« ElőzőTovább »
BY MISS WORTHINGTON.
From the Book of Beauty. have hearts) that he looked paler and thinner than THE CONCERT.
ever--that “his voice was certainly going”-and that they never saw a boy with such large eyes”
-it was answered, that Alfred Fielding had a Did it ever occur to our readers, as they sat in cold; and he was taken down to Hastings, where, a concert-room, that the warbling beings in the in six weeks, he was laid in his silent grave, and orchestra were genuine fellow-creatures ? that the sea-mew dips her white wing over it. those plumed and jewelled heads might ache, Clara was now alone. It has been said and those eyes flow with tears, those white-gloved sung, that the tears of childhood are forgotten as hands be wrung with anguish? We think not; soon as shed; but such is not always the case ; contented to gaze and to listen, we vaguely im- the brother and sister had loved each other with agine the dark-eyed signora, and ringletted Eng- uncommon affection ; and it might truly be said, lish girl, live only to sing ; that they dwell for that in Alfred's grave Clara's vivacity was buried ; ever in a sort of mysterious musical existence she was never reproached for it again. By that vox, et prælerea nihil. The contrary is, however, skill in self-delusion which every mortal possesses sometimes forced on the spectator's senses. so exquisitely, Fielding easily persuaded himself
Clara Fielding was born with the finest musical that a cold caught at his last concert, or a damp capabilities. Her mother died almost in Clara's bed at an inn, or a variety of purely accidental infancy, and the child was educated by her re- causes, had occasioned the boy's death; and maining parent, amidst poverty and difficulties of turned, with redoubled ardor, to cultivate his little various kinds. Himself a public singer, though daughter's talents. As an instrumental performer, not of celebrity, his life had been one long struggle she seemed never likely to equal her brother : but with penury ; whilst the mortifications to which a her voice promised to be of most surpassing second-rate public performer is inevitably and con- beauty, and by the earnest advice of his professtantly subjected had soured his temper, and ren- sional friends, he refrained from any public exdered him but a harsh preceptor. He had a son, hibition of it during her childhood. three years older than Clara, who was brought Over these years we will pass; they were forward as one of those “wonderful children,” marked by none of the enjoyments peculiar to that who are so frequently offered up to the parental season of existence. Alfred's death had reconMoloch. The diminutive spectres of the past signed the family to poverty; for Fielding, with will sweep before my readers—perhaps the vic- the usual carelessness of his caste, had saved but tims they have seen, applauded, and involuntarily little ; so that poor Clara's time was divided beaided to destroy-George Aspull, the infant Lyra, tween the laborious pursuit of her future profesand a crowd more, whose innocent voices cry from sion and the severest household drudgery. Yet, their untimely graves.
authoritative and exacting as her father was, she Alfred Fielding, however, was indeed a boy of loved him most affectionately; for hers was a astonishing musical abilities ; at seven years old he heart overflowing with tenderness, and, except an had his concerts, where crowded hundreds listened Italian greyhound, that a foreign prince had given in amazement to his instrumental performance, and her brother, Clara had nothing else on earth to hung with delight on the melodious sounds that love. At length she approached womanhood, issued from his infant mouth. Sometimes the at- and, in spite of toil and privation, grew up tall tenuated form and pallid cheek were remarked to and handsome, if not blooming ; her hair and eyes the father, who instantly replied by an assurance were so dark, and her general turn of features so that he was in perfect health, and“ never so hap- Italian, that at one time her father meditated py as when playing." This last assertion was in bringing her out as a native of that country. But a great measure correct. Besides a natural pas- an idea that still greater interest would attach to sion for music, vanity and premature ambition had her as the sister of the celebrated Alfred Fielding, been instilled into his little heart, and there was occasioned this plan to be finally relinquished. no degree of application to which he would not Clara was not quite sixteen when she made her have bmitted, rather than be surpassed. début. It was a most brilliant one ; constant and
At five years old, Clara made her first appear- judicious cultivation from her infancy had given ance before the public; rather to inure her early every possible perfection to a splendid voice, of to their gaze, than from any display of which she unusual power, of almost unrivalled compass, of was then capable. She was a beautiful, clever, unearthly sweetness. She also possessed all the but very volatile child, and it required great occa- sensibility indispensable for a truly great singer sional severity to oblige her to a sufficient dili -a sensibility that, having little else on which gence for her father's future plans.
to expend its power, exhaled itself in music with Four years Fielding continued to reap a golden irresistible charm and pathos. Although naturaland abundant ha vest. He went on the continent ly timid and retiring, early habit had so familiarwith his children, and Alfred was admired and ized her to the public gaze, that her self-possession caressed by the potentates of Europe ; he returned was almost that of a veteran ; her elegant figure to his native country to be still more celebrated ; and handsome face had, doubtless, their share in and, after appearing for a fourth season before a producing the rapturous reception with which the London audience, who did observe (for people young aspirant was almost overwhelmed. The
" She, you
exulting father anticipated golden days once reserve with him, because she was perfectly igmore ; and felt tempted to fall at her feet and norant of views, which in a younger man she worship her.
might have suspected ; and when she became From this moment began that dazzling, that in- aware of their nature, she knew not how to sheltoxicating career, which has been run so often, ter herself from his assiduities. Her father was and which has sometimes terminated in a night as no protection to her ; the ladies of rank, who insudden, as profound, as the early burst of morning vited her to their houses, never dreamed of exwas splendid and astonishing. Public and pri- tending to Clara the shield they held over the vate concerts; musical festivals at York, at Bir- young females of their own class. mingham, at Manchester; private exhibitions for know, is a singer," was enough to make such the especial behoof of royalty; suppers at the j neglect intelligible. But there was one person in duke of this, and breakfasts at the marchioness the world, who always could, and always did, of that ; visits, and invitations, and fêtes, and afford her succor. verses, and gold bracelets clasped with emeralds, Aldovini, the first tenor of the day, frequently and bouquets of flowers, and baskets of fruit, sang with Clara ; he was as celebrated as herself, crowded on each other, leaving Clara scarcely and had enjoyed his fame much longer. It was time to breathe. Hardly more complete is the condescension to sing with any but a countrywochange experienced by the poor little unsightly man, and Clara felt flattered by the distinction. worm, that, after a two years' residence in the They practised and they rehearsed together, and mud, one suinmer's morn climbs a stem of grass an intimacy naturally grew up between them ; she by its native water, and then becomes, it knows formed her taste by his opinion, and it was amaznot how, a splendid insect, glittering like a jewel, ing how her expression increased when she sang and pursued, as it floats through the air, by the with Aldovini. On his part, he appeared somecoveting eye of admiration.
times entirely to forget that he had any other Without a mother, or any other female protec- auditor ; for, il primo tenore had a profound contor, the youthful Clara was beset by dangers, to tempt for everything English, from its climate to which she had no advantages of education or ex- its music-Clara Fielding, perhaps, being the sole ample to oppose. Fielding was not exactly a bad exception. Respecting the duke, Aldovini had man, but he had no guiding principles, save inter- no greater pleasure than exhibiting to his grace est and self-indulgence ; nor had he ever attempt the sense of his own superiority, and shielding her ed to warn his inexperienced child of the preci- completely from his attentions. He could always pices she must approach. But there are some pretend, as a foreigner, not to understand what soils so excellent, that although no careful hand the duke said, and his grace felt that he could not has ever sought to cultivate them, scatter but a conveniently quarrel with such a person ; so that few grains of good seed, and they will produce a there were few objects in creation more hateful to luxuriant harvest. There are also hearts thus him than Aldovini’s falcon eye, raven whisker, and constituted - and such a heart was Clara's. In aquiline nose, relieved by the fair pale forehead addition to this inestimable possession, notwith- of Clara. standing her natural and inevitable enjoyment of The poor girl herself, thus thrown on his proher own fame, there would, at times, come over tection, and ardently grateful for the readiness and her inmost soul, amidst the glare and the glitter, address with which it was always afforded, speedthe mighty rush of the orchestra behind her, the ily learned to look up to him, to trust him, to waving sea of uplifted faces, the ringing of plaudits obey him—to love him. A sort of sentimental, in front, or even whilst the titled steward was Platonic connection was gradually established behanding her up to the orchestra as if she were a tween them: a mere amusement to the Italian ; queen, a feeling that her position and her triumph to Clara the only real source of happiness she were unreal, hollow, and evanescent. Perhaps possessed on earth. This attachment, such as it this humility and sense of insecurity had been ac- was, was never interfered with nor commented on quired, when, as a little child, at Hastings, she by her father, beyond a satirical smile, with which pillowed her dying brother's head on her bosom, he sometimes looked at them. and heard him faintly whisper, Clara, it was Under these auspices, Clara's second London that last concert that killed me.
season commenced ; her health was impaired, but This triumphant career had continued for a her father was not a man to consent to any relax, year, and Fielding, grown wiser, carefully amassed ation in her efforts, and of late her spirits had their earnings, and lived economically. During risen, and supplied any lack of strength. Early this period, incessant labor in her profession, com- in the year her fresh career began ; “Miss Fieldbined with late hours and all the vicissitudes of a ing's first morning concert” was duly announced public singer's life, had materially impaired and advertised ; all the difficulties, and heartClara's healih, whilst cares of a different nature burnings, and quarrellings ensued, that invariably oppressed her mind. A nobleman, whose years precede the public production of harmony, vocal might ave enabled him to be her grandfather, or instrumental. But, at length, everything was pursued and annoyed her by attentions, by presents, satisfactorily arranged; the prima donna of the by a thousand polite arts of persecution. For a day, at Aldovini's earnest request, consented to considerable period she abstained from her usualsing once “ for the chalk-faced child ;" whilst ho
acceded to all Fielding wished, except permitting | but to me! No, no; you may fancy, foolish Clara to sing a duet with anybody but himself; child, that you are very cunning! but you cannot on that one point he was inexorable.
deceive me. What! make me believe that AlThe very night before the concert, when Clara, dovini, who can live with the noblest in the land, exhausted by the fatigues of the day-the coax- and has them all at his beck, comes and sups with ings, and the practising, and the signing the tick- you on bread and butter and radishes, only to sing ets—was resting herself in a little sitting-room duets! Clara, I think it my duty not to allow you called her own, her father came hastily in, with a to throw yourself away; and, therefore, I shall bewildered air of consternation, and an open letter tell the duke.” in his hand. Its contents were speedily commu “ Father,” reiterated Clara, " you will kill me nicated. A professional friend of Fielding had if you talk in this way." induced him to vest the large profits of the pre These words, and the voice of agony in which ceding year in a theatrical speculation in which they were uttered, arrested Fielding's attention ; he had engaged. This man had become a bank- and perceiving, from her ghastly countenance, that rupt and fed ; and Fielding was, in all probabili- he must try different methods, he softened his tone, ty, liable to a share of his responsibility. Mere soothed or rather endeavored to soothe her, and poverty was not greatly dreaded by either Field- began a gentle enumeration of the duke's many ing or Clara ; they were familiarized to it; and, claims on her attention. moreover, they both felt that she had the power “ Be merely civil; but at present you are really of commanding asuence; but this personal liabil- quite rude to him. And then there is Dr. Grimsity was something vague and terrible. Not a worth always saying you sing too much; and all word of reproach passed Clara's lips, although she that.” had combated this manner of appropriating her Clara had sunk on a seat; she arose, and in a earnings with as much firmness as she had ever faint, hollow tone said, “ Let me go now, father. ventured to exhibit, in opposition to her father; I cannot talk to-night any miore. To-morrow—;" but she was overwhelmed, like himself, by the and, seemingly unable to utter another word, she idea of what exasperated creditors might attempt. quitted the room. After a short pause, Fielding, who was traversing Fielding immediately proceeded to some persons the room with hasty steps, approached his daugh- connected with his treacherous friend, and enter, and said, in a low, hoarse voice, “You can deavored to enter into an arrangement with them save me, Clara ; and you must.
as to his affairs. A representation respecting the “ Me! I!" she cried, in surprise and half- concert, procured him a promise of personal imawakened joy, while she sprang from her seat. munity for the following day; and Fielding re6. Can I ? tell me how.”
turned home, resolved, in the course of it, to con“ Yes, you can; I have sometimes thought of clude such a treaty with the duke as should relieve speaking to you about it before, but I was unwil- him effectually from his present horrid anticipations. ling; and, besides, you were so young, and—and Long habituated to live by expedients, he revolved
But now it must be done. The duke, many schemes in his mind for his extrication. One Clara, has often offered me almost any sum I re was to fly with Clara to the continent the moment quired, to use my influence over you to treat him the concert was over, and thus avoid forcing her to more graciously; and I really feel it a duty now, a step for which she evinced so violent a repugboth to you and myself, to accept his proposals. nance. In justice to Fielding it must be said, that Therefore Don't look at me in that way, not without a severe struggle, not till a prison Clara, and shudder, as if it was something mon- stared him in the face, had he resolved on sacristrous and unheard of. Let me tell you, such ficing his daughter. How far he really was inoffers have been made me more than once ; and I fluenced by her supposed weakness with Aldovini, believe that I have been a fool to refuse them. in yielding to the duke's proposals, cannot be said ; Only that I was certainly proud of your being so at least, it formed part of the unction he laid to his correct; and had you continued as particular, with soul, on the occasion. While Fielding was thus regard to all others, you should never have heard occupied, Clara sat on the floor in her own chama word on this subject from me, come what might ber in a state of mind difficult to be described. A But after this silly connection with that fellow, blow had been struck to her very heart, and a Aldovini, I don't see why I am to be more scrupu- sense of her utter hopelessness, of being a lonely, lous than other people.”
wretched, enslaved creature, bowed to the earth • Father!" shrieked Clara, who had hitherto by immeasurable calamity, long filled her soul, stood entranced in horror, "you are not in ear- depriving her of all energy, all power, even of nest! you cannot mean what you say! Aldovini ! thought. The pecuniary embarrassment was forthere is nothing, I swear to you, father, wrong gotten—one sole image stood before her-her between us. Oh! how can you think so ill of father! One only sound rung in her ear-these your child ?"
words, never to be forgotten— those unutterably Clara, Clara! don't, when I am half dis- hideous words ! Clara had dearly loved that sole tracted, drive me quite mad! It may be very well parent; she had even respected him; and now the to talk in this way with your fine ladies, though overwhelming sense of his loathsome baseness was they aʼn't a bit nicer than you, perhaps, after all; paramount to every other. Hours passed uubeed
ed, during which she shed no tears, but sat motion-| rible Oh, Aldovini! you are so much more less as a statue, gazing on vacancy. At length experienced than I am! Advise me, for pity's she partially recovered the first stunning shock, sake!" and began to think. She had only one friend on “ More experienced, indeed,” replied Aldovini, earth to consult in her extremity ; and to that one with a smile and a sigh ; “I thought something she knew the most unsupportable part of her grief was the matter. Stay, let me think ; and don't would occasion no surprise. Aldovini had more tremble poverina; but, sit down-remember the than once uttered mysterious expressions, which cavatina is still to be sung." Clara now understood but too well. A single ray She sank in a chair. After manifest disturbance, of hope, too, gleamed faintly on her benighted and even embarrassment, he approached, and taksoul : it was possible that there was even happiness ing her cold hand, said, “You have only one refuge, in store for her ; but she ventured not to dwell on Clara, if you will accept it. Here!” and he struck this vision. Towards morning, exhausted nature his breast. “Come with me; Chiarina mia; it sank into a brief oblivion.
will be better than being sold to that old scelerato. She awoke somewhat refreshed, and compara- Come to Italy with me, cara fanciulla. My entively calm. She had been visited with strange gagement is broken with those opera fools; and but soothing dreams. Her brother's form had within a week I will be ready. I hate the counhovered before her, clad in long glittering gar-try, and shall rejoice to quit it. I have lost two ments; and, smiling on her, said, “ Fear nothing, notes since I came. You, meanwhile, Clara, you shall be happy to-morrow.
“But my father," interrupted Clara ; "he would The following morning, the actual business of the concert pressed on both father and daughter so “ Consent to what? Consent to what, engrossingly that they had no time for conversa Clara ?”' tion. Clara, accustomed from infancy to share in “ Tomto such a thing; he has so great a horsuch labors, moved mechanically through her du- ror of my marrying a foreigner.” ties; only an occasionally convulsive shudder, and At these words, Aldovini suddenly withdrew the wandering of her eye, betraying the perturba- the arm he had thrown round Clara ; and, drawing tion and anguish within. All the machinery be- back, looked earnestly upon her.
The whole exing in order, her toilet completed, a soupçon of pression of his countenance changed ; his eyelids rouge on her wan cheek, the transparent bonnet dropped ; a softened smile quivered for a moment tied loosely under her chin, even the bouquet and on his lip. Then he said, in a tone of great feelpocket-handkerchief ready, she repaired to the ing, “And is it indeed so? is it possible ?" Still apartments adjoining the concert-room, and gazed he remained gazing fixedly upon her ; while she around in speechless impatience for Aldovini. The stood in breathless surprise and anxiety. A strugnight before, he had been engaged to sing at a fête gle was visible on his countenance ; a second given by a lady of rank, and, perchance, the mar- change succeeded; and then, as if resolved, he requess' claret was unusually tempting. Be that as turned to her side, retook her passive hand, and it might, the overture was actually over before he said : appeared ; and the vocal part of the concert was “I might deceive you, but I will not, Clara. to open with a duet between Clara and himself. Un sol baccio ; perhaps it is the first and the last When she saw him, when she heard his voice, a you will ever give me, for, cara mia, though it sudden sense of peace and security came over her ; appears you have never heard the fact—I am marher eyes lit up, and her “O Aldovini ! how late ried. Cara mia," he repeated in alarm, as she you are!” was uttered with something like a sprang back with a faint, suppressed cry, and sank smile. In another moment she was facing a bril- on her seat. liant audience, and tumults of applause were echo There was a pause; Clara uttered not a word ; ing round her.
and, after a moment, Aldovini cortinued : She had frequently sung the appointed duet with “I am nearly twenty years older than you, Aldovini ; it was one which the public were never Clara, and have been married these dozen years. weary of listening to from their voices ; and as My wife is a beauty; and has the voice of an those ravishing tones floated round the room, ris- angel. She likes the Prince of Hesse Brennening and falling—now singly in melodious stream berg better than poor Giulio Aldovini, the singer ; —now blending in one mingling gush of harmony and you-you—dear and innocent child, are, I -all listened in breathless, entranced delight, nor fear—" dreamed of the throbbing anguish beneath the At this moment, several eager voices called on veiled bosom of the siren. As Aldovini led her her for her attendance in the orchestra. away, she entreated him, in an eager whisper, to “ Clara, forgive me !" whispered Aldovini, as speak to her alone; they entered a small apart- he raised her from her seat. Still silent, a conment adjoining the one where refreshments were vulsive shudder was her only reply. Her father placed ; and in a few nearly inarticulate, broken appeared, calling her hastily and sternly. She words, she communicated the events of the preced- stepped quickly forward and followed him. ing evening
The noonday sun shone full on Clara as she ap“Advise me, for I am almost out of my mind peared in the orchestra ; her numerous admirers -How can I escape? How can I avoid this ter-| looked at her and were struck by her bewildered
air. The cavatina was put into her hand, and the “Oh! then it is qnite time to give up concerts, symphony began. It terminated with a single trum- if the singers are to be so devoid of decency as acpet note, and the thunder roll of the kettle drums. tually to die before one's very face !” said the same At that instant she started, and gazed wildly around. lady. One soft sound from a flute, and Clara's lips parted Rumor, for once, spoke truly. Clara had, infor the first note of the recitative. A shriek—a deed, expired as she fell ; although the fact was single piercing shriek issued from them; and she not ascertained for some time afterwards. fell forward in the orchestra. The utmost con Aldovini, as he rushed past every one else, and fusion instantly prevailed ; a strange discordant lifted her from the ground, was the first who even sound, produced by the ready bows of the various imagined this terrible event; but he recalled her instruments, slipping hurriedly down the strings, look when that fatal word escaped his lips-her mingled with the surrounding voices. The un- total silence afterwards; and now he gazed on happy girl was carried off, and some minutes her livid countenance, and felt all was indeed elapsed ; several of the audience inquired at the over. entrance to the private apartments, and strange “ Back, old man !” he exclaimed to the duke rumors began to circulate. At length, it was “ Back, fiend !” he repeated to her father, as, all currently reported in the concert-room that Miss his Italian passions roused to frenzy, he struck him Fielding was dead.
away. “Dead! you don't mean to say that she died in Then, clasping her in his arms, he continued in the orchestra ?" exclaimed a lady of very high a broken voice, “ She is at rest! you cannot harm rank, in an indignant tone.
her now ! Clara, Clara, pray for me in your “I rather think she did."
| bright abode, and forgive me !"
From the National Whig. "MAN'S LOVE."
BY MISS MARY ANN BROWN.
And his lips are parched and pale,
And wan and white his cheek ;
And holds his feeble hand,
His wants to understand;
She leads him, when the noon
Is bright, o'er dale or hill,
Of the honey bees, are still,
When woman's eye grows dull,
And her cheek paleth ;
Then man's love faileth ;
Clasps not her fingers,
That o'er her brow lingers.
Though her eye lightens,
Feverishly brightens ;
Her soft eyelid shadeth.
Into life's jostle,
Business and bustle,
That she is dying !
What though he mourneth,
Wearied he turneth.
Memory's light setteth,
Thus man forgetteth!
And when he goes not there,
To feast on breath and bloom,
Into his darkened room ;
His lamp of life doth dim,
She never leaveth him ;
And when his trial's o'er,
And his turf is on his breast,
Lie sorrows unexprest ;
Balm for her spirit's pain,
May sometimes smile again ;
BY THE SAME.
When man is waxing frail,
And his hand is thin and weak,