Chapter 2947604

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Chapter NumberXIV
Chapter Url
Full Date1845-08-23
Page Number4
Word Count1912
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859)
Trove TitleThe Story of a Feather
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5SJJ ¡Banalité Serrólo-.

(A Story from "PUNCH.") ' CHAPTER XIV.

(Continued ft oin our last.)



THE Countess being placed in mourning-such is the gentle, tender phrase that indicates the call of death in high houses-I was cast aside. Indeed, again and again before the Countess quitted London for Canaan Hall-the family country-scat-1 heard her vow that she would leave the world for ever. Ex- istence had lost its only value ta her ; what was life without her darling child ? Most vociferous was her grief; whilst the Earl( with calm, deep sorrow, would gaze at her, as I thought, with doubting looks. However, the day after the death of her child, her ladyship departed to feed her misery in solitude. She v>ould henceforth employ herself among her husband's tenantry ¡ she would visit the sick, the widowed and the fatherless : again and again did she assure her husband that she would be quite a blessing to the poor 1 Hearing this, and finding myself cast carelessly by, I concluded that I, too, was doomed to a long retirement from the bustling world. In little less than a week,

I found it other« ise.

One afternoon 1 found myself in the hands of Mrs. Pillow, who declared me to be, with other matters-gowns, and gloves, and cloaks, and shoes-her lawful property, by gift from the Countess. This declaration was made by the housekeeper to a short, thin, flaunlily-dressed little woman, «ho evidently gazed at myself and my companions with the depreciating looks of a purchaser.

" There, Madame Spanneu," cried Mrs. Pillow, holding me -daintily between her thumb and finger, " 1 call that n beauty. It's a bit of wirgin snow, and never been in my lady's head hut

once. "

" La, roy dear," said Madame, in a most affectionate tone, " feathers fetch nothing. Indeed, I'm the greatest sinner olive if all business isn't quite gone to the dogs."

" Talking about dogs, Madame Spanneu, how's your hus- band ?" Thus spoke Mrs. Pillow ; and though the reader may feel that the inquiry, dictated by a thought of the canine race, was scarcely complimentary to Monsieur Spanneu, it was never- theless the result of association of ideas in the brain of the housekeeper ; for, as I afterwards discovered, Monsieur Span neu, Parisian born, was an enthusiast in poodles. They were to him as his own flesh and blood. Ile was their "guide, philosopher, and friend ;" though truth compels me to admit that he never hesitated to sell his pupils when he could obtain a purchaser. His fame, indeed, was widely spread throughout the fashionable world, and many were the declining maidens who owed the prime consolation of their lives to the delicate tending of Mons. Spanneu. Indeed, its I once heard liitn declare, all his dogs were "dogs of sentiment."

" How is Monsieur ?" again inquired Mrs. Pillow.

"Bless your heart, my dear," answered the partner of his soul, " nothing ever ails the brute. Ha 1 my dear, it serves me right-I would try to leam French, and I'm rightly served for it. That satin, my dear, is stained in three places,"and Madame Spannen pointed to the spots on a rose-coloured gown.

'. Well, I alwajs thought it odd as how you could marry a Frenchman," said the housekeeper, sinking the spots of a gar- ment ¡n the blemishes of a husband. " I didn't think it's doing the right thing by one's own country."

"My dear, I had my scruples; but then he said he was a count. What shall I give you for the lot?"- and again Madame jumped from thoughts conjugal to matters of business. '

" Why, you shall give me-but we'll talk of that down stairs ; I've a little something, and such a glass of Madeira I" Saying

this, the housekeeper hurried Madame Spanneu from the apart-


An hour, at least, had elapsed, and I, with the other perqui- sites, was carried to the housekeeper's room ; where I could not but a'cknuwledge the evidecce of the potency of the Madeira. Mrs. Pillow's face was luminous; Madame Spanneu's eyes twinkled; and'a gentleman whom I at once recognised as

At«-C2M»IMU»U-w .UW.1H< m tilt ~r « ...%,.,» i^ «tfhirh thrt-fl were

" Chloe's eyes" and " Chloe's lips," and *' Chloc'sbalmy kisses."

" Well, my love," cried Madame Spanncu, for »vine had en- larged her heart and deepened her ordinary terms of affection, -"well, my love, if I've any weakness in the world, it's music."

" That's me, nil over," said Mrs. Pillow with a slight titter, and as I thought, an oblique half-look at Air. Curlwell. Whe .her'it was so or not, that gentleman took a deep respiration, and again burst forth in praise of" Chloe."

" And when does Lady Hlushrosc come back, my love?" in- quired Madame Spanneu, between one of Curl»ell's pauses.

" Bless your heart, nobody knows, She's a going to bury herself from the »hole world. Poor dear thing !" Ihu3 sym-

pathised Mrs. Pillow.

Mr. Curlwell, leaning back in his chair and putting his thumbs in his waistcoat, roared over his neckcloth-" She'll be at Ranelagh in a fortnight."

" La 1 how can you talk so ? And with that dear child upon her mind I To be sure, she knew as how it wouldn't live, if she didn't nurse it. Well, it's in Heaven," cried Mrs. Pillow with an air of satisfaction, by no means lessened by another glass of Madeira. " I don't know how ¡t is ; between ourselves» people haven't the hearts they used to have when I was a girl."

Madame Spanneu was about to press her lips to the glass : struck by this melancholy verity, she paused an instant ; then shaking her head with deep significance at the housekeeper, she cried, " They haven't," and tossed off the Madeira.

" The world's a getting still wickeder," was the opinion of Mr. Curlwell-" nubody now can trust nobody. I never thought much of the Countess. Some people says she's handsome; but she's not my beauty." Here, the tratet looked dead in the face of Mrs. Pillow, who-with the corners of her mouth slightly curling-said, " You're so partie'lar."

" Poor thing ! Still, you know, my dear," cried Madame,

" now the baby's gone, the Countess must have something to


" Try a poodle," said Curlwell ; " for my part, I bate a house

with babbies."

" Well, what a man you are !" exclaimed Mrs. Pillow, smil- ing. " Hut after all, people with the money of the Countess

can't feel grief like us as are poor."

" They haven't the hearts," eried the valet in a loud voice,

expanding his chest.

" With a good deal of money, folks can bear u deal of trouble, und be none the worse for it," said the housekeeper.

" Trouble does 'em good-teaches 'em who's master," voci- ferated the valet, and again he drank the Earl's Madeira.

" Still, my love," said Madame Spanncu, " I pity the Ear] ; «ter«body says, my dear, he's so much feeling."

" Not a atom," exclaimed Curlwell ; his charity towards his superiors fast vanishing with his sobriety. Indeed, 1 have no doubt that the valet's firm belief was that all human goodness had for ever quitted the drawing-rooms of the great and set up 'ti "everlasting rest" in the butler'« pantry. Thus, he con-

tinued, " The Euri feel ! Pooh I Crocodiles, ma'am-cro-


"But really, Air. Curlwell," said Airs. Pillow, "what motives, as ne may say, should his lordship have-"

" How do we know ! Motives 1 Who knows anything about 'cm? 'I don't trust to anything or anybody : if the Euri was to give me five hundred a year to-morrow, should I thank him for it in my heart? No j and »hy not? Why, because I should be certain he had some motive in it. Nobody does no- thing without thinking of something." Such was st once the simple and enlarged philosophy of Lord Iluntingfopper's valet.

" My dear Mr. Curlwell, I do think you're right. I'm sorry to say it : but something happened only yesterday at our house, that makes me suspect everybody; yes"-said Madame Spanueu

with emphasis-"everybody."

" Can't do better, ma'am," cried Curlwell, again quaffing the

Madeira. " What wai it?"

.>" Way, you know, my dear Mrs. Pillow, we lost our darling

«it three week« ago." |

" Dear toe 1" cried the sympathising housekeeper.

.H Well, my dear, about the middle of last week, a woman-a very tidy, civil sort of body, comes to our house, and says to nie, aayt she-Marm, do you want a cat ? Why, my dear, says I, quite forgetting who I was talking to-I do. Well, them' «aya tb« woman, here's . sweet little cretur; and with that, the dor»'no more than take a black kitten out of her basket, as she had «narr htr cloak. "There, said »he-there'» a little rose in, Juna for you ¿ black MI coal, nu'am; »«rea }t all over, for

I wish I may die if there's a white hair in it. "Well, my dear, I'm not superstitious ; no, I should hope not ; still, I know there's luck in a black cat. So I says to tbe woman, you're very kind; I'll take the cat with pleasure: it's very good of you to have brought it. Don't name it, ma'am, says the woman ; who would take no thanks at all for the matter. Well, 1 took in the cat, and the woman goes away. You'd see nothing in that, would you, my dear 1"

" Nothing at all," said Mrs. Pillow.

" Cat was mad, no doubt," cried the charitable Curlwell.

" Not at all ; as sensible and as well-behaved a cat as ever entered a house," averred Madame Spanneu. " But what do you think, my dear? Yesterday, conies the very woman to me again. Marm, says she, I hope you like the cat ? Very much, my dear, says I. You'll find it a beautiful mouser, Marm, for I know its family. I've no doubt of it at all, says I. Well then, says the woman, since you like the cal so much, we can now come to business. What business? says I. Why, marm, says the woman, us I brought you the cat, you couldn't do less than let me serve it? Serve it-serve it

with what ? says I. Why, with cat's-meat, says the woman. Couldn't think of such a thing, says I, and I always feed my cat front my ou n table. Then you should have heard her impudence. Why, says she, calling me everything but a lady, I could have got the kitten u place in a respectable family, yes a place in a square-and you never could be such a fool yes, my love, those were her words-you never could be such a fool-could never know so little of life, as lo suppose I'd give you a cat, if it wasn't that I was to serve her with meat !"

" Like all the world," says Mr.' Curlwell: mid here ended Madame Spanneu 's chapter on human motives.

(To lie continued.)