Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE YOUNGER BROTHER.

In the gay radiance of this lofty room,
Roses, just hired, expand their summer bloom;
The rich camelia shines, a glowing white,
Beneath the lamp's resplendent orb of light;
And glossy leaves reflect an emerald ray,
Where glancing crystals tremulously play.

'Tis a warm night, but you can feel the air
Blow on your fresh’ning cheek from Grosvenor-square ;
Above, like stars, what brilliant lustres shine,
Sparkling and quivering in an airy line ;
Or like celestial fountains, hung on high,
That reach not us, but glitter through the sky.
Below, in snowy chalk, foredoom'd to fade
Long ere the night withdraws her sullen shade,
(Like fated victims on this troublous earth,
Crush'd by the careless step of lordly mirth,)
Are quaint devices drawn upon the floor,
Sphynx, Cupids, Arabesques, and twenty fancies more.

But where is Lady Mary's matron grace?
Where the soft charm of Adelina's face?

The gentle Lady Mary scolds her maid,
For Beaumont has her curls so long delay'd,
She must, unwillingly, at last resign
Hopes in those ringlets on this night to shine.
And Adelina feels a satin shoe
Her little foot so very closely woo,
That pinch'd with pain, detesting in her heart
Taylor's soft simper and persuasive art,
Exclaims at last the long-enduring she-
“ Oh! had some coarser artist work'd for me,
No power had he possess'd that could persuade
This was the easiest shoe he ever made."

Inferior ringlets are at last arranged:
The fair descend—the guilty shoe is changed ;
“ Come, Adelina, I must see your dress,"
Says dear Mamma," and let your looks express
A mind all gentleness, serenely gay ;
You saw the Duke of Nimini to-day :
He's silent, wary, cold, and hard to please,
Yet you, methinks, might manage him with ease.
I should think all my trouble well bestow'd,
You saw him in the Park—'twas he who rode
The chesnut pony you admired to-day.
Nay recollect, my love-his coat light grey-
Whiskers jet black-a very handsome man.
No more-It long has been my favourite plan
My dear, you must not dance till he arrive.”
“ Not dance, Mamma?"_“Not, if you wait till five !"

The knocker now its pealing thunder rolls-
A skilful hand the echoing brass controls :
“ The Ladies Evergreen". -Tiresome old souls,
Who of a thousand always come the first,
Though of a thousand they're the very worst.-
Dear Lady Evergreen! you're always kind,
To early hours you know how I'm inclined!

And, really, every body comes so late!"
VOL. III. No, 1.--1822.

I

The room shines out, with gay progressive state
Thickens the busy crowd, and noise, and prate-
The careless question--the unheard reply-
The smile, at variance with an envious eye-
Allurements whisper-pleasures airy glance,
And the sweet labours of the sultry dance ;
Semblance of happiness in all awake,
As if some dear attainment were at stake,
All struggle to be gay. From country air
The dame escaped, who visits Portman-square,
For one short vernal month, is most alert,
Most lively, active, debonnaire, and pert.
Afraid to look like one whom none can know,
If you address her, she'll not let you go
At least, detains you till her watchful eye
Detects some new acquaintance stealing by.
But here and there, with sweet Madonna grace
And sandal'd foot, we see a pensive face :
These are the Sylphs have not been ask'd to dance,
Who give to languor the disgrace of chance ;
With downcast eyes, and sadly pleasing voice,
Feigning this rapture of repose their choice!

Alas, how vain those glances at the door,
Fair Adelina, look that way no more-
No crowded room shall hear his placid vows
Reserved for Kensington's innumerous boughs.
Muffle the knocker-drop the muslin blind
For poor Mamma, by a sad cold confined,
Thrown on a sofa in the thickest shade,
By curtains, draperies, and flounces made,
Blows her fair nose in broidery of France,
Where on white cambric nymphs and cupids dance ;*
Sips eau sucrée, and lends her willing hand
To the seductive touch of Dr. Bland:
In softer tones his mild prescription flows,—
“ Indulge yourself, dear Madam, and

repose-
Eat whatsoe'er your fancy may require,
If ice of pine-apple, once pass'd through fire
You daily add-of this a pint you'll take :
Remember it, dear Madam, for my sake."

He then displays his trinkets, rich and rare,
Gifts of the great, the witty, and the fair,
And gilds the various topics of the day,
With grace wins those who hear, to wish his stay;
Till, recollecting that this very now
Ten patients wait, he makes an hasty bow.

Almack's fair Adelina loses, and French plays,
But in green Kensington contented strays ;
And while her graceful lover smiles and talks
Wonders how fashion can desert these walks ;
And secretly applauds the tedious hours
That led her, half unwilling, to those bowers,
In close attendance on a country friend,
She wish'd to hide, and yet not quite offend.

* " Les principaux traits de l'histoire Grecque et Romaine sont brodés dans mes mouchoirs, pour l'instruction de ma fille," said a scientific Parisian belle.

67

The Younger Brother.
Mamma recovers-Can disease withstand
Retirement-darkness-ice-and Doctor Bland?
Attack'd with vigour thus, her cold gives way;
To see the Duke at last she names a day;
And deigns that morn her drawing-room to grace,
Envelop'd in light folds of Brussels lace;
Beneath her dimpled chin is part confined,
The rest falls lightsomely-a veil behind.

'Tis two o'clock-he cannot yet artive ! -
“No, Ma! he never visits till past five."
“Then give my notes-now to my daily task-
This perfumed seal is cupid in a mask,
I fear 'tis some petition for Almack's;
The strangest people make such bold attacks ?”

She reads-she trembles and she looks aghast,
Like some unhappy merchant, when a blast
Has wreck’d the stately ship before his eyes,
Where all his hope of earthly treasure lies,
No Duke of Nimini, alas! has won
Fair Adelina—but a younger son,
Detested name! comprising all the faults
That can offend a mother's tender thoughts
His Grace's brother-ay, and four between-
Abominable-odious—unforeseen.
After some nonsense about love and truth,
Resistless charms, and unresisting youth,
Thus closed the flippant Dandy's foolish note,
One more unwelcome never lordling wrote:

“You see I but deserve a mild rebuke,
I never, never said I was the Duke :
When first you met me riding, after dark,
Your La-ship then mistook me, in the Park ;
And feeling that my name, for conquest known,
Might fright an infant Cupid from his throne,
I mask'd the glories I have fairly won
In Love's campaigns. As on a rising sun
Shaded by mists, those eyes securely gaze,
That might be dazzled by his cloudless rays,
I wore my brother's title as a shade;
But now Love's blossoms fully are display'd,
Disguise, as useless, may be laid aside.
To-day I come—to claim my beauteous bride."

The guilty paper, in a thousand scraps,
Lies torn and trembling in the ladies' laps.
“Mamma, my dear Mamma! what can be done?”
“Ah, what indeed, my Love !-a younger son !"

From pique, shame, anger Lady Mary wept :
Contagious softness on her daughter crept:
With noiseless step, amid this shower of tears,
Gay, confident, and bright-Lord John appears :
The truth he could not doubt, nor they deny,
While drops were glistening in each fair one's eye.
He made his farewell bow, with easy grace ;
She dried her tears, lest they might spoil her face ;
Short were her sorrows-for she still was free,
And still might wed the Duke of Nimini.

[graphic]

ANTIPATHIES. Every one, who has mingled in society, is acquainted with the peculiar feeling of aversion towards particular individuals, which is so well described in the hacknied verse :

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell ;-
The reason why I cannot tell,
But yet this truth I know full well,

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell. But though this aversion should be felt and acknowledged, it would still puzzle the observer to state from what particular feature of the object contemplated his dislike arose, or wherefore it was felt at all." Nevertheless the antipathy continues, and is found too powerful for the aid of reason to overcome. The effect is notorious—the cause remains a Je ne sçai quoi, a something, we know not what. It almost seems as if we viewed in some of our fellow creatures an esprit malin in the disguise of humanity. We often think we see “treasons, stratagems, and spoils,” in every wrinkle ploughed by time on the visage of an unoftending fellow mortal; and no bitter drug from the nauseous recess of the apothecary, no potion mingled to set at nought the strongest stomach, will make the “gorge rise" more effectually, than the sight of the human face divine," stamped with an indescribable character, will awaken our prejudices. But it is not through the organ of vision alone that our antipathies are excited. The voice and address of one man may cause all his good qualities to be overlooked : he may differ from us on a favourite topic, or he may fling a colouring over his first intercourse with us, which may arouse inextinguishable dislike; but in such cases, there are at least assignable causes for the feeling, however unjustifiable that feeling may be in itself, while, in the antipathy awakened oftentimes from a solitary glance, there is not the least clue to direct us to the cause.

The antipathies of mankind are a numerous family, connected with things animate and inanimate. Nature, for example, is said to have an antipathy to a vacuum, and the Law to perpetuities. But Chancery matters are, no doubt, to be excepted from this rule ; for, regarding them, the law seems to feel an unconquerable aversion the other way, scorning alike the inviolability of property, and the limits of conceivable duration.

No one has walked up the Strand at noon-day, and glanced his eye at the ten thousand faces he is sure to encounter in the course of his peregrination, but has felt the species of antipathy in question towards some whom he has met, who were perfect strangers, and were neither wanting in comeliness of countenance, nor exhibited a vicious physiognomy. We may see ugliness and deformity enough in our rambles, and they may produce pity without our indulging an ill-natured antipathy towards them; because reason whispers us that the ugly or deformed man is perhaps just, amiable, and generous, and we are mostly willing to concede the point, and may even feel a degree of respect for him; which is not the case when our intuitive antipathies take possession of us. We seem to indulge them in defiance of common sense, until they become but

[ocr errors]

little qualified from downright hatred. Whence can this feeling of the human bosom arise, more powerful than reason, and so palpably unjust in itself?

Some persons will go so far towards justifying themselves, that they will deny ever having been mistaken in their ideas of an individual, after having once looked him in the face; and, like Judge Buller regarding the guilt of a criminal, (so fame reports) pronounce them to be good or bad, according to the impression their countenances may excite. But there must be numerous instances which are exceptions to such uncharitable assertions as these, in the experience of any who will candidly examine into the subject for themselves. It is, however, remarkable, that while we cannot teN wherefore we condemn the unoffending object of our antipathy, we can neither appeal to reason nor good-nature for a justification of our conduct, nor find any thing resembling statute law to bear us out. Thus it is to judge from the first impression made upon the senses, which impression may arise from distorted vision; or who knows but some objects may be more calculated than others to produce an unpleasant sensation on the brain, through the organ of sight, by their reflecting distorted rays of light, instead of those which are rectilinear

Addison gives strength to an idea something similar to this, by imagining an invisible communication from an unseen object of antipathy equally powerful with one which is visible. He face. tiously relates the story of a lover who felt a mortal antipathy to a cat, and was pushing his suit with a young lady, in the full tide of success, and in the teeth of a rival. The latter had begun to withdraw his attentions in despair, when he learnt the strong prejudice entertained by his antagonist against the feline species. Ře immediately bribed the young lady's waiting-woman to pin a cat's tail under the dress of her mistress, whenever his rival was to pay her a visit. The success of the stratagem was complete: the unlucky cat-hater turned pale whenever he approached the lady's person, and soon began to display an indifference towards her, which she speedily perceived and resented, by dismissing him, and marrying his wily adversary. But stratagems like these are not practised where they could have no end to accomplish, where no mistress was to be won, or rival scared away. Perhaps the theory of Gall and Spurzheim may throw some light upon the subject. We may easily imagine, from what appears in their transcendant discoveries, that the boss of murder may be placed on a head otherwise well-formed and possessing a comely countenance. The cranium of the street-passenger, studded with protuberances like an Alpine Lilliput, which are concealed beneath a thick covering of hair and a ponderous beaver, when they happen to be of volcanic materials, or, to drop metaphor, of integuments enclosing rapes, murders, or treasons, may throw off certain effluvia, or reflect light in certain directions, which by its unpleasant impression may be calculated to produce antipathy in beholders. This must, of course, take place insensibly, and thus a warning to keep us from too close a contact with bad characters may be furnished us by the guardian benevolence of Nature.

« AnteriorContinuar »