Page images

for relief, urging that he, his wife and child, were reduced to a state of starvation by want of employment. It turned out upon inquiry that he had for many years pursued the calling of a law-writer ; but that his distress, although apparently great, was wholly attributable to his propensity to drinking, and that to indulge in this abominable vice he had resorted to the most disgraceful and fraudulent means; and had, in fact, been intoxicated every day for the fortnight preceding that of his application.”

This third class of false indigence requires a separate examination, because vice is not less frequently a consequence than a cause of indigence, and because the mistakenly benevolent have often done as much injury to this class, by refusing opportunities and means of repentance, as they have to the preceding classes by lavish rewards.

To distinguish between true and false indigence is not merely an act of justice, it is pre-eminently an act of mercy: it is not only mercy to the really indigent, by saving for them the resources squandered on the fraudulent, the idle, and the profligate; it is mercy to the impostors themselves, whose ruinous career will be checked when encouragement is withheld; it is mercy to the benevolent dupes, by showing them the difference between misfortunes which command respect and impostures which require punishment. On this distinction the whole system of true benevolence must be based, it alone can ensure its benefits, and prevent its abuses.

• In the discussion of this subject the author has laid himself under obligations to the writings of several eminent publicists; more especially to those of the Baron de Gerando, and the Archbishop of Dublin.

MARIE! 'tis now a twelvemonth nigh

Since first I saw thy gentle face :
I well remember the deep sigh

That made me turn to thee and trace
The sweetest, saddest mind portray'd
In thy dark eyes, my gentle maid !
Marie ! I lov'd thee from that hour,

Though vain and hopeless it may be ;
But 'tis not in my reason's power

To change that love one thought from thee !
E'en could I change it, what might prove
A recompense for such a love ?
'Tis my heart's nature, my soul's life,

Life worthless but that thine imparts
A music to it through the strife

Of jarring tongues, and hollow hearts,
That lullabies it far from this,
Into a dreamy world of bliss !
Marie! they'd wake me from my dream-

They say 'tis wrong to think of thee :
But if my heart in Love's deep stream

Perchance may drown not, it must be
Still onward borne in quest of thine,
Lit with the hope of " one day mine!
Oh ! Marie ! if that day were now-

Nay, turn not from me-give one sign
To tell my aching bosom how,

Or if 'twould glad thee to be mine:
Nothing but tears ! Stay, stay !-yet go
'Tis madness yet thy love to know !






CHAPTER Iv. MONSIEUR PERPIGNAN, after watering his mignionette, went to inspect several trees of his wall-fruit, which had not yet become ripe. Now, an amateur gardener generally counts his nectarines and peaches; so Perpignan counted the specimens, and discovered that about five-and-thirty of his unripe darlings had vanished.“ Who can be the thief?” thought he. « It is very disagreeable to suspect anybody ; but I will lay in wait for the petty robbers.”

At this moment Monsieur Dominique, the harlequin, (who had been requested by Madame Perpignan to come very early to the château, as she wished to put him in possession of the names, pro. fessions, and scandal appertaining to some of her particular friends, and so to enliven the masked ball by Dominique's sallies,) arrived. He had just stepped out of a hired fiacre from Paris, and was attired in his harlequin's dress; but this was quite hid by a cloak in which he was wrapped. He wore a slouched hat over his bound-up black head, to which his black mask was attached with a moveable spring, and he had a long pair of boots reaching beyond his knees over his patch-work legs and russet shoes. As Perpignan was pondering on the fate of the nectarines, he suddenly beheld this extraordinary figure, with a very pale face, and evidently disguised. Perpignan, determined to watch, retreated behind the angle of a wall. Dominique seated himself on a garden-bench, and sighed very deeply. He was perfectly within the hearing and sight of Monsieur Perpignan. Dominique rested his chin on his hand, and uttered in a me. lancholy tone.

“ Is there on earth a greater wretch than I am ? The gate open, any thief might walk in as I did.” Perpignan was excited, but prudently remained in concealment, listening with all his ears. Dominique sighed again, and said, “Our house is closed to-night, so the whole troop are at leisure: none of them know that I am engaged here."

- The fellow has come again after my nectarines,” thought Perpignan.

Dominique resumed—“ I am an hour before my time; but, in my state of mind, if I had remained any longer in Paris, I should have cut my throat !”

“ Then I wish you had stayed there,” thought Perpignan.

“ But what does it avail,” said Dominique, again sighing deeply, “ that I have escaped from all their traps and tricks, and have come into the country ? To-morrow I must go back again to the same wretched business !”

Perpignan felt that he was unarmed. Where had he left his hedge shears?" Dominique continued,

“The doors will be opened; I shall swindle the public, as usual ; there will be their money; but, what is that to me!” and another heavy hypochondrical sigh was heaved.

“ He is not to share in the spoil,” opined Perpignan.

“However, one must work to live, though life is hardly bearable. Five louis will be the fruits of my exertion this evening !

“ Fruits !” exclaimed Perpignan, aroused. “ Five louis! he means to steal all my remaining peaches and plums," and he made his appearance from behind the wall.

Dominique turned his head on seeing Perpignan, and said,

“ Some one-0! only the old gardener ! No one shall see my miserable face," and he instantly pulled down his black mask. Perpignan observing this, muttered, “ Disguised himself! What a wretch to have in the garden!” Here Dominique accidentally dropped his wooden bat from under his cloak, and picked it up again. “What housebreaking implement is that?” reflected Perpignan. “I will seek for assistance.”

He then perceived Justine coming into the garden very prettily attired for the fête; so, making towards her, he ordered her to keep her eye on the strange person on the bench, until he could procure help to take him into custody.

“Pray,” said Dominique, pushing his mask up, “at what hour do your revels commence?".

Justine burst into a peal of uncontrollable laughter at the mistake of her master, and immediately went up to Dominique, and wel. comed him, hoping that he was well.

“As I never had a moment's health in my life,” said Dominique, “how is it possible that I can ever be well ? "

Justine replied, “ La ! let me look at your patched jacket. A prodigious favourite of the public, as you are, constantly exciting the merriment of your audience, ought never to be ill.”

Dominique gave another of his lengthened sighs.

“ Alas! I have been in a fit of hypochondria for these five years past. Medicine will not touch my disorder. Would you credit it? It was but yesterday I went to a celebrated physician, who did not know my person off the stage ; and described to him the depression of ny spirits ; says the doctor, “you lead too lonely a life; you want excitement; you must amuse yourself; visit the theatre; go where you can laugh ; go and laugh at the comic harlequin, Dominique.'-Alas! doctor,' said I, I am Dominique !'”

“I cannot help smiling at you," replied Justine; “ for your very grief is comic."

Dominique made a grin-horrible.

“ What very white teeth she has ! Do you know, my dear, if any. thing ever makes me forget my misery, it is the sight of a pretty girl.”

“ La! Monsieur Dominique,” simpered Justine. “Nothing gives me so much pleasure as to relieve the unhappy ; besides, I would not have you melancholy to-night for the world.”

Dominique approached Justine, and said,

“One kiss on this little hand would cheer me!” (he saluted it) “I am better! One kiss more on that sweet cherry cheek would drive away twenty blue devils.” And here, instead of one, he gave Justine a dozen, who, on turning her head, discovered Monsieur Perpignan, with two labourers with stout sticks in their hands. Justine screamed, and scampered into the château. Perpignan, brandishing a bill-hook, stood before Dominique, and demanded who

and what he was? Dominique thought, By Momus! I am e

ne of my own pantomimes; but those are real cudgels.” Seize this robber!” said Perpignan to the labourers. « Be quiet. you saps !” answered Dominique; and we turned towards Perpignan, and grimaced at him. “And you, you stupid old ass of a gardener, you are elderly enough to know better. Send vour master to me. He will let you into the secret who I am, you cabbage stalk !”

« Cabbage stalk !” cried Perpignan. “Seize him ! disable him!”

Then commenced a scuffle, and an attack, in which all received a few slight blows, and Dominique's wooden bat was deeply chipped by Monsieur Perpignan's bill-hook. No one could tell how this assault would have ended if Madame Perpignan had not rushed out into the garden, dressed as a Columbine, with her high head pow. dered and frizzed, and a little fancy hat with a single feather in it; a light-blue manteau, trimmed with flowers; a white satin petticoat, furbelowed and festooned ; green silk stockings, with clocks, and pink shoes, high-heeled and buckled. She was followed by Jus. tine.

“Mercy on us, Monsieur Perpignan! here is another of your blunders.” Then, turning to Dominique, Madame said, “ A thousand pardons, my good sir, for this mistake.”

“ Pray, Madame, make no apology,” replied the harlequin. “I am accustomed to all sorts of scrapes. But your dolt of a gardener, here; where the deuce did you dig him up? He must have belonged to some antediluvian generation.",

Madame laughingly said, “ Pray excuse my gardener, as you call him, Monsieur Dominique, and step into the château, and take a glass of the best Burgundy, to prepare you for the exertion of the evening."

"You are very good, madame,” said Dominique, and turning to Perpignan, he winked at him. “You see, you ancient artichoke, you were wrong. I attend you, Madame. Be more cautious another time, old carrots and turnips !”

And he then escorted Madame Perpignan into the château, with a profusion of shrugs and dancing-master's bows.

Perpignan stared. ««Old carrots and turnips !' What is all this ? Justine, is your mistress mad, or am I?"

“Oh, sir !” said Justine. “They ought to have told you that Madame, in order to add to the gaiety of her masked ball to-night, had engaged Dominique, the celebrated harlequin, and Mr. Dominique had arrived before his time.”

« And so did I, it appears,” said Perpignan, “for I caught Monsieur Dominique kissing your cheek.”

Justine replied demurely, “Sir, he told me it would make him lively.”

The carriages now approaching the garden-gate, Perpignan got out of the way, and Justine rejoined her mistress.


The gentlemen of the minuet and cotilion bands arrived from Paris, with the violoncellos on the roof of the coach. Pierrots, Scaramouches, shepherds and shepherdesses, cavaliers, poissardes, and the usual motley groups of a masked ball, were set down from their carriages; and, when walking round the ornamented grounds, realized the pictures of Watteau.

On one side was a rustic orchestra in the open air ; and, at the end of a dark wide walk were affixed a profusion of fireworks, all arranged ready to be let off at a given signal; and this signal was a large bell; which was hung to the branch of an elm, with a rope to toll it. Monsieur Pimental arrived with a sac de nuit in his hand, containing his masquerade dress. He was making his way to the room of Du Plessis, where he had arranged to attire himself. He was rather late ; but he had been obliged to keep within his lodging at Paris, peeping cautiously out at his window, because he observed that Monsieur le Marquis de la Tour le Colombier had been parading backwards and forwards on the opposite side of the street nearly the whole day. “But,” thought Pimental, “I have escaped the old savage, at any rate.” Presently he saw, sitting in a corner of the saloon, Gaston du Plessis.

“Ah! Gaston, you must let me go and dress in your cabinet. Why, what ails you, man. You look as pale' and melancholy as a boiled rabbit. I shall appear as harlequin to-night. Here is my


“Would that this mummery was postponed,” said Gaston.

“Oh, ay! I dare say your wound is painful,” replied Pimental. “ You may think it trifling, but old scratch had been taught how to carve, and had nearly taken off your liver wing."

Du Plessis turned away to conceal his dejection, and Pimental reflected, “ Poor Gaston has lost all his spirits. Now I am in such a delicious flow to-night that nothing in the world could turn me over. I feel like a shuttlecock- one tap with a battledore would send me up joyfully floating in the air. O! you lucky young dog, to have nothing to disturb your mind, but the delicious pleasures of a masked ball before you."

At this moment a tall, upright figure, in a faded pink and whitestriped domino, approached Pimental, and in a well-known voice, said,

“This is beyond my hopes. Allow me, Monsieur, to congratulate both you and myself on this fortunate rencontre."

Pimental stood aghast-it was the terrible Marquis, and he internally wished him beyond the Barrier d'Enfer.

“Have the complaisance to follow me into the garden. It may prevent the disturbance which might occur at several later periods of the evening,” and here he produced the formidable Toledo rapier.

* Follow me, instantly. I will take no advantage of you. Prepare your guard.”

Pimental shuddered, and wished the guard would come and take advantage of them both. He then made a turn, as if to go after Colombier through the door in the garden ; but instead of which, he took one spring up the staircase with his sac de nuit, and bolted himself safely in Du Plessis's little chamber.

The Marquis, finding himself again foiled, determined to be doubly vigilant throughout the night; he therefore kept himself closely masked, and entered into the hilarity of the evening with great sternness.

« PreviousContinue »