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PORTRAIT GALLERY.-No. VII.
ADVENTURES OF THE CANNON FAMILY.
It was night before the cavalcading party returned to the oncefamed Bonomia, but in modern times the no less celebrated Boulogne. What could they have been about all this time in a humble cottage ? Miss Molly Cannon frightened out of her life, and Lucy Cannon terrified to death ; one Frenchman wounded in the head, both smitten in the heart. The fact simply was, that they were making love in the most approved and scientific manner, which we unsophisticated English should endeavour to imitate, since, by curious ancient ma. nuscripts lately discovered in Pompeii, it is clearly proved that Ovid was a native of Gascony.
The Comte des Oripeaux possessed a heart of crystal, suspended round bis Byronic neck by a chain of jet black hair, evidently apper. taining to the head that had belonged to the possessor of the aforesaid heart, and from whence had also been ravished or bestowed a raven-lock.
As Molly was pretending to play with affected indifference with the dangling jewel, Des Oripeaux heaved a sigh ; Molly responded ; Des Oripeaux groaned ; Molly hemmed ; and timidly asked -unso. phisticated child !-if that hair belonged to his sister ? Oripeaux was silent. He drooped his head in his hands; he then grasped his throat. He seemed a prey to the pangs of upbraiding conscience ; while in fact, he was merely squeezing his jugular veins, to produce a crimson suffusion in his face. An English lover who has no knowledge of anatomy, would never have hit upon such an ingenious stratagem. But here his friend, De la Blagne, who was instilling in Lucy's ear all the devoted spirit of love's distillation, perceived his embarrassment, and bastened 10 his relief.
“ Mon ami," he said, “ Miss Moli, is too subject—to bad shamevere bad shame-mauvaise honte—and his impressionabilité is vere much-ridicule-ma foi. Sometime he is quite assommant,- quite knocky me down. De fac of de mattaire is, dat dis dere mèche de cheveur—dat nick of hair did belong to a vere silly, foolish, susceptible lady, one Duchesse de Gringullet ; and she did one day fancy him one infidèle, and she went for to travel for distraction ; till
, one morning, she take one chump in de river, from de top of de Euxine Bridge -de Pont Eurine.”
“Gracious me !" exclaimed Molly Cannon. “ The duchess—a real duchess drowned herself !—noyau herself in the rivière-oh, dear !”
“ Allons, mon ami," added De !a Blagne, giving him a choke.chicken thump, which would have rectified a hunchback.
• Du courage! You know you naver did loaf dat foolish duchesse, whose busband was sa retainly the most magnifique gentleman I ever saw. But, if de lady do chump into de vater for loaf, ve are no fishaman to chump aftaire. Eh, donc !-for, though one lady may be de tosle of de société-eh !—vhen she chumps in the river no gentleman likes toste in vater. No, by Gar! dat is no cham-paign,--ha! ha! eh! donc !" This last ejaculation might lead one to suspect that our witty Frank was a countryman of Ovid.
And now the count raised his head, with an apoplectic-looking face, as red as a cardinal's hut, and, bitting himself a thump upon the breast, that resounded like a double drum, he exclaimed
“ Miss Moli, loaf it is like de coqueluche, de hopping-cough, which can nayvire bebid; it only affecté one once in de lile ; and my time is to come. Je sens, I do smell dat you are mon lout, my hawl, my ev'ry ting ;” and, so saying, he ferociously tore off the love-token of former days, dashed it upon the ground, and began cutting sixes over it, like an opera-dancer expressiog pantomimic despair.
The effect was amusing-quite un coup de théâtre. Molly Cannon, beholding her triumph over a drowned duchess's mortal remains, threw herself in the arms of the Frenchman ; when,-such is the power of sympathy in pleasure and in pain, that, mechanically, spontaneously, combustively, and insticctively, Lucy, in a flood of tears, sought the pocket-handkerchief of her lover's bosom,--an act wl.ich La Blagne termed les délices d'un doux abandon ; but which a fasti. dious surly Englishman would translate the “ delights of an abandoned
It was night before the young ladies recol!ected that it was rather late, while the gentlemen had never forgotten that they had only eaten an early dinner. The ladies would most willingly have lingered longer, for they were feasted upon oaths the most solemn, promises the most stringent, and vows the most terrific ; but, the gentleinen were hungry, and talked of prudence, tu sccure future hours of bliss ; and of their virtuous papa, and their interesting mamma : and, as they slowly jogged back to town, their amatory vocabulary being pretty nearly exhausted, they sang together amorons nocturnes, com. pared to which Orpheus's stiains were Grub street ballads.
Scarcely, however, had the party entered the Rue de l'Enfer, when two mustachioed Frenchmen staggered out of the billiard-room ; and in the most outrageous, unmanly, unchivalrous manner, one of them apostrophised Miss Molly Caunon in an Anglo-Gallic language, doubly rich in energy, which would have made Minerva herself hide her blushes under her shield,-language which assimilated the ladies to persons whose virtue could not be insured at any premium, even at Lloyd's. Such an unprovoked insuit could not pass unpun. ished, and the Comte des Oripeaus rushed forward, and
the insolent intruder a slap in the face, which-to use a French poctical and metaphorical expression-made him see all the lamps of the town twinkling in his eyes, The only reply was a furious “ Sacre Dieu ! ” and à demain, Monsieur le Comte ! ” accompanied with a grasp of the band ; then another " à demain" in a terrible key, to which the Count replied with another shake of the liand; and two “ à demains" in contralto intonations.
The parties separated ; the ladies, terrified and trembling, leaning on their companions' arms, while these walked on in the silence of concentrated passion, until Des Oripeaux exclaimed, “ Demain, I vil punish dis barbara !” " Oh, mon hamy !" sighed Molly Cannon.
“ Surely you
will not baller yourself against a barber ?”
“A barber !” exclaimed the Count. • He is no barber,-he is one général,—de General Count de Gongibus. Ha! ha! Monsieur de Gongibus a barber, a friseur ! Ha ! ha! I vil tak a my pistolles for a curling.irog. I vil skin him alive like one anguille, one eel, to
make him papilloles. But, if de forlune de guerre, de property of war, de décret, that I shall peris for you, Myli ; you shall have all my liule trésors; and I hope you will vip over de cinlers of your mileroo loafer -les cendres de votre milheureur amint ! ”
And here matu il sobbings interrupted their louder effusions until they were at the gate of the hotel. Cominodus Cunnon was out. havo ing gone to take a “ turn in the room 3.” Mrs. Cannon, somewhat to the r surprise, they found weeping over her sins and a buwl of punch á la Romzine, abjuring all reformation under the spiritual guidance of a French priest, L'Abbé Caffard, a plenipo. of the Propagandi inission ; but, as Molly ani Lucy cired very little whether their mother turned or returned, Unitarian, Latitudinarian, Longitudinarian, or Anything. arian, provided she did not bother them, they withdrew to their chim. bers, to give vent to their grief, and at the same time to ease their afflictions through the safety-valve of vanity by comparing the qualities of their lovers.
Shortly afterwards the chambermaid brought in a parcel, with the adieux of M. le Comte ; which the girl could scarcely deliver from the agonized state of her feelings, as she expatiated upon all the qualifications of a bea" jeune homme with a mourir si jerne, followed by an htlas! that woull have done credit to any French theatrical utilisé.* Molly was too much moved to examine the precious trust; a lask readily undertaken by her curious sister. This was the more easily performed, as the sundry articles contained in the box were specified in an inventory, of which the untravelled reader may wish to have a translation. Here it is.
"loventory of the effects of Charles Joseph Amé des Auguste de la Vesse, Comie des Oripeaux, Officer of the Legion of Honour and of the Iron Crown, Colonel of Cavalry, &c &c.
"1. A bɔɔk, containing the journal of my amours. 42. A key to decipher the ladics' names therein contained. “3. The cross of the Legion of Honour, given to me on the field of Wagram, after having broken through 14,000 cavalry with my regi. ment.
64. A bâton, taken by me from Vellington at the victory of Vittoria, when I pared the ciaws of the British leopard with my brcal.t
• 5. A musket-ball extracted from my leg at Austerlitz; a musket. ball exiracted from (blank) during the fatal retreat of Leipsic, occasioned by the misconduct of a drunken corporal.
“6. A nosegay given to me by the Queen of Prussia at Sans Souçi; and the key of the back door of her aforesaid majesty's apartment.
“7. A pair of garters, given to me as a 'true lover's knot by the aforesaid queen, they having fallen on her ancles when her calves were dispelled by grief à mon départ.
"8 A paper of poison (mort aux rals) which I fortunately took from the Polish Princess Rałowowwow.sky, who was about to destroy her husband to follow me to France.
"9. The busk of her daughter, whom I carried off instead of the mo. ther, but who was unfortunately drowned in the Bérésina.
The French call utilités all the inferior performers who are compelled to per form any character--to make themselves, in fact, generally useful.
+ Familiar Dame of the crooked cavalry sabre.
“ 10. 727 love-letters in various languages.
“ 11. 97 locks of hair-not the wig of a Dutch Chancellor-given to me by his lovely young frau, as a token of her ineffable contempt for the old frump.*
“ 12. The spy-glass with which the Princess of Asturias used to look out for me from the windows of the Aranjuez Palace.
** 13. Two front teeth of the Princess Hohenlinden, knocked out in a fit of jealousy by her barbarous husband ; and part of her beautiful hair, which was cut off when she was immured in a nunnery for life.
“ 14. The veil of the abbess of St. Clara of Valladolid (gage d'amour); with the beard of the Capuchin friar who detected us (gage de vengeance).
“ 15. The papillotes of the Princess of Hohenlohe, made out of her husband's prayer-books.
" The entire entrusted to the care, and sacrificed to the charms of the only person whom I ever truly loved and adored à la vie, à la mort. Mademoiselle Moli du Cannon, Anglaise."
It may be easily imagined what effect this examination had upon the young ladies. Molly was dissolved in tears; while Lucy bit her lips in the vexatious apprehension that her lover could not exhibit similar testimonials of successful gallantry. Her only consolation resulted from some slight doubts as to the genuineness of these trea.
Examining one of the bullets, she said it looked very like one of her brother's dumps ; having no doubt been flattened on a bone; and that she did not think he was so old as to have been at Austerlitz Then she made various strange observations in regard to the other vulgar ball, of nameless extraction, during the flight of Leipsic: but love-true love is credulous, callous to advice, and heedless even of irony. Lucy, finding that her words were idle, thought it wiser to retire to rest : but jealousy, it is to be apprehend. ed, cropped the poppies that might have been shed over her couch ; while Molly Cannon was kept awake by the conflicting pangs of fear, hope and despair. She was sitting upon her couch like an aban. doned damsel of romance, or perhaps like the lady in Dubuffe's Family Souvenirs. She was silently weeping; but her streaming eyes were devouring the treasures of her lover displayed before her, and which to her were more precious than the most sacred regalianay, than the oriflamme of France. Soon, however, her anguish was relieved. The clock had scarcely struck seven when the door was violently thrown open, and in an instant Des Oripeaux was locked in her fond embrace. He, poor tellow! could not throw his arms round her swanlike neck--for one of them was in a sling stained with his precious blood, shed in her defence, in the cause of her honour. She looked an encyclopædia of human horrors; but he calmly smiled upon her, adding
“ Dis is noting, my Moli—my vife--my ev'ry ting ; but, de général -ha! ha!-une-deux-ha! ha!--he do bite de dust."
However delighted Molly Cannon might have been, Lucy affected to be “mightily shocked" at this untimely and unceremonious in. trusion in their bedchamber, and forth with sought to hide herself under the bed-clothes, ordering the count in a subterraneous sort of
* The French term was cassé-dos, which I think the word frump tolerably conveys.
a voice, to “ allez vous ong; but her modest wrath soon subsided when she heard the intruder tell her sister that on that very morning he and his dear friend, De la Blagne, would ask the consent of their amiable papa and mamma.
Mrs. Cannon who had gone to hear early mass with Abbé Caffard, had returned to breakfast, and at the supplication of her daughters, granted her consent, provided that their lovers were good Catholics, and could show proper certificates of confession and absolution ; while, to use her own expression, her daughters should decant their former errors and heresies in the presence of at least a bishop in partibus, for such, it appears, was the Abbé Caffard.
It was now requisite to obtain the approbation of Old Cannon, who was at breakfast, writhing under the severe losses he had experienced on the preceding evening, when he, or rather the gallery, had detected iwo French sharpers "doing him," or "cleaning hiin out,” at écarlé; and who, upon being taken in the fact, told the old gentleman that he should have to meet them the following morning to give them satisfaction. When Count des Oripeaux and his friend were ushered into his presence, taking them for the seconds, he trembled from head to foot; but when he was made acquainted with the business that brought them, his courage rose with his wrath, and he asked the bold intruders how dirty French adventurers could dare aspire to the hand of the daughter of an English gentleman, a magistrate, a church warden, a chairman of a committee? The count indigoantly replied, that it was doing honour to a shopkeeper, who ought to feel proud in cutting off a yard of bobbinet for a Chevalier Français ; and, moreover, that a current of the noble blood of a French count would purify a tradesman's pudule.
Cannon was wrought up to a pitch of frenzy ; and, although little disposed to joke or to pun, roared out,
“ Then, I'll tell you what, Monseer Crapo,-or whatever you are, -Monseer count of Tag-rag-and-bob-tail, ihat you have counted without your host, and take ihis on a-count to settle the balance.”
So saying, he pitched an omelette aux ragous, that was smoking on his table, at the head of the indignant count, who thought proper to retreat, exclaiming with much dignity, “ If you vas not de papa, de author of the days of Moli, you vas one dead man ! " He had scarcely concluded the sentence, when a potage de vermicelle followed the omelette. It was during this interesting scene, that the Misses Candon expressed their readiness to follow their lovers as far as the antipodes, when certain words were dropped about fortune, and funded property, and cuiting off to a shilling, and so forth; by which the Frenchimen learnt that Molly Cannon's fortune was in her own power, and derived from certain legacies; but that Lucy's depended entirely upon the pleasure of her crusty father. A light beamed upon M. de la Blagne, the intimate friend of the count, and he withdrew his friend to consult upon what was best to be done before they decided upon an elopement.
What passed between these worthies is not recorded; but the issue, alas! is but too well known. The conscience of La Biagne smote him. With penitential looks, he sought an interview with Molly Cannon ; he fell upon one knee, then upon both; then drew a pistol, (an amatory weapon without a touchhole, made expressly for disappointed and desperate lovers,) he then threatened suicide, homicide, or anyside, if