« AnteriorContinuar »
his dear wise's own maid, and who action. But, it is due to the characwas now transferred to Emilia,- that ter of the Rector to add, that, when was quite out of the question ; and his daughter's news assumed the chathe services of the kitchen-girl were racter of scandal, as, in due course, it absolutely necessary,—besides, her inevitably did, he was exceedingly wages were so very trifling. For alarmed, and began to think seriously these reasons, therefore, was the Doc- upon the manner in which the dear tor, as usual, utterly at a loss. But girl was spending her time. The renow, as there would be an addition to sult was, as usual, “ What's to be the family, he resolved to make him- done?” Divers plans, ay and excelself perfectly easy, and to feel con- lent plans too, flitted before him as he vinced, malgre some certain misgiv- lay cogitating on bis pillow, or ings, that it was right and proper to “daundering" in his garden with his let matters go on as usual until the hands in his pockets. He would time should arrive for Charles's de- write to an accomplished lady whom parture for Oxford. And then, when he had formerly known, who resided his family would be reduced to only at Bath, and received into her estabtwo persons, he might easily curtail lishment a limited number of young his expenditure.
ladies, who had the advantage of the It was some months before our re- best masters, and were introduced into turn that young Blackwell became an the best society under her own eye. inmate of the Rectory. He was a But then the state of his finances, strange fellow; alternately bashful considering that Charles must go to and presuming; awkward and un- Oxford, compelled him to relinquish couth in his manners, yet aping every that idea for the present; and other mincing dandy, of a certain grade, schemes were abandoned for similar that fell in his way, and ever talking reasons. of this, that, and the other thing, cus- It may perhaps appear that we are tom, and mode, being “ gentlemanly.” unworthily reflecting upon the Doctor He had withal an exceeding good for an indecision for which poverty opinion of himself, and seemed to were a sufficient excuse. But the consider the situation in which he fact is, that the state of his finances stood as a tacit acknowledgment of was the consequence of his want of his superior abilities, though it after decision. He knew that if his chilwards appeared that he had barely dren lived, they must arrive at years passed his examination.
of inaturity: and he knew that unto During the progress of these events, him only could they look for support; poor Emilia had been suffering from and when he dared to think, he felt the effects of her parent's “ What's that he was not treading in a path to be done ?” system. Lest entirely that was likely to terminate in their to herself, her time was divided be happiness. tween the contents of the circulating library (then much more « trashy" " At thirty man suspects himself a fool; than at present) and hearing and
I Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty blames his infamous delay; telling town “news ;” and the latter Yet lingers on till sixty-and again, occupation being more amusing, and In all the magnanimity of thought, perhaps rendering her more acceptable
* Resolves and re-resolves. Then dies the
same.” in society, soon engaged almost the whole of ber time. The worthy This was the state of the Doctor's Rector too, at first, listened with in- mind. He spent his days in fruitless terest to her town and village gossip, conviction of error, ever inquiring inasmuch as it served to beguile the « What's to be done?” tedious progress of time, which ever H e never, but on one occasion, atmarches heavily along with the man tempted to justify his procrastination who has no pursuit or settled plan of to our uncle, who was acquainted with the exact state of his affairs ; and more about it. I shall swear if I do then he averred that, considering the -I know I shall. God bless position which he held in society, he you! There, there's my hand, Docreally did not know how he could con- tor; you know you may command me sistently do otherwise than he did; in any way ;-but here comes Inglisfor that any reduction in his establish- I want to speak to him the fellow ment would have a very strange look, has got an idea of committing matriand really he didn't know what people mony." would think. There would have been The reason why we have chosen to no difficulty, he allowed, if he had speak of the worthy Doctor, rather never kept more than one man-ser- than of some others of the class of vant, and so on; but now "it" would " What's to be done ?” people who have a very strange appearance. To have come under our cognizance, is, all this, and more of the like calibre, that from the certainty of his resources the veteran listened with a considera- he seemed to be in less danger of sufble degree of pain, and then respond- fering from giving way to habitual ed in this wise. “My dear Doctor, procrastination. His duties were you and I have known each other too simple and specific : well understood long to render it necessary that we and admitted even in the midst of should talk nonsense, and endeavor to neglect. When these are numerous bamboozle one another. Show me and complicated, the abandonment of the man that would think the worse of inind to that miserable state of weakyou for doing your duty to your wife ness which we have endeavored to deand children, and I'll prove the fellow scribe, must be more speedily fatal to to be unworthy of your friendship. happiness. Besides, this one, if such a Your position in society indeed! mode of speaking of any mortal being Have you a friend or acquaintance may be allowed, was the Doctor's only who is ignorant of the value of your failing. All his other duties, wherein living? It is worth eight hundred, this master-vice did not interfere, and by G !-I beg your pardon- were perforined with the strictest and how the devil you have muddled that most conscientious exactness ; and his sum away every year lately, seems mar- name will not cease to be spoken of vellous; but no matter, so it seems to with respect, till the present generabe. What would be your opinion of tion shall be gathered to their fathers. a general who allowed his men to Never was the assertion, that “as stand upon a hill to be swept away by the twig is bent the tree's inclined,” the enemy's fire, because he didn't more fully proved than in the case of know what they might think of bis Emilia and Charles Smithers. The taking a fresh position behind it ? latter felt that he had lost much time; But I know how you argue. You but, notwithstanding, lost much more endeavor to wheedle yourself into an before he went to Oxford ; and, when approval of delay which you feel and there, exhibited a complete counterknow to be dangerous ; but you can- part of his father's conduct, neglectnot-nor can you deceive your real ing, and ever bewailing the neglect of friends, every one of whom would his duties. The event was as might think much more highly of you if it be expected. After putting off the were not for this blot-I would not evil day from time to time, he at heedlessly wound your feelings-this length went up for his examination, foible in your character. Zounds, and was - plucked.” He was then man! if you don't change your cursed transferred to Cambridge, where, it position, as you call it, very soon- was hoped, his classics might pass ; and you may do so now with honor- but there, the mathematics started up you'll be forced from it in disgrace. as a lion in his way ; and truly it By Heaven! I cannot think of the might be said, that, when poring, or thing with patience, so I'll say no rather dreaming, oyer what appeared
a chaos of figures and problems, he reflected thereon with pleasure, and knew not “ What was to be done ?" we have often thought, was persuaded
From amid these difficulties, the into it contrary to his better judgment; poor fellow was summoned home to a but he was not of those who, when scene of deep distress. His father they have taken an active part in anywas on his deathbed on his arrival; thing that is unsuccessful, endeavor to and a few weeks terminated his mortal throw the odium of defeat upon their career. Then was poor Charles left colleagues. Among the intimate in the world, in his twenty-fourth friends of the late Doctor, a sum was year, without profession or property; raised, sufficient to purchase for poor for it appeared that the Doctor's es - Charles a share in an academy in the tale was not even adequate to defray vicinity of London, where the bigber the expenses of dilapidations which classics were not read. This sum had been for years in progress at the was to be considered as a loan, in Rectory, uoheeded or neglected. order that feelings of gratitude and
The Colonel, with his usual good- honor might stimulate him to exertion. ness of heart, resolved to uphold him All went on well apparently for some at college, provided his pecuniary as- years; and Emilia went to live with sistance was likely to be serviceable; her brother, having no other resource, but be never took a step without pre- in consequence of the very superficial viously reconnoitering; and after exnature of her education changing some letters with Cambridge The next time we heard of Charles friends, was compelled to abandon the was when his partner died, and he idea, as being little better than send became, in consequence, sole proprieing the poor youth on a “ forlorn tor of the establishment; and, shortly hope,” in which his character afford- afterwards, he took unto himself a ed small chance of success; and wife, as a matter of course one of where defeat, after past occurrences, the “ What's to be done ?'' species. would stamp him with irremediable Thus left to himself, old and incuradisgrace.
ble habits assumed their ancient sway, From that period, Charles Smith- is, indeed, they had ever been coners's life has been one of a very dif- quered ; and in a very short space of ferent nature froin that which he time, his school dwindled away, and might in his youth have fairly antici- left hiin, like his poor father, to lapated would have been his lot. His ment over his darkening prospects, and first useful occupation was that of an saunter about, inquiring and wonderassistant at the grammar-school where ing « What was to be done ?” Nowe were both educated; but the wor- thing was done ; or he might, eren tby clergyman at its head was com- then, bave repaid his friends, and repelled to tell our uncle, that he could tained their confidence and respect; not retain him in that situation, con- but he lingered on, with the expenses sistently with the duty he owed to his of a large and useless establishinent, pupils. Perhaps the painful feelings till " poverty came upon him like which must have been his lot, in the an armed man.” midst of those whom he had known The first intimation we received of and felt upon an equality with in hap- his difficulties was from the London pier days, might have rendered him Gazette, 'where our uncle discovered unfit for his office. They must have his name in the list of bankrupts, been acute; for, till his parent's when looking over its pages for milideath, he had no idea of his circum- tary intelligence. It appeared afterstances, or perhaps he might, ere ha- wards that the poor fellow had been bit had grown too strong, have shaken gradually sinking ; that he paid his off his hereditary apathy.
tradesmen's bills very honestly as long The next effort made by our uncle as his capital lasted, and then began was, perhaps, injudicious, for he never to contrive excuses, which answered
the purpose very well for a certain his habitual inanity, of which there length of time, at the end of which, seemis little probability. He is now as he had not even then quite made the father of four children, who are up his mind about " What was to be brought up in such a nanner as to done ?" bis landlord settled the point render it too probable that the third for him by making a seizure for rent, generation of Smitherses will pursue whereupon the butcher, baker, grocer, the steps of their forefathers, and go cheesemonger, &c. “ upon that hint, forth into the world without knowing did speak,” in terms by no means so « What's to be done ?" respectful and polite as whilom they E milia was kindly invited, from had used when “soliciting his favors," respect to her father, to spend à in their various and respective “lines." few months, after her brother's This failure made a sad impression misfortunes, with several families in upon all of us. We had learned, our neighborhood. It was a painful from the best authority, that the late sight to see that poor girl. Many inaster of the academy left behind people thought her handsome, and him no less a sum than seven thou- she was herself of that opinion; and, sand pounds, the whole of which he in the weakness of her poor untutored had accumulated in the house where mind, deemed that, having lived near Charles Smithers became a bankrupt, the metropolis, (to her, synonimous while his friends were congratulating with living among the "world" therethemselves on the success of their in,) she must be superior to the counendeavors in his behalf. It seems try ladies around her. She was at that, at the death of his partner, he that critical age when the unmarried might be said, after deducting the fair are said to change the question of, amount of his debts, and of the bond " I wonder whom I shall have ?” into held by our uncle, (which the parties that of, « I wonder who will have concerned agreed should never be de- me ?” And truly she did seem deinanded,) to have been worth fifteen termined to solve the question, and hundred pounds, besides the "good- set about it with a spirit to which we will” of the school, which he might had not supposed any of the family have retained, with all its advantages, could have been roused. She made to this day, had he taken a partner some desperate lunges; and, we remore competent than hinself, to su- ally think, might have carried the perintend the duties. To this course, point with a "good-tempered foxdivers friends had urged him in vain, hunting squire, had it not happened although he acknowledged that he that, one rainy morning, they were frequently felt his own deficiency. left tête-à-tête together, accidentally, He could not be charged with extra- for two long hours. Determined to vagance nor inattention, if staying at make the agreeable, the poor girl rathome, and letting things go on in tled on with town-talk and gossiping their old course, were an adequate de- nonsense, and the squire laughed and fence against these imputations. His seemed well pleased; for the learned was an abandonment and sheer wreck and deep blue among the daughters of of property, respectability, and future Eve found no favor in his eyes : and prospects, in the face of conviction, so far all went on well; but, alas ! merely because he never could de- Emilia knew not where to stop, and cide the question, "What's to be thinking mayhap of rivals, or having done?”
nothing else to say, she ventured upon The exertions and interest of divers of those evil reports, usually as friends, after a while, procured for false as malicious, which, érer and bin a subordinate situation in one of anon, disgrace every petty gossiping the public offices, which he yet re- circle in the united kingdoms. Squire tains, ond above which he is never Henchman, whose heart lay, às folks likely to rise, unless he can overcome say, " in the right place," listened at first with surprise, then with pain, and avowal, we much fear that their time took leave with pleasure ; and thence- is not spent in such conversation as forth was no more seen dangling after becomes Christians who are instructed the fair Emilia, who felt much at a to “ do unto others as they would that loss about “ What was to be done ?” others should do unto them.” As time rolled on, matrimonial views Much as we abominate such sort of gradually assumed the aspect of a discourse, truth, however, compels us forlorn bope. At our uncle's decease, to say, that we verily believe it bath he left her a small annuity, by the not its rise so frequently from feelings assistance of which she is enabled to of envy, hatred, and malice, as in the live with two elderly maiden ladies of stagnant and noisome wilderness of an a somewhat similar mental calibre ; uncultivated mind, ever seeking, but and, though we may risk the chance apparently never knowing, “What is of being accused of scandal for the to be done ?"
TO A FRIEND ON HIS BIRTH-DAY.
“ Virides fecere morendo."-Old Motto.
Have you walked in the fields, when the sun Thou art sad! thy heart is journeying Through the trees is really burning,
back And the village children, one by one,
To the guide of thy early day,To their cottage homes are turning ? Hast thou stray'd so far from his peaceful Hast thou not bow'd to their laughing track, mirth,
Are all his foot-prints worn away? As they toss'd the wild-flowers far and Have you walked in a path benighied, nigh,
Beguiled by a flickering spark; Their voices ringing over the earth ;- The lamp of joy your father lighted, 1
They cannot have gone unheeded by. Oh, is its bright flame burning dark? Their thoughts are fresh, and their hearts Surely, oh surely it cannot be, are green,
The thought of that face hath gone from Oh, they have not seen what thou hast seen! Have you not mark'd in the quiet aisle The green nest of the bird will perish,
of sintern church, the sweet and fair, The violet know its place no more, The wandering leaf of the ivy smile, The ivy of virtue will cherish In gladness on the pulpit stair ?
The greenness it cherished of yore. You have not forgot the aged man, Friend of my youth ! 'twere sweet to borWith shepherd staff, and hoary hair,
row You turn’d from your homeward path to The soft gleam from that ivy leaf, scan,
'Twill be a light on the eye of sorrow, So old, and yet so free from care
"Twill be a smile on the cheek of grief. His soul was bright, tho' his eyes were dim, The peace of God on that ivy will be The God of his youth was light to him. Father and mother, yea more, to thee.
THE SECOND BEST. EVELINE MEYNELL, daughter of Sir following letters. They are written John Meynell, was possessed of a mind by different persons, and spread and heart equally noble; the former through nearly five-and-twenty years strong, clear and cultivated, the latter of time. The first is from her father running over with the milk of human to his lady-wife. He was with the kindness. The character of this ad- army in Germany, during the Sevenmirable woman, who had acquired the Years'-War. appellation of the Second Best,” and who well merited all the praise «I fear, my worthy love, there is which this comprehensive title can but distant prospect of my being able imply, is more fully exhibited in the to return to you. Would that I had