Imágenes de páginas

that effect, soon after the family dis- length went vehemently to studying, as persed for the night, when his plans he was to enter Hale College the next were somewhat deranged by hearing term, under the Professorial auspices. through the open window of his father's Mother had a hearty cry, and then setroom, most unextinguishable bursts of tled down again to the old routine. Mr. laughter, accompanying the recital to Norton missed Sally's daisy face most of mother of his cross-examining Joe, and all, now never peering over his dusty law the poor fellow's dismal

responses. books, or tearing him out of his best busiJoe emptied his carpet bag into the ness hours into a drive, or frolic, or picmiddle of the floor, performed an In- nic. The younger boys were at school; dian war-dance about the miscellaneous they thought of Sally at home, when contents, and went to bed, where he they stopped to think; but very rarely dreamed of Theodosius Kramps beat did their daily scrapes and exploits ing him unmercifully with a wooden leave them any room for meditation. leg.

Sally herself was Aprilesque, as usual. Well, a long story becomes short Sometimes crying, oftener smiling, she when its climax is manifest. Six weeks made the journey to the Oldport a was the Professor an innate of Mr. little romance to the Professor, who Norton's house; everybody liked him, watched her much as if she were a bird and waited on him, but nobody was like he had unexpectedly caught, and of Sally. She made him incredible dain whose actual possession he was yet ties, and served them in a way to have doubtful. suited an old maid fairy. She read to

Once installed in her dignities, poor him in fearfully big books, all about the Sally's real life began; every day, dual number, and hexameters, besides a indued in some bridal finery, she had to great many other things that she didn't sit in state and receive the solemn calls know, and I don't either, but Mr. of the Faculty wives; and every evenKramps did. She brought him flowers, ing, when she longed, after such a stupid at which he gazed in ignorant delight, day, to pull off her little shoes and curl not knowing whether they were expo up in one corner of the sofa for a nice nents of potatoes and beets, or herbs nap, or try and coax her dear old for the healing of man, but only that Theo" into an ungainly gambol, in came Sally held them in her fine fingers, and the Faculty per. se., one or another, stood right before his eyes,

and she stiffened into Mrs. Kramps, fairer flower."

with half suppressed yawns, and freThis dangerous state of things went quent rubbings of her mist-blue eyes. on continuously,

with the dimpled knuckles of hands

that should have decorously reposed on "Till out of long frustration of her care,

her handkerchief. And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons,"

But Sally could not be proper; it

not in her: how shall I give to a reand all that, Sally was quite ready to spectable public a mild account of her say “yes,” like a good little girl, when incessant misdemeanors, or tell, in she was asked : and in due time, on a moderate language, how she went out fine day of October, as awkward as she to a large dinner-party, the thirteenth could be made by abundance of silk given in her honor, and there, being: and lace, she was declared Mrs. Theo- seated between a professor of Sanscrit dosius Kramps, in proper form, and with and a mathematical tutor, for a long, plenty of crying, kissing, and laughter, time spent herself in ill-concealed efforts. all to the great edification of her hus to keep awake, till the arrival of a little. band, who was not possessed with that bee, that was attracted from the sunny self-consciousness and false pride that window by her bouquet of roses, slightly makes a man " detest scenes,"' but was diverted her thoughts, and after a long himself true and genial enough to en attempt to capture the winged-sting, joy the demonstration of true and na having at last succeeded, she dropped tural feeling in others; and unselfish it slyly into the Sanscrit professor's enough to have enjoyed it because they tumbler, and he, abstractedly lifting the did, had he not also shared the emotion. glass to his lips, sipped the wet beo, Sally left a lonely house behind her; that of course made violent struggles Joe took refuge in the contemplation to escape from such a cavern, and of a voyage before the mast, but at frightened the timid man of tongues,


" herself a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

almost into a catalepsy, while Sally counters. But Sally, in her bright, shook with laughter at the ensuing brave innocence, and in her true heart, scene?

daily strengthened in its growing love Or will it do to acknowledge, that on for her husband, and more nobly fortithe fourteenth like occasion, a species fied by her pride in his talent and repuof mass Faculty meeting, the whole tation, cared little for the coldness of body of literati, ascended to the drawing- anybody. She rode, sang, and frolicked room, found Sally “making cheeses" to her heart's content, and thought nofor the great delight of a child unluckily thing of "they say ;'' but aunt Rebecca present, and the horror of a circle of brought it all to Theodosius, and would sober-suited matrons, whose spectacles have done so to his wife, had he not gleamed with dignity and resentment strictly forbidden her to retail one word at the pretty and piquant picture, of such scandal in Sally's hearing : so Sally's fair head and rounded shoulders Miss Kramps had to content herself set in the vast and puffed-up circum- with wonderful eye-exercises, and a ference of her deep blue brocade skirtrigid expression of virtuous indignation, as she had skillfully achieved a most that made her nose ache half an wonderful “ cheese'' after a light waltz hour afterwards, so being its own reto inflate the airy mimicry? The gen ward. tlemen were charmed, being sensible, as Yet even these spinster shafts fell I am bound to acknowledge men are apt harmless upon Sally, till one day, or to be, that there is something in truth rather one night, the Professor having and nature infinitely captivating and gone to a Faculty meeting, Sally and refreshing; but Theodosius was struck her faithful allies, with the aid of a few with consternation, and his old aunt, gay young girls, who had come in acRebecca Kramps, came as near using cidentally, amused themselves with profane speech as her piety and polite- charades, always well got up, and most ness together would permit. Poor spirited, where Sally took the lead; for, Sally!

under her merriment, there lay a deep However, this was not all; the advent of vein of talent and strong sense, as yet Joe at Hale College, and his speedy dis- hidden, but no less genuine. In the covery there of a cousin in the senior midst of a great burst of laughter at class, just his double for mischief and Sally's appearance in the cap and shawl merriment, gave Sally a fresh impetus. of an old woman, a skein of yarn doing Paul Norton and Joe were at the yel- duty as white hair, and her husband's low house on Avenue B six times a spectacles on her funny little nose, the week, often seven. The professor, deep door opened, and into the melte walked in his Greek and German, far away the Professor, bringing with him a very from the parlor, which rang continually distinguished foreigner, famous the with laughter and shouts of mirth, paid world over as one of the lights of science. no heed to the gay echoes which now Joe roared inwardly in the corner; Paul and then reached him, more than to stepped forward to shake hands with his sinile abstractedly, and be glad Sally cousin-in-law; and Sally, all forgetful was so happy. As spring came on, of her costume, camo behind him with however, and Paul Norton, more than her usual simple and well-bred manner, half in love with his lovely and merry to welcome her husband's friend. Well cousin, volunteered his escort for drives might the Frenchman's thin lip curl to and picnics, utterly abhorrent to the pro a perceptible sneer at the figure before fessorial soul, the good Theodosius be him, which, being perceived by Joe, the gan to grow wearily lonely, and to long, unlucky boy rushed forward, and pulleven in his beloved study, for those ing off Sally's cap, to which also were brilliant sparks of fun that floated no attached the spectacles, pulled her goldmore through the still house, and to long en hair down beside, and created a especially for his mocking-bird, at the sudden change in the face of Professor hours he had used to give to her so Malpas, as well as in Sally's; for now ciety. Rumors of no flattering nature the Frenchman, with unequivocal admito Sally's sense or propriety crept about ration, turned to poor, ashamed, yet the provincial circles of Oldport. All vexed Theodosius the Faculty wives treated her with pro • Ah! you have one eldest daughter, found politeness, and glared upon her sir, I see. I give you mirth ; she is with distrustful eyes at any social en vair pretty indeed!"

[ocr errors]

A sudden pang went through Pro- breast began to penetrate the agony of fessor Kramps's soul.

all mortal love, a bitter thorn of the red " Monsieur Malpas," replied he, “this rose, a spark of jealousy. is my wife, Mrs. Kramps."

She began to grow quiet and meek, "Oh! ah! pardon me."

the damask-colored cheek faded to the The foreign professor had regained tenderest wilding hue; her blue eyes the sneer. Theodosius drew himself up, drooped so sadly that Paul Norton erect and pale ; he looked for once like ground his teeth and shook his fist at the man he was, and Paul Norton the Professor every time he met him stared.

in the dark, till a sudden idea, to the "Mrs. Kramps !" said the professor, effect that Sally was pining away for * will you order supper ? Monsieur himself, struck the exalted mind of the Malpas has just arrived in the cars, and senior, and he abstained, like any Sparwill remain with us."

tan martyr, from visiting at the house At this moment a very distinct sniff more than once a fortnight, and put was audible, and the malign face of Re himself on a course of Bulwer's novels; becca peered in at the door, and re all of which was very good in him, treated with an equally malign giggle, though quite unnecessary, murmuring

Now it happened that there came to “Oh! I disturb your theatricals, I town about this time a certain old bacheperceive." This time, Sally felt her lor uncle of Sally's, the most thorough sting keenly ; but she had to hide her type of his species possible, and to grieved face, like the chidden child she him Rebecca Kramps, in a paroxysm was, and go. When she returned, her of satisfactory malice, made a statedress was carefully arranged, and the ment of all the spite she had nursed other guests taking leave, she sat down so long against the girl-wife of her to converse with Professor Malpas; and nephew; and Mr. Claudius Norton, in having been most carefully taught a stiff rage, vowed sudden vengeance, French-a language, indeed, for which tied his white cravat in a frightfully her traits seemed peculiarly adapted— rectangular manner, and betook himshe made her unexpected visitor thor self to dinner at Professor Kramps's to oughly and pleasantly at home, before meet Miss Vernon and four professors the well-ordered and neatly-served sup with their wives, beside President Lyndper appeared. Yet this was only the hurst without a wife, that lady being first cloud of Sally's sunshine, soon

"absent from " for the best of reasons coaxed from the knit brows of her hus that the President had never found her, band, by soft lips, and the touch of a but was a happy bachelor of high dewet eyelash : a new round of invitations, gree and a whole alphabet of honors, on their guests account, brought Sally moreover a school and college friend out once inore into the circle of the col- of Mr. Kramps. With Sally at her lege and its dependencies.

own table, Uncle Claudius found no There she met a lady, just now fault; to be sure, he put on a grim and a star in the ascendant among sur mummy-like aspect at a little badinage rounding literati, and the most oppo she ventured to exchange with Mr, site creature possible to little Madame Lyndhurst; but when the guests were Kramps. Miss Vernon was tall, in gone, the Professor in his study, and tellectual, and high-strung : not pretty, Claudius alone beside the fire with bat striking; in air and manner most Sally, his wrath burst forth, and he charming to the Faculty; full of a harangued the weary child full half an graceful and courtly dignity; a cer hour on the levity and freedom of her tain stereotyped ease of manner, the conduct, and the duty she owed her perfection of training and savoir faire. husband, with a score of sarcastic and To her the learned and shy Theodo malignant allusions added thereunto. sius introduced his little wife, and de At first, weak and tired, Sally listened voted his greater self. He hung upon in helpless silence; but, as a few little her steps like a caricature shadow; con parallels skillfully drawn between herversed with her hour after hour, en self and Miss Vernon woke the keen tranced, as it seemed, by her wit and sting of a long rankling pain, Sally wisdom; and entertained his wife at all flushed with scarlet, and spoke herself. intervals with Miss Vernon's bon-mots “Uncle,” said she, “I don't think and learning, till into Sally's innocent you ought to say what you do. I am

sure I would not hurt any one's feel delirium heightened at the mere sound ings for a world. I laugh and jest be of her voice, and courteously ascribing cause I like to; it amuses people, and this to Miss Vernon's recent acquainthelps me to talk.

I know there is no ance and comparative strangeness, Mrs. harm in it!"

Norton took it upon herself to decline " If you were my daughter, Sally," her aid. bitterly replied Uncle Claudius, *I As for Uncle Claudius, he departed for should send you directly from the room his own place, as Mr. Kingsley diploat such an exhibition : it is totally un matically says of doubtful characters. feminine and undignified. I would per- Only our friend went by rail, with a mit no woman to do so in my house, I carpet bag, pursued, in fact, by a sort assure you !"

of blind remorse, and eschewing the At this tirade from a man who could sight of Rebecca Kramps, who had in not comprehend the dignity of a pure vain curled her wig, and set her bonnet and simple heart, or appreciate the at him, six long weeks. Now, sho took divine and sparkling grace of nature, vast comfort in rolling her eyes, like beside the tinsel of convention, poor the proverbial duck rendered desperate Sally, taught to reverence age and rela- by electricity, and declaring this illness tionship, burnt with a sense of the deep- to be a judgment on Sally for her lightest pain and injustice, where an older mindedness—a visitation certainly unand more self-esteeming woman would known to Rebecca, whose mind might have laughed and despised.

have been an heir-loom from the dark “ I am not your daughter, sir!" re ages—could it be supposed any one torted she," nor do I think that I de. would take the trouble of handing down serve what you say. I am innocent to so infinitesimal a possession. myself, and that shall suffice me. I After a long season of doubts and must request you to excuse me for to doctors, melancholy and reducing, in night!"

the extreme, to Professor Kramps-who With a little air of queenliness, that wore a little foot-path directly in the to an uninterested observer might have middle of the stair carpet, going up and been funny, but was only astounding down for Sally's good and his own roto Claudius, Mrs. Kramps passed out lief of mind-the poor child became conof the room, majestically walked up scious, and smiled at Theodosius-a stairs, threw herself on the bed, and real, living, lovely, wan smile—whereat cried till a half-delirious sleep over the Professor fell on his knees and kiss. powered every sense, and the Professored the coverlet, giving the devoutest found her at midnight senseless to his inward thanks in his secret heart that tenderest words, her fair face burning this very sweetest gift of God was again scarlet, her hair all tossed and dishevels given to him, and making a vow to be ed upon the delicate dress she had not more tender and more careful than ever, yet removed. Poor Sally! she was for his heart smote him even in that ill enough by morning: her harassed hour, remembering Sally's unconscious thoughts, her long and silent hours of betrayal of her quietly endured sorrow wakefulness; her terror of Miss Ver and distrust of his love. A few days non's influence over Theodosius; her after, his wife having rapidly strengthtedious self-questioning; were all visit- ened, Professor Kramps lifted her on to ed now upon the tender physical na a pile of soft cushions, and opened the ture unused to such a conflict with its window at her side, for her to hear the master power.

swell of an organ, borne across the warm She grew worse and worse; raved August air upon a scented wind. about everything she had kept in her " It is in Trinity Church!” said Sally. tired heart so long, and enlightened “Yes, dear; and what do you think Theodosius to an extent incredible to is going on there?" himself. Mrs. Norton came to nurse * A wedding,” proposed the languid her darling: the Faculty wives sent in voice. every species of edible, as if a brain “But whose, my little wife ?" fever consumed jellies and soups like a * Tell me, Theo.; I am too tired to new Wantley dragon. Miss Vernon's guess." real womanly nature melted the pride “Lyndhurst and Miss Vernon, Sally." above it, and she implored leave to A bright Aush of shamefaced joy sufwatch with Sally; but the patient's fused Sally's wasted cheek. She turn

ed to her husband, and drew his head learned and applied many lessons on the nearer with her two thin, white hands : eternal fitness of things. The grain of

" Theodosius! did you know it all the truth in Claudius Norton's chaff-heap, time?"

having fallen on good ground, took root; “ Yes, Sally; that was why I wanted she had been well tested in the severest you to know her well. I tried to tell of crucibles, the actual agony of life, and you once or twice, but you never seem the metal rang clear. Mrs. Professor ed to like to talk about Miss Vernon." Kramps, thereafter, filled her place in

A little cadence in the tone betrayed Oldport with serene poise and self-poshim. Sally's shining head drooped session, like the lovely and gracious wolower and lower.

man that she was. Time brought efficient “Dear Sally, forget it all. I, too, aid to her patient endeavor. Soon there was—at least I can't say I am sorry came little fingers, that stole away her Paul Norton graduated last month." childish things; tiny feet danced her “Oh, Theodosius !"

dances; sweet child's laughter, with no A little grimace met the indignant echo, unconsciously mimicked her own look and tone. Sally was beaten at her mad mirth of old days, and in the loveown weapons; she laughed her strength liness of love, a mother and a wife, she all away, and when at last her husband became a woman, owning, at this hour, said, in that same serio-comic tone, no better or firmer friend than Mrs.

" Don't you think we are well match. Lyndhurst, whose own children have ed, Sally ?" she could laugh no longer; awakened her child-heart again, and a few helpless, childlike tears replied. taught her to reverence its power and

The long convalescence did Sally no presence, disciplined as it is in Mrs. injury ; in its shade and stillness she Professor Kramps.


No man, who is not the enemy of this witnessed. Neither Sparta, nor Athens, political struggle with other feelings than Russia, nor any other nation, noted in those of shame, indignation, and alarm : the annals of mankind for early maturiof shame, because we present to the ty, has exhibited such an astonishing civilized world the spectacle of a great, growth, in all the elements of national free republic, almost rent asunder by a greatness, as bas been exhibited by the contest on the subject of human slavery; United States of North America. Other of indignation, because our men in states have taken centuries to consoli. power have committed, and are com date their power, and even to secure mitting, a series of the very grossest out

their existence, while we have sprung rages against the dictates of prudence, at once, as if by miracle, into the most as well as of justice and freedom; and flourishing vigor. Our territory, within of alarm, because there seems to be no the short period of our independence, probable issue to the conflict but in has quadrupled in extent: our populacivil war.

tion has expanded tenfold; our comFor nearly seventy years now, the merce equals that of the mistress of the delicate experiment of self-government, seas; and our attainments in intelliinstituted on this western continent, has gence and virtue compare favorably more than justified the hopes of its with those of the most civilized of the authors. It has been, in every sense, European nations. a most successful experiment. Every During this time of unexampled adobject which it is possible or desirable vance and felicity, but one question has for a good government to attain, has arisen among us, likely, from the pabeen attained by our federation of re ture of it, to interrupt the harmonious publics. Peace, security, content, continuance of this happy condition. wealth, happiness, have followed its There have been many severe and operations, with an amplitude and full earnest conflicts in the proceedings of ness of fruition that were never before our political parties-much excitement,

« AnteriorContinuar »