green-house, and his helpmate at the same moment Item. A shoal of prawns in an ocean of lemonade. issued from the forcing-house, with a face looking Item. A very fine boiled turkey in a harlequin perfectly ripe; the octagon summer-house sent suit of lobster salad. forth a congregation like that of a dwarf chapel, - Item. A ship of sugar-candy, high and dry on a the hermitage was left to the joint tenancy of fillet of veal. Raby and Grace, and Flora descended from the Item. A “hedge-hog” sitting on a “hen's nest.” roof of ber temple, being tenderly assisted in her Vide Mrs. Glasse's Cookery for the confectionary descent by the enamored Ringwood. By common devices. consent the


all hastened towards the fallen Item. “A floating island," as a new constellation, marquee, and clearing away the canvas, they be amongst “the moon and stars in jelly.” See Mrs. held the turf variously strewed, -exactly as if Glasse again. Time,—that Edax Rerum,-had made a miscella- Item. A large pound crab, sitting upright against neous meal which had disagreed with him.

a table, and nursing a chicken between its claws. In the middle the tables lay on their sides with Item. A collard eel, uncoiled, and threatening their legs stretched out like dead horses, and the like a boa constrictor to swallow a fowl. bruised covers, and knives and forks, were scat- Item. A Madeira pond, in a dish cover, with a tered about like battered helmets and masterless duck drowned in it. weapons after a skirmish of cavalry. The table- Item. A pig's face, with a snout smelling at a cloths were dappled with the purple blood of the bunch of artificial flowers. grape; and the eatables and drinkables scattered, Item. A leg of lamb, as yellow as the leg of a battered, spattered, shattered, and tattered, all boy at Christ's hospital, thanks to the mustard-pot. round about, presented a spectacle equally whim- Item. A tongue all over “flummery.” sical and piteous. The following are but a few of Item. An immense Macedoine of all the fruits of the objects which the Hon. Mr. Danvers beheld the season, jumbled together in jam, jelly, and when he looked on.

Item. A huge cold round of becf, surrounded by Such were some of the objects, interspersed with the froth of a trifle, like an island “begirt with Serpentines of sherry, Peerless Pools of port, and foam,” with a pigeon perched on the top instead of New Rivers of Madeira, that saluted the eyes of a cormorant.

the expectant guests, thus untimely reduced to the Item. A large lobster, roosting on the branch of feast of reason and the flow of soul. The unfor. an epergne.

tunate hostess appeared ready to drop on the spot; Item. A roast duck, seemingly fast asleep, with but, according to Major Oakley's theory, she rea cream cheese for a mattress and a cucumber for frained from fainting among so many broken bota bolster.

tles; whilst Twigg stood with the very aspect and Item. Brawn, in an ample writing-paper rust, attitude of a baker's journeyman we once saw, just well sprinkled with claret, reminding the spectator after a stumble which had pitched five rice pudirresistibly of the neck of King Charles the First. dings, two custard ditto, a gooseberry pie, a cur

Item. Tipsy-cake, appropriately under the table. rant tart, and two dozen cheesecakes into a reser

Item. A puddle of cold punch, and a neat’s voir of M*Adams's broth from flints. The swamptongue apparently licking it up.

ing of his collation on the ait in the Thames was a Item. A noble ham, brilliantly powdered with retail concern to this enormous wreck. broken glass.

brows worked, bis eyes rolled, his lips quivered Item. A boiled rabbit smothered in custard. with inaudible curses, and his fingers twitched, as Item. A lump of blanc-mange dyed purple. if eager to be doing something, but waiting for


His eye


orders from the will; he was divided, in truth, be-, took leave, Doctor Bellamy being the last of the tween a dozen rival impulses, suggesting to him, guests that departed, whereby he had the pleasure, all at once, to murder the cow, to thrash Pompey, and to Old Formality it was a pleasure, of bowing to quarrel with his wife, to disinherit his son, to them all out. discharge the cooks, to order everybody's carriage, As the last pair of wheels rattled away, Mrs. to send Matilda back to boarding-school, to go to Twigg dropped into her chair, and began to relieve bed suddenly ill, to run away God knew where, to her feelings by having what she called a good cry. hang himself on the pear-tree, to drown himself in At the same moment, Twigg threw of his coat, and the fish-pond, to burn the marquee, to turn Infidel seizing plate, knife, and fork, began eating like a and deny a Providence, to get dead drunk.

glutton for a wager, occasionally washing down In this strain the indignant Ex-Sheriff was elo- ham, beef, veal, chicken, jelly, tarts, and fruit, with quently proceeding, when suddenly, a drop of rain, great gulps of brandy and water. As for Matilda, as big as a bullet, fell splashing on the bald head she threw herself on a sofa, as flat, inanimate, and of the deputy; and then came a flash of lightning faded, as the Flora of a Hortus Siccus. so vivid, and a clap of thunder so astounding, that Thus ended a fête especially devoted to enjoy. in his confusion the host himself led a retreat into ment, but where the spirit of the work did not the house, followed by the company en masse. answer to its dedication. Premeditated pleasures Music was prepared, and the carpet was taken up. frequently terminate in disappointment; for mirth Matilda was sulky, and wouldn't sing, and Mr. IIop- and glee do not always care to accept a ceremonikinson couldn't, through a cold caught in the oc- ous invitation; they are friendly familiar creatures tagon summer-house. Mrs. Filby was grumpy that love to drop in. To use a mercantile metaabout her satin gown, observing, with an angry phor, bills at long dates upon happiness are apt to glance at Miss Sparkes, that if people must jump at be dishonored when due. claps of thunder, they needn't jump their jellies On the morrow, John the coachman found himinto other people's laps; and the pedagogue of self out of a situation, whilst Twigg, junior, was Prospect House was weary of uttering classical provided with a place on the roof of the Highflyer jokes at which nobody laughed. The Ilonorable on its road to the metropolis. Pompey was threatMr. Danvers began to tire of looking on. Deputy ened also with dismissal, but as black servants are Dobbs was disappointed of his accustomed speechi- not as plenty as blackberries, the discharge was fying, for in spite of all his hints, Twigg set bis not made out; whereas, the gardener, shocked at face against toasts, not liking probably to bid gen- the havoc among his exotics, and annoyed by the tlemen charge their glasses who had so few to nickname of Jerry Blossom, which his fancy dress charge. The rest of the Londoners began to cal- had entailed on him, gave warning of his own acculate the distance of the metropolis. Doctor cord. The cook received a message from her misCobb had been huffed by Mr. Figgins in a dispute tress, who was kept in bed by a nervous complaint, about politics; Squire Ned, for the last half hour, that she might suit herself as soon as she pleased; had been making up his mind to steal away; and the dairy-maid received a significant hint from the even the Crumpe family, who had come early on same source, that she must butter the family better purpose to enjoy a long day, began to agree in if she wished to stay in it; and to Dolly's deep retheir own minds, that it was the longest they gret, her favorite Daisy, with a bad character for had ever known. In short, every body found gentleness, was driven off to the nearest market some good reason for going, and successively they I to be sold peremptorily for what she would fetch.



My Aunt IIonor was for ten years the reigning every one acquainted with the precise date of her beauty of her native village; and even at the end baptismal register ; after which kind disclosure of that period, though the opening charms of early Aunt Honor Jost the title of a beauty, and acquired youth had gradually ripened into the more dignified that of an old maid. graces of womanhood, and she was a girl no longer, This change of style was, I should apprehend, no one could say that the change had caused that rather a trial of patience, in the first instance ; for diminution in her personal attractions which could Aunt Honor, though she had never exhibited the afford just reason for the loss of the title. It was slightest degree of vanity or presumption, on acbut the seasonable expansion of the bud into the count of the general admiration she had excited, flower, and in the eye of every person of taste and was nevertheless pleased with the homage paid to sense, my Aunt Honor was a beauty still. How, her charms—and it was hard to feel herself suddenindeed, could she be otherwise, with her graceful ly deprived of all her flattering privileges at once, contour of form and face, her noble line of features, and that without the reasonable warning which the brilliant yet reflective; eyes of rich dark hazel; faithful mirror gives of the first indications of the serene brow; coral lips; and clear brunette com- sure, yet silent, progress of decay in those who are plexion ? But unluckily for poor Aunt IIonor, she not so wholly blinded by self-conceit as to be inhad two younger sisters in their teens, who, as sensible to its ravages. Time bad dealt so gently soon as they were emancipated from boarding with Aunt Honor, that when the account of his school, began to consider the expediency of making takings and leavings were reckoned, it scarcely apconquests; and finding that very few gentlemen peared that she stood at discount-I am inclined to paid much attention to them when their eldest think the balance was in her favor; but then I had sister was present, they took the trouble of making so much reason to love her, that perhaps I was not


an impartial judge. How, indeed, could I forget My grandfather, who had formed a very just estiher tender cherishing care of me in my bereaved mate of his eldest daughter's merits, was wont to and sickly childhood, when by the early death of observe, in reply to his wife's constant remark, my parents, my brother and myself being left in a " that Ilonor would never marry now, poor girl!” comparative state of' destitution, were thrown upon “Those women who were most eminently qualified the compassion of my mother's family. This was to prove excellent wives, mothers, and mistresses regarded in the light of a serious misfortune by my of families, and who were, metaphorically speaking, two young aunts, Caroline and Maria, who might the twenty thousand pound prizes in the matribave instructed gray hairs in lessons of worldly monial lottery, were generally left in the wheel, wisdom, and both possessed what is vulgarly term- while the blanks and tickets of trifling value were ed a sharp eye for the main chance. They caleu- drawn over and over again; but, for his part, he lated with a clearness and accuracy truly wonderful knew so much of men, that he would recommend at their age—for the elder of the twain had not all his daughters to remain single.” Notwithstandcompleted her eighteenth year at the period of ing this declaration of the old gentleman, it was which I speak—the expense of our board, clothes, evident enough that he was inwardly chagrined at education, and the general diminution of their the unaccountable circumstance of his lovely Honor, comforts and chances of forming advantageous ma- his sensible, clever girl, the pride of his eyes, and trimonial settlements, which would be occasioned the darling of his heart, being unmarried at thirty by our residence with my grandfather; and they years of age; or as her younger sisters, in the indid not of course forget the great probability of his solence of their only attraction, youth, called her providing for us in his will, which would naturally old maid.” take something from their portions of the inheri- No! that he would not allow—“thirty"-she tance. Under the influence of such feelings, they was in the prime of her days still, and, in his eyes, not only used every means in their power to pre- as handsome as ever;-certainly wiser and better vent our reception in their father's house, but after than when she was in her teens—far more likely to we were, through the influence of Aunt IIonor, ad- be the choice of a sensible man than either of her mitted, they treated us with a degree of unkindness younger sisters—and he would bet a hundred that amounted to actual persecution. All our little guineas that she would be married now before faults were repeated by them in the most exaggera either of them. ted terms to my grandmother; and, but for the “Certainly, papa, if wedlock goes by turn, she affectionate protection which Aunt Ilonor extended ought to be,” would Aunt Caroline rejoin, “for you towards us, we should have experienced much know she is twelve years older than l.” harshness in consequence of these misrepresenta- “She miglit, however, make haste, if she thinks tions, but her tenderness made up to us for all de- of getting married now," would Aunt Maria add, ficiencies in other quarters. She was to us in the with a silly giggle, “for she is getting quite veneplace of mother, father, and every other tie of kin- rable; and, for my part, if I do not marry by the dred: she was by turns our nurse, preceptress, and time I am one-and-twenty, I am sure I shall conplayfellow. Our love, our duty, our respect, were sider myself an old maid." all lavished on her; she was our kind aunt, our “There will be some wisdom in accustoming dear aunt, our good aunt; and well do I remember yourself to the title betimes, since it may very being tied to the leg of the table for a whole morning probably be your portion through life, young lady," by my grandmother, as a punishment for exclaim- retorted my grandfather, on one occasion: “at ing, in the fulness of my heart, that “she was my any rate, no man of taste and sense will be likely pretty aunt, and aunts Maria and Caroline were my to prefer you to such a woman as your sister two old, ugly, cross aunts. The rage of the in- Honor.” But here my grandmother, who always jured juniors, by twelve years, may be imagined made a sort of party with her younger daughters, at this rash proof of my devotion to their eldest interposed, and said, “It really was quite absurd sister ; nor could Aunt Honor, with any degree of that lonor should put herself so forward in enprudence or propriety, interfere to avert the casti gaging the attention of gentlemen, who might possigation which my young aunts bestowed upon me in bly fix their regards on her younger sisters, prothe shape of boxes on the ears, too numerous to re- vided she would but keep a little in ihe background, cord, in addition to the penance of being confined and remember that her day was gone by. She had to the leg of grandmamma's work-table. Consider- for some unaccountable reason permitted several ing me, however, in the light of a martyr in her opportunities of forming a good establishment to cause, she made me more than ample amends in slip by, and now she ought to allow her sisters a private for all I had suffered, and loaded me with fair chance in their turn, and submit to her own the most endearing caresses, while she reproved destiny with a good grace." me for having said such improper things to aunts And Aunt Ilonor did submit, not only with a good Caroline and Maria.

grace, but with a temper perfectly angelical, not My grandmother, who, for the misfortune of her only to a destiny of blighted hopes and wasted husband, was married long before she knew how feelings, but to all invidious taunts with which it to conduct a house with any degree of propriety, was imbittered by those to whom she had been was one of those foolish women who occasionally ever ready to extend her generous kindness, when. boast of their own early nuptials to their unmarried ever it was required. She never hesitated to sacridaughters, with ill-timed remarks on their compar- tice her own pleasure, if she thought it would be ative tardiness in forming suitable matrimonial conducive to theirs. Her purse, her ornaments, alliances, which has too often piqued the mor fied ber talents, and industry, were at their service on maidens into contracting most unsuitable matches, all occasions, and though it was far from pleasing that they might avoid the reproach of celibacy: to her to be either artfully maneuvred, or rudely the fruitful source from which so many ill assorted thrust out of her place by the juvenile pair, who and calamitous marriages have proceeded.

had formed an alliance offensive and defensive against her, yet she did not attempt to contest with | coming happy wives and useful members of society. them the usurped rights and privileges of eldership, Aunt Honor would have smiled at the folly of the or to struggle for the ascendency she had hitherto latter inuendoes, had she not felt inclined to weep enjoyed in the family ; nor did she boast of her at their unkindness. youthful charms, or the multiplicity of her former In the midst of one of these scenes, of now alconquests, in reply to the insolence with which she most daily occurrence, the whole party received was daily annoyed. Slie was too dignified to ap- tickets of invitation to a ball, given by Sir Edward pear to regard these things; yet doubtless she felt Grosvenor, in honor of having been chosen, after them, and felt them keenly; her heart knew its own a contested election, as one of the representatives bitterness, yet suffered it not to overflow in angry, of his native county. Sir Edward Grosvenor, who useless retorts. She kept the quiet even tenor of had passed his youth in India, where he had greatly her way, under all provocations, with silent mag- signalized himself under the banners of the Marquis nanimity; and sought in the active performance of of Hastings, had only recently returned to England, her duties, a resource from vain regrets and fruit to take possession of his estates on the death of his less repinings; and if a sigh did occasionally escape elder brother without heir male. Nothing could her, it was smothered ere fully breathed.

exceed the exultation of my grandmother and her The village in which we resided was one of those two youngest daughters, at the prospect of a flatdull, stagnating sort of places, in which years pass tering introduction into the house of so distinguishaway without any visible change appearing to be ed a character as their wealthy baronet neiglıbor, cffected. The inhabitants were few, and these, for of whom fame reported noble things, and who was the most part, beneath us in situation; for my a very handsome man in the prime of life, not exgrandfather was a man of family, though his fortune ceeding, as the date of his birth in the baronetage was inadequate to the expenses attendant on enter- of England stated, his six-and thirtieth year. ing into that society with which alone he wonid Visions of a title, equipage, and wealth, foated have permitted his wife and daughters to mix. orer the brains of aunts Caroline and Maria, as Latterly, however, my two younger aunts con- their delighted eyes glanced over the tickets. There trived to engage in a general round of expensive was but one drawback to these felicitous anticipavisiting with the surrounding gentry, without pay- tions—the difficulty of procuring dresses suitable ing the slightest regard to his disapprobation. for such an occasion. Their mother upheld them in this line of conduct, They looked in eager inquiry at their mother; and had recourse to many painful expedients, in she shook her bead. “I cannot do any thing to order to furnish them with the means of appearing forward your wishes,” said she, "for reasons too like other young people, as she termed it, and we obvious to you both :”—but after a pause she had all to suffer the pains and penalties of a stinted added, “ Your sister Honor can assist you, if she table in consequence. Aunt Ilonor was of course pleases.” They both turned to Honor with implorexcluded from all these gay doings, and her allow- ing glances. "In this instance it will not be in my ance was very irregularly paid, and sometimes power,” observed Ilonor, gravely. wholly diverted from its proper channel, to supply “You have only just received your quarterly her younger sisters with ball-dresses, or to satisfy allowance from your father,” said her mother. the clamorous milliner, who would not depart with- “ I have already appropriated part of the sum to out the payment of at least a part of the bills my the purchase of a few necessaries for my orphan grandmother had imprudently permitted her selfish nephew and niece,” replied she, “and the residue, favorites to contract, when ready money to pro- which would be quite inadequate for your purpose, cure some indispensable piece of finery, to be worn will be barely sufficient to supply me with a simple at places of more than ordinary attraction, could dress of book-muslin, with shoes and gloves requinot be obtained.

site for this occasion." Our house, in former times so quiet and respect- “For this occasion !" echoed both her sisters in a able, was now the resort of the thoughtless, the breath ; “surely you do not think of going to the gay, and the extravagant. Our peace was broken ball ?” by the domiciliary visits of duns, to get rid of “Why not ?" demanded Honor, calmly. whom, a system of falschood, equivocation, and

“ You are so—blandishment, was made use of, which rendered “Old, you would say, Caroline," continued Aunt our family despicable in the eyes of servants, and Ilonor coolly, finishing the sentence for her; “only, mean even in our own. Aunt Ilonor reasoned, en- as you happen to want money of me to-day, you treated, and represented the evil and moral injus- are rather more cautious of wounding my feelings tice of these things in vain. Her mother told her than is usual with you." "she was mistress of her own house, and would do "Well, but really, Honor, I do not see what as she thought proper," and her two sisters inform- good your going to a ball would do.”—“None,” ined her,

that they had no ambition to become old terposed her mother; "and I thought you bad maids like her, which would infallibly be the case if given up these sort of things long ago." they were confined to the dull solitude wbich their “Is it not your intention to accept the ticket father preserved, and she appeared inclined to which Sir Edward Grosvenor has sent for you, enforce."

mamma?” asked Honor. Aunt Honor represented, in reply, that they “Of course it is; your sisters could not, with any were not pursuing a course very likely to lead to degree of propriety, go without me.” the desired goal of the temple of Ilymen; and re- " Then I shall do myself the pleasure of accomceived, in return, a retort of more than usual panying you," said Ilonor, quietly. aggravation. She was accused of malice, of envy, The elder sisters of Cinderella never said more and an unsisterly desire of depriving the youthful insulting things to that far-famed heroine of fairy maidens of the pleasure belonging to their time of lore, to prevent her from trying her chance in fit, life; and worse than all, of the opportunity of be- ting the glass slipper, than were uttered by Caroline and Maria to dear Aunt IIonor from going to , he added, in a whisper that was meant for no other the ball. She listened to them with her usual ear than hers, “sighed to possess this honor, of mildness of temper, yet persevered in her resolu- which the cold considerations of rank and etiquette tion.

can never possess sufficient power to deprive me.” I think I never saw her look so beautiful as on Can any one believe that Aunt Honor was fasti. that eventful evening, when attired in modest, sim- dious enough to examine too critically the merits ple elegance, she was led by my grandfather to the of the pun

which a faithful lover, under such circarriage, in spite of all opposition from the adverse cumstances, ventured on her name ? parties. I, of course, was not included in the party; There was not, perhaps, one lady in the room but I can readily imagine that the surprise and that would not have been proud of being the woman envy of the mortified sisters of Cinderella, on en- to whom Sir Edward Grosvenor addressed that tering the room where the hitherto despised victim whispered compliment; but there was none to whom of their persecutions was dancing with her princely it was so well due as to her whom he delighted to partner, did not exceed that of my juvenile aunts, honor; for she was the love of his youth, who, for when they beheld the hero of the night—the gallant his sake, had faithfully endured years of expectaand admired Sir Edward Grosvenor- greet olation and delay, with no other assurance of his reHonor, as they disparagingly styled their elder, membrance and constancy than that hope which with the deferential yet tender air of a lover; and keeps alive despair, and survives all the fading passing over, not only themselves, but many others flowers of youthful affection—that fond reliance on of the young, the fair, the lighborn stars of the his regard, which would not suffer her to imagine evening, and entreating to open the ball with her, that he could be false or forgetful. Nor was the a distinction which was modestly declined by her, object of such deroted love undeserving of feelings with equal sweetness and propriety, on the plea that like these. He too had had his sufferings: he had there were others of high rank present, who were, endured paternal wrath, expulsion from his home, according to etiquette, better entitled to that years of exile, of poverty, and of suspense. honor.

“But it is all over now," he whispered, as he dashIlonor!" esclaimed the gallant knight of the ed an intrusive tear from his sun-burned cheek. “I

suffered for Honor! I fought for Honor! and the residue of my days will, I trust, be passed with Honor!"

It was a proud day for my grandfather, when he bestowed his beloved daughter on Sir Edward Grosrenor at the marriage altar; and he did not fail to take due credit to himself on the verification of his prediction. As for my aunts Caroline and Maria, I think I had better say nothing of their feelings on the occasion ; but, for the warning of such of the juvenile readers of these pages who may feel inclined, in the thoughtless presumption of early youth, to brand older-and, perchance, fairer females than themselves—with the contemptuous epithet of old maids, I feel myself compelled to record the mortifying faet, that these two luckless sisters of my honored mother remain at this moment spinsters of forty and forty-two years standing, and have acted as bridesmaids to Lady Grosvenor's youngest daughter, without one opportunity having offered to either of them of changing their forlorn condition.

So far, however, from voluntarily assuming the name of old maids, if unmarried at one-and-twenty, as they engaged to do when, in the fulness of their self-conceit, they imagined such a circumstance out of the bounds of human possibility, neither of them will acknowledge the title at forty ; on the contrary, they endeavor to conceal the ravages of

time under the afiectation and airs of excessive shire, gently possessing himself of her unreluctant youthfulness. hand; “the honor, I trust, is mine; I have long,"


LIBELLERS.—Literary bravos, supported by illit- A libeller's mouth has been compared to that of erate cowards. If the receiver of stolen goods be a volcano—the lighter portions of what it vomits worse than the thief, so must the purchaser of libels forth are dissipated by the winds, the heavier ones be more culpable than their author. As the pe- fall back into the throat whence they were disruser of a slanderous journal would write what he gorged. The aspersions of libellers may, perhaps, rends, had he the talent, so the actual maligner be better compared to fuller's carth, which, though would become a malefactor, had he the opportunity it may seem to dirt you at first, only leaves you and the courage. “Ie who stabs you in the dark, more pure and spotless, when it is rubbed oli.— with a pen, would do the same with a pen-knife, Tin Trumpet. were he equally safe from detection and the law.”

« ElőzőTovább »