Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

prospect before us was far from agreeable. A journey ankle-deep, and the next impassable even to a horse. of six hundred miles on horseback, through a desert We crossed it ankle-deep in the morning, and rode on country, with only four towns, or rather villages, on the for six hours farther. At night there was no appearway, seemed to us almost fearful; and the result proved ance of the wagon, nor yet at ten o'clock next morning. our anticipations to be correct.

At length I determined to ride back in search of it, We commenced our journey at daybreak. Altogether when, on my arrival at the shallow stream of yesterday, we formed a large cavalcade, with a bullock-wagon in to my great astonishment I found the wagon had been the rear containing our tents, baggage, and provisions. unable to cross, from the swollen state of the river, This ought to have been up with us early every even- which had risen in less than half an hour after our ing at our halting-place; but to our great disappoint- passage. We had no resource but to swim our horses ment it always arrived so late, that we were able to put across. My servant got over safe enough; but my up our tents only four times during our long journey. horse became so frightened with the noise and the Nearly every night we had to sleep in the bushes. rapid current, that alighting by chance on a rock in Our daily march was much as follows:-Up at day, the middle of the river, he reared up in a most terbreak (four o'clock in the morning), we breakfasted, rific manner. Fortunately I had sufficient presence of rode on for about six hours, until the heat grew too mind to let the reins loose, and give him his own way. intense, then off-saddled,' as it is called here, rested for He then gave a vigorous plunge up against the stream, a couple of hours, and rode again for four more. In but in doing so, I very nearly lost my life. Both my the evening we sometimes came to a farm-house, where stirrups were carried away. At length he leaped on we generally procured forage for the horses : the host shore, yet not until he had indulged his humour by always offered us beds, such as they were; and one rearing again several times; then, having sent off night we felt so tired, that we resolved to try them; but provisions to the rest of my party, I relished my own we paid dearly for the experiment, and vowed never to dinner, after a fast of thirty hours. I was forced to accept of one again. These Dutch Boors have all the remain for two days with the wagon before we could appearance of hospitality; but as they possess not the effect a passage. On the third we succeeded. The concomitant virtues, I have come to the conclusion that rest of my party were then several days in advance, they suffer you in their houses, some only through and I could not overtake them for ten days longer, when fear, and others only because they expect a solid we arrived at Swellendam. Six days of that time we return. Religion they have none, though nominally passed in the bush without seeing a farm-house, and Dutch Lutherans, and they generally have a Bible three days without water. During the whole journey, on their table. To me, after the Germans, they the water was often so brackish, it was impossible to appear almost savages, degraded to a pitiful degree, drink it, and we were frequently rejoiced to meet with and without one idea beyond the circle of their own some as muddy as in the dirty ditches by the roadside. farms, few of them ever having been farther. So At Swellendam we stopped for several days to rest stupid or brutal are they, that frequently they could ourselves and horses. Without exception it is the not tell us the way to the next farm, though they had prettiest town in this part of the world: that, howbeen living in that spot all their lives. People in ever, is not saying much. We had still five days of England have no conception of country life here in the march to make, differing, however, in no particular Africa. I remember, years ago, reading one of Miss from all preceding them, except that gradually we Martineau's tales of colonisation here. She can know perceived ourselves returning to civilised life. Good nothing of this country. The farmers never live as grass and pasture was more plentiful, the farms more she has represented them, in villages, as it were, with numerous, and closer together, and a little English was all goods to a certain extent in common. Their farms now and then spoken. are always isolated, many miles from each other, and When within a couple of days' march of the Cape, lonely and desolate to the last degree. This sort of I heard by chance that about four hours' ride from our lífe necessarily causes much selfishness in their cha- halting-place was the large Moravian establishment of racter. They do not speak a word of English, though Genadendaal. This I determined to see; so leaving my their barbarous dialect seems to be a mixture of our companions, I took a Hottentot guide, rode over, spent language and platt Deutsch,' or low German.

the evening and half the next day there, and overtook The country through which we passed is, with my friends the following morning at Caledon, after one single exception, perfectly frightful for about fifty accomplishing a ride at full gallop of eighty miles out miles beyond Prince Albert. Excepting at the farm- of my way. Here, as before, my knowledge of German houses, a tree is nowhere to be met with; and the whole stood me in good need. The Moravians are always civil way from Colesberg to Swellendam, a distance of five to strangers ; but on my addressing them in their native hundred miles, we never saw one blade of grass, language, their kindness and attentions were redoubled. nothing but dirty weeds, gravel, and sand! Very diffe. The establishment consists of a very large village of rent from Caffreland, where the pasture is so good. Hottentots (about two thousand inhabitants), who are

We were about four days in getting to Richmond, certainly the most civilised of their race I have seen, which is a new village. We were again seven or eight twelve missionaries, all of whom are married, and one days in riding to Beaufort, travelling as I have already unmarried, who is the bishop. The most prominent described, sometimes burnt by the scorching sun, at object is a very large church or meeting-house with a others wet to the skin for hours together with rain school attached. This occupies one side of a large such as is not to be conceived in England. And then, square; on the corresponding side are the houses of to add to our misery, we could only look forward-not the missionaries; whilst the other two are filled up by to a good fire, as the Dutch have no fires, but to stand the workhouses and the shops belonging to them. Here ing shivering in our wet clothes until our wagon came every imaginable trade is carried on. The artisans are up.

Our sole remedy in such cases was brandy and all Hottentots, taught by the missionaries, each of water, and blankets : but very poor comfort they proved. whom is a mechanic, and has been brought up to some Game was very plenty on the road in the shape of trade. A missionary superintends every branch; and gnous, zebras, springboks, and ostriches; and on one whenever one dies, his place is forthwith supplied on occasion we saw a tiger, which they said had carried application to their great depôt Herrnhut in Saxony. off a goat from the farm every night for the past week. Good-will and regularity certainly appear to be there

Thus we journeyed on through Beaufort and Prince the order of the day. There are certain rules which Albert, neither of which villages is worthy of remark. must be kept in the village, certain hours in which the On leaving the latter place, we came once more into a men must work, the children go to school, the women world of troubles. About four hours beyond Prince Al- stop at home; and all attend church every evening. If bert (we count distance here by hours) is a broad river, these regulations are not complied with, the offending which, as is usual in this country, may one hour be only party is expelled from the place. The Society are fol.

lowers of John IIŭss, but they do not reject any other Before he had attained his thirteenth year, he was denomination of Protestantism, although all must con- qualified for the appointment of registrar to the cattleform to their rules of discipline. All their establish- market of Villiers le Bocage. ments in Germany, New South Wales, America, and At seventeen, he mentioned to his father his desire Africa, are subject in everything to a committee of to quit the paternal roof for a sphere larger and better management in Herrnhut, and which is elected every adapted for realising the objects of his ambition. His five years. Nothing can be done without its consent. father made no objection; but when the moment of All the surplus revenues of the different settlements are separation came, he found himself obliged to confess sent home to the common stock, and the most exact that, in a time of great distress, he had expended the accounts are kept for the revision of the committee. greater part of the savings which Richard had intrusted Every large institution has a bishop. Whatever spiri- to his care, and that he had now not more than twelve tual influence may be comprehended by that term, the francs (ten shillings) to give him. This communication bishops seemed to me little more than overseers. The did not discourage our enterprising youth. He took a one I saw was walking about in a baize jacket and most affectionate leave of his father, and assuring him nankeen trousers. The most extraordinary regulation that he was only too glad to leave him this little earnest of the Society is that relating to marriage : they never of the prosperity which he hoped yet to work out for see their wives until they come out here. When a man him, set off with his new clothes in his bag and his ten wants a wife, he writes home to Herrnhut: there all shillings in his pocket. He arrived at the chief town the girls draw lots, and she who gets the prize is mar- of Normandy with a light purse, but with as light a ried at home by proxy, forth with starts on her voyage, heart, buoyant with hope, and with a spirit of enterprise and is remarried in person on her arrival here. I and determination that defied all difficulties. He deemed thought it a cruel plan; and the results doubtless prove himself fortunate in at once obtaining the situation of very painful, if one may judge from the melancholy clerk to a petty merchant; but unhappily for him, his countenances of the majority of the women in Gena- master was a rude, ignorant, and avaricious man, incadendaal. I left the place pleased in many things, and pable of appreciating such a mind as that of Richard. must certainly give these missionaries credit for their He made the young Norman his servant rather than evident good-will and unwearied exertions in the civi- his clerk. So long as it was only a matter of cleaning lisation of the poor natives.

horses, helping to cook, and waiting at table, the youth The day after, we came in sight

of Cape Town, from made no complaint; but at length his master having what is called Sir Lowry Cole's Pass, at the top of a bought a new equipage, in order to make a suitable figure mountain overlooking Simon's Bay, and the whole in some civic ceremonial, wanted him to act as footman; valley between it and Table Bay. If this were culti- but shrinking from this public exhibition, he positively vated like Richmond plain, and not a desert waste as it refused, and quitted the house of the merchant. is, the view would be surpassingly fine. You see the two And now his thought by day, his dream by night,' bays at either end, and this immense valley of full fifty was to get to Paris, where he might attain his darling miles in extent, with Cape Town and Simon's Bay in object of acquiring a knowledge of mercantile business. the distance. Nothing can be more magnificent. The But for this money was necessary, and to procure it, view of Cape Town was to us travellers almost like Richard became a waiter at a small coffeehouse, where the sight of the shores of England again. Next day for one year he steadily laid by everything he received, we found ourselves comfortably resting from all our till he found he had in halfpence a sum sufficient for fatigues and dangers, while the town was in the bustle his journey. Arrived in the capital, it was not very of preparation for the reception of Sir Harry Smith, easy for a poor youth, without either friend or relative whose arrival was daily expected. Triumphal arches in Paris, to find the means of subsistence. After many and happy faces met one everywhere. Never was man unsuccessful efforts to get into a merchant's employmore popular, and never did governor better deserve it. ment, he was obliged to resume the apron in a coffee

house kept by one of his countrymen. The perquisites

there being much more considerable than at Rouen, be FORTUNES OF A FARMER'S BOY.

found himself, at the end of the year, the possessor of FRANÇOIS RICHARD was born in 1765, in the obscure forty pounds and a few shillings. Nothing could hencelittle hamlet of Trelat, commune of D’Epinay, in France. forth check his progress : he devoted his little store to He was the son of a poor farmer, who shared the hard- the purchase of some pieces of English dimity, a maships at that time the common lot of the agriculturist- nufacture then unknown to France, and hawked them hardships that can scarcely be conceived by those who about till he disposed of all most advantageously. He know not what habit, patience, and, still more, Chris- renewed his stock as fast as it was exhausted; and tian resignation, can enable men to endure. His early when, after a year's labour, he summed up his accounts, years, though passed in poverty, obscurity, and retire- he found a balance in his favour of L.1000! ment, were yet full of excitement; his young and ardent Richard continued his trade till 1789, when, by a imagination was for ever devising new projects; and fraudulent trick of an agent employed by him, his ineven his sports and childish tricks betrayed his specu- dustry was suddenly checked by the loss of his wbole lative turn of mind. At twelve years old, he gave him- stock. He was even arrested for an alleged debt of self up to the rearing of pigeons, and carried on a little sixty pounds. He could easily have paid this sum, and trade in them, with success sufficient to encourage and recovered his liberty; but his honest and independent stimulate his spirit of enterprise. But his dovecot mind revolted from every species of injustice: he knew gave umbrage to the lord of the soil, and he was com- that he had not incurred the debt, and he preferred repelled to sell it to him, receiving for it a sum equal to maining in prison to allowing roguery to triumph. about thirty-five shillings. Richard thought himself a The revolutionary convulsions that afterwards shook rich man, and resolving to have some enjoyment from society to its very foundations were now beginning in his wealth, he purchased leather shoes, which, amongst France. On the 13th of July the riot broke out, and those who knew only the wooden shoe of the peasant, after pillaging the house of the manufacturer Reveillon, made him be looked upon as almost a gentleman. the mob fell upon La Force, where Richard was con

Richard had nothing so much at heart as being no fined, broke it open, and set the prisoners free. Once longer a burden to his father, whose poverty was indeed again was Richard in the streets of Paris, with a toilet a grief to him. After the sale of his dovecot, he com- somewhat more neglected than usual, and twelve sous menced speculating in dogs. This new trade gave him in his pocket; but he remembered his father's twelve in a short time the means of procuring decent clothing; francs, and thanked God and took courage. The house so that, by his rustic finery, he threw his schoolfellows in which he had lodged his money had stopped pay. as far into the shade as he had already done in much ment during his imprisonment; but he borrowed a few better things, by his progress in useful knowledge. crowns, resumed his old trade of hawker, and six months after, his credit was re-established, and his three months, constructed twenty-two of these frames; trade flourishing. He now thought he might extend and as their former premises were now too narrow for his operations, and took large establishment in the this addition, the two partners took from the governRue Française, and in 1792 was rich enough to pur- ment a spacious mansion in the Rue de Thougny; and chase a domain near Nemours. But the revolutionary the house, once the abode of luxury and wealth, was storm now broke forth in its full fury; and Richard, suddenly metamorphosed into the workshop of the poor whose peaceable disposition shrunk from the sanguinary but industrious artisans. The number employed now struggles that rent his country, soon saw that a consi- became so great, that they were soon obliged to add to derable time must elapse before there could be any se- their concerns a large convent in the neighbourhood. curity for trade, or any field for commercial enterprise. A few days after, Napoleon came to visit their estabHe accordingly settled his accounts, closed his ware- lishment; and he was so struck with the completeness house, and, accompanied by his wife, Marie Alavoine, of the novel machinery, with the clearness of Richard's whom he had married in 1790, went to visit his father, judgment, the elevation of his views, and the boldness and happily arrived at the very time that afforded him with which he laboured for the commercial freedom of another opportunity of proving he had not forgotten France, that he offered any encouragement he yet the pledge he had given on leaving the home of his needed; and on finding that their establishment was boyhood, of being yet the means of prosperity to his not even yet large enough, he gave a grant of another aged parent. The transports of joy at his unexpected convent at the opposite side of the street. arrival had not yet subsided, when two bailiffs entered The manufactory of Richard and Lenoir now assumed the house with a warrant to distrain. The father had an almost colossal importance, realising a monthly probecome security for the toll-collector, and the old pro- of L. 1600. The indefatigable Richard set up succesverb was found true in this case--the surety was obliged sively three hundred spinning-jennies in different vil. to pay; and the old man's goods would have been seized | lages of Picardy, forty at Alençon, and one hundred in but for Richard's fortunate arrival and interposition. the Abbey of St Martin. Nor was his native province

[graphic]

When the madness of the people was somewhat forgotten, for he opened a manufactory there which gave calmed down, he returned to Paris, and to fresh specu- bread to six hundred workmen. Neither did his enlations. A very short time after his return, he became lightened benevolence stop here. Incessant were his acquainted with a young merchant of the name of efforts to raise those in his employment in the social Lenoir-Dufresne. These two superior minds at once scale, by placing educational advantages within their understood each other, and a partnership was entered reach. In an asylum which he founded for the orphan into which was to end only with the death of one of children of both sexes of those workmen who died in the parties, so long known and respected as the firm his employment, he not only endeavoured to inspire of Richard and Lenoir.

them with a spirit of industry, but had them taught There were many points of resemblance between the reading, writing, arithmetic, and music; carefully protwo partners. Both possessed the same acuteness and viding also religious instruction. He waged open war almost intuitive tact in business, but the perhaps too with the spirit-shop; and in order that his workmen boldly speculative mind of Richard found a happy coun- might not go to the public - house for recreation, he terbalance in the coolness and steadiness of Lenoir. opened for their use a reading-room and a music-room. Their trade was principally in English manufactures ; For more than ten years, Richard and Lenoir seemed and so extensive did it become, and so wonderfully did to mount from step to step to the pinnacle of human it prosper, that, two years after their partnership com- prosperity. But in 1806, a sad and unexpected event menced, they had realised on the L.240 which they had broke up a partnership which might have served as a invested a net profit of L.4560.

model ; so perfect was the agreement, yet so remarkAnd now Richard conceived a noble project indeed able the combination of opposite qualities of mind to the introduction into France of the cotton manufacture, the most beneficial results. Lenoir died suddenly, and hitherto monopolised by England; and his persever Richard found himself alone at the head of the estab. ance, aided by an apparent accident, happily obtained lishment; and having no one now to restrain him, for him the means of accomplishing his purpose. Hav- he gave full scope to his gigantic views.

He set ing ripped some calico, he perceived, to his surprise, on up two more factories at Caen and Laigle, which weighing a certain quantity of thread, that a piece made the number under his superintendence amount to valued at L.3, 68. 8d. only took 10s. worth of the raw six, all in admirable order, and provided with every material! What a profit for the manufacturer! From essential for working. But one object of his ambition that instant he hesitated no longer: his purpose was still remained to be attained: he wished France to be fixed and irrevocable. However, not wishing to do no longer obliged to import the raw material from anything without his partner's consent, he communi- countries that did not acknowledge her sway. In cated his project to Lenoir-Dufresne, who at first tried Napoleon's career of conquest, Italy had now become, to dissuade him from attempting so bold and novel a as it were, but an appendage of his vast empire ; and plan; but seeing that his determination was not to be it was to the generous soil of Naples that Richard shaken, finally left him at full liberty, though declining purposed confiding his cotton plantation. Seeds were any interference. Richard's first step was the purchase often found in the bales of cotton coming from Ameof one hundredweight of cotton, and to get some looms rica, and these he had now carefully collected, and made after the rough plans given him by a poor English when he had got a sufficient quantity, he conveyed mechanic. They were set up in a shop in the Rue de them to Castel a Mare, where they succeeded so en. Bellefonds. The first essay was crowned with complete tirely, that one year after, he brought into France, as success in every point but the stamping of the calicoes; the produce of his first crop, twenty thousandweight of and as the printing of them was indispensable to their raw cotton. being saleable, Richard employed three months in en- Up to this point Richard could only be regarded as deavours to discover the secret of this process; but his the most encouraging example of the union of perseverefforts were vain; till at length his partner, whose pre-ing industry with bold and enterprising genius. It is judices had been removed, and who began to take an to be regretted that he must serve also as warning interest in the manufacture, gave him a clue to the against speculations that now took the character of discovery.

rashness. The union between Holland and France The manufacture now became so sought after, as to threw an immense quantity of cotton goods into the make the want of machinery sensibly felt. Richard market, and Richard could no longer find sale for what was anxiously devising some mode of procuring a model he had on hands; and with six factories perpetually of the English machine now so well known under the at work, the quantity manufactured was very great. name of spinning-jenny, when he was again fortunate This was the origin of his first difficulties. Vainly enough to meet with an Englishman, who, in less than I did his friends urge him to close some of his establish

BY CALDER CAMPBELL.

ments for a short time; vainly did his confidential clerk intreat him to strike a balance, and retire from

LIFE'S JOURNEY. trade :

-You have done enough for France, and nobly maintained your reputation ; think now of your inte.

It were a happy thing to dwell rests, and of taking the rest you have so well earned.'

On expectations merely, Richard was deaf to every argument, and continued

Without one fear to quench or quell manufacturing in ruinous quantities.

Desires we nurse so dearly; His involvements increased to an overwhelming de

And looking aye on pleasant things, gree, and he was obliged to have recourse to the Empe

And seeing still beyond them ror, to whom he frankly stated his situation. Napoleon,

Skies brighter far than even these are, who had ever respected him, and had but very lately con

With bright waves to respond them. ferred upon him the cross of the Legion of Honour, did not keep him long in suspense; and a loan of fifteen

But, well-a-day! 'tis only youth hundred thousand francs enabled him to meet the im

That waiteth thus, undreading

The shock of time, the death of truth mediate demands upon him. But the great cause of

Beneath the false world's treading; the evil still remained, and Richard at length thought

For there is that within the mind of adopting the manufacture of wool instead of that of

Which warns us not too boldly cotton. This new undertaking succeeded at first, and

To look before, nor yet behind, was attended with considerable profits; but soon fresh

Where cold ghosts gibber coldly. disaster occurred; and when the year 1813 arrived, so pregnant with reverse of fortune to the Emperor, ruin

The eye, which for an instant takes was impending over the enterprising manufacturer.

Rose-visions from the future, But personal anxieties were not suffered to make him

Beholding there all that is fair,

Finds Reason soon to tutor indifferent to the fate of his fellow-citizens. When in the

And teach it all, that glows so bright defence of Paris against the enemy's troops a number

Is born of the ideal, of men had been wounded and conveyed to hospital,

While o'er the prospect gloomy night Richard, in visiting them, saw that they were lying on

Brings darkness dense and real. the bare ground. He immediately supplied, at his own expense, eight hundred straw-beds, and employed the

We cannot tread the smallest space boiler of his bleach - house at Bon Secours to make

Without Hope's help to cheer us ; broth, daily carried to them by his servants and clerks,

But we should look Toil in the face, who attended on them in the hospitals. We need scarcely

Nor faint to find it near us; say that this heavy expense was incurred without either

Nor in our need too largely draw

From Expectation's fountain: expectation or desire of indemnification.

Alas for him who fails in limb And now the troops of the allied sovereigns took pos

When half way up the mountain! session of Paris, entering it on the 31st of March. Richard, though greatly attached to Bonaparte, from

Hope not too much-nor yet despair his kindness to himself personally, and therefore deeply

By backward looks, that weaken grieved at his fallen fortunes, yet saw clearly that the

Those energies which make us bear fate of thousands of his dependents was involved in

The burdens we have taken: protection being extended to his manufactories by the

The memory of the past should be restored Bourbons, and therefore he did not refuse to

A thing to nerve, not scare us

Our hopes no flimsy phantasy, head the legion he commanded, when it was ordered

But staff to onward bear us! out to receive the Count d'Artois at the barriers. But any hopes he might have entertained of their patronage

Time, as it flies, upon its wings were fallacious. The exhausted state of the public

Takes joys as well as sorrows: finances at the restoration, besides many other reasons,

The rose that dies, in dying flings compelled the Bourbons to yield to the demand of Eng

Faint perfumes for to-morrows; land, that the duty upon cotton should be altogether

But though the fragrance of the past taken off. The bill to that effect, which was passed

May rise like incense o'er us, without any clause of indemnity to the present holders

Let's hail it as a welcome cast of stock, found Richard with a fortune of eight millions,

By flower-beds on before us ! and rendered him poorer than when he first left his

Then do thy task--thy journey go native village.

Nor waste thy time lamenting Even in this extremity, Richard, supported by his

For misspent hours, whose memories show perseverance and fortitude, did not despair. He re

But grounds for sad repenting: solved to hold on, though now less to maintain his com

Welcome the waves that come to take mercial reputation, than not to plunge into utter desti

Our steps from deserts lonely! tution the twenty thousand workmen in his employment.

The surge which bears away the past, But he had soon exhausted all his own resources, and he

Brings back its memory only! was obliged to have recourse to loans, for which so high an interest was exacted, that in a little time his ruin was complete. He at length retreated from his struggle

HISTORY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONS. with adverse circumstances, almost pennyless, yet respected and esteemed by his fellow-citizens. But the The first volume, price 2s. 64. cloth boards, is now issued. change from almost incessant activity, to a life which The work will be completed in three volumes; and will seemed to him now without an object, was too sudden comprehend an account of the First Revolution in 1789, the and too great. He had now to struggle with all the Consulate and Empire under Napoleon, the Restoration, privations of poverty; and the bent and furrowed brow, the Revolution of 1830, the Reign of Louis Philippe, and once so clear, so open—the pale, melancholy features, the Revolution of 1848. once so animated-proved how utterly this blow had prostrated all the energy of his character. It was not

W. and R. CHAMBERS, Edinburgh; and sold by all Booktill October 1839, nearly twenty years after the ruin of

sellers. his fortunes, that death put a period to his mental suffering. His remains were followed to the grave by a numerous assemblage of those very workmen to whom Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh. Also he had been not merely a patron, but a father; and

sold by D. CHAMBERS, 98 Miller Street, Glasgow: W. S. Onn,

147 Strand, London ; and J. M'GLASHAN, 21 D'Olier Street, many were their tears of heartfelt sorrow.

Dublin.-Printed by W. and R. CHAMBERS, Edinburgh.

[graphic]

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR

THE PEOPLE,' CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.

No. 245. New SERIES.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1848.

Price 11d.

and of repeating hymns out of a hymn-book, that she THE STRUGGLES OF PRINCIPLE.

might receive the approbation of her imaginary teacher. We have to picture in the mind one of those long and 'I have brought you some more beans, my good straight roads in Germany, so long and straight, as mother,' said Stephen in reply to granny's observation. almost to seem interminable, lined as usual with apple • Ay, ay, fine long brown beans, and some round and walnut-trees, and which, unrelieved by any moving white ones too-eh?' object, basks in saddening silence under a burning sun. • Both,' said Stephen; and he went back into the While gazing on the scene, a living creature at length kitchen. appears: at first a speck on the horizon, it increases as

Why did not Stephen remain to talk with poor it approaches, and we perceive it is a man, dressed in the granny? He was hungry, and out of humour. Disblouse of the country, and who, from the long hammer inclined for conversation, he seated himself behind the which he carries in his arm, is seen to be a cantonnier, table, under a large framed picture, to which a big seal or road-mender of the district. Let us follow his mo- was affixed, and sat waiting till the candle and supper tions, and trace his humble history; for it is the history came. of a struggle with principle—a conflict of the heart- The supper was so long in coming, that Stephen rose - and may afford us some material for reflection.

and fetched himself a candle ; and now we can see what Stephen, as our hero is called, has been on his way to the large framed picture is all about. It is nothing his daily labour, and now reaches a large heap of stones. more nor less than the certificate of merit given to He involuntarily lifts his cap, as a kind of salutation Stephen Huber on his leaving the army, after having to his daily work. He now ties on his wooden shoe, served eleven years in the fifth regiment. The ink has and sets hard to work, for out of the stones comes his turned brown, the arms upon the seal are almost all bread, scanty though it be.

chipped off, and the flies are going through their last For two good hours Stephen has worked thus, seldom autumn maneuvre upon the smooth pane of glass. allowing himself a moment's rest to take breath. Now There sits Stephen staring into the candle; the child, he stops; lays the pad upon the leap of stones ; fills too, upon his knee sits quiet, and with a fixed look, as himself a pipe, as a reward for his toil; pulls on a if lost in thought like her father'; for he sees nothing wadded glove, and sitting down, falls to hammering that is going on around him—his past life shifts before away at the stones. As it strikes eleven, a barefooted him like a dream. boy comes up from the village with a jug well wrapt in A joyous day was that when he entered the army ; a coarse cloth; he brings a large hunch of bread and a no father or mother wept at parting from him; lie had jug of warm soup to his father, who eats it with a right been early left an orphan. From the service of one good appetite, and works on again until nightfall; then master he passed into the regiment, where all served he shoulders his hammer, takes up his pad and his like him. Years flew by, he knew not how, and when wooden shoe, and goes his way home.

the appointed term of his service expired, he enlisted Stephen lives in a small cottage just off the high again for five years more. road; his little girl, of three years old, is standing be- In the course of the last few years he had made the hind the casement, and exclaims, . Here comes father!'acquaintance of his Margaret. Many comrades as he And with a shout she runs to meet him.

had in the barracks, Stephen now for the first time Leading his child by the hand, Stephen enters the seemed to belong to some one in the world. Now came kitchen, and with a silent nod to his wife, who is busy days full of joy and full of sorrow; for his soldier's life on the hearth, he goes into the sitting-room, takes his grew burdensome to Stephen, and after another year of little girl up in his arms, and casts a look at the cradle, faithful service, he asked for his dismissal. Then he where a little boy lies stuffing a corner of the blanket married Margaret, and went to live with her and her into his mouth, and kicking out his feet at his father. mother on a small property they possessed ; his own Then Stephen goes into the little room beyond, and small savings helping to begin housekeeping creditasks, 'How are you, granny ?'

ably. A voice answers, in a whining tone, 'Ah, deary, During his service in the army Stephen had grown a the children are all so wild and noisy, and Peter has stranger to village life, he had been so long accustomed run off with my beans. I'll tell his master when I get to wear gloves ; but hard labour soon tanned the skin about again, and can go to school!'-granny, be it upon his hands, and formed a glove which he could not known, having become childish in her old age, and pull off. All work was at first distasteful to him; and acquired an impression that she was once more a girl yet this would not have mattered much, for a man in at school. Her sole amusement consisted in tossing up good health soon accustoms himself to anything. But beans, and catching them on the backs of her fingers, another sad consequence had resulted from his past as school-girls are in the habit of doing when at play, life: Stephen had lost the habit of providing for himself.

« ZurückWeiter »