“Ah, ah, Becker, glad to see you again,” said Willis. “Your sons are fountains of knowledge, whilst I am—”
“A very worthy fellow, Willis, and I know it,” replied Becker, shaking him heartily by the hand.
MAN PROPOSES, BUT GOD DISPOSES—THE CHOICE OF A
;ASTRONOMER—COMPOSER—PAINTER—POET—VILLAGE CURATE—THE KAFIRS—OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN—THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF THE SEA.
To the storm succeeded one of those diluvian showers that have already been described. Rain being merely a result of evaporation, it was evident that sea and land in those climates must perspire at an enormous rate to effect such cataclysms. In consequence of this deluge, the proposed excursion was indefinitely postponed. The provisions, the marvellous kits, the waggon, were all ready; but Nature, as often happens under such circumstances, had assumed a menacing attitude, and for the present forbade the execution of the project.
A sort of vague sadness, that generally accompanies a gloomy atmosphere, weighed upon the spirits of the colonists. Recollections of the Nelson and her sudden disappearance thrust themselves more vividly than ever upon their memory; and Willis was observed to throw his sou’-wester unconsciously on the ground—a proof that remembrances of the past occupied his thoughts.
One of the ladies was occupied in the needful domestic operations of the household, whilst the other sat with a stocking on her left arm, busily occupied in repairing the ravages of tear and wear upon that useful though humble garment. The two young ladies spun, as used to do the great ladies of the court of King Alfred, and as Hercules himself is said to have done when he changed his club and lion’s skin for a spindle and distaff with the Queen of Lybia; Jack was apparently sketching, Fritz had a collection of hunting apparatus before him, and the other two young men, each with a book, were deeply immersed in study.
This state of things was by no means cheerful, and Wolston determined to break up the monotony by introducing a subject of conversation likely to interest them all, the old as well as the young.
“By the way, gentlemen,” said he, “it occurs to me that you have not yet thought of selecting a profession; your future career seems at present somewhat obscure.”
“What would you have?” inquired Jack; “there is no use for lawyers and judges in our colony, except to try plundering monkeys or protect jackal orphans.”
“True; but suppose you were to find yourselves, by some chance, again in the great world, there it is necessary to possess a qualification of some kind; a blacksmith or a carpenter, expert in his handicraft, has a better chance of acquiring wealth and position than a man without a profession, however great his talents may be; an idler is a mere clog in the social machine, and is often thrust aside to browse in a corner with monks and donkeys.”