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ed for—I was so young, 1 suppose. The next instant I was on my feet, not in the least degree surprised, taking it all as exactly what I had expected and wus waiting for.
It is a matter I flatter myself upon. I dare say it is the culmination of all culture never to be surprised under any possible cireumstances. It is an evil, a defect, a weakness to be surprised. It throws you off your balance—it exposes you to blunder and mortification—it gives your foe an advantage over you. No possible good ever results from being taken by surprise. What is the use, then, of being surprised? Next to escaping altogether from the emotion itself, is the power of entirely concealing that emotion when it does arise. A distinguished clergyman once told me he had as completely lost the faculty of being surprised or astonished as one loses a pocket handkerehief. At least, never let it be seen that you are painfully taken unaware.
Without more than a decent pause, allowing all the rest of the company to rise, I proceeded to marry the couple before me. I was perfectly aware that not an individual in the house understood a syllable I said. I was perfectly aware that neither of the two before me understood a syllable of what I said. I hesitated not for that. Gravely and seriously I proceeded—what else could I do?—precisely as if they did understand. True, when I asked the groom if he knew any reason why he should not then be married to that woman, he recognized it as some question, and replied, with emphasis, in the affirmative. She in her turn did the same. I had no disposition even to smile. Did I not know their real meaning? The attention they gave my every word was gratifying. It seems absurd now, but there was a ceremony to be gone through with. I went through with it. I exhorted him upon the duties of his new life; I warned him of its perils. And she had her important obligations. I detailed them to her. My remarks were impressive in tone at least. They seemed deeply impressed. And so I closed the ceremony with n benediction, which they received with bowed heads.
It was an immense relief to all of us. Cheerfulness resumed its sway. Rosy and bustling females removed the cloth from the table, and displayed it literally crowded and loaded with all delicacies. The bridegroom was an old soldier; he had faced a difficulty, he had stormed a position, he was hilarious with victory. In a few moments I was placed at the head of the table, the bride on one Bide, the groom on the other; half the company seated up and down the tabie, the other half eager and active to wait upon them. I, too, felt reassured, elate. I was master of the event. No sooner was the company settled at the table than I rapped smartly upon it with the handle of my knife, and proceeded to ask a blessing. What person there but thoroughly understood all I meant thereby?
I wondered now that I had found my ignorance of the language spoken in tho house an obstacle. Every body was talking and laughing,
and I enjoyed it all as much as any. I had no need to ask for any thing. Before I could ask every thing on the table in turn was handed to me. In the course of the feast there was but one skeleton' there, and this was a particularly thin-bodied, long-necked bottle placed before my plate, clustered about with wine-glasses. I had a vague idea that it was my duty—an official duty—to pledge the married couple from this special wine, which I presumed to be of some rare vintage. But there were difficulties in my way. I did not know when to do it. I did not know how to do it. I had joined a dozen Temperance societies up to that date—was a high officer of three at that instant — solemnly pledged to taste nothing that could intoxicate.
In this dilemma I only followed the masterly policy I had so far— I simply waited. And the bridegroom was true to his policy. In the middle of the meal he waited for me no longer. He seized tho bottle, smote off its neck like a soldier, filled his bride's glass, mine, his own. His bride and himself arose—I also. As the glasses of the twain clinked against cach other across the board my glass made a third thereto. I too bowed to her, to him, wished them long life and every blessing, not the less sincerely because only with my eyes, held the foaming glass to my lips, not a drop passing in, however, and with them sat down. I had violated two-thirds of my pledge—" Touch not, taste not, handle not" —but had held the other and most important third unscathed.
One last difficulty lay in my path. I was very thirsty when I first arrived after my walk. As the feast progressed I naturally grew even thirstier. Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, I was acquainted with. Most gladly would I now have given up my knowledge of any fifty words of either of these languages to know, for the instant, the word for water in the tongue which all around me were so copiously wasting. At last I must have water—there is a point beyond which one can not do without it. I caught the eye of the happy groom, flying hither and thither in repelling the incessant musketry of jokes from his jovial guests. I laid my finger upon my wine-glass and shook my head with a smile. He became instantly serious, deeply interested. I repeated the sign. He rose with alacrity, hastened to the side-board, returned with a bottle of another wine, and placed it before me. What could I do but shake my head? He paused, reflectively; he rubbed his forehead with his finger—not in vain; the fact struck him! Gone but for a moment, he returned, placed a huge goblet beside my plate with one hand, while with his other he filled it to the brim with brandy from a stone jug!
I arose. It was time. A profound bow to the company, which they all arose to receive, a cordial shake of tho hand with the bridegroom, and I had left them to the full enjoyment of their own language. When out in the night-air I found it to be a good deal colder than I had imagined when within the heated room. My wife has charged me a hundred times to tie my handkerehief around my throat on such occasions. It is to prevent bronchitis—a disease which no minister can legitimately have unless recently wedded to an heiress or the legatee of a fortune.
So I stopped under the half-raised windows, searehed one pocket, then another, then my bosom for my handkerehief. As I did so I could hear the bridegroom narrating something within in a commanding voice. As I searehed he proceeded. I heeded it not until suddenly I heard him say, in his recital, in a tone of sharp inquiry, "Frauf" I listened with an intuition. There came a peal of laughter which drowned his narration. Again I heard him exclaim, in tones of mimic inquiry, "frauf" then a few more rapid words of narration, and the shouts of laughter and the stamping actually shook the house. If they had not made such a noise they might have heard me also. I understood the joke. But my throat was now enveloped, and I walked rapidly away. Yet squares off I could hear the prolonged laughter. He being a bridegroom, and they being guests, doubtless he enjoyed the joke when he was at my study; and they, when at his table, better than would otherwise have been the cose.
But it was not all against me—the joke—at least, as I afterward learned. It was to his sixth wife I had that night married him. Had it been his thirty-sixth wife instead, I know of no statute against it, or of any excuse I could have plead, had I known it, for not performing my office in the case. No wonder, however, that he had looked with suspicious eye upon my pantomimic attendance at the bedside of his dying companion. No wonder his suspicions had risen almost to exasperated certainty when I performed before him, in dumb show, the familiar spectacle of a wife's funeral. I am glad it all passed off as smoothly as it did! Why he should have got me to perform the ceremony I never learned. Perhaps the minister of his own language was sick or absent, or had become worn out in the duty of marrying him to his previous wives. I am sure / do not know.
"I am certain I would not wish a fee under such cireumstances as these!" I said, a little indignantly, to tho prompt question of my wife that night. After asking me whether I had duly tied up my throat or not, it was the first thing she had inquired about. "Minister as I am, just between us, you know, my dear, the fun of the thing was fee enough."
It was while I was absent next day that a youth of a foreign tongue rang at my front door. He evidently was a peddler. Tho huge pasteboard box he carried was proof of that. The servant who answered the bell repelled him with scorn. He would not be repelled, and rang again, continued to ring until my wife herself laid aside her sewing and went to the door. During her earnest and repeated declarations to him that she was not in want of any of his
wares, he coolly laid the box at her feet and walked off. There was nothing to do but to open it. My wife showed me the contents before I had laid aside my cane on my return home. There was a handsomely worked smoking-cap, several beautiful pipes, which, to this hour, adorn my mantle—I have no other use for them, and a quantity of cigars in gilt papers. My clerk smokes—I gave theui to him—he says he never before knew such exquisite tobacco could be grown. But tho gem of the box was a cake. I fear to say how large that cake was —twice the size of any I had ever before seen; richly frosted, heavily freighted with fruit. Upon the top was a cirele of raised letters. They could not have been made more distinct; yet what they meant we never knew. The cake itself we understood and appreciated perfectly. Nor had we any doubt as to the souree and cause of the gift. Upon the cake lay two cards, linked together with white satin ribbon. On one of these was written "Herr," on the other the word "Frau!" and strongly italicized!
If my friend proceeds in the same course as before, I do not see why he may not call upon me at any hour to marry him yet again. The next time I will understand better how to proceed.
* MY WHISTLING NEIGHBOR.
WE had moved into a new house, situated about the centre in a row of ten, all run up together in hurried, mushroom fashion, and divided from each other by partitions of brick so thin that sound was only a little deadened in passing through. For the first three or four nights I was unable to sleep, except in snatches, for so many noises came to my ears, originating, apparently, in my own domicile, that anxiety in regard to burglars was constantly excited. Both on the first and second nights I made a journey through the house in the small hours, but found no intruders on my premises. The sounds that disturbed me came from some of my neighbors, who kept later vigils than suited my habits.
"There it is again !" said I, looking up from my paper, as I sat reading on the second day after taking possession of my new'home. '' That fellow is a nuisance." «
"What fellow?" asked my wife, whose countenance showed surprise at the remark. She was either unconscious or unaffected by the cireumstance that anuoyed my sensitive ears. "Don't you hear it?" said I. "Hear what?" "That everlasting whistle." '' Oh!" A smile played over my wife's face. "Does it anuoy you?"
"I can't say that I am particularly aunoyed by it yet; but I shall be if it's to go on incessantly. A man whistles for want of thought, and this very fact will—"
"I'm not so sure of that," remarked my wife, interrupting me, "the poet notwithstanding. I would say that he whistles from exuberant feelings. Our neighbor has a suuny temper, do doubt; what, I am afraid, can not be said of our neighbor on the other side. I've never heard him whistle; but his scolding abilities are good, and, judging from two days' observation, he is not likely to permit them to grow feeble for want of use."
I did not answer, but went on with my reading, silenced, if not reconciled to my whistling neighbor.
Business matters anuoyed me through the day, and I felt moody aud depressed as I took my course homeward at nightfall. I was not leaving my cares behind me. Before shutting my account-books, and locking my fire-proof, I had made up a bundle of troubles to carry away with me, and my shoulders stooped beneath the burden.
I did not bring sunlight into my dwelling as I crossed, with dull, deliberate steps, its threshold. The flying feet that sprung along the hall, and the eager voices that filled, suddenly, the air in a sweet tumult of sound as I entered, were quiet and hushed in a little while. I did not repel my precious ones, for they were very dear to my heart; but birds do not sing joyously except in the sunshine, and my presence had cast a shadow. The songs of my home birds died into fitful chirpings—they sat quiet among the branches. I saw this, and understood the reason. I condemned myself; I reasoned against the folly of bringing worldly cares into the home sanctuary; I endeavored to rise out of my gloomy state. But neither philosophy nor a self-compelling effort was of any avail.
I was sitting, with my hand partly shading my face from the light, still in conflict with myself, when I became conscious of a lifting of the shadows that were around me, and of a freer respiration. The change was slight, but still very pereeptible. I was begiuning to question as to its cause, when my thought recognized an agency which had been operative through the sense of hearing, though not before externally pereeived in consequence of my abstracted state. My neighbor was whistling "Begone, Dull Care!"
Now, in my younger days, I had whistled and sung the air and words of this cheerful old song hundreds of times, and every line was familiar to memory. I listened, with pleased interest, for a little while, and then, as my changing state gave power to resolutions quick born of better reason, I said, in my thought, emphatically, as if remanding an evil spirit,
"Begone, dull care I" And the ficnd left me.
Then I spoke cheerfully, and in a tone of interest to quiet little May, who had walked round mo three or four times, wondering in her little heart, no doubt, what held her at a distance from her papa, and who was now seated by her mother, leaning her flaxen head, fluted all over with glossy curls, against her knee. She sprung at my voice, and was in my lap at a bound. What a thrill of pleasure the tight clasp of her
arms sent to my heart! Oh love, thou art full of blessing!
From that moment I felt kinder toward my neighbor. He had done me good—had played before me as David played before Saul, exoreising the evil spirit of discontent. There was no longer a repellent sphere, and soon all my little ones were close around me, and happy as in other times with their father.
After they were all in bed, and I sat alone with my wife, the cares that "infest the day" made a new assault upon me, and vigorously strove to regain their lost empire in my mind. I felt their approaches, and the gradual receding of cheerful thoughts with every advancing step they made. In my struggle to maintain that tranquillity which so strengthens the soul for work and duty I arose and walked the floor. My wife looked up to me with inquiry on her face. Then she let her eyes fall upon her needlework, and as I glanced toward her at every turn in my walk, I saw An expression of tender concern on her lips. She understood that I was not at case in my mind, and the knowledge troubled her.
"How wrong in me," I said, in self-rebuke, "thus to let idle brooding over mere outside things, which such brooding can in no way effect, trouble the peace of home;" and I made a new effort to rise again into a suunier region. But the ficnd had me in his clutches again, and I could not release myself. Now it was that my David came anew to my relief. Suddenly his clear notes rang out in the air, "Away with Melancholy."
I can not tell which worked the instant revulsion of feeling that came—the cheerful air, the words of the song which were called to remembrance by the air, or the associations of by-gone years that were revived. But the spell was potent and complete. I was myself again.
During the evening the voice of my wife broke out several times into snatches of song—a thing quite unusual of late, for life's sober realities had taken the music from her as well as from her husband. We were growing graver every day. It was pleasant to hear her flute-tones again, very pleasant, and my ear hearkened lovingly. The cause of this fitful warbling I recognized each time as the notes died away. They were responsive to our neighbor.
I did not then remark upon the cireumstance. One reason of this lay in the fact that I had spoken lightly of our neighbor's whistling propensity, which struck me in the beginuing as vulgar; and I did not care to acknowledge myself so largely his debtor as I really was.
We were in our bedroom, and about retiring for the night, when loud voices, as if in strife, came discordantly through the thin party walls, from our neighbors on the other side. Something had gone wrong there, and angry passions were in the ascendant.
"How very disagreeable 1" I remarked.
"The man's a brute 1" said my wife, emphatically. "He does nothing, it seems to me, but wrangle in his family. Pity that he hadn't something of the pleasant temper of our neighbor on the other side."
"That is a more agreeable sound, I must confess," was my answer as the notes of "What Fairy like Music steals over the Sea" rose sweetly on the air.
"Far more agreeable," returned my wife.
"He plays well on his instrument," I said, smiling. My ear was following the notes in pleased recognition. We stood listening until our neighbor passed to another air, set to Mrs. Hemans's beautiful words "Come to the Sunset Tree." To a slow, soft, tender measure the notes fell, yet still we heard them with singular distinctness through the intervening wall, just a little muffled, but sweeter for the obstruction.
aThe Day is past and gone.
My wife recalled these lines from her memory, repeating them in a subdued, tranquilizing tone. The air was still sounding in our ears, but we no longer recognized its impression on the external senses. It had done its work of recalling the beautiful Evening Hymn of the Switzer, and we repeated to each other verse after verse.
"Sweet is the hour of rest,
Pleasant the wood's low sigh.
And the turf whereon we lie.
Of labor's task are o'er,
The loved one at the door."
To which I added:
** But rest, more sweet and still
In the world beyond the grave.
No scorehing noontide beat;
All was now still on both sides. The harsh discord of our scolding neighbor had ceased, and our whistling neighbor had warbled his goodnight melody, which, like a pleasant flower growing near an unsightly object, and interposing a veil of beauty, had removed it from our consciousness.
It was a long time since I had felt so peaceful on retiring as when my head went down upon its pillow—thanks to my light-hearted neighbor, at whose whistling propensities I was inclined in the begiuning to be aunoyed. But for him I should have gone to rest with the harsh discord of my scolding neighbor's voice in my ears, and been ill at ease with myself and the world. On what seeming trifles hang our states of mind! A word, a look, a tone of musie, a discordant jar, will bring light or shadow, smiles or tears.
On the next morning, while dressing myself, thought reached forward over the day's anxieVol. XXIII.—No. 133.—G
ties, and care began drawing her sombre curtains around me. My neighbor was stirring also, and, like the awaking bird, tuneful in sweet matins. "Day on the Mountains" rang out cheerily, followed by "Dear Summer Morn;" winding off with "Begone, Dull Care!" and the merry laughter of a happy child which had sprung into his arms, and was being smothered with kisses.
The cloud that was gathering on my brow passed away, and I met my wife and children at the breakfast-table with pleasant smiles.
In a few days I ceased to notice the whistling of my neighbor. It continued as usual; but had grown to be such a thing of course as not to be an object of thought. But the effect remained, showing itself in a gradual restoration of that cheerfulness which care, and work, and brooding anxiety about worldly things are so apt to produce. The "voice of musie," which had been almost dumb in my wife for a long period, was gradually restored. Old familiar ditties would break suddenly from ber throat as she sat sewing, and I would often hear her singing again, from room to room, as in the sunuier days of our spring-time. As for myself, scareely an evening passed in which I was not betrayed into beating time with my foot to " Auld Lang Syne," "Happy Land," "Comin' through the Rye," or "Hail Columbia," in response to my neighbor's cheery whistle. Our children also caught the infection, and would commence singing on the instant our neighbor tuned his pipes. Verily' he was our benefactor—the harping David to our Saul!
"You live at Number 510, I think," said a gentleman whose face was familiar, though I was not able to call his name. We were sitting side by side in the cars.
I answered in the affirmative.
"So I thought," he replied. "I live at 514 —second door east."
'' Yes, Sir; that is my name. Pleasant houses, but mere shells," said he. Then, with a look of disgust on his face, "Doesn't that whistling fellow between ns aunoy you terribly? I've got so out of all patience that I shall cither move or silence him. Whistle, whistle, whistle, from morning till night. Pah! I always detested whistling. It's a sign of no brains. I've written him a note twice, but failed to send either time; it isn't well to quarrel with a neighbor if you can help it."
"It doesn't aunoy me at all," I answered. "Indeed, I rather like it."
"You do? Well, that is singular! Just what my wife says."
"First-rate for the blue devils, I find. I'm indebted to our whistling friend for sundry favors in this direction."
My new acquaintance looked at me curiously.
"You're not in earnest," said he, a halfamused smile breaking through the unamiable expression which his face had assumed.
'' Altogether in earnest; and I beg of yon not to send him that note. So your wife is not annoyed?"
"Is she musical?" I inquired.
"She was; but of late years life has been rather a serious matter with us, and her singing birds have died, or lost the heart for music."
"The history of many other lives," said L
The man sighed faintly.
"Has there been any recent change?" I ventured to inquire.
"In what respect?" he asked.
"Has there been no voico from the singing birds?"
A new expression came suddenly into the man's face.
"Why, yes," he answered, "now that I think of it. There has been some low, fitful warblings. Only last evening the voice of my wife stole out, as if half afraid, and trembled a little while on the words of an old song."
"The air of which our neighbor was whistling at the time," said I.
"Right, as I live!" was my companion's-exclamation, after a pause, slapping his band on his knee. I could hardly help smiling at the look of wonder, amusement, and conviction that blended on his face.
"I wouldn't send that note," said I, meaningly.
"No, hang me if I do! I must study this
case. I'm something of a philosopher, you must know. If our neighbor can awaken the singing birds in the heart of my wife, he may whistle till the crack of doom without hinderance from me. I'm obliged to you for the suggestion."
A week afterward I met him again.
"What about the singing birds?" I asked, smiling.
"All alive again, thank God!" He answered with a heartiness of mauner that caused me to look narrowly into his face. It wore a better expression than when I observed it last.
"Then you didn't send that note?"
"No, Sir. Why, since I saw you I've actually taken to whistling and humming old tunes again, and you can't tell how much better it makes me feel. And the children are becoming as merry and musical as crickets. Our friend's whistle sets them all agoing, like the first signalwarble of a bird at day-dawn that awakens the woods to melody."
We were on our way homeward, and parted at my own door. As I entered "Home, Sweet Home" was pulsing in tender harmonies on the air. I stood still and listened until tears fell over my cheeks. The singing birds were alive again in the heart of my wife also, and I said "Thank God!" as warmly as my neighbor had uttered the words a little while before.
THE ADVENTURES OF PHILIP.
BY W. M. THACKERAY.
victim, and Philip's own father the seducer. He easily guessed as much as this of the sad little story. Dr. Firmin's part in it was enough to shock his son with a thrill of disgust, and to increase the mistrust, doubt, alienation with which the father had long inspired the son. What would Philip feel when all the pages of that dark book were opened to him, and he came to hear of a false marriage, and a ruined and outcast woman, deserted for years by the man to whom he himself was most bound? In a word, Philip had considered this as a mere case of early libertinism, and no more; and it was as such, in the very few words which he may have uttered to me respecting this matter, that he had chosen to regard it. I knew no more than my friend had told me of the story as yet; it was only by degrees that I learned it, and as events, now subsequent, served to develop and explain it.
The elder Firmin, when questioned by his old acquaintance, and, as it appeared, accomplice of former days, regarding the end of a certain intrigue at Margate, which had occurred some four or five and twenty years back, and when Firmin, having reason to avoid his college creditors, chose to live away and bear a false name, had told the clergyman a number of falsehoods, which appeared to satisfy him. What had become of that poor little thing about whom he had made such a fool of himself? Oh, she was