« EelmineJätka »
just uttering some jesting speech, that lady who had come to town in the same coach with us, and whose young companion had so pleased me; 'twas almost like seeing a friend's face, for wretchedly friendless I felt, and I continued gazing at her.
• You are looking at the Grandison, I see,' said my lord at my elbow ; perhaps you know her ? not by that name, I'll bet—but 'tis a monstrous fine name for the stage, and she is a monstrous fine woman too, even without her present trappings; and she hath a pretty demure niece, who needs no such adornments—she does not come on in this play, I think. “Is her name Grandison ?' I said. (I had meant not to utter a word.) “Nay, who knows what her name is ? ' sneered he; “but we call her Bab Durham. She is well-nigh as charming as yourself, sweet Phyllis-I would give a great deal to see you together.' So would I, I thought-I am sure she would help me—and I said quite aniably, 'I would gladly afford you that pleasure—could you induce her to come here ?' •She wouldn't lift a finger to please me; she hates me monstrously, I do believe; 'tis not many ladies do that,' said he, with a foolish smile; and then I began to see he was not sober ; but if you will favour me with your company behind the scenes, it could be done.' 'No,' I said hastily, for I thought that would be folly. “It's too late to say No,' said he, getting up and drawing my hand through his arm, 'we'll have no blowing hot and cold in one breath, pretty madam ; you said you would oblige me,' and I had barely time to whisper Patty to come with me before we were leaving the box, my lord saying loudly to his friend, “Stay where you are, Jack-never mind if your charming partner does desert you; she can't help her good taste, can she ?' Fields looked very black upon us, but had not courage to move a finger. I wonder what hold these folks have on him. My lord was not too steady in his walk, and muttered very ugly words when he chanced to stumble ; but he must have guided us honestly, for at last we came to a strange untidy little room, full of odds and ends of finery, where our friend of the stage-coach was sitting solitary, with a book in her hand, and looking strangely out of place in her quiet, modest dress, and with her mild, patient look, among all that glittering trash. She uttered a little startled cry when my lord said thickly, Mrs. Durham,' and she looked up frightened; but her look changed to a wonderful tenderness when she saw who we were. • I've brought you two ladies who have a great fancy for your acquaintance,' said he ; that should earn your forgiveness for all my sins, for 'tis not often you have such an honour. And I'll give you five minutes to perfect the friendship
_’tis monstrous dry work listening, and so you will excuse me,' and he bowed himself out—a rash proceeding, for he was very near tripping and falling as he did so,
He will go to the tavern now,' said the girl, looking relieved, at least I lope co—but he will soon. return, doubtless.
How came you into such company, sweet madam ?' She looked very pale, and Patty had begun to cry. 'I will tell you gladly how we came into it,' I said in haste, 'if you will lend us your help to get away and get home while we can.'
'You shall have all the help I can give,' she said, trembling. 'I will have a coach fetched at once,' and stepping to a door I had not noticed, she spoke to some one within it; then returning, she said, William was here waiting for his mother, he will soon help us to a and if you do not disdain
my company, I will
't will give me time to avoid that man's return.' I had not thought that sluggish-looking youth could have managed things so quickly, but it did not seem full five minutes before he put his head into the room, saying, 'Come this way, Bab—you will find all ready;' and following him down the ill-lighted stairs to the side door, we were soon all three hidden in a hackney-coach, and jolting over the stones on our homeward way.
We told our friend then how those men had forced themselves on us, and how Fields had seemed afraid to resent it.
'It is no great wonder,” she said. “I know the name you mention. I have heard it mixed with theirs in more than one story which it is not prudent to talk of. And yet—it is strange that any one trusted with you should not keep you from having speech with Lord Robert; 'tis almost an infamy to know him-even poor I feel it so.
Just now he was luckily half-drunk,' she added, and then there's a sort of softness and good-nature about him ; but at other times!' she stopped with a shudder. We were come by this time to uncle's door, where we stopped, and I prayed her to alight, and receive the thanks of our friends. She hesitated not a little, and Patty whispered me, 'Let her go back quietly, and then father need never know where we have been, or with whom ;' but that was not my mind, and I had drawn her almost to the door, she still hanging back, when the door opened from within, and John came out upon us.
He looked a little surprised, but he spoke courteously as a gentleman should (I own I thought just then how much better he would become a title than some folks who were born to one), and asked if the young lady would not come in ?
'I am scarce fit for the society of this house, Sir,' she said with a proud humility; 'I am but a poor player-girl, and it was at the theatre I met these ladies ; but it has been my good fortune to help them out of some very ill company they have been betrayed into there, and that is why you see me here. John urged her to enter with still more courtesy, but she said hurriedly, 'I am attending my aunt, and have but just time to return;' and he had some trouble even to get from her her address, ' My mother will wish to thank you herself,' he said. She bowed silently, and stepping into the coach was driven off, while we went in to confess and be forgiven if we could. I would not willingly have been poor Mrs. Pat just then. When we got our tale stammered out in snatches, such a look of grief and care came into uncle's eyes, and he said, “ Ah, child, wilt thou never learn how slippery are the ways of deceit ?' while she pouted and sobbed; “I meant no harm,' she said.
But I think both uncle and aunt were so thankful for the little harm done, that they were very easy with us, and indeed seemed pleased when I said, 'I hated plays, and never wished to see another. I shall have no more dealings with Antony Fields while I am here, ’tis certain; that is a blessing; and yet I feel rather doleful. John got wondrous eloquent in praise of poor Mrs. Durbam, so gentle and modest a creature, he said, was too good for that wretched
of life, she ought to be rescued from it; perhaps he may be trying to rescue her himself, he is enough of a Don Quixote for anything.
HOW TO MAKE A FRESH-WATER AQUARIUM.
BY THE REV. NEHEMIAH CURNOCK. HA
AVE you ever tried to make an aquarium ? If not, let me advise
you to do so. But perhaps you have tried, and failed ; then try again, your failure is one step towards success. You will learn more by actual experiment, than by all the book-teaching in the world. Only remember that in the kingdom of Nature King Try' can do but little without his Queen Consort, and, more frequently than not, before King' Try’and Queen • Try' are able to accomplish anything worth speaking about, they have to call in their eldest son, Prince
Try again. In that terrible winter, 1847-8, when the Chartists were marching with bread or blood ’ banners every night past the Minister's house in a certain Yorkshire town, it became unsafe for the Minister's boy to go to the grammar school where they used to thrash Church collects and Latin exercises into his hapless brain. So, to keep the child out of mischief, his mother sent him across the road to an elementary school, where he learnt one elementary lesson which has stuck to him through life like a good angel :
• If at first yon don't succeed,
Try, try, TRY again.' Now let us see whether, by the help of this royal trio, we cannot succeed in making an aquarium. Because if we do succeed, we shall have a little water-world all to ourselves, in which we can see water
plants grow, and various creatures live and feed, and fight and work, and play and multiply.
We will suppose you cannot afford to spend much money or much time. Then go to a glass and china shop, and ask for a big showglass, and three or four small ones : for a few shillings you can buy all you need. Take them home, and wash them perfectly clean. For the rest, you require sand, in which to root the plants; a few stones, the more varied in colour and form the better; a strong net; three glass marmalade jars in a basket ; and a spoon. The sand may be of
any kind, provided it is not mixed with lime. To free it from all other impurity, put it in a large vessel under the tap, and let the water run upon it whilst you stir it round and round. Occasionally pour all the water off and begin again. It is a good plan, after you have washed the sand, to bake it in a hot oven; this will destroy germs of vegetable life, and prevent the growth of conferve on the sides of your aquarium; the stones also will be none the worse for a good roasting. A heat of 140° F., continued for half-an-hour, will destroy most germs, though not all, as Mr. Dallinger will tell you. The net you can make yourself, for a few pence: a long brush-handle ; a ring of very stout brass wire, about ten or twelve inches in diameter and the ends turned down three inches and flattened ; a long length of whipcord with which to bind the ring by its flattened ends upon the wooden handle; and a bag of strong, coarse sacking, through which water will run and nothing else,—these materials will give you a net with which you can catch anything, provided you are not too proud to carry it to the nearest pond. If you want a more elegant apparatus, send to my friend Mr. Siddall, at the Cross, Chester-one of Nature's own naturalists—and for a few shillings he will make you a zoologist's net fit for a duke, and a pond-stick too, or almost anything you may require to enable you to poke into the holes and crannies in which Nature hides some of her oddest creatures.
And what do we want the spoon for? Well, I am taking it for granted that at present you are just a little weak, and have no fancy for the actual handling of such crawly creatures as we are likely to find in the net when we begin our work; moreover, there are a few spiteful people down in the water world, as in other worlds, who might think it worth their while to give you an uncomfortable bite or stab. After a while you will know who's who, and will find out exactly where the beasts' weapons are, and how to seize without being seized. Moreover, familiarity will breed—not contempt-but affection, and loving the creatures, you will not fear them, and they will not fear you, and for that reason they will not attempt to harm you. I have been told that in certain parts of the Far West it is not safe to travel with a revolver. A weapon implies fear, and amongst men who adopt the brute law that might is right,' fear exasperates and invites attack. Certain it is that among creatures great and small the entire absence of fear gives back to man a not inconsiderable part of his lost dominion. It is a well-known fact that bees will rarely sting a person who not only shows no fear, but actually has none. A very curious illustration of this comes to my remembrance: a country-woman kept bees, more for love than money. Her hives stood near the cottage door, among the roses for which her garden was famous. On summer afternoons, when the work of the house was done, this bee-mistress used to take her sewing and sit in the sunshine close to the hives, and the bees would buzz around and alight upon her-she fearing no evil, and they doing no harm.
Is it a long way from that little English garden, with its bees and roses, to Daniel's Babylon, with its vicious men and peaceful lions? Or from Daniel's Babylon to our Lord's temptation-wilderness, where, Mark tells us, He was “ with the wild beasts' ? I think not; the woman has long since passed to that city of peace from which the fearful' are for ever shut out, and therefore I may speak to you freely about her. It was a fact, as 'ascertained' and scientific' as any of the facts so industriously accumulated by Mr. Darwin, that her Christian faith made her, in relation to God, to her husband and neighbours, and also to her bees and roses, what she was. She loved all the creatures of God, human and otherwise, animate and inanimate, because she loved God. And Daniel feared not the lions, because he feared not man, and feared not to do that which he believed to be right: he feared not, because he loved God, and even the place where God's honour dwelt. And how could the Son of Man fear, when He went into the wilderness of His temptation, with the voice from heaven ringing in his ears, 'This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.'
But we are wandering far away from the business in hand, which is, how to catch and keep a small part of the life of the nearest waterworld. Now, taking it for granted that you are as yet quite inexperienced, and the least bit timid, I would advise you to put a spoon into one of the wide-necked bottles, by the help of which the water-beasts may be safely and pleasantly handled. And now do not think I am going to make up an imaginary pond in which all kinds of impossible Natural-history feats are going to be accomplished. Everything I may describe in subsequent papers has been seen with my own eyes or done with my own hands, in ponds the like of which can be found almost anywhere. Given similar surroundings, and you may be tolerably sure, at the proper season of the year, to find similar forms of life.