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now stood me in good stead, and we reached the bank just as a heavy peal, thundering above our heads, brought down a deluge of rain, which rendered poor Rivolte's exclamation of 'Eh! la pluie!' an unnecessary commentary. Despite the danger of such a position, there was nothing for it but to take shelter under a huge elm tree, preferring the remote chance of being struck by lightning to the disagreeable certainty of being drenched from head to foot. It was a bore even for me to undergo a complete drenching in light summer costume; but for my tender companion, it was a serious matter indeed. Luckily, the tree to which we had fled was in full summer foliage, and a roof of green leaves will keep out a certain quantity of wet; so for a time I had only to defend my charge from the chilling night breeze, which struck colder and colder as the rain descended. Divesting myself of as much clothing as decency would permit, I wrapped my neckcloth, coat, and waistcoat, round her shivering form, reserving for my own defence a pair of thin white trousers and a linen shirt. What a situation for a première danseuse at her Majesty's Theatre and a subaltern of her Majesty's bodyguard! There we were, Coralie de Rivolte and Digby Grand, cowering beneath the storm under an old tree on the banks of Father Thames, the one lavishing, the other receiving those cares and attentions which, under such circumstances, are due from the stronger to the weaker sex. The storm cleared off-would it had lasted twice as long! Coralie had been kept tolerably dry by my solicitude, and a bright moon shone placidly down upon us as I sculled the dancer back to Richmond, bending leisurely to my oars, and ever and anon whispering in her ear no unwelcome syllables of homage and admiration, couched in her own polished language, so expressly adapted to the voice of gallantry.
"Oh que faire? il est parti, milor,' exclaimed Coralie, in an altered voice, and with a frightened expression of countenance, as, on mooring the boat under the terrace of our hotel, a servant, evidently awaiting our arrival, informed us that our party had taken their departure for town immediately after
the storm had cleared off, leaving a message, that if we ever returned, we should follow them in St. Heliers' brougham, which had come down expressly to take him home at night, but which his lordship, with his usual gallantry, had left for the accommodation of Mdlle. de Rivolte. Surely, thought I, my star is in the ascendant: first of all, to be stormstayed on the river with the charming Frenchwoman, and then to come in for a tête-à-tête drive of ten long miles back to London in the same fascinating society!
'Don't hurry that bay-horse,' I said to Lord St. Heliers' coachman; 'I am sorry you have had so long to wait.' And as I crossed his palm whilst making this civil speech, he took me at my word. The brougham horse was a rare trotter, but I think we were quite two hours on the road; and as we parted at the door of Coralie's neat little villa, where she was received by an anxious, elderly lady, we had become such friends as can only be made by a partnership in difficulties, with youth on one side and beauty on the other. How dreary looked the inside of the darklined brougham without the white dress of my companion! How her pretty, rapid accents rung in my ears, and the gentle pressure of her little gloved-hand still seemed to cling to mine! The lamps_glared reproachfully in upon me as I sat in solitary reverie; and the accelerated roll of the wheels kept incessantly repeating a monotonous chorusFanny Jones, Fanny Jones,' 'this is worse, this is worse;' till I was set down at the door of my own lodgings, with a beating heart and an excited brain, to dream through the livelong night of the piquante smile which lent such an indescribable charm to Coralie de Rivolte.
Enslaved by the fascination of the dancer, I now frequented the Opera, with a regularity that the unassisted attractions of music and 'spectacle' could never have brought out. Hillingdon, Lavish, and myself were fortunate enough to possess the best box in the house, as we considered it that which commanded the nearest view of the dresses and features of the performers-enabled us to catch every one of the 'asides' not intended for the amusement of
the public; and, above all, possessed a communication with that region of chalk, machinery, and reality, denominated behind the scenes.' Here would we assemble to pronounce our opinion on tenor, soprano, contralto, and baritone; to discuss the efficiency of a chorus or the harmony of a scene. I for one could never even whistle an air correctly; Hillingdon, who was by way of being an amateur, made fearful havoc of Bellini on the violoncello; and Jack Lavish, if unfortunately he arrived before the concluding scene of the opera, could hardly keep his eyes open, till roused by the attractions of the ballet. Such were the trio that sat in judgment on the gifted composers of the sunny south.
We usually dined together at Crockford's, if not otherwise engaged; and after the very best dinner it was possible for Francatelli to serve, diluted by the most undeniable of liquors, we rose from one unpaid-for banquet (the great charm of those little réunions), and sped our way to the scene of brilliancy and enchantment that burst upon our view from the dark interior of 'Stage Box, No. 1, Ground Tier.' What a thrill of excitement and pleasure used to come over me, as, drawing aside the heavy curtain that shrouded us from the public, I adjusted my double-barrelled glass to take a thorough survey of that variegated assemblage, to note the occupants of those boxes to which I had the entrée, and to mark the new faces or unexpected combinations of old ones, which formed the detail of this worldly kaleidoscope. Then as I carefully set aside the rare bouquet furnished by Harding for Coralie, Jack Lavish would enter, with some choice bit of scandal which levelled all our glasses at a small dark box on the third tier opposite, to take a deliberate survey of a classic and beautiful head, with one white camelia in the dark massive hair, bending gracefully towards a white waistcoat, surmounted by a large pair of whiskers and accurate mustachios; whilst Jack whispers in my ear an improbable story about Austrian tyranny and a Hungarian
Swiftly sped the moments on the wings of song, and soon the pre
parations for the ballet brought us back from the different boxes where we had been paying visits and retailing small talk, to our own incomparable position for inspecting the many-twinkling feet,' and swallowing the dust and chalk kicked up by those active members, whose proportions, however, will not always bear the closest survey. But the band of figurantes opens out in graceful, undulating lines, and bounding forth into light from the dark background of the stage, like a butterfly released from its dingy prison, Rivolte bends, curtseying to the ground, in acknowledgment of the tumultuous applause which ever greets her entrance. 'Rivolte' she is to that admiring_crowd, but 'Coralie' to me, as I feel when her dark eye, glancing round the house, softens into tenderness as it rests upon my box. Bouquets are showered upon the favourite dancer, and as mine goes spinning to her feet amongst the others, it is distinguished from the rest, and I can see that is the one she presses to her lips whilst bowing her gratitude to the enthusiastic throng; that is the one which accompanies her through the intricate evolutions of the pas de fascination, and is clasped to her panting bosom in the impassioned attitude with which that voluptuous dance concludes. Mine, too, are the congratulations which greet her most acceptably, as, hurrying behind the scenes, I await the breathless fair one with cloak and shawl; and tender are our mutual inquiries and allusions to the Richmond wetting and its consequences. Coralie's carriage is in waiting, and having wrapped her up most assiduously, I conduct her carefully to the stagedoor, through all the confusion of men in paper caps, moving scenes, dancers in full dress, but whose rouge and white satin shoes look less brilliant in colour, more brickdust and less carmine, more yellow and less snowy, than when illumined by the glare of the foot-lights; actors and actresses, dressed in plain clothes, going away like other people; and all the litter, dust, and rubbish inseparable from the gettingup of a magnificent spectacle.
As I hurried with Coralie down the dark street, at the end of which her
brougham lamps were shining, and was making the most of the very short time allowed us for conversation, she stopped suddenly in the midst of some playful, coquettish remark, and grasping my arm convulsively, staggered against me as if she would have fallen; at the same instant, a swarthy, Spanish-looking individual, coming brusquely between us, and addressing her by her Christian name and in language I could not understand, but whose accents betrayed anger and impatience, seemed to chide her fiercely though familiarly. I returned the push with interest, and interposed my person between the dancer and her unwelcome acquaintance, Coralie begging me, in trembling accents, to be calm, whilst the stranger turned the whole tide of his wrath from the lady upon her companion. Not one word could I understand, but the man appeared so angry as to be dangerous; and I kept my eye steadily fixed upon him, whilst I
gradually edged my companion towards her carriage, which we were nowapproaching. Lucky for me that I did so: infuriated by my perseverance, and probably additionally irritated by receiving no answer to his torrent of abuse, he drew from beneath his waistcoat a long, narrow dagger, with which he made a lunge at my breast, that, had it taken effect, would have been fatal. I saw the cold blade gleaming in the lamp-light, and catching his wrist rapidly with one hand, I dealt him with the other such a facer' between the eyes, as sent him down upon the pavement prostrate, and for a moment insensible. Quickly I placed Coralie in her carriage, amidst her incoherent entreaties that I would not accompany her, and closing the door I bid the coachman drive rapidly home; but short as was the time that elapsed in these arrangements, when I retraced my steps a few yards to look after my late antagonist, he was gone; not a vestige of the fracas remained; and had it not been that Coralie's voice was ringing in my ears, imploring me to be patient, and assuring me that he knew me,' I should have looked upon the events of the last few minutes as the delusions of
a dream, so unaccountable was this sudden outrage and its conclusion.
All night long I tossed and turned upon my bed, thinking over this adventure. Now I fancied I had been attacked by some unfortunate lunatic; but the evidence of the man's previous acquaintance with Coralie, and the manner in which he conversed with her, forbade the supposition. Then it occurred to me he might have some claim upon the dancer, which he had a right to establish a brother, a lover, perhaps a husband. The latter supposition was decidedly uncomfortable, as it involved the probability of a further acquaintance with this swarthy hero, and the likelihood of another fracas, to end, perhaps, in a duel. From this contingency my thoughts naturally turned to Coralie herself, and the anomalous connexion that existed between us. We carried on a vigorous flirtation, which on her side appeared to be fast verging on the sentimental, whilst for my own part I felt conscious that I liked and admired her as much as it was possible for me to like and admire any one but myself. This was all very well for the present; but how was it to end? I was not by any means satisfied with the terms upon which Coralie stood with Lord St. Heliers; she certainly encouraged no danglers about her but my unworthy self; yet to all denials, and not at homes,' St. Heliers was an invariable exception. His carriages were at her service when her own horses were lame. His servants were continually going and coming from the house in Park-lane to the pretty villa. Yet he never appeared at the latter domicile himself, and seemed to encourage, or at any rate to have no objection to, my frequent visits and constant attendance upon Rivolte. And now if, in addition to all this, a husband should turn up unexpectedly, what a piece of work there would probably be. With this consolatory conviction I fell asleep. Nor were my waking thoughts much clearer when, on being called the following morning, I received a tiny three-cornered note, addressed in Coralie's well-known hand to Mons. Mons. le Capitaine Grand, &c. &c., imploring me, in highly figurative
French, not upon any account to call upon her or come near her till I should hear again, and promising to explain all on the Saturday following, after the opera.
Whether my cogitations had any effect upon my actions, I know not; but certain it is, that after bath, breakfast, and matutinal cigar, I strolled leisurely down to a wellknown fencing-room, of which I was at that time a member; and with a sort of vague idea that all foreigners were adepts with the small sword, and that I only wanted a little more practice to become a fencer, I donned the wire mask, the buff jacket, and gauntlet-glove, and took my accustomed place amongst the pupils of this courtly science. The maître-d'armes himself, an old officer of the Grand Army, with the strength of a Hercules, and the energetic activity of a Frenchman, was, besides, rusé beyond his compeers in the management of his weapon; and I knew, that to hold my own with him was to be infinitely superior to any chance antagonist in Europe. As I entered the room he was busily engaged with a wiry, active-looking figure, whom I could not help fancying I had seen before, but whose mask prevented the possibility of my identifying him. Who is he?' I whispered to Maltby, who was of course present, devoted as he was to all athletic exercises, and who was regaining his breath after having, as he expressed it, polished off a corporal in the Life Guards.' 'I don't know,' he replied; but he is the best fencer I have seen in England. He hit Fleury three to one in an assault just now, and we think Fleury one of the quickest in Paris; and I doubt if our muscular maître himself will be able to hold his own with him.' And sure enough, as the stranger disengaged, doubled, lunged, recovered, and returned, with a new, and apparently fatal riposte, I could see that the best fencer in London had enough to do to cover his body with his blade.
'Now then, Grand, for a breather,' said Maltby; and ere long, I found myself fully occupied with carte, tierce, thrust, and parry, and my whole energies concentrated on the
button of my opponent's foil. There were several other pairs of fencers in the room, besides an assistant giving lessons; and what with the stamping, shuffling, clashing of steel, cries of Hola! Hein! and other vociferous French exclamations, and the deep voice of the assistant, with his reiterated words of command-Fendez-vous- -en gardedouble-degagé — battement · deux-fendez-vous-a general action might have been carried on with less noise. This confusion, and my own engagement with so skilful an adversary as Maltby, prevented my noting much of what was going on; but in the midst of a rapid and furious assault, we were both arrested, as if spell-bound, by a deep groan of agony, and a heavy fall on the dusty floor-the stranger was run right through the body by a broken foil! To describe the consternation and tumult that ensued is impossible: voices in every key and half-a-dozen languages demanding explanations, and proffering advice and assistance. One rushed off fora surgeon, another called loudly for cold water; the more composed bore the form of the ill-fated fencer into the ante-room, and order was at length restored by the maître, who was the only person that preserved his coolness and judgment amidst the confusion. A surgeon speedily ar rived, and whilst he was examining the wound, and pronouncing it dangerous in the extreme, the maîtred'armes explained to me the circumstances of the accident.
It appears that the stranger, who gave his name as Mons. de Rivas, but whom my informant thought much more like a Spaniard than a Frenchman, and who that morning made his first appearance in the fencing-room, had taken off his buckskin jacket, and was reposing himself, after an assault in which he had displayed wonderful science and dexterity, when Mons. Fleury, his previous antagonist, who had retired to put on his every-day attire, re-entered the fencing-room, and taking up a foil proceeded to discuss with the stranger the advantages of a certain 'parry' and 'return' which had been put in practice in their late contest. The latter, whose French was not very intelligible,
anxious to explain his meaning, placed himself in position to give a practical illustration, and, in defiance of the fencing-master's warning, begged Fleury to lunge at him; observing, they were equally defenceless in point of costume.' The quickest wrist in Paris took him at his word; but in the battement which preceded his lightning lunge, the weapon broke short off beneath the button; and ere Fleury could stay his hand, the foil, now pointed and sharp as a small sword, had entered beneath the ribs of his antagonist, and going clean through his body, reappeared at his back. The wound was dangerous in the extreme, if not mortal, and poor Fleury's distress was awful to witness. The kindest hearted man alive, he seemed quite paralyzed at being the unconscious
cause of so fatal an injury. As they bore the now insensible form from the scene of the catastrophe, I caught a glimpse of his depending head, and pale, wan features. What was my horror and astonishment to recognise my antagonist of the night before, and the mysterious acquaintance of Coralie! His livid and sallow features, distorted with pain, looked scarcely more ghastly than when I had seen them some twelve hours before, contracted with rage and jealousy, as they glared upon me in the lamp-light; and to render assurance doubly sure, and prove his identity beyond a doubt, there was a red and swollen mark upon the forehead, that I well knew was the impress of the crushing blow I had been obliged to deal him in selfdefence.
THERE is something romantic in
the origin of this book. The author, a young Prussian, who had been several years in England, was studying at Oxford in the autumn of 1848. It was the crisis of the Berlin revolution, and the road in which things were going was not one which any honest German heart could expect to find issue in anything but the most mournful disaster. Dr. Pauli sought and found a remedy against his uneasy thoughts in increased activity in his own occupations, and gradually what he had devoted himself to, to dissipate his anxiety, rewarded him with an interest which peculiarly softened and relieved it.
His proper business at Oxford was with the old Saxon manuscripts; and as he read them more and more carefully, the figure of the greatest of the early English kings rose before him, as of one who, in a storm far worse than any present storm, had risen over it, and swayed, and controlled it; who was a man in the strong sense of that most pregnant word, and on whom he might look and be ashamed of his despondency.
The work begun in this temper is
now finished, written, as its author tells us, for Germans, and in the German spirit, and for the present is only in the German language; but we can hardly conceive that the English publishers will pass by such an opportunity of a profitable speculation, and allow it to remain long untranslated.
My aim (he says) has been to delineate, to the best of my ability, out of such authorities as can best be trusted, the exalted position which Alfred occnpies in the organic development of the liberties of England. I am well aware of the defects in my work-defects which remain, and which must remain, after all my efforts at revision. They arise partly out of the necessity I was under to combine original inquiry with narrative of what is already known; partly out of my own want of skill in supplying the defectiveness of my authorities by a workmanlike style of writing; and no doubt there are faults in criticism too— yet, such as they are, they result not from indolence and carelessness, but from that partial love for my subject which is certain to produce them.
Now we do not intend to affront Dr. Pauli with the panegyrics of the book trade, with telling him that he underrates himself, that he has
* König Aelfred, und Seine Stelle in der Geschichte England. Von Dr. Reinhold Pauli. Berlin: 1851. London: bei Williams and Norgate.