Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 127.djvu/768

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

756

VIRGIL AND TENNYSON.

and no chance of a brevet as far as I can see."

This reference to Mrs. Polwheedle's son by the late Captain Jones did not cause Yorke any misgivings, for he had already heard of his visit to the hills from Olivia herself; but the concluding part of the letter left an unpleasant impression behind it. What jealousy there must be in human nature, he thought, when even a good fellow like Spragge puts down my honours to luck! I don't think I should have grudged him his brevet promotion, or called him a lucky fellow, if it had been he who had earned it.

"Mrs. Polwheedle's son, Mr. Jones, of the late Banglepoor Rangers, has come up on six weeks' leave," Olivia had told Yorke in one of her letters. "I am afraid that if I were to derive my notions of the army from him, I should hardly 'worship the military profession,' as you once accused me of doing. However, it is very pleasing to witness the mother's pride and undoubting belief in her son. You have sent me another implied scolding for continuing to share a house with her, but she is greatly changed and very kind, besides, I could not set up housekeeping for myself in a place like this" — surely I may take this as encouragement? thought the reader of the letter with a thrill of ecstasy — "even if it were worth while doing so for the short time I have to remain in India." Here the reader was cast down did this mean that she saw through intentions and did not wish to give him hope? "My cousin Rupert Kirke," the letter continued, "has also come up here, as of course you know, and it was such a happiness to hear from him so good an account of you, after all your hardships and hairbreadth escapes. He tells me that you have undergone the fatigue and heat even better than himself; and he has also told me, what I never could persuade you to tell me yourself, how you earned your Victoria Cross. People say that it is easy to get accustomed to danger in time. I never could. Even in the dreadful times of the residency, when all the others seemed to become indifferent, I used to tremble at every shot, feeling as if it must take some valued life; and all through this dreadful war I never take up the newspaper without a shudder, although one is bound to put on a calm face." Yes, indeed, thought Yorke, as he put the letter to his lips before folding it up, no one carried a braver presence than this noble woman!

In another letter Mrs. Falkland described Spragge's wedding, on which occasion she had helped to attire the bride; and, in expressing the general regret that Yorke could not be present to act as his friend's best man, added that her cousin had been very useful in arranging money matters for her, as she was quite ignorant of business. "Through his kind offices I have been able to receive the pension which I only lately learned that I was entitled to; and I have not scrupled, as he is so near a relative, to make use of the money he has kindly placed at my disposal until I can hear from my father, and so repay Mrs. Polwheedle what I am indebted to her." Idiot that I am, cried Yorke, on reading this, never to have thought of placing my purse at her disposal! A pretty friend I am, truly! No wonder she should find her cousin useful, when the obvious fact never presented itself to me, in my stupidity, that she must have been in want of money for present needs. Olivia in want of money, while he had ever so many months' pay lying undrawn at his credit! And for the moment Yorke felt quite jealous of his commanding officer for having shown this kindness to his cousin.




From Macmillan's Magazine..

VIRGIL AND TENNYSON.

Virgil and Tennyson! the one born B.C. 70, the other A.D. 1810 — what can they have in common who are separated by such an interval of years, and whose surroundings are so entirely different? The one, the poet of the heathen autocrat Augustus, born in an age when "the world by wisdom knew not God," when if there was any real belief at all in men's hearts it was divided between "lords many and gods many" — the other, the laureate of Queen Victoria, a worshipper of the one true God, a Christian, and an upholder of Christian verities — how can a parallel be drawn between the two? Certainly the accidents of their age, religion, polity, and outward manners seem to set them very wide apart. But these are but accidents. There remains, after due weight is given to these dividing influences, much in the two men themselves that admits of comparison — much in the works with which they have severally enriched the world.

It will be the purport of this paper to draw out this comparison: to bring together and set before our readers passages