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It seems to be true, that no plenitude of present gratifications can make the possessor happy for a continuance, unless he have something in reserve-something to hope for and look forward to. This I conclude to be the case, from comparing the alacrity and spirits of men who are engaged in any pursuit which interests them, with the dejection and ennui of almost all who are either born to so much that they want nothing more, or who have used up their satisfactions too soon, and drained the sources of them.
“So, the old boy is off at last ?” said lounging Lepel to Lord Mowbray, as he entered the room. “I give you joy, Mowbray, with all my heart:” (had he any?) “I thought that the unconscionable fellow had taken an everlasting lease of life, and never would have the grace to part with it! Well, and so now you have nothing to do but to make the contents of his coffers fly; and enjoy yourself with all your friends: an enviable situation, truly! Nothing but amusement, and with your own set; delightful! Well, my dear Lord, always remember there is not one among the number more truly attached to you than myself.”
"Friends" and "attached” _these two words were curiously conned over by Lord Mowbray, who, besides feeling the terms in which Captain Lepel so flippantly spoke of his deceased relative, to be repugnant to him, was a nice appreciator of real elegance, and contemned the fashionable slang, which confounds the true meaning of language, and is the refuge of inferiority to hide its emptiness; added to which, Lord Mowbray could not coolly speculate on worldly advantages, whilst the memory of one connected, though distantly, with him by ties of consanguinity, and with whom he had lived in habits of intimacy and reciprocal kindness, was still fresh in his bosom. Restraining, however, all expression of his feelings, after a considerable pause, he rejoined—“No-very true, I have nothing to do--nothing, absolutely, except to amuse myself ; neither have I ever had : but, then, how shall I do that?" and he
sighed as he took up a newspaper which lay on the table, and run his eye carelessly over the page.
“Ah! what,” rejoined Captain Lepel, “always singular ? Nobody like you at saying an odd thing. Very excellent, 'faith! I will sport it at Brookes's. A man with twenty thousand a year, young too, and of rank, not know how to amuse himself! Capital, upon my honour! “How shall I do that ?' Ha! ha! ha! Well, perhaps it might afford you some diversion, or at least put you in the way to find some, to go to the rehearsal at the Opera this morning. I have always the entrée at the rehearsals; there will be Cosi Fan Tutte, a delicious opera, in which the new Prima Donna, Rosalinda Lorenzi, makes her début."
“Rosalinda!" echoed Lord Mowbray; "what Rosalinda ?”
"Why the Rosalinda, to be sure; have you not beard of her ? have you been in Italy so long and not heard the Rosalinda ?” “Impossible!” exclaimed Lord Mowbray.
Why impossible, my dear Lord ? Depend upon it, it is so ; come, and you'll see. But, by the way, have you looked at the famous Arabian ponies which have been brought over for his Majesty? They are not publicly shown, but I can take you to the stables; I am sure, that any friend of mine may see them at any time. I take care never to be without a friend at court. Ha! ha! ha! Will you go, my Lord ?"
“To the rehearsal, or to the stables, which do you mean? Either will do for me-yes-no-stay. Yes; I think I may as well walk towards the stables as any other way."
This matter arranged, Lepel passed his arm familiarly through Lord Mowbray's; and having conducted the latter to a noted fruitshop by the way, ate peaches when they were at the price of gold; and then, feeling in his pocket, carelessly observed that he had forgotten his purse—" but never mind," turning to the shop-woman, put it down to my account; you know me, Mrs. Florimel, I am always an exact man; put it to my account.” That meant to any other person's except his own, whom he might chance to persuade to become her customer; the way that the bills of many an honourable gentleman and lady are paid; and as it answered Mrs. Florimel's purpose precisely as well, no observations were ever made, and the tacit understanding was duly preserved and acted upon.
66 Oh! dear Sir,” she replied smilingly,—"don't mention payment; certainly, Sir, I am always happy to serve you any time; much obliged for all favours ; won't my Lord take another peach ? always happy
to have the honour of serving any of your friends, Sir. As often as you pass this way, pray look in; shall have some choice grapes next week."
Having managed this little difficulty after a fashion usual with Captain Lepel (and in which, as in similar manævring, practice
had made him perfect), he was proceeding to conduct Lord Mow1 bray to the King's stables, when, as if suddenly recollecting himself,
Le pulled out his watch, and observed-“If we go there now, we may be perhaps too late for the rehearsal.” And perhaps, too, he apprehended his interest in that quarter would prove less power
ful than he had vaunted it to be, and therefore dexterously avoided 13
a discovery, by turning his companion's footsteps towards the Opera House.
“Now, you will be enchanted, my dear Lord! Never was any thing altogether like the Rosalinda, nor ever will be again; she has two notes in her voice beyond any voice that was ever heard before.”
Lord Mowbray instinctively put his hands on his ears—"I hate screaming."
“Ha, ha, ha; you are just the same, I see; just the saine queer, eccentric fellow!—but I was giving you an account of Rosalinda." Lord Mowbray sighed, and stared at Captain Lepel. “She is wondrous handsome, my Lord, I do assure you; even your fastidious taste would acknowledge this. Her hair quite black, her skin of the most delicate texture, as white as snow,--that is to say, a sort of rich cream-coloured skin, that looks like marble ; such a carriagel and then sings like forty thousand angels.”
“That is too many at once to please me: too many to be agreeable, I should conceive, to any one,” interrupted Lord Mowbray.
“Pshaw, my Lord, it is impossible to tell you any thing. You always make a joke."
“Why there are some persons, indeed, whose conversation one must always either seriously contradict, or laugh at; and upon
the whole I prefer doing the latter, Lepel, and conclude my friends must do so likewise."
“Very true, very true; ha, ha, ha! I had always rather laugh for
I never saw any use in contradiction, not I : quite of your ! Lordship’s opinion, upon my honour!"
“Strange," said Lord Mowbray vacantly; “very, very unáccountable !!
And then suddenly stopping, he added : “I must bid you good morning, for I recollect I have an engagement in Brook
street. They are all waiting for me to give some orders about the funeral.”
“Who is waiting for you ? what, all ? nonsense! Why do you go into that melancholy hole ? Stay till they have cleared it of its black velvet and its escutcheons, and purified it from the undertakers. I hate going to such scenes ; why it only serves to give a man the blue devils." “It is not the gayest thing in the world, to be sure; but I
promised old Davies, and will not disappoint him.”
“Old Davies! why you do not mind your promise to him? As if they could not screw up my Lord just as well without your orders.”
This was too coarse. Lord Mowbray was disgusted, and showed that he was so. Lepel quickly rejoined—“Oh! you need not look grave. You know I always liked the old gentleman. He was the best bred man I ever was in company with,-understood horses better than any body,-kept an excellent table, the best quality (talking of qualities) that any body can have, and includes every other that ensures a man many friends. I was only in joke-wouldn't for the world say any thing to offend your good heart, which value too highly to wound for a moment. Meant nothing at all, I assure you ;-nobody I esteemed more than the late Lord Mowbray -except the present :-the present company, you know, are always excepted."
You are very obliging,” replied the latter drily; “I wish you a good morning :” and bowing, he walked away, leaving Captain Lepel to study his part more thoroughly for another opportunity.
When Lord Mowbray knocked at the door in Brook-street, his languid step and serious brow afforded a melancholy satisfaction to the faithful old servant who ushered the young heir into the house of mourning. After some preliminary discourse, he ventured to hope that his Lordship meant to attend his noble relative's remains, in person, to their place of interment.
Lord Mowbray's heart was good; it is difficult for a very youthful heart to be otherwise. He laid his hand on the old man's shoulder, that shoulder which in his infancy had so often borne him to his sports, and with an affectionate feeling of respect and sympathy he said, “Certainly, Davies, certainly; I always intended to do so.”
" Thank God!” said Davies, and he wept for joy now, as he had lately done for sorrow-joy to see what he considered so fair a promise of good qualities in the successor of his late master.
Lord Mowbray felt all this---and thought "Would that I were indeed every thing this good man gives me the credit of being! But if I am otherwise, is it my fault? can I help it? who can help being what they are, whatever that may be ?” The still small voice which replied to his questions, he heard not, because he refused to hear; and passing on through a suite of apartments, one more sumptuous than another, he looked around with a vacant gaze, and throwing himself into a large tapestried chair, said, “So all this is mine !" then relapsing into an indefinite reverie, he remained the sport of many visions which floated upon his fancy, but left no distinct impression on his mind.
From this state he was aroused by the entrance of Colonel Pennington, the oldest friend of his own very early years. After briefly stating to him the orders he had given to the household, in accordance with the last desire of his kinsman, it was finally arranged that they should set out together on the following day for Dorsetshire, and be in readiness at Mowbray Castle, to attend the remains of their departed friend to the burial-place of his ancestors.
There is no situation in which a person can be placed, which is perhaps more favourable to tranquil thought than the corner of a carriage travelling over roads where no very striking objects attract the attention; but where at the same time a smiling, well-cultivated country puts the mind in good humour with itself: unless, indeed, that mind be very hard to please, or is affected by some violent passion; neither of which was exactly the case with Lord Mowbray, who had leisure, therefore, while Colonel Pennington, lulled in complete forgetfulness, was asleep by his side, to indulge in calm reflection, and to take a survey of his present situation, together with the pains and penalties attached to its greatness : for of the former there was, and ever will be, some alloy mingled with the sweets of the latter.
While his mind retraced the events which had befallen him, he felt the responsibility which now attached to his station, and be thought more deeply and seriously than he had ever done before ; yet he asked himself, “Would I resign my station to forego the pleasure with the pain ?-I would not. No monarch that ever abdicated the throne but repented him of the deed : even the tradesman who quits his calling to enjoy at ease the fruits of his long and laborious toil, pines for the stimulus of its progressive increase, and mises his daily task; and the individual who abandons the station assigned him by birth or circumstances, would feel the same