Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

all fudge'—for Susan told me from circumstances which I will hereafter emanate to you that she knows for certain that she did find him, and saw him, and elucidated him upon the point, and that after two days and three nights constant endeavours on her part to make him behave to her like a gentleman, he told her she was labouring under an entire misconception of the state of his infections, and cut que cut forced her home to her aunt's.

"When she came back—it was Susan says— such a scene—weeping and wailing—because she had not found her friend—' Mam'—says Susan 'that wont do—we know better.' And so in this state of betwixity and betweenity, what does the aunt do but write to the Captain and gives him another chance at Miss Mellicent, who having been out on her travels is glad enough to take him indiscriminately on his own terms; and so then he says fortunately enough —done and done—and so Miss says done and done too, and then the thing is all done together, what's past cant be recalled, so they wipe it all up and say nothing more about it, and the Captain sends to Miss Fanny's father, and tells him a long story about a cock and a bull, which indiscriminately relates to the chap in the green earrings—and so thats the plain fact.

"Sarah my dear I am delighted that Captain Merman—who between you and me and the bed-post is no more a captain than Billy Rattan the old sergeant here—has distinctly and intuitively turned me off. I couldn't have stopped with him after this explosion—and I am certain you would not have permitted yourself to have been conglomerated with Miss Malooney under any circumstances—Susan says she would not for the world, and Mrs. Gibson who was Miss Malooney's maid has, to use the words of Shenstone, in his "Deserted Village," 'hopped the twig' in disgust.

"Tomorrow night dear Sarah I shall be at Blissfold—but as I promised to write I have written—tomorrow about eight o'clock I will be at the old place and"

Here I came to the turned-down passage, and wrote no further, quite satisfied with the exposure of as much meanness, hypocrisy, and heartlessness as ever characterised a man, who, to use Mr. Lazenby's words, "was, by his Majesty's admission," a gentleman. I confess I was not at all sorry—even if the means by which we came to the knowledge of his real character were not perhaps strictly legitimate, that we had anyhow arrived at it; it could not fail to smooth all difficulties with regard to our poor Fanny, who could no longer continue to regret a lover who, if he had not in the first instance been attracted to her by the expectation of money, had committed the negative, if not positive, crime of giving her up when something better in the way of fortune tempted him.

In the hourly alternating life I lead, I declare the hour in which the certainty of my never seeing Lieutenant Merman more was unquestionably established in my mind, was one of the most agreeable I had passed for some time. It is strange enough that I always felt a presentiment that it never would be a match—a match it never could have been—a pair, I mean; and although I am not more superstitious than my neighbours, and, to my delight and exultation, not so superstitious as many who are vastly and immeasurably my superiors in years and intellect, I do sometimes think that such things as presentiments are often verified by the events.

There is another sensation which I have often experienced, for which I can by no means whatever account, nor am I at all aware that it is peculiar to myself or common to everybody, nor am I aware that having noticed it, I am capable of explaining what I mean. The sensation I refer to is a feeling during the progress of a conversation, or of the occurrence of the ordinary events of society, that everything I hear and see at the moment, I have somehow and somewhere heard and seen before. I do not mean merely the same words or the same actions, but I mean both words and actions arising out of the passing events exactly in the same order and under precisely similar circumstances. It has not unfrequently happened to me to be so completely under the influence of this strange apprehension, that I have literally started with surprise when some one of the party present has uttered the very words I had previously expected to hear from his lips. All that Wells said—naturally enough, to be sure, resulting from the circumstances which had occurred, arising out of the receipt of the Lieutenant's letter of one day, and the footman's on the next —came to my ears, as it seemed to me, for the second time;—not that the expression of his resolution upon the point would have been less welcome if it had been the hundredth repetition of it.

Here we had secured the complete exposure of this man's whole scheme. Loving the army as I do, esteeming, nay venerating those brave men who are from day to day and from hour to hour distinguishing themselves in defending the cause and raising the name and character of England to the highest pitch of glory, my blood chilled with regret, may I say indignation, that amongst those glorious protectors, the pride of

« ZurückWeiter »