« 上一页继续 »
Love of Change
Nature in Motion
126, 147, 166, 184, 235
Old Apple-Tree, the
THE WORLD AT HOME.
THE PARTY OF SIX. and his walk up and down the room was
as much like a soldier's march on parade A QUEER COMPANY WHO MET AT ROME.
as it was like anything. Besides, his BEPPO Antonio, sole proprietor of the complexion was bronzed by the sun; his Hotel Della Madonna, situated in one of chin was upheld by a stiff leather stock; the genteelest streets of the Eternal City, and his coat, though very much worse stood at the open door of his dining-room, for wear, had a standing collar, edged with a comical blending of hope and grief with tarnished gold lace. He was an old on his pale and not very engaging coun- soldier past question, and as certainly tenance. It was a dull time of year for very poor, or appearances sadly belied travel, and Beppo had serious doubts him. whether his tables were not set out to no At length Beppo's anxieties were repurpose; for as yet, though his helpmate lieved. The veteran pretermitted his had sent up three times from below to say march, and seating himself at one of the that the macaroni was boiled almost to tables, called for a bouilli and a measure a paste, and the fish fried to a cinder, not of brandy; and by the time this command a creature had taken his seat at one of was fulfilled, the despairings of Beppo the little tables and ordered even a bowl were not a little alleviated by an influx of minestra. There was, indeed, one per- of customers to his boiled, broiled, and son within the room-a tall, elderly man, roasted. with grey hair and blue eyes, an enor- First came an old gentleman, tall and mous cue dangling half-way down his thin, with a slight stoop of the shoulders, back, and a remarkably hungry look peer- a remarkably narrow head covered with ing out from his face, and, indeed, charac- stiff white hair, and small black eyes, terising his person. But this man's gar- which the frosts of some seventy winters ments were seedy-not to say shabby; had not yet robbed of their fire. He was and though he had been walking back- plainly but handsomely dressed in blue ward and forward, from one end of the coat and pantaloons, of very fine cloth, room to the other, for more than three and apparently new, and wore upon quarters-of-an-hour, he had as yet called one finger of his small white hands an for nothing; and Beppo nourished a huge antique ring, set with a jewel of price. suspicion that, if he should order and eat His expression was grave and sad; and his dinner, payment was not quite so cer- before he sat down, he crossed himself tain to follow as he could wish.
with an air of the deepest devotion. He 'Some broken-down militaire, mut- was accompanied by a lad, or rather tered Beppo, his heart alnost prevailing young man, of about seventeen, remarkto give the poor fellow a meal and a cup ably handsome, with large hazel eyes, and of wine, at the risk even of catching a a beautifully shaped head, covered with scratched face or a curtain lecture from masses of dark curling hair, with whose his better half down below. 'Some poor tangles the fingers of beauty might love kicked-about vagabond, that has been to play. His deportment towards his standing up to be shot at the best part aged companion was full of a charming of his life, for three pauls a-month; and reverence, softened down by affection; now that fighting has gone out of fashion, and the eyes of the old man often rested is left either to beg or starve, just as best upon his bright, blooming face with a suits his convenience.'
look of the tenderest love, slightly temBeppo was probably right in his con- pered with_sorrow. They conversed tojecture. The stranger's port was erect, gether in French, but, like the veteran
who preceded them, gave their commands to become perfectly dry; a long meerto Beppo in good Italian, strongly marked schaum pipe was in his right hand; and with the sharp French accent. They the moment he sat down he placed a asked for a potage á la julienne, an large gold snuff-box upon the table beomelette aux fines herbes, and a bottle of fore him, just at the side of his plate. sparkling champagne, which they drank He called for a German sausage, soine diluted with water.
boiled fish or stewed rabbit, plenty of The next was a younger man, of per- bread, and a bottle of first-rate Geneva. haps thirty or thirty-five. His com- His Italian was scant, and most inharmoplexion was very dark; his hair cut short, niously qualified with a plentiful sprinkand black as the blackest of jet; his lips ling of deep German gutturals. thick and prominent; his nose flat and Six gentlemen were now taking their unmeaning; his figure inclining to cor- dinner under the roof of the rejoicing pulence; and his expression vulgar, coarse, Beppo Antonio; and although he would and even ferocious. His beauty was not have been glad to administer to the apimproved, withal, by a huge pair of mou- petites of three times as many, still it staches. He was rather foppishly dressed was very much better than having his in a purple frock-coat, red waistcoat, and eatables left on bis hands unconsumed blue pantaloons, with a broad red stripe and unpaid for. down the sides. His fingers were covered 'One more, for good luck, muttered with rings; a heavy gold chain encircled Beppo, 'and I'll lay out a couple of his neck, descending into his left waist- crazzie in oil for the lamp of my patron coat-pocket; and his heels were adorned St Joseph, over the way: one more, for with a pair of exceedingly long gold or good luck and the odd number.' gilt spurs, that jangled against the floor One more just at this moment enand each other at every step. He de- tered the room, and taking his seat, manded an olla, well seasoned with gar- called for a glass of iced-water, a bowl of lic, and two bottles of wine, one of port pea-soup à la purée, pommes de terre au and the other of sherry.
maitre d'hotel, and a large dish of beignets After him came a stout, rather good- de pommes, or, as we should call them in looking man, of fifty or thereabout, with English, plain apple-fritters, which, be it a bald head, a short, black, curling beard, observed, they cook in Rome to perfeca merry black eye, and a clear olive com- tion. He was a young man of fair complexion. He wore a frock-coat of the plexion, well-dressed, but with nothing latest Parisian cut, a shawl - pattern remarkable in his appearance, and was waistcoat, red slippers, and trousers of at once set down by the landlord, as well very unusual amplitude. A diamond of as the other guests, for an Englishman great value sparkled upon the hilt of a on his travels. His method of speaking dagger, that might be seen projecting con- Italian went far to confirm this suspicion. veniently from his breast, and a large and During the few minutes that elapsed very beautiful dog of the Newfoundland between the issuing of his directions breed followed him into the dining-room, and their fulfilment, the new-comer had where he took his place, like a well-bred glanced over the persons of all his combeast, under the table. This personage panions in eating, and smiled at the bowed slightly and.smiled as he entered, chance that had brought together wien of took his seat with an indolent good- so many different nations as he supposed humoured look of supreme nonchalance, them to represent. The veteran he set and called for a dish of boiled macaroni, down as a Prussian; the old man and the a carafe of lemonade, and a finger-glass youth as natives of France; the man with half full of rose-water, with which he re- the moustaches and red waistcoat as a freshed and perfumed bis hands before Spaniard or Portuguese; him with the he began eating
beard and bald head as a Maltese Jew; Then followed a man of about thirty, and the drinker of gin as a Swiss or a with a broad German face, heavy blue German. He was proceeding to specueyes, and red hair cropped close to his late on their several occupations, when head. He was tall and stout, but awk- his reverie was cut hort by the entrance ward in figure and movement. His of four waiters, each bringing one of the clothes were ill-made, but of the finest four objects, the which together made up quality; and his boots were covered with his dinner. mud, that had been on them long enough The important business of eating pro
ceeded for some time in grave and re- and his companion, and all were smiling spectful silence, and at length was com except the water-drinking supposed Engpleted. Beppo was busy, in one corner lishman. His face was earnest and cuof the roon, at his little desk, making rious, but very respectful. The silence out the respective accounts; and the that ensued was broken, after the lapse seven strangers were meditating, pro- of a few minutes, by the bald-headed man bably, where they should go or what with the beard and the red slippers, who they should do next, when a ponderous rose from his seat, and waddling across carriage stopped at the door, drawn by the room, followed by his dog, planted four handsome fat horses, with coachman himself in front of the old man so and footman all in the Pope's gorgeous strangely addressed with the title of livery. Beppo rushed like a madman monarch, and said, with a queer twinkle from the room, to ascertain the meaning of his laughing black eyes, of this phenomenon, and in a few minutes 'By the tail of the holy camel! by the returned, walking backward, and bowing golden shoes of the prophet's mule! here at every step to the ground, before an is a friend of mine come to light. Inofficer of the papal court, evidently of shallah! what dirt is this? You are a high rank, if one might judge from the king, then-a king of France, I suppose; splendour of his dress and decorations. a right royal infidel! I should be glad The massive gold chain round his neck, to know, if your majesty pleases, what to which was suspended a large golden you have done with my little kingdom, key, and the white wand in his hand, and why you took it away from me? By proclaimed him at once, to those familiar the soul of my father! but this is good. with Roman dignities, no less a personage Here is a man that has robbed me of my than the chamberlain of the pontifical crown, and yet couldn't take care of his household.
own!' The moment he entered the room, his 'Your kingdom! your crown!' revelvet cap was removed from his head, peated the fat man with the beard. 'I and advancing with three low bows to had a kingdom once, as well as yourself, the elderly Frenchman, he placed before and six dozen wives beside. Now, I have him a letter bearing a broad purple seal, only nine. I couldn't afford to naintain which he drew from a magnificent box of them all; and the insolent people at crystal, inlaid with gold, and blazing with Naples wouldn't allow me to tie them up, jewels. The stranger perused it, and each in a sack, and throw them into the then gave it into the hand of his youth- bay: so they all went off and got married. ful companion, who did the same. A few I am, or rather was, the Dey of Algiers, words in French were exchanged between at your service.' them, and then the elder, addressing the 'My good friend,' answered the French papal officer, said, in Italian,
deposed monarch, you shouldn't blame 'Be pleased to convey our acknow- me. I know nothing about it: Prince ledgments to his Holiness, and say that Polignac managed that matter entirely. we have visited Rome without any public I had my hands full in taking care of my object, and that our wish is to avoid soul.' observation. Nevertheless, we duly ap- "Oh, well, it's no matter now. We preciate the attention his Holiness, won't quarrel about it, since you are as and will gladly avail ourselves of his badly off as myself, thanks be to Allah!' kindness. We will in person express our
Very true,' answered Charles; 'it certhanks more at large for his courtesy.' tainly is not worth while to quarrel about
With another profound bow, the cham- it now. But I hope you are comfortable berlain received this brief and ceremonious in other respects. Allow me to introduce communication, and only replied by say- my young grandson, Henry the Fifth.' ing,
The Dieu-donné bowed gracefully, and The carriage will attend your majes- the Dey, shaking him heartily by the ty's pleasure.
hand, wished he might live for the next He then gathered up his robes, and thousand years. Then drawing a chair, backed himself out of the presence, pre- and seating himself between them, he ceded by Beppo, who stared like a con- turned to the royal Charles, and conjurer, and bowed lower than ever. tinued:
The eyes of all the other five strangers 'Comfortable! oh yes! By the blesswere now fixed on the old Frenchnianing of Allah, I do very well, all things considered. I have my nine wives still, The conversation between the four a good appetite, and some diamonds left. grew lively and mirthful. Charles reThe eating is very fine here at Rome, and laxed from his habitual sadness, and now also at Naples; and I am delighted with and then perpetrated a joke at the exPunch in the puppet-show.'
pense of his lucky successor and cousin, At this juncture the man with the Louis Philippe. Henry gave full way to moustache stepped up to the trio, and the natural cheerfulness of his age and offering his hand with a grin to the ex- temperament. Don Miguel laughed like monarch of France, grumbled out, in very a clown at a fair; and the Mussulman bad French,
told some very queer stories with a de*Odd enough, royal brother of France, lightful gravity. The champagne was that here should be four sovereigns with renewed, and the whole party were fast out crowns or subjects, meeting by chance advancing to a state of excellent goodat an eating-house. I was a king, too, humour with the world, themselves, and in my day. 'You didn't acknowledge my each other. right, I believe; but if it had not been But all this seemed to affect the Gerfor those rascally Englishmen, I should man very annoyingly. He grew more still sit on the throne of Portugal.' and more fidgety; plunged his fingers
'Don Miguel !' exclaimed the Tenth into his snuif-box every half-minute; Charles. 'My dear young friend, I'm vapoured about with his meerschaum; happy to make your acquaintance. This and put less and less water to his gin at is a very unlooked-for pleasure. Dey, be each replenishment of his tumbler. It friends with my royal cousin, the ex-king was evident from his wistful looks that of Portugal.'
he was dying to join the merry and royal The Dey shook hands with the Don, party. At length, with a doubtful look, who also seated himself at the other side half foolishness and half fun, he rose from of the table. Charles called for three his seat, and gravely advancing to the more bottles of champagne, and Miguel four ex-monarchs, bluntly asked leave to produced a roll of delicate little cigars, make one at their sederunt. His recepwhich he affirmed were made purposely tion was characteristic. for his own use, of the very best Cuba The elder Bourbon drew himself up tobacco. He offered them round to his with a look of hauteur; Henry started companions; but they were all too well up, with a flushed cheek and an expresbred to smoke in a public dining-room: sion of countenance that intimated a disso the Don put them into his pocket position to kick the intruder out of the again, with a sheepish look, like a man room; Miguel scowled, and poured out caught in a breach of good manners. for himself another glass of champagne;
In the meantime, the remaining three and the Mussulman, whose perceptions parties present at this somewhat remark- were now somewhat affected by his potaable meeting, having finished their meal, tions, stroked his black beard, and, with were diversely occupied. The water- a suspicious twinkle of his black eyes, drinker was evidently engrossed with gave voice to his cogitations. what was passing before him: the casual By the tail of the prophet's mule, meeting of four deposed kings was for illustrious stranger !-hem-you're a very him a most pregnant subject for study respectable person, no doubt—hiccup;and speculation. He sipped his iced but you see, friend, such tipple as this water, and pretended to look over a me- (Allah forgive me if it's wine!) is fit only morandum-book which he had drawn for kings—hiccup—and deys—and sulfrom his pocket; but his ears were atten- tans. You understand? And although tive to what took place at the other side you're a very respectable person, as I said of the room, and his eyes often wandered before-hiccup-and excellent company furtively in the same direction. The for your equals-excuse me for sayingGerman took huge pinches of Strasburg, hiccup—that you had better stick to your hummed snatches of airs from the Frei- own drink, whatever it is—hiccup-and schutz, and mixed glass after glass of leave us to ourselves, you know-hiccup; strong gin and water and sugar. The Another glass, most royal of infidels, and old soldier rested his head on his hand, I'll drink with you in the name of the the elbow propped on the table, and prophet, although you did steal my crown, seemed lost in thought of no very cheer- and drive me out of my kingdom.' ful description.
The latter branch of this sage dis