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- . To be sure,” said Nubley; and he rang the bell accord1ngly. Hutton obeyed the mandate. “If,” said Cuthbert, panting with excitement, “if Mr. Nubley has a carriage here, he is ready for it.” “Carriage!” said Nubley; “ not I–I came on what we used, as boys, to call Shanks’ mare, my friend.” “Then, Hutton,” said Cuthbert, “Mr. Nubley is going— open the door.” “You are a d-d jack-ass 2" thought Mr. Nubley, in his way. “Ass or not,” said Cuthbert “I say nothing, my dear friend,” said Nubley; “but this I do say, that you will repent of this—and so, after your extremely civil invitation as to my retirement, I go. I wish you were rational—but you are not.” “That, Sir,” said Mrs. Brandyball, who had been listening to the dialogue in the next room, and now showed herself, “is a matter of opinion. I believe that the sentiments of a generous mind devoting itself to the gratifying task of ameliorating the 22 “Whew " said Nubley; “that won't do with me, Ma'am —I don't understand all your fine figurative tom-foolery. My friend Cuthbert has been deluded, cheated, tricked, and humbugged; and if he chooses to go to old Nick with his eyes shut, that’s his affair—mine is to try to open them.” “Well, then, Nubley,” said Cuthbert, in a tone of energy, and with a manner of which nobody who had ever seen him for the last twenty years would have thought him capable— “well, then, if that is your opinion, and that the course of argument you pursue, and the line of conduct you propose, I must desire your absence. I am convinced that what I have decided to do is esential to my comfort and happiness; and since you must know the truth, if you choose to come to my wedding next Thursday week, I have no doubt the future Mrs. Gurney will not object to your presence; but as that event is fixed, if you dislike it—eh !—Gad, you may stay away.” And, having concluded this prodigious announcement, he again fell back on the sofa, as little like a bridegroom as any thing that ever was presented to observation, “As an old friend of Mr. Gurney's,” said Mrs. Brandyball, “I certainly shall be extremely well pleased to receive Mr. Nubley, although I must say his conduct in this affair has not been quite in accordance with that generous sensibility which ordinarily regulates the intercourse of those whom earlier associations ** “That will do, Ma'am,” said Nubley; “take him, and have him all to yourself; but if I ever profane a church, or debase myself, by witnessing the ceremony, why, then 35 “This is too much,” said Mrs. Brandyball, firing up in the most tremendous manner: “please, Sir, to recollect that this is my house, and I expect 35 “Your house, is it, Ma'am " said Nubley. “If I had known that I certainly should not have set foot in it. I understood that this part of it at least was my friend Gurney’s ; but, I’m off—I leave you to the enjoyments you propose to yourselves, and * * “Mercy on me!” cried Mrs. Brandyball, “dear Mr. Gurney has fainted.” And so he had : and while the lady was ringing for Hutton, cold water, Kitty, and all other imaginable restoratives, the eccentric Nubley took his hat and umbrella (for he prudently never walked without one,) and quitted the purlieus of Montpelier. All this, which came to my knowledge afterwards, was so completely decisive of our fate, that nobody could blame Nubley for writing the strongest possible letter to me, which I received on the morning following that upon which, under the advice and entreaties of Harriet, I had determined upon not going to Bath. Nubley, who was one of those determined, resolute friends who are not to be put down or put out without a considerable degree of trouble on the part of conspirators against a joint cause, resolved to remain another day at Bath, in order, first, to write a remonstrative letter to Cuthbert, arguing, not so much against the marriage, as against his total abandonment of me and Ashmead, which Mrs. Brandyball seemed to think essential to the completion of her triumph; and, secondly, to receive whatever letters might have come to Ashmead to his address, inasmuch as he calculated that it would be foolish to quit the place to which he had desired me to forward his “despatches,” and let them hunt him, as it were, across the country. The letter I received from him, stating that he should return to Blissfold the next day, did not contain any description of the effects of his interview with my brother. He merely said he had seen him—that he seemed to be perfectly under the control of the Jezebel, as he called her—that the four-and-twenty hours' residence of Kitty under her roof had
so completely changed the character of her external conduct, that she did not seem to consider it necessary even to affect any thing like civility towards him; and moreover deploring in the deepest terms of distress the state of the whole concern. Of course what occurred at Bath reached me after the period at which it was resolved I should not go there; but Harriet's excitement and anger, mingled with her anxiety to keep poor Jane with us, and poor Jane's desire to stay, were altogether very painful—I really and truly did not know what to do. I had despatched my kind old friend’s letters on that day as he had desired, and of course should have abstained from doing so the next day, if any had arrived, he having announced his proposed return, and, as I had seen, having failed altogether in the object of his mission. Well, if it were so, I am equally obliged to him. There was an earnestness of intention and a singleness of mind in what he did which could not fail to insure my regard and esteem. All that vexes me in Harriet's view of the affair is, that she sees no goodness—no kindness—no attempt at conciliation in any thing that any body has done; all she looks at is, the huge, monstrous, gross injustice of Cuthbert's conduct, and the folly, madness, cruelty, &c. &c. &c., of all the measures he had taken ; although, if the truth had been to be softened, I do really believe that Harriet, and what I call my ladies, meaning thereby the ladies of my family, did not quite so much sacrifice their own personal feelings, or devote themselves to his recreation and amusement, while he was staying here, as perhaps they might have done. That he was gone from us for ever was most certain. “Well,” said Wells, “ for my part I see nothing you have to reproach yourselves with ; if every attention to his comfort, a perfect mastery of your house, and all that appertains to it, could content him—” “Ay,” said I, “but contenting and pleasing are different things; and—however, it is no use trying back upon this. I certainly feel extremely unhappy that circumstances should have so alienated from me the only relative I have in the World.” The uncertainty of worldly affairs is one of the favourite and most fruitful topics of writers, ancient and modern ; and it was only to some extraordinary event, upon which nobody could calculate, that I might venture to look with any hope of averting the calamity, for such I could not but consider it, which impended. As for Harriet, as I had anticipated, the conflict in her mind was terrible—t he passions and feelings 12*
which agitated her were so numerous and so violent, and so new to her, that it was quite impossible to discover which predominated. Anger, contempt, hatred, regret, and despair, affected her by turns, or rather, I might say, en masse, and the result was that never having been similarly excited at any previous period of her existence she was obliged to go to bed before dinner, while Jane passed the evening at her bedside, sobbing and crying—why, or about what, she hardly knew; except, as she might have foreseen, that her removal from Ashmead would be one of the consequences of the marriage of her doting father-in-law. confess I felt anxious for Nubley's return, in hopes that I might extract more from him in conversation than from his letters, having made up my mind, at all events, to go to Cuthbert myself before my fate was finally sealed, and despairing as I did of producing any effect upon his settled resolution, avow my inability to remain at Ashmead without the continuance of his assistance, and—which I thought a reasonable design—suggest to him its adoption as his future residence. Harriet wondered how I could calmly talk of such a thing, or consider the case patiently, or the affair as finally settled. I knew that resistance to his will was useless, and thought that quiet acquiescence was, in such an extremity, the best tone to assume. I only postponed, as I have just said, the execution of my design till Nubley's return, which, however, did not occur so soon as we had been taught to expect. What delayed it I shall perhaps be able to write down in my notes of to-morrow.
To a man who has been subjected from his earliest days, if not to the vicissitudes of fortune in a pecuniary point of view, at least to the vagaries of fate in every other, and who has lived for many, if not very many, years amidst the fluctuations of hope and anxiety, the arrival of the post is unquestionably the most exciting event of the day. A thousand apprehensions are conjured up, a thousand feelings called into action, by the sight of his letters : indeed, at least such is the effect of their appearance upon me, that, within one day's reach of London, I look upon Monday as a season of delightful and undisturbable repose. If this was my ordinary state of mind, it does not seem very strange that, upon the particular morning on which I expected a line from my kind-hearted old friend Nubley, announcing the time at which we might expect him, or perhaps conveying some further intelligence of his proceedings, or perhaps announcing his return, upon which much at all events depended, and from which more perhaps than was generally anticipated by others might probably result, I should be somewhat violently excited. I was up before the post arrived in Blissfold, in order to wait and watch its arrival. I paced first the hall, and then the gravel sweep up to the hall-door, resolved to get the earliest intelligence by intercepting the boy with the bag, of which, since certain discoveries had been made, I had kept the key myself; and as I walked up and down, I felt an aching, sinking feeling at my heart, more painful than I had ever felt before, and which proved to me how much interest I took—as naturally I might—in the expected intelligence for which I so earnestly hoped, and yet so seriously dreaded. How minutes turn to hours, and hours to days—ay, and days to years—while the mind is thus anxiously employed how every sound that breaks upon the ear seems to take the tone and character of that which we long to hear! and oh! what a thousand thoughts flitted through my mind, fleetin and fading, as to the probabilities—the possibilities of Nub