« 前へ次へ »
round the bed post, repeated verses nine times, and went backwards into bed, she was sure to dream of Lubin ; or, if she put apple pippins on her cheeks, and gave them names, Lubin was sure to stick close, though all the rest fell off; then, if she pared a turnip and threw the rind over her head, it would be sure to make the letter L; and, therefore, to doubt him was impossible, yet she was very unhappy at the delay. She feared he was either ill, or his father would not consent ; but how to get a letter sent to him was the difficulty : she had money enough (for Mr. Steady gave her plenty) to pay any body well, yet who to trust she could not tell ; and if thcy were to betray her, what could she then do? Mr. Steady would send her home, and her mother would perhaps turn her out of doors.
It was a trying situation, she knew not what was to become of her ; it was now the 28th of April, and on May-day she was to be married : the wedding clothes were making, but the pretty white silk dress, all trimmed with satin ribbon, so fine and handsome, to her looked very ugly indeed. The mantuamaker was just gone, and she was sitting crying when Floretta came in. Floretta was her waiting maid, a good-natured smart girl, who grieved to see her young mistress so continually unhappy ; but she feared to own her pity, or try to serve her with Lubin, lest she should offend her master who had been very kind to her father and mother : yet she thought it very odd so good a man should do such a wicked thing as force a young creature to marry him against her will; and feeling certain that if it was her case she should certainly run away from him. She thought too it was better Gillian should run away before her marriage than after ; and determined to try some way or other to serve her.
“What do you cry for, Miss Gillian ?" said she, as she entered the room.
« Isn't it enough to make any one cry, Floretta ? am I not going to be married ?"
“ The thought of going to be married makes most girls laugh and be merry.”
“ Ay, that is when they are going to marry the man they like. Heigho! you have no pity for me, Floretta, or you would find out some way to help
“What fault have you to find with Mr. Steady? he is a very good man.
" Oh! yes, I know that ; so is a haystack very good; but I don't see why I should be obliged to eat one : why doesn't he marry old nurse Grimshaw ? she would suit him better by half than me.
Why don't you tell him so ?” “So I would if I thought he would not be angry: suppose, Floretta, I was to tell him he is very disagreeable, and that I hate the very sight of him; do you think he would let me marry Lubin ?"
“ It would be a curious mode of courting his favour; but I really think something should be done. But what can keep Lubin so long ? he ought to have come back two months ago. Suppose we were to get somebody to go to him, and find out if he is faithful, and if he is
Oh! my dear, dear Floretta, that is the very thing I have been thinking of; but I did not know who to trust; but what does it matter now ? we could not hear in time to prevent my marrying Mr. Steady!”
“Why, that's true ; let me see, I have it ; can't you contrive to be taken ill on May-day morning? and then the wedding must be put off, you know.”
“I don't know ; I never was ill but when I had the hooping-cough ; but if you'll tell me what to do---"
“Why, then, in the first place, you must faint away, and then I'll scream for help, and throw a jug of cold water over you, and rub your temples with hartshorn, and burn feathers under your nose, and
roar and bellow, swear you are dying, and frighten my poor master out of his seventeen senses.
Gillian was in raptures to find Floretta her friend; and, while the latter left her to seek out some one who could be trusted as a messenger to seek Lubin, she, like a bird just let out of a cage, was gaily singing
Again I feeliny bosom bound,
Ju every pulse new pleasures beat. when Mr. S.eady came to inquire how she liked her wedding clothes?
“ I should like them very well (said Gillian) if I were going to be married to Lubin.”
“And wherefore, Gillian, shouldst thou prefer Lubin unto me? do I not love thee as much as he does?”
Perhaps you may, Sir, but I don't love you !" “ And yet thou shouldst love me ; do I not give thec every thing thou canst wish for ? am I not thy friend ?"
“ Yes, indeed! and indeed you are very good to me, and I love you as a father ; but I can never love you as a husband, unless—unless~"
“ linless what, Gillian ?”
“ Unless Lubin was to grow old and ugly like you, and you become young and handsome like him."
“ Fair maiden, thou art a lover of vanity ; yea, verily the pomps and vanities of this world are likely to seduce thee from thy duty : beauty is a mask.”
“ But it is a very pretty mask, Sir; and I should like to look on it always.
“ Lubin will be old as well as me, Gillian, if he lives long enough.”
“Oh! yes, I know that; but then we shall both grow old together, and neither of us can reproach the other."
“ Well, well, maiden, we will speak of this another time ; thou wilt make one in the sports on the green on May-day, and thou wilt not perhaps at last be sorry that thou art beloved by Steady, the aged quaker; good bye, sweetheart ; good bye, umph!”
“News! news! ma'am (said Floretta, jumping in), good news! Lubin is arrived ; come to my window, and you shall see him walking in the churchyard, and then we'll consult what is best to be done."
It was indeed true ; Lubin was returned. His long delay had been occasioned by the illness and death of his poor old father, who had bequeathed him all his property ; and he was now come to fetch Gillian to his native village, where he wished they should live after they were married. He was wearied with his long journey, having walked upwards of a hundred miles; for in those days there were few opportunities of travelling but on foot, except for those who kept carriages, or could afford to hire horses. Lubin's heart danced with joy as he drew near Maybury; and he pictured to himself the jovial welcome of the old couple,
and the blushing constrained pleasure of his pretty Gillian. He approached the door, and gave a smart rap, which not being answered, he knocked again, and w 13 surprised at being answered by old Cicely from the window; who, pretending not to know him, bade him go about his business, as she was busy. But Lubin not choosing to be answered
80, she came down and met him outside the door, not giving him any invitation to enter the house. She
informed him of Gillian's expected greatness, and told him he might be jogging while his boots were green, for she had not any thing to say to him ; he remonstrated, but all to no purpose; the old woman only laughed at him, and bidding him good bye, shut the door in his face. Resolved not to be so easily repulsed, he lingered about the cottage in hope of seeing Gillian, and learning from her whether it was by her own consent she was going to be married to the rich quaker ; and while waiting, farmer Easy returned from his corn-fields, where he had been directing his labourers. Lubin accosted him, but gained little satisfaction. Easy told him it was his wife's wish ; she and Gillian had settled it all their own way, and he had nothing to do with it, as he never interfered with women's business, they knew best what pleased 'em; and he advised him to seek for a wife in his own station of life, and think no more about Gillian ; she was not for him, and there was an end.
Poor Lubin, almost distracted, was wandering up and down the churchyard when Floretta spied him; who would fain have spoke to him, but dared not lest her master should see her. She consulted Gillian what was best to be done, and it was resolved to send for Lubin to speak to them at the garden gate in the evening, and the messenger fixed upon was Solomon, Mr. Steady's own man, a lover of Floretta's : at least he wished to be one ; and it pleased Floretta, who was a flirt, to amuse herself with his formality and awkwardness. He was tall and thin, and walked so upright that never by any chance did he see his own toes; full of proverbs and wise sayings ; near fifty years of age ; and so intolerably ugly that it was the very essence of vanity which