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liking for it; in others they consider it sinful. They choose to live in Germany, or Italy, or France, and sometimes to talk and to write against what goes on there. Why do not these people come home? if such be their feeling they may do good at home, they can do none abroad. In truth, the only reason that can be given—that is given by foreigners, for the English living abroad as they do, when business or duty does not call them to do so, is the easy acquisition of luxuries they are too poor to procure at home, and too self-indulgent to do without. Therefore do I think that a poor foreigner—a Frenchman above all—condemned to live in England, is to be pitied; but the poorer English who reside abroad, unless when they do it to gain a living, are to be blamed.
I am alone! writing on the upper deck, while all the world are on the fore-deck. What can be the matter? There is a Belgian Baron, with an embroidered cap like a tobacco-pouch, on his head, and a frightful braided, tasselled, and hooded pelisse, sitting now on a heap of hay at one side of a horse-stall, while his son mounts guard in the same fashion at the other side; their knees are drawn up to their chins, and their faces are awfully composed; they are resolved to do their duty, cost what it will. There is a knowing-looking English groom—any one would say he is an English groom, and nothing more, and nothing less—that is, a stable-man, or ostler—in grey fustian jacket, red waistcoat, drab leggings and shorts; he is leaning over the side of the packet, and engaged in cutting a very delicate point to a small stick. That point ought to have been made before now; but every few minutes a keen glance is cast from the stick he works at, to the horse-stall and its guardians; the eye returns to his work with a curious sort of twinkle, which seems to steal out below the half-drooping lid.
But the Baron is on his legs; the whole flock of foreign birds have migrated from the quarterdeck to group around him. The babble that surrounded me has ceased. Now there is one speaker and many hearers; the Baron is on his legs ; the groom cuts away at his stick; and the eye glances and twinkles a little oftener. The Baron is expounding the matter; the groom understands the exposition, though he does not know a word of the language spoken. The Baron's declamation contains a free translation of two English words; he has been "sjockied" by a London "sjockee;" and as the words are uttered over and over again,
amid many that are more unintelligible to the groom, there is the least little movement at the corners of that man's month. The sum total of the matter is, that the Baron went to the Great Exhibition, and is bringing home to Belgium, as a remembrancer of it, a pair of diseased horses. He did not buy them in the Crystal Palace, I suppose; but, as foreigners usually do, he wished to buy what England is considered famous for, so he bought a pair of horses from a London jockey, and hired the jockey's groom to bring them over to Belgium; and, when fairly out to sea, the groom let the case take care of itself, and so it was soon found out that the horses were, as the Captain says, very nearly fit to be thrown overboard.
Of course, this is not creditable to England; and, though the groom's eye says it is one of the cleverest things that England, or the English, ever performed, I am sure Prince Albert will not be pleased when he hears of it. But English people who buy what other countries are famous for, without understanding anything of what they buy, very often find themselves in the Baron's position, only they do not make such a fuss about it.
"Will he not reclaim, and get back his money?" said an old Frenchman.
"In order to do so," said a young man, with an air of superior knowledge, "it would be necessary to bring the Captain and crew, and all the passengers to London, and maintain them there as long as the trial lasted; and, as English trials last a long time, that would not be worth while."
"Then the Baron is without resource,'' was the sage reply.
A little soft hand was put into mine ; a little soft voice said, "I wish we were out of this lonely place." It was the child who thought she had had such a nice quiet passage while sleeping at St. Katharine's wharf. I looked round; the idea of the loneliness of the sea struck me more than it had ever done.
"I wish we were out of this great lonely place," she said; "why do they not put out some ships, or even a few boats, to keep us company, as they did near London?''
"Dear little egotist! they were there merely for your sake! We often indulge in such pleasant deceits.''
The child looked into my face. "I do not know what you mean," she said," but I wish you would ask the Captain to take us quicker out of this lonely place.''
Away from dreary Ostendto grand old Ghent;— modernized youthful-looking Ghent also; it is an ancient and stately dowager attired in juvenile and modish dress. I thought I should like to get there on this bright Sunday morn; so I started by railway from Ostend directly after landing. But what a Sabbath is here! I should have stopped at dull and lifeless Bruges instead, where the grass grows literally under the people's feet. At Ghent they do not suffer that. Here has come that mighty workman of our nineteenth century— that "vapour " which is truly the life of many,— which has changed so rapidly the face of the civilized world, and the condition of society; here