+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

of machinery, which in the end paralyses even
the power of thought."

Our German friend is a little hard upon
factory life. Though not so picturesque, it
does not, if candidly viewed, offer so very
unfavourable a contrast to that passed by the
Belgian Lace Workers.


QUIET enough, in general, is the quaint old
town of Lamborough. Why all this bustle to
day? Along the hedge-bound roads which
lead to it, carts, chaises, vehicles of every
description are jogging along filled with
countrymen; and here and there the scarlet
cloak or straw bonnet of some female
occupying a chair, placed somewhat unsteadily
behind them, contrasts gaily with the dark
coats, or grey smock-frocks of the front row;
from every cottage of the suburb, some
individuals join the stream, which rolls on
increasing through the streets till it reaches
the castle. The ancient moat teems with idlers,
and the hill opposite, usually the quiet domain
of a score or two of peaceful sheep, partakes
of the surrounding agitation.

The voice of the multitude which surrounds
the court-house, sounds like the murmur of
the sea, till suddenly it is raised to a sort of
shout. John West, the terror of the
surrounding country, the sheep-stealer and
burglar, had been found guilty.

"What is the sentence? " is asked by a
hundred voices.

The answer is "Transportation for Life."

But there was one standing aloof on the
hill, whose inquiring eye wandered over the
crowd with indescribable anguish, whose pallid
cheek grew more and more ghastly at every
denunciation of the culprit, and who, when at
last the sentence was pronounced, fell
insensible upon the green-sward. It was the
burglar's son.

When the boy recovered from his swoon, it
was late in the afternoon; he was alone; the
faint tinkling of the sheep-bell had again
replaced the sound of the human chorus of
expectation, and dread, and jesting; all was
peaceful, he could not understand why he lay
there, feeling so weak and sick. He raised
himself tremulously and looked around, the
turf was cut and spoilt by the trampling of
many feet. All his life of the last few months
floated before his memory, his residence in his
father's hovel with ruffianly comrades, the
desperate schemes he heard as he pretended
to sleep on his lowly bed, their expeditions at
night, masked and armed, their hasty returns,
the news of his father's capture, his own
removal to the house of some female in the
town, the court, the trial, the condemnation.

The father had been a harsh and brutal
parent, but he had not positively ill-used his
boy. Of the Great and Merciful Father of the
fatherless the child knew nothing. He deemed
himself alone in the world. Yet grief was not
his pervading feeling, nor the shame of being
known as the son of a transport. It was
revenge which burned within him. He thought
of the crowd which had come to feast upon
his father's agony; he longed to tear them to
pieces, and he plucked savagely a handful of
the grass on which he leant. Oh, that he were
a man! that he could punish them allall,—
the spectators first, the constables, the judge,
the jury, the witnesses,—one of them especially,
a clergyman named Leyton, who had given his
evidence more positively, more clearly, than
all the others. Oh, that he could do that man
some injury,—but for him his father would
not have been identified and convicted.

Suddenly a thought occurred to him,—his
eyes sparkled with fierce delight. "I know
where he lives," he said to himself; " he has
the farm and parsonage of Millwood. I will
go there at once,—it is almost dark already,
will do as I have heard father say he once
did to the Squire. I will set his barns and
his house on fire. Yes, yes, he shall burn
for it,—he shall get no more fathers

To procure a box of matches was an easy
task, and that was all the preparation the boy

The autumn was far advanced. A cold
wind was beginning to moan amongst the
almost leafless trees, and George West's teeth
chattered, and his ill-clad limbs grew numb
as he walked along the fields leading to
Millwood. "Lucky it's a dark night; this fine
wind will fan the flame nicely," he repeated to

The clock was striking nine, but all was
quiet as midnight; not a soul stirring, not a
light in the parsonage windows that he could
see. He dared not open the gate, lest the
click of the latch should betray him, so he
softly climbed over; but scarcely had he
dropped on the other side of the wall before
the loud barking of a dog startled him. He
cowered down behind the hay-rick, scarcely
daring to breathe, expecting each instant that
the dog would spring upon him. It was some
time before the boy dared to stir, and as his
courage cooled, his thirst for revenge somewhat
subsided also, till he almost determined
to return to Lamborough; but he was too
tired, too cold, too hungry,—besides, the
woman would beat him for staying out so
late. What could he do? where should he
go? and as the sense of his lonely and forlorn
position returned, so did also the affectionate
remembrance of his father, his hatred of his
accusers, his desire to satisfy his vengeance;
and, once more, courageous through anger, he
rose, took the box from his pocket, and boldly
drew one of them across the sand-paper. It
flamed; he stuck it hastily in the stack against
which he rested,—it only flickered a little,
and went out. In great trepidation, young
West once more grasped the whole of the
remaining matches in his hand and ignited
them, but at the same instant the dog barked.