« PredošláPokračovať »
House, Miss Avondale, who had not of course given up her intimacy with Lady Harriet; but she too was changed.
She now reminded him of what he had but a faint recollection, the cold, the distant being he had first met at Eglinton: her playfulness, her animation had left her; she seemed to have become an automaton, and every body was struck with the remarkable change that had taken place in the lady, whose vivacity had but lately been the cause of mirth, of gaity, and of joy.
Neither Vivian, nor Walsingham, nor Sir George Burrell flitted around her. Certainly she received Lord Delaware, or he hoped so, with more appearance of esteem than formerly; and if she joined at all in conversation he was the person whom she seemed to select with most pleasure. In a few days Charles Aubrey was to become the husband of her mother-in-law, who had secured to herself, as she had imagined, honour and title, with a man who was likely to make her happy; but rank was now become her sole object, and it was fully understood that shortly after the marriage her lord and master was to be elevated to the peerage.
Lady Mary was constant in her endeavours to change her son's opinions, and to induce him to marry Miss Mortimer, who had, in her eyes, the greatest worldly perfections, without having either beauty or temper, which she considered as of very little consequence to a man of the world. She was presumptive heiress to an immense fortune : her connexions were the first in the country, and of course the being whom she might consider worthy her hand might command rank or title. Of beauty she could not boast, it was true: she was very diminutive, had the lightest possible coloured hair and eyes, skin perfectly fair, and really might at the first moment have been supposed to be an Albino.
She laid claim to the softest, the mildest of tempers : and no one dared doubt the fact, for the slightest contradiction awoke a hurricane of storm's She appeared to all, sweet, soft, sentimental. The Lydia Languish was the character she had always been accustomed to assume, but sometimes a sirocco, as unexpected as fatal, would spring up, and overthrow all before it. She was generally attended by a young lady who was intended for a foil, a friend, and flatterer: her pedigree was Scotch, and from the Macsycophants she was lineally descended. She was indeed a bad sort of Caledonian, engrafted on the least promising stock of English trees. She was tremendously tall, so as sometimes to be mistaken, particularly as she was thin and wore high feathers, for a fir tree that had not attained its full growth : her cheek bones were high, and the flesh that covered them resembled the undressed outside of a beef-steak: her large grey eyes could pierce an oak door at some feet distance : her nose was hooked, her lips were blue, and her teeth were like the broken black glass on a stone wall, jagged and irregular. Her
sole occupation in life, was to inform Miss Mortimer she was handsome, occasionally to remind her of it, and praise or abuse every other person, as occasion might require-in fact, she was ready to secure favor by any means, had not Miss Mortimer too much pride to listen to her, at any moment, but that at which some effect was to be produced.
They were inseparable companions, and they were sometimes anxious to be thought friends. Miss Young, who never ventured on any taste of her own, generally imitated every thing that was done, said, or even worn by her protectress, and as neither height nor complexion had the slightest resemblance, motion, and every particle of dress appeared a caricature of the young heiress. When with an amiable, languishing tone, eyes raised in an imploring elevation, a voice soft and smooth, Miss Mortimer ventured to implore admiration from any passing object, a drawling, sonorous, guttural, provincial hoarseness was always heard, and a pursing of brows, with a mouth spread from ear to ear, as if in defiance of a smile, might be observed in Miss Young, who vainly wished to imitate.
These young ladies were in general attended by a respectable looking, spectacle-wearing, middle aged gentleman, and that but he never failed to wear a red ribbon and a star, might have been supposed to be some retired tradesman, who having amassed by industry and attention a tolerable sum of money, had determined to spend his days in ease and quiet. For his look bespoke the parsimonious citizen. There was an air of thrift and cleanliness that were by no means disagreeable. His hair, which was on the point of acquiring the grey appearance of antiquity, was smoothly combed, and a little powder sprinkled, but that was sparely done : his coat and waistcoat, made after the fashion of thirty years before, were neatly brushed and nicely kept, but they did not look much younger than the person who covered his valuable frame with them.
He was a follower of Miss Mortimer, who for many reasons had no objection to him, and one thing in his favor was the diminutive appearance and smallness of person; but this he attempted to conceal by a stiff
, upright, solemn way of carrying himself. He stretched his short neck, and elevated himself as high in the world as he could, that he might supersede the determination nature had formed, that Lord Egremont should be a short man; but nothing could diminish his ideas of his own importance. The slow, the grave, the dignified way in which he attempted to express the few ideas his mind was capable of carrying, produced an effect ludicrous in the extreme. He paused, he hemmed, he began to speak, then paused to think, before he permitted a single syllable to escape from him; and then the views he disclosed were such as to prevent any future wish of a listener to put him again to the trouble of exerting his mental faculties.
Yet there was one subject on which he was most eloquent, and which never failed to be repeated often in the course of each day. He had unexpectedly attained the title, and had been educated for the bar, at which he sometimes had practised; he spoke, but was never listened to: he at first by great interest among the attorneys, and by the happy art known to some, secured some briefs, but had unfortunately failed in all till on one great occasion, when the case was so extraordinarily clear, that no one but a nian of genius could have missed his way or lost his cause, on this occasion, to the astonishment of every one and his own utter amazement, he contrived to be successful, and had never lost sight for one day of the glorious result of his elocution and his masterly acquaintance with the laws of his native land: it was a theme of endless self-respect.
The formal, cold, and quiet habits he had always pursued, were the result of the peculiar formation of his mind: he was always afraid of being led into expence, though his fortune quite unexpectedly devolved upon him. He was penurious to the most extraordinary degree: a new hat, or coat, or dress of any kind had long been unknown to him; the luxuries of a splendid house and table he indulged himself not in; a carriage he had long disused; and as for servants, he had but one, who had been a clerk in his office in former days, and to him he gave more than to any other person, and upon his fidelity he had every reason to rely.
Lord Egremont had determined to marry; and as he was unwilling to throw his amiable person away, he had determined only to marry where there was wealth and good connection. He was aware that a thrifty and parsimonious man was not likely to attain this object, as he knew such characters were not in favour with the fair sovereigns of the lords of the world, and he constantly took care to insinuate his only reason at present for not spending that which kind fortune had given him, was that he had rather his wife should enjoy the gratification than himself; and this was another subject that afforded him an opportunity of displaying his wonderful talent for conversation.
He had fixed his large grey eyes upon the lanquishing, light blue twinklers of Miss Mortimer; he fancied she was not indifferent to him: he had followed her about, and by dint of perseverance had gained, through her uncle, the Order of the Bath, which only served as an increase to his appetite. He foresaw, for the starch little lawyer was not sunk in the nobleman, that her title deeds would be many and large, that his fees would be doubled, and that he would be enabled to roll in wealth, if he could but succeed in his ambitious views; and he flattered himself upon his political powers as well as upon his legal knowledge, which might yet lead him to attain the highest honour.
These three people were very much together, and Lord Egremont was very anxious to secure the kind attentions and interest
of Miss Young in his behalf. He was aware that much would depend upon the way in which she spoke of him.
in which she spoke of him. He had long determined to secure her kindness. He thought often of making her a present of some little mark of his friendship; a diamond ring, a necklace, or a watch, often crossed his thoughts, and as often the image of such trinkets was driven away, by the remembrance that bank notes would be inevitably spent on such a deed, and the idea was as instantly abandoned.
One morning, in Dover Street, he thought he had found an opportunity, whilst Cleveland was playing a game of chess with Miss Mortimer, of discovering the readiest way of securing the friendship of the brawny companion of this delicate piece of sensibility. He commenced his attack, after taking out a coat brush from his large pocket, where were to be found a vast number of useful domestic utensils, and gently brushing a little bit of dirt that had unfortunately stuck to his coat during his walk, looking with an air of consummate importance, “Your friend,” said he, “ has the same reliance upon you, that my client, Davison, in the celebrated trial for sheep stealing, had in me.” The Lady looked sweet, and said, “ The word confidence, my Lord, might well be exchanged for friendship; our hearts beat in unison; she is an angel of light, and I love to resemble her in all her paths.”
(To be continued.)
'Tis my Jessy, makes captive the soul
And awakes the subordinate sigh, By the glances that playfully roll
As they beam from her beautiful eye.
Tho' the rose on her cheek is display'd,
Tho' her form with the graces may vie, 'Tis her heart that 's so sweetly display'd
By the beam of her beautiful eye.
'Tis the charm that can captivate youth,
That can age and its wrinkles defy ; For there 's nothing but virtue and truth
That can beam from her beautiful eye.
TALES OF THE PARISH WAKE.
THE WAKE (CONTINUED.)
Tim advanced into the room with a jug of whiskey in one hand, and a wine glass in the other. He poured out the first libation for Misthress Delany. The midwife rose and received the glass with a curtsey, and having wiped her mouth in the corner of her apron, she addressed Tim, the company observing a respectable silence.
“Misther Doolan, honey, here's many and many a happy day to you—and that you may never want the bit or the sup to put in your own lips, I beg of his marcy to night; for good you ever and always wor to do that same; and God presarve you
in health and strength to the wife and childhre' at home, for a likely family they are, and handsome into the bargain, God for ever bless them.”
Tim made a comical bow in response, and the midwife, turning to the corpse, apostrophised it thus:
"You're gone Poll, avich-ma-chree! you're gone for ever and ever to all eternity—amen. Ah! then Poll, it's many and many is the times upon times we had the merrymakin' and the laughin' and talkin' together, and the glass too asthore, and sorry I am to the back bone you're cowld and stiff this blessed night;-but at the same time, sence the Lord in his marcy is plazed to summon you away afore 'twas convenient, glad I am to behould gentle and semple flockin' to pay respects to you; and the neighbours all puttin' their right füts foremust to thry and endevver who'll show you the greatest honor and—and—dacency ;-and that God in his divine marcy 'ill forget and forgive you your sins, for there's nobody without them, high or low, and take pity on you afore his shuprame throne this blessed and holy night, I beg and
pray from the bottom of my very heart and sowl; ” and so saying, she applied her lips to the drink, and before
you John Robinson, Esquire,' the glass had cut a semicircle in the air, and every drop disappeared as the tip of her nose came in a line with the zenith.
In short, Tim fill’d the glass successively for each of the four crones, and then began to serve the boys and girls in rotation; which having finish’d, he was about proceeding to some other ceremony, when he was interrupted by the sudden and abrupt entrance of a very extraordinary looking personage, who bounded into the middle of the room like a frog, and without deigning to notice any one, began to twirl himself round like a dervish,