Page images

wants of one who is to me father, brother, friend. I may, at least, wait upon him as an hostess might tend an 'honoured guest—a housekeeper the master of the house!" she had decided by the time Phæbe set coffee, muffins, and steak upon the table.

Then to the serving-girl's increased chagrin, she sat down, with Roy's vacant chair opposite her, and break.fasted alone.

“Not much of a breakfast to be sure !” said Phæbe, returning at the end of ten minutes, to find the room deserted. “Half a muffin, and a cup of coffee, and she clean forgot to carve the steak! Looks like she was in love-but that can't be!

“Come in!" said the changed voice that had wrought upon Phæbe's womanly compassion, as Jessie awaited the warrant to enter the sick-room-a faint-hearted lingerer upon the threshold. She buoyed up her courage by remembering that she was the housekeeper who had come for the orders of the day; the diffidence she railed at inwardly, as ridiculous and uncalled for, had no visible effect, except to heighten her colour, and make her carry her head a trifle less loftily.

Already Mrs. Wyllys had been heard to say that, "If Mrs. Fordham were worth a million in her own right, she could not look more haughty and indifferent to people who were richer and better bred. When, as everybody knew, she was a poor preacher's daughter with just money enough to buy her wedding-clothes. Though, pity knows, they couldn't have cost much! Was there ever such awful taste, as not to lighten her mourning to suit the circumstances ? Who ever heard of a bride's wearing crêpe?”

There were red spots upon Roy's cheeks, when he saw who his visitor was-probably hectic, for his demeanour was natural. With instant thought of her probable embarrassment, he put out his hand, smiling,

“Ah! Jessie, dear! Good-morning! You are very good to visit a poor fellow in his affliction. For such a throat and head as I have to-day are an affliction. I seldom strike my colours to a common cold.”

“This seems to me to be an uncommon one!” Jessie said, feeling his pulse with the practised touch she had learned in her parish-visiting. “You have fever. You ought to have medical advice. Who is your physician?”

“I have never had occasion to call in one since I came to Hamilton. Suppose we 'bide a bit,' as our worthy President says,

and if I am not better in the course of an hour or two, we can send for Dr. Bradley. I had a trying day yesterday. Professor Fairchild is sick, and I had some of his classes in addition to my own. It is well this is Saturday. I can lie still, and rest my throat with a clear conscience. Provided"-smiling in her grave face -"provided you do not let me trouble you!”

“Trouble me! you should know better than that! But”-hesitating –“if you will let me say it--"

“Go on! there is nothing you may not say to me,” he said encouragingly.

“I do think it would be better to see Dr. Bradley, at once-if only as a precautionary measure."

He started-looked at her intently.

You are thinking of diphtheria! You ought not to have come in until that point was settled. There may be danger to you. If, through my carelessness

He turned his face away, unable or unwilling to finish the sentence.

I never thought of that !said Jessie, simply. “If I had, I should have come all the same.

Whatever may be the doctor's opinion, I shall stay here, and take care of you. It's my place."

She rang the bell for Phæbe, and in Roy's hearing, ordered her to go for the doctor. She would not have her charge suspect that she was unduly alarmed, or believe there was occasion for a hasty summons. Then, she brought a sunshiny face to the bedside, and put a fresh pillow under the hot, heavy head.

“ You don't know what a famous nurse I am," she said, blithely“My father"--her voice sinking with the sacred word—"used to say that nursing was a talent, and that I was born with it."

She set to work, forthwith, without waiting for permission. Roy, regarding her silently from his bed, heartily endorsed Mr. Kirke's verdict. Not Eunice herself could have moved more soundlessly, wrought more efficiently to alleviate, so far as she could, the pain and discomfort of his situation. The doctor was at home, and obeyed the call promptly. Roy glanced inquiringly at Jessie when he was announced.

“Show him up!” was all she said, and when he followed Phæbe into the chamber, she met him with high-bred ease as the lady of the house ; as the patient's wife, discussed his symptoms; heard, with marked gratification, that her fears of diphtheria were unfounded, and received his directions gratefully and attentively. “A fine woman, and a most devoted wife!”

pronounced Dr. Bradley, at his luncheon table that day. “Let me hear po more gossip about her, girls. Remember!"

“But, papa, they do say they live queerly!" ventured the irrepressible Selina. “Mrs. Wyllys--"

“Is a fool ! see that you don't become another in listening to her twaddle!" was the peremptory reply.

Orrin Wyllys, hearing accidentally of his cousin's indisposition, called at noon, and was conducted by Phæbe, by warrant of the relationship, into Roy's presence. The chamber was heated usually by the furnace register, but Roy lay in bed gazing at the glowing pile of coals in the grate. There was a happy ray in his eyes, spontaniety in the gaiety with which he welcomed his guest, that did not accord with the latter's preconceived ideas of the dolor of a sick-room.

“You look like an invalid—don't you? was Wyllys' second remark. “This is the cheeriest place I have been in to-day. It is what the English call beastly weather, out-of-doors. I don't blame anybody for keeping his bed. I thought you showed me the room across the hall as yours when you took me through the house, that night the last of your quasi widowerhood.'”.

“We changed the arrangement afterward,” rejoined Roy, carelessly. “But it is a luxury-isn't it? to lie still on a stormy day, and stare a fire like that out of countenance; especially on a holiday, when there are no phantoms of unsaid lectures to torment one's reveries. I am enjoying it amazingly. I hadn't the remotest conception that being sick was so delightful.”

“By Jove! I should think you would luxuriate in it unless you have less brains than I gave you credit for. With an houri for head-nurse, too! I say, 'get out of that! I can play the sentimental sufferer as well as you, and I have a native bias for lazy luxury, which you haven't. I dare say, you cunning dog! if all were told, there is some dainty mess preparing for you below stairs -a triumph of conjugal affection and culinary skill, that should be tasted by none but an educated appetite. A Teuton like yourself would be as well suited with bretzels and sauerkraut, washed down by a gallon of lager. I am a devout predestinarian, and here lies the case. I have a canine hunger upon me. I am on my way home to luncheon. Without, the day is dark and cold and dreary. I am led to this corner of cosiness and comfort and fairy fare to dispossess you. Impostor ! how dare you lie there, and grin at my emptiness and agony! Confess! what did you have for breakfast? What do you mean to devour for lunch? What do you hope to consume for dinner?

Roy could never resist the infection of this merry banter, seldom indulged in by Orrin except when with him. It brought back their early days—“when you thrashed the big boys for bullying me"—he liked to remind the other when they slept, played, and studied together. Orrin had his foibles, and a graver fault or so, but he was his friend, as he had told Dr. Baxter, and the boyish love for his gallant senior was still strong upon him. His laugh now was hearty and mischievous.

"Such a breakfast!” he said. “ Gotten up in strict conformity with the injunction—' Feed a cold.'".

“And you will have a fever to starve!” interjected Wyllys. That would be poetical justice! But go on!”.

“ Imprimis ; " resumed Fordham,—"a cup of Turkish coffee, fragrant and clear. Item, cream toast. Knowest thou the taste thereof? Of real cream toast ? light, rich, smooth, that sootheth the inflamed membrane of the throat, and maketh the diaphragm to rejoice exceedingly? Item, broiled chicken-a marvel of juicy tenderness; an omelette aux fines herbes which was an inspiration

“For Heaven's sake!” Orrin feigned to tear his hair. “ If you don't want to be murdered in your bed, hold your tongue !"

Roy was in a paroxysm of laughter; Wyllys, scowling horribly, had snatched the poker and was making adroit passes at him, like the cunning master of fence he was, when Jessie, ignorant of the liberty Phæbe had taken,

and supposing her patient to be alone, entered. She had a waiter in one hand containing a silver pitcher and goblet, and a plate in the other, heaped with hothouse grapes. Transfixed with astonishment at the spectacle within, she stopped on the threshold. Her amazement was not lessened when Orrin, replacing his weapon on the hearth, threw himself into a chair and covered his face with his handkerchief.

"A victim of covetousness!” exclaimed Roy, trying to check his merriment.

“Of misplaced confidence !” uttered Orrin, gloomily, removing his cambric, and arising with a show of melancholy composure. “I hope I have the pleasure of seeing you quite well, Mrs. Fordham! I should judge so from your blooming appearance, but having just had a notable lesson in the deceitfulness of outward seeming, I am sceptical as to the evidence of the senses and human reason.”

“A dash of scepticism is like vaccine virus-a usefu} thing where there is fear of infection," said Jessie, not comprehending what had gone before, and not choosing to ask questions of him.

She bowed in passing him, making of her full hands a tacit excuse for the cavalier salutation—a pretext that was transparent to the person she intended to slight. Depositing her burden upon a table, she bent over it, pretending to re-arrange the grapes and stir the contents of the pitcher, that her face might cool before he had a chance to scrutinize it. His presence in this place was odious to her. What had she, in her self-abasement and earnest reachings after a nobler life than he had ever thought of, or aspired to, to do with his masquerading tricks and persistage? His mummery, then and there, was more than heartless-it was an insult to her, with the recollection of her broken vows and blighted life, dogging every thought of possible happiness. Her residence in Hamilton had no severer trial than these chance encounters with him, her husband's nearest of kin.

“Nectar and grapes of Eshcol !'' he exclaimed, in a tone of calm despair, referring to the contents of waiter and plate. “You may not believe it, Mrs. Fordham-in fact, I don't expect you to, for it is the nature of your sex to trust and trust again,—but you are nourishing a serpent! a base trickster! yet one of whose want of originality I am ashamed. The interesting invalid dodge is the stalest and flimsiest known to the guild of artful dodgers. Now, if I were in his place. "

“I am heartily glad you are not!" escaped Jessie, against her will to treat him with civility for Roy's sake.

Her eniphasis of sincerity was unmistakable, and wrought with various effect upon her two auditors.

“So am I!” laughed Roy, his eyes alight with more than mirth. “The grapes you cannot touch, my grasping friend! They were a present to me, not an hour since, from Miss Fanny Provost—a basketful, wreathed with exquisite flowers. She believes in the reality of my interesting invalidism. As for the nectar, give him a sip,

Jessie, please! It is not fair that one man should monopolize all the good things of life.”

Jessie poured out the draught, without jest or smile; then stood back with a gesture that bade him help himself if he would. She would not be a party to the sport, Orrin perceived.

“A petty, spiteful show of disdain!" he thought, contemptuously. “She is hardly worth a scene! "

To show that he was not repelled or overawed, he advanced a step, took up the goblet with a profound obeisance, stared her in the eyes, and swallowed a mouthful. Roy's shout of exultation, and the uncontrollable grimace of the dupe, moved Jessie to a smile, but she did not speak.

Witches' broth ? " queried Orrin, with the tragical gravity of one who has made up his mind to die like a man.

“So Socrates might have glared and growled!” said Roy. ". The hemlock, jailor?'” mimicking the other's tone. “Not this time, my dear fellow ! Only sage tea, sweetened with honey and stiffened with alum-an incomparable gargle, according to such eminent authorities as Miss Eunice Kirke, her sister, and, last and least, Dr. Bradley." Orrin took up his hat, undismayed to the last.

Sage tea! I go home a wiser if not a better man! I am glad to see there is nothing the matter with you, Roy, while I lament, as one of your blood and lineage, over your unblushing hypocrisy. Mrs. Fordham

“You used to call her · Jessie,' ” interrupted Roy. “I said Cousin Hester' yesterday to your bride. Shall 1 imitate your formal address?"

“No! But my little wife is august in nobody's eyes. Whereas Mrs. Fordham--Cousin Jessie-I beg your pardon! Which shall it be?”

His back was to Roy; his meaning gaze upon herself was, to her perception, audacious insolence. Not daring to resent it in Roy's hearing, she yet obeyed the wifely impulse to seek his protection.

“That is for your cousin to decide. My name belongs to him!” She said it proudly, flashing her wide eyes from one to the other, and moving involuntarily nearer to Roy.

Wyllys caught up the last words.

“ His relations should be yours, if the partnership be in good faith, and on equal terms."

“That is for him to decide !" answered she, precisely as before.

“Thank you! I do not shirk the responsibility,” said Roy, putting himself in the breach as usual, when he saw her nonplussed or disturbed. “Another sip of nectar, Orrin, before you breast the storm ? "

A wry face was the response, and the most fascinating man in Hamilton bowed himself out. As he drew the door to after him, he glanced across the hall. The room Roy had showed him as his was opposite, and the door open. There was fire in that grate also ; a lady's sewing.chair in front of it, and a work-box he recognized as Jessie's on the small table beside it. On

the back of the chair hung a linen apron with pockets such as he had seen her wear when engaged in household tasks in Dundee, or gardening. He guessed directly that she had stopped in there to lay it off when she brought up the gargle. That this was her apartment he was sure, when another step revealed a bureau with a ladies' dressing case open upon it.

Separate apartments !” he mused, picking his steps lightly down the cottage stairs. “Very unsentimental ! Very un-American! decidedly independent and jolly. But in this case, what is the meaning of it ?”

He believed he had the clue to the mystery before he inserted his latch-key in the door of his-or his wife's -house. Jessie Fordham could not forget that Jessie Kirke had loved him. The decent show of conjugal felicity he had witnessed that day was a hollow crust, below which the lava still surged and seethed. Jessie was more faithful to the one great passion of her life. and less philosophical than he had been ready to believe. Her scrupulous avoidance of him whenever this could be done without awakening suspicion ; the half bitter retorts that fell now and then from the lips she would train to the utterance of conventional lies; the indignant sparkle of the eyes that answered the searching appeal of his—what were all these but the ill-concealed tokens of an attachment that had so inwrought itself with the fibres of heart and being as to defy her strenuous attempts to pluck it forth, or keep it out of sight. It was a revelation to him, and a flattering one-one that merited serious consideration.

The devil got hold of him in that hour; sifted him as wheat, bringing all that was base in his nature uppermost. Heretofore, he had shunned everything that could secure for him the reputation of a cicasleo. When a woman was once married, she became an object of indifference to him. He accounted the pursuit of such, a hazardous and favourless exhibition of Lotharioism which the refined age should frown down. He was not a gourmand or libertine, he had often proudly asserted to himself. Pleasures of that stamp he left to men of grosser tastes and coarser grain. He had meant to allow his cousin all the domestic peace which should honestly fall to his share, and to cultivate amicable relations with his cousin-in-law—Roy's wife, who had given conclusive evidence of intelligent appreciation of himself.

But if Jessie were unhappy; not on terms with her respectable husband, cleverly as both dissembled-if Jessie still loved him

C'est une autre chose !” he muttered between his teeth, and complacently knocking the snow off his boots upon the marble steps of his “mansion.”

His most heartless propositions always sought cover in the facile foreign tongue.

A writer in the last generation defined an egotist to be “ One who would burn down his neighbour's house to boil an egg for himself.”

Orrin Wyllys was an Egotist.



COME lives, uneventful, so far as exciting incidents her the lady who, as wife, mother, and Royal Princess,

are concerned, are valuable on account of the influences combines the qualities most dear to a domestic and loyal they exercise on the lives of others; and the most power- people, is a proof that she possesses the high qualities we ful influences are not unfrequently those which are most desire to see in the person of the wife of the heir-apparent gentle and unassuming. Happy the nature which can to the throne. She claims a place, therefore, among our bear unflinchingly the test of "the fierce light which “remarkable women," whose impress is upon the spirit of beats upon a throne," and upon all standing in near the age, although her deeds are not relation to the throne, and show no speck or stain on the white surface of its

" Painted in glowing verses spotless life. Society is


Upon the golden frontlet of influenced, unconscious

all time; ly perhaps, yet effec

But gentle, kindly acts of tively, by such gentle,


Thoughts that so sweetlyshape unaffected, truthful na

themselves to words, tures, and grows simpler,

That other natures take them more earnest and duty

to themselves, loving by the association.

And presently engraft them

as their own; The writers of fairy

As the sweet singing of a tales, who tell us how

joyous bird the beautiful princess

Comes back to us in echoes

from the woods, married the prince she

And makes new music from loved, and lived happily

the dusky trees ever afterwards, pro

A royal nature, not from bably never thought of

princely state,

But from untutored sovethe position in which

reignty of soul." tbe lovely heroine might be placed when called

When the Prince of upon to be the “bright

Wales arrived at man's particular star" of her

estate, it was a subject husband's court, the ex

no less of political than emplar of goodness, good

of social interest that he taste, courtesy, and fash

should contract a suit. ion, called upon to lead

able and happy matrisociety, and be the

monialalliance. No other model which all the

young man in England ladies of the state would

of high position had so strive to emulate. It is

limited a range wherein a trying ordeal, more

to choose ; and it might H.R.H. THE PRINCESS OF WALES. especially when entered

have happened that a pon at a time when the

marriage which appeared Sovereign Lady is stricken down by a great grief, and the to be politically eligible, or, at least unobjectionable, position of the first lady in the land must in public be might not result in that happiness to the parties most occupied by a young girl comparatively inexperienced in immediately concerned, which only the union of hearts as court life, and trusting chiefly to her own instincts, quick of hands can ensure. Fortunately public anxiety was soon perceptions, and sincere desire to discharge the duties of terminated, by the announcement that love had pointed her high station. That more than twelve years has now out the way, and guided to a selection which grave elapsed since the radiant beauty of the Princess Alexandra politicians approved, and respecting which any doubts the charmed all English hearts, that she has grown in the general public might have entertained were very soon love of the English people, and that we all recognize in dispelled by the accounts which reached this country of


the beauty and amiability of the youthful grand-niece of the Duchess of Cambridge, the fiancée of the Prince of Wales.

The Princess Alexandra Caroline Maria Charlotte Louise is the second child and eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, now Christian IX., King of Denmark; and, before proceeding further, it may be as well that we should sketch the history of the house which is now so intimately associated with our own Royal Family.

The genealogy of the princely houses of Germany is a complicated subject, and we must be content with a brief outline. The house of Holstein is a very ancient family, thoroughly German by origin and alliances. The Dukes of Holstein traced their descent through the Counts of Oldenburg to the famous old chieftain Wittekind, the Saxon who, in the eighth century, defended his country against the great Charlemagne, and led an army into Frankish territory as far as Cologne, but was at last compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of the Emperor, and become a Christian-in name, probably, more than in spirit. More than a thousand years ago, then, this renowned ancestor of our gracious Princess was a leader in the great contest between the Teutonic and Frankish races, which has lasted to our own times, and the last sounds of which are still ringing in our ears. The Oldenburg-Holstein family split up into numerous branches, the head of one of which was elected King of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, in 1448, at the extinction of the old Saxon dynasty. Other branches of the old stock were scattered about, possessing small territories near the Elbe, and on the coast of the North Sea, and Hanover, Oldenburg, and Schleswig-Holstein. One of the princes, Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, married a daughter of Peter the Great, of Russia, and the Livonian peasant-girl Catherine ; and their son, a descendant of the Holsteins, ascended the Russian throne as Peter III., but was soon deposed, and most probably niurdered, not entirely, perhaps, without the knowledge of his famous, or infamous, wife, the energetic, unscrupulous Catherine, terrible in her wrath, and more terrible in her love, “the Semiramis of the North.”

At the beginning of this century, the branches of the house of Holstein were reduced to three-HolsteinSonderburg-Augustenburg, Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, and Holstein-Gottorp. These compound names suggest fusions, and, to us, confusions, which only a German or Welshman could properly sympathize with and understand. The father of the Princess Alexandra belongs to the second named of these branches, being the fourth son of Duke William of Hesse-SonderburgGlucksburg.

A little more history, and we will pass to the more attractive features of our subject. In the year 1320 the long line of Scandinavian monarchs who had ruled over Denmark, Norway, and Sweden came to an end with the death of Eric, and henceforth the monarchy of Denmark

was elective. In 1448, Duke Christian of Oldenburg was chosen king, and his descendants occupied the throne until, on the death of Frederick VII., in November, 1863, he was succeeded by Prince Christian, whose daughter had, in the previous March, become Princess of Wales. We are rather precise in noting these particulars, because an extraordinary amount of historical blundering, on the part of those who ought to have kuown better, was perpetrated at the time of the young Princess's marriage. The poets who celebrated the occasion would insist that Alexandra was a Danish princess, which she was not, even in name, for her father was not then King of Denmark; and that she was a descendant of the Scandinavian sea-kings, who ravaged and reigned in England. She would have had no claim to such a pedigree even if she had been of the royal house of Denmark ; for, as we have seen, a German Duke of Oldenburg was elected to the throne in the fifteenth century. So far as authentic history knows anything about it, the Princess of Wales has not a drop of Scandinavian or Danish blood in her veins, and was only a Dane so far as having been born in Copenhagen made her one. Yet Tennyson began his superb “Welcome”- the finest bit of Laureate work ever written-with such a blunder as Sea-king's daughter from over the sea ;” and the Hon. Mrs. Norton published a poetical welcome in the “Morning Post," which, after calling upon the sea and the ships to do wonderful things, appealed to the Eton boys, when they should grow old, to

" Tell how the child of the northern ocean

Rode in state as your Prince's bride ;" and the breezes were to

Murmur, with voices loyal,

None so fair as the Danish maid." Perhaps the greatest blunder in this respect, however, was made by Professor Aytoun, who, as a Scotchman, should have been well up in genealogy, but who, in his marriage poem, addressed the Princess as “the daughter of the far-descended Dane."

In 1842 Prince Christian married Louise, second daughter of the Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel, and niece of the Duchess of Cambridge. When the war between Denmark and the German Confederation broke out in 1849, the Prince was the only one of his family who took the Danish side in the dispute, and, in consequence, was looked upon as, politically, an unworthy member ; and the meanness of depriving him of his annual allowance as a member of the house of Holstein was resorted to. Reduced thus to comparative poverty, the Prince continued to reside at Copenhagen, where, since his marriage, he had occupied a house of modest proportions, dignified with the name of palace, in the street named Amaliegade, near the Amelienborg Palace, the court residence, in the most fashionable part of Copenhagen. In this house the Princess Alexandra and all her brothers and sisters were born and educated. A few miles out of town, the Prince had a country residence, Bernstorf Palace sur


« PreviousContinue »