Belgravia, Volume 20 (Google Books)

IMAGINARY LONDON

§. ijtlusibe girtttorji

BY GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA

XIV. Tribulation-villas And Unsubstantial-grove, N.N.W.

Pray observe the point of the compass denoting the postal district in which the localities of which I propose to treat in this present paper are situated. That point is nor’-nor’-west, and if you add thereto by south, with a slight inflection towards the east, my purpose will be served, although he who is accustomed to con the shipman’s card in a rational manner may be puzzled. My aim, as regards the points of the compass, is mystification. I am particularly anxious that you should not know where Tribulation-villas and Unsubstantialgrove are really to be found; for I have lived in the first, and I still continue to reside in the second, and I don’t wish anybody to call on me. Why on earth should they? I never call on anybody. I never answer letters, when I can help it; yet people persist in calling and in writing.

There are the visitors hitherto totally unknown to you, and who come unprovided with any introduction save a statement of their own (entirely lacking confirmation), that they knew your grandmother, and that moreover they remembered you when you were a little boy in a frill, with blue eyes and auburn hair curling beautifully. You may happen to be as swarthy as General Othello, and, so far as you are aware, you may never have had a grandmother; but, granting your possession and your remembrance of such a relative, and that your visitor knew her—what then? My own grandmother has been dead these fifty years: why should a person, who puts his hat under the chair when (very reluctantly) I ask him to take a chair, and who brings with him into the room a faint but unmistakable odour of cold rum-and-water, make his acquaintance with my relative the plea for the request for a loan of seven shillings and sixpence, to be repaid punctually next Tuesday morning; and why, when I refuse to advance the desiderated three half-crowns, or any smaller amount (for the man who knew your grandmother is a most accommodating soul, and will descend so low as the ridiculous sum of one shilling), should my visitor, as he shambles out of the apartment, while I follow him into the hall, keeping as sharp a look-out as I am able on the hats and umbrellas, murmur between his teeth that the world has used him very harshly, that he should never have expected this from me, and that calmer reflection will teach me that my grandmother would never have treated a reduced gentleman in such a manner? I think my grandmother, who, I have been given to understand, was a woman of spirit, would have rung the bell for her black footman (it is always safe to brag of the grandeur of your family in bygone days; and who can prove that my grandmother hadn’t a black footman, and a coachman to boot?) to turn the reduced gentleman out of doors.

If you happen to see my name in the Court Guide or the Postoffice London Directory, with such or such an address affixed to it, don’t imagine for a moment that I live there. I don’t want you to call, whether you knew my grandmother or not. I am not in the least ambitious to receive post-cards containing the price-list of Messrs. Fouzel and Elderberry’s favourite wines, or an envelope full of little scraps of coloured stuff as samples of Messrs. Counter and Jumper’s newest spring fashions. I am not in the least interested in the report drawn up by the Reverend Mordecai MacCadger of the statistics of destitution in the parish of St. Sgybobbs-the-Martyr, with an (unstamped) envelope addressed to that reverend gentleman, and a neatly-printed form to be filled up with the amounts of my various anticipated donations to the Ragged School, the Blanket Society, the Coal and Coke Union, the Pickled-onions Club, the Young Men’s Association, and the Mothers’ Scanmag Meeting of Sti Sgybobbs parish. I have nothing to do with the Cosmogonic Bank, or the Garotters’ Mutual Assurance and Investment Society, or the Indian Archipelago Preserved Cats’-meat Company, Limited; nor am I desirous that the prospectuses of those doubtless flourishing, but to me indifferent, enterprises should cram my waste-paper basket. Yet to these, and hundreds of missives of a similar nature, you must needs be a victim, if you are foolish enough to have a local habitation and a name given to you in the greater or the lesser red-books. Auctioneers send you catalogues of sales which you have not the remotest idea of attending; booksellers pester you with lists of works you don’t wish to read, or copies of which are already on your shelves; ‘an admirer of literature’ writes from the Land’s End to ask you for your autograph; and ‘Euphrasta’ sends you six closely-written pages of mad poetry from the Giant’s Causeway, which (the verses, not the Causeway) she requests you to insert in the next number of the magazine of which you are no more the editor than you are an Elder Brother of the Trinity House. I say nothing of one’s legitimate friends, acquaintances, and duns; I say nothing of the scoundrels who send you anonymous letters. The circulars and the prospectuses are in themselves more than sufficient to drive the man who loves peace and quiet to live nowhere, or, at least, in so very imaginary a district of Imaginary London as that which comprises Tribulationvillas and Unsubstantial-grove.

I occupied apartments in the villas for nearly nine months, and I am delighted to think that not more than nine people, out of three millions and odd Londoners, were aware that I was a denizen of the tenements of Tribulation. I know that ‘too partial friends’ have followed me home; that traps have been set and espials made for me; that designing men have even paid for hansom cabs for me late at night, stating that they would drop me at my ‘crib.’ Ha, ha! They would have liked to know where the crib was. It was nowhere. ‘We are all going to the deuce,’ cried the dissipated student to Quevedo. ‘You are at the deuce already,’ answered the cynic. So was it with Tribulation-villas. While the vain and the unthinking volunteered to accompany me thither, I was there; for Tribulationvillas were in my own brain. They were imaginary, and nowhere.

Picture to yourself a broad, shabby-genteel suburban street, an omnibus route, but in which the appearance of a brougham was a rare occurrence indeed. This was Great Botherum-street. It was lined with multitudinous blocks of villas, interspersed with groups of shops, mainly public-houses, greengrocers’, butchers’, and newsvendors’. In all my experience I never abode in a community so much addicted to sending out, at all hours of the day and night, for pints of mild ale (in the jug), summer cabbages, scrags of mutton, and penny newspapers, as were the inhabitants of Great Botherumstreet and its many villas: among which last I remember Tribulation (mine own), Embarrassment, Deficiency, and Confusion. I think, too, there was a row of houses called Destitution-villas, high up towards the station of the Nor’-nor’-east Hopeless Junction Railway, but of this fact I am not quite certain.

Stay! commercial and architectural importance was given to Great Botherum-street by Keys and Peddles’ pianoforte manufactory —a commanding building, one wing of which abutted on Tribulationvillas. I am not aware whether it is a mechanical possibility to make second-hand pianofortes at the commencement of their manufacture; still I never saw an instrument come out of Keys and Peddles’ that had not a second-hand look. Several rather pretty girls in the district used to be pointed out to me as ‘silkers’ for Keys and Peddles’ ‘cottages’ and ‘cabinets’ and ‘upright grands;’ and by the process of ‘ silking’ I understood that process of fluting the crimson veil which hides the front of the upright pianoforte above the keys from the eyes of the profane vulgar. I always had an insane desire to know what there was behind that cosy fluted screen. Catgut, I suppose, or wire, or washleather, or something of that kind: but to me it has been an act-drop, and I have loved to fancy a number of small fantoccini or marionettes behind it, ready to come forward when the curtain rose, and dance to the movement of the keys and pedals. Absurd as is the notion, is it a very unnatural one? When you were a child, did you not cut open the bellows and punch a hole in your drum? and what solemn joy did you not feel in finding the back of the parchment inscribed with legends about ‘This Indenture’ witnessing, of whose nature you had not the remotest idea? To this day the *sheepskin dram-head has wellnigh as great an attraction as the silken pianoforte screen. It is but human nature. Don’t you want to know what there is inside the dome of St. Paul’s, behind that gate in the wall of Northumberland House, or in the centre of the huge gas reservoir at Blackfriars? In the last-named instance, reason should teach you that the receptacle contains gas; but fancy whispers to you that there may be something else there—spirits of the gas, or, perchance, elves of carburetted hydrogen. Are there not spirits of the lamp and gnomes of the gold mine?

A good many employes of Keys and Peddles’ lived in the lodgings in which Tribulation-villas were let out. The general report concerning these artisans was, that they could all earn wages of fiftyfive shillings a week, all the year round, and that they were all on the road to rain owing to ‘the drink.’ I never saw or heard any of them in a state of inebriety; but I suppose that they confined their bibulous practices to the domestic hearth, and that they were the customers who were continually sending out to the public-houses for pots of mild ale. Who the particular firm of Beer Kings may have been who brewed for the taverns of Great Botherum-street, I know not; but the stock always on hand of fourpenny ale was, to all appearance, enormous. What connection can there be between pianoforte-making and mild ale? Apart from Messrs. Keys and Peddles’ workpeople, the art musical was rather strongly represented in Tribulation and the cognate villas by a goodly number of pianoforte-tuners: meek, inoffensive people mostly, whose odd existence was spent in wandering up and down London, setting other people’s property to rights. I knew one of these tuners, Mr. Coop, very well:—a small, lithe, reedy man verging on sixty years, and who would have been silvery gray years before, if the persistent flaxen of his locks would have permitted him to take that liberty. He was one of those people who never perceptibly age till all at once they become superannuated. Until three-score or so they are boys; presto! of a sudden they are patriarchs. Coop had a small round pippin-like face, with very rosy cheeks and smiling lips, but the sweetness of his smile was marred somewhat by the fact of his having scarcely any teeth. His eyes should have been bright blue; but they were of that vacant, cheerless cerulean hue that is worn by the sky before the sun rises. There was no sun, there was no moon, in his firmament, poor fellow. There was total eclipse. Mr. Coop was blind. He had been brought up in one of the admirable asylums designed for the relief of the sufferers from one of the most awful afflictions with which the Almighty has visited his creatures, and had learned to weave baskets and mats, and all kinds of pretty nicknacks, and to read very deftly

with his fingers from embossed type. But these accomplishments, alas, are mastered by most blind folks, and when poor Coop left the asylum, there seemed a sad likelihood, in default of customers to purchase rice-straw baskets and particoloured mats, of his descending to the stage of a street-corner, and a dog with a string, and a tray in his mouth. He was fortunately saved from this, and the indignity of a placard with ‘Poor blind’ inscribed on his breast, by the kindness of a lady whose common sense happened to be in proportion—a very rare occurrence—to her charity. Coop had a taste for music: a faculty very-often and mercifully developed among the blind. He tried to obtain an engagement as an organist; but hislungs were weak, and the atmosphere of the chapel where he did manage to get temporary employment made him ill. Then his patroness, who was one of the congregation of the chapel, took him in hand, and had him taught pianoforte-tuning; and as a tuner he now does remarkably well, earning, perhaps, bon an, mal an, a couple of pounds a week. He is a very cheerful and resigned little man, and a confirmed bachelor: the last fact he accounts for by the difficulty of finding a ‘ dark’ or blind lady who would marry him. For my part, I think there are a good many young ladies, both ‘darkr and ‘fair’—I allude to their complexions—who would be very glad to wed the harmless pianoforte-tuner if he put the momentous question to them; but perhaps he is difficult to please; and, all things considered, perhaps the blind are best alone. ‘I love Spain,’ said John Hookham Frere, referring to the dehesas y despoblados of that half-desert but delicious land, ‘because God has got so much land there in his own holding.’ Thus is it with the desolation of blindness. There is nothing between you and Providence. You are in His hand; and with the eyes of your soul, which no blindness can obscure, you look to Him in cheerful submission for help. Man can do little for you; and a dog will render you more service than a duke can do. Let us pity the poor blind with all our hearts; but at the same time let us be thankful to remember the capital animal spirits with which the majority of those deprived of sight are blessed, and how very seldom they tumble down-stairs and break their bones. Fortunately the tuners did not exercise their useful but cacophonous vocation in Tribulation-villas; but went farther a-field to screw up flaccid strings to concert pitch; and indeed, in vindication, perhaps, of the immutable principle that the cobbler’s children are always ill-shod, and that the maker of birchbrooms never whips his offspring, there was a singular absence of actual harmonic sounds in this neighbourhood, where so many people earned their livelihood by some business more or less connected with music. Besides the tuners, there were professors of the pianoforte and singing at the villas. On the Tribulatory floor above me lived a German who taught the French horn; yet I never heard him attempt the performance of a solo on that instrument. Monsieur Baragouin, dealer in musical boxes, iEolian harps, accordions, and cuckoo-clocks (from Geneva), lived next door to me; and over the way the front parlours were in the occupation of Mr. Scrotty, who provided quadrille bands for evening parties. Nay, at certain times of the day you might perceive, loftily pacing along Great Botherum-street on their way to the not very far off cavalry-barracks in Beau Nash-street, divers stalwart and moustached gentlemen in military uniform, who were said to be musicians in the Life Guards pink. They never brayed away at the trombones or banged at the kettledrums in Great Botherum-street. Nobody played upon the pianofortes, and the loudest sound proceeding from Messrs. Keys and Peddles’ factory was that of a circular-saw. The cry of a child ‘spanked’ at No. 1 Tribulation could be heard at 97 Embarrassment villas, many roods off. No organ-grinders ever came to the place to play, although, oddly enough, they often resorted to musical craftsmen in the villas to have the newest popular melodies ‘set’ on the brass combs and pegs of their instruments. But it was elsewhere that these brown foreigners resorted to drive peaceable people distracted with the strains of ‘ God bless the Prince of Wales,’ ‘Down among the coals,’ and ‘A starry night for a ramble.’ Once, and once only, a ‘Green Baize’ or German band strayed into Great Botherum-street, and, with their usual stolidly Teutonic conceit, nattered themselves with the hope of creating a remunerative impression by the performance of the overture to Der Freischiitz. The typical Hans Breitmann of the gang—he was the varlet who played the French horn—had the impudence to knock at No. 9 and ask for money. Little did he reck—the vain German —that another Hans Breitmann dwelt there. ‘Twas Hans the second himself who, in his shirt-sleeves, and with a big meerschaum pipe between his blonde-bearded lips, opened the door to the impertinent summoner. He did not even condescend to answer him in their mutual tongue. He merely observed, ‘Ve make French horn here, and you blay him tarn bad; go fay, you beest Garman!’ and so slammed the portal in his countryman’s face. What sublime contempt foreigners, away from their own land, have for their compatriots! Did you never hear Sambo rail at Quashee as a dam blaok nigger? and would you be surprised to hear Mr. Montmorency de Lypey, whose mamma still sells fried fish in Petticoat-lane, denounce Mr. Plantagenet Shobbers as a ‘confounded Jew’?

But what was there, it may be asked, of tribulation in these villas of mine. I don’t know how it was, but the whole neighbourhood always seemed to be in hopeless difficulties. There was always something wrong in everybody’s domestic affairs. Speaking personally, I may admit that I was myself under one of the awfullest (imaginary) clouds conceivable when I went to lodge in the villas. I knew that my landlady was in even direr straits, and I thank her kindly for her friendly hint, late one Saturday night, to the effect that she expected the brokers in, on a matter of three quarters’ rent, the first thing on Monday morning, thus giving me the opportunity—it was prior to the passing of the Lodgers’ Protection Act—of preserving from the clutches of the Sheriff of Middlesex a folio copy of Bayle’s Dictionary, a skeleton clock, a cruet-stand, and a bust of Garibaldi: chattels which I much prized. The process-servers and bailiffs of the District County Court were always hanging about Tribulation-villas, and there was always somebody being summoned or sold up. As quarter-day approached, there was always, some tenant of a villa who was found to take time by the forelock by shooting the moon—a suburban euphemism for running away, without paying your rent, in the middle of the night, and with as much furniture as you can persuade the friendly proprietor of a spring van to cram into his vehicle. Among the landladies of Tribulation-villas who did pay their rent it was the custom, enforced by bitter experience, to exact payment in advance from their weekly tenants, lest the lodgers, when they went out for a walk, should forget their way home again and never come back. The public-house at the corner, by the station of the Hopeless Junction Railway, might have gone by the sign of the Cave of Adullam, so constantly frequented was its darksome bar by those who were in debt and those who were discontented. Three successive station-masters of the Hopeless Junction did I know, and they all came to grief. Drink was the perdition of the first, debt of the next, and dominoes of the last. Among those ladies of Great Botherum-street who were not ‘silkers,’ milliners and dressmakers abounded; but they never seemed to make or to sell any dresses or any bonnets. They merely announced their intentions on tarnished brass plates screwed on to their area railings, and waited for customers who never came. The tradespeople were not often bankrupt—they were too poor for that, and bankruptcy is still an expensive luxury—they merely ‘rubbed on,’ and borrowed money at usurious interest, or, shutting up their shops in their despair, went off to Queensland or to the Diamond Diggings. At last I thought it was time for me to go too. I found that I was acquiring a lurking furtive manner; that I was shy of being looked at by strangers; and that I had dreams about the District County Court. I didn’t owe anybody money in the neighbourhood; but I felt that, as an inhabitant of Tribulation-villas, I must either get into debt at the chandler’s shop, or run up a score at the Cave of Adullam, or order a bonnet without having the means to pay for it, or do something or another to fall into difficulties, as my neighbours had fallen, or else go away. I elected to adopt the last-named course. I ducked under, far beneath the waves of the great ocean of London life. I abode for a time, under submarine circumstances, down below Nathaniel, many times full fathom five, down among the coral reefs and the cray-fish and the mermaids and the mermen, and I came up again at last in Unsubstantial-grove.

That is where I am staying now; but I beg you to bear in mind that I am positively going away next week, and that there is absolutely no use in calling upon me. I am never at home; I am out of town; I am ill. The smallpox and typhoid fever are always rife in this neighbourhood; and a notorious gang of garotters have their headquarters in Deadman’s-thicket at the bottom of the grove. For goodness-gracious sake, don’t come and see me, and don’t write, especially through the medium of a post-card. Besides, there isn’t such a place as Unsubstantial-grove at all. It is as imaginary as Utopia, or the New Atlantis, or the kingdom of Cockaigne. When I say that I am ‘staying’ in this shadowy place, I use the term in preference to saying that I ‘ live’ there, seeing that nobody lives, properly so speaking, in Unsubstantial-grove. Families come like shadows, and so depart; and from Christmas to Lady-day, from Midsummer to Michaelmas, there is but one continuous course of flitting. I scarcely know myself whether I came to sojourn in the grove the day before yesterday or twelve months ago. I mean—as I announced on a previous occasion — to depart immediately. My trunks are packed, my boat is on the shore, and my bark is on the sea; the butcher has been satisfied, the baker settled with; an arrangement has been made with the laundress, and the milkman (after much difficult and delicate negotiation) has listened to reason. Yet, perhaps, am I destined to linger among the Unsubstantials until I die. Who has not packed his trunk, and taken his ticket, and shaken hands all round, and made as though to depart, and yet has never gone away at all?

It cannot, however, be urged as an objection against the denizens of Unsubstantial-grove that they manifest any want of alacrity in striking their tents and removing their encampment elsewhere. I have had five sets of next-door neighbours on my right since I came into the grove. Neighbour the first was a lady; the widow, it was announced, of a colonel in India, with four tall daughters, all with taller chignons of golden auburn air, and who, from the sprigged-muslin dresses they wore in summer time, and their generally dimly-towering appearance, bore a not remote resemblance to a quartette of camelopards. Mrs. Colonel Giraffe was, on the other band, a little dark woman, with sparkling black eyes and thickly arched black eyebrows and dusky yet rich red lips, who was generally visible—when I caught sight of her in the back-garden—in a riding-habit. I could never discern that she took any more equestrian exercise than a Doge of Venice might have done; unless, indeed, she kept a Shetland pony in the cellar or a rocking-horse in the front parlour. I know she had a horsewhip, at least I fancy so from the sounds of some little implement I have heard through the thin partition wall, accompanied by sundry shrill yelps in the human voice. I imagine that she and the four tall daughters fell out sometimes, and that the cravache was introduced as a peacemaker. At first I thought she was a fine lady; but after a while the inevitable placard, with ‘ Apartments furnished,’ appeared in the front window. It is just as likely, however, that Mrs. Colonel Giraffe had other designs besides lodging-letting, and that she was bent on the laudable design of marrying the four tall daughters to peers of the realm, officers in the Guards, members of the Stock Exchange, or indeed anybody else whom the Fates matrimonial might cause to stumble into Unsubstantial-grove. At all events, there was the printed announcement as to apartments furnished; but nobody, so far as my information (mainly derived from a communicative charwoman) extended, ever came to take the lodgings, save a man in a cloak and a white hat with a rusty black band round it, who engaged the first floor at a rent of two guineas a week for six months certain, but excused himself from paying a deposit or giving any reference on the plea that he had just arrived from the quicksilver mines of Ecuador; that his luggage, in nine packing-cases, was on its way from Southampton, per goods train, on the London and South Western Railway, and that he was first cousin to the Earl of Kailbrosery, then sojourning on his estates in Scotland. Saying that he felt faint, this eligible tenant was accommodated with ‘a slice of seedy cake and a glass of sherry wine;’ and on his departure he shook hands all round with Mrs. Colonel Giraffe and her four tall daughters, promising them all tickets for the Italian opera and invitations to Kailbrosery Castle. He did not return to occupy the first floor; but after he had left, it was found that he had taken a card-basket, a photographic album, and the cushion from a music-stool with him: under that cloak I presume. The articles could not have fetched much at the dollyshop; still they were something, and the rogue had not wasted his time. Ah, what busy bees these rascals are! Do you think this little story is utterly imaginary? My dear madam, there are people silly enough to be gulled by rascals as shallow and as impudent as he in the cloak every hour of every day in the year. But for the donkeys—heaven bless their simple hearts !—the rascals would all die of starvation; which would be a pity, for what would then become of the British drama and the three-volume novelists?

Mrs. Colonel Giraffe and her four tall daughters did not last long after the occurrence of this domestic episode. The charwoman told our housemaid that Colonel Giraffe had come home very late one night from India, in a hansom cab and in liquor, and that he ‘kicked up a shine.’ Whether he did or did not, or who or what he was, I ken not; the entire Giraffe family faded away into the indefinite unsubstantialities, and the grove knew them no more. Rarely do we ask any questions about the departed in this phantom locality.

When they come, we do not expect our neighbours to stop long; and when they go, we shrug our shoulders and say that we always thought it would turn out so. There is a vicious old spinster in the secondfloor opposite who is always reconnoitering my dining-room windows through a double-barrelled opera-glass. I suspect that she takes it very unkindly of me that I do not go away (I am going away directly, believe me), or that I do not jump on some member of my family, or attack the cook with a carving-knife, or at least commit suicide. If that vicious spinster could only see me come down the front-garden steps, with a detective in plain clothes on either side to escort me to the four-wheeled cab which was to convey me to Newgate,—if she could only espy a pair of handcuffed wrists ill-concealed beneath the cuffs of my coat,—and if she could only learn that I had been arrested for forging Turkish bonds or Russian bank-notes, or was to be handed over to the French police, under the provisions of the Extradition Treaty, for assisting in burning down the Tuileries and the Hotel do Ville,—her wicked old life would, I am certain-, be made supremely happy. But no, no, Miss Biddy M’Caw—she is an Irish old maid, I am persuaded; the most rancorous species of spinster extant—I’ll see you out yet; although, as I repeat, I really mean to quit Unsubstantial-grove the very moment that circumstances over which I have no control warrant my departure.

The Giraffe family next door were succeeded by a Baronet and his lady, a large family of young children, a lady’s-maid, a page-boy, and a French governess. That he was a real Baronet there could be no doubt, for I saw his name in Sir Bernard Burke’s Baronetage, to say nothing of the coat-of-arms, with the ‘main couped,’ on the page. Yet must Sir Ignis Fatuus Mirage, Bart., be accounted among the unsubstantials. His appearance was grand, his conversation charming, his deportment urbane. He was in every way adapted to adorn the high social station to which the favour of the Crown had called his distinguished ancestors, and Lady Mirage was the most elegant, the most accomplished, and the most magnificent of her sex, whose violet moire dresses used to train a yard and a half on the ground as she stepped into her hired brougham — the best that a grateful nor’-nor’-west by south livery-stable could provide her ladyship with. She never went abroad save in that brougham, with a Maltese terrier looking out of the window, and a Dutch pug, with his tongue hanging between his teeth, supporting his paws on the edge of the opposite casement, and the page-boy on the box. They gave receptions, dinners, thes dansantes, kettledrums, conversaziones, musical breakfasts, private theatricals, charades, tableaux vivants, spiritual seances, did the Mirages. I believe even that a semipublic meeting of the Association of Sympathisers with the Downtrodden Circassians, with the Marquis Wallsend in the chair, was once held at Sir Ignis’s house; but a few months afterwards, and all was in the dust. They were here to-day and there to-morrow. Here was Unsubstantial-grove; there was the Court of Bankruptcy; and from the narrative of the proceedings before that tribunal, it seemed that Sir Ignis Fatuus Jacquet Lantern Mirage, Bart., was not by any means a stranger in Basinghall-street. His last bankruptcy took place under the good old laws, when bankrupts were not expected to pay anybody, and, if they had a handle to their name, were frequently complimented by the commissioner on the promptitude with which they had wound up an estate of no value, and paid a dividend of nothing in the pound. I don’t know where the Mirages went after this catastrophe: the incidence of which, by the way, astonished nobody. We all expected that such a career could have but one termination, especially in Unsubstantial-grove. The liverystable keepers, the butchers and bakers and florists and fishmongers, and other trading people, made a vast outcry against the Bart., declared that he had got recklessly into their debt without any reasonable prospect of being able to pay them, and did not hesitate to apply to this member of a patrician order the opprobrious epithets of ‘adventurer’and ‘swindler;’ but take him for all in all, he was not such a very bad friend to trade, this bankrupt Baronet. He made business brisk; he caused money to circulate; he got many hard-working people into constant and remunerative employment. If he did not pay himself, he was the cause of payment to others; and if the livery-stable keeper got nothing for the hire of his brougham, somebody must have paid the coachman who drove the horses and the ostlers who groomed them; somebody must have bought the oats which they ate. What more would you have than that trade should be brisk and money circulate? The happiness of the greatest number is the grand desideratum; and for one complaining fishmonger, or butcher, or livery-stable keeper, how many deserving working men, with their wives and families, did the Baronet of Unsubstantialgrove indirectly, but still effectually, help to keep? Nor did the tradespeople, I fancy, take much harm by his bankruptcy; for the scandal had scarcely blown over before Lord Claude Neverpay, the Marquis of Soldup’s fifth son, took No. 17 in the grove, a furnished house, and had not the slightest difficulty in obtaining credit quite as extensive as that which had been enjoyed by my distinguished neighbour. Is it that tradespeople like to be cheated, I wonder, or is it that they prudently make the ready-money customers pay for the bad debts, and thus balance matters, so as to make both ends meet charmingly?

The Literary Garland, and British North American Magazine: A Monthly … (Google Books)

MR. JEFFERIES OF HYDE HOUSE.

BY MISS PARDOE.

Nor a sonl for twenty miles round our neighbourhood but is acquainted, at least by eight, with Mr. John Jefferies of Hyde House. He is what the members of the ” Select Club,” holden at the flying Horse, call an oddfsh; that is to say, a plain, good-humoured, comfort-loving, easy description of man, who is ever ready to enjoy himself, and willing to promote enjoyment among his friends; who sells his corn, instead of hoarding it in his barns against “better times,” and who goes to the post-town on Saturdays for sis -pence in the baker’s light cart.

The late Sir. Jefferies was a great landholder and a staunch Tory: his son is as noted a squire and as violent a Whig. He purchases all the cheap publications, and reads every Radical journal upon which he can lay his hands; holds forth for an hour together against charity-schools and public hospitals; and concludes by making a larger donation both to the one and the other than any other in the parish, though he declares all the tune that he is acting against his own conviction. He is said to have endeavoured in his youth to tempt one or two of the present

matrons of the village to become the mistresses of Hyde House without success, and he now revenges himself on them by cramming their children with gingerbread, taking the boys out shooting, and buying the girls dolls. He has twice scandalized the congregation by snoring during the sermon on a dark Sunday, and since that time pays the beadle fourpence a week to rouse him as he passes his pew. Our church is indebted to him for its green window-blinds and crimson pulpit cover, which he presented to tho parish, during the time that a third vestry-meeting was holding to decide on the expediency of purchasing them; aud for this reason, his somnolent lapses have been overlooked by the good curate: in truth, he is the most public-spirited man in the neighbourhood.

There is an old maiden lady still resident in the village, to whom he is said to have been more devoted in his youth than to any of her rivals, but who refused him for a more modish lover, and got jilted for her pains. It is worth a year’s purchase to sec them together! The repentant fair one ogles, and sighs, and seenis even now to forget how many years have elapsed since she frowned denial on his suit, and he shook off her chains. She laughs at his jests, espouses his politics, and smiles at his oddities; while he, on his part, attends to every wish which she expresses or implies, surfers her to shir over her rani accounts when she loses, and pays scrupulously when she is a gainer—lets her quietly mark too many holes at cribbage, revoke at whist as often as she pleases, and count honours when she docs not hold them; in short, plays off the lover in everything save coming to the point a second time; and appears perfectly satisfied, when lie escorts her to church under his umbrella on a wet Sunday, and carries her pattens up the aisle, to lead her to her pew instead of the altar.

He has selected the exact spot where he wishes to be interred, and has negotiated with the uudertakcr the expenses of his funeral; nevertheless, he docs not suffer the idea of dying to interfere in the slightest degree with his enjoyment of existence, but smokes his pipe and drinks his punch as merrily in the chimney nook, on a winter’s evening, as though churchyard or gravestone had never entered his head.

His parlour sideboard is on great occasions covered with silver cups and taukurds, obtained for fatted oxen and prize sheep; and his mantelpiece is decorated with a stuft’ed squirrel aud tho brush of a fox. The housekeeper, who is so fat that she can with difficulty preserve her equilibrium on recovering from a courtesy, makes tho best syllabubs and short cakes in the parish, and consequently never lacks guests ; she i& free of every thing in the house, from Mr. Jefferies’ i strong box to his best bin, and she makes a worthy use of his confidence. No beggar is ever turned hungry from his door; no sick labourer ever wants his bowl of soup or his draught of wine, if he applies at Squire Jefferies’; no stray sheep or pig ever gets pounded for intruding on his land ; nor did the rosy lass who carols merrily of a morning as she dusts out the best parlour, ever look for another place after she had offered herself at the Squire’s!

The old house is like the old housekeeper, unwieldy and overgrown in appearance, bearing tokens of having become so gradually, and really J seeming more consequential from its increased ^ size; here a smoking room, and there a summer jKii’li >ur, have been added in the whim of the mo-! ment, until the smooth green before-the house has almost disappeared. In like manner has the gouvernante of Air. Jefferies increased and expanded during her residence under his roof ; and ft is a good-natured boast of the old gentleman’s, that, with half the labour, and half the money expended on some neighbouring farms and families, every thing thrives at Hyde House. Assuredly, in no establishment in the county does the true old English hospitality shine more conspicuously, or is the good old English comfort more apparent; every thing is in its proper place, and put to its proper use; there is a profusion of every necessary of life without a waste of any -, you are not annoyed by a crowd of over-dressed lounging servants, seeming as though they almost held in scorn the master whose livery they wear; but many a hat is withdrawn, and many a smiling bow greets you as you pass among the honest well-fed labourers who throng the servants’ hall, to reach the Squire’s snug back room.

Mr. Jefferies’ greatest, indeed his only anxiety, is about his nephew, the heir apparent to his property: the lad is a fine, high-spirited fellow, but as extravagant as though he had the national purse to fly to for supplies. He comes down every eollege vacation to visit his uncle, who has determined during the previous half year to read him a severe lecture, and to refuse to pay his debts; but anger is forgotten as soon as Harry Somerton springs from the back of Jesse, the black mare, to embrace his uncle; his large blue eyes flashing with affectionate delight, and his fine, manly brow flushed with exercise—and then, so grown, so improved, so spirited a boy! so exactly what Mr. Jeflbries could wish in his successor, that it becomes impossible to lecture him. The old housekeeper love» him as if he were ber own child, though many a chiding does he get for mending fishing nets and cleaning fowling-piecei in the Squire’s sitting room ; but the

mad-cap knows that he is forgiven at the very moment when she leaves the apartment, stroking down her nice white apron, though she strives to frown as she goes out, so that altogether, I fear. Master Harry Somerton stands a very fair chanceof being spoiled at the great house.

Such is our neighbour, Mr. Jefferies, and longmay he continue to live among us! for he is a public benefit to the parish—a sincere and liberal friend—a good landlord and a kind master.

UNIVERSAL ATTEIBUTES OF WOMEN.

I Have observed among all nations that womenornament themselves more than men; that wherever found they are the same kind, civil, obliging, humane, tender beings; that they are ever inclined to be gay and cheerful, timorous and modest; not haughty nor arrogant nor supercilious, but full of courtesy, and fond of society; industrious, economical, ingenuous ; more liable in general to err than man, but in general, also, more virtuous, and performing more good actions than he. I never addressed myself, in the language of decency and friendship, to a woman, whether civilised or savage, without receiving a decent and friendly answer. With man it has often been otherwise. In wandering oven the barren plainsof inhospitable Denmark, through honest Sweden, frozen Lapland, rude and churlish Finland, unprincipled Russia, and the wide-spread regions of the wandering Tartar, if hungry, dry, cold, wet, or sick, woman has ever been friendly to me, and uniformly so; and to add to this virtue, so worthy of the appellation of benevolence, these actions have been performed in so free and kind a manner, that, if I was dry, I drank the sweet draught, and if hungry, ate the coarse meal, with a double relish.—Ledyarfa Siberian Journal.

The Twentieth Century – Volume 59 – Page 368
https://books.google.com.ph › books

1906 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
The old maid wastes her heart upon a lapdog or a parrot, for her highest affections hunger for an object. The old bachelor, from like want, petrifies into a cantankerous selfishness. Somewhat similar perversions are 868 THE NINETEENTH …
Twentieth Century – Page 368
https://books.google.com.ph › books

1906 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
The old maid wastes her heart upon a lapdog or a parrot, for her highest affections hunger for an object. The old bachelor, from like want, petrifies into a cantankerous selfishness. Somewhat similar perversions are 868 THE NINETEENTH …
The Nineteenth Century and After – Volume 59 – Page 368
https://books.google.com.ph › books

1906 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
The old maid wastes her heart upon a lapdog or a parrot, for her highest affections hunger for an object. The old bachelor, from like want, petrifies into a cantankerous selfishness. Somewhat similar perversions are 368 THE NINETEENTH …

THE BARON.

A TALE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY—NOT OF FICTION.

BT THE ACTHOBESS OF “TUB BACKWOODS OF CANADA.”

Lore is not love

Which altereth when it alteration flndeth.
Or bends with the remover to remove,
Oh, no! it is an ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken

Bhuupuh*.

“Axois it possible, my dear Catherine, tbat you have never bad the good fortune to be introduced to my friend, the ‘Baron?’ You must become acquainted. I never saw two people more calculated to be pleased with each other. “It will be a match; yes, I see it all. You and the Baron were meant for each other, and I shall be the Bridesmaid. The Bridesmaid, par excellence, and hold the bouquet and gloves. I am delighted with the very idea of the thing.”

Thus rattled on one of the giddiest girls of my acquaintance, as seated at my feet on an ottoman, she vainly puffed away at an obstinate coal fire, which the housemaid had provokingly left to light itself in my friend Harriette’s dressing-room, a little sanctum which she termed her boudoir. But though she blew away most indefatigably at the dull coals, with one of the most delicate pairs of Chinese bellows that had ever adorned the fire-place of an East India captain’s cabin, not one spark could she elicit.

“And do yon really expect the Baron to visit you?” I asked with some natural degree of cariosity.

“Expect him! my dear child; he is here—in this very house—in the adjoining room, at his toilette.”

“Speak lower then, or he will hear every word we are saying—that is, if he understands English well.”

Harriette laughed in ecstacy.

“Never fear, he will not hear as. You will, however, be astonished at the Baron’s fluency of speech. Do you know, he is all impatience to see you. I am sure he is desperately smitten.”

“Why, he never saw me—nor I him.”

“You are mistaken; he saw you at church both morning and evening, last Sunday. The Baron never misses both services,—ho is a devout man; he has raved about you ever since.”

I laughed outright.

“Well! it’s a fact—and I have actually given him leave to come in and see you here, lest he should astonish mamma, by his rapture before all the big-wigs below.”

“It is a pity you are engaged, Harriette.”

“Me! Yes! Ah! well, it can’t be helped. I might have been Baroness Joliffe. It sounds well. But, after all, Catherine, I am not dignified enough for a title, and then the Baron would not have suited me—he is too refined, too sentimental, too elegant. In short, I shall be only too happy if I see you united to this charming Adonis.”

“And his probable age ?” asked I, beginning, in spite of myself, to take an indescribable interest in the mysterious Baron.

“Something older than yourself, my dear! at least I judge so by the gravity of his demeanor. But really one cannot take such liberties as to ask a Baron his actual age. The thing is impossible,—besides I do not think he would like it. He is very particular.”

“Well, then, describe his appearance. His eyes?”

“Blae eyes, large and languishing.”

“I hate languishing blue eyes in a man.”

“But yon have not seen the Baron’s .eyes. Item. A straight nose, white ivory teeth—and then his hair, hyacinthine locks—a perfect wig of ourls.”

“A wig of curls! What do you mean, Miss Harriette, by making game of my head of hair— a wig of curls, forsooth! Fie, fie, upon you—you ill-mannered little pug.”

The exclamation above was uttered in the open door way, in a half serious, half comic voice.

I raised my head, and the Baron stood before me.

Harriette hid her head in my lap, in convulsions of laughter, and I—for my part, I was dumb from astonishment, and sat gazing on the apparition before me, in speechless confusion, as the Baron advanced, held out his hand and addressed me. But before I repeat one word of what passed, permit me, patient reader, to introduce you to the Baron, as he really was.

Picture to yourself, then, a tall, straight, thin, attenuated figure of an elderly gentleman, whose age might vary from sixty to sixty-five, large, light, faded-looking, benevolent blueeyes, a long, very long bony nose, white teeth, but alas 1 the ivory had evidently not long since been roaming the jungles of Asia or deserts of Africa. The ambrosial curls were indeed, and in fact, a wig of curls. The Baron was clad in a superfine suit of black, cut in the latest fashion of George the Third; silver buckles in his shoes, gold chased ones at his knees, his long neck enveloped in the ample folds of a lawn stock, fastened with a roarcasitc buckle; the bosom of his shirt displayed a fine broach, cambric plaited frill, his thin veiny hands covered with black kid,—such was the Baron. What a contrast to the sentimental, Byronical young gentleman, with whose portrait my mind had been busily occupied, up to the moment of the preceding interview.

The I! mm was the soul of order and etiquette; he was shocked at the informality of our meeting, and succeeded at last in rousing up the mischievous authoress of all this confusion, to some sense of the duties of her situation, and effected a regular introduction at last, though she prefaced it witli a passage from the marriage ceremony, which overset the gravity of the Baron himself, who called her an incorrigible puss, and bade her reduce her ringlets into order, whilst he drew a seat to the now cheerful fire, and proceeded to apologise for the wild kittenish behaviour of Madcap Hal. In half an hour’s time we became excellent friends, and I ventured at length to ask if his title of Baron Joliffe was also imaginary.

“It is part of my name,” lie said, “and and no title ; but it became confirmed through a little circumstance connected with reading the memoirs of Baron Trenck. I was deeply interested in the perusal of that work, and kept the volumes somewhat beyond the time allowed by the librarian of our reading room. I had promised them to a friend who had been appointed to call for them, but being induced to walk out and take the book in my pocket, I wrote on a piece of paper, ‘The Baron will be at home at four.” From this trifling circumstance, I gained the soubriquet of ‘The Baron,’ which has never left me, and even letters from India and the Continent, now reach me so addressed. I am no longer Charles B. Joliffe, Esquire—but The Baron.”

Time wore on ; the longer I became acquainted

with the Baron the more I was interested in the character of the good but eccentric old man ; we became excellent friends; and I used often to be angry with my giddy friend Harriette, for the unfeeling way in which she quizzed the Baron’s peculiarities of dress and manner. To me hi> oddities were sacred.

One day in particular, we set off to visit som» ancient ruins in the neighbourhood. The day was mild and dry, and being tired, we all three sat down on a bank to rest—our subjects of conversation had been full of grave reflections, and at last both the Baron and myself became silent. This was enough tor Miss Harriette, who never could be silent for five minutes. She n«w rallied us on our gravity, and ended with declaring^ that the Baron hod made her his confidante, and: being unable to speak out himself had desired her to break his passion for me. For some time he bore with her nonsence with as much good humour as he could, but at last a chord was touched, which vibrated to agony..

“Young lady,” he said, turning on her a look of touching earnestness; “what is sport to you. is even death to me. Desist from this ill-timed levity.”

The voice of the old man. became agitated ;. even Harriette was moved, ag. he eontinaed in a quieter tone:

“You have teazed me, my dear, about my bochelorhabits and life. I am indeed a dull rusty: old bachelor, and such as I am, such shall I remain, till I lay my head beneath the turf in the village church-yard.

“It is now forty-two years ago- since I became the ardent, devoted lover of a young and beautiful girl. I was then a youth of nineteen,, well to look upon,—not the object of ridicule that I now am to young ladies. Emily Beresfurd was eighteen,—lovely, amiable, accomplished,— but she was an only child, the htiress of great wealth, her father wa> a rich merchant, and I one of thejunior clerks in bis house,—no mate for his peerless daughter. Yet I dared to love, and Emily soon gave me reason to believe that I was not indifferent to her. I will not dwell npon our dream of love. I found my master’s jealous fears were awakened; his eye was ever on us. At last our opportunities of communicating our t hough tsand wishes became more difficult every day, and I gladly, perhaps madly, grasped at an offer made to me by Mr. Beresford, to accept th» situation of confidential clerk in an establishment he had on the coast of Africa. The salary wa& a tempting one, and othur encouragement held out for realizing a fortune. The climate was a deadly one, but I was resolved to make myself a Ctting mate fur Emily Berosford, or perish.

I knew we both guessed the object in view when the offer was made to me. It was David sending Uriah into the heat of the battle—but what will not love hope, what dangers will not love dare? I left Emily, hoping, trusting, confiding in her woman’s love. I could not change; I feared no change in the being I so blindly idolized. Emily vowed no one should supplant me in her affections,—and I believed her!

“Five years were t j be the trial of our constancy ; for the first three, our correspondence, carried on through a faithful friend, was my only consolation ; that friend I lost, and soon my letters remained unanswered. I became dejected, unhappy, ill; the expiration of the five years, impatiently waited for, at length arrived, and I threw myself into the first vessel that left Sierra Leomi for London I had acquired almost riches with great experience, but my health was a wreck, and my spirits worse.

“I hastened to the counting-house in Broadstreet, for I knew I should there see my old master, und hear of his family ; nothing could be more natural than my desire to ask after the health of old friends. I was admitted to the private apartments of Mr. B., who received me not only with courtesy, but kindness; I asked as composedly as I could for his family,—for Miss Beresford, the last.

“My daughter was well when the last packet reached.”

“‘Is she abroad?’ I asked, with tremulous Toice.

«•’ In India—Colonel Harper is with the Regiment in the interior. Of course you heard of Emily’s marriage eighteen months ago—splendid alliance.’

“I heard no more—a death-like paleness overspread my face—a mist swam before my eyes—• my ill-concealed agitation betrayed my state of mind, and the painful interest I took in the communication ; I believe the old man was grieved, but he made no remark to me then—he suw I could not bear it.

“My life was now, for years, a blank—nay, worse. I cherished a fiend in my bosom that threatened to destroy me; I became a* sour, hateful misanthrope. For my false love’s sake I shunned the society of women, but her image I could not chase away from my mind ; she was my thought by day, my dream hy night; sometimes a stern sort of hatred steeled my heart against her; sometimes I wept like a little child when I thought upon her. Years passed away —fifteen years; I was now a rich merchant myself; I could have maintained a wife in splendor, and mothers courted me that hud marriageable daughters, but tho remembrance of the lost

loved one haunted me still; I vowed never to marry ; my habits had become those of a confirmed old bachelor. At the period to which I allude, an early maiden cousin, my only living relative, kept house for me, and we were a pair of quiet hermit-like folks; order, like clock-work, ruled our house, and neither of us liked to b» put out of our way, when an event occurred that caused a complete revolution in our domestic economy and my habits, as you shall hear. Nay, you tormenting little puss, none of your insinuations; the hermit did not fall in love again.

“A letter bearing thelndia post-mark wasplpced on my table among many others. I opened itThere was an enclosure in a handwriting only too well known. I hesitated- Shall I read itr shall I cast it unread into the flame? Curiosity, that affection that had never died in my heart, overcame my feelings. It was the last dying will and testament of the widow of Colonel Harper, addressed to the beloved friend of her youth, leaving to me .”

“All her fortune, as a reparation for the injury she had done you?”

“No, Miss Harriet! Shehnew too well thecharacter of the man, who had loved her so devotedly, to insult him by bequeathing gold as a legacy toheal a broken heart, made desolate by her desertion. She left mo the sole guardianship of four1 orphan children—the eldest a fine lad of fourteen, the youngest a fair, helpless babe of eleven months,—her mother’s living image.

“The letter, penned by her dying, trembling hand, was to this effect :—’ Charles, I am at the point of death. Refuse not the earnest request of a dying woman, who loved you tenderly, but not faithfully. Deeply have I repented the woe I caused, forgive me, and if you loved Emily, as truly, as devotedly, as I now believe you did, refuse not the charge I now entreat you to accept,—th» guardianship of my four children. Be to them a parent,—love,cherish,bear with them, for the love you once bore to their dying mother.

“•E. Harper.'”

“And did you accede to ber request ?” we both asked.

“I did—the struggle was strong, but the fond recollection of early love was stronger. Her fickleness was forgotten, my own years of blighted love were disregarded, and my tears fell fast over the words traced by the expiring hand of the only being I had ever loved. ‘Emily!’ I exclaimed, as I solemnly folded the paper to my heart, ‘if it be allowed thee to know of that which is passing in the world thou. has left, thy spirit shall >•!••! satisfied. To my care you have committed your children. Thuy shall not want for : father or a friend whilst I liv«. Your children

thall be henceforth my children, and my life shall! be devoted to their happiness.”

“So confident hud Mrs. Harper felt of my ac- j ceding to her last wishes, that she had given all; the necessary orders for the embarkation of her . children, as soon as circumstances would permit of’ their leaving Bombay. At the time I received . this letter, my adopted family were on their way to Liverpool. Ample funds had been left for the maintenance of the children, the whole of which had been placed under my entire control, so great had been the confidence reposed in my honor by their poor mother. And I did not abuse my power, or neglect my trust.

“I hurriedly imparted to my cousin Martha my determination of receiving my adopted family under my own roof; and bade her at the same time lose no time in making the necessary preparations for their future comfort.

“I shull never forget the nir of consternation that sat upon the rigid face of my poor old relative. At last she sunk into a chair, and folding her bony fingers together, gasped forth:

“Charles Joliffe! Cousin Charles! are ye mad, doting? Kou fill your quiet house with a pack of noisy, wayward brats! If ye mean what ye say, ye are indeed preparing a bitter rod for your own back. Think what the world will say. Nay! bat it is a scandal, Charles, that such a fool’s scheme should have passed through your head.’

“I bade her be silent, and leave me to commune with my own heart, but I found no change there. | The die was cast, and my selfish regrets were | all to be sacrificed on the holy altar of buried love.”

“It was a noble resolution.and worthy of you,'” I warmly exclaimed; “and I trust you were well rewarded by the grateful affection of the children for whom you sacrificed so much.”

“In the end I was; but, my dear young lady ask yourself how could young children appreciate motives of action they could not have com • prehended, even had I condescended to explain •why I had undertaken the irksome task of guardianship over them. At first every restraint imposed upon them,every task enjoined, was regarded by these high spirited children as an infringement upon the unrestrained liberty they had hitherto enjoyed. For my part, I considered that authority and unlimited obedience were the first objects to be attained. A stranger to the ways of children, I reasoned and argued, and reasoned and argued wrong; perpetual warfare was going on in my formerly peaceful dwelling, and sometimes my courage was well nigh failing me, but for a certain bump of obstinacy which some folks call determinativeness. I should have con

tented myself with sending my troublesome family out to suitable schools, and the baby to nurse, and then have restored quiet and order to my house.”

“And cousin Martha,—how did she bear the noise and worry of the children?”

“Wonderfully well; there is a spirit of patient conformity to circumstances, which belongs peculiarly to females. Cousin Martha grumbled a little at first, and then yielded without further remonstrance to her fate—but more than this, a deep mine of hitherto unawakened tenderness was opened in her woman’s heart.

“Cousin Martha had lived a life of celibacy, not from choice, but from circumstances. Women, naturally seek some object on which to lavish that affection, which, I believe, is born with them—and belongs to their characters as wives and mothers. The female child dotes upon its imaginary baby in the form of a doll,—the old maid lavishes her unappreciated love upon some creature, as lap-dog, cat, parrot, or monkey—it is well if it take the more natural bent of nephews and nieces,—but such my poor relative had not— for, as I said, we two were companionless and alone, saving each other, till the arrival of these children. It was the sight of the delicate, helpless, lovely little Blanche Harper, that was destined to make a revolution in the feelings of cousin Martha. She took the orphan babe to her heart, and shielded her there from every storm that could assail her infant state, with more than even a mother’s love.

“But it was not the addition to my household in the way of ray four wards, that alone perplexed me, I was still more puzzled, what to do with their attendants, which consisted of two Bongalese bovs, of twelve and fifteen, a little Hindoo nurse, a great blue macaw, and a large ape. Now the native servants were perfectly intolerable,—servile and obsequious to a degree, but j cunning and revengeful,—acting upon the passions ! and prejudices of the two younger boys, and in! stigating them to every species of mischief that j could possibly serve to annoy and irritate me. , Nor were the tricks of the ape, or the screams of | the macaw, likely to add to my peace of mind.— j However, these last torments I speedily got rid 1 of, by sending them to a distant relation of the i children’s, and hearing of a gentleman about to i send his sons to India as cadets, I managed to j rid myself of Messrs. Hassan and Padck, at the I trifling cost of paying their passage out; glad indeed to see them depart: but not so, Edward, Charles and Henry, and for some days after the departure of their allies, a sullen silence was observed, interrupted only by some haughty obser

rations, indicative of the indignation excited in the breast of the eldest boys by this last crowning act of tjTanny.

“It was, indeed, a severe trial to me; I had looked for troubles, and the breaking up of my quiet enjoyment of home for a short time, but I had fondly cheated myself into the belief that I should be more than recompensed by the consciousness of having done my duty, and more than my duty. I fancied Emily’s children most love me—I forgot that I was in their eyes only a stranger and a task-master.

“In the proud flashing dark eye of Edward Harper, I read only defiance and dislike. Yet, that eye would melt with tenderness, and fill •with tears, when they rested upon the sweet face of little Blanche, as she lay softly nestled on the breast of my cousin. Strange as it may seem, it is not less strange than true, that while my wards shunned me—and withdrew from every attempt made by me to conciliate their affections, they one and all attached themselves to my cousin, and old Mrs. Spicer, our antiquated housekeeper, to whom they confided alt their sorrows and troubles, real or imaginary.

“‘Three or four months had passed in this manTier, Kttle to my comfort or satisfaction, as you may suppose. I had, after mature deliberation resolved on sending Charles and Henry, as weekly boarders, to my friend the curate of Hadletgh, and after breakfast one day, I made known my intentions. The boys looked at each other, then at Edward, but the latter bit his lip, cast down Ins full dark eyes, and made no remark.

•” * This arrangement, my children,’ I observed, •• will, I trust, bo to your advantage in every way. You win find a kind, clever, judicious master, and if you conduct yourselves well, an affectionate and sincere friend.’

“•And may I ask why I am to be excluded from enjoying the same privilege, and wherefore am I to be parted from my brothers, sir!” asked my eldest ward.

“•Because, Edward, I have other views for j[ou, which I will take an early opportunity of •explaining—”

“‘ You rob me of my servants, and now separate me from my brothers,’ he replied, starting up-, and, easting a glance of passionate rnge upon me, dashed out of the room, through the open •window, and I watched him pacing the lawn, •with rapid and impetuous steps. I was hurt and grieved, and soon retired to my own little study, which opened upon the breakfast room; I will not be ashamed to avow my feelings at that moment were sad and even bitter. What had I not suffered for their mother’s sake, and is il come to

this? ‘Oh, Emily! Emily! is it thus my low to you and yours is to be rewarded?” I saak on my knees—I buried my face between my hands, and wept, and prayed for strength to support me and keep me firm to my vow of being a friend and father to the fatherless. At that moment, my ear caught the passionate tones of Edward’s voice in the breakfast room; he was speaking to some one in the room. I detest the character of a listener, I felt the crisis was approaching. I presented myself in the door-way, as ho exclaimed:

“‘He is a hard-hearted, detestable tyrant, and I hate him.”

“The stream of light from the open door caused the youth to look up ; pale, agitated, almost, I might say, agonized, I stood before him—I could only gasp out;

“‘ Oh, Kdward ! how have I deserved this ?• You have cut me to the very heart.”

“I sobbed like a child, and I sank into a chair; Edward’s heart was touched at my distress—he gazed upon me, with an anxious, troubled eye. I marked the change—but I could not give utterance to a word. I held out my arms to him; the noble boy impulsively rushed forward, and cast himself upon my breast. Years cannot efface the feelings of that moment; we spoke not, but wept upon each other’s necks. ‘The stony rock was smitten, and the waters gushed forth freely.’

“I cannot dwell upon what followed jitis enough to say, I now treated Edward as a friend, as a dear son. He became acquainted with the peculiar circumstances which had brought us together— and young as he was, he seemed to understand my motives, to enter at once into my feelings— love, gratitude, esteem, filled his heart. Never was friendship more enthusiastic—love more devoted. That day which had begun so darkly, was in the end, the brightest of my life; every thing was changed within onr dwelling; light hearts, happy faces now beamed about me—I almost regretted the absence of Hassan and Sadek, and the blue macaw, and the ape, that they too might have shared in our household happiness. As it was, we had only the Hindoo girl, Blanche’s nurse; but she was a gentle creature and had shared in the maternal care of cousin Martha, who considered her as her peculiar protege, and had moreover, had her baptized by her own name of Martha—which the little damsel herself called Matta.

“But I see Miss Harriette is beginning to grow weary of my long story.”

Harriette was yawning at the moment, and rubbing her eyes, as if half asleep.

“Indeed, my dear Baron! I have been greatly «dified, I assure you, only I am surprised that you should have parted with that beautiful mncaw, and that darling of an ape. I am resolved that my Captain shall procure me just such sweet pets, when he returns from his next voyage; and those interesting native boys!—Why did not you dress them in white muslin tunics and turbans, and blue silk trowsers, to wait at table?”

This sally made the Baron laugh—and we commenced our walk once more I wished to ask some further questions about the Baron’s family, but the thread of the story was broken, and I only gleaned a few particulars as to their subsequent lots in life. Edward became a clergyman, and at the early age of three and twenty fell a victim to consumption, hurried on by his devotion to his clerical duties; he died in the arms of his adopted father. Charles studied medicine, and Henry entered the East India service as an officer in the Bengal artillery; Blanche—the loved and cherished Blanche—married well and happily, to the infinite satisfaction of cousin Martha and the faithful Hindoo girl.

Such, gentle reader, was the story of faithful love told me by my friend the Baron.

Romantic n this story may appear, It tastricHy true; to the honor of human nature, I can say, the Baron is no •creature of the imagination. This episode in my life . is no fiction.

The British Essayists: Containing the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian …, Volume 4 (Google Books)

No. 37.] The Rsday, Sept. 13, 1753.

The following letter is written with so much nature and simplicity, that rather than curtail it of its length, I have thought proper (as I once did before) to extend my paper to another half sheet. TO MR, FITZ.ADAM. Sut,

I am the widow of a merchant, with whom I lived happily, and in affluence for many years. We had no children, and when he died he left me all he had ; but his affairs were so involved, that the balance which I received, after having ‘gone through much expense and trouble, was no more than one thousand pounds. This sum I placed in the hands of a friend of my husband’s, who was reckoned a good man in the city, and who allowed me an interest of four per cent. for my capital; and with this forty pounds a year I retired, and boarded in a village about a hundred miles from London.

There was an old lady of great fortune in that neighbourhood, who visited often at the house where I lodged: she pretended, after a short acquaintance, to take a great liking to me: she professed a friendship for me, and at length persuaded me to come and live with her.

Between the time of taking this my resolution and putting it into execution, I was informed that this lady whom I shall call Lady Mary, was very unequal in her humours, and treated

her inferiors and dependents with that insolence which she imagined her superior fortune gave her a right to make use of. But as I was neither her relation nor dependent, and as all that I desired from her was common civility, I thought that whenever her ladyship or her house became disagreeable to me, I could retire to my old quarters, and live in the same manner as I did before I became acquainted with her; and upon the strength of this reasoning, I packed up my clothes, paid off my lodgings, and was conveyed by my Lady Mary, in her own coach, to her mansion-house. For the first year she treated me with civility and confidence; but in that time I could not help observing that she had no affection for any body. I found out that she did not love her nearest relations, who were highly esteemed by all the rest of the neighbourhood; and therefore I gave but little credit to all the protestations of friendship which she was continually making to me. She told me all that she knew, and more than she knew ; and insinuated to me that I was to look upon the trust she reposed in me as the strongest proof of the highest friendship. But these insinuations lost their effect; for I knew by experience, that there are many people, of which number her ladyship was one, that often have a need to unbosom themselves, who must have somebody to impart their secrets to, and who, when they know any thing that ought not to be told, are never at ease till they tell it. But to proceed in my story. One day, when her ladyship had treated me with uncommon kindness, for my having taken her part in a dispute with one of her relations, I received a letter from London, to inform me that the person in whose hands I had placed my fortune, and who till that time had paid my interest money very exactly, was broke, and had fled the kingdom. Lady Mary, in her fits of friendship, had offered me presents, and perhaps the oftener, because I always refused them. She had sometimes told me how desirous she was to do me good in any thing that lay within her power. But in those days I had the inexpressible happiness of having no wish or view beyond what my little fortune could afford me; and I was truly sensible of, and blessed in, the heartfelt satisfaction of independence. Imagine then, Sir, what I felt at the receipt of the above-mentioned letter. All that I shall say to you about what it produced is, that I took my resolution immediately. I carried the letter in my hand to Lady Mary; but before I gave it to her, I told her, that I had never doubted the sincerity of her friendship, and that I was thoroughly sensible of the kindness with which she treated me. I put her in mind of the presents which she hnd

offered me, and added, that while I was not in want of her assistance, I thought it wrong to accept of them ; but that the time was now come when her friendship was likely to become my only support; that it would be unjust in me to suspect that I should not receive it; and that the letter I then gave her would tell her all, and spare my tears. Her ladyship immediately read it over with more attention than emotion; but after returning it to me, she embraced me, and assured me, in a condoling voice, that however great my misfortunes might be, she could not help feeling some satisfaction in thinking that it was in her power to alleviate them, by giving me proofs of her unalterable friendship; that her house, her table, her servants, should always continue to be mine; that we should never part while we lived, and that I should feel no change in my condition from this unhappy alteration of my circumstances. To any body that knew her ladyship less than I did, these words would have afforded matter of great consolation; but when I retired to my chamber, and reflected upon my past and present situation, I saw that I had everything to regret in the one, and very little to hope for from the other; and the following day convinced me of the manner in which I was to lead my future life. Whenever Lady Mary spoke to me, she had hitherto called me Mrs. Truman ; but the very next morning at breakfast she left out Mrs. ; and upon no greater provocation than breaking a teacup, she made me thoroughly sensible of her superiority and my dependence. ‘Lord, Truman, you are so awkward! Pray be more careful for the future, or we shall not live long together. Do you think I can afford to have my china broke at this rate and maintain you into the bargain?’ From this moment I was obliged to drop the name and character of friend, which I had hitherto maintained with a little dignity, and to take up that which the French call complaisante, and the English humble companion. But it did not stop here; for in a week I was reduced to be as miserable a toad-eater as any in Great Britain, which, in the strictest sense of the word, is a servant; except that the toad-eater has the honour of dining with my lady, and the misfortune of receiving no wages. The beginning of my servitude was being employed in small business in her ladyship’s own presence.—Truman, fetch this; Truman, carry that; Truman, ring the bell; Truman, fill up the pot; Truman, pour out the coffee; Truman, stir the fire; Truman, call a servant; Truman, get me a glass of water, and put me in mind to take my drops. The second part of my service was harder. I was a good housewife; I understood preserving, pickling, and pastry, perfectly well; I was no

bad milliner, and I was very well skilled in the management of a dairy. All these little talents I had frequently produced, sometimes for my own amusement, and sometimes to make my court to my lady. But now what had been my diversion became my employment: my lady could touch no sweetmeat, pickle, tart, or cheesecake, but what was the work of my hands. I made up all her linen; I mended and sometimes

washed her lace; the butter she eats every morn- .

ing is all of my churning, and I make every slipcoat cheese that is brought to her table; and if any of these my various works miscarry, I am scolded or pouted at, as much as if I was hired and paid for every branch of the different employments to which I am put. This degradation of mine has not escaped the eyes of the quick-sighted servants. The change in my situation has produced a total one in their behaviour. There is hardly a chambermaid that will bring me up a bottle of water into my room, or a footman that will give me a glass of small beer at dinner. I must now give you an account of certain regulations which I am enjoined to observe at table. I am absolutely forbid to taste any dish that is eatable cold as well as hot, or that may be hashed for supper. By this I am prevented from eating of most dishes that come before us. I must never taste boiled or roast beef; and ham and venison-pastry are equally contraband. Fowls, chicken, and all sorts of game, come under the article of prohibited goods; and though I see brawn and sturgeon served up every day during the whole winter, I am no more the better for them than Tantalus was for his apples ; and really sometimes I eat as little as those who dine with Duke Humphrey, or as Sancho did when he was made governor of Barataria. To this I may add, that I have not tasted a glass of wine in our house for some years, and that punch, bishop, cool tankard, and negus are equally denied me; and I never must touch any fruit, unless when I am to preserve it. The rewards I receive for the service I do, and the restraint which I submit to, consist in having the enjoyment of the mere necessaries of life, provided you exclude money out of the number. I am clothed out of Lady Mary’s wardrobe; and I have offended Mrs. Pinup, her ladyship’s woman, past all forgiveness, because her ladyship chooses that I should not go naked about the house. Not being much used to a coach, I am generally sick with sitting backwards in one. This my lady knows perfectly well; but since I entered into my state of dependence, I am constantly obliged to let her sit forwards alone in the daily airings that we take upon the adjacent common. You have already seen, sir, that I do the work of most of the servants in the house : but I must now descend a little lower, and acquaint you

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
with some abject employments, which I am forced to submit to. I have already hinted to you, that my lady has no real friendship for either man or woman. Her affections are settled upon the brute creation, for whom she expresses incredible tenderness. You would take her monkey to be her eldest son by the care she shows of him; and she could not be more indulgent to her favourite daughter than she is to her lap-dog; she has a real friendship for her parrot ; and the other day she expressed much more joy at the safe delivery of a beloved cat, than she had done, some months before, at the birth of her grandson. It is my province to tend, wait upon, and serve this favourite part of the family. I am made answerable for all their faults; and if any of them are sick, it is I that am to blame. It was through my negligence that Pug broke my lady’s finest set of china; and my forgetting to give Veny her dinner was the occasion of the dear creature’s illness. Poll’s silence is often attributed to my ill usage; and the murder of two or three kittens has been most unjustly laid to my charge. I now come to some grievances of another kind, which I am almost ashamed to own, but which are necessary to be told. My lady has, for the humour in her eyes (bythe-by I make all her eye-water) three issues; one in each arm, and one in her back. Now it happened that her own woman being one day confined to her bed, I was desired to perform the operation of dressing them in her stead; and unfortunately I acquitted myself of the task so much to my lady’s satisfaction, that Mrs. Pinup has been turned out of that office, which is given to me, and I am afraid it is a place for life. There was another thing happened to me last year which deserves to be inserted in this letter, and which, though it made me cry, will, I am afraid, make other people laugh. Lady Mary, out of the few teeth she had left, had one that had the impudence to ache and keep her ladyship awake for two nights together; upon this, Mr. Mercy, the surgeon, was sent for, who, upon viewing the affected part, declared immediately for extraction. This put my lady into a terrible agony: she declared she never had a tooth drawn in her life, and that she could never be brought to undergo it, unless she saw the same operation performed upon somebody else in her presence. Upon this, all the servants were summoned, and she endeavoured to persuade them one after another to have a tooth drawn for her service; but they all refused, and chose rather to lose their places than their teeth. Lady Mary addressed herself to me, and conjured me, by the long friendship that had subsisted between us, and by all the obligations I had already to her, and those she was determined to confer upon me, to grant her

this request. I blush to tell you that I yielded, and parted with a fine white sound tooth: but what will you say when I also tell you, that after I had lost mine, Mr. Mercy was at last sent away without drawing her ladyship’s. Lady Mary takes great quantities of physic, and part of my business is to prepare and make up the doses; but what is still worse her ladyship will swallow nothing till I have tasted it in her presence. I also make and administer all the water-gruel that she drinks with her physic, and am forced to attend her with camomile tea, when she takes a vomit. This last is hard duty, as it not only makes me constantly sick, but as often stains my only gown and apron. I have now, Sir, done with all my bodily hardships, and shall proceed to a grievance, which lies heavier on me than all I have already mentioned; I mean that perpetual sacrifice of truth, which I am forced to make for her ladyship’s service. Lady Mary is about sixty-five, and labours under a vice, which sometimes persons of the same sex and age are subject to; I mean that of telling long and improbable stories. She has a fine invention, which often carries her beyond the bounds even of possibility. She deals largely in the marvellous, and whenever she perceives that she has made the company stare a little too much, she constantly appeals to me for the truth of a fact which I never heard before; but of which I am declared to have been an eye-witness. Another grievance is, that my lady being much the richest person in the neighbourhood, is thoroughly convinced that nobody of an inferior fortune can ever be in the right in any dispute which may happen between them; and as her ladyship’s arguments are generally very weak, so her passions are very strong; and what she wants in reason, she makes up in anger, which sometimes rises to abuse: and in all these disputes, she never fails to apply to me as an equitable judge, for my decision of the contest: which appeal being accompanied with one of Colonel Hernando’s looks, sentence is immediately pronounced in her favour; for what can reason or argument do against fear and poverty? These unjust judgments have made all the neighbours my enemies, who imagine also, that, by this behaviour of mine, I must be highly in my lady’s good graces, so that they hate what they ought to compassionate, and envy what they should rather pity. It is the same case in every quarrel that happens between her ladyship and her own relations. I am made the witness and judge in every cause; and I own very freely that my testimony is generally false, and my judgment partial: so that upon the whole my neighbours hate me, the family detest me, and my lady herself does not love and cannot esteem me.

You are now, Sir, fully informed of the wretched life I lead; and as I dare say that there are many who pass their days exactly in the same manner, you will do them and me a singular service by printing this letter. My lady takes in your paper, and lends it about to all the neighbours; and there are some features of my condition too strongly drawn to be mistaken by any of my acquaintance. A common likeness would not have been sufficient; but such a caricature as I have painted must strike and be known at first sight, and perhaps may contribute to change my scene for a better. But one thing I am sure of, which is, that no alteration that can happen to me from the publishing this paper can be for the worse.

I am, Sir,
Your frost obedient humble servant,
MARY TRUMAN.

The British Essayists; with Prefaces, Historical and Biographical …, Volume 27 (Google Books)

OUR military operations are at last begun; our troops are marching in all the pomp of war, and a camp is marked out on the Isle of Wight; the heart of every Englishman now swells with confidence, though somewhat softened by generous compassion for the consternation and distresses of our enemies.

This formidable armament, and splendid march, produced different effects upon different minds, according to the boundless diversities of temper, occupation and habits of thought.

Many a tender maiden considers her lover as already lost, because he cannot reach the camp but by crossing the sea; men of a more political understanding are persuaded that we shall now see, in a few days, the ambassadors of France supplicating for pity. Some are hoping for a bloody battle, because a bloody battle makes a vendible narrative ; some are composing songs of victory ; some planning arches of triumph; and some are mixing fireworks for the celebration of a peace. Of all extensive and complicated objects different parts are selected by different eyes; and minds are variously affected, as they vary their attention. The care of the public is now fixed upon our soldiers; who are leaving their native country to wander, none can tell how long, in the pathless deserts of the Isle of Wight. The tender sigh for their sufferings, and the gay drink to their success. I, who look, or believe myself to look, with more philosophic eyes on human affairs, must confess, that I saw the troops march with little emotion ; my thoughts were fixed upon other scenes, and the tear stole into my eyes, not for those who were going away, but for those who were left behind. We have no reason to doubt but our troops will proceed with proper caution; there are men among them who can take care of themselves. But how shall the ladies endure without them 2 By what hearts can they, who have long had no joy but from the civilities of a soldier, now amuse their hours, and solace their separation ? Of fifty thousand men, now destined to different stations, if we allow each to have been occasionally necessary only to four women, a short computation will inform us, that two hundred thousand ladies are left to languish in distress; two hundred thousand ladies, who must run to sales and auctions without an attendant; sit at the play without a critic to direct their opinion; buy their fans by their own judgment; dispose shells by their own invention; walk in the Mall without a gallant; go to the gardens without a protector; and shuffle cards with vain impatience, for want of a fourth to complete the party. Of these ladies, some, I hope, have lapdogs, and some monkeys; but they are unsatisfactory companions. Many useful offices are performed by men of scarlet, to which neither dog nor monkey has adequate abilities. A parrot, indeed, is as fine as a colonel, and, if he has been much used to good company, is not wholly without conversation ; but a parrot, after all, is a poor little creature, and has neither sword nor shoulder-knot, can neither dance nor play at cards. Since the soldiers must obey the call of their duty, and go to that side of the kingdom which faces France, I know not why the ladies, who cannot live without them, should not follow them. The prejudices and pride of man have long presumed the sword and spindle made for different hands, and denied the other sex to partake the grandeur of military glory. This notion may be consistently enough received in France, where the salique law excludes females from the throne; but we, who allow them to be sovereigns, may surely suppose them capable to be soldiers. It were to be wished that some men, whose experience and authority might enforce regard, would propose that our encampments for the present year should comprise an equal number of men and women, who should march and fight in mingled bodies. If proper colonels were once appointed, and the

drums ordered to beat for female volunteers, our regiments would soon be filled without the reproach or cruelty of an impress. Of these heroines some might serve on foot, under the denominations of the Female Buffs, and some on horseback, with the title of Lady Hussars. What objections can be made to this scheme, I have endeavoured maturely to consider, and cannot find that a modern soldier has any duties, except that of obedience, which a lady cannot perform. If the hair has lost its powder, a lady has a puff; if a coat be spotted, a lady has a brush. Strength is of less importance since fire-arms have been used; blows of the hand are now seldom exchanged; and what is there to be done in the charge or the retreat beyond the powers of a sprightly maiden. Our masculine squadrons will not suppose themselves disgraced by their auxiliaries, till they have done something which women could not have done. The troops of Braddock never saw their enemies, and perhaps were defeated by women. If our American general had headed an army of girls, he might still have built a fort and taken it. Had Minorca been defended by a female garrison, it might have been surrendered, as it was, without a breach ; and I cannot but think that seven thousand women might have ventured to look at Rochfort, sack a village, rob a vineyard, and return in safety.

The Fortnightly, Volume 56 (Google Books)

IV.

Antonio Vivarelli was nineteen when Father Zuffi nearly crushed him in a pathetic farewell, and sent him forth, a pupil no longer, into the big, sounding, singing world. The ugliness which was to be so famous and so adored, had saved our friend from the often ludicrous début of the young singers of a hundred years ago, who, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, were usually employed in women’s parts in the theatres at Rome. His engagement was for the great Ascension-tide fair at Padua, where he was to sing a subordinate part in an opera expressly composed by the famous Sarti. The company, recruited at Bologna by a Venetian director, was sent by water, in one of those big boats which sailed slowly from the Reno into the Po, thence into the Lagoon, and inland again up by the Brenta. It was a motley throng, such as Goldoni loved to describe—singers, fiddlers, and sceneshifters, even tailors and copyists, collected from every part of Italy, and jabbering various dialects and corruptions

of the mother tongue, in company with several talking parrots, a monkey, and innumerable lapdogs belonging to the female portion of the caravan. The big flat boat slid slowly along between the poplared banks and into the lagoon, a lazy journey of several days, with people cooking all kinds of messes on deck among the stackedup properties, eating off tables improvised out of side scenes and trestles, quarrelling, shouting, screaming, playing cards all the livelong day, and making music, and even dancing to the orchestral fiddles when the moon rose at night, and the black hull cut a wake as of quicksilver through the shallow water. The principal male and female performers had been too grand to travel thus; and in the absence of the first woman, the various humbler ladies put forth infinite pretensions and infinite seductions, mostly aimed at Vivarelli, whose serious, shy face and priestlike demeanour made him at once a desired capture and an unceasing butt. This was Vivarelli’s first entrance into life, for, thanks to his widow hostess, to his Franciscan teacher, and to an odd little society of learned men into which he had worked his way, he had lived his years of apprenticeship at Bologna very much like those previous ones at the Ravenna seminary. And the world, as typified in this boatload of singers and players, of shifty, clever, dissolute men and pretty, sentimental, and brazen women, all surrounded to him with the halo of poetry and music, seemed to him an enchanting place, despite the over-quarrelsome habits of some of his companions, and the detestable ways of the actresses, mothers, parrots, and lapdogs. . . . And when they had got to Padua, and collected in various inns during the time of rehearsal, it still seemed to the young man as if life were that boatfull of Comus’ companions, with painted sails spread under an everblue sky, sliding along towards a delightful, if second-rate, island of Venus: a singing Wilhelm Meister surrounded by singing Philinas and Serlos. From this dream of vulgar pleasure Vivarelli was suddenly awakened by the fact that he was famous. The principal singer, under whose ill-bred superiority he was finishing his apprenticeship, suddenly fell ill, and Vivarelli was called upon to take the chief part in the opera. He knew it only from having heard the other man sing it; it was immensely, he thought, beyond his vocal powers; the public was fanatical for its old favourite Manfredini. Manfredini had a loud brilliant voice, a magnificent facility of inventing and executing difficult variations; he was, moreover, accounted a good actor, and so handsome a man that at Milan the ladies had worn, it was said, five miniatures of him at a time, on each bracelet, each shoe-buckle, and on the brooch that fastened their kerchief. Vivarelli’s voice had by no means finished developing, his chest was still weak, and, although he had done his very

best to learn acting from a famous lawyer and amateur actor at Bologna, he was a mere stick when he sang his airs. Besides, he was horribly ugly. The public received him coldly, and hissed him off the stage after his first song; once behind the scenes, he burst into tears like a child. The composer of the opera was a young man of spirit. This opera of his had been a success for the first nights; he was determined it should not fail for the want of a singer. From his harpsichord in the orchestra he suddenly addressed the audience, upbraiding it for its stupid unkindness to a lad who was doing his best to serve them: “If,” he said, “ you will not promise a decent reception to Signor Vivarelli, the play shall be stopped and your money returned at the door.” The audience applauded. Vivarelli returned on to the stage, amid a few signs of encouragement in the general ill-humoured silence. He was utterly changed, and like a man ten years older. He did not know the whole of the part, but what he did know he performed with reckless coolness. He went through one air after another, and the audience began to applaud; he sang the duet with the principal woman, and the audience applauded still more. But when he remained alone on the stage with her, for the great scene of accompanied recitative and the principal song known as the rondó, the public, who had come to hear their own Manfredini hissed the intruder like one man. Vivarelli waited for them to be silent, and, after a pause, began his scene. Those hisses had lashed him into a sort of madness in which, excited to the utmost, though apparently calm, he perceived only the play and the music, much as if he had been in a trance. The situation—that of a lover giving up his beloved to fulfil a promise—inspired him with a perfect frenzy of passion. He spoke his recitative he knew not how, he moved his body and his arms and hands he knew not why, but minding for the moment only one fact, that he had to give up this woman whom he loved. Then, after the last chord of the recitative, the orchestra began the prelude of the great air. Vivarelli had sung it only once before, that morning; and his mind, one would have thought, must have been full of the reading of it of his predecessor. But, for no reason he could have told, he began it in a totally different spirit. It seemed to him something new, and something that he was making. He sang quick where Manfredini had sung slow and vice versä and entirely forgot where the famous singer had made most of his points. He never remembered even the places for inserting the great florid passages, which always brought the house down. The song had been sung hitherto with two expressions, so to speak, interlaced by composer and singer, as a piece half languid and pathetic, half violent and voluble. Vivarelli made the first movement quiet, simple, almost spoken ; and the second—but that was the strangest thing—instead of the great scales and passages of shakes, there came into his head odd intricate flourishes, and into his performance, instead of the mere vehement floridness, a strange mad jubilation, interspersed with sudden pauses of misery. At the end of the piece, as the orchestra stopped for the last time before the final crash, he launched out into a long extemporary cadence, melodious, farfetched, rambling away into strange tonalities, and over strange intervals, and ending with two or three simple, longdrawn notes. These notes belonged to the dubious part of his voice, that place upon which Father Zuffi had expended so much time and science. They came out odd, of unearthly sweetness and poignancy, like those of a hautboy. The orchestra banged in its chord. The whole theatre burst into a yell of joy. The poor fellow had to be carried, fainting, behind the scenes, and a doctor jumped up from the pit to let him blood. It was now Vivarelli’s turn to have his likeness worn on shoe-buckles and bracelets and brooches, and his partisans proceeded at once to challenge and thrash with cedar poles the partisans of poor Manfredini. Instead of the ladies of the theatrical company, Colombinas and Rosauras of whom Goldoni has left us the portraits, it was ladies of the first quality, what the eighteenth century still called highborn nymphs, who now laid siege to the former seminarist’s feelings, and from the society of sceneshifters, ballet-dancers, and harlequins, cooking sausages and tomatoes on braziers in attics, the young singer found himself at once promoted to the tables and the coaches of Venetian senators, of princes of the empire, and of cardinals, and, from that evening, when the unwilling public heard for the first time those strange, hautboy notes of his voice, Vivarelli’s life was but a series of triumphs. But, scarcely a year after his first success, he suddenly disappeared from the notice of his admirers, and appeared instead, his travelling boots and cape still on, in the cell of Father Giambattista Zuffi. The excellent singing-master’s first thought—for his mind ran to romance and he hinted occasionally at past adventures scarce befitting the holiness of a Franciscan—was that his dear Tonino—for so he always called him—was flying before some jealous noble and his hired ruffians; then, having prepared some chocolate on his portable stove, he gravely asked Vivarelli whether he had lost his money at play or whether it had been got out of him by “those accursed sirens.”— Vivarelli had indeed, in the first flush of liberty and prosperity, played at faro without even knowing the rules; and the Colombinas and Rosauras had received sundry shoe-buckles, fans, combs, patchboxes, and yards of flowered taffety, which they had usually spurned as quite beneath their acceptance, but accepted none the less; once even a nymph, though not a high-born one this time, had insisted on a green parrot in a gilt cage. But Vivarelli had soon ceased either to play or to purchase toys for sirens; he had regularly supplied money to his family in Romagna ; and now he had good clothes, expensive boots, gold in his pockets, and even, he admitted with some shyness to his dear Franciscan, he was possessed of a valet. “Then why, in the name of all the saints, have you come back to Bologna P” cried the master. “Because,” answered bashfully the pupil, twirling his cocked-up travelling-hat nervously, “because,_ because, dear master, I feel that I don’t yet really know how to sing.” The excellent fat friar began to cry for tenderness; and raising up towards him the face of the young man, who had knelt down by his armchair, he answered slowly, looking into those eager brown eyes with his own wise, greenish ones, “My son, that is what none of us shall ever know on this earth; in the next world there may be more time. For when we are young we have the voice, but not the art; and when we are old we have the art, but not the voice.” From the whitewashed wall of the convent cell, from among the music books on the shelves, the portrait of old Pistocchi smiled a bitter acquiescence.

Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register, Volume 10 (Google Books)

For my part,

him to explain to us why the “much-injured “lady” does not cause to take place that publication, to procure which she before was so anxious 2 I repeat, that I wish to be considered as commenting upon a mère paragraph in the MoRNING Post ; upon sentences that have proceeded from the imagination, perhaps, of the writer; and not upon a statement of real facts. All the facts that he has stated may be false. I hope that some of them are so; but if they were true, then should I say, that, if I were in his place, I would lose no time in follow- .

ing the example of Achitophel ; for how,

under such circumstances, a writer can ever . again have the effrontery to present himself before the public, is, to me, utterly inconce vable——We are told, that the depositions have, in part, proceeded from “menial “ servants, who formerly belonged to Carle“ ton House,” the insinuation conveyed in which observation no one will be at a loss to understand. Bott, how did these menial: servants formerly belong to Carleton House * They belonged to it, doubtless, while it was the habitation of their mistress, with whom they left it, with whom it is more than probable, they entered it ; and, I appeal to the reader, whether this be a description of witnesses, with regard to whom the above insinuation can be just. When, too, we ask a man what has been the result of an inquiry into his conduct, we do not like to hear him begin his answer by impeaching the character of the witnesses.’ These menial servants, if they formerly belonged to Carleton House, came, in aii likelihood, from Germany with the Princess; or, at any rate, they must have come from Carleton Höuse with their mistress and in consequence of her own free choice; for, as to her having, since that time, received servants from Carleton House, no one in the kingdom will believe it. The attempt, therefore, to invalidate the testimony of these servants, and that, too, by the means of an insinuation of their having acted under ah. influence from Carleton House, is extremely foolish as well as wicked; because, to every one who takes time to reflect, it must be evident, that a good cause scorns all such attempts. But, the part of this statement which has given the greatest offence, is, that, wherein the writer charactérizes the conduct of the Princess of Wales, and apologizes for it upon the ground of its being common amongst other women. It does, he tells us, appear, that the whole of the proof against the Princess amounts to nothing more than “ some trifling levities;” and he adds, that, from such levities, “NO WO

is a pity, that, as he was able to inform us. of the exact time and the precise manner of the delivery of the report to the Princess, he was not also able to tell us, with equal exactness, what sort of levities those were, to which he was alluding. Did he mean to say, that the Secret Committee had called the levities “trifting 2″ Did he mean to say, that they had observed, that from such levities, “no woman in the land was free ?” Or, was the former an epithet prefixed, and the latter an observation added, by himself? Why are we left in this state of uncertainty, when, from the same source that this writer drew his information (upon the supposition that it is authentic), he miglit have furnished us with the report itself? Why are the means of judging correctly kept from us? Or, at least, why are we to be daily told of “infamous calumnies,” which some of our fellow subjects have been guilty of, while the proof of those calum

nies is studiously kept from us? Why are we

plyed, before hand, with extenuating descriptions of the conduct of the party accused Why not give us the evidence at once, and trust to us to form a judgement as to the acts, of which it contains an account 2 Without this evidence to assail us, however, we are called upon to make a remark or two upon the observation, that “ no woman in the land is free froun trifling “ levities ; and, particularly, that the wives of the members of the Secret Committee, that is to say, Ladies SPENCER and GREN ville, cannot say for themselves, that they have never, since their marriage, been guilty of anything more than “a few tri* fiing levities.” This is very much like brazening the thing out. The writer does not, indeed, tell us what acts he means to comprehend under the name of levities. We cannot, therefore, say, that he does not consider talking love to a parrot, kissing a lap dog, or hugging a monkey; we cannot say, that he does not consider these, and the like of them, as levities, in which case his appeal to the example of the women of this country in general would have no truth in it, though it would, neverthéless, contain nothing mischievous. But, if, by “ levities,” he means any thing approaching to acts of gross familiarity with men and, if he means to say, that “ no woman in “ the land is fee” from such acts; then are the husbands and the wives in this country, if they treat not the remark with indignation, well worthy of the contempt of the world.’ All along I am speaking of sentiments expressed and facts stated in the

“ MAN IN THE LAND IS FREE.” It

MoRNING Post ; I am far from inferring, that the Princess of Wales has been even charged with “ levities;” but this I say, that, if the women of England were willing to have “levities” imputed to them, were willing to confess themselves to be light women, in order thereby to furnish a justification for any Princess or Queen in, the world; if the women of England were willing thus to be blasted in reputation, and especially from such a motive, all that I can. say, is, that they would make most excellent breeders of slaves. It is the common defence of offenders of every sort, that, they have done no more than has been done by others. “I am not the first, and I shall not be the last,” is the self-consoling remark of every girl, whose “levities,” in the long run, compel her to appear before a justice of the peace. Nay, I am far from saying or insinuating, that any such levities or any levities at all, have been imputed, or are imputable, to the Princess of Wales. I am merely commenting upon an article in the MoRNING Post ; but, is not this defence, or, perhaps, affected defence, set up by that print, calculated to do infinite mischief to her Royal Highness 2 Is it not, in fact, the last resort of all those, who are totally dessitute of all grounds of defence for their conduct? Stik, however, this writer goes further. He is not content with observing, that the frailty of which he is speaking is not confined to the particular person in question; but, he asserts, that every other woman in the land has, at some time, or other, fallen into similar frailty This is, indeed, an “ infamous calumny,” and, if it be not severely punished by the effect of public indignation, there must be in the public of the metropolis even less virtue than I am disposed to attribute to them. Apparently conscious, however, that mere recrimination would not go very far in the way of justifying, this writer reminds us of the unprotected, the helpless, situation of the Princess of Wales ; and, he seems to infer, that that situation forms a tolerably good ground of excuse for “ trifling levities.” But, if the situation has been what he describes it, ought it not rather to have produced an effect precisely the contrary of that which he seems to think it calculated to produce ? What support, what comfort, has the Princess of Wales wanted How long is it since her child ceased to reside under the same roof with her ? How few married women, comparatively speaking, have a

mother to advise with ?

The Scots Magazine, Or, General Repository of Literature, History …, Volume 63 (Google Books)

ON MATRIMONY :
With ſome Obſervations on a plan for the encouragement cf it.
SIR,
I AM a married man, and I do
not bluſh to own myſelf pleaſed with thoſe ties which nature ordained for
the benefit of the human rece, and
which ſociety thought fit to encourage for its ſupport. As foon as I was poſſeſſed of a moderate fortune, 1
thought it ungenerous not to divide it with a worthy female, in whoſe com Vol. LXIII.
pany I might enjoy all the genuine endearments of friendſhip and love, and I have not had yet reaſon to re pent forming this reſolution. My cir cumſtances are much increaſed, my temper is more ſociable and gentle, and my happineſs is enlarged by the acceſſion of many exquiſite ſenſations of fondneſs and pity, which I never knew before. In ſhort, ſince I have D wore
22. On Matrimony. Vol. 63.
wore this chain, I cannot help look ing upon myſelf as a great benefac tor to my country, a more uſeful mem. ber of the community, and a more reſpectable being in the ſyſtem of na ture. s
I eſteem and admire thoſe who con
tribute cheerfully of their ſubſtance to
the cultivation of ſcience, the encou
racement of commerce, and the in
provement of manufactures. It is im: poſſible to ſee without pleaſure, the nobility adding to the honours of their birth, the more glorious diſtinétions of merit, by being patrons of every ſociety and inſtitution, calculated to relieve and humanize their fellow
creatures; to train up the orphan to labºur, to ſooth ſickneſs and misfor
tune, to reſcue innocence from ruin,
and bring the proſtitute to penitence :
but there is one ſociety ſtill wanting (ºne patronage of which would refle& honour upon mºj-ſty itſelf) for encou raging the encreaſe of what ought to be rore regarded than the plenty of proviſions, or the number of ſtatues and tićtures, or the quantity of game, or the plantation of oaks ; I mean no thing leſs than men ; a ſet of creatures
who are certairly conducive to the
welfare of a ſtate, neceſſary both in
peace and war, and as ornamental in all houſes and public places, as any painting whatever.
Now it is evident, that as the na
ture and conſtitution of this being, or
animal, or creature, call him what
you pleaſe, are not ſo weil underſtood
as they ought to be ; as he cannot ſtand againſt the fury of the ſeas, nor
the inclemency of changing climates,
nor the mouths of canron, nor the
oiſon of intemperance, nor the fever of per etual debauchery ; and as theſe are conſtantly conſpiring againſt him, he is now become very ſcarce; and it is to be feared, unleſs the laws of na ture be changed, ard he ſhould multi ply like the polypus, by being cut to pieces, or the preſent faſhionetic max
ims with reſpect to marriage ſhould alter, or more care he taken about re
newing his race, he will ſhortly be extinét, I cannot help wiſhing, there fore, that the legiſlature would ſeriouſ.
ly think of this impending evil, and provide ſuch remedies againſt it, as they in their great wiſdom ſhall think proper. Let all who have paid the tribute of a family of children to their country, be exempted from all public offices, as far as is conſiſtent with the
execution of the laws. Let married
perſons have the preference of thoſe who live in celibacy, in the diſpoſal of all places of profit. Let no perſon in church or ſtate, remain in any poſt under the government of a hundred pounds annual value, above a year un married. Let proſtitutes be confined to a certain part of the town, never to ”
be ſeen in a public ſtreet, on the pain of being doomed to work in Bride
well.
All wiſe ſtates have been particu larly attentive to the great objećt of population, as the beſt treaſure and ſe curity of a kingdom. The Romans
rewarded him who had a numerous
progeny as a public benefactor; and Cicero particularly recommends to Czfar after the civil wars, the eſta
bliſhment of laws for the repeopling of Italy, as the beſt expedient for recon ciling the ſtate to the power he had gained ; and he who by his example and influence ſets himſelf to reſtore
the honours due to marriage, and to increaſe the number of citizens, is a
greater patriot, in my opinion, than he who adds fifty iſlands or provinces to his country, at the expence of thou ſands of lives, which ages cannot re pair.Cambyſes one day demanded of his courtiers, what idea they entertained of his chara&er, in compariſon of that of his father Cyrus : They all agreed, that he was greater, becauſe he had extended his hereditary dominions by the acceſſion of Egypt and the º – ut

t
Jan. 1861. On Matrimony. 23
But when Croeſus was aſked, he ſaid
he was inferior to his fire in one re
ſped, “that he had not begotten a ſon equal to himſelf.’ This ſpirited re ply (as may well be imagined) was more agreeable to the temper of Cam byſes, than the fulſome adulation of all the reſt put together. There are a variety of cauſes which concur to make men prefer a for did or a vicious celibacy, to a virtuous but expenſive family and there is very little hope of ſeeing different principles take place among the higher part of mankind, till the following
cauſes are removed ; “There is no
proportion between the fortunes and
education of women.— Cuſtom has
introduced a manner of living, too extravagant to be ſupplied by the common profits of trade, conſiſtent with a large family.— The ſingle, though ever ſo diſſolute, of either ſex, do not meet with contempt enough a
mong the virtuous to diſcourage guilty pleaſure.— The opportunities of in dulging criminal appetites are too fre quent.—There are too many places of entertainment and diverſion. — The
aggrandizement of a perſon’s family, is the ſole avowed end of marriage. And laſt of all, the moſt diſſolute
condućt is not always an objection againſt the addreſſes of rakes, even
wi:h the moſt virtuous of the fair
ſex.”
The luxury of the preſent age, which is ſo often lamented by divires
as the moſt alarming and deſtructive crime now exiſting, is to be dreaded for nothing more, than the fatal ten dency it has to depopulate a country. lt ſeems to be accompanied by plenty and a tide of riches, but it is ſucceed
td by poverty, imbecility, and ruin. The number of ſervants it requires to ſupport its grandeur : the exceſſive prico to which it reduces the com
monºmeceſſaries of life: the enormous
waſte which it makes of thoſe beauties
of nature, which were d.ſigned for the
ſuſtenance of thouſands, render it very difficult for the virtuous man amºng the loweſt rank, to find ſubſiſtence for
himſelf and his offspring; and furniſh the vicious with pretences for not en tering into a ſtate, for which he has
no inclination. –
A hundred pounds a-year on both ſides, was thought formerly a ſuffici ent fund for a couple to embark into the world with, and by a ſyſtem of Ceronomy, which united elegance and ſimplicity, it was found ſufficient for
all the purpoſes of a decent and agree able life, and the education of a fa
mily: but now a competence means as much as will enable us to live like
people of faſhion; a carriage is one, of the neceſſaries of life, and a foot man is as convenient a piece of furni
ture as a tea-table.
Marriage founded on a ſimilarity of intereſts and inclinations, and com prehending mutual intereſt, affection, and friendſhip, is ſo neceſſiry to the preſervation of the human ſpecies, and their nurture and inſtruction, without
which their being would be a misfor
tune, that it is the moſt natural union
which undepraved minds can wiſh for; and it could never ſink into diſeſteem,
but from a long fries of neglect and bad policy in a ſtate. “Young women,” ſays Monteſquieu, ‘who are conducted by marriage to liberty and pleaſure,
who have a mind that dares not ſhrink, a heart which dares not feel, gyes which dare not ſee, ears which dare
not hear, who are condemned without
intermiſſion to trifles and precepts, have ſufficient inducement to lead them
on to marriage.’ The guilt of diſ gracing this inſtitution, muſt entirely lie upon the men. I ſhall therefore attempt to explode ſome of the moſt plauſible maxims a
dopted by the admirers of a ſingle life. Tne plea of ſuperior libertv is fre quently urged, but very unjuſtly ; for if it means only a freedom to engage in any purſuits or amuſements that are
2 lil.
24 On Matrimony. Vol. 63.
innocent, it is falſe ; as a connexion
with a companion of ſenſe and virtue,
can never be a hindrance to any ge nuine pleaſures of life, but rather tends to ſweeten and improve them :
if it means a reſtraint upon the gratifi cation of unlawful paſhon, it cannot be denied ; but at the ſame time, it muſt be confeſſed, that nothing can be more deſireable than to be in a ſitua
tion, which exempts us from being perpetually ſolicited to indulgencies that carry their own puniſhments a
long with them. The liberty of a&- ing contrary to the intention of na ture, and the order of the world; and the privileges of purchaſing ſickneſs and a ſpeedy old age, may be reſign ed without any great misfortune to mankind. But, ſays lord Bacon, vaſt efforts of genius, and great diſcoveries in philoſophy, have only been made by fingle perſons. To this I can only ſay, that as heaven has been ſo frugal .# theſe amazing geniuſes, that not above one appears in two or three centuries, it is a ſign they are not ge nerally wanted ; but if a perſon ſhall produce another epic poem, diſcover the longitude, or find out the perpetual motion, he ſhall enjoy for his reward, the privilege of never being compelled to know the felicity, which ſprings from the interchange of honeſt and af. frétionate ſentiments with a female
friend.
A perſon who is intereſted in the cares and fortune of a companion, muſt neceſſarily be expoſed to more inconveniencies than if he ſtood alone;
but a wiſh to be detached from the
intereſ’s of ſociety in this ſtate of mu tual dependence is a criminal ſelfiſh neſs; and to expect a ſucceſſion of happineſs, totally uninterrupted by any connexion with the world around us,
is the height of abſurdity and impru dence.
But “a perſon,’ it is ſaid, ‘who is exempt from the extravagant expences cf domeſtic life, has a much better
chance of raiſing an immenſe fortune.” This is indiſputably true, and if the acquiſition of wealth is the only lauda ble purpoſe of a human being, and it is much more deſirable to ſee it amaſſ
ed together in one ſum, than prudent ly laviſhed away for the benefit of ſo ciety, this objection muſt be acknow ledged to be invincible. Let it be
remembered, however, that in that
medium where wealth, independent of its utility, is lighter than air; he who declines taking his ſhare in thoſe relations of life, which policy and re ligion have conſpired to render ſacred, for no other reaſon than to indulge a
miſerable appetite for greater abund ance than his conveniences require, or his heart can taſte, is a ſorry be ing, who has forfeited his title to the pleaſures of that ſociety, in which he,
is too niggardly to have a part; and thoſe who have no other view in ſhun
ning the nuptial tie, but to range law leſs over every bound which decency and modeſty have preſcribed, are to be regarded no better than beaſts of prey, who with inſatiable rage take a. pleaſure in deſtroying that fair and
timorous part of the creation, which they are bound by all the laws of na ture and humanity to protećt. Theſe are only the preliminary ob ſervations to a ſcheme, which I have
long been digeſting, for creating a
ſociety, for retrieving the honour of matrimony, encouraging the exiſtence of ſo noble a creature as man, and
rewarding thoſe who have the courage to engage under the banner of hymen; a ſcheme which I expect all ranks, ages, and ſexes, will join to encou rage ; which I flatter myſelf will meet with more countenance than even the
arts and manufactures: which I doubt
not will receive the favour of thoſe
who live by the deſt uétion, and thoſe who are ſuſtained by the plun der of their fellow-creatures; which I
cannot help thinking muſt be agreeable to the ſovereign who wants ſubjećts,
the
Jan. 1801. 25 On Matrimony.
the ſtate which requires defence, and the fair who cannot live without ad
mirers: in a word, to all who prefer
the human ſpecies to lapdogs and mon keys, and eſteem man as the nobleſt work of God.