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have objected to two of its accessories, namely, a common little plaster cast of the Duke of Wellington stuck in the fan-light over the door; and the leaden figure of a Cupid standing in a bed of tulips, in front of the house, squirting up a thin thread of water to the height of some eight or ten feet. And yet were these not altogether devoid of utility, for they saved a world of questions, and plainly told you that the inhabitant was, or had been, a gentleman of the city. Besides, since few fortunes would suffice to rival Versailles, a private individual who is fond of cascades, fountains, and jets-d'eau, must be content with what he can reasonably accomplish in that way; and, in spite of Pennant, who, somewhere, says, hate your drip-drip-a drips, miscalled cascades," a good-natured observer would consider these tiny hints at fine art and ornament as indications of the gigantic scale on which their perpetrators would execute, were they provided with “the appliances and means. For my own part, notwithstanding these trifling drawbacks, I never passed this happy-looking mansion without a feeling of some admiration of the genius which had directed its construction, and something, perhaps, like envy of its cosey occupant. "Mr. Rufus Wadd," have I often thought, "must be the happiest man in the King's dominions!" Alas! alas! for human happiness!
the sashes of all the principal frontwindows. But from the adoption of this one of the necessaries of life -for it is idle to rank plate-glass windows amongst the superfluities -it was evident, also, that the owner was a man of sound common sense he was resolved to see things as they are; and he well knew that so to behold them through the common material used for excluding wind and weather, was scarcely possible. Who would endure to sit during fifteen consecutive minutes in a room where the tables and chairs were standing in and out, like so many inexpert dancers in a quadrille; where the lustre was suspended right away from the centre, and left lackadaisically drooping six inches lower on one side than on the other; the carpet ill-joined, so as to present the pattern in bold confusion; the ornaments on the mantel-piece thrust lovingly together in one corner; the paper hangings presenting, here and there, a crooked straight line; and where the pictures-oh, ye gods !-were hung with so intrepid a disregard of both the horizontal and the perpendicular, as would induce you to suppose they were intended to illustrate some geometrical problem concerning angles varying from fifteen to forty-five degrees. Who could endure all this, and not die of vertigo? He alone who would venture to dance a hornpipe on one of the arms of the cross of St. Paul's! Yet are there many persons, whose characters in other respects are unimpeachable, who are daily guilty of a lookout through a material which distorts every object seen through it zigzagging the opposite buildings; thrusting the heads of the trees a foot to the right, or to the left, of the parent stems; cutting in twain every unfortunate being that happens to pass; and (if at the seaside) twisting the grand, even, line of the horizon into all manner of fantastic shapes. But to return. Perfect in its kind as was this edifice, a taste severely critical might
The last time I saw this abode of bliss-It has since been demolished, its fair garden has been uprooted, and the little squirting Cupid is inhumanly exposed for sale at a plumbers's at Hammersmith; and nought remains to mark that such things were, but the heap of rubbish, and a notice, stuck upon a pole, that the ground is to be let on building leases. Such is the instability of worldly brick and mortar ! The last time I passed the house I was astonished and alarmed at finding the window-shutters closed, the plaster
Duke removed from his niche over the door, and poor dusty Cupid with his chubby mouth, which had heretofore ejected the beauteous stream, full of withered leaves, as if in mockery of his apparent thirst. The desolation was awful! "Can Wadd be dead!" I exclaimed. But I was presently relieved from this apprehension by a notice, painted on a board, which I had not at first perceived. It was in these precise words: This house to be let or sold, with or without the furniture, on very moderate terms,-with immediate possession-THE OWNER GOING ABROAD. For further particulars, &c. -The inscription was conceived in the spirit of profound melancholy. It conveyed an idea of resolved and total abandonment, which was affecting in the extreme. It left no resting-place for Hope. The resolution it announced was immutable. It was so framed as to meet and to overcome all objections and difficulties. The house might either be purchased or hired; it was indifferent to Wadd the furniture might be taken, or not; Wadd cared not: the option, in both cases, was left with the other contracting party; to Wadd even the terms were of trifling importance: it was his object to rid himself of this property and quit the country, and it was clear that nothing was to stand in the way of its fulfilment. What was the cause of this? I knew nothing of Mr. Wadd; we were total strangers to each other; yet the desire I felt to learn what could have happened to induce mortal man to quit this terrestrial paradise, was irresistible. It was a moral phenomenon which called for explanation, so I went to Mr. Stiles. Mr. Stiles was the auctioneer to whom all inquirers were referred.
"I perceive, Sir, that Mr. Wadd's house is to be disposed of."
"It is, Sir. It is a most desirable and commodious residence, comprising" Here followed an auctioneer's flourish of considerable length.
"I do not see that in the light of an objection, Mr. Stiles; and if there be no other
"Why then, Sir, to speak out like an honest man-those Omnibuses, Sir: it was the Omnibuses that forced Mr. Wadd to sell his house and fly his native land-for, between ourselves, he is already gone-he could stand it no longer."
The connexion between self-expatriation and a Turnham Green Omnibus not being quite evident, I requested of Mr. Stiles to explain it; whereupon he very obligingly favored me with the melancholy story of the sorrows of Wadd, to the effect following :—
Mr. Rufus Wadd had been, for many years, head of the respectable firm of Wadd, Brothers, Wadd & Co. (the Co. comprising a couple of the Junior Wadds), carrying on a profitable business in LawrencePountney-lane, near Thames-street. In this same house the Wadds had been established time immemorial; it was here that Rufus drew his first breath; and here, following the good old city custom, in the house of business, did he resolve to dwell, until he should have acquired sufficient wealth to warrant his relinquishing the cares of commerce altogether. By "solid wealth," (a phrase already used,) nothing more was meant than a real, bonâ-fide property, producing a certain income of some hundreds, in contradistinction to "immense wealth” in mining speculations, foreign bonds, &c. which cannot, strictly speaking, be termed "solid ;" and Mr. Wadd's
notion of "sufficient " extended not beyond a clear and unencumbered seven hundred and fifty pounds per annum. Till he had attained the uttermost shilling of this sum, not all the entreaties of his wife and his daughter, nor his own secret longings after rural retirement, could induce him to quit the House, as he emphatically termed it; and the merit of maintaining his resolution will appear the greater when it is stated that, from his earliest youth, his most earnest wish had been to lead the life of a country gentleman, Many of our most profound desires may be traced to some trivial circumstance operating constantly, though imperceptibly, on the mind. In a large enclosure, somewhat resembling a burying-ground, in Lawrence-Pountney-lane, stands a huge tree, in form resembling the elm; though, as its leaves are usually black, (excepting after a heavy rain, when they assume a dingy brownishgreen color,) a cautious observer would hesitate before he referred it decidedly to that class. However, it certainly is a tree; and the windows of the bedroom formerly occupied by Mr. Rufus command an agreeable view of it. There would he sit for hours, after the cares of business were ended, reading Thomson's Seasons-his only book, and a work of which he possessed every known edition-and listening to the wind, as it elbowed its way through the numerous stacks of chimneys, and just ruffled the topmost leaves of the tree. To this habit, no doubt, is to be traced his settled wish for rural life; and that this wish was eagerly engendered, may be inferred from a pastoral song of his own composition, written on a blank leaf of one of his Thomsons: for, since his morality was inflexible, and his fidelity to Mrs. Wadd unquestioned, the third and fourth lines of the second verse may be taken as proof that the poem was composed prior to his marriage. The song has been justly characterized as a sweet song,
and as such it will be acceptable to all poetical readers.
'Tis sweet to be a Shepherd-boy,
A daisy sweet his pillow.
Pity that a being like Wadd, formed by Nature for the enjoyment of the Sylvan solitudes of Turnham Green, should have been hunted from their precincts ere he had scarcely tasted of their pleasures!
There are persons, who, when they contemplate an abandonment of the Capital, send their imaginations full gallop across the Pyrennees; others, of less ardent temperament, dream of nothing beyond Geneva or Lausanne; some again, of colder. constitutions, stop short in Walessome, even at Walthamstowe. this, the most moderate class, was Mr. Wadd. He did not intend, upon his quitting Lawrence-Pountney-lane, to become either a bear or a hermit. He knew that old habits are not to be put off like an old garment; consequently, that he might, now and then, feel a longing to visit his old haunts, and see how things were going on at Garraway's, on 'Change, or at "the House;" and to this end, a convenient distance from town was desirable. In an evil hour, he found precisely the thing he wanted: some demon thrust under his very nose an advertisement of "A house to be sold, most delightfully situated at a convenient distance from London, enjoying the super-eminent advantage of commanding coaches, up and down, four times a-day; " and he fell plump into the snare. The seven hundred and fifty pounds per annum were
completed, and away to Turnham Green went Mr. Wadd. He had never been fond of company, thereby meaning visiters, occasional droppers-in; they interfered with his habits. His mornings were, of course, secured against such intruders by the imperious duties of business; besides which, in his neighborhood, every man had his own to attend to. But his evenings were by no means so safe; and it had frequently happened that his intercourse with his favorite Thomson, and his sly dallyings with the Muses, were interrupted by the unwelcome call of some acquaintance, who had kindly resolved to come and spend a couple of hours with him. Yet was he fond of society-that is to say, whenever it exactly suited his own good pleasure and convenience; and once a month, or so, he would invite a few friends to a family-dinner, which, in due time, (and as it was but fair it should be,) was regularly accounted for by an invitation from each of the guests. Here, at his rural residence, no such unexpected invasions as those alluded to could be accomplished: he was protected-like the New Hollanders from an incursion of the Cherokees-by distance. But, it may be inquired, how did Mr. Rufus Wadd intend to spend his comfortable income, with no one but a wife and daughter to provide for? and how pass his mornings, which, to a man formerly used to occupation, must press wearily on his hands? Why, with respect to his income, he did not intend to spend it on the contrary, he had resolved, by severe economy, and by sundry dabblings in sundry matters, whenever he paid a visit to the City, "to make this mickle more ;" and with respect to his time, he had devised a variety of methods of passing it entirely to his own satisfaction. His mornings would partly be occupied in his garden, in carefully counting the gooseberries on his bushes, and picking the sufficient number for the day's pudding-for gardeners are great
rogues, and are not to be trusted : and partly in inspecting the washerwomen's bills, and visiting the various chandlers' shops in the village, in order to purchase hearth-stones, sand, and matches, for the housemaids, at as little above prime-cost as possible-for washerwomen are not all of them honest, and chandlers are scoundrels, who would cheat you out of a halfpenny as soon as look at you. His evenings he would devote to amusement-chiefly his own: he would perfect himself in Thomson, undertake the study of other moral poets, and make up the daily account of his outgoings and his savings. Then, once a year, on his daughter's birthday, which fortunately occurred in July, he would give a splendid entertainment-a breakfast on the back lawn-to all his friends and acquaintance. This would be a handsomer-looking thing than a dinner, less troublesome, less expensive; and at that particular season he should have such an abundance of fruit-of which, as he kindly considered, Londoners are so passionately fond-that if his friends did not eat it, his pigs must. But there was beneath this scheme of the "splendid annual," a politic intention altogether worthy of Wadd, and one which his head [alone perhaps could have conceived: it would serve as a set-off against the dinnerscores he might run with his City friends, whenever his affairs might call him Eastward; and his friendly reminder, on any such occasion, "Remember, we shall expect you at the Green on the 27th of next July," would also serve as a hint, at which no one could reasonably take offence, that they would not be expected till then.
These, however, were but projects, few of which were destined to be fulfilled.
It was on the fifth of August that the Wadds took possession of the new mansion. On the sixth (Friday), as the clock struck five, and just as they were sitting down to dinner, the stage-coach stopped at
the door. The servant announced coach drove up to the gate, and the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Robert down jumped a little, round, red, Wadd and Master Tom. Rufus fat man, with a small portmanteau stood like one transfixed-like his in his hand. "Who-the-devilroyal namesake, if you please. "By is-that, and what can he want?" Jingo, Rufus," exclaimed his cousin -It was Mr. Wobble, the underBob, "you are at the most conve- writer, one of the pleasantest felnient distance! delightful! Fine lows in thecity, and one whom afternoon, nothing to do, at half- Mr. Wadd was always delighted to past three Betsy and I took it into seeat other people's houses. our heads to come down, no sooner "Ha! Wadd, my boy! Mrs. W. said than done,-capital loin of veal I'm yours-Ha! Miss Jemima ! that, upon my word,-took little Delightful house, I declare; comes Tom with us -Tom, my dear, up to all I have heard of it! And don't be picking the edges of that the distance! Stage sets you down tart, they'll give you some presently at the very door, the-very-door. -jumped into a Turnham-Green Nice house, indeed, and-Bow, coach at the Goose and Gridiron, wow, wow! that'll never do. You and here we are, just in pudding- must chain up that dog to-night, time." There was no parrying this Wadd; I can't sleep in a house blow, but Rufus resolved to avail where there is a dog barking.". himself of the sweetest vengeance "Sleep!" echoed Wadd; that occurred to him: knowing that surely you are not come to sleep his visiters were fond of a little of here?"-"I'm not come to lie the kidney, he swallowed the whole awake all night, I can tell you that. of it himself." Capital port this, Ha! ha! ha! you know my way: I Rufus. Now see, Betsy, my dear, always take the bull by the horns. 'tis, as I told you, a most conveni- Ha! ha! ha! first come, first servent distance plenty of time to take ed. Ha ha ha! you may have one's wine comfortably, get a cup the house full to-morrow-Sunday, of Ha! where's Tom? O, I you know,-and then Sam Wobble see him amongst the strawberries. might come off second best. But [Rufus's heart sank within him.] don't put yourselves out of the way; Can't leave the little fellow with anything will do for me; a garret, you to-night, but he shall come and anything, only let me have a good spend a month with you before we bed and plenty of pillows. I leave lose the fine weather; nice distance that to you my dear Mrs. W.-I for the boy. As I was saying, time have a short neck and must sleep to take our wine and coffee; at with my head high, else I might go half past eight the stage calls for off suddenly in the night, and a fuus, and at ten there we are at home. neral in a newly-furnished house Charming distance, isn't it, Betsy, would make such a mess, wouldn't my dear?"-Half-past eight came, it, Wadd? I suppose you have and the guests went. This won't dined? So have I. I know you do, thought Rufus. But he not on- are a supping-people, so I dined ly thought it, he said it and swore early. Well, I'll just go and make it too. That night he slept not. myself comfortable and come down to you. Charming house, delightful distance, I declare ! "_"Where can we put him?" inquired Mrs. Wadd; we can't turn him out now he is here."-" There is the blue bed," replied Wadd; "it has never been slept in, and may require airing in case I should want
The next day (Saturday) he gave strict charge to the servants that, if any one should come to dinner, they were to say the family were all out. The order happened to be needless, for no one did come, and Rufus began to resume his usual good humor. At eight o'clock a stage10 ATHENEUM, VOL. 5, 3d series.