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THE BARNABYS IN AMERICA.
BY MRS. TROLLOPE,
DURING the space of ten days or a fortnight, the sincere and steadfast-purposed John Williams was fully occupied in canvassing among his friends and acquaintance for such substantial patronage for Mrs. Allen Barnaby's work upon “Slavery in the United States of America," as her peculiar circumstances rendered necessary. Of all canvassing this species is decidedly the most difficult, let it be carried on where it will ; but John Williams was not a man to withdraw himself from an enterprise, merely because he found it difficult, and at length his perseverauce so far succeeded that he ventured to announce hopes to his client of being able to raise the respectable sum of five hundred dollars provided she would agree to make over the copyright of her forthcoming work to a quaker bookseller, who on that condition had agreed to undertake not only the publication of it, but also the collecting the promised subscriptions for the purpose of paying them over in advance to the authoress.
Perhaps my heroine never gave a more decided proof of ready cleverness than on this occasion. She would joyfully have accepted a single dollar in exchange for all the profit she actually anticipated from the publication of her unborn production ; but on receiving this magnificent proposal from John Williams, she started, shook her head, sighed, dropped her eyes, and for the space of a minute and a half exhibited with admirable skill all the symptoms of great disappointment, borne with meek patience and resolute philosophy.
· Thee dost not like this proposal, friend Barnaby ?" said the good quaker, looking at her rather timidly. “Thee dost not think five hundred dollars will suffice for thy present necessities ?"
“Not so, my dear sir," replied the admirable woman, with a modest humility of manner that was very striking; “ the sum you name would be quite sufficient for the humble style to which I shall for this object reduce my manner of travelling. It is not that, my kind friend, which causes me to hesitate. But I confess to you that the idea of parting with the copyright of a work which I have every reason to believe will be very profitable, does startle me. ' I cannot but consider it equivalent to parting with several thousand dollars.”
“Indeed !" returned John Williams, feeling, good man, very much ashamed of having been made the organ of so unjust and ungenerous a proposition. “ If that be the case, my good lady, I withdraw the offer with many apologies for having made it.”
“Nay, dear sir, do not say that,” she replied. “To you I must ever feel deeply grateful; and, moreover, my good friend, we must not lose sight of my very peculiar position. I do not feel that I have the power to refuse this offer, though the terms of it do seem rather severe, for in fact, without the assistance it promises, I can do nothing, and therefore, as you perceive, I must perforce accept it, or abandon
Jan.-VOL. LXVII. No. cclxv.
at once and for ever an undertaking in which every feeling of my heart is engaged."
“I do believe thee, I do believe thee," replied the quaker, deeply touched by the generous devotion of the poor negro's advocate. “But thy goodness must not be the means of robbing thee of thy fair hopes of honest profit from thy labours. I must see my friend the bookseller again, and endeavour to bring him to reason.
“ Perhaps, sir,” said Mrs. Allen Barnaby, timidly, and with the air of a person who knows that he is asking for a good deal, “ perhaps, sir, your friend the bookseller might agree to give me one quarter share of the profits arising from the sale of the work after all expenses, including the advance of five hundred dollars, shall have been
“ Nothing can be fairer or more liberal,” replied John Williams, with an eagerness of manner that was almost unseemly in a quaker; but in fact he was greatly delighted at the idea of settling the business in a manner that he thought would be agreeable to all parties; and immediately seizing the stick, that ever stood ready in the corner (his ample beaver being already on his head), he declared his intention of immediately seeing the individual whose consent it was necessary to obtain, and left the room with a promise of bringing home the stipulated sum with him, which he would deliver to her, he said, at the same hour on the following morning, being engaged out to dinner with his wife, which would prevent their meeting again that day.
Mrs. Allen Barnaby rose from her chair at the same moment that he rose from his, for she had no inclination whatever to remain tête-àtéte with Rachel. That
very sensible woman and exemplary wife did not take any trouble to conceal from my quick-sighted heroine, that her liking for her did not increase by their lengthened acquaintance. In fact, though she strictly kept her word to her husband, and did not permit her own feelings or prejudices to be any hindrance to the work which had for its object the welfare of the negro race, she did in honest truth, hate and detest Mrs. Allen Barnaby as much as it was well possible for a Christian quaker to hate any thing. She had hailed the first mitigation of brilliance in her as a symptom of seemly respect to the society of quakers in general, and to John and Rachel Williams in particular. But not content with this, Mrs. Allen Barnaby had gone on, day by day, adding little quaker et cæteras to her fitting out, which showed upon her like a white rose stuck in the unshapely ear of an elephant, till the worthy Rachel, who though a quaker, had enough of the woman in her to see through such trickery, felt persuaded that she was nothing better than a great overblown cheat, and in pursuance of this unpleasant persuasion spake to her little, and looked at her less, all which being carefully noted by my observant heroine, it is no great wonder that she bustled out of the room the very moment after John Williams left it, with no other leave-taking than a rapidly-enunciated, “ Good morning, ma'am.”
Nothing could exceed the air of gay goodhumour with which the well-pleased major received his lady's account of what had passed ; they were unquestionably a most happily-assorted people, and as if to take instant advantage of the peculiar hilarity of their parents, the Don and his wife knocked at the door of their room just as my heroine
bad concluded her narrative, and declared that they were come with a joint petition that the whole party might go to the play that evening. No favour was ever asked at a more propitious moment; both the father and mother were in too happy a state of spirits, not to relish any proposal the object of which was gaiety and amusement.
“Off with you then, Tornorino," exclaimed Patty joyously, “and get the very best places you can.'
“ Perhaps it will be better for me to undertake that part of the business, especially as I have a notion that one and all of you will look my way for money to pay for them," said the major.
“ You are always a dear darling, papa, that I wiil say for you," replied his daughter, her bright eyes positively dancing in her head with glee; “ but you can pay the Don, you know, when he comes back, and you'll find that he will get capital good places for you."
Thus reassured, the major gave up the point, and the interval of the messenger's absence was spent in very lively chit-chat by the parents and their darling daughter, who, to say truth, was not always equally disposed to bestow the advantage of her charming spirits upon them, when no other person was present to share their admiration.
The Don, however, did not linger on his way, but returned with two tickets for front places in one of the best boxes in the house, and these he presented to his august mother-in-law, informing her at the same time that they were the only very good places left, but that he had made an acquaintance with one of the gentlemen of the orchestra who had promised him an order for himself and his wife.
"Then Patty shall go with her mother, Tornorino," said the major, good naturedly. “ I won't take a good place while Patty has got a bad one."
“ It not be a bad one,” returned the Don earnestly. “It be a very good one.”
“Good or bad, Torni," returned his wife, with great vivacity,“ it will be no treat to me, you know, if I am to be parted from you, my darling, No, no, Mr. Pap, I know you mean to be very kind, and I thank you accordingly, but I shall sit with the Don, be sure of that.”
The major returned some laughing compliment to her pigeon-like constancy, and promised not to interfere with it again.
As my heroine's particular friends were absent from the dinner-table that day, she had little or no opportunity for conversation, for her previous devotion to John Williams had prevented her taking her usual measures to obtain acquaintance with any one else. But Patty was more than usually talkative, and before the repast ended had addressed the interesting question, “Are you going to the play tonight ?" to no less than five different persons. Three of these being very “dry” quakers, answered in the negative with something not far removed from a grunt or a groan; and of the two others, one said he did not know, while the other so far encouraged her prattling propensity as to inquire if there was to be any thing particularly worth seeing in the performance that night.
Madame Tornorino's first reply to this very natural question did not sound very civil, for it consisted in a short loud laugh, which seemed to indicate that the person who had asked it, had been guilty of an absurdity; but having indulged in this mirthful propensity for a minute or two, she settled her features into more than usual gravity, and said,
Upon my word, sir, I don't quite know, but we heard there was to be a new performer, didn't we, Don Tornorino ?”
“ Mais oui,” returned her husband, bowing to the inquirer,“ dere will be a début to-night."
“ Then I shall certainly go," said the gentleman to whom he addressed himself, adding, that is just what I like best."
And hereupon Patty laughed again; upon which her mother, a good deal shocked at her rudeness to the very well-dressed gentleman who appeared to occasion her mirth, said in an audible aside to the major,
“The dear creature is in such spirits at the idea of going to the theatre to-night, that she is ready to laugh at every thing." An observation which was fully justified by her daughters suddenly clapping her hands, with the most naïve appearance of irrepressible glee, and again bursting forth into a fit of merriment so genuine, that it was al. most impossible not to join in it.
“What were you laughing at, Patty ?" said her father, taking her arm as the party were dispersing after dinner, “ I declare, my dear, I think you grow younger, as well as handsomer, every day.' Doesn't she, Tornorino ?"
“Oh! she is a bien belle femme,” replied Tornorino, at the same time whispering something in her ear.
“ And you are a beautiful man, my darling,” she replied, withdrawing her arm from her father. “ And he is going to give me another treat,” she added : “for he says I must take a delightful walk with him before the play, and so I shall set off this very moment."
“Why, Patty, you will be tired to death," said her mother, “ so dreadfully hot as it is. Upon my word you had much better lie down instead of trotting out in the sunshine.'
“ Thank’e for nothing, mamma,” replied the lively beauty, snapping her fingers. “My husband always knows what is best for me, don't
So good-by, dear pap and mam, and the next time you see me, I hope you'll find that I am not at all the worse for my walk."
Stay. Patty, stay," cried her father, calling after her as she walked off towards her own room with her Don, “I suppose you mean to come back in time to walk to the theatre with us?”
“Upon my word I don't suppose any such thing,” returned his daughter, gaily. " At any rate, pap, you had better not wait for us,” she added, “ because as we are not going to sit together, there is no use in our bustling back just to be in time for you. I won't say but what I shall spend a levy that I have got in the corner of my pocket, in treating the Don with an ice, so that most likely we shall not come back at all."
As no very reasonable objection could be made to this conjugal arrangement, the young couple were suffered to walk off without further opposition, while the seniors entered their own retreat together.
* Perhaps it is quite as well, major,” said my heroine, " that they should leave us a little to ourselves this evening, for it is quite necessary that we should talk over what we have got to do next. I suppose
you, Don ?
we may reckon upon receiving these five hundred dollars to-morrow morning, and the sooner we can be off afterwards the better I presume you will be pleased.” “Decidedly, my Barnaby," replied her husband.
" But don't you think, my dear," he added, after meditating upon the subject for a minute or two,“ don't you think that there will be something rather awkward in our running away the very moment you have got the money from them? Don't you think it will look odd ?”
“ Not the least in the world, Donny,” replied his wife, with very prompt decision.
“ You forget that the very purpose for which I am to receive it, renders it absolutely necessary for me to travel with all the perseverance and activity possible into the other Free States.
New York, you know, is one of them, and as it is there we most wish to go, why should we not set off for it to-morrow? There are steamers going two or three times a day.”
“ If you have no objection, my dear, I am sure I have none; for to tell you the truth, I never hated a place so much in my life,” returned her husband. “I never sit down to table without feeling as if I were put in the stocks. Confound their solemn faces, they positively give me the cramp.”
This short dialogue sufficed to settle the question as to what they were to do next, and that no time might be lost, they employed theniselves till it was time to set off for the theatre, in collecting together whatever had been unpacked, and putting all things in order for departure.
“ There !" said Mrs. Allen Barnaby, as she turned the key of her trunk with a very satisfactory snap," now I shall be able to help Patty to-morrow; for as we well know, she is always behindhand.”
Having completed this business, and been favoured with an early cup of tea in their own apartment, they set off for the theatre.
“Buy a bill, Donny,” said my heroine, as they passed through the lobby. The request was complied with, and having reached the places secured for them, the major politely placed the play-bill in his lady's hand. Her spectacles were immediately applied, for alas ! the beautiful Barnaby had reached the time at which they were necessary, and she proceeded to examine the bill of fare for the evening's amusement.
“ Read it aloud, my dear, for you know I can't see in this owl's light," said the major.
The lady obeyed, and read, "The Merchant of Venice."
“ Ah ! that's a very good play,” observed the major ; " I remember seeing it in London. And who is the new, performer Patty talked about?"
Mrs. Allen Barnaby applied herself anew to the play-bill, and read aloud, “ The part of Nerissa by a lady from England, being her first appearance.
“Oh! then, it is only some English actress who has never played here bo e," said the major. “ It does not mean a first appearance.”
“I suppose not,” replied his wife. And then she obligingly read aloud the other parts of the bill, even to the name of the printer. This done, they both set themselves to examine the house (for they had arrived unnecessarily early), and criticised all the people who came