Abbildungen der Seite

from rising a single peg higher than you and then threw open the door for her to have managed to do yourself.

But my pass.

But Mrs. Roberts was at that idenchildren have too much of their mother in tical moment very nearly penniless; the them to bear it, and so you will find, sir. It large supply drawn for before they quitted may, perhaps, be ir: your power to prevent Baden having been so nearly absorbed by the great, the unhoped-for advantages with the unexpected amount of the various which they are now surrounded from doing claims upon her, as barely to leave sufthem any real good. I dare say it may be ficient for the journey; the two hundred in your power to do that. But it is not in pounds which she had calculated would reyour power, nor ever will be, to turn them main, with which to commence their Roback again into poor tame ignorant clods, man campaign, having so completely vancontented with having as much food as they ished as scarcely to have left a trace even want, and clothes enough to keep them on her memory. She felt, therefore, that warın. You'll never be able to turn the she should by no means be doing her duty chosen friends of nobles and princesses to herself and her dear children, if she into such animals as that; and the conse- omitted the present very favorable opportuquence of your making a stand against nity of obtaining a further supply, and she drawing for sufficient money for the neces- therefore said, in a pleasant, confidential sary expenses of our present station in life tone, which could not fail of being soothwill be following our children to an early ing to the feelings of her husband, who had grave. I don't mean to talk about myself. not of late been treated with much attenI know


don't consider me now of much tion by his greatly occupied familyconsequence to any body. You have taken “Nay, shut the door again, dear Roberts, it into your poor old head that nobody I have a hundred things that I want to say knows any thing but yourself, and you may to you, and lately you have always seemed soon dance over my grave by way of prov- so poorly, and disinclined to talk, that ing you are right."

I have not liked to trouble you; but I wish At this point, indignation and contempt to tell you, my dear, that you are quite misgave way to grief, and Mrs. Roberts drew taken about Edward's match with Bertha out her pocket-handkerchief, and wept vio- being off. It never was so perfectly cerlently.

tain as it is at this moment. She is an odd “ Sarah !” said her husband, after a short tempered girl, I won't deny that, and if sharp struggle with his common sense, Edward was a common sort of character I which was beat out of the field by his ha- might perhaps have some anxiety about his bitual deference and habitual affection for being happy with her.

But he is so very his wife, “ Sarah !” he said, “I am many superior, and has such uncommon powers years older than you, and if one of us is of mind, and knows how to influence those doomed to die of a broken heart it had better he lives with in such an extraordinary man

But just let me say one last word, ner, that I feel no alarm on that score. So and then go on as you think best. My belief there you may be easy, my dear; and as to is that we shall all be ruined-downright, the girls, they have only to be seen! In your positively ruined by the trying to live among life you never beheld any thing like the all these fine folks. But don't cry any more, fuss that was made with them last night! Sarah, don't cry. I am willing to do what- There were no less than five noblemen and ever you

like. I am sure you mean to do one prince that desired to be introduced to everything for the best, my dear, and if it them; and the ladies of the very highest don't answer, why I am sure it won't be the rank that desired to make my acquaintance fault of your will ; so don't cry, Sarah! and was really something quite extraordinary ! you shan't find that I'll plague you with my But of course you know that though we dismal forebodings any more.”

may be quite sure that all this sort of thing • Keep but your word in that, my dear must sooner or later lead to the permanent Roberts,” she replied with sudden anima- establishment of our dear children in the tion, and raising herself on tip-toe to give exalted station of life for which they are him a kiss, “keep but your word in that, evidently so peculiarly qualified—though and depend upon it that every thing will go we cannot with any reasonable use of our well, and we never shall have any differ- eyes and understanding doubt this final reence between us again.”

sult, it is impossible to deny that a little The good man sighed, but not ostenta- present ready money is absolutely necestiously, returned his wife's kiss very kindly, sary, and what I feel, Roberts, is that we

be me.

ought to be thankful to Providence-very strance still lingered in his mind, it vanishthankful indeed—that enabled you by a ed as he did so, and in the next moment his little steady industry and perseverance, to name was subscribed to the draft. realize enough to enable us to conquer The next time that the voice of Mr. what I have no doubt has often proved an Roberts was heard to utter a command, it insuperable difficulty to many people. And pronounced these words to his youngest it is this consideration, my dear Roberts, daughter : “ Maria, order the man-servant that ought now and always to prevent your to let me have hot water, sugar, and brandy, feeling any repugnance for drawing for the brought to me every evening before he goes necessary supplies. Trust me, my dear, it out with the carriage.” And this order will all come back to you, and with inter- was given and obeyed. est. I did not mean to say any thing about it till to-morrow, because we have several calls to make to-day, but as we are upon the subject, it will save us both trou- While the affairs of Mrs. Roberts and ble if you will give me a draft now. I un- her children went on thus prosperously at derstand that if people can show that they Rome, those of Mr. Roberts and Miss Harhave any decent introductions here, Torlo- rington, who were both left pretty much to nia will cash a draft at sight, and I am sure their own devices, were managed on printhat will be monstrous convenient just now, ciples diametrically opposite to any which for the journey has left me quite dry." regulated the movements of the rest of the

During the latter part of this speech family, but which resembled each other Mrs. Roberts had been engaged in bring- very closely. For while Mrs. and the two ing forward and unlocking her writing-desk, Miss Robertses, together with Mr. Edward which contained all she wanted for carry- Roberts, were making the most vehement ing through the business she was upon. exertions, and with great success, to pass as

“Let it be five hundred, Roberts, will many hours of their existence as possible in you dear ? Less than that will really be of a crowd, Mr. Roberts and Miss Harrington no use at all."

limited their quieter labors to the endeavor “ But don't you expect a remittance of keeping themselves in their separate from Miss Harrington's aunt, my dear ?" little spheres, as much alone as possible. said Mr. Roberts, holding the pen she had As to Mr. Roberts, poor man, he had given him suspended over the paper. “If made up his mind to live peaceably, trouble I don't mistake, it is several weeks behind- nobody, and trust to chance for what was hand.”

to come next. He had meditated a good “What, Bertha's hundred pounds for this deal before he had reached this state of current quarter? Oh no, my dear, it is mind on the two very different terminations not behindhand at all. How could you predicted by himself and his wife to the suppose that such a manager as I am could race they were running. These meditahave suffered that? Oh no! we got that just tions had by no means lessened his fears, or before we set off from Baden; and lucky it strengthed his hopes; but the more he rewas that we did, for we never should have flected on the leading features of his lady's got here without it. But do write the draft, character, and the more meekly conscious my dear Roberts, will you? The poor these sober reasonings made him of his own, dear girls will think that I have quite for- the more deeply he became convinced that gotten them."

though it might be in his power to make Mr. Roberts re-adjusted the paper before them all lead a life of wrangling dissension, him, dipped the pen in the ink, and wrote it was not in his power to keep them withthe draft for the sum named. But before in the bounds of what he considered to be he signed his name to it he paused, and prudence, and he therefore deliberately and seemed for a minute or two deeply absorb- resolutely decided upon letting them have ed in thought. During this interval the their own way. Ile thought it most likely countenance of his wife became greatly his wife would stop short before she had overclouded, and a look of red and resolute spent quite all that he had belonging to purpose succeeded to the radiant good hu- him, and that the best thing he could do mor it had before exhibited. After the would be to prepare bimself for the manner pause described, Mr. Roberts, pushing the of life which he thought likely, at no very paper a little away from him, looked up in great distance of time, to follow that which the face of his wife. If any thought of remon- they were pursuing at present.

He positively refused to have either a new coat or objects has been obtained by his expatriation. a new hat, both which articles were cer- He is not the first who has felt that among tainly wanting to render his appearance fit all the new and startling objects which enfor exhibition. He freely acknowledged compass him with oppressive strangeness in this to be the case, but brought the argu- a foreign land, the most new, the most ment to a conclusion by declaring that he startling, and the most painfully strange, is did not like to go into company, and there the aspect and bearing of his own family. fore should always stay at home. The re- Let it not be supposed, however, that this solution thus proclaimed was not perhaps observation has the remotest reference to altogether disagreeable to his family, and one of the highest and most rational enjoyMrs. Roberts did not look at all angry as ments of civilized life, namely, that of she replied, "Well, my dear, if you feel travelling in search of all that is best worth that, I don't see any use in the world in looking upon in nature and in art. It dragging you about and keeping you out of would indeed be absurd to confound the your bed, when I dare say, it would be a happy power of travelling far and wide for great deal better for your health that you the purpose of bringing home the memory should be in it. And if that's settled, you of objects which may be dwelt upon with are quite right about not having a coat, for pleasure through a long life, with that of Heaven knows it is the duty of both of us running the desperate risk of exchanging a to spare every thing we can in the way of native home for a foreign one. The doing expense, just at the very time that the dear this where there is a reasonable hope of imchildren are wanting every farthing we can proving health thereby is quite right. Nay, manage to spend, in order to prevent their there is probably nothing very importantly losing the great advantages of what we are wrong in it, where a man and his wife, havdoing for them."

ing no children, have nothing but their own Very well, Sarah, then we are agreed pleasure to consult; and still less, perhaps, about that,” said Mr. Roberts in reply, and can those who are doomed to content theinnot wishing to hear any more just then of selves with single blessedness, be blamed the “great advantages” of which he had for seeking amelioration of their solitary already heard so much, he left the room as condition, wherever they fancy it likely to he spoke. It was within an hour or two of be found. But alas! for the facile husthis conversation that Mr. Roberts gave the band and indulgent father who yields his order for the constant supply of brandy and judgment to the ambitious aspirations of water which has been mentioned above, his woman-kind, and decides upon taking and those who had seen him as he stepped up his abode upon the continent ! on board the steam-boat on the Thames, rather less than eighteen months before, The similarity which has been alluded had they looked at him only one month to between the mode of life of Mr. Roberts after this new arrangement had taken place, and that of Miss Harrington, did not exwould either not have recognized him at all, tend to the brandy and water, indeed, it or would have imagined that he must be chiefly consisted in the determination of under the influence of some slow-working both not to join in the festivities to which poison, which, though it did not appear the rest of the family were devoting themimmediately to threaten his existence, must selves. sooner or later bring him to the grave. It could hardly be expected, perhaps,

Nor would such imaginings have very that any girl of seventeen could be thrust widely erred. But though strong brandy- out from her natural home in the way Berand-water, taken constantly and copiously, tha Harrington had been, and thrown is probably far from wholesome, it could among strangers, without graver consideranot, unaided by other causes, have wrought tion given to their fitness for the charge, this sudden change, though it might have than had been deemed necessary in her assisted it. The case, however, is not a case, without some injurious effect arising rare one, though it has not been much ex- from it. Bertha was still a pure-minded, amined into or commented upon. Poor affectionate, unaffected girl, but she had Mr. Roberts is not the only man who has become much too indifferent to the opinions been coaxed into leaving his native British of others (with the exception at least of one home for the sake of saving money and im- single individual), and too much disposed proving his sons and daughters, and who to believe that the only thing necessary to has discovered too late that neither of these be attended to in the disposal of her time,


at least for the present, was her own amuse- purpose to make a visit to the banking esment, or, as she would have herself called tablishment of Messrs. Torlonia part of one it, her own improvement. The extreme of her earliest excursions, under the prorepugnance with which the style and man- tection of her intended valet-de-place. ners of the Roberts race had inspired her, It took her a good while to decide upon led her to believe that the first thing need the best mode of obtaining this necessary ful to the regulation of her own conduct, attendant, at length she determined to ask was to keep out of their way; and to the master of the circulating library in the achieve this she certainly permitted her- Piazza di Spagna if he could recommend self a degree of independence in her pro- such a person. To this library she had alceedings, which could not safely be received ready found her way on foot, and by the aid as admissable in any code of young lady- of her very quiet dress, and a thick veil, like regulations. Of all the books treat-she had managed to go and come (the dising of Rome and its marvels, which she tance was but short) without any misadvenhad chanced to get hold of, the “Corinne” ture whatever. Her application to the of Madame de Staël had made the deepest | master of this little establishment was perimpression. It was in fact her hand-book, fectly successful, as was also the request her vade mecum, her delight. As to all the that she might meet the important person latter part of it, she had read it once, wept he recommended at his shop on the followheartily, classed the hero in her mind as ing day, in preference to his coming to her one of the vilest of the human race, and at the lodgings, which might lead to questhen turned back to the immortal pages sa- tionings and discussions that she wished to cred to Rome. To see all that Corinne avoid. saw, was the first wish of her heart, and The meeting thus arranged took place the first resolve of her bold young spirit. with as little delay as possible, and the result She blushed in her solitary chamber as she enabled her to set forth the next day in a caught herself wishing that her cousin respectable looking carriage provided by William was there to go every where with her new attendant, with “ Corinne” in her her, as wicked Lord Neville had done with hand, and all her soul in her eyes. Corinne, and then she almost exclaimed But this masterly arrangement was not aloud at the sin of letting such a false achieved without a vigorous attempt on the wretch as Neville enter her thoughts in part of Mrs. Roberts to discover what the connexion with Vincent. And then she young lady was about. Conscientiously took herself very severely to task for suffer- satisfied, indeed, that the alliance so happily ing herself to wish for her cousin William secured for her with Edward, must effectuat all. That, all goodness and all kindness ally protect her from any possible ill conseas he had been to her, he did not wish to quence arising from the gossiping of idle be with her was quite plain, and she only tongues, she would have deemed any interbegan to flatter herself that she was not, reference with her profitable young boarder's specting her feelings for him, exactly every whims, as an act scarcely less sinful than thing that she should most have hated to suicide, and on this occasion, therefore, as be, when it occurred to her that, after all, well as on various former ones, she resolvthere was nothing perhaps in the world ed to keep clear of any such wickedness. that she should really and truly like so well But, to say truth, there were other grounds as hiring a valet-de-place to be in constant on which the daily sight of this independattendance upon her every morning. ent carriage alarmed her. Bertha, as it

It required some exertion of the inde- may be remembered, had once hinted, upon pendent spirit to which her peculiar cir- being asked to contribute to the expense cumstances had given birth to enable her of the Baden carriage, that she conceived to do this. Money she had at her command the four hundred per annum which was to a much greater extent than the Robertses paid for her accommodation in Mrs. Robwere aware, for her mysterious father had erts's family was intended to include it—a commissioned Lady Morton, soon after her startling sort of reply this, which had never arrival at Baden, to transmit to her circu- been forgotten, and which had gone far tolating bills to the amount of two hundred wards establishing the very unusual degree pounds, with an intimation that an equal of independence which the young lady ensum would be added to her private income joyed. And though it must be conas long as she continued abroad. This fessed that there was in the self-assured step sum was as yet untouched, and it was her with which the youthful Bertha daily de

Vol. VI.-No. II. 12


[ocr errors]

scended the stairs to her mysteriously ob- \fore really don't see what occasion you can
tained equipage, enough to alarm the most possibly have for another.”
liberal-minded chaperon in existence; and Poor Bertha, even in the midst of her
though the extraordinary composure of resolute and unflinching resolution to fol-
manner with which she might be seen, day low her own inclinations till her cousin Vin-
after day, to give commands to her attentive cent should again be near enough to substi-
valet-de-place as to the order of the morn- tute his, as her rule, indeed even at the very
ing's excursion, would naturally have sug- moment that she braced her spirit to with-
gested to most ladies holding the responsi- stand every possible interference, felt that
ble position assumed by Mrs. Roberts, that her much disliked hostess had some show
it would be quite as well to know how she of reason for her remonstrance, and though
disposed of herself during these long morn- her will was steadfast, her voice was gen-
ings, she was vastly less anxious as to any tle, as she replied,
personal risk which the presumptuous “A carriage entirely at my own com-
young lady might run by so unusual a mode mand is necessary for me, Mrs. Roberts,
of proceeding, than concerning the possi- because I want to go to places where no-
bility that the idiot girlas she still some- body else wants to go, and I willingly pay
times affected to call her, might have taken for it myself, in order to avoid putting you
it into her head to hire carriage, horses, and your daughters to the inconvenience
coachman, and footman, all upon the Rob- of giving up any engagements of your own,
ertses' credit. As to the first, it would be in order to accommodate me."
easy enough for Edward to set all that to “Well, my dear, I am sure it is impos-
rights by and by; but as to the last, she con- sible to say any thing against that, because
scientiously felt it to be her own especial it is just the sort of genteel politeness
duty to obtain information.

which every one would like to see in a
When this alarming possibility first sug- young lady of your rank and fortune. And
gested 'itself, the ample countenance of I suppose, my dear, that you are quite sure
Mrs. Roberts glowed from forehead to chin, that you have money enough to pay for
and from ear to ear. It was certainly very it ?''
delightful to drive about in the enjoyment Had Mrs. Roberts said one single sylla-
of the unrestrained conversation of her own ble expressive of anxiety lest her young in-
children, but she felt that the disagreeable mate might attract attention, and be deem-
presence of Bertha must be endured by ed indiscreet, from the unprotected style in
them all, if the annoyance was only to be which she pursued her amusement, it might
avoided by having to pay for a second car- have gone far towards making the poor lit-

tle girl more cautious in her proceedings, The very earliest possible opportunity for there was no mixture of audacity in her was seized by Mrs. Roberts for a tête-à-tête courage, no wish for exemption from any with Miss Harrington, in order to put this restraint for which she could feel respect, important matter upon a proper footing; but this allusion to her purse and its reand although the obtaining this was no sources was most unfortunale. It offended very easy thing, from the strict blockade by and disgusted her in every way; and more which Bertha contrived to protect her own than ever determined to assume the entire room, and the very few minutes which, ex- disposal of herself till she should be happy cept while at table, she spent out of it, per- enough to be again within reach of adseverance at length accoinplished it, and vice and protection which she could

recogBertha found herself alone with Mrs. Rob- nize as fit and proper, she brought the conerts, and that lady stoutly standing between versation to an abrupt conclusion by sayherself and the door.

ing, “I beg your pardon, my dear," began “ Till I have given you some reason for the careful chaperon, “ for stopping you, it, madam, you have no right to suppose because you seen rather in a hurry; but I me capable of contracting debts which I can't think I should be doing right, my am unable to pay; and unless you wish me dear Miss Bertha, if I didn't make any ob- immediately to take measures for finding servation about your driving about the town another home, you will do well to abstain all alone as you do. You know, my dear, from such interference with my conduct that there is always, of course, a place kept as may render my present abode intolerable vacant and ready for you in our carriage to me." whenever you like to go out, and I there

Miss Harrington, I am sure

Dear me,


« ZurückWeiter »