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visit which, during three years
and a half, her friends have never condescended to pay her instructresses."
" She ought not to want any
preparation," returned the lady, with undiminished violence. " Do you keep her
in a pig-sty, that she is not fit to be seen when her"—she stopped herself for
an instant--" when her friends call upon her? Come here, child."
Lily answered the summons not
very willingly. The handsome angry lady terrified her. She was accustomed,
however, to do as she was bid, and obeyed the command : approaching the lady,
however, sideways, and with one small forefinger in her mouth.
"Don't look like a fool!" cried
the handsome lady.
Lily did not know what else to
look like ; or, to an uninterested spectator, she might have looked very much
like a little girl in active preparation for a good cry. Her perturbation was
increased when the strange visitor, pulling the child toward her, and with no
very gentle hand offered very unmistakable evidence that she was about to
undress her. She stayed her hand, how-ever, at the sight of Lily's little
gleaming white shoulders, which---a most curious and inconsequential lady
this—she proceeded, incontinent, to cover with very fierce hot kisses. And then,
that nothing might be wanting to the oddity of her demeanor, she pushed the
child away again.
"There," she said, "I see you're
clean enough. Do you give her a bath every morning ?" she resumed, addressing
"Miss Florin," retorted that
young lady, combining a diplomatic evasion with much moral suavity, "has
constantly received unremitting attention, both as regards her physical and
"How fine you schoolmistresses
talk !" the lady went on, not, apparently, in the slightest degree touched by
the governess's eloquence. "It is all in the advertisement, I suppose--l'annonce.
What is your name, child ?"
The little girl opened her eyes,
and Miss Barbara opened hers too. Had not the strange lady asked for Miss Floris?
" Lily," the child answered.
"Lily Floris, ma'am."
"Beast of a name. We must change
it. How old are you?"
Lily looked appealingly at Miss
"I have reason to believe," Miss
Bunnycastle remarked, with lofty condescension, "that Miss Floris is rapidly
approaching her eighth birthday."
"Are you happy here ?" resumed
the lady, not deigning to acknowledge Miss Bunnycastle's volunteered statement.
" Yes, ma'am," the child replied,
with all the sincerity of eight years of age. The lady frowned at this somewhat
; but Miss Bunnycastle rendered thanks to Lily, in her secret soul. "It was
always an engaging little thing," she admitted mentally.
" Do they beat you ?" the lady
" No, ma'am," the child returned,
opening her eyes wider than ever.
"Tant pis," said the lady. "When
I was young they used to beat me like a sack. It is true," she added, turning to
Miss Bunnycastle made a genteel
inclination of the head, which might mean any thing ; but I believe that in the
recesses of her mind the thought just then was uppermost, that if that handsome
lady had been one of her young lady boarders, and of a convenient age, she would
have given her some viva voce exemplifications of the law of kindness, which
should have been of a nature to astonish her.
" I suppose it's good for
children, the stick, and all that," the lady added, musing. " It did me a
torrent of good, to be sure. It made me love every body so. There," she cried,
giving her body a sudden wrench, as though she wished to rid herself of an
unpleasant theme of thought, "I dare say you're too frightened to tell the truth
while your schoolmistress is near. Please to have her dressed, and I will take
her out for a walk."
The last part of her speech was
addressed to Miss Barbara, and the governess thought it high time to make a
stand upon it.
" Madam," she said, with freezing
politeness, " Miss Floris was placed here, three years and a half since, by two
gentlemen who, in confiding her — then almost an infant — to our charge,
strictly stipulated that she was never to leave it, save under direct
" Monsieur Jean Baptiste
Constant," the lady interposed, and, for a wonder, very coolly. "I know all
about that. M. Constant is the agent for Miss Floris's guardian, and M. Constant
pays her school-bills every year."
" Precisely so," Miss Barbara
returned. Therefore without instructions from M. Constant-"
" You wouldn't let her go: at
least you'd say you wouldn't, although, if I choose, I'd have the child out of
this house if fifty dragoons with drawn swords stood at the door to oppose it.
But what nonsense all this is ! Do you know the handwriting of M. Jean Baptiste
" Perfectly well, Madam."
" Then read that : get the
child's hat and pelisse on, and let me hear no more about it."
She opened a pretty reticule, all
velvet and golden beads, and flung rather than handed to Miss Bunnycastle a note
written in M. Constant's remarkably small and neat handwriting, in which, with
many compliments to the amiable Madame and Mesdemoiselles Bunnycastle, he
requested them, in all respects, to obey such directions as should be given to
them in respect to Miss Lily Floris, by Madame la Comtesse de Prannes, that
young lady's nearest female relative.
" The letter, I see, is dated
Paris," Miss Bun-
nycastle replied, after reading
and re-reading the note, but still with a certain amount of hesitation.
"Whence else?" returned the lady,
with impetuosity. " He being in Paris. M. Jean Baptiste Constant is ill. He is
in bed. He has an aneurism."
" And you, Madam ?"
" You are very inquisitive. I am
Miss Floris's nearest female relative. I am Madame la Comtesse de Prannes. There
is my card, which I gave to your dirty slut of a servant. Would you like to know
any thing else ? Where I was born ? When I was baptized ? At what age I made my
first communion ?"
The last straw broke the camel's
back. The Bunnycastle had borne, though with much inward raging, with all the
discourtesy of the strange lady, but that allusion to her neat handed Phillis as
a " dirty slut" was too much for her. She cast M. J. B. Constant's letter from
her, and, with a heightening color, exclaimed :
" I won't let the dear little
child go. I don't know who you are, or what you mean. Your manners are most
insulting, and unless the gentlemen come themselves to fetch Miss Floris, or M.
Constant sends a messenger who knows how to behave herself, the darling sha'n't
go. Do you want to go, Lily ?"
The subject of this controversy,
simply reasoning that the strange lady frightened her, and that she was very
fond of Miss Bunnycastle, and, moreover, that it was decidedly preferable to be
called a darling than a brat, replied, her little heart palpitating violently,
that she was very happy where she was, and that she didn't want to go away with
" I thought so !" Miss Barbara
exclaimed, triumphantly catching the child to her. "A pretty thing, indeed, to
be tutored and domineered over in one's own house. You have your answer, Madam,
and I must wish you a good morning." And she made as though she would have rung
the bell to have the importunate visitor ushered out.
But Miss Barbara Bunnycastle
reckoned without her host. The strange lady rose in a rage.
"You devil!" she cried. Such
language in a genteel establishment for young ladies ! " I will have the child.
Do your worst. I say she shall go with me. You mad-woman, go and ask your mother
and sisters, and they will make you listen to reason. Call in the police, if you
like, and see what a charming figure your school will make in the journals. Go,
idiot, and take advice !"
She set her teeth together, and
glared at Miss Barbara as though she would devour her. The schoolmistress was
fairly appalled. Was the lady mad ? Something must be done, and on reflection
she concluded that the best thing she could do was to consult Celia and
Adelaide. The front gate was fast locked, and the lady would hardly be so
desperate, she thought, as to scale the iron railings. But how to leave her in
the drawing room, and how to get her away from Lily ?
The stranger seemed to divine her
thoughts. "Ring the bell, if you like," she said, " and tell the other women to
come here. I'm not afraid of twenty of them. But I'll tell you what ! Before I
leave this room without the child, I'll smash every window, and set fire to the
house." And the lady decidedly looked as though she meant what she said.
It was a strange dilemma ; an
uprooting of all the conventionalities, an unheard of revolution in the
ordinarily placid world of Rhododendron House. A servant was rung for, and the
Miss Bunnycastles summoned. Then a special embassy was dispatched to Mrs.
Bunnycastle up stairs ; but the old lady, who was now growing very feeble, and
was not quite valid, mentally, could suggest nothing, and confined herself to a
general remark that " she never heard of such goings on." As a last resource,
Mr. Drax was sent for. That discreet practitioner happened fortunately to be at
home, and on his arrival at the school did his best to throw oil on the troubled
waters. He advised concession. M. J. B. Constant's handwriting was undeniably
genuine. M. J. B. Constant's wishes must be attended to. Moreover, there was
nothing owing. Lily's bill was always paid in advance, and there were at least
six months to run, to the next term of payment. The lady was evidently a lady.
(To be sure, Mr. Drax had not seen her in a rage.) Clearly, the only course to
adopt was to accede to her very rational demand.
It happened, at this conjuncture,
that the strange lady's bearing underwent a remarkable change for the better.
She condescended to smile on Mr. Drax. She told him that he had acted with great
discretion : which expression tallied so exactly with the quality on which he so
much prided himself that Mr. Drax was in ecstasies, and even Celia and Adelaide
thought that their sister had been a little too hasty. To be sure, they, too,
had not seen the handsome lady in a rage. She, on her part, volunteered the
information that she was Lily's aunt, that her only object in temporarily
removing her was to take her out for a holiday and purchase her some new clothes
; and she faithfully promised to return with the child, on that self-same
evening. Finally, a treaty of peace was arranged. As a matter of form, a fresh
embassy was dispatched to Mrs. Bunnycastle, to obtain her consent, as chief of
the establishment, to Miss Floris's temporary departure ; but that good lady
merely told her daughters that they might do as they liked, and expressed a
desire not to be "worrited." Poor, placid Mrs. Bunnycastle : we shall see thee
Lily, who had stood and wondered
through out the whole of this strange argument, was at length conducted to a
bedroom and arrayed in her walking clothes. Miss Barbara, it was who
buttoned on her pelisse, and tied
her hat beneath her dimpled chin ; but Miss Barbara, although she had been
forced to yield to superior numbers, was by no means satisfied in mind at the
upshot of the dispute.
"You'll be sure to come back
early this evening," she said, as, kneeling on the floor to adjust a bow, she
gazed earnestly in the child's face.
" Yes, Miss Babby" (this was the
petit nom which, of all the five-and-thirty boarders, Lily, the chartered pet of
the establishment, was privileged to address Miss Barbara by).
" Yes, Miss Babby," Lily
whimpered ; " and I'm sure I don't want to go away at all."
" There, you mustn't cry," Miss
Barbara, who was on the point of shedding tears herself, hastily interposed ; "
it's naughty, and not like a great girl, you know. Mind you're back by evening
prayers. If you don't, you'll be punished." This was said with a touch of Miss
Barbara Bunnycastle's ordinary and scholastic sententiousness; but her heart was
not in her words, and, casting her arms around the little girl's neck, and with
out any valid reason in the world that I know of, she wept over her as though
her heart would break.
The same quite irrational impulse
led Miss Barbara, after Lily had been carried off in a kind of sweeping and
defiant triumph by the strange lady who had so remarkable a temper, to shed many
more tears. It was foolish, she admitted, but she couldn't help it. The child
would be back soon. There was no harm in her going out. Her sisters were quite
satisfied. Mr. Drax had pledged his discretion to the authenticity of J. B.
Constant's autograph. But Miss Barbara mistrusted and Miss Barbara wept, she
knew not why. Somehow, this little brown-haired blue-eyed maiden had twisted
herself round her heart, and she felt as though the charming little parasite had
been rudely torn away. She dried her eyes, and put on, as well as she could
manage it, the scholastic countenance, and then she went down into the school
room and took a geography class. Her temper was tried in the usual manner. There
was the usual average of stupid young ladies, careless young ladies, young
ladies who were pert, and young ladies who were aggravating. She ground, for the
five thousandth time, the dreary old barrel-organ to its accustomed round of
tunes, Let her spirit was far away. Her heart yearned for Lily. She distributed
good marks and bad marks unconsciously, and she was inexpressibly grateful for
tea-time : not alone because her wearisome task was. over, but because the time
had grown nearer when she thought the child would return.
That a schoolmistress is a "
cross old thing," and nothing more, whole generations of young ladies have
unanimously agreed. In regions far remote from the school-room and its petty
verdicts, polite society finds little difficulty in setting down the governess
as a prim, precise, fastidious personage, full of angular ways and ludicrous
rigidity. She is somebody to be caricatured, or snubbed, or superciliously
patronized. Ah ! if we only thought a little more of what she had to go through.
Ah ! if we only reflected a little on how sick grows the head that has to listen
to the strains, how numbed grows the hand that has to turn, turn, turn, that
everlasting barrel-organ ! Men, with a smug complacency, repeat, one after the
other, that women have a special aptitude for teaching ; that they are patient,
willing, persuasive, and the rest ; and then, with pitiless politeness, condemn
them to grind the barrel-organ for the term of their natural lives. That men are
not so eminently fitted for the task of tuition is shown by their losing
patience half a dozen times in the course of a lesson, and falling on the cubs
they are licking into shape and thrashing them fiercely ; but gentle, long
suffering woman is contented to go on mildly nagging, and wrangling, and
moralizing over the cubs, when they decline to dance to the very genteelest of
tunes. In the female wards of every lunatic asylum you are sure to meet with one
or two demented schoolmistresses. I often wonder that for the one or two I don't
meet a dozen.
Tea-time came and went ; then
play hour ; then study-hour ; at last the times for reading prayers and going to
bed. Miss Floris had not come back, Her continued absence was common talk in the
school room. Among the girls, one party, the more imaginative, speculated on the
dreadful things that would be done to a pupil who staid beyond her leave ;
another, and more practical section, opined that Lily would be held harmless,
seeing what a favorite she was with the authorities.
Time went on, and the Miss
Bunnycastles sat down to that supper which they were too sick at heart to eat.
The clock was on the stroke of ten when the outer gate bell rang.
"'Tis she ! 'tis Miss Floris !"
cried Barbara; " the dear little thing !"
" The naughty little minx,
rather!" added Celia, with some asperity.
"Perhaps it isn't her fault,"
pleaded Adelaide ; " she may have been taken ill. But here she is ! "
The door opened, and the maid
appeared, with a scared face, announcing not Lily, bat a gentleman ; and, close
upon her heels, there followed, nearly' breathless with haste, nearly wild with
excitement, Jean Baptiste Constant.
" The child!" he cried ; " the
child, dear ladies! Has she come back?"
A trembling negative had to be
returned to his question.
"Oh ! I am ruined, I am ruined !"
the Swiss went on. " Where is she? What have you done with her ? Oh ! my little,
little Lily. She has been stolen, stolen by that monster of a woman. Malediction
And for a long time this was all
that could be got out of J. B. Constant. He persisted in de-
claring that he was ruined. By
degrees he calmed down a little, and explained that at five o'clock that
afternoon he had seen the child pass, in a hackney coach, with a person in whose
company (so with much vehemence he declared) she had no right to be. It was in
Regent Street. He had followed the coach as rapidly as he could, and, by voice
and gestures, had endeavored to arrest its progress. But all was in vain. The
place was Regent Street ; the time, the full tide of afternoon life. At length,
in despair, he had been compelled to abandon the chase, vainly endeavoring to
persuade himself that he might have been mistaken. He had made scores of
inquiries—perquisitions, he called them—in places whither he thought it at least
faintly probable that Lily might have been conveyed, and at length he had come
to Rhododendron House.
The Bunnycastles could do little
to console him. They made the most of their reluctance to allow Lily to leave ;
but what were they to do? They had long hesitated, but had at last acted on the
advice of Mr. Drax, a trusted and discreet friend.
"Curse Mr. Drax !" cried the
valet, fiercely. " Drax is a goose, a pig, a donkey !" And I am afraid the
discomfited Miss Bunnycastles felt at that moment very much inclined to agree
with J. B. C. Drax's renown for discretion was gone forever.
They showed J. B. Constant the
note purporting to be in his handwriting. He flung it from him with something
very like an oath and a yell of rage.
" A forgery, an infamous forgery
!" he cried, distractedly. " Fool that I was not to have for seen the
possibility of such a fraud ! That woman would do any thing !"
" And whatever will your master
say ?" naively remarked Miss Adelaide, who had been eying the valet with much
" My master !" he repeated ; "
burn my master ! This little angel was worth twenty thousand masters to me."
Grief made him garrulous, but his
communicativeness was not of a nature to satisfy the Bunnycastles. As the
payments had all been made in advance, and the customary references dispensed
with, they felt the indelicacy of pressing him with direct questions. Very
little that was definite could be extracted from J. B. Constant. He would
mention no names ; but when the card of Madame la Comtesse de Prannes was shown
to him, he tore it, contemptuously, in half, and muttered, " Bah! one of her
The council remained in session
until an hour was attained quite unexampled in the annals of this well conducted
establishment. But Lily did not come back. Indeed to Rhododendron House she was
not to return again. J. B. Constant. with lowering looks, but with many
protestations of regret at having disturbed the ladies, took his leave, saying,
that if the child did not come back they were very welcome to keep what remained
of her wardrobe as some slight compensation for the trouble they had taken. And
then the Bunnycastles were left desolate. The compensation was very slight
indeed. Barbara had to mourn the loss of her darling, and would not be comforted
; and her two more practical sisters were bound in bitterness to acknowledge
that the payments, having been made in advance, they could not demand even so
much as a quarter's notice for the sudden removal of their young lady-boarder.
GAMBLING IN STOCKS.
THE excitement attending
finely depicted in our sketch on page 296. The scene here represented is one
that may be seen nightly at the new stock-board in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where
operators, whose eagerness for speculation is not satisfied by their day
experience, congregate in numbers and gamble far into the night.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL DAVID M. GREGG,
whose portrait we give on page 300, is a native of Pennsylvania, and is only
thirty years of age. He entered West Point as a cadet in 1851, and graduated on
the 30th of June, 1855, standing No. 8 in his class, among the members of which
were Generals WEITZEL, TORBBERT, HAZEN, MERRILL, DU BOIS, AVERILL, Colonel
COLBURN, and many others in the Union army. On the 1st, of July, 1855, he was
brevetted Second Lieutenant of the Second Dragoons, and was transferred to the
First Dragoons, with full rank, on the 4th of September, 1855. He was
distinguished in several conflicts with the Indians in Washington Territory, in
September, 1858, and in the early part of 1861 was promoted to a First
Lieutenancy. On the 14th of May, 1861, he was further promoted to a Captaincy in
the Sixth United States Cavalry (a new regiment), and afterward was appointed
Colonel of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, or Eighty-ninth Regiment of
Volunteers. He served during the peninsula campaign, and was brevetted Major of
the United States Army for meritorious services in reconnoissances before
Richmond from July 1, 1862. At the death of General BAYARD at Fredericksburg, he
was, on the 14th of December, 1862, appointed to the command of his Brigade,
with rank of Brigadier-General or Volunteers from November 29, 1862. This
appointment was confirmed in March, 1863. In February, 1863, he was appointed
commander of the Third Division of
General STONEMAN, and in that position
distinguished himself on several occasions. At present he commands the Second
Division of the cavalry corps. He is among the most capable and daring cavalry
officers in the service, and with
SHERIDAN, and others, has stamped his name
indelibly on the annals of our great conflict.