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

But never to that home, far o'er the wave,
To its bow'rs or its stately daughters,
Not e'en to lay me in my father's grave,
Shall I cross yon weary waters!


TOWARDS the close of the evening, on the
day after Mr. Orridge's interview with Mrs.
Norbury, the Druid fast coach, running
through Cornwall as far as Truro, set down
three inside passengers at the door of the booking-
office, on arriving at its destination. Two of
these passengers were an old gentleman and
his daughter; the third was Mrs. Jazeph.

The father and daughter collected their
luggage, and entered the hotel; the outside
passengers branched off in different directions
with as little delay as possible; Mrs. Jazeph
alone stood irresolute on the pavement, and
seemed uncertain what she should do next.
When the coachman goodnaturedly
endeavoured to assist her in arriving at a decision
of some kind, by asking whether he could do
anything to help her, she started, and looked
at him suspiciously; then, appearing to
recollect herself, thanked him for his kindness,
and inquired, with a confusion of words and
a hesitation of manner which appeared very
extraordinary in the coachman's eyes, whether
she might be allowed to leave her trunk at
the booking-office for a little while, until she
could return and call for it again.

Receiving permission to leave her trunk as
long as she pleased, she crossed over the
principal street of the town, ascended the
pavement on the opposite side, and walked down
the first turning she came to. On entering the
bye-street to which the turning led, she glanced
back, satisfied herself that nobody was
following or watching her, hastened on a few
yards, and stopped again at a small shop
devoted to the sale of book-cases, cabinets,
work-boxes, and writing-desks. After first
looking up at the letters painted over the
she peered in at the shop window. A middle-
aged man, with a cheerful face, sat behind
the counter, polishing a rose-wood bracket,
and nodding briskly at regular intervals, as
if he were humming a tune and keeping
time to it with his head. Seeing no
customers in the shop, Mrs. Jazeph opened the
door and walked in.

As soon as she was inside, she became aware
that the cheerful man behind the counter
was keeping time, not to a tune of his own
humming, but to a tune played by a musical
box. The clear ringing notes came from a
parlour behind the shop, and the air the box
was playing was the lovely " Batti, Batti,"
of Mozart.

"Is Mr. Buschmann at home?" asked Mrs.

"Yes, ma'am," said the cheerful man,
pointing with a smile towards the door that
led into the parlour. "The music answers
for him. Whenever Mr. Buschmann's box
is playing, Mr. Buschmann himself is not far
off from it. Did you wish to see him,

"If there is nobody with him."

"Oh, no, he is quite alone. Shall I give any

Mrs. Jazeph opened her lips to answer,
hesitated, and said nothing. The shopman,
with a quicker delicacy of perception than
might have been expected from him, judging
by outward appearances, did not repeat the
question, but opened the door at once, and
admitted the visitor to the presence of Mr.

The shop parlour was a very small room,
with an odd three-cornered look about it,
with a bright green paper on the walls, with
a large dried fish in a glass case over the
fireplace, with two meerschaum pipes hanging
together on the wall opposite, and with a
neat round table placed as accurately as
possible in the middle of the floor. On the table
were tea-things, bread, butter, a pot of jam,
and a musical box in a quaint, old-fashioned
case; and by the side of the table sat a little,
rosy-faced, white-haired, simple-looking old
man, who started up, when the door was
opened, with an appearance of extreme
confusion, and touched the stop of the musical
box so that it might cease playing when it
came to the end of the air.

"A lady to speak with you, sir," said the
cheerful shopman. " That is Mr. Buschmann,
ma'am," he added in a lower tone, seeing
Mrs. Jazeph stop in apparent uncertainty on
entering the parlour.

"Will you please to take a seat, ma'am?"
said Mr. Buschmann, when the shopman had
closed the door and gone back to his counter.
"Excuse the music; it will stop directly."
He spoke these words in a foreign accent, but
with perfect fluency.

Mrs. Jazeph looked at him earnestly while
he was addressing her, and advanced a step
or two before she said anything. "Am I so
changed?" she asked softly. "So sadly,
sadly changed, uncle Joseph?"

"Gott im Himmel! it's her voiceit's
Sarah Leeson! " cried the old man, running
up to his visitor as nimbly as if he was a
boy again, taking both her hands, and kissing
her with an odd brisk tenderness on the
cheek. Although his niece was not at all
above the average height of women, uncle
Joseph was so short that he had to raise
himself on tiptoe to perform the ceremony of
embracing her.

"To think of Sarah coming at last! " he
said, pressing her into a chair. " After all
these years and years, to think of Sarah
Leeson coming to see Uncle Joseph again!"

"Sarah still, but not Sarah Leeson," said
Mrs. Jazeph, pressing her thin, trembling
hands firmly together, and looking down on
the floor while she spoke.