« 이전계속 »
toward the shore. It was painful work. The wind seemed to divide the very fibres of the skin upon my face. Violent exercise no longer warmed my body, and I felt the cold shoot sharply into my loins, and bind across my breast like a chain of ice; and, with the utmost strength of mind at my command, I could just resist the terrible inclination to lie down and sleep. I forgot poor Larry. Life—dear life!—was now my only thought, so selfish are we in our extremity | With difficulty I at last reached the shore, and then, unbuttoning my coat, and spreading it wide for a sail, I set my feet together, and went slowly down before the wind, till the fire which I had before noticed began to blaze cheerily in the distance. It seemed an eternity in my slow progress. Tree after tree threw the shadow of its naked branches across the way; hill after hill glided slowly backward; but my knees seemed frozen together, and my joints fixed in ice; and if my life had depended on striking out my feet, I should have died powerless. My jaws were locked, my shoulders drawn half down to my knees, and in a few minutes more, I am well convinced, the blood would have thickened in my veins, and stood still, for ever. I could see the tongues of the flames—I counted the burning faggots —a form passed between me and the fire—I struck, and fell prostrate on the snow ; and I remember no more. The sun was darting a slant beam through the trees when I awoke. The genial warmth of a large bed of embers played on my cheek, a thick blanket enveloped me, and beneath my head was a soft cushion of withered leaves. On the opposite side of the fire lay four Indians wrapped in their blankets, and, with her head on her knees, and her hands clasped over her ankles, sat an Indian woman, who had apparently fallen asleep upon her watch. The stir I made aroused her, and, as she piled on fresh faggots, and kindled them to a bright blaze with a handful of leaves, drowsiness came over me again, and I wrapped the blanket about me more closely, and shut my eyes to sleep. I awoke refreshed. It must have been ten o’clock by the sun. The Indians were about, occupied in various avocations, and the woman was broiling a slice of deer's flesh on the coals. She offered it to me as I rose; and having eaten part of it with a piece of a cake made of meal, I requested her to call in the men, and with offers of reward easily induced them to go with me in search of my lost friend. We found him, as I had anticipated, frozen to death, far out on the lake. The Indians tracked him by the marks of his skate-irons, and from their appearance he had sunk quietly down, probably drowsy and exhausted, and had died of course without pain. His last act seemed to have been under the influence of his strange madness, for he lay on his face, turned from the quarter of the setting moon. We carried him home to his bride. Even the Indians were affected by her uncontrollable agony. I cannot describe that scene, familiar as I am with pictures of horror. I made inquiries with respect to the position of his bridal chamber. There were no shutters, and the moon streamed broadly into it, and, after kissing his shrinking bride with the violence of a madman, he sprang out of the room with a terrific scream, and she saw him no more till he lay dead on his bridal-bed. SLINGsby.
“A Pic-Nic! a pic-nic so happy together! Intelligent women l agreeable men' The middle of June, so we must have fine weather; We'll go upon donkeys to Bogglemy Glen. There has not been rain for six weeks, and at present There is not the slightest appearance of change; No pic-nic I'm sure ever yet was so pleasant— Few people can realise all they arrange 1" Oh! these words at night were the very last spoken, The first in the morning were equally gay; There was a great mist, which we knew was a token At noon we should have a most exquisite day. The donkeys arrive, and the sociable meant for The matrons unfitted for sidesaddle feats; The baskets of prog and the hampers are sent for, And pack'd in the rumbles, or under the seats. And now we set off—all the carriages quite full: Do look at Miss Symons, how oddly she sits 1 No sun to annoy us! it's really delightful! Don't mind Mrs. Wilkins, she says that it spits ' Some people take pleasure in throwing cold water On parties of pleasure, and talking of damp; She's just the ill-natured old woman I thought her : We'll laugh at her presently when we encamp. My donkey, in stooping to gather a thistle, Was very near throwing me over his head. Dear me! I do think it's beginning to drizzle ! Oh! let us take shelter in yonder old shed 1 How foolish to put on my pink satin bonnet! I envy Miss Martin, she's snug in the straw; My lilac pelisse, too ! the water drips on it, The loveliest lilac that ever I saw l For my part I own I like this sort of morning: With sun perpendicular what could we do? So pleasant to find the dust laid when returning; "Twill clear up at twelve, or at latest at two. And now we're at Bogglemy, dear, how unlucky' I'm sure I heard something like thunder just then: The place is so gloomy—the path is so mucky— I scarce can believe I'm at Bogglemy Glen We cannot dine under the trees—it would chill us; We'll try to take shelter in yonder retreat: Oh, dear! it's a dirty old cowhouse, 'twill kill us; If all must crowd into it, think of the heatl A soup-plate inverted Miss Millington uses To keep her thin slippers above the wet clay; Oh! see through the roof how the rain-water oozes— The dinner will all taste of dripping to-day ! A pic-nic! a pic-nic' so wretched together' All draggle-tail women, and cross-looking men' The middle of June, yet this terrible weather Has made a morass of poor Bogglemy Glen It rains just like buckets of water; at present There is not the slightest appearance of change: ‘Twas very absurd to leave Waterloo Crescent— Few people can realise all they arrange. T. H. B. Nov.-vol. xlii, No. clzvii. x
Miss EDGEworth has, in one of her admirable novels, expressed her opinion of the important effects of juxtaposition in bringing about the most serious change in our state of life; and I must say that it was about this period of my life that I began to experience their influence —an influence never so decidedly powerful as when the two, so constantly together, are associated in a quiet neighbourhood in the country, where either party is intimately acquainted with all the peculiarities of the locale, and all the combinations and connexions of its inhabitants: both are then competent to judge, and to discuss, and think alike; and certainly if Harriet Wells and I ever thought or talked of anything except ourselves, our conversation derived its peculiar interest from the community of our knowledge as to men and matters by which we were surrounded.
As I write this without any view of its meeting the eye of strangers, I will honestly confess that I had as much idea of being in love with Harriet Wells as I had of flying; as Wolcot, the radical rhymer, who called himself Peter Pindar, said when speaking of the wonderful powers of Mrs. Siddons, and the effect producible by those powers upon the tenderer passions of the other sex,−“She is beautiful, magnificent, and enchanting, but I should as soon think of marrying the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Now, Harriet was extremely nice and agreeable; but I certainly had no more idea of marrying her than Peter had of marrying the Primate. She was palish, with soft, grey eyes, and just under those eyes an engaging darkness of skin. She had fair hair, and a remarkably pretty mouth. None of her features were what some particular and affected persons would call classical; but she was “very nice"— just plump enough to hide angles, and full of those in-and-outisms of figure which constitute what I considered true symmetry.
Well, Harriet and I walked about together, and I went to her father's house every day after breakfast, and she used to sit down to the pianoforte, and her sister Fanny accompanied her, and they played duets, and then we fancied we liked particular songs, “Sul margine” I recollect was one,—and Eliza, the youngest of the Wellses, a little plump thing in a pinafore, used to mix in our revels; and then we had luncheon, and then Mrs. Wells was very goodnatured, and then I used to play the Devil with the girls; and then But stay, somebody may see what I write, and, be it understood that, by playing the “Devil,” I mean playing a game so called, which originated I think with the Cherokees, but was introduced into this country and received with an enthusiasm not to be described. The devil was a wooden thing shaped like an hour-glass, and he danced merrily upon a string extended scientifically between two sticks, and he hopped up, and he dropped down, and we twirled him this way, and wriggled him the other way, and tossed him over our heads, and caught him upon our line, and, in short, he made very good fun. At this harmless diversion I was what Etonians call a dab ; and Harriet's figure looked so pretty when her arms were uplifted to catch the descending devil, that I really thought I never saw anything much more engaging. I suppose she saw by my eyes what I thought, for she seemed to grow more and more goodnatured as our acquaintance grew, and at last appeared to expect me at luncheon as regularly as she looked for that semi-demi-dinner itself. But, dear me, I did not love her. I felt none of that hangable, drownable desperation about her that I had once felt before for another. Not I. I was interested about her merely by Miss Edgeworth's juxtaposition; my visits were habitual. I seemed to be looked for at Mr. Wells's, and I should not have fancied my day properly made out if I had not gone there; and then I knew everything that was in the girls' workboxes, and in their music books, and I tossed over the threads, and pulled about the strips of muslim, and picked the pins out of the pincushion and stuck them in again, and talked of Widow Harrison's sprained ancle and old Walker’s rheumatism, and went with Harriet and Fanny loaded with flannel for one and a bottle of wine for the other: in short, there I was, happy beyond measure, having a dear, sweet-tempered creature always on my arm, or if not leaning so, sauntering by my side, till at last I never felt happy unless I were there—and yet I was not in love. There is, as the highest authority tells us, a time for all things; and sweetly as glided my time, it was time I should leave the worthy friends with whom I was staying. “Harriet,” said I,_I had got to call her Harriet, and had, I admit, established a slight right of familiarity with her by voting myself her brother. It is quite extraordinary by what means congenial spirits commingle. I used to call her “sister,” and so called her Harriet; she used to call me “brother,” and so called me Gilbert: and then she was a bit of an astronomer, and she loved to watch the moon when it was full and bright, and we used to go and look at it; and then I used to be so very much afraid that she would catch cold; and then I used to tie her handkerchief round her neck, and then she used to thank “ her brother,” and then “her brother ” used to be very much pleased with her sisterly gratitude, and I believe once or twice, not oftener, permitted his approbation of her sororial affection to produce a sort of fraternal acknowledgment, which between two such near and dear relations could not be wrong. And this was the way I went on, but without an idea of my pure affection for the dear girl assuming any other character. “Harriet,” said I, the moon being exceedingly bright, “ what a dreadful thing it is that when a man is most happy he is most miserable !” “What do you mean?” said Harriet. “I mean,” said I, “that no human being can be more perfectly happy than I am at this moment, and yet, paradise as it is, I must leave it.” “Leave it!” said Miss Wells, and her dove-like eyes were turned upon me with a look not to be forgotten. “Where are you going?” “I must go to town,” said I. “Must you?” said Harriet, and I felt a sort of involuntary pressure on my arm; she was leaning on it; and then came a dead silence, a pause of five minutes. I then began to think I was fonder of Harriet than I ever meant to be;—and what on earth endears a girl to one so much,--what so entirely upsets all resolutions, fetters the mind, and chains the heart, as the notion that she loves? I felt I could not break this silence. Harriet kept her eyes on the ground, and walked with a measured step. I felt that she trembled. What could I, what ought I to do? I had but three hundred and forty pounds a-year. She had nothing; as I have said before, two negatives make an affirmative in grammar, but, “ barring accidence,” two nothings never make anything. I should have liked to have caught her to my heart, utterly stifled her with kisses, and proposed; but I had no right to do so. I had no right to presume to take a charming girl out of a sphere in which she was happily placed, and subject her to the ups and downs of a life regulated only by the annual receipt of three hundred and forty pounds. So I just put my hand upon my heart, and said, sotto voce, “Be quiet.” The eloquence of silence is proverbial. We both felt it so; and Harriet made no effort to speak until just as we got to a side gate opening into her father's grounds. The sight of home seemed to reassure her, and the consciousness that such was her feeling made me uncomfortable. Trusted with this young creature, (young enough myself, God knows!) but having her thus implicitly confided to me in our wanderings, could I have wounded her feelings so deeply that until she felt that sort of instinctive courage which, if not the paternal presence, the paternal property (the consciousness of being at home) could give, she did not dare speak till then? No, no. I had done nothing, said nothing, which could intentionally offend her. “And when P’’ said she, having evidently kept my last words in her thoughts ever since they were uttered—“And when do you go, Gilbert 2 °’ “I think, the day after to-morrow,” said I. “I thought,” replied the dear, kind-hearted creature, “you were enaged to dance with Miss Illingworth at the ball on Tuesday.” “Miss Illingworth ** said I, with unaffected surprise. “Yes, Gilbert,” said Miss Wells. “If you forget your promises, I do not. I heard you make that promise at Mrs. Woodbridge's. I never forget what I hear.” “I dare say you are right,” said I, glad to affect a sort of gaiety; “but I scarcely recollect Miss Illingworth herself.” “Ah! then you should,” replied Harriet. “What is sport to you may be death to her. Hopes are excited, thoughts inspired, wishes created by a word or a look where the feelings are interested or the heart prepossessed. You forget what you said; perhaps she does not. I know she admires you: it will wound her if you are not present to fulfil your promise, for she has talked about it to others.” “My dear Harriet,” said I, “bright as the moon is, I am delighted that it is so dark that my blushes may not be seen. I give you my honour that, if I did say anything of the sort to Miss Illingworth, it was said most inadvertently; and as for anything I may say to a young lady amongst the many of this neighbourhood having an effect upon her heart, you really do me too much honour.” Harriet drew her arm from mine,—I cannot describe how, and, in a tone of something between laughing and crying, exclaimed, “Here's mamma waiting for us.” So she was. Harriet, however, passed her, and ran into the house. “Mr. Gurney,” said Mrs. Wells, “you keep that girl out too late: she is a delicate creature, and ought not to breathe night air. I really