Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and added to a house which was upon it, so as to make it a comfortable and elegant residence. Lady O'Connor, after the first year, presented her husband with a son, and has since that been very assiduous in increasing his family—more so, perhaps, than would have been convenient to Sir James O'Connor's incomo at the time that he purchased the property, had it not been that the increase of its value, in consequence of a large portion of it having been taken as building land, has been so great as to place them in most affluent circumstances. About a year after my marriage, I had notice from Lady O'Connor that a certain gentleman had arrived there who had shown great attention to Virginia; and she added, that he had been very well received by my sister, being an old acquaintance of the name of Somerville, a clergyman, with a good living, and a very superior young man. I immediately recollected him as the preceptor who had behaved with such propriety when my sister was persecuted by the addresses of the young nobleman; and I therefore felt very easy upon the subject. A few months afterwards I had a letter from Virginia, stating that he had proposed, and that she had conditionally accepted him. I wrote to her, congratulating her upon the choice she had made, giving her father's consent and blessing (of my mother hereafter); and shortly after they were married ; and I am happy to say that her marriage has turned out as fortunate as my own.

We had remained in the cottage for some months after my own marriage, very undecided what we should do. Bramble did not like to quit the sea-side, nor, I believe, his old habits and localities. Money was of little value to him; indeed, on my marriage, he had insisted upon settling upon Bessy and her children the whole sum he had received for the salvage of the Dutch Indiaman, reserving for himself his farm near Deal. It did so happen, however, that about that period, while we were still in perplexity, I received a letter from Mr. Wilson's son, at Dover, telling me that the manor-house and 300 acres of land, adjoining to Bramble's farm, were to be disposed of. This exactly suited, so I made the purchase, and took possession, and then sent for my father to join us, which he hastened to do. Bramble did not, however, give up his cottage on the beach. He left Mrs. Maddox in it, and it was a favourite retirement for my father and him, who would remain there for several days together, amusing themselves with watching the shipping, and gaining intelligence from the various pilots as they landed, as they smoked their pipes on the shingle beach. It was not more than half a mile from the great house, so that it was very convenient; and Bessy and I would often go with the children and indulge in reminiscences of the former scenes which had there occurred.

My father and mother parted very good friends: the fact was, that she was pleased with the arrangement, as she did not like my father wearing a pensioner's coat, and did not want his company at her own house. When he left the Hospital, she insisted upon paying him his rent; and she did so very punctually until she gave up business. On her marriage, my sister requested that we would come to Leamington and be present; to which we all consented, particularly as it

was a good opportunity of introducing Bessy to her and Lady O'Connor. My mother was also to join the party on the occasion. The only circumstance worth mentioning was the surprise of my mother on being introduced to Lady O'Connor, and finding that in this great lady she met with her old acquaintance, Mrs. St. Felix. Whatever she may have felt, she certainly had tact enough to conceal it, and was as warm in her congratulations as the best well-wisher. I must say, that I never knew my mother appear to such advantage as she did during this visit to Leamington; she dressed remarkably well, and would have persuaded those who did not know her history, that she had always been in good society : but she had been a lady's maid and had learnt her mistress's airs; and as she could dress others so well, it would have been odd if she did not know how to dress herself.

A good copy will often pass for an original. It was not till about six years after our marriage that my mother decided upon retiring from business. She had made a very comfortable provision for herself, as Mr. Wilson informed me, and took up her abode at Cheltenham, where she lived in a very genteel way, was considered quite a catch at card-parties, and when she did ask people to tea, she always did the thing in better style than anybody else; the consequence was that she was not visited by most people, but in time became rather & person of consideration. As she never mentioned her husband, it was supposed that she was a widow, and, in consequence of her well-regulated establishment, she received much attention from several Irish end foreign bachelors. In short, my mother obtained almost the pinnacle of her ambition, when she was once fairly settled at Cheltenham. I ought to observe that when she arrived there, she had taken the precaution of prefixing a name to her own, to which by baptismal rite she certainly was not entitled, and called herself Mrs. Montague Saunders.

Shortly after Mrs. St. Felix had given notice to the doctor that she should not return, and that her shop, and the goodwill thereof, were for sale, I received a letter from my friend, Tom Cobb, the doctor's assistant, telling me that as he perceived he had now no chance of Mrs. St. Felix, he had some idea of taking her shop, and setting up as a tobacconist; his reasons were, that physic was a bore, and going out of nights when called up, a still greater. I wrote to Lady O'Connor inclosing Mr. Tom's letter, and pointed out to her that I thought it would be a public benefit to prevent Tom from killing so many people, as he certainly would do, if he continued in his present profession, and eventually set up for himself. She replied that she agreed with me, but at the same time that she was anxious to benefit fat Jane, who really was a very good girl; and that therefore she empowered me to enter into a treaty with Mr. Thomas, by which, provided he could obtain the lady's consent, he was to wed her, and receive the stock in trade, its contents and fixtures, and good-will, &c., as her portion.

As this was an offer which required some consideration before it was refused, I wrote to Tom, pointing out to him the advantages of settling down with a good business, with a wife to assist him, and a cat and dog already installed, upon such advantageous conditions. Tom agreed with me, won the love of fat Jane, which was easily done, as he had no rival, and in a short time was fairly set down as the successor of Mrs. St. Felix. As for the doctor, he appeared to envy Tom his having possession of the shop which his fair friend once occupied; he was inconsolable, and there is no doubt but that he, from the period of her quitting Greenwich, wasted away, until he eventually was buried in the churchyard.

A most excellent man was Doctor Tadpole, and his death was lamented by hundreds who esteemed his character, and

many

hundreds more who had benefited not only by his advice but by his charitablo disposition. About ten years after my marriage Ben the Whaler was summoned away. His complaint was in the liver, which is not to be surprised at, considering how many gallons of liquor he had drank during his life.

Peter Anderson--my father, my friend, my preceptor --was for many years inspecting boatswain of the Hospital. At last he became to a certain degree vacant in mind, and his situation was filled up by another. He was removed to what they call the helpless ward, where he was well nursed and attended. It is no uncommon, indeed I may say it is a very common thing, for the old pensioners, as they gradually decay, to have their health quite perfect when the faculties are partly gone; and there is a helpless ward established for that very reason, where those who are infirm and feeble, without disease, or have lost their faculties, while their bodily energies remain, are sent to; and there they pass a quiet easy life, well attended, until they sink into the grave. Such was the case with Peter Anderson : he

« AnteriorContinuar »