Page images

She addressed herself, on the contrary, would hardly have been pleasant to altogether to her lilliputian white lap- hear, upon this piece of detective imdog, Snow, and played with his silken pertinence of his wife's. He could ears; and chatted with him, as ladies have smashed all the glass upon the will.

table. But he looked serene, and A sealed envelope broken. That leaned back with the corner of Rascoundrel, Larcom, knew perfectly it chel's note between two fingers. It was meant for me. He was on the was a case in which he clearly saw he point of speaking his mind, which must command himself.



His heart misgave him. He felt that that it was time to repair to the a crisis was coming ; and he read Dutch room, where she found lights “I cannot tell you, my poor bro

and tea prepared. ther, how miserable I am. I have door opened and Stanley

Lake peeped

In a few minutes more the library just learned that a very dangerous person has discovered more about that

in. dreadful evening than we believed

“Radie not come yet?” said he, known to anybody in Gylingden. I entering. “We certainly are much am subjected to the most agonizing pleasanter in this room, Dorkie

, more, suspicions and insults. Would to hea

in proportion, than we two should ven, I

have been in the drawing-room.” were dead! But living, I cannot endure my present state of mind

He seated himself beside her, drawlonger. To-morrow morning I will

ing his chair very close to hers, and see Dorcas-poor Dorcas !-and tell

taking her hand in his. He was more her all. I am weary of urging you,

affectionate this evening than usual. in vain, to do so. It would have What did it portend ? she thought. been much better . But although, in Rachel's estimate of Stanley, and

She had already begun to acquiesce after that interview, I shall, perhaps to fancy that whatever he did it was never see her more, I shall yet be happier, and, I think, relieved from with an unacknowledged purpose. suspense, and the torments of mys

“Does little Dorkie, love me?" tery. So will she. At all events, it

said Lake, in a sweet undertone. is her right to know all—and she in the deep soft glance she threw

There was reproach, but love too, shall. 6 YOUR OUTCAST AND MISERABLE SISTER.”

“You must promise me not to be

frightened at what I am going to tell On Stanley's lips his serene, un- you," said Lake. pleasant smile was gleaming, as he She heard him with sudden panic, closed the note carelessly. He in- and a sense of cold stole over her. tended to speak, but his voice caught. He looked like a ghost-quite white He cleared it, and sipped a little-smiling. She knew something was claret.

coming--the secret she had invoked "For a clever girl she certainly so long and she was appalled. does write the most wonderful rub “Don't be frightened, darling. It is bish. Such an effusion ! And she necessary to tell you ; but it is really sends it tossing about, from hand to not much when you hear me out. hand, among the servants. I've anti You'll say so when you have quite cipated her, however, Dorkie. And heard me. So you won't be frighthe took her hand and kissed it. She ened ?" does not know I've told you all my She was gazing straight into his self.”

wild yellow eyes, fascinated, with a Stanley went to the library, and look of expecting terror. Dorcas to the conservatory, neither “You are nervous, darling," he very happy, each haunted by an evil continued, laying his hand on hers. augury, and a sense of coming danger. “Shall we put it off for a little ? You The deepening shadow warned Dorcas are frightened.”

upon him.


[ocr errors]

“Not much frightened, Stanley,” may say, it was kinder to withhold she whispered.

it as long as I could.” “Well, we had better wait. I see, He glanced at the door, and spoke Dorcas, you are frightened and ner- in a lower tone.

Don't keep looking at me; And so, with his eyes lowered to look at something else. You maké the table at which he sat, glancing yourself nervous that way. I pro ever and anon sideways at the door, mise, upon my honour, I'll not say a and tracing little figures with the tip word about it till you bid me.” of his finger upon the shining rose

“I know, Stanley-I know.” wood, he went on murmuring his

Then, why won't you look down, or strange and hateful story in the ear look up, or look any way you please, of his wife. only don't stare at me so.

It was not until he had spoken Yes-oh, yes,” and she shut her some three or four minutes that eyes.

Dorcas suddenly uttered a wild I'm sorry I began,” he said, pet- scream, and started to her feet. And tishly. “You'll make a fuss. You've Stanley also rose precipitately, and made yourself quite nervous ; and I'll caught her in his arms, for she was wait a little.”

falling. "Oh! no, Stanley, now-for Hea As he supported her in her chair, ven's sake, now. I was only a little the library door opened, and the startled ; but I am quite well again. sinister face of Uncle Lorne looked in, Is it anything about marriage ? Oh, and returned the Captain's stare with Stanley, in mercy, tell me was there one just as fixed and horrified. any other engagement ?”

“Hush !" whispered Uncle Lorne, "Nothing, darling--nothing on and he limped softly into the room, earth of the sort;" and he spoke with and stopped about three yards away, an icy little laugh. 'Your


“she is not dead, but sleepeth.” dier is altogether yours, Dorkie,' “ Hallo ! Larcom," shouted Lake. and he kissed her cheek.

“I tell you she's dreaming the same “ Thank God for that !” said Dor- dream that I dreamt in the middle of cas, hardly above her breath. the night.”

“What I have to say is quite dif “Hallo! Larcom.”' ferent, and really nothing that need “Mark's on leave to-night, in uniaffect you; but Rachel has made form ; his face is flattened against the such a row about it. Fifty fellows, I window. This is his lady, you know.” know, are in much worse fixes; and “ Hallo ! D you - are you though it is not of so much conse

there ?" shouted the Captain, very quence, still I think I should not angry. have told you ; only, without know * I saw Mark following you like an ing it, you were thwarting me, and ape, on all-fours ; grinning at your helping to get me into a serious diffi- heels. But he can't bite yet—ha, ha, culty by your obstinacy- or what you ha! Poor Mark !" will-about Five Oaks."

· Will

you be so good, sir, as to Somehow trifling as the matter touch the bell?” said Lake, changing was, Stanley seemed to grow more his tone. and more unwilling to disclose it, and He was afraid to remove his arm rather shrank from it now.

from Dorcas, and he was splashing “Now, Dorcas, mind, there must water from a glass upon her face and be no trifling. You must not treat forehead. me as Rachel has. If you can't keep “No--no. Nobell yet-time enough a secret-for it is a secret-say so. -ding, dong. You say dead and gone.” Shall I tell you ?'”

Captain Lake cursed him and his “ Yes, Stanley-yes. I'm your absent keeper between his teeth ; still, wife.”

in a rather flurried way, prosecuting “Well, Dorcas, I told you some- his conjugal affections. thing of it; but only a part, and “There was no bell for poor Mark ; some circumstances I did intention- and he's always listening, and stares ally colour a little; but I could not so. A cat may look, you know.”: help it, unless I had told everything ; “Can't you touch the bell, sir ? and no matter what you or Rachel What are you standing there for ?” VOL LXIII.-NO. CCCLXXIII.)


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

snarled Lake, with a glare at the old his back to Mr. Larcom, he read, with

He looked as if he could have a faint smile, the few lines, in a demurdered him.

licate hand, consenting to the sale of “Standing-ay, standing—between Five Oaks. the living and the dead !"

He had to look for a time at the Here, Reuben, here; where the distant prospect to allow his smile to devil have you been-take him away. subside, and to permit the conscious He has terrified her. By he triumph which he knew beamed ought to be shot.”

through his features to discharge The keeper silently slid his arm itself and evaporate in the light and into Uncle Lorne's, and, unresisting, air before turning to Mr. Larcom, the old man, talking to himself the which he did with an air of sudden while, drew him from the room. recollection.

Larcom, about to announce Miss “Ah-all right, I was forgetting, I Lake, and closely followed by that must give you a line." young lady, passed the grim old So he did, and hid away the note phantom on the lobby.

in his despatch-box, and said, “ Be quick, you are wanted there,” “The family all quite well, I hope ?" said the attendant, as he passed. whereat Larcom shook his head.

Dorcas, pale as marble, sighing “My mistress”-he always called deeply again and again, her rich black her so, and Lake, the Capting—"has hair drenched in water, which trickled been takin' on hoffle, last night, whatover her cheeks, like the tears and ever come betwixt 'em. She was moisture of agony, was recovering. fainted outright in her chair in the There was water spilt on the table, Dutch room; and he said it was the and the fragments of a broken glass old gentleman-Old Flannels we calls upon the floor.

him, for shortness -- but lor' bless The moment Rachel saw her, she you, she's too used to him to be divined what had happened, and, frightened, and that's only a makegliding over, she placed her arm belief; and Miss Dipples, her maid, round her.

she says as how she was worse up"You're better, darling. Open the stairs, and she's made up again with window, Stanley. Send her maid." Miss Lake, which she was very glad,

Ay, send her maid,"cried Captain no doubt, of the making friends, I do Lake to Larcom. “This is your d-d suppose; but it's a bin a bad row, and work. A nice mess you have made of I suspeck amost he's used vilins.” it among you !”

“Compulsion, I suppose; you mean “Are you better, Dorcas ?” said constraint ?” suggested Larkin, very Rachel.

curious. “Yes---much better. I'm glad, dar “Well, that may be, sir, but I ling. I understand you now. Radie, amost suspeck she's bin 'hurted some

how. She got them cryin' fits upNext morning, before early family stairs, you know; and the Capting, prayers, while Mr. Jos Larkin was he's hoffile bad-tempered this mornlocking the despatch-box which was ing, and he never looked near her to accompany him to London, Mr. once, after his sister came; and he Larcom arrived at The Lodge. left them together, talking and cry

He had a note for Mr. Larkin's ing, and he locked hisself into the hand, which he must himself deliver; library, like one as knowed he'd done and so he was shown into that gen- somethink to be ashamed on, half the tleman's official cabinet, and received night.” with the usual lofty kindness.

It's not happy, Larcom, I'm much Well, Mr. Larcom, pray sit down. afraid ; it's not happy," and the AttorAnd can I do anything for you, Mr. ney rose, shaking his tall, bald head, Larcom ?" said the good Attorney, and his hands in his pockets, and waving his long hand toward a vacant looked down in meditation. chair.

“In the Dutch room, after tea, I A note."

suppose ?" said the Attorney. Oh, yes ; very well.” And the

Before tea, sir, just as Miss Lake tall Attorney rose, and, facing the harrived in the brougham." rural prospect at his window, with And so on. But there was no more

[ocr errors]

kiss me.


[ocr errors]

to be learned, and Mr. Larcom re- that the Vicar, under his difficulties, turned and attended the Captain very could have been advised to do? reverentially at his solitary breakfast. So reasoned the good Attorney, as

Mr. Jos Larkin was away for Lon- with a languid smile and a sigh of don. And a very serene companion content, his long hand laid across the he was, if not very brilliant. Every- cover of the despatch-box by his side, thing was going perfectly smoothly he looked forth through the platewith him. A celestial gratitude glass window upon the sunny fields glowed and expanded within his and hedgerows that glided by him, breast. His angling had been pros- and felt the blessed assurance, “look perous hitherto, but just now he had whatsoever he doeth it shall prosper,' made a miraculous draught, and his mingling in the hum of surrounding nets and his heart were bursting. nature. And as his eyes rested on the Delightful sentiment, the gratitude of flying diorama of trees, and farma righteous man; a man who knows steads, and standing crops, and he felt that his heart is not set upon the already the pride of a great landed things of the world; who has, like proprietor, his long fingers fiddled King Solomon, made wisdom his first pleasantly with the rough tooling of object, and who finds riches added his morocco leather box; and thinking thereto!

of the signed articles within, it seemed There was no shadow of self- as though an angelic hand had placed reproach to slur the sunny landscape. them there while he slept, so wondrous He had made a splendid purchase was it all; and he fancied under the from Captain Lake, it was true. He red tape a label traced in the neatest drew his despatch-box nearer to him scrivenery, with a pencil of light conaffectionately, as he thought on the taining such gratifying testimonials precious records it contained. But to his deserts, as well done good and who in this wide-awake world was faithful servant,”," the saints shall inbetter able to take care of himself herit the earth,” and so following; than the gallant Captain ? If it and he sighed again in the delicious were not the best thing for the luxury of having secured both heaven Captain, surely it would not have and mammon. And in this happy been done. Whom have I de- state, and volunteering all manner of frauded? My hands are clean ! Hehad courtesies, opening and shutting winmade a still better purchase from the dows, lending his railway guide and Vicar; but what would have become his newspapers whenever he had an of the Vicar if he had not been raised opportunity, he at length reached the up to purchase? And was it not specu- great London terminus, and was ratlation, and was it not possible that he tling over the metropolitan pavement, should loose all that money, and was with his hand on his despatch-box, to it not, on the whole, the wisest thing his cheap hotel near the Strand.


It would be to us as delightful a task would be this task; pleasant, but as it was to indolent Jemmy Thomson very wrong; something like setting to “rear the tender thought” and per- up the porch of a Doric temple, beform the kindred duties mentioned hind which the bewildered wayfarer in his charming but forgotten poem- would find nothing better than a onedelightful, let us repeat, to preface storied cottage, thatched with straw, this short and trifling paper with an or a Bartholomew Fair booth. essay, pilfered from Donaldson, on the Our intention is to treat of the origin of the drama, the ambulance Italian comedy, as it was played from of Thespis, the construction of the one to two hundred years since; and out-of-doors theatre of the Greeks, we observe at starting, that there the institution of masks and cho- were two varieties of it--one in which ruses, and the peculiarities of genius the dialogue was written and comand workmanship that distinguish mitted to memory, by actors and the three great tragic writers of an actresses, and declaimed even as it tiquity. Delightfully mechanical now is in every country in Europe.

Of the other, the only part put on in hazardous situations. Pasquariel paper was the outline of the fable, was the unacceptable suitor on whom the division of the action into scenes, the lively rogue of the piece exerand the peculiar business and termi- cised his wit, and kept his ronation of each scene. As to the dia- guish fingers in practice. Then logue, and the accompanying stage there were the blundering and stupid business and bye-play, full confidence oafs and knaves, the Pierrots and was placed in the genius of the ar- Scaramouches, and, of course, the intists to bring them successfully to the teresting and sentimental Leander, end of every scene, each with a ready striving for the hand of Isabella or and habitual spontaneity, evoking, Eularia, and helped or thwarted by and retorting in turn, the fitting sen Arlechino or Scaramuzza, according to timents and comic outbursts which circumstances. The French and Itacarried the piece, with spirit and ap- lian custom of looking after youug plause, to its conclusion. It was not ladies very carefully until they beas among the speakers of the written came wives, had its influence on the play, where every one makes it his plots of the novels. The virtuous only business to commence his speech Isabella, who would not dream of on hearing his cue, and when it is marrying her Leander for worlds spoken, to wait, without feeling much without the paternal blessing, rereal interest in the general action ceived it at the end of the fifth act. going on round him, and with as little Whatever coarse jokes might be whisexpression in his face as he can afford, pered to the dishonour of such or till his cue opens his mouth again. such married man, no suspicion ever

The characters being, as it were, attached to the conduct of any unstereotyped, and every individual ac- wedded lady of the piece. The cynitor generally performing the same sort cal or immodest sarcasms so numerof part in every piece; and native Ital ous in our own plays, from Dryden to ians being, perhaps, of all people, the Cibber, were seldom heard in these most quick of perception, and the readi- Italian comedies of art, as they were est mimics, and the best actors, there called. Coarse images were as plenwas little danger that an expres- tiful as blackberries,* but they were sion or gesture should escape actor or such as had not the slightest tendency actress unsuited to the part, or not to pruriency. conducive to the business of the mo Modern comedy, as far as regards ment. The scene of to-night might Italy, dates from the beginning of the exhibit, perhaps, more comic power, sixteenth century, the earliest specior last a minute or two longer than it mens being translations of the plays did the night before, but that was all. of Terence, represented in the acaThe same business was got through, demies, or at the courts of dukes though the dialogue and bye-play of and princes. Lasca, the Florentine, the performers might vary.

was among the earliest who attempted The Bologna doctor was always sure to amuse an Italian audience with to be pedantic, disputatious, and dog- pieces reflecting modern life, and ridimatical. The important and gener- culing the writers who insisted dogally amiable Merchant of Venice, matically upon classic canons. More Pantaleone (Piante Leone set up than five thousand plays were printed the Lion,) found no trouble in acting in Italy between the years 1500 and consistently with his character whe- 1736. It is supposed that the unther he refused or granted the hand written dramas, in which the marked of his daughter Rosalba to her true characters of Pantaloon, Columbine, lover. Columbine was the intriguing Harlequin, and Doctor, figure, were and pert confidante still to be met in first essayed on the stages of mountemany modern comedies. Beatrice re- banks, and served to attract custosembled her namesake in "Much Ado mers for the medicines of those preabout Nothing; and, though essen decessors of our Holloways, and Lotially virtuous, frequently was found cocks, and Widow Welches.' Some of

* E. g. Harlequin, extolling the fine colour of a lady's cheek, passionately assures her that it could not be excelled by the afflicted part of a fat child after it has experienced the tender mercies of the rod.

« PreviousContinue »