« AnteriorContinuar »
Shaw, Robert Gould. By Mrs. GASKELL. ....113
Spinoza, A word more about. By MATTHEW ARNOLD ..........
Chapters XLVII. XLVIII, and.Conclusion . ..... .. 31
Contributors to this Volume.
VOLUMES I. TO IX., COMPRISING NUMBERS 1–54.
HANDSOMELY BOUND IN CLOTH, PRICE 78. 6d. EACH.
Reading Cases for Monthly Numbers, One Shilling.
Cases for Binding Volumes, One Shilling.
Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.
THE HILLYARS AND THE BURTONS: A STORY OF TWO FAMILIES.
BY HENRY KINGSLEY, AUTHOR OF “AUSTIN ELLIOT,” “RAVENSHOE," ETC.
HR. SECRETARY OXTON THINKS GERTY NEVILLE LITTLE BETTER THAN A
The Houses were “up," and the Colonial Secretary was in the bosom of his family.
It had been one of the quietest and pleasantest little sessions on record. All the Government bills had slid easily through. There had been a little hitch on the new Scab Bill ; several members with infected runs opposing it lustily ; threatening to murder it by inches in committee, and so on : but, on the Secretary saying that he should not feel it his duty to advise his Excellency to prorogue until it was passed, other members put it to the opposing members whether they were to sit there till Christmas, with the thermometer at 120°, and the opposing members gave way with a groan; so a very few days afterwards his Excellency put on his best uniform, cocked hat, sword and all, and came down and prorogued them. And then, taking their boys from school, and mounting their horses, they all rode away, east, north, and west, through forest and swamp, over plain and mountain, to their sunny homes, by the pleasant river-sides of the interior.
So the Colonial Secretary was in the bosom of his family. He was sitting in his verandah in a rocking-chair,
No. 49.- VOL. IX.
dressed in white from head to foot, with the exception of his boots, which were shining black, and his necktie, W which was bright blue. He was a tall man, and of noble presence-a man of two-and-forty, or thereabouts—with a fine fearless eye, as of one who had confronted the dangers of an infant colony, looking altogether like the highly intellectual, educated man he was ; and on every button of his clean white coat, on every fold of his spotless linen, in every dimple of his close-shaved, red-brown face, was written in large letters the word, Gentleman.
He had come down to one of his many stations, the favourite one, lying about sixty miles along the coast from Palnierston, the capital of Cooksland ; and, having arrived only the night before, was dreaming away the morning in his verandah, leaving the piles of papers, domestic and parliamentary, which he had accumulated on a small table beside him, totally neglected.
For it was impossible to work. The contrast between the burning streets of Palmerston and this cool verandah was so exquisite, that it became an absolute necessity to think about that and nothing else. Just outside, in the sun, a garden, a wilderness of blazing flowers, sloped rapidly down to the forest, whose topmost boughs were level with your feet. Through the forest rushed the river, and beyond the forest was the broad, yellow plain, and beyond the plain the heath, and beyond the heath the gleam
ing sea with two fantastic purple islands “It is no use, Agnes ; it is really no on the horizon.
use. I have been accused in the public The Colonial Secretary had no boys papers of placing too many of my own to bring home from school, for only six and my wife's family. I have been months before this he had married the taunted with it in the House. There beauty of the colony, Miss Neville, is great foundation of truth in it. It who was at that moment in the garden is really no use, if you talk till doomswith her younger sister gathering day. What are you going to give me flowers.
for lunch ?” The Secretary by degrees allowed his Mrs. Oxton was perfectly unmoved ; eyes to wander from the beautiful pro- she merely seated herself comfortably spect before him, to the two white on her husband's knee. figures among the flowers. By degrees “Suppose, now,” she said, “ that you his attention became concentrated on had been putting yourself in a wicked them, and after a time a shade of dis- passion for nothing. Suppose I had satisfaction stole over his handsome changed my mind about Edward. Supface, and a wrinkle or two formed on pose I thought you quite right in not his broad forehead.
placing any more of our own people. Why was this? The reason was a And suppose I only wanted a little very simple one : he saw that Mrs. information about somebody's anteceOxton was only half intent upon her dents. What then ?” flowers, and was keeping one eye upon “Why then I have been a brute. her lord and master. He said, “Bother- Say on." ation."
“My dearest James. Do you know She saw that he spoke, though she anything against Lieutenant Hillyar ?” little thought what he said ; and so «H'm," said the Secretary. “Nothing she came floating easily towards him new. He came over here under a cloud; through the flowers, looking by no but so many young men do that. I means unlike a great white and crimson am chary of asking too many questions. Amaryllis herself. She may have been He was very fast at home, I believe, a thought too fragile, a thought too and went rambling through Europe for hectic—all real Australian beauties are ten years; yet I do not think I should 80 ; she looked, indeed, as though, if be justified in saying I knew anything you blew at her, her hair would come very bad against him.” off like the down of a dandelion, but "He will be Sir George Hillyar," nevertheless she was so wonderfully said Mrs. Oxton, pensively. beautiful, that you could barely restrain “He will indeed," said the Secretary, an exclamation of delighted surprise “and have ten thousand a year. He when you first saw her. This being will be a catch for some one." came softly up to the Secretary, put “My dear, I am afraid he is caught." her arm round his neck, and kissed “No! Who is it?”. him ; and yet the Secretary gave no “No other than our poor Gerty. She outward signs of satisfaction whatever. has been staying at the Barkers', in the Still the Secretary was not a “brute;" same house with him ; and the long far from it.
and the short of it is, that they are “My love,” said Mrs. Oxton.
engaged." “Well, my dear," said the Secretary. The Secretary rose and walked up “I want to ask you a favour, my and down the verandah. He was very
much disturbed. “My sweetest Agnes, it is quite im- “My dear," he said at last, “I would possible. I will send Edward as sub- give a thousand pounds if this were not overseer to Tullabaloora ; but into a true.” Government place he does not go."
“Why? do you know anything “My dear James "
against him ?”