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except that which is best of all, strong family affection, an unstained name, an humble reliance upon Providence, and those habits of virtuous industry and courage to take the world as it is, which seldom fail to win an honest living. The mother and the elder brother undertook the baking and the shop, the eldest daughter carried round the bread, the two next brothers were working in the fields, and the youngest of all we have seen in their efforts to contribute to the general support. Well ! it is a hard trial, but it is a good education, an education that can hardly fail to come to good. Many a rich mother might be proud of the two gleaners that we have seen this afternoon. They so pleased and so thankful to carry their poor store to that poor home, they carried thither better things than wheat.
In the meanwhile where, amid all this harvest work, is the “ Arcadia ?” Between asking questions and answering them, listening to condolences and thanking the condolers, talking to leasers and leasing ourselves, the afternoon has slipt away with little thought of the good knight, Sir Philip Sydney. The sun, which hardly showed his bright face until we reached the lane, is now setting in his glory, and we must wind our way to the avenuegate, or we may chance to have a hue and cry sent forth about us as lost ourselves. So home we
About ten o'clock, after some riffling of the lathe,
a pattering of childish feet, and an eager consultation of childish voices, the front gate was tremblingly opened, and after a short pause another Jittle sound of unassured footsteps, and another brief dialogue, a low knock was heard at the halldoor ; then the little feet advanced into the house, and the little tongues gained courage to tell their good news. Mary Kemp and her brother Tom had brought back the lost stick.
It appeared that the child had overheard my suspicion, that the missing wand had been dropt in the brook during Fanchon's immersion, and had confided the story to her brother Tom as soon as he returned from his labours in the harvest field. Tom, a bold urchin of ten years old, happened to be one of those boys who may be properly called amphibious; pools, puddles, ponds, seemed to be his natural element, and paddling in the brook his prime enjoyment. Before he left off his petticoats, he haunted the water-side, angling with a bit of string tied on a willow rod, and a crooked pin for a hook, and what is more wonderful contriving to catch with that inartificial contrivance such small fry, roach and dace and minnows, as the stream afforded. Tom knew every inch of the brook, and charmed at the very sound forgot his long day's work, and set forth on the search without even stopping to eat his supper.
His little sister fol. lowed him to the meadows, and just where the winding rivulet takes a bold sweep round a woody
cape of rich pasture, where the willows and the alders are mixed with tall bulrushes, thither the slow current had carried it, and there it stuck, caught between two stalks of the seeded meadowsweet, and still farther entangled by the leaves of the water-lily, a part of whose long slimy stalk glistening in the moonlight remained twisted around the ebony knob, a token of its involuntary bath, its peril and its escape. I do not know whether the poor children, my little damsel or I were most rejoiced at the conclusion of the adventure.
But what room has it left for Sir Philip?
Alas! that bravest and most chivalrous of poets, that younger, gentler, more lettered Bayard, our knight, without fear and without reproach is fated in the person of his famous pastoral, at least to be “ lightlied” (if I may borrow a word from a fine old ballad) by those most bound to do him honour. It cannot be much less than fifty years ago that I heard the following terrible anecdote told quite innocently, without any perception of the reproach that it involved.
A governess at Wilton House, happening to read the “ Arcadia,” had discovered between two of the leaves folded in paper, as yellow from age as the printed pages between which it reposed, a lock of hair, and on the envelope, enclosing the lock, was written in Sir Philip Sydney's well-known autograph an inscription purporting that the hair was that of her gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth. None of the
family had ever heard of the treasure. So this iden. tical volume, not only dedicated to his beloved sister but entitled by himself “The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia,'* had remained for two centuries in the library of her descendants, without any one of them ever taking the trouble to open the book ! The governess only—no Sydney, no Herbert--had taste enough or curiosity enough to take down the prose poem. I have not the honour of knowing the present master of Wilton, but judging by reputation I do not think that such a neglect could happen
After all the “ Arcadia” is one of those books which may be best appreciated by specimens. This description of scenery for instance :
“There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees; humble valleys whose base estate seemed comforted with the refreshing of silver rivers ; meadows enamelled with all sorts of eye-pleasing flowers ; thickets which being lined with most pleasant shade were witnessed so to by. the cheerful disposition of many well-tuned birds; each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security; while the pretty lambs with bleating
* Others, too, have loved the “Arcadia,” always the delight of poets. Happening to look into that neglected but interesting book, “The Life of Hayley," I see that, during a tedious recovery from a severe illness in his childhood, his chief amusement was derived from listening to his mother as she read to him this famous Pastoral.
oratory, craved the dam's comfort; here a shepherd's boy piping as though he should never be old; there a young shepherdess knitting and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voice-music.”
The account of a stag-hunt is even more characteristic. It abounds in the faults as well as the beauties of the author.
“Then went they together abroad, the good Kalander entertaining them with pleasant discoursing-how well he loved the sport of hunting when he was a young man, how much in the comparison thereof he disdained all chamber delights, that the sun (how great a journey soever he had to make) could never prevent him with earliness, nor the moon with her sober countenance dissuade him from watching till midnight for the deer's feeding. O, said he, you will never live to my age without you keep yourself in breath with exercise and in heart with joyfulness; too much thinking doth consume the spirits; and oft it falls out, that, while one thinks too much of his doing, he leaves to do the effect of his thinking. Then spared he not to remember how much Arcadia was changed since his youth ; activity and good-fellowship being nothing in the price it was then held in; but, according to the nature of the old-growing world, still worse and worse. Then would he tell them stories of such gal