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much carried away by industry and utility, to hold Runnymede as an object of national affection. Switzerland is, perhaps, the only place in our globe where deeds of pure virtue, ancient enough to be venerable, are consecrated by the religion of the people, and continue to command interest and reverence. No local superstition so beautiful and so moral as that connected with the deeds of William Tell anywhere exists."
This is quite true-true to nature and to philosophy alike—and the principle is enforced by the constant and simple references by which the Swiss are ever directed to their primitive models of patriotism for imitation, as for caution against the deteriorating effects of modern corruptions and foreign intercourse.
“ Cavete Rheti, simplicitas morum, et unio, servabunt avitam libertatem,” is the sign-post warning with which the Fathers of Switzerland indicated to their children that one of the highways to “sad and sunken Italy” is now open to friend and foe; and as I waited for the carriage before Tell's chapel
, in the Hohlegaste, near Kussnath, I copied a corresponding inscription, addressed, not to travellers, but to the natives. I copied the characters as I read them, but it was not until I found an interpreter in the pretty little English-taught daughter of “mine host," at Schaffausen, that I could attempt a free version of the homely Swiss doggrel which marks the hollow way where Tell is said to have done his act of “wild justice" upon the tyrant of his country :
Gekler's Iochmut Tell er schosen
Never! while Swiss-men be like Tell. At Kussnath, conveyances are as welcome to the tired traveller as they are easily had ; and the drive along its beautiful bay to Lucerne might be called the perfection of lake travel. We traversed the border of the fair waters of the “ Lake of the Four Cantons," as they lay in all that wondrous variety of light and shade which the Alpine ranges on the opposite shore distributed over the surface. Mont Pilatre rose before us in frowning majesty, seeming thousands of feet higher than when we confronted him on equal terms from the rival eminence of the Righi. He seemed to rise, whereas it was, in fact, we who had descended nearer to his base level ; thus illustrating the social paradox, that some people,
real improvement, seem elevated in the scale of moral excellence, merely by the deterioration of those around them.
At quiet, sleepy Lucerne, our Righi-bund dissolved itself. Our American friend left us, with, as has been already intimated, his most definite purpose towards the Czardom of Muscovy, while we retraced our way to Zurich to reclaim nos bagages. It was a pleasant association while it lasted, and a complete success in an adventure which is generally supposed, in nine cases out of ten, to end in failure and disappointment.
I. I am going to tell you a story of real life. One of those romances that are in truth so common, but, because nobody seeks them out, are thought to be so rare. Some of the actors in this history are living still, but my transcribing it here will do harm to none.
Towards the close of the last century, and for some years at the commencement of the present, no town was more flourishing than the one in which our scene is laid. We will call it Riverton. It was the chief city of one of England's most productive counties. The town was a manufacturing one. Masters and operatives were alike enjoying the reward of their skill and industry; the former in amassing a competency for their
; old age, the latter in gaining an ample living, and in bringing up their children without a struggle. A prosperous and happy town was Riverton. Industry, peace, and plenty reigned. Good masters, satisfied workmen, earning sufficient to keep their families, not starve them, made a contented race.
There was no destitution, and there were few poor-rates. Every able-bodied person, whether man or woman, every growing-up youth of either sex, found adequate remuneration, if they chose to labour.
Conspicuous amongst the manufacturers, in all high respectability, was one whom we will call George Arkell, as a substitute for his real
He was rapidly making money: not by the griping hand of extortion; by badly paid or overtasked workmen; but by honest care, and a flourishing trade. A better and more benevolent man did not exist, a more just and considerate master. His rate of wages was invariably the highest in the town : and in any time of temporary depression, slack work, or scarcity, he was never known to refuse the hand of help to his men. Upright and conscientious in all matters of business; beloved and respected in private life ; open-hearted and generous to those under him, with a flourishing and rising trade, no wonder he was held in high estimation by his fellow-citizens. His manufactory became gradually to be looked upon as the first in the town: there were one or two other firms in it of greater magnitude, doing a larger and more pushing trade, but none, for respectability and character, stood so high as that of George Arkell.
Mr. Arkell had one son, an only child. No expense was spared upon William Arkell's education. Besides being a well-read, classical scholar, every accomplishment befitting a gentleman was taught him, in most of which he bid fair to excel. In the same city lived also an elder brother of Mr. Arkell's, Daniel, elder by many years. Poor Dan—he was never called anything but Dan-had not been so fortunate in life as his brother. His business had failed, and now, in his declining years, he was only a clerk in the city bank. Dan Arkell had two children, Peter and Mildred ; all that remained of a large family. He gave to the former a sound classical education, less common in those days than in these ; and at a suitable age, Peter entered the bank as a junior clerk. The two cousins, William and Peter were about the same age; Mildred was two years younger. She
had received, like Moses Primrose, a “sort of miscellaneous education at home.” Her father took care that she should acquire a thorough knowledge of her own language ; she wrote a good letter, and was a quick arithmetician; she made shirts, pastry, and puddings to perfection; excelled in ginger wine and pickles; and for recreation, she had the run of some old novels, and several bound volumes of the Lady's Magazine, a noted periodical of the day. Not a single accomplishment was she taught, save dancing, for accomplishments were then expensive things to learn.
Time wore on : the boys grew to manhood, and their parents towards old age. The firm of George Arkell and Son, for in due time William was taken into partnership with his father, flourished apace: but Daniel did not find his riches increase with his years.
We have little need to speak of Mrs. Dan or Mrs. George Arkell. They were good friends and sisters-in-law; and the latter cherished a secret hope that the daughter of the former and her own son might sometime call each other husband and wife. It may be marvelled at, that Mrs. George Arkell should wish to unite her attractive, wealthy, and accomplished son with his portionless and, comparatively, homely cousin : but Mrs. George cared much more for that son's happiness than to advance his
pomp and grandeur ; she loved her niece sincerely, and she knew that her kindly and noble qualities were such that would make the happiness of any husband. And what thought Mildred Arkell herself? She knew nothing of this
? cherished scheme, but if ever there appeared to her a human being gifted with all earthly perfections, in whom all admirable qualities were concentred, it was her cousin William. She deemed her brother a very first-rate young man, as brothers went, but what was he compared to William? Peter was plain in person, awkward in manner; whilst William was tall and handsome, though with a look of delicate health on his refined features, danced minuets with Mildred to perfection, breathed love-songs to her on his flute, painted her pretty landscapes in water-colours, with which she decorated the walls of their little parlour, drove her out in his father's phaeton, passed his evenings reading to her and quoting Shakspeare, and in short made love to her as much as it is well possible to make love, without putting it into words. But the misfortune of all this was, that while it told upon her heart, and implanted there its never-dying fruits, he only thought of her as a cousin or sister. Had he been aware of his mother's hope of uniting them, I cannot tell whether he would have fallen in with it or not: he has asked himself the question many a time in his later life, and he could never answer.
Mr. Daniel Arkell died. His son Peter, whose steadiness and attention to business were properly appreciated, was advanced to fill his father's situation in the bank, so that the income, hitherto enjoyed, was still secured to his mother and sister. It was very small, and their home was widely different from the handsome residence, with all its confortable appurtenances, owned by Mr. George Arkell.
One morning, Mrs. George Arkell came into the widow's house, with an open letter in her hand.
“Betty," she began, familiarly addressing Mrs. Daniel by her name, she having been christened by that abbreviation, " do you remember the Travices who left Riverton some years ago, to make their fortune, as they said, in London ?”
"To be sure," returned Mrs. Dan.
“ Well, I fear they can't have made much, for here's a letter come this morning, dated London, from their eldest girl—a pretty little thing she was, of about eight or ten, when they left Riverton."
“Yes," continued Mrs. Daniel.
“She writes to me as an old friend of her mother's, she says, to ask if I can interest myself for her with any school down here, and get her a situation as teacher ; for that since her parents' death they have not been well off.”
“ John Travice and his wife are dead, then!" exclaimed Mrs. Dan.
“ Some time back, it would seem. But we never heard the news of it in Riverton. I am sure I don't know of any school in these parts in want of a teacher. I forget her name," continued Mrs. George ; "she signs her letter "C. Travice, but whether it was Catherine, or Cordelia,
“ It was Charlotte, I think,” interrupted Mrs. Daniel Arkell.
“Charlotte ? perhaps it was. Well, I and George have been talking it over, and we think of inviting her here for a month or so, poor thing, while we see if anything can be done. We shall pay her coach-fare down, and any other little matter, so that it will be no expense to her.”
“ It is very kind of you to do so, and, when you write, tell her we will all try and make her comfortable,” cried Mrs. Daniel, in the honest simplicity of her heart. “Mildred will be a companion to her.”
Miss Travice arrived in Riverton. A showy, accomplished, handsome young woman, affable in manner, ready of speech : just the one to turn the head of a rather shy fellow, such as William Arkell.
Mrs. Daniel had offered Mildred to be the young visitor's frequent companion : but Mildred found she was not wanted. Her cousin William's visits to her own home grew less and less frequent, till they became like what we hear of angels'. Charlotte Travice was now his companion in the phaeton, his partner in the minuets ; his prettiest lovesongs were played to her, and, worse than all, he would sometimes laugh at the satire the young lady was pleased to tilt at Mildred. It cannot be denied that a sore feeling grew up in Mildred's heart. She knew she had no pretension to beauty, though she was frequently called a lady-like girl, and now this handsome, gaudy stranger was come to ridicule, rival, and supplant her. Mildred was naturally clear-sighted, and she soon saw reason to suspect that Miss Travice was playing a part—that she was endearouring to ingratiate herself into the good opinion of Mr. and Mrs. George Arkell, and especially into that of William. And Mildred longed, with a sensation of eager, sickening suspense, for the time that should witness Miss Travice's departure.
And so matters went on. The “month or so," mentioned as the probable duration of Charlotte Travice's visit, grew into five, and still it was not terminated; when, one afternoon, Mildred, who had been out on an errand, was called into the parlour by her mother, upon her coming in.
“Whatever has made you so long, Mildred?” cried Mrs. Arkell. is half-past five."
“I could not match the ribbon, mother, and I have been to nearly every shop in Riverton," was Miss Arkell's reply. “Mary Pembroke went with me. I did not know it was so late."
"Sit down, child : I have a word to say to you."
“ Peter has had his tea, and is gone,” replied Mrs. Daniel. “He looked weary enough, poor fellow ; more fit to go to bed than to go out teaching."
To explain Mrs. Daniel's words, it should be mentioned that Peter Arkell, with a view to aid their scanty income, had accepted a post as evening teacher in a gentleman's family.
“ Poor Peter !" continued Mrs. Daniel, “he is anything but strong, I fear.”
“ If we could but ease him in any way!" sighed Mildred. “ If I could but give these lessons for him! I wish, mother, I had it in my power to help him.”
“You perhaps may have it in your power sooner than you think for, child," said Mrs. Dan, significantly. “ Your aunt George was here this afternoon, while you were out about that ribbon.”
6 Was she ?" returned Mildred, apathetically.
“She came to talk to me about future prospects. And I am glad you were not here, Mildred, for our meeting was confidential.”
“About her prospects, mother ?" inquired Mildred, fixing her mild, dark eyes upon her parent.
“Hers! Her prospects, like mine, are pretty nearly drawing to a close. It was of yours, Mildred.”
Mildred did not speak, but a faint colour passed over her face. Her mother continued :
“I am sure you must have seen, child, long ago, that we all wanted you and William to make a match of it."
The colour on Mildred's face deepened. She had untied her bonnet, and now began playing nervously with the strings, as they hung down on each side her neck.
“Of course Mrs. George's communication to me was made in the supposition that you would be agreeable to the proposal,” resumed her mother; “and I said I thought there was no doubt of it. And let me tell you, Mildred, that a finer and a better young man than William Arkell does not live in Riverton."
Mildred's heart silently assented. “ Should you
objection to become William's wife ?" persisted Mrs. Dan, coming to the point.
“ There is one objection," cried Mildred, almost bitterly. “He has never asked me.”
“ But he has asked his mother for you, which is the same thing. I thought I said so. He broached the subject to her after dinner to-day.”
“Oh, mother!" uttered Mildred.
“He told her he was getting quite old enough to marry, and that the sooner it took place the better. “ Is this true ?"
sped Mildred. “ True!" echoed the old lady. “Do you think Mrs. George would come upon such an errand only to make game of us ? True !".
Mildred left the room. She could not bear that even her mother should witness her emotion. She never knew, till now, how deeply she had loved William Arkell. She shut herself in her bedroom, burying her face in her hands, and asking how she could ever be sufficiently