페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

or not, and finding a certain vague consola- was included in the duties of his office, he tion in it.

must perform them, or quit his post. But how “ Ah, that is true,” said Miss Wodehouse to perform them ? Can one learn to convey —“that is true ; what a blessing things are consolation to the dying, to teach the ignoso changed; and these blessed young crea- rant, to comfort the sorrowful ? Are these tures,” she added softly, with tears falling matters to be acquired by study, like Greek out of her gentle old eyes—" these blessed | vert or intricate measures? The rector's young creatures are near the Fountain- heart said No. The rector's imagination head.

unfolded before him, in all its halcyon blessWith this speech Miss Wodehouse held edness, that ancient paradise of All-Souls, out her hand to the rector, and they parted where no such confounding demands ever with a warm mutual grasp. The rector went disturbed his beatitude. The good man straight home straight to his study, where groaned within himself over the mortificahe shut himself in, and was not to be dis- tion, the labor, the sorrow, which this living turbed; that night was one long to be re- was bringing upon him. “If I had but let membered in the good man's history. For it pass to Morgan, who wanted to marry," the first time in his life he set himself to in- he said with self-reproach ; and then sudquire what was his supposed business in denly bethought himself of his own most inthis world. His treatises on the Greek verb, nocent filial romance, and the pleasure his and his new edition of Sophocles, were mother had taken in her new house and new highly creditable to the Fellow of All-Souls; beginning life. At that touch the tide flowed but how about the rector of Carlingford ? back again. Could he dismiss her now to What was he doing here, among that little another solitary cottage in Devonshire, her world of human creatures who were dying, old home there being all dispersed and being born, perishing, suffering, falling into broken up, while the house she had hoped misfortune and anguish, and all manner to die in cast her out from its long-hoped-for of human vicissitudes, every day? Young shelter ? The rector was quite overwhelmed Wentworth knew what to say to that woman by this new aggravation. If by any effort of in her distress; and so might the rector, had his own, any sacrifice to himself, he could her distress concerned a disputed transla- preserve this bright new home to his mother, tion, or a disused idiom. The good man was would he shrink from that labor of love ? startled in his composure and calm. To-day Nobody, however, knew any thing about he had visibly failed in a duty which even in those conflicting thoughts which rent his All-Souls was certainly known to be one of sober bosom. He preached next Sunday as the duties of a Christian priest. Was he a usual, letting no trace of the distressed, wistChristian priest, or what was he? He was ful anxiety to do his duty which now postroubled to the very depths of his soul. To sessed him gleam into his sermon. He looked hold an office the duties of which he could down upon a crowd of unsympathetic, uninnot perform, was clearly impossible. The terested faces, when he delivered that smooth only question, and that a hard one, was, little sermon, which nobody cared much whether he could learn to discharge those about, and which disturbed nobody. The duties, or whether he must cease to be rec- only eyes which in the smallest degree comtor of Carlingford. He labored over this prehended him were those of good Miss problem in his solitude, and could find no Wodehouse, who had been the witness and answer. Things were different when we the participator of his humiliation. Lucy were young," was the only thought that was was not there. Doubtless Lucy was at St. any comfort to him, and that was poor con- Roque's, where the sermons of the perpetual solation.

curate differed much from those of the recFor one thing, it is hard upon the most tor of Carlingford. Ah me! the rectorship, magnanimous of men to confess that he has with all its responsibilities, was a serious undertaken an office for which he has not business; and what was to come of it yet, found himself capable. Magnanimity was Mr. Proctor could not see. He was not a perhaps too lofty a word to apply to the rec- hasty man-he determined to wait and see tor ; but he was honest to the bottom of his what events might make of it; to consider soul. As soon as he became aware of what it ripely—to take full counsel with himself.

64

CHAPTER IV.

Every time he came out of his mother's press conscience supplied all that was wanting. ence, he came affected and full of anxiety to If good Miss Wodehouse had been there preserve to her that home which pleased her with her charitable looks, and her disefiso much. She was the strong point in favor ciency so like his own, it would have been a of Carlingford ; and it was no small tribute consolation to the good man. He would to the good man's filial affection, that for her have turned joyfully from Lucy and her chiefly he kept his neck under the yoke of a blue ribbons to that distressed dove-colored service to which he knew himself unequal, woman, so greatly had recent events changed and, sighing, turned his back upon his be- him. But the truth was, he cared nothing loved cloisters. If there had been no other for either of them now-a-days. He was desick-beds immediately in Carlingford, Mrs. livered from those whimsical, distressing Proctor would have won the day.

fears. Something more serious had obliterated those lighter apprehensions. He had

no leisure now to think that somebody had Such a blessed exemption, however, was planned to marry him ; all his thoughts were not to be hoped for. When the rector was fixed on matters so much more important solemnly sent for from his very study to visit that this was entirely forgotten. a poor man who was not expected to live Mrs. Proctor was seated as usual in the many days, he put his prayer-book under place she loved, with her newspapers, her his arm, and went off doggedly, feeling that books, her work-basket, and silver-headed now was the crisis. He went through it in cane at the side of her chair. The old lady, as exemplary a manner as could have been like her son, looked serious. She beckoned desired, but it was dreadful work to the rec- him to quicken his steps when she saw him tor. If nobody else suspected him, he sus- appear at the drawing-room door, and pointpected himself. He had no spontaneous ed to the chair placed beside her, all ready word of encouragement or consolation to for this solemn conference. He came in offer; he went through it as his duty with a with a troubled face, scarcely venturing to horrible abstractness. That night he went look at her, afraid to see the disappointment home disgusted beyond all possible power of which he had brought upon his dearest self-reconciliation. He could not continue friend. The old lady divined why it was he this. Good evangelical Mr. Bury, who went did not lift his eyes. She took his hand and before him, and by nature loved preaching, addressed him with all her characteristic vihad accustomed the people to much of such vacity. visitations. It was murder to the Fellow of “Morley, what is this you mean, my dear? All-Souls.

When did I ever give my son reason to disThat night Mr. Proctor wrote a long let- trust me? Do you think I would suffer you ter to his dear cheery old mother, disclosing to continue in a position painful to yourself all his heart to her. It was written with a for my sake? How dare you think such a pathos of which the good man was wholly thing of me, Morley? Don't say so; you unconscious, and finished by asking her ad- didn't mean it! I can see it in your eyes." vice and her prayers. He sent it up to her The rector shook his head, and dropped next morning on her breakfast-tray, which into the chair placed ready for him. He he always furnished with his own hands, and might have had a great deal to say for himwent out to occupy himself in paying visits self could she have heard him. But as it till it should be time to see her, and ascertain was, he could not shout all his reasons and her opinion. At Mr. Wodehouse's there was apologies into her deaf ear. nobody at home but Lucy, who was very “ As for the change to me," said the old friendly, and took no notice of that sad en- lady, instinctively seizing upon the heart of counter which had changed his views so en- the difficulty, "that's nothing-simply nothtirely. The rector found, on inquiry, that ing. I've not had time to get attached to Carthe woman was dead, but not until Mr. lingford. I've no associations with the place. Wentworth had administered to her fully Of course I shall be very glad to go back to the consolations of the Church. Lucy did all my old friends. Put that out of the quesnot look superior, or say any thing in admi- tion, Morley.” ration of Mr. Wentworth, but the rector's But the rector only shook his head once more. The more she made light of it, the duty, Morley dear,” continued his mother, more he perceived all the painful circum- melting a little, and in a coaxing, persuastances involved. Could his mother go sive tone, “ of course I know you will do back to Devonshire and tell all her old ladies it, however hard it may be.” that her son had made a failure in Carling- “That's just the difficulty," cried the recford ? He grieved within himself at the tor, venturing on a longer speech than usual, thought. His brethren at All-Souls might and roused to a point at which he had no understand him; but what could console the fear of the listeners in the kitchen ;1“ such brave old woman for all the condolence and duties require other training than mine has commiseration to which she would be sub- been. I can't !-do you hear me, mother? ject? “It goes to my heart, mother,” he -and I must not hold a false position ; that's cried in her ear.

impossible.” “ Well, Morley, I am very sorry you find “You sha'n't hold a false position," cried it so," said the old lady ; “ very sorry you the old lady; “ that's the only thing that is can't see your way to all your duties. They impossible—but, Morley, let us consider, tell me the late rector was very Low Church, dear. You are a clergyman, you know; you and visited about like a Dissenter, so it is ought to understand all that's required of not much wonder you, with your differ- you a great deal better than these people do. ent habits, find yourself a good deal put My dear, your poor father and I trained you out; but, my dear, don't you think it's only up to be a clergyman,” said Mrs. Proctor, at first ? Don't you think after awhile the rather pathetically," and not to be a Fellow people would get into your ways, and you of All-Souls." into theirs ? Miss Wodehouse was here this The rector groaned. Had it not been admorning, and was telling me a good deal vancement, progress, unhoped-for good forabout the late rector. It's to be expected tune, that made him a member of that you should find the difference; but by and learned corporation ? He shook his head. by, to be sure, you might get used to it, and Nothing could change the fact now. After the people would not expect so much.” 'fifteen years' experience of that Elysium, he

“Did she tell you where we met the other could not put on the cassock and surplice day ?” asked the rector, with a brevity ren- with all his youthful fervor. He had setdered necessary by Mrs. Proctor's infirmity. tled into his life-habits long ago. With the

“She told me—she's a dear confused good quick perception which made up for her desoul,” said the old lady_" about the differ- ficiency, his mother read his face, and saw ence between Lucy and herself, and how the the cause was hopeless; yet with female young creature was twenty times handier courage and pertinacity made one effort than she, and something about young Mr. more. Wentworth of St. Roque's. Really, by all “ And with an excellent, hard-working cuI hear, that must be a very presuming young rate,” said the old lady—“a curate whom, man,” cried Mrs. Proctor, with a lively air of course, we'd do our duty by, Morley, and of offence. “ His interference among your who could take a great deal of the responsiparishioners, Morley, is really more than I bility off your hands ; for Mr. Vincent though should be inclined to bear."

a nice young man, is not, I know, the man Once more the good rector shook his head. you would have chosen for such a post; and He had not thought of that aspect of the still more, my dear son-we were talking of subject. He was, indeed, so free from van- it in jest not long ago, but it is perfect earity or self-importance, that his only feeling nest, and a most important matter-with a in regard to the sudden appearance of the good wife, Morley ; a wife who would enter perpetual curate was respect and surprise. into all the parish work, and give you useful He would not be convinced otherwise even hints, and conduct herself as a clergyman's

“He can do his duty, mother,” he an- wife should—with such a wife" swered, sadly.

Lucy Wodehouse!” cried the rector, “Stuff and nonsense!” cried the old lady. starting to his feet, and forgetting all his “Do you mean to tell me a boy like that can proprieties ; “I tell you the thing is imposdo his duty better than my son could do it, sible. I'll go back to All-Souls.” if he put his mind to it? And if it is your He sat down again, doggedly, having said

THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 766

now.

66

it. His mother sat looking at him in silence, lively old mother's memory, and how could with tears in her lively old eyes. She was any reminiscences of that uncongenial localsaying within herself that she had seen his ity disturb the recovered beatitude of the father take just such a “turn," and that it Fellow of All-Souls ? was no use arguing with them under such Yet all was not so satisfactory as it ap-' circumstances. She watched him, as women peared. Mr. Proctor paid for his temporary often do watch men, waiting till the crea- absence. All-Souls was not the Elysium it ture should come to itself again and might had been before that brief, disastrous voybe spoken to. The incomprehensibleness of age into the world. The good man felt the women is an old theory, but what is that stings of failure ; he felt the mild jokes of to the curious, wondering observation with his brethren in those Elysian fields. He which wives, mothers, and sisters watch the could not help conjuring up to himself visother unreasoning animal in those moments ions of Morgan with his new wife in that when he has snatched the reins out of their pretty rectory. Life, after all, did not conhands, and is not to be spoken to! What sist of books, nor were Greek verbs essenhe will make of it in those unassisted mo- tial to happiness. The strong emotion into ments afflicts the compassionate female un- which his own failure had roused him—the derstanding. It is best to let him come to, wondering silence in which he stood looking and feel his own helplessness. Such was at the ministrations of Lucy Wodehouse and Mrs. Proctor's conclusion, as, vexed, dis- the young curate—the tearful, sympathetic tressed, and helpless, she leant back in her woman as helpless as himself, who had stood chair, and wiped a few tears of disappoint- beside him in that sick-chamber, came back ment and vexation out of her bright old upon his recollection strangely, amidst the eyes.

repose, not so blessed as heretofore, of AllThe rector saw this movement, and it once Souls. The good man had found out that more excited him to speech. “But you secret of discontent which most men find out shall have a house in Oxford, mother,” he a great deal earlier than he. Something cried" you sha'n't go back to Devonshire better, though it might be sadder, harder, —where I can see you every day, and you more calamitous, was in this world. Was can hear all that is going on. Bravo ! that there ever human creature yet that had not will be a thousand times better than Carling- something in him more congenial to the ford.”

thorns and briers outside to be conquered, It was now Mrs. Proctor's turn to jump than to that mild paradise for which our priup, startled, and put her hand on his mouth meval mother disqualified all her children ? and point to the door. The rector did not When he went back to his dear cloisters, care for the door ; he had disclosed his sen- good Mr. Proctor felt that sting: a longing timents, he had taken his resolution, and for the work he had rejected stirred in him now the sooner all was over the better for --a wistful recollection of the sympathy he the emancipated man.

had not sought. Thus concluded the brief incumbency of And if in future years any traveller, if the Reverend Morley Proctor. When he travellers still fall upon adventures, should returned to Oxford everybody was glad to light upon a remote parsonage in which an see him, and he left Carlingford with univer- elderly, embarrassed rector, with a mild wife sal good wishes. The living fell to Morgan, in dove-colored dresses, toils painfully after who wanted to be married, and whose turn his duty, more and more giving his heart to was much more to be a working clergyman it, more and more finding difficult expresthan a classical commentator. Old Mrs. sion for the unused faculty, let him be sure Proctor got a pretty house under shelter of that it is the late rector of Carlingford, selfthe trees of St. Giles', and half the under- expelled out of the uneasy paradise, setting graduates fell in love with the old lady in forth untimely, yet not too late, into the lathe freshness of her second lifetime. Car- borious world. lingford passed away like a dream from the

wars

From The Athenæum. grace, varied in Jerome's case by an occaKING JEROME AND HIS AMERICAN WIFE. sional duel, the folly of which was only to Memoirs and Correspondence of King Je- be equalled by its ferocity. The English rome and Queen Catherine-[Mémoires et reader will find as much difficulty in underCorrespondance du Roi Jérôme et de la Reine standing the author's account of the political Catherine. Première Partie]. - Paris,

events of the period as if they were Dentu.

in Flanders." But, as all the political RECENT French trials have given to the events are made subservient to the hero, and early days of King Jerome the interest of

serve only as a background and mise-en-scène romance. Jerome was a naughty boy, and for Jerome, to enable him to assume a pose, his naughtiness led him into scrapes which the historical unities are not of much imporhad their comic and their tragic sides. The tance; they bear as much resemblance to law courts of his nephew have, indeed, been actual facts as the cannon's smoke and dead very kind to him, and very hard upon the soldiers represent the battle raging behind beautiful young lady whom he betrayed and the Marquis of Granby on a village signabandoned; but opinion in Europe is not post. Jerome was sent to join the French yet governed by the Code Napoléon; and feet about to sail under Admiral Gauteaume. hence appears to have arisen a necessity for Jerome was on board the Indivisible. The some further literary defence of Jerome's fleet sailed about for some time up and down conduct, and especially of his engagement in the Mediterranean, without doing any with Elizabeth Patterson. It would almost thing particular, except allowing some of seem as if M. Alexandre Dumas had been their ressels to be captured. Frenchmen selected for this delicate work. The success

are not in the least amphibious and the is not great. All the Chinese puzzles ever author's maritime facts are very hazy. The invented, all the hard riddles offered under French fleet sails, in these pages, hither and penalties by the Sphinx, all the hard tasks thither; and the reader will be as perplexed laid upon

victims in fairy tales or out of as Nelson if he struggles to understand what them, were easy matters compared to the they are about. difficulty of transforming King Jerome into

Jerome saw his first battle, and was rea hero. In fact, the task is no less than to warded by being sent home on board the make something out of nothing : il n'y a prize Swiftsure, an English vessel captured rien le roi perd ses droits.

and brought home in pomp; and on his arIn the beginning Jerome is presented, in rival he received commendation, and the the Dumas fashion, as a student, at the Col-commission of an aspirant of the first-class. lege of Juilly—a spoiled, noisy, troublesome Napoleon, however, wrote a significant letboy, whose escapades are told in the delicate ter to his brother, expressing a hope that he paraphrases to which the French language would give his whole mind to learn his prolends itself so blandly that a foreigner fession; that he would go aloft, learn the might imagine the chief end for which it was different parts of a ship, and suffer no one created was to color and soften ugly facts else to do his work. He expresses a hope with its delicately tinted epithets. The art that Jerome, in time, will become “ aussi of dress is as much shown in the French agile qu'un bon mousse." language as in the French fashions. “En- Jerome assisted at the fêtes given to celedowed with an agreeable, elegant, and ad- brate the brief peace, or rather armistice, mirable appearance, full of impetuosity, Je- which occurred as a lull in the great war. rome at fifteen was the spoiled child of the The “ éclat incomparable " which, according First Consul, whose paternal watchfulness to the author, these rejoicings shed upon the was defeated more than once by the uncon- name of Bonaparte, and the “ scènes magisidered acts of this ardent and decided na- queswhich Paris presented to the whole ture."

world (for Paris has always understood the The "ardent and decided nature ” exhib- art of getting up spectacles), completely ited itself in the ways by which prodigal turned the head of Jerome; he was the fly sons have distinguished themselves from on the chariot-wheel in all his glory; "le time immemorial ; an unlimited faculty for trait dominant de son caractère, le sentiment spending money, getting into debt and dis- profond de sa dignité personelle" received a

« 이전계속 »