Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

eye, who is sure to ask me for candy, while I am describing, in bitter terms, the tyranny of the Bank directors, is my youngest ; and there, with the basket of »tockings near her, sits my better half; there is the sparkling fire, and here are my slippers: does all this look like the miseries of a bachelor?" "Well, I beg your pardon, sir, for believing that you were as wretched as I am; but still when you hear my story you may possibly advise me what is best to be done." "Go on, sir." "Well, sir, thus it is: My father realised a handsome property by his industry, which he left to me; but such were his rigid notions of the necessity of constant occupation to prevent idleness and other evils, that my time was employed, after I had left school, which was at an early age, from sunrise to bedtime. It was an incessant round of occupation—labour, keeping books, and making out bills. Behold me now, at the age of twenty-three, with a good constitution, correct principles, and a handsome income. I have lost my parents— am alone in the world. I wish to marry, but really, sir, to my shame I confess it, I have no acquaintance among young ladies. I do not know any. My secluded manner of living has prevented my cultivating their acquaintance; and if by accident I am thrown into their society , my tongue is literally tied. I do not know how to address them—I am not conversant with the topics which are usually discussed. In short, sir, I wish to advertise for a wife, and not knowing how to draw up such an advertisement, I came to beg that favour at your hands."

"So, so (said I to myself), here's a little modesty tumbled into decay— 'Calebs in Search of a Wife.''

He was a good-looking young fellow, and had a quick eye, which led me very much to doubt his reserved, retired, and abashed condition before the ladies.

"Have you, sir, considered the risk in taking a wife in this strange way 2 How very liable you may be to gross imposition? What lady of delicacy or reputation would venture to contract an alliance so very solemn and obligatory, through the channel of a newspaper advertisement i"

"Very probably, sir; but a poor honest girl might be struck with it; a clever, well-educated, daughter, ill-treated by a fiery step-mother, might, in despair, change her condition for a better one; nay, a spirited girl might admire the novelty, and boldly make the experiment."

"Well, sir, and how are you to conduct the negociation with your native bashfulness? You have no superannuated grandmother or old maiden aunt to arrange preliminaries."

"That's very true; but, sir, necessity will give me confidence, and despair afford me courage."

I wrote the advertisement for him, which he thankfully and carefully placed /n his pocket-book, and bade us good morning.

[graphic][ocr errors]

"Poor devil (said I), here's a condition—here's a novelty—here's a ram avis! a fellow of twenty-three, with a good character and income, and not sufficient impudence to ask for a wife! I know lots of young ladies who would have sufficient charity to break him of his bashfulness in a few lessons."

However, his case is not a novel one. It shows the necessity of parents accustoming their sons in early life to cultivate the society of respectable females. They should be encouraged in any disposition they may manifest for good female society, although they may incur the charge of being either a beau or a dandy. Boys should go to dancing-schools, not only because it teaches them graoe, but it accustoms them in early life to the society of women. They dance with those girls whom, in later periods, they may admire and respect as ladies. The lives of children should be chequered with innocent amusements—study and labour require such relief, and they should not be brought up in close confinement, in a doggrel way which unfits them for society when they are men, nor be driven to the dire necessity of advertising for a wife, and taking the risk of such a desperate adventure.

SUSANNAH.

Whitheb are thy thoughts now roaming, gentle lady? Why, unnoticed and uncared for, does thy bower spread around thee its fragrance and its shade? Perchance, thou art dreaming of days of old romance, when young knights laid at the feet of beauty their hard-won spurs, or sought at twilight hour her pity and love—or when the palmer threw aside his cloak and scalloped hat, to disclose the lover, who had brought her many a trophy from Syria's burning fields—or when in lofty and glittering halls and amid gorgeous dames, crowds of warriors sought her smile—or when she listened from her lofty lattice to the songs of passing minstrels, sweeter to her pleased ear than the melody of the nightingale, that warbled from the silver beech tree the live-long night. Perchance, thou artdream*ng of less gaudy scenes, where nature, in umimpaired and silent grandeur, spreads all her charms—when thou wouldst have no companions, but the gay and careless revellers in the sunshine and the grove—no sound to disturb thy wandering fancy, but the humming of glittering insects, the notes of the birds, the dying murmurs of the breeze, or the falling of distant waters—no brightness but the chequered sun-beams, scarcely stealing through the quivering trees, and purple twilight slowly chasing them away, till at last the only lamp to light up the vast and tranquil theatre, is the flitting fire-fly or the twinkling star. Perchance, thou art dreaming neither of old days of romantic splendour, nor scenes of rural and tranquil joy—some secret thought may be swelling that gentle bosom— scarcely acknowledged to thyself, and of which profane curiosity may not venture to inquire.

[graphic]
[graphic]

THE CASTLE OF GELAHAUSEN.

Near the heights of the Westerau, in the delightful valley of the Kinzig, may be seen the dilapidated, moss-clad walls of the once rich imperial city of Gela. bausen, round which the Kinzig winds its lingering course, and at a short distance the remains of the magnificent palace of the same name, erected by the Emperor Frederick.

It was on the summit of those beautiful heights, called the Rhongehirge, where they are united to the Vogelbirge by a picturesque ridge of hills, that Frederick Barbarossa, son of Frederick the Squinter, Duke of Suabia, passed the fairest days of his youth. Gifted with all the qualities of heart and mind, skilled in all the arts of chivalry, few opponents withstood his lance, and never did the savage denizens of the forests, which covered the hills around him, escape his spear or bolt. It was seldom that the noble youth assisted at tilt, tournay, foray, or hunting party, without bearing off the prize of victory. Well versed in the chronicles and legends of former times, he excelled in the minstrel's noble art. When the winter's tempests had passed away, and spring revisited his native valleys with its train of sylvan joys, Frederiok sallied forth, his bow on his shoulder, and was joyfully received at the surrounding castles, and by his father's vassals, who hailed the day when his favourite sports and exercises brought him once more among them.

In one of those excursions, the path happened to lead him to a noble castle, the gate of which was overhung with clustering branches of full-blown lilac. Beneath the porch sat the owner of the castle and his lovely daughter, with several faithful watch-dogs basking in the sunbeams.

"God be with you !" exclaimed the youth.

"And with you," replied the old man, laying aside a piece of armour he was examining.

"Do not disturb yourself, Erwin (said Frederick); and you, fair maiden, I am sure, will not refuse a traveller a meal and shelter, till the lark summon him to pursue his journey."

"Gela, bring a draught of fresh mead for our guest," said Erwin to his daughter.

The maiden was about to rise from her seat, when Frederick requested her to proceed with her work, and added, with a smile, that he would earn his cup of welcome like a true minstrel. Both bowing assent to his proposal, he sang the joys of spring, its choir of winged songsters, its blossoms, and the sweet perfumes of its expanding flowers. Gela's work dropped from her hands, and her eyes were suffused with moisture. The old man listened with delight; even the

« PoprzedniaDalej »