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plots and awful histories. A true Metropolitan does not know his neighbour. The curiosity of a villager is unknown to, and despised by, the Cockney. I live in No. 16. Who lives in No. 17 ? I do not know. Over the way is a doctor's red lamp. What is the name of the doctor? I do not know. A few yards from my door is a street through which I pass several times every day. I do not know a single person in it; and I
-in my ignorance of my neighbours--am the type of thousands more, who do not know anything whatever of their neighbours.
Omnibuses are the vehicles used by a vast number of the population; but who can tell the name of the passenger sitting on the opposite seat ? What strange fellow-passengers we may have ! A murderer once rode in an omnibus with a woman's head in a handkerchief, but who knew that ? John Tawell entered an omnibus just after he had poisoned his victim. Dressed in very respectable garb, who suspected him of murder? Only one of the passengers, a detective in plain clothes, who tracked him to his homie
It has been my lot to have had some unexpected revelations made in connection with my frequent omnibus journeys. I remember, for example, a gentleman, riding with me from the city, suddenly exclaimed :“ Sir, you are very like George M'Cree.” “ And who," I said, “is George M'Cree?”
Whereupon he told me a great deal about myself, and finished his sketch of my history and pursuits by saying :
“Sir, you are as like George M'Cree as two peas are like each other.”
“So I ought to be," I responded, "seeing I am George M'Cree himself.”
His amazement and confusion formed a perfect study.
But to my story of The Dead Husband.
Going one day to Camberwell, for a little rest in a friend's house, I sat next to a well-dressed lady in black, who seemed much excited and displeased with the conductor.
“Oh! you have brought me out of my way. What shall I do? What shall I do?”
“No, ma'am, I have not,” replied the man, in a civil tone. “ Yes, you have ; yes, you have.” "No, ma'am, I have not.” “Yes, you have,” persisted the lady in black. “ Allow me to ask, ma'am,” I interposed, “ where you want to go ?”.
She turned towards me, scanned my face, and then, in a much quieter tone, she said :
“I wish to go to Denmark Road."*
“Then, ma'am, the conductor is perfectly right; you are going towards your destination." "Thank you, sic," she answered, resuming her furtive study of my face.
* Por obvious reasons the true names are not given.
I sat still and said nothing, for I had a curious presentiment that she had a sad tale to unfold, and thought of making me her confidant, aud I did not, I must confess, feel anxious to have such favour conferred upon me. At length the lady said :
“Excuse my nervousness, sir, but I have just lost my husband ; he has died suddenly, and I was not at home when this letter came,” here she showed me one addressed to a rectory in an eastern county, “and it was two days before it reached me.”
“I am sorry," I replied, “ that you should have such a trouble; and,” I added, “the omnibus will stop opposite the Police Station on Camberwell Green, and if you get out there I will show you the road you want.”
“The Police Station !” said my companion. “I must call there. There has been an inquest on my husband, and I want to know about it.”
When the omnibus arrived at the station, we left the vehicle together, and went towards the door, where a constable was standing. My good reader, did you ever pause awhile before the entrance of a London Police Station, and muse on the scenes which it must have witnessed ? Take the world-famous Bow Street. Look at that long, dark passage which leads from the door where two or three constables are conversing to the little gloomy barred office, where Inspector Brennan's face may be seen at the window of the inner office as he enters the charge made against a drunken gentleman for assaulting a policeman. What motley processions of criminals have been marched along that passage! Cabmen, porters, clergymen, ragged children, wandering women, medical students, pugilists, thieves, pirates, and murderers, have gone along there to trial, punishment, and death. “A prisoner at Bow Street !” What a thrill of horror has that sentence given to many a fond heart! “Committed for trial from Bow Street !” Let that be done, and a verdict of guilty is almost certain to fall upon the head of the prisoner, and desolate indeed will be his lot.
But to return. When my companion came out of the station (I had waited for her at the door) I said :
“ Yonder, on the left side of the road, is where you want to go.”
I walked a few yards towards it, pondering what to do. At last she exclaimed :
“The fact is, 'sir, I have not lived with my husband for two years. He left me."
I started a little, and looked at her rather dubiously.
“ Yes," she went on to say, “he left me, and has been living-living with another, and he has died suddenly in her house."
“Indeed, that is a sad trouble for you. Well, there is the road you seek, and, no doubt, some one will inform you where the house you seek is."
Iturned away to leave her, when, in a hurried, eager tone, she pleaded :“Do come with me, sir; I do not know what kind of reception I shall
have from Mrs. Moram-that's the woman's name, sir. Do come with me, and see how she receives me!”
“Would it not have been better, ma'am, for you to have your family solicitor or some personal friend with you ?” I inquired.
“Oh, no! I would rather have you. Do come! I am quite alone; do come!”
Very reluctantly I walked by her side until we came to Green Street. “Here is the street,” I said.
It was a small, dull, stony street. The houses were evidently built by men who knew how to run them up in a few weeks. The bricks were small and rugged. The door pillars were covered with miserable stucco, which was peeling off in large flakes. The windows were glazed with greenish glass. The street doors were marrow; the knockers hanging all awry; and the bits of garden were paved with big gravel stones, and planted with tiny plots of grass. No sun shone forth. The children played without cheerfulness. Even the cats seemed dull in their spirits as they crept from garden to garden ; and the butcher's boy slunk along without a whistle. It was a dull street leading out of a dull road, and made me feel very dull too."
“There is the house,” cried the lady. “No. 39; that's it!” and she darted through the iron gate and knocked imperiously at the door.
I stood on the pavement outside, resolved to interfere as little as possible, and to await the course of events.
“Does Mrs. Moram live here ?" asked the visitor, of a dusty-headed girl, who answered her knock.
“ No, ma'am.”
I looked up and saw that none of the blinds were down, and that the lady had made a mistake in the house.
• She must live here ; this is No. 39; she must live here ;" and my unhappy companion sought to enter the house at once. The girl shut the door in her face. “Oh! what shall I do, sir ?”. I went towards her, and speaking in a gentle voice, I said :
“ You are in error as to the number, I fear. Look at the windows; all the blinds are drawn up. Let me see the address you have.”
She drew from her pocket a letter, which she placed in my hands, and I saw that she had made a mistake.
"It is No. 19 here, not 39; and see,” I said, “yonder," pointing to an opposite house, “is the door; and see, the blinds are down."
The lady trembled with excitement, crossed the street, hurriedly ascended the stone steps which led from the street, and gave a loud knock.
The door was opened by Mrs. Moram.
The lady in black looked sternly at her. Mrs. Moram looked timidly at the lady in black. For some moments nothing was said by any of us. At length Mrs. Moram made a servile curtsey, and in a soft, cringing tone said :
“Will you come in, Mrs. Chater ? "
Such a salutation made me suspect that Mrs. Moram had been a meni in Mrs. Chater's household. It was even so. The servant had su planted the mistress in the affections of her husband. As Mrs. Chat passed into the hall of the house, she beckoned to me as I still stood outsid and said :
“ Will you come in, sir ?”
I did so. When we entered the front parlour, Mrs. Chater pointe to me and informed Mrs. Moram that I was a friend who had come wit her. Mrs. Moram curtsied : I bowed, but said nothing.
“ Where is my husband ?" inquired Mrs. Chater in a husky voice.
“In there, ma'am," replied Mrs. Moram, and she pointed towards ; pair of folding doors, which were shut. “Would you like to see him ma'am ? "
See him! What wife is there in the world who would not wish to set her dead husband, even though he had forsaken her? Her love comes back as fresh and full and fervent as ever when he is forlorn or gone far hence,
“ Yes," faintly answered the widowed woman.
Together they passed through the folding doors, and I stood alone and silent in the parlour. For a few moments there was silence in the other room, and then I heard Mrs. Chater exclaim :
“Oh, sir, will you come here?"
In an instant I was beside her as she stood beside a long, black coffin. Mrs. Moram bad placed herself near.
“I cannot lift off the lid, sir,” said Mrs. Chater sadly, as she pointed to the coffin.
I removed it, and revealed The Dead Husband. He had been a fine, tall, lithesome, military-looking man. There he lay in the embrace of the DESTROYING ANGEL, and in the presence of his injured and forsaken wife. She kissed his cold brow, threaded his silken flaxen hair through her fingers, and gazed distressfully upon his face. Did she see then the trysting place, the altar, the wedding feast, the bridal chamber, the purple haze of her wifely joy? Did she hear once more the bells ringing their peals at her marriage ? Did she sigh
“The tender grace of the day that has filed,
Will never come back to me"? I cannot tell what were her thoughts, for she remained silent. I went to her and said :
“ You will take a lock of his hair with you ?”
Then I comforted her with words from the Golden Book. She thanked me with tears. I then, as in the presence of God, rebuked Mrs. Moram for her cruelty and sin, and left the house with a heart full of sad and mournful thoughts. Years have passed away since then, but I cannot forget THE DEAD HUSBAND.
THE ANGEL VISIT.
On the evening of the thirty-first | eyes to discover the cause, I was of December, I had been cherishing terrified on perceiving that another the humiliating and solemn refile being was with me in my seclusion. tions which are peculiarly suitable to I saw one before me whose form the close of the year; and, endeavour- indeed was human, but the bright ing to bring my mind to that view of burning of his eye, and the splenthe past best calculated to influence dour which beamed forth from every the future. I had attempted to re part of his beautifully proportioned call the prominent incidents of the form, convinced me at a glance that twelve months which had elapsed, it was no human being I saw. The and in this endeavour was led fre elevation of his brow gave dignity of quently to regret how little my the highest order to his countenance; memory could retain, even of that ! but the most acute penetration was most important to be remembered. indicated by his piercing eye; and I could not avoid at such a period inexorable justice was imprinted on looking forward as well as backward, his majestic features. A glittering and anticipating that fearful tribunal phylactery encircled his head, on at which no occurrence will be for which was written, as in letters of gotten, whilst my imagination pene fire, “The Faithful One." Under one trated into the distant destinies which arm he bore two volumes; in his shall be dependent on its decisions. hand he held a pen. I instantly At my usual hour I retired to rest; knew the recording angel, the secrebut the train of meditations I had tary of the terrible tribunal of been pursuing was so important and Heaven. With trembling which appropriate, that imagination con convulsed my frame, I heard his untinued it after sense had slumbered. earthly accents. “ In thoughts, in visions of the “Mortal,” said he, “thou wast night, when deep sleep falleth upon longing to recall the events of the man,” I was mentally concerned in past year; thou art permitted to gaze the following scene of interest. upon the Book of God; read and
I imagined myself still adding be wise.” link after link to the train of reflec As he spoke this, he opened before tion, the progress of which the time me one of the volumes which he had of repose had interrupted; and, brought. In fearful apprehension, whilst thus engaged, I was aware I read in it my own name, and recogthat there remained but a few nised the history of my own life moments to complete the day. I during the past year, with all its heard the clock as it tolled the knell minutest particulars. Burning words of another year; and, as it rang slowly were those which that volume conthe appointed number, each note tained; all the actions and circumwas followed by a sting of conscience, stances of my life were registered reproaching me with the loss of pre under their respective heads in that cious time. The last stroke was dreadful book.. ringing in my ears, painful as the I was first struck with the title, knell announcing the departure of a “Mercies received.” Some there valued friend, when, notwithstand were the remembrance of which I ing the meditative posture in which had retained; more that were reI was sitting, I perceived that the called after having been forgotten; dimness of the apartment changed. but the far greater number had never to brightness; and on lifting my | been noticed at all. Oh, what a