« AnteriorContinua »
Why, they are in a
to herself. She would do nothaffairs of State.”
ing to assist him to an under“Och ! dear folks,” cried standing: there was too much Tante Lotje, fanning herself in gratification for her in the sight her room.
“ There is a widow of the General in the same for you with a capital W!" plight as herself. Following a
In the spring the General few more such skirmishes, there returned to Europe. He was
came to the General an uneasy still the successful campaigner, sense of a position which was the hero, but this home-coming made more intolerable by the did not hold for him the acute deference he met with out of triumph of the earlier. There doors. On the Plein, at the is no bite like the first bite. club—where there were living Moreover, the nation is not heroes, by Gad! and not relicts particularly martial, and it had of dead ones-Michiel van de rather overstretched its en- Burg was cock of the walk, unthusiasm in the de Bruin affair. disputed.
“ Bombs and grenThese things are not mentioned ades!”—he was walking home to make you understand that to dinner after his five-o'clock the General was in any way borreltje, and this obsequioussoured or envious: he was ness was in his head with the brave and generous soldier. vermuth — “Bombs and grenBut possibly his public recep- ades! He would show her!” tion may
have made him pe- What he showed her—with culiarly sensitive to that await- less, perhaps, than his accusing him in his own home. The tomed strategy and resourcefirst hint of trouble—it was a was his plan, revolved in his small matter, but indicative of mind ever since de Bruin's many to follow—arose out of death, and now that he himself Marie's occupancy of the cab- was at home, to be carried into inet. The General wished im- action without delay — a plan mediate entry, and got his way to marry her again. He menwithout a word of demur, but tioned the chosen's name, as a it was noticeable that Marie detail. Marie stopped him reflected a moment before she with a gesture of shocked reagreed to quit. It was not proach. (It wasn't Remmers.) that she hesitated, but simply For the first time in his life the that she considered for a second, General conceded the enemy a like one sounding the depths of step. duty. He was less successful “Very well, girl. Let it be in the matter of the notaries, somebody else. Any one you whom he would have hustled like. You can marry any one with his well-known energy of you like, but you must marry.” despatch. Marie interfered to Could one, by searching the indicate gently that their busi- whole world, find the man ness, being her husband's, was worthy of reclining on that
The General shot at bosom that had been her husher a sharp glance from the band's, Marie asked. grey eyes under grizzled bas- She spoke in a figure raised tions, and Tante Lotje winked by her sentimental dutifulness,
but it gave the General an side, but evidently he had opening for reminding her that grasped their spirit. Dr Maarthe figure was not literally ten had been greatly impressed true, and of other unique con- by the stately bearing of the ditions of her widowed state,— Widow—“whom he hadn't the frank remarks which we may pleasure of living with,” growled be permitted to omit. Marie, the General—and came over it in angry amaze, bade him be again and again,silent.
“ Did not she rise to the oc“Duvekatersche meid !” cried casion, Michiel ?” her father. “Do you remem
“Rise to the occasion! She's ber that I am General Michiel a heartless baggage," roared the van de Burg ?”
General at length. “You forget, General," re
heartless, Michiel,” plied Marie, “that I am the interrupted Tante Lotje, when widow of de Bruin.”
Maarten protested, “but just “ “Damn de Bruin," he mut- with a heart pretty deep down. tered ; and that may be taken And, maybe, to be sure, it's as acknowledgment of his one one or two sizes smaller than defeat.
girls wore in my young day:
that's why it has been so easy Out of her manifold resources, to hide it!” Tante Lotje has cleared up since And when Tante Lotje rethen this mystifying situation. flected on what she had said, Need it be said that were it she knew that she had been otherwise, she should not have inspired. found her present historian. The Solution was a HeartTante Lotje always says that finder, and Remmers, of course, the Solution came to her dur- was the man. It was for him ing a conversation between the to strike the rock of the General and his brother Maar- Widow's nature, and bid its ten. In this she is right, no sweetness flow. He was the doubt; but it is proper to re- miner who, with the lamp mark that her subsequent plan of his own affection in hand, of campaign was made easy by was to seek the hidden treascertain measures taken by her ure, unfortunately so rare, and, quite undesignedly and without for all parties, so desirable. reference to it, and indeed be- In some such figure does Remfore the new light broke. Curi- mers, the Heart-finder, appear ously, the clarifying conversa
Tante Lotje saw tion referred to bore more or Captain of Engineers, frank less directly on the insolubility and honest as the sun still, of the problem : the General but laughing out of steadier explained it, “Out of the eater blue eyes, and buckled tight came forth meat; out of the in full uniform, who came to strong, sweetness,' as David or the house of the Voorhout Jehoshaphat said." The Gen
one afternoon, and, after ineral's knowledge of the Scrip- terviewing the General, went ture was not particularly ac- straight to Marie and took curate, even the military her in his arms. The ob
stacle in the way was the The Widow, it appears, exvan Staate girl ; and it was tended to the jilted Captain a here that Tante Lotje's earlier regal sympathy, and he had manæuvres stood her in good laughed. Tante Lotje could stead. She brought to the hear him laugh, though she Widow one day the news that was far off, at the other end the Remmers
Staate of the house of course. engagement was broken off- “Do you know why I broke by the lady, of course. She off the engagement, Marie ?” did not say anything of the he asked. cause alleged, rumours of Rem- “They said that she broke mer's affections being engaged it,” Marie replied. elsewhere, or that these rumours Naturally,” said Remmers,
the reverberations of with a twinkle. Tante Lotje's
stories You, Christiaan !” She whispered — “but don't say spoke in sorrow and reproach. . that I said it, mind!” — in “You? You, faithless? You, the echoing wastes of The so wanting in a sense of duty ? Hague society. If Tante You, to be forgetful of all that Lotje expected the news to your position, your profession, surprise Marie into some tell- your pledges, your honour, tale flutter of the eyes or your kinship with my brave, blood, she was disappointed. noble husband - I On the contrary, the Constant ashamed. I am vexed.” Widow received the account (“Mijn Hemel !” said Tante of the van Staate girl's fickle- Lotje.) ness with so great a measure Marie spoke in sorrow, as of complacency that Tante one who, holding the banner Lotje bounced out of the room aloft, finds the most trusted with the curls shaking vio- follower untrue to it. lently. But, at any rate, it Marie,” said Remmers, some was easy now to bring Rem- sternness hardening the boyish mers to the rock, to the mouth voice - Marie, were you alof the treasure - cave, to the ways true, faithful, to your house in the Voorhout, — to professions, your pledges ? " Marie, in fact. He came to “ Have I not atoned ?" she the interview primed—not con- cried. “ Have I not atoned ? sciously, remember, but in a a Ah! Christiaan, that night on whirl, after half-an-hour with the Red Sea, when the moon Tante Lotje.
And probably shone down . . there may have reached him “By heaven, Marie!” Remechoes of another of her whis- mers cried in anger. pers: “Marie is in love with are without a heart. Atoned ! Remmers.”
How could you atone ? What As Tante Lotje brought them was there to atone for—to him, together, so it is to her that at least. You are living in an we owe the knowledge of what illusion. Deceiving others, depassed between them. How ceiving yourself. Duty! It's she came by it we do not the cant of the ungenerous know, we prefer not to ask. heart, the idealess mind. We
have a duty to ourselves. You doned
You doned the Widow's position have, I have. Marie, I was a of Duty and atonement (infool. But when I saw what spired by the moon shining
. was before me, knew what I on the Red Sea), she retired was doing, if I had not drawn upon that of maidenly obedback I should have been worse ience. Remmers, she said, than a fool, a rascal. When I must go to her father. When knew that my heart was not he went, he was a little stagthe woman's to whom I had gered to find the General so pledged it, if this precious duty hearty. of yours demanded that I should
Certainly, my boy; go in pretend it was, was there not and try, though if you succeed a higher duty bidding me sacri- you're a deucedly cleverer player fice profession, pledges, position, at some other games than you honour even, for a higher hon- are at ombre. Go in, my boy.
If you win her, you're welcome “Ah! you broke off the en- to her.” gagement for me, Christiaan," Tante Lotje believed that she Marie said.
heard Remmers go in, but she (“The minx !” cried Tante thought she might as well make Lotje.)
sure. The spectacle that met “Before God, no,” said Rem- her eye, when she popped her
“Because of you—yes. head round the door, made the For you—how could that be? curls rustle roguishly. Did not I believe in this mum- “I knew it! I knew it! I
never breathed it to a soul, "Mummery!”
but I knew it,” she cried; and “Yes, mummery. Body and popped out again. soul you are exactly what you Well, of all the she were, yet you play the mourner cried aloud in the hall, but for for a man you never loved, a once Tante Lotje could not find man who never stirred the heart her words. She flew to the within you, or ever
General, and shook the curls “ Christiaan!”
upon his neck.
“Oh! Michiel. “It's true, as I tell you.
Marie- she cried. True. Tush!” Remmers flung “The baggage,” he said, disout his
arms in vexation. engaging her, and Tante Lotje “ What's the use of all this? laughed.
Marie ! Marie! Cannot « Deed, she's no great catch," you be true to yourself? Don't she said to herself. But from you know that
love me?” what she told the General, we (" Ah !” whispered
whispered Tante gather that Marie rose to the Lotje.)
occasion once more, and no doubt It
characteristic of Uncle Maarten was satisfied. Marie that, when she aban- Apparently Remmers was.
JAMAICA: AN IMPRESSION.
So many sayings and pro- ston; whilst upon the hill-top verbs which are unauthentic, gleamed a white thread, which untrue, or contradictory have is the barracks for the garrison passed into common usage, that up at Newcastle, some five or I am glad to find one for whose six miles from the capital. aptness I am prepared to vouch. I need not stay to describe When Columbus was desired by Kingston, for it is not unlike his sovereigntodescribe Jamaica, many other towns that are to we are told that he crumpled be found in the tropics.
It up a piece of paper lengthwise, gives one the impression of a saying, “That, your Majesty, is city planted in a garden ; of like the island of Jamaica.' many narrow, rather dirty, Both true and ben trovato; for arcaded streets, with broad I cannot think of any other deep gutters running at right way, even nowadays, in which angles to the aggressive tramone could better convey the idea car lines, which cause the very of the long, low, wrinkled coast, soul to be jolted out of your peaked here, low-lying there, body as you drive along in a indented everywhere, along buggy; of clouds of black faces, which we glided one morning for the most part merry and in early November before the excited; of males in dun-colour,
A grey sky, a females in white; of cattle and steel-blue sea; and, here and horses being driven through the there, from the dull background main streets; of women smokof the night-chilled mountains, ing short clay pipes, as from a bronze-green hill-tops giving a lofty saddle between heavily metallic tone to the neutral laden panniers they guide atmosphere that precedes the beasts of burden to the market. day. But suddenly “the dawn Rarely a white face shines came up like thunder,” and through the throng; but if it night was gone. For the sky does, it can generally be traced blushed pink, the sea became a to the ubiquitous British soldier, crimson lake, the mountains in or to some younger son who has the distance warmed into blue, come out to look for employthe hills softened into green, ment in the intervals of poloand the gorgeous colouring of playing and other tropical the tropical foliage lent radi- exercises. ance to this wonderful and im- But it was not mine to stay mediate transformation. Now long in Kingston, for my final we could see the little log- destination lay right across the cabins
substantial island, in the north-west corner white houses lying low amid almost, at Knockalva in the the groves of palm - trees or county of Cornwall in the parish bananas that adorn the shore- of Hanover, There is a railline on the approach to King- way-system which leads to this