Imágenes de páginas

them had a doubt of it. One evening, the brother, as he paid his stolen visit, was not in the least surprised to hear they were married —why should he? And he wished them joy, and embraced Gaetano, and kissed the hand of his sister-bride, with a happiness almost equal to their own.

There was a good opportunity for opening a snuff-shop at Pescia, so the young couple resolved to fix themselves there. The aunt, and all the stock in trade, were removed from Pisa in the same cart to the new shop. Gaetano was presently initiated into the mysteries of weights and scales and canisters, delighted with his industry as his wife stood by his side. Yet at times a pang came across him as he thought of his father. At the end of six months a priest called, and said his genitore had forgiven him. This was merely effected by the horrors of his faith; and, therefore, the greatest bigot could have received but little comfort from it. In fact, he did no more than forgive him as a Christian; with this proviso, that he would never see him or leave him a farthing. Soon after this the old man died. Immediately the brother offered to divide the property; and upon his repeated entreaties, Gaetano did receive a part. "I cannot take half," said he, " because you, with a large house and no shop, are a poorer man than I am."

The aunt is more demure than ever. There are so many stories abroad of the infamy of an Ulustrissimo becoming a shopkeeper, and of a respectable girl, marrying a convict, that she is nervous. She goes about protesting she had no hand in the matter, that nothing of the kind ever entered her head, and thus gets suspected, most undeservedly, as a sly, good-for-nothing, wicked woman.

True love, they say, must be "itself alone," not the offspring of any other passion; and that affection springing from gratitude or pity is by no means love; with many more wise sayings, which I forget. To all this I have nothing to reply,—I only refer such dogmatizers to the principal snuff-shop in Pescia. Gaetano and Nina have now three children. The youngest is the most beautiful infant I ever saw, "especially at the mother's breast;" mind, reader, these are the husband's own words, and you are not to make me accountable for so dainty an observation.

Leigh Hum-.


O Reader! hast thou ever stood to see

The holly tree 'r
The eye that contemplates it well perceives

Its glossy leaves
Order'd by an intelligence so wise,
As might confound the Atheist's sophistries.

Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen

Wrinkled and keen;
No grazing cattle through their prickly round

Can reach to wound;
But as they grow where nothing is to fear,
Smooth and unarm'd the pointless leaves appear.

I love to view these things with curious eyes,

And moralize:
And in this wisdom of the holly tree

Can emblems see
Wherewith perchance to make a pleasant rhyme,
One which may profit in the after time.

Thus, though abroad perchance I might appear

Harsh and austere,
To those who on my leisure would intrude

Reserved and rude,
Gentle at home amid my friends I'd be,
Like the high leaves upon the holly tree.

And should my youth, as youth is apt I know.

Some harshness show,
All vain asperities I day by day

Would wear away,
Till the smooth temper of my age should be
fc Like the high leaves upon the holly tree.

And as, when all the summer trees are seen

So bright and green,
The holly leaves their fadeless hues display
Less bright than they;
But when the bare and wintry woods we see, What then so cheerful as the holly tree t

So serious should my youth appear among

The thoughtless throng,
So would I seem amid the young and gay

More grave than they,
That in my age as cheerful I might be
As the green winter of the hotiy tree,


Miseries of a handsome man! Young ladies will smile and old men look incredulous at this declaration, but let not either of those classes deem me an object of envy ;<—far from it. Little do they imagine how I am led to reproach my beautiful mouth, to look daggersat my brilliant eyes, todevote each particular feature to the most particularly unpleasant fate that ever unhappy beauty endured. How often do I envy the peaceful state of mind which they whoare called "ordinary people," they who have every thing "in common" are destined to enjoy—they whose noses luxuriate in such an insignificancy of snub as never to have excited the impertinent attacks either of admiration or of envy—whose eyes nobody knows the colour of— whose height is five feet something—in short, whose whole personal attributes are framed with such attention to the golden mean as never to have attracted attention. Perhaps my readers may smile at this— they will not understand the nature of my miseries—let them listen.

My infancy was my golden age ., mountains of sugar plums, oceans of jellies, torrents of kisses, were the rewards I received for being born a beauty. Oh, that I could have always continued six years old! But the scene soon changed, the firsthint I received that life was in future to consist of something else than comfits and kisses, was from my father, who told my mother in my presence, that the boy's pretty face was likely to make him a pretty fool. From that time my fate darkened. I was sent to school, where the boys called me Polly, and the master told me with a jeer, when his infernal cane was on my back, not to spoil my pretty face with crying. Some of the bigger ruffians would absolutely squirt ink on my face, and tell me they were beauty spots ;—a thousand indignities of this sort were my unfortunate lot. When I left school the prospect brightened a little; I was yet too young to be an object of fear to mammas or curiosity to daughters. My prettiness was as yet thought amusing; nay, so innocent was its nature at that time, that a maiden lady, verging towards what is emphatically called a certain age, who had taken a fancy to portrait painting, actually desired me to sit to her, my face was so like the Apollo's. I never sat but once, and after some time I learned that the old cat had remarked, that whatever likeness the rest of my face might bear to the Apollo, my eyes were unquestionably full of the devil! That remark clung to me for years after. I never got the better of it. For a year or two, however, I may be said to have enjoyed my existence; but " a change came o'er the spirit of my dream."

It was discovered that I was vain,—" all handsome people are vain, * From " Every Man's Paper Buok."

you know—and then to see how the creature walks, one can tell that he fancies all the world admire him." It was to no purpose changing my walk; if I walked upright,itwas pride—if negligently, it was affectation. I cut my chin unfortunately with a razor, and then —the criticisms that were showered on the unfortunate bit of court plaister, It was necessary to strip off the plaister twenty times a day to satisfy every aunt and cousin and female friend, that it was a real wound, and not intended as a beauty spot Not a coat could I wear, but it was said to have employed half a dozen men in making, and as many more in altering—a report was spread abroad that a tailor was one whole night and day locked up in my room, and myself with him, altering a coat in which 1 was to appear at a ball that evening. Then the observations—" It really was ridiculous for a good-looking young man to be so puppyish; it would be excusable in an ugly one." Any thing to please. I changed my plan and appeared a sloven,—hat unbrushed, clothes awkwardly arranged, neckcloth vilely tied—worse and worse The battery changed its fire, but was as murderous as ever—" cleanliness and attention to dress are the bounden duty of all young persons, no personal graces can excuse inattention to these essentials,"—that was my old aunt. "Wellnow really,' Harry, this is too bad, we, you know, have admired your face long enough, and are not so afraid of its powerful influence as to desire you to disguise youiself in that horrid dress—it is really shocking," —that was my young cousin. "Have you seen that piece of vanity, Mr—, lately? He imagines because he has the handsomest face of any person we know, he is entitled to be the most vilely dressed —the brute!"—that was every body.

I grew up to man's estate, the plot against me thickened; the world seemed one great critic, who had nothing to do but to write articles upon beauty and vanity, and garde-a-vous young maidens. Mothers now began to gather together their daughters behind the folds of their gigot sleeves, whenever I made my appearance. The society of the young, I was debarred from, and none but the old and ugly were left me. Then—the scandalous reports that were circulated about my habits. One said, he or she (I forget which), had heard that I slept with my whiskers in curl papers, another that I was three hours and twenty-five minutes tying my cravat, and that I spoiled several dozen during the operation; another that I had been heard to say that I would make love to any ten women in one day, and make them promise to marry me the next; " he must be immoral, he is so handsome, and then the women do spoil those mer creatures so, when they are at all good-looking; for my part, I detest men:" that was Miss Juliana Scraggneck; and she certainly ought to have had good reason for her detestation, for no one ever looked at me more than herself. The worst of all this was, that the pretty creatures themselves believed all that was told them—" this was the unkindest cut of all." I could have borne all the criticisms and espionage of the antiquated Hecates, and gloried in the idea of revenging myself, by making a conquest of some blooming young creature but this was denied me; I was the object of universal fear. Elder sisters would tell their younger sisters to "keep close," to them, when I entered a room, and would acquire a reputation for courage by venturing to answer my questions. I was peeped at over fans, and viewed through door chinks. I was treated, in fact, as a monster. I verily believe, to have been seen alone with me, would have ruined a girl's reputation; however, they gave me but little chance.

I grew melancholy, misanthropic; I likened myself to the wandering jew, to the last man—life is a burthen to them, beauty to me. I lost my spirits and forsook society,—more libels. "Ah, I knew it would come to this; I said he would repent of his sins at last; well, let him be miserable, it may be some consolation to the many whose hearts he has broken." This was said of me—of me, who nevei would have dreamed that women had any hearts at all, or if they had, I might have supposed them made of adamant, so little were they ever softened by words or deeds of mine. Have they any hearts? the tigresses. But it was plain that whatever plan I might choose to adopt, I should be subject to the like attacks. It was the fable of the miller and his donkey; nothing would please: but, alas! the likeness reaches no farther,—the miller sold his donkey, my beauty could not be sold.

My friend George Singleton married. Now, thought I, there is a retreat for me, in his domestic circle, there I may be happy; my friend will make one woman reasonable; she will admit me, perhaps even she will induce others of her sex to take pity on me. Vain hopes, foolish anticipations! The very first visit 1 paid them, George looked uneasy, shifted his chair, made signs to his wife (1 saw it all, miserable wretch that I am, suffering has made my senses acute), till at last his wife quitted the presence, under the plea of a violent head-ache (I never saw a woman look better in my life), while he was so confoundedly civil, that I made my retreat, as soon as possible. I saw it all, but it was too good a chance to be given up. I called again—the dose was repeated, and the eternal head-ache again sent her off. 1 reproached him with want of confidence, and he replied with the most provoking candour, "why, my dear fellow, I really am as proud of your acquaintance as ever, but you see I am married, and you are aware that you—you—" he began to stammer, but I cut him short, what was the good of listening to what I knew beforehand; he was afraid to trust me with his wife.

« AnteriorContinuar »