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But now—unhappy chance that brought this turn!
Thou dost deny me with excuses weak
And dost within another's eyeballs seek
Nothing thou doest doth my eyes escape;
I know thy purposes--thy thoughts behold : Alas, that they should often take a shape
Which multiplies my cares a thousand fold ! Alas, that thou art changed !-alas, indeed, A plant so fair should bear such worthless seed !
But these stern words on thee must never fall;
'Tis my unlucky fortune that's to blame, In my own heart I censure not at all ;
For all thy goodnesses such footing claim, That thy unkindnesses there find no placeThere is no room for things that seem so base.
Cease I to be of value in thy sight?
The worth I owned hath vanished utterly:
To me more estimable seem than I;
Fault none of mine is it that I am not
So precious as thy loye hath made me seem; Thou prized me then for worth I had not got,
And now thou dost my meed too lowly deem :) Yet if thou thinkest me such sort as this, Am I the very poorest thing that is.
I know not why that thou should's now prefer
Another to a heart so much thine own:
But doubt I much it love like mine hath known.
Remember this--the threat'ning cataract
That loudest roars, is use for no man's hands;
The humblest waters may have golden sands :
“ Flat disobedience and rank atheism !” exclaimed the old man, after he had listened with evident impatience to the perusal of the poem6. Didst ever hear of such heathenish notions ? not to say that I understand it, I'd rather be hanged than understand any such villainy. But what think you of it, Mistress Joanna? I see the horrible impiety of it hath quite discomposed you."
In truth, what Gregory Vellum had stated, was nigh unto the fact; for Joanna had quickly discovered that the verses she was reading were written for her, and intended for her eye alone; and as the allusions they contained struck upon her mind, her changing colour denoted how much she was moved by them. When she came to the end she was, for a few minutes, utterly disconcerted. She seemed lost in a maze of conflicting thoughts ;
her brow became dark, and her eyes fixed, and so completely had she given herself up to her own reflections, that she heard not the question that had been put to her,
“ What say you, sweetheart?” said he familiarly, laying his hand upon her shoulder. 6. Doth not your hair stand on end to see how he misuseth me? Why, he costs me a matter of a groat a week for his diet—for he hath the appetite of two carriers —and then-the caitiff ! to be robbing me in this monstrous manner, when candles are threepence to the pound, and to be scribbling his preposterous atrocities when stationery is at so high a cost. By my troth he hath no more virtue than an addled egg! But what think you of the verses?”
6 Sad stuff, Master Vellum,” she replied, having perfectly recovered from her confusion ; “ but be assured there is no harm in them. I think he ought not to be encouraged in these practises ; so I will e’en take the paper with me, and tear it to pieces as I go along." 66 Ah, do, good Joanna ! shew upon it
proper detestation of such thorough and most inconceivable villainy,” said he, as he observed her take
possession of the poem.
66 But I must turn the rogue out of doors; he will ruin me straight an I do not; and I would as lief live among savages as exist with a knave who plundereth me by wholesale
of such estimable candles' ends, and destroys me so many fair sheets of paper in inditing matters it would be a scandal to understand.”
“ Nay, good Master Vellum," observed his fair companion, “ do not be so harsh with him. He is but young; and boys have a natural tendency for the perpetration of these offences. When he attaineth the becoming gravity of his uncle, he will give over all such primitive delinquencies."
“ Dost think so, sweetest ?” enquired the old man eagerly, as, with a most preposterous leer, he thrust his ungraceful countenance close to her beautiful face. 66 You are a woman of admirable discretion, and of a truly excellent fancy. Dost despise these raw youths; and could'st affect a man of more mature years ?”
Ay, marry, and why not?” enquired she very innocently.
6. You are a most excellent wench !” exclaimed he with unaffected delight, as he seemed to feast his eyes upon
the graces of her countenance-"one of ten thousand. Think you, you could rest content with an old man-nay, one not so old either —who would never be gadding from you like your young gallants, none of whom are ever to be trusted out of sight, but would nourish you, and cherish you, and fondle you, and make inuch of you, and none but you; and make you mistress of all his gold, his house, and chattels ?”
Ay, marry, why should I not?” repeated she in the same tone.
“ Then you shall have me sweetheart !” cried the old man in an ecstacy; and seeming, by the unsteady movement of his hands, with great difficulty to refrain from throwing his arms round her neck. "I have loved
you for some months, sweetest ! and all the little gifts I have bestowed upon you, were to shew you how enamoured I was of your most blessed condition. And I will tell you a secret my love! my dove ! my angel !my paragon of womanhood !" continued he, fidgetting about, and gloating upon her with his lack-lustre eyes as if he were bewitched. “ Although I seem so poor-yet am I richer than I seem. Ay, am I. I have store of gold-bright yellow gold ! Hush, there's no one listening, is there?” he all at once exclaimed, as, fearing he had said too much, he gave a restless glance around the
“ Not a soul,” replied Joanna, still retaining the same uninoved countenance.
“Yes, sweetheart,” he continued, every now and then giving a suspicious glance about him, “ I have saved, and scraped, and hoarded up a goodly store of wealth, the result of infinite painstaking, and exceeding self-denial; and you shall enjoy it: you, my life, my queen! Oh, how I long to hug you in my most fond embrace.”