Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The old man brooded in secret over the absence of Herbert; but pride forbade him to recall the outcast: the enjoyment which he had been accustomed to derive from his intercourse with his neighbours, was now replaced by the vulgar and servile flattery of menials; and the strong and highly-cultivated mind of the Earl rapidly decayed under their degrading influences. The affection and good temper of Arthur never diminished; but the impatience of his parent, and the unhappy condition of the boy, made communication between them difficult; and the presence of the dumb youth often served only to irritate LordMarlow, by recalling to him the misfortune of his family.

After some years, the Earl shut himself up almost entirely in his own chamber, and would scarcely ever consent to see his son. No one, except two or three favourite servants, could approach him without encountering an explosion of rage and disgust; and while he was indignant at the cessation of any attentions which he had before received, the most flattering civilities were repaid with anger and contempt.

He was seated one day in his cabinet, when an attendant informed him that a lady desired to see him. "I am too ill to see any one. I have nothing to do with ladies—tell her so, Martin; and let me hear no more of her." The servant returned in half an hour, looking confused and half-frightened. "What is the matter now? Are you determined to kill me?'' "My Lord, I am sorry to say that she will not go. She is a young lady, and looks like a person of distinction." "A person of distinction! Martin, you're a fool. Tell her I would not see her if she were Queen of England." "Yes,my Lord; but—but—but, my Lord—but—" "But what, you idiot? Am I to be persecuted in my own house by adventuring mantuamakers? What is the matter, I say? Tell me at once, or you and she shall leave the house together." "She gave me a look, my Lord, that I would not stand again for any thing. I am sure she is a person of high rank, and she is the most beautiful creature I ever saw; and she sits in the library as if she were at home, and told me to desire your Lordship to go down to her." The Earl was now nearly choking with rage. "She—she—she—she thinks herself at home, does she? And I am to go to her? Martin, we will see if I am master in my own house. Let me say three words to her; and then she may force herself on me again if she pleases. Wheel my chair opposite to the door; and show her up." "Yes, my Lord," and the valet departed on his errand, while the Earl wrapped his dressinggown about him, pulled down his velvet cap till it shaded his eyes, and compressed his exuberant fury till he had made his trembling features a " loft of stored thunder.''

In a few moments, Martin opened the door of the cabinet, while the lady advanced up the long gallery, and the Earl broke out at the top of his voice, " Martin, call the footman. We will see. So this is the strumpet." The lady moved forward with the utmost composure, and interrupted him by saying, while she threw aside her veil, " My Lord, I wished to save you the trouble of coming down to me; and, as you are an old friend, I have taken the liberty of waiting on you in your retirement. But you have not seen me since I was a child, and, perhaps, you do not remember me." Such was the lady's introduction of herself to the Earl of Marlow. Her splendid beauty and exquisite manners delighted the old man; and the intelligent and brilliant conversation from which he had debarred himself for several years, now visited him with tenfold grace from the lips of so accomplished a woman. She remained his guest, and she was the person Herbert had seen beside his father. Ere many months, she became the Countess of Marlow. The Earl daily declined in health, and was soon entirely confined to his chamber. The Countess was constantly by his side, and, as much as possible, excluded Arthur from attending his father. This continued long; and, at last, it was supposed that the Earl was near his end. Nothing was known of Lord Bellincourt, and he was commonly reported to be dead, and the dumb boy could be but little obstacle to any designs of the Count. But a rumour of his father's approaching decease reached Herbert in his retirement, and he revisited the park that surrounded his former home. He was wandering through the forest-paths, in hope of meeting some one from whom he might obtain more accurate information, when he perceived a stripling lying at the root of a large elm, which coveredhim with its shade. He recognized his brother, and approached him. The boy had loved him much; but he thought it unlikely thathe would discover the young nobleman in the simple peasant. He asked Arthur if he could tell him what wasthestate of Lord Marlow's health. The youth started at his voice, and, having looked at him keenly, turned away his eyes. He proceeded to act the feeble step and tremulous gestures of age, and then laid down his head as if on the pillow, closed his eyes, and groaned. He next mimicked the appearance and air of command of the Countess, and indicated how despotically she ruled the household, and how carefully she had kept him away from his father. But, as he explained by similar signs, he had, on the previous night, deceived her vigilance, and reached the bed-side of the patient. He then reverted to his representation of the Earl, and exhibited rapidly the interview between them; the affection of the old man for himself, his dread of his wife, and his fear of her intentions with regard to his helpless child. After this, the boy gave another anxious and searching look at the face of Herbert, and drew from his bosom a small miniature of him which Lord Bellincourt well remembered. With the aid of this, Arthur displayed his father's confession of penitence for his conduct towards his elder son, his earnest and almost desperate longing to see him once more before he should die, and his resolution to reinstate him, if possible, in his rights, and to secure them both from the machinations of the Countess, by giving into the hands of Herbert the papers, in the destruction of which consisted her only chance of success.

The elder brother took off the hat which concealed his brow, and pressed the dumb boy to his breast. He then, without waiting to change his dress, proceeded to the abode of his ancestors. The increasing danger of the Earl had thrown the house into confusion, and Lord Bellincourt, though in his peasant garb, made his way without difficulty by the assistance of his brother, to the antichamber of the room in which his father lay. Here the servants attempted to withstand him; but on telling them who he was, and his being recognised by an old female who had taken care of his childhood, they fell back, and he was close to the door when it was opened from within, and he was met by the Countess.

In the first moments of her surprise, she exclaimed, "Lord Bellincourt!" and at the same instant he uttered the name "Louisa Clifford."

"The Countess of Marlow, Sir," she answered, and would have opposed his advance; but the old man had heard the voice of his son, and she was startled by hearing the dying patient exclaim in loud and earnest tones, " My son, my son! Thank God you are returned at last!" Herbert rushed to his father, who wept and sobbed upon his neck; and, when he had given him the key of the strong-box that held the most valuable of the family papers, he blessed him and his brother, and, without naming the Countess, fell back and expired.

AtUenaum.

A NEW ENGLISH BALLAD.

It was merry once in England, Many years ago,
Before all this ill-blood was bred Betwixt the high and low;Was room enough to live and die For every sort of men:It was merry of old in England— Shall it never be so again?

There were none too many to plough then,
There were none too many to sow;And every man that would work,
Had work enough to do;
Was beef enough and beer enough
For every person then: It was merry of old in England—
Shall it never be so again?

English then were cheerful men, As cheerful might they be,
And took t b.-n- fill with right good will,

Of love and jollity;
Wives were thought the better of

For bearing children then:
'Till some of us are dead, I think,

It will not be so again.

Our fathers paid their own debts, And none beside their own,
Nor ever left the children's sweat In pledge for any loan;
Thpy never dream'd of taxes To raise the price of grain,
But bought their bread at market-price— Shall it never be so again?

You know the rare old song, Sirs,
They sang of Robin Hood, And many a jolly yeoman
That hunted in Sherwood;In spite of baron, earl, or king,
Those men were all free men;And merry it was in the green forest—
Shall it never be so again?

Stand to it, noble English,

And look you round about,
And have your hearts and hands ready

To keep your enemies out;
No battle yet for freedom,

Was ever fought in vain,
In the bosom of merry England,

Nor shall it be again.

Be mindful what your fathers did,

Be steady of cheer, and bold,
For you and yours shall live yet

Like Englishmen of old;
There's air, earth, water, and fire yet,

There's flesh, and blood, and brain;
It was merry of old in England—

And it shall be so again!

Examiner {May, 18321 STORY OF A MONEY MAKER.*

I Was born of poor, but respectable parents. Before I knew any thing not to forget it again, my father died; he left my mother, and myself, his only child, an honest name, but not a farthing to bless our wits. An honest character is a good thing; during life one is respected for it, and after death one may chance to get a good epitaph, but honest poverty will neither feed, clothe, nor warm poor human nature. In a garret room, in a certain street in the city of G * * *, dwelt my much loved widowed mother; poverty then troubled not me—I knew not the value of wealth. I had never rioted in luxury, and the homeliest fare was dainties to me, so that I got enough to satisfy the cravings of my appetite. I loved my mother dearly and sincerely; humble as was her station in life, I drew from her my being, and I looked up to her as the very acme of perfection. She was indeed a kind mother. She toiled early and late, "ca'in' pirns" for a weaver, a distant relation of the family, and out of the small pittance of two shillings and sixpence, the extent of her weekly earnings, she contrived to feed and clothe me comfortably. When I reached my eighth year, she managed to send me to school, where I learned the alphabet, and also to make certain hooks and hangers, which my over-fond mother dignified with the name of writing. After I had been nearly a year at school, I could read a chapter in the bible (my usual custom on Sunday evenings) without spelling more than three words out of five, and skipping only certain " kittle names," which were utterly beyond my comprehension. My mother now considered me a prodigy of learning, and consulting with her weaver relation, it was wisely determined, that I should be settled in the world, that is, I should fix upon my future occupation in life: the weaver very condescendingly offered to take me as an apprentice, and teach me the mysteries of "warp and waft"—this I instantly refused, to the no small astonishment of the weaver, who looked upon his calling as one of surpassing dignity. Various other mechanical occupations were proposed to me, all of which I indignantly refused to engage in:—at length the question was put to me blunt ly—" What div' ye want to do, callan?" to which I proudly answered—"I'll see to that mysel." This answer astonished both my mother and her weaver relation—but as I was a smart lad for my age, then somewhere about ten years old—their wonder soon ceased, for one morning going out apparelled in my Sunday claes, I per

*From 'Tales and Sketches, by a Cosmopolite. New York, 1830.' 12mo. This work is by Mr James I-awsou, a gentleman originally belonging to Glasgow.

« AnteriorContinuar »