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"Mademoiselle de Lalanne's wishes are a command, monsieur," said he, sheathing his sword. "I need no apology from you for having obeyed them. Rather should I wish to hold you to account had you failed to fulfill them to the letter."
"I thank you, monsieur, with all my heart," replied Captain Jack, bowing, and biting back a smile. "And you, monsieur," he went on, turning to Barras, "have I grace from you also for my somewhat blundering zeal?"
Barras's face, no longer that of the fearless and inexorable swordsman, wore now a simper of pleased vanity. The coxcomb was back.
"Mademoiselle's wishes are my law," said he, bowing elaborately; "and he who carries them out is my ensample."
With another ceremony to De Latour he slipped his sword back into its place, as if to say, "Let there be peace between us."
At this moment mademoiselle came tripping from the grove, the hood of her cloak half-fallen back from her hair. She came up to the Englishman's side, and laid her hand lightly on his arm. Upon the two swordsmen she turned a smile of subjugating sweetness.
"With all my heart I thank you, gentlemen," she said, "for your graci
ous courtesy in yielding to my wishes. Let us go back to the house, and I will ask you to take a glass of wine with with me to the long continuance of friendship between two such gallant gentlemen as I well know you to be."
Both men stood bowing, each with his hand on his heart, and each boiling inwardly at sight of those small fingers on the Englishman's sleeve. There was a brief pause, during which mademoiselle flushed faintly and her eyelids fluttered down. Then she went on steadily:
"And let me present to you, Captain Barras, and to you, Monsieur De Latour, my dear friend Captain Moleby, of the English garrison at Halifax. It is my prayer, gentlemen, that when your flag and his are again at war, as is like to be soon, he may not find such swords as yours opposed him, for he is my betrothed. I commend him to your kind goodwill."
PICKED him up one dismal November night, when I was taking one of my usual aimless tramps through the poorer districts of the great city. A poor little morsel of a chap, he looked up appealingly into my face as I stepped into the miserable alleyway where he sat trembling with cold and uncertainty. As I looked down upon the wretched, ill-clad figure, the vision of another wee lad rose before me-a tattered, barefoot boy, tramping sturdily over miles of dusty, country road, with the lights of the city gleam
The two Frenchmen met each other's eyes with a glance of mutual comprehension, murmured some inarticulate compliments, and hid their discomfiture in the final bitterness of permitting Captain Jack to help them on with their coats.
It was one of the triumphs of Captain Jack Moleby's career that he did not smile.
THE STORY OF A WAIF.
By B. Kelly.
ing like a beacon in the darkness of the falling night.
Perhaps it was because this tiny lad reminded me of myself, years ago, that my heart warmed towards him. I do not know. Suffice it to say that I took his hand in mine and led him out of the darkness of the noisome place into the bright street-into the glow of the lamps into the swiftly moving car, and finally, home. And a wee, pattering dog that had shrunk, whimpering, at his feet, followed us.
My landlady shrank back in horror
at the sight of my charge, but a few words from me sent her, grumbling slightly, but readily withal, to the preparation of a meal; and as the tired outcast despatched it I sat and watched him, musingly.
A bath was next in order, and a change of raiment, the latter being unearthed from some old belongings of my landlady's sons. He went into the bath a dirty street arab. He came out of it a sweet, pale-faced boy-somebody's son. His eyes were blue as the sky, and his curling hair swept a forehead marvellously white.
He did not know his own name, but the boys called him "Chuckie." He was most nine, he said, and he had always lived in the streets and alleyways. He sold papers sometimes, but the boys often stole them from him because he was a weak little fellow and could not defend himself. When I spied him out he had crept into his dark corner to spend the night, supperless. He remembered someone singing to him, long, long ago, someone dressed in white, he said, like the lay figures in the big stores.
All this he told me, and then his head began to droop, and my landlady, softened now, picked him up in her arms, good soul that she was, and carried him upstairs to bed.
Long after, I sat by the fire, pondering deeply, so that my pipe went out several times. Across the street there were lights in the basement of a church, and I heard the roll of the organ, and the softer notes of women's voices. It was a missionary meeting, and they were sending men and women to faraway lands, to feed, clothe and educate the benighted heathen. And here in their midst were children of their own race, unheeded, unfed and unclothed, scouring the streets for bread and sleeping nightly in foul and noxious dens. But the organ pealed still, and the soft voices of the singers rolled out upon the night :
"God be with you till we meet again."
For many days Chickie, as I now called him, was ill, but gradually he
picked up, though a hacking cough still clung to him. It was difficult to break up his old habits. The vocabulary of the streets still clung to him, and often he would startle my landlady with an outburst of slang phrases. Finally, however, I weaned him from this, and slowly and carefully I moulded his untutored mind. I taught him to read, so that he could enjoy simple books, and he would pore over them for hours. But his great delight was to listen to my story-telling, and he would sit by my side entranced while I related to him stories I had read in my younger days. I also read stories to him out of the Holy Book, and he was particularly interested in David and Goliath. When I had exhausted all my stock of memorized tales he would say, "Now read to me about Coliar."
And then, as the months rolled by, what rambles we had in the country, where I took him for a long visit! Hour after hour he would follow me about the fields, always plodding steadily by my side, listening to my stories about the birds, and watching with eager interest, as I whipped the brook for speckled trout. And then as the shadows began to fall, he would take my hand and walk home silently, sitting by my side afterwards to watch the yellow moon rise over the hills.
But ah! that hacking cough that never left him. As the weeks rolled along he grew gradually weaker and could no longer follow me; so I remained in the house with him, reading to him, and amusing him in various
One night towards the close of summer I sat beside his bed in his own little room. The window was open, so that the moonlight flooded the room and lit up his pale countenance. He slipped his hand into mine, and lay for a long time silent.
no one was
"You have been very good to me," he exclaimed suddenly, 66 ever good to me before." Then the grasp of the boy's hand tightened and relaxed. But I sat far into the night, still holding the little hand.
ON HEMLOCK FEATHERS. By N. Percy Chambers.
THER HERE is a time, a Paradisiacal time, when yearly, in spite of sin actual and original, some favoured ones are allowed a fore-gleam of the splendour, and a fore-taste of the happiness of the beatified. When the sombre, straight-laced old world puts on a special livery of scarlet and gold, the King's livery, relieved here and there by a bit of melting blue, and, cackling in sunny glee, stands ready to serve health and joy to well-conditioned and properly constituted When the plaintive call of the plover and the snipe plead with the happilyfavoured mortal, begging him to remember that out of the blue of heaven or of the water, doth come fowl fair to the eye and to the taste, while the gallant buck pivots his inquisitive ear to catch the grumbling chatter of the ruffled grouse, who is sure that some naughty creature is going to make personal observation of her housekeeping arrangements. Then does the sensible mortal heed nature's "carpe diem,' and accepting her invitation, bring his things and stay a week or a month in her hospitable quarters. And it is then he becomes seized of the wisdom of the city men of Ephesus, whose tutelary deity, Diana, the huntress, was also "the personification of the fructifying and all nourishing powers of na
Where is the poet of robust dar
ing who "recubans sub tegmine fagi," if he will, shall preserve in sounding verse the glory of the revelation the sylvan muse the Autumn Northland proffers of a beauty-loving Father of Joyfulness? Or, who having felt the charm will not lend a hand to induce some office-ground, city slave to stop that everlasting courting of pelf, and get that woodland apocalypse into his own soul. And, oh! the blessed comfort of hav
ing a private gallery of perfect pictures, originals every one, there, whither the jaded or anxious mind can turn during the dark days, and draw reminiscent draughts of splendid happiness from the contemplation.
It does not really matter much what excuse you take, so long as you do get out into nature's gaudily-decorated resting-place. Some make deer their objectives, others put their trust in partridges and number eight cartridges, others take heavier ammunition and shaggy dogs, and lie in wait for ducks, or Canada brant. I prefer change, variety, and believe in the tent pitched on the bright green, betokening a nearby spring, and close beside a clear, blue lake, fringed with russet and gold and scarlet. There while my chef prepares the buillon for dinner, from the spoils of the journey hitherward, will I launch my bark canoe and wile away the waiting hours in seducing the spotted beauties of the deep to get themselves ready for breakfast, a Greener at hand in case some blundering black duck should more suo prematurely disturb the afternoon calm. And then when done is your watch beside the promising run-way, or the race after your partridge-setter; or your respects paid to the incoming ducks-then the blazing fire, the pipe of peace, the teaspoonful of something to keep out the cold, and the crowning luxury of rest in your only perfect bed, with feathers a foot or two deep, plucked from an attendant hemlock tree. Just such a bed, believe me, the laughing wood nymphs prepared for the ruddy Pomona in the olden time, when stout old Sylvanus did his companykeeping. Talk about sinking into the arms of Morpheus, the man never tried a bed of hemlock boughs after a good day's sport, who invented the phrase. Atra cura may perch along
side if she will, the Father of Lies himself croak at your ears all night, the necromancy of the hemlock will transmute them into lullaby sprites, and you will rise early in the morning, free from haunting anxiety, with clear brain, and good appetite.
Take your map and hunt for such lake names as Pemichongon, De-Rat, Danford, Thirty-one Mile, etc., in the north land beyond Ottawa, and you find the district I mean. What memories the names awaken! What horrors two of us "greenies " suffered on our first expedition, when we waited in the thick darkness for the nearer approach of a deep-breathing creature, evidently smelling us out, until the damp nose of a cow protruded itself into the tent. And we found next day that we had, after six hours' tramp, made our bed within ten acres of our temporary boarding-house. I sometimes chuckle now over the funk in which I awoke one fine night to find the wrinkled old face of an Indian hag who had searched my belongings, and was now searching my person for some more of the Pain-killer, indiscreetly administered to her the previous day, when we met thirty miles away from that resting-place. And I remember being misled by the beauty of a moonlight July night in September, into sleeping on my blanket in the open, and being awakened by a sniffling, to find a pleasant-looking young black bear watching by my side. How gaily he sailed away after our mutual surveys. I am thankful to this day that I did not hurt him, and glad, too, that he didn't hurt me.
Does little Ben, I wonder, amid the excitement of his gold hunting, remember that glorious morning when Mac's bark awoke us announcing that he had treed half a dozen partridges right above our tent ridge? Or, that
early morning when Beaudouin drew aside the curtained door to announce that he had lost the flour at some portage, and that salt and sugar had "got hisself run all to water?" We were three days from a house then I remember. There is quite a tribe of tentdwellers in this very house. Curious folk with quaint recollections of woodland and lake, gravely produced at the dining room, bedtime, and occasionally at the lesson hour. Envious I find are these people of the old patriarchs, whose lives were continuous rounds of holidays spent in camping out, but withal somewhat pitiful too of the lot who had to be content with but one tree to camp beside, and no hemlock for their beds. Between us we man aged to inveigle the deputy head of the household into an expedition with us, one season. That high and mighty person, I regret to say, deliberately sniffed at our bed-making, and announced as she wrapped the blankets around her "this is the first time I ever tried to sleep on tree bristles, and it will be the last." And just as we expected she remained on with us, with constantly increasing content for thirty nights, and has become one of the hemlock-loving fraternity herself now. But I cannot forget that not a single deer fell to my gun last season, that I did not always fire in time at the swirling ducks, and that the Doctor hints that still fishing is very fair sport, and wonders I don't take to it. And Mac is dead, and Ben has become a grown man and is athirst for gold, and Joe Beaudouin has a dozen half-breed children to cater for, and as I think of the land where the streets are avenues of trees, I notice with gladness that so far as I can see that land of the setting sun is a place of perpetual scarlet and gold.
CURRENT EVENTS ABROAD by W. Sanford Evans
ROBERTS is as fearless in his dealings with his supporters as in his dealings with his foes. For a man of his natural kindliness it required more courage to write his comments on the despatches of Generals Buller, Warren, and Gatacre, and to condemn by silence the despatch of Lord Methuen, than to rescue a standard and win the Victoria Cross. It is positively bracing to see that a man can be thus uncompromising when a duty is recognized. With the official despatches before us and Lord Robert's judgment upon them there is ample justification for even stronger language than has been used before in these columns with regard to the conduct of the early part of the war. The action of the War Office in publishing this official correspondence at a critical stage of the war has been criticized, but it was, I am convinced, dictated by sound policy. If it had been held back until the conclusion of the war the effect would have been almost wholly lost. As it is, the British people have been shocked by it into the proper tem per of mind to insist on reforms; the British generals have been thoroughly awakened to the fact that no army redtapeism can save them if they display incompetence; and the foreign world, which had already formed its opinion of the average British general, instead of being adversely impressed, will be inspired with a fresh respect for the exceptional British general and for the people that can, without fear of consequences, thus lay its shortcomings open to all eyes. If the War Office and the Government at the same time partially relieve themselves of responsibility, this is only a fortunate incident for them and should not weigh against
the substantial public grounds for their action.
One interesting effect of Lord Roberts' unsparing, though dispassionate, censures will be to break down whatever hesitation there was on the part of the public to criticize and condemn. If three or four prominent generals can blunder, so can others. Perhaps Lord Roberts himself can blunder. Perhaps he has already blundered, or why a month's inaction just when there was the opportunity, by a few swift, hard blows, to end all formidable resistance? Lord Roberts performed a great service to his country by judging others, but he must expect now to be himself judged. Is there good reason to question his capacity on the ground of his unpreparedness to take advantage of the disorganized and disheartened condition of the Boers? He was certainly unready to push forward from Bloemfontein, and the delay gave the Boers a chance to regain their spirit, make new dispositions of their forces, obtain one or two minor successes and win back to their ranks many who had laid down their arms. Is it a valid excuse to say that he could not obtain horses or supplies? Should not a commander provide beforehand for every probable requirement? In view of all we now know about the situation, adverse criticism of Lord Roberts is unwarranted. It must be remembered that he did not have charge of the campaign from its inception, nor did he direct the War Office. When he took charge there were certain things urgently in need of doing. Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking required to be relieved, and the Boers had to be driven out of Cape Colony