Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

I am have married, -aye, and have had large families too !"

Very true, brother Cable,—and to be sure, she is a fine, sensible, clever, sweet disposed girl, Miss Delassaux, and a great admirer of canary birds, for so she told me, the very last time she saw mine. Miss Oakenwold, says she to me

“ Pshaw ! damn it, Madge, never mind what she said !_You're an old fool I tell ye !-Miss Delassaux is artful enough, I dare say, but as to sense, I don't believe she has an ounce of it in her whole composition, after what I have heard of the manner in which she has ruined her fortune by her fooleries and gewgaws. And then as to sweet temper !-report belies her confoundedly, if she be not a very devil under the mask of an angel. Now, to tell you the truth, Amherst," said he, turning again to his son,

we have escaped a coral reef in steering clear of that same syren. Her singing, and her guitaring, and her soft looks, and long eye-lashes, might have made a hole in my heart, old and tough as it is; but I have heard such accounts of her extravagance, as well as of her violent temper, (a fault, by the bye, I particularly abominate, the more, perhaps, because it is one I never give way to myself, and, consequently, have less excuse for in others, that you were not gone a fortnight, till I firmly resolved in my own mind, that you should have nothing to do with her. . But heyday! what's the matter with you, lad ? —you don't seem well, -surely you don't begin to regret that the match is broken off ?—though, zounds ! nothing is more likely, such is the perverse disposition of youth. But I don't care. -Remember I have said it, Sir, and I will be obeyed.—You shall never match with that damned Italianized piece of folly, if there were ne'er a woman in England besides,so don't pretend to say you will,- I won't be made a fool of, I tell ye !--so don't put me in a passion!"

And saying so, (though one foot still wore the large gouty shoe, and he was yet very lame,) he put his crutches under his arm, and with an alacrity he had not displayed since we last had occasion to notice him, he stumped backwards and forwards on his quarter-deck, fuming and fretting, and, at the same time, grinning and wincing with each new twinge of the gout, till, exhausted

by pain and passion together, he sank again into bis easy

chair. Amherst, with whom a bodily disease, arising in a great measure from his mental sufferings, had been daily increasing during the voyage, and which the fatigue of his ride from Dover had brought to a speedy crisis, had really felt a faintness come upon him at the time his father had remarked it. He seized the moment of the Admi. ral’s-silence to explain this circumstance to him, and to assure him, that, so far from feeling distressed by the intelligence he had just conveyed to him, he was truly rejoiced to find that his father was at last aware of Miss Delassaux's character.

His indisposition rapidly increasing, he was compelled to entreat his father's indulgence, and to declare that he felt it necessary to retire to his apartment to endeavour to check it by taking a

little repose.

Miss Margery was alarmed.

66 Take some of my dill-water, dear Ammy !" said she; “ I'll fetch it in a moment--or some of my

decoction of vervain, comfrey, and cardamums-nothing so good for keeping off faintpess; or I'll get you”

“ Damn your dill-water and your comfrey and

cardamums !" exclaimed the Admiral in much alarm; “ if he is really ill we must send for a physician.--Here, Cuddy! John! Thomas! where are ye all ?” and ringing the bell like fury, the servants came running in, one by one in succession, from different parts of the old mansion, and each in his turn was dispatched a different way for medical assistance.

Amherst did all he could to prevent this, assuring his father that his illness was probably nothing more than the effeets of the sea voyage, their passage from Scotland having been rough though speedy.

Impossible !" exclaimed Sir Cable, interrupting him. “Utterly impossible, I tell ye. What! you the son of a man who has lived, I may say, fifty years at sea ! Pshaw, nonsense! I never had a squeamish minute at sea in my life. I took to the water from my very nest like a young wild duck-you sea sick! you may as well talk of a young Newfoundland whelp being sea sick. I tell ye sea sickness is not in the breed. But do, my dear boy, go to bed, for you do look confoundedly ill, that's certain. And, Margery, d'ye hear, send Mrs Glass to give the lad a warm cordial

drink, and none of your damned dill or ditchwater, d'ye hear!"

The Admiral, amidst all his violence, began at last to be really shocked by his son's appearance, which had not at first struck him so forcibly. His impatience of temper, that induced him to send express for medical advice, was most fortunate on this occasion, for it probably saved Amherst's life. A low nervous fever came on, with which he struggled many days. During great part of the time his

recovery was considered by the physicians as very doubtful. Aunt Margery could do nothing but go

about from room to room wringing her hands, and uttering most incoherent ejaculations of distress and apprehension. The Admiral was in the utmost misery. He forgot the gout altogether, and, with his chair placed by his son's bedside, he watched over him with the most painful anxiety. Every moment he looked cautiously within the curtains, and when his eyes rested on the emaciated face and sunken eyeballs of his son, who, for a great part of the time, was unconscious of his father's presence, the old man would fall back in his chair in an agony of grief, which all his affected heroism of character could not disguise,

« AnteriorContinuar »