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which his innlastic features seemed " A week or so. I fancy." muttered capable.
the other. * Do I understand you aright, my “And then on to Rome, perhaps!" lord," said the Prince; " that you re The two Englishmen looked at each ceive an accession of fortune by this other with an air of as much confuevent ?"
sion as if subjected to a searching ex“I shall; if I survive Glencore," amination in science. was the brief reply.
“Well, I shouldn't wonder," said “ You are related, then ?”
Selby at last, with a sigh, “Some cousinship-I forget how it “Yes, it may come to that,” said is. Do you remember, Baynton ?" Baynton, like a man who had just
“I'm not quite certain. I think it overcome a difficulty. was a Coventry married one of . “You'll be in time for the Holy Jack Conway's sisters, and she after week and all the ceremonies," said wards became the wife of Sir Some the Prince. thing Massy. Isn't that it ?"
“Mind that, Baynton," said his “Yes, that's it," muttered the other, lordship, who wasn't going to carry in the tone of a man who was tired of what he felt to be another man's load; a knotty problem.
and Baynton nodded acquiescence. " And, according to your laws, this “And after that comes the season Lord Glencore may marry again ?" for Naples--you have a month or six cried the Russian.
weeks, perhaps, of such weather as “I should think so, if he has no nothing in all Europe can vie wife living," said Selby; “but, I trust, with." for my sake, he'll not.”
“You hear, Baynton ?" said Selby. " And what if he should, and should “I've booked it," muttered the be discovered the wedded husband of other, and so they took leave of their another ?”
entertainer, and set out towards Flo“That would be bigamy,” said rence. Neither you nor I, dear Selby. “Would they hang him, reader, will gain anything by keeping Baynton pao
them company, for they say scarce a “I think not-scarcely," rejoined word by the way. They stop at in. the Colonel.
tervals, and cast their eyes over the The Prince tried in various ways to glorious landscape at their feet. Their obtain some insight into Lord Glen- glances are thrown over the fairest core's habits, his tastes, and mode of scene of the fairest of all lands; and life, but all in vain. They knew, in whether they turn towards the snowdeed, very little, but even that little capt Appenines, by Vall'ombrosa, they were too indolent to repeat. Lord or trace the sunny vineyards along Selby's memory was often at fault, the Val d'Arno, they behold a picture too, and Baynton's had ill supplied such as no canvass ever imitated; still the deficiency. Again and again did they are mute and uncommunicative. the Russian mutter curses to himself, Whatever of pleasure their thoughts over the impassive apathy of these suggest, each keeps for himself. Ob stony islanders. At moments he fan- jects of wonder, strange sights and cied that they suspected his eagerness, new, may present themselves, but and had assumed their most guarded they are not to be startled out of caution against him; but he soon per- national dignity by so ignoble a senceived that this manner was natural timent as surprize. And so they jog to them, not prompted in the slightest onward-doubtless richer in reflection degree by any distrust whatever. than eloquent in communion--and so
After all, thought the Russian, how we leave them. can I hope to stimulate a man who is Let us not be deemed unjust or unnot excited by his own increase of generous, if we assert that we have fortune? Talk of Turkish fatalism met many such as these. They are these fellows would shame the Mos- not individuals--they are a classlem.
and, strange enough too, a class “Do you mean to prolong your which almost invariably pertains to a stay at Florence, my lord ?" asked the high and distinguished rank in so Prince, as they arose from table. ciety. It would be presumptuous to
“I scarcely know. What do you ascribe such demeanour to insensay, Baynton ?"
sibility. There is enough in their CIIAPTER XXI.
general conduct to disprove the assumption. As little is it affectation ; it is simply an acquired habit of stoical indifference, supposed to be why, Heaven knows!-theessentialingredient of the best breeding. If the practice extinguish all emotion and
obliterate all trace of feeling from the heart, we deplore the system. If it only gloss over the working of human sympathy, we pity the men. At all events, they are very uninteresting company, with whom longer dalliance would only be wearisome.
SOME TRJITS OF LIFE.
It was the night Lady Glencore re ceived; and, as usual, the street was crowded with equipages, which somehow seemed to have got into inextri. cable confusion-some endeavouring to turn back, while others pressed forward-and the court of the palace being closely packed with carriages which the thronged street held in fast blockade. As the apartments which faced the street were not ever used for these receptions, the dark unlighted windows suggested no remark; but they who had entered the courtyard were struck by the gloomy aspect of the vast building; not only that the entrance and the stairs were in darkness, but the whole suite of rooms, usually brilliant as the day, were now in deep gloom. From every carriage-window,headswere protruded wondering at this strange spectacle, and eager inquiries pressed on every side for an explanation. The express sion of sudden illness was rapidly disseminated but as rapidly contradicted, and the reply given by the porter to all demands quickly repeated from mouth to mouth, “Her ladyship will not receive.”
“Can no one explain this mystery ?" cried the old Princess Borinsky-as, heavy with fat and diamonds, she hung out of her carriage-window “Oh, there's Major Scaresby; he is certain to know, if it be anything malicious."
Scaresby was, however, too busy in recounting his news to others to perceive the signals the old Princess held out; and it was only as her chasseur, six feet three of green and gold, bent down to give her highness's mess sage, that the Major hurried off, in all the importance of a momentary scandal, to the side of the carriage.
"Here I am, all imputience. What is it, Scaresby ?-tell me, quickly," cried she.
“A smash, my dear Princessnothing more or less," said he, in a voice which nature seemed to have invented to utter impertinence ; so harsh and grating, and yet so painfully distinct in all its accents "as complete a smash as ever I heard of.”
“You can't mean that her fortune is in peril ?"
“I suppose that must suffer also. It is her character-her station as one of us--that's shipwrecked here."
“Go on, go on," cried she, impatiently—“I wish to hear it all.”
“All is very briefly related, then," said he. “The charming Countess, you remember, ran away with a countryman of mine, young Glencore, of the 8th Hussars; I used to know his father intimately."
“Never mind his father.”
“That's exactly what Glencore did. He came over here and fell in love with the girl, and they ran off together, but they forgot to get married, Princess. Ha-ha-ha-” and he laughed with a cackle a demon could not have rivalled.
“I don't believe a word of it-I'll never believe it,” cried the Princess.
“That's exactly what I was recommending to the Marquesa Guesteni. I said, you needn't believe it. Why, how do we go anywhere, now-a-days, except by not believing the evil stories that are told of our entertainers."
“Yes, yes ; but I repeat that this is an infamous calumny. She, a Countess, of a family second to none in all Italy; her father a Grand d'Espagne. I'll go to her this moment.”
“She'll not see you. She has just refused to see La Genosi," said the Major, tartly. “Though, if a cracked reputation might have afforded any sympathy, she might have a 'Initted her."
“ What is to be done ?" exclaimed course was to be followed in future, the Princess, sorrowfully.
and what recognition extended to the “Just what you suggested a few victim. moments ago. Don't believe it. Hang The next day Florence sat in comme, but good houses and good cooks mittee over the lost Countess. Witare growing too scarce to make one nesses were heard and evidence taken credulous of the ills than can be said as to her case. They all agreed it was of the owners.”
a great hardship-a terrible infliction “I wish I knew what course to —but still, if true, what could be take," muttered the Princess.
done ? “I'll tell you then. Get half a dozen Never was there a society less unof your own set together to-morrow generously prudish, and yet there morning, vote the whole story an were cases- this, one of them—which atrocious falsehood, and go in a body transgressed all conventional rule. and tell the Countess your mind. You Like a crime which no statute had know as well as I, Princess, that ever contemplated, it stood out selfsocial credit is as great a bubble as accused and self-condemned. A few commercial; we should all of us be might, perhaps, have been merciful, bankrupts if our books were seen, but they were overborne by numbers. Aye, by Jove, and the similitude goes Lady Glencore's beauty and her vast further, too_for when one old estab- fortune were now counts in the inlished house smashes, there is gene dictment against her, and many a rally a crash in the whole community; jealous rival was not sorry at this ha, ha, ha!”
hour of humiliation. The despotism While they thus talked, a knot had of beauty is not a very mild sway gathered around the carriage, all eager after all, and, perhaps, the Countess to hear what opinion the Princess had had exercised her rule right royally. formed on the catastrophe.
At all events, it was the young and Various were the sentiments ex- the good-looking who voted her expressed by the different speakers, clusion, and only those who could not some sorrowfully deploring the dis- enter into competition with her aster ; others more eagerly inveigh- charms who took the charitable side. ing against the infamy of the man They discussed and debated the queswho had proclaimed it. Many de- tion all day, but while they hesitated clared that they had come to the over the reprieve, the prisoner was determination to discredit the story beyond the law. The gate of the Not one, however, sincerely professed palace, locked and barred all day, rethat he disbelieved it.
fused entrance to every one; at night Can it be, as the French moralist it opened to admit the exit of a traasserts, that we have a latent sense of velling carriage. The next morning satisfaction in the misfortunes of even large bills of sale, posted over the our best friends; or is it, as we rather walls, declared that all the furniture suspect, that true friendship is a and decorations were to be sold. rarer thing than is commonly be- The Countess had left Florence lieved, and has little to do with those none knew whither. conventional intimacies which so often “I must really have those large bear its name?
Sevres jars,” said one; "and I the Assuredly, of all this well-bred, small park phaton," cried another. well-dressed, and well-born company, “I hope she has not taken Horace now thronging the court-yard of the with her ; he was the best cook in palace and the street in front of it, Italy. Splendid hock she had, and I the tone was as much sarcasm as sor- wonder is there much of it left." row, and many a witty epigram and “I wish we were certain of another smart speech were launched over a bad reputation to replace her," disaster which might have been spared grunted out Scaresby; "they are the such levity. At length the space be only kind of people who give good gan to thin. Slowly carriage after dinners, and never ask for returns." carriage drove off—the heaviest grief And thus these dear friendsof their occupants often being over a guests of a hundred brilliant fêteslost soirée--an unprofited occasion to discussed the fall of her they once had display toilette and jewels-while a worshipped. few, more reflective, discussed what It may seem small-minded and
narrow to stigmatize such conduct as this. Some may say that for the ordinary courtesies of society no pledges of friendship are required, no real gratitude incurred. Be it so. Still the revulsion from habits of deference and respect to disparagement, and even sarcasm, is a sorry evidence of human kindness; and the threshold, over which for years we had only passed as guests, might well suggest sadder thoughts as we tread it to behold desolation.
The fair Countess had been the celebrity of that city for many a day. The stranger of distinction sought her as much a matter of course as he sought presentation to the sove reign. Her salons had the double eminence of brilliancy in rank and brilliancy in wit; her entertainments were cited as models of elegance and refinement, and now she was gone! The extreme of regret that followed her was the sorrow of those who were to dine there no more; the grief of him who thought he shall never have a house like it.
The respectable vagabonds of society are a large family, much larger than is usually supposed. They are often well born, almost always well mannered, invariably well dressed. They do not, at first blush, appear to discharge any very great or necessary function in life, but we must by no means from that infer their inutility. Naturalists tell us that several varieties of insect existence we rashly set down as mere annoyances, have their peculiar spheres of usefulness and good; and, doubtless, these same loungers contribute in some mysterious manner to the welfare of that state which they only seem to burden. We are told that but for flies, for instance, we should be infested with myriads of winged tormentors, insinuating themselves into our meat and drink, and rendering life miserable. Is there not something very similar performed by the respectable class I allude you ? Are they not invariably devouring and destroying some vermin a little smaller than themselves, and making thus a healthier atmosphere for their betters? If good society only knew the debt it owes to these defenders of its pri
vileges, a Vagabond's Homeand Aged Asylum would speedily figure amongst our national charities.
We have been led to these thoughts by observing how distinctly different was Major Scaresby's tone in talking of the Countess, when he addressed his betters or spoke in his own class. To the former he gave vent to all his sarcasm and bitterness; they liked it just because they wouldn't condescend to it themselves. To his own he put on the bullying air of one who said, “How should you possibly know what vices such great people have, any more than you know what they have for dinner? I live amongst them-I understand them-I am aware that what would be very shocking in you is quite permissible to them. They know how to be wicked-you only know how to be gross ;" and thus Scaresby talked, and sneered, and scoffed, making such a hash of good and evil, such a Maelstrom of right and wrong, that it were a subtle moralist who could have extracted one solitary scrap of uncontaminated meaning from all his muddy lucubrations.
He, however, effected this much : he kept the memory of her who had gone, alive by daily calumnies. He embalmed her in poisons, each morning appearing with some new trait of her extravagance-her losses in her caprice_'till the world, grown sick of himself and his theme, vowed they would hear no more of either, and so she was forgotten.
Aye, good reader, utterly forgotten ! The gay world, for so it likes to be called, has no greater element of enjoyment amongst all its high gifts than its precious power of forgetting. It forgets not only all it owes to others-gratitude, honor, and esteem -but even the closer obligations it has contracted with itself. The Palazzo della Torre was for a fortnight the resort of the curious and the idle. At the sale crowds appeared to secure some object of especial value to each ; and then the gates were locked, the shutters closed, and a large, ill-write ten notice on the door announced that any letters for the proprietor were to be addressed to " Pietro Arretini, Via del Sole.”
Few English women, who have devoted themselves to literature as a vocation, have achieved a greater success than did Mrs. Behn in her day. She gained a liberal share of the applause of the wits of her age, and a yet larger share of their attention ; she wrote poems that were allowed to be good ; she was the authoress of plays which the town flocked to see acted; Charles the Second was fascinated by her powers of conversation and her beauty ; Dryden complimented her on her powers of versification ; and she wrote novels which every one read, and continued to read for generations after her death, and one (at least) of which was translated into the French language, and published at Amsterdam, when she had been in the grave more than half a century. And yet, we doubt not, many of our readers have never heard her name till now.
Aphra, Aphara, Apharra, or Afra (for the name is to be found spelt in all four ways) Behn was a daughter of a gentleman of good family. Her maiden name was Johnson, and Canterbury has the honor of being her birth-place-but the year of her birth is unknown. The various biographers, who have briefly sketched her life, concur in placing her birth at the close of the reign of Charles the First; it certainly was not earlier.
Her father was a friend of Francis, fourth Lord Willoughby, of Parham, county of Suffolk, to wbich nobleman, in conjunction with Laurence Hyde, second son of Edward, Earl of Clarendon, Charles the Second Ave (with the liberality that characterized European monarchs of those days) the colony of Surinam. The interest of Lord Willoughby secured the post of Lieutenant-General of Surinam and thirty-six West Indian isles for his friend Johnson, who immediately quitted England for the new world, taking with him his wife and children. Aphara was then quite a child
too young, her female biographer and friend assures us, to have known the passion of love. But her rare beanty had, even in those tonder years, gained her many passionate admirer3, and lier quickness of intel.
lect was the wonder and amusement of all her acquaintance.
The lieutenant-general was fated not to reap any of the advantages d his newly-acquired appointment. He died on board ship, during his pas sage to America. His patron, alo, was doomed to find his death at saling but in a more calamitous manner. Francis, Lord Willoughby, was lost in a violent hurricane, which destroyed eleven ships, in the year 1666. Pepps mentions this catastrophe, in a letter to Lord Brouncker, with official bisvity and coolness. “ But perhaps our ill, but confirmed, tidings from the Barbadoes may not have reached you yet, it coming but yesterday ; viz. that about eleven ships, whereof two of the king's, the Hope and Coventry, going thence with men to attack St. Christopher's, were seized by a violent hurricane and all sunk-two only a the thirteen escaping, and those with the loss of masts, &c. My Lord Wil loughby himself is involved in the disaster, and I think two ships thrown upon an island of the French, and so all the men, to 500, became their prisoners,"
When Aphara, with her widowed mother, and her brothers and sisters, gained the terra firma of Surinam, they took possession of a house that appears to have stood somewhere on the Parham estate, and which was placed at their disposal. The scene was novel, and had plenty to interest them. “As soon as I came into the country the best house in it was presented to me, called St. John's Hill." Aphara afterwards wrote in her novel of Oroonoko_“It stood on a vast rock of white marble, at the foot of which the river ran a vast depth down, and not to be descended on that side; the little waves, still dashing and washing the foot of this rock, made the softest murmurs and purlings in the world; and the opposite bank was adorned with such vast quantities of different flowers eternally blowing, and every day and hour new, fenced be hind 'em with lofty trees of a thousand rare forms and colours, that the prospect was the most ravishing that sands can create. On the edge of this