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been cast. He grumbled sorely at the expense of the funeral, and what sorrow he felt took the shape of increased ill-humour, of which everybody about him came in for a share.
Stephen Binks was, at first, loud in his grief, but its violence was soon exhausted, and before a fortnight had passed his sister was clean forgotten; so far, at least, as regard for her memory went: for his wife—« Black Nan," as she was called, from her swarthy complexion-now installed in the place of Mrs. Chaytor, was for ever harping on her faults, and did so unchecked by him.
Little Wat was the only real mourner, but he soon discovered that he must mourn in silence, and the memory of his benefactress remained, therefore, a thing for him to cherish, as he cherished that of his nurse Rachel
If the ill-will of Stephen Binks towards him in some degree abatedthe jealousy which had prompted it being at rest in his sister's grave_it was speedily reproduced in another quarter: Black Nan had resentments to gratify which death had not effaced. She was by nature envious, uncharitable, and implacable. From an ugly child she had grown into a still uglier woman, who, in spite of a face toad-speckled rather than freckled, lips like those of an African, hard black eyes with a sinister cast in them, short woolly hair and a bony, shapeless figure, had still the vanity to believe that she was not without pretensions to beauty. Female frailty is generally accompanied by good looks, and perhaps it was because her virtue had not been beyond suspicion, when she lived as a servant with Mrs. Chaytor, that she imagined she must needs be the owner of personal charms. Her dead sister-in-law, and former mistress, had been handsome, a sufficient reason with Black Nan for envy; but that passion deepened into hatred when she found, as she very soon did, what slight estimation her character was held in by Mrs. Chaytor, who, to perfect purity of conduct, added a large share of family pride, and looked upon her brother's marriage as an utter degradation. There was cause enough, then, why the wife of Stephen Binks should hate her sister-in-law in her lifetime; and the narrowness of her soul, and her innate vindictiveness, combined to perpetuate her rancour after death. Mrs. Chaytor was gone, but the boy she had loved remained, and to him was transferred all the enmity of Black Nan. And with a heavy hand she dealt it out, the malicious cub, her son, eagerly enforcing her tyranny. While Mrs. Chaytor lived, Wat's occupation had been light, but now there was no kind of work from which Black Nan exempted him, whether he had strength to perform it or not. The habits of his task-mistress were, moreover, as stingy as her nature was cruel, and hunger was not the least amongst the pains which Edith's child endured.
Winter was fast approaching; it comes early enough on the northern wolds, and it happened on one cold, dreary November day, that Black Nan having bread to make, found she was short of meal. Some corn had been sent to be ground a day or two before, but it was still at the mill, and, after storming for an hour at all the servants, Black Nan resolved to send for it. Her fittest messenger would have been Loll, but while the lazy fellow sat burning his shins before the fire, his mother fixed upon Wat, as he came in from the wood-stack with a bundle of fuel for the oven, and told him to go.
“ Thou, Wat!” she said, " tak’ thy hat and gang to t'miller's at Lune Beck and bring a bag o' meal, as mickle as thou canst carry; and see thou be'st quick, or thou'lt smart for 't.”
It was about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and dinner was getting ready; but scanty as his portion might be, there was no dinner for Wat till he returned. The distance was several miles, and he could hardly get back much before dark; but to object to go would only have made matters worse: he would have been beaten and sent all the same. The errand had, too, its pleasant side: he should be nearly a whole day out of the clutches of Loll and Black Nan.
There were two ways to Lune Beck, the most direct across the moor, the easiest by the high road. Being unencumbered as yet, and caring little for the roughness of the path, Wat chose the first, and in less than a couple of hours he reached his destination. The miller had forgotten his promise to grind the corn, so there was some delay before enough meal could be got ready. The miller's wife was a good-natured woman, and turned the interval to Wat's profit by giving him something to eat while he waited, and she would fain have sent the four by one of her own men, but there was nobody to spare. Against her will, then, she loaded Wat, and with a bushel of meal at his back the little fellow started for Moorside.
“Keep to t’ road, lad,” she said, after setting” him a short way; when thou comes to ti neukin o'ť lonnin' maybe thou'lt meet wi' a cart or summot to pick thee up. I'd like to twist the neck o' that Black Nan for sending thee on sie an errand !"
No such luck befel as the kind woman wished, and when Wat had accomplished half his journey he was obliged to stop and rest. It was at the foot of a steep hill, where the Lune, a moorland stream, after escaping from the miller's beck, came brawling down a dark ravine, and crossed the road beneath a bridge of one high, single arch. It was later in the afternoon than Wat had expected, and distant objects were growing indistinct, when he heard the sound of wheels on the road he had left behind. He was glad to think he should perhaps get the lift he wanted, and turned to see what was coming. It was a gig, in which were two persons, a man and a woman, and within a few paces of the bridge the driver, who did not seem to be the very best whip in the world, suddenly
"My pretty littel boy,” he said, in a foreign accent, "are we rightly going to a place called Moorside ?"
“ Yes, sir!" replied Wat, “ you're quite right so far; but after you get over the hill about a quarter of a mile, there's a cross road, and you must keep to the left. If you like I'll show you the turning.”
He made an effort and shouldered his bag as he spoke.
“ You carry some thing too heavy,” said the person who had already spoken; "what you carry ?”
“Meal, sir. I've been to the mill. I'm afraid I'm late." “Where you go, then? Is it so long a way?” “ Three miles and more. I belong to Moorside. I live at the House." “Your parents live there too ?” “I have no parents. They say I'm nobody's son."
“ Try and lift up your bag, my pretty boy; we have room for it here, and for you. Not so, Rachel ?”
At this last word Wat raised his head quickly and met the full, eager gaze of the speaker's companion.
“ Watty! 'Watty!" she cried, “it must be you! Oh, my dear, my darling child !"
In the same moment she jumped from the gig and threw her arms round the boy's neck, smothering him with kisses. He knew her too. It was his own nurse, Rachel.
“ And is this the way,” she said, when her first emotion had subsided -is this the way they treat you, Watty? I thought that lady promised to be kind !"
“ She is dead!" returned the boy, sobbing—"I can show you her grave in Moorside kirkyard. I saw her put into it.”
“Are you often made to carry loads like this ?" asked Rachel, unable to get the better of this evidence of ill-usage. “Tell me all they do to
The barrier to his speech, so long interposed, was removed at once : with all a child's rapidity of utterance he poured forth the history of his wrongs-unintelligible in its details, but sadly clear in its general character. How Rachel wept—how she hugged him to her heart—how she covered him with her pity! And all the time they both stood in the road, the driver of the gig looking wistfully on.
“ Pascal," exclaimed Rachel, while her boy was still speaking, “what is to be done?”
"I tell you, my dear wife," replied Monsieur Perrotin—for the awkward driver was no less a personage—“I tell you. You comm to see this pretty boy another time before you go from England. By chance you meet him. Not as you hope and expect, with good, kind people, but in a shocking manner, behaving like the beasts. It should be wicked, quite wicked, Rachel, to let him stay with them. He shall be our own littel shild ;-nevare again those beasts shall have him. My dear young fellow, you comm with us ?”
Rachel turned pale : for an instant the image of Mrs. Scrope hovered before her eyes; but a glance at the child reassured her.
“You are right, Pascal,” she said, “ come of it what will, we cannot leave him here. You are not afraid, Watty, to go with us ?”
“Rachel ! Rachel ! dear, dear Rachel !" cried the boy, as he flung himself into her arms.
When he disengaged himself he danced about the road with glee. “Good-by, Loll — good-by, Stevy Binks — good-by, Black Nan! I wonder when you'll get your meal. Here, help me, Rachel, to throw this into the beck. There !" he cried, as the bag was pushed from the parapet of the bridge and fell heavily into the swift current—" there, Black Nan ; if I've had no dinner, you'll get no breakfast. Now let us be off before they catch us!".
The gig was turned round, Rachel lifted Wat in, and quickly regained her seat.
Monsieur Perrotin cracked his whip, and though he faced the hill he had so lately descended, the horse set off at a sharp trot, for he knew he was going back to his stable.
THE “SALONS” OF PARIS.*
Those who, living in the time of the Restoration, were enabled to contemplate and to understand what was going forward, and who now witness that which is taking place in 1858, have lived in three different ages, in as far as Parisian society is concerned.
Changes have been wrought at each successive revolution which in peaceful times would have required a century to bring about. It is not only that those who were in power have changed, those who came in only upset those who preceded them in the name of new, or at least of different, ideas, and as these infallibly influence manners, customs, and even fashions, so have they had still greater influence in those réunions comprehensively designated as “salons," and where the principles, ideas, interests, and even passions of individuals used to find expression.
A * salon,” in the accepted sense of the word, has no reference to those crowded soirées, or assemblies, to which people who are unknown to one another are invited, who, consequently, have no tastes, no ideas, or interests in common; and hence, in consequence, no common basis for conversation. A salon is an intimate réunion where individuals are known to one another, sympathise with one another, and are happy to meet one another. Hence it is, also, that most salons of any reputation lasted for years. Such, at the epoch of the Restoration, were the salons of the Count de Chabrol, frequented by all who were eminent in literature, art, and science; the salons of the Duchess of Duras, most favoured by the aristocracy; the salons of the Countess Baraguay d'Hilliers, where the soldiers of the Empire sought consolation in the reminiscences of olden times; the salons of the painter Gérard, chiefly attended by artists; and the salons of Madame Lebrun, who was not only a distinguished artist, but also remarkable for the combined charms of her mind and person. Her salons were of exceedingly long standing: Madame Lebrun was in all the pride of her youth and renown in the time of Louis XVI. Her portraits of Marie Antoinette, and of the other members of the royal family, are among those that are most in repute in the present day. Her success, as usual, created many enemies, but she was so fair and so amiable that her triumph was easy; and her little apartment in the Rue de Cléry was frequented by the court and town alike. The crowd is said to have been such, that marshals of France have had to sit on the ground ; and Marshal de Noailles, being a very fat man, experienced on such an occasion the greatest difficulty in regaining his feet. When the revolu. tion broke out, Madame Lebrun emigrated at first to Italy, and thence to Russia, where her talent acquired for her both a kindly reception and rich rewards. Princess Dolgorouki paid her for her portrait with a carriage and a bracelet of her hair, on which diamonds were so disposed
“ Adorn her who adorns the age.” Returning to Paris for a short time during the Consulship, Madame Lebrun resided afterwards for some time in London. She was not happy without finding herself among the remnants of those who once gathered around her. This she.
* Les Salons de Paris. Foyers éteints. Par Madame Ancelot. VOL. XLIII.
as to say,
was enabled to do still more effectually at the Restoration, when her salons were once more opened. She was at that time seventy years of age, and yet as gay, as lively, and as animated as ever. She had not even ceased to occupy herself with art at that period of her life. Her réunions took place on the Saturday evenings, and her salon presented a peculiarity that was remarked in no other. There alone were the relics of an old state of things, of an extinct régime, and of a long-exiled nobility to be met with.
But the thing did not succeed. There were still nobles of distinguished manners, there were still artists and writers, there was a Bourbon on the throne; but a new spirit had arisen which was opposed to union, and, above all, youth was wanting. The Marquis de Boufflers, once a graceful, charming young man, had become old and fat, and was badly dressed; the Marquis de Sabran was in the same predicament. The Counts de Langeron and De Saint-Priest had become aged and scared in the service of Russia. Those who had been admitted since the storm had blown over could not sympathise with those who had had to bear up against all its exigencies. The old people talked of the past, the young ones hoped for the future.
Then came a new hurricane-that of 1830—and such of the old nobility as had not fallen under the scythe of time once more followed the Bourbons into exile. Madame Lebrun remained in Paris, and she still gathered together a few friends in an apartment she occupied in the Rue Saint-Lazare. The house bad been constructed on the site of the Château du Coq, in which Henry IV. slept on the evening previous to his entrance into Paris. It is now a concert-room. An old friend—as old as herself—the Count de Vaudreuil, never abandoned her. She had also her portraits around her to keep up the illusions of bygone days. There was Lady Hamilton painted as a Bacchante, the Minister Calonne, the inspired Paësiello, the haughty Catherine II., the handsome Poniatowski, and the rich financiers Boutin and Beaujon. The first had given dinners every Thursday in his house, then situated in a beautiful garden, now the Rues de Clichy and Saint-Lazare, but he was exterminated by the revolution; the other founded the Elysée Bourbon, and the fame of his magnificence was such that an Englishman, jealous of his reputation, was determined to satisfy himself of the fact.
He was shown into the dining-room : the table was covered with tempting dishes. “Your master lives well
, at all events,” said the sceptical son of Albion. “Alas! sir," the attendant replied, “my master never sits down to table, he partakes of only one dish of vegetables.”
“Well! he has wherewithal to gratify his eyes,” continued the visitor, as he looked up at the pictures.
“Alas! sir, my master is nearly blind.”
"I suppose," muttered the astounded Englishman, as he passed into another room, "he comforts himself by listening to beautiful music.
“ Alas! sir, my master has never heard that which is played here, he goes to bed early in the hopes of getting a few moments' repose.
“Well! but your master at all events enjoys the pleasure of a walk." “ Alas ! sir, he can no longer walk." So from question to question, and alas to alas, the Englishman found that the millionnaire Beaujon was the most miserable of men.