Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

of the third order of St. Dominic. One The Cappella di S. Caterina is full of of the few authentic portraits of saints frescoes of the story of the saint's life, is that of St. Catherine, preserved over of which two beautiful incidents are one of the altars, executed by her shown in the finest works of Sodoma. friend, Andrea Vanni, to whom she ad- One tells the story of Tuldo, the crimdressed still-existing letters of mater- inal, who, condemned to execution, renal advice, beginning, “Carissimo figli. fused to confess that he was guilty, uolo in Cristo," and in one of which and thus to receive absolution, till he she urges him to obtain a good influ- was converted by Catherine. When ence over those around him, adding, his last hour came she met him on the "but I do not see how we are to govern scaffold, saluting him as her "sweet others unless we first learn to govern brother,” and it was her hand that ourselves." The portrait gives a touch- placed his neck upon the block, where ing representation of her sweet but the last words he uttered were the worn and ascetic features. Her black names of Jesus and of Catherine. mantle is drawn around her.

In one

In the other picture, perhaps the hand she holds a lily. The other is masterpiece of the artist, Christ sudkissed by a votary, believed to be the denly appears in glory, and Catherine repentant nun Palmerina, who had

swoons in the arms of her sister-nuns, long harassed her life by calumnies. the expression of anxious reverence in Weeping, the saint had here laid these their faces, and of fainting through wrongs at the feet of Christ. Then He happiness on the features of Catherine, appeared to her bearing two crowns, being alike incomparable. one of gold and jewels, the other of There is a delightful picture gallery, thorns, and bade her choose between there are a hundred other sights in hillthem. She chose the thorns, and, with set Siena, and the town is a startingHis own hand, He pressed them deep place for some of the most interesting down upon her forehead. Thus Cath- excursions in Italy; but the Cathedral, erine knew to suffer in silence was her the House of St. Catherine and St. part, and such henceforth was her in- Domenico are three sights closely envincible sweetness and kindness to woven with each other, which not even Palmerina, that in time she repented of the most passing travellers must miss. her misdeeds.

Aug stus J. C. Hare.

Tb. Argosy.

LITTLE IN CHRIST'S HANDS GOES FAR.

Yield thy poor best and muse not how or why,

Lest, one day, seeing all about thee spread,

A mighty crowd and marvellously fed,
Thy heart break out into a bitter cry,
"I might have furnished, I, yea, even I,
The two small fishes and the barley bread."

-Frederick Langbridge.

CECIL RHODES AND THE GOVERNOR.

They had

crossed from Robben Island to the mainland overnight, seven in number, and the youngest was a baby, and they came in a box with net nailed over it, and a few leaves and branches round which they could clasp their tiny hands and twist their supple tails.

For they were chameleons, and life had hitherto been spent by them in the blue hedges of plumbago, or in the glorious creepers and plants on the island, and the sadness of the surroundings did not affect them.

What does a chameleon care if the human beings who inhabit his island are lunatics, lepers and convicts, as long as there are plenty of flies to be had and broad stoeps to afford shelter in the cold weather?

But these seven chameleons would never see Robben Island again, so with philosophic calm they adapted themselves to their new circumstances. A night and a day in the Archdeacon's greenhouse-a day during which rain fell in torrents that will not soon be forgotten in Capetown, and business men had to paddle bome through the streets bare-foot.

The steamer could not be laden with cargo in this food, so it was a day late in starting, and on the morrow the Archdeacon brought the box on board just before the whistle sounded for departure.

He assured me that they had had plenty of flies, and would do well till the next day, so I left them in my cabin till we were well out at sea, then I took them up on deck.

The six grown chameleons, of varied green hue, marked with rose-color or yellow, were in excellent health, and cast one eye north and another south,

with the dispassionate manner peculiar to their race. But the baby was dead.

There it lay, in its inch-and-a-half of lifeless prettiness, this baby too young and helpless to come from its fair, sunny home, to the restless motion of the Avondale Castle.

Alas! it had to be buried at sea, and its parents, uncles and aunts, took their loss calmly and heroically.

It was not to be expected that the presence of six chameleons on board would be unattended with excitement, and soon all the first-class passengers surrounded them and asked every question that could possibly be asked about them, after which their progress began through the second and third class.

One second-class passenger had a formidable rival in a merecat, a creature very like a squirrel; but there was a novelty in my pets, and the children all crowded round, saying, “Put it on my frock,” “Look at its little hand," “What will they eat?”

This was a question which was beginning to exercise my mind, for flies were getting scarce on board. In the third-class the passengers were full of interest and suggestions. They were mostly soldiers from Mauritius with their families, and they were all emphatic in saying they had never seen such small chameleons—those in Malta and Mauritius were much larger.

I could not profess to be an authority on chameleons, so I gave a practical turn to the discussion by asking it any one could catch a fly, and soon a sergeant appeared with one, but my family would not eat, though the fly was put just in front of them.

How little I knew then that the closeness of the fly was the reason that

they could not eat, for their tongues The Captain assured me that they are of such abnormal length that they did not want to eat, and during the require ample space for shooting them day they clung to their palm branches out and securing their prey, and prob- and seemed to sleep, but at night they ably had the fly been farther off it became active and explored every would immediately have been swal- corner of the saloon. lowed.

“Them creatures of yours, ma'am," Sickly little children lay on the deck, the head-waiter would say, "are all weak and pale from Mauritius fever, over the place when I come here in the and they smiled at my creatures as morning. One was on the sofa, one they watched them change color when was under the captain's chair, another put on different hues.

was on the curtain, and one was on the On one point I was firm; no one was floor where the carpet was rolled up." to put them on anything red, for the I looked round the plants on the effect would be fatal. At the Castle table and could only find four. at Capetown one evening some officers “Yes, ma'am," said the waiter, "I'd were dining in uniform, and one put a trod on that one on the floor before I chameleon on his mess jacket. It grew saw it, so I had to throw him overdarker and darker, then swelled, as if board. I'm sorry, but you won't get with rage, and died. Some people 'em home alive. I've seen scores think that the effort to turn color is brought on board, but only one reached too great for it, and others that the home alive, and that was eaten next creature really bursts with anger; but day by the cat." the fact is stated in books on natural This was rather depressing, but I dehistory.

clined to believe that I should be un"Have you tried them with cock- successful, and for many days no roaches ?" the sergeant asked. “The further accidents occurred. cook would have plenty."

During Morning Service on the folIt was a Sunday afternoon, and there lowing Sunday, one enterprising chamwas more leisure than usual among eleon climbed up an old gentleman's the ship's men, so I visited the cook coat whilst the First Lesson was being and the butcher, who rose to the occa- read, and sat triumphantly on his col. sion. The butcher pulled up his shirt- lar when he rose for the Te Deum, sleeve and let a chameleon walk on his and I believe they sucked up the drops arm, while the cook caught cockroaches of water I put on the palm-leaves, but and set them

running over the they began to grow thin. butcher's arm in front of the apathetic A gentleman who was taking some chameleon. For he took not the slight- orchid plants from Mossel Bay sugest notice of them.

gested that the chameleons might find "He ain't hungry, ma'am," said the insects on them, and they were placed butcher. "Put 'em on the plants in the there on the lower deck and ran in saloon. They'll do right enough." and out of the leaves.

So I commended them to the head- We were near Ascension Island, waiter and left them on the palms in where we stopped for a few hours, and the saloon, but whether temptation was in the interest of this curious cindertoo strong for someone, or whether an heap I left my creatures longer than enterprising chameleon wished to ex- I had intended. When I went to fetch plore for himself, I cannot say, for them only three remained. Whether later in the day five only were to be the other jumped overboard or fell, found.

will never be known, but I began to

99

wish that I had not brought them last night, that I took them to my cabin away.

in their box, from wbich they escaped, However, a naval officer had brought and were making a tour of my dressa large bunch of flowers on board, ing-gown in the morning; but I brought which was placed on the saloon table, them safely to breakfast. Cecil Rhodes and here my three survivors revelled, was paler than usual, and seemed to for the flowers were full of insects. have grown suddenly thin; but

At Las Palmas we landed and drove "Hullo," said the doctor, “what's the up the mountain to lunch. The dining. matter with Cecil Rhodes?" room was full of flies. Why had I not For he had laid himself down, and brought my little friends?

died. “Never mind,” said the doctor, The waiter caught several Aies for "I'll preserve him in spirits, and you me, and put them into a bottle, and can still take him home.” that evening on board a boy fed the I looked at my little Governor, and chameleons, for either they could not was thankful that he was the survivor, or would not feed themselves.

then I went below to pack. News had spread like wild-fire as The chief steward and stewardess soon as we were anchored, that as the sat at breakfast as I went through. plague was in Lisbon we should not “Cecil Rhodes is dead," I said, and stop again, and should be in Plymouth the stewardess started up. on Friday morning.

"Has there been a telegram ?" she How we rejoiced; but my tiny pets cried, though we were still going at did not heed the news, and the next full speed. day one died.

"Not the man–the chameleon," I ex"Only two," I said to the doctor. “I plained. shall call them the Governor and Before my packing was finished the Cecil Rhodes."

doctor sent a bottle round, wherein Cecil Rhodes was the larger and poor Cecil Rhodes swam in spirits. paler of the two; the Governor was a The bottle bore a label. “Hic jacet dear little rich green creature, and my 'Cecil Rhodes. In the midst of plenty, we favorite.

starve." Every one seemed to think that I The embalmed remains I kept out of should get these two home alive, and sight, for I had loved to feel the clingeven the head-waiter modified bis ing of his queer finger and thumb; and opinion.

the Governor went back alone into the “ 'Twill be a wonderful thing, ma'am, box which had brought the seven from for I never knew but one got home Robben Island. alive, and that was eaten by the cat; No special train awaited the Goverbut I really believe you'll do it."

nor at Plymouth, no strains of “God We gave them the inside of grapes, save the Queen" welcomed him home; or little bits of fruit, and Thursday but his new home was as fair and evening came.

bright with flowers as his old home in I can only give you our point of the island lying lown upon the sea, and view: if the Governor and Cecil some one discovered that he could eat Rhodes could have written their im- a fly put at some distance from him; pressions of us it would have been in. his long orange-colored tongue finitely more interesting and original, caught the flies in a marvellous manfor human life on board is not as con- ner, and the Governor took up his sistent as chameleon life.

abode in a Devonshire drawing-room. So anxious was I about them this He gave a reception to half the par

[ocr errors]

1 GILBERT WHITE.

ish, and was greatly admired, though he would not always eat at the desired moment.

" 'Tis fairly like a little avit" (eft), said the poor people. "Will he bite, miss?" For west-country folk distrust anything of the nature of “avits."

The Governor's home was a geranium plant, and it was carried up at nigbt; but one morning it was left on the piano in the dining-room till luncheon time, and when it was remembered, the Governor was gone.

It was a glorious summer day, and the window was wide open. Had the Governor fancied himself back in his own island and gone on a tour of inspection out into the coronella, and up among the jessamine and roses on the house? If so, we should see him no more, for when winter came my poor little Governor would die of the cold.

Everyone in the house came to look for it, and the boy with a ladder spent hours poking into the recesses of the creepers; but in vain-the Governor was nowhere to be found.

So I went out into the parish, and had to answer the enquiries after my "little avit" by the sad intelligence that he was lost.

But during my absence my sister went into the dining-room, and there sat the Governor on the top of the sewing-machine. Temple Bar.

He was feasted and made much of that evening, and never again tried to wander away..

Early in October I had to go to London, and made up my mind to make enquiries at the Zoological Gardens as to the babits of chameleons during winter.

News came of the well-being of the Governor, and news came every day of the ever-increasing complications in South Africa.

And then came that day, never to be forgotten while the world shall last, of the beginning of the war in Africa, and the little Governor stretched himself out on his plant, and died.

Oh, little Governor, with your farseeing eyes and loving grasp, perhaps you are better away from your country just now.

Some day (who knows when)? it may again be the fair, bright land of flowers and peace as I knew it, and your brothers will be climbing the plumbago hedges or nestling among the oleanders, and voices will be laughing as they used to laugh in South Africa; but your memory, my Governor, lies deep in a heart that loves your country and waits for a better and brighter dawn to rise over it-a dawn which may be long in coming, but which must surely come at last.

E. M. Green.

Books he shall read in bill and tree;

The flowers his weather shall portend.
The birds his moralists shall be,
And everything his friend.

W. J. Courthope.

« AnteriorContinua »