« AnteriorContinuar »
tongue: or, in all probability, she sees her friends tonight; and it would be hard indeed if she were not allowed to be “ Not at Home” till ten at night, when from that time she must be at Home” till three in the morning
A knock again recalled me from my abstraction. Upon looking up, I perceived an interesting youth listening with evident mortification to the “ Not at Home” of the Porter. '“ Not at Home!” he muttered to himself, as he retired. " What am I to think? She has denied herself these three days !” and, with a most loverlike sigh, he passed on his way. Here again, what an invaluable talisman was found Not at Home !” The idol of his affections was perhaps at that moment receiving the incense of adoration from another, possibly a more favoured votary: perhaps she was balancing, in the solitude of her boudoir, between the Vicar's band and the Captain's epaulettes; or weighing the merits of Gout with a Plum, on the one side, against those of Love with a Shilling, on the other. Or, possibly, she was sitting unprepared for conquest, unadorned by cosmetic aid, wrapt up in dreams of to-night's assembly, where her face will owe the evening's unexpected triumph to the assistance of the morning's “ Not at Home.”
Another knock!-Another “ Not at Home!” A fat tradesman, with all the terrors of authorized impertinence written legibly on his forehead, was combating with pertinacious resolution the denial of a valet.
« The Captain's not at Home,” said the servant; “I saw him at the window," cried the other. “I can't help that," resumed the laced Cerberus, “he's not at Home."
The foe was not easily repulsed, and seemed disposed to storm. I was in no little fear for the security of the Castle” but the siege was finally raised. The enemy retreated, sending forth from his half-closed teeth many threats, intermingled with frequent mention of a powerful ally in the person of Lawyer Shark. “Here,” said I, resuming my meditations, “ here is another instance of the utility of my theme. Without it, the noble spirit of this disciple of Mars would have been torn away from reflections on twenty-pounders by a demand for twenty pounds; from his pride in the King's Commission, by his dread of the King's Bench. Perhaps he is at this moment entranced in dreams of charges of horse and foot! He might have been roused by a charge for boots and shoes. In fancy he is at the head of serried columns of warriors ! His eyes might have been opened upon columns of shillings and pence. In fancy he is disposing of crowns! Horrible thought ! he might have been awakened to the recollection that he has not half-a-crown in the world ?”
I had now reached the door of a friend, whom, to say the truth, I designed to dun for an article. Coming in the capacity of a dun, I ought not to have been surprised that I experienced a dun's reception. Nevertheless, I was a little nettled at the “Not at Home” of
old friend. “ What,” said I, recurring to my former ideas, “ what can be Harry's occupation that he is thus inaccessible? Is he making love, or making verses ? Studying Euclid or the Sporting Magazine ? Meditating on the trial of the Queen last October, or the trial for King's next July?”—For surely no light cause should induce one Etonian to be “ Not at Home” to another.
As is usual with persons in my situation, who are more accustomed to speculate upon trifles, from which no fixed principle can be deduced, I negatived the theory of one moment by the practice of the next. For, having returned from my perambulations, I seated myself in my study, with pen, ink, and a sheet of foolscap before me; and, finding myself once more “at Home," enjoined the servant to remember that I was " Not at Home” for the rest of the day.
ON SILENT SORROW.
STORY OF MARY FITZROY.
“ No words suffice the secret soul to show,
For truth denies all eloquence to woe.”—BYRON.
As on the one hand there is nothing so contemptible as the grief which exhausts itself in peevish and unavailing complaints, so, on the other, there is no spectacle so beautiful as that of a noble and virtuous mind, enduring in silence the mischances of a frail world, and the oppressions of an unforeseen destiny. This quiet majesty of sorrow, which hides the pang it cannot suppress, and would fain appear to hope and to be comforted, where hope and comfort are not, in men attracts our wonder and our admiration : in women it seldom fails of exciting a tenderer feeling. When man lifts
a himself up against the injustice of the oppressor, and disdains to complain of wrongs, to which he would not be thought sensible, he presents to us the image of a rock unbroken by the violence of a rude torrent; but when Woman, lovely Woman, sustains, meekly and silently, a weight of affliction, under which a firmer heart might bow, we look upon her as upon a tender and a cherished flower drooping in solitude; unseen save by few; but by those few deeply and sincerely regretted.
Mary Fitzroy, to whom poor Morton was so unfortunately attached, affords an interesting example of the foregoing remarks. A long and intimate acquaintance had existed between my Parents and those of the Lady; and, notwithstanding the rapidity with which boyish im
pressions are said to wear off, I have at this moment as perfect a recollection of Mary Fitzroy at fourteen, as if she were still before me in the bright days of her youth. At that
she was the life and soul of our innocent amusements : her lively voice was the sweetest in the song; her fairy step was the lightest in the dance; and her union of native sense with foreign naïveté threw over her conversation a veil of originality which frequently was, and more frequently was supposed to be, wit. It was not to be wondered at that a young man, possessed, like Edward, of an imagination enraptured with all that was beautiful, and a heart captivated by all that was virtuous, was not insensible to these attractions. Yet Love did not so far blind him, but that he saw, even at the commencement of this fatal passion, its probable result. Often have I heard him describe the struggles he made to free himself from this mental fascination. But they were as fruitless as they were painful: even when he had succeeded in persuading himself that his thoughts were engaged upon other pursuits, there was still an idea of beauty lurking about his heart which always wore the form of Mary Fitzroy. The struggles of duty gradually ceased, and he gave himself up to the impulse which his reason was unable to subdue.
Miss Fitzroy was married to Lord Ruthven very early in life; his Lordship was possessed of a noble figure, a large fortune, and considerable talents; his young bride was deeply--devotedly attached to him: and the superficial observer could see nothing likely to interrupt the happiness of either. Those, however, who were intimately acquainted with the character of Lord Ruthven, doubted and feared in silence. There was about him a distant reserve, which to some bore the
me bore the appearance of hauteur, to others that of a desire of concealment; but whatever form it took, it seemed little calculated to repay the confidence or preserve the affection of a young and amiable female,
The elder sister of the lady was more open in her dislike of the match. She had been married some time before to an eminent medical gentleman, and it was from the knowledge of some transactions between her husband and Lord Ruthven that she thought her sister's happiness would suffer by this union. Her apprehensions however were disregarded ; and, in kindness, she ceased to express them when she found that they were of no avail. Mrs. Mervyn parted from her sister with a regret which she vainly endeavoured to conceal.
The marriage took place; and Mary was, or appeared to be, completely happy. She looked up to her husband as to a superior being; she dwelt upon his talents, his virtues, with an enthusiasm which seemed little short of adoration. Whatever transient feeling of anxiety had been excited by the fears or remonstrances of her friends, it had been replaced by confidence and tranquillity. Every idea that could vex, every circumstance that could alarm, was dismissed and forgotten; nothing interrupted the smiles and gladness of that hour.-Alas! many a day has risen in serenity and set in storm!
As for Morton, he bore the shock with a calmness which surprised every one but those who had had opportunities of studying his character. A superficial acquaintance would see in Edward Morton an imagination easily heated, a temper irritable to excess; but bis nearer friends knew that the warmth of that imagination, the irascibility of that temper, had been long disciplined and subdued by a sober sense of religion, which is too rarely found in Youth. The love he felt was not that of romance, which shows itself in violence of feeling and fury of expression; but that of real life, whose melancholy is deep but silent. His was not the religion of a poet, which is merely used, as the structure of his work requires, and is thrown aside when no longer necessary ;--it was the religion of a Christian, which “ hopeth all things-endureth all things."