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one prepared for me, and the poor mother I must spend my time. I said that my obtold me, with many apologies, and much em-ject in coming to town was to make painting barrassment, that she could not offer me any my profession, and I was then permitted to other room, nor find room for her children lock the door of my chamber for the day, elsewhere.

with many charges to shut up my valuables “Don't mention it,” said I, “it is of no sort for the night. of consequence;" and she left me to attend to her duties below.

It was, indeed, a heart-sickening scene upon which I cast my eyes;-carpets torn and soiled, spread out to look their longest

CHAPTER XII. and widest, and the bed adorned with shabby finery which had no doubt been splendid in My picture proceeded slowly, for I had the first days of wedlock ; but all things the nothing to copy, and was not quite so skilful reverse of comfortable, dwindled into insig- a performer as false friends and fattery had nificance when compared with what I antici- once induced me to believe. Still it did pro pated of the wide bed, with its three inmates, ceed. There was a visible line of demarkaand the consequent disturbance of my morn- tion between the heavens and the earth, and ing hours.

an old castle with a group of trees were beMy meditations were interrupted by the ninning to emerge from chaos. My hopes little trio themselves appearing, so clean and rose with the clothing of the foliage, but not merry, that I could not find in my heart to quite in proportion to the cost of the ultrawish them elsewhere, especially after I had marine which I spent upon the sky. It was asked myself what right I had to come into worth a great deal to me, under present cirtheir sleeping-room and wish them out of it. cumstances, to have an object from which I

The next day was one of as much repose could derive a ray of hope, however small, as this family were ever permitted to enjoy; and more and more rays were daily emanabut late going to bed, late rising, all the chil ting from my picture. Bright visions of fudren to dress and keep clean in their Sunday- ture aggrandizement rose upon me. Geneclothes, with only one servant, made it seem rosity stood forth in distant perspective, and not much like repose to me. It was, indeed, I began to calculate upon the precise time no day of rest. The father dressed his eld- when, after receiving the reward of my laest boy in tight jacket and blue cap, and bours, I should place in the hands of Mrs. walked off with him to church; the servant Wilson at least twice the sum upon which followed, and the mother cooked and nursed we had agreed for a month's lodging. My alternately all the morning, adorned herself | temper grew sweeter as my spirits were enin a little finery for the afternoon, and nursed livened. I forgave my cousin Jane; I played again. I had no occupation but that of mak- at bo-peep with my companions in the morning myself a favourite with the children, ing, rose early to catch a view of my perwhich I did so effectually that I never could formance in the first light of day, and even shake off their turbulent familiarity again. permitted a little fellow, whom I had singled When I went up stairs half a dozen were out as my favourite, to remain in the room dragging at my skirts; and when I came with me while I was at work, provided he down, they jumped upon me from the banis- sat still upon the floor, and did not touch. ters. I complained, but Mrs. Wilson never Like all favourites, he used his prerogative took my part; she smiled, and was glad, at first with moderation. On the second day poor woman, to see them happy and not at I was obliged to enforce the law of not touch

ing; on the third I had to insist upon his beThis, however, was not the way in which I ing quiet; and on the fourth was compelled

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her expense.

to make a new law, that, if he rose from the magnificent scale, and thinking my best plan floor, he should be dismissed altogether. It would consequently be to assume a characwas a dull thing to sit still upon the floor, ter of importance, I asked for some costly which nothing but the idea of its being a engravings, and looking at them with the privilege could have reconciled; but little air of one who is very much disposed to purJemmy was permitted to have a long piece chase, but has some trifling reason for not of string, and he made the most of that. purchasing just now, I took out my purse,

My picture was nearly completed, and concealing the empty end, and paid three really, when there was no other to compare shillings for a worthless article, as if money it with, looked, I thought, very tolerable. A was so plentiful with me, that I could afford few strong touches were yet to be given, bold to throw it away. and productive of great effect. I advanced After spending some time in this manner, -retreated-applied the finishing stroke, and I caught the quick eye of one who held a retreated again; when crash went the whole place of authority in the establishment; and fabric in hopeless and irrevocable ruin on the who seeing a well-dressed lady disposed to floor, overwhelming, amongst disjointed frag- trifle away her time and money, thought I ments, the mischievous author of it, whose must be worthy of his most polite attentions, busy fingers, after tying the string to the while stretching himself forward with an infoot of the easel, had pulled it away with a effable smile, he laid before me rich costly sudden jerk.

books in splendid bindings, and pictures, That a painting never falls to the ground ah! how unlike to mine! without the freshly smeared surface being A group of gentlemen were lounging in downwards is just as worthy of remark, as

one corner of the shop, reading the newspathat the fall of bread and butter is attended pers, and turning over the trifles of the day. with the same fatality; a fact, the truth of One glance at the idle party made me rewhich every school-boy will stand forward to treat to the farthest distance to transact my attest. My picture was no exception to the business with Mr. Bond. I know not what general rule; and Mrs. Wilson's carpet be- I said, nor how I made my meaning under. ing of too frail a texture to be ever shaken, stood; but he must have been well acquainted the case was a desperate one indeed. There with such meaning to understand it all. I was nothing for me to do, but to commence can only recollect a dreadful sense of suffomy labours afresh. Little Jemmy was dis- cation in my throat, and the fall of the man's missed now and for ever. My spirits sunk, countenance when he opened out my picture, my temper failed me on the slightest provo- and held it this way and that, to receive some cation, and nothing but the idea that I was flattering light by which one touch of merit eating bread which I had no right to call might be revealed. “Ten guineas” was my own, could have supported me through marked upon it as the price, but he chose to the wearisome task of completing another read “ten shillings,” declaring it was quite picture.

too much. “Indeed we have no sale whatAnother, however, was completed in time, ever for such things as these,” he added, reand I set off on a tour of observation through turning it to me, and glancing impatiently the streets of London, to see what place would lowards more profitable customers. be most likely to receive so precious a de- I still waited, for I was too much stupified posit. I was not long in fixing, and with my to move. Whether Mr. Bond for once felt a last five shillings in my pocket, hired a hack-touch of pity I know not, but he took up the ney coach, and went forth to make my for- picture, which I had let drop beside me on tune in a flourishing establishment at the the floor, and condescended to point out some West End.

of its defects. Finding everything here conducted on a “It wants,” said he, flourishing his hand

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turned away.

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over it, with an air that implied its want of in want, was perpetually to be the bane of everything but paint, —- it wants sweetness my happiness; and that my necessities were -it wants repose."

never to be relieved without my difficulties " It may well want repose," I exclaimed. at the same time being increased. “If you knew where it had been painted—” I made one effort to express my thanks

“ That is no concern of ours, ma'am- thanks which I did not feel. I tried, for one None in the world. The public have nothing moment, to be nothing but what I really to do with that.” And he spread forth his was-the poor woman receiving the price hands, as if in the act of driving me out, ad- of her honest labours; but I could not so far vancing every step that I receded, and open- forget my former self. The remembrance ing the door most willingly for my exit. of Lady Moira rose before me in overwhelm

“You had better take the painting, ma'am; | ing majesty. I was once more Caroline we can do nothing with it here.”

Irvine, with all her vanity, and all her little“You can burn it, I suppose,” said I, and ness, and had accepted the offer of Sir

Charles to escort me home, before I reflected I scarcely knew where I was going. Every what a home was mine. object swam before my eyes, and I felt as Ah! would we but reserve our shame and lonely in that crowded street as if I had been our embarrassment for that which is really a pilgrim wandering across the great desert. disgraceful and perplexing, what burning It is under this kind of bewilderment amongst blushes, what bitter tears we might be the busy multitudes of the thickly peopled spared ! city, that the last attack of cruelty is gene- I had none but a straightforward path to rally made upon the miserable-an attack pursue. A few words of candid explanation upon his purse; but the lightness of mine would have revealed my simple story, and would have greatly mitigated the pain of made it the last wish of Sir Charles to conlosing it; and fearless of anything being tinue my acquaintance; but the best (I would added to my sufferings, I was pursuing my have persuaded myself the only) time for uncertain way, when suddenly my sleeve explanation was now over; and we were was touched, and a young man from the pursuing our way together, I knew not to shop, almost breathless with haste, asked me what place, nor cared, so long as it was not to step back, saying that a gentleman had to that little shop, through which we must purchased the painting.

have entered had he taken me to my present “Who is the gentleman ?" I asked. The home. young man did not know, but said he had The morning was fine, and when my combeen standing by while I was talking with panion proposed that we should see some of his master, and had heard all we said. the wonders of the place, I had little inclina

“Whoever he may be, I must thank him," tion to refuse, because I should thus enjoy a I exclaimed; and when Mr. Bond with great few more hours of his society, and put off formality laid the ten guineas before me, I that most dreaded, the hour of return. From begged to be permitted to see my benefactor, one exhibition we passed on to another. if possible.

Conversation never flagged. Sir Charles With

my heart overflowing with gratitude, was more delightful than ever, and I ratuled I followed him into an adjoining room, where on with that desperate gaiety which is but a Sir Charles Moira advanced to meet me poor substitute for wretchedness. with his blandest smiles.

There is no liberty like that of a vast city How was it that I could be thankful no -no security from observation like that of more, that I longed to return the money, and being one of the multitude. Sir Charles had would willingly have been pennyless again ? now nothing to fear from his lady mother, It seemed as if money, of which I was always and I was a hundred miles distant from my

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cousin Jane. These hours, which I vainly dressed stepped forth, emerging from the tried to persuade myself were happy, flew darkness of a November evening, into the swistly on, and my behaviour had rendered brilliant light of the theatre. Sir Charles, it more difficult for me each succeeding mo- without a word of parley led me in. I knew ment to speak the whole truth. My com- not at first where he was taking me, and panion had been too polite to hint at the when I discovered, my remonstrances were affair of the picture, and I had ever since the too feeble to induce him to return; and, in morning, acied the lady so completely, that a few moments I was seated beside him in he must either have doubted the pecuniary the broad glare of a thousand lights. I had dilemma which his own eyes had witnessed, now time to think, and with a full sense of or despised me for my affectation and incon- my situation, there rushed upon my mind sistency from the bottom of his heart. Most such an overwhelming conviction of the abprobably he did the latter. Indeed, had he surdity and imprudence of my conduct done otherwise than despise me, he would through this day, that I neither listened to not have attempted as he did, to lead me on the music, nor heeded the spirited performfrom one place to another, until the day was ance which called forth from lighter hearts far spent, beguiling the time with profes- than mine, unbounded applause. sions of admiration more ardent than are My past life had been an idle one, vanity ever inspired by respect.

its moving spring, and folly its ruling star; Women would do well to judge by this but I had never completely sacrificed my rule, of the estimation in which they are held self-respect till now; and many were the by those whose right province is to protect tears I dashed away from my eyes this night them from harm and danger. It is impossi- to look at the brilliant scenes, and the ble that a gentleman should be ignorant of brighter beauties of the stage, which my gay those niceties of conduct, by which the purity companion whispered in my ear, were less and dignity of woman's character is pre- lovely than myself. served; and if he do but whisper a proposi- I believe half the sins that stain the record tion for her to sacrifice the very smallest of of woman's life owe their origin to criminal these for any purpose whatever, even for his weakness, rather than criminal design. I own sake, the case is a clear and decided use the harsh word criminal, because that one, that he thinks meanly of her to suppose weakness deserves no better name, which is that she will listen to his request, and that encouraged and yielded to without any aphis regard for her is not such as to make peal to an higher power for the support him solicitous to maintain the beauty of her which is mercifully promised to the feeble. unsullied name.

The falsehood that is told from fear, wears The sum of my folly was now nearly com less the appearance of depravily than that pleted, and I gravely insisted upon returning which is told solely with a wish to deceive ; home alone.

but the falsehood that is wrung from terror " Alone! impossible !"

is just as likely to be supported by other “Be kind enough to order me a coach, and falsehoods, and to draw after it an equal I shall go very safely.”

train of guilt and shame. So, the slightest "But not alone,” he repeated with a look error knowingly persisted in, and followed that startled me, and I walked on again in up by its natural and inevitable consesilence, pondering on my dilemma. We quences may become morally as culpable as were approaching one of the theatres-a the grossest vice. How watchful, then, celebrated performer was to delight the should all weak creatures be of the first false world that night. Carriages were rolling step, never risking, the slightest deviation up, delivering their precious burdens, and under the presumptuous hope that they may then making way for others. Ladies chly I have sirength to return.

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It was my weakness rather than my de- ceitfulness of her own fancy would be perpravity which made me shrink from disclos- petually leading her astray, had not that ing to Sir Charles the exact state of my cir- warning beacon been lighted, by which alone cumstances and situation. This weakness we are able to perceive and shun had first plunged me into difficulties from which I had not sufficient rectitude and

u The thousand paths that slope the way to sin." moral courage to extricate myself.

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The vanity of Sir Charles was beyond every step I had become more involved, and the reach of attack: his temper was imeach succeeding moment now found me moveable, and the driver still waited for his more wretched than the last.

orders. The scene closed, the curtain fell, and rude “ To the City,” I said, in too low a tone voices from the galleries had vociferated for him to hear, and Sir Charles was obliged their last applause, when I rose to depart. to repeat my words. Silent, speechless, and sad, I leaned upon " To what part of it ?" the arm of Sir Charles, who no doubt attri- I named a street adjoining that in which buted the change in my manner to the pros- my friends lived, somewhat broader and less pect of being so soon deprived of the irresis-filled with trade, and then shrinking back tible fascination of his society. His voice into a corner of the carriage, listened in sullen became more gentle, his behaviour more silence, to the most flattering asseverations, tender, and his looks more meaning, every which now delighted me no more. thing that could be done he did to mitigate Arrived at the street I had mentioned, I the pain of losing him; and I found, when it was asked for the name and the number, and was too late to save myself from his con- whether they were on the door. tempt, the necessity of making some exer- I stretched my head out of the window tion to preserve the little independence I had as if to look for the place, and then told the left.

man in plain words, so that he might hear Springing into the coach he had sent for, and Sir Charles might not, that it was a groI insisted upon being alone; but he was at cer's shop I wanted, and the name Wilson. my side in a moment, and the driver waited It was quickly found. A thundering knock for his orders. I remonstrated, but I had awoke my host and half his children. Young voluntarily given up my own dignity, and a cries were heard above, and the moving of lady has nothing else to defend her. It is in heavy bolts below. At last the door was vain attempting to persuade the man for opened by Mr. Wilson, in his night-cap. Sir whom she has made this sacrifice, that he Charles kissed my hand, and I sprang out has not unlimited power over her heart. of the coach. There is no alternative, but either to submit Surely," thought I, when my head was to his society and his civilities whenever he once more laid upon my pillow, " the mortichooses to impose them upon her, or to pique fications of this day are enough to cure me his vanity, and irritate his temper by obsti- of folly for the rest of my life.” nate rudeness, and then he may revenge

I forgot that past folly, knowingly persisted himself upon her reputation, by representing in, is sin, and that sin is not removed by the her folly in such a light that the world will agonies of mortified vanity. give it a harsher name.

I could not sleep. What a long season is No! there is no way for a woman to the night to those whose hearts are oppressescape more wretchedness than any female ed with misery, and who endure that misery heart can bear, but by walking humbly be without the consolation of prayer. I did not fore her God, and trusting solely to his guid-pray. Had any decided calamity fallen ance through the mazes of her difficult path, upon me, I should have thought of no other where the snares of the world, and the de- resource; but, like many others suffering

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