That was a very happy time in the pine-woods and the Alp. The whole of the nineteen copy books were actually read by Babie to Sydney and Armine; and Lord Fordham, over his sketches, submitted to hear a good deal. He told his mother that the story was the most diverting thing he had ever heard, with its queer mixture of childish simplicity and borrowed romance, of natural poetry and of infantine absurdity, of extraordinary knowledge and equally comical ignorance, of originality and imitation, so that his great difficulty had been not to laugh in the wrong place, when Babie had tears in her eyes at the heights of pathos and sublimity, and Sydney was shedding them for company. It was funny to come to places where Armine’s slightly superior age and knowledge of the world began to tell, and when he corrected and criticised, or laughed, with appeals to his elder friend. Babie was so perfectly good-humoured about the sacrifice of her pet passages, and even of her dozen copybooks, that the editor of the “Traveller’s Joy” could not help encouraging the admission of “Jotapata” into the magazine, in spite of the remonstrances of the rest of his public, who declared it was merely making the numbers a great deal heavier for postage, and all for nothing.
The magazine was well named, for it was a great resource. There were illustrations of all kinds, from Lord Fordham’s careful watercolours, and Mrs. Brownlow’s graceful figures or etchings, to the doctor’s clever caricatures and grotesque outlines, and the contributions were equally miscellaneous. There were descriptions of scenery, fragmentary notes of history and science, records more or less veracious or absurd of personal adventures, and conversations, and advertisements, such as-
Stolen or strayed.-A parasol, white above, black below, minus a ring, with an ivory loop handle, and one broken whalebone. Whoever will bring the same to the Senora Donna Elvira de Menella, will he handsomely rewarded with a smile or a scowl, according to her mood.
Lost.-On the walk from the Alp, of inestimable value to the owner, and none to any one else, an Idea, one of the very few originated by the Honble. C. F. Evelyn.
Small wit went a good way, and personalities were by no means prohibited, since the editor could be trusted to exercise a safe discretion in the riddles, acrostics, and anagrams deposited in the bag at his door; and immense was the excitement when the numbers were produced, with a pleasing irregularity as to time, depending on when they became bulky enough to look respectable, and not too thick to be sewn up comfortably by the great Reeves, who did not mind turning his hand to anything when he saw his lordship so merry.