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fireworks alone can be exceeded;” but I could not read of his amiable disposition, lovely person, and captivating manners, without thinking of the squibs and crackers, or reverting to the last two bottles of cherry brandy, I saw at once that the effusion was the result of the first shock, and that a few weeks would so far assuage the grief of Cuthbert for his loss, as to permit me, if it were left to my discretion, to moderate, in some degree, the extraordinary eulogy which it contained. It is wonderful how often this sort of softening down occurs in the world. Some years since one of our most eminent sculptors was applied to, by a Mrs. Gingham, the widow of a fashionable tradesman, who had died exceedingly rich, to make a design for a monument to his memory. The lady, who was, as the poet has it, cursed with a taste, gave a description of the sort of monument she wished for, which was to consist of a group of figures:—Fame was to appear, sounding the reputation of the late Mr. Gingham, as an eminent linen-draper; Hibernia, with a piece of Irish cloth under her arm, was to lean on her stringless harp; while Britannia was to be represented embracing Mr. G., as he was seated in his armed chair, with an opened remnant of cambric muslin in his lap, while Liberty, standing behind him, displayed her bonnet-rouge on a pole immediately over his head. Above these again were to be two or three plump little boys, naked, with wings, flying about as wild as swallows; and in the fore-ground were to be disposed several bales of goods, an anchor, a pile of cannon-balls, the rudder of a ship, and other suitable objects calculated to convey a just idea of the extent of his business; while at his feet were to be seen kneeling his mourning widow and three children. On the right hand the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral was to be just visible, with palm-trees, pyramids, crocodiles, and cypresses in the distance. Startled by the elaborate description furnished by the exemplary lady, the sculptor hinted that the execution of such a work would cost at least seven or eight thousand pounds. “A mere trifle to one who loved as I have loved,” said Mrs. G. “Make the design.” The sculptor did make the design, and at the end of three months the lady called again:—she saw the beautiful sketch; and then said, she thought perhaps any memorial on so extensive a scale might appear somewhat ostentatious—that every body knew how extensive her poor dear G.'s trade had been, and that perhaps under all the circumstances the single figure sitting alone would be better. The fore-ground might be em
bellished and relieved by certain emblems, &c.; but upon consideration she wished the sculptor would reduce the design to the cost of about two thousand pounds. The artist again did as she desired, and her late husband was represented G. by himself, G. in the same armed chair as before—Hibernia had left her stringless harp and piece of Irish linen in one corner—Britannia had posed her shield in the other—Fame had deposited her trumpet on one side of his seat, and Liberty had placed the pole with her cap upon it, behind it—in fact, the emblems remained, but the figures had taken their departure. Three months more elapsed, and the widow came again. Again she admired the design—but still thought it rather too extensive or perhaps expensive. “Sir,” said she to Sir Phidias, “would it not be better to adopt a little sketch which my particular friend Mr. Hobkirk has kindly made—merely a tablet—and an inscription—quite plain and simple * : Hereabouts, Sir Phidias lost all patience; and doing a violence to his naturally kind feelings, entreated the lady to transfer her favours to the first stone-mason she might meet with, who would no doubt be too happy to receive fifty pounds for embodying her young friend's ideas. It may, perhaps, be superfluous to add that Mrs. Gingham became Mrs. Hobkirk long before the tablet was begun, and that the lamented linen-draper measures his length in the parish church to this day, unhonoured and unrecorded. As human nature is human nature, I calculated that poor Cuthbert's seven thousand pounds' worth of sorrow, at the present moment, would gradually decrease to a reasonable amount, and accordingly put the beautiful inscription into my coat-pocket to “bide its time;” not, I admit, in the slightest degree disposed just at that period to offer a word of opinion as to its literary merits. “Well,” said I to Jane, after having read this curious communication, addressed to a person who had so unexpectedly been “made up” into an intimate friend, “and what does Kate's letter say ” “Oh,” said Jane, “she won't tell me: all she says is, that she wishes to see Mr. Sniggs directly; and wishes to know whether you think she might not go to his house in the ponyphaeton—with the head up—with me, and take our maid with us, and then we might see poor Tom; and besides, she wants to buy some crape and some love—” “Some what?” said I.
- “Some mourning-stuff,” said Jane; “and as aunt is not well enough to trouble herself, Kitty thinks we might go.” “I think not,” said I–" nothing could be more indelicate.” “Very well, uncle,” said Jane, who is really well-dispositioned, and whom I knew, had only been put forward by her elder sister; “then I'll go and tell Kate so. Only she has got a great deal about it all in her letter.” Away went Jane. Nubley had heard what passed. . He turned his eyes upwards and moaned, and looked out of the window, and played the Devil's tattoo upon the glass. I liked the symptoms. I had not breathed a syllable of my intention of making him a mediator between Cuthbert and myself; therefore every aggravating circumstance that could occur . illustrative of the inevitable division between us while he was with me was delightful to me. Mrs. Nubley had gone to Harriet, who was yet ignorant of the “cut direct” which Cuthbert had given us by delivering the carte blanche for the arrangements into the hands of the Gorgon who commanded him. Accredited as Kate evidently was, I honestly admit I waited her approach with trepidation. It really was too bad: every act of my life since Cuthbert's return and domiciliation amongst us had been invariably misrepresented; and the last measure which I had adopted, not only upon my own feeling, but with the entire support of a man of the world like Wells, I mean that of sending Sniggs to Montpelier instead of going myself, . had produced the least looked-for effect: for it had not only increased his popularity with Cuthbert, but had estranged him from myself, and made me contemptible in the eyes of the man whom I had raised into notice, and even practice, by inviting him to attend Cuthbert at Ashmead. * I waited for Kate—she did not come. Nubley seemed extremely fidgety—so was I; and, in the midst of this most embarrassing lull, as the sailors call it, a loud ringing at the halldoor announced an arrival; and who should present himself, but the reverend Rector, my worthy father-in-law, whose flushed cheeks and almost quivering lip proclaimed him in a sort of agony of excitement—the cause of which I was not very far from anticipating. He entered the room, and hastily acknowledging Nubley, as if he had expected to find him there—which he certainly could not have done—caught my hand. “Give me ten minutes" conversation,” said Wells; “you never heard—I have got a letter—insolent puppy—” “Come into the library,” said I–" to be sure—yes—I can guess,” -
“You never heard,” said Wells. “It doesn't surprise me,” replied I. “I want to read you part of Mrs. Brandyball's letter,” said Kate, coming into the room at the same moment—“Ah, Mr. Wells, how do you do?” “Very ill, my dear,” said Wells. “Very well,” said I, “I’ll hear it in ten minutes, Kitty.” “May Jane and I go to Mr. Sniggs's " asked Kate. .." Ask Harriet,” replied I, glad to shift some of the responsibility of what was going on upon some other shoulders. “Oh,” said Kate, “she won't let us go.” “She '’ thought I. “Come,” said Wells, “there's not a moment to be lost.” “I’ll be back directly,” said I to the girls. “Mr. Nubley,” said I, “do me the favour to entertain the young ladies for five minutes, till I come back.” “Oh, the old Gig (" said Kate; and away she and her sister ran, laughing through their grief in the most obstreperous manner. Another loud ring preceded the announcement of Mrs.
-Sniggs, wilo never before had set foot in the house except on
a Twelfth Night, when she brought two dancing-girls who had no particular relations, but who, presuming upon Cuthbert's message, now made her appearance to consult with the Miss
Falwassers about mourning. A talk followed, the prelude to
which I could not stop to hear; but hurrying to the library with my much-excited father-in-law, 1 left the girls and the apothecary’s wife in earnest conversation in the hall, and saw Nubley creep out of the glass-door at the back of the house to take his accustomed after-breakfast stroll in a walk well sheltered by evergreens,
“You cannot imagine any thing like this man's conduct,” said Wells, trembling with quite as much rage as became a clergyman—“positively throws us over—of course he knows I cannot fight him, at least with decency, and so insults me.”
At the moment, agitated as I was, I could not help thinking of a joke of Wells's own, in which he once suggested, in the case of a quarrel between two bishops, the propriety of their going out to settle their difference with a brace of minor Ca100778.
“What shall I do with him 1" said Wells.
I certainly did not feel at the moment particularly competent to give advice, but I looked all attention to the appeal.
“Read his letter, Gilbert,” continued my father-in-law, handing it to me, “that's all—only just read it.” -
I knew my fate, and bowed submission, although I wanted. no “documents” to confirm me in the opinion I had formed of the above Lieutenant.
“Diansgrove, – 18.
“DEAR SIR,--I do assure you that no circumstances of my life ever gave me so much pain as those which in my mind render it necessary that I should address this letter to you— I am quite sure that you will receive it in the spirit in which it is written, and that you will, before you have reached its termination, feel equally satisfied with myself that the course I have adopted is that which is best calculated to ensure the happiness of two persons in whom (in different degrees, I admit) you are under all the circumstances, deeply interested.
“The long intercourse which I have had the gratification of enjoying with your amiable family, has given me the best opportunity of forming the highly favourable opinion of Miss Wells which I have ventured to express to yon, and which I believe was not ill-received by the young lady herself; in fact I saw as I have repeatedly avowed, nothing but a bright prospect of happiness with her in that union which you were pleased to sanction.
“You will recollect, dear Sir, that at the time when my aunt, Miss Pennefather, from whose house I now write, made