« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
nary examination by a Russian physician, | fumigation, our resignation was positive and we were drafted off, each to a separate but most our deprivation literal ; no matter how valucomfortable apartment; we were obliged to able or how insignificant the article was, our strip there, and having esconsed ourselves loss of it for four and twenty hours was cerin an odd-looking costume, consisting of a tain, at the end of which tiine all our goods flannel gown, calico cap, and low quartered and garments were returned to us with great slippers, were permitted to wander whither civility and in perfect good order. His and we pleased about the grounds. Thus com- mine, as it chanced, were returned at one menced our quarantine; and this pretty and the same moment, and while he treated range of buildings, with its charming rings, brooches, watch chains, and such like, grounds overlooking the Black Sea, (which, with perfect nonchalance, stowing them by the way, looked always white to me,) was away with an utter indifference as to their the Lazaretto. Quarantine and Lazaretto shine or polish, after their recent exposure are words of fearful import to the ears of a to the fumes of sulphuric aid, there was one traveller ; they were so to me once, and I small article of virtù which he received back am bound to make the amende honorable by with the trembling eagerness of an accomstating, that during my fourteen days of plished connoisseur, looking, and twisting, purification, I have seldom passed a plea- and lingering over it with a devotion which santer period. We had an excellent bíll of never halted or tired until he appeared thofare each day, provided by an officer attached roughly satisfied of its perfect escape from to the establishment, and at a moderate rate; damage in the ordeal it had undergone. books, billiards, coffee, and conversation This was a chain very delicate in its texwere to be had at all reasonable hours, the ture, and manufactured of bright hair, to only drawback on our feelings of enjoyment which was attached a locket, bearing on one being, that like Sterne's starling, we side a portion of hair similar in colour to could'nt get out,” and that whither we went, that which formed the chain, and surmounted there also travelled by our side or at our by a cypher, and on the other the portrait tail a grim, withered, grey-moustached, of a beautiful girl, with the blue eyes and black-belted veteran, called a guardiano, bright hair proper to the north, but whose and fully entitled, by the constancy of his lips, cheek, brow, and exquisitely innocent attentions, to that appellation,
and confiding expression of feature, would As a tourist for pleasure, time was a mat- have done credit to the most genial clime ter of little moment to me, but with many that the sun visits. of my companions in captivity it was very He and I were pretty nearly of the same different. The Jew, whose soul was in his agemour course of travel had been over the traffic; the Georgian, hurrying back for same ground, our tastes and habits were sianother
of beauty to glad the eyes of milar, and with these materials of assimilaa Turkish voluptuary; the French modiste, tion, we found ourselves every hour advancanxious to change Parisian fashions into ing to that point where men cast the acRussian roubles; all these, and we had sam- quaintance and commence the friend. With ples of each, were clamorous for liberty, us, too, the consummation was possibly arwhile my young Russian acquaintance rived at the sooner in consequence of my chafed
upon his bit with a better grace and accidental glance at his treasure. Dull infrom lofter motives, but with equal impa- deed must that tongue be that love cannot tience.
render loquacious, and this proverbial priviThe successful issue of his present mis- lege was never honoured more or used in a sion would help him on, he hoped, in his truer spirit than by him, who, as we strolled profession, and in a country where military and sauntered through the walks or seated rank was considered of such value, this was ourselves beneath an acacia, touched upon a matter of paramount iinportance; but his own feelings and the worth and beauty coupled with his dreams of glory and ambi- of her who called them forth, with an ardour, tion, there were others of a softer, though not and at the same time a delicacy, which less exciting nature, which rendered his pre- touched me from its truth and delighted me sent delay doubly irksome, and promised to with its manly and dignified simplicity. lend added impetus to the motion of his His father had been improvident, and had drosky wheels, once it was over.
died, leaving a noble name and many debts; This latter cause of his wish for liberty I but his mother had redeemed the credit of discovered by accident—and thus :—When the man she loved, by parting with all that we were examined and obliged to resign our she could dispose of, retaining but a pittance, garments for the purposes of purification by and retreating to privacy; comforted, amid
privation, by the sacred thought that her of her child! For one boy that has been husband's grave was unvisited by the tear or spoiled, a thousand have been saved; where the curse of those whose means he had she has weakened one brave spirit, she has squandered with a prodigal generosity ra- imbued many and many an irresolute one ther than a reckless profusion; and content with but I forget my limits, and must to hope that the manly boy, who was ever at not be seduced from any subject. her side or looking into her eyes for affec- My young friend was an accomplished tion or information, would again redeem the linguist, and this attaininent he owed to his fame and fortunes of that house, whose un- mother, as he owned, and with a sparkling stained dignity she had suffered many sor- eye, he did many others. In truth he had rows to uphold.
seldom quitted her side for any length of There is now, and I believe always has time, until, at her particular and often rebeen, a prejudice in the minds of the ma- peated desire, he had proceeded to travel, jority against what has been called home edu- to which she had urged him with a double cation, particularly for boys, and principally motive of allowing him to see something from the fear that the maternal softness more and better than the manners and cuswould cling to them through life, or permit, toms of his own still demi-civilized country, by over indulgence, the growth of a still and to wean him from an incipient passion, greater evil. To all this I am a sceptic. whose growth she looked upon with appreThe chicken-hearted boy will be an effemi- hension, and whose further progress she nate man, though he had fagged at Eton wished to cut short if she could. and capped at Cambridge. His spirit, It was not that she disliked the object, for such as it is, will be secure at home from she was her own dearest although youngest those rude and tyrannous assaults, which are friend; and had the fortunes of his house much better calculated to break it utterly been at their highest, and he the possessor than to redeem or arouse it; while his peace of them, she would have welcomed Eglina ful tastes and habits stand a much better M*** to her home and heart as a partichance of being nourished, fostered, and cipant of her son's fortune and affection, with made capable of useful public exhibition or pleasure at his selection and pride in his application. On the other hand, I doubt having made it. But he had his way to the propriety of sending even the sturdiest make in the world, with no better weapon sapling to take fresh root and put forth its than his sword, and no other shield than a first buds of promise among strangers. Far fair reputation. In the prosecution of his be it from me to doubt the good sense, designs years must roll by before he could trustworthiness, or benevolence of the many hope, in an uncertain profession, to arrive at clever men who maintain themselves as fortune sufficient to claim the hand of one principals of seminaries; but yet, let their who, though humble in her own estimation, system be ever so complete, let their care was looked upon by her father as a means, be ever so diligent, there is, or ought to be, and a certain one, too, of retrieving his afa never ending and untiring patience about fairs, and even of adding an increased splenthe guardianship of a parent to which no dour to a name already noble. other can hope to arrive. To the fulfilment Prince M*** was a character common of this duty I can admit no excuse ; none enough among the Russian nobility; he had in the occupation of time, for we have known commenced life as the possessor of sixty and seen men immersed in affairs of over- thousand serfs--the management of whose whelming moment, find leisure for it;-none, labour, as my readers know, goes to forn surely, in the pursuits of pleasure, since that, the best source of revenue to their owner; and that alone, ought to be their greatest ;- but serf and soil had gradually changed none in ignorance, since the same sum that is hands beneath the temptations of a gamexpended abroad will procure an instructor at bler's spirit and a spendthrift's anti-social home; while in that home, ruled by a cheerful pleasures ; and those dreams which selfishspirit and regulated by a religious one, the ness had prolonged were only broken when germ of error is observed and uprooted before his dearest friend came to demand possession it can become a canker to vitiate the whole of his last demesne, risked and won the moral constitution, and all those domestic night before, and to let in the unwelcome ties strengthened and cemented, which con- tidings that his parting with it would leave verts our plaything into our friend, our as- him little better than a pauper. This, howsociate, and, if need be, our supporter. Ne- ever, he was too proud to acknowledge, and ver tell me of the weakening influence his fortunate friend too prudent to hint at; of a mother upon the conduct or character the debt of honour was therefore paid,
although many another remained due. against being betrayed into an exhibition of From that time he had lived a life of mean it, were obvious, was the Countess Demidoff, and truckling dependence on the good offices Feodor's mother. Her proceeding was of his connexions or the bounty of govern- simple in its way, too: without apparent dement, too old or too indolent to redeem his sign she spoke in general terms of her son's errors by honourable exertion, pride battling utter want of fortune; of the habits and prowith a late remorse, (not for his acts but the bable expectations of the Prince; of her own consequence of them,) and with but one dislike to marriage in which love is the only carthly vision to keep hope alive, and that a provider : and, finally, she concluded by wretched one-namely, that by his daugh- stating her strong hope that many years ter's acknowledged beauty he might once would pass away before Feodor would give more arrive at independence.
way to a passion, which becomes an uninanly My young friend's mother was a con- and a weak one, when circumstances are nexion of the Prince's deceased wife; she had known beforehand to be adverse to its indulpromised her to keep watch over her child, and gence. To all this Eglina had but one anso far as the very irregular movements and pas- swer to make—tears, bitter tears; and alsions of the surviving parent permitted, she though to them were added those of Feodor, had kept her word, by corresponding with her when he learned the nature of the conversawhen absent, and receiving her with a kind tion, and although the youthful and devoted and motherly feeling when she was per- pair knelt before the Countess to pray for her mitted to make her å visit. To the little blessing on their love and her approval of it, Eglina these visits were of consequence in she was resolute in her negative, and another more ways than one; she had the good feel- day saw the maiden returning to her father, ing to appreciate her friend's anxiety for her and Feodor's preparation for travel begun. welfare, and the good sense to turn all her Love has its mysteries, and of them are lessons to account—all but one, at least, for its added growth froin opposition, and its she never could be taught the reason why continued intensity during absence. The the love she felt for Feodor should not be first may perhaps find a solution in selfishproclaimed to all the world. Time came at ness, vanity, a desire to conquer obstacles last, however, and discovered to her the true for the sake of the triumph, or some other reason; since, as she advanced from child- of the thousand foibles to which we give a hood into maidenhood, during the interval better name; but the latter is a different and between her visits, and as Feodor was spring- a holier thing. It matters not how bright ing from a pretty boy into an extremely may be the face of the woman we love, abwell-looking, well-educated, and accom- sence lends it a lovelier aspect-casts round plished man, even she herself began to think her beauty an additional halo-lends to her that the mirror of the world is not always to voice a softer tone-gives to her mind a be placed before our hearts, and that there more spiritual essence, and is apt to convert are more sentences written thereon than it the lover, by the force of his own feelings, is either necessary or desirable that its eye into the adorer. And then what man worshould be brought to bear upon.
thy of being loved is there, that does not There were two persons, however, who fling by the mere ignorant present, and acmade discovery of what she was now doing custom him to look upon himself
, even from her best to conceal, and who acted, though the very dawn of well-founded passion, as after a different fashion, in consequence. the future protector and champion of the The first of these was Feodor himself, and one heart which is content to cast itself his proceeding was a simple one: he gave upon his generosity and confide in his love ? her secret for secret—returned her love for - leaving father, kindred, country--trusting love-poured into her ear those burning to him, and him alone, for joy, honour, comwords of youthful ardent passion, which sink fort, and support; making him, under God, from the blushing cheek into the beating its sole stay—its happiest hope on earth heart-words that never can be spoken in its deepest regret in death. In the soul of truth or received with sincerity but once in such men love establishes itself as in its own a life; he had received her troth and re- home, teaching all other passions to yield to turned it, and now, come weal, come woe,” his, and making all other purposes subserve had committed himself before the eye of to his more powerful ones. Absence can heaven and his own honour to have hence- have no power over that whose hopes lie forth but one object in life, and that object ever in the future; which can call up a her happiness. The other individual to beauty heightened by distance-a home, whom her struggles, not against love but hopes, prosperity, children-looking through
the vista of time, and seeing as the boundary black and white stripes, which always stands of the prospect an honoured old age after a before the post-house, is, as you think, out quiet life, in which hand in hand the love of of sight, your sinoking wheels stop, your his youth, the wife of his manhood, walks door is opened, aud the villainous Jew phywith him towards the last great trial, which siognomy of the post-master appears, to neither of them shudder at, because both are learn from the titles set down in your podoprepared for.
roschni, how far and how much he can exIn the above paragraph I have but given tort. If you are untitled, his demands are to my reader sentiments gleaned from one of only bounded by what he thinks it possible the many conversations I enjoyed with my your purse can bear, while your complaints young Russian friend, and it may therefore are treated with cool and contemptuous negbe conjectured that love with him had lost lect; if your titles are of the lower grades nothing of its intensity by travel. His of nobility, still he makes his venture; but three years of absence glided by, and he re- if you happen to be a man of high rank or turned but to seek out, to renew, to reiterate, an official travelling on government busito witness the fullness of woman's beauty ness, it is “ tout autre chose ;" his look falls, and of woman's love; and he once more de- his back bends, horses, traces, driver, appear parted upon his present mission, assured with the celerity of thought, and without a
, that its success was the high road to fortune, murinur, he closes the door, and again you and only valuing the prospect because start with whoop and a yell to receive the brighter, dearer, holier ones were linked same attention at the next post. Thus it with the association.
happened with me; my companion's military With such feelings and hopes it may be and diplomatic character served me in good well supposed that our days of quarantine stead, hurrying us forward, and saving my were any thing but white ones in his calen- roubles in the way of bribery. Without dar; and when we had paid our restaura- stopping even in the renowned city of Chioff, teur, compensated our guardiano, shaken we still rolled onward over the Bog and hands with the principal director, fixed our- across the Neiper, through Orel, Toula, and selves each in a corner of a very respectable I know not how many villages with barbasort of travelling carriage, purchased for us rous names, until at the close of, I think, by the kindness of the said director, and the eleventh day, we came in full view of found ourselves travelling with break-neck Moscow, with its thirty versts of cireumferspeed at the tail of four wild, shaggy, light- ence, its six hundred churches, its innumelimbed steeds, driven by a postillion as wild rable convents, its great bell and greater gun and shaggy as themselves, on the high-road -its Kremlin, and its Russian baths, which to Moscow; my Russian's spirits rose with I warn the tender or thin-skinned tourist the occasion, life, love, glory, seemed all never to indulge in—except as a foretaste of within his grasp, and it must have been a purgatory. far greater evil than the ordinary accidents After our two thousand miles' journey it or delays of a journey, that could have was agreed that we should stop a day or two shortened his laugh or disturbed his equani- in the city, as well to take rest as to view mity.
whatever was worth seeing. So strong was my There is no country in the world in which sympathy with my companion's very evident travelling post is so delightful to a traveller and natural impatience, that I would have most who loves a speedy termination to his jour- willingly proceeded on the next morning ney, as in Russia, and there is, possibly, no towards Petersburgh, but that he would by other country in which the means and ap- no means permit. Accordingly, at the displiances of travel look so miserable. A cretion of our postilion, we stopped opposmall race of horses, whose hides, manes, site an excellent hotel, when the door of our or tails seem utterly innocent of sheers, carriage was opened by a short-jacketed, unbrush, or currycoinh; traces and head gear bearded son of Kent, who bade us welcome of ropes, (at least in nine cases out of in the accents of genuine Cockaigne, told us ten,) and a driver looking more beastly that the host was a true-bred Englishman, than the beasts themselves, in a sheep- and that so long as we stopped, English fare skin dress, “ with the woolly side in," and fashions were at our service. a wool cap, a beard and moustaches that This was all very comfortable to me, so I look like wool too, and brains that have gone ordered a dinner of roast beef on the spot to wool gathering. Yet with this miserable begin with, and then entered the hotel, leavturn out, verst after verst is flown over, and ing my friend in the carriage to proceed in before the last high square post, with its quest of letters from home at the post-office,
and promising myself to astonish hiin at his mouth, which stood half open, apparently return by the sight of British dainties in a from the inability of compression in the northern city
muscles necessary to close it; altogether, as Accordingly, with the assistance of my I gazed on him, I know not what to comKentish friend, I had all arranged in a couple pare bis features with, if it might not be with of hours—knives whetted, chairs placed, those of a person who had died of a wasting claret decanted, Guinness's double X and disease, some hours after the spirit had taken double Gloster in loving proximity on the flight, or of one who was in the first faint mahogany sideboard, manufactured in Lon- breathings of revivification from the death of don—all ready, even to the mince pies; but drowning, before colour had returned to the half an hour, an hour, two-three hours cheeks or perception to the senses. passed and still he came not, sent not, while I was alarmed and even horrified at the all the discovery I could make as to his unaccountable change which had so suddenly whereabouts was, that he had been to the come over him. I thought he seemed utpost-oflice, received his letters and again en- terly exhausted, and as he continued still tered the carriage. Hearing thus much, I and motionless, when I eagerly enquired if took it for granted that his letters compelled he were hurt-ill—or had heard ill tidings him to wait, possibly, on some Moscow from home, I filled a glass of wine and official, and in this faith and hope I com- placed it to his lips; he mechanically menced and ended my meal, and had taken opened them to receive it, but the rising in a glass or two of wine, when a carriage drove his throat prevented his swallowing it, and up to the door, the steps were let down, and after a vain attempt he gently put my hand in a moment or two my friend was ushered aside, arose from his seat as if to relieve the into the room.
sense of suffocation which oppressed him, The door was closed behind him, and he and walked up and down the chamber once advanced and seated himself on a small or twice before he again resumed his seat. lounger which was placed nearly opposite the I thought of the “ hysterica passio" of poor táble at which I was seated. His long Lear, and felt that the causes which had thus cloak and travelling cap were still retained as it were in an hour prematurely bowed after he had taken his seat, and after my down healthful manhood into weakness and first exclamation of welcome I waited a mo- decay, were not to be rashly or flippantly ment or two to hear himn speak. He still enquired into; and I seated myself in such remained silent, however, and seeing that a position near him as might, I thought, exsome change in his manner had occurred, press my sympathy without appearing to iuand anxious to relieve it by cheerfulness of trude. His forehead was placed in his open tone, I uttered some nonsense about his loss palm, the arın of which leant for support on of British fare, and then urged him to throw his knee, and so continued for the space
of by his cloak and suffer me to re-introduce a quarter of an hour, during which time he it. With the haste of a well-bred man, una
once or twice raised his head, as if to address intentionally guilty of a solecism in polite- me, and then dropped it again. ness, he unclasped his cloak and threw it The waiter, coming in with coffee, roused from his shoulders, raising his cap almost at him a little; he looked towards the door the same moment and placing it by his side, pryingly as the man entered, and perceiving while, by the slight change in his position, who it was, turned uneasily from the light the light of a large ormolu lamp was thrown as if to escape unnecessary observation. full
upon his head and shoulders, exhibiting When the other left the room, which he in his features one of those marked and sud- did almost immediately, he advanced to the den changes which all men have heard or door, saw that it was closed, passed his read of, and which, fortunately for humanity, handkerchief across his face, and pausing so few have been the actual eye-witnesses of. full before me, spoke for the first time, in a His hair, which was long and black, was voice which all his efforts, and they were still disarranged from travel, and now formed great ones, could not render steady or make a strong contrast to the utter want of colour amenable to the spirit within, which strugin his cheeks and lips, which were of an gled hard to overcome obstacles which naashen hue, while his eyes, usually lively and ture cried out were insurmountable. expressive, were sunk, set, and heavy; his “I owe you an apology,” he commenced, nostrils were compressed in that peculiar way in a slow tone, which gradually grew hurin which we see those of persons who have ried and broken as he proceeded, “I owe suffered severe bodily agony, and his face you an apology for my long absence, and seemed elongated, from the dropping of the a yet stronger one for my present demeanour