Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the new, whom he despised, close furniture, and the liveried waiters shaven, with red fez and glazed gliding noiselessly about, all imboots; water-carriers; Osmanli in- . pressed me with a high sense of fantry, solemn, brutal, and sensual, the intense snugness of England jostled by rollicking British tars and of home, after my airy tent, and merry little French Zouaves; with its embankment of earth for and for a background, the city of shelter, its smoky funnel of messthe Sultans, with all its casements, tins, and the tiny trench cut round domes, and minarets glittering in it to carry away the rain-water. the unclouded sunshine.

Then I was discussing a breakfast Two light-cavalry subs, who had which, after my Crimean experiridden in the death-ride at Bala- ence, seemed a feast fit for Luculclava, and bore some cuts and lus or Apicius, and listening with slashes won therein ; three others something of a smile to the rather of the Light Division, and myself, loud conversation of some memagreed to travel homeward toge- bers of the Club-wiry old Peninther; and pleasant days we had of sulars, Waterloo and India men, it while skirting the mountainous who were certain the service was isles of Greece, Byron's

going to the devil,' and who drew Isles of Greece, where burning Sappho

somewhat disparaging comparisons loved and sung,'

between the way matters had been and the tints of which seemed all

conducted by our generals and brown or gray, as we saw them

those of the war under Sir John through the vapour exhaled in sum

Moore, Lynedoch, Hill, and the mer from the Ægean Sea, with their

Iron Duke ; and to me it seemed little white villages shadowed by

that the old fellows were right, and trees, their rocks like sea-walls,

that after forty years of peace we crowned here and there by the

had learned nothing new in the art columns, solitary and desolate, of

of campaigning. some temple devoted to the gods

“Captain Hardinge, a gentleman of other days—'a country rich in

for you, sir,' said a waiter, presenthistoric reminiscence, but as poor

ing me with a card on a silver as Sahara in everything else.

salver; and soon I was with Sir And so on by Malta and old

Madoc Lloyd, who in top-boots Gib; and exactly fourteen days

and corded breeches as usual-his after leaving the former we were

ruddy sunburnt face, his white hair cleaving the muddy bosom of Fa

and sparkling dark eyes, in his ther Thames. That night saw me

cheery breezy way the same as ever in London, with the dull roar of

—with his hat and whip in hand, its streets dinning in my ears; and

welcomed me home so warmly, that

for a moment he drew the eyes of after the rapid travelling I fell asleep, as addled as a fly could be

all upon us. in a drum.

He had breakfasted two hours before-country time—and had a canter round the Park. He was

in town on parliamentary business, CHAPTER LVIII. but was starting that afternoon for

Craigaderyn. I should accompany ноМЕ.

him, of course, he added, in his Next day the comfort and splen- hearty impetuous way. Then ere dour of the fashionable club-house, I could speakthe tall mirrors, the gilded cor. “God bless my soul!'he exnices, the soft carpets, the massive claimed. “Poor Harry! till I had

VOL. XI.

seen you I could not realise the would take you there — before idea of your being mutilated thus ! coming to us, at least ? No more hunting, no more shoot- I coloured a little, and said, ing, no more fishing

'I have a friend there, among *And no more dancing, the ladies the Russian prisoners. · would add,' said I, smiling.

‘By Jove, I think you've had "And no more soldiering.' enough of those fellows! Non

Unless the Queen kindly per sense, Harry! We shall start withmits me.'

out delay. Why waste time and ‘Gad! I think you have had money in London ?' said Sir Madoc, enough of it !

who never liked his plans or wishes And — and Miss Lloyd and thwarted. “I have just to give a Dora ?'

look at a brace of hunters at Tat• Are both well and looking tersall's for Vaughan, and then I beautiful. There are not many am with you. Down there, with girls in Wales like my girls. A our fine mountain breezes, our sixseaside trip has brought back the months' Welsh mutton, and sevenbloom to Winny's cheeks; and as years' cliquot, we'll make a man of for Dora, she never loses it.'

you again. I can't get you an arm, "And why did Miss Lloyd refuse Harry; but, by Jove, it will go an offer so eligible as that of Sir hard with us if we don't get you Watkins Vaughan?' I asked after two belonging to some one else! a pause.

I laughed at this idea; and so Can't for the life of me say, that evening saw me again far from replied Sir Madoc, rubbing his London, and being swept as fast chin, and turning to the decanter as the express could speed along as a waiter set some dry sherry the North-Western line towards and biscuits before us.

Chester. And why would not my little I had quite a load of Russian friend Dora have her Guards- trophies—such were then in great man ?

request—for Sir Madoc: sabres, Can't say that either. Perhaps muskets, and bayonets; glazed she hated a “swell” with an affected helmets of the 26th and Vladimir “yaw - haw” impediment in his Regiments, a Zouave trumpet (with speech. Girls are so odd; but a banner attached), trod flat as a mine are dear girls for all that. pancake under the feet of the I'll telegraph to Owen Gwyllim to stormers as they poured into the have the carriage awaiting us at Malakoff. There, too, were several Chester; and we shall leave town rusty fragments of exploded shells, before luncheon-time, if you have hand-grenades, and the last cannonno other plans or engagements. shot fired from the Mamelon Vert.

'I have neither; but—but, Sir For Winifred and Dora I had Madoc, why so soon?' I asked, as mother-of-pearl trunks of rare certain passages in my later visits essences and perfumes; slender to Craigaderyn gave me a twinge gilt vials of attar of roses; daintilyof compunction. Now that I embroidered Turkish slippers, with think of it, I had an idea of taking turned-up toes, and bracelets of a run down to Lewes in Sussex, rose-pearls from Stamboul; Malsaid I.

tese jewelry, lace, veils, and as Lewes in Sussex – a dreary many pretty things as might have place, though in a first-rate cours- stocked a little shop in the Palais ing country. I've ridden there Royal or the Burlington Arcade. with the Brighton Hunt. What The month was June, and my spirits became more and more the snow lay deep on Carneydd buoyant, as in the open carriage Llewellyn ; where the boar's head we bowled along between the green was served up in state at Christmountains and the waving wood mas, and at Michaelmas the goose; lands.

where so many brides had come Now the mowers, scythe in hand, home happy, and so many old were bending over the fragrant and folks, full of years and honour, bearded grass; the ploughmen were gone to the vault of the old church turning up the fallow soil; the squir- among the hills; where lay all the rels were feasting in the blossom; line of Lloyd save the luckless Sir the sheep were being driven to fold; Jorwerth Du; and whereand the crow was flying aloft, ere But here my somewhat discursive he sought his nest in the rooky reverie was interrupted by the carwood. It was a thorough English riage being pulled sharply up at the June evening : the air pure, the perron before the entrance; and sunshine bright, and casting the Owen Gwyllim, with his wrinkled shadows of the mountains far across face beaming, and his white head the vales and fresh green meadows; glistening in the sunshine, hastened the blackbird, thrush, and linnet down to open the door, arrange the sang on every tree, and a glow of steps, and shake the only hand the happiness came over me ; for all Russians had left me. around the land looked so peaceful "Where are the young ladies ?' and so lovely, the gray smoke curl asked Sir Madoc, impatiently glancing up from copse and dingle to ing up at all the windows. mark where stood those 'free fair Gone for a ride so far as Llanhomes of England, of which Mrs. dudno with Miss Vaughan.' Hemans sang so sweetly.

“Alone?' Sir Madoc was discoursing on “No, Sir Madoc, attended by the cultivation of turnips and man- Spurrit the groom. They were gold wurzels, and on the mode of gone before your telegram arrived, extirpating annual darnel - grass, but are to be back before the first coltsfoot, wild charlock, and other bell rings for dinner.' mysterious plants to me unknown; And now, after a little attention and I heard him as one in a dream, to my toilet, I was ushered into when we entered the long lime the drawing-room, every object in avenue.

which was so familiar to me; and How pleasant and picturesque seating myself in the corner of an looked the old house of the Tudor oriel, I gave way to a long train of times at the end of that long leafy deep thought; for I was left quite vista, with all its tinted oriels, its alone just then, as Sir Madoc found gilded vanes, and quaint stone letters of importance awaiting him; finials! The woodbine, clematis, and now, induced by the heat of and ivy, hops and honeysuckle, evening, the stillness broken only all blended in luxuriant masses, by the tinkle of a sheep-bell and aspiring to peep in at the upper the hum of the bees at the open windows. Craigaderyn, so redolent window, and by the length and of fruit and flowers, of fresh sweet rapidity of my journey, I actually air, of bright green leaves, of health dozed quietly off to sleep. and every bracing element - a hearty old house, where for generations the yule log had blazed, and the holly-branch and the mistletoe hung from the old oak roof, when

wooden stumps, as Dora once half CHAPTER LIX.

predicted; but even as it is, my

round-dancing is at an end now. A DREAM WHICH WAS NOT ALL A

By the way, I have a sorrowful DREAM.'

message for you.' BRIEF though my nap of 'forty “Then I don't want to hear it. winks,'I had within it a little dream, But from whom?' induced, no doubt, by my return to ‘One who can return no more, Wales, and by my surroundings, as but one who loved you well-Phil it was of Winifred Lloyd, of past Caradoc.' tenderness, and our old kind, flirt- A shade of irritation crossed her îng, cousinly intercourse, before face for a moment; and then with others came between us ; for Wini- something of sorrow she asked, fred had ever been as a sister to ' "And this message ?-poor felme, and dearer perhaps. Now I low, he fell at the Redan ! thought she was hanging over me His last thoughts and words with much of sorrowful yearning in were of you, Winny—amid the her soft face, and saying,

anguish of a mortal wound,' said 'Papa will not be here for an I; and then I told her the brief hour, perhaps, and for that hour I story of his death, and of his inmay have him all to myself, to terment in the fifth parallel. Her watch. Poor Harry, so bruised, so eyes were very full of tears; yet battered, and so ill-used by those none fell, and somehow my little odious wretches !

narrative failed to excite her quite Her lips were parted; her breath so much as I expected. came in short gasps.

'Did you not love him? Was it imagination or reality that 'No,' she replied curtly, and a kiss or a tress of her hair touched gathering up the skirt of her habit my cheek so lightly? There was more tightly, as if to leave me. certainly a tear, too!

'Did you never do so? · I started and awoke fully, to see "Why those questions ?-never, her I dreamt of standing at the side save as a friend-poor dear Mr. of my chair, with one hand resting Caradoc! But let us change the on it, while her soft eyes regarded subject,' she added, her short lip me sadly, earnestly, and—there is quivering and her half- drooped no use evading it-lovingly. She eyelids too. wore her blue riding-habit, her skirt I was silent for a minute. I gathered in the hand which held knew that, with a knowledge of her switch and buff gauntlets; and the secret sentiment which Winithough her fine hair was beautifully fred treasured in her heart for mydressed under her riding-hat, one self, I was wrong in pursuing thus tress was loose.

the unwelcome theme of Caradoc's 'Dear Winifred, my appearance rejection; moreover, there are few does not shock you, I hope?' said men, if any, who would not have I, clasping her hand tenderly, and felt immensely flattered by the preperhaps with some of that energy ferences of a girl so bright and peculiar to those who have but beautiful, so soft and artless, as one.

Miss Lloyd; and I found myself •Thank Heaven, it is no worse!' rapidly yielding to the whole charm she replied; but, poor Harry of the situation. Hardinge, an arm is a serious loss.' 'How odd that you should have

"Yet I might have come home, returned on my birthday !' said she, like Le Diable Boiteux, on two playing with her jewelled switch,

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »