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“ Damnation !-n'importe !--my sweet Davenant, how could you— Peregrine, my good fellow, do pull the bell !-horrible !-Why, Cecil, how out of your wits you look !-ave Maria ! -vive la bagatelle !--why you look like a Diable like a physician called in too late,-mort de ma vie !-or like a-Monstre !-like a Wood Dæmon at the English Opera House,ếring again, Courtenay !-Ha, ha !-I played one myself once--Oh! que c'est affreux !—for a wager, ha, ha! Oh!-with a long torch, ha, ha!-fire and brimstone!-with long black hair-peste !—but it would never stand on end like yours ! oh que non !-Ring again, Courtenay!- Eh! Perpignan! here has been a fall! a fall,-as they say upon Change,cher Perpignan : take me to bed, Perpignan ; take it easy-doucement! Ah! the Wood Dæmon, Davenant ; I shall never get over it!-ha, ha!-Oh!"
And thus was Marmaduke carried off, laughing, and screaming, and jesting, and swearing, by turns. His medical attendant was summoned, and we saw him no more that night; he sent us word that he was as well as could be expected, but that he should never get over the Wood Dæmon; in spite of which consolatory intelligence, Davenant wore a Tyburn countenance the whole evening.
We met, however, the next morning, and proceeded most laudably to remember nothing of the accident but its absurdity. " I never found Voltaire heavy before,” said Villars, shaking Davenant by the hand; “ but you poets of the Lake are so horribly in the habit of taking liberties with your own feet, that you have no compassion at all for those of your friends. Mercy upon my five toes! they will not meet in a boot for a twelvemonth ; and now, . apropos de bottes,' we must have some breakfast.
Rain confined us to the house, the newspapers were full of advertisements, and the billiard table was undergoing repair. Davenant endeavoured to define intensity, and I endeavoured to sleep; Marmaduke struck his sister's tambourine, and the great clock struck one. We began to feel as uncomfortably idle as a gaol-bird who has just been put in, or a minister who has just been turned out. At last some notice was taken of two miniatures of our friend and his sister, which had been done many years ago, and now hung on opposite sides of the mantle-piece, gazing tenderly at one another in all the holiday magnificence which was conferred by laced cap and pink ribbons upon the one, and by sky-blue jacket and sugar-loaf buttons
the other. Hence we began to talk of painting, and of “Raphael, Corregio, and stuff,” until it was determined that we should proceed to make a pilgrimage through a long gallery of family portraits, which Marmaduke assured
us had been covered with commendations and cobwebs ever since he left his cradle. He hobbled before us on his crutches, and made a very sufficient Cicerone. Marmaduke has no wit; but he has a certain off-hand manner which often passes for it, and is sometimes as good a thing.
“ That old gentleman,” he began, pointing to a magnificent fellow in rich chain armour, whose effigies occupied one end of the gallery, “ that old gentleman is the founder of the family. Blessings on his beard! I almost fancy it has grown longer since I saw it last. He fought inordinately at Harfleur and Agincourt, was eminently admired and bruised, won a whole grove of laurels, and lost three fingers and a thumb. See, over his head is the crest which was his guerdon ; a little finger rampant, and the motto blazoned gorgeously round, mon doyt est mon droit !""
“ A splendid servant of the sword,” said Davenant ; " what a glorious scope of forehead, and what a lowering decision in the upper lip. A real soldier ! He would have cleft down a dozen of your modern male figurantes !"
“ Perhaps so," replied Villars; “ but you see he made a bad hand of it, notwithstanding. His nephew, there, is something more soberly habited, but he was not a jot less mad. Who would dream of such a frenzy in sackcloth and sad countenance ? He was a follower of Wyckliffe before it was the fashion, and"
“ An excellent piece of workmanship too! I like to see some fury in a man's faith. Who can endure a minister of the gospel mounting his pulpit at Mary-le-bone, with his wellordered bands, and his clean manuscript, and his matter-offact disquisition, and his matter-of-course tone! That bald apostle has lips I could have listened to : he might have been an enthusiast, or a bigot, or a madman, or e'en what you will; but he has a show of zeal, and an assumption of authority; there is fire about the old man !”
“ There was once,” said Marmaduke, “ for he was burned in Smithfield. Come hither, here is a young fellow you will admire,-Everard the Beautiful, (by the way, they say he is like me,) who fell in love with the pretty Baroness de Pomeroy. He used to sing under her balcony at midnight, out of pure gallantry, and out of all tune ; catching sighs from the high window, and colds from the high wind. He was full three years wailing and whispering, and dreaming and dying, and smarting in the left breast, and sonnetting in the left turret. At last came the fifth act of the drama, death and happiness blended together with strict poetic propriety ; the fates threw him into her arms one night, and the baron threw him into the moat one morning."
" I loath and detest that eternal sneer of yours. You believe and feel, Marmaduke, although you are too weak to confess it, that the life you have described, a turbid unresting sea of passion and anxiety, and hope and fear, and brief calm and long madness, is worth, oh! twenty times over, the sleepy river of a pedant's philosophy, or the dirty ditch-water of your own clumsy indifference.”
“ Why, my dear Davenant,” said Marmaduke, quietly,
you know love has its ditch-water occasionally ; my poor ancestor found it so. But pass on.-Here is a courtier of Queen Elizabeth's day, lying on the green-sward in despondency and an attitude, with a myriad of cares and a bunch of daffy-down-dillies in his bosom. There is your true cavalier ; a health to short wit and long spurs, blue eyes and white satin! the race has been quite extinct since rapiers went out and political economists came in."
“ I wish,” muttered Cecil, “I wish I had lived with those men. To have had Spenser for my idol, or Sydney for my friend,-to have held Leicester's mantle at court, or Raleigh's back-hand at tennis,-to have stormed a town with Drake, or a bottle with Shakspeare,-by Elizabeth's ruff, it would have been worth an eternity! That was your age for choice spirits!"
“ You will find very choice spirits at the Hummums," said Marmaduke; “ but we are getting into the great rebellion. It abounded in good subjects,--for the pencil, I mean, not for the prince. Never was the land so sorely plagued with dire confusion and daubed canvass. There is silly Sir Lacy, who lost his head, and was none the poorer ; and sillier Sir Maurice, who lost his lands, and was many acres the poorer ; and there is honest Sir Paul, who came in with the Restoration, and wrote my favourite song. Ha, Davenant!
For prince or for prig,
Fill the glasses.
While it passes.'" There was a curious portrait a little farther on-a beautiful and interesting woman, as far as neck and bosom could give us any information; but in place of her countenance was painted a thick black veil. I asked for her history. « Oh,' said Villars, “ that damosel was called Priscilla the Penniless. She was wonderfully killing, but of course that is not the reason she is veiled. Her uncle, the existing head of the
Vol. I. PART II.
family, struck her face out of the picture, and her name out. of his will, because she married a young round-head, who had no merit but his insolence, and no fortune but his sword.”
• What a detestable fool!” said Davenant, meaning the uncle.
“ I think she was," said Marmaduke, meaning the niece. “ Mais allons ; let me show you one more set of features, and we will adjourn. Here is my earliest and most complete idea of feminine beauty. Down on your knees, Davenant, and worship. The fairy-like symmetry of the shape, and the pretty threatening of the right arm, and the admirable nonchalance of the left, and the studied tranquillity of the black hair, and the eloquent malignity of the dark eyes, and the exquisite caprice of the nose, and the laughing scorn of her little lips !-by Venus' dimple, Davenant, I have stood here, and talked rhapsodies to her for hours.'
“ Pray, give us one now," said Cecil, laughing.
“I will.-Fairest of nature's works! perfection in duodecimo ! I speak to you, and you do not hear; I question you, and you do not answer : but I read your taste in your dress, and your character in your countenance. You are the brightest of all earthly beauties. , You would call me a block head if I called you a goddess; you are fashioned for a drawing-room, and not for Olympus--for Champagne, and not for Nectar; you are born for conquest and for mirth, to busy your delicate brain with the slaves of to-day, and to snap your delicate fingers at the slaves of yesterday ; epigrams only are indited to your charms, witticisms only are uttered in your presence; you think laughter the elixir vitæ, and a folio of theology poison; you look with contempt on the Damon who has died for your sake, and with kindness on the fool who bows to the ground, and vows he is your's entire,' head and hand, pen and pistol, from infancy to age, and from shining ringlet to shoe-ribbon !”
- Admirable !” cried Cecil, " and after all, the woman is nothing extraordinary.”
• Chacun a son goût,” said Villars.
• You are over head and ears in love,” said Davenant, laughing immensely.
si She died Anno Domini seventeen hundred !” said Mar. maduke, with inestimable gravity; and so we left the gallery.
• We parted from our friend the next morning. If perfect indifference, and composure in all trials and temptations, can constitute happiness, Villars will be a happy man; but there is something repulsive in his very happiness. Which shall I prefer? Marmaduke, with his unsunned and unclouded weather, or Davenant, with his eternal alternation of bright glow and fleeting shower? I could never settle the point.
AN UNPUBLISHED EPISODE OF VATHEK.
The taste for tower building, of which Vathek had set the example, became infectious in the country about Samarah. This monarch was at first indignant that his subjects should presume to copy his extravagancies ; but his vanity was stronger than his pride, and he left them in the quiet possession of their follies. His most ambitious rival was the merchant Bekfudi. . The riches of this superb person were enor.
His caravans every year brought him silks and jewels that would have rivalled a princess's dowry, and the slaves that cultivated his groves of cinnamon might have formed the rear-guard of a sultan's army. He became dizžy with his wealth, and fancied that he was descended from the Assyrian kings ;-though his grandfather had carried a basket in the streets of Bagdad.
Bekfudi had a handsome palace and extensive grounds; the hills, and the valleys of a little province were his; a broad lake lingered in his groves of citrons and palms ; and the apricots of his garden almost rivalled those which Vathek so prized from the isle of Kirmith. The ladies of his seraglio were as numerous and as beautiful as the harem of the grand vizier, and the other furniture of his palace was equally rare and costly. But Bekfudi began to be satiated with the pleasures and the magnificence of ordinary mortals ; in an evil hour he pulled down his palace and sold his women.
He built an impenetrable wall round his extensive gardens, and vowed to raise, upon the highest hill which this barrier enclosed, a palace upon a new fashion. Bekfudi had no violent reverence for the religion of his country; and he therefore considered it a sinless profanation to make his dwelling-place like a mosque, and his tower resembling a minaret, though he modestly proposed it to be only ten times higher than the minarets of Bagdad. It was the extravagance of his ambition which prompted him to shut out all the world till he should