« PreviousContinue »
“I never knew he had either taste or fancy,” said Miss Ormond' « except for stiff' stays and starched neckcloths."
Excepting always that inimitable great coat," said Mr. Waldegrave. “Oh yes, the coat! do, for pity's sake walk to the window, Newcome, and show that coat. Its beauties are absolutely lost in that retired corner."
“ To Eliza's utter astonishment, Mr. Newcome prepared to obey this command without hesitation ; only repeating, “Pon my soul, Miss Ormond, you are so arbitrary ; 'pon my soul !!
“ And that coat really is the right thing, is it, Newcome ?” said Mr. Wal. degrave.
* Oh decidedly! decidedly the right thing," replied he, with a tone of solemnity.
“ Amusing rather, don't you think he is?” said Miss Ormond to Lady Delville. “ Do you think you can tolerate him? because you may have him at any time. And its rather the proper thing to be seen with him at the opera, Don't you think it is, upon the whole, Waldegrave?”
“How love can trifle with itself," as Shakspeare well knew, -how much“ an enraged affection,” as he somewhere else calls it, will make a fool of a poor young woman who has the misfortune to be possessed with it,-how far the pettishness of a spoiled child, whose vanity and pride are unused to restraint or mortification, will fill with self the whole of the creature's world of consciousness, to the utter exclusion of every other human being or human feeling-are finely illustrated in the following highly wrought scene. Eliza goes with Lady Delville, Miss Brooke, and Waldegrave, to a musical party at Miss Ormond's; and from mere caprice gives notice-timely enough no doubt, for it is before they set out that she does not intend to sing. Miss Ormond's voice, it seems, does not please her, “and she would “not degrade herself by taking any part in such intolerable s singing.”
" Sie was now in the full exercise of the unhappy faculty she possessed, of converting the shadows of discontent into real and substantial evils.
“Never for a moment abstracted from that intense consciousness of self, which alternately formed the bane and the bliss of her existence, she was the very slave of circumstances. With the ardour of her nature, she identified every thing with the one feeling that absorbed her; and the universe, and all that it contained, presented nothing to her,--but Waldegrave's love."
Miss Ormond's performance is much applauded, notwithstanding the contempt with which it is treated by Miss Rivers, whose impatient spirit writhes with self-inflicted torture, because Waldegrave prefers attending the piano forte to giving her, what she much desires, an opportunity to reproach and insult him. This mood is not mended by the approach of Newcome, to seat himself in the empty chair beside her. Some raillery from Miss Ormond and Miss Brooke renders these two ladies, very suddenly, objects of utter detestation, of course. Newcome not attended to, gives an astonished stare, and abdicates; his seat is immediately filled by old Mr. Ormond, who most unseasonably commences a prosing discourse on vocal and instrumental music, and especially on the ineffable sum which his daughter's musical eduçation has cost him. But even Mr. Ormond leaves his ill-chosen auditor, and
« Eliza looked towards his vacant chair, and her heart fluttered with the hope that it would soon be taken by Mr. Waldegrave. Scarcely could she refrain from telling every wandering man that approached and regarded it with a desiring eye, that it belonged to a gentleman.' Her eyes sedulously guarded it for him, whom alone, in the numerous assembly, she beheld. “At length he leaves the orchestra. He is coming in the direction of her
On! Miss Ormond stops him! She is making room for him between her and Sophia. Will he?-ah, yes !she does remain with them. He forsakes her-he is indifferent to her-he cares nothing at all about her-oh why, why can sbe not, in an instant, annihilate the room, the lights, the whole assembly, and be in darkness, and be in solitude, and at liberty to give way to the burst of wretchedness that is labouring in her breast !
“ There was now no hope of his being near her, for Mr. Stanhope had taken Mr. Ormond's place.
Miss Eliza Rivers, of course, refuses the entreaties of the whole company collectively and individually, and perseveres in her becoming resolution not to sing, till the total indifference, usual in such cases, piques her most of all; and, in imminent danger of being of no consequence, instead of the greatest, even to Waldegrave, she unexpectedly allows herself to be handed to the instrument by Mr. Stanhope, where she resolves to astonish Waldegrave—for to him alone she performed-with her most brilliant exertions.
“ The buzz and commotion of the room had not quite subsided into attention, when she cast a sidelong glance, ere she began, towards Mr. Walde grave. He was still talking with Sophia. Never surely was there such an unparalleled affront. What! not pay to her performance the poor compliment of silence ? Under the impulse of extreme irritation, she half rose she half closed her book.
“Mr. Stanhope plainly discovered that something was wrong ; but not at all comprehending how, or in what way, inquired in a voice of alarm, “What was the matter? was her seat too high or too low? or in what way could he be useful?” But now Mr. Waldegrave, who, though silent, had been an attentive observer of all that had passed, alarmed and agitated by her behaviour, and dreading what it might lead to next, hastily, and with a hurried manner approached her, and whilst he bent over her, chiefly to hide her distracted countenance, he merely affected to be inquiring what she was going to perform?
“Oh, Waldegrave! nothing—nothing! My very heart is sick ; take me away,' she whispered.
"* My dear Eliza ! for God's sake be calm-be composed : I beg I beseech of yoll'
“ But the winds and waves would as soon have respected such a command. She had wrought herself up to a pitch of frantic emotion, that governed her as it would an infant; and whilst the room receded from her sight, and all its inhabitants, and nothing was present to her but her lover, and herself, she clasped her hands upon his arm, and hiding her face upon them, she burst into a flood of tears.
“Never was any confusion equal to that of Mr. Waldegrave! Well he knew that an assembly of Rornan stoics were not more likely to have smiled at such a burst of natural weakness, than were the votaries of fashion then assembled round them.
“ He hurried her precipitately from the orchestra into an adjoining drawing-room, the door of which he impatiently closed after hinı ; and whilst Eliza sunk down upon a sofn, and sobbed with hysteric violence, he silently walked up and down the room, evidently agitaterl with a much stronger feeling of shame and vexation at their mutual exposure, than by tenderness or pity for her sufferings."
The description of Waldegrave's fashionable hardness of heart, and calmness of demeanour, is not less just. He is at breakfast with Sir George Melmoth the morning after his last interview with Miss Rivers, when the following feeling dialogue takes place between them :
"•She is a charming woman!' said Mr. Waldegrave, with something of a sigh ; . but I wish, with all my soul, that I had never known her!',
“• What you begin to feel queer at the thoughts of the noose! No wonder, with the horror that you have always testified for it!'.
«« No; it is not that which disturbs me—that question is, by mutual consent, at rest between us for ever!'
" Ah-indeed! How did you manage that? for it is rather a material point, I should think, in the present case.'
• Yes, of course. But I proved to her that it was imprudent, and little less than impossible, in my present circumstances (as you yourself must sup. pose, after what I have said to you upon that point ;) and this morning I have received an intimation from her that she entirely coincides with my opinionand“. And is your most obedient humble servant, I suppose.
Well, I see nothing very melancholy in that ; particularly as, I imagine, it was rather as a matter of propriety than choice, that you proposed to her at all.'.
“I certainly never intended to fall so deeply in love as I did. And as to matrimony, I never gave it a thought, till I found I had been talking about it for above an hour.'
“Sir George laughed most immoderately. Egad, Waldegrave, I did not think you had been such a flat. If this had happened to you ten years ago, when you first set about making love, it would all have been natural and likely enough.'
« « It seems that we are never wise upon these points,'
« • No; nor never safe, I think. Upon my word, after your accident, I shall be upon my guard, in case I should take to falling in love ; for being a more heedless person than you, it is possible I may go a step further, and find myself actually married before I know any thing about it.'
". There is no great hazard: of that. You have, fortunately, no turn for affairs of this kind.
• None in the world. I have fallen in love two or three times, as a matter of course, but I found it a foolish, troublesome business ; so I gave it up at
It always leads to something disagreeable-just as children begin to play, very lovingly, and end in quarrelling and fighting. In short, these matters always conclude badly, let them conclude which way they will—for if you marry it's a humdrum affair ; neither more nor less than taking out a li. cense to grow very tired of one another; and if you do not, it's a chance if you don't behave very ill indeed, and deserve to be horse-whipped-and, I suppose, it is soine such idea of your merits, that, at this very instant, makes you, Waldegrave, look so forlorn?'
“I am afraid I am not quite exempt from self-reproach ; at least Eliza feels these things so differently from the generality of women, that what would be a slight injustice, perhaps nothing at all to them, is a very serious injury to her.' "Poor girl! she feels it a great deal, then, does she?" « « I am afraid so.' "Poor thing! I am sorry for that.' «« And so am I, God knows! I wish from my soul that I had never seen her.'
“* But that will do no) good now you know. The affair is entirely ended, and you can't possibly marry her; so the only thing now is to hope and trust that she will make herself happy in trying to hate you more and more every day of her life.'
« I rather suppose that will be the sequel of the story; for I trust a great deal to a tolerable share of pride and haughtiness which she calls her own.'
"Yes, that may do bye and bye. But I should not wonder if she has to go through a great deal more before she finds her pride of much service to her. Those country girls are very different from the women here ; when an affair of that sort is ended here, and a girl has lost her lover, she has nothing to do but to go to the theatres, or the opera, or Almack's, or any where else, and look out for another. But when such is the case in the country, they mope about, and walk amongst trees, and talk to the moon, and write sonnets; and, never seeing a man above once in seven years, have no chance of replacing the lost hero.
". But that is not the case with Miss Rivers, just at present ; she has been in London and the neighbourhood for some months past.'
« • Where is she? I will go and call on her and console her.'
“I had rather you would not, if you please, just at present; considering your connexion with me, I think it will be best to avoid it.'
“Well, just as you please ; I should like to have seen her. I always admired Miss Rivers ; nay, I positively at one time had some wandering designs of marrying her myself.'
“ Had you, indeed? I wish with all my heart you had putthem in execution.'
“ . Thank you for your good wishes; it is not too late now, perhaps, only that I have lost the inclination. Come, shall we walk ?
“Mr. Waldegrave reached his hat, with something between a sigh and a yawn
" "This affair annoys me most confoundedly,' said he.
« « Oh, it's a bad business, beyond dispute ; but you must try and forget it. You know there's nothing upon earth to be done, unless you mean to marry the girl.'
"I can't marry her—it's quite impossible,' said Mr. Waldegrave impatiently.
•Well, then, come along, and say no more about it.'" For examples of the author's
powers of pathos, which are, we think, considerable, we must refer our readers to several of the descriptions near the conclusion, and especially to the last scene of all.
Although we do not certainly estimate the work before us as the brilliant production of a powerful and original genius, its well conceived and conducted plot, its agreeable pleasantry, lively scenes, and amusing characters, are proofs of talent far above the average of that of novel writers. But it soars very far, indeed, above its whole class, with a few kindred exceptions, in the yet more valuable qualities of sound principle, amiable sentiment, and benevolent feeling. There is a gentleness and kindliness throughout, which tempt us to think that we are reading the production of a female pen; and to female pens, in this department of literature, we can trace an exquisite management of passion and feeling, and an edifying use of principle, which are very often wanting in the fictitious compositions of the other sex. There is a vein of sincere practical piety both skilfully and usefully introduced into the story; but although Mortimer and Louisa are humble, in the scriptural sense of the word, the author allows the heroine to die considerably short of repentance and humiliation. She does not, by any means, attribute her sufferings to her own errors, and something of her characteristic pride besets even
her deathbed; for her expressions are not humble hopes of mercy, but confident expectations of a perfectly happy hereafter. This was surely not intended by the author. With this modification, we have not a fault to find with the principles of the present work. If it be consistent with a sound discretion, that the first tale of love, instead of being left to chance, shall be told to the young and innocent with perfect purity, and shall, moreover, address the imagination, strictly associated with the safeguards of honour, prudence, and virtue, “ The Favourite of Nature," we sincerely think, ought to be a standard family novel.
ART. VIII.- The following Sketches of Manners and Times are
taken from Graydon's Memoirs of " A Life in Pennsylvania.”
« Of all the cities in the world, Philadelphia was, for its size, perhaps, one of the most peaceable and unwarlike ; and Grant was not wholly with. out data for supposing that, with an inconsiderable force, he could make his way at least through Pennsylvania. So much had the manners of the Quakers, and its long exemption from hostile alarm, nourished this disposition, that a mere handful of lawless frontier men was found sufficient to throw the capital into consternation. The unpunished, and even applauded mas. sacre of certain Indians at Lancaster, who, in the jail of that town, had vainly flattered themselves that they possessed an asylum, bad so encouraged their murderers, who called themselves Paxton Boys, that they threatened to perpetrate the like enormity upon a number ot other Indians, under the protection of government in the metropolis ; and for this purpose they, at length put themselves in arms, and actually began their march. Their force, though known to be small in the beginning, continually increased as it went along, the vires acquirit eundo being no less the attribute of terror than of fame. Between the two, the invaders were augmented to some thousands by the time they had approached within a day or two's journey of their object. To the credit, however, of the Philadelphians, every possible effort was made to frustrate the inhuman designs of the banditti ; and the Quakers, as well as others, who had proper feelings on the occasion, ex. erted themselves for the protection of the terrified Indians, who were shut up in the barracks, and for whose more immediate defence part of a British regiment of foot was stationed there. But the citadel or place of arms, was in the very heart of the city, all around and within the old court-house, and Friends' meeting-house. Here stood the artillery, under the command of Captain Loxley, a very honest, though little, dingy-looking man, with regimentals, considerably war-worn or tarnished ; a very salamander or fre drake in the public estimation, whose vital air was deemed the fume of sulphureous explosion, and who, by whatever means he had acquired his science, was always put foremost when great guns were in question. Here it was that the grand stand was to be made against the approaching invaders, who, if rumour might be credited, had now extended their murderous pur. poses beyond the savages, to their patrons and abettors. Hence the cause had materially changed its complexion, and, instead of resting on a basis of mere humanity and plighted faith, it had emphatically become the cause of self-preservation little doubt being entertained that the capital would be sacked, in case of the predominance of a barbarous foe. In this state of consternation and dismay, all business was laid aside for the more important occupation of arms. Drums, colours, rusty halberts, and bayonets, were brought forth from their lurking-places ; and as every good citizen who bad a. W ord had girded to his thigh, so every one who had a gun had placed