Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Mrs. C. Ah, no foundation in the world, I dare Lady S. I wonder, Sir Benjamin, you never pubswear; no more, probably, than for the story circu.

lish anything lated last month of Mrs. Festino's affair with Colonel Sir B. To say truth, ma'am, 'tis very vulgar to Cassino; though, to be sure, that matter was never print; and as my little productions are mostly satires rightly cleared up.

and lampoons on particular people, I find they circu. Foseph S. The license of invention some people late more by giving copies in confidence to the take is monstrous indeed.

friends of the parties. However, I have some love Maria. 'Tis so—but, in my opinion, those who elegies, which, when favoured with this lady's smiles, report such things are equally culpable.

I mean to give the public. (Pointing to Maria.] Mrs. C. To be sure they are; tale-bearers are as bad Crab. 'Fore heaven, ma'am, they'll immortalise as the tale-makers—'tis an old observation, and a very you! You will be handed down to posterity, like true one. But what's to be done, as I said before? Petrarch's Laura, or Waller's Sacharissa. how will you prevent people from talking? To-day, Sir B. [To Maria.] Yes, madam, I think you will Mrs. Clackitt assured me Mr. and Mrs. Honeymoon like them, when you shall see them on a beautiful were at last become mere man and wife, like the rest quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall mur. of their acquaintance. No, no! tale-bearers, as I said mur through a meadow of margin. 'Fore gad, they before, are just as bad as the tale-makers.

will be the most elegant things of their kind! Joseph S. Ah, Mrs. Candour, if everybody had Crab. But, ladies, that's true—have you heard the your forbearance and good-nature!

news? Mrs. C. I confess, Mr. Surface, I cannot bear to Mrs. C. What, sir, do you mean the report of hear people attacked behind their backs; and when Crab. No, ma'am, that's not it-Miss Nicely is ugly circumstances come out against our acquaint. | going to be married to her footman. ance, I own I always love to think the best. By the Mrs. C. Impossible! bye, I hope 'tis not sure that your hrother is abso- Crab. Ask Sir Benjamin. lutely ruined?

Sir B. 'Tis very true, ma'am; everything is fixed, Foseph S. I am afraid his circumstances are very and the wedding liveries bespoke, bad indeed, ma'am.

Crab. Yes; and they do say there were pressing Mrs. C. Ah! I heard so—but you must tell him to reasons for it. keep up his spirits; everybody almost is in the same Lady S. Why, I have heard something of this way-Lord Spindle, Sir Thomas Splint, Captain before. Quinze, and Mr. Nickit-all up, I hear, within this Mrs. C. It can't be; and I wonder any one should week; so, if Charles is undone, he'll find half his believe such a story of so prudent a lady as Miss acquaintance ruined too; and that, you know, is a Nicely. consolation.

Sir B. O lud! ma'am, that's the very reason 'twas Foseph S. Doubtless, ma'am-a very great one.

believed at once. She has always been so cautious

and so reserved, that everybody was sure there was Enter SERVANT.

some reason for it at bottom. Serv. Mr. Crabtree and Sir Benjamin Backbite. Mrs. C. Why, to be sure, a tale of scandal is as

[Exit Servant. fatal to the credit of a prudent lady of her stamp as Lady S. So, Maria, you see your lover pursues a fever is generally to those of the strongest constiyou; positively you shan't escape.

tutions. But there is a sort of a puny sickly reputa

tion that is always ailing, yet will outlive the robuster Enter CRABTREE and Sir BENJAMIN BACKBITE.

characters of a hundred prudes. Crabtree. Lady Sneerwell, I kiss your hand.—Mrs. Sir B. True, madam, there are valetudinarians in Candour, I don't believe you are acquainted with my reputation as well as constitution; who, being con nephew, Sir Benjamin Backbite. Egad! ma'am, he scious of their weak part, avoid the least breath of has a pretty wit, and is a pretty poet too.—Isn't he, air, and supply their want of stamina by care and cirLady Sneerwell?

cumspection. Sir Benjamin. O fie, uncle!

Mrs. C. Well, but this may be all a mistake. You Crab. Nay, egad! it's true; I back him at a rebus know, Sir Benjamin, very trifling circumstances or a charade against the best rhymer in the kingdom. often give rise to the most injurious tales. Has your ladyship heard the epigram he wrote .last Crab. That they do, I'll be sworn, ma'am. week on Lady Frizzle's feather catching fire?-Do, O lud! Mr. Surface, pray, is it true that your uncle, Benjamin, repeat it, or the charade you made last Sir Oliver, is coming home? night extempore at Mrs. Drowzie's conversazione. Foseph S. Not that I know of, indeed, sir. Come now: your first is the name of a fish, your Crab. He has been in the East Indies a long time. second a great naval commander, and —

You can scarcely remember him, I believe. Sad Sir B. Uncle, now-prithee

comfort, whenever he returns, to hear how your Crab. l' faith, ma'am, 'twould surprise you to hear brother has gone on. how ready he is at all these sort of things.

Joseph S. Charles has been imprudent, sir, to be

sure; but I hope no busy people have already preju. tions. The heart is her world; it is there her ambi. diced Sir Oliver against him. He may reform. tion strives for empire—it is there her avarice seeks

Sir B. To be sure he may; for my part, I never for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies believed him to be so utterly void of principle as on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the people say: and though he has lost all his friends, I traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is am told nobody is better spoken of by the Jews. hopeless—for it is a bankruptcy of the heart.

Crab, That's true, egad! nephew. If the Old To a man, the disappointment of love may occaJewry was a ward, I believe Charles would be an sion some bitter pangs: it wounds some feelings of alderman: no man more popular there! I hear he tenderness—it blasts some prospects of felicity; but pays as many annuities as the Irish tontine; and that, he is an active being; he may dissipate his thoughts whenever he is sick, they have prayers for the recov- in the whirl of varied occupation; or may plunge ery of his health in all the synagogues.

into the tide of pleasure; or, if the scene of disapSir B. Yet no man lives in greater splendour. pointment be too full of painful associations, he can They tell me, when he entertains his friends, he will shift his abode at will, and taking, as it were, the sit down to dinner with a dozen of his own securi- wings of the morning, can “fly to the uppermost ties; have a score of tradesmen waiting in the ante- parts of the earth, and be at rest.” chamber, and an officer behind every guest's chair. Buî woman's is comparatively a fixed, a secluded,

Foseph S. This may be entertainment to you, gen- and a meditative life. She is more the companion of tlemen; but you pay very little regard to the feelings her own thoughts and feelings; and if they are of a brother.

turned to ministers of sorrow, where shall she look Maria (Aside.] Their malice is intolerable. [Aloud ] for consolation? Her lot is to be wooed and won; Lady Sneerwell, I must wish you a good-morning: and if unhappy in her love, her heart is like some I'm not very well.

(Exit Maria.

fortress that has been captured, and sacked, and Mrs. C. O dear! she changes colour very much. abandoned, and 'ef: desolate.

Lady S. Do, Mrs. Candour, follow her: she may How many bright eyes grow dim—how many soft want your assistance.

cheeks grow pale—how many lovely forms fade away Mrs. C. That I will, with all my soul, ma'am. into the tomb, and none can tell the cause that Poor dear girl, who knows what her situation may blighted their loveliness! As the dove will clasp its be!

[Exit Mrs. Candour. wings to its side, and cover and conceal the arrow

that is preying on its vitals—so is it the nature of THE BROKEN HEART.

woman, to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a delicate female is always

shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely It is a common practice with those who have out- breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries lived the susceptibility of early feeling, or have been it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it brought up in the gay heartlessness of dissipated cower and brood among the ruins of her peacę. With life, to laugh at all love stories, and to treat the tales her, the desire of her heart has failed-the great of romantic passion as mere fictions of novelists and charm of existence is at an end. She neglects all poets. My observations on human nature have the cheerful exercises which gladden the spirits, induced me to think otherwise. They have con- | quicken the pulse, and send the tide of life in health. vinced me, that however the surface of the character ful currents through the veins. Her rest is brokenmay be chilled and frozen by the cares of the world, the sweet refreshmentof sleep is poisoned by melan. or cultivated into mere smiles by the arts of society, choly dreams—"dry sorrow drinks her blood,” until still there are dormant fires lurking in the depths of her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest exterthe coldest bosom, which, when once enkindled, be. nal injury. Look for her, after a while, and you find come impetuous, and are sometimes desolating in friendship weeping over her untimely grave, and their effects. Indeed, I am a true believer in the wondering that one, who but lately glowed with all blind deity, and go to the full extent of his doctrines. the radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily Shall I confess it?-I believe in broken hearts, and be brought down to “ darkness and the worm.” You the possibility of dying of disappointed love! I do will be told of some wintry chill, some casual indisnot, however, consider it a malady often fatal to my position, that laid her low--but no one knows the own sex; but I firmly believe that it withers down mental malady that previously sapped her strength, many a lovely woman into an early grave.

and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler. Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty nature leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the grove: graceful in its form, bright in its of the world. Love is but the embellishment of his foliage, but with the worm preying at its heart. We early life, or a song piped in the intervals of the acts. find it suddenly withering, when it should be most He seeks for fame, for fortune, for space in the fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches world's thought, and dominion over his fellow-men. to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf; until, wasted But a woman's whole life is a history of the affec- and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the

WASHINGTON IRVING.

forest; and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we and driven in by horror, she would have experienced strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of that could have smitten it with decay.

quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate I have seen many instances of women running to and cherishing attentions were paid her, by families waste and self-neglect, and disappearing gradually of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, from the earth, almost as if they had been exhaled to and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amuseheaven; and have repeatedly fancied, that I could ment to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the trace their deaths through the various declensions of tragical story of her love. But it was all in vain. consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and until I reached the first symptom of disappointed scorch the soul—that penetrate to the vital seat of love. But an instance of the kind was lately told to happiness—and blast it, never again to put forth bud me; the circumstances are well known in the coun- or blossom. She never objected to frequent the try where they happened, and I shall but give them haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there, in the manner in which they were related.

as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in a Everyone must recollect the tragical story of young sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world E-, the Irish patriot: it was too touching to be around her. She carried with her an inward woe soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland he that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, was tried, condemned, and executed, on a charge of and “heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he treason. His fate made a deep impression on public never so wisely." sympathy. He was so young-so intelligent—so The person who told me her story had seen her at generous—so brave-so everything that we are apt to a masquerade. There can be no exhibition of far. like in a young man.

His conduct under trial, too, gone wretchedness more striking and painful than to was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering like a with which he repelled the charge of treason against spectre, lonely and joyless, where all around is gayhis country—the eloquent vindication of his name- to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, and and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless looking so wan and wo-begone, as if it had tried in hour of condemnation—all these entered deeply into vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forevery generous bosom, and even his enemies la.

getfulness of sorrow. After strolling through the mented the stern policy that dictated his execution. splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter

But there was one heart, whose anguish it would abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of an be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer orchestra, and looking about for some time with a fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and

vacant air, that showed her insensibility to the gairish interesting girl, the daughter of a late celebrated scene, she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly Irish barrister. She loved him with the disinterested

heart, to warble a little piaintive air. She had an fervor of a woman's first and early love. When exquisite voice; but on this occasion it was so sim. every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; ple, so touching-it breathed forth such a soul of when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and danger wretchedness—that she drew a crowd, mute and darkened around his name, she loved him the more silent, around her, and nielted everyone into tears. ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate The story of one so true and tender could not but could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what excite great interest in a country remarkable for enmust have been the agony of her, whose whole soul thusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave was occupied by his image? Let those tell who officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed that one so true to the dead, could not but prove between them and the being they most loved on affectionate to the living. She declined his attenearth-who have sat at its threshold, as one shut out tions, for her thoughts were irrecoverably engrossed in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was by the memory of her former lover. He, however, most lovely ana loving had departed.

persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tender. But then the horrors of such a grave!-so fright- ness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her coniul, so dishonored! There was nothing for memory viction of his worth, and her sense of her own des. to dwell on that could soothe the pang of separation, titute and dependent situation, for she was existing none of those tender, though melancholy circum. on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length stances, that endear the parting scene—nothing to succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the solemn assurance, that her heart was unalterably dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the parting another's. hour of anguish.

He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a To render her widowed situation more desolate, change of scene might wear out the remembrance of she had incurred her father's displeasure by her un. early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary fortunate attachment, and was an exile from the wife, and made an effort to be a happy one; but paternal roof. But could the sympathy and kind nothing could cure the silent and devouring melanoffices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked choly that had entered into her very soul. She

wasted away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length svnk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.

It was on her that Moore, the distinguished (rish poet, composed the following lines:

She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps

And lovers around her are sighing;
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weeps,

For her heart in his grave is lying.

[ocr errors]

She sings the wild song of her dear native plains,

Every note which he loved awakingAh! little they think, who delight in her strains,

How the heart of the minstrel is breaking!

He had lived for his love for his country he died,

They were all that to life had entwined himNor soon shall the tears of his country be dried,

Nor long will his love stay behind him!

Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest,

When they promise a glorious morrow; They'll shine o'er her sleep, like a smile from the west,

From her own loved island of sorrow!

THE GREAT PLAGUE IN LONDON.

DANIEL DEFOE.

alone?" “Why,” says he, “I am a poor desolate man: it has pleased God I am not yet visited, though my family is, and one of my children dead.” “How do you mean, then,” said I, “that you are not visited?” Why,” says he, “that is my house"pointing to a very little low-boarded house—“and there my poor wife and two children live,” caid he, if they may be said to live; for my wise and one of the children are visited, but I do not come et them." And with that word I saw the tears run very plentifully down his face; and so they did down mine too, I assure you.

“But,” said I,“ why do you not come at them? How can you abandon your own flesh and blood ?" “O, sir," says he, “the Lord forbid. I do not aban. don them; I work for them as much as I am able; and blessed be the Lord, I keep them from want." And with that I observed he lifted up his eyes to heaven with a countenance that presently told me I had happened on a man that was no hypocrite, but a serious, religious, good man; and his ejaculation was an expression of thankfulness, that, in such a condi. tion as he was in, he should be able to say his family did not want. “Well,” says I,“ honest man, that is a great mercy, as things go now with the poor. But how do you live then, and how are you kept from the dreadful calamity that is now upon us all?”

Why, sir," says he, “I am a waterman, and there is my boat,” says he; "and the boat serves me for a house: I work in it in the day, and I sleep in it in the night; and what I get I lay it down upon that stone,” says he, showing me a broad stone on the other side of the street, a good way from his house; “and then,” says he, “ I halloo, and call to them till I make them hear, and they come and fetch it.”

“Well, friend,” says I, “but how can you get money as a waterman? Does anybody go by water these times?"

“Yes, sir,” says he, “in the way I am employed, there does. Do you see there," says he, “five ships lie at anchor?”—pointing down the river a good way below the town—"and do you see,” says he, “eight or ten ships lie at the chain there, and at anchor yonder?”— pointing above the town. “All those ships have families on board, of their merchants and owners, and such like, who have locked themselves up, and live on board, close shut in, for fear of the infection; and I tend on them to fetch things for them, carry letters, and do what is absolutely necessary, that they may not be obliged to come on shore; and every night I fasten my boat on board one of the ship's boats, and there I sleep by myself; and blessed be God, I am preserved hitherto."

“ Well,” said I,“friend, but will they let you come on board after you have been on shore here, when this has been such a terrible place, and so infected as it is?"

Why, as to that,” said he, “ I very the ship-side, but deliver what I bring to their boat,

I or lie by the side, and they hoist it on board. If I

Much about the same time I walked out into the fields towards Bow, for I had a great mind to see how things were managed in the river and among the ships; and as I had some conce

cern in shipping, I had a notion that it had been one of the best ways of securing one's self from the infection to have retired into a ship; and musing how to satisfy my curiosity in that point, I turned away over the fields, from Bow to Bromley, and down to Blackwall, to the stairs that are there for landing or taking water.

Here I saw a poor man walking on the bank or sea-wall, as they call it, by himself. I walked awhile also about, seeing the houses all shut up; at last I fell into some talk, at a distance, with this poor man. First I asked him how people did thereabouts. “Alas! sir," says he, “almost desolate; all dead or sick. Here are very few families in this part, or in that village,”—pointing at Poplar—"where half of them are dead already, and the rest sick.” Then he, pointing to one house: “There they are all dead,” said he, “and the house stands open; nobody dares go into it. A poor thief,” says he, “ ventured in to steal something, but he paid dear for his theft, for he was carried to the churchyard toc, last night." Then he pointed to several other houses. “There,” says he, “they are all dead-the man and his wife and five children. There," says he, “they are shut up; you see a watchman at the door; and so of other houses.” “Why,” says I, “what do you here all

seldom go up

[ocr errors]

he returned, he hallooed again; then he went to the great stone which he showed me, and emptied the sack, and laid all out, everything by theinselves, and then retired; and his wife came with a little boy to fetch them away; and he called, and said, such a captain had sent such a thing, and such a captain such a thing; and at the end adds: “God has sent it all; give thanks to Him.” When the poor woman had taken up all, she was so weak, she could not carry it at once in, though the weight was not much neither; so she left the biscuit, which was in a little bag, and left a little boy to watch it till she came again.

“Well, but,” says I to him, “ did you leave her the four shillings too, which you said was your week's

pay?"

[ocr errors]

did, I think they are in no danger from me, for I never go into any house on shore, or touch anybody, no, not of my own family; but I fetch provisions for them."

“ Nay," says I, “but that may be worse, for you must have those provisions of somebody or other; and since all this part of the town is so infected, it is dangerous so much as to speak with anybody; for the village,” said I, “is, as it were, the beginning of London, though it be at some distance from it."

“That is true,” added he, “ but you do not under. stand me right. I do not buy provisions for them here; I row up to Greenwich, and buy fresh meat there, and sometimes I row down the river to Woolwich, and buy there; then I go to single. farmhouses on the Kentish side, where I am known, and buy fowls, and eggs, and butter, and bring to the ships, as they direct me, sometimes one, sometimes the other. I seldom come on shore here; and I came only now to call my wife, and hear how my little family do, and give them a little money which I received last night.”

“Poor man!” said I, “and how much hast thou gotten for them?"

“I have gotten four shillings,” said he, “ which is a great sum, as things go now with poor men; but they have given me a bag of bread too, and a salt fish, and some flesh; so all helps out."

“Well,” said I, “and have you given it them yet?"

“No,” said he, “but I have called, and my wife has answered that she cannot come out yet; but in half an hour she hopes to come, and I am waiting for her. Poor woman!” says he, “she is brought sadly down; she has had a swelling, and it is broke, and I hope she will recover, but I fear the child will die; but it is the Lord.” Here he stopped, and wept very much.

“Well, honest friend,” said I, “ thou hast a sure comforter, if thou hast brought thyself to be resigned to the will of God; He is dealing with us all in judgment."

“O sir,” says he, “it is infinite mercy if any of us are spared; an, who am I to repine!”

“Say'st thou so,” said I, “and how much less is my faith than thine!” And here my heart smote me, suggesting how much better this poor man's foundation was, on which he staid in the danger, than mine; that he had nowhere to fly; that he had a family to bind him to attendance, which I had not; and mine was mere presumption, his a true depend. ence and a courage resting on God; and yet, that he used all possible caution for his safety.

I turned a little way from the man while these thoughts engaged me; for indeed I could no more refrain from tears than he.

At length, after some further talk, the poor woman opened the door, and called “Robert, Robert;" he answered, and bid her stay a few moments and he would come; so he ran down the common stairs to his boat, and ietched up a sack in which was the provisions he had brought from the ships; and when

“Yes, yes,” says he; “you shall hear her own it.” So he calls again : “Rachel, Rachel"-which it seems was her name—“did you take up the money?" “Yes," said she. “ How much was it?” said he. "Four shillings and a groat,” said she. “Well, well,” says he, “the Lord keep you all;” and so he turned to go away:

As I could not refrain contributing tears to this man's story, so neither could I refrain my charity for his assistance; so I called him. “Hark thee, friend,” said I, “come hither, for I believe thou art in health, that I may venture thee;" so I pulled out my hand, which was in my pocket before. “Here,” says I, “go and call thy Rachel once more, and give her a little more comfort from me; God will never forsake a family that trust in Him as thou dost:” so I gave him four other shillings, and bid him go lay them on the stone, and call his wife.

I have not words to express the poor man's thankfulness, neither could he express it himself, but by tears running down his face. He called his wife, and told her God had moved the heart of a stranger, upon hearing their condition, to give them all that money; and a great deal more such as that he said to her. The woman, too, made signs of the like thankfulness, as well to Heaven as to me, and joy. fully picked it up; and I parted with no money all that year that I thought better bestowed.

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

JEREMY TAYLOR, Nature calls us to meditate of death, by those things which are the instruments of acting it; and God, by all the variety of his providence, makes us see death everywhere in all variety of circumstances, and dressed up for all the fancies and the expectation of every single person. Nature hath given us one harvest every year, but death hath two; and the spring and the autumn ser.d throngs of men and women to charnel-houses; and all the summer long, men are recovering from their evils of the spring, till the dog-days come, and then the Sirian star

« ПредишнаНапред »