Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

"BEHOLD IN THESE WHAT LEISURE HOURS DEMAND,-AMUSEMENT AND TRUE KNUWLEDGE UAND IN ITAND."- Cowper.

[graphic][subsumed]

CHAPTER 1. MR. DAVID WADDLE AT HOME.

MR.

MR. DAVID WADDLE'S SPECULATIONS. comfortable; the fire was in that state of perfectness

when the coals amalgamate into one red glow with

out a fierce flame; the brown japanned urn stood R. DAVID WADDLE stood in his breakfast- gently hissing and puffing before the open expectant

parlour with his hands to his back, and his teapot, like a small locomotive, as it was, waiting to back to the fire, meditatively contemplating the toes take you away to breakfast-land; the buttered toast of his yellow wool-tipped slippers, the while slowly was safely garnered inside the fender, and a savoury turning them up and down after the manner of those smell of bacon-to-come pervaded the house. Altowhose minds are in perfect equipoise. The parlour, gether, it was the most comfortable place, and the though small, was unmistakably neat, clean, and most comfortable hour of the day for any one to inNo. 1181.-AUGUST 15, 1874.

KK

PRICE ONE PENNI.

selves upon

woman.

dulge in quiet thinking-when the annoyances of curious patterns of leaves, and ferns, and branches, yesterday have been buried in a sound sleep, and the as if, in her exuberance, nature, even with stiffened engagements of to-day have not yet fastened them- hand, could not but trace these forms of beauty and the mind and heart.

of life. But Mr. Waddle noticed none of these Say what you like about southern climates, scenery, things, not even the robins that prematurely pecked and classical associations, for real substantial home for their customary crumbs. Mr. Waddle looked up comfort there is no place like Old England, even in the road and down the road, but no one appeared in mid-winter. It is all very well to speak of a cloud- sight, and he returned to his former position before less azure sky, of the tideless waters of the Mediter- the fire. ranean, of feather-topped palms, scented lemon Just then a pattering of feet on the stairs, first groves, and sombre olive yards. But wait till the slow, and next rrith a sort of merry run, announced sun goes down, and the house feels cold and cheerless; the successive advent of the rest of the household. and the doors creak, and there is not a comfortable Mrs. Waddle was what you would call a comely chair to sit on; while the beef is hard and the

The truthfulness of her nature shone out of mutton detestable, and the chickens have ever so her clear grey eyes, and the kindliness of her heart many legs in excess of their wings, and the company beamed from her every feature. As she appeared around is queer, and-in short, take all the year within the door, and quietly took her place to make round, and one songs for English comfort and fire the necessary preparations for breakfast, the cloud side enjoyment. How many an ambitious wife has that had again gathered on Mr. Waddle's brow bitterly rued the day she persuaded her husband seemed visibly to float away, and to leave it on retiring from business to undertake a foreign serene. But the bright sunshine broke over his tour, when, the heavy stone once set in motion, whole face, and left him all aglow, then “ Pussy" it has rolled on for long years, dragging her with came in, and with a bound made for Mr. David it, through dreary towns, comfortloss hotels, and Waddle himself, and taking her father by both endless shows and galleries, till the dull monotony shoulders successively, kissed him on each cheek, of it had settled upon her with such a feeling of before she bent down to warm her little hands at the despair, that she could willingly have given up all fire. And certainly to look at Kate, or “Pussy,” as

“ for a small cottage in a most out-of-the-way corner she had been called from her babyhood, was sufficient of her native country, so that she could again have to kindle the light on the face of a sterner parent heard home voices, and known home, with its joys, than Mr. David Waddle. She was the pride of their its work, and its rest!

hearts and the delight of their eyes.

She had never To bé sure, this is a very prosaic version of the given them an hour's uneasiness, except it were delights of sunny France and classic Italy. But when she had the hooping-cough, the chicken-pox, then it must be admitted that the hero of this story, or the measles. Now that she was bursting into Mr. David Waddle, was a very prosaic man, lived in womanhood, she was as good and sweet as she was a very prosaic little town, and had till very lately pretty and attractive. No one could help liking been engaged in what perhaps offers least material Kate. The most grumbling of old women in her from which fancy may form her wings--the trade of district always dismissed her with a smile, eren a tanner. Mr. Waddle had now retired from busi- when she bad come without the anticipated quotim ness on what for many years was the goal of his of propitiatory tea. The naughtiest children in the ambition-£300 a year and a neat, trim cottage, Sunday-school were regularly put into her class, and with “walled garden attached.” The “premises," learned to sit still, at least for the time. Nay, the as he would persist in calling them, were small, but most critical among the spinsters of Greenwood had then, as Mr. Waddle truly though somewhat un- nothing to say against her. To look at Kate you grammatically remarked: "There is only us three-- might almost have wondered how this slight, perhaps me, the mistress, and · Pussy.'" Not that there had too slight and fragile girl, should have been the been any special reason for Mr. Waddle's retire. | child of Mr. and Mrs. Waddle. Not that she tas ment. The business was steady and thriving; and exactly handsome or beautiful, only lier face and her he himself a hale, healthy man, scarcely beyond ways were so delicately “winsome." She had light

His figure, as it showed in his comfort- hair, a vory fine complexion, eyes grey and soft, a able grey tweed suit, was just beginning to tend to small month, around which a bright smile mostly wards obesity, and the top of his head, thongli bald, played, a noso just the least bit upturned, a pretty had as yet reached neither the florid nor the shiny little chin, and a soft musical voice. Yet, if you state, but was still pale and modestly unobtrusive. looked more closely at hor, there was a decided likeBut though Mr. David Waddle had climbed the ut- ness to her mother; only not to the good, comfortmost height, toward which, in long years of patient able Mrs. Waddle who sat there, but, as it rere, to toil, he had striven; and although, as re have seen, an idea or architypal Mrs. Waddle, of which the prehe was just then in circumstances most conducive to sent owner of that name might be regarded simply in ward self-relaxation, to judge from his face he was as a sort of plaster-of-paris cast, made in a preparanot quite at rest. Every now and then a passing tory way. cloud seemed to darken his brow, and however often Under such influence, it is scarcely to be rondered banished, it would come back, apparently more fre- at that breakfast proceeded without any return of quently as the minutes seemed to drag on their slow the cloud to Mr. Waddlo's brow. The meal ras length. Neither the mistress” nor “ Pussy'' had almost over, when a figure, rapidly passing the yet come down to breakfast, and Mr. Waddle mored | window, caused the two ladies to exchange anxious, slowly to the window. It was a bright frosty March troubled looks. Mr. Waddle sat with his back to morning. The thin snow lay white and crisp on the the light, happily unconscious of events in the ontlittle plot that separated the cottage from the hard, side world. He was just in the act of lifting to his shiny road, which the keen east wind had mostly mouth a most promising piece of buttered toast, byrept clear. The frost lay on the window-panes in when a double knock at the front door caused the

.

middle age.

tempting morsel to descend again with alarming | moralists, constitutes the chief element in gratituderapidity. In a moment Mr. Waddle's face had a lively sense of favours yet to be asked ? changed expression ; it was not now indicative of trouble, but of eager-almost hungry--expectancy.

CHAPTER 11.--MR. WADDLE MEDITATES GREAT THINGS. The two ladies tried their best to seem unconcerned, It was more than an hour after breakfast when a and of a sudden to plunge into a most absorbing low tap at the door recalled Mr. Waddle from his conversation, but the attempt, as most under similar calculations and reveries. He had been busy, very circumstances, signally failed. For two or three busy. Too busy to attend to anything else, his looks minutes, which to them seemed an age, Mr. Waddle seemed to say, as Mrs. Waddló, in her attempt to had been looking from his wife to his daughter, and make her way, threatened to step on some of the legalfrom his daughter to his wife. At length he de- looking papers that littered the floor, or to sweep manded, in a tone to which they had been little them in her train. accustomed,

"Have a care, Ann;" and Mr. Waddle, literally “What is the meaning of all this, Ann? Why are bending to the necessity, daintily picked them up, my letters not brouglıt in?”

and made room for his wife on a chair, thereby dis"I thought," interposed Mrs. Wadule, meekly, placing more of the documents. The table before “that you would like to have prayers first, David, him was similarly occupied, leaving just sufficient as formerly, when you would not allow any business free space for a large sheet of paper which Mr. Waddle to come in till"

had covered with calculations, and for two restingNonsense !” interrupted Mr. Waddle, angrily; places for his elbows, when, each reckoning comthen, seeing the colour mount, to his daughter's pleted, he had leant his head between his hands, cheeks, he so far checked his rising mood as to intently contemplating the result. resume more quietly, though none the less deter- Every one knots how unpleasant a prosaic interminately, “Women understand nothing about ruption is to the brain busy with inward visionsbusiness. There must be no meddling, Ann." how, morally speaking, the shock of abruptly coming Then, after a short pause—“Catherine, bring the down to the everyday world must resemble the conletters."

sequences of the sudden collapse of a balloon in midNow it should be noted that this was a mode of air. And should such shock come to one, though it appellation in which “Pussy” had never heard her- were through the agency of one so near and dear as self addressed, except on one or two occasions within the wife of one's bosom, there is, be it said in Mr. the last three weeks. No wonder, then, that the David Waddle's interest and that of others, at least tears came to Pussy's” eyes, though she strove some excuse for more than usual sharpness of tone hard to hide it, as she rose to obey her father's and voice. beliest. Perhaps he had observed it; at any rate, “I have been engaged all this morning," resumed he greeted her return with a kindly look and a Mír. Waddle, as soon as his wife was seated, and “Thank you, dearie.”

answering her looks, which wandered in sad astonishKate had brought her father three legal-looking ment over the array of spread-out documents—"I documents and a newspaper, all addressed in a large have been engaged comparing these investments, to business hand to “ David Waddle, Esq., Plum Cot- ascertain two things—which of them would yield tho tage, Greenwood.” But after “ Pussy" had deposited highest dividend, and also what shares are likely so thiese missives before her father, there remained yet to rise in the market as to double or treble one's another letter in her hand, which, as Mr. Waddle was capital, when one would invest again in another enengaged scanning his paper, she placed quietly, but terprise, and so on. I can tell

you,

it costs no little blushing excessively, between her own teacup and thought to choose between tắem all!” and Mr. her mother's, from which friendly shelter the latter Waddle rubbed his forehead, as if he apprehended lady as quietly removed it to her own pocket.

some permanent furrow had been left on it. Mr. Wadule did not waste much time over the

“ But David" legal-looking documonts or the newspaper; a hasty That there is 'doubt or risk attaching to it? Just

"Stay, stay; I know what you are going to object. examination seemed to satisfy him as to their contents. There was now an amount of cheerfulness-stop!” Mr. Waddle destly picked from among the even of alacrity-about his movements. He quickly documents a paper, and quickly unfolded it." This brought a large bundle, apparently composed of is the current number of The Safe Guide to Wealth; similar materials, but all carefully docketed and or, the Perplexed Capitalist's Confidential Friend.' annotated on the outside in Mr. Waddlo's roundest Only came this morning-—couldn't have done without handwriting. The new arrivals were fastened in the it!”—this by way of apology for the scene at breaklargo strap wlrich already held together the old fast, “There, listen : Since our last issue, those friends in their very promiscuous company—though who have honoured us with their confidence will inpossibly it was not more promiscuous than that which deed have discovered that wo are what we profess, in this world is so often brought together within the “ The Safe Guide to Wealth, and the Perplexed tight fastening of the social strap. Mr. Waddle laid Capitalist's Confidential Friond!” In our February the bundle carefully at his feet so as to be within number we ventured to recommend for IMMEDIATE shelter and convenient reach whilo he conducted purchase, “Great Wheal Bang Silver, Gold, and prayers.

Sulphur Mine,” in Paraguay, which runs in the As Mr. Waddle at the conclusion of prayers picked samo track as the celebrated Pan-fuddl-run-up, that up his bundle, and left the breakfast-parlour for last year yielded to its happy owners no loss than what lie called his "suggery,” he gave his wifo, in 316 per cent. on their capital!! The shares of tho passing, a peculiarly friendly nod. Was Mr. David Great Wheal Bang have since risen from ton shilWaddle, then, heartily sorry for the hasty words he lings paid up to £1, so that any one who a month had so needlessly spoken, or did his sudden friendly ago had bought 4,000 shares might now have a snug mood contain much of what, according to certain little capital of £4,000 on which to make further

64

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

progress!” Mr. David Waddle here smacked his conscience-never very easy on the matter–began to lips expressively before he continued. since temporarily gone down to their original price. “ Tut! never thought of such a thing." We say deliberately “temporarily!” Our emphatic “Then what do you mean to speculate with, or to advice is, Buy as fast as you can! We also recom- invest?" mended the newly-discovered Platina Mines in All unwittingly, poor Mrs. Waddle had just led up Patagonia, which are started under influential man- to the subject on which, of all others, Mr. Waddle agement. We are still of the same opinion. The most vished to speak to his wife, and which yet he only miserable objection we have heard against this most dreaded to approach. But the claims of truth

wo miñe of wealth and wealth of mine, is that, judging fulness are paramount, and there are those who can from past experienee, the natives might eat up the discover even the leadings of Providence in any miners sent out from this country. But surely it has opportunity that offers for carrying out their own not yet come to this, that British enterprise is to be pet schemes. So Mr. Waddle put on the boldest yet checked by such difficulties! We believe in the pro- kindliest face he could. gress of civilisation, and we expect that if this mine “You know, my dear, there is your Uncle Nicoll's

legacy of £2,000. They have kept us out of it as Mr. Waddle paused to watch the effect of his read- ) long as they could—the full year the law allowed ing. Discovering nothing but blank astonishment | them—but now it has been lying idle in the Greenon the face of his wife, he continued, “Now don't wood Bank these three weeks—" think they give you only one side. See how they Mr. Waddle paused for his wife's reply, but her warn people against, foolish risks—On the other utterance was checked. All that for the last few hand, we cautioned our friends against various years had been the burden and sorrow of her heart schemes now afloat.'Now," demanded Mr. Waddle, fell upon it with cruel weight. When, thirty-five "what say you to that, Ann? Would you not put years before, she had begun, to use the country implicit confidence in those people ?”

phrase, “ to keep company

* with David, she was a Thus recalled from the unknown regions of specu- blooming lassie of twenty, and he a strapping hardlation to that on which her common sense enabled working lad of nearly the same age. Ann Nicoll (for her to judge, Mrs. Waddle had no hesitation in such had been her maiden name) had been left an replying. Lifting her truthful eyes to his flushed orphan, and was tolerated as the drudge, with hands face, she said, slowly and distinctly, “I would have or head, as occasion might require, in the house of a no confidence whatever in them, David."

distant relative. David Waddle was foreman in the “No confidence in them after that!and Mr. tannery, to which afterwards he succeeded. At that Waddle slapped the “Safe Guide to Wealth.” time, which was close upon the period when the two

“I understand nothing about business," continued married, the income of the couple amounted to just Mrs. Waddle, not heeding the interruption; " but if £60 a year, with a dwelling attached to the tannery.

a it is so easy to get rich, and if these people know all Very improvident to marry on such a provision! So about it, why don't they become rich themselves thought Ann Nicoll's distant connection-or, at least, instead of sending out these circulars ?”

very inconvenient. Accordingly a report had been That was a puzzle! Mr. Waddle gave himself a sent to Ann's two uncles, who had just commenced hitch back on his chair, and scratched his pate for a business in London, sufficiently unfavourable to affect solution. Yet, to do him justice, the same difficulty the much-hoped-for wedding-present. Would it be

had more than once perplexed himself; but it would a dozen horse-hair chairs, or a sofa, or even a sidenot have done to have given way on such a secondary board? It was neither one nor the other, but a long point.

letter, in which the incipient broker brothers severally " Graham tells me- he commenced.

and jointly “washed their hands" with invisible

" " What! Peter Graham ? What can he know?" moral soap of all the possible stains with which their

Mr. Waddle was getting augry. “Graham does niece's folly might have defiled them, and then withknow; he has had great experience, and is doing an drew their so-cleansed hands into the appropriate enormous business in stocks. He tells me it is not receptacle of their own pockets. But neither David proper

for agents invest on their own account, and nor Ann were more than temporarily disappointed or that explains it all. I am much obliged to Graham, discouraged; they worked all the harder, and loved for he clearly proved to me how every person ought each other all the better, that they must be all in all to make three, if not four, dividends on his money to each other. No, not all in all, for the tiro had every year.”

resolved, come what might, they would not neglect “I thought there were only two halves to each the soul's concerns. So they had on the day of their

marriage reared their family altar, and kept on, Of course; but this is the way. You get your through good report and through evil report, in joy dividend from one thing-say in January. Down and in sorrow, with God's light of love shining into goes the thing. Well, you wait till it comes up again; their hearts and upon their path. He had given then you sell and buy another thing, which pays them several children and taken them away again ; another dividend-say in April. That is two! Down and they had joyed and wept, yet not without joying, , goes the thing, up it comes

again ; you sell, you buy when they laid their treasures in safe keepin. At another thing for July—that is a thirs dividend! last“ Pussy” had been given, and remained to them You do the same for October—that is a fourth! and to be the darling of their hearts, the centre of their so you have four dividends instead of two in the year, aims and thoughts. Then, after many long years of and our £300 a year would at once become £600. hard toil, better times had come; David took up his Eh! wouldn't

you
like that?"

former master's business and throve in it. Somehow "Surely, David, you would not risk what we have the Uncles Nicoll must have heard of it; at any to live upon-we and Pussy'?” She said this in a rate, ever afterwards there came on New Year's Day tone of such real alarm that Mr. David Waddle's a Christmas card for Mrs. Waddle with “ Andrew

[ocr errors]

year?"

Nicoll's best wishes." At last Andrew Nicoll him- | money was now, in Mrs. Waddle's opinion, to be self arrived one day--not directly at their house, but frittered and trifled and speculated away! But bitter at the hotel in Greenwood, to spend the afternoon as the disappointment was, it was not for the loss of with them. He was very reserved and very still, but the money to themselves and to “ Pussy," nor for the evidently well pleased with " Pussy," and, what Mrs. sudden dissolving of her short-lived consolation, that Waddle appreciated still more, he was respectful to she now mourned. The very prospect and planning wards her husband. Poor Andrew Nicoll! With of these speculations had brought the first jar of disthat presentiment which men sometimes have of their cord to their home; it had engrossed and absorbed approaching end, he was visiting what few relatives her husband's mind and heart; it had unfitted him were still left him, although he had neglected them for everything else; it was literally like a worm, during all his busy life. His next expedition was to eating out the core of his heart's religion ; it was the widow of a brother of his own, to whom the two becoming a passion, a mania. What would it be London brokers had long made a scanty allowance, when he was once fairly plunged into the vortex, on which she had managed to bring up and educate and helplessly whirled about in it? Better, far her son James, now a youth about five years older better, there never had been such legacy left them

; than “ Pussy.” A close and most loving intercourse better, far better, even labour than such rest. had been kept up between the widow and the Waddles, Assuredly, it is in this as in all other matters, that which led to frequent visits, and an intimacy between experience best confirms the truth of Scripture. James and “Pussy," like that of brother and sister, Alike those who feel themselves poor and those who dating from their childhood. A year more, and feel themselves rich will be the most ready to echo Andrew Nicoll was laid in his grave, and soon after the inspired sentiment, “Give me neither poverty wards also the widow. When Andrew Nicoll's will nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me." was examined, it was found that while he bequeathed But Mr. Waddle, ignorant of what had been passthe bulk of his fortune to his brother and partner ing through his wife's mind, could not be expected John, he had left a legacy of £2,000 to Mrs. Waddle, to understand her silence. For a while he stared in and another of £4000 to his nephew James, with her face, and then an ominous frown gathered on his which the latter now intended to commence on his brow. own account in London a business to which he had “Well, Ann, if you cannot trust me with your been trained in his native town.

money-_"he commenced, somewhat bitterly. Now it was this legacy to which Mr. Waddle had Trust you ? I would gladly trust you with all I so bitterly referred, as kept from him to the utmost have or love on earth, and a thousand times more, if term the law would allow, and with which he in- I had it; but," tended to speculate ; and Mrs. Waddle's deep feel- Mrs. Waddle could not finish her sentence. That ings on the subject arose not from any inordinate she, who of all things in life had longed to be able attachment to or pride in the first money she had to give something to her husband, should be susever been able really to call her own, but from quite pected of unwillingness to entrust that paltry money other causes. So long as the two had striven up- to his keeping! The tears started to her

eyes.

Mrs. wards in poverty and hard toil, no shadow of doubt Waddle had never been addicted to scenes. Proor misgiving had ever rested on Mrs. Waddle's bably her husband had not seen her weeping, except heart. It was otherwise when success began to for joy, since they had stood side by side at the grave attend their work. It was then, and increasingly as of their last buried child. Nor had the demon of, they advanced towards it, that Mrs. Waddle became what shall we call it?—not covetousness, but gambling alive to it, how desirable success was, and how and wealth-hunger, as yet so fastened upon the man rapidly any little help from without, like a favour- as to hold him in permanent and absolute sway. Mr. ing púff of wind in the sails of a ship, would carry David Waddle put his arm round his wife's neck, one to the longed-for harbour. When she looked at and pressed her to his heart. Mr. Waddle, as he nightly returned weary and worn " There now, Ann, I didn't mean it. I am afraid from his work, and still further at “Pussy," as she I am a little hasty. I know you are the best and grew up so pretty and so promising, her heart sadly most loving of wives; and you and I trust each other misgave her. Could it be that she was the obstruc- just as much as we did when, thirty odd years ago, tive to the prosperity of those whom most she loved ? we began life together--don't we? And you and I Like other noble-hearted women of the same calibre, love each other just as much as then-don't we?" her estimate of her husband was as extravagantly What manner of answer Mrs. Waddle made to high as that of herself was depreciatory. There was theso interrogations it were highly unbecoming in scarcely a position to which, with his talents, energy, the present writer to disclose. Suffice it to have put and perseverance, he might not have attained. Not down one of the longest and strongest speeches Mr. that Mr. David Waddle had ever given his wife the Waddle was ever known to have made since the day faintest cause for suspecting that he had repented his of his marriage, and to add that sweetest music never early choice, or would make another if it were now fell with such grateful soothing on the ear as did her open to him. But none the less, perhaps all the husband's words upon Mrs. Waddle's heart. more keenly, did the good woman feel it.

And so there was once more a truce; and so Mrs. When that unexpected legacy at last came, Mrs. Waddle had given her consent to her husband's emWaddle felt the burden in some measure lifted from ploying her £2,000 in speculation. her spirit. To add £100 a year to her husband's Yet, after all, Mrs. Waddle had not even ap£300 was a relative position not unsuitable for a wife proached the subject on which she had originally

And as for “Pussy," a prospective come to speak. But it must be done, and the present dowry of £400 a year, not to speak of “the premises seemed of all others the most propitious moment. and walled garden,” constituted a superadded “ David !" worldly charm, in Mr. Waddle's forcible though Mr. Waddle looked up from the calculations to igurative language, “not to be sneezed at !” This which he had raturned with fresh zest.

to occupy:

a

« ÎnapoiContinuați »