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grand-daughter is generally in constaut attendance on her; and I, myself, frequently visit her to offer her such ghostly comfort as lies in my power; but to one who, like her, has outlived nearly every faculty it is difficult to administer consolation of any kind; the receiving tablets of her memory having become an almost unimpres sionable blank. It is painful to contemplate such a spectacle. But He who giveth knoweth when to take away.'

"Now, in respect of the family, the only child I ever heard of the late Sir Mildmy having had is the present possessor of the estate, who is married to an archdeacon, holding the very valuable living of Barntytheside in Yorkshire, who has assumed in right of his wife, and pursuant to her father's will, the name of Gudemann; or, as they now spell it, G-o-o-d-e-m-a-n-n. It is by his presentation that I hold this very benefice of Slushington-cum-Muddyford. In our early days-for we are about of the same standing-the venerable Joseph Nicholas Goodeman-plain Joe Nick to me then -and I were schoolfellows and afterwards college.chums. At that time he was a poor hard-working scholar, ambitious to a degree, but with no views even half so good as my own. I am now the comparatively speaking, poor man, and his debtor for much that I possess. Such are the ups and downs of the wheel of fortune; but do not imagine that I, for a moment, envy my patron, for his career, I am well aware, has not been without its thorns. My predecessor, at whose death I succeeded to this cure, had been for many years a non-resident through difficulties of various kinds, which he got himself into while in charge of the parish. He died abroad, with a character not altogether surrounded by a halo of sanctity. Amongst other accusations laid at his door, there is one of having either himself tampered with the registers, or of having allowed others to do so. It has been frequently brought forward, but whether on good grounds or not it is impossible for me to say. The old records are certainly in a very discreditable state; still that proves nothing, as in those days the archives of many a remote country parish were in a similar state; stories being told of incumbents who were known to use the pages of these documents for gun. wadding. Bullford Hall is-why or wherefore I cannot say-ever and anon, by fitful starts, advertised as to be let, when for a short while after such announcements a host of visitors, attracted by the low rent demanded and the puff accompanying the advertisement, generally turn-up but never come to a deal. Then to the rush succeeds a long lull, during which one is apt to forget that such a place exists even. For years neither painter, carpenter, nor mason, have been called upon to ply their arts upon the ancient fabric, the result of which is that rain comes in at its roof, worms honeycomb its rafters and woodwork, and water-rats undermine its

foundations. Rabbits burrow in every direction in the garden, and birds build their nests in every possible nook and cranny. You now know all I have to tell you about this unattractive residence, which has given you so much suffering and trouble. That there exists somewhere about the premises a deep and dangerous well, I have heard, but this is the first time I was ever told of the vaulted cellar beneath the building being its locale.”

And so closed my reverend friend's explanatory version of my adventures while house-hunting. Once more by my own fireside I often meditate on those strange and melancholy incidents which accompanied my visit to Bullford Hall, and shudder at the recollections they recalled to my mind. Were the scenes in those vaults really all imaginary, I say to myself? There are times when I cannot think so, and I shiver from head to foot when I think of that desperate struggle that ended in those horrid dull thuds, that wild, wild shriek of despair, that clank of fetters, and final splash followed by a few bubbles, and the utter stillness of death. But the subsequent drive in that antediluvian crumbling shatterdan was illusionary I can readily admit, but -- Is it right to pursue this harrowing doubt any further? What think you, dear reader? Am I walking about with the brand of manslaughter upon me? Have pity on me if you think so, and that is all I ask of you.



AFRICA is emphatically the land of mystery, and its vast, unexplored regions have long possessed a weird interest. The countries through which the Nile flows as it approaches the sea are rich in ruined cities, the origin of which is lost in the mist of ages. The mighty Pyramids, rearing their colossal heads far above the plain, have long afforded inexhaustible material for conjecture and inquiry. Who built them? when were they erected? why were they put together? To be the resting-place of monarchs, some have thought; to put a limit to the drifting sands of the desert, others have supposed; to mark great victories or memorable events, has been another guess; and one bold inquirer has actually fancied that the largest of these mountains of brick and stone was laboriously piled up, layer on layer, yard by yard, to preserve for future ages an unit of measurement of about the same value as the English yard. All speculations are in vain. Egypt remains a mystery, a mine of wealth to the historian and the antiquary, a bone of contention to the theologian.

Then, again, what of the source of the Nile? That surely was a problem which the enterprise of the nineteenth century could easily solve. What easier than to follow the windings of the great river far into the interior of the Continent, and to reach the distant spot where, issuing from rocks or from a lake, was found the rivulet which thousands of miles below expanded into the magnificent Nile Explorers tried again and again with a heroism unsurpassed on the field of battle; they persevered till they sank down and died, and one name after another was added to the long list of travellers who had plunged into the mighty interior and never been heard of more. No wonder it was whispered that the interior of Africa was a vast desert, without rivers, means of subsistence, or foliage, with scarcely a living creature to break the awfulness of its solitudes, while the lands bordering on the ocean were known to be covered with rank, luxuriant vegetation, the haunt of savage beasts and the stronghold of fever and death.

Surely there is nothing sadder than to go through the long list of travellers whose hopes were blasted and lives sacrificed in the swamps and deserts of Africa. It is almost a relief to find that James Bruce, after unexampled discouragements, lived to die

miserably in his own house in Scotland. But far other was the fate of Captain Hugh Clapperton, who fell a victim to the African climate at Chungary, aged only thirty-nine; far other that of Mungo Park, over whose end a thick veil has descended, but who probably died, at Boussa, in his thirty-fourth year. Then the fate of Richard and John Lander, who perished, the one aged twentynine, the other twenty-seven, is as much a mystery as that of many of their predecessors. The explorers of our day have been more fortunate. Burton and Speke returned to tell of the wonders they had seen, although Speke's triumph was short; and his sad death at Bath threw a deep gloom over the British Association Meeting of 1864; Sir Samuel Baker still lives, honoured and admired; Lieutenant Cameron, in whose achievements all Britain has been rejoicing, is just returned home, well and strong, and capable of undergoing many fresh perils; while David Livingstone, the greatest and best of missionary explorers, lived till the evening of life was at hand, and his name was become a household word.

And now let us see what recent discoveries have taught us. We know that the interior of Africa is not a desert, but a rich, well-watered land, not perhaps at present exactly flowing with milk and honey, but capable of maintaining in comfort and plenty a dozen great nations. We know that mighty rivers and vast lakes have long been concealed in its mysterious solitudes from the ken of mankind-nay, more, one of those rivers is, perhaps, the largest in the whole world, and exceeds in volume and length the Father of Waters, or the stupendous Amazon. And we also know that the vast plains and river basins of Africa are peopled by brutal and savage races, scarcely capable of improvement, that vice, misery, and poverty abound among them, that might is right, and that the most hideous forms of slavery, the most diabolical atrocities, are openly defended and hourly practised. The world scarcely presents anywhere else sights so dreadful. It will be long before missionary enterprise will have exhausted the fields opening to it, long before civilisation and refinement have elevated and purified the savage hordes of Africa. But commercial enterprise and scientific inquiry are already at work. The proposal to cut a broad canal to let in the waters of the sea upon the plains of the Sahara, and to convert that great desert into a magnificent inland sea, although perhaps not well considered, and perchance impracticable, is a sufficient proof of the interest excited in the improvement of Africa and of the stupendous projects that before long are likely to attract public attention. The veil that has long concealed Africa from the remainder of the world is being lifted, and it will never descend again.

Too little is yet known to make it prudent to speak with

confidence, and future researches will probably correct much that is now accepted as settled; indeed, it is not too much to say that a century or more may be needed to place the geography of the continent on anything like a sure foundation. The unexplored districts are still enormous, probably far larger than is generally suspected. Tracts as vast as the German empire have never been penetrated by civilised man: broad rivers still wander through countries not certainly known to possess a rivulet: great lakes may be concealed in valleys far from the path followed by Cameron and Livingstone, and savage nations are still happy in their ignorance of the white races. The ablest living geographers are sorely puzzled to tell what is and what is not known, and many of them will be gathered to their fathers before anything like certainty on many debated points has been attained. Indeed, early in the present year, I attended a crowded meeting of the Royal Geographical Society at Burlington House, at which a number of remarkable letters from Lieutenant Cameron were read, and it was almost astonishing to notice how much diversity of opinion obtained among the learned men who were asked to speak as to what had been made out and what required re-examination. At any rate, this young officer has undoubtedly added to our knowledge and cleared up some dark points, and the high appreciation in which his services to geography are held by those most competent to judge, is proved by the great honour he has just received from the Royal Geographical Society,—he has, although only thirty-two years old, had the gold medal of that body conferred upon him, and been favoured with the much-coveted Companionship of the Bath at the hands of his Sovereign. According to present appearances a long and useful life awaits him, one full of honour, and he will doubtless build up a great reputation and add much to our still scanty knowledge of Africa; but let us not forget the labours of his predecessors, who died early and forgotten far from home and friends, and one of whom struggled on, not three years only but thirty years, and whose last breath was drawn in savage ard impassable wildernesses, where their bones have been beaten upon by wind and rain, or been the playthings of animals of prey. Fame is short lived, and this may, generally speaking, be unavoidable; but one at least of the explorers of Africa must never be for otten, and may be remembered when most of the heroes and worthies of our day have cease to be spoken of. Of course I mean David Livingstone.

It is no exaggeration to say that few men have contrived by their almost unaided exertions to attain such a brilliant position as that which the great missionary made for himself; and what is even more surprising, few of those who have ranked as high in the

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