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"the Roving Bee; on, A Peep Into Many Hives." Vol. II. CI., 12rao., pp. 2-J2. Nisbet and Co.
In March last we had the pleasure to commend to the favourable notice of our readers "The Roving Bee," a little work which we described as both interesting and instructive; and we observed that "the sequel to 'The Roving Bee' would be an attractive title to us." The fact of "A Sequel to the Roving Bee" being announced some months afterwards, might convey to some minds the idea that we were in some way connected with those "behind the scenes," and that we wished to create in the public mind an anticipation of another volume. Such, however, was not the case; we were vain enough to consider ourselves in some degree complimented when we were favoured with the little volume now before us; and we much regret that we have not been able to give -it earlier attention.
We believe that we are correct in stating that "The Roving Bee" and "Quicksands on Foreign Shores" are by a daughter of Archbishop Whately. This we know, that the former work—the second volume of which we now recommend—is edited by Mrs. Whately, and most creditably has that lady performed her task. Every young governess should possess a copy of " The Roving Bee."
It will be remembered that Dora—"the roving bee"—was, when we left her in March, engaged as ■governess in the family of Mrs. Loftus. We will not mar a good tale by telling it badly, and this we must do if we attempt to condense into a few lines, or even pages, the substance of the seventeen chapters of which the volume is composed. So we shall content ourselves by stating, that after very trying experience of the " changes and chances of this mortal life," Dora becomes governess to the daughters of Lady Helen Connor. She had not been in her new situation above a fortnight, when one morning,
"While the party were at breakfast, which they all took together, Lady Helen handed a note she had just received to her eldest daughter, saying, in a tone of annoyance, 'There, my love, you see we shall have to entertain the whole party to-morrow. I am hardly up to it, but it cannot be helped.'
< "'The Conynghams, and that vulgar old Mrs. Mulhall!' exclaimed Annette, as she glanced at the note. 'Oh, why did Mr. Conyngham marry into that family, mamma —such a pleasant, gentlemanly man as he is?'
"' They are very rich, you know, my dear, which accounts for the most preposterous match. I was provoked enough myself at the time, and so I believe were his sisters; but one cannot cut old friends on account of their making a foolish marriage, though I have not regretted that their long stay abroad has hitherto prevented my introduction to Mrs. Conyngham.'''
We must omit the remainder of the conversation, and we shall let the clever and humorous author describe
"The following morning was finer than could have been expected at so late a season, and far milder and more genial than many days of spring or even summer. At one o'clock the guests arrived ; and a message was immediately sent to the school-room by Lady Helen, desiring that Miss Leighton and the young ladies should come down stairs. The familiar name escaped Mrs. Mnlhall, however; for she was too busily occupied with her bag and shawl as she entered, to notice anything else. Mr. Conyngbam and his lady followed her into the drawing-room, the gentleman hanging back a little, as if conscious that his wife and mother-in-law were not exactly calculated to delight his old acquaintances.
"' Lady Helen, I presume,' exclaimed Mrs. Mulhall, curtseying awkwardly enough. 'Why, Mr. Conyngbam, sure ye should introduce us.' He stepped forward to do so, but she did not give him time to speak, but volubly continued, ' I hope I see your ladyship well. So is mcself, indeed; but it's a wonder that I'm not half killed with all I underwent at Killarney. The young people would see everything and go everywhere. Anna Maria—that is, me daughter, Mrs. Conyngbam—is such an enterprising creature; positively she would climb the big mountain down there on the smallest wild-looking pony that you ever beheld.'
"' Oh, I believe those ponies are very safe,' observed Annette Connor, who had preceded her sister and governess to the drawing-room; 'they are constantly in use, and every one who goes to Killarney rides up Mangerton.' Mrs. Mulhall looked vexed at this, and was silent for half a minute.
"' And did you admire the scenery as much as you expected?' asked Lady Helen of Mrs. Couyngham, who had taken a seat near her. 'The season is rather advanced for enjoying the lakes, to be sure; but yet we think the woods very lovely, even in November.'
"' Well, really, Lady Helen, they rather disappointed me, I must confess,' replied Mis. Couyngham, in a strong brogue, which her mincing voice did not improve. 'Von know I have seen so many charming places on the Continent, that Irish scenery looks quite poor and insignificant. We were a good deal in France last year, and I was greatly delighted indeed.'
"' France has nothing to compare with Killarney, from all I have seen or heard,' said Mr. Conyngbam, rather drily.
"'Ah, now, Mr. Conyngbam, you are dreadfully patriotic; I can't go along with you—you know I can't,' and she shook her parasol at her husband with a smile, meant to be winningly playful.
"At this moment Dora and her younger pupil came in, and Lady Helen, looking up from her sofa, introduced them to the ladies. Mr. Conyngbam started at the sound of Miss Leighton's name, and, with all his natural and acquired self-possession, he could scarcely retain an indifferent and unmoved expression as he looked round and saw the very Dora of former days—the same, and yet altered—he hardly knew how, indeed, but there certainly was some change.
'" She is prettier than ever,' he thought. 'What gentle dignity in her air! and her manners so quiet and refined! what a contrast!'
"Yes, he felt, keenly felt, what he had lost; and though he valued and enjoyed the advantages of wealth, at this moment he would gladly have parted with all to have been as he once was.
"Dora, on her part, returned his embarrassed bow with a polite, though rather cold salutation, while neither Mrs. Couyngham nor her mother chose to be aware of her presence till she came up and inquired civilly after the rest of the family.
"' It is, mamma. I wish, indeed, I had all me treasures here, to amuse the young 'allies—me coral Cupid, and gold filigree serpent especially; for they are real curiosities, but the cameo is all I have on me to-day. Mr. Conyngham paid—I forget how many of those francs for it, but the price came to twenty guineas—very cheap for such a recherche article, was it not? But he bought me heaps of beautiful things while we were abroad; sometimes I had to scold him for being extravagant, and tell him his tastes were trop magniflque—eh, mon chtrt'
"Mr. Conyngham was too busy paring an apple to seem to hear her pleasantry; but as they rose presently to return to the drawing-room, his eye turned, in spite of himself, to Dora's graceful figure and simple dark gray dress, and then glanced back at the rich silk of shot pink and green, adorned with all the etceteras of laces, ribbons, and flowers that milliner's art could devise, and inwardly said, ' One need not go even as far as the face—the very dress shows the difference between them.'
"Dora had spoken little during the whole visit. She knew her own place, and -only came forward when addressed, or when the persons present were friends. But without speech it was easy for one who had known her as well as Mr. Conyngham, to see that she was improved in mind, that she was altogether developed, and that the two years which had elapsed since they met, had not been wasted upon her. As before remarked, Mr. Conyngham was fully aware of the advantages he had gained by his wealthy match. Naturally indolent, he was no longer under the necessity of labouring hard to make a fortune, but might frequently take his pleasure at Killarney or on the Continent; but the companion, who was the appendage to the advantages, did not grow more congenial to him. Their love for excitement of every kind was the only point in which they were similar; but hi» enjoyment, when in society, was greatly hindered by the mortification to which his wife's want of education and vulgar, forward manners, were continually exposing him. Never had he felt this so keenly as at the present moment; and he shortened • visit, from which he could derive nothing but annoyance, as much as civility would permit.
"' I know Mrs. Conyngham is tired, and we have it ten miles' drive before us, Lady Helen; so I think, if you will allow me to ring for the carriage—'
"' Sure you're in a great hurry,' interposed his wife.
"' Yes, my dear, lest you should be overtired,' replied he, ringing the bell as he spoke.
"With many civilities on both sides and much mutual satisfaction, in some of the party at least, the guests and their entertainers separated. When the door was finally closed, Annette Connor indulged in some sharp, though playful criticisms on the ladies, and her mother vented her feelings in pity for poor Mr. Conyngham; while that gentleman, as he leaned back in the carriage and feigned to be asleep, mentally repeated 'Only a governess !'"
"' Ah ! he's a terrible tyrant, I assure you, Miss Connor,' said the lady, stepping to the glass to arrange the little head-dress of lace, which Fashion facetiously termed a bonnet.
Dora at last becomes the wife of an exemplary clergyman. How this happened, we shall not attempt to tell. We could not do so without larger extracts than our space will admit.
We conclude our notice of this pleasing tale by an extract from p. 458 :— "Early in the afternoon the travellers arrived, and the happy mother greeted her child as mistress of the pleasant little domain with innocent pride, while Dr. Macneil accompanied Mr. O'Brien on a survey of the premises—orchard, stable, and paddock. ■ Well, Dora,' said he, when he rejoined her and Mrs. Leighton in the garden, ' it is as neat a concern altogether as I would wish to see; and I wish you joy of your new home,
"' Thank you, indeed, they are all well enough now,' said Mrs. Mulhall; 'but the children got the measles the year after you left, and I thought Jemima would never have done any good after it, she was ailing so long; but now she is finely, and we hare n most accomplished English person with them as governess. I was always fearing they'd get a brogue, so I thold Mr. Mulhall I would send to England next time; for Miss Larkins is the third governess we have had since you left.'
"Lunch being now announced, the party were ushered into the adjoining room, and for some minutes were engrossed in the carving of chickens and ham; but Mrs. Conyngham was not disposed to be long silent—she soon began again on her recent tour.
"' The thing that I admired most was that remains of a cathedral—what did they call it? Muckross. Ah! yes, that was the name. Well, Lady Helen, that is better worth seeing than anything else at Killarney. It quite reminds one of the cathedrals abroad, though, to be sure, they are far more magnificent.'
"' It is a beautiful piece of ruin, indeed,' said Lady Helen. 'Do you know, we natives of Kerry are too proud of it to be flattered with the comparison to foreign cathedrals.'
"' That's just what Mr. Conyngham says; but I tell him it's no use to make so much of Ireland now—he should have brought me here before we went to Par*rs, if he wanted me to set so on it. Do you know Par'rs, Lady Heleny
"' I spent nearly a year there once, and am not blind to its delights, I assure you, though they are of a very different kind from those of our beautiful mountain scenery.'
"' Me daughter was at Rome, too,' added Mrs. Mulhall. «Ah! she's a great traveller. I declare she had almost forgot how to speak English when she came back.'
"' Indeed, I talked so much French that it would be no wonder if I did,' said the daughter. 'Mon ami, I'll ask you to hand me a tartlet—merci! I'm always telling mamma she must make me younger sisters learn a great deal of French and other foreign languages, it's such an advantage when mixing in the delightful society of Paris, you know.'
"' Not if they are to forget their own language,' remarked Mr. Conyngham, who, though conversing with Annette all the time, had heard his wife's conversation; 'but there is no great danger, for young ladies seldom become such perfect mistresses of a foreign tongue in two or three weeks as they are apt to imagine; it's only that foreigners are too polite to tell them what stuff they are talking.'
"' Oh, fie for shame, Mr. Conyngham!' exclaimed his mother-in-law; 'don't be making little of the ladies that way—indeed it's only his joke,' she continued in a whisper to Dora, who sat next her, 'for he can't make enough of Anna Maria • isn't she looking charmingly? though she's pale to-day after her fatigues, to be sure. We are just remarking that you look pale, darling,' she added in a loud voice: you ought to take a little more wine after yer long drive.'
"Lady Helen politely pressed her to do so, and Mr. Conyngham poured her out some. 'I couldn't now dear; I couldn't take a single drop, I do declare,' cried his lady, as he handed her the glass. 'Ah, well, if you insist, I suppose I must obey!'
"He had not insisted, and Annette could not resist remarking,'You set us young ladies an example of submission, Mrs. Conyngham.'
"' She wouldn't take proper care of herself, if Mr. Conyngham and I did not look after her, and be quite severe sometimes, I can assure you, Miss Connor,' said Mrs. Mulhall. 'She wanted to go in a boat on the lake one day, and the water as rough as a boiling tea-kettle—positively she was bent on going—just because he was going, yon know: and he had to be quite cross at last, and say, " Me love, I won't hear of yer attempting it"—all from tenderness and care of her, you know! What is that you are showing Lady Helen, Anna Maria? is it your Roman cameo V