Chapter 70

New profession - Beautiful night - Jupiter - Sharp and shrill - The Rommany chi - All alone - Three-and- sixpence - What is Rommany? Be civil - Parraco tute - Slight start - She will be grateful - The rustling.

I PASSED the greater part of the day in endeavouring to teach myself the mysteries of my new profession. I cannot say that I was very successful, but the time passed agreeably, and was therefore not ill spent. Towards evening I flung my work aside, took some refreshment, and afterwards a walk.

This time I turned up the small footpath of which I have already spoken. It led in a zigzag manner through thickets of hazel, elder, and sweet-brier; after following its windings for somewhat better than a furlong, I heard a gentle sound of water, and presently came to a small rill, which ran directly across the path. I was rejoiced at the sight, for I had already experienced the want of water, which I yet knew must be nigh at hand, as I was in a place to all appearance occasionally frequented by wandering people, who I was aware never take up their quarters in places where water is difficult to be obtained. Forthwith I stretched myself on the ground, and took a long and delicious draught of the crystal stream, and then, seating myself in a bush, I continued for some time gazing on the water as it purled tinkling away in its channel through an opening in the hazels, and should have probably continued much longer had not the thought that I had left my property unprotected compelled me to rise and return to my encampment.

Night came on, and a beautiful night it was; up rose the moon, and innumerable stars decked the firmament of heaven. I sat on the shaft, my eyes turned upwards. I had found it: there it was twinkling millions of miles above me, mightiest star of the system to which we belong: of all stars the one which has most interest for me - the star Jupiter.

Why have I always taken an interest in thee, O Jupiter? I know nothing about thee, save what every child knows, that thou art a big star, whose only light is derived from moons. And is not that knowledge enough to make me feel an interest in thee? Ay, truly; I never look at thee without wondering what is going on in thee; what is life in Jupiter? That there is life in Jupiter who can doubt? There is life in our own little star, therefore there must be life in Jupiter, which is not a little star. But how different must life be in Jupiter from what it is in our own little star! Life here is life beneath the dear sun - life in Jupiter is life beneath moons - four moons - no single moon is able to illumine that vast bulk. All know what life is in our own little star; it is anything but a routine of happiness here, where the dear sun rises to us every day: then how sad and moping must life be in mighty Jupiter, on which no sun ever shines, and which is never lighted save by pale moonbeams! The thought that there is more sadness and melancholy in Jupiter than in this world of ours, where, alas! there is but too much, has always made me take a melancholy interest in that huge distant star.

Two or three days passed by in much the same manner as the first. During the morning I worked upon my kettles, and employed the remaining part of the day as I best could. The whole of this time I only saw two individuals, rustics, who passed by my encampment without vouchsafing me a glance; they probably considered themselves my superiors, as perhaps they were.

One very brilliant morning, as I sat at work in very good spirits, for by this time I had actually mended in a very creditable way, as I imagined, two kettles and a frying-pan, I heard a voice which seemed to proceed from the path leading to the rivulet; at first it sounded from a considerable distance, but drew nearer by degrees. I soon remarked that the tones were exceedingly sharp and shrill, with yet something of childhood in them. Once or twice I distinguished certain words in the song which the voice was singing; the words were - but no, I thought again I was probably mistaken - and then the voice ceased for a time; presently I heard it again, close to the entrance of the footpath; in another moment I heard it in the lane or glade in which stood my tent, where it abruptly stopped, but not before I had heard the very words which I at first thought I had distinguished.

I turned my head; at the entrance of the footpath, which might be about thirty yards from the place where I was sitting, I perceived the figure of a young girl; her face was turned towards me, and she appeared to be scanning me and my encampment; after a little time she looked in the other direction, only for a

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.