« VorigeDoorgaan »
sitting lowly amid the gnarled roots. a stone in my boot. I have a busy time Wouldn't it be better if I leaned a little before me; it will never do for me to be more back ?-yes, that's much better ; lame. I ought to take my boot off. there is nothing derogatory in a recum- Tut! Dear, dear! What have I done? bent position : after all, there is no lux- It's in the other boot. I must have that ury like that which simple nature pre- off too. How nice and cool for the pares for us in the sweet woodland ways feet! It is an excellent thing to have --that's pretty ; quite a poetical ex- one's boots off for a little while. I pression : how fond I was of poetry think I have read somewhere that on when I was a boy! Dear me, it must campaigns--yes. be a long time since I have read any (So the Bishop lies on his back, and wags poetry ! No, no ; by the bye, there was a free foot in the air ; soon he begins to that admirable volume dedicated to me hum, and after a little the vague humming by Canon Pipoon ; I read it with the passes into song.) greatest interest ; it was full of most val
“O many the leaves of the summer trees, uable thought and feeling-a very valu
And they tremble to all the airs ; able book for these days—as I remem- O many the lights on the summer seas ber I told him.
As poetry—I wonder Wherever a sunbeam flares ; what Susan would have thought of the
A myriad answer the sun, Canon's poetry. I fear she would have the breeze loves many, but none my one love
But my love loves but one ; laughed at it ; even I myself might have
shares." laughed in those days. Certainly it was
Let me a very different sort of poetry which we
see: how does it go on? used to shout about the wood. Our ' Young Kate is as-as proud as''wood at home was very like this. As I what ? Dear, dear, what rubbish it is ! lie here and look up into the clouds of It must be twenty years since I have young yellow oak-leaves swimming in thought of that ridiculous song. Tut, yellow light, I can almost fancy myself tut, how does it go ? It's not worth rea heedless boy again, at home with sister membering ; but I can't bear to think Susan-poor sister Susan !
that my memory is not so good as it It makes me sigh that I must enjoy was. Nothing is more important to a my eminence alone. Poor girl! How
man in my position than a good memromantic she was, how foolishly roman
ory. I mustn't give it up; I must not tic; and how bitterly she was punished ! be beaten. Ah-ah !-yes ! I wonder what became of her husband,
Young Kitty's an icicle bright in the sun, that accurs--- that unhappy fiddler- But she melts and is nought to me ; and of the boy and girl? It is strange
And Dolly's a glow-worm when day is done,
That the stars peep down to see : how little I have thought of them of late
There are maidens a-many, I wis, years. I have been very busy ; the
But one-but one-to kiss ; cares of my high office—and besides, I. There are maidens a-many, but none- e-but exhausted every means of finding them ; and beyond the bare notice of their (The Voice of Auriol is heard in the wood: he mother's death, I could find nothing.
“I'll kiss but thee." Poor Susan ! How soft and drowsy is this fertile air ! Delicious repose ! Bishop. Eh ? eh ? No, no; that's Yes, there is a certain stiffness about not it. the poetry of Canon Pipoon, a con- Auriol. Powers of the air ! What straint--there is something which inter- have we here? Are you a fish or an feres with my ease.
I fancy that I am islander ? somewhat tightly braced ; really this (The Bishop reaches one hand toward spot is so strictly private, that I might his shoes, and with the other grasps his almost venture ; dulce est desipere in" apron.) -that is, surely there is no harm. I A. Prithee lie still, Bully Hercules ! think I may venture on a little relaxa- I should never forgive myself if I distion. (He loosens his apron.) Ah! that turbed such repose. Are you a brother is good. I feel young and light at heart of our order-of our disorder ? Are as a boy. Oboyhood, happy, careless you too a player ? Are you a heavy boyhood! 0-ow!! There must be father?
B. No, sir. (He sinks back with a A. Are you a politician ? smile and a sigh.) A character !
B. My position compels me to take A. The pity of it! What is the value some share in legislature. of such dignity and comely obesity save A. (groans and says-) Repent, and for a heavy father? The boards shall take some honest calling. My heart groan beneath your tread. Come with warms strangely to you ; come with me me to Winbeach, and be presented to and be a heavy father. the best of managers as my Alter Ego- B. Truly, sir, I did not look to be which for your ears unlearned I will admonished by a gentleman of your prorender as My other self,” as my most fession. substantial shadow.
A. Come to me for good counsel. B. My path lies in the other direc- (He sings.) tion. I am on my way to Winford.
“In the morning, by the bright light, A. Speak not of Winford. I have When Gabriel sounds his trumpet in the been starring there.
morning." B. Starring ?
B. Gabriel ! A. Yes, sir. I arose a new star over
A. Pardon me : I have a weakness the steaming flats of Winford ; but the
Even you, though sadly eyes of the yokels had grown so used to given to flesh, may have some taste for staring on earth, that they could not religion. Have you ? look toward heaven. I was compelled to
B. A what? Have I what? I trust abandon the last two acts of “Hamlet, and, in lieu of harrowing my royal not without religion.
- I devoutly-I humbly trust that I am mother's soul, I betook myself to some
A. Enough of this mocking tone ! ground-tumbling. Then was I under
How ill gray hairs—" You know the the eyes of the earth-born ; they were
rest. (He sings.) aware of me; they thundered with their hobnails on the boards.
Carve that possum, chillen, B. A precarious life, I fear, my
Carve that possum, chillen,
Carve him to the heart !" friend.
A. Up to-day and down to-morrow; You too need carving to the heart, old luckily it is always to-day. Isn't this possum. It may be that good enough ? This wood ; this air full heart ; but it beats faintly beneath that of healthful fragrance ; this fresh spring- load of flesh. Dig down to it; lay it ing fern where the sunshine is 'prison- open to sweet nature. ed ; this inossy couch, whereon even B. My friend, I am not in the habit you might yield me a corner for sitting of hearing sermons. Thank you ; that's good. Now, here A. I would you were. Layer on layer are we two rascals as happy as virtuous of worldliness, repelling jelly-like ; and souls ! All this scene is ours, and all yet deep down my love for you descries for nothing; we sit at our ease like scarce perceptible human pulse, a gentlemen ; we have, as it were, come faint heart-beat. I am strangely moved in with an order ; we are on Nature's by some consciousness of a divine spark free list. But come, you were singing smouldering under this mountain ; I as I drew near ; I too will lie along; would have you fan the flame. My unand now, like Tityrus and Melibæus, known uncle may be some such featherwill we contend in song. Do you be- bed as you, and yet not wholly feathers. gin ; and if the victory be yours, I will B. Your uncle ! give you a shilling.
A. “ A little more than kin, and less B. No, no, II did not know that than kind.” My mother's brother, but I was singing I was but testing my no more like my mother than I to Hermemory. It is very important for me cules. My mother “was a lady ; last that my memory should not fail me. I night she died ;” or to speak more achave a great deal to remember, a great curately, she died in giving me birth ; deal of grave responsibility.
my father the fiddler sold me for drink ; A. Powers of the air ! This man my sister the ballet-girl taught me to speaks like an orator.
dance ; “my name is Norval.' B. An indifferent orator.
B. A fiddler! God bless my soul !
A. Amen to that! For the rest, I wickedness of the world ; on the Monwas baptized in a pint-pot, and they day it was but half open ; on the Tuescalled me Auriol, after the carpenter's day it was kindly sentimental ; but by cat, who was my sponsor. Auriol, thé Wednesday it was a merry eye, and Auriolus, Auriolanus, Coriolanus, or my father went cheerfully to work. Yet what you will. Such as I am, I am be- cheerful himself, he caused no cheerfulloved by all men, save only managers ; ness ; mothers rebuked him for their inI have a good leg but a torn stocking; fants' pangs ; only curs sang to his fida defective shirt but a cheerful heart dling ; and thus did he, who began life beneath it ; nay, here under this waist with a pointed toe and a curl on his coat-under this place where once a forehead, teacher of the ancient art of waistcoat was--there is a spark, a divine dancingglimmer, a prisoned fire-Ay, which I B. He was a dancing-master? would not exchange for a dinner a-day, A. Ay, sir ; he taught the graceful art for the savory meats which you love. to crisp and pig-tailed maidens in a B. Poor lad !
country town; and from that height he A. Nay, not so poor neither. List- fell! First, he was extra fiddle, dresser, en! Do you hear that chink? It rougist, and occasional crowd to a comtakes two coins to chink. More- pany of strollers ; and at last, as the curl over, I have a royal mantle ; item, a grew thin, and the foot grew thick, he blunted sword ; item, a plume twice would even play at street corners, and dyed for my hat ; item, a pair of long would reap the reward of iniquity, being stockings of good silk, plum-colored, paid the more readily in proportion to but little darned ; item an unfailing the harshness of his playing. stock of health-and of spirits, for which B. And was he married when he I must ask your pardon. You are prob- taught dancing ? ably richer than I ; indeed, I observe A. He danced into matrimony. He that your shoes are but little worn, and was a young and comely bachelor, when that your cob is well-rounded in the he pointed the toe of example. Pupils barrel ; yet who knows if you are hap- came and went--those of finer ear went pier than I. If I am sometimes too first. Among those who came was one, hungry, you are always overfed.
one in whose heart young love had lit B. You should avoid personalities. his flame. She marked and loved the You spoke of your father as a violinist ? curl upon his brow. He marked and
A. Fiddler; a bad fiddler, and a loved the pig-tail at her neck. They worse man ; a poor thing, but mine own fled together, and- excuse these tears ; -my father : in our society it is much
was my mother. to have had a father.
B. And her name? What was her B. What was your father's name? name?
A. “ Old Scratch” was he called ; A. The sacred name of wife, and in methinks the name became him well. due time the yet more sacred name of
B. Can you tell me no more of him ? mother.
B. What was her maiden name ?
A. Her maiden name Susan A. He was worth knowing.
Tomlinson. Her father plied the trade a merry man when sober ; but he would of bookseller at dreamy Sandwich, by cry in his cups : he drank at the foun- the eastern sea. tain of a sentimental melancholy. And B. Good heavens ! he was a regular man, too ; you could A. Do not swear, old man. tell the day of the week by my father's (The Bishop remains silent, lost in
Of a Saturday night it was dis- thought, staring at Auriol : Auriol whitsolved in tears, for he was borne to bed tles.) weeping ; on Sunday it was red and dry B. And your sister ? You spoke of as Sahara, and he would often go to a sister ? Is she older than you ? church with much groaning of the spirit; A. We are twins-twin blossoms on but after church the desert eye would
one stalk. slowly disappear like a lurid sun in mist, B. And you said, I think, that she while my parent sought to forget the danced ?
A. Yes, sir. Our mother died and delicacy-send some present, some use
Our father melted from us. ful present, to your sister. But ere he melted, he taught my sturdy A. You can, and shall. You have sister some steps of the dance. Now nothing more to say to me? No? she dances much and well. She is Then, farewell again. famous, while I-but no matter ! a time (Auriol goes away.) will come.
B. Good-by. B. And your sister ? A dancer's pro- (The Bishop left alone, ambles up and fession is, I' understand, beset by pecul- down in sore perplexity.) iar perils. Has she-is she
B. My nearest kin, my nearest kin ! A. She is. She goes straight. She What's to be done? A stroller and a is a square girl. She is as good a dancer! The scandal, the scandal ! I woman as stands on one toe in Eng- cannot see my duty plain. Hi, there ! land.
Stop! You, sir! Mr. Auriol, hi! B. And her tastes ? How would she (Auriol comes back.) be, for instance-excuse my asking such A. Well ? questions, but you interest me, you and B. I am in great perplexity. your story-how would your sister fill a A. Come to me for counsel. more secure, a more domestic position ? B. To you, an actor ? Pardon me,
A. She can make an Irish stew with but it is a point of conscience. any cook in England.
A. I, too, have a conscience. I make B. But-again pardon me-has she a point of keeping one about me. education, refinement ?
B. Well, I will put it to you. A. If I be poor, I am honest : Jose- do no harm. Your story has perplexed phine lacks culture. She has not her me strangely. It has called to my mind brother's polite education ; the grosser the case of a friend of mine. baby, she is still the grosser ; she writes A. Ha, ha. That friend ! That old with much action of the tongue ; she stage friend! We all know him. I knows not a line of Shakespeare ; but
lend my ear.
Proceed. to her honor be it said that she can B. My friend has a somewhat exalted remain on the blunted end of her right position in the world ; in fact he is a foot for a longer time than any woman dignitary of the--the Bench-or rather of her weight in England.
(to be more strictly accurate) of the (The Bishop groans.)
Church. A. Now, though our songs be yet un- A. Nothing is proved against him so sung, I must away for Winbeach, where far. I trust to find the salt fisherman more B. My friend had but one relation in open than the loamy yokel to the touch the world-a sister, whom he loved very of genius. Farewell, good father. dearly. When a mere boy, he was B. Stay a moment. Shall
be ordained, and went away to a distant long at Winbeach?
part of the country. He was absorbed A. So long as the marine audience by his new work, and eager-yes, as I afford me other victual than stale fish. most truly believe-eager to do good ;
B. And your address is The Theatre ? he was perhaps forgetful-yes, too forA. Yes,
getful of his home. Thus it happened B. An actor has sometimes a collec- that his sister-his dear sister-left alone tion-I should say a benefit ?
-formed an unfortunate attachment. A. Sometimes and sometimes he She went away with a man who taught makes money by it.
-a man her inferior in every way. My B. Could you not take the theatre friend strove hard to find her ; but he for a night ? If so, I--you have inter- failed. She kept her secret all these ested me so much-I am perplexed how years ; I only found out lately that her to serve you-I would, privately--pri- silence was the silence of the grave. vately, of course--take all the sittings. Poor Susan !
A. Let me look on thee. Come to A. Poor friend of yours ! my heart, old man; and address your B. Yes ; it was terrible for my friend. cheque to the Theatre Royal.
She was dead ; but she had left children B. And perhaps I could--without in- -two children. My friend heard that
these children had grown up in great powers of the air I will never call you freedom ; had, in fact, led a roving life; nunky again ! quite harmless and-even worthy, but a B. But your sister ? life which had unfitted them, or presum- A. My sister shall know nothing. She ably unfitted them, to share the sober would be dull as a modern tragedy, were and decorous life of my friend. They she tied to a bishop's apron-strings ; were both, in some way or other, con- yet for the weakness of woman, and for nected with the stage. That is why I her itching for pantries and kitchens and am moved to ask your advice. Advise good order, I dare not tell her. A me. And I will advise my friend. linen-closet might tempt her to her own
A. What is your difficulty--that is, damnation. the difficulty of your friend?
B. Hush ! B. Is he bound to make himself A. She shall know nothing, and be known to these people ? to take them to happy with her dancing and smiling. his home?
B. But can I do nothing for her ? A. His near kin ?
A. Ay, that you can. You shall settle B. His nearest kin.
something on her (be it mine to devise A. Should these strollers sit at the means)-ay, and on your loving bishop's table ?
nephew too, pardye ! B. Is it not impossible ? Ought he B. That I can do, and will. My lawto ask them ?
yer shall arrange the matter with yours. A. Would they come ?
A. With mine! I keep a lawyer ! B. Of course. What a change for I'd as lief keep a polecat. them! From poverty to comfort-from B. Well, well : a not unnatural prea precarious to a settled and dignified judice! However, I will speak to my life.
lawyer, in whom I have perfect confiA. From porter to claret-doubtful dence ; he will arrange everything withporter to certain claret! Are you honest out unnecessary publicity: he shall with me, lord bishop ?
write to you to the theatre at Winbeach, B. What would you have me say ? and, if necessary, arrange a meeting.
A. I would have a bishop speak the A. If necessary, I will risk it. And truth.
now I am already a man with an inB. I am your uncle-your mother's come, with so much a-year ! Pray brother. Now?
heaven it do no violence to my art, that A. I knew it.
my wit grow not lean as my waist waxes. B. You knew it?
Yet I'll risk it. And now for the last A. We know that friend, we of the time, mine uncle--your blessing, uncle. buskin : bishops and all, you borrow B. I give it you with a full heart. that old trick from the boards. I think A. Ay, and with a full purse, like a I half knew you, when I saw you first. nabob uncle in a play: if I did not B. What shall I do?
laugh, I should weep-and so no more, A. Nothing.
but thank you. B. Nothing !
B. And I thank you. A. I shall think better of bishops for A. What for? your sake. But I will not live with you, B. For a lesson. eat with you, or drink with you. Like A. Good-by. Let me our coats, we are cut differently. I stirrup ; so. And now, your road lies should make your friends jump ; you eastward ; mine to the setting sun. See would stifle mine. Go home, good mine how the grass road lies golden under my uncle, and say that you have met a feet. Chink, chink, two shillings to fool i' the forest; and, prithee, think ring together! Clink, clink, and away better of fools, as I will think better of in the golden weather! Good-by. bishops. And so give me your hand, B. Good-by, my dear boy, good-by. good uncle, and good-by ; and by the - Blackwood's Magazine. New SERIES.-VOL. XXXIII., No. 4