« AnteriorContinuar »
PEARLS FROM POPISH PLACES.
7th, 1846. WELL, DEAREST MRs. RUSTLER,
Over the sea
Maiden we flee As Anacreon Moore's Zeluco so sweetly sung to his Haidee. Bounding in my birth on the briny and bottomless billows, a helpless worm, my playmates the Behemoth and the Shark, whose tooth, “sharper than a thankless child,” has cut short so many a dauntless mariner's thread—you will be solicitous to hear whether elevation or depression ruled the hour, as I quitted the white cliffs of free-born Britain, to make acquaintance with the stranger's heart— O wound it well !
—and to study in foreign lands the manners denied us at home! Shall I own that I vibrated betwixt tearfulness and triumphancy? between the willows of Jeremiah and Deborah's exultant harp 3 O, believe me, not unfelt was the relief of being delivered from a companion whose perpetual thoughtlessness quashed my animation in the bud, and whose ever-springing audacities called for the assumption of a prematurity of matronliness' Destructive as were my attempts to direct Mrs. Niblett—of all that frankness in myself which I ever cherished as a young woman's sweetest appanage; when her folly was at my side, it was needful for your friend to garb herself in a frigidity of observance, in spite of her own too warm heart's pleading protests—fluttering against its barricades, like the caged halcyon, who “fain would sing, yet cannot.” Her observations, how futile !—the tone of her mind how insipid to the ear! “No," said I, as our barque (the Heir Apparent, Captain Crumpleton) rushed over “the eddying whirls” of which Dean Swift's hymn gives us so lively a portraiture, “No 1 'tis over ! Self-effacement, adieu ! Henceforth, Diana : walk on thy path of Pilgrimage unencumbered—and light be the thorns beneath !” Continent, I hail thee False centre of untoward sophistication' England!—nurse of delusions, and enfeebled by the luxury of Mammon's children, (who wring from the labourer the sweat of his brow to clothe their limbs in Corinthian purple ty, I shake thy dust from my feet!” So flowed my thoughts lyrically, while descending the associative Thames. Daylight had deceased on the storied shores of my ungrateful country, ere I yielded to fond entreaty, and meditation and anticipative delight were exchanged for the heavings of undignified agony! “The sea is a serious business!” as dear Mr. Pecker said in his jocose mood, to cheer his failing partner, who saw Tinglebury in every cloud—and, in every white pinioned rambler of the expansitive waters, one of the well-known fowl of her leisure moments “who will eackle for her,” she touchingly observes “in vain.” These traits were hardly required to authenticate that the Peckers are the Peckers .# *. or at home, the same proudly-sterling pairl—an aegis of Christian-guardianship to a young and inexperienced pilgrim, proceeding forth, my dear, with “unexplained intents big with resistless meaning,” “You would have been touched to observe how Mr. Pecker's active mind, which, like the Elephant's trunk, grasps the most minute details, was able to turn from the woes of his annihilated nation, to the preparations for a scene so new and unaccustomed. He was everywhere. Thanks to his fore-sighted invention, our equipment has assumed a completeness befitting those whose hymn of praise is order, and with whom brotherly kindness implies aids to failing nature, undemanded by those whose unawakened intellectual energies leave the scabbard at peace. Solicitous not to monopolize, where other souls more selfish might-hayev striven to elicit patents, Mr. Pecker has merely circumstantially substantiated his plea by a correspondential account (with diagrams matic annexations) to the venerable Lindley Murray. One feature I may mention—a limber bell attached to the portmanteau's interior, which moves respondent to the slightest stranger's digit, We have each one. How sweetly might this unconscious guardian of our possessions, my dear, be adopted to an example, by all who would watch over that most inestimable of treasures...”.” 0 may we be each like that metallie monitor, and our earstingle whensoever the hand of the scoffer, or those given to abstract philosophisings, assail our inmost cell! Littler less active in the device of alleviations for the sufferings of his sensitive partner, it was inspiriting to watch our relative's calm sense combatting in anticipation the pangs which the watery element inflicts on her behalf. ' Homoeopathic medicaments were dismissed as futilesince, having tried them, on land, no ostensible sea-sickness accrued, as we were acquainted would be the case, from the principles of contrary motion, which it is the tendency of Dr. Homo (the founder of the system) to encourage. The aquatic cure was next eanvassed :-and an ample sponge ready saturated kept for several days in readiness, but, for once, dear Mrs. Pecker's gentle spirit asserted the unreasonableness of frail humanity. “To be sopped,” she said, simply, “when on the water itself, was a contradiction in terms.” To meet her non-acquiescence, her guide and partner's inventive fertility proposed the expedient of a perpetual rocking motion maintained by way of initiation into the oscillation of the waves: and useful, likewise, as diverting apprehension from its anxieties. This was carried into effect with great success, so far as Greenwich, Mrs. Pecker, having prepared herself by previous installation in her berth. A prostration thence, on the floor, caused by a too sudden gyration, was followed by such stiffness and dizziness, that the experiment could not be carried out, hysteric tears taking its place. But Mr. Pecker enjoins me to recommend it at Wailford. The Miss Blackadders, he thinks, used to profess distemperature on your sheet of ornamental water, Have I been prolix? My desire to serve those I love in Old England is my excuse: for we are aware that a few are still waiting for our communications, who have not bowed the knee to the delusive crew of Cobden and O'Connell Some of our Belgravian friends were on board The Heir Apparent: dear Lady Tallboys, her venerable Aunt—and the latter's Italian medical attendant.--These cyes, my dear, never beheld a more Hyperionic form, than that of the young physician, Thus looked David Rizzio when singing the madrigals of Beza to Mary of Arragon The domestical elegance of this cortége imparted the flavour of aristocratic refinement to our society. Nor was Truth without its witness here upon the trackless waves. The Author of “Lucifer,” whose profound satires have made the Powers of Evil more than once quake, hallowed The Heir Apparent : with his wife—the latter a woman of an unfeigned mediocrity of aspect. Though—in endeavouring to accost Lady Tallboys by a multiplicity of Christian advances, to which her preoccupied mind precluded responses, his valuable time was anxiously engaged—your friend ventured, while she yet trod the deck, to acquaint him with her humble vicinity. Tinglebury was not unknown to him. It was his adamantine pen that with the sound of a trumpet answered Mr. Podd's “Religion without Rage,” in “The Fiery Furnace” of last May. Our presence seemed to awaken more than he cared to express, for he turned abruptly away, too full of matter to resume. The seasons of sequestration of such must not be intruded upon: more precious, they, than the garish talk of the babbler | * * * Perceiving that the Esculapian companion of Lady Tallboys was vocal, I challenged him, on emerging to the deck in the morning—The Heir Apparent clearing itsway by this time along the bosom of the “wandering Scheldt" (sung by Dr. Johnson in the Rambler)—to unite with my untaught notes in vespers of gratitude for having escaped the Perils of the Deep, in the lay which you know so well, to the Duett from “La Puritani.” The sounds he had emitted, methought, warranted such freedom in a strange land. But Rome is even here, embittering casual sociabilities. The proposal was avoided with derision. Had I broached some ditty from the benighted Breviary, matters
feel so instinctively the vicinity of a messenger of infallible truth ! He breathed more freely, I suspect, (for Mr. Pecker's eye was upon him) when the brioche of Antwerp Cathedral—the correct term for spire—pointed to the skies, like “London's column,” round a corner of the river ;-beckoning him, as it were, to the high places of Jezebel. Think you, however, dearest Mrs. Rustler, that I felt daunted on approximating the regions of Idolatry : Far otherwise. “Grass,” said I to myself, “shall grow in her borders, and the Ibis and the Crocodile harbour within her doors l’’
Diverted, however, was I, from these enkindling visions, by more sublunary necessities. The fiscal examination of our travelling apparatus, how subversive of every sentiment of delicacy, I need not, allude to—always takes place on the open deck in presence of +and conducted by myrmidons of the male sex. It went my heart to see dear Mrs. Pecker's private arrangements coarsely discussed in a jargon, one might perceive to be otherwise than complimentary. Our brother-in-law's Bells here came into play: though their ringing excited more attention than could have been desiderated—and being liableto duty—their number, too, awakening some misapprehension, (two small spare ones having been prospectively entrusted to the Maid's Box, in case of loss)—our detention at the Custom House, for the major part of the day became inevitable. Mr. Pecker memorialised the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of Antwerp in vain. Belial was too strong for us; his very entrance into the devoted continent, as he said oracularly, was marked by one of those persecutions which * * * *. The sum ordained him for payment was considerable; but his principles are dear, and it was submitted to without a murmur. He has drawn out a minute account of this fresh instance of Popish intolerance for “The Fiery Furnace l’—the Editor being requested to enclose a copy to H. M. the Queen: another to his dear friend and emulator in staunchness, the Bishop of We are at last in our Hotel La Grande Labourer: our baggages emancipated. Walking through the streets, the caps of the female population arrest the glance, with long ears. O may ours be always open to new impressions ! The language is jarring, and the expression of countenance universally sinister. The bare mention of our being about to encounter a Priest made me shut my eyes involuntarily. They must become more robust, and less sensitive. They shall. Mr. Pecker declares that the monstrosity of his faith spoke confessed in his countenance. Mrs. Pecker was reminded of Mr. Podd's false blandness by his smile. I hope he saw the disdain on my averted visage. No epoch this for compromisings!
Summoned to our first repast of continental origin, I quit my pen –when I have mentioned that the stranger's book has already revealed to us traces of our adversaries. They have passed this way. How we shall comfort ourselves, should we encounter the Nibletts (for 'tis theirs to shrink before the lightning eye of Wisdom () we have not decided. But one at least will not stifle her convictions, whose name, written, she trusts * * * * * is
Your newly-eircumstanced friend,
Deceived again. Is the lot of the willow, indeed, to be your Diana's—who, “bending 'neath every storm, still firmly stands to weep for others' woes!” Is my infantile trust to be for ever played upon But if Mr. Pecker's eagle-eye was deceived, shall mine be more suspicious? Papers from London accidentally perused, with the avidity exiles only can appreciate, blazon forth the evasion from Belgravia of the Lady Tallboys: —the companion of her disful tour being Signor Albertinelli, the director of our friend Lady Highborough's concerts, and the incomparable Tenore of H.M.'s Theatre, whose destinies are so deliciously swayed by the