« AnteriorContinuar »
My dog had made a point on a piece of fal- told, but I was not then in the cure; though, low-ground, and led the Curate and me two or if I had a turn for such things, I might know three hundred yards over that and some stub- a good deal of his history, for the greatest part ble adjoining, in a breathless state of expecta- of it is still in my possession.” tion, on a burning first of September.
“ His history?" said I.
“ Nay, you may It was a false point, and our labour was vain: call it what you please,” said the Curate; “for yet, to do Rover justice, (for he's an excellent indeed it is no more a history than it is a serdog, though I have lost his pedigree,) the fault mon. The way I came by it was this:-Some was none of his: The birds were gone; the cu- time ago, a grave, oddish kind of a man, boardrate shewed me the spot where they had lain ed at a farmer's in this parish. The country basking, at the root of an old hedge.
people called him the ghost; and he was known I stopped, and cried Hem! The Curate is fat- by the slouch in his gait, and the length of his ter than I; he wiped the sweat from his brow. stride. I was but little acquainted with him,
There is no state where one is apter to pause for he never frequented any of the clubs hereand look round one, than after such a disap- abouts. Yet, for all he used to walk a-nights, pointment. It is even so in life. When we he was as gentle as a lamb at times; for I have have been hurrying on, impelled by some warm seen him playing at tee-totum with the children, wish or other, looking neither to the right hand on the great stone at the door of our church nor to the left-we find, of a sudden, that all yard. our gay hopes are flown; and the only slender “ Soon after I was made curate, he left the consolation that some friend can give us, is to parish, and went nobody knows whither; and point where they were once to be found: And in his room was found a bundle of papers, if we are not of that combustible race, who will which was brought to me by his landlord. I rather beat their heads in spite, than wipe their began to read them, but I soon grew weary of brows with the curate, we look round and say, the task; for, besides that the hand is intolerwith the nauseated listlessness of the king of ably bad, I could never find the author in one Israel, “ All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” strain for two chapters together; and I don't
I looked round with some such grave apoph- believe there's a single syllogism from beginthegm in my mind, when I discovered, for the ning to end.” first time, a venerable pile, to which the inclo- “ I should be glad to see this medley,” said sure belonged. An air of melancholy hung I. “ You shall see it now," answered the Cuabout it. There was a languid stillness in the rate, “ for I always take it along with me day, and a single crow, that perched on an old a-shooting.” “How came it so torn?”—“'Tis tree by the side of the gate, seemed to delight excellent wadding,” said the Curate. This was in the echo of its own croaking.
a plea of expediency I was not in a condition to I leaned on my gun, and looked; but I had answer; for I had actually in my pocket great not breath enough to ask the curate a question. part of an edition of one of the German IlusI observed carving on the bark of some of the trissimi, for the very same purpose. We extrees: 'twas indeed the only mark of human changed books; and by that means (for the art about the place, except that some branches Curate is a strenuous logician) we probably saappeared to have been lopped, to give a view of ved both. the cascade, which was formed by a little rill at When I returned to town, had leisure to some distance.
peruse the acquisition I had made. I found it Just at that instant I saw pass between the a bundle of little episodes, put together withtrees, a young lady with a book in her hand. I out art, and of no importance on the whole; stood upon a stone to observe her; but the Cu- with something of nature, and little else in rate sat him down on the grass, and, leaning them. I was a good deal affected with some his back where I stood, told me, “ That was very trifling passages in it; and, had the name the daughter of a neighbouring gentleman of of a Marmontel, or a Richardson, been on the the name of Walton, whom he had seen walk- title-page,—'tis odds that I should have wept. ing there more than once.
But “ Some time ago," he said, one Harley One is ashamed to be pleased with the works lived there, a whimsical sort of a man I am of one knows not whom.
MAN OF FEELING.
He is now forgotten and gone! The last time
I was at Silton-hall, I saw his chair stand in its CHAP. XI
corner by the fire-side; there was an addition
al cushion on it, and it was occupied by my Of Bashfulness.-A Character.--His Opinion on
young lady's favourite lap-dog. I drew near that Subject.
unperceived, and pinched its ears in the bitter.
ness of my soul; the creature howled, and ran THERE is some rust about every man at the to its mistress. She did not suspect the author beginning ; though in some nations (among the of its misfortune, but she bewailed it in the French, for instance) the ideas of the inhabit- most pathetic terms; and, kissing its lips, laid ants, from climate, or what other cause you will, it gently on her lap, and covered it with a camare so vivacious, so eternally on the wing, that bric handkerchief." I sat in my old friend's seat; they must, even in small societies, have a fre- I heard the roar of mirth and gaiety around quent collision; the rust therefore will wear off me:-Poor Ben Silton ! I gave thee a tear then; sooner : But in Britain it often goes with a man accept of one cordial drop that falls to thy meto his grave; nay, he dares not even pen a hic mory now. jacet, to speak out for him after his death. “'Let them rub it off by travel.”—“Why, it
“ Let them rub it off by travel," said the Ba- is true,"said I," that will go far; but then it will ronet's brother, who was a striking instance of often happen, that in the velocity of a modern excellence, shamefully rusted. I had drawn my tour, and amidst the materials through which it cha near his. Let me paint the honest old is commonly made, the friction is so violent, man; 'tis but one passing sentence to preserve that not only the rust, but the metal too, will his image in my mind.
be lost in the progress." He sat in his usual attitude, with his elbow “Give me leave to correct the expression of your rested on his knee, and his fingers pressed on metaphor," said Mr Silton; "this covering, of his cheek. His face was shaded by his hand; which you complain, is not always rust which yet it was a face that might once have been well is produced by the inactivity of the body on accounted handsome ; its features were manly which it preys; such, perhaps, is the case with and striking, and a certain dignity resided on his me, though indeed I was never cleared from my eye-brows, which were the largest I remember youth ; but (taking it in its first stage) it is rato have seen. His person was tall and well ther an encrustation, which nature has given for made ; but the indolence of his nature had now purposes of the greatest wisdom.” inclined it to corpulency.
“You are right,”I returned ;“and sometimes, His remarks were few, and made only to his like certain precious fossils, there may be hid familiar friends ; but they were such as the under it gems of the purest brilliancy." world might have heard with veneration; and “Nay, farther," continued Mr Silton, “ there his heart, uncorrupted by its ways, was ever are two distinct sorts of what we call bashfulness; warm in the cause of virtue and his friends. this, the awkwardness of a booby, which a few
The reader will remember, that the Editor is accountable only for scattered chapters, and fragments of chapters ; the Curate must answer for the rest. The number at the top, when the chapter was entire, he has given as it originally stood, with the title which its author had affixed to it.
steps into the world will convert into the pert- flections, which, I am persuaded, his good naness of a coxcomb; that, a consciousness, which ture would else have avoided. the most delicate feelings produce, and the most Indeed, I have observed one ingredient, someextensive knowledge cannot always remove." what necessary in a man's composition towards
From the incidents I have already related, I happiness, which people of feeling would do imagine it will be concluded, that Harley was ell to acquire-a certain respect for the follies of the latter species of bashful animals; at least, of inankind ; for there are so many fools, whom if Mr Silton's principle be just, it may be ar- the opinion of the world entitles to regard, whom gued on this side ; for the gradation of the first accident has placed in heights of which they are mentioned sort, it is certain, he never attained. unworthy, that he, who cannot restrain his Some part of his external appearance was mo- contempt or indignation at the sight, will be too delled from the company of those gentlemen, often quarrelling with the disposal of things, to whom the antiquity of a family, now possessed relish that share which is allotted to himself. I of bare £250 a-year, entitled its representative do not mean, however, to insinuate this to have to approach : these, indeed, were not many;
been the case with Harley: on the contrary, if great part of the property in his neighbourhood we might rely on his own testimony, the conbeing in the hands of merchants, who had got ceptions he had of pomp and grandeur served to rich by their lawful calling abroad, and the sons endear the state which Providence had assigned of stewards, who had got rich by their lawful him. calling at home; persons so perfectly versed in He lost his father, the last surviving of his the ceremonial of thousands, tens of thousands, parents, as I have already related, when he was and hundreds of thousands, (whose degrees of a boy. The good man, from a fear of offending, precedency are plainly demonstrable from the as well as from a regard to his son, had named first page of the Complete Accomptant, or Young him a variety of guardians; one consequence of Man's Best Pocket Companion,) that a bow at which was, that they seldom met at all to conchurch from them to such a man as Harley, sider the affairs of their ward ; and when they would have made the parson look back into his did meet, their opinions were so opposite, that sermon for some precept of Christian humility. the only possible method of conciliation was the
mediatory power of a dinner and a bottle, which
commonly interrupted, not ended, the dispute ; CHAP. XII.
and, after that interruption ceased, left the con
sulting parties in a condition not very proper for Of Worldly Interests.
adjusting it. His education, therefore, had been
but indifferently attended to; and, after being THERE are certain interests which the world taken from a country-school, at which he had supposes every man to have, and which, there- been boarded, the young gentleman was sufferfore, are properly enough termed worldly; but ed to be his own master in the subsequent the world is apt to make an erroneous estimate : branches of literature, with some assistance from ignorant of the dispositions which constitute our the parson of the parish in languages and phihappiness or misery, it brings, to an undistin- losophy, and from the exciseman in arithmetic guished scale, the means of the one, as connect- and book-keeping. One of his guardians, ined with power, wealth, or grandeur, and of the deed, who, in his youth, had been an inhabitother with their contraries. Philosophers and ant of the Temple, set him to read Coke upon poets bave often protested against this decision ; Lyttelton; a book which is very properly put but their arguments have been despised as de- into the hands of beginners in that science, as clamatory, or ridiculed as romantic.
its simplicity is accommodated to their underThere are never wanting, to a young man, standings, and its size to their inclination. He some grave and prudent friends to set him right profited but little by the perusal ; but it was not in this particular, if he need it; to watch his without its use in the family; for his maiden ideas as they arise, and point them to those ob- aunt applied it commonly to the laudable purjects which a wise man should never forget. pose ot pressing her rebellious linens to the folds
Harley did not want for some monitors of she had allotted them. this sort. He was frequently told of men, whose There were particularly two ways of increasing fortunes enabled them to command all the lux- hisfortune, which might have occurred to people uries of life, whose fortunes were of their own of less foresight than the counsellors we have acquirement; his envy was excited by a descrip- mentioned. One of these was, the prospect of tion of their happiness, and his emulation by a his succeeding to an old ladly, a distant relation, recital of the means which had procured it. who was known to be possessed of a very large
Harley was apt to hear those lectures with in- sum in the stocks ; but in this their hopes were difference ; nay, sometimes they got the better disappointed ; for the young man was so untoof his temper; and, as the instances were not ward in his disposition, that, notwithstanding always amiable, provoked, on his part, some re- the instructions he daily received, his visits ra