Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Excuse me, sir.'

"I will not excuse you, sir.'

"I have done.'

"You have not done, sir; you shall not have done; I will not have my authority disputed in my own house; your mother, there, never disputes.'

"Never, my dear.'

"I'm sure, sir,' said Percy, I never did.'

"Because I couldn't suffer it, by Jove! nor will I suffer it now. Why don't you answer? are you dumb, or sulky, or —— ? Now, I dare swear, in your heart you are setting up your father as an oppressive, tyrannical, old

"Who, I, sir?'

"Yes, you, sir! deny it if you can ?' Percy has a conscience, and is silent.

"Deny it, deny it, sir, in so many words, if you can; I insist

[ocr errors]

Why, sir, indeed, I am sorry.' "No doubt, no doubt; for having such a cruel, overbearing, hard-hearted father; but, by Jove

"No, sir; but I cannot help thinking it hard that I should incur your anger for nothing but

"For nothing; and so, sir, to disobey your father's solemn injunctions, to leave the house merely because he enjoined you to stay in it; to exasperate a man, and that man your tender parent, whose life you know hangs by a thread, by a hair; with the gout flying about him and only waiting an opportunity to fix on some vital part, with lungs like a honeycomb ! By Jove, sir

"Indeed, sir, I knew no such thing.' "You did'nt; you haven't heard me declare it over and over again-the arthritica vaga-the

"Yes, sir, but I remember your saying so from my cradle.'

"Oh! is it so, Mr Wise Acre ?— You don't credit it ?-Your father's an old fool-a hypochondriac, as that blockhead Drizzlethwaite had the effrontery-and he alone to call me-a-.'

Percy ventures something about "nervous apprehensions."

"Nerves!nerves!-out of my sight!

By Jove!-to be told by my own childmy own lawfully begotten son-that all my deadly symptoms are mere nervous affections!""""

Percy would fain be heard out.

"Hear you out!-what need of it? Have I not heard enough?-to be told by a boy-an imp-a suckling-a babeZounds! there's my fatal vertigo-ring, ring for Schwartz.'

[Schwartz is a German quack, retain ed in the house; he does not come at the first ring.]

"Ring-ring again; do you wish me to go off in an apoplexy before your eyes— without aid-without- Ring-twicetwice.' He was obeyed, and a stranger perhaps would have been surprised at seeing Mrs Rycott quietly resume her place, and her knotting-needle, as if nothing had occurred. But she was used to this sort of scene, and knew that the best remedy was near at hand!



"The devil's in you all, I believe,' exclaimed her husband, as he held both his hands to his head, in seeming apprehension of its bursting asunder. Why don't you run, sirrah, and bring the fellow here neck and crop? By Jove, you are all in a conspiracy against me.' ran Percy, happy in the opportunity of escaping. Will the scoundrel never come? Ring again, woman; ring till the spring break-I'll trounce the negligent puppy.Ay, ay, its all over-I feel the effect of the bursting of that vessel.'

"It was snuff, I assure you, Mr Rycott."

At last Schwartz comes; and his German English is very happy. The dialogue of the French Governess (in several conversations) is equally so.

"Oh! Schwartz, my faithful fellow, I verily believe I am going off in earnest



"It's no bah, Schwartz, I feel it here.'

"You feeln it everywhere-vat the deivel ish the fagary you get the Kimmer meid com to me, and say her mashter ish ringing for life or de dead, and here you look plomp and fraish like your, own Anglish rindfleish.'

"Plethora, Plethora, be assured my good Schwartz.'

"I'll no be assured of no soch dingyour polse beat von, two, dree, like de clock; and tish nodding bot von great pas


My head throbs, Schwartz, and there's no pulsation at the heart.' "Vat den, as the heart got into de head ?'

"I must lose blood.'

"Lose the deivel. Doctor Dweezempate, swear you bleed yourself into wasser ➡dat is drobzey.'

"What am I to do, Schwartz ?'
"Noding ad all.'
"With this pulse?'
Tish no polse.'

"No pulse! then its all over with me, indeed.'

Tish no ower wid you, bein quiet,

and no scolden de weif and child.'
"I have no patience with them.'
"I zee-I know dat quite a well

"They think nothing's the matter

with me.'


"Dere is noding de matter wid you, say, and dats true.'

"Ay, Schwartz, but you are tender of me, and know my constitution.'

666 Well, den, cannot you be zatisfied ?' "I must be.'

with her aunt, and shakes a methodist parson. He finds an ally in the French lady, whom he had frightened into fits; and departs, in ill spirits, for the domicile of the De Lacy's.

branch of the "Grandison" family.Sir Hugh de Lacy claims to be a A descendant from the same stock with Richardson's "Sir Charles," and an inheritor of that gentleman's style, opinions, and deportment; of course his house, his lady, all his personal arrangements, are in the ultra manner of the veille cour. He is a little bit of a coxcomb-quite without being aware of it; but full of high sentiment and chivalrous feeling.

The dinner scene at Lacy Royal is

"Eef you pot yourzelf in soch grand the very best bit in these three vopassion just for noding at all.'

"For nothing at all?'


Our hero, Sir Hugh, Lady

"I say, joost for noding at all-you Rodolpha, and Miss Gertrude de Lavil borzt some blode vein.'


My God!'

"I'd ish true, pon mein zole.' "I wont, I wont utter a word.' "Nonseince-you speak wer well; but no speak in von passion.' "I'll try.'

"Mein Gode! you most do eet, or you shall die.'


"Like ein dog.'

"You may go, Schwartz.'

"I need note to have com, dat I zee.' "And away stalked Mynheer Schwartz." There is a scene after dinner, in which Mr Rycott determines not to be in a passion, quite as good, or better than the above.

Our friend Percy is forbidden ever to think of Miss Bellenden, to whose birth, as well as fortune, his father has some objection, and is commanded to march, without a moment's loss of time, on a visit to the mansion of "Sir Hugh Ferebee de Lacy."

The tenth and eleventh chapters lie at "Lacy Royal," and are incomparably the most characteristic in the book; but we do not yet arrive at them.

Being ordered to go straight to Lacy Royal, Percy can do no less than go straight to Glendara.

On his way, he meets a gipsy-the "Mrs Halpin," who purloined him in his infancy-who warns him from his morning call, and from Miss Bellenden altogether. He goes, however, to Glendara, (where there is a brouillerie, that we have not room to extract)-discovers Miss Bellenden in a strange kind of durance-quarrels

cy, are present. The chaplain is away upon business, and "Grandison de Lacy," the eldest son, is absent, making the tour of Europe.

Mr Percy, being a lover, is necessarily too late for dinner.

[ocr errors]

"I beg ten thousand pardons, Sir Hugh-Lady Rodolpha-but

666 Lady Rodolpha's hand awaits you, Mr Percy Rycott; we will discuss your apologies at a more convenient moment. Dinner has waited near seven minutes.'

Oh this politeness! and the cursed stop-watch calculation too!

"Percy led forward the hostess in all the pomp of Mecklin lappets, point ruffles, and damask drapery, that moved without the rumple of a fold, like a Dutch toy on He would have made his peace wheels. during the journey across a hall that traversed the whole depth of the mansion, and through a suite of papered and bagged apartments, which led to the salon à diner, but a very short observation of her lady


checked his first attempt.

There were few points,' she remarked, in which good Sir Hugh was so particular as punctuality in all engagements.' "Percy said no more. Her ladyship, on their arrival, took her seat at the head of the table; Sir Hugh seated himself at the bottom; Miss Gertrude, and Percy, vis-a-vis, made up the partie carrée.”

It is in this partie carrée chit-chat, that our author always excels.

"Good Dr Paterson is obliged to absent himself, on account of some urgent pha, as a sort of implied apology to Percy, business at Kendal,' observed Lady Rodolfor Sir Hugh taking upon himself the duty of saying grace.

"Indeed!' sighed Percy, viewing the formidable array of domestics planted round

[blocks in formation]

"Certainly, Sir Hugh; but I had informed Mrs Knowles, Sir Hugh, that her ladyship, on Tuesday last, thought the vermicelli rather insipid.'

[ocr errors]

"Excellent Roland,' interrupted her ladyship, you recollect my most trifling wishes.'

666 They are our law, my lady;' and, at the signal, all the grey-headed liverymen bowed in token of their sympathy.

"Extremes,' observed Sir Hugh, with a smile, are generally pernicious. And so, my good Lady Rodolpha, I have been a martyr in your cause; your ladyship cannot do less than assuage my torments by a glass of Madeira.'

"God forbid,' returned the gracious lady, that I should ever be the occasion of torment to my ever-indulgent Sir Hugh. But I flatter myself, if your present sufferings can be so easily relieved, they have not been very excruciating. Am I not a saucy creature, Sir Hugh ?'"

This speaking in parables is really beautiful!

"You are all excellence, and are never more endeared to me than when your ladyship suffers your little playfulness of fancy to animate our happy domestic circle.Good Roland, a glass of old Madeira to your excellent lady.'

There's no resisting this-we must positively try the style ourselves. "Excellent What's-your-name, a small glass of warm brandy and water-(we drink)—Why, you first-born of `Satan! did we bid you bring it us boiling hot?"-But, to continue,

"You have forgiven good Mrs Knowles, my best of friends,' said Lady Rodolpha, with one of her most winning smiles, for her bountiful extreme.'

"Sweetly engaging Lady Rodolpha ! had I really cause of offence, your ladyship's happy mode of intercession would make me forget it, in the admiration of a talent so peculiarly your own."

“Kind Sir Hugh!—you will make me vain.'

"No one has more reason-no one is less likely to become so than Lady Rodolpha de Lacy.'

"I declare, Sir Hugh, you make me blush

"For a naughty world, excellent woman, but never for yourself. Worthy Roland,' turning to the butler, tell Mrs

Knowles that her soup is like all she does -she is indeed a most excellent person.'

"You are the most charitable-Sir Hugh,' said her ladyship, in a subdued tone of voice.

"It is my humble effort to be so-it is the duty of us all to be so. Tell her, good Roland, that her soup is admirable; but add, as from yourself, that perhaps it would suit the taste of Lady Rodolpha and myself better, were it, in future, less highly seasoned.'

"I shall, Sir Hugh-What a master!' was added, in a half whisper to Mrs Polson, who stood retired-and was seconded by a bend, as before, from every one of the grey-headed circle in worsted lace."

Sir Hugh continues to be tedious, and makes an observation touching "the moral virtues.' Percy, at the same moment, asks Lady Rodolpha for "" some trout-before it is cold." Miss Gertrude smiles, and Lady Rodolpha requests the cause.

"Why, dear mamma-I really am ashamed of myself I was only thinking of Percy's interruption.'

"Mister Percy, now, if you please, my excellent Gertrude.

"The girl blushed again!

66 6

Say on, sweet innocence,' said Sir Hugh, in an encouraging tone-for a subject once introduced was never suffered to die a natural death.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

vious desire to avoid any farther explana tion.

"I should rather have said artificial, my good Mr Percy, as it is habit only which

"Habit is second nature you know, Sir Hugh; and therefore



[ocr errors]

"I must not be interrupted, Mr Per


And the bare thought of such a heresy so startles the servant who is changing Sir Hugh's plate, that he lets it fall, and disposes the contents over his master's laced waistcoat.

"The poor man apologized and trembled. Mr Butler pushed the man with some rudeness from the post of honour, and frowned on him whilst he applied his napkin to the part affected.

It's no matter,' observed Sir Hugh, collecting all his benevolence of manner (which appeared to be necessary on the occasion); Good Richard did not intend it.'

[blocks in formation]

"God bless him!' whispered the liveried semi-chorus.

"The Dresden set, too!' exclaimed Mr Polson, the steward, in a louder and more emphatic tone of voice."

This last fact almost ruffles the pile of her ladyship's velvet; but she observes that

"Good Richard must not have his mind disturbed by that reflection.'

"Heavenly, considerate being!' cried Sir Hugh, who stood in the act of being rubbed down, like one of his own longtailed coach horses, by his zealous grooms. 'Thou

"Mistress of thyself, though china fall!" "

This quotation is out of its place. Sir Hugh is perfectly serious in all his commendations of Lady Rodolpha, and would be shocked at the very idea of a joke upon such a subject. Even the spilling of the soup, however, cannot break the thread of the worthy baronet's reflections; and he is getting back to the analysis of " the moral virtues," when the sound of a carriage, under the windows, makes a diversion in Percy's favour. This is Grandison de Lacy-returned from his travels. The servants are drawn up, in form, in the avenue; and the dinner party adjourns to receive him, at the entrance of the great hall.

There was ample time, as well as space, to afford the worthy host and hostess a full opportunity of making their observations upon the person and appearance of Mr Grandison de Lacy. The excellent youth still preserves

the dignified deportment of the family," observed the Baronet complacently to his lady.

"Ingenuous Grandison !-But what, my good Sir Hugh, has the beloved child of my heart tied round his neck?' "It's a Belcher,' interrupted Percy, thrusting his head forward. "Mr Percy Rycott!

customed to.


[ocr errors]

-we are not ac

• Good heavens!' exclaimed Lady Rodolpha, he walks lame-I trust no accident

"Harbour no fears, my too sensitive Lady Rodolpha,' said Sir Hugh, soothingly. His eyes seem affected, papa,' whispered Miss Gertrude. • Grandison never used a glass before he left England.'

"None of the Grandisons were nearsighted,' said her ladyship, who had also observed that he was eyeing everything and every person through his glass. But there was no more time for observation, the hero approached."

He appears, accompanied by a friend, and looking a good deal like a puppy.

"Towards the end of the line," (of ser vants) a cherry-cheeked dairy-maid attracted his eye, whom he patted under the chin; and, turning to his companion, ob served, 66 a fine Cumberland pippin, upon

my soul, Birty!'

"Sir Hugh and Lady Rodolpha absolutely started, in defiance of the habitual rigidity of their muscles; but they felt

that it was not intended for their ears; and suddenly regaining their self-possession, graciously advanced a few steps, hand in hand, towards their son.

"My beloved Grandison!' cried her

ladyship, with a tearful eye.

"Welcome, most excellent son, to the hall of thy fathers!' said Sir Hugh.

"Hah!' looking at them through his glass- My father, and my lady mother here too!' shaking both with a listless cordiality by the hands, which had been extended for him to kiss upon his bended knees! Delighted to see you-am upon my honour-not a day older-who should think of seeing you in the hall among this omnium gatherem-taken by surprise, pon my soul.


"Where should we be, Mr Grandison de Lacy, but in our proper station?' demanded Sir Hugh, with no slight accession to the austere formality of his manners. Beg pardon quite forgot-you

66 6

[blocks in formation]

"Come, my girl-give me a kiss-r

like old customs sometimes.'

"These are not the customs of Lacy Royal,' observed Sir Hugh, in a tone which proved that his equanimity was not quite proof against unexpected assaults; but,' recollecting himself, he added, ' we had better adjourn, with the permission of your best of mothers, to the Oak Parlour.' "

They do adjourn to " the Oak Parlour;" and there our author, to carry on his action, takes (right or wrong,) the first means that happen to present themselves. Grandison de Lacy-who is afterwards to "do amiable" in the book-outrages, without the slightest reason, the feelings of all his family; and insults his old play-mate Percy,who leaves the house upon the instant! The next chapter is full of (not very original) night adventure. Percy, halting at an inn half way between Lacy Royal and Wolston Worthy, wanders about in the dark, and falls into a house occupied by smugglers. He is wounded almost to the deathhears strange things from the gipsy, Alice Halpin-is saved by a " Ghost," who turns out to be his oldest acquaintance-and attains, grievously battered, into the fair hands of Miss Bellenden.

The second volume opens with a visit (again) from our friend Dr Drizzlethwaite. Before Mr Percy sent for him to Miss Bellenden-now, Miss Bellenden sends for him to Mr Percy. The Doctor arrives (it being very early in the morning) without having made his toilet; and he shaves himself at the sick man's bedside-using the French governess's flounced petti coat by way of dressing gown.-Medical men near town use Packwood's patent razor,-which enables them to shave on horseback, as they come along. The story then, for about two hundred pages, grows very intricate indeed. Mr Rycott, going to Miss Bellenden's to fetch his son home, VOL. XV

meets with a Mrs Wigram (the ci devant Judy Mallory, who was transported for filching our hero from his nursery;) and Mrs Mallory (as she had done at the Old Bailey) again claims Percy for her child. This strange issue is eventually tried at law, and Mrs Wigram is successful. Mr Rycott is broken-hearted, and would compromise; but Percy (now Mallory) becomes heroic. Miss Bellenden owns her passion for him; but he renounces both love and fortune; and starting for London, to enter himself for the Bar,-takes leave of his long supposed father.

The parting interview between Percy and Mr Rycott is a fair example of

our author's talents for serious writing; but it is long, and we must limit our extract from it almost to a single passage.

The question is as to our hero's marriage with Miss Bellenden. He alleges his poverty, and refuses to let Mr Rycott remove the obstacle. It is Mr Rycott here who replies

"By Jove! sir, I will be obeyed. Not now-not now-you have it all your own way, and I cannot, must not, deny that you are right; but my time may come, nay, shall come yes, sirrah, when these old bones are whitening in their gravewhen my caprices, and my whims, and my fancies, are consigned to the vault of all the Capulets.'

666 Heaven, in its mercy, long avert the day!'

• I will

"I believe you love me, Percy;'-and again the old man was softened. not press you; you have much to contend with. It is a heavy, cruel reverse, and you bear it better, far better, than your poor deserted father;' and he grasped the hands of Percy, whilst he attempted to raise his eyes to his face. I have run riot so long, Percy, and commanded others until I have no command over myself. Go, whilst I am able to part with you. You, Percy, my beloved boy,'-and he paused tremulously,

are no longer my son; but'-and he seemed at once animated by a new spirit equally remote from querulousness and impetuosity, as he solemnly rose from his chair, and pressed the youth in his arms, ject not what I have, or may have, in 'but you are my HEIR!-Speak not, obthis world, was destined to you from the hour I hoped-I thought-I possessed a son. Not an act, not a word, not a thought from your cradle to this hour, has cast a shade over your claims to my affection. Do not speak to me; I cannot bear it. On E

« PreviousContinue »