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frankness to Aight; she was seized with timidity ; curtesied, hesitated, and blushed. That blush, however, spoke, though her voice had stopt ; yet, in the few words she had uttered, that voice was so silvery sweet as to affect me with I knew not what sensations of pleasure, for I knew not why I was so pleased. All that I was certain of was, that it was a voice more sweet than I had ever heard before (and certainly than I ever heard afterwards, except from her)—so that I was almost about to exclaim,
0, lady! speak again." But the blush spoke too; and I could translate it, though new to the language of blushes. It seemed to say, among other things, " And is this your friend ?” and then I thought I was an object of curiosity, and wished to appear to advantage to my friend's sister, but did not know how—and then I blushed in my turn, yet did not know why-only I was sure that I had never seen such a blush, and would have given the world to have had such a sister.
I was very fond of Dryden's Tempest, and a favourite passage rushed into my mind, personified as I felt by this beautiful vision
“ At first it stared upon me and seem'd wild,
And then I trembled; yet it looked so lovely,
Seem'd fastend to the ground.” This never happened to me with the Misses Crackenthorpes, nor even with the Misses Goff, nor could I then analyze the difference; but I felt it in my heartwhere, truth to say, it remained ever afterwards.
We now advanced to the house, which had an imposing look of opulence and substantial grandeur; and this, and the grace and beauty of the young fairy,
made my mind dart with sensible mortification to my own parental home, and my own personal insignifi
That this should be inspired by a fine house and park, and a sort of consequent reverence for the owner, was not surprising. What did surprise me was, that not one-half, nay not a tenth part, of my fear or mortification arose from this, but from a feeling totally new, springing from the sudden comparison of myself with this daughter of rank and fortune, whom I had just seen.
That her loveliness should make me love her, I could understand ; but why I should feel the complex sensations of awe, humility, and despair, which so instantly got possession of me, was at the time totally inexplicable.
I accounted for it, Heaven knows, well enough afterwards, when, to my cost, I got better acquainted with the nature of love, pride, ambition, and independence, all struggling together ; but this was the result of riper years. What now puzzled me was the influence which this wild young beauty, high as she was above me, could have acquired in such an instant, so as to make me feel bashful, helpless, and humbled, and all, as I thought, without a cause.
But to return-my friend Foljambe, still accompanied by his sister, conducted me across a large hall, into a large room, where a large and very noble looking man sat in a large arm-chair of crimson velvet.
“ Father,” said Foljambe, with a sort of flippancy, which my jealousy did not like, because I attributed it to Eton, “ this is my friend Clifford : I assure you, though he looks so bashful and backward, there is a great deal in him."
“Of course," said Mr. Hastings, “as he was your friend at Sedbergh. He has at least an honourable name; though that perhaps is little recommendation in these days. I believe, young Sir (that is, my son tells me), you descend from the old Lords Bardolfe, as well as the Cliffords, for whom I ought myself to feel an interest, from being an unworthy successor to part of their domains. Though the domains have been lost, I hope you don't undervalue descent, as it is becoming a fashion to do. Possibly, indeed, it will be of little use to you in the world; and yet I don't know -
At this he fell into a sort of musing, while I was absorbed with what seemed an interest taken by his daughter in this introductory speech. For she watched her father with peculiar attention while he made it, and during his reverie afterwards. Of this reverie, at the time, I knew not the cause, and even when I did, did not perhaps well understand it; for I knew nothing of English aristocrats or democrats, though my school books had already taught me the difference between them among the ancients; and certainly I soon found that the awful master of Foljambe Park, though, from peculiar views, he had mixed the hardihood of a plebeian with an aristocratic education for his son, was, in his principles, certainly no democrat.
He was, as I have before stated, of the old school, and he was so in dress, and address. As to the first, it was so different from
that it made an impression, as indeed every thing about and belonging to him did, upon one so total a stranger to his higher lot. I remember even his coat, which had a very low collar, was of a light stone colour ; singlebreasted, and very plain : but its plainness was relieved
by a most magnificent waistcoat of crimson velvet, with gold button-holes, denoting, as I thought, uncommon grandeur. Its pockets reached nearly to his knees, large and roomy, and out of them he ever and anon conveyed, and returned to them again, a ponderous gold chased snuff-box, of large dimensions. This seemed the perpetual employment of his slender hands, whose whituness and delicacy shewed how little they had ever been exposed even to the sun, much less to toil.
A small head, with a keen blue eye, and bushy eyebrows, gave him a penetrating, or at least a pensive, look, and a black solitaire, and little bag, or rather rosette, in which he confined his grey hair, completed the outward man.
When he rose from his chair, which he did, with a sort of condescending politeness, I perceived that his figure was tall, commanding, and well proportioned. Upon the whole, he had an imposing and dignified air. How much of this was owing to my consciousness of his superior station, how much to his personal merits, I did not discover, for I was too much dazzled with the first real man of quality I had ever seen to think of inquiring.
He was engaged, on our entering, in a conversation, which was afterwards resumed, and what I heard, I did not fail, because sufficiently characteristic, to remark and remember. It was with a gentleman, who, though the clergyman of the parish, rather surprised me by the obsequiousness he shewed; for it was very unlike the manner of our own curate, who always, on his visits to us, seemed at his ease, and as perfectly at home as one of ourselves.
This gentleman, the Reverend Mr. Darling, was
giving an account of a splendid ball and supper, given by a Mr. Wilkins, one of the nouveaux riches, who had lately settled in a fine modern house in the neighbourhood.
“ Were there many of the old families ?” asked Mr. Hastings.
“ All but your own,” replied the minister, with a bow; “there were Lord Conyers, the Dowager Lady Belfont, and all her
ladies.” Very extraordinary,” observed Mr. Hastings, handling his snuff-box with something like agitation.
Why, they tell me all this fortune was made by usury, and inveigling young heirs at sixty per cent.; so that they have christened his fine house Annuity Hall. They say, too, that the foundation even of this arose out of speculations in tallow. What astonishes me is, that he is already in the Commission, and they even talk of him as a Deputy Lieutenant. What shall we come to if this
I trust, however, the gentry of Yorkshire are not yet so reduced.”
He said this with some bitterness, and an increased gravity of look; while Mr. Darling replied with a titter, only repressed by the presence he was in, which made him afraid to venture a joke, “ There certainly was no tallow at Mount Wilkins, for such a profusion of wax candles I never saw.”
“ I am really sorry,” returned the high squire. 66 What all this deference for mere wealth, no matter how got, may lead to in society, I don't know. An honest citizen, enriched by successful industry, one might respect, but what are we to say when a dealer in tallow and usury is not disdained by such a name as Lord Conyers, or such a noble person as Lady Belfont?"