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that she will pardon me for telling my lady friends how much I was interested in her description of Miss Edgworth, her trim little figure—her charming peculiarities—her girlish, vivacious manner– her attachment to her neighbours, and the successful diplomacy with which she settles all their quarrels. She told me, too, of an evening, many long years ago, when a brilliant array of talent and beauty thronged her little parlours to greet the gifted and ill-fated Miss Jewsbury on her first entrée into London life; and how the blushing girl, fresh from the adulation of a provincial town, wondered, in her childish simplicity, that all the wits and scholars that shone around her, did not fall down before the prodigy which had astonished the humbler wits of her native Manchester. To give additional interest to these reminiscences, she took me into an adjoining room, whose walls were covered with pictures of the literati of this century. To me, who am no connoisseur in the fine arts, it was better than half the Louvre. The first that struck me on entering, was the soft, angelic face of L. E. L., the cherished friend of my hostess. Poor L. E. L.' Her star went down suddenly on a dark, foreign coast, and many a one who had rejoiced in its steady light, sought for it in vain, “with wondering and with tears.' Close by, and in striking contrast, were the large rolling eyes, comical mouth, and long rakish hair of the inimitable Boz. Real gas burners, those eyes! One look from them is as overpowering as a shake of his brotherly hand. A thousand pities that the hand which created Kate and Little Nell, should have created those “American Notes.” When will authors learn the valuable maxim that a half is often more than the whole; and when they have written themselves up, it is better to
stop before they have written themselves down. Running your eye over Mrs. Jamieson, Campbell, Moore and Byron, you will spy the meek, fair, grandmother-like face of my dear friend, Miss Joanna Baillie, that lives up on Hampstead Hill. There she lives in her little brick cottage, the venerable survivor of the old school of authors. Sir Walter and Coleridge are long since gone, and Southey is just gone, and there is no one to talk with of the olden time, save when she enjoys an occasional visit from Wordsworth. But where is heł Look along the wall until you come to a long, melancholy face, with half closed eyes, and scanty white hair, falling gracefully on the shoulders, and you have the patriarch of Rydal. Here he is, looking just as he did that bright sunshiny morning, when he gave me his parting benediction before the door of his ivy-crowned cottage. It was worth a trip across the Atlantic, that “God bless you,” from old William Wordsworth. From this room we went into the sanctum of the authoress. It contains a well arranged library, an antique cabinet of bygone days, presented by a friend, and in one corner stood a little table, to which Mrs. H. pointed, and modestly said, “There I always write.” To that little table the Irish peasantry owe a debt as great as that which Scotland has already paid to the old arm-chair of Abbottsford, and the still humbler stool by the ingle side of Dumfries. But my sheet is full, and I bid Mrs. Hall and my readers good night, with the heartfelt assurance that if our gifted friend shall ever visit our shores, she will find so many bright eyes, and open hands, and warm hearts, that she will verily believe she is once more among the green hills of her native Wexford.
THE CLIME OF THE CRE OLE, THE ISLES OF THE IN D.
BY A POOR SCHOLAR.
O say, have you sailed o'er those glad sunny waters,
At morn, from the shore upon perfumed wings buoyed,
And the Humming-bird buries itself in the rose;
Oh! 'tis bliss to recline by those gay jasmine hedges,
Yes! in dreams of my boyhood, in days of my youth,
Whose dreamy conception the mind ever wearies,
more as he was on his way home.
“WILL you go?” “If possible, but I cannot promise.” “Well, if you do not, may you meet Kitty Mayo!” So saying, Thornton waved his hand, and turning his horse's head towards the Chiaja, left me in the midst of the crowded Toledo. He had been arguing for a quarter of an hour, to induce me to leave Naples with him the next morning in the steamer for Civita Vecchia, and happy should I have been to secure such an agreeable companion, but it was so doubtful whether I could obtain the requisite signatures to my passport, and despatch a variety of parting arrangements, that I steadily refused to give my importunate countryman a more decisive answer. A curious malediction, methought, after we had separated, “may you meet Kitty Mayo!” What can it mean? Probably nothing more than one of Thornton's jokes, broached for the very purpose of mystifying me. Before night, I had reason to congratulate myself on my non-committal reply, as I found it desirable to linger for several days more within the beautiful precints of Parthenope. Indeed, so fully occupied was my time the next day, that I did not reach the quay soon enough to bid my friend farewell, which I regretted the The steamer was still visible, however, and as I watched her recede, the thought of the mysterious penalty annexed to my stay, came freshly to mind, and revived my curiosity, so that the name of “Kitty Mayo” uttered in Thornton's mock-heroic tones, rung in my ears all the morning. Some weeks after this incident, S-, our excellent consul at P , stood by the carriage window in the act of handing me some letters of introduction, when his confidential porter came up, and drawing him aside, whispered a few words which instantly brought a cloud to his brow. He expostulated for several minutes in a subdued voice with the man, and as he withdrew cried out to him, “tell her I am gone to America, tell her any thing, but get rid of her by all means.” “You need not smile,” he added, as we shook hands, “it is of no forsaken beauty of whom I speak.” “Who, them,” I asked, “can have excited such aversion in so friendly a heart?” “Kitty Mayo,” he replied, and before I could obtain an explanation, the postillion cracked his whip, and we were dashing noisily along the pavement. I solaced myself by resolving to write 88
for a solution of the problem, as soon as I arrived at my journey's end; but the execution of this purpose was indefinitely postponed, and months glided by before my latent curiosity was gratified. I was taking my first walk in Malta, under the guidance of Lieutenant H-, whose gallant frigate had been ten days in the harbour of Valetta; long enough to initiate a keen, observing man into the chief wonders of the island. We had paid our devotions at the tombs of the Knights at the church of St. John, enjoyed the fine view from the ramparts, caught the glance of many a dark eye from the balconies, and were now threading the street that leads from the Nix Mangare stairs, amid a swarm of beggars whose tattered garbs and haggard features contrasted strangely with the ample silk mantles of the Maltese ladies, and the gay uniforms and rosy cheeks of the English officers. In the midst of our lively discourse, while the vivacious lieutenant was unfolding, in his spirited way, a rich stock of anecdote and by-way comment, he suddenly grew silent, and casting a searching look along the line of pedestrians, hastily whispered, “excuse me, and come and dine at five.” The next moment he had dexterously wound through the crowd, and disappeared at the first corner. The best hotels in Malta were the palaces of the Knights in the palmy days of their order. The lofty and spacious rooms, floored with marble or polished stucco, and arched by elaborately painted ceilings, have an air of undecayed magnificence. It was in such an apartment that I sat at dinner with H–. The weather, though Christmas was close at hand, breathed the cool softness of spring. It was what a celebrated authoress terms a crystal day. The west wind that played through the open window, scarcely stirred the rich curtains, while the horizontal rays of the sun caught from them a crimson glow that touched every goblet with a ruby hue. The vase in the centre of the table was filled with the richest flowers; and on the sideboard was temptingly arranged a dessert consisting of grapes, pomegranates, prickly-pears, and that truly Maltese luxury, the China orange. A scene so redolent of the balmy south, was too captivating to our northern imaginations, not to induce corresponding associations, and accordingly our talk was of the clime, and music, and fair women, and the dreams of youth. But when twilight stole upon us, the sudden chill of the air, and the duskiness of the vast chamber, altered our mood at once; and we were glad when the landlord had closed the ponderous shutters, and lighted a fire in a grate at a corner of the room. When seated beside the cheerful flame, with a Turkey carpet beneath our feet, and the circular slab between us adorned with an urn, throwing up its “steamy column,” flanked by a row of bright candles, we naturally thought of Cowper and domestic life, tea and sleigh-rides, newspapers and home. My naval friend, like most brave men, was of a kindly temper, and this new train of ideas seemed to recall to his mind his abrupt desertion in the morning. “Can you imagine why I quit you in such a hurry?” he asked. “Why, no,” said I, “if I did not know your aversion to debt, I should have supposed you saw a dun approaching, and were it not for your most unprofessional love of peace, I could fancy you suddenly recollected an affair of honour to be settled at noon.” “You are wide of the mark. I was frightened away by the sight of a yellow shawl, and a straw bonnet trimmed with faded green. A singular antipathy, you will say, but I have a better reason for my fancy than Shylock gave for his. It was not the costume so much as the wearer that I was fain to avoid, though I discovered afterwards it was all a false alarm.” “If it is no secret, pray who was the supposed monster whose very effigy could thus annihilate such gallantry as yours?” “Kitty Mayo.” “How fortunate!” I exclaimed; “now for the long-desired explanation. Know, my friend, that a meeting with the mysterious personage you have named, has been assigned me as a penance. Who is she? What is she? Where is she? Shall I ever see her?” “Heaven forbid!” replied the lieutenant, look. ing round as if he expected an apparition to start from the shadows of the opposite wall; then deliberately lighting a prime Havana, he drew nearer the fire, and composed himself to talk like a man who is conscious of that inspiring presence, a good listener. “There is more than one elderly gentleman in Philadelphia, whose heart, lapped in a life of comfortable routine, yet warms occasionally at the thought of Catherine Mayo. She was the prettiest Quaker girl of her day, and an heiress be: sides. There was a schism among the Friends, and she joined the reformers. In a year the meek and silent Quakeress became a restless and zealous sectarian. The spirit of independence once raised in one whose existence had been so formal and constrained, knew no bounds. First she cast off the bonds of the church, then those of her family, and finally the ties of country became wearisome, and she embarked one day in a London packet, and for twenty years has been roving by herself about the Mediterranean. Her kindred have grown weary of interfering with her move
KITTY MAYO. 89
ments, her beauty has long since vanished, but her money she hoards with miserly care. Being thus afloat upon the world, she claims the protection and services of every American she meets, with a pertinacity that cannot be refused. She clings to a compatriot like Sinbad's old man of the sea, and keeps reappearing to the same individual as often as Monsieur Tonson. She has no taste, no delicacy, no consideration, and no tact, and yet she is neither crazy nor wicked. She is for ever making blunders, and placing herself in ludicrous dilemmas; and whoever from motives of benevolence or patriotism befriends her, is sure to come in for a share of the consequences. She neither dresses nor talks nor acts like any other of her sex. You see her straying along, with a yellow shawl, straw bonnet trimmed with faded green, and a little old fur muff, under cover of which she clasps her purse. Kitty has persecuted the consuls in these regions well-nigh to death, and darts upon every unsuspecting traveller from America, like a hawk on its prey. Every one who has ever experienced her exactions, shuns her as if she were a poor relation. Her victims are numberless, and the history of their individual sufferings would make a series of tragic comedies. The first time I saw Kitty was one fine morning, when we were anchored in the bay of Naples. She made her appearance at the side with the yellow shawl, straw bonnet and muff, and called for me. I found her seated in a leaky boat, towed by a decrepid old man, who brought her for half price. She insisted upon coming on board, notwithstanding the wet decks, and urgently requested a private interview on business of importance. My brother officers turned aside to hide their smiles, and I led the way to the cabin. She began a rambling tirade against mankind in general, and her countrymen in particular, and set forth the decline of gallantry in no measured terms, concluding by adjuring me as an American and a gentleman, to procure her a ticket for the court ball that night. In a fit of good-nature, I promptly acceded to her request, and agreed to call for her at a seasonable hour. It was impossible for the carriage to enter the narrow street where she lodged, and it was with no little difficulty that I picked my way to the door, and mounted three flight of stairs. I found her attired in a white gown, very long in the waist and very low in the neck, with an old blue ribbon for a sash, after the primitive manner of country girls at home. Indian moccasons and a necklace of enormous black beads completed her costume. I was confounded at the idea of ushering such a figure into the palace, and, as a desperate expedient, dropped the extra ticket unperceived into a chafing dish that stood on the floor, and then, as politely as possible, informed Kitty that I had no ticket, and trusted she would take the will for the deed, and give up the idea of the ball. ‘By no means,” she exclaimed, “it is just like all you men, but I'll go in spite of you.' I bowed,
and expressing my regret for her disappointment, : conversation, and now, suppressing her inclination : to laugh at the ridiculous airs and attire of my
hastened away. An hour afterwards my whole attention was absorbed by the lovely Contessima Monti. A long cherished wish was that evening gratified. I had been introduced to that beautiful creature, and was in high spirits, playing the agreeable to both mother and daughter, and quite the envy of half the men in the saloon, when our attention was attracted by the announcement of the master of ceremonies, the Prince Mantini, General Noto, and the Signora Non Importa. The last name (literally, no matter) caused us to look towards the door, when who should I see but Kitty herself, in the same detestable plight, with the addition of a perfect mop of yellow curls upon her head. She advanced simpering, curtseying and looking about her, and, as it were by instinct, caught sight of me immediately. In vain I endeavoured not to recognise her. She came towards us with the most complacent familiarity, and exclaimed with no little triumph, “You see I’ve kept my word,” and passing her arm within mine, declared she never was so delighted to see any one in her life. Imagine my chagrin and confusion. I seemed to feel the dark eyes of the Contessima burning my very heart with a gaze of mirthful curiosity. Kitty seemed totally unconscious of the notice she was attracting. ‘Let a woman alone for invention,’ said she. ‘How do you suppose I got admission? Why, I made my hair-dresser bring me to the door in his cab, and waited till I saw the Prince Montini and General Noto, and walking up stairs before them, pretended to faint. They, supposing I had become separated from some party, came to my assistance, and accompanied me to the door, so that I entered in their wake, only that stupid fellow when I told him it was of no consequence about announcing me, must needs bawl out Signora Non Importa.' The Contessima, meanwhile, pitying
companion, addressed her in Italian, and inquired if she danced. Kitty was all agog at this voluntary politeness, and essayed to inform the Contessima that she could not dance, in consequence of having struck her foot against a stone the day before, but instead of mapietra grande she said Pietro il grande. The idea of such a figure coming in contact with Peter the Great was too much even for her gravity, and I was fain to lead Kitty away, amid the half-suppressed titters of the company. Our envoy at Naples at the time was D–. The moment we encountered him, Kitty demanded as an American to be presented to the queen, which the ambassador with obvious reluctance consented to, provided she could manage to appear in a proper dress. Mrs. G–, our amiable countrywoman, at that moment approached, and, with most superfluous kindness, sent Kitty to her own house in her carriage, with a line to her sister, and in an incredibly short time, she reappeared in an appropriate costume. D— gently insinuated that after the presentation, custom merely required her to bow to her Majesty, and pass on. But this was too great a sacrifice for her ambition, and she smirkingly told the queen that “she was very happy to make her acquaintance.’ This speech was too unique not to fly from mouth to mouth, and as Kitty had resumed her hold upon my arm, I was obliged for three hours to stand the battery of a thousand eyes, directed with no little amazement at my eccentric companion. There I stood in a cold sweat like a martyr, and you may be sure it was a full year before that evening ceased to furnish jokes aboard the frigate. Do you wonder the very idea of the woman is alarming? But your cigar is out, and much as I love the fragrant weed, I would rather never smoke another than
my embarrassment, had engaged her mother in have you meet Kitty Mayo.”
AMERICAN SCULPTORS IN ITALY.
(Ertract from a Letter to the Editor.)
“MR. Brown, who has been in Florence but a few months, is now modelling a statue of a Young Indian. Clevenger is also modelling the statue of an Indian Warrior; and Powers has just cast a statue of a ‘Grecian Captive,” which is much more admired than his statue of Eve.
“The report which, during the past winter, has been in circulation in the United States, relative
to the attempt to assassinate Powers, has amused the artists greatly; there was no truth in it. However, Mr. Powers had the gratification of reading his own “Obituary,” very kindly written, also a ‘Sketch of his Life,” which appeared here, in the English papers, copied, as it was stated, from the American.”