Chapter 20306789

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Chapter NumberI, II, III, IV
Chapter TitleTHE SMITHY
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20306789
Full Date1866-03-24
Page Number2
Corrections6
Word Count5698
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-08-08
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleTurned to the Wall
article text

TURNED TO THE WALL.

CHAPTER I.

THE SMITHY.

BY JOHN FRANCIS WALLER.

CLING, clang! cling, clang! 'Tis a winter's night, in the month of January, well-nigh half a century ago, in a central county of merry England. Out upon the still, sharp, frosty air

rings the beat of the smith's hammer, timing pleasant music that shapes itself into song, as it did in the days of our first George to the ear of Handel, when he fixed the sound into a melody and made them immortal Out, too, upon the blackness of the dark, cold sky, flashes the ruddy glow of sparkling light through the open win- dow of the smithy, flooding into the night in a sharply-defined stream, with its banks of gloom bounding it at either side—one of those pictures which old masters loved to paint for the con- trasts of light and shade. How gratefully comes the sense of warmth and comfort from within to him who stands outside in the chilly air! come belated villager making his way homewards; some wanderer that knows not where to rest, and hails the friendly blaze where he may find heat and shelter. One such stands there now, and gazes npon the bright interior. There is but one person within—a tall, large-boned, ath- letic man; his coat is off, and his shirt-sleeves, tucked up to the shoulders, display the toil- developed muscles of his hairy arms. The roar from the nozzle of his bellows has just subsided, and the smith, hammer in one hand and tongs in the other, plucks from the fire a bar of red- hot iron, lays it on the anvil, and down comes the heavy hammer, making the sparks fly all around him. Cling, clang ! cling, clang ! and the merry sounds ring out like a hymn of labor. And a nobler subject for a hymn to God never warmed an English heart! There are the two genii of the lamp of England's glory— grim, and swart, and hard, yet submissive and pliant to the hand of toil—Iron and Coal. Men of England, let us bless God who gave us —not the olive and the vine of Southern Europe, nor the diamonds of Golconda, nor the pearls of Arabia, nor the gold-fields of Australia; but the ironstone and the coal-field—precious gifts, by which the brain of Science and the hand of Art have wrought out a notion's wealth and power. The man paused at last, thrust the bar into the trough, where it hissed and sent up a white steam, and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. At this moment the spectator outside opened the door of the smithy. Before he could enter, the smith's voice assailed him— " Hallo! Dickon, where hast been this hour back? Plague on thee for an idle varlet; I'll be

sworn thee'st been at every ale-house between this and the market-cross. I'm half-minded to give thee a taste of something stronger than ——" The smith stopped short in his threat as the light fell on the face of the stranger. " Faith, I thought you were my 'prentice, Dickon Grimes. I sent the fellow, an hour since, for steel, into the village hard by, and I suppose he's been drinking. But you aint Dickon, I see." "No, I'm not." "So much the better for you. Who are you ? What do you want ?" " I want a guide to the village." " Well, I can't leave my work just now; but if you wait till I finish this job for the squire, I'll put you on your road. I shouldn't be long if I had any one to help me. Can you handle a sledge?" " I don't know—l'll try." The stranger took off his coat, turned up his shirt-sleeves, and prepared for work. He was a young man in the early prime of life, well-built and light; but the white, though nervous, arm did not tell of much hard labor. The smith blew up the fire, and in a few moments another heated bar was on the anvil, and so the two went heartily to work. " You'll do well enough," said the smith, as they stopped, flinging the bar into the trough. " Where do you come from ?" " From a long way off." " You'll be a Cornishman by your voice." "No, I'm from the North-country." "Yorkshire, belike?" " No ; up near the borders." " Where are you going ?" " To tho village, if you'll show me the way." The smith was no fool, but he saw he had met his match. So he gave it up, and replied— " Well, when these two bars are put in the gate, my work will be done. Come, lend me a hand once more, and then I'm at your service. "Now, good fellow," said the smith, when they had finished, " put on your coat, and come with me into the house. The good wife will have something comfortable, I'll warrant you." " With all my heart!" was the response. The smith led the way across a little plat of grass, fenced in with paling, to the door of a snug cottage, and they entered. A smart little matron stood by the fire, cooking, and turned round to give her husband a smiling welcome. " Doll, my lass, here's a new 'prentice. Dick- on has turned gentleman, and gone off to get drunk. Sit down, sit down, my lad!" little Dorothy Meadowes looked up at the new-comer, and she saw with the tail of her eye I that he wasn't just stuff that blacksmiths are made of, and then she smiled and blushed like a little coquette, as she was, and bid him wel- come And so they sat down to supper. The smith fell upon his trencher manfully—'twas a labor of love. The stranger ate more sparingly ; and when the host, after a hearty pull at the tank- ard, pushed it to his guest, the latter turned to his hostess and said, " Fair Mistress Dorothy, I drink to your health and our better acquaint- ance." Whereat Dorothy smiled and blushed again, and John Meadowes broke out into a roar, thinking, good soul, that he had hoaxed his wife about the new 'prentice; but he hadn't though. After a little the man grew thought- ful, and seeming to forget where he was, began to hum slowly a sweet wild air. The woman looked keenly at him, and then said to her husband, " John, you were late at work to-night; something more will do you no harm ; but you must go and draw it for yourself, for you know I'm a little weakly just now." The big smith looked at his little wife, tenderly, and went out of the room. As he re- turned, he saw Dorothy withdrawing her hand from the stranger's, who was speaking to her in a low, earnest voice. "Hollo!—I say! Hands off there, my fine fellow—that's work I want nobody to help me with. It seems to come easier to you than sledging iron." "Nay, nay, John!" said little Dorothy. " What! jealous because a young man is civil to your wife! " and she ran over and took the two dark, horny hands of her husband in her own, and looked up with a long, clear, innocent gaze into his eyes; till the gloom fled out of them. " Well, well, get thee away, lass! I suppose it's only his North-country manners. " And now, friend, I'm ready for the road." "But mind you don't go into the "Blue Boar,' John. Promise me." "Well, I promise thee, Doll—there's my pledge!" and the smith kissed the red lips of littie wife." The two men went out into the dark night, and left little Dorothy Meadowes alone. When the door was closed, she sat down, put her head between her hands, and had a hearty fit of crying.

CHAPTER II. THE "BLUE BOAR," BROKELEIGH. If you were let down from a balloon upon the green of Brokeleigh, you would know at a glance that you were in an English village. Warm brick houses, with their red-tiled roofs and trim gardens in front, surrounded three sides of the neat, grassy plot of some two acres, enclosed with wooden palings painted white ; the fourth side was open to the river, near the bank of which rose a long, high mass of stone building perforated with innumerable windows : un- mistakably English was this busy hive of human labor—a cotton mill. But if you could have any doubt of your whereabouts, turn to your right, and walk along the village street till you eome to the cross, and look about you. There is the market-house, a heary, unsightly, square building, of dark stone. A colonnade of pillars support circular arches all around, giving entrance to the ground floor, where a market was held weekly, and sustaining the upper storey, which discharged, in turn, the duties of a town hall, a court of justice, and an assembly room. A low, square tower rose from the centre of the roof, surmounted by a vane in the simili- tude of a cock, of so conserrative and unbending a disposition, that he scorned to be influenced by any atmospheric changes, and didn't care a bean what way the wind blew—the parish church, and the parish stocks, and the thoroughly English inn completed the picture. The morning sun was shining redly through the frosty fog, as Dorothy Meadowes walked at the top of her speed across the common. On she pressed to the town, and up the high street, till she came to the market-cross, and stood op- posite the "Blue Boar." From a pole that projected out of the wooden balcony of that ancient fabric, swung a square sign-board whereon was depicted the animal that gave its to the principal inn of Brokeleigh. That ram- pant, and grisly beast had been standing— no- body knows for how many generations—on his hind legs, defiant alike of the laws of gravity

and the endurence of muscle, with golden tusks, bright cobalt body, and bristling mane ; and round his neck a golden chain that trailed away in all manner of impossible curves to the ground. In passed little Dorothy, heedless of the grim old porker over her head, stealthily, as if to avoid observation. This was not to be: a cheery voice from the bar saluted her. " Good morning, Mrs. Meadowes ; you aint going to pass an old friend without a word with him, sure ? 'Tis an age since I saw you, and you look as blooming as ever." Dorothy turned round to where burley Abel Dobbs sat, framed and glazed, within the bar. "Ah, Mr. Dobbs, good morning. I didn't expect to see you so early ; and how is your missus ? " Abel made a wry face. "Oh lively; scrub- bing and washing, and turning the house inside out. We shall have a plaguy stirring life of it, I'm thinking." "Well, I'll just run in and see her." " Aye, do, and be sure to tell John to look in to-morrow. I want a word with him." Dorothy tripped into the house, but she did not go down the passage that led to the kitchen. No; she hurried up-stairs, ran along the corridor, and knocked softly at the door of "the Angel." 'Twas quickly opened by the occupant of the room. In glided Dorothy, and the door was closed behind her. Ah little Dorothy, what a sad little lass for gossiping you are! Not many minutes after, the "Angel" began to pull his bell violently, and Mrs. Dobbs, who chanced to be in the next room putting things in order, declared afterwards, that she heard suppressed sobbing, and that when she ran to the door she found it bolted inside. The occupant of the room came to the door and asked for a glass of brandy-and-water : a hand was put out to receive it, and the door was shut again. In about half-an-hour afterwards Dorothy Meadowes slipt out quietly, and went down-stairs, and then she hurried past the bar and into the street. It was fortunate for her that Abel Dobbs had gone out to have a talk with a neighbor, else he would surely have seen that little Dorothy's face was flushed with agitation, and her eyes red with weeping. Dorothy did not turn homewards, but she went through one of the arches of the market-house, and under the conservative cock, and right through, out at the door side, up the road that led to the vicarage, and slipt in through the back-door of the house. What brought her to the vicarage? Was it to gossip with old Mrs. White, the housekeeper ? May be so; for Mrs. White was a great gossip, and loved dearly a long talk about everybody's business. If that was Dolly's occupation, they must have dis- cussed the affairs of the whole country side, for a good hour had passed before she shook hands with the old lady at the door, and at last turned her steps homewards. Then Dolly slipt quietly into the pretty cottage, where we found her at first, divested herself of her cloak and bonnet, and was soon busily occupied pre paring the noon-day meal for her husband. Ah! true hearted John Meadowes! you and your rakish 'prentice, Dickon Grimes, have been blowing and sledging away since breakfast, not dreaming that little Dolly has been all the morn- ing gadding and gossiping through the village with—no one knows who.

CHAPTER III THE HALL. In midday, dew, bright, and frosty—for the mist has rolled away, and the sun is shining ''from a cloudless sky —as a man walks through the green of Brokeleigh, and down to the river side. He crosses the steep old bridge; he does not take the highway to the right or left, but goes straight forward to the great antique entrance to Brokeleigh Hall. A heavy iron gate stands between two massive square piers, of rusticated masonry, vermiculated and weather stained, each surmounted by a boar, the cogni- sance of the De Brokeleighs. A ring at the wicket summons the gate keeper's wife, who, with a curtsey, admits the visitor. A cheery greeting, a kind word of inquiry for the good man and the children, and he passes on up the broad, straight avenue of noble chesnut trees. A few words will make you acquainted with the man, so that you shall know the Vicar of Brokeleigh before he reaches the hall. You see a tall, thin, sinewy man, under thirty years of age, with a face pale and emaciated, a forehead high and white—all the whiter for the masses of raven hair that fall on either side—and the black, piercing eyes that flitter from beneath his bushy eyebrows, His face, when in repose, has an air of sternness, almost of aceticism; but when he speaks, a rich musical voice, and, at times, a smile of peculiar sweetness playing about his lips, tell of a noble and benevolent nature. Newton Herbert took a double first at Oxford, and was a fellow of his college ; the family borough was at his com- mand, and his friends looked upon him as one who would yet take a prominent place among the statesmen of his day. But he sud- denly changed his mind, took holy orders, and, declining a metropolitan chaplaincy, accepted the offer of his father's old friend, and buried himself amongst the primitive folks of the remote parish of Brokeleigh. Two years of earnest, manful labor had wrought wonders in the parish. Vice and immorality he assailed with unsparing vigor. In the pulpit he de- nounced the sin with a power so pointed, that the sinner, though unnamed, was conscious he was meant, and trembled at the thought of the visit, which he well knew the vicar would pay him next day, and the reproof, sharp and severe, which he would administer. With the penitent he was gentle and consoling, and at the bed-side of the reformed profligate he soothed the departing soul, that he had first awakened to a sense of guilt by his stern de- nunciations, and then softened by the offers of mercy and pardon. And so Newton Herbert was feared, loved, and honored by all. And now he has passed by the stone steps that led to the terrace, from which the old hall rises with arched doorway and mullioned window, and turret and gable, and steep roof; and in another moment he is seated in the library, awaiting the appearance of the master of the house. A man of about fifty years of age enters. He is above the middle height, strong built, and inclining to stoutness, with a face somewhat florid, that tells of exposure to wind and weather. His bearing is frank and manly; but you soon detect an air of something that looks like pride,and an expression of firmness amounting almost to obstinacy, with now and then a shade of sadness passing over his features. This is Roger de Brokeleigh, of Brokeleigh Hall, with Norman blood in his veins, whose fountain-head is to be sought for

in the fields of Cressy and Agincourt— Brokeleigh of Brokeleigh, as he is called by his acquaintances, and better known as " the squire" in the neighborhood for miles round. A fine specimen in his way of the old English country gentleman (whose characteristic peculiarities were even then dying out before the equalising influence of increasing knowledge) ; full of class prejudices, proud of his lineage, and somewhat exacting of the respect due to it; standing stoutly by his order; hospitable, generoun, loving, and kind to his tenantry, whose rights he will suffer no one to invade; but whose votes at vestry or hustings he considers his own property, resisting the progress of democratic power and the innovations of popular institu- tions; believing in handlooms and spinning wheels, and hating mills and machinery. Herbert is gazing thoughtfully upon the fire in the antique grate as the squire enters, and, coming up to him, cordially extends his hand. "Delighted to see you, my dear Herbert. Anything now in these days of novelties ? Have the slaters repaired the roof of the vicarage for you, as I directed ?" " Not yet, sir. They are all employed at pre- sent at Mr. Plant's new school-house. I can wait very well, as long as this fine weather lasts." " Wait! Why should my work wait on Mr. Plant's ? Besides, I do not see what need there is for a new school-house at Brokeleigh? Is not mine well managed ? I never heard of any com- plaint." " Excellently managed ; but the population has lately increased a good deal." "Ay, and whose fault is that? Doesn't it all come of that fellow, Plant, and his new-fangled mill, bringing vagrants from the country round to work at it ?" " Not vagrants, Mr. De Brokeleigh, but hard working men and women with their families. Mr. Plant is an honest, intelligent, energetic man, that does much good. He gives the people a great deal of employment, and fair wages." " Ay, and works them from morning to night in close, unwholesome rooms. Look at the little factory children's faces and hands, white and thin from toil and confinement—poor things! They ought to be red and chubby at out-door work in the fields." "I have spoken to Mr. Plant on these matters, and suggested an improved mode of ventilating the rooms, and asked him to shorten the time of the children's labor, and I must say he readily and cheerfully adopted my views. 'Twas his own proposal to build the school-house. He said to me, in his own blunt, business like way, ' If I get so much out of the little ones' bodies, it is only fair that I should put something into their minds, and so make the debit and credit sides of my books balance.' 'Twas a sentiment worthy of an honest English employer." " Well, well, we'll see. I suppose it is for the good of the people's health he has built this big chimney that is to fill the air with soot and smoke?" "'Tis for his own good, sir. The river, though flooded in winter, is too low in summer to work his new machinery." " May be so, but I shall see whether his good or the good of Brokeleigh is to be prefered. I shall try and prevent it as a nuisance." " Take my advice, sir, and do no such thing. Depend upon it, we cannot, and we ought not if we could, resist the spirit of enterprise and improvement that is making our people prosper- ous and great." " Pardon me, Mr. Herbert, I must decline to take your advice in matters where my own rights are concerned. I shall certainly try to resist this that you are pleased to call an improve ment. Why, sir, I shan't be safe from the annoyance, even up here. Come into my room, and look at it, and judge for yourself." The squire opened a door at the far end of the library, and crossing a retired corridor, led the vicar into an apartment at the other side of the house.

CHAPTER IV. THE SQUIRE'S ROOM. THE room into which the vicar and his host entered was known from time immemorial as " The squire's room." It was an apartment of moderate size, panelled in oak to the ceiling, and decidedly what may be called snug. In this the lords of the Manor of Brokeleigh had for generations ensconced themselves as their sanctum. Except the servants to arrange the room, and the steward occasionally to settle his accounts, or receive his master's directions, few persons had access into this apartment; indeed, Herbert now entered it for the first time. He and the squire went to the window, where they had a full view of the obnoxious chimney, and discussed '• its merits and demerits, both in a utilitarian and sanitary point of view. Between men who, on many questions of the day, entertained sentiments widely differing, and each likely to take decided views, it was not very probable that the discussion would make a convert of either to the opinions of the other. At length, Herbert turned away with a sigh and glanced at some of the pictures on the wall: a portrait of a young man in regimentals attracted his attention, and he slipped over to examine it. " Ah, you are looking at Reginald's picture," said the squire. " I had a letter from him lately from India ; he is daily in expectation of his majority." "I am glad to hear it, sir. The prosperity of a child is always a happiness to a father's heart. Children are a great blessing." " No doubt, and sometimes a great care," replied the squire, with a sigh. " There is Charley's portrait beyond. To-day, you know, he is of age, and he is coming home to celebrate his birthday. I expect him in the afternoon; we shall have a litle fête to greet him." "So I understand. And what's this, sir ?" As he asked the question, Herbert stood oppo- site a picture-frame that was placed between the two others, but the face of the picture was turned to the wall. " Ha! a woman!" he exclaimed, as he reversed the frame: " and a lovely one too." The squire sprang forward, and thrust Herbert violently some paces back. " Sir—sir, presumption is intolerable! By what right do you dare to interfere with the arrangements of my house—to pry into my secrets ?" Herbert drew himself up to his full height, his pale face flushed for a moment under the sense of an indignity ; but it was only for a moment, the flush passed away, and left him pale and calm as before. Then he gazed upon De Brokeleigh sadly, almost sternly, as he replied, with quiet solemnity, " By the right, sir, which I derive from Him whose commission I bear—of Him from whom no secrets are hid. By that right do I seek to look into the secret which like an ulcer is eating into your life, that I may, with His bles- sing, cleanse and heal it." And then the sweet smile played, about his mouth as he added, in the

tenderest accents of gentleness and affectionate respect, " By the right, too, of one who loves you as a son loves a father—who loves you so faith- fully that he braves your anger to do you a service, as he would lay down his life to save yours. Oldest and best friend of my dear father, open your heart to me, as you would to him, I entreat you." The squire sank down in a seat, and buried his face in his hands. There was a silence of many minutes. A conflict of passions was raging with in him more fierce than if it had exploded in audible demonstrations. 'Tis over, and the better nature of the man prevails. " Herbert, you have for two years past been a loving son to me, while the sons that I love were forced to be absent, and left me childless. Yes, I will tell you the secret which I had meant to take down with me to the grave. Sit down and hear me." [WILL BE CONCLUDED IN OUR NEXT.]

Fat Men ajtd Nervous Mkx.—Th* nerves are the objects of systematic enmity and depre ciation among mankind at Urge. Fat, however it may excite complaint in the fat person, is not, I believe, an object of enmity, except in an om nibus, or in some position where it occupies an unusual portion of the planetary space. Pro phetic denunciations against such as be fat in Zion are on record; none against such a* be nervous. Yet the fat man is tolerated, loved, at worst, laughed at; while the nervous man is not only laughed at, he is disliked. But is it fat that has been the chief benefactor of the human race ? Was it a fat man that invented printing? Was it a fat man that discovered the circulation of the blood ? Was George Stephenson fat ? Were the martyr* fat men ? Heuogabalus was, but was Antoninus ? Julius Caesar, though for his own selfish ends he pre ferred fiit men about his person, was he fat himself? Was Hampden a fat man? Was Milton? Was Cromwell? Was William III.? No; it was George IV. who was the fat man; and he built the pavilion at Brighton. Charles James Fox was fat; but he gambled. Falstaff was fat; but he was not a respectable character. Hamlet, again, was fat; out he believed in ghosts, and was a very undecided young man. The fattest man of modern times, is a distinguished undertaker — he may make good coffins, but I am not a judge of coffins. On the other hand, is Mr. Tennyson fat? I* Mr. John Stuart Mill fat? Is Mr. Browning fat ? Is Mr. Gladstone fat ? No; the nation would not trust its income with a fat man; it knows better. The only fat financier I ever heard of, waa Mr. Hudson, the railway king. Thus, it is with nervous men, that we trust our money, and it is from nervous men that we expect all that makes money worth having. Or if this statement should be too wide, let it be met by contradiction—there are plenty of contradictory people in the world— and the other side have too long had it all their own way —have too long been permitted to treat the nervous as not only miserable in them selves, but the cause of misery in others. Part of this results from the sheer error in classifica tion. It was with extreme indignation that I once read " Dr. Trotter (of Bath) on the Ner vous Temperament"—a book lent to me by a friend, who supposed aae to be, as a nervous man, both wretched and a cause of wretchedness. In Dr. Trotter I found an ela borate discussion of—indigestion! His idea of a nervous person was, I found, a person who had " the wind ;" who had a poor appetite; who had ignominious symptoms not to be par* ticularised; who suffered from " borborrigwu." And his prescriptions were such beggarly ele ments as calcined magnesia, gentian, exercise, occupation, and " the warm gums." I returned the book with disgust, assuring my friend that, however nervous I might be, I never had " the wind; knew nothing of " borborrigmi ;" ate like a trooper; walked ten miles a day ; and had am ple " occupation." To this hour I find people who " understand " —ah, how people do " un derstand" things!—that I am "nervous," sup pose what they call " nervousness " is a sort of disease. They recommend rhubarb, or pepper mint drops, or more exercise, or pale ale. The fact is they do not understand vivacity of sen sation. They think it is a complaint, they localise it in the regions under or below the waistband; and prescribe to the " nervous" just as a penguin or a porpoise might pre scribe to a darting swallow or a leap ing salmon. Thus, the " nervous " suffer in popular estimation because they are confounded with the dyspeptic, and it may be added, with the hysterical. There is a complaint, or manifestation, or something, which, in the days of Pamela and Joseph Andrews, was known as the megrims, or the doldrums, or the vapors ; it was a fine madam's common excuse for not being seen, or for neglect ing a duty, and it was supposed to be cured by " Hungary water," for which the modern auccedaneum is red lavender. I found all the symptoms of the "megrims" described in Dr. Trotter's book as symptoms of the nervous temperament. In the name of all the nervous I indignantly repel the slander; that is just the way of the world—it never will disensunate. Let hysterics speak for themselves, we, the real honest " nervous " ladies and gentlemen, do not haro " a difficulty in swallowing," and, most dis tinctly, do not have " St. Yitus's dance," which is described by the infamous Trotter as part of the ordinary diagnosis of our temperament! I speak both in sorrow and in anger, but without surprise; for liave not many of us, comrades in nervousness, been asked: " What makes you so nervous ? You should take tonics!" when we were no more " nervous" in that sense than the jubilant shrimp at sunset, or the lark in the happy agitation of his matin song. The truth j is, the vulgar phlegmatic do not love to see j others lively and brisk. A creature with only j a few sides—say two, an inside and an outside —is naturally jealous of another with a hundred facets, or is at least puzzled by it. So, a croco dile, which takes fifteen minutes to turn round, might fancy a kitten chasing its own tail mad or diseased.—" Aa Apology for the Nerves," in The Argosy. Thi "Bed Hands" of Australia.—The Bey. John Sharpe, of Yurong-street, Woolloo tnooloo, has in his possesion a very interesting | and perfect specimen of one of these colored impressions on stone, which, found in many parts of this vast continent, are supposed to have been fabricated by the ancient aboriginal inhabitants, and which have, of late yean, so greatly attracted the attention of the learned. This curious evidence of the black man's skill in former ages (and probably also of his , superstition) was discovered not long since, by a Mr. Stephens, in a care on the Hawkesbury River, between Sackville Beach and Page's Ferry,with several of a similar description; many of the examples not only exhibiting an impression of the hand of the sable artist, but also an impression of his forearm as he first affixed these marks to the rock. Bight and left hand impressions were found on the surface of the rock in this care, and may there still be seen. Mr. Stephens, an intelligent stone-cutter, resident in the immediate neighborhood, took Mr. Sharpe—during a pastoral visit—to see these curious relics of a bye-gone age, and, at the request of Mr. Sharpe, cut a slab out of the rock containing, on its surface, an exact repre sentation of the left hand of a human being— apparently that of a woman. This slab of hard sandstone is about thirteen inches long, by nine inches broad, and about three inches thick. The face of the rock is seemingly coated with a dark, forruginous substance, as hard as the iron it re sembles. The hand, with the fingers " dis played," is seen on a light brownish ground or "field." Above the hand is a rectangular ledge coated with the same iron-like sur face. This coating on the stone may be natural, but it has at all events the effect of being an artificial substance. The fact that several of the "hands" in this cave are found with the addition of the arm of the person who impressed them must suffi ciently disprove the conjecture of Professor Owen, as to the origin of these marks, which that savant and others have attributed to some extinct gigantic annual resembling the toad. We have been requested to intimate that Mr. Sharpe will be happy to show this rare curiosity to any gentleman who may desire to see it, at his residence, No. 73, Yurong-street.— B. M. Herald.