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tion from Penelope, "and this is true" "Nay, 'tis a different thing entirely," (her manner became solemnly impres- Alce answered. “Mr. England, indeed, sive): "if you should have heard all asked me to marry him, but I hope I that passed, you would have allowed. have more pride than to marry a gen. that I was right and Gran'am was tleman against the wish of his family." wrong, which I am sorry for" (she “Only his father was against it," blushed generously), “but 'tis true.” Penelope replied, "and your being
"You are sorry you was right?" Alce Gran'am's heiress will entirely satisfy said, in some bewilderment.
Mr. England." "I'm sorry Gran'am was wrong," "This I am sure,” Alce answered, was answered.
"and I am resolved,” she added, warm“What was the end on't?” Alce asked. ly, "I will not purchase Mr. England's "I am not to be Gran'am's heiress.” approval. His son may marry whom "Said Gran'am that?"
he will for me, and I hope Gran'am will "Yes."
make the lady her heiress.". Alce put her arms about the weeping
is tindery?” Penelope girl.
asked. "This was not meant," she said. Alce said nothing, and the two girls,
"Nay, 'twas meant; and this is what one of whom had it not in her to sorrow I have always wished, Alce, but-to for an inheritance lost, while the other menace me with it! I care as little to had it not in her to rejoice at an inlose it as you will care to have it,” heritance won, gazed gloomily into a "I?" Alce said.
world of hard facts which they could "Why, sure, yes. You are to be her not bring into harmony with their soft heiress, Gran'am says, and, since young ideals. ladies are thought to think only of Meanwhile John England was riding money, I wonder you are not more re- Yorkward, and for the second time joiced."
made the experience that he was not "I am very sorry for this,” Alce said, to ride companionless. Either Penelope gravely. “Had I thought my coming had put no constraint on Sweetlips, or hither would be to stand between you Sweetlips was not to be constrained, and Gran'am, I would have stayed for, as before, she presented herself by away.”
the horseman's side. John looked at “Gran'am will tell you that you have her gravely and deprecatingly, and she stood between me and somebody else. carried her tail as conscious of dis'Tis because of John England we quar- grace. Still she footed it alongside relled."
him. "I have not stood between you and Mr. England, Penelope,” Alce said,
VII. flushing proudly. “Said I you had, Alce?" came the
MAN AND HOUND. question. "Gran'am is angry that I did not give John England the occa- While John, as he rode first to Bridsion to marry me, which, even an' he lington Quay and then to York, had did not love you, I would not do. been filled alternately with resentment, Whichever of us marries John England sorrow and dismay, it was only as he shall be, she says, her heiress."
set out on foot from York to London, “You said before, Penelope, that she having left Parson's hobby at the town said I should be this."
house of Mistress Steptoe, that a sense “ 'Tis the same thing."
of ignominiousness, the like of which
he had never before known, took pos- that was not without its pathetic side,
mitted himself to be instructive to the to another. Howbeit, John wore that extent of mentioning that Ferrybridge look and fell into the step that goes was two miles northeast of Pontefract, with it, with consequences which they to which piece of geographical inforwho have knowledge of dog-nature
mation he added that in the adjacent will comprehend.
fields there were often found, he was The mood of Sweetlips took color assured, human skeletons, ancient arfrom that of her master, and, affection- mor, and other relics of intestine war. ate but abashed creature as she was,
The relics, in so far as John enumeratshe wore an expression of tempered ed them, were not, it may be objected, happiness, which, taken in connection
of a character limited to intestine war. with her handsome and high-bred ap- This, happily for him, was not a detail pearance, made her look like nothing calculated to strike Penelope, or even more than a lady of quality eloping to strike Alce, more learned but not with a lout, and seized with sudden learned to the point of such censoriousmistrust of him.
ness as would make an amiable young As this thing was borne in upon John
lady the critic of an amiable young he stopped in mid-road with a laugh, gentleman. and calling the faithful companion of Penelope and Alce read and re-read his exile by a score of tender names, the letter, and then Penelope handsomelavished caresses upon her. His voice ly presented it to Alce, who allowed had its old ring, and, as he resumed the that she thought it a very interesting journey, his step had its old spring, composition, especially as viewed from with the result that Sweetlips bounded the antiquarian point, and who further fore and aft with a joyous recklessness allowed that, though as matters stood,
she was determined to die a maid- showed all the signs of ultimate surwherefore Mr. England might make render, but she at this time and later, peace with his father-if matrimony wrongly or rightly, deemed that it had ever had any attraction for her, would be treachery to her friend to put Mr. England was a man whom she John England in possession of facts might have l-fancified.
regarding her of which she herself How ill all was about poor Alce's was only made aware by being Alce's heart was evident in the tremor of her confidant. voice as she substituted fancified for Thus things were left to take their "loved.”
course, and they took itof necessity slowPenelope, who had so far given away ly, much as John made the journey from "young ladies" as to inform John Eng- York to London, a journey on the secland that they were not fixed stars, ond stage of which he was to find that might, with a few penstrokes, have ac- the delights of pedestrianism may unquainted him with the fact that Alce der certain circumstances pall.
Elsa D'Esterre-Keeling. The Leisure Hour.
(To be continued.)
BY LADY BROOME.
A great reaction of feeling in favor of the mongoose has set in since Mr. Rudyard Kipling's delightful story of "Rikki-tikki," in the "First Jungle Book," presenting that small rodent in an heroic and loveable aspect. But to the true bird-lover the mongoose still appears dreaded and dangerous foe. It is well known that its introduction into Jamaica has resulted in nearly the extermination of bird life in that island, and the consequent increase of insects, notably the diminutive tick, that mere speck of a vicious little torment.
There are, I believe, only a very few mongooses in Barbadoes, and strong measures will, doubtless, be adopted to still further reduce their number; for no possible advantage in destroying the large brown rat which gnaws the sugar cane can make up for the havoc the mongoose creates in the poultry yard, and, indeed, among all feathered creatures. It has also been found by experience that the mongoose prefers eggs to rats, and will neglect his proper prey
for any sort or size of egg. He was brought into Jamaica to eat up the large rat introduced a century ago by a certain Sir Charles Price (after whom those same brown rats are still called), instead of which the mongoose has taken to bird and egg eating, and has thriven on this diet beyond all calculation. Sir Charles Price introduced his rat to eat up the snakes with which Jamaica was then infested, and now that the mongoose has failed to clear out the rats, some other creature will have to be introduced to cope with the swarming and ravenous mongoose.
It was, therefore, with the greatest satisfaction I once beheld in the garden at Government House, Barbadoes, the clever manner the birds circumvented the wiles of a half-tame mongoose which haunted the grounds.
Short as is the twilight in those Lesser Antilles, there was still, at midsummer, light enough left in the western sky to make it delightful to linger in the garden after our evening drive.
The wonder and beauty of the hues of long as possible the time of lights and the sunset sky seemed ever fresh, and added heat, and swarming winged ants, every evening one gazed with admira- and moths, and mosquitoes. We had tion, which was almost awe, at the begun to think how delightful it would marvellous, undreamed-of colors glow- be to have no dinner at all, but just to ing on that gorgeous palette. Crim- stay there, gently swaying to and fro sons, yellows, mauves, palest blues, all night, when we saw a shadow-for chrysoprase greens, pearly grays, all at first it seemed nothing more-dart blent together as if by enchantment, from among the shadows around and but changing as you looked and melt- move swiftly up the trunk of the tree. ing into that deep, indescribable, tropic At first I thought it must be a huge purple which forms the glorious back- rat, but my dear companion whispered, ground of the “meaner beauties of the "Look at the mongoose!" So we sat night.”
still, watching it with closest attention. In the same garden there chanced to Soon it was lost in the dense central be a couple of low swinging seats just foliage, and we wondered at the proopposite a large tree, which I soon found stillness of that swarming mass observed
the favorite roost- of birds, who had not long settled into ing place of countless numbers quiet. Our poor, human, inadequate of birds. Indeed, all the fowls of eyes had, however, become so accusthe air seemed to assemble in tomed to the gloom by its gradual its branches, and I was filled with curi- growth, that we could plainly observe osity to know why the other trees were a flattened-out object stealthily creepdeserted. At roosting time the chatter- ing along an out-lying bough. It was ing and chirruping were deafening, and quite a breathless moment, for no shadquarrels raged fiercely all along the ow could have moved more noiselessly branches. I noticed that the centre of than that crawling creature. Even as the tree was left empty, and that the we watched, the bough softly and gradbirds edged and sidled out as far as ually bent beneath the added weight, ever they could get on to its slenderest but still the mongoose stole onwards. branches. All the squabbles arose from No little sleeping ball of feathers was the ardent desire with which each bird quite within reach, so yet another step was apparently filled to be the very must needs be taken along the slender last on the branch, and so the nearest branch. To my joy that step was fatal to its extreme tip. It can easily be un- to the hopes of the brigand beast, for derstood that such thin twigs could the bough dipped suddenly, and the not stand the weight of these crowding mongoose had to cling to it for dear life little creatures, and would, therefore, whilst every bird flew off with sharp bend until they could no longer cling cries of alarm which effectually roused to it, and so had to fly off and return the whole population of the aerial city, to search for another foothold. I had and the air was quite darkened round watched this unusual mode of roosting the tree by the fluttering, half-awakfor several evenings, without getting ened birds. any nearer to the truth than a guess It was plain now to see the reason of that the struggle was perhaps to se- the proceedings which had so puzzled cure a cool and airy bed-place.
me, and once more I felt inclined to One hot evening, however, we lin- as the Psalmist phrases it-"lay my gered longer in what the negro garden- hand on my mouth and be still," in er called the “swinggers,” tempted by wonder and admiration of the adaptthe cool darkness, and putting off as able instincts of birds. How long had
it taken these little helpless creatures cautious proceeding-his absurd little to discover that their only safety lay scut of a tail which was only about in just such tactics, and what sense guid- three or four inches long. This must in ed them in choosing exactly the one tree some way have affected his balance, which possessed slender and yielding for he never moved on the perch after branch-tips which were strong enough the tail had been carefully laid back. to support their weight? They were Then, later in the evening, he gently Just settling down again when horrid turned the huge, unwieldy bill round by clamorous bells insisted on our going degrees, until it, too, was laid along back into a hot, lighted-up house, and his back and buried in feathers in the facing the additional miseries of dress- usual bird fashion. By the way, I have ing and dinner. Though we carefully always wondered how and why the watched that same tree and its roost- myth arose that birds sleep with their ing crowds for many weeks, we never heads under their wings? A moment's again saw the mongoose attempt to get thought or observation would show his supper there, so I suppose he must that it is quite as impossible a feat for also be credited with sufficient clever- a bird as for a human being. However, ness to know when he was beaten. the toucan's sleeping arrangements re
A toucan does not often figure in a sulted in producing an oval mass of list of tame birds, and I cannot consci- feathers supported on one leg, looking entiously recommend it as a pet. Mine as unlike a bird as it is possible to came from Venezuela, and was given imagine. When he was ruthlessly to me soon after our arrival in Trini- awakened by a sudden poke or noise, dad. It must have been caught very which I grieve to state was often done young, for it was perfectly tame, and -in my absence, needless to say-I if you did not object to its sharp claws, heard that he invariably tumbled down would sit contentedly on your hand. in a sprawling heap, being unable to The body was about as big as that of a adjust the balance required by that crow, but it may be described as a ponderous bill all in a moment. short, stout bird, with a beak as large For many months after his arrival as its body. Into this proboscis was the toucan was, at least, an unobjectioncrowded all the colors of the rainbow, able pet and very affectionate. He used blended in a prismatic scale. Its plu- to gently take my fingers in his large, mage would be dingy if it were not so gaudy bill and nibble them softly withglossy, and was of a blue-black bue, out hurting me, but I never could help with white feathers in the wings and thinking what a pinch he might give it just a little orange under the throat to he liked. His inoffensive ways, howshade off the bill, as it were. Some ever, only lasted while he was very toucans have large, fleshy excrescen- young, for, in due course of time he beces at the root of the bill, but this one gan to utter discordant yells and and those I saw in Trinidad had not. shrieks, especially during the luncheon
The toucan was, however, an amiable hour. This could not be borne, and and, at first, a silent bird. He lived in the house-steward-a most dignified a very large cage, chiefly on fruit, and functionary-used to advance towards tubbed constantly. But the curious the cage in a stately manner with a and amusing thing was to see him pre- tumbler of water concealed behind his paring to roost, and he began quite back, which he would suddenly fling early, whilst other birds were still wide over the screaming bird. The toucan awake. The first thing was to care. soon learned what Mr. V.'s appearance fully cock up-for it was a slow and before his cage meant, and even ceased
LIVING AGE. VOL. VII. 356