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this very pleasant but perilous world, but until I was assured that he to whom I pledged my troth had proved by his perseverance that he loved my kindred, and was as proud of them as I am myself. How could I tell all this at once? If I have exerted my power while that power was still my own, I call you all to witness, that from this time forth I yield all due submission where submission becomes no less my duty than my own free will and pleasure."
“Well done, my brave, honest little wife,” Lord Redcar exclaimed; “ I honour and prize your love ten thousand times the more for the proof you have now given me of it. And who cares for what that graceless fellow says ? Every body knows a sailor's idea of love, when he thinks it part of his duty to lose his heart to the prettiest girl in every port at which he touches. How should he know what constancy and true love mean? But hark!” he added, “the band is playing 'God save the Queen ;' we must go and do our part in speeding the parting guests, and make known ourselves to Lady Redenham the crowning point of her ever-memorable fête.”
“ That is an inexpressible comfort," Margaret exclaimed, as she and Guy, assisted by Ralph and Frank, made their way into the castle ; " for though I had unbounded confidence in Grace's good sense, I own I did sometimes dread that she would overstep even Redcar's patience."
“Oh, Maggie,” Ralph said, “how my father would have rejoiced had he lived to see this day !"
Margaret's eyes were filled with tears; but smiles were still lingering about her mouth, as she gave her arm to Guy to assist him up the hallsteps. Her heart was too full for her to venture on a reply.
CHAPTER XLII. Ir is full four years since the events occurred which are recorded in the last chapter. The church and schools, whose foundations were that day laid, have risen up in beautiful proportions, gladdening the hearts of the scattered cottagers on the Moss. Ralph often comes down to Leigh Court during the summer with his wife and children, doing more than a curate's work among his old parishioners; while the warmer and more sheltered residence at Owen's Cliff is looked on as their permanent home until the little Owen shall have come of age to claim it. Pale and delicate as Katie still is, a winter in Italy has very much invigorated her, and Dr. Harford is not without hope that she may yet live to a good old age,
Absorbed in their parish work, Die and her husband care little for the gay life Barbara contrives to lead in town, where Horace Chudleigh's talents have already given him a name and a standing among the leading lawofficers of the Crown. Mrs. Leigh has no settled home; her time is divided between her children and Ann Leigh, whose winters are still passed in her own cottage at Bonchurch, though her own old apartments in the west wing of Redenham are exclusively devoted to her use.
If Ethie has lost her girlish beauty, she has become as strikingly handsome in the full bloom of her well-developed matronhood. Not a shadow of doubt has darkened the horizon of her or Philip's trust since that day's mutual repentance and sorrow at Scutari.
If Grace was long in deciding to accept the love of Lord Redcar, she has never had cause to repent the choice she has made. A merrier or more light-hearted couple never shared the bonds of matrimony. The accepted ways of the world have little attractions for them. In spite of their own young heir, and the tiny little Margaret, the Flirt, with its brave little crew, and its independent owner and his lady, and their wellappointed nursery on board, is seen spreading her white sails in every part of the globe where daring English yachts have yet ventured. Lady Redcar thinks the time may come when they will tire of their roving life; but until their little Maggie shall have grown old enough to be brought out, there is little probability of their name appearing as a leader in the gay circles which still hold sway over her sister Ethie.
Aunt Sarah, full of years, beloved and regretted by every one, sleeps in the quiet grave-yard surrounding the old Quakers' meeting-house at the end of the orchard. Dr. Harford's wife and children now inhabit the old house in Acre Lane; but modern taste and some of the luxuries of this refired age have metamorphosed it, until even Margaret fails to trace the spot where her own bit of garden was parted off for her use, or the bright sunny room which is still called by her name.
Guy Vyvian has recovered his lameness, but the fire and vigour of youth have never returned to his frame. With deep regret he heard the sad tidings of the Indian Mutiny, grieving that he could not join the eager throng of brave men who so nobly rescued the living and avenged the atrocities perpetrated on helpless women and children ; while Margaret, as her bosom thrilled over the recitals, blushed when she owned secretly, in her inmost heart, a deep-hidden satisfaction that her husband could not yet expose himself to the perils of such a dreadful war.
One twelvemonth they passed with Ralph and Katie on the Continent. For three months Margaret was her aunt Sarah's constant nurse; and between Redenham and Owen's Cliff, they never yet have found time for fixing on their own home, though Guy bids her remember, as the wife of the new member for Wylminstre, she will be bound to endure as best she can the dust and heat of London, while he does his duty to his constituents, during the pleasant spring and summer. Ever ready to accept the sunshine, Margaret calls to mind a field of usefulness open to all who interest themselves in the welfare of others in that vast overgrown city, while she remembers her proximity to those dear little nephews and nieces who are insensibly creeping into the folds of her capacious heart, and compensating in a measure for the one only blessing which has been withheld from her in her married life.
Limestones and Marbles.
In a former Article an account was given of those curious and rather remarkable deposits of chalk which are so abundant and characteristic in many parts of the south and east of England. Chalk is, after all, only a particular form of limestone, although so different in some respects as to deserve special consideration; but there is much to be said of general interest about the other kinds, often known under different names, but always curious, and available for many very useful purposes. They are much more widely spread than chalk, and their value is recognised in all countries.
Limestones and marbles differ from chalk in being harder and more compact, and having a much less earthy texture. While buried for ages in the earth, they have become to a certain extent altered, by a process which, if continued long enough, would turn them into crystalline minerals. Many of the limestones, indeed, are already partly crystalline, either here and there in the bulk of the rock, or else in cavities. Crystals are often seen shot out, as it were, from the walls of a cavity, although all around there is no apparent change in the mixed fragments of shells and fine particles of sand of which the stone was evidently made up. In proportion as limestones are of closer grain, of firmer texture, and more compact, they approach to the condition called semi-crystalline, and thus they pass by successive stages into marbles, which are true crystalline limestones.
Limestone is, as every one knows, a common mineral enough in England, very large parts of the country consisting of little else. Vast quantities are also found not only in most parts of Europe, but generally throughout the world. There are, however, some large districts in which this rock is absent, and others where it is not to be obtained very near the surface; and as lime is wanted not only for building purposes, as stone or for mortar, but for mixing with and forming part of soils, the places where limestones are rare generally suffer much from the want of them. When it is remembered that all bone consists chiefly of lime, and that birds require it to form a hard coating for their eggs, the necessity of this mineral will be seen. It is useful to know where to find it, and how to recognise the varieties.
There are two or three very different minerals generally called limestones. One is the common carbonate of lime—such as Bath and Portland stones-passing into marble, and having the same composition, with the addition of some impurities. Another is the magnesian limestone, or dolomite,-a mixed carbonate of lime and magnesia; also a building stone, and unfortunately very notorious, as being the stone of which the Houses of Parliament were built, concerning whose early decay there is so much discussion at present. Gypsum, or alabaster, much used in a burnt state in making plaster of Paris and other varieties of plaster, and occasionally sculptured as an ornamental stone, is a third kind; but this is a sulphate, not a carbonate of lime, and has therefore a distinct chemical composition. The two first varieties when burnt yield a hardish compact substance, known as quick-lime; but the last yields plaster of Paris, an extremely fine powdery material, having very different properties. Quick-lime mixed with water heats, swells, and falls to powder; but plaster of Paris absorbs water, and immediately sets, and becomes permanently hard. The difference between the common and magnesian limestones and gypsum is therefore practically very essential.
Many of the limestones, such as those used for building, are of a grayish and dirty white, or cream colour, of very uniform texture, and tolerably hard; some, like those found in Derbyshire and Devonshire, are compact enough to take a high polish, but being coloured and veined are of no value for artistic purposes, though much used for furniture and decoration, for which they are well adapted. Others, again, such as the Carrara and Parian marbles, are used in sculpture, and are known as statuary marbles. These latter are of the most exquisite white tint, and show a texture like loaf-sugar, or even sometimes like virgin wax.
Of building stones there is indeed an immense variety; some of them being hard and others soft, some brittle and others tough, some full of shells, some made up of little round egg-shaped particles, like the roe of a fish (oolite or roe-stone), some of sandy grains easily separated. Most of them absorb water very readily, and in large quantity; and when exposed in buildings where the weather affects them, and where they are exposed to wet and dry, heat and cold, they are very apt to become rotten, and the sculptured and ornamental parts break off.
In England it is rare to find limestones of a dead white colour, like chalk, and at the same time extremely hard and close grained. Such limestones, however, are common enough in other countries, and are very valuable materials for construction, as they are handsome and durable, absorbing but little water. Each country possesses its own materials, and those of one district are by no means always, nor are they usually, identical with those of another.
Most of the common limestones lie in beds of moderate thickness, separated from each other by an intermediate bed of clay or rubbish, or of stone valueless for building purposes. Very often these beds lie horizontally, or nearly so, and they are almost always parallel to each other; but occasionally they are tilted at a high angle,--a position that must have been produced by some force lifting them up from below after they had been hardened; and generally in such cases the beds are broken asunder, and are more or less rotten near the point where the elevation took effect. When limestones lie on the flanks of mountains, or form mountain masses reaching to the clouds, it is not difficult to see and understand the mode of action of the force, and we may even judge of its magnitude; but when a large district is affected by moderate elevations, it is not so easy to trace All limestones when in the earth contain a good deal of water, and they are softer and more easily chiselled when just removed from the quarry than after a few months' exposure. When left exposed to dry air, the stone dries, and a hard crust forms upon it, which resists the action of weather; but if used at once, and subject to the pressure which must act upon all stones in a building before the stone has had time to consolidate, the weather will generally have much more effect upon it.
Most of the stones in a quarry very near the top are more cracked and destroyed than those taken from some depth; so that many quarries now are completely underground, the stone being worked out from the bed within the bowels of the earth, just as coal is removed from the mine. One result of this method is, that with care the best bed and the best part of a bed of stone may be secured; but it is necessary to take precautions that the stones thus brought out are properly dried before use, as they will have undergone no chance of weathering until removed into the
air. An old quarry, and a quarry where the stone is got in the open air, is a picturesque object enough: the steep face, the successive steps as one bed is worked in advance of another, the vegetation bursting out from all the cracks and corners, and the half-decayed weathered look of the parts where no work has been going on for some time, are all objects on which the eye rests with pleasure. In one place a huge crane is lifting large blocks to a truck, in another a puff of smoke marks where a recent blast has taken place; while the approaches to the quarry, with their rough roads and broken rails, form a contrast with the surrounding scenery which is eminently favourable to the picturesque.
Those quarries where the whole or most of the work is carried on underground and out of sight, are far less interesting. Opening often on the bank of a river or canal, nothing is to be seen but a small tunnel or entry, the wagons bringing out the stone already reduced to convenient sizes, and ready to put on the boats lying alongside. Still, even here, the
eye rests with pleasure on a certain contrast of nature with art, which rarely fails to produce some effects pleasing to the lover of the picturesque.
In many limestone rocks of large extent there are caverns or open spaces communicating with the outer world. Among such caverns, those of Adelsberg in Carinthia, on the road from Vienna to Trieste, and the so-called Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, in America, are the largest that have been described. The Peak Cavern in Derbyshire, the caverns in Yorkshire, Somersetshire, and South Wales, those in Sicily, Central France, and Bavaria, and others in the rock of Gibraltar, are well known as objects of curiosity, visited by strangers, and some of them afford very curious facts for consideration. These are of two kinds, one having reference to the mechanics of the cavern,—the way it was hollowed out and has been partly filled up with those wonderful appearances called stalactites,—and the other to the remains of animals found frequently on and beneath the earthy floor of the cave.