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of the brick walls and the “ broken bottles,” I have a notion that Mont pelier, however good for the bodily health of the “ dear little angels," was by no means advantageous as regarded their moral or spiritual state.
Well! there is nothing at which one ought to start ; but—and I say but with an emphasis-I declare and protest that when I saw Kittywithout any further professions, a beautiful girl-no left shoulder stuck out of her frock, and at least another inch of tucker in fronttotally changed in manner, fond of her sister, affectionate to Cuthbert, without pretension, and endeavouring by every means to gain Harriet's good opinion, my feelings towards her took an entirely new turn; and all at once I thought how painful it will be (for the whole history of our remaining at Blissfold was problematical) for this girl, growing into womanhood, to be domesticated close to Kittington, the dancingmaster, to whom she had made such extraordinary advances.
Extraordinary, indeed !-but much more extraordinary was what fol. lowed. Our new arrivals had not been landed a week-during which the dear Nubley--except what I could catch from his involuntary “ oozings” had given me no kind of idea to what extent his munificence would go-when Mr. Kittington's name was brought up to me. He wished to speak to me. Having the respect for him which his highly honourable conduct upon a former occasion had created, I, without a moment's delay, went down to him in my morning-gown.
I found him in deep mourning; he appeared considerably agitated; I saw his embarrassment, and paused to give him time to “ collect his scattered thoughts;" still he hesitated, and again I bowed.
“Mr. Gurney,” said he, at length, “ you remember that I once paid you a visit here--of an unprofessional nature-1- ".
The moment he got this length I satisfied myself that Miss Kitty, in spite of appearances, had been making a second attack upon my worthy companion.
“It is with reference to that circumstance," said my visitor, “ that I am again here."
“ What!” said I,“ has the young lady again "
“ Oh no,” interrupted Mr. Kittington," circumstances are so altered, short as is the time that has elapsed since the event to which you refer, that I stand before you in a totally different position.” Hereabouts he seemed to gain new courage, and stand erect, and look steadily. “I believe,” continued he, “ I told you that my father was a man of high honour and respectability, although unfortunate—my mother, a lady by birth, who, excellent as her husband was, had disobliged her family by marrying him, has been for years estranged from her relations. I now have to state to you, Mr. Gurney, that her brother, my uncle, General Harlingham, relenting on his death-bed of an unjustifiable harshness against his exemplary sister, has left me heir to all his property, real and personal, amounting to something more than seven thousand pounds per annum, on condition of my assuming his name.”
“I assure you," said I, “I most sincerely congratulate you. The little I had the pleasure of seeing of your family gave me so favourable an impression of your character and qualities, that I am most happy to hear of your well-merited acquisition. I presume we shall lose you as a neighbour?"
The moment I had uttered these words, I perceived his agitation return, his cheek flushed and turned pale, and his whole manner betrayed an emotion to me inexplicable.
“Mr. Gurney,” said he, “ I confess this is one of the most trying moments of my life. I am but young. I trust and hope the reverse of fortune which has befallen me will not induce me to commit myself. If it does, I think in your hands my character is safe. I would give the world that you would anticipate what I am about to express.”
“ I have no notion,” said I; “ but, whatever it is, rely upon my most anxious desire to hear it.”
“ Miss Falwasser,” said Kittington, or rather Harlingham-“ Miss Falwasser " and then he paused.
“ Oh!" said I, “ you must banish all that from your mind ; your conduct was so honourable--and the affair will be forgotten-and "
“I hope not,” said Harlingham, as I must now call him. “I felt it my duty in my then position to do what I did : as a professional man, I think I could have done nothing else ; but I have never been happy since. And now, Mr. Gurney,” added he, with tears in his eyes, and tears of which no man of high and honourable feeling need be ashamed ; "now, I will go farther upon that point than I did before not to make you appreciate more highly the sacrifice I then made, but to induce you to listen to my present proposal. I admit that my admiration of the young lady in question was fervent and sincere, and that, although the stern sense of moral obligation connected with the business I then followed led me to betray a confidence which I had no right to encourage, I now request, as a gentleman and a man of fortune, permission to be received into your family as a suitor for the affections of Miss Katherine Falwasser.”
I looked at him for a moment, and, having held out my hand and pressed his, when I recovered, said,
“ If you had one fortnight since made this proposal-honourable, noble as it is on your part I should have said, “No-whatever my brother may say I will not hear of it;' but Kate Falwasser, misled and spoiled by the horrid woman to whose care she had been incautiously consigned, has, since circumstances have occurred to try the real qualities of her heart, evinced so much good feeling and so much indignation at the conduct of her late preceptress, that I think I may, with perfect fairness to you, admit you to that intimacy with our family circle which you desire.”
“I know,” said Harlingham, “ to what you allude ; in a small society like Blissfold, family matters are no secrets, and I hope you will not think worse of me because it was when I found that, in all probability, from the rumours that were rife, Miss Falwasser would be portionless, I ventured to make my present offer.”
There are of course some very extraordinary men to be found now and then, but this Kittington, or Harlingham, seemed to me a phenix. With his taste I had no disposition to quarrel, but all other feelings were absorbed in those of admiration at his honest and virtuous forbearance, evidently in opposition to the bent of his inclination in the first instance, and in his delicate anxiety to repair what he considered the violence he had done to Kate by exposing her amatory epistles. · The result of this interview was his admission into our circle, together with his mother and sister, and his consequent association with Kitty; whose manners were so changed, and whose recollection of her advances to her now permitted lover were so strongly impressed on her mind, that she could scarcely lift her eyes to meet his tender and affectionate glances; indeed, so extremely diffident did she appear in his presence, that Fanny Wells, some six or seven years her senior, began to think that she was not half enough sympathetic, and that Mr. Harlingham would be much happier with a wife a few years older. Whereiv Fanny most probably was right; but that was no affair of mine, and Cuthbert, who had abandoned his wig, and seemed reconciled to his present state of misfortune, was well pleased to see Kitty pleased, and to see that everybody was pleased with Kitty. · It was but a short time after this interview, and during the agreeable intercourse between the families, that Nubley opened his whole generous intentions to me. He again reverted to his want of family, and the silliness of his wife, and then informed me that, under all the circumstances, and having no relations who had any claims upon him, he would, pending the investigation of the complicated affair of Chipps, Rice, Hiccory and Co., put Cuthbert entirely at his ease; “ to do which,” added the good old man, “ he must be put in the position to put you at your ease too.” This gave me the highest opinion of Nubley's generosity at the moment: what, then, were my feelings when I saw him, as usual, stubble his chin before the chimney-glass, and think out—" and every shilling I have, shall be yours when I die ?”
This “ oozing” placed me in an extremely awkward position :—that I had heard the words, and was, consequently, aware of his intentions, is most true; but I felt it necessary to make my gratitude subservient to my civility, and, therefore, it was that I could not venture to admit that he had given utterance to thoughts which he had not meant to express.
I certainly communicated to Harriet what had fallen upon my ears, and the involuntary expression was completely corroborated, as she told me, by the avowals of Mrs. Nubley, who declared, “ Lauk! he was sich a man when once he took a thing into his head," &c. &c.
We had gone on for some fortnight in this way, Cuthbert apparently unconscious of what was the state of the case, but, nevertheless, anxiously fidgetty about Mrs. Brandyball, whose rage and disappointment at the frustration of her hopes were most awful. She wrote him one letter, which we, Nubley and I, under the circumstances of his health, felt ourselves justified in opening and answering: it was coarse, insolent, unfeeling; and, even while attempting to threaten him into some pecuniary sacrifice, admitted her only object in her intended marriage to have been securing his money; but, what was worse than all, it contained some anecdotes of Kitty, and allusions to her conduct while under her care, which, if any care had been taken, could never have occurred.
Nubley wrote her an answer; and, when we saw in the Saturday week's newspaper, quoted from the “ Gazette" List of Bankrupts,“ Sarah Brandyball, boarding-house-keeper, Montpelier, Bath, Co. Somerset, to surrender at the Lamb Inn, Bath, Thursday, February 14, at ten; Attornies, Messrs. Grab and Worry, Gay Street ;" we did not feel more pity than could be reasonably afforded to a mass of unprincipled humanity, whose whole efforts under the cloak of kindness,
refinement, and sentimentality, were to undermine and pervert the principles of the unfortunate victims for the instruction and edification of whom she had neither the means nor the inclination.
Well, and here am I come to the end of another note-book; and here, therefore, must I stop ; but, happy as I am in the restoration of my brother, and his affection to me-delighted as I am to find Kate redeemed, and, as I hope, in a fair way to happiness-pleased as I am to find Jane all that I ever hoped her to be, my wife faultless, and my family circle most agreeable-Sniggs our own again, the Wells's the best-natured and kindest, and the Nubleys all we could desire ; still I feel some apprehension that I may be for a time unsettled. Nubley lets out that I might do a great deal of good by going out to Calcutta - that he is too old himself to undertake the voyage, and that Cuthbert's removal would be annihilation ; so I hold myself in readiness.
I received in the morning of to-day, the last I can record, a most extraordinary letter from Daly, who has married his " fortune," and is most zealous in his calling. Hull has also written to me, not choosing to travel back this road with his aunt, and tells me that matters will turn out better than we think with Chipps, Rice, Hiccory and Co., as he “ happens to know," and the newspaper announces the death at sea of “ Mellicent, wife of Lieutenant Merman, of the 146th foot."
What a prospect opens as my book closes ! all I can say is, that I am thankful to Providence for the successes which have arisen to me out of evil, and for that mercy and goodness which it extends even to the least worthy of human beings.
P.S. I see by the “ Sun” of to-night, that Captain Thompson, alias Jemmy Dabbs, alias Bluff Jim, was last Tuesday sentenced to fourteen years' transportation for horse stealing, having been apprehended, committed, tried, and condemned in the short space of twentyeight hours.
MARTIAL IN LONDON.
To a Lady.
Unfold their silken pack,
Of Lavender and Black.
Your lip to Lethe's cup;
You'll never make it up.
SOMETHING NEXT TO NOTHING.
.“ Reputation is an idle and most false imposition ; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving."- Othello.
“ Rumores vacui, verbaque inania'
Et par sollicito fabula somnio."-Senecæ Troad.
Tuat strange but very amusing story of the man who lost his shadow, is supposed by the curious in critical mysteries, to have been intended as a type of the value of character; and, if any moral was in the author's mind, when he indulged his taste for the whimsical, it possibly might have been something of the sort. There certainly is much to be said in favour of such an allegory, of the kind that would go down with the dealers in commonplace. The characters of most men, if not in toto mere shadows, have more dark lines than lights in their penciling: and, moreover, when calumny has saddled a poor fellow with a bad character, it sticks to him through life like his shadow; insomuch, that it would require no less potent an interference, than that of the old gentleman in grey, to relieve him of the incumbrance. The simile, however, breaks down in its most essential particular; for Peter, it appears, suffered manifold vexations, annoyances, and disqualifications through the loss of his shadow; whereas, the loss of character is by no means universally followed by the bad consequences, which superficial moralists love to attribute to a deficiency of good name. In our journey through lise, which is now further advanced than it is quite agreeable to reflect upon, we have very generally found that an extraordinarily good name has turned out, in the working, to be too much of a good thing, and, therefore, good for nothing; whereas the very best way to get on in the world is, to have no definite character at all: for, as “ true no-meaning puzzles more than sense,” so true no-character baffles the malice of the world, and deprives it of the most convenient handle for turning a man's fortunes inside out. Accordingly, we find the more knowing part of the creation, when they happen to have been overburthened with the commodity, taking the earliest opportunity to get rid of it, as they would of a bad shilling: nor can we blame them for their assiduity in this particular; being satisfied that many who make the greatest figure upon town are altogether divested of any ground of pretence to such a possession. We have, indeed, only to name the gentlemen, thus situated, to satisfy our readers, and put the question to rest at once and for ever; but we dislike scurrility, cannot afford to defend an action for libel, and have lately had our attention awakened by those great moralists of the day, the daily Journalists, to the fact, that duelling is very foolish, very dangerous, and otherwise not quite according to Hoyle. By-the-by, and apropos to that matter, it does seem rather singular, that the best possible instructors never should have found this out, as long as the practice was confined to gentlefolks ; as if duelling, like lying, were too precious a thing to he wasted; or, as if it were not a more serious evil, that men of honour and respectability should make themselves more scarce than they naturally are, than that