« PreviousContinue »
fact. He grew restless and unhappy, and had he loved her less the chain that bound them together would long since have been fretted and worn away. Ellen knew just how far she might go. She irritated and quarrelled with him for the pleasure of making it up—a false excitement always dangerous, and often fatal to real affection—nay, we are half tempted to question the possibility of the two existing together! That a woman can love, and yet pain, and grieve, and eventually perhaps humble the beloved one.
The consequence of all this was, that Philip, wholly engrossed with one object, neglected his profession, and Ellen's triumph was her lover's ruin! Every one spoke of his devotion; but it was to her and not to his business. Both had forgotten the future in the present. Ellen's father was a prudent and worldly man, but shrewd and kind-hearted nevertheless. When he had first given his consent to his daughter's engagement, things were different, and Philip's excellent temper, together with his habits of steady perseverance, were as good as a fortune in the old man's opinion. He never guessed the cause of the change that had taken place; but its effects, together with a long and far from satisfactory conversation with Philip's employer, made him interfere, at length, and the young man was forbidden the house, at least for a season.
The lovers met together for the last time. Ellen was pale, surprised, and agitated; she blamed Philip and not herself, and endeavoured to conceal the deep love and pity which mingled with her chagrin and disappointment.
"Oh PhiEp!" exclaimed she, "And is this to be the end of all?"
"God forbid!" replied the young man, earnestly. "Only say that you love me, Ellen,—that you will trust me again,— that you will wait a few short months—and you shall see how differently I will act. I will win you yet, my Ellen! But
speak to me, dear one !—give me hope Tell me that you do
not hate and despise me—that you will yet be mine!"
Ellen trembled. Oh, if she had but obeyed the first impulse of her woman's heart! If she had confessed that she also had been in fault. If she had given him now in the hour of his bitter humiliation the comforting assurance of her love and sympathy. If she had counselled, and strengthened him with kind words for future exertions. Instead of which she stood apart, speaking mere sentences of course, in cold and measured terms; and even upbraided him for the misery which she had helped to bring upon them both, while she reminded him of her father's prohibition. Philip turned away despairingly.
"God bless you, Ellen I" said he. The expression of his face startled her. She flew after him and met her father at the door.
"Poor Philip!" said the old man, kindly, as he took her hand. "Do not weep, my child; he will be the wiser and better for this lesson all his life. I do believe that he is a good lad, only careless; but he will grow steadier, and you are both young enough to wait. You did not make any rash promises, Ihope?"
"No, father," said Ellen, who was beginning to think herself a very dutiful daughter. Only she wished that she had spoken kindly to him.
"That was right," observed the old man, approvingly. "I shall keep my eye upon him, and have no doubt of his going on well."
That night Ellen could not sleep; the pale, sorrowful face of her lover haunted her strangely and incessantly. When she arose the following morning, her eyes were red with weeping; and in answer to the affectionate enquiries of her sister, the
Eroud girl confessed with bitter sobs, that she was afraid she ad not behaved as she ought to poor Philip. "Why not write and tell him so?"
Ellen started at the suggestion, but the letter was written notwithstanding. It was affectionate—self-upbraiding—and blotted with tears—but Philip never received it! He had left London by the last train on the previous night, for Manchester, where his parents resided. The next account they heard was that there had been an accident—one of those fearful accidents the details of which are full of such harrowing misery, and that Philip was among the victims. Poor Ellen! her pride was not compromised after all—he died and never knew how much she loved him!
How sudden death startles the slumbering conscience, and awakens it to agony and remorse. How it brings back the memory of unkind looks and bitter words, of all that we have done of evil, and left undone of good, and when it is too late either to efface or atone for the past. Oh, saddest of all sentences—too late I
We leave our gentle readers to find out the moral of the foregoing facts for themselves; and beseech them to listen to its warning.
WRITTEN FOR MUSIC.
0 gloriously! how gloriously upon the fields they lie—
Those valley-stars that sparkle like the flowers of the sky;
What hope and joy of varied life within each leaf is curl'd,
The silver shower that fills each cup the rain-dew of a world!
The summer flowers! the summer flowers! those fair things bless'd of God,
That human life could pass away like their's upon the sod.
0 joyously! how joyously they light up hill and dale!
The purple heath upon his throne, the primrose in her vale;
0 how they garland childhood's dream, that faerie-land of mirth;
And shed their light round woman's love—that glory of the earth:
The summer flowers! the summer flowers! how sweetly do they wave
In all their trustfulness of hope around an early grave.
0 mournfully! how mournfully they wither from their bloom,
Turning our holiest temple to a solitary tomb;
Yet like the song-birds, have they not, with all their beauty, fled
Folding within their damask breasts the memories of the dead?
Those summer flowers! those summer flowers 1 the life-breath of their love
Is pouring out its incense in the happy land above.
THE UTILITY OF FICTION.
"Never read a novel!" This is the solemn injunction of many very amiable Mammas. And very heartily we should agree with them if all novels were what too many of them are.
Let us state the case fairly—there are some works of fiction to which we also object—we have no sympathy with this style —not an unfrequent one either in the hot-pressed octavo or humbler penny sheet.
"Sophonisba had a soul of her own. What to her were the attentions of Lord Montmorency Fitsfiddlepip? were her virgin susceptibilities to be sacrificed to his Lordship's territorial or titular claims—his opera box—his Moselle chateau—his odious ' drag'—or was her almost infantile juvenility to become the terrific prey of that antiquated millioniare Sir Scaramouch Tic-doloureux, No! no! we emphatically respond—No ! every palpitation of that excitable heart answered to' the genial influence of Clarence Egerton. Mellifluous name ! how naturally it exhaled from her velvet lips as she reclined on the crimson ottoman in Lady de Corkeyescrewe's conservatory. But scarcely had the tender appellation escaped the unconscious fair one ere Clarence himself stood before her—his raven locks hanging disturbed over his marble brow, his white hands paler than was their wont, and his ' Antinous' throat but barely protected from the rude winds by a sable band." Can we wonder that for a moment the bosom of Sophonisba betrayed unusual agitation, that she remembered not her secret and imperceptibly recalcitrated"—and so on.
Nor do we admire this style :—
"Augustus Carraways was no common hero—he hated the world and the world hated him. Had it not neglected to foster his glorious imagination, and immured him in a felon's cell because he condescended ingeniously to imitate their flimsy representatives of lucre? Had it not, despite his love for his Fatherland, banished him from its shores, because he had attempted to carry out the convenient principles of his self-supporting Communism? And now, was he not an alien from his tailor—an outcast from his laundress—ah! he would be revenged— man was his prey—and if he could not penetrate their hearts, he would their pockets," et cetera, et cetera.
And then there is the learned hash, to which we have an almost equal objection.
"Carissima dolce!" exclaimed the piquante Emileto herinamarato " Voulez vous faire une promenade aux jardins de Kensington?"
"Ich bin zu ihren Diensten" replied her " cavalier."
Emile shortly afterwards issued from her boudoir (attended by her page, Fernando, whose classical contour bespoke the student) attired in an elegant "mantelet-echarpe" looped with "nceuds de passementerie." Taking the preferred arm of Alonzo who looked more " distingue'" than ever in his cerulean bandana, they went forth amongst the unheeding world.
"Ah '." sighed the page, quoting from a lost book of Horace "Satagit rerum suarum."
For each and all these classes of novels and some half-a-dozen others we entertain a very honest aversion. The fashionably insipid and the melo-dramatically monstrous we hold in equal horror. But surely all our light literature is not of this kind. There is the chivalric James, the refined Bulwer, the truthful Dickens, the brilliant DTsraeli, and Scott—a whole host in himself. How could the young be better occupied in their leisure than by reading from any of these authors?
"Do something useful" we hear you say. What would you have? the useful may be exhausted—you may study the Use of the Globes until your own intellectual globe is in an atmosphere of fog. "Astronomy?" you would soon find the "Great Bear" a great bore. "Mesmerism?" you would be more likely to go to sleep than your patient." "Phrenology?" ah! that is amusing—but you might make mistakes; you might educate the wrong organ; see how close they lie together— you must be even careful how you pat a forward child on the head—you may excite his combativeness instead of encouraging his self-esteem.
The world is quite useful enough, and far too wise already.
Fancy now—a breezy upland: a tree or two about you:
a wood just behind: a stream at your feet: a companion (of course) at your side, and " Quentin Durward" or '. Vivian Grey" in your hand. How a glance from the book, too, occasionally may assist the meaning. Or a stroll through some avenue of the over-hanging beech or sweeping elm—the book held between you—and your comments! just the natural aids your sympathetic situation would suggest.
Or this picture—a snug room, with a nicely shaded lamp on the side-table—a half-dozen well filled chairs round a fire which cracks, and flames, and sparkles higher and higher every moment; there may be a cat at length on the hearth-rug, just lifting her lazy ears as the loud laugh goes round after some passage of Dickens or Goldsmith. Is it not as well as looking, whilst you are reading it, one of the "Vestiges of Creation" yourself, or toiling through the tortuosities of either Hebrew or Irish?
Or that good old couple, in the last years of their life, sitting at their garden-porch where the sun-beams revel in the gorgeous holly-oaks, or nimbly steal up the climbing clematis—and the book of all others in their hand, the Vicar of Wakefield. The dear old Vicar! how exactly Sophia and Burchell were like themselves. Quite what they said. Quite what they did. And he looks into her face with that changeless love which is ever young, whilst his eye brightens with—either a smile or a tear—no matter—sorrow or joy hath an equal charm for love like theirs.
Or those merry children tumbling over the leaves of Robinson Crusoe; who will ever forget his long hat and his shaggy coat, his gun, the foot-print, his Man Friday. How the merry rogues stare, and shout, and want to peep over the leaf to see what comes next.
Even the Fairy Tales! how we all like them. Better than any that have ever been written since. The Cat-Princess, and Lord Mayor Whittington, and wonderful Jack the Giant Killer, and his name-sake of the Bean Stalk; how we should like to have got up that Bean Stalk! We love them all, from Cinderella even to old Mother Hubbard. But those days are all gone, we have now children's stories to teach us Political Economy. Dr. Watts was the first enemy—
"How doth the little busy bee," &c.
"e have never liked bees half so well since we were taught that "divine song." We thought of them before merely as the gardeners, who dipping their little wings into cup after
V01" I. F No. m.