Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pheme Hannafe More by a comparison with Lady Strathmore.

Bowles used to say that if every other book were bad, we might learn every useful art and science from Don Quixote.

A Mas. Morgan lived with Lady Strathmore; she had been useful to her in her difficulties, and though they were always quarrelling the old Countess appeared in all the parade of grief upon her death. Her carriage was covered with black, and she in treated Jackson to let her have a key to the church, that she might indulge her feelings and visit the grave at midnight when she pleased. Rickman picked up an elegy which she had been trying to compose upon this occasion; it began 'There are, who, though they may hate the living, love the dead,' and two or three vain attempts followed to versify this. Common-place ideas were given in a language neither prose nor poetry; but the most curious part was a memorandum written on the top of the sheet. 'The language to be rich and flowing.' With all this ostentatious sorrow, six weeks after the death of Mrs. Morgan she turned her daughter out of doors because she was attached to a country apothecary.

Lord Bute was uncommonly haughty towards his equals and superiors. Gustavus Brander called on him one morning, "My Lord, (said he) the Archbishop of Canterbury is in this neighbourhood, and requests permission to see High ClilT." Bute looked sternly up—" I don't know him, Sir!" Jackson, then Curate of Christ Church, begged the same favour for one of his friends, and the reply was, "I have business at Ringwood and may as well do it to-morrow; your friend may see the house then."

Gustavus Brandeb was walking with Emanuel Swedenburg in Cheapside, when the Baron pulled off his hat and made a very respectful bow. Who are you bowing to? said Brander. You did not see him, replied Swedenburg. It was St. Paul, I knew him very well.

I Saw Major Cartwright (the sportsman, not the patriot) in 1791. I was visiting with the Lambs at Hampstead, in Kent, at the house of Hodges his brother-in-law; we had nearly finished dinner when he came in. He desired the servant to cut bim a plate of beef from the side board; I thought the footman meant to insult him; the plate was piled to a height which no ploughboy after a hard day's fasting could have levelled; but the moment he took up his knife and fork and arranged the plate, I saw this was no common man. A second and third supply soon vanished: Mr. and Mrs. Lamb, who had never before seen hiin, glanced at each other; but Tom and I with school-boys'privilege, kept our eyes riveted upon him with what Dr. Butt would have called the gaze of admiration. 'I see you have been looking at me (said he when he had done); I have a very great appetite. I once fell in with a stranger in the shooting season, and we dined together at an inn; there was a leg of mutton which he did not touch, I never make more than two cuts of a leg of mutfon, the first takes all one side, the second all the other; and when I had done this I laid the bone across my knife for the marrow.' The stranger could refrain no longer—'By God, Sir, (said he) I never saw a man eat like you.'

This man had strength and perseverance charactered in every muscle. He eat three cucumbers with a due quantity of bread and cheese for his breakfast the following morning. I was much pleased with him, he was good humoured and communicative, his long residence on the Labrador coast made his conversation as instructive as interesting; I had never before seen so extraordinary a man, and it is not therefore strange that my recollection of his manner, and words, and countenance should be so strong after on interval of six years.

I read his book in 1793, and strange as it may seem, actually read through the three quartos. At that time I was a verbatim reader of indefatigable patience, but the odil simplicity of the book amused me; the importance he attached to his traps delighted me, it was so unlike a book written for the world—the solace of a solitary evening in Labrador; I fancied him blockaded by the snows, rising from a meal upon the old, tough, high-flavoured, hard-sinewed wolf, and sitting down like Robinson Crusoe to his journal. The annals of his campaigns among the foxes and beavers interested me more than ever did the exploits of Marlbro1 or Frederic; besides I saw plain truth and the heart in Cartwright's book—and in what history could I look for this?

The print is an excellent likeness. Let me add that whoever would know the real history of the beaver, must look for it in this work. The common accounts arc fables.

Coleridge took up a volume one day, and was delighted with its .strange simplicity. There are some curious anecdotes of the Esquimaux. When they entered London with him, one of them cried, putting up his hand to his head, 'Too much noise—too much people—too much house—oh for Labrador!' an interesting fact for the history of the human mind.

I Have learnt at Christ Church the history of Lady Edward Fitzgerald, the Pamela, of whom such various accounts are given.

The Duke of Orleans, of seditious celebrity, was very desirous of getting an English girl as a companion for his daughter; her parents were wholly to resign her. Forth, secretary to Lord Stormont the then embassador at Paris, was commissioned to find such a child, and he employed Janes, r man of Christ Church, known by the name of Bishop Janes for his arrogance, though he was only a priest. A Bristol-woman, her name Sims, then resided at Christ Church, with an only daughter, a natural child, about four or five years old, of exceeding beauty. The offer was made to this woman: her poverty consented, and her wisdom; assuredly she was right. Some small sum was annually paid her, and she knew the situation of her child.

This is a strange history, and they who have seen Pamela would think any thing interesting that related to her. I once sat next her in the Bath theatre, Madame Sillery was on the seat with her; but, with physiognomical contrition I confess that while my recollection of Pamela's uncommon beauty is unimpaired, I cannot retrace a feature of the authoress. They who study education should read the writings of this woman. I have derived from them much pleasure and much instruction. After reading her journal of their education I almost idolized the young Egalites. Dumouriez taught me how to estimate them justly. Should there ever again be a king in France (which God forbid !) it will be the elder of these young men. He will be a happier and a better man as an American farmer.*''— August 4, 1797.

I Mdst add an anecdote of Bishop Janes. He took as his motto, "Gens ingenti nomine." His father kept the little mill behind the church.

Rickman, alluding to his electioneering duplicity,said that" Jane bifrons" had been a better motto.

I Enquired of Dr. Stack concerning Thomas Dcrmody. He was of mean parentage, but his talents were patronized; he was always a welcome visitor at Moira House,and all his misfortunes sprung from his own profligacy. Twice he enlisted as a soldier, and was twice bought off; afterwards he entered the navy—and I could learn nothing more of the fate of Dermody, a man certainly of uncommon genius. He was gloomy at times—and it appeared like the gloom of remorse. They represent him to me as totally devoid of any moral principle. —Feb. 19, 1798.

1 This is a remarkable passage, and I think there can be no objection to printing it exactly as it stands in the MSS. I may add, that no omissions have ever been made in these volumes, except to spare the feelings of individuals.

J. w. w.

Talassi called on Cottle, and sent up word that an Italian poet was below. Cottle, not knowing the name, nor liking the title, returned for answer that he was engaged. The angry hnprovisatore called for pen and ink, and thus expressed his disappointment :—

"Confrere en Apollon, je me fais un devoir De paroitre chez vous pour desir de vous voir.

Vous etes engage: j'aurai done patience. Je ne jouirai point d'une aimable presence. L'Auteur d'Alfred se cache, et pourquoi,

s'il lui plait? Je m'en vais desol£, mais enfin . . . C'en est fait.

"Signor Cottle riverito

Me n'andro come son ito,

E se voi sublime Vate

Un Poeta non curate

Io del pari vi lo giuro

Non vi cerco e non vi euro. "Angelo Talassi di Ferrara, Poeta all' attuale servizio della Regina di Portogallo."

Aug. 10, 1814.

Last night, in bed, before I could fall asleep, my head ran upon cards, at which I had been compelled to play in the evening, and I thought of thus making a new pack.

Leave out the eights, nines, and tens, as at quadrille. <

In their place substitute another suit, ten in number, like the rest, blue in colour, and in name Balls. The pack then consists of fifty. Add two figured personages to make up the number, the Emperor and the Pope.

Play as at whist. Balls take all other suits except trumps, which take Balls. The Emperor and Pope are superior to all other cards, and may either be made equal, and so capable of tyeing each other, and so neutralizing the trick, or to preponderate according to the colour of the trump, the Emperor if red, the Pope if black: and belonging to no suit, they may be played upon any. If either be turned up, the dealer counts one, and Balls remain the only trumps.

The Emperor and Pope, being led, command trumps, but not each other. Trumps also in default of trumps command Balls. If the Emperor and Pope tie each other, the tier has the lead.

Sept. 28, 1824.

At seven, the glass was at the freezing point, and the potatoes had been frost nipt during the night. The lake, covered with a thick cloud reaching about half way up Brandelow—the town half seen through a lighter fog—the sky bright and blue.

By the time I reached the road to the lake, the fog was half dissolved, throwing a hazy and yellowish light over Skiddaw, and the vale of Keswick. From Friar's Crag the appearance was singularly beautiful, for between that point and Stable Hill and Lord's Island, the water was covered with a thin, low, floating, and close fitting cloud, like a fleece. Walla Crag was in darkness, and the smoke from Stiible Hill passed in a long current over a field where shocks of corn were standing,—the field and the smoke in bright sunshine. Beyond Lord's Island, the lake was of a silvery appearance along the shore, and that appearance was extended across, but with diminished splendour, the line passing above Ramp's Holm, and below St. Herbert's— when it met the haze.

The rooks on St. Herbert's were in full chorus. What little air was stirring was a cold breath from the north. That air rippled the lake between Finkle Street and our shore, and where the Bun shone upon the ripple through the trees of the walk, and through the haze, the broken reflection was so like the fleecy appearance of the fog from the crag, as for a moment to deceive me.

Journey Journals.

Friday, 28th June, 1799.—Too late for the Salisbury coach. I mounted, therefore, the box of the Oxford Mail. To a foreigner this would be heroic travelling, the very sublimity of coachmanship. The box motion titillates the soles of the feet like snuff affects the nose. At the Globe I dismounted, swung my knapsack, and walked across the country into the Frome road. After six miles, the Salisbury coach overtook me, for by cross travelling I had got the start. I mounted, and reached Warminster. On the way, a poor woman on horseback was nearly run over by us, owing to her horse's backing restively. She was thrown, and hurt in the shoulder. Warminster is the most knavish posting town I was ever cheated at; they overcharge two miles on the Bath road, three on the Deptford Inn, and one to Shaftsbury. I walked to Shaftsbury, fifteen miles; the way for ten over the downs. Let not him talk of luxury who never has found a spring unexpectedly when foot travelling in a hot summer day. The larks sung merrily above me. The lark seems to live only for enjoyment; up he mounts, his song is evidently the song of delight; and when they descend, it is with outspread wings and motionless, still singing.1 They make the great amusement of down-walking. To the right I saw Alfred's Tower; to the left, Beckford's magnificent pile. At Knoyle, ten miles, I eat cold meat and drank strong beer at an alehouse. There the downs ended, and my way was through fertility to Shaftsbury. The hay is every

1 There Is no reader but will recollect Vinny Bourne's sweet lines; but I cannot pass by the beautiful words of Jebemv Taylok in The Return of Prayers: He says," For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest, than it could recover by the librationand frequent weighing of his wings; till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel as he passed sometimes through the air, about his ministries here below," Works, vol. v. p. 70. Ed. Hkiier.

J. w. w.

where thin, the artificial grass very fine; hence I see that this last will thrive in a dry season. Shaston, so they write it, stands high; you nearly see across the island. Glastonbury is visible from it; and on the other hand, the view must reach the last hills towards the Hampshire coast. The borough is notoriously venal Sir Richard Steele was once its member; he had competitors who were able, and about to outbid him; his winning bribe was curious. At a dinner to the burgesses, he laid an apple on the table in the midst of the desert, with one hundred guineas stuck into it, to be given to that burgess's wife who should be brought to bed the nearest to nine months from that day. Ever after he remained the Shaftsbury member!

Saturday. To Blandford, twelve, over the downs. I met nothing but crows, two weazles, and one humble bee, who seemed as little likely as myself to find a breakfast, for no flower grew on the bare scant herbage. The hill sides were in some places washed bare by the winter rains, and looked like the bones of the earth. ToWinbourne, nine, called ten; again over the downs the greater part of the way. The church here is very fine. I left visiting it till some future time. The people say it is finer than Christ Church, because it is a quarter Cathedral. To Christ Church, twelve. Faint and wearily, over the latter road of sand and loose gravel. I remembered my way over the marsh. Came by our old dwelling, and arrived to a house of hospitality.

Thursday, 25th July, 1799. To Cross, to Bridgewater, eighteen and eighteen. To Mineheod, twenty-six, through Stowey. This stage is remarkably fine. We passed the gibbet of the man whom Lloyd and Wordsworth have recorded, and the gate where he committed the murder. Our road lay through Watchet, the most miserable and beastly collection of man-sties I ever beheld. The Cornish boroughs are superb to it. Two and a half miles before we reached Minehead, is Dunster Castle, Mr. Luttrel's. The house is built to resemble an old fortification modernized and made habitable, and gome ruins stand near. It is on a well-wooded eminence. The park was in a little vale below; but the ground there is so fertile that it is now laid into pasturage and meadow land, and the park extends over the hills around. The sea view is very striking; Minehead stands under a headland, which projects boldly. This seat is said to command one of the finest views in England; if the water were clear and boundless, I should think so.

Minehead presents the cheerful appearance of a town rising from its ruins. New houses built and building every where, give a lively and clean appearance to it. The quay is ugly, but the view very striking along the indented coast towards Stowey. A circular eminence in the grounds at Dunstcr, with a building on its summit like a Tor, amidst wood, stands near the water. To the right, there is neither view nor passage; the quay blocks up the way. The Holms look well from hence; the water had even a bluishness; it was low, and therefore, I imagine, clearer; but the opposite shore was visible, and destroyed the immensity which makes sea views so impressively magnificent. From a hill on our way here we had one glorious burst of prospect. The sun fell on the sea through a mist, and on the crags of the shore they looked like a glittering faery fabric; the very muddiness of the water mellowed the splendour, and made it more rich and beautiful.

Half way up the hill, where the church stands, is the upper town, quite cut off from the lower, and perhaps containing more houses. Indeed, Minehead is like the Trinity, three; and these three are one: for the upper, and lower towns, and the quay, are all separated from each other by houseless lanes. The upper town is beyond any thing narrow, dirty, and poor; completely a lousy looking place. I never elsewhere saw so many houses in ruins, and that at such distant intervals as evidently not to have been destroyed by the fire. In the fire one life only was lost, a madman about

thirty. He might have been saved, but his mother said, " Let en stay! let en stay! what shall us do we'en if we do save'en?"

Imagine a range of high hills (not mountains) covered with fern and furze, and the Channel at their foot, and you will have the features of this neighbourhood. I toiled np a long, long, very long ascent above the church; and when I reached the top, half trembled to see the sea immediately below me. The descent, however, though to the eye directly abrupt, was not precipitous. A path shelves along, sufficiently fearful to produce an emotion of pleasurable dread; yet perfectly safe, for almost in every part it would be practicable to walk to the beach. The descent is all furze and fern. In a clear day the houses on the opposite shore are distinct; but in hazy weather the view is finer, like the prospects of human life, because its termination is concealed.

The inland walks are striking; the hills dark, and dells woody and watery, winding up them in ways of sequestered coolness.

Minehead sends two members to parliament, and this has been the cause of its decline. The borough belongs to LuttrelL and he manages it with ease proportioned to its poverty and depopulation. Tims the market price of seats being the same, Old Sarum is the most advantageous to its possessor. Luttrell, therefore, has opposed with power every thing which might encourage the trade of the town; he has suffered his houses to fall to ruin and renews no leases. A woollen manufacture was to have been established here; this he prevented; and this roused up a spirit of opposition. A candidate started against him last election; he bought the only piece of ground buyable, run up houses there, built little tenements for the poor, gave away his money, and carried his election. Both parties are now struggling against the next trial. The royalty is Luttrell'a, and so tyrannical is this man that he has imprisoned some masters of vessels who were not his friends, for taking the stones on the beach for ballast. Under this despotism Minehead is ruining,

« AnteriorContinuar »