« 이전계속 »
if it issued from my lady's crimson sacque, "Let it be blue, dear madam, if you please." "No, Amber," said my lady, "I have made up my mind; it must be coleur-de-rose." "Just what you have looked on, my honored mamma, all your life."
You must please to remember that in my day, and Lady Amber's, phraseology was a little different to the careless talk now in vogue. Young persons then were deferential to their seniors, and parents were only to be approached and spoken to with great reverence and homage. I doubt sometimes, though, if this enforced state and servility did not produce a disposition to tyrannize, where tyranny could be indulged. And perhaps this was the case with Lady Amber, who mingled with her reverence toward her mother a sweet playfulness truly charming, but who addressed a young gentleman who accompanied them in a strikingly different tone. He was one of the most interesting young men I ever beheld. Ah! I do not see many such now. Such a mixture of humility and spirit, of intelligence and modesty. He might have been about six-andtwenty years old; and his sober attire, as well as the way in which the marchioness addressed him, spoke his condition plainly enough. He was the domestic chaplain. Great families usually had these appendages then, and sometimes, I am sorry to say, they were but a disgrace to their patrons and their cloth. But this young man looked rather as if he were semi-divine than imbued with the usual faults of his class, which were commonly time-serving and hypocrisy, vices of the meanest. He differed from the lovely young lady, I believe, about some trifle of taste, and she spoke to him with such disdain. He had a kind of hectic flush in his face, which deepened as she spoke to him. He only looked at her in reply; but such a look! Good heaven! it might have melted a stone. I was just handing her some tiffany to choose from, and the tears fell hot and fast from her eyes on my hand. I knew too well to notice her distress; but thought I, "Here is more than meets the sight."
When they were ready to depart, he was about to lead my Lady Summerdown to her coach, when Lady Amber, who had dried her tears, and whose eyes looked as bright as if they had never been dimmed with one, sprang to his side.
"And won't you take me with you, Mr. Arden V said she.
He merely bowed low, and offered her his other hand, for it was not the fashion then to take arms.
"Of course, child, he will," said my lady, haughtily.
And as they went down the stairs I heard Lady Amber teazing and rallying him unmercifully. I watched them into the coach. Ah me! they both, after that slight storm, looked radiantly happy. We thought what a pair they would have made if fortune had matched them as well as nature, for his auburn hair, fair skin, and elegant appearance, harmonized well with her clear brunette complexion, tinted with a bright color,
her large, glowing black eyes, and sweet, fascinating vivacity of manner What followed
I shall tell, not as I learned it, which was by bits and scraps afterward, from the marchioness and Lady Amber's own women, and Mrs. Crumb, the housekeeper, but as if it had all occurred beneath my own notice. After all, perhaps, if my readers, whoever they may be, expect much of a story, they may feel disappointed; for however I may have felt it at the time, yet when I come to write I feel much like Corporal Trim, in Mr. Sterne's affecting book, when he says, "Story, God bless your honor, I have none to tell."
By the will of her uncle, Lady Amber came of age at eighteen, and into possession of her great wealth; at which period her noble father, the marquis, had been deceased a year. She had always been her mother's favorite, and Lady Summerdown, who was the mother of five daughters, and had married four of them into noble families, looked forward toward achieving the highest consequence by means of her youngest daughter's wealth and beauty. But before this Lady Amber had formed wishes of her own totally at variance with her mother's previsions.
Herbert Arden had lived in the noble family of Summerdown some years. He bad been tutor to the only son of that house, who died, and who had been very fond of him. At his son's dying request, the late marquis had nominated him the chaplain to his household, though, I believe, he had a sort of dislike to the admission of such a functionary. Yet Mr. Arden's exemplary conduct, his freedom from place-hunting, and his gentle piety, had much commended him to my lord, who was, I have heard, a very worthy nobleman. As a girl, Lady Amber had studied with Herbert Arden. She knew the deep stores of learning which, never vauntingly displayed, yet existed in him, and obtained from the noble young lady profound admiration. She had an innate thirst for the well of knowledge herself, and had quaffed pretty deeply, when she found she had not merely learned to admire her teacher, but to love him also. It was the old, old story over again—the philosopher and his pupil—but on one side in this case, pride had a deeper root than love; and Lady Amber's pride was of this persuasion, that although Herbert Arden's family (albeit a reduced one) was of as good blood as her own, her brother's tutor was yet no match for her.
At that early time she was poor, and, for a marquis's daughter, well-nigh portionless; but when the tide of Indian wealth rolled in at her feet, I am told that her woman heard her exclaim in the privacy of her chamber, "Now true love shall triumph;" as if true love ever triumphed. It is too submissive, too fond of sacrificing, to dream of triumph. From the time, then, that she became her own mistress did Lady Amber torture and goad the heart which her woman's instinct truly told her wooed her for herself alone.
Perhaps secret lovers were never more cruelly circumstanced than Lady Amber Mayne and Mr. Arden. He dared not avow his love because of her high station and wealth; she dared not own hers, because a woman would rather let her own heart eat itself away by sorrow and regret than she would seek in words to know the extent of her lover's affection. But she had unluckily a most contrary spirit: at one time she would have given her whole wealth if he would but have acknowledged his regard; at another, if she but fancied she perceived the smallest indication of it, she would so lower him to the earth by her contempt and amazed disdain, that she too often raised in that deep-feeling heart a storm of passionate self-reproach. Oh! the spirit of a coquette. Oh! the galling existence of one dependent on a patron's bounty.
It was about this time that she contrived to do deliberately the most cruel thing—cruel, considing her subsequent determination. Among the things which Lady Mary Wortley Montague brought from the East was the system of the language of flowers. Lady Amber insisted on Mr. Arden's studying these floral telegraphs, and imparting the knowledge to her. It was in vain that he, seeing the danger, and aware of her wayward disposition, resisted this wish. All the artillery of her fascinations, her charms, her varied caprices, were brought to bear on this scheme, by which she thought she might convey her mind without compromising her feminine dignity. At length the marchioness's aid was enlisted, and Mr. Arden, against his better judgment, complied, perhaps pleased to do so in spite of himself. She was no sooner perfected in this art, fitter I think for the intriguing East than our own soil, than she took an opportunity one day—company being present—to gather from the conservatory exactly those blooms which convey to a lover his mistress's affection, and carelessly presented them to the young chaplain, with "Here, Mr. Arden, accept this for your dinner nosegay." To the re3t, these flowers were sealed books, but to him —he flushed with joy and rapture. What man —young, enthusiastie, and loving like hiin— would not have done so. Their eyes met, hers fell, unable to bear the wondrous happiness of that glance, but thenceforth Herbert, though the furthest from being a coxcomb, believed that he neaJed not the surety of words to convince him that he was beloved; and he felt a modest happiness in that belief. He had never dared aspire to forget his station, though she had often grievously tempted him to do so. Lady Amber was, he knew, her own mistress, and though opposition might reasonably be feared, yet—what!— if she loved him all would be well. Not for a whole fortnight after this could he obtain an interview with her; if he sent to request one, she was going to dress, or visit, or a hundred trivial excuses were msde. She intentionally deprived him of every opportunity to speak, now that speaking became as obvious a matter of duty to his fine mind as hitherto he had deemed silence to be. At last, one day he found himself alone with her. She became suddenly aware of this, and rose to quit the room, but he placed himself between the
door and his capricious mistress, and closing it, led her by the hand to a settee.
"I know not," he said, " by what cruel fate I have been deprived of your conversation lately, but methinks the dear favor you bestowed on me should not go unacknowledged. You will not deem it presumption, in the humblest of your servants, dear Lady Amber, if he thanks you for that which came as a ray of the sun's beams to some poor prisoner pining for light."
She haughtily declared she knew not what he could mean, and insolently challenged him to explain himself.
The young man's spirit rose at this treatment. At that minute he only knew that he was Herbert Arden—a man—honest—unpresuming— and of a capacity noways inferior to the proudest. He saw in her a capricious, exacting, and unresponding woman, presuming on her wealth, her rank, and her beauty, and no wonder if his soul rebelled.
"Did you not, madam, give me these flowers'" he said; opening his vest, and taking them from the riband which, hung round his neck, suspended them on his heart.
"A few flowers!" was her exclamation; "what next? Did a gift bestowed in courtesy from one whose position"—so she phrased it—" entitled her to bestow courtesies, subject her thus to be insolently reminded of the implication they might be made to bear, sho must request that her simplest actions might not thus be distorted."
"The arrangement of these flowers, then," he asked, " was it purely accidental? He must have her own assurance of this."
"Must! She was not accustomed, he must be aware, to be thus catechised."
"Would she condescend, then, to give the assurance ho required, and if possible forgive his mad presumption, which only the most devoted love could excuse."
"Well, then, she supposed her late studies had given an accidental determination to the stupid things, which might have seemed odd, but—"
The dry and withered tokens were cast at her feet, and her faint cry, as he fled from the room, never reached his ear.
She sat, buried in thought, absorbed in repentant tears, for some time, and then left the room. Presently, she bethought herself that the poor discarded flowers were on the floor of the apartment she had quitted. She went back for them, but they were gone—she never saw them again till she saw them mingled with dust kindred to their own.
Such were the strange moods of her mind— now resolving to sacrifice all to love, and now to repel affection by dignity—that she continued exercising these varieties of behavior to him, whenever the arrangements of the family brought him into her presence. At all other times he avoided her. She knew not, though many of the servants did, that his distraction of mind had brought on, in an advanced degree, a pulmonary complaint to which he was liable, and that any renewed anxiety caused him to expectorate blood. He was implored by some of the head servants to see a physician, and went secretly out of doors to visit one—lest it should alarm her, whose peace was only too dear to him.
At this time, though suitors had never been wanting, one was evidently encouraged. A man of rank, who received marks of favor only when Herbert Arden was by to see and suffer from it. She was urged to marry this gentleman, but seemed in no hurry to make up her mind; but he was not one who would be trifled with. It was intimated that her decision must be irrevocable and immediate. He was a man of high fashion, immense influence, and she hesitated. As a refinement of cruelty, she affected to consult her former tutor. Could looks have struck her with an eternity of remorse, his would have done so then. Once she was on the point of throwing herself at his feet, of confessing all— all—that he was the only one she loved, or could love, or would love. And then the cold and cautious demon whispered, "Think what you will lose, the homage of the world"—as if the world could give one grain of happiness in return for the sacrifices made to it of truth, of justice, of honor. And so the impulse was lost, and she dismissed him with so stately coldness that he asked himself, "Was I not a vain fool? can this woman have ever loved?" Then there passed such a scene of passion and madness in her dressing-room, with none about her but her women, that one might have thought she was possessed by a devil as of old. And was she not 1 If the spirit of a coquette is not diabolical, then demons never walk this earth. And so did that great, fine house hold as it were a casket, these two spirits, one chafing at itself, the other humbled, prayerful, and forgiving
The news was soon spread—Lady Amber was to be married to his Grace the Duke of Torhampton, and she came to our house to choose wedding clothes. No chaplain now hung on her accents, or attended her steps. She was more lively than beseeming, I thought, and yet, ever and anon, a change came over her, and she heaved great sighs, and was so lost in thought that she knew nothing, saw nothing, heard nothing. Some lady who was with them asked the marchioness with much concern, " how poor Mr. Arden was?" "Oh! dying, I think," said my lady, " the servants say he neither cats, sleeps, nor rests." At these words a sort of spasm flitted over Lady Amber's face, but she said nothing, only pulled at the lace she was examining till it was squeezed into a rag. "I'll take this thing," she said, and then—as if she could hear no more —she went to the window, and pulling out her handkerchief, wept. Her mother and the lady whispered—" Such a feeling heart. He was the tutor of poor James, and she loved her brother so dearly it will be like losing him over again." Why did the sixth commandment flit before her eyes like the writing on Belshazzar's wall, with this difference, that she could decipher too well the characters, "Thou shalt do no murder1."
There arc more ways of slaying a young lady than stabbing with a knife or giving a bowl of poison. Who shall tell if one day you may not rank with those who have been arraigned at man^s tribunal, and have been dismissed to the punishment of heaven! When she left our showrooms her eyes were inflamed with tears, but sho
persisted, and not only that, but
Can it be conceived; what fiend ruled the soul of this young girl? The day before her appointed nuptials, which were to take place in the private chapel of the marchioness, Dower House, in town, she took her woman with her and drove
to the Bishop of C 's, the prelate who had
promised to read the ceremony. What arguments she made use of I know not, but as even bishops are not always invulnerable, they must have been powerful ones. On the wedding-day, when all were assembled waiting only for the reverend bishop, there came at the last moment a note from that dignitary, explaining that sudden illness would prevent him from attending, and expressing a hope, more like a command, that his young friend Mr. Arden would be his substitute. He who, pale and attenuated, yet was there maintaining his post among the wedding guests, and striving with all bis might to brave it out, was struck speechless at this request. When he could find words, he protested against such a task; why, none of course could imagine, it being obviously his duty. At length Lady Amber herself urged him—" the last request of mine, Mr. Arden." He yielded; perhaps ho felt how terrible would be the revenge she was drawing on herself. He took his place. Those who remember the scene said that his face was of the same color as his surplice. He read every word slowly and distinctly, till just at the benediction, when every one noticed how short his breath had become. The bride had her eyes fixed on the ground, and as the bridegroom turned to salute her, Herbert Arden fell heavily, face foremost, to the ground, right between the new married pair. They raised him; they tore open the breast of his ruffled shirt; as they did so, a little satin packet fell out of his bosom and went on the ground: it contained dead flowers—" ashes to ashes." Doctors came, but she had done her work effectually—life had departed. No one could mend that broken heart.
Now you know as much as I do of Lady Amber Mayne's history. I thought when I saw her go to the "drawing-room" on the occasion of her marriage, like the gentlewoman in the play Mr. Garrick was so fine in, "I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body." Two years after that her family went into mourning for her. She had taken laudanum, I believe. There was a great fuss about the coroner's verdict, but it got hushed up somehow, and after all she received Christian burial, which, though it is a hard thing to say, yet to my mind was more than she deserved.
STUDENT LIFE LN PARIS.
THE resident in Paris who does not live in the fashionable quarters thereof; whose purse compels him to exist upon the nourriture simple cl fortifiante of a student's hotel, instead of paying daily visits to Vachette's, or even to the Dmer de Paris; generally chooses the neighborhood of the Pantheon for his quarters. For, hereabout he may have the wildest kind of social liberty. He may wear the hat he pleases to adopt, without remark; he may give free vent to the exuberance of his fancy in the matter of trowsers. Nobody will interfere with him, if he have a relish for a pipe in the Palace gardens close by. Having had his two dishes for breakfast, about ten, with his half bottle of vin ordinaire, he should be off to his business—perhaps to the dissecting-room of a hospital, or to the studio of some great painter, his master. But the day is cloudless, and the Pantheon stands out against the intensely blue sky, reminding him of a sketch by Roberts.
Un such a day the dissecting-room or the close atmosphere of a studio is insupportable. To stroll out, past the interminable book-stalls, crammed with yellow-covered books; to meet a friend, and then saunter into the Luxembourg gardens, to promenade while the band of one of Uio regiments is playing, is certainly a more pleasant proceeding. There is a laziness in the very air; it is impossible to do any thing worth speaking about. And then, if the stroller be an artist, may he not, in his walk, study character? There are, unhappily, twenty different ways of reconciling tho conscience to idleness. On some mornings of lassitude the artist rises with weak eyes; the medical student wakes with an unsteady hand; the writer jumps out of bed with the reflection that the brain wants relaxation and repose, like the body; the government official is disturbed from his sleep by the suggestion that a day in bed will strengthen his naturally delicate constitution, and that a medical certificate must certify to that fact; the prima donna, rising with a slight wheeziness, feels that to sing at the concert she is engaged to perform at that morning would be madness. And thus we all cheat ourselves occasionally.
These mornings of self-deceit are, I fear, a little too frequent with the gentlemen who are supposed to study near the Pantheon. On such occasions they may be generally found grouped about the Luxembourg gardens—some reading Le Mousquetaire in the shade of the trimmed chestnut trees; others watching the evolutions of the soldiers in the long walk that stretches away from the Palace to the Observatoire. Then billiard matches are got up, and appointments made for the Closerie des Lilaes. Here may be seen excellent samples of the Paris student; from the beardless young fellow with his rough bat upon the back of his head, and his extremities cased in trowsers fitting him like gaiters; to the solemn student, with his dingy volume under his arm, spectacles on his nose, and his cravat tied carelessly about his throat. Here, too, are
groups of ladies knitting; and whole squadrons of bonnes, with infinite varieties of the Paris baby, crawling, and squeaking, and tottering, and tumbling about them. All the boys are little soldiers; and those young fellows who are not aspiring drummers are mimic generals. To the serious observer, the recruits, parceled out in detachments of six, and occupying the ground from the steps of the Palace gardens up to the gates of the Park, look sad specimens of military glory. As they make their first attempts to shoulder arms; as they receive the rough thrusts of the peppery little drill sergeants; as they undergo the minute inspection of the commanding officer (who has a push for one, an angry word for another, and a threat for a third), their set expression of feature gives to them a deadened look, that has something awful in it. Their eyes are fixed, looking forward; the bead is held stiffly; the lips arc motionless; all volition appears to be at an end. At the sergeant's word of command firelocks are shouldered; then lowered; then the right hand is upon the cartouche-box; then the cartouche is lifted to the mouth, and inserted in the musket; then tho ramrod is applied; and the bright rods rise and fall along the line with the precision of steam machinery; then the musket is again shouldered. Those who have been in any degree slow or awkward, are savagely reproved; then the officer makes a dash with his sword at a musket dangling carelessly, or seizes a man's cap, and puts it jauntily upon his head as a soldier should wear it. All the men stand like statues, and appear so closely to resemble one another, that you wonder how they sort themselves, and recognize their companions when they are once dispersed. At a word they presently fall on one knee (that which was observed encased in a leather band to preserve the scarlet trowsers from the dust) to receive a charge of imaginary cavalry; then they rise and advance one step at a time, with their bayonets pointed at an advancing enemy; in reality at a formidable row of laughing nurses and delighted children. A drum rolls, and suddenly they stack their muskets; the rigidity of their faces is relaxed: and they skip away to join the crowd gathering about the band posted half way down the avenue. Now they are playing all kinds of practical jokes with one another. Hats are knocked off; mock fights go on; unobserved pulls of the ears are given; and jokes are played even with tho swords. Pipes are produced; tobacco is freely borrowed, and as freely lent; clouds of smoke rise into the air; the officers unceremoniously light their cigarettes from their men's pipes; the corporals group together as the sergeants group together; and the lieutenants chatter apart, while a few privates hop about to the polka which the regimental band is playing. It is a gay scene of cheerful life. The officers, with their hands buried deep in their wonderfullycapacious scarlet trowsers, bulging from their remarkably small waists, laugh, and talk, and smoke, and forget to look rigid and military; ladies cluster about, talking lively things; students four abreast, and arm-in-arm, stroll round the large circle; and grisettes, in their snowwhite caps, and little black mantles, chatter about the last quadrille Chinoise they danced at the Closerie. These groups, with children chasing huge wash-leather foot-balls in every direction, and a few old men sunning themselves on the benches, make up a scene to which the fountain before the Palace, and the splendid rows of trees leading to it, furnish a pretty background.
For the student who is inclined to be idle to have a scene like this within five minutes' walk of his hotel is to be powerfully tempted. When ho is tired of the soldiers, he can stroll into the splendid kitchen gardens of the Palace, to watch the growth of the vines, or to sniff the perfume of the fruit-blossoms. Then, there is a iittle cafe, absolutely in the Palace grounds, under the shade of some magnificent trees. Thence he may lounge past the orangery, to the pretty gardens close to the Palace, surrounded by statues of the queens of France. Here the children of the neighborhood swarm; here priests, in thin black cassocks and three-cornered hats, walk leisurely about; and ladies sit to read romances or work embroidery; while dozens of little boats swim about the fountain basin, and two swans receive their daily supply of biscuits de Rheime from the paddling, screaming, delighted little ship-owners.
When the burning mid-day sun drives the idler from the gardens, the Palace of the Luxembourg, built for Marie de Medicis—which the genius of Rubens was employed to decorate—remains to be visited. In the two hundred and thirty years during which the Palace has stood, how many scenes of terrible interest have passed within its walls; upon how much ruined greatness have its iron gates turned! Here the Dowager Queen of Spain, widow of the first Louis, and daughter of the Regent, passed her widowhood and died. Here Rubens's decorations and illustrations of Marie de Medicis were exhibited; and here were first shown to the publie, in seventeen hundred and fifty, a few of the best works of the old masters in the possession of the Royal Family, which became the nucleus of that splendid collection of paintings now gathered within the walls of the Louvto. But when, in seventeen hundred and seventy-nine, Louis the Sixteenth gave the palace to his brother, the Count de Provence (afterward Louis the Eighteenth), Rubens's pictures and the works forming the public gallery were removed, and set apart to be added to the collection in the Louvre. While the gloom of the Revolution was over the capital, dark days fell upon the Palace. Presently, however, it was decorated for the Directory; then for the Senat Conservateur; then again, in eighteen hundred and two, a gallery of old masters was collected within its walls, to be withdrawn finally to fill up gaps in the Louvre gallery in eighteen hundred and fifteen. It was that same Count de Provence, who once held the Palace as his private property, and who gave importance to the building afterward occupied by his chamber of peers by order
ing that a gallery of paintings by modem French artists should be formed in one of the wings. To carry out this project some of the more remarkable examples of French art in the Louvre and the royal palaces were removed hither. This exhibition, which included some celebrated works by David Gros, and Gerard, was opened to the public for the first time in eighteen hundred and eighteen. And this collection is now free to all who have an hour to spare, and who are armed with passports.
The way to the gallery, up a narrow stone staircase, is not impressive. It is unlike a French approach to an art-gallery, although it might serve such a purpose without notice in England. A ring at a bell on the first floor summons an important person in a cocked hat, and green and red livery, who examines the applicant's passport, takes his cane (for the care of which he charges him two sous), and lets him loose in the gallery. The pictures in the collection are, generally, very well known : it is with the copyists that the idle student's interest will lie. Here he is certain to meet some friends; and, as he strolls from one easel to another, with a lively word for each acquaintance, and a criticism on each copy, the time flics onward to his perfect satisfaction.
These copyists are a peculiar class in Paris, who supply the picture-market in all parts of the world, but mostly in Paris, with imitations of popular paintings. The visitor, entering the gallery for the first time, if he have been many weeks in Paris, knows almost every picture. Copies of them are to be seen in any quarter of the capital: they are heaped up in the shops in the Rue de Seine—they choke up the gateways on the Quai Voltaire—they dangle in the wind outside the gates of the Louvre. And here they are by dozens, lying against the walls, under the originals. Four persons, with their easels ingeniously grouped within the narrowest possible space, arc painting Scheffer's Charlotte Corday: three distinct copies of Rosa Bonhem's masterly Plowed Field are peeping from the canvas: De la Roche's Death of Queen Elizabeth is being reproduced on four or five different scales: the picture of the Last Victims of the Reign of Terror, by Muller, with Andre Chenier as the central figure, is being either copied wholesale, or being mercilessly dissected into "studies;" some copyists taking only the head of thepoet: others snatching the face of a terrified woman. The Young Princes in the Tower, by De la Roche, are being as mercilessly murdered by two copyists as they were, in reality, by the hired assassins. Ono glance at these imitators, however, is more interesting and pleasing than two at the copies. Many are women—some young women—negligently dressed. Their cloaks and bonnets are put aside in a heap, and -some black lace, or a coquettish handkerchief, is gracefully tied over the head. They have generally a sad, careworn, business look, and they proceed with their painting as listlessly as the seamstress goes on with her sewing. They are undisturbed by the stare of visitors, and hear passing criticism without the least ex