페이지 이미지

Crosbie ; "I believe, in my heart, they would never come near their country neighbours, but to show off their town airs on them." "Well, for my part," observed Mr. Crosbie, "with due deference be it spoken, I think town airs should be laid by for town people, kept in usum jus habentis, for those who understand 'em."-"That's what you never could do, my dear," replied the lady.--Mrs. Lucas, as usual, slipping in an assenting nod to every successive observation from each person, while she as unremittingly attended to the tea and cake. "Well, I'm sure, at all events," said her daughter Nancy, "they are very genteel: what a lovely green bonnet the little Miss Webberly had on!--she's the eldest, I believe."

"I'm sure, if the bonnet was lovely, the face under it wasn't; the two together are for all the world like a full blown daffodil in its green case."

Notwithstanding Mrs. Crosbie had thus taken occasion to express her dislike of the family in general, she was not less ready than the rest of the little circle to pay her annual visit at Webberly House; and, as all were anxious to wait on the ladies in question, either from motives of civility, or interest, or curiosity, it was speedily settled, that the party should adjourn thither on the following morning. All particulars of their dress, their conveyance, &c. being finally arranged, the four seniors of Mrs. Martin's visiters sat down to penny whist, while she seated herself at the corner of the card table, ready to cut in, snuff candles, or make civil observations between the deals.

Lucy, and Nancy Lucas, strolled into the garden, ostensibly to pull currants, but, in reality, to talk over Mr. Brown, the apothecary's apprentice, and Mr. Slater's hopeful son and heir, whose professed admiration of Miss Lucas had lately been eclipsed by a flash of military ardour, that had induced him to enter into the Yorkshire militia. At length Mrs. Martin's fears of the damp grass and evening dew induced the two eternal friends to return to the parlour, where the for

tunate attainment of an odd trick, by finishing the rubber, broke up the little party, who dispersed with much the same bustle with which they had entered. While Mrs. Martin pursued her retreating visiters as far as the white pales, with renewed offers of a glass of currant wine, hopes and fears relative to the company catching cold, and assurances that she and Lucy would certainly be ready before eleven o'clock for Mr. Lucas, with a profusion of thanks for his offer of calling for them in his gig.


Mons. De Sotenville-Que dites vous à cela?
George Dandin-Je dis que ce sont là des contes à dormir

ABOUT eleven next day, a crazy machine, in the days of our grandfathers called a noddy, appeared at Mrs. Martin's door. In it was seated Mr. Lucas in his best black suit and flaxen-wig, with his gold-headed cane between his knees, his hands being sufficiently occupied in reining an ill-trimmed cart-horse, every movement of whose powerful hind leg threatened destruction to the awkward vehicle. The goodhumoured Lucy soon skipped in, and seated herself as bodkin; but to mount Mrs. Martin was a task of greater difficulty, as the gig was of considerable altitude, and the horse, teased by the flies, could not be kept quiet two minutes at a time; a chair was first produced without effect, but at last, with the aid of her maid Peggy, the neighbouring smith, and the kitchen steps commonly used to wind up the jack, she was fairly seated; and ere her laughter or her

"What do you say to that?""I say such recitals are: only fit to sleep over."

fears had subsided, they overtook the village postchaise, containing Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie, and Mrs. and Miss Lacas.--The travellers in the gig were incommoded by a dusty road, and a beaming hot sun; the effects of which were dreaded by the good aunt for Lucy's blue silk bonnet and spencer, which had been purchased two years before, during their abovementioned visit to London, which was still their fre quent theme, and only standard of fashion. However, they proceeded on the whole much to their satisfaction, and after driving nearly six miles, reached an ostentatious porter's lodge and gate, a close copy of that at Sion, which announced the entrance to Webberly House. The approach, with doublings and windings that would have puzzled the best barrier in Sussex, did not accomplish concealing the house at any one sweep, but displayed to Lucy's delighted eyes a huge pile-ci-devant brick, now glorying in a coat of Roman cement, further adorned with clumsy virandas due north and east, and an open porch in the southern sun. On one side of the proud mansion was a sunk fence, and ha! ha! -on the other a shrubbery, quite inadequate to the task assigned it of hiding the glaring brick-wall of a kitchen garden, which occupied nearly as large a space as the whole of the pleasure ground in front.

On the scanty lawn was pitched a marquee; at the foot of it was a pond filled with gold and silver fishes, over which was suspended a Chinese bridge, leading to a grotto and hermitage, at a small distance from the house.--Mr. Lucas, resigning the reins to Lucy, alighted to give notice of the arrival of the party. After a few minutes delay, hasty footsteps were heard in the hall, and a couple of house-maids scudded across, bearing dust-pans and brushes, and running down one of the side passages, called out in no very gentle voice," William Edward! here's company!" "Company !" yawned out William, while he stretched his arms to their utmost length, and, as he stopped

to look at his fine watch, which, as well as his mas ter's, had numerous seals with French mottos, declared "Pon honour, it isn't one o'clock;" and wondered "what could bring those country-folk at that time o'day!"-then, settling his cravat with one hand, and pulling up his gallowses with the other, leisurely walked to the porch, where, with a gesture between leering and bowing, he most incoherently answered the question of " At home, or not at home;" and without giving himself the trouble of thinking which was actually the case, ushered the visiters into the drawing-room, leaving the business of negotiating their audience to the lady's maid.

The beaming sun displayed the unsubsided dust and motes the house-maids had so lately raised, and the village party were nearly stifled with the effluvia of countless hot-house plants, whose united scent was too strong to be called perfume; their entrance was impeded by stools, cushions, tabourets, squabs, ottomans' fauteuils, sofas, screens, book-stands, flower-stands, and tables of all sorts and sizes. An unguarded push endangered the china furniture of a writing-table, and a painted velvet cushion laid Mr. Crosbie prostrate on the floor. Mr. Lucas, perceiving the difficulties of the navigation, very quietly seated himself behind the door, but not in peacefor he was nearly stunned by the chatter and contentions of a paroquet and a macaw, joined to the shrill song of some indefatigable canaries hung on the outside of the opposite window, which scarcely outvied the yelping of a lap-dog, that Mrs. Martin's centre of gravity had discomfited, when she seated herself in one of the fauteuils. Meantime, Lucy and Nancy, with considerable expertness, gratified themselves with examining the furniture, a task which would probably have occupied them for a week, as the incongruous mixture seemed to resemble the emptying of an upholsterer's room, a china manufactory, and a print-shop. The curtains, five to a window, were

hung for all seasons of the year at once, and consisted of rich cloth, scarlet moreen, brilliant chintz, delicate silk, and white muslin, to serve as blinds, fringed with gold. The sofa and chair tribe (for to designate them would require a nomenclature as accurate and extensive as Lavoisier's chymical one,) were covered with every shade of colour, every variety of texture, and were in form Grecian, Chinese, Roman, Egyptian, Parisian, Gothic, and Turkish. The astonished visiters remained in the silence of perplexity for nearly a quarter of an hour, but it was then broken by Mrs. Crosbie exclaiming, with her usual acrimony-" Well, I'm sure, if I was Mrs. Sullivan, and was forced to go to a pawnbroker's for my settee and chair-frames, I would at least make my covers all of a piece!-What folks will do to make up a show!—I'm sure those musty old chests an't a whit better than what's in my grandmother's garret; and I gave my little William the other day, far a play-thing, a china image as like that white woman and child as two peas."--" Though to be sure all these are very fine,' said Mrs. Martin, "Sir Henry Seymour's is the house for me; three drawing-rooms with not a pin difference; and up stairs always six bed-rooms of a pattern-then Mrs. Galton is so neat! not a cobweb to be seen in the house. -Bless me, Lucy! your cheek is all dirty, and your gloves such a figure!"-"Why don't you see," interrupted Mrs. Crosbie, "that the china is brimfull of dust! such slattern folks, pshaw !”—To all which Mrs. Lucas returned her usual assenting "He— hem!" Mr. Lucas, in time recovering from his first dismay, rose from "The place of his unrest," and, with Mr. Crosbie, proceeded to examine the contents of a mongrel article between a cabinet and a table, on which were thrown rather than placed, a variety of curiosities; such as, a stuffed hog-in-armour, a case of tropical birds, flying-fish, sharks' jaws, a petrified lobster, edible swallows' nests, and Chi


« 이전계속 »