« PreviousContinue »
ed him with one that might have short- creasing load of his bodily infirmities. ened buckishly into Frank, or Tom, And the grateful look of old Matthew,
- T'im won't do, and his sisters and his cheerful, “ Lord love ye, masscout the barbarous appellation, and ter !” are eloquent vouchers, that for have re-christened him 56 Alonzo."
the man “ armed with a little They would fain have bestowed on brief authority” abuseth not his trust. him the name of Madame Cottin's in- The mistress has less dignity, but teresting Saracen, Malek Adhel, but it more severity of aspect, as her sharp, was impossible to teach their mamma quick glance runs back often and susthe proper pronunciation of that word, piciously along the line of femaleswhich she persisted in calling 6 Molly and she calls them peremptorily to Coddle")-In straggles Timothy A- order, if their voices are heard too lonzo, but he is even more conde- voluble; and she rebukes the stragscending than his papa, and bestows a gling children, and denounces exemvery tenderly expressive glance at the plary vengeance against those two widow's daughter, as she drops her detected urchins in particular-deeyes, with her last and lowest curtsey tected in the misdemeanor of skulking to him.
behind to pull those tempting clusters Well, they are gone by, thank of almost ripe nuts, that peep so inviHeaven ! and the poor woman and tingly from the high ḥazel hedge. But her child follow at humble distance to her denunciations are not listened to, their Master's house. They will not it should appear, with any very vealways be abased there. The widow hement demonstrations of dread. I Maythorn and her daughter Rachel believe o' my conscience, “ her bark are a very poor, but a very hap- is waur than her bite;" and that half
Her daughter is sickly her terrors lie in that long, sharp, and delicate, and folks say, in our bowsprit nose, those little red gimblet country phrase, hardly so sharp eyes, and in the sound of a voice, as she should be, but she has shrill, cracked, and squeaking, like
” sense enough to be a dutiful child, to the tone of a penny trumpet. Very suffer meekly, to hope humbly, to be- neat, decent, and respectable is the lieve steadfastly.----What profiteth appearance of the long line of parish other knowledge ? The mother and poor. They are all comfortably clad daughter possess a little cottage, a bit in whole and clean apparel; and even of garden, and a cow that picks its that poor idiot, who brings up the scanty pasture on the waste. They rear, straggling in and out of the file work hard, they want often, but they of children,—who can restrain his vacontrive to live, and are content. garies ? Even he is clothed in good The widow Maythorn and her daugh- grey woollen, and a whole new hat, ter are a happy pair !-Yonder, wind- in lieu of the scarlet tatters, and old ing slowly up that shady green lane, battered soldier's helmet, with its ragcome the inmates of the parish work- ged red and white feather, in which house-the in-door poor. First, the he delights to decorate his poor little master, a respectable-looking middle- deformed figure on week-days, calling aged man, with somewhat of pompous himself corporal, captain, general, or sternness in his deportment; but there drum-major, as the whim of the mois nothing hard or cruel in the ex- ment rules his wayward fancy,—each pression of his eye, as ever and anon grade, as he assumes it, the most honhe looks back along the line of pau- ourable in his estimation. They are pers, of all ages
and sexes, so decent- passed on, all of them--men, women, ly marshalled under his command. and children-the two culprits still On the contrary, he hangs back, to lagging in the rear-I wager they have speak a few words of hearty encour- another pluck at the forbidden fruit, agement to that
who on their way back to the work-house. totters along so feebly on his crutches, More children still! marshalled in under the burden of his fourscore double files-boys and girls, three years of toil and trouble, and the in- scores at least ; each sex uniformly
elad; the master and mistress leading pate. The great flat unhemmed red the van of their respective divisions.- ears stick out from under it, like two That is the subscription charity school, red cabbage leaves; and for his shoes! and the children have just donned -The blacksmith would have shod their new clothing, and-do but see! him better, and have inflicted less pain poor urchins ! what hogs in armour in the operation ; for, see! his feet some of them look like? good cloth- are doubled up in them, into the form ing it is—warm and decent, and of of hoofs, and he hobbles along, (poor durable material ;-thick grey frieze knave !) like a cat in pattens, or as if for the boys, with dark blue worsted the smooth green lane were paved hose, and black beaver hats-black with red-hod flints. And the girls are hats at least ; and for the girls, gro- not much better off; some draggle long gram gowns, and wild-boar petticoats trains after them, and have waists
–(reader, did you ever hear of such down to their hips; others are wellmaterials ?) and stiff enough they are, nigh kilted ; and that long lanky girl Heaven knows; and as the things are there, Jenny Andrews, would reveal all sent down ready made from a Lon- far more than a decent proportion of don warehouse, they are of necessity those heron legs of hers, were it not pretty much of the same size, as hav- that she has ingeniously contrived to ing the better chance to fit, or, at all tie the wild-boar petticoat a reef below events, to do for all. So you shall see the grogram gown, thereby supplying a poor little boy muffled up in a coat, the deficiencies of the latter. Well ! that looks like his grandfather's great- they are all new clothed, howevercoat, the flaps of which dangle almost spick and span--and all very proud of to the ground; the collar is turned being so, even he of the crumpt-up half
way down his back, or it would toes, who will soon poke his way mount up so high as to bury his head, through those leathern fetters, and in which is indeed already buried, under the meantime, limps along in contenta hat, the brim of which rests upon ed misery. New clothes !" thinks his shoulders and the bridge of his he-- Good clothes ! handsome nose ; and when he hangs down his clothes !" thinks Madam Buckwheat. arms, you cannot see so much as the "Fine clothes! fashionable clothes!” tip of his fingers peeping from within think the Misses Buckwheat.—“Brave those long enormous sleeves. To com- clothes ! pretty clothes :” thinks the plete the picture of comfort, he skuffs poor idiot, when Monday comes, and along in a pair of shoes, the stiff upper he is allowed to resume his old scarlet leathers of which reach up to the mid- tatters. All are puffed up with the dle of his shins, and the poor little self-same species of conceit, variously legs stick in them like two chumpers modified, and so are many greater, in a couple of butter churns. Altoge- and many finer folks than they-ay, ther he looks like a dangling scare- and many wiser ones too-miny more crow set up in a corn-field.
talented. Witness Goldsmith, in his But then, the little muffled man peach-blossom coat, and Johnson, presents a fine contrast to his along- (who ridiculed the poor poet's puerile side mate. His long-tailed coat makes vanity,) in his gala suit of fine brown him a short jacket. His arms are broad-cloth. One spread his tail like squeezed through the sleeves, to be a peacock, and strutted about to show sure, but then they stick out like off its gaudy colours; the other, arwooden pins on either side, with ex- rayed like the bird of wisdom, in grave cessive tightness ; and there, see, dan- and sombre plumage, was equally gles half a yard of red, lean wrist, proud of the dignity it conferred, and and all the blood in his body seems oraculously opined, that a gentleman forced down into those great blue was twice a gentleman in a full dress bony knuckles. It was a good hearty suit. Vanity! vanity! thou universal thump, certes, that jammed down that leaven! from what human heart art stiff skimming-dish of a hat, even to thou absolutely excluded ? where it now reaches on his unlucky Hark! the trampling of horses, and
the sound of wheels. The Squire's strokes, announcing the near approach carriage sweeps round the corner of of the clergyman, and the speedy the churchyard. He and his family commencement of divine service. arrive thus early, that the horses may That fine ruddy lad, with the white be stabled in that long low shed, ap- smock-frock, has been immoveably propriated for the purpose, and the posted at the churchyard wicket for servants ready to enter the church at the last half hour. His patience will | the same time with their master, and accomplish its purpose; he is the first to partake with him of the benefit and to start forward, (hat in hand, and comfort of the confession and absolu- smoothing down his glossy yellow tion. Some people seem to consider hair,) to receive the bridle of the old those partso f the service as a mere man, which the vicar resigns into the prelude, a sort of overture as hacknied, hands of careful Will, with the usual and about as solemn, as that to Lo- charges, and a smile, and a few words doiska; and if they reach their pews of kind notice.
The minister has by the time they are half over, it is passed into the vestry ; the clerk has well. As for the servants; what can followed him; a few more strokes, it signify to them? There alights and the bell ceases ; a few more another carriage load--and another seconds, and the churchyard is left to -and another—and the comers in a its lonely silence, and to its quiet occar, and in two tax-carts, and on sun- cupants; and the living are gathered dry steeds; and there the patrician together within those sacred walls, to party is congregating together round hear the words of eternal life, on the the great east door ; and there stands surety whereof, the sleepers without the clerk, with hat in hand, peering (with whom they must one day lie down the vicarage-lane, uuder the down in the dust) have been commitpent-house of his other shading hand, ted to their narrow beds “ in sure for the first glimpse of the minister. and certain hope.” Now! he descries the white face of But my discourse purported to be the old roan mare.
Another look, to of Churchyards only ; and I have be sure ; it is indeed that sober-footed rambled from the text. No matter ; I palfrey, bearing her reverend burthen, am come (as we all must) to the and then he turns hastily into the bel- churchyard at last, and my next chapfry; and immediately the cracked ter shall be of “ graves, and stones, chimes subside into a few quick single and epitaphs.”
Who sung with heart-felt glee:“My love, it is my vessel bold,
My mistress-is the sea.
May death be, while we rove ;
Than woman's fickle love.
My sails' white wings to flee ;
Than yon concave of blue,
The beams of golden hue ?
My streamers in the sun
Seem crimson wings, and to and fro
The shrieking sea-birds run.
Sing on with heart-felt glee,
The freedom of the deep ;
I've seen the snow-drift's heap.
From its accustom'd rest,
Lie unwak'd in this breast.
This life that suits the free ;
My mistress is the sea.”
To love thee dearly when a boy ;
By waking thoughts of pleasures fed ;
That falls on Autumn's bosom-dead.
But warns me what I soon shall be ;
For thou art gay and I am lone-
The hearts' ease from my path is gone.
IT has ever been considered an in- joy and prosperity ; and the drown
teresting task to contrast the scenes ing wretch caught as he is sinking for and circumstances of human life, oc- the last time into the wide-mouthed curring at distant intervals. I would waters. These reflections are conmake these contrasts more imme- jured up by the remembrance of diate, and show that one day, nay circumstances which, although they a few hours, which are often the happened many years ago, can never epitomes of the longest existence, be obliterated from my mind. I will may produce events as violently op- state them. It was a cold but fine posed to each other as if they had afternoon in November that I was been divided by a thousand years. travelling on horseback in one of the The joy-expectant lover has seen his most retired and romantic parts of young bride fall dead at the altar ;- England. As evening drew on, a the mother who rocked her babe to sense of loneliness and danger began sleep in her arms has found it ere an to creep over me—for there is a starthour 'has elapsed lifeless on her bo- ling something in solitude which I som, passing away from the earth have no doubt all have felt, but which and its unhappiness without a sigh, most people are ashamed to acknowlbut leaving its frantic parent to agony edge, even to themselves. I was on and despair. The aged man, whose a rough and unfrequented road far boys were the support and luxury of distant from the habitations of men, his existence, has by some dire ca- and yearned to see a human being lamity been suddenly deprived of and hear the sound of a human voice, . them, and followed their bodies to The night came on-stormy and dark. the grave, with tottering steps and The winds raised their loud voices, heart-broken feelings. The lips of like the curses of the tempest, over the sensualist have turned cold upon the distant waters. The clouds hung the glowing cheek of his paramour, gloomily above like shrouds over naand found poison in the cup which ture's dead serenity, and the owlet seemed mantling with pleasure and shrieked to the sleepless echo of the with hope. We may reverse the hills. I put spurs to my horse and picture, and see the husband come galloped on until I found, from the back to his weeping wife, who had increasing darkness, that I could neimourned for him as dead; -the sup- ther see the road which I had traversposed criminal on the eve of an igno- ed, nor the one on which I was prominious death proved innocent, and ceeding. Prudence taught me to restored to the presence and affection change my pace, and I walked my of his friends and relatives ; the horse cautiously, fearing every mobankrupt in hope and fortune by ment, as I did not know the road, that some unexpected change exalted to I was on the edge of some precipice,
18 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
or that some broken stump or fallen heart—it was still. Warmth, and tree lay in my way. So painful did respiration, and motion had departed my sensations become at last, that I for ever, and only the mortal and made up my mind to dismount, and drossy portion of man lay before lie down on the road until morning. I me.
no pulsationgroped about, and at length found a vitality. I knew not what to do. I tree, to which I fastened the bridle, thought if the poor wretch who was and seated myself at a little distance lying dead at my feet had been murfrom my only companion. The few dered, which appeared far from imminutes that I remained there were probable, my having passed that way like hours. I endeavoured to think at night, and for no ostensible purof other scenes which might banish pose as it might seem, would perthe idea of that in which I was an haps implicate me as an accessary to, unwilling actor ; but all would not or even a principal in, the crime ; and
, avail. The gloom of the present a number of cases in which persons hung over the radiance of the past; had been convicted on circumstantial and if a ray broke through for a evidence crowded upon my mind. moment, it was as instantly obscured The idea of being even examined as again. I arose and loosened the a witness agitated and perplexed me. bridle, for this inactive security was My resolution, however, was more annoying to me, than moving taken. With great difficulty I got onward even under a sense of dan- my horse forward, and rode on at a ger. I proceeded, however, as slowly round trot, careless of the danger to as before, expecting that I must, in a which I had before been so sensitive, short time, come to some small inn, and determining to give the alarm or, at least, a road-side cottage. But at the first place to which I might I saw no light, and heard not even a
I had gone on for about a dog bark in the silence of the night. quarter of an hour, when to my great On a sudden my horse started from joy and relief I beheld a light straight his course and neighed loudly. I felt onwards, which seemed to be moving him trembling under me, and suspect- towards me. As it approached nearer ed that I was on the brink of some I perceived that it proceeded from a pit. I alighted, and with great diffi- lantern, which was held by a young culty held my horse whilst I groped man in a small cart, while another, about the spot from which he had just a little older, guided the horse. On recoiled. As I moved my hands along seeing me, they instantly drew up and the ground, my blood grew chill with asked in an earnest and anxious tone horror, and my heart sickened within of voice whether I had seen anybody me. My right hand had passed over on the way, telling me at the same the cold face of some dead, perhaps time that his father had gone with a murdered, person. I sank back and neighbour to C-- that morning to involuntarily clung to the neck of my collect some money and had not rehorse. It was an action arising from turned. The question made me shudfear and from a dreadful feeling of der, for I immediately thought of what solitariness. In the absence of human had so recently occurred, and I could sympathies there is a comfort in any not help imagining that it was the living companionship. I found it so. dead body of their father which I had The certainty that I had a breathing left on the road behind me. My creature near me, although not of my voice trembled as I told them of all own species, gave me courage. I that had happened, and I saw the went again towards the spot where faces of the poor lads turn pale as I the body lay, for the purpose of as- recounted it. 66 Our dear father is certaining whether the least symptom dead !” cried the youngest, and burst of life remained. I placed my hand into tears. “ Nay! nay !” said his upon the forehead-it was cold; I brother, “it's ill weeping till there's drew it across the mouth-there was 'need o't. He was to ha' come back not a breath ; I pressed it upon the wi' Johnny Castleton, and Johnny is