Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

MEMOIR OF FRANCES BROWN,

AUTHORESS OF THE STAR OF ATTEGHEI AND OTHER POEMS.

It is always interesting to obtain the history of a mind works fell into my hands. It was The Heart of Mideminent for any quality above that of the common mass,

lothian, and was lent me by a friend, whose family

were rather better provided with books than most in but particularly so in the case of an individual such as

our neighbourhood. Frances Brown, who, with one of the noblest avenues to

“My delight in the work was very great even then; knowledge “ quite shut out," has yet, by the native and I contrived, by means of borrowing, to get acvigour of her mind and under the most unfavourable ex quainted, in a very short time, with the greater part of ternal circumstances, enriched and cultivated that “inner

the works of its illustrious author,--for works of fiction,

about this time, occupied all my thoughts. I had a light" which a kind Providence has, as it were, bestowed

curious mode of impressing on my memory what had to compensate the absence of the outer. In a recent

been read-namely, lying awake in the silence of the number we gave some account of the deaf and dumb; night, and repeating it all over to myself. To that habit the following statement of Miss Brown, drawn up with I probably owe the extreme tenacity of memory which great simplicity and feeling, by herself, and prefixed to

I now possess; but, like all other good things, it had its

attendant evil, for I have often thought it curious that, a volume of her poetry lately published, cannot, we should

whilst I never forget any scrap of knowledge collected, think, be read without interest.

however small, yet the common events of daily life slip “ I was born,” she writes, “on the 16th of January from my memory so quickly that I can scarcely find 1816, at Stranorlar, a small village in the county of anything again which I have once laid aside. But this Donegal. My father was then, and still continues to be, misfortune has been useful, in teaching me habits of the postmaster of the village. I was the seventh child order. in a family of twelve; and my infancy was, I believe, as “ About the beginning of my thirteenth year, I happromising as that of most people; but, at the age of pened to hear a friend read a part of Baines's History of eighteen months, not having received the benefit of the French War. It made a singular impression on my Jenner's discovery, I had the misfortune to lose my mind; and works of fiction, from that time, began to sight by the small pox, which was then prevalent in our lose their value, compared with the far more wonderful neighbourhood. This, however, I do not remember; | romance of history. But books of the kind were so and, indeed, recollect very little of my infant years. I scarce in our neighbourhood, that Hume's History of never received any regular education; but very early England, and two or three other works on the same subfelt the want of it; and the first time I remember to ject, were all I could reach, -till a kind friend, who was have experienced this feeling strongly was about the then the teacher of our village-school, obliged me with beginning of my seventh year, when I heard our pastor that voluminous work, The Universal History. There I (my parents being members of the Presbyterian church) heard, for the first time, the histories of Greece and preach for the first time. On the occasion alluded to, Í Rome, and those of many other ancient nations. My was particularly struck by many words in the sermon, friend had only the ancient part of the work; but it gave which, though in common use, I did not then under. me a fund of information which has been subsequently stand; and from that time adopted a plan for acquiring increased from many sources;- and at present I have a information on this subject. When a word unintelligi tolerable knowledge of history. ble to me happened to reach my ear, I was careful to “My historical studies made a knowledge of geography ask its meaning from any person whom I thought likely requisite;—but my first efforts to acquire it had been to inform me-a habit which was, probably, troublesome made even in childhood, by inquiring from every person enough to the friends and acquaintances of my child. the situation and locality of distant places which they hood; but by this method I soon acquired a considerable chanced to mention. As I grew older, and could understock of words; and, when further advanced in life, stand the language of books, the small abridgments of enlarged it still more by listening attentively to my Geography, which were used by my brothers and sisters younger brothers and sisters reading over the tasks at the village school, were committed to memory by a required at the village school. They were generally similar process to that by which I had learnt the Dicobliged to commit to memory a certain portion of the tionary and Grammar. In order to acquire a more per Dictionary and English Grammar, each day; and by fect knowledge of the relative situations of distant places, hearing them read it aloud frequently for that purpose, I sometimes requested a friend, who could trace maps, as my memory was better than theirs, (perhaps rendered to place my finger upon some well-known spot, the situso by necessity), I learned the task much sooner than ation of which I had exactly ascertained, and then they, and frequently heard them repeat it.

conduct the fingers of the other hand, from the points “My first acquaintance with books was necessarily thus marked, to any place on the map whose position I formed amongst those which are most common in wished to know,—at the same time mentioning the places country villages. Susan Gray-The Negro Servant through which my fingers passed. By this plan, having The Gentle Shepherd-Mungo Park's Travels-and, of previously known how the cardinal points were placed, course, Robinson Crusoewere among the first of my I was enabled to form a tolerably correct idea, not only literary friends; for I often heard them read by my of the boundaries and magnitude of various countries, relatives, and remember to have taken a strange delight but also of the courses of rivers and mountain-chains. in them, when I am sure they were not half under “ The first geographical problem that I remember, stood. Books have been always scarce in our remote occurred to me on hearing, in an account of the discovery neighbourhood, and were much more so in my child of America, that Columbus at first intended to reach the hood; but the craving for knowledge which then com coasts of Asia by sailing to the west; and, as I knew pienced grew with my growth; and, as I had no books that Asia was in the eastern portion of the world, as laid of my own in those days, my only resource was bor down on our maps, the statement puzzled me much. rowing from the few acquaintances I had, -to some of At length, however, hearing our village teacher explain whom I owe obligations of the kind that will never be to my elder brothers and sisters the globular figure of forgotten. In this way, I obtained the reading of many the earth, that problem was solved; but to comprehend valuable works, though generally old ones; but it was it cost me the study of a sleepless night! a great day for me when the first of Sir Walter Scott's “ As I increased in years and knowledge, the small

school-books already mentioned were found insufficient; | to adverse circumstances, my progress was necessarily and I had recourse to my old method of borrowing. By slow. Having, however, in the summer of the year 1840, this I obtained some useful information; and increased heard a friend read the story of La Pérouse, it struck St by conversation with the few well-informed persons me that there was a remarkable similarity between it who came within the limited sphere of my acquaintance. and one related in an old country song, called the Lost In the pursuit of knowledge, my path was always im- - Ship, which I had heard in my childhood. The song in peded by difficulties too minute and numerous to men question was of very low composition; but there was tion; but the want of sight was, of course, the principal one line at the termination of each verse which haunted one-which, by depriving me of the power of reading, my imagination; and, I fancied, might deserve a better obliged me to depend on the services of others; and as poem. This line and the story of La Pérouse, together the condition of my family was such as did not admit of with an irresistible inclination to poetry, at length inmuch leisure, my invention was early taxed to gain time duced me to break the resolution I had so long kept;for those who could read. I sometimes did the work as and the result was, the little poem called La Pérouse. signed to them, or rendered them other little services; His country's banner to the gale for, like most persons similarly placed, necessity and ha

The sea-bound warrior gave, bit have made me more active in this respect than peo

And gathered to his spreading sail ple in ordinary circumstances would suppose. The lighter

The noble, wise and brave: kinds of reading were thus easily managed; but my young

And hope went with the young and gay,

Who left their sunny shore relatives were often unwilling to waste their breath and

For isles of promise far away, time with the drier but more instructive works, which I

But ne'er were heard of more! latterly preferred. To tempt them to this, I used, by

Yet far their ocean chief had been, way of recompense, to relate to them long stories, and

In sunlight, storm, and gloom,even novels, which perhaps they had formerly read but

On every shore his flag was seenforgotten; and thus my memory may be said to have

But who hath seen his tomb! earned supplies for itself.

The stars of night and dews of morn “ About the end of my fifteenth year, having heard

Earth's seasons still restore,

But the land looked long for their returnmuch of the Iliad, I obtained the loan of Pope's transla

They ne'er were heard of more! tion. That was a great event to me; but the effect it

Oh! had they found, mid trackless sea, produced requires some words of explanation. From

Some glorious land, enshrined, my earliest years, I had a great and strange love for

Where lived no lingering inemory poetry; and could commit verses to memory with greater

Of all they left behind ?rapidity than most children. But at the close of my For many a brave bark sought, in vain, seventh year, when a few psalms of the Scotch version,

Their wandering to explore, Watts's Divine Songs, and some old country songs

Iut day or night or land or main, (which certainly were not divine) formed the whole of

They ne'er were heard of more! my poetical knowledge, I made my earliest attempt in

Time passed away- on darkest hair

It brought the snow of years, versification-upon that first and most sublime lesson of

Till faith had ceased her fruitless prayer, childhood, The Lord's Prayer. As years increased, my

And love forgot her tears: love of poetry, and taste for it, increased also with in

And wasted heart and weary hand creasing knowledge. The provincial newspapers, at

The grave alike closed o'er,times, supplied me with specimens from the works of the

Dark things were known of every landbest living authors. Though then unconscious of the

They ne'er were heard of more! cause, I still remember the extraordinary delight which

Alas! their land, beyond the waves,

Hath felt both sword and flame,-those pieces gave me,-and have been astonished to find

And given her brave to stranger-graves, that riper years have only confirmed the judgments of

Who left her deathless fame! childhood. When such pieces reached me, I never rest

But still, though tried and tempest-tost ed till they were committed to memory; and afterwards

As none have been before, repeated them for my own amusement, when alone, or

She keeps the memory of the lost,during those sleepless nights to which I have been, all

Who ne'er were heard of more! my life, subject. But a source of still greater amuse “ Soon after, when Messrs Gunn and Cameron comment was found in attempts at original composition; menced the publication of their Irish Penny Journal, I which, for the first few years, were but feeble imitations was seized with a strange desire to contribute something of everything I knew, from the Psalms to Gray's Elegy. to its pages. My first contribution was favourably reWhen the poems of Burns fell in my way, they took the ceived; and I still feel grateful for the kindness and enplace of all others in my fancy:and this brings me up couragement bestowed upon me by both the editor and to the time when I made my first acquaintance with the the publishers. The three small pieces which I contriIliad.

buted to that work were the first of mine that ever ap" It was like the discovery of a new world, and effected peared in print, with the exception of one of my early a total change in my ideas on the subject of poetry. productions, which a friend had sent to a provincial There was, at the time, a considerable manuscript of my paper. The Irish Penny Journal was abandoned, on the own productions in existence,- which, of course, I re completion of the first volume; but the publishers, with garded with some partiality; but Homer had awakened great kindness, sent me one of the copies,--and this was me, and, in a fit of sovereign contempt, I committed the the first book of any value that I could call my own! whole to the flames. Soon after I had found the Iliad, But the gift was still more esteemed as an encourage. I borrowed a prose translation of Virgil,—there being ment-and the first of the kind. no poetical one to be found in our neighbourhood; and " At this juncture, I had heard much of the London in a similar manner made acquaintance with many of Atheneum; and the accounts of it which the provincial the classic authors. But after Homer's, the work that papers contained made me long to see it; but no copies produced the greatest impression on my mind was Byron's reached our remote neighbourhood. Finding it imposChilde Harold. The one had induced me to burn my sible to borrow the publication, I resolved to make a first manuscript, and the other made me resolve against bold effort to obtain it; and in the spring of the year verse-making in future; for I was then far enough ad 1841, having a number of small poems on hand, I advaneed to know my own deficiency; but without appa dressed them to the editor, promised future contriburent means for the requisite improvement. In this re tions, and solicited that a copy of the journal might be solution I persevered for several years, and occupied sent to me as the return. My application was long unmy mind solely in the pursuit of knowledge; but, owing / answered, and I had given up all for lost, when the ar. rival of many numbers of the journal, and a letter from only that the painter, to render the picture true to nathe e litor, astonished me, and gratified a wish which had

ture, would require to interpose a distant overtopping

ture, would reanire to interno haunted my very dreams. From that period, my name and pretensions have been more before the public

mountain to make the background of the scene “ fade many poems of mine having appeared in the pages of

in the distant azure.” that publication, in Mr Hood's Magazine, and in the Our authoress, so far from avoiding, seems to delight Keepsake edited by the Countess of Blessington. Ten in depicting the scenery of nature; descriptions of exteronly of those contributed to the Atheneum have been in nal things seem to awaken that mental susceptibility to cluded in the present collection-because most of them

all that is beautiful which so decidedly accompanies the were so widely copied into the journals of the day, that I feared they might be too familiar for repetition. I

poetical temperament. have little more to tell—this story of my mind's pro The comprehensive powers of the blind in this respect gress being the story of my life. My contributions to are indeed wonderful. Dr Black of Glasgow, in detailthe Athen@um, and its editor's kindness, shortly enabled

ing the case of a blind man, of the name of Thompson, me to procure some instructive books, which supplied in some measure the want of early education-while they

says “ he learned to understand the common rules of have been, in my solitude, unspeakable sources of enter

perspective. After reading to him the description of a tainment. I have few memories to disturb my grateful landscape, I asked him if he saw it in his mind's eye! recollection of those who have cheered me onward in my He said, perfectly well. The writer first brings into chosen but solitary path.

view a stream, then beyond the stream is a level plain, “ It was written, as all my other pieces have been,

which is bounded by a circle of high mountains; at the neither by the advice of friends nor with the hope of success,--but merely “for the love of the thing,' if I

same time stretching out his arm to different lengths, may use an expression very common in my country. It

which represented the different objects mentioned." has no better foundation than a newspaper story, which Both from this individual and Miss Brown, we learn a few years ago appeared in many of the British jour. that the totally blind, who have never had any recollecnals, and was said to have been copied from a Russian

tion of vision, are quite contented without this faculty. paper; but it took a strong hold on my mind at the time; and nothing but the want of information prevented me

Happy dispensation of kind and accommodating nature! from attempting the subject long ago. For any errors It is only those who, like Homer, or his blind Meonidas, and mistakes, I can only plead that the land is new to or the heaven-soaring Milton, who have been in middle me-and comparatively little known, I believe to all.”

life shut out from the glorious light of heaven and the It is sufficient to remark of the poetry of this self-| fair face of nature, once exquisitely enjoyed, that can be taught authoress, that in this age of fastidious taste and detected occasionally grieving at their sad lot. In nounprecedented fertility of all kinds of literature, it has ticing a recent tale of Dickens' we alluded to the inconbeen read and admired for its own intrinsic merits, even gruity of making Bertha so querulous upon her exelusion before the history and condition of the authoress was from the pleasures of a sense which she never enjoyed. disclosed. What may appear singular enough, there is In this utilitarian age, when the use of poetry is quesnot an allusion to blindness throughout the whole, on tioned, and the practice of cultivating the imagination the contrary, external nature and events are described well-nigh abolished, it is pleasing to turn to such a case as with a bold and free pencil, though of course the colour Frances Brown. How many solitary hours during the ing, and lights, and shades, must wear a general charac- day, and still more during the sleepless night, has her ter, and cannot go into those minute or vivid particulars mind been cheered by the bright and varied images of which sometimes so awaken and delight the fancy in the imagination! How often have her feelings been Wordsworth, Scott, or Cowper. It is evident too, that soothed and calmed, and her mind led into pleasing and her art of describing to the eye must be borrowed from useful trains of reflection! Nature unfitted her for minothers, and yet she so manages to naturalize these, as gling much in the too busy world of realities,—but she few others who tempt the lofty rhyme, can do even with has been endowed with the faculty of creating a little their full powers of vision. Here for instance is a scene world of ideas within her own breast, by which she is that a painter might sketch

mentally trained, and exercised, and stimulated to all Know ye Pitsounda's lovely bay

that is fair and good. Our readers will be glad to learn That 'mid its circling mountains lies, Where cedar forests stretch away,

that since this volume of her poetry was published, a From the bright waters to the skies;

small pension has been secured to her through the conTill in the distant azure fades The glory of the sylvan shades.

siderate kindness of Sir Robert Peel.

THE SCHOOLMASTER'S PROGRESS. By MRS C. M. KIRKLAND, Author of “Western Clearings,” “ Forest Life in America,” &c. The following sketch by this lively American writer, besides its intrinsic cleverness, has the interest of depicting views

of society in the far west, and of local habits fresh to us " in the old country.”] Master William Horner came to our village to keep / cheeks like those in the surface of a lake, after the inschool when he was about eighteen years old: tall, lank, trusion of a stone. Master Horner knew well what bestraight-sided, and straight-haired, with a mouth of the longed to the pedagogical character, and that facial somost puckered and solemn kind. His figure and move- lemnity stood high on the list of indispensable qualificaments were those of a puppet cut out of shingle, and tions. He had made up his mind before he left his jerked by a string; and his address corresponded very father's house how he would look during the term. He well with his appearance. Never did that prim mouth had not planned any smiles, (knowing that he must give way before a laugh. A faint and misty smile was “ board round ''), and it was not for ordinary occurrenthe widest departure from its propriety, and this unac ces to alter his arrangements; so that when he was becustomed disturbance made wrinkles in the flat skinny | trayed into a relaxation of the muscles, it was “ in such a sort" as if he was putting his bread and butter in | man exceedingly, filling out the limbs so that they did jeopardy.

not so forcibly remind you of a young colt's, and supplyTruly he had a grave time that first winter. The rod | ing the cheeks with the flesh and blood so necessary of power was new to him, and he felt it his “ duty” to where moustaches were not worn. Experience had given use it more frequently than might have been thought ne him a degree of confidence, and confidence gave him cessary by those upon whose sense the privilege had power. In short, people said the master had waked palled. Tears and sulky faces, and impotent fists doubled up; and so he had. He actually set about reading for fiercely when his back was turned, were the rewards of improvement; and although at the end of the term he his conscientiousness; and the boys--and girls too could not quite make out from his historical studies were glad when working time came round again, and which side Hannibal was on, yet this is readily explained the master went home to help his father on the farm. by the fact that he boarded round, and was obliged to

But with the autumn came Master Horner again, read generally by firelight, surrounded by ungoverned dropping among us as quietly as the faded leaves, and children. awakening at least as much serious reflection. Would After this, Master Horner made his own bargain. he be as self-sacrificing as before, postponing his own When school-time came round with the following auease and comfort to the public good? or would he have tumn, and the teacher presented himself for examinabecome more sedentary, and less fond of circumambul tion, such a test was pronounced no longer necessary; ating the school-room with a switch over his shoulder? and the district consented to engage him at the astoundMany were fain to hope he might have learned to smoke ing rate of sixteen dollars a-month, with the understandduring the summer, an accomplishment which would ing that he was to have a fixed home, provided he'was probably have moderated his energy not a little, and dis willing to allow a dollar a-week for it. Master Horner posed him rather to reverie than to action. But here he bethought him of the successive “killing-times," and was, and all the broader-chested and stouter-armed for consequent dough-nuts of the twenty families in which his labours in the harvest-field.

he had sojourned the years before, and consented to the Let it not be supposed that Master Horner was of a exaction. cruel and ogreish nature-a babe-eater—a Herod-one Behold our friend now as high as district teacher can who delighted in torturing the helpless. Such souls ever hope to be--his scholarship established, his home theite may be, among those endowed with the awful stationary and not revolving, and the good behaviour of control of the ferule, but they are rare in the fresh the community insured by the fact that he, being of and natural regions we describe. It is, we believe, age, had now a farm to retire upon in case of any diswhere young gentlemen are to be crammed for college, gust. that the process of hardening heart and skin together Master Horner was at once the pre-eminent beau of goes on most vigorously. Yet, among the uneducated, the neighbourhood, spite of the prejudice against learn. there is so high a respect for bodily strength, that it is ing. He brushed his hair straight up in front, and wore necessary for the schoolmaster to show, first of all, that a sky-blue ribband for a guard to his silver watch, and he possesses this inadmissible requisite for his place. walked as if the tall heels of his blunt boots were eggThe rest is more readily taken for granted. Brains he shells and not leather. Yet he was far from neglecting may have a strong arm he must have: so he provés the duties of his place. He was beau only on Sundays the more important claim first. We must therefore and holidays; very schoolmaster the rest of the time. make all due allowance for Master Horner, who could It was at a “ spelling-school” that Master Horner first not be expected to overtop his position so far as to dis met the educated eyes of Miss Harriet Bangle, a young cern at once the philosophy of teaching.

lady visiting the Engleharts in our neighbourhood. She A new examination was required on the entrance into | was from one of the towns in Western New York, and a second term, and, with whatever secret trepidation, had brought with her a variety of city airs and graces the master was obliged to submit. Our law prescribes somewhat caricatured, set off with year-old French fashexaminations, but forgets to provide for the competency ions much travestied. Whether she had been sent out of the examiners; so that few better farces offer, than to the new country to try, somewhat late, a rustic chance the course of questions and answers on these occasions. for an establishment, or whether her company had been We know not precisely what were Master Horner's found rather trying at home, we cannot say. The view trials; but we have heard of a sharp dispute between which she was at some pains to make understood was, the inspectors whether angel spelt angle or angel. that her friends had contrived this method of keeping Angle had it, and the school maintained that pronuncia her out of the way of a desperate lover whose addresses tion ever after. Master Horner passed, and he was were not acceptable to them. requested to draw up the certificate for the inspectors If it should seem surprising that so high-bred a visito sign, as one had left his spectacles at home, and the ter should be sojourning in the wild woods, it must be other had a bad cold, so that it was not convenient for remembered that more than one celebrated Englishman either to write more than his name. Master Horner's and not a few distinguished Americans have farmer exhibition of learning on this occasion did not reach us, brothers in the western country, no whit less rustic in but we know that it must have been considerable, since their exterior and manner of life than the plainest of he stood the ordeal.

their neighbours. When these are visited by their re" What is Orthography?" said an inspector once, in fined kinsfolk, we of the woods catch glimpses of the gay our presence.

world, or think we do. The candidate writhed a good deal, studied the beams

"Tbat great medicine hath overhead and the chickens out at the window, and then

With its tinct gilded-" replied,

many a vulgarism to the satisfaction of wiser heads than " It is so long since I learnt the first part of the spel ours. ing-book, that I can't justly answer that question. But Miss Bangle's manner bespoke for her that high conif I could just look it over, I guess I could.”

sideration which she felt to be her due. Yet she conOur schoolmaster entered upon his second term with descended to be amused by the rustics and their awknew courage and invigorated authority. Twice certified, ward attempts at gaiety and elegance; and, to say truth, who should dare doubt his competency? Even Joshua few of the village merry-makings escaped her, though was civil, and lesser louts of course obsequious; though she wore always the air of great superiority. the girls took more liberties; for they feel even at that The spelling-school is one of the ordinary winter early age, that influence is stronger than sense.

amusements in the country. It occurs once in a fortMaster Horner's success was most triumphant that night, or so, and has power to draw out all the young winter. A year's growth had improved his outward people for miles round, arrayed in their best clothes and their holiday behaviour. When all is ready, umpires | lady. All that concerns us is the result of Miss Bangle's are elected, and after these have taken the distinguished | benevolent designs upon his heart. She tried most sin. place usually occupied by the teacher, the young people cerely to find its vulnerable spot, meaning no doubt to of the school choose the two best scholars to head the put Mr Horner on his guard for the future; and she was opposing classes. These leaders choose their followers unfeignedly surprised to discover that her best efforts from the mass, each calling a name in turn, until all the were of no avail. She concluded he must have taken a spellers are ranked on one side or the other, lining the counter-poison, and she was not slow in guessing its sides of the room, and all standing. The schoolmaster, source. She had observed the peculiar fire which lightstanding too, takes his spelling-book, and gives a placid ed up his eyes in the presence of Ellen Kingsbury, and yet awe-inspiring look along the ranks, remarking that she bethrought her of a plan which would ensure her he intends to be very impartial, and that he shall some amusement at the expense of these impertinent give out nothing that is not in the spelling-book. For rustics, though in a manner different somewhat from her the first half hour or so he chooses common and easy original more natural idea of simple coquetry words, that the spirit of the evening may not be A letter was written to Master Horner, purporting to damped by the too early thinning of the classes. When come from Ellen Kingsbury, worded so artfully that the a word is missed, the blunderer has to sit down, and be schoolmaster understood at once that it was intended a spectator only for the rest of the evening. At certain to be a secret communication, though its ostensible obintervals, some of the best speakers mount the platform, ject was an inquiry about some ordinary affair. This and “speak a piece," which is generally as declamatory was laid in Mr Horner's desk before he came to school, as possible.

with an intimation that he might leave an answer in a The excitement of this scene is equal to that afforded | certain spot on the following morning. The bait took by any spectacle whatever; and towards the close of the | at once, for Mr Horner, honest and true himself, and evening, when difficult and unusual words are chosen to much smitten with the fair Ellen, was too happy to be confound the small number who still keep the floor, it circumspect. The answer was duly placed, and as becomes scarcely less than painful. When perhaps only duly carried to Miss Bangle by her accomplice Joe one or two remain to be puzzled, the master, weary at Englehart, an unlucky pickle who “ was always for ill, last of his task, though a favourite one, tries by tricks never for good," and who found no difficulty in obtaining to put down those whom he cannot overcome in fair the letter unwatched, since the master was obliged to be fight. If among all the curious, useless, unheard-of in school at nine, and Joe could always linger a few minwords which may be picked out of the spelling-book, he utes later. This answer being opened and laughed at, cannot find one which the scholars have not noticed, he Miss Bangle had only to contrive a rejoinder, which begets the last head down by some quip or catch. “ Bay." ing rather more particular in its tone than the original will perhaps be the sound; one scholar spells it “ bey," communication, led on yet again the happy schoolmaster, another “bay,” while the master all the time means who branched out into sentiment, « taffeto phrases, “ba," which comes within the rule, being in the spelling silken terms precise," talked of hills and dales and book.

rivulets, and the pleasures of friendship, and concluded It was on one of these occasions, as we have said, by entreating a continuance of the correspondence. that Miss Bangle, having come to the spelling-school to Another letter and another, every one more flattering get materials for a letter to a female friend, first shone and encouraging than the last, almost turned the sober upon Mr Horner. She was excessively amused by his head of our poor master, and warmed up his heart so solemn air and puckered mouth, and set him down at effectually that he could scarcely attend to his business. once as fair game. Yet she could not help becoming The spelling-schools were remembered however, and somewhat interested in the spelling-school, and after it Ellen Kingsbury made one of the merry company; but was over found she had not stored up half as many of the latest letter had not forgotten to caution Mr Horner the schoolmaster's points as she intended, for the benefit not to betray the intimacy, so that he was in honour of her correspondent.

bound to restrict himself to the language of the eyes, In the evening's contest a young girl from some few hard as it was to forbear the single whisper for which miles' distance, Ellen Kingsbury, the only child of a sub he would have given his very dictionary. So their meetstantial farmer, had been the very last to sit down, after ing passed off without the explanation which Miss Bangle a prolonged effort on the part of Mr Horner to puzzle began to fear would cut short her benovolent amuseher, for the credit of his own school. She blushed, and ment. siniled, and blushed again, but spelt on, until Mr Horner's The correspondence was resumed with renewed spirit, cheeks were crimson with excitement and some touch of and carried on till Miss Bangle, though not over-burdenshame that he should be baffled at his own weapons. At ed with sensitiveness, began to be a little alarmed for length, either by accident or design, Ellen missed a word, the consequences of her malicious pleasantry. She perand sinking into her seat, was numbered with the slain. ceived that she herself had turned schoolmistress, and

In the laugh and talk which followed, (for with the that Master Horner, instead of being merely her dupe, conclusion of the spelling, all form of a public assembly had become her pupil too; for the style of his replies had vanishes,) our schoolmaster said so many gallant things been constantly improving, and the earnest and manly to his fair enemy, and appeared so much animated by tone which he assumed, promised any thing but the the excitement of the contest, that Miss Bangle began quiet, sheepish pocketing of injury and insult, upon to look upon him with rather more respect, and to feel which she had counted. In truth, there was something somewhat indignant that a little rustic like Ellen should deeper than vanity in the feelings with which he regard. absorb the entire attention of the only beau. She put ed Ellen Kingsbury. The encouragement wbich he supon, therefore, her most gracious aspect, and mingled in posed himself to have received, threw down the barrier the circle; caused the schoolmaster to be presented to which his extreme bashfulness would have interposed her, and did her best to fascinate him by certain airs and between himself and any one who possessed charms graces which she had found successful elsewhere. What enough to attract him; and we must excuse him if, in such game is too small for the close-woven net of the coquette ? a case, he did not criticise the mode of encouragement,

Mr Horner quitted not the fair Ellen until he had but rather grasped eagerly the proffered good without a handed her into her father's sleigh; and he then wended scruple, or one which he would own to himself, as to the his way homewards, never thinking that he ought to propriety with which it was tendered. He was as much have escorted Miss Bangle to her uncle's, though she in love as a man can be, and the seriousness of real at. certainly waited a little while for his return.

tachment gave both grace and dignity to his once awkWe must not follow into particulars the subsequent ward diction. intercourse of our schoolmaster with the civilized young The evident determination of Mr Horner to come to

« AnteriorContinuar »