« AnteriorContinuar »
en by crime, I was seeking mental relief (which they believed every word, dear by physical exertion. After awhile, souls) with horrible endings, of the danevery window looking-glass in the house gers of tattling and scandal. was taken down, and the effect was sur Lottche! I have now the bouquet of prising. I no longer heard that the immortelles, which you slipped in my Frau Professorin von Bimbom's cape trunk as you packed it, with the little had real lace before and sham lace be word tied to it, in your German English, hind ; that the under assistant, Under “Good-by, dear friend; and may antasse Hebehaum, was seen going up the gels have you in their keeping." street, with a sealed packet in the pocket of his left coat-tail; which packet, as it On looking over these pages I have had the royal seal on it, could be nothing written, to see whether I have set down else than the wonderful fact, that the “aught in malice," as I finish them, I old pump was to be taken down, and a reflect how little it takes to make one new one put in its place.
uncomfortable, and how stupid, yet When I thought them fitting enough, penetrating, are these petites misères we read together Klopstock's glorious de la vie, which rendered my stay in farce, of " The Little Town's People,” Aeselen a not over pleasant one. Now from the German title of which, "Der that some years have elapsed, I cannot Kleinstadter," the German for provin- help smiling at the vivid impression it cial is derived. How angry they were, made on me, whilst a younger man. when I introduced their names for the There was much of good-great fields of personages in it, and how puzzled they learning to be gleaned, and but little of looked, when I proved them to be guilty bad, and that of a kind to be laughed at. of the same petty faults. How I preach. More serious incidents of life must haped them long lessons, about the injury pen, before the warm hearts and kind done by not minding one's own busi- feelings of my landlady and her daughness, and how I invented ng stories ters are ever effaced from my memory.
MRS. PROFESSOR KRAMPS.
W ; ,
the most mischievous, charming, tinkling at all hours of the day with light funny, tender-hearted girl in all Port waltzes, aerial polkas, or the choruses of land, married Professor Kramps, of Hale negro songs, was always in confusion College, nobody could tell. Sally was the dire. If some stranger asked for music, only daughter of a moderately wealthy every cushion was turned over to find lawyer; her three brothers were the stray leaf; the Prima Donna Waltz wild and noisy as three young colts ; her had been twisted into a foolscap for a mother a very kindly, indolent, unin- plaster head of Beethoven; “Il Setellectual woman, fat, rosy, and short; greto” made a cocked hat for a bronzed her father an oddity, but an agreeable Napoleon ; a sparkling German drinkone, full of dry humor, and keen, but not ing song, whose words were heathen bitter sarcasm ; her home was as com Greek to Sally (wherefore she usually fortable as all the appliances of wealth adapted it to a moving ballad, called and the most unrestrained freedom from the Orphan's Sigh !) was ironically pinlaws and usages could make it. No- ned up by one of Father Matthews thing was in or out of place there; the medals, a practical piece of fun perpecushions of the luxurious sofas strewed trated by Joe Norton, the oldest and the carpet or the piazza floor as it pleased wildest of the whole set. Profiles in the inhabitants; the chairs stood in white chalk, and caricatures in ink, strange disorder and mystical groups, adorned the keys of the piano ; and a only to be explained by seeing them 0c · half-relief" done in pencil and dried cupied as thoy generally were, three at musquitoes, a pathetic representation once, for the personal convenience of of a July night's endurance at the seaone tall boy.
side, hung under a rare engraving of Even Sally's speciality, the little Saint Catherine. The whole house was
a little world of fun, frolic, nonsense, cheeks, and parted lips, parted with good temper, and disorder; and to this bursts of musical laughter, and her house, in an evil hour for his peace, came blue eyes brilliant with frolic and Theodosius Kramps, Greek Professor excitement; behind came Charley and at Hale, the quietest, shyest, and most Ned, pelting their darling with all manlearned of men.
ner of flowers, sturdy rose buds that It was a warm July evening that in- tingled against her fair throat, spicetroduced him to this abbey of misrule; a scented carnations, scarlet lilies, and mutual friend to Mr. Norton tempted blue larkspur flowers that caught in him from the cool cobwebs and musty her shining hair, and finished this charmvolumes of the old Portland library, ing picture with the last grace of color. where he had luxuriated all that burning At all this the Greek professor gazed day, to explore the green avenues of in helpless delight, with his mouth wide Smith and Brown streets, for the house open but dumb; much as we depict to to which he had been directed. Sooner ourselves the angel-smitten beast of than he hoped, by dint of capturing Biblical history ; but alas ! no prophet small boys and haranguing them in clas was there to beat him into speech. And sical English with regard to streets and when Sally from her elevation saw the corners, be found his place of destina man, "long, and lank, and brown," tion, and pleasant enough it looked in transfixed at the door, she was quite the sunset of that cloudless sky. too natural and quite too sensitive to
All about the low brick bouse was a the ludicrous not to laugh more heartiwide veranda, overgrown with vines that ly and more merrily than ever, even had run at their own pleasure here and while she struggled hard to escape from there, and now made a living scene of her brother's grasp, that she might deleaves and boughes from one pillar to scend and do the honors. But escape another, save where “the boys,” that was impossible. Joe was unmoved by synonym for mischief, had forced ex the beating of those small white hands tempore doorways through the mass, by about his ears, or the coaxing entreaties the summary method of a run and a of that baby-like voice, “Let me down jump. Now there were a few late clus- indeed! not he,” whispered Ned to ters drooping from the tropical looking Charley, “it's such fun !" and fun it Wistaria, mixing their pale lilac blooms was to Joe, as he advanced, with a dewith the last crimson roses; every win mure face and his courtliest manner, to dow opening on to the veranda was enquire the stranger's purpose, bis disthrown wide; chairs stood half in and half comfited burden now even rosier with out; a snowy shawl trailed over the sill of shame, hiding her face in his dark curls, one long casement, and a little primrose yet still shaking with laughter. Hapglove, that was so little the Professor did pily, in the very moment that Joe not think it was a glove, as he eyed it in a achieved his bow, Mr. Norton appeared, curious maze, lay on the door-inat; and and with a very dry tone ordered him the door itself was set open, in a man to put his sister down, and behave himner most perplexing to the orderly self, at which Joe executed a horrible guest, who fumbled, and fidgeted, and face at the two boys, now in the range wondered, and peered, a long time be of the Professor, and choked that worfore he could find the bell, and having thy man with the first genuine laughter at last succeeded, and drawn out the that had visited his dignity for ten handle timidly, started as if the inno years. Mr. Norton caught the look and cent brass knob had belonged to an was too sympathetically affected to scold, electric machine, at the peal, not of so the whole matter ended in a burst of ringing but of laughter, that instantane- laughs all round, and a series of introously answered him; and before he ductions, all of which Professor Kramps could recover his poise, a door at the underwent surprisingly to himself, so end of the hall swung open, and Joe much freedom, both of mind and body Norton appeared, his handsome face is there imparted by a hearty laugh ; a fushed with fun and exercise, holding consideration we feelingly recommend Sally perched on one shoulder, her lit to liberators and agitators in general. tle feet in the funniest possible slippers, There was no resisting the take-ithanging helplessly from the delicate folds for-granted manner in which Mr. Norof her white dress, her golden curls all ton kept his guest to tea; and no end tangled and scattered over the rosy to the winking and smirking of the
boys at Sally, as she sat blushing and punctual as the Rattle street clock, restless with suppressed mirth under he appeared at the set hour, in a carthe steadfast gaze of Professor Kramps, riage, at Mr. Norton's door, and was who surveyed her as if she had been shown into the parlor, where his host some newly discovered inflection of an directly appeared with a most rueful obsolete verb, and committed all sorts countenance : business bad interfered; of eccentricities, such as buttering his an important case was to come off in slice of ham, pouring cream into his the next day's court, and at the last plate, and raspberries into his tea, and hour a missing witness had been traced, gravely swallowing both mixtures with to whom he must personally attend : a slightly surprised aspect, that gradu- but there was an alternative, if Profesally became a look of resignation, as he sor Kramps was willing: his daughter glanced again at his opposite neighbor. was an intimate friend of Mrs. Člay, Sally was very pretty : an innocent and he would send her with him to inmischief forever lurked in her eyes, troduce him. The Professor turned even at their demurest; and if her red purple between diffidence and delight, lips did not laugh, they were just ready and managed to stammer out that he to, perpetually
should be most happy; so Mr. Norton Such a lovely little bit of womanhood left him to his own thoughts, and after had never crossed the orbit of Theodo due delay reappeared with Sally, looksius Kramps before; but he did not ing like the veriest little daisy of the surrender at discretion, nor before fight- field, all sparkling with sunshine. Well ing a long internal battle, and resisting it was, for her bodily safety, that her to the last such an utter overthrow of father helped her into the carriage, for his projects and principles. Truth to Theodosius was brandishing his long tell, Sally had him rather at advantage: arms hither and yon in an ecstasy of that first introduction was worth a whole devotion charming to behold, and asyear of formal acquaintance and pro- suredly a touch of that little gloved gress: the next day he was invited to hand would have wrought his delirium dinner, and met at Mr. Norton's table to an unsafe height; but, once shut up some of the most distinguished men of in the vehicle beside the aërially attired the day, residents of Portland, with all damsel, whose face began to dimple and of whom Sally seemed equally at home glow with mirth, he subsided into an in her bright simplicity and irresistible awkward, silent creature, done up in fun; to all of whom she made herself cloth and kid, helpless and hopeless, if particularly fascinating. It is hardly Sally had not understood his genus, fair to accuse so unworldly a man as and applied herself most devoutly to Theodosius Kramps of being unduly playing guide-book, “making believe" swayed by the opinions even of his all the time that her companion was literary world; but he was, neverthe " about to say," or "
had remarked” less, a man, and where a woman would something so very apropos and piquant have loved for love's sake, he, thinking that he began to wonder how he could of loving, liked to be justified in his be so agreeable without knowing it. immature preference by the tacit hom- Sally's native courteousness was cerage of others.
tainly fortified by a little bit of her Still, he might have gone away so father's tact and diplomacy, and by slightly scathed by the old Greek the time they reached their destination deity's arrow as to have forgotten the she had put Mr. Kramps so entirely at wound, had not circumstance, or some his ease that he aided her descent witsmore "spiritual god,” guided the dart out any perilous awkwardness, and actill it struck home, and displaced even tually gave her his arm up the shadowy the classics from his soul, at least tem and odorous approach to the house, with porarily.
no compunction or reflection on the subSome ten days after his first ap ject; but, quite to his horror, on reachpearance at the door of Mr. Norton's ing the pretty cottage nestled in fine old house, and his peculiar reception trees, and catching sight of a slender there, he, still lingering at Portlandfigure in white attire among the flowerhad asked that gentleman to call with beds of the gay garden, Sally dropped him at the house of Professor Clay, the arm on which she had so lightly famous in Uxbridge College, and an hung, and, running forward like a kitten old classmate of Mr. Kramps. As after a ball, snatched the surprised fig.
ure round the waist, and executed a ing to hear the remarks of her comspontaneous waltz down the wide gravel- panion, and reply to them, though, bepath, directly toward her gaping escort. tween expectation and vexation, she was
“My dear Sally !" exclaimed the sadly abstracted. Presently, however, laughter-stifled voice of Mrs. Clay, as the jaded horses quickened their pace; a more rapid pirouette shook down her the Professor grew restless and incohebeautiful hair from its support, and rent; faster and faster flew the horses. tinged her spiritual face with bloom— Joe had not reckoned rightly on the "don't you see there is a stranger ?" Professor's pride; he was scared, simSally stopped all suddenly.
ply and thoroughly scared, and no preOh dear! I forgot - Mrs. Clay sence whatever could have prevented Professor Kramps. You see I was so the expression of his fright. glad to see Laura, sir!-" The voice In spite of Sally's entreaties that he was not to be resisted ; Mrs. Clay would sit still, and her assurances that laughed gently, and welcomed her dis there could be no danger, he threw himtrait guest with so quiet and simple a self on to the front seat, rattled the manner that he was more at sticky window in its socket, vociferated
to the driver, who nodded and grinned Presently Professor Clay appeared, back again, with true Irish delight, at and made as much demonstration to the fun; and, at last, tried to force the Sally as she had to his wife, though in door open and get out. This Sally a more staid manner; but she was could not permit him to do, knowing it evidently a favorite, and his genial, would probably be certain death ; for affectionate face as he spoke made a now the joke was getting serious. The deeper impression on one spectator infuriated horses were beyond Joe's than even his own cordial welcome. power to hold, and the Irishman shouted That was another feather to give the and swore in vain. At the maddest arrow impulse ; yet, oh Theodosius ! rate they careered down Rattle street, the worst was not over with thee yet! the carriage swaying from side to side
After a long and pleasant call, Sally at their heels; without, Joe and his roso to gn, and Mr. Clay attended them brother Phæton, pulling and shouting; to the carriage; but to Sally's utter hor- within, Theodosius Kramps, Greek proror, as she was about to put her foot on fessor in Hale College, kicking, strugthe step, she saw beside the man who gling and sputtering alternate English had driven them out another figure, in and unknown tongues, in the tight ema strange old coat, of familiar aspect, brace of Sally Norton's fat, white and a hat that should have been on its arms, and offering so much resistance nail in the garret at home, a well-known to her kindly intention, that she was broad-brim of her deceased grandfather. quite red in the face, while, in spite of Moreover, from beneath that hat peered her own fear, now rapidly increasout one eye over the coat-collar, that ing, "a secret laughter tickled all her executed an unmistakable wink; it was, soul,”
," and made her hold more doubtverily, her madcap brother, Joe. Sud- ful every moment. But the crisis was denly as a thought flashes, the whole of at hand, as political gentlemen say at his plan appeared to Sally's mind. He every election. The horses, making a had discovered, in the course of Mr. straight track for their stable, took no Kramps's conversation, that he had a pains to consider the institution draggreat terror of horses, and knew no ging at their heels; but swerving wide, thing about driving; and Joe, being a to avoid a ponderous hay cart, dashed most expert charioteer, must have the carriage against a lamp-post, upset bribed the driver to let him take the it instantly, broke pole and traces at reins, and give the unlucky Professor one snap, and careered triumphantly a terrible fright, where he would not homeward, leaving Joe and the Irishdare display his fear, in the presence of man spilt on a strip of turf that happily, a lady. It was no use for Sally to re for their necks, some city-pent rustic monstrate or exclaim; neither coaxing had cultivated before his door" for nor entreaty would move Joe a hair's greens;" and, within the wreck, Theobreadth, she very well knew, and Pro dosius Kramps with a broken leg, pitefessor Kramps would only have been ously moaning on the floor of the vetwico terrified; so she held her tongue, hicle, and poor Sally miserably bruised, and took her place quietly, endeavor but not otherwise injured, trying to ex
tricate herself from the door, in order on her own white wrist—really, he was to aid her companion.
not classically beautiful, but what the Joe, however, as soon as he found ladies call a most interesting man and himself unfractured, came to their res Sally's heart grew softer and softer. cue, full of remorse and shame ; while The head was more gently cradled, the the Irishman, having set off after his brow wiped with a lighter finger, and horses, the owner of the offending hay once the heavy hair drawn off by a most cart offered his services to aid and com spirit-like touch, as one hot tear rolled fort the unlucky pair. It was no easy over the swelling eyelid, and hopped on matter to extricate the Professor from to the bridge of Theodosius Kramps's his position of pain ; but Sally, forget- nose, whereat he looked up and smiled, ting her own aches, helped most tender- his first recognition of consciousness. ly and skillfully to place him on an ex Sally blushed most exquisitely, but she tempore litter, and, as there were no she couldn't put him down, and for two men at hand, to carry him; and, as he minutes two people were supremely utterly refused to trust his neck in the blessed, bruises and bones to the conpower of any more horses, the only trary notwithstanding; but those two resort was to put him in the vacant hay minutes brought them to Mr. Norton's cart, and so convey him to Mr. Norton's door; and the whole family, being strewhouse, now but a few squares distant. ed over the veranda, the peal of laughSally demurred for an instant, since it ter which burst at once from father, was evident she must go, too; but her mother, Charley and Ned, was too much kindly little heart prevailed, and, mount for poor Sally. Down went the lucking first into the odd conveyance, she
less head of Theodosius with a terrible carefully sustained the exhausted Pro. bump on the cart-bottom, and out fessor's head in her arms, while Joe, on sprang Sally over the wheel, and rushed the other side, guarded the broken leg headlong up stairs to her own room, as well as he might, from jolt and jar; where, having locked the door, she inso the singular spectacle wheeled slowly dulged in a good cry, as becomes every up Rattle and down Smith streets, to young woman in the like circumstances; the great delight of all beholders, and then she sensibly washed her face, though, happily for Sally, but few of rubbed her black and blue shoulders her friends ventured abroad on that with some lotion of sovereign virtue, sultry July evening, and she escaped laughed for ten minutes harder than she comparatively unnoticed by those from had cried, and went to bed like the whose notice she might have shrunk. common-sense girl she was, having just Now, it was the queerest of all times unlocked the door to admit mother, and places for any sentimentality to bud, on her nightly rounds to see that all or even take root; yet, in strict honesty, were safe in bed before she slept herit must be made known, that if Sally self. Norton ever did begin to love Professor In the mean time the Professor, someKramps it was there, in that very ox thing discomfited and amazed by his cart, all bruised and wretched as he sudden collapse on the stout hickory was; for Sally was the veriest woman beneath, was lifted carefully out of the concocted since Eve, and no amount of cart and ensconced in Mrs. Norton's wooing, done in the most approved style, best bedroom, while Ned was discould have moved her tender, simple, patched for the family physician, and gentle heart so thoroughly as the genu Charley sent to the hotel for his goods ine helplessness and suffering of the and chattels. man whose head she held, from whose At length, seeing his guest, by dint wide and thought-lined forehead she of the penitent Joe's ceaseless efforts, wiped away the damps of pain and safely in the hands of two M. D.'s, and weakness, as tenderly as his mother deputy sawbones,” Mr. Norton would have kissed it.
commenced an unsparing inquiry into Sally wondered why she had thought the rights of the case, and having him so ugly; now his wan, transparent wrung them out of Joe's remorseful eyelids were closed over the burning lips, gave him such a pitiless and severe and restless orbs beneath ; his finely blowing-up (to use a technicality!) that chiseled lips set like marble in the com the unhappy youth resolved directly to pression of anguish, and his dark hair, run away and go to sea the next morncrisped with heat and moisture, falling ing, and was packing his carpet bag to