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

Have you got any foreign note-paper? Let me
have a few sheets; and send, at the same time,
an envelope addressed to one of those lady-friends
of yours at Zurich, accompanied by the necessary
request to post the enclosure. That is all I need
trouble you to do, Mr. Vanstone. Don't let me
seem inhospitablebut the sooner you can supply
me with my materials, the better I shall be
pleased. We entirely understand each other, I
suppose? Having accepted your proposal for
my niece's hand, I sanction a private marriage
in consideration of the circumstances on your
side. A little harmless stratagem is necessary
to forward your views. I invent the stratagem,
at your requestand you make use of it without
the least hesitation. The result is, that in ten
days from to-morrow, Mrs. Lecount will be on
her way to Switzerlandin fifteen days from
to-morrow, Mrs. Lecount will reach Zurich, and
discover the trick we have played herin twenty
days from to-morrow, Mrs. Lecount will be back
at Aldborough, and will find her master's wedding-
cards on the table, and her master himself away
on his honeymoon trip. I put it arithmetically,
for the sake of putting it plain. God bless you.
Good morning!"

"I suppose I may have the happiness of seeing
Miss Bygrave to-morrow?" said Mr. Noel
Vanstone, turning round at the door.

"We must be careful," replied Captain
Wragge. " I don't forbid to-morrowbut I
make no promise beyond that. Permit me to
remind you that we have got Mrs. Lecount to
manage for the next ten days."

"I wish Lecount was at the bottom of the
German Ocean!" exclaimed Mr. Noel Vanstone,
fervently. " It's all very well for you to manage
heryou don't live in the house. What am I
to do?"

"I'll tell you to-morrow," said the captain.
"Go out for your walk alone, and drop in here, as
you dropped in to-day, at two o'clock. In the
mean time, don't forget those things I want you
to send me. Seal them up together in a large
envelope. When you have done that, ask Mrs.
Lecount to walk out with you as usual; and
while she is up-stairs putting her bonnet on, send
the servant across to me. You understand?
Good morning."

An hour afterwards, the sealed envelope, with
its enclosures, reached Captain Wragge in perfect
safety. The double task of exactly imitating a
strange handwriting, and accurately copying
words written in a language with which he was
but slightly acquainted, presented more difficulties
to be overcome than the captain had anticipated.
It was eleven o'clock before the employment which
he had undertaken was successfully
completed, and the letter to Zurich ready for the

Before going to bed, he walked out on the
deserted parade, to breathe the cool night air. All
the lights were extinguished in Sea-View Cottage,
when he looked that wayexcept the light in the
housekeeper's window. Captain Wragge shook
his head suspiciously. He had gained experience
enough, by this time, to distrust the wakefulness
of Mrs. Lecount.


AND pray, sir, what is a Fly?

A Fly, madam, is an insect. You knew that
before? Don't be quite so sure. A true insect
has six legs, four wings, an external skeleton,
and undergoes metamorphoses. Flies have only
two wings; but they get over the difficulty by
belonging to the class Diptera, in which the
perfect insect has two fully-developed wings,
and two merely rudimentary ones, called halteres,
or poisersbecause they serve to poise nothing
at all. A fly ought to have four wings; it has
them not, but it would if it could: so we allow
it to pass muster as a real insect.

A butter-fly is a papilio, a schmetterling, a
farfalla, a papillon, the type of thoughtlessness
and inconstancy, a lepidopterous or scale-winged
insect, born of an egg, fed as a caterpillar on
vegetable diet, and finally metamorphosed into
the fly which has no connexion whatever
with butter. A dragon-fly is not a fly, but
a carnivorous wasserjungfer or water-maiden, a
demoiselle or damselperhaps because certain
demoiselles are equally showy in their attire, and
equally insatiable creatures of prey. A demoiselle
of that class, says Michelet, will swallow
more than a whale. Neither is a fire-fly, a fly,
but a beetle. Some species thereof have luminous
noses; they are Bardolphs ripened into
spontaneous combustion; in others, the shining part
(always greenish in hue) is variously situated.
Father Plumier used to read his breviary by the
glare of fire-flies.

In Indiathis is a true storya gentleman
was sitting under a banyan-tree, watching by
moonlight the fire-flies that wheeled around him
like shooting stars. One fly, brighter than the
rest, particularly caught his attention. It sailed
to and fro, hovered before him like a lamp in an
illumination, went and came, and at last alighted
in the moonshine, a few yards in front of him.
On the ground, its grass-green luminosity was
even more brilliant than before; and there
it stopped, making no attempt to stir. It
stopped so long that the gentleman stepped
up to it, to see whether it were hurt, or
had been entangled by a tuft of grass. He
picked up, not an insect, but an emerald of the
finest water, which he wore in a ring to his
dying day. All we can say with certainty is,
that it was not a fly.

Spanish flies, or cantharides, are also beetles.

At Pisa, certain (uncertain?) flies are found
which give out an agreeable odour. They feed
on orange and lemon flowers, and resemble bees;
they have four wings, and, therefore, are not
real flies. A saw-fly carries a saw on its head;
a scorpion-fly has terrible pincers, like scorpions'
or lobsters' claws, in its tail. The destructive
Hessian fly is a tipula, or daddy-longlegs. The
May-fly is the ephemeral beauty which lives, as
a caddis-worm, for months in the water, and