Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

way,” says Jason, “ and that's ready enough: when there's no cash, what can a gentleman do, but go to the land ?”

“ How can you go to the land, and it under custodiam to yourself already," says Sir Condy, "and another custodiam hanging over it ? and no one at all can touch it, you know, but the custodees.” “Sure can't you sell, though at a loss ? sure you can sell, and I've a purchaser ready for you," says Jason. “ Have

ye

so ?” said Sir Cundy ; " that's a great point gained; but there's a thing now beyond all, that perhaps you don't know yet, barring Thady has let you

into the secret.” “ Sarrah bit of a secret, or anything at all of the kind, has he learned from me these fifteen weeks come St. John's eve," says I ; "for we have scarce been upon speaking terms of late; but what is it your honor means of a secret ?" “Why, the secret of the little keepsake I gave my Lady Rackrent the morning she left us, that she might not go back emptyhanded to her friends." "My Lady Rackrent, I'm sure, has baubles and keepsakes enough, as those bills on the table will show,” says Jason; “but whatever it is,” says he, taking up his pen, we must add it to the balance, for to be sure it can't be paid for.”

No, nor can't till after my decease,” said Sir Condy; " that 's one good thing.” Then coloring up a good deal, he tells Jason of the memorandum of the five hundred a-year jointure he had settled upon my lady; at which Jason was indeed mad, and said a great deal in very high words, that it was using a gentleman, who had the management of his affairs, and was móreover his principal creditor, extremely ill, to do such a thing without consulting him, and against his knowledge and consent. To all which Sir Condy has nothing to reply, but that upon his conscience, it was in a hurry and without a moment's thought on his part, and he was very sorry for it, but if it was to do over again he would do the same; and he appealed to me, and I was ready to give my evidence, if that would do, to the truth of all he said.

So Jason with much ado was brought to agree to a compromise. “The purchaser that I have ready," says he, “will be much displeased, to be sure, at the encumbrance on the land, but I must see and manage him ; here's a deed ready drawn up; we have nothing to do but to put in the consideration money and out names to it." “And how much am I going to sell ?—the lands of O'Shaughlin's town, and the lands of Gruneaghoolaghan, and the lands of Crookagnawaturgh," says he, just reading to himself, -"and-Oh, murder, Jason! sure you won't put this in—tha castle, stable, and appurtenances of Castle Rackrent.” “Oh, murder !" says I, clapping my hands, “this is too bad, Jason." “Why so ?” said Jason, “when it's all, and a great deal more at back of it, lawfully mine, was I to push for it.” “Look at him," says I, pointing to Sir Condy, who was just leaning back in his arm-chair, with his arms falling beside him like one stupefied; “is it you, Jason, that can stand in his presence, and recollect all he has been to us, and all we have been to him, and yet use him so at the last ?” Who will

you find to use him better, I ask you ?" said Jason ; “if he can get a better purchaser, I am content; I only offer to purchase, to make things easy and oblige him: though I don't see what compliment I am under, if you come to that; I have never had, asked, or charged more than sixpence in the pound, receiver's fees; and where would he have got an agent for a penny less ?” “Oh, Jason ! Jason ! how will you stand to this in the face of the country and all who know you ?” says I; “and what will people think and say, when they see you living here in Castle Rackrent, and the lawful owner turned out of the seat of his ancestors, without a cabin to put his head into, or so much as a potatoe to eat ?” Jason, whilst I was saying this, and a great deal more, made me signs, and winks, and frowns; but I took no heed; for I was grieved and sick at heart for my poor master, and couldn't but speak.

“Here's the punch,” says Jason, for the door opened ; “here's the punch!” Hearing that, my master starts up in his chair, and recollects himself, and Jason uncorks the whisky. “Set down the jug here,” says he, making room for it beside the papers opposite to Sir Condy, but still not stirring the deed that was to make over all. Well, I was in great hopes he had some touch of mercy about him when I saw him making the punch, and my master took a glass; but Jason put it back as he was going to fill again, saying, “No, Sir Condy, it shan't be said of me, I got your signature to this deed when you were half-seas over: you know your name and handwriting in that condition would not, if

brought before the courts, benefit me a straw; wherefore let us settle all before we go deeper into the punch-bowl." Settle all as you will ;” said Sir Condy, clapping his hands to his ears; “but let me hear no more; I’m bothered to death this night.” * You 've only to sign,” said Jason, putting the pen to him. “Take all, and be content,” said my master. So he signed ; and the man who brought in the punch witnessed it, for I was not able, and crying like a child; and besides, Jason said, which I was glad of, that I was no fit witness, being so old and doting. It was so bad with me, I could not taste a drop of the punch itself, though my master himself, God bless him! in the midst of his trouble, poured out a glass for me, and brought it up to my lips, “Not a drop, I thank your honor's honor as much as if I took it though,” and I just set down the glass as it was, and went out, and when I got to the street-door, the neighbor's childer, who were play. ing at marbles there, seeing me in great trouble, left their play, and gathered about me to know what ailed me; and I told them all, for it was a great relief to me to speak to those

childer, that seemed to have some natural feeling left in them; and when they were made sensible that Sir Condy was going to leave Castle Rackrent for good and all, they set up a wbillalu that could be heard to the furthest end of the street; and one fine boy he was, that my master had given an apple to that morning, cried the loudest, but they all were the same sorry, for Sir Condy was greatly beloved amongst the childer, for letting them go a nutting in the demesne, without saying a word to them, though my lady objected to them. The people in the town, who were the most of them standing at their doors, hearing the childer cry, would know the reason of it; and when the report was made known, the people one and all gathered in great anger against my son Jason, and terror at the notion of his coming to be landlord over them, and they cried, “No Jason ! no Jason! Sir Condy! Sir Condy! Sir Cundy Rackrent forever !” and the mob grew so great and so loud, I was frightened, and made my way back to the house to warn my son to make his escape, or hide himself for fear of the consequences. Jason would not believe me till they came all round the house, and to the windows with great shouts : then he grew quite pale, and asked Sir Condy what had he best do? “I'll tell you what you 'd best do,” said Sir Condy, who was laughing to see his fright: “finish your glass first, then let 's go to the window and show ourselves, and I'll tell 'em, or you shall, if you please, that I'm going to the Lodge for change of air for my health, and by my own desire, for the rest of my s." “ Do so,” said Jason, who never meant it should have been so, but could not refuse him the Lodge at this unseasonable time. Accordingly Sir Condy threw up the sash, and explained matters, and thanked all his friends, and bid 'em look in at the punchbowl, and observed that Jason and he had been sitting over it very good friends; so the mob was content, and he sent 'em out some whiskey to drink his health, and that was the last time bis honor's health was ever drunk at Castle Rackrent.

poor

318.-DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.

HOOD. (Thomas Hood, born in London in 1798, was the son of a respectable publisher, of the firm of Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe. He was brought up an engraver ;-he became a writer of Whims and Oddities,'—and he grew into a poet of great and original power. The slight partition which divides humor and pathos was remarkably exemplified in Hood. Misfortune and feeble health made him doubly sensitive to the ills of his fellow-creatures. The sorrows which he has delineated are not unreal things. He died in 1845, his great merits having been previously recognized by Sir Robert Peel, who bestowed on him a pension, to be continued to his wife. That wife soon followed him to the grave. The pension has been continued to their children.)

'Twas in the prime of summer time,

An evening calm and cool,
And four-and-twenty happy boys

Came bounding out of school:
There were some that ran, and some that leapt,

Like troutlets in a stream.

Away they sped with gamesome minds,

And souls untouched by sin;

To a level mead they came, and there

They drave the wickets in: Pleasantly shone the setting sun

Over the town of Lynn.

Like sportive deer they coursed about,

And shouted as they ran-
Turning to mirth all things of earth,

As only boyhood can:
But the usher sat remote from all,

A melancholy man!

His hat was off, his vest apart,

To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
For a burning thought was in his brow,

And his bosom ill at ease;
So he leaned his head on his hands, and read

The book between his knees !

Leaf after leaf he turned it o'er,

Nor ever glanced aside;
For the peace of his soul he read that book

In the golden eventide :
Much study had made bim very lean,

And pale, and leaden-eyed.

At last he shut the ponderous tome;

With a fast and fervent grasp
He strained the dusky covers close,

And fixed the brazen hasp:
"O God, could I so close my mind,

And clasp it with a clasp !"

Then leaping on his feet upright,

Some moody turns he took ;
Now up the mead, then down the mead,

And past a shady nook :
And lo! he saw a little boy

That pored upon a book!

« PředchozíPokračovat »