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the matter was
like that of the garuener's dog, keeping others from doing what we could not do ourselves; that it would be better to be annexed to a rich country than a poor one, to have a cultivated country instead of a semisavage one; and a hundred other barbarities, besides.
As one might well imagine, the journalist had trouble with his head, he was worn out by fatigue and had the beginning of softening of the brain. Doctor Santos had ordered rest, a quiet, regular life, early hours and horse-back riding.
The journalist sent out to a store for a pasteboard horse, and when the doctor called to see him, the sick man said:"This is the only horse I can afford." Of course, he plainly showed his insanity by this act, but Doctor Santos did not look upon it in that light. He begged the man's pardon for having advised him to buy what he could not afford.
A little later, he visited a widow with three children. She was young and pretty; her husband had been a sculptor of some talent. He was not rich, but he had earned enough to support his family decently. He died, and for the first year the wife managed to live fairly well, by dint of great economy. The second year, the widow sold her husband's art treasures; the third year, she lived on the gifts of relatives and friends, which gave out before the fourth year, and the family went from the second floor to the garret, from wholesome food to scanty scraps, from warm clothing to rags. Last of all came sickness.
Doctor Santos felt inspired: "If this little woman goes to the bad, whose fault will it be! Her sewing brings in so little! Pulling out a banknote, he handed it to the widow, telling her to live where she could have fresh air and sunlight, to buy nourishing food and look after the little ones.
The doctor left that poverty stricken place, his plain face so radiant with happiness that it seemed almost beautiful. He thought to himself, as he went along, that if Jaime had used some of his money for himself and had lived properly, he would not have died of con
sumption. "That devilish avarice!" he muttered. "A millionaire living and dying like a beggar in order not to spend his money. What is the good of money if it is not to spend!"
Suddenly two ideas flashed into his head. "Suppose this is stolen money! What if the bills are false!"
He stopped. The package fell from his hand.
"Sir, you have dropped something," said a poor woman who was passing. The doctor picked up the bundle and, turning round, went home.
"Stolen or false," he muttered grimly, "There is no other solution."
The words and the ideas sounded in his ears, they hurt him, as if some one had struck him on the head with a ham
He reached his home, told his old servant that he would see no one, then changed his mind, sent the woman off on an errand and shut himself up in his office.
The doctor had in his house two banknotes of a thousand pésétas (two hundred and fifty dollars) each.
"We will begin with the hypothesis that I can prove them false," he said. He took out his own banknotes and laid them on the table; took another out of the package and placed it between the first two.
"They must have been stolen," he said, "for all three are alike, the same block, the same print."
He turned them over, they were exactly alike. Well, there was nothing to be done but to advertise and await the rightful owner, and he would have to word the advertisement so that every Spaniard in the country should not appear to claim the money.
He took a magnifying glass and began to make methodical observations. First the paper, its quality, its transparency, then the engravings, the letters, letter by letter, the signatures. But, even with the help of the glass, which magnified the size six or eight times, he could detect no difference between the bills.
"From whom could Jaime have stolen them? Had blood been shed on account of those bits of paper? Had Jaime robbed the government or a bank?”
The doctor thought and thought. He studied, with the aid of the glass, every detail, even the smallest.
"Is it possible," he exclaimed, "that each one can be so perfect? They have been stolen, undoubtedly stolen," he said, at the end of a quarter of an hour of close observation. Ten times, already, he had compared the numeration, but he turned again to look at it.
"They all look alike," he said again, but when he took away the crystal he doubted the certainty of his own vision. He brought out a delicate compass and measured the numbers of his old bills. He placed the compass on the new, there was absolutely no difference.
He was not satisfied with the length alone, but he even measured the width of the lines.
"They have been stolen," he repeated mecanically. Then, as if answering himself, he spoke slowly:
"Where could he have stolen them! No, they are counterfeit, false, false. Ah, thou Catalan rogue, who art in the infernal regions, I hope that thou art making false notes with thy skin of Barrabas!"
"I have learned the secret," thought the doctor. "There is no doubt of it."
He still looked exclusively at the numbers, the false ones looked larger, they really were not, but as the lines were more delicate, it made the ciphers look larger.
"Those poor people are now in prison," said Doctor Santos sorrowfully. "They have denounced me and the police will shortly come to arrest me, and no one will believe they were ever given to me!"
He raised the stove cover. "No, that won't do. The embers and ashes will remain. They can smell the smoke and burnt paper."
The doctor had a dove cot: a dove just then lighted on the window sill. A bright idea came to him. He took two tin boxes-such as are used for cut tobacco-and stuffed them both full with bank notes, climbed up to the dove cot and looked through the garret window. No one could see him. He raised some tiles and hid the boxes, then covered them up, leaving all as it was before. Breathing heavily, his heart thumping
furiously, he descended the staircase which led to the second floor and dropping into a chair, opened a huge volume which he held before his face, while he tried to recover his usual composure.
If he had been surprised and arrested, the inspector would have noticed that the book was upside down, the two old bills, with the magnifying glass, and compass, were still on the table, and that the lappels and sleeves of his coat were covered with earth and whitewash.
After several hours had passed, the old servant had returned, and no one else had appeared, the doctor began to think that perhaps the bills had not yet been changed, and, by virtue of such a supposition, he hurried to the widow's house with the pious intention of substituting one of his own old bank notes in place of the supposed false one. The bill had been changed; the widow and her children were having a little party in honor of their great good luck. They were not alone, as they generally were, but had asked several of their friends to share their joy. They were so profuse in their expressions of gratitude that the good old doctor did not know what to say nor how to explain his sudden return.
"Now be sure you take a room where you can have sunlight and give the children a dose of castor oil," he said as he hurried away.
Doctor Santos did not recover his usual composure for a long time. He seemed taciturn although he continued in his accustomed mode of living. After a while, however, he became more like himself.
The cabinet maker for whom the doctor had obtained a lucrative position, wished to make a public manifestation of his gratitude, but the doctor forbade him to even mention that he had received help. Nevertheless, it was murmured continually, that Doctor Santos, on account of his relations with persons of high rank, had given many a one a modest pension, while he had restored others to health by giving to them the money to procure a change of climate and a much needed rest.
Notwithstanding his friends of high rank, the doctor still lived in his modest
apartment and had moreover, dismissed his only servant. He now took his meals at a neighboring tavern. He still kept the dove cot and he had bought an expensive therapeutical apparatus and costly instruments. He had a laboratory and a fine medical library.
He earned enough and he had innumerable friends who gave him money to help cases of true necessity, owing to his fame of discerning where help was really needed. Happily society is not so completely decayed that it does not produce, with frequent spontaneity, the flower of Christian charity.
When Doctor Santos changed his habits of living, his character also changed. Formerly, he had been cheerful and lively, fond of an occasional visit to the theatre, and especially fond of a good table. But when he might have had all this he became gloomy and moody, and reduced his personal expenses, in spite of his large earnings, to an extent almost miserly.
The years rolled by, the doctor's hair snowy white, and he scarcely spoke. As he was no longer young and paid so little attention to his own comfort, his health began to fail. The cold was intense that winter and Doctor Santos, in spite of himself, had to keep his bed many a day.
His medical confrères visited him, and one, in particular, earnestly urged him to go to a warm climate.
"Must I go away, leave my work and occupations to die, not of sickness, but of ennui?"
"But," argued his friend, "no one likes better than you to send people off for a change of air during the winter."
The doctor did not reply, but he remained in Madrid, passing sleepless nights and coughing ceaselessly.
His friends, the only family he possessed, took turns, for a long time, in caring for him, but, as the days lengthened into weeks, the weeks into months and each one gradually began to find that his own cares absorbed his time, it was agreed upon that the best thing to do was to have a sister of charity come and nurse the doctor. Henceforth, his friends' visits grew
less frequent, and there were days at a time when his doorbell did not ring
Sor Luz, as the sister of charity was called, proved to be a perfect substitute for all his other attendants. Although the doctor had never cared for women's society, he found Sor Luz such a charming companion that he refused to receive other people, if it were possible.
Her white headdress and the undulations of her soft gown, seemed to him like the motions of a dove's wings.
Doctor Santos followed her with an affectionate and grateful glance, thus repaying the tender and solicitous care which only maternal and Christian love could give with such absolute abnegation and perseverance.
About the last of November, that harvest time of death, when a few golden leaves still clung to the trees, when the mountain tops were covered with silver and the cold, northerly wind penetrated the crevices of doors and windows, Doctor Santos began to grow worse.
He declared in his will, dated years before, that he had no property and that whatever was found in his house belonged, by right, to the poor. That he wished to have a humble funeral and be buried in the public cemetery.
In looking over his papers and effects, a tin box was found containing forty bank notes of one thousand pésétas each.
His friends declared that he had died of avarice. Sor Luz said that she had never known any one who had passed away with more tranquil, resigned or Christian spirit than Doctor Santos.
Nevertheless, she often spoke of some phrases of the doctor's which were utterly incomprehensible to her and for which she could not account.
"When there was yet time," he said, "I had the means to cure myself. It would have been so easy, that if it had been any one else I should have done so. I did not do it because I wished to preserve my own self-respect and to have some merit when God called me to a better life."
From the Spanish of Gustavo Morales, by Jean Raymond Bidwell.
From Longman's Magazine. AN ANGLER'S SUMMER EVE.
The hour of sunset in the fulness of the summer is specially dear to the flyfisher who loves the most contemplative phase of "the poetry of angling." It marks the commencement of evening fishing, which is full of a charm of its own that only anglers can appreciate. Nor all even of them, for there are some whose excess of energy most delights in the daylight fishing with the dry fly, a system which necessitates much stalking, creeping, crouching, casting in different positions, and general muscular activity.
For the old-fashioned fisherman accustomed to the wet fly, however, the angler's summer eve is the most fascinating period of the day. There is a mysterious charm when, to use the wonderful phrase from "Macbeth," "light thickens" about the familiar stream, the trees, meads, and hedgerows, the sighing rushes, the thorn bushes, and ancient willows which here and there stand on the banks. Things and sounds, commonplace in the garish light of day, assume a certain eerie romance in the gloaming. The ripple of the river has a rhythm unlike that of the earlier hours, the call of the distant bird, the buzz of the beetle's drony flight, the murmur of the soft breeze through the rushes, the far off village sounds-all these as twilight succeeds the sunset, have an effect which is outside their actual existence.
Only a minority have enjoyed to any extent the charm of evening fly-fishing. For it usually happens that when the trout who have been indolent, each in his favorite deep, during the blazing hours of the long summer day commence the sunset rise, the angler has to pack up and start for the train which is to carry him and his meadow memories to the din of London. Those, therefore, who either have no pressing occupations, or who live by some fair stream, are they who most appreciate this reposeful time and its uncloying delight. Full often has the evening fly-fisher captured the big trout who has disdained the lures of different ac
complished hands during the day, and who figures in their dreams.
At sunset, especially when as generally a light air ripples the water, the large trout waken from their summer somnolence in their crystal Castle of Indolence, and "dreams that wave before the half-shut eye" which they probably have of a kind, and get an appetite. Then do they leave their respective deeps; and usually they shift their position, coming to the opposite side of water to that occupied during the day.
They begin to rise at such ephemeral life as dots the surface of the stream. Not noisily-the splash is very gentle, though the surroundings as the light grows dimmer make it sound more clear than by day. Here and there the faint noise is heard, and thrills the fisherman's heart like a trumpet sound. The best and biggest fish, veritable monarchs of the brook, are now on the feed. And big as they are the sound of their rise is less than that of the small fry during the day, a gentle splash round which the circles widen, which the angler cannot see, alone betokens the trout's activity. And with joyous heart the angler with the evening before him, and no thought of time or trains to worry him, gets his tackle ready.
While he is doing so his eye and ear drink in delight of their own. The "flame-bright owl" has come out to feed, and dimly its white form is seen stealing with noiseless flight round the hedgerows, while occasionally its screech startles the silence. Late swallows still skim over the river, and sleeplessly wheeling by occasionally utter the shrill note that some rustics dislike to hear as much as the barnowl's. Points of light, some green, some white, appear in profusion on the banks under the hedges as the glowworms light each other. And the birdmusic is more varied than those who only know the mead and stream by day ever imagine, thinking indeed that "all the air a solemn stillness holds."
Far and near amid the grass the ubiquitously puzzling, rusty-voiced
corncrake is resonant. Here and there the note of the partridge just settling down suggests visions of September. Fidgety pheasants crow from the distant copse. Amid their staccato utterances the ear catches a liquid gush of melody which is sometimes mistaken for that of the nightingale. But it is that of the shy blackcap, which in thickest foliage will sing till at any rate the middle of July. From a big ash-tree which stands by the meadow gate a thrush is fluting his varied strain as a farewell to day, and nothing is more exquisite unless it be the rapt ecstatic song of the blackbird at dawn, which few indeed have heard but which is unequalled by any of his later music.
From the maze of vegetation, which is luxuriant at parts of the river's edge, a whirring continuous note is heard, which is pleasant to the angler's ears, though little music be therein, for it resembles the sound of his reel when a good fish is running the line out. This shows the proximity of the grasshopper lark, shyest of tiny birds, a little greenish brown creature which is almost ventriloquial in its effects, and which threads the most intertwined maze of stems and branches with the utmost ease and swiftness. But beyond this line of scrub the tall reeds are waving. And at this hour there seems to be a feathered concert within their green labyrinth. Lark, linnet, sparrow, chaffinch, swallow, redstart, and greenfinch appear to be vying with each other in short, hurrying passages, yet these are but the sounds of one little tireless bird, which when it pauses will sing the again if a stone be thrown into reeds the sedgewarbler which begins its fullest carolling what time
Pale twilight draws of sober hue With fingers soft and dipt in dew, O'er Nature's face a shadowy veil.
However delightful, therefore, the golden hours of sunlight and the full glories of the summer day to the angler, and mostly associated these since Walton's time with his pleasures, the twilight hour has its own especial
charms, and the evening fisher has equally delightful surroundings. More than this, to come from poetry to prose, the best trout are usually obtained at this time. The complicated art of the dry fly is not here required. This is a recommendation. For beautiful as that art is, and highly successful when mastered (which is no speedy achievement) for educated trout in a southern stream, it is yet the art of a minority. But your old-fashioned wet-fly angler may here console himself, and his creel will with luck be very satisfactory in its contents. The fly allowed to sink just beneath the water will spell success. There is a small but effectual list of flies which for such fishing are most appropriate. Such is the alder, the brackenclock, the black gnat, the white hackle, and the blue dun. From our own experience we will add the red palmer, the white moth, and coachman. On a clear night the black gnat or palmer, on a cloudy one the white moth or hackle are indicated.
Not very far from the bank do the fish rise in the evening. A shorter cast, therefore, is as effective as the long one of daylight. And this is lucky, for in the increasing obscurity one must cast rather by sound than sight. Dimly the rise is perceived, and lightly the fly is dropped; allowed to sink and so to swim. At the commencement near sunset, when sky and water are equally clear, the black gnat or palmer, by force of contrast, will attract most fish. We speak here of particularly bright evenings. As the time wears on and the light lessens these are exchanged for one of the white flies. On some evenings the moth is not a favorite. Fish seem to run after the small insects. On others these are neglected, and the white moth or hackle briskly risen to. And especially if there be clouds overhead and a sprinkling of rain. Trout are very whimsical at all times, except in the mayfly season (though even then they will occasionally neglect the artificial imitation), but the black and white flies in very bright or very dark weather, as the case may be, are far more successful