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April 13, 1885.J
little clearing, and looking down upon the sea. Frances paused there, with her face towards the house, and saw coming out from under the shadow of the veranda, with a certain awkward celerity, the straight slim figure of the young Indian officer, his mother's hero, and, in a visionary sense, her own. She did not advance -she could not tell why-but waited till he should come up, while his mother turned round, beckoning to him. This was how it was that Constance and Markham arrived upon the scene before the introduction was fully accomplished. Frances held out her hand, and he took it, coming forward; but already his eyes had travelled over her head to the other pair arriving, with a look of inquiry and surprise. He let Frances hand drop as soon as he had touched it, and turned towards the other, who was much more attractive than Frances. Constance, who missed nothing, gave him a glance, and then turned to his mother. We brought our brother to see you,' she said (as Frances had not had presence of mind to do).-'Lord Markham, Mrs Gaunt. But we have come at an inappropriate moment, when you are occupied.'
'O no! It is so kind of you to come.-This is my son George, Miss Waring. He arrived last night. I have so wanted him to meet'She did not say Frances; but she looked at the little girl, who was quite eclipsed and in the background, and then hurriedly added, 'your -family: whose name he knows, as such friends! -And how kind of Lord Markham to come all this way.'
She was not accustomed to lords, and the mother's mind jumped at once to the vain, but so usual idea, that this lord, who had himself sought the acquaintance, might be of use to her son. She brought forward George, who was a little dazzled too; and it was not till the party had been swept into the veranda, where the family sat in the evening, that Mrs Gaunt became aware that Frances had followed the last of the train, and had seated herself on the outskirts of the group, no one paying any heed to her. Even then, she was too much under the influence of the less known visitors to do anything to put this right.
I am delighted that you think me kind,' said Markham, in answer to the assurances which Mrs Gaunt kept repeating, not knowing what to say. My step-father is not of that opinion at all. Neither will you be, I fear, when you know my mission. I have come for Frances.'
For Frances!' she cried, with a little suppressed scream of dismay.
back again, I suppose we will have to give our consent.'
'Not I,' said Mrs Gaunt under her breath. She whispered to her son: 'Go and talk to her. This is not Frances; that is Frances,' leaning over his shoulder.
George did not mean to shake off her hand; but he made a little impatient movement, and turned the other way to Constance, to whom he made some confused remark.
All the conversation was about Frances; but she took no part in it, nor did any one turn to her to ask her own opinion. She sat on the edge of the veranda, half hidden by the luxuriant growth of a rose which covered one of the pillars, and looked out rather wistfully, it must be allowed, over the gray clouds of olives in the foreground, to the blue of the sea beyond. It was twilight under the shade of the veranda; but outside, a subdued daylight, on the turn towards night. The little talk about her was very flattering, but somehow it did not have the effect it might have had; for though they all spoke of her as of so much importance, they left her out with one consent. Not exactly with one consent. Mrs Gaunt, standing up, looking from one to another, hurt though causelessly-beyond expression by the careless movement of her newly returned boy, would have gone to Frances, had she not been held by some magnetic attraction which emanated from the others-the lord-who might be of use; the young lady, whose careless ease and self-confidence were dazzling to simple people.
Neither the general nor his wife could realise that she was merely Frances' sister, Waring's daughter. She was the sister of Lord Markham. She was on another level altogether from the little girl who had been so pleasant to them all and so sweet. They were very sorry that Frances was going away; but the other one required attention, had to be thought of, and put in the chief place. As for Frances, who knew them all so well, she would not mind. And thus even Mrs Gaunt directed her attention to the newcomer.
Frances thought it was all very natural, and exactly what she wished. She was glad, very glad that they should take to Constance; that she should make friends with all the old friends who to herself had been so tender and kind. But there was one thing in which she could not help but feel a little disappointed, disconcerted, cast down. She had looked forward to George. She had thought of this new element in the quiet village life with a pleasant flutter of her heart. It had been natural to think of him as falling more or less to her own share, partly Is Frances going away?' said the old general. because it would be so in the fitness of things, 'I don't think we can stand that.-Eh, George? she being the youngest of all the society-the that is not what your mother promised you.-girl, as he would be the boy; and partly because Frances is all we have got to remind us that we were young once. Waring must hear reason. He must not let her go away.'
Ah, I said you would not be of that opinion long,' Markham said.
Frances is going; but Constance stays,' interposed that young lady.-General, I hope you will adopt me in her stead.'
'That I will,' said the old soldier; that is, I will adopt you in addition, for we cannot give up Frances. Though, if it is only for a short visit, if you pledge yourself to bring her B
of his mother's fond talk, which was full of innocent hints of her hopes. That George should come when she was just going away, was bad enough; but that they should have met like this, that he should have touched her hand almost without looking at her, that he should not have had the most momentary desire to make acquaintance with Frances, whose name he must have heard so often, that gave her a real pang. To be sure, it was only a pang of the imagination.
She had not fallen in love with his photograph, which did not represent an Adonis; and it was something, half a brother, half a comrade, not (consciously) a lover, for which Frances had looked in him. But yet it gave her a very strange, painful, deserted sensation when she saw him look over her head at Constance, and felt her hand dropped as soon as taken. She smiled a little at herself, when she came to think of it, saying to herself that she knew very well Constance was far more charming, far more pretty than she, and that it was only natural she should take the first place. Frances was ever anxious to yield to her the first place. But she could not help that quiver of involuntary feeling. She was hurt, though it was all so natural. It was natural, too, that she should be hurt, and that nobody should take any notice-all the most everyday things in the world.
George Gaunt came to the Palazzo next day. He came in the afternoon with his father, to be introduced to Waring; and he came again after dinner for these neighbours did not entertain each other at the working-day meals, so to speak, but only in light ornamental ways, with cups of tea or black coffee-with both his parents to spend the evening. He was thin and of a slightly greenish tinge in his brownness, by reason of India and the illnesses he had gone through; but his slim figure had a look of power; and he had kind eyes, like his mother's, under the hollows of his brows: not a handsome young man, yet not at all common or ordinary, with a soldier's neatness and upright bearing. To see Markham beside him with his insignificant figure, his little round head tufted with sandy hair, his one-sided look with his glass in his eye, or his ear tilted up on the opposite side, was as good as a sermon upon race and its advantages. For Markham was the fifteenth lord; and the Gaunts were, it was understood, of as good as no family at all. Captain George from that first evening had neither ear nor eye for any one but Constance. He followed her about shyly wherever she moved; he stood over her when she sat down. He said little, for he was shy, poor fellow; yet he did sometimes hazard a remark, which was always subsidiary or responsive to something she had said.
Mrs Gaunt's distress at this subversion of all she had intended was great. She got Frances into a corner of the loggia while the others talked, and thrust upon her a pretty sandalwood box inlaid with ivory, one of those that George had brought from India. 'It was always intended for you, dear,' she said. Of course, he could not venture to offer it himself.'
'But, dear Mrs Gaunt,' said Frances, with a low laugh, in which all her little bitterness evaporated, 'I don't think he has so much as seen my face. I am sure he would not know me if we met in the road.'
strong and well. about everybody.'
You will write and tell me
'Indeed, I will. O Frances, is it possible that you are going so soon? It does not seem natural that you should be going, and that your sister should stay.'
'Not very natural,' said Frances with a composure which was less natural still. But since it is to be, I hope you will see as much of her as you can, dear Mrs Gaunt, and be as kind to her as you have been to me.'
'Oh, my dear, there is little doubt that I shall see a great deal of her,' said the mother, with a glance towards the other group, of which Constance was the central figure. She was lying back in the big wicker-work chair; with the white hands and arms, which showed out of sleeves shorter than were usual in Bordighera, very visible in the dusk, accompanying her talk by lively gestures. The young captain stood like a sentinel a little behind her. His mother's glance was half vexation and half pleasure. She thought it was a great thing for a girl to have secured the attentions of her boy, and a very sad thing for the girl who had not secured them. Any doubt that Constance might not be grateful, had not yet entered her thoughts. Frances, though she was so much less experienced, saw the matter in another light.
'You must remember,' she said, 'that she has been brought up very differently. She has been used to a great deal of admiration, Markham says.'
And now you will come in for that, and she must take what she can get here.' Mrs Gaunt's tone when she said this showed that she felt, whoever was the loser, it would not be Constance. Frances shook her head.
'It will be very different with me. And dear Mrs Gaunt, if Constance should not-do as you wish'
'My dear, I will not interfere. It never does any good when a mother interferes,' Mrs Gaunt said hurriedly. Her mind was incapable of pursuing the idea which Frances so timidly had endeavoured to suggest. And what could the girl do more?
Next day, she went away. Her father, pale and stern, took leave of her in the bookroom with an air of offence and displeasure which went to Frances' heart. 'I will not come to the station. You will have, no doubt, everybody at the station. I don't like greetings in the marketplaces,' he said.
Papa,' said Frances, Mariuccia knows everything. I am sure she will be careful. She says she will not trouble Constance more than is necessary. And I hope'
'Oh, we shall do very well, I don't doubt.' 'I hope you will forgive me, papa, for all I may have done wrong. I hope you will not miss me; that is, I hope-oh, I hope you will miss me a little, for it breaks my heart when you look at me like that.'
'We shall do very well,' said Waring, not looking at her at all, both you and I.'
'And you have nothing to say to me, papa?' 'Nothing-except that I hope you will like your new life and find everything pleasant.Good-bye, my dear; it is time you were going." And that was all. Everybody was at the
station, it was true, which made it no place for leave-takings; and Frances did not know that he watched the train from the loggia till the white plume of steam disappeared with a roar in the next of those many tunnels that spoil the beautiful Cornice road. Constance walked back in the midst of the Gaunts and Durants, looking, as she always did, the mistress of the situation. But neither did Frances, blotted out in the corner of the carriage, crying behind her veil and her handkerchief, leaving all she knew behind her, understand with what a tug at her heart Constance saw the familiar little ugly face of her brother for the last time at the carriage window, and turned back to the deadly monotony of the shelter she had sought for herself, with a sense that everything was over, and she herself completely deserted, like a wreck upon a desolate
PEAT AND PEAT-BOGS.
latitude of New York; and Darwin says that in the southern hemisphere the parallel of forty-five degrees marks its nearest approach to the equator. These facts of its distribution point clearly to the conditions essential to the growth and formation of peat-namely, a climate sufficiently moist to foster the growth of the plants of the remains of which it is composed, and at the same time cool enough to retard, under certain conditions, the decomposition beyond a certain point of successive generations of those plants.
Many persons wonder at the magnitude of the results of geological changes in the older epochs of the earth's history, and fancy that they point to a time when the forces of nature were more active than they are at present, and all the
while remain unconscious of the fact that the atmosphere, rain, winds and rivers of the present day are producing by insensible degrees changes in the earth's surface the sum of which may one day be as stupendous as any which have taken place in the past. The peat deposits, though belonging to the very last of the periods of geological time, evidently have a history which extends far back into remote ages. Yet, in almost any stagnant pool at the present day, we may see the actual formation of peat under conditions similar to those under which the vast deposits in our bogs have been laid down. Bogs and mosses may be divided into two classes-those which have ceased to grow, and those which are still growing. Those belonging to the former class are easily known; for drainage, or loss of moisture from any cause, leads to the cessation of growth, and very soon to the decay of peat-bogs. Those which have ceased to grow are in this country generally either being slowly brought under cultivation, or, as is the case with the deeper ones, they are being cut away to be utilised as fuel. It is in those marshes known as flow-mosses or quaking-bogs, which contain much water, that the large previous deposits of peat are still being added to.
SOME account of our peat-mosses, or bogs as they are called in some localities, ought to possess a certain interest for many persons. Their age, origin, and method of growth are questions of geological interest; and their general character, uses, and products are matters of some industrial importance, when it is considered how large a part of the soil of the British Isles is covered with peat. The proportion of surface so occupied is considerable in England and Scotland, and still larger in Ireland, where it is calculated that three million acres, or about one-seventh of the entire surface, consists of peat-bogs. Those of us who are not geologists, and who have for the first time stood beside a deep cutting where peat-cutting operations were being carried on, may remember to have felt no little curiosity as to the nature and origin of the soft brown-black vegetable mud, with a history stretching between a time apparently so recent and a period so evidently remote. There must be many whose experience it has been to see unearthed from under this growth of On a small scale, the formation of peat may time strange yet familiar relics of a long-past age, be studied in almost any shallow piece of stagwhen this part of the world possessed a different nant water. Aquatic plants and mosses shoot up climate, and doubtless also enjoyed the advan- round the edges, and the semi-decomposed remains tage, or disadvantage, of a different geographical of each year's crop gradually accumulate. arrangement of its surface; and some of those roots and branches of the plants often shoot may perhaps remember to have set the imagina-out and become matted at the surface, holding tion to work to measure out in inches of black deposit the number of the intervening centuries which divided those remote ages from our own times.
Peat, as every one knows, is vegetable matter in a semi-decomposed state. It is extensively distributed over the northern countries of Europe, particularly in the British Islands, Norway, Sweden, and those parts of the continent bordering on the German Ocean and Baltic sea. It is also found in Canada, Labrador, and Newfoundland. It occupies the lowlands at the level of the sea in the British Islands and Northern Europe, but it gradually retreats to the higher tablelands as we get farther south. In North America, it is not met with to any great extent south of the
together floating vegetable matter. In process of time, a floating skin is formed, which throws up a new growth every year, and gradually thickens. Sphagnum or bog-moss is often the principal growth in such cases; and persons walking over mossy ground should carefully avoid stepping upon the gray-looking patches of sphagnum, as they often cover very dangerous places indeed. The decaying vegetable matter of each succeeding year adds a thin layer to the mass, which is prevented from becoming decomposed beyond a certain point by the presence of water and the low temperature. As time goes on and the deposit of vegetable matter accumulates, the outlets by which the surplus water is drained away often get choked up, so that moisture is still retained; and the process continues until it is arrested by drainage or the escape of water by
natural means. The process of formation of our large deposits of peat must have more or less resembled this on a large scale.
In a deep bog, the peat cut from the lower strata is of a black colour, and dries into a hard, heavy, close-grained mass, which in the best kinds somewhat resembles coal. That cut from the middle strata is of a browner colour, and is more spongy in texture; while that taken from the upper layers is of a light-brown colour, of a very spongy texture, with the stalks, roots, and fibres of the plants of which it is composed still fresh and undecomposed. It is very common to find peat-bogs occupying what were the sites of ancient forests, so that when the superincumbent mass is removed, we come upon great numbers of the trunks and branches of former giants of the forest lying as they fell, with the stumps of many of them still rooted in the soil beneath. The wood, even to the bark, is often in the most perfect state of preservation.
A study of the conditions of climate and surroundings under which these buried forests flourished and decayed throws much light upon the question as to the conditions under which peat began to form in these countries. One of the most remarkable matters in connection with the peat-forests is that in many of the localities in which they are found, and in which the trees have evidently grown, trees can now be reared only with difficulty, if at all. In the wild stormswept flats along the Atlantic seaboard in the west of Ireland, and in the cold, bare, stormy valleys of the Western Highlands of Scotland, it is at the present day difficult to raise even dwarf specimens of hardy trees; yet from beneath the peat-mosses in these localities have been unearthed in great abundance magnificent specimens of the ancient pine and oak forests, which in past ages grew and flourished luxuriantly on the spot. This is evidently due partly to a change in climatic conditions since peat began to form in these places, and partly to the fact that trees will not thrive in situations where the soil is very moist, and consequently sour. The trees found in bogs in these islands are generally the oak, pine, birch, hazel, alder, willow, all of which are still indigenous, so that the change in climate cannot have been very severe. It resulted, no doubt, partly from alteration in the geography of the country, and partly from a change in the level of the land. There is evidence to show that changes of this nature have had much to do with the formation of the large peat deposits in the British Islands and Northern Europe. In the Carse of Gowrie and other parts of Scotland, trunks of trees are found imbedded in peat some distance below the sea-level; submerged forests with overlying peat are found at many parts of the coasts of the British Islands and elsewhere in Northern Europe. On certain parts of the coasts of the Orkneys and Hebrides, and in places off the coast of Ireland and along the northern coasts of France, Holland, and Denmark, the phenomena of submerged peat with the remains of forests imbedded in it are not uncommon. Blocks of peat have been washed ashore on the western coast of Scotland; and peat has been dredged up far out in the North Sea and in parts of the English Channel. These facts all point to the
conclusion, that a considerable subsidence of the land has taken place in Northern Europe since the date when the forests flourished and decayed and became buried beneath the overlying peat. Mr Geikie is of opinion that at the date of the forests, and just before the peat had begun to form, Great Britain and Ireland formed part of the continent of Europe, and the bed of the shallow North Sea was dry land. Speaking of this period, he says: The bed of the North Sea was a great undulating plain, traversed from south to north by a mighty river, which carried the tribute of the Thames, Rhine, and other streams, and poured in one magnificent flood into the Northern Ocean.' These islands at that time must have possessed a less insular climate, nearly approaching, no doubt, to that now enjoyed by parts of the continent in the same latitude. It was less moist than it is at present, and the character of the trees found in the peat-mosses shows that the winters were colder and the summers warmer than they are now.
It was under such conditions of geography and climate that the forests, the remains of many of which are still preserved beneath the peat-mosses, flourished in the British Isles. As the subsidence of the land went on, and Great Britain became an island, the climate changed gradually. The forests in many districts no longer held their own against the sea-air and the moist insular climate. When those in low-lying districts succumbed, they, together with the vegetable matter which soon grew over them, gradually choked up the valleys. Drainage being obstructed and the escape of water prevented, swamps were formed, in which the growth of peat went on rapidly, to be continued in many instances almost down to our own day.
The age of some of the peat-bogs in Scotland and Ireland must be enormous. The peat in many places in the former country measures from fifteen to thirty feet in depth; and in some of the bogs in the latter country this depth is often exceeded. Speaking of the age of the bogs in Ireland, Mr Kinahan says: Each year's growth is represented by a layer or lamina, and these lamina in the white turf are about, on an average, one hundred to the foot; in brown turf, two hundred to three hundred; and in black turf, from six hundred to eight hundred.' Any calculation, however, as to the age of peat which might be made from data of this kind can be taken only in a general sense. The rate of growth, no doubt, often varied in different parts of the same moss and in different years. In some bogs, there are evidences that after the peat had continued to form for a considerable depth, the process was arrested for a long interval of time. The surface apparently became again comparatively firm and dry, and was once more covered with a growth of wood; so that it is not uncommon to meet with places where a section of the peat presents the spectacle of the lower strata covering the debris of an ancient forest; then a continuous deposit of peat for some feet; when we again, still many feet below the surface, come upon the trunks and stumps of a second forest. In such cases, it is, of course, manifestly impossible to calculate with any hope of certainty the time required for the
formation of a certain depth of peat. Mr Geikie ays: The sum of the matter is, that we have no exact data by which to compute the time required for the formation of a given thickness of peat, the rate of growth being extremely variable, not only in different regions but in one and the same bog. Nevertheless, in very many cases it quite evident that the bogs are of great antiquity, and that it has often taken several thousands of years to form a thickness of twenty, or even of ten feet.' When two layers of wood are found in peat, it is usual to find that the lower forest consisted of oak, and the upper of pine. Remains of the great Irish deer are very common in the bogs of Ireland, and human relics are often found. Coins, implements, and the remains of old Roman roadways, are often met with in the mosses of the north of England and Scotland. Trees bearing the marks of the axe, and sometimes with part of the wood charred, have been found in bogs. In such cases, however, it is not always to be supposed that the mosses are of such recent origin as the relics might be supposed to imply. Road-making and other operations were no doubt often carried on in ancient times across peat-mosses; and the flowmosses would often overwhelm the remains of man's handiwork. Heavy implements would sink in the soft peat; and many relics and valuables have no doubt often been buried in the peat in past times, for safety or preservation.
In districts where peat is plentiful, it is extensively used as fuel. Those who are familiar with such districts will have a grateful remembrance of the comfortable appearance of the open hearth on a winter's night with its huge pile of burning peat, backed by a blazing, sputtering log of resinous bog-pine, shedding its genial, evenly distributed light and warmth upon the family circle. Peat gives out less heat and yields more ashes than coal. It is the more cleanly fuel of the two. It does not give forth the noxious carbon-laden fumes peculiar to coal, its pale-blue, slightly acrid smoke somewhat resembling that given off by wood.
The gathering of the peat-harvest in many parts of the country is a matter of much importance to the inhabitants, a wet season seriously interfering with the necessary operations. The cutting commences early in the season, as soon as the winter and spring rains have drained from off the surface. In Ireland, a long narrow slip, measuring from three to six feet across, is cleared to the depth of a foot or so of the light spongy peat and heather which form the surface. Extending back from this, a certain space of surface-called in some districts a swarth -is levelled, and prepared for the reception of the blocks of peat, which, according as they are cut, are spread closely upon it to dry. The peat or turf, as it is almost invariably called in that country-is cut in narrow rectangular blocks from a foot to eighteen inches in length. The implement used in cutting-called a slane somewhat resembles a spade, with a flat piece of steel attached to the bottom at the right side, and extending forward at right angles. The blocks are cut from the mass with a downward thrust of the implement, the arms alone being used, without the assistance of the foot, as in an ordinary spade. After the blocks have lain
for some time, and the sides and upper surfaces have dried somewhat, they are turned, and then placed on end in small stacks, which are piled together in larger heaps after the drying process has advanced. The work of cutting, turning, and stacking the peat is not such an unpleasant occupation as might be supposed. It is cleanly work enough. There is no need to handle the peat in a wet state, though even then it does not stain or stick to the hands or person, and has no unpleasant smell. When it has dried somewhat, it is light, clean, and easy to handle.
It is unusual to cut the peat down to the level of the soil beneath; the produce of the lower layers, although most valuable as fuel, drying into hard and brittle fragments, which do not bear handling or removal. When the upper matter becomes exhausted, the remainder is sometimes dug out, mixed with water, and kneaded with the hands and feet. It is then cut into square blocks and dried in the ordinary way.
The peat-bogs of Ireland ought to be a source of considerable profit to that country; and but for the low heating power of peat, which renders it unfit for use as fuel for manufacturing purposes, they would no doubt have long ago led to the development in that country of industrial and manufacturing activity similar, on a small scale, to that produced by coal in England. To remedy this defect in peat as a fuel, various processes have been tried for compressing it, so as to get rid of the large percentage of water always present in even the best dried samples. These experiments have not, up to the present, met with any great success when tried on a large scale. Welldried peat contains as much as twenty per cent. of water; and even when most of this is expelled, unless the peat is rendered compact and waterproof by some process, its spongy texture causes it to re-absorb a large proportion of moisture from the atmosphere.
The peculiar properties of peat-charcoal have led to its being used with advantage in smelting iron. It also possesses very powerful antiseptic and deodorising properties.
Within recent years, much peat-land has been reclaimed and brought under cultivation in these islands. The first step towards reclamation is drainage. A peat-soil, although consisting almost entirely of vegetable matter, is always at first very poor, and often quite barren. The soil, indeed, as already stated, is sour, and hence unsuitable for plant-growth. When, however, the land is thoroughly drained, and an agent is applied to break up and decompose the inert mass, the vegetable constituents of the soil give out their latent qualities, and a high degree of fertility ensues. Lime is an agent of this description; and well-drained peat-land, incapable in its natural state of producing anything more valuable than coarse grass or heather, will, under its influence, be changed into a rich and productive soil. In many districts, the presence of limestone in the immediate vicinity places at hand a natural agent, which is invaluable in the reclamation of a peaty soil. In Ireland, where the carboniferous limestone is very largely developed, it is a source of wealth to the owners of peat-land, if it happens to be found sufficiently near to allow of its being brought in any considerable quantity to the spot where it