« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
alarmed silence, and quickly took his departure. He did not lie awake all night thinking whether or not he was in love with Miss Sharp; the passion of love never interfered with the appetite or the slumber of Mr. Joseph Sedley; but he thought to himself how delightful it would be to hear such songs as those after Cutcherry-what a distinguće girl she was—how she could speak French better than the GovernorGeneral's lady herself—and what a sensation she would make at the Calcutta balls. "It's evident the poor devil's in love with me,” thought he. “She is just as rich as most of the girls who come out to India. I might go farther, and fare worse, egad!” And in these meditations he fell asleep.
How Miss Sharp lay awake, thinking, will he come or not to-morrow? need not be told here. To-morrow came, and, as sure as fate, Vír. Joseph Sedley made his appearance before luncheon. He had never been known to confer such an honour on Russell Square. George Osborne was somehow there already (sadly "putting out” Amelia, who was writing to her twelve dearest friends at Chiswick Mall), and Rebecca was employed upon her yesterday's work. As Joe's buggy drove up, and while, after his usual thundering knock and pompous bustle at the door, the ex-Collector of Boggley Wollah laboured upstairs to the drawing-room, knowing glances were telegraphed between Osborne and Miss Sedley, and the pair, smiling archly, looked at Rebecca, who actually blushed as she bent her fair ringlets over her knitting How her heart beat as Joseph appeared, -Joseph, puffing from the staircase in shining creaking boots,-Joseph, in a new waistcoat. red with heat and nervousness, and blushing behind his wadded neck-cloth. It was a nervous moment for all; and as for Amelia, I think she was more frightened than even the people most concerned.
Sambo, who flung open the door and announced Mr. Joseph, followed grinning, in the Collector's rear, and bearing two handsome nosegays of flowers, which the monster had actually had the gallantry to purchase in Covent Garden Market that morning--they were not as big as the haystacks which ladies carry about with them now-a-days, in cones of filigree paper ; but the young women were delighted with the gift, as Joseph presented one to each, with an exceedingly solem bow.
"Bravo, Jos !" cried Osborne.
"Thank you, dear Joseph," said Amelia, quite ready to kiss her brother, if he were so riindcd. (And I think for a kiss from such a dea: creature as Anielia, I would purchase all Mr. Lee's conservatories out of hand.)
"O heavenly, heavenly flowers!" exclaimed Miss Sharp. and smelt them delicately, and held them to her boson, and cast up her eyes to the ceiling, in an ecstasy of admiration. Perhaps she just looked first into the bouquet, to see whether there was a billet-dour hidden among the flowers; but there was no letter.
“Do they talk the language of flowers at Boggley Wollah, Sedley?" asked Osborne, laughing.
"Pooh, nonsense !" replied the sentimental youth. "Bought 'em at Nathan's; very glad you like 'em; and eh, Imelia, my dear, I bought a pine-apple at the same time, which I gave to Sambo. Let's have it for tiffin; very cool and nice this liot weather.” Rebecca said she had never tasted a pine, and longed beyond everything to taste one.
So the conversation went on. I don't know on what pretext Osborne left the room, or why, presently, Amelia went away, perhaps to superintend the slicing of the pire-apple; but Jos was left alone with Rebecca, who had res:imed her work, and the green silk and the shining nedles were quivering rapidly under her white slender fingers.
"What a beautiful, byoo-ootiful song that was you sang last night, dear Miss Sharp," said the Collector. "It iade me cry almost; 'pon my honour it did."
"Because you have a kind heart, Ar. Joseph; all the Sedleys have, I think."
"It kept me awake last night, and I was trying to huin it this morning, in bed; I was, upon my honour. Gollop, my doctor, caine in at eleven (for I'm a sad invalid, you know, and see Gollop every day), and, 'gad! there I was. singing away like-a :obbin."
"O you droll creature! Do let me hear you sing it."
“Me? No, you, Miss Sharp; my dear Miss Sharp, do sing it."
“Not now, Mr. Sedley," said Rebecca, with a sigh. “My spirits are not equal to it; besides, I must finish the purse. Will you help me, Mr. Sedley?” And before he had time to ask how, Mr. Joseph Sedley, of the East India Company's service, was actually seated tête-à-tête with a young lady, looking at her with a most killing expression; his arms stretched out before her in an imploring attitude, and his hands bound in a web of green silk, which she was unwinding.
In this romantic position Osborne and Amelia found the interesting pair, when they entered to announce that tiffin was ready. The skein of silk was just wound round the card; but Mr. Jos had never spoken.
"I am sure he will to-night, dear," Amelia said, as she pressed Rebecca's hand; and Sedley, too, had communed with his soul, and said to himself, " 'Gad, I'll pop the question at Vauxhall."
DOBBIN OF OURS
UFF'S fight with Dobbin, and the unexpected issue of that contest, will long be remembered by every man
who was educated at Dr. Swishtail's famous school. The latter youth (who used to be called Heigh-ho Dobbin, Gee-ho Dobbin, and by many other names indicative of puerilc contempt) was the quietest, the clumsiest, and, as it seemed, the dullest of all Dr. Swishtail's young gentlemen. His parent was a grocer in the city: and it was bruited abroad that he was admitted into Dr. Swishtail's academy upon what are called 'mutual principles”—that is to say, the expenses of his board and schooling were defrayed by his father in goods, not money; and he stood there-almost at the bottom of the school-in his scraggy corduroys and jacket, through the seams of which his great big bones were bursting—as the representative of so many pounds of tea, candles, sugar, mottled-soap, plums (of which a very mild proportion was supplied for the puddings of the establishment), and other commodities. A dreadful day it was for young Dobbin when one of the youngsters of the school, having run into the town upon a poaching excursion for hardbake and polonies, espied the cart of Dobbin & Rudge, Grocers and Oilmen, Thames Street, London, at the Doctor's door, discharging a cargo of the wares in which the firm dealt.
Young Dobbin had no peace after that. The jokes were frightful, and merciless against him. “Hullo, Dobbin," one wag would say, "here's good news in the paper. Sugars is ris', my boy.” Another would set a sum—"If a pound of mutton-candles cost sevenpence-halfpenny, how much must Dobbin cost ?” and a roar would follow from all the circle of young knaves, usher and all, who rightly considered that the selling of goods by retail is a shameful and infamous practice, meriting the contempt and scorn of all real gentlemen.
"Your father's only a merchant, Osborne," Dobbin said in private to the little boy who had brought down the storm upon him. At which the latter replied haughtily, "My father's a gentleman, and keeps his carriage;" and Mr. William Dobbin retreated to a remote outhouse in the playground, where he passed a half-holiday in the bitterest sadpess and woe. Who amongst us is there that does not recollect similar hours of bitter, bitter childish grief? Who feels injustice; who shrinks before a slight; who has a sense of wrong so acute, and so glowing a gratitude for kindness, as a generous boy? and how many of those gentle souls do you degrade, estrange, torture, for the sake of a little loose arithmetic, and miserable dog-latin?
Now, William Dobbin, from an incapacity to acquire the rudiments of the above language, as they are propounded in that wonderful book the Eton Latin Grammar, was compelled to remain among the very last of Doctor Swishtail's scholars, and was "taken down” continually by little fellows with pink faces and pinafores when he marched up with the lower form, a giant amongst them, with his downcast, stupefied look, his dog's-eared primer, and his tight corduroys. High and low, all made fun of him. They sewed up those corduroys, tight as they were. They cut his bed-strings. They upset buckets and benches, so that he might break his shins over them, which he never failed to do. They sent him parcels, which, when opened, were found to contain the paternal soap and candles. There was no little fellow but had his jeer and joke at Dobbin; and he bore everything quite patiently, and was entirely dumb and miserable.
Cuff, on the contrary, was the great chief and dandy of the Swishtail Seminary. He smuggled wine in. He fought the town-boys. Ponies used to come for him to ride home on Saturdays. He had his top-boots in his room, in which he used to hunt in the holidays. He had a gold repeater: and took snuff like the doctor. He had been to the Opera, and knew the merits of the principal actors, preferring Mr. Kean to Mr. Kemble. He could knock you off forty Latin