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Our French Professor, . 352, 368, 385
Man in Possession, a,
ence in India, .
Slight Scare, a,
the Old Coaching-days,
Ants, Bees, and Wasps, by Sir
Gaelic Proverbs, edited by Sheriff
Herring and the Herring-fishery,
Notes and Jottings from Animal
All Day, Hiram looked about
Heroes of Science, by Professor
Antipodes, Meat from the,
Bess! a Character Sketch,
Book Titles, Concerning,
Cancale and its Fisheries,
Conjurer Outwitted, the,
Case of Foster-nursing,. 263
Disease Germs, .
47 Londón, Odd Nooks of,
Felix Dean's Adventure,
99 Future of Road-travelling,. 311
374 Fishery Exhibitions,
SO Going Forth to Labour (w. c.), . 313
724 Highland Collie and her adopted
Ingenious Smugglers, the,
Lambeth Art Pottery,
Life in Egypt, European,
233 Mr Superintendent's Test,
229 Music, Royal College of,.
on the Surface of Oranges, 312
North Uist, Rod and Line in-
86 Secrets of Success,
503 Servant-girl Question,
553 Singular Delusions, some,
519 Slight Scare, a,
436 Small Folk's Postbag,
Remarkable Dreams, more,
Wards of Court, Marriage of,
112 Well of St Keyne,
Sea Stories for the Young,
Seamy Side of Human Nature,
Snake-poison, Experiments with, 71
Some Modern Changes,
Song and Sympathy, .
Story of an Old Coat,.
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.
No. 941.-VOL. XIX.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 1882.
A STORY OF THE PRIMROSE WAY.
BY DAVID CHRISTIE MURRAY, AUTHOR OF A LIFE'S ATONEMENT,' 'JOSEPH'S COAT,' &c.
CHAPTER I.-HIRAM SEARCH.
A DUSTY, hilly road wound up and down, here | renewed look of anxiety, he made another search in broad light, there in deep shadow. It was a in his waistcoat pockets; and again he smiled sweltering English summer day, and there was as he drew forth a single lucifer-match. Balancno wind; but a dry quiver was in the air at ing this between his finger and thumb, and times, as though the parched earth panted. The regarding it as though it were in some sort a birds chirped in feeble enjoyment of the drowsy curiosity, he opened his lips and broke into heat, and the grasshopper shrilled incessantly from speech. cool and tangled grasses. A lame traveller came toiling up a stiffish slope in the lane, bearing a bundle on his shoulder. The bundle, which was bare and scanty, was slung on a walking-stick with a crook at the end of it. Arrived at the top of the slope, the lame traveller sat down in shadow on a smooth table of rock which cropped out beneath an elder-bush. He was lank in build, and sallow in complexion. His nose and his beard were each long and pointed, his cheekbones were prominent, his cheeks sunken, and his eyes as bright as a hawk's. The stone on which he sat was in an English lane, and a true English landscape smiled and dozed around him; but he, though dressed in a commonplace English costume, was evidently foreign to the scene. In age he might have been anything from five-andtwenty to five-and-thirty.
'I dew not think,' he said, in slow distinct and nasal tones, 'as there was ever anybody in my fam'ly as was gifted with mi-racklous powers. The professed spiritualist is not an animal I feel called upon to admire. But if I am not an unwillin' medium, there never was, an' never will be, sech a phenomenon on the face of the universal globe. There ain't a breath of air stirrin' at this minute; but this is the last lucifermatch I have, an' I've on'y got to strike it to raise some gentle zephyr that'll just come round the one corner that ain't guarded an' blow it out. Now, that's a remarkable fact, an' illustraytive of my general luck. An' if anybody was to be here, an' I was to bet on the zephy the atmosphere would lie in dead stillness till this match had burned clean through, an' then most likely it'd blow a tornado just to rile me.' He spoke with a look and voice of weary gravity. "This old country ain't so thick crowded as I used to fancy; or if it is, it's my luck that drives the people off any road I happen to be travellin'. If this lucifer don't strike, or if it blows out, or the pipe won't draw, I shan't see a human creetur for ten mile. If by any chance I get a light, I shall prob'ly find a boxful on the road, immediately after. Ay, ay. Things re'ly air contrairy.'
The seat he had taken being a low one, and his figure tall and gaunt, his knees were ungracefully prominent. He sat in an attitude of great fatigue, his head drooping, and his arms hanging loose at his sides. After a time, he shook off this broken look, and began to explore his waistcoat pockets with an aspect of anxiety. A smile crossed his features; and between finger and thumb he drew out a very little bit of twist tobacco. This he shredded with an enormous pocket-k, and packed carefully into the bowl ked clay-pipe. Then, with a
He made grimly elaborate preparations for lighting the match. He took off his broad-brimmed
felt hat, laid it above his knees, and drew himself back upon the stone until the hat and his legs made a little cave of safety for the lucifer. Then he rubbed the end of the match gently on a bit of roughened stone, and smiled to see the flame. He gave an anticipatory pull at his pipe, smiled again, bent above the light, and pulled gently till flame and tobacco just kissed each
other. Then came disaster.
If the weary traveller had turned his head, he might have seen through the parted boughs of the elder-bush a sun-tanned healthy face with a pair of honest gray eyes alive with fun. A young man clad in a suit of dark tweed lay with his elbows on the grass, with his chin supported on his hands. The band of his hat was stuck full of flies, and a disjointed fishing-rod lay on the grass beside him. The strap of his creel pulling tightly at his shoulder, seemed to indicate prosperity in sport. Close to his sun-tanned cheek were the hairy face, black muzzle, and glittering eye of a broken-haired terrier. The dog's hind-legs quivered with readiness to obey an expected order, and his black nose wrinkled and his eyes glittered as if he understood the coming mischief. At the critical second recorded, the young man slightly raised his head and gave an almost imperceptible wave of the right hand. With a bark and a leap the terrier flew through the hedge, and lighting on the traveller's shoulders for the fraction of a second, bounded over his head, twisted himself round and barked himself backward along the dusty road, recoiling at each explosion like a canine cannon. The traveller dropped the extinguished match and reached out in sudden anger for a stone. Before his hand had secured the missile, he drew it back again. "Tain't no use throwin' stones at Destiny,' he said resignedly. I might ha' been prepared for it. I'd rather it had been the gentle zephyr, though, because then I might ha' took credit for bein' a prophet. But even that consolation 'd be tew much for a man like me to look for.'
The unseen auditor was grave, as if his jest had failed. There was even a slight look of shame upon his face.
'I meant to ha' made that smoke do for dinner,' soliloquised the traveller mournfully. He turned to one side and untied the lean bundle. 'Ridicalous small sum of money twopence is, ain't it? An' a ridicalous small amount o' bread an' cheese it buys. Wal, Hiram, you've played the prodigal; an' I reckon you'll ha' to come down to the swine-husks yet. Hand 'em in at once; I'm game for 'em. I'm holler enough to be ready to fill up with nigh a'most anythin'.-Hello! Air you hungry?'
This query was addressed to the dog, who finding himself in safety, had at first sat down to bark in comfort; and now seeing the bundle open, crossed over to the traveller with something of the air of a friend dropping in casually to dine. The man broke off a small- -a very small piece of bread and offered it. The terrier walked round it, sniffed at it, winked at it with both eyes, then gravely seating himself in the dust, yawned and looked into space with a mighty pretence of not having seen the proffered bread at all, and of being there quite accidentally for some altogether different end.
'No,' said the traveller, deliberately masticating
the rejected morsel; 'you air not hungry. When you air, you'll know better'n turn your nose up at dry bread. An' I'll tell you what 'tis, my ca-nine friend, I hope you never may be. Hunger's a real cruel thing for man or beast to suffer a real cruel thing it is. If you'd the brains to have the heart, you'd be nigh on cryin' to see a citizen of the Great Republic takin' his last meal with a hunderd an' fifty mile afore him, an' blank starvation at the end of it.-Goin', are you? Wal, good-bye. I s'pose my conversation's kind o' dull to a prosperous dog like you.'
The dog saw what the traveller did not see; he saw his master rise noiselessly behind the hedge and slouch along beside it with wary footsteps; and he followed. The young man shook a warning finger at the terrier; and he, comprehending the sign, went quietly in his master's train. By-and-by the young man, being out of earshot of the lame traveller, began to run and the dog still kept at his heels. Reaching a stile, the master halted there, and kneeling in the grass, beckoned the dog to him. Then detaching a joint of the fishing-rod from the bundle, he motioned the terrier to take it. 'Home, at once!' he said with a warning finger raised once more. With a wag of the tail, the dog took the slender joint between his teeth and trotted gravely towards a lofty white house which stood upon the slope of a hill a mile away. The dog's master sat down upon the stile, and drawing from his pocket a well-stocked cigar-case, he began to smoke. The cigar-case bore a monogram and a crest; and its owner, though plainly attired, looked like an English gentleman from head to heel. His broad shoulders and deep chest gave indications of physical strength and soundness, and his tanned cheeks were ruddy with health. His face was not remarkably handsome, but he was goodlooking enough to pass in a crowd; and his bronzed hand swept now and again over moustache which gave character and manliness to his countenance. The carriage of his head was perhaps a trifle haughty; but he was an only son, and was accustomed to having his own way. That circumstance may have helped to decide the fashion in which he should carry his head on his shoulders. His figure was almost perfect in its combination of strength and grace; and there was that exquisitely clean and healthy look about him which is the especial attribute of the well-bred British man. When the lame traveller, having finished his scanty meal, came limping down the lane with the lean bundle still over his shoulder, he caught sight of the figure a hundred yards away, and scanned him with keen
'Old country,' he said to himself voicelessly, 'boasts of a likely-lookin' sort o' people. Clean grit all through, some on 'em, an' lots of it, but no lumber. Now, that's a lord o' the sile, I reckon. Looks born to order other folks around while he slides along easy.' Then he caught sight of the cigar. Guess, I'll come on him for a light,' he said; and his lank hand sought the pocket in which his pipe reposed. 'No,' he continued in an irresolute voice; 'can't ventur on that bit o' consolation yet. I shall ha' to keep that for supper; but I may as well get a light, though.' He limped on with one gaunt arm jerking at his side, and with his scanty bundle