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pany, but where he has been a stranger, sit silent, and be suspected for an odd fellow ; till some unlucky occasion provoking it, he would stutter out some senseless pun (not altogether senseless, perhaps, if rightly taken), which has stamped his character for the evening. It was hit or miss with him, but nine times out of ten, he contrived by this device to send away a whole company his enemies. His conceptions rose kindlier than his utterance, and his happiest impromptus had the appearance of effort. He has been accused of trying to be witty, when in truth he was but struggling to give his poor thoughts articulation. He chose his companions for some individuality of character which they manifested. Hence, not many persons of science, and few professed literati, were of his councils. They were, for the most part, persons of an uncertain fortune ; and, as to such people commonly nothing is more obnoxious than a gentleman of settled (though moderate) income, he passed with most of them for a great miser. To my knowledge this was a mistake. Ilis intimatus, to consess a truth, were in the world's eye a ragged regiment. He found them floating on the surface of society; and the colour, or something clse, in the weed pleased him. The burrs stuck to him but they were good and loving burrs for all that. He never greatly cared for the society of what are called good people. If any of these were scandalized (and offences were sure to arise he could not help it. When he has been remonstrated with for not making more concessions to the feelings of good people, he would retort by asking, what one point did these good people ever concle to him? He was temperate in his meals and diversions, but always kept a little on this side of alytemiou ne-,4.
Only in the use of the Indian weed he might be thought a little excessive. He took it, he would say, as a solvent of speech. Marry-as the friendly vapour ascended, how his prattle would curl up sometimes with it! the ligaments which tongue-tied him were loosened, and ihe stammerer proceeded a statist!
I do not know whether I ought to bemoan or rejoice that my old friend is departed. His jests were beginning to grow obsolete, and his stories to be found out. He felt the approaches of age ; and while he pretended to cling to life, you saw how slender were the ties left to bind him. Discoursing with him latterly on this subject, he expressed himself with a pettishness, which I thought unworthy of him. In our walks about his suburban retreat (as he called it) at Shacklewell, some children belonging to a school of industry had met us, and bowed and curtseyed, as he thought, in an especial manner to him. “They take me for a visiting governor,” he muttered earnestly. He had a horror, which he carried to a foible, of looking like anything important and parochial. He thought that he approached nearer to that stamp daily. He had a general aversion from being treated like a grave or respectable character, and kept a wary eye upon the advances of age that should so entitle him. He herded always, while it was possible, with people younger than himself. He did not conform to the march of time, but was dragged along in the procession. His manners lagged behind his years. He was too much of the boy-man. The toga virilis never sate gracefully on his shoulders. The impressions of infancy had burnt into him, and he resented the impertinence of manhood. These were weaknesses; but such as they were, they are a key to explicate some of his writings.
BLAKESMOOR IN H--SHIRE.
300 DO not know a pleasure more affecting
* than to range at will over the deserted lacoz apartments of some fine old family manP N sion. The traces of extinct grandeur admit of a better passion than envy: and contemplations on the great and good, whom we fancy in succession to have been its inhabitants, weave for us illusions, incompatible with the bustle of modern occupancy, and vanities of foolish present aristocracy. The same difference of feeling, I think, attends us between entering an empty and a crowded church. In the latter it is chance but some present human frailty-an act of inattention on the part of some of the auditory--or a trait of affectation, or worse, vain-glory, on that of the preacher, puts us by our best thoughts, disharmonizing the place and the occasion. But wouldst thou know the beauty of holiness ?-go alone on some week-day, borrowing the keys of good Master Sexton, traverse the cool aisles of some country church : think of the
piety that has kneeled there--the congregations, old and young, that have found consolation there—the meek pastor—the docile parishioner. With no disturbing emotions, no cross conflicting comparisons, drink in the tranquillity of the place, till thou thyself become as fixed and motionless as the marble effigies that kneel and weep around thee.
Journeying northward lately, I could not resist going some few miles out of my road to look upon the remains of an old great house with which I had been impressed in this way in infancy. I was apprised that the owner of it had lately pulled it down; still I had a vague notion that it could not all have perished, -that so much solidity with magnificence could not have been crushed all at once into the mere dust and rubbish which I found it.
The work of ruin had proceeded with a swift hand indeed, and the demolition of a few weeks had reduced it to an antiquity.
I was astonished at the indistinction of everything. Where had stood the great gates? What bounded the court-yard ? Whereabout did the outhouses commence ? A few bricks only lay as representatives of that which was so stately and so spacious.
Death does not shrink up his human victim at this rate. The burnt ashes of a man weigh more in their proportion.
Had I seen these brick-and-mortar knaves at their process of destruction, at the plucking of every panel I should have felt the varlets at my heart. I should have cried out to them to spare a plank at least out of the cheerful store-room, in whose hot window-seat I used to sit and read Cowley, with the grass-plot before, and the hum and flappings of that one solitary wasp that ever haunted
it about me--it is in mine ears now, as oft as summer returns; or a panel of the yellow-room.
Why, every plank and panel of that house for me had magic in it. The tapestried bedroomstapestry so much better than painting—not adorning merely, but peopling the wainscots--at which childhood ever and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlid (replaced as quickly) to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter with those stern bright visages, staring reciprocally-all Ovid on the walls, in colours vivider than his description. Actæon in mid sprout, with the unappeasable prudery of Diana; and the still more provoking and almost culinary coolness of Dan Phæbus, eel-fashion, deliberately divesting of Marsyas.
Then, that haunted room-in which old Mrs. Battle died --whereinto I have crept, but always in the daytime, with a passion of fear; and a sneaking curiosity, terror-tainted, to hold communication with the past. —How shall they build it up again?
It was an old deserted place, yet not so long deserted that the traces of the splendour of past inmates were everywhere apparent. Its furniture was still standing-even to the tarnished gilt leather battledores, and crumbling feathers of shuttlecocks in the nursery, which told that children had once played there. But I was a lonely child, and had the range at will of every apartment, knew every nook and corner, wondered and worshipped everywhere.
The solitude of childhood is not so much the mother of thought as it is the feeder of love, of silence, and admiration. So strange a passion for the place possessed me in those years, that, though there lay-I shame to say how few roods distant from the mansion-half hid by trees, what I judged