« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
or with indecent haste, but gliding smoothly with the moving times, mingling in kindlier communion with their fellow-beings, extending their sympathies, and combining in one great brotherhood those from whom, a few years before, they would have turned with most unchristian loathing and contempt. Preserving the semblance of the old, when all things have become new, men do not seem to understand how they mock and contradict themselves, by talking as if they still held by the shadows of the past; while, in reality, they grasp, and are with, and of, the realities of the present; it is a sort of innocent self-delusion that one of the things which give to an observant ol woman a right to the luxury of a quiet smile.
The rush of new sympathies into society is among the most marvellous of the movements I have seen ; and I sometimes wonder if the wear and tear of so many exciting causes will not exhaust us, before our time; but we still continue to take excellent good care of ourselves, however much our sympathies are acted
I do not know one comfortable, well-todo sort of person, they have as yet hurried
to an untimely grave; and it is a great blessing to think, that while the poor benefit by being drawn nearer to the rich, the rich are none the less prosperous for thinking of, and assisting, the poor. I have seen—but why do I use the privilege of years to this extent ?I have seen nothing but what all other persons might have seen, had they only enjoyed the privilege of being considered a 'NOBODY,' and used such privilege as a means of observation. It is astonishing what books might be made, and histories recorded, out of the every day occurrences of life; how dull and spiritless fiction would seem when contrasted with facts -how the ideal would shrink into insignificance before the real how the actual would distance the poetic, and the hearts of human beings beat and throb at tales of simple, unadorned, and unexaggerated truth ; this has been said scores of times, and as frequently forgotten.
The progressings of some I knew in my earlier days may, I think, be as interesting to others as they were to me; while the lessons of life taught by them, and which are graven on
my heart, might be useful—more especially to such as float upon the surface, and never dive beneath the waves, of time.
There is a MEMORY, always with me, of one who, some years ago, made what is called a great sensation' in the word—a "beauty,' with enough of wit to have fascinated if she had been born a 'fright;' with learning acquired I can scarcely tell how ; in short, a GENIUS rare as extensive—and well garnished by womanly grace, a sweet, playful, natural manner, and a generous and feeling heart. The reality and romance of this fair creature's life were interwoven with many singular people, and as singular events. A number of circumstances, which, at several periods of her brilliant career, were involved in the deepest mystery, are not a mystery to me; they will be readily recalled, and with no ordinary emotion, by the few who still personally remember Helen Lyndsey ; while the many who (so devouring is Time) have almost forgotten her name, will, perhaps, attach some degree of interest to the development of feelings and actions, apparently, so contradictory. But I will let the story of her singular and fitful life speak for itself, going back to the time when I first saw her, in the arms of her nurse, enveloped in flannel and lace, and all kinds of oldfashioned baby finery, a huge coral and bells tinkling at her side, and her deep blue lustrous eyes, even then completely shadowed over by the longest and thickest fringe that ever rested on the cheek of infant beauty. I little thought then—but I must, as I have just said, let my story speak for itself; yet it is my
intention less to record a 'story,' than merely to note down people and events as they appeared or occurred; especially those that were connected with the remarkable history of this • life.'
My duty will, in reality, be little more than this.
The parents of Helen Lyndsey lived in one of those white houses close to the Firgrove, on the broad, bold heath of Hampstead; there are gardens in front of the houses, and they command a view which, whether you look towards the deep, grey shadowy common of Finchley, with its clouds of mist rising from the murky plain—or on the magnificent extent of mighty London, gorging the vale of the sweeping Thames with its multitude of palaces and marts, its strangely-mingled population, its steeples and freighted argosies, its charities and miseries, its vastness and its noisomeness, its amazing power as a city of fearful extentis a view which cannot be equalled in our own proudly-beautiful land. In one of these houses Mr. and Mrs. Lyndsey resided, rejoicing, long after they were married, in having no children
- Mr. Lyndsey disliking “juveniles,' because they were noisy, and Mrs. Lyndsey hating everything under eighteen, because it made the room untidy, and endangered her old china. At one time I imagined no human brain could exist with so limited a number of ideas as were contained within the head of Mr. Lyndsey, but that was before I had the pleasure of knowing his wife, to whom, however, the word 'gentle' could never be applied with any degree of truth-she was, poor thing, both ungentle and unquiet; a snappish, fidgetty sort of little woman, never entertaining more than one idea per week, which she wore thoroughly