Abbildungen der Seite

they did so, while next moment a look in her face. One was her English breathless roar of triumph went up, for suitor, and he set his teeth as he slipped two divided walls of fire passed on out into the night, while the autocrat down wind across the prairie, and, save of Carrington smiled grimly. He recogfor the one burning strawpile, Carring. nized the inevitable, for he loved his ton homestead stood unbarmed be- daughter after his own fashion, and it tween. Blackened, dripping, burned, hurt him to yield. Then Jasper, who with a nasty pain in his side, Imrie had come in for the keg of cider which followed by the others, approached its Constance Wyllard insisted upon the entrance; and Wyllard, who was in helpers emptying by way of a stirrupalmost as evil a case, raised his hat as cup, created a needed diversion by seizhe met them and said, with an unusual ing Imrie's arm and saying, “Used up? tremor in his voice: “Men and neigh- no wonder, after being stamped on by a bors, I cannot sufficiently thank you double team. With due respect to Miss for vhat you have done this night, and Wyllard, we're going to take him home, I ask the forgiveness of some for any Mrs. Jasper's great on doctoring, and ill-considered things I may have said. we owe Imrie considerable." There are events, which, as perhaps Imrie felt too dizzy to protest; what one or two of you know, embitter the Wyllard said he could not recall, but he temper of any man. And now, in token remembered that when some one propped of a new friendship, will you favor me him against bags of prairie hay in by accepting my hospitality ? Mr. a wagon, it was Constance who placed Imrie, I would like a few words with the cushion under his head. Then with you."

mutual goodwill the settlers drove The men refused civilly-their wives away, making the night unlovely with would be anxious about them, they strange songs of victory, while Imrie said; but when Constance Wyllard, leaned back on the haysacks in halfwith a light in her eyes, also thanked dazed content, and almost forgot the them, a hoarse cheer went up, and she pain he felt. The portly Mrs. Jasper, blushed when another for Imrie follow- who tied bandages round him, said ing it died away far down the fire- there were no bones broken; then she seamed prairie. Walking very stiffily, smeared oil on the worst of the burns, for his side pained him, Imrie ap- and gave him something cool to drink proached the threshold of Wyllard's after which he sank into a sleep that house, where he said, “Those are my lasted ten hours, while it was about the friends behind. The last time we met time he wakened that the young Engyou did not treat me as such. May I lishman entered Wyllard's room. ask upon what footing you receive me "It's hard to explain, sir, but I'm now?"

going back-to get over it," he said. Then Wyllard's face softened, and I saw Miss Wyllard's face when be his gray moustache twitched as he si- came in, and I know after last night lently held out his hand to him. Imrie there isn't a ghost of a chance for me. staggered as he passed into the long, He seems a very fine fellow, too; your birch-built hall, where the heads of pardon, I really cannot help it-conwolves and deer reeled before him, found him!" then tried to recover himself, saying, Then the ruler of Carrington smiled "It is nothing. One of the horses drily as he answered, "Spoken well kicked me, I think," as Constance Wyl- and straightforwardly. I had already lard with a low cry ran towards him. formed the same opinion."

Still, two men had seen and read the It was two days later when Imrie,

who had lost some of his usual color and still moved stiffly, was driven over to Carrington, and spent half an hour in private with its owner, who had requested him to do so. What passed between them only the two men knew, but Imrie went straight from that interview into the presence of Constance Wyllard, and felt, when at last her head rested on his shoulder, that he

would have fought prairie fires forever for such a consummation. There was a wedding later, when for the first time since its building, all the settlers within a radius of twenty miles assembled at Carrington, and, somewhat against his wishes, Imrie's bride did not come to him empty-handed, for that harvest had set his feet at last upon the road to prosperity.

Harold Bindlo88.

The Argosy.


Our first view of St. Helena gave the singular impression of a huge enshroud. ed mummy lying stretched upon its back, the King and Queen Peaks on the left giving the idea of feet, the Turk's Head in the centre looking like hands folded in front, and the great Barn Rock representing a monster 'head. The thin veil of mist brooding over the island obscured for the time details in the landscape so as to heighten the somewhat weird appearance.

As we drew nearer, the rain ceased and, clear and imposing before us, stood St. Hel

as a solid fortress of rock. We sailed for some time close under the great sea walls, and were charmed with the prismatic coloring cast by the rising sun on the damp, bare battlements of rock. As we kept on, Flagstaff Hill, rising to a height of 2,000 feet, and the Sugar Loaf-a striking, conical-shaped hill of nearly that altitude-came in view. At the foot of the latter are two batteries, one at a hundred and another at two hundred feet above the sea-level, and both adding to the picturesqueness of the place. In Flagstaff Bay, between the Barn and Sugar Loaf, flew


hundreds of sea-birds, some white, others dark-brown, fishing vigorously, and presenting in tableau vivant a properb of their own—"It's the early bird that catches the fish." About seven o'clock we rounded the Sugar Loaf, and slowly crept southwest down the coast towards the anchorage, which extends only about a mile from the shore. Every instant as we forged ahead new points of interest met us; precipitous gorges, with sides of barren rock running back until they revealed some distant island oasis of spring-green grass, overlooked by a white-faced house; great masses of scoriated rock of many shapes, every peak of which, facing the sea, seemed to bear a battery or hold on its shoulders a cannon. "Before we had reached Rupert Bay, James's Town, stood revealed in so far as projecting Munden Point will allow. And very well it looked with its old-fashioned quay, its pretty church spire and white houses wedged in between hills of no mean elevation, starting up precipitously on either side.

After landing, one of our first expedi. tions was to Ladder Hill--the western promontory of James's Bay, which rises almost perpendicularly to an altitude of 800 feet above the sea. Straight

• This sketch was written some years since. but we give it as picturing features of permaDent interest.


up the face of the mountain, starting from near St. James's Church and the Entrance Gates, climbs the far-famed ladder which gives the hill its name. I suppose there is no other such ladder in the world, which I understand is 993 feet in length, 602 feet high, bas a slope of thirty-two degrees, having 699 wooden steps and one stone one! each step rising eleven incbes. The carriage drive which we were now ascending at a very vigorous speed is a steep zigzag road nine feet in breadth, and hedged in by a rubble wall, about a foot thick and three feet high. With the slight drawback of one or two short, light showers, this drive was most exhilarating. Every moment our view of town and bay became more perfect, and the atmosphere continually lighter and more bracing. Then the ascent was replete with incidents novel to us. Every hundred yards, at least, we encountered bare-footed natives with donkeys-one, two, three, sometimes six or eight-variously laden, but chiefly with gorse from the highlands for firewood. Owing to the narrowness of the way, and the waywardness of the donkeys, some coaxing and applications of “waddy" on the one side and engineering on the other were required at times before we could pass.

Here and everywhere we were struck with the walking capacities of the St. Helenists—very young, middle-aged and very old and withered people tramping up hill and down dale with lithe and elastic step.

On the summit of Ladder Hill are the fort and extensive barracks, built of stone, where once stood the public gibbet, on which history telleth “criminals were hung in chains in full view of the town and harbor.” On the ridges above, to the left, is the Observatory established by the East India Com. pany over fifty years ago, and long fallen into disuse. I should have chronicled earlier that our cortège had six

VOL. VIII. 426

followers on foot, each carriage and horseman having a gamin, who attached himself as page-in-waiting for the day. This institution of boy-hanger-on would doubtless prove a superlative nuisance when the novelty of the thing had worn off; but there is no doubt at all that they provided us with a good deal of recurrent amusement, and gave a pleasing feeling of being in "furrin' parts" to the day's excursion, which worth the "tips" disbursed in the evening. Up and down hill, whether we travelled fast or slow, over pebbles, couch-grass, broken metal or rock, like shadows they pursued us, and whenever their eyes caught ours they grinned from ear to ear. Gates met with en route they opened, running on before; they put on and took off when required the peculiar "shoe" brakes of our phaetons; held the saddle-horses when wanted, and when we told them gathered ferns and wildflowers.

Our first glimpse of Longwood was across a deep and wide gorge of barren rock. The interest in Longwood is almost entirely dependent upon its connection with the great exile, for not even a very imaginative local guidebook could call the sight highly picturesque, for it is flat, with the dusky “Haystack peak" for a distant back. ground. About three-quarters of a mile from Longwood, and beside Halley's Mount, where the celebrated astronomer had his Observatory during the years he was on the island, studying and classifying the stars of the Southern Hemisphere, is the hamlet of Huts' Gate. The drive from James's Town to Longwood, with stoppages, took us two hours and forty minutes.

All of us were gratified when we found the Longwood hostelry to be a neat cottage, in the middle of a garden, in which were growing bananas, etc., and offering for our accommodation large and comfortably furnished par. lor and dining-room. It was amusing



to see how we revelled in a walk on stood by me as never before. The the grass-plot and in the garden, glory house is an old-fashioned rambling coting in being once more on terra firma. tage, with a flight of four or five steps All were in the best of tempers, and not leading up to the front door. unlike schoolboys out for a holiday, According to a local historian this When the first effervescence of spirits building was originally a farmhouse, had passed off we betook ourselves to and was at the time Napoleon arrived the parlor and the latest English papers. on the island occupied as a country Then came the summons, which re- residence by the Lieutenant-Governor, quired no repetition, and in a twinkling Being selected for the Emperor, the one of the merriest and best-natured present front room with the veranda parties I ever saw closed around the attached was added to the building by dining-room table. We were waited Sir G. Cockburn, and formed the bilupon by a comely, neatly attired, black- liard-room and salon de réception. eyed native dansel, and the lunch which As we entered, a young lady, daughshe spread for us was voted, without a ter of the French officer in charge of dissentient voice, masterpiece of the property-M. F. D. C. Morilleaucountry victualling. The table laughed received us and showed us through the with an abundant supply of ham and rooms. It may be well to state here, eggs, snow-white bread and freshest what is not, I think, generally known, butter, jugs of milk, plates of bananas that the old house at Longwood with and figs. To appreciate the situation, it three acres of land about it, and also must be remembered that we had been twenty-three acres in Napoleon's Vale three months at sea without tasting where the famous exile was buried, fresh butter, eggs or fresh fruit. Re- was purchased by the English Govern. freshed and in amiable mood, we start- ment from the private owners in 1858 ed in a body to see the sights.

at a cost of £5,100, and conveyed to A pleasant walk of a few hundred the Emperor of the French and his yards up a well-grassed incline, dotted heirs in perpetuity. Both Longwood over with yellow everlastings, brought and the tomb are looked after by the us to the home of Napoleon's ruined officer before referred to, who is a civil hopes, the nest of this rock-bound cage. servant of the French Government. The of this famous domicile there is not house was quite destitute of furniture much to be said. It is not as it was with the exception of small pier-glasses when Bonaparte lived in it. The walls in a couple of the rooms. Mural noare the same and the rooms look some- tices in French and English in the variwhat as they did to him, but the whole ous apartments reveal the purposes to interior of the house is of modern work. which they were put during the resimanship, though, after the fashion of dency of Napoleon. There were recepthe original. In a sense, therefore, the tion, drawing and dining-rooms, writvisitor to Longwood sees the rooms in ing office, bedroom, bath and dressing which the famous Frenchman lived, rooms and a billiard-room which could and in a sense he sees but a copy of not contain a full-sized table. None of them. Notwithstanding that such are the apartments are lofty, and the house the facts, I felt a real interest in the could never have been remarkably place, scanning the various chambers cheerful. with sympathy, and henceforth Napo- The most interesting portion of the leon's banishment and the enforced sea- house to the visitor is the salon of the son of calm which succeeded his turbid Emperor, as the wall notices name it, European life will be realized and under- because as one has humorously said,

[ocr errors]

there is something in it. This room, structed of stone, and has fifty-six
which measures 21 feet x 15 feet, was rooms of various sizes. New Long-
used by Napoleon towards the close of wood has an elevation of 1,760 feet
his life as a bedroom, and we are in- above the sea. Being shown into the
formed that “here on the 5th of May, drawing-room-a spacious and suitably
1821, the Emperor breathed his last.” furnished apartment in the right wing
On that day, it is related, "the island -we spent a short time conversing and
was swept by a most tremendous storm, examining works of art, etc. We were
which tore up many trees by the roots." here shown a small carte-de-visite pho-
The spot where he died is marked off tograph of the late Prince Imperial,
by a plain wooden railing which en- bearing the autograph of the ex-Em-
closes a space, 7 feet x 5 feet, in the press Eugénie, presented to M. Moril-
centre of which is a marble, laurel- leau by the Empress on July 12, 1880,
crowned bust of the great General from when she visited St. Helena on her
a cast taken after death. Suspended mournful return from Zululand, the
below the bust and in front of the ped- scene of her son's violent death by the
estal (alas! that these words will recall assegai of a savage.
Mark Twain's excruciating joke) hangs Before leaving we gathered in the
a wreath of immortelles, from which Longwood grounds a few flowers and
one of our party with the true relic- leaves to keep as tokens. After hur-
hunter's instinct annexes, unobserved, riedly swallowing a cup of coffee, pro-
a white leaf. In the billiard-room is vided without extra charge by the po-
the Visitor's Book, in which, following lite young hostess of the restaurant,
the multitude of cosmopolitan pilgrims, we jumped into our phaeton and rat-
we inscribed our names and addresses, tled after our friends, who had gone
Looking back to earlier pages of the on some time before. Our way now lay
book, I was interested in reading nu- down a steep, zigzag road to the green
merous warm expressions of love for and secluded retreat about a mile off,
the great warrior which French sol. where Napoleon most loved to wander,
diers, visiting Longwood from time to and where on his decease in the fifty-
time, had appended to their signatures. second year of his age, and the sixth
In this room also various knick-knacks of his exile, his remains were laid to
made on the island, photos of the house rest. Here they lay for nineteen years,
and other curios, are exposed for sale, attracting troops of visitors to the
and of course we each of us took away island and the tomb, until in 1840 the
something as a souvenir. Upstairs in a body was removed to Paris, and re-en-
wing of the house is a row of attics, tombed under the dome of the Inval-
which had probably been used by the ides. It is a romantic spot-a moun.
servants. I expended much energy in tain-sheltered nook clothed with green-
climbing up the narrow staircase, and ery and pines, and looking down into
was not rewarded for the exhaustive a barren ravine significantly known as

“The Devil's Punchbowl.” The tomb, About a hundred yards from the old so long unoccupied, was still kept, when house, at the foot of the lawn, is the I saw it, much as it was forty-five one-storied mansion built for Napoleon years ago, though there is now neither by the British Government, which, al- tombstone nor tablet, the ground about though, as we were informed, he used it being enclosed by a circular wooden daily to visit it while it was a-building, railing, and the spot itself, which is he never occupied-dying before it was covered with slabs, by an iron palisadquite finished. It is substantially con- ing some ten feet square. Fringing the

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »