« ElőzőTovább »
but a few withered leaves blown hither and thither supposed the prince to be dead; at length, how. by the wind. The sun shone faintly on the ever, he revived, though not to the same life he dusky walls, and a faintness came over him as had lived before. The whole economy of his the sense of absolute silence and stillness fell thoughts and the constitution of his mind were upon his heart. Hc had no books from which he changed. He uttered no lamentations or threats, might have sought some relief ; his chamber was but one fixed purpose seemed to have taken bare, containing nothing save an iron bedstead possession of his soul — life and death appeared and a wooden seat, on which from time to time to have become indifferent to him. He refused he threw himself in despair. The hours wore to utter one single syllable when an officer entered away, the shades of evening came on, and by to interrogate him, and the food which they at degrees thickened into absolute darkness, and length bethought them of offering to him, he moyet no attendant appeared either to bring him tioned away with a wave of the hand. Like his light or a morsel of bread. Being of a feeble sister, he found relief in sickness, and the death constitution, this long abstinence affected him so with which his father had threatened him apmuch that in the course of the night he fainted peared for many days to be coming of its own on his bed, and remained plunged in a sort of accord. stupor till morning.
In due time Frederic recovered, and in the When he came to himself, his mind was in a course of years he became king of Prussia. He state of indescribable depression; stillness and then remembered the murderers of Kat. The silence continued to prevail throughout the for- chief murderer was, he knew, beyond his reach; tress, where nothing but himself seemed to be and so, when he came to make inquiries, were endowed with life. Long he lay motionless on the others, for, bearing in mind that he possessed his hard pallet; but his feclings growing more a memory, they had vanished from the kingdom and more painful every moment, he sprang on of Prussia, and sought refuge in other parts of his feet and approached the window. Did his Germany. Wilhelmina, whom, to the latest hour eyes deceive him, or was he plunged in some of his life, he loved tenderly, never forgot her horrible dream? Concentrating all his soul in attachment for Kat, and in the midst of war and the sense of sight, he looked forth into the court political excitement, and the cravings of literary with frantic terror. Darkness pervaded earth and philosophical ambition, Frederic often de and air; yet through the gloom he could discern voted whole hours to conversation with her. one object but too distinctly: it was the body of They then recalled the happy days they spent his gallant and intrepid friend dangling from a together with this only friend, whose memory low gallows, which had been erected during the they both cherished to the last. If it was Kat's night, exactly opposite his window ! He fell ambition, therefore, to be loved, he succeeded, senseless on the floor, where he was found some since he left in the minds of the two individuals hours afterwards by a common soldier, who, it is he valued most, the deepest possible remembrance said, without orders, had sought the apartment of his unexampled affection and fidelity. out of pure compassion. For some time he
ANOTHER OFFER OF MARRILGE.
provincial collector of Excise ! Could it be that he meant to suggest the preposterous idea
himself that he imagined such a consummation perhaps, to inspire the dreams of a young painter, of his noble generosity, of his grand aspirations Love! What an absurd idea! fit enough, to be actually one of the possibilities of life?
Was it the object of his high-wrought sentiments, or warn the style of a young author — rich enough for the prize of bucolical singers or con from his moral elevation if he thought of her?
to make it appear that would be a descent tending grisettes, but of no account in the great game of life, where rank and power, fortunes and was this the mark of his tireless industry, of his coronets, are the counters. She in love ? - how sacrifice of self, of his brave devotion ? And supremely ridiculous! Even if the object of her did he even fancy, that while listening to his passion were a duke, would, for instance, that kindling words, and following the flashes of his strawberry-leaf she once coveted have come all pen, she felt the poetical contour of his head, the but within lier grasp, if the weakness had been thick but feathery brown hair he shook from his in the way to prerent her from playing her hand proud brow, the soft deep light of his calm eyes, with address ? But the young man had talked the stern horizontal line of his lips, contrasting of love as if it had the power to level rank, to with their more than womanly sweetness of bring down the proud to the humble, the lofty form, as aids to the fascination ? 'Insolent young to the lowly. What if she loved an inferior in
man! station? What if she loved him - even that
Claudia, having thus amused her imagination, promising unknown, whose pencil etherealized as ladies will sometimes do, dismissed the dream fat vulgarity, and whose anonymous pen she had with contempt. She grew a full inch taller; heard described as combining the elegance of she inflated her exquisite chest; and her lnstrous Addison, the simplicity of Goldsmith, and the eyes lightened over her still features, as if they energy of Junius? Why, she might hope, in wanted no extraneous aid, but were able of process of time, by exercising due influence over
themselves her father — she, Claudia Falcontower - - to subside into the wife of a government clerk, or a
To make a sunshine in the shady place.
But Robert still continued to work, to reason,
“ And now? to control, and Claudia to look, to suggest, to list- "It is a fine picture,” said Robert; but I would en, to submit. They were indeed a curious pair that either the face or the gown were out of it.
- so like in their nature, so unlike in their char- The one is ideal and antique; the other is from acter. They resembled a couple of parallel lines the workroom of a fashionable milliner. It is, in projected side by side, yet their meeting a ma. fact, a classical statue painted, to which not Phithematical impossibility. It may be conjectured dias himself could reconcile me." that novelty had a great deal to do with Claud- “Do you not think the face beautiful ?” ia's apparent humility. To her, it was a new " As beautiful as that of a Greek goddess; but sensation to feel and acknowledge superiority, with the satin gown trimmed with lace, we want for even her father's supremacy had not lasted a woman. A woman is compounded of soul beyond her early girlhood; and in later years, arm- and sense: wanting either, she is an imperfect ed as she was with the prestige of rank, beauty, being. In this face, the connection with the and talent, the whole world seemed to bow be- earth is wanting. There is in it no memory, no fore her, either in the superstition or the hypo- regret, no love, no hope, no joy; nothing but the crisy of conventional life. Perhaps the new feel. passionless, the divine repose, which can be fitly ing was a chance stumble upon natural feeling. expressed only in marble. Did it never strike Perhaps it is woman's position on the earth, as you that the greatest charm of a woman is her the Oriental apothegm asserts, to look up to imperfection? - is the struggle of a brave but somebody; and Claudia was obeying, after a fragile creature with the destiny that enthrals fashion, the destiny of her sex without knowing her? When the struggle is over, our sympathy it. However this may be, she never for a mo- ends, for she is no longer a woman, but a disemment confounded the social with the intellectual bodied idea." man: it was very well for Robert to shake his "You are right,” said Claudia, “ that is a paintambrosial curls in the study — in the street, or ed marble ! - But I fear it is late — what is the the drawing-room, he might as well have shaken hour ?" a scratch-wig.
* You forget that I have no watch," replied In these times, our adventurer was not invited, Robert, quietly. Claudia colored - a rare pheas formerly, to any of the public hospitalities of nomenon with her; and when Adolphus pulled the family. He often breakfasted, lunched, dined, hastily out, by its rich gold chain, a costly rewith the father and daughter; he came, in fact, peater, she flashed a look of contempt at the to be treated, in many respects, like an inmate vulgar meanness. Seacole did not observe this, of the house, but he was not presented in com- for his eye was at the moment on the dial-plate ; pany, nor did he receive a single introduction. but seeing that she was about to go, he stepped This sometimes struck him as a curious circum- forward with the intention of offering his escort
He wondered whether they did not give to the carriage. Claudia, however, by a look, parties like other people in their station, and he and a scarcely perceptible movement which never wondered, more than all, whether Claudia did not failed in their effect, made him pause; and then join abroad in the gaieties of the London sea- taking Robert's arm, she bowed good-morning, son. But the house told no tales; it was never and moved away. out of its way, that house; and Claudia, in the Adolphus stared after them with a look that domesticity of her habits, resembled a spirit, would have stabbed if it had been able; but which, it is well known, always haunts a parti- astonishment was as well marked in his exprescular locality, such as a ruin, a church, or a closion as rage. Was this the Philippi to which he set, is never seen anywhere else, and is unchange- had been dared by the vagrant of Wearyfoot ably the same in aspect and appearance. Common? He pondered over the text till he
This ing the case, it may be supposed that was almost mad ; and he now saw clearly what he was agreeably surprised one day while wan- he had only half suspected before, that it was to dering through the rooms of the Royal Aca- the same sinister influence he had owed his igdemy, to encounter her. She was with a lady nominious rejection by Sara. But the battle is and gentleman an elderly, couple, and the not yet fought, thought he, grinding his teeth. group had just been joined by another gentle- Miss Falcontower is in a very different position man, when Robert went up frankly to Miss Fal- from Miss Semple: she may patronize him as contower, and was as frankly received. That one of the clever people, but as for anything other gentleman appeared to be more than sur-more, the absurdity of the idea is too monstrous. prised — he was obviously struck with astonish- He, however, there is no doubt, will be burned ment, and a nervous flush rose into his face as to death in the blaze of her eyes, and Sara will he saw the young lady actually put her hand be punished for her insolence to me in the puninto that of the waif of Wearyfoot Common. ishment of the audacious beggar's falsehood to
“ You are just come in time, Mr. Oaklands,” herself. Comforting himself with this picture, said Claudia, to tell us what you think of that more vivid than any that hung on the walls, and lovely portrait. It absolutely comes up to my perhaps more ingenious in the composition, he ideal of female beauty.” The critic looked at it strode through the now crowded rooms, and for half a minute without replying.
hastened to relate what he had seen to his ad. “What is your opinion, Mr. Seacole ?” said viser Fancourt. the young lady impatiently.
When Claudia reached home, she found a " It is exquisite --- admirable! It is a thing messenger from Mrs. Seacole in the ball, with a to haunt the dreams both of day and night. i note for her that required an answer; and being never saw a face — but one - to equal it." too much fatigued to write, she desired the man
DXXVIIL LIVING AGE. VOL. VI. 8
to be sent up to the drawing-room, where she was Cape Madeera the whole time. There was would give him a verbal message. On reading treatment for a gentleman, wasn't it? But the the note, however, she saw that although only beer at the Chequers I can undertake to say is on one of the ordinary subjects that engage the slap-up.” attention of ladies, it would be proper for her to Sir, I am obliged to you; and I admire your reply in writing, more especially as she had sentiments. Allow me to say that my name is found Mrs. Seacole a very agreeable acquaint. Mr. Poringer."
The Mercury was therefore left for some " And mine is Mr. Slopper : proud of the time alone, just within the doors of the drawing- honor.”
“ Have a drain at my expensc, Mr. Slopper?" He was a tall, angular man, of a grave and “I am obleeged, Mr. Poringer; but I am just meditative aspect; and when the door shut be going out to take an airing with our Miss. Some hind him, he drew himself up as stiff as a foot- night we'll meet at the Chequers." man's cane, and as dignified-looking, and stood “ And so we will, and some night soon; for I examining the details of the scene, with obvious have not been able to find no parlor in London discrimination, turning his eyes slowly in all di- that ain't infested with the lower classes. But, rections, but without moving his head. His at- my deac sir, talking of parlors, while I was in tention was at length specially arrested by a your drawing-room just now, I saw a portrait as particular object on a table before him, and he like a lady of my acquaintance as if she had sat continued to gaze on it with an expression of to be taken off: and how that can be, or how profound meditation. When his reflections, so her picture comes to be there, I can't make out. far, were properly digested, he moved to one It's on a table not far from the door.” side, slowly and noiselessly, to contemplate, from Oh, I remember — that's a good thing - & another point of view, what had attracted him. very good thing. I join my governor in opinion Even the object itself seemed to sympathize there, although I don't generally in matters of with the interest he betrayed; for the eyes — it good. Would you believe it? – he prefers an was a small portrait — followed him step by step, old, fusty, cracked picture to one new out of the and kept steadily fixed on him, while he remain- shop!” ed plunged in a new abyss of thought. When Do you know the lady's name?” he got out of this, he moved in the same way to “No, I don't; but she is a fine woman, to my the opposite side, followed by the unwinking taste, although, no doubt, a little passy. The eyes, and meditated again. He then glided gentleman who took her off is Mr. Oaklands.” round to the back, and directing his gaze to the “ The gentleman!” canvas, studied it with an absorbed scrutiny that “ Yes, he is a gentleman, and no mistake, almight huve ascertained the number of threads. though I never saw the color of his money. If Finally he came round again to the front, put you want to ask him about the lady, his address his eyes close to the picture, touched the plump is in Jermyn Street, at Driftwood's, an indivinose with his finger, apparently to make sure dual who does pictures to sell." that it was a thing of reality, and then resuming “ Is he a gentlemau, too ?” his place near the door, remained lost in an un- “ He a gentleman! Why. I have drunk with fathomable reverie. From this he was roused, him! No, no, he is no gentleman. — But I hear after a time, by the lady's maid, who came in, the carriage coming round — I have the honput a note into his hand, opened the door for or him, and when he had gone out mechanically, Excuse my glove;” and Mr. Poringer, hav. shut it briskly after him.
ing shaken hands with his new friend, raised his Stepping solemnly down the marble stair, and hat
- not to the individual man, but to Flunkalong the tessellated hall, where the fat porter eydom represented in his person
and went on was asleep in his chair of state, he found the his way. door ajar, and went out. A well-powdered foot- Mr. Poringer found no difficulty in obtaining man, in livery, without his hat, was taking the Mrs. Margery's address from the artist; but Drift air on the steps, and to him the retiring Mer- wood was more chary in his communications recury addressed himself.
specting Robert. He believed, in fact, that our May I take the liberty, sir," said he, "of re- adventurer was still busy with the cabinet-makquesting to know whether there is a parlor in ing, and he considered that to be too mechanical this neighborhood? I mean respectable — where an employment to be openly boasted of. The the lower classes is not admitted. I am parti- mysterious hints of Mrs. Margery had taken efcular on the point, I am."
fect, and he really supposed this queer fellow, as “So am I, sir," replied the functionary. “I he called him. to be, in a worldly sense of the don't use none that ain't tip-top. There is the word, “ nobler than his fortune.” Robert had Chequers, not far round yonder corner; I call been warned against making public the nature that a respectable parlor, and I know what par- of his present employment, and, independently lors is."
of the warning, he had no wish to do so. lle " And the beer? I own I like it good — when was no richer than before, and he did not feel at it is becr."
all so much self-satisfaction. It seemed to him “ Just so with me. Indeed, I generally take that his work, although fit enough for an amabeer, when it ain't a go of brandy. I was drove teur, was no legitimate trade; and the small stito this. When I lived along with Lord Skemp pend he accepted, although put on a footing the in Belgravia, it was all sherry and water with most soothing to his feelings, fretted bim a good mc for two year, till I found out that the sherryl deal. Still, matters appeared to go on swim
mingly. The accounts he received, from time Why that - that Boy - him as found me on to time, of the effect of his productions, were the Common, and wouldn't be lost in the Gravel very flattering; he obviously became every day Pits, and was sent away at last to forage for hisof more and more importance to Sir Vivian, self. Mrs. Margery was highly indignant at who, in his assistance to the government, was this description of her fovorite, and gave Mr. now committed to a certain tone and talent; Poringer roundly to understand that he did not and the allusions of his patron to the future re- know who he was a-talking of. Mr. Oaklands ward of his labors were distinct and unmistak- was an author and an artist, hand-in-glove with able.
baronets, lords, and ladies without number, and That afternoon, while Mrs. Margery and her at this moment anxiously inquired after by a assistant were sipping their five o'clock tea, a family of the first distinction as her cousin visitor made his appearance, and the whilom Driftwood informed her - a sure sign that the Wearyfoot cook, on seeing a remembrancer of denouement was a-coming out. We may add by the Common, started up and received Mr. Po- way of parenthesis, that Mr. Driftwood might ringer with a warmth of welcome which made have further inforıned her, if he had been in a that gentleman shrink. It is true, he admired communicative mood, that he had answered Sir Mrs. Margery; he considered that she was a wo. Vivian's questions in a tone of mystery befitting man well to do; and it was his intention that his own ignorance of the subject, and the vague very evening, if everything turned out to his lik- but grand impressions he had received from the ng; to make actual proposals. But he was not hints of Mrs. Margery herself. Mr. Poringer to be hurried for nobody; time enough for that listened to what he heard with profound attention, sort of thing: he must see his way beforehand and equally profound unbelief. He was a sensifrom one end to the other; and, accordingly, he ble man was Mr. Poringer, and had never changed made himself somewhat stiff and awful, yet, in a his opinion that Robert was actually the son of condescending way upon the whole, put away a woman of the name of Sall, and would have his glossy cane in a corner, smoothed the crown been a vagrant at this day — supposing him to of his hat, and laid it upon the top of a chest of have escaped transportation so long — if he himdrawers to be out of the dust; and lifting his self (Mr. Poringer) had not unfortunately interspeckless coat-tails from under him, sat down at fered with the designs of Providence, not knowthe table with his customary gravity and thought- ing what he was about in the mist. fulness. Mrs. Margery had hastily shovelled After tea, he sank into a fit of abstraction that some new material into the tea-pot, and substi- made Mrs. Margery, hospitable as she was, wish tuted the loaf-sugar basin for the soft; and a bell he would go away, and let her mind her business. being heard opportunely in the street, the girl, But by and by, turning to her with a solemnity at a signal from her mistress, had vanished, and that made her feel
, as she afterwards said herself
, was heard at the door screaming to the muffin-"took all of a heap,” he intimated that he had a man: everything betokened a comfortable tea communication for her private ear; whereupon and an amicable chat, and the guest smoothed she desired Doshy to retire to the wash-house behis meditative brow, and even executed the wiry, hind, and rinse out them laces, and not have angular smile which was his customary manifes- done till she was called. The young woman's tation of jolliness.
name, we may remark for the benefit of provin. • Try the tea if it is sweet enough,' said Mrs. cials, was Theodosia, but most of Doshy's friends Margery; and here's some thin bread and but would have thought that a nickname. ter till the muffins are warmed; but oli, Mr. “ Mrs. Margery,” said Mr. Poringer, when Poringer, the milk is nothing like our milk at they were alone, “ you have here a comfortable Wearyfoot! Though it ain't chalk and water, business?" thank goodness, but milked in your own jugs “Yes, pretty tolerable." from a real cow, all skin and bones, poor thing, “In the clear-starching line?” and looks so pitiful while she stands at the doors “Yes, and the getting up: ladies waited on of the houses, as if she felt it was unnatural, and by horse and cart. was ashamed of it. And what are you doing " The good-will cost you a heap of money?" now, Mr. P.? I thought you was at the Hall.' “Yes, a round penny." · The Hall's in town for the season, Mrs. Mar
" How much ?" gery, including me and the lady's-maid ; nothing “ Just as much as it came to, Mr. Poringer." is left but the women, and other inferiors.'
" I ask for information. But the business has 'And what of Mr. Seacole and our young increased, for I am told the horse and cart is new: miss? I have had a long letter from Molly, but it is, therefore, worth more, and would sell at a not one word of it in ten can anybody make out, profit. Am I right?". and that word is in the Unknown Tongue.' ** No doubt you are, Mr. P., but if you want to
My governor is off with Miss Sara, and good buy it, it is not to be had, for I ain't tired of it, I reason why, for her fortune turns out to be assure you." a mere nothing. He is a-going to be married “But I am!” said Mr. Poringer suddenly, to the daughter of a baronet and niece of a lord; with one of his wiry angular smiles "and I'll a great match she is, but not- - not - not quite tell you why, Mrs. Margery. You see, I am all 80 sharp, as it were, as some other ladies is : shc for the public line. I am cut out for that, I am. never calls me by my name, and I sometimes Many a friend has said to me, says he, “ Mr. P., think she don't know it! By the way, what's you are made for the bar;" and, in short, I am come of what's his name?'
determined to have a bar of my own — kept by Who?'
Mr. Joshua Poringer, in large gold letters, you young women, there's more talking and chaffing know, with the mister left out."
than business. And as for the furniture, we'd. "I am sure I wish you well in it, Mr. P.," said have an estimate, and see what your means would Mrs. Margery, kindly; "and if you settle in this say to it. Mine is equal to the stock, for I have neighborhood, so far as our beer goes, and a made my calculations already, and penny for half-pint of gin now and then for my cousin penny is fair play. Not to mention the interest Driftwood"
that gets the house, or the figure of a man I am “There is more than that you can do,” said for a parlor where the lower classes is not adMr. Poringer, waiving his hand impatiently; mitted, or the respectability of the name, in the • my money and my interest would get the house largest sized gold letter that is made — Mr. and stock it, and all I would expect from you is Joshua Poringer, with the mister left out." Mr. the furniture to the same amount."
Poringer's eloquence, however, was thrown away. “ My goodness, Mr. P.! If my business was And a good deal of it: for he could hardly be sold to-morrow, it would not do more than that, persuaded that Mrs. Margery could intend seand what I have over against accidents would riously and definitively to decline so eligible an not be worth your while, even if I could part offer. When the truth broke upon him at last, with it - which I can't."
he was as wroth as a grave, meditative man “Mrs. Margery,” said Mr Poringer, edging his could be, and said so much — in a quiet way chair nearer hers, you don't take me up! You to the disparagement of Mrs. Margery's person are fit for better things than clear-starching, you and business, that that lady, with great dignity, are; you are fit to be a lady - a landlady!” turned to her work again, and called to her maid
“Oh, what nonsense,” said Mrs. Margery, to have done rincing them laces — just to show laughing heartily — "I think I see me!” Mr. Poringer that his absence would be more
"You are indeed,” said Mr. Poringer earnestly welcome than his company. Whereupon Mr.
"you are, upon my sacred honor! That is, Poringer got up, and with as much sobriety of with a silk gown, tidily put on - - tidily, mind me; demeanor as he was accustomed to exhibit when your hair dressed and oiled ; a clean cap - clean, conscious of being drunk, walked steadily and 1
say on the back of your head; and a bunch noiselessly to the drawers, took down his hat, of scarlet ribbons in front of the ears. Carefully brushed it with his arm, drew on his gloves made up in this way, you may depend upon it leisurely, moved his shoulders to settle his coat, you would look as well — almost as well as the took up his polished cane, and turned for the landlady of the Chequers! Don't think I am last time to Mrs. Margery. drove to this: I could do better. But I have “Will you please to tell me, ma'am," said he, took it into my head. I took it into my head at “Whether it is to me or the business you the Lodge: I took it into my head as I was a-object?” walking on the Common in the mist, when that * To both!” replied Mrs. Margery, spitting Boy found me; and I said to myself, says I, on a smoothing-iron to see whether it was hot
Mr. P., the Plough is nothing. You shall be a enough. landlord yourself one day - in great gold letters, “ So much the better for me," rejoined Mr. with the mister left out — and as you will want Poringer; " for a woman that harbors vagrants, somebody to furnish the house, and manage the found on a common in the mist, and lifted, rags bar, and look to the kitchen, while you are doing and all, over a gentleman's threshold, by these business at the brewery and distillery, and sitting two fingers and thumb, is not fit to be made a in the parlor and being affable to the company lady of!" and so saying, he walked majestically Mrs. Margery, who does not leave the house as away. Mrs. Margery smothered her indignation often as a lobster leaves its shell, Mrs. Margery like a queen, till she saw that he had passed the shall be the landlady!”
window; and then, laying down the iron, she “ You mean kindly, Mr. Poringer," said Mrs. plumped into a chair, and had it all out in a Margery "you mean kindly in your own way, hearty cry. and I thank you. But nobody asked me to mar- On that same evening, the subject of Mr. Porry when I was a young, tidy woman. Nobody! inger's concluding remarks was introduced into - though I feel I should have made a good wife a conversation of a very different kind.
and oh, so good a mother! - no mother, I “Has Mr. Oaklands," said Sir Vivian Falcon. am sure, would have doted so on her blessed tower to his daughter, as they sat alone after darlings ! But the time has gone by; and when dinner, “ever mentioned anything to you respectI give Mr. Oaklands his bit nice supper to-night, ing his origin or family ?" and see that there is not a pin wrong in his bed
* Never." room, I shall thank God for a greater bounty “ Has it not seemed odd to you that he makes than I deserve."
a mystery of it ? " So that.- that Boy stays with you?”
“He makes no mystery of it—or of anything “ Only till he gets to his own," said Mrs. Mar- else. He stated at first, in your own presence, gery who had not meant to be so communica- that he was of no family, which means distinctly tive.
enough that he was of humble parentage. Since Well, you see, as to your being too old to then, he has not mentioned the subject, simply, marry, that's all stuff. I have known many older as it appears to me, because he has nothing inthan you - a deal older. You are a comely teresting to say about it; and it was no business woman yet, Mrs. Margery; and if you were not, of mine to question him on a matter that could what is that to you if I look over it? You not concern his connection with us." would be just the thing at the bar, where, with " It will concern us, however, at the close of