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Our saxon fathers did full rightly call
In July we have full summer. The nature. “The rye is yellow, and almost “Mirror of the Months” presents its ripe for the sickle. The wheat, and barvarious influences on the open face of ley are of a dull green, from their swelling
ears being alone visible, as they bow before every breeze that blows over them. The oats are whitening apace, and quiver, each individual grain on its light stem, as they hang like rain-drops in the air. Looked on separately, and at a distance, these three now wear a somewhat dull and monotonous hue, when growing in great spaces; but these will be intersected, in all directions, by patches of the brilliant emerald which now begins to spring afresh on the late-mown meadows; by the golden yellow of the rye, in some cases cut, and standing in sheaves; by the rich dark green of the turnip-fields; and still more brilliantly by sweeps, here and there, of the bright yellow charlock, the scarlet corn-poppy, and the blue succory, which, like perverse beauties, scatter the stray gifts of their charms in proportion as the soil cannot afford to support the expenses attendant on them.” On the high downs, “all the little molehills are purple with the flowers of the wild thyme, which exhales its rich aromatic odour as you press it with your feet; and among it the elegant blue heath-bell is nodding its half-dependent head from its almost invisible stem,-its perpetual motion, at the slightest breath of air, giving it the look of a living thing hovering on invisible wings just above the ground. Every here and there, too, we meet with little patches of dark green heaths, hung all over with their clusters of exquisitely wrought filigree flowers, endless in the variety of their forms, but all of the most curiously delicate fabric, and all, in their minute beauty, unparalleled by the proudest occupiers of the parterre. This is the singular family of plants that, when cultivated in pots, and trained to form heads on separate stems, give one the idea of the forest trees of a Lilliputian ople.” Here, too, are the “innumerable little thread-like spikes that now rise from out the level turf, with scarcely perceptible seed-heads at top, and keep the otherwise dead flat perpetually alive, by bending and twinkling beneath the sun and breeze.” In the green lanes “we shall find the ground beneath our feet, the hedges that enclose us on either side, and the dry banks and damp ditches beneath them, clothed in a beautiful variety of flowers that we have not yet had an opportunity of noticing. In the hedge-rows (which are now grown into impervious
walls of many-coloured and many-shaped leaves, from the fine filigree-work of the white-thorn, to the large, coarse, round leaves of the hazel) we shall find the most remarkable of these, winding up intricately among the crowded branches, and shooting out their flowers here and there, among other leaves than their own, or hanging themselves into festoons and fringes on the outside, by unseen tendrils. Most conspiouous among the first of these is the great bind-weed, thrusting out its elegantly-formed snow-white flowers, but carefully concealing its leaves and stem in the thick of the shrubs which yield it support. Nearer to the ground, and more exposed, we shall meet with a handsome relative of the above, the common red and white wild convolvolus; while all along the face of the hedge, clinging to it lightly, the various coloured vetches, and the enchanter's night-shade, hang their flowers into the open air; the first exquisitely fashioned, with wings like the ea, only smaller; and the other elaborate in its construction, and even beautiful, with its rich purple petals turned back to expose a centre of deep yellow; but still, with all its beauty, not without a strange and sinister look, which at once points it out as a poison-flower. It is this which afterwards turns to those bunches of scarlet berries which hang so temptingly in autumn, just within the reach of little children, and which it requires all the eloquence of their grandmothers to prevent them from tasting. In the midst of these, and above them all, the woodbine now hangs out its flowers more profusely than ever, and rivals in sweetness all the other field scents of this month. “On the bank from which the hedgerow rises, and on this side of the now nearly dry water-channel beneath, fringing the border of the green path on which we are walking, a most rich variety of field-flowers will also now be found. We dare not stay to notice the half of them, because their beauties, though even more exquisite than those hitherto described, are of that unobtrusive nature that you must stoop to pick them up, and must come to an actual commune with them, before they can be even seen distinctly; which is more than our desuitory and fugitive gaze will permit, the plan of our walk only allowing us to pay the passing homage of a word to those objects that will not be overlooked. Many of the
exquisite little flowers, now alluded to generally, look, as they lie among their low leaves, only like minute morsels of many-coloured glass scattered upon the green ground—scarlet, and sapphire, and rose, and purple, and white, and azure, and golden. But pick them up, and bring them towards the eye, and you will find them pencilled with a thousand dainty devices, and elaborated into the most exquisite forms and fancies, fit to be strung into necklaces for fairy Titania, or set in broaches and bracelets for the neatest-handed of her nymphs. “But there are many others that come into bloom this month, some of which we cannot pass unnoticed if we would. Conspicuous among them are the centaury, with its elegant cluster of small, pink, star-like flowers; the ladies' bedstraw, with its rich yellow tufts; the meadow-sweet—sweetest of all the sweetners of the meadows; the wood betony, lifting up its handsome head of rosecoloured blossoms; and, still in full perfection, and towering up from among the low groundlings that usually surround it, the stately fox-glove. “Among the other plants that now become conspicuous, the wild teasal must not be forgotten, if it be only on account of the use that one of the summer's prettiest denizens sometimes makes of it. The wild teasal (which now puts on as much the appearance of a flower as its rugged nature will let it) is that species of thistle which shoots up a strong serrated stem, straight as an arrow, and beset on all sides by hard sharp-pointed thorns, and bearing on its summit a hollow eggsha head, also covered at all points with the same armour of threatening thorns—as hard, as thickly set, and as sharp as a porcupine's quills. Often within this fortress, impregnable to birds, bees, and even to mischievous boys themselves, that beautiful moth which flutters about so gaily during the first weeks of summer, on snow-white wings spotted all over with black and yellow, takes up its final abode,-retiring thither when weary of its .." wanderings, and after having prepared for the perpetuation of its ephemeral race, sleeping itself to death, to the rocking lullaby of the breeze. “Now, too, if we pass near some gently lapsing water, we may chance to meet with the splendid flowers of the great water lily, floating on the surface of the stream like some fairy vessel at an
chor, and making visible, as it ripples by it, the elsewhere imperceptible current. Nothing can be more elegant than each of the three different states under which this flower now appears; the first, while it lies unopened among its undulating leaves, like the halcyon's egg within its floating nest; next, when its snowy petals are but half expanded, and you are almost tempted to wonder what beautiful bird it is that has just taken its flight from such a sweet birth-place; and lastly, when the whole flower floats confessed, and spreading wide upon the water its pointed petals, offers its whole heart to the enamoured sun. There is I know not what of awful in the beauty of this flower. It is, to all other flowers, what Mrs. Siddons is to all other wo. men.”*
Cock LeTop. Munden.—Farren.
July 1, 1826.-Mr. Farren appeared in the part of Old Cockletop, in O'Keefe's farce of Modern Antiques, at the Haymarket theatre. This will be recollected as a crack character of Munden's ; and it was one which he had hit so happily, that it became almost impossible for any other actor to play it very successfully after him. There was a sort of elfin antic—a kind of immateriality about the crotchets of Munden in Cockletop. His brain seemed to have no more substance in it than the web of a spider; and he looked dried up in body and mind, almost to a transparency; he might have stood in a window and not been in the way—you could see the light through him. Farren is the bitterest old rascal on the stage. He looks, and moves always, as if he had a blister (that wanted fresh dressing) behind each ear; but he does not touch the entirely withered, crazybrained, semi-bedlamite old rogue, in the way that Munden did. Munden contrived to give all the weakness possible to extreme age in Cockletop, without exciting an iota of compassion. All that there was of him was dry bones and wickedness. You could not help seeing that he would be particularly comical under the torture; and you could not feel the slightest compunction in ordering that he should undergo it. There never was any thing like his walking up and down Drury-lane stage in astonishment, and concluding he must be “at next door,” when he returns home from his journey, and finds all his servants in mourning ! And the cloak that he wore too ! And the appendage that he called his “stormcap!”. He looked like a large ape's skin stuffed with hay, ready to hang up in an apothecary's shop! You ran over all the old fools that you knew, one after the other, to recollect somebody like him, but could not succeed Farren plays Foresight as well as Munden; and he plays Cockletop very successfully; but it is hardly possible for one eminent actor to follow another in trifling characters, where the first has made a hit rather by his own inventions than by any thing which the author has set down for him. Munden's dancing in the ghost-scene with the servants, and his conclusion—striking an attitude, with the fingers of one hand open like a bunch of radish, as the fiddler, used to keep the audience in convulsions for two minutes. Farren avoided this trick, probably lest he should be charged with imitation; but acknowledged talent
* Mirror of the Months.
like his may use a latitude: he has originality enough to warrant his at least not avoiding the device which has been used by any actor, purely because it has been used by somebody else before him. Some passages that he gave were quite as good as Munden. In the scene where he fan
cies himself taken ill, the pit was in two
minds to get up and cheer. He made a face like a bear troubled suddenly with symptoms of internal commotion 1 one who had eaten a bee-hive for the sake of the honey, and began to have inward misgivings that there must have been bees mixed up along with it. And Farren possesses the gift too—a most valuable one in playing to an English audience— of exhibiting the suffering without exciting the smallest sympathy! Whenever there is any thing the matter with him, you hope he'll get worse with all your soul; and, if he were drowning—with that face!—he must die:—you could not, if you were to die yourself, take one step, for laughing, to save him.”
* The Times, July 3, 1826.