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had happened. Cuthbert leant on my arm-he pressed it—not a word was spoken-I understood nothing of what I saw, but my whole soul was engrossed by the possession of my brother, who, it seemed clear to me, had been rescued from the Brandyball. I shook Nubley's hand, and felt encouraged by his emphatic squeeze of mine. Kate I had not then seen, but what my sensations were may be guessed when I placed my half-fainting brother on his accustomed sofa, and saw Kitty, the object of my aversion, run to Harriet, throw herself upon her knees, and, bursting into tears, exclaim
“ Forgive me-all, all here forgive me !-I am not what I was.”
Without then knowing what had happened beyond the fact that we were all ruined financially, I believe that was the happiest moment of
In setting down these matters I have anticipated, as it were, the results which brought about this
“ Consummation devoutly to be wished ;" but the sequel is beautiful, as showing that which the "evil eye” of the censorious seldom sees, or chooses to see. It was perfectly true that Cuthbert, by his extraordinary carelessness and inanition, had permitted nimself to be ruined, but that human pine apple, Nubley, whose rough and repulsive coat covered a heart full of the richness of liberality, did not allow the evening to pass without making me understand that as his fate and fortunes had been linked with Cuthbert's through life, and that he had no existing relation that he knew of, that his failure should never affect him. It is true that Nubley deplored the want of a family in terms which, whether eloquently or cogitatively expressed, there seems no necessity for repeating; the only remark upon which, I make in the words of his excellent lady, who, at the close of his lamentations, screamed out as usual
“Lauk, Mr. Nubley, you are such a man!”
But the second or third day after this happy return of our absent friends, I had another opportunity of beholding human nature in a delightful point of view; and what a blessing it is to be able to put upon record traits calculated to vindicate our common fallibility against the sweeping censure of the satirist and cynic!
Kate's experience of Mrs. Brandyball's conduct and treatment of her “ dear girls” had made her an altered person, as she herself professed. Although but a few days older than when she left us, she had gained years in the power of appreciating the real character of that fiend, as I have already said, not in human shape. High-spirited and warm tempered, the moment she saw the sudden change in her conduct towards Cuthbert, ten thousand “ trifles light as air” flashed into her mind, which convinced her that she had been playing that game ever since her return, and that the game she had been playing before his arrival had been even worse; in fact, she was now old enough to know that a more artful, designing, dangerous woman never lived than her once “dear governess;” to which conclusion she very shortly led Harriet, who, to say truth, did not require much urging, especially after what our dear little Jenny had told us, to believe that Montpelier was an establishment which most especially demanded an extraneous surveillance. I do not like to put upon paper all I have heard, but, in spite
of the brick walls and the “broken bottles," I have a notion that Mont pelier, however good for the bodily health of the “ dear little angels," was by no means advantageous as regarded their moral or spiritual state. Well! there is nothing at which one ought to start ; but--and I
say but with an emphasis—I declare and protest that when I saw Kittywithout any further professions, a beautiful girl-no left shoulder stuck out of her frock, and at least another inch of tucker in fronttotally changed in manner, fond of her sister, affectionate to Cuthbert, without pretension, and endeavouring by every means to gain Harriet's good opinion, my feelings towards her took an entirely new turn; and all at once I thought how painful it will be (for the whole history of our remaining at Blissfold was problematical) for this girl, growing into womanhood, to be domesticated close to Kittington, the dancingmaster, to whom she had made such extraordinary advances.
Extraordinary, indeed !-but much more extraordinary was what followed. Our new arrivals had not been landed a week-during which the dear Nubley-except what I could catch from his involuntary “ oozings” had given me no kind of idea to what extent his munificence would go---when Mr. Kittington's name was brought up to me. He wished to speak to me. Having the respect for him which his highly honourable conduct upon a former occasion had created, I, without a moment's delay, went down to him in my morning-gown.
I found him in deep mourning; he appeared considerably agitated; I saw his embarrassment, and paused to give him time to collect his scattered thoughts;” still he hesitated, and again I bowed.
“Mr. Gurney," said he, at length, “ you remember that I once paid you a visit here—of an unprofessional nature-I
The moment he got this length I satisfied myself that Miss Kitty, in spite of appearances, had been making a second attack upon my worthy companion.
“It is with reference to that circumstance," said my visitor, “ that I am again here."
“ What!” said I,“ has the young lady again—"
“ Oh no,” interrupted Mr. Kittington,“ circumstances are so altered, short as is the time that has elapsed since the event to which you refer, that I stand before you in a totally different position.” Hereabouts he £cemed to gain new courage, and stand erect, and look steadily. “I believe," continued he, “ I told you that my father was a man of high honour and respectability, although unfortunate—my mother, a lady by birth, who, excellent as her husband was, had disobliged her family by marrying him, has been for years estranged from her relations. I now have to state to you, Mr. Gurney, that her brother, my uncle, General Harlingham, relenting on his death-bed of an unjustifiable harshness against his exemplary sister, has left me heir to all his property, real and personal, amounting to something more than seven thousand pounds per annum, on condition of my assuming his name.”
“ I assure you,” said I, “ I most sincerely congratulate you. The little I had the pleasure of seeing of your family gave me so favourable an impression of your character and qualities, that I am most happy to hear of your well-merited acquisition. I presume we shall lose you as a neighbour?”.
The moment I had uttered these words, I perceived his agitation return, his cheek flushed and turned pale, and his whole manner betrayed an emotion to me inexplicable.
“Mr. Gurney,” said he, “I confess this is one of the most trying moments of my life. I am but young. I trust and hope the reverse of fortune which has befallen me will not induce me to commit myself. If it does, I think in your hands my character is safe. I would give the world that you would anticipate what I am about to express."
“ I have no notion,” said I; “ but, whatever it is, rely upon my most anxious desire to hear it.”
“ Miss Falwasser,” said Kittington, or rather Harlingham-“ Miss Falwasser- and then he paused.
“Oh!” said I, “ you must banish all that from your mind; your conduct was so honourable—and the affair will be forgotten-and
“ I hope not,” said Harlingham, as I must now call him. “I felt it my duty in my then position to do what I did : as a professional man, I think I could have done nothing else; but I have never been happy since. And now, Mr. Gurney,” added he, with tears in his eyes, and tears of which no man of high and honourable feeling need be ashamed ; “now, I will go farther upon that point than I did before-not to make you appreciate more highly the sacrifice I then made, but to induce you to listen to my present proposal. I admit that my admiration of the young lady in question was fervent and sincere, and that, although the stern sense of moral obligation connected with the business I then followed led me to betray a confidence which I had no right to encourage, I now request, as a gentleman and a man of fortune, permission to be received into your family as a suitor for the affections of Miss Katherine Falwasser."
I looked at him for a moment, and, having held out my hand and pressed his, when I recovered, said,
“ If you had one fortnight since made this proposal - honourable, noble as it is on your part-1 should have said, “No-whatever my brother may say—I will not hear of it;' but Kate Falwasser, misled and spoiled by the horrid woman to whose care she had been incautiously consigned, has, since circumstances have occurred to try the real qualities of her heart, evinced so much good feeling and so much indignation at the conduct of her late preceptress, that I think I may,
with perfect fairness to you, admit you to that intimacy with our family circle which
desire." “I know," said Harlingham, “ to what you allude; in a small society like Blissfold, family matters are no secrets, and I hope you will not think worse of me because it was when I found that, in all probability, from the rumours that were rife, Miss Falwasser would be portionless, I ventured to make my present offer.”
There are of course some very extraordinary men to be found now and then, but this Kittington, or Harlingham, seemed to me a phænix. With his taste I had no disposition to quarrel, but all other feelings were absorbed in those of admiration at his honest and virtuous forbearance, evidently in opposition to the bent of his inclination in the first instance, and in his delicate anxiety to repair what be considered the violence he had done to Kate by exposing her amatory epistles.
The result of this interview was his admission into our circle, together
with his mother and sister, and his consequent association with Kitty; whose manners were so changed, and whose recollection of her advances to her now permitted lover were so strongly impressed on her mind, that she could scarcely lift her eyes to meet his tender and affectionate glances; indeed, so extremely diffident did she appear in his presence, that Fanny Wells, some six or seven years her senior, began to think that she was not half enough sympathetic, and that Mr. Harlingham would be much happier with a wife a few years older. Whereiv Fanny most probably was right; but that was no affair of mine, and Cuthbert, who had abandoned his wig, and seemed reconciled to his present state of misfortune, was well pleased to see Kitty pleased, and to see that everybody was pleased with Kitty.
It was but a short time after this interview, and during the agreeable intercourse between the families, that Nubley opened his whole generous intentions to me. He again reverted to his want of family, and the silliness of his wife, and then informed me that, under all the circumstances, and having no relations who had any claims upon him, he would, pending the investigation of the complicated affair of Chipps, Rice, Hiccory and Co., put Cuthbert entirely at his ease; " to do which,”
,” added the good old man, “ he must be put in the position to put you at your ease too.” This gave me the highest opinion of Nubley's generosity at the moment: what, then, were my feelings when I saw him, as usual, stubble his chin before the chimney-glass, and think out—" and every shilling I have, shall be yours when I die?”
This "oozing" placed me in an extremely awkward position :--that I had heard the words, and was, consequently, aware of his intentions, is most true ; but I felt it necessary to make my gratitude subservient to my civility, and, therefore, it was that I could not venture to admit that he had given utterance to thoughts which he had not meant to express.
I certainly communicated to Harriet what had fallen upon my ears, and the involuntary expression was completely corroborated, as she told me, by the avowals of Mrs. Nubley, who declared, “ Lauk! he was sich a man when once he took a thing into his head,” &c. &c.
We had gone on for some fortnight in this way, Cuthbert apparently unconscious of what was the state of the case, but, nevertheless, anxiously fidgetty about Mrs. Brandyball, whose
and disappointment at the frustration of her hopes were most awful. She wrote him one letter, which we, Nubley and I, under the circumstances of his health, felt ourselves justified in opening and answering: it was coarse, insolent, unfeeling; and, even while attempting to threaten him into some pecuniary sacrifice, admitted her only object in her intended marriage to have been securing his money; but, what was worse than all, it contained some anecdotes of Kitty, and allusions to her conduct while under her care, which, if any care had been taken, could never have occurred.
Nubley wrote her an answer; and, when we saw in the Saturday week's newspaper, quoted from the “ Gazette” List of Bankrupts, “ Sarah Brandyball, boarding-house-keeper, Montpelier, Bath, Co. Somerset, to surrender at the Lamb Inn, Bath, Thursday, February 14, at ten; Attornies, Messrs. Grab and Worry, Gay Street ;" we did not feel more pity than could be reasonably afforded to a mass of unprincipled humanity, whose whole efforts under the cloak of kindness,
refinement, and sentimentality, were to undermine and pervert the principles of the unfortunate victims for the instruction and edification of whom she had neither the means nor the inclination.
Well, and here am I come to the end of another note-book; and here, therefore, must I stop; but, happy as I am in the restoration of my brother, and his affection to me—delighted as I am to find Kate redeemed, and, as I hope, in a fair way to happiness, pleased as I am to find Jane all that I ever hoped her to be, my wife faultless, and my family circle most agreeable-Sniggs our own again, the Wells's the best-natured and kindest, and the Nubleys all we could desire; still I feel some apprehension that I may be for a time unsettled. Nubley lets out that I might do a great deal of good by going out to Calcutta—that he is too old himself to undertake the voyage, and that Cuthbert's removal would be annihilation ; so I hold myself in readiness.
I received in the morning of to-day, the last I can record, a most extraordinary letter from Daly, who has married his “fortune," and is most zealous in his calling. Hull has also written to me, not choosing to travel back this road with his aunt, and tells me that matters will turn out better than we think with Chipps, Rice, Hiccory and Co., as he “happens to know," and the newspaper announces the death at sea of “Mellicent, wife of Lieutenant Merman, of the 146th foot.”
What a prospect opens as my book closes ! all I can say is, that I am thankful to Providence for the successes which have arisen to me out of evil, and for that mercy and goodness which it extends even to the least worthy of human beings.
P.S. I see by the "Sun" of to-night, that Captain Thompson, alias Jemmy Dabbs, alias Bluff Jim, was last Tuesday sentenced to fourteen years' transportation for horse stealing, having been apprehended, committed, tried, and condemned in the short space of twentyeight hours.
MARTIAL IN LONDON.
To a Lady.
[Infold their silken pack,
Of Lavender and Black.
Your lip to Lethe's cup;
You'll never make it up.