« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
selves up because of that, I wonder ? So you will just please to take your choice, Miss Matilda."
“Oh! my darling, only, Patty !" returned the terrified favourite, in an accent which seemed to predict a shower of tears; “ how can you speak so cruelly? Do you not know how I dote upon you ? Don't you know, that excepting my poor dear Foxcroft, to whom I am determined to be as faithful as you have been to your Jack, don't you
know that excepting him, there is no living creature in the whole wide world, that I love and dote upon as I do you ?"
Very well then—don't let us say any more about it; but tell me, Matilda, what do you think I ought to say the first time my beautiful sweetheart asks me downright to marry him?"
“Say, my dearest creature? Why, just at the very first, I suppose you must say that you are too young to think of such a thing.”
“ But, suppose he should take me at my word, Matilda ? Suppose he should really go away again, for Heaven knows how long, just as he did when he went to Sheerness, you know? What would become of me then?"
Oh, you must take care of that, dearest ! you must take care that he does not out-and-out suppose you are quite in earnest.
Common sense teaches one, you know, when one says any thing of that kind, to do it with a sort of look, or a hesitation, or something or other that shall make a man understand, if he is not a very great fool indeed, that
you don't mean to kill him with cruelty." “Well then, that will be got over without denger, for my Sir Henry Jack is no fool, I promise you,” replied Patty, exultingly. “But I say, Matilda, how long do you think it will be before we shall be all right and ready to invite him?"
Quite directly, I should think, as soon as you have got into the house, I mean," replied her patient friend, who had listened to the same question, and made the same answer about a hundred and fifty times since the Curzon-street house had been taken.
Meanwhile Mr. O'Donagough, who in his own way, and in a less demonstrative manner, was quite as desirous of getting things en train as either Patty or her mother, did an immense deal of business in a wonderfully short space of time, and performed it all with as much skill as despatch.
It would not be easy to paint Mrs. O'Donagough's ecstasy, when she found that her generous husband intended she should possess both a very tall footman, and a very little tiger. It was, as she told Miss Louisa Perkins, a proof of such lover-like attention, as she never could forget.
“Such a multitude, of people, you know, my dear, are absolutely obliged to do with only one or the other, that I feel very greatly touched, I must confess, by his so positively insisting that I should have both. Oh, my dear Louisa, how heartily I wish that you and poor Matilda, too, had exactly such a husband as Mr. O'Donagough! You have no idea - I am quite sure it is impossible that you should have any idea-how excessively kind he is to me!"
Good Miss Louisa fancied she had remembered a few little scenes not quite accordant with this testimony; but she was far too obliging a person to remind Mrs. O'Donagough, at this happy moment, of circumstances which had occurred at one less so, and therefore only replied by uttering a sigh, in a sort of coaxing cadence long drawn out, which might be written thus: Ough-ugh-gh!
“Poor things !" muttered Mrs. O'Donagough, as she bustled off to receive and examine a dingy-looking woman, who came as a candidate for the honour of being her cook, and who, like all others, desirous of a place in her household, presented herself at a given hour in the grand drawing-room of Curzon-street. “ Poor things! what a shocking misfortune it is, to be sure, not getting a husband at all! Yet! bless me! so thin as they are, and with such light little eyes, what could they expect ?”
At length the important day arrived, that was to convert Mr. O'Donagough from a lodger, into a householder; a transition which, from his lively recollection of past events, amused, as much as delighted him. The footman, the tiger, the cook, and the housemaid, were all made aware that though “ the family” had been constantly coming to town to look after the house, they were, nevertheless, resident at Richmond. This was a sort of fact, which Mr. O'Donagough himself was particuJarly anxious to establish, knowing, as he sometimes hinted to his wife, the real value of appearances, a good deal better than she did. He therefore arranged the ceremony of their entrée into their mansion in the following manner: Mrs. O'Donagough and Patty having been despatched by an early coach to an hotel at Richmond, the husband and the father superintended the removal of all trunks, boxes, bundles, and baskets, by a cart from “ the lodgings” to “ the house,” and then mounting into an omnibus, he rejoined the ladies, indulged them very liberally with sandwiches, cheesecakes, and porter, and then handed them into a postchaise, which four horses drew at full gallop, to the inexpressible delight of Patty, to the mansion in Curzon-street, where they were received by the footman, the tiger, the housemaid, and the cook, in a style which caused emotions in the breast of Mrs. O'Donagough more easily imagined than described.
A well-spread tea-table awaited them; and it was then and there, that Mr. O'Donagough thought fit to enter more at length, than he had yet done, into a statement of what he wished and expected from the iwo ladies under the novel circumstances in which they were now placed. The conversation was however opened by his lady.
“Well, my Patty!" she exclaimed, contriving by a skilful movement of her impressive person to bring her luxurious arm-chair a little nearer to the fire. “ Isn't this glorious ?"
“ I should like it better, if there was more company,” replied her candid daughter.
“ That is very natural, my dear,” observed her father, gravely: “ but it is not civil to say so. And now we are on the chapter of manners, it is just as well to tell you both at once, that I must desire and insist that you are very careful on that point. • Manners make the man,' you know, and they make the woman too, I promise you, quite as much as fine eyes, and a fresh complexion. You must both of you be exceedingly careful to be always lady-like and perfectly genteel in every thing you say and do.”
Mrs. O'Donagough became exceedingly red in the face while this was said. Not Mrs. Malaprop when her “parts of speech” were attacked, could feel more indignant than she did at this insinuation respecting the perfection of her manners.
" This is something new !" she exclaimed, while her expansive bosom heaved almost convulsively ; “this is breaking out in a new place, Mr.
" that any
O'Donagough, I must say. And pray what are you going to put into my daughter's head next? If my manners are not good enough to be a model for her, I should like very much to know where she is to find one. From my very earliest childhood, my inanners have been remarked, and it is not for me to repeat what has been said of them. But this I will say, that I believe you are the first that ever found out there was any thing in my manners to be mended.”
Upon my hononr, my dear, I did not mean to say any thing at all affronting about your manners. Of course I admire them extremely!” replied Mr. O'Donagough. “ But Patty is very young, you know, as yet, and therefore I think it is as well to give her a hint that she must be careful not to be too frolicsome and rampagous if she intends to be my Lady Seymour. The young man, you see, is a good deal with Mrs. Hubert, and that set, and I'll bet you what you will, that though he may be in love with our Patty, owing to their old acquaintance on board ship, which is quite natural, so handsome and affectionate as she is, yet still, I'll venture a good bet, he'd say, if he was asked, that Mrs. Hubert's manners, and her daughters, too, were exactly what is thought most elegant by people of high fashion; and that's what you must try to appear, if you can, you know.”
Scarcely were these dangerous words uttered, ere he was assailed by both wife and daughter, who in the same instant burst upon him, each trying, as it seemed, to outscream the other.
“ You don't mean to say,” vociferated the elder lady, living being in their senses, could give the preference to the cold, starched, hateful, old-maidish manners of Agnes Willoughby over mine? Mine! Gracious Heaven! That I should ever live to hear you say such a thing as that, Major-Mr. I mean-Mr. Allen O'Donagough! I should like to hear Lord Mucklebury's opinion on the point."
While these words were being uttered on one side of him, a shrill, young voice assailed him on the other with, “ You think Jack would like Miss Longshanks Elizabeth better than me, do you? Well then, let him take her—that's all I have got to say about it.
“Wheugh!" whistled Mr. O'Donagough, extending his hands, as if to drive away a swarm of stinging flies, “what a racket you do make, ladies, about nothing at all. You don't quite catch my meaning, I perceive; but perhaps, by degrees, I may be able to make you understand me better. However, we will say no more about it now, please.-And, by the by, my Barnaby, there is something else to talk of, which I dare say you will think more agreeable. You have mentioned Lord Mucklebury; and do you know, my dear, I should like exceedingly to find him out, that you might renew your acquaintance, and introduce me to him. I will promise not to be jealous, and I rather think he is one of the sort of people I should like to know.”
There was in this speech wherewithal to heal very satisfactorily all the wounds inflicted by the former one. The conversation immediately flowed into a most agreeable channel, wherein a future of very great and hopeful splendour was sketched. Patty, indeed, fell asleep in the midst of it, which was probably owing to some rather business-like details which entered into the discussion ; but scarcely ever had the ci-devant major and his Barnaby passed an evening in more perfect harmony.
(To be continued.)
if you ISOTTA GRIMANI:
A VENETIAN STORY.
BY THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON,
“Venice, proud city, based upon the sea,
A marvel of man's enterprise and power;
To people with creations of tbe brain.” “This, signor, is the Palazzo Grimani,” said the cicerone, as we stepped from our gondola on a marble staircase, nearly covered with a green and glutinous substance, the sediment of the impure water of the canal, which was not only offensive to our olfactory nerves, but dangerously slippery. A loud ring of the bell summoned the custode, whose eyes
twinkled with pleasure in anticipation of the buonamano, for which his accustomed palm already felt impatient. Having opened the ponderous doors which creaked on their rusted hinges, and unclosed the massive shutters that excluded the light and air, he donned a faded livery-coat, that looked as if coeval with the palazzo itself, and after many respectful salutations to me, and familiar ones to my guide, conducted us from the large and gloomy entrance hall, where he armed himself with a huge bunch of keys, to the grand suite of apartments. The interiors of Venetian palaces bear a striking resemblance to each other. Each
contains nearly the same number of saloons, hung with leather stamped with faded gold or silver, tapestry, velvets, and silks, crowned by ceilings, whose gorgeousness makes the eyes ache. Each apartment has the usual number of exquisitely-painted and gilded doors, with architraves of the rarest alabasters and marbles, and most of them have small chambers, peculiar to Venetian houses, projecting from a large one, over the canal, offering something between an ancient oratory, and modern boudoir, and affording a delicious retreat for a siestu, a book, or the enjoyment of that not less-admired Italian luxury, the dolce far niente, which none but Creoles and Italians know how to enjoy. It is not the fine carvings, the massive and splendid furniture, the rare hangings, nor the gorgeous ceilings, on which the eye loves to dwell in those once magnificent, and now, alas ! fast-decaying edifices. No! though they claim the tribute of a passing gaze, we fix on the glorious pictures, the triumphs of Genius and Art, in which the great and the beautiful still live on canvass to immortalize the master hands, that gave them to posterity.
Having stopped more than the usual time allotted to travellers, in silent wonder and admiration, before the golden-tinted chef d'auvres of Giorgione, whose pencil seems to have been dipped in sunbeams, so glowing are the hues it has infused ; and having loitered, unwilling to depart, before the ripe and mellow treasures of Titian, in whose portraits, the pure and eloquent blood seems still to speak, I was at last preparing to quit the palace, intending to reserve for another day the pictures of Tintoretto, Bassano, and Paulo Veronese, whose velvets and satins attracted my admiration more than the finest specimens of those materials ever produced by Lyonese, Genoese, or English loom, when my eyes and steps were arrested by a picture from the pencil of the Vero-' nese, more beautiful than any that I had yet seen. It portrayed a young and lovely lady, in a rich Venetian dress, with a countenance of such exceeding expression, that it fascinated my attention.
" That portrait, signor, attracts the admiration of your countrymen, more than any other in this fine collection,” said the custode, observing the interest it had excited. “It represents the only child of the great Grimani, and was painted by Paolo, soon after he returned from Rome, where he went in the suite of her noble father, who was ambassador at the papal court. Yes, signor," continued the custode, drawing himself up proudly, “ it was in this very palazzo that Paolo Cagiari, then lately arrived, poor and unfriended, from Verona, was taken under the protection of Grimani, and beheld those cenas, whose gorgeousness he has immortalized, rendering the suppers of Paolo Veronese more celebrated than the famed ones of the luxurious Lucullus.”
The custode betrayed not a little self-con placency at this display of his erudition ; and my cicerone while he whispered to me that Jacopo Zuccarelli passed for a very learned man, seemed not a little vain of his compatriot.
“ The signora must have been singularly beautiful,” remarked I to Jacopo ; " but an air of deep melancholy pervades the countenance.”
“ Yes, signor, and great cause had the ill-fated lady for grief,” and he sighed deeply.
“ Family secrets cease to be such, after the lapse of centuries, Signor Jacopo," said I ; "and, if not trespassing too much on your time, I