Imágenes de páginas

him who was agreeable and modest. He appears to have been beloved by his family circle, which is never the case with an unamiable man. Among his friends were most of the great men of the age, and a large proportion of the ladies. Raphael addressed to him a sonnet, and Titian painted his, likeness. He cared for none of the pleasures of the great except building, and that taste he was content to satisfy in Cowley's fashion, with a small house in a large garden. He was plain in his diet, disliked ceremony, and was frequently absorbed in thought. His feelings were roused by mean and brutal vices, but he took a large and liberal view of human nature in general, and if he was somewhat free in his life, the custom of the times may furnish some excuse-he was charitable to others. Above all, he was an affectionate son, lived like a friend with his children, and in spite of his tendency to pleasure, supplied the place of an anxious and careful father to his brothers and sisters, who idolized him. His brother thus speaks af him in a Latin poem on his death:

Devoted tenderness adorn'd the bard,
And grateful modesty, and grave regard
To bis least word, and justice armd with right,
And patience counting every labour light,
And constancy of soul and meekness too,
That neither pride nor worldly wishes knew,
You might have thought him born when there concur

The sweet star and the strong, Venus and Jupiter. His son Virginio, and others, have left many anecdotes illustrative of his character.

It is recorded, as an instance of his reputation for honesty, that an old kinsman, a clergyman, who was afraid of being poisoned for his possessions, would trust himself in no other hands; but the clergyman was his own grand-uncle and name-sake, probably god-father; so that the compliment is not so very great.

In his youth he underwent a long rebuke one day from his father without saying a word, though a satisfactory answer was in his power; on which his brother Gabriel expressing his surprise, he said that he was thinking all the time of a scene in a comedy he was writing, for which the paternal lecture afforded an excellent study.

He loved gardening better than he understood it; was always shifting his plants, and destroying the seeds, out of impatience to see them germinate. He was rejoicing once on the coming up of some" capers,” which he had been visiting every day to see how they got on, when it turned out that his capers were elder-trees!

He was perpetually altering his verses. His manuscripts are full of correetions. He wrote the exordium of the Orlando over and over again; and at last could only be satisfied with it in proportion as it was not his own; that is to say, in proportion as it came nearer to the beautiful passage in Dante from which his ear and his feelings had caught it.

He, however, discovered that correction was not always improvement. He used to say, it was with verses as with trees. A plant naturally well-growing might be made perfect by a little delicate treatment; but over-cultivation destroyed its native grace. In like manner, you might perfect a happily-inspired verse by taking away any little fault of expression; but too great a polish deprived it of the charm of the first conception. It was like over-training a naturally graceful child. If it be wondered how he who corrected so much should succeed so well, even to an appearance of happy negligence, it is to be considered that the most impulsive writers often put down their thoughts too hastily, then correct and re-correct them in the same impatient manner; and so have to bring them round, by as many steps, to the feeling which they really had at first, though they were too hasty to do it justice,

Ariosto would have altered his house as often as his verses, but did not find it so convenient. Somebody wondering that he contented himself with so small an abode, when he built such magnificent mansions in his poetry, he said it was easier to put words together than blocks of stone.

He liked Virgil; commended the style of Tibullus; did not care for Propertius; but expressed high approbation of Catullus and Horace. I suspect his favourite to have been Ovid. His son says he did not study much, nor look after books; but this may have been in his declinc, or when Virginio first took to observing him. A different conclusion as to study is to be drawn from the corrected state of his manuscripts, and the variety of his knowledge; and with regard to books, he not only mentions the library of the Vatican as one of his greatest temptations to visit Rome, but describes himself, with all the gusto of a book-worm, as enjoying them in his chimney-corner.

He ate fast, and of whatever was next him, often beginning with the bread on the table before the dishes came; and he would finish his dinner with another bit of brend. “ Appetiva le rape," says his good son; videlicet, he was fond of turnips. In his fourth Satire, he mentions as a favourite dish, turnips seasoned with videgar and boiled must, (sapa,) which seems, not unjustifiably, to startle Mr Panizzi. He cared so little for good eating, that he said of himself, be should have done very well in the days when people lived on acorns. A stran)ger coming in one day at the dinner-hour, he ate up what was provided for both; saying afterwards, when told of it, that the gentleman should have taken care of himself. This does not look very polite; but of course it was said in jest. His son attributed his carelessness at table to absorption in his studies.

He carried this absence of mind so får, and was at the same time so good a pedestrian, that Virginio tells us he once walked all the way from Carpi to Ferrara in his slippers, owing to his having strolled out of doors in that direction.

The same biographers who describe him as a brave soldier, add, that he was a timid horseman and seaman; and indeed he appears to have eschewed every kind of unnecessary danger. It was a maxim of his, to be the last in going out of a boat. I know not what Orlando would have said to this; but there is no doubt that that good son and brother avoided no pain in pursuit of his duty. He more than once risked his life in the service of government from the perils of travelling among war-makers and banditti. Imagination finds something worthy of itself on great occasions, but is apt to discover the absurdity of staking existence on sınall ones. Ariosto did not care to travel out of Italy. He preferred, he says, going round the earth in a map; visiting countries without having to pay innkeepers, and ploughing harmless seas without thunder and lightning.

The Orlando Furioso, the work on which rests Ariosto's fame, is, as already stated, a continuation of the Inamorato of Boiardo. The subject is Orlando's love and knight-errantry, and its object, to extol the house of Este, and deduce it from its fabulous ancestor, Ruggiero.

The great charm, however, of the poem, is not its knight-errantry, or its main plot, or the cunning interweavement of his minor ones, but in its endless variety, truth, force, and animal spirits; in its fidelity to actual nature, and its wildest sallies of imagination. At one moment we are in the midst of flesh and blood like ourselves at the next with fairies and goblins—at the next in a tremendous battle and tempest-then in one of the loneliest of solitudes-then hearing a tragedy--then a comedy-then mystified in some enchanted palace—then riding, dancing, dining, looking at pictures, and again descending to the depths of the earth, or soaring to the moon, or seeing lovers in a glade, or witnessing the ex

travagancies of the great jealous hero Orlando; and the music of an cnchanting style perpetually attends us, and the sweet face of Angelica glances here and there like a bud; and there are gallantries of all kinds, and stories endless, and honest tears, and joyous bursts of laughter, and beardings for all base opinions, and no bigotry, and reverence for whatsoever is venerable, and candour exquisite, and the happy interwoven names of " Angelica and Medoro,” young for ever.

In fine, Ariosto is a poet whom it may require a certain amount of animal spirits to relish thoroughly. The air of his verse must agree with you before you can perceive

o perceive all its freshness and vitality. But if read with any thing like Italian sympathy, with allowance for times and man

ners, and with a sense as well as admittance of the dirferent kinds of the beautiful in poetry (two very different things,) you will be almost as much charmed with the “ divine Ariosto" as his countrymen have been for ages.

Our limits will not allow us to quote the remainder of the criticism in detail, or to give any extract from the poem which follows, and which in the translation is so disposed as to read as separate prose tales. We hope to be to be able to give some account of Tasso in our next, and in the mean time recommend the work, as affording a pleasing view of the famed poets and poetry of Italy.


By the late LAMAN BLANCHARD. 3 Vols. London: 1816. The short memoir of Laman Blanchard, written in disgusted with it, and ultimately launched out into the the kindliest and most noble feeling, by his friend Sir E. vague and uncertain life of a London newspaper and Bulwer Lytton, Bart., and prefixed to these volumes,

magazine contributor. At the age of twenty he added adds another to the many cases of the hard fate of the

to his cares and responsibilities by a marriage of love. man of genius.

In 1826, he was appointed, through his friend Mr In his life are apparent many of the sores and

Vigors, to the post of assistant-secretary to the Zoologievils peculiar to literary men in a country in which

cal Society,—which situation he occupied for three years. mind is regarded but as a common ware of merchandise; its products to be bought but by the taste and

He then became sub-editor of the Monthly Magazine, fashion of the public; with no resource in those pro

editor of the Belle Assemblée, was connected with the visions which elsewhere (and in Germany more especi Court Journal, Ainsworth's Magazine, and the Examiner ally) the state affords to such as quit the Agora for the

newspaper, Schools. The institution of professional chairs in Germany has not only saved many a scholar from famine, The amiability of his disposition, and the thorough many a genius from despair, but, by offering subsistence respectability of his character, no less than his ready and dignity to that valuable class of writers whose talents and his growing repute, obtained for Laman learning and capacity unfit them, by reason of their Blanchard not only the society but the affection of very depth, for wide popularity, it has given worthy and many of the most eminent writers of his time. He was profitable inducements to grave study, and, more than of a nature to enjoy peculiarly the advantages of such all else, has maintained the German fame for patient an intercourse. For his taste was formed in no excluerudition, and profound philosophy. And this has been sive schools, and he could admire whatever was good, effected without the evils which free traders in literature no matter the rules or the contempt of rules by which have supposed the concomitants of the system; it has it was produced. He was as free from envy and jealousy not lessened the bolduess and originality of such authors as a man can be; and sew writers younger than himself as a public alone can reward and appreciate; nor has it will fail to remember the generous encouragement and crushed, by the patronage of a state, the spirit of free the seasonable notice which his connection with the inquiry and enlarged discussion. In England, the au press enabled his kindly temper to bestow. thor who would live on his works can live only by the In 1828, when he was but twenty-five years old, public; in other words, by the desultory readers of light Laman Blanchard had published a small volume of literature; and hence the inevitable tendency of our poems, called Lyric Offerings. In the year 1832, the literary youth is towards the composition of works with writer of this slight memoir became personally acout learning and forethought. Leisure is impossible, to quainted with the poet, and received from him a copy him who must meet the exigencies of the day; much infor- of these effusions, I was then conducting the Nero mation of a refining and original kind is not for the Monthly Magazine, and I was so delighted with the multitude. The more imaginative rush to novels, and promise of these poems, that I reviewed them in terms the more refiective fritter away their lives in articles of praise, which maturer reflection does not induce for periodicals. Under such influences the author of me to qualify. these volumes lived and died.

My criticism drew from the author a letter, in which Samuel Laman Blanchard was the son of a respect

he laid bare much of his secret ambition. “I look able tradesman, and was born at Great Yarmouth in

forward (it said) to some day, which the nature of my

inevitable pursuits must render distant, when I may 1803; his father afterwards removed with his family to

realise the dreams I cherished when my little volume the metropolis, where he settled as a painter and glazier. I was written, and escape from the hurried compositions Young Blanchard acquired a good education at St Olave's intended for the day, into what I may call my inner school, where his proficiency was such as induced the i self, and there meditate something that may verify your master and trustees, when he had finished his time there,

belief in the promise of my early efforts."

Some time after this, Mr Blanchard was engaged in to recommend him as one of the boys annually selected the editorship of the Courier, and his political articles to be maintained for one year at the university. His | were of considerable value to the party he espoused; father's means, however, did not warrant him to under- | although free from the acerbity and the personalities take the expense of his future academic studies, and he which the warfare of journalism rarely fails to enwas transferred to the desk of a Proctor in Doctors Com


A change of proprietorship and of polities in that mons. This was no congenial employment for the ex

newspaper occasioned Mr Blanchard's retirement, and citable, versatile, and enthusiastic disposition of our em necessitated the loss of an income, for him considerable. bryo poet and literateur,ếhe loved the stage, was soon His services to the whigs, then in office, had been sufficient to justify a strong appeal in his behalf for copyright of various papers which form a large portion some small appointment. The appeal, though urged of these volumes. Mr Ainsworth also gave up, no less with all zeal by one who had himself some claims on liberally, the copyright of contributions to his magazine. the government, was unsuccessful. The fact really is, Eminent artists, headed by one of Blanchard's oldest that governments, at present, have little among their friends, and engravers worthy of them, have gratuisubordinate patronage, to bestow upon men whose abi- tously embellished this best monument to their departed lities are not devoted to a profession. The man of let-| friend. The Literary Fund Society awarded from its ters is like a stray joint in a boy's puzzle; he fits into exchequer double the amount of the largest sum it habino place. Let the partizan but have taken orders tually conferred. In short, there was but a common emu--let him but have eaten a sufficient number of dinners lation amongst all to whom Laman Blanchard had been at the inns of court-and livings, and chapels, and known, who should most testify to the inheritors of stalls, and assistant-barristerships, and commissioner- his name the affection his virtues had inspired. And in ships, and colonial appointments, can reward his ser- his beloved and spotless name, they have found indeed vices and prevent his starving. But for the author no ignoble heritage, gathering friends around them at there is nothing but his pen, till that and life are worn the onset of life, and inspiring not only compassion for to the stump; and then, with good fortune, perhaps on their affliction, but steadfast interest in their future his death-bed he receives a pension-and equals, it may

welfare. be, for a few months, the income of a retired butler! In person, Laman Blanchard was small and slight,

though sufficiently well knit. His dark features, of rather Stop, good Sir Edward, there may be some such doings

an oriental cast, were prepossessing in themselves, and in London, but with us in Scotland, if any little scraps made still more so by their expression of intelligence are going, “ equal to the income of a butler,” butlers in and urbanity. His eyes and hair were beautiful. His reality got them,- not men of science, literature, or

manners were more than ordinarily attractive; quiet, but not reserved; and gentle, but never servile. His

natural kindness was so great, so visible in the small At last the sad illness and death of his wife,-his own

details of life, that it imparted to him that high and incessant labours, anxieties, and naturally sensitive con delicate breeding which we are accustomed to consider stitution, did their work upon him,-his brain became the peculiar attribute of loftier birth, and more tender physically as well as mentally unstrung, and in a pa

nurturing. For refined breeding is in fact but a quicker paroxysm, almost anticipated by himself in bis more sober

sympathy with the feelings of those around us. Of luis

character little more than has already been stated is moments, he committed suicide! Alas! what a piece of

necessary to add. When I asked a friend who saw himi work is man! Even when graced with the “ courtier's, moref requently than myself, what faults he possessed, as scholar's, soldier's tongue, pen, sword." And what drawbacks to his apparent excellencies; shadows that is there on earth or in earth's pursuits for the most

might enable me to show him, to use my own phrase, sensitive and tremblingly alive minds, but the calm

“as flesh and blood;" the answer after a pause was,

“ Why, I know of no faults, unless it is that he was harddiscipline, the self-abasement and hope of the faith.

ly even of flesh and blood.” seeking Christian. There is something to us touchingly beautiful in the

As a specimen of these sketches, we give the folfollowing account of the efforts of the friends of the de


PEOPLE WHEN. AT HOME. ceased author to do all that was in their power for the

No inhabitant of the many-tenanted apartment I belong departed to succour his four destitute orphan chil. to, was ever seen under circumstances of more striking dren. It reminds us of scenes we have often witnessed contrast than the fair, the beautiful, the delicate Mrs

Swansdowne. What a light broke into the room when she in the streets of our cities, or in the bye lanes of our

first entered it, flushing all things, ceiling, walls, and floor, rural villages, of the poor and ragged coming alert with magic loveliness, and kindling in every crevica and ly forward to relieve with their halfpence the pressing

corner a golden lustre. Her presence almost dispensed

visible rays; such whiteness and rosiness were mingled in wants of some sufferer, even more needy than themselves, her beauty, such a harmony was seen and felt in all her while the pampered rich passed unheeding or scorn gestures, looks, and movemente.

But Mrs Swansdowne was by no means the handsomest fully by.

woman in the world. Beauty of a far higher, far more The immediate shock that Laman Blanchard's death

perfect character than hers, has been often seen; and,

blessings on the pleasure-giving stock from whence it comes! occasioned amongst those who knew him was succeeded

will often be seen again. Her face might have been more by a deep sympathy in the fate of his children, not exquisitely formed, her features might have been more regoverned by words alone. Nothing more honourable to gular; her figure was not faultless, and to a completer gymliterary men than the zeal with which his old compan metry might possibly have been added a fuller and finer ions and associates entered into the consideration of

grace of air or carriage. But however all this might be, permanent benefit for those in whom his memory and

there she was, in her collected charms, which it was base name survived, has occurred in our day.

clownishness and insensibility to criticise, a living rival to

the statue that enchants the world; there she stood, walkIn a short time, by the contributions of a few friends ed, or sat, scattering delights by infinite careless graces of --themselves, with one or two exceptions, far from expressive attitude, and looking, at every turn of the var. rich-a sum was raised sufficient for the support of his ied picture, more enchanting perhaps than even a prouder children for three years, when it is hoped they may be

and more perfect beauty would do. enabled to imitate the noble independence of their father,

This probably was in some degree the effect of that though with a happier fate.

nameless but essential charm, which softens, refines, and And owing, indeed, to the

elevates everyther in women; that charm which can have active exertions of these friends, the three sons were

no existence but in the habitual exercise of a taste the placed in situations, which already initiate them into

most pure, and a pervading delicacy peculiar to the femi. industrious habits and promise future subsistence; nine mind. This was seen in her air, it governed every while the musical talents of the daughter have found an motion, it was heard in the very tones of her voice, and it opening in the Royal Academy, and justify the warmest

was discernible in all the arrangements of her dress. expectations of future professional eminence. ..... Mr

In her dress, especially, was Mrs Swansdowne "a real Colburn evinced his esteem for the writer with whom

blessing to mothers,” by showing them how their daughhe had been so long connected, not only by a munifi

ters should be arrayed, and how they themselves might

find adornment without resorting to an unseemly mimicry cest subscription, but by the generous surrender of the of youth. Young herself, though the object of adrniring

affection shining through the eyes of her pretty girls, she was the mirror in which they might look for grace, propriety, and becomingness, all represented in her person, the model by which they might acquire the true art and style of ornament.

In this ornament, however, there was no “ foreign aid;" in other words, no dash, no splendour, no excess; even the loveliness of Mrs Swansdowne would have been crushed under the weight of layish decoration; it was too tender to admit of being surrounded with glitter and rich colours. The essence, the spirit of it was siraplicity; that destroyed or hidden, it would have ceased to exist; and upon this principle, therefore, her dress was arranged in its minutes particulars. The nicest art was invisibly present; taste and elegance had left nothing further to be accomplished. After all, if the term neatness may be understood to comprise enough of embellishment, it inight be said that Neatness was the favourite attendant-nymph at her toilet.

Happily for the father, the girls promised to be amazingly like their mother; and happily for the mother, the father was mighty proud of them all. Mr Swansdowne was perhaps something of a goose; but he had brains enough to know where his heart lay. He was passionately fond of his wife, but it would have been quite superfluous for him to tell her so ; for his eyes, as they obeyed the law of fascination, and followed her about, left his tongue no eloquence. To him

She was a form of life and light.

That seen became a part of sight. She was evidently all in all to him; the heart of his enjoyment, the soul of all his earthly interest; and rapturous idolatry, the loving and generous capacity of thus living devotedly and soleiy for another finding a new and sweeter existence in the mere sense of her perfections, invested character, otherwise common-place enough, with something of dignity.

Love made poor Swansdowne a noble fellow; as the great enlightening, humanising, purifying, beneficent, passion had made noble, millions and millions of natures, that else had grovelled in the dust and mire of the slavish sensual world. Something of Cymon is in all men, and Iphigenias are not scarce. The transformng power rarely, if eve fails. Where one creature has been debased, thousands have been exalted by love ; where one has been crushed and trampled by his violence, thousands, countlessthousands, have been raised, refined, captured and redeemed.

A happy family were the Swansdownes, on the day of their arrival, and each of them in turn, girls and mother, might have sat to Sir Joshua for her picture. Each was apparently in high fashion ; choicely apparelled ; arrayed us for the reception of company, with the nicest taste and care; and yet dress was so worn by each, as if it were impossible she could ever dress otherwise. They all seemed to be so attired, not that they might look well in strange or even in friendly eyes, but simply that they might be pleasing in the sight of ope another.

Assembled at breakfast the next morning, these rainbow tints had totally fled the group composing the family picture. They had arrived the day before at their new abode, with the feeling of visitors, and they had besides paraded zaily in the sunshine of Pall-mall. Now they were at home. A more unsightly set of drabs never yet took tea for breakfast. I could hardly at first put faith in my spying faculty, so singular and deceptive was the transformasin.

The queen-sloven possessed hopeful subjects, but these young things were far from coming up to the elaborate disorder of the elder style. Mrs Swansdowne, indeed, was superb and unapproachable in her display of the negligences. She was a paragon of deshabille, a pattern for the contemners of appearances, a high priestess in the temple of no-fashion, a mirror and a model for the whole tribe of slatterns. She might have been ever crying with the for lord, bewildered Beatrice,

How comes this bair undone!
Its wandering strings must be what blinds me so,

And yet I tied it fast! Yes, such was the character assumed by Mrs Swansdowne op her second appearance. Had she stood before me twelve feet high the wonder would haye been less-less than the transformation that had taken place. She alas, who had been attired "as ladies wish to be," although wishes may sometimes fail of success; who seemed inspired by an unerring taste,and had made millinery look sublime; to whom clegance appeared natural, and neatness (eclipsing even magnificence) indispensable : she was now in the last stage of unmitigated, un disguisable slovenliness.

Yet, cup in hand, she smiled complacently, and seemed conscious of no unseemliness. Her attire, for aught that appeared, was as tasteful and becoming in her eyes as the garb she had last worn- brilliant as a court-dress. Her hair betraying traces of disorder," her zone unbound," her slippered feet, and dingy drapery huddled on as if by accident, or in the dark, presented a picture only to be adequately seen by the light which contrast throws upon it. The genius for adornment showed off admirably the vast talent for disfigurement possessed by the female head of the Swansdownes.

And what slippers! what a morning wrapper! what soiled white, what faded vellow, what dreary pink! Spirit of mortal beauty, how may mortal ugliness enshroud you!

Ye powers of propriety, that govern times and seasons, and regulate the eternal fitness at things, what has a crumpled nightcap to do with the broad, bright sunshine!

If a mermaid had been destined to be so be-decked, the green one must have blushed red at the first peep into the glass. Had Venus risen from the sea's watery bed in such a costume, she must have instantly sought a watery grave in despair, and under coroner Neptune's direction, a verdict of " found drowned,” would have been recorded.

There sat the tasteful, "stylish" Mrs Swansdowne, and so sat she, morning after morning, by the side of girls almost equally adapted, by an ingenious unsightliness of costume, to frighten crows out of their wits.

And where sat poor S. all the time? Oh, in the “bosom of his family,” There he also sat, morning after morning, in the midst ; hinself smart and spruce, “ neat, trimly dressed, and his beard new-reaped;” a plant of promise among luxuriant weeds ; a bit of modern stucco-work amidst splendid dilapidations, making disorder more disorderly by his primnness.

One who was himself point devise, could not but note the disregard to appearances around him; but, whatever he thought, he said nothing; his eyes made no silent complaint to his partner, nor did they give sign, by the slightest diminution of their fond adiniration, of a consciousness that his out-door divinity was a dowdy in-doors, and that his fine bird, after all, required fine feathers. His thoughts seemed fixed on the pearl in his oyster, and he was blind to the dirty, rough outside of the shell.

But it may be supposed that, bad as the slatternly habit was, it disappeared at least with the breakfast. This, how. ever, entirely depended on the arrangements for the day. If visitors were to be seen, or if visits were to be paid, Mrs Swansdowne was quite another woman, and her girls were

the same girls. The cares of the toilet then became the first of duties; the very prettiest articles of dress and decoration were brought out, the nicest taste was evinced in the choice of colours, everything becoming came readily to the lady's hand, and she was as a golden pheasant in its feathers, compared with the same thing out of them. She had the happy art, while complying with the caprices of fashion, so as never to look singular, to shape and modify them to her own style, so that what to many were disguises, were embellishments to her; and all this she did so easily, and as though by instinct, that it was the more surprising she should ever take the trouble to be a sloven, .

Such was the domestic practice for weeks and months. Mrs Swansdowne was never neat, never near the point of visibility, in the morning; and unless somebody was expected, she hardly got nearer to it at night,

"It's hardly worth while to dress girls," she would say, “ nobody will see us but your father. My dear Joseph," she would add, on his arrival, “I am in the most odious and frightful disorder, as you perceive. Now did you ever see such a dress! look at my hair; here's a shoe; positively I must go and look for a pin, for this bodice has hardly any fastening at all; but you know, my dear, I was aware we should be alone, and one ought not to mind being an abominable fright to you. If anybody had been coming in with you indeed-but, as the dear girls said, “it's only


[ocr errors]

By slow degrees the inebriating fumes of early love cleared away from the brain of Swansdowne, and he began to see a flaw in this reasoning. Nothing yet did he say, but sometimes his eyes would wander over the careless, “untidy” person of his wife, with a consciousness that the domestic angel may be effectually hidden in a loose gown and dabbled ribbons. There was certainly less of rapture and admiration in his looks on these occasions; nor was the old feeling brought back by his glance falling on the girls.

At length he found that this domestic doctrine relative to appearance, was a false doctrine. He plainly saw, what had been visible all along, that the beauty of his home was a delusion, and that to possess a treasure which is never

used, is to be practically without it. Others had greater pleasure in it than he had. They could perceive the grace and loveliness of his wife; he, save at intervals, had to dwell upon the reverse of the picture. To them 'she was an enchantress; to him, a breaker of sweet spells; gorgeous tapestry to them to him, rags.

The daily compliment now lost its effect“ With you, what does it signify how one looks!” “I thought this dress would do, as we should be by ourselves!" No, these expressions, which he at first accepted as endearments, lowever false the reasoning they implied, now became distasteful. Why so fond of being a fright to him, he might reas

reasonably argue! The compliment was more expensive than pleasant. In all other eyes the desire of her heart was to look lovely. No matter how insignificant the persons, no matter even how disliked, for them she would put on her brightest and best; in their sight, she would be as the star of the morning. To please those for whom she did not care a rush, she took boundless pains; to look well in the eyes of affection she never dreamed of making an effort. By the Stranger over the way she would not have been caught in untidy attire for the world; by Love, in whose fidelity and partiality she lived, she never for an instant cared how she might be seen!

Ah! what multitudes of foolish and cruel mistakes of this kind have in all ages innocently planted thorns in the pillow of wedded life! They originate possibly in the idea, which in some heads is a conviction, that love is blind. There never was such an enormous mistake as this, the parent of others. Love may possibly be blind now and then (partially so) before marriage ; but when he has once paid his visit to the matrimonial altar, how he opens his eyes. Love blind! Why, married love is astonishingly keen-eyed, and can see right through the full moon into next inonth.

How should even simple Mr Swansdowne, with love looking out from his lids, fail at last to perceive the grave distinction between neatness and negligence? But thousands of women still living have no faith in this fact of perception. They cannot or will not understand what a wonderful oculist matrimony is, and that a gold ring has a magic cure for Cupid's defective vision. They go on like Mrs Swansdowne, charming everybody but their husbands; dressing for nobodies, delighting strangers, looking eminently becoming when the one pair of eyes are away ; but for him whose taste should be most studied, “ Oh anything will do!”

They have woven the spell of youth and beauty around him, and they foolishly imagine that it will work enchantments, when its bright hues fade into the neutral tints of

mid-life, or the drab-colour of the slattern. They came, saw, and conquered ; and now they forget to secure the prize, and provide against defeat. They stamped the image of elegance and order upon his mind, and forget that the obverse of that image is quite as easily impressed

The reasoning of these fair conquerors (every one of thein is in imminent danger of a fall) amounts to this :

“ He prefers me to all the world, therefore I shall take no pains to please hinu."

“His opinion is of more importance to me than anything else in existence, therefore there is no necessity to look well in his eyes."

“ He has devoted to me his love and his life, and, therefore, I shall lavish the pleasant allurements of my finery upon other people ; anything will do for dear Joe!"

Mrs Swansdawne the beautiful, found to her cost that her adoring lover, afterwards her admiring husband, could turn caustic critic in due season, and sharp were the remonstrances of tongue as well as look, which every day brought forth. Sometimes they had their effect: girls and mama were “ fit to be seen” before breakfast. At others, they would show their respect for his opinion, by a tremendous scamper, and general clearing up of litters, as he knocked at the door; reappearing after a short abg, nce, with manifest symptoms about them of a recent and rapid ordeal at the toilet.

The bad habit was checked, not cured; so the girls were sent off to school, to be instructed in the art of running shoes down at heel, pinning up holes in muslin, and fastening hair upon a plan favourable to its becoming agreeably. loose or gracefully undone. Mrs Swansdowne stayed at home cultivating the mystery of tossing one thing here and another there, then sweeping all into a corner at the first note of an arrival, and rushing up stairs to render her illused beauty presentable.

Swansdowne, unable to work a reform, surveyed his late idol with indifference. When she “got herself up" for society, and looked lovely as of old, he saw no trace of the temporary divinity, but recognised only the habitual slattern. He saw but the wife of his home, not the wife of the world,

At length, as he could nat improve her, he resolved to deteriorate himself; so that, by a more equal balance of faults, they might be more on a footing. He therefore took fervently to drinking, as the vice most proper to the man who inarries a sloven. But his taste for neatness did not desert him here; he took even his liquors neat, as & constant, delicate, and final rebuke to his wife; who, how.' ever, for her part, far gone in disfigurement as she was, could not be persuaded to take to sackcloth and ashes,

INCHCOLM. The small island of Inchoolm, or, as it was anciently , colm. They were successful in their attempt, and on called, Aemonia, is situated in the Firth of Forth, about | landing upon the island found that its sole inhabitant two miles south from Aberdour, on the Fife coast, and was a poor hermit, who lived a religious life according six miles west from Inehkeith. It is of very limited to the rules of St Columba, eking out a subsistence on extent, and is remarkable chiefly for the ruins of its the milk of one cow, and the shell-fish which the rocks monastery, which appears to have been the most exten afforded. Sibbald, who though he copied from Fordun, sive in this part of the country. There is no direct or occasionally improves upon him, says that he “lived upcomfortable mode of communication with the island; on such shell-fish as he could purchase," but why he and those desirous of visiting it from the Edinburgh should be so extravagant as to purchase what he could side must either hire a sailing boat at Newhaven, or have for the lifting; who were the parties that humourcross by the steamer to Burntisland, and proceed ed him so far as to sell him his own, or how he was to thence to Aberdour, a distance of three and a half get the wherewithal to pay, are matters which he leaves miles, where a boat can at all times be procured, and a to the imagination of the “ intelligent reader,” Limited quarter of an hour or twenty minutes suffices for cross- | as were the resources of the hermit, they were suffiing the narrow channel between the island and the cient to entertain the king and his retinue for the mainland. A stean communication between Aberdour three days during which the tempest lasted. When in and Newhaven was attempted some years ago, but the most imminent danger, the king had vowed that if meeting with little support it was speedily abandoned. I St Columba brought him in safety to Inchcolm, he

The monastery of Inchcolm was founded, according would there found a monastery to his honour, which to Fordun, about 1123, in consequence of a vow made should form an asylum to such mariners as chanced to by Alexander I., when in danger of being shipwrecked | be placed in a similar predicament to his own. In while crossing the Firth at Queensferry. The wind, it faithful fulfilment of this vow, Alexander erected and would appear, was blowing strongly from the south richly endowed a monastery for canons-regular of St west, and the sailors were compelled to scud before it | Augustine. We have many similar legends to account in the hope of obtaining shelter under the lee of Inch- | for the planting of religious houses, but, in the great

« AnteriorContinuar »