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debating with himself, until it be vague glimmer the powerful hands gan to grow dark. At last he slow- which held that pliant metal only ly and distinctly observed, "I will seemed to tremble.
“ It is long do it."
since it was used in this brute “Do what?" sharply inquired shape," he muttered.
“Shall I use Mrs Banyan, who was dusting the it now, and can I change it as I furniture, as indeed she was always wish ?” He was roused from his dusting it when there was no more deliberation by a little hand which pressing business on hand.
was pulling his coat-tail. His in“Do as you are bid,” said her fant son, after making for a time a master without turning his head. new plaything of the moonbeams, “Put Chrysippus's cot by the side had suddenly been frightened by of my bed. He shall sleep in my the growing darkness, and crept up room to-night.”
from the floor to claim his father's Mrs Banyan, though a woman of protection. John Strong looked great experience, was genuinely sur- down, and saw a little face with prised. "Sleep in your room !” she high forehead, delicate cheek wet exclaimed.
with tears, and trembling lip, ap“The part of my speech, which pealing to him for pity. His hesiit were well for you to remark, was, tation was at an end. " It will
Put Chrysippus's cot by the side save him a great deal of pain," he of my bed.' Go and put it."
“and perhaps wear off if he “ Thank you kindly, sir. I am ever can do without it,” he added very well aware that I must pay after a moment. He thrust his for the pleasure of serving you by hand once more into the cupboard, doing as I am bid; but if it were and drew from a shelf at the back not for that motherless babe, and a flask of quaint workmanship, fatherless too,
but which sent a drowsy perfume there!” and with this incomplete through the room. Then with but pregnant sentence, the good flask, hammer, and battered iron in dame vanished. Neither the raised his grasp, and carrying Chrysippus voice, the last flick of the duster, under his arm, he went slowly upnor the slammed door, produced the stairs to his bedroom and locked slightest effect on Mr John Strong. himself in with his son. When his servant had gone, he took Mrs Banyan having vented her from his pocket a key of antique natural annoyance by bumping the shape, and opened an old cabinet cot of Chrysippus against every which stood behind his chair. corner of the passage, and planting From a mass of old clothes, old it with a final bang by the sombre papers, old sticks of divers sizes, bed of his father, donned her nightold weapons of divers shapes, he cap and prepared herself for that drew out a rusty hammer, and after repose
which her innocence dea long search, a piece of iron beaten served. But her perturbed spirit thin, which, battered as it was, still was not so easily lulled to rest as bore a far-off likeness to the cast of usual. She fell into a broken a human face. Whilst he examined slumber and dreamed of her master. the latter object with the greatest She saw him as a bird of ashen care, he wore a look which in any plumage and flaming tail, who with other man would be held to denote a long sharp bill tapped on the fear. Perhaps it was only the metal plate of a coffin. Still asleep, moonlight which made his cheek she was angry with herself for so pale; perhaps in the moon's being troubled about so unworthy
VOL. CXVIII.—NO. DCCXVII.
a person ; and in her efforts to dis- the next room, and ever and anon miss him from her mind she awoke deep pants and groans as of some as the clock was striking one. one striving wearily at a task beWhen the sharp note of the old yond his strength. “The sufferings timepiece had passed from her ear, that poor man undergoes from nightthe tapping, which the weird fowl mare nobody would believe," was had made in dreamland, was dis- the comment of Mrs Banyan. The tinctly audible to the awakened night was very still, and the voice
“Drat the man!” said Mrs of John Strong was clearly heard Banyan, “why can't he sleep and in the darkness, but so changed let sleep, instead of hammering nails that his very servant doubted if it into his boots at this time of night? were his. In its tones might have I'd hammer him if I had my way.” been detected by a more subtle This good lady was the only in- hearer a strange mixture of authorhabitant of the village who did ity and dismay. The man was not quake before Mr John Strong. talking nonsense with terrible earnHad all the clocks in clock-land estness, and the effect was disagreecried one with voices of every de- able. But Mrs Banyan was not to gree of awe, she had not stirred her be disturbed by another's nightblanket. Nay, if her master him- mare. She had learned from exself had come riding into the win- perience that to bang the wall with dow on a flash of lightning, she a poker or to shout through the would have knocked him down keyhole gained nothing but a flood with the shovel, and put him to of undesirable eloquence. So, debed in poultices. She had no be- termined to treat the sounds as a lief in his supernatural alliances. lullaby, she again laid her night-cap She knew too much about him. on the swelling pillow and in a few If she gave him damp sheets, did moments slept. On that night, howhe not have a cold in the nose like ever, not the strongest will joined other people? And, indeed, the no- with the easiest conscience could tion of a wizard calling in muffled insure repose. The cranky clock tones on “ Bephistopheles” to warm upon the stairs struck three, as the his bed is ludicrous enough. If night - cap, now sadly ruffled and his dinner was tepid, did he not cocked defiantly, parted from the grumble, and was not such grum- pillow. In that ear which was not bling inconsistent with the friend- obscured by frills was a babel of ship of one who could heat the dish noises. Doors and windows were at a word ? In short, whether it be flying open; a fresh wind howled true or not that no man is a hero in the chimney; distinct amid the to his lackey, it is certain that no hubbub rose the cry of a human man is a wizard to his cook. The voice, and dying away in the distpulse of Mrs Banyan beat with its ance a sound like mocking laughter. wonted regularity as she listened to “ Drat the owl!” said Mrs Banyan. the mysterious rapping in the next " And drat the wind !” she added room: and when it ceased, her after a pause, with the manner of ample night-cap sank upon the pil- one who fulfils a solemn duty. low, the sigh of satisfaction became But the time had come for action. more guttural in character, and she Since the window in the next room slept. But not for long. As the
As the was blown in, and the door blown clock struck two, she was wide awake out, it was clear that Chrysippus and somewhat angry. Sounds as must be in a draught, and of draught of some foreign language came from his nurse had a horror. Hastily rising and attiring herself in an said Mrs Banyan : "perhaps in the antique robe, which fell in bold well by this time ; and if so, nocurves from her chin to her feet, body will set eyes on him again in she groped her way along the pas- this world." She was naturally sage. * How that fire has been indignant with Mr John Strong for smoking, to be sure !” she said, as walking in his sleep, and leaving she gained the open door of Mr his concoctions to explode in his Strong's chamber. On the thresh- absence. If he had fallen down old she paused, as much amazed the old well, it served him right; as a woman of such character could but the thought that, if her surmise
The wind had played strange were correct, it would be impossible pranks in the apartment. The to find the body and inter it with blind was streaming inward like a the fitting pageantry of plumes and banner. On either side the heavy dyed horses was inexpressibly melcurtains waving to and fro made ancholy. She shook her night-cap, moving shadows. On the floor lay and its strings trembled. But Mrs a broken bottle, and from it oozed Banyan was not "passion's slave," to a slow thick liquor, whose perfume waste her time in speculations on the mingled with the blinding smoke unknown future or regrets for the which choked the place. Midway vanished past. She was ready to do between the window and the door the work which lay nearest to her a chalk circle was half traced half hand; which lay on this occasion in smudged. The moon was hurrying the cot of Chrysippus. Bathed in by, but could not pass the room. white moonlight, beneath a passing Her unwilling rays turned the wind, noise, smoke, and dust about thickened air to silver, till the cot him, the child lay sleeping in unof Chrysippus seemed a sheeny boat natural calm. For the first time lulled on a murky stream. “He that night the woman felt a flutter has been at his chemicals again,” at her heart, as she looked on his said Mrs Banyan, “and it is a pale face. She touched the wrist mercy if he has not blown himself which lay upon the counterpane. up this time." She looked round The pulse was firm, and she heaved anxiously. A few deep oaths from a deep sigh of relief. Leaning in a a dark corner would have been a motherly fashion over the little rail positive luxury.
which hedged him in, she laid a sound. She explored the room great kiss upon the boy's cheek. carefully Her master was not How cold and hard it was ! therein. “Sleep - walking again,"
“ The child that's father to the man, methinks
Must be his grandam's grandsire, and should teach
The disappearance of Mr John years had passed away with proStrong was to the rustics amid phecy and fulfilment of harvest, whom he had dwelt at least a nine courtships, marriages, and deaths, years' wonder. After that time keen interest in the rector's chronic other topics slowly usurped its place influenza, and faint rumours of as the chief subject of ale-house European wars, it was only rememconversation; and when another six bered by those who chanced to pass, with vacant mind, the house where owl, on a sudden boys and girls Chrysippus and his female guardian came tumbling out of the village still lived. About this dismal man school. Moved by an unusual imsion were gathered the old fables pulse he drew nearer, when to his and the old fears. No children amazement they broke and fled with would play in its shadow; young lively symptoms of alarm. The maidens tested their courage by sound of children's voices was unpassing slowly in the dusk, with known to him, save when strained eyes fixed upon that window which to hail him from a safe distance as the legend had severed from all “ Young Brazen-face," or " Dismal windows for ever. Even the elders Sippy." The population had a shunned the place, encouraged in strong though unformulated belief their prejudice by the arrogant con- in hereditary genius, and expected duct of Mrs Banyan, who, as soon with some awe the manifestation in as possible after the catastrophe, Mr Strong junior of diabolical inhad given a bit of her mind to every genuity and a bad heart. Yet the adult in the village. When this boy seemed in no way affected by good woman became aware that, neglect or dislike, and indeed to according to the accepted version of be free from emotion of every kind. that strange night's tale, her late Finding that he was not popular master had summoned a Nether- abroad, he remained at home; and landish spirit for some unholy pur- since he knew no sports, he gave pose, and having failed to make himself wholly to study. Very himself safe, had been snatched early in life he discovered the mass from the magic circle by his own of books and papers which his father familiar, she expressed herself so had left in the cabinet behind the freely on the subject of the parish high - backed chair. Among the intellect, that those substantial papers was a slip of foolscap headed neighbours, whose savings should with the words, “Scheme for the have insured respect for their opin- education of my son.” This scheme ion, felt that society was in danger. the boy, encouraged by his trusty When a few men bolder than the servant and guardian, who had a rest assembled before the house, great respect for parental authority, and expressed an intention of visit- accepted as a guide, and thenceforth ing the scene of the catastrophe, his aim in life was to form himself and Mrs Banyan, finding the vials according to his father's will. of wrath unavailing, had emptied a In the course of study proposed water-jug upon them from an upper by Mr John Strong was a remarkwindow, a coldness ensued which able omission. There was no mentime seemed unable to determine. tion of religion. Mrs Banyan, conMrs Banyan's belief that Johncluding that this branch was left to Strong, while walking in his sleep, her judgment, made early efforts to had fallen into the long-disused and instil into the boy her own simple unfathomable well at the bottom of creed, but was met by such subtle the garden, was as strong as know- questions and led into such dangerledge; and this theory she imparted ous pitfalls, that she desisted in as a fact to her young charge. much perturbation and betook herThe boyhood of Chrysippus was
Left to himself, singularly lonely. He had no play. Chrysippus inaugurated a strange fellows, and did not know how to ceremonial. Dreaming of the author play: Once when he stood blink- of his being and of his education, ing in the sunny street like a young he imagined him wholly wise and good. Wandering in the dark satisfied with one's self is happiness, neglected garden he pictured this he was happy; for he felt that the great being as a dweller in the un- education which he owed to the fathomable well. Often the little wisdom of a faultless sire, must ehild stole out in the first light of have placed him, however poor his dawn, or through the shadows of the natural gifts, far above his fellows. unkempt shrubbery at evening to One care remained. To the neplace a small cake or piece of bread glected beings around him he had a at the well's mouth. If this offer- duty to perform, a duty which it ing were taken, he knew that his was not sufficient to explain. His father was contented with him ; if circle of acquaintances was small, not, he appeased him by doubling and he shrank from the effort to his hours of study. Perhaps the extend it; but there close by was one little birds were priests of this re- whom he could teach, Mrs Banyan. ligion; and it is said that many a The thought was delightful. She, priest has been enriched by gifts too, should gain a share of that intended for his god. So on one store of knowledge which he enside of an old wall Mr John Strong joyed. She, too, should be wise and was held a colleague of the powers good ; and so the quickening inof darkness, on the other was wor- fluence of Mr John Strong, finding shipped as a deity. Only Mrs new channels as the days went by, Banyan, stalwart believer in the should slowly fertilise the world. golden mean, knew him to have With such benevolent purpose in been a very faulty man, and so dis- his mind, the youth one morning missed him.
self to prayer.
addressed his cook, housekeeper, The religion of Chrysippus, washerwoman, and quondam nurse though modified as the years went as follows : by, survived even till his eighteenth Banyan, I want to educate birthday. All his reverence, which you." was not very great, was reserved for “ Educate your grandmother,” his father, and for himself as the said Mrs Banyan. intellectual erection built on his “But, Banyan, I know so much; father's lines. For all other people and what shall I do with all my he felt a calm contempt, caused in knowledge? I can go on teaching part by the fact that in the paternal myself, but that is only one. Now, writings they were always used as if I taught you and myself, there a dramatic contrast with ideal hu- would be two. Do you follow me?" manity. Mr John Strong had pre- “I think a blind donkey.could ferred men of his own making. At follow you so far,” replied the dame, the age of eighteen Chrysippus was polishing a chair. master of much learning, which was “And I don't know anybody but neatly gathered under the widest you and myself,” said he. possible propositions, and was di- “That is true enough, poor boy!" vided and subdivided with exqui- said she, pausing with the duster in site discrimination. Philosopher, her hand, and fixing her motherly logician, economist, and historian, eyes on his face; "and what with he stood five feet eight inches in his your
and stockings, and turned a refined being able to play at anything, and but curiously immobile counte- the odd look _” and here she nance to the world, which he sur. checked herself on a sudden, and veyed from his garden through a fell to rubbing the furniture with wall of unusual thickness. If to be quite unnecessary violence.