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“ That's not the way, Captain,” shouted out Thomas, still holding on to the rein as the horse began to move.
“ Thee woan't goo with him, will thee, Catty ?”
But Mrs. Catherine, though she turned away her head, never let go her hold round the Captain's waist; and he, swearing a dreadful oath at Thomas, struck him across the face and hands with his riding-whip. The poor fellow, who at the first cut still held on to the rein, dropped it at the second, and as the pair galloped off, sat down on the roadside and fairly began to weep.
“ March, you dog!" shouted out the Corporal a minute after. And so he did : and when next he saw Mrs. Catherine she was the Captain's lady sure enough, and wore a grey hat with a blue feather, and red riding-coat trimmed with silverlace. But Thomas was then on a bare-backed horse, which Corporal Brock was flanking round a ring, and he was so occupied looking between his horse's ears that he had no time to cry then, and at length got the better of his attachment.
This being a good opportunity for closing Chapter I., we ought, perhaps, to make some apologies to the public for introducing them to characters that are so utterly worthless; as we confess all our heroes, with the exception of Mr. Bullock, to be. In this we have consulted nature and history, rather than the prevailing taste and the general manner of authors. The amusing novel of Ernest Maltravers, for instance, opens with a seduction; but then it is performed by people of the strictest virtue on both sides : and there is so much religion and philosophy in the heart of the seducer, so much tender innocence in the soul of the seduced, that-bless the little dears !-their very peccadilloes make one interested in them; and their naughtiness becomes quite sacred, so deliciously is it described. Now, if we are to be interested by rascally actions, let us have them with plain faces, and let them be performed, not by virtuous philosophers, but by rascals. Another clever class of novelists adopt the contrary system, and create interest by making their rascals perform virtuous actions. Against these popular plans we here solemnly appeal. We say, let your rogues in novels act like
your honest men like honest men; don't let us have any juggling and thimblerigging with virtue and vice, so that, at the end of three volumes, the bewildered reader shall not know which is which ; don't let us find ourselves kindling at the generous qualities of thieves, and sympathizing with the rascalities of noble hearts. For our own part, we know what the public likes, and have chosen rogues for our characters, and have taken a story from the “Newgate Calendar,” which we hope to follow out to edification. Among the rogues, at least, we will have nothing that shall be mistaken for virtues. And if the British public (after calling for three or four editions) shall give up, not only our rascals, but the rascals of all other authors, we shall be content: -shall apply to Government for a pension, and think that our duty is done.
IN WHICH ARE DEPICTED THE PLEASURES OF A SENTI
It will not be necessary, for the purpose of this history, to follow out very closely all the adventures which occurred to Mrs. Catherine from the period when she quitted the “Bugle" and became the Captain's lady; for, although it would be just as easy to show as not, that the young woman, by following the man of her heart, had only yielded to an innocent impulse, and by remaining with him for a certain period, had proved the depth and strength of her affection for him,--although we might make very tender and eloquent apologies for the error of both parties, the reader might possibly be disgusted at such descriptions and such arguments : which, besides, are already done to his hand in the novel of Ernest Maltravers before mentioned.
From the gentleman's manner towards Mrs. Catherine, and from his brilliant and immediate success, the reader will doubtless have concluded, in the first place, that Gustavus Adolphus had not a very violent affection for Mrs. Cat; in the second place, that he was a professional lady-killer, and therefore likely at some period to resume his profession;
thirdly, and to conclude, that a connection so begun, must, in the nature of things, be likely to end speedily.
And so, to do the Count justice, it would, if he had been allowed to follow his own inclination entirely; for (as many young gentlemen will, and yet no praise to them) in about a week he began to be indifferent, in a month to be weary, in two months to be angry, in three to proceed to blows and curses; and, in short, to repent most bitterly the hour when he had ever been induced to present Mrs. Cat erine the toe of his boot, for the purpose of lifting her on to his horse.
“Egad !” said he to the Corporal one day, when confiding his griefs to Mr. Brock, “I wish my toe had been cut off before ever it served as a ladder to this little vixen."
“Or perhaps your honour would wish to kick her downstairs with it?” delicately suggested Mr. Brock.
“Kick her! why, the wench would hold so fast by the banisters that I could not kick her down, Mr. Brock. To tell you a bit of a secret, I have tried as much—not to kick herno, no, not kick her, certainly: that's ungentlemanly--but to induce her to go back to that cursed pot-house where we fell in with her. I have given her many hints
honour give her one yesterday—with a mug of beer. By the laws, as the ale run all down her face, and she clutched a knife to run at you, I don't think I ever saw such a she-devil! That woman will do for your honour some day, if you provoke her.”
“Do for me? No, hang it, Mr. Brock, never ! . She loves every hair of my head, sir : she worships me, Corporal. Egad, yes ! she worships me; and would much sooner apply a knife to her own weasand than scratch my little finger!”
“I think she does,” said Mr. Brock.
“I am sure of it,” said the Captain. "Women, look you, are like dogs, they like to be ill-treated: they like it, sir, I know they do. I never had anything to do with a woman in my life but I ill-treated her, and she liked me the better.”
“Mrs. Hall ought to be very fond of you then, sure enough!” said Mr. Corporal.
Very fond ;-ha, ha! Corporal, you wag you—and so she is very fond. Yesterday, after the knife-and-beer scene—no wonder I threw the liquor in her face : it was so devilish flat
that no gentleman could drink it : and I told her never to draw it till dinner-time
“Oh, it was enough to put an angel in a fury !” said Brock.
"-Well, yesterday, after the knife business, when you had got the carver out of her hand, off she flings to her bedroom, will not eat a bit of dinner forsooth, and remains locked up for a couple of hours. At two o'clock afternoon (I was over
tankard), out omes the little she-devil, her face pale, her eyes bleared, and the 'tip of her nose as red as fire with sniffling and weeping. Making for my hand, 'Max,' says she, 'will you forgive me?'. * What !' says I. 'Forgive a murderess? says I. 'No, curse me, never!': "Your cruelty will kill me,' sobbed she. 'Cruelty be hanged !' says I;
didn't you draw that beer an hour before dinner?'. She I could say nothing to this, you know, and I swore that every | time she did so, I would fling it into her face again. Where
upon back she flounced to her chamber, where she wept and stormed until night-time.”
“When you forgave her???
"I did forgive her, that's positive. You see I had supped at the 'Rose' along with Tom Trippet and half-a-dozen pretty fellows; and I had eased a great fat-headed Warwickshire land-junker —what d'ye call him ?-squire, of forty pieces ; and I'm dev'lish good-humoured when I've won, and so Cat and I made it up : but I've taught her never to bring me stale beer again-ha, ha!”
This conversation will explain, a great deal better than any description of ours, however eloquent, the state of things as between Count Maximilian and Mrs. Catherine, and the feelings which they entertained for each other. The woman loved him, that was the fact. And, as we have shown in the previous chapter how John Hayes, a mean-spirited fellow as ever breathed, in respect of all other passions a pigmy, was in the passion of love a giant, and followed Mrs. Catherine with a furious longing which might seem at the first to be foreign to his nature; in the like manner, and playing at crosspurposes, Mrs. Hall had become smitten of the Captain ; and, as he said truly, only liked him the better for the brutality which she received at his hands. For it is my opinion, Madam, that love is a bodily infirmity, from which humankind can no more escape than from smallpox; and which attacks every one of us, from the first duke in the Peerage down to Jack Ketch inclusive; which has no respect for rank, virtue, or roguery in man, but sets each in his turn in a fever; which breaks out the deuce knows how or why, and, raging its appointed time, fills each individual of the one sex with a blind fury and longing for some one of the other (who may be pure, gentle, blue-eyed, beautiful, and good ; or vile, shrewish, squinting, hunchbacked, and hideous, according to circumstances and luck); which dies away, perhaps in the natural
course, if left to have its way, but which contradiction causes to rage more furiously than ever. Is not history, from the Trojan war upwards and downwards, full of instances of such strange inexplicable passions ? Was not Helen, by the most moderate calculation, ninety years of age when she went off with his Royal Highness Prince Paris of Troy? Was not Madame La Vallière ill-made, blear-eyed, tallow-complexioned, scraggy, and with hair like tow? Was not Wilkes the ugliest, charmingest, most successful man in the world? Such instances might be carried out so as to fill a volume; but cui bono? Love is fate, and not will; its origin not to be explained, its progress irresistible : and the best proof of this may be had at Bow Street any day, where, if you ask any officer of the establishment how they take most thieves, he will tell you at the houses of the women. They must see the dear creatures though they hang for it; they will love, though they have their necks in the halter. And with regard to the other position, that ill-usage on the part of the man does not destroy the affection of the woman, have we not numberless police-reports showing how, when a bystander would beat a husband for beating his wife, man and wife fall together on the interloper and punish him for his meddling?
These points, then, being settled to the satisfaction of all parties, the reader will not be disposed to question the assertion that Mrs. Hall had a real affection for the gallant Count, and grew, as Mr. Brock was pleased to say, like a beefsteak, more tender as she was thumped. Poor thing, poor thing! his flashy airs and smart looks had overcome her in a single hour; and no more is wanted to plunge into love over head