« EelmineJätka »
driving the old practical one out of the field. | visible in every one of the revolutions, and The victory of science over habit and custom goes to the extent of leaving even to the pub having thus been satisfactorily established, lic the duty of giving names to the new King Louis Philippe, in 1837, passed another weights and measures. On the important law, repealing that of 1812, and rendering question whether the new standards of meas it penal, not only to use the old system, urement which are henceforth to be in legal but even to keep the old weights and meas- use, side by side with the old ones, shall be ures in shops, warehouses, or offices. Since denominated by the Greco-French terms in then the system of Laplace and Condorcet use among our Gallic neighbors, or be de has had all its own way, and at the present scribed in good English words, the select moment no other is known, even in the re- committee is absolutely mute. Yet it is in motest districts of France. Most of the con- this that lies the real difficulty of the matter. tinental countries, among them Belgium, It was very justly observed by Mr. DrinkwaHolland, Sardinia, Tuscany, Spain, Portugal, ter Bethune, one of the parliamentary comSwitzerland, and Greece, have also adopted missioners in 1841, that it is much easier to the metric system, and Russia is preparing change values than to change names ; and to do the same. The Teutonic States of Eu- Mr. Quincey Adams made the same remark rope, however, and with them Great Britain, while inquiring into the decimal system for have as yet withstood the voice of science, and introducing it into the United States. The kept to habit and custom. It is an exem- great repugnance of the French people, for plification of the whole growth of Teutonic more than twenty years, to adopt the new life-abhorring violence, and adhering to the law of weights and measures, was not so slow development of time and nature. much owing to the alteration in values and
The parliamentary commission which dis- quantities, but to that of names, which fact cussed during last session the whole question is abundantly proved by the whole literature of weights and measures decided that Eng on the subject published during the period land, too, shall accept the metric system ; from 1794 to 1812. But if the French did but, under this proviso, “ that no compulsory not like the long words " hectometre," " kilmeasures shall be resorted to until they are ometre," " myriametre," " decimetre," and sanctioned by the general conviction of the so forth, as denominating measures, and the public.” To carry out the system, it is rec-words, " kilogramme,” 6 kilolitre,” etc., as ommended that a “ Department of Weights describing weights, the English can far less and Measures " be established in connection be expected to adopt them with anything with the Board of Trade, entrusted with the like good-will. Even in France many of the conservation and verification of the standards, old names of weights and measures are still as well as the duty of making the metric sys- in daily use, although, as already said, the tem known to the public. To aid in this new system has been completely adopted. object, the Committee of Council of Educa-||
For What would seem, therefore, most reasonation shall order the metric system to be taught
ble, is that before introducing metres and kil
ometres into this country as proposed by the in all the schools receiving Government last parliamentary commission, some idiogrants ; and it shall furthermore be included matic nomenclature should be settled and in papers of competitive examinations for the fixed upon, ready to be bestowed upon the civil service. Lastly, Government shall sanc- strangers from abroad. The metric system, tion the use of the metric system in the levy-according to the select committee, must ineying of the Customs duties shall publish thaitably come upon us, for the simple reason ing of the Customs' duties ; shall publish the tably come upon us, to statistics of income and expenditure in terms hro
that our present non-system has become cum
brous and inconvenient, and that as it would of the metric system, and shall interdict the be unwise and almost impossible to invent a employment of any other weights and meas new one, all that remains is to adopt the ures but the metric and imperial, “ until the system already in use over the greater part metric has been generally adopted." All of Europe. « The metric system is ready these recommendations of the select commit- made to our hands,'' is the sum total of partee are evidently based on the experience
doubtedly true. But it is equally so that the gained by the introduction of the decimalla
| Greco-Gallic names of the new system are by system in France, in the two periods of 1794 no means ready made to our tongues, and beto 1812, and 1812 to 1837. The fear of en- fore gaining naturalization will have to go tering the road of compulsory legislation is through the old Anglo-Saxon mill.
From The Cornhill Magazine. 'Twas so strange, BO very strange she SIBYL'S DISAPPOINTMENT. thought, this dread and repugnance she could The gentlemen were still lingering over not help feeling for Isabel ; she remembered no their wine or their conversation in the dining- sensation like it save one thrilling moment room below, but the ladies had flocked up- of terror in Wales, when she trod upon a stairs into the little drawing-room, and were snake, saw it rear its baleful head and hiss clustered over the ottoman and cushioned at her, then wriggle away through the tall seats, which furnished the deep bay-window grass, which stirred in its tops as the wind looking through the thick summer leafage of stirs it when it is low; and nestling lower the trees in the Close towards the minster. amongst the cushions of the ottoman, she The hour was drawing on towards sunset, turned half away to avoid her cousin's gaze, the sunset of a rich August evening; and the and into the full light of the setting sun crimson light that suffused the cloud-flakes which wrapt her from head to foot in its of the sky reflected a soft roseate blush on all warm glow. faces. These faces were five, two matronly, “When you invited Aunt Mary and Sibyl three youthful. Lady Anne Vernon, the out of their seclusion in Wales to enjoy the dean's wife, and her widowed sister, Lady modest gaieties of Hillminster, you did not Mary Rivers, were the matrons; the maidens think you were introducing so dangerous a were their children, Julia and Isabel Vernon, rival amongst the well-known belles of your and Sibyl Rivers.
own town and county, did you mamma?” Julia and Isabel Vernon were fine young went on Julia, appealing to Lady Anne with women of four and five and twenty, well bred mock seriousness. “ But you found out your and well educated, but not dowered with the mistake last night, when you saw how Sibyl's fatal gift of beauty ; Sibyl Rivers was a spoilt grace and newness piqued the jaded admirachild, lovely as a May morning, sweet as vio- tion of the men, while your own girls endured lets, fresh as dew; all manner of things fair even more than their usual neglect. I always and fragrant rose to the mind to compare felt that mamma was deficient in the first with her.
qualifications of a chaperone, Aunt Mary, and The ladies' after-dinner talk was drowsy at we suffer for it.” the beginning, as such talk commonly is, but “My dear Ju!” remonstrated her mother, it brightened into vivacity by and by, over but Lady Mary smiled kindly on her outlast night's race ball, where Sibyl had made spoken niece. her début, and had achieved without effort She saw a vista opening out from that that intoxicating triumph and success which crowded whirl where her dear little Sibyl are all the more delicious from being wholly shone brightest and fairest, ending in a good unanticipated.
husband and a happy home such as her own “Yes, Aunt Mary, Sir John Needham said, married life had never known. For Lady and Mr. Digby Stuart, whose word is law, Mary had made a runaway match with a solemnly agreed with him, that your Sibyl handsome Irish subaltern, and she had been was the very prettiest three-year-old that reaping the consequences ever since in penhad come out in Hillminster since Lady Ray- ury and neglect. Lieutenant Rivers died mond's year,” said Julia Vernon, who was when Sibyl was about ten years old ; and good-natured, and had no moral scruples since that event, which nobody but his illabout making Sibyl yain.
used wife deplored, she had hidden herself in, “If only this dear little head be not Wales, teaching her child herself, and doing turned !" whispered Lady Mary, shaking her best to avoid those errors in the training her own as she stroked her daughter's glossy of her darling which had been the source of hair. The possessor of the dear little head her own long trials and troubles. in question shook it in reply, looking rosily. Thus far Sibyl had answered well to her delighted; but just in the crisis of her happy loving care. She was not by any means a blush she caught her cousin Isabel watching perfect character, for pride was rank in her; her with cold, scornful eyes, and shuddered her feelings were impetuous, her passions as old wives say we shudder when some foot strong, and her will weak. But she had no treads on the place of our grave that is to small jealousies, no irksome vanities. be.
| The dean had taken to her with a sponta-THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 1047
neous kindliness, Lady Anne Vernon caressed her husband's friend, but gossip had never her, and her cousin Julia treated her with meddled indiscreetly with such honorable patient indulgence. Only Isabel stood coldly names. He was in the dining-room of the aloof. At first sight Sibyl had shrunk froin deanery now, and soon after nine had struck her with a gesture of shuddering repulsion from the minster tower, he came in with the that was utterly inexplicable ; for Isabel was rest of the gentlemen, made his cordial greetprepared to give her as warm a welcome as ing to Lady Raymond as to others of the the rest. She saw the expression of fright- evening guests, and the shrewdest observer ened antipathy, and was dismayed even more or the most idly malicious could have found than she was bewildered. She could not in- no whisper of doubt to circulate over the terpret it, but neither could she forgive it. manner of their meeting. They were two She laid up the remembrance secretly in her who, if they could not have met thus innoheart, unwitting yet of the soil fertile for evil cently and without pain, would have parted in which sbe planted it: but it germinated to the uttermost ends of the earth that they there, and in due season brought forth leaf might never meet at all. and bud, blossom and bitter poison-fruit, as Mr. Digby Stuart was a fine-looking perall indulged hate and anger must unless God son, distinguished in bearing, and serious in in his mercy give us grace and strength to countenance, but with some play of sarcasm pluck up the deadly growth by its roots. about his mouth, and a kindly penetration in
Lady Anne Vernon had an evening party his steady gray eyes. There was a mystery after the dinner, and as the rosy sunset about him that he did not marry, being past yielded to twilight, the group ensconced in thirty, the head of an old family, and in the pleasant window dropped off one by one possession of a good estate. Several romances to adjourn presently to the great drawing- explanatory of the riddle had been coined for room, where the coming guests were to be him, the most popular of which was that he received. Some few arrived before the gen- had been a changeling at his birth, and that tlemen made their appearance, the only no- only on condition of his leading a single life, ticeable person amongst them being old and leaving the property at his death to the Sir Jasper Raymond's young wife.
lawful heritors thereof, was he suffered to Lady Raymond was the most popular continue now in undisturbed enjoyment of it. woman in Hillminster. She had been popu- This grotesque story was as far wide of the lar as a girl, lovely and penniless, but she truth as it well could be ; but it served the was even more popular now. She had had purposes of conversation now and then, and suitors galore, but the tale went, that with there were perhaps one or two persons who genuine feminine perversity she had set her even believed it. heart on alnıost the only man of her ac- Twelve o'clock had struck some time bequaintance who was indifferent to her ; which fore the last carriage rolled away from the tale was not and could not be precisely cor-deanery door on this memorable night, from rect, because no one save herself knew the which dates the beginning of that sorry jest true story of her love and her griefs, for the played out in cruel earnest, which I am about simple reason that she bad never told it. But to narrate. But when are the eyes of sevenall the world was clear on one point-there teen drowsy? Sibyl Rivers was as wakeful had been something serious between her and as at the beginning of the evening; and Mr. Digby Stuart, of Alverston Priory, which though her mother gently admonished her had ended in nothing, and after an interval that she had better come to bed, she must of a few months, her marriage at Nice with needs adjourn for five minutes' talk to her Sir Jasper Raymond was announced to the cousins' room. The five minutes lengthened general confusion, surprise, and indignation out to half an hour, during which Isabel of Hillminster. Why had she thrown her- Vernon found or invented occasion to make self away on a man of seventy? It was so many cold, disenchanting remarks, that wicked, unnatural, monstrous ! The men the impression of pleasantness the evening could not forgive the cruel sacrifice; the bad left on Sibyl's mind was quite rubbed women, except a few, could not understand off thereby. it.
I "Mr. Digby Stuart says you are a pretty Mr. Digby Stuart was still her friend, and child,” was one of these remarks." He
asked how old you were, and was surprised “Hush, hush, Sibyl! Say your prayers, to hear you were more than fifteen. It is my child, and ask God to keep you loving time you dropped your baby airs, though and true. Hate, darling,-you don't know they suit your dimples very well. Still af- what hate means." fectation of naturalness is as much affectation as any other grace you might choose to Alverston Priory was about six miles up put on, and it looks silly when girls are the river from Hillminster, and though not grown up to women.".
important enough to be a show-place, it was Sibyl pouted like six years old; she paid still one of the best and handsomest houses no heed to the latter clause of her cousin's in that part of the county-a house, as the speech, but replied to the former part with neighborhood agreed, that only wanted a visible pique. " Mr. Digby Stuart did not mistress to make it perfection. talk to me as if I were a child,” said she. Lady Mary Rivers and Sibyl drove thither
** No? I saw you listening to him, as if the next day, escorted by Lieutenant George his commonplaces were pearls of wisdom Lansmere, a nephew of Lady Mary's, the dropped from the lips of a god."
second son of her eldest brother, the present « Isabel! He was only inviting mamma to earl. George Lansmere was two-and-twenty, go over to luncheon at Alverston to-morrow, and held a commission in the cavalry regiand to take me. She knew the priory long 'ment then stationed at Hillminster. It was ago in his father's time, and he wants to very pleasant for the young officer in countryshow her the improvements. He is very quarters to have a family of hospitable kinskind, and I was pleased to think of the ex- folk at the deanery. His cousins, Julia and cursion."
Isabel, made much of him, and he submitted “ Well, don't be too pleased, and don't for some months to the flattering process with run away with any delusion that he is too serene masculine assurance that such attenkind; for it is his way to be kind to every- tions were his due; but when Sibyl Rivers body. How exquisite Lady Raymond was appeared on the scene he fell straightway to-night, Julia ! "
into captivity to her bright cyes, and lost all “ Perfect-she always is."
thought and consideration for himself. He Sibyl stood smothering her indignation for was genuinely and heartily in love, and to a minute or two while the sisters discussed sit opposite the beaming face of his divinity, Lady Raymond's dress in detail, and then six miles out to Alverston and six miles home saying, as by an irresistible impulse, "Oh, again to Hillminster, was, in the present state Isabel, how you hate me!" turned to leave of his feelings, a paradisiacal delight. He was the room. Julia looked up startled and in- not a young man to set the world on fire, but he terrogative, but Isabel only laughed. was honest and honorable ; and Lady Mary
" You silly child, as if I could hate any- Rivers, whose thoughts day and night rested thing like you!" sneered she; throwing into in hopeful contemplation of her daughter's the you as much significance of scorn as the future, was by no means reluctant to enmonosyllable accentuated by her bitter lips courage his tolerably evident pretensions. could convey.
By what mesmeric fatality is it that one Sibyl felt at once ashamed of her impetu- man wins love unsought, possibly undesired, ous speech, and with hot tears in her eyes' while another may wear himself out in deand a passionate red on her cheek, she sobbed voted painstaking efforts to gain the faintest good-night, and rushed away to her mother. response to his passion and not succeed ? Come into that quiet, kindly presence, her From the first hour of Sibyl Rivers meeting first words were again, “ How Cousin Isabel with Mr. Digby Stuart, her fancy had been hates me!"
attracted; her thoughts insensibly followed "My darling!” csclaimed Lady Mary, in it, and when George Lansmere began his a tone of deprecation, " you must not give wooing her heart was gone. Neither coway to such fancies. Why should your Cousin quette nor flirt was Sibyl; she reflected Isabel hate you?"
never, she only felt; and when George was " I don't know, but I am sure she does !” most cager and assiduous she repaid him was the emphatic reply.
with gentle smiles and sweet kindness to compensate for her real indifference, and was safe, but it soon passed into the posthus misled him perhaps further than the session of her cousin, Isabel Vernon, whose most elaborate wiles could have done. eyes were quickened to all opportunities of
On this day of her visit to Alverston Pri- inflicting a quiet stab on the tender soul that ory she was the same simple, childlike crea- instinctively distrusted her. She made the ture she had always been; a miracle of discovery in this wise :-One morning about ignorance and unworldliness, with conscious- midway the month of September, Mr. Digby ness slowly awakening, and womanly instinct Stuart rode over to the deanery to confer with awakening with it, but utterly removed from the dean on some matter of public business. speculation on possiblities or consequences. The ladies up-stairs in the little drawing-room She was glad to be there; five minutes of heard of his arrival, and Lady Anne Vernon listening to Mr. Digby Stuart's conversation sent down a message to the library bidding with her mother, five minutes of slow saun-him stay to luncheon. An answer was retering by his side through the conservatory turned that he was sorry, but being in some where he enriched her with a sprig of ge- baste he must despatch his business and go. ranium, were sweeter in the passing and When she heard this Sibyl vanished from her dearer in the remembrance than the longest nest amidst the cushions of the ottoman, and and most joyous holidays of her past life. la few minutes afterwards Isabel silently fol
It is hard work to amuse a preoccupied lowed her. She had seen Sibyl's breast rise mind; and George Lansmere on the home- and fall, her color glow and fade during the ward drive was troubled twice or thrice with passage of the messages to and fro between an intrusive suspicion that Sibyl was rather drawing-room and library, and a shrewd susabsent, but it never entered into his heart to picion born of these emotional changes sprang conceive that she could be dreaming about that into sudden and full vitality in her brain. very grave and proud personage, the master She is in love with Mr. Digby Stuart! Oh, of Alverston Priory. The dashing lieutenant the vain little Quixotic fool! She might as of hussars would have felt small dread of such wisely cry for the moon at once!” thought a rival, even had his imagination directed she, and a mingling of something not unlike him to look out for any in that quarter ; and pity shot through her scorn; for Isabel's hate when Sibyl announced to Lady Anne Vernon, was not yet grown to that height which trion reaching the deanery, that they had had umphs in the great calamity of its object, "a most charming day!” perhaps he may and much less was it grown to that height be excused for the pleasing delusion that his which expends itself in procuring such caown presence had contributed materially to lamity. its delightfulness.
Sibyl had betaken herself to her mother's The first to detect poor Sibyl's secret was room, whence, from the window in the high Lady Raymond, who, with the inexplicable Gothic gable, she could see Mr. Digby Stuart freemasonry of women who love, read its ride through the Close, and then, over the subtle signs with deepest dismay. She tried tops of the houses in the precentor's court, to save the child by hints and warnings, and watch him again if by chance he were returnpretty parables involving much literal truth ing at once to Alverston direct by the road; personal to herself; but the only effect of these watch him a mile on his way until man and attempts was to make Sibyl shy of her ; and horse diminished to a mere speck in the disshe had not the courage, even had she the tance. Isabel assured herself from her own right, to speak openly. For a moment, a lit- window that he went that way; and then, tle moment and no more, she watched Mr. passing through the pretty dressing-room Digby Stuart with a jealous regard, but in that served Lady Mary Rivers as boudoir, she his manner to Sibyl there was nothing more cautiously put aside the portiere that sepathan in his manner to other girls ; and what-rated it from the bedroom adjoining, and came over food for her dreams she had was evolved upon Sibyl unawares-upon Sibyl lost in purely out of her own fervent fancy. If it be sweet reverie, leaning her forehead against a reproach to a woman to love unsought, and the glass, straining her eyes after the fast the popular voice has decided that it is, then diminishing figure on the white high road, had Sibyl Rivers incurred it heavily.
and deaf and blind to.everything outside the With Lady Raymond her pityful secret sphere of her own thoughts.