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most serious injury upon a person whom I have never seen, and whom, moreover, I have every reason to respect."
“ But you are not such a fatalist as to believe that you have not the power of preventing yourself from doing wrong?”
“ Certainly not, in my own person, but there are circumstances when one is compelled to allow others to act for one.”
“ I can conceive no combination of events so compulsory as to make one act against one's own conscience, either in person or by deputy,that is to say, if you entertain feelings such as you describe."
Lord Norham gazed intently on the animated speaker, and her words fell on his ear with the conviction of truth.
“ You are right,” he said, “and whatever it costs me, I will neither be a wrong-doer myself nor suffer wrong to be done in my name.
It will, at any rate, console me for the brevity of this interview, which I fear will be my first and last ; for," he continued, with a melancholy accent, “I must once more be a wanderer.”
“ You will not leave--that is--quit England, without allowing my aunt to make the acquaintance of her son's friend, without”-she hesitated-“ without giving me the satisfaction of knowing who it was that rendered me an essential service, to whom I am indebted, perhaps, for my life.”
“And have I been so utterly forgetful of all the laws of courtesy as to continue anonymous? Heavens ! yes.
card to my groom to deliver at the door, and forgot that you could not have received it. My name is Lord Norham.”
Had a mine been suddenly sprung in the drawing-room, Ethelinde could not have been more astonished than by this announcement. She started to her feet, and became pale and red by turns, as the various thoughts which that name excited awoke rapidly within her. She beheld at the same moment the enemy of her social position, whose success would involve her in comparative ruin, the bizarre young man who had acted so ridiculously about the disputed garment, and she could not disguise it from herself—she saw before her one who evidently regarded her with no common interest. That she was perfectly unknown to him, seemed quite certain, for he had mistaken her for Mrs. Rushworth's daughter, but then what could have made him act so absurdly in other respects ? He surely did not mean to speak to her on the subject! The bare idea made her feel as if she were about to sink into the earth; she would rather have lost a thousand law-suits than have run the risk of this unhappy restitution. Amazement, fear, mistrust, so many contending emotions were imprinted on her countenance that Lord Norham gazed on her in mute wonder. Ethelinde felt the embarrassment of their mutual position, and made an effort to recover herself.
“ I was so unprepared," she said, “so surprised to hear your lordship’s name, that-that-I beg you will excuse me”—and she leant against her chair for support.
“ Gracious heaven!” he exclaimed, “what is the matter? What have I unfortunately said to cause this alarm ?” and he took her hand as she spoke.
“ You will understand all," replied Ethelinde, disengaging herself, “when I tell you that I-am-the widow of the late Mr. Trevelyan !"
It was Lord Norham's turn to be astonished, but his astonishment soon gave way to rapture. Ethelinde had sunk into a chair and covered her face with her hands. He came closer to her.
“Mrs. Trevelyan,” he said, “ dear Mrs. Trevelyan, how gladly would I have spared you the pain of this moment, how willingly have foregone it to remove the happiness which it has given me. Hear me, Mrs. Trevelyan-Ethelinde”—she started at hearing him thus name her“dearest Ethelinde;" again he took her hand, “why should we be foes ? Before I knew who you were I had ceased to be so-your generosity had conquered my selfishness—be generous again, and pardon one who never meant to offend, who loves you, Ethelinde, dearer than life itself.” Is it not Camöens who sings
Let no one say that there is need
Of time for love to grow ? And do not all who have ever truly loved admit that a single moment suffices to colour every future hour of existence ? To such-and doubtless they form the majority of my readers—I need not minutely tell how the law-suit ended to the discomfiture of Messrs. Quillet and Quirk, how Mrs. Trevelyan became Lady Norham, and how the “Camicia rapita” was disposed of. To the best of my belief the last-named subject was never adverted to, though Lord Norham smiled very mysteriously the first time he saw the preparations making for his bride's trousseau.
As for Susan, she never ceased wondering at the way things is brought about.”
“To think,” she used to say, lifting up her hands and eyes, “to think of my lord and my lady being interdooced to each other by means of a scrimmiger, as the forrin wally calls it!"
A GRAYBEARD'S GOSSIP ABOUT HIS LITERARY
Forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit.
John Taylor–His Tale of “Monsieur Tonson"—His Bad Puns and forgotten Jests
-His Autobiograpluical Records—The King of Grief-James Cobb-Silencing a Newspaper.
Of the merry crew whom I used to encounter in Hill's Court of Momus, at Sydenham, I shall only notice one more—the late John Taylor, commonly called Jack Taylor, and sometimes Sun Taylor, from his having been, during many years, the proprietor of that newspaper, At different times, he was also part owner of the True Briton, and editor of the Morning Post; at every period he was Prologue and Epilogue writer in general for all the theatres of London, which, however, were not so nu
merous in his days as they have since become. After this preamble, it is hardly necessary to state, that he had an almost universal acquaintance with authors, artists, actors, and actresses of all denominations—a fact, of which abundant evidence may be found in the two pleasant volumes of autobiography, published after his decease, and entitled “Records of my Life.” By some accident, the lines which he had intended for the title-page, were omitted; but, as they were subsequently sent to me by his widow, I insert that portion which describes the scope and purpose of his work.
Go, faithful Record of my former days,
To honour friends, but not to wound a foe. “ Thus much may serve by way of proem,” for, though there might be perfect truth in the further assertion that he had mingled largely in the haunts of men, and that virtue might read his work without a fear, the averments were hardly made in a sufficiently poetic form to justify further quotation.
They who could have divined his mental character from his personal appearance, must have read him backwards like a Hebrew book. “Somewhat rusty was the suit of black which always invested his tall lean figure, carelessly powdered was his hair, deeply furrowed were his cheeks, dark and saturnine were his features, husky and sepulchral was his voice ; yet, this lugubrious-looking personage was always ready, however late the hour, for a freak or a jollification, and rarely opened his mouth, except to relate an anecdote, to repeat a witticism of others, or to attempt one of his own. Nothing, in short, could be more grave than his aspect and outward showing, nothing less so than his discourse and his occasional pursuits. Let it not be supposed, however, that Mr. Taylor was a frivolous character, thinking of nought but social dissipation, and the retailing of facetiæ. His companionable qualities warranted a much higher ambition than that of being a successful punster, and even they who smiled at his occasional failures as a wag, could not help respecting him as a wellconducted, honourable, and kind-hearted man. That he should have exercised his editorial functions during so many years, with so little cause of offence, is doubly creditable to him, if there be any truth in his own averment, when speaking of Sir Henry Bate Dudley, the proprietor of the Morning Post, that it is almost impossible for those who have not been occupied as newspaper editors, to imagine the folly, depravity, and offensive qualities which must inevitably be brought within their cognizance; and that they ought, therefore, to stand excused if their temper sometimes become soured, and their strictures assume a tone of splenetic reproof. Let it be recorded, to the honour of John Taylor, the editor of so many papers, that he needed no vindication of this sort, the natural amenity of his disposition having resisted all the embittering influences of his pursuits.
And yet he had some reason for mistrusting his fellow-creatures, his hard-earned savings of many years having been lost by the misconduct of his partner in one of the newspapers ; a reverse of fortune that induced him, in the year 1827, to publish two volumes of “ Poems on Various Subjects,” for which the wide circle of his acquaintance enabled him to
Jan.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCxxv.
procure an extensive list of subscribers. In the whole long array of
proIogues, epilogues, sonnets, epistles, imitations, elegiacs, tales, and rhyming effusions upon all sorts of occasions, there were but rare exceptions from that order of poetical mediocrity, which, according to Horace, is equally repudiated by gods, men, and bookstalls. Prolific as was his muse, it is very possible that the reader may never have encountered any other of her bantlings than the comic tale of “ Monsieur Tonson," which became so popular that it was often recited at the Freemasons' Tavern, by Fawcett, and was always received with applause; a success which so deeply endeared it to the writer, that he records himself in the title-page of his biography as the “ Author of Monsieur Tonson,” and subjoins the same badge of distinction to the portrait with which the work is embellished. How fondly he doted upon this poetical bantling, the only one of a most numerous family that ever became known to fame, may
be judged by the following extract from his “Records,”
“Several of the actors, among whom were Mr. John Palmer, Mr. Burton, and many provincial performers, called on me, requesting that I would read it to them that they might better understand the conceptions of the author. They should rather have applied to Mr. Fawcett, whose example would have been a more instructive lesson. As I was one morning knocking at the door of a friend, a decent looking person, but with a rough manner, addressed me abruptly, saying,
Are you the author of Monsieur Tonson?' “I simply answered, 'I own my guilt.'
“I thought so,' said he, and went away with equal abruptness. And if this may be considered a species of fame, I have seen myself pointed at in coffee-houses on the same account.'
In another place he is careful to tell the reader that the tale is founded on an actual occurrence of former days, and that the Tom King who forms its hero was not Tom King the actor, of whom Churchill says, “'Mongst Drury's sons he comes and shines in brass.” Indeed, one can hardly read his numerous and complacent allusions to this subject, and the effect produced by his tale, without being reminded of Swift's “ Memoirs of P. P., Clerk of this Parish."
Mr. Northcote, however, no incompetent critic, to judge by Hazlitt's published conversations with him, thought very favourably of the theatrical poems, if the following extract from an epistle to their writer is to be taken au pied de la lettre :
“I can scarcely find words to express to you my admiration of your excellent Prologues. and Epilogues, so various, so witty, so moral, so natural, and so poetic. I wish the whole work had contained nothing else, it would then indeed have been a jewel of the first water ; but when you make verses on Mr. Mr. Mr. Northcote, and Mr. G-d! what a change! I no longer know the same author. It seems to me like a change in a farce, where we see a regal throne quickly turned into a wheelbarrow, &c., or as if somebody had blown your brains out! If ever you write any more verses upon me, pray suppose me to be either a Tragedy or a Comedy, and make a Prologue or an Epilogue for me. But I can easily account for the great difference. When you write a Prologue or an Epilogue, you feel
all the terror of that powerful and re
“ Records," vol. ü., p. 27.
morseless beast, a full assembled audience before your eyes, which keeps you tremblingly alive in fear of immediate public shame. But when you write verses to flatter a fool, you sleep over them, and think any thing is good enough.”
As the subject of this notice had his pet comic tale, to which he delighted to refer, so had he two or three favourite puns of his own concoction, to each of which he thought he might apply the decies repetita placebit. More than once or twice have these old friends revisited mine ear. Methinks I now see their fond parent as he used to reiterate them in days of yore. A smile wrenches his cast-iron features out of their forlorn grimness ; with his fore-finger and thumb he flicks away the snuff from his
shirt frill, as he huskily exclaims, or rather croaks, “ I think you knew Ozias Humphrey, the artist, if not, you must have heard of him. He was fond of raillery, and one day, I think it was at Opie's, in Berners-street, when a little sportive contest took place between him and me, he said, “ Taylor, you are an every-day man.
“Very well,' said I, and you are a weak one.'
and completely silenced my friendly opponent. Some people call this my best pun, but I myself don't think it so good as one that I made to Sheridan, who you know, married a Miss Ogle. Well, we were supping together, on burned bones and claret, at the Shakespeare Tavern, in Covent Garden, when the conversation turning on Garrick, I asked him which of his performances he thought the best.
“ « Oh,' said he, “the Lear, the Lear.'
“No wonder,' said I, “you were fond of a Leer, since you married an Ogle.'"
From these specimens of his best puns the reader may guess the quality of the myriad others constantly popping out of a melancholy-looking mouth that seemed little fitted for emitting such sportive frivolities. It was Saturn pelting you with sugar plums.
Such, however, was his store of pleasant anecdote, so wide had been his acquaintance with men and measures, that his hearers were well content to forgive a twice-told tale, a wretched pun, or his too liberal use of what Gibbon calls the vainest and most disgusting of the pronouns. They could pardon him for remembering a joke too well, but it required a greater degree of forbearance when he insisted, as was occasionally the case after his memory had become less retentive, upon relating anecdotes that he had forgotten. “My dear friend," I once heard him say to James Smith, “ did I ever tell you of my famous repartee to Dubois ? Some allusion having been made to my original profession of an oculist, he said, no wonder that you failed in that pursuit, for a man must have been blind indeed who could think of coming to you for a cure. Well, that made a laugh against me, but I quickly turned the tables upon him, blew him to atoms, demolished him, annihilated him on the spot by a retort I made. I don't recollect just now what it was, but you may depend upon it, my dear Smith, it was a capital thing, and was received with a loud roar. Such slips of memory may easily happen, especially to an elderly man, in the excitement of social intercourse ; but in the following extract it will be seen that Taylor could deliberately commit to writing a repartee of which he had forgotten the point, taking care, moreover, to add a voucher for its probable sharpness. “ The Baron de