« 上一页继续 »
the remains of Hartley Coleridge, just given forth by his brother:
"Long ere my pulse with nascent life had beat The ripe spring of thy early Paradise
With many a flower, and fruit, and hallowed spice, Was fair to fancy and to feeling sweet. Time, that is aye reproached, to be so fleet, Because dear follies vanish in a trice,
Shall now be clean absolved by judgment nice, Since his good speed made thee so soon complete. But less I praise the bounty of old Time, Lady revered, our island's Tragic Queen, For all achievements of thy hope and prime, Than for the beauty of thy age serene,
That yet delights to weave the moral rhyme, Nor fears what is, should dim what thou hast been."
THE CHRISTMAS TREE.
ONE Christmas night, an orphan child
With sighs he marked the many lights
The night was dark, and over all
There arched a starless sky.
He heard the sound of dancing feet-
On many a window-pane ;
So passed he up and down the street
Poor boy! Each kindly word they spoke
Each echo of their festal mirth
He laid him down upon the snow—
Like sundawn beamed upon his soul-
"Come quick with me, thy Christmas Tree Is blooming in the skies!"
ON the strength of a college friendship, my newly. married crony, Mark Thornton, asked me to spend the first month of the shooting season at his seat of Wellsmere Manor. I accepted the invitation, and my present sketch relates to circumstances which happened during the visit. I must premise that I mean to eschew all mention of single or double barrels, of pointers or spaniels, of wonderful shots, and, in short, of all that has reference to the ostensible purpose of my visit. I am not essentially of a sporting turn of mind; and there are so many of the story-writers of the present day who enter into the topic with such manifest gusto, that I think my readers will not regret my determination.
On my arrival, I found several guests already at the Manor House, and more came daily, until the dinnertable was slightly crowded, and the drawing-room presented a tolerable muster in the evening. There was no lack of sleeping-rooms, however. The upper story of the house was a perfect labyrinth, in which it was an every-day occurrence for some one or other of the guests to lose himself. Indeed, accidents of this kind happened so often, that my host seriously talked of having the doors numbered, as at an hotel; and it would have been a good plan.
I had not seen the bride before, but I liked her at She was :ne of those sparkling, fascinating little brunettes, who are always saying piquant things -or things which appear so from the way in which they are said. She was invariably good-humoured and agreeable with everybody; and beneath her brilliant and mobile exterior, there was a vein of trueknit feeling. A sister of hers, with her husband (whe had been in the army, but had lately retired), was at Wellsmere. Between this sister and Mrs. Thornton there was the most complete contrast. I do not mean in person-though Mrs. Fairfax was the taller and finer woman of the two-but in manner. Mrs. Fairfax was as cold and constrained as her sister was volatile. At times she was perfectly repulsive. She was very beautiful: she had the most magnificent eyes I have ever seen-dark, shy, and wild; but there was an habitual expression in them which it would puzzle me to describe; I used to think they were like the eyes of a person whom some extraordinary grief has deprived of the power of shedding tears. Her husband was a most agreeable man, and a brilliant conversationist: whatever subject was started, he had always something to say exactly to the point, something which everybody else had been thinking, but which no one could have put into words. His wit was poignant and original. He seemed to have a power of touching some universal chord, which thrilled in every breast, and which answered instantaneously to his master-hand.
He had a fine voice too, and sang
well. With these accomplishments, it may be supposed that he was a general favourite. Men and women liked him equally; and his fascination was so great, that he even escaped envy. He seemed to take a strong liking to me from the time of our introduction. He frankly asked me not to be an acquaintance, but a friend; and a day never passed but I spent a great part of it alone with him.
There was one circumstance which I soon discovered, and which before long became so evident to the general circle that it was a subject of constant remark—this was, that Mrs. Fairfax was never easy when her husband was out of her sight. She watched him so continually, that I believe the only time throughout the day that he was relieved from her incessant vigilance, was when the ladies left us after dinner for the drawing-room. I thought I could perceive that he was somewhat bored by his wife's constant surveillance; but he endured it all with exemplary patience, and I never heard him give her one angry or peevish word. I was at a loss to what to ascribe Mrs. Fairfax's watchfulness; but I at length set it down to jealousy, the more especially as there was a young lady in our company who could not exist save in an atmosphere of flirtation, and who, when single gentlemen were not in the way, would coquet most charmingly with married men.
Mrs. Thornton would often jest with her on the subject; but although she joined in the laugh, the mention of this peculiarity seemed always to make her