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“No; but I shall be glad to learn, whether they are pleasant or not.”
It was a brave thing to say; but perhaps, if Alice had known all that the words really meant, she would not have been quite so will. ing to be taught the lessons in patience of which she spoke so fearlessly. But of that you shall judge in the next chapters.
(To be continued.)
AN AMERICAN SPRING.
I HEARD the woodpecker pecking,
The bluebird tenderly sing;
And lo, it was spring!
Just a ripple, flowed into my room,
heart into bloom.
Sweet buds I have shielded from snow,
When spring winds do blow.
After a thaw;
Bathing in wind-tides of spring,
JAMES MAURICE THOMPSON.
NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The Editor of the CHRISTIAN WORLD MAGAZINE begs respectfully to intimate to voluntary contributors that she will not hold herself responsible for MSS. sent on approval. Unaccepted MSS. of any great length will be returned, provided the name and address of the owner is written on the first or last page, and provided also that the necessary stamps are enclosed for transmission through the post. Authors are recommended to keep copies of verses, sbort essays, and minor articles generally, since they cannot, under any circumstances, be returned. Miscellaneous contributions are not requested.
CHRISTIAN WORLD MAGAZINE,
ANDREW MARVEL AND HIS FRIENDS.
A STORY OF THE SIEGE OF HULL.
BY MARIE HALL, née SIBREE.
CHAPTER I. “Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name.”—MILTON. In the old town of Hull there is a long, narrow lane, with lofty warehouses on either side, called High Street- busy, but not a pleasant place, for it is crooked, unpaved, and dark; it follows the winding course of the river Hull, that flows behind the houses on one side of the way, and the narrowness of the street shuts out a good deal of the sunlight. But two hundred and thirty years ago this dingy spot wore a very different aspect; not that it was straighter or cleaner than now, but instead of plain, modern buildings, the street was lined with handsome dwelling houses, where gentlefolks and rich merchants lived, and were content to spend all their days. Here and there may still be seen vestiges of the past in an antique doorway, a richly-carved staircase or ceiling, and in the old inn, and a few private houses that still remain entire. In High Street, and the lanes and alleys leading to it, the chief interest of the old town centres. Here those haughty merchant princes, the De La Poles, accumulated their vast wealth, built their palace, and lived in almost royal state and splendour ; here kings and queens were entertained; and here lived those sturdy men that dared to face the frowns and threats of one' monarch, and to remind him of
broken promises and violated laws. Here might have been seen the black friars from the monastery close by, and the grey habits of the Carmelite monks from the monastery in Aldgate-many of them doubtless good and devout men—to be followed by an order of divines whose piety and goodness is beyond question, and whose holy influence is felt to the present hour. Here a poet and patriot spent his boyhood, and here still stands the birthplace and home of William Wilberforce. Our story has to do with the men and women of bygone days, whose names may be found in old town records, or in the pages of history; and, if these worthy people had fewer comforts, they had fewer wants than their successors of this century; and we conclude that they were not less happy and intelligent than those who have come after them.
In an apartment of one of the mansions in High Street a maiden sat with her lute. To judge by the cloud on her brow she was feeling lonely and disconsolate; and as she now and then touched the strings with an idle hand, they gave forth anything but a cheering strain. At length the irregular notes were changed for a plaintive air, which she softly accompanied with her voice :
“ Blame not my lute! for it must sound
Of this or that, as liketh me;
To give such tunes as pleaseth me." “Heigh nonny! but that is a doleful ditty, cousin Alice,"exclaimed
a Will Lister, who did not wait to hear the singer's complaint.
Alice looked up at the handsome, but ungainly youth, who had stolen in upon her unobserved, and laid down her lute with a sigh.
“How can I sing gay songs when I have such a heavy heart ? Janet scolds me for being so melancholy; but I think she has as many fears as myself lest some misfortune has befallen my father.”
“Oh! there are a hundred reasons why he may be delayed,” replied Will; “I wish I had as good hopes of seeing my father ride up the street to-morrow, as I have of seeing yours return safe and sound.”
“My uncle is not worse, is he, Will?” asked Alice quickly.
“I would fain believe not; but I cannot see that he gets any better. This morning he asked if the Colonel had come back ; so I promised to look in and ask if you had heard any news.” “No; I wish we had. I listen all day long and wander up
and down the house, that has no comfort in it now my father is
away." “Have you brought any tidings, Master William ? ” asked the old housekeeper, coming in.
“Not I, Janet ; I came to hear, not to tell," answered Will.
“Eh, well,” said Janet; "it is quite time the master was back, or Mistress Alice will mope herself to death. I wish you could per. suade her to take an airing ; 'tis two days since she crossed the doorstep."
“Come back with me, Alice," said Will. "It will please my mother to see you, and watching and listening for my uncle will not bring him back the sooner. Dorothy Crowle says you are very chary of giving her your company, and my mother says the same."
It was a warm, balmy day, although early in March; and the garden in front of Sir John Lister's house was gay with spring flowers. Alice stopped to gather a few.
“Mother has hardly looked at her flowers this year,” remarked the youth, watching his cousin ; she put some of the primroses in the bosom of her dress, and then gravely offered him two or three.
“No, thank you," said Will, rather sheepishly; “I don't mean to be a carpet knight-I hate to see men wearing flowers and ribbons and embroidered gewgaws."
The maiden smiled. “You will perchance change that notion some day, and not think it unmanly to wear a broidered scarf, or even a pretty flower like this.” But Will looked disdainful at the idea of being ever guilty of such weakness.
Alice passed on and entered the house, where, the year before, Sir John Lister had sumptuously entertained his sovereign, Charles I. The knight had just been chosen to represent his native town in Parliament, but before taking his seat he had been seized with a sudden sickness that threatened soon to end his days. Dame Lister seemed overwhelmed with grief, and her eyes were heavy with weeping.
“Oh, child !" she exclaimed, as her niece entered, “ he is worse to-day. I dare not ask the apothecary what he thinks. I do wish your father would come- –John asks for him so often; and just now he said that they must find another member, for he should never take his place in the House."
“Nay, mother,” said Will, gently, “ that is but a sick man's fancy; all will be well when my uncle comes. You will be sick yourself if you grieve so sorely, and then who will nurse my father?"
“I wish, indeed, that I could persuade myself there was no cause for fear; but you are young and hopeful, Will, and cannot see the danger;" and the dame began to weep afresh. Poor Alice was sad enough herself; but she did her best to cheer her aunt, thinking, like her cousin, that there was no reason to despair. "Your uncle was asleep when I came down,” said the dame, when Alice took her leave; "he must not see me in tears; I will not trouble him with my distress. And, Alice, ask your father to come bere as soon as he returns. I pray Heaven he may not be too late!" The shadow of the sundial on the tower of Sir John's house lay
upon the fourth hour after noon when Alice bade Will goodbye at the garden gate. As she turned towards home her heart felt heavier than before ; and, dreading to go back to the lonely rooms, she lingered in her walk up High Street to gaze into the few little windows that displayed anything for sale, and to steal a glance into Rembrandt's studio. This famous painter often stayed in Hull for several months on his way to and from his own country, and sometimes Alice had gone with her father to his lodgings to purchase paintings, or to watch the artist at his work. Standing in the shadow, Alice had a good view of the studio, which formed as pretty an "interior" as any sketched by Rembrandt's own masterly band. A wood fire burned on the wide bearth, showing the quaint furniture and carved fireplace, lighting up with ruddy, fitful gleams the lovely face of a cherub, and revealing the picturesque dress and massive head and shoulders of the artist himself. His easel was drawn near the window, for the dayli ght was fading fast, and Alice could see that Rembrandt was painting the figure of a very stout damsel, scouring her brazen pans; certainly the whole scene looked very natural and homely; but to Alice's thinking a scullery-maid was rather a mean subject for so great a man. She went on to Israel Lyon's tiny casement, and was admiring his watches, as she bad done many a time already, when some one touched her shoulder and pronounced her name. Alice started, and then smiled, when she saw Mr. Marvel, and the pleasant eyes that looked down upon her smiled too.
“ Any letter from your father, Alice ?" asked the minister, as he shook her hand.
The maiden's lip trembled, and she had some difficulty in keeping back the tears, as she replied, “No, Mr. Marvel, nor any tidings whatever. Oh! I wish he would come! I fear some accident has befallen him."
“ You must not imagine evil, dear Alice; he is in the Lord's keeping-can't you trust him there ? He may come to-morrow."
Alice felt grateful for these reassuring words. She had said them again and again to herself, but, coming from the good minister's lips, they gave solid comfort. “How is your baby ?" she asked.
“Growing stronger, I hope, my dear. This is Mistress Skinner, of whom you have heard,” said Mr. Marvel, turning to a lady beside him ; "she came over the water this morning to be present at my little daughter's baptism. She leaves us to-morrow, so that Maria has no chance yet of learning to love her young godmother."
“ But I hope to fulfil my duty towards the child some day," replied the young lady.
“Nay, I but jested,” said Mr. Marvel. “I am glad the weather