Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

AND BEGS TO LAY

BEFORE THE READER SOME

WE

(Continued from page 98.) CHAPTER IV.

Dashwood cried out from his seat for a THE AUTHORESE PROVES TO BE A DAGUERREOTYPIST,

few more of the nectarine cakes, and papa

reached forth demurely, and apologized CHOICE SPECIMRNS OF HER ART.

for taking “Captain Manners," which was E were pleased to see that our guests the last of them. Little Therese was so

enjoyed themselves. Every thing was delighted with her performance. Her done that could be done to promote their oval eyes were glistening, and her soft pleasure. Mrs. Blanton was delighted cheek glowing ; really, all this was most with her visit, and a favorite with every charming. Robert became so magnanimember of the family, except grandma. mous, after eating of these cakes, that he In a few days, Therese was completely allowed Mr. Blanton a tête-à-tête with domesticated. With mamma she was a Therese in the grotto. particular favorite; and the two, happy Dashwood was the life of our party. with each other, would go off upon house He planned fishing excursions and riding keeping excursions, and to see the sick, parties. He played at graces with Miss and take the longest walks, while Adolphe Blanton, and at backgammon with Mr. would be skipping around them, forming Blanton. He read for our amusement in a group most pleasant to the eye, and the early hours, and repeated poetry in perfectly charming to Robert. My bro sylvan haunts, at times when all hearts ther would watch the evolutions of this were filled with poetry. He sang bass little fairy who had enslaved him, with with all the ladies, and got up serenades mingled expressions of pride, tenderness, in the wee small hours. He aided and and ecstacy. She was so natural and comforted mamma during the weighty good-humored, so arch and coquettish, so ceremonies of dinner, and was never too filled with all we are wont to love in late for breakfast. He sat in tableaux woman, that nobody need blame Robert with rigid propriety, and in a rash moment for his happiness, or Mr. Blanton for his undertook a waltz with the dangerous misery. Therese proposed to make some Willianna. He captivated every heart but cakes for us, with her own little hands. papa's—and even papa was charmed with She told the housekeeper that she knew him as a guest, only begging to be excushow to make the best cakes any body ever ed when he was proposed as a son-in-law. tasted in the world. Of course, such a Mrs. Blanton was in transports about proposition placed my brother Robert in Dashwood. What a man he was! Never the seventh heaven. To think that Therese had she seen such an intellectual face, could make cakes! Gracious, what a faultless contour, and superb address, thought! Real, round, plump little cakes, except-except—and here Therese broke light and melting in the mouth! And down, and looked sideways at Robert, that he should eat them !

and blushed. Of course, these cakes were honored “She alludes to the departed Blanton," above all the cakes that ever appeared whispered grandma in confidence to meupon our table.

Therese, funny little tapping her snuff-box, getting her pocket woman, doing the honors, while her little handkerchief ready, and sighing with great tongue ran on the while in its pleasant force.

Miss Blanton frowned, and " Very likely,” said I, pretending not asked her if those cakes hadn't soda in to notice Robert's eye catching the light them?

of hers, and the half whispered "charmThey are seasoned with nectar, gen ing Therese,” which followed. uine nectarine cakes, upon my word,” re I have already said that Robert was torted Robert.

so overcome by generosity and magna" I put a little piece of soda, sister, nimity, after partaking of Mrs. Blanton's just so much," said Therese, checking off cakes, that he went off to the river with a little tip of rosy finger nail, to show how Alphonse, and allowed Mr. Blanton a much.

tête-à-tête with his adorable, in his own - Ah, ha! I detected it.” cried Miss consecrated grotto. It seems that Mr. Blanton; whereupon Robert turned around Blanton was consumed by jealousy, and gravely, and looked at Miss Blanton, that he really became restive and unruly, evidently regarding that lady as a com and that Therese almost broke her heart plex chemical apparatus from that moment. in this grotto, begging her brother to give

social way.

[ocr errors]

mercy, and

[ocr errors]

her up like a man, and let her love Mr. Rushton. I learned it was a terrific scene. The tender woman fearing to wound, and yet obliged to cut him to the very heart. She throwing herself upon

his he mad with love. "And has it come to this ?" said Mr. Blanton, sternly, to his sister. - Am I to be trilled with in this way? Is my love of five years to be measured with the mushroom passion of this flippant stripling ? Have you no gratitude-no common sense-nothing, absolutely nothing, but dimples, and tears, and nonsense?

“Dearest brother," begun Therese-
“I am not your brother, madam.”

“Dear Henry, I only tell you how I love Robert," said Therese, naively.

“Pshaw !"
"And implore your forgiveness.”

“My forgiveness; pray, madam, what have I to forgive ?

“Me—your little Therese—your sister.

“My little pest and torment,” he said, toying with her pretty fingers. She laughed and drew nearer to him, in her winning artless way, and he folded her in his arms, not exactly like a brother, I fear.

“My own dear good brother," murmured Therese. He suffered her to call

She might have called him fiend, and he would have held her to his breast, with her soft wreathing arms and pearly cheek.

Poor Blanton! To find himself so proud, stiff, and unyielding; being turned around a little woman's finger, in spite of his teeth. And to be dying and sighing at his age, for a pair of wreathing arms and pearly cheeks.

We were all very sad when our gay guests took their departure. Robert watched the carriages until they turned down the hill, and were out of sight; and then he came into the back parlor, and declared that Mrs. Blanton was the sweetest woman in the world. Grandma immediately remarked that her dresses were too low, for which illusion scarfs could offer no apology at all; and gave it as her deliberate opinion, that she had better marry Mr. Blanton, or he would petrify; indeed, she considered that stiff specimen as already far advanced into petrifaction.

Dashwood said she had about as much soul as a mermaid. And that the whole secret of her success with Bob could be distinctly traced to three dimples (they being, he was sorry to say, very weak points with Bob), a well turned bust, two rows of teeth, several smiles, and a pair of baby feet--not to mention a way she had of looking up at a man, and down at a man,

him so.

and aside at a man-and thereby putting a man to great bewilderment and confusion.

· Pray, what do you call soul ? She has delicacy, refinement, quickness of apprehension, relish for wit; she is never ruilled; she is always tender and gentle; she is careful of every body's feelings, and good to the poor. Now if that isn't soul, old fellow,” cried Robert, slapping him on the shoulder, tell me what it is ?"

Art,” said Dashwood. " Art! By heaven, she is as unsophisticated as a child! Her own son is not more guileless."

“ By the way, that little son. how will you dispose of him in the matrimonial contract?asked Dashwood.

“Why,” said Robert, “I will take that little boy by the hand, and show him the way to go. I will tell him where to look for breakers, and where he may expect treachery beneath the dimpling

waves —and, perhaps--perhaps," said Robert laughing, “I will point to one eccentric Dashwood; and bid him look and take warning."

“ No, you will not!” cried Dashwood, with a bright face; “no, you will not, sir! But you may be able to say by that time, “See Dashwood, how he has struggled, and how he has conquered, and what a brave figure he cuts upon his pedestal!' You may say, 'Go and do likewise,' to your little son—who knows ?

I saw Louise look up, and smile gloriously upon him. I saw mamma turn with a proud bright look towards him, and I saw Robert reach forward and grasp his hand, and hold it, that he might read his sparkling, glowing countenance.

Surely Dashwood, if aught under the sun can fix thee in thy purpose, it is this. If aught can settle the rover in thee, it is this. Unstable as water, restless as the wind, unsatisfied as the sea, brilliant as the sun, magnanimous as Jove; if aught can gather thy great powers into one purpose, surely it is this!

" I intend,” said Dashwood, "to shake off the sin which doth so easily beset me, and turn over a new leaf. You see, I have been all this time running my fingers over the keys.”

· And uncertain music making," said Robert.

"Merely to find the tune; and I intend to find the tune."

“God grant it," said my brother.

“I intend to run up and down the gamut, until I find out the tune of my life," remarked Dashwood.

“It is to be a brilliant introduction to an overture, I suspect,” said Robert.

" Or a romance à la Reeve,” said I.

" Or a fantasia," said Louise.

Whig and moneyed families. Louise was, "I do not know yet; but I suspect, therefore, sent beyond the orbit of this I strongly suspect, that I am now upon brilliant comet, before whom all other the verge of a discovery. I think after luminaries paled, to Mrs. Braxley, before having rambled on, and trying this key whom no luminary of any intelligence and that, I am now about to find out in dare show itself. Mrs. Braxley, like all what key I can best perform.”

the immediate descendants of Mrs. Bar- You have been scampering about bara (whose vein of eccentricity, by the among sharps, flats, and naturals,” said mere accident of a theatrical conflagration, Robert jocosely.

had been turned into our family), was a “Indeed have I.”

character. " And dreamily running the scales, Mrs. Phæbe Jane Braxley was a woand trying your chords, as young ladies man out of a hundred. She was a shrewd, are wont to do, before entering into the managing, business woman; viewing all body of an astonishing piece."

nature with a keen eye, and carrying every "Exactly. I expect to launch out into thing before her. She was blunt and brilliant execution, now, the first oppor- plain spoken ; telling people flatly, and tunity,” said Dashwood, shaking off all without circumlocution, what she thought: gravity, and treating this subject, as he full of spunk; indeed people have been did all others, with intrepid recklessness. heard to remark, that she was “spunk to The glorious tinting on Louise's cheek the back bone.” faded, and Dashwood's momentary en She was the greatest domestic manathusiasm was gone. He and Robert lived ger in the whole country, and celebrated, for jokes and fun. They had no more far and near, for the neatness of her houseidea of the great ends of life than a couple hold, and the regularity and economy of of butterflies. They were a well-matched her establishment. Mamma, who was a pair. Loving each other first, and then weak woman in this respect, regarded loving their respective sweethearts. But Mrs. Braxley with profound awe, and conthese young fellows were only twenty and sulted her in her management, as she twenty-two.

would cons a highly gifted oracle. Dashwood, who was the elder, was an She kept whole rows of sleek, tidy orphan, allowed by his guardian to grow negro girls at work, under her vigilant up and run wild, under the supervision of eye.

She had also half-a-dozen negro dame Nature, to whom he was more in lads, about twelve years old or thereadebted than to family or friends. Conse bouts, whose uniform was a blue jacket quently, nobody could expect much from and white trowsers, and who could be seen him, until twenty-five or thereabouts. on fine days going through their evolutions Robert was too rich, I believe, to follow a in the yard and garden, like a well-drilled profession. He had a plantation, which company. She had, as privy council, his overseer managed, while he sported several staid, prim, high-capped, low-curtupon the proceeds. He had studied law sying old negro women, who, report said, somewhere, and had a law library, but he knew every thing. They wove and dyed considered it entirely too dry for a gentle the most enormous quantities of homeman of his tastes. Dashwood was pushed spun; striped and checked carpets of bright up the hill by poverty, which ranks high colors, and beautifully shaded; blankets among stimuli and propellers, and gene of rose patterns, and curious workmanrally accomplishes something for young ship; counterpanes, knotted, dotted, crossmen. Robert having no such enemy, or barred, raised, flowered, and bordered. rather friend in the rear, lingered in plea These learned high-capped women (the sant places, and sported in luxuriant vales, pride and stay of all well-regulated Virand turned from the great hill of life with ginia homes, and very tyrants in their contempt.

sphere), could be seen early of mornings, After the departure of our pleasant hanging out long chains of blue cotton guests, Louise was sent by our wary papa warp upon the palings; festooning whole into Siberian banishment. In other words, pieces of cloth out to dry; spreading out she was sent under the care of two maid long white strips on the dewy grass, to servants, and papa's own man Jerry, to bleach; making starch ; peeling apples ; Mrs. Phoebe Braxley, to be kept out of mustering, like Macbeth's witches, around sight and hearing of Dashwood. Papa tremendous cauldrons; and going about was very much in hopes that something at all times with rigid faces and important of a Providential nature would occur to looks, as though the destinies of all manget Dashwood out of our neighborhood, kind were in their hands. Mrs. Braxley so that diffident young Farren might have herself was frequently with these old a fair field for the contemplated matrimo women, consulting over bits of board, nial adjustment between these two staunch wrapped with bright colors, or what they

called drafts, or abstruse and many cor pursuit. Beautiful creatures, with rosy, nered patterns. Mrs. Braxley, who had perfumed mouths, will grow restless at as much energy as Bonaparte, always «dipping time," and will cautiously desert made large tobacco crops, engaged her lover, husband, father, or friend, at the own overseer, and turned him off midway established dipping hour; to draw out, in between January and Christmas, if he did some snug retreat, these formidable and not walk exactly to suit her; grew her nauseous-looking hickory sticks, with mop own corn and wheat; raised her own pork, ends, and fill their delicate mouths with beeves, and fowls; and was always in load after load, of horrid Scotch snuff! advance of her neighbors, in green peas That estimable lady, who, after kissing and fried chicken. She was a tall, fine her own cow, turned around and proclaimwoman of forty ; standing erect and inde ed to astonished mankind, “ de gustibus pendent, with a sun-burnt face and clear non est disputandum," surely had the gray eye; speaking quickly, and to the gift of second sight, and must have had her point; dressing neatly and compactly, not prophetic eye upon troops of dippers, even bending to that female tyrant, fash away down in the vista of time, gliding ion, but choosing, year after year, after a off with nimble step to this remarkable pattern of her own invention. Her sleeves pursuit. were large enough to roll up over the el Forgive me, dippers, if I have played bows; her skirts short enough not to the spy in your midst. Forgive me if I sweep the yard, or to interfere with Mrs. have approached your sancta with a poBraxley in going up any flight of steps, tent hickory wand, and been injudiciously however formidable. Her caps were made admitted. Forgive me for having, with with an eye to a weekly washing; her grave visage, followed your example, and shoes ample and double-soled. Mrs. walloped my mop-stick deep in your black Braxley often boasted that fashion came horn boxes, that I might get the “hang" to her once in seven years, and that she of this delightful recreation. Forgive me never had a corn ; and, though her family for saying, that I have seen you giving was a gouty family, and she might add a each other the wink at dipping-time, and corny family, yet she defied both. This stealing off one by one, with innocent lady, as the reader already perceives, was faces and compressed smiles, to range a worthy daughter of Mrs. Barbara, though yourselves à les regles in compact circles, she had none of Mrs. Barbara's weak around brisk winter fires, or in back sumnesses, viz., love of family, style, big names, mer piazzas, and then luxuriously dipping fortunes, and Paris fashions. Mrs. Brax -dipping-dipping. ley despised pretension and display, and By simply arming herself with a entertained a sovereign contempt, to use hickory stick, and boldly penetrating the her own expression, for the “ fag end of a charmed circle of these dippers, the curious big family But one defect had this reader can see human nature in a new model female; I cannot call it a weakness, light. She (for no gentleman is ever adfor Mrs. Braxley had no weaknesses. One mitted, under any circumstances) will hear defect had she, which I cannot conscien ladies inviting ladies to “ come over and tiously pass over in silence. My beloved take a dip.” She will see them grouped toreader, will you believe it?—this neat, gether, with handkerchiefs spread over their orderly, sin-exterminating woman, rubbed laps, snuff-boxes open, and mops at work, snuff! She kept a snuff-box in her right dipping, the sly happy creatures! at the pocket, filled with the strongest and most maddest rate. Unfortunately, my curious pungent Scotch snuff; and she went about reader will find that they do not confine all day, brandishing a dangerous-looking their dippings to their black horn boxes ; hickory stick, with a mop end, which she they sometimes dip into their friends! was constantly dipping into this huge The stimulative weed excites these ladies, black horn snuff-box, and loading with and they unbosom themselves, spin the snuff

, which I am sorry to say was duly longest yarns, open the darkest pages, and deposited in Mrs. Braxley's mouth. This dip—and dip-and dip. horrible practice, called in lower Virginia *** Dippers” are of gregarious habits, and North Carolina, dipping, is of respect- going in herds, communicating by signs, able standing. I have known many dip and bound together in long unbroken pers in my life, who, like my aunt Brax chains. They will face any danger to ley, had but that one fault; and I must meet an appointment, and would go halt just here, in my description of my through a brush fire to rub their teeth, aunt, to pay my respects to “dipping." and wag their heads and chat. Woe be to Ladies who confess to "taking a dip," are, the absent dipper in such dangerous times. I am sorry to say, exceedingly ferocious Woe be to her if the community cannot on the subject. They repel indignantly furnish a murder, or a run-away match, any attack upon this favorite and genial or a jealous husband, or a monster of

some kind, for the entertainment-these dippers will most assuredly dip into her!

Sometimes we find a small band of dippers cast into a highly dangerous and anti-dipping community. Public opinion is against dipping ; husbands and fathers are against dipping; young men are against dipping. Under these unfavorable circumstances they unite into secret societies, concealing their boxes and mops, abusing the weed publicly and vehemently, resorting to private signs, appointing rendezvous, meeting, mid hairbreadth escapes and thrilling adventures and then, oh! such royal dips! Dipping into every thing. Dipping into the so-and-so's, and the everybody's, with a vengeance! Dipping into families and friends, probing the sorest wounds with these mopped sticks; brandishing their weapons more and more fiercely, until, from the stimulating effects of the weed, they turn against their own husbands, and relate such matrimonial trials as would still every mop for reflection!

Mrs. Braxley was a leading dipper; an independent go-ahead dipper; from whom many timid dippers plucked a little courage.

Mrs. Braxley would brandish her tooth-brush in the President's face, if provoked to it; and a brave commanderin-chief was she.

Poor Louise would have been very comfortably located, had it not been for uncle Joe, the meek husband of the abovementioned.

It seems that uncle Joe had been a gay rollicking blade in his youth, and that Mrs. Barbara had considered him rather beneath her daughter, and had opposed the match, " solely upon aristocratic grounds,” to use her own expression ; but finally, in consideration of Phoebe's low forehead and freckles, she graciously consented. Thereupon, uncle Joe, in his usual rash and inconsiderate manner, rushed young, high-spirited, and unbroken, into the matrimonial yoke, and found himself secured for life! I need not say that he was completely broken in a fleeting twelvemonth.

The daughter of Mrs. Barbara asserted and maintained her rights with a high hand. Year after year found her still gaining upon the enemy (Uncle Joe), who retreated and retreated, and being also seized with a furious rheumatism, he seized his pipe and took his corner, and was no more like the dashing Joe Braxley of the olden time, than he was like a gaudy war elephant of Siam. His wants were few and his pleasures were fewer. Half his time was spent in acute rheumatic pain, by which he was shockingly drawn; and the other half was divided in

sharp lookings-out for east winds, friendly chattings with friends, and vigorous ruhbings with pungent liniments and bearlike gloves, to keep the rheumatism at bay. Ah, could that young lady, who in bygone romantic days had so loved uncle Joe, and who had taken out to Alabama a broken heart, to be healed by gentle southern breezes; could she but see the gay young heart-breaker now! Her youthful dream would, alas, be broken, quite as effectually as was her heart. She would see, instead of her crisp-locked ideal, a bald-headed, plethoric, mild mannered man, sitting in his corner with his pipe, or with his bristly gloves and liniments, intently rubbing his knee joints ! What a picture for a broken heart! What a finale for greedy romance to digest!

Still, there was an old twinkle in the corner of the eye, and a keen relish for a joke, and the echo of a once boisterous and hearty laugh, which pertinaciously clung to uncle Joe, and a few sparks of the old fire, which had resisted all the dampers of matrimony, which shone forth now and then, and made this hymenea! and rheumatic captive appear a jocund man at times.

Time's gorgeous panorama moved slowly on. The spring had budded and blossomed. The summer had blushed and deepened and passed away, and the flaunting crimson cloud-land, with its burnished splendors, had sobered and grown gray, and faded, and old Time was in the sere and yellow leaf. Young hearts were subdued, and old affections mellowed. Louise's exile was not yet over. She was, by papa's order, still pining in Mrs. Braxley's dominions. I hope my reader knows something of love. How he mocks at frowns and barriers. How young lovers, though separated, can wait, and hope, and bear up stoutly against all cruelty, and endure a variety of hardships and crosses, in a manner which must seem somewhat surprising to them after they have attained the object of their wishes. We all know how danger only stimulates young lovers; and how opposition will often change quite a commonplace and lukewarm passion into an heroic and sublime affair. How absence and parental tyranny have done more for the wily god than all the arrows in his quiver. How the beloved in absence can be easily decked with many imaginary beauties and graces, which his constant presence would too wofully dissipate. How one stolen interview is of more value to a lover than fifty unrebuked and prolonged sittings. In short, how Cupid only enlists obstinate parents in his service, and makes them fight blindly against themselves.

« PoprzedniaDalej »