ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

into the wrong direction. “Ah!” he position of his coat-pocket required exclaimed, after a pause, “if this un that he should take it from before! natural state of affairs should prove This I should have conceived enough permanent-hem!—I'll put an end to to put an end to his delusion, but I ihe chapter! He-he-he! He-he- was mistaken. he!” he continued, bursting sudden “ Ah! it will take some time to rely into one of those short abrupt concile me to this new order of things laughs, which I have before attempted - but practice-practice,you know!" to describe. “ He-he-he! how It was amazing to me, that his send-d odd !” We both asked him, in sations, so contradictory to the absurprise, what he meant, for his eyes surd crotchet he had taken into his were fixed on the fire in apparently head, did not convince him of his a melancholy mood.

error, especially when so frequently “ Hehe-he! exquisitely odd, compelled to act in obedience to long by G-! He-he-he!” After re accustomed impulses. As, for inpeated enquiries, he disclosed the oc stance, on my rising to go, he sudcasion of his unusual cachinnations. denly started from his chair, shook

“I've just been thinking,” said he, my hands, and accompanied me to suppose-He, he, he!-suppose it the door, as if nothing had been the was to come to pass that I should be matter. hanged-he, he, be! God forbid, by “ Well now! What do you think the way; but, suppose I should, how of that ?' said I, triumphantly. old Ketch would be puzzled !-my

“Ah-ah!" said he, after a puzface looking one way, and my tied zled pause, “ but you little know the hands and arms pointing another! effort it cost me!" How the crowd would stare! He, he, he! And suppose,” pursuing the He did not persevere long in the train of thought, “I were to be pub- absurd way of putting on his

clothes licly whipped—how I could su which I have just described; but perintend operations! And how the even after he had discontinued it, devil am I to ride on horseback, eh? he alleged his opinion to be, that the with my face to the tail, or

front of his clothes ought to be with the mane? In short, what is to be- his face! I might relate many simicome of me? I am, in effect, shut out lar fooleries springing from this nofrom society !"

tion of his turned head, but sufficient “You have only to walk circum- has been said already to give the spectly,said M “and as for reader a clear idea of the general back-biters-hem.”

to

.

character of such delusions. My “That's odd-very-but imperti- subsequent interviews with him, nent," replied the hypochondriac, while under this unprecedented halwith a mingled expression of chagrin lucination, were similar to the two and humour.

which I have attempted to describe. “ Come, come, N-, don't look The fit lasted near a month. I hap. 80 steadily on the dark side of pened luckily to recollect a device things,” said I.

successfully resorted to byasagacious " The dark side of things ?” he en- old English physician, in the case of quired—“I think it is the back-side a royal hypochondriac abroad, who of things I am compelled to look fancied that his nose had swelled

into greater dimensions than those of Look forward to better days,” his whole body beside; and forthsaid I.

with resolved to adopt a similar me" Look forward, again! What non thod of cure with N- Electric sense!” he replied, interrupting me; city was to be the wonder-working “impossible! How can I look for- talisman! I lectured him out of all ward? My life will henceforth be opposition, silenced his scruples, and spent in wretched retrospectives !got him to fix an evening for the exand he could not help smiling at the orcisation of the evil spirit-as it conceit. Having occasion during the might well be called-which had conversation to use his pocket-hand- taken possession of him. Let the kerchief, he suddenly reached his reader fancy, then, N—'s sittinghand behind as usual, and was a room, about seven o'clock in the little confused to find that the usual evening, illuminated with a cheerful

at!

[ocr errors]

fire, and four mould candles ;-themered N-faintly-quite conawful electrifying machine duly dis- founded with the effects of the threeposed for action; Mr

Sof fold remedy we had adopted. Hospital, Dr and myself, all “ Yes-thank God, we have at last standing round it, adjusting the jars, brought your head round again, and chains, &c.; and Nambo busily en- your face looks forward now as gaged in laying bare his master's heretofore !" said I. neck, NJ

all the while eyeing O, remove the bandage-remove our motions with excessive trepida- it! Let my own eyesight behold it! tion. I had infinite difficulty in get- --Bring me a glass!” ting his consent to one preliminary “ As soon as the proper bandages

the bandaging of his eyes. I suc- have been applied to your neck, Mr ceeded, however, at last, in persua- N-" ding him to undergo the operation “What, eh-a second pudding, eh?” blindfolded, in assuring him that it “ No, merely a broad band of was essential to success; for that if dyachlym plaster, to prevent-hem he was allowed to see the applica- - the contraction of the skin," said tion of the conductor to the precise I. As soon as that was done, we spot requisite, he might start, and removed the handkerchiefs from his occasion its apposition to a wrong eyes and arms. place! The real reason will be seen “Oh, my God, how delightful !" presently; the great manæuvre could he exclaimed, rising and walking up not have been practised but on such to the mirror over the mantel-piece. terms; for how could I give his head “ Ecstasy! All really right again”a sudden twist round at the instant My dear N- do not, I beg, of his receiving the shock, if he saw do not work your neck about in that what I was about? I ought to have way, or the most serious disarrangementioned that we also prevailed ment of the-the parts," said I— upon him to sit with his arms pinion- “Oh, it's so, is it? Then I'd better ed, so that he was completely at our get into bed at once, I think, and mercy. None of us could refrain you'll call in the morning.” from an occasional titter at the ab- I did, and found him in bed.“Well, surdity of the solemn farce we were how does all go on this morning ?" playing-fortunately, however, un- I enquired. heard by N- At length, Nambo Pretty well-middling,” he rebeing turned out, and the doors lock- plied, with some embarrassment of ed, lest, seeing the trick, he might manner. Do you know, Doctor, disclose it subsequently to his master, I've been thinking about it all night we commenced operations. S-long-and I strongly suspect”- His worked the machine-round, and serious air alarmed me-I began to round, and round, whizzing-spark- fear that he had discovered the ling-crackling-till the jar was mo- trick. "I strongly suspect-hemderately charged: it was then con- hem"- he continued. veyed to N-'s neck, Dr— using " What?" I enquired, rather sheepthe conductor. N-, on receiving ishly. a tolerably smart shock, started out Why, that it was my brains only of his chair, and I had not time to that were turned-and-that-that give him the twist I had intended. -most ridiculous piece of busiAfter a few moments, however, he ness"protested that he felt "something Why, to be sure, Mr N" loosened” about his neck, and was * and he was so ashamed about easily induced to submit to another it, that he set off for the country shock considerably stronger than the immediately, and among the glens former. The instant the rod was and mountains of Scotland, endeaapplied to his neck, I gave the head voured to forget that ever he dreama sudden excruciating

rench to ed that his HEAD WAS TURNED. wards the left shoulder, S-striking him, at the same moment, a smart blow on the crown. Poor N-!-" Thank God!” we all ex- Monday Evening, 25th July, 184, claimed, as if panting for breath. -Well! the poor martyr has at last

" [-i-s it all over ?” stam- been released from her sufferings,

THE WIFE.

and her wasted remains now lie hid pend, and fair prospects of preferin the kindly gloom of the grave. ment. His person and manners were Yes, sweet, abused, forgiving Mrs agreeable and engaging; and he could T! I this morning attended your not conceal his inclination to fling funeral, and let fall a tear of unavail- them both at Miss C's feet. Ali ing regret! Shall I tell your

sad story who knew the parties, said it would all in one word or two ? The blow be an excellent match in all respects, that broke your heart, was struck by and a happy couple they would make. YOUR HUSBAND !

Miss Cherself could not look at Heaven grant me calmness in record- the Curate with indifference—at least ing your wrongs! Let not the feel- if any inference might be drawn from ing of outraged humanity prompt an occasional flushing of her features me to " set down aught in malice;" at church, whenever the eyes of the may I be dispassionately enough dis- clergyman happened to glance at her posed to say but the half, nay even -which was much oftener than his the hundredth part only, of what I duty required. In short, the motherly know, and my conscience will stand gossips of the place all looked upon acquitted! Let not him who shall it as a settled thing, and had pitched read these pages anticipate any thing upon an admirable house for the fuof romance, of high-flown rhodomon- ture couple. They owned unanitade, in what follows. It is all about mously that “ the girl might have a poor, ill-used, heart-broken wife: gone further and fared worse," and and such a one is, alas ! too often so forth ; which is a great deal for met with in all classes of society, to such people to say about such matattract, in an ordinary case, any thing ters. of public notice. The ensuing narra- There happened, however, to be tion will not, however, be found an given a great ball, by the lady of the ordinary case. It is fraught with cir- Ex-Mayor, where Miss C-was cumstances of such peculiar aggra- one of the stars of the evening; and vation, and exhibits such a moving at this party there chanced to be a picture of the tenderness and unre- young Londoner, who had just come pining fortitude of woman, that I am down on a three-weeks' holyday. He tempted to give it at some length. was training for the law, in a soliciIts general accuracy may be relied tor's office, and was within six or upon, for I succeeded in wringing seven months of the expiration of his it from the reluctant lips of the poor articles. He was a personable sort sufferer herself. I must, however, be of fellow to look at--a spice of a allowed to give it in my own way; dandy-and bad that kind of air about though at the risk of its being thereby him which tells of town—if not of divested of much of that sorrowful the blandness, ease, and elegance of simplicity and energy—that touching the West, still of town—which connaiveté, which characterised its ut- trasted favourably with the compaterance. I shall conclude with ex- rative ungainliness of provincials. He tracting some portions of my notes was, in a word, a sort of small star ; of visits made in a professional capa- a triton among the minnows; and city.

whatever he said or did took infalliMiss Jane C— had as numerous bly. Apprised by some judicious rea retinue of suitors as a pretty per- lations of the united charms of Miss son, well-known sweetness of dis- C-'s purse and person, he took position, considerable accomplish- care to pay her the most conspicuous ments, and L.10,000 in the funds, attentions. Alas ! the quiet claims could not fail of procuring to the of the Curate were soon silenced by possessor of so many charms. She his bustling rival. This young spark was an orphan, and was left absolute chattered Miss C-out of her calm mistress of her property on attaining senses. Wherever she went, he folher twenty-first year. All the mem- lowed; whatever she said or did, he bers of her own family most strenu- applauded. He put into requisition ously backed the pretensions of the all his small acquirements-he sung Curate of the parish-a young man a little, danced more, and talked an of ascertained respectability of cha- infinity. To be brief

, he determined racter and family, with a snug sti- on carrying the fort with a coup de VOL. XXIX, NO. CLXXV.

н

main ; and he succeeded. The poor right, had Mr T-paid but a moCurate was forgotten for ever! Be- derate attention to business; for his fore the enterprising young lawyer father had the command of an exleft he was an accepted suitor cellent town connexion, which soon of Miss Cm's. The coldness of all put enough into his son's hands her friends and acquaintances signi- to keep two clerks in regular emfied nothing to her; her lover had, ployment. His wife was soon shockby some means or other, obtained so ed by hearing her husband make inpowerful a hold of her affections, cessant complaints of the drudgery that sneers, reproaches, remonstran- of the office, though he did not deces, threats on the part of all who vote, on an average, more than two had previously betrothed her to the or three hours a day to it. He was Curate,“ passed by her as the idle always proposing some new party, wind, which she regarded not." She some delightful drive, some enchantpromised to become his wife as soon ing excursion, to her, and she dared as his articles should have expired, not refuse, for he had, already, once and to live in London.

disclosed symptoms of a most impeIn due time, as matters approached rious temper whenever his will was a crisis, friends called in to talk over interfered with. She began to grow preliminaries. Mr T-proved to very uneasy, as she saw him drawing be comparatively penniless; but what cheque after cheque on the banker, was that? Miss Cacted with without once replacing a single sum! very unusual generosity. She insist. Good God, what was to become of ed on settling only half her fortune- them? He complained of the tardy and left the other half entirely at his return of business; and yet he left it disposal. On receiving this intelli- altogether to the management of two gence from her own lips, the young hired clerks! He was beginning man uttered the most frantic expres- also to grow irregular in his hours ; sions of gratitude - promised her reiteratedly kept her waiting hours eternal love and faithfulness-pro- expecting his return to dinner in tested that he idolized her—and took vain; filled his table with frequent her at her word. It was in vain that drafts from the gayest and most discautious relations stepped in to tender sipated of his professional acquainttheir remonstrances to Miss C ance, whose uproar, night after night, on the imprudent extent to which alarmed every one in the house, and she was placing her fortune beyond disturbed the neighbours. Then her own control. Opposition only he took to billiard-playing, and its consolidates the resolutions of a wo- invariable concomitants - drinking man whose mind is once made up. and late hours ;-the theatres, freThe generous creature believed im- quented alone, for the purpose-alas! plicitly every word that her lover too notorious to escape even the poured into her delighted ear; and chaste ears of his unfortunate and was not startled into any thing like insulted wife-of mingling with the distrust, even when she found that low wretches — the harpies-who her young husband had expended, at frequent the slips and saloons;—then one fell swoop, nearly L.3000 of the “ drinking-bouts” at taverns-and L.5000 she had so imprudently placed midnight “larks”-in company with at his disposal, in “establishing them a set of vulgar, ignorant young felselves in London,” as he termed it

. He lows, who always left him to settle the commenced a rate of living which it reckoning. He sent one of the clerks required an income of at least L.1000 to his banker's, with a cheque for L.10 a-year to support; and when an uncle one morning; which proved to be the of his wife's took upon him to repre- exact amount by which he had “oversent to Mr T-the ruinous extra- drawn” his account-and worsevagance--the profligate expenditure returned without the usual accomof his wife's funds-which all their modation afforded. He was a little mutual friends were lamenting and dismayed at finding such to be the reprobating, he was treated with an state of things, and went up stairs insolence which for ever put an end to his wife to tell her, with a curse, to his interference, and effectually of the " meanness"-the d -d prevented that of any other party. stinginess," of Messrs

All, however, might yet have gone “What! Is it all spent, George ?”

her eyes.

she enquired, in a gentle and very nearly L.300-all due-all from crefaint tone of voice.

ditors who refused him longer cre“Every rap-d-ee, Jane !” was dit, and all for articles which had the reply. She turned pale, and ministered nothing to his poor wife's trembled, while her husband, putting comforts or necessities. She burst his hands in his pockets, walked sud- into tears, as she looked over the denly to and fro about the parlour. bills scattered on the table, and With trembling hesitation, Mrs T-flinging her arms round her husalluded to the near approach of her band's neck, implored him to pay confinement, and asked, almost in more attention to business. audible with agitation, and the fear "I tell you I do," he replied, imof offending him, whether he had patiently, suffering, not returning, made any provision for the neces- her affectionate embrace. sary expenses attending it-had laid “ Well, dearest George! I don't up any thing. He replied in the ne- mean to blame you”gative, in a very petulant tone. She “ You had better not, indeed!” could not refrain from shedding he replied coldly;"but what's to be tears.

done, eh ?- That's what we ought Your crying can't mend matters,” to be considering. Do you thinksaid he rudely, walking to the win. hem l-I am-Could you, do you dow, and humming the words of think" He paused, and seemed some popular air.

embarrassed. “ Dear, dear George, have you “ Could I what, dear George ?" seen any thing in my conduct to dis- she enquired, squeezing his hands. please you ?" she enquired, wiping “D'ye think-D- -ee!--no-I'll

ask you some other day!” and he “Why do you ask me that, Mrs rose from his chair. What will be T?" said he, walking slowly to- imagined was his request ?-She wards her, and eyeing her very stern- learnt some days afterwards, that it ly. She trembled, and had scarcely was for her to use her influence with breath enough to answer, that she her aunt, an old widow lady, to lend had feared such might have been the him L.500 !—To return, however. case, because he had become rather He was standing opposite the fire, cool towards her of late.

in moody contemplation, when a “D'ye mean to say, ma'am, that I rude puppy, dressed in the extreme have used you ill, eh? Because if of the fashion, with three differentyou do, it's a "

coloured waistcoats on, burst unce" Oh, no, no, George, I did not remoniously into the parlour, and mean any thing of the kind; but- disturbed the sorrowful tête-à-tête of but-kiss me, and say you have Tand his wife, by rushing up forgiven me-do!" and she rose and to the former, shaking his hands, stepped towards him with a forced and exclaiming boisterously-" Ah! smile. He gave her his cheek with T-, how d'ye do, dee? Bill an air of sullen indifference, and Bunce's chaffer has beat said, " It's no use blubbering about has, by- ! I've won L.15 on it!--Oh, misfortunes, and all that sort of a thousand pardons, ma'am--I didn't thing. The fact is, something must see you; but there's been a great be done, or, d-ee! I'm done ! - dog fight, you see, and I have been Look, here I am! Bring your chair luckier than what Mr There here, do ! -What do you say to has, for I've won L.15, and he has these ?” He pulled out of his pocket lost L.20!” a crumpled mass of papers-bills This precious puppy was one of which had been sent in during the T-'s bosom friends! Aye, increweek,--some of them of several dible as it may seem, it was for such months' standing. L.70 were due worthless fellows, such despicable for wine and spirits; L.90 for articles blockheads as these, that Mr Tof his dress ; L.35 for the use of a had squandered his generous wife's horse and tilbury; L.10 for cigars property, and forsaken her company! and snuffs ; and, in short, the above On the present occasion-a sample are a sample of the items which of what had occurred so often as to swelled into the gross amount of cause no surprise-nothing but a

-; he

« 前へ次へ »