Графични страници
PDF файл

to belief in the mutual professions of young men who, he said, were oftener more comrades than friends. In particular, from his opportunities of judging, he had no very high ideas of school friendships.

This I could not bear, and contested it with a warmth which only made him smile the more; so I set him down as cold and ascetic, who knew nothing of the balm and blessing of mutual regard; and to supply a complete refutation of his unjust opinion, I hurried to Christ Church as fast as I could.

When arrived at the gate, I begged the porter, a man of most imposing dignity, to inform Mr. Hastings that his friend Mr. Clifford (for I generally dropt the De) of Queen's was waiting for him.

“ Mr. Hastings !” exclaimed the porter, surveying my stuff and sleeveless gown, “ Why he is a Gentleman Commoner.”

" I know it,” said I.

“But he is engaged,” replied he, “ for I saw him go by to Lord Albany's rooms, who I suppose you don't know, and he will not be able to come to you, for he is hand and glove with my lord.” 66 What of that ?" said I, with some impatience.

Why, when they gets together, there's no saying when they'll part,” replied the porter ; “besides you say you belong to Queen's, and we have very few Queen's men, I may say none at all, as visits here.”

Saucy enough, thought I ; however I suppose there are Jack’s-in-office everywhere, and, in my simplicity and my

freshness, I told him I was sure Mr. Hastings would be extremely displeased with him for such an answer, for that I was his particular friend.

“ That may or may not be," returned Cerberus, rather laughing, and surveying me again with a look of

superciliousness, at the same time holding the wicket as if he would close it in my face. But whether I had the look of a real gentleman, although a decayed one, or he thought to prove a dignified superiority by condescension, he at last said he would take my name to Mr. Hastings, though he added, that he always staid long with my lord, and probably would not be down for an hour.

I meekly said I would wait the time, and the porter, with a smile at a resignation so unusual, and moved, I fear, more on account of Foljambe than Foljambe's friend, proceeded up a staircase with his message.

My impatience to embrace my friend may be imagined, as well as my disappointment, when the aristocratic janitor brought word that Mr. Hastings was so particularly engaged that he could not come down, but would call upon me soon at Queen's.

“I thought it would be so," added he, "for this is always the time when Lord Albany and he practises in the mufiers.”

“ Mufflers,” cried I, in my ignorance, and not overpleased, “ what are they?"

6 O!” replied he, smiling again with a sense of superiority, “ it's a sign you are a freshman, or you would know that Mr. Douce, who gives lessons in boxing, is more attended to than most of the other tutors.

I congratulated the university on this accession to their tutors, and withdrew to my college somewhat mortified, but still anticipating the pleasure of being 'visited by my friend in the course of at most an hour. I waited, however, all the rest of the day, having first waraed our own porter to be on the watch in case I was asked for by Mr. Hastings of Christ CHURCH.

But the warning was unnecessary; for, after waiting the whole evening in vain, I retired to bed, and passed a restless night, thinking certainly with more pleasure of Bertha than of Bertha's brother.

The next day, as soon as the college exercises permitted it, I took the road again to Christ Church, for no Foljambe had appeared at Queen's; but before I could reach it, I was met by a gay party of young men on horseback, one of whom, by his air, I knew at once to be Hastings; I drew up upon the pavement that he might the more easily distinguish me.

Will it be believed ? Though he knew, and even kissed his hand and spoke to me, it was only to say “How are you ?" nor did he stop, as I expected, to greet me, though my own heart was swelling towards him with joy and pleasure !

Astounded, discomfited, angry, grieved, I immediately returned to my rooms, in a paroxysm of contending emotions; having bolted my door, I threw myself on my bed unmanned, and would have wept had I not been ashamed. In this I knew not whether I was most prompted by offended pride, or disappointed affection.

Though so new to the university, I was not unaware of the great and marked line of distinction, whether as to literary or fashionable reputation, which belonged to different colleges, and I knew that in both Christ Church affected at least to take a lead. But I had no suspicion that this would interrupt the sacred rights of friendship, which, not having parted with my Sedbergh simplicity, I was fresh enough still to treat with all honour. Pride, however, got the better, and though, as the brother of Bertha, exclusive of my love for himself, Hastings seemed to me a sort of demi-god,

[blocks in formation]

I made a fiercè resolution never again to visit Christ Church, till this advocate for the equality of mankind had returned my visit.

In this, however, I played a little at cheating the devil; for not to deprive myself of all chance of meeting him, and therefore of explanation, I spent all my spare time in the High-street, with occasional deviations into the public walks !

This lasted two days, during which my inquiries of our college porter after the expected call, were always answered with a gruff “No!” On the third I was greeted with the wished intelligence, which was much alloyed, however, by the addition that the young squire (as our porter called Hastings) had begun by asking whether I was not at dinner in the hall, and, being answered in the affirmative, had left his card.

The card, much to the gatekeeper's astonishment, I tore all to pieces ! “ He knew we dined earlier than other colleges,” said I to myself, and “ therefore he called. If I bear this!”

And I actually stamped with agitation.




Heaven bless thee from a tutor, and discipline come not near thee.-SHAKSPEARE, Troil. and Cress.

“ BEAR what ? and what would you do ?” said Mr, Fothergill, who had come close behind me, and heard my exclamation, without my perceiving him. “ What is it that you are so resolved not to bear ?"

Now, my good tutor, in the very little period (but three days) of our acquaintance, had already won much of my confidence. Indeed, I was always disposed, with the freshness of youth which is so delightful, rather to give than to withhold that confidence where it appeared to be deserved, so that I was upon the point of telling him my grievance. But he anticipated me.

“ I can see,” said he, “ that for the last two days you have been much ruffled. You have suddenly lost that open, joyous alacrity which I noted on your entry on this new scene, and which I attributed mainly to your hopes of renewing your familiar intercourse with the dearest friend you have in the world.'” Here he smiled, as I thought, sarcastically, adding, “ Was I right ?”

“ You certainly were,” replied I, colouring and growing hot.

« ПредишнаНапред »