Obrazy na stronie

ing monkey, may halt, and be fed. Here, brawling, unmanageable spring, branch the beggar, ruddy and lithe of foot, may in hand, and plays magic work in those come, and trump up any fancy sketch deep-shadowed and sequestered regions. of shipwreck, conflagration, avalanche, or His man Sappingwood, who has an eye earthquake, and be politely trusted, kind for the picturesque, contrives rustic fixly relieved, and sent on his way with a tures admirably:

Gnarled roots are blessing. Here, the man with the sixteen turned into rude but inviting seats, vines children, and bedridden wife, on the other into swings and festoons. The brawling side of the water, all waiting to be brought brook is cleared of all obstacles, and comes over by his means, delights to bi-annually tripping down the hill-side into a bright come, and tell his tale with its last addi pool, where it gurgles and diniples at the tions, and get his money, and chuckle to grotto's foot. Into this pool, little fishes himself as he goes along, wondering at are thrown, and from the cool banks the that charity which he cannot understand. noontide heat is warded off. Mr. Robert Here, the Yankee schoolmaster, the rawest looks around upon his handiwork comof all that honored fraternity, may come, placently, and declares that he intends to and cut rare didoes, and make ludicrous talk love to the widow here, in a strain mistakes, and call young ladies by their unsurpassed in poetry or prose, and thinks, christian names, and the grinning servant upon his honor, that there are not many man mister, and every thing else under of the softer sex who could withstand the sun “sauce," if such be his habit, and the grotto, the pool of water, and himhe will never detect a smile, or awaken to self. Papa submits to be measured by all the horrors of his situation, so long as Robert's tailor, and mamma, poor, unamhe lives. Here, the prosy parson may

bitious mamma, thinks the black silk will talk, and talk, and talk, and no yawn will do, and, instead of purchasing new spring ever warn him of the hour. Here, the dresses, concludes to lay in an extra supman brimfull of theories may open his ply of butter, eggs, and chickens. budget, and tell his plans, and have that Louise comes home with a straw-colorluxury to him, a listener. Here, the ed barage, which throws quite a halo over busy world lulls, and the bustle and con her clear complexion, and a blue silk, fusion cease, and time ambles withal, and which makes her pale and madonna-like, one finds rest, and social pleasures, and and a pink tissue, which envelops her in home comforts, and peace.

faint coleur de rose, together with any On one of those dreamy, delicious, body number of little quaker morning wrappers relaxing, soul-expanding, heaven-descend and coquettish coiffures, and numerous ing days, mamma came to me with a look little trifles of the toilette, which are of of some importance, to say, that my bro so much importance to pretty ladies, and ther's friends, viz., Mr. Blauton, and his alas! so hopelessly useless in the case of sister, and the widow of the late John ugly ones. ston Blauton, were coming on a visit to Fairy Hill, and that she wished to consult with me about domestic matters. This piece of news threw us into a panic. We commenced active preparations immediately; we overhauled the china-closet, “I say, Jenny, this room is badly arand made excursions into the pantry, and ranged," said Louise to me, after all our clothes-presses. The family plate is rub preparations were completed, and we were bed up, and servants are drilled, fattening in hourly expectation of our guests. coops filled, and every body exhorted " I look confoundedly green about the to do their duty.

mouth,” said Robert, looking towards a Louise is sent for, from aunt Braxley's, mirror, “there is a bad light somewhere; and Robert invites his friend Frank Dash where is it?" wood to join the party. Mamma and I “I suspect it is from the window openhave only a week for preparation. As- ing upon papa's shrubbery, which, you sisted by the housekeeper, and head ser know, he says must be oper d," said İ. vants, mercilessly harassed by grandma, “Pshaw! and we are to have a bad we accomplish herculean feats. We ar light. Louise, you look cadaverous." range the sweetest and most inviting cham “ Can it be the new carpet ?" asked my bers, impart quite a learned and dignified sister. look to the old library, furbish up the " Upon my word, the new carpet is parlors, and touch up the suminer-house, abominable. Have we had the yellow arbors, and walks, for Louise, Dashwood, fever or not? Are we all going off into and other lovers of romance. Robert ghastly jaundices immediately ?" inquired takes a snake-infested and dilapidated Robert, sinking down upon a sofa in grotto, and a very unpromising, briery, alarm.'" Are we to be ghosts for papa !



who doubtless selected these ghastly " who is considered a very remarkable boy greens, and dingy yellows, at the instiga- for his age. Indeed, all boys are con tion of soine demon shopkeeper. Jenny sidered remarkable boys for their ages, I do close those blinds, and call Sap to me. think; ah, they are a pair of cherubs, this

“ Indeed, you are a pretty fellow,” said little fat Therese and her darling little Louise, indignantly. "If I were Jenny, Adolphe ! They frolick and gambol toge you might call yo self, and close the ther, and their soft caressings ar beautiblinds too, sir. I know where I can sit to ful to behold. On him, the dear little throw a rosy tint on me."

woman lavishes all that exuberance of af“Do you?” faintly ejaculated our bro fection, for which the generality of manther.

kind would be so grateful. Upon him, Now, Sappingwood, who was seldom she bestows the overflowings of a heart out of hearing, entered, with his eternal brimfull of tenderness. Dashwood says bow, closed the window, turned the blinds, she is deep-but upon my word she is no drew the curtains a shade closer together, such thing. Her eyes are like a pair of opened the folding-doors about the eighth clear, oval mirrors of the soul, and they of an inch more, and glided about the reflect faithfully every impulse, and unroom, giving a touch here and a turn there, tutored thought which animates this until his master consulted the mirror, and little being. You think your shoulders said the green shadow about the corners and arms are fine, Louise, and, if I am not of his mouth was no longer to be seen. mistaken, you set up for a model in that Sappingwood then gracefully retired, and way ; but wait until you see Therese Mr. Robert Rushton's usual volubility re dressed out for dinner, I advise everybody turned.

to wait until then.” “I suspect she is very “I say, Louise, when my widow comes, handsome," said Louise. “ Brother Dashyou may hide your diminished head," he wood calls her a flirt, but for your sake, I began, in a half jocular way.

hope she is not. I shall love her, I shall * Your widow! oh, you are a ghost, if be obliged to love her, if she is, as you say, one may judge from appearances. Well, a warm-hearted little creature, with pure Mr. Ghost, I am not afraid of your widow, oval eyes and cheeks.” “ And Miss Willinor can I conscientiously consent to be anna Blanton," continued Robert, “I must annihilated by her, even though it be prepare you for her. Indeed, I consider it your ghostly pleasure.”

my bounden duty as master of ceremonies, " You should see her-everybody should to prepare your nervous system, by some see her!” cried Robert.

judicious manœuvre, for the shock. Ima“Oh! she is the dearest, loveliest, prat- gine, young ladies, a long-limbed, longtling littie creature in the world. She is necked creature, very closely resembling always as earnest and intent as a child. a crane. Having recovered from this efShe has some of the gravest and most fort of the imagination, you can picture to comic little ways, which, upon my soul, yourselves this crane-like concern advancno mortal of human organization can re ing upon you, with the stride of a Jack sist. Her hair, my dear girl, is a lus heron, combined with the awkwardness trous, changeable brown—not sandy, you of an alarmed ostrich." know," said our fastidious brother, with a "Oh! my dear brother!" I ejaculated, shudder.

in dismay. * But nevertheless suggesting such an “With sloping—I may say falling-off idea," said Louise, laughing, “no—a thou and dwindling-away shoulders, sandy sand times no !-but the color, the very hair, and a pair of pink albino eyes. Then identical color of that deep, old-fashioned this neck, the prope: ty evidently of some black molasses I used to love so when I crane, is turned out regularly at dinner, was a boy."

I presume for anatomical observations. “ And the boy is father of the man, you Her arms are hung with bracelets of all know,” remarked Louise. “Yes, I being shapes and sizes, which they cannot fill my own father, love those soft rippling up; and are ruthlessly exposed in a very locks--perhaps, who knows? perhaps naked and attenuated condition. These for the sweet associations which they un highly ornamented extremities are freconsciously recall! Philosophy befriend quently dangerously chalked, and being me!” said Robert, plunging into a reverie. fond of hooking themselves on to gentle

* But do furnish the sketch of your men's coat-sleeves, manage to carry on a widow," said Louise.

considerable business in the whitewash" Eh ! heigho-where was I? Well, ing line. Finally, girls, she apes my widthis widow with the remarkable hair is a ow! She affects the innocent and artless, perfect gem of a woman. She has a little you know, and audaciously apes my son,” said Robert, with a rueful counte inimitable Therese !" nance, but with the sublime air of a martyr, " And Mr. Blanton-what of him ?"


“Old Hal—why he is a prim, long-leg- sprinkled with compliments as he dashea ged stork of a man-very stiff and parti about with shaving-cans, dressing-cases, cular. He loved Therese once; but while boots, curling-tongs, and clothes-brushes. he was deliberating about making his pro Mr. Sappingwood, as he brushed by the posal to her, he learned, to his dismay, Blanton maids, had to regret that the genthat his brother's wedding day was fixed tlemen had not brought their own men —and he thus had the supreme satisfac with them, as in that comfortable event he tion of becoming the only brother of his should have had more time to devote to adorable. Rather a trial, wasn't it? the ladies. He respectfully hoped that the and a lesson to deliberators generally.” gentlemen would get shaved, and curled, Here Robert ceased his admirable sketch and pumped, in the course of time, and he ing, and chought he heard carriage wheels fervently wished he were fifty Saps, instead approaching Our guests were coming.

of one. I heard papa call Mike to run to the gate, About four o'clock, they were all dressed and every servant darted to his post. for dinner. Therese, fairer and fresher, was There were two carriages, and a servant out upon the upper balcony with her little on horseback ; Miss Blanton, the little boy, admiring the beautiful scenery around Adolphe, and a maid, alighted from one Fairy Hill. My brother and Dashwood carriage. After this, Mr. Blanton, as stiff were lounging in the office portico, looking as a poker, descended from the other car up, now and then, at the widow and her riage. My brother ran nimbly up, and boy, as they walked up and down the balgave his hand to Mrs. Blanton, who cony. Louise selected her straw-colored sprang out, talking as fast as she could, and barège for her début, and had no cause to gesticulating to Mr. Blanton, the happy hide her diminished head in Mrs. Blanton's Robert, and her own maid, who emerged presence. The witching Therese, I must from the carriage laden with dressing confess, was rather a dumpy woman, and cases, and shawls.

decidedly inclining to embonpoint. But Papa welcomed the new-comers in his my brother adored dimples at the points happiest manner. Mamma kissed the of ladies' elbows, and upon their knuckles, cherub boy of Robert's widow; and the and he could overlook many minor defects whole party came up the walk to the house, to secure these rare and all-important where they were met by Louise and my beauties. self. Louise soon took possession of Mrs. I am sorry to say that grandma posiBlanton, who seemed delighted with every tively refused to make her appearance, thing in the world—running everywhere, not being able to see why all the rules and admiring every thing, leaving Miss and regulations of a highly respectable Blanton and myself in an anxious state family should be broken in upon, and toabout servants, chambers, luggage, and tally set at naught by Bob's friends: she baths.

declined making her appearance at all. In the course of time, Mrs. Blanton For her part, she always dined at one sprang in at the unlucky window opening o'clock. Her ancestors, who were every upon papa's shrubbery, and consented to whit as good as the “Blarntons" (Mrs. be shown to her room, having made the Barbara sounded her a's very broad, as tour of the grounds, and caught some fish all aristocratic Virginians do) or the anywith her own little hands, out of Robert's body-else's, she was credibly informed pond, at the foot of the grotto.

had always dined at one o'clock, and if We had scarcely settled the Blantons she couldn't have her dinner at one o'clock ere Dashwood arrived, dusty and fatigued, she would n't have it at all. She begged and was shown to his own room in Robert's the privilege of eating a crust of bread rather luxurious office-huilding.

in her own son's house at any hour she Now, Sappingwood felt that his hour chose, and of keeping her room. Still, was come. Mr. Dashwood had thought she couldn't for the life of her see why a proper to come on horseback, no doubt ex respectable house was to be invaded in pecting Sap to wait upon him. And Mr. this way by a chunky widow, a yelloir Blanton, poor, particular man, required old maid, and what seemed to her to be a two servants; his own man to wait on man may-pole (Mr. Blanton); and if her himself, and somebody else to wait on his son, Dabney Rushton, was going to be man-which latter duty plainly devolved quietly led by the nose by that conceited upon Sap.

fellow Bob, who, she would take occasion Under these formidable circumstances, to say, used more tobacco than he'd ever I must do Sappingwood the justice to say, make-she wasn't; she'd keep her room that he was as nimble and active as it is from now until the crack of doom, rather possible for a valet of human organization than allow Bob to lead her by her nose. to be.

The ladies and gentlemen were now asThe new maids were showered and sembled in our large drawing-room. Miss


Blanton appeared in a pink silk, very low the most untiring little tongue in the and with short sleeves; she wore a set world. Circling about, easy, and without of emeralds, several serpentine bracelets, the slightest effort, saying naive things and a heavy chatelaine. Therese was with the naivest of airs, she was a very dressed in a thin white muslin, very soft witch of a little woman. Her presence and delicate, cool, and most artistically was like a charm; and people loved each arranged, which seemed to float about her other better, and had more charity for like a snowy summer cloud. This effect their neighbors, and their hearts were was heightened by a long illusion scarf, warmer, when she was in their midst. which half concealed her beautiful arms, “I say, mamma, may I ride the pony ?" and wreathed about her pure white neck began Alphonse. like vapor, and was most coquettishly The pony would run away with you, worn. Mrs. Blanton wore no jewelry at and then poor mamma would have no dear all; on her bosom she had a white rose little Alphonse,” said the little woman. bud, and geranium leaf, gallantly given “No, he wouldn't; I would just hold by Robert.

him so, sir, and draw him this way, and Papa and mamina complimented the la saw him just so, and Sap says he would dies, hoped they were refreshed, said a pace like the very deuce, inamma," said great many kind things, and exert em the little fellow, with great animation, selves to be agrecable. Robert, exqui- gesticulating all the while most admirasitely dressed, put on airs, looked careless bly. and indolent-seemed rather to tolerate Sap says! and pray who is Sap, Alpapa and mamma--and gave people to un

phonse ?" derstand that they were really very good “Sap; why don't you know Sap? don't sort of folks in their way.

you know a yellow man, mamma, who Dashwood, handsome and fastidious, lives here? He makes faces at little boys, was “spreading himself out,” to use my and he says he ate up a little boy just brother's expression, to conquer the whole about my size once. I tell you, mamma, company at one sitting. Never was mor he talks exactly like this Mr. Rushton; tal man so brilliant and delightful before not like the dark Mr. Rushton, but like dinner, as was Dashwood on this occasion. the one that sits by you so much." Master Alphonse, who was dressed out “ Thank you, Alphonse,” said Robert, quite fancifully, had a passage at arms laughing with his “bonne," as he called the severe - You are not polite, sir," said Miss yellow person who presided over him. Blaton. This skirmish, at first very unpromising, "Well, aunty, he does talk like Mr. ended in quite a tender scene between Rushton, and when he walks, he steps Robert and the widow; he begging per- just so, exactly like Mr. Rushton.” mission to dismiss the bonne," and to Ilere every body laughed very much assume the whole responsibility of Al at Alphonse, who was walking across the phonse, and Therese earnestly declaiming room like that pink of valets, Sap. that he knew nothing about managing I say every body larighed, but mamma children, and could do nothing with Al did not laugh, for she was painfully unphonse at all, while the little boy ran to easy about dinner, and actually afraid to Robert and clung to him, as though with leave the room, because Robert would not childish instinct he had already recognized like it. He said fashionable ladies never in that gentleman his natural protector. attended to their own dinners, indeed sel

I say this was a tender scene, rendered dom knew what was on the table till it with great effect, and considerably height was uncovered. Poor mamma had unened by a dark background, composed bounded confidence in her son's knowof Mr. Blanton, in a pair of tight boots, ledge on all subjects. She therefore sat, looking savage, scowling, and distressingly endeavoring to smile, while her thoughts uncomfortable. In a few minutes The were with the dinner, which, for aught she rese, without any apparent effort, had her knew, might at that very moment be brother-in-law by two of his stiff fingers, spoiling in the kitchen. Divining her telling him a string of anecdotes in her forebodings, indeed, beginning to feel some voluble, earnest way, while he began vis what alarmed myself, I glided out, and ibly to thaw under her genial smiles. found the housekeeper in a stew over the

It is impossible for my pen to follow the soup. She declared it was not fit for a graceful movements of this gifted and se dog to eat. She brought me a spoonful lect company. My eyes were completely to taste, and it was awful stuff. I could fascinated by this easy, natural, and co liken its taste to nothing but a decoction quettish little creature, Mrs. Blanton. She of turpentine. I ran to mamma's room seemed to have the warmest heart, the and gathered all the authorities I could most jocund smile, the archest ways, and find, -Miss Leslie, Mrs. Randolph, and


others, and returned to the kitchen armed she, can know the instant relief felt by to the teeth.

poor mamma, and the light bound which • Have you pepper in that soup?" I my heavy heart gave, as these delightful inquired, glancing over the receipt. "Yes, guests made the above remarks. I could missis,” ejaculated the cook, wiping her have hugged Mrs. Blanton, and squeezed face with her apron and fanning violently. Dashwood, so grateful was I for their "And selery seed pounded ?”

tribute to my culinary qualifications. She shook her head and the housekeeper Mamma gave me a bright glance, and revived.

verily I had my reward. I now took the unfortunate soup in While we were discussing this royal hand, and before I was done with it, I am purple, and most delicious soup, and papa sure it was dark enough, and highly and Mr. Blanton were talking of tobacco, enough seasoned for the most blasé epi Mr. Farren, our bachelor neighbor, was

I had the satisfaction, in ten mi announced. Miss Blanton bridled up, nutes, of bringing it to a clear purple color, and grew very red at the mention of his while it emitted an odor of great fragrance. name, and Dashwood looked at Louise. I fancy few young ladies, of a literary The servant came in to say that Mr. turn, could have finished off that un Farren had dined. “What an amazingly promising soup as artistically as the industrious man he is,” said Dashwood. humble authoress of these pages. While “ He rises by day,” said Robert, “ goes I stood, cookery book in hand, exult fox-hunting to earn an appetite for his ing over my soup, the dining-room ser breakfast; breakfasts on cream, boiled vant rushed upon us to say, that Robert eggs, and cold bread; walks over his said it was dinner time. People never plantation until twelve; dines precisely could be free and social until after dinner, at three, after which he visits the ladies, and Mr. Robert Rushton desired his com and amuses himself.” 6 You have not pliments to the housekeeper, and cook. mentioned half,” said papa ; "I am an oldThis report spread dismay and consterna fashioned man, and have lived full fifty tion in our ranks. Every idea in the cook's years, and I have seen, in my half cenhead immediately took flight, and the tury, enough to know that these are the housekeeper put

men, women and children men who control the destinies of nations. to confusion. The spirit lamps burned These early-risers, hard-workers, strongblue, and then expired. The soup threaten- minded, independent country gentlemen, ed to grow cold, and poor mamma was en are not bound by any clique." during torture in the drawing-room. Hav “ Confined by no pent-up Utica,” reing got the soup off safely, I began to ex marked Miss Blanton. hort the discomfited housekeeper and cook “ Exactly,” said papa, with a bow; to keep calm, as the worst was over. I " they are the bone and sinew of the went into the dining-room, and found mat country; they put their shoulders to the ters progressing finely here. After this, wheel, these sturdy, educated, wealthy I went into the back parlor to await the country gentlemen, and are, in fact, the summons which was to test my soup. Here great propellers of the ship of state.” I found only Alphonse, riding about on My brother looked at the servant, papa's walking-stick, on which he seemed who changed the plates. determined to practise until he learned “ Tom Farren can do more in one day,” enough of horsemanship to be promoted said papa, now fairly launched, and forto the pony

getting to help to fish, “than any young Dinner was announced, and Robert man of my acquaintance. I say young came through the back-parlor with Mrs. man, because old men work more nowBlanton on his arm, to look after Alphonse. adays than young ones.” I followed them into the dining-room, “Mrs. Blanton will trouble papa," said determined to take a seat where I could Robert. be of service to somebody during the “I beg a thousand pardons, madam,” weighty ceremonies of dinner. I sat by said papa, helping neatly to fish. “ May Mr. Blanton, who wore a forlorn and be I give you fish, Miss Blanton ? Mr. Dashnighted look, and was likely to require wood, pray allow me, my dear sir, take a assistance I thought.

bit of the head-ahem-and by this To my surprise Mrs. Blanton exclaimed, great bodily exercise my young friend,

“What delicious soup!” and Dash Thomas Farren, stimulates his mind, and wood, charming man, responded “Ca builds up, if I may so express myself, the pital!"

mental and physical fabric together." The Virginia housewife, if so notable “ He makes enormous crops, I underand estimable a personage should deign stand,” remarked my neighbor, Mr. Blanto read these pages, can appreciate my ton. feelings on this occasion. She, and only "And invariably gets the highest prices.


« PoprzedniaDalej »