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find Bryan—I cannot find any one. Katie will' be burned — Katie will be burned. All tbe place is on fire at Sexton's; 'twill be soon with us. Come home—come home."
Yes, I was thoroughly aroused at last. The thought of the danger in which the child, dearer even to me than my own life, was placed, restored to me the presence of mind which I had lost; and merely waiting to ask my poor trembling Frank how it was he had left his little sister behind, and hearing in reply that he could not induce her in her fright to leave the house at all, he thought it best to ride off himself for assistance, I seized the reins of a horse from which some one had just dismounted, and my few months of Bush training for once standing me in good stead, I sprang to the saddle, and calling to the poor boy to send help after me, rode madly away.
It is now impossible to say how that ride through the Bush was accomplished by me in safety. That I escaped with uninjured limbs, nay, with life itself so far, was not due to any guiding hand of mine, but to the unerring instinct of the poor frightened animal, who bore me on so fleetly, considering tbe many dangerous obstacles in the shape of giant branches, immense logs, and deep ravines which lay along our way, clouded, moreover, as it was, by the thick dark smoke which now enveloped the whole country round. Gasping for air, I prayed fervently that I might reach our own clearing before any of the—I will not say sparks, but great fire-flakes descending so thickly, Bhould altogether ignite the tall timber which grew so closely together as to be in some parts intertwined-; and indeed many trees caught fire as we passed beneath, leaving them burning behind.
On, on—for my ow» life now, as well as for poor Katie's—I urged the panting companion of my terrible adventure, until at length becoming irritated beyond all control by the constant falling, like a shower of red hail, singeing and penetrating his shaggy ungroomed coat, he reared suddenly almost upright, flinging me from his back, but happily on to a great soft heap of fallen leaves, and galloped wildly away I knew not where.
It could have been worse, I thought, as I rose quickly, unhurt, and saw that now, on the very edge of tbe Busb, ten minutes more would bring me to my little cousin. But it was not to be so. I had come through a mighty plain of fire unscathed, only to be injured when I considered myself comparatively safe.
Yes; just as I set foot on our own clearing, a splinter from one of Sexton's fences, now all a flame, fell us I ran blindly on; and my foot at the same time slipping, in another moment I was lying on it on my back, with the skirt of the thin calico skirt I wore in one blaze around me.
Oh, gracious Providence! Alone in the Bush! Alone in the midst of fire!—of a Bush fire! with no human creature near to stretch forth, a
hand to aid or save me! I never, never—not alone through life, but even through eternity, I believe—can forget that moment's despair. In an instant, like an electric flash—as I have heard it said of people drowning—every event of my life passed vividly before me, passed swiftly, as I heard the eager fiz-fizzing of the hungry fire through the long black hair which Katie had so praised that morning, followed hy the clear realisation of the fact that I was about to die a fearful death—death by fire! Nay, that I was dying it now, alone in the wilderness. Alone—God and I. I did not feel tbe pain of the burning then. I only felt the awful despair! for the first, and oh may it be for the last, time in my life, in all its blank hopeless intensity— that awful feeling.
No; there was no hope for me. Others had perished in the same way, why should not I? Then the river—the river, flashed upon roy mind. Could I reach it, I should be safe, I thought; and I had already taken one step towards what would have been certain destruction to me, when I felt myself cast suddenly to the ground, and had only one swift moment to see the eyes of the only man I now knew I had ever really loved in the whole world, looking, filled with love and anguish, into mine, before something was wrapped closely round me, and I knew no more—no more until 1 recovered from what had been a long illness and delirium, to find myself lying weak and suffering in my own little room, for I had been fearfully burned between my shoulders and on the upper part of my left arm, saved only from certain death, at the surgeon declared, by the presence of mind of my cousin; saved at the last moment, too; for were it not for his providential arrival, sent on as he had been by Frank, just in time to hold me back, I should never have succeeded in my rash attempt to reach the river alive. I should have been reduced to a mere heap of ashes on the way.
Next to the joy of seeing all my relatives safe and well round my bed—my little Katie beyoml all—perhaps the greatest pleasure of my convalescence was that all the home property had escaped uninjured, the cattle being saved at the expense of the kitchen-garden, which happened fortunately to have a stone wall, as in the old country, instead of the log fence usual in Victoria, low enough to be leaped, at any rate in their terror of the flames, by the poo rtremblintf animals. As for my little darling, she was never in any real danger at all, as I might have known if my natural impulsiveness permitted me to remember that for the very purpose of saving » from such a calamity as in the present instance occurred to many, our house had been built on a small stony hill, on which there was no t an atom of anything either to create or feed fire.
So that while everyone petted and praised me as a self-forgetting heroine (as if any one would think'of one's own life on such an occasion) I could only fret about my foolish impetuosily being again the cause of trouble tp all of ttiem. by laying me on a sick bed when I should be up assisting them in their losses and disappointments.
The reason, independent of all others, why I rejoiced Bo much that wc had not suffered at borne, was that the fire, which had been so destructive at Hawthorne, had originated in quite another part of the district; and aunt Winnie and I even to this day cannot be persuaded that Sexton did not of set purpose try to destroy my uncle's place by burning stubble on such a day of intense heat, and when the whole family, except two children, was to be absent, if he had succeeded in his evil intent, 1 should always blame myself as the giddy, selfwilled cause of the misfortune.
As it was, so blamed was he by others, who had suffered by his suspicious conduct (to say the least of it),and so threatened by them with actions for damages, that before the sitting of the County Court came round, he had sold off everything that remained to him, and had gone away to New Zealand, where I hope sincerely he may remain.
For ourselves, we had a sharp struggle for some time; and but for Bryan's energy in assisting his father to meet and obtain time from his creditors for the payment of the sums coming due, and Aunt Winnie's admirable management of her dairy, by which she soon began to clea r five pounds a week, I taking the entire charge of the house when I had gathered a little strength, things would have gone hardly with us. But we have, thank God, rubbed
through, and are now again doing well, my uncle being as active and hopeful as ever.
I had nearly forgotten, however, to state that about a year ago Bryan bad another conversation with me in that most unromantic place, our farm-kitchen, where, after asking me a few questions, to which 1 had given him satisfactory replies, he drew me very close to him indeed, and asked just one more.
"Why did you tease me so long, Mary? Why did you not let me know you cared for me before?"
"Because I did not know it myself," I answered; "never until that terrible day—that day which broke down at length the barrier between us, you piqued me so with your carelessness, your contempt of me."
"Carelessness! contempt I" he repeated. "No. But I was miserable and jealous. And —and I wanted you to do what was right. But I see now I went a bad way about it."
"But why did you busy yourself so much about Sexton? What was he to you, sir i" I demanded saucily. "Bringing bis messages, being his postman. Why was it so i"
'• Because I thought you loved him," he answered simply. "And, my darling, I loved you better than I loved myself."
'How can I ever worship such a man sufficiently! Yes, whatever Black Monday brought to other people of misery and poverty, to me it brought happiness—brought me the crowning blessing of my life, for it brought me Bryan i Harding for my husband.
RAMBLES AND REVERIES OF A MODERN MORALIST.
No. IV.—CONCERNING DAY-DREAMS.
I believe that I am not overstating the truth when I say that I am a thoughtful man. I have always been thoughtful from a child; I always in my infant days liked to know the cause of things; this desire of mine was somewhat inconvenient at times to my friends and relations. I always liked to look at the back of a picture as well as the front; nay, I even remember that once when I had fallen down six stairs, I speculated after the pain was over what might have happened had I fallen down twelve instead of six. This I think shows very . satisfactorily that I am of a thoughtful nature. I am, moreover, very observant. When I walk, which I do very often, I like to think and to speculate about everything I see, whether it be a human being in the crowd of Fleet Street, or a cab-horse struggling in the mud, or a flowerpot in an attic window.
I never like to walk the streets, nor the country lanes either, in that unenviable state of mind attributed by the poet to the "Jolly Young Waterman," who was in the habit of rowing along and "thinking of nothing at all." Now I do not envy the man who walks and thinks of nothing at all. If I am out on a matter of business I think over that business, and do not let other thoughts drive it out of my head ; but when I am walking for my own particular pleasure, and with no definite object in view, I like to think about the things I see and hear; in fact, to dream about' them. Yes, I must plead guilty to a habit of day-dreaming, which some people imagine totally disqualifies a man from attending to the duties of life.
But here I beg to differ from those people: when business or duty calls, as I said just now, I attend to it; but after business comes pleasure, and then I dream, and who shall blame me? I'am the only sufferer from this habit; and I sometimes have to endure very hard knocks and startling collisions in the street when I have not been attending to my footsteps.
But, Beriously, is this habit of day dreaming a very bad one? Surely it is better to dream, even at the risk of having your toes trodden upon, than to go, as so many of us do, from Dan to BeerBheba and "find all barren."
Another quality which I possess very strongly is that of-inquisitiveness. This is also condemned by many; but I cannot help it: I am inquisitive—not rudely so, I hope, but still fond of looking into things and round things; and, in a word, finding out all about things. I never yet went so far as to knock at the door of a house in a quiet street and ask them why they always kept the blinds down in the front parlour, or why they never clean the windows; but I have asked a sturdy beggar who asked for a penny why he preferred begging to working, which I consider much the easier and pleasanter occupation. And I have more than once asked an ostler why when cleaning a horse he persisted in hissing like some enraged specimen of the python tribi.
Moved by the same spirit of enquiring, I once asked a pavior why he uttered a sound distantly resembling a groan, and not altogether unlike the hiccoughs, when he was driving down pavingstones; but to none of these enquiries did I receive a satisfactory answer. The beggar ran away precipitately, mistaking me, I presume, for an officer of the Mendicity Society; the ostlers said it pleased the horse when they hissed, and kept them from biting—an interesting fact in natural history which I recorded, and mentally resolved to try its efficacy on a fierce bull-dog of my acquaintance. Another of the stable tribe told me that hissing " came quite natural to him, and he couldn't rub down a horse without it." The pavier, who was a bit of a wag, said his father and grandfather before him had both been of the same trade, and both had grunted in the very same way that he grunted, and so he supposed it ran in the family. I thought of Sam Weller rnd the philosophy that was hereditary in his family, and went away laughing, but not satisfied.
Talking of philosophy, what a time to test a man's pretensions to that gift is a wet day in London! I have lived too long in our aqueous climate to mind rain; umbrellas are a dead letter with me; and clad in vestments that have long been spoilt, and so cannot be spoilt again, I often roam about the sloppy streets, and watch how the sinister influence of St. Swithin affects my fellow men and women. Many of the sublimest and most terrible of passions may be seen under such circumstances. Joy is depicted on the face of a well-dressed man who sees an omnibus with one vacant place inside, and takes it. Disappointment is shown in that of a lady who comes to a cab-stand and finds
no one there but the waterman. Despair is depicted in the agonized glances of a parent with five small children, who sees sis omnibuses pass him full "in and out!" Then the walkers, who know it is of no use "standing up," and equally useless hailing vehicles already occupied, they show a variety of phases beneath their dripping umbrellas.
There is the angry man who is not a philosopher, and who goes along with a fierce stride and set teeth, from which issue at times sounds which may be blessings, but which do not sound like them. Very likely he has an appointment with a cousin in the park, or is going to a little fish dinner at Richmond, or perhaps he has a new hat on—who knows?
Then there is the patient, enduring man, with a good deal of the early martyr in his composition, who walks along grimly through the rain, and at times lowers his umbrella, and holds up his face to the sky; then being quite convinced of the descent of much water therefrom, he sighs, re-erects his shelter, and goes on more resignedly than before.
The true philosopher is quite a different style of man. He comes along, smiling as cheerfully as if the sun was at his meridian, and the streets as clean as his dressing-room carpet, instead of its being very muddy, unusually windy, and, moreover, performing the anomalous operation of " raining cats and dogs." The philosopher knows well enough that grumbling is of no use: he recollects that "the glass fell last night, and that of course he ought to have expected rain; besides, as another philosophic friend of his had said, "it was very seasonable weather, very seasonable indeed I" How that man is to be envied! What an enviable blessing to be able to look out of window in the morning, and find it raining, without giving vent to objectionable expletives!
Talk of Alexander, or Alfred, or anyone else who has borne the title of " Great I" Why the man who can bear the petty ills "which flesh is heir to" without grumbling; who can meet disappointment with a smile, and has "nil desperandum" written somewhere in his heart, is worth all the great men of antiquity put together. Alexander grumbled because there was not another world to conquer; Hannibal was never easy till he had crossed the Alps, and was not satisfied when he had; these men were not "great," they could not bear disappointment. I have no doubt Julias Caesar stamped and foamed if his despatches came too late, and it is well known that Augustus did not bear the loss of his legions with equanimity.
If the story of Sir Isaac Newton and his dog Diamond is true (which I very much question) it is only another proof of that wonderful man's universal greatness; for Newton was a "Rreat _ man" in every sense—he was good as well as great.
All this has arisen out of a shower of rami Truly, great things arise from small beginning*. The most natural object connected with » shower of rain is its so-called antidote—an umbrella!
I wonder if it rained as much in England before the invention of umbrellas as it has since; it must have been expensive work travelling in those days if it did. The owners of coaches looked upon the inventor of umbrellas as a mean-spirited and low-minded person, and, moreover, their sworn foe. They reviled you openly in the streets if you sheltered yourself beneath one of the obnoxious articles instead of riding in their carriages, and in fact did all they could to shame people out of using so vulgar a convenience. Now everybody uses umbrellas. Tempora mutantur; indeed, even in the very use of umbrellas there are changes. The huge family article of the Mrs. Gamp class, adapted for large parties, but inconvenient when rolled up, now gives place to the elegant useless fabrics which display their rainbow colours in our streets.
But the sky has cleared, the rain-drops no longer patter on my window-pane, and the sun comes timidly through the broken clouds. I have told you what I have seen when wandering on a wet day: let us go forth now into the sunshine.
Mark that pale-faced woman who stands so still against that hospital railing: she is a beggar, though she does not speak, and she stands there all day long; at least I see her sometimes when I start off in the morning, and she is still standing there when I return in the evening. She is not there every day; once or twice a week, perhaps. I suppose it is her station on certain days, for beggars have a method in their trade. "She is an impostor," says one of the Mendicity Society: perhaps she is, or, on the other hand, perhaps she is nor. At all exents she is very thin and pale, and not overwell clad: she is hungry, doubtless; if so, there is no imposition there; people do not feel hungry for the pleasure of deceiving others. I think, as I look at this beggar woman, if she is of an observant disposition what a picture of life she must meet with in that crowded London thoroughfare as she stands there for eight or ten hours with her back to the hospital railing I What a study for a moralist! She ought to be one, though I doubt if she understands the meaning of the name. Does she ever speculate, I wonder, on the character and modes of life of all the thousands that pass her in the day? Does she ever think what sort of homes they have, what sort of lives they lead, how many of tbem are better off than herself, how few worse off? There is Lord Glitter going past in his carriage; she knows it is he, for he once told his footman to take her out of the way when she
begged at his carriage door, and the footman had said, " Out of the way, woman; don't you know you're annoying Lord Glitter f"
She wonders, perhaps, whether my lord is very happy; she thinks he must be, with that carriage, and all those servants, and the lots of money he has. O yes; without doubt, Lord Glitter is very happy! But why is it that rich people do not like giving to the poor? That is the question which the thin white-faced woman is probably asking herself very often during the day. What difference could a few pence make to my lord with his thousands, or to my lady with her lap-dog and two footmen to carry it? And then she may perhaps turn over in her mind that text which she learnt once, but did not quite understand, at a Sunday School, about the rich getting into Heaven with more difficulty than a camel can go through the eye of a needle. Was it really so? Would the poor really have their good things, and were the rich so very wicked because they happened to be rich?
But perhaps, after all, the beggar-woman never thinks of any such things, and I have been all this time attributing false sentiments to her. Perhaps she never thinks at all! And yet she must ; she cannot stand all day and stare at the park fences opposite, and think of nothing. If it is only of the wretched dirty room with the three small children who are always crying, which Bhe calls "home,"—surely she must think of something.
Oyster Ciltl-re.—The Bystem of oyster culture iu France was practically inaugurated at the lie de R6, off the shore of the Lower Charentc, near ltochclle. It was begun by a man of the name of Beef, a stonemason, in 1858. This clever fellow noticed that the spat required holding-ground, and having procured a few bushels of oysters, he laid them down upon a small portion of the foreshore that he had enclosed with a dyke, scattering his oysters in the "pare" thus enclosed among some rough stones. Whilst lie was at work at his trade, the oysters went on increasing until the year 1862, when he sold forty pounds'worth. His neighbours noticed what he was doing, and speedily there was a perfect rush to the sea, and now the foreshores of the island from between Point de Rivedoux and Point de Lame i9 one vast oyster park, cultivated by hundreds of persons. It is, indeed, one of the great industrial facts of the present age, and we have only to follow the lead of the stonemason Beef to give employment to thousands of our poor fishermen round these islands.
THE CHIGNON; OR, FINDING THE HARE (HAIR).
(A Norfolk Sketch.)
BT K. E. THACKERAY.
A coursing lady, out one day,
At length a "timid hare " was found,
"Give me my hair!" the lady cried:
BT THE LATE JAMES EDMISTOX.
Friendship and Love together walk'd. Along the earth so fresh and fair; And as they went they sadly talk'd Of its dearest things, how frail they are, That scarce was the taste of their sweetness knowu, Ere death or stern Fate . In ambush would wait, And seize on the dearly-prized joy for its owu; Then wounded, bereft, No solace left But to think of their loss, and to weep alone.
Invention came by
With her sparkling eye,
And she held to their sight
A volume all white, Aud she said, "Poor complaiuers! this book is for you.
True joy is brief.
But every leaf
Shall catch a gleam
Of the setting beam,
And scenes long pass'd away shall seem Brought back by the power of art."
[Wc copy from the Athenaum. of the 16th of the past month the following notice of the writer of the above, several of whose lyrics and poems have, from time to time, appeared in our pages:—" Among the minor, yet estimable men of letters who have recently passed away, is James Edmiston, who, without beings great poet, may claim a record as having written a few sacred lyrics which bid fair to keep his name ia remembrance. Among these, the most popular, thongh hardly the best, is his Evening Hymn, 'Saviour breathe an evening blessing,' which is now to be found in most hymnals. Three evening hymns have been produced in our own time, which have found wide favour with all sections of the church, and have apparently fixed themselves permanently in our psalmody. Among these Edmiston's occupies, perhaps the second place. If it wants the simplicity of Keble s Sun of my son], thou Savionr dear,' it is less diffuse sentimental, and song-like than lyte's Abide with me, fast falls the eventide,' which commits the fault of employing fignratively and spiritually a sentence used originally in its simple and direct meaning." Mr. Edmiston was by profession an architect, and died recently at his residence in Homerton, aged seventy-six. One or two of his minor pieces still remain in our hands].