Abbildungen der Seite

Occasional relaxation is necessary. Dr. Pincott, having made a considerable fortune, has left Chorlton-Double. Young Dick Pincott, his nephew, comes down to my cottage for fishing, and enlivens my studies with his college stories. Dick Pincott is my junior by ten years; and my "Dictionary of Possibilities" seems to add ten years on to that. By his side I feel a hoary sage Dick has no object in life except to live.

On Second Thoughts, isn't that my object ?—isn't it the object of all? This must fall under the letter "O"-Object. But in which volume of the dictionary this will come, I cannot, for the life of me, foresee.

Dick, coming to Chorlton-Double, Derbyshire, in June, asks me to spend a few days with him during term in October. I accept, and determine to earn my holiday by harder work than ever at the dictionary.

Dick is a hearty, good-natured lad, who calls me, and every one, for the matter of that, with whom he is on familiar terms, " old man," and invariably alludes to himself in the third person by his initials, as "D. P."

"Well, old man!" he cries, slapping me on the back; "D. P. expects to see you in October. We'll kill the fatted thingummy for you. Don't forget. October the twenty-fifth, and D. P.'s your man."

A letter comes for Dick as he is preparing to depart. While he opens and reads, I sit down to my dictionary.

On Second Thoughts, a few words about the Pincotts, past and present.

Mind, I do not undertake to tell you the Pincotts' history, or mine, or anyone's, for the matter of that. But in my hours of relaxation, and for the sake of the dictionary, I like to prattle. Bear with me.


"... Facciolatus autem dicebat, in novo cothurno movere difficile esse."
The "Hirundines" of Haminius. (Vatican ed.

Cassius. "Aurelia, Brutus. (They bow.)

Brutus, my Aurelia.

So to your courtesies, sweet friends.

Codex A.)

Brutus (aside). A trying moinent. I have nought to say.”

Old Play.

WITHIN three weeks, in the time of a great scourge of sickness, Dr. Pincott had lost his wife, his child, and his favourite brother, Hugh,

Hugh Pincott left one son: Dick. Him you have met. We are all awkward at introductions, and you can't tell whether you like him or not.

Some men you are taken with immediately.

Some boys are so lovcable: flores martyrum.
Flores . .

On Second Thoughts I will finish the chapter here for to-day, and go to my dictionary, for I am struck with an idea under the letter "B."

Possibilities in Boys.


"Proceed your story interests me much."

The Embroglio.

I RECOLLECT Dr. Pincott coming to our house, and sitting with my father. I am talking of some ten years before my father's death.

He was consulting him as to the advantage of having a governess in the house for Master Dick.

"What says Miss Rachel ?" asked my father, "for that is an important point."

And on Second Thoughts, it being an important point, I will let you know as much as I do myself about Miss Rachel.

Miss Rachel Pincott had kept house for her brother, Dr. Ralph Pincott, since the first days of his late wife's illness.

She was three years younger than the Doctor, and I defy you to guess her age to a year, even with that clue-aye, and seeing them both side by side.

She had always been the housekeeper at home, from the age of twelve. Her father and mother chuckled over the business habits, and quaint, old-fashioned ways of the child.

Thus she grew into her place, and the idea of changing her condition only occurred to her to be at once rejected. Perhaps it did not occur to her.

She escaped being a brunette by as much as she escaped being handsome. It was a pleasing, good, honest face, with a thin dark line of an eyebrow-nature's painting, not hers-and a tight mouth, that meant determination; and whenever she had a will, that will was law, and the law was a just one.

Servants understood her, and loved her. So did animals after their kind.

I sometimes think that, if I could find a Miss Rachel, or if she hadn't been seven years my senior

But, on Second Thoughts, better as it is. I am devoted to "The Dictionary of Possibilities."

Rachel regulated the household strictly, yet with unvarying good humour; made preserves, and was warden of every lock, from cupboard above to wine-cellar below, throughout the establishment. Her housekeeping was a business. During the morning she went up and down stairs with a large bunch of keys at her waist, and a very small basket in her hand. Housemaids looking out of window heard the distant jingle, and, drawing in their heads, caught up duster, broom, pan, or brush incontinently. The cook below, at the sound of the keys, hurriedly dismissed the gallant baker; and John rubbed his silver, watching the open pantry-door warily.

A domestic Pope Joan with the power of the keys.

With a twist of the bunch she would imprison unoffending preserves in dark cupboards on the landing, and in the matter of curious pickles she was, and is, inflexible, sealing them up in stone jars, as Solomon did the genii.-[" Note for 'Dictionary of Possibilities.' 'S.' Spirits."]

[Note.-To remind her of her promise to me about that greengage jam. A marvellous conserve. A liking for jam in elderly men is a sign of innocence.]

I believe Miss Rachel would pickle anything-walnuts, peaches, plums, nectarines, grapes. She would exhaust the letter "P" in Possibilities of Pickles. I will tell her so, as she always smiles at the dictionary.

To make everything at home was, in her eyes, the practice of virtue, and she would condemn adulteration as the breach of an eleventh commandment.

On Second Thoughts, I should explain that I talk in the past, as circumstances have changed, and she is now living alone.


Ἔλθε Κύπρι

χρυσίαισιν ἐν κυλίκεσσιν ἁβρῶς
συμμεμιγμένον θαλίαισι νέκταρ


On, Love! the dearest theme of all,
The oldest of the world's old stories,
No fairer fate can e'er befall

A poet than to sing thy glories.
And, as Anacreon confest,

In verses full of power and passion, His lyre would always praise love best, The world has follow'd in the fashion.

Old Horace, in the classic days,

Sang sweetest of Love's fatal arrow; Catullus wrote an ode in praise

Of Lesbia, and her pretty sparrow; Beranger sang of his Lisette;

And Burns to Mary brimm'd the chalice; There's Beatrice-Dante's pet;

The Laureate's Adeline, and Alice. And still to Love the lyre is strung,

Still Eros rules our modern measures; There's not a maiden's name unsung,

No phase of Love's eternal pleasures. Love beckons in the painter's dream, Makes music in the poet's metre, O'er youth and age he rules supreme: be sweeter?

Can any other sway

And still the songs of all the world

Shall celebrate Love's endless blisses;

While on a neck a tress is curl'd,

And while a red lip pouts for kisses.

In verse, by any poet plann'd,

The praise of Love the sweetest line is, Until Fate takes the pen in hand,

And on the page of life writes "Finis."








So, out of the crowd and shadow, those two passed through the sunlight of the empty court; till, under the outer archway, Fitzwarenne halted and spoke, looking earnestly into his follower's eyes

"Honest Will, I pray thou mayst never repent having cast in thy lot with mine. Hearken now-if thou be minded to say farewell to thy father, or any other, do so quickly; I will tarry at the cross-roads till thou come; mine own leavetakings are well-nigh said, and I shall not draw free breath till Bever is a league behind us; but cumber not thyself with change of garment, and such like. Here is gold enow for both our furniture, if we win safe to Southwark; till we know whither we wend, and with whom, 'tis hard to tell what we may need."

"I thank thee, messire," the other answered, gruffly: "I care for leavetakings no more than thou. If Gaffer Lanyon be vexed by the news he will hear this day, he will drink another pottle or two tonight, and to-morrow 'twill be all one; and should Cicely, the tanner's daughter, be moved to shed some few tears, there are fools enow left in Bever hamlet to dry the jilt's blue eyes. I wot well that London is thy mark; so let us forward, as soon as thou wilt. The roads are heavy with the late rains: yet thou and I have compassed harder journeys, than shall bring us this night to Tunbridge town."

"Then do thou set on forthwith," Ralph said. "I have yet another errand to do here; and I would speak a word to my fostermother, whose cottage lies not a bowshot out of the way. I will overtake thee before thou comest to these cross-roads."

Lanyon nodded his head, and went forth without further question;

« ZurückWeiter »