yourself. I've watched you,
and you'll make her a good husband."
Tom was too astonished and puzzled to reply. He had never thought that
he had found such favour in his old playfellow Mary Armsworth's eyes.
It was a terrible temptation. He knew the plain English of L50,000, and
Mark Armsworth's daughter, a good house, a good consulting practice,
and, above all, his father to live with him.
And then rose up before his imagination the steadfast eyes of Grace
Harvey, and seemed to look through and through his inmost soul, as
through a home which belonged of right to her, and where no other woman
must dwell, or could dwell; for she was there and he knew it; and knew
that, even if he never married till his dying day, he should sell his
soul by marrying anyone but her.
So Tom told old Mark it was impossible, because he was in love with
another woman. And then just as he was packing up next morning came a
note from Mark Armsworth and a cheque for L500, "To Thomas Thurnall,
Esq., for behaving like a gentleman." And Tom went Eastward Ho!--two
It was in September, after Tom had left, that Grace found the missing
belt. Her mother had hidden it in a cave on the shore, and Grace,
following her there, came upon the hiding-place. The shock of detection
brought out the disease against which Mrs. Harvey had taken so many
precautions, and within two days the unhappy woman was dead.
Grace sold all her mother's effects, paid off all creditors, and with a
few pounds left, vanished from Aberalva. She had written at once to Tom
at Whitbury, telling him that his belt and money were safe, but had
received no answer; and now she went to Whitbury herself, only to arrive
a week after Tom had gone. Mark Armsworth and Mary kept her for a night,
and she left Tom's money with the old banker, retaining the belt and
then set out Eastward Ho! too, to nurse the wounded in the war; and, if
possible, to find Tom and clear her name of all suspicion.
How Grace Harvey worked at Scutari and at Balaclava, there is no need to
tell. Why mark her out from the rest, when all did more than nobly? In
due time she went home to England--home, but not to Aberalva.
She presented herself one day at Mark Armsworth's house in Whitbury, and
begged him to obtain her a place as servant to old Dr. Thurnall. And by
the help of Mark, and Mary, Grace Harvey took up her abode in the old
man's house; and ere a month was past she was to him a daughter.
Mary loved her--wanted to call her sister; but Grace drew back lovingly,
but humbly, from all advances; for she had divined Mary's secret with
the quick eye of a woman. She saw how Mary grew daily paler, sadder. Be
it so; Mary had a right to him, and she had none.
* * * * *
And where was Tom Thurnall all the while? No man could tell.
Mark inquired; Lord Minchampstead inquired; great personages inquired;
but all in vain. A few knew, and told Lord Minchampstead, who told Mark,
in confidence, that he had been heard of last in the Circassian
Mountains about Christmas 1854; but since then all was blank.
The old man never seemed to regret him; and never mentioned his name
after a while. None knew it was because he and Grace never talked of
anything else. So they had lived, and so they had waited.
And now it is the blessed Christmas Eve; the light is failing fast; when
down the High Street comes Mark's portly bulk. The next minute he has
entered the old doctor's house, and is full of the afternoon's run, for
he has been out fox-hunting.
The old doctor is confident to-day that his son will return, and Grace
"Yes, he is coming soon to us," she half whispers, leaning over the old
man's chair. "Or else we are soon going to him. It may mean that, sir.
Perhaps it is better that it should."
"It matters little, child, if he be near, as near he is."
And sure enough while Mark is telling of the good run he has had, Tom's
fresh voice is heard. Yes! There he was in bodily flesh and blood; thin,
sallow, bearded to the eyes, dressed in ragged sailor's clothes.
Grace uttered a long, soft, half laughing cry, full of the delicious
agony of sudden relief; and then slipped from the room past the
unheeding Tom, who had no eyes but for his father. Straight up to the
old man he went, took both his hands, and spoke in the old, cheerful
"Well, my dear old daddy! I'm afraid I've made you very anxious; but it
was not my fault; and I knew you would be certain I should come at last,
"My son! my son!" murmured the old man. "You won't go away again, dear
boy? I'm getting old and forgetful; and I don't think I could bear it
again, you see."
"Never again, as long as I live, daddy."
Mark Armsworth burst out blubbering like a great boy.
"I said so! I always said so! The devil could not kill him and God
"Tom," said his father presently, "you have not spoken to Grace yet. She
is my daughter now, Tom, and has been these twelve months past."
"If she is not, she will be soon," said Tom, quietly. With that he
walked straight out of the room to find Grace in the passage.
And Grace lay silent in his arms.
* * * * *
Charles Kingsley wrote "The Water-Babies, a Fairy Tale for a
Land-Baby," under romantic circumstances. Reminded in 1862 of
a promise he had made that "Rose, Maurice, and Mary have got
their books, the baby must have his," Kingsley produced the
story about little Tom, which forms the first chapter in "The
Water-Babies," a fairy tale occupying a nook of its own in the
literature of fantasy for children. After running serially
through "Macmillan's Magazine," the "Water-Babies" was
published in book form in 1863, dedicated "To my youngest son,
and to all other good little boys." Mrs. Kingsley, in the life
of her husband says "that it was perhaps the last book that he
wrote with any real ease." The story, with its irresponsible
and whimsical humour, throws an altogether delightful light
upon the character of Charles Kingsley--clergyman, lecturer,
historian, and social reformer.
_I.--"I Must be Clean!"_
Once upon a time there was a little chimney-sweep, and his name was Tom.
He lived in a great town in the North Country where there were plenty of
chimneys to sweep and plenty of money for Tom to earn, and his drunken
master to spend. He could not read nor write, and did not care to do
either; and he never washed himself, for there was no water up the court
where he lived. Chimney-sweeping and hunger and beatings, he took all
for the way of the world, and when his master let him have a pull at the
leavings of his beer Tom was the jolliest boy in the whole town.
One day, Tom's master, Mr. Grimes, was sent for to sweep all the
chimneys at Sir John Harthover's mansion, Harthover Place.
At four in the morning they passed through the silent town together and
along the peaceful country roads to Sir John's, Mr. Grimes riding the
donkey in front and Tom and the brushes walking behind. On the way they
came up with an old Irishwoman, limping slowly along and carrying a
heavy bundle. She walked along with Tom and asked him many questions
about himself, and seemed very sad when he told her that he knew no
prayers to say. She told him that she lived far away by the sea; and,
how the sea rolled and roared on winter nights and lay still in the
bright summer days, for the children to bathe and play in it; and many a
story more till Tom longed to go and see the sea and bathe in it
When, at length, they came to a spring, Grimes got off his donkey, to
refresh himself by dipping his head in the water. Because Tom followed
his example, his master immediately thrashed him.
"Are you not ashamed of yourself, Thomas Grimes?" said the Irishwoman.
Grimes looked up, startled at her knowing his name; but he answered:
"No, nor never was yet," and went on beating Tom.
"True for you. If you ever had been ashamed of yourself, you would have
gone into Vendale long ago."
"What do you know about Vendale?" shouted Grimes; but he left off
"I know about Vendale and about you, too, and if you strike that boy
again I can tell you what I know."
Grimes seemed quite cowed and got on his donkey without another word.
"Stop!" said the Irishwoman. "I have one more word for you both, for you
will see me again. Those that wish to be clean, clean they will be; and
those that wish to be foul, foul they will be. Remember."
She turned away into a meadow and disappeared. And Tom and Grimes went
on their way. When they came to Harthover Place, the housekeeper turned
them into a grand room all covered up in sheets of brown paper. Up the
chimney went Tom with a kick from his master.
How many chimneys Tom swept I cannot say; but he swept so many that he
got tired, and puzzled too, for they ran into one another so that he
fairly lost his way in them. At last he came down. But it was the wrong
chimney, and he found himself in a room the like of which he had never
seen before. The room was all dressed in white: white window-curtains,
white bed-curtains, white furniture, and white walls. There was a
washhand-stand, with ewers and basins, and soap and brushes and towels;
and a large bath full of clean water. What a heap of things--all for
And then he happened to look towards the bed, and there lay the most
beautiful little girl Tom had ever seen. He wondered whether all people
were as white as she when they were washed. Thinking of this, he tried
to rub some of the soot from his own wrist, and thought, perhaps, he
might look better himself if he were clean.
And looking round, he suddenly saw a little ugly black figure with
bleared eyes and grinning teeth. And behold, it was himself reflected in
the mirror. With tears of shame and anger at the contrast he turned to
sneak up the chimney and hide. But in his haste he upset the fire-irons.
Up jumped the little white lady with a scream; in rushed her nurse and
made a dash at Tom. But out of the window went he and down a tree and
away through the garden and the park into the wood beyond, with the
gardener, the groom, the dairymaid, Grimes, the steward, the keeper, Sir
John, and the Irishwoman all in hot pursuit.
Through the wood rushed Tom until he came to a wall, where his quick
wits enabled him to evade his pursuers--except the Irishwoman, who
followed him all the way, although he never knew.
At length he stood on a limestone rock which overhung a valley a
thousand feet below, and down there he could see a little stream winding
in and out, and by the stream a cottage. It was a dangerous descent, but
down went Tom without a moment's hesitation; sick and giddy, on he went
until at last he dropped on the grass and lay there unconscious. But
after a time he roused himself and stumbled on to the cottage.
The old dame of the cottage took pity on him and laid him on a bed of
sweet hay. But Tom could not rest, and think of the little white lady,
he found his way to the river murmuring. "I must be clean! I must be
And still he had not seen the Irishwoman; in front of him now, for she
had stepped into the river just before Tom, and had changed into the
most beautiful of fairies underneath the water. For she was, indeed, the
Queen of the Water-Fairies, who were all waiting to receive her the
moment she came back from the land-world.
Tom was so hot and longed so to be clean for once that he tumbled as
quick as he could into the cool stream. And he had not been in it half a
minute before he fell into the quietest, coolest sleep that ever he had
in his life. The reason of his falling into such a delightful sleep is
very simple. It was merely that the fairies took him. In fact, they
turned him into a water-baby.
Meanwhile, of course, the chase after Tom had come to an end, although
Sir John and his keepers made a second search the next day, for he felt
sorry for the little sweep, and was afraid he might have fallen over
some of the crags. They found the little fellow's rags by the side of
the stream, and they also discovered his body in the water, and buried
it over in Vendale churchyard.
_II.--A Lonely, Mischievous Water-Baby_
Tom was very happy swimming about in the river, although he was now only
about four inches long, with a set of external gills, just like those of
an eft. There are land-babies, and why not water-babies? Some people
tell us that water-babies are contrary to nature, but there are so many
things in nature which we don't expect to find that there may as well be
water-babies as not.
He was still as mischievous as any land-baby, and made himself a perfect
nuisance to the other creatures of the water, teasing them as they went
about their work, until they were all afraid of him, and got out of his
way, or crept into their shells; so that he had no one to speak to or to
It was from a dragon-fly that he learned some valuable lessons in good
conduct. For all his short sight the dragon-fly had noticed a great many
interesting things in nature, about which Tom knew nothing, and of which
he heard with wonder. One day he might have been eaten by an otter; but,
behold, seven little terrier dogs rushed at the otter, and drove her
off, much to Tom's relief, though he did not guess that these were
really water-fairies sent to protect him.
But before the otter had been headed off she had twitted Tom with being
only an eft, and told him he would be eaten by the salmon when they came
up from the sea--the great wide sea. Tom himself decided he would go
down the stream, and discover what the great wide sea was like.
One night Tom noticed a curious light, and heard voices of men coming
from the bank of the river.
Soon after a large salmon was speared. Then other men seemed to arrive;
there were shouts and scufflings; and then a tremendous splash, and one
of the men fell into the river close to Tom. He lay so still that Tom
thought the water must have sent him to sleep as it had done him; so he
screwed up courage to go and look at him. The moonlight lit up the man's
face, and Tom recognised his old master, Grimes. Suppose he should turn
into a water-baby! But he lay quite still at the bottom of the pool, and
never went poaching salmon any more.
Every creature in the stream seemed to be hurrying down to the sea, and
Tom, being the only water-baby among all the squirming eels and the
scores of different things, big and little, he had many strange
adventures before he came to the sea. But great was his disappointment
to find no water-babies there to play with, though he asked the
sea-snails, and the hermit crabs, and the sun-fish, and the bass, and
the porpoises. But though one fish told him that he had been helped the
previous night by the water-babies, Tom could find no trace of them at
Now, one day it befell that on the rocks where Tom was sitting with a
lobster there walked the little lady, Ellie, herself, and with her a
very wise man, Professor Pttmllnsprts, who was a very great naturalist.
He was showing her about one in ten thousand of all the beautiful and
curious things that are to be seen among the rocks. Presently, as he
groped with his net among the weeds he caught poor Tom.
"Dear me!" he cried, "what a large pink Holothurian. It has actually
eyes. Why, it must be a Cephalopod!"
"It is a water-baby," cried Ellie.
"Water-fiddlesticks, my dear!" said the professor sharply.
Now, Tom was in a most horrible fright, and between fright and rage he
turned to bay and bit the professor's finger.
"Oh! Eh!" cried he, and dropped Tom on to the seaweed, whence he was
gone in a moment.
"But it was a water-baby!" cried Ellie. "Ah, it is gone!" And she jumped
down off the rock. But she slipped and fell with her head on a sharp
rock, and lay quite still.
The professor picked her up and took her home, and she was put to bed.
But she would not waken at all, and after a week, one moonlight night
the fairies came flying in at the window, and brought her a pair of
wings. And she flew away, and nobody heard or saw anything of her for a
_III.--In St. Brandon's Fairy Isle_
After Tom slipped away into the water again, he could not help thinking
of Ellie, and longed to have her to play with, for he had not succeeded
in finding any other water-babies. But soon he had something else to
think of. One day he helped a lobster caught in a lobster-pot to get
free; and then, five minutes after, he came upon a real live water-baby,
sitting on the white sand.
And it ran to Tom, and Tom ran to it, and they hugged and kissed each
other for ever so long. At last Tom said. "Well, this is wonderful! I
have seen things just like you again and again, but I thought you were
shells or sea-creatures."
Now, was not this very odd? So odd, indeed, that you will, no doubt,
want to know how it happened, and why Tom could never find a water-baby
till after he had got the lobster out of the pot. But if you will read
this story nine times over, you will find out why. It is not good for
little boys and girls to be told everything and never to be forced to
make use of their own wits.
"Now," said the baby, "come and help me plant this rock which got all
its flowers knocked off in the last storm, or I shall not have finished
before my brothers and sisters come, and it is now time to go home."
So they worked away at the rock, and planted it, and smoothed the sand
down round it, and capital fun they had till the tide began to turn. And
then Tom heard all the other babies coming, laughing and singing and
romping; and the noise they made was just like the noise of a ripple.
And in they came, dozens and dozens of them, and when they found that he
was a new baby, they hugged and kissed him. And there was no one ever so
happy as poor little Tom, and he gaily swam away with them to their home
in the caves beneath St. Brandan's fairy isle. But I wish Tom had given
up all his naughty tricks. He would meddle with the creatures, frighten
the crabs, and put stones in the anemones' mouths to make them fancy
dinner was coming.
The other children warned him, and said, "Take care what you are at, as
Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid is coming on Friday."
Early one Friday morning this tremendous lady came, indeed. Very ugly
Tom thought her, with her green spectacles on a great hooked nose and a
big birch rod under her arm. She looked at all the children, and seemed
pleased with them, for she gave sea-cakes or sea-lollipops to them all.
At last Tom's turn came, and she put something in his mouth, and lo! and
behold, it was a cold, hard pebble.
"Who put pebbles in the sea-anemones' mouths to make them fancy they had
caught a good dinner? As you did to them, so I must do to you."
Tom thought her very hard, but she showed him she had to do it because
it was her work. She told him, too, that she was the ugliest fairy in
the world, and would be until people learned to behave as they should,
when she would grow as handsome as her sister, Mrs.
Doasyouwouldbedoneby, the loveliest fairy in the world.
Tom tried hard to be good on Saturday; he did not frighten one crab, nor
put one pebble into a sea-anemone's mouth.
Sunday came, and so did Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby. All the children
danced round her, for she had the sweetest, merriest face Tom had ever
"He's the new water-baby," they informed the fairy. "He never had any
"Then I will be his mother," she said, and took him in her arms. And Tom
looked up in her face, and loved her, and fell asleep for very love.
When he awoke she was telling the children a story.
"Now," she said to Tom, as she prepared to go, "will you be good, and
torment no sea-beasts until I come again?"
Tom promised, and tormented no sea-beasts after that as long as he
lived; and he is quite alive, I assure you, still.
_IV.--At the Other-End-of-Nowhere_
Being happy and comfortable does not always mean being good; and so it
was with Tom. He had everything he could wish for in St. Brandan's fairy
isle. But now he had grown so fond of lollipops that he could think of
nothing else, and longed to go to the cabinet where they were kept. At
last he went to take just one; then he had one more, and another, and
another, until they were all gone. And all the while Mrs.
Bedonebyasyoudid stood close behind him, though he neither heard nor saw
Tom was very surprised when she came again to see that she had just as
many lollipops as before. He thought therefore that she could not know.
But he was very unhappy all that week, and long after it, too. And
because his conscience had been pricking him inside, his outside grew
horny and prickly as well, until he could bear it no longer, and told
Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid all about it, and asked her to take away the
prickles. But she told him only he could do that, that he must go to
school, and she would fetch him a schoolmistress.
Soon she returned with the most beautiful little girl that was ever
seen. Tom begged her to show him how to be good, and get rid of his
prickles. So she began, and taught him every day except on Sunday, when
she went away. In a short time all Tom's prickles had disappeared. Then
the little girl knew him, she said, for the little chimney-sweep who had
come into the bedroom.
"And I know you," said Tom; "you are the little white lady I saw in
bed." And then they began telling each other all their story. And then
they set to work at their lessons again, and both liked them so well
that they went on till seven full years were past and gone.
Tom began to be very curious to know where Ellie went on Sundays, and
why he could not go, too.
"Those who go there," said Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid, "must first learn to
go where they do not want to go, and to help someone they do not like."
And Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby said the same. Tom was very unhappy now.
He knew the fairy wanted him to go and help Grimes; he did not want to
go, and was ashamed of himself for not going. But just when he was
feeling most discontented Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid encouraged him until he
was quite anxious to seek for Grimes.
"Mr. Grimes is now at the Other-end-of-Nowhere," said the fairy. "To get
there you must go to Shiny Wall, and through the White Gate which has
never yet been opened. You will then be at Peacepool, where you will
find Mother Carey, who will direct you to the Other-end-of-Nowhere."
Tom immediately set out to find his way to Shiny Wall, asking the way of
all the birds and beasts he met. He at length received help from the
petrels, who are Mother Carey's chickens, and so reached Shiny Wall. He
was dismayed to find that there was no gate, but taking the birds'
advice, he dived underneath the wall, and went along the bottom of the
sea for seven days and seven nights, until he arrived in Peacepool.
There sat Mother Carey, a marble lady on a marble throne--motionless,
restful, gazing down into the depths of the sea.
Following Mother Carey's directions, Tom at length arrived at the
Other-end-of-Nowhere, after meeting with many strange adventures. He had
not long arrived in this strange land when he was overtaken by several
policemen's truncheons, one of which conducted him to the prison where
Grimes was quartered. Here, on the roof, his head and shoulders just
showing above the top of chimney No. 343, was poor Mr. Grimes, with a
pipe that would not draw.
He thought Tom had simply come to laugh at him until he assured him that
he had only come to help. Suddenly Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid appeared. She
reminded Grimes that he was only suffering now what he had inflicted on
Tom. She told him, too, how his mother had gone to heaven, and would no
more weep for him. Gradually Grimes's heart softened, and when Tom
described her kindness to him at Vendale, Grimes wept. Then his tears
did for him what his mother's could not do, for as they fell they washed
the soot off his face and his clothes, and loosened the mortar from the
bricks of the chimney.
"Will you obey me if I give you a chance?" said Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid.
"As you please, ma'am. For I'm beat, and that's the truth," said he.
"Be it so, then--you may come out. But remember, disobey me again, and
into a worse place still you will go."
"I beg your pardon, ma'am, but I never disobeyed you that I know of. I
never set eyes upon you until I came to these ugly quarters."
"Never saw me? Who said 'Those that will be foul, foul they will be'?"
Grimes looked up, and Tom looked up, too; for the voice was that of the
Irishwoman who met them the day they went out together to Harthover. She
ordered Grimes to march off in the custody of the truncheon, who was to
see that he devoted himself to the considerable task of sweeping out the
crater of Etna.
Tom went back to St. Brandan's Isle, and there found Ellie--grown into a
beautiful woman. And he looked at her, and she looked at him; and they
liked the employment so much that they stood and looked for seven years
more, and neither spoke nor stirred.
At last they heard the fairy say, "Attention, children! Are you never
going to look at me again?"
They looked, and both of them cried out at once: "You are our dear Mrs.
Doasyouwouldbedoneby! No, you are good Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid; but you
are grown quite beautiful now."
"To you," she said. "But look again."
"You are Mother Carey," said Tom, in a very low, solemn voice. For he
had found out something which made him very happy, and yet frightened
him more than all that he had ever seen.
And when they looked again she was neither of them, and yet all of them
"My name is written in my eyes, if you have eyes to see it there."
And her eyes flashed, for one moment, clear, white, blazing light; but
the children could not read her name, for they were dazzled, and hid
their faces in their hands.
"Not yet, young things, not yet," said she, smiling. And then she turned
"You may take him home with you on Sundays, Ellie. He has won his spurs
in the great battle, and become fit to be a man; because he has done the
thing he did not like."
* * * * *
"Westward Ho!" was published in 1855, and, on the whole, may
be accepted as the most popular of all Charles Kingsley's
novels. It is a story full of the life and stir of Elizabethan
England, and its heroes and heroines are the stout-hearted
Devonshire people whom Kingsley knew and loved so well. Like
most historical romances, "Westward Ho!" must not be accepted
as history, in spite of the fact that its author was Regius
Professor of History at Cambridge. Kingsley's whole-hearted
and entirely creditable patriotism and his intense devotion to
the established Church of England prevented his doing justice
to Spain or looking with sympathy on Roman Catholicism. (See
Newman, Vol. XIII.) Kingsley never could refrain from
preaching his own convictions, and while this often interfered
with the art of the novelist, it gave a note of sincerity to
all his work, and warmth and colour to his style.
_I.--How Amyas Came Home the First Time_
One bright summer's afternoon in the year 1575 a tall and fair boy came
lingering along Bideford Quay, in his scholar's gown, with satchel and
slate in hand, watching wistfully the shipping and the sailors, till,
just after he had passed the bottom of the High Street, he came to a
group of sailors listening earnestly to someone who stood in the midst.
The boy, all alive for any sea news, must needs go up to them, and so
came in for the following speech, delivered in a loud, bold voice, with
a strong Devonshire accent.
"I tell you, as I, John Oxenham, am a gentleman, I saw it with these
eyes, and so did Salvation Yeo there; and we measured the heap, seventy
foot long, ten foot broad, and twelve foot high, of silver bars, and
each bar between a thirty and forty pound weight. Come along! Who lists?
Who lists? Who'll make his fortune?"
"Who'll list?" cried a tall, gaunt man, whom the other had called
Salvation Yeo. "Now's your time! We've got forty men to Plymouth now,
ready to sail the minute we get back; and we want a dozen out of you
Bideford men, and just a boy or two, and then we'm off and away, and
make our fortunes or go to heaven."
Then the gaunt man pulled from under his arm a great white buffalo horn,
covered with rough etchings of land and sea.
The horn was passed from hand to hand, and the schoolboy got a nearer
sight of the marvel. To his astonished gaze displayed themselves cities
and harbours, plate ships of Spain, and islands with apes and
palm-trees, and here and there over-written: "Here is gold," and again,
"Much gold and silver." The boy turned it round and round, anxious to
possess this wonderful horn. And Oxenham asked him why he was so keen
"Because," said he, looking up boldly, "I want to go to sea. I want to
see the Indies. I want to fight the Spaniards." And the lad, having
hurried out his say, dropped his head.
"And you shall," cried Oxenham. "Whose son are you, my gallant fellow?"
"Mr. Leigh's, of Burrough Court."
"Bless his soul! I know him as well as I do the Eddystone. Tell your
father John Oxenham will come and keep him company."
The boy, Amyas Leigh, took his way homewards, and that night John
Oxenham dined at Burrough Court; but failed to get Mr. Leigh's leave to
take young Amyas with him, nor did Sir Richard Grenville, the boy's
godfather, who was also at dinner, help him with his suit.
But somewhat more than a twelvemonth later, Mr. Leigh, going down on
business to Exeter Assizes, caught--as was too common in those days--the
gaol-fever from the prisoners, sickened in the very court, and died
within a week.
"You must be my father now, sir," said young Amyas firmly to Sir Richard
Grenville, on the day after the funeral.
And shortly afterwards, Amyas having broken his slate on the head of
Vindex Brimblecombe, Sir Richard thought it well to go up to Burrough.
And, after much talk and many tears, matters were so concluded that
Amyas Leigh found himself riding joyfully towards Plymouth, and being
handed over to Captain Drake, vanished for three years from the good
town of Bideford.
And now he is returned in triumph, and the observed of all observers.
The bells of Bideford church cannot help breaking forth into a jocund
peal. Bideford streets are a very flower-garden of all the colours,
swarming with seamen and burghers and burghers' wives and daughters, all
in their holiday attire. Garlands are hung across the streets and
tapestries from every window. Every stable is crammed with horses, and
Sir Richard Grenville's house is like a very tavern. Along the little
churchyard streams all the gentle blood of North Devon, and on into the
church, where all are placed according to their degrees, not without
shovings and whisperings from one high-born matron and another. At last
there is a silence, and a looking toward the door, and then distant
music which comes braying and screaming up to the very church doors. Why
are all eyes fixed on those four weather-beaten mariners, decked out
with knots and ribbons by loving hands? And yet more on that gigantic
figure who walks before them, a beardless boy, and yet with the frame
and stature of a Hercules, towering, like Saul of old, a head and
shoulders above all the congregation? And why, as the five fall on their
knees before the altar rails, are all eyes turned to the pew where Mrs.
Leigh, of Burrough, has hid her face between her hands, and her hood
rustles and shakes to her joyful sobs? Because there was fellow-feeling
of old in country and in town. And these are Devon men, and men of
Bideford; and they, the first of all English mariners, have sailed round
the world with Francis Drake, and are come to give God thanks.
_II.--The Brotherhood of the Rose_
It was during the three years of Amyas's absence that Rose Salterne, the
motherless daughter of that honest merchant, the Mayor of Bideford, had
grown into so beautiful a girl of eighteen that half North Devon was mad
about the "Rose of Torridge," as she was called. There was not a young
gallant for ten miles round who would not have gone to Jerusalem to win
her, and not a week passed but some nosegay or languishing sonnet was
conveyed into the Rose's chamber, all of which she stowed away with the
simplicity of a country girl.
Frank Leigh, Amyas's elder brother, who had won himself honour at home
and abroad, and was the friend of Sir Philip Sidney and in favour at the
court of Queen Elizabeth, fell as deeply in love with the Rose when he
came home to rejoice over the return of Amyas as any young squire of
When the time came for him to set off again for London and for Amyas to
join the queen's forces in Ireland, where war was now raging, Frank and
Amyas concocted a scheme which was put into effect the next day--first
by the innkeeper of the Ship Tavern, who began, under Amyas's orders, a
bustle of roasting and boiling; and next by Amyas himself, who invited
as many of his old schoolfellows as Frank had pointed out to him to a
merry supper; by which crafty scheme in came each of Rose Salteme's
gentle admirers and found himself seated at the table with six rivals.
When the cloth was drawn, and sack and sugar became the order of the
day, and the queen's health had been duly drunk with all the honours,
"And now, gentlemen, let me give you a health which none of you, I dare
say, will refuse to drink with heart and soul as well as with lips--the
health of one whom beauty and virtue have so ennobled that in their
light the shadow of lowly birth is unseen--the health of 'The Rose of
Torridge,' and a double health to that worthy gentleman, whosoever he
may be, whom she is fated to honour with her love."
Whereupon young Will Cary, of Clovelly Court, calls out, "Join hands all
round, and swear eternal friendship, as brothers of the sacred order of
the--of what, Frank Leigh?"
"The Rose!" said Frank, quietly.
And somehow or other, whether it was Frank's chivalrous speech, or
Cary's fun, or Amyas's good wine, or the nobleness which lies in every
young lad's heart, the whole party shook hands all round, and vowed on
the hilt of Amyas's sword to stand by each other and by their lady-love,
and neither grudge nor grumble, let her dance with, flirt with, or marry
with whom she would; and, in order that the honour of their peerless
dame and the brotherhood which was named after her might be spread
through all lands, they would go home, and ask their fathers' leave to
go abroad wheresoever there were "good wars."
Then Amyas, hearing a sneeze, made a dash at the arras behind him, and,
finding a doorway there, speedily returned, dragging out Mr. John
Brimblecombe, the stout, dark-skinned son of the schoolmaster.
Jack Brimblecombe, now one-and-twenty and a bachelor of Oxford, was in
person exceedingly like a pig; but he was a pig of self-helpful and
serene spirit, always, while watching for the best, contented with the
worst, and therefore fattening fast while other pigs' ribs stare through
He had lingered in the passage, hovering around the fragrant smell; and,
once there he could not help hearing what passed inside, till Rose
Salterne's name fell on his ear. And now behold him brought in
red-handed to judgment, not without a kick or two from the wrathful foot
of Amyas Leigh.
"What business have I here?" said Jack, making answer fiercely, amid
much puffing and blowing. "As much as any of you. If you had asked me in
I would have come. You laugh at me because I'm a poor parson's son, and
you fine gentlemen. God made us both, I reckon. I tell you I've loved
her these three years as well as e'er a one of you, I have. Make me one
of your brotherhood, and see if I do not dare to suffer as much as any
of you! Let me but be your chaplain, and pray for your luck when you're
at the wars. If I do stay at home in a country curacy, 'tis not much
that you need be jealous of me with her, I reckon."
So, presently, after a certain mock ceremonial of initiation, Jack
Brimblecombe was declared, on the word of Frank Leigh, admitted to the
brotherhood, and was sent home with a pint of good red Alicant wine in
him, while the rest had a right merry evening. After which they all
departed--Amyas and Cary to Ireland, Frank to the court again. And so
the Brotherhood of the Rose was scattered, and Mistress Salterne was
left alone with her looking-glass.
_III.--The Good Ship Rose_
When Amyas was in Ireland he made captive a certain Spanish grandee, Don
Guzman, and sent him to Sir Richard Grenville to be held at ransom. And
then, the Irish being for the time subdued, Amyas sailed with Sir
Humphrey Gilbert on that ill-fated voyage to Newfoundland, and returned
in rags, landing at Plymouth, where he learnt news of Bideford.
Mrs. Hawkins, wife of John Hawkins the port admiral, gave him supper,
and then told him that the Spanish prisoner had "gone off, the villain."
"Without paying his ransom?"
"I can't say that, but there's a poor, innocent young maid gone off with
him, one Salterne's daughter."
"Rose Salterne, the mayor's daughter, the Rose of Torridge?"
"That's her. Bless your dear soul, what ails you?"
Amyas had dropped back in his seat as if he had been shot; but he
recovered himself, and next morning started for Bideford.
The story was true. Don Guzman had been made governor of La Guayra, in
the West Indies, and his ransom had been paid. But he had fallen in love
with the Rose, and the girl, driven, some said, by the over-harshness of
her father, who loved his daughter and knew not how to manage her, had
willingly escaped with him.
Amyas called on Salterne, and the old burgher besought him to go in
pursuit of the Spaniard, and promised he would spend any money that was
needed to fit out a ship to avenge his child. And Amyas heard that
honest John Brimblecombe, now a parson, mindful of his oath to the
brotherhood, was longing to seek the Rose, though it might be in the
jaws of death. Will Cary, too, was for a voyage to the Indies to cut the
throat of Don Guzman.
Then Mrs. Leigh and Frank, her first-born, getting permission to leave
the court, both consented to the voyage, and Frank would go too. Old
Salterne grumbled at any man save himself spending a penny on the
voyage, and forced on the adventurers a good ship of two hundred tons
burden, and five hundred pounds towards fitting her out; Mrs. Leigh
worked day and night at clothes and comforts of every kind; Amyas gave
his time and his brains. Cary went about beating up recruits; while John
Brimblecombe preached a fierce crusade against the Spaniards, and Frank
grew more and more proud of his brother.
Old Salvation Yeo, who was now in Bideford, again brought twenty good
men from Plymouth who had sailed with Drake.
And now November 15, 1583, has come, and the tall ship Rose, with a
hundred men on board, and food in abundance, has dropped down from
Bideford Quay to Appledore Pool. She is well-fitted with cannon and
muskets and swords, and all agreed so well-appointed a ship had never
sailed "out over Bar."
Mrs. Leigh went to the rocky knoll outside the churchyard wall and
watched the ship glide out between the yellow dunes, and lessen slowly
hour by hour into the boundless west, till her hull sank below the dim
horizon, and her white sails faded away into the grey Atlantic mist.
And the good ship Rose went westward ho! and came in due time to La
Guayra in the Indies, the highest cliff on earth, some seven thousand
feet of rock parted from the sea by a narrow strip of bright green
lowland. Amyas and his company are at last in full sight of the spot in
quest of which they have sailed four thousand miles of sea. Beyond the
town, two or three hundred feet up the steep mountain side, is a large
white house, with a royal flag of Spain flaunting before it. That must
be the governor's house; that must be the abode of the Rose of Torridge.
There are ships of war in the landing-place.
Amyas's plan was to wait till midnight, attack the town on the west,
plunder the government storehouses, and then fight their way back to
their boats. To reach the governor's house seemed impossible with the
small force at their disposal.
But Frank would not have their going away without doing the very thing
for which they came.
"I will go up to that house, Amyas, and speak with her!" he said.
Then Amyas, Cary, and Brimblecombe drew lots as to which of them should
accompany him, and the lot fell upon Amyas Leigh.
At midnight Amyas went on deck, and asked for six volunteers. Whosoever
would come should have double prize money.
"Why six only, captain?" said an old seaman. "Give the word, and any and
all of us will go up with you, sack the house, and bring off the
treasure and the lady before two hours are out!"
"No, no, my brave lads! As for treasure, it is sure to have been put all
safe into the forts; and, as for the lady, God forbid that we should
force her a step without her own will."
The boat with Frank, Amyas, and the six seamen reached the pebble beach.
There seemed no difficulty about finding the path to the house, so
bright was the moon. Leaving the men with the boat, they started up the
beach, with their swords only.
"She may expect us," whispered Frank. "She may have seen our ship, and
some secret sympathy will draw her down towards the sea to-night."
They found the path, which wound in zig-zags up the steep, rocky slope,
easily. It ended at a wicket-gate, and they found the gate was open when
they tried it.
"What is your plan?" said Amyas.
"I have none. I go where I am called--love's willing victim."
Amyas was at his wits' end. A light was burning in a window on the upper
story; twenty black figures lay sleeping on the terrace.
Frank saw the shadow of the Rose against the window. She came down, and
he made a wild appeal to her.
"Your conscience! Your religion--"
"No, never! I can face the chance of death, but not the loss of my
husband. Go! For God's sake leave me!"
Frank turned, and Amyas dragged him down the hill. Both were too proud
to run, but the whole gang of negroes were in pursuit, and stones were
They were not twenty-five yards from the boat, when the storm burst and
a volley of great quartz pebbles whistled round their heads. Frank is
struck, and Amyas takes him over his shoulders and plunges wildly on
towards the beach.
"Men, to the rescue!" Amyas shouts. "Fire, men! Give it the black
The arquebuses crackled from the boat in front, but, balls are answering
from behind. The governor's guard have turned out, followed them to the
beach, and are firing over the negroes' heads.
Amyas is up to his knees in water, battered with stones, blinded with
blood; but Frank is still in his arms. Another heavy blow--confused mass
of negroes and English, foam and pebbles--a confused roar of shouts,
shots, curses, and he recollects no more.
He is lying in the stern-sheets of the boat, stiff and weak. Two men
only are left of the six, and Frank is not in the boat. With weary work
they made the ship, and as, the alarm being now given, it was hardly
safe to remain where they were, it was agreed to weigh anchor. Amyas had
no hope that Frank might still be alive. So ended that fatal venture of
_IV.--Amyas Comes Home for the Third Time_
More than three years have passed since the Rose sailed out from
Bideford, and never a word has reached England of what has befallen the
ship and her company.
Many have been the adventures of Amyas and the men who have followed
him. Treasure they have got in South America, and old Salvation Yeo has
found a young girl whom he had lost twelve years before, grown up wild
among the Indians. Ayacanora she is called, and she is white, for her
father was an Englishman and her mother Spanish, for all her savage
ways; and will not be separated from her discoverers, but insists on
going with them to England. And Amyas has learnt that his brother Frank
was burnt by order of the Inquisition, and with him Rose, and that Don
Guzman had resigned the governorship of La Guayra.
Amyas swore a dreadful oath before all his men when he was told of the
death of Frank and Rose, that as long as he had eyes to see a Spaniard
and hands to hew him down he would give no quarter to that accursed
nation, and that he would avenge all the innocent blood shed by them.
And now it is February, 1587, and Mrs. Leigh, grown grey and feeble in
step, is pacing up and down the terrace walk at Burrough. A flash is
seen in the fast darkening twilight, and then comes the thunder of a gun
at sea. Twenty minutes later, and a ship has turned up the Bideford
river, and a cheer goes up from her crew.
Yes, Amyas has come, and with him Will Cary and the honest parson, Jack
Brimblecombe, and the good seamen of Devon; and Ayacanora, who knelt
down obedient before Mrs. Leigh because she had seen Amyas kneel, and
whom Mrs. Leigh took by the hand and led to Bur-rough Court.
William Salterne would take none of his share of the treasure which was
brought home, and which he had a just claim to.
"The treasure is yours, sir," he said to Amyas. "I have enough, and more
than enough. And if I have a claim in law for aught, which I know not,
neither shall ever ask--why, if you are not too proud, accept that claim
as a plain burgher's thank-offering to you, sir, for a great and a noble
love which you and your brother have shown to one who, though I say it
to my shame, was not worthy thereof."
That night old Salterne was found dead, kneeling by his daughter's bed.
His will lay by him. Any money due to him as owner of the Rose, and a
new barque of 300 tons burden, he had bequeathed to Captain Amyas Leigh,
on condition that he should re-christen that barque the Vengeance, and
with her sail once more against the Spaniard.
In the summer of 1588 comes the great Armada, and Captain Leigh has the
Vengeance fitted out for war, and is in the English Channel. He has
found out that Don Guzman is on board the Santa Catherina, and is set on
taking his revenge.
For twelve months past this hatred of Don Guzman has been eating out his
heart, and now the hour has struck. But the Armada melts away in the
storms of the North Sea, and Captain Leigh has pursued the Santa
Catherina round the Orkneys and down to Lundy Island. And there, on the
rock called the Shutter, the Santa Catherina strikes, and then vanishes
for ever and ever.
"Shame!" cried Amyas, hurling his sword far into the sea, "to lose my
right, when it was in my very grasp!"
A crack which rent the sky, a bright world of flame, and then a blank of
utter darkness. The great proud sea captain has been struck blind by the
flash of lightning.
* * * * *
Once more Amyas Leigh has come home. His work is over, his hatred dead.
And Ayacanora will comfort him.
"Amyas, my son," said Mrs. Leigh, "fear not to take her to your heart,
for it is your mother who has laid her there!"
"It is true, after all," said Amyas to himself. "What God has joined
together, man cannot put asunder."
* * * * *
Henry Kingsley, younger brother of Charles Kingsley, was born
at Barnack, Northamptonshire, England, Jan. 2, 1830. Leaving
Worcester College, Oxford, in 1853, he, with a number of
fellow-students, emigrated to the Australian goldfields. After
some five years of unremunerative toil he returned to England,
poor in pocket, but possessing sufficient knowledge of life to
justify his adoption of a literary career. His first attempt,
and perhaps his most successful, was "The Recollections of
Geoffry Hamlyn," published in 1859, which was based largely on
his own experiences in Australia. From that time until his
death on May 24, 1876, some nineteen stories flowed in quick
succession from his pen, none of them, however, reaching the
high standard of his first two--"Geoffry Hamlyn" and
"Ravenshoe." In 1869 Kingsley became editor of the Edinburgh
"Daily Review," and on the outbreak of the Franco-German War
represented that paper at the front. He was present at the
battle of Sedan, and was the first Englishman to enter the
_I.--In a Devonshire Village_
The twilight of a winter's evening was fast falling into night, and old
John Thornton sat dozing by the fire. His face looked worn and aged, and
anyone might see the old man was unhappy.
What could there be to vex him? Not poverty, at all events, for not a
year ago a relation had left him L5,000, and a like sum to his daughter,
Mary. And his sister--a quiet, good old maid--had come to live with him,
so that now he was comfortably off, and had with him the only two
relations he cared about to make his old age happy. His daughter Mary--a
beautiful girl, merry, impetuous, and thoughtless--was standing at the
The white gate swings on its hinges, and a tall man comes, with rapid,
eager steps, up the walk. The maid, bringing in candles, announces: "Mr.
As the light fell on him, any man or woman might have exclaimed
instantly, and with justice, "What a handsome fellow!" Handsome he was,
without doubt, and yet the more you looked at him the less you liked
him. The thin lips, the everlasting smile, the quick, suspicious glance
were fearfully repulsive. He was the only son of a small farmer in one
of the outlying hamlets of Drumston. His mother had died when he was
very young, and he had had little education, and strange stories were in
circulation about that lonely farmhouse, not much to the credit of
father or son; which stories John Thornton must, in his position of
clergyman, have heard somewhat of; so that one need hardly wonder at his
uneasiness when he saw him enter.
For Mary Thornton adored him. The rest of the village disliked and
mistrusted him; but she, with a strange perversity, loved him with her
whole heart and soul. After a few words, the lovers were whispering in
Presently the gate goes again, and another footfall is heard
That is James Stockbridge. I should know that step in a thousand. As he
entered the parlour, John's face grew bright, and he held out his hand
to him; but he got rather a cool reception from the pair at the window.
Old John and he were as father and son, and sat there before the
cheerful blaze smoking their pipes.
"How are your Southdowns looking, Jim?" says the vicar. "How is
"He is very well, sir. He and I are thinking of selling up and going to
New South Wales."
The vicar was "knocked all of a heap" at Jim's announcement; but,
recovering a little, said, "You hear him? He is going to sell his
estate--250 acres of the best land in Devon--and go and live among the
convicts. And who is going with him? Hamlyn, the wise! Oh, dear me! And
what is he going for?"
That was a question apparently hard to answer. Yet I think the real
cause was standing there, with a look of unbounded astonishment upon her
"Going to leave us, James!" she cried. "Why, whatever shall I do without
"Yes, Miss Mary," said James huskily. "I think I may say we've settled
to go. Hamlyn has got a letter from a cousin of his, who is making a
fortune; and besides, I've got tired of the old place somehow lately."
Time went on, and May was well advanced. That had at last reached the
vicar's ears which had driven him to risk a quarrel with his daughter
and forbid George Hawker the house.
George went home one evening and found Madge, the gipsy woman who had
brought him up, sitting before the kitchen fire.
"Well, old woman, where's the old man?"
"Away at Colyton fair," she answered.
"I hope he'll have the sense to stay there to-night He'll fall off his
horse, coming home drunk one night, and be found dead in a ditch."
"Good thing for you if he was."
"Maybe," said George; "but I'd be sorry for him, too."
"He's been a good father to you, George, and I like you for speaking up
for him. He's an awful old rascal, my boy, but you'll be a worse if you
"Now stop that, Madge! I want your help, old girl."
"Ay, and you'll get it, my pretty boy. Bend over the fire, and whisper
in my ear, lad."
"Madge, old girl," he whispered, "I've wrote the old man's name where I
oughtn't to have done."
"What, again!" she answered. "Three times! For God's sake, George, mind
what you're at! Why, you must be mad! What's this last?"
"Why, the five hundred. I only did it twice."
"You mustn't do it again, George. He likes you best of anything next his
money, and sometimes I think he wouldn't spare you if he knew he'd been
robbed. You might make yourself safe for any storm if you liked."
"Marry that little doll Thornton, and get her money."
"Well," said George, "I am pushing that on. The old man won't come
round, and I want her to go off with me; but she can't get up her
But in a few days Mary had consented. They had left the village at
midnight, and were married in London. Within a year George Hawker had
spent all his wife's money, and had told her to her face he was tired of
her. He fell from bad to worse, and finally becoming the ally of a
coiner, was arrested and transported for life.
Mary Hawker, with a baby, tramped her way home to the village she had
_II.--A General Exodus_
The vicar had only slowly recovered from the fit in which he had fallen
on the morning of Mary's departure, to find himself hopelessly
paralytic. When Mary's letter, written just after her marriage, came, it
was a great relief. They had kept from him all knowledge of George
Hawker's forgery, which had been communicated to them by Major Buckley,
old John Thornton's very good friend and near neighbour.
But George' Hawker burnt the loving letters they wrote in reply, and
Mary remained under the impression that they had cast her off. So when,
one bright Sunday morning, old Miss Thornton found a poor woman sitting
on the doorstep, Mary rose, prepared to ask forgiveness. Her aunt rushed
forward wildly, and hugged her to her honest heart.
When they were quieted, Miss Thornton went up to tell the vicar. The
poor old man was far gone beyond feeling joy or grief to any great
extent. Mary, looking in, saw he was so altered she hardly knew him.
The good news soon got up to Major Buckley's, and he was seen striding
up the path, leading the pony carrying his wife and child. While they
were still busy welcoming Mary came a ring at the door. Who but her
cousin, Tom Troubridge? Who else was there to raise her four good feet
from the floor and call her his darling little sister?
This was her welcome home--to the home she had dreaded to come to, where
she had meant to come only as a penitent, to leave her child and go
forth to die.
After dinner, Mrs. Buckley told Mary all the news, how her husband had
heard from Stockbridge, how he and Hamlyn were so flourishing, and had
written such an account of the country that Major Buckley, half
persuaded before, had now made up his mind to go there himself, and Tom
Troubridge was much inclined to go too. Mary was sad to think of losing
them all so soon, but Mrs. Buckley pointed out her father's state gently
to her, and asked her to think what she would do when he was gone. Miss
Thornton said she had made up her mind to go wherever Mary went, if it
were to the other end of the earth.
Scarcely more than a week had passed when another messenger came to old
John Thornton, and one so peremptory that he rose and followed it in the
dead of night.
It was two months yet before the major intended to sail, and long before
they had passed Mary and Miss Thornton had determined to cast in their
lot with the others, and cross the sea towards a more hopeful land.
_III.--The New World_
A new heaven, and a new earth. All creation is new and strange. The
trees, the graceful shrubs, the bright-coloured flowers, ay, the very
grass itself, are of species unknown in Europe, while flaming lories and
brilliant paroquets fly whistling through the gloomy forest, and
overhead countless cockatoos wheel and scream in noisy joy, as we may
see the gulls do in England.
We are in Australia, three hundred and fifty miles south of Sydney, on
the great watershed which divides the Belloury from the Maryburnong.
As the sun was going down, James Stockbridge and I, Geoffry Hamlyn,
reined up our horses and gazed down the long gully at our feet. For five
days we had been passing from run to run, making inquiries about some
cattle we had lost, and were now fifty long miles from home.
At this time Stockbridge and I had been settled in our new home about
two years, and were beginning to get comfortable and settled. We had had
but little trouble with the blacks, and having taken possession of a
fine piece of country, were flourishing and well-to-do. I dismounted to
set right some strap or other, and stood looking at the prospect, glad
to ease my legs for a time, cramped with many hours' riding.
Stockbridge sat immovable and silent as a statue, and I saw that his
heart travelled farther than his eye could reach.
"Jim," said I, "I wonder what is going on at Drumston now?"
"I wonder," he said softly.
"Jim," I began again, "do you ever think of poor little Mary now?"
"Yes, old boy, I do," he replied. "I was thinking of her then--I am
always thinking of her. I wonder if she married that fellow Hawker?"
"I fear there's but little doubt of it," I said. "Try to forget her,
James; you'll make all your life unhappy if you don't."
"That's all very well, Jeff, but it's easier said than done. Do you hear
that? There are cattle down the gully!"
There was some noise in the air beside the evening rustle of the south
wind among the tree-tops. Now it sounded like a far-off hubbub of
waters, now swelled up harmonious, like the booming of cathedral bells
across some rich old English valley on a still summer's afternoon.
"I'll tell you what I think it is, old Jeff; it's some new chums going
to cross the watershed, and look for new country to the south. Let us go
down to meet them; they will come down by the river yonder."
All doubt about what the newcomers were was solved before we reached the
river; so we sat and watched the scene so venerable and ancient--the
patriarchs moving into the desert, to find new pasture-ground.
First came the cattle lowing loudly, then horsemen, six or seven in
number, and last, four drays came crawling up the pass.
Suddenly James dashed forward with a shout, and when I came up with him,
wondering, I found myself shaking hands, talking and laughing, with
Major Buckley and Tom Troubridge.
They told us all the news as we rode with them to the drays, where sat
Mrs. Buckley,--a noble, happy matron, laughing at her son, as he toddled
about busy gathering sticks for the fire. Beside her sat Mary, looking
sad and worn, with her child on her lap, and poor old Miss Thornton,
glancing uneasily round.
Mary sprang up, burst into hysterical weeping. I saw how his big heart
yearned to comfort his old sweetheart in her distress, as he took the
child of his rival to his bosom.
"Is nobody going to notice me or my boy, I wonder?" said Mrs. Buckley.
"Come here immediately, Mr. Stockbridge, before we quarrel."
Soon we were all restored to our equanimity, and laying plans for future
Next morning, with many hearty farewells, and having promised to spend
Christmastide with them, I turned my horse homewards, and went my
solitary way. Jim was going on with them to see them settled.
_IV.--Father and Son_
There is a long period of dull prosperity coming to our friends. Go on
two years. See Baroona, the Buckley's place, now. That hut where we
spent the pleasant Christmas-day is degraded into the kitchen, for a new
house is built--a long, low house, with deep, cool verandas all round,
already festooned with passion flowers, and young grape-vines.
Mary and Miss Thornton had stayed with the Buckleys till good Cousin Tom
had got a house ready for them--a charming house covered with creepers,
and backed by huts, sheep-yards, and all the usual concomitants of a
flourishing Australian sheep-station. This is Toonarbin, where Mary
Hawker is living with her son Charles as happy and uninteresting an
existence as ever fell to the lot of a handsome woman yet. The old dark
days seem like a bad dream. She had heard of her husband's re-conviction
and life sentence--finally death, and George Hawker is as one who has
So sixteen years rolled peacefully away, until Tom Troubridge returned
from a journey up country with news of a great gang of bushrangers being
"out." He had actually sat hob-nob with the captain in a public house,
without knowing it. But his servant, William Lee, an ex-convict, knew
him, and told them that the great Captain Tonan, with whose crimes the
whole country was ringing, was George Hawker himself. Mary's terrible
fear that father and son might meet made her ill and delirious for
weeks; Tom and his trusty servant kept watch, then heard from a passing
cattle-dealer that the gang had been "utterly obliterated" by Captain
Desborough, the chief of police--but the captain had escaped.
Things went on quietly for two months, and no one thought about
bushrangers--but Mary, at her watch up at the lonely forest station--
till one morning Lee's body was found dead in his hut, with a pistol
lying near with "G. Hawker" scratched upon it. A messenger was sent post
haste to fetch Desborough and his troopers, who came, declared the
country in a state of siege, and kept us all staying at Major Buckley's.
We were sitting merrily over our wine one day, when hasty steps came
through the house. The bushrangers had attacked a station not far off,
killed the owner, and were now riding towards Captain Brentford's, the
major's nearest neighbour and old friend. Captain Desborough rose with
deadly wrath in his face. The laughing Irishman was gone, and a stern,
gloomy man stood in his place. But the villains had done their work of
destruction before we reached Garoopm, and gone off to the mountains.
"We shall have them in the morning," said Desborough. "More particularly
as they have in their drunken madness hampered themselves in the
We started before daybreak; each man of us armed with swords and
pistols, and every man knew the use of his weapons well.
As we entered the mouth of the glen to which we were bound, one of the
most beautiful gullies I have ever seen, I turned to the man beside me.
Conceive my horror at finding it was Charles Hawker! I said fiercely,
"Get back, Charles! Go home! You don't know what you're doing, lad."
He defied me. I was speaking to him again when there came a puff of
smoke from the rocks overhead, and down I went, head over heels. A
bullet grazed my thigh, and killed my horse; so that during the fight
that followed, I was sitting on a rock very sick and very stupid.
"They've set a watch," said Captain Desborough. "They'll fight us now;
they can't help it, thank God!"
Then, under the beetling crags, the bushrangers turned like hunted
wolves, and stood at bay. Now the fight became general and confused. All
about among the ferns and flowers men fought, and fired, and cursed.
Shots were cracking on all sides, and two riderless horses were
galloping about neighing.
Desborough fought neither against small nor great, but only against one
man--George Hawker. Him he had sworn he would bring home, alive or dead.
He caught sight of his quarry, and instantly made towards him. As soon
as Hawker saw he was recognised, he made to the left, trying to reach
the only practicable way back to the mountains. They fired at one
another without effect. As the ground got more open, Desborough was
aware of one who came charging recklessly up alongside of him, and
recognised Charley Hawker. He had had no hint of the relationship.
"Good lad," he said; "come on. I must have that fellow before us. He's
the arch-devil of the lot. We must have him!"
"We'll have him safe enough!" said Charles. "Push to the left, captain,
and we shall get him among these fallen rocks."
They pushed forwards, and soon succeeded in bringing him to bay. Alas,
He reined up when he saw escape was impossible, and awaited their
coming. Desborough's horse received a bullet in the chest, and down went
horse and man together. But Charles pushed on till within ten yards of
the bushranger, and levelled his pistol to fire.
For an instant father and son glared on one another as the father made
his aim more deadly. The bullet sped, and the poor boy tumbled from his
saddle, clutching wildly at the grass and flowers--shot through the
chest. Then, ere Desborough had disentangled himself from his fallen
horse, George Hawker rode off laughing--out through the upper rock walls
into the presence of the broad snow-line that rolled above his head in
endless lofty tiers, and made for the broader valley which stretched
There was no pursuit, he thought. How could there be? Who knew of this
route but he and his mates? No creature was stirring, but he must
onwards--onwards, across the snow. Twilight, and then night, and still
the snow but half passed. Strange ghosts and fancies crowd in upon him
thick and fast.
Morning, and the pale ghosts have departed. He reached the gully where
his refuge lay, utterly dispirited, just as the sun was setting. He
turned a sharp angle round an abrupt cliff. He saw a horseman within ten
yards of him--Captain Desborough, holding a pistol to his head! Hungry,
cold, desperate, unarmed--his pistols had gone with his horse over a
precipice--he threw up his arms, and was instantly chained fast to
Desborough's saddle, only to be loosed, he knew, by the gallows.
Without a word on either side they began their terrible journey. They
had gone two or three miles before Hawker said: "That young fellow I
shot when you were after me, is he dead?"
"By this time," said Desborough. "He was dying as I came away."
"Would you mind stopping for a moment, captain? Now tell me who was he?"
"Mr. Charles Hawker, son of Mrs. Hawker, of Toonarbin."
Desborough told me his wild, despairing cry rang in his ears for years
* * * * *
One wild, dreary day in spring, Major Buckley and I were admitted to the
condemned cell in the gaol in Sydney. Before us was a kind of bed place.
On it lay a man with his face buried in the pillow. I advanced towards
him, but the governor held me back.
"My God, sir," he said, "take care! Don't, as you value your life, go
within length of his chain."
The handsome head was raised, and my eyes met George Hawker's. I could
not see the fierce, desperate villain who had kept our country-side in
terror so long; I could only see the handsome, curly-headed boy who used
to play with James Stockbridge and myself in Drumston churchyard! And,
seeing him, and him only, I sat down beside him, and put my arm round
I don't want to be instructed in my duty. My duty as a magistrate was to
stand at the farther end of the cell, and give this hardened criminal a
moral lecture. But I only hung there, with my arm round his neck, and
said, "Oh, George, George!" like a fool.
He put his hands on my shoulders, and looked me in the face, and said,
after a time, "What! Hamlyn? Old Jeff Hamlyn! Jeff, old boy, I'm to be
"I know it," I said. "And I came to ask if I could do anything for you."
"Anything you like, old Jeff," he said, with a laugh, "so long as you
don't get me reprieved. I've murdered my own son, Jeff. Do you know
I answered, "Yes, I know that, George; but you did not know who he was."
"He came at me to take my life," said Hawker. "And I tell you, if I had
guessed who he was, I'd have blown my brains out to save him from the
crime of killing me."
The major came forward, and held out his hand to George Hawker, and
asked him to forgive him; he had been his enemy since they first met.
"Let me tell you, major, I feel more kind and hearty towards you and
Hamlyn for coming to me like this than I've felt towards any man this
twenty years. Time's up, I see. I ain't so much of a coward, am I, Jeff?
Good-bye, old lad, good-bye!"
That was the last we saw of him; the next morning he was executed with
four of his comrades.
* * * * *
After all this, we old folks taking up our residence at Baroona had
agreed to make common house of it. We were very dull at first, but I
remember many pleasant evenings, when we played whist; and Mary Hawker,
in her widow's weeds, sat sewing by the fireside contentedly enough.
But one evening next spring in stalked Tom Troubridge; and, in short, he
took her off with him, and they were married. And I think I never saw a
couple more sincerely attached than she and her husband.
* * * * *
"Ravenshoe" was Henry Kingsley's second novel, and it was
published in 1862, when its author was thirty-two years old.
It will always rank with "Geoffry Hamlyn" as Henry Kingsley's
best work. These two books were their author's favourites
among his own novels, and Charles Ravenshoe was one of his two
favourite characters. It has been said that "Ravenshoe" is
"alive--the expression of a man who worked both with heart and
brain," and few would care to dispute that opinion. For study
of character, wide charity of outlook, brilliant descriptive
writing--as, for instance, in the charge at Balaclava, and
real, not mawkish, pathos--as in the hopeless misery of
Charles, invalided, with only eighteen shillings, out of the
army--"Ravenshoe" will always deserve to be read. It is the
work of a writer who was not ashamed to avow himself an
_I.--Charles Loses His Brother and His Home_
In 1820 Densil lost both his father and mother, and found himself, at
the age of thirty-seven, master of Ravenshoe--an estate worth L10,000 a
year--and master of himself.
Densil was an only son. His father, Peter Ravenshoe, had married Alicia,
daughter of Charles, Earl of Ascot.
The Ravenshoes, an old West of England family, were Catholics; but
Densil's second wife (his first wife died childless in 1816) was a
Protestant, and made her husband promise that all her children, after
her first born, should be brought up Protestant.
Mrs. Ravenshoe bore Densil two sons: Cuthbert, born 1826; Charles, born
On the night Charles was born his mother lay dying, and Densil swore to
her he would keep the promise he had made. And to this vow he was
faithful, in spite of the indignation of Father Mackworth, the resident
Catholic priest at Ravenshoe.
The doctor insisted that a nurse was an immediate necessity, and James
Horton, Densil's devoted servant and head keeper, suggested his wife,
Norah; a proposal that had the doctor's immediate approval.
In due time Charles went to Eton and to Oxford, where he was rusticated
for a term with his friend Lord Welter, Lord Ascot's eldest son, and
fell in love with Adelaide, a penniless young lady, who acted as
companion to old Lady Ascot.
At Ravenshoe, Charles and Mackworth seldom met without a "sparring
match," for to the priest it was intolerable that this house should, in
the event of Cuthbert dying childless, pass into Protestant hands.
On the other hand, it was natural that a considerable amount of
familiarity, and a most sincere and hearty affection, should exist
between Charles and his servant and foster-brother, William Horton. Till
Charles went to Shrewsbury he had never had another playfellow, for his
brother Cuthbert was reserved and bookish; and the friendship between the
two had grown with age.
One other inmate of Ravenshoe must be mentioned--this was little Mary
Corby, who was saved miraculously from the wreck of the Warren Hastings
when Charles was about ten. She was the daughter of Captain Corby, and
when the ship went down in fifteen fathoms of water, the mate, assisted
by fishermen, and encouraged by Densil, managed to get the little girl
to shore, and to Ravenshoe--for the house was not far from the cliffs.
In spite of Densil's letters and inquiries, no friends came forward to
claim little Mary, then a child of nine, and in three months she was
considered as a permanent member of the household. And the night before
Charles went to school he told her of his grand passion for Adelaide.
On the day of the Oxford and Cambridge boat-race, when Charles rowed
three in the winning boat, Densil Ravenshoe died, after two days'
illness. Old James Horton's death occurred at the same time. Charles
hurried home in time for the funeral, and when all was over a servant
came up to him, and asked him would he see Mr. Ravenshoe in the library?
Charles entered the library with William, who had also been sent for.
Charles went up silently and kissed his brother on the forehead. For a
few minutes Cuthbert neither moved nor spoke, while Charles greeted
Mackworth civilly. William stood at a little distance, looking uneasily
from one to another.
Cuthbert broke the silence, and as he spoke Charles, by some instinct,
laid his hand on William's shoulder.
"I sent for you," he said, "on business which must be gone through with,
though I expect it will kill me. I should like to prepare you for what
is to come, but the blow would be equally severe whether you expect it
or not. You two who stand there were nursed at the same breast. That
groom on whose shoulder you have your hand now is my real brother; you
are no relation to me--you are the son of the faithful old servant whom
we buried to-day with my father!"
Charles at once asked for proofs and witnesses, and Mackworth took up
"Your mother was Norah, James Horton's wife. James Horton was Densil
Ravenshoe's half-brother, and the illegitimate son of Peter. She
confessed to me the wicked fraud she practised, and has committed that
confession to paper. I hold it. You have not a point of ground to stand
on. You have been living in luxury and receiving an expensive education
when you should have been cleaning out the stable."
Charles's heart died away within him.
"Cuthbert," he said, "you are a gentleman. Is this true?"
"God knows how terribly true it is!" said Cuthbert quietly.
Father Mackworth handed the paper, signed by his mother, to him, and
Charles read it. It was completely conclusive. William also read it, and
Cuthbert spoke again in his quiet, passionless voice.
"My intention," he said, "is to make a provision of L300 a year for this
gentleman, whom till the last few days I believed to be my brother. Less
than twenty-four hours ago, Charles, I offered Father Mackworth L10,000
for this paper, with a view to destroying it. You see what a poor weak
rogue I am, and what a criminal I might become with a little temptation.
Father Mackworth did his duty and refused me!"
"You acted like yourself, Cuthbert. Like one who would risk body and
soul for one you loved. But it is time that this scene should end. I
utterly refuse the assistance so nobly offered. I go forth alone into
the world to make my own way, or to be forgotten. It only remains to say
good-bye. I leave this house without a hard thought towards any one in
it. I am at peace with all the world. Father Mackworth, I beg your
forgiveness. I have often been rude and brutal to you. Good-bye!"
He shook hands with Mackworth, then with William, and lastly he went up
to Cuthbert and kissed him on the cheek; and then walked out of the door
into the hall.
"I am going to follow him, wherever he goes," said William. "If he goes
to the world's end, I will be with him!"
_II.--Charles Loses Himself_
Charles fled from Ravenshoe for London in the middle of the night,
determined that William should not follow him. But he could not bear to
go out and seek fortune without seeing Adelaide. So he called at
Ranford, Lord Ascot's seat, only to learn that Adelaide had eloped with
Lord Welter. The two were married when he afterwards saw them in London.
Charles had to tell his story to old Lady Ascot, and when he had gone
she said to herself, "I will never keep another secret after this. It
was for Alicia's sake and for Peter's that I did it, and now see what
has become of me!"
In London, Charles Ravenshoe committed suicide deliberately. He did not
hang himself or drown himself; he hired himself out as groom--being
perfectly accomplished in everything relating to horses--to Lieutenant
Hornby, of the 140th Hussars; and when the Crimean War broke out,
enlisted, under the name of Simpson, as a trooper in Hornby's regiment.
On October 25 Charles was at Balaclava. They went down hill, straight
towards the guns, and almost at once the shot from them began to tell.
Charles was in the second line, and the men in the front line began to
fall terribly fast as they rode into the narrowing valley. It was
impossible to keep line. Presently the batteries right and left opened
on them, and those who were there engaged can give us very little idea
of what followed in the next quarter of an hour. They were soon among
the guns--the very guns that had annoyed them from the first--and
Charles, and two or three others known to him, were hunting some Russian
artillerymen round these guns for a minute or so.
He saw also at this time a friend of his--a cornet--on foot, and rode to
his assistance. He caught a riderless horse, and the cornet mounted.
Then the word was given to get back again, and as they turned their
faces to get out of this terrible hell, poor Charles gave a short, sharp
scream, and bent down in his saddle over his horse's neck.
It was nothing. It was only as if one were to have twenty teeth pulled
out at once. The pain was over in an instant. His left arm seemed nearly
dead, but he could hold his reins in a way. He saw Hornby before him,
and his own friends were beside him again, and there was a rally and a
charge. At guns? No. At men this time--Russian hussars--right valiant
fellows, too. He could do but little himself. He rode at a Russian, and
unhorsed him; he remembers seeing the man go down. They beat them back,
and then turned and rode--for it was time.
As the noise of the battle grew fainter behind them, he looked around to
see who was riding beside him and holding him by the right arm. It was
the little cornet. Charles wondered why he did so.
"You're hard hit, Simpson," said the cornet. "Never mind. Keep your
saddle a little longer. We shall be all right directly."
Charles looked down, and noticed that his left arm was hanging numbed by
his side, and that a trooper was guiding his horse.
Soon they were among English faces, and English cheers rang out in
welcome to their return, but it was nothing to him; he kept his eye,
which was growing dim, on Hornby, and when he saw him fall off his
saddle into the arms of a trooper, he dismounted, too, and staggered
The world seemed to go round and round, and he felt about him like a
blind man. But he found Hornby somehow. Presently a doctor was bending
Later, they found Hornby dead and cold, with his head on Charles's lap.
Charles had been struck by a ball in the bone of his arm, and the
splinters were driven into the flesh, though the arm was not broken. It
was a nasty business, said the doctors. All sorts of things might happen
to him. Only one thing was certain, and that was that Charles
Ravenshoe's career in the army was over for ever.
At home they all believed him dead, for William had traced him to Varna,
and there had been informed that his foster-brother had died of cholera.
The change of name was partly responsible for this, for among the dead
or living there was no signs of Charles Ravenshoe.
But he recovered, after a long spell in the hospital at Scutari, and
after a time was sent home to Fort Pitt. But that mighty left arm, which
had done such noble work when it belonged to No. 3 in the Oxford
University Eight, was useless; and Charles Simpson, trooper of the
140th, was discharged from the army, and found himself on Christmas Eve
in the street with eighteen shillings and ninepence in his pocket,
wondering blindly what the end would be, but no more dreaming of begging
from those who had known him formerly than of leaping off Waterloo
_III.--The Last Eighteen Shillings_
Charles's luck seemed certainly to have deserted him at last. He had got
to spend his Christmas with eighteen shillings and a crippled left arm,
and had nothing left to trust to but his little friend, the cornet, who
had come home invalided, and was living with his mother in Hyde Park
The cornet welcomed him with both hands, and, hearing from Charles of
his plight, said, "Now, I know you are a gentleman, and I may offend
you, but, if you are utterly hard up, take service with me. There!"
"I will do so with the deepest gratitude," said Charles. "But I cannot
ride, I fear. My left arm is gone."
"Pish! Ride with your right. It's a bargain."
Then Charles went upstairs, and was introduced to the cornet's mother.
He accepted his new position with dull carelessness. Life was getting