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Susan was sure something was going to happen. There had been funerals in the candle, death-ticks in the cupboard, a dog had howled all night for a week; and with these and other signs of death the woman had frightened me into a condition quite ready to receive the horrible news which was brought to us one morning after my father had been out all night.
“Mr. Newbolde's found drownded in the river," said the blunt messenger, “and they've took him to a public house to hold an inquest on him.”
He had fallen into the river whilst on his way home from the factory, they said, and the verdict was accidental death. I never saw him. It was thought best that I should not, and my brightest memory of him is therefore but little disturbed. I only think of the active, noble-browed, strong-limbed gentleman who carried me on his shoulders up the factory stairs into that little room where he planned and drew those wonderful designs for the net-makers. But my memory instantly wanders to an old church, in which I sit a mourner in a great black pew, looking up at our Saviour rising from the dead, and wondering if God is really good and kind and merciful.
Oh, what a terrible life mine has been ! what an awful life it is ! I am the wandering Jew, the outcast, the vagrant, the gin drinker, the vagabond, the madman if you will, with a terrible mission. I am waiting until I meet Welby, or some one dear to him,—not her, not her! When he crosses my path, as cross it he must, there will be a fearful retribution. The day is coming-sooner than he thinks, much sooner.
But I wander. Our house and all the furniture was sold, and some neighbours took Alice to mind and sent me to work—to work in that same factory where he had worked, and for years I crossed that bridge daily, and for years saw my poor father lying in the water. I could not shut out the picture; it would come up in the rippling river, in sunshine and in shadow, in calm and in storm, at morning, noon, and night. I know now why it was sent to me, that my vengeance should not slumber.
One day little Alice was taken ill, and at night she died with her head on my shoulder. She would let no one else touch her. “Where is mamma?” she said. “Fetch mamma, Georgy.” Even with the tears in my eyes, I felt my soul swelling with wild ungovernable rage against Welby, and I vowed over that poor little dead body to take vengeance on him.
From this time there are strange blanks in my life, the years come and go in my memory like glimpses of light on a stormy day. I do
not seem to remember them well, all my mind is fixed upon that past time. I seem to see myself, as if I were looking into a glass, wandering about the world, toiling, working, labouring and waiting for a coming day. I used to search and hunt for that man, trusting to my vengeance as a divining rod; but I do so no longer. Fate will bring him here to me in London. All the world meets again in London ; we shall meet; he and I will meet. Oh, never fear my friend, the reckoning will come. He is old, and may be dead, you say? No, that is not so. She may have gone, she, poor misguided, unhappy soul, and Heaven forgive her! but he is alive, and his hair is grey, and his face is thin, with lines of care in it. I have seen him in dreams, and I know where I shall meet him again for the last time. On that bridge at midnight, crouching and stealing by, creeping in the shadow because he fears a ghost, slinking away from me who am the image of my dead father, his injured friend. I see him now; there he goes, crouching, bending, quivering, clinging to the wall, dodging the extended arm, and the glaring eyes of the avenger whom he takes for the drowned man's spirit.
Stand aside, I say—he is coming. I am the Divine instrument of vengeance, it is entrusted to me to slay that human serpent and fling it out into the dark waters. Stand aside, I say-I am dangerous
-I am Death,
6 You are
“No, no," said the keeper, seizing him by the arm. George Newbolde ; be quiet, there's a good fellow, here are your flowers."
Weak and exhausted, the madman threw himself into the keeper's arms, clutched a handful of wild flowers (which, I was told, always pacified him), and I slipped away with his terrible story in my heart, and too sad for tears.
BY ORDER OF THE KING.
(L'Homme qui Rit.)
A ROMANCE OF ENGLISH HISTORY: BY VICTOR HUGO.
PART II.-BOOK THE SECOND.
ABSURDITIES WHICH FOLKS WITHOUT TASTE CALL POETRY.
HE pieces written by Ursus were interludes-a kind of
composition out of fashion now-a-days. One of these 12 , ,
“Ursus Rursus." It is probable that in it he played the principal part. A pretended exit, followed by a re-appearance, was apparently its praiseworthy and sober subject. The titles of the interludes of Ursus were sometimes in Latin, as we have seen, and the poetry frequently in Spanish. The Spanish verses written by Ursus were rhymed, as was nearly all the Castilian poetry of that period. This did not puzzle the people. Spanish was then a familiar language; and the English sailors spoke Castilian even as the Roman sailors spoke Carthaginian (see Plautus). Moreover, at a theatrical representation, as at mass, the Latin, or any other language unknown to the audience, is by no means embarrassing to them.
They get out of the dilemma by adapting to the sounds familiar words. Our old Gallic France was particularly prone to this manner of being devout. At church, under cover of an Immolatus, the faithful chanted, “I will make merry;" and, under a sanctus, " Kiss me, my sweet."
It was found necessary that the Council of Trent should put an end to these familiarities.
Ursus had composed expressly for Gwynplaine an interlude, with which he was pleased. It was his best work, He had thrown all his soul into it. To give the sum in the product is the greatest
triumph any one can achieve. The toad who produces a toad makes a grand success. You doubt it? Try, then, to make one.
Ursus had greatly polished this interlude. This bear's cub was entitled, “ Chaos Vanquished.” A night-effect. At the moment when the curtain drew up, the crowd, massed around the green box, saw nothing but blackness. In this blackness three confused forms moved in the reptile state: a wolf, a bear, and a man. The wolf did the wolf; Ursus, the bear; and Gwynplaine, the man. The wolf and the bear represented the ferocious forces of Nature—unreasoning hunger and savage obscurity. Both rushed on Gwynplaine. It was chaos combating man. No form could be distinguished. Gwynplaine fought enfolded in a winding-sheet, and his face was covered by his thickly-fallirg locks. All else was shadow. The bear growled, the wolf gnashed his teeth, the man cried out. The man was down; the beasts overwhelmed him. He cried for aid and succour; he hurled into the unknown an agonised appeal. He gave a death-rattle. To witness this agony of the prostrate man, scarcely now distinguishable from the brutes, was appalling. The crowd looked on breathless; in one minute more the wild beasts would triumph, and chaos would re-absorb man. A struggle—cries—howlings; then, all at once, a silence.
A song in the shadows. A breath had passed, and they heard a voice. Mysterious music floated, accompanying this chant of the invisible ; and suddenly, without anyone knowing where or how, a white cloud arose. This whiteness was a light ; this light was a woman; this woman was a spirit. Dea-calm, fair, beautiful, formidable in her serenity and sweetness-appeared in the centre of a luminous mist.
A profile of brightness in the dawn. She was a voice: a voice, light, profound, indescribable. She sung in this new-born light; she, invisible, made visible. They thought they heard the hymn of an angel, or the song of a bird. At this apparition the man, starting up in his ecstasy, struck the beasts with his fists, and overthrew them.
Then the vision, gliding along in a manner difficult to understand, and therefore the more admired, sang these words in Spanish sufficiently pure for the English sailors who were present :
“ Ora! llora !
Pray! weep! Reas comes from words. Song creates light,
Then, looking down, as if she saw a gulf below, she went on,
“ Noche, gnita te de alli !
El alba canta hallali." b
By degrees, as she sang, the man raised himself more and more ; and from lying he was now kneeling, his hands elevated towards the vision, his knees placed on the beasts, who lay motionless, and as if thunder-stricken.
She continued, turning towards him,
“ Es menester a cielos ir,
Y tu que llorabas reir,"c
And, approaching him with the majesty of a star, she added,
And she put her hand on his brow. Then another voice arose, more deep, and, consequently, still sweeter--a voice broken and enwrapt with a gravity both tender and savage. It was the human chant responding to the chant of the stars. Gwynplaine, still kneeling in obscurity, his head below Dea, and on the vanquished bear and wolf, sang,
" ( ven! Ama !
And suddenly from the shadow a ray of light fell clearly on Gwynplaine. Then, through the darkness, was the monster fully exposed.
To describe the commotion of the crowd was impossible.
A sun of laughter rising. Such was the effect. Laughter springs from unexpected causes, and nothing could be more unexpected than this termination.
Never was any sensation comparable to that produced by the ray of light striking on this mask, at once ludicrous and terrible. They laughed, all around, this laugh. Everywhere : above, below, behind, before, at the uttermost distance; men, women, old grey heads, rosy
• Night ! go away ; the dawn sings hallali.
0, come, beloved one ! thou art soul, I am heart,