« VorigeDoorgaan »
" at seven in the morning James Brown | live together; and yet there was never a found me asleep after two hours' hard time when they could have done without study, asleep between the leaves of the each other. It was always
“ Ill to hae, great Atlas;” the houses all shut up, but but waur to want." gradually awakening to life and knowl. We must, however, before leaving this edge. She went back frequently aster- publication, do what is odious to us if it ward, visiting her old friends, and recog. were not necessary, and that is, call the nized by everybody, and gradually the attention of our reader to what we cannot pathos and the wonder died away. call less than a deliberate outrage upon a
In Edinburgh, there were aunts, loved, helpless dead woman, with neither son but gently caricatured, and Betty — Betty, nor champion to stand up for her. These the beloved servant-woman of old, to volumes were announced as prepared for whom she was always the “dear bairn,” publication by Carlyle himself, and so they whom she sent the writer once to see in a were in great part, with many interjected little roadside hamlet out of Edinburgh, notes which we can scarcely call less than an old woman with a still, wise face that foolish, besides some valuable explanahad seen many a sorrow, in the still, tory details. But in the midst of this little room, with its spark of fire, and the mass of letters, thus prepared (enough of house door which admitted straight into it them, Heaven knows ! to have been by open to the summer air. Is she there good judgment, one would have said, still, one wonders, in her close cap and pared and weeded a little, rather than in. gray gown, and patient gravity and love? creased), Mr. Carlyle's executor found There seems reason why such an certain brief extracts whch he did not example of the antique world should quite understand. This set his curiosity ever die. She outlived her mistress, herio work, and he once more examined the • bairn,” at least, so far as our recollec. mass of papers left to him by the fond old
man who trusted him, and found therein This sweet and tender picture it would a diary of Mrs. Carlyle which explained be well to end upon : but in the painful the matter. The matter was that there circumstances of the case it will not be had once crossed that self-tormented for such touching episodes as this that spirit a cloud of bitter but visionary jeal. reviewers or critics will look, but for ousy: the wo is too strong - of hot something that will throw light upon the intolerance rather, impatience, bitter irricanker of this woman's life, so full of im- tation, called forth by the pleasure her passioned feeling as she was. And such husband took in the company of a certain passages will not be far to seek. The great lady, a brilliant woman of society, canker was chiefly in herself — in the self- whom she did not herself love, but whose tormenting faculty which never existed in charm and influence fascinated him. greater perfection in any woman, though There were none of the features of ordithat is saying much. Those keen and nary jealousy in this dark fit, no possibility passionate souls each with the sharp two of unfaithfulness, unless it might be inteledged sword of speech, cutting this way lectual - a preference for the talk, the and that, each so intolerant, so impatient, dazzle of a witty circle in which worship so incapable of endurance, all nerves and was paid to him, and the still more flattersensation, and nothing but themselves to ing devotions of its presiding spirit. This try their spirits — would they have been fascination drew him night after night better apart, each perhaps sheathed in the away from home, depriving his wife of his silky tissues of a milder and softer na society, and suggesting to her over and ture? We doubt it much. The milder over again by that whisper of the devil at partner would have bored them both, her ear, which she was always too ready whereas in swift change of mood, in in to listen to, that she had ceased to be the finite variety, in passions of misery and first and only woman in the world to him. recovered happiness, there was no weari. Such a breath of hell has crossed and ness. “I am always wondering,” she withered many a blooming life; in this case says, after one of her bad moments,“ how the fit was temporary, lasting but a short I can, even in my angriest mood, talk time, and buried in the tender rapprocheabout leaving you for good and all; for to ment of the later chapter of life. The disbe sure were I to leave you to-day on that covery of this bit of writing was a godsend principle, I should need absolutely to go to the biographer, who must have felt by back tomorrow to see how you were tak. this time that the mass of letters were by ing it!” Most true and certain ! There no means so comformable to his theory as were times when they could with difficulty I might have been desired. He sent it off
at once to Miss Jewsbury to have her | no one ventures to stand up and stigmaelucidations, the only person living who tize as it deserves this betrayal and expocould speak with authority on the subject. sure of the secret of a woman's weakness, Neither the one nor the other seem to a secret which throws no light upon any. have asked themselves what right they thing, which does not add to our knowl. had to spy into a secret which the hus- edge either of her character or her husband had respected. Geraldine, good and band's, and with which the public had kind as woman ever was, but romantic and nothing whatever to do. officious, and pleased too in a regretful way at the discovery, did ber part, as may be imagined. “The reading has been like the calling up of ghosts. It was a very bad time with her then, no one but her
From The Cornhill Magazine.
MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW. self, or one constantly with her, knows what she suffered, physically as well as I HAD, as widow, undertaken, till my morally,” Miss Jewsbury, says. And here son was of age, the management of his is produced triumphantly between them property, consisting of a large estate on this little basket of fragments, with a the Continent. Things are managed quite preface from the male friend, historical otherwise in the part of Europe where my and philosophical, “ma ied against little sketch is laid than elsewhere. The the advice of friends,
,” “worked for him Herrschaft, owner or representative of like a servant,” all over again : and a the owner, delegates his or her authority postscript from the female friend, senti. to a Schaffner, a sort of bailiff, who has mental and descriptive: “She was bright complete command over the men, and to and beautiful, with a certain star-like radi- a Schaffnerin who holds the same author. ance and grace. She had gone off into ity over the maids. Men and maids all the desert with him. The offering was live in the castle, and day.laborers are accepted, but like the precious things flung only taken when there is a press of work. by Benvenuto into the furnace when his The usual work, as well as attending to statue was molten, they were all consumed the horses, cattle, etc., is done by servants in the flames: he gave her no human belp hired from year to year, and living in the and tenderness." So Geraldine, in a house; we had upwards of twenty. I, as piece of fine writing — words as untrue as mistress, scarcely ventured to interfere ever words were, as every unprejudiced with either of the important personages I reader of this book will see for himself, have mentioned, as they needed all the and entirely contrary to that kind soul's prestige that could be given them, to keep ordinary testimony. Not a critic, so far order among the often refractory and al. as we are aware, has ever suggested that ways rude farm servants. It happened, this proceeding was unjustifiable, or out- just at the time I am describing, that one side of the limits of honor. Is it then of the maids was of rather a better class, permissible to outrage the memory of a she being the orphan child of a peasant wife, and betray her secrets because one proprietor, who had been sent to my house has received as a gift her husband's pa to learn farm-work. The girl had struck pers? She gave no permission, left no me once or twice by her graceful figure, authority for such a proceeding. Does carrying her milk.pail poised upon her the disability of women go so far as this ? head; and as she saluted me in passing or is there no need for honor in respect with the usual " I kiss your hands, grafor the dead ? “ There ought to be no cious lady," in a sweet, low voice, I mystery about Carlyle,” says Mr. Froude. thought she looked like a spell-bound No, poor, foolish, fond old man! there is princess, only waiting for the proper mono mystery about him henceforward, ment to step out of her shabby garments thanks to his own distracted babble of and glitter in silk and satin; once, too, in genius, first of all. But how about his passing I had heard a splendid contralto wife? Did she authorize Mr. Froude to voice singing an old song in the stable, unveil her most secret thoughts, her dark and set to words which were fitter for the est hours of weakness, which even her music than the indecent lines which are husband passed reverently over? No usually joined to the old songs of our part woman of this generation, or of any other of the world. As I waited listening, my we are acquainted with, has had such des enchanted princess came out of the stable perate occasion to be saved from her with her milk-pail on her head, still sing. friends : and public feeling and sense of ing, “ Ach ja, du bist mein Stern, aber, honor must be at a low ebb indeed when lach! so fern." On seeing me she stopped,
blushing rosy red, and even forgot her he looked, my son ! bis grey eyes as black manners, and was hurrying past without as night with anger and indignation, and greeting. “Where did you get those how proud of him I felt; but, alas ! only pretty verses, my child ? " said I; but see. for one short moment. The next the ing her too much confused to answer, I anger had gone out of his eyes, and they let her go and thought no more about it. were shining with another light, more
One evening I had taken my knitting beautiful, perhaps, but oh! for me how and sauntered out looking at the fruit much sadder! le, it was evident, was trees, and as I candidly confess reckoning the one waited for, he was the writer of about how much cider they would pro- the verses, he was the star of my poor duce, and whether there would still be a maiden's dream. What should I do? chance of selling some fruit, when hap- Alas! in such a case wbat could I do? I pening to raise my eyes a little higher slowly went down the steep stairs, but so than the apples, I saw indications of a engrossed were they with themselves, that splendid sunset. I hastened up the little I was close to them before they noticed steep path to the press-house at the top of me. He had his arms round her, pressthe vineyard, and mounting, the narrow ing her fondly to him, and in spite of my. staircase on to the wooden balcony con- self I noticed with approbation that he structed after the model of a Swiss house, did not guiltily start away when he saw was soon absorbed in the wonder and me. admiration called forth by the sublime My child,” I said to the girl as gently spectacle.
as I could, for, you see, she was so young, As the colors were fading in the sky I"you must know it is not fit to behave in turned to descend the stairs again, when this manner; and, Erwin, have respect I saw my fairy maiden standing with her enough for my presence to loose your back to me so evidently waiting, that I hold of the girl.” involuntarily stopped and said to myself, Then they parted, but we all stood “Now then' I shall see who wrote those uncomfortably conscious that something pretty verses.” I could not easily be further must happen. seen by any one approaching the little "My dear, you had better go home; I press-house, as the balcony was nearly cannot allow you to stay here knowing covered on that side by a large overlang. what I now know!” ing pear-tree. I had hardly waited a “ Mother," said my son, breaking siminute when I saw, before even the girl lence for the first time, “take care what did, a youth coming up from the contrary you say to my future wife.” side to the one I had come by, and with His future wife! And were my dreams open arms advancing to the unconscious to end thus ! But it was too absurd, he a) girl. He was the son of an impoverished boy of eighteen, and she the maid who nobleman in the neighborhood, and of milked the cows! So I resumed, address. whom, though very young, the neighbors ing her, “Do you hear, my dear? you spoke but ill; my heart sank within me at must go away and at once.” the thought that this graceless youth had "Oh, madam, forgive me," said the found favor in my pretty maiden's eyes, poor girl; “but what shall I do, and but I was soon undeceived; as soon as he where shall I go?” advanced near enough to startle her she “Cannot you go home?” I said, forget. sprang back as from a reptile and called ting for the moment that she was an or. out, “ Hands off, sir! You know I won't phan and had no home. listen to you!” He did not seem inclined “I have no home," she said, with tears to take the warning, and I was consider running down her cheeks; “father and ing whether I should interfere, but I mother are both dead, and I never had thought as I saw the two together that any brothers or sisters." the lass was a "likely lass enough,” and Well, my dear,” I said, still more quite able to hold her own with such an gently than before ; "you must have a antagonist, when suddenly the scene was guardian then; can you not go to him? changed by the approach of
“Yes,” she said, “but batant. It was my son then at home for “ But what?" I repeated a little impathe holidays, a youth of eighteen; he ap- tiently, for I wanted to make an end of peared not to share my views regarding the scene. the contest, but laying hold of the young “ He is afraid for Mark," at last stambaron by his collar twisted him round and mered forth the poor girl. round, and then sent him at double-quick “Oh,” said I somewhat bitterly; "he pace down the hill. Oh, how handsome has a son too, has he?"
But she looked up so imploringly and | but she had already taken her departure. so sadly that I could not give any further He did not seem very willing to talk about vent to my bitterness, the more as I could her; I fancy his conscience was not at barely keep my son from mixing in the ease, for I heard it said afterwards that controversy, which would certainly have he had allowed himself to be persuaded only made things worse. He had held by the girl to give her the savings-bank the girl by the hand all this time, and now book where her money, some hundred and then whispered a word of tenderness, florins, was written down, and by means It was a scene too ridiculous to be touch- of which she could get the money into ing, but too serious to be laughed at. her own.possession. She had persuaded
At last I said, “Well, you must go to him that she could not, and would not, your guardian” (a peasant in the neigh- stay in the country and do country work, borhood) “for to-night, and I will come but she would go to the next considerable to-morrow and arrange something with town, and in some way contrive to go to him and you for the future."
school and learn to be something better “Yes, madam,” she said, with a little than a peasant's wife. I made some incurtsey and a quiver of her pretty mouth; quiry about her, but after a while pretty but still my son did not loose her hand, much forgot her: only now and then, and waiting a moment I turned away that when I was watching the sunset from the he might at any rate have the satisfaction little press-house, I thought of the scene of being unobserved, and said, “Erwin, that I'had witnessed there, and wondered you must let her go, so bid her good-bye." whether my son now thought as little In less than a minute their adieux had about it as I did. been said, and turning again, we both, I Years passed on; my son studied well, and my son, watched her flitting down the in some things wonderfully so. hill in the blue light of the summer twi- in strength and stature, and delighted in light till she was lost to our sight. nothing so much as when he could make
When she had quite disappeared I some neck-breaking excursions among the turned to my son, not altogether quite mountains. clear what was best to say or do; he be- In due time he took his degree at the gan first, with flaming eyes and in a deep university; served his year as volunteer; voice still moved by emotion. “Well, and at last attained his majority, which mother, are you now satisfied? Shall with us is at the age of twenty-four, when you like it better that your son's future there were the usual rejoicings and banwife should be tossed about from one quetings, and I formally' resigned into his place to another till I am old enough to hands the management of his property; claim her?"
The day after the guests were gone and “But, Erwin, how can you talk” (“such the business was concluded, he came into nonsense,” I was on the point of saying, my little morning.room, and sitting down but a look in his face altered the phrase in his favorite chair, stretched himself to) “about marrying when you are only almost across the little room from side to eighteen, and you will not be of age till side, and said, “Well, Mi Mo" (a nickyou are twenty-four? You and she will name he used to call me when a child, but have time to change your minds twenty long disused, and I started at his again times in those six years, and I do not taking it up), "aren't you glad it's all doubt you will do so; at any rate, if she over? I am, I know. Don't you think were to be your future wife, as you call we deserve a reward? Wouldn't it be her, twenty times over, she must go away nice to make a tour through the hills, and now, as well for her own sake as for take some fashionable watering place yours.” As I said this an involuntary say Baden - on our return?” I smile passed over my face, for I felt so rather surprised at this proposal, for my sure that, as I said, time would bring the son had always expressed a decided disdesired change of thoughts, that I began like to watering places; but what pléased to see the thing only on its ridiculous him would certainly, I thought, please me, side. Perhaps my son discovered this, so our plans were soon made, and as soon for instead of answering me as he had put into execution. evidently intended, be quietly walked We travelled leisurely, enjoying our. down the hill at my side, and from that selves much. I stayed at the bottom of moment, for years, the pretty milk-maiden the hills while my son tried unknown and was never mentioned between us.
hazardous short cuts to the summits, and I went the next morning, as I had my peace of mind was often sadly dispromised, to the house of her guardian, Iturbed when he was delayed in his as
cents or descents, and did not reach me two. He looked at me, and, seeing the at the time proposed, but the anxiety was tears standing in my eyes, he whispered, always happily thrown away, and my son “She will be a good daughter to you." came back safe and sound, his memory We will hope, at any rate, she will be ever enriched by the experiences of each a good wife to you, my boy,” said I. expedition, At one time he would de. The old lady, Countess A., I had known scribe how, at night, after the sun had years ago. She had never married, and, gone down, and they were bivouacking as I found later, had, three years ago, under a rock, or had taken possession of taken the fairy princess, as I sometimes a hut built by hospitable explorers for called her, as companion. Till then Gensuch purposes, after a time he saw the evieve — such was her name — had been blue shadow of the earth itself thrown at school; at first as half-servant, halfup in a half-circle upon the highest tops pupil, and afterwards as half-pupil, halfof the mountains, or, if a slight haze were teacher. She had given such satisfaction in the air, projected upon that; and amid that the mistress of the establishment, on the intense stillness of the regions of ice her wishing to obtain some other situa. and snow came the feeling of the insig. tion, had recommended her most strongly nificance of the individual, but of the to the countess, who had taken her, and mighty march of mankind.
had very soon become quite dependent After a few weeks spent in this manner upon her. Genevieve had, on the pccawe slowly journeyed on to Baden. We sion of a fire in their dwelling, shown such arrived there just after the table d'hôte, coolness and intrepidity that the countess and my son begged me to make my toilet, always declared that she owed life and and go with him on to the promenade. I property to her exertions. This was all stared, bewildered, but did as he begged very nice to hear, and as the young peo. me, and we went down. After a saunter ple were walking on and losing themselves ing turn or two along the public walk we in the bye-walks of the gardens, as well took our seat on an empty bench and pre- as in the paradise of their happy love, the tended to listen to the music. At last I countess was telling me the history of the ventured the remark, “ My boy, do you three years she had had Genevieve with really like this?” but as my question re her. She knew, she said, that Genevieve mained unanswered, I looked round and had an acquaintance that might ripen into found my son's eyes fixed intently on an engagement. She corresponded at two figures slowly approaching us — two times, and had seen once or twice her ladies, an old one and a young one; the friend; but as she wished his name not latter struck me at the moment as being to be mentioned till he was of age and the most beautiful person I had ever the affair could be settled, the countess
I recognized, directly afterwards, had not tried to force herself into Genean old acquaintance in the elderly lady, vieve's confidence, but had only warned but I was watching them quite uncon- her to be careful, and let it pass. sciously and carelessly, only attracted by now,” she continued, “ dear friend, Genethe exceeding beauty of the younger, vieve is really a good girl, and if your son when, as they had nearly come abreast of bas chosen her, and has remained in the us, the girl raised her eyes and with a same mind all these years, he deserves vivid blush acknowledged my son's greet- that his wife should be kindly received." ing.
6. Yes, yes,” I said, “ I know all that; but I cannot tell how it was, but at that do you know that she used to milk our moment I knew it all; yes, it was the cows ?” As I said it, however, I felt dairy.maid transformed, if not into the ashamed of myself, for it was really nothprincess, at any rate into a lady. I heaved ing bad, and continued hastily, “ and how a little sigh. I knew my fate at once, and can she take her place as ‘lady of the tried as gracefully as I could to take up manor' there, where every one knows her my heavy burden. The two had reached and knew her family ?” “ Well," admit the end of the walk and were turning ted the countess, “that is certainly an again, when I at last broke silence. “My objection ; it might easily become a source boy, that old lady is an old acquaintance of great discomfort to him and to her.” of mine; would you like to be intro-" Especially to her,” added I. duced ? I can easily claim acquaintance. The result of our consideration was ship.”
that the countess declared herself desirFor answer he suddenly turned, and ous of legally adopting Genevieve as taking my hand kissed it, and, rising, put child; and as she was quite her own mis. it upon his arm, and led me towards the tress, and over the filty years of age