« PreviousContinue »
tom from some faint memories of the past. “Yes, I is indeed a wondrous enchantment the same yes," I muttered to myself, “it could only have melody lighting up the soul of one with joy and been my fancy." Supposing it to have been a gladness, while to another it brings only the most woman, what motive, what object, could she have melancholy reflections. in standing motionless at a window, gazing at two Why do you not confide to me your secret travellers ? But again, I fancied it might be some sorrow," I said to Arthur ; "it would at least gipsy or vagrant, who had been watching our mo- ease your mind, and be assured I ask it from no tions, and who had only left us to give warning to idle curiosity.” her companions, who would probably rob us on “I am uncertain how far you can sympathise our way home. Thus, giving way to a host of with me,” said be," and my sorrow is not of a conjectures, it only now occurred to me to go round nature to be told, unless I could gain, in return to the back of the house, and see if any one was for my confidence, counsel and suggestions for the concealed there. With this view, and without future.” awaking my companion, I sought the waiter of the I could not promise him counsel, not knowing inn, and told him my suspicions. But he did not how far his trouble might be within my experience ; at all enter into my view of the case, assuring me but I pressed him earnestly for his confidence, as that he had not seen a gipsy in the neighbourhood I could plainly see how wretched he bad lately for years, and was unwilling to assist me in the become. search I had suggested ; but as I was positive, he “ This evening, then, you shall know my hisaccompanied me to the rear of the premises, and tory,” said he; and for a short time we parted. we searched carefully in every direction-stables, When the evening came, we seated ourselves by outhouses, in fact no spot that could have afforded the fireside. Arthur began his story with an air a hiding place for a human being was left. But of constraint and diffidence. “In the first place,” neither gipsy-woman, nor any other, could we dis said he, “I fear you will blame me greatly-for
while I have continually reproached myself with Coming back to the room I had left, I found past folly, I have wanted the moral courage and my friend bad just awoke.
resolution to own myself in the wrong, and, as it “I have had a very strange dream,” said he, were, humiliate myself in the eyes of my former in a sad tone of voice; “I have dreamt of a face associates—though, in all truth, I might have done that I shall probably never see again, for the owner so long ago, seeing that the depression of my mind of it is many bundred miles from England at this has alone been sufficient to drive me from all who moment. And yet,” continued he, in an altered have ever known me. However,” he continued, voice from what I had ever heard him speak before, “ you shall hear the main features of my sorrow, " I could almost wish to see it again, if only for a and do not fail to say openly your opinions of my moment."
conduct.” As he uttered these words, I almost started from I promised to do so, and he proceeded with his my chair. “It is a female face you refer to," story. said I.”
"A few years ago, I was living with my uncle, “How did you know that?" he asked.
a clergyman, in the West of England. I had been I thought I should now draw from him the brought up at his expense, and well educated. He secret that weighed upon his mind, and therefore had destined me for the Church ; but the restricted told him, as briefly as possible, the strange appa- life of a country minister being not much to my rition (if such it was) I had seen at the window. taste at that period, I had contented myself with
This narration seemed greatly to affect him, but, rambling about in the open country, reading, fishcontrary to my expectations, instead of unburdening ing, dancing occasionally at the county balls, and, himself to me, he was evidently not sufficiently as I had soine facility in scribbling, writing a acquainted with my character to give me his entire magazine article from time to tiine. The success confidence. So, contenting himself with making of one or two of my little pieces had almost turned a few hasty remarks as to the extraordinary fact my head, and I began to indulge in fantastic visions that we should both have the same fancies, he of fame and fortune, to be won only with the pen. dismissed the subject, and proposed that we should I wrote incessantly, and went backwards and forwalk on home.
wards to a little town, about three miles distant Day after day passed away, and my companion from the village in which we lived, to see the was still dull and cheerless. We wandered daily periodicals as they were published, and to glance amongst the most beautiful scenery, but how coldly eagerly over their pages for my own lucubrations. the beauties of nature nieet the eye, if the heart One evening, however, as I was returning from is ill at ease! Once, as we loitered through a one of these expeditions, an incident occurred delicious valley at the close of the day, the sound which, from that time to this, changed the whole of a horn came softly to us from a distance. “Ah,” current of my existence. said my companion, stopping and listening intently, “My nearest way home from the town led in one “I have heard that melody a hundred times before, place almost directly under the windows of an but never has it possessed such a magic influence antique mansion, that had for many years been as now.” Tears rolled down his cheeks. Music / ruinous and uninhabited ; but it had lately been
taken by a French family, and repaired and beauti- , that I should never do much credit to his teachfied. I had always taken a fancy to this old ing or example, I frequently paid a visit to any place, it was so very quaint and picturesque, and spot commanding a view of the old mansion, and commanded one of the loveliest landscapes that sketched, as well as my impatience would allow could be found in that part of England. Often, me, some of the prominent features of the as I passed by the old house, I had speculated on beautiful scenery around. I had tried this ruse for the character and tastes of its inmates. The par- several days without effect, when one day a handticular night I speak of the moon shone brightly some man, a little past the prime of life, but still as I was just emerging from a little wood near light and active in his manner, came down to the the house, when I was startled by an unexpected spot where I was sitting, and after looking attenvision. From beneath the drawing-room windows tively at my sketches for some moments, and a balcony projected ; standing on this balcony I throwing me into an agony of wonder as to the now observed a beautiful female figure. Had the possibility of his being the father of my unknown form been the glowing creation of a Greek sculp- divinity, accosted me in broken English :tor it could not have been more perfect, or have “You will sell de picture, Sare ?' stood in a more exquisite attitude. I approached "Non, Monsieur,' said I, conjuring up the few a little nearer to the spot so as to obtain a view French words I knew, and inwardly lamenting my of her features, yet so softly as not to disturb her | ignorance of the language, 'I am only an meditations. I was indeed surprised at the mar- amateur.' Fellous beauty of her countevance. A fine oval “He bowed low, and began, half in French and face with deep lustrous eyes, a commanding yet half in English, to utter a thousand apologies. But perfectly womanly brow was shaded by a profusion I soon made him once more at ease by begging of dark hair, forming a strong contrast to her him to accept the drawing. brilliant complexion, which told as plainly as ver- “He did so at once with many thanks, adding, to bal description of the sunny south of France. The my great delight, “You shall come dis evening, dreamy gaze of those large liquid eyes, and the and ma fille—my child Agläe will ver moch tank ideal expression of her countenance, told how you also.' forcibly she was struck with the beauty of the “I promised to do so, and you may be sure did moonlight view. What wonder was it that I wor- not fail to keep it. I went home overjoyed. shipped the unknown divinity from that moment
« But what have
done with your drawing,' could I help it, when upon the dimness of a coun- said my uncle. try life a face and form now rose before me such “I had not thought of this, and blushed deeply. as we rarely see save in dreams! Thinking only | After a few wise remarks upon the danger of young of ber transcendant beauty I was utterly lost to men falling into strange company, my uncle quietly everything else, and gradually wandered nearer and allowed the matter to drop, and in the evening I nearer to the balcony, until at length I became went, full of joy and expectation, to the French aware that I was distinctly seen, and the young family. I was received by the gentleman I had beauty, suddenly aroused from her reverie, retired seen in the morning and his wife, in whose features into the house. What could her dreams have I found little difficulty in tracing those of the fair been? I asked myself a thousand times. Had she Agläe, making due allowance for the ravages of been thinking of some absent lover, far away time. The lovely girl herself entered the amongst the vineyards and hills of her native apartment shortly afterwards, if possible more France ? Or had his spirit taken flight, and was her beautiful than ever. Hardly knowing what I said, gaze directed towards the illimitable
I advanced to meet her, Her father introduced though to pierce the starlit canopy, and descry
with some compliments to my artistic him among the white robed worshippers ? Or was taste, pointing to my little sketch, which was it only the glad communion of youth and beauty already hanging on the wall amongst a number of with the spells of nature ? These and many other graceful drawings by Agläe herself. Agläe theories occupied and banished sleep from my eyes possessed, in common with the majority of her that night. For several successive days I passed countrywomen, the faculty of making a stranger and repassed the old mansion, but without feel perfectly at ease in her company, and after a seeing my inamorata. But I did not give up | few hours had flown like minutes in her society, I though. Love is fertile in expedients. Amongst left the house, with surprise that I could possibly my other accomplishments, was a great love for, have grown so intimate in so short a time. and skill in, drawing. This faculty I now deter- "From that day forth my visits became frequent. mined to bring into full play. I knew how com Agläe and I understood each other so well
, and mon it was among the cultivated French people to our intimacy advanced so rapidly, that in a short find a taste for sketching and drawing, and 1 time we were recognised lovers. My uncle made little doubted but that the beauty of the balcony no objection, aud became
very tolerant of my French bad also sufficient love of art to appreciate my friend's Catholic principles. He saw that I was efforts
. So I procured materials in abundance, not destined to make a figure in the pulpit, and and in spite of my uncle's misgivings, who began was only too glad to see me with some tangible to fear in the variety of my tastes and pursuits object in view. So, contrary to the usual expe
rience of such matters, the course of true love ran staring at me so intently was not human, but a as smoothly as could be desired ; and, in a few supernatural warning of some danger about to months from our first meeting, the captivating happen to my long lost Agläe.
happen to my long lost Agläe. Whatever it may Agläe was my wife.
be, my mind is now made up. I shall leare Agreeably to the wishes of her parents, we here tɔ-morrow, and set out for France. I will took up our abode with them, in the old house, and throw myself at her feet-I will save her from the for some time were as happy as two frail mortals peril that hangs over her-she must forgive me. could possibly be on earth. When I remember Heaven has taught me a bitter lesson, and is now that happy time—the glowing looks that spoke inviting me to profit by past experience. Yes, volumes in answer to my endearments--the sweet my friend, I leave here to-morrow, never to return silvery prattle, in delightful broken Englislı, about till I have wiped out this foul stain by giving back, her native vineyards and mountains—the pretty in a thousand times greater degree, the adoration French legends which she told me, by the dusky I owe to Agläe’s innocence and beauty !" twilight of the winter's fireside-or the plaintive God grant it !” said I, fervently, much moved romance, accompanied by her father's guitar--I by Arthur's earnestness. I was about to make wonder more and more at the dark fatality which some further remark, when I was startled by the destroyed such an earthly paradise. But, alas! it extreme agitation of his manner. With his face was destroyed, and regret is unavailing.
pale as death, and his eyes glaring wildly, he “Amongst the visitors to the house was a young pointed towards the window. Count Chandier, who, for some political offence, “ See !" he cried, almost gasping for breath, had been banished his country.
He was a young
“she comes-Agläe, my wife--but she comes man of most captivating manners and address, and from another world to reproach me for my perfidg." was evidently very much taken with my young Very much alarmed by his incoherent manner, wifc. After our marriage, encouraged by the I had instantaneously cast a glance in the direction praise of my wife and her friends, I had again of the window, and there, sure enough, although taken up the pen and pencil, and frequently spent for less than a second, I discerned the same fea. some hours in the pursuit of these studies. On tures that I saw at Llanhamlach. these occasions, Count Chandier and my wife would Forgetful of everything at the moment except ramble out in the grounds surrounding the house. a desire to penetrate into this mystery, I rushed Knowing the gaiety and freedom of French man- out of the door, and round to the back of the ners, I felt no uneasiness on that score, till, one house. At first I could discover nothing whatever, day, au old friend calling upon me took occasion and was about to return to the house, wheu I to remark in a playful manner that I had better fancied I saw some object lying on the ground. not leave Agläe too much alone with the young It was no phantom, but the lovely form and fea. Frenchman. I have long since known that this tures of Agläe herself, who had fallen fainting was said out of pure generosity to my charming on the ground. To carry her into the bouse was wife, because he feared she might feel neglected if only the work of a moment, but it was some time I gave myself up too much to books and pictures. | before she quite recovered. No words can de. However, the effect on my mind at that time was scribe the joy of Arthur, after his first outburst of sudden, and fatal to my happiness. When Agläe superstitious fear. He danced round her with franreturned, I upbraided her with all the bitterness tic delight, wept and laughed like a maniac. Then, of an injured husband for what was in reality my bitterly reproaching himself for the sorrow he had own fault. Her tears, her assurances were alike caused her, he would hardly be consoled. After in vain ; from day to day, I brooded like a mad this excitement bad in some degree subsided, man over this one thought, till her parents, disgus. Agläe told us all that had happened since they parted. ted with my conduct, proposed a separation. The How she had secretly left ber parents, and bad Count himself, who had innocently been the cause, written to them after her departure, as to the obor rather I should say the object, of my batred, ject of her journey-how she had followed Artbur reasoned with me to the utmost; but the demon from place place without having courage to Jealousy had entirely taken possession of me. make herself known, for fear of a second repulse. Agläe's parents, indiguant at my suspicions, with All this, and much more, the happy wife recounted drew to their native country, and, by reasoning and to our delighted ears, and, if ever true happiness entreaties, induced her to accompany them. existed on earth, it certainly was not absent from
“I can easily account to you for the agitation I our circle that evening. felt when you told me of the apparition at the win- Agläe's parents again reside in England in the dow of the little ion at Llanhamlach. You will same old mansion where Arthur had first seen laugh at me, I dare say, but ever since I was them. I visit them frequently, not without hope boy, I have been inclined to be superstitious; and that a certain lovely cousin of Agläe's will shortly I canuot get rid of the idea that the face you saw make me as happy as my friend Arthur.
THE CIVIL SERVICE SUPERANNUATION FUND.
“WHAT!" we think we hear our readers exclaim, with his acute mind, commanding eloquence, and " the Civil Service Robbery again ? shall we never all-powersul position could, by merely ho!ding up have done with that piece of ministerial injustice ? his finger, have carried a measure of relief through Can Do remedy be found in England for a both Houses, compelling them by sheer shame to barefaced abuse which has been denounced over give redress. Instead of which, he has quietly and over again by every honest legislator, ever acquiesced in the continuance of the plunder for since it was first perpetrated ? Has not committee eight more years, and seventy thousand after committee been appointed by Parliament, to year is now wrested from the already in'investigate and report, and all the iniquitous adequate salaries of the civil servants of the details exposed by the most irrefragable evidence ? Crown, with but small hope of relief in future, Surely it requires only a clear bead and an honest after what has been seen of the disposition of heart, to render the remedy easy and expeditious.” Parliament, and the hostility of the ministry of the
Wortby reader, we pity and marvel at thy day. blessed simplicity! Dost thou not know that in It is now a matter of history that last year two cases in which only the “canaille" are interested, bills were introduced into Parlianent to alter the the removal of an injustice presents insuperable law respecting the superannuation tax, and that a difficulties? How much more wben the aristocracy "select committee" was appointed by Parliament derive a positive advantage from it? And such is to investigate and “ report” upon the case. It is the case with the superannuation tax, which does in order to expose the conduct of this committee, not touch the higher class of officials of the Civil and their novel way of affording redress, that we Service, whilst their maximum retiring pensions now reopen the question of this infamous tax. We are certain after one year's service. Therefore, shall, therefore, without further circumlocution, the aristocracy are as blind as bats, and deaf as proceed to lay before our readers the facts of the posts, to the cries of injustice ringing in their case, as they appear in the blue book containing ears, from the civil servants of the Crown subject the proceedings, from day to day, of the committee, to the infliction.
wliich was composed of the following gentlemenEight years ago, when Lord John Russell was The Chancellor of the Exchequer. prime minister, a petition was drawn up and Mr. Gladstone, Ex-Chancellor of ditto. presented to him and his colleagues, by the Sir F. Baring,
do. "Civil Service," setting forth the grievance in
Lord Stanley clear and forcible terms. The benevolent premier Sir Harry Willoughby. was represented in the newspapers of the day, as Mr. Roebuck. "deeply sympathising" with the sufferers; and Mr. Hurley. the deputation left bis "presence" under a grate- Sir S. Northcote. ful sense of the courtesy of the noble minister, Viscount Monck. and a cheering hope of speedy and effectual Mr. Rich. relief.
Mr. R. Palmer. Bah! as a Frenchman would say. I think I Mr. V. Scully. see the noble lord after the deputation were
Mr. S. Fitzgerald. departed, with his tongue in his cheek, chuckling Mr. O. Ricardo to himself, and saying, “ don't you wish you may We shall extract only a few passages from the get it?" Lord John was at that time receiving evidence of some of the principal witnesses who bis untaxed salary, and is now, after a few years' appeared before the committee, the first of whom service, receiving his retiring pension ; and when was Sir Charles Trevelyan. he dies, in all probability his widow and family By the act of 1822, a payment of 2) per cent. will be pepsioned upon the country, “in consi. was ordered to be deducted from all salaries deration of the important services he has rendered of from £100 to £200, and of 5 per cent. on all to it" (Vienna to wit). Wiat cares be, then, above £200 per annum; and if a clerk died in about the poor " canaille,” who, since the period the service, his entire contributions were returned of his barren sympathy, have been further mulcted to his family. In 1824 ibis deduction was to the tune of balf a million sterling, to satisfy the sidered by Parliament to be a breach of faith, and cravings of the aristocracy?
the act of 1822 was repealed. The moneys, also, We are justified in this denunciation, for Lord which had been paid were returned to the John Russell, of all other men, ought to have left contributors, and the superaunuations were directed Do stone unturned to remedy this glaring injustice. to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund. This He has been raised to power by the people, and regulation continued in force until 1828, when a has prosessed to be the " true old Whig,” the Treasury minute was drawn up enforcing a deducreformer of abuses, the friend of the people. At tion from salaries at the rate of 2 per cent, under, the period of the presentation of the petition he and 5 per cent. above, £100 per annum. The next was at the acme of his political influence, and, I session of Parliament a bill was introduced,
this minute of council ; but it was brought to your notice is reported to have been used by withdrawn on account of its retro-active operation. you at the time of introducing the bill, in which you said
that these deductions would be made for the benefit of those The minute, however, appears to have been acted
who paid them, and would be on the principle of insurance : upon for five years, in anticipation of the
" They will pay the premiums themselves, and receive the introduction of another bill, which in 1834 was whole amount of the benefits.” Without asking you about drawn up by Sir James Graham, then a member of the particular words, do you remember whether that was the Government. This bill inflicted the partial the view that you took in introducing the bill ? and oppressive tax which now originates the just words used by me, and I cannot pretend at any time to great
Sir James Graham : I have no recollection of the precise and indignant complaints of that part of the civil
accuracy of expression. But to the best of my recollection servants of the Crown who are subjected to it. It | I have now told you what was my impression at the amounts to 2 per cent. on all incomes under, and time, and what is my impression still. I see that I 5 per cent. on all above, £100 per annum. But
am reported to have used the word “fund." I have no re.
collection of having done so, but if I did, I should say that those clerks who entered the service previous to
the expression was inaccurate. 1829, when the minute of council was drawn up,
Sir S. Northcote: This was the expression that was said as well as officers of the army and navy, the judicial to have been made use of —" They will pay the premiums functionaries, and many others, are wholly exempt themselves, and will receive the whole amount of the benefits," from the operation of the act, whilst the scale of but, as I understand, you are not of opinion that that was pension in their case is considerably higher than
your intention in introducing the bill o that of those clerks who are subject to the deduction that are at variance with what I have just now stated.
Sir James Graham: I do not know what the words are We shall next show, from the evidence, that the
Sir S. Northcote : The expression that is reported in the Government at the time of introducing the bill Mirror of Parliament, is, that when in committee a question either practised a wilful deception on the House, arose as to one of the clauses of the bill, a question was put to or they and their successors have ever since you as to what was the principle of this clause, and your answer contravened the Act of Parliament in the spirit, if
was to the effect that the principle was to carry out the not in the letter---that, in fact, the bill was
minute of 1829, and some expressions were used which
are reported to have been, that the reductions would be obtained under false pretences, and that by it the dealt with upon the principle of insurance, or formed into a civil service clerks subject to it have been robbed fund on the principle of insurauce, and the concluding words to the extent of £800,000, without reckoning the given are, “they will pay the premiums themselves, and will interest, which would raise it to above a million
receive the whole amount of the benefit p"
Sir James Graham : I conceive that the first part is an sterling
accurate description. It is a payment in the nature of an It appears by a report of the debate on the bill, insurance, not subject to the strict rules of an insurance, but that Sir James Graham, in his introductory speech in the nature of an insurance ; and as to the quantum of (being then a member of the administration) made the benefit to be received, that upon the face of it was ap. use of the following memorable words, “It was
parent. Upon dismissal, for instance, they have no claim recommended by the finance committee of 1828, in the very essence different from an insurance, as strictly
whatever for the quantam contributed; and therefore it was and this clause (the 10th) follows out the
understood in its equitable and legal force. recommendation, that a deduction should be made
Chairman : You do not know whether you saw the report in the salaries of all men in public offices, in order of those expressions of yours in the Mirror of Parliament to provide a fund on the principle of insurance. They before it was published ?
Sir James Graham : No. will pay the premiums themselves, and will receive the
Chairman : Not having been corrected by yourself do you whole amount of the benefit.” Lord Grey, also, in the
think it is possible to trust to the minute accuracy of the House of Lords, says, “In August, 1829, a mi- report of a speech on a technical subject of this sort nute was made by the Lords of the Treasury of Sir James Graham : I think that the accuracy of reportthat day by which it was provided, that in order ing has been progressive, and that it is now wonderful; but to avoid the heavy charge which had been pro
I should be sorry to be bound by a verbal report of what
I said even a fortnight ago. duced by this practice of superannuation, there
Sir S. Northcote: I think I understand you now to say, that should be in future, a superannuation fund estab. upon the whole you admit the accuracy of the description lished, arising out of a deduction of a certain per that the deductions were to be in some way or other upon a centage from the salaries of all civil officers who kind of principle of insurance ? received their appointments subsequently to that
Sir James Graham: Certainly. time.” The words of the Treasury minute of the nefit of those who paid the deductions, or was it to be an insu
Sir 3. Northcote : Then was it to be an insurance for the be4th August, 1829, are to the same effect, &c.
rance for the benefit of those who did not pay then ; were perNo words can be plainer or more expressive sons who did not pay the deductions to have the benefit of than those of Sir James Graham, and Lord Grey ;
them in any way? and yet the former gentleman has the boldness to
Sir James Graham : I will endeavour to state to the com
mittee what I remember as the principle of the deductions ; deny that he made use of the word fund, and
that in lieu of making a large redaction of salary, there was a insinuates that his speech was incorrectly reported deduction made in the nature of a contribution for superin the Mirror of Parliament, from whence Sir C. annuation, which was so large as not only to cover the inTrevelyan has taken it. The Cumberland baronet's dividual claims of all those who contributed, but which replies to the questions put to him are so charac
would operate in dimiuntion of the charge for superannuations teristic of the man that we cannot refrain from generally. Whether that was strictly equitable or not I will
not presume to say ; but that was the intention of those giving a few of them :
who introduced it. It was not concealed from Parliament, Sir S. Northcote :--An expression which may have been and it was adopted by Parliament, and all those who con