« ElőzőTovább »
the old people. When old Peggy though not, perhaps, of the highest or comes to die, she will be missed by all most brilliant order; and is a most cathe folk round Yatton. Madam Au- pital scholar. At Oxford he plucked brey, growing, I am sorry to say, very the prize from a host of strong com. feeble, cannot go about as much as petitors, and has since justified the she used, and betakes herself oftener expectations which were entertained and oftener to the old family coach ; of him. He has made several really and when she is going to drive about valuable contributions to historic literthe neighbourhood, you may always ature-indeed, I think he is even now see it stop at the vicarage for old Dr engaged upon some researches calcuTatham, who generally accompanies lated to throw much light upon the her. On these occasions she always obscure origin of several of our politihas a bag containing Testaments and cal institutions. He has entered upon prayer. books, which are distributed as politics with uncommon ardour-perrewards to those whom the parson can haps with an excessive ardour. I think recommend as deserving of them. he is likely to make a considerable figure For these five-and-twenty years she in Parliament; for he is a man of very has never missed giving a copy of clear head, very patient, of businesseach to every child in the village and like habits, and, moreover, has a very on the estate, on its being confirmed; impressive delivery as a public speaker. and the old lady looks round very He is generous and charitable as his keenly every Sunday, from her pew, admirable mother, and careless, even to to see that these Bibles and prayer. a fault, of his pecuniary interests. books are reverently used. I could He is a man of perfect simplicity and go on for an hour and longer, telling purity of character. Above all, his you these and other such matters of virtues are the virtues which have been this exemplary lady ; but we shall by sublimed by Christianity—the cold and by have some opportunities of embers of morality warmed into reliseeing and knowing more of her per- gion. He stands happily equidistant sonally. In manner she is very calm, from infidelity and fanaticism. He and quiet, and dignified. She looks has looked for light from above, and all that you could expect from what I has heard voice saying—" This is have told you. The briskness of youth, the way, walk thou in it.” the sedate firmness of middle-age, is the real source of that happy conhave years since given place, as you sistent dignity, and content, and firmwill see with some pain, to the feeble- ness which have earned him the respect ness produced by ill health and mental of all who know him, and will bear suffering—for she niourned after her him through whatever may befall him. children with all à fond and bereaved He who standeth upon this rock canmother's love. Oh ! how she doats not be moved, perhaps not even upon her surviving son and daughter ! touched, by the surges of worldly cirAnd are they not worthy of such a cumstances of difficulty and distress. mother? Mr Aubrey is in his thirty- In manner Mr Aubrey is calm and sixth year; and inherits the mental gentlemanlike; in person he is rather qualities of both his parents-the de- above the middle height, and of slight meanour and person of his father. make-too slight, perhaps, to be ele. He has a reserve that is not cynical, gant. From the way in which bis but only diffident, yet it gives him, clothes hang about him, a certain at least at first sight, an air of hauteur, sharpness at his shoulders catching if not austerity, which is very far the eye of an observer--you would from his real nature, for within is, feel an anxiety about his health, indeed, the rich “ milk of human which would be increased by hearing kindness." He has the soft heart and of the mortality in his family; and benignant temper of his mother, joined your thoughts are perhaps pointed in with the masculine firmness of char- the same direction, by a glance at his acter which belonged to his father. lung, thin, delicate, white hands. His Sensitive he is, perhaps to a fault. countenance, though not to be called There is a tone of melancholy or handsome, has a serene manliness pensiveness in his composition, which about it when in repose, and an acutehas probably increased upon him from ness and vivacity when animated, bis severe studies, ever since bis youth. which are delightful to behold: it He is a man of superior intellect, often beams with energy and intellect.
His hair is black as jet, and his fore. fondest regard. Neither he, nor his head ample and marked.
mother-with both of whom she spends Mr Aubrey has been married about her time alternately-can bear to part six years ; 'twas a case of love at first with her for ever so short an interval. sight. Chance threw him in the way she is the gay, romping playmate of of Agnes St Clair, within a few weeks the little Aubreys; the demure secreafter she had been bereaved of her tary and treasurer of her mother. I only parent, Colonel St Clair, who say demure-for there is a sly humour fell in the Peninsular war. Had he and archneșs in Kate's composition, lived only a month or two longer, he which flickers about even her gravest would have succeeded to a consider. moods. She is calculated equally for able estate ; as it was, he left his only the seclusion of Yatton, and the splenchild comparatively penniless - but did atmosphere of Almack's; but for Heaven had endowed her with per. the latter she seems at present to have sonal beauty, with a lovely disposi- little inclination. Kate is a girl of tion, and superior understanding. It decided character, of strong sense, of was not till after a long and anxious high principle ; all of which are irrawooing, backed by the cordial entrea- dicated, not overborne, by her sparkties of Mrs Aubrey, that Miss St ling vivacity of temperament. She Clair consented to become the wife of has real talent; and her mind has been a man, who, to this hour, loves her trained, and her tastes directed, with with all the passionate ardour with affectionate skill and vigilance by her which she had first inspired him. And gifted mother. She has many accomrichly she deserves his love, for she plishments; but the only one I shall doats upon him, she studies, or rather choose here to name is-music. She perhaps anticipates, his every wish ; was a girl to sing and play before a in short, had the whole sex been man of the most fastidious taste and searched for one calculated to make genius. I defy any man to hear the happy the morbidly-fastidious Aubrey, rich tones of Miss Aubrey's voice the choice must surely have fallen on without being exquisitely moved. Miss St Clair ; a woman whose tem- Music is with her a matter not of art, per, whose tastes, and whose manners but of feeling-of passionate feeling ; were at once in delicate and harmon- but hark!-hush !--surely~-yes, that izing unison and contrast with his own. is Miss Aubrey's voice, I will be sworn She has hitherto brought him but two that is her clear and brilliant touch; children, a boy between four and five the ladies have ascended to the draw. years old, and a girl about two years ing-room, and we must presently folold. If I were to hint my own im- low them. How time has passed ! I pressions, I should say there was a pro- had a great deal more to tell you about bability- but be that as it may, 'tis the family, but we must take some an affair we have nothing to do with other opportunity. at present.
Yes, it is Miss Aubrey, playing Of Catharine Aubrey you had a on the new and superb piano given by momentary moonlight glimpse, at a her brother last week to Mrs Aubrey. former period of this history;* and Do you see with what a careless grace you have seen her this evening under and ease she is giving a very sweet other, and perhaps not less interesting but difficult composition of Haydn ? circumstances. Now, where have you The lady who is standing by her to beheld a more exquisite specimen of turn over her music, is the celebrated budding womanhood ?-but I feel that Countess of Lydsdale. She is still I shall get extravagant if I begin to young and beautiful; but beside Miss dwell upon her charms. You have Aubrey what a painful contrast! 'Tis seen her-judge for
all the difference between an artificial do not know her as I do; and I shall and a natural flower.
Poor Lady tell you that her personal beauty is Lydsdale ! you are not happy with all but à faint emblem of the beauties of your splendour; the glitter of your her mind and character. She is Au- diamonds cannot compensate for the brey's youngest_his only sister ; and loss of the sparkling spirits of a younger he cherishes her with the tenderest and day; they pale their ineffectual fires
* See ante, Vol. xlvi., p. 839.
beside the fresh and joyous spirit of to a corner where he was hid from Catharine Aubrey. You sigh. view, though he could distinctly see
“ Now I'll sing you quite a new Miss Aubrey, there he remained as if thing," said Kate, starting up, and rooted to the spot. He, too, bad a turning over her portfolio till she soul for music ; and the exquisite came to a sheet of paper, on which manner in which Miss Aubrey gave were some verses in her own hand the last verse, called up before his exwriting: - The words were written by cited fancy the vivid image of a dove my brother, were not they, Agnes ? fluttering with agitated uncertainty and I have found an old ballad that over the sea of buman life, even like exactly fits them !” Here her fingers, the dove over the waters enveloping wandering lightly and softly over the
the earth in olden time. The mournkeys, gave forth a beautiful symphony ful minor into which she threw the in the minor; after which, with ex- last line, excited a heart susceptible of quisite simplicity, she sung the follow the liveliest emotions to a degree ing:
which it required some effort to con
trol, and almost a tear to relieve. PEACE.
When Miss Aubrey had quitted the
piano, Mrs Aubrey followed, and gave 1.
a very delicate sonata' from Haydn. Where, O where
Then sat down Lady Lydsdale, and Hath gentle Peace found rest ? dashed off, in an ex
brilliant Builds she in bower of lady fair ? style, a scena from the new opera, But Love-he hath possession there; which quickly reduced the excited feelNot long is she the guest.
ings of Delamere to a pitch admitting
of his presenting himself. While this 2.
lowering process was going on, DelaSits she crown'd
mere took down a little volume from Beneath a pictured dome ?
a cabinet of books immediately behind But there Ambition keeps his ground, him, and which proved to be a volume And Fear and Envy skulk around ; of the Faery Queen. He found many This cannot be her home!
pencil-marks, evidently made by a
light female hand; and turning to the 3.
fly-leaf, he beheld, in a small elegant Will she hide
hand, the name of “ Catharine Au. In scholar's pensive cell ?
brey." His heart fluttered; he turned But he already hath his bride: towards the piano, and beheld the Him, Melancholy sits beside
graceful figure of Miss Aubrey standWith her she may not dwell! ing beside Lady Lydsdale, in an atti.
tude of delighted earnestness—for her 4.
ladyship was undoubtedly a very Now and then,
splendid performer – totally uncon. Peace, wandering, lays her head scious of the burning eye that was fixed On regal couch, in captive's den
After gazing at her for But nowhere finds she rest with men, some moments, he gently pressed the Or only with the dead !
autograph to his lips; and solemnly
vowed within himself, in the most deTo these words, trembling on the liberate nuanner possible, that if he beautiful lips of Miss Aubrey, was lis- could not marry Catharine Aubrey, tening an unperceived auditor, with he would never marry any body; he eyes devouring her every feature, and would, moreover, quit England for cars absorbing every tone of her thrill- ever; and deposit a broken heart in a ing voice. It was young Delamere, foreign grave—and so forth. Thus who had, only a moment or two before calmly resolved-or rather to such a Miss Aubrey commenced singing the resolution did his thoughts tendabove lines, alighted from his father's that sedate person, the Honourable carriage, which was then waiting at Geoffry Lovel Delamere. He was a the door to carry off Lord De la high spirited, frank-hearted fellow; Zouch to the House of Lords. Arrest- and, like a good-natured fool, whom ed by the rich voice of the singer, he bitter knowledge of the world has not stopped short before he had entered cooled down into contempt for a very the front drawing-room, and, stepping considerable portion of it, trusted and
loved almost every one whom he saw. supposed) a mighty unconcerned air. At that moment there was only one He read it over that night, before getperson in the whole world that he ting into bed, at least six times; and hated, viz., the miserable individual - it was the very first thing he looked at if any such there were-who might on getting out of bed in the morning. have happened to forestall him in the Now Miss Aubrey certainly wrote an affections of Miss Aubrey. The bare elegant hand_but as for character, of idea made his breath come and go course it had none. He could scarce quickly, and his cheek flush. Why, have distinguished it from the handhe felt that he had a sort of right to writing of any of his sisters, or cousins, Miss Aubrey's heart; for had they or friends ;-How should he ? All not been born, and had they not lived women are taught the same hard, angualmost all their lives, within a few lar uniform hand-but good, bad, or miles of each other? Had they not indifferent, this was Kute Aubrey's often played together?-were not their handwriting—and her pretty hand had family estates almost contiguous ?- rested on the paper while writing Delamere advanced into the room, that was enough. He resolved to turn assuming as unconcerned an air as he the verses into every kind of Greek could ; but he felt not a little tried and Latin metre he knew of when Miss Aubrey, on seeing him, In short, that here was a gaily and frankly extended her hand of true love” opened, seems pretty to him, supposing him to have only evident ; but whether it will * the moment before entered the house. smooth” is another matter. Poor Delamere's hand slightly qui- Their guests having at length devered as he felt it clasping the soft parted, Mr Aubrey, his wife, and sister, lillied fingers of her whom he had sate before the fire gossiping over the thus resolved to make his wife: what events of the day for some twenty would he not have given to have car- minutes, and then they rose to retire. ried them to his lips! Now, if I were He went, very sleepy, straight to his to say that in the course of that everi- dressing-room; they to the nursery, ing, Miss Aubrey did not form a kind to see how the children were going on, of a sort of a faint notion of the pos- as far as they could learn from their sible state of matters with young De- drowsy attendants. Little Aubrey lamere, I should not be treating the would have reminded you of one of reader with that eminent degree of the exquisite children's heads sketched candour for which I think he, or she, by Reynolds or Lawrence, as he lay is at present disposed to give me cre- breathing imperceptibly, with his rich dit. "But Kate was deeply skilled in flowing hair spread upon the pillow, human nature, and settled the matter in which his face was partly hid and . by one very just reflection, viz., that his arms stretched out.
Mrs Aubrey she was one year and seven months put her finger into one of his hands, older than Delamere ; and, therefore, which was half open, and which closed that it was not likely that, &c. &c. &c. as it were instinctively upon it with a Besides, the son and heir of Lord De gentle pressure. • Look, Kate," la Zouch-pooh!-pooh !_ 'tis a mere softly whispered Mrs Aubrey. Miss boy, at College-how ridiculous ! — Aubrey leaned forward and kissed his So she gave herself no trouble about little cheek with an ardour that almost the affair ; exbibited no symptoms of awoke him. After a glance at a tiny Caution or coyness, but laughed and head partly visible above the clothes, sung, and talked, and played, just as in an adjoining bed, and looking like a if he had not been present.
rose-bud half bid amongst the leaves, He was a handsome young fellow, they withdrew. too.
6. The little loves !-how one's heart During the evening, Mr Delamere thrills with looking at them !” said took an opportunity of asking Miss Miss Aubrey, as they descended. Aubrey who wrote the verses which “ Kate!” whispered Mrs Aubrey, he pointed to, as they lay on the piano. with an arch smile, as they stood at The handwriting, she said, was hers, their respective chamber doors which but the verses were composed by her adjoined. “ Mr Delamere is improved brother. He asked for the copy, with -is not he ?- Ah, I understand." a slight trepidation. She readily gave “ Agnes, how can you”- hastily it to him-he receiving it with (as he answered Miss Aubrey, with cheeks
suddenly crimsoned. “ I never heard “ Has he left any family, Charles?" such nonsense."
enquired Mrs Aubrey with a sigh, her “ Right, right, love, think over it!" eye still fixed on the letter. said Mrs Aubrey, and the next mo- “ ILI really don't know-poor
felment the blooming wife had entered low! We lose a vote for Shellington her bedroom. Miss Aubrey slipped -we shall, to a certainty,” he added, into her dressing-room, where Harriet, with an air of chagrin visibly stealing her maid, was sitting asleep before over his features. the fire. Her beautiful mistress did “ How politics harden the heart, pot for a few minutes awake her; but Charles ! Just at this moment to be" placing her candlestick on the toilet- " It is too bad Agnes; I am-but table, stood in a musing attitude. you see-stay, I don't know either,
“ It's so perfectly ridiculous," at for there's the Grassingham interest length she said aloud, and up started come into the field since the last”ber maid. Within a quarter of an hour Charles, I do really almost think,”: Miss Aubrey was in bed, but by no exclaimed Mrs Aubrey, with sudden means asleep.
emotion, stepping to his side, and The next morning, about eleven throwing her arms round him affeco'clock, Mr Aubrey was seated in the tionately—“that if I were to die, I library, in momentary expectation of should be forgotten in a fortnight, if bis letters; and a few moments before the House were sitting" the postman's rat-tat was heard, Mrs • My love, how can you say such and Miss Aubrey made their appear-things?” enquired Aubrey, kissing ance, as was their wont, in expecta. her forehead. tion of any thing that might have up- • When Agnes was born, you on the cover, in addition to the know"-she murmured inarticulately. address
Her husband folded her tenderly in “ CHARLES AUBREY, Esq., M. P.," his arms in silence. On the occasion &c. &c. &c.,
she alluded to, he had nearly lost her; the words, letters, or figures, “ Mrs and they both had reason to expect Aubrey," or " Miss Aubrey' in the that another similar season of peril
In addition to this, it was was not very distant. not an unpleasant thing to skim over « Now, Charles," said Miss Au. the contents of his letters, as one by brey, presently assuming a cheerful one he opened them, and laid them tone ; snow for dearold Yatton!”. aside; for both these women
56 Yes, Yatton ! Positively you daughters of Eve, and inberited a little must!" added Mrs Aubrey, smiling of her curiosity. Mr Aubrey was als through her tears. ways somewhat nervous and fidgety “ What!-Go to Yatton? Why, on such occasions, and wished thein we must set off to-morrow-they've gone; but they only laughed at him, had no warning.” so he was fain to put up with them, “ What warning does mamma reOn this morning there were more than quire, Charles ? Isn't the dear old Mr Aubrey's usual number of letters; place always in apple-pie order ?” and in casting her eye over them, Mrs " How you love the dear old Aubrey suddenly took up one that place,' Kate !" exclaimed Aubrey, in challenged attention ; it bore a black such an affectionate tone as brought scal, had a deep black bordering, and his sister in an instant to his side, hud the frank of Lord Alkmond, at to urge on her suit; and there stood whose house in Shropshire they had the Lord of Yatton embraced by for months been engaged to spend the these two beautiful women, his own ensuing Christmas, and were intend. heart seconding every word they ing to set off on their visit the very uttered. next day. The ominous missive was “ How my mother would stare !”
torn open ; it was from Lord said be at length, irresolutely. Alkmond himself, who in a few hur- • What a bustle every thing will ried lines announced the sudden death be in!" exclaimed Kate. of his brotber; so that there was an I'm there already! The great bla. end of their visit to the Priory. zing fires - the holly and mistletoe.
- Well !" exclaimed Mr Aubrey, We must all go, Charles-children and calmly, rising after a pause, and stand all." ing with his back to the fire, in a mu. • Why, really, I hardly know": sing posture.
« Oh! I've settled it all and
" I fancy