« AnteriorContinuar »
fresh air, and all the bright colors of an hedges and fields came upon us with a English landscape around us. Bell rapid- surprise.
Bell rapid- surprise. Every now and again, on these ly resumed her ordinary good spirits. She cool and breezy mornings, we would drive begged to have the reins; and when these past a hay-field, with the fresh and sweet had been handed over to her, with vari- odors blowing all around. Or perhaps it ous cautions, the excitement of driving a was a great clump of wild rose-bushes that pair of horses that yet showed considera- filled the air with delicate scent. Then ble signs of freshness brought a new color the lime-trees were in flower ; and who into her cheeks. The route which we now does not know the delight of passing un. followed was one of the prettiest we had der the boughs laden with blossom, when yet met with. Instead of following the the bees are busy overhead ? More rareold stage-coach route by Droitwich, we ly, but still frequently enough in this fastruck almost due north by a line of small vored country, a whiff of honeysuckle was and picturesque villages lying buried in borne to us as we passed. And if these the heart of this deeply-wooded country. things sweetened the winds that blew The first of these was 'Ombersley—a cu- about us, consider what stars of color rerious little clump of cottages, nearly all of freshed the eye as we drove gently past which were white, with black bars of wood- the tall hedgerows and borders of woods work crossed and re-crossed; and they the golden rock-roses, purple patches of had odd gables, and lattices, and decora- wild thyme, the white glimmering of stitchtions, so that they looked almost like toy. wort and capion, the yellow spires of the cottages. Wearing white and black in snap-dragon, and a thousand others
. And this prominent way, our Uhlan immediate- then, when we ceased to speak, there was ly claimed them as Prussian property; but no blank of silence. Away over the haybeyond the fact of the showing the Prus- field the lark floated in the blue, making sian colors, there was little else foreign- the air quiver with his singing; the robin, looking about those old-fashioned English perched on a fence, looked at us saucily, houses lying along this level lane, and and piped a few notes by way of remark; half hidden amid elms. As we got up in- the blackbird was heard, flute-throated, to the higher ground above Ombersley we down in the hollow recesses of the woods; found around us a very pleasant land- and the thrush, in a holly-tree by the wayscape; and it seemed to strike my gentle- side, sang out his sweet, clear song, that eyed companion that the names of the seemed to rise in strength as the wind villages around had been chosen to accord awoke a sudden rustling through the long with the tender and sylvan beauties of this woods of birch and oak. pretty piece of country. One of the sign- “Well, touching that sealed packet ?” posts we passed had inscribed on it, “ To says my Lady aloud. Doverdale and Hampton Lovett.” Then “Oh, no, Madame," replies the Lieuin the neighborhood are Elmley Lovett, tenant. “ This is not the time for it. If Elmbridge, Crossway Green, and Garden- I must tell you the truth, it is only a drinkers' Grove; while down between these ing-song I have been trying to remember runs Doverdale Brook, skirting Westmoor of a young Englishman who was at Bonn Park, the large house of which we could with me; and Mademoiselle was so good see as a faint blue mound amid the gene- this morning as to alter some of the ral leafage. The country, which is flat words. But now ?-a drinking-song in about Ombersley, gets more undulating this fine, quiet country? No. After we about Hartlebury and on towards Kidder- have got to Kidderminster, and when we minster. The road winds up and down drive away after lunch, then Mademoiselle gentle hills, with tall and ruddy banks of will play for you the air I did show to her, sand on each side, which are hanging with and I will sing you the song. All what is every variety of wild flower and wayside needed is that you drink some Rhine wine weed. On both hands dense woods come at Kidderminster to make you like the down to these tall and picturesque banks; song." and you drive through an atmosphere lad- “ Kidderminster Rhine wine!" exclaims en with moist and resinous scents. one of the party, with a groan. He knows
It was fortunate for us, indeed, that be that whatever is suggested now by the fore starting we had lived for a time in Lieutenant finds favor with a clear majoritown; for all the various perfumes of the ty of the party.
“That was a very good young fellow," poetry. But to me, that was very goodcontinues the Lieutenant, as we drive over a great deal of it - because nothing in a high slope, and come in view of a mass English is to me commonplace as yet." of manufactories. “Very big and strong “How fortunate you must be,” says one he was; we did call him der grosse Eng- of us with a sigh. länder always; and one time, in the win- “You laugh when you say, ' Flow on, ter, when there was much snow, we had a thou shining river!' Why? The river supper-party at his room. We had many flows: and it shines. I see a clear picture duels then, for we were only boys; but out of the words—like the man who wrote the Englishman was not supposed to be them; I am not accustomed to them so challenged, for he knew nothing of our as to think them stupid. Then I saw you swords, but he was always ready to fight laugh when some one said, 'I dreamt that I with his fists for all that. And this even- dwelt in marble halls.' I did read that ing, I am afraid we did drink too much song; and although it is stupid that the beer, and young Schweitzer of Magdeburg man thinks he will live in marble halls, I -hé died at Königgrätz, the unfortunate, found much tenderness in it. So with this in '66—he was very angry with the Eng- young Englishman. He knew nothing länder for laughing at his sweetheart, who of what was commonplace in our lanwas but a young lady in a school there. guage. If you gave him children's rhymes, And he challenged the Englishman, and he looked at the meaning, and judged it went up to him, and said he would not all by that. And when we showed him go away until there was a fight; and do stiff, artificial verses of old times, he seemyou know what your countryman did ? ed to go back to the time when they were He lifted Schweitzer up in his arms, like a written, and believe much in them, and baby, and carried him down the stairs, like them. That is a very good thing in and opened the door, and put him in the ignorance, I think—when you know not snow outside, very gently. There was so much of a language, and every word has much laughing over that, that we all said much meaning in it, and there is no comit was very good ; and Schweitzer was monplace anywhere." grown sober by the cool of the snow, and This lecture of the Lieutenant took us he laughed too, and I think they swore into Kidderminster. What married man brüderschaft about it afterwards. Oh, he is not familiar with this name—held up to was a very clever fellow, your country- him as an awful threat in reply to his man, and had more delight in our songs grumblings about the price of Turkey and than any German I ever knew. But you Brussels carpets ? As we drove into the know how that is ?"
busy town, signs of the prevailing manuMadame said it was no wonder any facture were everywhere apparent in the one should be in love with the Ger- large red-brick factories. We put up at man songs; but the Lieutenant shook his the " Lion,” and while Von Rosen went head.
off to buy himself a new pair of boots, “ That is not it at all-no. This is it, we went for a stroll up to the interestthat when you know only a little of a lan- ing old church, the fine brasses and marble guage, you do not know what is common- monuments of which have drawn many place in it. The simple phrase which is a stranger to the spot. Then we climbcommonplace to others is all full of mean- ed to the top of the tower, and from the ing to you. So I find it with your Eng- zinc roof thereof had a spacious view over lish. You would laugh if I told you that the level and wooded country, which was I find much meaning in poetry that you deeply streaked by bands of purple, where think only good for children, and in old- the clouds threw their shadows. Far befashioned writing, which looks affected low us lay the red, busy, smoky town set now. Because, Madame, is it not true amid green fields; while the small river that all commonplace phrases meant some ran through it like a black snake, for the new thing at one time? It is only my ig- bed had been drained, and in the dark norance that I do not know they have mud a multitude of boys could be seen grown old and worth little. Now the wading, scooping about' for eels. When evening at Twickenham I did hear you we descended, Von Rosen had got his go over the names of old-fashionable Eng- boots, and was prowling about the churchligh songs, and much fun was made of the yard, reading the curious inscriptions
there. One of them informed the world " Ladies and gentlemen," said the Lieuof the person laid beneath that, " added tenant, “the song I am about to sing to to the character of a Gentleman, his ac- you—" tions were coeval with his Integrity, Hos- Here Bell began to play a light prepitality, and Benevolence." But our ami- lude; and without further introduction able guide, who had pointed out to us all our Uhlan startled the silence of the the wonderful features of Kidderminster woods and fields by singing, in a profound and its neighborhood, evidently looked on and melancholy voice, the first two verses one particular gravestone as the chief cu- of the ballad composed by the young Enriosity of the place; for this, he informed glishman at Bonn, which ran somewhat as us, was placed over a man who had pre- follows: pared the vault and the inscription ten “Oh, Burgundy isn't a good thing to drink, years before his death. Here is the le- Young man, I beseech you, consider and think, gend :
Or else in your nose, and likewise in your toes,
You'll discover the color of Burgundy rose : “To the Memory of
Burgundy rose, Burgundy rose,
A dangerous symptom is Burgundy rose.
'Tis a very nice color, in satin or silk; The man from Leicestershire was not
But you'll change your opinion as soon as it
shows “alone among mortals” in anticipating his In a halo around the extreme of your nose; end in this fashion; but no matter. A
Burgundy rose, Burgundy rose, man may well be allowed to humor him
Is a very bad thing at the tip of your toes." self in the way of a tombstone; it is the “Well, Madame, how do you like it so last favor he can ask from the world. far as we have got ?” says the Lieutenant,
“Now,” said the Lieutenant, as we drove as Bell is extemporizing a somewhat wild away from this manufacturing town into variation of the air. the fresh country again, “shall I sing you “I think your young English friend the song which the young Englishman gave you very good advice; and I have used to sing for us; or shall we wait until no doubt the students needed it very the evening ?"
much." “Now, by all means," said Bell; " and “ But you shall hear what he says; he if you will be so good as to give me out was not a teetotaler at all.” the guitar, I will try to play you an ac- And therewith the Lieutenant contincompaniment."
ued : “A guitar accompaniment to a drinking-song!" says Titania.
"If tipple you must, in beer, spirits, or wine,
There are wholesome vintages hail from the “Oh, but this is not a drinking-song, Rhine; exactly, Madame—it is a very moral song; And, take the advice of a fellow who knows, and we shall discuss each verse as it goes Hochheimer's as gentle as any that goesalong, and you will make alterations of
Burgundy rose, Burgundy rose, it.”
Doth never appear from the wine I propose. So he got out the guitar. We were young man, I beseech you, consider and think,
“Oh, Burgundy isn't a good thing to drink, now far
Or else in your nose, and likewise in your toes, around us great woods, that lay dark and You'll discover the color of Burgundy rose : green under a clouded afternoon sky. Burgundy rose, Burgundy rose, The road was very hilly; and sometimes, A fatal affliction is Burgundy rose!" from the summit of a great height, we “Oh, you two scapegraces !" cried caught a glimpse of a long western stretch Queen Titania. “I know now why you of country, lying blue and misty under the were laying your heads together this morngray sky. Behind us Kidderminster look- ing, and poring over that sheet of paper ; ed like a dusky red splotch in a plain of you were engaged in perverting an hongreen; and all around it the meadows est and well-intentioned song into recomand fields were low and intense in color. mendation of German wines. I am sure But then in the west we could see an oc- that third verse is not in the original. I casional glimpse of yellow in the pall of am certain the young English student cloud; and we hoped the sunset would never wrote it. It was written in Worcesbreak through the veil.
ter this very morning; and I call on you to produce the original, so that we may the sunlight still shone mistily through it cut out this very bad moral that has been and lit up the green meadows and the introduced.”
trees with a wonderful radiance, as we “ The original, Madame ?” said the wrapt cloaks round our companions and Lieutenant, gravely. “There is no origi- drove leisurely on. It was impossible to nal. I have repeated it most from mem- think that this luminous rain could wet us ory—as he used to sing it at Bonn—and like ordinary rain. But by and by it drew I put it down on paper only that Made- itself off; and then Bell, with a sudden litmoiselle might correct me about the lle cry, besought the Lieutenant to pull up words. No I have put in no moral. the horses. You think your countryman did not like Had we driven under a cloud and esthe Rhine wines ? Þfui !-you should caped at the other edge ? Close behind have seen him drink them then, if he did us there was still mingled rain and sunnot like them! And the very dear ones, light; but beyond that again the sky was too, for he had plenty of money; and we heaped up with immense dark-blue masses. poor devils of the Germans used to be as- A rainbow shone in front of this black tonished at his extravagance, and some- background. A puff of white cloud ran times he was called “milord' for a joke. across the darkness, telling of contrary When we did go to his room to the sup- winds. And then when we turned from per-parties, we could not believe that any this gleaming and glowing picture to young man not come of age should have continue our course, lo! all the west had so much money given to him by his pa- cleared, and a great dim smoke of yellow rents. But it did not spoil him one bit; lay over the land, where the sky came he was as good, frank, careless as any down. man, and when he did get to know the " It is like the sea, is it not ?" said Bell, language better he worked hard, and had rising up in the phaeton and steadying such notes of the lectures as not any one, herself to look into this distant world of I think, in the whole university had.” gold. “Don't you expect to find the
A strange thing now occurred. We masts of ships and sea-birds flying about were driving along level and wooded out there ?"" lanes, running parallel with the Severn. And then in the cool and fresh evening, The small hamlets we passed, merely two with the dusk coming on, we drove up the or three houses smothered in elms, are valley of the Severn, by Quat and Quatappropriately named greens-Fen Green, ford, toward our resting place for the night. Dodd's Green, Bard's Green, and the like; As we passed by Quatford Castle, the and on either side of us were lush mead- river, lying amid the dark meadows, had ows, with the cattle standing deep in the caught a glow of crimson fire from the last grass. Now all at once that long bar reflection of the sunset. A blue mist lay of glimmering yellow across the western about the sides of the abrupt hill on which clouds burst asunder; and at the same the town of Bridgenorth is pitched; but moment a glare of light shone along the as we wound round the hill to gain the southern sky, where there was evidently easiest ascent, we came again into the abundant rain. We had no sooner turned clear, metallic glow of the west. It was a to look at this flood of golden mist, than hard pull on the horses, just at the end of all around us there was a stir in the their day's work, was this steep and circuhedges and the tall elms by the roadside itous ascent; but at length we got into the —we were enveloped in sunshine ; with it rough streets of the old town, and in the came a quick pattering on the leaves; and fading twilight sought out the yellow and then we found the air glittering with comfortable glow of the Crown Hotel. white drops and slanting streaks. In the We had got in passing a vague glimpse wild glare of the sunlight the shower of a wide space around an old town-house, shone and sparkled around us, and the with a small crowd of people collecting. heavier it fell—until the sound of it was They had come to hear the playing of a like the hissing of the sea on a pebbly Volunteer band. Therefore, as we sat beach—the more magical grew the effects down to dinner, we had some very good, of the mingled light and wet. Nor was it music being played to us from without; a passing shower merely. The air was still and when at last it was gone, and the filled with the gleaming lines of the rain, quaint old town on the top of the hill left
to its ordinary silence, we found it was put on a sheet of paper, with a tew rapid time to light our cigars and open the bé- touches, the outlines of a scene which dezique-box.
lights you, and to find yourself able to reProbably no one noticed it; but it is a produce this afterwards in water or oil, curious circumstance that Bell had appar- and have it publicly exhibited and sold; ently forgotten all about her determination but do you know how much work it into write to Arthur. There was no shadow volves ?' Bell is a most untiring young of a cloud on her face, and she enjoyed woman, I promise you, and not likely to the winning of various games-assisted fall asleep in counting her fingers." thereto by the obvious ministrations of the “Oh, I am sure of that,” he said, abLieutenant-with as much delight and sently. “ She has too much spirit, too careless amusement as though there was much life, to be indolent. But I was not anywhere in the world a young man thinking whether, if a man was to change sitting in his solitary chamber and wishing his country, he would choose England out that he had never been born. But it was of all the other countries to live in. Here certainly not hard-heartedness that gave it is. Your people in England who only to Bell the enjoyment of that one evening. enjoy themselves must be very rich, must
they not? Is it a good country, I wonCHAPTER XIV.
der, for a man who would have about “But (trust me, gentles !) never yet
£800 a year?” Was dight a masquing half so neat,
“ Not without some occupation. But Or half so rich before; The country lent the sweet perfumes,
why do you ask ?" The sea the pearl, the sky the plumes,
He only stared at the bushes down beThe town its silken store.'
low us on the rocks, and at the river far THE Lieutenant was pensive. He and below them. I had gone out for a turn before breakfast, “What would you say,” he asked sudand wandered on to the high promenade denly,“ if I were to come and live in Engwhich, skirting one portion of the lofty land, and become naturalized, and never town, looked down into the valley of the to go back to my native country again ?" Severn, the huddled houses underneath "And give up your profession with all the rocky height, and the bridge spanning its interest and excitement ?” the stream. It was a bright and cool He was silent for a minute or two; and. morning; and the landscape that lay then he said around was shining in the sun.
“I have done more than the service “ England,” he said, leaning his arms that is expected from every man in Pruson the stone parapet of the walk, “is a sia; and I do not think my country goes very pleasant country to live in, I think.”
to war for many years to come. About I thanked him for the compliment. the excitement of a campaign and the go
“You are very free in your actions here; ing into battle—well, there is much misyou do what you please. Only consider take about that. You are not always in. how you are at this moment.”
enthusiasm ; the long marches, the wet But I had to protest against our young days, the waiting for months in one place Prussian friend continually regarding this there is nothing heroic in that. excursion as the normal condition of our when you do come to the battle itselfexistence. I showed him that we were come, my dear friend, I will tell you somenot always enjoying ourselves in this fash- thing about that.” ion; that a good deal of hard work filled He seemed to wake up then. He rose the long interval of the winter months; from his recumbent position and took a and that even Bell—whom he had grown look round the shining country that lay to regard as a sort of feature of English along the valley of the Severn. scenery—a wild bird forever on the wing “All the morning before the battle," said. through sunlight and green leaves—work the Lieutenant, you have great gloom ; ed as hard as any of us.
and it seems as if the day is dark over. “It is pleasant to be able to play dex- head. But this is strange-that you think terously on the piano, or the guitar, or you can see very far, and you can see what not, but that accomplishment means all your friends in Germany, and think imprisonment with hard labor stretching you could almost speak to them. You over years. It is very nice to be able to expect to go forward to meet the enemy;. New SERIES.-VOL. XVI., No. 1.