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Lady Emily to her toilet, and I to execute my commission. But by some fairy impulse or other, Lady Emily's “ What shall I do?" had taken entire possession of my thoughts, much to the detriment of Scott's last Novel. “ Such a lovely creature as this !” said I inwardly, “formed to be the ornament of society, forced to such an exclamation; but," continued I, in the same train of consideration, “by whom are they not uttered ? In every station these few words will be heard with more or less meaning. The wealthy heir, revelling in all the pleasures and delights of luxury, and snatching, with hasty hand every sweet life can afford, like the bee, culling honey from every flower, in the midst of all his joys and festivity will cast his weary listless limbs on the nearest couch with the exclamation of what shall I do ?' The miserable offspring of poverty, dragging on his existence through hardships and difficulties, utters the same exclamation from his straw pallet : the shuddering victim of sorrow, while the unconscious tear trickles down his care-worn cheeks, will clasp his hands in agony, and sigh forth the scarcely-articulate sounds from his agitated and bursting bosom. It is alike connected with the soft melting accents of pity, and the tumultuous fury of anger; it is often to be found in the last desperate address of the discarded lover, and the broken ejaculations of my old Grandfather during a twinge of the gout. It was the ti opaow of the Greeks ; the Quid faciam of the Romans; and in some not the least admired effusions of our own divinest Shakspeare holds a conspicuous place. The Philosopher has often broken out into a similar expression while demonstrating some hidden problem, or unravelling the secrets of nature; and as often has it come to the aid of the dismayed countryman, as, with one hand employed in scratching his head, and the other in collecting the fragments of the broken milk-jug, he planned the best mode of avoiding the anger and broom-stick of Betty the housemaid. As my
thoughts were hurrying thus rapidly on, my feet were not slow in accompanying them, and I had made some progress in the Park, when, to my amazement, I heard the identical subject of my meditations uttered in the deepest tones of distress; I mechanically turned to the sound, and beheld a tattered aged figure, in the habiliments of a soldier, hanging in silent agony over a poor dog, which, after having apparently been the faithful companion of his wanderings, now lay dead at his feet; his long grey locks floated in the cold air, and, as he dropped the tear of affection over his lost favourite, the old man's countenance, expressive of despair, and at the same time attempted resignation, touched me as feelingly as Lady Emily's smile. I slid gently up to the aged veteran, and slipped some money into his hand; he at first stared at me and my offering with a senseless gaze, like a person just recovering from the effects of some horrible dream! his eye then glanced upon his poor dog, and, as he recalled his scattered thoughts, the hectic of a moment passed over his furrowed cheek, and a tear stood trembling in his eye; he indignantly brushed it off, and, looking steadfastly at me, attempted to speak, but it was in vain ; the words died away in his throat, and he covered his face with his hand. There was no need of thanks, no need of words ; that single look was sufficient; it was as precious to me then as the sweetest smile that ever played over the cheek of beauty. Oh! ye thoughtless sons of luxury, ye would give the choicest pleasures of art to be able to enjoy the thrill of delight that single silent look bore with it to my soul : it spoke volumes; and, in my idea, said as feelingly as the old man could have ever wished, “ What shall I do to requite you ?" I turned away from the affecting scene, and hurrying rapidly 'on, endeavoured, by the swiftness of my motions, to avoid too open a display of the indescribable feelings that succeeded one another in the
mastery of my whole bosom; but in my haste, stumbling over something in the road, and, on casting my eyes downwards, finding them to be a little boy's playthings, I set about repairing my error; and upon looking out for the little fellow, found him by my side, standing in a most ludicrous attitude of rage, and the look which he directed at the dispersed objects of his amusement was amply expressive of " What shall I do to revenge myself?" The contrast between this and my former adventure was too striking to be unobserved. Here are two circumstances immediately to corroborate my observations," was my remark as I walked more slowly onwards, “and a hundred more would perhaps occur in the space
of hour: these
go well to prove how often those four expressive monosyllables are everywhere uttered,” continued I, resuming the broken thread of my observations. “ Sir Felix Patient, while yielding to the overwhelming torrent of her Ladyship's tongue, stretches out his legs, good easy man, before the parlour fire, and, as his dirty shoes afford new subjects for his cara sposa's eloquence, solaces himself with the conciliating · Lord, Lord ! my dear, what shall I do to please you ?? The County Member, while lowering his purse-proud haughtiness to the
apron of some greasy rogue, often owes his vote to the overpowering What shall I do for your son Samuel, or that little chubby-faced darling, Sally ?" Amidst, too, the transactions of our own miniature world, to enumerate the various repetitions of these four words would bid defiance to the calculating powers of a Burton. How often has some unhappy youngster, running in breathless, and finding himself too late for school, deliberated at the door, whether he should trust his fate to the Master's clemency, or return, with a sick head-ache, to his Dame's; how often has he then appealed, with tears in his eyes, to some companion, in the emphatical, impressive, much-meaning "What shall I do? Thou thyself, Charles, hast often been inclined to try the force of these monosyllables amid the various jeopardies in which you have been involved, by love, or a romantic disposition.” Little did I at this moment suspect that the Fates were preparing a new jeopardy for me; but unfortunately the hour had already arrived which attracts all the butterflies of fashion into the Park, and in the midst of my cogitations I found myself crossing the ride, and there appeared, within a few yards of me, a horseman advancing at a most- tremendous rate, and to all appearance one of those hair-brained gentleman that pay very little regard to humble foot-passengers, though even of the Honourable Charles Bellamy's rank: as I wheeled round on my retreat, to my utter dismay, a moving phalanx of carriages appeared in the rear, blocking up my escape. My only outlet lay through a part of the road, from which, as I perceived the mud with which it was environed, I turned with horror ; but what was to be done ? carriages approaching one way,-my friend on his bit of blood splashing and dashing at a devil of a rate on the other, like Obadiah on his coach-horse; I was in almost as bad a predicament as Dr. Slop:-"Heavenly Trivia !” I exclaimed, “ what shall I do?” and I was on the point of forcing a passage through the aforesaid palisade of mud which had been scraped up with most officious industry, when a well-known voice arrested my progress with "Well
, Charles, have you been looking for the Abbot in the Park ?” I looked up; it was Lady Emily's carriage that had been my opponent that way, and she was negligently leaning with her well-turned arm over the door. For the first time I recollected my promise, and the Novel, and immediately began stammering out a list of excuses, but I was evidently at a loss; I felt myself quite entitled to say, “What shall I do ?”—“ Any thing but stand staring there, with such a beautiful creature before you," replied Youth and Love. I thought the reproof just; fortunately her old uncle, the companion of her ride, had just been summoned away; in a moment the door was opened, and I offered my lovely cousin the services of a penitent willing to atone in every way for his forgetfulness. It was accepted; and, pardon me, gentle Reader, if, while she pronounced my forgiveness, another of Lady Emily's bewitching smiles totally banished from my thoughts the recollection of. " What shall I do ?”
LINES TO FLORENCE.
years have pass’d with silent pace,
My cheek is pale, my eye is wet ;
O'er distant tracts of earth and sea,
And unremember'd-save by thee!
Hope, ever bright, and ever vain ;
Never to meet,-in life,-again.
Sad token by thy love devised,
long bewail'd, --so dearly prized.
When gifts of love are doubly dear;
it-and one tender leaf