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mises. Mr. Sydenham, however, was always too gentlemanly to raise his voice, or resort to clapping doors with violence, even when he was most angry, so that high words and rude uproar were never heard in the house. And now we return to our friend Arnold Hall; he who was buoying himself up with false hopes and false conjectures in his dingy barrack-room. Being an only son, with a good property to inherit from his father, in the south of England, he did not see why Mr. Sydenham could have much objection to consenting to his obtaining is daughter's hand in marriage. . He was getting perfectly serious, and, of course, romantically indifferent, as to whether Caroline possessed a fortune. Her father's consent was all he deemed it necessary now to seek for, and he summoned up a courage quite surprising. He wrote several outlines of a regular proposal for the young lady, intending to send it to her papa, stating his present means and future prospects very clearly and satisfactorily. As to his own parents, he did not fear opposition to his wishes on their part, for he was a spoiled pet with both father and mother, and quite free to act as he pleased, without running the risk of being cut off with a shilling in his father's will, and, besides this, he had already informed his family, by letters from C–, of the state of his mind with regard to the very charming oung lady, who, he had no doubt, was in love with himself, so that they were in some measure prepared for such a step as he contemplated taking: Well, he wrote a letter to Mr. Sydenham, very carefully spelt and quite properly worded, which is more than some very elegant young dragoon officers, with ample incomes, can do; and when it was sealed up, he put it in the bottom of his portmanteau instead of the post-office, for his heart failed again. He |. another week slip by, and then he, one day, dressed himself scrupulously, and went to call for the book Miss Caroline Sydenham had promised him. As he approached the large dwelling of the resident magistrate, by an upward glance he perceived a very pretty, head in one of the drawing-room windows, which disappeared, however, as quickly as he had observed it, and he rapped at the massive halldoor, satisfied that one of the young ladies, at least, was at home. The
knock sounded very hollow and sepulchral through the wide hall, and it was some time ere it was answered by the faithful Charlotte Fogarty herself, who looked impenetrably grave. “Are the young ladies at home?” asked Arnold, carelessly. “They are sir; but one of them is ill, and they have not seen any one these two or three days.” Arnold turned a little pale, and longed to inquire which of the three was indisposed, but did not like to do so, and he merely said he was very sorry, and handed in his card. He returned home very much downcast and dejected, and in the barrack-yard met Major Wingfield, who told him he had just received intimation that the o: ment was under immediate orders for Athlone, and that all the out detachments were to proceed there at once. Arnold was distracted ; he made no remark on the major's information, but hurried to his room, there to ponder on his misery. He tore open the letter he had intended sending Mr. Sydenham, and re-read it in despair. There was no time to lose, he sealed it again, and actually despatched it to the postoffice. The die was cast. His fate was soon to be decided.
Mr. Sydenham sat in his study, surrounded with official documents, pale and bilious, with dark forebodings clouding his brow, as Arnold's letter reached him. He read it in some surprise, and not without pleasure, and smiled with much gratification as he refolded it. “This will rouse and please her, I have no doubt,” he oil; observed, as he repaired to the chamber of his daughtep Caroline, who, since some days had been confined to her room from illness, brought on by his own ill-humour. She was lying on a sofa, languid and listless, with her eyes closed, as he entered, her bright hair all taken off her face, and a deep-bordered .. veiling the contour of her pale cheeks. Agnes had been reading to her, and looked nearly as ill as herself. “I have brought you something, which I know will cure you,” he said, taking her hand gaily. “Read this, * and then tell me what you think—you can consult with your sisters.” Mr. Sydenham was in a very condescending
humour; he felt so gratified that Arnold had preferred addressing himself, on the subject of his letter, to writing to Caroline herself, that he immediately concluded him to be a young man of sense and discernment. He often wished his daughters were married, but did not trouble himself in thinking how husbands could be procured for them. That Caroline should refuse a suitable, cffer of marriage never occurred to him, for, like most men, and many women, he imagined all girls were anxious to enter the matrimonial state; so he felt no doubt that his daughter would be delighted to accept the proposal of Mr. Hall, a fine-looking young fellow with plenty of money. Caroline was elevated in his estimation considerably by being thus honoured by one of his own sex, and with a caprice, alone worthy of a female, he forgot entirely how strongly he had a few days previously objected to Mr. Hall receiving even admittance to his house. His daughter read the letter thus handed her, with undisguised surprise; a flush of pleasure suffused her pale cheek, for, alas! be it known, that in spite of her otherwise excellent disposition, Caroline Sydenham was the least atom in the world of a coquette. Under happier auspices, and had she moved in society, probably her wicked feelings might have been given full scope to ; , but at present they only existed without having attained a growth worth mentioning. “What a silly young man,” she observed, smiling, as she handed the letter to her sister, for whom she had read it out previously; “he wishes to marry me without knowing what sort of dispo, temper, or principles, I may ave.” “Do not condemn him for that, Caroline; an intimate acquaintanceship of a year's standing might never discover to him your disposition or temper, unless you were married,” replied Agnes. “What will you say to him?” “I should like to punish him well for his presumption,” laughingly returned Caroline. “A refusal of his offer will punish him sufficiently, poor fellow,” observed Miss Sydenham, who had joined her sisters. She was imbued with a horror of coquetry, and considered that Caroline should decline the proposal of Mr. Hall in a way least likely to wound WOL. XXXVIII.-NO, CCXXIII,
and mortify him; and Caroline followed her advice. A letter to him was planned, couched in very amiable language, and not at all expressive of the extreme surprise, and even amusement, his offer had excited in her mind, before Mr. Sydenham saw his daughters again, and when he next entered Caroline's apartment, her decision was made known to his astonishment, and a little displeasure. The light way in which the young ladies all regarded the matter perfectly overcame him. He said little, but perused the letter intended for Mr. Hall very gravely. “And these are your true sentiments, Caroline 2" he asked, in a disappointed tone. “Yes, papa; most assuredly I have no wish to become the wife of Mr. Arnold Hall. I have got one proposal now, at least, and this will preserve me from disgrace in your and my sisters' eyes when I am an old maid.” “Pshaw I do not talk like a fool. Of course you may do as you like in this case.” In school-boy language, Mr. Sydenham felt “snubbed,” and he looked so dejected, that Caroline's heart relented. He began to believe that his daughters would not marry, even if they had opportunities of doing so, and he retired from the room a #. deal disappointed. Caroline eaned back on the sofa, weak and pale again, as before, and closed her eyes. But, alas ! no pen can describe the sensations of Arnold Hall when the fatal letter reached him. Mortification, vexation, and wounded pride, all combined to crush the grief of disappointed love. The feelings of vanity overcame the anguish of his heart, and for a few hours he writhed under a load of pitiable mental agony. This excitement, however, at last cooled down, and was succeeded by a state of fixed melancholy which depressed him sadly. The hurry of departure from C did not rouse him in the least. He mechanically ordered his servant to pack up his clothes, and prepared for the route to Athlone in a frame of mind little to be envied. He paid no farewell visit to the ruin where he had wandered so often during the summer evenings, hoping and anxious. He banished Mary-street from his recollection, and gave no parting glance to the tall cathedral spire, ere he left the old city. Ellen Rooney, however, received a last visit from him, and in F
terms of bitter sarcasm he expressed to her how sincerely he and his brother officers thanked the gentry in the neighbourhood of C for their kindness and hospitality to them during the space of five months. The remembrance of it would long live in their recollection. She smiled at him benevolently. “Well, I hope you may be pleasanter in your new quarters, sir.” But Arnold felt as if there was no happiness for him any more. His spirit was crushed, if not altogether broken, and he left C as altered as he could have been in so short a space of time since his arrival there. On remaining for some time at Athlone, he applied for leave of absence, on the plea of ill health, and repaired to England, where he spent a few months of wretchedness. In vain he endeavoured to forget the girl, who, he felt convinced, had done what she could to make him believe she loved him. He condemned Caroline unjustly. If she had betrayed emotion in his presence, likely to lead to the belief that he was not regarded with indifference by her, it was only because circumstances forbade her treating him with the civility and attention which she considered due to a person introduced to her as he was. Her father's harsh commands, coupled with her own sense of how inhospitable and unkind both he and his family must appear, always rendered her abashed and ill at ease while in company with him, and her consequent embarrassment on such occasions had been the fatal cause of deceiving Arnold. She had never intended to practise the slightest coquetry on him. But he felt it was otherwise, and his mind had received a shock it could not easily recover from. One morning, while still with his family in shire, he read a paragraph in the Limerick Chronicle which struck him. It was this:– “We understand that Mr. Sydenham, the resident magistrate at C–, has relinquished his appointment there, owing to a family affliction.” A month after he was en route for Athlone again, to join his regiment, and he determined to pass through C on his way there, though by doing so he would diverge considerably from the direct route to the place wf i. destination. He was now sure
that the Sydenhams had left the old city, and he had no fears of encountering any of them. The autumn and winter had passed away, and it was rather late on a fine evening in spring when he entered C Once in Ore. The city looked as dingy as ever in the fast falling twilight, and Arnold was glad that the gathering obscurity would preserve him from being recognised or noticed generally in the town. Strangers were no rare sights in C . New faces were continually passing and repassing through it, and military-looking gentry were frequently casual visiters, so he was fortunate enough to escape attention or scrutiny, as he quickly bent his steps through different portions of the town, closely enveloped in a military cloak, and with his hat pressed over his forehead. He passed the stately domicile of the late resident magistrate, and saw that it looked as dismal as ever, and was evidently untenanted. He next proceeded to the ruin of the old cathedral, and ascended the rugged height on which it stood, with melancholy feelings. The evening air was still sharp, but the grass looked fresh and green. Far away the surrounding mountains rose dimly upwards in majestic wildness, and round about the ruin were new graves telling of recent deaths. Arnold stopped to read a few inscriptions on the tombs, when two particularly neat monuments arrested his attention. Side by side they were placed together, of pure white marble, and exactly alike in form. On the first that caught his eye, Arnold read these words:—
“To the Memory of Caroline Sydenham, Who departed this life on 26th December, 18–. Aged 19 years."
His head seemed spinning round. Was he dreaming, or under the influence of a crazed imagination ? No; the monument was there in good earnest, and without knowing what he did, he glanced to the corresponding one, erected to the memory of Agnes Sydenham, who had expired exactly two months after her sister's death. How long he stood there, shocked and doubting the sanity of his own mind, we cannot exactly say, but the clear moonlight night found him still wandering among the old and new graves, round the ruined cathedral, with feelings of melancholy rarely equalled. The “family affliction" alluded to
in the paragraph of the Limeriek
Chronicle, announcing Mr. Sydenham's resignation of his appointment at C , no doubt was caused by the deaths of his two younger daughters, and all Arnold's bitter feelings against Caroline abated. She was now gone from the world, interred in a spot where he recollected to have heard her say, the very last evening he had seen her, she would “just like to be buried.” The words had fallen lightly on him then ; but, alas ! how soon the wish was fulfilled. Her sister, too, the gentle, quiet little Agnes, lying now side by side with her in death ! Arnold felt, indeed, that life was uncertain. He was taught a lesson not easily forgotten. A few years have elapsed since the last hapless love affair of our young dragoon, and he is now a captain, of grave, steady demeanour. He attends church regularly every Sunday, in the morning and evening, and is observed to pay undeviating attention to his prayer-book during the period
of Divine service. His brother officers have ceased to wonder why, on earth, Hall has become so strange and altered; yet there are vague suspicions entertained that he has been jilted by some fair one, as he eschews the society of ladies, and rides thirty miles off when the regiment gives a ball, that he may not be expected to attend it. We understand that Miss Sydenham is still unmarried, and her faithful attendant, Charlotte Fogarty, remains with her. Some young ladies, verging on old maidism themselves, begin to wonder that a “handsome girl like Miss Sydenham does not get married;" but she adheres toadetermination made long since, and resolves on living in single blessedness all her days. Since the death of her sisters, her father and mother have become reconciled to each other's society, and they all now live together in a lonely mansion, some miles distant from a quiet watering place in the south-west of England, where they maintain a strict seclusion seldom interrupted. And now, reader, our tale is ended, and it has, at least, the merit of being, for the most part, truthful, if it fails in brilliancy of incident or description.
ourt PORTRAIT GALLERY.-LXIV.
Michael, w, BALFE.
It is half-past seven o'clock, and the first bell has rung! What a Babel of sounds issues from the music-room. Hark, above the loud blast of the trumpet, and the deep tones of ophiclyde and bassoon, the “shrill treble” of the §: while clarionets and oboes, cornopeans and drums, are contending in iscordance with scraping, and screwing, and twisting into tune of the whole stringed tribe. What a chaos of dissonance it is now; but ere long we shall have a concord of sweet sounds. The second bell has rung, and see from two doors which lead from beneath the stage, emerge a crowd of musicians, who soon fill the orchestra, and await the coming of their leader and conductor. Who is this just entered 2 It is Tolbecque; a minute more, and another appears. What intelligent features | What a searching and intellectual eye How assured is his manner; how faultless his dress How admirably gloved his hands ! With what an air he carries his baton He has mounted the rostrum, and now he turns over the music of the opera he is about to conduct. The bell has rung from the stage; he taps his desk in reply. A comprehensive look from left to right; another bell; the baton is raised, and you hear the first movement of the band responding to his expressive action. This is Michael W. Balfe, conductor of music to her Majesty's Theatre, one of the most popular composers of the day; an Irishman, too; and the subject of our memoir. Born in Dublin in 1808, he spent the first four years of his life in the metropolis, and then accompanied his father to Wexford. It was there he began to evince the love of music with which nature seems to have endowed him. One day he heard the band of an infantry regiment, quartered in the town, playing through the streets, which so delighted his young fancy, that from that moment he became “all ears to hear,” and never lost an opportunity of being present whenever and wherever they played, many a time slipping out of school and away from home to gratify his youthful passion. The master, a Mr. Meadows, soon remarked j boy who was such a regular attendant at the performances of the band, and having made his acquaintance, invited him to his house, where young Balfe became a great favourite and constant visiter. Mr. Meadows led with the cla. rionet, but he also played a little on the violin, to which instrument his young friend made love, and very much to the astonishment of its owner, actually learned the scale without assistance. This piece of precocious development so surprised Meadows that he called on the child's father, and offered to teach him gratuitously, which offer was gratefully accepted ; and just as he had entered flis fifth year, he received his first lesson in music from his kind friend, the bandmaster. Three months produced such wonderful results that Meadows began to think he could do very little more for his pupil, and therefore resolved to visit his father again, and inform him that it was high time to put his son under a more experienced master. “See, sir,” said he, “he has just composed a polacca" for our band; and what do you think, he scored every note of it himself. We practised it to-day, and I had a great deal of difficulty to persuade the men that it was written by the little fiddle-player, as they call him.” This piece of gratifying intelligence soon determined Balfe's father as to the course he should pursue; and shortly afterwards the family removed to Dublin, where arrangements were speedily made to place our young musician under the care of Mr. O'Rourke,t then one of the best violinists resident in Ireland.
* The score is now in the possession of a Mr. Hickie, in Wexford, from whom Balse got lessons in music before he left that town. t Now Mr. Rooke, the talented composer of Amilie, &c,