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“something connected with this business, which hangs a little on my mind.”
“ By Jove, George," said the juvenile parent, “ I really don't know what
you need hesitate to tell me. We live, I think, like friends. You have your indiscretions—I have mine. I assure you I am exceedingly mercitul, and if you don't-" "--Trust me, governor," interrupted George. “I know what you
Be quite at your ease on that subject-every man his own range. No, no, that's not it, but I have--a particular feeling towards a particular person.”
“ No news to me, George,” said the worthy baronet: “the bowwindow at White's, commands enough of town, to show up young gentlemen even more cautious than you are; besides, that affair has been a secret with me these two years.”
"Well, governor, that's the bore;” said George, “one cannot get rid of that sort of attraction at a moment's notice.'
“Can't one?” said Sir George, raising his eyebrows to a gothic elevation, and taking a huge pinch of snuff. “Oh!"
“I must do something in the way of settlement,” said George, “annuity, eh?” "That will all come as a matter of course,” said Sir George, “when
it.” “True," said George,“ ex nihilo nihil fit, that's it.” “ If she is a reasonable person she'll wait the event,” said Sir George, if she is not-"
- “Ah!" said George; “but she is—she is reasonable, and what is so remarkably uncomfortable, is exceedingly attached to me." “Any results, George?" said the baronet.
Why, governor,” said George, “ I suppose this is the time to be candid—there is one, a little thing with flaxen hair, which she calls a pledge-a boy."
Well,” said Sir George, “ all that must be taken care of-only nothing of the sort can be done, till you have actually the means of doing it.”
“ No,” said George, “but it seems odd—sounds odd even to the girl herself, that I should be indebted to the fortune of my new wife, for the means of settling her.”
“Those things are as common as daylight,” said Sir George, “ if there's
doubt upon her mind as to the stability of the means, send her to me.
“I'd rather not, governor,” said George. “Well, well, pacify her," said Sir George, “ pacify her any how."
“Ah!” replied the son, “ that's easy to say, and much easier to say than to do; there never was a sweeter-dispositioned creature in the world when things go well, and she is pleased; but by Jove, governor, when she's up—as they say—it takes more than you think for, to get her down again."
“ I have almost always through life,” said Sir George, “ found women disinterested and considerate; she must be aware—in fact, I presume she is—that some strong measure is absolutely necessary to prop your falling fortunes, and rescue you from more uncomfortable embarrassments : rely upon it, her care for you will induce her to accede to the change of circumstances--you are not her constant companion now
other engagements keep you frequently from her, and if you marrywhy—"
“I understand perfectly,” interrupted the son and heir,“we shall not be eternally separated-we may chance to see each other occasionally—Upon my word, governor, you were born to be a Mentor to such a Telemachus as I am—there are, difficulties nevertheless-great difficulties—but they must be overcome--upon my life it is a horrid bore to have a woman so attached to one as my Calypso is to me.”
“Is Frank aware of this connexion of yours?" asked the worthy baronet.
“Why,” replied George, “ he is, and he is not-he has, amongst other strange propensities, a fancy, for looking at giraffes, and feeding bears in the Zoological Gardens, early in the summer-mornings, and that period of the day suiting me exceedingly well for giving my young woman a trot out, I have more than once met him while occupied in his favourite pursuit. He has asked me two or three ques. tions which I have answered so as to avoid a lecture from a junior, and which, considering that junior to be one's own younger brother, is rather more than flesh and blood can stand.”
“True,” said Sir George, “ but now going a little farther into the question of Frank's likings and dislikings; have you any reason to believe or suspect that he has formed any attachment-any liaison ?”
“Unquestionably not,” said George, “ his friends are saints and sages, and the women he worships are valuable remains,' curiosities qualified to take the places of the wax-work in Westminster Abbey, at which I remember screaming myself into a fit in my nurse's arms, when I was a baby.”
* He will marry," said Sir George, “and settle, and be respectable, and nothing more; satisfied with a cold mediocrity, he will slumber away his peaceful life, till in a state of almost lethargic inanition, he drops asleep altogether. I never saw a young man so provokingly apathetic in his manner, or so steadily dictatorial in his monitory and even minatory language, and yet his uncle thinks him a wonder.”
" And I wonder,” said George, “ what his uncle thinks of me?"
“ Why that you are a reprobate and a roué,” said Sir George, “ and have not a soul to be saved—however, the genius is hereditary-the talent for dulness and gloom descends to Frank from his poor mother, who shared it with her exemplary brother—no matter, it is quite right that tastes should differ, and the benefit is especially great in the case of Frank, who, through that uncle's avowed liberality, will not cramp you in your proceedings hereafter."
How much farther this dialogue might have continued it is impossible to surmise, had not visiters to Sir George broken it off like
“ The story of the bear and fiddle,” and sent George away to his Calypso's grot, upon one of those “country banks” in the Regent's-park (which never fail), full of anxiety to sooth its fair tenant. Her story was an interesting one—their association extraordinary. It mayl: be hereafter necessary to recur to it more particularly; at present, as it is the duty of a historian to give all the personages involved in his narrative, the benefit of his knowledge of their different characters, suffice it to say, that as George had been the cause of her misfortune-fault must be the word—so was he the sole object of her undivided affection.
(To be continued.)
BY GEORGE RAYMOND, ESQ.
“ 'Twas a little strange, perbaps, but then Mr. So-and-So is a privileged man.” Who is there, but at some period or other has not heard this most offensive declaration? The“ privileged man” may be considered the spoiled child of the great civil family, and consequently a most odious member of the establishment-an aconite in the garden of our social world, and carrying pestilence into the Araby of domestic life. For the very purpose of evil does he appear to have been nourished, common consent assigning to him certain immunities, to others forbidden because the indulgence thereof is unwholesome; and with complacency, even approbation, do we look on the violations of all discipline, which would consign his fellow-men to disgrace and chastisement. The grossest outrages are received as playful peculiarities, actions, however preposterous, acquire a perfectly new name, and signification, for
“ That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy." The disgusting immunities thus conceded, are no boon which our generosity offers to venial errors, or the slight infirmities of greatness. We do not say,
“ Verum ubi plura nitent . . . non ego paucis
Offendar maculis . . in our admiration of the far higher claim which solid merit has on our applause. No—our concession appears to have been given precisely where it should have been withheld, namely to men who exhibit humanity rather after the doctrine of Hobbes than Shaftesbury, having a much closer affinity with vice than virtue. Their claims on us, would, in fact, seem to transcend the sublimest of nature's work, for the very spots on the sun carry with them still the imputation of blemishes ; but the“ betises” of your privileged man, like the offal of the grand lama, become sanctified in the nostrils of folly, and we who pay homage, no less idolaters than the benighted inhabitants of Thibet.
“He is a privileged man!" Society offers not so repulsive a decree. “ He is a privileged man!" Community cannot be scandalized by a baser bigotry. Owning no allegiance he tramples down all boundaries, breaks through the fences of propriety, trespasses with his cloven feet into the parterres of civil order, nor is he at any time “to be prosecuted as the law directs.” What are his claims-where are his pretensions ? Assuredly never is he a good man-rarely do we find him one of birth --mostly in gross ignorance—selfish and sordid always. What—what is he?-A wealthy poltroon !
As it has been said of one sex, there is no insolence like the insolence of a beauty, so of the other, is there no assumption like the arrogance of gold-and as gold, not unfrequently falls to men of small minds, mean origin, and barren education,
“ Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil
To Ward, to Waters, to Chartres, or the devil."
its demoralizing chances are thereby greatly multipiled, and it becomes a flaming torch in the hands of a bedlamite.
Martyrdom implies not necessarily that its cause is sound; for, alas! there is scarcely any indignity to which people will not tamely submit, if it be inflicted only by a reeling minister of gold, “ that last corruption of degenerate man.” So appetent are they of this insolence, that they offer themselves unholy martyrs to the tyranny and contempt of the obscene Dagon. Sacrifices are made under the delusion of favours received, and they stomach the affronts of a gilded despot, as wiser persons swallow the most nauseous medicine, under the persuasion they will be the better for it; trusting thereby their moral and intellectual being to a quack, more infamous than Cagliostro himself. But then their wounds like those of Telephus, receive a balm from the edge which gave them, for an insult at the hands of privileged wealth, bestows on men's vanity what it despoils from their honour. The coarse jest or brazen slander meets with a bland assent (for Plutus is a mighty pluralist, and is sometimes held the very god of wit) and thus the dull heathen falls before the impure deity, and yields him worship, as the Indians pay homage to the spirits of evil.
Privilege, though in itself but the bolstered title for abuse, is the prolific parent of a countless family; for as he, who having already extorted a smaller loan, is of all men the most in advance in the demand of an extraordinary favour, so your privileged man no sooner becomes confessed in his first immunities, than he contracts a debt with society, which being beyond all hope of liquidation, he treats as a contract despised or a rightful inheritance.
In this strange world, there are persons fond of being cheated, not because as Shenstone has observed, they who cheat are generally in good humour, but because it is held a kind of distinction to be thought worthy the spoliation of one so high in the commission of Mammon. And verily they have their reward—for to be exalted on the stage of public contempt, or raised to the pinnacle of real fame, is with them but one elevation, and whether pointed at by the finger of derision, or looked up to by the eye of admiration, is with them but one distinction. A separation from the vulgar is far more coveted than an estrangement from vice, and so bitter is their hatred to the pest of poverty, that they would owe their leap from its vicinity to the kick of ignorance.
Such is the moral portrait of the man, and such, I fear, the taste of society in respect of the arts. But to illustrate. In person, the distinguished individual already glanced at, is rarely full blown in his spring of life—the flower of youth is scarcely more than a blossom in his quality. He is at least fifty, a period of life, at which it is said, a man begins to be in earnest. He is indeed and verily in earnest. His approach into any particular circle, is indicated by some boisterous ebullition, denominated by his cultivators good nature—a loud laugh, and a rolling gait, lending variety to so much sweetness. This hierarch of Mammon scatters his incense about him with the benediction of his holy affronts, whereat the eusebia of the true believers, is charming to behold. Dress, he despises, yet sua cuique dignitas, for it is a contempt only of such costume, which usage has established for all other men, otherwise he is the most contemptible of coxcombs, for he is a coxcomb at the wrong extreme-slovenly and loose in his attire,
“ His doublet all unbraced, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and downgyvéd to his ancle.” He enters into public pour jouer grand róle. Observe him, pressing through the throng of some certain convocation, his hands buried in his pockets, speaking at all, yet addressing himself to no one, he makes his way to that point of the apartment, where the difficulty of his approach, is one evidence of the importance of his coming. 'Tis an evening assembly of both sexes--a cavatina is about to be commenced-attention has been obtained in the expectant party, and a fair performer has already struck the first note on a full-toned harp. No moment could be better chosen for this charlatan. Forcibly he urges the passagethe general purpose is suspended, and the insolent familiarities of the favoured guest, challenge a perfectly fresh attention. He occupies the whole stage—his observations are personal and far-fetched—he deals in family incidents, and is liberal in domestic secrets. With nauseous jocularity he opens an attack on some, and throws out injudicious insinuations on others—general and great is the applause--and a loud laugh, or an indecent stare, concludes the introductory scene of this disgusting drama.
An example of one species (for there are many) of this genius, lately fell under my observation. Mr. Edward Howard was one of those who, at three-and-thirty years of age, had yet to learn an unlucky man but too frequently implied an imprudent one, and that the complaints with which disappointment assails the goddess of fortune, should rather have been reserved for the demon of indolence. To a good education, good person, and friendly disposition, he united a sanguine temper, but Howard, unhappily, was one of the most indolent beings in existence. His ambition had been to make a figure, but so sickly in action, that it was a heat which consumed, rather than a flame which animated. “ In opem se copia fecit,” poor in the midst of riches, he at this period of life possessed but little solid acquirement, no direct employment, decreasing resources, and five children. He had renounced a small government appointment, in honour of his genius, and had withdrawn himself from another of an intellectual nature, in tender regard to his love of ease; so that his ambition growing still fainter, by never stirring abroad, had communicated much of its disease to his natural good temper, until he found himself enveloped in difficulties which he nursed like beloved children, and the only companions his own offspring of flesh seemed likely to enjoy. In fact, “ le pénible fardeau de n'avoir rien à faire,” sat heavily upon him, and each succeeding day, which added something to the burden, diminished something also of his small power of resistance.
His wife, unfortunately, was a being who, under the dominion of a single passion, was in more absolute subjection than though impelled by many. Love for her husband, uncompounded of provident care, and disdaining the wisdom of all human thought, occupied every avenue of