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THE NET-BRAIDERS.

Within a low-thatch'd hut, built in a lane,

Whose narrow pathway tendeth toward the oceanA solitude which, save of some rude swain,

Or fisherman, doth scarce know human motion;
Or of some silent poet, to the main

Straying, to offer infinite devotion
To God, in the free universe-there dwelt
Two women old, to whom small store was dealt
Of the world's misnamed good ; mother and child,

Both aged and mateless. These two life sustain'd By braiding fishing-nets; and so beguiled

Time and their cares, and little e'er complain’d Of Fate or Providence : resign'd and mild,

Whilst day by day, for years, their hour-glass rain'd Its trickling sand, to track the wing of Time, They toil'd in peace : and much there was sublime In their obscure contentment. Of mankind

They little knew or reckd ; but for their being They blest their Maker, witli a simple mind;

And in the constant gaze of His all-seeing Eye, to his poorest creatures never blind,

Deeming they dwelt, they bore their sorrows fleeing;
Glad still to live, but not afraid to die-
In calm expectance of Eternity.
And since I first did greet those braiders poor,

If ever I behold fair women's cheeks
Sin-pale in stately mansions, where the door

Is shut to all but pride, my cleft heart seeks
For refuge in my thoughts, which then explore

That pathway lone near which the wild sea breaks, And to Imagination's humble eyes That hut, with all its want, is Paradise !

Long years, beset with days of toil and care,

But with sweet hours of pleasure intergrain'd, Had swollen the Past, since my verse-musings were

Of those “two women old,” who “life sustain'd By braiding fishing-nets ;" when sad repair

I to their dwelling made once more ; and, gain'd

Its lonely threshold, I beheld within
A present to the past in every touch akin.
There the Olil Brailers sat, their old task plying,

At the same tabole, on the selfsame chairs,
On the same spot, the same things round them lying,
Is when I last took leave of their

grey

hairs : Through the sime sandd-glass was the brief hour clying ;

The same expression, wrought of pains and cares,
Relieved by faith and hope, their features bore ;
And the same ever-mended garbs they wore.
Then, towards the billows clich I wander on,

Anil on the rocks where I had «lream'd of yore
Aguin sat musing; anıl, lo! thereupon

Seemid it the selfsame creatures which before
I had made thought-sport of, glued to the stone,

Still cleavedl, unstirril by the waves' beat and roar ;
Fixil to one spot, as were those toilers old
I had just left within their cottage-hold.
Those wrinkled women, and these limpets crown’d

With their fixil shells, Imagination smile
Made, in brief mockery : but anon, with hound

Fleet as god Mercury s, in a breathing-while
She speed the immeasurer l'niverse around,

And of base limit did there unbeguile
Iler mooil contemplative; till Earth scem'd not,
To her vast vision, more than rock or cot;
Or man the most erratic, more excursive

Than is the limpe or grey cottager :
And then she asků, of human pride subversive,

What news of Space can farthest traveller
Report, of the Great Whole more clear rehearsive,

And what of Truth most lored philosopher,
And all that in the name of “Gol” is shut,
Than the abiders in the shell and hut ?
And what of Life's unclouded Ecstasy

The loveliest woman, heart-o'erbrimm'd with love,
That ever did on youth and love rely,

And wander fondly as the Deluge-dove ?--
From the still firm-closed Ileaven one sole reply

Obtain’d the Winged Questioner, who strove
For luftier response to her argument;
And that meek Answering whisper'd—“Be content !”

THOMAS WADE.

PEARLS FROM POPISI PLACES.

BY A SERIOUS PARTY.

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LETTER V.-To MRS. RUSTLER.

Cologne,

-th, 1846. For the pause which has elapsed since last this throbbing heart claimed the sympathy of friendship, I could offer countless elucidations, were it needful. Perpetually has Mr. Pecker been extending his urgency

that your Diana should devote herself, while on this interesting ramble, exclusively to the arena of the public. Tinglebury, he asserted, waited to pronounce its judgment on The Rhine, until we had taken an ample survey. Then, there was Fiery Furnace” on tiptoe for the real truth as regarded that sink

superstitious splendours, the Cathedral at Cologne ; the collection of appalling facts to be brought forward on the Fifth of November having been committel—like the bowstring and the scimitar of the Secret Tribunals of Bessarabia (vide

" Cross on the Crescent”)—to my feeble hands ; which, believe me, shrunk before its weightiness ! For, my love, it is but the Sluggard who declines to discover duties in the running brooks and the stones of the tourist's field of research. Nor has private incident been wanting to support Public Duty in the destruction of that leisure which Tenderness loves to consecrate to distant Amity! If many, by the grace of ****, be led to remember the Autumn, when the Peckers and my humble self assumed the staff: ourselves are not the individuals who are likely to forget the epoch. Again and again have I said, while Vicissitude has been ramifying its approaches, and Trial poising above us, “ This 'tis to live!" This,

66 Those emanations to know,

Which link us to Th’ Immortal !” But cease, fond prelude! Let me record events in their due procession !

Hardly had we arrived at Cologne, when the nervous attack, on the verge of which Mrs. Pecker had been vibrating ever since we quitted Albion's snowy cliffs, burst forth with preternatural rehemence: the occasion, this. Our Brother's scientific eagerness

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is no secret ; nor the original grasp with which he manages to lay hold on every subject-throwing light into obscure chasms and corners undreamed of by pristine inventors. Occupied, as he has been, throughout the whole of his honourable career, in thwarting the materialists, you are aware—are you not, beloved Mrs. Rustler ?

-of his iilea with regard to the Prophetic Writings. Successively has he deduced from * * * *, the use of Tobacco and the Silkworm—the discovery of the l'otato-clear visions of gas, balloons, the latter-day encroachments of Steam, et ceteris. I, who have been allowed to bar humble and suggestive company with him through these mysteries, can assert, that when his work is done, the theme will be closed :-scoffers silenced, and * * * *. It is no idea of yesterday, with him, that the universal acceptation of Cotton has a deep pregnaney; being especially referred to ****.

6. Who can doubt, indecid," he has often said, " that Manchester is a Bottomless l'it; the existence of which is permitted as a hissing and a humiliation ? * * *

• Is it for nothin:g,” he will ask another day, “that the strong frame of our Constitution has been broken in pieces by the rotatory Jenny ?—that it is among Calicos, that the conspiracy was hatched, which has deprived Britain's isle of her bulwarks in the Corn Laws—and delivering her bound into the hands of (obden, made the way easy for Latitudinarian Triumph or Roman insidiosity-since, the balance taken away, what stable hope is left us?” Call this not visionary : join not the Podds in accusing us of irreverence! We are not alone in our defence of The Ark. Remarkalıle is the time * * * * You will judge, then, of the thrilling solemnity with which, thus far advanced, Mr. Pecker learned the new discovery by which the plant he deems destined to play such a wondrous part, is converted from a vehicle of clothing, into an engine of War's Artillery, - This Cottonpowder,” said he, “Sister Rill

, is a precious link in the chain of interpretation.* The Destroying Angel"

But the

* llere, more largely than elsewhere, has the Editor thought it fit to suppress certain passages.

There is no topic on which Miss Rill and her friends are more ingenious and triumphant than the interpretation of the Prophecies ; but the subject is too serious, and their speculations too sublime for these pages. The zeal and familiarity with which every modern incident and circumstance is “improved,” however welcome to those of “The Fiery Furnace,” will strike others “further from the oven," as more startling than reverent. Nay, they (and not Miss Rill's playmates) may this time accuse the Editor of interpolating exaggerations not her own ; so flagrant must such presumption seem to all save those who liave“ graduated." "Yet,

burst of these new and awful views, proved too much for his less elevated partner. Once convinced of the capacity of the vegetable for explosion, there was, for her, little more security! In vain I endeavoured to administer the strengthenings of Reason ; to explain to her, that until the production had undergone the pyroligneous process, its integrity was unchanged—and even, after, required a percussion, it is not in the nature of common chances to administer, ere peril was to be apprehended. In vain did Mr. Pecker propose a system of experiments to afford her visual proof of the unsubstantiality of her imaginary terrors. To divest herself and party, of every filament of the obnoxious material, became her ruling and instantaneous desire. Our interior wardrobes (Delicacy precluding greater explicitude) must needs be ransacked then and there. Imbued with a conviction of the malice of the Nibletts, “how did we know,” she said, “to what extent they might not have tampered with any Calico article passing through the wash : enough to annoy, if not to extinguish life? No, she could never endure the thought of Cotton coming near her, in any shape, again!

There was no smiling at this morbidity of fancy. “ A spider,” as Dr. Johnson has observed, may become a camel, apprehensiveness permitting ;” and a thread-simple utensil of a sempstress—the train by which a Faux prosecutes his daring inquiries. “ The Electrical Telegraph,” she continued, "was bad enough: though she hoped the earthquakes it must ultimately diffuse would not happen in her time!"* * But this new appliance of the Destroying Angel came yet nearer to all of us

* * * and how to cope with it, baffled precaution. Thus precipitously her fears did hurry her on-suggesting moreen sheets—the perpetual use of bandanna next the skin—napkins of flannel (since three , parts of the linen made, she is sure, ever since O'Connell got the upper hand in Ireland, is Cotton)—and a thousand other expedients. Never have I known her nocturnal vigilancy so active, conjointly with discomfiture originating from Teutonic cookery–where the sour and the sweet and the savoury are alternated with an insensate disregard for all legitimate sequence. Her excited imagination,

Mr. Pecker's “ pleasant freedoms” with Holy Writ are, surely, slight, compared with others recently put forth :-to go no further, than the sermon delivered at Liverpool by the Rev. H. McNeile, on the occasion of the visit of H. R. H. The Prince Albert ; and since published, “by desire.”

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