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To the Reader • 300 Words
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In my seventy-fourth year, I have the satisfaction of seeing another work of my daughter brought before the public. This was more than I could have expected from my advanced age and declining health.

I have been reprehended by some of the public critics for the notices which I have annexed to my daughter’s works. As I do not know their reasons for this reprehension, I cannot submit even to their respectable authority. I trust, however, the British public will sympathize with what a father feels for a daughter’s literary success, particularly as this father and daughter have written various works in partnership.

The natural and happy confidence reposed in me by my daughter puts it in my power to assure the public that she does not write negligently. I can assert that twice as many pages were written for these volumes as are now printed.

The first of these tales, HARRINGTON, was occasioned by an extremely well-written letter, which Miss Edgeworth received from America, from a Jewish lady, complaining of the illiberality with which the Jewish nation had been treated in some of Miss Edgeworth’s works.

The second tale, ORMOND, is the story of a young gentleman, who is in some respects the reverse of Vivian. The moral of this tale does not immediately appear, for the author has taken peculiar care that it should not obtrude itself upon the reader.

Public critics have found several faults with Miss Edgeworth’s former works—she takes this opportunity of returning them sincere thanks for the candid and lenient manner in which her errors have been pointed out. In the present Tales she has probably fallen into many other faults, but she has endeavoured to avoid those for which she has been justly reproved.

And now, indulgent reader, I beg you to pardon this intrusion, and, with the most grateful acknowledgments, I bid you farewell for ever.

RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH.

Edgeworthstown, May 31,1817.

Note—Mr. Edgeworth died a few days after he wrote this Preface—the 13th June, 1817.

Harrington • 83,500 Words
Chapter I • 3,500 Words

When I was a little boy of about six years old, I was standing with a maid-servant in the balcony of one of the upper rooms of my father’s house in London—it was the evening of the first day that I had ever been in London, and my senses had been excited, and almost exhausted, by the vast variety of objects that were new to me. It was dusk, and I was growing sleepy, but my attention was awakened by a fresh wonder. As I stood peeping between the bars of the balcony, I saw star after star of light appear in quick succession, at a certain height and distance, and in a regular line, approaching nearer and nearer. I twitched the skirt of my maid’s gown repeatedly, but she was talking to some acquaintance at the window of a neighbouring house, and she did not attend to me. I pressed my forehead more closely against the bars of the balcony, and strained my eyes more eagerly towards the object of my curiosity. Presently the figure of the lamp-lighter with his blazing torch in one hand, and his ladder in the other, became visible; and, with as much delight as philosopher ever enjoyed in discovering the cause of a new and grand phenomenon, I watched his operations. I saw him fix and mount his ladder with his little black pot swinging from his arm, and his red smoking torch waving with astonishing velocity, as he ran up and down the ladder. Just when he reached the ground, being then within a few yards of our house, his torch flared on the face and figure of an old man with a long white beard and a dark visage, who, holding a great bag slung over one shoulder, walked slowly on, repeating in a low, abrupt, mysterious tone, the cry of “Old clothes! Old clothes! Old clothes!” I could not understand the words he said, but as he looked up at our balcony he saw me—smiled—and I remember thinking that he had a good-natured countenance. The maid nodded to him; he stood still, and at the same instant she seized upon me, exclaiming, “Time for you to come off to bed, Master Harrington.”

I resisted, and, clinging to the rails, began kicking and roaring.

“If you don’t come quietly this minute, Master Harrington,” said she, “I’ll call to Simon the Jew there,” pointing to him, “and he shall come up and carry you away in his great bag.”

The old man’s eyes were upon me; and to my fancy the look of his eyes and his whole face had changed in an instant. I was struck with terror—my hands let go their grasp—and I suffered myself to be carried off as quietly as my maid could desire. She hurried and huddled me into bed, bid me go to sleep, and ran down stairs. To sleep I could not go, but full of fear and curiosity I lay, pondering on the thoughts of Simon the Jew and his bag, who had come to carry me away in the height of my joys. His face with the light of the torch upon it appeared and vanished, and flitted before my eyes. The next morning, when daylight and courage returned, I asked my maid whether Simon the Jew was a good or a bad man? Observing the impression that had been made upon my mind, and foreseeing that the expedient, which she had thus found successful, might be advantageously repeated, she answered with oracular duplicity, “Simon the Jew is a good man for naughty boys.” The threat of “Simon the Jew” was for some time afterwards used upon every occasion to reduce me to passive obedience; and when by frequent repetition this threat had lost somewhat of its power, she proceeded to tell me, in a mysterious tone, stories of Jews who had been known to steal poor children for the purpose of killing, crucifying, and sacrificing them at their secret feasts and midnight abominations. The less I understood, the more I believed.

Above all others, there was one story—horrible! most horrible!—which she used to tell at midnight, about a Jew who lived in Paris in a dark alley, and who professed to sell pork pies; but it was found out at last that the pies were not pork—they were made of the flesh of little children. His wife used to stand at the door of her den to watch for little children, and, as they were passing, would tempt them in with cakes and sweetmeats. There was a trap-door in the cellar, and the children were dragged down; and—Oh! how my blood ran cold when we came to the terrible trap-door. Were there, I asked, such things in London now?

Oh, yes! In dark narrow lanes there were Jews now living, and watching always for such little children as me; I should take care they did not catch me, whenever I was walking in the streets; and Fowler (that was my maid’s name) added, “There was no knowing what they might do with me.”

In our enlightened days, and in the present improved state of education, it may appear incredible that any nursery-maid could be so wicked as to relate, or any child of six years old so foolish as to credit, such tales; but I am speaking of what happened many years ago: nursery-maids and children, I believe, are very different now from what they were then; and in further proof of the progress of human knowledge and reason, we may recollect that many of these very stories of the Jews, which we now hold too preposterous for the infant and the nursery-maid to credit, were some centuries ago universally believed by the English nation, and had furnished more than one of our kings with pretexts for extortion and massacres.

But to proceed with my story. The impression made on my imagination by these horrible tales was greater than my nursery-maid intended. Charmed by the effect she had produced, she was next afraid that I should bring her into disgrace with my mother, and she extorted from me a solemn promise that I would never tell any body the secret she had communicated. From that moment I became her slave, and her victim. I shudder when I look back to all I suffered during the eighteen months I was under her tyranny. Every night, the moment she and the candle left the room, I lay in an indescribable agony of terror; my head under the bed-clothes, my knees drawn up, in a cold perspiration. I saw faces around me grinning, glaring, receding, advancing, all turning at last into the same face of the Jew with the long beard and the terrible eyes; and that bag, in which I fancied were mangled limbs of children—it opened to receive me, or fell upon my bed, and lay heavy on my breast, so that I could neither stir nor scream; in short, it was one continued nightmare; there was no refreshing sleep for me till the hour when the candle returned and my tyrant—my protectress, as I thought her—came to bed. In due course she suffered in her turn; for I could not long endure this state, and, instead of submitting passively or lying speechless with terror, the moment she left the room at night I began to roar and scream till I brought my mother and half the house up to my bedside. “What could be the matter with the child?” Faithful to my promise, I never betrayed the secrets of my prison-house. Nothing could be learned from me but that “I was frightened,” that “I could not go to sleep;” and this, indeed, my trembling condition, and convulsed countenance, sufficiently proved. My mother, who was passionately fond of me, became alarmed for my health, and ordered that Fowler should stay in the room with me every night till I should be quite fast asleep.

So Fowler sat beside my bed every night, singing, caressing, cajoling, hushing, conjuring me to sleep: and when in about an hour’s time, she flattered herself that her conjurations had succeeded; when my relaxing muscles gave her hope that she might withdraw her arm unperceived; and when slowly and dexterously she had accomplished this, and, watching my eyelashes, and cautiously shading the candle with her hand, she had happily gained the door; some slipping of the lock, some creaking of the hinge, some parting sound startled me, and bounce I was upright in my bed, my eyes wide open, and my voice ready for a roar: so she was compelled instantly to return, to replace the candle full in my view, to sit down close beside the bed, and, with her arm once more thrown over me, she was forced again to repeat that the Jew’s bag could not come there, and, cursing me in her heart, she recommenced her deceitful songs. She was seldom released in less than two hours. In vain she now tried by day to chase away the terrors of the night: to undo her own work was beyond her power. In vain she confessed that her threats were only to frighten me into being a good boy. In vain she told me that I was too old now to believe such nonsense. In vain she told me that Simon was only an old-clothes-man, that his cry was only “Old clothes! Old clothes!” which she mimicked to take off its terror; its terror was in that power of association which was beyond her skill to dissolve. In vain she explained to me that his bag held only my old shoes and her yellow petticoat. In vain she now offered to let me see with my own eyes. My imagination was by this time proof against ocular demonstration. One morning early, she took me down stairs into the housekeeper’s room, where Simon and his bag were admitted; she emptied the bag in my presence, she laughed at my foolish fears, and I pretended to laugh, but my laugh was hysterical. No power could draw me within arm’s-length of the bag or the Jew. He smiled and smoothed his features, and stroked his white beard, and, stooping low, stretched out his inoffensive hand to me; my maid placed sugared almonds on the palm of that hand, and bid me approach and eat. No! I stood fixed, and if the Jew approached, I ran back and hid my head in Fowler’s lap. If she attempted to pull or push me forwards I screamed, and at length I sent forth a scream that wakened my mother—her bell rang, and she was told that it was only Master Harrington, who was afraid of poor Simon, the old-clothes-man. Summoned to the side of my mother’s bed, I appeared nearly in hysterics—but still faithful to my promise, I did not betray my maid;—nothing could be learned from me but that I could not bear the sight of Old Simon the Jew. My mother blamed Fowler for taking me down to see such a sort of a person. The equivocating maid replied, that Master Harrington could not or would not be asy unless she did; and that indeed now it was impossible to know how to make him asy by day or by night; that she lost her natural rest with him; and that for her part she could not pretend to stand it much longer, unless she got her natural rest. Heaven knows my natural rest was gone! But, besides, she could not even get her cup of tea in an evening, or stir out for a mouthful of fresh air, now she was every night to sing Master Harrington to sleep.

It was but poetical justice that she who had begun by terrifying me, in order to get me to bed, and out of her way, should end by being forced to suffer some restraint to cure me of my terrors: but Fowler did not understand or relish poetical justice, or any kind of justice: besides, she had heard that Lady de Brantefield was in want of a nursery-maid for the little Lady Anne Mowbray, who was some years younger than Master Harrington, and Fowler humbly represented to my mother that she thought Master Harrington was really growing too stout and too much of a man; and she confessed quite above and beyond her management and comprehension; for she never pretended to any thing but the care of young children that had not arrived at the years of discretion; this she understood to be the case with the little Lady Anne Mowbray; therefore a recommendation to Lady de Brantefield would be very desirable, and, she hoped, but justice to her. The very desirable recommendation was given by my mother to Lady de Brantefield, who was her particular friend; nor was my mother in the least to blame on this occasion, for she truly thought she was doing nothing but justice; had it been otherwise, those who know how these things are usually managed, would, I trust, never think of blaming my mother for a sort of thing which they would do, and doubtless have done themselves without scruple, for a favourite maid, who is always a faithful creature.

So Fowler departed, happy, but I remained unhappy—not with her, departed my fears. After she was gone I made a sort of compromise with my conscience, and without absolutely breaking my promise, I made a half confession to my mother that I had somehow or other horrid notions about Jews; and that it was the terror I had conceived of Simon the Jew which prevented me from sleeping all night. My mother felt for me, and considered my case as no laughing matter.

My mother was a woman of weak health, delicate nerves, and a kind of morbid sensibility; which I often heard her deplore as a misfortune, but which I observed every body about her admire as a grace. She lamented that her dear Harrington, her only son, should so much resemble her in this exquisite sensibility of the nervous system. But her physician, and he was a man who certainly knew better than she did, she confessed, for he was a man who really knew every thing, assured her that this was indisputably “the genuine temperament of genius.”

I soon grew vain of my fears. My antipathy, my natural, positively natural antipathy to the sight or bare idea of a Jew, was talked of by ladies and by gentlemen; it was exhibited to all my mother’s acquaintance, learned and unlearned; it was a medical, it was a metaphysical wonder, it was an idiosyncrasy, corporeal, or mental, or both; it was—in short, more nonsense was talked about it than I will repeat, though I perfectly remember it all; for the importance of which at this period I became to successive circles of visitors fixed every circumstance and almost every word indelibly in my memory. It was a pity that I was not born some years earlier or later, for I should have flourished a favourite pupil of Mesmer, the animal magnetizer, or I might at this day be a celebrated somnambulist. No, to do myself justice, I really had no intention to deceive, at least originally; but, as it often happens with those who begin by being dupes, I was in imminent danger of becoming a knave. How I escaped it, I do not well know. For here, a child scarce seven years old, I saw myself surrounded by grown-up wise people, who were accounting different ways for that, of which I alone knew the real, secret, simple cause. They were all, without my intending it, my dupes. Yet when I felt that I had them in my power, I did not deceive them much, not much more than I deceived myself. I never was guilty of deliberate imposture. I went no farther than affectation and exaggeration, which it was in such circumstances scarcely possible for me to avoid; for I really often did not know the difference between my own feelings, and the descriptions I heard given of what I felt.

Fortunately for my integrity, my understanding, and my health, people began to grow tired of seeing and talking of Master Harrington. Some new wonder came into fashion; I think it was Jedediah Buxton, the man of prodigious memory, who could multiply in his head nine figures by nine; and who, the first time he was taken to the playhouse, counted all the steps of the dancers, and all the words uttered by Garrick in Richard the Third. After Jedediah Buxton, or about the same time, if I recollect rightly, came George Psalmanazar, from his Island of Formosa, who, with his pretended Dictionary of the Pormosan language, and the pounds of raw beef he devoured per day, excited the admiration and engrossed the attention of the Royal Society and of every curious and fashionable company in London: so that poor little I was forgotten, as though I had never been. My mother and myself were left to settle the affair with my nerves and the Jews, as we could. Between the effects of real fear, and the exaggerated expression of it to which I had been encouraged, I was now seriously ill. It is well known that persons have brought on fits by pretending to have them; and by yielding to feelings, at first slight and perfectly within the command of the will, have at last acquired habits beyond the power of their reason, or of their most strenuous voluntary exertion, to control. Such was my pitiable case; and at the moment I was most to be pitied, nobody pitied me. Even my mother, now she had nobody to talk to about me, grew tired of my illness. She was advised by her physician, on account of her own health, by no means to keep so close to the house as she had done of late: she went out therefore every night to refresh herself at crowded parties; and as soon as she left the house, the nurse and every body in the family left me. The servants settled it, in my hearing, that there was nothing in life the matter with me, that my mother and I were equally vapoursome-ish and timersome, and that there was no use in nursing and pampering of me up in them fantastical fancifulnesses: so the nurse, and lady’s maid, and housekeeper, went down all together to their tea; and the housemaid, who was ordered by the housekeeper to stay with me, soon followed, charging the under housemaid to supply her place; who went off also in her turn, leaving me in charge of the cook’s daughter, a child of nine years old, who soon stole out of the room, and scampered away along the gallery out of the reach of my voice, leaving the room to darkness and to me—and there I lay, in all the horrors of a low nervous fever, unpitied and alone.

Shall I be pardoned for having dwelt so long on this history of the mental and corporeal ills of my childhood? Such details will probably appear more trivial to the frivolous and ignorant than to the philosophic and well informed: not only because the best informed are usually the most indulgent judges, but because they will perceive some connexion between these apparently puerile details and subjects of higher importance. Bacon, and one who in later days has successfully followed him on this ground, point out as one of the most important subjects of human inquiry, equally necessary to the science of morals and of medicine, “The history of the power and influence of the imagination, not only upon the mind and body of the imaginant, but upon those of other people.” This history, so much desired and so necessary, has been but little advanced. One reason for this may be, that both by the learned and the unlearned it is usually begun at the wrong end.

Belier, mon ami, commences par le commencement,” is excellent advice; equally applicable to philosophical history and to fairy tale. We must be content to begin at the beginning, if we would learn the history of our own minds; we must condescend to be even as little children, if we would discover or recollect those small causes which early influence the imagination, and afterwards become strong habits, prejudices, and passions. In this point of view, if they might possibly tend to turn public attention in a new direction to an important subject, my puerile anecdotes may be permitted. These, my experiments, solitary and in concert, touching fear, and of and concerning sympathies and antipathies, are perhaps as well worth noting for future use, as some of those by which Sir Kenelm Digby and others astonished their own generation, and which they bequeathed to ungrateful posterity.

Chapter II • 3,600 Words

My mother, who had a great, and perhaps not altogether a mistaken, opinion, of the sovereign efficacy of the touch of gold in certain cases, tried it repeatedly on the hand of the physician who attended me, and who, in consequence of this application, had promised my cure; but that not speedily taking place, and my mother, naturally impatient, beginning to doubt his skill, she determined to rely on her own. On Sir Kenelm Digby’s principle of curing wounds, by anointing the weapon with which the wound had been inflicted, she resolved to try what could be done with the Jew, who had been the original cause of my malady, and to whose malignant influence its continuance might be reasonably ascribed; accordingly one evening, at the accustomed hour when Simon the old-clothes-man’s cry was heard coming down the street, I being at that time seized with my usual fit of nerves, and my mother being at her toilette crowning herself with roses to go to a ball, she ordered the man to be summoned into the housekeeper’s room, and, through the intervention of the housekeeper, the application was made on the Jew’s hand; and it was finally agreed that the same should be renewed every twelvemonth, upon condition that he, the said Simon, should never more be seen or heard under our windows or in our square. My evening attack of nerves intermitted, as the signal for its coming on, ceased. For some time I slept quietly: it was but a short interval of peace. Simon, meanwhile, told his part of the story to his compeers, and the fame of his annuity ran through street and alley, and spread through the whole tribe of Israel. The bounty acted directly as an encouragement to ply the profitable trade, and “Old clothes! Old clothes!” was heard again punctually under my window; and another and another Jew, each more hideous than the former, succeeded in the walk. Jews I should not call them; though such they appeared to be at the time: we afterwards discovered that they were good Christian beggars, dressed up and daubed, for the purpose of looking as frightful, and as like the traditionary representations and vulgar notions of a malicious, revengeful, ominous looking Shylock as ever whetted his knife. The figures were well got up; the tone, accent, and action, suited to the parts to be played; the stage effect perfect, favoured as it was by the distance at which I saw and wished ever to keep such personages; and as money was given, by my mother’s orders, to these people to send them away, they came the more. If I went out with a servant to walk, a Jew followed me; if I went in the carriage with my mother, a Jew was at the coach-door when I got in, or when I got out: or if we stopped but five minutes at a shop, while my mother went in, and I was left alone, a Jew’s head was at the carriage window, at the side next me; if I moved to the other side, it was at the other side; if I pulled up the glass, which I never could do fast enough, the Jew’s head was there opposite to me, fixed as in a frame; and if I called to the servants to drive it away, I was not much better off, for at a few paces’ distance the figure would stand with his eyes fixed upon me; and, as if fascinated, though I hated to look at those eyes, for the life of me I could not turn mine away. The manner in which I was thus haunted and pursued wherever I went, seemed to my mother something “really extraordinary;” to myself, something magical and supernatural. The systematic roguery of beggars, their combinations, meetings, signals, disguises, transformations, and all the secret tricks of their trade of deception, were not at this time, as they have in modern days, been revealed to public view, and attested by indisputable evidence. Ignorance is always credulous. Much was then thought wonderful, nay, almost supernatural, which can now be explained and accounted for, by asy and very ignoble means. My father—for all this time, though I have never mentioned him, I had a father living—my father, being in public life, and much occupied with the affairs of the nation, had little leisure to attend to his family. A great deal went on in his house, without his knowing any thing about it. He had heard of my being ill and well, at different hours of the day; but had left it to the physicians and my mother to manage me till a certain age: but now I was nine years old, he said it was time I should be taken out of the hands of the women; so he inquired more particularly into my history, and, with mine, he heard the story of Simon and the Jews. My mother said she was glad my father’s attention was at last awakened to this extraordinary business. She expatiated eloquently upon the medical, or, as she might call them, magical effects of sympathies and antipathies: on the nervous system; but my father was not at all addicted to a belief in magic, and he laughed at the whole female doctrine, as he called it, of sympathies and antipathies: so, declaring that they were all making fools of themselves, and a Miss Molly of his boy, he took the business up short with a high hand. There was some trick, some roguery in it. The Jews were all rascals, he knew, and he would soon settle them. So to work he set with the beadles, and the constables, and the overseers. The corporation of beggars were not, in those days, so well grounded in the theory and so alert in the practice of evasion as, by long experience, they have since become. The society had not then, as they have now, in a certain lane, their regular rendezvous, called the Beggars’ Opera; they had not then, as they have now, in a certain cellar, an established school for teaching the art of scolding, kept by an old woman, herself an adept in the art; they had not even their regular nocturnal feasts, where they planned the operations of the next day’s or the next week’s campaign, so that they could not, as they now do, set at nought the beadle and the parish officers: the system of signals was not then perfected, and the means of conveying secret and swift intelligence, by telegraphic science, had not in those days been practised. The art of begging was then only art without science: the native genius of knavery unaided by method or discipline. The consequence was, that the beggars fled before my father’s beadles, constables, and overseers; and they were dispersed through other parishes, or led into captivity to roundhouses, or consigned to places called asylums for the poor and indigent, or lodged in workhouses, or crammed into houses of industry or penitentiary houses, where, by my father’s account of the matter, there was little industry and no penitence, and from whence the delinquents issued, after their seven days’ captivity, as bad or worse than when they went in. Be that as it may, the essential point with my father was accomplished: they were got rid of that season, and before the next season he resolved that I should be out of the hands of the women, and safe at a public school, which he considered as a specific for all my complaints, and indeed for every disease of mind and body incident to childhood. It was the only thing, he said, to make a man of me. “There was Jack B——, and Thomas D——, and Dick C——, sons of gentlemen in our county, and young Lord Mowbray to boot, all at school with Dr. Y——, and what men they were already!” A respite of a few months was granted, in consideration of my small stature, and of my mother’s all eloquent tears. Meantime my father took me more to himself; and, mixed with men, I acquired some manly, or what were called manly, ideas. My attention was awakened, and led to new things. I took more exercise and less medicine; and with my health and strength of body my strength of mind and courage increased. My father made me ashamed of that nervous sensibility of which I had before been vain. I was glad that the past should be past and forgotten; yet a painful reminiscence would come over my mind, whenever I heard or saw the word Jew. About this time I first became fond of reading, and I never saw the word in any page of any book which I happened to open, without immediately stopping to read the passage. And here I must observe, that not only in the old story books, where the Jews are as sure to be wicked as the bad fairies, or bad genii, or allegorical personifications of the devils, and the vices in the old emblems, mysteries, moralities, &c.; but in almost every work of fiction, I found them represented as hateful beings; nay, even in modern tales of very late years, since I have come to man’s estate, I have met with books by authors professing candour and toleration—books written expressly for the rising generation, called, if I mistake not, Moral Tales for Young People; and even in these, wherever the Jews are introduced, I find that they are invariably represented as beings of a mean, avaricious, unprincipled, treacherous character. Even the peculiarities of their persons, the errors of their foreign dialect and pronunciation, were mimicked and caricatured, as if to render them objects of perpetual derision and detestation. I am far from wishing to insinuate that such was the serious intention of these authors. I trust they will in future benefit by these hints. I simply state the effect which similar representations in the story books I read, when I was a child, produced on my mind. They certainly acted most powerfully and injuriously, strengthening the erroneous association of ideas I had accidentally formed, and confirming my childish prejudice by what I then thought the indisputable authority of printed books.

About this time also I began to attend to conversation—to the conversation of gentlemen as well as of ladies; and I listened with a sort of personal interest and curiosity whenever Jews happened to be mentioned. I recollect hearing my father talk with horror of some young gentleman who had been dealing with the Jews, I asked what this meant, and was answered, “‘Tis something very like dealing with the devil, my dear.” Those who give a child a witty instead of a rational answer, do not know how dearly they often make the poor child pay for their jest. My father added, “It is certain, that when a man once goes to the Jews, he soon goes to the devil. So Harrington, my boy, I charge you at your peril, whatever else you do, keep out of the hands of the Jews—never go near the Jews: if once they catch hold of you, there’s an end of you, my boy.”

Had the reasons for the prudential part of this charge been given to me, and had the nature of the disgraceful transactions with the Hebrew nation been explained, it would have been full as useful to me, and rather more just to them. But this was little or no concern of my father’s. With some practical skill in the management of the mind, but with short-sighted views as to its permanent benefit, and without an idea of its philosophic moral cultivation, he next undertook to cure me of the fears which he had contributed to create. He took opportunities of pointing out how poor, how helpless, how wretched they are; how they are abused continually, insulted daily, and mocked by the lowest of servants, or the least of children in our streets; their very name a by-word of reproach: “He is a Jew—an actual Jew,” being the expression for avarice, hard-heartedness, and fraud. Of their frauds I was told innumerable stories. In short, the Jews were represented to me as the lowest, meanest, vilest of mankind, and a conversion of fear into contempt was partially effected in my mind; partially, I say, for the conversion was not complete; the two sentiments existed together, and by an experienced eye, could easily be detected and seen even one through the other.

Now whoever knows any thing of the passions—and who is there who does not?—must be aware how readily fear and contempt run into the kindred feeling of hatred. It was about this time, just before I went to school, that something relative to the famous Jew Billbecame the subject of vehement discussion at my father’s table. My father was not only a member of parliament, but a man of some consequence with his party. He had usually been a staunch friend of government; but upon one occasion, when he first came into parliament, nine or ten years before the time of which I am now writing, in 1753 or 54, I think, he had voted against ministry upon this very bill for the Naturalization of the Jews in England. Government liberally desired that they should be naturalized, but there was a popular cry against it, and my father on this one occasion thought the voice of the people was right. After the bill had been carried half through, it was given up by ministry, the opposition to it proving so violent. My father was a great stickler for parliamentary consistency, and moreover he was of an obstinate temper. Ten years could make no change in his opinions, as he was proud to declare. There was at this time, during a recess of parliament, some intention among the London merchants to send addresses to government in favour of the Jews; and addresses were to be procured from the country. The county members, and among them of course my father, were written to; but he was furiously against the naturalization: he considered all who were for it as enemies to England; and, I believe, to religion. He hastened down to the country to take the sense of his constituents, or to impress them with his sense of the business. Previously to some intended county meeting, there were, I remember, various dinners of constituents at my father’s, and attempts after dinner, over a bottle of wine, to convince them, that they were, or ought to be, of my father’s opinion, and that they had better all join him in the toast of “The Jews are down, and keep ‘em down.”

A subject apparently less liable to interest a child of my age could hardly be imagined; but from my peculiar associations it did attract my attention. I was curious to know what my father and all the gentlemen were saying about the Jews at these dinners, from which my mother and the ladies were excluded. I was eager to claim my privilege of marching into the dining-room after dinner, and taking my stand beside my father’s elbow; and then I would gradually edge myself on, till I got possession of half his chair, and established a place for my elbow on the table. I remember one day sitting for an hour together, turning from one person to another as each spoke, incapable of comprehending their arguments, but fully understanding the vehemence of their tones, and sympathizing in the varying expression of passion; as to the rest, quite satisfied with making out which speaker was for, and which against the Jews. All those who were against them, I considered as my father’s friends; all those who were for them, I called by a common misnomer, or metonymy of the passions, my father’s enemies, because my father was their enemy. The feeling of party spirit, which is caught by children as quickly as it is revealed by men, now combined to strengthen still more and to exasperate my early prepossession. Astonished by the attention with which I had this day listened to all that seemed so unlikely to interest a boy of my age, my father, with a smile and a wink, and a side nod of his head, not meant, I suppose, for me to see, but which I noticed the more, pointed me out to the company, by whom it was unanimously agreed, that my attention was a proof of uncommon abilities, and an early decided taste for public business. Young Lord Mowbray, a boy two years older than myself, a gawkee schoolboy, was present; and had, during this long hour after dinner, manifested sundry symptoms of impatience, and made many vain efforts to get me out of the room. After cracking his nuts and his nut-shells, and thrice cracking the cracked—after suppressing the thick-coming yawns that at last could no longer be suppressed, he had risen, writhed, stretched, and had fairly taken himself out of the room. And now he just peeped in, to see if he could tempt me forth to play.

“No, no,” cried my father, “you’ll not get Harrington, he is too deep here in politics—but however, Harrington, my dear boy, ‘tis not the thing for your young companion—go off and play with Mowbray: but stay, first, since you’ve been one among us so long, what have we been talking of?”

“The Jews, to be sure, papa.”

“Right,” cried my father; “and what about them, my dear?”

“Whether they ought to be let to live in England, or any where.”

“Right again, that is right in the main,” cried my father; “though that is a larger view of the subject than we took.”

“And what reasons did you hear?” said a gentleman in company.

“Reasons!” interrupted my father: “oh! sir, to call upon the boy for all the reasons he has heard—But you’ll not pose him: speak up, speak up, Harrington, my boy!”

“I’ve nothing to say about reasons, sir.”

“No! that was not a fair question,” said my father; “but, my boy, you know on which side you are, don’t you?”

“To be sure—on your side, father.”

“That’s right—bravo! To know on which side one is, is one great point in life.”

“And I can tell on which side every one here is.” Then going round the table, I touched the shoulder of each of the company, saying, “A Jew!—No Jew!” and bursts of applause ensued.

When I came to my father again, he caught me in his arms, kissed me, patted my head, clapped me on the back, poured out a bumper of wine, bid me drink his toast, “No Naturalization Bill!—No Jews!” and while I blundered out the toast, and tossed off the bumper, my father pronounced me a clever fellow, “a spirited little devil, who, if I did but live to be a man, would be, he’d engage, an honour to my country, my family, and my party.”

Exalted, not to say intoxicated, by my father’s praise, when I went to the drawing-room to the ladies, I became rather more eloquent and noisy than my mother thought quite becoming; she could not, indeed, forbear smiling furtively at my wit, when, in answer to some simple country lady’s question of “After all, why should not the Jews be naturalized?” I, with all the pertness of ignorance, replied, “Why, ma’am, because the Jews are naturally an unnatural pack of people, and you can’t naturalize what’s naturally unnatural.”

Kisses and cake in abundance followed—but when the company was gone, my mamma thought it her duty to say a few words to me upon politeness, and a few words to my father upon the too much wine he had given me. The reproach to my father, being just, he could not endure; but instead of admitting the truth, he vowed, by Jupiter Ammon, that his boy should never be made a Miss Molly, and to school I should go, by Jupiter Ammon, next morning, plump.

Now it was well known in our house, that a sentence of my father’s beginning and ending “by Jupiter Ammon” admitted of no reply from any mortal—it was the stamp of fate; no hope of any reversion of the decree: it seemed to bind even him who uttered the oath beyond his own power of revocation. My mother was convinced that even her intercession was vain; so she withdrew, weeping, to the female apartments, where, surrounded by her maids, the decree of fate was reported, but not verbatim, after the manner of the gods and goddesses. The maids and the washerwoman, however, scolded one another very much after their manner, in a council held at midnight, about my clothes; the result of the whole was that “they must be found and packed;” and found and packed at last they were; and the next morning, as decreed, early as Aurora streaked the east, to school I went, very little thinking of her rosy-tipped fingers.

Chapter III • 3,900 Words

My life at school was like that of any other school-boy. I shall not record, even if I could remember, how often I was flogged when I did not deserve it, or how often I escaped when I did. Five years of my life passed away, of which I have nothing to relate but that I learned to whip a top, and to play at ball and marbles, each in their season; that I acquired in due course the usual quantity of Greek and Latin; and perpetrated in my time, I presume, the usual quantity of mischief. But in the fourth year of my schoolboy life, an opportunity for unusual mischief occurred. An accident happened, which, however trifling in itself, can never be effaced from my memory. Every particular connected with it, is indeed as fresh in my recollection as it was the day after it happened. It was a circumstance which awakened long dormant associations, and combined them with all the feelings and principles of party spirit, which had first been inculcated by my father at home, and which had been exercised so well and so continually by my companions at school, as to have become the governing power of my mind.

Schoolboys, as well as men, can find or make a party question, and quarrel out of any thing or out of nothing. There was a Scotch pedlar, who used to come every Thursday evening to our school to supply our various wants and fancies. The Scotch pedlar died, and two candidates offered to supply his place, an English lad of the name of Dutton, and a Jew boy of the name of Jacob. Dutton was son to a man who had lived as butler in Mowbray’s family. Lord Mowbray knew the boy to be a rogue, but thought he was attached to the Mowbrays, and at all events was determined to support him, as being somehow supposed to be connected with his family. Reminding me of my early declaration at my father’s table against the naturalization of the Jews, and the bon-mot I had made, and the toast I had drunk, and the pledge I had given, Mowbray easily engaged me to join him against the Jew boy; and a zealous partisan against Jacob I became, canvassing as if my life had depended upon this point. But in spite of all our zeal, noise, violence, and cabal, it was the least and the most simple child in the school who decided the election. This youngster had in secret offered to exchange a silver pencil-case for a top, or something of such inadequate value: Jacob, instead of taking advantage of the child, explained to him that his pencil-case was worth twenty tops. On the day of election, this little boy, mounted upon the top of a step-ladder, appeared over the heads of the crowd, and in a small clear voice, and with an eagerness which fixed attention, related the history of his pencil-case, and ended by hoping with all his heart that his friend Jacob, his honest Jacob, might be chosen. Jacob was elected. Mowbray and I, and all our party, vexed and mortified, became the more inveterate in our aversion to the successful candidate; and from this moment we determined to plague and persecute him, till we should force him to give up. Every Thursday evening, the moment he appeared in the school-room, or on the play-ground, our party commenced the attack upon “the Wandering Jew,” as we called this poor pedlar; and with every opprobrious nickname, and every practical jest, that mischievous and incensed schoolboy zealots could devise, we persecuted and tortured him body and mind. We twanged at once a hundred Jew’s-harps in his ear, and before his eyes we paraded the effigy of a Jew, dressed in a gabardine of rags and paper. In the passages through which he was to pass, we set stumbling-blocks in his way, we threw orange-peel in his path, and when he slipped or fell, we laughed him to scorn, and we triumphed over him the more, the more he was hurt, or the more his goods were injured. “We laughed at his losses, mocked at his gains, scorned his nation, thwarted his bargains, cooled his friends, heated his enemies—and what was our reason? he was a Jew.”

But he was as unlike to Shylock as it is possible to conceive. Without one thought or look of malice or revenge, he stood before us Thursday after Thursday, enduring all that our barbarity was pleased to inflict; he stood patient and long-suffering, and even of this patience and resignation we made a jest, and a subject of fresh reproach and taunt.

How I, who was not in other cases a cruel or an ill-natured boy, could be so inhuman to this poor, unprotected, unoffending creature I cannot conceive; but such in man or boy is the nature of persecution. At the time it all appeared to me quite natural and proper; a just and necessary war. The blame, if blame there were, was divided among so many, that the share of each, my share at least, appeared to me so small, as not to be worth a moment’s consideration. The shame, if we had any, was carried away in the tide of popular enthusiasm, and drowned and lost in the fury and noise of the torrent. In looking back upon this disgraceful scene of our boyish days—boyish indeed I can scarcely call them, for I was almost, and Mowbray in his own opinion was quite, a man—I say, in looking back upon this time, I have but one comfort. But I have one, and I will make the most of it: I think I should never have done so much wrong, had it not been for Mowbray. We were both horribly to blame; but though I was full as wrong in action, I flatter myself that I was wrong upon better or upon less bad motives. My aversion to the Jew, if more absurd and violent, was less interested and malignant than Mowbray’s. I never could stand as he did to parley, and barter, and chaffer with him—if I had occasion to buy any thing, I was high and haughty, and at a word; he named his price, I questioned not, not I—down was thrown my money, my back was turned—and away! As for stooping to coax him as Mowbray would, when he had a point to gain, I could not have done it. To ask Jacob to lend me money, to beg him to give me more time to pay a debt, to cajole and bully him by turns, to call him alternately usurer and my honest fellow, extortioner and my friend Jacob—my tongue could not have uttered the words, my soul detested the thought; yet all this, and more, could Mowbray do, and did.

Lord Mowbray was deeply in Jacob’s debt, especially for two watches which he had taken upon trial, and which he had kept three months, making, every Thursday, some fresh excuse for not paying for them; at last Jacob said that he must have the money, that his employer could wait no longer, and that he should himself be thrown into prison. Mowbray said this was only a trick to work upon his compassion, and that the Jew might very well wait for his money, because he asked twice as much for the watches as they were worth. Jacob offered to leave the price to be named by any creditable watchmaker. Lord Mowbray swore that he was as good a judge as any watchmaker in Christendom. Without pretending to dispute that point, Jacob finished by declaring, that his distress was so urgent that he must appeal to some of the masters. “You little Jewish tell-tale, what do you mean by that pitiful threat? Appeal to the higher powers if you dare, and I’ll make you repent it, you usurer! Only do, if you dare!” cried he, clenching his hand and opening it, so as to present, successively, the two ideas of a box on the ear, and a blow on the stomach. “That was logic and eloquence,” added Mowbray, turning to me. “Some ancient philosopher, you know, or I know, has compared logic to the closed fist, and eloquence to the open palm. See what it is, Harrington, to make good use of one’s learning.”

This was all very clever, at least our party thought so, and at the moment I applauded with the rest, though in my secret soul I thought Jacob was ill used, and that he ought to have had justice, if he had not been a Jew. His fear of a prison proved to be no pretence, for it surmounted his dread of Mowbray’s logic and eloquence, and of all the unpopularity which he was well aware must be the consequence of his applying to the higher powers. Jacob appealed, and Lord Mowbray was summoned to appear before the head master, and to answer to the charge. It was proved that the price set upon the two watches was perfectly fair, as a watchmaker, who was examined on this point, declared. The watches had been so damaged during the two months they had been in his lordship’s possession, that Jacob declined taking them back. Lord Mowbray protested that they were good for nothing when he first had them.

Then why did he not return them after the first week’s trial, when Jacob had requested either to have them back or to be paid for them? His lordship had then, as half a dozen of the boys on the Jew’s side were ready to testify, refused to return the watches, declaring they went very well, and that he would keep them as long as he pleased, and pay for them when he pleased, and no sooner.

This plain tale put down the Lord Mowbray. His wit and his party now availed him not; he was publicly reprimanded, and sentenced to pay Jacob for the watches in a week, or to be expelled from the school. Mowbray would have desired no better than to leave the school, but he knew that his mother would never consent to this.

His mother, the Countess de Brantefield, was a Countess in her own right, and had an estate in her own power;—his father, a simple commoner, was dead, his mother was his sole guardian.

“That mother of mine,” said he to us, “would not hear of her son’s being turned out—so I must set my head to work against the head of the head master, who is at this present moment inditing a letter to her ladyship, beginning, no doubt, with, ‘I am sorry to be obliged to take up my pen,’ or, ‘I am concerned to be under the necessity of sitting down to inform your ladyship.’ Now I must make haste and inform my lady mother of the truth with my own pen, which luckily is the pen of a ready writer. You will see,” continued he, “how cleverly I will get myself out of the scrape with her. I know how to touch her up. There’s a folio, at home, of old Manuscript Memoirs of the De Brantefield family, since the time of the flood, I believe: it’s the only book my dear mother ever looks into; and she has often made me read it to her, till—no offence to my long line of ancestry—I cursed it and them; but now I bless it and them for supplying my happy memory with a case in point, that will just hit my mother’s fancy, and, of course, obtain judgment in my favour. A case, in the reign of Richard the Second, between a Jew and my great, great, great, six times great grandfather, whom it is sufficient to name to have all the blood of all the De Brantefields up in arms for me against all the Jews that ever were born. So my little Jacob, I have you.”

Mowbray, accordingly, wrote to his mother what he called a chef-d’oeuvre of a letter, and next post came an answer from Lady de Brantefield with the money to pay her son’s debt, and, as desired and expected, a strong reproof to her son for his folly in ever dealing with a Jew. How could he possibly expect not to be cheated, as, by his own confession, it appeared he had been, grossly? It was the more extraordinary, since he so well recollected the ever to be lamented case of Sir Josseline de Brantefield, that her son could, with all his family experience, be, at this time of day, a dupe to one of a race branded by the public History of England, and private Memoirs of the De Brantefields, to all eternity!

Mowbray showed this letter in triumph to all his party. It answered the double purpose of justifying his own bad opinion of the tribe of Israel, and of tormenting Jacob.

The next Thursday evening after that on which judgment had been given against Mowbray, when Jacob appeared in the school-room, the anti-Jewish party gathered round him, according to the instructions of their leader, who promised to show them some good sport at the Jew’s expense.

“Only give me fair play,” said Mowbray, “and stick close, and don’t let him off, for your lives don’t let him break through you, till I’ve roasted him well.”

“There’s your money,” cried Mowbray, throwing down the money for the watches—“take it—ay, count it—every penny right—I’ve paid you by the day appointed; and, thank Heaven and my friends, the pound of flesh next my heart is safe from your knife, Shylock!”

Jacob made no reply, but he looked as if he felt much.

“Now tell me, honest Jacob,” pursued Mowbray, “honest Jacob, patient Jacob, tell me, upon your honour, if you know what that word means—upon your conscience, if you ever heard of any such thing—don’t you think yourself a most pitiful dog, to persist in coming here to be made game of for twopence? ‘Tis wonderful how much your thoroughbred Jew will do and suffer for gain. We poor good Christians could never do as much now—could we any soul of us, think you, Jacob?”

“Yes,” replied Jacob, “I think you could, I think you would.”

Loud scornful laughter from our party interrupted him; he waited calmly till it was over, and then continued, “Every soul of you good Christians would, I think, do as much for a father, if he were in want and dying, as mine is.” There was a silence for the moment: we were all, I believe, struck, or touched, except Mowbray, who, unembarrassed by feeling, went on with the same levity of tone as before: “A father in want! Are you sure now he is not a father of straw, Jacob, set up for the nonce, to move the compassion of the generous public? Well, I’ve little faith, but I’ve some charity—here’s a halfpenny for your father, to begin with.”

“Whilst I live, my father shall ask no charity, I hope,” said the son, retreating from the insulting alms which Mowbray still proffered.

“Why now, Jacob, that’s bad acting, out o’ character, Jacob, my Jew; for when did any son of Israel, any one of your tribe, or your twelve tribes, despise a farthing they could get honestly or dishonestly? Now this is a halfpenny—a good halfpenny. Come, Jacob, take it—don’t be too proud—pocket the affront—consider it’s for your father, not for yourself—you said you’d do much for your father, Jacob.”

Jacob’s countenance continued rigidly calm, except some little convulsive twitches about the mouth.

“Spare him, Mowbray,” whispered I, pulling back Mowbray’s arm; “Jew as he is, you see he has some feeling about his father.”

“Jew as he is, and fool as you are, Harrington,” replied Mowbray, aloud, “do you really believe that this hypocrite cares about his father, supposing he has one? Do you believe, boys, that a Jew pedlar can love a father gratis, as we do?”

“As we do!” repeated some of the boys: “Oh! no, for his father can’t be as good as ours—he is a Jew!”

“Jacob, is your father good to you?” said one of the little boys.

“He is a good father, sir—cannot be a better father, sir,” answered Jacob: the tears started into his eyes, but he got rid of them in an instant, before Mowbray saw them, I suppose, for he went on in the same insulting tone.

“What’s that he says? Does he say he has a good father? If he’d swear it, I would not believe him—a good father is too great a blessing for a Jew.”

“Oh! for shame, Mowbray!” said I. And “For shame! for shame, Mowbray!” echoed from the opposite, or, as Mowbray called it, from the Jewish party: they had by this time gathered in a circle at the outside of that which we had made round Jacob, and many had brought benches, and were mounted upon them, looking over our heads to see what was going on.

Jacob was now putting the key in his box, which he had set down in the middle of the circle, and was preparing to open it.

“Stay, stay, honest Jacob! tell us something more about this fine father; for example, what’s his name, and what is he?” “I cannot tell you what he is, sir,” replied Jacob, changing colour, “nor can I tell you his name.”

“Cannot tell me the name of his own father! a precious fellow! Didn’t I tell you ‘twas a sham father? So now for the roasting I owe you, Mr. Jew.” There was a large fire in the school-room; Mowbray, by a concerted movement between him and his friends, shoved the Jew close to the fire, and barricadoed him up, so that he could not escape, bidding him speak when he was too hot, and confess the truth.

Jacob was resolutely silent; he would not tell his father’s name. He stood it, till I could stand it no longer, and I insisted upon Mowbray’s letting him off.

“I could not use a dog so,” said I.

“A dog, no! nor I; but this is a Jew.”

“A fellow-creature,” said I.

“A fine discovery! And pray, Harrington, what has made you so tender-hearted all of a sudden for the Jews?”

“Your being so hard-hearted, Mowbray,” said I: “when you persecute and torture this poor fellow, how can I help speaking?”

“And pray, sir,” said Mowbray, “on which side are you speaking?”

“On the side of humanity,” said I.

“Fudge! On whose side are you?”

“On yours, Mowbray, if you won’t be a tyrant.”

If! If you have a mind to rat, rat sans phrase, and run over to the Jewish side. I always thought you were a Jew at heart, Harrington.”

“No more a Jew than yourself, Mowbray, nor so much,” said I, standing firm, and raising my voice, so that I could be heard by all.

“No more a Jew than myself! pray how do you make that out?”

“By being more of a Christian—by sticking more to the maxim ‘Do as you would be done by.’”

“That is a good maxim,” said Jacob: a cheer from all sides supported me, as I advanced to liberate the Jew; but Mowbray, preventing me, leaped upon Jacob’s box, and standing with his legs stretched out, Colossus-like, “Might makes right,” said he, “all the world over. You’re a mighty fine preacher, Master Harrington; let’s see if you can preach me down.”

“Let’s see if I can’t pull you down!” cried I, springing forward: indignation giving me strength, I seized, and with one jerk pulled the Colossus forward and swung him to the ground.

“Well done, Harrington!” resounded from all sides. Mowbray, the instant he recovered his feet, flew at me, furious for vengeance, dealing his blows with desperate celerity. He was far my overmatch in strength and size; but I stood up to him. Between the blows, I heard Jacob’s voice in tones of supplication. When I had breath I called out to him, “Jacob! Escape!” And I heard the words, “Jacob! Jacob! Escape!” repeated near me.

But, instead of escaping, he stood stock still, reiterating his prayer to be heard: at last he rushed between us—we paused—both parties called to us, insisting that we should hear what the Jew had to say.

“Young Lord—,” said he, “and dear young gentleman,” turning to me, “let poor Jacob be no more cause now, or ever, of quarrel between you. He shall trouble you never more. This is the last day, the last minute he will ever trouble you.”

He bowed. Looking round to all, twice to the upper circle, where his friends stood, he added, “Much obliged—for all kindness—grateful. Blessings!—Blessings on all!—and may—”

He could say no more; but hastily taking up his box, he retired through the opening crowd. The door closed after him. Both parties stood silent for a moment, till Mowbray exclaimed, “Huzza! Dutton for ever! We’ve won the day. Dutton for Thursday! Huzza! Huzza! Adieu! Adieu!—Wandering Jew!

No one echoed his adieu or his huzzas. I never saw man or boy look more vexed and mortified. All further combat between us ceased, the boys one and all taking my part and insisting upon peace. The next day Mowbray offered to lay any wager that Jacob the Jew would appear again on the ensuing Thursday; and that he would tell his father’s name, or at least come provided, as Mowbray stated it, with a name for his father. These wagers were taken up, and bets ran high on the subject. Thursday was anxiously expected—Thursday arrived, but no Jacob. The next Thursday came—another, and another—and no Jacob!

When it was certain that poor Jacob would appear no more—and when his motive for resigning, and his words at taking leave were recollected—and when it became evident that his balls, and his tops, and his marbles, and his knives, had always been better and more reasonable than Dutton’s, the tide of popularity ran high in his favour. Poor Jacob was loudly regretted; and as long as schoolboys could continue to think about the same thing, we continued conjecturing why it was that Jacob would not tell us his father’s name. We made many attempts to trace him, and to discover his secret; but all our inquiries proved ineffectual: we could hear no more of Jacob, and our curiosity died away.

Mowbray, who was two or three years my senior, left school soon afterwards. We did not meet at the university; he went to Oxford, and I to Cambridge.

Chapter IV • 3,000 Words

When the mind is full of any one subject, that subject seems to recur with extraordinary frequency—it appears to pursue or to meet us at every turn: in every conversation that we hear, in every book we open, in every newspaper we take up, the reigning idea recurs; and then we are surprised, and exclaim at these wonderful coincidences. Probably such happen every day, but pass unobserved when the mind is not intent upon similar ideas, or excited by any strong analogous feeling.

When the learned Sir Thomas Browne was writing his Essay on the Gardens of Cyrus, his imagination was so possessed by the idea of a quincunx, that he is said to have seen a quincunx in every object in nature. In the same manner, after a Jew had once made an impression on my imagination, a Jew appeared wherever I went.

As I was on my road to Cambridge, travelling in a stagecoach, whilst we were slowly going up a steep hill, I looked out of the window, and saw a man sitting under a hawthorn-bush, reading very intently. There was a pedlar’s box beside him; I thought I knew the box. I called out as we were passing, and asked the man, “What’s the mile-stone?” He looked up. It was poor Jacob. The beams of the morning sun dazzled him; but he recognized me immediately, as I saw by the look of joy which instantly spread over his countenance. I jumped out of the carriage, saying that I would walk up the hill, and Jacob, putting his book in his pocket, took up his well-known box, and walked along with me. I began, not by asking any question about his father, though curiosity was not quite dead within me, but by observing that he was grown very studious since we parted; and I asked what book he had been reading so intently. He showed it to me; but I could make nothing of it, for it was German. He told me that it was the Life of the celebrated Mendelssohn, the Jew. I had never heard of this celebrated man. He said that if I had any curiosity about it, he could lend me a translation which he had in his pack; and with all the alacrity of good-will, he set down the box to look for the book.

“No, don’t trouble yourself—don’t open it,” said I, putting my hand on the box. Instantly a smile, and a sigh, and a look of ineffable kindness and gratitude from Jacob, showed me that all the past rushed upon his heart.

“Not trouble myself! Oh, Master Harrington,” said he, “poor Jacob is not so ungrateful as that would come to.”

“You’re only too grateful,” said I; “but walk on—keep up with me, and tell me how your affairs are going on in the world, for I am much more interested about them than about the life of the celebrated Mendelssohn.”

Is that possible! said his looks of genuine surprised simplicity. He thanked me, and told me that he was much better in the world than formerly; that a good friend of his, a London jeweller of his own tribe, who had employed him as a pedlar, and had been satisfied with his conduct, had assisted him through his difficulties. This was the last time he should go his rounds in England as a pedlar; he said he was going into another and a much better way of business. His friend, the London jeweller, had recommended him to his brother, a rich Israelite, who had a valuable store in Gibraltar, and who wanted a young man to assist him, on whom he could entirely depend. Jacob was going out to Gibraltar in the course of the next week. “And now, Mr. Harrington,” said he, changing his tone and speaking with effort, as if he were conquering some inward feeling, “now it is all over, Mr. Harrington, and that I am leaving England, and perhaps may never see you again; I wish before I take leave of you, to tell you, sir, who my father was—was, for he is no more. I did not make a mystery of his name merely to excite curiosity, as some of the young gentlemen thought, nor because I was ashamed of my low birth. My father was Simon the old clothes-man. I knew you would start, Mr. Harrington, at hearing his name. I knew all that you suffered in your childhood about him, and I once heard you say to Lord Mowbray who was taunting you with something about old Simon, that you would not have that known, upon any account, to your school-fellows, for that they would plague you for ever. From that moment I was determined that I would never be the cause of recalling or publishing what would be so disagreeable to you. This was the reason why I persisted in refusing to tell my father’s name, when Lord Mowbray pressed me so to declare it before all your school-fellows. And now, I hope,” concluded he, “that Mr. Harrington will not hate poor Jacob, though he is the son of—”

He paused. I assured him of my regard: I assured him that I had long since got rid of all the foolish prejudices of my childhood. I thanked him for the kindness and generosity he had shown in bearing Mowbray’s persecution for my sake, and in giving up his own situation, rather than say or do what might have exposed me to ridicule.

Thanking me again for taking, as he said, such a kind interest in the concerns of a poor Jew like him, he added, with tears in his eyes, that he wished he might some time see me again: that he should to the last day of his life remember me, and should pray for my health and happiness, and that he was sorry he had no way of showing me his gratitude. Again he recurred to his box, and would open it to show me the translation of Mendelssohn’s Life; or, if that did not interest me, he begged of me to take my choice from among a few books he had with him; perhaps one of them might amuse me on my journey, for he knew I was a reading young gentleman.

I could not refuse him. As he opened the packet of books, I saw one directed to Mr. Israel Lyons, Cambridge. I told Jacob that I was going to Cambridge. He said he should be there in a few days, for that he took Cambridge in his road; and he rejoiced that he should see me again. I gave him a direction to my college, and for his gratification, in truth, more than for my own, I borrowed the magazine containing the life of Mendelssohn, which he was so anxious to lend me. We had now reached the coach at the top of the hill; I got in, and saw Jacob trudging after me for some time; but, at the first turn of the road, I lost sight of him, and then, as my two companions in the coach were not very entertaining, one of them, a great fat man, being fast asleep and snoring, the other, a pale spare woman, being very sick and very cross, I betook myself to my magazine. I soon perceived why the life of Mendelssohn had so deeply interested poor Jacob. Mendelssohn was a Jew, born like himself in abject poverty, but, by perseverance, he made his way through incredible difficulties to the highest literary reputation among the most eminent men of his country and of his age; and obtained the name of the Jewish Socrates. In consequence of his early, intense, and misapplied application in his first Jewish school, he was seized at ten years old with some dreadful nervous disease; this interested me, and I went on with his history. Of his life I should probably have remembered nothing, except what related to the nervous disorder; but it so happened, that, soon after I had read this life, I had occasion to speak of it, and it was of considerable advantage in introducing me to good company at Cambridge. A few days after I arrived there, Jacob called on me: I returned his book, assuring him that it had interested me very much. “Then, sir,” said he, “since you are so fond of learning and learned men, and so kind to the Jews, there is a countryman of mine now at Cambridge, whom it will be well worth your while to be acquainted with; and who, if I may be bold enough to say so, has been prepossessed in your favour, by hearing of your humanity to poor Jacob.”

Touched as I was by his eagerness to be of use to me, I could not help smiling at Jacob’s simplicity and enthusiasm, when he proceeded to explain, that this person with whom he was so anxious to make me acquainted was a learned rabbi, who at this time taught Hebrew to several of the gownsmen of Cambridge. He was the son of a Polish Jew, who had written a Hebrew grammar, and was himself author of a treatise on fluxions (since presented to, and accepted by the university), and moreover the author of a celebrated work on botany. At the moment Jacob was speaking, certainly my fancy was bent on a phaeton and horses, rather than on Hebrew or fluxions, and the contrast was striking, between what he conceived my first objects at Cambridge would be, and what they really were. However, I thanked him for his good opinion, and promised to make myself acquainted with his learned countryman. To make the matter secure, as Jacob was to leave Cambridge the next day, and as the rabbi was at the house of one of his scholars in the country, and was not to return to Cambridge till the ensuing week, Jacob left with me a letter for him, and the very parcel which I had seen directed to Mr. Israel Lyons: these I engaged to deliver with my own hands. Jacob departed satisfied—happy in the hope that he had done me a service; and so in fact it proved. Every father, and every son, who has been at the university, knows how much depends upon the college companions with whom a young man first associates. There are usually two sets: if he should join the dissipated set, it is all over with him, he learns nothing; but if he should get into the set with whom science and literature are in fashion, he acquires knowledge, and a taste for knowledge; with all the ardour inspired by sympathy and emulation, with all the facility afforded by public libraries and public lectures—the collected and combined information of the living and the dead—he pursues his studies. He then fully enjoys the peculiar benefits of a university education, the union of many minds intent upon the same object, working, with all the advantages of the scientific division of labour, in a literary manufactory.

When I went to deliver my packet to Mr. Lyons, I was surprised by seeing in him a man as different as possible from my preconceived notion of a Jewish rabbi; I never should have guessed him to be either a rabbi, or a Jew. I expected to have seen a man nearly as old as Methuselah, with a reverend beard, dirty and shabby, and with a blue pocket handkerchief. Instead of which I saw a gay looking man, of middle age, with quick sparkling black eyes, and altogether a person of modern appearance, both in dress and address. I thought I must have made a mistake, and presented my packet with some hesitation, reading aloud the direction to Mr. Israel Lyons—“I am the man, sir,” said he; “our honest friend Jacob has described you so well, Mr. Harrington—Mr. William Harrington Harrington (you perceive that I am well informed)—that I feel as if I had had the pleasure of being acquainted with you for some time. I am very much obliged by this visit; I should have done myself the honour to wait upon you, but I returned only yesterday from the country, and my necessary engagements do not leave as much time for my pleasures as I could wish.”

I perceived by the tone of his address, that, though he was a Hebrew teacher, he was proud of showing himself to be a man of the world. I found him in the midst of his Hebrew scholars, and moreover with some of the best mathematicians, and some of the first literary men in Cambridge. I was awe-struck, and should have been utterly at a loss, had it not been for a print of Mendelssohn over the chimney-piece, which recalled to my mind the life of this great man; by the help of that I had happily some ideas in common with the learned Jew, and we; entered immediately into conversation, much to our mutual relief and delight. Dr. Johnson, in one of his letters, speaking of a first visit from a young gentleman who had been recommended to his acquaintance, says, that “the initiatory conversation of two strangers is seldom pleasing or instructive;” but I am sure that I was both pleased and instructed during this initiatory conversation, and Mr. Lyons did not appear to be oppressed or encumbered by my visit. I found by his conversation, that though he was the son of a great Hebrew grammarian, and himself a great Hebrew scholar, and though he had written a treatise on fluxions, and a work on botany, yet he was not a mere mathematician, a mere grammarian, or a mere botanist, nor yet a dull pedant. In despite of the assertion, that

“——Hebrew roots are always found
To flourish best on barren ground,”

this Hebrew scholar was a man of a remarkably fertile genius. This visit determined my course, and decided me as to the society which I kept during the three happy and profitable years I afterwards spent at Cambridge.

Mr. Israel Lyons is now no more. I hope it is no disrespect to his memory to say that he had his foibles. It was no secret among our contemporaries at Cambridge that he was like too many other men of genius, a little deficient in economy—shall I say it? a little extravagant. The difficulties into which he brought himself by his improvidence were, however, always to him matters of jest and raillery; and often, indeed, proved subjects of triumph, for he was sure to extricate himself, by some of his many talents, or by some of his many friends.

I should be very sorry, however, to support the dangerous doctrine, that men of genius are privileged to have certain faults. I record with quite a different intention these facts, to mark the effect of circumstances in changing my own prepossessions.

The faults of Israel Lyons were not of that species which I expected to find in a Jew. Perhaps he was aware that the Hebrew nation is in general supposed to be too careful, and he might, therefore, be a little vain of his own carelessness about money matters. Be this as it may, I confess that, at the time, I rather liked him the better for it. His disregard, on all occasions, of pecuniary interest, gave me a conviction of his liberal spirit. I was never fond of money, or remarkably careful of it myself; but I always kept out of debt; and my father gave me such a liberal allowance, that I had it in my power to assist a friend. Mr. Lyons’ lively disposition and manners took off all that awe which I might have felt for his learning and genius. I may truly say, that these three years, which I spent at Cambridge, fixed my character, and the whole tone and colour of my future life. I do not pretend to say that I had not, during my time at the university, and afterwards in London, my follies and imprudences; but my soul did not, like many other souls of my acquaintance, “embody and embrute.” When the time for my quitting Cambridge arrived, I went to take leave of my learned friend Mr. Israel Lyons, and to offer him my grateful acknowledgments. In the course of the conversation I mentioned the childish terror and aversion with which I had been early taught to look upon a Jew. I rejoiced that, even while a schoolboy, I had conquered this foolish prejudice; and that at the university, during those years which often decide our subsequent opinions in life, it had been my good fortune to become acquainted with one, whose superior abilities and kindness of disposition, had formed in my mind associations of quite an opposite nature. Pleased with this just tribute to his merit, and with the disposition I showed to think candidly of persons of his persuasion, Mr. Lyons wished to confirm me in these sentiments, and for this purpose gave me a letter of introduction to a friend, with whom he was in constant correspondence, Mr. Montenero, a Jewish gentleman born in Spain, who had early in life quitted that country, in consequence of his horror of tyranny and persecution. He had been fortunate enough to carry his wealth, which was very considerable, safely out of Spain, and had settled in America, where he had enjoyed perfect toleration and freedom of religious opinion; and as, according to Mr. Lyons’ description of him, this Spanish Jew must, I thought, be a most accomplished and amiable person, I eagerly accepted the offered letter of introduction, and resolved that it should be my first business and pleasure, on arriving in London, to find and make myself acquainted with Mr. Montenero.

Chapter V • 4,100 Words

People like myself, of lively imagination, may have often felt that change of place suddenly extinguishes, or gives a new direction to, the ardour of their enthusiasm. Such persons may, therefore, naturally suspect, that, as “my steps retired from Cam’s smooth margin,” my enthusiasm for my learned rabbi might gradually fade away; and that, on my arrival in London, I should forget my desire to become acquainted with the accomplished Spanish Jew. But it must be observed that, with my mother’s warmth of imagination, I also had, I will not say, I inherited, some of my father’s “intensity of will,”—some of that firmness of adhesion to a preconceived notion or purpose, which in a good cause is called resolution, in a bad cause obstinacy; and which is either a curse or a blessing to the possessor, according to the degree or habit of exercising the reasoning faculty with which he may be endowed.

On my arrival in London, a variety of petty unforeseen obstacles occurred to prevent my accomplishing my visit to the Spanish Jew. New and never-ending demands upon my time arose, both in and out of my own family, so that there seemed a necessity for my spending every hour of the day and night in a manner wholly independent of my will. There seemed to be some fatality that set at nought all my previous plans and calculations. Every morning for a week after my arrival, I regularly put my letter of introduction to Mr. Montenero into my pocket, resolving that I would that day find him out, and pay my visit; but after walking all the morning, to bear and to forbear various engagements, to execute promised commissions, and to fulfil innumerable duties, I regularly came home as I went out, with my letter in my pocket, and with the sad conviction that it was utterly impossible to deliver it that day. These obstacles, and this contrariety of external circumstances, instead of bending my will, or making me give up my intention, fixed it more firmly in my mind, and strengthened my determination. Nor was I the least shaken from the settled purpose of my soul, by the perversity with which every one in our house opposed or contemned that purpose. One morning, when I had my letter and my hat in my hand, I met my father, who after looking at the direction of the letter, and hearing that I was going on a visit to a Spanish Jew, asked what business upon earth I could have with a Jew—cursed the whole race—rejoiced that he had five-and-twenty years ago voted against their naturalization in England, and ended as he began, by wondering what in the name of Heaven could make me scrape acquaintance with such fellows. When, in reply, I mentioned my friend, Mr. Israel Lyons, and the high character he had drawn of Mr. Montenero, my father laughed, saying that he would answer for it my friend Israel was not an Israelite without guile; for that was a description of Israelite he had never yet seen, and he had seen a confounded deal of the world. He decided that my accomplished Spanish Jew would prove an adventurer, and he advised me, a young man, heir to a good English fortune, to keep out of his foreign clutches: in short, he stuck to the advice he gave me, and only wished I would stick to the promise I gave him, when I was ten years old, to have no dealings with the Jews. It was in vain that I endeavoured to give my explanation of the word dealings. My father’s temper, naturally positive, had, I observed, become, as he advanced in years, much more dogmatic and intolerant. I avoided contradicting his assertions; but I determined to pursue my own course in a matter where there could be nothing really wrong or improper. That morning, however, I must, I perceived, as in duty bound, sacrifice to my father; he took me under the arm, and carried me away to introduce me to some commonplace member of parliament, who, as he assured me, was a much fitter and more profitable acquaintance for me than any member of the synagogue could possibly be.

The next morning, when, firm to my purpose, I was sallying forth, my mother, with a face of tender expostulation and alarm, stopped me, and entreated me to listen to her. My mother, whose health had always been delicate, had within these three last years fallen into what is called a very nervous state, and this, with her natural timidity and sensibility, inclined her now to a variety of superstitious feelings—to a belief in presentiments and presages, omens and dreams, added to her original belief in sympathies and antipathies. Some of these her peculiarities of opinion and feeling had perhaps, at first, only been assumed, or yielded to in her season of youth and beauty, to interest her admirers and to distinguish herself in society; but as age advanced, they had been confirmed by habit and weakness, so that what in the beginning might have been affectation, was in the end reality. She was alarmed, she said, by the series of strange coincidences which, from my earliest childhood, had occurred, seeming to connect my fate, in some extraordinary manner, with these Jews. She recalled all the circumstances of my illness when I was a child: she confessed that she had retained a sort of antipathy to the idea of a Jew—a weakness it might be—but she had had dreams and presentiments, and my fortune had been told her while I was at Cambridge; and some evil, she had been assured, hung over me within the five ensuing years—some evil connected with a Jew: in short, she did not absolutely believe in such prophecies, but still it was extraordinary that the first thing my mind should be intent upon, in coming to town, should be a Spanish Jew, and she earnestly wished that I would avoid rather than seek the connexion.

Knowing my mother’s turn for the romantic, I had anticipated her delight at the idea of making acquaintance with a noble-minded travelled Spaniard; but unluckily her imagination had galloped off in a contrary direction to mine, and now my only chance was to make her hear reason, and a very bad chance I knew this to be. I endeavoured to combat her presentiment, and to explain whatever appeared extraordinary in my love and hatred of the Jews, by recalling the slight and natural circumstances at school and the university, which had changed my early prejudice; and I laboured to show that no natural antipathy could have existed, since it had been completely conquered by humanity and reason; so that now I had formed what might rather appear a natural sympathy with the race of Israel. I laboured these points in vain. When I urged the literary advantages I had reaped from my friendship with Mr. Israel Lyons, she besought me not to talk of friendship with persons of that sort. I had now awakened another train of associations, all unfavourable to my views. My mother wondered—for both she and my father were great wonderers, as are all, whether high or low, who have lived only with one set of people—my mother wondered that, instead of seeking acquaintance in the city with old Jews and persons of whom nobody had ever heard, I could not find companions of my own age and rank in life: for instance, my schoolfellow and friend, Lord Mowbray, who was now in town, just returned from abroad, a fine young officer, “much admired here by the ladies, I can assure you, Harrington,” added my mother. This, as I had opportunity of seeing, was perfectly true; four, nearly five years had made a great apparent change in Mowbray for the better; his manners were formed; his air that of a man of fashion—a military man of fashion. He had served a campaign abroad, had been at the siege of Gibraltar, had much to say, and could say it well. We all know what astonishing metamorphoses are sometimes wrought even on the most hopeless subjects, by seeing something of the world, by serving a campaign or two. How many a light, empty shell of a young man comes home full, if not of sense, at least of something bearing the semblance of sense! How many a heavy lout, a dull son of earth, returns enlivened into a conversable being, who can tell at least of what it has seen, heard, and felt, if not understood; and who for years, perhaps for ever afterwards, by the help of telling of other countries, may pass in his own for a man of solid judgment! Such being the advantages to be derived by these means, even in the most desperate cases, we may imagine the great improvement produced in a young man of Lord Mowbray’s abilities, and with his ambition both to please and to shine. In youth, and by youth, improvement in appearance and manner is easily mistaken for improvement in mind and principle. All that I had disliked in the schoolboy—the tyrannical disposition—the cruel temper—the insolent tone—had disappeared, and in their place I saw the deportment which distinguished a gentleman. Whatever remained of party spirit, so different from the wrangling, overbearing, mischievous party spirit of the boy, was in the man and the officer so happily blended with love of the service, and with l’esprit de corps, that it seemed to add a fresh grace, animation, and frankness to his manner. The evil spirit of persecution was dislodged from his soul, or laid asleep within him, and in its place appeared the conciliating spirit of politeness. He showed a desire to cultivate my friendship, which still more prepossessed me in his favour.

Mowbray happened to call upon me soon after the conversation I had with my mother about the Spanish Jew. I had not been dissuaded from my purpose by her representations; but I had determined to pay my visit without saying any thing more about the matter, and to form my own judgment of the man. A new difficulty, however, occurred: my letter of introduction had disappeared. I searched my pockets, my portfolios, my letter-case, every conceivable place, but it was not to be found. Mowbray obligingly assisted me in this search; but after emptying half a dozen times over portfolios, pockets, and desks, I was ashamed to give him more trouble, and I gave up the letter as lost. When Mowbray heard that this letter, about which I was so anxious, was an introduction to a Jewish gentleman, he could not forbear rallying me a little, but in a very agreeable tone, upon the constancy of my Israelitish taste, and the perfect continuance of my identity.

“I left you, Harrington, and I find you, after four years’ absence, intent upon a Jew; boy and man you are one and the same; and in your case, ‘tis well that the boy and man should an individual make; but for my part, I am glad to change my identity, like all other mortals, once in seven years; and I hope you think I have changed for the better.”

It was impossible to think otherwise, especially at that moment. In a frank, open-hearted manner, he talked of his former tyrannical nature, and blamed himself for our schoolboy quarrel. I was charmed with him, and the more so, when he entered so warmly or so politely into my present distress, and sympathized with my madness of the moment. He suggested all that was possible to be done to supply the loss of the letter. Could not I get another in its stead? The same friend who gave me one letter of introduction could write another. No; Mr. Israel Lyons had left Cambridge, and I knew not where to direct to him. Could not I present myself to Mr. Montenero without a letter? That might be rather an awkward proceeding, but I was not to be stopped by any nice observances, now that I had set my mind upon the matter. Unluckily, however, I could by no means recollect the exact address of Mr. Montenero. I was puzzled among half a dozen different streets and numbers: Mowbray offered to walk with me, and we went to each of these streets, and to all the variety of numbers I suggested, but in vain; no Mr. Montenero was to be found. At last, tired and disappointed, as I was returning home, Mowbray said he thought he could console me for the loss of my chance of seeing my Spanish Jew, by introducing me to the most celebrated Jew that ever appeared in England. Then turning into a street near one of the play-houses, he knocked at the door of a house where Macklin the actor lodged. Lord Mowbray was well acquainted with him, and I was delighted to have an opportunity of seeing this celebrated man. He was at this time past the meridian of ordinary life, but he was in the zenith of his extraordinary course, and in the full splendour and vigour of his powers.

“Here,” said Mowbray, presenting me to Macklin, “is a young gentleman, who is ambitious of being acquainted with the most celebrated Jew that ever appeared in England. Allow me to introduce him to the real, original Jew of Venice:

‘This is the Jew
That Shakspeare drew!’

Whose lines are those, Harrington? do you know?”

Yours, I suppose.”

“Mine! you do me much honour: no, they are Mr. Pope’s. Then you don’t know the anecdote?

“Mr. Pope, in the decline of life, was persuaded by Bolingbroke to go once more to the play-house, to see Mr. Macklin in the character of Shylock. According to the custom of the time, Pope was seated among the critics in the pit. He was so much struck and transported with admiration, that in the middle of the play, he started up, and repeated that distich.

“Now, was not I right when I told you, Harrington, that I would introduce you to the most celebrated Jew in all England, in all Christendom, in the whole civilized world?”

No one better than Mowbray knew the tone of enthusiastic theatric admiration in which the heroes of the stage like, or are supposed to like, to be addressed. Macklin, who was not asy to please, was pleased. The lines, or as Quin insisted upon their being called, the cordage of his face relaxed. He raised, turned, and settled his wig, in sign of satisfaction; then with a complacent smile gave me a little nod, and suffered Lord Mowbray to draw him out by degrees into a repetition of the history of his first attempt to play the character of Shylock. A play altered from Shakespeare’s, and called “The Jew of Venice,” had been for some time in vogue. In this play, the Jew had been represented, by the actors of the part, as a ludicrous and contemptible, rather than a detestable character; and when Macklin, recurring to Shakespeare’s original Shylock, proposed, in the revived Merchant of Venice, to play the part in a serious style, he was scoffed at by the whole company of his brother actors, and it was with the utmost difficulty he could screw the manager’s courage to the sticking-place, and prevail upon him to hazard the attempt. Take the account in Macklin’s own words.[1]Vide Macklin’s Life.

“When the long expected night at last arrived, the house was crowded from top to bottom, with the first company in town. The two front rows of the pit, as usual, were full of critics. I eyed them,” said Macklin, “I eyed them, sir, through the slit in the curtain, and was glad to see them there; as I wished, in such a cause, to be tried by a special jury. When I made my appearance in the green-room, dressed for the part, with my red hat on my head, my piqued beard, my loose black gown, and with a confidence which I had never before assumed, the performers all stared at one another, and evidently with a stare of disappointment. Well, sir, hitherto all was right, till the last bell rung; then, I confess, my heart began to beat a little: however, I mustered up all the courage I could, and recommending my cause to Providence, threw myself boldly on the stage, and was received by one of the loudest thunders of applause I ever before experienced. The opening scenes being rather tame and level, I could not expect much applause; but I found myself listened to: I could hear distinctly in the pit, the words ‘Very well—very well indeed! this man seems to know what he is about.’ These encomiums warmed me, but did not overset me. I knew where I should have the pull, which was in the third act, and accordingly at this period I threw out all my fire; and as the contrasted passions of joy for the merchant’s losses, and grief for the elopement of Jessica, open a fine field for an actor’s powers, I had the good fortune to please beyond my most sanguine expectations. The whole house was in an uproar of applause; and I was obliged to pause between the speeches to give it vent, so as to be heard. The trial scene wound up the fulness of my reputation. Here I was well listened to, and here I made such a silent yet forcible impression on my audience, that I retired from this great attempt most perfectly satisfied. On my return to the green-room, after the play was over, it was crowded with nobility and critics, who all complimented me in the warmest and most unbounded manner; and the situation I felt myself in, I must confess, was one of the most flattering and intoxicating of my whole life. No money, no title, could purchase what I felt. By G—, sir, though I was not worth fifty pounds in the world at that time, yet let me tell you, I was Charles the Great for that night.”

The emphasis and enthusiasm with which Macklin spoke, pleased me—enthusiastic people are always well pleased with enthusiasm. My curiosity too was strongly excited to see him play Shylock. I returned home full of the Jew of Venice; but, nevertheless, not forgetting my Spanish Jew.—At last, my mother could no longer bear to see me perplex and vex myself in my fruitless search for the letter, and confessed that while we were talking the preceding day, finding that no arguments or persuasions of hers had had any effect, she had determined on what she called a pious fraud: so, while I was in the room—before my face—while I was walking up and down, holding forth in praise of my Jewish friend whom I did know, and my Jewish friend whom I did not know, she had taken up Mr. Israel Lyons’ letter of introduction to Mr. Montenero, and had thrown it into the fire.

I was very much provoked; but to my mother, and a mother who was so fond of me, what could I say? After all, I confessed there was a good deal of fancy in the case on my side as well as on hers. I endeavoured to forget my disappointment. My imagination turned again to Shylock and Macklin; and, to please me, my mother promised to make a large party to go with me to see the Merchant of Venice the next night that Macklin should act; but, unfortunately, Macklin had just now quarrelled with the manager, and till this could be made up, there was no chance of his condescending to perform.

Meantime my mother having, as she thought, fairly got rid of the Jews, and Mowbray having, as he said, cured me of my present fit of Jewish insanity, desired to introduce me to his mother and sister. They had now just come to town from the Priory—Brantefield Priory, an ancient family-seat, where, much to her daughter’s discomfiture, Lady de Brantefield usually resided eight months of the year, because there she felt her dignity more safe from contact, and herself of more indisputable and unrivalled consequence, than in the midst of the jostling pretensions and modern innovations of the metropolis. At the Priory every thing attested, recorded, and flattered her pride of ancient and illustrious descent. In my childhood I had once been with my mother at the Priory, and I still retained a lively recollection of the antique wonders of the place. Foremost in my memory came an old picture, called “Sir Josseline going to the Holy Land,” where Sir Josseline de Mowbray stood, in complete armour, pointing to a horrid figure of a prostrate Jew, on whose naked back an executioner, with uplifted whip, was prepared to inflict stripes for some shocking crime.—This picture had been painted in times when the proportions of the human figure were little attended to, and when foreshortening was not at all understood: this added to the horrible effect, for the executioner’s arm and scourge were of tremendous size; Sir Josseline stood miraculously tall, and the Jew, crouching, supplicating, sprawling, was the most distorted squalid figure, eyes ever beheld, or imagination could conceive.

After having once beheld it, I could never bear to look upon it again, nor did I ever afterwards enter the tapestry chamber:—but there were some other of the antique rooms in which I delighted, and divers pieces of old furniture which I reverenced. There was an ancient bed, with scolloped tester, and tarnished quilt, in which Queen Elizabeth had slept; and a huge embroidered pincushion done by no hands, as you may guess, but those of the unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots, who, during her captivity, certainly worked harder than ever queen worked before or since.

Then there was an old, worm-eaten chair, in which John of Gaunt had sat; and I remember that while Lady de Brantefield expressed her just indignation against the worms, for having dared to attack this precious relique, I, kneeling to the chair, admired the curious fretwork, the dusty honeycombs, which these invisible little workmen had excavated. But John of Gaunt’s chair was nothing to King John’s table. There was a little black oak table, too, with broken legs, which was invaluable—for, as Lady de Brantefield confidently affirmed, King John of France, and the Black Prince, had sat and supped at it. I marvelled much in silence—for I had been sharply reproved for some observation I had unwittingly made on the littleness and crookedness of a dark, corner-chimneyed nook shown us for the banqueting-room; and I had fallen into complete disgrace for having called the winding staircases, leading to the turret-chambers, back stairs.

Of Lady de Brantefield, the touch-me-not mistress of the mansion, I had retained a sublime, but not a beautiful idea—I now felt a desire to see her again, to verify my old notion.

Of Lady Anne Mowbray, who at the time I had been at the Priory, was a little child, some years younger than myself, I could recollect nothing, except that she wore a pink sash, of which she was very vain, and that she had been ushered into the drawing-room after dinner by Mrs. Fowler, at the sight of whom my inmost soul had recoiled. I remember, indeed, pitying her little ladyship for being under such dominion, and longing to ask her whether Fowler had told her the story of Simon the Jew. But I could never commune with Lady Anne; for either she was up in the nursery, or Fowler was at her back in the drawing-room, or little Lady Anne was sitting upright on her stool at her mother’s feet, whom I did not care to approach, and in whose presence I seldom ventured to speak—consequently my curiosity on this point had, from that hour, slumbered within me; but it now wakened, upon my mother’s proposing to present me to Lady Anne, and the pleasure of asking and the hope of obtaining an answer to my long-meditated question, was the chief gratification I promised myself from the renewal of our acquaintance with her ladyship.

Footnotes

[1] Vide Macklin’s Life.

Chapter VI • 4,700 Words

My recollection of Lady de Brantefield proved wonderfully correct; she gave me back the image I had in my mind—a stiff, haughty-looking picture of a faded old beauty. Adhering religiously to the fashion of the times when she had been worshipped, she made it a point to wear the old head-dress exactly. She was in black, in a hoop of vast circumference, and she looked and moved as if her being Countess de Brantefield in her own right, and concentring in her person five baronies, ought to be for ever present to the memory of all mankind, as it was to her own.

My mother presented me to her ladyship. The ceremony of introduction between a young gentleman and an old lady of those times, performed on his part with a low bow and look of profound deference, on hers, with back stepping-curtsy and bridled head, was very different from the nodding, bobbing trick of the present day. As soon as the finale of Lady de Brantefield’s sentence, touching honour, happiness, and family connexion, would permit, I receded, and turned from the mother to the daughter, little Lady Anne Mowbray, a light fantastic figure, bedecked with “daisies pied,” covered with a profusion of tiny French flowers, whose invisible wire stalks kept in perpetual motion as she turned her pretty head from side to side. Smiling, sighing, tittering, flirting with the officers round her, Lady Anne appeared, and seemed as if she delighted in appearing, as perfect a contrast as possible to her august and formidable mother. The daughter had seen the ill effect of the mother’s haughty demeanour, and, mistaking reverse of wrong for right, had given reserve and dignity to the winds. Taught by the happy example of Colonel Topham, who preceded me, I learned that the low bow would have been here quite out of place. The sliding bow was for Lady Anne, and the way was to dash into nonsense with her directly, and full into the midst of nonsense I dashed. Though her ladyship’s perfect accessibility seemed to promise prompt reply to any question that could be asked; yet the single one about which I felt any curiosity, I could not contrive to introduce during the first three hours I was in her ladyship’s company. There was such a quantity of preliminary nonsense to get through, and so many previous questions to be disposed of: for example, I was first to decide which of three colours I preferred, all of them pronounced to be the prettiest in, the universe, boue de Paris, oeil de l’empereur, and a suppressed sigh.

At that moment, Lady Anne wore the suppressed sigh, but I did not know it—I mistook it for boue de Paris—conceive my ignorance! No two things in nature, not a horse-chestnut and a chestnut-horse, could be more different.

Conceive my confusion! and Colonels Topham and Beauclerk standing by. But I recovered myself in public opinion, by admiring the slipper on her ladyship’s little foot. Now I showed my taste, for this slipper had but the night before arrived express from Paris, and it was called a venez-y voir; and how a slipper, with a heel so high, and a quarter so low, could be kept on the foot, or how the fair could walk in it, I could not conceive, except by the special care of her guardian sylph.

After the venez-y voir had fixed all eyes as desired, the lady turning alternately to Colonels Topham and Beauclerk, with rapid gestures of ecstasy, exclaimed, “The pouf! the pouf! Oh! on Wednesday I shall have the pouf!”

Now what manner of thing a pouf! might be, I had not the slightest conception. “It requireth,” said Bacon, “great cunning for a man in discourse to seem to know that which he knoweth not.” Warned by boue de Paris and the suppressed sigh, this time I found safety in silence. I listened, and learned, first that un pouf was the most charming thing in the creation; next, that nobody upon earth could be seen in Paris without one; that one was coming from Mademoiselle Berlin, per favour of Miss Wilkes, for Lady Anne Mowbray, and that it would be on her head on Wednesday; and Colonel Topham swore there would be no resisting her ladyship in the pouf, she would look so killing.

“So killing,” was the colonel’s last.

I now thought that I had Lady Anne’s ear to myself; but she ran on to something else, and I was forced to follow as she skimmed over fields of nonsense. At last she did stop to take breath, and I did get in my one question: to which her ladyship replied, “Poor Fowler frighten me? Lord! No. Like her? oh! yes—dote upon Fowler! didn’t you?—No, you hated her, I remember. Well, but I assure you she’s the best creature in the world; I could always make her do just what I pleased. Positively, I must make you make it up with her, if I can remember it, when she comes up to town—she is to come up for my birthday. Mamma, you know, generally leaves her at the Priory, to take care of all the old trumpery, and show the place—you know it’s a show place. But I tell Colonel Topham, when I’ve a place of my own, I positively will have it modern, and all the furniture in the very newest style. I’m so sick of old reliques! Natural, you know, when I have been having a surfeit all my life of old beds and chairs, and John of Gaunt and the Black Prince. But the Black Prince, I remember, was always a vast favourite of yours. Well, but poor Fowler, you must like her, too—I assure you she always speaks with tenderness of you; she is really the best old soul! for she’s growing oldish, but so faithful, and so sincere too. Only flatters mamma sometimes so, I can hardly help laughing in her face; but then you know mamma, and old ladies, when they come to that pass, must be flattered to keep them up—‘tis but charitable—really right. Poor Fowler’s daughter is to be my maid.”

“I did not know Fowler had a daughter, and a daughter grown up.”

“Nancy Fowler! not know! Oh! yes, quite grown up, fit to be married—only a year younger than I am. And there’s our old apothecary in the country has taken such a fancy to her! But he’s too old and wiggy—but it would make a sort of lady of her, and her mother will have it so—but she sha’n’t—I’ve no notion of compulsion. Nancy shall be my maid, for she is quite out of the common style; can copy verses for one—I’ve no time, you know—and draws patterns in a minute. I declare I don’t know which I love best—Fowler or Nancy—poor old Fowler, I think. Do you know she says I’m so like the print of the Queen of France. It never struck me; but I’ll go and ask Topham.”

I perceived that Fowler, wiser grown, had learned how much more secure the reign of flattery is, than the reign of terror. She was now, as I found, supreme in the favour of both her young and old lady. The specimen I have given of Lady Anne Mowbray’s conversation, or rather of Lady Anne’s mode of talking, will, I fancy, be amply sufficient to satiate all curiosity concerning her ladyship’s understanding and character. She had, indeed, like most of the young ladies her companions—“no character at all.”

Female conversation in general was, at this time, very different from what it is in our happier days. A few bright stars had risen, and shone, and been admired; but the useful light had not diffused itself. Miss Talbot’s and Miss Carter’s learning and piety, Mrs. Montague’s genius, Mrs. Vesey’s elegance, and Mrs. Boscawen’s[2]See Bas-Bleu. “polished ease,” had brought female literature into fashion in certain favoured circles; but it had not, as it has now, become general in almost every rank of life. Young ladies had, it is true, got beyond the Spectator and the Guardian: Richardson’s novels had done much towards opening a larger field of discussion. One of Miss Burney’s excellent novels had appeared, and had made an era in London conversation; but still it was rather venturing out of the safe course for a young lady to talk of books, even of novels; it was not, as it is now, expected that she should know what is going on in the literary world. The Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, and varieties of literary and scientific journals, had not

“Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.”

Before there was a regular demand and an established market, there were certain hawkers and pedlars of literature, fetchers and carriers of bays, and at every turn copies of impromptus, charades, and lines by the honourable Miss C——, and the honourable Mrs. D——, were put into my hands by young ladies, begging for praise, which it was seldom in my power conscientiously to bestow. I early had a foreboding—one of my mother’s presentiments—that I should come to disgrace with Lady Anne Mowbray about some of these cursed scraps of poetry. Her ladyship had one—shall I say?—peculiarity. She could not bear that any one should differ from her in matters of taste; and though she regularly disclaimed being a reading lady, she was most assured of what she was most ignorant. With the assistance of Fowler’s flattery, together with that of all the hangers-on at Brantefield Priory, her temper had been rendered incapable of bearing contradiction. But this defect was not immediately apparent: on the contrary, Lady Anne was generally thought a pleasant, good-humoured creature, and most people wondered that the daughter could be so different from the mother. Lady de Brantefield was universally known to be positive and prejudiced. Her prejudices were all old-fashioned, and ran directly counter to the habits of her acquaintance. Lady Anne’s, on the contrary, were all in favour of the present fashion, whatever it might be, and ran smoothly with the popular stream. The violence of her temper could, therefore, scarcely be suspected, till something opposed the current: a small obstacle would then do the business—would raise the stream suddenly to a surprising height, and would produce a tremendous noise. It was my ill fortune one unlucky day to cross Lady Anne Mowbray’s humour, and to oppose her opinion. It was about a trifle; but trifles, indeed, made, with her, the sum of human things. She came one morning, as it was her custom, to loiter away her time at my mother’s till the proper hour for going out to visit. For five minutes she sat at some fashionable kind of work—wafer work, I think it was called, a work which has been long since consigned to the mice; then her ladyship yawned, and exclaiming, “Oh, those lines of Lord Chesterfield’s, which Colonel Topham gave me; I’ll copy them into my album. Where’s my album?—Mrs. Harrington, I lent it to you. Oh! here it is. Mr. Harrington, you will finish copying this for me.” So I was set down to the album to copy—Advice to a Lady in Autumn.

“Asses’ milk, half a pint, take at seven, or before.”

My mother, who saw that I did not relish the asses’ milk, put in a word for me.

“My dear Lady Anne, it is not worth while to write these lines in your album, for they were in print long ago, in every lady’s old memorandum-book, and in Dodsley’s Collection, I believe.”

“But still that was quite a different thing,” Lady Anne said, “from having them in her album; so Mr. Harrington must be so very good.” I did not understand the particular use of copying in my illegible hand what could be so much better read in print; but it was all-sufficient that her ladyship chose it. When I had copied the verses I must, Lady Anne said, read the lines, and admire them. But I had read them twenty times before, and I could not say that they were as fresh the twentieth reading as at the first. Lord Mowbray came in, and she ran to her brother:—“Mowbray! can any thing in nature be prettier than these verses of Lord Chesterfield? Mowbray, you, who are a judge, listen to these two lines:

‘The dews of the evening moat carefully shun,
Those tears of the sky for the loss of the sun.‘

Now, here’s your friend, Mr. Harrington, says it’s only a prettiness, and something about Ovid. I’m sure I wish you’d advise some of your friends to leave their classics, as you did, at the musty university. What have we to do with Ovid in London? You, yourself, Mr. Harrington, who set up for such a critic, what fault can you find, pray, with

‘Keep all cold from your breast, there’s already too much?’”

By the lady’s tone of voice, raised complexion, and whole air of the head, I saw the danger was imminent, and to avoid the coming storm, I sheltered myself under the cover of modesty; but Mowbray dragged me out to make sport for himself.

“Oh! Harrington, that will never do. No critic! No judge! You! with all your college honours fresh about you. Come, come, Harrington, pronounce you must. Is this poetry or not?

Keep all cold from your breast, there’s already too much.’”

“Whether prose or poetry, I pronounce it to be very good advice.”

“Good advice! the thing of all others I have the most detested from my childhood,” cried Lady Anne; “but I insist upon it, it is good poetry, Mr. Harrington.”

“And equally good grammar, and good English, and good sense,” cried her brother, in an ironical tone. “Come, Harrington, acknowledge it all, man—all equally. Never stop half way, when a young—and such a young lady, summons you to surrender to her your truth, taste, and common sense. Gi’ her a’ the plea, or you’ll get na good of a woman’s hands.”

“So, sir!—So, my lord, you are against me too, and you are mocking me too, I find. I humbly thank you, gentlemen,” cried Lady Anne, in a high tone of disdain; “from a colonel in the army, and a nobleman who has been on the continent, I might have expected more politeness. From a Cambridge scholar no wonder!”

My mother laid down her netting in the middle of a row, and came to keep the peace. But it was too late; Lady Anne was deaf and blind with passion. She confessed she could not see of what use either of the universities were in this world, except to make bears and bores of young men.

Her ladyship, fluent in anger beyond conception, poured, as she turned from her brother to me, and from me to her brother, a flood of nonsense, which, when it had once broken bounds, there was no restraining in its course. Amazed at the torrent, my mother stood aghast; Mowbray burst into unextinguishable laughter: I preserved my gravity as long as I possibly could; I felt the risible infection seizing me, and that malicious Mowbray, just when he saw me in the struggle—the agony—sent me back such an image of my own length of face, that there was no withstanding it. I, too, breaking all bounds of decorum, gave way to visible and audible laughter; and from which I was first recovered by seeing the lady burst into tears, and by hearing, at the same moment, my mother pronounce in a tone of grave displeasure, “Very ill-bred, Harrington!” My mother’s tone of displeasure affecting me much more than the young lady’s tears, I hastened to beg pardon, and I humbled myself before Lady Anne; but she spurned me, and Mowbray laughed the more. Mowbray, I believe, really wished that I should like his sister; yet he could not refrain from indulging his taste for ridicule, even at her expense. My mother wondered how Lord Mowbray could tease his sister in such a manner; and as for Harrington, she really thought he had known that the first law of good-breeding is never to say or do any thing that can hurt another person’s feelings.

“Never intentionally to hurt another’s feelings, ma’am,” said I; “I hope you will allow me to plead the innocence of my intentions.”

“Oh, yes! there was no malicious intent: Not guilty—Not guilty!” cried Mowbray. “Anne, you acquit him there, don’t you, Anne?”

Anne sobbed, but spoke not.

“It is little consolation, and no compensation, to the person who is hurt,” said my mother, “that the offender pleads he did not mean to say or do any thing rude: a rude thing is a rude thing—the intention is nothing—all we are to judge of is the fact.”

“Well, but after all, in fact,” said Mowbray, “there was nothing to make any body seriously angry.”

“Of that every body’s own feelings must be the best judge,” said my mother, “the best and the sole judge.”

“Thank Heaven! that is not the law of libel yet, not the law of the land yet,” said Mowbray; “no knowing what we may come to. Would it not be hard, ma’am, to constitute the feelings of one person always sole judge of the intentions of another? though in cases like the present I submit. Let it be a ruled case, that the sensibility of a lady shall be the measure of a gentleman’s guilt.”

“I don’t judge of these things by rule and measure,” said my mother: “try my smelling-bottle, my dear.” Very few people, especially women of delicate nerves and quick feelings, could, as my mother observed, bear to be laughed at; particularly by those they loved; and especially before other people who did not know them perfectly. My mother was persuaded, she said, that Lord Mowbray had not reflected on all this when he had laughed so inconsiderately.

Mowbray allowed that he certainly had not reflected when he had laughed inconsiderately. “So come, come. Anne, sister Anne, be friends!” then playfully tapping his sister on the back, the pretty, but sullen back of the neck, he tried to raise the drooping head; but finding the chin resist the upward motion, and retire resentfully from his touch, he turned upon his heel, and addressing himself to me, “Well! Harrington,” said he, “the news of the day, the news of the theatre, which I was bringing you full speed, when I stumbled upon this cursed half-pint of asses’ milk, which Mrs.. Harrington was so angry with me for overturning—”

“But what’s the news, my lord?” said my mother.

“News! not for you, ma’am, only for Harrington; news of the Jews.”

“The Jews!” said my mother.

“The Jews!” said I, both in the same breath, but in very different tones.

Jews, did I say?” replied Mowbray: “Jew, I should have said.”

“Mr. Montenero?” cried I.

“Montenero!—Can you think of nothing but Mr. Montenero, whom you’ve never seen, and never will see?”

“Thank you for that, my lord,” said my mother; “one touch from you is worth a hundred from me.”

“But of what Jew then are you talking? and what’s your news, my lord?” said I.

“My news is only—for Heaven’s sake, Harrington, do not look expecting a mountain, for ‘tis only a mouse. The news is, that Macklin, the honest Jew of Venice, has got the pound, or whatever number of pounds he wanted to get from the manager’s heart; the quarrel’s made up, and if you keep your senses, you may have a chance to see, next week, this famous Jew of Venice.”

“I am heartily glad of it!” cried I, with enthusiasm.

“And is that all?” said my mother, coldly.

“Mr. Harrington,” said Lady Anne, “is really so enthusiastic about some things, and so cold about others, there is no understanding him; he is very, very odd.”

Notwithstanding all the pains my mother took to atone for my offence, and notwithstanding that I had humbled myself to the dust to obtain pardon, I was not forgiven.

Lady de Brantefield, Lady Anne, and some other company, dined with us; and Mowbray, who seemed to be really sorry that he had vexed his sister, and that he had in the heyday of his spirit unveiled to me her defects of temper, did every thing in his power to make up matters between us. At dinner he placed me beside Anne, little sister Anne; but no caressing tone, no diminutive of kindness in English, or soft Italian, could touch her heart, or move the gloomy purpose of her soul. Her sulky ladyship almost turned her back upon me, as she listened only to Colonel Topham, who was on the other side. Mowbray coaxed her to eat, but she refused every thing he offered—would not accept even his compliments—his compliments on her pouf—would not allow him to show her off, as he well knew how to do, to advantage; would not, when he exerted himself to prevent her silence from being remarked, smile at any one of the many entertaining things he said; she would not, in short, even passively permit his attempts to cover her ill-humour, and to make things pass off well.

In the evening, when the higher powers drew off to cards, and when Lady Anne had her phalanx of young ladies round her; and whilst I stood a defenceless young man at her mercy, she made me feel her vengeance. She talked at me continually, and at every opening gave me sly cuts, which she flattered herself I felt sorely.

Mowbray turned off the blows as fast as they were aimed, or treated them all as playful traits of lover-like malice, tokens of a lady’s favour.

“Ha! a good cut, Harrington!—Happy man!—Up to you there, Harrington! High favour, when a lady condescends to remember and retaliate. Paid you for old scores!—Sign you’re in her books now!—‘No more to say to you, Mr. Harrington’—a fair challenge to say a great deal more to her.”

And all the time her ladyship was aiming to vex, and hoping that I was heartily mortified, as from my silence and melancholy countenance she concluded that I was; in reality I stood deploring that so pretty a creature had so mean a mind. The only vexation I felt was at her having destroyed the possibility of my enjoying that delightful illusion which beauty creates.

My mother, who had been, as she said, quite nervous all this evening, at last brought Lady Anne to terms, and patched up a peace, by prevailing on Lady de Brantefield, who could not be prevailed on by any one else, to make a party to go to some new play which Lady Anne was dying to see. It was a sentimental comedy, and I did not much like it; however, I was all complaisance for my mother’s sake, and she in return renewed her promise to go with me to patronize Shylock. By the extraordinary anxiety my mother showed, and by the pains she took that there should be peace betwixt Lady Anne and me, I perceived, what had never before struck me, that my mother wished me to be in love with her ladyship.

Now I could sooner have been in love with Lady de Brantefield. Give her back a decent share of youth and beauty, I think I could sooner have liked the mother than the daughter.

By the force and plastic power of my imagination, I could have turned and moulded Lady de Brantefield, with all her repulsive haughtiness, into a Clelia, or a Princess de Cleves, or something of the Richardson full-dressed heroine, with hoop and fan, and stand off, man!—and then there would be cruelty and difficulty, and incomprehensibility-something to be conquered—something to be wooed and won. But with Lady Anne Mowbray my imagination had nothing to work upon, no point to dwell on, nothing on which a lover’s fancy could feed: there was no doubt, no hope, no fear, no reserve of manner, no dignity of mind.

My mother, I believe, now saw that it would not do, at least for the present; but she had known many of Cupid’s capricious turns. Lady Anne was extremely pretty, and universally allowed to be so; her ladyship was much taken notice of in public, and my mother knew that young men are vain of having their mistresses and wives admired by our sex. But my mother calculated ill as to my particular character. To the Opera and to Ranelagh, to the Pantheon, and to all the fashionable public places of the day, I had had the honour of attending Lady Anne; and I had had the glory of hearing “Beautiful!” “Who is she?”—and “Who is with her?” My vanity, I own, had been flattered, but no further. My imagination was always too powerful, my passions too sincere and too romantic, to be ruled by the opinions of others, or to become the dupe of personal vanity. My mother had fancied that a month or two in London would have brought my imagination down to be content with the realities of fashionable life. My mother was right as to the fact, but wrong in her conclusion. This did not incline me more towards Lady Anne, but it disinclined me towards marriage.

My exalted ideas of love were lowered—my morning visions of life fled—I was dispirited.

Mowbray had rallied me on my pining for Cambridge, and on preferring Israel Lyons, the Jew, to him and all the best company in London.

He had hurried me about with him to all manner of gaieties, but still I was not happy; my mind—my heart wanted something more.

In this my London life, I found it irksome that I could never, as at dear Cambridge, pause upon my own reflections. If I stopped awhile, “to plume contemplation’s wings, so ruffled and impaired,” some of the low realities, some of the impertinent necessities of fashionable life, would tread on my heels. The order of the day or night was for ever pressed upon me—and the order of the day was now to go to this new sentimental comedy—my mother’s favourite actor, the silver-toned Barry, was to play the lover of the piece; so she was sure of as many fashionable young ladies as her box could possibly hold. At this period, in England, every fashionable belle declared herself the partisan of some actor or actress; and every fashionable beau aspired to the character of a dramatic critic. Mowbray, of course, was distinguished in that line, and his pretty little sister, Lady Anne, was, at least in face, formed to grace the front box. The hours of the great world were earlier then than they are now, and nothing interfered, indeed nothing would have been suffered to interfere, with the hour for the play. As a veteran wit described it, “There were at this time four estates in the English Constitution, kings, lords, commons, and the theatre.” Statesmen, courtiers, poets, philosophers, crowded pell mell with the white-gloved beaux to the stage box and the pit. It was thought well-bred, it was the thing to be in the boxes before the third act, even before the second, nay, incredible as it may in these times appear, before the first act began. Our fashionable party was seated some minutes before the curtain drew up.

Footnotes

[2] See Bas-Bleu.

Chapter VII • 3,100 Words

The beaux and belles in the boxes of the crowded theatre had bowed and curtsied, for in those days beaux did bow and belles did curtsy; the impatient sticks in the pit, and shrill catcalls in the gallery, had begun to contend with the music in the orchestra; and thrice had we surveyed the house to recognize every body whom any body knew, when the door of the box next to ours, the only box that had remained empty, was thrown open, and in poured an over-dressed party, whom nobody knew. Lady de Brantefield, after one reconnoitring glance, pronounced them to be city Goths and Vandals; and without resting her glass upon them for half a moment, turned it to some more profitable field of speculation. There was no gentleman of this party, but a portly matron, towering above the rest, seemed the principal mover and orderer of the group. The awkward bustle they made, facing and backing, placing and changing of places, and the difficulty they found in seating themselves, were in striking contrast with the high-bred ease of the ladies of our party. Lady Anne Mowbray looked down upon their operations with a pretty air of quiet surprise, tinctured with horror; while my mother’s shrinking delicacy endeavoured to suggest some idea of propriety to the city matron, who having taken her station next to us in the second row, had at last seated herself so that a considerable portion of the back part of her head-dress was in my mother’s face: moreover, the citizen’s huge arm, with its enormous gauze cuff, leaning on the partition which divided, or ought to have divided, her from us, considerably passed the line of demarcation. Lady de Brantefield, with all the pride of all the De Brantefields since the Norman Conquest concentrated in her countenance, threw an excommunicating, withering look upon the arm—but the elbow felt it not—it never stirred. The lady seemed not to be made of penetrable stuff. In happy ignorance she sat fanning herself for a few seconds; then suddenly starting and stretching forward to the front row, where five of her young ladies were wedged, she aimed with her fan at each of their backs in quick succession, and in a more than audible whisper asked, “Cecy! Issy! Henny! Queeney! Miss Coates, where’s Berry?”—All eyes turned to look for Berry—“Oh! mercy, behind in the back row! Miss Berry, that must not be—come forward, here’s my place or Queeney’s,” cried Mrs. Coates, stretching backwards with her utmost might to seize some one in the farthest corner of the back row, who had hitherto been invisible. We expected to see in Miss Berry another vulgarian produced, but to our surprise, we beheld one who seemed of a different order of beings from those by whom she was surrounded. Lord Mowbray and I looked at each other, struck by the same sentiment, pained for this elegant timid young creature, as we saw her, all blushing and reluctant, forced by the irresistible fat orderer of all things to “step up on the seat,” to step forward from bench to bench, and then wait in painful pre-eminence while Issy, and Cecy, and Queeney, and Miss Coates, settled how they could make room, or which should vacate her seat in her favour. In spite of the awkwardness of her situation she stood with such quiet, resigned, yet dignified grace, that ridicule could not touch her. The moment she was seated with her back to us, and out of hearing, Lady de Brantefield turned to her son and asked “Who is she?”

“An East Indian, I should guess, by her dark complexion,” whispered Lady Anne to me.

Some feather or lappet intercepted my view of her face, but from the glimpse I caught of it as she passed, it struck me as uncommonly interesting, though with a peculiar expression and foreign air—whether she was handsome or not, though called upon to decide, I could not determine. But now our attention was fixed on the stage. It was announced to the audience that, owing to the sudden illness of the actor who was to have performed the principal part in the comedy advertised for this night, there was a necessity for changing the play, and they should give in its stead the Merchant of Venice.

The Merchant of Venice and Macklin the Jew!—Murmurs of discontent from the ladies in my box, who regretted their sentimental comedy and their silver-toned Barry, were all lost upon me; I rejoiced that I should see Macklin in Shylock. Before the performance began, my attention was again caught by the proceedings of the persons in the next box. There seemed to be some sudden cause of distress, as I gathered from exclamations of “How unlucky!—How distressing!—What shall we do?—What can we do?—Better go away—carriage gone!—must sit it out—May be she won’t mind—Oh! she will—Shylock!—Jessica!—How unfortunate!—poor Miss Berry!”

“Jessica!” whispered Mowbray to me, with an arch look: “let me pass,” added he, just touching my shoulder. He made his way to a young lady at the other end of the box; and I, occupying immediately the ceded place, stationed myself so that I had a better view of my object, and could observe her without being seen by any one. She was perfectly still, and took no notice of the whispering of the people about her, though, from an indescribable expression in the air of the back of her head and neck, I was convinced that she heard all that passed among the young and old ladies in her box. The play went on—Shylock appeared—I forgot every thing but him.—Such a countenance!—Such an expression of latent malice and revenge, of every thing detestable in human nature! Whether speaking or silent, the Jew fixed and kept possession of my attention. It was an incomparable piece of acting: much as my expectations had been raised, it far surpassed any thing I had conceived—I forgot it was Macklin, I thought only of Shylock. In my enthusiasm I stood up, I pressed forward, I leaned far over towards the stage, that I might not lose a word, a look, a gesture. When the act finished, as the curtain fell, and the thunders of applause died away, I heard a soft low sigh near me; I looked, and saw the Jewess! She had turned away from the young ladies her companions, and had endeavoured to screen herself behind the pillar against which I had been leaning. I had, for the first time, a full view of her face and of her countenance, of great sensibility, painfully, proudly repressed. She looked up while my eyes were fixed upon her—a sudden and deep colour spread over her face and mounted to her temples. In my confusion I did the very thing I should not have done, and said the thing of all others I should not have said. I expressed a fear that I had been standing in such a manner as to prevent her from seeing Shylock; she bowed mildly, and was, I believe, going to speak.

“You have indeed, sir,” interrupted Mrs. Coates, “stood so that nobody could see nothing but yourself. So, since you mention it, and speak without an introduction, excuse me if I suggest, against the next act, that this young lady has never been at a play before in her life—in Lon’on, at least. And though it i’n’t the play I should have chose for her, yet since she is here, ‘tis better she should see something than nothing, if gentlemen will give her leave.” I bowed in sign of submission and repentance; and was retiring, so as to leave my place vacant, and a full opening to the stage. But in a sweet, gentlewomanlike voice, seeming, perhaps, more delightful from contrast, the young lady said that she had seen and could see quite as much as she wished of the play; and she begged that I would not quit my place. “I should oblige her,” she added, in a lower tone, “if I would continue to stand as I had done.” I obeyed, and placed myself so as to screen her from observation during the whole of the next act. But now, my pleasure in the play was over. I could no longer enjoy Macklin’s incomparable acting; I was so apprehensive of the pain which it must give to the young Jewess. At every stroke, characteristic of the skilful actor, or of the master poet, I felt a strange mixture of admiration and regret. I almost wished that Shakspeare had not written, or Macklin had not acted the part so powerfully: my imagination formed such a strong conception of the pain the Jewess was feeling, and my inverted sympathy, if I may so call it, so overpowered my direct and natural feelings, that at every fresh development of the Jew’s villany I shrunk as though I had myself been a Jew.

Each exclamation against this dog of a Jew, and still more every general reflection on Jewish usury, avarice, and cruelty, I felt poignantly. No power of imagination could make me pity Shylock, but I felt the force of some of his appeals to justice; and some passages struck me in quite a new light on the Jewish side of the question.

“Many a time, and oft,
In the Rialto, you have rated me,
About my moneys and my usances;
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug;
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever! cut-throat dog!
And spit upon my Jewish gabardine;
And all, for use of that which is my own.
Well, then, it now appears you need my help.
Go to, then—you come to me, and you say,
Shylock, we would have moneys; you say so.
Shall I bend low, and in a bondsman key,
With bated breath, and whisp’ring humbleness, Say this:
Fair sir, you spit on me last Wednesday;
You spurned me such a day; another time
You called me dog; and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much moneys?”

As far as Shylock was concerned, I was well content he should be used in such a sort; but if it had been any other human creature, any other Jew even—if it had been poor Jacob, for instance, whose image crossed my recollection—I believe I should have taken part with him. Again, I was well satisfied that Antonio should have hindered Shylock of half a million, should have laughed at his losses, thwarted his bargains, cooled his friends, heated his enemies; Shylock deserved all this: but when he came to,

“What’s his reason?—I am a Jew.
Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do not we die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be, by
Christian example? Why, revenge.”

 

I felt at once horror of the individual Shylock, and submission to the strength of his appeal. During the third act, during the Jessica scenes, I longed so much to have a look at the Jewess, that I took an opportunity of changing my position. The ladies in our box were now so happily occupied with some young officers of the guards, that there was no farther danger of their staring at the Jewess. I was so placed that I could see her, without being seen; and during the succeeding acts, my attention was chiefly directed to the study of all the changes in her expressive countenance. I now saw and heard the play solely with reference to her feelings; I anticipated every stroke which could touch her, and became every moment more and more interested and delighted with her, from the perception that my anticipations were just, and that I perfectly knew how to read her soul, and interpret her countenance. I saw that the struggle to repress her emotion was often the utmost she could endure; and at last I saw, or fancied I saw, that she grew so pale, that, as she closed her eyes at the same instant, I was certain she was going to faint; and quite forgetting that I was an utter stranger to her, I started forward—and then unprovided with an apology, could only turn to Mrs. Coates, and fear that the heat of the house was too much for this young lady. Mrs. Coates, alarmed immediately, wished they could get her out into the air, and regretted that her gentlemen were not with their party to-night—there could be no getting servants or carriage—what could be done? I eagerly offered my services, which were accepted, and we conducted the young lady out. She did not faint; she struggled against it; and it was evident that there was no affectation in the case; but, on the contrary, an anxious desire not to give trouble, and a great dread of exposing herself to public observation. The carriage, as Mrs. Coates repeated twenty times, was ordered not to come till after the farce, and she kept on hoping and hoping that Miss Berry would be stout enough to go back to see “The Maid of the Oaks.” Miss Berry did her utmost to support herself; and said she believed she was now quite well, and could return; but I saw she wished to get away, and I ran to see if a chair could be had. Lord Mowbray, who had assisted in conducting the ladies out, now followed me; he saw, and called to one of his footmen, and despatched him for a chair.

“There, now,” said Mowbray, “we may leave the rest to Mrs. Coates, who can elbow her own way through it. Come back with me—Mrs. Abingdon plays Lady Bab Lardoon, her favourite character—she is incomparable, and I would not miss it for the world.”

I begged Mowbray to go back, for I could not leave these ladies.

“Well,” said he, parting from me, and pursuing his own way, “I see how it is—I see how it will be. These things are ruled in heaven above, or hell beneath. ‘Tis in vain struggling with one’s destiny—so you to your Jewess, and I to my little Jessica. We shall have her again, I hope, in the farce, the prettiest creature I ever saw.”

Mowbray hastened back to his box, and how long it might be between my return to the Jewess, and the arrival of the chair, I do not know: it seemed to me not above two minutes, but Mowbray insisted upon it, that it was a full quarter of an hour. He came to me again, just as I had received one look of silent gratitude; and while I was putting the young lady into the chair, and bustling Mrs. Coates was giving her orders and address to the servant, Mowbray whispered me that my mother was in an agony, and had sent him out to see what was become of me. Mrs. Coates, all thanks, and apologies, and hurry, now literally elbowed her way back to her box, expressing her reiterated fears that we should lose the best part of “The Maid of the Oaks,” which was the only farce she made it a rule ever to stay for. In spite of her hurry and her incessant talking, I named the thing I was intent upon. I said, that with her permission I should do myself the honour of calling upon her the next morning to inquire after Miss Berry’s health.

“I am sure, sir,” she replied, “Mr. Alderman Coates, and myself, will be particularly glad of the honour of seeing you tomorrow, or any time; and moreover, sir, the young lady,” added she, with a shrewd, and to me offensive smile, “the young lady no doubt’s well worth inquiring after—a great heiress, as the saying is, as rich as a Jew she’ll be, Miss Montenero.”

“Miss Montenero!” repeated Lord Mowbray and I, in the same instant. “I thought,” said I, “this young lady’s name was Berry.

“Berry, yes—Berry, we call her, we who are intimate, I call her for short—that is short for Berenice, which is her out o’ the way Christian, that is, Jewish name. Mr. Montenero, the father, is a Spanish or American Jew, I’m not clear which, but he’s a charming man for a Jew, and the daughter most uncommon fond of him, to a degree! Can’t, now, bear any reflections the most distant, now, sir, upon the Jews, which was what distressed me when I found the play was to be this Jew of Venice, and I would have come away, only that I couldn’t possibly.” Here Mrs. Coates, without any mercy upon my curiosity about Mr. Montenero and his daughter, digressed into a subject utterly uninteresting to me, and would explain to us the reasons why Mr. Alderman Coates and Mr. Peter Coates her son were not this night of her party. This lasted till we reached her box, and then she had so much to say to all the Miss Issys, Cecys, and Hennys, that it was with the utmost difficulty I could, even by carefully watching my moment, obtain a card with her own, and another with Miss Montenero’s address. This time there was no danger of my losing it. I rejoiced to see that Miss Montenero did not live with Mrs. Coates.

For all further satisfaction of my curiosity, I was obliged to wait till the next morning.

Chapter VIII • 3,600 Words

During the whole of the night, sleeping or waking, the images of the fair Jewess, of Shylock, and of Mrs. Coates, were continually recurring, and turning into one another in a most provoking manner. At breakfast my mother did not appear; my father said that she had not slept well, and that she would breakfast in her own apartment; this was not unusual; but I was particularly sorry that it happened this morning, because, being left tête-à-tête with my father, and he full of a debate on the malt-tax, which he undertook to read to me from the rival papers, and to make me understand its merits, I was compelled to sit three-quarters of an hour longer after breakfast than I had intended; so that the plan I had formed of waiting upon Mr. Montenero very early, before he could have gone out for the day, was disconcerted. When at last my father had fairly finished, when he had taken his hat and his cane, and departing left me, as I thought, happily at liberty to go in search of my Jewess, another detainer came. At the foot of the stairs my mother’s woman appeared, waiting to let me know that her lady begged I would not go out till she had seen me—adding, that she would be with me in less than a quarter of an hour.

I flung down my hat, I believe, with rather too marked an expression of impatience; but five minutes afterwards came a knock at the door. Mr. Montenero was announced, and I blessed my mother, my father, and the malt-tax, for having detained me at home. The first appearance of Mr. Montenero more than answered my expectations. He had that indescribable air, which, independently of the fashion of the day, or the mode of any particular country, distinguishes a gentleman—dignified, courteous, and free from affectation. From his features, he might have been thought a Spaniard—from his complexion, an East Indian; but he had a peculiar cast of countenance, which seemed not to belong to either nation. He had uncommonly black penetrating eyes, with a serious, rather melancholy, but very benevolent expression. He was past the meridian of life. The lines in his face were strongly marked; but they were not the common-place wrinkles of ignoble age, nor the contractions of any of the vulgar passions: they seemed to be the traces of thought and feeling. He entered into conversation directly and easily. I need not say that this conversation was immediately interesting, for he spoke of Berenice. His thanks to me were, I thought, peculiarly gentlemanlike, neither too much nor too little. Of course, I left him at liberty to attribute her indisposition to the heat of the playhouse, and I stood prepared to avoid mentioning Shylock to Jewish ears; but I was both surprised and pleased by the openness and courage with which he spoke on the very subject from which I had fancied he would have shrunk. Instead of looking for any excuse for Miss Montenero’s indisposition, he at once named the real cause; she had been, he said, deeply affected by the representation of Shylock; that detestable Jew, whom the genius of the greatest poet that ever wrote, and the talents of one of the greatest actors who had ever appeared, had conspired to render an object of public execration. “But recently arrived in London,” continued Mr. Montenero, “I have not had personal opportunity of judging of this actor’s talent; but no Englishman can have felt more strongly than I have, the power of your Shakspeare’s genius to touch and rend the human heart.”

Mr. Montenero spoke English with a foreign accent, and something of a foreign idiom; but his ideas and feelings forced their way regardless of grammatical precision, and I thought his foreign accent agreeable. To an Englishman, what accent that conveys the praise of Shakspeare can fail to be agreeable? The most certain method by which a foreigner an introduce himself at once to the good-will and good opinion of an Englishman, is by thus doing homage to this national object of idolatry. I perceived that Mr. Montenero’s was not a mere compliment—he spoke with real feeling. “In this instance,” resumed he, “we poor Jews have felt your Shakspeare’s power to our cost—too severely, and, considering all the circumstances, rather unjustly, you are aware.”

Considering all the circumstances,” I did not precisely understand; but I endeavoured, as well as I could, to make some general apology for Shakspeare’s severity, by adverting to the time when he wrote, and the prejudices which then prevailed.

“True,” said he; “and as a dramatic poet, it was his business, I acknowledge, to take advantage of the popular prejudice as a power—as a means of dramatic pathos and effect; yet you will acknowledge that we Jews must feel it peculiarly hard, that the truth of the story on which the poet founded his plot should have been completely sacrificed to fiction, so that the characters were not only misrepresented, but reversed.”

I did not know to what Mr. Montenero meant to allude: however, I endeavoured to pass it off with a slight bow of general acquiescence, and the hundred-times-quoted remark, that poets always succeed better in fiction than in truth. Mr. Montenero had quick penetration—he saw my evasion, and would not let me off so easily. He explained.

“In the true story,[3]See Stevens’ Life of Sixtus V., and Malone’s Shakspeare. from which Shakspeare took the plot of the Merchant of Venice, it was a Christian who acted the part of the Jew, and the Jew that of the Christian; it was a Christian who insisted upon having the pound of flesh from next the Jew’s heart. But,” as Mr. Montenero repeated, “Shakspeare was right, as a dramatic poet, in reversing the characters.”

Seeing me struck, and a little confounded, by this statement, and even by his candour, Mr. Montenero said, that perhaps his was only the Jewish version of the story, and he quickly went on to another subject, one far more agreeable to me—to Berenice. He hoped that I did not suspect her of affectation from any thing that had passed; he was aware, little as he knew of fine ladies, that they sometimes were pleased to make themselves noticed, perhaps rather troublesome, by the display of their sensibility; but he assured me that his Berenice was not of this sort.

Of this I was perfectly convinced. The moment he pronounced the name of Berenice, he paused, and looked as if he were afraid he should say too much of her; and I suppose I looked as I felt—afraid that he would not say enough. He gently bowed his head and went on. “There are reasons why she was peculiarly touched and moved by that exhibition. Till she came to Europe—to England—she was not aware, at least not practically aware, of the strong prepossessions which still prevail against us Jews.” He then told me that his daughter had passed her childhood chiefly in America, “in a happy part of that country, where religious distinctions are scarcely known—where characters and talents are all sufficient to attain advancement—where the Jews form a respectable part of the community—where, in most instances, they are liberally educated, many following the honourable professions of law and physic with credit and ability, and associating with the best society that country affords. Living in a retired village, her father’s the only family of Israelites who resided in or near it, all her juvenile friendships and attachments had been formed with those of different persuasions; yet each had looked upon the variations of the other as things of course, or rather as things which do not affect the moral character—differences which take place in every society.”—“My daughter was, therefore, ill prepared,” said Mr. Montenero, “for European prepossessions; and with her feeling heart and strong affection for those she loves, no wonder that she has often suffered, especially on my account, since we came to England; and she has become, to a fault, tender and susceptible on this point.”

I could not admit that there was any fault on her part; but I regretted that England should be numbered among the countries subject to such prejudices. I hoped, I added, that such illiberality was now confined to the vulgar, that is, the ill-educated and the ill-informed.

The well-educated and well-informed, he answered, were, of course, always the most liberal, and were usually the same in all countries. He begged pardon if he had expressed himself too generally with respect to England. It was the common fault of strangers and foreigners to generalize too quickly, and to judge precipitately of the whole of a community from a part. The fact was, that he had, by the business which brought him to London, been unfortunately thrown among some vulgar rich of contracted minds, who, though they were, as he was willing to believe, essentially good and good-natured persons, had made his Berenice suffer, sometimes more than they could imagine, by their want of delicacy, and want of toleration.

As Mr. Montenero spoke these words, the image of vulgar, ordering Mrs. Coates—that image which had persecuted me half the night, by ever obtruding between me and the fair Jewess—rose again full in my view. I settled immediately, that it was she and her tribe of Issys, and Cecys, and Hennys, and Queeneys, were “the vulgar rich” to whom Mr. Montenero alluded. I warmly expressed my indignation against those who could have been so brutal as to make Miss Montenero suffer by their vile prejudices.

Brutal,” Mr. Montenero repeated, smiling at my warmth, “is too strong an expression: there was no brutality in the case. I must have expressed myself ill to give rise to such an idea. There was only a little want of consideration for the feelings of others—a little want of liberality.”

Even so I could not bear the thought that Miss Montenero should have been, on her first arrival in England, thrown among persons who might give her quite a false idea of the English, and a dislike to the country.

“There is no danger of that sort,” he replied. “Had she been disposed to judge so rashly and uncharitably, the humane and polite attentions she met with last night from a gentleman who was an utter stranger to her, and who could only know that she was a foreigner in want of assistance, must have been to her at once conviction and reproof.” (I bowed, delighted with Mr. Montenero and with myself.) “But I hope and believe,” continued he, “that my Berenice is not disposed to form uncharitable judgments either of individuals or nations; especially not of the English, of whom she has, from their history and literature, with which we are not wholly unacquainted, conceived the highest ideas.” I bowed again, though not quite so much delighted with this general compliment to my nation as by that peculiar to myself. I expressed my hopes that the English would justify this favourable prepossession, and that on farther acquaintance with different societies in London, Mr. and Miss Montenero would find, that among the higher classes in this country there is no want of liberality of opinion, and certainly no want of delicacy of sentiment and manner—no want of attention to the feelings of those who are of a different persuasion from ourselves. Just at this moment my mother entered the room. Advancing towards Mr. Montenero, she said, with a gracious smile, “You need not introduce us to each other, my dear Harrington, for I am sure that I have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Clive, from India.”

“Mr. Montenero, from America, ma’am.”

“Mr. Montenero! I am happy to have the honour—the pleasure—I am very happy—”

My mother’s politeness struggled against truth; but whilst I feared that Mr. Montenero’s penetration would discern that there was no pleasure in the honour, a polite inquiry followed concerning Miss Montenero’s indisposition. Then, after an ineffectual effort to resume the ease and cordiality of her manner, my mother leaned back languidly on the sofa, and endeavoured to account for the cloud which settled on her brow by adverting to the sleepless night she had passed, and to the fears of an impending headache; assuring Mr. Montenero at the same time that society and conversation were always of service to her. I was particularly anxious to detain, and to draw him out before my mother, because I felt persuaded that his politeness of manner, and his style of conversation, would counteract any presentiment or prejudice she had conceived against him and his race. He seemed to lend himself to my views, and with benevolent politeness exerted himself to entertain my mother. A Don Quixote was on the table, in which there were some good prints, and from these he took occasion to give us many amusing and interesting accounts of Spain, where he had passed the early part of his life. From Don Quixote to Gil Blas—to the Duc de Lerma—to the tower of Segovia—to the Inquisition—to the Spanish palaces and Moorish antiquities, he let me lead him backwards and forwards as I pleased. My mother was very fond of some of the old Spanish ballads and Moorish romances: I led to the Rio Verde, and the fair Zaida, and the Moor Alcanzor, with whom both in their Moorish and English dress Mr. Montenero was well acquainted, and of whom he was enthusiastically fond.

My mother was fond of painting: I asked some questions concerning the Spanish painters, particularly about Murillo; of one of his pictures we had a copy, and my mother had often wished to see the original. Mr. Montenero said he was happy in having it in his power to gratify her wish; he possessed the original of this picture. But few of Murillo’s paintings had at this time found their way out of Spain; national and regal pride had preserved them with jealous care; but Mr. Montenero had inherited some of Murillo’s master-pieces. These, and a small but valuable collection of pictures which he had been many years in forming, were now in England: they were not yet arranged as he could wish, but an apartment was preparing for them; and in the mean time, he should be happy to have the honour of showing them to us and to any of our friends. He particularly addressed himself to my mother; she replied in those general terms of acquiescence and gratitude, which are used when there is no real intention to accept an invitation, but yet a wish to avoid such an absolute refusal as should appear ill-bred. I, on the contrary, sincerely eager to accept the offered favour, fixed instantly the time, and the soonest possible. I named the next day at one o’clock. Mr. Montenero then took his leave, and as the door closed after him, I stood before my mother, as if waiting for judgment; she was silent.

“Don’t you think him agreeable, ma’am?”

“Very agreeable.”

“I knew you would think so, my dear mother; an uncommonly agreeable man.”

“But—”

“But what, ma’am?”

“But so much the worse.”

“How so, ma’am? Because he is a Jew, is he forbidden to be agreeable?” said I, smiling.

“Pray be serious, Harrington—I say the more agreeable this man is, the better his manner, the more extensive his information, the higher the abilities he possesses, the greater are his means of doing mischief.” “A conclusive argument,” said. I, “against the possession of good manners, information, abilities, and every agreeable and useful quality! and an argument equally applicable to Jews and Christians.”

“Argument!” repeated my mother: “I know, my dear, I am not capable of arguing with you—indeed I am not fond of arguments, they are so unfeminine: I seldom presume to give even my opinion, except on subjects of sentiment and feeling; there ladies may venture, I suppose, to have a voice as well as gentlemen, perhaps better, sometimes. In the present case, it may be very ridiculous; but I own that, notwithstanding this Mr. Montenero is what you’d call an uncommonly agreeable man, there is a something about him—in short, I feel something like an antipathy to him—and in the whole course of my life I have never been misled by these antipathies. I don’t say they are reasonable, I only say that I can’t help feeling them; and if they never mislead us, you know they have all the force of instincts, and in some cases instincts are superior even to that reason of which man is so proud.”

I did not advert to the if, on which this whole reasoning rested, but I begged my mother would put herself out of the question for one moment, and consider to what injustice and intolerance such antipathies would lead in society.

“Perhaps in general it might be so,” she said; “but in this particular instance she was persuaded she was right and correct; and after all, is there a human being living who is not influenced at first sight by countenance! Does not Lavater say that even a cockchafer and a dish of tea have a physiognomy?”

I could not go quite so far as to admit the cockchafer’s physiognomy in our judgment of characters. “But then, ma’am,” concluded I, “before we can judge, before we can decide, we should see what is called the play of the countenance—we should see the working of the muscles. Now, for instance, when we have seen Mr. Montenero two or three times, when we have studied the muscles of his countenance—”

“I! I study the muscles of the man’s countenance!” interrupted my mother, indignantly; “I never desire to see him or his muscles again! Jew, Turk, or Mussulman, let me hear no more about him. Seriously, my dear Harrington, this is the subject on which I wished to speak to you this morning, to warn you from forming this dangerous acquaintance. I dreamed last night—but I know you won’t listen to dreams; I have a presentiment—but you have no faith in presentiments: what shall I say to you?—Oh! my dear Harrington, I appeal to your own heart—your own feelings, your own conscience, must tell you all I at this moment foresee and dread. Oh! with your ardent, too ardent imagination—your susceptibility! Surely, surely, there is an absolute fatality in these things! At the very moment I was preparing to warn you, Mr. Montenero appears, and strengthens the dangerous impression. And after all the pains I took to prevent your ever meeting, is it not extraordinary that you should meet his daughter at the playhouse? Promise me, I conjure you,” cried she, turning and seizing both my hands, “promise me, my dear son, that you will see no more of this Jew and Jewess.”

It was a promise I could not, would not make:—some morning visitors came in and relieved me. My mother’s imagination was as vivacious, but not as tenacious as my own. There was in her a feminine mobility, which, to my masculine strength of passion, and consequent tenacity of purpose, appeared often inconceivable, and sometimes provoking. In a few minutes her fancy turned to old china and new lace, and all the fears which had so possessed and agitated her mind subsided.

Among the crowd of morning visitors, Lady Anne Mowbray ran in and ran out; fortunately she could not stay one minute, and still more fortunately my mother did not hear a word she said, or even see her ladyship’s exit and entrance, so many ladies had encompassed my mother’s sofa, displaying charming bargains of French lace. The subject abstracted their attention, and engrossed all their faculties. Lady Anne had just called to tell me a secret, that her mother had been saying all the morning to every body, how odd it was of Mr. Harrington to take notice whether a Jewess fainted or not. Lady Anne said, for her part, she had taken my part; she did not think it so odd of me, but she thought it odd and ridiculous of the Jewess to faint about Shylock. But the reason she called was, because she was dying with curiosity to know if I had heard any more about the Jewess. Was she an heiress or not? I must find out and tell: she had heard—but she could not stay now—going to ride in the park.

I had often observed that my mother’s presentiments varied from day to day, according to the state of her nerves, or of some slight external circumstances. I was extremely anxious to prevail upon her to accompany me to see the Spanish pictures, and I therefore put off my visit for a day, when I found my mother had engaged herself to attend a party of fair encouragers of smugglers to a cheap French lace shop. I wrote an apology to Mr. Montenero, and Heaven knows how much it cost me. But my heroic patience was of no avail; I could not persuade my mother to accompany me. To all her former feelings, the pride of opinion and the jealousy of maternal affection were now added; she was piqued to prove herself in the right, and vexed to see that, right or wrong, I would not yield to her entreaties. I thought I acted solely from the dictates of pure reason and enlightened philanthropy.

Footnotes

[3] See Stevens’ Life of Sixtus V., and Malone’s Shakspeare.

Chapter IX • 5,000 Words

Mowbray was curious, he said, to know how the Jewess would look by daylight, and he begged that he might accompany me to see the pictures. As I had told him that I had permission to take with me any of my friends, I could not refuse his request, though I must own that I would rather have gone without him. I was a little afraid of his raillery, and of the quickness of his observation. During our walk, however, he with address—with that most irresistible kind of address, which assumes an air of perfect frankness and cordiality, contrived to dissipate my feelings of embarrassment; and by the time we got to Mr. Montenero’s door, I rejoiced that I had with me a friend and supporter.

“A handsome house—a splendid house, this,” said Mowbray, looking up at the front, as we waited for admission. “If the inside agree with the out, faith, Harrington, your Jewish heiress will soon be heard of on ‘Change, and at court too, you’ll see. Make haste and secure your interest in her, I advise you.”

To our great disappointment the servant told us that neither Mr. nor Miss Montenero was at home. But orders had been left with a young man of his to attend me and my company. At this moment I heard a well-known voice on the stairs, and Jacob, poor Jacob, appeared: joy flashed in his face at the sight of me; he flew down stairs, and across the hall, exclaiming, “It is—it is my own good Mr. Harrington!”

But he started back at the sight of Mowbray, and his whole countenance and manner changed. In an embarrassed voice, he began to explain why Mr. Montenero was not at home; that he had waited yesterday in hopes of seeing me at the appointed time, till my note of apology had arrived. I had not positively named any day for my visit, and Mr. Montenero had particular business that obliged him to go out this morning, but that he would be back in an hour: “Meantime, sir, as Mr. Montenero has desired,” said Jacob, “I shall have the honour of showing the pictures to you and your friend.”

It was not till he came to the words your friend, that Jacob recollected to bow to Lord Mowbray, and even then it was a stiff-necked bow. Mowbray, contrary to his usual assurance, looked a little embarrassed, yet spoke to Jacob as to an old acquaintance.

Jacob led us through several handsome, I might say splendid, apartments, to the picture-room.

“Good! Good!” whispered Mowbray, as we went along, till the moment we entered the picture-room; then making a sudden stop, and start of recollection, and pulling out his watch, he declared that he had till that minute forgotten an indispensable engagement—that he must come some other day to see these charming pictures. He begged that I would settle that for him—he was excessively sorry, but go he must—and off he went immediately.

The instant he was out of sight, Jacob seemed relieved from the disagreeable constraint under which he laboured, and his delight was manifest when he had me to himself. I conceived that Jacob still felt resentment against Mowbray, for the old quarrel at school. I was surprised at this, and in my own mind I blamed Jacob.

I have always found it the best way to speak openly, and to go to the bottom of mysteries and quarrels at once: so turning to Jacob, I asked him, whether, in right of our former acquaintance, I might speak to him with the freedom of one who heartily wished him well? The tears came into his eyes, and he could only say, “Speak, pray—and thank you, sir.”

“Then, Jacob,” said I, “I thought you could not for such a number of years bear malice for a schoolboy’s offence; and yet your manner just now to Lord Mowbray—am I mistaken?—set me right, if I am—did I misinterpret your manner, Jacob?”

“No, sir,” said he, looking up in my face, with his genuine expression of simplicity and openness; “no, sir, you do not mistake, nor misinterpret Jacob’s manner; you know him too well, and his manner tells too plainly; you do not misinterpret the feeling, but you mistake the cause; and since you are so kind as to desire me to set you right, I will do so; but it is too long a story to tell while you are standing.”

“Not at all—I am interested—go on.”

“I should not,” said Jacob, “be worthy of this interest—this regard, which it is joy to my very heart to see that you still feel for me—I should not be worthy in the least of it, if I could bear malice so many years for a schoolboy’s offence.

“No, Mr. Harrington, the schoolboy young lord is forgotten. But long since that time, since this young lord has been grown into a man, and an officer—at Gibraltar—”

The recollection of whatever it was that happened at Gibraltar seemed to come at this instant so full upon Jacob’s feelings, that he could not go on. He took up his story farther back. He reminded me of the time when we had parted at Cambridge; he was then preparing to go to Gibraltar, to assist in keeping a store there, for the brother and partner of his friend and benefactor, the London jeweller, Mr. Manessa, who had ventured a very considerable part of his fortune upon this speculation.

About that time many Jews had enriched themselves at Gibraltar, by keeping stores for the troops; and during the siege it was expected that it would be a profitable business. Mr. Manessa’s store under Jacob’s care went on prosperously till the day when Lord Mowbray arrived at Gibraltar with a regiment, of which, young as he was, he had been appointed lieutenant-colonel: “He recognized me the first time we met; I saw he was grown into a fine-looking officer; and indeed, Mr. Harrington, I saw him, without bearing the least malice for any little things that had passed, which I thought, as you say, were only schoolboy follies. But in a few minutes I found, to my sorrow, that he was not changed in mind towards me.

“His first words at meeting me in the public streets were, ‘So! are you here, young Shylock? What brings you to Gibraltar? You are of the tribe of Gad, I think, thou Wandering Jew!

“Lord Mowbray’s servants heard, and caught their lord’s witticism: the serjeants and soldiers repeated the colonel’s words, and the nicknames spread through the regiment, and through the garrison; wherever I turned, I heard them echoed: poor Jacob was called young Shylock by some, and by others the Wandering Jew. It was a bitter jest, and soon became bitter earnest.

“The ignorant soldiers really believed me to be that Jew whom Christians most abominate.[4]See Percy’s Reliques of Ancient Poetry, for the ballad of the Wandering Jew.

“The common people felt a superstitious dread of me: the mothers charged their children to keep out of my way; and if I met them in the streets, they ran away and hid themselves.

“You may think, sir, I was not happy. I grew melancholy; and my melancholy countenance, they said, was a proof that I was what I was said to be. I was ashamed to show my face. I lost all relish for my food, and began to pine away. My master noticed it, and he was sorry for me; he took my part, and spoke to the young lord, who thereupon grew angry, and high words passed; the young lord cursed at my master for an insolent Jew dog. As to me, his lordship swore that he knew me from a boy; that he had known enough of my tricks, and that of course for that I must bear him malice; and he vowed I should not bear it to him for nothing.

“From that day there was a party raised against us in the garrison. Lord Mowbray’s soldiers of course took his part; and those who were most his favourites abused us the most. They never passed our store any day without taunt and insult; ever repeating the names their colonel had given me. It was hard to stand still and mute, and bear every thing, without reply. But I was determined not to bring my master into any quarrel, so I bore all. Presently the time came when there was great distress for provisions in the garrison; then the cry against the Jews was terrible: but I do not wish to say more of what followed than is necessary to my own story. You must have heard, sir, of the riot at Gibraltar, the night when the soldiery broke into the spirit stores?”

I had read accounts of some such thing in the newspapers of the day; I had heard of excesses committed by the soldiery, who were enraged against the Jew merchants; and I recollected some story[5]Drinkwater’s Siege of Gibraltar. of the soldiers having roasted a pig before a Jew’s door, with a fire made of the Jew’s own cinnamon.

“That fire, sir,” said Jacob, “was made before our door: it was kindled by a party of Lord Mowbray’s soldiers, who, madly intoxicated with the spirits they had taken from the stores, came in the middle of that dreadful night to our house, and with horrible shouts, called upon my master to give up to them the Wandering Jew. My master refusing to do this, they burst open his house, pillaged, wasted, destroyed, and burnt all before our eyes! We lost every thing! I do not mean to say we—I, poor Jacob, had little to lose. It is not of that, though it was my all, it is not of that I speak—but my master! From a rich man in one hour he became a beggar! The fruit of all his labour lost—nothing left for his wife or children! I never can forget his face of despair by that fire-light. I think I see it now! He did not recover it, sir,—he died of a broken heart. He was the best and kindest of masters to me. And can you wonder now, Mr. Harrington, or do you blame Jacob, that he could not look upon that lord with a pleased eye, nor smile when he saw him again?”

I did not blame Jacob—I liked him for the warmth of his feeling for his master. When he was a little composed, however, I represented that his affection and pity might have raised his indignation too strongly, and might have made him impute to Lord Mowbray a greater share than he really had in their misfortunes. Lord Mowbray was a very young officer at that time, too young to be trusted with the command of men in such difficult circumstances. His lordship had been exceedingly blamable in giving, even in jest, the nicknames which had prejudiced his soldiers against an innocent individual; but I could not conceive that he had a serious design to injure; nor could he, as I observed, possibly foresee the fatal consequences that afterwards ensued. As to the excesses of his soldiers, for their want of discipline he was answerable; but Jacob should recollect the distress to which the soldiers had been previously reduced, and the general prejudice against those who were supposed to be the cause of the scarcity. Lord Mowbray might be mistaken like others; but as to his permitting their outrages, or directing them against individual Jews whom he disliked, I told Jacob it was impossible for me to believe it. Why did not the Jew merchant state his complaint to the general, who had, as Jacob allowed, punished all the soldiers who had been convicted of committing outrages? If Lord Mowbray had been complained of by Mr. Manessa, a court-martial would have been held; and if the charges had been substantiated, his title of colonel or lord would have availed him nothing—he would have been broke. Jacob said, his poor master, who was ruined and in despair, thought not of courts-martial—perhaps he had no legal proofs—perhaps he dreaded, with reason, the popular prejudice in the garrison, and dared not, being a Jew, appear against a Christian officer. How that might have been, Jacob said, he did not know—all he knew was that his master was very ill, and that he returned to England soon afterwards.

But still, argued I, if Lord Mowbray had not been brought to a court-martial, if it had been known among his brother officers that he had been guilty of such unofficer-like conduct, no British officer would have kept company with him. I was therefore convinced that Jacob must have been misinformed and deceived by exaggerated reports, and prejudiced by the warmth of his own feelings for the loss of his master. Jacob listened to me with a look of incredulity, yet as if with a wish to believe that I was right: he softened gradually—he struggled with his feelings.

“He knew,” he said, “that it was our Christian precept to forgive our enemies—a very good precept: but was it easy? Did all Christians find it easy to put it in practice? And you, Mr. Harrington, you who can have no enemies, how can you judge?”

Jacob ended by promising, with a smile, that he would show me that a Jew could forgive.

Then, eager to discard the subject, he spoke of other things. I thanked him for his having introduced me to Mr. Israel Lyons:—he was delighted to hear of the advantage I had derived from this introduction at Cambridge, and of its having led to my acquaintance with Mr. Montenero.

He had been informed of my meeting Miss Montenero at the theatre: and he told me of his hopes and fears when he heard her say she had been assisted by a gentleman of the name of Harrington.

I did not venture, however, to speak much of Miss Montenero; but I expatiated on the pleasure I had in Mr. Montenero’s conversation, and on the advantages I hoped to derive from cultivating his society.

Jacob, always more disposed to affection and gratitude than to suspicion or revenge, seemed happy to be relieved from the thoughts of Lord Mowbray, and he appeared inspired with fresh life and spirit when he talked of Mr. Montenero and his daughter. He mentioned their kindness to the widow and children of his deceased master, and of Mr. Montenero’s goodness to the surviving brother and partner, the London jeweller, Mr. Manessa, Jacob’s first benefactor. The Manessas had formerly been settled in Spain, at the time Mr. Montenero had lived there; and when he was in some difficulties with the Inquisition, they had in some way essentially served him, either in assisting his escape from that country, or in transmitting his property. Jacob was not acquainted with the particulars, but he knew that Mr. Montenero was most grateful for the obligation, whatever it had been; and now that he was rich and the Manessas in distress, he seemed to think he could never do enough for them. Jacob became first acquainted, as he told me, with Mr. Montenero in consequence of his connexion with this family. The widow had represented him as being a faithful friend, and the two children of his deceased master were fond of him. Mr. Montenero’s attachment to the Manessas immediately made him take notice of Jacob. Jacob told me that he was to go to their house in the city, and to take charge of their affairs, as soon as they could be settled; and that Mr. Montenero had promised if possible to obtain for him a share in the firm of the surviving brother and partner. In the mean time Jacob was employed by Mr. Montenero in making out catalogues of his books and pictures, arranging his library and cabinet of medals, &c., to all which he was fully competent. Jacob said he rejoiced that these occupations would keep him a little while longer at Mr. Montenero’s, as he should there have more frequent opportunities of seeing me, than he could hope for when he should be at the other end of the town. “Besides,” added he, “I don’t know how I shall ever be able to do without the kindness Mr. Montenero shows me; and as for Miss Montenero—!” Jacob’s countenance expanded, and his voice was by turns softened into tenderness, and raised to enthusiasm, as he again spoke of the father and daughter: and when my mind was touched and warmed by his panegyric of Berenice—pronounced with the true eloquence of the heart—she, leaning on her father’s arm, entered the room. The dignified simplicity, the graceful modesty of her appearance, so unlike the fashionable forwardness or the fashionable bashfulness, or any of the various airs of affectation, which I had seen in Lady Anne Mowbray and her class of young ladies, charmed me perhaps the more from contrast and from the novelty of the charm. There was a timid sensibility in her countenance when I spoke to her, which joined to the feminine reserve of her whole manner, the tone of her voice, and the propriety and elegance of the very little she said, pleased me inexpressibly. I wished only that she had said more. However, when her father spoke, it seemed to be almost the same as if she spoke herself—her sympathy with him appeared so strongly. He began by speaking of Jacob: he was glad to find that I was the Mr. Harrington whom Jacob had been so eager to see. It was evident that they knew all the good that grateful young man could tell of me; and the smile which I received from the father and daughter at this instant would have overpaid me for any obligations I could have conferred. Jacob retired, observing that he had taken up all the time with the history of his own private affairs, and that I had not yet seen any of the pictures. Mr. Montenero immediately led me to one of Murillo’s, regretting that he had not the pleasure of showing it to my mother. I began to speak of her sorrow at not being able to venture out; I made some apology, but whatever it was, I am sure I did not, I could not, pronounce it well. Mr. Montenero bowed his head courteously, removed his eyes from my face, and glanced for one moment at Miss Montenero with a look of regret, quickly succeeded by an expression in his countenance of calm and proud independence. He was sorry, he said, that he could not have the honour of seeing Mrs. Harrington—the pleasure of presenting his daughter to her.

I perceived that he was aware of what I had hoped had escaped his penetration—my mother’s prepossession against him and his daughter. I saw that he attributed it to a general prejudice against his race and religion, and I perceived that this hurt his feelings much, though his pride or his philosophy quickly repressed his sensibility. He never afterwards spoke of my mother—never hoped to see her another day—nor hoped even that the cold, which had prevented her from venturing out, would be better. I was the more vexed and ashamed that I had not been able to bring my mother with me. I turned the conversation as quickly as I could to Mr. Israel Lyons.

I observed, by what Mr. Montenero said, that from the information he had received from Mr. Lyons and from Jacob, he was thoroughly aware of my early prejudices and antipathy to the Jews. He observed to his daughter, that Mr. Harrington had double merit in his present liberality, since he had conquered what it is so difficult, scarcely possible, completely to conquer—an early prepossession, fostered perhaps by the opinion of many who must have had great influence on his mind. Through this compliment, I thought I saw in Mr. Montenero’s, and still more in the timid countenance of his daughter, a fear that I might relapse; and that these early prepossessions, which were so difficult, scarcely possible, completely to conquer, might recur. I promised myself that I should soon convince them they were mistaken, if they had formed any such notion, and I was flattered by the fear, as it implied that I had inspired some interest. We went on with the pictures. Not being a connoisseur, though fond of the arts, I was relieved and pleased to find that Mr. Montenero had none of the jargon of connoisseurship: while his observations impressed me with a high idea of his taste and judgment, they gave me some confidence in my own. I was delighted to find that I understood, and could naturally and truly agree with all he said, and that my untutored preferences were what they ought to be, according to the right rules of art and science. In short, I was proud to find that my taste was in general the same as his and his daughter’s. What pleased me far more than Mr. Montenero’s taste, was the liberality and the enlargement of mind I saw in all his opinions and sentiments. There was in him a philosophic calmness and moderation; his reason seemed to have worked against great natural sensibility, perhaps susceptibility, till this calm had become the unvarying temper of his mind. I fancied, also, that I perceived a constant care in him to cultivate the same temper in his daughter, and to fortify her against that extreme sensibility to the opinion of others, and that diffidence of herself, to which, as I recollected, he had formerly adverted.

After having admired some of Murillo’s pictures, we came to one which I, unpractised as I was in judging of painting, immediately perceived to be inferior.

“You are quite right,” said Mr. Montenero; “it is inferior to Murillo, and the sudden sense of this inferiority absolutely broke the painter’s heart. This picture is by a painter of the name of Castillo, who had thought comfortably well of himself, till he saw the master-pieces of Murillo’s genius; Castillo surveyed them for some time in absolute silence, then turning away, exclaimed Castillo is no more! and soon Castillo was no more. From that moment he pined away, and shortly afterwards died: not from envy,” continued Mr. Montenero; “no, he was a man of mild, amiable temper, incapable of envy; but he fell a victim to excessive sensibility—a dangerous, though not a common vice of character.”

“Weakness, not vice, I hope,” I heard Miss Montenero say in a low voice.

The father answered with a sigh, “that, however, cannot be called a virtue, which incapacitates from the exercise of independent virtue, and which, as you find, not only depresses genius, but may extinguish life itself.”

Mr. Montenero then turned to me, and with composure went on speaking of the pictures. Ever since I knew I was to see these, I had been studying Cumberland’s Lives of the Spanish Painters, and this I honestly told Mr. Montenero, when he complimented me upon my knowing all the names and anecdotes to which he alluded: he smiled—so did his daughter; and he was so good as to say that he liked me better for telling him this so candidly, than if I had known all that the connoisseurs and anecdote-mongers, living or dead, had ever said or written. We came to a picture by Alonzo Cano, who, excelling in architecture, statuary, and painting, has been called the Michael Angelo of Spain.

“He at least was not deficient in a comfortably good opinion of himself, Mr. Montenero,” said I. “Is not it recorded of Cano, that having finished a statue of Saint Antonio de Padua for a Spanish counsellor, the tasteless lawyer and niggardly devotee hesitated to pay the artist his price, observing that Cano, by his own account, had been only twenty-five days about it? The counsellor sat down, with stupid self-sufficiency, to calculate, that at a hundred pistoles, divided by twenty-five days, the artist would be paid at a higher rate than he was himself for the exercise of his talents. ‘Wretch! talk to me of your talents!’ exclaimed the enraged artist; ‘I have been fifty years learning to make this statue in twenty-five days!’ And as he spoke, Cano dashed his statue to pieces on the pavement of the academy. The affrighted counsellor fled from the house with the utmost precipitation, concluding that the man who was bold enough to destroy a saint, would have very little remorse in destroying a lawyer.

“Happily for Cano, this story did not reach the ears of the Inquisition,” said Mr. Montenero, “or he would have been burnt alive.”

Mr. Montenero then pointed out some exquisite pieces by this artist, and spoke with enthusiasm of his genius. I perceived some emotion, of which I could not guess the cause, in the countenance of his daughter; she seemed touched by what her father said about this painter or his pictures.

Mr. Montenero concluded his panegyric on Cano’s genius by saying, “Besides being a great genius, we are told that he was very religious, and, some few peculiarities excepted, very charitable.”

“You are very charitable, I am sure,” said Miss Montenero, looking at her father, and smiling: “I am not sure that I could speak so charitably of that man.” A sigh quickly followed her smile, and I now recollected having heard or read that this painter bore such an antipathy to the Jews, that he considered every touch of theirs as contamination; and, if he accidentally came in contact with them, would cast off and give away his clothes, forbidding the servant to whom he gave them, on any account to wear them.

Miss Montenero saw that I recollected to what she alluded—that I had a just feeling of the benevolent magnanimity of her father’s character. This raised me, I perceived, in the daughter’s opinion. Though scarcely a word passed at the moment, yet I fancied that we felt immediately better acquainted. I ventured to go and stand beside her, from doing which I had hitherto been prevented by I know not what insurmountable difficulty or strange spell.

We were both opposite to a Spanish copy of Guido’s Aurora Surgens. I observed that the flame of the torch borne by the winged boy, representing Lucifer, points westward, in a direction contrary to that in which the manes of the horses, the drapery of Apollo, and that of the dancing Hours, are blown, which seemed to me to be a mistake.

Berenice said that Guido had taken this picture from Ovid’s description, and that he had, with great art, represented, by the very circumstance to which I objected, the swiftness of the motion with which the chariot was driven forward. The current of the morning wind blowing from the east was represented by the direction of the hair of Lucifer, and of the flame of his torch; while the rapidity of the motion of the chariot was such, that, notwithstanding the eastern wind, which would otherwise have blown them towards the west, the manes of the horses, and the drapery of the figures, were driven backwards, by the resistance of the air against which they were hurried. She then repeated, in a pleasing but timid manner, in support of her opinion, these two beautiful lines of Addison’s translation:

“With winged speed outstrips the eastern wind,
And leaves the breezes of the morn behind.”

I need not say that I was delighted with this criticism, and with the modest manner in which it was spoken: but I could not honestly help remarking that, to the description immediately alluded to in Ovid, Addison had added the second beautiful line,

“And leaves the breezes of the morn behind.”

Mr. Montenero looked pleased, and said to me, “It is very true, in the immediate passage describing the chariot of the Sun issuing from the gates of Heaven, this line is not in the original; but if you look further back in the fable, you will find that the idea is still more strongly expressed in the Latin than in the English.”

It was with the utmost difficulty that I at last forced myself away, nor was I in the least aware of the unconscionable length of my visit. What particularly pleased me in the conversation of Miss Montenero was, that she had none of those fashionable phrases which fill each vacuity of sense, and which level all distinctions of understanding. There was none of that commonplace stuff which passes for conversation in the world, and which we hear and repeat till we are equally tired of others and of ourselves.

There were, besides, in her manner and countenance, indications of perfect sweetness of temper, a sort of feminine gentleness and softness which art cannot feign nor affectation counterfeit; a gentleness which, while it is the charm of female manners, is perfectly consistent with true spirit, and with the higher or the stronger qualities of the mind. All I had seen of Miss Montenero in this first visit inspired me with the most ardent desire to see more. Here was a woman who could fill my whole soul; who could at once touch my heart and my imagination. I felt inspired with new life—I had now a great object, a strong and lively interest in existence. At parting, Mr. Montenero shook hands with me, which, he said, he knew was the English mode of showing kindness: he expressed an earnest, but proudly guarded wish, that I might be so circumstanced, and so inclined, as to allow him the pleasure he much desired, of cultivating my acquaintance.

Footnotes

[4] See Percy’s Reliques of Ancient Poetry, for the ballad of the Wandering Jew.

[5] Drinkwater’s Siege of Gibraltar.

Chapter X • 3,300 Words

The interest which Berenice inspired, so completely absorbed my mind, that I never thought again of Jacob and his story, till I met Lady Anne and her brother the next morning, when I went to take a ride in the park: they were with Colonel Topham, and some people of her ladyship’s acquaintance.

Lady Anne, after the usual preliminary quantity of nonsense, and after she had questioned and cross-questioned me, to the best of her slender abilities, about the Jewess, told me a long story about herself, and her fears, and the fears of her mare, and a horse-laugh of Mowbray’s which Colonel Topham said no horse could stand: not much applause ensuing from me, she returned to the witty colonel, and left me to her brother. Mowbray directly began to talk about Jacob. He said he supposed Jacob had not failed to make his Gibraltar story good; but that “Hear both sides” was an indispensable maxim, even where such a favourite as Jacob was concerned. “But first let us take one other good gallop,” said Mowbray; “Anne, I leave you here with Mrs. Carrill and Colonel Topham;” and away he galloped. When he thought, as he said, that he had shaken off some of my prejudices, he drew up his horse, and talked over the Gibraltar affair.

His dashing, jocular, military mode of telling the thing, so different from Jacob’s plain, mercantile, matter-of-fact method, quite changed my view and opinion of the transaction. Mowbray blamed himself with such a good grace, and wished so fervently that he could make any reparation to “the poor devils who had suffered,” that I acquitted him of all malice, and forgave his imprudence.

The frankness with which he spoke to Jacob, when they met, was proof conclusive to me that he was incapable, as he declared, of harbouring any malice against Jew or Christian. He inquired most particularly into Jacob’s own losses at Gibraltar, called for pen, ink, and paper, and in his off-hand manner wrote a draft on his banker, and put it into Jacob’s hand. “Here, my honest Jacob, you are a Jew whose accounts I can take at your word. Let this settle the balance between us. No scruples, Jacob—no present, this—nothing but remuneration for your losses.”

Jacob accepted Lord Mowbray’s apologies, but could not by any means be prevailed upon to accept from him any present or remuneration. He seemed willing to forgive, but not to trust Lord Mowbray. All trace of resentment was cleared from his countenance, but no condescension of his lordship could move Jacob to throw off his reserve beyond a certain point. He conquered aversion, but he would not pretend to like. Mr. Montenero came into the room while we were speaking, and I presented Lord Mowbray to him. There was as marked a difference as politeness would allow in Mr. Montenero’s manner towards his lordship and towards me, which I justly attributed to Jacob’s previous representations. We looked at the pictures, and talked, and loitered, but I turned my eyes in vain to the door every time it opened—no Miss Montenero appeared. I was so much preoccupied with my object that I was silent, and left Mowbray to make his own way, which no one was more capable of doing. In a few minutes he was in full conversation. He went over again, without my attending to it, his pièce justificative about the riot at Gibraltar, and Jacob, and the Manessas; and between the fits of my reverie, I perceived Mowbray was talking of the Due de Crillon and General Elliot, and red-hot balls; but I took no interest in the conversation, till I heard him speak of an officers’ ball at Gibraltar, and of dancing with a Jewess. The very night he had first landed at Gibraltar, there happened to be a ball to which he went with a friend, who was also just landed, and a stranger. It was the custom to draw lots for partners. His friend, a true-born Englishman, took fright at the foreign-sounding name of the lady who fell to his lot—Mowbray changed tickets with him, and had, he said, great reason to rejoice. The lady with the foreign name was a Jewess, the handsomest, the most graceful, the most agreeable woman in the room. He was the envy of every man, and especially of his poor friend, who too late repented his rash renunciation of his ticket. Lord Mowbray, by several other slight anecdotes, which he introduced with happy effect, contrived to please Mr. Montenero; and if any unfavourable prepossession had existed against him, it was, I thought, completely removed. For my own part, I was delighted with his presence of mind in recollecting all that was best worth seeing in London, and arranging parties in which we could have the honour of attending Miss Montenero, and the pleasure of being of some use to her.

Mr. Montenero’s own acquaintance in London was chiefly with the families of some of the foreign ambassadors, and with other foreigners of distinction; but his daughter was not yet acquainted with any English ladies, except the lady of General B——, with whom the Monteneros had been intimate in America. Lady Emily B—— was detained in the country by the illness of one of her family, and Miss Montenero, having declined going into public with Mrs. Coates, would wait quietly at home till her English friends should come to town. Again shame for my mother’s remissness obliged me to cast down my eyes in awkward silence. But Mowbray, Heaven bless him for it! went on fluently. This was the moment, he said, before Miss Montenero should appear in public, and get into the whirl of the great world, before engagements should multiply and press upon her, as inevitably they would as soon as she had made her début—this was the moment, and the only moment probably she would ever have to herself, to see all that was worth a stranger’s notice in London. Mr. Montenero was obliged to Mowbray, and I am sure so was I.

Miss Montenero, infinitely more desirous to see than to be seen, was pleased with the parties we arranged for her and from this time forward, scarcely a day passed without our having the pleasure of attending the father and daughter. My mother sighed and remonstrated in vain; my father, absorbed in the House of Commons, was satisfied with seeing me regularly at breakfast. He usually dined at clubs, and it was happily his principle to let his son amuse himself his own way. But I assured her, and truly, that I was only amusing myself, and that I had not formed any serious intentions. I wished to see more of the lady. Mowbray, with ready invention, continually suggested something particularly well worth seeing or hearing, some delightful pretext for our being together. Sometimes he accompanied us, sometimes he excused himself—he had indispensable engagements. His indispensable engagements I knew were usually with ladies of a very different sort from Miss Montenero. Mowbray was desperately in love with the young actress who had played the part of Jessica, and to her he devoted every moment he could command. I regretted for his sake his dissipated tastes, but I felt the more obliged to him for the time he sacrificed to friendship; and perhaps, to tell things just as they were, I was glad he was safely in love with a Jessica of his own, as it secured me from all apprehension of his rivalling or wishing to rival me. Miss Montenero he confessed was not in the least to his taste. In this instance I was quite satisfied that our tastes should completely differ. I never liked him so well—we went on most happily together. I felt uncommonly benevolent towards the whole world; my heart expanded with increased affection for all my friends—every thing seemed to smile upon me—even the weather. The most delicious morning I ever remember was that on which we rowed along the banks of the Thames with Miss Montenero. I always enjoyed every beautiful object in nature with enthusiasm, but now with new delight—with all the enchantment of a first love, and of hope that had never known disappointment.

I was almost angry with my dear friend Mowbray, for not being as enthusiastic this day as I was myself.

There were certain points of taste and character on which we never could agree; my romantic imagination and enthusiastic manner of expressing myself, were often in contrast with his worldly comic mode of seeing and talking. He hurt, sometimes, my feelings by his raillery—he pulled me down too suddenly from my flights of imagination. By the flashes of his wit he showed, perhaps too clearly, the danger of my fall from “high sublime to deep absurd;” but, after all, I was satisfied that Miss Montenero preferred my style, and in general I was content that he should enjoy his dear wit and gay rhetoric—even a little at my expense.

The morning we went to Westminster Abbey, I own I was provoked with him, for pointing out to my observation, at the moment when my imagination was struck with the sense of sublimity at the sight of the awful pile, the ridiculous contrast of the showman and his keys, who was impatiently waiting till I had finished my exclamations; but I soon forgot both the showman and the wit, while at every step, among the illustrious dead, my enthusiasm was raised, and some anecdote of their lives, or some striking quotation from their works, rushed upon my mind. I was inspired and encouraged by the approbation of the father, and the sympathy of the daughter.

As we were quitting the Abbey, Mr. Montenero stopped, turned to me, and said, “You have a great deal of enthusiasm, I see, Mr. Harrington: so much the better, in my opinion—I love generous enthusiasm.”

And at the moment I flattered myself that the eyes of his daughter repeated “I love generous enthusiasm,” her father caught the expression, and immediately, with his usual care, moderated and limited what he had said.

“Enthusiasm well governed, of course, I mean—as one of your English noblemen lately said, ‘There is an enthusiasm of the head, and that is genius—there is an enthusiasm of the heart, and that is virtue—there is an enthusiasm of the temper, and that is—‘”

Miss Montenero looked uneasy, and her father perceiving this, checked himself again, and, changing his tone, added, “But with all its dangers and errors, enthusiasm, in either man or woman, is more amiable and respectable than selfishness. Enthusiasm is not the vice of the young men or women of the present day.”

“Certainly not,” said Mowbray, who was now very attentive to every thing that passed. I forgave him the witticisms with which he had crossed my humour this morning, for the kind sympathy he showed with the pleasure I felt at this moment. Afterwards, when Mowbray and I were alone together, and compared notes, as we were in the habit of doing, upon all that had been said, and had been looked, during the day, Mowbray congratulated me upon the impression I had made by my eloquence. “Enthusiasm, you see, is the thing both with father and daughter: you succeed in that line—follow it up!”

I was incapable of affecting enthusiasm, or of acting any part to show myself off; yet Mowbray’s opinion and my own observations coinciding, unconsciously and involuntarily, I afterwards became more at my ease in yielding to my natural feelings and habitual expressions.

Miss Montenero had not yet seen the Tower, and Mowbray engaged himself to be of our party. But at the same time, he privately begged me to keep it a dead secret from his sister. Lady Anne, he said, would never cease to ridicule him, if she were to hear of his going to the Tower, after having been too lazy to go with her, and all the fashionable world, the night before, to the Fantoccini.

Though I had lived in London half my childhood, my nervous disease had prevented my being taken to see even the sights that children are usually shown; and since my late arrival in town, when I had been my own master, engagements and emotions had pressed upon me too fast to leave time or inclination to think of such things. My object, of course, was now merely to have the pleasure of accompanying Berenice.

I was unexpectedly struck, on entering the armoury at the Tower. The walls, three hundred feet in length, covered with arms for two hundred thousand men, burnished arms, glittering in fancy figures on the walls, and ranged in endless piles from the ceiling to the floor of that long gallery; then the apartment with the line of ancient kings, clad in complete armour, mounted on their steeds fully caparisoned—the death-like stiffness of the figures—the stillness—the silence of the place—altogether awe the imagination, and carry the memory back to the days of chivalry. When among these forms of kings and heroes who had ceased to be, I beheld the Black Prince, lance couched, vizor down, with the arms he wore at Cressy and Poictiers, my enthusiasm knew no bounds. The Black Prince, from my childhood, had been the object of my idolatry. I kneeled—I am ashamed to confess it—to do homage to the empty armour.

Mr. Montenero, past the age of romantic extravagance, could not sympathize with this enthusiasm, but he bore with it.

We passed on to dark Gothic nooks of chambers, where my reverence for the beds on which kings had slept, and the tables at which kings had sat, much increased by my early associations formed of Brantefield Priory, was expressed with a vehemence which astonished Mr. Montenero; and, I fear, prevented him from hearing the answers to various inquiries, upon which he, with better regulated judgment, was intent.

An orator is the worst person to tell a plain fact; the very worst guide, as Mowbray observed, that a foreigner can have. Still Mr. Montenero had patience with me, and supplied the elisions in my rhetoric, by what information he could pick up from the guide, and from Mowbray, with whom, from time to time, he stopped to see and hear, after I had passed on with Berenice. To her quickness and sympathy I flattered myself that I was always intelligible.

We came at last to the chamber where Clarence and the young princes had been murdered. Here, I am conscious, I was beyond measure exuberant in exclamations, and in quotations from Shakspeare.

Mr. Montenero came in just as I was ranting, from Clarence’s dream—

“Seize on him, furies! take him to your torments!—
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ’d me, and howled in mine ears”

Such hideous cries! that with the very noise I made, I prevented poor Mr. Montenero from hearing the answer to some historic question he was asking. Berenice’s eye warned me to lower my voice, and I believe I should have been quiet, but that unluckily, Mowbray set me off in another direction, by reminding me of the tapestry-chamber and Sir Josseline. I remember covering my face with both my hands, and shuddering with horror.

Mr. Montenero asked, “What of the tapestry-chamber?”

And immediately recollecting that I should not, to him, and before his daughter, describe the Jew, who had committed a deed without a name, I with much embarrassment said, that “it was nothing of any consequence—it was something I could not explain.”

I left it to Mowbray’s superior presence of mind, and better address, to account for it, and I went on with Berenice. Whenever my imagination was warmed, verses poured in upon my memory, and often without much apparent connexion with what went before. I recollected at this moment the passage in Akenside’s “Pleasures of the Imagination” describing the early delight the imagination takes in horrors:—the children closing round the village matron, who suspends the infant audience with her tales breathing astonishment; and I recited all I recollected of

“Evil spirits! of the deathbed call
Of him who robb’d the widow, and devour’d
The orphan’s portion—of unquiet souls
Ris’n from the grave, to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceal’d—of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of Hell around the murderer’s bed!”

Mowbray and Mr. Montenero, who had stayed behind us a few minutes, came up just as I was, with much emphasis and gesticulation,

“Waving the torch of Hell.”

I am sure I must have been a most ridiculous figure. I saw Mowbray on the brink of laughter; but Mr. Montenero looked so grave, that he fixed all my attention. I suddenly stopped.

“We were talking of ‘The Pleasures of Imagination,’” said Berenice to her father. “Mr. Harrington is a great admirer of Akenside.”

“Is he?” replied Mr. Montenero coldly, and with a look of absence. “But, my dear, we can have the pleasures of the imagination another time. Here are some realities worthy of our present attention.”

He then drew his daughter’s arm within his. I followed; and all the time he was pointing out to her the patterns of the Spanish instruments of torture, with which her politic majesty Queen Elizabeth frightened her subjects into courage sufficient to repel all the invaders on board the invincible armada—I stood silent, pondering on what I might have said or done to displease him whom I was so anxious to please. First, I thought he suspected me of what I most detested, the affectation of taste, sensibility, and enthusiasm; next, I fancied that Mowbray, in explaining about the tapestry-chamber, Sir Josseline, and the bastinadoed Jew, had said something that might have hurt Mr. Montenero’s Jewish pride. From whichever of these causes his displeasure arose, it had the effect of completely sobering my spirits. My poetic fit was over. I did not even dare to speak to his daughter.

During our drive home, Berenice, apropos to something which Mowbray had said, but which I did not hear, suggested to her father some lines of Akenside, which she knew he particularly admired, on the nature and power of the early association of ideas. Mr. Montenero, with all the warmth my heart could wish, praised the poetic genius, and the intimate and deep knowledge of the human mind displayed in this passage. His gravity gradually wore off, and I began to doubt whether the displeasure had ever existed. At night, before Mowbray and I parted, when we talked over the day, he assured me that he had said nothing that could make Mr. Montenero displeased with me or any living creature; that they had been discussing some point of English History, on which old Montenero had posed him. As to my fears, Mowbray rallied me out of them effectually. He maintained that Montenero had not been at all displeased, and that I was a most absurd modern self-tormentor. “Could not a man look grave for two minutes without my racking my fancy for two hours to find a cause for it? Perhaps the man had the toothache; possibly the headache; but why should I, therefore, insist upon having the heartache?”

Chapter XI • 5,200 Words

Mowbray’s indifference was often a happy relief to my anxiety of temper; and I had surely reason to be grateful to him for the sacrifices he continued daily to make of his own tastes and pleasures, to forward my views.

One morning in particular, he was going to a rehearsal at Drury-lane, where I knew his heart was; but finding me very anxious to go to the Mint and the Bank with Mr. Montenero and Berenice, Mowbray, who had a relation a Bank director, immediately offered to accompany us, and procured us the means of seeing every thing in the best possible manner.

Nothing could, as he confessed, be less to his taste; and he was surprised that Miss Montenero chose to be of the party. A day spent in viewing the Mint and the Bank, it may perhaps be thought, was a day lost to love—quite the contrary; I had an opportunity of feeling how the passion of love can throw its enchantment over scenes apparently least adapted to its nature.

Before this time I had twice gone over every part of these magnificent establishments. I had seen at the Bank the spirit of order operating like predestination, compelling the will of man to act necessarily and continually with all the precision of mechanism. I had beheld human creatures, called clerks, turned nearly into arithmetical machines.

But how new did it all appear in looking at it with Berenice! How would she have been delighted if she had seen those machines, “instinct with spirit,” which now perform the most delicate manoeuvres with more than human dexterity—the self-moving balance which indefatigably weighs, accepts, rejects, disposes of the coin, which a mimic hand perpetually presents!

What chiefly pleased me in Miss Montenero was the composure, the sincerity of her attention. She was not anxious to display herself: I was the more delighted when I discovered her quickness of comprehension. I was charmed too by the unaffected pleasure she showed in acquiring new ideas, and surprised by the judicious proportion of the admiration she expressed for all that was in various degrees excellent in arrangement, or ingenious in contrivance: in short….

“In short, man,” as Mowbray would say, “in short, man, you were in love, and there’s an end of the matter: if your Berenice had hopped forty paces in the public streets, it would have been the same with you.”

That I deny—but I will go on with my story.

As we were going away, Mr. Montenero, after thanking Lord Mowbray and his cousin, the Bank director, who had shown and explained every thing to us with polite and intelligent patience, observed that the Bank was to him a peculiarly interesting sight.

“You know,” said he, “that we Jews were the first inventors of bills of exchange and bank-notes—we were originally the bankers and brokers of the world.”

Then, as we walked to the carriage, he continued addressing himself to his daughter, in a lowered voice, “You see, Berenice, here, as in a thousand instances, how general and permanent good often results from partial and temporary evil. The persecutions even to which we Jews were exposed—the tyranny which drove us from place to place, and from country to country, at a moment’s or without a moment’s warning, compelled us, by necessity, to the invention of a happy expedient, by which we could convert all our property into a scrap of paper, that could be carried unseen in a pocket-book, or conveyed in a letter unsuspected.”

Berenice thanked Heaven that the times of persecution were over; and added, that she hoped any prejudice which still existed would soon die away.

Mowbray exclaimed against the very idea of the existence of such prejudices at this time of day in England, among the higher classes.

He did not recollect his own mother, I believe, when he said this; but I know I had a twinge of conscience about mine, and I did not dare to look at Mr. Montenero; nor did I know well which way to look, when his lordship, persisting in his assertion, asked Miss Montenero if she could possibly imagine that any such vulgar prejudices existed among well-bred persons. Berenice mildly answered, that she had really as yet enjoyed so few opportunities of seeing the higher classes of society in London that she could not form a judgment. She was willing to take upon trust his lordship’s opinion, who must have means of knowing.

I imagined that Mr. Montenero’s eye was upon me, and that he was thinking of my mother’s never having made the slightest advance towards an acquaintance with his daughter. I recollected the speeches I had made on his first visit, pledging my mother to that which she had never performed. I felt upon the rack—and a pause, that ensued afterwards, increased my misery. I longed for somebody to say something—any thing. I looked for assistance to Mowbray. He repeated, confidently, that Miss Montenero might entirely rely upon what he said as to London and England—indeed he had been a good deal abroad too. He seemed to be glad to get to the continent again—I followed him as fast as I could, and inquired whether he did not think that the French and Germans were much improved in liberality, and a spirit of toleration.

“Give me leave,” said Mr. Montenero, “to answer for the improvement of the Germans. Fifteen years ago, I remember, when I was travelling in Germany, I was stopped at a certain bridge over the Rhine, and, being a Jew, was compelled to pay rather an ignominious toll. The Jews were there classed among cloven-footed beasts, and as such paid toll. But, within these few years, sixteen German princes, enlightened and inspired by one great writer, and one good minister, have combined to abolish this disgraceful tax. You see, my dear Berenice, your hope is quickly fulfilling—prejudices are dying away fast. Hope humbly, but hope always.”

The playful tone in which Mr. Montenero spoke, put me quite at my ease.

The next day I was determined on an effort to make my mother acquainted with Miss Montenero. If I could but effect a meeting, a great point I thought would be gained. Mowbray undertook to manage it, and he, as usual, succeeded. He persuaded his mother to go to an auction of pictures, where he assured her she would be likely to meet with a Vandyke of one of her ancestors, of whose portrait she had long been in search. Lady de Brantefield engaged my mother to be of the party, without her having any suspicion that she would meet the Monteneros. We arrived in time to secure the best places, before the auction began. Neither Mr. nor Miss Montenero were there; but, to my utter discomfiture, a few minutes after we were seated, vulgar Mrs. Coates and all her tribe appeared. She elbowed her difficult way onward towards us, and nodding to me familiarly, seated herself and her Vandals on a line with us. Then, stretching herself across the august Lady de Brantefield, who drew back, far as space would permit, “Beg your pardon, ma’am, but I just want to say a word to this lady. A’n’t you the lady—yes—that sat beside me at the play the other night—the Merchant of Venice and the Maid of the Oaks, was not it, Izzy? I hope you caught no cold, ma’am—you look but poorly, I am sorry to notice—but what I wanted to say, ma’am, here’s an ivory fan Miss Montenero was in a pucker and quandary about.” Pucker and quandary!—Oh! how I groaned inwardly!

“I was in such a fuss about her, you know, sir, that I never found out, till I got home, I had pocketed a strange fan—here it is, ma’am, if it is yours—it’s worth any body’s owning, I am sure.”

The fan was my mother’s, and she was forced to be much obliged. Lady de Brantefield, still painfully holding back, did not resume her position till some seconds had elapsed after Mrs. Coates had withdrawn her fat bust—till it might be supposed that the danger of coming into contact with her was fairly over. My mother, after a decent interval, asked me if it were possible to move to some place where they could have more air, as the crowd was increasing. Lord Mowbray and I made way for her to a seat by an open window; but the persevering Mrs. Coates followed, talking about the famous elbows of Mr. Peter Coates, on whose arm she leaned. “When Peter chooses, there’s not a man in Lon’on knows the use of his elbows better, and if we’d had him, Mr. Harrington, with us at the play, the other night, we should not have given you so much trouble with Miss Montenero, getting her out.”

Lord Mowbray, amused by my look of suffering, could not refrain from diverting himself further by asking a question or two about the Monteneros. It was soon apparent, from the manner in which Mrs. Coates answered, that she was not as well pleased with them as formerly.

It was her maxim, she said, to speak of the bridge as she went over it; and for her part, if she was to give her verdict, she couldn’t but say Miss Montenero—for they weren’t on terms to call her Miss Berry now—was a little incomprehensible sometimes.

A look of surprise from Lord Mowbray, without giving himself the trouble to articulate, was quite sufficient to make the lady go on.

“Why, if it concerned any gentleman” (glancing her ill-bred eye upon me), “if any gentleman was thinking of looking that way, it might be of use to him to know the land. Miss Montenero, then, if truth must be told, is a little touchy on the Jewish chapter.”

Lord Mowbray urged Mrs. Coates on with “How, for instance?” “Oh, how! why, my lord, a hundred times I’ve hurt her to the quick. One can’t always be thinking of people’s different persuasions you know—and if one asked a question, just for information’s sake, or made a natural remark, as I did t’other day, Queeney, you know, just about Jew butchers, and pigeons—‘It’s a pity,’ said I, ‘that Jews must always have Jew butchers, Miss Berry, and that there is so many things they can’t touch: one can’t have pigeons nor hares at one’s table,’ said I, thinking only of my second course; ‘as to pork, Henny,’ says I, ‘that’s a coarse butcher’s meat, which I don’t regret, nor the alderman, a pinch o’ snuff’—now, you know, I thought that was kind of me; but Miss Montenero took it all the wrong way, quite to heart so, you’ve no idear! After all, she may say what she pleases, but it’s my notion the Jews is both a very unsocial and a very revengeful people; for, do you know, my lord, they wouldn’t dine with us next day, though the alderman called himself.”

My mother was so placed that she could not avoid hearing all that Mrs. Coates said to Lord Mowbray; and though she never uttered a syllable, or raised her eyes, or moved the fan she held in her hand, I knew by her countenance the impression that was made on her mind: she would have scorned, on any other subject of human life or manners, to have allowed the judgment of Mrs. Coates to weigh with her in the estimation of a single hair; yet here her opinion and idears were admitted to be decisive.

Such is prejudice! thought I. Prejudice, even in the proudest people, will stoop to accept of nourishment from any hand. Prejudice not only grows on what it feeds upon, but converts every thing it meets with into nourishment.

How clear-sighted I was to the nature of prejudice at this moment, and how many reflections passed in one instant, which I had never made before in the course of my life!—Meantime Mrs. Coates had beckoned to her son Peter, and Peter had drawn near, and was called upon by his mother to explain to my lord the cause of the coolness betwixt the alderman and Mr. Montenero: “It was,” she said, “about the Manessas, and a young man called Jacob.”

Peter was not as fluent as his mother, and she went on. “It was some money matter. Mr. Montenero had begun by acting a very generous part, she understood, at first, by way of being the benevolent Jew, but had not come up to the alderman’s expectations latterly, and had shown a most illiberal partiality to the Manessas, and this Jacob, only because they was Jews; which, you know,” said Mrs. Coates, “was very ungentleman-like to the alderman, after all the civilities we had shown the Monteneros on their coming to Lon’on—as Peter, if he could open his mouth, could tell you.”

Peter had just opened his mouth, when Mr. Montenero appearing, he closed it again. To my inexpressible disappointment, Miss Montenero was not with her father. Mr. Montenero smiled the instant he caught my eye, but seeing my mother as he approached, he bowed gravely, and passed on.

“And never noticed me, I declare,” said Mrs. Coates: “that’s too good!”

“But Miss Montenero! I thought she was to be here?” cried Mowbray.

Mrs. Coates, after her fashion, stretching across two of her daughters, whispered to the third, loud enough for all to hear, “Queeney, this comes of airs!—This comes of her not choosing for to go abroad with me, I suppose.”

“If people doesn’t know their friends when they has ‘em,” replied Queeney, “they may go farther and fare worse: that’s all I have to say.”

“Hush!” said Peter, giving his sister a monitory pinch—“can’t you say your say under your breath? he’s within seven of you, and he has ears like the devil.”

“All them Jews has, and Jewesses too; they think one’s always talking of them, they’re so suspicious,” said Mrs. Coates. “I am told, moreover, that they’ve ways and means of hearing.”

To my great relief, she was interrupted by the auctioneer, and the sound of his hammer. The auction went on, and nothing but “Who bids more? going!—going!—who bids more?” was heard for a considerable time. Not being able to get near Mr. Montenero, and having failed in all my objects, I grew excessively tired, and was going away, leaving my mother to the care of Mowbray, but he stopped me. “Stay, stay,” said he, drawing me aside, behind two connoisseurs, who were babbling about a Titian, “you will have some diversion by and by. I have a picture to sell, and you must see how it will go off. There is a painting that I bought at a stall for nothing, upon a speculation that my mother, who is a judge, will pay dear for; and what do you think the picture is? Don’t look so stupid—it will interest you amazingly, and Mr. Montenero too, and ‘tis a pity your Jewess is not here to see it. Did you ever hear of a picture called the ‘Dentition of the Jew?’”

“Not I.”

“You’ll see, presently,” said Mowbray.

“But tell me now,” said I.

“Only the drawing the teeth of the Jew, by order of some one of our most merciful lords the kings—John, Richard, or Edward.”

“It will be a companion to the old family picture of the Jew and Sir Josseline,” continued Mowbray; “and this will make the vile daub, which I’ve had the luck to pick up, invaluable to my mother, and I trust very valuable to me.”

“There! Christie has it up! The dear rascal! hear him puff it!”

Lady de Brantefield put up her glass, but neither she nor I could distinguish a single figure in the picture, the light so glared upon it.

Christie caught her ladyship’s eye, and addressed himself directly to her. But her ladyship was deaf. Mowbray pressed forward to her ear, and repeated all Christie roared. No sooner did she understand the subject of the picture than she turned to her son, to desire him to bid for her; but Mowbray substituted Topham in his stead: Topham obeyed.

“Who bids more?”

A bidder started up, who seemed very eager. He was, we were told, an engraver.

“Who bids more?”

To our surprise, Mr. Montenero was the person to bid more—and more, and more, and more. The engraver soon gave up the contest, but her ladyship’s pride and passions rose when she found Mr. Montenero continued to bid against her; and she persisted, till she came up to an extravagant sum; and still she desired Colonel Topham to bid on.

“Beyond my expectation, faith! Both mad!” whispered Mowbray. I thought so too. Still Mr. Montenero went higher.

“I’ll go no higher,” said Lady de Brantefield; “you may let it be knocked down to that person, Colonel.” Then turning to her son, “Who is the man that bids against me?”

“A Jewish gentleman, ma’am, I believe.”

“A Jew, perhaps—gentleman, I deny; no Jew ever was or ever will be a gentleman. I am sure our family, since the time of Sir Josseline, have had reason enough to know that.”

“Very true, ma’am—I’ll call for your carriage, for I suppose you have had enough of this.”

Mowbray carried me with him. “Come off,” said he; “I long to hear Montenero descant on the merits of the dentition. Do you speak, for you can do it with a better face.”

Mowbray seemed to be intent merely upon his own diversion; he must have seen and felt how reluctant I was: but, taking my arm, he dragged me on to Mr. Montenero, who was standing near a window, with the picture in his hand, examining it attentively. Mowbray pushed me on close behind Mr. Montenero—the light now falling on the picture, I saw it for the first time, and the sight struck me with such associated feelings of horror, that I started back, exclaiming, with vehement gestures, “I cannot bear it! I cannot bear that picture!”

Mr. Montenero turned, and looked at me with surprise.

“I beg pardon, sir,” said I; “but it made me absolutely—”

“Sick,” said Mr. Montenero, opening the window, as I leaned back against the wall, and the eyes of all present were fixed upon me. Ashamed of the exaggerated expression of my feelings, I stood abashed. Mr. Montenero, with the greatest kindness of manner, and with friendly presence of mind, said he remembered well having felt actually sick at the sight of certain pictures. “For instance, my lord,” said he, addressing himself to Lord Mowbray, “the famous picture of the flaying the unjust magistrate I never could look at steadily.”

I recovered myself—and squeezing Mr. Montenero’s hand to express my sense of his kind politeness, I exerted myself to talk and to look at the picture. Afraid of Mowbray’s ridicule, I never once turned my eyes towards him—I fancied that he was laughing behind me: I did him injustice; he was not laughing—he looked seriously concerned. He whispered to me, “Forgive me, my dear Harrington—I aimed at mamma—I did not mean to hurt you.”

Before we quitted the subject, I expressed to Mr. Montenero my surprise at his having purchased, at an extraordinary price, a picture apparently of so little merit, and on such a disgusting subject.

“Abuse the subject as much as you please,” interrupted Mowbray; “but as to the merit of the painting, have the grace, Harrington, to consider, that Mr. Montenero must be a better judge than you or I.”

“You are too good a judge yourself, my lord,” replied Mr. Montenero, in a reserved tone, “not to see this picture to be what it really is, a very poor performance.” Then turning to me in a cordial manner, “Be assured, Mr. Harrington, that I am at least as clear-sighted, in every point of view, as you can possibly be, to its demerits.”

“Then why did you purchase it?” was the question, which involuntarily recurred to Mowbray and to me; but we were both silent, and stood with our eyes fixed upon the picture.

“Gentlemen, if you will do me the honour to dine with me to-morrow,” said Mr. Montenero, “you shall know the purpose for which I bought this picture.”

We accepted the invitation; Mowbray waited for to-morrow with all the eagerness of curiosity, and I with the eagerness of a still more impatient passion.

I pass over my mother’s remonstrances against my dining at the Monteneros’; remonstrances, strengthened as they were in vehemence, if not in reason, by all the accession of force gathered from the representations and insinuations of Mrs. Coates.

The next day came. “Now we shall hear about the dentition of the Jew,” said Mowbray, as we got to Mr. Montenero’s door.

And now we shall see Berenice! thought I.

We found a very agreeable company assembled, mixed of English and foreigners. There was the Spanish ambassador and the Russian envoy—who, by-the-by, spoke English better than any foreigner I ever heard; a Polish Count, perfectly well bred, and his lady, a beautiful woman, with whom Mowbray of course was half in love before dinner was over. The only English present were General and Lady Emily B——. We soon learned, by the course of the conversation, that Mr. Montenero stood high in the estimation of every individual in the company, all of whom had known him intimately at different times of his life, and in different countries. The general had served in America during the beginning of the war; he had been wounded there, and in great difficulties and distress. He and his lady, under very trying circumstances, had been treated in the most kind and hospitable manner by Mr. Montenero and his family. With that true English warmth of gratitude, which contrasts so strongly and agreeably with the natural reserve of English manner and habits, the general and his wife, Lady Emily, expressed their joy at having Mr. Montenero in England, in London, among their own friends.

“My dear, Mr. Montenero must let us introduce him to your brother and our other friends—how delighted they will be to see him! And Berenice!—she was such a little creature, General, at the time you saw her last!—but such a kind, sweet, little creature!—You remember her scraping the lint!”

“Remember it! certainly.”

They spoke of her, and looked at her, as if she was their own child; and for my part, I could have embraced both the old general and his wife. I only wished that my mother had been present to receive an antidote to Mrs. Coates.

“Oh! please Heaven, we will make London—we’ll make England agreeable to you—two years! no; that won’t do—we will keep you with us for ever—you shall never go back to America.”

Then, in a low voice, to Mr. Montenero, the general added, “Do you think we have not an Englishman good enough for her?”

I felt the blood rush into my face, and dreaded that every eye must see it. When I had the courage to raise my head and to look round, I saw that I was perfectly safe, and that no creature was thinking about me, not even Mowbray, who was gallanting the Polish lady. I ventured then to look towards Berenice; but all was tranquil there—she had not, I was sure, heard the whisper. Mr. Montenero had his eye upon her; the father’s eye and mine met—and such a penetrating, yet such a benevolent eye! I endeavoured to listen with composure to whatever was going on. The general was talking of his brother-in-law, Lord Charles; a panic seized me, and a mortal curiosity to know what sort of a man the brother-in-law might be. I was not relieved till the dessert came on the table, when, apropos to something a Swedish gentleman said about Linnaeus, strawberries, and the gout, it appeared, to my unspeakable satisfaction, that Lord Charles had the gout at this instant, and had been subject to it during the last nine years. I had been so completely engrossed by my own feelings and imaginations, that I had never once thought of that which had previously excited our curiosity—the picture, till, as we were going into another room to drink coffee, Mowbray said to me, “We hear nothing of the dentition of the Jew: I can’t put him in mind of it.”

“Certainly not,” said I. “There is a harp; I hope Miss Montenero will play on it,” added I.

After coffee we had some good music, in different styles, so as to please, and interest, and join in one common sympathy, all the company, many of whom had never before heard each other’s national music. Berenice was asked to play some Hebrew music, the good general reminding her that he knew she had a charming ear and a charming voice when she was a child. She had not, however, been used to sing or play before numbers, and she resisted the complimentary entreaties; but when the company were all gone, except the general and his lady, Mowbray and myself, her father requested that Berenice would try one song, and that she would play one air on the harp to oblige her old friends: she immediately complied, with a graceful unaffected modesty that interested every heart in her favour—I can answer for my own; though no connoisseur, I was enthusiastically fond of good music. Miss Montenero’s voice was exquisite: both the poetry and the music were sublime and touching. No compliments were paid; but when she ceased, all were silent, in hopes that the harp would be touched again by the same hand. At this moment, Mr. Montenero, turning to Lord Mowbray and to me, said, “Gentlemen, I recollect my promise to you, and will perform it—I will now explain why I bought that painting which you saw me yesterday so anxious to obtain.”

He rang the bell, and desired a servant to bring in the picture which he had purchased at the auction, and to desire Jacob to come with it. As soon as it was brought in, I retired to the farther end of the room. In Mowbray’s countenance there was a strange mixture of contempt and curiosity.

Mr. Montenero kindly said to me, “I shall not insist, Mr. Harrington, on your looking at it; I know it is not to your taste.”

I immediately approached, resolved to stand the sight, that I might not be suspected of affectation.

Berenice had not yet seen the painting: she shrunk back the moment she beheld it, exclaiming, “Oh, father! Why purchase such a horrible picture?”

“To destroy it,” said Mr. Montenero. And deliberately he took the picture out of its frame and cut it to pieces, repeating, “To destroy it, my dear, as I would, were it in my power, every record of cruelty and intolerance. So perish all that can keep alive feelings of hatred and vengeance between Jews and Christians!”

“Amen,” said the good old general, and all present joined in that amen. I heard it pronounced by Miss Montenero in a very low voice, but distinctly and fervently.

While I stood with my eyes fixed on Berenice, and while Mowbray loudly applauded her father’s liberality, Mr. Montenero turned to Jacob and said, “I sent for my friend Jacob to be present at the burning of this picture, because it was he who put it in my power to prevent this horrid representation from being seen and sold in every print-shop in London. Jacob, who goes every where, and sees wherever he goes, observed this picture at a broker’s shop, and found that two persons had been in treaty for it. One of them had the appearance of an amateur, the other was an artist, an engraver. The engraver was, I suppose, the person who bid against Colonel Topham and me; who the other gentleman was, and why he bought in to sell it again at that auction, perhaps Jacob knows, but I have never inquired.”

Then, with Jacob’s assistance, Mr. Montenero burned every shred of this abominable picture, to my inexpressible satisfaction.

During this auto-da-fè, Jacob cast a glance at Mowbray, the meaning of which I could not at first comprehend; but I supposed that he was thinking of the fire, at which all he had in the world had been consumed at Gibraltar. I saw, or thought I saw, that Jacob checked the feeling this recollection excited. He turned to me, and in a low voice told me, that Mr. Montenero had been so kind as to obtain for him a lucrative and creditable situation in the house of Manessa, the jeweller; and the next day he was to go to Mr. Manessa’s, and to commence business.

“So, Mr. Harrington, you see that after all my misfortunes, I am now established in a manner far above what could have been expected for poor Jacob—far above his most sanguine hopes. Thanks to my good friends.”

“And to your good self,” said I.

I was much pleased with Mowbray at this instant, for the manner in which he joined in my praise of Jacob, and in congratulations to him. His lordship promised that he would recommend his house to all his family and friends.

“What a contrast,” said Mowbray, as soon as Jacob had left the room, “there is between Jacob and his old rival, Dutton! That fellow has turned out very ill—drunken, idle dog—is reduced to an old-iron shop, I believe—always plaguing me with begging letters. Certainly, Harrington, you may triumph in your election of Jacob.”

I never saw Berenice and her father look so much pleased with Mowbray as they did at this instant.

Of the remainder of the evening I recollect nothing but Berenice, and of my staying later than I ought to have done. Even after the general and his wife had departed some time, I lingered. I was to go home in Mowbray’s carriage, and twice he had touched my shoulder, telling me that I was not aware how late it was. I could not conceive how he could think of going so early.

“Early!” He directed my eye to the clock on the chimneypiece. I was ashamed to see the hour. I apologized to Mr. Montenero. He replied in a manner that was more than polite—that was quite affectionate; and his last words, repeated at the head of the stairs, expressed a desire to see me again frequently.

I sprang into Mowbray’s carriage one of the happiest men on earth, full of love, hope, and joy.

Chapter XII • 4,800 Words

“All gone to bed but you?” said I to the footman, who opened the door.

“No, sir,” said the drowsy fellow, “my lady is sitting up for you, I believe.”

“Then, Mowbray, come in—come up with me to my mother, pray do, for one instant.”

Before she slept, I said, he must administer an antidote to Coates’s poison. While the impression was still fresh in his mind, I entreated he would say what a delightful party we had had. My mother, I knew, had such a high idea of his lordship’s judgment in all that concerned gentility and fashion, that a word from him would be decisive. “But let it be to-morrow morning,” said Mowbray; “‘tis shamefully late to-night.”

“To-night—to-night—now, now,” persisted I. He complied: “Any thing to oblige you.”

“Remember,” said I, as we ran up stairs, “Spanish ambassador, Russian envoy, Polish Count and Countess, and an English general and his lady—strong in rank we’ll burst upon the enemy.” I flung open the door, but my spirits were suddenly checked; I saw it was no time for jest and merriment.

Dead silence—solemn stillness—candles with unsnuffed wicks of portentous length. My father and mother were sitting with their backs half turned to each other, my mother leaning her head on her hand, with her elbow on the table, her salts before her. My father sitting in his arm-chair, legs stretched out, feet upon the bars of the grate, back towards us—but that back spoke anger as plainly as a back could speak. Neither figure moved when we entered. I stood appalled; Mowbray went forward, though I caught his arm to pull him back. But he did not understand me, and with ill-timed gaiety and fluency, that I would have given the world to stop, he poured forth to my mother in praise of all we had seen and heard; and then turning to my father, who slowly rose, shading his eyes from the candle, and looking at me under the hand, Lord Mowbray went on with a rapturous eulogium upon Harrington’s Jew and Jewess.

“Then it is all true,” said my father. “It is all very well, Harrington—but take notice, and I give you notice in time, in form, before your friend and counsellor, Lord Mowbray, that by Jupiter—by Jupiter Ammon, I will never leave one shilling to my son, if he marry a Jewess! Every inch of my estate shall go from him to his cousin Longshanks in the North, though I hate him like sin. But a Jewess for my daughter-in-law I will never have—by Jupiter Ammon!”

So snatching up a bougie, the wick of which scattered fire behind him, he left the room.

“Good Heavens! what have I done?” cried Mowbray.

“What you can never undo,” said I.

My mother spoke not one word, but sat smelling her salts.

“Never fear, man,” whispered Mowbray; “he will sleep it off, or by to-morrow we shall find ways and means.”

He left me in despair. I heard his carriage roll away—and then there was silence again. I stood waiting for some explanation from my mother—she saw my despair—she dreaded my anger: in broken and scarcely intelligible, contradictory phrases, she declared her innocence of all intention to do me mischief, and acknowledged that all was her doing; but reminded me, that she had prophesied it would come to this—it would end ill—and at last, trembling with impatience as I stood, she told me all that had happened.

The fact was, that she had talked to her friend Lady de Brantefield, and some other of her dear friends, of her dread that I should fall in love with Miss Montenero; and the next person said I had fallen in love with her; and under the seal of secresy,—it was told that I had actually proposed for her, but that my father was to know nothing of the matter. This story had been written in some young lady’s letter to her correspondent in the country, and miss in the country had told it to her brother, who had come to town this day, dined in company with my father, got drunk, and had given a bumper toast to “Miss Montenero, the Jewish heiress—Mrs. Harrington, jun. that is to be!

My father had come home foaming with rage; my mother had done all she could to appease him, and to make him comprehend that above half what he had heard was false; but it had gone the wrong way into his head, and there was no getting it out again. My father had heard it at the most unlucky time possible, just after he had lost a good place, and was driven to the necessity of selling an estate that had been in his family since the time of Richard the Second. My mother farther informed me, that my father had given orders, in his usual sudden way when angry, for going into the country immediately. While she was yet speaking, the door opened, and my father, with his nightcap on, put his head in, saying, “Remember, ma’am, you are to be off at seven to-morrow—and you sir,” continued he, advancing towards me, “if you have one grain of sense left, I recommend it to you to come with us. But no, I see it written in your absurd face, that you will not—obstinate madman! I leave you to your own discretion,” cried he, turning his back upon me; “but, by Jupiter Ammon, I’ll do what I say, by Jupiter!” And carrying my mother off with him, he left me to my pleasing reflections.

All was tumult in my mind: one moment I stood motionless in utter despair, the next struck with some bright hope. I walked up and down the room with hasty strides—then stopped short again, and stood fixed, as some dark reality, some sense of improbability—of impossibility, crossed my mind, and as my father’s denunciation recurred to my ear.

A Jewess!—her religion—her principles—my principles!—And can a Jewess marry a Christian? And should a Christian marry a Jewess? The horrors of family quarrels, of religious dissensions and disputes between father and child, husband and wife—All these questions, and fears, and doubts, passed through my imagination backwards and forwards with inconceivable rapidity—struck me with all the amazement of novelty, though in fact they were not new to me. The first moment I saw her, I was told she was a Jewess; I was aware of the difficulties, and yet I had never fixed my view upon them: I had suffered myself to waive the consideration of them till this moment. In the hope, the joy, the heaven of the first feelings of the passion of love, I had lost sight of all difficulties, human or divine; and now I was called upon to decide in one hour upon questions involving the happiness of my whole life. To be called upon before it was necessary too—for I was not in love, not I—at least I had formed no idea of marrying, no resolution to propose. Then bitterly I execrated the reporters, and the gossipers, and the letter-writing misses, whose tattling, and meddling, and idleness, and exaggeration, and absolute falsehood, had precipitated me into this misery. The drunken brute, too, who had blundered out to my father that fatal toast, had his full share of my indignation; and my mother, with her presentiments—and Mowbray, with his inconceivable imprudence—and my father, with his prejudices, his violence, and his Jupiter Ammon—every body, and every thing I blamed, except myself. And when I had vented my rage, still the question recurred, what was to be done? how should I resolve? Morning was come, the grey light was peeping through the shutters: I opened the window to feel the fresh calm air. I heard the people beginning to stir in the house: my father and mother were to be called at half after six. Six struck; I must decide at least, whether I would go with them or not. No chance of my father sleeping it off! Obstinate beyond conception; and by Jupiter Ammon once sworn, never revoked. But after all, where was the great evil of being disinherited? The loss of my paternal estate, in this moment of enthusiasm, appeared a loss I could easily endure. Berenice was an heiress—a rich heiress, and I had a small estate of my own, left to me by my grandfather. I could live with Berenice upon any thing—upon nothing. Her wishes were moderate, I was sure—I should not, however, reduce her to poverty; no, her fortune would be sufficient for us both. It would be mortifying to my pride—it would be painful to receive instead of to give—I had resolved never to be under such an obligation to a wife; but with such a woman as Berenice!—I would submit—submit to accept her and her fortune.

Then, as to her being a Jewess—who knows what changes love might produce? Voltaire and Mowbray say, “qu’une femme est toujours de la religion de son amant.”

At this instant I heard a heavy foot coming down the back stairs; the door opened, and a yawning housemaid appeared, and started at the sight of me.

“Gracious! I didn’t think it was so late! Mistress bid me ask the first thing I did—but I didn’t know it was so late—Mercy! there’s master’s bell—whether you go or not, sir?”

“Certainly not,” said I; and after having uttered this determination, I was more at ease. I sat down, and wrote a note to my father, in the most respectful and eloquent terms I could devise, judging that it was better to write than to speak to him on the subject. Then I vacated the room for the housemaid, and watched in my own apartment till all the noises of preparation and of departure were over; and till I heard the sound of the carriage driving away. I was surprised that my mother had not come to me to endeavour to persuade me to change my determination; but my father, I heard, had hurried her into the carriage—my note I found on the table torn down the middle.

I concluded that my cousin Longshanks was in a fair way to have the estate; but I went to bed and to sleep, and I was consoled with dreams of Berenice.

Mowbray was with me in the morning before I was dressed. I had felt so angry with him, that I had resolved a hundred times during the night that I would never more admit him into my confidence—however, he contrived to prevent my reproaches, and dispel my anger, by the great concern he expressed for his precipitation. He blamed himself so much, that, instead of accusing, I began to comfort him. I assured him that he had, in fact, done me a service instead of an injury, by bringing my affairs suddenly to a crisis: I had thus been forced to come at once to a decision. “What decision?” he eagerly asked. My heart was at this instant in such immediate want of sympathy, that it opened to him. I told him all that had passed between my father and me, told him my father’s vow, and my resolution to continue, at all hazards, my pursuit of Berenice. He heard me with astonishment: he said he could not tell which was most rash, my father’s vow, or my resolution.

“And your father is gone, actually gone,” cried Mowbray; “and, in spite of his Jupiter Ammon, you stand resolved to brave your fate, and to pursue the fair Jewess?”

“Even so,” said I: “this day I will know my fate—this day I will propose for Miss Montenero.”

Against this mad precipitation he argued in the most earnest manner.

“If you were the first duke in England, Harrington,” said he, “with the finest estate, undipped, unencumbered, unentailed; if, consequently, you had nothing to do but to ask and have any woman for a wife; still I should advise you, if you meant to secure the lady’s heart as well as her hand, not to begin in this novice-like manner, by letting her see her power over you: neither woman nor man ever valued an easy conquest. No, trust me, keep your mind to yourself till the lady is dying to know it—keep your own counsel till the lady can no longer keep hers: when you are sure of her not being able to refuse you, then ask for her heart as humbly as you please.”

To the whole of this doctrine I could not, in honour, generosity, or delicacy accede. Of the wisdom of avoiding the danger of a refusal I was perfectly sensible; but, in declaring my attachment to Miss Montenero, I meant only to ask permission to address her. To win her heart I was well aware must be a work of time; but the first step was to deserve her esteem, and to begin by conducting myself towards her, and her father, with perfect sincerity and openness. The more I was convinced of my father’s inflexibility, the more desperate I knew my circumstances were, the more I was bound not to mislead by false appearances. They would naturally suppose that I should inherit my father’s fortune—I knew that I should not, if—

“So, then,” interrupted Mowbray, “with your perfect openness and sincerity, you will go to Mr. Montenero, and you will say, ‘Sir, that you are a Jew, I know; that you are as rich as a Jew, I hope; that you are a fool, I take for granted: at all events, I am a madman and a beggar, or about to be a beggar. My father, who is a good and a most obstinate Christian, swore last night by Jupiter Ammon, the only oath which he never breaks, that he will disinherit me if I marry a Jewess: therefore, I come this morning to ask you, sir, for your daughter, who is a Jewess, and as I am told, a great heiress—which last circumstance is, in my opinion, a great objection, but I shall overcome it in favour of your daughter, if you will be pleased to give her to me. Stay, sir, I beg your pardon, sir, excuse the hurry of the passions, which, probably, you have long since forgotten; the fact is, I do not mean to ask you for your daughter,—I came simply to ask your permission to fall in love with her, which I have already done without your permission; and I trust she has, on her part, done likewise; for if I had not a shrewd suspicion that your Jessica was ready, according to the custom of Jews’ daughters, to jump out of a two-pair of stairs window into her lover’s arms, madman as I am, I could not be such an idiot as to present myself before you, as I now do, sir, suing in forma pauperis for the pleasure of becoming your son-in-law. I must further have the honour to tell you, and with perfect sincerity and consideration let me inform you, sir, that my Christian father and mother having resolved never to admit a Jewish daughter-in-law to the honours of the maternal or paternal embrace, when your daughter shall do me the favour to become my wife, she need not quit your house or family, as she cannot be received into mine. Here, sir, I will rest my cause; but I might farther plead—‘”

“Plead no more for or against me, Mowbray,” interrupted I, angrily turning from him, for I could bear it no longer. Enthusiasm detests wit much, and humour more. Enthusiasm, fancying itself raised above the reach of ridicule, is always incensed when it feels that it is not safe from its shafts.

Mowbray changed his tone, and checking his laughter, said seriously, and with an air of affectionate sympathy, that, at the hazard of displeasing me, he had used the only means he had conceived to be effectual to prevent me from taking a step which he was convinced would be fatal.

I thanked him for his advice, but I had previously been too much piqued by his raillery to allow his reasons even their due weight: besides, I began to have a secret doubt of the sincerity of his friendship. In his turn, he was provoked by my inflexible adherence to my own opinion; and perhaps, suspecting my suspicion, he was the more readily displeased. He spoke with confidence, I thought with arrogance, as a man notoriously successful in the annals of gallantry, treating me, as I could not bear to be treated, like a novice.

“I flatter myself, no man is less a coxcomb with regard to women than I am,” Lord Mowbray modestly began; “but if I were inclined to boast, I believe it is pretty generally allowed in town, by all who know any thing of these things, that my practice in gallantry has been somewhat successful—perhaps undeservedly so; still, in these cases, the world judges by success: I may, therefore, be permitted to think that I know something of women. My advice consequently, I thought, might be of use; but, after all, perhaps I am wrong: often those who imagine that they know women best, know them least.”

I replied that I did not presume to vie with Lord Mowbray as a man of gallantry; but I should conceive that the same precepts, and the same arts, which ensured success with women of a certain class, might utterly fail with women of different habits and tastes. If the question were how to win such and such an actress (naming one who had sacrificed her reputation for Mowbray, and another, for whom he was sacrificing his fortune), I should, I said, implicitly follow his advice; but that, novice as I was in gallantry, I should venture to follow my own judgment as to the mode of pleasing such a woman as Miss Montenero.

“None but a novice,” Mowbray answered, laughing, “could think that there was any essential difference between woman and woman.” Every woman was at heart the same. Of this he was so much convinced, that though he had not, he said, any absurd confidence in his own peculiar powers of pleasing, he was persuaded, that if honour had not put the trial quite out of the question on his part, he could as easily have won the fair Jewess as any other of her sex.

My indignation rose.

“Honour and friendship to me, my lord, are out of the question: forgive me, if I own that I do not think your lordship would there have any chance of success.”

“At all events you know you are safe; I cannot make the trial without your permission.” “Your lordship is perfectly at liberty, if you think proper, to make the trial.”

“Indeed!—Are you in earnest?—Now you have put it into my head, I will think of it seriously.”

Then in a careless, pick-tooth manner, he stood, as if for some moments debating the matter with himself.

“I have no great taste for matrimony or for Jewesses, but a Jewish heiress in the present state of my affairs—Harrington, you know the pretty little gipsy—the actress who played Jessica that night, so famous in your imagination, so fatal to us both—well, my little Jessica has, since that time, played away at a rare rate with my ready money—dipped me confoundedly—‘twould be poetic justice to make one Jewess pay for another, if one could. Two hundred thousand pounds, Miss Montenero is, I think they say. ‘Pon my sincerity, ‘tis a temptation! Now it strikes me—if I am not bound in honour—”

I walked away in disgust, while Mowbray, in the same tone, continued, “Let me see, now—suppose—only suppose—any thing may be by supposition—suppose we were rivals. As rivals, things would be wonderfully fair and even between us. You, Harrington, I grant, have the advantage of first impressions—she has smiled upon you; while I, bound in honour, stood by like a mummy—but unbound, set at liberty by express permission—give me a fortnight’s time, and if I don’t make her blush, my name’s not Mowbray!—and no matter whom a woman smiles upon, the man who makes her blush is the man. But seriously, Harrington, am I hurting your feelings? If what is play to me is death to you, I have done. Bind me over again to my good behaviour you may, by a single word. Instead of defying me, only swear, or, stay—I won’t put you to your oath—say candidly, upon your honour, Lord Mowbray puts you in fear of your love.”

“I neither defy you nor fear you, my lord!” said I, with a tone and look which at any other time Lord Mowbray, who was prompt enough to take offence, would have understood as it was meant. But he was now determined not to be provoked by any thing I could say or look. Standing still at ease, he continued, “Not fear me!—Not bind me in honour!—Then I have nobody’s feelings to consult but my own. So, as I was considering, things are marvellously nicely balanced between us. In point of fortune, both beggars—nearly; for though my father did not disinherit me, I have disinherited myself. Then our precious mothers will go mad on the spot, in white satin, if either of us marry a Jewess. Well! that is even between us. Then religious scruples—you have some, have not you?”

“I have, my lord.”

“Dry enough—there I have the advantage—I have none. Mosque—high church—low church—no church—don’t let me shock you. I thought you were for universal toleration; I am for liberty of conscience, in marriage at least. You are very liberal, I know. You’re in love, and you’d marry even a Jewess, would not you, if you could not contrive to convert her? I am not in love, but shall be soon, I feel; and when once I am in love!—I turn idolater, plump. Now, an idolater’s worse than a Jew: so I should make it a point of conscience to turn Jew, to please the fair Jewess, if requisite.”

“My lord, this trifling I can bear no longer; I must beg seriously that we may understand each other.”

“Trifling!—Never was more serious in my life. I’d turn Jew—I’d turn any thing, for a woman I loved.”

“Have you, or have you not, my lord, any intention of addressing Miss Montenero?”

“Since I have your permission—since you have put it in my head—since you have piqued me—frankly—yes.”

“I thank you for your frankness, my lord; I understand you. Now we understand each other,” said I.

“Why, yes—and ‘tis time we should,” said Mowbray, coolly, “knowing one another, as we have done, even from our boyish days. You may remember, I never could bear to be piqued, en honneur; especially by you, my dear Harrington. It was written above, that we were to be rivals. But still, if we could command our tempers—I was the hottest of the two, when we were boys; but seeing something of the world, abroad and at home, has done wonders for me. If you could coolly pursue this business as I wish, in the comic rather than the heroic style, we might still, though rivals, be friends—very good friends.”

“No, my lord, no: here all friendship between us ends.” “Be it so,” said Lord Mowbray: “then sworn foes instead of sworn friends—and open war is the word!”

“Open war!—yes—better than hollow peace.”

“Then a truce for to-day; to-morrow, with your good leave, I enter the lists.”

“When you please, my lord.”

“Fearful odds, I own. The first flourish of trumpets, by that trumpeter of yours, Jacob, has been in favour of the champion of the Jew pedlars; and the lady with bright Jewish eyes has bowed to her knight, and he has walked the field triumphantly alone; but Mowbray—Lord Mowbray appears! Farewell, Harrington!”

He bowed, laughing, and left me. ‘Twas well he did; I could not have borne it another second, and I could not insult the man in my own house—anger, disdainful anger, possessed me. My heart had, in the course of a few hours, been successively a prey to many violent conflicting passions; and at the moment when I most wanted the support, the sympathy of a friend, I found myself duped, deserted, ridiculed! I felt alone in the world, and completely miserable.

A truce for this day was agreed upon. I had a few hours’ time for reflection—much wanted. During this interval, which appeared to me a most painful suspense, I had leisure to reconsider my difficulties. Now that I was left to my own will entirely, should I decide to make an immediate declaration? As I revolved this question in my thoughts, my mind altered with every changing view which the hopes and fears of a lover threw upon the subject. I was not perfectly well informed as to the material point, whether the Jewish religion and Jewish customs permitted intermarriages with Christians. Mowbray’s levity had suggested alarming doubts: perhaps he had purposely thrown them out; be that as it would, I must be satisfied. I made general inquiries as to the Jewish customs from Jacob, and he, careful to answer with propriety, kept also to general terms, lest he should appear to understand my particular views: he could tell me only, that in some cases, more frequently on the continent and in America than in England, Jews have married Christian women, and the wives have continued undisturbed in their faith; whether such marriages were regularly permitted or not, Jacob could not say—no precedent that he could recollect was exactly a case in point. This difficulty concerning religion increased, instead of diminishing, in magnitude and importance, the more my imagination dwelt upon it—the longer it was considered by my reason: I must take more time before I could determine. Besides, I was curious—I would not allow that I was anxious—to see how Miss Montenero would conduct herself towards Lord Mowbray—a man of rank—a man of fashion—supposed to be a man of fortune—known to be a man of wit and gallantry: I should have an opportunity, such as I had never before had, of seeing her tried; and I should be able to determine whether I had really obtained any interest in her heart. On this last point particularly, I could now, without hazard of a mortifying refusal, or of a precipitate engagement, decide. Add to these distinct reasons, many mixed motives, which acted upon me without my defining or allowing them in words. I had spoken and thought with contempt of Lord Mowbray’s chance of success; but in spite of my pride in my own superiority of principle and character, in spite of my confidence in Berenice and in myself, I had my secret, very secret, quailings of the heart. I thought, when it came to the point, that it would be best to wait a little longer, before I hazarded that declaration which must bring her to direct acceptance or rejection; in short, I determined not to throw myself at her feet precipitately. I took Mowbray’s advice after all; but I took it when I had made it my own opinion: and still I rejoiced that my resistance to the arrogant manner in which Lord Mowbray had laid down the law of gallantry, had produced that struggle of the passions, in the height of which his mask had fallen off. I never could decide whether the thought of becoming my rival really struck him, as he said it did, from the pique of the moment; or whether he only seized the occasion to declare a design he had previously formed: no matter—we were now declared rivals.

Chapter XIII • 6,500 Words

After our declaration of hostilities, Lord Mowbray and I first met on neutral ground at the Opera—Miss Montenero was there. We were both eager to mark our pretensions to her publicly. I appeared this night to great disadvantage: I certainly did not conduct myself prudently—I lost the command of my temper. Lord Mowbray met me with the same self-possession, the same gay, careless manner which had provoked me so much during our last interview. To the by-standers, who knew nothing of what had passed between us, his lordship must have appeared the pink of courtesy, the perfection of gentlemanlike ease and good-humour; whilst I, unable to suppress symptoms of indignation, of contempt, and perhaps of jealousy, appeared, in striking contrast, captious, haughty, and at best incomprehensible. Mr. Montenero looked at me with much surprise, and some concern. In Miss Montenero’s countenance I thought I saw more concern than surprise; she was alarmed—she grew pale, and I repented of some haughty answer I had made to Lord Mowbray, in maintaining a place next to her, which he politely ceded to my impetuosity: he seated himself on the other side of her, in a place which, if I had not been blinded by passion, I might have seen and taken as quietly as he did. I was more and more vexed by perceiving that Mr. Montenero appeared to be, with all his penetration, duped this night by Mowbray’s show of kindness towards me; he whispered once or twice to Mr. Montenero, and they seemed as if they were acting in concert, both observing that I was out of temper, and Lord Mowbray showing Mr. Montenero how he bore with me. In fact, I desired nothing so much as an opportunity of quarrelling with him, and he, though determined to put me ostensibly and flagrantly in the wrong, desired nothing better than to commence his operation by the eclat of a duel. If Miss Montenero had understood her business as a heroine, a duel, as every body expected, must have taken place between us, in consequence of the happy dispositions in which we both were this night: nothing but the presence of mind and unexpected determination of Miss Montenero could have prevented it. I sat regretting that I had given a moment’s pain or alarm to her timid sensibility, while I observed the paleness of her cheek, and a tremor in her under lip, which betrayed how much she had been agitated. Some talking lady of the party began to give an account, soon afterwards, of a duel in high life, which was then the conversation of the day: Lord Mowbray and I were both attentive, and so was Miss Montenero. When she observed that our attention was fixed, and when there was a pause in the conversation in which her low voice could be distinctly heard, she, conquering her extreme timidity, and with a calmness that astonished us all, said, that she did not pretend to be a judge of what gentlemen might think right or wrong about duels, but that for her own part she had formed a resolution—an unalterable resolution, never to marry a man who had fought a duel in which he had been the challenger. Her father, who was behind her, leaned forward, and asked what his daughter said—she deliberately repeated her words.

That instant I recovered perfect command of temper—I resolved that at all events I never would be the person to give the challenge, and Lord Mowbray, at the same instant, I believe, resolved that I should, if he could so manage it without appearing to be the aggressor. We were both of us firmly convinced that Miss Montenero was in earnest; the manner in which she spoke, and the strong evidence of her power over herself at this moment, impressed us completely with this conviction. A young lady, a stranger in London, averse from appearing, infinitely more averse from speaking before numbers, who, when all eyes, and some of them no friendly eyes, were fixed upon her, could so far conquer her excessive susceptibility to the opinion of others, as to pronounce, in such circumstances, such a new and extraordinary determination, was certainly to be deemed capable of abiding by her resolution. She was much blamed, I heard afterwards, for the resolution, and more for the declaration. It was said to be “quite unfit for a lady, and particularly for so young a lady. Till swords were actually drawn, she should never have thought of such a thing: then, to presume that she or her fortune were of such consequence, that her declaration could influence gentlemen—could have any effect on Lord Mowbray! He did her a vast deal too much honour in paying her any of those attentions which every body knew meant nothing—a Jewess, too!”

Miss Montenero never afterwards spoke on the subject; the effect she desired was produced, and no other power, I am persuaded, could have been sufficient to have made me preserve command of myself, during my daily, hourly trials of temper, in those contentions for her favour which ensued. Lord Mowbray, by every secret art that could pique my pride, my jealousy, or my love, endeavoured to provoke me to challenge him. At first this struggle in my mind was violent—I had reason to fear my rival’s address, and practised powers of pleasing. He used his utmost skill, and that skill was great. He began by exerting all his wit, humour, and vivacity, to entertain in conversation; while I, with a spell over my faculties, could not produce to advantage any one thing I knew or had ever known. What became of my ideas I know not, but I was sensible of my being very stupid and disagreeable. Aware of the contrast, aware that Miss Montenero saw and felt it, I grew ten times worse, more silent, and more stupid. Mowbray, happy and confident, went on, secure of victory. He was an excellent actor, and he was now to act falling in love, which he did by such fine degrees, and with a nicety of art which so exquisitely imitated nature, that none but the most suspicious or the most practised could have detected the counterfeit. From being the most entertaining, lively man in London, Lord Mowbray became serious, grave, and sentimental. From being a gallant, gay Lothario, he was reformed, likely to make the best husband in the world, provided he marry the woman he loves, and who has influence over him sufficient to make his reformation last for life. This Lord Mowbray, in every possible form of insinuation, gave Miss Montenero to understand was precisely her case and his; she had first, he said, given him a taste for refined female society, disgusted him with his former associates, especially with the women of whom he could not now bear to think; he had quarrelled with—parted with all his mistresses—his Jessica, the best beloved—parted from irrevocably. This was dropped with propriety in conversation with Mr. Montenero. The influence of a virtuous attachment is well known. The effects on Lord Mowbray were, as he protested, wonderful; he scarcely knew himself—indeed I scarcely knew him, though I had been, as it were, behind the scenes, and had seen him preparing for his character. Though he knew that I knew that he was acting, yet this never disconcerted him in the slightest degree—never gave him one twinge of conscience, or hesitation from shame, in my presence. Whenever I attempted openly—I was too honourable, and he knew I was too honourable, to betray his confidence, or to undermine him secretly—whenever I attempted openly to expose him, he foiled me—his cunning was triumphant, and the utmost I could accomplish was, in the acme of my indignation, to keep my temper, and recollect Miss Montenero’s resolution.

Though she seemed not at first in the least to suspect Lord Mowbray’s sincerity, she was, as I rejoiced to perceive, little interested by his professions: she was glad he was reformed, for his sake; but for her own part, her vanity was not flattered. There seemed to be little chance on this plea of persuading her to take charge of him for life. My heart beat again with hope—how I admired her!—and I almost forgave Lord Mowbray. My indignation against him, I must own, was not always as steadily proportioned to his deserts as for the sake of my pride and consistency I could wish to represent it. In recording this part of the history of my life, truth obliges me to acknowledge that my anger rose or fell in proportion to the degree of fear I felt of the possibility of his success; whenever my hope and my confidence in myself increased, I found it wonderfully easy to command my temper.

But my rival was a man of infinite resource; when one mode of attack failed, he tried another. Vanity, in some form, he was from experience convinced must be the ruling passion of the female heart—and vanity is so accessible, so easily managed. Miss Montenero was a stranger, a Jewess, just entering into the fashionable world—just doubting, as he understood, whether she should make London her future residence, or return to her retirement in the wilds of America. Lord Mowbray wished to make her sensible that his public attentions would bring her at once into fashion; and though his mother, the prejudiced Lady De Brantefield, could not be prevailed upon to visit a Jewess, yet his lordship had a vast number of high connexions and relations, to all of whom he could introduce Mr. and Miss Montenero. Lady Anne Mowbray, indeed, unaccountably persisted in saying every where, that she was certain her brother had no more thought of the Jewess than of the queen of the gipsies. Whenever she saw Miss Montenero in public, her ladyship had, among her own set, a never-failing source of sarcasm and ridicule in the Spanish fashion of Miss Montenero’s dress, especially her long veils—veils were not then in fashion, and Lady Anne of course pronounced them to be hideous. It was at this time, in England, the reign of high heads: a sort of triangular cushion or edifice of horsehair, suppose nine inches diagonal, three inches thick, by seven in height, called I believe a toque or a system, was fastened on the female head, I do not well know how, with black pins a quarter of a yard long; and upon and over this system, the hair was erected, and crisped, and frizzed, and thickened with soft pomatum, and filled with powder, white, brown, or red, and made to look as like as possible to a fleece of powdered wool, which battened down on each side of the triangle to the face. Then there were things called curls—nothing like what the poets understand by curls or ringlets, but layers of hair, first stiffened and then rolled up into hollow cylinders, resembling sausages, which were set on each side of the system, “artillery tier above tier,” two or three of the sausages dangling from the ear down the neck. The hair behind, natural and false, plastered together to a preposterous bulk with quantum sufficit of powder and pomatum, was turned up in a sort of great bag, or club, or chignon—then at the top of the mount of hair and horsehair was laid a gauze platform, stuck full of little red daisies, from the centre of which platform rose a plume of feathers a full yard high—or in lieu of platform, flowers, and feathers, there was sometimes a fly-cap, or a wing-cap, or a pouf. If any one happens to have an old pocket-book for 1780, a single glance at the plate of fashionable heads for that year will convey a more competent idea of the same than I, unknowing in the terms of art, can produce by the most elaborate description. Suffice it for me to observe, that in comparison with this head-dress, to which, in my liberality and respect for departed fashion, I forbear to fix any of the many epithets which present themselves, the Spanish dress and veil worn by Miss Montenero, associated as it was with painting and poetry, did certainly appear to me more picturesque and graceful. In favour of the veil, I had all the poets, from Homer and Hesiod downwards, on my side; and moreover, I was backed by the opinion of the wisest of men, who has pronounced that “a veil addeth to beauty.” Armed with such authority, and inspired by love, I battled stoutly with Lady Anne upon several occasions, especially one night when we met at the Pantheon. I was walking between Lady Emily B—— and Miss Montenero, and two or three times, as we went round the room, we met Lady Anne Mowbray and her party, and every time we passed, I observed scornful glances at the veil. Berenice was too well-bred to suspect ill-breeding in others; she never guessed what was going forward, till one of the youngest and boldest of these high-born vulgarians spoke so loud as she passed, and pronounced the name of Montenero, and the word Jewess, so plainly, that both Miss Montenero and Lady Emily B—— could not avoid hearing what was said. Lord Mowbray was not with us. I took an opportunity of quitting the ladies as soon as general B——, who had left us for a few minutes, returned. I went to pay my compliments to Lady Anne Mowbray, and, as delicately as I could, remonstrated against their proceedings. I said that her ladyship and her party were not aware, I was sure, how loudly they had spoken. Lady Anne defended herself and her companions by fresh attacks upon the veil, and upon the lady, “who had done vastly well to take the veil.” In the midst of the nonsense which Lady Anne threw out, there now and then appeared something that was a little like her brother Mowbray’s wit—little bits of sparkling things, mica, not ore. I was in no humour to admire them, and her ladyship took much offence at a general observation I made, “that people of sense submit to the reigning fashion, while others are governed by it.” We parted this night so much displeased with each other, that when we met again in public, we merely exchanged bows and curtsies—in private we had seldom met of late—I never went to Lady de Brantefield’s. I was really glad that the battle of the veil had ended in this cessation of intercourse between us. As soon as Miss Montenero found that her Spanish dress subjected her to the inconvenience of being remarked in public she laid it aside. I thought she was right in so doing—and in three days’ time, though I had at first regretted the picturesque dress, I soon became accustomed to the change. So easily does the eye adapt itself to the fashion, so quickly do we combine the idea of grace and beauty with whatever is worn by the graceful and the beautiful, and I may add, so certainly do we learn to like whatever is associated with those we love.

The change of dress which Berenice had so prudently adopted, did not, however, produce any change in the manners of Lady Anne and of her party. Lady Anne, it was now evident, had taken an unalterable dislike to Miss Montenero. I am not coxcomb enough to imagine that she was jealous; I know that she never had the slightest regard for me, and that I was not the sort of man whom she could like; but still I had been counted, perhaps by others, in the list of her admirers, and I was a young man, and an admirer the less was always to be regretted—deserting to a Jewess, as she said, was intolerable. But I believe she was also secretly afraid, that her brother was more in earnest in his attentions to Miss Montenero, than she affected to suppose possible. From whatever cause, she certainly hated Berenice cordially, and took every means of mortifying me by the display of this aversion. I shall not be at the trouble of recording the silly and petty means she took to vex. I was not surprised at any thing of this sort from her ladyship; but I was much surprised by her brother’s continuing to be absolutely blind and deaf to her proceedings. It is true, sometimes it happened that he was not present, but this was not always the case; and I was convinced that it could not be from accident or inadvertency, that it must be from settled design, that he persisted in this blindness. Combining my observations, I discovered that he wanted to make Miss Montenero feel how impossible it was for her to escape the ridicule of certain fashionable impertinents, and how impracticable it would be to get on among people of the ton in London, without the aid of such a champion as himself. One day he suddenly appeared to discover something of what was going forward, and assumed great indignation; then affecting to suppress that feeling, “wished to Heaven he were authorized to speak”—and there he paused—but no inclination to authorize him appeared. I had sometimes seen Miss Montenero distressed by the rude manner in which she had been stared at. I had seen her colour come and go, but she usually preserved a dignified silence on such occasions. Once, and but once, I heard her advert to the subject in speaking to her father, when Lord Mowbray was not present. “You see, I hope, my dear father,” said she, “that I am curing myself of that morbid sensibility, that excessive susceptibility to the opinion of others, with which you used to reproach me. I have had some good lessons, and you have had some good trials of me, since we came to England.”

“How much I am obliged to those persons or those circumstances, which have done what I thought was impossible, which have raised my daughter in my opinion!” said her father. The look of affectionate approbation with which these words were pronounced, and the grateful delight with which Berenice heard them, convinced me that Lord Mowbray had completely mistaken his ground—had mistaken strong sensibility for weakness of mind. It now appeared, to my entire satisfaction, that Miss Montenero was really and truly above the follies and the meanness of fashion. She did not wish to be acquainted with these fine people, nor to make a figure in public; but she did wish to see the best society in London, in order to compare it with what she had been accustomed to in other countries, and to determine what would be most for her future happiness. Through the friendship of General B—— and his family, she had sufficient opportunities of seeing in public, and enjoying in private, the best society in London. Lord Mowbray, therefore, had no power over her, as a leader of fashion; his general character for being a favourite with the ladies, and his gallant style of conversation, did not make the impression upon her that he had expected.

He did not know how to converse with one who could not be answered by a play upon words, nor satisfied by an appeal to precedents, or the authority of numbers and of high names.

Lord Chesterfield’s style of conversation, and that of any of the personages in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, could not be more different, or less compatible, than the simplicity of Miss Montenero and the wit of Lord Mowbray.

I never saw any one so puzzled and provoked as was this man of wit by a character of genuine simplicity. He was as much out of his element with such a character as any of the French lovers in Marmontel’s Tales would be tête-à-tête with a Roman or a Grecian matron—as much at a loss as one of the fine gentlemen in Congreve’s plays might find himself, if condemned to hold parley with a heroine of Sophocles or of Euripides.

Lord Mowbray, a perfect Proteus when he wished to please, changed his manner successively from that of the sentimental lover, to that of the polite gallant and accomplished man of the world; and when this did not succeed, he had recourse to philosophy, reason, and benevolence. No hint, which cunning and address could improve to his purpose, was lost upon Mowbray. Mrs. Coates had warned me that Miss Montenero was touchy on the Jewish chapter, and his lordship was aware it was as the champion of the Jews that I had first been favourably represented by Jacob, and favourably received by Mr. Montenero. Soon Lord Mowbray appeared to be deeply interested and deeply read in very thing that had been written in their favour.

He rummaged over Tovey and Ockley; and “Priestley’s Letters to the Jews,” and “The Letters of certain Jews to M. de Voltaire,” were books which he now continually quoted in conversation. With great address he wondered that he had never happened to meet with them till lately; and confessed that he believed he never should have thought of reading them, but that really the subject had of late become so interesting! Of Voltaire’s illiberal attacks upon the Jews, and of the King of Prussia’s intolerance towards them, he could not express sufficient detestation; nor could he ever adequately extol Cumberland’s benevolent “Jew,” or Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise.” Quotations from one or the other were continually in readiness, uttered with all the air of a man so deeply impressed with certain sentiments, that they involuntarily burst from him on every occasion. This I could also perceive to be an imitation of what he had seen suceed with me; and I was not a little flattered by observing, that Berenice was unconsciously pleased, if not caught by the counterfeit. The affectation was skilfully managed, with a dash of his own manner, and through the whole preserving an air of nature and consistency: so that he had all the appearance of a person whose understanding, naturally liberal, had, on one particular subject, been suddenly warmed and exalted by the passion of love. It has often been said, that liars have need of good memories. Mowbray had really an excellent memory, but yet it was not sufficient for all his occasions. He contradicted himself sometimes without perceiving it, but not without its being perceived. Intent upon one point, he laboured that admirably; but he sometimes forgot that any thing could be seen beyond that point—he forgot the bearings and connexions. He never forgot his liberality about the Jews, and about every thing relative to Hebrew ground; but on other questions, in which he thought Mr. Montenero and his daughter had no concern, his party spirit and his want of toleration for other sects broke out.

One day a Rabbi came to Mr. Montenero’s while we were there, to solicit his contribution towards the building or repairing a synagogue. The priest was anxious to obtain leave to build on certain lands which belonged to the crown. These lands were in the county where Lord Mowbray’s or Lady de Brantefield’s property lay. With the most engaging liberality of manner, Lord Mowbray anticipated the wishes of the Jewish priest, declaring that he was happy on this occasion publicly and practically to show his principles of toleration; he would immediately use whatever influence he might possess with government to obtain the desired grant; and if that application should fail, there was still a resource in future. At present, unfortunately, his mother’s opinions differing from his own, nothing could be done; but he could, in future, offer a site for a synagogue in the very part of the country that was desired, on lands that must in time be his.

The priest was down to the ground, bowing, full of acknowledgments, and admiration of his lordship’s generosity and liberality of principle. A few minutes afterwards, however, his lordship undid all he had done with Berenice and with her father, by adding that he regretted that his mother had given a lease of a bit of land to some confounded dissenters: he was determined, he said, whenever the estate should come into his own hands, to break that lease—he would have no meeting-house, no dissenting chapel on his estate—he considered them as nuisances—he would raze the chapel to the ground—he would much rather have a synagogue on that spot.

Lord Mowbray walked to the window with the Jewish priest, who was eager to press his own point while his lordship was in the humour.

Mowbray looked back for Mr. Montenero, but, to his evident mortification, neither Mr. Montenero nor Berenice followed to this consultation. Mr. Montenero turned to me, and, with a peculiar look of his, an expression of grave humour and placid penetration, said, “Did you ever hear, Mr. Harrington, of a sect of Jews called the Caraites?”

“Never, sir.”

“The Caraites are what we may call Jewish dissenters. Lord Mowbray’s notions of toleration remind me of the extraordinary liberality of one of our Rabbies, who gave it as his opinion that if a Caraites and a Christian were drowning, we Jews ought to make a bridge of the body of the Caraite, for the purpose of saving the Christian.”

Berenice smiled; and I saw that my fears of her being duped by mock philanthropy were vain. Lord Mowbray was soon tired of his colloquy with the priest, and returned to us, talking of the Hebrew chanting at some synagogue in town which he had lately visited; and which, he said, was the finest thing he had ever heard. A Jewish festival was in a few days to be celebrated, and I determined, I said, to go on that day to hear the chanting, and to see the ceremony. In the countenance of Berenice, to whom my eyes involuntarily turned as I spoke, I saw an indefinable expression, on which I pondered, and finished by interpreting favourably to my wishes. I settled that she was pleased, but afraid to show this too distinctly. Lord Mowbray regretted, what I certainly did not in the least regret, that he should be on duty at Windsor on the day of this festival. I was the more determined to be at the synagogue, and there accordingly I went punctually; but, to my disappointment, Berenice did not appear. Mr. Montenero saw me come in, and made room for me near him. The synagogue was a spacious, handsome building; not divided into pews like our churches, but open, like foreign churches, to the whole congregation. The women sat apart in a gallery. The altar was in the centre, on a platform, raised several steps and railed round. Within this railed space were the high-priest and his assistants. The high-priest with his long beard and sacerdotal vestments, struck me as a fine venerable figure. The service was in Hebrew: but I had a book with a translation of it. All I recollect are the men and women’s thanksgivings.

“Blessed art thou, O Everlasting King! that thou hast not made me a woman.”

The woman’s lowly response is, “Blessed art thou, O Lord! that thou hast made me according to thy will.”

But of the whole ceremony I must confess that I have but a very confused recollection. Many things conspired to distract my attention. Whether it was that my disappointment at not seeing Berenice indisposed me to be pleased, or whether the chanting was not this day, or at this synagogue, as fine as usual, it certainly did not answer my expectations. However pleasing it might be to other ears, to mine it was discordant; and I was afraid that Mr. Montenero should perceive this. I saw that he observed me from time to time attentively, and I thought he wanted to discover whether there was within me any remains of my old antipathies. Upon this subject I knew he was peculiarly susceptible. Under this apprehension, I did my utmost to suppress my feelings; and the constraint became mentally and corporeally irksome. The ceremonials, which were quite new to me, contributed at once to strain my attention, and to increase the painful confusion of my mind. I felt relieved when the service was over; but when I thought that it was finished, all stood still, as if in expectation, and there was a dead silence. I saw two young children appear from the crowd: way was made for them to the altar. They walked slowly, hand in hand, and when they had ascended the steps, and approached the altar, the priest threw over them a white scarf, or vestment, and they kneeled, and raising their little hands, joined them together, in the attitude of supplication. They prayed in silence. They were orphans, praying for their father and mother, whom they had lately lost. Mr. Montenero told me that it is the Jewish custom for orphans, during a year after the death of their parents, to offer up at the altar, on every public meeting of their synagogue, this solemn commemoration of their loss. While the children were still kneeling, a man walked silently round the synagogue, collecting contributions for the orphans. I looked, and saw, as he came nearer to me, that this was Jacob. Just as I had taken out my purse, I was struck by the sight of a face and figure that had terrible power over my associations—a figure exactly resembling one of the most horrible of the Jewish figures which used to haunt me when I was a child. The face with terrible eyes stood fixed opposite to me. I was so much surprised and startled by this apparition, that a nervous tremor seized me in every limb. I let the purse, which I had in my hand, fall upon the ground. Mr. Montenero took it up again, and presented it to me, asking me, in a very kind voice, “if I was ill.” I recollected myself—when I looked again, the figure had disappeared in the crowd. I had no reason to believe that Mr. Montenero saw the cause of my disorder. He seemed to attribute it to sudden illness, and hastened to get out of the synagogue into the fresh air. His manner, on this occasion, was so kind towards me, and the anxiety he showed about my health so affectionate, that all my fears of his misinterpreting my feelings vanished; and to me the result of all that had passed was a firmer conviction, than I had ever yet felt, of his regard.

It was evident, I thought, that after all the disadvantages I had had on some points, and after all the pains that Lord Mowbray had taken to please, Mr. Montenero far preferred me, and was interested in the highest degree about my health, and about every thing that concerned me. Nevertheless, Lord Mowbray persevered in showing the most profound respect for Mr. Montenero, by acting an increasing taste for his conversation, deference for his talents, and affection for his virtues. This certainly succeeded better with Berenice than any thing else his lordship had tried; but when he found it please, he overdid it a little. The exaggeration was immediately detected by Berenice: the heart easily detects flattery. Once, when Lord Mowbray praised her father for some accomplishment which he did not possess—for pronouncing and reading English remarkably well—his daughter’s glance at the flatterer expressed indignation, suddenly extinguished by contempt. Detected and baffled, he did not well know how, by a woman whom he considered as so much his inferior in ability and address, Lord Mowbray found it often difficult to conceal his real feelings of resentment, and then it was that he began to hate her. I, who knew his countenance too well to be deceived by his utmost command of face, saw the evil turn of the eye—saw looks from time to time that absolutely alarmed me—looks of hatred, malice, vengeance, suddenly changed to smiles, submission, and softness of demeanour. Though extremely vain, and possessed with an opinion that no woman could resist him, yet, with his understanding and his experience in gallantry, I could not conceive it possible that, after all the signs and tokens he had seen, he should persist in the hope of succeeding; he was certainly aware that I was preferred. I knew it to be natural that jealousy and anger should increase with fears and doubts of success; and yet there was something incomprehensible in the manner which, before Mr. Montenero, he now adopted towards me: he appeared at once to yield the palm to me, and yet to be resolved not to give up the contest; he seemed as if he was my rival against his will, and my friend if I would but permit it; he refrained, with ostentatious care, from giving me any provocation, checking himself often, and drawing back with such expressions as these:—“If it were any other man upon earth—but Mr. Harrington might say and do what he pleased—in any other circumstances, he could not hazard contradicting or quarrelling with him; indeed he could never forget—”

Then he would look at Berenice and at Mr. Montenero, and they would look as if they particularly approved of his conduct. Berenice softened towards him, and I trembled. As she softened towards him, I fancied she became graver and more reserved towards me. I was more provoked by the new tone of sentimental regret from Mowbray than I had been by any of his other devices, because I thought I saw that it imposed more than any thing else had done on Berenice and Mr. Montenero, and because I knew it to be so utterly false.

Once, as we were going down stairs together, after I had disdainfully expressed my contempt of hypocrisy, and my firm belief that my plain truth would in the end prevail with Berenice against all his address, he turned upon me in sudden anger, beyond his power to control, and exclaimed, “Never!—She never shall be yours!”

It appeared as if he had some trick yet in store—some card concealed in his hand, with which he was secure, at last, of winning the game. I pondered, and calculated, but I could not make out what it could be.

One advantage, as he thought it, I was aware he had over me—he had no religious scruples; he could therefore manage so as to appear to make a great sacrifice to love, when, in fact, it would cost his conscience nothing. One evening he began to talk of Sir Charles Grandison and Clementina—he blamed Sir Charles Grandison; he declared, that for his part there was nothing he would not sacrifice to a woman he loved.

I looked at Miss Montenero at that instant—our eyes met—she blushed deeply—withdrew her eyes from me—and sighed. During the remainder of the evening, she scarcely spoke to me, or looked toward me. She appeared embarrassed; and, as I thought, displeased. Lord Mowbray was in high spirits—he seemed resolved to advance—I retired earlier than usual. Lord Mowbray stayed, and seized the moment to press his own suit. He made his proposal—he offered to sacrifice religion—every thing to love. He was refused irrevocably. I know nothing of the particulars, nor should I have known the fact but for his own intemperance of resentment. It was not only his vanity—his mortified, exasperated vanity—that suffered by this refusal; it was not only on account of his rivalship with me that he was vexed to the quick; his interest, as much as his vanity, had suffered. I did not know till this night how completely he was ruined. He had depended upon the fortune of the Jewess. What resource for him now?—None. In this condition, like one of the Indian gamblers, when they have lost all, and are ready to run amuck on all who may fall in their way, he this night, late, made his appearance at a club where he expected to find me. Fortunately, I was not there; but a gentleman who was, gave me an account of the scene. Disappointed at not finding me, with whom he had determined to quarrel, he supped in absolute silence—drank hasty and deep draughts of wine—then burst out into abuse of Mr. and Miss Montenero, and challenged any body present to defend them: he knew that several of their acquaintances were in company; but all, seeing that from the combined effects of passion and wine he was not in his senses, suffered him to exhale his fury without interruption or contradiction. Then he suddenly demanded the reason of this silence; and seemingly resolved to force some one into a quarrel,[6]Strange as it may appear, this representation is true. he began by the gentleman next to him, and said the most offensive and provoking things he could think of to him—and to each in turn; but all laughed, and told him they were determined not to quarrel with him—that he must take four-and-twenty hours to cool before they would take notice of any thing he should say. His creditors did not give him four-and-twenty hours’ time: a servant, before whom he had vented his rage against the Jewess, comprehended that all his hopes of her were over, and gave notice to the creditors, who kept him in their pay for that purpose. Mowbray was obliged the next day to leave town, or to conceal himself in London, to avoid an arrest. I heard no more of him for some time—indeed I made no inquiries. I could have no farther interest concerning a man who had conducted himself so ill. I only rejoiced that he was now out of my way, and that he had by all his treachery, and by all his artifices, given me an opportunity of seeing, more fully tried, the excellent understanding and amiable disposition of Berenice. My passion was now justified by my reason: my hopes were high, not presumptuous—nothing but the difficulty about her religion stood between me and happiness. I was persuaded that the change by which I had been alarmed in Miss Montenero’s manner towards me had arisen only from doubts of my love, or from displeasure at the delay of an explicit declaration of my passion. Determined, at all hazards, now to try my fate, I took my way across the square to Mr. Montenero’s—Across the square?—yes! I certainly took the diagonal of the square.

Footnotes

[6] Strange as it may appear, this representation is true.

Chapter XIV • 4,900 Words

When I arrived at Mr. Montenero’s I saw the window-shutters closed, and there was an ominous stillness in the area—no one answered to my knock. I knocked louder—I rang impatiently; no footsteps were heard in the hall: I pulled the bell incessantly. During the space of three minutes that I was forced to wait on the steps, I formed a variety of horrid imaginations. At last I heard approaching sounds: an old woman very deliberately opened the door. “Lauk, sir, how you do ring! There’s not a body to be had but me—all the servants is different ways, gone to their friends.”

“But Mr. and Miss Montenero—”

“Oh! they was off by times this morning—they be gone—”

“Gone?”

I suppose my look and accent of despair struck the old woman with some pity, for she added, “Lauk, sir, they be only gone for a few days.”

I recovered my breath. “And can you, my good lady, tell me where they are gone?”

“Somewhere down in Surrey—Lord knows—I forget the names—but to General somebody’s.”

“General B——‘s, perhaps.”

“Ay, ay,—that’s it.”

My imagination ran over in an instant all the general’s family, the gouty brother, and the white-toothed aide-de-camp.

“How long are they to stay at General B——‘s, can you tell me, my good lady?”

“Dear heart! I can’t tell, not I’s, how they’ll cut and carve their visitings—all I know is, they be to be back here in ten days or a fortnight or so.”

I put a golden memorandum, with my card, into the old woman’s hand, and she promised that the very moment Mr. and Miss Montenero should return to town I should have notice.

During this fortnight my anxiety was increased by hearing from Mrs. Coates, whom I accidentally met at a fruit-shop, that “Miss Montenero was taken suddenly ill of a scarlet fever down in the country at General B——‘s, where,” as Mrs. Coates added, “they could get no advice for her at all, but a country apothecary, which was worse than nobody.”

Mrs. Coates, who was not an ill-natured, though a very ill-bred woman, observing the terrible alarm into which she had thrown me by her intelligence, declared she was quite sorry she had outed with the news so sudden upon me. Mrs. Coates now stood full in the doorway of the fruit-shop, so as to stop me completely from effecting my retreat; and while her footman was stowing into her carriage the loads of fruit which she had purchased, I was compelled to hear her go on in the following style.

“Now, Mr. Harrington—no offence—but I couldn’t have conceived it was so re’lly over head and ears an affair with you, as by your turning as pale as the table-cloth I see it re’lly is. For there was my son Peter, he admired her, and the alderman was not against it; but then the Jewess connexion was always a stumbling-block Peter could not swallow;—and as for my Lord Mowbray, that the town talked of so much as in love with the Jewess heiress—heiress, says I, very like, but not Jewess, I’ll engage; and, said I, from the first, he is no more in love with her than I am. So many of them young men of the ton is always following of them heiresses up and down for fashion or fortin’s sake, without caring sixpence about them, that—I ask your pardon, Mr. Harrington—but I thought you might, in the alderman’s phrase, be of the same kidney; but since I see ‘tis a real downright affair of the heart, I shall make it my business to call myself at your house to-morrow in my carriage. No—that would look odd, and you a bachelor, and your people out o’town. But I’ll send my own footman with a message, I promise you now, let ‘em be ever so busy, if I hear any good news. No need to send if it be bad, for ill news flies apace evermore, all the world over, as Peter says. Tom! I say! is the fruit all in, Tom?—Oh! Mr. Harrington, don’t trouble yourself—you’re too polite, but I always get into my coach best myself, without hand or arm, except it be Tom’s. A good morning, sir—I sha’n’t forget to-morrow: so live upon hope—lover’s fare!—Home, Tom.”

The next day, Mrs. Coates, more punctual to her word than many a more polished person, sent as early as it was possible “to set my heart at ease about Miss Montenero’s illness, and other matters.” Mrs. Coates enclosed in her note two letters, which her maid had received that morning and last Tuesday. This was the way, as Mrs. Coates confessed, that the report reached her ears. The waiting-maid’s first letter had stated “that her lady, though she did not complain, had a cold and sore throat coming down, and this was alarming, with a spotted fever in the neighbourhood.” Mrs. Coates’s maid had, in repeating the news, “turned the sore throat into a spotted fever, or a scarlet fever, she did not rightly know which, but both were said by the apothecary to be generally fatal, where there was any Jewish taint in the blood.”

The waiting-maid’s second epistle, on which Mrs. Coates had written, “a sugar plum for a certain gentleman,” contained the good tidings “that the first was all a mistake. There was no spotted fever, the general’s own man would take his Bible oath, within ten miles round—and Miss Montenero’s throat was gone off—and she was come out of her room. But as to spirits and good looks, she had left both in St. James’-square, Lon’on; where her heart was, fur certain. For since she come to the country, never was there such a change in any living lady, young or old—quite moped!—The general, and his aide-de-camp, and every body, noticing it at dinner even. To be sure if it did not turn out a match, which there was some doubts of, on account of the family’s and the old gentleman’s particular oaths and objections, as she had an inkling of, there would be two broken hearts. Lord forbid!—though a Jewish heart might be harder to break than another’s, yet it looked likely.”

The remainder of the letter, Mrs. Coates, or her maid, had very prudently torn off. I was now relieved from all apprehensions of spotted fever; and though I might reasonably have doubted the accuracy of all the intelligence conveyed by such a correspondent, yet I could not help having a little faith in some of her observations. My hopes, at least, rose delightfully; and with my hope, my ardent impatience to see Berenice again. At last, the joyful notice of Mr. and Miss Montenero’s return to town was brought to me by the old woman. Mr. Montenero admitted me the moment I called. Miss Montenero was not at home, or not visible. I was shown into Mr. Montenero’s study. The moment I entered, the moment I saw him, I was struck with some change in his countenance—some difference in his manner of receiving me. In what the difference consisted, I could not define; but it alarmed me.

“Good Heavens!” I exclaimed, “is Miss Montenero ill?”

“My daughter is perfectly well, my dear sir.”

“Thank Heaven! But you, sir?”

“I,” said Mr. Montenero, “am also in perfect health. What alarms you?”

“I really don’t well know,” said I, endeavouring to laugh at myself, and my own apprehensions; “but I thought I perceived some change in the expression of your countenance towards me, my dear Mr. Montenero. You must know, that all my life, my quickness of perception of the slightest change in the countenance and manner of those I love, has ever been a curse to me; for my restless imagination always set to work to invent causes—and my causes, though ingenious, unluckily, seldom happened to be the real causes. Many a vain alarm, many a miserable hour, has this superfluous activity of imagination cost me—so I am determined to cure myself.”

At the moment I was uttering the determination, I stopped short, for I felt that I could not keep it, on this occasion. Mr. Montenero sighed, or I thought he sighed, and there was such an unusual degree of gravity and deliberation in the mildness of his manner, that I could not believe my alarm was without cause. I took the chair which he placed for me, and we both sat down: but he looked so prepared to listen, that I could not articulate. There was a sudden revulsion in my spirits, and all my ideas were in utter confusion. Mr. Montenero, the kindness of whose manner was not changed towards me, I saw pitied my confusion. He began to talk of his excursion into the country—he spoke of General B—— and of the whole county of Surrey. The words reached my ears, but conveyed no ideas to my mind, except the general notion that Mr. Montenero was giving me time to recover myself. I was grateful for the kind intention, and somewhat encouraged by the softness of voice, and look of pity. But still there was something so measured—so guarded—so prepared!—At last, when he had exhausted all that he could say about the county of Surrey, and a dead silence threatened me, I took courage, and plunged into the middle of things at once. I cannot remember exactly the words, but what I said was to this effect.

“Mr. Montenero, you know so much of the human heart, and of my heart, that you must be aware of the cause of my present embarrassment and emotion. You must have seen my passion for your incomparable daughter.”

“I have seen it, I own—I am well aware of it, Mr. Harrington,” replied Mr. Montenero, in a mild and friendly tone; but there was something of self-accusation and repentance in the tone, which alarmed me inexpressibly.

“I hope, my dear good sir, that you do not repent of your kindness,” said I, “in having permitted me to cultivate your society, in having indulged me in some hours of the most exquisite pleasure I ever yet enjoyed.”

He sighed; and I went on with vehement incoherence.

“I hope you cannot suspect me of a design to abuse your confidence, to win, if it were in my power, your daughter’s affections, without your knowledge, surreptitiously, clandestinely. She is an heiress, a rich heiress, I know, and my circumstances—Believe me, sir, I have never intended to deceive you; but I waited till—There I was wrong. I wish I had abided by my own opinion! I wish I had followed my first impulse! Believe me, sir, it was my first thought, my first wish, to speak to you of all the circumstances; if I delayed, it was from the fear that a precipitate declaration would have been imputed to presumption. As Heaven is my judge, I had no other motive. I abhor artifice. I am incapable of the base treachery of taking advantage of any confidence reposed in me.”

“My good sir,” said Mr. Montenero, when at last I was forced to pause for breath, “why this vehemence of defence? I do not accuse—I do not suspect you of any breach of confidence. Pray compose yourself.”

Calmed by this assurance, I recovered some presence of mind, and proceeded, as I thought, in a most tranquil manner to express my regret, at all events, that I should not have been the first person to have explained to him my unfortunate circumstances. “But this,” I said, “was like the rest of Lord Mowbray’s treacherous conduct.”

I was going on again in a tone of indignation, when Mr. Montenero again begged me to compose myself, and asked “to what unfortunate circumstances I alluded?”

“You do not know then? You have not been informed? Then I did Lord Mowbray injustice.”

I explained to Mr. Montenero to what circumstances I had so unintelligibly alluded. I gained courage as I went on, for I saw that the history of my father’s vow, of which Mr. Montenero had evidently never heard till this moment, did not shock or offend him, as I had expected that it would.

With the most philosophic calmness and benevolence, he said that he could forgive my father for his prejudices the more readily, because he was persuaded that if he had ever become known to my father, it would not have been impossible to conquer this prepossession.

I sighed, for I was convinced this was a vain hope. There was some confusion in the tenses in Mr. Montenero’s sentence too, which I did not quite like, or comprehend; he seemed as if he were speaking of a thing that might have been possible, at some time that was now completely past. I recollect having a painful perception of this one instant, and the next accounting for it satisfactorily, by supposing that his foreign idiom was the cause of his confusion of speech.

After a pause, he proceeded. “Fortune,” said he, “is not an object to me in the choice of a son-in-law: considering the very ample fortune which my daughter will possess, I am quite at ease upon that point.”

Still, though he had cleared away the two first great obstacles, I saw there was some greater yet unnamed. I thought it was the difference of our religion. We were both silent, and the difficulty seemed to me at this moment greater, and more formidable, than it had ever yet appeared. While I was considering how I should touch upon the subject, Mr. Montenero turned to me and said, “I hate all mysteries, and yet I cannot be perfectly explicit with you, Mr. Harrington; as far as I possibly can, however, I will speak with openness—with sincerity, you may depend upon it, I have always spoken, and ever shall speak. You must have perceived that your company is particularly agreeable to me. Your manners, your conversation, your liberal spirit, and the predilection you have shown for my society—the politeness, the humanity, you showed my daughter the first evening you met—and the partiality for her, which a father’s eye quickly perceived that you felt, altogether won upon my heart. My regard for you has been strengthened and confirmed by the temper, prudence, and generosity, I have seen you evince towards a rival. I have studied your character, and I think I know it as thoroughly as I esteem and value it. If I were to choose a son-in-law after my own heart, you should be the man. Spare me your thanks—spare me this joy,” continued he; “I have now only said what it was just to say—just to you and to myself.”

He spoke with difficulty and great emotion, as he went on to say, that he feared he had acted very imprudently for my happiness in permitting, in encouraging me to see so much of his daughter; for an obstacle—he feared an obstacle that—His voice almost failed.

“I am aware of it,” said I.

“Aware of it?” said he, looking up at me suddenly with astonishment: he repeated more calmly, “Aware of it? Let us understand one another, my dear sir.”

“I understand you perfectly,” cried I. “I am well aware of the nature of the obstacle. At once I declare that I can make no sacrifice, no compromise of my religious principles, to my passion.”

“You would be unworthy of my esteem if you could,” said Mr. Montenero. “I rejoice to hear this declaration unequivocally made; this is what I expected from you.”

“But,” continued I, eagerly, “Miss Montenero could be secure of the free exercise of her own religion. You know my principles of toleration—you know my habits; and though between man and wife a difference of religion may be in most cases a formidable obstacle to happiness, yet permit me to hope—”

“I cannot permit you to hope,” interrupted Mr. Montenero. “You are mistaken as to the nature of the obstacle. A difference of religion would be a most formidable objection, I grant; but we need not enter upon that subject—that is not the obstacle to which I allude.”

“Then of what nature can it be? Some base slander—Lord Mowbray—Nothing shall prevent me!” cried I, starting up furiously.

“Gently—command yourself, and listen to reason and truth,” said Mr. Montenero, laying his hand on my arm. “Am I a man, do you think, to listen to base slander? Or, if I had listened to any such, could I speak to you with the esteem and confidence with which I have just spoken? Could I look at you with the tenderness and affection which I feel for you at this instant?”

“Oh! Mr. Montenero,” said I, “you know how to touch me to the heart; but answer me one, only one question—has Lord Mowbray any thing to do with this, whatever it is?”

“I have not seen or heard from him since I saw you last.”

“Your word is sufficient,” said I. “Then I suspected him unjustly.”

“Heaven forbid,” said Mr. Montenero, “that I should raise suspicion in a mind which, till now, I have always seen and thought to be above that meanness. The torture of suspense I must inflict, but inflict not on yourself the still worse torture of suspicion—ask me no farther questions—I can answer none—time alone can solve the difficulty. I have now to request that you will never more speak to me on this subject: as soon as my own mind is satisfied, depend upon it I shall let you know it. In the mean time I rely upon your prudence and your honour, that you will not declare your attachment to my daughter, that you will take no means, direct or indirect, to draw her into any engagement, or to win her affections: in short, I wish to see you here as a friend of mine—not a suitor of hers. If you are capable of this necessary self-control, continue your visits; but if this effort be beyond your power, I charge you, as you regard her happiness and your own, see her no more. Consider well, before you decide.”

I had confidence in my own strength of mind and honour; I knew that want of resolution was not the defect of my character. Difficult as the conditions were, I submitted to them—I promised that if Mr. Montenero permitted me to continue my visits, I would strictly comply with all he desired. The moment I had given this promise, I was in haste to quit the room, lest Berenice should enter, before I had time to recover from the excessive agitation into which I had been thrown.

Mr. Montenero followed me to the antechamber. “My daughter is not at home—she is taking an airing in the park. One word more before we part—one word more before we quit this painful subject,” said he: “do not, my dear young friend, waste your time, your ingenuity, in vain conjectures—you will not discover that which I cannot impart; nor would the discovery, if made, diminish the difficulty, or in the least add to your happiness, though it might to your misery. It depends not on your will to remove the obstacle—by no talents, no efforts of yours can it be obviated: one thing, and but one, is in your power—to command your own mind.”

“Command my own mind! Oh! Mr. Montenero, how easy to say—how difficult to command the passions—such a passion!”

“I acknowledge it is difficult, but I hope it is not impossible. We have now an opportunity of judging of the strength of your mind, the firmness of your resolution, and your power over yourself. Of these we must see proofs—without these you never could be, either with my consent or by her own choice, accepted by my daughter, even if no other obstacle intervened.—Adieu.” A bright idea, a sudden ray of hope, darted into my mind. It might be all intended for a trial of me—there was, perhaps, no real obstacle! But this was only the hope of an instant—it was contradicted by Mr. Montenero’s previous positive assertion. I hurried home as fast as possible, shut myself up in my own room, and bolted the door, that I might not be interrupted. I sat down to think—I could not think, I could only feel. The first thing I did was, as it were, to live the whole of the last hour over again—I recollected every word, recalled every look, carefully to impress and record them in my memory. I felt that I was not at that moment capable of judging, but I should have the means, the facts, safe for a calmer hour. I repeated my recollections many times, pausing, and forming vague and often contradictory conjectures; then driving them all from my mind, and resolving to think no more on this mysterious subject; but on no other subject could I think—I sat motionless. How long I remained in this situation I have no means of knowing, but it must have been for some hours, for it was evening, as I remember, when I wakened to the sense of its being necessary that I should exert myself, and rouse my faculties from this dangerous state of abstraction. Since my father and mother had been in the country, I had usually dined at taverns or clubs, so that the servants had no concern with my hours of meals. My own man was much attached to me, and I should have been tormented with his attentions, but that I had sent him out of the way as soon as I had come home. I then went into the park, walking there as fast and as long as I possibly could. I returned late, quite exhausted; hoped I should sleep, and waken with a calmer mind; but I believe I had overwalked myself, or my mind had been overstrained—I was very feverish this night, and all the horrors of early association returned upon me. Whenever I began to doze, I felt the nervous oppression, the dreadful weight upon my chest—I saw beside my bed the old figure of Simon the Jew; but he spoke to me with the voice and in the words of Mr. Montenero. The dreams of this night were more terrible than any reality that can be conceived; and even when I was broad awake, I felt that I had not the command of my mind. My early prepossessions and antipathies, my mother’s presentiments, and prophecies of evil from the connexion with the Monteneros, the prejudices which had so long, so universally prevailed against the Jews, occurred to me. I knew all this was unreasonable, but still the thoughts obtruded themselves. When the light of morning returned, which I thought never would return, I grew better.

Mr. Montenero’s impressive advice, and all the kindness of his look and manner, recurred to my mind. The whole of his conduct—the filial affection of Berenice—the gratitude of Jacob—the attachment of friends, who had known him for years, all assured me of his sincerity towards myself; and the fancies, I will not call them suspicions, of the night, were dispelled.

I was determined not to see either Mr. Montenero or Berenice for a few days. I knew that the best thing I could do, would be to take strong bodily exercise, and totally to change the course of my daily occupations. There was an excellent riding-house at this time in London, and I had been formerly in the habit of riding there. I was a favourite with the master—he was glad to see me again. I found the exercise, and the immediate necessity of suspending all other thoughts to attend to the management of my horse, of sovereign use. I thus disciplined my imagination at the time when I seemed only to be disciplining an Arabian horse. I question whether reading Seneca, or Epictetus, or any moral or philosophic writer, living or dead, would have as effectually medicined my mind. While I was at the riding-house, General B—— came in with some young officers. The general, who had distinguished me with peculiar kindness, left the young men who were with him, and walked home with me. I refrained from asking any questions about Mr. or Miss Montenero’s visit at his house in Surrey; but he led to the subject himself, and spoke of her having been less cheerful than usual—dwelt on his wish that she and her father should settle in England—said there was a young American, a relation of the Manessas, just come over; he hoped there was no intention of returning with him to America. I felt a terrible twinge, like what I had experienced when the general had first mentioned his brother-in-law—perhaps, said I to myself, it may be as vain. General B—— was going to speak further on the subject, but though my curiosity was much raised, I thought I was bound in honour not to obtain intelligence by any secondary means. I therefore requested the general to let us change the subject. He tapped my shoulder: “You are right,” said he; “I understand your motives—you are right—I like your principles.”

On returning from the riding-house, I had the pleasure of hearing that Mr. Montenero had called during my absence, and had particularly inquired from my own man after my health.

I forgot to mention, that in one of the young officers whom I met at the riding-house, I recognized a schoolfellow, that very little boy, who, mounted upon the step-ladder on the day of Jacob’s election, turned the election in his favour by the anecdote of the silver pencil-case. My little schoolfellow, now a lath of a young man, six feet high, was glad to meet me again, and to talk over our schoolboy days. He invited me to join him and some of his companions, who were going down to the country on a fishing party. They promised themselves great sport in dragging a fish-pond. I compelled myself to join this party for the mere purpose of changing the course of my thoughts. For three days I was hurried from place to place, and not a single thing that I liked to do did I do—I was completely put out of my own way—my ideas were forced into new channels. I heard of nothing but of fishing and fishing-tackle—of the pleasures there would be in the shooting season—of shooting-jackets, and powder-horns, and guns, and proof guns. All this was terribly irksome at the time, and yet I was conscious that it was of service to me, and I endured it with heroic patience.

I was heartily glad when I got back to town. When I felt that I was able to bear the sight of Berenice, I went again to Mr. Montenero’s. From that hour I maintained my resolution, I strictly adhered to my promise, and I felt that I was rewarded by Mr. Montenero’s increasing esteem and affection. My conversation was now addressed chiefly to him, and I remarked that I was always the chief object of his attention. I observed that Berenice was much paler, and not in such good spirits as formerly: she was evidently under great constraint and anxiety, and the expression of her countenance towards me was changed; there was an apprehensiveness, which she in vain endeavoured to calm—her attention to whatever I was saying or doing, even when she appeared to be occupied with other things, was constant. I was convinced that I was continually in her thoughts; I felt that I was not indifferent to her: yet the expression of her countenance was changed—it was not love—or it was love strongly repressed by fear—by fear!—was it of her father’s disapprobation? I had been assured by Mr. Montenero, in whom I had perfect confidence, that no power of mine could remove the obstacle, if it existed—then his advice was wise not to waste my thoughts and spirits in vain conjectures. As far as it was in human nature, I took his advice, repressed my curiosity, and turned my thoughts from that too interesting subject. I know not how long I should have maintained my fortitude in this passive state of forbearance. Events soon called me again into active exertion.

Chapter XV • 7,300 Words

Party spirit, in politics, ran very high about this time in London—it was in the year 1780. The ill success of the American war had put the people in ill-humour; they were ready to believe any thing against the ministry, and some who, for party purposes, desired to influence the minds of the people, circulated the most ridiculous reports, and excited the most absurd terrors. The populace were made to believe that the French and the papists were secret favourites of government: a French invasion, the appearance of the French in London, is an old story almost worn out upon the imaginations of the good people of England; but now came a new if not a more plausible bugbear—the Pope! It was confidently affirmed that the Pope would soon be in London, he having been seen in disguise in a gold-flowered nightgown on St. James’s parade at Bath. A poor gentleman, who appeared at his door in his nightgown, had been actually taken by the Bath mob for the Pope; and they had pursued him with shouts, and hunted him, till he was forced to scramble over a wall to escape from his pursuers.

Ludicrous as this may appear, the farce, we all know, soon turned to tragedy. From the smallest beginnings, the mischief grew and spread; half-a-dozen people gathered in one street, and began the cry of “No popery!—no papists!—no French!”—The idle joined the idle, and the discontented the discontented, and both were soon drawn in to assist the mischievous; and the cowardly, surprised at their own prowess, when joined with numbers, and when no one opposed them, grew bolder and bolder. Monday morning Mr. Strachan was insulted; Lord Mansfield treated it as a slight irregularity. Monday evening Lord Mansfield himself was insulted by the mob, they pulled down his house, and burnt his furniture. Newgate was attacked next; the keeper went to the Lord Mayor, and, at his return, he found the prison in a blaze; that night the Fleet, and the King’s Bench prisons, and the popish chapels, were on fire, and the glare of the conflagration reached the skies. I was heartily glad my father and mother were safe in the country.

Mr. Montenero and Berenice were preparing to go to a villa in Surrey, which he had just purchased; but they apprehended no danger for themselves, as they were inoffensive strangers, totally unconnected with party or politics. The fury of the mob had hitherto been directed chiefly against papists, or persons supposed to favour their cause. The very day before Mr. Montenero was to leave town, without any conceivable reason, suddenly a cry was raised against the Jews: unfortunately, Jews rhymed to shoes: these words were hitched into a rhyme, and the cry was, “No Jews, no wooden shoes!” Thus, without any natural, civil, religious, moral, or political connexion, the poor Jews came in remainder to the ancient anti-Gallican antipathy felt by English feet and English fancies against the French wooden shoes. Among the London populace, however, the Jews had a respectable body of friends, female friends of noted influence in a mob—the orange-women—who were most of them bound by gratitude to certain opulent Jews. It was then, and I believe it still continues to be, a customary mode of charity with the Jews to purchase and distribute large quantities of oranges among the retail sellers, whether Jews or Christians. The orange-women were thus become their staunch friends. One of them in particular, a warm-hearted Irishwoman, whose barrow had, during the whole season, been continually replenished by Mr. Montenero’s bounty, and by Jacob’s punctual care, now took her station on the steps of Mr. Montenero’s house; she watched her opportunity, and when she saw the master appear in the hall, she left her barrow in charge with her boy, came up the steps, walked in, and addressed herself to him thus, in a dialect and tone as new, almost to me, as they seemed to be to Mr. Montenero.

“Never fear, jewel!—Jew as you have this day the misfortune to be, you’re the best Christian any way ever I happened on! so never fear, honey, for yourself nor your daughter, God bless her! Not a soul shall go near yees, nor a finger be laid on her, good or bad. Sure I know them all—not a mother’s son o’ the boys but I can call my frind—not a captain or lader that’s in it, but I can lade, dear, to the devil and back again, if I’d but whistle: so only you keep quite, and don’t be advertising yourself any way for a Jew, nor be showing your cloven fut, with or without the wooden shoes. Keep ourselves to ourselves, for I’ll tell you a bit of a sacret—I’m a little bit of a cat’olic myself, all as one as what they call a papish; but I keep it to myself, and nobody’s the wiser nor the worse—they’d tear me to pieces, may be, did they suspect the like, but I keep never minding, and you, jewel, do the like. They call you a Levite, don’t they? then I, the Widow Levy, has a good right to advise ye; we were all brothers and sisters once—no offence—in the time of Adam, sure, and we should help one another in all times. ‘Tis my turn to help yees now, and, by the blessing, so I will—accordingly I’ll be sitting all day and night, mounting guard on your steps there without. And little as you may think of me, the devil a guardian angel better than myself, only just the Widow Levy, such as ye see!”

The Widow Levy took her stand, and kept her word. I stayed at Mr. Montenero’s all day, saw every thing that passed, and had frequent opportunities of admiring her address.

She began by making the footman take down “the outlandish name from off the door; for no name at all, sure, was better nor a foreign name these times.” She charged the footman to “say sorrow word themselves to the mob for their lives, in case they would come; but to lave it all entirely to her, that knew how to spake to them. For see!” said she, aside to me—“For see! them powdered numskulls would spoil all—they’d be taking it too high or too low, and never hit the right kay, nor mind when to laugh or cry in the right place; moreover, when they’d get frighted with a cross-examination, they’d be apt to be cutting themselves. Now, the ould one himself, if he had me on the table even, I’d defy to get the truth out of me, if not convanient, and I in the sarvice of a frind.”

In the pleasure of telling a few superfluous lies it seemed to be necessary that our guardian angel should be indulged; and there she sat on the steps quite at ease, smoking her pipe, or wiping and polishing her oranges. As parties of the rioters came up, she would parley and jest with them, and by alternate wit and humour, and blunder, and bravado, and flattery, and fabling, divert their spirit of mischief, and forward them to distant enterprise. In the course of the day, we had frequent occasion to admire her intrepid ingenuity and indefatigable zeal. Late at night, when all seemed perfectly quiet in this part of the town, she, who had never stirred from her post all day, was taken into the kitchen by the servants to eat some supper. While she was away, I was standing at an open window of the drawing-room, watching and listening—all was silence; but suddenly I heard a shriek, and two strange female figures appeared from the corner of the square, hurrying, as if in danger of pursuit, though no one followed them. One was in black, with a hood, and a black cloak streaming behind; the other in white, neck and arms bare, head full dressed, with high feathers blown upright. As they came near the window at which I stood, one of the ladies called out, “Mr. Harrington! Mr. Harrington! For Heaven’s sake let us in!”

“Lady Anne Mowbray’s voice! and Lady de Brantefield!” cried I.

Swiftly, before I could pass her, Berenice ran down stairs, unlocked—threw open the hall-door, and let them in. Breathless, trembling so that they could not speak, they sunk upon the first seat they could reach; the servants hearing the hall-door unchained, ran into the hall, and when sent away for water, the three footmen returned with each something in his hand, and stood with water and salvers as a pretence to satisfy their curiosity; along with them came the orange-woman, who, wiping her mouth, put in her head between the footmen’s elbows, and stood listening, and looking at the two ladies with no friendly eye. She then worked her way round to me, and twitching my elbow, drew me back, and whispered—“What made ye let ‘em in? Take care but one’s a mad woman, and t’other a bad woman.” Lady Anne, who had by this time drank water, and taken hartshorn, and was able to speak, was telling, though in a very confused manner, what had happened. She said that she had been dressed for the opera—the carriage was at the door—her mother, who was to set her down at Lady Somebody’s, who was to chaperon her, had just put on her hood and cloak, and was coming down stairs, when they heard a prodigious noise of the mob in the street. The mob had seized their carriage—and had found in one of the pockets a string of beads, which had been left there by the Portuguese ambassador’s lady, whom Lady De Brantefield had taken home from chapel the preceding day. The mob had seen the carriage stop at the chapel, and the lady and her confessor get into it; and this had led to the suspicion that Lady de Brantefield was a catholic, or in their language, a concealed papist.

On searching the carriage farther, they had found a breviary, and one of them had read aloud the name of a priest, written in the beginning of the book—a priest whose name was peculiarly obnoxious to some of the leaders.

As soon as they found the breviary, and the rosary, and this priest’s name, the mob grew outrageous, broke the carriage, smashed the windows of the house, and were bursting open the door, when, as Lady Anne told us, she and her mother, terrified almost out of their senses, escaped through the back door just in the dress they were, and made their way through the stables, and a back lane, and a cross street: still hearing, or fancying they heard, the shouts of the mob, they had run on without knowing how, or where, till they found themselves in this square, and saw me at the open window.

“What is it? Tell me, dear,” whispered the orange-woman, drawing me back behind the footman. “Tell me, for I can’t understand her for looking at the figure of her. Tell me plain, or it may be the ruen of yees all before ye’d know it.”

I repeated Lady Anne’s story, and from me the orange-woman understood it; and it seemed to alarm her more than any of us.

“But are they Romans?” (Roman Catholics) said she. “How is that, when they’re not Irish!—for I’ll swear to their not being Irish, tongue or pluck. I don’t believe but they’re impostors—no right Romans, sorrow bit of the likes; but howsomdever, no signs of none following them yet—thanks above! Get rid on ‘em any way as smart as ye can, dear; tell Mr. Montenero.”

As all continued perfectly quiet, both in the back and front of the house, we were in hopes that they would not be pursued or discovered by the mob. We endeavoured to quiet and console them with this consideration; and we represented that, if the mob should break into their house, they would, after they had searched and convinced themselves that the obnoxious priest was not concealed there, disperse without attempting to destroy or pillage it “Then,” said Lady de Brantefield, rising, and turning to her daughter, “Lady Anne, we had better think of returning to our own house.”

Though well aware of the danger of keeping these suspected ladies this night, and though our guardian angel repeatedly twitched us, reiterating, “Ah! let ‘em go—don’t be keeping ‘em!” yet Mr. Montenero and Berenice pressed them, in the kindest and most earnest manner, to stay where they were safe. Lady Anne seemed most willing, Lady de Brantefield most unwilling to remain; yet her fears struggled with her pride, and at last she begged that a servant might be sent to her house to see how things were going on, and to order chairs for her, if their return was practicable.

“Stop!” cried the orange-woman, laying a strong detaining hand on the footman’s arm; “stop you—‘tis I’ll go with more sense—and speed.”

“What is that person—that woman?” cried Lady de Brantefield, who now heard and saw the orange-woman for the first time.

“Woman!—is it me she manes?” said the orange-woman, coming forward quite composedly, shouldering on her cloak.

“Is it who I am?—I’m the Widow Levy.—Any commands?”

“How did she get in?” continued Lady de Brantefield, still with a look of mixed pride and terror: “how did she get in?”

“Very asy!—through the door—same way you did, my lady, if ye had your senses. Where’s the wonder? But what commands?—don’t be keeping of me.”

“Anne!—Lady Anne!—Did she follow us in?” said Lady de Brantefield.

“Follow yees!—not I!—no follower of yours nor the likes. But what commands, nevertheless?—I’ll do your business the night, for the sake of them I love in my heart’s core,” nodding at Mr. and Miss Montenero; “so, my lady, I’ll bring ye word, faithful, how it’s going with ye at home—which is her house, and where, on God’s earth?” added she, turning to the footmen.

“If my satisfaction be the object, sir, or madam,” said Lady de Brantefield, addressing herself with much solemnity to Mr. and Miss Montenero, “I must take leave to request that a fitter messenger be sent; I should, in any circumstances, be incapable of trusting to the representations of such a person.”

The fury of the orange-woman kindled—her eyes flashed fire—her arms a-kimbo, she advanced repeating, “Fitter!—Fitter!—What’s that ye say?—You’re not Irish—not a bone in your skeleton!”

Lady Anne screamed. Mr. Montenero forced the orange-woman back, and Berenice and I hurried Lady de Brantefield and her daughter across the hall into the eating-room. Mr. Montenero followed an instant afterwards, telling Lady de Brantefield that he had despatched one of his own servants for intelligence. Her ladyship bowed her head without speaking. He then explained why the orange-woman happened to be in his house, and spoke of the zeal and ability with which she had this day served us. Lady de Brantefield continued at intervals to bow her head while Mr. Montenero spoke, and to look at her watch, while Lady Anne, simpering, repeated, “Dear, how odd!” Then placing herself opposite to a large mirror, Lady Anne re-adjusted her dress. That settled, she had nothing to do but to recount her horrors over again. Her mother, lost in reverie, sat motionless. Berenice, meantime, while the messenger was away, made the most laudable and kind efforts, by her conversation, to draw the attention of her guests from themselves and their apprehensions; but apparently without effect, and certainly without thanks.

At length, Berenice and her father being called out of the room, I was left alone with Lady de Brantefield and Lady Anne: the mother broke silence, and turning to the daughter, said, in a most solemn tone of reproach, “Anne! Lady Anne Mowbray!—how could you bring me into this house of all others—a Jew’s—when you know the horror I have always felt—”

“La, mamma! I declare I was so terrified, I didn’t know one house from another. But when I saw Mr. Harrington, I was so delighted I never thought about it’s being the Jew’s house—and what matter?”

“What matter!” repeated Lady de Brantefield: “are you my daughter, and a descendant of Sir Josseline de Mowbray, and ask what matter?”

“Dear mamma, that’s the old story! that’s so long ago!—How can you think of such old stuff at such a time as this? I’m sure I was frightened out of my wits—I forgot even my detestation of——But I must not say that before Mr. Harrington. But now I see the house, and all that, I don’t wonder at him so much; I declare it’s a monstrous handsome house—as rich as a Jew! I’m sure I hope those wretches will not destroy our house—and, oh! the great mirror, mamma!”

Mr. and Miss Montenero returned with much concern in their countenances: they announced that the messenger had brought word that the mob were actually pulling down Lady de Brantefield’s house—that the furniture had all been dragged out into the street, and that it was now burning. Pride once more gave way to undisguised terror in Lady de Brantefield’s countenance, and both ladies stood in speechless consternation. Before we had time to hear or to say more, the orange-woman opened the door, and putting in her head, called out in a voice of authority, “Jantlemen, here’s one wants yees, admits of no delay; lave all and come out, whether you will or no, the minute.”

We went out, and with an indescribable gesture, and wink of satisfaction, the moment she had Mr. Montenero and me in the hall, she said in a whisper, “‘Tis only myself, dears, but ‘tis I am glad I got yees out away from being bothered by the presence of them women, whiles ye’d be settling all for life or death, which we must now do—for don’t be nursing and dandling yourselves in the notion that the boys will not be wid ye. It’s a folly to talk—they will; my head to a China orange they will, now: but take it asy, jewels—we’ve got an hour’s law—they’ve one good hour’s work first—six garrets to gut, where they are, and tree back walls, with a piece of the front, still to pull down. Oh! I larnt all. He is a ‘cute lad you sent, but not being used to it, just went and ruined and murdered us all by what he let out! What do ye tink? But when one of the boys was questioning him who he belonged to, and what brought him in it, he got frighted, and could think of noting at all but the truth to tell: so they’ve got the scent, and they’ll follow the game. Ogh! had I been my own messenger, in lieu of minding that woman within, I’d have put ‘em off the scent. But it’s past me now—so what next?” While Mr. Montenero and I began to consult together, she went on—“I’ll tell you what you’ll do: you’ll send for two chairs, or one—less suspicious, and just get the two in asy, the black one back, the white for’ard, beca’ase she’s coming nat’ral from the Opera—if stopped, and so the chairmen, knowing no more than Adam who they would be carrying, might go through the thick of the boys at a pinch safe enough, or round any way, sure; they know the town, and the short cuts, and set ‘em down (a good riddance!) out of hand, at any house at all they mention, who’d resave them of their own frinds, or kith and kin—for, to be sure, I suppose they have frinds, tho’ I’m not one. You’ll settle with them by the time it’s come, where they’ll set down, and I’ll step for the chair, will I?”

“No,” said Mr. Montenero, “not unless it be the ladies’ own desire to go: I cannot turn them out of my house, if they choose to stay; at all hazards they shall have every protection I can afford. Berenice, I am sure, will think and feel as I do.”

Mr. Montenero returned to the drawing-room, to learn the determination of his guests.

“There goes as good a Christian!” cried the Widow Levy, holding up her forefinger, and shaking it at Mr. Montenero the moment his back was turned: “didn’t I tell ye so from the first? Oh! if he isn’t a jewel of a Jew!—and the daughter the same!” continued she, following me as I walked up and down the hall: “the kind-hearted cratur, how tinder she looked at the fainting Jezabel—while the black woman turning from her in her quality scowls.—Oh! I seed it all, and with your own eyes, dear—but I hope they’ll go—and once we get a riddance of them women. I’ll answer for the rest. Bad luck to the minute they come into the house! I wish the jantleman would be back—Oh! here he is—and will they go, jewel?” cried she, eagerly. “The ladies will stay,” said Mr. Montenero.

“Murder!—but you can’t help it—so no more about it—but what arms have ye?”

No arms were to be found in the house but a couple of swords, a pair of pistols of Mr. Montenero’s, and one gun, which had been left by the former proprietor. Mr. Montenero determined to write immediately to his friend General B—, to request that a party of the military might be sent to guard his house.

“Ay, so best, send for the dragoons, the only thing left on earth for us now: but don’t let ‘em fire on the boys—disperse ‘em with the horse, asy, ye can, without a shot; so best—I’ll step down and feel the pulse of all below.”

While Mr. Montenero wrote, Berenice, alarmed for her father, stood leaning on the back of his chair, in silence.

“Oh! Mr. Harrington! Mr. Harrington!” repeated Lady Anne, “what will become of us! If Colonel Topham was but here! Do send to the Opera, pray, pray, with my compliments—Lady Anne Mowbray’s compliments—he’ll come directly, I’m sure.”

“That my son, Lord Mowbray, should be out of town, how extraordinary and how unfortunate!” cried Lady de Brantefield, “when we might have had his protection, his regiment, without applying to strangers.”

She walked up and down the room with the air of a princess in chains. The orange-woman bolted into the room, and pushed past her ladyship, while Mr. Montenero was sealing his note.

“Give it, jewel!—It’s I’ll be the bearer; for all your powdered men below has taken fright by the dread the first messenger got, and dares not be carrying a summons for the military through the midst of them: but I’ll take it for yees—and which way will I go to get quickest to your general’s? and how will I know his house?—for seven of them below bothered my brains.”

Mr. Montenero repeated the direction—she listened coolly, then stowing the letter in her bosom, she stood still for a moment with a look of deep deliberation—her head on one side, her forefinger on her cheek-bone, her thumb under her chin, and the knuckle of the middle-finger compressing her lips.

“See, now, they’ll be apt to come up the stable lane for the back o’ the house, and another party of them will be in the square, in front; so how will it be with me to get into the house to yees again, without opening the doors for them, in case they are wid ye afore I’d get the military up?—I have it,” cried she.

She rushed to the door, but turned back again to look for her pipe, which she had laid on the table.

“Where’s my pipe?—Lend it me—What am I without my pipe?”

“The savage!” cried Lady de Brantefield.

“The fool!” said Lady Anne.

The Widow Levy nodded to each of the two ladies, as she lit the pipe again, but without speaking to them, turned to us, and said, “If the boys would meet me without my pipe, they’d not know me; or smell something odd, and guess I was on some unlawful errand.”

As she passed Berenice and me, who were standing together, she hastily added, “Keep a good heart, sweetest!—At the last push, you have one will shed the heart’s drop for ye!”

A quick, scarcely perceptible motion of her eye towards me marked her meaning; and one involuntary look from Berenice at that moment, even in the midst of alarm, spread joy through my whole frame. In the common danger we were drawn closer together—we thought together;—I was allowed to help her in the midst of the general bustle.

It was necessary, as quickly as possible, to determine what articles in the house were of most value, and to place these in security. It was immediately decided that the pictures were inestimable.—What was to be done with them? Berenice, whose presence of mind never forsook her, and whose quickness increased with the occasion, recollected that the unfinished picture-gallery, which had been built behind the house, adjoining to the back drawing-room, had no window opening to the street: it was lighted by a sky-light; it had no communication with any of the apartments in the house, except with the back drawing-room, into which it was intended to open by large glass doors; but fortunately these were not finished, and, at this time, there was no access to the picture-gallery but by a concealed door behind the gobelin tapestry of the back drawing-room—an entrance which could hardly be discovered by any stranger. In the gallery were all the plasterers’ trestles, and the carpenters’ lumber; however, there was room soon made for the pictures: all hands were in motion, every creature busy and eager, except Lady de Brantefield and her daughter, who never offered the smallest assistance, though we were continually passing with our loads through the front drawing-room, in which the two ladies now were. Lady Anne standing up in the middle of the room looked like an actress ready dressed for some character, but without one idea of her own. Her mind, naturally weak, was totally incapacitated by fear: she kept incessantly repeating as we passed and repassed, “Bless me! one would think the day of judgment was coming!”

Lady de Brantefield all the time sat in the most remote part of the room, fixed in a huge arm-chair. The pictures and the most valuable things were, by desperately hard work, just stowed into our place of safety, when we heard the shouts of the mob, at once at the back and front of the house, and soon a thundering knocking at the hall-door. Mr. Montenero and I went to the door, of course without opening it, and demanded, in a loud voice, what they wanted.

“We require the papists,” one answered for the rest, “the two women papists and the priest you’ve got within, to be given up, for your lives!”

“There is no priest here—there are no papists here:—two protestant ladies, strangers to me, have taken refuge here, and I will not give them up,” said Mr. Montenero.

“Then we’ll pull down the house.”

“The military will be here directly,” said Mr. Montenero, coolly; “you had better go away.”

“The military!—then make haste, boys, with the work.”

And with a general cry of “No papists!—no priests!—no Jews!—no wooden shoes!” they began with a volley of stones against the windows. I ran to see where Berenice was. It had been previously agreed among us, that she and her guests, and every female in the house, should, on the first alarm, retire into a back room; but at the first shout of the mob, Lady de Brantefield lost the little sense she ever possessed: she did not faint, but she stiffened herself in the posture in which she sat, and with her hands turned down over the elbows of the huge chair, on which her arms were extended, she leaned back in all the frightful rigidity of a corpse, with a ghastly face, and eyes fixed.

Berenice, in vain, tried to persuade her to move. Her ideas were bewildered or concentrated. Only the obstinacy of pride remained alive within her.

“No,” she said, “she would never move from that spot—she would not be commanded by Jew or Jewess.”

“Don’t you hear the mob—the stones at the windows?”

“Very well. They would all pay for it on the scaffold or the gibbet.”

“But if they break in here you will be torn to pieces.”

“No—those only will be sacrificed who have sacrificed. A ‘de Brantefield’—they dare not!—I shall not stir from this spot. Who will presume to touch Lady de Brantefield?”

Mr. Montenero and I lifted up the huge chair on which she sat, and carried her and it into the back room.

The door of this room was scarcely shut, and the tapestry covering but just closed over the entrance into the picture-gallery, when there was a cry from the hall, and the servants came rushing to tell us that one of the window-shutters had given way.

Mr. Montenero, putting the pistols into my hand, took the gun, ran down stairs, and stationed himself so as to defend the entrance to the window, at which the people were pelting with stones; declaring that he would fire on the first man who should attempt to enter.

A man leaped in, and, in the struggle, Mr. Montenero’s gun was wrested from him.

On my presenting a pistol, the man scrambled out of the window, carrying away with him the prize he had seized.

At this moment the faithful Jacob appeared amongst us as if by miracle. “Master, we are safe,” said he, “if we can defend ourselves for a few minutes. The orange-woman delivered your letter, and the military are coming. She told me how to get in here, through the house that is building next door, from the leads of which I crept through a trap-door into your garret.”

With the pistols, and with the assistance of the servants who were armed, some of them with swords, and others with whatever weapons came to hand, we made such a show of resistance as to keep the mob at bay for some moments.

“Hark!” cried Jacob; “thank Heaven, there’s the military!” There was a sudden cessation of stones at the window. We heard the joyful sound of the horses’ hoofs in the street. A prodigious uproar ensued, then gradually subsided. The mob was dispersed, and fled in different directions, and the military followed. We heard them gallop off. We listened till not a sound, either of human voice or of horse’s foot, was to be heard. There was perfect silence; and when we looked as far as our eyes could reach out of the broken window, there was not a creature to be seen in the square or in the line of street to which it opened.

We ran to let out our female prisoners; I thought only of Berenice—she, who had shown so much self-possession during the danger, seemed most overpowered at this moment of joy; she threw her arms round her father, and held him fast, as if to convince herself that he was safe. Her next look was for me, and in her eyes, voice, and manner, when she thanked me, there was an expression which transported me with joy; but it was checked, it was gone the next moment: some terrible recollection seemed to cross her mind. She turned from me to speak to that odious Lady de Brantefield. I could not see Mr. Montenero’s countenance, for he, at the same instant, left us, to single out, from the crowd assembled in the hall, the poor Irishwoman, whose zeal and intrepid gratitude had been the means of our deliverance. I was not time enough to hear what Mr. Montenero said to her, or what reward he conferred; but that the reward was judicious, and that the words were grateful to her feelings in the highest degree, I had full proof; for when I reached the hall, the widow was on her knees, with hands uplifted to Heaven, unable to speak, but with tears streaming down her hard face: she wiped them hastily away, and started up.

“It’s not a little thing brings me to this,” said she; “none ever drew a tear from my eyes afore, since the boy I lost.”

She drew the hood of her cloak over her head, and pushed her way through the servants to get out of the hall-door; I unbolted and unchained it for her, and as I was unlocking it, she squeezed up close to me, and laying her iron hand on mine, said in a whisper, “God bless yees! and don’t forget my thanks to the sweet Jewish—I can’t speak ‘em now, ‘tis you can best, and joined in my prayers ye shall ever be!” said our guardian angel, as I opened the door; and as she passed out, she added, “You are right, jewel—she’s worth all the fine ladies in Lon’on, feathers an’ all in a bag.”

I had long been entirely of the Widow Levy’s opinion, though the mode of expression would never have occurred to me. What afterwards became of Lady Anne and of her mother this night, I do not distinctly recollect. Lady de Brantefield, when the alarm was over, I believe, recovered her usual portion of sense, and Lady Anne her silly spirits; but neither of them, I know, showed any feeling, except for themselves. I have an image of Lady de Brantefield standing up, and making, at parting, such ungracious acknowledgments to her kind hostess and generous protector, as her pride and her prejudices would permit. Both their ladyships seemed to be in a hurry to get out of the house, and I know that I rejoiced in their departure. I was in hopes of one moment, one explanatory word or look from Berenice. She was retiring to her own apartment, as I returned, with her father, after putting those two women into their carriage.

“I am now quite convinced,” said Mr. Montenero, smiling, “that Mr. Harrington never could have been engaged or attached to Lady Anne Mowbray.”

“Is it possible you ever imagined?”

“I did not imagine, I only heard and believed—and now I have seen, and I disbelieve.”

“And is this the obstacle, the invincible obstacle?” cried I.

Berenice sighed, and walked on to her room.

“I wish it were!” said Mr. Montenero; “but I pray you, sir, do not speak, do not think of this to-night—farewell! we all want repose.”

I did not think that I wanted repose till the moment I lay down in bed, and then, overpowered with bodily fatigue, I fell into a profound sleep, from which I did not awaken till late the next morning, when my man, drawing back my curtains, presented to me a note from—I could hardly believe my eyes—“from Miss Montenero”—from Berenice! I started up, and read these words written in pencil: “My father is in danger—come to us.”

How quick I was in obeying may be easily imagined. I went well armed, but in the present danger arms were of no use. I found that Mr. Montenero was summoned before one of the magistrates, on a charge of having fired from his window the preceding night before the Riot Act had been read—of having killed an inoffensive passenger. Now the fact was, that no shot had ever been fired by Mr. Montenero; but such was the rage of the people at the idea that the Jew had killed a Christian, and one of their party, that the voice of truth could not be heard. They followed with execrations as he was carried before the magistrate; and waited with impatience, assembled round the house, in hopes of seeing him committed to prison to take his trial for murder. As I was not ignorant of the substantial nature of the defence which the spirit and the forms of English law provide in all cases for truth and innocence, against false accusation and party prejudice, I was not alarmed at the clamour I heard; I was concerned only for the temporary inconvenience and mortification to Mr. Montenero, and for the alarm to Berenice. The magistrate before whom Mr. Montenero appeared was an impartial and very patient man: I shall not so far try the patience of others as to record all that was positively said, but which could not be sworn to—all that was offered in evidence, but which contradicted itself, or which could not be substantiated by any good witness—at length one creditable-looking man came forward against Mr. Montenero.

He said he was an ironmonger—that he had been passing by at the time of the riot, and had been hurried along by the crowd against his will to Mr. Montenero’s house, where he saw a sailor break open the window-shutter of one of the lower rooms—that he saw a shot fired by Mr. Montenero—that the sailor, after a considerable struggle, wrested the gun, with which the shot had been fired, from Mr. Montenero, and retreated with it from the window—that hearing the cry of murder in the crowd, he thought it proper to secure the weapon, that it might be produced in evidence—and that the piece which he now produced was that which had been taken from Mr. Montenero.

I perceived great concern in the countenance of the magistrate, who, addressing himself to Mr. Montenero, asked him what he had to say in his defence.

“Sir,” said Mr. Montenero, “I acknowledge that to be the gun which was wrested from my hands by the sailor; and I acknowledge that I attempted with that gun to defend my family and my house from immediate violence; I am, however,” continued he, “happy to have escaped having injured any person, even in the most justifiable cause, for the piece did not go off, it only flashed in the pan.”

“If that be the case,” said the magistrate, “the piece is still loaded.”

The gun was tried, and it was found to be empty both of powder and ball. As the magistrate returned the piece to the man, I came forward and asked leave to examine it. I observed to the magistrate, that if the piece had been fired, the inside of the barrel must retain marks of the discharge, whereas, on the contrary, the inside of the barrel was perfectly smooth and clean. To this the man replied, that he had cleaned the piece when he brought it home, which might indeed have been true. At this moment, I recollected a circumstance that I had lately heard from the officers in the country, who had been talking about a fowling-piece, and of the careless manner in which fire-arms are sometimes proved[7]See Manton on Gunnery.. Upon examination, I found that what I suspected might be just possible was actually the case with respect to the piece in question—the touch-hole had never been bored through, though the piece was marked as proof! I never shall forget the satisfaction which appeared in the countenance of the humane magistrate, who from the beginning had suspected the evidence, whom he knew from former delinquency. The man was indeed called an ironmonger, but his was one of those old iron shops which were known to be receptacles of stolen goods of various descriptions. To my surprise, it now appeared that this man’s name was Dutton: he was the very Dutton who had formerly been Jacob’s rival, and who had been under Lord Mowbray’s protection. Time and intemperance had altered him so much, that I had not, till I heard his name, the slightest recollection of his face. What his motive for appearing against Mr. Montenero might be, whether it was hatred to him as being the patron of Jacob, whom Dutton envied and detested, or whether Dutton was instigated by some other and higher person, I shall not now stop to inquire. As he had not been put upon his oath, he had not been guilty of perjury; he was discharged amidst the hootings of the mob. Notwithstanding their prejudice against the Jews, and their rage against a Jew who had harboured, as they conceived, two concealed papists and a priest, yet the moment an attempt to bear false witness against Mr. Montenero appeared, the people took his part. In England the mob is always in favour of truth and innocence, wherever these are made clearly evident to their senses. Pleased with themselves for their impartiality, it was not difficult at this moment for me to convince them, as I did, that Mr. Montenero had not harboured either papists or priest. The mob gave us three cheers. As we passed through the crowd, I saw Jacob and the orange-woman—the orange-woman, with broad expanded face of joy, stretched up her arms, and shouted loud, that all the mob might hear. Jacob, little accustomed to sympathy, and in the habit of repressing his emotions, stood as one unmoved or dumb, till his eyes met mine, and then suddenly joy spread over his features and flashed from his dark eyes—that was a face of delight I never can forget; but I could not stay: I hastened to be the first to tell Berenice of her father’s safety, and of the proof which all the world had had of the falsehood of the charge against him. I ran up to the drawing-room, where she was alone. She fainted in my arms.

And now you think, that when she came to herself, there was an end of all my fears, all my suspense—you think that her love, her gratitude, overcame the objection, whatever it may be, which has hitherto been called invincible—alas! you are mistaken.

I was obliged to resign Berenice to the care of her attendants. A short time afterwards I received from her father the following note:—

“My obligations to you are great, so is my affection for you; but the happiness of my child, as well as your happiness, is at stake.

“I dare not trust my gratitude—my daughter and you must never meet again, or must meet to part no more.

“I cannot yet decide: if I shall be satisfied that the obstacle do not exist, she shall be yours; if it do exist, we sail the first of next month for America, and you, Mr. Harrington, will not be the only, or perhaps the most, unhappy person of the three.

“A. MONTENERO.”

Footnotes

[7] See Manton on Gunnery.

Chapter XVI • 4,800 Words

The Sunday after the riots, I happened to see Mrs. Coates, as we were coming out of St. George’s church. She was not in full-blown, happy importance, as formerly: she looked ill and melancholy; or, as one of her city neighbours, who was following her out of church, expressed it, quite “crest-fallen.” I heard some whispering that “things were going wrong at home with the Coates’s—that the world was going down hill with the alderman.”

But a lady, who was quite a stranger, though she did me the honour to speak to me, explained that it was “no such thing—worth a plum still, if he be worth a farthing. ‘Tis only that she was greatly put out of her way last week, and frightened, till well nigh beside herself, by them rioters that came and set fire to one of the Coates’s, Mr. Peter’s, warehouse. Now, though poor Mrs. Coates, you’d think, is so plump and stout to look at, she is as nervous!—you’ve no notion, sir!—shakes like an aspen leaf, if she but takes a cup of green tea—so I prescribe bohea. But there she’s curtsying, and nodding, and kissing hands to you, sir, see!—and can tell you, no doubt, all about herself.”

Mrs. Coates’s deplorably placid countenance, tremulous muscles, and lamentable voice and manner, confirmed to me the truth of the assertion that she had been frightened nearly out of her senses.

“Why now, sir, after all,” said she, “I begin to find what fools we were, when we made such a piece of work one election year, and said that no soldiers should come into the town, ‘cause we were free Britons. Why, Lord ‘a mercy! ‘tis a great deal better maxim to sleep safe in our beds than to be free Britons and burnt to death[8]Vide Mrs. Piozzi’s Letters..”

Persons of higher pretensions to understanding and courage than poor Mrs. Coates, seemed at this time ready to adopt her maxim; and patriots feared that it might become the national sentiment. No sooner were order and tranquillity perfectly re-established in the city, than the public in general, and party politicians in particular, were intent upon the trials of the rioters, and more upon the question whether the military had suppressed the riots constitutionally or unconstitutionally. It was a question to be warmly debated in parliament; and this, after the manner in which great public and little private interests, in the chain of human events, are continually linked together, proved of important consequence to me and my love affairs.

A call of the house brought my father to town, contrary to his will, and consequently in ill-humour. This ill-humour was increased by the perplexing situation in which he found himself, with his passions on one side of the question and his principles on the other: hating the papists, and loving the ministry. In his secret soul, my father cried with the rioters, “No papists!—no French!—no Jews!—no wooden shoes!” but a cry against government was abhorrent to his very nature. My conduct, with regard to the riot at Mr. Montenero’s, and towards the rioters, by whom he had been falsely accused, my father heard spoken of with approbation in the political circles which he most reverenced; and he could not but be pleased, he confessed, to hear that his son had so properly conducted himself: but still it was all in defence of the Jews, and of the father of that Jewess whose very name was intolerable to his ear.

“So, Harrington, my boy, you’ve gained great credit, I find, by your conduct last Wednesday night. Very lucky, too, for your mother’s friend, Lady de Brantefield, that you were where you were. But after all, sir, what the devil business had you there?—and again on Thursday morning!—I acknowledge that was a good hit you made, about the gun—but I wish it had been in the defence of some good Christian: what business has a Jew with a gun at all?—Government knows best, to be sure; but I split against them once before, three-and-twenty years ago, on the naturalization bill. What is this cry which the people set up?—‘No Jews!—no wooden shoes!’—ha! ha! ha!—the dogs!—but they carried it too far, the rascals!—When it comes to throwing stones at gentlemen’s carriages, and pulling down gentlemen’s and noblemen’s dwelling-houses, it’s a mob and a riot, and the rioters deserve certainly to be hanged—and I’m heartily glad my son has come forward, Mrs. Harrington, and has taken a decided and distinguished part in bringing the offenders to justice. But, Harrington, pray tell me now, young gentleman, about that Jewess.”

Before I opened my lips, something in the turn of my physiognomy enraged my father to such a degree that all the blood in his body came into his face, and, starting up, he cried, “Don’t answer me, sir—I ask no questions—I don’t want to hear any thing about the matter! Only if—if, sir—if—that’s all I have to say—if—by Jupiter Ammon—sir, I won’t hear a word—a syllable! You only wish to explain—I won’t have any explanation—I have business enough on my hands, without listening to a madman’s nonsense!”

My father began to open his morning’s packet of letters and newspapers. One letter, which had been directed to his house in the country, and which had followed him to town, seemed to, alarm him terribly. He put the letter into my mother’s hand, cursed all the post-masters in England, who were none of them to blame for its not reaching him sooner, called for his hat and cane, said he must go instantly to the city, but “feared all was, too late, and that we were undone.” With this comfortable assurance he left us. The letter was from a broker in Lombard-street, who did business for my father, and who wrote to let him know that, “in consequence of the destruction of a great brewery in the late riots, several mercantile houses had been injured. Alderman Coates had died suddenly of an apoplexy, it was said: his house had closed on Saturday; and it was feared that Baldwin’s bank would not stand the run made on it.”

Now in Baldwin’s bank, as my mother informed me, my father had eight days before lodged £30,000, the purchase money of that estate which he had been obliged to sell to pay for his three elections. This sum was, in fact, every shilling of it due to creditors, who had become clamorous; and “if this be gone,” said my mother, “we are lost indeed!—this house must go, and the carriages, and every thing; the Essex estate is all we shall have left, and live there as we can—very ill it must be, to us who have been used to affluence and luxury. Your father, who expects his table, and every individual article of his establishment, to be in the first style, as if by magic, without ever reflecting on the means, but just inviting people, and leaving it to me to entertain them properly—oh! I know how bitterly he would feel even retrenchment!—and this would be ruin; and every thing that vexes him of late brings on directly a fit of the gout—and then you know what his temper is! Heaven knows what I had to go through with my nerves, and my delicate health, during the last fit, which came on the very day after we left you, and lasted six weeks, and which he sets down to your account, Harrington, and to the account of your Jewess.”

I had too much feeling for my mother’s present distress to increase her agitation by saying any thing on this tender subject. I let her accuse me as she pleased—and she very soon began to defend me. The accounts she had heard in various letters of the notice that had been taken of Miss Montenero by some of the leading persons in the fashionable world, the proposals that had been made to her, and especially the addresses of Lord Mowbray, which had been of sufficient publicity, had made, I found, a considerable alteration in my mother’s judgment or feelings. She observed that it was a pity my father was so violently prejudiced and obstinate, for that, after all, it would not be an unprecedented marriage. My mother, after a pause, went on to say, that though she was not, she hoped, an interested person, and should scorn the idea of her son’s being a fortune-hunter—and indeed I had given pretty sufficient proof that I was not of that description of suitors; yet, if the Jewess were really amiable, and as capable of generous attachment, it would be, my mother at last acknowledged, the best thing I could do, to secure an independent establishment with the wife of my choice.

I was just going to tell my mother of the conversation that I had had with Mr. Montenero, and of the obstacle, when her mind reverted to the Lombard-street letter, and to Baldwin’s bank; and for a full hour we discussed the probability of Baldwin’s standing or failing, though neither of us had any means of judging—of this, being perhaps the least anxious of the two, I became sensible the first. I finished, by stationing myself at the window to watch for my father’s return, of which I promised to give my mother notice, if she would lie down quietly on the sofa, and try to compose her spirits; she had given orders to be denied to all visitors, but every knock at the door made her start, and “There’s your father! There’s Mr. Harrington!” was fifty times repeated before the hour when it was even possible that my father could have returned from the city.

When the probable time came and passed, when it grew later and later without my father’s appearing, our anxiety and impatience rose to the highest pitch.

At last I gave my mother notice that I saw among the walkers at the end of the street which joined our square, an elderly gentleman with a cane.

“But there are so many elderly gentlemen with canes,” said my mother, joining me at the window. “Is it Mr. Harrington?”

“It is very like my father, ma’am. Now you can see him plainly picking his way over the crossing.”

“He is looking down,” said my mother; “that is a very bad sign.—But is he not looking up now?”

“No, ma’am; and now he is taking snuff.”

“Taking snuff! is he? Then there is some hope,” said my mother.

During the last forty yards of my father’s walk, we each drew innumerable and often opposite conclusions, from his slightest gestures and motions, interpreting them all as favourable or unfavourable omens. In the course of five minutes my mother’s presentimentsvaried fifty times. At length came his knock at the door. My mother grew pale—to her ear it said “all’s lost;” to mine it sounded like “all’s safe.”

“He stays to take off his great coat! a good sign; but he comes heavily up stairs.” Our eyes were fixed on the door—he opened it, and advanced towards us without uttering one syllable.

“All’s lost—and all’s safe,” said my father. “My fortune’s safe, Mrs. Harrington.”

“What becomes of your presentiments, my dear mother?” said I.

“Thank Heaven!” said my mother, “I was wrong for once.”

“You might thank Heaven for more than once, madam,” said my father.

“But then what did you mean by all’s lost, Mr. Harrington; if all’s safe, how can all be lost?”

“My all, Mrs. Harrington, is not all fortune. There is such a thing as credit as well as fortune, Mrs. Harrington.”

“But if you have not lost your fortune, you have not lost your credit, I presume,” said my mother.

“I have a character as a gentleman, Mrs. Harrington.”

“Of course.”

“A character for consistency, Mrs. Harrington, to preserve.”

“‘Tis a hard thing to preserve, no doubt,” said my mother.

“But I wish you’d speak plain, for my nerves can’t bear it.”

“Then I can tell you, Mrs. Harrington, your nerves have a great deal to bear yet. What will your nerves feel, madam—what will your enthusiasm say, sir—when I tell you, that I have lost my heart to—a Jewess?”

“Berenice!” cried I.

“Impossible!” cried my mother. “How came you to see her?”

“That’s not for you to know yet; but first, young gentleman, you who are hanging on tenter-hooks, you must hang there a little longer.”

“As long as you please, my dear father,” said I.

Your dear father!—ay, I’m very dear to you now, because you are in hopes, sir, I shall turn fool, and break my vow into the bargain; but I am not come to that yet, my good sir—I have some consistency.”

“Oh! never mind your consistency, for mercy’s sake, Mr. Harrington,” said my mother, “only tell us your story, for I really am dying to hear it, and I am so weak.”

“Ring the bell for dinner,” said my father, “for Mrs. Harrington’s so weak, I’ll keep my story till after dinner.” My mother protested she was quite strong, and we both held my father fast, insisting—he being in such excellent humour and spirits that we might insist—insisting upon his telling his story before he should have any dinner.

“Where was I?” said he.

“You know best,” said my mother; “you said you had lost your heart to a Jewess, and Harrington exclaimed Berenice! and that’s all I’ve heard yet.”

“Very well, then, let us leave Berenice for the present”—I groaned—“and go to her father, Mr. Montenero, and to a certain Mrs. Coates.”

“Mrs. Coates! did you see her too?” cried my mother: “you seem to have seen every body in the world this morning, Mr. Harrington. How happened it that you saw vulgar Mrs. Coates?”

“Unless I shut my eyes, how can I avoid seeing vulgar people, madam? and how can I tell my story, Mrs. Harrington, if you interrupt me perpetually, to ask how I came to see every soul and body I mention?”

“I will interrupt you no more,” said my mother, submissively, for she was curious.

I placed an arm-chair for my father—in my whole life I never felt so dutiful or so impatient.

“There, now,” said my father, taking his seat in the chair, “if you will promise not to interrupt me any more, I will tell you my story regularly. I went to Baldwin’s bank: I found a great crowd, all pressing their demands—the clerks as busy as they could be, and all putting a good face upon the matter. The head-clerk I saw was vexed at the sight of me—he came out from behind his desk, and begged I would go up stairs to Mr. Baldwin, who wished to speak to me. I was shown up stairs to Mr. Baldwin, with whom I found a remarkably gentlemanlike foreign-looking man.

“Yes, sir—yes, ma’am—Mr. Montenero: it is well you did not either of you interrupt me to tell me his name, for if you had, I would not have told you a word more. Well, Mr. Baldwin, evidently wishing me at the devil, came forward to receive me, and, in great perplexity, said he would be at my command; he would settle my business immediately; but must beg my pardon for five minutes, while he settled with this gentleman, Mr. Montenero. On hearing the name, I am sure my look would have said plain enough to any man alive but Baldwin, that I did not choose to be introduced; but Baldwin has no breeding: so it was Mr. Montenero, Mr. Harrington—Mr. Harrington, Mr. Montenero. I bowed, and wished the Jew in the Red Sea, and Baldwin along with him. I then took up a newspaper and retreated to the window, begging that I might not be any interruption. The cursed paper was four days old, so I put it down; and as I stood looking at nothing out of the window, I heard Baldwin going on with your Jew. They had a load of papers on the table, which Baldwin kept shuffling, as he talked about the losses the house had sustained by the sudden death of Alderman Coates, and the sad bankruptcy of the executors. Baldwin seasoned high with compliments to the Jew upon his known liberality and generosity, and was trying to get him to enter into some security, which the Jew refused, saying that what he gave he gave willingly, but he would not enter into security: he added, that the alderman and his family had been unjustifiably extravagant; but on condition that all was given up fairly to the creditors, and a new course entered upon, he and his daughter would take care that the widow should be provided for properly. As principal creditor, Mr. Baldwin would, by this means, be first satisfied. I could not help thinking that all the Jew said was fair enough, and firm too; but when he had said and done, I wondered that he did not go away. He and Baldwin came to the window to which I had retreated, and Baldwin, like a city bear as he is, got in his awkward way between us, and seizing one button of my coat and one of Mr. Montenero’s, held us there face to face, while he went on talking of my demand on the house.

“‘You see, Mr. Harrington,’ said he, ‘how we are circumstanced. The property of the firm is able to answer all fair demands in due course. But here’s a set and a run made against us, and no house could stand without the assistance, that is, the forbearance of friends—that’s what we must look to. Some of our friends, in particular Mr. Montenero, have been very friendly indeed—very handsome and liberal—and we have nothing to say; we cannot, in reason, expect him to do more for the Coates’s or for us.’ And then came accounts of the executors, &c., in his banking jargon.

“What the deuce was all this to me, you know? and how awkward I felt, held by the button there, to rejudge Mr. Montenero’s acts! I had nothing for it but my snuff-box. But Baldwin’s a mere clerk—cannot guess at the feelings of a gentleman. Mr. Montenero, I observed, looked down upon Baldwin all the time with so much the air of a high-bred gentleman, that I began to think he could not be the Jew—Montenero.

“Baldwin, still thinking only of holding him up as an example to me, went on, saying, ‘Mr. Montenero, who is a foreigner, and a stranger to the house, has done so and so, and we trust our old friends will do as much—Mr. Harrington in particular. There’s our books on the table, open to Mr. Harrington—he will see we shall be provided on the fifteenth instant; but, in short, if Mr. Harrington draws his £30,000 to-day, he drives us to pay in sixpences—so there’s the case.’ In short, it came to this: if I drew, I certainly ruined them; if I did not draw, I ran a great hazard of being ruined myself. No, Baldwin would not have it that way—so when he had stated it after his own fashion, and put it into and out of his banker’s jargon, it came out to be, that if I drew directly I was certain to lose the whole; and if I did not draw, I should have a good chance of losing a great part. I pulled my button away from the fellow, and without listening to any more of his jabbering, for I saw he was only speaking against time, and all on his own side of the question, I turned to look at the books, of which I knew I never should make head or tail, being no auditor of accounts, but a plain country gentleman. While I was turning over their confounded day-books and ledgers in despair, your Jew, Harrington, came up to me, and with such a manner as I did not conceive a Jew could have—but he is a Spanish Jew—that makes all the difference, I suppose—‘Mr. Harrington,’ said he, ‘though I am a stranger to you, permit me to offer my services in this business—I have some right to do so, as I have accepted of services, and am under real obligations to Mr. Harrington, your son, a young gentleman for whom I feel the highest attachment as well as gratitude, but of whom I will now say only, that he has been one of the chief means of saving my life and my character. His father cannot, therefore, I think, refuse to let me show at least some sense of the obligations I have willingly received. My collection of Spanish pictures, which, without your son’s exertions, I could not have saved on the night of the riot, has been estimated by your best English connoisseurs at £60,000. Three English noblemen are at this moment ready to pay down £30,000 for a few of these pictures: this will secure Mr. Harrington’s demand on this house. If you, Mr. Baldwin, pay him, before three hours are over the money shall be with you. It is no sacrifice of my taste or of my pictures,’ continued your noble Jew, in answer to my scruples: ‘I lodge them with three different bankers only for security for the money. If Mr. Baldwin stands the storm, we are all as we were—my pictures into the bargain. If the worst happen, I lose only a few instead of all my collection.’

“This was very generous—quite noble, but you know I am an obstinate old fellow. I had still the Jewess, the daughter, running in my head, and I thought, perhaps, I was to be asked for my consent, you know, Harrington, or some sly underplot of that kind.

“Mr. Montenero has a quick eye—I perceived that he saw into my thoughts; but we could not speak to our purpose before Baldwin, and Baldwin would never think of stirring, if one was dying to get him out of the room. Luckily, however, he was called away by one of the clerks.

“Then Mr. Montenero, who speaks more to the point than any man I ever heard, spoke directly of your love for his daughter, and said he understood that it would not be a match that I should approve. I pleaded my principles and religious difficulties:—he replied, ‘We need not enter into that, for the present business I must consider as totally independent of any view to future connexion:’—if his daughter was going to be married to-morrow to another man, he should do exactly the same as he now proposed to do. He did not lessen her fortune:—he should say nothing of what her sense of gratitude was and ought to be—she had nothing to do with the business.

“When I found that my Jupiter Amman was in no danger, and that the love affair was to be kept clear out of the question, I was delighted with your generous Jew, Harrington, and I frankly accepted his offer. Baldwin came in again, was quite happy when he heard how it was settled, gave me three drafts at thirty-one days for my money on the bankers Mr. Montenero named: here I have them safe in my pocket. Mr. Montenero then said, he would go immediately and perform his part of the business; and, as he left the room, he begged Mr. Baldwin to tell his daughter that he would call for her in an hour.

“I now, for the first time, understood that the daughter was in the house; and I certainly felt a curiosity to see her. Baldwin told me she was settling some business, signing some papers in favour of poor Mrs. Coates, the alderman’s widow. He added, that the Jewess was a charming creature, and as generous as her father:—he told all she had done for this widow and her children, on account of some kindness her mother had received in early life from the Coates’s family; and then there was a history of some other family of Manessas—I never heard Baldwin eloquent but this day, in speaking of your Jewess:—Harrington, I believe he is in love with her himself. I said I should like to see her, if it could be managed.

“Nothing easier, if I would partake of a cold collation just serving in the next room for the friends of the house.

“You know the nearer a man is to being ruined, the better he must entertain his friends. I walked into the next room, when collation time came, and I saw Miss Montenero. Though I had given him a broad hint—but the fellow understands nothing but his IOU’s—he fell to introducing of course: she is a most interesting-looking creature, I acknowledge, my boy, if—she were not a Jewess. I thought she would have sunk into the earth when she heard my name. I could not eat one morsel of the man’s collation—so—Ring for dinner, and let us say no more about the matter at present: there is my oath against it, you know—there is an end of the matter—don’t let me hear a word from you, Harrington—I am tired to death, quite exhausted, body and mind.”

I refrained most dutifully, and most prudently, from saying one word more on the subject, till my father, after dinner, and after being refreshed by a sound and long-protracted sleep, began again to speak of Mr. and Miss Montenero. This was the first time he omitted to call them the Jew and Jewess. He condescended to say repeatedly, and with many oaths, that they both deserved to be Christians—that if there was any chance of the girl’s conversion, even he would overlook the father’s being a Jew, as he was such a noble fellow. Love could do wonders—as my father knew when he was a young man—perhaps I might bring about her conversion, and then all would be smooth and right, and no oath against it.

I thanked my father for the kind concessions he now appeared willing to make for my happiness, and from step to step, at each step repeating that he did not want to hear a syllable about the matter, he made me tell him every thing that had passed. Mowbray’s rivalship and treachery excited his indignation in the highest degree: he was heartily glad that fellow was refused—he liked the girl for refusing him—some spirit—he liked spirit—and he should be glad that his son carried away the prize.

He interrupted himself to tell me some of the feats of gallantry of his younger days, and of the manner in which he had at last carried off my mother from a rascal of a rival—a Lord Mowbray of those times.

When my father had got to this point, my mother ventured to ask whether I had ever gone so far as to propose, actually to propose, for Miss Montenero.

“Yes.”

Both father and mother turned about, and asked, “What answer?”

I repeated, as nearly as I could, Mr. Montenero’s words—and I produced his note.

Both excited surprise and curiosity.

“What can this obstacle—this mysterious obstacle be?” said my mother.

“An obstacle on their side!” exclaimed my father: “is that possible?”

I had now, at least, the pleasure of enjoying their sympathy: and of hearing them go over all the conjectures by which I had been bewildered. I observed that the less chance there appeared to be of the match, the more my father and mother inclined towards it.

“At least,” said my mother, “I hope we shall know what the objection is.”

“It is very extraordinary, after all, that it should be on their side,” repeated my father.

My mother’s imagination, and my father’s pride, were both strongly excited; and I let them work without interruption.

Footnotes

[8] Vide Mrs. Piozzi’s Letters.

Chapter XVII • 5,600 Words

The time appointed for Mr. Montenero’s final decision approached. In a few days my fate was to be decided. The vessel that was to sail for America was continually before my eyes.

It was more difficult to me to endure the suspense of these few days than all the rest. My mother’s sympathy, and the strong interest which had been excited on the subject in my father’s mind, were at first highly agreeable; but there was so much more of curiosity and of pride in their feelings than in mine, that at last it became irksome to me to hear their conjectures and reflections. I did not like to answer any questions—I could not bear to speak of Berenice, or even of Mr. Montenero.

I took refuge in silence—my mother reproached me for my silence. I talked on fast of any thing but that which interested me most.

My mother became extremely alarmed for my health, and I believe with more reason than usual; for I could scarcely either eat, drink, or sleep, and was certainly very feverish; but still I walked about, and to escape from the constraint to which I put myself in her company, to avoid giving her pain—to relieve myself from her hourly fond inquiries—from the effort of talking, when I wished to be silent—of appearing well, and in spirits, when I was ill, and when my heart was dying within me, I escaped from her presence as much as possible. To feed upon my thoughts in solitude, I either shut myself up in my room, or walked all day in those streets where I was not likely to meet with any one who knew me, or whom I knew; and there I was at least safe from all notice, and secure from all sympathy: I am sure I experienced at this time the truth of what some one has quaintly but justly asserted, that an individual can never feel more completely alone than in the midst of a crowded metropolis.

One evening when I was returning homewards through the city, fatigued, but still prolonging my walk, that I might not be at home too early for dinner, I was met and stopped by Jacob: I had not thought of him lately, and when I looked up in his face, I was surprised by an appearance of great perturbation. He begged pardon for stopping me, but he had been to my house—he had been all over the town searching for me, to consult me about a sad affair, in which he was unfortunately concerned. We were not far from Manessa’s, the jeweller’s shop; I went in there with Jacob, as he wished, he said, that I should hear Mr. Manessa’s evidence on the business, as well as his own. The affair was this: Lady de Brantefield had, some time ago, brought to Mr. Manessa’s some very fine antique jewels, to be re-set for her daughter, Lady Anne Mowbray. One day, immediately after the riots, both the ladies called at Mr. Manessa’s, to inquire if the jewels were ready. They were finished; the new setting was approved: but Lady de Brantefield having suffered great losses by the destruction of her house and furniture in the riots, and her son, Lord Mowbray, being also in great pecuniary difficulties, it was suggested by Lady Anne Mowbray, that her mother would be glad if Mr. Manessa could dispose of some of the jewels, without letting it be known to whom they had belonged. Mr. Manessa, willing to oblige, promised secresy, and offered immediately to purchase the jewels himself; in consequence, the jewels were all spread out upon a little table in the back parlour—no one present but Jacob, Mr. Manessa, and the two ladies. A great deal of conversation passed, and the ladies were a long time settling what trinkets they would part with.

It was very difficult to accommodate at once the personal vanity of the daughter, the family pride of the mother, and their pecuniary difficulties. There occurred, in particular, a question about a topaz ring, of considerable value, but of antique setting, which Lady Anne Mowbray wished her mother to part with, instead of some more fashionable diamond ornament that Lady Anne wanted to keep for herself. Lady de Brantefield had, however, resisted all her daughter’s importunities—had talked a vast deal about the ring—told that it had been Sir Josseline de Mowbray’s—that it had come into his possession by ducal and princely descent—that it was one of four rings, which had been originally a present from Pope Innocent to King John, of which rings there was a full description in some old chronicle[9]Rymer’s Foedera., and in Mr. Hume’s History of England, to which her ladyship referred Mr. Manessa: his curiosity[10]For the satisfaction of any readers who may have more curiosity upon the subject than Mr. Manessa had, but yet who would not willingly rise from their seats to gratify their curiosity, the passage is here given gratis. “Innocent wrote John a mollifying letter, and sent him four golden rings, set with precious stones; and endeavoured to enhance the value of the present, by informing him of the many mysteries which were implied by it. He begged him to consider, seriously, the form of the rings, their number, their matter, and their colour. Their form, he said, being round, shadowed out eternity, which has neither beginning nor end. Their number, four, being a square, denoted steadiness of mind, not to be subverted either by adversity or prosperity, fixed for ever on the four cardinal virtues. Gold, which is the matter, signified wisdom. The blue of the sapphire, faith. The verdure of the emerald, hope. The redness of the ruby, charity. And splendour of the topaz, good works.” “By these conceits,” continued the historian, “Innocent endeavoured to repay John for one of the most important prerogatives of the crown.”, however, was perfectly satisfied upon the subject, and he was, with all due deference, willing to take the whole upon her ladyship’s word, without presuming to verify her authorities. While she spoke, she took the ring from her finger, and put it into Jacob’s hand, desiring to know if he could make it fit her finger better, as it was rather too large. Jacob told her it could be easily lessened, if her ladyship would leave it for an hour or two with him. But her ladyship said she could not let Sir Josseline’s ring out of her own sight, it was of such inestimable value. The troublesome affair of satisfying both the vain daughter and the proud mother being accomplished—the last bows were made at the door—the carriage drove away, and Manessa and Jacob thanked Heaven that they had done with these difficult customers. Two hours had scarcely elapsed before a footman came from Lady de Brantefield with the following note:—

“Lady de Brantefield informs Mr. Manessa that she is in the greatest anxiety—not finding Sir Josseline de Mowbray’s ring on her finger, upon her return home. Her ladyship now recollects having left it in the hands of one of Mr. Manessa’s shopmen, a young man she believes of the name of Jacob, the only person except Mr. Manessa, who was in the little parlour, while her ladyship and Lady Anne Mowbray were there.

“Lady de Brantefield requests that Mr. Manessa will bring the ring himself to Lady Warbeck’s, Hanover-square, where Lady de Brantefield is at present.

“Lady de Brantefield desires Mr. M. will make no delay, as her ladyship must remain in indescribable anxiety till Sir Josseline’s ring shall be restored. Her ladyship could not answer for such a loss to her family and posterity.

Hanover-square, Tuesday.

Jacob was perfectly certain that her ladyship had not left the ring with him; nevertheless he made diligent search for it, and afterwards accompanied Mr. Manessa to Lady Warbeck’s, to assure Lady de Brantefield that the ring was not in their house. He endeavoured to bring to her recollection her having put it on her finger just before she got into the carriage; but this her ladyship would not admit. Lady Anne supported her mother’s assertions; and Lady de Brantefield ended by being haughtily angry, declaring she would not be contradicted by a shopman, and that she was positive the ring had never been returned to her. Within eight-and-forty hours the story was told by Lady de Brantefield and her friends at every card-table at the polite end of the town, and it was spread by Lady Anne through the park and the ball-rooms; and the ladies’-maids had repeated it, with all manner of exaggerations, through their inferior but not less extensive circles. The consequence was, that the character of Mr. Manessa’s house was hurt, and Jacob, who was the person accused as the cause of it, was very unhappy. The confidence Mr. Manessa had in him, and the kindness he showed him, increased his regret. Lady de Brantefield had, in a high tone, threatened a prosecution for the value of her inestimable ring. This was what both Jacob and Mr. Manessa would have desired—a public trial, they knew, would bring the truth to light; but her ladyship was probably discouraged by her legal advisers from a prosecution, so that Mr. Manessa and Jacob were still left to suffer by the injustice of private whisperings. Jacob offered to replace, as far as he could, the value of this ring; but in Lady de Brantefield’s opinion nothing could compensate for its loss. Poor Jacob was in despair. Before I heard this story, I thought that nothing could have forced my attention from my own affairs; but I could not be so selfish as to desert or neglect Jacob in his distress. I went with my mother this evening to see Lady de Brantefield; her ladyship was still at her relation’s, Lady Warbeck’s house, where she had apartments to herself, in which she could receive what company she pleased. There was to be a ball in the house this evening, but Lady de Brantefield never mixed in what she called idle gaieties; she abhorred a bustle, as it infringed upon her personal dignity, and did not agree with her internal persuasion that she was, or ought to be, the first object in all company. We found her ladyship in her own retired apartment; her eyes were weak, and the room had so little light in it, that when we first went in, I could scarcely distinguish any object: I saw, however, a young woman, who had been reading to her ladyship, rise as we entered, put down her book, and prepare to retire. My mother stopped her as she was passing, and turning to me, said, that this was a young person, she was sure, I should be glad to see, the daughter of an old friend of mine.

I looked, and saw a face which awakened the most painful associations of my childhood.

“Did not I perceive any likeness?” my mother continued. “But it was so many years since I had seen poor Fowler, and I was so very young a child, no wonder I should not in the least recollect.”

I had some recollection—if I was not mistaken—I stammered—I stopped. In fact, I recollected too well to be able to pay the expected compliment. However, after I had got over the first involuntary shudder, I tried to say something to relieve the embarrassment which I fancied the girl must feel.

She, in a mincing, waiting-gentlewoman’s manner, and with a certain unnatural softness of voice, which again brought all the mother to my mind, assured me that if I’d forgot her mother, she had not forgot me; for that she’d often and often heard her mother talk of me, and she was morally confident her mother had never loved any child so doatingly, except, to be sure, her own present lady’s, Lady Anne Mowbray. Her mother had often and often regretted she could never get a sight or sentence of me since I grew up to be a great gentleman, she always having been stationary down at my lady’s, in Surrey, at the Priory—housekeeper—and I never there; but if I’d have the condescension to wish to gratify her mother, as it would be the greatest gratification in life—if Lady de Brantefield—

“Presently, perhaps—when I ring,” said Lady de Brantefield, “and you, Nancy Fowler, may come back yourself with my treble ruffles: Mrs. Harrington, I know, will have the goodness to permit. I keep her as much under my own eye, and suffer her to be as much even in the room with me, as possible,” added Lady de Brantefield, as Nancy left the room; “for she is a young person quite out of the common line, and her mother i—but you first recommended her to me, Mrs. Harrington, I remember.”

The most faithful creature!” said my mother, in the very tone I had heard it pronounced twenty years before.

I was carried back so far, so forcibly, and so suddenly, that it was some time before I could recover myself sufficiently to recollect what was the order of the day; but no matter—my mother passed on quite easily to the jewels, and my silence was convenient, and had an air of perfect deference for Lady de Brantefield’s long story of Sir Josseline’s ring, now told over, I believe, for the ninety-ninth time this season. She ended where she began, with the conviction that, if the secretary of state would, as he ought, on such an occasion, grant a general search-warrant, as she was informed had been done for papers, and things of much less value, her ring would be found in that Jacob’s possession—that Jacob, of whom she had a very bad opinion!

I took the matter up as quietly as was in my nature, and did not begin with a panegyric on my friend Jacob, but simply asked, what reason her ladyship had for her very bad opinion of him?

Too good reason, her ladyship emphatically said: she had heard her son, Lord Mowbray, express a very bad opinion of him.

Lord Mowbray had known this Jacob, she believed, when a boy, and afterwards when a man at Gibraltar, and had always thought ill of him. Lord Mowbray had said, that Jacob was avaricious and revengeful; as you know Jews always are, added her ladyship.

I wondered she had trusted her jewels, then, in such hands.

There, she owned, she had for once been wrong—overruled by others—by her daughter, Lady Anne, who said the jewels could be more fashionably set at Manessa’s than any where else.

She had never acted against her own judgment in her life, without repenting of it. Another circumstance, Lady de Brantefield said, prepossessed her, she owned, against this Jacob; he was from the very dregs of the people; the son absolutely of an old clothes-man, she had been informed. What could be expected from such a person, when temptation came in his way? and could we trust to any thing such a low sort of person would say?

Lady Anne Mowbray, before I had time to answer, entered dressed for the ball, with her jewels in full blaze, and for some time there was a suspension of all hope of coming to any thing like common sense. When her mother appealed to her about Jacob, Lady Anne protested she took a horrid dislike to his face the moment she saw him; she thought he had a shocking Jewish sort of countenance, and she was positive he would swear falsely, because he was ready to swear that her mamma had the ring on her finger when she got into the carriage—now Lady Anne was clear she had not.

“Has your ladyship,” I asked, “any particular reason for remembering this fact?”

“Oh, yes! several very particular reasons.”

There is sometimes wisdom in listening to a fool’s reasons; for ten to one that the reasons will prove the contrary to what they are brought to support, or will at least bring out some fact, the distant bearing of which on the point of question the fool does not perceive. But when two fools pour out their reasons at once, it is difficult to profit even by their folly. The mother’s authority at last obtaining precedency, I heard Lady de Brantefield’s cause of belief, first: her ladyship declared that she never wore Sir Josseline’s ring without putting on after it a guard ring, a ring which, being tighter than Sir Josseline’s, kept it safe on her finger. She remembered drawing off the guard ring when she took off Sir Josseline’s, and put that into Jacob’s hands; her ladyship said it was clear to her mind that she could not have put on Sir Josseline’s again, because here was the guard ring on her wrong finger—a finger on which she never in her life wore it when she wore Sir Josseline’s, for Sir Josseline’s was so loose, it would drop off, unless she had the guard on.

“But was not it possible,” I asked, “that your ladyship might this once have put on Sir Josseline’s ring without recollecting the guard?”

No, absolutely impossible: if Jacob and all the Jews upon earth swore it (who, by-the-bye, would swear any thing), she could not be convinced against her reason—she knew her own habits—her private reasons to her were unanswerable.

Lady Anne’s private reasons to her were equally unanswerable; but they were so confused, and delivered with so much volubility, as to be absolutely unintelligible. All I could gather was, that Fowler and her daughter Nancy were in the room when Lady Anne and her mother first missed the ring—that when her mother drew off her glove, and exclaimed, “Bless me, Sir Josseline’s not here!” Lady Anne ran up to the dressing-table, at which her mother was standing, to try to find the ring, thinking that her mother might have dropped it in drawing off her glove; “but it certainly was not drawn off with the glove.”

“But might not it be left in the glove?” I asked.

“Oh! dear, no: I shook the glove myself, and Fowler turned every finger inside out, and Nancy moved every individual box upon the dressing-table. We were all in such a fuss, because you know mamma’s so particular about Sir Josseline; and to tell you the truth, I was uncommonly anxious, because I knew if mamma was vexed and lost the ring, she would not give me a certain diamond cross, that makes me so particularly remember every circumstance—and I was in such a flurry, that I know I threw down a bottle of aether that was on mamma’s toilette, on her muff—and it had such a horrid smell!”

The muff! I asked if the muff, as well as the glove, had been searched carefully.

“La! to be sure—I suppose so—of course it was shaken, as every thing else in the room was, a hundred times over: the toilette and mamma’s petticoats even, and cloak, and gloves, as I told you.”

“Yes, but the muff, did your ladyship examine it yourself?”

“Did I examine it? I don’t recollect. No, indeed, after the aether, how could I touch it? you know: but of course it was shaken, it was examined, I am sure; but really I know nothing about it—but this, that it could not possibly be in it, the ring, I mean, because mamma had her glove on.”

I requested permission to see the muff.

“Oh, mamma was forced to give it away because of the horrid smell—she bid Fowler take it out of the room that minute, and never let it come near her again; but if you want to see it, ring for Fowler: you can examine it as much as you please; depend upon it the ring’s no more there than I am—send for Fowler and Nancy, and they can tell you how we shook every thing to no purpose. The ring’s gone, and so am I, for Colonel Topham’s waiting, and I must lead off.” And away her ladyship tripped, flirting her perfumed fan as she went. Persisting in my wish to see the muff, Lady de Brantefield desired me to ring for Fowler.

Her ladyship wondered, she said, how I could, after the reasons she had given me for her being morally certain that she had left the ring with Jacob, and after Lady Anne had justly remarked that the ring could not get through her glove, entertain a hope of finding it in such a ridiculous place as a muff. But since I was so possessed with this idea, the muff should be produced—there was nothing like ocular demonstration in these cases, except internal conviction: “Did you ring, Mr. Harrington?”

“I did.”

And Miss Nancy with the treble ruffles in her hand now appeared.

“‘Tis your mother, child, I want,” said Lady de Brantefield.

“Yes, my lady, she is only just finished assisting to lay out the ball supper.”

“But I want her—directly.”

“Certainly, my lady, directly.”

“And bid her bring—” A whisper from me to my mother, and from my mother to her ladyship, failed of effect: after turning half round, as if to ask me what I said—a look which did not pass unnoticed by Miss Nancy—her ladyship finished her sentence—“And tell Fowler I desire she will bring me the muff that I gave her last week—the day I lost my ring.”

This message would immediately put Fowler upon her guard, and I was at first sorry that it had been so worded; but I recollected having heard an eminent judge, a man of great abilities and experience, say, that if he were called upon to form a judgment of any character, or to discover the truth in any case, he would rather that the persons whom he was to examine were previously put on their guard, than that they were not; for that he should know, by what they guarded, of what they were afraid.

Fowler appeared—twenty years had so changed her face and figure, that the sight of her did not immediately shock me as I feared it would. The daughter, who, I suppose, more nearly resembled what her mother had been at the time I had known her, was, of the two, the most disagreeable to my sight and feelings. Fowler’s voice was altered by the loss of a tooth, and it was even by this change less odious to my ear. The daughter’s voice I could scarcely endure. I was somewhat relieved from the fear of being prejudiced against Fowler by the perception of this change in her; and while she was paying me her compliments, I endeavoured to fortify the resolution I had made to judge of her with perfect impartiality. Her delight at seeing me, however, I could not believe to be sincere; and the reiterated repetition of her sorrow for her never having been able to get a sight of me before, I thought ill-judged: but no matter; many people in her station make these sort of unmeaning speeches. If I had suffered my imagination to act, I should have fancied that under a sort of prepared composure there was constraint and alarm in her look as she spoke to me. I thought she trembled; but I resolved not to be prejudiced—and this I repeated to myself many times.

“Well, Fowler, but the muff,” said Lady de Brantefield.

“The muff—oh! dear, my lady, I’m so sorry I can’t have it for you—it’s not in the house nowhere—I parted with it out of hand directly upon your saying, my lady, that you desired it might never be suffered to come nigh your ladyship again. Then, says I to myself, since my lady can’t abide the smell, I can’t never wear it, which it would have been my pride to do; so I thought I could never get it fast enough out of the house.”

“And what did you do with it?”

“I made a present of it, my lady, to poor Mrs. Baxter, John Dutton’s sister, my lady, who was always so much attached to the family, and would have a regard for even the smallest relic, vestige, or vestment, I knew, above all things in nature, poor old soul!—she has, what with the rheumatic pains, and one thing or another, lost the use of her right arm, so it was particularly agreeable and appropriate—and she kissed the muff—oh! my lady, I’m sure I only wish your ladyship could have witnessed the poor soul’s veneration.”

In reply to a question which made my mother ask about the “poor soul,” I further learned that Mrs. Baxter was wife to a pawnbroker in Swallow-street. Fowler added, “If my lady wished any way for the muff, I can get it to-morrow morning by breakfast, or by the time you’s up, my lady.”

“Very well, very well, that will do, I suppose, will it not, Mr. Harrington?”

I bowed, and said not a word more—Fowler, I saw, was glad to get rid of the subject, and to go on to the treble ruffles, on which while she and my mother and Lady de Brantefield were descanting, I made my exit, and went to the ball-room.

I found Lady Anne Mowbray—talked nonsense to her ladyship for a quarter of an hour—and at last, à propos to her perfumed fan, I brought in the old muff with the horrid smell, on purpose to obtain a full description of it.

She told me that it was a gray fox-skin, lined with scarlet; that it had great pompadour-coloured knots at each end, and that it was altogether hideous. Lady Anne declared that she was heartily glad it would never shock her eyes more.

It was now just nine o’clock; people then kept better hours than they do at present; I was afraid that all the shops would be shut; but I recollected that pawnbrokers’ shops were usually kept open late. I lost no time in pursuing my object.

I took a hackney coach, bribed the coachman to drive very fast to Mr. Manessa—found Manessa and Jacob going to bed sleepy—but at sight of me Jacob was alert in an instant, and joyfully ready to go with me immediately to Baxter, the pawnbroker’s.

I made Jacob furnish me with an old surtout and slouched hat, desiring to look as shabby as possible, that the pawnbroker might take me for one of his usual nightly customers, and might not be alarmed at the sight of a gentleman.

“That won’t do yet, Mr. Harrington,” said Jacob, when I had equipped myself in the old hat and coat. “Mr. Baxter will see the look of a gentleman through all that. It is not the shabby coat that will make the gentleman look shabby, no more than the fine coat can ever make the shabby look like the gentleman. The pawnbroker, who is used to observe and find out all manner of people, will know that as well as I—but now you shall see how well at one stroke I will disguise the gentleman.”

Jacob then twisted a dirty silk handkerchief round my throat, and this did the business so completely, that I defied the pawnbroker and all his penetration.

We drove as fast as we could to Swallow-street—dismissed our hackney coach, and walked up to the pawnbroker’s.

Light in the shop!—all alive!—and business going on. The shop was so full of people, that we stood for some minutes unnoticed.

We had leisure to look about us, as we had previously agreed to do, for Lady De Brantefield’s muff.

I had a suspicion that, notwithstanding the veneration with which it had been said to be treated, it might have come to the common lot of cast clothes.

Jacob at one side, and I at the other, took a careful survey of the multifarious contents of the shop; of all that hung from the ceiling; and all that was piled on the shelves; and all that lay huddled in corners, or crammed into dark recesses.

In one of the darkest and most ignominious of these, beneath a heap of sailors’ old jackets and trowsers, I espied a knot of pompadour riband. I hooked it out a little with the stick I had in my hand; but Jacob stopped me, and called to the shopboy, who now had his eye upon us, and with him we began to bargain hard for some of the old clothes that lay upon the muff.

The shopboy lifted them up to display their merits, by the dimness of the candle-light, and, as he raised them up, there appeared beneath the gray fox-skin with its scarlet lining and pompadour knots, the Lady de Brantefield’s much venerated muff.

I could scarcely refrain from seizing upon it that moment, but Jacob again restrained me.

He went on talking about the sailors’ jackets, for which we had been in treaty; and he insisted upon having the old muff into the bargain. It actually was at last thrown in as a makeweight. Had she been witness to this bargain, I believe Lady De Brantefield would have dropped down in a swoon.

The moment I got possession of it, I turned it inside out.—There were several small rents in the lining—but one in particular had obviously been cut open with scissars. The shopboy, who thought I was pointing out the rents to disparage my purchase, assured me that any woman, clever at her needle, would with half-a-dozen stitches sew all up, and make the muff as good again as new. Jacob desired the boy to show him some old seals, rings, and trinkets, fit for a pedlar to carry into the country; Jacob was, for this purpose, sent to the most respectable place at the counter, and promoted to the honour of dealing face to face with Mr. Baxter himself:—drawers, which had before been invisible, were now produced; and I stood by while Jacob looked over all the new and old trinkets. I was much surprised by the richness and value of various brooches, picture settings, watches, and rings, which had come to this fate: at last, in a drawer with many valuables, which Mr. Baxter told us that some great man’s mistress had, last week, been obliged to leave with him, Jacob and I, at the same moment, saw “the splendour of the topaz”—Lady de Brantefield’s inestimable ring! I must do myself the justice to say that I behaved incomparably well—did not make a single exclamation, though I was sure it was the identical ring, the moment I caught a glimpse of the topaz—and though a glance from Jacob convinced me I was right. I said I could wait no longer, but would call again for him in half an hour’s time. This was what we had agreed upon beforehand should be the signal for my summoning a Bow-street officer, whom Mr. Manessa had in readiness. Jacob identified and swore to the property—Mr. Baxter was seized. He protested he did not know the ring was stolen goods—he could not recollect who had sold it to him; but when we mentioned Fowler’s name, he grew pale, was disconcerted, and not knowing how much or how little we knew, decided at once to get out of the scrape himself by giving her up, and turning evidence against her. He stated that she had found it in the old muff, but that he never knew that this muff had belonged to Lady de Brantefield. Mrs. Fowler had assured Him that it had been left to her along with the wardrobe of a lady with Whom she had formerly lived.

As soon as Baxter had told all the lies he chose to invent, and confessed as much of the truth as he thought would serve his purpose, his deposition was taken and sworn to. This was all that could then be done, as it was near twelve o’clock.

Poor Jacob’s joy at having his innocence proved, and at being relieved from the fear of injuring the credit of his master’s house, raised his spirits higher than I ever saw them in my life before. But still his joy and gratitude were more shown by looks than words. He thanked me once, and but once, warmly and strongly.

“Ah! Mr. Harrington,” said he, “from the time you were Master Harrington at school, you were my best friend—always my friend in most need—I trusted in you, and still I hoped!—hoped that the truth would stand, and the lie fall. See at last our Hebrew proverb right—‘A lie has no feet.’”

Footnotes

[9] Rymer’s Foedera.

[10] For the satisfaction of any readers who may have more curiosity upon the subject than Mr. Manessa had, but yet who would not willingly rise from their seats to gratify their curiosity, the passage is here given gratis. “Innocent wrote John a mollifying letter, and sent him four golden rings, set with precious stones; and endeavoured to enhance the value of the present, by informing him of the many mysteries which were implied by it. He begged him to consider, seriously, the form of the rings, their number, their matter, and their colour. Their form, he said, being round, shadowed out eternity, which has neither beginning nor end. Their number, four, being a square, denoted steadiness of mind, not to be subverted either by adversity or prosperity, fixed for ever on the four cardinal virtues. Gold, which is the matter, signified wisdom. The blue of the sapphire, faith. The verdure of the emerald, hope. The redness of the ruby, charity. And splendour of the topaz, good works.” “By these conceits,” continued the historian, “Innocent endeavoured to repay John for one of the most important prerogatives of the crown.”

Chapter XVIII • 3,600 Words

The next morning, before I left my room to go down to breakfast, my servant told me that Lady de Brantefield’s housekeeper, Mrs. Fowler, begged to speak to me—she had been come some time. I went into my mother’s dressing-room, where she was waiting alone. I could not bear to fix my eyes upon her; I advanced towards her, wishing, as I believe I said aloud, that she had spared me the pain of this interview. I waited in silence for her to speak, but she did not say a word—I heard the unhappy woman sobbing violently. Suddenly she took her handkerchief from before her face, and her sobs ceasing, she exclaimed, “I know you hate me, Mr. Harrington, and you have reason to hate me—more—much more than you know of! But Lord Mowbray is the most to blame.”

I stood in astonishment. I conceived either that the woman was out of her senses, or that she had formed the not unprecedented design of affecting insanity, in hope of escaping the punishment of guilt: she threw herself at my feet—she would have clasped my knees, but I started back from her insufferable touch; provoked by this, she exclaimed, in a threatening tone, “Take care, sir!—The secret is still in my power.”

Then observing, I believe, that her threat made no impression, her tone changed again to the whine of supplication.

“Oh, Mr. Harrington, if I could hope for your forgiveness, I could reveal such a secret—a secret that so concerns you!”

I retreated, saying that I would not hear any secret from her. But I stopped, and was fixed to the spot, when she added, under her breath, the name of Montenero. Then, in a hypocritical voice, she went on—“Oh, Mr. Harrington!—Oh, sir, I have, been a great sinner! led on—led on by them that was worse than myself; but if you will plead for me with my lady, and prevail upon her not to bring me to public shame about this unfortunate affair of the ring, I will confess all to you—I will throw myself on your mercy. I will quit the country if you will prevail on my lady—to let my daughter’s marriage go on, and not to turn her out of favour.”

I refused to make any terms; but my mother, whose curiosity could refrain no longer, burst into the room; and to her Fowler did not plead in vain. Shocked as she was with the detection of this woman’s fraud, my mother was so eager to learn the secret concerning me, that she promised to obtain a pardon from Lady de Brantefield for the delinquent, if she would immediately communicate the secret. I left the room.

I met my father with letters and newspapers in his hand. He looked in consternation, and beckoned to me to follow him into his own room.

“I was just going in search of you, Harrington,” said he: “here’s a devil of a stroke for your mother’s friend, Lady de Brantefield.”

“The loss of her jewels, do you mean, sir?” said I: “they are found.”

“Jewels!” said my father; “I don’t know what you are talking of.”

“I don’t know then what you mean, sir,” said I.

“No, to be sure you do not, how could you? for the news is but this instant come—in this letter which I was carrying to you—which is addressed to you, as I found, when I got to the middle of it. I beg your pardon for opening it. Stay, stay—this is not the right letter.”

My father seemed much hurried, and looked over his parcel of letters, while he went on, saying, “This is directed to William Harrington, instead of William Harrington Harrington. Never mind about that now, only I don’t like to open letters that don’t belong to me—here it is—run your eye over it as fast as you can, and tell me—for I stopped, as soon as I saw it was not to me—tell me how it is with Mowbray—I never liked the fellow, nor his mother either; but one can’t help pitying—and being shocked—shocked indeed I was, the moment I read the letter.”

The letter, which appeared to have been written in great perturbation, and at two or three different times, with different inks, was from a brother officer of Lord Mowbray’s. It began in a tolerably composed and legible hand, with an account of a duel, in which the writer of the letter said that he had been second to Lord Mowbray. His lordship had been wounded, but it was hoped he would do well. Then came the particulars of the duel, which the second stated, of course, as advantageously for himself and his principal as he could; but even by his own statement it appeared that Lord Mowbray had been the aggressor; that he had been intemperate; and, in short, entirely in the wrong: the person with whom he fought was a young officer, who had been his schoolfellow: the dispute had begun about some trivial old school quarrel, on the most nonsensical subject; something about a Jew boy of the name of Jacob, and a pencil-case; the young gentleman had appealed to the evidence of Mr. Harrington, whom he had lately met on a fishing-party, and who, he said, had a perfect recollection of the circumstance. Lord Mowbray grew angry; and in the heat of contradiction, which, as his second said, his lordship could never bear, he gave his opponent the lie direct. A duel was the necessary consequence. Lord Mowbray insisted on their firing across the table: his opponent was compelled to it. They fired, as it was agreed, at the same instant: Lord Mowbray fell. So far was written while the surgeon was with his patient. Afterwards, the letter went on in a more confused manner. The surgeon begged that Lord Mowbray’s friends might be informed, to prepare them for the event; but still there were hopes. Lord Mowbray had begun to write a letter to Mr. Harrington, but could not go on—had torn it to bits—and had desired the writer of the present letter to say, “that he could not go out of the world easy, without his forgiveness—to refer him to a woman of the name of Fowler, for explanation—a waiting-maid—a housekeeper now, in his mother’s family. Lord Mowbray assured Mr. Harrington, that he did not mean to have carried the jest (the word jest scratched out), the thing farther than to show him his power to break off matters, if he pleased—but he now repented.”

This dictated part of the letter was so confused, and so much like the delirium of a man in a fever, that I should certainly have concluded it to be without real meaning, had it not coincided with the words which Fowler had said to me. On turning over the page I saw a postscript—Lord Mowbray, at two o’clock that morning, had expired. His brother officer gave no particulars, and expressed little regret, but begged me to represent the affair properly; and added something about the lieutenant-colonelcy, which was blotted so much, either purposely or accidentally, that I could not read it.

My father, who was a truly humane man, was excessively shocked by the letter; and at first, so much engrossed by the account of the manner of the young man’s death, and by the idea of the shock and distress of the mother and sister, that he scarcely adverted to the unintelligible messages to me. He observed, indeed, that the writer of the letter seemed to be a fool, and to have very little feeling. We agreed that my mother was the fittest person to break the matter to poor Lady de Brantefield. If my mother should not feel herself equal to the task, my father said he would undertake it himself, though he had rather have a tooth pulled out than go through it.

We went together to my mother. We found her in hysterics, and Fowler beside her; my mother, the moment she saw us, recovered some recollection, and pushing Fowler from her with both her hands, she cried, “Take her away—out of my sight—out of my sight.” I took the hartshorn from Fowler, and bid her leave the room; ordering her, at her peril, not to leave the house.

“Why did you tell Mrs. Harrington so suddenly, Mrs. Fowler?” my father began, supposing that my mother’s hysterics were the consequence of having been told, too suddenly, the news of Lord Mowbray’s death.

“I did not tell her, sir; I never uttered a sentence of his lordship’s death.”

In her confusion, the woman betrayed her knowledge of the circumstance, though on her first speaking to me she had not mentioned it. While I assisted and soothed my mother, I heard my father questioning her. “She heard the news that morning, early, in a letter from Lord Mowbray’s gentleman—had not yet had the heart to mention it to her lady—believed she had given a hint of it to Lady Anne—was indeed so flurried, and still was so flurried—”

My father, perceiving that Fowler did not know what she was saying, good-naturedly attributed her confusion to her sorrow for her ladies; and did not wonder, he said, she was flurried: he was not nervous, but it had given him a shock. “Sit down, poor Fowler.”

The words caught my mother’s ear, who had now recovered her recollection completely; and with an effort, which I had never before seen her make, to command her own feelings—an effort, for which I thank her, as I knew it arose from her strong affection for me, she calmly said, “I will bear that woman—that fiend, in my sight, a few minutes longer, for your sake, Harrington, till her confession be put in writing and signed: this will, I suppose, be necessary.”

“I desire to know, directly, what all this means?” said my father, speaking in a certain repressed tone, which we and which Fowler knew to be the symptom of his being on the point of breaking out into violent anger.

“Oh! sir,” said Fowler, “I have been a very sad sinner; but indeed I was not so much to blame as them that knew better, and ought to know better—that bribed and deceived me, and lured me by promises to do that—to say that—but indeed I was made to believe it was all to end in no harm—only a jest.”

“A jest! Oh, wretch!” cried my mother.

“I was a wretch, indeed, ma’am; but Lord Mowbray was, you’ll allow, the wickedest.”

“And at the moment he is dead,” said my father, “is this a time—”

Fowler, terrified to her inmost coward soul at the sight of the powerful indignation which appeared in my father’s eyes, made an attempt to throw herself at his feet, but he caught strong hold of her arm.

“Tell me the plain fact at once, woman.”

Now she literally could not speak; she knew my father was violent, and dreaded lest what she had to say should incense him beyond all bounds.

My mother rose, and said that she would tell the plain fact.

Fowler, still more afraid that my mother should tell it—as she thought, I suppose, she could soften it best herself—interposed, saying, “Sir, if you will give me a moment’s time for recollection, sir, I will tell all. Dear sir, if one had committed murder, and was going to be put to death, one should have that much mercy shown—hard to be condemned unheard.”

My father let go her arm from his strong grasp, and sat down, resolved to be patient. It was just, he said, that she, that every human creature should be heard before they were condemned.

When she came to the facts, I was so much interested that I cannot recollect the exact words in which the account was given; but this was the substance. Lord Mowbray, when refused by Miss Montenero, had sworn that he would be revenged on her and on me. Indeed, from our first acquaintance with her, he had secretly determined to supplant me; and a circumstance soon occurred which served to suggest the means. He had once heard Miss Montenero express strongly her terror at seeing an insane person—her horror at the idea of a marriage which a young friend of hers had made with a man who was subject to fits of insanity. Upon this hint Mowbray set to work.

Before he opened his scheme to Fowler, he found how he could bribe her, as he thought, effectually, and secure her secrecy by making her an accomplice. Fowler had a mind to marry her daughter to a certain apothecary, who, though many years older than the girl, and quite old enough to be her father, was rich, and would raise her to be a lady. This apothecary lived in a country town near the Priory; the house, and ground belonging to it, which the apothecary rented, was on her ladyship’s estate, and would be the inheritance of Lord Mowbray. He promised that he would renew this lease to her future son-in-law, provided she and the apothecary continued to preserve his good opinion. His lordship had often questioned Fowler as to the strange nervous fits I had had when a boy. He had repeated all he had heard reported; and certainly exaggerated stories in abundance had, at the time, been circulated. Lord Mowbray affirmed that most people were of opinion it was insanity. Fowler admitted that was always her own opinion—Lord Mowbray supposed that was the secret reason for her quitting my mother’s service—it certainly was, though she was too delicate, and afraid at the time, to mention it. By degrees he worked Fowler partly to acquiesce in all he asserted, and to assert all he insinuated. The apothecary had been an apprentice to the London apothecary who attended me; he had seen me often at the time I was at the worst; he had heard the reports too, and he had heard opinions of medical men, and he was brought to assert whatever his future mother-in-law pleased, for he was much in love with the young girl. This combination was formed about the period when I first became attached to Miss Montenero: the last stroke had been given at the time when Mr. Montenero and Berenice were at General B——‘s, in Surrey. The general’s house was within a few miles of the country town in which the said apothecary lived; it was ten or twelve miles from the Priory, where Fowler was left, at that time, to take care of the place. The apothecary usually attended the chief families in the neighbourhood, and was recommended to General B——‘s family. Miss Montenero had a slight sore throat, and no physician being near, this apothecary was sent for; he made use of this opportunity, spoke of the friends he had formerly had in London, in particular of Mr. Harrington’s family, for whom he expressed much gratitude and attachment; inquired anxiously and mysteriously about young Mr. Harrington’s state of health. One day Miss Montenero and her father called at this apothecary’s, to see some curious things that had been found in a Roman bath, just dug up in the county of Surrey. Fowler, who had been apprised of the intended visit, was found in the little parlour behind the shop talking to the apothecary about poor young Mr. Harrington. While Mr. and Miss Montenero were looking at the Roman curiosities, Fowler contrived, in half sentences, to let out what she wished to be overheard about that poor young gentleman’s strange fits; and she questioned the apothecary whether they had come on ever very lately, and hoped that for the family’s sake, as well as his own, it would never break out publicly. All which observations and questions the apothecary seemed discreetly and mysteriously to evade answering. Fowler confessed that she could not get out on this occasion the whole of what she had been instructed to say, because Miss Montenero grew so pale, they thought she would have dropped on the floor.

The apothecary pretended to think the young lady had been made sick by the smell of the shop. It passed off—nothing more was done at that time. Mr. Montenero, before he left the house, made inquiries who Fowler was—learned that she had been, for many years, a servant in the Harrington family,—children’s maid. Her evidence, and that of the apothecary who had attended me in my extraordinary illness, agreed; and there seemed no reason to suspect its truth. Mr. and Miss Montenero went with a party from General B——‘s to see Brantefield Priory. Fowler attended the company through the house: Mr. Montenero took occasion to question her most minutely—asked, in particular, about a tapestry room—a picture of Sir Josseline and the Jew—received such answers as Lord Mowbray had prepared Fowler to give: so artfully had he managed, that his interference could not be suspected. Fowler pretended to know scarcely any thing of her young lord—she had always lived here at the Priory—his lordship had been abroad—was in the army—always on the move—did not know where he was now—probably in town: her present ladies had her good word—but her heart, she confessed, was always with her first mistress, Mrs. Harrington, and poor Master Harrington—never to be mentioned without a sigh—that was noted in her instructions. All that I or Mowbray had mentioned before Mr. Montenero of my aversion to Fowler, now appeared to be but the dislike which an insane person is apt to take against those about them, even to those who treat them most kindly. Fowler was a good actress, and she was well prompted—she produced, in her own justification, instructions, in unsigned letters of Lord Mowbray’s. I knew his hand, however disguised. She was directed to take particular care not to go too far—to let things be drawn from her—to refuse to give further information lest she should do mischief. When assured that the Monteneros were friends, then to tell circumstances agreed upon—to end with a promise to produce a keeper who had attended the poor gentleman not long since, who could satisfy all doubts. Lord Mowbray noted that this must be promised to be done within the ensuing month—something about a ship’s sailing for America was scratched out in these last instructions.

I have calmly related the facts, but I cannot give an idea of the transports of passion into which my father burst when he heard them. It was with the utmost difficulty that we could restrain him till the woman had finished her confession. Lord Mowbray was dead. His death—his penitence—pity for his family, quenched my father’s rage against Mowbray; all his fury rose with tenfold violence against Fowler. It was with the greatest difficulty that I got her out of the room in safety:—he followed, raging; and my mother, seeing me put Fowler into a parlour, and turn the key in the door, began beseeching that I would not keep her another instant in the house. I insisted, however, upon being permitted to detain her till her confession should be put into writing, or till Mr. Montenero could hear it from her own lips: I represented that if once she quitted the house, we might never see her again; she might make her escape out of town; might, for some new interest, deny all she had said, and leave me in as great difficulties as ever.

My father, sudden in all his emotions, snatched his hat from the hall-table, seized his cane, and declared he would that instant go and settle the point at once with Mr. Montenero and the daughter. My mother and I, one on each side of him, pleaded that it would be best not to speak so suddenly as he proposed to do, especially to Berenice. Heaven bless my mother! she called her Berenice: this did not escape my ear. My father let us take off his hat, and carry away his cane. He sat down and wrote directly to Mr. Montenero, requesting to see him immediately, on particular business.

My mother’s carriage was at the door; it was by this time the hour for visiting.

“I will bring Mr. Montenero back with me,” said my mother, “for I am going to pay a visit I should have paid long ago—to Miss Montenero.”

I kissed my mother’s hand I don’t know how many times, till my father told me I was a fool.

“But,” turning to me, when the carriage had driven off, “though I am delighted that the obstacle will be removed on their part, yet remember, Harrington, I can go no farther—not an inch—not an inch: sorry for it—but you know all I have said—by Jupiter Ammon, I cannot eat my own words!”

“But you ought to eat your own words, sir,” said I, venturing to jest, as I knew that I might in his present humour, and while his heart was warmed; “your words were a libel upon Jews and Jewesses; and the most appropriate and approved punishment invented for the libeller is—to eat his own words.”

Chapter XIX • 2,900 Words

My mother returned almost as quickly as my impatience expected, and from afar I saw that Mr. Montenero was in the carriage with her. My heart did certainly beat violently; but I must not stop to describe, if I could, my various sensations. My mother, telling Mr. Montenero all the time that she would tell him nothing, had told him every thing that was to be told: I was glad of it—it spared me the task of detailing Lord Mowbray’s villany. He had once been my friend, or at least I had once been his—and just after his death it was a painful subject. Besides, on my own account, I was heartily glad to leave it to my father to complete what my mother had so well begun.

He spoke with great vehemence. I stood by, proud all the time to show Mr. Montenero my calmness and self-possession; while Fowler, who was under salutary terror of my father, repeated, without much prevarication, all the material parts of her confession, and gave up to him Lord Mowbray’s letters. Astonishment and horror at the discovery of such villany were Mr. Montenero’s first feelings—he looked at Lord Mowbray’s writing again and again, and shuddered in silence, as he cast his eyes upon Fowler’s guilty countenance. We all were glad when she was dismissed.

Mr. Montenero turned to me, and I saw tears in his eyes.

“There is no obstacle between us now, I hope,” said I, eagerly seizing the hand which he held out to me.

Mr. Montenero pressed me in his arms, with the affection of a parent.

“Heyday! heyday!” said my father, in a tone between pleasure and anger,—“do you at all know what you are about, Harrington?—remember!”

“Oh! Mr. Montenero,” said my mother, “speak, for Heaven’s sake, and tell me that you are perfectly convinced that there was no shadow of truth.”

“Nonsense! my dear, I beg your pardon, Mrs. Harrington,” said my father,—“to be sure he is convinced, he is not an idiot—all my astonishment is, how he could ever be made to believe such a thing!”

Mr. Montenero answered my mother and my father alternately, assuring my mother that he was quite convinced, and agreeing with my father that he had been strangely imposed upon. He turned again to me, and I believe at the same instant the same recollections occurred to us both—new light seemed to break upon us, and we saw in a different point of view a variety of past circumstances. Almost from the moment of my acquaintance with Berenice, I could trace Lord Mowbray’s artifices. Even from the time of our first going out together at Westminster Abbey, when Mr. Montenero said he loved enthusiasm, how Mowbray encouraged, excited me to follow that line. At the Tower, my kneeling in raptures to the figure of the Black Prince—my exaggerated expressions of enthusiasm—my poetic and dramatic declamation and gesture—my start of horror at Mowbray’s allusion to the tapestry-chamber and the picture of Sir Josseline—my horror afterwards at the auction, where Mowbray had prepared for me the sight of the picture of the Dentition of the Jew—and the appearance of the figure with the terrible eyes at the synagogue; all, I now found, had been contrived or promoted by Lord Mowbray: Fowler had dressed up the figure for the purpose. They had taken the utmost pains to work on my imagination on this particular point, on which he knew my early associations might betray me to symptoms of apparent insanity. Upon comparing and explaining these circumstances, Mr. Montenero further laid open to me the treacherous ingenuity of the man who had so duped me by the show of sympathy and friendship. By dexterous insinuations he had first excited curiosity—then suggested suspicions, worked every accidental circumstance to his purpose, and at last, rendered desperate by despair, and determined that I should not win the prize which he had been compelled to resign, had employed so boldly his means and accomplices, that he was dreadfully near effecting my ruin.

While Mr. Montenero and I ran over all these circumstances, understanding each other perfectly, but scarcely intelligible to either my father or mother, they looked at us both with impatience and surprise, and rejoiced when we had finished our explanations—and yet, when we had finished, an embarrassing minute of silence ensued.

My mother broke it, by saying something about Miss Montenero. I do not know what—nor did she. My father stood with a sort of bravadoing look of firmness, fixing himself opposite to me, as though he were repeating to himself, “If, sir!—If—By Jupiter Ammon! I must be consistent.”

Mr. Montenero appeared determined not to say any more, but something seemed to be still in reserve in his mind.

“I hope, Mr. Montenero,” said I, “that now no obstacle exists.”

“On my part none,” replied Mr. Montenero; “but you recollect—”

“I recollect only your own words, my dear sir,” cried I. “‘either my daughter and you must never meet again, or must meet to part no more’—I claim your promise.”

“At all hazards?” said Mr. Montenero.

“No hazards with such a woman as Berenice,” said I, “though her religion—”

“I would give,” exclaimed my father, “I would give one of my fingers this instant, that she was not a Jewess!”

“Is your objection, sir, to her not being a Christian, or to her being the daughter of a Jew?”

“Can you conceive, Mr. Montenero,” cried my father, “that after all I have seen of you—all you have done for me—can you conceive me to be such an obstinately prejudiced brute? My prejudices against the Jews I give up—you have conquered them—all, all. But a difference of religion between man and wife—”

“Is a very serious objection indeed,” said Mr. Montenero; “but if that be the only objection left in your mind, I have the pleasure to tell you, Mr. Harrington,” addressing himself to me, “that your love and duty are not at variance: I have tried you to the utmost, and am satisfied both of the steadiness of your principles and of the strength of your attachment to my daughter—Berenice is not a Jewess.”

“Not a Jewess!” cried my father, starting from his seat: “Not a Jewess! Then my Jupiter Ammon may go to the devil! Not a Jewess!—give you joy, Harrington, my boy!—give me joy, my dear Mrs. Harrington—give me joy, excellent—(Jew, he was on the point of saying) excellent Mr. Montenero; but, is not she your daughter?”

“She is, I hope and believe, my daughter,” said Mr. Montenero smiling; “but her mother was a Christian; and according to my promise to Mrs. Montenero, Berenice has been bred in her faith—a Christian—a Protestant.”

“A Christian! a Protestant!” repeated my father.

“An English Protestant: her mother was daughter of—”

“An English Protestant!” interrupted my father, “English! English! Do you hear that, Mrs. Harrington?”

“Thank Heaven! I do hear it, my dear,” said my mother. “But, Mr. Montenero, we interrupt—daughter of—?”

“Daughter of an English gentleman, of good family, who accompanied one of your ambassadors to Spain.”

“Of good family, Mr. Harrington,” said my mother, raising her head proudly as she looked at me with a radiant countenance: “I knew she was of a good family from the first moment I saw her at the play—so different from the people she was with—even Lady de Brantefield asked who she was. From the first moment I thought—”

“You thought, Mrs. Harrington,” interposed my father, “you thought, to be sure, that Miss Montenero looked like a Christian. Yes, yes; and no doubt you had presentiments plenty.”

“Granted, granted, my dear; but don’t let us say any more about them now.”

“Well, my boy! well, Harrington! not a word?”

“No—I am too happy!—the delight I feel—But, my dear Mr. Montenero,” said I, “why—why did not you tell all this sooner? What pain you would have spared me!”

“Had I spared you the pain, you would never have enjoyed the delight; had I spared you the trial, you would never have had the triumph—the triumph, did I say? Better than all triumph, this sober certainty of your own integrity. If, like Lord Mowbray—but peace be to the dead! and forgiveness to his faults. My daughter was determined never to marry any man who could be induced to sacrifice religion and principle to interest or to passion. She was equally determined never to marry any man whose want of the spirit of toleration, whose prejudices against the Jews, might interfere with the filial affection she feels for her father—though he be a Jew.”

Though”—Gratitude, joy, love, so overwhelmed me at this moment, that I could not say another syllable; but it was enough for Mr. Montenero, deeply read as he was in the human heart.

“Why did not I spare you the pain?” repeated he. “And do you think that the trial cost me, cost us no pain?” said Mr. Montenero. “The time may come when, as my son, you may perhaps learn from Berenice—”

“The time is come!—this moment!” cried my father; “for you see the poor fellow is burning with impatience—he would not be my son if he were not.”

“That is true, indeed!” said my mother.

“True—very likely,” said Mr. Montenero, calmly holding me fast. “But, impetuous sir, recollect that once before you were too sudden for Berenice: after you had saved my life, you rushed in with the joyful news, and—”

“Oh! no rushing, for mercy’s sake, Harrington!” said my mother: “some consideration for Miss Montenero’s nerves!”

“Nerves! nonsense, my dear,” said my father: “what woman’s nerves were ever the worse for seeing her lover at her feet? I move—and I am sure of one honourable gentleman to second my motion—I move that we all adjourn, forthwith, to Mr. Montenero’s.”

“This evening, perhaps, Miss Montenero would allow us,” said my mother.

“This instant,” said Mr. Montenero, “if you will do me the honour, Mrs. Harrington.”

“The carriage,” said my mother, ringing.

“The carriage, directly,” cried my father to the servant as he entered.

“Here’s a fellow will certainly fly the moment you let him go,” said my father.

And away I flew, with such swiftness, that at the foot of the stairs I almost fell over Jacob. He, not knowing any thing of what had happened this morning, full of the events of the preceding night, and expecting to find me the same, began to say something about a ring which he held in his hand.

“That’s all settled—all over—let me pass, good Jacob.”

Still he endeavoured to stop me. I was not pleased with this interruption. But there was something so beseeching and so kind in Jacob’s manner that I could not help attending to him. Had the poor fellow known the cause of my impatience, he would not certainly have detained me. He begged me, with some hesitation, to accept of a ring, which Mr. Manessa his partner and he took the liberty of offering me as a token of their gratitude. It was not of any great value, but it was finished by an artist who was supposed to be one of the best in the world.

“Willingly, Jacob,” said I; “and it comes at the happiest moment—if you will allow me to present it, to offer it to a lady, who—”

“Who will, I hope,” said my father, appearing at the top of the stairs, “soon be his bride.”

“His bride!”

Jacob saw Mr. Montenero’s face behind me, and clasping his, hands, “The very thing I wished!” cried he, opening the house-door.

“Follow us, Jacob,” I heard Mr. Montenero say, as we stepped into the carriage; “follow us to the house of joy, you who never deserted the house of mourning.”

The ring, the history of it, and the offering it to Berenice, prepared my way in the happiest manner, and prevented the danger, which Mr. Montenero feared, of my own or my father’s precipitation. We told her in general the circumstances that had happened, but spared her the detail.

“And now, my beloved daughter,” said Mr. Montenero, “I may express to you all the esteem, all the affection, all the fulness of approbation I feel for your choice.”

“And I, Miss Montenero!—Let me speak, pray, Mrs. Harrington,” said my father.

“By and by,” whispered my mother; “not yet, my love.”

“Ay, put the ring on her finger—that’s right, boy!” cried my father, as my mother drew him back.

Berenice accepted of the ring in the most gracious, the most graceful manner.

“I accept this with pleasure,” said she; “I shall prize it more than ever Lady de Brantefield valued her ring: as a token of goodness and gratitude, it will be more precious to me than any jewel could be; and it will ever be dear to me,” added she, with a softened voice, turning to her father, “very dear, as a memorial of the circumstances which have removed the only obstacle to our happiness.”

“Our,” repeated my father: “noble girl! Above all affectation. Boy, a truce with your transports! She is my own daughter—I must have a kiss.”

“For shame, my dear,” said my mother; “you make Miss Montenero blush!”

“Blushes are very becoming—I always thought yours so, Mrs. Harrington—that’s the reason I have given you occasion to blush for me so often. Now you may take me out of the room, madam. I have some discretion, though you think you have it all to yourself,” said my father.

I have some discretion, too, hereditary or acquired. I am aware that the moment two lovers cease to be miserable, they begin to be tiresome; their best friends and the generous public are satisfied to hear as little as possible concerning their prosperous loves.

It was otherwise, they say, in the days of Theagenes and Chariclea.

“How! will you never be satisfied with hearing?” says their historian, who, when he came to a prosperous epoch in their history, seems to have had a discreet suspicion that he might be too long; “Is not my discourse yet tedious?”

“No,” the indefatigable auditor is made to reply; “and who is he, unless he have a heart of adamant or iron, that would not listen content to hear the loves of Theagenes and Chariclea, though the story should last a year? Therefore, continue it, I beseech you.”

“Continue, I beseech you:” dear flattering words! Though perhaps no one, at this minute, says or feels this, I must add a few lines more—not about myself, but about Mr. Montenero.

In the moment of joy, when the heart opens, you can see to the very bottom of it; and whether selfish or generous, revengeful or forgiving, the real disposition is revealed. We were all full of joy and congratulations, when Mr. Montenero, at the first pause of silence, addressed himself in his most persuasive tone to me.

“Mr. Harrington—good Mr. Harrington—I have a favour to ask from you.”

“A favour! from me! Oh! name it,” cried I: “What pleasure I shall have in granting it!”

“Perhaps not. You will not have pleasure—immediate pleasure—in granting it: it will cost you present pain.”

“Pain!—impossible! but no matter how much pain if you desire it. What can it be?”

“That wretched woman—Fowler!”

I shuddered and started back.

“Yes, Fowler—your imagination revolts at the sound of her name—she is abhorrent to your strongest, your earliest, associations; but, Mr. Harrington, you have given proofs that your matured reason and your humanity have been able to control and master your imagination and your antipathies. To this power over yourself you owe many of your virtues, and all the strength of character, and, I will say it, the sanity of mind, my son, without which Berenice—”

“I will see—I will hear Fowler this instant,” cried I. “So far I will conquer myself; but you will allow that this is a just antipathy. Surely I have reason to hate her.”

“She is guilty, but penitent; she suffers and must suffer. Her mistress refuses ever to see her more. She is abandoned by all her family, all her friends; she must quit her country—sails to-morrow in the vessel which was to have taken us to America—and carries with her, in her own feelings, her worst punishment—a punishment which it is not in our power to remit, but it is in our power to mitigate her sufferings—I can provide her with an asylum for the remainder of her miserable old age; and you, my son, before she goes from happy England, see her and forgive her. ‘It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence.’ Let us see and forgive this woman. How can we better celebrate our joy—how can we better fill the measure of our happiness, than by the forgiveness of our enemies?”

“By Jupiter Ammon,” cried my father, “none but a good Christian could do this!”

“And why,” said Berenice, laying her hand gently on my father’s arm, “and why not a good Jew?”

END OF HARRINGTON.

Thoughts on Bores • 6,600 Words

A bore is a biped, but not always unplumed. There be of both kinds;—the female frequently plumed, the male-military plumed, helmed, or crested, and whisker-faced, hairy, Dandy bore, ditto, ditto, ditto.—There are bores unplumed, capped, or hatted, curled or uncurled, bearded and beardless.

The bore is not a ruminating animal,—carnivorous, not sagacious—prosing—long-winded—tenacious of life, though not vivacious. The bore is good for promoting sleep; but though he causeth sleep in others, it is uncertain whether he ever sleeps himself; as few can keep awake in his company long enough to see. It is supposed that when he sleeps it is with his mouth open.

The bore is usually considered a harmless creature, or of that class of irrational bipeds who hurt only themselves. To such, however, I would not advise trusting too much. The bore is harmless, no doubt, as long as you listen to him; but disregarded, or stopped in mid-career, he will turn upon you. It is a fatal, if not a vulgar error, to presume that the bore belongs to that class of animals that have no gall; of which Pliny gives a list (much disputed by Sir Thomas Browne and others). That bores have gall, many have proved to their cost, as some now living, peradventure, can attest. The milk of human kindness is said to abound naturally in certain of the gentler bore kind; but it is apt to grow sour if the animal be crossed—not in love, but in talk. Though I cannot admit to a certainty that all bores have not gall, yet assuredly they have no tact, and they are one and all deficient in sympathy.

A bore is a heavy animal, and his weight has this peculiarity, that it increases every moment he stays near you. The French describe this property in one word, which, though French, I may be permitted to quote, because untranslatable, il s’appesantit—Touch and go, it is not in the nature of a bore to do—whatever he touches turns to lead.

Much learning might be displayed, and much time wasted, on an inquiry into the derivation, descent, and etymology of the animal under consideration. Suffice it to say, that for my own part, diligence hath not been wanting in the research. Johnson’s Dictionary and old Bailey, have been ransacked; but neither the learned Johnson, nor the recondite Bailey, throw much light upon this matter. The Slang Dictionary, to which I should in the first place have directed my attention, was unfortunately not within my reach. The result of all my inquiries amounts to this—that bore, boor, and boar, are all three spelt indifferently, and consequently are derived from one common stock,—what stock, remains to be determined. I could give a string of far-fetched derivations, each of them less to the purpose than the other; but I prefer, according to the practice of our great lexicographer, taking refuge at once in the Coptic.

Of one point there can be little doubt—that bores existed in ancient as well as in modern times, though the deluge has unluckily swept away all traces of the antediluvian bore—a creature which analogy leads us to believe must have been of formidable power.

We find them for certain in the days of Horace. That plague, worse, as he describes, than asthma or rheumatism, that prating, praising thing which caught him in the street, stuck to him wherever he went—of which, stopping or running, civil or rude, shirking or cutting, he could never rid himself—what was he but a bore?

In Pope I find the first description in English poetry of the animal—whether imitated from Horace, or a drawing from life, may be questioned. But what could that creature be but a bore, from whom he says no walls could guard him, and no shades could hide; who pierced his thickets; glided into his grotto; stopped his chariot; boarded his barge; from whom no place was sacred—not the church free; and against whom John was ordered to tie up the knocker?

Through the indexes to Milton and Shakspeare I have not neglected to hunt; but unfortunately, I have found nothing to my purpose in Milton, and in all Shakspeare no trace of a bore; except it be that thing, that popinjay, who so pestered Hotspur, that day when he, faint with toil and dry with rage, was leaning on his sword after the battle—all that bald, disjointed talk, to which Hotspur, past his patience, answered neglectingly, he knew not what, and that sticking to him with questions even when his wounds were cold. It must have been a bore of foreign breed, not the good downright English bore.

All the classes, orders, genera, and species of the animal, I pretend not to enumerate. Heaven forefend!—but some of those most commonly met with in England, I may mention, and a few of the most curious, describe.

In the first place, there is the mortal great bore, confined to the higher classes of society. A celebrated wit, who, from his long and extensive acquaintance with the fashionable and political world, has had every means of forming his opinion on this subject, lays it down as an axiom, that none but a rich man, or a great man, can be a great bore; others are not endured long enough in society, to come to the perfection of tiresomeness.

Of these there is the travelled and the untravelled kind. The travelled, formerly rare, is now dreadfully common in these countries. The old travelling bore was, as I find him aptly described—“A pretender to antiquities, roving, majestic-headed, and sometimes little better than crazed; and being exceedingly credulous, he would stuff his many letters with fooleries and misinformations”—vide a life published by Hearne—Thomas Hearne—him to whom Time said, “Whatever I forget, you learn.”

The modern travelled bore is a garrulous creature. His talk, chiefly of himself, of all that he has seen that is incredible; and all that he remembers which is not worth remembering. His tongue is neither English, French, Italian, or German, but a leash, and more than a leash, of languages at once. Besides his having his quantum of the ills that flesh is subject to, he has some peculiar to himself, and rather extraordinary. He is subject, for instance, to an indigestion of houses and churches, pictures and statues. Moreover, he is troubled with fits of what may be called the cold enthusiasm; he babbles of Mont Blanc and the picturesque; and when the fit is on, he raves of Raphael and Correggio, Rome, Athens, Paestum, and Jerusalem. He despises England, and has no home; or at least loves none.

But I have been already guilty of an error of arrangement; I should have given precedence to the old original English bore; which should perhaps be more properly spelt boor; indeed it was so, as late as the time of Mrs. Cowley, who, in the Belle’s Stratagem, talks of man’s being boored.

The boor is now rare in England, though there are specimens of him still to be seen in remote parts of the country. He is untravelled always, not apt to be found straying, or stirring from home. His covering is home-spun, his drink home-brewed, his meat home-fed, and himself home-bred. In general, he is a wonderfully silent animal. But there are talking ones; and their talk is of bullocks. Talking or silent, the indigenous English bore is somewhat sulky, surly, seemingly morose; yet really good-natured, inoffensive, if kindly used and rightly taken; convivial, yet not social. It is curious, that though addicted to home, he is not properly domestic—bibulous—said to be despotic with the female.

The parliamentary bore comes next in order. Fond of high places; but not always found in them. His civil life is but short, never extending above seven years at the utmost; seldom so long. His dissolution often occurs, we are told, prematurely; but he revives another and the same.—Mode of life:—during five or six months of the year these bores inhabit London—are to be seen every where, always looking as if they were out of their element. About June or July they migrate to the country—to watering places—or to their own places; where they shoot partridges, pheasants, and wild ducks; hunt hares and foxes, cause men to be imprisoned or transported who do the same without licence; and frank letters—some illegibly.

The parliamentary bore is not considered a sagacious animal, except in one particular. It is said that he always knows which way the wind blows, quick as any of the four-footed swinish multitude. Report says also that he has the instinct of a rat in quitting a falling house. An incredible power was once attributed to him, by one from Ireland, of being able at pleasure to turn his back upon himself. But this may well be classed among vulgar errors.

Of the common parliamentary bore there be two orders; the silent, and the speechifying. The silent is not absolutely deprived of utterance; he can say “Yes” or “No”—but regularly in the wrong place, unless well tutored and well paid. The talking parliamentary bore can outwatch the Bear. He reiterates eternally with the art peculiar to the rational creature of using many words and saying nothing. The following are some of the cries by which this class is distinguished.

“Hear! Hear! Hear!—Hear him! Hear him! Hear him!—Speaker! Speaker! Speaker! Speaker!—Order! Order! Order!—Hear the honourable member!”

He has besides certain set phrases, which, if repeated with variations, might give the substance of what are called his speeches; some of these are common to both sides of the house, others sacred to the ministerial, or popular on the opposition benches.

To the ministerial belong—“The dignity of this house”—“The honour of this country”—“The contentment of our allies”—“Strengthening the hands of government”—“Expediency”—“Inexpediency”—“Imperious necessity”—“Bound in duty”—with a good store of evasives, as “Cannot at present bring forward such a measure”—“Too late”—“Too early in the session”—“His majesty’s ministers cannot be responsible for”—“Cannot take it upon me to say”—“But the impression left upon my mind is”—“Cannot undertake to answer exactly that question”—“Cannot yet make up my mind” (an expression borrowed from the laundress).

On the opposition side the phrases chiefly in use amongst the bores are, “The constitution of this country”—“Reform in Parliament”—“The good of the people”—“Inquiry should be set on foot”—“Ministers should be answerable with their heads”—“Gentlemen should draw together”—“Independence”—and “Consistency.”

Approved beginnings of speeches as follows—for a raw bore:

“Unused as I am to public speaking, Mr. Speaker, I feel myself on the present occasion called upon not to give a silent vote.”

For old stagers:

“In the whole course of my parliamentary career, never did I rise with such diffidence.”

In reply, the bore begins with:

“It would be presumption in me, Mr. Speaker, after the able, luminous, learned, and eloquent speech you have just heard, to attempt to throw any new light; but, &c. &c.”

For a premeditated harangue of four hours or upwards he regularly commences with

“At this late hour of the night, I shall trouble the house with only a few words, Mr. Speaker.”

The Speaker of the English House of Commons is a man destined to be bored. Doomed to sit in a chair all night long—night after night—month after month—year after year—being bored. No relief for him but crossing and uncrossing his legs from time to time. No respite. If he sleep, it must be with his eyes open, fixed in the direction of the haranguing bore. He is not, however, bound, bonâ fide to hear all that is said. This, happily, was settled in the last century. “Mr. Speaker, it is your duty to hear me,—it is the undoubted privilege, Sir, of every member of this house to be heard,” said a bore of the last century to the then Speaker of the House of Commons. “Sir,” replied the Speaker, “I know that it is the undoubted right of every member of this house to speak, but I was not aware that it was his privilege to be always heard.”

The courtier-bore has sometimes crept into the English parliament.—But is common on the continent: infinite varieties, as le courtisan propre, courtisan homme d’état, and le courtisan philosophe—a curious but not a rare kind in France, of which M. de Voltaire was one of the finest specimens.

Attempts had been made to naturalize some of the varieties of the philanthropic and sentimental French and German bores in England, but without success. Some ladies had them for favourites or pets; but they were found mischievous and dangerous. Their morality was easy,—but difficult to understand; compounded of three-fourths sentiment—nine-tenths selfishness, twelve-ninths instinct, self-devotion, metaphysics, and cant. ‘Twas hard to come at a common denominator. John Bull, with his four rules of vulgar arithmetic, could never make it out; altogether he never could abide these foreign bores. Thought ‘em confounded dull too—Civilly told them so, and half asleep bid them “prythee begone”—They not taking the hint, but lingering with the women, at last John wakening out-right, fell to in earnest, and routed them out of the island.

They still flourish abroad, often seen at the tables of the great. The demi-philosophe-moderne-politico-legislativo-metaphysico-non-logico-grand philanthrope still scribbles, by the ream, pièces justificatives, projets de loi, and volumes of metaphysical sentiment, to be seen at the fair of Leipzig, or on ladies’ tables. The greater bore, the courtisan propre, is still admired at little serene courts, where, well-dressed and well-drilled—his back much bent with Germanic bows; not a dangerous creature—would only bore you to death.

We come next to our own blue bores—the most dreaded of the species,—the most abused—sometimes with reason, sometimes without. This species was formerly rare in Britain—indeed all over the world.—Little known from the days of Aspasia and Corinna to those of Madame Dacier and Mrs. Montague. Mr. Jerningham’s blue worsted stockings, as all the world knows, appearing at Mrs. Montague’s conversaziones, had the honour or the dishonour of giving the name of blue stockings to all the race; and never did race increase more rapidly than they have done from that time to this. There might be fear that all the daughters of the land should turn blue.—But as yet John Bull—thank Heaven! retains his good old privilege of “choose a wife and have a wife.”

The common female blue is indeed intolerable as a wife—opinionative and opinionated; and her opinion always is that her husband is wrong. John certainly has a rooted aversion to this whole class. There is the deep blue and the light; the light blues not esteemed—not admitted at Almacks. The deep-dyed in the nine times dyed blue—is that with which no man dares contend. The blue chatterer is seen and heard every where; it no man will attempt to silence by throwing the handkerchief.

The next species—the mock blue—is scarcely worth noticing; gone to ladies’ maids, dress-makers, milliners, &c., found of late behind counters, and in the oddest places. The blue mocking bird (it must be noted, though nearly allied to the last sort) is found in high as well as in low company; it is a provoking creature. The only way to silence it, and to prevent it from plaguing all neighbours and passengers, is never to mind it, or to look as if you minded it; when it stares at you, stare and pass on.

The conversazione blue, or bureau d’esprit blue. It is remarkable that in order to designate this order we are obliged to borrow from two foreign languages.—a proof that it is not natural to England; but numbers of this order have been seen of late years, chiefly in London and Bath, during the season. The bureau d’esprit, or conversazione blue, is a most hard-working creature—the servant of the servants of the public.—If a dinner-giving blue (and none others succeed well or long), Champagne and ice and the best of fish are indispensable. She may then be at home once a week in the evening, with a chance of having her house fuller than it can hold, of all the would-be wits and three or four of the leaders of London. Very thankful she must be for the honour of their company. She had need to have all the superlatives, in and out of the English language, at her tongue’s end; and when she has exhausted these, then she must invent new. She must have tones of admiration, and looks of ecstasy, for every occasion. At reading parties,—especially at her own house, she must cry—“charming!”—“delightful!” “quite original!” in the right places even in her sleep.—Awake or asleep she must read every thing that comes out that has a name, or she must talk as if she had—at her peril—to the authors themselves,—the irritable race!—She must know more especially every article in the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews; and at her peril too, must talk of these so as not to commit herself, so as to please the reviewer abusing, and the author abused; she must keep the peace between rival wits;—she must swallow her own vanity—many fail in this last attempt—choke publicly, and give it up.

I am sorry that so much has been said about the blues; sorry I mean that such a hue and cry has been raised against them all, good, bad, and indifferent. John Bull would have settled it best in his quiet way by just letting them alone, leaving the disagreeable ones to die off in single blessedness. But people got about John, and made him set up one of his “No popery” cries; and when becomes to that pitch be loses his senses and his common sense completely. “No blues!” “Down with the blues!”—now what good has all that done? only made the matter ten times worse. In consequence of this universal hubbub a new order of things has arisen.

The blue bore disguised, or the renegade blue. These may be detected by their extraordinary fear of being taken for blues. Hold up the picture, or even the sign of a blue bore before them, and they immediately write under it, “‘Tis none of me.” They spend their lives hiding their talent under a bushel; all the time in a desperate fright lest you should see it. A poor simple man does not know what to do about it, or what to say or think in their company, so as to behave himself rightly, and not to affront them. Solomon himself would be put to it, to make some of these authoresses unknown, avow or give up their own progeny. Their affectation is beyond the affectation of woman, and it makes all men sick.

Others without affectation are only arrant cowards. They are afraid to stand exposed on their painful pre-eminence. Some from pure good-nature make themselves ridiculous; imagining that they are nine feet high at the least, shrink and distort themselves continually in condescension to our inferiority; or lest we should be blasted with excess of light, come into company shading their farthing candle—burning blue, pale, and faint.

It should be noticed that the bore condescending is peculiarly obnoxious to the proud man.

Besides the bore condescending, who, whether good-natured or ill-natured, is a most provoking animal—there is the bore facetious, an insufferable creature, always laughing, but with whom you can never laugh. And there is another exotic variety—the vive la bagatelle bore of the ape kind—who imitate men of genius. Having early been taught that there is nothing more delightful than the unbending of a great mind, they set about continually to unbend the bow in company.

Of the spring and fall, the ebb and tide of genius, we have heard much from Milton, Dryden, and others. At ebb time—a time which must come to all, pretty or rich, treasures are discovered upon some shores; or golden sands are seen when the waters run low. In others bare rocks, slime, or reptiles. May I never be at low tide with a bore! Despising the Bagatelle, there is the serious regular conversation bore, who listens to himself, talks from notes, and is witty by rule. All rules for conversation were no doubt invented by bores, and if followed would make all men and women bores, either in straining to be witty, or striving to be easy. There is no more certain method, even for him who may possess the talent in the highest degree, to lose the power of conversing, than by talking to support his character. One eye to your reputation, one on the company, would never do, were it with the best of eyes. Few people are of Descartes’ mind, that squinting is pretty. It has been said, that pleasure never comes, if you send her a formal card of invitation; to a conversazione certainly never; whatever she might to a dinner-party. Ease cannot stay, wit flies away, and humour grows dull, if people try for them.

Well-bred persons, abhorring the pedantry of the blues, are usually anti-blues, or ultra-antis. But though there exists in a certain circle a natural honest aversion to every thing like wit or learning, is it absolutely certain that if taking thought won’t do it, taking none will do? They are determined, they declare, to have easy conversation, or none.

But let the ease be high-bred and silent as possible—let it be the repose of the Transcendental—the death-like silence of the Exclusive in the perfumed atmosphere of the Exquisite; then begins the danger of going to sleep—desperate danger. In these high circles are to be found, apparently, the most sleepy of all animated beings. Apparently, I say, because, on close observation, it will usually be found that, like the spider, who, from fear, counterfeits death, these, from pride, counterfeit sleep. They will sometimes pretend to be asleep for hours together, when any person or persons are near whom they do not choose to notice. They lie stretched on sofas, rolled up in shawls most part of the day, quite empty. At certain hours of the night, found congregated, sitting up dressed, on beds of roses, back to back, with eyes scarce open. They are observed to give sign of animation only on the approach of a blue—their antipathy. They then look at each other, and shrink. That the sham-sleeping bore is a delicate creature, I shall not dispute, but they are intolerably tiresome. For my own part, I would rather give up the honour and the elegance, and go to the antipodes at once, and live with their antagonists, the lion-hunters—yea, the lion-loving bores.

Their antipodes, did I say? that was going too far: even the most exaggerated ultra-anti-blues, upon occasion, forget themselves strangely, and have been seen to join the common herd in running after lions. But they differ from the blue-lion-loving-bore proper, by never treating the lion as if he were one of themselves. They follow and feed and fall down and worship the lion of the season; still, unless he be a nobleman, which but rarely occurs, he is never treated as a gentleman quite; there is always a difference made, better understood than described. I have heard lions of my acquaintance complain of showing themselves off to these ultra-antis, and have asked why they let themselves be made lions, if they disliked it so much, as no lion can well be led about, I should have conceived, quite against his will? I never could obtain any answer, but that indeed they could not help it; they were very sorry, but indeed they could not help being lions. And the polite lion-loving bore always echoed this, and addressed them with some such speech as the following:—“My dearest, sir, madam, or miss (as the case may be), I know, that of all things you detest being made a lion, and that you can’t bear to be worshipped; yet, my dear sir, madam, or miss, you must let me kneel down and worship you, and then you must stand on your hind legs a little for me, only for one minute, my dear sir, and I really would not ask you to do it, only you are such a lion.”

But I have not yet regularly described the genus and species of which I am treating. The great lion-hunting bore, and the little lion-loving bore, male and female of both kinds; the male as eager as the female to fasten on the lion, and as expert in making the most of him, alive or dead, as seen in the finest example extant, Bozzy and Piozzi, fairly pitted; but the male beat the female hollow.

The common lion-hunting bore is too well known to need particular description; but some notice of their habitudes may not be useless for avoidance. The whole class male subsists by fetching and carrying bays, grasping at notes and scraps, if any great name be to them; run wild after verses in MS.; fond of autographs. The females carry albums; some learn bon mots by rote, and repeat them like parrots; others do not know a good thing when they meet with it, unless they are told the name of the cook. Some relish them really, but eat till they burst; others, after cramming to stupidity, would cram you from their pouch, as the monkey served Gulliver on the house-top. The whole tribe are foul feeders, at best love trash and fatten upon scraps; the worst absolutely rake the kennels, and prey on garbage. They stick with amazing tenacity, almost resembling canine fidelity and gratitude, to the remains of the dead lion. But in fact, their love is like that of the ghowl; worse than ghowls, they sell all which they do not destroy; every scrap of the dead lion may turn to account. It is wonderful what curious saleable articles they make of the parings of his claws, and hairs of his mane. The bear has been said to live at need by sucking his own paws. The bore lives by sucking the paws of the lion, on which he thrives apace, and, in some instances, has grown to an amazing size. The dead paws are as good for his purpose as the living, and better—there being no fear of the claws. How he escapes those claws when the lion is alive, is the wonder. The winged lion, however, is above touching these creatures; and the real gentleman lion of the true blood, in whose nature there is nothing of the bear, will never let his paws be touched by a bore. His hair stands on end at the approach or distant sight of any of the kind, lesser or greater; but very difficult he often finds it to avoid them. Any other may, more easily than a lion, shirk a bore. It is often attempted, but seldom or never successfully. He hides in his den, but not at home will not always do. The lion is too civil to shut the door in the bore’s very face, though he mightily wishes to do so. It is pleasant sport to see a great bore and lion opposed to each other; how he stands or sits upon his guard; how cunningly the bore tries to fasten upon him, and how the lion tries to shake him off!—if the bore persists beyond endurance, the lion roars, and he flies; or the lion springs, and he dies.

A more extraordinary circumstance than any I have yet noted, respecting the natural history of lions and bores, remains to be told; that the lion himself, the greater kind as well as the lesser of him, are apt, sooner or later, to turn into bores; but the metamorphosis, though the same in the result, takes place in different circumstances, and from quite different causes: with the lesser lion and lioness often from being shown, or showing themselves too frequently; with the greater, from very fear of being like the animal he detests.

I once knew a gentleman, not a bore quite, but a very clever man, one of great sensibility and excessive sensitiveness, who could never sit still a quarter of an hour together, never converse with you comfortably, or finish a good story, but evermore broke off in the middle with “I am boring you”—“I must run away or I shall be a bore.” It ended in his becoming that which he most feared to be.

There are a few rare exceptions to all that has been said of the caprices or weaknesses of lions. The greatest of lions known or unknown, the most agreeable as well as the noblest of creatures, is quite free from these infirmities. He neither affects to show himself, nor lies sullen in his den. I have somewhere seen his picture sketched; I should guess by himself at some moment I when the lion turned painter.

“I pique myself upon being one of the best conditioned animals that ever was shown, since the time of him who was in vain I defied by the knight of the woful figure; for I get up at the first touch of the pole, rouse myself, shake my mane, lick my chops, turn round, lie down, and go to sleep again.” It was bad policy in me to let the words “go to sleep” sound upon the reader’s ear, for I have not yet quite done; I have one more class, and though last not least; were I to adopt that enigmatical style which made the fortune of the oracle of Apollo, I might add—and though least, greatest. But this, the oracular sublime, has now gone to the gipsies and the conjurors, and I must write plain English, if I can.

I am come to the crass of the infant bore—the infant reciting bore; seemingly insignificant, but exceedingly tiresome, also exceedingly dangerous, as I shall show. The old of this class we meet wherever we go—in the forum, the temple, the senate, the theatre, the drawing-room, the boudoir, the closet. The young infest our homes, pursue us to our very hearths; our household deities are in league with them; they destroy all our domestic comfort; they become public nuisances, widely destructive to our literature. Their mode of training will explain the nature of the danger. The infant reciting bore is trained much after the manner of a learned pig. Before the quadruped are placed, on certain bits of dirty greasy cards, the letters of the alphabet, or short nonsensical phrases interrogatory with their answers, such as “Who is the greatest rogue in company?” “Which lady or gentleman in company will be married first?” By the alternate use of blows and bribes of such food as pleases the pig, the animal is brought to obey certain signs from his master, and at his bidding to select any letter or phrase required from amongst those set before him, goes to his lessons, seems to read attentively, and to understand; then by a motion of his snout, or a well-timed grunt, designates the right phrase, and answers the expectations of his master and the company. The infant reciter is in similar manner trained by alternate blows and bribes, almonds and raisins, and bumpers of sweet wine. But mark the difference between him and the pig. Instead of greasy letters and old cards, which are used for the learned pig, before the little human animal are cast the finest morsels from our first authors, selections from our poets, didactic, pathetic, and sublime—every creature’s best, sacrificed.

These are to be slowly but surely deprived of spirit, sense, and life, by the deadly deadening power of iteration. Not only are they deprived of life, but mangled by the infant bore—not only mangled, but polluted—left in such a state that no creature of any delicacy, taste, or feeling, can bear them afterwards. And are immortal works, or works which fond man thought and called immortal, thus to perish? Thus are they doomed to destruction, by a Lilliputian race of Vandals.

The curse of Minerva be on the heads of those who train, who incite them to such sacrilegious mischief! The mischief spreads every day wide and more wide. Till of late years, there had appeared bounds to its progress. Nature seemed to have provided against the devastations of the infant reciter. Formerly it seemed, that only those whom she had blessed or cursed with a wonderful memory, could be worth the trouble of training, or by the successful performance of the feats desired, to pay the labour of instruction. But there has arisen in the land, men who set at nought the decrees of nature, who undertake to make artificial memories, not only equal but superior to the best natural memory, and who, at the shortest notice, engage to supply the brainless with brains. By certain technical helps, long passages, whole poems, may now be learnt by heart, as they call it, without any aid, effort, or cognizance of the understanding; and retained and recited, under the same circumstances, by any irrational, as well and better, than by any rational being, if, to recite well, mean to repeat without missing a syllable. How far our literature may in future suffer from these blighting swarms, will best be conceived by a glance at what they have already withered and blasted of the favourite productions of our most popular poets, Gray, Goldsmith, Thomson, Pope, Dryden, Milton, Shakspeare.

Pope’s Man of Ross was doomed to suffer first.

“Rise, honest Muse, and sing the Man of Ross!”

Oh, dreaded words! who is there that does not wish the honest muse should rise no more? Goldsmith came next, and shared the same fate. His country curate, the most amiable of men, we heard of till he grew past endurance.

As to learning any longer from the bee to build, or of the little nautilus to sail, we gave it up long ago. “To be or not to be”—is a question we can no longer bear.

Then Alexander’s Feast—the little harpies have been at that too, and it is defiled. Poor Collins’ Ode to the Passions, on and off the stage, is torn to very tatters.

The Seven Ages of Man, and “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women in it”—gone to destruction.

The quality of mercy is strained, and is no longer twice blest.

We turn with disgust from “angels and ministers of grace.” Adam’s morning hymn has lost the freshness of its charm. The bores have got into Paradise—scaled Heaven itself! and defied all the powers of Milton’s hell. Such Belials and Molochs as we have heard!

It is absolutely shocking to perceive how immortal genius is in the power of mortal stupidity! Johnson, a champion of no mean force, stood forward in his day, and did what his single arm could do, to drive the little bores from the country church-yard.

“Could not the pretty dears repeat together?” had, however, but a momentary effect. Though he knocked down the pair that had attempted to stand before him, they got up again, or one down, another came on. To this hour they are at it.

What can be done against a race of beings not capable of being touched even by ridicule? What can we hope when the infant bore and his trainers have stood against the incomparable humour of “Thinks I to myself?”

In time—and as certainly as the grub turns in due season into the winged plague who buzzes and fly-blows—the little reciting bore turns into the dramatic or theatric acting, reading, singing, recitative—and finally into the everlasting-quotation-loving bore—Greek, Latin, and English.

The everlasting quotation-lover doats on the husks of learning. He is the infant reciting bore in second childishness. We wish in vain that it were in mere oblivion. From the ladies’ tea-tables the Greek and Latin quoting bores were driven away long ago by the Guardian and the Spectator, and seldom now translate for the country gentlewomen. But the mere English quotation-dealer, a mortal tiresome creature! still prevails, and figures still in certain circles of old blues, who are civil enough still to admire that wonderful memory of his which has a quotation ready for every thing you can say—He usually prefaces or ends his quotations with—“As the poet happily says,” or, “as Nature’s sweetest woodlark justly remarks;” or, “as the immortal Milton has it.”

To prevent the confusion and disgrace consequent upon such mistakes, and for the general advantage of literature, in reclaiming, if possible, what has gone to the bores, it might be a service to point out publicly such quotations as are now too common to be admitted within the pale of good taste.

In the last age, Lord Chesterfield set the mark of the beast, as he called it, on certain vulgarisms in pronunciation, which he succeeded in banishing from good company. I wish we could set the mark of the bore upon all which has been contaminated by his touch,—all those tainted beauties, which no person of taste would prize. They must be hung up viewless, for half a century at least, to bleach out their stains.

I invite every true friend of literature and of good conversation, blues and antis, to contribute their assistance in furnishing out a list of quotations to be proscribed. Could I but accomplish this object, I should feel I had not written in vain. To make a good beginning, I will give half a dozen of the most notorious.

“The light fantastic toe,” has figured so long in the newspapers, that an editor of taste would hardly admit it now into his columns.

“Pity is akin to love,”—sunk to utter contempt; along with—“Grace is in all her steps;” and “Man never is, but always to be blest;”—“Youth at the prow, and pleasure at the helm;”—no longer safe on a boating party.

The bourgeois gentilhomme has talked prose too long without knowing it.

“No man is a hero to his valet de chambre,”—gone to the valets themselves.

“Le secret d’ennyer est celui de tout dire,”—in great danger of the same fate,—it is so tempting!—but, so much the worse,—wit is often its own worst enemy.

Some anatomists, it is said, have, during the operation of dissection, caught from the subject the disease. I feel myself in danger at this moment,—a secret horror thrills through my veins. Often have I remarked that persons who undergo certain transformations are unconscious of the commencement and progress in themselves, though quicksighted, when their enemies, friends, or neighbours, are beginning to turn into bores. Husband and wife,—no creatures sooner!—perceive each other’s metamorphoses,—not Baucis and Philemon more surely, seldom like them before the transformation be complete. Are we in time to say the last adieu!

I feel that I am—I fear that I have long been,

A Bore

Ormond • 118,800 Words
Chapter I • 4,700 Words

“What! no music, no dancing at Castle Hermitage to-night; and all the ladies sitting in a formal circle, petrifying into perfect statues?” cried Sir Ulick O’Shane as he entered the drawing-room, between ten and eleven o’clock at night, accompanied by what he called his rear-guard, veterans of the old school of good fellows, who at those times in Ireland—times long since past—deemed it essential to health, happiness, and manly character, to swallow, and show themselves able to stand after swallowing, a certain number of bottles of claret per day or night.

“Now, then,” continued Sir Ulick, “of all the figures in nature or art, the formal circle is universally the most obnoxious to conversation, and, to me, the most formidable; all my faculties are spell-bound—here I am like a bird in a circle of chalk, that dare not move so much as its head or its eyes, and can’t, for the life of it, take to its legs.”

A titter ran round that part of the circle where the young ladies sat—Sir Ulick was a favourite, and they rejoiced when he came among them; because, as they observed, “he always said something pleasant, or set something pleasant a-going.”

“Lady O’Shane, for mercy’s sake let us have no more of these permanent circle sittings at Castle Hermitage, my dear!”

“Sir Ulick, I am sure I should be very glad if it were possible,” replied Lady O’Shane, “to have no more permanent sittings at Castle Hermitage; but when gentlemen are at their bottle, I really don’t know what the ladies can do but sit in a circle.”

“Can’t they dance in a circle, or any way? or have not they an elegant resource in their music? There’s many here who, to my knowledge, can caper as well as they modulate,” said Sir Ulick, “to say nothing of cards for those that like them.”

“Lady Annaly does not like cards,” said Lady O’Shane, “and I could not ask any of these young ladies to waste their breath and their execution, singing and playing before the gentlemen came out.”

“These young ladies would not, I’m sure, do us old fellows the honour of waiting for us; and the young beaux deserted to your tea-table a long hour ago—so why you have not been dancing is a mystery beyond my comprehension.”

“Tea or coffee, Sir Ulick O’Shane, for the third time of asking?” cried a sharp female voice from the remote tea-table.

“Wouldn’t you swear to that being the voice of a presbyterian?” whispered Sir Ulick, over his shoulder to the curate: then aloud he replied to the lady, “Miss Black, you are three times too obliging. Neither tea nor coffee I’ll take from you to-night, I thank you kindly.”

“Fortunate for yourself, sir—for both are as cold as stones—and no wonder!” said Miss Black.

“No wonder!” echoed Lady O’Shane, looking at her watch, and sending forth an ostentatious sigh.

“What o’clock is it by your ladyship?” asked Miss Black. “I have a notion it’s tremendously late.”

“No matter—we are not pinned to hours in this house, Miss Black,” said Sir Ulick, walking up to the tea-table, and giving her a look, which said as plainly as look could say, “You had better be quiet.”

Lady O’Shane followed her husband, and putting her arm within his, began to say something in a fondling tone; and in a most conciliatory manner she went on talking to him for some moments. He looked absent, and replied coldly.

“I’ll take a cup of coffee from you now, Miss Black,” said he, drawing away his arm from his wife, who looked much mortified.

“We are too long, Lady O’Shane,” added he, “standing here like lovers, talking to no one but ourselves—awkward in company.”

Like lovers!” The sound pleased poor Lady O’Shane’s ear, and she smiled for the first time this night—Lady O’Shane was perhaps the last woman in the room whom a stranger would have guessed to be Sir Ulick’s wife.

He was a fine gallant off-hand looking Irishman, with something of dash in his tone and air, which at first view might lead a common observer to pronounce him to be vulgar; but at five minutes after sight, a good judge of men and manners would have discovered in him the power of assuming whatever manner he chose, from the audacity of the callous profligate to the deference of the accomplished courtier—the capability of adapting his conversation to his company and his views, whether his object were “to set the senseless table in a roar,” or to insinuate himself into the delicate female heart. Of this latter power, his age had diminished but not destroyed the influence. The fame of former conquests still operated in his favour, though he had long since passed his splendid meridian of gallantry.

While Sir Ulick is drinking his cup of cold coffee, we may look back a little into his family history. To go no farther than his legitimate loves, he had successively won three wives, who had each, in her turn, been desperately enamoured: the first he loved, and married imprudently for love, at seventeen; the second he admired, and married prudently, for ambition, at thirty; the third he hated, but married, from necessity, for money, at five-and-forty. The first wife, Miss Annaly, after ten years’ martyrdom of the heart, sank, childless,—a victim, it was said, to love and jealousy. The second wife, Lady Theodosia, struggled stoutly for power, backed by strong and high connexions; having, moreover, the advantage of being a mother, and mother of an only son and heir, the representative of a father in whom ambition had, by this time, become the ruling passion: the Lady Theodosia stood her ground, wrangling and wrestling through a fourteen years’ wedlock, till at last, to Sir Ulick’s great relief, not to say joy, her ladyship was carried off by a bad fever, or a worse apothecary. His present lady, formerly Mrs. Scraggs, a London widow of very large fortune, happened to see Sir Ulick when he went to present some address, or settle some point between the English and Irish government:—he was in deep mourning at the time, and the widow pitied him very much. But she was not the sort of woman he would ever have suspected could like him—she was a strict pattern lady, severe on the times, and, not unfrequently, lecturing young men gratis. Now Sir Ulick O’Shane was a sinner; how then could he please a saint? He did, however—but the saint did not please him—though she set to work for the good of his soul, and in her own person relaxed, to please his taste, even to the wearing of rouge and pearl-powder, and false hair, and false eyebrows, and all the falsifications which the setters-up could furnish. But after she had purchased all of youth which age can purchase for money, it would not do. The Widow Scraggs might, with her “lack lustre” eyes, have speculated for ever in vain upon Sir Ulick, but that, fortunately for her passion, at one and the same time, the Irish ministry were turned out, and an Irish canal burst. Sir Ulick losing his place by the change of ministry, and one half of his fortune by the canal, in which it had been sunk; and having spent in unsubstantial schemes and splendid living more than the other half; now, in desperate misery, laid hold of the Widow Scraggs. After a nine days’ courtship she became a bride, and she and her plum in the stocks—but not her messuage, house, and lands, in Kent—became the property of Sir Ulick O’Shane. “Love was then lord of all” with her, and she was now to accompany Sir Ulick to Ireland. Late in life she was carried to a new country, and set down among a people whom she had all her previous days been taught to hold in contempt or aversion: she dreaded Irish disturbances much, and Irish dirt more; she was persuaded that nothing could be right, good, or genteel, that was not English. Her habits and tastes were immutably fixed. Her experience had been confined to a London life, and in proportion as her sphere of observation had been contracted, her disposition was intolerant. She made no allowance for the difference of opinion, customs, and situation, much less for the faults or foibles of people who were to her strangers and foreigners—her ladyship was therefore little likely to please or be pleased in her new situation. Her husband was the only individual, the only thing, animate or inanimate, that she liked in Ireland—and while she was desperately in love with an Irishman, she disliked Ireland and the Irish: even the Irish talents and virtues, their wit, humour, generosity of character, and freedom of manner, were lost upon her—her country neighbours were repelled by her air of taciturn self-sufficiency—and she, for her part, declared she would have been satisfied to have lived alone at Castle Hermitage with Sir Ulick. But Sir Ulick had no notion of living alone with her, or for any body. His habits were all social and convivial—he loved show and company: he had been all his life in the habit of entertaining all ranks of people at Castle Hermitage, from his excellency the Lord-Lieutenant and the commander-in-chief for the time being, to Tim the gauger, and honest Tom Kelly, the stalko.

He talked of the necessity of keeping up a neighbourhood, and maintaining his interest in the county, as the first duties of man. Ostensibly Sir Ulick had no motive in all this, but the hospitable wish of seeing Castle Hermitage one continued scene of festivity; but under this good fellowship and apparent thoughtlessness and profusion, there was an eye to his own interest, and a keen view to the improvement of his fortune and the advancement of his family. With these habits and views, it was little likely that he should yield to the romantic, jealous, or economic tastes of his new lady—a bride ten years older than himself! Lady O’Shane was, soon after her arrival in Ireland, compelled to see her house as full of company as it could possibly hold; and her ladyship was condemned eternally, to do the honours to successive troops of friends, of whom she knew nothing, and of whom she disliked all she saw or heard. Her dear Sir Ulick was, or seemed, so engrossed by the business of pleasure, so taken up with his guests, that but a few minutes in the day could she ever obtain of his company. She saw herself surrounded by the young, the fair, and the gay, to whom Sir Ulick devoted his assiduous and gallant attentions; and though his age, and his being a married man, seemed to preclude, in the opinion of the cool or indifferent spectator, all idea of any real cause for jealousy, yet it was not so with poor Lady O’Shane’s magnifying imagination. The demon of jealousy tortured her; and to enhance her sufferings, she was obliged to conceal them, lest they should become subjects of private mockery or public derision. It is the peculiar misfortune or punishment of misplaced, and yet more of unseasonable, passions, that in their distresses they obtain no sympathy; and while the passion is in all its consequence tragic to the sufferer, in all its exhibitions it is—ludicrous to the spectator. Lady O’Shane could not be young, and would not be old: so without the charms of youth, or the dignity of age, she could neither inspire love, nor command respect; nor could she find fit occupation or amusement, or solace or refuge, in any combination of company or class of society. Unluckily, as her judgment, never discriminating, was now blinded by jealousy, the two persons of all his family connexions upon whom she pitched as the peculiar objects of her fear and hatred were precisely those who were most disposed to pity and befriend her—to serve her in private with Sir Ulick, and to treat her with deference in public: these two persons were Lady Annaly and her daughter. Lady Annaly was a distant relation of Sir Ulick’s first wife, during whose life some circumstances had occurred which had excited her ladyship’s indignation against him. For many years all commerce between them had ceased. Lady Annaly was a woman of generous indignation, strong principles, and warm affections. Her rank, her high connexions, her high character, her having, from the time she was left a young and beautiful widow, devoted herself to the education and the interests of her children; her having persevered in her lofty course, superior to all the numerous temptations of love, vanity, or ambition, by which she was assailed; her long and able administration of a large property, during the minority of her son; her subsequent graceful resignation of power; his affection, gratitude, and deference for his mother, which now continued to prolong her influence, and exemplify her precepts in every act of his own; altogether placed this lady high in public consideration—high as any individual could stand in a country, where national enthusiastic attachment is ever excited by certain noble qualities congenial with the Irish nature. Sir Ulick O’Shane, sensible of the disadvantage of having estranged such a family connexion, and fully capable of appreciating the value of her friendship, had of late years taken infinite pains to redeem himself in Lady Annaly’s opinion. His consummate address, aided and abetted and concealed as it was by his off-hand manner, would scarcely have succeeded, had it not been supported also by some substantial good qualities, especially by the natural candour and generosity of his disposition. In favour of the originally strong, and, through all his errors, wonderfully surviving taste for virtue, some of his manifold transgressions might be forgiven: there was much hope and promise of amendment; and besides, to state things just as they were, he had propitiated the mother, irresistibly, by his enthusiastic admiration of the daughter—so that Lady Annaly had at last consented to revisit Castle Hermitage. Her ladyship and her daughter were now on this reconciliation visit; Sir Ulick was extremely anxious to make it agreeable. Besides the credit of her friendship, he had other reasons for wishing to conciliate her: his son Marcus was just twenty—two years older than Miss Annaly—in course of time, Sir Ulick thought it might be a match—his son could not possibly make a better—beauty, fortune, family connexions, every thing that the hearts of young and old desire. Besides (for in Sir Ulick’s calculations besides was a word frequently occurring), besides, Miss Annaly’s brother was not as strong in body as in mind—in two illnesses his life had been despaired of—a third might carry him off—the estate would probably come to Miss Annaly. Besides, be this hereafter as it might, there was at this present time a considerable debt due by Sir Ulick to these Annalys, with accumulated interest, since the time of his first marriage; and this debt would be merged in Miss Annaly’s portion, should she become his son’s wife. All this was well calculated; but to say nothing of the character or affections of the son, Sir Ulick had omitted to consider Lady O’Shane, or he had taken it for granted that her love for him would induce her at once to enter into and second his views. It did not so happen. On the contrary, the dislike which Lady O’Shane took at sight to both the mother and daughter—to the daughter instinctively, at sight of her youth and beauty; to the mother reflectively, on account of her matronly dress and dignified deportment, in too striking contrast to her own frippery appearance—increased every day, and every hour, when she saw the attentions, the adoration, that Sir Ulick paid to Miss Annaly, and the deference and respect he showed to Lady Annaly, all for qualities and accomplishments in which Lady O’Shane was conscious that she was irremediably deficient. Sir Ulick thought to extinguish her jealousy, by opening to her his views on Miss Annaly for his son; but the jealousy, taking only a new direction, strengthened in its course. Lady O’Shane did not like her stepson—had indeed no great reason to like him; Marcus disliked her, and was at no pains to conceal his dislike. She dreaded the accession of domestic power and influence he would gain by such a marriage. She could not bear the thoughts of having a daughter-in-law brought into the house—placed in eternal comparison with her. Sir Ulick O’Shane was conscious that his marriage exposed him to some share of ridicule; but hitherto, except when his taste for raillery, and the diversion of exciting her causeless jealousy, interfered with his purpose, he had always treated her ladyship as he conceived that Lady O’Shane ought to be treated. Naturally good-natured, and habitually attentive to the sex, he had indeed kept up appearances better than could have been expected, from a man of his former habits, to a woman of her ladyship’s present age; but if she now crossed his favourite scheme, it would be all over with her—her submission to his will had hitherto been a sufficient and a convenient proof, and the only proof he desired, of her love. Her ladyship’s evil genius, in the shape of Miss Black, her humble companion, was now busily instigating her to be refractory. Miss Black had frequently whispered, that if Lady O’Shane would show more spirit, she would do better with Sir Ulick; that his late wife, Lady Theodosia, had ruled him, by showing proper spirit; that in particular, she should make a stand against the encroachments of Sir Ulick’s son Marcus, and of his friend and companion, young Ormond. In consequence of these suggestions, Lady O’Shane had most judiciously thwarted both these young men in trifles, till she had become their aversion: this aversion Marcus felt more than he expressed, and Ormond expressed more strongly than he felt. To Sir Ulick, his son and heir was his first great object in life; yet, though in all things he preferred the interest of Marcus, he was not as fond of Marcus as he was of young Ormond. Young Ormond was the son of the friend of Sir Ulick O’Shane’s youthful and warm-hearted days—the son of an officer who had served in the same regiment with him in his first campaign. Captain Ormond afterwards made an unfortunate marriage—that is, a marriage without a fortune—his friends would not see him or his wife—he was soon in debt, and in great distress. He was obliged to leave his wife and go to India. She had then one child at nurse in an Irish cabin. She died soon afterwards. Sir Ulick O’Shane took the child, that had been left at nurse, into his own house. From the time it was four years old, little Harry Ormond became his darling and grew up his favourite. Sir Ulick’s fondness, however, had not extended to any care of his education—quite the contrary; he had done all he could to spoil him by the most injudicious indulgence, and by neglect of all instruction or discipline. Marcus had been sent to school and college; but Harry Ormond, meantime, had been let to run wild at home: the gamekeeper, the huntsman, and a cousin of Sir Ulick, who called himself the King of the Black Islands, had had the principal share in his education. Captain Ormond, his father, was not heard of for many years; and Sir Ulick always argued, that there was no use in giving Harry Ormond the education of an estated gentleman, when he was not likely to have an estate. Moreover, he prophesied that Harry would turn out the cleverest man of the two; and in the progress of the two boys towards manhood Sir Ulick had shown a strange sort of double and inconsistent vanity in his son’s acquirements, and in the orphan Harry’s natural genius. Harry’s extremely warm, generous, grateful temper, delighted Sir Ulick; but he gloried in the superior polish of his own son. Harry Ormond grew up with all the faults that were incident to his natural violence of passions, and that might necessarily be expected from his neglected and deficient education. His devoted gratitude and attachment to his guardian father, as he called Sir Ulick, made him amenable in an instant, even in the height and tempest of his passions, to whatever Sir Ulick desired; but he was ungovernable by most other people, and rude even to insolence, where he felt tyranny or suspected meanness. Miss Black and he were always at open war; to Lady O’Shane he submitted, though with an ill grace; yet he did submit, for his guardian’s sake, where he himself only was concerned; but most imprudently and fiercely he contended upon every occasion where Marcus, when aggrieved, had declined contending with his mother-in-law.

Upon the present occasion the two youths had been long engaged to dine with, and keep the birthday of, Mr. Cornelius O’Shane, the King of the Black Islands—next to Sir Ulick the being upon earth to whom Harry Ormond thought himself most obliged, and to whom he felt himself most attached. This he had represented to Lady O’Shane, and had earnestly requested that, as the day for the intended dance was a matter of indifference to her, it might not be fixed on this day; but her ladyship had purposely made it a trial of strength, and had insisted upon their returning at a certain hour. She knew that Sir Ulick would be much vexed by their want of punctuality on this occasion, where the Annalys were concerned, though, in general, punctuality was a virtue for which he had no regard.

Sir Ulick had finished his cup of coffee. “Miss Black, send away the tea-things—send away all these things,” cried he. “Young ladies, better late than never, you know—let’s have dancing now; clear the decks for action.”

The young ladies started from their seats immediately. All was now in happy motion. The servants answered promptly—the tea-things retired in haste—tables rolled away—chairs swung into the back-ground—the folding-doors of the dancing-room were thrown open—the pyramids of wax-candles in the chandeliers (for this was ere argands were on earth) started into light—the musicians tuning, screwing, scraping, sounded, discordant as they were, joyful notes of preparation.

“But where’s my son—where’s Marcus?” said Sir Ulick, drawing Lady O’Shane aside. “I don’t see him any where.”

“No,” said Lady O’Shane; “you know that he would go to dine to-day with that strange cousin of yours, and neither he nor his companion have thought proper to return yet.”

“I wish you had given me a hint,” said Sir Ulick, “and I would have waited; for Marcus ought to lead off with Miss Annaly.”

Ought—to be sure.” said Lady O’Shane; “but that is no rule for young gentlemen’s conduct. I told both the young gentlemen that we were to have a dance to-night. I mentioned the hour, and begged them to be punctual.”

“Young men are never punctual,” said Sir Ulick; “but Marcus is inexcusable to-night on account of the Annalys.”

Sir Ulick pondered for a moment with an air of vexation, then turning to the musicians, who were behind him, “You four-and-twenty fiddlers all in a row, you gentlemen musicians, scrape and tune on a little longer, if you please. Remember you are not ready till I draw on my gloves. Break a string or two, if necessary.”

“We will—we shall—plase your honour.”

“I wish, Lady O’Shane,” continued Sir Ulick in a lower tone, “I wish you had given me a hint of this.”

“Truth to tell, Sir Ulick, I did, I own, conceive from your walk and way, that you were not in a condition to take any hint I could give.”

“Pshaw, my dear, after having known me, I won’t say loved me, a calendar year, how can you be so deceived by outward appearances? Don’t you know that I hate drinking? But when I have these county electioneering friends, the worthy red noses, to entertain, I suit myself to the company, by acting spirits instead of swallowing them, for I should scorn to appear to flinch!”

This was true. Sir Ulick could, and often did, to the utmost perfection, counterfeit every degree of intoxication. He could act the rise, decline, and fall of the drunken man, marking the whole progress, from the first incipient hesitation of reason to the glorious confusion of ideas in the highest state of elevation, thence through all the declining cases of stultified paralytic ineptitude, down to the horizontal condition of preterpluperfect ebriety.

“Really, Sir Ulick, you are so good an actor that I don’t pretend to judge—I can seldom find out the truth from you.”

“So much the better for you, my dear, if you knew but all,” said Sir Ulick, laughing.

“If I knew but all!” repeated her ladyship, with an alarmed look.

“But that’s not the matter in hand at present, my dear.”

Sir Ulick protracted the interval before the opening of the ball as long as he possibly could—but in vain—the young gentlemen did not appear. Sir Ulick drew on his gloves. The broken strings of the violins were immediately found to be mended. Sir Ulick opened the ball himself with Miss Annaly, after making as handsome an apology for his son as the case would admit—an apology which was received by the young lady with the most graceful good-nature. She declined dancing more than one dance, and Sir Ulick sat down between her and Lady Annaly, exerting all his powers of humour to divert them, at the expense of his cousin, the King of the Black Islands, whose tedious ferry, or whose claret, or more likely whose whiskey-punch, he was sure, had been the cause of Marcus’s misdemeanour. It was now near twelve o’clock. Lady O’Shane, who had made many aggravating reflections upon the disrespectful conduct of the young gentlemen, grew restless on another count. The gates were left open for them—the gates ought to be locked! There were disturbances in the country. “Pshaw!” Sir Ulick said. Opposite directions were given at opposite doors to two servants.

“Dempsey, tell them they need not lock the gates till the young gentlemen come home, or at least till one o’clock,” said Sir Ulick.

“Stone,” said Lady O’Shane to her own man in a very low voice, “go down directly, and see that the gates are locked, and bring me the keys.”

Dempsey, an Irishman, who was half drunk, forgot to see or say any thing about it. Stone, an Englishman, went directly to obey his lady’s commands, and the gates were locked, and the keys brought to her ladyship, who put them immediately into her work-table.

Half an hour afterwards, as Lady O’Shane was sitting with her back to the glass-door of the green house, which opened into the ball-room, she was startled by a peremptory tap on the glass behind her; she turned, and saw young Ormond, pale as death, and stained with blood.

“The keys of the gate instantly,” cried he, “for mercy’s sake!”

Chapter II • 4,000 Words

Lady O’Shane, extremely terrified, had scarcely power to rise. She opened the drawer of the table, and thrust her trembling hand down to the bottom of the silk bag, into which the keys had fallen. Impatient of delay, Ormond pushed open the door, snatched the keys, and disappeared. The whole passed in a few seconds. The music drowned the noise of the opening door, and of the two chairs, which Ormond had thrown down: those who sat near, thought a servant had pushed in and gone out; but, however rapid the movement, the full view of the figure had been seen by Miss Annaly, who was sitting on the opposite side of the room; Sir Ulick was sitting beside her, talking earnestly. Lady Annaly had just retired. “For Heaven’s sake, what’s the matter?” cried he, stopping in the middle of a sentence, on seeing Miss Annaly grow suddenly pale as death. Her eyes were fixed on the door of the green-house; his followed that direction. “Yes,” said he, “we can get out into the air that way—lean on me.” She did so—he pushed his way through the crowd at the bottom of the country dance; and, as he passed, was met by Lady O’Shane and Miss Black, both with faces of horror.

“Sir Ulick, did you see,” pointing to the door, “did you see Mr. Ormond?—There’s blood!”

“There’s mischief, certainly,” said Miss Black. “A quarrel—Mr. Marcus, perhaps.”

“Nonsense! No such thing, you’ll find,” said Sir Ulick, pushing on, and purposely jostling the arm of a servant who was holding a salver of ices, overturning them all; and whilst the surrounding company were fully occupied about their clothes, and their fears, and apologies, he made his way onwards to the green-house—Lady O’Shane clinging to one arm—Miss Annaly supported by the other—Miss Black following, repeating, “Mischief! mischief! you’ll see, sir.”

“Miss Black, open the door, and not another word.”

He edged Miss Annaly on, the moment the door opened, dragged Lady O’Shane after him, pushed Miss Black back as she attempted to follow: but, recollecting that she might spread the report of mischief, if he left her behind, drew her into the green-house, locked the door, and led Miss Annaly out into the air.

“Bring salts! water! something, Miss Black—follow me, Lady O’Shane.”

“When I’m hardly able—your wife! Sir Ulick, you might,” said Lady O’Shane, as she tottered on, “you might, I should have thought—”

“No time for such thoughts, my dear,” interrupted he. “Sit down on the steps—there, she is better now—now what is all this?”

“I am not to speak,” said Miss Black.

Lady O’Shane began to say how Mr. Ormond had burst in, covered with blood, and seized the keys of the gates.

“The keys!” But he had no time for that thought. “Which way did he go?”

“I don’t know; I gave him the keys of both gates.”

The two entrances were a mile asunder. Sir Ulick looked for footsteps on the grass. It was a fine moonlight night. He saw footsteps on the path leading to the gardener’s house. “Stay here, ladies, and I will bring you intelligence as soon as possible.”

“This way, Sir Ulick—they are coming,” said Miss Annaly, who had now recovered her presence of mind.

Several persons appeared from a turn in the shrubbery, carrying some one on a hand-barrow—a gentleman on horseback, with a servant and many persons walking. Sir Ulick hastened towards them; the gentleman on horseback spurred his horse and met him.

“Marcus!—is it you?—thank God! But Ormond—where is he, and what has happened?”

The first sound of Marcus’s voice, when he attempted to answer, showed that he was not in a condition to give a rational account of any thing. His servant followed, also much intoxicated. While Sir Ulick had been stopped by their ineffectual attempts to explain, the people who were carrying the man on the hand-barrow came up. Ormond appeared from the midst of them. “Carry him on to the gardener’s house,” cried he, pointing the way, and coming forward to Sir Ulick. “If he dies, I am a murderer!” cried he.

“Who is he?” said Sir Ulick.

“Moriarty Carroll, please your honour,” answered several voices at once.

“And how happened it?” said Sir Ulick.

“The long and the short of it, sir,” said Marcus, as well as he could articulate, “the fellow was insolent, and we cut him down—and if it were to do again, I’d do it again with pleasure.”

“No, no! you won’t say so, Marcus, when you are yourself,” said Ormond. “Oh! how dreadful to come to one’s senses all at once, as I did—the moment after I had fired that fatal shot—the moment I saw the poor fellow stagger and fall—”

“It was you, then, that fired at him,” interrupted Sir Ulick.

“Yes, oh! yes!” said he, striking his forehead: “I did it in the fury of passion.”

Then Ormond, taking all the blame upon himself, and stating what had passed in the strongest light against himself, gave this account of the matter. After having drunk too much at Mr. Cornelius O’Shane’s, they were returning from the Black Islands, and afraid of being late, they were galloping hard, when at a narrow part of the road they were stopped by some cars. Impatient of the delay, they abused the men who were driving them, insisting upon their getting out of the way faster than they could. Moriarty Carroll made some answer, which Marcus said was insolent; and inquiring the man’s name, and hearing it was Carroll, said all the Carrolls were bad people—rebels. Moriarty defied him to prove that—and added some expressions about tyranny, which enraged Ormond. This part of the provocation Ormond did not state, but merely said he was thrown into a passion by some observation of Moriarty’s; and first he lifted his whip to give the fellow a horsewhipping. Moriarty seized hold of the whip, and struggled to wrest it from his hand; Ormond then snatched a pistol from his holster, telling Moriarty he would shoot him, if he did not let the whip go. Moriarty, who was in a passion himself, struggled, still holding the whip. Ormond cocked the pistol, and before he was aware he had done so, the pistol accidentally went off—the ball entered Moriarty’s breast. This happened within a quarter of a mile of Castle Hermitage. The poor fellow bled profusely; and, in assisting to lift him upon the hand-barrow, Ormond was covered with blood, as has been already described.

“Have you sent for a surgeon?” said Sir Ulick, coolly.

“Certainly—sent off a fellow on my own horse directly. Sir, will you come on to the gardener’s house; I want you to see him, to know what you’ll think. If he die, I am a murderer,” repeated Ormond.

This horrible idea so possessed his imagination, that he could not answer or hear any of the farther questions that were asked by Lady O’Shane and Miss Black; but after gazing upon them with unmeaning eyes for a moment in silence, walked rapidly on: as he was passing by the steps of the green-house, he stopped short at the sight of Miss Annaly, who was still sitting there. “What’s the matter?” said he, in a tone of great compassion, going close up to her. Then, recollecting himself, he hurried forward again.

“As I can be of no use—unless I can be of any use,” said Miss Annaly, “I will, now that I am well enough, return—my mother will wonder what has become of me.”

“Sir Ulick, give me the key of the conservatory, to let Miss Annaly into the ball-room.”

“Miss Annaly does not wish to dance any more to-night, I believe,” said Sir Ulick.

“Dance—oh! no.”

“Then, without exciting observation, you can all get in better at the back door of the house, and Miss Annaly can go up the back stairs to Lady Annaly’s room, without meeting any one; and you, Lady O’Shane,” added he, in a low voice, “order up supper, and say nothing of what has passed. Miss Black, you hear what I desire—no gossiping.”

To get to the back door they had to walk round the house, and in their way they passed the gardener’s. The surgeon had just arrived.

“Go on, ladies, pray,” said Sir Ulick; “what stops you?”

“‘Tis I stop the way, Sir Ulick,” said Lady O’Shane, “to speak a word to the surgeon. If you find the man in any dangerous way, for pity’s sake don’t let him die at our gardener’s—indeed, the bringing him here at all I think a very strange step and encroachment of Mr. Ormond’s. It will make the whole thing so public—and the people hereabouts are so revengeful—if any thing should happen to him, it will be revenged on our whole family—on Sir Ulick in particular.”

“No danger—nonsense, my dear.”

But now this idea had seized Lady O’Shane, it appeared to her a sufficient reason for desiring to remove the man even this night. She asked why he could not be taken to his own home and his own people; she repeated, that it was very strange of Mr. Ormond to take such liberties, as if every thing about Castle Hermitage was quite at his disposal. One of the men who had carried the hand-barrow, and who was now standing at the gardener’s door, observed, that Moriarty’s people lived five miles off. Ormond, who had gone into the house to the wounded man, being told what Lady O’Shane was saying, came out; she repeated her words as he re-appeared. Naturally of sudden violent temper, and being now in the highest state of suspense and irritation, he broke out, forgetful of all proper respect. Miss Black, who was saying something in corroboration of Lady O’Shane’s opinion, he first attacked, pronouncing her to be an unfeeling, canting hypocrite: then, turning to Lady O’Shane, he said that she might send the dying man away, if she pleased; but that if she did, he would go too, and that never while he existed would he enter her ladyship’s doors again.

Ormond made this threat with the air of a superior to an inferior, totally forgetting his own dependent situation, and the dreadful circumstances in which he now stood.

“You are drunk, young man! My dear Ormond, you don’t know what you are saying,” interposed Sir Ulick.

At his voice, and the kindness of his tone, Ormond recollected himself. “Forgive me,” said he, in a very gentle tone. “My head certainly is not—Oh! may you never feel what I have felt this last hour! If this man die—Oh! consider.”

“He will not die—he will not die, I hope—at any rate, don’t talk so loud within hearing of these people. My dear Lady O’Shane, this foolish boy—this Harry Ormond is, I grant, a sad scapegrace, but you must bear with him for my sake. Let this poor wounded fellow remain here—I won’t have him stirred to-night—we shall see what ought to be done in the morning. Ormond, you forgot yourself strangely towards Lady O’Shane—as to this fellow, don’t make such a rout about the business; I dare say he will do very well: we shall hear what the surgeon says. At first I was horribly frightened—I thought you and Marcus had been quarrelling. Miss Annaly, are not you afraid of staying out? Lady O’Shane, why do you keep Miss Annaly? Let supper go up directly.”

“Supper! ay, every thing goes on as usual,” said Ormond, “and I—”

“I must follow them in, and see how things are going on, and prevent gossiping, for your sake, my boy,” resumed Sir Ulick, after a moment’s pause. “You have got into an ugly scrape. I pity you from my soul—I’m rash myself. Send the surgeon to me when he has seen the fellow. Depend upon me, if the worst come to the worst, there’s nothing in the world I would not do to serve you,” said Sir Ulick: “so keep up your spirits, my boy—we’ll contrive to bring you through—at the worst, it will only be manslaughter.”

Ormond wrung Sir Ulick’s hand—thanked him for his kindness; but repeated, “it will be murder—it will be murder—my own conscience tells me so! If he die, give me up to justice.”

“You’ll think better of it before morning,” said Sir Ulick, as he left Ormond.

The surgeon gave Ormond little comfort. After extracting the bullet, and examining the wound, he shook his head—he had but a bad opinion of the case; and when Ormond took him aside, and questioned him more closely, he confessed that he thought the man would not live—he should not be surprised if he died before morning. The surgeon was obliged to leave him to attend another patient; and Ormond, turning all the other people out of the room, declared he would sit up with Moriarty himself. A terrible night it was to him. To his alarmed and inexperienced eyes the danger seemed even greater than it really was, and several times he thought his patient expiring, when he was faint from loss of blood. The moments in which Ormond was occupied in assisting him were the least painful. It was when he had nothing left to do, when he had leisure to think, that he was most miserable; then the agony of suspense, and the horror of remorse, were felt, till feeling was exhausted; and he would sit motionless and stupified, till he was wakened again from this suspension of thought and feeling by some moan of the poor man, or some delirious startings. Toward morning the wounded man lay easier; and as Ormond was stooping over his bed to see whether he was asleep, Moriarty opened his eyes, and fixing them on Ormond, said, in broken sentences, but so as very distinctly to be understood, “Don’t be in such trouble about the likes of me—I’ll do very well, you’ll see—and even suppose I wouldn’t—not a friend I have shall ever prosecute—I’ll charge ‘em not—so be easy—for you’re a good heart—and the pistol went off unknownst to you—I’m sure there was no malice—let that be your comfort. It might happen to any man, let alone gentleman—don’t take on so. Only think of young Mr. Harry sitting up the night with me!—Oh! if you’d go now and settle yourself yonder on t’other bed, sir—I’d be a grate dale asier, and I don’t doubt but I’d get a taste of sleep myself—while now wid you standing over or forenent me, I can’t close an eye for thinking of you, Mr. Harry.”

Ormond immediately threw himself upon the other bed, that he might relieve Moriarty’s feelings. The good nature and generosity of this poor fellow increased Ormond’s keen sense of remorse. As to sleeping, for him it was impossible; whenever his ideas began to fall into that sort of confusion which precedes sleep, suddenly he felt as if his heart were struck or twinged, and he started with the recollection that some dreadful thing had happened, and wakened to the sense of guilt and all its horrors. Moriarty now lying perfectly quiet and motionless, and Ormond not hearing him breathe, he was struck with the dread that he had breathed his last. A cold tremor came over Ormond—he rose in his bed, listening in acute agony, when to his relief he at last distinctly heard Moriarty breathing strongly, and soon afterwards (no music was ever so delightful to Ormond’s ear) heard him begin to breathe loudly, as if asleep. The morning light dawned soon afterwards, and the crowing of a cock was heard, which Ormond feared might waken him; but the poor man slept soundly through all these usual noises: the heaving of the bed-clothes over his breast went on with uninterrupted regularity. The gardener and his wife softly opened the door of the room, to inquire how things were going on; Ormond pointed to the bed, and they nodded, and smiled, and beckoned to him to come out, whispering that a taste of the morning air would do him good. He suffered them to lead him out, for he was afraid of debating the point in the room with the sleeping patient. The good people of the house, who had known Harry Ormond from a child, and who were exceedingly fond of him, as all the poor people in the neighbourhood were, said every thing they could think of upon this occasion to comfort him, and reiterated about a hundred times their prophecies, that Moriarty would be as sound and good a man as ever in a fortnight’s time.

“Sure, when he’d take the soft sleep he couldn’t but do well.”

Then perceiving that Ormond listened to them only with faint attention, the wife whispered to her husband, “Come off to our work, Johnny—he’d like to be alone—he’s not equal to listen to our talk yet—it’s the surgeon must give him hope—and he’ll soon be here, I trust.”

They went to their work, and left Ormond standing in the porch. It was a fine morning—the birds were singing, and the smell of the honeysuckle with which the porch was covered, wafted by the fresh morning air, struck Ormond’s senses, but struck him with melancholy.

“Every thing in nature is cheerful except myself! Every thing in this world going on just the same as it was yesterday—but all changed for me!—within a few short hours—by my own folly, my own madness! Every animal,” thought he, as his attention was caught by the house dog, who was licking his hand, and as his eye fell upon the hen and chickens, who were feeding before the door, “every animal is happy—and innocent! But if this man die—I shall be a murderer.”

This thought, perpetually recurring, so oppressed him, that he stood motionless, till he was roused by the voice of Sir Ulick O’Shane.

“Well, Harry Ormond, how is it with you, my boy?—The fellow’s alive, I hope?”

“Alive—Thank Heaven!—yes; and asleep.”

“Give ye joy—it would have been an ugly thing—not but what we could have brought you through: I’d go through thick and thin, you know, for you, as if it were for my own son. But Lady O’Shane,” said Sir Ulick, changing his tone, and with a face of great concern, “I must talk to you about her—I may as well speak now, since it must be said.”

“I am afraid,” said Ormond, “that I spoke too hastily last night: I beg your pardon.”

“Nay, nay, put me out of the question: you may do what you please with me—always could, from the time you were four years old; but, you know, the more I love any body, the more Lady O’Shane hates them. The fact is,” continued Sir Ulick, rubbing his eyes, “that I have had a weary night of it—Lady O’Shane has been crying and whining in my ears. She says I encourage you in being insolent, and so forth: in short, she cannot endure you in the house any longer. I suspect that sour one” (Sir Ulick, among his intimates, always designated Miss Black in this manner) “puts her up to it. But I will not give up my own boy—I will take it with a high hand. Separations are foolish things, as foolish as marriages; but I’d sooner part with Lady O’Shane at once than let Harry Ormond think I’d forsake him, especially in awkward circumstances.”

“That, Sir Ulick, is what Harry Ormond can never think of you. He would be the basest, the most suspicious, the most ungrateful—But I must not speak so loud,” continued he, lowering his voice, “lest it should waken Moriarty.” Sir Ulick drew him away from the door, for Ormond was cool enough at this moment to have common sense.

“My dear guardian-father, allow me still to call you by that name,” continued Ormond, “believe me, your kindness is too fully—innumerable instances of your affection now press upon me, so that—I can’t express myself; but depend upon it, suspicion of your friendship is the last that could enter my mind: I trust, therefore, you will do me the same sort of justice, and never suppose me capable of ingratitude—though the time is come when we must part.”

Ormond could hardly pronounce the word.

“Part!” repeated Sir Ulick: “no, by all the saints, and all the devils in female form!”

“I am resolved,” said Ormond, “firmly resolved on one point—never to be a cause of unhappiness to one who has been the source of so much happiness to me: I will no more be an object of contention between you and Lady O’Shane. Give her up rather than me—Heaven forbid! I the cause of separation!—never—never! I am determined, let what will become of me, I will no more be an inmate of Castle Hermitage.”

Tears started into Ormond’s eyes; Sir Ulick appeared much affected, and in a state of great embarrassment and indecision.

He could not bear to think of it—he swore it must not be: then he gradually sunk to hoping it was not necessary, and proposing palliatives and half measures. Moriarty must be moved to-day—sent to his own friends. That point he had, for peace sake, conceded to her ladyship, he said; but he should expect, on her part, that after a proper, a decent apology from Ormond, things might still be accommodated and go on smoothly, if that meddling Miss Black would allow them.

In short he managed so, that whilst he confirmed the young man in his resolution to quit Castle Hermitage, he threw all the blame on Lady O’Shane; Ormond never doubting the steadiness of Sir Ulick’s affection, nor suspecting that he had any secret motive for wishing to get rid of him.

“But where can you go, my dear boy?—What will you do with yourself?—What will become of you?”

“Never mind—never mind what becomes of me, my dear sir: I’ll find means—I have the use of head and hands.”

“My cousin, Cornelius O’Shane, he is as fond of you almost as I am, and he is not cursed with a wife, and is blessed with a daughter,” said Sir Ulick, with a sly smile.

“Oh! yes,” continued he, “I see it all now: you have ways and means—I no longer object—I’ll write—no, you’d write better yourself to King Corny, for you are a greater favourite with his majesty than I am. Fare ye well—Heaven bless you! my boy,” said Sir Ulick, with warm emphasis. “Remember, whenever you want supplies, Castle Hermitage is your bank—you know I have a bank at my back (Sir Ulick was joined in a banking-house)’—Castle Hermitage is your bank, and here’s your quarter’s allowance to begin with.”

Sir Ulick put a purse into Ormond’s hand, and left him.

Chapter III • 3,600 Words

But is it natural, is it possible, that this Sir Ulick O’Shane could so easily part with Harry Ormond, and thus “whistle him down the wind to prey at fortune?” For Harry Ormond, surely, if for any creature living, Sir Ulick O’Shane’s affection had shown itself disinterested and steady. When left a helpless infant, its mother dead, its father in India, he had taken the child from the nurse, who was too poor even to feed or clothe it as her own; and he had brought little Harry up at his castle with his own son—as his own son. He had been his darling—literally his spoiled child; nor had this fondness passed away with the prattling, playful graces of the child’s first years—it had grown with its growth. Harry became Sir Ulick’s favourite companion—hunting, shooting, carousing, as he had been his plaything during infancy. On no one occasion had Harry, violent and difficult to manage as he was to others, ever crossed Sir Ulick’s will, or in any way incurred his displeasure. And now, suddenly, without any cause, except the aversion of a wife, whose aversions seldom troubled him in any great degree, is it natural that he should give up Harry Ormond, and suffer him to sacrifice himself in vain for the preservation of a conjugal peace, which Sir Ulick ought to have known could not by such a sacrifice be preserved? Is it possible that Sir Ulick should do this? Is it in human nature?

Yes, in the nature of Sir Ulick O’Shane. Long use had brought him to this; though his affections, perhaps, were naturally warm, he had on many occasions in his life sacrificed them to his scheming imaginations. Necessity—the necessity of his affairs, the consequences of his extravagance—had brought him to this: the first sacrifices had not been made without painful struggles; but by degrees his mind had hardened, and his warmth of heart had cooled. When he said or swore in the most cordial manner that he “would do any thing in the world to serve a friend,” there was always a mental reservation of “any thing that does not hurt my own interest, or cross my schemes.”

And how could Harry Ormond hurt his interest, or cross his schemes? or how had Sir Ulick discovered this so suddenly? Miss Annaly’s turning pale was the first cause of Sir Ulick’s change of sentiments towards his young favourite. Afterwards, during the whole that passed, Sir Ulick had watched the impression made upon her—he had observed that it was not for Marcus O’Shane’s safety that she was anxious; and he thought she had betrayed a secret attachment, the commencement of an attachment he thought it, of which she was perhaps herself unconscious. Were such an attachment to be confirmed, it would disappoint Sir Ulick’s schemes: therefore, with the cool decision of a practised schemer, he determined directly to get rid of Ormond. He had no intention of parting with him for ever, but merely while the Annalys were at Castle Hermitage: till his scheme was brought to bear, he would leave Harry at the Black Islands, and he could, he thought, recal him from banishment, and force a reconciliation with Lady O’Shane, and reinstate him in favour, at pleasure.

But is it possible that Miss Annaly, such an amiable and elegant young lady as she is described to be, should feel any attachment, any predilection for such a young man as Ormond; ill-educated, unpolished, with a violent temper, which had brought him early into life into the dreadful situation in which he now stands? And at the moment when, covered with the blood of an innocent man, he stood before her, an object of disgust and horror; could any sentiment like love exist or arise in a well-principled mind?

Certainly not. Sir Ulick’s acquaintance with unprincipled women misled him completely in this instance, and deprived him of his usual power of discriminating character. Harry Ormond was uncommonly handsome; and though so young, had a finely-formed, manly, graceful figure; and his manner, whenever he spoke to women, was peculiarly prepossessing. These personal accomplishments, Sir Ulick thought, were quite sufficient to win any lady’s heart—but Florence Annaly was not to be won by such means: no feeling of love for Mr. Ormond had ever touched her heart, nor even crossed her imagination; none under such circumstances could have arisen in her innocent and well-regulated mind. Sudden terror, and confused apprehension of evil, made her grow very pale at the sight of his bloody apparition at the window of the ball-room. Bodily weakness, for she was not at this time in strong health, must be her apology, if she need any, for the faintness and loss of presence of mind, which Sir Ulick construed into proofs of tender anxiety for the personal fate of this young man. In the scene that followed, horror of his crime, pity for the agony of his remorse, was what she felt—what she strongly expressed to her mother, the moment she reached her apartment that night: nor did her mother, who knew her thoroughly, ever for an instant suspect that in her emotion, there was a mixture of any sentiments but those which she expressed. Both mother and daughter were extremely shocked. They were also struck with regret at the idea, that a young man, in whom they had seen many instances of a generous, good disposition, of natural qualities and talents, which might have made him a useful, amiable, and admirable member of society, should be, thus early, a victim to his own undisciplined passion. During the preceding winter they had occasionally seen something of Ormond in Dublin. In the midst of the dissipated life which he led, upon one or two occasions, of which we cannot now stop to give an account, he had shown that he was capable of being a very different character from that which he had been made by bad education, bad example, and profligate indulgence, or shameful neglect on the part of his guardian.

Immediately after Sir Ulick had left Ormond, the surgeon appeared, and a new train of emotions arose. He had no time to reflect on Sir Ulick’s conduct. He felt hurried on rapidly, like one in a terrible dream. He returned with the surgeon to the wounded man.

Moriarty had wakened, much refreshed from his sleep, and the surgeon confessed that his patient was infinitely better than he had expected to find him. Moriarty evidently exerted himself as much as he possibly could to appear better, that he might calm Ormond’s anxiety, who stood waiting, with looks that showed his implicit faith in the oracle, and feeling that his own fate depended upon the next words that should be uttered. Let no one scoff at his easy faith: at this time Ormond was very young, not yet nineteen, and had no experience, either of the probability, or of the fallacy of medical predictions. After looking very grave and very wise, and questioning and cross-questioning a proper time, the surgeon said it was impossible for him to pronounce any thing decidedly, till the patient should have passed another night; but that if the next night proved favourable, he might then venture to declare him out of immediate danger, and might then begin to hope that, with time and care, he would do well. With this opinion, guarded and dubious as it was, Ormond was delighted—his heart felt relieved of part of the heavy load by which it had been oppressed, and the surgeon was well feed from the purse which Sir Ulick had put into Ormond’s hands. Ormond’s next business was to send a gossoon with a letter to his friend the King of the Black Islands, to tell him all that had passed, and to request an asylum in his dominions. By the time he had finished and despatched his letter, it was eight o’clock in the morning; and he was afraid that before he could receive an answer, it might be too late in the day to carry a wounded man as far as the Black Islands: he therefore accepted the hospitable offer of the village school-mistress, to give him and his patient a lodging for that night. There was indeed no one in the place who would not have done as much for Master Harry. All were in astonishment and sorrow when they heard that he was going to leave the castle; and their hatred to Lady O’Shane would have known no bounds, had they learned that she was the cause of his banishment: but this he generously concealed, and forbade those of his followers or partisans, who had known any thing of what had passed, to repeat what they had heard. It was late in the day before Marcus rose; for he had to sleep off the effects of his last night’s intemperance. He was in great astonishment when he learned that Ormond was really going away; and “could scarcely believe,” as he said repeatedly, “that Harry was so mad, or such a fool. As to Moriarty, a few guineas would have settled the business, if no rout had been made about it. Sitting up all night with such a fellow, and being in such agonies about him—how absurd! What more could he have done, if he had shot a gentleman, or his best friend? But Harry Ormond was always in extremes.”

Marcus, though he had not a very clear recollection of the events of the preceding night, was conscious, however, that he had been much more to blame than Ormond had stated; he had a remembrance of having been very violent, and of having urged Ormond to chastise Moriarty. It was not the first time that Ormond had screened him from blame, by taking the whole upon himself. For this Marcus was grateful to a certain degree: he thought he was fond of Harry Ormond; but he had not for him the solid friendship that would stand the test of adversity, still less would it be capable of standing against any difference of party opinion. Marcus, though he appeared a mild, indolent youth, was violent where his prejudices were concerned. Instead of being governed by justice in his conduct towards his inferiors, he took strong dislikes, either upon false informations, or without sufficient examination of the facts: cringing and flattery easily won his favour; and, on the other hand, he resented any spirit of independence, or even the least contradiction, from an inferior. These defects in his temper appeared more and more in him every year. As he ceased to be a boy, and was called upon to act as a man, the consequences of his actions became of greater importance; but in acquiring more power, he did not acquire more reason, or greater command over himself. He was now provoked with Ormond for being so anxious about Moriarty Carroll, because he disliked the Carrolls, and especially Moriarty, for some slight cause not worth recording. He went to Ormond, and argued the matter with him, but in vain. Marcus resented this sturdiness, and they parted, displeased with each other. Though Marcus expressed in words much regret at his companion’s adhering to the resolution of quitting his father’s house, yet it might be doubted whether, at the end of the conference, these professions were entirely sincere, whatever they might have been at the beginning: he had not a large mind, and perhaps he was not sorry to get rid of a companion who had often rivalled him in his father’s favour, and who might rival him where it was still more his ambition to please. The coldness of Marcus’s manner at parting, and the little difficulty which he felt in the separation, gave exquisite pain to poor Ormond, who, though he was resolved to go, did wish to be regretted, especially by the companion, the friend of his childhood. The warmth of his guardian’s manner had happily deceived him; and to the recollection of this he recurred for comfort at this moment, when his heart ached, and he was almost exhausted with the succession of the painful, violently painful, feelings of the last four-and-twenty hours.

The gossoon who had been sent with the despatch to the King of the Black Islands did not return this day—disappointment upon disappointment. Moriarty, who had exerted himself too much, that he might appear better than he really was, suffered proportionably this night; and so did Ormond, who, never before having been with any person delirious from fever, was excessively alarmed. What he endured cannot be described: it was, however, happy for him that he was forced to bear it all—nothing less could have made a sufficient impression on his mind—nothing less could have been a sufficient warning to set a guard upon the violence of his temper.

In the morning the fever abated: about eight o’clock the patient sunk into a sound sleep; and Ormond, kneeling by his bedside, ardent in devotion as in all his sentiments, gave thanks to Heaven, prayed for Moriarty’s perfect recovery, and vowed with the strongest adjurations that if he might be spared for this offence, if he might be saved from the horror of being a murderer, no passion, no provocation should ever, during the whole future course of his life, tempt him to lift his hand against a fellow-creature.

As he rose from his knees, after making this prayer and this vow, he was surprised to see standing beside him Lady Annaly—she had made a sign to the sick man not to interrupt Ormond’s devotion by any exclamation at her entrance.

“Be not disturbed—let me not feel that I embarrass you, Mr. Ormond,” said she: “I came here not to intrude upon your privacy. Be not ashamed, young gentleman,” continued she, “that I should have witnessed feelings that do you honour, and that interest me in your future fate.”

“Interest Lady Annaly in my future fate!—Is it possible!” exclaimed Ormond: “Is it possible that one of whom I stood so much in awe—one whom I thought so much too good, ever to bestow a thought on—such a one as I am—as I was, even before this fatal—” (his voice failed).

“Not fatal, I hope—I trust,” said Lady Annaly: “this poor man’s looks at this moment assure me that he is likely to do well.”

“True for ye, my lady,” said Moriarty, “I’ll do my best, surely: I’d live through all, if possible, for his sake, let alone my mudther’s, or shister’s, or my own—‘twould be too bad, after; all the trouble he got these two nights, to be dying at last, I and hanting him, may be, whether I would or no—for as to prosecuting, that would never be any way, if I died twenty times over. I sint off that word to my mudthier and shister, with my curse if they’d do other—and only that they were at the fair, and did not get the word, or the news of my little accident, they’d have been here long ago; and the minute they come, I’ll swear ‘em not to prosecute, or harbour a thought of revenge again’ him, who had no malice again’ me, no more than a child. And at another’s bidding, more than his own, he drew the trigger, and the pistol went off unknownst, in a passion: so there’s the case for you, my lady.”

Lady Annaly, who was pleased with the poor fellow’s simplicity and generosity in this tragi-comic statement of the case, inquired if she could in any way afford him assistance.

“I thank your ladyship, but Mr. Harry lets me want for nothing.”

“Nor ever will, while I have a farthing I can call my own,” cried Ormond.

“But I hope, Mr. Ormond,” said Lady Annaly, smiling, “that when Moriarty—is not that his name?—regains his strength, to which he seems well inclined, you do not mean to make him miserable and good for nothing, by supporting him in idleness?”

“No, he sha’n’t, my lady—I would not let him be wasting his little substance on me. And did ye hear, my lady, how he is going to lave Castle Hermitage? Well, of all the surprises ever I got! It come upon me like a shot—my shot was nothing to it!”

It was necessary to insist upon Moriarty’s submitting to be silent and quiet; for not having the fear of the surgeon before his eyes, and having got over his first awe of the lady, he was becoming too full of oratory and action. Lady Annaly took Ormond out with her, that she might speak to him of his own affairs.

“You will not, I hope, Mr. Ormond, ascribe it to idle curiosity, but to a wish to be of service, if I inquire what your future plans in life may be?”

Ormond had never formed any, distinctly. “He was not fit for any profession, except, perhaps, the army—he was too old for the navy—he was at present going, he believed, to the house of an old friend, a relation of Sir Ulick, Mr. Cornelius O’Shane.”

“My son, Sir Herbert Annaly, has an estate in this neighbourhood, at which he has never yet resided, but we are going there when we leave Castle Hermitage. I shall hope to see you at Annaly, when you have determined on your plans; perhaps you may show us how we can assist in forwarding them.”

“Is it possible,” repeated Ormond, in unfeigned astonishment, “that your ladyship can be so very good, so condescending, to one who so little deserves it? But I will deserve it in future. If I get over this—interested in my future fate—Lady Annaly!”

“I knew your father many years ago,” said Lady Annaly; “and as his son, I might feel some interest for you; but I will tell you sincerely, that, on some occasions, when we met in Dublin, I perceived traits of goodness in you, which, on your own account, Mr. Ormond, have interested me in your fate. But fate is an unmeaning commonplace—worse than commonplace—word: it is a word that leads us to imagine that we are fated or doomed to certain fortunes or misfortunes in life. I have had a great deal of experience, and from all I have observed, it appears to me, that far the greatest part of our happiness or misery in life depends upon ourselves.”

Ormond stopped short, and listened with the eagerness of one of quick feeling and quick capacity, who seizes an idea that is new to him, and the truth and value of which he at once appreciates. For the first time in his life he heard good sense from the voice of benevolence—he anxiously desired that she should go on speaking, and stood in such an attitude of attentive deference as fully marked that wish.

But at this moment Lady O’Shane’s footman came up with a message from his lady; her ladyship sent to let Lady Annaly know that breakfast was ready. Repeating her good wishes to Ormond she bade him adieu, while he was too much overpowered with his sense of gratitude to return her thanks.

“Since there exists a being, and such a being, interested for me, I must be worth something—and I will make myself worth something more: I will begin from this moment, I am resolved, to improve; and who knows but in the end I may become every thing that is good? I don’t want to be great.”

Though this resolution was not steadily adhered to, though it was for a time counteracted by circumstances, it was never afterwards entirely forgotten. From this period, in consequence of the great and painful impression which had been suddenly made on his mind, and from a few words of sense and kindness spoken to him at a time when his heart was happily prepared to receive them, we may date the commencement of our hero’s reformation and improvement—hero, we say; but certainly never man had more faults than Ormond had to correct, or to be corrected, before he could come up to the received idea of any description of hero. Most heroes are born perfect—so at least their biographers, or rather their panegyrists, would have us believe. Our hero is far from this happy lot; the readers of his story are in no danger of being wearied, at first setting out, with the list of his merits and accomplishments; nor will they be awed or discouraged by the exhibition of virtue above the common standard of humanity—beyond the hope of imitation. On the contrary, most people will comfort and bless themselves with the reflection, that they never were quite so foolish, nor quite so bad, as Harry Ormond.

For the advantage of those who may wish to institute the comparison, his biographer, in writing the life of Ormond, deems it a point of honour to extenuate nothing; but to trace, with an impartial hand, not only every improvement and advance, but every deviation or retrograde movement.

Chapter IV • 2,800 Words

Full of sudden zeal for his own improvement, Ormond sat down at the foot of a tree, determined to make a list of all his faults, and of all his good resolutions for the future. He took out his pencil, and began on the back of a letter the following resolutions, in a sad scrawling hand and incorrect style.

Harry Osmond’s Good Resolutions • 2,800 Words

Resolved 1st.—That I will never drink more than (blank number of) glasses.

Resolved 2ndly.—That I will cure myself of being passionate.

Resolved 3rdly.—That I will never keep low company.

Resolved.—That I am too fond of flattery—women’s, especially, I like most. To cure myself of that.

Ormond. Here he was interrupted by the sight of a little gossoon, with a short stick tucked under his arm, who came pattering on bare-foot in a kind of pace indescribable to those who have never seen it—it was something as like walking or running as chanting is to speaking or singing.

“The answer I am from the Black Islands, Master Harry; and would have been back wid you afore nightfall yesterday, only he—King Corny—was at the fair of Frisky—could not write till this morning any way—but has his service to ye, Master Harry, will be in it for ye by half after two with a bed and blanket for Moriarty, he bid me say on account he forgot to put it in the note. In the Sally Cove the boat will be there abow in the big lough, forenent the spot where the fir dale was cut last seraph by them rogues.”

The despatch from the King of the Black Islands was then produced from the messenger’s bosom, and it ran as follows:

“Dear Harry. What the mischief has come over Cousin Ulick to be banishing you from Castle Hermitage? But since he conformed, he was never the same man, especially since his last mis-marriage. But no use moralizing—he was always too much of a courtier for me. Come you to me, my dear boy, who is no courtier, and you’ll be received and embraced with open arms—was I Briareus, the same way—Bring Moriarty Carroll (if that’s his name), the boy you shot, which has given you so much concern—for which I like you the better—and honour that boy, who, living or dying, forbade to prosecute. Don’t be surprised to see the roof the way it is:—since Tuesday I wedged it up bodily without stirring a stick:—you’ll see it from the boat, standing three foot high above the walls, waiting while I’m building up to it—to get attics—which I shall for next to nothing—by my own contrivance. Meantime, good dry lodging, as usual, for all friends at the palace. He shall be well tended for you by Sheelah Dunshaughlin, the mother of Betty, worth a hundred of her! and we’ll soon set him up again with the help of such a nurse, as well as ever, I’ll engage; for I’m a bit of a doctor, you know, as well as every thing else. But don’t let any other doctor, surgeon, or apothecary, be coming after him for your life—for none ever gets a permit to land, to my knowledge, on the Black Islands—to which I attribute, under Providence, to say nothing of my own skill in practice, the wonderful preservation of my people in health—that, and woodsorrell, and another secret or two not to be committed to paper in a hurry—all which I would not have written to you, but am in the gout since four this morning, held by the foot fast—else I’d not be writing, but would have gone every inch of the way for you myself in style, in lieu of sending, which is all I can now do, my six-oared boat, streamers flying, and piper playing like mad—for I would not have you be coming like a banished man, but in all glory, to Cornelius O’Shane, commonly called King Corny—but no king to you, only your hearty old friend.”

“Heaven bless Cornelius O’Shane!” said Harry Ormond to himself, as he finished this letter. “King or no king, the most warm-hearted man on earth, let the other be who he will.”

Then pressing this letter to his heart, he put it up carefully, and rising in haste, he dropped the list of his faults. That train of associations was completely broken, and for the present completely forgotten; nor was it likely to be soon renewed at the Black Islands, especially in the palace, where he was now going to take up his residence. Moriarty was laid on a bed; and was transported, with Ormond, in the six-oared boat, streamers flying, and piper playing, across the lake to the islands. Moriarty’s head ached terribly, but he nevertheless enjoyed the playing of the pipes in his ear, because of the air of triumph it gave Master Harry, to go away in this grandeur, in the face of the country. King Corny ordered the discharge of twelve guns on his landing, which popped one after another gloriously—the hospitable echoes, as Moriarty called them, repeating the sound. A horse, decked with ribands, waited on the shore, with King Corny’s compliments for Prince Harry, as the boy, who held the stirrup for Ormond to mount, said he was instructed to call him, and to proclaim him “Prince Harry” throughout the island, which he did by sound of horn, the whole way they proceeded to the palace—very much to the annoyance of the horse, but all for the greater glory of the prince, who managed his steed to the admiration of the shouting ragged multitude, and of his majesty, who sat in state in his gouty chair at the palace door. He had had himself rolled out to welcome the coming guest.

“By all that’s princely,” cried he, “then, that young Harry Ormond was intended for a prince, he sits ahorse so like myself; and that horse requires a master hand to manage him.”

Ormond alighted.

The gracious, cordial, fatherly welcome, with which he was received, delighted his heart.

“Welcome, prince, my adopted son, welcome to Corny castle—palace, I would have said, only for the constituted authorities of the post-office, that might take exceptions, and not be sending me my letters right. As I am neither bishop nor arch, I have, in their blind eyes or conceptions, no right—Lord help them!—to a temporal palace. Be that as it may, come you in with me, here into the big room—and see! there’s the bed in the corner for your first object, my boy—your wounded chap; and I’ll visit his wound, and fix it and him the first thing for ye, the minute he comes up.”

His majesty pointed to a bed in the corner of a large apartment, whose beautiful painted ceiling and cornice, and fine chimney-piece with caryatides of white marble, ill accorded with the heaps of oats and corn, the thrashing cloth and flail, which lay on the floor.

“It is intended for a drawing-room, understand,” said King Corny; “but till it is finished, I use it for a granary or a barn, when it would not be a barrack-room or hospital, which last is most useful at present.”

To this hospital Moriarty was carefully conveyed. Here, notwithstanding his gout, which affected only his feet, King Corny dressed Moriarty’s wound with exquisite tenderness and skill; for he had actually acquired knowledge and address in many arts, with which none could have suspected him to have been in the least acquainted.

Dinner was soon announced, which was served up with such a strange mixture of profusion and carelessness, as showed that the attendants, who were numerous and ill-caparisoned, were not much used to gala-days. The crowd, who had accompanied Moriarty into the house, were admitted into the dining-room, where they stood round the king, prince, and Father Jos the priest, as the courtiers, during the king’s supper at Versailles, surrounded the King of France. But these poor people were treated with more hospitality than were the courtiers of the French king; for as soon as the dishes were removed, their contents were generously distributed among the attendant multitude. The people blest both king and prince, “wishing them health and happiness long to reign over them;” and bowing suitably to his majesty the king, and to his reverence the priest, without standing upon the order of their going, departed.

“And now, Father Jos,” said the king to the priest, “say grace, and draw close, and let me see you do justice to my claret, or the whiskey punch if you prefer; and you, Prince Harry, we will set to it regally as long as you please.”

“Till tea-time,” thought young Harry. “Till supper-time,” thought Father Jos. “Till bed-time,” thought King Corny.

At tea-time young Harry, in pursuance of his resolution the first, rose, but he was seized instantly, and held down to his chair. The royal command was laid upon him “to sit still and be a good fellow.” Moreover the door was locked—so that there was no escape or retreat.

The next morning when he wakened with an aching head, he recollected with disgust the figure of Father Jos, and all the noisy mirth of the preceding night. Not without some self-contempt, he asked himself what had become of his resolution.

“The wounded boy was axing for you, Master Harry,” said the girl, who came in to open the shutters.

“How is he?” cried Harry, starting up.

“He is but soberly;[11]But soberly—not very well, or in good spirits. he got the night but middling; he concaits he could not sleep becaase he did not get a sight of your honour afore he’d settle—I tell him ‘tis the change of beds, which always hinders a body to sleep the first night.”

The sense of having totally forgotten the poor fellow—the contrast between this forgetfulness and the anxiety and contrition of the two preceding nights, actually surprised Ormond: he could hardly believe that he was one and the same person. Then came excuses to himself: “Gratitude—common civility—the peremptoriness of King Corny—his passionate temper, when opposed on this tender point—the locked door—and two to one: in short, there was an impossibility in the circumstances of doing otherwise than what he had done. But then the same impossibility—the same circumstances—might recur the next night, and the next, and so on: the peremptory temper of King Corny was not likely to alter, and the moral obligation of gratitude would continue the same; so that at nineteen was he to become, from complaisance, what his soul and body abhorred—an habitual drunkard? And what would become of Lady Annaly’s interest in his fate or his improvement?”

The two questions were not of equal importance, but our hero was at this time far from having any just proportion in his reasoning: it was well he reasoned at all. The argument as to the obligation of gratitude—the view he had taken of the never-ending nature of the evil, which must be the consequence of beginning with weak complaisance—above all, the feeling that he had so lost his reason as not only to forget Moriarty, but to have been again incapable of commanding his passions, if any thing had occurred to cross his temper, determined Ormond to make a firm resistance on the next occasion that should occur: it did occur the very next night. After a dinner given to his chief tenants and the genteel people of the islands—a dinner in honour and in introduction of his adopted son, King Corny gave a toast “to the Prince presumptive,” as he now styled him—a bumper toast. Soon afterwards he detected daylight in Harry’s glass, and cursing it properly, he insisted on flowing bowls and full glasses. “What! are you Prince presumptuous?” cried he, with a half angry and astonished look. “Would you resist and contradict your father and king at his own table after dinner? Down with the glass!”

Farther and steady resistance changed the jesting tone and half angry look of King Corny into sullen silence, and a black portentous brow of serious displeasure. After a decent time of sitting, the bottle passing him without farther importunity, Ormond rose—it was a hard struggle; for in the face of his benefactor he saw reproach and rage bursting from every feature: still he moved on towards the door. He heard the words “sneaking off sober!—let him sneak!”

Ormond had his hand on the lock of the door—it was a bad lock, and opened with difficulty.

“There’s gratitude for you! No heart, after all—I mistook him.”

Ormond turned back, and firmly standing and firmly speaking, he said, “You did not mistake me formerly, sir; but you mistake me now!—Sneaking!—Is there any man here, sober or drunk,” continued be, impetuously approaching the table, and looking round full in every face,—“is there any man here dares to say so but yourself?—You, you, my benefactor, my friend; you have said it—think it you did not—you could not, but say it you may—You may say what you will to Harry Ormond, bound to you as he is—bound hand and foot and heart I—Trample on him as you will—you may. No heart! Oblige me, gentlemen, some of you,” cried he, his anger rising and his eyes kindling as he spoke, “some of you gentlemen, if any of you think so, oblige me by saying so. No gratitude, sir!” turning from them, and addressing himself to the old man, who held an untasted glass of claret as he listened—“No gratitude! Have not I?—Try me, try me to the death—you have tried me to the quick of the heart, and I have borne it.”

He could bear it no longer: he threw himself into the vacant chair, flung out his arms on the table, and laying his face down upon them, wept aloud. Cornelius O’Shane pushed the wine away. “I’ve wronged the boy grievously,” said he; and forgetting the gout, he rose from his chair, hobbled to him, and leaning over him, “Harry, ‘tis I—look up, my own boy, and say you forgive me, or I’ll never forgive myself. That’s well,” continued he, as Harry looked up and gave him his hand; “that’s well!—you’ve taken the twinge out of my heart worse than the gout: not a drop of gall or malice in your nature, nor ever was, more than in the child unborn. But see, I’ll tell you what you’ll do now, Harry, to settle all things—and lest the fit should take me ever to be mad with you on this score again. You don’t choose to drink more than’s becoming?—Well, you’se right, and I’m wrong. ‘Twould be a burning shame of me to make of you what I have made of myself. We must do only as well as we can. But I will ensure you against the future; and before we take another glass—there’s the priest—and you, Tom Ferrally there, step you for my swearing book. Harry Ormond, you shall take an oath against drinking more glasses than you please evermore, and then you’re safe from me. But stay—you are a heretic. Phoo! what am I saying? ‘twas seeing the priest put that word heretic in my head—you’re not a catholic, I mean. But an oath’s an oath, taken before priest or parson—an oath, taken how you will, will operate. But stay, to make all easy, ‘tis I’ll take it.”

“Against drinking, you! King Corny!” said Father Jos, stopping his hand, “and in case of the gout in your stomach?”

“Against drinking! do you think I’d perjure myself? No! But against pressing him to it—I’ll take my oath I’ll never ask him to drink another glass more than he likes.”

The oath was taken, and King Corny concluded the ceremony by observing that, after all, there was no character he despised more than that of a sot. But every gentleman knew that there was a wide and material difference betwixt a gentleman who was fond of his bottle, and that unfortunate being, an habitual drunkard. For his own part, it was his established rule never to go to bed without a proper quantity of liquor under his belt; but he defied the universe to say he was ever known to be drunk.

At a court where such ingenious casuistry prevailed, it was happy for our hero that an unqualifying oath now protected his resolution.

Footnotes

[11] But soberly—not very well, or in good spirits.

Chapter V • 2,300 Words

In the middle of the night our hero was wakened by a loud bellowing. It was only King Corny in a paroxysm of the gout. His majesty was naturally of a very impatient temper, and his maxims of philosophy encouraged him to the most unrestrained expression of his feelings—the maxims of his philosophy—for he had read, though in most desultory manner, and he had thought often deeply, and not seldom justly. The turns of his mind, and the questions he asked, were sometimes utterly unexpected. “Pray, now,” said he to Harry, who stood beside his bed, “now that I’ve a moment’s ease—did you ever hear of the Stoics that the bookmen talk of? and can you tell me what good any one of them ever got by making it a point to make no noise, when they’d be punished and racked with pains of body or mind? Why, I will tell you all they got—all they got was no pity: who would give them pity that did not require it? I could bleed to death in a bath, as well as the best of them, if I chose it; or chew a bullet if I set my teeth to it, with any man in a regiment—but where’s the use? nature knows best, and she says roar!” And he roared—for another twinge seized him.

Nature said sleep! several times this night to Harry, and to every body in the palace; but they did not sleep, they could not, while the roaring continued: so all had reason to rejoice, and Moriarty in particular, when his majesty’s paroxysm was past. Harry was in a sound sleep at twelve o’clock the next day, when he was summoned into the royal presence. He found King Corny sitting at ease in his bed, and that bed strewed over with a variety of roots and leaves, weeds and plants. An old woman was hovering over the fire, stirring something in a black kettle. “Simples these—of wonderful unknown power,” said King Corny to Harry, as he approached the bed; “and I’ll engage you don’t know the name even of the half of them.”

Harry confessed his ignorance.

“No shame for you—was you as wise as King Solomon himself, you might not know them, for he did not, nor couldn’t, he that had never set his foot a grousing on an Irish bog. Sheelah, come you over, and say what’s this?”

The old woman now came to assist at this bed of botany, and with spectacles slipping off, and pushed on her nose continually, peered over each green thing, and named in Irish “every herb that sips the dew.”

Sheelah was deeper in Irish lore than King Corny could pretend to be: but then he humbled her with the “black hellebore of the ancients,” and he had, in an unaccountable manner, affected her imagination by talking of “that famous howl of narcotic poisons, which that great man Socrates drank off.” Sheelah would interrupt herself in the middle of a sentence, and curtsy if she heard him pronounce the name of Socrates—and at the mention of the bowl, she would regularly sigh, and exclaim, “Lord save us!—But that was a wicked bowl.”

Then after a cast of her eyes up to heaven, and crossing herself on the forehead, she would take up her discourse at the word where she had left off.

King Corny set to work compounding plasters and embrocations, preparing all sorts of decoctions of roots and leaves, famous through the country. And while he directed and gesticulated from his bed, the old woman worked over the fire in obedience to his commands; sometimes, however, not with that “prompt and mute obedience,” which the great require.

It was fortunate for Moriarty that King Corny, not having the use of his nether limbs, could not attend even in his gouty chair to administer the medicines he had made, and to see them fairly swallowed. Sheelah, whose conscience was easy on this point, contented herself with giving him a strict charge to “take every bottle to the last drop.” All she insisted upon for her own part was, that she must tie the charm round his neck and arm. She would fain have removed the dressings of the wound to substitute plasters of her own, over which she had pronounced certain prayers or incantations; but Moriarty, who had seized and held fast one good principle of surgery, that the air must never be let into the wound, held mainly to this maxim, and all Sheelah could obtain was permission to clap on her charmed plaster over the dressing.

In due time, or, as King Corny triumphantly observed, in “a wonderful short period,” Moriarty got quite well, long before the king’s gout was cured, even with the assistance of the black hellebore of the ancients. King Corny was so well pleased with his patient for doing such credit to his medical skill, that he gave him and his family a cabin, and spot of land, in the islands—a cabin near the palace; and at Harry’s request made him his wood-ranger and his gamekeeper—the one a lucrative place, the other a sinecure.

Master Harry—Prince Harry—was now looked up to as a person all-powerful with the master; and petitions and requests to speak for them, to speak just one word, came pouring from all sides: but however enviable his situation as favourite and prince presumptive might appear to others, it was not in all respects comfortable to himself.

Formerly, when a boy, in his visits to the Black Islands, he used to have a little companion of whom he was fond—Dora—Corny’s daughter. Missing her much, he inquired from her father where she was gone, and when she was likely to return.

“She is gone off to the continent—to the continent of Ireland, that is; but not banished for any misdemeanour. You know,” said King Corny, “‘tis generally considered as a punishment in the Black Islands to be banished to Ireland. A threat of that kind, I find sufficient to bring the most refractory and ill-disposed of my subjects, if I had any of that description, to rason in the last resort; but to that ultimate law I have not recourse, except in extreme cases; I understand my business of king too well, to wear out either shame or fear; but you are no legislator yet, Prince Harry. So what was you asking me about Dora? She is only gone a trip to the continent, to her aunt’s, by the mother’s side, Miss O’Faley, that you never saw, to get the advantage of a dancing-master, which myself don’t think she wants—a natural carriage, with native graces, being, in my unsophisticated opinion, worth all the dancing-master’s positions, contortions, or drillings; but her aunt’s of a contrary opinion, and the women say it is essential. So let ‘em put Dora in the stocks, and punish her as they will, she’ll be the gladder to get free, and fly back from their continent to her own Black Islands, and to you and me—that is, to me—I ax your pardon, Harry Ormond; for you know, or I should tell you in time, she is engaged already to White Connal, of Glynn—from her birth. That engagement I made with the father over a bowl of punch—I promised—I’m afraid it was a foolish business—I promised if ever he, Old Connal, should have a son, and I should have a daughter, his son should marry my daughter. I promised, I say—I took my oath: and then Mrs. Connal that was, had, shortly after, not one son, but two—and twins they were: and I had—unluckily—ten years after, the daughter, which is Dora—and then as she could not marry both, the one twin was to be fixed on for her, and that was him they call White Connal—so there it was. Well, it was altogether a rash act! So you’ll consider her as a married woman, though she is but a child—it was a rash act, between you and I—for Connal’s not grown up a likely lad for the girl to fancy; but that’s neither here nor there: no, my word is passed—when half drunk, may be—but no matter—it must be kept sober—drunk or sober, a gentleman must keep his word—à fortiori a king—à fortiori King Corny. See! was there this minute no such thing as parchment, deed, stamp, signature, or seal in the wide world, when once Corny has squeezed a friend’s hand on a bargain, or a promise, ‘tis fast, was it ever so much against me—‘tis as strong to me as if I had squeezed all the lawyers’ wax in the creation upon it.”

Ormond admired the honourable sentiment; but was sorry there was any occasion for it—and he sighed; but it was a sigh of pity for Dora: not that he had ever seen White Connal, or known any thing of him—but White Connal did not sound well; and her father’s avowal, that it had been a rash engagement, did not seem to promise happiness to Dora in this marriage.

From the time he had been a boy, Harry Ormond had been in the habit of ferrying over to the Black Islands whenever Sir Ulick could spare him. The hunting and shooting, and the life of lawless freedom he led on the Islands, had been delightful. King Corny, who had the command not only of boats, and of guns, and of fishing-tackle, and of men, but of carpenters’ tools, and of smiths’ tools, and of a lathe, and of brass and ivory, and of all the things that the heart of boy could desire, had appeared to Harry, when he was a boy, the richest, the greatest, the happiest of men—the cleverest, too—the most ingenious: for King Corny had with his own hands made a violin and a rat-trap; and had made the best coat, and the best pair of shoes, and the best pair of boots, and the best hat; and had knit the best pair of stockings, and had made the best dunghill in his dominions; and had made a quarter of a yard of fine lace, and had painted a panorama. No wonder that King Corny had been looked up to, by the imagination of childhood, as “a personage high as human veneration could look.”

But now, although our hero was still but a boy in many respects, yet in consequence of his slight commerce with the world, he had formed some comparisons, and made some reflections. He had heard, accidentally, the conversation of a few people of common sense, besides the sly, witty, and satirical remarks of Sir Ulick, upon cousin Cornelius; and it had occurred to Harry to question the utility and real grandeur of some of those things, which had struck his childish imagination. For example, he began to doubt whether it were worthy of a king or a gentleman to be his own shoemaker, hatter, and tailor; whether it were not better managed in society, where these things are performed by different tradesmen: still the things were wonderful, considering who made them, and under what disadvantages they were made: but Harry having now seen and compared Corny’s violin with other violins, and having discovered that so much better could be had for money, with so much less trouble, his admiration had a little decreased. There were other points relative to external appearance, on which his eyes had been opened. In his boyish days, King Corny, going out to hunt with hounds and horn, followed with shouts by all who could ride, and all who could run, King Corny hallooing the dogs, and cheering the crowd, appeared to him the greatest, the happiest of mankind.

But he had since seen hunts in a very different style, and he could no longer admire the rabble rout.

Human creatures, especially young human creatures, are apt to swing suddenly from one extreme to the other, and utterly to despise that which they had extravagantly admired. From this propensity Ormond was in the present instance guarded by affection and gratitude. Through all the folly of his kingship, he saw that Cornelius O’Shane was not a person to be despised. He was indeed a man of great natural powers, both of body and mind—of inventive genius, energy, and perseverance, which might have attained the greatest objects; though from insufficient knowledge, and self-sufficient perversity, they had wasted themselves on absurd or trivial purposes.

There was a strong contrast between the characters of Sir Ulick and his cousin Cornelius O’Shane. They disliked and despised each other: differing as far in natural disposition as the subtle and the bold, their whole course through life, and the habits contracted during their progress, had widened the original difference.

The one living in the world, and mixing continually with men of all ranks and character, had, by bending easily, and being all things to all men, won his courtier-way onwards and upwards to the possession of a seat in parliament, and the prospect of a peerage.

The other, inhabiting a remote island, secluded from all men but those over whom he reigned, caring for no earthly consideration, and for no human opinion but his own, had for himself and by himself, hewed out his way to his own objects, and then rested, satisfied—

“Lord of himself, and all his (little) world his own.”

Chapter VI • 4,000 Words

One morning, when Harry Ormond was out shooting, and King Corny, who had recovered tolerably from the gout, was reinstated in his arm-chair in the parlour, listening to Father Jos reading “The Dublin Evening Post,” a gossoon, one of the runners of the castle, opened the door, and putting in his curly red head and bare feet, announced, in all haste, that he “just seen Sir Ulick O’Shane in the boat, crossing the lake for the Black Islands.”

“Well, breathless blockhead! and what of that?” said King Corny—“did you never see a man in a boat before?”

“I did, plase your honour.”

“Then what is there extraordinary?”

“Nothing at all, plase your honour, only—thought your honour might like to know.”

“Then you thought wrong, for I neither like it, nor mislike it. I don’t care a rush about the matter—so take yourself down stairs.”

“‘Tis a long time,” said the priest, as the gossoon closed the door after him, “‘tis a longer time than he ought, since Sir Ulick O’Shane paid his respects here, even in the shape of a morning visit.”

“Morning visit!” repeated Mrs. Betty Dunshaughlin, the housekeeper, who entered the room, for she was a privileged person, and had les grandes et les petites entrées in this palace”—Morning visit!—are you sure, Father Jos—are you clear he isn’t come intending to stay dinner?”

“What, in the devil’s name, Betty, does it signify?” said the king.

“About the dinner!”

“What about it?” said Corny, proudly: “whether he comes, stays, or goes, I’ll not have a scrap, or an iota of it changed,” added he in a despotic tone.

Wheugh.’” said Betty, “one would not like to have a dinner of scraps—for there’s nothing else to-day for him.”

“Then if there is nothing else, there can be nothing else,” said the priest, very philosophically.

“But when strangers come to dine, one would make a bit of an exertion, if one could,” said Betty.

“It’s his own fault to be a stranger,” said Father Jos, watching his majesty’s clouding countenance; then whispering to Betty, “that was a faulty string you touched upon, Mrs. Betty; and can’t you make out your dinner without saying any thing?”

“A person may speak in this house, I suppose, besides the clergy, Father Jos,” said Mrs. Betty, under her breath.

Then looking out of the window, she added, “He’s half-way over the lake, and he’ll make his own apologies good, I’ll engage, when he comes in; for he knows how to speak for himself as well as any gentleman—and I don’t doubt but he’ll get my Micky made an exciseman, as he promised to; and sure he has a good right—Isn’t he a cousin of King Corny’s? wherefore I’d wish to have all things proper. So I’ll step out and kill a couple of chickens—won’t I?”

“Kill what you please,” said King Corny; “but without my warrant, nothing killed or unkilled shall come up to my table this day—and that’s enough. No more reasoning—quit the subject and the room, Betty.”

Betty quitted the room; but every stair, as she descended to the kitchen, could bear witness that she did not quit the subject; and for an hour afterwards, she reasoned against the obstinacy and folly of man, and the chorus in the kitchen moralized, in conformity and commiseration—in vain.

Meantime Father Jos, though he regretted the exertions which Mrs. Betty might discreetly have made in favour of a good dinner, was by no means, as he declared, a friend or fauterer of Sir Ulick O’Shane—how could he, when Sir Ulick had recanted?—The priest looked with horror upon the apostasy—the King with contempt upon the desertion of his party. “Was he sincere any way, I’d honour him,” said Cornelius, “or forgive him; but, not to be ripping up old grievances when there’s no occasion, can’t forgive the way he is at this present double-dealing with poor Harry Ormond—cajoling the grateful heart, and shirking the orphan boy that he took upon him to patronise. Why there I thought nobly of him, and forgave him all his sins, for the generous protection he afforded the son of his friend.”

“Had Captain Ormond, the father, no fortune?” asked the priest.

“Only a trifle of three hundred a year, and no provision for the education or maintenance of the boy. Ulick’s fondness for him, more than all, showed him capable of the disinterested touch; but then to belie his own heart—to abandon him he bred a favourite, just when the boy wants him most—Oh! how could he? And all for what? To please the wife he hates: that can’t be—that’s only the ostensible—but what the raal rason is I can’t guess. No matter—he’ll soon tell us.”

“Tell us! Oh! no,” said the priest, “he’ll keep his own secret.”

“He’ll let it out, I’ll engage, trying to hide it,” said Corny: “like all cunning people, he woodcocks—hides his head, and forgets his body can be seen. But hark! he is coming up. Tommy!” said he, turning to a little boy of five years old, Sheelah’s grandchild, who was playing about in the room, “hand, me that whistle you’re whistling with, till I see what’s the matter with it for you.”

King Corny seemed lost in examination of the whistle when Sir Ulick entered the room; and after receiving and seating him with proud courtesy, he again returned to the charge, blowing through the whistle, earnestly dividing his observation between Sir Ulick and little Tommy, and asking questions, by turns, about the whistle, and about all at Castle Hermitage.

“Where’s my boy? Where’s Harry Ormond?” was the first leading question Sir Ulick asked.

“Harry Ormond’s out shooting, I believe, somewhere or somehow, taking his pleasure, as I hope he will long, and always as long as he likes it, at the Black Islands; at least as long as I live.”

Sir Ulick branched off into hopes of his cousin Cornelius’s living long, very long; and in general terms, that were intended to avoid committing himself, or pinning himself to any thing, he protested that he must not be robbed of his boy, that he had always, with good reason, been jealous of Harry’s affection for King Corny, and that he could not consent to let his term of stay at the Black Islands be either as long as Harry himself should like, or during what he hoped would be the life of his cousin, Cornelius O’Shane.

“There’s something wrong, still, in this whistle. Why, if you loved him so, did you let him go when you had him?” said Corny.

“He thought it necessary, for domestic reasons,” replied Sir Ulick.

Continental policy, that is; what I never understood, nor never shall,” said Corny. “But I don’t inquire any farther. If you are satisfied with yourself, we are all satisfied, I believe.”

“Pardon me, I cannot be satisfied without seeing Harry this morning, for I’ve a little business with him—will you have the goodness to send for him?”

Father Jos, who, from the window, saw Harry’s dog snuffing along the path to the wood, thought he could not be far from the house, and went to make inquiries; and now when Sir Ulick and King Corny were left alone together, a dialogue—a sort of single combat, without any object but to try each other’s powers and temper—ensued between them; in which the one on the offensive came on with a tomahawk, and the other stood on the defensive parrying with a polished blade of Damascus; and sometimes, when the adversary was off his guard, making a sly cut at an exposed part.

“What are you so busy about?” said Sir Ulick.

“Mending the child’s toy,” said Cornelius. “A man must be doing something in this world.”

“But a man of your ingenuity! ‘tis a pity it should be wasted, as I have often said, upon mere toys.”

“Toys of one sort or other we are all taken up with through life, from the cradle to the grave. By-the-bye, I give you joy of your baronetage. I hope they did not make you pay, now, too much in conscience for that poor tag of nobility.”

“These things are not always matters of bargain and sale—mine was quite an unsolicited honour, a mark of approbation and acceptance of my poor services, and as such, gratifying;—as to the rest, believe me, it was not, if I must use so coarse an expression, paidfor.”

“Not paid for—what, then, it’s owing for? To be paid for still? Well, that’s too hard, after all you’ve done for them. But some men have no manner of conscience. At least, I hope you paid the fees.”

“The fees, of course—but we shall never understand one another,” said Sir Ulick.

“Now what will be the next title or string you look forward to, Ulysses, may I ask? Is it to be Baron Castle Hermitage, or to get a riband, or a garter, or a thistle, or what?—A thistle! What asses some men are!”

What savages some men are, thought Sir Ulick: he walked to the window, and looking out, hoped that Harry Ormond would soon make his appearance. “You are doing, or undoing, a great deal here, cousin Cornelius, I see, as usual.”

“Yes, but what I am doing, stand or fall, will never be my undoing—I am no speculator. How do your silver mines go on, Sir Ulick? I hear all the silver mines in Ireland turn out to be lead.”

“I wish they did,” said Sir Ulick, “for then we could turn all our lead to gold. Those silver mines certainly did not pay—I’ve a notion you found the same with your reclaimed bog here, cousin Cornelius—I understand that after a short time it relapses, and is worse than ever, like most things pretending to be reclaimed.”

“Speak for yourself, there, Sir Ulick,” said Cornelius; “you ought to know, certainly, for some thirty years ago, I think you pretended to be a reclaimed rake.”

“I don’t remember it,” said Sir Ulick.

“I do, and so would poor Emmy Annaly, if she was alive, which it’s fortunate for her she is not (broken-hearted angel, if ever there was one, by wedlock! and the only one of the Annalys I ever liked),” said Cornelius to himself, in a low leisurely voice of soliloquy. Then resuming his conversation tone, and continuing his speech to Sir Ulick, “I say you pretended thirty years ago, I remember, to be a reformed rake, and looked mighty smooth and plausible—and promised fair that the improvement was solid, and was to last for ever and a day. But six months after marriage comes a relapse, and the reclaimed rake’s worse than ever. Well, to be sure, that’s in favour of your opinion against all things pretending to be reclaimed. But see, my poor bog, without promising so well, performs better; for it’s six years, instead of six months, that I’ve seen no tendency to relapse. See, the cattle upon it speak for themselves; an honest calf won’t lie for any man.”

“I give you joy of the success of your improvements. I admire, too, your ploughing team and ploughing tackle,” said Sir Ulick, with an ironical smile. “You don’t go into any indiscreet expense for farming implements or prize cattle.”

“No,” said Cornelius, “I don’t prize the prize cattle; the best prize a man can get, and the only one worth having, is that which he must give himself, or not get, and of which he is the best judge at all sasons.”

“What prize, may I ask?”

“You may ask, and I’ll answer—the prize of success; and, success to myself, I have, it.”

“And succeeding in all your ends by such noble means must be doubly gratifying—and is doubly commendable and surprising,” said Sir Ulick.

“May I ask—for it’s my turn now to play ignoramus—may I ask, what noble means excites this gratuitous commendation and surprise?”

“I commend, in the first place, the economy of your ploughing tackle—hay ropes, hay traces, and hay halters—doubly useful and convenient for harness and food.”

Corny replied, “Some people I know, think the most expensive harness and tackle, and the most expensive ways of doing every thing, the best; but I don’t know if that is the way for the poor to grow rich—it may be the way for the rich to grow poor: we are all poor people in the Black Islands, and I can’t afford, or think it good policy, to give the example of extravagant new ways of doing old things.”

“‘Tis a pity you don’t continue the old Irish style of ploughing by the tail,” said Sir Ulick.

“That is against humanity to brute bastes, which, without any sickening palaver of sentiment, I practise. Also, it’s against an act of parliament, which I regard sometimes—that is, when I understand them; which, the way you parliament gentlemen draw them up, is not always particularly intelligible to plain common sense; and I have no lawyers here, thank Heaven! to consult: I am forced to be legislator, and lawyer, and ploughman, and all, you see, the best I can for myself.”

He opened the window, and called to give some orders to the man, or, as he called him, the boy—a boy of sixty—who was ploughing.

“Your team, I see, is worthy of your tackle,” pursued Sir Ulick—“A mule, a bull, and two lean horses. I pity the foremost poor devil of a horse, who must starve in the midst of plenty, while the horse, bull, and even mule, in a string behind him, are all plucking and munging away at their hay ropes.”

Cornelius joined in Sir Ulick’s laugh, which shortened its duration.

“‘Tis comical ploughing, I grant,” said he, “but still, to my fancy, any thing’s better and more profitable nor the tragi-comic ploughing you practise every sason in Dublin.”

“I?” said Sir Ulick.

“Ay, you and all your courtiers, ploughing the half acre[12]Ploughing the half acre. The English reader will please to inquire the meaning of this phrase from any Irish courtier. continually, pacing up and down that Castle-yard, while you’re waiting in attendance there. Every one to his taste, but—

‘If there’s a man on earth I hate,
Attendance and dependence be his fate.’”

“After all, I have very good prospects in life,” said Sir Ulick.

“Ay, you’ve been always living on prospects; for my part, I’d rather have a mole-hill in possession than a mountain in prospect.”

“Cornelius, what are you doing here to the roof of your house?” said Sir Ulick, striking off to another subject. “What a vast deal of work you do contrive to cut out for yourself.”

“I’d rather cut it out for myself than have any body to cut it out for me,” said Cornelius.

“Upon my word, this will require all your extraordinary ingenuity, cousin.”

“Oh, I’ll engage I’ll make a good job of it, in my sense of the word, though not in yours; for I know, in your vocabulary, that’s only a good job where you pocket money and do nothing; now my good jobs never bring me in a farthing, and give me a great deal to do into the bargain.”

“I don’t envy you such jobs, indeed,” said Sir Ulick; “and are you sure that at last you make them good jobs in any acceptation of the term?”

“Sure! a man’s never sure of any thing in this world, but of being abused. But one comfort, my own conscience, for which I’ve a trifling respect, can’t reproach me; since my jobs, good or bad, have cost my poor country nothing.”

On this point Sir Ulick was particularly sore, for he had the character of being one of the greatest jobbers in Ireland. With a face of much political prudery, which he well knew how to assume, he began to exculpate himself. He confessed that much public money had passed through his hands; but he protested that none of it had stayed with him. No man, who had done so much for different administrations, had been so ill paid.

“Why the deuce do you work for them, then? You won’t tell me it’s for love—Have you got any character by it?—if you haven’t profit, what have you? I would not let them make me a dupe, or may be something worse, if I was you,” said Cornelius, looking him full in the face.

“Savage!” said Sir Ulick again to himself. The tomahawk was too much for him—Sir Ulick felt that it was fearful odds to stand fencing according to rule with one who would not scruple to gouge or scalp, if provoked. Sir Ulick now stood silent, smiling forced smiles, and looking on while Cornelius played quite at his ease with little Tommy, blew shrill blasts through the whistle, and boasted that he had made a good job of that whistle any way.

Harry Ormond, to Sir Ulick’s great relief, now appeared. Sir Ulick advanced to meet him with an air of cordial friendship, which brought the honest flush of pleasure and gratitude into the young man’s face, who darted a quick look at Cornelius, as much as to say, “You see you were wrong—he is glad to see me—he is come to see me.”

Cornelius said nothing, but stroked the child’s head, and seemed taken up entirely with him; Sir Ulick spoke of Lady O’Shane, and of his hopes that prepossessions were wearing off. “If Miss Black were out of the way, things would all go right; but she is one of the mighty good—too good ladies, who are always meddling with other people’s business, and making mischief.”

Harry, who hated her, that is, as much as he could hate any body, railed at her vehemently, saying more against her than he thought, and concluded by joining in Sir Ulick’s wish for her departure from Castle Hermitage, but not with any view to his own return thither: on that point he was quite resolute and steady. He would never, he said, be the cause of mischief. Lady O’Shane did not like him—why, he did not know, and had no right to inquire—and was too proud to inquire, if he had a right. It was enough that her ladyship had proved to him her dislike, and refused him protection at his utmost need: he should never again sue for her hospitality. He declared that Sir Ulick should no more be disquieted by his being an inmate at Castle Hermitage.

Sir Ulick became more warm and eloquent in dissuading him from this resolution, the more he perceived that Ormond was positively fixed in his determination.

The cool looker-on all the time remarked this, and Cornelius was convinced that he had from the first been right in his own opinion, that Sir Ulick was “shirking the boy.”

“And where’s Marcus, sir? would not he come with you to see us?” said Ormond.

“Marcus is gone off to England. He bid me give you his kindest love: he was hurried, and regretted he could not come to take leave of you; but he was obliged to go off with the Annalys, to escort her ladyship to England, where he will remain this year, I dare say. I am much concerned to say, that poor Lady Annaly and Miss Annaly—” Sir Ulick cleared his throat, and gave a suspicious look at Ormond.

This glance at Harry, the moment Sir Ulick pronounced the words Miss Annaly, first directed aright the attention of Cornelius.

“Lady Annaly and Miss Annaly! are they ill? What’s the matter, for Heaven’s sake!” exclaimed Harry with great anxiety; but pronouncing both the ladies’ names precisely in the same tone, and with the same freedom of expression.

Sir Ulick took breath. “Neither of the ladies are ill—absolutely ill; but they have both been greatly shocked by accounts of young Annaly’s sudden illness. It is feared an inflammation upon his lungs, brought on by violent cold—his mother and sister left us this morning—set off for England to him immediately. Lady Annaly thought of you, Harry, my boy—you must be a prodigious favourite—in the midst of all her affliction, and the hurry of this sudden departure, this morning: she gave me a letter for you, which I determined to deliver with my own hands.”

While he spoke, Sir Ulick, affecting to search for the letter among many in his pocket, studied with careless intermitting glances our young hero’s countenance, and Cornelius O’Shane studied Sir Ulick’s: Harry tore open the letter eagerly, and coloured a good deal when he saw the inside.

“I have no business here reading that boy’s secrets in his face,” cried Cornelius O’Shane, raising himself on his crutches—“I’ll step out and look at my roof. Will you come, Sir Ulick, and see how the job goes on?” His crutch slipped as he stepped across the hearth—Harry ran to him: “Oh, sir, what are you doing? You are not able to walk yet without me—why are you going? Secrets did you say?” (The words recurred to his ear.) “I have no secrets—there’s no secrets in this letter—it’s only—the reason I looked foolish was that here’s a list of my own faults, which I made like a fool, and dropped like a fool—but they could not have fallen into better or kinder hands than Lady Annaly’s.”

He offered the letter and its enclosure to Cornelius and Sir Ulick. Cornelius drew back. “I don’t want to see the list of your faults, man,” said he: “do you think I haven’t them all by heart already? and as to the lady’s letter, while you live never show a lady’s letter.”

Sir Ulick, without ceremony, took the letter, and in a moment satisfying his curiosity that it was merely a friendly note, returned it and the list of his faults to Harry, saying. “If it had been a young lady’s letter, I am sure you would not have shown it to me, Harry, nor, of course, would I have looked at it. But I presumed that a letter from old Lady Annaly could only be, what I see it is, very edifying.”

“Old Lady Annaly, is it?” cried Cornelius: “oh! then there’s no indiscretion, young man, in the case. You might as well scruple about your mother’s letter, if you had one; or your mother’s-in-law, which, to be sure, you’ll have, I hope, in due course of nature.”

At the sound of the words mother-in-law, a cloud passed over Sir Ulick’s brow, not unnoticed by the shrewd Cornelius; but the cloud passed away quickly, after Sir Ulick had darted another reconnoitring glance on Harry’s open unconscious countenance.

“All’s safe,” said Sir Ulick to himself, as he took leave.

Woodcocked! that he has—as I foresaw he would,” cried King Corny, the moment his guest had departed. “Woodcocked! if ever man did, by all that’s cunning!”

Footnotes

[12] Ploughing the half acre. The English reader will please to inquire the meaning of this phrase from any Irish courtier.

Chapter VII • 4,700 Words

King Corny sat for some minutes after Sir Ulick’s departure perfectly still and silent, leaning both hands and his chin on his crutch. Then, looking up at Harry, he exclaimed, “What a dupe you are! but I like you the better for it.”

“I am glad you like me the better, at all events,” said Harry; “but I don’t think I am a dupe.”

“No—if you did, you would not be one: so you don’t see that it was and is Sir Ulick, and not her ladyship, that wanted and wants to get rid of you?”

No, Harry did not see this, and would not be persuaded of it. He defended his guardian most warmly; he was certain of Sir Ulick’s affection; he was sure Sir Ulick was incapable of acting with such duplicity.

His majesty repeated, at every pause, “You are a dupe; but I like you the better for it. And,” added he, “you don’t—blind buzzard! as your want of conceit makes you, for which I like you the better, too—you don’t see the reason why he banished you from Castle Hermitage—you don’t see that he is jealous of your rivalling that puppy, Marcus, his son.”

“Rivalling Marcus in what, or how?”

With whom? boy, is the question you should ask; and in that case the answer is—Dunce, can’t you guess now?—Miss Annaly.”

“Miss Annaly!” repeated Harry with genuine surprise, and with a quick sense of inferiority and humiliation. “Oh, sir, you would not be so ill-natured as to make a jest of me!—I know how ignorant, how uninformed, what a raw boy I am. Marcus has been educated like a gentleman.”

“More shame for his father that couldn’t do the same by you when he was about it.”

“But Marcus, sir—there ought to be a difference—Marcus is heir to a large fortune—I have nothing. Marcus may hope to marry whoever he pleases.”

“Ay, whoever he pleases; and who will that be, if women are of my mind?” muttered Corny. “I’ll engage, if you had a mind to rival him—”

“Rival him! the thought of rivalling my friend never entered my head.”

“But is he your friend?” said Cornelius.

“As to that, I don’t know: he was my friend, and I loved him sincerely—warmly—he has cast me off—I shall never complain—never blame him directly or indirectly; but don’t let me be accused or suspected unjustly—I never for one instant had the treachery, presumption, folly, or madness, to think of Miss Annaly.”

“Nor she of you, I suppose, you’ll swear?”

“Nor she of me! assuredly not, sir,” said Harry, with surprise at the idea. “Do you consider what I am—and what she is?”

“Well, I am glad they are gone to England out of the way!” said Cornelius.

“I am very sorry for that,” said Harry; “for I have lost a kind friend in Lady Annaly—one who at least I might have hoped would have become my friend, if I had deserved it.”

Might have hoped!—would have become!—That’s a friend in the air, who may never be found on earth. If you deserved it!—Murder!—who knows how that might turn out—if—I don’t like that kind of subjunctive mood tenure of a friend. Give me the good imperative mood, which I understand—be my friend—at once—or not at all—that’s my mood. None of your if friends for me, setting out with a proviso and an excuse to be off; and may be when you’d call upon ‘em at your utmost need, ‘Oh! I said if you deserve it—Lie there like a dog.’ Now, what kind of a friend is that? If Lady Annaly is that sort, no need to regret her. My compliments to her, and a good journey to England—Ireland well rid of her! and so are you, too, my boy!”

“But, dear sir, how you have worked yourself up into a passion against Lady Annaly for nothing.”

“It’s not for nothing—I’ve good rason to dislike the woman. What business had she, because she’s an old woman and you a young man, to set up preaching to you about your faults? I hate prachers, feminine gender, especially.”

“She is no preacher, I assure you, sir.”

“How dare you tell me that—was not her letter very edifying? Sir Ulick said.”

“No, sir; it was very kind—will you read it?”

“No, sir, I won’t; I never read an edifying letter in my life with my eyes open, nor never will—quite enough for me that impertinent list of your faults she enclosed you.”

“That list was my own, not hers, sir: I dropped it under a tree.”

“Well, drop it into the fire now, and no more about it. Pray, after all, Harry, for curiosity’s sake, what faults have you?”

“Dear sir, I thought you told me you knew them by heart.”

“I always forget what I learn by heart; put me in mind, and may be I’ll recollect as you go on.”

“Well, sir, in the first place, I am terribly passionate.”

“Passionate! true; that is Moriarty you are thinking of; and I grant you, that had like to have been a sad job—you had a squeak for your life there, and I pitied you as if it had been myself; for I know what it is after one of them blind rages is over, and one opens one’s eyes on the wrong one has done—and then such a cursed feel to be penitent in vain—for that sets no bones. You were blind drunk that night, and that was my fault; but my late vow has prevented the future, and Moriarty’s better in the world than ever he was.”

“Thanks to your goodness, sir.” “Oh! I wasn’t thinking of my goodness—little enough that same; but to ease your conscience, it was certainly the luckiest turn ever happened him the shot he got, and so he says himself. Never think of that more in the way of penitence.”

“In the way of reformation though, I hope, I shall all my life,” said Harry. “One comfort—I have never been in a passion since.”

“But, then, a rasonable passion’s allowable: I wouldn’t give a farthing for a man that couldn’t be in a passion on a proper occasion. I’m passionate myself, rasonably passionate, and I like myself the better for it.”

“I thought you said just now you often repented.”

“Oh! never mind what I said just now—mind what I’m saying now. Isn’t a red heat that you can see, and that warms you, better than a white heat that blinds you? I’d rather a man would knock me down than stand smiling at me, as cousin Ulick did just now, when I know he could have kilt me; he is not passionate—he has the command of himself—every feature under the courtier’s regimen of hypocrisy. Harry Ormond, don’t set about to cure yourself of your natural passions—why, this is rank methodism, all!”

“Methodism, sir?”

Methodism, sir!—don’t contradict or repeat me—methodism, that the woman has brought you to the brink of, and I warn you from it! I did not know till now that your Lady Annaly was such a methodist—no methodist shall ever darken my doors, or lighten them either, with their new lights. New lights! new nonsense!—for man, woman, or beast. But enough of this, and too much, Harry. Prince Harry, pull that bell a dozen times for me this minute, till they bring out my old horse.”

Before it was possible that any one could have come up stairs, the impatient monarch, pointing with his crutch, added, “Run to the head of the stairs, Prince Harry dear, and call and screech to them to make no delay; and I want you out with me; so get your horse, Harry.”

“But, sir—is it possible—are you able?”

“I am able, sir, possible or not,” cried King Corny, starting up on his crutches. “Don’t stand talking to me of possibilities, when ‘tis a friend I am going to serve, and that friend as dear as yourself. Aren’t you at the head of the stairs yet? Must I go and fall down them myself?”

To prevent this catastrophe, our young hero ran immediately and ordered the horses: his majesty mounted, or rather was mounted, and they proceeded to one of the prettiest farms in the Black Islands. As they rode to it, he seemed pleased by Harry’s admiring, as he could, with perfect truth, the beauty of the situation.

“And the land—which you are no judge of yet, but you will—is as good as it is pretty,” said King Corny, “which I am glad of for your sake, Prince Harry; I won’t have you, like that donny English prince or king, they nicknamed Lackland.—No: you sha’n’t lack land while I have it to let or give. I called you prince—Prince of the Black Islands—and here’s your principality. Call out my prime minister, Pat Moore. I sent him across the bog to meet us at Moriarty’s. Here he is, and Moriarty along with him to welcome you. Patrick, give Prince Harry possession—with sod and twig. Here’s the kay from my own hand, and I give you joy. Nay, don’t deny me the pleasure—I’ve a right to it. No wrong to my daughter, if that’s what you are thinking of—a clear improvement of my own,—and she will have enough without it. Besides, her betrothed White Connal is a fat grazier, who will make her as rich as a Jew; and any way she is as generous as a princess herself. But if it pains you so, and weighs you down, as I see it does, to be under any obligation—you shall be under none in life. You shall pay me rent for it, and you shall give it up whenever you please. Well! we’ll settle that between ourselves,” continued his majesty; “only take possession, that’s all I ask. But I hope,” added he, “before we’ve lived a year, or whatever time it is till you arrive at years of discretion, you’ll know me well enough, and love me well enough, not to be so stiff about a trifle, that’s nothing between friend and friend—let alone the joke of king and prince, dear Harry.”

The gift of this principality proved a most pernicious, nearly a fatal, gift to the young prince. The generosity, the delicacy, with which it was made, a delicacy worthy of the most polished, and little to have been expected from the barbarian mock-monarch, so touched our young hero’s heart, so subjected his grateful spirit to his benefactor, that he thenceforth not only felt bound to King Corny for life, but prone to deem every thing he did or thought, wisest, fittest, best.

When he was invested with his petty principality, it was expected of him to give a dinner and a dance to the island: so he gave a dinner and a dance, and every body said he was a fine fellow, and had the spirit of a prince. “King Corny, God bless him! couldn’t go astray in his choice of a favourite—long life to him and Prince Harry! and no doubt there’d be fine hunting, and shooting, and coursing continually. Well, was not it a happy thing for the islands, when Harry Ormond first set foot on them? From a boy ‘twas asy to see what a man he’d be. Long may he live to reign over us!”

The taste for vulgar praise grew by what it fed upon. Harry was in great danger of forgetting that he was too fond of flattery, and too fond of company—not the best. He excused himself to himself, by saying that companions of some kind or other he must have, and he was in a situation where good company was not to be had. Then Moriarty Carroll was gamekeeper, and Moriarty Carroll was always out hunting or shooting with him, and he was led by kind and good feelings to be more familiar and free with this man than he would have been with any other in the same rank of life. The poor fellow was ardently attached to him, and repeated, with delight, all the praises he heard of Master Harry, through the Islands. The love of popularity seized him—popularity on the lowest scale! To be popular among the unknown, unheard-of inhabitants of the Black Islands,—could this be an object to any man of common sense, any one who had lived in civilized society, and who had had any thing like the education of a gentleman? The fact, argue about it as you will—the fact was as is here stated; and let those who hear it with a disdainful smile recollect that whether in Paris, London, or the Black Islands, the mob are, in all essential points, pretty nearly the same.

It happened about this time that Betty Dunshaughlin was rummaging in her young lady’s work-basket for some riband, “which she knew she might take,” to dress a cap that was to be hung upon a pole as a prize, to be danced for at the pattern,[13]Patron, probably—an entertainment held in honour of the patron saint. A festive meeting, similar to a wake in England. to be given next Monday at Ormond Vale, by Prince Harry. Prince Harry was now standing by, giving some instructions about the ordering of the entertainment; Betty, in the mean time, pursued her own object of the riband, and as she emptied the basket in haste, threw out a book, which Harry, though not much at this time addicted to reading, snatched impatiently, eager to know what book it was: it was one he had often heard of—often intended to read some time or other, but somehow or other he had never had time: and now he was in the greatest possible hurry, for the hounds were out. But when once he had opened the book, he could not shut it: he turned over page after page, peeped at the end, the beginning, and the middle, then back to the beginning; was diverted by the humour—every Irishman loves humour; delighted with the wit—what Irishman is not? And his curiosity was so much raised by the story, his interest and sympathy so excited for the hero, that he read on, standing for a quarter of an hour, fixed in the same position, while Betty held forth unheard, about cap, supper, and pattern. At last he carried off the book to his own room, that he might finish it in peace; nor did he ever stop till he came to the end of the volume. The story not finishing there, and breaking off in a most interesting part, he went in search of the next volume, but that was not to be found. His impatience was ravenous.

“Mercy, Master Harry,” cried Mrs. Betty, “don’t eat one up! I know nothing at-all-at-all about the book, and I’m very sorry I tumbled it out of the basket. That’s all there is of it to be had high or low—so don’t be tormenting me any more out of my life for nothing.”

But having seized upon her, he refused to let her go, and protested that he would continue to be the torment of her life, till she should find the other volume. Betty, when her memory was thus racked, put her hand to her forehead, and recollected that in the apple-room there was a heap of old books. Harry possessed himself of the key of the apple-room, tossed over the heap of tattered mouldy books, and at last found the precious volume. He devoured it eagerly—nor was it forgotten as soon as finished. As the chief part of the entertainment depended on the characters, it did not fade from his imagination. He believed the story to be true, for it was constructed with unparalleled ingenuity, and developed with consummate art. The character which particularly interested him was that of the hero, the more peculiarly, because he saw, or fancied that he saw, a resemblance to his own; with some differences, to be sure—but young readers readily assimilate and identify themselves with any character, the leading points of which resemble their own, and in whose general feelings they sympathize. In some instances, Harry, as he read on, said to himself, “I would not—I could not have done so and so.” But upon the whole, he was charmed by the character—that of a warm-hearted, generous, imprudent young man, with little education, no literature, governed more by feeling than by principle, never upon any occasion reasoning, but keeping right by happy moral instincts; or when going wrong, very wrong, forgiven easily by the reader and by his mistress, and rewarded at the last with all that love and fortune can bestow, in consideration of his being “a very fine fellow.”

Closing the book, Harry Ormond resolved to be what he admired—and, if possible, to shine forth an Irish Tom Jones. For this purpose he was not at all bound to be a moral gentleman, nor, as he conceived, to be a gentleman at all—not, at least, in the commencement of his career: he might become accomplished at any convenient period of his life, and become moral at the end of it, but he might begin by being an accomplished—blackguard. Blackguard is a harsh word; but what other will express the idea? Unluckily, the easiest points to be imitated in any character are not always the best; and where any latitude is given to conscience, or any precedents are allowed to the grosser passions for their justification, those are the points which are afterwards remembered and applied in practice, when the moral salvo sentences are forgotten, or are at best but of feeble countervailing effect.

At six o’clock on Monday evening the cap—the prize cap, flaming with red ribands from the top of the pole, streamed to the summer air, and delighted the upturned eyes of assembled crowds upon the green below. The dance began, and our popular hero, the delight of all the nymphs, and the envy of all the swains, danced away with one of the prettiest, “smartest,” “most likely-looking” “lasses,” that ever appeared at any former patron. She was a degree more refined in manner, and polished in appearance, than the fair of the Black Islands, for she came from the continent of Ireland—she had the advantage of having been sometimes at the big house at Castle Hermitage—she was the gardener’s daughter—Peggy Sheridan—distinguished among her fellows by a nosegay, such as no other could have procured—distinguished more by her figure and her face than by her nosegay, and more by her air and motions, than even by her figure or her face: she stepped well, and stepped out—she danced an Irish jig to admiration, and she was not averse from admiration; village prudes, perhaps, might call her a village coquette; but let not this suggest a thought derogatory to the reputation of the lively Peggy. She was a well-behaved, well-meaning, innocent, industrious girl—a good daughter, a good sister, and more than one in the neighbourhood thought she would make a good wife. She had not only admirers, but suitors in abundance. Harry Ormond could not think of her as a wife, but he was evidently—more evidently this day than ever before—one of Peggy’s admirers. His heart or his fancy was always warmly susceptible to the charms of beauty; and, never well guarded by prudence, he was now, with his head full of Tom Jones, prone to run into danger himself, and rashly ready to hurry on an innocent girl to her destruction. He was not without hopes of pleasing—what young man of nineteen or twenty is? He was not without chance of success, as it is called, with Peggy—what woman can be pronounced safe, who ventures to extend to a young lover the encouragement of coquettish smiles? Peggy said, “innocent smiles sure,” “meaning nothing;” but they were interpreted to mean something: less would in his present dispositions have excited the hero who imitated Tom Jones to enterprise. Report says that, about this time, Harry Ormond was seen disguised in a slouched hat and trusty[14]Great coat., wandering about the grounds at Castle Hermitage. Some swear they saw him pretending to dig in the garden; and even under the gardener’s windows, seeming to be nailing up jessamine. Some would not swear, but if they might trust their own eyes, they might verily believe, and could, only that they would not, take their oath to having seen him once cross the lake alone by moonlight. But without believing above half what the world says, candour obliges us to acknowledge, that there was some truth in these scandalous reports. He certainly pursued, most imprudently “pursued the chase of youth and beauty;” nor would he, we fear, have dropped the chase till Peggy was his prey, but that fortunately, in the full headlong career of passion, he was suddenly startled and stopped by coming in view of an obstacle that he could not overleap—a greater wrong than he had foreseen, at least a different wrong, and in a form that made his heart tremble. He reined in his passion, and stood appalled.

In the first hurry of that passion he had seen nothing, heard nothing, understood nothing, but that Peggy was pretty, and that he was in love. It happened one evening that he, with a rose yet unfaded in his hand—a rose which he had snatched from Peggy Sheridan—took the path towards Moriarty Carroll’s cottage. Moriarty, seeing him from afar, came out to meet him; but when he came within sight of the rose, Moriarty’s pace slackened, and turning aside, he stepped out of the path, as if to let Mr. Ormond pass.

“How now, Moriarty?” said Harry. But looking in his face, he saw the poor fellow pale as death.

“What ails you, Moriarty?”

“A pain I just took about my heart,” said Moriarty, pressing both hands to his heart.

“My poor fellow!—Wait!—you’ll be better just now, I hope,” said Ormond, laying his hand on Moriarty’s shoulder.

“I’ll never be better of it, I fear,” said Moriarty, withdrawing his shoulder; and giving a jealous glance at the rose, he turned his head away again.

“I’ll thank your honour to go on, and leave me—I’ll be better by myself. It is not to your honour, above all, that I can open my heart.”

A suspicion of the truth now flashed across Ormond’s mind—he was determined to know whether it was the truth or not.

“I’ll not leave you, till I know what’s the matter,” said he.

“Then none will know that till I die,” said Moriarty; adding, after a little pause, “there’s no knowing what’s wrong withinside of a man till he is opened.”

“But alive, Moriarty, if the heart is in the case only,” said Ormond, “a man can open himself to a friend.”

“Ay, if he had a friend,” said Moriarty. “I’ll beg your honour to let me pass—I am able for it now—I am quite stout again.”

“Then if you are quite stout again, I shall want you to row me across the lake.”

“I am not able for that, sir,” replied Moriarty, pushing past him.

“But,” said Ormond, catching hold of his arm, “aren’t you able or willing to carry a note for me?” As he spoke, Ormond produced the note, and let him see the direction—to Peggy Sheridan.

“Sooner stab me to the heart again,” cried Moriarty, breaking from him.

“Sooner stab myself to the heart then,” cried Ormond, tearing the note to bits. “Look, Moriarty: upon my honour, till this instant, I did not know you loved the girl—from this instant I’ll think of her no more—never more will I see her, hear of her, till she be your wife.”

“Wife!” repeated Moriarty, joy illuminating, but fear as instantly darkening his countenance. “How will that be now?”

“It will be—it shall be—as happily as honourably. Listen to me, Moriarty—as honourably now as ever. Can you think me so wicked, so base, as to say, wife, if—no, passion might hurry me to a rash, but of a base action I’m incapable. Upon my soul, upon the sacred honour of a gentleman—”

Moriarty sighed.

“Look!” continued Ormond, taking the rose from his breast; “this is the utmost that ever passed between us, and that was my fault: I snatched it, and thus—thus,” cried he, tearing the rose to pieces, “I scatter it to the winds of heaven; and thus may all trace of past fancy and folly be blown from remembrance!”

“Amen!” said Moriarty, watching the rose-leaves for an instant, as they flew and were scattered out of sight; then, as Ormond broke the stalk to pieces, and flung it from him, he asked, with a smile, “Is the pain about your heart gone now, Moriarty?”

“No, plase your honour, not gone; but a quite different—better—but worse. So strange with me—I can’t speak rightly—for the pleasure has seized me stronger than the pain.”

“Lean against me, poor fellow. Oh, if I had broken such a heart!”

“Then how wrong I was when I said that word I did!” said Moriarty. “I ask your honour, your dear honour’s pardon on my knees.”

“For what?—For what?—You have done no wrong.”

“No:—but I said wrong—very wrong—when I said stab me to the heart again. Oh, that word again—it was very ungenerous.”

“Noble fellow!” said Ormond.

“Good night to your honour, kindly,” said Moriarty.

“How happy I am now!” said our young hero to himself, as he walked home, “which I never should have been if I had done this wrong.”

A fortunate escape!—yes: but when the escape is owing to good fortune, not to prudence—to good feeling, not to principle—there is no security for the future.

Ormond was steady to his promise toward Moriarty: to do him justice, he was more than this—he was generous, actively, perseveringly generous, in his conduct to him. With open heart, open purse, public overture, and private negotiation with the parents of Peggy Sheridan, he at last succeeded in accomplishing Moriarty’s marriage.

Ormond’s biographer may well be allowed to make the most of his persevering generosity on this occasion, because no other scrap of good can be found, of which to make any thing in his favour, for several months to come. Whether Tom Jones was still too much, and Lady Annaly too little, in his head—whether it was that King Corny’s example and precepts were not always edifying—whether this young man had been prepared by previous errors of example and education—or whether he fell into mischief because he had nothing else to do in these Black Islands; certain it is, that from the operation of some or all of these causes conjointly, he deteriorated sadly. He took to “vagrant courses,” in which the muse forbears to follow him.

Footnotes

[13] Patron, probably—an entertainment held in honour of the patron saint. A festive meeting, similar to a wake in England.

[14] Great coat.

Chapter VIII • 3,200 Words

It is said that the Turks have a very convenient recording angel, who, without dropping a tear to blot out that which might be wished unsaid or undone, fairly shuts his eyes, and forbears to record whatever is said or done by man in three circumstances: when he is drunk, when he is in a passion, and while he is under age. What the under age, or what the years of discretion of a Turk may be, we do not at this moment recollect. We only know that our own hero is not yet twenty. Without being quite as accommodating as the Mahometan angel, we should wish to obliterate from our record some months of Ormond’s existence. He felt and was ashamed of his own degradation; but, after having lost, or worse than lost, a winter of his life, it was in vain to lament; or rather, it was not enough to weep over the loss—how to repair it was the question.

Whenever Ormond returned to his better self, whenever he thought of improving, he remembered Lady Annaly; and he now recollected with shame, that he had never had the grace to answer or to thank her for her letter. He had often thought of writing, but he had put it off from day to day, and now months had passed; he wrote a sad scrawling hand, and he had always been ashamed that Lady Annaly should see it; but now the larger shame got the better of the lesser, and he determined he would write. He looked for her letter, to read it over again before he answered it—the letter was very safe, for he considered it as his greatest treasure.

On recurring to the letter, he found that she had mentioned a present of books which she intended for him: a set of books which belonged to her son, Sir Herbert Annaly, and of which she found they had duplicates in their library. She had ordered the box containing them to be sent to Annaly, and had desired her agent there to forward it; but in case any delay should occur, she begged Mr. Ormond would take the trouble to inquire for them himself. This whole affair about the books had escaped Ormond’s memory: he felt himself blush all over when he read the letter again; and sent off a messenger immediately to the agent at Annaly, who had kept the box till it was inquired for. It was too heavy for the boy to carry, and he returned, saying that two men would not carry it, nor four—a slight exaggeration! A car was sent for it, and at last Harry obtained possession of the books. It was an excellent collection of what may be called the English and French classics: the French books were, at this time, quite useless to him, for he could not read French. Lady Annaly, however, sent these books on purpose to induce him to learn a language, which, if he should go into the army, as he seemed inclined to do, would be particularly useful to him. Lady Annaly observed that Mr. Ormond, wherever he might be in Ireland, would probably find even the priest of the parish a person who could assist him sufficiently in learning French; as most of the Irish parish priests were, at that time, educated at St. Omer’s or Louvain.

Father Jos had been at St. Omer’s, and Harry resolved to attack him with a French grammar and dictionary; but the French that Father Jos had learnt at St. Omer’s was merely from ear—he could not bear the sight of a French grammar. Harry was obliged to work on by himself. He again put off writing to thank Lady Annaly, till he could tell her that he had obeyed her commands; and that he could read at least a page of Gil Blas. Before this was accomplished, he learnt from the agent that Lady Annaly was in great affliction about her son, who had broken a blood-vessel. He could not think of intruding upon her at such a time—and, in short, he put it off till it seemed too late to write at all.

Among the English books was one in many volumes, which did not seize his attention forcibly, like Tom Jones, at once, but which won upon him by degrees, drew him on against his will, and against his taste. He hated moralizing and reflections; and there was here an abundance both of reflections and morality; these he skipped over, however, and went on. The hero and the heroine too were of a stiff fashion, which did not suit his taste; yet still there was something in the book that, in spite of the terrible array of good people, captivated his attention. The heroine’s perpetual egotism disgusted him—she was always too good and too full of herself—and she wrote dreadfully long letters. The hero’s dress and manner were too splendid, too formal, for every day use: at first he detested Sir Charles Grandison, who was so different from the friends he loved in real life, or the heroes he had admired in books; just as in old portraits, we are at first struck with the costume, but soon, if the picture be really by a master hand, our attention is fixed on the expression of the features and the life of the figure.

Sensible as Ormond was of the power of humour and ridicule, he was still more susceptible, as all noble natures are, of sympathy with elevated sentiments and with generous character. The character of Sir Charles Grandison, in spite of his ceremonious bowing on the hand, touched the nobler feelings of our young hero’s mind, inspired him with virtuous emulation, and made him ambitious to be a gentleman in the best and highest sense of the word: in short, it completely counteracted in his mind the effects of his late study. All the generous feelings which were so congenial to his own nature, and which he had seen combined in Tom Jones, as if necessarily, with the habits of an adventurer, a spendthrift, and a rake, he now saw united with high moral and religious principles, in the character of a man of virtue, as well as a man of honour; a man of cultivated understanding, and accomplished manners. In Sir Charles Grandison’s history, he read that of a gentleman, who, fulfilling every duty of his station in society, eminently useful, respected and beloved, as brother, friend, master of a family, guardian, and head of a large estate, was admired by his own sex, and, what struck Ormond far more forcibly, was loved, passionately loved, by women—not by the low and profligate, but by the highest and most accomplished of the sex. Indeed, to him it appeared no fiction, while he was reading it; his imagination was so full of Clementina, and the whole Porretta family, that he saw them in his sleeping and waking dreams. The deep pathos so affected him, that he could scarcely recall his mind to the low concerns of life. Once, when King Corny called him to go out shooting—he found him with red eyes. Harry was ashamed to tell him the cause, lest he should laugh at him. But Corny was susceptible of the same kind of enthusiasm himself; and though he had, as he said, never been regularly what is called a reading man, yet the books he had read left ineffaceable traces in his memory. Fictions, if they touched him at all, struck him with all the force of reality; and he never spoke of the characters as in a book, but as if they had lived and acted. Harry was glad to find that here again, as in most things, they sympathized, and suited each other.

But Corny, if ready to give sympathy, was likewise imperious in requiring it; and Harry was often obliged to make sudden transitions from his own thoughts and employments, to those of his friend. These transitions, however difficult and provoking at the time, were useful discipline to his mind, giving him that versatility, in which persons of powerful imagination, accustomed to live in retirement, and to command their own time and occupations, are often most deficient. At this period, when our young hero was suddenly seized with a voracious appetite for books, it was trying to his patience to be frequently interrupted.

“Come, come—Harry Bookworm you are growing!—no good!—come out!” cried King Corny. “Lay down whatever you have in your hand, and come off this minute, till I show you a badger at bay, with half-a-dozen dogs.”

“Yes, sir—this minute—be kind enough to wait one minute.”

“It has been hiding and skulking this week from me—we have got it out of its snug hole at last. I bid them keep the dogs off till you came. Don’t be waiting any longer. Come off, Harry, come! Phoo! phoo! That book will keep cold, and what is it? Oh! the last volume of Sir Charles—not worth troubling your eyes with. The badger is worth a hundred of it—not a pin’s worth in that volume but worked stools and chairs, and China jugs and mugs. Oh! throw it from you. Come away.”

Another time, at the very death of Clarissa, King Corny would have Harry out to see a Solan goose.

“Oh! let Clarissa die another time; come now, you that never saw a Solan goose—it looks for all the world as if it wore spectacles; Moriarty says so.”

Harry was carried off to see the goose in spectacles, and was pressed into the service of King Corny for many hours afterwards, to assist in searching for its eggs. One of the Black Islands was a bare, high, pointed, desert rock, in which the sea-fowl built; and here, in the highest point of rock, this Solan goose had deposited some of her eggs, instead of leaving them in nests on the ground, as she usually does. The more dangerous it was to obtain the eggs, which the bird had hidden in this pinnacle of the rock, the more eager Corny was to have them; and he, and Ormond, and Moriarty, were at this perilous work for hours. King Corny directing and bawling, and Moriarty and Ormond with pole, net, and polehook, swinging and leaping from one ledge of rock to another, clambering, clinging, sliding, pushing, and pulling each other alternately, from hold to hold, with frightful precipices beneath them. As soon as Ormond had warmed to the business, he was delighted with the dangerous pursuit; but suddenly, just as he had laid his hand on the egg, and that King Corny shouted in triumph, Harry, leaping back across the cleft in the rock, missed his footing and fell, and must have been dashed to pieces, but for a sort of projecting landing-place, on which he was caught, where he lay for some minutes stunned. The terror of poor Corny was such that he could neither move nor look up, till Moriarty called out to him, that Master Harry was safe all to a sprained ankle. The fall, and the sprain, would not have been deemed worthy of a place in these memoirs of our hero but from their consequences—the consequences not on his body but on his mind. He could not for some weeks afterwards stir out, or take any bodily exercise; confined to the house, and forced to sit still, he was glad to read, during these long hours, to amuse himself. When he had read all the novels in the collection, which were very few, he went on to other books. Even those, which were not mere works of amusement, he found more entertaining than netting, fishing-nets, or playing backgammon with Father Jos, who was always cross when he did not win. Kind-hearted King Corny, considering always that Harry’s sprain was incurred in his service, would have sat with him all day long; but this Harry would not suffer, for he knew that it was the greatest punishment to Corny to stay within doors a whole day. When Corny in the evening returned from his various out-of-doors occupations and amusements, Harry was glad to talk to him of what he had been reading, and to hear his odd summary reflections.

“Well, Harry, my boy, now I’ve told you how it has been with me all day, let’s hear how you have been getting on with your bookmen:—has it been a good day with you to-day?—were you with Shakspeare—worth all the rest—all the world in him?”

Corny was no respecter of authorities in hooks; a great name went for nothing with him—it did not awe his understanding in the slightest degree.

If it were poetry, “did it touch the heart, or inflame the imagination?” If it were history, “was it true?” If it were philosophy, “was it sound reasoning?” These were the questions he asked. “No cramming any thing down his throat,” he said. This daring temper of mind, though it sometimes led him wrong, was advantageous to his young friend. It wakened Ormond’s powers, and prevented his taking upon trust the assertions, or the reputations, even of great writers.

The spring was now returning, and Dora was to return with spring. He looked forward to her return as to a new era in his existence: then he should live in better company, he should see something better than he had seen of late—be something better. His chief, his best occupations during this winter, had been riding, leaping, and breaking in horses: he had broken in a beautiful mare for Dora. Dora, when a child, was very fond of riding, and constantly rode out with her father. At the time when Harry Ormond’s head was full of Tom Jones, Dora had always been his idea of Sophy Western, though nothing else that he could recollect in her person, mind, or manner, bore any resemblance to Sophia: and now that Tom Jones had been driven out of his head by Sir Charles Grandison; now that his taste for women was a little raised by the pictures which Richardson had left in his imagination, Dora, with equal facility, turned into his new idea of a heroine—not his heroine, for she was engaged to White Connal—merely a heroine in the abstract. Ormond had been warned that he was to consider Dora as a married woman—well, so he would, of course. She was to be Mrs. Connal—so much the better:—he should be quite at ease with her, and she should teach him French, and drawing, and dancing, and improve his manners. He was conscious that his manners had, since his coming to the Black Islands, rusticated sadly, and lost the little polish they had acquired at Castle Hermitage, and during one famous winter in Dublin. His language and dialect, he was afraid, had become somewhat vulgar; but Dora, who had been refined by her residence with her aunt, and by her dancing-master, would polish him, and set all to rights, in the most agreeable manner possible. In the course of these his speculations on his rapid improvements, and his reflections on the perfectibility of man’s nature under the tuition of woman, some idea of its fallibility did cross his imagination or his memory; but then he blamed, most unjustly, his imagination for the suggestion. The danger would prove, as he would have it, to be imaginary. What danger could there be, when he knew, as he began and ended by saying to himself, that he was to consider Dora as a married woman—Mrs. Connal?

Dora’s aunt, an aunt by the mother’s side, a maiden aunt, who had never before been at the Black Islands, and whom Ormond had never seen, was to accompany Dora on her return to Corny Castle: our young hero had settled it in his head that this aunt must be something like Aunt Ellenor in Sir Charles Grandison; a stiff-backed, prim, precise, old-fashioned looking aunt. Never was man’s astonishment more visible in his countenance than was that of Harry Ormond on the first sight of Dora’s aunt. His surprise was so great as to preclude the sight of Dora herself.

There was nothing surprising in the lady, but there was, indeed, an extraordinary difference between our hero’s preconceived notion, and the real person whom he now beheld. Mademoiselle—as Miss O’Faley was called, in honour of her French parentage and education, and in commemoration of her having at different periods spent above half her life in France, looking for an estate that could never be found—Mademoiselle was dressed in all the peculiarities of the French dress of that day; she was of that indefinable age, which the French describe by the happy phrase of “une femme d’un certain age,” and which Miss O’Faley happily translated, “a woman of no particular age.” Yet though of no particular age in the eye of politeness, to the vulgar eye she looked like what people, who knew no better, might call an elderly woman; but she was as alert and lively as a girl of fifteen: a little wrinkled, but withal in fine preservation. She wore abundance of rouge, obviously—still more obviously took superabundance of snuff—and without any obvious motive, continued to play unremittingly a pair of large black French eyes, in a manner impracticable to a mere Englishwoman, and which almost tempted the spectator to beg she would let them rest. Mademoiselle, or Miss O’Faley, was in fact half French and half Irish—born in France, she was the daughter of an officer of the Irish brigade, and of a French lady of good family. In her gestures, tones, and language, there was a striking mixture or rapid succession of French and Irish. When she spoke French, which she spoke well, and with a true Parisian accent, her voice, gestures, air, and ideas, were all French; and she looked and moved a well-born, well-bred woman: the moment she attempted to speak English, which she spoke with an inveterate brogue, her ideas, manner, air, voice, and gestures were Irish; she looked and moved a vulgar Irishwoman.

“What do you see so wonderful in Aunt O’Faley?” said Dora.

“Nothing—only—”

The sentence was never finished, and the young lady was satisfied; for she perceived that the course of his thoughts was interrupted, and all idea of her aunt effaced, the moment he turned his eyes upon herself. Dora, no longer a child and his playfellow, but grown and formed, was, and looked as if she expected to be treated as, a woman. She was exceedingly pretty, not regularly handsome, but with most brilliant eyes—there was besides a childishness in her face, and in her slight figure, which disarmed all criticism on her beauty, and which contrasted strikingly, yet as our hero thought agreeably, with her womanish airs and manner. Nothing but her external appearance could be seen this first evening—she was tired and went to bed early.

Ormond longed to see more of her, on whom so much of his happiness was to depend.

Chapter IX • 2,400 Words

This was the first time Mdlle. O’Faley had ever been at Corny Castle. Hospitality, as well as gratitude, determined the King of the Black Islands to pay her honour due.

“Now Harry Ormond,” said he, “I have made one capital good resolution. Here is my sister-in-law, Mdlle. O’Faley, coming to reside with me here, and has conquered her antipathy to solitude, and the Black Islands, and all from natural love and affection for my daughter Dora; for which I have a respect for her, notwithstanding all her eternal jabbering about politesse, and all her manifold absurdities, and infinite female vanities, of which she has a double proportion, being half French. But so was my wife, that I loved to distraction—for a wise man may do a foolish thing. Well, on all those accounts, I shall never contradict or gainsay this Mademoiselle—in all things, I shall make it my principle to give her her swing and her fling. But now observe me, Harry, I have no eye to her money—let her leave that to Dora or the cats, whichever pleases her—I am not looking to, nor squinting at, her succession. I am a great hunter, but not legacy-hunter—that is a kind of hunting I despise—and I wish every hunter of that kind may be thrown out, or thrown off, and may never be in at the death!”

Corny’s tirade against legacy-hunters was highly approved of by Ormond, but as to the rest, he knew nothing about Miss O’Faley’s fortune. He was now to learn that a rich relation of hers, a merchant in Dublin, whom living she had despised, because he was “neither noble, nor comme il faut,” dying had lately left her a considerable sum of money: so that after having been many years in straitened circumstances, she was now quite at her ease. She had a carriage, and horses, and servants; she could indulge her taste for dress, and make a figure in a country place.

The Black Islands were, to be sure, of all places, the most unpromising for her purpose, and the first sight of Corny Castle was enough to throw her into despair.

As soon as breakfast was over, she begged her brother-in-law would show her the whole of the chateau from the top to the bottom.

With all the pleasure in life, he said, he would attend her from the attics to the cellar, and show her all the additions, improvements, and contrivances, he had made, and all he intended to make, if Heaven should lend him life to complete every thing, or any thing—there was nothing finished.

“Nor ever will be,” said Dora, looking from her father to her aunt with a sort of ironical smile.

“Why, what has he been doing all this life?” said mademoiselle.

“Making a shift,” said Dora: “I will show you dozens of them as we go over this house. He calls them substitutes—I call them make-shifts.”

Ormond followed as they went over the house; and though he was sometimes amused by the smart remarks which Dora made behind backs as they went on, yet he thought she laughed too scornfully at her father’s oddities, and he was often in pain for his good friend Corny.

His majesty was both proud and ashamed of his palace: proud of the various instances it exhibited of his taste, originality, and daring; ashamed of the deficiencies and want of comfort and finish.

His ready wit had excuses, reasons, or remedies, for all Mademoiselle’s objections. Every alteration she proposed, he promised to get executed, and he promised impossibilities with the best faith imaginable.

“As the Frenchman answered to the Queen of France,” said Corny, “if it is possible, it shall be done; and if it is impossible, it must be done.”

Mademoiselle, who had expected to find her brother-in-law, as she owned, a little more difficult to manage, a little savage, and a little restive, was quite delighted with his politeness; but presuming on his complaisance, she went too far. In the course of a week, she made so many innovations, that Corny, seeing the labour and ingenuity of his life in danger of being at once destroyed, made a sudden stand.

“This is Corny Castle, Mademoiselle,” said he, “and you are making it Castle Topsy-Turvy, which must not be. Stop this work; for I’ll have no more architectural innovations done here—but by my own orders. Paper and paint, and furnish and finish, you may, if you will—I give you a carte-blanche; but I won’t have another wall touched, or chimney pulled down: so far shalt thou go, but no farther, Mdlle. O’Faley.” Mademoiselle was forced to submit, and to confine her brilliant imagination to papering, painting, and glazing.

Even in the course of these operations, King Corny became so impatient, that she was forced to get them finished surreptitiously, while he was out of the way in the mornings.

She made out who resided at every place within possible reach of morning or dinner visit: every house on the opposite banks of the lake was soon known to her, and she was current in every house. The boat was constantly rowing backwards and forwards over the lake; cars waiting or driving on the banks: in short, this summer all was gaiety at the Black Islands. Miss O’Faley was said to be a great acquisition in the neighbourhood: she was so gay, so sociable, so communicative; and she certainly, above all, knew so much of the world; she was continually receiving letters, and news, and patterns, from Dublin, and the Black Rock, and Paris. Each of which places, and all standing nearly upon the same level, made a great figure in her conversation, and in the imagination of the half or quarter gentry, with whom she consorted in this remote place. Every thing is great or small by comparison, and she was a great person in this little world. It had been the report of the country, that her niece was promised to the eldest son of Mr. Connal of Glynn; but the aunt seemed so averse to the match, and expressed this so openly, that some people began to think it would be broken off; others, who knew Cornelius O’Shane’s steadiness to his word of honour, were convinced that Miss O’Faley would never shake King Corny, and that Dora would assuredly be Mrs. Connal. All agreed that it was a foolish promise—that he might do better for his daughter. Miss O’Shane, with her father’s fortune and her aunt’s, would be a great prize; besides, she was thought quite a beauty, and remarkable elegant.

Dora was just the thing to be the belle and coquette of the Black Islands; the alternate scorn and familiarity with which she treated her admirers, and the interest and curiosity she excited, by sometimes taking delightful pains to attract, and then capriciously repelling, succeeded, as Miss O’Faley observed, admirably. Harry Ormond accompanied her and her aunt on all their parties of pleasure: Miss O’Faley would never venture in the boat or across the lake without him. He was absolutely essential to their parties: he was useful in the boat; he was useful to drive the car—Miss O’Faley would not trust any body else to drive her; he was an ornament to the ball—Miss O’Faley dubbed him her beau: she undertook to polish him, and to teach him to speak French—she was astonished by the quickness with which he acquired the language, and caught the true Parisian pronunciation. She often reiterated to her niece, and to others, who repeated it to Ormond, “that it was the greatest of pities he had but three hundred a year upon earth; but that, even with that pittance, she would prefer him for a nephew to another with his thousands. Mr. Ormond was well-born, and he had some politesse; and a winter at Paris would make him quite another person, quite a charming young man. He would have great success, she could answer for it, in certain circles and salons that she could name, only it might turn his head too much.” So far she said, and more she thought.

It was a million of pities that such a woman as herself, and such a girl as Dora, and such a young man as Mr. Ormond might be made, should be buried all their days in the Black Islands. Mdlle. O’Faley’s heart still turned to Paris: in Paris she was determined to live—there was no living, what you call living, any where else—elsewhere people only vegetate, as somebody said. Miss O’Faley, nevertheless, was excessively fond of her niece; and how to make the love for her niece and the love for Paris coincide, was the question. She long had formed a scheme of carrying her dear niece to Paris, and marrying her there to some M. le Baron or M. le Marquis; but Dora’s father would not hear of her living any where but in Ireland, or marrying any one but an Irishman. Miss O’Faley had lived long enough in Ireland to know that the usual method, in all disputes, is to split the difference: therefore she decided that her niece should marry some Irishman who would take her to Paris, and reside with her there, at least a great part of his time—the latter part of the bargain to be kept a secret from the father till the marriage should be accomplished. Harry Ormond appeared to be the very man for this purpose: he seemed to hang loosely upon the world—no family connexions seemed to have any rights over him; he had no profession—but a very small fortune. Miss O’Faley’s fortune might be very convenient, and Dora’s person very agreeable to him; and it was scarcely to be doubted that he would easily be persuaded to quit the Black Islands, and the British Islands, for Dora’s sake. The petit menage was already quite arranged in Mdlle. O’Faley’s head—even the wedding-dresses had floated in her fancy. “As to the promise given to White Connal,” as she said to herself, “it would be a mercy to save her niece from such a man; for she had seen him lately, when he had called upon her in Dublin, and he was a vulgar person: his hair looked as if it had not been cut these hundred years, and he wore—any thing but what he should wear; therefore it would be a favour to her brother-in-law, for whom she had in reality a serious regard,—it would be doing him the greatest imaginable benefit, to save him from the shame of either keeping or breaking his ridiculous and savage promise.” Her plan was therefore to prevent the possibility of his keeping it, by marrying her niece privately to Ormond before White Connal should return in October. When the thing was done, and could not be undone, Cornelius O’Shane, she was persuaded, would be very glad of it, for Harry Ormond was his particular favourite: he had called him his son—son-in-law was almost the same thing. Thus arguing with happy female casuistry, Mademoiselle went on with the prosecution of her plan. To the French spirit of intrigue and gallantry she joined Irish acuteness, and Irish varieties of odd resource, with the art of laying suspicion asleep by the appearance of an imprudent, blundering good nature; add to all this a degree of confidence, that could not have been acquired by any means but one. Thus accomplished, “rarely did she manage matters.” By the very boldness and openness of her railing against the intended bridegroom, she convinced her brother-in-law that she meant nothing more than talk. Besides, through all her changing varieties of objections, there was one point on which she never varied—she never objected to going to Dublin, in September, to buy the wedding-clothes for Dora. This seemed to Cornelius O’Shane perfect proof, that she had no serious intention to break off or defer the match. As to the rest, he was glad to see his own Harry such a favourite: he deserved to be a favourite with every body, Cornelius thought. The young people were continually together. “So much the better,” he would say: “all was above-board, and there could be no harm going forward, and no danger in life.” All was above-board on Harry Ormond’s part; he knew nothing of Miss O’Faley’s designs, nor did he as yet feel that there was for him much danger. He was not thinking as a lover of Dora in particular, but he felt a new and extraordinary desire to please in general. On every fair occasion, he liked to show how well he could ride; how well he could dance; how gallant and agreeable he could be: his whole attention was now turned to the cultivation of his personal accomplishments. He succeeded: he danced, he rode to admiration—his glories of horsemanship, and sportsmanship, the birds that he shot, and the fish that he caught, and the leaps that he took, are to this hour recorded in the tradition of the inhabitants of the Black Islands. At that time, his feats of personal activity and address made him the theme of every tongue, the delight of every eye, the admiration of every woman, and the envy of every man: not only with the damsels of Peggy Sheridan’s class was he the favourite, but with all the young ladies, the belles of the half gentry, who filled the ball-rooms; and who made the most distinguished figure in the riding, boating, walking, tea-drinking parties. To all, or any of these belles, he devoted his attention rather than to Dora, for he was upon honour; and very honourable he was, and very prudent, moreover, he thought himself. He was, at present, quite content with general admiration: there was, or there seemed, at this time, more danger for his head than his heart—more danger that his head should be turned with the foolish attentions paid him by many silly girls, than that he should be a dupe to a passion for any one of them: there was imminent danger of his becoming a mere dancing, driving, country coxcomb.

Chapter X • 2,900 Words

One day when Harry Ormond was out shooting with Moriarty Carroll, Moriarty abruptly began with, “Why then, ‘tis what I am thinking, Master Harry, that King Corny don’t know as much of that White Connal as I do.” “What do you know of Mr. Connal?” said Harry, loading his piece. “I didn’t know you had ever seen him.” “Oh! but I did, and no great sight to see. Unlike the father, old Connal, of Glynn, who is the gentleman to the last, every inch, even with the coat dropping off his back; and the son, with the best coat in Christendom, has not the look of a gentleman at-all—at-all—nor hasn’t it in him, inside no more than outside.” “You may be mistaken there, as you have never been withinside of him, Moriarty,” said Ormond. “Oh! faith, and if I have not been withinside of him, I have heard enough from them that seen him turned inside out, hot and cold. Sure I went down there last summer, to his country, to see a shister of my own that’s married in it; and lives just by Connal’s Town, as the man calls that sheep farm of his.” “Well, let the gentleman call his own place what he will—” “Oh! he may call it what he plases for me—I know what the country calls him; and lest your honour should not ax me, I’ll tell you: they call him White Connal the negre!—Think of him that would stand browbating the butcher an hour, to bate down the farthing a pound in the price of the worst bits of the mate, which he’d bespake always for the servants; or stand, he would—I’ve seen him with my own eyes—higgling with the poor child with the apron round the neck, that was sent to sell him the eggs—” “Hush! Moriarty,” said Ormond, who did not wish to hear any farther particulars of Mr. Connal’s domestic economy: and he silenced Moriarty, by pointing to a bird. But the bird flew away, and Moriarty returned to his point. “I wouldn’t be telling the like of any jantleman, but to show the nature of him. The minute after he had screwed the halfpenny out of the child, he’d throw down, may be, fifty guineas in gould, for the horse he’d fancy for his own riding: not that he rides better than the sack going to the mill, nor so well; but that he might have it to show, and say he was better mounted than any man at the fair: and the same he’d throw away more guineas than I could tell, at the head of a short-horned bull, or a long-horned bull, or some kind of a bull from England, may be, just becaase he’d think nobody else had one of the breed in all Ireland but himself.” “A very good thing, at least, for the country, to improve the breed of cattle.” “The country!—‘Tis little the man thinks of the country that never thought of any thing but himself, since his mother sucked him.” “Suckled him, you mean,” said Harry. “No matter—I’m no spaker—but I know that man’s character nevertheless: he is rich; but a very bad character the poor gives him up and down.” “Perhaps, because he is rich.” “Not at all; the poor loves the rich that helps with the kind heart. Don’t we all love King Corny to the blacking of his shoes?—Oh! there’s the difference!—who could like the man that’s always talking of the craturs, and yet, to save the life of the poorest cratur that’s forced to live under him, wouldn’t forbear to drive, and pound, and process, for the little con acre, the potatoe ridge, the cow’s grass, or the trifle for the woman’s peck of flax, was she dying, and sell the woman’s last blanket?—White Connal is a hard man, and takes all to the uttermost farthing the law allows.” “Well, even so, I suppose the law does not allow him more than his due,” said Ormond. “Oh! begging your pardon, Master Harry,” said Moriarty, “that’s becaase you are not a lawyer.” “And are you?” said Harry.

“Only as we all are through the country. And now I’ll only just tell you, Master Harry, how this White Connal sarved my shister’s husband, who was an under-tenant to him:—see, the case was this—” “Oh! don’t tell me a long case, for pity’s sake. I am no lawyer—I shall not understand a word of it.” “But then, sir, through the whole consarning White Connal, what I’m thinking of, Master Harry,” said Moriarty, “is, I’m grieving that a daughter of our dear King Corny, and such a pretty likely girl as Miss Dora—” “Say no more, Moriarty, for there’s a partridge.” “Oh! is it so with you?” thought Moriarty—“that’s just what I wanted to know—and I’ll keep your secret: I don’t forget Peggy Sheridan—and his goodness.”

Moriarty said not a word more about White Connal, or Miss Dora; and he and Harry shot a great many birds this day.

It is astonishing how quickly, and how justly, the lower class of people in Ireland discover and appreciate the characters of their superiors, especially of the class just above them in rank.

Ormond hoped that Moriarty had been prejudiced in his account of White Connal, and that private feelings had induced him to exaggerate. Harry was persuaded of this, because Cornelius O’Shane had spoken to him of Connal, and had never represented him to be a hard man. In fact, O’Shane did not know him. White Connal had a property in a distant county, where he resided, and only came from time to time to see his father. O’Shane had then wondered to see the son grown so unlike the father; and he attributed the difference to White Connal’s having turned grazier. The having derogated from the dignity of an idle gentleman, and having turned grazier was his chief fault in King Corny’s eyes: so that the only point in Connal’s character and conduct, for which he deserved esteem, was that for which his intended father-in-law despised him. Connal had early been taught by his father’s example, who was an idle, decayed, good gentleman, of the old Irish stock, that genealogies and old maps of estates in other people’s possessions, do not gain quite so much respect in this world as solid wealth. The son was determined, therefore, to get money; but in his horror of his father’s indolence and poverty, he ran into a contrary extreme—he became not only industrious, but rapacious.

In going lately to Dublin to settle with a sales master, he had called on Dora at her aunt’s in Dublin, and he had been “greatly struck,” as he said, “with Miss O’Shane; she was as fine a girl as any in Ireland—turn out who they could against her; all her points good. But, better than beauty, she would be no contemptible fortune: with her aunt’s assistance, she would cut up well; she was certain of all her father’s Black Islands—fine improvable land, if well managed.”

These considerations had their full effect. Connal, knowing that the young lady was his destined bride, had begun by taking the matter coolly, and resolving to wait for the properest time to wed; yet the sight of Dora’s charms had so wrought upon him, that he was now impatient to conclude the marriage immediately. Directly after seeing Dora in Dublin, he had gone home and “put things in order and in train to bear his absence,” while he should pay a visit to the Black Islands. Business, which must always be considered before pleasure, had detained him at home longer than he had foreseen: but now certain rumours he heard of gay doings in the Black Islands, and a letter from his father, advising him not to delay longer paying his respects at Corny Castle, determined him to set out. He wrote to Mr. O’Shane to announce his intention, and begged to have the answer directed to his father’s at Glynn.

One morning as Miss O’Faley, Mr. O’Shane, and Ormond, were at breakfast, Dora, who was usually late, not having yet appeared, Miss O’Faley saw a little boy running across the fields towards the house. “That boy runs as if he was bringing news,” said she.

“So he has a right to do,” said Corny: “if I don’t mistake that’s the post; that is, it is not the post, but a little special of my own—a messenger I sent off to catch post.”

“To do what?” said Mademoiselle.

“Why, to catch post,” said Corny. “I bid him gallop off for the life and put across (lake understood) to the next post town, which is Ballynaslugger, and to put in the letters that were too late here at that office there; and to bring back whatever he found, with no delay—but gallop off for the bare life.”

This was an operation which the boy performed, whenever requisite, at the imminent hazard of his neck every time, to say nothing of his chance of drowning.

“Well, Catch-post, my little rascal,” said King Corny, “what have you for us the day?”

“I got nothing at all, only a wetting for myself, plase your honour, and one bit of a note for your honour, which I have here for you as dry as the bone in my breast.”

He produced the bit of a note, which, King Corny’s hands being at that time too full of the eggs and the kettle to receive graciously, was laid down on the corner of the table, from which it fell, and Miss O’Faley picking it up, and holding it by one corner, exclaimed, “Is this what you call dry as a bone, in this country? And mighty clean, too—faugh! When will this entire nation leave off chewing tobacco, I wonder! This is what you style clean, too, in this country?”

“Why, then,” said the boy, looking close at the letter, “I thought it was clane enough when I got it—and give it—but ‘tis not so clane now, sure enough; this corner—whatever come over it—would it be the snuff, my lady?”

The mark of Miss O’Faley’s thumb was so visible, and the snuff so palpable, and the effort to brush it from the wet paper so disastrous, that Miss O’Faley let the matter rest where it was. King Corny put silver into the boy’s hand, bidding him not be too much of a rogue; the boy, smiling furtively, twitched the hair on his forehead, bobbed his head in sign of thanks, and drawing, not shutting, the door after him, disappeared.

“As sure as I’m Cornelius O’Shane, this is White Connal in propria persona,” said he, opening the note.

“Mon Dieu! Bon Dieu! Ah, Dieu!” cried Mdlle. O’Faley.

“Hush! Whisht!” cried the father—“here’s Dora coming.” Dora came in. “Any letter for me?” “Ay, darling, one for you.”

“Oh, give it me! I’m always in a desperate hurry for my letters: where is it?”

“No—you need not hold out your pretty hand; the letter is for you, but not to you,” said King Corny; “and now you know—ay, now you guess—my quick little blusher, who ‘tis from.”

“I guess? not I, indeed—not worth my guessing,” cried Dora, throwing herself sideways into a chair. “My tea, if you please, aunt.” Then, taking the cup, without adverting to Harry, who handed it to her, she began stirring the tea, as if it and all things shared her scorn.

“Ma chère! mon chat!” said Mdlle. O’Faley, “you are quite right to spare yourself the trouble of guessing; for I give it you in two, I give it you in four, I give it you in eight, and you would never guess right. Figure to yourself only, that a man, who has the audacity to call himself a lover of Miss O’Shane’s, could fold, could seal, could direct a letter in such a manner as this, which you here behold.”

Dora, who during this speech had sat fishing for sugar in her tea-cup, raised her long eyelashes, and shot a scornful glance at the letter; but intercepting a crossing look of Ormond’s, the expression of her countenance suddenly changed, and with perfect composure she observed, “A man may fold a letter badly, and be nevertheless a very good man.”

“That nobody can possibly contradict,” said her father; “and on all occasions ‘tis a comfort to be able to say what no one can contradict.”

“No well-bred person will never contradict nothing,” said Miss O’Faley. “But, without contradicting you, my child.” resumed Miss O’Faley, “I maintain the impossibility of his being a gentleman who folds a letter so.”

“But if folding a letter is all a man wants of being a gentleman,” said Dora, “it might be learnt, I should think; it might be taught—”

“If you were the teacher, Dora, it might, surely,” said her father.

“But Heaven, I trust, will arrange that better,” said mademoiselle.

“Whatever Heaven arranges must be best,” said Dora.

“Heaven and your father, if you please, Dora,” said her father: “put that and that together, like a dutiful daughter, as you must be.”

“Must!” said Dora, angrily.

“That offensive must slipped out by mistake, darling; I meant only being you, you must be all that’s dutiful and good.”

“Oh!” said Dora, “that’s another view of the subject.”

“You have a very imperfect view of the subject, yet,” said her father; “for you have both been so taken up with the manner, that you have never thought of inquiring into the matter of this letter.”

“And what is the matter?” said Miss O’Faley.

Form!” continued the father, addressing himself to his daughter; “form, I acknowledge, is one thing, and a great thing in a daughter’s eyes.”

Dora blushed. “But in a father’s eyes substance is apt to be more.”

Dora raised her cup and saucer together to her lips at this instant, so that the substance of the saucer completely hid her face from her father.

“But,” said Miss O’Faley, “you have not told us yet what the man says.”

“He says he will be here whenever we please.”

“That’s never,” said Miss O’Faley: “never, I’d give for answer, if my pleasure is to be consulted.”

“Luckily, there’s another person’s pleasure to be consulted here,” said the father, keeping his eyes fixed upon his daughter.

“Another cup of tea, aunt, if you please.”

“Then the sooner the better, I say,” continued her father; “for when a disagreeable thing is to be done—that is, when a thing that’s not quite agreeable to a young lady, such as marriage—” Dora took the cup of tea from her aunt’s hand, Harry not interfering—“I say,” persisted her father, “the sooner it’s done and over, the better.”

Dora saw that Ormond’s eyes were fixed upon her: she suddenly tasted, and suddenly started back from her scalding tea; Harry involuntarily uttered some exclamation of pity; she turned, and seeing his eyes still fixed upon her, said, “Very rude, sir, to stare at any one so.”

“I only thought you had scalded yourself.”

“Then you only thought wrong.”

“At any rate, there’s no great occasion to be angry with me, Dora.”

“And who is angry, pray, Mr. Ormond? What put it in your head that I was doing you the honour to be angry with you?”

“The cream! the cream!” cried Miss O’Faley.

A sudden motion, we must not say an angry motion of Dora’s elbow, had at this moment overset the cream ewer; but Harry set it up again, before its contents poured on her new riding-habit.

“Thank you,” said she, “thank you; but,” added she, changing the places of the cream ewer and cups and saucers before her, “I’d rather manage my own affairs my own way, if you’d let me, Mr. Ormond—if you’d leave me—I can take care of myself my own way.”

“I beg your pardon for saving your habit from destruction, for that is the only cause of offence that I am conscious of having given. But I leave you to your own way, as I am ordered,” said he, rising from the breakfast table.

“Sparring! sparring again, you two!” said Dora’s father: “but, Dora, I wonder whether you and White Connal were sparring that way when you met.”

“Time enough for that, sir, after marriage,” said Dora.

Our hero, who had stood leaning on the back of his chair, fearing that he had been too abrupt in what he had said, cast a lingering look at Dora, as her father spoke about White Connal, and as she replied; but there was something so unfeminine, so unamiable, so decided and bold, he thought, in the tone of her voice, as she pronounced the word marriage, that he then, without reluctance, and with a feeling of disgust, quitted the room, and left her “to manage her own affairs, and to take her own way.”

Chapter XI • 2,200 Words

Our young hero, hero-like, took a solitary walk to indulge his feelings; and as he rambled, he railed to his heart’s content against Dora.

“Here all my plans of happiness and improvement are again overturned: Dora cannot improve me, can give me no motive for making myself any thing better than what I am. Polish my manners! no, when she has such rude, odious manners herself; much changed for the worse—a hundred times more agreeable when she was a child. Lost to me she is every way—no longer my playfellow—no chance of her being my friend. Her good father hoped she would be a sister to me—very sorry I should be to have such a sister: then I am to consider her as a married woman—pretty wife she will make! I am convinced she cares no more for that man she is going to marry than I do—marrying merely to be married, to manage her own affairs, and have her own way—so childish!—or marrying merely to get an establishment—so base! How women, and such young creatures, can bring themselves to make these venal matches—I protest Peggy Sheridan’s worth a hundred of such. Moriarty may think himself a happy fellow—Suzy—Jenny, any body—only with dress and manner a little different—is full as good in reality. I question whether they’d give themselves, without liking, to any White Connal in their own rank, at the first offer, for a few sheep, or a cow, or to have their own way.”

Such was the summing up of the topics of invective, which, during a two hours’ walk, had come round and round continually in Ormond’s indignant fancy. He went plucking off the hawthorn blossoms in his path, till at one desperate tug, that he gave to a branch which crossed his way, he opened to a bank that sloped down to the lake. At a little distance below him he saw old Sheelah sitting under a tree rocking herself backwards and forwards; while Dora stood motionless opposite to her, with her hand covering her eyes, and her head drooping. They neither of them saw Ormond, and he walked on pursuing his own path; it led close behind the hedge to the place where they were, so close, that the sounds “Willastrew! Willastrew!” from Old Sheelah, in her funereal tone, reached his ear, and then the words, “Oh, my heart’s darling! so young to be a sacrifice—But what next did he say?”

Ormond’s curiosity was strongly excited; but he was too honourable to listen or to equivocate with conscience: so to warn them that some one was within hearing, he began to whistle clear and strong. Both the old woman and the young lady started.

“Murder!” cried Sheelah, “it’s Harry Ormond. Oh! did he overhear any thing—or all, think ye?”

“Not I,” answered Ormond, leaping over the hedge directly, and standing firm before them: “I overheard nothing—I heard only your last words, Sheelah—you spoke so loud I could not help it. They are as safe with me as with yourself—but don’t speak so loud another time, if you are talking secrets; and whatever you do, never suspect me of listening—I am incapable of that, or any other baseness.”

So saying, he turned his back, and was preparing to vault over the hedge again, when he heard Dora, in a soft low voice, say, “I never suspected you, Harry, of that, or any other baseness.”

“Thank you, Dora,” said he, turning with some emotion, “thank you, Dora, for this first, this only kind word you’ve said to me since you came home.”

Looking at her earnestly, as he approached nearer, he saw the traces of tears, and an air of dejection in her countenance, which turned all his anger to pity and tenderness in an instant. With a soothing tone he said, “Forgive my unseasonable reproach—I was wrong—I see you are not as much to blame as I thought you were.”

“To blame!” cried Dora. “And pray how—and why—and for what did you think me to blame, sir?”

The impossibility of explanation, the impropriety of what he had said flashed suddenly on his mind; and in a few moments a rapid succession of ideas followed. “Was Dora to blame for obeying her father, for being ready to marry the man to whom her father had destined—promised her hand; and was he, Harry Ormond, the adopted child, the trusted friend of the family, to suggest to the daughter the idea of rebelling against her father’s will, or disputing the propriety of his choice?”

Ormond’s imagination took a rapid flight on Dora’s side of the question, and he finished with the conviction that she was “a sacrifice, a martyr, and a miracle of perfection!” “Blame you, Dora!” cried he, “blame you! No—I admire, I esteem, I respect you. Did I say that I blamed you? I did not know what I said, or what I meant.”

“And are you sure you know any better what you say or what you mean, now?” said Dora.

The altered look and tone of tartness in which this question was asked produced as sudden a change in Harry’s conviction. He hesitatingly answered, “I am—”

“He is,” said Sheelah, confidently.

“I did not ask your opinion, Sheelah: I can judge for myself,” said Dora. “Your words tell me one thing, sir, and your looks another,” said she, turning to Ormond; “which am I to believe, pray?”

“Oh! believe the young man any way, sure,” said Sheelah; “silence speaks best for him.”

“Best against him, in my opinion,” said Dora.

“Dora, will you hear me?” Ormond began.

“No, sir, I will not,” interrupted Dora. “What’s the use of hearing or listening to a man who does not, by the confession of his own eyes, and his own tongue, know two minutes together what he means, or mean two minutes together the same thing? A woman might as well listen to a fool or a madman!”

“Too harsh, too severe, Dora,” said he.

“Too true, too sincere, perhaps you mean.”

“Since I am allowed, Dora, to speak to you as a brother—”

“Who allowed you, sir?” interrupted Dora.

“Your father, Dora.”

“My father cannot, shall not! Nobody but nature can make any man my brother—nobody but myself shall allow any man to call himself my brother.”

“I am sorry I presumed so far, Miss O’Shane—I was only going to offer one word of advice.”

“I want no advice—I will take none from you, sir.”

“You shall have none, madam, henceforward, from Harry Ormond.”

“‘Tis well, sir. Come away, Sheelah.”

“Oh! wait, dear—Och! I am too old,” said Sheelah, groaning as she rose slowly. “I’m too slow entirely for these quick passions.”

“Passions!” cried Dora, growing scarlet and pale in an instant: “what do you mean by passions, Sheelah?”

“I mean changes,” said Sheelah, “changes, dear. I am ready now—where’s my stick? Thank you, Master Harry. Only I say I can’t change my quarters and march so quick as you, dear.”

“Well, well, lean on me,” said Dora impatiently.

“Don’t hurry, poor Sheelah—no necessity to hurry away from me,” said Ormond, who had stood for a few moments like one transfixed. “‘Tis for me to go—and I will go as fast and as far as you please, Dora, away from you and for ever.”

“For ever!” said Dora: “what do you mean?”

“Away from the Black Islands? he can’t mean that,” said Sheelah.

“Why not?—Did not I leave Castle Hermitage at a moment’s warning?”

Warning! Nonsense!” cried Dora: “lean on him, Sheelah—he has frightened you; lean on him, can’t you?—sure he’s better than your stick. Warning!—where did you find that pretty word? Is Harry Ormond then turned footman?”

“Harry Ormond!—and a minute ago she would not let me—Miss O’Shane, I shall not forget myself again—amuse yourself with being as capricious as you please, but not at my expense; little as you think of me, I am not to be made your butt or your dupe: therefore, I must seriously beg, at once, that I may know whether you wish me to stay or to go.”

“To stay, to be sure, when my father invites you. Would you expose me to his displeasure? you know he can’t bear to be contradicted; and you know that he asked you to stay and live here.”

“But without exposing you to any displeasure, I can,” replied Ormond, “contrive—”

“Contrive nothing at all—do leave me to contrive for myself. I don’t mean to say leave me—you take up one’s words so quickly, and are so passionate, Mr. Ormond.”

“If you would have me understand you, Dora, explain how you wish me to live with you.”

“Lord bless me! what a fuss the man makes about living with one—one would think it was the most difficult thing in the world. Can’t you live on like any body else? There’s my aunt in the hedge-row walk, all alone—I must go and take care of her: I leave you to take care of Sheelah—you know you were always very good-natured when we were children.”

Dora went off quick as lightning, and what to make of her, Ormond did not well know. Was it mere childishness, or affectation, or coquetry? No; the real tears, and real expression of look and word forbade each of these suppositions. One other cause for her conduct might have been suggested by a vain man. Harry Ormond was not a vain man; but a little fluttering delight was just beginning to play round his head, when Sheelah, leaning heavily on his arm as they ascended the bank, reminding him of her existence—“My poor old Sheelah!” said he, “are you not tired?”

“Not now, thanks to your arm, Master Harry, dear, that was always good to me—not now—I am not a whit tired; now I see all right again between my childer—and happy I was, these five minutes past, watching you smiling to yourself; and I don’t doubt but all the world will smile on ye yet. If it was my world, it should. But I can only wish you my best wish, which I did long ago—may you live to wonder at your own good luck!

Ormond looked as if he was going to ask some question that interested him much, but it ended by wondering what o’clock it was. Sheelah wondered at him for thinking what the hour was, when she was talking of Miss Dora. After a silence, which brought them to the chicken-yard door, where Sheelah was “to quit his arm,” she leaned heavily again.

“The marriage—that they are all talking of in the kitchen, and every where through the country—Miss Dora’s marriage with White Connal, is reprieved for the season. She axed time till she’d be seventeen—very rasonable. So it’s to be in October—if we all live till those days—in the same mind. Lord, he knows—I know nothing at all about it; but I thank you kindly, Master Harry, and wish you well, any way. Did you ever happen to see the bridegroom that is to be?”

“Never.”

Harry longed to hear what she longed to say; but he did not deem it prudent, he did not think it honourable, to let her enter on this topic. The prudential consideration might have been conquered by curiosity; but the honourable repugnance to obtaining second-hand information, and encouraging improper confidence, prevailed. He deposited Sheelah safe on her stone bench at the chicken-yard door, and, much against her will, he left her before she had told or hinted to him all she did know—and all she did not know.

The flattering delight that played about our young hero’s head had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished. Of this he was sensible. It should never come near his heart—of that he was determined; he would exactly follow the letter and spirit of his benefactor’s commands—he would always consider Dora as a married woman; but the prospect of there being some temptation, and some struggle, was infinitely agreeable to our young hero—it would give him something to do, something to think of, something to feel.

It was much in favour of his resolution, that Dora really was not at all the kind of woman he had pictured to himself, either as amiable or charming: she was not in the least like his last patterns of heroines, or any of his approved imaginations of the beau ideal. But she was an exceedingly pretty girl; she was the only very pretty and tolerably accomplished girl immediately near him. A dangerous propinquity!

Chapter XII • 3,200 Words

White Connal and his father—we name the son first, because his superior wealth inverting the order of nature, gave him, in his own opinion, the precedency on all occasions—White Connal and his father arrived at Corny Castle. King Corny rejoiced to see his old friend, the elder Connal; but through all the efforts that his majesty made to be more than civil to the son, the degenerate grazier, his future son-in-law, it was plain that he was only keeping his promise, and receiving such a guest as he ought to be received.

Mademoiselle decided that old Connal, the father, was quite a gentleman, for he handed her about, and in his way had some politeness towards the sex; but as for the son, her abhorrence must have burst forth in plain English, if it had not exhaled itself safely in French, in every exclamation of contempt which the language could afford. She called him bête! and grand bête! by turns, butor! âne! and grand butor!—nigaud! and grand nigaud!—pronounced him to be “Un homme qui ne dit rien—d’ailleurs un homme qui n’a pas l’air comme il faut—un homme, enfin, qui n’est pas présentable—même en fait de mari.”

Dora looked unutterable things; but this was not unusual with her. Her scornful airs, and short answers, were not more decidedly rude to White Connal than to others; indeed she was rather more civil to him than to Ormond. There was nothing in her manner of keeping Connal at a distance, beyond what he, who had not much practice or skill in the language of female coquetry, might construe into maiden coyness to the acknowledged husband lover.

It seemed as if she had some secret hope, or fear, or reason, for not coming to open war: in short, as usual, she was odd, if not unintelligible. White Connal did not disturb himself at all to follow her doublings: his pleasure was not in the chase—he was sure the game was his own.

Be bold, but not too bold, White Connal!—be negligent, but not too negligent, of the destined bride. ‘Tis bad, as you say, to be spoiling a wife before marriage; but what if she should never be your wife? thought some.

That was a contingency that never had occurred to White Connal. Had he not horses, and saddles, and bridles, and bits, finer than had ever been seen before in the Black Islands? And had he not thousands of sheep, and hundreds of oxen? And had he not the finest pistols, and the most famous fowling-pieces? And had he not thousands in paper, and thousands in gold; and if he lived, would he not have tens of thousands more? And had he not brought with him a plan of Connal’s-town, the name by which he dignified a snug slated lodge he had upon one of his farms—an elevation of the house to be built, and of the offices that had been built?

He had so. But it happened one day, when Connal was going to ride out with Dora, that just as he mounted, her veil fluttering before his horse’s eyes, startled the animal; and the awkward rider being unable to manage him, King Corny begged Harry Ormond to change horses with him, that Mr. Connal might go quietly beside Dora, “who was a bit of a coward.”

Imprudent father! Harry obeyed—and the difference between the riders and the gentlemen was but too apparent. For what avails it that you have the finest horse, if another ride him better? What avails it that you have the finest saddle, if another become it better? What use to you your Wogden pistols, if another hit the mark you miss? What avails the finest fowling-piece to the worst sportsman? The thousands upon thousands to him who says but little, and says that little ill? What avail that the offices at Connal’s town be finished, dog-kennel and all? or what boots it that the plan and elevation of Connal’s-town be unrolled, and submitted to the fair one’s inspection and remarks, if the fair disdain to inspect, and if she remark only that a cottage and love are more to her taste? White Connal put none of these questions to himself—he went on his own way. Faint heart never won fair lady. Then no doubt he was in a way to win, for his heart never quailed, his colour never changed when he saw his fair one’s furtive smiles, or heard her aunt’s open praises of the youth, by whom riding, dancing, shooting, speaking, or silent, he was always eclipsed. Connal of Connal’s-town despised Harry Ormond of no-town—viewed him with scornful, but not with jealous eyes: idle jealousies were far from Connal’s thoughts—he was intent upon the noble recreation of cock-fighting. Cock-fighting had been the taste of his boyish days, before he became a money-making man; and at every interval of business, at each intermission of the passion of avarice, when he had leisure to think of amusement, this his first idea of pleasure recurred. Since he came to Corny Castle, he had at sundry times expressed to his father his “hope in Heaven, that before they would leave the Black Islands, they should get some good fun, cock-fighting; for it was a poor case for a man that is not used to it, to be tied to a woman’s apron-strings, twirling his thumbs all the mornings, for form’s sake.”

There was a strolling kind of gentleman in the Islands, a Mr. O’Tara, who was a famous cock-fighter. O’Tara came one day to dine at Corny Castle. The kindred souls found each other out, and an animated discourse across the table commenced concerning cocks. After dinner, as the bottle went round, the rival cock-fighters, warmed to enthusiasm in praise of their birds. Each relating wonders, they finished by proposing a match, laying bets and despatching messengers and hampers for their favourites. The cocks arrived, and were put in separate houses, under the care of separate feeders.

Moriarty Carroll, who was curious, and something of a sportsman, had a mind to have a peep at the cocks. Opening the door of one of the buildings hastily, he disturbed the cock, who taking fright, flew about the barn with such violence, as to tear off several of his feathers, and very much to deface his appearance. Unfortunately, at this instant, White Connal and Mr. O’Tara came by, and finding what had happened, abused Moriarty with all the vulgar eloquence which anger could supply. Ormond, who had been with Moriarty, but who had no share in the disaster, endeavoured to mitigate the fury of White Connal and apologized to Mr. O’Tara: O’Tara was satisfied!—shook hands with Ormond, and went off. But White Connal’s anger lasted longer: for many reasons he disliked Ormond; and thinking from Harry’s gentleness, that he might venture to insult him, returned to the charge, and becoming high and brutal in his tone, said that “Mr. Ormond had committed an ungentlemanlike action, which it was easier to apologize for than to defend.” Harry took fire, and instantly was much more ready than his opponent wished to give any other satisfaction that Mr. Connal desired. Well, “Name his hour—his place.” “To-morrow morning, six o’clock, in the east meadow, out of reach and sight of all,” Ormond said; or he was ready at that instant, if Mr. Connal pleased: he hated, he said, to bear malice—he could not sleep upon it.

Moriarty now stepping up privately, besought Mr. Connal’s “honour, for Heaven and earth’s sake, to recollect, if he did not know it, what a desperate good shot Mr. Harry notoriously was always.”

“What, you rascal! are you here still?” cried White Connal: “Hold your peace! How dare you speak between gentlemen?”

Moriarty begged pardon and departed. The hint he had given, however, operated immediately upon White Connal.

“This scattered-brained young Ormond,” said he to himself, “desires nothing better than to fight. Very natural—he has nothing to lose in the world but his bare life: neither money, nor landed property as I have to quit, in leaving the world—unequal odds. Not worth my while to stand his shot, for the feather of a cock,” concluded Connal, as he pulled to pieces one of the feathers, which had been the original cause of all the mischief.

Thus cooled, and suddenly become reasonable, he lowered his tone, declaring that he did not mean to say any thing in short that could give offence, nothing but what it was natural for any man in the heat of passion to say, and it was enough to put a man in a passion at first sight to see his favourite bird disfigured. If he had said any thing too strong, he hoped Mr. Ormond would excuse it.

Ormond knew what the heat of passion was, and was willing to make all proper allowances. White Connal made more than proper apologies; and Ormond rejoiced that the business was ended. But White Connal, conscious that he had first bullied, then quailed, and that if the story were repeated, it would tell to his disadvantage, made it his anxious request that he would say nothing to Cornelius O’Shane of what had passed between them, lest it should offend Cornelius, who he knew was so fond of Mr. Ormond. Harry eased the gentleman’s mind, by promising that he would never say a word about the matter. Mr. Connal was not content till this promise was solemnly repeated. Even this, though it seemed quite to satisfy him at the time, did not afterwards relieve Connal from the uneasy consciousness he felt in Ormond’s company. He could bear it only the remainder of this day. The next morning he left the Black Islands, having received letters of business, he said, which required his immediate presence at Connal’s-town. Many at Corny Castle seemed willing to dispense with his further stay, but King Corny, true to his word and his character, took leave of him as his son-in-law, and only, as far as hospitality required, was ready to “speed the parting guest.” At parting, White Connal drew his future father-in-law aside, and gave him a hint, that he had better look sharp after that youth he was fostering.

“Harry Ormond, do you mean?” said O’Shane.

“I do,” said Connal: “but, Mr. O’Shane, don’t go to mistake me, I am not jealous of the man—not capable—of such a fellow as that—a wild scatterbrains, who is not worth a sixpence scarce—I have too good an opinion of Miss Dora. But if I was in your place, her father, just for the look of the thing in the whole country, I should not like it: not that I mind what people say a potato skin; but still, if I was her father, I’d as soon have the devil an inmate and intimate in my house, muzzling in my daughter’s ear behind backs.”

Cornelius O’Shane stoutly stood by his young friend.

He never saw Harry Ormond muzzling—behind backs, especially—did not believe any such thing: all Harry said and did was always above-board, and before faces, any way. “In short,” said Cornelius, “I will answer for Harry Ormond’s honour with my own honour. After that, ‘twould be useless to add with my life, if required—that of course; and this ought to satisfy any son-in-law, who was a gentleman—none such could glance or mean to reflect on Dora.”

Connal, perceiving he had overshot himself, made protestations of his innocence of the remotest intention of glancing at, or reflecting upon, or imagining any thing but what was perfectly angelic and proper in Miss Dora—Miss O’Shane.

“Then that was all as it should be,” Mr. O’Shane said, “so far: but another point he would not concede to mortal man, was he fifty times his son-in-law promised, that was, his own right to have who he pleased and willed to have, at his own castle, his inmate and his intimate.”

“No doubt—to be sure,” Connal said: “he did not mean—he only meant—he could not mean—in short, he meant nothing at all, only just to put Mr. O’Shane on his guard—that was all he meant.”

“Phoo!” said Cornelius O’Shane; but checking the expression of his contempt for the man, he made an abrupt transition to Connal’s horse, which had just come to the door.

“That’s a handsome horse! certainly you are well mounted, Mr. Connal.”

O’Shane’s elision of contempt was beyond Mr. Connal’s understanding or feeling.

“Well mounted! certainly I am that, and ever will be, while I can so well afford it,” said Connal, mounting his horse; and identifying himself with the animal, he sat proudly, then bowing to the ladies, who were standing at an open window, “Good day to ye, ladies, till October, when I hope—”

But his horse, who did not seem quite satisfied of his identity with the man, would not permit him to say more, and off he went—half his hopes dispersed in empty air.

“I know I wish,” said Cornelius O’Shane to himself, as he stood on the steps, looking after the man and horse, “I wish that that unlucky bowl of punch had remained for ever unmixed, at the bottom of which I found this son-in-law for my poor daughter, my innocent Dora, then unborn; but she must make the best of him for me and herself, since the fates and my word, irrevocable as the Styx, have bound me to him, the purse-proud grazier and mean man—not a remnant of a gentleman! as the father was. Oh, my poor Dora!”

As King Corny heaved a heartfelt sigh, very difficult to force from his anti-sentimental bosom, Harry Ormond, with a plate of meat in his hand, whistling to his dog to follow him, ran down the steps.

“Leave feeding that dog, and come here to me, Harry,” said O’Shane, “and answer me truly such questions as I shall ask.”

Truly—if I answer at all,” said Harry.

“Answer you must, when I ask you: every man, every gentleman, must answer in all honour for what he does.”

“Certainly, answer for what he does,” said Harry.

For!—Phoo! Come, none of your tricks upon prepositions to gain time—I never knew you do the like—you’ll give me a worse opinion. I’m no schoolmaster, nor you a grammarian, I hope, to be equivocating on monosyllables.”

“Equivocate! I never equivocated, sir,” said Harry.

“Don’t begin now, then,” said Cornelius: “I’ve enough to put me out of humour already—so answer straight, like yourself. What’s this you’ve done to get the ill-will of White Connal, that’s just gone?”

Surprised and embarrassed, Ormond answered, “I trust I have not his ill-will, sir.”

“You have, sir,” said O’Shane.

“Is it possible?” cried Harry, “when we shook hands; you must have misunderstood, or have been misinformed. How do you know, my dear sir?”

“I know it from the man’s own lips, see! I can give you a straight answer at once. Now answer me, was there any quarrel between you? and what cause of offence did you give?”

“Excuse me, sir—those are questions which I cannot answer.”

“Your blush, young man, answers me enough, and too much. Mark me, I thought I could answer for your honour with my own, and I did so.”

“Thank you, sir, and you shall never have reason—”

“Don’t interrupt me, young man. What reason can I have to judge of the future, but from the past? I am not an idiot to be bothered with fair words.”

“Oh! sir, can you suspect?”

“I suspect nothing, Harry Ormond: I am, I thank my God, above suspicion. Listen to me. You know—whether I ever told it you before or not, I can’t remember—but whether or not, you know as well as if you were withinside of me—that in my heart’s core there’s not a man alive I should have preferred for my son-in-law to the man I once thought Harry Ormond, without a penny—”

“Once thought!”

“Interrupt me again, and I’ll lave you, sir. In confidence between ourselves, thinking as once I did, that I might depend on your friendship and discretion, equally with your honour, I confessed, I repented a rash promise, and let you see my regret deep enough that my son-in-law will never be what Dora deserves—I said, or let you see as much, no matter which; I am no equivocator, nor do I now unsay or retract a word. You have my secret; but remember when first I had the folly to tell it you, same time I warned you—I warned you, Harry, like the moth from the candle—I warned you in vain. In another tone I warn you now, young man, for the last time—I tell you my promise to me is sacred—she is as good as married to White Connal—fairly tied up neck and heels—and so am I, to all intents and purposes; and if I thought it were possible you could consider her, or make her by any means consider herself, in any other light, I will tell you what I would do—I would shoot myself; for one of us must fall, and I wouldn’t choose it should be you, Harry. That’s all.”

“Oh! hear me, sir,” cried Harry, seizing his arm as he turned away, “kill me if you will, but hear me—I give you my word you are from beginning to end mistaken. I cannot tell you the whole—but this much believe, Dora was not the cause of quarrel.”

“Then there was a quarrel. Oh, for shame! for shame!—you are not used to falsehood enough yet—you can’t carry it through—why did you attempt it with me?”

“Sir, though I can’t tell you the truth, the foolish truth, I tell you no falsehood. Dora’s name, a thought of Dora, never came in question between Mr. Connal and me, upon my honour.”

“Your honour!” repeated Cornelius, with a severe look—severe more in its sorrow than its anger. “O Harry Ormond! what signifies whether the name was mentioned? You know she was the thing—the cause of offence. Stop! I charge you—equivocate no more. If a lie’s beneath a gentleman, an equivocation is doubly beneath a man.”

Chapter XIII • 4,200 Words

Harry Ormond thought it hard to bear unmerited reproach and suspicion; found it painful to endure the altered eye of his once kind and always generous, and to him always dear, friend and benefactor. But Ormond had given a solemn promise to White Connal never to mention any thing that had passed between them to O’Shane; and he could not therefore explain these circumstances of the quarrel. Conscious that he was doing right, he kept his promise to the person he hated and despised, at the hazard, at the certainty, of displeasing the man he most loved in the world; and to whom he was the most obliged. While his heart yearned with tenderness towards his adopted father, he endured the reproach of ingratitude; and while he knew he had acted perfectly honourably, he suffered under the suspicion of equivocation and breach of confidence: he bore it all; and in reward he had the conviction of his own firmness, and an experience, upon trial, of his adherence to his word of honour. The trial may seem but trivial, the promise but weak: still it was a great trial to him, and he thought the promise as sacred as if it had been about an affair of state.

It happened some days after the conversation had passed between him and O’Shane, that Cornelius met O’Tara, the gentleman who had laid the bets about the cock-fight with Connal; and chancing to ask him what had prevented the intended battle, O’Tara told all he knew of the adventure. Being a good-natured and good-humoured man, he stated the matter as playfully as possible—acknowledged that they had all been foolish and angry; but that Harry Ormond and Moriarty had at last pacified them by proper apologies. Of what had passed afterwards, of the bullying, and the challenge, and the submission, O’Tara knew nothing; but King Corny having once been put on the right scent, soon made it all out. He sent for Moriarty, and cross-questioning him, heard the whole; for Moriarty had not been sworn to secrecy, and had very good ears. When he had been turned out of the stable, he had retreated only to the harness-room, and had heard all that had passed. King Corny was delighted with Harry’s spirit—and now he was Prince Harry again, and the generous, warm-hearted Cornelius went, in impatience, to seek him out, and to beg his pardon for his suspicions. He embraced him, called him son, and dear son—said he had now found out, no thanks to him, Connal’s cause of complaint, and it had nothing to do with Dora.—“But why could not you say so, man?”

He had said so repeatedly.

“Well, so I suppose it is to be made out clearly to be all my fault, that was in a passion, and could not hear, understand, or believe. Well, be it so; if I was unjust, I’ll make it up to you, for I’ll never believe my own ears, or eyes, against you, Harry, while I live, depend upon it:—if I heard you asking her to marry you, I would believe my ears brought me the words wrong; if I saw you even leading her into the church instead of the chapel, and the priest himself warning me of it, I’d say and think, Father Jos, ‘tis a mistake—a vision—or a defect of vision. In short, I love and trust you as my own soul, Harry Ormond, for I did you injustice.”

This full return of kindness and confidence, besides the present delight it gave him, left a permanent and beneficial impression upon our young hero’s mind. The admiration he felt for O’Shane’s generous conduct, and the self-approbation he enjoyed in consequence of his own honourable firmness, had a great effect in strengthening and forming his character: it also rendered him immediately more careful in his whole behaviour towards Miss O’Shane. He was prudent till both aunt and niece felt indignant astonishment. There was some young lady with whom Harry had danced and walked, and of whom he had, without any design, spoken as a pleasing gentle girl. Dora recollected this praise, and joining it with his present distant behaviour toward herself, she was piqued and jealous; and then she became, what probably she would never otherwise have been, quite decided in her partiality for Harry Ormond. The proofs of this were soon so manifest, that many thought, and Miss O’Faley in particular, that Harry was grown stupid, blind, and deaf. He was not stupid, blind, or deaf—he had felt the full power of Dora’s personal charms, and his vanity had been flattered by the preference which Dora showed for him. Where vanity is the ruling passion, young men are easily flattered into being in love with any pretty, perhaps with any ugly girl, who is, or who affects to be, in love with them. But Harry Ormond had more tenderness of heart than vanity: against the suggestions of his vanity he had struggled successfully; but now his heart had a hard trial. Dora’s spirits were failing, her cheek growing pale, her tone of voice was quite softened; sighs would sometimes break forth—persuasive sighs!—Dora was no longer the scornful lady in rude health, but the interesting invalid—the victim going to be sacrificed. Dora’s aunt talked of the necessity of advice for her niece’s health. Great stress was laid on air and exercise, and exercise on horseback. Dora rode every day on the horse Harry Ormond broke in for her, the only horse she could now ride; and Harry understood its ways, and managed it so much better than any body else; and Dora was grown a coward, so that it was quite necessary he should ride or walk beside her. Harry Ormond’s tenderness of heart increased his idea of the danger. Her personal charms became infinitely more attractive to him; her defects of temper and character were forgotten and lost in his sense of pity and gratitude; and the struggle of his feelings was now violent.

One morning our young hero rose early, for he could no longer sleep, and he walked out, or, more properly, he rambled, or he strolled, or streamed out, and he took his way—no, his steps were irresistibly led—to his accustomed haunt by the water side, under the hawthorn bank, and there he walked and picked daisies, and threw stones into the lake, and he loitered on, still thinking of Dora and death, and of the circles in the water, and again of the victim and of the sacrifice, when suddenly he was roused from his reverie by a shrill whistle, that seemed to come from the wood above, and an instant afterwards he heard some one shouting, “Harry Ormond!—Harry Ormond!”

“Here!” answered Harry; and as the shouts were repeated he recognized the voice of O’Tara, who now came, whip in hand, followed by his dogs, running down the bank to him.

“Oh! Harry Ormond, I’ve brought great news with me for all at Corny Castle; but the ladies are not out of their nests, and King Corny’s Lord knows how far off. Not a soul or body to be had but yourself here, by good luck, and you shall have the first of the news, and the telling of it.”

“Thank you,” said Ormond; “and what is the news?”

“First and foremost,” said O’Tara, “you know birds of a feather flock together. White Connal, though, except for the cock-fighting, I never relished him, was mighty fond of me, and invited me down to Connal’s-town, where I’ve been with him this week—you know that much, I conclude.”

Harry owned he did not.

O’Tara wondered how he could help knowing it. “But so it was; we had a great cock-fight, and White Connal, who knew none of my secrets in the feeding line, was bet out and out, and angry enough he was; and then I offered to change birds with him, and beat him with his own Ginger by my superiority o’ feeding, which he scoffed at, but lookup the bet.”

Ormond sighed with impatience in vain—he was forced to submit, and to go through the whole detail of the cock-fight. “The end of it was, that White Connal was worsted by his own bird, and then mad angry was he. So, then,” continued O’Tara, “to get the triumph again on his side, one way or another, was the thing. I had the advantage of him in dogs, too, for he kept no hounds—you know he is close, and hounds lead to a gentlemanlike expense; but very fine horses he had, I’ll acknowledge, and, Harry Ormond, you can’t but remember that one which he could not manage the day he was out riding here with Miss Dora, and you changed with him.”

“I remember it well,” said Ormond.

“Ay, and he has got reason to remember it now, sure enough.”

“Has he had a fall?” said Ormond, stopping.

“Walk on, can’t ye—keep up, and I’ll tell you all regular.”

“There is King Corny!” exclaimed Ormond, who just then saw him come in view.

“Come on, then,” cried O’Tara, leaping over a ditch that was between them, and running up to King Corny. “Great news for you, King Corny, I’ve brought—your son-in-law elect, White Connal, is off.”

“Off—how?”

“Out of the world clean! Poor fellow, broke his neck with that horse he could never manage—on Sunday last. I left him for dead Sunday night—found him dead Monday morning—came off straight with the news to you.”

“Dead!” repeated Corny and Harry, looking at one another. “Heaven forbid!” said Corny, “that I should—”

“Heaven forbid!” repeated Harry; “but—”

“But good morning to you both, then,” said O’Tara: “shake hands either way, and I’ll condole or congratulate to-morrow as the case may be, with more particulars if required.”

O’Tara ran off, saying he would be back again soon; but he had great business to do. “I told the father last night.”

“I am no hypocrite,” said Corny. “Rest to the dead and all their faults! White Connal is out of my poor Dora’s way, and I am free from my accursed promise!” Then clasping his hands, “Praised be Heaven for that!—Heaven is too good to me!—Oh, my child! how unworthy White Connal of her!—Thank Heaven on my knees, with my whole heart, thank Heaven that I am not forced to the sacrifice!—My child, my darling Dora, she is free!—Harry Ormond, my dear boy, I’m free,” cried O’Shane, embracing Harry with all the warmth of paternal affection.

Ormond returned that embrace with equal warmth, and with a strong sense of gratitude: but was his joy equal to O’Shane’s? What were his feelings at this moment? They were in such confusion, such contradiction, he could scarcely tell. Before he heard of White Connal’s death, at the time when he was throwing pebbles into the lake, he desired nothing so much as to be able to save Dora from being sacrificed to that odious marriage; he thought, that if he were not bound in honour to his benefactor, he should instantly make that offer of his hand and heart to Dora, which would at once restore her to health, and happiness, and fulfil the wishes of her kind, generous father. But now, when all obstacles seemed to vanish—when his rival was no more—when his benefactor declared his joy at being freed from his promise—when he was embraced as O’Shane’s son, he did not feel joy: he was surprised to find it; but he could not. Now that he could marry Dora, now that her father expected that he should, he was not clear that he wished it himself. Quick as obstacles vanished, objections recurred: faults which he had formerly seen so strongly, which of late compassion had veiled from his view, reappeared; the softness of manner, the improvement of temper, caused by love, might be transient as passion. Then her coquetry—her frivolity. She was not that superior kind of woman which his imagination had painted, or which his judgment could approve of in a wife. How was he to explain this confusion of feeling to Corny? Leaning on his arm, he walked on towards the house. He saw Corny, smiling at his own meditations, was settling the match, and anticipating the joy to all he loved. Harry sighed, and was painfully silent.

“Shoot across like an arrow to the house,” cried Corny, turning suddenly to him, and giving him a kind push—“shoot off, Harry, and bring Dora to meet me like lightning, and the poor aunt, too—‘twould be cruel else! But what stops you, son of my heart?”

“Stay!” cried Corny, a sudden thought striking him, which accounted for Harry Ormond’s hesitation; “Stop, Harry! You are right, and I am a fool. There is Black Connal, the twin-brother—oh, mercy!—against us still. May be Old Connal will keep me to it still—as he couldn’t, no more than I could, foresee that when I promised Dora that was not then born, it would be twins—and as I said son, and surely I meant the son that would be born then—and twins is all as one as one, they say. Promise fettering still! Bad off as ever, may be,” said Cornelius. His whole countenance and voice changed; he sat down on a fallen tree, and rested his hands on his knees. “What shall we do now, Harry, with Black Connal?”

“He may be a very different man from White Connal—in every respect,” said Ormond.

O’Shane looked up for a moment, and then interpreting his own way, exclaimed, “That’s right, Harry—that thought is like yourself, and the very thought I had myself. We must make no declarations till we have cleared the point of honour. Not the most beautiful angel that ever took woman’s beautiful form—and that’s the greatest temptation man can meet—could tempt my Harry Ormond from the straight path of honour!”

Harry Ormond stood at this moment abashed by praise which he did not quite deserve. “Indeed, sir,” said he, “you give me too much credit.” “I cannot give you too much credit; you are an honourable young man, and I understand you through and through.”

That was more than Harry himself did. Corny went on talking to himself aloud, “Black Connal is abroad these great many years, ever since he was a boy—never saw him since a child that high—an officer he is in the Irish brigade now—black eyes and hair; that was why they called him Black Connal—Captain Connal now; and I heard the father say he was come to England, and there was some report of his going to be married, if I don’t mistake,” cried Corny, turning again to Harry, pleasure rekindling in his eye. “If that should be! there’s hope for us still; but I see you are right not to yield to the hope till we are clear. My first step, in honour, no doubt, must be across the lake this minute to the father—Connal of Glynn; but the boat is on the other side. The horn is with my fishing-tackle, Harry, down yonder—run, for you can run—horn the boat, or if the horn be not there, sign to the boat with your handkerchief—bring it up here, and I will put across before ten minutes shall be over—my horse I will have down to the water’s edge by the time you have got the boat up—when an honourable tough job is to be done, the sooner the better.”

The horse was brought to the water’s edge, the boat came across, Corny and his horse were in; and Corny, with his own hands on the oar, pushed away from land: then calling to Harry, he bid him wait on the shore by such an hour, and he should have the first news.

“Rest on your oars, you, while I speak to Prince Harry.

“That you may know all, Harry, sooner than I can tell you, if all be safe, or as we wish it, see, I’ll hoist my neckcloth, white, to the top of this oar; if not, the black flag, or none at all, shall tell you. Say nothing till then—God bless you, boy!” Harry was glad that he had these orders, for he knew that as soon as Mademoiselle should be up, and hear of O’Tara’s early visit, with the message he said he had left at the house that he brought great news, Mademoiselle would soon sally forth to learn what that news might be. In this conjecture Ormond was not mistaken. He soon heard her voice “Mon-Dieu!-ing” at the top of the bank: he ducked—he dived—he darted through nettles and brambles, and escaped. Seen or unseen he escaped, nor stopped his flight even when out of reach of the danger. As to trusting himself to meet Dora’s eyes, “‘twas what he dared not.”

He hid, and wandered up and down, till near dinner-time. At last, O’Shane’s boat was seen returning—but no white flag! The boat rowed nearer and nearer, and reached the spot where Harry stood motionless.

“Ay, my poor boy, I knew I’d find you so,” said O’Shane, as he got ashore. “There’s my hand, you have my heart—I wish I had another hand to give you—but it’s all over with us, I fear. Oh! my poor Dora!—and here she is coming down the bank, and the aunt!—Oh, Dora! you have reason to hate me!”

“To hate you, sir? Impossible!” said Ormond, squeezing his hand strongly, as he felt.

“Impossible!—true—for her to hate, who is all love and loveliness!—impossible too for you, Harry Ormond, who is all goodness!”

“Bon Dieu!” cried Mademoiselle, who was now within exclamation distance. “What a course we have had after you, gentlemen! Ladies looking for gentlemen!—C’est inouï!—What is it all? for I am dying with curiosity.”

Without answering Mademoiselle, the father, and Harry’s eyes, at the same moment, were fixed on one who was some steps behind, and who looked as if dying with a softer passion. Harry made a step forward to offer his arm, but stopped short; the father offered his, in silence.

“Can nobody speak to me?—Bien poli!” said Mademoiselle.

“If you please, Miss O’Faley, ma’am,” cried a hatless footman, who had run after the ladies the wrong way from the house: “if you please, ma’am, will she send up dinner now?”

“Oui, qu’on serve!—Yes, she will. Let her dish—by that time she is dished, we shall be in—and have satisfied our curiosity, I hope,” added she, turning to her brother-in-law.

“Let us dine first,” said Cornelius, “and when the cloth is removed, and the waiting-ears out of hearing, time enough to have our talk to ourselves.”

“Bien singulier, ces Anglois!” muttered Mademoiselle to herself, as they proceeded to the house. “Here is a young man, and the most polite of the silent company, who may well be in some haste for his dinner; for to my knowledge, he is without his breakfast.”

Harry had no appetite for dinner, but swallowed as much as Mademoiselle O’Faley desired. A remarkably silent meal it would have been, but for her happy volubility, equal to all occasions. At last came the long expected words, “Take away.” When all was taken away, and all were gone, but those who, as O’Shane said, would too soon wish unheard what they were dying to hear, he drew his daughter’s chair close to him, placed her so as “to save her blushes,” and began his story, by relating all that O’Tara had told.

“It was a sudden death—shocking!” Mademoiselle repeated several times; but both she and Dora recovered from the shock, or from the word “shocking!” and felt the delight of Dora’s being no longer a sacrifice.

After a general thanksgiving having been offered for her escape from the butor, Mademoiselle, in transports, was going on to say that now her niece was free to make a suitable match, and she was just turning to wonder that Harry Ormond was not that moment at her niece’s feet; and Dora’s eyes, raised slowly towards him and suddenly retracted, abashed and perplexed Harry indescribably; when Corny continued thus: “Dora is not free, nor am I free in honour yet, nor can I give any body freedom of tongue or heart until I know farther.”

Various exclamations of surprise and sorrow interrupted him.

“Am I never, never, to be free!” cried Dora: “Oh! am not I now at liberty?”

“Hear me, my child,” said her father; “I feel it as you do.”

“And what is it next—Qu’est-ce que c’est—this new obstacle?—What can it be?” said Mademoiselle.

The father then stated sorrowfully, that Old Connal of Glynn would by no means relinquish the promise, but considered it equally binding for the twin born with White Connal, considering both twins as coming under the promise to his son that was to be born. He said he would write immediately to his son, who was now in England.

“And now tell me what kind of a person is this new pretender, this Mr. Black Connal,” cried Mademoiselle.

“Of him we know nothing as yet,” said O’Shane; “but I hope, in Heaven, that the man that is coming is as different from the man that’s gone as black from white.”

Harry heard Dora breathe quick and quicker, but she said nothing.

“Then we shall get his answer to the father’s letter in eight days, I count,” said Mademoiselle; “and I have great hopes we shall never be troubled with him: we shall know if he will come or not, in eight days.”

“About that time,” said O’Shane: “but, sister O’Faley, do not nurse my child or yourself up with deceitful hopes. There’s not a man alive—not a Connal, surely, hearing what happiness he is heir to, but would come flying over post-haste. So you may expect his answer, in eight days—Dora, my darling, and God grant he may be—”

“No matter what he is, sir—I’ll die before I will see him,” cried Dora, rising, and bursting into tears.

“Oh, my child, you won’t die!—you can’t—from me, your father!” Her father threw his arms round her, and would have drawn her to him, but she turned her face from him: Harry was on the other side—her eyes met his, and her face became covered with blushes.

“Open the window, Harry!” said O’Shane, who saw the conflict; “open the window!—we all want it.”

Harry opened the window, and hung out of it gasping for breath.

“She’s gone—the aunt has taken her off—it’s over for this fit,” said O’Shane. “Oh, my child, I must go through with it! My boy, I honour as I love you—I have a great deal to say about your own affairs, Harry.”

“My affairs—oh! what affairs have I? Never think of me, dear sir—”

“I will—but can’t now—I am spent for this day—leave out the bottle of claret for Father Jos, and I’ll get to bed—I’ll see nobody, tell Father Jos—I’m gone to my room.”

The next morning O’Tara came to breakfast. Every person had a different question to ask him, except Dora, who was silent.

Corny asked what kind of man Black Connal was. Mademoiselle inquired whether he was most French or English; Ormond, whether he was going to be married.

To all these questions O’Tara pleaded ignorance: except with respect to the sports of the field, he had very little curiosity or intelligence.

A ray of hope again darted across the mind of Corny. From his knowledge of the world, he thought it very probable that a young officer in the French brigade would be well contented to be heir to his brother’s fortune, without encumbering himself with an Irish wife, taken from an obscure part of the country. Corny, therefore, eagerly inquired from O’Tara what became of White Connal’s property. O’Tara answered, that the common cry of the country was, that all White Connal’s profitable farms were leasehold property, and upon his own life. Poor Corny’s hopes were thus frustrated: he had nothing left to do for some days but to pity Harry Ormond, to bear with the curiosity and impatience of Mademoiselle, and with the froward sullenness of Dora, till some intelligence should arrive respecting the new claimant to her destined hand.

Chapter XIV • 5,100 Words

A few days afterwards, Sheelah, bursting into Dora’s room, exclaimed, “Miss Dora! Miss Dora! for the love of God, they are coming! They’re coming down the avenue, powdering along! Black Connal himself flaming away, with one in a gold hat, this big, galloping after, and all gold over, he is entirely!—Oh! what will become of us, Master Harry, now! Oh! it took the sight out of my eyes!—And yours as red as ferrets, dear!—Oh! the cratur. But come to the window and look out—nobody will mind—stretch out the body, and I’ll hold ye fast, never fear!—at the turn of the big wood do you see them behind the trees, the fir dales, glittering and flaming? Do you see them at all?”

“Too plainly,” said Dora, sighing; “but I did not expect he would come in such a grand style. I wonder—”

“Oh! so do I, greatly—mostly at the carriage. Never saw the like with the Connals, so grand—but the queer thing—”

“Ah! my dear Dore, un cabriolet!” cried Mademoiselle, entering in ecstacy. “Here is Monsieur de Connal for you in a French cabriolet, and a French servant riding on to advertise you and all. Oh! what are you twisting your neck, child? I will have no toss at him now—he is all the gentleman, you shall see: so let me set you all to rights while your father is receive. I would not have him see you such a horrible figure—not presentable! you look—”

“I do not care how I look—the worse the better,” said Dora: “I wish to look a horrible figure to him—to Black Connal.”

“Oh! put your Black Connals out of your head—that is always in your mouth: I tell you he is call M. de Connal. Now did I not hear him this minute announced by his own valet?—Monsieur de Connal presents his compliments—he beg permission to present himself—and there was I, luckily, to answer for your father in French.”

“French! sure Black Connal’s Irish born!” said Sheelah: “that much I know, any way.”

A servant knocked at the door with King Corny’s request that the ladies would come down stairs, to see, as the footman added to his master’s message, to see old Mr. Connal and the French gentleman.

“There! French, I told you,” said Mademoiselle, “and quite the gentleman, depend upon it, my dear—come your ways.”

“No matter what he is,” said Dora, “I shall not go down to see him; so you had better go by yourself, aunt.”

“Not one step! Oh! that would be the height of impolitesse and disobedience—you could not do that, my dear Dore; consider, he is not a man that nobody knows, like your old butor of a White Connal. Not signify how bad you treat him—like the dog; but here is a man of a certain quality, who knows the best people in Paris, who can talk, and tell every where. Oh! in conscience, my dear Dore, I shall not suffer these airs with a man who is somebody, and—”

“If he were the king of France,” cried Dora, “if he were Alexander the Great himself, I would not be forced to see the man, or marry him against my will!”

“Marry! Who talk of marry? Not come to that yet; ten to one he has no thought of you, more than politeness require.”

“Oh! as to that,” said Dora, “aunt, you certainly are mistaken there. What do you think he comes over to Ireland, what do you think he comes here for?”

“Hark! then,” said Sheelah, “don’t I hear them out of the window? Faith! there they are, walking and talking and laughing, as if there was nothing at all in it.”

“Just Heavens! What a handsome uniform!” said Miss O’Faley; “and a very proper-looking man,” said Sheelah.

“Well, who’d have thought Black Connal, if it’s him, would ever have turned out so fine a presence of a man to look at?”

“Very cavalier, indeed, to go out to walk, without waiting to see us,” said Dora.

“Oh! I will engage it was that dear father of yours hoisted him out.”

“Hoisted him out! Well, aunt, you do sometimes speak the oddest English. But I do think it strange that he should be so very much at his ease. Look at him—hear him—I wonder what he is saying—and Harry Ormond!—Give me my bonnet, Sheelah—behind you, quick. Aunt, let us go out of the garden door, and meet them out walking, by accident—that is the best way—I long to see how somebody will look.”

“Very good—now you look all life and spirit—perfectly charming! Look that manner, and I’ll engage he will fall in love with you.”

“He had better not, I can tell him, unless he has a particular pleasure in being refused,” said Dora, with a toss of her head and neck, and at the same time a glance at her looking-glass, as she passed quickly out of the room.

Dora and her aunt walked out, and accidentally met the gentlemen in their walk. As M. de Connal approached, he gave them full leisure to form their opinions as to his personal appearance. He had the air of a foreign officer—easy, fashionable, and upon uncommonly good terms with himself—conscious, but with no vulgar consciousness, of possessing a fine figure and a good face: his was the air of a French coxcomb, who in unconstrained delight, was rather proud to display, than anxious to conceal, his perfect self-satisfaction. Interrupting his conversation only when he came within a few paces of the ladies, he advanced with an air of happy confidence and Parisian gallantry, begging that Mr. O’Shane would do him the honour and pleasure to present him. After a bow, that said nothing, to Dora, he addressed his conversation entirely to her aunt, walking beside Mademoiselle, and neither approaching nor attempting to speak to Dora; he did not advert to her in the least, and seemed scarcely to know she was present. This quite disconcerted the young lady’s whole plan of proceedings—no opportunity was afforded her of showing disdain. She withdrew her arm from her aunt’s, though Mademoiselle held it as fast as she could—but Dora withdrew it resolutely, and falling back a step or two, took Harry Ormond’s arm, and walked with him, talking with as much unconcern, and as loudly as she could, to mark her indifference. But whether she talked or was silent, walked on with Harry Ormond, or stayed behind, whispered or laughed aloud, it seemed to make no impression, no alteration whatever in Monsieur de Connal: he went on conversing with Mademoiselle, and with her father, alternately in French and English. In English he spoke with a native Irish accent, which seemed to have been preserved from childhood; but though the brogue was strong, yet there were no vulgar expressions: he spoke good English, but generally with somewhat of French idiom. Whether this was from habit or affectation it was not easy to decide. It seemed as if the person who was speaking, thought in French, and translated it into English as he went on. The peculiarity of manner and accent—for there was French mixed with the Irish—fixed attention; and besides Dora was really curious to hear what he was saying, for he was very entertaining. Mademoiselle was in raptures while he talked of Paris and Versailles, and various people of consequence and fashion at the court. The Dauphiness!—she was then but just married—de Connal had seen all the fêtes and the fireworks—but the beautiful Dauphiness!—In answering a question of Mademoiselle’s about the colour of her hair, he for the first time showed that he had taken notice of Dora. “Nearly the colour, I think, of that young lady’s hair, as well as one can judge; but powder prevents the possibility of judging accurately.”

Dora was vexed to see that she was considered merely as a young lady: she exerted herself to take a part in the conversation, but Mr. Connal never joined in conversation with her—with the most scrupulous deference he stopped short in the middle of his sentence, if she began to speak. He stood aside, shrinking into himself with the utmost care, if she was to pass; he held the boughs of the shrubs out of her way, but continued his conversation with Mademoiselle all the time. When they came in from their walk, the same sort of thing went on. “It really is very extraordinary,” thought she: “he seems as if he was spell-bound—obliged by his notions of politeness to let me pass incognita.”

Mademoiselle was so fully engaged, chattering away, that she did not perceive Dora’s mortification. The less notice Connal took of her, the more Dora wished to attract his attention: not that she desired to please him—no, she only longed to have the pleasure of refusing him. For this purpose the offer must be made—and it was not at all clear that any offer would be made.

When the ladies went to dress before dinner, Mademoiselle, while she was presiding at Dora’s toilette, expressed how much she was delighted with M. de Connal, and asked what her niece thought of him? Dora replied that indeed she did not trouble herself to think of him at all—that she thought him a monstrous coxcomb—and that she wondered what could bring so prodigiously fine a gentleman to the Black Islands.

“Ask your own sense what brought him here! or ask your own looking-glass what shall keep him here!” said Miss O’Faley. “I can tell you he thinks you very handsome already; and when he sees you dress!”

“Really! he does me honour; he did not seem as if he had even seen me, more than any of the trees in the wood, or the chairs in the room.”

“Chairs!—Oh, now you fish for complimens! But I shall not tell you how like he thinks you, if you were mise à la Françoise, to la belle Comtesse de Barnac.”

“But is not it very extraordinary, he absolutely never spoke to me,” said Dora: “a very strange manner of paying his court!”

Mademoiselle assured Dora “that this was owing to M. de Connal’s French habits. The young ladies in Paris passing for nothing, scarcely ever appearing in society till they are married, the gentlemen have no intercourse with them, and it would be considered as a breach of respect due to a young lady or her mother, to address much conversation to her. And you know, my dear Dore, their marriages are all make up by the father, the mother, the friends—the young people themselves never speak, never know nothing at all about each one another, till the contract is sign: in fact, the young lady is the little round what you call cipher, but has no value in société at all, till the figure of de husband come to give it the value.”

“I have no notion of being a cipher,” said Dora: “I am not a French young lady, Monsieur de Connal.”

“Ah, but my dear Dore, consider what is de French wife! Ah! then come her great glory; then she reign over all hearts, and is in full liberté to dress, to go, to come, to do what she like, with her own carriage, her own box at de opera, and—You listen well, and I shall draw all that out for you, from M. de Connal.”

Dora languidly, sullenly begged her aunt would not give herself the trouble—she had no curiosity. But nevertheless she asked several questions about la Comtesse de Barnac; and all the time saying she did not in the least care what he thought or said of her, she drew from her aunt every syllable that M. de Connal had uttered, and was secretly mortified and surprised to find he had said so little. She could not dress herself to her mind to-day, and protesting she did not care how she looked, she resigned herself into her aunt’s hands. Whatever he might think, she should take care to show him at dinner that young ladies in this country were not ciphers.

At dinner, however, as before, all Dora’s preconcerted airs of disdain and determination to show that she was somebody, gave way, she did not know how, before M. de Connal’s easy assurance and polite indifference. His knowledge of the world, and his talents for conversation, with the variety of subjects he had flowing in from all parts of the world, gave him advantages with which there was no possibility of contending.

He talked, and carved—all life, and gaiety, and fashion: he spoke of battles, of princes, plays, operas, wine, women, cardinals, religion, politics, poetry, and turkeys stuffed with truffles—and Paris for ever!—Dash on! at every thing!—hit or miss—sure of the applause of Mademoiselle—and, as he thought, secure of the admiration of the whole company of natives, from le beau-père, at the foot of the table, to the boy who waited, or who did not wait, opposite to him, but who stood entranced with wonder at all that M. de Connal said, and all that he did—even to the fashion in which he stowed trusses of salad into his mouth with a fork, and talked—through it all.

And Dora, what did she think?—she thought she was very much mortified that there was room for her to say so little. The question now was not what she thought of M. de Connal, but what he thought of her. After beginning with various little mock defences, avertings of the head, and twists of the neck, of the shoulders and hips, compound motions resolvable into mauvaise honte and pride, as dinner proceeded, and Monsieur de Connal’s success was undoubted, she silently gave up her resolution “not to admire.”

Before the first course was over, Connal perceived that he had her eye: “Before the second is over,” thought he, “I shall have her ear; and by the time we come to the dessert, I shall be in a fair way for the heart.”

Though he seemed to have talked without any design, except to amuse himself and the company in general, yet in all he had said there had been a prospective view to his object. He chose his means well, and in Mademoiselle he found, at once, a happy dupe and a confederate. Without previous concert, they raised visions of Parisian glory which were to prepare the young lady’s imagination for a French lover or a French husband. M. de Connal was well aware that no matter who touched her heart, if he could pique her vanity.

After dinner, when the ladies retired, old Mr. Connal began to enter upon the question of the intended union between the families—Ormond left the room, and Corny suppressed a deep sigh. M. de Connal took an early opportunity of declaring that there was no truth in the report of his going to be married in England: he confessed that such a thing had been in question—he must speak with delicacy—but the family and connexions did not suit him; he had a strong prejudice, he owned, in favour of ancient family—Irish family; he had always wished to marry an Irish woman—for that reason he had avoided opportunities that might have occurred of connecting himself, perhaps advantageously, in France; he was really ambitious of the honour of an alliance with the O’Shanes. Nothing could be more fortunate for him than the friendship which had subsisted between his father and Mr. O’Shane.—And the promise?—Relinquish it!—Oh! that, he assured Mr. O’Shane, was quite impossible, provided the young lady herself should not make a decided objection—he should abide by her decision—he could not possibly think of pressing his suit, if there should appear any repugnance: in that case, he should be infinitely mortified—he should be absolutely in despair; but he should know how to submit—cost him what it would: he should think, as a man of honour, it was his part to sacrifice his wishes, to what the young lady might conceive to be for her happiness.

He added a profusion of compliments on the young lady’s charms, with a declaration of the effect they had already produced on his heart.

This was all said with a sort of nonchalance, which Corny did not at all like. But Mademoiselle, who was summoned to Corny’s private council, gave it as her opinion, that M. de Connal was already quite in love—quite as much as a French husband ever was. She was glad that her brother-in-law was bound by his promise to a gentleman who would really be a proper husband for her niece. Mademoiselle, in short, saw every thing couleur de rose; and she urged, that, since M. de Connal had come to Ireland for the express purpose of forwarding his present suit, he ought to be invited to stay at Corny Castle, that he might endeavour to make himself acceptable to Dora.

To this Corny acceded. He left Mademoiselle to make the invitation; for, he said, she understood French politeness, and all that, better than he did. The invitation was made and accepted, with all due expressions of infinite delight.

“Well, my dear Harry Ormond,” said Corny, the first moment he had an opportunity of speaking to Harry in private, “what do you think of this man?”

“What Miss O’Shane thinks of him is the question,” said Harry, with some embarrassment.

“That’s true—it was too hard to ask you. But I’ll tell you what I think: between ourselves, Black Connal is better than White, inasmuch as a puppy is better than a brute. We shall see what Dora will say or think soon—the aunt is over head and ears already: women are mighty apt to be taken, one way or other, with a bit of a coxcomb. Vanity—vanity! but still I know—I suspect, Dora has a heart: from me, I hope, she has a right to a heart. But I will say no more till I see which way the heart turns and settles, after all the little tremblings and variations: when it points steady, I shall know how to steer my course. I have a scheme in my head, but I won’t mention it to you, Harry, because it might end in disappointment: so go off to bed and to sleep, if you can; you have had a hard day to go through, my poor honourable Harry.”

And poor honourable Harry had many hard days to go through. He had now to see how Dora’s mind was gradually worked upon, not by a new passion, for Mr. Connal never inspired or endeavoured to inspire passion, but by her own and her aunt’s vanity. Mademoiselle with constant importunity assailed her: and though Dora saw that her aunt’s only wish was to settle in Paris, and to live in a fine hotel; and though Dora was persuaded, that for this, her aunt would without scruple sacrifice her happiness and that of Harry Ormond; yet she was so dazzled by the splendid representation of a Parisian life, as not to see very distinctly what object she had herself in view. Connal’s flattery, too, though it had scarcely any pretence to the tone of truth or passion, yet contrasting with his previous indifference, gratified her. She was sensible that he was not attached to her as Harry Ormond was, but she flattered herself that she should quite turn his head in time. She tried all her power of charming for this purpose, at first chiefly with the intention of exciting Harry’s jealousy, and forcing him to break his honourable resolution. Harry continued her first object for some little time, but soon the idea of piquing him was merely an excuse for coquetry. She imagined that she could recede or advance with her new admirer, just as she thought proper; but she was mistaken: she had now to deal with a man practised in the game: he might let her appear to win, but not for nothing would he let her win a single move; yet he seemed to play so carelessly, as not in the least to alarm, or put her on her guard. The bystanders began to guess how the game would terminate: it was a game in which the whole happiness of Dora’s life was at stake, to say nothing of his own, and Ormond could not look on without anxiety—and, notwithstanding his outwardly calm appearance, without strong conflicting emotions. “If,” said he to himself, “I were convinced that this man would make her happy, I think I could be happy myself.” But the more he saw of Connal, the less he thought him likely to make Dora happy; unless, indeed, her vanity could quite extinguish her sensibility: then, Monsieur de Connal would be just the husband to suit her.

Connal was exactly what he appeared to be—a gay young officer, who had made his own way up in the world—a petit-maître, who had really lived in good company at Paris, and had made himself agreeable to women of rank and fortune. He might, perhaps, as he said, with his figure, and fashion, and connexions, have made his fortune in Paris by marriage, had he had time to look about him—but a sudden run of ill-fortune at play had obliged him to quit Paris for a season. It was necessary to make his fortune by marriage in England or Ireland, and as expeditiously as possible. In this situation, Dora, with her own and her aunt’s property, was, as he considered it, an offer not to be rashly slighted; nor yet was he very eager about the matter—if he failed here, he should succeed elsewhere. This real indifference gave him advantages with Dora, which a man of feeling would perhaps never have obtained, or never have kept. Her father, though he believed in the mutable nature of woman, yet could scarcely think that his daughter Dora was of this nature. He could scarcely conceive that her passion for Harry Ormond—that passion which had, but a short time before, certainly affected her spirits, and put him in fear for her health—could have been conquered by a coxcomb, who cared very little whether he conquered or not.

How was this possible? Good Corny invented many solutions of the problem: he fancied one hour that his daughter was sacrificing herself from duty to him, or complaisance to her aunt; the next hour, he settled, and with more probability, that she was piqued by Harry Ormond’s not showing more passion. King Corny was resolved to know distinctly how the matter really was: he therefore summoned his daughter and aunt into his presence, and the person he sent to summon them was Harry Ormond.

“Come back with them, yourself, Harry—I shall want you also.”

Harry returned with both the ladies. By the countenance of Cornelius O’Shane, they all three augured that he had something of importance to say, and they stood in anxious expectation. He went to the point immediately.

“Dora, I know it is the custom on some occasions for ladies never to tell the truth—therefore I shall not ask any question that I think will put your truth to the test. I shall tell you my mind, and leave you to judge for yourself. Take as long or as short a time to know your own mind as you please—only know it clearly, and send me your answer by your aunt. All I beg is, that when the answer shall be delivered to me, this young man may be by. Don’t interrupt me, Dora—I have a high opinion of him,” said he, keeping his eye upon Dora’s face.

“I have a great esteem, affection, love for him:” he pronounced the words deliberately, that he might see the effect on Dora; but her countenance was as undecided as her mind—no judgment could be formed from its changes. “I wish Harry Ormond,” continued he, “to know all my conduct: he knows that, long ago, I made a foolish promise to give my daughter to a man I knew nothing about.”

Mademoiselle was going to interrupt, but Cornelius O’Shane silenced her. “Mademoiselle—sister O’Faley, I will do the best I can to repair that folly—and to leave you at liberty, Dora, to follow the choice of your heart.”

He paused, and again studied her countenance, which was agitated.

“Her choice is your choice—her father’s choice is always the choice of the good daughter,” said Mademoiselle.

“I believe she is a good daughter, and that is the particular reason I am determined to be as good a father as I can to her.”

Dora wept in silence—and Mademoiselle, a good deal alarmed, wanted to remove Harry Ormond out of the young lady’s sight: she requested him to go to her apartment for a smelling-bottle for her niece.

“No, no,” said King Corny, “go yourself, sister O’Faley, if you like it, but I’ll not let Harry Ormond stir—he is my witness present. Dora is not fainting—if you would only let her alone, she would do well. Dora, listen to me: if you don’t really prefer this Black Connal for a husband to all other men, as you are to swear at the altar you do, if you marry him—”

Dora was strongly affected by the solemn manner of her father’s appeal to her.

“If,” continued her father, “you are not quite clear, my dear child, that you prefer him to other men, do not marry him. I have a notion I can bring you off without breaking my word: listen. I would willingly give half my fortune to secure your happiness, my darling. If I do not mistake him, Mr. Connal would, for a less sum, give me back my promise, and give you up altogether, my dear Dora.”

Dora’s tears stopped, Mademoiselle’s exclamations poured forth, and they both declared they were certain that Mr. Connal would not, for any thing upon earth that could be offered to him, give up the match.

Corny said he was willing to make the trial, if they pleased. Mademoiselle seemed to hesitate; but Dora eagerly accepted the proposal, thanked her father for his kindness, and declared that she should be happy to have, and to abide by, this test of Mr. Connal’s love. If he were so base as to prefer half her fortune to herself, she should, she said, think herself happy in having escaped from such a traitor.

Dora’s pride was wakened, and she now spoke in a high tone: she always, even in the midst of her weaknesses, had an ambition to show spirit.

“I will put the test to him myself, within this hour,” said Corny; “and before you go to bed this night, when the clock strikes twelve, all three of you be on this spot, and I will give you his answer. But stay, Harry Ormond, we have not had your opinion—would you advise me to make this trial?”

“Certainly, sir.”

“But if I should lose half of Dora’s fortune?”

“You would think it well bestowed, I am sure, sir, in securing her from an unhappy marriage.”

“But then she might not, perhaps, so easily find another lover with half a fortune—that might make a difference, hey, Harry?”

“Impossible, I should think, sir, that it could make the least difference in the affection of any one who really—who was really worthy of Miss O’Shane.”

The agitation into which Harry Ormond was thrown, flattered and touched Dora for the moment; her aunt hurried her out of the room.

Cornelius O’Shane rang, and inquired where Mr. Connal was? In his own apartment, writing letters, his servant believed. O’Shane sent to beg to see him, as soon as he was at leisure.

At twelve o’clock Dora, Mademoiselle, and Ormond, were all in the study, punctually as the clock was striking.

“Well, what is M. de Connal’s answer?” cried Mademoiselle.

“If he hesitate, my dear Dore, give him up dat minute.”

“Undoubtedly,” said Dora: “I have too much spirit to do otherwise. What’s his answer, father?”

“His answer, my dear child, has proved that you knew him better than I did—he scorns the offer of half your fortune—for your whole fortune he would not give you up.”

“I thought so,” cried Dora, triumphantly.

“I thought so,” echoed Mademoiselle.

“I did him injustice,” cried Ormond. “I am glad that M. de Connal has proved himself worthy of you, Dora, since you really approve of him—you have not a friend in the world, next to your father, who wishes your happiness more sincerely than I do.”

He hurried out of the room.

“There’s a heart for you!” said Corny.

“Not for me,” said Mademoiselle: “he has no passion in him.”

“I give you joy, Dora,” said her father. “I own I misjudged the man—on account of his being a bit of a coxcomb. But if you can put up with that, so will I—when I have done a man injustice, I will make it up to him every way I can. Now let him, he has my consent, be as great a coxcomb as ever wore red heels. I’ll put up with it all, since he really loves my child. I did not think he would have stood the test.”

Nor would he, had not he been properly prepared by Mademoiselle—she had, before M. de Connal went to Corny, sent him a little billet, which told him the test that would be proposed, and thus prevented all possibility of her dear niece’s being disappointed in her lover or her husband.

Chapter XV • 4,500 Words

Vain of showing that he was not in the slightest degree jealous, Connal talked to Ormond in the freest manner imaginable, touching with indifference even on the very subject which Ormond, from feelings of delicacy and honour, had anxiously avoided. Connal seemed to be perfectly aware how matters had stood before his arrival between Dora and our young hero. “It was all very well,” he said, “quite natural—in the common course of things—impossible it should have been otherwise. A young woman, who saw no one else, must inevitably fall in love with the first agreeable young man who made love to her, or who did not make love to her—it was quite equal to him which. He had heard wonders from his father-in-law elect on that last topic, and he was willing to oblige him, or any other gentleman or lady, by believing miracles.”

Ormond, extremely embarrassed by the want of delicacy and feeling with which this polished coxcomb spoke, had, however, sufficient presence of mind to avoid, either by word or look, making any particular application of what was said.

“You have really prodigious presence of mind, and discretion, and tact, for a young man who has, I presume, had so little practice in these affairs,” said Connal; “but don’t constrain yourself longer. I speak frankly to take off all embarrassment on your part—you see there exists none on mine—never, for a moment: no, how can it possibly signify,” continued he, “to any man of common sense, who, or what a woman liked before she saw him? You don’t think a man, who has seen any thing of the world, would trouble himself to inquire whether he was, or was not, the first love of the woman he is going to marry. To marry—observe the emphasis—distinguish—distinguish, and seriously let us calculate.”

Ormond gave no interruption to his calculations, and the petit-maître, in a tone of philosophic fatuity, asked, “Of the numbers of your English or Irish wives—all excellent—how many, I pray you, do you calculate are now married to the man they first, fell in love with, as they call it? My good sir, not five per cent., depend on it. The thing is morally impossible, unless girls are married out of a convent, as with us in France, and very difficult even then; and after all, what are the French husbands the better for it? I understand English husbands think themselves best off. I don’t pretend to judge; but they seem to prefer what they call domestic happiness to the French esprit de société. Still, this may be prejudice of education—of country: each nation has its taste. Every thing is for the best in this world, for people who know how to make the best of it. You would not think, to look at me, I was so philosophic: but even in the midst of my military career I have thought—thought profoundly. Every body in France thinks now,” said M. de Connal, taking a pinch of snuff with a very pensive air.

Every body in France thinks now!” repeated Ormond.

“Every man of a certain rank, that is to say.”

“That is to say, of your rank,” said Ormond.

“Nay, I don’t give myself as an example; but—you may judge—I own I am surprised to find myself philosophizing here in the Black Islands—but one philosophizes every where.” “And you would have more time for it here, I should suppose, than in Paris?”

“Time, my dear sir—no such thing! Time is merely in idea; but Tais-toi Jean Jacques! Tais-toi Condillac! To resume the chain of our reasoning—love and marriage—I say it all comes to much the same thing in France and in these countries—after all. There is more gallantry, perhaps, before marriage in England, more after marriage in France—which has the better bargain? I don’t pretend to decide. Philosophic doubt for me, especially in cases where ‘tis not worth while to determine; but I see I astonish you, Mr. Ormond.”

“You do, indeed,” said Ormond, ingenuously.

“I give you joy—I envy you,” said M. de Connal, sighing.

“After a certain age, if one lives in the world, one can’t be astonished—that’s a lost pleasure.”

“To me who have lived out of the world it is a pleasure, or rather a sensation—I am not sure whether I should call it a pleasure—that is not likely to be soon exhausted,” said Ormond. “A sensation! and you are not sure whether you should call it a pleasure. Do you know you’ve a genius for metaphysics?”

“I!” exclaimed Ormond.

“Ah! now I have astonished you again. Good! whether pleasurable or not, trust me, nothing is so improving to a young man as to be well astonished. Astonishment I conceive to be a sort of mental electric shock—electric fire; it opens at once and enlightens the understanding: and really you have an understanding so well worth enlightening—I do assure you, that your natural acuteness will, whenever and wherever you appear, make you un homme marquant.”

“Oh! spare me, Mr. Connal,” said Ormond. “I am not used to French compliment.”

“No, upon my honour, without compliment, in all English bonhommie,” (laying his hand upon his heart)—“upon the honour of a gentleman, your remarks have sometimes perfectly astonished me.”

“Really!” said Ormond; “but I thought you had lived so much in the world, you could not be astonished.”

“I thought so, I own,” said Connal; “but it was reserved for M. Ormond to convince me of my mistake, to revive an old pleasure—more difficult still than to invent a new one! In recompense I hope I give you some new ideas—just throw out opinions for you. Accept—reject—reject now—accept an hour, a year hence, perhaps—just as it strikes—merely materials for thinking, I give you.”

“Thank you,” said Ormond; “and be assured they are not lost upon me. You have given me a great deal to think of seriously.”

Seriously!—no; that’s your fault, your national fault. Permit me: what you want chiefly in conversation—in every thing, is a certain degree of—of—you have no English word—lightness.”

Légèreté, perhaps you mean,” said Ormond.

“Precisely. I forgot you understood French so well. Légèreté—untranslatable!—You seize my idea.”

He left Ormond, as he fancied, in admiration of the man who, in his own opinion, possessed the whole theory and practice of the art of pleasing, and the science of happiness.

M. de Connal’s conversation and example might have produced a great effect on the mind of a youth of Ormond’s strong passions, lively imagination, and total ignorance of the world, if he had met this brilliant officer in different society. Had he seen Connal only as a man shining in company, or considered him merely as a companion, he must have been dazzled by his fashion, charmed by his gaiety, and imposed upon by his decisive tone.

Had such a vision lighted on the Black Islands, and appeared to our hero suddenly, in any other circumstances but those in which it did appear, it might have struck and overawed him; and without inquiring “whether from heaven or hell,” he might have followed wherever it led or pointed the way. But in the form of a triumphant rival—without delicacy, without feeling, neither deserving nor loving the woman he had won—not likely to make Dora happy—almost certain to make her father miserable—there was no danger that Black Connal could ever obtain any ascendancy over Ormond; on the contrary, Connal was useful in forming our hero’s character. The electric shock of astonishment did operate in a salutary manner in opening Harry’s understanding: the materials for thinking were not thrown away: he did think—even in the Black Islands; and in judging of Connal’s character, he made continual progress in forming his own: he had motive for exercising his judgment—he was anxious to study the man’s character on Dora’s account.

Seeing his unpolished friend, old Corny, and this finished young man of the world, in daily contrast, Ormond had occasion to compare the real and the factitious, both in matter and manner: he distinguished, and felt often acutely, the difference between that politeness of the heart, which respects and sympathizes with the feelings of others, and that conventional politeness, which is shown merely to gratify the vanity of him by whom it is displayed. In the same way he soon discriminated, in conversation, between Corny’s power of original thinking, and M. de Connal’s knack of throwing old thoughts into new words; between the power of answering an argument, and the art of evading it by a repartee. But it was chiefly in comparing different ideas of happiness and modes of life, that our young hero’s mind was enlarged by Connal’s conversation—whilst the comparison he secretly made between this polished gentleman’s principles and his own, was always more satisfactory to his pride of virtue, than Connal’s vanity could have conceived to be possible.

One day some conversation passed between Connal and his father-in-law elect, as he now always called him, upon his future plans of life.

Good Corny said he did not know how to hope that, during the few years he had to live, Connal would not think of taking his daughter from him to Paris, as, from some words that had dropped from Mademoiselle, he had reason to fear.

“No,” Connal said, “he had formed no such cruel intention: the Irish half of Mademoiselle must have blundered on this occasion. He would do his utmost, if he could with honour, to retire from the service; unless the service imperiously called him away, he should settle in Ireland: he should make it a point even, independently of his duty to his own father, not to take Miss O’Shane from her country and her friends.”

The father, open-hearted and generous himself, was fond to believe what he wished: and confiding in these promises, the old man forgave all that he did not otherwise approve of in his future son-in-law, and thanked him almost with tears in his eyes; still repeating, as his natural penetration remonstrated against his credulity, “But I could hardly have believed this from such a young man as you, Captain Connal. Indeed, how you could ever bring yourself to think of settling in retirement is wonderful to me; but love does mighty things, brings about great changes.”

French commonplaces of sentiment upon love, and compliments on Dora’s charms and his own sensibility, were poured out by Connal, and the father left the room satisfied.

Connal then, throwing himself back in his chair, burst out a laughing, and turning to Ormond, the only person in the room, said, “Could you have conceived this?”

“Conceived what, sir?” said Ormond.

“Conceived this King Corny’s capacity for belief? What!—believe that I will settle in his Black Islands!—I!—As well believe me to be half marble, half man, like the unfortunate in the Black Islands of the Arabian Tales. Settle in the Black Islands!—No: could you conceive a man on earth could be found so simple as to credit such a thing?”

“Here is another man on earth who was simple enough to believe it,” said Ormond, “and to give you credit for it.”

“You!” cried Connal—“That’s too much!—Impossible!”

“But when you said it—when I heard you promise it to Mr. O’Shane—”

“Oh, mercy!—Don’t kill me with laughing!” said he, laughing affectedly: “Oh! that face of yours—there is no standing it. You heard me promise—and the accent on promise. Why, even women, now-a-days, don’t lay such an emphasis on a promise.”

“That, I suppose, depends on who gives it.” said Ormond.

“Rather on who receives it,” said Connal: “but look here, you who understand the doctrine of promises, tell me what a poor conscientious man must do who has two pulling him different ways?”

“A conscientious man cannot have given two diametrically opposite promises.”

Diametrically!—Thank you for that word—it just saves my lost conscience. Commend me always to an epithet in the last resource for giving one latitude of conscience in these nice cases—I have not given two diametrically opposite—no, I have only given four that cross one another. One to your King Corny; another to my angel, Dora; another to the dear aunt; and a fourth to my dearer self. First promise to King Corny, to settle in the Black Islands; a gratuitous promise, signifying nothing—read Burlamaqui: second promise to Mademoiselle, to go and live with her at Paris; with her—on the face of it absurd! a promise extorted too under fear of my life, of immediate peril of being talked to death—see Vatel on extorted promises—void: third promise to my angel, Dora, to live wherever she pleases; but that’s a lover’s promise, made to be broken—see Love’s Calendar, or, if you prefer the bookmen’s authority, I don’t doubt that, under the head of promises made when a man is not in his right senses, some of those learned fellows in wigs would bring me off sain et sauf: but now for my fourth promise—I am a man of honour—when I make a promise intending to keep it, no man so scrupulous; all promises made to myself come under this head; and I have promised myself to live, and make my wife live, wherever I please, or not to live with her at all. This promise I shall bold sacred. Oblige me with a smile, Mr. Ormond—a smile of approbation.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Connal, that is impossible—I am sincere.”

“So am I, and sincerely you are too romantic. See things as they are, as a man of the world, I beseech you.”

“I am not a man of the world, and I thank God for it,” cried Ormond.

“Thank your God for what you please,” said Connal; “but in disdaining to be a man of the world, you will not, I hope, refuse to let me think you a man of common sense.”

“Think what you please of me,” said Ormond, rather haughtily; “what I think of myself is the chief point with me.”

“You will lose this little brusquerie of manner,” said Connal, “when you have mixed more with mankind. Providentially, we are all made dependent on one another’s good opinion. Even I, you see, cannot live without yours.”

Whether from vanity, from the habit of wishing to charm every body in every house he entered, especially any one who made resistance; or whether he was piqued and amused with Ormond’s frank and natural character, and determined to see how far he could urge him, Connal went on, though our young hero gave him no encouragement to hope that he should win his good opinion.

“Candidly,” said he, “put yourself in my place for a moment: I was in England, following my own projects; I was not in love with the girl as you—well, pardon—as anybody might have been—but I was at a distance, that makes all the difference: I am sent for over by two fathers, and I am told that in consequence of my good or evil fortune in being born a twin, and of some inconceivable promise between two Irish fathers over a punch-bowl, I am to have the refusal, I should rather say the acceptance, of a very pretty girl with a very pretty fortune. Now, except just at the moment when the overture reached me, it could not have been listened to for a moment by such a man as I am.”

“Insufferable coxcomb,” said Ormond to himself.

“But, to answer a question, which I omitted to answer just now to my father-in-law,—what could induce me to come over and think of settling in the Black Islands? I answer—for I am determined to win your confidence by my candour—I answer in one word, un billard—a billiard-table. To tell you all, I confess—”

“Confess nothing, I beg, Mr. Connal, to me, that you do not wish to be known to Mr. O’Shane: I am his friend—he is my benefactor.”

“You would not repeat—you are a gentleman, and a man of honour.”

“I am; and as such I desire, on this occasion, not to hear what I ought neither to repeat nor to keep secret. It is my duty not to leave my benefactor in the dark as to any point.”

“Oh! come—come,” interrupted Connal, “we had better not take it on this serious tone, lest, if we begin to talk of duty, we should presently conceive it to be our duty to run one another through the body, which would be no pleasure.”

“No pleasure,” said Ormond; “but if it became a duty, I hope, on all occasions, I should be able to do whatever I thought a duty. Therefore to avoid any misunderstanding, Mr. Connal, let me beg that you will not honour me farther with your confidence. I cannot undertake to be the confidant of any one, of whom I have never professed myself to be the friend.”

“Ca suffit,” said Connal, lightly. “We understand one another now perfectly’—you shall in future play the part of prince, and not of confidant. Pardon me, I forgot your highness’s pretensions;” so saying, he gaily turned on his heel, and left the room.

From this time forward little conversation passed between Mr. Connal and Ormond—little indeed between Ormond and Dora. With Mademoiselle, Ormond had long ceased to be a favourite, and even her loquacity now seldom addressed itself to him. He was in a painful situation;—he spent as much of his time as he could at the farm his friend had given him. As soon as O’Shane found that there was no truth in the report of Black Connal’s intended marriage in England, that he claimed in earnest his promise of his daughter, and that Dora herself inclined to the new love, his kind heart felt for poor Harry.

Though he did not know all that had passed, yet he saw the awkwardness and difficulty of Ormond’s present situation, and, whatever it might cost him to part with his young friend, with his adopted son, Corny determined not to detain him longer.

“Harry Ormond, my boy,” said he to him one day, “time for you to see something of the world, also for the world to see something of you; I’ve kept you here for my own pleasure too long: as long as I had any hope of settling you as I wished ‘twas a sufficient excuse to myself; but now I have none left—I must part with you: and so, by the blessing, God helping me to conquer my selfishness, and the yearnings of my heart towards you, I will. I mean,” continued he, “to send you far from me—to banish you for your good from the Black Islands entirely. Nay, don’t you interrupt me, nor say a word; for if you do, I shall be too soft to have the heart to do you justice. You know you said yourself, and I felt it for you, that it was best you should leave this. Well, I have been thinking of you ever since, and licking different projects into shape for you—listening too to every thing Connal threw out; but all he says that way is in the air—no substance, when you try to have and to hold—too full of himself, that youngster, to be a friend to another.”

“There is no reason why he should be my friend, sir,” said Ormond—“I do not pretend to be his; and I rejoice in not being under any obligations to him.”

“Right!—and high!—just as I feel for you. After all, I approve of your own wish to go into the British service in preference to any foreign service, and you could not be of the Irish brigade—Harry.”

“Indeed, sir, I infinitely prefer,” said Ormond, “the service of my own country—the service in which my father—I know nothing of my father, but I have always heard him spoken of as a good officer; I hope I shall not disgrace his name. The English service for me, sir, if you please.”

“Why, then, I’m glad you see things as I do, and are not run away with by uniform, and all that. I have lodged the needful in the bank, to purchase a commission for you, my son. Now! no more go to thank me, if you love me, Harry, than you would your own father. I’ve written to a friend to choose a regiment in which there’d be as little danger as possible for you.”

“As little danger as possible!” repeated Harry, surprised.

“Phoo! you don’t think I mean as little danger of fighting. I would not wrong you so. No—but as little danger of gambling. Not that you’re inclined to it, or any thing else that’s bad—but there is no knowing what company might lead the best into; and it is my duty and inclination to look as close to all these things as if for my own son.”

“My kind father—no father could be kinder,” cried Harry, quite overpowered.

“So then you go as soon as the commission comes—that’s settled; and I hope I shall be able to bear it, Harry, old as I am. There may perhaps be a delay of a little time longer than you could wish.”

“Oh! sir, as long as you wish me to stay with you—”

“Not a minute beyond what’s necessary. I mention the cause of delay, that you may not think I’m dallying for my own sake. You remember General Albemarle, who came here one day last year—election time, canvassing—the general that had lost the arm.”

“Perfectly, sir, I remember your answer—‘I will give my interest to this empty sleeve.’”

“Thank you—never a word lost upon you. Well, now I have hopes that this man—this general, will take you by the hand; for he has a hand left yet, and a powerful one to serve a friend; and I’ve requested him to keep his eye upon you, and I have asked his advice: so we can’t stir till we get it, and that will be eight days, or ten, say. My boy, you must bear on as you are—we have the comfort of the workshop to ourselves, and some rational recreation; good shooting we will have soon too, for the first time this season.”

Among the various circumstances which endeared Harry to our singular monarch, his skill and keenness as a sportsman were not inconsiderable: he knew where all the game in the island was to be found; so that, when his good old patron was permitted by the gout to take the field, Harry’s assistance saved him a vast deal of unnecessary toil, and gratified him in his favourite amusement, whilst he, at the same time, sympathized in the sport. Corny, besides being a good shot, was an excellent mechanic: he beguiled the hours, when there was neither hunting nor shooting, in a workshop which was furnished with the best tools. Among the other occupations at the work-bench, he was particularly skilful in making and adjusting the locks of guns, and in boring and polishing the inside of their barrels to the utmost perfection: he had contrived and executed a tool for the enlarging the barrel of a gun in any particular part, so as to increase its effect in adding to the force of the discharge, and in preventing the shot from scattering too widely.

The hope of the success of his contrivance, and the prospect of going out with Harry on the approaching first of September, solaced King Corny, and seemed to keep up his spirits, through all the vexation he felt concerning Connal and this marriage, which evidently was not to his taste. It was to Dora’s, however, and was becoming more evidently so every hour—and soon M. Connal pressed, and Mademoiselle urged, and Dora named—the happy day—and Mademoiselle, in transports, prepared to go to Dublin, with her niece, to choose the wedding-clothes, and, Connal to bespeak the equipages.

Mademoiselle was quick in her operations when dress was in question: the preparations for the delightful journey were soon made—the morning for their departure came—the carriage and horses were sent over the water early—and O’Shane and Harry afterwards accompanied the party in the boat to the other side of the lake, where the carriage waited with the door open. Connal, after handing in Mademoiselle, turned to look for his destined bride—who was taking leave of her father—Harry Ormond standing by. The moment she quitted her father’s embrace, Father Jos poured with both his hands on her head the benedictions of all the saints. Released from Father Jos, Captain Connal hurried her on: Harry held out his hand to her as she passed. “Good bye, Dora—probably I shall never see you again.”

“Oh, Harry!” said she, one touch of natural feeling stopping her short—“Oh, Harry!—Why?” Bursting into tears, she drew her hand from Connal, and gave it to Harry: Harry received the hand openly and cordially, shook it heartily, but took no advantage and no notice of the feelings by which he saw her at that moment agitated.

Forgive!” she began.

“Good bye, dear Dora. God bless you—may you be as happy—half as happy, as I wish you to be!”

“To be sure she will—happy as the day is long,” said Mademoiselle, leaning out of the carriage: “why will you make her cry, Mr. Ormond, spoiling her eyes at parting? Come in to me—Dora, M. de Connal is waiting to hand you, mon enfant.”

“Is her dressing-box in, and all right?” asked Captain Connal, as he handed Dora into the carriage, who was still weeping.

“Bad compliment to M. de Connal, mon amie. Vrai scandale!” said Mademoiselle, pulling up the glass, while Dora sunk back in the carriage, sobbing without restraint.

“Good morning,” said Connal, who had now mounted his Mr. Ormond, “Adieu, Mr. Ormond—command me in any way you please. Drive on!”

Chapter XVI • 3,400 Words

The evening after the departure of the happy trio, who were gone to Dublin to buy wedding-dresses, the party remaining at Castle Corny consisted only of King Corny, Ormond, and Father Jos. When the candles were lighted, his majesty gave a long and loud yawn, Harry set the backgammon table for him, and Father Jos, as usual, settled himself in the chimney corner; “And now Mademoiselle’s gone,” said he, “I shall take leave to indulge myself in my pipe.”

“You were on the continent this morning, Father Jos,” said Cornelius. “Did ye learn any news for us? Size ace! that secures two points.”

“News! I did,” said Father Jos.

“Why not tell it us, then?”

“I was not asked. You both seemed so wrapped up, I waited my time and opportunity. There’s a new parson come to Castle Hermitage.”

“What new person?” said King Corny. “Doublets, aces, Harry.”

“A new parson I’m talking of,” said Father Jos, “that has just got the living there; and they say Sir Ulick’s mad about it, in Dublin, where he is still.”

“Mad!—Three men up—and you can’t enter, Harry. Well, what is he mad about?”

“Because of the presentation to the living,” replied the priest, “which government wouldn’t make him a compliment of, as he expected.”

“He is always expecting compliments from government,” said Corny, “and always getting disappointments. Such throws as you have, Harry—Sixes! again—Well, what luck!—all over with me—It is only a hit at any rate! But what kind of man,” continued he, “is this new clergyman?”

“Oh! them parsons is all one kind,” said Father Jos.

“All one kind! No, no more than our own priests,” said Corny. “There’s good and bad, and all the difference in life.”

“I don’t know any thing at all about it,” said Father Jos, sullenly; “but this I know, that no doubt he’ll soon be over here, or his proctor, looking for the tithes.”

“I hope we will have no quarrels,” said Corny.

“They ought to be abolished,” said Father Jos, “the tithes, that is, I mean.”

“And the quarrels, too, I hope,” said Ormond.

“Oh! It’s not our fault if there’s quarrels,” said Father Jos.

“Faults on both sides generally in all quarrels,” said Corny.

“In lay quarrels, like enough,” said Father Jos. “In church quarrels, it don’t become a good Catholic to say that.”

“What?” said Corny.

That,” said the priest.

“Which?” said Corny.

“That which you said, that there’s faults on both sides; sure there’s but one side, and that’s our own side, can be in the right there can’t be two right sides, can there? and consequently there won’t be two wrong sides, will there?—Ergo, there cannot, by a parity of rasoning, be two sides in the wrong.”

“Well, Harry, I’ll take the black men now, and gammon you,” said Corny. “Play away, man—what are you thinking of? is it of what Father Jos said? ‘tis beyond the limits of the human understanding.”

Father Jos puffed away at his pipe for some time.

“I was tired and ashamed of all the wrangling for two-pence with the last man,” said King Corny, “and I believe I was sometimes too hard and too hot myself; but if this man’s a gentleman, I think we shall agree. Did you hear his name, or any thing at all about him, Father?”

“He is one of them refugee families, the Huguenots, banished France by the adict of Nantz, they say, and his name’s Cambray.”

“Cambray!” exclaimed Ormond.

“A very good name,” said O’Shane; “but what do you know of it, Harry?”

“Only, sir, I happened to meet with a Dr. Cambray the winter I was in Dublin, whom I thought a very agreeable, respectable, amiable man—and I wonder whether this is the same person.”

“There is something more now, Harry Ormond, I know by your face,” said Corny: “there’s some story of or belonging to Dr. Cambray—what is it?”

“No story, only a slight circumstance—which, if you please, I’d rather not tell you, sir,” said Ormond.

“That is something very extraordinary, and looks mysterious,” said Father Jos.

“Nothing mysterious, I assure you,” said Ormond,—“a mere trifle, which, if it concerned only myself, I would tell directly.”

“Let him alone, father,” said King Corny; “I am sure he has a good reason—and I’m not curious: only let me whisper this in your ear to show you my own penetration, Harry—I’d lay my life” (said he, stretching over and whispering), “I’d lay my life Miss Annaly has something to do with it.”

“Miss Annaly!—nothing in the world—only—yes, I recollect she was present.”

“There now—would not any body think I’m a conjuror? a physiognomist is cousin to (and not twice removed from) a conjuror.”

“But I assure you, though you happened to guess right partly as to her being present, you are totally mistaken, sir, as to the rest.”

“My dear Harry, totally means wholly: if I’m right in a part, I can’t be mistaken in the whole. I am glad to make you smile, any way—and I wish I was right altogether, and that you was as rich as Croesus into the bargain; but stay a bit, if you come home a hero from the wars—that may do—ladies are mighty fond of heroes.”

It was in vain that Ormond assured his good old imaginative friend that he was upon a wrong scent. Cornelius stopped to humour him; but was convinced that he was right: then turned to the still smoking Father Jos, and went on asking questions about Dr. Cambray.

“I know nothing at all about him,” said Father Jos, “but this, that Father M’Cormuck has dined with him, if I’m not misinformed, oftener than I think becoming in these times—making too free! And in the chapel last Sunday, I hear he made a very extraordinary address to his flock—there was one took down the words, and handed them to me: after remarking on the great distress of the season—first and foremost about the keeping of fast days the year—he allowed the poor of his flock, which is almost all, to eat meat whenever offered to them, because, said he, many would starve—now mark the obnoxious word—‘if it was not for their benevolent Protestant neighbours, who make soup and broth for them.’”

“What is there obnoxious in that?” said Cornelius.

“Wait till you hear the end—‘and feed and clothe the distressed.’”

“That is not obnoxious either, I hope,” said Ormond, laughing.

“Young gentleman, you belong to the establishment, and are no judge in this case, permit me to remark,” said Father Jos; “and I could wish Mr. O’Shane would hear to the end, before he joins in a Protestant laugh.”

“I’ve heard of a ‘Protestant wind’ before,” said Harry, “but not of a Protestant laugh.”

“Well, I’m serious, Father Jos,” said Corny; “let me hear to the end what makes your face so long.”

“‘And, I am sorry to say, show more charity to them than their own people, the rich Catholics, sometimes do.’ If that is not downright slander, I don’t know what is,” said Father Jos.

“Are you sure it is not truth, Father?” said Corny.

“And if it was, even, so much the worse, to be telling it in the chapel, and to his flock—very improper in a priest, very extraordinary conduct!”