Page images

where he remained with the family of the lady to whom he was attached. No marked improvement, however, manifesting itself, Mr. Severn, who had just obtained the gold medal of the Royal Academy for the best historical painting, at once offered, regardless of his future prospects, to accompany him to Italy. Change of climate now remained the only chance of prolonging a life so dear to genius and to friendship. Previous to his departure he laid open his most secret griefs to Mr. Brown.

I wish to write on subjects that will not agitate me much. There is one I must mention and have done with it. Even if my body would recover of itself, this would prevent it. The very thing which I want to live most for will be a great occasion of my death. I cannot help it. Who can help it? Were I in health it would make me ill, and how can I bear it in my state? I dare say you will be able to guess on what subject I am harping-you know what was my greatest pain during the first part of my illness at your house. I wish for death every day and night to deliver me from these pains, and then I wish death away, for death would destroy even those pains, which are better than nothing. Land and sea, weakness and decline, are great separators, but Death is the great divorcer for ever. When the pang of this thought has passed through my mind, I may say the bitterness of death is passed. I often wish for you, that you might flatter me with the best. I think, without my mentioning it, for my sake, you would be a friend to Miss

when I am dead. You think she has many faults, but for my sake think she has not one. If there is any thing you can do for her by word or deed I know you will do it. I am in a state at present in which woman, merely as woman, can have no more power over me than stocks and stones, and yet the difference of my sensations with respect to Miss -- and my sister is amazing-the one seems to absorb the other to a degree incredible. I seldom think of my brother and sister in America; the thought of leaving Miss - is beyond every thing horrible the sense of darkness coming over me-I eternally see her figure eternally vanishing; some of the phrases she was in the habit of using during my last nursing at Wentworth Place ring in my ears. Is there another life? Shall I awake and find all this a dream? There must be, we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.

Once at Naples his spirits revived for a short time and he somewhat recovered the fatigues of a stormy journey and a vexatious quarantine. The sight of the sentinels on the stage drove him from Naples to Rome, where he had the benefit of the skill and kindly, attentions of Doctor, now Sir James Clark. 66 All," says his biographer," that wise solicitude and delicate thoughtfulness could do to light up the dark passages of mortal sickness and soothe the pillow of the forlorn stranger was done, and if that was little, the effort was not the less." Pecuniary difficulties came, but Dr. Clark, as all who know him would anticipate, remained the same careful, anxious attendant. At length on the 27th of February, 1821, the scene closed. "He is gone;" writes his excellent friend Severn, "he died with the most perfect ease-he seemed to go to sleep. On the twenty-third, about four, the approaches of death came on. 'Severn-I-lift me up-I am dying-I shall die easy; don't be frightened-be firm, and thank God it has come."

[ocr errors]

What a treasury of intellect have we not in the literary remains of such a man? Such a mine of wealth, such a mass of new, interesting, and truly valuable matter, has not for a long time been added to the existing literature of the country as that now presented to us by Richard Monckton Milnes, and from which it would be but too pleasant to go on stealing sweet snatches, and culling fair flowers, till even so precious a work was itself exhausted.




"WHY d-n it, man, you must be dreaming to say you're engaged to Miss Dooey," observed our friend Mr. Rocket, in a deep under-tone of impressiveness, as the waiter retired after replacing his glass and carrying away the pieces of the broken one on a plate.

"No II-I'm not!" replied Charles Summerley, with confidence. Mr. Rocket sat silent for a time.

"Ah, I see," said he to himself, filling a fresh bumper of claret in lieu of the one he had just lost in the vehemence of setting down his glass on being told so. "I see," repeated he, little doubting in his own mind that Charles was filling the honourable post of "cat's paw"-an office to which he meant to elevate him on his own account.

"Well," said he, passing the claret jug, "you'll have a devilish fine girl for a wife-an uncommon fine girl-and deuced well gilt, I dare say drink her health," continued he, raising his own glass on high.

Charles did as he was desired, and drank the fair Moley's health with great fervour in any thing but highly-flavoured wine.

The late rapid fire of conversation resolved itself into an occasional observation, and gradually died out altogether, each being occupied with his own thoughts.

Mr. Rocket was indifferent which of the fair sisters he took, so long as he had no reason to suppose that one would have more than the other, but having recently received sundry anonymous letters and hints that Dooey was not "so rich as was thought," he was very anxious to satisfy himself on that point before he committed himself by the irretrievable step of an offer. Indeed one of the letters, written in a fine natural flowing hand, instead of the usual up and down, and backwards and forwards cramped strokes of anonymous authorship-signed "a sincere and disinterested well-wisher"-hinted that Dooey was about due in the Gazette.

All these kindnesses are very perplexing to a stranger, especially one not altogether unversed in the world's arts, for it is worthy of remark that people are all far more disposed to promote a bad match than give a hint, a timely one, at least, that may prevent mischief. Nine-tenths of the "hints" that are given, are given after the mischief is done, and often given as a sort of conscience salve to enable parties to say hereafter "I told them so-I told them so-He would do it-He would do it." Mr. Rocket was therefore disposed to place more confidence in an admonitory hint than he was in the usual laudations and encouragements that mark all courtships, up to a certain point at least. Laying "that and that" together, he had no doubt that Moley was playing Charles off for the furtherance of their joint views.

The feelings of men with regard to cat's pawing is this-where they are the pawee, if we may use the expression-the party in whose aid the

other party is made the cat's paw-it is all right and proper-the lady rises in estimation in proportion to her dexterity, and the debt of gratitude is increased to her in consequence, but where we are the "paw" it is quite a different matter. Such "work" is denounced in the bitterest, most unmeasured terms, and the woman who can be guilty of such perfidiousness is consigned to the bottomless pit of oblivion.

Mr. Rocket, albeit on pretty good terms with himself, and as little inclined to suppose it possible for any girl to prefer another to him, as most men are, was still a prudent man, and though quite ready to ride up to the matrimonial barrier, was not inclined to charge it without knowing pretty well what was on the far side-what the lady had in fact. He therefore thought as Miss Moley was making so honourable a use of her beau there would be no harm in his applying Charles to the same purpose in extracting if possible-from the only person competent to give itMr. Dooey himself-some idea as to his means-or at all events, some idea whether he would give any "idea" on the subject.

Our readers who are in the secret of the Dooey predilections and opinions about matrimony will smile at the thoughts of sending Charles of all people on such an errand, but let them remember the guideless, compassless, sort of situation a man is in who besieges a family with no sort of knowledge or experience than what he can raise by applying former practice and results to present circumstances.

“I'll tell you what, if I were you, I'd have a talk with the old gentleman," observed Mr. Rocket, with a nod and knowing look at Charles, after the dribbling conversation had come to a dead lock for some minutes.

“I—I—I—will-but I-I-I-don't think it would be ad-ad-advisable at present," replied he. "All in goo-goo-good time."

"Good' time, my dear fellow!" exclaimed Mr. Rocket, with wellfeigned surprise; "good time! You can't do it too soon after you are engaged-it's a duty you owe to the lady."

Charles sat silent, looking rather disconcerted. Mr. Rocket noticed his success and continued

"My dear fellow, if you'll consider the point, I'm quite sure that you'll see it in the light that I do," said he, " you see," said he, working the problem on his fingers; "you've gained the lady's affections, and she has accepted you. Well, that brings the thing to a crisis-you must go on-no backing out after that-you must go to the higher powers, and take my word for it, the sooner you go the better."

“I—I—I—don't want to back out!" exclaimed Charles, "I—I—I mean to mar-mar-marry her."




you can't

marry her without her father's consent," observed Mr.

Charles assented to the proposition.

"Well, then, you go to the old gentleman, and the first question he'll you will be, when the engagement took place; and if he finds you've been carrying on a clandestine communication in his absence, and without informing him, in all probability, if he doesn't like it, he'll give you a devil of a trouncing, and you'll get the poor girl into a scrape."

That argument told more than any of the preceding.

“Well, but Mrs. Do-Do-Dooey knows," observed Charles.

"Oh, that's nothing," replied Mr. Rocket, "mother and daughter always row in the same boat in these transactions; you'll have to undergo the old gentleman, and the sooner you make up your mind the better. It's just like taking a shower-bath; brace your nerves for the shock, and it's nothing, but sit think, think, thinking, and you'll never venture to go in. Help yourself," added he, with emphasis, passing the claret as though he would screw him up to the effort at once.

Charles, unused to wine, at least to intemperance, had just now got into that confused and happy state that put prudence and reason to flight, and makes a man ready to adopt the views and opinions of any one else. He looked upon Mr. Rocket as a friend-nay, a sort of elder brother, and could not for the life of him see any interest he could have in deceiving him. Moreover the wine had inspired him with confidence, and he only wanted patting on the back to make him courageous.

Mr. Rocket saw how things were going, and determined to take advantage of it.

"If I was you," said he, in a low tone, after a longer pause than usual; "I'd just go and have a quiet talk with the old gentleman tonight. It's not usual to interrupt people with business matters after dinner, but cases of this sort are always exceptions, and I should think he would be rather pleased with your candour than annoyed by the intrusion."

"I don't know," replied Charles, thinking Mr. Dooey was not a man of that sort.

"He seems a good-natured old file," observed Mr. Rocket, "I don't think you have any thing to fear," adding, "if I was in your situation, I know I would go."

Charles shook his head.

“You see,” said Mr. Rocket, "the quicker and quieter these things are managed the better. If it's a 'go,' it's a 'go;' if it's 'no go,' why, then it's no go,' and the sooner each party begins to cast about for something fresh the better. Now, you can just go quietly along in the dusk, nobody will see or know any thing at all about it, you'll find in five minutes how the land lies, and you'll only be astonished with yourself that you should have hesitated for one moment about it. Help yourself, and drink Mr. Dooey's health," continued Mr. Rocket, again passing the claret jug to his guest.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Well, but wha-a-a-t should I say?" asked Charles.

Say!" rejoined Mr. Rocket; "say!" repeated he. "Oh, you'll never be at a loss for words on such an occasion."

"Indee-ee-d, but I should," replied Charles.

"Tell him," said Mr. Rocket, "that with his permission, and that of Mrs. Dooey,- -or you can leave Mrs. D. out, if you think he'd like it better, that with his permission you'd wish to aspire to the hand of his beautiful daughter-you needn't say which; but in all your palarverment take special care to pay the utmost reverence and respect to him, and if he d-mns you a few, as is not impossible, just submit with the greatest respect and humility-treating him altogether like a parent, and he'll very likely fall into the delusion himself. Chaps who boil up at first are often best to deal with in the end; but whatever you do, don't commit Moley--I mean Miss Dooey; don't let out that she has accepted you without her father's knowledge."

"But then he may s-s-s-say, what reason have I for -s-sup-po-sing that she will have me?" observed Charles.

"Oh, you may say that you flatter yourself your attentions are not disagreeable to her," replied Mr. Rocket; "that means nothing. All women like attention, and never quarrel with men for paying them it; but he'll not say any thing of that sort, that's always taken for granted; and if he hasn't got a lord chalked out for her, he'll fall at once into the mercantile department of the thing,-the feelings are in the female department, the finances in the men's, and it will be here that your skill will be required; you must get him to lead the gallop, as it were, by declaring what he will come down with; and when once you get the subject broached, it flows freely on, as a matter of course, and you will soon come to an understanding."

"I hope so, I'm sure," observed Charles, with a shudder.

"Be of good cheer!" said Mr. Rocket. "I never knew a man go boldly into a thing who didn't come out successfully. As I said before, it only requires you to make up your mind, and go at it without thinking more about it. Why, hang it! you've been talking about it as long as would have done it twice over. Great things Great things are done in as short a time as little ones. Say the word, and away!"

"Well," said Charles, "if you think I ought, I will; but I confess I have my fears."

"Fears, be hanged," said Mr. Rocket; "what are your fears compared to those of the sweet young lady, whose affections you have engaged ?"

Charles was silent, that being the lever to his present action.

The brothers-in-law rose simultaneously, Mr. Rocket proffering to accompany Charles to the dread door.

The evening was cool and autumnal. The streets were quiet and deserted, few people caring to go out who were not obliged. Lights were visible through the blinds of many of the drawing-rooms, while here and there a stronger glare denoted the comforts of a handful of fire.

Mr. Rocket put his arm through Charles's in the determined sort of way a policeman adopts towards a prisoner, and marched him straight to the scene of action.

Without giving him breathing time he seized the knocker, and giving a long continuous tap, elbowed Charles up next the door.

"Have at him now!" said he, in an under tone, as he heard the approaching footsteps inside, and gave Charles a parting pat on the back. Saturday being a dies non at the Dooey-house at Glauberend, the footman had locked and chained the door and made the usual signals of safety in front that send easy-minded people comfortably to sleep on the supposition, that things are equally safe in the rear. Great was the astonishment both of "high life" and "low," at the unwonted sound of the somewhat riotous knock.

"Great heavens! who can that be?" exclaimed Mrs. Dooey, looking the picture of despair.

"Nobody for here, I dare say," growled Dooey, who was in the midst. of a plentiful repast of crabs, pickled salmon, and oysters.

The young ladies exchanged significant glances.

"Is your master-is Mr. Dooey in?" asked Charles, correcting the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »