« 上一页继续 »
are quietly seated, not before, the beautiful King Charles crawls lazily to one's feet, with wagging tail and glistening eyes, as if beseeching a caress. I don't know how it is, but I think we remember such matters afterwards, rather than notice them at the time.
All these things were just as usual, and our kind and worthy hosts as hospitable as ever. Their granddaughters were, as we expected, somewhat grown; but it was in Miss Newson and all that concerned her that a change was to be found! Although her colour rose on seeing us, I do not think that it was from any fear of being spoken to; on the contrary, she was kind in her inquiries, and seemed willing enough to enter into conversation. With this loss of timidity she had acquired ease, all that before was wanting to make her manners perfect. I wondered in my own mind how the change had been effected; for at forty years of age, and she must be that, it is seldom such an alteration takes place.
"Jane," said Miss Newson, to a servant, as we were about taking a stroll in the garden, "be kind enough to fetch my parasol." And Jane flew for it, bringing also a shawl, advising Miss Newson to wear one, as, "though it was warm in the sun, the wind was rather chilly." I could not but look on in wondering admiration. A year ago the silent, timid governess would as soon have thought of ordering out the carriage as sending a servant on such an errand. Yet,
after all, it was the maid's ready obedience which surprised me the most.
"That is Miss Newson's bell," said another servant an hour afterwards, while she was uncording a box for me "if you please, ma'am, I will be back in a minute or two;" and though I had not too much time to dress for dinner, I was pleased as well as amused at the alacrity with which the summons of the governess was answered. I noticed, too, that at dinner old Watson offered to replenish Miss Newson's champagne-glass more often than any one's else; and that, in the drawing-room, the footman brought a stool for her feet, without her asking for it. Indeed, the general deference towards her-yet, that is scarcely the word; it is too cold to express the watchful kindness of the household-was so marked, that a visiter must have been blind not to perceive it. "There is a cause for all these effects," said I to myself, "and I cannot sleep till I find it out." It was decreed, however, that the mystery should explain itself.
On the drawing-room table I found a handsomelybound volume of poems, whose title-page declared they were by Eliza Newson! I turned the leaves with no common curiosity, and found that, though they did not bear the stamp of high genius and originality, they were full of womanly tenderness and purity, and replete with true poetic feeling. My congratulations were made with hearty sincerity, and received by Miss Newson not without emotion. "Yes," said little Emily, with more pride, perhaps, than if they had
been her own, "she has made them all out of her own head; and some of them, do you know, are quite stories in rhyme. And, what do you think? I heard Watson the other day singing one of the songs to a tune he sometimes plays on the flute; and I know Jane has bought the book. Yes, indeed, Miss Newson, she has," continued the child, turning to the now blushing poetess.
This, then, was the secret of the servants' hero worship, and consequent deference to the so long slighted governess! this their acknowledgment of a superior being! to my mind both touching and significant in its truth. The accomplishments of music and painting, and the more solid acquirements which, if they had thought, they must have known were hers, had won from them no recognition. And why? Because custom, which does not acknowledge the merits of the governess, or her claims to more than ordinary respect, had blinded their minds to the facts. But directly they discovered (what was not really, though they thought it) her higher title to consideration, they made up for their past neglect with heart and soul. There was really, however, much in her little volume to please simple-hearted people; for her poems were chiefly of a domestic kind and of the affections. And few authors, I think, will deny, that the slightly informed are often excellent judges of such productions; and no wise ones, we think, will scorn their admiration.
The exercise of the principle of veneration is, except
in extreme cases of absurdity, one surely so healthy, that it always gladdens the heart to behold it. And, certainly, this instance of what is expressively called "hero worship," which has seemed to me worth repeating, was a source of unmingled pleasure, since it went very, very far towards placing an amiable, gifted, and, I fear, not very fortunate woman, in a true instead of a false position.
INDOLENT! indolent!-yes, I am indolent:
Indolent! indolent! yes, I am indolent:
Nerve and sensation in quiet reposing,
Indolent! indolent!—yes, I am indolent,
Out of creation's uncoveted treasure.
Indolent! indolent !—are ye not indolent,
Indolent! indolent!-art thou not indolent,
Sad eyes behold thee, and angels are weeping