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tor was vaguely wondering what animal he called to mind. Then on a sudden the rector became hot; a sense of some undefinable, mysteriously participated personal degradation burned in him. Bending down he constrained Simeon's shoulder strongly. "Come, come," he said in imperious emotion: "you cannot go like this. Get up and use your legs. Walk!"
"You can," protested Simeon.
The rector, stirred, almost dragged him up. "Pull yourself together, man!" he said. He gripped his arm under Simeon's to the shoulder, tightly. He was the taller, surely he could keep Simeon upright and moving despite the slides. But he had hardly reckoned with the infinite vagaries of a drunken man's legs. Simeon's appeared possessed of all possible perversity, diversity: they flung themselves North, East, West, South, describing arcs, ellipses, parabolas; they clung to earth, they aspired to heaven; by turns they crushed the toes, by turns they entwined themselves round the calves of the rector, to whom they appeared as numerous as the legs of a centipede.
Simeon, whose articulation improved, professed that they advanced gloriously. In his babble he chose to reverse their respective conditions. He arrogated leadership, he vaunted capacity, and was profuse of encouragement. "You stick ter me," he counselled the rector heroically. "You stick ter me; I'll see you righted. Why, bless yer, if twarn't for my rheumaty knees I c'd ha' carried yer."
The rector was too busy for words. Half-framed phrases of homiletic rebuke faded from his mind. His mouth was wide for air; his arms ached intolerably, and he had not dreamed one could so perspire with the air at freezing point. More than once his heart jumped as they escaped falling by a miracle, and he remembered, with very personal keenness, that bones break
easily in frosty weather. He mentally reckoned each yard of progress, his eyes gauging longingly the distance to the glimmering casement ahead, less than a hundred yards away. That and the red squares of his own windows took, to his fretted senses, a remoteness that was painful. The black clouds, the hard pallor of the snow, the inscrutable trees, the icy sparkle of the one or two stars visible oppressed him with a feeling of loneliness that was almost fear. Once his lips shaped to cry for help, but he checked himself in shame and for some few yards their progress was straighter. Then, just as he was breathing more easily, they fell together in a heap.
Save for an arrow of pain and the burden of Simeon's eleven-stone person across his the rector could have laughed, despite the shock, for the tension was broken. But the edged twinge from his ankle went to his stomach. When Simeon rolled off him one tentative touch of the foot on earth made him exclaim. "It's out, I think," he said; "anyhow I can't walk." He laughed this time, in bitter acceptation of the bitter ridiculous, as he sat on the snow nursing the injured ankle in his hands. Simeon appeared suddenly overwhelmed. He knelt bunched up beside the rector, peering at the ankle, his hands flat on the snow, his head screwed aside and his mouth agape.
"You will have to get home somehow, Simeon," said the rector. "Go to your wife first; she will tell them at the rectory. They must bring the old wheel-chair."
said, slewing round again, "you'll ketch cold, sittin'. 'Ere!"
At the word Simeon straightened his back and took off his coat. He seemed seized by a sudden fever of haste. "You put this under yer f'r to sit on," he said, "underneath yer." He began to cushion the rector, who demurred. "If you don't, I wunt go," Simeon declared.
Thus threatened the rector permitted the cushioning, and Simeon in his shirt-sleeves made a right wheel. Then he again screwed his head round; "Turn yer collar up," he commanded, "put yer 'ankercher round yer neck." The rector obediently took out his pocket-handkerchief.
"Not that!" burst out Simeon contemptuously. ""Twouldn't keep a cat warm. 'Av this." He began to undo the ample kerchief which girt his own neck in lieu of collar. "It-chokesme!" he averred, struggling with the knot savagely. The rector, a little dubious, took the voluminous kerchief in his hand. "Olean this very mornin'," Simeon assured him. put it on?"
"Yes, yes," said the rector. go!"
"Wriggle close under the 'edge," counselled Simeon in parting, "an' keep wropped up. Clean this very mornin'," was his last word, from over his shoulder.
Perhaps it was his unusual point of sight, but the rector looked after Simeon crawling into obscurity with none of that former tingling repugnance. Not for a full minute did he remember that his wife and niece were out for the evening. Then he could have groaned aloud, reflecting also that the gardener lived a furlong from the rectory. Simeon was drunk; he might fall asleep, and it might be hours before help came. He shivered; the wind cut; the pitiless icy drops bit where they fell. A piercing twinge from the
injured ankle peremptorily forbade any attempt at motion. He cowered, huddling himself, and waited.
The loneliness deepened. The branches creaked peevishly in the wind, and the raindrops descended with a vengeful hiss, making faint flashes as they broke on the dark slides. Around the obscurity took a harder, more impervious blackness. A rat rustling in the hedge made the rector's heart jump, and then stand still. While he was chiding himself for his foolishness a faint sound in the direction of his hope caused him to strain his hearing. A long minute passed and he recognized the squeak of a wheel turning on its axis. There was no sound of footsteps or voices. The advancing shadow neared and grew and the rector exclaimed aloud in his surprise. It was Simeon, erect and trundling a large wheelbarrow.
"I know'd they were all out up at the 'ouse," said Simeon, reversing the wheelbarrow alongside the sitting rector triumphantly. "So I put my 'ead under the pump an' thought o' my barrer; it'll take yer comf'tably." He sat on the handle an instant. "My missis is abed; which may be as well, for what women dunno they don't tell, generally. When we git there we can 'ev 'er up accordin'."
"But-?" questioned the rector, peering earthward, puzzled.
"Oh! my shoes," answered Simeon with a hoarse tackle. "I took 'em off y'see; else I couldn't 'a' walked." He held up a white-stockinged foot, lifting the calf with his hands. “It give me a grip an' th' barrer stiddied me fine. I know'd the rain 'ud make it slippier'n ever wi' the frost comin' out o' the ground." He raised the other foot for inspection. "I'll change 'em by an' by," he said, referring to the stockings.
The rector's head fell back in the hedge and his sides shook. Simeon,
unmoved, spread a sack he had brought over the bottom of the wheelbarrow. "Now let's 'ev you in," he said, matter of fact.
The rector made no further demur, but tacitly acknowledged the master resource. When he had raised himself and was safely seated in the barrow he laughed low and brokenly. The wheelbarrow squeaked and Simeon grunted duly, as they set forth.
in a country parish," said the rector afterwards. "In truth I felt rather glad, in spite of the pain, that I wasn't able to get about again for a week or two. The village, I have no doubt, enjoyed the facts immensely. Really, though it was weeks later, the next time I rose in the school-room (I was chairman at a temperance meeting) everybody smiled; indeed at the back there was quite a titter. I'm afraid my own face wasn't of the straightest," he
"It is impossible to conceal anything confessed, his eyes twinkling. Macmillan's Magazine.
W. H. Rainsford.
"Jerry Abershaw! Jerry Abershaw! Jerry Abershaw!" cries Robert Louis Stevenson in one of his familiar letters; rolling the syllables under his pen in a kind of ecstasy. "The two most lovely words in English. Jerry Abershaw! D-n it, sir, it is a poem." Jerry Abershaw! So it is.
Here is the essence of romance, the cloaked night-riding horseman of his childish nightmares come staring to light in five syllables.
The perfection of Stevenson's workmanship, the true professional method in all he wrote, is shown as much by his keen appreciation of the value of well-sounding words in their places as in the construction of the nearly faultless sentences in which he sets them; that "delicate inlay work in black and white" which seems to have inspired Mr. Kipling with the happy expression he uses to describe it.
Sound and apposite connection, and the subtilest pregnancy of meaningall must be patiently sought. No mere substitute will fit the artistic temper.
"I ken the word now-it's 'hantle,' 999 ories the sentimental hero of a fellow
Scot, bursting suddenly, triumphant, on the assembled elders in Thrums schoolroom; his spirit on wings above the sorrows of failure and an unfinished essay.
An hour's kicking and jibbing at a small obstacle, sixty weary minutes' brain winnowing, but the right word at last.
Half a dozen several words may convey nearly the same impression in a given context; but to seek laboriously and choose instinctively the one which alone reflects through a sentence all the fine lights of required meaning, that fits appropriately like a cut jewel in a worthy setting, and looks as well in keeping-that is Art unaffected.
If we were compelled by law to use right and handsome words in their due places what a deal of bad prose the world would be spared. But who shall decide? What is meat to one man's mind may be, in words as in books, another's poison.
A good book is, after all, but a collection of proper words well arranged, and a bad one the like of bad words ill sorted; and a man of a certain temperament may love words as he does
books; not only for their meaning, value, or effect, but for themselves.
For myself I can sit for an idle half hour, at any time contentedly gazing at the speaking backs of my too small library; not wishing in the least, for the time being, to vary my pleasure by a re-investigation of their interiors.
There is no pleasanter filling for a wall to the kindly eye than a wellknown bookshelf. The books of this especial little sub-collection should be old friends, or such as have been dipped into and foretasted, and so set aside for future pleasures. The labels will suffice then for a mental diet at odd times, a light hurried meal, more stimulant than feeding.
A good bold title, and appropriate binding, new or time-worn-but the latter for preference and memory or anticipation catches us into a gentle reverie.
I have sometimes had a mind to pin up on the wall by the bookcase, opposite my easiest chair, a boldly written list of fine words and names of men or places, for a like use; cry "Jerry Abershaw" with Stevenson; and feel, I hope, a good three-fifths of the same pleasure.
A grand thing is a fine sonorous bundle of vowels and consonants. Halliluia!
It may seem sweeping and revolutionary to talk of a measure for the abolition, except for mean and ugly uses, of petty, ill-sounding, and ludicrous words-for there are words whose very appearance raises a pitying smile-but we have had the courage to revise the Testaments, and from that to a spring cleaning of our mothertongue is not a far journey. I have met Americans who would undertake it.
No familiar language is richer than blessed English in words worth speaking a second time, brave vigorous monosyllables, and sonorous compounds.
Let us have them to the front on all proper occasions, and away with trivial conversation.
Grandeur of scenery, association of history or legend, or frequent use in pleasant connection, may soften the offence in many place-names; but, oh, if some localities could have had a happier baptism.
As for a man, he often has to live his name into respectability in more senses than one. Heaven help the unfortunate who so has to conduct the business of life that Snooks or Scroggins may become pleasantly familiar. Such a task is one for Hercules or a second Borromeo; and yet it is done, and many a strange name loses its uncouth sounding in a noble history.
The soldier families of Ps and Y-s (I will be no more explicit for fear of the shade even of offence) have made ridiculous cognomens glorious. A the philosopher, B the philanthro pist, C the man of letters (and you may read T, P, and P again for these if you will) have each lived down the offence of their birthright.
Fitzgerald-blowsy-faced-may haunt the gutter sides for rags and offal, and Bottom be revered through Europe, but their names remain an insult to the fitness of things.
A partial revision of our gazetteers would give great scope for an imaginative temperament, and fine material withal for new building. Should Putney, Peckham, or Battersea remainnot to stray far from London, itself not above doubt-or Swineshead be overlooked in remote Lincolnshire? The list is a long one, and each may write it to his own fancy.
Especially by the sea coast do trivial names seem out of place. They flout the wide horizon. Cape Wrath, Caernarvon, Dungeness, Holyhead; these are words appropriate to their situation; Lowestoft, Dover, Penzance are fine names for sea famous towns; but
Brighton and Bognor are cockney insults; and as for Walton-on-the-Naze, Littlestone-on-Sea, and some other vile bundles, they are mere maritime variations of Pigley-in-the-Pound.
Amongst the better sort, plain, easygoing, soft names, but nothing striking to the ear, we are handicapped on the map of Europe by our frequent affix "mouth"; which gives in compounds, it is true, a fair second-class word, but has at best an uneasy sound-pronounce it how you will.
"You have your Portsmouth, your Plymouth, your Yarmouth, your Weymouth, and your Falmouth," sneered the Dutch sailor in the story, "and you are all mouth."
"And you," growled the Englishman in reply, "You have your Amsterdam, your Zaardam, your Rotterdam, and your Schiedam; and d- -n you all!" But even so they retain the advantage in the termination.
For a rule of gallant words give me the West country-and the further westward the better; though for a combination of the sublime and ridiculous, cheek by jowl, Scotland is as likely a hunting ground as any.
Tiree and Coll, the absurd, are within sight on a clear morning of Skerryvore and Iona, the magnificent; plebelan Harris is within a day's journey of noble Stornoway. On the east coast somber Dunbar across the Frith of Forth faces childish Pittenween; whilst Burntisland looks back at Prestonpans.
Inland, Aboyne, Braemar, Balmoral, Kincardine O'Neil (a poem in itself), and romantic Lochnagar, see on the skyline Mount Keen and Mount Batten -reminiscent apparently of commercially minded explorers. Keen and Batten; Batten and Keen; respectable ironmongers anywhere.
North of the Cheviots there are many such dismal contrasts to be found.
There is in the West an old seaport
town of happy memories, climbing, with a foreign aspect, to face the sun along the terraced slope of the hills which overlook its harbor; around which quaint and noble place-names are as plentiful as pilchards in August.
A collection of them is almost as pleasant a thing to bring back from a summer holiday, with a cheerful sunburnt face, as a portfolio of new photographs, or the fresh memory of old friends. Penwarne, Penmorva, and Penjerric view one another's gables; Pendennis, a mile or so away, caught Thackeray's ear; Gyllynvaes slopes to the sea beneath it.
Hear the names sounding along the harbor creek which winds inland northeastwards amongst the woodlands past Rostronguet, to Tolcarne, Trelissic, and far-off forgotten Ruan Lanyon. Tresillian, Trevorva, Lamorran, Ardevora Vear. Beat me these if you
Tregothnan, Carclew, Arwenack, are proper names for famous houses hereabout.
And Enys-do not be deceived in "Enys."
At the first glance there is a certain littleness about it; but "Enys of Enys" seems to me as fine a title as a man need be proud of.
Lord Sayle and Sele (it is one of the minor sorrows of my life that by no possible combination of circumstances -no, though I lead victorious navies, or be five times a millionaire-can this title be mine)-Lord Saye and Sele; the Knight of Glyn; the Master of Ruthven; Enys of Enys-if I deserved so much at their hands as the gift of either I would toss with the gods for which should grace my tombstone.
Trelawarren across the bay has a fine title roll; and Bochym, Bochym rings like steel. Sir John Bochym-a name to go crusading. Hard knocks and glory in the very sound of it. On