« PreviousContinue »
THE COMMON E R'S DAUGHTER.
SECOND BOO K.
I him of that. Though how looks were a guaIn the course of the next day Mr. Surban. / rantee of musical abilities was best known to the musical professor, instead of writing his
himself. At last we came to a definite arrangeanswer, came in person to settle the business.
ment, and it was proposed that I should He was quite a little dandy of a man, and
be personally introduced by the professor seemed much impressed with the idea of his own
to his numerous and, as he took care importance and powers of criticism. When he
to inform me, highly genteel connexion at understood from Mr. Benvolere that I was so
Fulham and its immediate vicinity. For this young, he hummed and ha'd, and seemed to
advantage I was to pay a certain portion of the fear my youth would prove a serious obstacle.
emoluments arising from the various schools “Well, well! my good friend,” at last said
| and families who were willing to accept a subBenvolere, who endured his fine airs much as a 5
sostitute of Mr. Surban's proposing. goodnatured Newfoundland dog views the
This matter settled, the little gentleman took tricks of some undersized puppy,“ hear Mdlle.
his leave with a great deal of advice, compliMontafauconi play [I was to take the name be
ments, regrets, and adieux. longing to Madame Theresa, and pass as her
Benvolere, always alive to a keen sense of daughter], then judge of her musical attain
hurnour, indulged in a hearty fit of laughter ments for yourself. I must introduce you
after his brother-professor's departure. formally” (as I entered from the back parlour,
“I remember that puppy," he said, “playing which by folding doors joined the front room]
the kit for a little dancing mistress; and now "Mr. Surban, Malle. Montafauconi, my niece.”
he holds his head far above the man who gave There were profuse bows from the little pro
him all his musical tuition, and that's myself; fessor, who seemed so startled by my womanly
but, my dear, Sam Surban would scarcely appearance, that we were some time before we
venture to refuse me any favour I chose to ask
him." proceeded to discuss the business on hand. "Certainly the young lady's name is greatly
“Well! let me be grateful that I have fouud in her favour-foreign names, my good friend,
favour in his eyes, and, I trust, employment." as you and I know, go for much. She is
“And far more admiration for that sweet English-born you say?"
face than Mrs. Surban would at all approve of. "Eoglish bred, my good sir. But play this ! Ah! my niece, you are too pretty to earn your piece of Auber's, Isabella.”
“You make me blush, sir. Do not think me I did as Mr. Benyolere requested, and afterwards sang. But when Mr. Surban's raptures
a spoiled doll. My face, alas! never brought
me affection or favour at home; and, had I been at my performance subsided, he seemed disposed to ask so many scientific questions about
ugly you would have loved me for my mother's
sake. But I must not chatter : I am going to musical theory that my courage nearly failed.
practise hard. I shall weary you; but I must Benvolere, who was amused at the little gentleman's pedantry and consequence, “pooh-|
not disgrace Mr. Surban's recommendation.” poohed" his observations a good deal, and My duties, in fact, commenced a very few came to my relief, just as Mr. Surban was deep days after, and with Madame Theresa for a in a dissertation on the major chord of the fat chaperone, as my supposed mother, I went with seventh.
the professor the round of his pupils, and soon “The child, my dear Surban,” he said, “is found myself in the midst of work-real hard my own pupil. You know I am not likely to recommend an impostor. Malle. Montafauconi! At first, I own, I was worried by such unceasing knows how to teach, I assure you."
| labour and responsibility. There were to be taught My looks. Mr. Surban observed, convinced pupils of all intellectual grades --clever, stupid.
dull, and quick-varying with amiability and seminary ; Mrs. Candy, the servant said, would obstinacy; but I determined to put my shoulder be with me presently. It was, however, some heartily to the wheel, and soon learned how to time before she came; aud as I rose to greet her, conquer the difficulties presented by the various my astonishment and, I may add, dismay were tempers of my pupils. I was cheered too, and unbounded, as, with an exclamation, I recogsupported by the thought that I was of some nized in my new employer, my former friend real use in the world, and all the patrician blood and teacher, Miss Phitts ! of the De Trevors and the Castlebrooks com- | Mrs. Candy, as she was now, had entered bined, could never have procured me such a brimful of condescension and patronage; but, pure and entire satisfaction as that one idea. recognizing me instantly, she seized my hand, Then how I was welcomed home, when, at the heartily shaking it, while the corkscrew ringlets, close of a long, hard-working day, I arrived at still in shining glory, danced about, as if they the dear cottage, whose inhabitants waited for desired to aid in expressing her delight. their dinner till I could partake of it with them! “Good gracious me! That stupid girl! I And good Madame Theresa always had some expected a new music-teacher, and she told me delicacy prepared for her “good child"-her Miss - Miss-such a long name. I always foradopted daughter. Now, for the first time since get it”-looking at the card I bad sent in, with I had quitted Miss Normans, I tasted the com- her eyeglass—"and to see you, my dear Miss forts of a home.
Castlebrook, grown out of all knowledge, too! A quarter of a year passed thus, rapidly; and, At first I was puzzled, but your voice at once at the end of that period, I had the gratification recalled my dear former pupil. And this music. to find that, after the stipulated payment to Mr. / mistress" Surban, there was sufficient to settle bills, which "Is before you, Miss-Mrs. Candy I mean, had been unavoidably contracted, and a little to though to find my old friend converted into a lay by as a surplus for any exigency.
matron," I said, with infinitely more sincerity During all this time I had discovered no than politeness, “is as wonderful as anything I opportunity of writing to Colonel Tarragon, and ever read in my favourite " Arabian Nights." was moreover inclined to adopt my master's “Indeed !” - bridling a little. “Well, I dare half-hinted opinion that to do 60 would be a say it does seem strange. But what do you compromise of female delicacy.
mean?” It was, however, true that he could not write “Only that I must request you to forget the to me, ignorant of my refuge as he was. To existence of Isabella Castlebrook, and to accept say no thoughts of bim intruded frequently, the services of Malle. Montafauconi as your would be false; but I was too much occupied musical teacher." to dwell unceasingly on the recollection of his “You amaze me. You, my dear-& young regard, and too confident in Vincent's faith | lady of birth and station in society-teach!" and honour to have one misgiving as to his “Even so." fidelity. I had discovered indeed, from the “But your name is" newspapers, that he was at Vienna. I resolved “Dear madam, there is a history attached to to trust in Providence for a happy meeting, and my change of name; but I know I may conhoped that time might cause my love to be l.fide in you." sanctified without a dereliction of duty. Mean- In fact, I had no alternative, so that I could while my profession entirely engrossed my time take very little merit for being ingenuous. I and thoughts.
related, therefore, the main points of my story, Mr. Surban, who was much pleased at my omitting only the mention of Colonel Tarragon, success with his former pupils, wrote one day which I did not consider essential to its deto inform me he had recommended me to a lady / velopment. who had lately commenced a school. “I have Mrs. Candy had been educated in a school of arranged terms for you, my dear Mdlle. Monta- | old-fashioned duty. She shook her head when fauconi," wrote the little man, “and you will I finished, and said: be good enough to visit Dahlia House, Bromp- “It was a great pity to run away from home, ton, at ten o'clock next Wednesday morning, to , my dear.” give your first lesson. I trust other arrange | "I should have been forced into a marriage ments will not interfere; for Mrs. Candy is | my very soul would have detested.” strict as to punctuality, and the connexion "To be sure that would have been very bad; seems a desirable one."
but remonstrance and interference on the part It was not exactly convenient, but I could of your friends --" not refuse any addition to an income which! “I have none; you know it. What could I, after all was but fluctuating, and with some a poor weak girl, do, fettered and con. difficulty I started for Dahlia House, which was strained-coerced even-by my father and his situated in a newly-formed square, between / wife? Now I earn the bread of independence, Brompton and Chelsea. It was a very prim and it is so sweet. Besides, what would Mr. looking mansion, and as I rang the bell, a feeling Benvolere do without my assistance, aged and of annoyance sprang up at the reflection that I infirm as are both himself and his sister? Oh, had to propitiate strangers. I was shown into | madam, how blessed is the consciousness of a parlour highly adorned with the nick-nacks being able to aid others !". ysyally abounding in the showrooms of a ladies' “ You have a kind, feeling heart, Isabella,"
said Mrs. Candy, regarding me with one of bound to look at things in their true light. those curious side-glances, for which as Miss Now, whatever is false is not true - and" Phitts she had been remarkable. “You were “Would you have me teach, my dear friend, always ready, even when a child, to perform as Miss Castlebrook ? self-sacrifice."
“I suppose not; yet, in point of fact, it is “And I still am. I hope I shall always be so; quite bewildering. I wish I knew what Mr. but there is one thing I cannot endure, and that Candy would say." is personal chastisement-it is degradation.” “Is he at home.”
* True, I agree with you there; I never “ Yes, writing bis Sunday's sermon. I will would allow it in tuition. It harders. It is go and fetch him." bad enough for boys, but for girls most shock. "He has known adversity: I cannot believe ing.”
he will judge me harshly.” "Then I may rely on your silence-you will “I dare say not. He is a good man. Stay not betray me to my family?".
| here, my dear. There is one of George's books “Certainly not, my dear. You are nowa young to amuse you. I must tell him all about it woman, and able to judge and reason for your- from the beginning." self-only, I don't know how Mr. Candy may She left the room as she spoke, and I took view the matter, and I have no secrets from up Mr. Candy's book, to see if, in its pages, I him."
could trace anything of the mind or heart of the “Was Mr. Candy in perspective when you writer. lived at Mnemosyne House?”
Not a glimpse. It was a dry theological “Well, my dear, yes; but it was in extreme I treatise, neither likely to interest nor give inperspective. I will tell you: George Candy
formation, and I was listlessly tnrning over its and I were boy and girl together, and as we
pages, when Mr. and Mrs. Candy entered the grew up we hoped to pass through life in com
room. Mr. Candy was a tall thin ecclesiastic pany; but there came the old story. We were poor. He was educated for the church, and
of fifty years old. Rigid as were his face and
features, there was something about the excould get no preferment; I was a poor gover
as a poor gover-pression of his dark eyes (which in youth must ness, who had to toil for all my family-mar
have been singularly handsome) that assured riage was simply impossible. You know how
me these “ windows of the soul" (as some one glad I was when Mr. Allison engaged me for has called them) conveyed to the outward obhis daughter, poor girl! She died a year ago. I server, the indications of a kind and feeling But her father, in the midst of all his grief, was
heart. ' very kind to me. He set me up in this school, and, having influence with the holders of church |
As I looked at him, I almost envied his wife livings, he obtained a moderate appointment in
in the privilege of having a spiritual adviser-one, this neighbourhood for Mr. Candy. So we
indeed, who would guide the erring wanderer thought, though the best of our days had been
safely through the tangled paths of duty. I passed in waiting and hoping against hope, that
feared now I had made an error in life; yet it was we might at least spend our old age together.
one I could scarcely repent. I felt as if a blind, And to be a clergyman's wife is very genteel,
inevitable destiny had impelled me for the last my dear, you know, though we are far from
year of my existence to fulfil its behests. Then, rich, and school-keeping is a terrible anxiety.
again, I considered a Providence had guided me I am sure the butcher's bills alone would
to the aid of Benvolere, my dear master: and so frighten any one."
regarding myself as an instrument in the hands "Would' Mr. Candy, then, do you think,
of a Mighty Power, I felt consoled at losing make it a point of conscience to discover me to
the sense of responsibility my father?”
I was now to submit this question to a grave “I have not a notion how he might think it authority-one accustomed to weigh actions right to act. I always abide by his decision : a against words, and disposed to think a child's clergyman, you know, my dear, can't be wrong obedience and submission, even to the harshest in matters of conscience; but I shall tell him of parents, an inevitable duty. how good you are to those poor old people, and I was questioned and cross-questioned eo sehow shamefully Lady Laura Castlebrook treated verely by this gentleman, that it was a great you. As for your father, why you know, my wonder the episode of Vincent Tarragon's atlove, you were his own daughter, and he might Itachment did not come out in the course of the perhaps think his right over your actions was examination. I became at last irritated at being supreme."
viewed as a runaway rebel, when I was following “Will youmeantime, accept me as a a nobler impulse than the mere selfish one of teacher?"
self-preservation. As the heroine of my own “Of course, my dear, and very gladly too; book, I ought to represent myself, perhaps, in a but however I am to recollect your new name, / more amiable light, because the heroines of moand whether it will be right so to aid in your dern books are invariably of natures so calm and your-"
angelic, that nothing can irritate them into a dis“Deception?"
play of temper; but real flesh and blood women "Well, I fear we cannot call it by any other are possessed of temperaments frequently quite name, You know, as a clergyman's wife, I am the reverse, and I am bound to state the truth, I
Bubdued, however, my rising anger, and pleaded greater reverence bad he been a bishop, inmy tie to Benvolere and his sister.
stead of curate to St. Junian's Chapel of Ease, ** If,” I said, “I desert them now, they have Brompton, no resource left. Oh! sir, be persuaded. Let' She listened to his exhortation exactly as she well alone. I am safe : I am under honourable might have done to his Sunday sermon. protection. I am happy in leading a useful “And you will accept me as a teacher?” life, and you would again throw me into the “Yes, we shall be glad to see more of you. vortex of fashionable society-give me to the After all, it is something that at least you have miseries of an ill-assorted marriage. I tell you, renounced the pomps and vanities of fashionsuch a life would be hateful, now that I have able life.” He took out his watch. “My dear, known a freer, purer one. I should again elope. I must go round to my parish duties. Miss Next time it would be from a husband. I Castlebrook, I trust to have some other opporshould be utterly lost, and this through your tunity of improving the trials and difficulties well-meant efforts for good. Pray, pray, spare you have experienced.”
With this promise of another lecture, he went “Young lady, there is, I fear, too much of gently out of the room, and Mrs. Candy folpassion in your nature to make you happy or lowed him with her eyes, as if he were a saint good. Subdue such feelings, and learn to view to whom she had the precious privilege of delife calmly and rationally, as a state of proba- ferring. tionary suffering and inevitable sorrow.”
Mr. Candy was indeed a good upright man"No," I said, vehemently, “I will not con-one who thought religious persons were bound sent so to view the existence which a beneficent to exhort, lecture, and rebuke, but who in his Creator has bestowed on me. He meant my heart of hearts, would have greatly preferred to life to be happy if I remain good. Human pity and console, soothe and succour. He was beings have caused by their vices and passions constantly struggling, I found afterwards, bemy unhappiness; but I deny that this world is tween the sternness he thought it a duty to meant to be all grief.”
assume, and a strong disposition to make people “My dear” (to her husband, from Mrs. / happy. Between his own ascetic notions, and Candy, who seemed anxious to avoid any con- his partner's fidgetty ideas of propriety and gentroversy), “ I trust you will not find it advisable tility, Mr. and Mrs. Candy were by no means to reveal Miss Castlebrook's abode to her so comfortable as they ought to have been, after father.”
their tough battle with the realities of life. “My love, do not fear me. I know Who I gave my first lesson, that very day, to tempers mercy with justice. May I be enabled pupils who were more select than numerous ; to follow His example. But our hearts are de- / but Mrs. Candy had not long commenced school, ceitful. While we imagine they are leading us and her scholars were girls chiefly from the rightly, too often they betray us into a gulf of country. sin, and its sure attendant misery.”
When I departed, the kind lady shook me “But think,” pleaded his wife, “ of poor Mr. warmly by the hand, bidding me trust in ProBenvolere-a most worthy person, I assure vidence. Mrs. Candy's religious sentiments you."
had become developed rather late in life, but “I do think of him, my dear Maria ; you and her union with a clergyman seemed to make it I should feel for poverty, when we have ex- a matter of obligation that pious precepts and perienced ourselves some of its bitter fruits. serious exhortations should be perpetually hoverYoung lady, there is a mixture of noble gene- ing on her lips. I somehow fancied, from my rosity, of self-devotion, with want of reflection reminiscences of Mnemosyne House, that my and a dangerous yielding to impulse, in your trust in Providence had been greatly antecedent character, which strangely puzzles me. In re- to her own. gard to your father's harshi usage, you should have borne it dutifully, with earnest prayer to the Giver of Grace that He would bestow a
CHAP. IV. better spirit on your worldly, unloving parent. Yet, now I can hardly, in pity to those you so In his days of prosperity, Mr. Benvolere bad virtuously support, counsel you to return home been fond of assembling round him acquaint-still less can I interfere. If I err, I trust Iances who, while their own sun of fortune shone may be pardoned.”
but dimly, were yet remarkable for qualities • Oh sir, thank and bless you."
amusing in society and harmless in the indi“Mrs. Candy has related to me traite of vidual. These persons were neither famous your tendency to good works, even as a child ; nor fashionable, though in some way or other but do not trust wholly to them. Have faith 'all were possessed of talents, which, properly and submission, even while you benefit others.” used, might have achieved worldly success.
He spoke like a book, and a very good book They still came to visit the host who in better too. It was so long since I had listened to a times had treated them liberally with generous man holy by profession, that I felt awed, and hospitality, and proved themselves worthy of as much disposed to admit of Mr. Candy's in- his friendship, inasmuch as they were now quite fallibility because he was a clergyman as his as well contented with a repast of bread, cheese, own wife, who could not have treated him with and ale, as formerly they had been with venison
and claret. Every man, I fancy, cannot say as | list of oddities presented themselves to my admuch of his friends, or there would be fewer miring notice at dinner. We had, in fact, just Timons in the world.
| commenced our meal, when a loud rat-tat came, Each Sunday, since employment had enabled and Mr. Benvolere looking behind him out of me to gratify the kind old man's hospitable the parlour window, which commanded a view propensities, a party of these humble, cheerful of the street-door, eagerly exclaimed, “there friends were entertained to a plain, but plen- were Quaintly and Brunt, both arrived at the tiful dinner. Mr. Benvolere, indeed, at first same time.” expressed a wish that I would absent myself “Very late," said Madame Theresa, who was from table on these occasions, as he did not de- a little fidgetty about punctuality. sire I should mix in society uncongenial to my “Good company, my dear, never comes too proper station, or expose myself hereafter to late," her brother answered ; and the kind lady undesirable recognition. But I had always a smoothed a brow beginning to get somewhat keen sense of humour, and a relish for the ob- ruffled as the guests glided in at the door, with servation of peculiarities, and the Sunday din- / the air of men who knew they were behind ners presented abundant specimens of charac- time. ter, whose study I was by no means inclined to These gentlemen, it seemed, were mutual forego. Therefore, as I urged the matter, strangers; for their host formally introduced Madame Theresa and myself, with some tea- them, first to the company, next to each other. drinking acquaintances, and an old lady and Mr. Quaintly attracted instant notice. He was gentleman who had been friends of Mr. Ben- attired in just such a costume as in later years volere from his youth-and who, like him, had I have seen that celebrated mime, Mr. Wright in their old age descended into the vale of po- (of the Adelphi Theatre), adopt, when portraying verty as well as years-.joined the dinner- a gentleman of eccentric comedy, viz., a brown parties, adding thereto the attractions of a tea. ccat cut off at the sides, and exceedingly shorttable.
waisted, gilt buttons to the same, a nankin Mr. and Mrs. Pope, the old lady and gentle
waistcoat (is that inestimable fabric lost to soman referred to, were by no means witty or en ciety ?], a resplendently-frilled shirt, a high tertaining themselves, but had a great admira
white cravat, and a stiff, high shirt-collar; tion for those who were : Mrs. Pope, indeed, nether garments of a striped material on a faint regarded Mr. Benvolere as the most fascinating blue or cream-colour ground. Mr. Brunt was
extraordinary of mortals. In former days he a full, burly individual, who had a confident had been wont to give imitations for their enjoy.
manner and a very loud voice. I had often ment, and now, like Oliver Goldsmith's “Dig. | heard my master describe him. He called himgory," they were always ready to laugh at the self a philosopher, and was fond of reducing same old story. My dear old master, like all of idealities to common-sense views, as he called us, had his harmless weaknesses. He loved to
them. In a word, if you had a tendency to sbine in the eyes of these poor and aged visitors;
exalt a subject, he had also one, which was to to them he was a star of the first magnitude,
drag it down into the most absurd or vulgar quite as good, indeed, to persons who had only light in which it could be viewed-at the same been to a play as a great and rare event, as the time it must be owned, very amusing lights. efforts of the inimitable Mathews senior him. / Though Mr. Brunt was a philosopher, he was self.
likewise a most hilarious man-a merry kind of After all, your dull, unentertaining people it
cynic, who laughed at everybody, even himself. is, who make the best audiences for the wit who
“My dear Quaintly, welcome! it does one's loves to shine. They laugh with the truest
eyes good to see you!”-from his host. “Sit mirth, and never dream of envying the powers
down, my dear fellows! No more ceremony: which afford them such exquisite entertainment.
better late than never, Brunt, eh? What shall Mr. Pope, however, had the disadvantage of
my sister help you to?"
"Of beef that is well done a slice I will take," being tremendously deaf, and it generally took the united efforts of two or three persons to
said Mr. Quaintly, regarding the joint with a convey to him accurately a single sentence.
very large eye-glass, suspended by a broad
| black ribbon round his neck. Kindhearted people, who were desirous he was should lose none of the mirth going forward, Old England; there's no humbug, at any rate,
“Beef, beef, by all means the roast beef of generally added to his confusion by all screaming in his ear at once, the pith of the jest on
about beef,” said Mr. Brunt.
Madame Theresa smilingly helped the new hand, Mrs. Pope being the most energetic of
visitors. the shouters. She herself had three exclama
“Of fat that is browned I like a plentiful tions to express all states of feeling—"Terri
share, madame," said Mr. Quaintly, whose inble!" "Astonisbing !” and “Wonderful !”
verted blank-verse style of colloquy set everyThese well-meaning persons were quite aware I was no daughter of Madame Montafauconi; Benvolere, at whose right hand I sat, inbut they had discretion, and took to me most formed me here, in a whisper, that our friend kindly.
held the situation of fourth low comedian at I remember one of these Sundays most parti. Drury Lane Theatre cularly, for two strange additions to our usual! "Quaintly,” he said, "poor fellow, has been