« PreviousContinue »
him; away from India he seemed absent from home, and the natives of his own country were, in truth, beings having other interests and other views than he had. In the world around him all seemed busy, all full of thought and occupation, save himself.
“I will marry," he exclaimed, pushing away the untasted soup, which formed his tiffen at six o'clock. I will marry! many a man older than I am has lived happily with a newly married wife, and why should not I? If I give up my liberty, I obtain, in return, a being who will share the burthen of life with me, a friend kind and affectionate, in one word—a wife. Oh, I will marry! it is determined.” But it is not enough for a man simply to form such a determination, there must be another person in the same mind; and Sanderson, who mixed little in society, and less than all, in female society, had such an one to seek.
He had arrived at that age when a man may pat a pretty girl on the cheek without offence, and call her "my dear," without rousing observation. All the youngsters spoke of him as
“ old Sanderson;' and if he showed an ultra-partiality for any one in particular, it was never anticipated that he would think of making her his wife; the wildest imagination went no farther than to place her name in a corner of his will. Still, he had determined to brave the sneers and jests of his bachelor acquaintances, and all the live-long day he revelled in thought upon the anticipated comforts of a married life.
Fanny Robinson was certainly a lovely girl, and was rendered more peculiarly so, by the contrast which her manners afforded to those by whom she was usually surrounded. In her, nature seemed paramount; no one spark of affectation ever lighted up her bright eye; she had none of that crooked policy, that angling for husbands, which disgraces so many of her age and sex. Lively, and apparently careless in her manner, there was yet a total absence of frivolousness: the fool dared not approach within her glance, and wisdom itself was gratified to listen to her musical accents. shall be mine,” said Sanderson, “mine! there is so much loveliness compressed within her one single being, that I almost fear to think of her, lest something should intervene and snatch her from me. She deserves, poor girl! a far better match than I can offer her; and yet how so? how can it be better? I will make her rich-rich to her heart's content; and riches are in this world no more than porters to open gates of happiness. And shall I not love her? Shall I not dote upon
her? I fear when she is mine, I shall be too fond-foolishly fond. What more can she want ?" He paused, his age came unsought into his recollection; he turned, and an envious lookingglass exhibited his grey hairs, and the wrinkles upon his cheeks; and the spark which, for a moment, beamed upon his sallow countenance, seemed but as a light in the chamber of death. The old man felt displeased, and taking up his hat, and the stick which assisted his feeble gait, left the room, exclaiming somewhat angrily, "She shall be mine!"
There are fifty ways of " popping" the question, all suited to the
different characters and situations of those by whom the question is to be popped. It is an ugly word, and in many cases decidedly inapplicable. To "pop,” says Johnson, " is to move with a quick, sudden, and unexpected motion;" but we have known cases in which the question has been used as a corps of reserve, and has come up cautiously and slowly to complete the victory, which the artillery of sighs and small talk have partly gained. In such a case, the word is inappropriate; but it is not so if, as frequently happens,“ the question” jumps out with a sort of conclusive motion between the sets in a quadrille-party, in a private box at the theatre, on the road to Richmond in a cabriolet, or in a hackney-coach, at two or three o'clock in the morning, when returning from a party. I have serious intentions of writing a code of instructions to young gentlemen, upon this awful branch of the science of making love. Why should they be left without guide or instructor?—but I am becoming prosy, and must return to Mr. Sanderson.
It was at Hastings to which place this inamorato had followed Fanny Robinson, that he determined, at once, to bring the matter to a conclusion. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, and a party of young folks, proposed a gipsying excursion to Old Roar, and a fine day and a pleasant company enabled them to amused themselves until the moon rose, as they were upon their return home.
Fanny,” said Charles Gordon, who was in the company, suppose we walk across the fields home, and leave the old people to be jolted back along the road ?" No sooner proposed, than agreed to; and in a few moments the foremost of the party were on their way. Sanderson was in the carriage with Fanny; Charles Gordon stood at the steps to hand her out, but the old man hobbled out first. “ Had you not better ride home?" said Mrs. R., “it is a long way for you to walk, sir.” Sanderson did not like the stress she laid upon the
you,” but he smiled as much like a youngster as possible, and assured her he preferred walking a thousand times. “Fanny and I." said he, catching her arm as she descended from the carriage, “ will walk together." Gordon was displeased — angry at being thus supplanted; but he was too volatile to brood over his misfortune, and muttering something about “old fool,” he joined the party who had
“ I feel quite refreshed now that we have escaped from the confinement of that close vehicle," exclaimed Sanderson,-“ See,” said Fanny, interrupting him, " see how beautifully the moon is rising over the Castle Hill; its light silvers the ripples upon the shore, and shows out the ruins of the old Castle in all their dim magnificence! oh, it is beautiful !"
“ It is so, indeed !” exclaimed the old man, who felt not, however, the beauty of the scene.
“ Such a night,” continued his fair companion, seems to make one sad-sad at heart: the calm languishing wind affects me like the music of an Eolian harp--soothing, and yet rendering melancholy. Look at that old tree by the side of the cliff; it seems to eclipse the
moon, which is now just behind it! See, too, those twinkling stars, looking like eyes in the bright blue heaven in which they are placed. The whole landscape is, indeed, a glorious picture !"
The enthusiasm of the animated girl, who was accustomed to treat the old man without any more reserve than she would have used towards her father, communicated itself in some degree to her companion, whose perception of natural beauties required some spur to rouse it. “Oh, go on-go on!” he exclaimed, " I love to hear you," and he drew her arm closer within his. She had been giving utterance to her thoughts, scarcely conscious of the presence of any one; and the expression of his desire for her to proceed, recalled her to herself, and she was silent. They walked on for some distance without uttering a word; at length the old man, with a sigh, spoke, or rather thought aloud, “Oh! how happy you must be, Fanny !"
" Why so, sir ?”
“Can you be otherwise-you who have within yourself the power of turning all objects into sources of delight? You bestow happiness-can you yourself want it?" “ The flint, sir, is cold; and yet when struck, it yields fire.”
you then unhappy ?” he enquired eagerly and kindly. “ I do not say so: all I would assert is, that happiness does not altogether depend upon ourselves; nor ought you always to judge them happy who but appear so."
“ Ah!" said Sanderson, “ I feel that to be true ?"
“ Are you, then, unhappy ?" she enquired in her turn, “ you to whom every door is open-every house free; who have but to express a wish, and it is gratified, if money or obsequiousness can obtain it. You, whom the world describes to be so wealthy, that avarice itself could wish uo increase—are you unhappy?"
“ I would give half that wealth in exchange for one ingredient in the cup of happiness."
May I ask what that is ?”
Fanny, I am going to make an avowal which no ear upon earth, save yours, should ever hear; but which I have long determined to make you acquainted with; I would give half my fortune that one beart might love me.”
Affection, sir, can neither be bought nor bribed.”
“ Alas! alas!" he exclaimed, rising in energy as he proceeded, “ I know it too well. If it were otherwise, I should not have to lament its absence now. But I do not seek to buy or bribe affection ; I would earn it by the purest, deepest, most devoted love. An establishment which in splendour should rival that of princes--every gratification that influence can command, wealth purchase, or the most sincere attachment can procure, shall be yours Fanny, if
“ Mine, sir !” exclaimed the astonished girl.
Hold, sir! this language was never yet addressed to me by any one, nor did I anticipate it from you. Still, sir, my heart tells me that it would be at once despicable and wicked to hold out any expectations which my honor would not allow me to fulfil. I cannot love, I will not marry you!"
“ Nay, Fanny, dearest Fanny !"
“ Seek not to move my determination---my hand shall never be given to any one to whom my heart owns not an allegiance."
“ But speak not thus rashly---do not decide at once; consider the advantages you lose."
“And what advantages do I lose? Ask yourself, can wealth supply the absence of affection? Can luxury exclude unhappiness, or splendour fill up the place of blighted and long cherished hopes ? You have yourself answered these questions."
“ But if your heart be unoccupied, do not thus exclude me at once---you may think differently of me."
“ It is not, Mr. Sanderson, from any opinion I entertain of you that I now speak. Had any other person---save one---addressed me, his answer would have been the same."
“ You said it was a subject upon which you never had been entreated."
“ And I said the truth. A woman's love does not need to be drawn out by entreaty. The forms of society will not allow her to declare her affection, but the heart waits for no such forms; it loves, although it be uncertain of return, or even certain of disdain."
This avowal quite puzzled old Sanderson, who ran through the list of those who had a sufficient intimacy with Miss Robinson, to justify a suspicion that her attachment had fallen upon one of them. “Madam," at length he exclaimed, angry at his disappointment and her opposition,“ I did not expect to be thus rejected; but I know the favored swain, and you may rely upon it shall take some means to put a stop to your low intrigues ! That young beardless fopling, Charles Gordon, is
“ Low intrigues !" echoed the spirited girl, stopping short, and looking him in the face; “ do you know yourself, Mr. Sanderson? Do you know me? Is your opinion so suddenly altered, or dare you accuse the daughter of those who alone in the world treat you kindly, of a low intrigue? As to Mr. Charles Gordon, your opinion of him is quite unimportant. Why you should imagine that I referred to him, I know not; but if I did, I demand to know in what respect, save in wealth, he is your inferior? Your mind is, I fear, scarcely capable of judging in how many points he is your superior. my parents of what has passed, if you please.--I presume that is what you propose to do; and whilst I charge you to tell them the whole truth, be careful that one syllable more than the truth does not escape you.
Mix up no malice with your tale; and before you begin the recital, it may be well to ask your heart this one question ; • How will that Being, the Author of the light which at this moment is shed around us---that God of whom this pure and holy light is an emblem---how will He judge the motives from which you act ?”
“Oh, pardon! pardon !” exclaimed the old man, overwhelmed by her appeal,“ I have done wrong; but pray you---pardon me. You have made me a wretched man---there is no happiness for me."
“ Nay, sir, you wrong yourself to say so---you wrong me, and you wrong your God! He has given you wealth more than ordinary; seek not to form an alliance from which, whatever you may anticipate, happiness cannot arise---an alliance which the world will cry out against, and justly; but seek happiness by another path--squander not your wealth at the tavern or the gaming table, but let it flow amongst those who really need it. Do good with it---that good which only rich men can do, and you will find that much, very much, happiness results to him whom God has enabled to become a father to the orphan, and · to cause the widow's beart to sing for joy. If you would be loved, do this, and you will be blessed with the purest affection that earth contains, or humanity can boast.”
At this moment they reached home; and Sanderson left Hastings the next day. I scarcely know the result, but I met the old man a few days ago, smiling to himself, and in all appearance a happy
Far from the clamorous world, doth live his own
Though solitary, who is not alone,
Oh! How more sweet is bird's harmonious moan,
Than those smooth whisperings near a prince's throne,
Oh! how more sweet is zephyr's wholesome breath,
Than that applause vain honour doth bequeath!
CAPILLOLOGY AND PHRENOLOGY. The article inserted in our last number upon the new and interesting science of Capillology has created a great sensation—we believe that is the modern phrase-a great sensation. The communications we have received upon the subject are innumerable ; we have been under the necessity of engaging a literary gentleman of eminence merely to superintend the Capillological department, and he has given us to understand, that for three weeks past his time has been entirely occupied from eight o'clock in the morning until ten at night in perusing and classifying the various letters upon the subject. Our correspondents may be divided into two classes---the pros and cons; the number of the former is incalculable, in the latter division we reckon only four; we shall sa a few words about each of these classes, beginning with the cons.