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walked across the river on the ice above against it! Had Murphy any means of bridge, and roasted an ox, I believe, at a foreseeing a period of long-continued insort of fair, which was held for many days tense frost ? because that is the only kind and nights off Rotherhithe. The next ques- of weather which could continue uniform tion was—"Will the day selected prove the all over the kingdom. His own theory, if I coldest ?” It came, and lo, “ Murphy right rightly remember it, was, that the sun and again !” People fetching water from plugs certain planets exercise an electric influence, inserted in the mains were sheeted with ice and so produce hot weather in summer and while drawing it. Doctors mixing medicine dry weather in winter; and that the moon found it frozen before they could put it in a and certain other planets exercise a magbottle ; and people seated at breakfast, be- netic power, and so produce cold (not mere fore a good fire, found the milk solidifying absence of caloric, but a positive force in in the milk-jug. Just six weeks, as Murphy itself); and that, therefore, if you ascertain had predicted, the frost continued; but, which bodies are electric and which magalas ! directly it departed, his charm was netic, and calculate which of the two classes broken, for all the rest of the year he was will be in the ascendancy at any given day, as conspicuously wrong, as he had been you will know what the weather will be at marvellously right at first. However, he that time. Of coure, I always considered had become a celebrity, netted a large this precious “theory” as a broad Irish amount, and established an almanac, which grin; but, for aught I know, Mr. Murphy was a very good one for every purpose may have believed in it. He doubtless except foretelling the weather.
played off a joke by adding to his name on There are two questions of some interest his title-page the letters “M.N.S.” They arising out of these inexplicable facts. The stood, I believe, for “Member of No Sofirst is, was Murphy the real author of his ciety," but would have done equally well almanac, or merely a mask, behind which for “Member of the Newtonian Society," was concealed some well-known scientific had his success been permanent, and thusname ? Many would have it that Sir John enabled him to found one. Besides, if his Lubbock was the man. All I can say is, theory had anything to do with the correctthat I never knew anyone in the matterness of his prediction, why was he always. except a big, good-humoured-looking Irish- unsuccessful afterwards ? man, calling himself P. Murphy, and not The above may be relied on as a faithful caring to conceal that he was poor and un- account of what came under my own obserknown before his astonishing achievement vation in this most puzzling matter. Where brought him money and fame. I believe I have used such phrases as “I believe,” or he did not many years survive his good“I think,” I have every reason to suppose fortune.
the facts to be as indicated, but have not The next question is, how was such a the certainty of personal knowledge. The surprising forecast arrived at ? Was it a whole story is so singular and unique, that "slice of luck?” It seems incredible that I thought it would bear recalling to the mere chance should verify such predictions, memories even of those who were acquainted printed many weeks before they were tested. with it before. The probabilities must be millions to one
S. S. T.
THE ODD BOY AT EPSOM.
Epsom. Say you everybody has been have stopped viciously to watch the faces there? to which I cry Amen, like a clerk in of my fagged host and hostess, and seen church. But I have been to Epsom yester- their jaded eyes look at me with the full day, and driven over all the famous sites on expression of, “If Master Odd Boy does that celebrated spot.
not soon retire, we'll turn him out neck and I have been in Covent Garden Theatre, crop!--no, no; ring for his brougham, that when there was only a little ray of day- is more polite!” light localized with the marine cherub that To everything there is a season; but I sits
up aloft. I have seen a pit so dull and dearly love to see things out of their season. vast that it might be bottomless. I have I know what it is to be “got ready.” You seen a chandelier in a brown holland pina- know your sister Jemima would not for the fore, and rows of empty boxes with seats world be seen adjusting her chignon, with that seemed as if Banquo's ghost was sitting its brood of gregarines. Well, I like to see in each one of them. I have stood at the people “ doing their back-hair up." When I very edge of the abysmal orchestra, where was a very young boy I got friendly with a the musicians were conspicuous by absence. lot of policemen, and it was jolly to see them I have paced the stage, to pace which off duty, to play with their bulls'-eyes Buskin and Sock have sighed in vain-(they eyes which had peered into mystery and diswanted an audience: I did not). I have been covered murder; to carry their truncheonsin the green-room of old Drury, and seen truncheons which had brought quiet to many octagon reflections of my own ugly self, with an unquiet brain, keeping the peace by nobody there but me. They say Sir Walter knocking it into pieces; it was grand to fit Scott, going through Pompeii, kept mutter- on accoutrements a world too wide, and ing, “ The city of the dead! the city of the arrest even the cat on a charge of felony. dead!" I have thought of that in a deserted Say you—very likely yawning as you say play-house many a time. All life gone it-what has this to do with Epsom? Much, where life should be—the very corpse of very much. I like to see and play with pleasure!
things off duty-and when I went to Epsom I have been in a school-room during a it was off duty--there was nobody there! holiday recess; and the vacant places, the There was the going down. No crowdempty forms, the unused slates, the deserted no bustle--no confusion; only the mild desks, the everything that should be in confusion of a driver, who seemed to think active requisition, left all alone has been it very odd indeed to go to the Downs when something sad. Oh, for a row of unruly boys! there was nothing to be seen but emptiness Oh, for a choice spirit, who would stick a pin and snow. But it was very jolly—and oh, into his neighbour's calf! Oh, for a domine so cold! We drove through all sorts of that would use his cane, and let not his soul lanes, where tender foliage on the hedges was spare for all the cryings of his impatient nipped in the bud by frost; we passed big patients! Oh, for a rush into the bright light houses, silent as the halls of Balclutha ; we and the living air, for a driving in of wickets! saw “publics,” with their blinds half shut, Oh, for anything but the dread presence of as if they were asleep, and drowsy dormousedeparted boys in the sepulchre of schools! like hostlers, yawning as they opened their
I have waited out a feast, and been in at eyes to look at us. This was going down the death when the candles burnt low and the road, this was, with a vengeance-nay, the fire turned to dust and ashes; when the but with the best of good will. Here we guests that had come in their bravery bad I are at Sutton, and pass the gate unques
tioned; but a toll-collector wakes up at the course? Not I. If you want to see it, go sound of our retiring wheels, and shouts and see it when the time comes, or go and after us for his toll. Well, he has a run Flying Scud” now. To me it is all for it—that will do him good. Finally we barren; green covered with patches of get to Epsom town, and have some dinner. dazzling snow, big skeleton piles of seats, a A nice snug room, with a score of volumes grand deserted stand, long perspectives of of the “
Racing Calendar." Everything white posts. I remember a man telling me bright and clean, but as quiet as a hermit. it was a great delight to him to sit in the age; a landlady who is herself most atten- Roman Colosseum and see, in imagination, tive to our wants, and makes up the fire, one of the Nero or Caligula festivalsa and draws a good old Indian screen round fight of wild beasts. I can understand these us, and gives us something good to eat, and feelings very well, though I do not think I something particularly good to drink, in the should like it. But on the Epsom Downs form of “ Cliquot!” One bottle—only one it was jolly! Go at the right time and you -very moderate : the notion of one cork can't do as you will; you are shoved about, breaking the dread silence as it leaps to the half waited on--or not waited on at allceiling! Now to the Downs !-just about penned out there, penned in here--seeing at a mile.
last a rush of horses--two or three to the “On to the Downs, sir ? ” says the driver, fore, and a miserable wretch a long way with a look perplexed. “On to the Downs behind them. • They are off!” a flash of —and quick!” So we rattle sharp over the colour; a dread suspense, that seemed someground again--groundwont to be so crowded; times to last a second-sometimes a thousand we meet nobody but one man, and he stares years. “They are in!” and then it's over. at us as if ours were a phantom trap, the Now here was I having it all my own owners having lost largely had been unable way. Here are my horses, sound in wind -even in ghostly shape—to leave the scene and limb, with impeccable jockeys. Weigh of their losses. I wonder whether ghosts them in your scales of justice. Here is do hunt the Derby course! If they are ruth, here is Goodness, here is Beauty, found elsewhere, why not there?
here are more, and more, and more. I shall A fine, healthy, breezy place, with the stake heavily on all. Excellent horses your snow on the ground, and snow on the rows other horses may be in their way, but they and rows and rows of empty seats, and on are not in my way. I choose my own all the exposed edges of the Grand Stand—way. My three horses must win--all win. all vacancy, all emptiness-nobody there As they fly along together they lose their but a man who halted as he went, and a individual identity, they change like a pantonorth-east wind blowing.
mime trick. Truth, Beauty, Goodness beShut your eyes. How many horses are come one, and beat everything. entered for the Derby? Turn round three Cold raw wind blowing—everything very times—catch what you may! (Probably bleak. Why did I come here? Why should bronchitis or inflammation in the lungs.) I stand here in the cold? Why not come at Now see,
mind's eye, the great the right time—why? Why, because I'm ground, course, and concourse.
THE ODD BOY. Am I going to describe the Derby race
LIFE ON THE INDIAN FRONTIER.
BY A BACKWOODSMAN.
quietly and carelessly, and I recognized at HAD already made up my mind to spend a great distance a large troop of wild
at an early hour, and soon carried a good dreds. These were the surest signs that no stock of wood to my camp, with which to keep Indian had shown himself on this day upon up my fire during the night. I slept soundly, the plain, so I returned to my horse, and and thoroughly refreshed, was ready to pur- pursued my journey northward through this sue my way at dawn.
prairie. My road led into the river again, on whose In about an hour I drew near the horses, rippled surface the night mist rolled along which were giving vent to their playfulness with the current. But on further reflection by rearing, kicking, and galloping about. I I saw how many obstacles now stood in my rode along a hollow under the hill, in order way. The current was very powerful, and to get as near them as I could, in which I the waves broke against my horse's strong perfectly succeeded, as the wind was favourchest; the bottom, covered with loose boul-able. I rode to within a short distance of ders, rendered his footsteps unsteady, and them under the hill on which they were constantly put it in danger of falling. At standing, when Czar scented them, suddenly length I reached the bed of rocks which raised his head, and expressed his delight at blocked the entire breadth of the river, over the friendly meeting by a loud snort. In which Czar had clambered with such agility : an instant the troop dashed up to greet the it now seemed to me purely impossible that stranger. It was led by a coal-black, very a horse could achieve such a feat, although powerful stallion, whose mane, some five feet the marks of his shoes proved to me the in length, flew wildly round his broad neck. contrary. I would not venture, however, to The thunder of their hoofs rolled along like make my horse leap it again, but took my a tempest towards me, till we faced each axe out of its sheath, entered the water, other at a distance of about twenty paces. which was shallow here, and cut away the The black stallion fell as if struck by lightcreepers and bushes hanging over the bank, ning, and the nearest horses fell upon him and thus formed a much better path beneath in the wildest confusion, while Czar gave them over a very few large but flat stones. them to understand, by a friendly whinny, I led Czar across, and then slowly walked that there was really no reason for such fear. on, constantly thrusting on one side the It was a wondrously beautiful sight, when vines, hanging with a length of fifty feet these noble, powerful animals rose again and over the water, in order to force myself flew over the grassy sea, like smoke before through them.
the blast, the black horse with wildly flying After great exertions I at length reached mane, flashing eyes, and scarlet nostrils at the buffalo path by which I had crossed the their head. I looked after them for a long river on the previous day but one, and fol. time, and regretted that I could not risk leadlowed it again to the skirt of the wood, but ing a captured horse home, as I could have this time with greater caution. I left Czar easily thrown my lasso over the stallion. behind in the thick bushes, and crept out Czar was beside himself that he was not alone to the edge of the prairie, and exa- allowed to join in the race, and tried for a mined the latter carefully with my glass. long time to check the speed of the fugitives The grassy expanse before me, far as I could by his snorts ; ho danced, threw his croupe see, was covered with countless buffaloes from one side to the other, and furiously and numerous deer, which were grazing tore at the bit, but it was all of no use, and serfdom still lay on his broad neck, even was a very heavy fat bear, and I was really though with rosy bonds.
sorry that I could turn it to so little account. The sun was rather low on the horizon
Not very far from this spot I found the when I found myself about five miles from stream, and resolved to pass the night on its what seemed to be a very large forest, behind bank, as the forest on the other side seemed which rose the mountains which I had noticed very extensive, and it was doubtful whether a few days previously in the azure distance I should find there good provender for my when I took my first glance at this valley. horse. I watered Czar, filled my bottle, and I leapt from my horse, hobbled it, and rode back to the bear, from which I cut a crawled through the grass after two very old paw, the tongue, and some ribs. I then stags, one of which was quietly grazing be- camped in the forest at a spot where the hind a fallen mosquito tree, while the other, most splendid wild oats awaited my horse. as if it had noticed something, thrust its The paw was put to cook in the ashes for thick neck over the stump in my direction. the next morning, but the ribs were to make I had left my hat with Czar in order to their appearance on the supper-table. A attract less attention, and the sun shone roasted bear's rib is indubitably one of the hotly on my head; but what will not a greatest dainties which the desert can offer hunter readily endure if it enables him to the hunter, and I enjoyed it the more because draw nearer the game? At length there I had been riding all day and had eaten was about one hundred yards between us, nothing since my very early breakfast. A and I had reached a small patch of flower- man soon grows used to this mode of life, ing jalap-trees which covered me. I raised which is necessary in the case of violent myself on one arm, and fired, aiming at the exertion in the hot sun, as it is very easy to head. I saw that the deer was hit close to bring on a fever by riding with a full the heart: it ran about fifty paces with its stomach. comrade, and then fell dead.
The night was dark, and rendered the After reloading, I rode up to the deer and light which my fire cast upon the dark laid in some days' supply of meat, hung it green roof above my head all the more on the saddle, and continued my journey to attractive; while the giant brightly illuthe forest, which I entered about sunset by mined trunks looked like pillars supporting very
buffalo path. I was sure it. I lay on my tiger skin, and amused myself that the forest was traversed by a stream, with counting the blood-red funnel-shaped and resolved to seek the latter, ere I selected flowers of the bignonia, which swung in long my night quarters. I followed the path drooping festoons from one tree to the with my rifle on the saddle-bow, when sud- other, and, lit up by my fire, resembled so
horse gave a start, and a very old many red glass lamps. Around me a numbear entered the path hardly twenty yards ber of whip-poor-wills strove to outvie each ahead of me, stopped, and with its head other in uninterruptedly uttering their turned from me, began nibbling at the roots name, and frequently circled round my of a few small bushes. It took scarce a fire. At the same time fire-flies and huge moment to raise my rifle and pull the glow-worms glistened. and flashed in all the trigger, and in the next I pulled Czar round, bushes, and the rustling of the adjoining and rode for the prairie. On looking round, stream supplied the music for this Italian however, I perceived that the bear had only night. My eyes gradually closed, the picspring a few yards after me, and was now tures of dreams became more and more half sitting, half lying on the path, and blended with those of reality, until a calm showing its savage teeth. When I slowly sleep fell on me to strengthen and refresh approached it, I noticed that its fury was heightened with every step I took, and only Day was breaking when I opened my its inability to rise prevented it from at- eyes, and the scene which had so sweetly tacking me. I, therefore, rode close up and lulled me to sleep had faded away: the fire sent a second bullet through its head. It was out, and instead of the glow-worms a