« AnteriorContinuar »
at a button, an Radicalism, mateur of pictonnoisseur
the misuse of natural talents, which, if properly directed, might have rendered their possessor useful to the interests of society, and celebrated in the records of his country. Every one stared, as if we were talking Hebrew. “ Very true," said his Lordship, “ he enjoys great talents. No man is a nicer judge of horsefesh. He beats me at billiards, and Harry at picquet; he's a dead shot at a button, and can drive his curricle-wheels over a brace of sovereigns.” “ Radicalism,” said Caustic, looking round for a laugh. “ He is a great amateur of pictures," observed the Exquisite, “ and is allowed to be quite a connoisseur in beauty ; but there (simpering) every one must claim the privilege of judging for themselves.” “Upon my word,” said Candour, “you allow poor Charles too little. I have no doubt he has great courage,-though to be sure, there was a whisper that young Hawthorn found him rather shy : and I am convinced he is very generous, though I must confess that I have it from good authority, that his younger brother was refused the loan of an hundred, when Charles had pigeoned that fool of a nabob but the evening before. I would stake my existence that he is a man of unshaken honour, though, when he eased Lieutenant Hardy of his pay, there certainly was an awkward story about the transaction, which was never properly cleared up; I hope that when matters are properly investigated he will be liberated from all his embarrassments; though I am sorry to be compelled to believe that he has been spending double the amount of his income annually. But I trust that all will be adjusted. I have no doubt upon the subject.” “Nor 1,” said Caustic. “ We shall miss him prodigiously at the Club,” said the Dandy with a slight shake of the head. - What a bore!” replied the Nobleman with a long yawn. We could hardly venture to express compassion for a character so despicable. Our auditors however entertained very different opinions of right and wrong! “ Poor fellow ! he was much to be pitied : had done some very foolish things ;-to say the truth was a sad scoundrel-but then he was always so mad." And having come unanimously to this decision, the conclave dispersed.
Charles gave an additional proof of his madness within a week after this discussion by swallowing laudanum. The verdict of the Coroner's Inquest confirmed the judgment of his four friends. For our own parts we must pause before we give in to so dangerous a doctrine. Here is a man who has outraged the laws of honour, the ties of relationship, and the duties of religion ; he appears before us in the triple character of a libertine, a swindler, and a suicide. Yet his follies, his vices, his crimes, are all palliated or even applauded by this specious façon de parler" He was mad-quite mad!"
ON HER DEPARTURE.
O! ask me not, Ellen, why quickly starts
The tear to my eye, when thine image is gone,
The dew-drop of Even comes swiftly on.
The Willow delights o'er the ruffled lake
To grieve for the wave as it wanders by,
From the bosom of Sorrow to heave the sigh.
O! bid me not cease, for the dear delight,
That enraptured each chord of the heart, is dead;
And the lovely delusion with Ellen is fled.
But the heart that adored, that each pulse attuned
To the frolicking smile, to the radiant glow
On which Ellen alone can a balm bestow.
The worm that delights to illume the dark,
When the mantle of Even descend's in state,
To allure, by the splendor, her roving mate: **
Thus the spark of affection, all pure, all bright,
Though cruel afar from these arms you roam,
The male glow-worm is a small fly, furnished with wings, without any of that luminous appearance, the property of the female --Dictionary of Natural History.
A SATURDAY EVENING IN THE COUNTRY.
“ The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes,
This night his weekly moil is at an eud,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
There are, perhaps, some among my readers, who are accustomed to laugh at the idea of a country life, and treat it with ridicule ; but I confess I am one of its most enthusiastic admirers, and consider it not only possible to taste the enjoyments of life far distant from the tumultuous pleasures and gaiety of a town, but have myself passed some of the happiest days of my youth in the vicinity of a village, and at the mansion of its hospitable Rector; days that I shall always look back upon with feelings of the greatest delight: and very often do I now recur to the observations which it was formerly my greatest amusement to make upon the customs and inhabitants of the country. For in the country alone are to be found the genuine traits of the British character: whoever is desirous of seeing this in its original, national colours, must search for it among the humble cots of the peasantry, and draw it forth from its recesses, where it is moulded into life by the homely, but true hand of Nature'; where art has not ventured to deck it out in extraneous ornaments, and rob it of its native beauty. He must not expect to find the object of his scrutiny amid the ranks of polished life, where the true metal lies concealed beneath a weight of dross, and deformed by a thousand fanciful incumbrances; he will widely err, if he thinks he has recognized it in the halls of the opulent, or luxurious drawing-rooms of the great: he will carry off but a garbled, deceptive knowledge of its most prominent and striking features ; he will but have skimmed over the surface of the Landscape, not examined, or digested its beauties; he will resemble a person who thinks to find, in the monotonous arrangement of a flower garden, embellished with its artificial waterfall and winding slope, the bold, striking, and majestic irregularity of Nature, studded with its cloud-capt mountains, and resounding with the broken foaming waters of the cascade. My readers must pardon me for the digression I have been led into by my partiality for the Country: and, the better to obtain their forgiveness, I will at once, without further preface, introduce them to a description of one of the Saturday Evenings I passed during my short visit to the worthy Rector.
It was on one of these evenings, which generally seem to be accompanied with no small degree of anxiety and bustle to the notable housewife and her good man,-as they now prepare to settle accounts for the week, and decide whether the last seven days have increased their comforts, and added to their stock of pigs and poultry,—that I strolled out towards the village, in the “ Nescio quid meditans” temperament of Horace, to pass away an idle hour, till tea time ; and, having reached the high road, found it enlivened by the joyous carols and noisy wit of the Peasants, returning home from the market in the neighbouring town, with light hearts, light baskets, and those inspirers of mirth and festivity, heavy pockets. Followers of all trades were hastening home to their kitchen corners and evening repast; from the thin, restless, impatient tinker, with his last brazen kettle on his arm, whose rapid short steps indicated the fermentations of his mind, speculating upon the next week's profit, up to the jolly sturdy farmer, in his shaggy pearl-buttoned coat and hob-nailed shoes, whose rosy bluff features seemed already distended in anticipation of his nightly jug of home-brewed. As he flourished his crabstick, and thundered along the causeway, he seemed to enjoy that happy temperament of mind which bespeaks that its possessor has always a blow for the proud oppressor, and a crust of bread for the needy supplicant. Parties of the fair sex were not wanting to enliven and diversify the scene ; for I was occasionally overtaken by a junto of the village matrons, of whose approach there were generally very sure and certain forerunners in the loud and frequent peals of laughter I heard rising in succession behind me, or the shrill-toned pipe of one of the party drowning in triumphant squeaks the voices of her companions; with cloaks and bonnets floating in the breeze. The substantial Dames, having disposed of their eggs and butter, came jogging on along the road-side, discussing the history of the village, from its founders to the present occupiers ; and, could any person of ability have noted down their discourse, he might have compiled from it such an authentic, interesting history, as should yield the palm to Mr. Knickerbocker's “ New York” alone. Behind them might be seen their rosy-cheeked daughters, recounting the ribbons, cakes, or love-songs, each had received from her Admirer; and it was no small amusement to watch the black-eyed lasses returning the glance of the youthful passenger with hidden smile and dimpled lip, or passing their jokes on some approaching Gallant, in hopes perhaps that he would take punishment for their ridicule by ravishing a kiss. The nearer I approached the village, the more visible became every instant the signs of Saturday Evening ; and, at the door of one of the first cottages, on a stone seat, overshadowed by jessamine and evergreens, sat
the contented owner of this humble dwelling, puffing his pipe in listless ease, and watching the smoke that curled in cheerful eddies over his bronzed features, with as much gravity as a Philosopher eyes the cloud passing over the face of the Moon. On the opposite side of the fragrant door-way was seated the Mistress of the Mansion, busily employed in adjusting her Sunday's dress; and, in imagination, perhaps, already cutting no contemptible figure amongst her neighbours, and exulting over her little finery, which was arrayed in the very acmè of country fashion: but I must not forget to observe that her sober Partner, as he occasionally shifted his tube, uttered several sagacious reflections on the folly of Vanity. This seemed to be at present the principal feature in all the cottages in the suburbs of this village; the honest countrymen were drowning their cares in a refreshing tankard, or smoking them away in the newest tobacco; while their matrons were darving, or knitting, or dragging to bed some young bare-headed urchins; who, casting a long and lingering look at their playthings, chewed their grief and their bread and butter in silence.
As I entered further into the middle of the village, I came up to its two most important points, where all the perfection of its inhabitants was concentrated; the village Ale-house, and the village Church-yard. From the former a confused heterogeneous sound burst forth through the silence of Even, which at first puzzled me as to its nature; but, on my coming nearer, all became comparatively silent for an instant; and in the next moment arose, in simple, soothing harmony, the squeaking of a cracked fiddle, accompanied by the powerful voice of its Modulator. I confess I was tempted to play the character of a spy for once in my life ; and, having forthwith ensconced myself by the side of the tap-room window, began to indulge in a contem· plation of the choice spirits that composed this scene of festivity; who, seated round a substantial oaken table, were plying their rustic raillery, or gaping with delight at the soul-dissolving measures of their itinerant Musician. The landlord himself, a short, punch-bellied, little fellow, with a Bardolphian nose, acted his part extremely well, as Master of the Ceremonies; and occasionally himself chiming in with a convivial stave, or retailing a story for the fiftieth time, seemed to bear a most fatherly attachment to his own ale; for which, perhaps, an extra item was added to the score of his guests; who, indeed, ought to pay well for mine Host's amusing qualities. There were no other very striking characters at the table ; they were all sturdy, jovial boors, whose distended grinning countenances bore witness to their minds' happiness; and that, for this evening at least, they were contented with themselves and all mankind. But the most inte