Imágenes de páginas
PDF

the artist whose skill was the most un- Unmitigable sorrows swell deniable, to be determined by the merit My bosom, when I would forget her ; of the pictures which stood veiled on And yet, 'tis true she loved me welleither side of the altar. Van Deg glanced But then--she loved another better ! triumphantly around at this proclamà- How oft the quiet lanes along, tion, and striding to the picture he had. At morn, at noon, at gentle eve, painted, he uncurtained it to their view. I led her steps, and told in song A burst of applause rose from the

The bliss that mutual hearts might audience as he did so-cand well merited

weave! was that cry of approbation.

With downcast eyes she trod the dell, The scene of the piece was the chapel

Complained that doubts and fears bein which they stood, and the whole re

set her, presented to the life. There was the

Then told me that she loved me wellpriest all but breathing, while the bride

But, ahl she loved another better! and groom and their friends appeared as if in the full flush of joy.

Her friends combined to urge my suit, Algini was about to speak in raptures While I, with passionate outpouring, of the performance, when suddenly the

suddenly the Struck all expostulation mute, other curtain was drawn aside, and a And soon to heavenly bliss was soarcry of horror burst from the multitude ing. as they pressed forward to behold! Van She gave her hand—and need I tell Deg gazed breathless in wonder, and

Cathless in wonder. and How much I thought myself her Algini uttered a wild shriek of despair

debtor ? “My daughter!" It was the delinea She manifestly loved me welltion of Quintin's dream ; each counte

But, ah ! she loved another better ! nance in the picture was easy to recog. A bird returning to his mate, nise except that of the youth, which was And finding mate and nest both gone, buried in the bosom of the bride. But Is not more dreary, desolate, ere, with wondering eyes, they had fully Than I, one evening left alone; scanned it all, it was thrust aside, and My faithless spouse had toll'd the knell another appeared in its place. This Of all my joys-for in a letter represented a lovely arbour in which She left me word she loved me wellAlgini was, advanced to old age, But that she loved another better! dandling a beautiful infant on his knee, which bore an expression in its face of Elzia, who sat on an opposite seat with her head resting on the bosom of a young

AN ILL-USED GENTLEMAN. man, whose arm encircled her waist.

Every one was charmed and delighted (Concluded from p. 138.) beyond measure ; and as they beheld the youth they recognised him in a moment,

CHAPTER II. and every tongue cried

The Monday evening of the ensuing “The blacksmith!”

week saw me quietly seated in the stage“ Blacksmith no more,” said Quintin, box of the temporary theatre at Bstepping from behind the canvas, “but It was a building used for all the great the artist, who demands his reward !” events that occurred in that marvellous

It is unnecessary to say more than little town. All sorts of mountebanks, that genius was rewarded; and to the jugglers, travelling portrait-painters, happy husband, Quintin Matsys, once equestrians, quacks, lecturers on elocublacksmith of Antwerp, the world owes tion, and other birds of passage, hired some of its finest relics of art, and, it during their brief sojourn : in it the among the rest, the inimitable painting of B- Debating Society expended its “The Misers," now at Windsor Castle. weekly accumulation of eloquence: di

vines of every persuasion, without any

stationary congregation, held forth beWELL AND BETTER. neath its sheltering and impartial roof;

and in it the several Auxiliary Branch O NEVER can my soul forget

Societies of the district annually ga. The form that fired my youthful years; thered themselves together. In times Even now, in age, a fond regret

of great political excitement, however, Subdues my haughty eyes to tears! its mere local notoriety was merged in

its astounding national importance. fury, nor rolled his eyes until nothing Public meetings were held in it to over- could be seen but the white, with one awe the government; and it was well quarter the effect. In the celebrated understood by the inhabitants of B- scene about the loss of the handkerchief, generally, and by the leading speakers there was no comparison. Wiggins reespecially, that the passage of many im. iterated his demand for “the handkerportant measures lately, was owing chief ! the handkerchief!! the handker(though government did not like to chief! ! !" with a force-increasing the confess it) to the overflowing floods of volume of his voice at each interrogation declamation that had issued from this -of which Kean was physically incapavery edifice. At present it was in the ble. Opinions may differ about different hands of Weazle, who had selected it as shades of excellence, but facts are stuban eligible place from whence to distri. born things; and it was ascertained that bute a knowledge of Shakspeare and the the village blacksmith, on the opposite legitimate drama over the surrounding side of the street, distinctly heard Wiggins district; and with the exeption of the during the operation of shoeing a horse. scenery, machinery, dresses, decorations, This speaks volumes. His exertions company, and orchestral department, drew down thunders of applause, and the arrangements certainly did him proved, among other things, that whatcredit.

ever might be the state of the pockets, It was a capital house; nearly the or prospects, or habiliments of the “illwhole of the aristocracy of B- , con- used gentleman,” his lungs, at least, sisting of the principal grocer, butcher, were in excellent condition and free linen-draper, hatter, and publican, with from the slightest taint of pulmonary their respective families, crowded the affection. boxes with beauty and fashion, while In the more pathetic portions of the several farmers and farmeresses in the character, I cannot say that I felt tearvicinity represented the agricultural inte fully inclined; but this I rather attri. rest. The rest of the audience consisted of bute to a want of becoming sensibility the usual miscellaneous contributions of on the part of myself; as the frequent a county district. Altogether, there had application of a white handkerchief to not been such a house in B- within the eyes and adjacent features of sundry the memory of the oldest play-going in- farmers' daughters and dress-makers, habitant. It contained upward of incontestably proved that my friend knew eighteen pounds sterling; and the aus- how to “move the waters.” In short, tere of the neighbourhood predicted that to use the emphatic words of the judisome great calamity was certain to fol. cious and discriminating critic of the low such a scene of gaiety and dissipa. B- Advertiser, with whom Wiggins tion.

used to smoke his pipe and take his It is not my intention (did I possess glass "it was one of the most powerthe power) to systematically criticise ful, pathetic, terrific, and energetic per. the entertainments of the evening. Parts formances ever witnessed on any stage of the performance were a very fair in any age.” counterpart to the account furnished Of the Desdemona of Mrs. Weazle, I me of Hamlet, notwithstanding the cannot speak so highly. The fact was, audience maintained that grave and she was not exactly the figure for the decorous demeanour which ought always part, being truly, as my friend had to pervade a house on the representa- described her—"five feet eleven, with a tion of a tragedy. I cannot, however, beard.” She was, too, extremely stout refrain from a passing notice of the in proportion even to her height, and Othello and Desdemona of the evening, had a stride like a grenadier's, so that personated by my friend and Mrs. Wea- she fairly put one in mind of the hezle. I have seen Kean as the Moor, roines of the gender masculine in the and though much gratified on the whole, ancient times, when, in the words of an candour compels me to say, in justice old poet, men acted to an unknown great man, that in nu.

" that were between merous respects he was decidedly infe Forty and fifty, wenches of fifteen; rior to Wiggins-that is, Stanley. I With bone so large, and nerve so know very little about such matters, butit incompliant, appeared to me that Kean neither stamp When you called Desdemonaed nor tore his hair (wool) with half the enter Giant !"

She was, in good truth, a formidable his finger laid very significantly on one looking lady; and as I gazed at her, I side of his nose. Desdemona, too, heard thought, despite his faults, with sorrow and understood the purport of the and commiseration on Mr. Weazle. *** hem," and turning suddenly round, In her earlier years she might have had caught Othello in the fact, looking very a waist, but at present such an article knowing, with his finger as aforesaid. did not constitute a portion of her Her face assumed at once a most terrific anatomy; so that there being no con- expression ; she made but three strides necting link, her shoulders had the ap- to the side-wing, and had the gallant pearance of directly resting on a much Moor not effected a precipitate retreat, more substantial pedestal. A glance, heaven only knows what would have been too, at the extremity of the most promi. the consequence. A cry of “order," nent feature of her face, was enough to however, induced her to wave her private convince the most sceptical that the resentments in order to contribute to insinuation respecting her attachment the gratification of the public, and the to spirituous liquor, was not without scene proceeded harmoniously. foundation. In addition to all this, she was labouring under a very decided Three days afterward, a gentleman hoarseness, and her white satin dress, called upon me. It was Stanley. He from some cause or other, formed any- was in extravagant spirits, and a suit of thing but a contrast to the colour of her second-hand clothes gave him quite an lord's complexion ; so that taking all imposing appearance. He had taken this into consideration, she did not his place in the London coach, and after exactly come up to one's ideas of paying his fare, retained the almost in

credible sum of seven pounds ten shil" The gentle lady wedded to the Moor;"

i lings sterling, in his pocket-book, on a and when her father, before the senate, spare leaf of which was pasted the critidescribed her as

cism from the “B Advertiser." "A maiden never bold;

Fame and fortune, he said, were now

within his grasp Of spirit so still and quiet, that her

he had only to stretch

forth his hand. If he succeeded, of motion Blush'd at herself,"

which he did not entertain the slightest

doubt, “untold gold," he assured me, the grocer's heiress, who had been at a would be but a slight acknowledgment watering-place on the coast, and knew for my kindness. He intends, however, something, looked very significantly at once more to change his name, as a the publican's daughter; upon which provincial reputation," he said, was the publican's daughter shrugged up her rather injurious than otherwise in Lonshoulders.

don, in consequence of the superciliousThe play, however, all things con- ness of the metropolitan critics ; but sidered, went off very decorously, with under whatever cognomen, after his the single exception of one scene, when first decided hit, I should indubitably I was a little apprehensive that there was hear from him. A glass together, an going to be tragedy in earnest. It exchange of snuff-boxes, and we parted. occurred after Othello has applied that very improper epithet to his lady, which Two years have now elapsed, and I gives rise to Desdemona's delicate piece have not heard from him. Poor fellow! of circumlocution

I am apprehensive his benefit at B" Des. Am I that name, Iago ?

has been but a partial gleam of sunshine, Tago. What name, fair lady?

and that he is still kept baok by the Des. Such as she says my lord did

hard tia caprices of fortune, the blindness of

managers, and the envy and ill-will of say I was."

his brother actors in fact, a regular Just as Mrs. Weazle had made this in- conspiracy of the whole world. Never terrogation, I heard a most expressive mind-he may be pennyless, but he can “Hem !” and on looking to the side- never be poor while he retains his wing from whence it proceeded, saw my buoyant spirits and affluent imagination ; friend Othello winking at me in evident though I am afraid he still continues, allusion to the question that had just in his own opinion, what I found him, been put by Desdemona, and the well. "a very ill-used gentleman." understood frailty of Mrs. Weazle, with

w.c.

[ocr errors]

cannot tell you all the sweet and tender A SKETCH-FROM LIFE. things he uttered ; suffice it to say, after

a week of ogling and languishment, be F i s a bachelor--what is worse, an finally popped the question. old bachelor--and what is worse than " Ah !” sighed he,“ my dear Miss all, he is fifty-six ! I beg his pardon, Lamb, you will be surprised when I tell however, for disclosing the true sum you I am miserable!" total of his years, for if I had not told "I should think you would be," you, I am sure you would never have most sympathisingly answered the lady. found it out. To believe him, had even “ Yes," he rejoined, “I am most a Venus de Medicis, though clothed in miserable ; and with you, dear Miss veritable flesh and blood, attempted to Lamb, rests my fate. I shame not now lay siege to the citadel of his heart, she to own that I am in love, and seek that would have been driven thence with the blessing a wife." same hostility as a Meg Merrilies, a “ Now you are joking—you in love! Meg Dods, or even Xantippe herself. you get married !" and the merry damsel According to his outward creed, the laughed outright. arrows of Cupid should all have been “Ah! Miss Lamb-Miss Lamb broken long ago, and the poor little god my dear Miss Lamb, do not mock mehimself burnt on his own altar ; as for you can render me the happiest of men. Hymen, he should be driven to the frigid Does not your heart tell you what I zone, there for ever to remain, unless mean? Does it not whisper who is the called back to assist at the rites of Mam- goddess I adore ?" and the poor bachemon. It is a fact, that although bache- lor let fall a pearly tear. lors are always older than they allow. “Yes, I believe I can guess who you themselves to be, they are by no means mean,” replied Miss Lamb. as cold and insensible to the charms of " Charming, charming girl-ah ! and the fair ; on the contrary-witness my will my goddess prove cruel?" bachelor. The fact is, when he was “I hope not, I am sure," replied the young, he took it into his head that it charming girl, with much naïveté. “Shall would seem “ careless, bold, and free" I ask her?" to rail against love and matrimony; so “Ask her!" interrupted our lover. then he talked long and loud from pride, “Ask her! you-you, dear girl, are the now he talks long and loud from necessity. idol I worship!” Neither do I think my old bachelor is “Mercy!" almost screamed the lady, very different from other old bachelors; with unfeigned amazement. “Me! I they all suffer alike, poor souls ! if they thought you meant aunt Katy! I am would but own the truth. Independent sure I thought she was younger than and redoubtable as is now my hero, he you, and she is forty-eight?” has been twice refused within six months. Two additional crow-feet, did I say? the I will tell you how it was. One day, next morning six more were plainly visible. looking in the glass, (for bachelors do So, bolting the door, our bachelor threw sometimes follow a lady's example, he himself into his easy chair, and began to discovered two additional crow-feet, and cogitate upon old age — nephews and he also discovered that his dentist would cousins driving tandem with his money make a fortune out of his mouth. A over his grave-sickness-dying bedmarried man, thought he, has no need of no wife to hold his aching head, to teeth, but woe to the naked jaws of a soothe and comfort him-his relations bachelor! Moreover, he had overheard all eager for the coffin, tomb, and the a silly, pert little chit say, that he was will. Poor fellow ! the tears ran down almost too old to get married. “ Almost his cheeks at the faithful picture drawn is not quite,' exclaimed he, manfully, by himself of his own anticipated misery; " and I will get married; for after all, and starting up, he once more exclaimed, this bravery is but a feeble show. I am “I will get married !" . but a poor --. Old bachelors are all But this time our bachelor did not poor

d l s, that is a fact. Yes, I'll humble himself to be led captive in the desert the fraternity and get married." capricious chains of a young miss just So after due preparation with renovators emancipated from the nursery ; no, he of youth and beauty, down goes our fixed his eyes upon a discreet maiden youthful Adonis to the pretty Miss of thirty-six-one who had figured in Lamb, a charming girl of seventeen. I and out for eighteen seasons, without

being once asked to lead down the dance to be talked about among his acquaintof matrimony. Here he felt sure of ance, as a poet and a contributor to the success — unfortunate man! Such a popular magazines. Fortunately for the glowing description did he draw of her public, not one-thousandth part of the irresistible charms-of her virtues, and talented number succeeds in this difficult of his love and adoration, that the vocation ; and even the one in a thoumaiden, nothing loth to believe, con- sand, if he succeeds in making his name cluded it were a shame to surrender to familiar to a little circle beyond the pale such an old man ; so, drawing herself up of his own acquaintance, is a fortunate with great dignity, she dismissed him at man if he can maintain a reputation for once by saying:

the period of ten years. There are, “You are too old, sir—too old, sir- however, a few instances of complete too much disparagement in our ages, sir! success, and we need not go far to put it would be very ridiculous in you to our finger on those whose chance to a think of one so young as myself, sir!"- century's career is not opposed to very "Alas! poor Yorick ?"

formidable odds. There are trials in life almost too Now I would have the reader believe much for human nature to support-at that I am not one of those who pant least the nature of a bachelor. This after a literary reputation, as a hart was one; but our bachelor, though panteth after the water-brooks, although driven to the very verge of fate, reflect. I confess that the cacoethes scribendi ing that he

has occasionally visited me, and caused "Who loses his love, a new one can get.

the destruction of more paper than But a neck that's once broken can

would serve to supply a moderate renever be set,”

tailer for six months. Why, then, it

will be asked, do you write? I reply, wisely concluded not to commit suicide. simply to afford myself, and possibly So now, doubly fortified by barbers, others, a little amusement. Do you beperfumers, and tailors, he again boasts lieve it? No. Then enough has been of his youth-esteems a married man a said on that subject, and I proceed with mere cipher-and the ladies, one and the business in hand. all, young and old, as mere puppets. While I was strolling the other day This is the bold broadside of the picture, in Hyde Park, I amused myself, as I which he holds up to public view ; but frequently do, by remarking the vast if we peep behind the canvas, we shall variety displayed in the “getting up" find that in the solitude of his own of the human form, the different exchamber, after driving the cat out of his pression of countenance, the thousand room, lest even poor puss might pry gradations of beauty and size, and the into his secret thoughts, he allows to various degrees of taste manifested in himself, with bitter truth, that he is a decking out these “ frail tenements of poor, forlorn man! And does he never clay.” “Here," said I to myself—(and exclaim, “Oh! that I were married ?" it was only a truism after all) —"among Yes. Does he never look at a pretty this moving mass of humanity, may face and sigh, “Oh! that she were something be found to please the eye mine!" Yes. Does he never wish for of the most fastidious beholder, to charm a “dear little papa in miniature ?" Yes. the man of refined taste, to throw into And, finally, don't he think that of all ecstasy the man of bad taste, and to creation an old bachelor is the most afford some pleasure, if pleasure it may pitiable object? Yes~-yes-yes ! be called, to him who has no taste at all."

Among the promenaders, I observed a belle of eighteen or twenty, whose

neck was long and swan-like and of the SCRIBBLINGS.

most delicate whiteness, and which

rested on one of the most perfect busts WRITTEN STANS UNO IN PEDE. that the imagination of a sculptor could

conceive. One of the companions of It is astonishing what a propensity my youth, that devil-may-care fellow, people have to write. A hundred years Jack Arden-(peace to his manes, for ago, authors were comparatively scarce; he is dead, poor boy)-would have been but now, every well-dressed young gen- enraptured at the sight of such a neck, tleman is a scribbler, and is ambitious and followed its owner on foot to the

« AnteriorContinuar »