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ness was of no consequence, he assured him several times that he had no strength at all; and indeed his pulse ceased almost to beat. He began, then, to rub his feet with vinegar, and applied the same several times to his head and shoulders. After which, in the absence of his servants, he poured water also over himself; so that, when they returned after a few moments, they found him quite wet. To counteract the bad effect of this proceeding, they began to rub him with a little oil. In the evening he took a little food, and tried to sleep; but notwithstanding that he seems to have taken something to bring on sleep, he threw himself restless from one side to the other, calling his wife several times by her name. After having walked out of his tent with the assistance of his servant, he ordered tea, and remained restless on his bed. When it was past midnight, his old dragoman, Yusuf Moknee, who watched in his tent, made some coffee, in order to keep himself awake; upon which Mr. Richardson demanded a cup of coffee for himself: but his hand being so weak that he could scarcely raise the cup, he said to Moknee: "Tergamento Ufa!"-"Your office as dragoman is finished;" and repeated several times, with a broken voice, "Forza mafishe, forza mafishe le-koul"—" I have no strength, I have no strength, I tell you," at the same time laying Mahommed's hand on his shoulder. Feeling death approaching, he got up in a sitting posture, being supported by Mahommed, and soon expired, after three times deep breathing. He was entirely worn out, and died quietly, about two after midnight, Tuesday, 4th March (Jumed-el-awel), without the least struggle.
The account here given of Mr. Richardson having very probably in his extreme anxiety over-dosed himself, meets with some corroboration in the fact of his recording himself as having administered two ounces of Epsom salts to an unfortunate native who appealed to him for medical assistance. It is evident that the climate had a very depressing effect upon him, and that, combined with fatigue and anxiety, was enough to produce low nervous fever. To all who feel interested in travel and adventure, the journal he has left behind him will ever be referred to as a work of infinite interest. The countries to which he penetrated were comparatively new-in great part untrodden by foot of Europeans, and treated of to the present as sandy deserts and rocky wildernesses. The totally different aspects of things, the now wild picturesque regions peopled by equally wild predatory Tawariks; the more fertile wooded and watered regions, frequented by the lion, the giraffe, the wild ox, the ostrich, the guinea fowl, and a hundred other remarkable forms of animal life; and lastly, the fertile, rich, and populous territory of the negro Sultans of Sudan and Burnu, are all successively brought before us with a lively, graphic pen, especially felicitous in conveying pleasing and distinct ideas of these different, strange, little known, and wondrous countries.
A TURN IN THE LEAF OF LIFE.
Ir was a very considerable time after Mr. Ailsa's departure, which, not having been announced previously, came upon the village of Ebury like an electric shock, ere the steeple-chase faded from its every-day thoughts. Indeed, it left behind it consequences to last as a memorial; rendering it, to the inhabitants, a sort of national event to date from, such as William of Normandy conquering England, the rebellion of Cromwell, or the murder of Percival.
To the astonishment of all, Tom Hardwick did not die. He lay for many, many months, we may almost say years, in agony, and partially recovered to remain a shattered, helpless cripple. In this suffering state' he continued, looking for no improvement on this side the grave, to whatever period his life might be prolonged. On fine days he was placed in a hand-carriage, and drawn about the village-the once brilliant Tom-what a change! His old friends and associates would call in at his lodgings, or walk by his side as he was drawn about, relating all the scraps of news they could pick up, to cheer his spirits. Emily Bell would often join him, though without hope of flirting-all idea of which for him, poor fellow, was at an end for ever. Neither did
Emily herself seem to pursue the amusement so strenuously as before. Whether it was the sudden departure of James Ailsa that affected her spirits, or the accident to Tom, or that the Ebury beaux were growing shy of her, could not be decided, but from about the time of the steeplechase, the village saw very little of Emily's flirtations.
Now it is very probable that what has further to be related of James Ailsa, will appear too romantic to be true. The reader may say, it will
do for fiction: not for real life. But let him not continue in his unbelief. This tale is one of real life; one that was enacted not very long ago; and there are many living who could testify to it: otherwise, it never would have been penned. Barren of event the general reader may deem it; devoid, perhaps, of interest. It would have been easy to embellish it. with incidents that never occurred, rendering it far more interesting as a story, but the strict truth would not then have been adhered to. Every word in it is fact, even to that sinful wish of James Ailsa's, as his rival rode past him on the morning of the steeple-chase, and its startling fulfilment. The writer felt this explanation to be necessary, if only in apology for a tale that has so little of event to recommend it.
Closely following upon Ailsa's departure from Ebury, Mr. Winninton received a certain application from Sir John Gaunt. Sir John was the lord of the manor of Ebury, and the adjacent lands. He was the owner of a large estate in the neighbourhood, and had also become the proprietor, by purchase, of no inconsiderable portion of the village of Ebury, the house occupied by the Bells forming part of it. Sir John Gaunt was a widower, and had recently lost his only child, a young man in the first bloom of life. He had come of age but the year before, which had been celebrated by rejoicings far and near-they little thought how soon his course would be run. Sir John had long been in ill health, and
the grief caused by his son's death augmented his disorder. His physicians ordered him to seek change of scene in travel; and the purport of his application to Mr. Winninton, who was an old friend of his, was to inquire if he knew any medical man who would accompany him as travelling companion, and medical attendant.
Mr. Winninton at once thought of James Ailsa: he greatly esteemed and respected him, and he knew that he could most conscientiously recommend him to Sir John Gaunt, as being in every way qualified for the post. The old surgeon felt indignant at the treatment Ailsa had received in Ebury: perhaps he saw no objection to the writing of loveletters: perhaps he thought the whole of the blame lay with Miss Bell, who had certainly begun the flirtation herself, and had drawn Ailsa on. If they must have been separated, argued the doctor one day to a whole conclave of village gossips, it might have been accomplished kindly and quietly, without all that publicity and holding-forth of Ailsa to general contempt. Had they spoken to him, he could have told them traits in Ailsa's character which might compensate for more substantial qualifications possessed by others who were held in high favour. Not that he would have had them marry off-hand, confident of living upon air or practice to come-no such thing. But they were both young, and might have waited. Ailsa was a clever man in his profession, and had years before him.
However, Mr. Winninton spoke in Ailsa's favour to Sir John Gaunt, who accepted the recommendation; and, all preliminaries being arranged, they left England together.
The steeple-chase killed one person, eventually, if not at the moment. Poor old Squire Hardwick, broken-hearted at the accident to his favourite son, was in less than six months afterwards laid in his grave. There was little provision left for Tom: the estates were entailed upon the eldest son, and the portion settled on the younger children was but small. The squire scraped together what he could for his unfortunate son, which was not much, his reign having been too profuse and liberal to leave many resources at his command, and with his dying breath left him to the care of his heir. And that heir, so far as real assistance went, neglected the injunction.
Mr. Francis Hardwick, now the squire, took up his residence at the Hall. Mary remained there as its mistress, for her brother was unmarried. It was yet to be seen what sort of a life he would lead, whether a roistering, turning-night-into-day one, as his father and Tom had done, or one of a more rational description. Not a great deal was known in the village of Mr. Frank Hardwick's character and pursuits, for he had been seldom at Ebury since he grew to man's estate. It was rumoured that he was close-handed; but if so, quoth the village gossips, he was not a true Hardwick.
Ebury returned to its usual quietness-doubly quiet now that Mr. Tom Hardwick's freaks could not enliven it-and for a long time nothing occurred worthy of note. It did at last, however. Mr. Bell got speculating with his money, and-as a natural sequence-turned it into ducks and drakes. Ebury awoke one fine morning to find that Mr. Bell was ruined nothing remained, it was understood, but the income of Mrs. Bell-a mere pittance. This sort of misfortune usually brings a houseMay-VOL. XCVIII. NO. CCCLXXXIX.
hold to a climax, and it did so with them. They sold off their furniture, and departed for London.
For some years afterwards little was heard of them, but at that period Mr. Winninton, having a vacancy for an apprentice, wrote to Mrs. Bell, and offered, with a kindness of heart that did him honour, to take her youngest son without premium-an offer which was most thankfully accepted. So the lad arrived at Ebury-a tall young shaver of fourteen; with a capacious forehead, and lanky black hair.
And now for James Ailsa again-for you don't suppose his going abroad with Sir John Gaunt was the wonderful thing I had to tell you about him. He and Sir John remained on the Continent for many years, the latter growing wonderfully attached to him. The first prejudice he took in favour of Ailsa was a resemblance he saw, or fancied he saw, in his person and manners to his deceased son. But apart from this, when he became thoroughly acquainted with Ailsa, it was impossible for him to be otherwise than attached to him.
Sir John struggled on with his malady; sometimes he would be better, sometimes not; gradually, however, growing worse upon the whole; and at length he returned to England-to die. Ailsa remained with him to the last-to part with him now would have been to Sir John almost like parting with life. But that dread moment was not long in coming for him.
When Sir John Gaunt's will was opened, it was found he had left most substantial proof of his regard for Ailsa. All his property in the village of Ebury, consisting of houses and land, was bequeathed to him, with a considerable sum in money, and other property of value.
Now here was a strange thing. That young man, the humble assistant to the country surgeon, had been thrust from the village but seven years before, despised by its aristocrats, contemptuously rejected by the Bells, and trampled down, as one deserving the quintessence of scorn, by Mr. Tom Hardwick. Yet now he returned to them a rich man, a landed proprietor, an equal to all round about, be they whom they might. You will agree with me in saying that it was passing strange.
It was like a dream to Ebury, or one of those electric shocks talked of before, when the house formerly occupied by the Bells was put into ornamental repair, preparatory to James Ailsa's taking up his residence there. All the village flocked to see the furniture before its owner's arrival, from the squire's newly-married lady to good Miss Winninton's cook, who had grown old in her service. Ailsa had chosen it in London and sent it down: plain and unobtrusive it proved to be, to the intense disappointment of the gaping visitors, but with a quiet elegance pervading the whole. Many conjectures had been hazarded, when the news of Ailsa's fortune first reached Ebury, as to how he would dispose of himself and his wealth, and where he would make his future residence, the bets being fifty to one against Ebury. It was thought by many that he had had enough of the place. The question was finally set at rest by his arrival.
He was little altered, looking scarcely, if any, older; his pale complexion was somewhat browned by travel, and his manners were unassuming and gentlemanly as usual. Not a whit of assumption or self-consequence had his good fortune brought him.
In the sitting-room of a small, confined residence on the outskirts of London, sat Mrs. Bell with her three daughters. The once confirmed invalid, since she had been roused through poverty to exertion, had regained her health, and was looking better than when formerly known to the reader. She was in widow's weeds, indicating that her husband had left this world for another; but, from the coloured dresses of her children, it might be inferred the event had not been a recent one. Their attire bore the marks of gentility, though differing widely from the handsome, flowing robes they had once worn.
It was the dusk of evening; and Emily was seated on a low stool, holding a letter in her hand, which she looked over by fire-light, sometimes laying it on her lap as if in thought, and then again recurring to it.
"I do think I should like to go, mamma," she said at length. "Polly, be quiet."
"Read the letter to us again, Emily," said Mrs. Bell. "I only skimmed the heads of it when it came this morning, I was so busy with the pudding, and I have had no time to look at it since. Polly, my dear, heard your sister tell you to be quiet. Don't dance about, but sit down and listen."
Emily stirred the fire into a blaze, and began to read:
"I really did not think it could have been five months since I wrote, till your letter came to remind me last week, and I am quite ashamed not to have answered your two last, and Miss Winninton is very angry about it too; but indeed, dear mamma, I have been very busy lately. Mr. Winninton says I get on very well. I bled a person the other day: it was that barber's man round the corner; he who had used to be always drinking, you know. He fell down in a fit close by our door, and they brought him in to the surgery. Mr. Winninton and Mr. Tuck were out, and I tried the lancet, and used it famously, and saved the man's life. It's reckoned, I can assure you, a great feather in my cap, down here. I'm going into tooth-drawing next; but that requires muscle and nerve, and Mr. Tuck says I am deficient in both at present. Mr. and Miss Winninton are so kind: what do you think they did, mamma? Because my best clothes were getting shabby, they have had a new suit made for me as a present-such beauties! But I think the trousers were made out of some of Mr. Winninton's old ones, for he used to wear a pair just like them-grey stripes. I have got a message for you from Miss Winninton-won't it make Emily dance! She sends her respects or love or something of that, and she says she wants to ask you a favour. It is that you will send Emily to Ebury to visit her for two or three months. She says the pleasant spring-time is coming on, and she would like her to come immediately. She begs you to excuse her writing herself, because her eyes are so much dimmer than they were, but you are to write back to her in a week at furthest, and say which day Emily will be with us. And Mr. Winninton says I am to tell you Emily shall be well taken care of, and that he will take no excuse. Do let her come,