« ZurückWeiter »
truth is, that the Captain whose stay in England will be very short says to me, just as I was coming off to you the night after I wrote, “Lazenby’ says he “where do you go when you leave me !” So I contumaciously expressed myself in these identical words, “Why Sir' says I in a masculine manner, “I am going to Blissfold.” Whereupon he observed to me that he supposed I had got what the French calls a chair ah me there, and that I was likely to settle myself in the neighbourhood—so then I expostulated with him and mentioned my notion of setting up in the general line, and he laughed and said that he hoped to do that himself some day, and was quite factious with me upon the toepick, which after his manner the night before, rather constaminated Ine as Goldfinch says in Ben Johnson's Beggars Opera, whereupon he says looking at me in his droll way, ‘Tom,' says he, “I sha’nt be long in London—hadn't you better go up with me and Mrs. M. when we are married and stop with us till we go'-for mind you, he is going to take her out with him to share the toils of the champain—and this was the very first of his directly insiniating that the thing was all settled—so I hesitates a little—and thinking of you my dear Sarah—I says says I ‘Sir will you give me an hour to preponderate 9–" To be sure I will,’ says the Captain. Well I begins to think, and I calculated I o make a few pounds by stopping—and paying his bills— and managing his luggage and all that, before he went. So I says to Susan—she as I wrote about in my last—“If you was me,’ says I, ‘what would you do in this conundrum !” “Why' says Susan “if you ask me my advice if I was you I'd stay and go with the Captain.” So I considers a bit more and I says to her “I don’t much like Missus as is to be.” “Nor I’ said Susan “although I have knowed her longer than you—but for all that I’m going as her maid—only to stay till they leave England for good.” “Why’ says I, having heard her opinion of the future Mrs. Merman, and how Mrs. Gibson had gone away entirely excavated by the levity of her mistresses behaviour, “I had no notion you would do such a thing.’ “So Susan says to me, ‘Lazenby,’ says she—she calls me Lazenby, for we are quite like brother and sister now—“my old Missus wishes it—and she hints something about remembering me hereafter ; and so what is it, says Susan—“in these days folks don’t stick at trifles, and sure if Miss Millicent is good enough to be Captain Merman's wife, she is good enough to be my Missus.” - “That seemed remarkably judicial to my comprension and so thinking what was good for Susan could not be interogatory to me, up I goes to the Captain and agrees to stay with him, as I tell you till he bids a Jew to his native land, at which perriod dear Sarah I hope to return to you like the good bee who, as Pope says in ‘The Deserted Village’—
“Behaves in Bec-hives as Be-hoves him,'
and bring you an affectionate art and I should say upwards of seven pounds fourteen shillings in hard cash by way of hunnew. #swan says she should like to know you, she is so much indisposed towards you by my inscription of you, and I should like you to be friends, which perhaps may be, some of these days if she comes back to that part of the country. She would be uncommon nice company for both of us, she is so candied and filantropical, and it is a great thing for a married couple to have such a friend. “I don't know whether you have ever been in this quarter of the world, although as I don't think you could well have got to Blissfold by any other road from London, pr’aps you have ; it is very wild and romantic, with a bit of a green before the door, upon which there are geese, ducks, enseterar; and Susan and I am going to take a walk and, we shall carry this letter ourselves to Artley Row where is the Post-office, because as I have promised the Captain not to say any thing one way or the other, I thought if he saw a letter redressed to the Passonage, he might inspect something; so Susan and I agreed it would be better to go out in the dusk as if miscellaneously and slip it in unbeknown to any body, while Master and Missus is enjoying their teat a teat after dinner. We go on to the meterpolis in the morning, and Susan and I go outside in the rumble tumble, for Miss Pennefather has lent us the charriot, which I suppose I shall have to bring back, which as I cannot do without horses will be a very pretty incursion. I don't in course know how long the Captain will be before he goes, so do not fret. “I have got your watch, which does not keep Tim well, but I never look at it without thinking of you. Susan says it wants to have new hands put to it, and I shall give it to a watchmaker in town to riggle it spontaneously on my arrival. “The Captain and his mate seem very happy which also makes me think of you, Sarah dear; she certainly is no beauty to my taste, she is a good deal in the Ottomy line and I should
say not easily pleased, but in course as yet it all goes uncommon comfortable; for as O'Keefe says in his comical farce of ‘Love for Love:–
“To fools a curse, to those a lasting boon,
“I hope poor Miss Fanny don't take on about the loss of Master; I'm sure if I was she and knew that he left me for the sake of Malooney's money I should care no more about him than nothing at all—true love loves for itself a loan– don't it, dear Sarah? Oh Sarah : Susan and I had some hot Sassages and mashed potates for dinner to-day, and I did so think of you, and I said so—and Susan says to me, says she, “Does your Sarah love sassages” so I said, says I, ‘yes— where's the girl of taste as doesn't’—and so she says again, ‘then I wish she was here,'—and we both laughed like bogies. So that shows we don't forget you.
“As to Miss Fanny there is one thing—which if you have an opportunity upon the sly, you may incoherently hint—which may be p'rhaps a considerable revelation of her despondency— if she still cares for Master—which is this—the officer which is to have the recruiting party in place of him, as Rattan told me before I came away, is taller and better-looking than Master and quite the gentleman—p'raps if you tell Miss Fanny that, it will controvert her regret and make her easy—I know enough of the seck, Sarah, to know that it is with females as it is with fighters—to use the words of Young in his ‘Abelard and Eloisa'—
“And so perhaps Miss Fanny may make up her mind to the gentleman which will relieve my master—I am sure I hope she may, for she is I am sure constipated to make any man happy in that way.
“Well Sarah dear I must now say good bye—or else, Tim flies so fast, Susan and I may be mist. I haven't room to tell
ou all about Master's wedding, which was all done with as
ittle ceremony as possible, and as Susan says there was not a minnit to be lost, but I will explain all particulars when I come back to you which will not be long first. So squeeze my keeping you in expense for these few days for I was so bus I could not write before, but Susan says she is sure you will forgive me, and so I think you will.
“I say, dear Sarah in exclusion I hope that you have not been speaking to William Waggle, the baker's young youth, because as I am absent, it might give some grounds for calomel—Mrs. Hodgson and those two Spinkeses his sisters is always a-watching—I’m not a bit jellies myself—no, I scorn the ‘green hided malster,' as Morton says in his ‘New Way to pay old Debts'—but I know the world—I know what the old Tabbies say, and how they skirtinize every individil thin which relates to us—as I says to Susan—the eyes of the hole world is on us two—you and me—and therefore Sarah dear, mind what you do, and do not encourage any of them to walk with you in an evening—’specially Bill, inasmuch as the whiteness of his jacket would make the roundcounter the more evident to the Hargooses of the place.
“A jew Sarah—the next you will hear from me will be in London—most probably at the Whiteoss Cellar in Pickadilly, or the Golden Cross Charing Cross, which the Captain thinks the quietest spots to fix upon—rely upon my righting you the minute I have time—I told Rattan I was going back to Blissfold, so he will have had no message for you, besides, I don't want you to have any miliary connexions during my abstinence—therefore please to remember me in your art, as I do you in mine, and if you will, do me the faver to pay Mrs. Jukes three and ninepence which I owe her for washing my things, which I will repay you when we meet—best love, in which Susan though she does not know you, joins with equal sincerity—take care of yourself dear Sarah, and mind about the baker.
“Yours always true till death,
A hasty perusal of this letter raised in Fanny's mind a sort of suspicion that Lazenby was about to perform second to his amiable master in the fullest extent of the word; and although poor simple Sally Kerridge saw nothing in its contents except kindness and affection on the part of Tom, and of sympathy and friendship on that of Susan, the better educated young lady felt convinced in her own mind that her maid was des. tined, in a lowerscale but in an equal degree, to suffer very much the same sort of treatment which she herself had undergone. It was, however, no part of her inclination to awaken any disagreeable suspicions in the mind of her soubrette, and therefore having assured herself of the irrevocable nature of Merman's connexion with the lady of his Aunt's choice, she returned the epistle to its right owner, resolved to conquer, if possible, that gnawing anxiety which now never left her free from pain; but for which, if she had been seriously asked, she could not have assigned any real cause. It was a nervousness—a regret for what was past—a dread of something to come; and yet was neither one nor the other to be really cared for. These are indescribable feelings by which all of us, more or less, are affected;—the blow has been given, and the wound rankles, and grief and apprehension hang over us. Why is another question:-Fanny was unhappy, and I knew she was— However, all this, par parenthèse for there are other family matters which press more upon us at the moment: still I cannot help noticing what appears to me a combination of ills— a collection of clouds rising on the horizon, which I cannot, with all my sanguine readiness to think favourably of coming events, contemplate without alarm and apprehension. I have, as my own position goes, grown unpopular, for my conduct towards poor Tom. I have caused, or at any rate been the cause, of converting Sniggs, my once devoted and dependent friend, into an ardent and inveterate enemy. I am separated from my brother, hated by his favourite daughter-in-law, laughed at by Mrs. Wells, and only commiserated and vindicated by the man whom I had singled out for my most especial dislike and ridicule. All this is very uncomfortable:—whenever my mind is filled with these thoughts I recur to my wish that I had missed Cuthbert at Gosport, the night of his arrival: —to be sure, if I had, I should in all human possibility not shave been married to Harriet; and then I should not have been a happy husband, and a father, and There is no use in again pursuing this train of thinking, nor in again going over the consideration of the established fact, that all great matters turn upon little incidents. I admit that at this period of my existence, I am unhappy:—I find myself involved in a thousand difficulties, not one of which has been of my own seeking. Give me Harriet and my baby, and the smallest cottage that could cover us, and such a one as I could myself afford, and we should, I know we should, be happy: but, no; I find myself mixed up with people and affairs with whom and with which l have in point of fact, no earthly concern. Still, here I am, and being so placed, I must fight my way through the evils which assail me as well as I Can. In the morning succeeding Sniggs's uncomfortable departure from Ashmead, Nubley was awake and stirring before any of the family party, and in the first instance, proceeded to ChitWOL. II. 10