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"The Innocent Isabel," as she was styled in her youth, is considerably above the average stature of her sex, and is of ample dimensions every way. Her forehead is low, and her nose and chin unmistakably Bourbon. She wore a black dress very decoiletei, but not more so than is common among fashionable ladies, and the charms which it partly concealed were evidently of ponderous proportions. Upon her hands, which are very large and which looked swollen, she wore lace mitts, not gloves, leaving the fingers bare. Her whole skin was red, and had the appearance of being affected with some cutaneous disorder, which I have understood is the case. I certainly did not fall in love with Her Majesty at first sight. I have heard others declare her handsome; but there is nothing as to which there is a greater difference of opinion than female beauty.
At the conclusion of Mr. Soule's address she replied at less length in remarkably good French, but with a decidedly Spanish accent. When she had finished she drew a little sigh and paused a moment, and then abruptly asked in a much louder voice, and with a total change of manner,
"Well, Mr. SouliS, and how is Madame Soule?"
"She was very well, your Majesty, when I last heard from her. She is in the French Pyre
"I thought she could not be in Madrid, for I have missed her for some time. When you next write to her remember me to her. Ah! Mr. Soule, neither I nor my mother will ever forget yoar kindness during those horrible days of June."
I can not say here that the Queen's eyes were literally suffused with tears, but both her face and countenance indicated considerable emotion. Her manner during the above dialogue had been as familiar as that of any well-bred person in society. In her last remark she alluded to the revolution of the previous June, when Christina's life was in danger, and when Mr. Soule ' alone of the corps diplomatique offered her the protection of his house and flag.
Befor^any thing further was said Mr. Soule very kindly turned to me and called me to her attention, apologizing for having brought me with him in so unceremonious a manner, but explaining that as I might not very improbably see the President before very long, he was desirous that her Majesty might avail herself of the opportunity to send to him any verbal message she might desire. She smiled, and gave me a commission which I will not here repent, but which was full of kind and friendly feeling. She then asked me how much longer I expected to remain in Madrid. I answered not more than three days, as I had already overstaid my time. "Oh," she replied, "you must certainly stay for the ball next Wednesday. Do you know, Mr. Soule', it is the first really gala ball I have had since I have been on the throne?"
"I should be most happy to stay, your Majesty, but in the first place I have no uniform."
"Oh, Mr. Soule will arrange that, will yon not, Mr. Soule'?"
"Certainly, your Majesty."
"But then there is another difficulty. I am for the moment in the public service, and my instructions were to return to Paris the moment my business was accomplished."
"Now," she continued, with a smile, "if you were a subject of mine I would command you U, stay. But you American gentlemen are a sell' willed and independent race. Still I presume that if you will not obey my orders, you will Mr. Soule's. Mr. Soule', please order him to stay."
"I order you, Sir, to obey her Majesty's commands."
I bowed and said I would—but I didn't.
After this badinage there followed a pause of sufficient length to indicate that the audience was at an end. Perceiving this Mr. Soule backed a step and bowed as he had done on entering. I ditto. Majesty ditto. And so we kept it up facing each other all the time, until at last both parties disappeared at the same moment through their respective doors.
When we again found ourselves in the embassador's waiting-room, there was the old Clmmbellan, who evidently belonged to that genus of fossils who believe that a breach of etiquette is sufficient to make the firmament fall. Coming up to me, he affectionately put his arm round my neck and said:
"Do you know, Sir, that an exception has this evening been made in your favor, which I venture to say has never been made before in the history of the Spanish Monarchy! I am confiden i that no person was ever presented before to a Spanish Sovereign without being dressed in uniform."
I put on an air of offended dignity, as if piqued at the impediments he had originally thrown in my way, and replied: "I acknowledge that the compliment was a great one, but I can appropriate no portion of it to myself. It all belongs to my minister. I counted for nothing in Her Majesty's condescension. She did not even know my name."
"Well," he replied, "it was a compliment to both;" but I stuck to my original proposition, in which, of course, I was entirely right.
"Do you know," he resumed, "that we are going to have a grand ball at the Palace on Wednesday, when the Court goes out of mourning? You must stay for it."
"I am much obliged to you," I answered, "but I have already received an invitation from the highest source—from Her Majesty herself. If any thing could induce me to remain for the Jete, it would be her gracious request that I would do so."
Thereupon the old gentleman had nothing further to say, except that he hoped he should see me there.
We shook hands with him and commenced our egress, which was accomplished in the same manner as our entrance had been. When we got outside the abode of royalty Mr. Soule' went to his dinner-party and I went home.
ON BEING FOUND OUT. WHEN I was a boy at a small private and preparatory school for young gentlemen, I remember the wiseacre of a master ordering us all, one night, to march into a little garden at the back of the house, and thence to proceed, one by one, into a tool or hen house (I was but a tender little thing just put into short clothes, and can't exactly say whether the house was for tools or heus), and in that house to put our hands into a sack which stood on a bench, a candle burning beside it. I put my hand into the sack. My hand came out quite black. I went and joined the other boys in the schoolroom; and all their hands were black too.
By reason of my tender age I could not understand what was the meaning of this nightexcursion—this candle, this tool-house, this bag of soot. I think we little boys were taken out of our sleep to be brought to the ordeal. We came, then, and showed our little hands to the master; washed them or not—most probably, I should sav, not—and so went bewildered back to bed.
Something had been stolen in the school that day; and Mr. Wiseacre hav ing read in a book of an ingenious method of finding out a thief by making him put his hand into a sack (which, if guilty, the rogue would shirk from doing), all we boys were subjected to the trial. Goodness knows what the lost object was, or who stole it. We all had black hands to show to the master. And the thief, whoever he was, was not Found Out that time.
I wonder if the rascal is alive—an elderly scoundrel he must be by this time; and a hoary old hypocrite, to whom an old school-fellow presents his kindest regards—parenthetically remarking what a dreadful place that private school was; cold, chilblains, bad dinners, not enough victuals, and caning awful! Are you alive still, I say, you nameless villain, who escaped discovery on that day of crime? I hope you have escaped often since, old sinner. Ah, what a lucky thing it is, for you and me, my man, that we are not found out in all our peccadilloes; and that our backs can slip away from the master and the cane!
Just consider what life would be, if every rogue was found out, and flogged coram populo! What a butchery, what an indecency, what an endless swishing of the rod! Don't cry out about my misanthropy. My good friend Mealymouth, I will trouble you to tell me, do you go to church? When there, do you say, or do you not, that you are a miserable sinner? and saying so, do you believe or disbelieve it? If you are a M. S., don't you deserve correction, and aren't you grateful if you are to be let off? I say again, what a blessed thing it is that we are not all found out!
Just picture to yourself every body who does wrong being found out, and punished accordingly. Fancy all the boys in all the school being whipped, and then the assistants, and then the
master. Fancy the provost-marshal being tied up, having previously superintended the correction of the whole army. After the young gentlemen have had their turn for their faulty exercises, fancy a Doctor of Divinity being taken up for certain faults in his sermon. After the clergyman has cried his peccavi, suppose we hoist up a bishop, and give him a couple of dozen! The butchery is too horrible. The hand drops powerless, appalled at the quantity of birch which it must cut and brandish. I am glad we are not all found out, I say again; and protest, my dear brethren, against our having our deserts.
To fancy all men found out and punished is bad enough; but imagine all women found out in the distinguished social circle in which you and I have the honor to move. Is it not a mercy that a many of these fair criminals remain uupunished and undiscovered? There is Mrs. Longbow, who is forever practicing, and who shoots poisoned arrows too; when you meet her you don't call her liar, and charge her with the wickedness she has done and is doing? There is Mrs. Fainter, who passes for a most respectable woman, and a model in society. There is no use in saying what you really know regarding her and her goings on. There is Diana Hunter —what a little, haughty prude it is! and yet tct know stories about her which are not altogether edifying. I say it is best, for the sake of the good, that the bad should not all be found out. You don't want your children to know the history of that lady in the next box, who is so handsome, and whom they admire so? Ah me, what would life be if we were all found out, and punished for all our faults? Jack Ketch would be in permanence; and then who would hang Jack Ketch?
They talk of murderers being pretty certainly found out. Pshaw 1 I have heard an authority awfully competent vow and declare that scores and hundreds of murders are committed, and nobody is the wiser. That terrible man mentioned one or two ways of committing murder, which he maintained were quite common, and were scarcely ever found out. A man, for instance, comes home to his wife, and But I
pause—I know that this Magazine has a very large circulation. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands—why not say a million of people at once ?—well, say a million, read it. And among these countless readers I might be teaching some monster how to make away with his wife without being found out, some fiend of a woman how to destroy her dear husband. I will not then tell this easy and simple way of murder, as communicated to me by a most respectable party in the confidence of private intereourse. Suppose some gentle reader were to try this most simple and easy recipe—it seems to me almost infallible—and come to grief in consequence, and be found out nnd hanged? Should I ever pardon myself for having been the means of doing injury to a single one of our esteemed subscribers? The prescription whereof I speak—that is to say, whereof I don't speak—shall bo buried in this bosom. No, I am a humane man. I am not one of your Bluebeards to go and say to my wife, "My dear! I am going away for a few days. Here are all the keys of the house. You may open every door and closet, except the one at the end of the oak-room opposite the fire-place, with the little bronze Shakspeare on the mantlepiece (or what not)." I don't say this to a woman—unless, to be sure, I want to get rid of her —because, after such a caution, I know she'll peep into the closet. I say nothing about the closet at all. I keep the key in my pocket, and a being whom I love, but who, as I know, has many weaknesses, out of harm's way. You toss up your head, dear angel, drub on the ground with your lovely little feet, on the table with your sweet rosy fingers, and cry, "O sneerer! You don't know the depth of woman's feeling, the lofty scorn of all deceit, the entire absence of mean curiosity in the sex, or never, never would you libel us so!" "Ah, Delia! dear, dear Delia! It is because I fancy I do know something about you (not all, mind—no, no; no man knows that). Ah, my Bride, my Ringdove, my Rose, my Poppet—choose, in fact, whatever name you like—Bulbul of my grove, Fountain of my desert, Sunshine of my darkling life, and Joy of my dungeoned existence! It is because I do know a little about you, that I conclude to say nothing of that private closet, and keep my key in my pocket. You take away that closet-key then, and the house-key. You lock Delia in. You keep her out of harm's way and gadding, and so she never can be found out.
And yet by little strange accidents and coincidents how we are being found out every day! You remember that old story of the Abb5 Caquatois, who told the company at supper one night how the first confession he ever received was from a murderer, let us say. Presently enters to supper the Marquis do Croquemitaine. "Palsambleu, Abbe!" says the brilliant Marquis, taking a pinch of snuff, "are you here? Gentlemen and ladies! I was the Abbe's first penitent, and I made him a confession which I promise you astonished him."
And yet to be found out, I know from my own experience, must bo painful and odious, and cruelly mortifying to the inward vanity. Suppose I am a poltroon, let us say. With fierce mustache, loud talk, plentiful oaths, and an immense stick, I keep up nevertheless a character for courage. I swear fearfully at cabmen and women; brandish my bludgeon, and perhaps knock down a little man or two with it; brag of the images which I break at the shooting-gallery, and pass among my friends for a whiskery fire-eater, afraid of neither man nor dragon. Ah, me! Suppose some brisk little chap steps up and gives me a caning in the street, with all the heads of my friends looking out of all the club windows? My reputation is gone. I frighten no man more. My nose is pulled by whippersnappers, who jump up on a chair to reach it. I am found out. And in the days of my triumphs, when people were yet afraid of me, and
were taken in by my swagger, I always knew that I was a lily-liver, and expected that I should be found out some day.
That certainty of being found out must haunt and depress many a bold braggadocio spirit. Let us say it is a clergyman, who can pump copious floods of tears out of his own eyes and those of his audience. He thinks to himself, "I am but a poor swindling, chattering rogue. My bills are uupaid. I have jilted several women whom I have promised to marry. I don't know whether I believe what I preach, and I know I have stolen the very sermon over which I have been sniveling. Have they found me out?" says he, as his head drops down on the cushion.
Then your writer, poet, historian, novelist, or what not. The Beacon says that " Jones's work I is one of the first order." The Lamp declares J that " Jones's tragedy surpasses every work since the days of Him of Avon." The Comet asserts that "J.'s 'Life of Goody Twoshoes' is a crij/ta sc dti, a noble and enduring monument to the fame of that admirable English woman," and so forth. But then Jones knows that he has lent the critic of the Beacon five pounds; that his publisher has a half share in the Lamp; and that the Comet comes repeatedly to dine with him. It is all very well. Jones is immortal until he is found out; and then down comes the extinguisher, and the immortal is dead and buried. The idea (dies ira!) of discovery must haunt many a man, and make him uneasy, as the trumpets are puffing in his triumph. Brown, who has a higher place than he deserves, cowers before Smith, who has found him out. What is a chorus of critics shouting "Bravo ?"—a public clapping hands and flinging garlands? Brown knows that Smith has found him out. Puff, trumpets! Wave, banners! Huzzay, boys, for the immortal Brown! "This is all very well," B. thinks (bowing the while, smiling, laying his hand to his heart); "but there stands Smith at the window: he has measured me; and some day the others will find me out too." It is a very curious sensation to sit by a man who has found you out, and who, as you know, has found you out, or, vice ecrsa, to sit with a man whom you have found out. His talent? Bah! His virtue? We know a little story or two about his virtue, and he knows we know it. We are thinking over friend Robinson's antecedents, as we grin, bow, and talk; and we are both humbugs together. Robinson a good fellow, is he? You know how he behaved to Hicks? A goodnatured man, is he? Pray, do you remember that little story of Mrs. Robinson's black eye? How men have to work, to talk, to smile, to go to bed, and try and sleep, with this dread of being found out on their consciences! Bardolph, who has robbed a church, and Nym, who has taken a purse, go to their usual haunts, and smoke their pipes with their companions. Mr. Detective Bullseye appears, and says, "Oh, Bardolph! I want you about that there pyx business!" Mr. Bardolph knocks the ashos out of his pipe, puts out his hands to the little steel cuffs, and walks away quite meekly. He is found out. He must go. "Good-by, Doll Tearsheet! Good-by, Mrs. Quickly, Ma'am!" The other gentlemen and ladies de la socictc look on and exchange mute adieux with the departing friends. And are assured time will come when the other gentlemen and ladies will be found out too.
What a wonderful and beautiful provision of nature it has been that, for the most part, our womankind are not endowed with the faculty of finding us out! They don't doubt, and probe, and weigh, and take your measure. Lay down this paper, my benevolent friend and reader, go into your drawing-room now, and utter a joke ever so old, and I wager sixpence the ladies there will all begin to laugh. Go to Brown's house, and tell Mrs. Brown and the young ladies what you think of him, and see what a weleome you will get! In like manner, let him come to your house, and tell your good lady his candid opinion of you, and fancy how she will receive him! Would you have your wife and children know you exactly for what you are, and esteem you precisely at your worth? If so, my friend, you will live in a dreary house, and you will have but a chilly fireside. Do you suppose the people round it don't see your homely face as under a glamour, and, as it were, with a halo of love round it? You don't fancy you are, as you seem to them? No such thing, my man. Put away that monstrous conceit, and be thankful that they have not found you out.
GRACE AND I.
WE were getting on the downhill of life, and beginning to be—a little sadly—conscious of the fact. Are people ever thoroughly reconciled to growing old, I wonder? Or do they feel, at best, only a kind of forced resignation? In my young days I supposed, as a matter of course, that the spirit and the body matured and declined together, and that all the middle-aged and elderly people around me had minds perfectly attuned to their time of life; they looked forty, fifty, and sixty, and felt just so. I had not heard then of the poor old lady who, beholding in the glass her wrinkled face, exclaimed, "It's noneo' me! It's none o' me!" And if I had, should have regarded her as a very weak sort of individual. I have learned to sympathize with her in later years.
Grace and I had not gone quite so far; wrinkles and gray hairs were not very evident with us as yet, though they might be soon. An aunt, who had recently visited at our house, informed us that we were now "in the vigor of middle life,"and we had felt considerably insulted by the statement, and asked each other, in a private "indignation meeting" on the subject, in what remote corner of second childhood the good lady put herself. "Middle life" indeed! Why it seemed no more than yesterday thnt we were children, and quite too young to "go with the big girls." The remark set us thinking, how
ever, and we found we were further along than we had imagined; not so old, to be sure, as Socrates when he learned to dance, or even as Cowper when he began to write poetry, but no longer very youthful. Not to make any foolish mystery about it, I was twenty-nine, and Grace just two years less experienced.
Heretofore we had felt ourselves young as any body; had thought and spoken of ourselves as "girls"without the least suspicion that the term could be considered misapplied. But, as I said, Aunt Mercy's remark set us thinking, and I realized that next year I should be thirty! An unmarried female of thirty! I shivered as I remembered the vernacular for such a person. Not that there was any disgrace in being an "old maid;" I had long looked calmly forward to the probability of such a destiny. But to find that I had actually got there—and without knowing it!
After this for several days I kept a keen lookout for signs of age and failure.
"How hard my hands are growing!" I said, one morning. "Do you think, Grace, that it can be because I am so thin lately?"
"Very likely," she answered. "You could not reasonably expect good healthy bone to be soft. Console yourself, though, Jen, for mine are in the same state. At our age we can't hope to retain the tender palm of youth."
"Nonsense—your hands are soft as ever they were. But do you see any sign of a 'silver dawn' in my hair? Or traces of the crow's-foot round my eyes? Mind you tell me truly the first symptom that appears. Maria Theresa wished to meet her death awake; and I want to meet my age and its disfigurements with a full consciousness of them, and not go on flattering myself that I am 'quite young' or 'young enough' to the very verge of my threescore and ten." Grace promised faithfully to keep me posted.
There was one person who still considered us as in the "dew of our youth"—it was mother. Though we had gradually superseded her in every department of household labor, she regarded us as novices, liable to blunder at every step, and needing a world of directions about the simplest matter. Personal supervision she had renounced; but from her rocking-chair by the fireside, where she sewed or knitted or read the long day through, issued frequent commands and admonitions. "Time to put on the potatoes, Grace—and be sure that they're washed clean." "Don't forget the emptins when you mix up those biscuit." ''And did you beat the eggs, Janet, before you put them in the cake? I ought to stand over you even' Mling you do, you're such heedless children!" Grace and I laughed, and agreed with each other that it was pleasant to seem young to somebody.
Mother was a widow, and we were poor. By that I don't mean wretchedly poor, but that we lived with great plainness, and were just able by so doing to make both ends meet. Father's health had failed, and he was not able to do ranch for some years before he died. He had made out to keep the place for us unincumbered, but that was all. There were fifty acres and a tolerably-sized house, two or three cows, a pig, and so on. You would think we could have got along nicely, but somehow we didn't; perhaps we did not manage well, but I'm sure we were never extravagant. A neighbor took our land on shares, but he wanted so much allowance made for his team and the seed he furnished that it cut terribly into our profits. Then we must keep up the fences and pay for every improvement; and if he only turned his hand over to accommodate us it was put in the bill. Then we must board a boy to do "the chores," and our fuel must be cut and drawn and split; Grace and I could not go out in the woods and fell timber, however much we might desire to. Every body seemed to think, too, that we were so wonderfully well off, and charged us full price and a little over for what they did for us. We found that it took nearly all our ready money to pay necessary expenses.
We managed in every way that we could think of. Sold our ashes and bought groceries and calico; saved all the hen-feathers and bits of rag and bought our tin therewith; used the smallest possible quantity of butter, milk, and eggs, and sold the rest: one winter we even did entirely without apples, and made sale of the whole produce of our orchard. All this helped, of course, but it did not make matters straight. Then the house needed paint, and the roof leaked, and a hundred little matters called for repair; while within, though we were careful as could be, the wood-work grew shabby and the wallpaper smoky and faded.
"We have tried what saving money will do," I said; "now we must set at work and make some."
But how? was the question. There was very little demand for plain sewing, and people who made it their business complained that they had not half enough to do. Grace might have been Female Principal at the Academy—she knew twice as much as a good many that did fill that position; but she was born and bred in Arlington, and a prophet, you know, never has honor in his own country. People would not have thought that Grace Maltby, whom they had known from her cradle, and who had never been at a boarding-school in her life, could possibly teach their children'' the higher branches." But there was the common school, and she got one in our neighborhood: they paid twenty shillings a week and board, or four dollars and let her board herself. She chose the latter, of course, and walked the three miles a day very contentedly, looking to her golden gains. The money was paid at the end of the season, and it certainly came in as a great convenience; but, dear me! it did not do half that it seemed we must have done. The place, somehow, swallowed up all that we could get outside of it.
We thought of buying a number of cows and trying a large dairy, since butter and cheese were
then selling at a high price; but mother would not hear a word of it. There was no capital for the outlay, and she had a mortal horror of debt. As for raising the money by a mortgage on our place, she would as soon have engaged to suffer from cancer for a term of years. We were a good deal disappointed, but perhaps it was best after all: we should have been obliged to pay so much for indispensable assistance that our profits might have been lost in our expenses. It was about this time that we began to realize, and, as I said, sadly realize, that we were getting oldish, and had lived our best days. Before this I had always been hopeful, though without any particular reason for being so; had thought that somehow it would all come right in the end. Now I discerned the true state of matters—that we had passed our prime, and that, pecuniarily, things must grow worse with us from year to year. Mother never would incur expense unless she had the means of meeting it at once: the land would yield us less and less return as it became poorer from want of care; we must live closer and closer, our property depreciating all the time, and end up—how? The prospect was not a cheerful one; we had practiced a pinching economy for a long time, and it was hard to think that no improvement was possible; that all the change must be the other way.
I did not mind it so much for myself. I should have liked as well as any body to have a light, pretty paper on our sitting-room; to take a Magazine, and have plenty of books; to use Java or Mocha coffee instead of Rio, and white sugar in place of brown. 1 liked to see napkins on a table, and preferred silver forks to steel. But it was not for my own sake half as much as Grace's that I minded these things. You may think it strange that I do not speak of mother's comfort; but if you had known her, you would have understood it all. She had a supreme contempt for dainties; I believe she would have lived the year round on "Johnny-cake" and milk, and liked tho fare. As for dress, her simplicity was Spartan. She took the old gowns which we had worn to the last verge of endurance and made over for herself; three breadths or four in a calico dress—it was all the same to her. Several good suits of clothing she indeed possessed, but these she obstinately refused to wear except on state occasions—Thanksgiving dinners, or a visit to some neighbor. Yet such is the force of native comeliness, that she was as nice-looking an old lady as you will often see, spite of her scant attire. I don't know what ample means could have done for mother since, like the Apostle, she "had all things and abounded" as it was. Our furniture she considered as more than good enough; our mode of life as comprising not only comfort but luxury; and as for the three-breadth calicoes, she never made them over without some remark on our extravagance in throwing away such serviceable garments.
At eighteen Grace was the prettiest girl, it seems to me, that my eyes ever encountered;