Immagini della pagina

of that period. Cannot you fancy their

Cannot you fancy their of the Church of England. Several of tickled pride and swelling importance, these protests and exhortations to reas courtier after courtier was invited to sistance, so to say, were signed by become, for the nonce, identified with prominent nobles and heads of clans, royalty?

and were then laid out on tables in city Lastly, Mr. Old called my attention and village streets for general signature. to still another old parchment manu- Hereupon have signed and pledged script, measuring twenty-seven by twen- themselves—Rothes, Montrose, Cassilis, ty-one inches, and very closely written, Elcho, Home, Montgomerie, Lothian, that was in stern contrast with the Wemyss, Flemyng, Sinclare, Boyd, souvenir we had just examined. Not Drumlangrig, Loudown, Forrester, Eggreater is the difference in the relative linton, Balmerino, Dalhousie, Coupar, subject matter, than in the characters Fraser, Balcarres, and many another, in of those who took part respectively- handwriting legible and illegible. gay voluptuaries for the most part in Enough. From these few specimens, the one, earnest combatants for religious the reader will have perceived how freedom in the other. The document wide is the range that lies open to the to which I allude is Confession of collector of autographs. He may, perFaith,” signed by leading Scottish haps, not wonder that Mr. Old's collecCovenanters, when Charles I. endeav- tion is famous in the small circle of ored to impose upon them the Liturgy experienced amateurs.


On a frosty day; a few years ago, the they were all looking at me with the New Haven and New York train was same expression of mild disapproval rushing swiftly on, making its noisy and amazement. salutation to a sister or brother train I knew I was nobody's mamma, not which was just passing with all its even little Daisy's, who was waiting at thunder of reverberation and shock of home for Aunt Madge and the bag of nearness, when the door of the car chestnuts, sweet from country woods, where I sat swung open, and a little she was bringing for the deft little boy made his appearance, with the com- fingers to roast and pare and offer, after ical look on his face of one who is call- our cosy tea was over, on the coming ing aloud, straining the muscles of his winter evenings, in Daisy's “hour.” throat, and starting every blue vein in Nevertheless, somebody must do a his face and his very eyes from their motherly turn for the bright little wistsockets, without a whisper being heard ful-faced fellow, who was, deafening us -such was the din. A moment later, all; so swooping out my arm, I drew and I laughed again, for I was shrieking him into my seat, and perched him up at the very top of my voice, “Shut the beside me. door, little boy !” with the same inaudi- “I want mamma." ble result. Somebody shut it, the train “Where is she, my dear ? and where passed by, the little mouth formed it- do you come from?" self again for action, and then indeed “I've been through two other long the car rung with the cry, “Mamma, cars looking for her," he answered, mamma!"

" and she wasn't there; but anyhow, I looked around with reproachful sur- I came over the platforms all alone." prise at all the motherly-looking women Thereat he cheered up mightily. in the car. ,Was there none to own and “That was frightful,” I said. “You take possession of this little waif ? No, must sit here now until your mother

[ocr errors]



comes for you. She will think you a very nurse, and mamma wouldn't send her naughty boy, I am afraid, for leaving away just to get a cross old thing in a your place, and going over the platforms cap to teach me how to gabble." All where you night have been killed !” this was delivered with fluent conde

“ Then she oughtn't to have left me,” scension. “But this summer I haven't answered the logical sprite. “ I'm too

had a bit a good time on Uncle Fred's little a boy to be left all alone. Of farm-no boys to play with—and mam. course, I'd do something wrong." ma all the time saying, "bush ! don't “ If you know it is wrong, you are

make any

noise. quite big enough not to do it," I said. “ Tell me about Uncle Fred, Julian." “ What is your name ? ”

“ Uncle Fred? Oh, he's real cross, “ Julie Skummun-what's yours ?? nobody likes him! Scolding me if I “ Julie what?"

made a bit of noise, and keeping us all 6 Julie Skummun what's

your the summer in that poky old place.” name?"

“ Where does he live ?" “My name is Miss Gaylord--and I Oh, on his farm, up in the country, live in New York. So your name is ever so far from here. And he don't Julius Sherman ? "

know any more about farming than a “No it ain't! It's Julie Skummun, mosquito.” Here he was quite overUncle Fred calls me Julian--but I hate come with his own wit, and giggled Uncle Fred. Mamma calls me Julie. with great enjoyment. I want my mamma!” And then the I resolved to pursue this clue. poor little lip began to quiver and the " What is your uncle's name, dear ? ” big blue eyes to fill, while he manfully I asked. turned away his head, and tried to “Fred, I told you." choke it down.

“ But what else ?" “Where is your mother, dear? Did “Oh, just Uncle Fred. Had to get sbe go into another car to speak to

shot in the war--and then scold me if somebody?”

I beat a drum, or tried to make his gun “No, she got out, and said she'd be go off! Pretty kind of soldier he is ! ” back in a moment; and I waited until · What do his men call him, Julian?" I got tired, and then I guess I went "Capen." to sleep; and when I waked up my head “Well, but the men on the farmwas all bobbing about-apd mamma what do they call him? I don't mean had never come back yet; so I just the soldiers.” started to find her."

“Why, they call him Capen tooHere was a pretty state of affairs. every body does, but me!" Could it be possible that the woman “ Captain what ? What's his last had left this dear little boy, and got rid

name?" of him? Or had she stepped out, and "Oh, nothing — just Capen !” anbeen left-to follow, of course, in the swered my wholly unsatisfactory little next train ? I resolved to consult the neighbor. friendly old conductor when he next I fell to musing on the “Uncle Fred” came through, and meanwhile resumed shaft. Clearly, it was obstructed, if not my inquiries with new zest.

closed entirely, and I must sink a new “Where do you live, my dear ?" one into my mine of information.

“Oh, all alongshore," was the grati- “ Have you a father, Julian ? " fying reply.

Papa? Why, of course. He's sick “But where is your home ?”

too--we are going to take care of him, “ The other side of the water, most mamma and I, going 'way to the West. usually," was the consequential answer Mamma cried all last night, and I slept of the little imp. “I've been all over the in my clothes--and we started when the world, and to Paris too; but I didn't moon was shining this morning--and ! learn any French, 'cos Anne was my saw the sun rise."

[ocr errors]

“ Was your father very sick ?" won't be here, Mr. Brown, und every

“I don't know, only mamma cried so, body else will be so hurried; and so if and Uncle Fred said bad words, 'cos ho - just supposing any thing has hap. couldn't go too-he's got a fever, you pened to the poor mother, couldn't know. He wanted her to leave me be- Julian come home with me for the hind; but I tell you mamma's bully! night? You know who I am, and that and we've promised to stay together I am a responsible person. Here is my always—she's going to stick to me, and address, too." I'm going to stick to her. Oh, where's “Oh, yes, Miss Gaylord, I know all mamma?” Down went the little-velvet about you; but I can't help advising cap into my lap, while sob after sob you not to saddle yourself with any shook the poor little frame, until I was thing of this kind. There's never any greatly distressed.

telling what may be the truth in these “See, Julian, cheer up, dear; we'll cases, ma'am; and it's easier to keep a find your mamma yet. Here is the con- person out of your house than to put ductor, he'll make it all right. Look them out after they once get in.” up, my dear boy!”

“ Very good advice," I replied. “But The conductor heard our piteous tale still I can't feel it in my heart to leave with a wry face, and evidently needed the poor little fellow alone. However, more than one glance at the boy's sensi- po doubt his mother will come. I only tive face and delicately neat, tasteful, asked you, so as to know what I might and rather expensive dress, to persuade do, in case she didn't.” him that it was not a foundling case. So we waited, Julian and I, with his However, if the careless mother had little hand fast held in mine, while the stepped off at one of the past stations, passengers hurried into the stationand been left, no doubt she would fol- house, and hence to their several destilow as soon as possible. An accommo- nations; and then I sat myself down dation-train was due in an hour and a composedly to wait for the next train. half, which would probably bring her. Little Julian looked weary and wan; Very likely, too, a telegraphic message and, as I was looking at him, all at would come from her before that, to once turned so white that I was frightmake all sure. But at all events, the ened, and opened my bag for my flask only thing for the child to do was to of port-wine, and seeing also some stay at 27th-street until the next train crackers, I offered him one. He took arrived.

it indifferently, saying, “ But suppose nothing is heard then ?" “I think I'm hungry, but I can't I asked. “ What will become of the eat." poor little fellow ?

Where must he “My dear boy! what time did you

eat your breakfast ?" "To the police-station, I suppose," "I didn't have any. I was asleep, was the reply.

and when I waked up, mamma gave me 'Oh, dear, what a bad place for such some bread and butter with ham in it. a baby! Isn't there anywhere else ?' But I don't like ham, and I don't like

“ Well, you see, ma'am, there's no- crackers either.” body to look after him at the depot. I administered the wine and water as And any telegram would be sent to the quickly as possible ; and then, taking police-station. I can't stay, of course, him by the hand, set out for a restanmyself, and don't really know what bet- rant. And I soon had the satisfaction ter to do for the poor little fellow." of seeing a substantial lunch of beef

Julian was still sobbing in my lap. steak and potatoes, toast and hot milk, I said at last, with a pull at my heart at bring the roses back to the pinched litthe thought of little Daisy's face at the tle cheeks, and the glee to the pretty parlor-window: "I will stay with him blue eyes. Then we walked about for until the accommodation-train; but you half an hour or more, looking in the


[ocr errors]

shop-windows, and chatting; but by bewilderment, he was so depressed and no adroit method of questioning could gentle that he made no resistance; I beguile my little companion into say- and I was obliged at last to interfere, ing that his name was any thing but and put him up on a peaceful sofa with Julie Skummun, or that he had a home a picture-book all to himself, where in any place more definite than “all almost immediately the poor child alongshore."

fell asleep, and was carried off by nurse At last the time drew near for the to the trundle-bed, undressed gently, next train, and, a little tired of my self- and tucked away safely for the night. constituted charge, I quickened my Meanwhile I went again to meet the cars, steps, and dragged along the little run- but with no further result, and began ning legs, till we entered the station- once more to fear that, in spite of all house quite out of breath, just as the outward signs to the contrary, this was cars were beginning to arrive. The really a little deserted child, whose patient horses stood panting and smok- home must henceforth be found in one ing in the keen frosty air, the passengers of those charitable retreats where subjumped off, and hurried about, while stantial care and protection would inJulie and I stood scanning each one, I deed be given, but where home-love, searching for a wild-looking face, hag mother's tenderness, and all the possigard with anxiety-yearning for the bilities of education and culture, must lost child. But among all that crowd be forever missed. of well-to-do bustling people, not one The next day and the next passed, such face appeared-not one figure to and nobody came, sent, or wrote for litwhom Julian could spring and cry, tle Julian. Again and again I went to “Mamma !” Poor little boy ! how sad the cars, and spoke to the different conhe looked, and how he clung to me, as I ductors. But their inquiries were all asked the conductor, and found that all of no avail. Nobody was heard of who the cars had arrived, and that no such had lost a child; nobody knew the person had been heard of! No other name of Skummun; every body was sure train was due for three hours, and we that there was no such name. On the could wait no longer in this cheerless fourth day an old friend called to see place. I told the conductor my story, me, and Betty brought up her name: gave him also my address, and then “Mrs. Schermerhorn, ma'am, is in the promising myself that I would go back parlor.” Little Julian shot out of the in time for the next train, I turned my room like an arrow from the bow, and steps homeward, with the poor tired a moment afterward I found him quivlittle boy still holding my hand; too ering with passion, sobbing with grief weary and sad to care for the honor of and disappointment, at the parlor-door, a little white trundle-bed in the nursery, and addressing the astonished old lady or even to hear about Daisy's pet canary with the startling words, bird, with the three baby-birds in their “ You're not my mamma! How dare cradle-nest.

you say you are my mamma !” Warm and glowing was the parlor- I put him aside, and greeted and fire to welcome back Aunt Madge the soothed my dear cld friend, whose intruant. Bright and joyous was little dignant amazercnt was very funny. Daisy in her best apron and sash, as " What on earth does the child mean? she took immediate possession of the Who is the little imp, Margaret ? I

new boy,'' evidently considering him never saw him before in all my life; as something made, sent, or purchased and he flew at me till I thought he was for her special entertainment. She going to scratch my eyes out!” dragged him off to the nursery to in- I tried to explain, as well as I could, spect her baby-house, she coaxed him who and what the inimical sprite was; down to the kitchen, to be inspected but my eagerness at finding any new cluo by the cook; and between fatigue and would not brook long delay, so I went

[ocr errors]


to the entry, and drew in the sobbing mention this child, of course; it would child, to try and understand what it all be too ridiculous." might mean.

Day after day passed, and no answer “Why, Julian, what were you think- came to my advertisement, and no ining of, my child, to treat a lady so ! quiries came to the station-master as to This is Mrs. Schermerhorn."

the poor little waif of the railroad. “No, it isn't! I say it isn't! My Mrs. Schermerhorn wrote the letter she mamma is Mrs. Skummun. This is an had planned, but no answer arrived ; ugly old woman!"

and she heard a little later on, that I was so relieved, that I did not wait “ Cousin Pauline” was off on a little to reprove his disrespect, while I told trip to Washington and Richmond. So Mrs. Schermerhorn more fully all my no doubt the letter of inquiry was safely trouble, and how great a help it was to reposing upon the study-mantel in the learn at last what the child's real name old Philadelphia homestead. Every

We tried to learn more, but he thing seemed to conspire against poor was still so indignant at the idea of little Julian, and the chief and most any body daring to call herself by his aggressive conspirator was the boy himinother's name, that he became more self; for never was such a troublesome, rude and violent than could be toler- spoiled, wilful child introduced into a ated, and I was obliged to despatch peaceful home. Little Daisy stood in him to the distant nursery region, and such open-eyed admiration of his pranks, order a repast of bread and molasses to that I feared she would soon begin to keep his mouth shut and cheer his poor imitate them; and no doubt she would, baby-heart a little.

had he not developed an overweening Then I took counsel with my motherly scorn and aversion to her, as “only a friend as to what to do next: and the girl," and a tendency to use his invenresult was an advertisement to “any tive powers of mischief for her especial friends of Julian Schermerhorn, aged torment. six, who would find him under sạfe Now I am by nature a strict discipliprotection at No. W. 31st-street." narian of children, I do not mean

My friend sat thinking a while, and that I have a little rod in pickle always, then said,

a pet cat-o’-nine-tails always lying on " I can think of nobody of my name the mantel-shelf. I do not believe in to whom this boy can possibly belong; the system of education which consists and yet there is a look about him-you in a perpetual “ nagging," and which will laugh at me, I know, but I really, makes a child's training a series of fancy that there is a sort of family re- small slaps, snaps on the fingers, shakes semblance—of course, it is only my of the head. “Now, Daisy! No, no ! imagination. There a Henry don't do that! Naughty girl !” Such Schermerhorn, who was living abroad, is not my plan. I flatter myself that if a distant cousin; but I never heard of I had twenty children they would all his return to this country. He married obey me; the wheels of my machinery a pretty young creature, a Miss Bloom- are well greased, and hidden from sight, field, of Massachusetts, and they lived but the whole goes on smoothly and in Italy, I believe, or somewhere abroad, effectually, though without noise. Litbecause of her delicate health. But it tle Daisy is always docile, has never is absurd to try to fix the child upon set up her will against mine since I had any of them. I wish I could help you her; and yet it is not her nature I fear, in any way, Maggie. Your advertise- for I remember well the spoiled baby ment may lead to something; and I she used to seem to me, when her own will at all events write to Pauline Scher- mother (almost as much of a spoiled merhorn, and ask what has become of baby herself) tried in vain to make her Henry and his wife, and whether they mind, and contended every point with ever came back to this country. I won't a great show of authority and very in

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »