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was scarcely strong enough for the strain to which his insatiable desire to dazzle exposed it.
their own display. He had assured himself proved that the unhappy man's moral fibre and the public of his transcendent capabilities in the realm of art, just as he had previously done at school and college in every arena of intellectual gladiatorship; and now, as then, he rested supinely with the laurels in his hand, disdaining to place them on his brows. He revelled in the exhibition of his versatility, preferring to create wonder by the variety of his powers, to directing any one of them towards a definite and useful end. He had vast energy, with scant continuity of will.
Accepting as his right the reputation of a fashionable artist, Drew now conceived the new ambition of shining as a man of fashion. His connection by birth with several good families, his splendid physique, the subtle charm of his presence and address, rendered the task an easy He soon had the entrée to the houses of the leaders of rank and fashion; and, to hasten the remarkable tale, in less than a year led an earl's youngest daughter to the altar. During the succeeding two years, Drew and Lady Cecilia became themselves the leaders of a certain section of the world,' but at such a pace of ill-regulated expenditure, that in little over two years, in spite of repeated assistance and the intervention of friends, the record of their folly was duly published; and a retreat to the continent became imperative. Lady Cecilia died soon after in giving birth to a son; and Drew, thus cut off from the sphere of fashionable display, philosophically resumed his palette and brush.
During these years, my father had seen little of Drew, and had heard but seldom from him. The year after his wife's death, however, that irrepressible once more arrested the attention of the world by the exhibition of two pictures, which, with uncommon unanimity, the critics pronounced to be master-pieces. My father hastened to London-saw, and worshipped. He met Drew, whose dégagé appearance had more of the traditional artist than he had ever before affected; was charmed with the cordiality of the great man's reception of him, and spent much time in his society. Upon my father's return to the country, he carried Drew's autograph in his pocket-book, for the possession of which he had parted temporarily with two thousand pounds. Soon after this, and according to arrangement, my father and his erratic friend made a tour together through Worcester and Gloucestershires. The artist was a companion to whom the most fastidious could not object, his conduct and conversation being those of a gentleman and man of culture. A disdain of the world's applause was indeed sometimes traceable in his manner and remarks; but the impression made on my father's mind by this indifference to what men usually long for, was such as rather to enhance his respect for his fellow-traveller. I find many circumstances noted in Mr Charlton's diary at this period which go far to redeem Drew's name from the charge of original or premeditated heartlessness, even discounting them at the high rate demanded by my father's utter want of knowledge of the world. He was both good-hearted and open-handed, and capable, as many incidents showed, both of selfsacrifice and magnanimity. But the sequel
For Drew had still another and as yet unbent string to his bow. He did not at once give up his studio or his painting; but he now sought more and more constantly the society of men on 'Change-merchants, brokers, and Company promoters, and appeared less and less in the coteries of art. His new associates soon recognised his consummate capacity as a financier; and Drew's name began to figure on the directorate of first one and then another Company of the very best repute. He then commenced to finesse with stocks and shares-his caution at first being equal to his judgment, with the result of giving him once more the command of considerable sums of money; with these he continued to speculate, till in a few years he had repaid my father, set up once more a handsome establishment, and kept his carriage and riding-horses. Everything he put his hand to seemed to flourish; and it is evidence of his ability as well as honesty of purpose, that every one of the Companies he was personally instrumental in floating has proved a commercial success. His hand, however, was getting weary holding this cumbrous mercantile plough. He sought to amass wealth speedily, and then seek fresh woods and pastures new' for the exercise of his genius. In short, he began to plunge, now successfully, now disastrously. His transactions demanded frequent accommodation, which he at first obtained readily, then with difficulty, at last-on no consideration. What representations he made to my father to obtain possession piecemeal of his entire fortune, I know not, but I do know that it was swallowed up in the desperate attempts Drew made to break his fall by Stock Exchange gambling. The crash came at last, and this gifted but infatuated man disappeared for ever from English society, to die poor and alone in a humble lodging at Rome.
My father was a ruined man. He had not only lost every shilling of his money, but stood, at the time of Drew's flight, responsible for bills to the extent of several thousand pounds. His friends advised him to seek immunity through the courts; but he stolidly declined. The presentation to the living of Brierleigh came opportunely. My father then entered into an arrangement to pay interest on the debt with a portion of his revenue, and to reduce the capital as circumstances would allow, meantime undertaking to maintain policies of assurance to cover the amount, in the event of his death. He refused my Aunt Marjory's generous offer to place the whole. of her own money at his disposal to relieve himself of the terrible incubus. It was a debt of honour and friendship,' was his only formula to every protest. And for over twenty years, that little studio under the southern garden wall was the scene of a sustained and heroic, if quixotic, struggle to acquit the memory of his unstable friend, regarding whom to the end he spoke only with sorrowful pity and regretful admiration.
My mother's health, I have said, was never robust; she gradually declined, and left myself and sisters orphans before I had reached my
tenth year. My sisters both died in their teens. And Aunt Marjory, who had taken my mother's place, devoted her entire income to educating me for the profession of my choice.
FEEDING THE FISHES.
A NEW-JERSEY EPISODE.
DEEP in the heart of the New Jersey pineforest lies a lake, some two hundred acres in extent, whose clear bosom, tinged, by the cedar swamps through which its tributary streams flow, to a rich amber colour, reflects with the faithfulness of a mirror every shade of the luxuriant autumn colouring of the sumach, gum, maple, and dwarf-oak which fringe its banks. On its north shore is the only break in the broad belt of forest by which the lake is surrounded, and here a trim little frame-cottage peeps out over the water from amid a cluster of Virginia creepers, climbing roses, and magnolias. The garden which surrounds it forms a quaint combination of the useful with the beautiful, shade-trees, shrubs, and flowering plants being intermingled with wide-spreading grapearbours loaded with luxuriant bunches of Concords and Delawares, apple and pear trees whose branches bend beneath their load of ripe fruit, and water-melon vines, whose luscious greencoated produce looks all the more inviting for the close proximity of a stream of clear icecold water, in which one or two monster melons are already immersed, waiting for dinnertime.
A quarter of a mile away, the railroad threads its way through the pinewoods, and a little wooden hut by the track serves as 'depôt' for the rare arrivals of passengers or freight. Here my friend X., the owner of the cottage, met me one steaming day in the autumn of last year; and as we strolled through the woods on our way to his bachelor quarters, I had reason to congratulate myself on the change from the hot dusty city, and on the invitation he had already given me to repeat my visit a month later, when the 'close-time for quail was over, and the little brown bunches which took flight almost from under our feet should be fair game for the
'At present,' said X., 'I have nothing to offer you in the way of sport better than an evening among the pike; but the water is in good condition, and I think you will agree with me that they are not to be despised.'
We had just reached the edge of the lake as he spoke; and looking out over the picturesque little sheet of water, I felt that he must be difficult to please who could not be content to spend an afternoon among its ripples, with pipe and chat to while away the hours, and rod in hand to give a show of occupation to his idle
with a pretty snuggery above it, used in summer as a smoking and writing room. By the side of the boathouse, a small landing-stage reached some thirty feet into the water; and from its further end a platform of wood, supported on planks driven endwise into the sandy bottom, ran at right angles to the stage, meeting a projecting point of the bank, and so cutting off a tiny bay, and making an inclosed basin about forty feet by thirty in extent. The planks which supported both landing-stage and platform were placed sufficiently close to one another to while allowing the water to circulate freely. prevent the passage of a fish between them,
"There,' said my friend, 'you see one of my pet "divarsions." Like Chaucer's Frankeleyn, I like my fish both fresh and plump, and for that purpose keep "many a pike and many a luce in stewe."'
I looked down into the water of the basin, and perceived his meaning. Closely huddled together beneath the shade of the platform were closer inspection revealed themselves as pike and two dark wriggling crowds of fish, which on catfish respectively; the former lean and hungrylooking as compared with their plump roundheaded companions, but withal of comely proportions, and giving promise of development should time and circumstances permit.
'Your pike run small,' I said. 'Are those of average size for this lake?'
'About the average,' X. replied, 'when left to themselves. Those you are looking at are a recent catch, and have not yet had time to fatten. But look yonder;' and he pointed to the roots of a cypress which had been left standing in the middle of the basin.
I followed the direction of his finger; and there, patient, silent, and grim as fate, lay three veritable monsters, whose evil eyes and savage protruding jaws sufficiently explained the huddling together and the respectful distance of the smaller fry. Here and there, paddling awkwardly about in search of food, or lifting their comical little heads above the surface for a breath of air, were half-a-dozen fresh-water terrapin, a kind of small turtle, destined, like their finny comrades, to grace my friend's table after a due season of confinement and good living.
'It is about fish-feeding time,' said X. 'If you care to see the process, take a seat on that log, while I get their dinner. I always see to it myself,' he added; and I believe my protégés get to know me after a time.' So saying, he turned to the house, and presently reappeared with a large piece of fresh meat, a knife, and a long bamboo fishing-pole, from the end of which dangled eight or ten feet of fine twine. Cutting the meat into narrow strips four or five inches long, he proceeded to attach one of them by a running noose to the end of the string. The fish seemed to be watching this process from their shady retreat, and one or two of the bolder spirits had left their corners and gradually approached the side of the basin at which my friend stood. He advanced a step nearer, and holding out the pole at arm's-length, waved the tempting morsel two or three times across the inclosure, a few inches above the water. This had the effect of bringing more of the pike from their retreat; and it was interesting to notice
how they would move into position by almost imperceptible degrees, and then lie motionless beneath the surface, eyeing the swinging meat, but apparently unconcerned about its ultimate destination. Some few of the new-comers still remained, shy or sulky, under the shadow, merely turning their bodies so as to keep an eye upon the actions of their more adventurous companions.
For answer, my host picked up a short stout stick, and thrust it into the water a few inches in front of the large turtle's nose. Quick as lightning his jaws closed upon the stick; and X. hoisted him right out of the tank and held him out at arm's-length. He shook the stick; but the 'snapper' still held on; nor did he relax his jaws till he found himself once more in his native element.
'You may cut their heads off when they have once taken hold, and the jaws will remain as firmly closed as ever,' said X. 'I saw a lady last summer who walked from the river to the bathhouse, a distance of fifty yards, with a small dress, and they had to prise his teeth open with a knife to set her free. Those little fellows are a mystery to me,' he added. 'I have had them in there for four months now, feeding them regularly, and they don't seem to have grown an atom.-But hark! there's the dinnerbell; and in the afternoon we'll see if we can't add a few specimens to my aquarium.'
Suddenly lowering his hand, X. allowed the piece of meat to touch the surface, and drew it sharply across the basin. In an instant the assumed unconcern vanished, and with a fierce dash, half-a-dozen pike made for the meat, one of which, outstripping his rivals, snatched it cross-snapper hanging on to the skirt of her bathingwise between his jaws, and with a flick of his tail jerked it from the noose, and retired to the further end of the basin to gorge his prize. Then another strip was substituted, and the process repeated with a similar result. One after another, even the most timid fish were lured to dinner, and a lively scramble ensued as each piece of meat touched the water. Now and then, the noose failed to hold, and the morsel sank to the bottom before it could be seized. These pieces were at once secured by the catfish, which lurked round for such windfalls; and a grand mêlée followed, all the other catfish and the turtles joining in pursuit, and not unfrequently wresting part, if not the whole, from its original captor. I was surprised to see that the pike took no part in these tussles, and asked my friend for an explanation.
Pike are dainty feeders,' he replied, and will touch nothing that they believe to be dead; so I am obliged to resort to my rod-and-line tactics to humour them. The catfish are less particular; any kind of garbage suits their taste; but fortunately, there is nothing of the sewage order in the lake, and when clean fed, they are as delicate eating as any fish that swim.'
The feeding process continued till the pike seemed satisfied and relaxed their efforts. Then, gathering up the fragments, my friend threw them in here and there for the catfish and turtles. All this while the monsters under the cypress-tree had maintained their attitude of proud indifference, not betraying by so much as the quiver of a fin the smallest interest in all that was going on around them.
'How about your big fish?' I asked. asked. Have you any sleight-of-hand in store for them?'
'Ah, those fellows dine later,' replied X., with grim meaning; as some of these gluttonous young ones will find to their cost before evening.'
'And don't they trouble the catfish?'
OUR MYSTERIOUS RECRUIT.
'BUGLER, sound "orderly sergeants," cried the sergeant-major, popping his head out of the door of the orderly-room.
The small boy who was officiating in this capacity on the guard, hurriedly left a group of juvenile comrades off duty, whom he had been wistfully watching while engaged at an exciting game of marbles, and promptly made the barracks resound with the 'call.'
Thus summoned, the orderly sergeants soon made their appearance, and proceeded to the orderly-room, which the colonel in command, accompanied by the adjutant, had just entered. Something was on hand, apparently of importance, as a mounted orderly, bearing a despatch for the commanding officer, had arrived from the brigade office a few minutes before. This news spread with rapidity over the barracks. The canteen, library, and barrack-rooms were speedily deserted by their occupants, the men swarming into the barrack square. In a few minutes the sergeants emerged from the orderly-room and hurried off in the direction of the quarters of their respective companies.
'What's up, sergeant?' we shouted eagerly to a corpulent knight of the chevrons who was puffing past with an expression of extreme importance depicted on his face.
The route's in,' was the sergeant's laconic reply.
Where to?' we asked. 'Ireland, in a week.'
'Oh, bother it!' I cried; while my comrades indulged in much stronger language; and soon loud expressions of disapprobation were heard over the barracks.
'Certainly not. Nature has provided against that by furnishing the catfish with the most prickly and indigestible headgear any fish could desire. No pike ever tackles them a second time, if indeed hereditary tradition does not warn him against a first attempt.-But look here a moment. Have you ever seen a snapper before?' The time of which I write was in the end of He directed my attention to a small deep 1867, and the Fenian agitation in Ireland had tank, dug out close by the side of the pond, broken out afresh, after a rather delusive lull and lined with boards, in which I saw a large of a month or two. The men of the gallant turtle, and two or three little fellows hardly-th, to which I belonged, had good reason to bigger than turkeys' eggs. grumble at the prospective change of locality, How do they differ from the terrapin?' I as the regiment had returned from India only nine months before, after sojourning in that
country for nearly eleven years, having been despatched thither from the Crimea at the termination of the war. We had looked forward to having a pleasant time of it in the quiet town in the south of England in which we had been quartered since our return from the East; therefore, the order to proceed to Ireland was specially unwelcome. Perhaps there is nothing more distasteful to the men of the British army than to be stationed in the sister isle during any troublous period. The hardships arising from heavy marches and exposure to the elements are in some cases almost as bad as those of a campaign. The work, too, has its perils, without, of course, any of the inspiriting feelings that are engendered while engaged in real warfare, not to speak of the subsequent glory attached to
Although personally I should have preferred to remain in England, I soon made up my mind to face the inevitable; besides, I thought a little excitement infinitely better than the insufferable routine of a garrison town. Rough work was nothing new to me, as I had served with the regiment in the Crimea and during the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, and subsequently in one of the frontier expeditions.
After the usual bustle and topsy-turvy confusion, we were ready to march at the time appointed. Embarking in a troop-ship, we set sail, and after a smart run, landed at Cork, in which city we were located for about a month. Shortly after our arrival, a batch of recruits joined the regiment from the depôt at St George's Barracks, London. Most of them were of the ordinary ragamuffin type, for the embryo Tommy Atkins, whether of urban or rural extraction, commonly presents, when he joins, a rather dilapidated spectacle. They comprised stolid yokels from the agricultural districts attired in smock-frocks; ragged sharp-featured Londoners, quick-witted, and possessed of a copious vocabulary of strange oaths; low-looking roughs from the provincial towns; a few clerks out at elbows; and one or two respectably dressed young men, who had probably enlisted in a spirit of adventure. One member of this recent addition to the strength of the regiment, by name Coghlan, was distinctly, in point of appearance and manner, a long way above the average type of recruits. Tall, broad-shouldered, and muscular, he had pleasing features and a most polite manner. He was a native of Ireland, as was shown by his slight brogue. He was posted to my company; and I was detailed by the colour-sergeant to show him how to clean his traps, make his bed, and perform other duties connected with the barrack-room.
I speedily found that my duty was a sinecure, as Coghlan did not require much tuition; on the contrary, he took to his work as if to the manner born, and displayed such an aptitude in learning his drill, as to point to the suspicion that he had worn the cloth before, that, in fact, he had deserted from another regiment. He was a very civil and obliging young fellow, always ready unsolicited to assist any comrade; but there was one thing about him which puzzled us all-he never alluded in the slightest degree to his antecedents, unlike the ordinary Tommy Atkins, who, when the recollections of the
ragged toggery in which he joins the army have somewhat subsided, turns out, by his Own showing, to have been in civil life a rather important member of the community.
Coghlan was frequently 'chaffed' by his comrades, who, suspecting that he was a deserter, made frequent inquiries about his last regi༦ mental number;' but he merely smiled in reply to any such observations.
One morning we suddenly received orders to march inland; and Coghlan had made himself so far proficient in drill that he was put in the ranks to perform the duties of a trained soldier. My company, together with other two, was sent to garrison a small town of about a thousand inhabitants. The barracks were situated on the outskirts; they were of very small size, just containing the requisite accommodation for the three companies. For a time after our arrival we observed extreme vigilance, night-sentries being posted outside all round the walls. The prevailing agitation, however, seemed to affect every district except that in which we were stationed; the townspeople were civil, though not over-cordial; and after a while our extreme precautionary measures were relaxed, and the guard reduced to nine men, under command of a sergeant.
Although, as I have said, the inhabitants of the town were anything but sociably inclined, they were not aggressive in manner to the military, and time passed without any mishap occurring that was conducive to strained relations between the garrison and the civilians. Acting on a hint from the police, however, the major in command placed several of the publichouses usually frequented by the lower orders of the population out of bounds'—that is, it was considered a breach of military discipline to enter them; and any soldier who infringed this regulation ran the risk of being severely punished for disobedience of orders. One of these houses was the Irish Harp, of which I shall have occasion to speak presently.
The senior colour-sergeant was appointed acting sergeant-major of the detachment; while our colour-sergeant, a smart, well-educated Irishman, by the name of O'Neill, was deputed to act as quarter-master-sergeant. O'Neill had charge of my room, and occupied a bunk at the end next the door. Besides Coghlan and myself, there was quartered in the room a young Irishman named Curran, who was reported to be very well connected. Before we had been many days in barracks, it was noticeable that the coloursergeant and he appeared to be more intimate than their respective positions warranted, as they held long conferences in a low tone of voice two or three times a day. Curran received numerous letters, bearing the post-marks of different towns in England and Ireland, which he always took the first opportunity of submitting for O'Neill's inspection, after having perused them himself. Occasionally, after the receipt of one of those missives the pair seemed considerably elated at other times seriously concerned.
One thing struck me forcibly: I felt by a species of instinct that their every movement was being closely watched by Coghlan. Quiet and unassuming in manner as he habitually was, there was a mystery about the man that I
could not fathom. O'Neill and Curran were seemingly oblivious or careless of the fact that their intimacy excited any attention. While on duty, I may mention, however, they rigidly preserved the distance prescribed by military rule regarding their respective ranks.
One night I was out in town, and suddenly discovered, with the instinct of an old soldier, that there was something wrong in my attire. I had forgotten to put on my waist-belt before going out-in fact was, in military parlance, improperly dressed.' This seemingly trifling omission, from a civilian's point of view, is yet an offence for which a soldier is usually smartly punished. Perceiving the garrison picket at a distance, I naturally decided to elude the observation of the lynx-eyed sergeant in command; and turning up a dark lane by the side of the Irish Harp inn before alluded to, secreted myself among some carts in the back-yard. While approaching this retreat, I was surprised to see a man rush from the window of a room in the inn from which the sound of voices was proceeding, and disappear in the recesses of the yard; but, owing to the darkness, I could not distinguish what sort of character he was. Curiosity impelled me to observe for myself what was of evident interest to the man, so, stepping cautiously to the window and peeping through the aperture between the leaves of the clumsily constructed shutters, I had a good look at the interior, and saw Colour-sergeant O'Neill and Curran seated beside about a dozen civilians, seemingly belonging to different classes of the community. Some were common town roughs; while others, more respectable in appearance, looked like tradesmen and sons of neighbour ing farmers. I was greatly puzzled by this spectacle in a proscribed public-house; but decided to keep my own counsel, as I had a great liking for O'Neill; so, walking away softly on tiptoe, I reached the street; but as the picket was still in sight, I hung about the entrance to the lane for a while, and looking back, saw my position at the window re-occupied by the person who had run away at my approach, whom, by the ray of light shining through the space between the closed shutters, I recognised as the recruit Coghlan !
I returned to barracks racking my brain for a solution of the strange proceedings I had witnessed, and walked past the sentry at the gate, minus my belt, without attracting his attention.
had been despatched from Dublin for the use of the garrison; and ordered me as my name was first on the roll for duty-to form one of an escort of twenty men which was to proceed to a railway station about six miles away, to guard the wagon that was to convey the arms and ammunition to barracks. I soon got ready, and noticed, as I was about to leave the room, that Curran was writing at the table. Before going, I requested Coghlan to give me a 'brush down;' and while he was thus engaged, O'Neill approached Curran and whispered: "To-night, after the arms are stored-not later!' Curran seemed to add this remark to his letter as a kind of postscript; and when he had finished, he handed O'Neill the note. 'Yes,' said the coloursergeant, when he had glanced it over; that will do.'
Late in the afternoon, while we were slowly accompanying the wagon over the rough countryroad, snow began to fall heavily, and by the time we reached barracks, it lay an inch or two deep. The arms and ammunition were safely deposited in the quarter-master's store, the door of which was locked, and O'Neill retained possession of the key. Shortly afterwards, while at dinner, I was ordered to go on guard, to supply the place of a man who had taken ill on sentry, and who had gone to hospital. Most unwillingly, I got ready, as I was tired after my day's march, and proceeded to the guardroom. Curran and Coghlan were on guard, and I found that my post was on the gate. I went on sentry at eleven, and soon afterwards, to my great annoyance, was attacked by my old enemy the toothache. Snow fell unceasingly during my turn of duty, and at one I was relieved by Curran. Brushing the snow from my greatcoat and running an oiled rag over my rifle and bayonet, I lay down on the guard-bed next to Coghlan. Sleep for me was out of the question, so I lay awake, like Iago, 'troubled with a raging tooth,' and listening to Curran's measured tramp outside.
About half an hour after I had been relieved, I fancied I heard a low whistle; and immediately afterwards the sentry, Curran, glanced in at the door. Apparently satisfied that all the occupants of the guardroom were asleep, he entered softly, the snow adhering to the soles of his boots enabling him to walk as noiselessly as if he wore list slippers. He took the key of the outer gate from the peg on which it was hung, stole out of the guardroom, and walked straight over to the solitary gas lamp opposite the door, where, reaching up with his bayonet, he turned out the light. Then I heard a 'click' as the key was turned in the lock of the gate, and several dark figures entered the barracks, the intense whiteness of the drifted snow, which had completely covered the wall opposite, making them easily perceptible from where I lay.
The following morning a letter bearing the Dublin postmark was received by Curran, the reading of which seemed to put him in a state of great excitement; and at once entering the bunk, he communicated to the colour-sergeant its contents, which caused O'Neill to exhibit as much agitation as the private. Coghlan was engaged at the time sweeping out the room, and approaching the bunk, seemed to Curran's movements had apparently been bestow great pains to insure the cleanliness watched by another individual besides myself; of the floor in its vicinity, in order, as I for Coghlan, shouting lustily: Guard, turn thought, to listen to the conversation within. out!' sprang from the guard-bed, and rushing A minute or two afterwards, the bugle sounded out, wrested Curran's rifle from his grasp, and 'colour-sergeants,' and O'Neill left the room, going to the open gate, blew a whistle. returning, after a brief interval, with the news a second or two the barracks were entered by that a telegram had reached the commanding a party of the Royal Irish constabulary, a few officer containing an intimation that the long of whom pursued and captured the persons expected consignment of the new Snider rifle | whom Curran had admitted.