+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

have a cocoa-nut in his hand, thought fit, out of
bravado, to break it on the animal's head. The
elephant made no protest at the time; but next
day, passing a fruit-stall, he took a cocoa-nut in
his trunk and returned the cornac's compliment
so vigorously on his head, that he klled him on
the spot.

If vindictive, the elephant is also grateful. At
Pondicherry, a soldier who treated an elephant
to a dram of arrack every time he received his
pay, found himself the worse for liquor. When
the guard were about to carry him off to prison,
he took refuge under the elephant and fell
asleep. His protector would allow no one
to approach, and watched him carefully all
night. In the morning, after caressing with
his trunk, he dismissed him to settle with
the authorities as he best could.

Both revenge and gratitude imply intelligence;
still more does the application of an
unforeseen expedient. A train of artillery going
to Seringapatam, had to cross the shingly
bed of a river. A man who was sitting on a
gun-carriage, fell; in another second the wheel
would have passed over his body. An elephant
walking by the side of the carriage saw the
danger, and instantly, without any order from
his keeper, lifted the wheel from the ground,
leaving the fallen man uninjured.



"DRAW up the blind a little higher, Cecil,'
murmured the peevish, fretful, and complaining
voice of Gerald Middleton. "There! now it's too
high! do you not see how the evening sun
comes streaming in, enough to ruin stronger eyes
than mine. I think that is betterno it is not
there let it alone! I'll do it myself."  The
invalid attempted to rise from the sofa, but his
sister exclaimed, "You must not move, dear
Gerald! have a little patience and I will set it

"Patience?" he repeated, petulantly, "I
think I have patience; I eat patiencedrink
patiencelive on patience. You and that
stupid nurse are just alike; you have two pairs
of left hands between you, and do nothing
right. Can't you let the blind alone? Now
it is darkness visible! Ring the bell for
South; but for South I should have been
dead long ago. You and nurse Graves would
have killed me! 'Graves'! it was a bit
of refined cruelty in you, Cecil, to engage a
woman with that suggestive name; you had
better advertise for one of the name of Funeral
Nurse Funeral!—a good joke, faith! only
Funeral should precede and not follow Graves
eh, Cecil?"

There was no reply; his sister still persevering
in her endeavour to arrange the blind, looking
back at every movement to see if the sunshine
was shielded from the invalid's worn and rugged
face. At last South entered, with the peculiar
noiseless step that shows familiarity with the
sick room.

"Where have you been all the day South?"
demanded his master (South was one of the old
world servants, who called Major Middleton
"master" and not "governor" or "the major").
"I gave you your draught, sir, at five, as I
promised Mrs. Graves I would when she went
to see her son," and South glanced at the
clock on the chimney piece, that told it was a
quarter past six.

"And what is the matter with her son?
Fever, or small-pox, or diphtheria, I suppose?
One of the cursed things she will be sure to
bring me. One word for all; listen to me,
Cecil, that woman shall not return."

"If you please, sir—" began South.

"Not one word! I have said it; no one
with common sense would permit a nurse to
visit a sick son who is living in a back slum;
but I am surrounded by fools you need not
colour up, Cecil; do not let your temper break
out, in that way. I wonder yon have not some
little feeling but you do not care how you
agitate me. It was clear insanity to permit that
woman to go to her sonin typhus fever; was
it typhus or small-pox, you said, South?"

The question induced South to make a bolt
at the truth.

"Neither, sir; he is going to be married
to-morrow; him and his young woman live at
Richmond, on the top of the hil; and as the old
lady could not go to the wedding to-morrow
they both came to get her blessing, sir; that
was all."

"Pair of idiots!" exclaimed the major, more
irritated by the explanation than by the
response to his surmises. "I wonder you are not
ashamed to repeat such trash, South; as if a
blessing could attend such tomfoolery! Marry!
and what have they to live on, what have they
to starve on? Can't you answer?"

"He is head gardener to Sir James Lacy,
sir, eighty pounds a year, and his cottage, and
milk, and vegetables, and coal, and she is such
a pretty girl."

"They have not been in this house?" Major
Middleton's eyes they were steel blue, and
flashed uncomfortably when he was irritated

"No, sir! oh not a step in it; they walked
up and down outside until Mrs. Graves asked
my mistress for half an hour's leave, and I saw
her as she passed the pantry window."

If a look could have killed poor South, his
days would have been numbered. The major
looked at him with deep and deadly scorn.

"Saw who?" he snarled. "The nurse?"

"No, sir; the pretty girl."

"South, you are an idle scoundrel!"
exclaimed the major, fast working himself into a
state of irritability that was certain to end
in a paroxysm of coughing, always dreaded by
us patient sister. "I say you are an idle scoundrel,"
he repeated; "instead of attending to
me, to spend your hours, at your time of life,
watching a trapesing girl and talking to me
me! of marri——"

The enemy seized on, and shook, every fibre