Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

CHAP. IV.

Selina,“ have been too happy. We back to the shop, and I will call there have each had our trials, and I believe myself during the morning, and give they have improved our characters. my own directions." This world, you know, is a state of Thus was I in an instant, and when trial, and our chief, perhaps our only I was least prepared for it, hurried off business in it, is to do our duty. Let from people to whom I found myself us then consider what, as Christians becoming every moment more attachand fellow-creatures, it is our duty to ed. To confess the truth, and I do for these unfortunate people." hope I may be pardoned for attempt

“I think,” said he, “it is our du- ing to make a resistance against iny ty, for the sake of example, that they destiny,) when I discovered what Mrs should be left to their miserable fate.” Mordant was going to do with me, I

" As for him," said Selina, “I a- made myself as stiff and intractable as gree with you, but for her.-You I could, in hopes she would suffer me have owned to me yourself that she is to remain upon her table, and find for weak and helpless. She is also beau. the gloves some more yielding enve tiful; may not poverty and want drive lope. her into a state still more horrid to But it was in vain ; and I was, as I think of? O think of that, and if we have already said, hurried off to a shop can but save her."

in Oxford Street, where, after the Mr Mordant shook his head, and gloves had been given to the mistress said, “ It must not be. I could not of the shop, I was carelessly thrown bear that that wretched man should on the floor of a little dark back parthink that he still continues to make lour, where I was in danger of being a dupe of me. I must not."

trampled upon every mornent. “ Well, but,” said Mrs Mordant, “ though you cannot, may not I? You know you allowed me to call the little I did not continue long in this new money my god-mother left me my glected situation, for a good-natured own. May not I appropriate some girl picked me up, and threw me on a thing from that source for this poor table that stood near a little window creature just enough to save her from that looked into the shop. From the peril I dread? If it does not save hence I could see every thing that her, I promise you to withdraw it.”, passed there, and I was exceedingly

Mr Mordant was silent.-She eon- amused by the busy scene that was tinued, " If you will allow me to going on : for, on account of the apmention the subject to my brother, proaching general mourning, the shop he would, I am confident, keep the was crowded by great numbers of peo secret faithfully, and by his means I ple, who came in to buy love ribbands could contrive to have the money sent and black gloves: and I could write quarterly, without its being possible an essay on physiognomy, from the for them to discover where it comes observations I had thus the opporfrom."

tunity of making. I could write a * Well," said Mr Wordant, “ I whole chapter on the expression of will consider of it, but I believe," ad- one poor girl's countenance, who came ded he tenderly, “ I believe it will to buy a ribband for her bonnet. Her end in your having your wish," mi wishes were instantly fixed on a fine

At this moment a servant entered broad one, with a double stripe ; but to say a person was come from the on hearing it was a shilling a yard, glove shop to take Mrs Mordant's di-, she heaved a sigh, counted her mom rections about some gloves. Mrs M. ney, shook her head, and bought a looked exceedingly vexed at this un, narrow one at sixpence; but turned seasonable interruption, and said has. back once or twice as she left the tily, “ Desire the inan will call again shop, to look at the double stripe. , to-morrow.-Stay, I have no right to I could write another long chapter trifle with his time, wait a few mo- on the sharp visage and eager eye of ments, and I will send the answer.", a little thin old lady, who had evi, She then took some gloves, and, un-' dently come on foot to a cheap shop folding the parcel that had been to buy bargains : for I saw, as soon brought froin Lady Mary, wrapped as she entered, the people of the shop them up in me, and said to the ser- winked at each other; and when she vant, “ Desire the man to take these asked the price of the before men,

tioned double striped ribband, she of " my darling, my own darling!” was told it was fifteenpence a yard. had not put it beyond a doubt.'' She then began bargaining, and bat- Mrs Mordant was purchasing some tling, and declaring she could any children's stockings, and, presenting where get a better ribband for half some to the little girl, said, “ Here, the money. The shop-woman also as my. dear Isabella, are some warm steadily kept to her point, protesting stockings for you to give to that poor it was prime cost, and she could not child we have just seen." afford to sell it for less. At last, when “O my dear, dear Mamma," exboth parties were out of breath, she claimed the little girl," springing into measured the piece, and finding there Mrs Mordant's arms, "how kind, how were six yards, she said with the air good you are! you are always thinkof an excellent actress :

ing of something to give me plea" Well, Ma'am, rather than you sure!". should leave the shop dissatisfied, you This seemed too much for the poor shall have it quite a bargain, though unhappy inother to bear; and the I lose by it myself. If you will take force of maternal love that she had the whole remnant, you shall have it stifled, when it might have saved her for seven shillings."

from destruction, now seemed to burst A remnant, and a bargain, was too through every restraint: and, graspgreat a temptation for the old lady, ing me unconsciously in the end of who bought twice as much ribband her shawl, she started up with the as she wanted, and left the shop, ex- evident intention of rushing to eme ulting in her own dexterity in buying brace her child; but as suddenly rebargains; while the woman, smiling collecting herself, she stood lingering at her coinpanions, pocketed the odd at the door into the shop, till, the shilling as fair gains.

child having strayed away a little disI was going to make many wise re- tance from Mrs Mordant, who was . flections on this little incident, when busily engaged, the unhappy mother, a lady entered the shop, who baffled unable any longer to resist the imall the skill I thought I was possessed pulse of nature, caught hold of her. of in physiognomy. The gentility of The child, alarmed at being seized her air was a contradiction to her by a stranger, struggled to disengage dress, which, though faded and soiled, herself, and uttering a cry of terror, was still smart and flaunting; and the flew towards Mrs Mordant; and I gaiety of her feathers and her rouge felt the sudden revulsion of the mowas not in unison with the haggard ther's heart as she grasped me in her misery of her countenance. She look, hand, and rushed into the street. ed too tawdry to be a respectable gen- Here Mrs Mordant's carriage, with tlewoman, and yet not bold and au- the door open, and the step let down, dacious enough to be quite what her was in readiness for its mistress; and appearance in other respects seemed from absence of reason, or perhaps a to bespeak her.

kind of recollection of its having been While she was paying for some tri- once her own, she was prevented from Aing purchase, one of the shop-wo- stepping into it, only by the servant's men said to the other, “ Where are' hastily putting up the step, and shutthose gloves ? Here is Mrs Mordant's ting the door." carriage at the door ?."

This brought her to her recollecAt hearing this name the lady start- tion, and she suddenly stopt, and looked, and saying she was exceedingly ed at the footman, who seemed to be faint, begged to sit down in the inner a respectable old family servant. I room, and without waiting for an an- saw that they recognized each other. swer darted in, and threw herself in- She leaned against the railing, and I to a chair near the table where I lay. thought would have fainted. Alas ! Her eyes were rivetted on a little girl could this poor thoughtless being have of about six years old, who came holde foreseen, before she plunged into the ing by Mrs Mordant's hand into the abyss of vice, that one of the penalties shop, and her agitation at seeing her of her crime would be to stand abashwould have assured me she was the ed before her own servant, might it divorced wife of Mr Mordant, if her not have checked her in her mad casobs and her exclamations, in a voice reer? When she was able to speak, which was articulate only to myself, she said, without looking up, “O!

11

if any body would call me a hackney, woman, sinking into a chair, “but I coach !”

quite forgot them.” Mrs Mordant's servant, .without Here a fresh burst of anger and a. speaking, immediately went for one. buse burst from the gentleman,-genHe returned in a few minutes, and tleman shall I call him but, hapthe poor creature, who seemed to have pily for his wife, spying me in the been summoning courage to speak to folds of her shawl, he stopped short him, asked, when she had got into in his invectives, and snatching me the coach, in a scarcely articulate away, exclaimed, voice, for her father.

“To-day's paper, I see; how did Tears started in the man's eyes; you come by it?" and he answered with much emotion: “I cannot guess," said his wife, “My poor old master, Ma'am, is to. “ I did not till this instant know I lerably well in health, but he has had it: surely I have not taken any never looked up since you " thing else by mistake!”-shaking her While he was hesitating how to finish shawl, and turning as, pale as ashes, the sentence, Mrs Mordant appeared as if recollecting that, if she had, she at the shop door, and he turned away had not character enough to vindicate to attend his mistress.

her innocence.

Her companion, who did not seem Chap. V.

to care for any of her distresses, apWe had a very melancholy journey plied himself immediately to me, and in our rattling dirty vehicle, in which I afforded both him and his wife a my poor companion threw herself short respite from his ill humour; back, insensible to every thing but her a very short one, for with a tremendespair.

dous oath, that made me absolutely "O! my father, my father! I have start from his hands, he exclaimed, destroyed his happiness, and shall “ I am the most unfortunate fellow in shorten his days. My sweet-my the world! I see there will be a geengaging child! Shall I never see her neral promotion on the King's death, more? 0! if I could but blot out and if I had not been obliged to selí all the five last years of my life!" my commission, I should now have were the incoherent expressions of her got my majority! But nothing ever anguish, which it seemed to relieve prospered with me!-Nothing ever her bursting heart to utter.

turned out lucky for me.--I never had At last we stopped at a forlorn lookany friends, never could get on as ing house, in a little dull street lead other men do. But you, Madam, you ing out of Holborn. The miserable have been my ruin : I have not known being dismissed the coach, and after a day's happiness since the hour I first staying a few minutes in the passage saw you.” to dry her eyes, and recompose as well “I can say truly," said his wife, as she could her agitated countenance, lifting up her eyes, in which I hoped went up stairs. Here was sitting in there was more of repentance than of a small comfortless apartment a young resentment, “ I can say truly, we are man, whose sour irritated countenance more than quits : what should I have and forlorn dress, were a picture both been but for you ?” of inward and of external wretched- What would I have given at that ness.

moment for a voice to have told these « How could you think of coming guilty creatures, instead of recrimihome in a hackney-coach, this fine nating on each other, to look honestly day?" was the ungracious welcome he into their own hearts: for in their gave to his wife.

own hearts they would find their true • Indeed," said she, “I was too seducers. unwell to be able to walk home.” “0," said I to myself, " if the

“ Stuff !” said he, “ you were well thoughtless beauty I saw at breakfast enough in the morning; and what is this morning could witness the scene to make you worse now ? and how, which is now before me, what a lespray, do you think I am to find moé son would it be to her!” ney to support all your whims and ex- While I was engaged in these retravagances ? and where are the things flections, an untidy dirty girl brought I told you to get for me?"

in an uninviting repast, and seeing “I am very sorry," said the poor me on the floor, took me up, and

brought me down stairs, into what I found myself once more in my native suppose was called a parlour, where element, the air. Mounting into the her master and mistress were sitting. sky, I thought no more of the earth At the moment I was brought in they and all its busy scenes, but giving a were at high words: the lady had the loose to delight, danced about to the superiority over her husband in voice great admiration of a crowd of chil. and fluency, but which had the bet- dren which was assembled in Moorter argument I could not discover ; fields to see me. for the husband declared he would At one time I went up so very high, not stay to be stunned to death by her that I could tell philosophers some noise, but would go where he could things they little dream of, if I did have good company and good humour. not think it better for them to be still Saying this, he took me and his hat, groping in the dark. At last stretchand marched off to a neighbouring ing myself out as far as I could, the ale-house.

better to examine the crystallization of Imagine me, compassionate reader, some hailstones which was going on in this new scene: imagine what I in a neighbouring cloud, the string must have felt in a place where there that fastened me to the kite gave way, were above thirty of the most horrible and I found myself, without the least looking fellows you can suppose site power to assist myself, utterly abanting round a table. On that table I doned to the inercy of the wind. was thrown, and one of them taking Where I went, and what I saw, I me up, said,

cannot explain, for I was hurled about “ Why, what's here? the Morning with too much rapidity, and was too Post, indeed! Let me tell you, my much frightened, to be able to attend friends, there is not a more wicked to the objects around me. At length aristocratical paper in all the world I found myself caught fast by somethan that same Morning Post. The thing, and perceived I had got entangPope's bull is a fool to it. Here, give led in one of the top branches of a us the Black Dwarf and the Republic tree in St James's Park. Here any can! That's the only good stuff for body that has the curiosity may see honest men !"

me, by climbing the thirteenth tree “ That it is," said a little dirty on the left hand side as he enters into cobler, who might have been the the Park from Spring Gardens. All Black Dwarf himself : “ for my part, I have to request is, that no busy next to kings and lords, I thinks ma- hands will attempt to disturb me; gistrates the biggest rogues in the for I am now enjoying that rus in urbe land. When I and Dr Watson gets which most men so much desire, and into Parliament, we'll see and make a which they so seldom obtain ; never, change among 'em : a poor man can certainly, in the same perfection in hardly go about his business now, for which I enjoy it. I am free from all their ineddling." And he said true fear of molestation from living creaenough, for the chief business of the tures, the very crows being scared apresent company appeared to be the way from my tree by seeing me in it. passing forged notes, and picking I look down from my high but peacepockets; and I must say I was very ful station on the busy crowds below, thankful when I found myself tossed and enjoy what with truth may be into a distant corner of the room. called a bird's eye view of this noble

Here I lay a long time out of sight, city. The glory of the heavens is al(would I could also have been out of so open to me, and I would not exhearing !) till some of the party went change my observatory for that of off at midnight to go prowling among Greenwich. The morning breeze and their usual haunts. Some lingered the glow of the mid-day sun are equalto a late hour in the morning. I was ly agreeable to my sensations, and I first spied, after it became broad day, dread nothing but a shower of rain. by a little boy, who seized upon me The only person who has bestowed as lawful plunder, and tore me up to any notice on me since I have been make the tail of his kite. I cannot an inhabitant of the tree on which I say that I entirely enjoyed this deli- am perched, is a young man who fres berate dissection at the time, but I quently sits in an upper window of was afterwards amply repaid for the one of those houses that look into the temporary pain it caused me, when I Park, and whom, by the shape of his VOL. VII.

3 H

head, for I know something of cra- tion, and some other offences, which nioscopy, I judge to be of a kindred he declared could not be compensated, spirit with my own. He probably sees like other crimes among the Saxons, something congenial in my appear- by paying a sum of money. It is an ance, and we find means, accordingly, historical fact, that he, or his deputy, of communicating with each other; the Duke of Saxony, sent certain perand it is to him, gentle reader, that sons yearly through this country to you are now indebted for this history administer justice, and to redress any of the Morning Post.

grievances the conquered people might have against the officers of Charle

magne. These judges were called HISTORICAL NOTICE ON THE VEHM, Send, or Frey-grafen, and to assist OR FREY-GERICHTE, (FREE TRIBU

them in the execution of their office, NAL,) OF GERMANY, IN THE MID

two or more of the most trust-worthy, PLE AGES.

and distinguished inhabitants of each

district, were appointed to give inforOur attention was lately attract mation of crimes, to testify against ed, by the account given in the last criminals, and to assist in bringing (47th) Number of the Quarterly Re- them to justice. They were called view,' to what is there called the Schöppen, or assessors, and to preserve Holy Vehm, or Bloody League ; * them from revenge, they were never and' as our reading has made us a publicly known. The Vehm-gericht little acquainted with this famous tri- is not regularly mentioned in history bunal, we mean to lay before our under this name before the thirteenth readers the information concerning it century. The first on record was held we possess. The description given in 1211, and then spoken of as a well of it in the work from which the pas- known thing. And it is chiefly from sage of the review is quoted, is un- some points of resemblance between supported by authorities, and looks it and these courts of Charlemagne, more like a piece of romance, than of that it is supposed to be derived from real history. Nothing is, however, them. For example, the Vehm, or more certain, than that there existed Frey-grafen, were appointed, like the in Germany, from the beginning of justices, by the Emperor, or some the thirteenth to the middle of the Prince to whom he had conceded the fifteenth century, a number of courts privilege. They administered justice of justice known by the name of in his name, and subsequent EmpeVehin, or Frey-Gerichte, and that the rors attributed the origin of these members of these tribunals, united in- courts to Charlemagne. The Schöpto a formidable league, made them- pen had in both the samne name, were selves, in the fourteenth century, ter- in the same manner unknown, and rible to all Germany.

the crimes taken cognizance of by the "Their origin is involved in doubt Vehm were principally those which and obscurity. The most general opi- Charlemagne had reserved to himself nion is, t that they are as old as the the right of punishing. The reason time of Charlemagne, and were de- assigned for the Vehm Gericht not rived from the itinerant justices or being mentioned in history under this commissioners, (missis per tempora name before the thirteenth century, discurrentibus) which that sovereign is, that it had always before formed dispatched yearly to administer jus- part of the regular administration of tice through his Saxon dominions. justice, and was no more noticed than In the conquered dukedom of Lower many of the other institucions of that Saxony, including what is now called early period. Then, however, Henry Westphalia, he had reserved to him- the Lion fell under the ban of the self the right of punishing heresy, sa. empire, and his territories were dicrilege, witchcraft, secret assassina vided among several princes. Much

confusion ensued, which augmented * See the article on the State of Society

the power of the Vehm, and made it in Germany.

remarkably conspicuous. During his + See Patriotische Phantasien of Justus

government, it passed, as a customary Mæser “ Eine kurze Nachricht von den

thing, unobserved, like the daily risa Westphälischen Frey-Gerichten,”- from ing of the sun. Under his successors, which much of this information is taken. however, its extraordinary power made

« НазадПродовжити »