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and you hate him that he is waiting for ject, and said to Queen Titania, with a you upon some of the hills or behind his fine affectation of carelessness entrenchments. Then the hurry comes of “ You will laugh, Madame, at our havgetting on horseback; and you are very ing another adventure in a stationer's friendly to all your companions--and they shop." are all very pleasant and laughing at this "I think," said my lady, gravely," that I time, except one or two, who are thinking must put a stop to these wanderings about of their home. Your regiment is ordered in the early morning. I can not quite forward; you do not know what to think; make out why you should always get up perhaps you wish the enemy would run hours before any body else; but I find away, or that your regiment is not needed, that generally some story is revealed afand sometimes you have a great wish of terward of a young lady.” anger toward him ; but all this is shifting, “ But there is no young lady this time,” gloomy, uncertain, that you do not think said the Lieutenant, “but a very worthy two things one moment. Then you hear man whom we found in the stationer's the sound of the firing, and your heart shop. And he has been at Sedan, and he beats fast for a little while, and you think has brought back the breech of a mitrailof all your friends in Germany; and this leuse and showed it all to us, and he has is the time that is the worst. You are an- written a small book about his being in gry with all the men who provoke wars in France, and did present us with a copy of their courts and parliaments; and you it, and would not take any payment for it. think it is a shame that you should be Oh, he is a very remarkable and intelligent there to fight for them; and you look at man to be found in a stationer's shop up the pleasant things you are leaving all be in this curious old town on the top of a hind in your own home, just as if you hill; but then I discovered he is a Scotchwere never to see them any more. That man, and do you not say here that a is a very wretched and miserable time, but Scotchman is a great traveler, and is to be it does not last very long if you are order- found everywhere ? And I have looked ed to advance; and then, my dear friend, into the little book, and think it very senI can assure you that you do not care one sible and good, and a true account of what farthing for your own life-that you forget he has seen." your home altogether, and you think no “Then I presume he extols your counmore of your friends; you do not even trymen ?” says my Lady, with a smile. hate the enemy in front any more-it is all “Madame," replies the Lieutenant," I a stir, and life, and eagerness; and a warm, may assure you of this, that a man who glad feeling runs all through your veins, has been in a campaign and seen both the and when the great 'hurrah' comes, and armies, does not think either army an you ride forward, you think no more of army of angels, and the other an army of yourself; you say to yourself, 'Here is for demons. To believe one nation to have good Fatherland !'-and then-" all the good, and another nation to have
A sort of sob stuck in the throat of the all the bad, that can only be believed by big Lieutenant.
people who have seen none of them. I “ Bah!" said he, with a frown, as if the think my friend the stationer has written bright morning and fresh air had done him so much of what he saw, that he had no an injury, “what is the use of waiting out time for stupid imaginations about the here, and killing ourselves with hunger ?" character of two whole countries."
Bell was writing when we went into the At this moment the introduction of hotel. As we entered she hastily shut up breakfast broke our talk in this direction. her small portfolio.
After breakfast Bell finished her letter. “Why not finish your letter, Mademoi- She asked the Lieutenant to get it stamp:selle ?” he said, gently. “It will be a lit- ed and posted for her, and handed it. tle time before breakfast comes in." openly to him. But, without looking at
"I can finish it afterward,” said the it, he must have known that it was addressgirl, looking rather embarrassed.
ed to " Arthur Ashburton, Esq., Essex Of course, when the Lieutenant per- Court, Temple." ceived that the attention thus drawn to “Well," said Bell, coming downstairs the letter had caused her some confusion, with her hat on, “ let us go out now, and he immediately rushed into another sub- see the town. It must be a very pleasant
old place. And the day is so fine; don't cords of the guitar twanged out a few you think we have had quite exceptional notes. The fresh breeze blew by from the weather hitherto, Count Von Rosen?” fields; and as we drove through the still
Of course he said the weather had been ness of one or two straggling woods, Bell lovely; but how was it that Bell was so sangsure beforehand that she would be pleased
“ If enemies oppose us, with Bridgenorth? The delight was al- And England is at war ready in her face, and beaming in her With any foreign nation, eyes. She knew the weather must be fine.
We fear not wound nor scar!
To humble them, come on, lads ! She was certain we should have a deli
Their flags we'll soon lay low; cious drive during the day, and was posi- Clear the way, for the fray : tive the country through which we had to Though the stormy winds do blow!" pass would be charming. The observant “ Mademoiselle," cries the Lieutenant, reader will remark that a certain letter had “it is a challenge.” been posted
Bell laughed, and suddenly altered the Really, Bridgenorth
was. pleasant key. enough on this bright morning, albeit
“ Fair Hebe I left with a cautious design"the streets on the river-side part of the this was what she sang nowtown were distinctly narrow, dirty, and First of all , however, we visited “ To escape from her charms and to drown love
in wine; the crumbling walls of Robert de Be- I tried it, but found, when I came to depart, lesme's mighty tower. Then we took the The wine in my head, but still love in my women round the high promenade over
heart." the valley. Then we went down through “Well," said Tita, with an air of asa curious and precipitous passage hewn tonishment, “ that is a pretty song for a out of the sandstone hill to the lower part young lady to sing !" of the town, and visited the old building Beil laid down the guitar. in which Bishop Percy was born, the in- “ And what," I ask of Queen Titania, scription* on which, by the way, is a are the sentiments of which alone a standing testimony to the playful manner young lady may sing ? Not patriotism ? in which this nation has from time imme- Not love? Not despair ? Goodness morial dealt with its aspirates. Then we gracious! Don't you remember what old clambered up the steep streets again until Joe Blatchers said when he brought us we reached the great central square, with word that some woman in his neighborits quaint town-house and old-fashioned hood had committed suicide ?" shops. A few minutes thereafter we were “What did he say?" asked the Lieuin the phaeton; and Castor and Pollux tenant with a great curiosity. taking us into the open country again. “The wretched woman had drowned
“Mademoiselle !" said the Lieutenant herself because her husband had died ; -the young man was like a mavis, with and old Joe brought us the story with the this desire of his to sing or hear singing serious remark,' The ladies 'as their feelins, just after his morning meal-"you have 'asn't they, sir, arter all ?' Mayn't a young not sung to us any thing for a long while lady sing of any thing but the joy of decnow."
orating a church on Christmas Eve ?" " But I will this morning, with great “I have never been taught to perceive pleasure," said Bell.
the humor of profanity,” says my Lady, “ Then,” said Von Rosen,“ here is your with a serene inpassiveness. guitar. When I saw you come down to “Curious, if true. Perhaps you were go out this morning, I said to myself, never taught that a white elephant isn't “Mademoiselle is sure to sing to-day.” So the same as a rainbow or å pack of I kept out the guitar-case."
cards ?" The horses pricked up their ears. The “My dear," says Tita, turning to Bell, * The inscription inside the door of this old
“ what is that French song that you fashioned building, which is ornamented by bars brought over with you from Dieppe ?"" of black and white, and peaked gables, is as fol- Thus appealed 'to, Bell took up her lows:
guitar, and sang for us a very pretty song. “ Except the Lord BVILD THE OWSE
It The Labourers thereof evail nothing
It was not exactly French, to be sure. Erected by R For * 1580.”
“ 'Twas frost and thro' leet, with a greyming “ We have been out in the country so
o snaw, When I went to see Biddy, the flow'r o'them
much—seeing so much of the sunlight and aw;
the green trees, and living at those little To meet was agreed on at Seymy' deyke nuik, inns—that we ought to have a country Where I sauntered wi' mony a seegh and lang theatre as well. Who knows but that we uik."
may have left all our London ideas of a But good honest Cumbrian is quite as play in London ; and find ourselves quite foreign to most of us as French; and no delighted with the simple folk who are exception could be taken to the sentiment always uttering good sentiments, and quite of Bell's ballad, for none of us could enraged with the bad man who is wishing understand six consecutive words of it. them ill. I think Count von Rosen was
Much-Wenlock is a quiet town. It is quite right" about as quiet as the spacious and grassy Of course Count von Rcsen was quite inclosure in which the magnificent ruins right- ! of its old monastery stand gray and black
about commonplace things only in the sunshine. There are many strange having become commonplace through our passages and courts in these noble ruins; familiarity with them,” continued Miss and as you wander through broken arches, Bell; “perhaps we may find ourselves and over court-yards half hid in the long going back a bit, and being as much imgreen grass, it is but natural that a prefer- pressed by a country drama as any of the ence for solitude should betray itself in one farmer-folk who do not see half-a-dozen or other of the members of a noisy little plays in their life. And then, you know, party. We lost sight of Bell and the what a big background we shall have ! Lieutenant. There was a peacock strut- not the walls of the little theatre, but all ting through the grass, and making his re- the great landscape we have been coming splendent tail gleam in the sunshine; and through. Round about us we shall see they followed him, I think. When we the Severn, and the long woods, and came upon them again, Bell was seated on Broadway Hill" a bit of tumbled pillar, pulling daisies out “And not forgetting Bourton Hill," says of the sward and plaiting them; and the the Lieutenant. “If only they do give us Lieutenant was standing by her side, talk- a good moonlight scere like that, we shall ing to her in a low voice. It was no be satisfied." business of ours to interfere with this pas- “Oh no," said Bell gravely—she was toral occupation. Doubtless he spoke in evidently launching into one of her unthese low tones because of the great si- conscious flights, for her eyes took no lence of the place. We left them there, more notice of us, but were looking wistand had another saunter before we return- fully at the pleasant country around us
We were almost sorry to disturb " that is asking far too much. It is easier them; for they made a pretty group, for you to make the moonlight scene than these two young folks, talking leisurely to for the manager. You have only to imaeach other under the solemn magnificence gine it is there—shut your eyes a little of the great gray ruins, while the sunlight bit, and fancy you hear the people on the that lit up the ivy on the walls, and threw stage taking in a real scene, with the real black shadows under the arches of the country around, and the real moonlight in crumbling windows, and lay warm on the the air. And then you grow to believe in long grass around them, touched Bell's the people—and you forget that they are cheek too, and glimmered down one side orly actors and actresses working for their of the loose and splendid masses of her hair. salaries—and you think it is a true story,
Castor and Pollux were not allowed like the stories they tell up in Westmoremuch time for lunch; for, as the young land of things that have happened in the people had determined to go to the theatre villages years ago. That is one of the on reaching Shrewsbury, their elders, warn- great pleasures of driving, is it not ?ed by a long experience, knew that the that it gives you a sense of wide space. best preparation for going to a country There is a great deal of air and sky about theatre is to dine before setting out. My it; and you have a pleasant and easy way Lady did not anticipate much enjoyment; of getting through it, as if you were really but Bell was positive we should be sur- sailing; whereas the railway whisks you prised.
through the long intervals, and makes
your journey a succession of dots. That 7.40—which is the time for commencing is an unnatural way of traveling, that stac- the play—three ladies come into the pit. cato method of
The first is a farmer's wife, fat, ostentatious, Here Mademoiselle caught sight of happy in a black silk that rustles; the two Queen Tita gravely smiling, and imme- others are apparently friends of hers in the diately paused to find out what she had town, who follow her meekly, and take been saying.
their seats with a frightened air. She sits "Well?" she said, expecting to be cor- down with a proud gesture; and this rected or reproved, and calmly resolved to causes a thin crackle of laughter and a bear the worst.
rude remark far up in the semi-darkness But how could Tita explain ? She overhead, so that we gather that there are had been amused by the manner in which probably two persons in the upper gallery. the young lady had unconsciously caught 7.45:--Two young ladies — perhaps up a trick of the Lieutenant's in the con- shop-girls, but their extreme blushing struction of his sentences—the use of gives them a countrified look-come into " that" as the introductory nominative, the the pit, talk in excited whispers to each zoun coming in afterwards. For the mo- other, and sit down with an uncomfortment, the subject dropped, in the excite- able air of embarrassment. At this moment of our getting once more back to ment the orchestra startles us by dashing the Severn ; and when Bell spoke next, it into a waltz from “Faust." There are was to ask the Lieutenant whether the now five men and a boy in this tuneful Wrekin—a solitary, abrupt, and conical choir. One of them starts vigorously on hill on our right, which was densely wood- the cornet; but invariably fails to get beed to the top-did not in a milder form yond the first few notes, so that the flute reproduce the odd masses of rock that beats him hollow. Again and again the stud the great plain west of the Lake of cornet strikes in at the easy parts; but Constance.
directly he subsides again, and the flute A pleasant drive through a fine stretch has it all his own way. The music ceases. of open country took us into Shrewsbury; The curtain is drawn up. The play has and here, having got over the bridge and begun. up the steep thoroughfares to our hotel, The first act is introductory. There is dinner was immediately ordered. When a farmer, whose chief business it is to anat length we made our way round to the nounce that “his will is law;" and he has theatre it was about half-past seven, and a son, addressed throughout as Weelyam, the performance was to commence at whom he wishes to marry a particular twenty minutes to eight.
girl. The son, of course, has married an"Oh, Bell!” says my Lady, as we en- other. The villain appears, and takes us ter the building. She looks blankly round. into his confidence; giving us to underFrom the front of the dress circle we are stand that a worse villain never trod the peering into a great hollow place, dimly earth. He has an interview with the lighted by ten lamps, each of one burner, farmer; but this is suddenly broken offthat throw a sepulchral light on long rows a whistle in some part of the theatre is of wooden benches, on a sad-colored cur- heard, and we are conveyed to an Italian tain and an empty orchestra. How is all lake, all shining with yellow villas and the force of Bell's imagination to drive off blue skies. these walls and this depressing array of “That is the problem stated," said the carpentry, and substitute for them a stage Lieutenant; “now we shall have the soof greensward and walls composed of the lution. But do you find the walls going illimitable sky? There is an odor of es- away yet, Mademoiselle ?" caped gas, and of oranges; but when did “ I think it is very amusing," said Bell, any people ever muster up enough of with a bright look on her face. Indeed, gayety to eat an orange in this gloomy if she had not brought in with her suffihall?
cient influence from the country to resolve 7.30, by Shrewsbury clock.—An old the theatre into thin air, she had imbibed gentleman and a boy appear in the or- a vast quantity of good health and spirits chestra. The former is possessed of a there, so that she was prepared to enjoy bass-viol; the latter proceeds to tune up any thing. a violin.
The plot thickens. The woman-villain appears—a lady dressed in deep black, and rob him of his money. But lo! the who tells us in an awful voice that she was French adventuress drops from the clouds : the mistress of Weelyam in France—that the highwayman is her husband : she tells of being the country naturally associated in her awful deeds, among them of her havthe mind of the dramatist with crimes of this ing murdered “her mistress the Archducharacter. She is in a pretty state when chess;" and then, as she vows, she will go she learns that Weelyam is married; and and murder Weelyam, a tremendous conevents are plainly marching on to a crisis. flict of every body ensues, and a new scene It comes. The marriage is revealed to the being run on, we are suddenly whirled up farmer, who delivers a telling curse, which to Balmoral Castle. is apparently launched at the upper gal- “I am beginning to be very anxious lery, but which is really meant to confound about the good people,” remarked Tita. Weelyam ; then the old man falls—there “I am afraid William will be killed.” is a tableau-the curtain comes down, and “Unless he has as many lives as Pluthe band, by some odd stroke of luck, tarch, he can't escape," said Bell. plays “Home, sweet home,” as an air de- “ As for the old farmer," observed the scriptive of Weelyam's banishment. Lieutenant, “he survives apoplectic fits
We become objects of curiosity, now and pistol-shots very well-oh, very well that the adventures of the farmer's son are indeed. He is a very good man in a removed. There are twenty-one people play. He is sure to last to the end.” in the pit-representing conjointly a solid Well, we were near the end; and author, guinea transferred to the treasury. One carpenter, and scene-painter had done or two gay young men, with canes, and their dead best to render the final scene their hats much on the side of their heads, impressive. It was in a cavern. Cimmehave entered the dress-circle, stared for a rian darkness prevailed. The awful lady minute or two at the stage, and retired. in black haunts the gloomy by-ways of the They are probably familiar with rustic rocks, communing with herself
, and twistdrama, and hold it in contempt. A good ing her arms so that the greatest agony is ballet, now, would be more in their way, made visible. But what is this hooded and performed by a troupe of young ladies trembling figure that approaches ? Once whose names are curiously like English in the cavern, the hood is thrown off, and names, with imposing French and Italian the palpitating heroine comes forward for terminations. A gentleman comes into a second to the low footlights, merely that the pit along with a friend, nods familiarly there shall be no mistake about her idento the attendant, deposits his friend, utters tity. The gloom deepens. The young a few facetious remarks, and leaves : can and innocent wife encounters the French it be that he is a reporter of a local news- adventuress; the woman who did not paper, dowered with the privilege of free scruple to murder her mistress the Archadmission for “himself and one ?" There duchess seizes the girl by her handsmust at least be three persons in the upper shrieks are heard the two figures twist gallery, for a new voice is heard, calling round one another—then a mocking shout out the graceful but not unfamiliar name of laughter, and Weelyam's wife is precipiof “Polly." One of the two rose-red tated into the hideous waters of the lake! maidens in front of us timidly looks up, But lo! the tread of innumerable feet; and is greeted with a shout of recognition from all quarters of the habitable globe and laughter. She drops into her old po- stray wanderers arrive: with a shout sition in a second, and hangs down her Weelyam leaps into the lake, and when it head; while her companion protests in an is discovered that he has saved his wife, indignant way in order to comfort her. behold ! every body in the play is found to The curtain rises.
be around him, and with weeping and with The amount of villany in this Shrews- laughter all the story is told, and the drama bury drama is really getting beyond a joke. ends in the most triumphant and comfortWe are gradually rising in the scale of dark able manner, in the middle of the night, in deeds, until the third villain, who now ap- a cavern, a hundred miles from anywhere. pears, causes the previous two to be re- “ No," said Queen Titania, distinctly, garded as innocent lambs. This new per- “I will not stay to see La Champagne Balformer of crime is a highwayman; and his let or the Pas de Fascination." very first act is to shoot Weelyam's father, So there was nothing for it but to take