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to look out for game, and to fancy a hare or a partridge or two might not he an unpleasant variation of our daily fare. Every thing around us bore such an nir of peace and quietude that the most nervous began to feel confidence and to talk valiantly.
About ten o'clock, a strange sound is heard. Some of our party are seen flying towards the camp as fast as their legs will carry them. As they approach they shout "Kafirs!" Nervous men shake, brave men are taken by surprise, cowards drop their jaws and look like Mr. Manning about to be hanged. "Where? where!" is the next cry. "Everywhere!" is the answer.
"Saddle and mount!" cries the captain, most unnecessarily, for every man does it instinctively.
I gallop to one point of the triangle, and I see the dark skins and woolly heads of the Kafirs, their long guns on their slender assagais, peeping through the bush in all directions, and advancing towards us. I dash across to the opposite point, and I see the same thing. I look to the blind river, and I see our dark enemies pouring down it as rapidly as the stream of water that of old flowed in it. We are about fifty or sixty; our opponents seem to be hundreds or thousands.
Meantime every man is mounting in "hot haste," and, to my intense horror, galloping for his life towards the Drift, in full retreat! I shout to them; I rave, I threaten, I curse: but fear, the most imminent and deadly fear has seized them all, (save a very few choice spirits,) and they heed nothing but the frantic hope of saving their lives by their horses' heels. I am well mounted; I dash to the ford and cry "Halt," and plant myself in the way to stop them. I do not wish to remain on the triangular spot, but I wish to maintain my ground on the other side, where the Kafirs cannot surround us. It is all of no avail . "Sauve qui peut I" is the cry,—or the idea; and I was about as much Captain of my burgher troop, then, as of the body-guard of the Emperor of Russia.
Away we go, then, as fast as our horses can carry us. Mercy on him I—the fat man has been pitched off the gray cob with the lively tail, and is roaring, with drooping Jaw, for help. Another gives him a hand up, and he gallops away, riding double be
hind his comrade. Three or four have flung away their guns with their valor. The little tailor leads the van. His . horse has the lightest weight and the longest legs. Behind many a hush a Kafir head peers for a moment, when a flying shot or two makes it drive out of sight. But they are the braver ones of the party who think of firing at all: with most the idea of such a thing would be madness; they are running for their own lives, and have not the smallest thought about those of their enemies. .
History records that some of my gallant troop could hardly summon up courage to draw bridle when, after galloping for forty miles, they found themselves again in Graham's Town. It also declares that the largest party that arrived together was three! When any horseman was seen approaching the town at a rapid pace for a day or two afterwards it was suggested that it was one of "the troop." As for myself, I went straight to the officer in command and reported the whole of the affair from beginning to end with a minuteness and accuracy worthy of the exalted subject. I was received with chilling coldness, heard with dumb surprise, and at the end of my narrative attacked with a tirade of invective which I only wish I could put into print as a specimen of military eloquence. I believe that I was to be tried by court-martial and shot, at the very least. My gallant troop were to be put in irons as deserters; and to wind up the whole, our retreat was pronounced "the most cowardly thing which had disgraced the British Army since the affair of Bergen-op-Zoom!"
Thus ended, good reader, the services of my "crack" volunteer troop! Every one of them (bad luck to them!) is a marked man to this day; except the captain (ahem !) who succeeded in clearing his
character eventually by deeds which
but, no; he makes you his very humble obeisance.
Vulgarity of manners may co-exist with a polished mind, and urbanity with a vulgar one; the union of both constitutes the gentleman, whatever may be the grade in which it is found.
When we seem to blame ourselves, we mean only to extort praise.
136 SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF AN (EX) UNPROTECTED FEMALE
SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF AN (EX) UNPROTECTED FEMALE.
M«s. Jones (late Miss Martha Struggles) receives a Census Paper, and has difficulties in respect of it.
Time.—Saturday, March 29. Ma. Jones ts away from home, on business. Mrs. Jones has been left for a week to struggle with Iter loneliness, a sense of the horrors of Papal Aggression and the approaching Exhibition of all Nations, a flighty Housemaid, and a Cook of violent temper. Scene.—The Front Parlor, Great Coram Street. The Ex-unprotected discovered at her solitary meal. It is raining. Ex-Unprotected Female (in a damp and dreary frame of mind.) How it pours! I hope Jones is not out in it. He never will put his feet in hot water, on his journeys. He says it does him more good to put the hot water into his mouth, instead, with a little brandy and sugar. Uh! I'm sure he's getting fond of spirits. (Reverts by a wellknown law in the association of ideas, from Ma. Jones's "hot with" to the "cold without.") Oh, dear! how it's raining to be sure. They say that Crystal Palace is quite full of water—and no wonder, I'm sure; and very glad I am of it. With their Cardinal Wisemans and Gavazzis—a parcel of foreigners 1 And, mercy only knows what revolutions they mayn't have, when they all come over here, and clubs and things. I'm sure it's dreadful . (A smart knock is heard; a cross between the rat-tat of the Postman and the rat-a-tat-tat of a visitor.) Oh! what's that!—only a knock. But one's so nervous. Jones shall stay at home all this summer; and if he loses his situation I'm not a-going to be left alone with the foreigners and people—and so I'll tell him. (A colloquy is heard in the passage.) There's that Mart a-gossiping as usual. The baker, I suppose; or the greengrocer's young man from round the corner, about the firewood.
[Enter Mary (the flighty Housemaid) with a Paper in her hand, and some excitement in her manner. Miss Mary is a good deal prettier than a housemaid has any right to be, even if not flighty. Mary—how often have I told you not to stay gossiping with people at the door?
Mary (putting herself, morally, into an attitude of self-defence.) Please, M' , I were not a gossipin I It's a man with the Censers.
Ex-Unprotected Female (whose mind is acutely alive to the encroachments of the Papal power.) The Censers! Oh! Goodness gracious me! Bringing Censers to my house! They'll bring the incense next, and the white veil, I suppose, and ask one to go into a Nunnery—the wretches! When they know I can't abear Mr. Bennett and the Puseyites, let alone the Cardinals and the Monks, and that Bishop Op Clipton, (with fervor.) Tell the man to take 'em away, this minute, and say I'm surprised at bis impudence.
Mary (much impressed by her mistress's excitement.) Please M', I said we didn't want any; and was ordered never to take in no papers at the door.
Ex-Unprotected Female (horrified.) Papers 1 Oh !—I suppose they're some horrid Popish tracts.
Mary. Pertikly not, when to be called for.
Ex-Unprotected Female (in hitter apprehension.) Then he's coming back again, is he! But you didn't take 'em in?
Mary. Please M', he said it was the law, and I must, or we'll all be had up afore the justices. There's the paper, M' .
Ex- Unprotected Female (taking it under a vague impression that Cardinal Wiseman has triumplted, and that the Pope's guard are distrihuting instruments of superstition and confessions of faith.) Good Gracious! (Reads superscription.) "Census of the Population"—(much relieved.) Oh, you stupid girl!—why, it's the Census!
Mary (doggedly reinserting the "re.") Yes, M' , I said it was the Censers.
Ex- Unprotected Female. Don't be saucy, Mary; I beg you won't. It's the Census I tell you; that is—(rather puzzled for a definition)—it's intended—(catching at the Registrar-GcneraFs information)—" to show the number of the population—their arrangement by ages and families, in different ranks, professions, employments, and trades; their distribution over the country, in villages, towns, and cities; their increase and progress in the last ten years." (Taking breath.) Yes, that's what it is, Mary (triumphantly)—and a very good thing, too.
Mary (saucily.) I don't see what business any body's got with other people's ages and families, and such like.
SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF AN (EX) UNPROTECTED FEMALE 187
Ex-Unprotected Female (who has been turning over the document in tome bewilderment with the General Instructiont , and Examples, and Directions.) How dare you talk so, you impudent thing! It's the Government.
Mary (with redoubled sauciness.) If it was the Queen, M', I don't think she's any business to ask all them questions, M'.
Ex-Unprotected Female. Oh, Mary—how dare you? Take away the things, do—this minute.
Mary. Yes, M.
[Takes away the things, and Exit.
Ex-Unprotected Female (settling herself down seriously to grapple with the Census Paper.) Now, then, let me see. I'm glad Jones will have to fill it, for it seems rather difficult from all these instructions. Eh? (Reads.) "This paper will be called for on Monday, March 31st, by the appointed officer." Oh, dear! then Jones won't be back in time—and whoever's to fill it up if Jones isn't here? (Reads again.) "You are requested to insert the particulars specified on the other page, respecting all the persons who slept or abode in your house on the night of March 30th." That's to-morrow— and Jones won't be back for a week! Oh, dear, dear, how provoking!
Let's see. (Reads.) "Name and Surname —no person absent on the night of March 30th to be entered." Then Jones won't be entered—not entered in his own house! (Goes on bitterly.) "Write after the name of the Head of the Family, the name of his Wife—" But I ain't to write the name of the Head of the Family—I thought—because he don't sleep here. Oh! why mill they? They really ought to explain. "Write the name of his Wife"—Mautiia Struggles is my name. "Children and others of the same surname—" (Pauses, overwhelmed by the vision of Joneses that rises before her.) Oh dear—others bearing the surname of Jones—why, there's ten pages of 'em in the Post-Office Directory I What's this column? (Reads again.) "Relation to Head of Family." But I haven't to put Head of Family down at all—if he doesn't sleep here. (Reads, in increasing perplexity!) "State whether wife, son, daughter, or other relative." Whose wife, I should like to know,
If I musn't mention Jones because he doesn't sleep at home that night?" Other relations." Goodness! me—how am I to know all the man's relations—it's a Welsh family, and they're all related to each other there. (Reads again, in a state bordering on despair.) "Deaf and dumb, or blind; write 'deaf and dumb,' or 'blind,' opposite the name of the person." Dear me I There's nobody here deaf and dumb, or blind; so how can 1 write such things, when they say I'm to be fined £5 if I don't write the truth, and have to go before the justices, and perhaps be sent to the station-house, or somewhere—for perjury ?—And then, there are the servants! I do declare I'm afraid to ask that Cook— she flies out so—and Mary will be giving me some of her impertinence. At all events I'd better prepare them for it. (Rings the bell nervously, and resumes her consideration of the Papers.) Fifteen places for people's names? I wonder,why they put in fifteen, and not ten, or twelve, or twenty! And I wonder what they want it all for, the Government. I'm sure, except for the Taxes, and such bothering things as this, we don't see much of the Government .
Enter Mary, who hobs defiance.
Mary. Did you ring, M' f
Ex- Unprotected Female. Send up Cook— (mart is going)—and come yourself—Mart —I've something very serious to say to you.
Mary (aside.) I s'pose she's agoing to knag
us about somethin' or other, the old .
Re-enter Mary, with Cook, very red in the
face, and with a tendency to avail herself
of the support of neighhoring pieces of
Ex-Unprotected Female (with mingled emotion and dignity.) Oh—I've sent for you, Mary, and Cook, about this paper. We've all got to answer the questions the Government asks us in it.
Cook (laboring under an intense hatred of Centralization.) And what business has the Government a comin' leavin' papers here for, I'd like to know? I'd like to catch the Government a coming down the area-steps, I would—or into my kitching. I'd pin a dish-cloth to the Government's tail, I would. There! (Snorts defiance, and grasps an armcluiir in her emotion.)
Ex- Unprotected Female (with stern dignity.) Cook, it's awful to hear you use such language of the Government. Now, attend to me, both of you, and answer my questions. (Taket a pen. To Cook, who radiates defiance and obstructiveness.) Your name is Sarah Soaker.
Cook (with malignant triumph.) No, Mum —it ain't no such thing.
Ex- Unprotected Female (alarmed.) Why, that's the name I hired you by.
Cook (with diabolical glee.) But it ain't my name as I was baptized by—and what that is, nobody knows, as I don't wish it— wich it isn't the Government, nor you neither, Ma'am. It's mean in the Government to come prying into families—its shabby in 'em—and they'd better ask how much drippin' goes into the pantry—perhaps you'll put that down for 'em.
Ex- Unprotected Female (in a tone of conviction.) Sarah Soaker, you're in liquor—don't go to deny it. Mary Brioos. Your condition, if you please? As for that woman's condition, it's Gin—she smells quite strong of it. (Examining from paper.) "Married, Widower, Widow, or Unmarried?" Mart Brioos, I insist on your answering, or I shall be fined £5.
Mary Briggs (purring her lipe and flunking.) Shan't then—if it was £50.
Ex-Unprotected Female (with solemnity.) Mary Brioos—if you don't answer the question I shall suspect the worst . You ain't married, Mary Brioos?
Mary Briggs (with all the pride of her sex.) Well, M', and if I was, 1 hope a poor servant may go and get married.
Ex-Unprotected Female (with a horrid light breaking in on her.) Goodness gracious! oh dear! That soldier—I do—believe —oh, Mary Brioos—(mary endeavors to bear up, but quails under Mrs. Jones's eye.) But how do I know what's true, and what isn't? And how ever is one to fill it up, if one don't even know one's own servants' names and conditions? And no Head of the Family at home—and obliged to put oneself down as a wife, without saying whose wife, and to put deaf and dumb, or blind, after one's name, whether one is or not; and to -be fined £5, if it isn't true; and to have to tell one's age, and find out other females' ages. Oh, dear! oh dear! I never shall—I'm sure I shall have to go before the Justices!
[mary and Cook triumph in her agony.
ON MY OWN MINIATURE PICTURE.
Taken at two years sf aft.
And I was once like this! that glowing cheek
How sweet to tarn at evening's close from all oar cares away,
And end in calm, ssrenc repose, the swiftly possing day t
The pleasant books, the smiling looks of sister or of bride,
All fairy ground doth make around one's own fireside!
u My Lord" would never condescend to honor my poor hearth;
u His GraceM4would scorn a host or friend of mere plebeian birth;
And yet the lords of human kind, whom man has deified,
For ever meet in converse sweet around my fireside!
The poet sings his deathless songs, the sage his
lore repeats, The patriot tells his country's wrongs, the chief
his warlike feats: Though far away may be their clay, and gone their
earthly pride, Each godlike mind in books enshrined still hauuts
Oh! let me glance a moment through the coming crowd of years,
Their triumphs or their failures, their sunshine or their tears,
How poor or great may be my fate, I care not what betide,
So peace and love but hallow thee, my own fireside!
Still let me hold the vision close, and closer to my
sight; Still, still in hopes elysian, let my spirit wing its
flight; Still let me dream, life's shadowy stream may
yield from out its tide, A mind at rest, a tranquil breast, a quiet fireside!
From Dickertt' " Household Words.'*
THE TWO ROADS.
It was New Year's night . An aged man was standing at a window. He raised his mournful eyes towards the deep blue sky, where the stars were floating like white lilies on the surface of a clear calm lake. Then he cast them on the earth, where few more hopeless beings than himself now moved towards their certain goal—the tomb. Already he had passed sixty of the stages which lead to it, and he had brought from his journey nothing but errors and remorse. His health was destroyed, his mind vacant, his heart sorrowful, and his old age devoid of comfort. The days of his youth rose up
in a vision before him, and he recalled the solemn moment, when his father had placed him at the entrance of two roads, one leading into a peaceful sunny land, covered with a fertile harvest, and resounding with soft sweet songs; while the other conducted the wanderer into a deep dark cave, whence there was no issue, where poison flowed instead of water, and where serpents hissed and crawled. %
He looked towards the sky, and cried out in his agony :—" O youth return! O my father, place me once more at the entrance to life, that I may choose the better way!"
But the days of his youth, and his father had both passed away. He saw wandering lights floating far away over dark marshes, and then disappear—these were the days of his wasted life. He saw a star fall from heaven and vanish in darkness. This was an emblem of himself; and the sharp arrows of unavailing remorse struck home to his heart. Then he remembered his early companions, who entered on life with him, but who, having trod the paths of virtue and of labor, were now happy and honored on this New Year's night. The clock in the high church tower struck, and the sound, falling on his ear, recalled his parents' early love for him, their erring son; the lessons they had taught him; the prayers they had offered up on his behalf. Overwhelmed with shame and grief, he dared no longer look towards that heaven where his father dwelt; his darkened eyes dropped tears, and with one despairing effort he cried aloud, " Come back, my early days! come back!"
And his youth did return; for all this was but a dream which visited his slumbers on New Year's night . He was still young; his faults alone were real. He thanked God fervently that time was still his own, that he had not yet entered the deep, dark cavern, but that he was free to tread the road leading to the peaceful land, where sunny harvests wave.
Ye who still linger on the threshold of life, doubting which path to choose, remember that when years are passed, and your feet stumble on the dark mountain, you will cry bitterly, but cry in vain—" O youth, return! O give me back my early days!"
As humility regulates the interior, so modesty disciplines the exterior.