A Sequel to 'Christie's Old Organ'






















Chapter I


It was the yellow ragwort that did it! I have discovered the clue at

last. All night long I have been dreaming of Runswick Bay. I have been

climbing the rocks, talking to the fishermen, picking my way over the

masses of slippery seaweed, and breathing the fresh briny air. And all

the morning I have been saying to myself, 'What can have made me dream

of Runswick Bay? What can have brought the events of my short stay in

that quaint little place so vividly before me?' Yes, I am convinced of

it; it was that bunch of yellow ragwort on the mantelpiece in my

bedroom. My little Ella gathered it in the lane behind the house

yesterday morning, and brought it in triumphantly, and seized the best

china vase in the drawing-room, and filled it with water at the tap, and

thrust the great yellow bunch into it.

'Oh, Ella,' said Florence, her elder sister, 'what ugly common flowers!

How could you put them in mother's best vase, that Aunt Alice gave her

on her birthday! What a silly child you are!'

'I'm not a silly child,' aid Ella stoutly, 'and mother is sure to like

them; I know she will. _She_ won't call them common flowers. She

loves all yellow flowers. She said so when I brought her the daffodils;

and these are yellower, ever so much yellower.'

Her mother came in at this moment, and, taking our little girl on her

knee, she told her that she was quite right; they were very beautiful in

her eyes, and she would put them at once in her own room, where she

could have them all to herself.

And that is how it came about, that, as I lay in bed, the last thing my

eyes fell upon was Ella's bunch of yellow ragwort; and what could be

more natural than that I should go to sleep and dream of Runswick Bay?

It seems only yesterday that I was there, so clearly can I recall it,

and yet it must be twenty years ago. I think I must write an account of

my visit to Runswick Bay and give it to Ella, as it was her yellow

flowers which took me back to the picturesque little place. If she

cannot understand all I tell her now, she will learn to do so as she

grows older.

I was a young man then, just beginning to make my way as an artist. It

is slow work at first; until you have made a name, every one looks

critically at your work; when once you have been pronounced a rising

artist, every daub from your brush has a good market value. I had had

much uphill work, but I loved my profession for its own sake, and I

worked on patiently, and, at the time my story begins, several of my

pictures had sold for fair prices, and I was not without hope that I

might soon find a place in the Academy.

It was an unusually hot summer, and London was emptying fast. Every one

who could afford it was going either to the moors or to the sea, and I

felt very much inclined to follow their example. My father and mother

had died when I was quite a child, and the maiden aunt who had brought

me up had just passed away, and I had mourned her death very deeply, for

she had been both father and mother to me. I felt that I needed change

of scene, for I had been up for many nights with her during her last

illness, and I had had my rest broken for so long, that I found it very

difficult to sleep, and in many ways I was far from well. My aunt had

left all her little property to me, so that the means to leave London

and to take a suitableholiday were not wanting. The question was, where

should I go? I was anxious to combine, if possible, pleasure and

business--that is to say, I wished to choose some quiet place where I

could get bracing air and thorough change of scene, and where I could

also find studies for my new picture, which was (at least, so I fondly

dreamed) to find a place in the Academy the following spring.

It was whilst I was looking for a suitable spot that Tom Bernard, my

great friend and confidant, found one for me.

'Jack, old fellow,' he said, thrusting a torn newspaper into my hand,

'read that, old man.'

The newspaper was doubled down tightly, and a great red cross of Tom's

making showed me the part he wished me to read.


This charming seaside resort is not half so well known

as it deserves to be. For the lover of the beautiful,

for the man with an artistic eye, it possesses a charm

which words would fail to describe. The little bay is a

favourite resort for artists; they, at least, know how

to appreciate its beauties. It would be well for any who

may desire to visit this wonderfullypicturesque and

enchanting spot to secure hotel or lodging-house

accommodation as early as possible, for the demand for

rooms is, in August and September, far greater than the


'Well, what do you think of it?' said Tom.

'It sounds just the thing,' I said; 'fresh air and plenty to paint.'

'Shall you go?'

'Yes, to-morrow,' I replied; 'the sooner the better.'

My bag was soon packed, my easel and painting materials were collected,

and the very next morning I was on my way into Yorkshire.

It was evening when I reached the end of my long, tiring railway

journey; and when, hot and dusty, I alighted at a village which lay

about two miles from my destination. I saw no sign of beauty as I walked

from the station; the country was slightly undulating in parts, but as a

rule nothing met my gaze but a long flat stretch of field after field,

covered, as the case might be, with grass or corn. Harebells and pink

campion grew on the banks, and the meadows were full of ox-eye daisies;

but I saw nothing besides that was in the least attractive, and

certainly nothing of which I could make a picture.

A family from York had come by the same train, and I had learnt from

their conversation that they had engaged lodgings for a month at

Runswick Bay. The children, two boys of ten and twelve, and a little

fair-haired girl a year or two younger, were full of excitement on their


'Father, where is the sea?' they cried. 'Oh, we do want to see the sea!'

'Run on,' said their father, 'and you will soon see it.'

So we ran together, for I felt myself a child again as I watched them,

and if ever I lagged behind, one or other of them would turn round and

cry, 'Come on, come on; we shall soon see it.'

Then, suddenly, we came to the edge of the high cliff, and the sea in

all its beauty and loveliness burst upon us. The small bay was shut in

by rocks on either side, and on the descent of the steep cliff was built

the little fishing village. I think I have never seen a prettier place.

The children were already running down the steep, rocky path--I cannot

call it a road--which led down to the sea, and I followed more slowly

behind them. It was the most curiously built place. The fishermen's

cottages were perched on the rock, wherever a ledge or standing place

could be found. Steep, narrow paths, or small flights of rock-hewn

steps, led from one to another. There was no street in the whole place;

there could be none, for there were hardly two houses which stood on the

same level. To take a walk through this quaint village was to go up and

down stairs the whole time.

At last, after a long, downward scramble, I found myself on the shore,

and then I looked back at the cliff and at the irregular little town. I

did not wonder that artists were to be found there. I had counted four

as I came down the hill, perched on different platforms on the rock, and

all hard at work at their easels.

Yes, it was certainly a picturesque place, and I was glad that I had

come. The colouring was charming: there was red rock in the background,

here and there covered with grass, and ablaze with flowers. Wild roses

and poppies, pink-thrift and white daisies, all contributed to make the

old rock gay. But the yellow ragwort was all over; great patches of it

grew even on the margin of the sand, and its bright flowers gave the

whole place a golden colouring. There seemed to be yellow everywhere,

and the red-tiled cottages, and the fishermen in their blue jerseys, and

the countless flights of steps, all appeared to be framed in the

brightest gilt.

Yes, I felt sure I should find something to paint in Runswick Bay. I was

not disappointed in Tom's choice for me.


Chapter II


After admiring the beauties of my new surroundings for some little time,

I felt that I must begin to look for quarters. I was anxious, if

possible, to find a lodging in one of the cottages, and then, after a

good night's rest, I would carefully select a good subject for my

picture. I called at several houses, where I noticed a card in the

window announcing _Apartments to Let_, but I met the same answer

everywhere, 'Full, sir, quite full.' In one place I was offered a bed in

the kitchen, but the whole place smelt so strongly of fried herrings and

of fish oil, that I felt it would be far more pleasant to sleep on the

beach than to attempt to do so in that close and unwholesome atmosphere.

After wandering up and down for some time, I passed a house close to the

village green, and saw the children with whom I had travelled sitting at

tea close to the open window. They, too, were eating herrings, and the

smell made me hungry. I began to feel that it was time I had something

to eat, and I thought my best plan would be to retrace my steps to the

hotel which I had passed on my way, and which stood at the very top of

the high cliff. I turned a little lazy when I thought of the climb, for

I was tired with my journey, and, as I said before, I was not very

strong, and to drag my bag and easel up the ruggedascent would require

a mighty effort at the best of times. I noticed that wooden benches had

been placed here and there on the different platforms of the rock, for

the convenience of the fishermen, and I determined to rest for a quarter

of an hour on one of them before retracing my steps up the steep hill to

the hotel. The fishermen were filling most of the seats, sitting side by

side, row after row of them, talking together, and looking down at the

beach below. As I gazed up at them, they looked to me like so many blue

birds perched on the steep rock.

There was one seat in a quiet corner which I noticed was empty. I went

to it, and laying my knapsack and other belongings beside me, I sat down

to rest.

But I was not long to remain alone. A minute afterwards a young

fisherman, dressed like his mates in blue jersey and oilskin cap,

planted himself on the other end of the seat which I had selected.

'Good-day, sir,' he said. 'What do you think of our bay?'

'It's a pretty place, very pretty,' I said. 'I like it well enough now,

but I daresay I shall like it better still to-morrow.'

'Better still to-morrow,' he repeated; 'well, it _is_ the better

for knowing, in my opinion, sir, and I _ought_ to know, if any one

should, for I've lived my lifetime here.'

I turned to look at him as he spoke, and I felt at once that I had come

across one of Nature's gentlemen. He was a fine specimen of an honest

English fisherman, with dark eyes and hair, and with a sunny smile on

his weather-beaten, sunburnt face. You had only to look at the man to

feel sure that you could trust him, and that, like Nathanael, there was

no guile in him.

'I wonder if you could help me,' I said; 'I want to find a room here if

I can, but every place seems so full.'

'Yes, it is full, sir, in August; that's the main time here. Let me see,

there's Brown's, they're full, and Robinson's, and Wilson's, and

Thomson's, all full up. There's Giles', they have a room, I believe, but

they're not over clean; maybe you're particular, sir.'

'Well,' I said, 'I do like things clean; I don't mind how rough they are

if they're only clean.'

'Ah,' he said, with a twinkle in his eye; 'you wouldn't care for one pan

to do all the work of the house--to boil the dirty clothes, and the

fish, and your bit of pudding for dinner, and not overmuch cleaning of

it in between.'

'No,' I said, laughing; 'I should not like that, certainly.'

'Might give the pudding a flavour of stockings, and a sauce of fish

oil,' he answered. 'Well, you're right, sir; I shouldn't like it myself.

Cleanliness is next to godliness, that's my idea. Well, then, that being

as it is, I wouldn't go to Giles', not if them is your sentiments with

regard to pans, sir.'

'Then I suppose there's nothing for it but to trudge up to the hotel at

the top of the hill,' I said, with something of a groan.

'Well, sir,' he said, hesitating a little; 'me and my missus, we have a

room as we lets sometimes, but it's a poor place, sir, homely like, as

ye may say. Maybe you wouldn't put up with it.'

'Would you let me see it?' I asked.

'With pleasure, sir; it's rough, but it's clean. We could promise you a

clean pan, sir. My missus she's a good one for cleaning; she's not one

of them slatternly, good-for-nothing lasses. There's heaps of them here,

sir, idling away their time. She's a good girl is my Polly. Why, if that

isn't little John a-clambering up the steps to his daddy!'

He jumped up as he said this, and ran quickly down the steep flight of

steps which led down from the height on which the seat was placed, and

soon returned with a little lad about two years old in his arms.

The child was as fair as his father was dark. He was a pretty boy with

light hair and blue eyes, and was tidily dressed in a bright red cap and

clean white-pinafore.

'Tea's ready, daddy,' said the boy; 'come home with little John.'

'Maybe you wouldn't object to a cup o' tea, sir,' said the father,

turning to me; 'it'll hearten you up a bit after your journey, and

there's sure to be herrings. We almost lives on herrings here, sir, and

then, if you're so minded, you can look at the room after. Ye'll excuse

me if I make too bold, sir,' he added, as he gently patted little John's

tiny hand, which rested on his arm.

'I shall be only too glad to come,' I said; 'for I am very hungry, and

if Polly's room is as nice as I think it will be, it will be just the

place for me.'

He walked in front of me, up and down several flights of steps, until,

at some little distance lower down the hill, he stopped before a small

  • yesterday [´jestədi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&ad.昨天;前不久   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (初中英语单词)
  • profession [prə´feʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.职业;声明;表白   (初中英语单词)
  • maiden [´meidn] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.少女 a.未婚的   (初中英语单词)
  • suitable [´su:təbəl, ´sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合适的,适当的   (初中英语单词)
  • holiday [´hɔlidi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.假日,假期,节日   (初中英语单词)
  • anxious [´æŋkʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.担忧的;渴望的   (初中英语单词)
  • combine [kəm´bain] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(使)结合;联合企业   (初中英语单词)
  • academy [ə´kædəmi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.专科学校;学会;协会   (初中英语单词)
  • charming [´tʃɑ:miŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可爱的;极好的   (初中英语单词)
  • resort [ri´zɔ:t] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.求助;乞灵;诉诸   (初中英语单词)
  • appreciate [ə´pri:ʃieit] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.评价;珍惜;感激   (初中英语单词)
  • painting [´peintiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.绘画;(油)画;着色   (初中英语单词)
  • slightly [´slaitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.轻微地;细长的   (初中英语单词)
  • attractive [ə´træktiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有吸引力;诱人的   (初中英语单词)
  • learnt [lə:nt] 移动到这儿单词发声  learn 的过去式(分词)   (初中英语单词)
  • excitement [ik´saitmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.兴奋;骚动;煽动   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • curiously [´kjuəriəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.好奇地;稀奇古怪地   (初中英语单词)
  • wherever [weər´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.无论在哪里   (初中英语单词)
  • standing [´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.持续 a.直立的   (初中英语单词)
  • strongly [´strɔŋli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.强烈地;强有力地   (初中英语单词)
  • wooden [´wudn] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.木制的;呆板的   (初中英语单词)
  • jersey [´dʒə:zi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.毛织运动衫;毛线衫   (初中英语单词)
  • knowing [´nəuiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.会意的,心照不宣的   (初中英语单词)
  • fisherman [´fiʃəmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.渔民,渔夫,打鱼人   (初中英语单词)
  • twinkle [´twiŋkl] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.&n.闪烁;眨眼   (初中英语单词)
  • flight [flait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.逃走;飞行;班机   (初中英语单词)
  • height [hait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.高度;顶点;卓越   (初中英语单词)
  • gently [´dʒentli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.温和地;静静地   (初中英语单词)
  • slippery [´slipəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.滑的;不稳固的   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • quaint [kweint] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.离奇的;奇妙的   (高中英语单词)
  • picturesque [,piktʃə´resk] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.似画的;别致的   (高中英语单词)
  • pronounced [prə´naunst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发出音的;显著的   (高中英语单词)
  • patiently [´peiʃəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.有耐心地;坚韧地   (高中英语单词)
  • thorough [´θʌrə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.彻底的;详尽的   (高中英语单词)
  • whilst [wailst] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.当…时候;虽然   (高中英语单词)
  • tightly [´taitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.紧,紧密地   (高中英语单词)
  • artistic [ɑ:´tistik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.艺术的;有美感的   (高中英语单词)
  • destination [,desti´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.目标地   (高中英语单词)
  • descent [di´sent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.出身,家世   (高中英语单词)
  • downward [´daunwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.下降的,向下的   (高中英语单词)
  • scramble [´skræmbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.爬;争夺;炒(蛋)   (高中英语单词)
  • irregular [i´regjulə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不规则的;不正当的   (高中英语单词)
  • margin [´mɑ:dʒin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.边缘;空白;余地   (高中英语单词)
  • countless [´kauntlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无数的   (高中英语单词)
  • lodging [´lɔdʒiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.寄宿,住宿   (高中英语单词)
  • rugged [´rʌgid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不平的;粗犷的   (高中英语单词)
  • ascent [ə´sent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.上升;攀登;上坡路   (高中英语单词)
  • mighty [´maiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强有力的 ad.很   (高中英语单词)
  • convenience [kən´vi:niəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.方便;适当的机会   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • lifetime [´laiftaim] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.一生,终生,寿命   (高中英语单词)
  • specimen [´spesimən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.标本,样品;抽样   (高中英语单词)
  • pudding [´pudiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.布丁   (高中英语单词)
  • missus [´misəz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(已婚的)…夫人   (高中英语单词)
  • homely [´həumli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.朴素的;不漂亮的   (高中英语单词)
  • triumphantly [trai´ʌmfəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.胜利地;洋洋得意地   (英语四级单词)
  • florence [´flɔrəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.佛罗伦萨   (英语四级单词)
  • unusually [ʌn´ju:ʒuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.异常地;非常   (英语四级单词)
  • wonderfully [´wʌndəfuli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.令人惊讶地;奇妙地   (英语四级单词)
  • loveliness [´lʌvlinis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.美丽,可爱   (英语四级单词)
  • fishing [´fiʃiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.钓鱼;捕鱼;渔业   (英语四级单词)
  • belongings [bi´lɔŋiŋz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.所有物;行李   (英语四级单词)
  • trudge [trʌdʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.艰难地走   (英语四级单词)
  • seaweed [´si:wi:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海草,海藻   (英语六级单词)
  • vividly [´vividli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.活泼地;生动地   (英语六级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)
  • wanting [´wɔntiŋ, wɑ:n-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.短缺的;不足的   (英语六级单词)
  • august [ɔ:´gʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尊严的;威严的   (英语六级单词)
  • colouring [´kʌləriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.色彩;外貌;伪装   (英语六级单词)
  • minded [´maindid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有…心的   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:20:35
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