« AnteriorContinuar »
human beings! The ocean has not changed its mood with the new times; it may swallow all to-night, to-morrow, perhaps, it may be calm and smiling, as in the olden times we have buried. Let them sleep quietly, if they can.
It is now morning.
The new time is shining with the sun's rays into our chambers. The wind has decreased now. It tells of a ship ashore, as in the olden times.
During the night, down near Lökken, the little fishing village with red roofs which we can see from the windows up here, a ship was stranded, it had run aground; but the rescuing rockets, flung to the wreck from the land, saved all who were on board. They were brought on shore, and found shelter in the humble cottages. To-day they were invited to Borglum Abbey. Under its comfortable roof they will find warm hospitality, they will see mild eyes, and meet those who can welcome them in the language of their own foreign country; they will hear their own national airs played, and before these are ended, another chord will be touched, soundless, and yet truly sonorous; the messenger of thought reaches the home of the shipwrecked in a foreign land, and tells of their safety.
The strangers' hearts feel light, then they can tread a measure in the evening in Borglum's lordly halls, and listen to songs about Denmark, and "DEN TAPPRE LANSOLDAT," in the new time.
Blessings on thee, thou new time! ride on the pure current of summer air into cities and hamlets. Let thy sun rays beam into hearts and thoughts! From thy radiant soil float away the dark legends of the rigorous, the cruel times, that have gone for ever!
HER WINNING WAYS.
THE EGG OF DISSENT
BIOGRAPHY has reached that amusing epoch in which the lives of the lubbers find writers, and those of the intellectual only mourners. In support of the assertion may be instanced the parish. dolt, whose memory is preserved, if after unheard-of struggles, he emerges from the workhouse and thrives, while the author who has bespattered him with glory must be his own twaddler or be forgotten in his grave.
Nor has the eminent child lacked historians, and the result is that precocity in all its features has been depicted and its example offered up.
The present chapter will sketch the life of Jemmy Flower, will show how no oppression could extinguish his spirit when once set a light to, and how, sometimes damped, it dried itself and got into a blaze again.
While yet despicable in his father's eyes, he quitted his school and entered service under the tutelage of Nancy Brown. He went to his place in his Sunday clothes, with his Monday's tied up in a bundle; this was owing to his father's pride of place. The first ordeal he was put through was to undo his pack and display his duds before the wondering gaze of his instructress.
"Where are your aprons?" asked Nancy. Jemmy had not an apron to his front.
"Where is your change of linen?"
It was at the wash-a very unusual change. "Show me your hands!"
Jemmy showed his hands, but not with openness, for he tried to hide his nails.
"Turn them round, or else hold them out to me," said Nancy. Jemmy showed their weak points.
"Do you call those hands? Go to the sink and soap them!" Jemmy went and did as he was bid.
"Come back!" cried Nancy.
Jemmy came back with a lump of yellow soap bigger than his doubled fist.
"Where is your neck? Can't you stoop?"
"It is all begrimed with smut; take off your collar and scrub
Jemmy doubted whether to scrub his collar or his neck. "And come here
Jemmy turned round.
"Take this filthy hair-brush"
She flung it on the floor.
"Take this filthy comb-and wash them in the suds. There is the kettle; scald yourself if you choose."
Jemmy gathered up his brush and comb; he took the kettle. from the fire, and poured hot water into the bowl.
"And wash your head. When did you clean it last?" "When last?" echoed Jemmy's soul.
"Soap it, or I shall have to do it for you, and then you will get the lather in your eyes."
He soaped it, washed his brush and comb-he washed them in the suds, did Jem.
When he had achieved these uncommon labours, she sent him to the attic with his duds.
Nancy then flourished her bonnet, and went to the draper's. "Four yards of coarse linen," said Nancy to the counter, not deigning to look up.
"For what purpose, if you please, miss?" asked the civil shop
"It is a beautiful day, miss!"
"And four yards of strong tape.'
The goods were measured out with the usual ostentation. "What is the next article that I can show you?"
Nancy clapped down half-a-crown.
"Ninepence, eighteenpence, three shillings, twopence, three and twopence," said the man, with mental and arithmetical pre
Nancy put down two groats more.
"We have some very nice gloves," remarked the civil draper, on observing that Nancy had none on.
But she was off in a jiffy-a corruption of j'ai fait.
The draper, no longer civil, extemporised a suitable face, for his features were very flexible, as he remarked,
"A rum customer is Nancy Brown!"
She was at home again with an eye to Jemmy.
Nancy, who was kind, was also just, which is the opposite; she had made up her mind to begin right with her pupil. It was for his good if he could but have realised it, but that was above his capacity; the loss of its dirt turned his head dizzy, to begin with. "Have you finished your work?" asked Nancy, on her return. Jemmy had concluded that he was washed up for the day.
"What work?" replied he, stretching open his swollen eye with its many streaks of blue.
Nancy pitied him faintly, and for a moment lowered her tone. "There are your knives and forks, and your boots and shoes." But he had not a notion where all this property of his lay hidden.
"They are not on the dresser, if that is where you expect to find them," said Nancy, who was already planning an apron with her cloth on the table, and so spread out as to make Jemmy long for a cup of tea.
"And they are not sticking to the ceiling," added Nancy, as she snipped the cloth, tore it across at two pulls, and rent it asunder with outstretched arms that measured their length from the table to Jemmy's eye.
He started back in acknowledgment of her being in a passion. but she was deliciously cool for the time of year.
"You do not suppose they are in the knife-box, then? Dear me!" said Nancy.
She threaded her needle at one venture.
"Those are saucepans," observed she, as she fastened a knot in the thread; "however, you can look them over, if you have nothing else to do."
Jemmy walked round the kitchen on speculation, it muddled him, so Nancy vouchsafed him a hint.
"In some houses there is a back kitchen," remarked Nancy, biting her thread, "and out of that comes the knife-house."
Jemmy steered for the front door, when Nancy considerately pointed her needle to the north.
"Did you ever clean a knife or fork before?" she asked, with freezing curiosity.
Jemmy shivered at her cold manner.
"Yes," said he, doubting his own word, lest Nancy should doubt it for him, though it was a job that he excelled in.
"Well, then?" predicted Nancy.
Jemmy had nothing to add, and he let well alone.
"Your coat used to change itself, perhaps?"
This was the second hint that he received; he took it, and on the strength of it dawdled up-stairs.
Nancy listened to his torpid steps and laughed.
He returned in his old coat, which, being out at the elbows, he felt himself more on a footing with insult than was pleasant, but was surprised to find himself unnoticed. He hastened to the back premises, and, finding every convenience at hand, performed the task in reserve for him.
Nancy was sewing on a loop to the new apron when Jemmy came back.
"Have you finished?" she asked.
"Yes," said he, with a long drawn grin, that seemed to follow toothache, for it showed his gums in relief.
Nancy went on sewing, while he went on standing still. Women muse over their needle and express its poetry between the stitches with a jerk.
"When I have done my work," said Nancy, talking to herself, "I wash my hands, and then I make myself tidy for the day." This had the effect of another hint on Jemmy.
The method of training thus pursued was not unattended with results. It was done by hints sown broadcast; these Jemmy followed on the sly, like a tractarian, or, as he expressed it in after times, in the track of the tares sown by the evil one.
His almost unaided discovery of the knives and forks, his reflections at the board, and the vivifying influence of his monitor, told plainly on Jem Flower. But he felt unhappy, for he was conscious of a necessity that impelled him towards becoming sharp. He could not conceal from himself the fact that he was more clever already; the new relay of talent weighed heavily on him; and this, added to his cleanliness, told him distinctly that he could be idle and dirty no more.
"Is there any one up-stairs?" asked Nancy, from the bottom to the top of her voice.
The hint brought Jem to a sense of his real situation; he hurried into his best coat and was down again.
"I think there are six chairs in the kitchen," said Nancy, musing; "they are meant to sit down upon when there is nothing else to do."
Jem took a chair and seated himself on the edge of its precipice, for he felt ready to fall.
Having been just towards him for several hours, she changed her tone, sat him down to a tea that surpassed in quantity and variety his former dinners, and was kind. She gave him a book to read, talked to him about the inner boy, and interested herself in his welfare. Jem got happy, saw a career, and bethought himself that he was not created in vain.
This happiness was too great to last, nor would it have been good for Jem had it been uninterrupted. Nancy foresaw this, and the next day she became just. His mornings and his evenings were strictly laid out by her, the one for pain and the other for pleasure, an apportionment that very fairly tallied with the ordinary lot of mortals.
Jem, not being philosophical, did not reconcile himself to this equitable adjustment; he brooded over his morning discipline, and spoilt his evening recreation by plans of revenge. In this he showed enterprise, for insuperable obstacles lay in his path; yet,