« 上一頁繼續 »
science; and, as they were remarkably engaged in the perusal of some formidsimilar to those promulgated by my able treatise on education. Of course, college text-books, I fully and heartily I never disturbed her. There would coincided with her. But she was es- be Mrs. Busse, reading some fearful pecially strong on astronomy.
astronomy. On the religious work, by whose means she starlight nights, she used to mingle coulu sutisfactorily damn all her friends quotations from the poets, and deduc. and relatives. I never tried to distions from the mathematicians, in a tract her mind from so agreeable an ocway that would have bewildered the cupation. But there would be Cilly, spirits of the Pleiades themselves. Af- sitting in a deep window-seat that ter Shakespeare's, “Look, Jessica, would just hold two, and looking mark how the floors of heaven," etc., sweetly with her little feet tucked unshe would at once startle mo by some der ber, and her soft little hands encomplicated proposition, with regard gaged in some inscrutable piece of to a Lyræ, or 8 Canis, and would bid feminine, employment. It was but me farewell with some astounding fact, natural that I should take the other which left my brain divided between half of the window, and that, so cut off admiration at ber knowledge and stu- from everybody else, we should grow pefaction from the imparting of it. I extremely confidential. We used to have since had reason to believe that talk about everything_about poetry, she bestowed on me a réchauffée of the about our neighbors, about the flowers, studies of her class, but at the time I and the last piece of scandal; about the would have scouted the idea with in- stars, and about ourselves. I enjoyed dignation.
the conversations extremely. SomeYoung men are generally, I believe, times we were left alone in the room, before they become hardened to it, op. but that used to make no differencepressed with a nervous sensation in at least, it didn't make
difference female society. Terrible possibilities, until one evening, when the colloquy in the way of irregular cravat-ties, or took a turn which startled, dismayed, exceptionable coats, or baggy panta- and confounded me. I believe we were loods, send thrills of borror through the talking about the stars ; Miss Cilly was system. A constant tendency in their speaking as she generally did. She hands to rearrange their dress, wander pointed out to my admiring gaze, the into awkward positions, or, horror of evening star—the star of love. From horrors, to get into their pockets, thence, we digressed to the affections. renders incessant circumspection re- Miss Cilly's ideas of love were of the quisite. A doubt, as to whether they loftiest character. She could surrenare saying or doing the correct thing, der all, endure all, accomplish all gives a gloomy cast to their thoughts things, for the object of her love. If and reacts upon their conversation. loved, sbe desired no other bliss, if Whether this feeling is universal I do scorned, she sigbed out that she would not know; but I must confess to having carry her love into the grave. She endured my full share of it. The knew that she never could love more pleasure, therefore, of having a fam- than one-her first love would be her ily within reach, where I soon be
last. She could not believe in the poscame perfectly at my case, where I sibility of any marriage other than one never thought about my clothes, where of affection-money, poor dross, what conversation was always ready, made. was it, that it should take the place of me a constant visitor at the Busses'. the only thing which could render exBy degrees, I began to regard the istence happy? These ideas were not grim-looking house in which the Busses precisely original, but, being very earnlived, with very friendly feelings. estly and tenderly expressed, they
To those who approached it in the touched me extremely. Then, Miss morning with books in hand, and a Cilly began to be inquisitive as to my fearful weight of unlearned lessons on experience in the teoder passion. She their minds, it seemed to cause a chill, insisted that I had been in love, and like the first aspect of a dungeon ; but was determined to know the object of to me its dull brick walls appeared to my affections. Being a nervous and incloso a garden of Academus. No bashful man, the state to which a quarwonder that I went there often. There ter of an hour's cross-examination ro I would find Miss Harmonia Busse duced me, can, perhaps, be imagined :
I know of no writer who could cepict except enjoying myself and bow dread
After having obtained thorough ful were the consequences to be. I and complete information, as to the began to think of Miss Cilly Busse's substance of every conversation I had personal appearance. I doubted as to held with any young woman in town, the tinge of her hair ; my mind misgave during the last month, Miss Cilly pro- me that her nose turned up; I had a ceeded to draw deductions.
This was decided objection to her style of chin. the climax to my agony, and I burst Then I sbrank with horror from the forth in self-vindication. I aseured thought of listening for life to Cilly Miss Cilly that I had been no where drawing moral maxims from every a tithe of the times that I had been to object of nature and art, and letting see her; that I liked nobody else as well loose upon mo at unexpected moments as I liked her; and that if she was deter- small snappish pieces of information mined to declare me in love with some- and instruction. In short, here was I body, it must be with herself. I can hopelessly and involuntarily botrothed not be certain that these were the words to a girl, whom I was rapidly convino of my speech, but they were certainly ing myself that I detested. the intention. Judge, then, of my hor- I walked gloomily home with my hat ror and confusion, when I beheld Miss very far down upon my ears, and my Cilly first blush, then draw forth her despair evinced by the depth to which pocket-handkerchief, and then, in a I buried my hands in my pantaloons' voice broken with emotion, reply: pockets. I went to my room-my feel “That she had long thought that I ings were too highly strung to bear the cared for her a little, but that the shock light of a candle ; consequently, during of so full an announcement of my feel the process of retiring for the night, the ing was very trying, that she recipro- constant and unexpected collision of oated my affection, and was ready to various portions of my frame with every do for me all that she had stated be- article of furniture which had a sharp fore," of which she now gave an en.
edge, rather added to my sufferings. larged and improved edition. " That I went to bed, and dreamed that I had my own heart must tell me what hers successfully emigrated to the Sandwich felt at that moment, and must pardon islands. There I had just wooed and any inaccuracies in expression;" where- won a dusky bride, when her features upon sbe subsided into ber pocket- changed into Miss Cilly Busse, who, handkerchief.
grasping me by the hair, and brandisbI believe I did the correct thing I ing a parchment, inscribed "breach of believe I kissed her hand—I have heard promise,” hurried me again into wakoher say that I appeared enraptured. It fulness and misery. I dreamed that I may be, I cannot tell anything about it. attempted suicide ; but the rope changed I remember nothing between the con
into Miss Cilly's arms, giving me all clusion of her speech and my finding the agonies of suffocation without the myself leaning exhausted against a
pleasure of releasing me from her power ; fence a quarter of a mile off. Then wbile a razor, endued with preternatural the whole borrid truth burst upon me.
life and motion, without losing any of With no intention of doing, so with no its sharpness, cut and cruelly mangled idea of changing my bappy state of me in the form of Miss Cilly's tongue. single blessedness and peace, I had Nature at length came to my reliefbecome an engaged man-another per- plunged into profound slumber I dreamson's property-and that other person
ed no more. a young woman. I sat down quietly
When one has been particularly on the grass and reflected. I did not happy the night before, the probability care that the dew had fallen—it made is, that the next morning will bring no difference that the night was damp, with it a vague sense of misery ; but and the locality swampy; I felt that i there is this consolation, that if you go couldn't die--that a fato was upon mo to bed particularly wretched, you are -that, till that fate was fulfilled, I could pretty certain to wake in tolerably good not commit suicide, catch fever and spirits the morning after. When I ague, or anything of the kind ; that that opened my eyes, and looked my borrows fato was, to marry Cilly Busse. I had fall in the face, I did not feel 80 never looked at her with a matrimonial thoroughly dismayed as before, and eye; I had never thought of anything was further encouraged by receiving a
summons to leave Lilyville at once, on discover how much of the beauty of her important business. I would be out of figure was owing to whalebone. the way, at any rate, and who could 1 sat in the stage upmindful of my tell what might turn up? By degrees, fellow-passengers, and weighed down as I became fortified by breakfast, I by gloomy reflections on my destiny. began to be a little sorry to leave town; After a time, I became nervously aware I reflected that Miss Cilly was quite a of the fact, that my opposite neighbor nice girl, that there was no necessity was looking at me. Being naturally of my thinking about the engagement roused by this to return the gaze, a sud
just yet; in short, I began to think I den elevation of my eyes brought them would have no objection to remain at in contact with the glance of two soft, bome. At any rate, I ought to go and dark orbs gleaming timidly from the bid good-by to Miss Cilly Busse. recess of a traveling hat. From that
Miss Cilly opened the door for me instant I felt that I was gone—that I herself. She looked very fresh and was madly in love-that naught on blooming; and, though her nose did earth should separate me from the proturn up, her eyes were very pretty, and prietress of those heavenly eyes. I I stopped at them and did not examine cast Miss Cilly Buss from my recolfartber. Her hair, too, was auburn in lection. I utterly ignord any tie some lights, and, whatever might be said between us, and determined to win of her chin, her lips were round and this angel or perish forever. How I soft-50 wore her cheeks. So strongly wished that the stage had been in Italy, was I impressed with their beauty, that that it might be stopped by brigands, I involuntarily kissed Miss Cilly Busse, that I might spring out and defend my and, after I had done so, I found that I fair one against overwhelming numbers, liked it. Miss Cilly did not struggle and at last, having rescued her, fall exvery hard, so I did it again. Miss Čilly piring on a heap, of slain with her voice said that was enough ; so we went in and in my ears, and her eyes gleaming tensat, side by side, on the parlor sofa. If derly upon my dying vision. But the a gentleman does not want to make im- country was prosaic-it was flat, it was mediate and desperate love to a young American, with nothing more like a woman, do not let bim sit on a sofa be brigand than the turnpike-keeper. side her, particularly a small sofa - There was no chance of winning her oredo experto. I had not been in regards by any deed of daring, so I had that position five minutes, and had not to submit to the ordinary approaches told half my future intentions, when I to intimacy afforded by stage-coach discovered that my arm was around traveling. I was soon in easy converMiss Cilly's
waist, and her head on my sation with Rose Mayland-such she shoulder. Consequently, I began to informed me was her name. I found feel very bitterly at the necessity of out that we were going to the same parting, and to express myself so en place, that we were both going to rethusiastically that Miss Cilly was abso- main some time, and that I might call lately moved to tears. In short, I and see her if I liked. If I liked-what fancied I was really in love, and acted an idea! Place a fiery dragon, half-aaccordingly. Yet, oh! the fickleness dozen giants, and innumerable magicians of youth. No sooner had I got out of in the way, and I would bravely havo the house, where I had just been swear- carved out a path to her feet. ing eternal constancy, than I fervently As this world has become very mathoped never to enter it again. Once ter-of-fact, as dragons are confined to out of sight of Miss Cilly, my feelings pantomimes, giants are only visible at towards her began to cool ; and, by the Barnum's, and magicians humanely will time that I was seated in the stage not exercise their powers except for an which was to bear me away, I was as entrance fee of twenty-five cents, I did impatient of the chain that bound me not find the slightest difficulty in visit to her as I had ever been before. Her ing Miss Rose Mayland. After repeatexcellences began to diminish, and hered calls, I became convinced that Rose little failings to loom terribly in my reciprocated my sentiments; for sho imagination. I denied the auburn of did not appear bored by my visits, and her tresses, and stigmatized them as red; I thought that no humanity could stand while my very affection for her gave two visits a day, of indefinite length me the opportunity to ungenerously each, without being either bored or in love with the visitor, I would have cast taken way. A week passed with no myself at Rose's feet, and declared my news; two more days of anxiety dragaffection; but there was that horrid en- ged their lengthened hours along; but, gagement with Cilly Busse—how to get on the tenth, I received a note whiob released from it? I thought of writing roused me at once. It said : myself an anonymous letter, derogatory of her character, and, on the strength quietly: all is right
, so far. When you ar.
“ DEAR GREENE: Come down at once, and of it, breaking my chain ; but the ex- rive, I will give you your instructions. periment, or reflection, appeared too
“ H. S." dangerous, and of doubtful efficacy. I thought of marrying Rose, and flying That Lilyville stage ought to have immediately to the end of the earth; been lighter by a hundred weight than but, apart from the difficulty of getting the one in which I had departed from the there, I doubted the happiness of a life village—that being about the difference without cigars and newspapers, shop- in the weight of my beart. Harry was ping and new bonnets. "Suicide was waiting for me, and carried me straightdisagreeable, and would not enable me way to his lodgings. There he gave to marry Rose. In short, reduced to de- me an insight into the state of afspair, I tried the very last resort left me.
fairs. I unbosomed myself to Harry Sinclair. Harry was handsomer than 1; heiras, Harry Sinclair was a very handsome fel- also, richer; so be appealed more forlow, and perfectly at home everywhere, cibly to the foibles of both young and and in every emergency.
He used to old. He called upon the Busses ; ho visit Miss Mayland, in company with me,
was devoted to Miss Cilly ; his manners pretty often, though Rose and he did were grand, yet melancholy; his connot seem to talk a great deal to each versation romantic and poetical. Nood other. When I told him my unhappy it be said that the window-seat again predicament, be puffed his cigar very had two occupants; that the stars were violently-o much so, that the smoke again made to impart brilliance to Miss made bim wink and cough violently. Cilly's conversation ? Her intellectual Ho had quito recovered by the time I resources again did good service. Harhad got through, however, and be gave ry was constant in his attentions ; he me the result of his meditations.
was her slave. When matters had al. • My dear Greeno"--my name is most reached their consummation, and Adonis Groene—“I must admit that Harry bad found himself, several times, you are in a fix. It is not so strange artfully drawn to the very verge of to be in love with ono girl, and marry proposal, only reserving himself by another that occurs rather oftener great presence of mind, I was recalled than you imagine. But to get engaged, to the scene of action. The crisis had without meaning to, on one evening, fall arrived, the forces were marshaled, the in love with somebody else the next day, moment of victory or defeat drew near. and get out of the first engagement the
That evening, Harry went again to the next week—that last will require gene
Busses'. I gave him half-an-hour to ralship. · We will see, however. I am get the elders out of the room, and to going down to Lilyville to-morrow, and get fairly under way, and then followwill examine the state of the premises. ed. The hall-door was open; I passed You hold yourself ready to come down silently into the parlor, and there, in when I write for you; that's all. By that very window where Miss Cilly bad the way, Greene, you had better not owned herself mine, I discovered her in commit yourself with Miss Mayland the arms of Harry Sinclair ! until you are clear of this scrape. If I Though this was exactly what I were you, I wouldn't even call there, wished, and expected, yet, for the mojust now."
ment, my indignation at Cilly's faithAs Harry was going to act for me 80 lessness overcame every other feeling. disinterestedly, of course I could do no- I groaned out her vame. Cilly started thing less than take his advice in this re- - for a moment seemed inclined to rush spect, as well as other things, though it out of the room; but, apparently, doubtwent sorely against my inclination. The ing the advisability of leaving her two impatience with wbich I awaited a dis- lovers together, she remained. patch from Harry, was much augmented " Mr. Greene," said she, “this ioby my usual daily occupation being trusion"
“ Yes, sir," said Sinclair, " allow me heart. In short, I backed out, in the to ask when it became customary for same frantic style with which you made acquaintances to walk into houses with
You did that very well, out ringing at the door ?"
Greene—very well-would have a fine “ Acquaintances, sir ? Ask that lady effect upon the stage. Are there any if I have not a little better right than fried oysters to be obtained in this an acquaintance ; yes, sir, å better quiet little place ? Emotion makes me right than you to be tête-à-tête with hungry." that lady, to say nothing of more inti- We celebrated our victory over divers mate terms."
oysters and contingent drinks, until, in • Cecilia," said Harry, with the the midst of an address, in which I inmost admirably-acted horror, “is this formed Harry that my affection for him true ? Are you betrothed to Mr. was far greater than ordinary fraternal Greene ?"
feeling, and, after a futile endeavor to • No need to question, sir. Hero I walk through the table to embrace him, renounce all claim upon her hand; her I sank into unconsciousness, and rememheart seems to have departed from me ber nu more. already. Farewell, Cecilia--false one Next morning I awoke with a frantio -forever-!"
headache, and a vague feeling of reWith these words, spoken with an
Every other sensation, how. unguish of manner which, for the mo- ever, was swallowed up in the horriment, was almost real, I rushed fran- ble agony produced by the following tically from the room. I had not gone epistle : very far, however, when Harry joined me. Then we were both so overpower the disinterestedness of my devotion to you.
“ DEAR GREENE: I hope you appreciate ed by the recollection of our dramatic I have freed you of your disagreeable engago, efforts that we leaned against the fence ment, and left you a free man once more." I and shook it with laughter. It was the hope your love for Rose Mayland is a merely same place wbere I had formerly carried imaginary sensation, as that young lady is, and
has been for some time, engaged to
“ Yours very sincerely, “Well,” said Harry, “I think that
“HARRY SINCLAIR. young womad has had a lesson against
" Rose wants to know if you would like to Alirting with two people at once. As be groomsman next week po? soon as you went out. I delivered to her a small sermon on the deceit of which There is no need of my describing she had been guilty ; told her that my my feelings at such barefaced treachconfidence had departed ; that the words ery. Of course I was not groomsman. which I had been about to utter, when I bope there's a gray maro in Mr. Harry you entered, had been driven from my Sinclair's establishinent.
iny despair. .