Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

“Signor

party with an air of mute reproach. Brunoni had no beard—but perhaps he'll come soon.” So she lulled herself into patience. Meanwhile, Miss Matty had reconnoitred through her eye-glass, wiped it and looked again. Then she turned round and said to me, in a kind, mild, sorrowful tone:

"You see, my dear, turbans are worn.”

But we had no time for more conversation. The Grand Turk, as Miss Pole chose to call him, arose and announced himself as Signor Brunoni.

"I don't believe him !” exclaimed Miss Pole, in a defiant manner. He looked at her again, with the same dignified upbraiding in his countenance. "I don't !" she repeated more positively than ever.

Signor Brunoni had not got that muffy thing about his chin, but looked like a close-shaved Christian gentleman.”

Miss Pole's energetic speeches had the good effect of wakening up Mrs. Jamieson, who opened her eyes wide, in sign of the deepest attentiona proceeding which silenced Miss Pole and encouraged the Grand Turk to proceed, which he did in very broken English-so broken that there was no cohesion between the parts of his sentences; a fact which he himself perceived at last, and so left off speaking and proceeded to action.

Now we were astonished. How he did his tricks I could not imagine; no, not even when Miss Pole pulled out her pieces of paper and began reading aloud—or at least in a very audible whisper—the separate “receipts” for the most common of his tricks. If ever I saw a man frown and look enraged, I saw the Grand Turk frown at Miss Pole; but, as she said, what could be expected but unChristian looks from a Mussulman ? If Miss Pole were sceptical, and more engrossed with her receipts and diagrams than with his tricks, Miss Matty and Mrs. Forrester were mystified and perplexed to the highest degree. Mrs. Jamieson kept taking her spectacles off and wiping them, as if she thought it was something defective in them which made the legerdemain; and Lady Glenmire, who had seen many curious sights in Edinburgh, was very much struck with the tricks, and would not at all agree with Miss Pole, who declared that anybody could do them with a little practice, and that she would herself undertake to do all he did, with two hours given to study the Encyclopædia and make her third finger flexible.

At last Miss Matty and Mrs. Forrester became perfectly awe-stricken. They whispered together. I sat just behind them, so I could not help hearing what they were saying. Miss Matty asked Mrs. Forrester “if she thought it was quite right to have come to see such things? She could not help fearing they were lending encouragement to something that was not quite- A little shake of the head filled up the blank. Mrs. Forrester replied that the same thought had crossed her mind; she, too, was feeling very uncomfortable, it was so very strange. She was quite certain that it was her pocket-handkerchief which was in that loaf just now; and it had been in her own hand

not five minutes before. She wondered who had furnished the bread ? She was sure it could not be Dakin, because he was the churchwarden. Suddenly Miss Matty half turned towards me:

“Will you look, my dear, you are a stranger in the town, and it won't give rise to unpleasant reports —will you just look round and see if the rector is here? If he is, I think we may conclude that this wonderful man is sanctioned by the Church, and that will be a great relief to my mind.”

I looked, and I saw the tall, thin, dry, dusty rector, sitting surrounded by National School boys, guarded by troops of his own sex from any approach of the many Cranford spinsters. His kind face was all agape with broad smiles, and the boys around him were in chinks of laughing. I told Miss Matty that the Church was smiling approval, which set her mind at ease.

Mrs. Gaskell.

LIV.

HYMN OF PAN.1

FROM the forests and highlands

We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
Where loud waves are dumb

Listening to my sweet pipings.

The wind in the reeds and the rushes,

The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,

The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus2 was

Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,

And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing
The light of the dying day,

Speeded with my sweet pipings.
The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,

And the nymphs of the woods and waves, To the edge of the moist river-lawns,

And the brink of the dewy caves, And all that did then attend and follow, Were silent with love as you now, Apollo,

With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars,

I sang of the daedal 3 Earth,
And of Heaven—and the giant wars,
And Love, and Death, and Birth,

And then I changed my pipings,-
Singing how down the vale of Menalus

I pursued a maiden and clasped a reed; Gods and men, we are all deluded thus !

It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed : All wept, as I think both ye now wouid, If envy or age had not frozen your blood, At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

P. B. Shelley.

LV.

A SAILOR'S LIFE.

As we had now a long spell of fine weather, without any incident to break the monotony of our lives, there can be no better place to describe the duties, regulations, and customs of an American merchantman, of which ours was a fair specimen.

The Captain, in the first place, is lord paramount. He stands no watches, comes and goes when he pleases, and is accountable to no one, and must be obeyed in everything, without a question, even from his chief officer. He has the power to turn his officers off duty, and even to break them and make them do duty as sailors in the forecastle. Where there are no passengers and no supercargo, as in our vessel, he has no companion but his own dignity; and no pleasures, unless he differs from most of his kind, but the consciousness of possessing supreme power, and occasionally the exercise of it.

The prime minister, the official organ, and the active and superintending officer, is the chief mate. He is first lieutenant, boatswain, sailing-master, and quarter-master. The captain tells him what he wishes to have done, and leaves to him the care of overseeing, or allotting the work, and also the responsibility of its being well done. The mate (as he is always called, par excellence) also keeps

« AnteriorContinua »