Imágenes de páginas

grown too tall for the cane; but Mrs. Newcome thonged him with the lash of her indignation for many an hour that evening. . He was forbidden to enter M. de Blois' house, a prohibition at which the spirited young fellow snapped his fingers, and laughed in scorn. Nothing he swore but death should part him from the young lady. On the next day his father came to him alone and plied him with entreaties, but he was as obdurate as before. He would have her; nothing should prevent him. He cocked his hat and walked out of the lodge-gate, as his father, quite beaten by the young man's obstinacy, with haggard face and tearful eyes, went his own way into town. He was not very angry himself : in the course of their talk overnight the boy had spoken bravely and honestly, and Newcome could remember how, in his own early life, he, too, had courted and loved a young lass. It was Mrs. Newcome the father was afraid of. Who shall depict her wrath at the idea that a child of her house was about to marry a Popish girl?

So young Newcome went his way to Blackheath, bent upon falling straightway down upon his knees before Léonore, and having the Chevalier's blessing. That old fiddler in London scarcely seemed to him to be an obstacle: it seemed monstrous that a young creature should be given away to a man older than her own father. He did not know the law of honour, as it obtained amongst French gentlemen of those days, or how religiously their daughters were bound by it.

But Mrs. Newcome had been beforehand with him, and had visited the Chevalier de Blois almost at cock-crow. She charged him insolently with being privy to the attachment between the young people; pursued him with vulgar rebukes about beggary, Popery, and French adventurers. Her husband had to make a very contrite apology afterwards for the language which his wife had thought fit to employ. “ You forbid me," said the Chevalier, “ you forbid Mademoiselle de Blois to marry your son, Mr. Thomas! No, Madam, she comes of a race which is not accustomed to ally itself with persons of your class; and is promised to a gentleman whose ancestors were dukes and peers when Mr. Newcome's were blacking shoes !” Instead of finding his pretty blushing girl on arriving at Woolwich, poor Tom only found his French master, livid with rage and quivering under his ailes de pigeon. We pass over the scenes that followed; the young man's passionate entreaties, and fury and despair. In his own defence, and to prove his honour to the world, M. de Blois determined that his daughter should instantly marry the Count. The poor girl yieided without a word, as became her; and it was with this marriage effected almost before his eyes, and frantic with wrath and despair, that young Newcome embarked for India, and quitted the parents whom he was never more to see.

Tom's name was no more mentioned at Clapham. His letters to his father were written to the City; very pleasant they were, and comforting to the father's heart. He sent Tom liberal private remittances to India, until the boy wrote to say that he wanted no more, Mr. Newcome would have liked to leave Tom all his private furtune, for the twins were only too well cared for; but he dared not on account of his terror of Sophia Alethea, his wife; and he died, ani poor Tom was only secretly forgiven.


W ITH the most heartfelt joy, my dear Major, I take up my pen to

announce to you the happy arrival of the 'Ramchunder,' and the ricarest and handsomest little boy who, I am sure, ever came from India. Little Clive is in perfect health. He speaks English wonderfully well. He cried when he parted from Mr. Sneid, the supercargo, who most kindly brought him from Southampton in a postchaise, but these tears in childhood are of very brief duration! The voyage, Mr. Sneid states, was most favourable, occupying only four months and eleven days. · How different from that more lengthened and dangerous passage of eight months, and almost perpetual seasickness, in which my poor dear sister Emma went to Bengal, to become the wife of the best of husbands and the mother of the dearest of little boys, and to enjoy these inestimable blessings for so brief an interval ! She has quitted this wicked and wretched world for one where all is peace. The misery and ill-treatment which she endured from Captain Casey, her first odious husband, were, I am sure, amply repaid, my dear Colonel, by your subsequent affection. If the most sumptuous dresses which London, even Paris, could supply, jewellery the most costly, and elegant lace, and everything lovely and fashionable, could content a woman, these, I am sure, during the last four years of her life, the poor girl had. Of what avail are they when this scene of vanity is closed ?

"Mr. Sneid announces that the passage was most favourable. They stayed a week at the Cape, and three days at St. Helena, where they visited Bonaparte's tomb (another instance of the vanity of all things !), and their voyage was enlivened off Ascension by the taking of some delicious turtle ! :: “You may be sure that the most liberal sum which you have placed to my credit with the Messrs. Hobson & Co. shall be faithfully expended on my dear little charge. Mrs. Newcome can scarcely be called his grandmamma, I suppose ; and I daresay her Methodistical ladyship will not care to see the daughter and grandson of a clergyman of the Church of England ! My brother Charles took leave to wait upon her when he presented your last most generous bill at the bank. She received him most rudely, and said a fool and his money are soon parted ; and when Charles said, “Madam, I am the brother of the late Mrs. Major Newcome,''Sir,' says she, “I judge nobody; but from all accounts, you are the brother of a very vain, idle, thoughtless, extravagant woman; and Thomas Newcome was as foolish about his wife as about his

[ocr errors]

money. Of course, unless Mrs. N. writes to invite dear Clive, I shall not think of sending him to Clapham.

“It is such hot weather that I cannot wear the beautiful shawl you have sent me, and shall keep it in lavender till next winter! My brother, who thanks you for your continuous bounty, will write next month, and report progress as to his dear pupil. Clive will add a postscript of his own, and I am, my dear Major, with a thousand thanks for your kindness to me,

“Your grateful and affectionate

“MARTHA HONEYMAN." In a round hand and on lines ruled with pencil:

“Dearest Papa i am very well i hope you are Very Well. Mr. Sneed brought me in a postchaise i like Mr. Sneed very much. i like Aunt Martha i like Hannah. There are no ships here i am your affectionate son Clive Newcome.”

" Rue St. Dominique, St. Germain, Paris, Nov. 15, 1820. “Long separated from the country which was the home of my youth, I carried from her tender recollections, and bear her always a lively gratitude. The Heaven has placed me in a position very different from that in which I knew you. I have been the mother of many children. My husband has recovered a portion of the property which the Revolution tore from us; and France, in returning to its legitimate sovereign, received once more the nobility which accompanied his august house into exile. We, however, preceded his Majesty, more happy than many of our companions. Believing further resistance to be useless ; dazzled, perhaps, by the brilliancy of that genius which restored order, submitted Europe, and governed France; M. de Florac, in the first days, was reconciled to the Conqueror of Marengo and Austerlitz, and held a position in his Imperial Court. This submission, at first attributed to infidelity, has subsequently been pardoned to my husband. His sufferings during the Hundred Days made to pardon his adhesion to him who was Emperor. My husband is now an old man. He was of the disastrous campaign of Moscow, as one of the chamberlains of Napoleon. Withdrawn from the world, he gives his time to his feeble health-to his family--to Heaven.

“I have not forgotten a time before those days, when, according to promises given by my father, I became the wife of M. de Florac. Sometimes I have heard of your career. One of my parents, M. de F., who took service in the English India, has entertained me of you; he informed me how, yet a young man, you won laurels at Argom and Bhartpour ; how you escaped to death at Laswari. I have followed them, sir, on the map. I have taken part in your victories and your glory. Ah! I am not so cold, but my heart has trembled for your dangers ; not so aged, but I remember the young man who learned from the pupil of Frederic the first rudiments of war. Your great heart, your love of truth, your courage were your own. None had to teach you those qualities, of which a good God had endowed you. My good father is dead since many years. He, too, was permitted to see France before to die.

I have read in the English journals not only that you are married, but that you have a son. Permit me to send to your wife, to your child, these accompanying tokens of an old friendship. I have seen that Mistress Newcome was widow, and am not sorry of it. My friend, I hope there was not that difference of age between your wife and you that I have known in other unions. I pray the good God to bless yours. I hold you always in my memory. As I write, the past comes back to me. I see a noble young man, who has a soft voice, and brown eyes. I see the Thames, and the smiling plains of Blackheath, I listen and pray at my chamber-door as my father talks to you in our little cabinet of studies. 'I look from my window, and see you depart.

My sons are men: one follows the profession of arms, one has embraced the ecclesiastical state; my daughter is herself a mother. I remember this was your birthday; I have made myself a little fête in celebrating it, after how many years of absence, of silence !


(Née L. de Blois.)

III. “MY DEAR THOMAS,-Mr. Sneid, supercargo of the Ramchunder' East Indiaman, handed over to us yesterday your letter, and, to-day, I have purchased three thousand three hundred and twenty-three pounds 6 and 8d. three per cent. Consols, in our joint names (H. and B. Newcome), held for your little boy. Mr. S. gives a very favourable account of the little man, and left: him in perfect health two days since, at the house of his aunt, Miss Honeyman. We have placed £200 to that lady's credit, at your desire.

Lady Ann is charmed with the present which she received yesterday, and says the white shawl is a great deal too handsome. My mother is also greatly pleased with hers, and has forwarded, by the coach to Brighton, to-day, a packet of books, tracts, &c., suited for his tender age, for your little boy. She heard of you lately from the Rev. T. Sweatenham, on his return from India. He spoke of your kindness, and of the hospitable manner in which you had received him at your house, and alluded to you in a very handsome way in the course of the thanksgiving that evening. I daresay my mother will ask your little boy to the Hermitage; and, when we have a house of our own, I am sure Ann and I will be very happy to see him. Yours affectionately,

“B. NEWCOME. " Major Newcome.


“MY DEAR COLONEL, --Did I not know the generosity of your heart, and the bountiful means which Heaven has put at your disposal in order to gratify that noble disposition; were I not certain that the small sum I required will permanently place me beyond the reach of the difficulties of life, and will infallibly be repaid before six months are over, believe me I never would have ventured upon that bold step which our friendship (carried on epistolarily as it has been), our relationship, and your admirable disposition, have induced me to venture to take.

"That elegant and commodious chapel, known as Lady Whittlesea's,: Denmark Street, May Fair, being for sale, I have determined on venturing my

« AnteriorContinuar »