« AnteriorContinuar »
So they packed up their dresses and gilt crowns, their tin swords and fineries, and went away, well pleased with the generous pay of my lord.
But Mr. Hilyard went about with his chin in the air, still thinking himself Osmyn, for many days to come.
Are there,' asked my lord, many scholars of Oxford who can act, and write verses, and play the buffoon, and sing like that strange man of yours, Miss Dorothy ? In Paris, such a scholar becomes an Abbé; he may make as many verses as he pleases, and pay court to as many patrons, and be lapdog to the fine ladies, but act upon the stage he may not.'
Yet he congratulated the actor with the kindness which belonged to his nature, trying to make him feel that his genius and the variety of his powers were admired and understood. And before we came away my lord gave him a snuff-box, which Mr. Hilyard still carries and greatly values. It bears upon the lid a picture of Danae, believed to be the portrait of Nell Gwynne.
• But as for his acting,' my lord went on, VOL. II.
I care not who acts nor what the piece, so long as thou art pleased, fair Daphne. For to please thee is at present all my thought and my only care. Ah! blushing, rosy English cheek! Sure nowhere in the world are the women so beautiful as in England ; and nowhere so true, and good as well, as in my own county.'
With such pretty speeches he ended everything. If it were a ride, it must be whither I pleased ; if we walked, it must be in what direction I commanded; when we dined, the dishes were to be to my liking; if I ventured to praise anything, it must become my own --nay, I think that, had I chosen, I could have stripped the walls even of the family portraits, carried off the treasures which the house contained, and borne away all the horses from the stable. My lord possessed that nature which is never truly happy unless it is devising further happiness and fresh joyful surprises for those he loves.
NEW YEAR'S DAY.
On the day of the New Year, which is the day for giving and receiving presents, there was so great an exchange of pretty things that I cannot enumerate them. For everybody gave something, if it were only a little trifle worked by hand. Thus, my lord presented Tom with a hunter, and Tom gave him a fowling-piece which had belonged to his uncle Ferdinando. Though the general joy at the master's return was so great that the tables groaned beneath the presents offered to him, yet I think he gave far more than he received. That was ever his way -to give more than he received, whether in friendship, trust, and confidence, or in rich presents, or in love. It is a happy disposition, showing that its owner is already half prepared for heaven. As for myself, I was made nothing short of rich by the many beautiful and costly things that were bestowed upon me. Tom gave me a pair of gloves, the Lady Mary a small parcel of pointlace of Valenciennes, the Lady Katharine a piece of most beautiful brocade, saying that she was too old for such gauds and vanities, which became young and beautiful gentlewomen, and her maid should give me counsel how best to make it up. Mr. Howard gave me a book from the library containing the • Meditations of Thomas à Kempis. Alas ! I paid little heed at the time to the wise and comforting words of that precious book, though now, next to one other, it is my greatest consoler. (I also find some of the • Thoughts' of Monsieur Pascal worthy the attention of those who would seek comfort from religion.) Frank gave me a silver chain—it had been his grandmother's—for hanging keys and what not upon; and Mr. Errington gave me a pretty little ring set with an emerald, saying that he had bought it for the first Dorothy Forster twenty
years before, but she would have none of him or of his gifts.
• Wherefore, my dear,' he said, although an emerald speaks of love returned, let me bestow it upon one beautiful enough to be Dorothy's daughter.
""O daughter, fairer than thy mother fair,"
as says some poet, but I forget which, because it is thirty years since I left off reading verses. Very likely it was Suckling or Waller,'
“Sir,' said Mr. Hilyard officiously, “your honour does the Latin poet Horace the honour to quote him—through an unknown translation.'
Gad,' replied Mr. Errington, 'I knew not I was quoting Latin. I am infinitely obliged to you, sir, for the. assistance of your learning. It shall be Horace, since you say so. But much finer things, I doubt not, have been said about beautiful women by our English poets. Can you, sir, who know the poets, as well as everything else' -Mr. Errington was one of those gentlemen who regard scholarship as a kind of trade, to be followed by the baser sort, as indeed