|Chapter Title||A HUSBAND'S WRONGS.-A LISTENER.-AN ATTACK.-TRIUMPH OF COLOURS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859)|
|Trove Title||The Story of a Feather|
THE STORY OE A FEATHER.
3ßj? jBanglitó Hcmtttf.
(A Storyfrom "POSCH.")
(Continued from our last.)
A HUSBAND'S WRONGS.-A LISTENER.-AN
ATTACK.-TRIUMPH OF COLOURS.
AND still did Madame Spanneu exercise her voice to ber husband's fiddle, albeit little mollified by the conjugal cat-gut. Orpheus-it is a trite tale-tamed wild-cats and lionesses by the magic of the gamut. Monster Julien Spanneu «as not an .Orpheus ; neither was his beautiful Eliza a lioness : hence, the discord and the music continued for some minutes, and threatened to «ndure, when the maid jigged into the room, 'and announced the name of Mr. Curhvell. At the sound, 'Mrs. Gaptooth observed in a confidential voice to Madame Spanneu,-" From my lord, I'm bound /or him," and hastened away to seek the valet. " Come for Lndy Dinah's dog, I'll lie sworn," cried Madame Spanneu, with a fiery glance at her husband, " and you're never in a state to see anybody. How the man sits ! Why don't you run and clean yourself, you
outlandish savage ?''
" Ma belle Elise," cried the Frenchman, sitting cross-legged before me, with a shuddering dread of my discovery.
41 Why don't you get up ?" shrieked the wife.
Monsieur Spanneu affected a sudden spasm-worked his nether jaw-moped and mowed like a monkey, and then ven-
tured to ask his wife if she had no sentiment ?
"Sentiment ¡"echoed the beautiful Eliza, as though insulted. " Mon ange,-I am sick-malade-horriblement malade. Alle: -cherches du cognac-Oh I if you have religion, get brandy ;" and the Frenchman ground his teeth, nnd, rocking from side to side, with both his arms hugged his abdomen.
" Brandy 1" exclaimed the wife, with mixed contempt and derision at the extravagance of the sick man, and was about to leave the room. This was precisely what the husband re- quired ; he therefore sought tu hurry her with sweetest phrase. " Ha 1 C'est bien, ma vie-mon trésor-mon âme." Then, seeing his wife suddenly fixed, he roared-" Get brandy, or I »ill die -I tell you, belle Elise, I will die."
"Do you promise?" inquired the wife, with evident interest in the question ; and then, with a laugh, she swept away from the moribund man. For an instant the sufferer sat listening to the footsteps of his spouse descending the stairs, and then he jumped up, and plucking me, rumpled and disordered, from beneath the chair-cried *' Hit I si cette diablesse vous avait vue /" Saying this, he rapidly buttoned mc under his waistcoat, and again fell in the chair-again sick, expiring for the life-bestow- ing brandy. He listened, but there was no wife hurrying back with the restorative anodyne. Yet, certainly, she would come -yes, she would never let him expire. That was her rushing step. No ; it was the cat at romps. Had he not promised to die if brandy came not? Still silence? It was plain the wretched woman wished to try if he would keep his word. Smitten with a sense of this truth, the mournful spouse rose from his chair, and drawing forth his handkerchief, was about to use it in search of a tear of wounded sensibility, a tear that might be in his eye. He hesitated, and the majesty of an offended husband coming to his aid, he exclaimed-I cannot fora certainty say what, but sure I am it was not "Ange." Whatever it was, the word by its energy seemed to carry the man from the room, and he ran muttering down stairs, carry- ing me as his bosom companion on the way.
1 verily believe that Monsieur Spanneu, having descended his own staircase, was about to enter his own parlour ; he, how- ever, brought himself dead up at the door.' I heard voices within; so, it was plain, did Monsieur Spanneu, for after pausing s minute, his heart commencing n hurried beat, lie lient his ear close to the keyhole. I must confess that, for a moment, I wished I could have been turned into a Iii fog hedgehog, that I might have inflicted on the bosom of the olTi'iider a thousand pricking reproofs of the meanness of the net. I could have curled and twisted like a snake willi very indignation, as the Frenchman, grasping the handle of the door, seemed as he would screw the entire of his car into the ?compass of the keyhole. How, at first, he shook and quivered at the voices within-and then, with an attempt at calmness, he set his teeth and slightly grunted as he listened. Nevertheless, with all his industry and quickness of car, Monsieur Spanneu was only enabled to catch half-sentences; these he pieced together, making thereof a terrible scourge by the very inge- nuity of his ignorance. I, having the acute organization of a bird, could recognise sounds of softest volume, and was, therefore, excessively amused at the jealousy which Monsieur gathered from the mere fragments he was enabled to gather
Requesting that the printer will set in different letters-will, if I may use the conceit, put certain words in a whisper-I will endeavour to show what Monsieur Spanneu heard, and what escaped him. The proverb that " listeners hear no good of themselves," is evidently worked out in this way: the good, if ever spoken, is spoken in so weak a voice, that it falls dead ere it arrives at the keyhole. This was doubtless the
case with Monsieur Spanneu.
" I never thought that his lordship could have so liked that Madame Spanneu," here begins the inaudible type, for words inaudible to the husband,-f" to know all about her ladyship."J
" But, bless you, he so loves her-so doats upon her ; (and as Lady WUIowby has a fine fortune, perhaps she deserves it "J
The first voice I immediately recognised as the silvery pro- perty of Airs. Gaptooth; the second as the masculine organ appertaining to the valet Curiwell.
" Well, there's no accounting for love, to be sure ; and so his lordship comes here for a dog to show his love ! Mrs. Spanneu tells me everything I La I how she grins at her husband (though, do you know, 1 think she doats upon him after all "J Here the gentlewoman laughed; not so Monsieur Spanneu ; for his rage rising, his knees began to knock against the panne] of the door. Every moment I expected to hear a voice from the roora cry, "Come in." The speakers were, however, too much interested to tskc heed of a light disturbance, so the
half-lost dialogue, to the further misery of Monsieur Spanneu
(" I must siy, hil lordship takes a great deal of trouble about pleasing her ladyship. J Why doesn't he run öS* with the woman
at once ?"
" Why not? I'm sure she'd jump to have him : fand as Jar buying dogs, and all such fal-lals-it's child's-work, Mr. Curiwell} tt is, indeed.") Here, again, Mrs. Gaptooth laughed ; and again the knees of Mousieur Spanneu smote the pannel. Almost breathless, the forlorn, self-tormenting husband again
essayed to listen, yet heard but fragments. Thus the dialogue
(" But about that gal, Mr. CvrlweU? If his lordship, as you say, is really in lote with the widow, uhy should he care for that gat f You don't know the trouble she's given me. "J
(" You are an excellent woman, Mrs, Gaptooth, and 1 scorn to deceive you. J I've only used his lordship, as his lordship's used the dog,-as a sort of blind. (He cares nothing for the feather dresser; he's never seen her.J It's I as loves her," answered Curiwell, and Monsieur Spanneu gasped again.
" Impossible I" cried Mrs, Gaptooth.
" Not that I can say, love; but you know what I mean. 1 don't know how it is-but I-I will have her, and there's an
end of it, cried the valet.
" Sacre I" groaned Monsieur Spanneu.
" Well. I like a man of spirit," said Mrs. Gaptooth. (" Tm sure fve done all 1 could to rummage lier out. She went from her last lodgings, nobody knows where. Tlunre was a talk about an old apothecary ¡ but I believe nothing about it. J And now, Mr. Curiwell, why should you deceive an old friend ? Why should you tell me it was' his lordship ai loved the «oman, and not
your proper self ?"
"Good reasons, Mrs. Gaptooth; the world isn't what it ought to be, or I should have as much money as them as carry their heads among the highest. It's n wicked world for poor men, m'em," said tho valet with a sigh.
" Well, well, the world's not so bad, after all," said the phi- losophic matron ; " we may know a worse."
"Je respire," muttered Monsieur between his teeth, and again with gaping ear he listened.
" But you are rich enough for her," cried Mrs. Gaptooth,
" and it shan't be my fault if you don't make ber a happy
" I will, Mn. Gaptooth--I will, as I'm a man," etclaimed
tnt valet with energy^
Here Monsieur Spanneu with a sudden roar burst into the room, if« uttered no syllable, but with a spring brought htm
self to the fireplace,-to his own sacred hearth-and caught up the poker, which, except himself,-for at that moment he had dreadful thoughts of his wife-was its brighest ornament.
Mrs. Gaptooth, being a woman, slightly screamed. Mr. Curl well, in short spasmodic sentences, exclaimed-" Hallo I-The man mad ?-Murder to be done ?- Blood be to shed ? Brains to be knocked out? Killed like a dog?"-And uttered other household expressions of household alarm. Monsieur Spanneu felt too much to speak. " His voice was in-the poker." Seizing that weapon-(we have often thought that marriage contracts will never be complete until it be part of the mar- riage-law that shovel, tongs, and poker be all and severally fastened by a certain length of chain lo the fire-place)-he commenced an attack upon the valet, who, shaking many years from his heels, ran round and round a table, the injured husband-like Othello, injured only by false suspicion-follow- ing him. Mrs. Gaptooth, selecting the easy-chair, sank in it, evidently prepared at any moment to faint. Still did Curlwell describe the circle of Monsieur Spanncu's mahogany, which was happily of sufllcicnt area to protect the valet from the avenging iron of the short and corpulent frenchman, who, nathless, ran round and round, making at times the hardest blows upon his own hospitable table, blows inhospitably in- tended for the bruin-pan of his guest.
However, mortal breath could not long sustain the trial, and at length Monsieur Spanneu, gasping again and shaking his head at his imagined wronger, dropped tho poker despairingly upon the table. At the some moment, Curlwell paused, and with his knuckles resting upon the same piece of household utility, look wind. There they stood, panting nt one another, like two dogs in July un the opposite sides of a ditch. Seeing them powerless far any mischief, Mrs. Gaptooth theil felt it her duty as a woman and a Christian-as she afterwards said to Madame Spanneu-to scream the roof off.
Down rushed Madame Spanneu, in full dress. She hail, in truth, retired to her chamber to decorate herself for an audience with Mr. Curlwell ; and not, as her husband foolishly imagined, pour chercher du cognac I
Strange, mysterious arc the movements of the human soul I Arguing from common euim.iles, docs not the reader imagine that the very sight of his wife at such a moment would have been as oil to the Frenchman's jealous flames ? It was other- wise. For in an instant, Monsieur Spanneu, crying, "Ma bille Elise I Mon angel Mon âme !" locked his helpmate in his
Now Madame Spanneu was dressed in a blue lutestring, with white satin. " Had it been any other colour," Monsieur afterwards declared, he would baie cast de traîtresse avay-for everavay ; but dat gown was his weakness. Ile could not tink
to lose her ven in de vite and blue 1"
In a word, the Frenchman struck to his wife's colours.
(To he continued.)