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and really knowing blackguardism of London, dines the first day with his attorney in Gray's Inn Lane. The dinner is decent-the wine tolerable-but what follows?
"The meal was speedily finished, and the dessert put down, and Arden, who, as the reader may imagine, was most anxious to hear tidings of his misguided nephew, commenced a series of enquiries upon the interesting subject, when Mrs Abberly interrupted the conversation by asking her husband 'just to ring the bell.'
"This request having been complied with, a servant appeared, to whom his mistress whispered, 'Tell Dawes to bring the children: the man disappeared, and the lady, turning to Louisa, with one of those sweet smiles which ladies about to praise themselves are in the habit of putting on, said, 'We are very old-fashioned folks, Miss Neville. Mr A. and myself make it a rule to have all the children round us every day after dinner-some people don't like it, but I hope and trust we shall never be so fashionable as that comes to.'
"Miss Neville was about to rejoin something very laudatory, touching infantine attraction and maternal affection, when a considerable uproar and squalling was heard in the hall, and the parlour door flying open, Dawes made her appearance, attended by seven fine healthy creatures, varying in their height from four feet two, to two feet four, and in their ages from ten to three years. Chairs were ranged round the table for the young fry, who were extremely orderly and wellbehaved for a short time, and in the first instance taken to the Colonel to be praised: the old gentleman, who was not particularly fond of nestlings at any time, but whose whole heart and soul were at the present moment occupied in the affairs of his prodigal nephew, kissed one and patted the other, and blessed the little heart' of this one, and 'pretty deared' that one, until the ceremony of inspection and approbation having been fully gone through, the whole party was turned over to Louisa, to undergo a second similar operation; after this, they were placed upon the chairs assigned to them, Dawes retired, and the conversation was resumed.
"And pray now,' said the Colonel, 'what is your real opinion, Mr Abberly, of the state of poor George's pecuniary affairs?'
"Sir,' said Abberly, 'I really think, if you wish me to speak candidly-Maria, my dear, look at Georgina,-she is spilling all the sugar over the table.'
"Georgina,' said Mrs Abberly, emphatically, 'keep still, child; Sophy, help your sister to some sugar.'
"I really believe,' continued Mr AbVOL. XVII.
berly, that Mr George Arden-Sophy, put down that knife-Maria, that child will cut her fingers off, how can you let her do so-I wonder at you-upon my word, Sophy, I am quite ashamed of you.' 'Sophy, you naughty girl,' cried her mamma, put down that knife, directly, or I'll send you up-stairs.'
"I was only cutting the cake, ma,' said Sophy.
"Don't do it again, then, and sit still,' exclaimed the mother; and turning to Louisa, added in an under-tone, Pretty dears, it is so difficult to keep them quiet at that age.'
"Well, sir,' again said the Colonel, but let me beg you to tell me seriously what you advise then to be done in the first instance.'
half aside, and warming a little with the events, 'I beg your pardon, what did you say you would advise, Mr Abberly?'
"Decidedly this,' said Abberly, 'I"My love,' interrupted Mrs Abberly once more, is that port or claret, near you? Dr Mango says Maria is to have half a glass of port wine every day after dinner, this hot weather,-half a glassthank you there-not more-that will do, dear;'-here Mr Abberly had concluded the operation of pouring out. Tom,' said mamma, 'go and fetch the wine for your sister, there's a dear love.' "Tom did as he was bid, tripped his toe over the corner of the rug in passing round the corner of the table, and deposited the major part of the port wine in the lap of Miss Louisa Neville, who was habited in an apple-green silk pelisse, (which she had not taken off since her arrival,) that was by no means improved in its appearance by the accidental reception of the contents of Miss Maria's glass.
"Good God! Tom,' exclaimed Mrs Abberly, what an awkward child you are!-Dear Miss Neville, what shall we do?-ring the bell, Sophy, send for Simmons, or send for Miss Neville's maidMiss Neville, pray take off your pelisse.'
"Oh, I assure you it is not of the slightest consequence,' said Louisa, with one of her sweetest smiles, at the same moment wishing Tom had been at the bottom of the Red Sea before he had given her the benefit of his gaucherie; a stain upon a silk dress being, as everybody knows, at all times and seasons a feminine aggravation of the first class.
"Tom, anticipating a beating from some quarter, but which, he did not stop to calculate, set up a most mellifluous howling; this awakened from its peaceful slumbers a fat poodle, who had been reposing after a hearty dinner beneath the table, and who forthwith commenced a most terrific barking.
"Be quiet, Tom,' said Mr Abberly, Maria, my angel, do keep the children still.'
"Ma,' exclaimed Maria junior, I'm not to lose my wine,-am I, pa ?'
"No, my love, to be sure,' said Abberly; Come here and fetch it yourself, my darling.'
She had better drink it there, Mr A.,' said the prudent mother.
"And accordingly, under the surveillance of his wife, who kept watching him as to the exact quantity, periodically cautioning him with-there, my lovethere, my dear-that will do-no more, my love, &c.-Mr A., as she Bloomsburily
called him, poured out another half-glass of port wine, as prescribed by Doctor Mango, for his daughter.
"Old Arden, whose patience was nearly exhausted, and who thought that Mrs Abberly was, like Lady Cork's chairs upon state occasions, screwed to her place, sought what he considered a favourable lull,' as the sailors call it, to endeavour to ascertain what Abberly's plan for the redemption of his nephew actually was, and had just wound himself into an interrogative shape, when Mrs Abberly called his attention by observing, that a certain little lady,' looking very archly at Miss Maria, wanted very much to let him hear how well she could repeat a little poem without book.*
"Mrs Abberly had prepared Louisa for this, by whispering to her, that such exhibitions created emulation in the nursery, and that Dawes was a very superior person, and with Miss Gubbins, (who was quite invaluable,) brought them on delightfully.
"I shall be charmed, ma'am,' said the Colonel, heaving a sigh. And accordingly the child stood up at his side, and began that beautiful bit of Barbauldism so extremely popular in the lower forms of preparatory schools, called 'The Beggar's Petition.' Arden could not, however, suppress a significant ejaculation, quite intelligible to his niece, when the dear little Maria, smelling of soap and bread and butter, with her shoulders pushed back, her head stuck up, and her claviculæ developed like drum-sticks, squeaked out the opening line
"That you can't,' said Tom; 'I can say 'em better than you; besides, I can say all about The Black-beetle's Ball,' and The Bull and the Watering-pot.'
"The various fidgettings and twistings of the old Arden, whose age and disposition militated considerably against anything like a restraint upon his feelings,
“Oh, you story-teller, Tom!'
"I can,' said Tom; 'you may go and and whose manner generally indicated ask Miss Gubbins if I can't.'
the workings of his mind, had not escaped the observation of Mrs Abberly, who saw with a mother's eye that the Colonel was not fond of children.' It was highly complimentary to her perception upon this point, that the old gentleman whispered in a sort of mingled agony and triumph to Louisa as she passed him, in leaving the dinner-parlour with all the young fry, Oh, for the days of good King Herod.' This fatal speech was overheard by Mrs Abberly, and when the exemplary parent was confiding to the trusty Dawes the little community, whose appetites for supper had been sharpened by the fruits, sugars, wines, creams, and sweetcakes, with which they had been crammed after dinner, she observed to that trusty servant, that Colonel Arden was next door to a brute.'
"I know you can't, Tom, and Miss Gubbins said so only yesterday,' replied Sophy.
“Hush, hush, my dears!' said the master of the house; never mind who says that; you know you are older than Tom, my love. Pray, Colonel,' said the fond father, turning to the agitated old man, do you think Sophy grows like her mother?'
"Very like indeed,' said the Colonel; at the same moment, patting Master Robert on the head, who happened to be standing by him, playing with his watchchain and seals;-the merry-andrew dresses of the younger branches of the family not very distinctly marking the difference in their sexes.
that he thought Louisa had better go and change her dress, hoping that a move on her part would induce the mistress of the house to carry off her troop of chickens. Nor was he wrong in his expectations, although the operation was not so speedily effected as he imagined. The ceremonies of re-ringing the bell, re-summoning the servant, re-ordering Dawes, were all to be performed in detail, and were accordingly gone through, with that sort of mechanical precision, which proved beyond a doubt, that it was, as Mrs Abberly had said, 'their constant custom in the afternoon' to parade their promising progeny after dinner.
"About this period the Colonel, who was on the point of despair, observed,
The brute, however, must needs, after having his other bottle, adjourn to the drawing-room. Mark the sequel. Mrs Abberly having overheard the colonel's concluding speech in the drawing-room, was ordering the children out of the drawing-room the moment she saw the old sinner enter it; but the colonel makes a very handsome apology-indeed, everything is smoothed over, and the coffee cups are filled. Mrs Abberly, in fact, (let us take the novelist's own words wherever we can,) "felt almost pleased with the Colonel, when he called her favourite Tom, (without exception the rudest and stupidest boy in Christendom,) and, placing him paternally at his side, began to question him on sundry topics usually resorted to upon similar occasions. From this promising lad the old gentleman learned that four and four make nine, that William the Conqueror was the last of the Roman Emperors, that gunpowder was invented by Guy Fawkes, and that the first man who went up in an air-balloon was Christopher Columbus. In the extreme accuracy of these answers, he received a satisfactory corroboration of his
constant remark upon the education of boys at home, under the superintendance of mammas and governesses, and had dismissed his young friend with an approving compliment, when the boy, wishing to shew that he knew more than the old man thought. for, looked him in the face, and asked him, who lived next door to him?
"Next door to me, my fine fellow,' said the Colonel, why, nobody; that is to say, I live in the country far from any other house-my next neighbour is Lord Malephant.'
“Ah!' said Tom, and is he a brute,
nel, whose curiosity was whetted by the oddity of the questions.
Why,' replied Tom, because when mamma was talking to Dawes just now, about you, she said you was next door to a brute, and so I wanted to know who he was.'
"Before nine months had elapsed, he had fought three duels, been once tried by a court-martial, and sent to Coventry by the regiment half a dozen times for churlish conduct; tired therefore of the round of tiffing, dining, and supping, with a set of men by whom he clearly saw he was hated, and for whom he entertained the most sovereign contempt, he availed himself of the removal of the regiment to the city of palaces, (as Calcutta is called in India,) to unite himself to one of those young ladies who are annually sent out to the white flesh market of the East, like unstamped cards, which are made for exportation, the return of which, to England to be played with, incurs a heavy penalty. Of the lady's family, friends, connexions, or circumstances, he of course knew as little as she knew of his; but, nevertheless, she accepted his offer immediately upon its being made, in obedience to the directions of her female friend and consignée, who gave her to understand that it was a rule in the carnal bazar of Bengal, for Venture- Misses to take the first man who proposed; and accordingly Miss Amelia Fossdyke became Mrs Brashleigh in about three
"This was the signal for general consternation; Miss Gubbins hemmed loud, and tumbled over the music, which lay on the piano-the eldest girl laughed outrightMr Abberly threatened to whip his son and heir Mrs Abberly turned as red as scarlet, and endeavoured to convince Miss Neville of the utter groundlessness of the charge against her, and proclaimed the whole affair to be a new instance of Tom's precocious archness, and a mere application of his own, at the moment, of some story which he had heard some other person tell.
"The Colonel, however, joined so goodhumouredly in a laugh with his niece, at the naïveté of the boy, and bore the attack with so much kindness, that Mrs Abberly, whatever she might have previously thought or said upon the subject, set the old gentle. man down as a dear kind creature,' and continued praising him periodically through the evening."
SPECIMEN THE SECOND
Shall be taken from another story-that ycleped "Passion and Principle." What we quote is a mere episode a sketch, in fact, of some part of the life of Major General Sir Frederick Brashleigh, K.C.B. late Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty's forces in Bombay. Suppose the General as yet only a subaltern, and newly landed in India, and then hear how Theodore reports his progress.
weeks after her first interview with her future husband.
"As I was at no period of their residence there, either in their Bungalow, or indeed, in India itself, it is impossible for me to say how they passed their time. I have heard that he was chiefly addicted to cock-fighting, in which humane diversion, and all its concomitant pleasures of training, feeding, matching, weighing, and heeling, he took great delight, and consumed much of his time; she was amiable, placid, and contented, and became a mother during the first year of her marriage, and, occupied with her Ayah and baby, went on pretty well, until, as the novelty of matrimony wore off, and her laudable determination to be pleased with India and her husband a little abated, she began to discover, as all his acquaintanees had discovered long before, that there never existed upon earth a more uncivilized disagreeable animal in human shape than her dear Frederick Brashleigh.'
"It so happened, and such things will happen, that Mrs Brashleigh, who was extremely pretty, and graceful beyond the general average of exportation girls, was at a public entertainment at Calcutta,
and most particularly attracted the notice of his Excellency the then Commander of the forces:who his Excellency was, I shall keep religiously secret, for more reasons than one: no matter, he saw, and admired her, discovered her name, inquired of his aid-de-camp the regiment, and rank of her husband,-whether a King's officer? or Company's? to all of which, he received (as generals do, when they ask such questions of their staff) answers clear and succinct, which appeared extremely satisfactory; the character of the lieutenant was sketchily given, and upon reference to a gay lady of a certain time of life, high in favour at the Presidency, his Excellency was satisfied that the plaintive expression which Mrs Brashleigh's features occasionally wore during the evening, resulted from some secret sorrow, some silent grief connected with domestic events, and, in short, that she was what is colloquially called not happy with her husband.'
"His Excellency the commander of the forces caused himself forthwith to be introduced to the fair mourner; and although no places in the world are so ridiculously ceremonious as our oriental settlements of tea-dealers and cottonpickers, his Excellency waved all the usual forms which are so jealously adhered to, in order to give the money-making exiles who reside there something like importance in their banishment, and made the amiable during the evening most charmingly and successfully.
"Poor Mrs Brashleigh, who had been long enough married to value her charms and attractions by the way in which her husband seemed to appreciate them, held them in no great estimation, and never dreamt that she had that evening captivated the gay and gallant general who ruled and reigned over his Majesty's forces and those of John Company with undivided power and control.
"Poor unsuspecting thing! she was doomed very soon to be undeceived upon this important point. Early the next day, she and her loving spouse, who had just returned from cock-feeding, were seated at tiffin in their Bungalow, (some fish and rice, a tureen of Mulicatauny, and a bottle of Hodson's pale ale, on the clothless table,) when to their surprise and amazement one of the aidsdu-camp of his Excellency the commander-in-chief made his unexpected appearance. The glittering visitor was received by the lady with her usual goodnature and kindness, and by her husband with a sort of sullen impatience not unmingled with mortification, that one of his Excel
lency's staff should have detected the irregularity with which the repast had been put down.
"I hope,' said the aid-du-camp, 'you caught no cold last night, Mrs Brashleigh ?'
"I don't think I have,' said Mrs Brashleigh; for she was afraid to state distinctly whether she had or had not, until her husband had signified his will and pleasure whether she should disclaim or admit the apprehended indisposition.
"Not she,' said Brashleigh; she is as hard as iron, Walford, and takes more killing than a badger. I'm afraid you won't like our tiffin, Walford, coming from head-quarters; but I can't help it. I have no regular cook, and as for Amelia, she can't manage anything in our way.'
"I have tiffed,' said Walford, 'and have not a moment to spare-I have called on business.'
Oh,' said Brashleigh, 'about that infernal fellow, Magann, I suppose-another court of inquiry?'
"No,' said the aid-du-camp, 'I really don't know exactly what the business is; but I am directed by his Excellency to beg you will call on his military secretary to-morrow as early as you conveniently can, after morning parade.'
"Not regimental business then?' said Brashleigh, who had just involved himself in a serious quarrel with a brotherofficer, who happened unfortunately to be decidedly in the right.
"I fancy not,' said Walford, who appeared during the conversation to treat Mrs Brashleigh with the most marked deference and respect, but I know nothing more than I am bid to know.'
"That's the case with you grandees,' said Brashleigh: thank God I'm independent of everybody. I do my duty, and don't care three cowries either for the general or my own commanding officer; and how you can live the life of an aiddu-camp, always bowing and cringing, and smirking and smiling, and carrying hats and messages, and carving at dinner, and playing at cards, and trying horses, and riding backwards in coaches, I don't in the least comprehend: for my part I'd starve first.'
"Your satire upon dependants falls harmless to-day, Brashleigh, as far as I am concerned,' said Walford; for I join my regiment, which is ordered on service, and quit his Excellency's staff to-morrow.'
"You are right, Walford, you are right,' said the animated subaltern; 'free and easy, bread and cheese and liberty, is