« VorigeDoorgaan »
the finest sunrise," said Charles. 66 You're wet through," said Jonathan. “ I'm all over rapture," said Rhyme. “ You're all over dirt,” said Reason.
With some difficulty Charles was persuaded to retire for the re-ad. justment of his dress, while the old man continued his meal with a composure which proved he was not unused to the morning excursions of his volatile yoke-fellow. By the time he had got through his beef-steak, and three columns of the Courier, Charles re-entered, and dispatched the business of eating with a rapidity in which many a modern halfstarved rhymer would be glad to emulate him. A walk was immedi. ately proposed ; but the one had scarcely reached an umbrella, and the other prepared his manuscript book, when a slight shower of rain prevented our design.“ Provoking,” said Rhyme. “ Good for the crop,” said Reason.
The shower, however, soon ceased, and a fine clear sun encouraged us to resume our intentions, without fear of a second disappointinent. As we walked over the estate, we were struck with the improvements made by our friend, both as regarded the comfort and value of the property; while now and then we could not suppress a smile on observing the rustic arbour which Charles had designed, or the verses he had inscribed on our favourite old oak.
It was determined that we should ascend a neighbouring hill, which was dear to us, from it having been the principal scene of our boyhood's amusements. “We must make haste,” said Charles, “ or we shall miss the view." 66 We must make haste," said Jonathan, 6 or we shall catch cold on our return." Their actions seemed always to amalgamate, though their motives were always different.
We observed a tenant of our friend ploughing a small field, and stopped a short time to regard the contented appearance of the man, and the cheerful whistle with which he called to his cattle. 66 Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,” said the poet.
“ A poor team, though,” said his brother. Our attention was next excited by a level meadow, whose green hue, set off by the mixture of the white fleeces of a beautiful flock of sheep, was, to the observer of nature, a more enviable sight than the most studied landscape of Gainsborough's pencil. “Lovely colours !” ejaculated Charles ; – Fine mutton," observed Jonathan.
" Delightful scene for a rustic hop !" cried the enthusiast." I am thinking of planting hops,” said the farmer.
We reached the summit of the hill, and remained for some moments in silent admiration of one of the most variegated prospects that ever the country presented to the contemplation of its
st ardent admirer. The mellow verdure of the meadows, intermingled here and there with the sombre appearance of the ploughed land, the cattle reclining in the shade, the cottage of the rustic peeping from behind the screen of a luxuriant hedge, formed a tout-ensemble which every eye must admire, but which few pens can describe. “ A delightful landscape !” said Charles, “ A rich soil,” said Jonathan. “ What scope for description !” cried the first ; “ What scope for improvement !” returned the second.
As we returned, we passed the cottage of the peasant, whom we
had seen at his plough in the morning. The family were busily engaged in their several domestic occupations. One little chubbyfaced rogue was conducting Dobbin to his stable, another was helping his sister to coop up the poultry, and a third was incarcerating the swine, who made a vigorous resistance against their youthful antagonist. 66 Tender !” cried Rhyme; he was listening to the nightingale. “ Very tender !” replied Reason! he was looking at the pigs.
As we drew near home, we met an old gentleman walking with his daughter, between whom and Charles a reciprocal attachment was said to exist. The lateness of the evening prevented much conversation, but the few words which were spoken, again brought into contrast the opposite tempers of my friends. “ A fine evening, Madam,” said the man of sense, and bowed ; -" I shall see you to-morrow Mary !” said the lover, and pressed her hand. We looked back upon her as she left us. After a pause." She is an angel !" sighed Charles ; She is an heiress," observed Jonathan. 6 She has ten thousand perfections !” cried Rhyme ;She has ten thousand pounds,” said Reason.
We left them next morning, and spent some days in speculations on the causes which enabled such union of affections to exist with such di. versities of taste. For ourselves, we must confess, that while Reason has secured our esteem, Rhyme has run-away with our hearts ; we have some times thought with Jonathan, but we have always felt with Charles.
THEY sin who tell us Love can die.
THE HEIRESS IN JEOPARDY.
From “ The Blank Book of a Small Colleger."
“ Is it not better to repent and marry, than to marry and repent ?"
HOW much of human hostility depends on that circumstance-dis. tance ! If the most bitter enemies were to come into contact, how much their ideas of each other would be chastened and corrected ! They would mutually amend their erroneous impressions ; see much to admire, and much to imitate in each other; and half the animosity that sheds its baneful influence on society, would fade away and be forgotten.
It was one day when I was about seven years old, after an unusual bustle in the family mansion, and my being arrayed in a black frock, much to my inconvenience, in the hot month of August, that I was told, my asthmatic old uncle had gone off like a lamb, and that I was heiress of ten thousand per annum. This information, given with an air of infinite importance, made no very great impression upon me at the time, and in spite of the circumstance being regularly dwelt on, by my French governess, at Camden House, after every heinous misde. meanor, I had thought little or nothing on the subject, till at the age of eighteen, I was called on to bid adieu to Levizac and pirouettes, and hear uncle's will read by my guardian.
It furnished me, indeed, with ample materials for thinking, Dr Marrowfat's face, neither human nor divine--I see it before me, while I am writing-appeared positively frightful as he recited its monstrous contents. It appeared that my father and uncle, though brothers, had wrangled and jangled through life ; and that the only subject on which they ever agreed, was, supporting the dignity of the Vavasour family, That in a moment unprecedented unison, they had determined, that, as the title fell to my cousin Edgar, and the estates to me, to keep both united in the family, we should marry. And it seemed, whichever party violated these precious conditions, was actually dependent on the other for bread and butter. When I first heard of this arrangement, I blessed myself, and Sir Edgar cursed himself. A passionate, overbearing, dissolute young man, thought I, for a husband, for the husband of an orphan,of a girl who has not a nearer relation than himself in the world, who has no father to advise her, no mother to support her :-_a professed rake, too who will merely view me as an incumbrance on his estate, who will think no love, no confidence, no respect due to me; who will insult my feelings, deride my sentiments, and wither with unkindness the best affections of my nature. No! I concluded, as my constitu. tional levity returned—I have the greatest possible respect for guardians-severe their office-ind tremble at their authority,--but to make myself wretched merely to please them-No! No! I positively cannot think of it.
Well-time, who is no respecter of persons, went on.
The gentleman was within a few months of being twenty-one, and on the day of his attaining age, he was to say whether it was his pleasure to fulfil the engagement. My opinion I found was not to be asked. A titled husband was procured for me, and I was to take him and be thankful. I was musing on my singular situation, when a thought struck me. Can I not see him, and judge of his character unsuspected by himself. This is the season when he pays an annual visit to my God-mother ; why not persuade her to let me visit her incog? The idea, strange as it was, was instantly acted on, and a week saw me at Vale-Royal, with. out carriages, without horses ; without servants ; to all appearance a girl of no pretensions or expectations, and avowedly dependent on a distant relation.
To this hour I remember my heart beating audibly, as I descended to the dining-room, where I was to see, for the first time, the future arbiter of my fate; and I shall never forget my surprize, when a'pale, gentlemanly, and rather reserved young man, in apparent ill health, was introduced to me for the noisy, dissolute, distracting and distracted Baronet ! Preciously have I been hoaxed, thought I, as, after a long and rather interesting conversation with Sir Edgar, I with the other ladies, left the rooom. Days rolled on in succession. Chance continually brought us together, and prudence began to whisper, “ You had better return home.” Still I lingered—till one evening, towards the close of a long tête-à-tête conversation, on my saying that I never considered money and happiness as synonymous terms, and thought it very possible to live on five-hundred a year, he replied, 66 One admission more could you live on it with me ? You are doubtless acquainted,” he continued, with increasing emotion, “ with my unhappy situation, but not perhaps aware, that revolting from a union with Miss Vavasour, I have resolved on taking orders, and accepting a living from a friend. If foregoing more brilliant prospects, you would condescend to share my retirement.”-His manner, the moment, the lovely scene which surrounded us, all combined against me, and Heaven only knows what answer I might have been hurried into, had I not got out, with a gaiety foreign to my heart". I can say nothing to you till you have, in person, explained your sentiments to Miss Vavasour. Nothing-positively nothing."-But why ? “ Can seeing her again and again,” he returned, “ ever reconcile me to her manners, habits, and sentiments,-or any estates induce me to place, at the head of my table, a hump-backed bas bleu, in green spectacles ?"
“ Hump-backed ?"_" Yes, from her cradle. But you colour. Do you know her ?”—“Intimately. She's my most particular friend !”— “ I sincerely beg your pardon. What an unlucky dog I am ! I hope you're not offended ?"_" Offended ! offended ! offended ! oh nom not offended. Hump-backed ! good heavens !--Not the least offended Hump-backed ! of all things in the world !” and I involuntarily gave a glance at the glass. “ I had no conception,” he resumed, as soon as he could collect himself, “ that there was any acquaintance:”- - The most intimate,” I replied ; " and I can assure you that you have been represented to her, as the most dissolute, passionate, awkward, ill-disposed young man breathing."-" The devil !” 6 Dont swear but hear me. See your cousin
You will find yourself mistaken. With her answer you shall have mine." And with a ludicrous attempt to smile, when I was monstrously inclined to cry, I contrived to make my escape. -I heard something very like “ Damn Miss Vavasour,” by the way to my own apartment. We did not meet again ; for, the next morning, in no very enviable frame of mind, I returned home.
A few weeks afterwards, Sir Edgar came of age. The bells were ringing blithely in the breeze, the tenants were carousing on the lawn when he drove up to the door. My cue was taken.
With a large pair of green spectacles on my nose, in a darkened room. I prepared for this tremendous interview. After hems and hahs innumerable, and with confusion the most distressing to himself, and the most amusing to me, he gave me to understand he could not fulfil the engagement made for him, and regretted it had ever been contemplated. 6. No no,” said I, in a voice
that made him start, taking off my green spectacles with a profound courtesey, “ No! No! it preposterous to suppose that Sir Edgar Vavasour would ever connect himself with an isl. bred awkward, hump-backed girl.”—Exclamations and explanations, laughter and railleries, intermixed with more serious feelings, followed, but the result of all was that that that we were married.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk :
In some melodious plot
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
And purple stained mouth,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim: