The Project Gutenberg EBook of Odd Volume, by Various

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Title: Odd Volume
Or, Book Of Variety

Author: Various

Illustrator: Robert Seymour and George Cruikshank

Release Date: January 23, 2014 [EBook #44739]
Last Updated: December 11, 2016

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by David Widger



By Various

Illustrated By Robert Seymour and Robert Cruikshank

The Engravings by Samuel Slader


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Emboldened by the popularity of the late entertainment, entitled “Cruikshank at Home,” an Odd Candidate for fame now enters the lists.

The greatest care having been taken to render the subjects which have been selected as interesting as possible, this Volume may safely be pronounced even more attractive than either of its predecessors; and the publisher has the additional pleasure of announcing that the Engravings are the joint production of two clever artists—the one, Mr. Cruikshank, a long-established favorite *—the other, Mr. Seymour, a gentleman of far superior talent, but hitherto not quite, perhaps, so extensively known, in consequence of his short residence in London.

* These designs were originally intended for a fourth volume
of “Cruikshank at Home,” but, in consequence of the late
disagreement between the two brothers Cruikshank (in
reference to the question, “Which is the real Simon Pure?”)
the projected title has been changed, and the work, by the
assistance of Mr. Seymour, metamorphosed into an “Odd”


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As Mr. Seymour will have the entire management of all future volumes—so far, at least, as relates to the Illustrations—this notice is considered necessary for his formal introduction—it being a far better channel than an ordinary Advertisement, and entirely superseding the necessity for employing a BILL-STICKER.



“Here’s a large mouth indeed!”
 Shakspeare—King John.

Arriving one evening at an inn in Glasgow, I was shewn into a room which already contained a promiscuous assemblage of travellers. Amongst the rest, there was one whose features struck me as being the most horrible I ever beheld. He was a large, pursy old man, with a head “villainous low,” hair like bell-ropes, eyes that were the smallest and most porkish of all possible eyes, and a nose which shewed no more prominence en profile, than that of the moon as exhibited in her first quarter upon a freemason’s apron; but all these monstrosities were as beauties—as lovelinesses—as absolute perfections, compared with the mouth—the enormous mouth, which, grinning beneath, formed a sort of rustic basement to the whole superstructure of his facial horrors. This mouth—if mouth it might be called, which had so little resemblance to the mouths of mankind—turned full upon me as I entered; and, happening at the moment to be employed in a yawn, actually seemed as if it would have willingly received me into its prodigious crater, mumbled me to a mummy, and then bolted me, spurs and all!

On sitting down, and proceeding to make myself acquainted with the rest of the company, I discovered this monster to be a person of polite manners and agreeable conversation. He spoke a good deal, and always in a lively style. The best of him was, that he seemed quite at ease upon the subject of his mouth. No doubt, he was conscious of his supernatural ugliness,—for, whatever may be said of vanity and so forth, every person, male and female, with unpleasant features, is so; but he had none of the boggling, unsteady, un-complacent deportment, so remarkable in most of the persons so circumstanced. On the contrary, there was an air of infinite self-satisfaction about him, which told that he was either so familiar with the dreadful fact as to mind it not; or that he was a man of the world, above considering so trivial a particular; or that he was rich, and could afford to be detested. His talk occasionally displayed considerable humour, and even wit; but he never laughed at his own jokes. He evidently dared not. Though his conversation, therefore, was exceedingly agreeable, his deportment was rather grave. He never opened his whole mouth at once. It was like a large car-riage-gate, with a wicket for the convenience of foot-passengers. A small aperture, about the middle of it, sufficed for the emission of his words. And, sometimes, he made an opening at either flank to relieve guard upon the central hole, especially when he happened to speak to some person sitting close by his side. Now and then, it closed altogether, and looked (for it could look) forward into the fire, with an appearance of pensive composure, as if speculating upon the red embers, and auguring the duration of the black coal above.

As the time of supper drew nigh, I began to feel an intense anxiety about the probable conduct of the mouth at table. How so extraordinary a character would behave, what it would ask for, after what manner it would masticate, and, above all, how much it would devour, were to me subjects of the most interesting speculation. I thought of the proverb of my native country, so ungracious to people with large mouths, and wondered if it would be in this case belied or confirmed. Should the appetite, thought I, be in proportion to the mouth, the scene will either be prodigiously Horrible or highly amusing. But, perhaps, after all, this man is misrepresented by his mouth; great eaters have been known to be little, thin, shrivelled persons; while fat men have been supported, ere now, upon two spare meals a-day: more would seem to depend upon the activity of the internal machine, than upon its outward capacity. Who Knows but this man, with all his corporeal size and large mouth, may turn out a perfect example of abstemiousness? The question was one of deep concernment, and I continued to consider it till it was announced that supper was ready. Upon the mention of that interesting word, I observed the mouth suddenly bustle up, and assume an air of promptitude, that seemed rather more favourable to the proverb than I could have desired. The man rose, and, going to a corner of the room where a number of portmanteaus lay heaped, selected and brought forward one. He opened it with a deliberation that was inexpressibly provoking, and, slowly turning up a few articles, at length produced a parcel, wrapped in brown paper. This he laid down upon the table, while I gazed on it with great and impatient curiosity, till the owner as deliberately strapped up, locked, closed, and finally replaced the portmanteau. He then took up the parcel, unfolded the paper, and took out a large strange-looking spoon. The proverb, thought I, will stand yet,—the spoon might have served in the nursery of Glumdalclitch.

It was a silver implement, of peculiar shape. The calix was circular, like the spoons of the Romans, about four inches in diameter, and one deep in the centre, altogether bearing some resemblance to an ordinary saucer; and it had a short, sturdy handle with a whistle at the extremity. Observing the attention of the company to be strongly directed towards his spoon, the old man showed it round, with the most good-natured politeness, telling us, that he had been so long accustomed to use this goodly article at home, that, when he happened to travel, he was always obliged to take it along with him, being unable to make such neat work of his soup with the ordinary implements which he found abroad. “But, indeed, gentlemen,” said he, “why should I make this a matter of delicacy with you? The truth is, the spoon has a history, and my mouth—none of the least, you see—has also a history. If you feel any curiosity upon these points, I shall give you a biographical sketch of the one, and an autobiographical sketch of the other, to amuse you till supper is ready.” To this frank proposal all the company joyfully assented; and the old man began a narrative, of which the following is the substance:—His mouth was the chieftain and representative of a long ancestral line of illustrious and most extensive mouths, which had flourished, for upwards of two centuries, at a place called Tullibody, somewhere in the western parts of Fife. There was a tradition, that the mouth originally came into the family by marriage. Its introduction was a story of itself. A paternal ancestor of the speaker, woo’d, and was going to marry a lady of great beauty, but no fortune, when his design was knocked on the head by the interference of his father, who very kindly told him, one morning, that, if he married that tocherless dame, he would cut him off with a shilling; whereas, if he took to wife a certain lady of his appointment, he would be so good as—not do that. The youth was somewhat staggered by his father’s declarations, and asked time to consider. The result was, that he married the lady of his father’s choice, who was the heiress to a large fortune and a large mouth, both bequeathed to her by her father, one of the celebrated kail-suppers of Fife. When this was told to the slighted lady of his love, she was so highly offended, that she wished the mouth of her fortunate rival might descend, in all its latitude, to the latest generation of her faithless swain’s posterity; and then took ill, and—married another lover, her second best, next week, by way of revenge. The country people, who pay great attention to the sayings and doings of ladies condemned to wear the willow, waited anxiously for the fulfilment of her malediction; and, accordingly shook their heads, and had their own thoughts, when the kail-supper’s daughter brought forth a son, with a mouth reflecting back credit on her own. The triumph of the ill-wisher was considered complete, when the second, and third, and all the other children, were found to be equally distinguished by this feature; and, what gave the triumph still more piquancy, was, that the daughters were found to be no more excepted than the sons from the family doom. In the second generation, moreover, instead of being softened or diluted away, the mouth rather increased; and so it had done in every successive generation since that time. The race having been very prolific, it was now spread so much, that there was scarcely a face in Tullibody altogether free of the contagion: the people there had almost ceased to regard a large mouth as a joke: it was so common as not to be noted; or there were so many, that there was not one mouth to laugh at another.

Fate and fortune are said to be very favourable to people with large mouths. So it proved in this case. After the mouth came into the family, luck also came; and still as the mouth had increased with successive generations, just so had riches increased. The third in line from the “first man,” a cooper by profession, became so wealthy before he died, that he might have got his name handed down to immortality on a certain conspicuous, though dusty and illegible, board in the parish church, along with those of other charitable persons by leaving “ane hunder merks Scots to ye pvir.”

Despising the humble glory of making such a legacy, and being too poor to found a college, and too wise to endow a cat, he did better; he founded a spoon—a spoon which should go down to future ages as a traditionary joke upon his family-feature, and remain for ever in the hands of those who could appreciate his beneficence. He left it under certain provisions, or statutes of foundation. The main scope of his intentions, was, simply, that the spoon should always be possessed by his largest-mouthed descendant. In the first place, after his own death it was to fall into the hands of his eldest son, a youth of highly promising mouth; or, indeed, whose mouth was fully entitled to the proverbial praise bestowed upon the cooper of Fogo,—“that it was his father’s equal and mair,” and who moreover, entertained such a respect for the will of his parent, that he seemed likely to preserve and transmit the precious heir-loom with all due zeal and care. At his death, it was to become the property of the son, daughter, nephew, or niece (for it was not limited heredibus masculis, but, with laudable regard for the claims of the fairer sex, destined heredibus quibuscunque), who should appear to him, judging conscientiously, and in his right mind, to have the mouth most fitted to enjoy it in all its latitude. At the death of that person, it was to go to the next largest mouth (isto vel ista, judice), and so on, in all time coming. After passing the second generation, of course uncles, cousins, and grand-nephews, might become eligible, provided that the family should spread itself out into these relationships; but, quibus deficientibus, the nearest of kin and largest of mouth whatsoever, so that they were of the name, might come in as competitors, the same being always subject to the review and choice of the former possessor. In the case of any possessor being cut off suddenly, without appointing a successor to his trust, then the affair was to be decided by a popular election.

It may seem a strange though a liberal and even gallant thing, in the founder of the spoon, that he should have considered the females of his posterity in the statutes, seeing that, according to the ordinary rule of human nature, there was little chance of their ever being found to excel the males in point of mouth. Yet this was a very proper and well-judged article. The truth is, that, as the feature had originally come into the family by a lady, so had it always continued to distinguish the daughters, to an equal, if not superior, degree with the sons. Indeed, the wisdom of the statute was put beyond a doubt, by the circumstance of a daughter having actually been, upon one occasion (nearly a century ago), the possessor of the spoon! And this circumstance was the more remarkable on the following account:—This lady, when her mouth was brought to its last speech, attempted to bequeath the valuable heir-loom to her second, and favourite, and largest-mouthed son—a person, of course, not eligible, on account of his being only the half-blood, and wanting the necessary name By this infraction of the statute, the spoon might have fallen into the possession of a new family altogether, and probably never again reverted to any one of the name and mouth of the founder. It is true, the articles were somewhat defective upon this point, and the question might have stood a discussion before the Fifteen. Yet the thing looked at least against the spirit of the founder’s intentions and, any how, the male heirs determined, at all hazards, to oppose her will. Having come to this resolution at a general meeting, they forthwith marched in posse to the bed of their dying relative; and there after lecturing her for some time upon the heinousness of her intentions—which they did cum oribus, not only rotundis, but also both longis et latis, imo etiam perlatis, as Dominie Sampson would have said—they demanded the spoon, which they said, she had fairly forfeited by her misconduct, one of the statutes containing the clause ad vitam aut culpam. The sons of the dying lady proposed to dispute the point: but she told them, that, as she repented of her fault, she would endeavour to repair it, before time and she should part for ever, by surrendering the spoon of her ancestors to its just and lawful claimants; and this she forthwith did. The large-mouthed host then went away satisfied, and proceeded to adjudge it by votes to one of two or three persons of the true blood, who entered as candidates for the highly-prized trust.

After the election, the whole clan entered into a paction, whereby they bound themselves and their posterity to take similar measures in case of the same exigency recurring. They might, however, have spared themselves this trouble, and left posterity free to act as it thought proper; for, thenceforward (fate seeming to take so important a matter into her own hand), to the surprise and satisfaction of the family, the daughters began to be born with less, and the sons with larger mouths than formerly; so that, though the law of Tanistry * still prevailed, that entitled the Salique came into full force, as it were, of its own accord; and no instance had occurred, for a century past, of any female, married or unmarried, becoming so much as a competitor for the invaluable vessel, which now glided peacefully down the current of ages, in the possession of a lineal male line of truly respectable mouths, prized by the happy inheritors, and honoured by the homage and veneration of all the rest of the family. **

* The phrase applicable to the succession of uncles and
nephews, in preference to sons, customary in the early ages
of the Scottish monarchy.

** Since this story was first printed, the author has been
informed of another similar heir-loom which belonged to the
family of Crawfurd of Crawfurdland, in Ayrshire (now extinct
in the male line), and which bore the following
This spoune I leave for a legacie
To the muckle-mou’d Crawfurds after me.

Just as the old gentleman concluded his narrative, supper was introduced, and we all rose, in order to re-arrange ourselves round the table. I now knew the history of his mouth and spoon; but I was still ignorant of the extent of his appetite. The confessions of the Mouth had been ample and explicit; but it had been silent as the grave, which it resembled, upon the corresponding matter of the stomach. My anxiety upon this point was excessive—was painful—was intolerable. I did not know what to expect of it. Ere we sat down, I cast towards it a look of awful curiosity. It was hovering like a prodigious rainbow over the horizon of the table, uncertain where to pitch itself—

“————Avi similis, quae circum litora, circum
Piscosos scopulos,——- volat————”

There was an air of terrible resolution about it, which made me almost tremble for what was to ensue. Still I hoped the best; and I, at last, sat down, with the resigned idea that time would try all.

The Mouth—for so it might be termed par excellence—was preferred by acclamation to the head of the table,—a distinction awarded, as I afterwards understood (secundum morem bagman), not so much on account of its superior greatness, as in consideration of its seniority, though I am sure it deserved the pas on both accounts. The inferior and junior mouths all sat down at different distances from the great mouth, like satellites round a mighty planet. It uttered a short gentleman-like grace, and then began to ask its neighbours what they would have. Some asked for one thing, some for another, and in a short time all were served except itself For its own part, it complained of weak appetite, and expressed a fear that it should not be able to take anything at all. I could scarcely credit the declaration. It added, in a singularly prim tone of voice, that, for its part, it admired the taste of Beau Tibbs in Goldsmith,—“Something nice, and a little will do,—I hate your immense loads of meat; that’s country all over!” Hereupon I plucked up courage, and ventured to look at it again. It was still terrible, though placid. Its expression was that of a fresh and strong warrior, who hesitates a moment to consider into what part of a thick battle he shall plunge himself, or what foes he shall select as worthy of particular attack. Its look belied its words; but again I was thrown back by its words belying its look. It said to a neighbour of mine, that it thought it might perhaps manage the half of the tail of one of the herrings at his elbow, if he would be so kind as carve. Was there ever such a puzzling mouth! I was obliged again to give credit to words; yet again was I disappointed. My neighbour, thinking it absurd to mince such a matter as a herring, handed up a whole one to the chairman. The mouth received it, with a torrent of refusals and remonstrances, in the midst of which it began to eat, and I heard it continue to mumble forth expostulations, in a fainter and fainter tone, at the intervals of bites, for a few seconds, till behold, the whole corporate substance of the fish had melted away to a long meager skeleton! When done, its remonstrances changed into a wonder how it should have got through so plump a fish—it was perfectly astonishing—it had never eaten a whole herring in its life before—it was an unaccountable miracle. I did not hear the latter sentences of its wonderments; but, towards the conclusion, heard the word “fowl” distinctly pronounced. The fowls lying to my hand, I found myself under the necessity of entering into conference with it, though I felt a mortal disinclination to look it in the mouth, lest I should betray some symptom of emotion inconsistent with good manners. Drawing down my features into a resolute pucker, and mentally vowing I would speak to it, though it should blast me, I cast my eyes slowly and cautiously towards it, and made inquiry as to its choice of bits. In return for my interrogation, I received a polite convulsion, intended for a smile, and a request, out of which I only caught the important words “breast” and “wing.” I made haste to execute the order; and, on handing away the desired viands, received from the Mouth another grateful convulsion; and then—thank God, all was over! Well, thought I, at this juncture, a herring and fragment of fowl are no such great matters; perhaps the Mouth will prove quite a natural mouth, after all. In brief space, however, the chairman’s plate was announced as again empty; and, I heard it receive, discuss, and answer various proposals of replenishment made to it by its more immediate neighbours. I thought I would escape; but no,—“the fowl was really so good, that it thought it would trouble me for another breast, if I would be so kind,” &c. I was, of course, obliged to look at it again, in order to receive its request in proper form; and, oh, me miserum; neglecting this time my former preparations of face, I had nearly committed myself by looking it full in the mouth, with my eyes wide open, and without having screwed my facial muscles into their former resolute astringency. However, instantly apprehending the amount of its demands, my glance at the Mouth fortunately required to be only momentary, and I found immediate relief from all danger in the ensuing business of carving. Yet even that glance was in itself a dreadful trial; it sufficed to inform me, that the Mouth was now more terrible than before \ that there was a fearful vivacity about it—a promptitude—an alacrity—an energy—which it did not formerly exhibit. Should this increase, thought I, it will soon be truly dreadful. I handed up a whole fowl to it, in a sort of desperation. It made no remonstrances, as in the case of the herring, at the abundance of my offering. So far from that, it seemed to forgive my disobedience with the utmost good will; received the fowl, and despatched it with silence and celerity, and then again looked abroad for farther prey. Indeed, it now began to crack jokes upon itself,—a sportive species of suicide. It spoke of the spoon; lamented that, after all, there should be no soups at table, whereon it might have exhibited itself; and finally vowed, that it would visit the deficiences of the supper upon the dessert, even unto the third and fourth dish of Blanc-mange. The proprietor of the Mouth then laid down the spoon upon the table, there to lie in readiness, till such time as he should find knives and forks of no farther service—as the Scottish soldiery, in former times used to lay their shields upon the ground while making use of their spears. I now gave up all hopes of the Mouth observing any propriety in its future transactions. But, having finished my own supper, I resolved to set myself down to observe all its sayings and doings, without giving myself any farther concern about the proverb, which I was formerly so solicitous that it should not fulfil. Its placidity was now gone—its air of self-possession lost. New powers seemed to be every moment developing themselves throughout its vast form—new and more terrible powers. It was beginning to have a wild look! It was evident that it was now fleshed—that its naturally savage disposition, formerly dormant for want of excitement, was now rising tumultuously within it—that it would soon perform such deeds as would scare us all! It had engaged itself, before I commenced my observations, upon a roast jigot of mutton, which happened to lie near it. This it soon nearly finished. It then cast a look of fearful omen at a piece of cold beef, which lay immediately beyond it, and which, being placed within reach by some kind neighbour it immediately commenced upon, with as much fierceness as it had just exemplified in the case of the mutton. The beef also was soon laid waste, and another look of extermination was forthwith cast at a broken pigeon-pie, which lay still farther off. Hereupon the eye had scarcely alighted, when the man nearest it, with laudable promptitude, handed it upwards. Scarcely was it laid on the altar of destruction, when it disappeared too; and a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth look, were successively cast at other dishes, which the different members of the party* as promptly sent away, and which the Mouth as promptly despatched. By this time, all the rest of the party were lying upon their oars, observing, with leisurely astonishment, the progress of the surviving, and, as it appeared to them, eternal feeder. He went on, rejoicing in his strength, unheeding their idleness and wonder, his very soul apparently engrossed in the grand business of devouring. They seemed to enter into a sort of tacit compact, or agreement, to indulge and facilitate him in his progress, by making themselves, as it were, his servitors. Whatever dish he looked at, therefore, over the wide expanse of the table, immediately disappeared from its place. One after another, they trooped off towards the head of the table, like the successive brigades which Wellington despatched at Waterloo, against a particular field of French artillery; and, still, dish after dish, like the said brigades, came successively away, broken, shattered, diminished. Fish, flesh, and fowl, disappeared at the glance of that awful eye, as the Roman fleet withered and vanished before the grand burning glass of Archimedes. The end of all things seemed at hand! The Mouth was arrived at a perfect transport of voracity! It seemed to be no more capable of restraining itself than some great engine, full of tremendous machinery, which cannot stop of itself. It had no self-will. It was an unaccountable being. It was a separate creature, independent of the soul. It was not a human thing at all. It was every thing that was superhuman—every thing that was immense—inconceivably enormous! All objects seemed reeling and toppling on towards it, like the foam-bells upon a mighty current, floating silently on towards the orifice of some prodigious sea-cave. It was like the whirlpool of Maelstrom, every thing that comes within the vortex of which, for miles round, is sure of being caught, inextricably involved, whirled round, and round, and round, and then down, down that monstrous gulf—that mouth of the mighty ocean, the lips of which are overwhelming waves, whose teeth are prodigious rocks, and whose belly is the great abyss!

Here I grew dizzy, fainted, and—I never saw the Mouth again.



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Hail to thee, loveliest June! Thy smile awaited me at my birth; may it rest upon me at the hour of death—may it cast its sunshine into my grave as my coffin descends into the earth, and the few who loved me look upon it for the last time!

The fruits—the luscious ruby fruits—are swelling into ripeness. I know nothing of the fruits of the south—I talk of those of my own country. I have a thorough contempt for Italy with its grapes!—I detest Spain with its oranges!—I should be happy to annihilate Turkey and Asia with their olives and citrons!—I am writing and thinking only of England. I was a child once;—Reader! so were you. Do you recollect the day and the hour when the blessed influence of strawberries and cream first flashed on your awakened mind, and you felt that life had not been given you in vain? I was just seven years old—my previous existence is a blank in memory—when I spent a June in the country.

I may have picked before in the blind ignorance of infancy, some little red pulpy balls, which may have been presented to me on a little blue plate by my aunt or grandmother—but never—never till my seventh year was I aware that in the melting luxuriance of one mouthful, so large a share of human happiness might be comprised. Sugar, cream, and strawberries! Epicurean compound of unimaginable ecstasy! trinity of excellence! producing the only harmonious whole known to me in all the annals of taste! The fresh vigour of my youthful palate may have yielded somewhat to the deadening effect of time, but the glorious recollections of those profound emotions, excited by my first intoxicating feast on strawberries and cream, is worth every other thought that memory can conjure up. Breathes there the man who presumes to smile at my enthusiasm? Believe me, he is destined to pass away and be forgotten, as the insect upon which you tread. He is a measurer of broad-cloth or a scribbler of juridical technicalities.

Such is not the destiny awaiting yonder rosy group of smiling prattlers. I love the rogues for the enlarged and animated countenances with which they gaze upon the red spoils before them. Never speak to me of gluttony. It is a natural and a noble appetite, redolent of health and happiness, and I honour it. There is genius in the breathing expression of those parted lips which, now that the good dame is about to commence her impartial division, seem to anticipate, in a delightful agony of expectation, the fulness of coming joy. Observe with how much vigour that youthful Homer grasps his silver spoon! Would you have thought those rose-bud lips could have admitted so vast a mouthful of strawberries?—Yet, down they go that juvenile oesophagus, and, as Shakspeare well expresses it, “leave not a wreck behind!” Turn your gaze to this infantine Sappho. What unknown quantities of cream and sugar the little cherub consumes!—Cold on the stomach! Pho! the idea is worthy of a female Septuagenarian, doomed to the horrors of perpetual celibacy. If she speak from experience, in heaven’s name, give her a glass of brandy, and let her work out her miserable existence in fear and trembling.

If there be a merrier party of bon-vivants at this moment in Christendom, may I never enter a garden again! Yet, at this very moment, there are prime ministers sitting down to cabinet dinners, and seeing in every guest another step in the ladder of ambition; at this very moment, the table of the professional epicure is covered with all that is recherché in the annals of gastronomy; at this very moment, the bride of yesternight takes her place of honour, for the first time, at the table of her rich and titled husband. Alas! there are traitors at the statesman’s board; there is poison and disease within the silver dishes of the epicure; and there are silent but sad memories of days past away for ever, strewed like withered flowers round the heart of the young bride! But before you is a living garland, still blooming, unconscious of the thousand cankers of earth and air.

On the whole, I am not sure that strawberries ought to be eaten when any one is with you. There is always under such circumstances, even though your companion be the dearest friend you have on earth, a feeling of restraint, a consciousness that your attention is divided, a diffidence about betraying the unfathomable depth of your love for the fruit before you, a lurking uneasiness lest he should eat faster than yourself, or appropriate an undue share of the delicious cream; in short there is always, on such occasions, a secret desire that the best friend you have in the world were at any distant part of the globe he might happen to have a liking for. But, oh! the bliss of solitary fruition, when there is none to interrupt you—none to compete with you—none to express stupid amazement at the extent of your godlike appetite, or to bring back your thoughts, by some obtrusive remark, to the vulgar affairs of an unsubstantial world!—Behold! the milky nectar is crimsoned by the roseate fruit! Heavens! what a flavour! and there is not another human being near to intrude upon the sacred intensity of your joy! Painter—poet—philosopher—where is your beau-ideal—happiness? It is concentrated there—and, divided into equal portions by that silver spoon, glides gloriously down the throat! Eat, child of mortality! for June cometh but once in the year! eat, for there is yet misery in store for thee! eat, for thy days are numbered! eat, as if thou wert eating immortal life!—eat, eat, though thy next mouthful terminate in apoplexy!

My dream of strawberries hath passed away! the little red rotundities have been gathered from the surface of the globe, and man’s insatiate maw has devoured them all! New hopes may arise, and new sources of pleasure may perhaps be discovered;—the yellow gooseberry may glitter like amber beads upon the bending branches—the ruby cherry may be plucked from the living bough, and its sunny sides bruised into nectar by the willing teeth—the apple, tinted with the vermillion bloom of maiden beauty, may woo the eye, and tempt the silver knife—the golden pear melting into lusciousness, soft as the lip, and sweet as the breath of her thou lovest most, may win, for a time, thy heart’s idolatry—the velvet peach, or downy apricot, may lull thee into brief forgetfulness of all terrestrial woe—the dark-blue plum, or sunbeam coloured magnum bonum, may waft thy soul to heaven—or, last of all, thy hot-house grapes, purple on their bursting richness, may carry thee back to the world’s prime, to the fawn and dryad-haunted groves of Arcady, or lap thee in an elysium of poetry and music—but still the remembrance of thy first love will be strong in thy heart, and, pamper thy noble nature as thou wilt, with all the luxuries that summer yields, never, never, will the innermost recesses of thy soul cease to be inhabited by an immortal reminiscence of “Strawberries and Cream!”

[Memoirs of a Bon Vivant.]


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I had the good fortune to become acquainted, in his old age, with the celebrated Wieland, and to be often admitted to his table. It was there that, animated by a flask of Rhenish, he loved to recount the anecdotes of his youth, and with a gaiety and naivete which rendered them extremely interesting. His age—his learning—his celebrity—no longer threw us to a distance, and we laughed with him as joyously as he himself laughed in relating the little adventure which I now attempt to relate. It had a chief influence on his life, and it was that which he was fondest of retracing, and retraced with most poignancy. I can well remember his very words; but there are still wanting the expression of his fine countenance—his hair white as snow, gracefully curling round his head—his blue eyes, somewhat faded by years, yet still announcing his genius and depth of thought; his brow touched with the lines of reflection, but open, elevated, and of a distinguished character; his smile full of benevolence and candour. “I was handsome enough,” he used sometimes to say to us—and no one who looked at him could doubt it: “but I was not amiable, for a savant rarely is,” he would add laughingly,—and this every one doubted; so to prove it, he recounted the little history that follows:—

“I was not quite thirty,” said he to us, “when I obtained the chair of philosophical professor in this college, in the most flattering manner: I need not tell you that my amour propre was gratified by a distinction rare enough at my age. I certainly had worked for it formerly: but at the moment it came to me, another species of philosophy occupied me much more deeply, and I would have given more to know what passed in one heart, than to have had power to analyze those of all mankind. I was passionately in love; and you all know, I hope, that when love takes possession of a young head, adieu to every thing else; there is no room for any other thought. My table was covered with folios of all colours, quires of paper of all sizes, journals of all species, catalogues of books, in short, of all that one finds on a professor’s table: but of the whole circle of science, I had for some time studied only the article Rose, whether in the Encyclopaedia, the botanical books, or all the gardeners’ calendars that I could meet with. You shall learn presently what led me to this study, and why it was that my window was always open, even during the coldest days. All this was connected with the passion by which I was possessed, and which was become my sole and continual thought. I could not well say at this moment how my lectures and courses got on; but this I know, that more than once I have said, ‘Amelia,’ instead of ‘philosophy.’

“It was the name of my beauty—in fact, of the beauty of the University, Mademoiselle de Belmont. Her father, a distinguished officer, had died on the field of battle. She occupied with her mother a large and handsome house in the street in which I lived, on the same side, and a few doors distant. This mother, wise and prudent, obliged by circumstances to inhabit a city filled with young students from all parts, and having so charming a daughter, never suffered her a moment from her sight, either in or out of doors. But the good lady passionately loved company and cards; and to reconcile her tastes with her duties, she carried Amelia with her to all the assemblies of dowagers, professors’ wives, canonesses, &c. &c., where the poor girl ennuyed herself to death with hemming or knitting beside her mother’s card-table. But you ought to have been informed, that no student, indeed no man under fifty, was admitted. I had then but little chance of conveying my sentiments to Amelia. I am sure, however, that any other than myself would have discovered this chance, but I was a perfect novice in gallantry; and until the moment when I imbibed this passion from Amelia’s beautiful dark eyes, mine, having been always fixed upon Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, &c., understood nothing at all of the language of the heart. It was at an old lady’s, to whom I was introduced, that I became acquainted with Amelia; my destiny led me to her house on the evening of her assembly; she received me—I saw Mademoiselle de Belmont, and from that instant her image was engraven in lines of fire on my heart. The mother frowned at the sight of a well-looking young man: but my timid, grave, and perhaps somewhat pedantic air, re-assured her. There were a few other young persons—daughters and nieces of the lady of the mansion; it was summer—they obtained permission to walk in the garden, under the windows of the saloon, and the eyes of their mammas. I followed them; and, without daring to address a word to my fair one, caught each that fell from her lips.

“Her conversation appeared to me as charming as her person; she spoke on different subjects with intelligence above her years. In making some pleasant remarks on the defects of men in general, she observed, that ‘what she most dreaded was violence of temper.’ Naturally of a calm disposition, I was wishing to boast of it; but not having the courage, I at last entered into her idea, and said so much against passion, that I could not well be suspected of an inclination to it. I was recompensed by an approving smile; it emboldened me, and I began to talk much better than I thought myself capable of doing before so many handsome women; she appeared to listen with pleasure; but when they came to the chapter of fashions, I had no more to say—it was an unknown language; neither did she appear versed in it. Then succeeded observations on the flowers in the garden; I knew little more of this than of the fashions, but I might likewise have my particular taste; and to decide, I waited to learn that of Amelia: she declared for the Rose, and grew animated in the eulogy of her chosen flower. From that moment, it became for me the queen of flowers. ‘Amelia,’ said a pretty, little, laughing, Espiègle, ‘how many of your favourites are condemned to death this winter?’ ‘Not one! replied she; ‘I renounce them—their education is too troublesome, and too ungrateful a task; and I begin to think I know nothing about it.’

“I assumed sufficient resolution to ask the explanation of this question and answer. She gave it to me. ‘You have just learned that I am passionately fond of roses: it is an hereditary taste: my mother is still fonder of them than I am; since I was able to think of any thing, I have had the greatest wish to offer her a rose-tree in blow (as a new year’s gift) on the first of January; I have never succeeded. Every year I have put a quantity of rose-trees into vases; the greater number perished; and I have never been able to offer one rose to my mother.’ So little did I know of the culture of flowers, as to be perfectly ignorant that it was possible to have roses in winter; but from the moment that I understood that it might be, without a miracle, and that incessant attention only was necessary, I promised myself, that this year the first of January should not pass without Amelia’s offering her mother a rose tree in blow. We returned to the saloon—so close was I on the watch, that I heard her ask my name in a whisper. Her companion answered, ‘I know him only by reputation; they say he is an author; and so learned, that he is already a professor.’ ‘I should never have guessed it,’ said Amelia; ‘he seems neither vain nor pedantic.’ How thankful was I for this reputation.—Next morning I went to a gardener, and ordered fifty rose-trees, of different months, to be put in vases. ‘It must be singular ill fortune,’ thought I, ‘if, among this number, one at least does not flower.’ On leaving the gardener, I went to my bookseller’s—purchased some works on flowers, and returned home full of hope. I intended to accompany my rose-tree with a fine letter, in which I should request to visit Madame de Belmont, in order to teach her daughter the art of having roses in winter; the agreeable lesson, and the charming scholar, were to me much pleasanter themes than those of my philosophical lectures. I built on all this the prettiest romance possible; my milk-pail had not yet got on so far as Perrettes; she held it on her head; and my rose was not yet transplanted into its vase; but I saw it all in blow. In the mean time, I was happy only in imagination; I no longer saw Amelia; they ceased to invite me to the dowager parties, and she was not allowed to mix in those of young people. I must then be restricted, until my introducer was in a state of presentation, to seeing her every evening pass by with her mother, as they went to their parties. Happily for me, Madame de Belmont was such a coward in a carriage, that she preferred walking when it was possible. I knew the hour at which they were in the habit of leaving home; I learned to distinguish the sound of the bell of their gate from that of all the others of the quarter; my window on the floor was always open; at the moment I heard their gate unclose, I snatched up some volume, which was often turned upside down, stationed myself at the window, as if profoundly occupied with my study, and thus almost every day saw for an instant the lovely girl; and this instant was sufficient to attach me to her still more deeply. The elegant simplicity of her dress; her rich dark hair wreathed round her head, and falling in ringlets on her forehead; her slight and graceful figure—her step at once light and commanding—the fairy foot, that the care of guarding the snowy robe rendered visible, inflamed my admiration; while her dignified and composed manner, her attention to her mother, and the affability with which she saluted her inferiors, touched my heart yet more. I began too, to fancy, that, limited as were my opportunities of attracting her notice, I was not entirely indifferent to her. For example, on leaving home, she usually crossed to the opposite side of the street; for had she passed close to my windows, she guessed, that, intently occupied as I chose to appear, I could not well raise my eyes from my book; then, as she came near my house, there was always something to say, in rather a louder tone, as, ‘Take care mamma; lean heavier on me; do you feel cold?’ I then raised my eyes, looked at her, saluted her, and generally encountered the transient glance of my divinity, who, with a blush, lowered her eyes, and returned my salute. The mother, all enveloped in cloaks, and hoods, saw nothing. I saw every thing—and surrendered my heart. A slight circumstance augmented my hopes. I had published ‘An Abridgement of Practical Philosophy.’ It was an extract from my course of lectures—was successful, and the edition was sold. My bookseller, aware that I had some copies remaining, came to beg one for a customer of his, who was extremely anxious to get it; and he named Mademoiselle Amelia Belmont. I actually blushed with pleasure; to conceal my embarrassment, I laughingly inquired, what could a girl of her age want with so serious a work? ‘To read it, sir, doubtless;’ replied the bookseller; ‘Mademoiselle Amelia does not resemble the generality of young ladies; she prefers useful to amusing books.’ He then mentioned the names of several that he had lately sent to her; and gave me a high opinion of her taste. ‘From her impatience for your book,’ added he, ‘I can answer for it, that it will be perused with great pleasure; more than ten messages have been sent; at last I promised it for to-morrow, and I beg of you to enable me to keep my word.’ I thrilled with joy, as I gave him the volumes, at the idea that Amelia would read my sentiments, and that she would learn to know me.

“October arrived, and with it my fifty vases of rose-trees; for which of course, they made me pay what they chose;—and I was as delighted to count them in my room, as a miser would his sacks of gold. They all looked rather languishing, but then it was because they had not yet reconciled themselves to the new earth. I read all that was ever written on the culture of roses, with much more attention than I had formerly read my old philosophers; and I ended as wise as I began. I perceived that this science, like all others has no fixed rules, and that each vaunts his system, and believes it the best. One of my gardener authors would have the rose-trees as much as possible in the open air; another recommended their being kept close shut up; one ordered constant watering; another absolutely forbade it. ‘It is thus with the education of man,’ said I, closing the volumes in vexation. ‘Always in extremes—let us try the medium between these opposite opinions.’

“I established a good thermometer in my room; and, according to its indications, I put them outside the windows or took them in; you may guess that fifty vases, to which I gave this exercise three or four times a-day, according to the variations of the atmosphere, did not leave me much idle time; and this was the occupation of a professor of philosophy! Ah! well might they have taken his chair from him, and sent him back to school, a thousand times more childish than the youngest of those pupils to whom I hurried over the customary routine of philosophical lessons: my whole mind was fixed on Amelia and my rose trees.

“The death of the greater number of my eleves, however, soon lightened my labour; more than half of them never struck root I flung them into the fire; a fourth part of those that remained, after unfolding some little leaves, stopped there. Several assumed a blackish yellow tint, and gave me hopes of beautifying; some flourished surprisingly, but only in leaves; others, to my great joy, were covered with buds; but in a few days they always got that little yellow circle which gardeners call the collar, and which is to them a mortal malady—their stalks twisted—they drooped—and finally fell, one after the other, to the earth—not a single bud remaining on my poor trees. This withered my hopes; and the more care I took of my invalids—the more I hawked them from window to window, the worse they grew. At last one of them, and but one, promised to reward my trouble—thickly covered with leaves, it formed a handsome bush, from the middle of which sprung out a fine vigorous branch, crowned with six beautiful buds that got no collar—grew, enlarged, and even discovered, through their calices, a slight rose tint. There were still six long weeks before the new year; and certainly four, at least, of my precious buds would be blown by that time. Behold me now recompensed for all my pains: hope re-entered my heart, and every moment I looked on my beauteous introducer with complacency.

“On the 27th of November, a day, which I can never forget, the sun rose in all its brilliance; I thanked Heaven, and hastened to place my rose-tree, and such of its companions as yet survived, on a peristyle in the court. (I have already mentioned that I lodged on the ground floor.) I watered them, and went, as usual, to give my philosophical lecture. I then dined—drank to the health of my rose—and returned to take my station in my window, with a quicker throbbing of the heart.

“Amelia’s mother had been slightly indisposed; for eight days she had not left the house, and consequently I had not seen my fair one. On the first morning I had observed the physician going in; uneasy for her, I contrived to cross his way, questioned him, and was comforted. I afterwards learned that the old lady had recovered, and was to make her appearance abroad on this day at a grand gala given by a baroness, who lived at the end of the street. I was then certain to see Amelia pass by, and eight days of privation had enhanced that thought; I am sure Madame de Belmont did not look to this party with as much impatience as I did. She was always one of the first: it had scarcely struck five, when I heard the bell of her gate. I took up a book—there I was at my post—and presently I saw Amelia appear, dazzling with dress and beauty as she gave her arm to her mother: never yet had the brilliancy of her figure so struck me; this time there was no occasion for her to speak to catch my eyes; they were fixed on her, but her’s were bent down; however, she guessed that I was there, for she passed slowly to prolong my happiness. I followed her with my gaze, until she entered the house; there only she turned her head for a second; the door was shut, and she disappeared; but remained present to my heart. I could neither close my window, nor cease to look at the baroness’s hotel, as if I could see Amelia through the walls; I remained there till all objects were fading into obscurity—the approach of night, and the frostiness of the air, brought to my recollection that the rose-tree was still on the peristyle: never had it been so precious to me; I hastened to it; and scarcely was I in the anti-chamber, when I heard a singular noise, like that of an animal browsing, and tinkling its bells. I trembled, I flew, and I had the grief to find a sheep quietly fixed beside my rose-trees, of which it was making its evening repast with no small avidity.

“I caught up the first thing in my way; it was a heavy cane: I wished to drive away the gluttonous beast; alas! it was too late; he had just bitten off the beautiful branch of buds; he swallowed them one after another; and in spite of the gloom, I could see, half out of his mouth, the finest of them all, which in a moment was champed like the rest. I was neither ill-tempered, nor violent; but at this sight I was no longer master of myself. Without well knowing what I did, I discharged a blow of my cane on the animal, and stretched it at my feet.


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No sooner did I perceive it motionless than I repented of having killed a creature unconscious of the mischief it had done. Was this worthy of the professor of philosophy, the adorer of the gentle Amelia? But thus to eat up my rose-tree, my only hope to get admittance to her! When I thought on its annihilation, I could not consider myself so culpable. However, the night darkened; I heard the old servant crossing the lower passage, and I called her. ‘Catherine,’ said I, ‘bring your light, there is mischief here; you left the stable doon open (that of the court was also unclosed), one of your sheep has been browsing on my rose-trees, and I have punished it.’

“She soon came with a lanthorn in her hand. It is not one of our sheep,’ said she; ‘I have just come from them; the stable gate is shut, and they are all within. O, blessed saints! blessed saints! What do I see’—exclaimed she, when near, ‘it is the pet sheep of our neighbour Mademoiselle de Belmont. Poor Robin! what bad luck brought you here! O! how sorry she will be.’ I nearly dropped down beside Robin.

“‘Of Mademoiselle Amelia!’ said I in a trembling voice; ‘has she actually a sheep?’ ‘O! good Lord! no; she has none at this moment—but that which lies there, with its four legs up in the air: she loved it as herself; see the collar that she worked for it with her own hands.’ I bent to look at it. It was of red leather, ornamented with little bells, and she had embroidered on it, in gold thread—‘Robin belongs to Amelia de Belmont; she loves him, and begs that he may be restored to her.’ ‘What will she think of the barbarian who killed him in a fit of passion—the vice that she most detests; she is right, it has been fatal to her; yet if he should be only stunned by a blow; Catherine, run, ask for some aether, or Eau de Vie, or hartshorn,—run, Catherine, run!’

“Catherine set off; I tried to make it open its mouth,—my rose-bud was still between its hermetically-sealed teeth; perhaps the collar pressed it: in fact the throat was swelled. I got it off with difficulty; something fell from it at my feet, which I mechanically took up and put into my pocket without looking at, so much was I absorbed in anxiety for the resuscitation. I rubbed him with all my strength; I grew more and more impatient for the return of Catherine. She came with a small new phial in her hand, calling out in her usual manner, ‘Here, sir, here’s the medicine. I never opened my mouth about it to Mademoiselle Amelia; I pity her enough without that.’

“‘What is all this Catherine? where have you seen Mademoiselle Amelia? and what is her affliction, if she does not know of her favourite’s death?’ ‘O, sir, this is a terrible day for the poor young lady. She was at the end of the street searching for a ring which she had lost; and it was no trifle, but the ring that her dead father had got as a present from the Emperor, and worth, they say, more ducats than I have hairs on my head. Her mother lent it to her to day for the party; she has lost it, she knows neither how nor where, and never missed it till she drew off her glove at supper. And, poor soul! the glove was on again in a minute, for fear it should be seen that the ring was wanting, and she slipped out to search for it along the street, but has found nothing.’

“It struck me that the substance that had fallen from the sheep’s collar had the form of a ring—could it possibly be!—I looked at it; and judge of my joy!—it was Madame de Belmont’s ring, and really very beautiful and costly. A secret presentiment whispered to me that this was a better means of presentation than the rose-tree. I pressed the precious ring to my heart, and to my lips; assured myself that the sheep was really dead; and leaving him stretched near the devastated rose-trees, I ran into the street, dismissed those who were seeking in vain, and stationed myself at my door to await the return of my neighbours. I saw from a distance the flambeau that preceded them, quickly distinguished their voices, and comprehended by them, that Amelia had confessed her misfortune. The mother scolded bitterly; the daughter wept, and said, ‘Perhaps it may be found.’ ‘O yes, perhaps,’—replied the mother with irritation, ‘it is too rich a prize to him that finds it; the emperor gave it to your deceased father, on the field, when he saved his life; he set more value on it than on all he possessed besides, and now you have thus flung it away; but the fault is mine for having trusted you with it. For some time back you have seemed quite bewildered.’ I heard all this as I followed at some paces behind them; they reached home; and I had the cruelty to prolong, for some moments more, Amelia’s mortification.—I intended that the treasure should procure me the entrée of their dwelling, and I waited till they had got up stairs. I then had myself announced as the bearer of good news; I was introduced, and respectfully presented the ring to Madame de Belmont: and how delighted seemed Amelia! and how beautifully she brightened in her joy, not alone that the ring was found, but that I was the finder. She cast herself on her mother’s bosom, and turning on me her eyes, humid with tears, though beaming with pleasure, she clasped her hands, exclaiming, ‘O, sir, what obligation, what gratitude do we owe to you!’

“‘Ah, Mademoiselle!’ returned I, ‘you know not to whom you address the term gratitude.’ ‘To one who has conferred on me a great pleasure,’ said she.’ ‘To one who has caused you a serious pain—to the killer of Robin.’

“‘You, sir?—I cannot credit it—why should you do so? you are not so cruel.’

“‘No, but I am so unfortunate. It was in opening his collar, which I have also brought to you, that your ring fell on the ground—you promised a great recompence to him who should find it. I dare to solicit that recompence; grant me my pardon for Robin’s death.’

“‘And I, sir, I thank you for it,’ exclaimed the mother. ‘I never could endure that animal; it took up Amelia’s entire time, and wearied me out of all patience with its bleating. If you had not killed it, Heaven knows where it might have carried my diamond. But how did it get entangled in the collar? Amelia, pray explain all this.’

“Amelia’s heart was agitated; she was as much grieved that it was I who had killed Robin, as that he was dead.—‘Poor Robin,’ said she, drying a tear, ‘he was rather too fond of running out; before leaving home, I had put on his collar that he might not be lost—he had always been brought back to me. The ring must have slipped under his collar. I hastily drew on my glove, and never missed it till I was at supper.

“‘What good luck it was that he went straight to this gentleman’s,’ observed the mother.

“‘Yes—for you,’ said Amelia; ‘he was cruelly received—was it such a crime, sir, to enter your door?’

“‘It was night,’ I replied; ‘I could not distinguish the collar, and I learned, when too late, that the animal belonged to you.’ “‘Thank Heaven, then, you did not know it!’ cried the mother, or where would have been my ring?’

“‘It is necessary at least,’ said Amelia, with emotion, ‘that I should know how my favourite could have so cruelly chagrined you.’

“‘O Mademoiselle, he had devoured my hope, my happiness, a superb rose-tree about to blow, that I had been long watching, and intended to present to—to—a person on New-Year’s-Day.’ Amelia smiled, blushed, extended her lovely hand towards me, and murmured,—‘All is pardoned.’ ‘If it had eaten up a rose-tree about to blow,’ cried Madame de Belmont, ‘it deserved a thousand deaths. I would give twenty sheep for a rose-tree in blow.’ ‘And I am much mistaken,’ said Amelia, with the sweetest naïveté, ‘if this very rose-tree was not intended for you.’ ‘For me! you have lost your senses child; I have not the honour of knowing the gentleman.’ ‘But he knows your fondness for roses; I mentioned it one day before him, the only time I ever met him, at Madame de S.‘s. Is it not true, sir, that my unfortunate favourite had eaten up my mother’s rose-tree?’ I acknowledged it, and I related the course of education of my fifty rose-trees.

“Madame de Belmont laughed heartily, and said, ‘she owed me a double obligation.’ Mademoiselle Amelia has given me my recompence for the diamond,’ said I to her;—‘I claim yours also, madame.’ ‘Ask, sir—’ ‘Permission to pay my respects sometimes to you!’ ‘Granted,’ replied she, gaily. I kissed her hand respectfully, that of her daughter tenderly, and withdrew. But I returned the next day—and every day—I was received with a kindness that each visit increased,—I was looked on as one of the family. It was I who now gave my arm to Madame de Belmont to conduct her to the evening parties; she presented me as her friend, and they were no longer dull to her daughter. New-Year’s-Day arrived. I had gone the evening before to a sheepfold in the vicinity to purchase a lamb similar to that I had killed. I collected from the different hot-houses all the flowering rose-trees I could find; the finest of them was for Madame de Belmont; and the roses of the others were wreathed in a garland round the fleecy neck of the lamb. In the evening I went to my neighbours, with my presents. ‘Robin and the rose-tree are restored to life,’ said I, in offering my homage, which was received with sensibility and gratefulness. ‘I also should like to give you a New-Year’s-gift,’ said Madame de Belmont to me, ‘if I but knew what you would best like.’ ‘What I best like—ah! if I only dared to tell you.’ ‘If it should chance now to be my daughter—.’ I fell at her feet, and so did Amelia. ‘Well,’ said the kind parent, ‘there then is your New-Year’s-gift ready found; Amelia gives you her heart, and I give you her hand.’ She took the rose wreath from off the lamb, and twined it round our united hands. ‘And my Amelia,’ continued the old professor, as he finished his anecdote, passing an arm round his companion as she sat beside him, ‘My Amelia is still to my eyes as beautiful, and to my heart as dear, as on the day when our hands were bound together with a chain of flowers.’”



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Mr. Job Spimkins, grocer and vestryman of Crutched-Friars, was a stout, easy, good-natured, middle-aged gentleman, who—to adopt a mercantile phrase—was “well to do in the world,” and had long borne an exemplary character throughout his ward for sobriety, punctuality, civility, and all those homely but well-wearing qualities which we are apt to associate with trade. Punctuality, however, was the one leading feature of his mind, which he carried to so extravagant a height, that having formed a scale of moral duties, he had placed it in the very front rank, side by side with honesty—or the art of driving a good bargain—and just two above temperance, soberness and chastity. Even in his social hours, this peculiar trait of character decided his predilections; for, notwithstanding he was much given to keeping up feasts and holidays, and had a high respect for Michaelmas-Day, Christmas-Day, Twelfth-Day, New-Year’s-Day, &c., yet he always expressed an indifferent opinion of Easter, because, like an Irishman’s pay-day, it was seldom or never punctual. Next to this engrossing hobby was our citizen’s abhorrence of poetry, an abhorrence which he extended with considerate impartiality to every branch of literature.

But Dr. Franklin’s works formed an exception. He pronounced his commercial maxims to be the chefs-d’oeuvre of genius, and used to set them as large text-copies for his son, when he and the school-bill came home together for the holidays from Dr. Thickskull’s academy at Camberwell. But poetry—our prosaic citizen could not for the life of him abide it. The only good thing, he used to say, he ever, yet saw in verse, was the Rule of Three; and the only rhymes that had the slightest reason to recommend them, were “Thirty days hath September.”

To these opinions Mrs. Spimkins, like a dutiful wife, never failed to respond, “Amen.” In person, this good lady was short and stoutly timbered, with a face on which lay the full sunshine of prosperity, in one broad, unvaried grin. Three children were her’s: three “dear, delightful children,” as their grandmother by the father’s side never failed to declare, when punctually, every New-Year’s-Day, she presented them each with a five-shilling-piece, wrapt up in gilt-edged note-paper. Thomas, the eldest, was a slim, sickly youth; easy, conceited, and eighteen: Martha, the second, was a maiden of more sensibility than beauty: while Sophy, the youngest and sprightliest, to a considerable portion of the maternal simper and the paternal circumference, added a fine expanse of foot, which spreading out semi-circularly, like a lady’s fan, at the toes, gave a peculiar weight and safety to her tread.

The habits of this amiable family were to the full as unassuming as their manners. They dined at one o’clock, with the exception of Sundays, when the discussion of roast, or boiled, was, for fashion’s sake, adjourned to five; took tea at six; supped at nine; and retired to rest at ten. The Sabbath, however, was a day not less of fashion than of luxury. The young folks—Thomas, especially, who was growing, and wanted nourishment—were then indulged with two glasses of port wine after dinner; and, at tea-time, were made happy in the privilege of a “blow out” with one or more friendly neighbours. Once every year they went half-price to the Christmas pantomimes, a memorable epoch, which never failed to deprive them of sleep, and disorganize their nervous system for at least a fortnight beforehand. Such were the habits of the Spimkins’ family, a family rich, respectable, and orderly, until the March of Mind, which our modern philosophers are striving so hard to expedite, reduced them from wealth to poverty; and, from having been the pride, compelled them to become the pity of Crutched-Friars.

Every one must remember the strange, bewildering enthusiasm excited by Sir Walter Scott’s first appearance as a novelist. All the world was Scott-struck. His songs were set to music; fair hands painted fire-screens from his incidents; playwrights dramatized his heroes; and even the great Mr. Alderman Dobbs himself was so enraptured with his descriptions of Highland scenery, that he actually took an inside place in the Inverness mail, in order, as he shrewdly remarked, “to judge for himself with his own eyes”—a feat which he would infallibly have accomplished, but for two reasons; first, that the coach passed the most picturesque part of the Highlands in the night-time; secondly that the worthy alderman himself fell fast asleep during the best part of his journey. He returned home, however, as might have been expected, in ecstacies.

Among the number of those who caught this poetic influenza in its most alarming form, were the two Misses Spinks, daughters of Mr. Common-Council Spinks, once a mighty man on’ Change, but who had lately retired from business to enjoy life, alternately at his town house in Crutched-Friars, and his charming summer villa at Newington Butts, near the Montpellier Tea Gardens. As these young ladies lived next door to Mr. Spimkins, and cultivated the gentilities of society—a little neutralized, perhaps, by the circumstance of their indulging in certain pleonastic peculiarities of aspiration, by virtue of which the substantive “air” would be accommodated with an h, and the adverb “very” be transformed into a wherry—it may reasonably be inferred that they were much looked up to by their neighbours. The Misses Spimkins, in particular, took pattern by them in all things. They were the standards by which, in secret, they regulated their demeanor—the mirror in which they longed to see themselves at full-length reflected.

Things were in this state, when one morning Miss Spinks, a young lady of a grave and intellectual cast of mind, with a face broad at the forehead and peaked at the chin, like a kite, called at the Spimkinses for the purpose of inquiring the character of a servant maid. The Spimkinses were delighted by such condescension. Miss Spinks was such a charming young woman! such a dear creature!—so well-bred, so well-dressed, and, above all, so well-informed! Such, for at least a month afterwards, was the hourly topic of conversation at the grocer’s table: it came up with the breakfast tray, it helped to digest the dinner, it served as a night-cap after supper, until at length old Spimkins, in consideration of his neighbour’s importance, was prevailed on to depart so far from his homely notions of household economy, as to allow his wife and children to return Miss Spinks’ visit. In due time, both parties, as a matter of course, became intimate; but as literature was all the rage at the common councilman’s, the Misses Spimkins were for a time at fault, until a seasonable supply of novels, procured secretly from a fashionable publisher in the Minories, enabled them to converse on a more equal footing.

It was just about this period, that the Third Series of the Tales of My Landlord appeared. The Spinkses, who had heard from Alderman Dobbs that the descriptions were “uncommon like natur,” of course read it; so of necessity did the Spimkinses; and, as Miss Spinks kept an album, it came to pass that she one day commissioned Thomas Spimkins to copy into it a few of the most notable passages. On what slight circumstances do the leading events of life depend! The youth, delighted with his task, ventured, after concluding it, to interpolate some stanzas of his own; Miss Spinks inquired who was the author; when Tom, blushing, like Mrs. Malaprop, “confessed the soft impeachment,” was instantly pronounced a genius, and as such introduced by the Spinkses to all their high acquaintances.

Genius! What a fatal talisman exists in that portentous word! How many industrious families has it led astray! How much common-sense has it shipwrecked! How many prospects, once bright and imposing, has it utterly, incurably blighted!

Astonished at her son’s promise, dazzled by the hopes of his preferment, all Mrs. Spimkins’s usual good sense forsook her. The wisdom of the world was lost in the feelings of the mother. She gave play at once to the most ambitious expectations, and resolved henceforth not to let an hour escape without striving to inoculate her husband. With this view, she called every possible resource to her aid. She appealed to his affection as a father, to his pride as a man; she pointed out the injustice, not to say the inhumanity, of thwarting the genius of Thomas; she talked of his wealth, his deserts, his dignities; and, finally, by some miracle, for which I have never yet been able to account, persuaded the old gentleman to relax so liberally in his anti-poetic notions, as to despatch Thomas to Oxford, where he would infallibly have gained the prize poem, had it not, by some unaccountable mistake, been transferred to another.

It is from this period that the historian of the Spimkinses must date their decline and fall. Thomas returned home in due time from the university, a finished genius, but as poor as such geniuses are apt to be; while his father, who now began to repent having sent him there, proposed buying him a share in a grocer’s shop at Whitechapel. But the gifted youth disdained such base employment. He had a soul above figs! What! Thomas Spimkins, Esq., of Brazen Nose, author of a poem which was within an inch of gaining the Chancellor’s prize, stand behind the counter in a white apron, answering the demands of some uneducated customer for “a quarter of a pound of moist sugar, and change for sixpence!” Impossible! the idea was revolting to humanity!

Nevertheless, something must be done: one cannot live upon gentility, even though certificated at Oxford. Old Spimkins was precisely of this way of thinking; so, as a next resource, proposed articling his son to an attorney. But here again a difficulty presented itself. The business of a solicitor requires, it is well known, the impudence of a Yorkshire postboy, whereas Thomas was diffidence itself. Law, then, was out of the question; the church presented equal impediments; the navy, though respectable, was inappropriate; the army ruinously expensive. In this exigence, nothing remained but literature; to which, after many an urgent, impassioned, but fruitless remonstrance from his father, the young man finally resolved to addict himself. Meanwhile, his kind patrons, the Spinkses, thinking, naturally enough, that genius should vegetate among congenial scenery, took him on a visit to their villa at Newington Butts, where, in a romantic summer-house, built up of red bricks and oyster-shells, he gave vent to some of the sweetest stanzas imaginable. One of these, inspired by that poetic ceremony, the Lord Mayor’s Show, fell accidentally into the hands of his lordship himself, who pronounced the author to be “a clever fellow, and one as knew what’s what.” This opinion, delivered in public by so great a judge, soon made the round of Crutched-Friars; so that, whenever Thomas chanced to make his appearance in public, the very shop-boys would whisper admiringly after him, “I say, Jack, there goes a poet!”

Behold, then, our sensitive minstrel, the pride of his neighbourhood, the “young Astyanax” of his family! As such, it became him to affect eccentricity. Accordingly, he grew “melancholy and gentleman-like,” eschewed his cravat, and even advised his father to addict himself to Scott and Byron. But the old gentleman winced exceedingly at this proposal. Recollections of a poetic apprentice he once had, who had for some months carried on a very irregular flirtation with the till, came thronging fast upon his mind, and spurred him at once to a refusal. But what can resist the eternal solicitations of the shrewder sex? By day his daughter, by night his wife, kept teazing him into gradual compliance with their wishes. First he was prevailed on to dine at five, instead of two o’clock; secondly, to listen to his daughter’s execution of “Oh! ‘tis love, ‘tis love!” sung with a twist of the mouth peculiarly provocative of that passion; and lastly (the severest cut of all), to give conversaziones to his son’s literary acquaintances.

At these parties, a strange and talented group never failed to present themselves. All were men of genius, but exhibited, in their respective persons, proofs of the amazing rancour that subsists between genius and gentility. Among them was a lively Irishman, named O’Blarney, a reporter for the daily press, with sandy hair, a nose that turned up like a fish-hook, and a mouth which, from its extensive dimensions, afforded the most copious facilities for grinning. This promising young Papist, whose estates unfortunately lay in the most Protestant part of Ireland, was the very gem of Mr. Spimkins’ parties; and as he mixed much in fashionable society, and could beat even a negro in dancing, his presence never failed to create a lively sensation at Crutched-Friars. Another of the old gentleman’s guests was a rising versifier of twenty-two, whose appearance would have been sentiment itself, had not a pair of dingy whiskers, which grew back towards his ears, as if enamoured of the latter’s unusual length, given him a slight touch of the grotesque. As it was, his fine, open, full-blown face, resembled a cherub on a country tomb-stone. It would be injustice to acknowledged ability were I here to omit the mention of another poet, whose genius taking an uxorious turn, exploded in admiring apostrophes to his wife. This bard displayed infinite sweetness of versification—as the extracts from the different reviews, inserted, accidentally, at the end of his volume—assured him. There were no intemperate sallies, no startling originality, no audacious imagery in his rhymes; all was sweetly and agreeably uniform, like the features on a barber’s block. Such, with the addition of three historians from St. Mary Axe, two political economists from Long Acre, a pastoral writer from Wapping, and an essayist from Houndsditch, were the literati whose dazzling abilities illumined the fortunate neighbourhood of Crutched-Friars. Old Spimkins, meanwhile, to whom the whole scene was a novelty that well nigh took away his breath, kept moving backwards and forwards among his guests, oscillating in spirits, between a sigh and a smile; at one moment looking grave and dignified, like the Scotch Highlander at a tobacconist’s; at another, simpering sweetly and benignly, and perpetrating, whenever he ventured on a remark, the strangest possible blunders. The three French consuls he invariably mistook for the three per cent, consols; quoted Moore’s Almanack in illustration of Moore’s Melodies; inquired whether those two great poets, Hogg and Bacon, were not of the same family; and, when asked his opinion of Crabbe, gave a decided preference to lobster.

This sort of work had continued for the best part of a year, during which time the good-natured old grocer had been subjected to every species of expence and annoyance; when one morning, towards the close of October, news arrived that a literary gentleman, for whom his son had persuaded him to become bail to a pretty considerable amount, had presented him in return, with what is termed leg-bail—a species of gratitude whereby the locomotive powers are exercised at the expense of principle. The same post brought a letter from Miss Spinks at Newington, with the intelligence that Sophy—the sprightly Sophy Spimkins—who had been on a visit there for some days, had just set out with O’Blarney, on a hasty visit of inspection to the latter’s estates at Monaghan. This letter enclosed another from the fair fugitive herself, in which she implored her father’s forgiveness for the “rash step” she had taken; but assured him that immediately on her arrival at the old family castle, she should become Mrs. O’Blarney, and return home the very instant that her husband had secured his election for the county. The epistle concluded with affectionate remembrances to the family circle, and a hope that, when things were a little in order, her eldest sister would be prevailed upon to accompany her back to Monaghan.

This intelligence, notwithstanding his son’s very sanguine anticipations on the subject, annoyed poor Mr. Spimkins exceedingly; while, as if to fill up the measure of his tribulation, his former acquaintance at Crutched-Friars, finding that, for months past, he had shewn evident symptoms of a wish to cut them, began in self-defence, to set up reports injurious to his reputation. Rumours so circulated soon obtained belief. First one customer dropped off—then a second—then a third—then a fourth, fifth, and sixth—until at length the whole neighbourhood set it down, confidently down in their minds, that the Spimkinses were a losing family. Even the parish-clerk himself, a person of considerable local authority, was heard to observe that they were getting too clever for business—an opinion which, pronounced gravely and oracularly by a gentleman in a double chin, produced an instantaneous effect.

But where all this time were the Spinkses? Where were they whose patronage should have shielded, and whose kindness should have cherished, the unfortunate but still interesting Spimkinses? Alas! they had set out, only a few weeks before, for the Holy Land, with the avowed intention of taking furnished lodgings for at least six months at Jerusalem.

As if this, of itself, were not sufficiently vexatious, Miss Spimkins took it into her head to espouse a gentleman for the very last thing a lady usually thinks of looking for in a husband—his intellect. The origin of her amour is curious. She had read in the Gentleman’s Magazine, the “Confessions of a Wanderer,” who had been shipwrecked on the Thames, at night-fall, off Chelsea Reach; which Confessions were penned in so poetic a spirit, and described so feelingly the horrors of the catastrophe, the hoarse dash of the waves—the howling of the winds—and the subsequent encounter of the vessel against the fourth arch of Battersea bridge, that the susceptible Miss Spimkins was on thorns till she became acquainted with the author. This, by her brother’s intervention, was soon brought about; an invitation to dinner confirmed the intimacy; the lady, like Desdemona, loved the Wanderer “for the perils he had passed;” and he, like Othello, “loved her that she did pity them.” It has been well said, one marriage makes many: scarcely had his sister embraced the nuptial state, when Thomas handed to the same altar a widow lady, whom he had accidentally met at Margate, and had mistaken for a person of quality, but who had since turned out to be the leading tragic actress of Sadler’s Wells, at a rising salary of eighteen shillings per week, exclusive of benefits. It is but justice to add, that if this young lady brought her husband no fortune, she brought him, what to a sensitive mind is infinitely preferable, two fine boys, one of whom was breeched, the other yet in petticoats.

Such accumulated incidents—calamities he ungratefully called them—occurring to old Spimkins at a period when the mind, having lost the first elasticity of youth, is not yet mellowed down into the philosophy of age, but stands, restless and unsettled, between the two, in a sort of crepuscular condition, heaped “sackcloth and ashes on his head.” He neglected his ledger, he neglected his house, he neglected himself, and, worst of all, he neglected his customers. In fact, for months together, he did nothing but sigh and swear. His family, even in this exigency, could render him not the slightest assistance. His daughter, who still lived with him, had, by a diligent cultivation of the intellect, long since forgotten the household duties of a wife; her husband, as the old man used often to remark, “was of no more use than a cargo of damaged coffee;” and even Thomas—the inspired Thomas himself—had dwindled down into a mere mortal, and now dwelt in aerial seclusion up two pair of stairs at Pentonville. Thus widowed in his age—for his wife, I should observe, had, three months since, transferred herself from his to Abraham’s bosom—the disconsolate grocer abruptly sold his business, pensioned off his daughter and her “Wanderer,” and retired alone, on a small annuity, to a back street in Islington—a memorable illustration of’ the March of Mind and its very peculiar concomitants.

Here it was that I first became acquainted with him, and gleaned the particulars of the history I have just ventured to sketch. Our intimacy continued upwards of a year, during which period I will do my old friend the justice to say, that I heard the anecdote of the poetic apprentice who had robbed him, at least a dozen times. Now and then, when I ventured to express my astonishment that a tradesman of his good sense, who held such proper notions on the score of poetry and punctuality, should have so far forgotten himself as to have encouraged the one, and abandoned the other, to his own manifest ruin, the venerable sage would answer, “True Sir, but it was all my wife’s doing. She kept perpetually telling me that the Spinkses—who, one would have thought must have been good judges, for they were capital customers, and always paid their way—had pronounced my son to be a genius, and that it was a shame to thwart his abilities; so I was over-persuaded, you see, to send him to college, when, had he but stuck to business, who knows but he might have become a common-councilman; or, perhaps, even in time a sheriff! But there’s no doing any thing with poets. I remember an apprentice of mine, once—— But I see you’re affected!”—and here the old man would pause, shake the ashes from his pipe, and then revert to some less ungracious topic. It was on one of these occasions, when, having concluded a longer story than usual, he had stopped to take his customary allowance of breath, that on waking from a nap which his affecting anecdotes rarely failed to bring on, I found him stretched in an apoplectic fit upon the floor. With some difficulty he was brought to his senses; but, a relapse occurring in a few days, it became but too evident that, like the late John Wesley, he had had a call—that, in short, his closing hour was come. I was with him in his last extremity, and have every reason to be satisfied with the Christian character of his exit. He swore most incredibly at all poets; left Thomas his blessing and six half-crowns; his daughter a MS. Essay, by the political economist of Houndsditch; and then, with a convulsive jerk of his left leg, which lamed the bed-post for life, set out on his travels to eternity, with the story of the apprentice on his lips.

Of his three children, Thomas is the sole survivor. The “Wanderer’s” wife was taken off, about a fortnight since, by dyspepsia, the consequence of inordinate indulgence in tripe and toast-and-water; while her sprightly sister, Sophy, threw herself headlong into a mill-pond at Holyhead (having previously tied down her petticoats at the ankles), on being informed by O’Blarney, in one of those confidential moments which brandy-and-water seldom fails to elicit, that he was already the devoted husband of three wives and a proportionate abundance of pledges, and had quitted London, not so much with a view to visit any Irish estates—which, as a matter of course, existed only in his fancy—as to obviate the personal inconveniences likely to arise from the circumstance of his having, in a moment of forgetfulness, appropriated to his own use the purse and pocket-book of one of his most intimate and valued acquaintances. The poor girl’s body was fished up, a few days afterwards, by a Welsh clergyman, who was trolling in spectacles for pike: and a coroner’s inquest having been summoned, the evidence of O’Blarney was taken, from which it clearly appeared that the deceased was at times insane, and, only two hours before her death, had made three attempts to swallow a salt-cellar. The young Irishman deposed to these and other facts with so much feeling, earnestness, and simplicity, that the coroner complimented him highly on his humanity; and an account of the inquest having been furnished by himself for the North Wales Chronicle, it soon afterwards made the round of the London newspapers, under the title of “Distressing Suicide.”

Of poor Thomas, my account, I grieve to say, must be equally disheartening. An epic poem, on which he had been some months engaged, having not only failed, but even contributed to introduce its publisher to ready-furnished lodgings in the Fleet, he is now driven to the necessity of jobbing for minor periodicals, thereby adding one more to the already swollen catalogue of those who, mistaking the ignis fatuus of vanity for the sober radiance of intellect, start off prematurely on the voyage of life, without pilot to steer, compass to direct, or ballast to steady their course.

When I called on the young man, a few mornings since, I was much struck with his more than usually picturesque condition. Being always fond of air, he had hired a back attic, overlooking two charming gardens filled with clothes’-lines, and commanding a distant view of some brick-fields, a pig, and an Irish hodman from Carrickfergus. His wife was seated at the fire, watching a leg of mutton as it pirouetted before the grate, at the end of a bit of whipcord: Fernando, her eldest boy, was riding with manifest ecstacy on the back of an old chair: and her two other darling babes, Alphonso and Eleonora, were fast asleep, on a turn-up bedstead, in an adjoining room. Close by Thomas, who was busy writing reviews at a deal table with three legs, was an elderly cotton shirt, hanging to dry on a small wooden horse, quite a pony in its dimensions; and at the further end of the room, near the door, stood a pot of half-and-half, a pen’orth of pickled cabbage in a tea-cup, a twopenny French roll, a black horn dinner knife, and a fork with two prongs, both of which were broken. On observing these evident symptoms of domestic conviviality, I abruptly hastened my departure; but, on my return home by way of Crutched-Friars, could not refrain from stopping an instant in order to survey my old friend’s establishment. It was in the most deplorable condition possible. The voice of its till was mute; the very fixtures themselves were removed; and advertisements, three deep, specifying in large red characters the virtues of Daffy’s Elixir, were posted up, on door, wall, and window-shutter. Altogether, the scene was of the most affecting character, and forcibly impressed on my mind the calamities attendant on what Shakspeare calls “ill-judged ambition.”



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At the foot of the long range of the Mendip hills, standeth a village, which, for obvious reasons, we shall conceal the precise locality of, by bestowing thereon, the appellation of Stockwell. The principal trade of the Stockwellites is in coals, which certain of the industrious operative natives sedulously employ themselves in extracting from our mother earth, while others are engaged in conveying the “black diamonds,” to various adjacent towns, in carts of sundry shapes and dimensions. The horses engaged in this traffic are of the Rosinante species, and, too often, literally raw-boned.

Stockwell, moreover, hath its inn, or public house, a place of no small importance, having for its sign a swinging creaking board whereon is emblazoned the effigy of a roaring, red, and rampant lion.—High towering above the said lion are the branches of a solitary elm, the foot of which is encircled by a seat, especially convenient for those guests whose taste it is to “blow a cloud” in the open air; and it is of two individuals, who were much given thereon to enjoy their “otium cum dignitate,” that we are about to speak.

George Syms had long enjoyed a monopoly in the shoemaking and cobbling line (though latterly two oppositionists had started against him), and Peter Brown was a man well to do in the world, being “the man wot” shod the raw-boned horses before-mentioned, “him and his father, and grandfather,” as the parish-clerk said, “for time immemorial.” These two worthies were regaling themselves, as was their wonted custom, each with his pint, upon a small table, which was placed for their accommodation, when an elderly stranger, of a shabby genteel appearance, approached the Lion, and inquired the road to an adjoining village.—“You are late, Sir,” said George Syms. “Yes,” replied the stranger, “I am;” and he threw himself on the bench, and took off his hat, and began to call about him, notwithstanding his shabby appearance, with the air of one who has money in his pocket to pay his way. “Three make good company,” observed Peter Brown. “Ay, ay,” said the stranger. “Holloa, there! bring me another pint! This walk has made me confoundedly thirsty. You may as well make it a pot—and be quick!”

Messrs. Brown and Syms were greatly pleased with this additional guest at their symposium; and the trio sat and talked of the wind, and the weather, and the roads, and the coal trade, and drank and smoked to their hearts’ content, till time began to hang heavy, and then the stranger asked the two friends, if ever they played at tee-to-tum. “Play at what?” asked Peter Brown. “Play at what?” inquired George Syms. “At tee-to-tum,” replied the stranger, gravely taking a pair of spectacles from one pocket of his waistcoat, and the machine in question from the other. “It is an excellent game, I assure you. Rare sport, my masters!” and he forthwith began to spin his teetotum upon the table, to the no small diversion of George Syms and Peter Brown, who opined that the potent ale of the ramping Red Lion had done its office.—“Only see how the little fellow runs about!” cried the stranger, in apparent ecstacy. “Holloa, there! Bring a lantern! There he goes, round and round—and now he’s asleep—and now he begins to reel—wiggle-waggle—-down he tumbles! What colour, for a shilling?”—“I don’t understand the game,” said Peter Brown. “Nor I, neither,” quoth George Syms: “but it seems easy enough to learn”—“Oh, ho!” said the stranger; “you think so, do you? But, let me tell you that there’s a great deal more in it than you imagine. There he is, you see, with as many sides as a modern politician, and as many colours as an Algerine.—Come, let us have a game! This is the way!” and he again sat the teetotum in motion, and capered about in exceeding glee. “He, he, he!” uttered George Syms; and “Ha, ha, ha!” exclaimed Peter Brown; and, being wonderfully tickled with the oddity of the thing, they were easily persuaded by the stranger just to take a game together for five minutes, while he stood by as umpire, with a stopwatch in his hand.

When precisely five minutes had elapsed, although it was Peter Brown’s spin, and the teetotum was yet going its rounds, and George Syms had called out yellow, he demurely took it from the table and put it in his pocket, and then, returning his watch to his fob, walked away into the Red Lion, without as much as saying good-night. The two friends looked at each other in surprise, and then indulged in a very loud and hearty fit of laughter; and then paid their reckoning, and went away exceedingly merry, which they would not have been, had they understood properly what they had been doing.

In the meanwhile, the stranger had entered the house; and he found it not very difficult to persuade them likewise to take a game at teetotum for five minutes, which he terminated in the same unceremonious way as that under the tree, and then desired to be shown the room wherein he was to sleep. Mrs. Philpot immediately, contrary to her usual custom, jumped up with great alacrity, lighted a candle, and conducted her guest to his apartment; while Sally, contrary to her usual custom, reclined herself in her mistress’s great arm-chair, yawned three or four times, and then exclaimed, “Heigho! it’s getting very late! I wish my husband would come home!” Now as we are not fond of useless mysteries, we think proper to tell the reader, that the teetotum in question had the peculiar property of causing those who played therewith to lose all remembrance of their former character, and to adopt that of their antagonists in the game. During the process of spinning, the personal identity of the two players was completely changed. Now, on the evening of this memorable day, Jacob Philpot, the landlord of the rampant Red Lion, had spent a few convivial hours with mine host of the Blue Boar, a house on the road-side, about two miles from Stockwell; and the two publicans had discussed the ale, grog, and tobacco, in the manner customary with Britons, whose insignia are roaring, rampant red lions, green dragons, blue boars, &c. Therefore, when Jacob came home, he began to call about him, with the air of one who purposeth that his arrival shall be no secret; and very agreeably surprised was he when Mrs. Philpot ran out from the house, and assisted him to dismount, for Jacob was somewhat rotund; and yet more did he marvel, when, instead of haranguing him in a loud voice (as she had whilom done on similar occasions, greatly to his discomfiture), she good-humouredly said that she would lead his nag to the stable, and then go and call Philip the ostler. “Humph!” said the host of the Lion, leaning with his back against the door-post, “after a calm comes a storm. She’ll make up for this presently, I’ll warrant.” But Mrs. Philpot put up the horse, and called Philip, and then returned in peace and quietness, and attempted to pass into the house, without uttering a word to her lord and master.

“What’s the matter with you, my dear?” asked Jacob Philpot; “a’nt you well?”—“Yes, Sir,” replied Mrs. Philpot, “very well, I thank you.—But pray take away your leg, and let me go into the house.”—“But didn’t you think I was very late?” asked Jacob. “Oh! I don’t know,” replied Mrs. Philpot; “when gentlemen get together, they don’t think how time goes.” Poor Jacob was quite delighted, and, as it was dusk, and by no means, as he conceived, a scandalous proceeding, he forthwith put one arm round Mrs. Philpot’s neck, and stole a kiss, whereat she said, “Oh dear me! how could you think of doing such a thing?” and immediately squeezed herself past him, and ran into the house, where Sally sat, in the armchair before mentioned, with a handkerchief over her head, pretending to be asleep.

“Come, my dear,” said Jacob to his wife, “I’m glad to see you in such good humour. You shall make me a glass of rum and water, and take some of it yourself.” He then good-humouredly told her to go to bed, and he would follow her presently, as soon as he had looked after his horse, and pulled off his boots. This proposition was no sooner made, than the good man’s ears were suddenly grasped from behind, and his head was shaken and twisted about, as though it had been the purport of the assailant to wrench it from his shoulders. Mrs. Philpot instantly made her escape from the kitchen, leaving her spouse in the hands of the enraged Sally, who, under the influence of the teetotum delusion, was firmly persuaded that she was justly inflicting wholesome discipline upon her husband, whom she had, as she conceived, caught in the act of making love to the maid. Sally was active and strong, and Jacob Philpot was, as before hinted, somewhat obese, and, withal, not in excellent “wind;” consequently it was some time ere he could disengage himself; and then he stood panting and blowing, and utterly lost in astonishment, while Sally saluted him with divers appellations, which it would not be seemly here to set down.

When Jacob did find his tongue, however, he answered her much in the same style; and added, that he had a great mind to lay a stick about her back. “What,” strike a woman! “Eh—would you, you coward?”—and immediately she darted forward, and, as she termed it, put her mark upon him with her nails, whereby his rubicund countenance was greatly disfigured, and his patience entirely exhausted: but Sally was too nimble, and made her escape up stairs. So the landlord of the Red Lion, having got rid of the two mad or drunken women, very philosophically resolved to sit down for half an hour by himself, to think oyer the business, while he took his “night cap.” He had scarcely brewed the ingredients, when he was roused by a rap at the window; and, in answer to his inquiry of “Who’s there?” he recognised the voice of his neighbour, George Syms, and, of course, immediately admitted him; for George was a good customer, and, consequently, welcome at all hours. “My good friend,” said Syms, “I dare say you are surprised to see me here at this time of night; but I can’t get into my own house. My wife is drunk, I believe.”—“And so is mine,” quoth the landlord; “so sit you down and make yourself comfortable. Hang me if I think I’ll go to bed to night!”—“No more will I,” said Syms; “I’ve got a job to do early in the morning, and then I shall be ready for it.” So the two friends sat down, and had scarcely begun to enjoy themselves, when another rap was heard at the window, and mine host recognised the voice of Peter Brown, who came with the same complaint against his wife, and was easily persuaded to join the party, each declaring that the women must have contrived to meet, during their absence from home, and all got fuddled together. Matters went on pleasantly enough for some time, while they continued to rail against the women; but, when that subject was exhausted, George Syms, the shoe-maker, began to talk about shoeing horses; and Peter Brown, the Blacksmith, averred that he could make a pair of jockey boots with any man for fifty miles round. The host of the rampant Red Lion considered these things at first as a sort of joke, which he had no doubt, from such good customers, was exceedingly good, though he could not exactly comprehend it. But when Peter Brown answered to the name of George Syms, and George Syms responded to that of Peter Brown, he was somewhat more bewildered, and could not help thinking that his guests had drunk quite enough. He, however, satisfied himself with the reflection that that was no business of his, and that “a man must live by his trade.” With the exception of these apparent occasional cross purposes, conversation went on as well as could be expected under existing circumstances, and the three unfortunate husbands sat and talked, and drank, and smoked, till tired nature cried, “hold, enough!”

Leaving them to their slumbers, we must now say a word or two about the teetotum, the properties of which were to change people’s characters, spinning the mind of one man or woman into the body of another. The duration of the delusion, caused by this droll game of the old gentleman’s, depended upon the length of time spent in the diversion; and five minutes was the specific period for causing it to last till the next sun-rise or sun-set after the change had been effected. Therefore, when the morning came, Mrs. Philpot and Sally, and Peter Brown and George Syms, all came to their senses. The two latter went quietly home with aching heads and very confused recollections of the preceding evening; and shortly after their departure Mrs. Philpot awoke in great astonishment at finding herself in the garret; and Sally was equally surprised and much alarmed, at finding herself in her mistress’s room, from which she hastened in quick time, leaving all things in due order.

The elderly stranger made his appearance soon after, and appeared to have brushed up his shabby genteel clothes, for he really looked much more respectable than on the preceding evening. He ordered his breakfast, and sat down thereto very quietly, and asked for the newspaper, and pulled out his spectacles, and began to con the politics of the day much at his ease, no one having the least suspicion that he and his teetotum had been the cause of all the uproar at the Red Lion. In due time the landlord made his appearance, with sundry marks of violence upon his jolly countenance, and, after due obeisance made to his respectable-looking guest, took the liberty of telling his spouse that he should insist upon her sending Sally away, for he had never been so mauled since he was born; but Mrs. Philpot told him that he ought to be ashamed of himself, and she was very glad the girl had spirit enough to protect herself, and that she wouldn’t part with her on any account. She then referred to what had passed in the back kitchen, taking to herself the credit of having inflicted that punishment which had been administered by the hands of Sally.

Jacob Philpot was now more than ever convinced that his wife had been paying her respects to a huge stone bottle of rum which stood in the closet; and he “made bold” to tell her his thoughts, whereat Mrs. Philpot thought fit to put herself into a tremendous passion, although she could not help fearing that, perhaps, she might have taken a drop too much of something, for she was unable, in any other manner, to account for having slept in the garret.

The elderly stranger now took upon himself to recommend mutual forgiveness, and stated that it was really quite pardonable for any one to take a little too much of such very excellent ale as that at the Red Lion. “For my own part,” said he, “I don’t know whether I didn’t get a trifle beyond the mark myself last night. But I hope, madam, I did not annoy you.”

“Oh dear, no, not at all, Sir,” replied Mrs. Philpot, whose good-humour was restored at this compliment, paid to the good cheer of the Lion, “you were exceeding pleasant, I assure you, just enough to make you funny; we had a hearty laugh about the teetotum, you know.”—“Ah!” said the stranger, “I guess how it was then. I always introduce the teetotum when I want to be merry.”

Jacob Philpot expressed a wish to understand the game, and after spinning it two or three times, proposed to take his chance, for five minutes, with the stranger; but the latter, laughing heartily, would by no means agree with the proposition, and declared that it would be downright cheating, as he was an overmatch for any beginner. “However,” he continued, “as soon as any of your neighbours come in, I’ll put you in the way of it, and we’ll have some of your ale, now, just to pass the time. It will do neither of us any harm after last night’s affair, and I want to have some talk with you about the coal trade.”

They accordingly sat down together, and the stranger displayed considerable knowledge in the science of mining; and Jacob was so much delighted with his companion, that an hour or two slipped away, as he said, “in no” and then there was heard the sound of a horse’s feet at the door, and a somewhat authoratative hillo!

“It is our parson,” said Jacob, starting up, and he ran to the door to enquire what might be his reverence’s pleasure. “Good morning,” said the Reverend Mr. Stanhope. “I’m going over to dine with our club at the Old Boar, and I want you just to cast your eye on those fellows in my home close; you can see them out of your parlour window.”—“Yes, to be sure, Sir,” replied Jacob “Hem!” quoth Mr. Stanhope, “have you any body indoors?”—“Yes, Sir, we have,” replied Jacob, “a strange gentleman, who seems to know a pretty deal about mining and them sort of things. I think he’s some great person in disguise, he seems regularly edicated, up to every thing.”—“Eh, ah! a great person in disguise!” exclaimed Mr. Stanhope; “I’ll just step in a minute. It seems as if there was a shower coming over, and I’m in no hurry, and it is not worth while to get wet through for the sake of a few minutes.” So he alighted from his horse, soliloquizing to himself. “Perhaps the Lord Chancellor! Who knows? However, I shall take care to show my principles;” and straightway he went into the house, and was most respectfully saluted by the elderly stranger; and they entered into a conversation upon the standing English topics of weather, wind, crops, and the coal trade; and Mr. Stanhope contrived to introduce therein sundry unkind things against the Pope and all his followers; and avowed himself a staunch “church and king” man, and spake enthusiastically of our “glorious constitution,” and lauded divers individuals then in power, but more particularly those who studied the true interests of the church, by seeking out and preferring men of merit and talent to fill vacant benefices. The stranger thereat smiled significantly, as though he could, if he felt disposed, say something to the purpose; and Mr. Stanhope felt more inclined than ever to think the landlord might have conjectured very near the truth, and consequently, redoubled his efforts to make the agreeable, professing his regret at being obliged to dine out that day, &c. The stranger politely thanked him for his polite consideration, and stated that he was never at a loss for employment, and that he was then rambling, for a few days, to relax his mind from the fatigues of an overwhelming mass of important business, to which his duty compelled him to attend early and late. “Perhaps,” he continued, “you will smile when I tell you that I am now engaged in a series of experiments relative to the power of the centrifugal force, and its capacity of overcoming various degrees of friction.” (Here he produced the teetotum.) “You perceive the different surfaces of the under edge of this little thing. The outside, you see, is all of ivory, but indented in various ways; and yet I have not been able to decide whether the roughest or smoothest more frequently arrest its motions. The colours, of course, are merely indications. Here is my register, and he produced a book, wherein divers mathematical abstruse calculations were apparent.

“I always prefer other people to spin it, as then I obtain a variety of impelling power. Perhaps you will do me the favour just to twirl it round a few times alternately with the landlord? Two make a fairer experiment than one. Just for five minutes. I’ll not trouble you a moment longer, I promise you.”—“Hem!” thought Mr. Stanhope—

“Learned men, now and then,
Have very strange vagaries!”

However, he commenced spinning the teetotum, turn and turn with Jacob Philpot, who was highly delighted both with the drollery of the thing, and the honour of playing with the parson of the parish, and laughed most immoderately, while the stranger stood by, looking at his stop-watch as demurely as on the preceding evening, until the five minutes had expired; and then, in the middle of the Reverend Mr. Stanhope’s spin, he took up the little toy and put it into his pocket.

Jacob Philpot immediately arose, and shook the stranger warmly by the hand, and told him, that he should be happy to see him whenever he came that way again; and then nodding to Mr. Stanhope and the landlady, went out at the front door, mounted the horse that stood there, and rode away. “Where’s the fellow going?” cried Mrs. Philpot; “Hillo! Jacob, I say!”—“Well mother,” said the Reverend Mr. Stanhope, “what’s the matter now?”—but Mrs. Philpot had reached the front of the house, and continued to shout. “Hillo! hillo, come back, I tell you!”—“That woman is always doing some strange thing or other,” observed Mr. Stanhope to the stranger “What on earth can possess her to go calling after the parson in that manner?”—“I declare he’s rode off with squire Jones’s horse,” cried Mrs. Philpot, re-entering the house. “To be sure he has,” said Mr. Stanhope; “he borrowed it on purpose to go to the Old Boar.”—“Did he?” exclaimed the landlady; “and without telling me a word about it! But I’ll Old Boar him I promise you!”—“Don’t make such a fool of yourself, mother,” said the parson; “it can’t signify twopence to you where he goes.”—“Can’t it?” rejoined Mrs. Philpot. “I’ll tell you what, your worship-”—“Don’t worship me woman,” exclaimed the teetotum landlord parson; “worship, what nonsense now! Why, you’ve been taking your drops again this morning, I think. Worship, indeed! To be sure, I did once, like a fool, promise to worship you; but if my time was to come over again, I know what-. But, never mind now—don’t you see it’s twelve o’clock? Come, quick, let us have what there is to eat, and then we’ll have a comfortable pipe under the tree. What say you, Sir?”—“With all my heart,” replied the elderly stranger. The latter hoped they should have the pleasure of Mrs. Philpot’s company; but she looked somewhat doubtfully till the parson said, “Come, come, mother, don’t make a bother about it.” Therefore she smoothed her apron and made one at the dinner table, and conducted herself with so much precision, that the teetotum parson looked upon her with considerable surprise, while she regarded him with no less, inasmuch as he talked in a very unclerical manner; and, among other strange things, swore, that his wife was as “drunk as blazes” the night before, and winked at her, and behaved altogether in a style very unbecoming a minister in his own parish.

At one o’clock there was a great sensation caused in the village of Stockwell, by the appearance of their reverend pastor and the elderly stranger, sitting on the bench which went round the tree, which stood before the sign of the roaring rampant Red Lion, each with a long pipe in his mouth, blowing clouds, which would not have disgraced the most inveterate smoker of the “black diamond” fraternity, and ever and anon moistening their clay with “heavy wet,” from tankards placed upon a small table, which Mrs. Philpot had provided for their accommodation. The little boys and girls first approached within a respectful distance, and then ran away giggling to tell their companions; and they told their mothers, who came and peeped likewise; and many were diverted, and many were scandalized at the sight; yet the parson seemed to care for none of these things, but cracked his joke, and sipped his ale, and smoked his pipe, with as much easy nonchalance as if he had been in his own arm-chair at the rectory. Yet it must be confessed that now and then there was a sort of equivocal remark made by him, as though he had some faint recollection of his former profession, although he evinced not the smallest sense of shame at the change which had been wrought in him. Indeed this trifling imperfection in the change of identity appears to have attended such transformations in general, and might have arisen from the individual bodies retaining their own clothes (for the mere fashion of dress hath a great influence on some minds), or, perhaps, because a profession or trade, with the habits thereof, cannot be entirely shaken off, nor a new one perfectly learned, by spinning a teetotum for five minutes. The time had now arrived when George Syms, the shoemaker, and Peter Brown, the blacksmith, were accustomed to take their “pint and pipe after dinner,” and greatly were they surprised to see their places so occupied; and not a little was their astonishment increased, when the parson lifted up his voice, and ordered Sally to bring out a couple of chairs, and then shook them both warmly by the hand, and welcomed them by the affectionate appellation of “my hearties!”


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He then winked, and in an under tone began to sing—

“Though I’m tied to a crusty old woman,
Much given to scolding and jealousy,
I know that the case is too common,
And so I will ogle each girl I see.
Toi de roi, loi, &c.

“Come, my lads!” he resumed, “sit you down, and clap half a yard of clay into your mouths.” The two worthy artisans looked at each other significantly, or rather insignificantly, for they knew not what to think, and did as they were bid. “Come, why don’t you talk?” said the teetotum parson landlord, after a short silence. “You’re as dull as a couple of tom cats with their ears cut off—talk, man, talk—there’s no doing nothing without talking.” This last part of his speech seemed more particularly addressed to Peter Brown, who, albeit a man of a sound head, and well skilled in such matters as appertained unto iron and the coal trade, had not been much in the habit of mixing with the clergy; therefore he felt, for a moment, as he said, “nonplushed;” but fortunately he recollected the Catholic question, about which most people were then talking, and which every body professed to understand. Therefore, he forthwith introduced the subject; and being well aware of the parson’s bias, and having, moreover, been told that he had written a pamphlet; therefore (though to do Peter Brown justice, he was not accustomed to read such publications) he scrupled not to give his opinion very freely, and concluded by taking up his pint and drinking a very unchristian-like malediction against the Pope. George Syms followed on the same side, and concluded in the same manner, adding thereunto, “Your good healths, gemmen.”—“What a pack of nonsense!” exclaimed the parson, “I should like to know what harm the Pope can do us! I tell you what, my lads, it’s all my eye and Betty Martin. Live and let live, I say. So long as I can get a good living, I don’t care the toss of a halfpenny who’s uppermost. The Pope’s an old woman, and so are they that are afraid of him.” The elderly stranger here seemed highly delighted, and cried, “Bravo!” and clapped the speaker on the back, and said, “That’s your sort! Go it, my hearty!” But Peter Brown took the liberty of telling the parson, in a very unceremonious way, that he seemed to have changed his opinions very suddenly. “Not I,” said the other; “I was always of the same way of thinking.”—“Then words have no meaning,” observed George Syms, angrily, “for I heard you myself. You talked as loud about the wickedness of ‘mancipation as ever I heard a man in my life, no longer ago than last Sunday.”—“Then I must have been drunk—that’s all I can say about the business,” replied the other, coolly; and he began to fill his pipe with the utmost nonchalance, as though it was a matter of course. Such apparently scandalous conduct was, however, too much for the unsophisticated George Syms and Peter Brown, who simultaneously threw down their reckoning, and, much to their credit, left the turncoat reprobate parson to the company of the elderly gentleman.

If we were to relate half the whimsical consequences of the teetotum tricks of this strange personage, we might fill volumes; but as it is not our intention to allow the detail to swell even into one, we must hastily sketch the proceedings of poor Jacob Philpot, after he left the Red Lion to dine with sundry of the gentry and clergy of the Old Boar, in his new capacity of an ecclesiastic, in the outward form of a somewhat negligently dressed landlord. He was accosted on the road by divers of his coal-carrying neighbours with a degree of familiarity which was exceedingly mortifying to his feelings. One told him to be home in time to take part of a gallon of ale that he had won of neighbour Smith; a second reminded him that to-morrow was club-night at the Nag’s Head; and a third asked him where he had stolen his horse. At length he arrived, much out of humour, at the Old Boar, an inn of a very different description from the Red Lion, being a posting house of no inconsiderable magnitude, wherein that day was to be holden the symposium of certain grandees of the adjacent country, as before hinted.

The landlord, who happened to be standing at the door, was somewhat surprised at the formal manner with which Jacob Philpot greeted him, and gave his horse into the charge of the hostler; but, as he knew him only by sight, and had many things to attend to, he went his way without making any remark, and thus, unwittingly, increased the irritation of Jacob’s new teetotum sensitive feelings. “Are any of the gentlemen come yet?” asked Jacob, haughtily, of one of the waiters.—“What gentlemen?” quoth the waiter. “Any of them,” said Jacob, “Mr. Wiggins, Doctor White, or Captain Pole?” At this moment a carriage drove up to the door, and the bells all began ringing, and the waiters rah to see who had arrived, and Jacob Philpot was left unheeded.—“This is very strange conduct!” observed he; “I never met with such incivility in my life! One would think I was a dog!” Jacob walked into the open air to cool himself, and strolled round the garden of the inn, till the calls of hunger forced him to return to the house, where the odour of delicate viands was quite provoking; so he followed the guidance of his nose, and arrived in the large dining-room, where he found, to his great surprise and mortification, that the company were assembled, and the work of destruction had been going on for some time, as the second course had just been placed on the table. Jacob felt that the neglect with which he had been treated was “enough to make a parson swear;” and perhaps he would have sworn, but that he had no time to spare and, therefore, as all the seats at the upper end of the table were engaged, he deposited himself on a vacant chair about the centre, between two gentlemen with whom he had no acquaintance, and, spreading his napkin on his lap, demanded of a waiter what fish had gone out. The man replied only by a stare and a smile, a line of conduct which was by no means surprising, seeing that the most stylish part of Philpot’s dress was, without dispute, the napkin aforesaid. “What’s the fellow gaping at?” cried Jacob, in an angry voice; “go and tell your master I want to speak to him directly. I don’t understand such treatment. Tell him to come immediately! Do you hear?” The loud tone in which this was spoken aroused the attention of the company; and most of them cast a look of inquiry, first at the speaker, and then round at the table, as if to discern by whom the strange gentleman in the scarlet and yellow plush waistcoat and the dirty shirt might be patronized but there were others who recognized the landlord of the Red Lion at Stockwell. The whole, however, were somewhat startled when he addressed them as follows:—“Really, gentlemen, I must say, that a joke may be carried too far; and, if it was not for my cloth (here he handled the napkin), I declare I don’t know how I might act. Mr. Chairman, we have known each other now for a good many years, and you must be convinced that I can take a joke as well as any man; but human nature can endure this no longer. Mr. Wiggins! Captain Pole! my good friend Doctor White! I appeal to you.” Here the gentlemen named looked especially astounded. “What! can it be possible that you have all agreed to cut me! Oh, no! I will not believe that political differences of opinion can run quite so high. Come—let us have no more of this nonsense!”—No, no, we’ve had quite enough of it,” said the landlord of the Old Boar, pulling the chair from beneath the last speaker, who was consequently obliged again to be upon his legs, while there came, from various parts of the table, cries of “Chair! chair! Turn him out!”—“Man!” roared the teetotum par-soned landlord of the Red Lion, to the landlord of the Old Boar, “Man! you shall repent of this! If it wasn’t for my cloth, I’d soon-”— “Come, give me the cloth!” said the other, snatching away the napkin, which Jacob had buttoned in his waistcoat, and thereby causing that garment to fly open and expose more of dirty linen and skin than is usually sported at a dinner party. Poor Philpot’s rage had now reached its acme, and he again appealed to the chairman by name. “Colonel Martain!” said he, “can you sit by and see me used thus? I am sure that you will not pretend that you don’t know me!”—“Not I,” replied the chairman; I know you well enough, and a confounded impudent fellow you are. I’ll tell you what, my lad, next time you apply for a license, you shall hear of this.” The landlord of the Old Boar was, withal, a kind-hearted man; and, as he knew that the loss of its license would be ruin to the rampant Red Lion and all concerned therewith, he was determined that poor Philpot should be saved from destruction in spite of his teeth; therefore, without further ceremony, he, being a muscular man, laid violent hands upon the said Jacob, and, with the assistance of his waiters conveyed him out of the room, in despite of much struggling, and sundry interjections concerning his “cloth.” When they had deposited him safely in an armchair in “the bar,” the landlady, who had frequently seen him before, in his proper character, that of a civil man, who “knew his place” in society, very kindly offered him a cup of tea; and the landlord asked how he could think of making such a fool of himself; and the waiter, whom he had accosted on first entering the house, vouched for his not having had any thing to eat or drink; whereupon they spoke of the remains of a turbot, which had just come down stairs, and a haunch of venison that was to follow. It is a sad thing to have a mind and body that are no match for each other. Jacob’s outward man would have been highly gratified at the exhibition of these things; but the spirit of the parson was too mighty within, and spurned every offer, and the body was compelled to obey. So the horse that was borrowed of the squire was ordered out, and Jacob Philpot mounted and rode on his way in excessive irritation, growling vehemently at the insult and indignity which had been committed against the “cloth” in general, and his own person in particular.

“The sun sunk beneath the horizon,” as novelists say, when Jacob Philpot entered the village of Stockwell, and, as if waking from a dream, he suddenly started, and was much surprised to find himself on horseback, for the last thing that he recollected was going up stairs at his own house, and composing himself for a nap, that he might be ready to join neighbour Scroggins and Dick Smith, when they came in the evening to drink the gallon of ale lost by the latter. “And, my eyes!” said he, “if I haven’t got the squire’s horse that the parson borrowed this morning. Well—it’s very odd! however, the ride has done me a deal of good, for I feel as if I hadn’t any thing all day, and yet I did pretty well too at the leg of mutton at dinner.” Mrs. Philpot received her lord and nominal master in no very gracious mood, and said she should like to know where he had been riding. “That’s more than I can tell you,” replied Jacob; “however, I know I’m as hungry as a greyhound, though I never made a better dinner in my life.”—“More shame for you,” said Mrs. Philpot; “I wish the Old Boar was a thousand miles off.”—“What’s the woman talking about?” quoth Jacob. “Eh! what! at it again, I suppose,” and he pointed to the closet containing the rum bottle. “Hush!” cried Mrs. Philpot, “here’s the parson coming down stairs!”—“The parson!” exclaimed Jacob; what’s he been doing up stairs, I should like to know?”—“He has been to take a nap on mistress’s bed,” said Sally.—“The dickens he has! This is a pretty story,” quoth Jacob. “How could I help it?” asked Mrs. Philpot; “you should stay at home and look after your own business, and not go ramshackling about the country. You shan’t hear the last of the Old Boar just yet I promise you.” To avoid the threatened storm, and satisfy the calls of hunger, Jacob made off to the larder, and commenced an attack upon the leg of mutton.

At this moment the Reverend Mr. Stanhope opened the little door at the foot of the stairs—On waking, and finding himself upon a bed, he concluded that he must have fainted in consequence of the agitation of mind produced by the gross insults which he had suffered, or perhaps from the effects of hunger. Great, therefore, was his surprise to find himself at the Red Lion in his own parish; and the first questions he asked of Mrs. Philpot were, how and when he had been brought there. “La, Sir!” said the landlady, “you went up stairs of your own accord, after you were tired of smoking under the tree.”—“Smoking under the tree, woman!” exclaimed Mr. Stanhope; “what are you talking about? Do you recollect whom you are speaking to?”—“Ay, marry, do I,” replied the sensitive Mrs. Philpot; “and you told Sally to call you when Scroggins and Smith came for their gallon of ale, as you meant to join their party.”

The Reverend Mr. Stanhope straightway took up his hat, put it upon his head, and stalked with indignant dignity out of the house, opining that the poor woman was in her cups; and meditated as he walked home, on the extraordinary affairs of the day. But his troubles were not yet ended, for the report of his public jollification had reached his own household; and John, his trusty man-servant, had been dispatched to the Red Lion, and had ascertained that his master was really gone to bed in a state very unfit for a clergyman to be seen in. Some remarkably good-natured friends had been to condole with Mrs. Stanhope upon the extraordinary proceedings of her good man, and to say how much they were shocked, and what a pity it was, and wondering what the bishop would think of it, and divers other equally amiable and consolatory reflections and notes of admiration.—Now Mrs. Stanhope, though she had much of the “milk of human kindness” in her composition, had, withal, a sufficient portion of “tartaric acid” mingled therewith. Therefore, when her beer-drinking husband made his appearance, he found her in a state of effervescence. “Mary,” said he “I am extremely fatigued. I have been exposed to-day to a series of insults, such as I could not have imagined it possible for any one to offer me.”

“Nor any body else,” replied Mrs. Stanhope; “but you are rightly served, and I am glad of it. Who could have supposed that you, the minister of a parish?—Faugh! how filthily you smell of tobacco! I vow I cannot endure to be in the room with you!” and she arose and left the divine to himself, in exceeding great perplexity. However, being a man who loved to do all things in order, he remembered that he had not dined, so he rang the bell and gave the needful instructions, thinking it best to satisfy nature first, and then endeavour to ascertain the cause of his beloved Mary’s acidity. His appetite was gone but that he attributed to having fasted too long, a practice very unusual with him; however, he picked a bit here and there, and then indulged himself with a bottle of his oldest port, which he had about half consumed, and somewhat recovered his spirits, ere his dear Mary made her re-appearance, and told him that she was perfectly astonished at his conduct.—And well might she say so, for now the wine, which he had been drinking with unusual rapidity, thinking, good easy man, that he had taken nothing all day, began to have a very visible effect upon a body already saturated with strong ale. He declared that he cared not a fig for the good opinion of any gentleman in the county; that he would always act and speak according to his principles, and filled a bumper to the health of the Lord Chancellor, and drank sundry more exceedingly loyal toasts; and told his astonished spouse, that he should not be surprised if he was very soon to be made a dean or a bishop; and as for the people at the Old Boar, he saw through their conduct—it was all envy, which doth “merit as its shade pursue.” The good lady justly deemed it folly to waste her oratory upon a man in such a state, and reserved her powers for the next morning; and Mr. Stanhope reeled to bed that night in a condition which to do him justice, he had never before exhibited under his own roof.

The next morning, Mrs. Stanhope and her daughter Sophy, a promising young lady about ten years old, of the hoyden class, were at breakfast, when the elderly stranger called at the rectory, and expressed great concern on being told that Mr. S. was somewhat indisposed, and had not yet made his appearance. He said that his business was of very little importance, and merely concerned some geological inquiries, which he was prosecuting in the vicinity; but Mrs. Stanhope, who had the names of all the ologies by heart, and loved occasionally to talk thereof, persuaded him to wait a short time, little dreaming of the consequence; for the wily old gentleman began to romp with Miss Sophy, and, after a while, produced his teetotum, and, in short, so contrived it, that the mother and daughter played together therewith for five minutes. He then politely took his leave, promising to call again; and Mrs. Stanhope bobbed him a curtsey, and Sophia assured him that Mr. S. would be extremely happy to afford him every assistance in his scientific researches. When the worthy divine at length made his appearance in the breakfast parlour, strangely puzzled as to the extreme feverishness and langour which oppressed him, he found Sophy sitting gravely in an arm-chair, reading a treatise on craniology. It was a pleasant thing for him to see her read any thing; but he could not help expressing his surprise, by observing, “I should think that book a little above your comprehension, my dear.”—“Indeed! Sir,” was the reply; and the little girl laid down the volume, and sat erect in her chair, and thus continued:—“I should think, Mr. Nicodemus Stanhope, that after the specimen of good sense and propriety of conduct which you were pleased to exhibit yesterday, it scarcely becomes you to pretend to estimate the comprehension of others.”—“My dear,” said the astonished divine, “this is very strange language! You forget whom you are speaking to!”—“Not at all,” replied the child. “I know my place, if you don’t know yours, and am determined to speak my mind.” If anything could add to the Reverend Mr. Nicodemus Stanhope’s surprise, it was the sound of his wife’s voice in the garden, calling to his man John to stand out of the way, or she should run over him. Poor John, who was tying up some of her favourite flowers, got out of her way accordingly in quick time, and the next moment his mistress rushed by, trundling a hoop, hallooing and laughing, and highly enjoying his apparent dismay. Throughout that day, it may be imagined that the reverend gentleman’s philosophy was sorely tried; and we are compelled, by want of room, to leave the particulars of his botheration to the reader’s imagination.

We are sorry to say that these were not the only metamorphoses which the mischievous old gentleman wrought in the village of Stockwell.

There was a game of teetotum played between a sergeant of dragoons, who had retired upon his well-earned pension, and a baker, who happened likewise to be the renter of a small patch of land adjoining the village. The veteran, with that indistinctness of character before mentioned, shouldered the peel, * and took it to the field, and used it for loading and spreading manure, so that it was never afterwards fit for any but dirty work. Then, just to show that he was not afraid of any body, he cut a gap in the hedge of a small field of wheat which had just been reaped, and was standing in sheaves, and thereby gave admittance to a neighbouring bull, who amused himself greatly by tossing the said sheaves; but more particularly those which were set apart as tythes, against which he appeared to have a particular spite, throwing them high into the air, and then bellowing and treading them under foot. But—we must come to a close. Suffice it to say, that the village of Stockwell was long in a state of confusion in consequence of these games; for the mischief which was done during the period of delusion, ended not, like the delusion itself, with the rising or setting of the sun.

* “Peel—A broad, thin board, with a longhandle, used by
bakers to put their bread in and out of the oven.”—Johnson.

Having now related as many particulars of these strange occurrences as our limits will permit, we have merely to state the effects which they produced upon ourselves. Whenever we have since beheld servants aping the conduct of their masters or mistresses, tradesmen wasting their time and money at taverns, clergymen forgetful of the dignity and sacred character of their profession, publicans imagining themselves fit for preachers, children calling their parents to account for their conduct, matrons acting the hoyden, and other incongruities—whenever we witness these and the like occurrences, we conclude that the actors therein have been playing a game with the Old Gentleman’s Teetotum.



Original Size


Oh, Laura! such a charming party!
You’ve missed our pic-nic, foolish girl;
I do assure you from my heart,
I Hate you, now you’re Mrs. Searle.

You know I dote upon the river—
‘Twas settled we should row to Kew;
And though the cold did make us shiver,
In England that’s not very new.

But I should tell you that our number
Was rather more than you would like;
For Ma would ask that living lumber,
That dull, but worthy, Mrs. Pike:

Then she insisted that her daughter
Could not, for worlds, be left behind;
The poor girl screamed so, on the water—
I wonder mothers are so blind!

We’d Clara Smith, and Major Morris,
Besides Sir John, and Lady Gann—
Their nephew too—his name is Horace—
A well-bred, clever, tall young man:

Papa, Mamma, and all my brothers—
Sophia, Kate, Georgina, and me;
I have not time to name the others,
Except your old flame, Dr. Lea.

The whole arrangement was quite charming;
Miss Smith, though, is a shocking flirt;
Her conduct really was alarming—
Her Mamma is so very pert.

The men all chose to praise her singing!
But one’s so sick of “Home, sweet Home!”
 And “Hark, the Village Bells are ringing!”
 Is duller than the Pope of Rome.

Then her “La ci darem la mano,”
 Was murdered by poor Major M.;
She whispered him, in vain, “piano!”
 That little man is quite a gem—

I mean to those who’re fond of quizzing,
Which you and I, of course, are not;
He looks like soda-water, fizzing,
Or like a mutton-chop when hot.

The doctor offered to be funny—
That is, to sing a comic song;
But what it was, for love or money,
I cannot tell—it was so long.

He gave us too, a “recitation”—
To me a most enormous bore;
My brother muttered, “botheration!”
 My father wished him at the Nore.

We all had clubbed to take provision,
And meant to dine in some one’s field;
Old Pike opposed this said decision—
His wife, however, made him yield.

But when, at last, we’d fairly landed,
And spread our cloth upon the ground,
(If you won’t laugh, I will be candid),
We found our dinner almost drowned!

Champagne and claret—every bottle
Had cracked, and deluged fowls and ham
But yet it had not spoiled the “tottle”—
There still was pigeon-pie and lamb.

With cider, porter, port and sherry,
We managed vastly well to dine:
In spite of all, we were so merry—
But still the weather was not fine.

In fact, before we finished dinner,
There was a kind of Scottish mist;
And had our dresses been much thinner,
It might have made us somewhat triste.

But good stout silk is now the fashion—
My green one, though, was sadly spoiled;
Mamma flew into such a passion!
I could not help its being soiled.

We owe, however, to the shower
An unexpected source of mirth;
For, when the sky began to pour,
The men proposed a snugger berth:

Instead of getting wet by rowing,
They voted to return by land;
We all agreed, without well knowing
How we should ever reach the Strand.

Just while we wisely were debating,
An Omnibus appeared in sight,
Which quickly settled all our prating,
And very much to my delight:

Yet this machine could scarcely carry
The whole of four-and-twenty friends;
But, as it would not do to tarry,
We popped in all the odds and ends.

Such an odd, facetious journey!
We went so fast—‘twas Jike a dream!
The coachman, quite another Gurney,
Only without that worthy’s steam.

In short, the whole was most delightful—
We wanted nothing, dear, but you;
And now, my paper being quite full,
I’ll only add—adieu!—adieu!

[Monthly Magazine.]


Original Size


There the new-breeched urchin stands on the low bridge of the little bit burnie! and with crooked pin, baited with one unwrithing ring of a dead worm, and attached to a yarn-thread, for he has not yet got into hair, and is years off gut, his rod of the mere willow or hazel wand, there will he stand during all his play-hours, as forgetful of his primer as if the weary art of printing had never been invented, day after day, week after week, month after month, in mute, deep, earnest, passionate, heart-mind-and-soul engrossing hope of some time or other catching a minow or a beardie!


Original Size

A tug—a tug! with face ten times flushed and pale by turns ere you could count ten, he at last has strength, in the agitation of his fear and joy, to pull away at the monster—and there he lies in his beauty among the gowans on the greensward, for he has whapped him right over his head and far away, a fish a quarter of an ounce in weight, and, at the very least, two inches long! Off he flies, on wings of wind, to his father, mother, and sisters, and brothers, and cousins, and all the neighbourhood, holding the fish aloft in both hands, still fearful of its escape, and, like a genuine child of corruption, his eyes brighten at the first blush of cold blood on his small fishy-fumy fingers. He carries about with him, up stairs and down stairs, his prey upon a plate; he will not wash his hands before dinner, for he exults in the silver scales adhering to the thumbnail, that scooped the pin out of the baggy’s maw—and at night, “cabin’d, cribb’d, confined,” he is overheard murmuring in his sleep, a thief, a robber, and a murderer, in his yet infant dreams!

From that hour Angling is no more a mere delightful day-dream, haunted by the dim hopes of imaginary minnows, but a reality—an art—a science—of which the flaxen headed school-boy feels himself to be master—a mystery in which he has been initiated, and off he goes now, all alone, in the power of successful passion, to the distant brook—brook a mile off—with fields, and hedges, and single trees, and little groves, and a huge forest of six acres, between him and the house in which he is boarded or was born! There flows on the slender music of the shadowy shallows—there pours the deeper din of the birch-tree’d waterfall. The sacred water-pyet flits away from stone to stone, and dipping, disappears among the airy bubbles, to him a new sight of joy and wonder. And oh! how sweet the scent of the broom or furze, yellowing along the braes, where leap the lambs, less happy than he, on the knolls of sunshine! His grandfather has given him a half-crown rod, in two pieces—yes, his line is of hair twisted—platted by his own soon instructed little fingers. By heavens, he is fishing with the fly! and the Fates, who, grim and grisly as they are painted to be by full-grown, ungrateful, lying poets, smile like angels upon the padler in the brook, winnowing the air with their wings into western breezes, while at the very first throw, the yellow trout forsakes his fastness beneath the bog-wood, and with a lazy wallop, and then a sudden plunge, and then a race like lightning, changes at once the child into the boy, and shoots through his thrilling and aching heart the ecstacy of a new life expanding in that glorious pastime, even as a rainbow on a sudden brightens up the sky. Fortuna favet fortibus—and with one long pull, and strong pull, and pull altogether, Johnny lands a twelve incher on the soft, smooth, silvery sand of the only bay in all the burn where such an exploit was possible, and dashing upon him like an Osprey, soars up with him in his talons to the bank, breaking his line as he hurries off to a spot of safety, twenty yards from the pool, and then flinging him down on a heath-surrounded plat of sheep-nibbled verdure, lets him bounce about till he is tired, and lies gasping with unfrequent and feeble motions, bright and beautiful, and glorious with all his yellow light and crimson lustre, spotted, speckled, and starred in his scaly splendour, beneath a sun that never shone before so dazzlingly; but now the radiance of the captive creature is dimmer and obscured, for the eye of day winks and seems almost shut behind that slow sailing mass of clouds, composed in equal parts of air, rain, and sunshine.

Springs, summers, autumns, winters,—each within itself longer, by many times longer than the whole year of grown up life, that slips at last through one’s fingers like a knotless thread,—pass over the curled darling’s brow, and look at him now, a straight and strengthy stripling, in the savage spirit of sport, springing over rock-ledge after rock-ledge, nor heeding aught as he splashes knee-deep, or waist-band high, through river-feeding torrents, to the glorious music of his running and ringing reel after a tongue-hooked salmon, insanely seeking with the ebb of tide, but all in vain, the white breakers of the sea. No hazel or willow wand, no half-crown rod of ash framed by village wright, is now in his practised hands, of which the very left is dexterous: but a twenty feet rod of Phin’s, all ring-rustling, and a-glitter with the preserving varnish, limber as the attenuating line itself, and lithe to its topmost tenuity as the elephant’s proboscis—the hiccory and the horn without twist, knot, or flaw, from butt to fly, a faultless taper, “fine by degrees, and beautifully less.” the beau ideal of a rod by the skill of a cunning craftsman to the senses materialised! A fish-fat, fair, and forty! “She is a salmon, therefore to be woo’d—she is a salmon, therefore to be won”—but shy, timid, capricious, headstrong, now wrathful, and now full of fear, like any other female whom the cruel artist has hooked by lip or heart, and, in spite of all her struggling, will bring to the gasp at last, and then with calm eyes behold her lying in the shade dead, or worse than dead, fast-fading and to be reillumined no more the lustre of her beauty, insensible to sun or shower, even the most perishable of all perishable things in a world of perishing!—But the salmon has grown sulky, and must be made to spring to the plunging stone. There, suddenly, instinct with new passion, she shoots out of the foam, like a bar of silver bullion; and, relapsing into the flood, is in another moment at the very head of the water-fall! Give her the butt—give her the butt—or she is gone for ever with the thunder into ten fathom deep! Now comes the trial of your tackle—and when was Phin ever known to fail at the edge of cliff or cataract? Her snout is southwards—right up the middle of the main current of the hill-born river, as if she would seek its very course where she was spawned! She still swims swift, and strong, and deep—and the line goes, steady, boys, steady—stiff and steady as a Tory in the roar of opposition. There is yet an hour’s play in her dorsal fin—danger in the flap of her tail—and yet may her silver shoulder shatter the gut against a rock. Why, the river was yesterday in spate, and she is fresh run from the sea. All the lesser waterfalls are now level with the flood, and she meets with no impediment or obstruction—the course is clear—no tree-roots here—no floating branches, for during the night they have all been swept down to the salt loch—in medio tutissimus ibis—ay, now you feel she begins to fail—the butt tells now every time you deliver your right. What! another mad leap! yet another sullen plunge! She seems absolutely to have discovered, or rather to be an impersonation of the Perpetual Motion. Stand back out of the way, you son of a sea-cook—you in the tattered blue breeches, with the tail of your shirt hanging out. Who the devil sent you all here, ye vagabonds?—Ha! Watty Richie, my man, is that you? God bless your honest laughing phiz! What Watty, would you think of a Fish like that about Peebles? Tam Grieve never gruppit sae heavy a ane since first he belanged to the Council. Curse that colley! Ay! well done Watty! Stone him to Stobbo. Confound these stirks—if that white one, with caving horns, kicking heels, and straight up tail, come bellowing by between me and the river, then, “Madam! all is lost, except honour!” If we lose this Fish at six o’clock, then suicide at seven. Our will is made—ten thousand to the Foundling—ditto to the Thames Tunnel-ha—ha—my beauty! Methinks we could fain and fond kiss thy silver side languidly lying afloat on the foam, as if all farther resistance now were vain, and gracefully thou wert surrendering thyself to death No faith in female—she trusts to the last trial of her tail—sweetly workest thou, O Reel of Reels! and on thy smooth axle spinning sleep’st, even, as Milton describes her, like our own worthy planet.

Scrope—Bainbridge—Maule—princes among Anglers—oh! that you were here! Where the devil is Sir Humphrey? At his retort? By mysterious sympathy—far off at his own Trows, the Kerss feels that we are killing the noblest Fish, whose back ever rippled the surface of deep or shallow in the Tweed. Tom Purdy stands like a seer, entranced in glorious vision, beside turreted Abbotsford. Shade of Sandy Givan! Alas! alas! Poor Sandy—why on thy pale face that melancholy smile!—Peter! The Gaff! The Gaff! Into the eddy she saüs, sick and slow, and almost with a swirl—whitening as she nears the sand—there she has it—struck right into the shoulder, fairer than that of Juno, Diana, Minerva, or Venus—fair as the shoulder of our own beloved, and lies at last in all her glorious length and breadth of beaming beauty, fit prey for giant or demi-god angling before the Flood!

“The child is father of the man,
And I would wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety!”

So much for the Angler. The Shooter again, he begins with his pop or pipe gun, formed of the last year’s growth of a branch of the plane-tree—the beautiful dark-green-leaved and fragrant-flowered plane-tree, that stands straight in stem and round in head, visible and audible too from afar the bee-resounding umbrage, alike on stormy sea-coast and in sheltered inland vale, still loving the roof of the fisherman’s or peasant’s cottage.

Then comes, perhaps, the city popgun, in shape like a very musket, such as soldiers bear—a Christmas present from parent—once a Colonel of volunteers—nor feeble to discharge the pea-bullet or barley-shot, formidable to face and eyes; nor yet unfelt, at six paces, by hinder end of play-mate, scornfully yet fearfully exposed. But the shooter soon tires of such ineffectual trigger—and his soul, as well as his hair, is set on fire by that extraordinary compound—Gunpowder. He begins with burning off his eyebrows on the King’s birth-day—squibs and crackers follow—and all the pleasures of the pluff. But he soon longs to let off a gun—“and follows to the field some warlike lord”—in hopes of being allowed to discharge one of the double-barrels, after Ponto has made his last point, and the half-hidden chimneys of home are again seen smoking among the trees. This is his first practice in fire-arms, and from that hour he is—a Shooter.

Then there is in most rural parishes—and of rural parishes alone do we condescend to speak—a pistol, a horse one, with a bit of silver on the butt—perhaps one that originally served in the Scots Greys. It is bought, or borrowed, by the young shooter, who begins firing, first at barn doors, then at trees, and then at living things—a strange cur, who, from his lolling tongue, may be supposed to have the hydrophobia—a cat that has purred herself asleep on the sunny church-yard wall, or is watching mice at their hole-mouths among the graves—a water-rat in the mill-lead—or weasel that, running to his retreat in the wall, always turns round to look at you—a goose wandered from his common in disappointed love—or brown duck, easily mistaken by the unscrupulous for a wild one, in pond, remote from human dwelling, or on meadow by the river side, away from the clack of the muter mill. The corby crow, too, shouted out of his nest on some tree lower than usual, is a good flying mark to the more advanced class, or morning magpie, a-chatter at skreigh of day close to the cottage door among the chickens, or a flock of pigeons wheeling over head on the stubble-field, or sitting so thick together that every stook is blue with tempting plumage.

But the pistol is discharged for a fowling piece—brown and rusty, with a slight crack, probably in the muzzle, and a lock, out of all proportion, to the barrel. Then the young shooter aspires at half-pennies thrown up into the air—and generally hit, for there is never wanting an apparent dent in copper metal; and thence he mounts to the glancing and skimming swallow, a household bird, and therefore to be held sacred, but shot at on the excuse of its being next to impossible to hit him, an opinion strengthened into belief by several summers’ practice. But the small brown and white marten wheeling through below the bridge, or along the many holed red sand bank, is admitted by all boys to be fair game—and still more, the long-winged legless black devilet, that, if it falls to the ground, cannot rise again and therefore screams wheeling round the corners and battlements of towers and castles, or far out even of cannon-shot, gambols in companies of hundreds, and regiments of a thousand, aloft in the evening ether, within the orbit of the eagle’s flight. It seems to boyish eyes, that the creatures near the earth, when but little blue sky is seen between the specks and the wall-flowers growing on the coign of vantage—the signal is given to fire, but the devilets are too high in heaven to smell the sulphur. The starling whips with a shrill cry into his nest, and nothing falls to the ground but a tiny bit of mossy mortar, inhabited by a spider!

But the Day of Days arrives at last, when the school-boy—or rather the college boy returning to his rural vacation—for in Scotland, college winters tread close—too close—on the heels of academies—has a gun—a gun in a case—a double barrel too—of his own—and is provided with a license—probably without any other qualification than that of hit or miss. On some portentous morning he effulges with the sun, in velveteen jacket and breeches of the same—many-buttoned gaiters, and an unkerchiefed throat. Tis the fourteenth of September, and lo! a pointer at his heels—Ponto of course—a game bag like a beggar’s wallet by his side—destined to be at eve as full of charity—and all the paraphernalia of an accomplished sportsman. Proud, were she to see the sight, would be the mother that bore him the heart of that old sportsman, his daddy, would leap for joy! The chained mastiff in the yard yowls his admiration, the servant lassies uplift the pane of their garret, and, with suddenly withdrawn blushes, titter their delight in their rich paper curls and pure night-clothes. Rab Roger, who has been cleaning out the barn, comes forth to partake of the caulker, and away go the footsteps of the old poacher and his pupil through the autumnal rime, off to the uplands, where—for it is one of the earliest of harvests, there is scarcely a single acre of standing corn. The turnip-fields are bright green with hope and expectation—and coveys are couching on lazy beds beneath the potatoe shaw. Every high hedge, ditch-guarded on either side, shelters its own brood—imagination hears the whirr shaking the dew-drops from the broom on the brae—and first one bird and then another, and then the remaining number, in itself no contemptible covey, seems to fancy’s ear to spring single, or in clouds, from the coppice brushwood, with here and there an intercepting standard tree.

Poor Ponto is much to be pitied.—Either having a cold in his nose, or having ante-breakfasted by stealth on a red herring, he can scent nothing short of a badger; and, every other field, he starts in horror, shame, and amazement, to hear himself, without having attended to his points, inclosed in a whirring covey. He is still duly taken between those inexorable knees; out comes the speck and span new dog-whip, heavy enough for a horse; and the yowl of the patient is heard over the whole parish. Mothers press their yet unchastised infants to their breasts; and the schoolmaster, fastening a knowing eye on dunce and ne’er-do-well, holds up, in silent warning, the terror of the tawse. Frequent flogging will cow the spirit of the best man and dog in Britain. Ponto travels now in fear and trembling, but a few yards from his tyrant’s feet, till, rousing himself to the sudden scent of something smelling strongly, he draws slowly and beautifully, and

“There fixed, a perfect semi-circle stands.”

Up runs the Tyro, ready-cocked, and in his eagerness, stumbling among the stubble, when mark and lo! the gabble of grey goslings, and the bill-protruded hiss of goose and gander! Bang goes the right-hand barrel at Ponto, who now thinks it high time to be off, to the tune of “ower the hills and far away,” while the young gentleman, half ashamed and half incensed, half glad, and half sorry, discharges the left-hand barrel, with a highly improper curse, at the father of the feathered family before him, who receives the shot like a ball in his breast, throws a somerset, quite surprising for a bird of his usual habits, and after biting the dust with his bill, and thumping it with his bottom, breathes an eternal farewell to this sublunary scene—and leaves himself to be paid for, at the rate of eight-pence a pound to his justly irritated owner, on whose farm he had led a long, and not only harmless, but honourable and useful life.

It is nearly as impossible a thing as we know, to borrow a dog about the time the Sun has reached his meridian, on the First day of the Partridges. Ponto by this time has sneaked, unseen by human eye, into his kennel, and coiled himself up into the arms of tired Nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep. A farmer makes offer of a colley, who from numbering among his paternal ancestors a Spanish pointer, is quite a Don in his way among the chirpers, and has been known in a turnip-field to stand in an attitude very similar to that of setting. Luath has no objection to a frolic over the fields, and plays the part of Ponto to perfection. At last he catches sight of a covey basking, and leaping in upon them, open-mouthed, dispatches them right and left, even like the famous dog Billy, killing rats in the pit at Westminster. The birds are bagged, with a gentle remonstrance, and Luath’s exploit rewarded with a whang of cheese. Elated by the pressure on his shoulder, the young gentleman laughs at the idea of pointing, and fires away, like winking, at every uprise of birds, near or remote; works a miracle by bringing down three at a time, that chanced, unknown to him, to be crossing; and wearied with such slaughter, lends his gun to the attendant farmer, who can mark down to an inch, and walks up to the dropped pout, as if he could kick her up with his foot; and thus the bag in a few hours is half full of feathers, while to close with eclat the sport of the day, the cunning elder takes him to a bramble bush, in a wall nook, at the edge of a wood, and returning the gun into his hands, shows him poor pussie sitting with open eyes fast asleep! The pellets are in her brain, and turning herself over, she crunkles out to her full length, like a piece of untwisting Indian rubber, and is dead. The posterior pouch of the jacket, yet unstained by blood, yawns to receive her—and in she goes plump, paws, ears, body, feet, fud and all—while Luath, all the way home to the Mams, keeps snoking at the red drops oozing through—for well he knows in summer’s heat and winter’s cold, the smell of pussie, whether sitting beneath a tuft of withered grass on the brae, or burrowed beneath a snow wreath. A hare, we certainly must say, in spite of haughtier sportsman’s scorn is, when sitting, a most satisfactory shot.

But let us trace no further, thus step by step, the Pilgrim’s Progress. Look at him now,—a finished sportsman—on the moors—the bright black boundless Dalwhinnie Moors, stretching away, by long Lock-Erricht-side, into the dim and distant day that hangs, with all its clouds, over the bosom of far Loch-Rannoch. Is that the pluffer at partridge pouts who had nearly been the death of poor Ponto? Lord Kennedy himself might take a lesson now from the straight and steady style in which, on the mountain brow, and up to the middle in heather, he brings his Manton to the deadly level! More unerring eye never glanced along brown barrel! Finer forefinger never touched a trigger! Follow him a whole day, and not one wounded bird. All most beautifully arrested on their flight by instantaneous death! Down dropped, right and left, like lead on the heather—old cock and hen singled out among the orphan’s brood, as calmly as a cook would do it in the larder—from among a pile of plumage. No random shot within—no needless shot out of distance—covered every feather before stir of finger—and body, back, and brain, pierced, broken, scattered! And what perfect pointers! There they stand, still as death—yet instinct with life—the whole half-dozen—Mungo, the black-tanned—Don, the red-spotted—Clara, the snow-white—Primrose, the pale yellow—Basto, the bright brown, and Nimrod, in his coat of many colours, often seen afar through the mists like a meteor.



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On the banks of the rivulet Lockwitz, in Hungary, and upon the borders of Thuringia, where a convent formerly stood, which was destroyed in the time of the Hussites, is situated the Castle of Lauenstein. This church property, in process of time, came under the secular arm, and became the possession of the Count of Orlamunda, who gave this deserted domain as a feu to one of his vassals, who, upon the ruins of the convent, built himself a castle, and either gave his name to the property, or took his from it, for he was called the Baron of Lauenstein.

It soon became manifest that the property of the church does not prosper in the hands of the laity, and that such sacrilege is always punished in one way or another. The bones of the holy nuns, which for ages had reposed in peace in the gloomy caverns of the grave, could not, with indifference, endure this profanation of their sanctuary. These mouldy dead bones rebelled against the violation, rattled and rustled in the silence of night, and raised a fearful clattering and noise in the passage leading to the church, which had not been destroyed. The nuns, with solemn pomp, often made a procession round the castle, wandered through the apartments, opened and dashed to the doors, by which the Baron was disturbed in his sleep, and could not get rest in his bed. They raged in the hall, or in the stables, terrified the maids, twitched and pinched them, sometimes here, sometimes there;—plagued the cattle—the cows were drained of their milk, and the horses pranced and snorted, and beat their stalls to pieces. This mischievous behaviour of the pious sisters, and their incessant tricks, which embittered the life of both man and beast, touk away all spirit from every member of the household, down to the very bull-dog.


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The Baron spared no expense, by means of the most renowned exorcists, to bring these tumultuary inmates to peace and silence; but the most powerful exorcisms, before which the whole kingdom of Belial trembled, and the sprinkling brush dipped in holy water, which generally chases away the evil spirits, as a fly-flap chases away the flies from the apartment, for a long time could do nothing against the obstinacy of those spectre Amazons, who so stoutly maintained their right to their former possessions, that the exorcists, with the holy implements of relics, were sometimes obliged to take to flight, and leave them masters of the field. At last, a conjuror, who was travelling about the country for the purpose of spying out witches, catching goblins, and delivering the possessed from the brood of evil spirits, succeeded in bringing the spectral night revellers to obedience, and again shut them up in their gloomy vaults, with permission there to wag their skulls, and rattle and clatter their bones, as much as they pleased.

All was now quiet in the Castle, the nuns again slept the still sleep of death; but, after seven years, one unquiet sister spirit again awoke, and once more made her appearance in the night, and for some time continued her former pranks, until she tired, then rested seven years, and then paid another visit to the upper world, and re-visited the Castle. In time, the family became accustomed to the apparition; only, when the period of her appearance approached, the domestics took care to avoid the passage through which she was to come, and kept close to their apartments.

After the decease of the first possessors, the inheritance fell to the next in descent, and there never had failed a male heir, until the time of the thirty years’ war, when the last branch of the Lauensteins flourished: in whose production nature appeared to have exhausted her power. So lavish had she been of the stuff which composed his body, that at the period when it had reached its highest perfection, so enormous was his size, that he weighed nearly as much as the far-famed Franz Finatzie of Presburg, and his corpulence was only a few inches less than that of the well-fed Holstener, known by the name of Paul Butterbread, who formerly exhibited himself as a show to Parisian belles. However, Baron Sieg mund was a very stately man till this period, when his body resembled a tun; he lived well, and though he did not waste the inheritance of his fathers, he spared himself none of the enjoyments of life. No sooner had his progenitors made way for him, and he found himself in possession of Lauenstein, than, after the manner of his fathers, he married, and at the end of a year, he became a father; but, alas! it was of a girl, and as he had no hopes of succeeding children, with this he was forced to be content. The thrifty mother, who at her marriage took charge of the domestic concerns, now commenced the education of her daughter. The more papa’s paunch gained the upper hand, the more obtuse became his mind, till at length the Baron took no notice of anything, except what was either roasted or boiled.

From the accumulation of family affairs, Fraulein Emily was, for the most part, left to the care of mother Nature, and thereby found herself never the worse. This secret artist, who does not like to put her reputation at stake, and generally makes up by a master-stroke, for any error she commits, had better proportioned the body and talents of the daughter than those of the father—she was beautiful, clever, and witty. As the charms of the young Fraulein expanded, the views of the mother increased, and she resolved, that through her the splendour of their expiring race should again be restored. The lady possessed a secret pride which was not remarked in the common occurrences of life, except in regard to her pedigree, which she considered the most glorious ornament of their house; and so high were her pretensions, that, except the family of the Counts of Reiuss, there was no race in Hungary sufficiently ancient and noble, into which she would choose to transplant the last blossom of the Lauenstein stem. And much as the young gentlemen in the neighbourhood wished to secure the rich prize, the crafty mother always contrived to frustrate their intentions. She watched the heart of the Fraulein with as much care as a customhouse officer does the harbour, lest any contraband goods should slip through; overturned every speculation of match-making aunts and cousins; and had such high expectations for her daughter, that no young man ventured to approach her. As long as the heart of a maiden listens to advice, it resembles a boat upon the calm unruffled sea, which sails wherever the rudder directs it; but when the winds and waves arise and rock the light bark, it no longer obeys the helm, but follows the current of the stream.

So it was with the tractable Emily, who willingly allowed herself to be led on in the path of pride by the maternal leading-strings, for her still unsophisticated heart was susceptible of every impression. She at least expected a Prince or Count to do homage to her charms; and any less high born paladins who paid their court to her, were repulsed with cold disdain. But before a suitable adorer could be found for the Lauenstein Grace, a circumstance occurred which disappointed all the matrimonial schemes of the mother; and such were its effects, that, had all the princes and counts of the Roman and German empire sued for the heart and hand of the fair Fraulein, they would have found themselves too late.

In the troubled times of the thirty years’ war, the army of the braye Wallenstein came into Hungary for winter quarters, and Baron Siegmund received many uninvited guests into the castle, who did more mischief than the former hobgoblins; for, although they had even less right to the property than the former, no sorcerer could exorcise them away. The proprietor saw himself forced to put a good face on this wicked game, for the purpose of keeping these commanding gentlemen in good humour, and so induce them to keep up proper discipline in the castle. Banquets and balls succeeded each other without intermission; at the first the lady presided, at the latter the daughter. And whenever the military band began to play the accompanying favourite waltz, it was the signal for the gallant Fritz to lead the fair Emily to the dance These splendid feasts made the rough warriors more pliant: they respected the house which had so hospitably entertained them, and guests and host were satisfied with each other.

Among these warriors there were many young heroes, who might even have tempted limping Vulcan’s beautiful helpmate to become unfaithful. But there was one in particular who eclipsed them all. A young officer, called the handsome Fritz, had the appearance of a helmed god of love. To an elegant figure, this young Apollo joined the most engaging manners; he was gentle, modest, agreeable, of a lively disposition and, above all, a charming dancer. Until this moment no one had made the slightest impression on the heart of Emily, but this youth raised in her innocent bosom a new sensation, which filled her soul with inexpressible delight.

But the wonder was, that this enchanting Adonis was neither called the handsome Count, nor the handsome Prince, but neither more nor less than the handsome Fritz. She interrogated his brother officers, one after another, about the young man’s name and descent, but no one could enlighten her upon the subject. All praised the handsome Fritz as a brave man, and a good officer, and who possessed the most amiable character, but at the same time it appeared that all was not right in regard to his pedigree. There were as many reports of his birth as of that of the well known and enigmatical Count Cagliostro, who was sometimes said to be the descendant of the Grand Master of Malta, and by the maternal side, nephew to the Grand Seignior; sometimes the son of a Neapolitan coachman, then a full brother of Zannowichs, pretended Prince of Albania, and by profession a worker of miracles; and then it was rumoured that he was a wig-maker. All these reports arose from the handsome Fritz having raised himself from the pike to the sash, and all agreed, that, should fortune again favour him, he would reach the highest situations in the army. The secret inquiries of the inquisitive Emily were not long concealed from the object of them. His companions thought to flatter him with the intelligence, and generally accompanied it with all sorts of favourable conjectures. His modesty attributed her advances to jest and mockery; nevertheless, the inquiries of the young damsel pleased him well, for the first look had inspired him with an ecstasy, which is the usual harbinger of love.

No language possesses such energy, and is likewise so well understood, as the sweet feeling of sympathy; through the operation of which, a first acquaintance sooner rises into love than one can rise from the pike to the sash.

Some time elapsed before the lovers came to a verbal explanation, but they were aware of each other’s sentiments, their looks met half-way, and said what timid love dared not disclose. From the uproar in the house, the negligent mother had, at a very wrong season, removed the watch over the heart of her beloved daughter; and seeing this important post unoccupied, the crafty smuggler, Love, seized his opportunity, and secretly stole in. No sooner had he obtained possession, than he taught the Fraulein quite a different lesson from mamma. The sworn enemy of all ceremony, he immediately removed the prejudices of his obedient scholar, and soon taught her to think, that birth and rank were not to be put in competition with all-conquering Love, and that lovers should not be classed, like beetles and worms, in a collection of insects.

The frosty pride of ancestry melted as quickly in her soul as the figures upon a frozen window dissolve when the rays of the sun begin to warm the atmosphere; till at length Emily cared not whether her lover had pedigree or not, and she even carried her political heresy so far as to maintain, that the prerogatives of high birth, in comparison with love, were the most insufferable yoke with which the freedom of mankind had ever been burthened.

The handsome Fritz, who adored the Fraulein, with joy perceived that his fortune in love was as propitious as his fortune in war. He seized the first opportunity which offered of disclosing the situation of his heart. She received his declaration with blushes, but with inward delight, and the lovers exchanged vows of inviolable fidelity. They enjoyed the present moment, but shuddered at the future. The return of spring again called the army into tents, and the sorrowful moment approached which was to separate the lovers. They now held a serious consultation on ratifying their vows of love, so as that nothing but death could part them. The Fraulein acquainted her lover with the sentiments of her mother on the subject of marriage; and that it was not to be expected that the proud lady would deviate one hair’s-breadth from her darling system, to sanction a union of affection.

A hundred plans were adopted and rejected, for with each there was always some difficulty in the way which rendered its success doubtful. Meanwhile the young hero found his betrothed determined to take any course which would accomplish their wishes; upon which he proposed an elopement, as the surest way which love had yet thought of, which has succeeded innumerable times, and which will succeed in destroying the plans of parents, and in vanquishing their obstinacy. Emily considered for a little, and then consented; one thing was still to be considered, how she would escape from the walls and bulwarks of the castle, to throw herself into the arms of the welcome robber; for well she knew the moment that the Wallenstein garrison marched out of the castle, the vigilant mother would again take possession of her post, and her steps would be so watched she would never be allowed to go out of her sight. But inventive Love conquers every difficulty. It was well known to the Fraulein, that, according to tradition, on All-soul’s Day, in the approaching autumn, the Spectre Nun, after a lapse of seven years, would again revisit the castle. The terror of the inmates at the expectation of her appearance was also well known to her; she therefore determined upon the bold freak of playing the nun’s part. Accordingly she secretly prepared a nun’s dress, and under this disguise resolved to elope.

The handsome Fritz was delighted with this invention, and although the time of the thirty years’ war was too early for freethinking, yet the young officer was enough of a philosopher to doubt the existence of spirits, or at least to trouble himself very little about the matter.

Their plans being thus arranged, Fritz threw himself into his saddle, and, commending himself to the protection of Love, departed at the head of his squadron. It appeared that Love had heard his prayer, for, although he exposed himself to all dangers, the campaign terminated most prosperously, and he escaped unhurt. Meanwhile Emily lived between hope and fear; she trembled for the life of her faithful Amadis—she sought diligently to obtain intelligence how it went with them in the field. Every new rumour of a skirmish put her in terror and anxiety, which her mother took for the sign of a feeling heart, without its creating any suspicion. The hero let no opportunity slip of privately corresponding with his beloved, and through the channel of a trusty waiting-maid, he from time to time gave her intelligence of his fate, and through the same messenger received accounts from her. As soon as the campaign was ended, he prepared every thing for his secret expedition, bought four steeds and a travelling carriage, and looked carefully in the Calendar for the day on which he was to be at the appointed place of meeting, in the little grove, not far from the castle. On All-soul’s Day, Emily, with the assistance of her attendant, prepared to carry her plan into execution. As had been agreed upon, she feigned herself a little indisposed, and retired early to her apartment, where she immediately transformed herself into the prettiest hobgoblin that had ever haunted the earth. The evening hours, by Emily’s calculation, seemed to have doubled themselves, and, as she thought of the work she had in hand, every moment increased her wish to accomplish her adventure. Meanwhile the pale Luna, the secret friend of lovers, with her soft glimmer, shone on the castle of Lauenstein, in which the tumult of the busy day was by degrees lost in the solemn stillness of the night. None were awake in the castle but the housekeeper, who sat late in the night calculating the expenses of the kitchen—the capon-stuffer, who was plucking for the breakfast of the household a score of larks—the porter, who had also the office of watchman, and called out the hours, and Hector, the vigilant house-dog, who with his howls bayed the rising moon.

As the midnight hour sounded, the intrepid Emily set out upon her way. She had provided herself with a master-key which opened all the doors. Softly and secretly she descended the steps that led through the cloister, in crossing which she observed there was still a light in the kitchen. Upon this she rattled her bunch of keys with all her might, dashed to the doors with a deafening noise, and boldly opened the house-door and the wicket without accident. As soon as the four waking inmates of the castle heard this unusual noise, they looked for the appearance of the roving Nun. The capon-stuffer, terrified, fled into a closet; the housekeeper into bed; the watchdog into his kennel; and the porter into the straw beside his wife. The Fraulein soon arrived in the open field, and hastened to the grove, where she thought she saw at a distance the carriage and fleet horses waiting her appearance. But on a nearer approach she discovered it was only the deceitful shadow of a tree. From this she concluded she had mistaken the place of appointment. She crossed and recrossed the shrubbery from one end to another, but her knight, with his equipage, was nowhere to be found. Astonished at this circumstance, she knew not what to think.

After an appointed rendezvous, not to appear, is considered among lovers a high misdemeanour, but in the present case to fail, was little less than high treason against Love; the thing was to her incomprehensible. After having waited, but in vain, for an hour long, and her heart trembling from anxiety and cold, she began to wail and weep. “Ah! the perfidious one,” she exclaimed, “he lies in the arms of some coquette, from whom he cannot tear himself away; he mocks me, and has forgot my true-love.”

This thought suddenly brought the long-forgotten pedigree to her recollection, and she felt ashamed of having so far demeaned herself as to love a man without a name, or noble feeling. In this moment when the intoxication of passion had somewhat subsided, and reason had resumed her sway, this faithful counsellor advised her to re deem this false step, by immediately returning to the castle, and trying to forget the false perjurer. The first she did, without delay; and, to the great surprise of her faithful confidant, to whom she revealed every thing, she reached her chamber safe and sound; but the second point she resolved to reflect upon at leisure.

Nevertheless, the man without a name, was not so much to blame as the enraged Emily supposed. He had not failed to be punctual at the place of meeting. With a heart full of rapture, he waited with impatience for the moment which was to put him in possession of his lovely treasure. As the midnight hour approached, he secretly hastened to the castle, and listened when the little gate would open. Sooner than he supposed possible, the beloved figure of the nun stepped out. He immediately rushed from his concealment towards her, seized her in his arms, exclaiming, “I have thee—I hold thee. Never shall I leave thee. Dear love, thou art mine—I am thine, with body and soul.” Joyfully he bore his lovely burden to the carriage, and soon they rattled over stocks and stones, up hills and down vallies. The horses plunged and snorted, shook their manes, and became so wild and unmanageable, that they would no longer obey the reins. A wheel flew off, and the sudden shock precipitated the coachmen to the ground; and carriage and horses, and man and mouse, all rolled over a steep abyss into a gulf below. The fond lover knew not what had happened; his body was bruised, his head was crushed, and, from the severity of the fall, he lost all recollection; but when he came to himself, he missed his beloved companion. After spending the rest of the night in this helpless situation, he was found by some peasants in the morning, who carried him to the nearest village.

The carriage was dashed to pieces, the four horses had broken their necks. This loss, however, grieved him little; but the fate of the beautiful Emily plunged him in the greatest distress. He despatched people in every direction to try and gain some tidings of her; but they all returned as they went, nothing was to be heard of the runaway. The midnight hour was the first thing which cleared up this mystery. As the clock struck twelve, the door opened, and his lost travelling companion stepped into the apartment, not however in the form of the beautiful Emily, but of the Spectre Nun, a hideous skeleton. The handsome Fritz, with horror, perceived that he himself had made this dreadful mistake. Death-cold perspirations burst over him; he began to cross and bless himself, and ejaculate every prayer he could think of.

The nun little heeded this; she stepped up to the bed, stroked his burning cheeks with her withered ice-cold hand, and said, “Fritz, Fritz, be resigned to it I am thine—thou art mine, with body and soul” She thus continued to torture him with her presence for an hour, and then vanished. This game she acted every night, and she even followed him into the place where his regiment was quartered. He had neither peace nor repose from the love of this hobgoblin, which so grieved and fretted him, that he lost all spirit; so much so, that his companions began to remark his deep melancholy; and these gallant officers truly sympathized with his distress. They could not imagine what had happened to their former lively associate, for he carefully shunned the horrible secret, which he divulged to no one.

Among his companions, Fritz had one very intimate friend, whom rumour reported master of all magical arts, and who possessed the lost art of making himself invulnerable, could call up spirits, and had every day a free shot. This experienced warrior, with affectionate impatience, urged his friend to disclose the secret grief which so evidently oppressed him. This martyr of love, who was sick of his existence, at length, under the seal of secrecy, was prevailed on to divulge it. “Brother, is this all?” said the exorcist, with a smile; “I shall soon release you from this torment.—Follow me into my quarters.” He began by making secret preparations, drew several circles and characters upon the floor, and, at the summons of the exorcist, in a dark chamber which was lighted only by a magician’s lamp, the midnight guest for this time appeared at the mid-day hour. He scolded her very much, and banished her and her mischievous pranks to a hollow willow in a lonely valley, with strict commands at that very hour to set out to this Patmos.

The spectre vanished, but at the same moment there arose such a storm and whirlwind, as set the whole town in commotion. It was an old pious custom when a high wind blew, that twelve deputed citizens should instantly take horse, and make a solemn pilgrimage through the streets, chanting a song of repentance to sing the wind away. As soon as the twelve booted and well-mounted apostles had rode out, the howling voice of the hurricane ceased, and the spirit never again appeared. * Fritz now perceived that this devilish ape’s play was intended to entrap his poor soul, and was rejoiced that the tormenting spirit had left him. He again prepared to join the formidable Wallenstein in Pomerania, where he finished three campaigns without hearing anything of the lovely Emily, and behaved with such bravery, that on his return to Bohemia, he commanded a regiment of horse. He took his way through Hungary, and when he came in sight of the Castle of Lauenstein, his heart began to beat with anxiety and doubt lest, in his absence, his beloved had been forgetful of him. He merely announced himself as a friend of the family, and, according to the rites of hospitality, gates and doors were soon thrown open to him. We may mention here, that it is still the custom in this town for this wind-laying cavalcade to perambulate the streets during a storm.

Ah! how astonished was the lovely Emily, when her supposed faithless lover, the handsome Fritz, stepped into the apartment! Joy and anger by turns assailed her soul. She could not resolve to vouchsafe him one friendly look, and yet this league with her beautiful eyes cost her the greatest difficulty.

For three long years she had debated with herself whether she would forget, or not, her nameless, and, as she believed, faithless lover, and therefore he was never one moment from her thoughts. His image floated continually before her; and, besides, it appeared that the God of Dreams was his patron, for the innumerable dreams that the Fraulein had of him ever since his absence, either excused or defended him. The stately Colonel, whose high rank the harsh survey of the mother somewhat softened, soon found an opportunity to try the apparent coldness of his beloved. He related to her the horrible adventure of the Elopement, and she frankly acknowledged to him the pain the thoughts of his faithlessness had given her. The lovers now agreed to reveal their secret to mamma, and endeavour to prevail with her to favour their attachment.

The good lady was as much astonished at the secret attachment of the cunning Emily, as at the communication of the species facti of the Elopement. She thought it just that love, which had stood so severe a trial, should be rewarded. It was only the man without a name that was offensive to her; and as the Fraulein observed, that it was incomparably more sensible to marry a man without a name, than a name without a man, against this argument she had nothing to reply.

They were married, and as the secret treaty had already prospered, and no Count lay at the bottom of her heart, the good dame gave her maternal consent to it. The handsome Fritz embraced his lovely bride, and quietly and happily accomplished his marriage, without the slightest interruption on the part of the Spectre Nun.



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Subjects of conversation are sometimes exceedingly difficult to be had. I have known many a company of well dressed men and women feel themselves most awkwardly situated for want of something to talk about. The weather, which is said to be a never failing subject, cannot hold out above a few minutes at a time. It will stand a round or two rounds, but not more. It is then knocked up for the evening, and cannot with decency be again brought forward. Being thus disposed of, the subject of “news” is tabled; but, as a matter of course, there being “no news stirring,” “not a word,” “nothing in the papers,” that subject is also soon dispatched. If there happen to be any very remarkable occurrence worth talking of, what a blessing it is on such occasions! It is food for the company a whole night, and may be again and again brought above board for their amusement. But it much more frequently happens that there is no exciting event to talk about, and then the condition of the company is truly miserable. There being ladies present, or there being two factions in the room, politics are proscribed; and even if they could be brought forward, the question of reform immediately comes in with all its tiresomeness, and is put down by general consent. Every attempt at getting up a topic failing, the company look into the fire, or in each others faces, or begin to examine with much interest the pattern of the carpet; and the silence which ensues is truly terrific. A slight whisper is the only sound in the apartment, and is caught at or watched by the company, for it may chance to be the commencement of a conversation in which they may join, without exciting particular attention. But it, too, dies away. It was only a passing under-current of remark between the two married ladies in the blue and white turbans, on the dearth of coals, the difficulty of getting good servants, or the utility of keeping children muffled in flannel nightgowns from October till March. At length some good soul makes an effort to brush away his diffidence. He projects a remark across the room towards the little man with the smirking countenance, about Mr. This, or Miss That, or Signor Such-a-thing, who are at present enlivening the town with their exhibitions. The remark is in itself a very ordinary remark, but it has its use; it quickens the intellects of those who hear it, and the tongues of a number of individuals are set a-going upon the subject of theatrical amusements, singing in the Assembly Rooms, Pasta, Paganini, and private parties, so that the original remark is lost sight of, and the company go on pretty well with what it has produced, for perhaps half an hour. All these topics being exhausted, another horrible silence ensues. The company again look into the fire, or in one another’s faces, and once more examine the carpet. What is to be said next? All think upon saying something, yet nobody speaks. The national mauvaise honte is now displayed to the height of its perfection. The agony of the company, however, approaches its crisis.—The awful stillness is broken, and in a most natural and unexpected manner. The young man in the starched cravat sitting in the corner of the room, near the end of the piano, who has been thinking what he shall say or do for the last half hour, takes heart of grace; he rises and snuffs the candles, going through the self-imposed duty in as neat and elegant a style as he can possibly affect. The snuffing of the candles is an operation which every member of the company has seen performed ten thousand times; but it affords interest for even the ten thousandth and first time. It may not intrinsically be worth heeding, yet in a case of this nature, it is of very great importance. It suggests a new theme, and that is exactly what is wanted, for one subject invariably leads to the discussion of half a dozen others. The operation of snuffing the candles therefore induces some one to remark, how beautiful gas light is. Then this brings on a disquisition on the danger of introducing it into private houses; ils cost in comparison with oil is next touched upon; then follows an observation about the last illumination; which leads to reminiscences of similar displays on the occasions of the great naval victories—the victories lead to Nelson—Nelson to his biographer, Southey—Southey, to poetry—poetry, to Byron—and Byron, to Greece. This whirl of conversation, however, also runs out; an accident jars it, and it is all over. Suddenly the speakers pause, as if they had received a galvanic shock; one small voice is alone left prominent above the silence; but finding itself unsupported, it is immediately lowered to a whisper, and the whisper subsides to a dead silence.

I have often pitied the host or hostess on occasions of this nature; but I could not help blaming them for not providing against such dismal pauses in the conversation of the parties. To guard against these occurrences, I would recommend them to bring forward what I have remarked to be never-failing sources of conversational entertainment, namely, a tolerably good-looking cat, a lap-dog or a child. The last is the best, it ought to be about two years of age, and be able to walk. If adroitly played off, or permitted to play, it will amuse the party for an hour at least. It must be placed on the hearth-rug, so as to attract all eyes; and while in the room, no other subject of discourse will be thought of. Any endeavour to draw off attention, by the relation of some entertaining anecdote, will be deemed sedition against the majesty of the household. If a cat, a dog, or an interesting child, cannot be conveniently had, I would advise the invitation of some one who has a loud voice and the happy effrontery of speaking incessantly, however ridiculously, on all subjects; a person who can speak nonsense to any extent, and has the reputation of being a most agreeable companion. This man is of vast use in tabling subjects; for he has no diffidence or modesty, and has a knack of turning every observation to account. His voice also serves as a cover to much bye conversation; there being hundreds who speak fluently enough, provided a bag-pipe were kept playing beside them, or who could have their voices drowned by some other species of noise. The loud and voluble talker is therefore an excellent shelter for those of weaker nerves, and will be found a useful ingredient in all mixed companies.

The difficulty of starting subjects of conversation, as well as the difficulty of sustaining them, is often as observable when two acquaintances meet in the street, as when a roomful of company is collected. The unhappy pair exhaust all that they can remember they ought to say to each other, in the space of a minute and a half, and another minute may be consumed in going through the process of taking a pinch of snuff; the next half minute is spent in mutual agony. Neither knows how to separate. As the only chance of release, one of the parties at last brings in a joke, or what is meant to be such, to his aid. The other, of course, feels bound to laugh, and both seizing the opportunity, escape in different directions under cover of the witticism.



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Sir,—I am one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it seems, do not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All that is bestowed upon me of that kindest alleviator of human miseries, comes dashed with a double portion of contempt. My griefs have nothing in them that is felt as sacred by the bystanders. Yet is my affliction, in truth, of the deepest grain. The heaviest task that was ever given to mortal patience to sustain. Time, that wears out all other sorrows, can never modify or soften mine. Here they must continue to gnaw.

* London, 1810.

Why was I ever born? Why was innocence in my person suffered to be branded with a stain which was appointed only for the blackest guilt? What had I done, or my parents, that a disgrace of mine should involve a whole posterity in infamy? I am almost tempted to believe, that, in some preexistent state, crimes to which this sublunary life of mine hath been as much a stranger as the babe that is newly born into it, have drawn down upon me this vengeance, so disproportionate to my actions on this globe.

My brain sickens, and my bosom labours to be delivered of the weight that presses upon it, yet my conscious pen shrinks from the avowal. But out it must—

O, Mr. Reflector! guess at the wretch’s misery who now writes this to you, when, with tears and burning blushes, he is obliged to confess, that he has been—Hanged-

Methinks I hear an involuntary exclamation burst from you, as your imagination presents to you fearful images of your correspondent, unknown,—hanged!

Fear not, Mr. Editor. No disembodied spirit has the honour of addressing you. I am flesh and blood, an unfortunate system of bones, muscles, sinews, arteries, like yourself.

Then, I presume, you mean to be pleasant. That expression of yours, Mr. Correspondent, must be taken somehow in a metaphorical sense.

In the plainest sense, without trope or figure. Yes, Mr. Editor, this neck of mine has felt the fatal noose,—these hands have tremblingly held up the corroborative prayer-book,—these lips have sucked the moisture of the last consolatory orange,—this tongue has chaunted the doleful cantata which no performer was ever called upon to repeat,—this face has had the veiling night-cap drawn over it.

But for no crime of mine. Far be it from me to arraign the justice of my country, which, though tardy, did at length recognize my innocence. It is not for me to reflect upon the judge or jury, now that eleven years have elapsed since the erroneous sentence was pronounced. Men will always be fallible, and perhaps circumstances did appear at the time a little strong—

Suffice it to say, that after hanging four minutes,—(as the spectators were pleased to compute it,—a man that is being strangled, I know from experience, has altogether a different measure of time from his friends who are breathing leisurely about him, I suppose the minutes lengthen as time approaches eternity, in the same manner as the miles get longer as you travel northward),—after hanging four minutes, according to the best calculation of the bystanders, a reprieve came, and I was cut down—

Really, I am ashamed of deforming your pages with these technical phrases, if I knew how to express my meaning shorter—

But to proceed.—My first care, after I had been brought to myself by the usual methods (those methods that are so interesting to the operator and his assistants, who are pretty numerous on such occasions, but which no patient was ever desirous of undergoing a second time for the benefit of science), my first care was to provide myself with an enormous stock or cravat, to hide the place—you understand me; my next care was to procure a residence as distant as possible from that part of the country where I had suffered. For that reason I chose the metropolis as the place where wounded honour (I had been told) could lurk with the least danger of exciting enquiry, and stigmatised innocence had the best chance of hiding her disgrace in a crowd. I sought out a new circle of acquaintance, and my circumstances happily enabling me to pursue my fancy in that respect, I endeavoured, by mingling in all the pleasures which the town affords, to efface the memory of what I had undergone.

But alas! such is the portentous and all-pervading chain of connection which links together the head and members of this great community, my scheme of lying perdu was defeated almost at the outset. A countryman of mine, whom a foolish lawsuit had brought to town, by chance met me, and the secret was soon blazoned about.

In a short time, I found myself deserted by most of those who had been my intimate friends. Not that any guilt was supposed to attach to my character. My officious countryman, to do him justice, had been candid enough to explain my perfect innocence. But, somehow or other, there is a want of strong virtue in mankind. We have plenty of the softer instincts, but the heroic character is gone. How else can I account for it, that of all my numerous acquaintance, among whom I had the honour of ranking sundry persons of education, talents, and worth, scarcely here and there one or two could be found, who had the courage to associate with a man that had been hanged.

Those few who did not desert me altogether, were persons of strong but coarse minds; and from the absence of all delicacy in them, I suffered almost as much as from the super-abundance of a false species of it in the others. Those who stuck by me were the jokers, who thought themselves entitled, by the fidelity which they had shown towards me, to use me with what familiarity they pleased. Many and unfeeling are the jests that I have suffered from these rude (because faithful) Achateses. As they passed me in the streets, one would nod significantly to his companion and say, pointing to me, smoke his cravat, and ask me if I had got a wen, that I was so solicitous to cover my neck. Another would enquire, what news from * * * Assizes? (which you may guess, Mr. Editor, was the scene of my shame) and whether the sessions was like to prove a maiden one? A third would offer to ensure me from drowning. A fourth would teaze me with enquiries how I felt when I was swinging, whether I had not something like a blue flame dancing before my eyes? A fifth took a fancy never to call me any thing but Lazarus. And an eminent bookseller and publisher, who, in his zeal to present the public with new facts, had he lived in those days, I am confident, would not have scrupled waiting upon the person himself last mentioned, at the most critical period of his existence, to solicit a few facts relative to resuscitation, had the modesty to offer me—guineas per sheet, if I would write, in his Magazine, a physiological account of my feelings upon coming to myself.

But these were evils which a moderate fortitude might have enabled me to struggle with. Alas! Mr. Editor, the women,—whose good graces I had always most assiduously cultivated, from whose softer minds I had hoped a more delicate and generous sympathy than I found in the men,—the women began to shun me—this was the unkindest blow of all.

But is it to be wondered at? How couldest thou imagine, wretched est of beings, that that tender creature Seraphina would fling her pretty arms about that neck which previous circumstances had rendered infamous? That she would put up with the refuse of the rope, the leavings of the cord? Or that any analogy could subsist between the knot which binds true lovers, and the knot which ties malefactors.

I can forgive that pert baggage Flirtilla, who, when I complimented her one day on the execution which her eyes had done, replied, that to be sure, Mr. * * was a judge of those things. But from thy more exalted mind, Celestina, I expected a more unprejudiced decision.

The person whose true name I conceal under this appellation, of all the women that I was ever acquainted with, had the most manly turn of mind, which she had improved by reading and the best conversation. Her understanding was not more masculine, than her manners and whole disposition were delicately and truly feminine. She was the daughter of an officer who had fallen in the service of his country, leaving his widow and Celestina, an only child, with a fortune sufficient to set them above want, but not to enable them to live in splendour. I had the mother’s permission to pay my addresses to the young lady, and Celestina seemed to approve of my suit.

Often and often have I poured out my overcharged soul in the presence of Celestina, complaining of the hard and unfeeling prejudices of the world; and the sweet maid has again and again declared, that no irrational prejudice should hinder her from esteeming every man according to his intrinsic worth. Often has she repeated the consolatory assurance, that she could never consider as essentially ignominious an accident, which was indeed to be deprecated, but which might have happened to the most innocent of mankind.—Then would she set forth some illustrious example, which her reading easily furnished, of a Phocion or a Socrates unjustly condemned; of a Raleigh or a Sir Thomas More, to whom late posterity had done justice; and by soothing my fancy with some such agreeable parallel, she would make me almost to triumph in my disgrace, and convert my shame into glory.

In such entertaining and instructive conversations the time passed on, till I importunately urged the mistress of my affections to name a day for our union. To this she obligingly consented, and I thought myself the happiest of mankind. But how was I surprised one morning on the receipt of the following billet from my charmer:—

“Sir,—You must not impute it to levity, or to a worse
failing, ingratitude, if, with anguish of heart, I feel
myself compelled by irresistible arguments to recal a vow
which I fear I made with too little consideration. I never
can be yours. The reasons of my decision, which is final,
are in my own breast, and you must everlastingly remain a
stranger to them. Assure yourself that I can never cease to
esteem you as I ought.”

At the sight of this paper, I ran in frantic haste to Celestina’s lodgings, where I learned, to my infinite mortification, that the mother and daughter were set off on a journey to a distant part of the country, to visit a relation, and were not expected to return in less than four months.

Stunned by this blow, which left me without the courage to solicit an explanation by letter, even if I had known where they were (for the particular address was industriously concealed from me), I waited with impatience the termination of the period, in the vain hope that I might be permitted to have a chance of softening the harsh decision, by a personal interview with Celestina after her return. But before three months were at an end, I learned from the newspapers, that my beloved had—given her hand to another!

Heart-broken as I was, I was totally at a loss to account for the strange step which she had taken; and it was not till some years after, that I learned the true reason from a female relation of hers, to whom it seems Celestina had confessed in confidence, that it was no demerit of mine that had caused her to break off the match so abruptly, nor any preference which she might feel for any other person, for she preferred me (she was pleased to say) to all mankind; but when she came to lay the matter closer to her heart, she found that she never should be able to bear the sight—(I give you her very words as they were detailed to me by her relation)—the sight of a man in a nightcap, who had appeared on a public platform; it would lead to such a disagreeable association of ideas! And to this punctilio I was sacrificed.

To pass over an infinite series of minor mortifications, to which this last and heaviest might well render me callous, behold me here, Mr. Editor! in the thirty-seventh year of my existence (the twelfth, reckoning from my re-animation), cut off from all respectable connexions, rejected by the fairer half of the community,—who in my case alone seem to have laid aside the characteristic pity of their sex; punished because I was once punished unjustly; suffering for no other reason than because I once had the misfortune to suffer without any cause at all. In no other country, I think, but this, could a man have been subject to such a life-long persecution, when once his innocence had been clearly established.

Had I crawled forth a rescued victim from the rack in the horrible dungeons of the Inquisition,—had I heaved myself up from a half bastinado in China, or been torn from the just-entering, ghastly impaling stake in Barbary,—had I dropt alive from the knout in Russia, or come off with a gashed neck from the half-mortal, scarce-in-time-retracted scymetar of an executioneering slave in Turkey,—I might have borne about the remnant of this frame (the mangled trophy of reprieved innocence) with credit to myself, in any of those barbarous countries. No scorn, at least, would have mingled with the pity (small as it might be) with which what was left of me would have been surveyed.

The singularity of my case has often led me to enquire into the reasons of the general levity with which the subject of hanging is treated as a topic in this country. I say as a topic; for let the very persons who speak so lightly of the thing at a distance, be brought to view the real scene,—let the platform be bona fide exhibited, and the trembling culprit brought forth,—the case is changed; but as a topic of conversation, I appeal to the vulgar jokes which pass current in every street. But why mention them, when the politest authors have agreed in making use of this subject as a source of the ridiculous? Swift, and Pope, and Prior, are fond of recurring to it. Gay has built an entire drama upon this single foundation. The whole interest of the Beggar’s Opera may be said to hang upon it. To such writers as Fielding and Smollett it is a perfect bon bouche.—Hear the facetious Tom Brown, in his Comical View of London and Westminster, describe the Order of the Show at one of the Tyburn executions in his time:—“Mr. Ordinary visits his melancholy flock in Newgate, by eight. Doleful procession up Holborn-hill, about eleven. Men handsome and proper that were never thought so before, which is some comfort, however. Arrive at the fatal place by twelve. Burnt brandy, women, and Sabbath-breaking, repented of. Some few penitential drops fall under the gallows. Sheriffs’ men, parson, pickpockets, criminals, all very busy. The last concluding peremptory psalm struck up. Show over by one.”—In this sportive strain does this misguided wit think proper to play with a subject so serious, which yet he would hardly have done, if he had not known that there existed a predisposition in the habits of his unaccountable countrymen to consider the subject as a jest. But what shall we say to Shakspeare, who (not to mention the solution which the Grave-digger in Hamlet gives of his fellow workman’s problem), in that scene in Measure for Measure, where the Clown calls upon Master Barnardine to get up and be hanged, which he declines on the score of being sleepy, has actually gone out of his way to gratify this amiable propensity in his countrymen; for it is plain, from the use that was to be made of his head, and from Abhorson’s asking, “is the axe upon the block, Sirrah?” that beheading, and not hanging, was the punishment to which Barnardine was destined. But Shakspeare knew that the axe and block were pregnant with no ludicrous images, and, therefore, falsified the historic truth of his own drama (if I may so speak) rather than he would leave out such excellent matter for a jest as the suspending of a fellow-creature in mid air has been ever esteemed to be by Englishmen.

One reason why the ludicrous never fails to intrude itself into our contemplations upon this mode of death, I suppose to be, the absurd posture into which a man is thrown who is condemned to dance, as the vulgar delight to express it, upon nothing. To see him whisking and wavering in the air, to behold the vacant carcase, from which the life is newly dislodged, shifting between earth and heaven, the sport of every gust; like a weathercock, serving to show from which point the wind blows; like a maukin, fit only to scare away birds; like a nest left to swing upon a bough when the bird is flown; these are uses to which we cannot, without a mixture of spleen and contempt, behold the human carcase reduced. We string up dogs, foxes, bats, moles, weasels. Man surely deserves a steadier death.

As the wind you know will wave a man; *

* Hieronimo in the Spanish tragedy.

Another reason why the ludicrous associates more forcibly with this than with any other mode of punishment, I cannot help thinking to be, the senseless costume with which an old prescription has thought fit to clothe the exit of malefactors in this country. Let a man do what he will to abstract from his imagination all idea of the whimsical, something of it will come across him when he contemplates the figure of a fellow-creature in the day-time (in however distressing a situation) in a night-cap. Whether it be that this nocturnal addition has something discordant with day-light, or that it is the dress which we are seen in at those times when we are “seen,” as the Angel in Milton expresses it, “least wise;” this I am afraid will always be the case; unless, indeed, as in my instance, some strong personal feeling overpower the ludicrous altogether. To me, when I reflect upon the train of misfortunes which have pursued me through life, owing to that accursed drapery, the cap presents as purely frightful an object as the sleeveless yellow coat and devil-painted mitre of the San Benitos. An ancestor of mine, who suffered for his loyalty in the time of the civil wars, was so sensible of the truth of what I am here advancing, that, on the morning of execution, no entreaties could prevail upon him to submit to the odious dishabile, as he called it, but he insisted upon wearing, and actually suffered in, the identical flowing periwig which he is painted in, in the gallery belonging to my uncle’s seat.

Suffer me, Mr. Editor, before I quit the subject, to say a word or two respecting the minister of justice in this country; in plain words, I mean the hangman. It has always appeared tome, that, in the mode of inflicting capital punishments with us, there is too much of the ministry of the human hand. The guillotine, as performing its functions more of itself, and sparing human agency, though a cruel and disgusting exhibition, in my mind, has in many ways the advantage over our way. In beheading, indeed, as it was formerly practised in England, and in whipping to death, as is sometimes practised now, the hand of man is no doubt sufficiently busy; but there is something less repugnant in these downright blows, than in the officious barber-like ministrings of the other. To have a fellow with his hangman’s hands fumbling about your collar, adjusting the thing as your valet would regulate your cravat, valuing himself on his menial dexterity—I never shall forget meeting my rascal—I mean the fellow who officiated for me,—in London last winter. I think I see him now,—in a waistcoat that had been mine,—smirking along as if he knew me.


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In some parts of Germany that fellow’s office is by law declared infamous, and his posterity incapable of being ennobled. They have hereditary hangmen, or had at least, in the same manner as they had other hereditary great officers of state, and the hangman’s families of two adjoining parishes intermarried with each other, to keep the breed entire. I wish something of the same kind were established in England.

But it is time to quit a subject which teems with disagreeable images, lest we should suffer by contamination.

Permit me to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor, your unfortunate friend,—Pensilis.



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Marshal Mont-Jean was as respectable a soldier as good king Francis had in his army. It was currently reported in his troop that he had once been young, although his hair was now grey, and that he had once been alert, although the wounds from sword, lance, and bullet, which cicatrised his body all over, had rendered him fit only for garrison duty. He was entrusted with an important fortress on the frontiers of Piedmont, for his royal master knew that his stiff and shrivelled body would as little think of budging from before an enemy as the stone and lime he was set to guard.

Marshal Mont-Jean had a young wife—a lineal descendant of the noble family of Chateaubriant—a girl in her seventeenth year, of a clear car-nated complexion, through which the eloquent blood shone forth at every word she spoke, with dark eyes at once penetrating and winning, and with an elastic, buoyant, coquettish sort of a gait. Owing to family politics, she had been married to the marshal before she very well knew what marriage was. Naturally of an affectionate disposition, she loved the tough old soldier—who, imperative and stern to all others, was gentle to her—as a daughter might have done. Her little thoughts ran more upon her gowns, headtires, and feathers, than any thing else. She would have had no objections, had it lain in her power, to have displayed these objects of her affections before the eyes of young French gallants, but unluckily there were none such within reach. The soldiers of the garrison were old and grizzled as their commander, or the walls they tenanted. The Marquis of Saluzzo visited the marshal sometimes, to be sure; but although not exactly old, he was ugly. His features were irregular, his eyes dull and bleared, his complexion a yellowish black: he had a big belly and a round back, and was heavy and lumpish in all his motions. So the pretty lady had no one to please by her dresses but herself, her handmaidens, and her venerable husband. And yet she was daily dressed like the first princess of the land. It had been a fair sight to see the delicate ape attired like unto some stately queen, and striving to give to her petite figure, mincing steps, and laughing looks, an air of solemn and stately reserve.

Every thing has an end, at least the life of Marshal Mont-Jean had. His little widow was sincerely sorry, but her grief was not exactly heartbreaking. She had respected him, but love was out of the question; and with all her esteem for the man, and resignation to her fate, there was something unnatural in the union of persons so widely differing in age. But had she been ever so inclined to lament him, she would not have had time. She was under the necessity of transporting herself immediately, with all her own and her late husband’s retainers, to her estates in France, and she had not a single sol left in her possession. Her estates were large, but even had there been time to await the arrival of money from them, the times were too unsafe to hazard its transmission. The country around her was too mountainous, and its air too pure and keen to nourish usurers. Her dresses were of immense value, but there was no one near who cared for such frippery, or could or would advance money upon its pledge. The little lady was at her wit’s end.

She felt no great alleviation of her troubles, when one day—after wondering for a quarter of an hour what was the meaning of the tan tara of trumpets before the gate, and the clattering of horses’ hoofs in the court-yard—the Marquis of Saluzzo was ushered into her presence. He was gaily apparelled in a tunic and hose of white silk, laced with silver, and a hat of the same materials, with bushy white plumes waving over his head. This costume communicated to his countenance—which rivalled in colour the feet of a duck that has all day been wading in the mud—a yet more repulsive expression. The young widow thought—when she saw the portly belly come swagging into the hall before its owner, and the worshipful marquis panting after it, with a multitude of ungainly bows—that she had never seen any thing half so hideous.


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Her visitor came at once to the point, for he was none of those who are troubled with a fastidious delicacy. He had learned the situation of embarrassment in which the marshal had left his lady, and came to inform her that he was himself on the road to Paris, whither, if she would favour him with her company, and join her train of attendants with his, he would defray her expenses. He urged her acceptance of his proffered aid with garrulous and indelicate importunity, fixing his gooseberry eyes upon her, with an attempt to look languishing. Nay, in the pride of his heart, he let her know that already many suitors were mustering to urge their claims to the hand of the wealthy widow of Mont-Jean, the heiress apparent of the noble house of Chateaubriant, and that he was not without hopes of insinuating himself into her good graces during their journey. In our days, it would be thought indelicate for a woman in the lady’s situation to accept an essential service from so blunt a knight; but in those days the fair sex were not so particular. There was danger even then of being inveigled; but Marie was young, lighthearted, undaunted, and fond of a joke. She knew not enough of the world to be aware of the use an artful man might take of such a journey, to render appearances against her, should she finally repulse his advances. Lastly, there was no choice left her, the new commandant was daily expected, and she could not raise a maravedi.

The marquis and his fair companion were, by their style of travelling, and the want of other company, kept close together during great part of the journey. He was constantly by her bridle on the road, he was ready with the proffer of his services whenever she dismounted, he sat by her at the board—most frequently spread under the shadow of some branchy tree. Marie gradually got reconciled to his appearance; and although she could not respect a man, who in his incessant prattling gave tokens only of a proud, foolish, and selfish mind, she learned to take pleasure in the unconscious manner in which he displayed his character. His attempts to express his love, too, were endless as ludicrous, and Marie was not the person to shrink from a little coquetry, more particularly when the object afforded her at the same time matter for a hearty laugh. She had a natural talent for coquetting, and the restraint laid upon her of late by her situation only heightened her desire to exercise it now.

Before the party reached Lyons, however, she was made painfully sensible of her error. She remarked that the marquis took care to blazon immediately to the whole train, every encouragement she gave him. In private, he assumed a dictatorial tone, arranging who of her domestics it were most advisable to retain or dismiss—assuming that their future union was an event which must undoubtedly happen. His attendants affected to look upon her with a peculiarly intelligent expression, and used every artifice to draw from her speeches which might favour their master’s hopes. “Ah, senora,” said the steward, one day, as she was rallying him about some trifle, “these sharp words require a sweetener.”

“Depend upon it, good Jaques,” she replied, “you shall have as heavy a gold chain as the steward of the best marquis in the land, the day of my marriage.” She could have bit her tongue for vexation, when she saw the old thief scuttle up to his master, and tell him the story, with a profusion of “nods and becks, and wreathed smiles.”

She learned, about the same time, from her female attendants, that they had been prevented from forwarding any intelligence to their friends in France; that her own messengers had been detained, and dispatches addressed to her intercepted. She saw now that the wily Italian was closing his meshes around her. She had looked upon him as a fool, a creature out of whom she could extract amusement and advantage, and shake him off—as lightly as the flower the refreshing dewdrop, when the western breeze begins to blow. She found that the lowest order of minds possess most practical cunning. She was fretted and anxious. His train outnumbered hers, which consisted, moreover, chiefly of her female attendants. She was, however, of too gay and confident a disposition to remain long uneasy. They were now approaching Lyons, and in the city he would not dare to detain her person by force. Her few men-at-arms were hardy soldiers, and implicitly to be relied upon.

Arrived in the hostelrie, she made an excuse for retiring early. The window of her apartment opened upon the Rhone. She sat, her head buried in her hands, striving, but in vain, to determine upon some line of conduct. The door opened, and her favourite tirewoman introduced a young gentleman, richly but not gaudily equipped, of martial bearing. “A messenger, my lady, from your cousin, Vieilleville.” The messenger bore a letter, in which the Sieur de Vieilleville informed her that it was currently reported in Paris she had promised her hand to the Marquis of Saluzzo, and that the king, for political considerations, was intent upon the match; that he, however, could not for a moment believe her so inconsiderate, and that he was at hand with a body of sixty gens-d’armes to free her.

The lady recognised at once the rude craft of Saluzzo in the reports to which her cousin alluded. She trembled at the thought of the king seconding the wishes of her unknightly suitor, but she rejoiced that the full extent of her danger had only been laid open to her at the moment that certain aid presented itself. Vieilleville was one of those straightforward daring persons, who, having neither fear nor dishonesty in their character, always pursue the direct road to their object. It was well known that he had often opposed the king in his darling projects, yet without losing his favour; for Francis knew that thoughts of self never stained Vieilleville. The proudest nobles of France, the princes of the blood, did not disdain to seek his countenance and protection, although he was yet but a lieutenant of gendarmerie and a simple knight—not even a member of the order.

With tumultuous joy, Marie addressed to her cousin a warm letter of thanks for his confidence in the propriety of her conduct. Love for a man of Saluzzo’s character was out of the question. As for the king’s deep-laid schemes, she had been sacrificed when a child to political considerations, but now, a woman and her own mistress, she would submit to such treatment from no one. She threw herself unreservedly upon her cousin’s protection. As, however, the marquis and she were next day to cross the hills to Rouanne, there to embark on the Loire, and sail down to Briare, whence they were to proceed by land through Essonne to Paris, she ventured to suggest what seemed the quietest mode of getting her out of the marquis’s hands. She proposed that Vieilleville should advance with his troop to Corbeil, taking care to arrive the same evening that she reached Essonne. Next day he was to direct his course towards Juvizy, and entering it at the same time, her steward should so arrange matters that her attendants could in a moment separate themselves from the cortège of the marquis, and attach themselves to that of Vieilleville. With such a knight opposed to him, and in the broad eye of day, Saluzzo would yield without resistance.

Marie, as she next day rode across the mountains, was wild with joy. The fresh breezes of the uplands, and the rapturous thought of approaching freedom, filled her with transport. She teased her steed to perform a thousand gambols, she sung in emulation of the birds by the way-side, she squandered a thousand malicious kind looks upon the lout by her side, she had a good word and a gift for every menial in the train, Her delicate figure, flashing eyes, and graceful wildness, kept all eyes fixed upon her with love and wonder.

Next day the party embarked upon the Loire, but the first intoxication of joy was over. The equable motion of the boat, the gentle rippling of the waves, the heat of the day, the deep shades beneath which they occasionally passed, relaxed her frame. A band of music which the marquis had engaged at Lyons, aided, by its soft plaintive melodies, to give a melancholy character to her reflections. She thought of her indiscretion, of the toils from which she was not yet free, of the slanders and calumnies to which she might be exposed. The careless innocence of a young woman may lead her into conduct, to look upon which impresses her with a tormenting consciousness of sullied purity, although not one criminal thought has ruffled her white mind. It was thus with Marie. Lost in self-reproach, she bowed her head over the gunwale of the boat, and played in the water with her fingers, while a big tear gathered beneath each jetty eyelash. Her ugly companion sat beside her, gazing upon the fair mourner with a nauseous expression of affection and confidence. The change of her mood since yesterday, was too palpable to escape even his gross apprehension. But he attributed it with great complacency to the waywardness of love, believing himself to be the object. His attachment to Marie was a strange mixture of avarice, gratified vanity, and admiration of her beauty.

Let us hasten to the close of our story. It was mid-day, and the crowds which had thronged the market-place of Juvizy were dispersing, when a knight, armed at all points, his vizor up, rode into the great square, followed by eighty men-at-arms. He sat on his strong black horse like an upright pillar of iron. His look was sedate, but frank and careless, as of one whose blood flowed as calmly, and whose thoughts were as clear amid the thunder of the fight as in the retirement of his own chamber. There was a universal expression of love and reverence, for every peasant knew Vieilleville. His troop drew up in a wide street which abutted on the market-place, at one end of the town-house.

They had not waited many minutes when the sound of approaching horses was heard, and soon after, a large company, in which were a number of females, the men, though more numerous, neither so well equipped nor skilfully arranged as those of Vieilleville, entered the square. A knight and a lady rode foremost. The eye of the latter glanced bright as it fell upon Vieilleville and his attendants. They advanced towards the town-house, the greater proportion of their followers edging off towards a street at the other end of the building from that occupied by Vieilleville. The women, and a few soldiers, turned their horses towards the troop which had arrived before them. Saluzzo (for it was he), espying this, called after them that they had mistaken their way.

“With your pardon, fair Sir,” said Marie, checking her steed, “they are quite right. Your lodgings are at the hostelrie of the Bear; mine at that of St. Denis. My cousin Vieilleville is here to relieve you of the charge I have so unwillingly imposed upon you; and you know how indecorous it would be to prefer the protection of a stranger to so near a relation. My steward will reckon with yours at Paris for any expense you may have incurred on my account. The debt of gratitude I owe you I never can hope to pay.” And here the innate devil of coquetry resumed its sway as her spirits rose. “I leave my heart in your keeping, fair Sir. Take good care of it.” Saluzzo was too well aware of his own powers to dream of coping with Vieilleville. He saw his fairy visions melting away, and he wept for spite and sorrow. With a cowed look he took her proffered hand, and pressed it to his lips. In the very wantonness of malice, she gently pressed his paw, smiled, and cast one of her most winning glances at him; then, turning suddenly, as if to hide a blush, she cantered smiling towards her cousin. The crest-fallen marquis retired in a super-eminently savage mood to his den.

On reaching the hostelrie, Vieilleville presented to Marie a young knight, whom she recognised as the bearer of his letter. “The Prince of Roche-sur-Yonne, fair cousin—the playmate of your childhood, the admirer of your womanly beauties, and one who, as you well know, lately undertook a service of some danger and difficulty for your sake.” The prince was certainly an amiable and handsome young man, his late service gave him some claim to a kind reception, and in the course of a few hours’ conversation, so many childish hours of happiness had been re-awakened in Marie’s memory, that she felt as if her youthful playmate and she, although separated, had never been disjoined—she persuaded herself that some invisible bond had held them together, although herself had remained unaware of it until circumstances drew the noose tighter. The prince secured his footing by a thousand delicate and unpretending attentions. On the eve of the third day, just before they entered Paris, Vieilleville reminded his cousin of the danger she incurred from the king’s anxiety to see her married to Saluzzo, and urged a speedy private marriage to the prince. Marie saw the propriety of the advice; her own inclinations were not adverse; the good marshal dwelt in her memory rather as a revered parent than as a beloved husband—in short, she consented.

This arrangement was kept of course a profound secret from Saluzzo. On recovering from his dumps, the malicious pressure of his hand, and the rosy smile which accompanied it, broke like morning on his memory. It is strange what a power of self-deception the mind possesses. When a lover has long wished to gain his mistress’s affections, picturing to himself the possible awakening of love in her breast, and all the nes of his future happiness, the images of his fancy grow so vivid, that he cannot persuade himself they are unreal. The slightest indication is eagerly caught at as a proof of their reality. A thousand proofs of dislike are effaced from recollection by one kind look. This holds true even with such questionable passions as that of Saluzzo. He paid a daily visit to Marie Mont-Jean, still trusting that although one visit afforded no room for hope, the next might. In vain: the Prince of Roche-sur-Yonne was always there before him, managed to remain longer, and engrossed all the conversation and kind looks of the lady.

At last Saluzzo resolved to change his tactics. He summoned the lady before the parliament, to be adjudged to implement a promise of marriage, which he alleged she had made to him during their journey. Vieilleville, the prince, and Marie, held a council of war, and it was agreed that their measures should be directed by the first mentioned.

The president and counsellors were assembled in full chamber, after receiving a brief but pithy hint from the king, to take care how they crossed his wishes. The clerk of the court was mending his pen with the most assiduous gravity. Saluzzo approached the bar, attended by a lean, sallow notary, and some creatures of the court. At the same moment, Marie de Montespedon, relict of the late Marshal Mont-Jean, entered the hall, leaning on the arm of the redoubted Monsieur de Vieilleville, attended by a gallant train of ladies, lords, and gentlemen.

The preliminary forms having been observed the president directed the lady to take the oath of verity with bared and uplifted hands. The first interrogatory put to her was. “Did you ever promise marriage to the noble gentleman, the Marquis of Saluzzo, now in presence?” The blood rushed into the cheeks of the lady; she turned her eyes resolutely upon the marquis, who looked upon the ground, his colour growing blacker and yet more bloodless. She replied in a low whisper, which was heard through the whole hall, “No, by the virtue of mine oath.” The president opened his mouth as if to put another question, and the clerk sharpened his ears, and brought his pen in contact with the paper, but the lady interrupted them, her face glowing crimson, in hurried but distinct words: “Gentlemen! I am not accustomed to such exhibitions. I fear my woman’s wit may be entangled amid your forms and subtleties. I will cut this matter short. Before this noble company I declare as I shall answer to King Francis with my broad lands, and to God with my soul, as I live and regard my honour, I never gave troth, nor faith, nor promise of marriage, to that lying caitiff, nor ever dreamed of such a folly. And if any one call in question this my declaration, here”—she continued, taking Vieilleville by the hand—“here stands my champion, whom I present to maintain my words, which he knows to be true, and from the mouth of a lady of honour, if ever one existed. I place my trust, under God and my good cause, in his valour.”

“That alters the case,” said the president, smiling with secret satisfaction at being freed from the necessity of displeasing the king. “Clerk, you may remove your books—there is no more need of writing. The lady has preferred a form of process much more summary than ours. And you, Sir Marquis! What is your pleasure?” Saluzzo had too sincere a respect for his ungainly body to hazard it against Vieilleville. “I will marry no woman by constraint,” he muttered, “If she do not affect me, I can do without her.” As Vieilleville passed through the antechamber, one of the judges accosted him in a low voice. “You have saved yourself a six months’ work, worse than the corvée, by this wager of battle. The marquis had a list of forty interrogations for the lady, in which every word she ever spoke to himself or servants, every pressure of his hand, was enumerated.”

“Well,” said he “it is only a French woman who has outwitted a hundred Italians.”

“No,” pursued his informant, “it is your valour which has extricated her from an ugly scrape. Away, and celebrate the wedding; for I much misinterpret the looks of the prince and lady if that be not what you are driving at.”



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It was a lovely morning; a remittance had arrived in the very nick of time; my two horses were in excellent condition; and I resolved, with a college chum, to put in execution a long concerted scheme of driving to London, Tandem. We sent our horses forward, got others at Cambridge, and tossing Algebra and Anarcharsis “to the dogs” started in high spirits. We ran up to London in style—went ball-pitch to the play—and after a quiet breakfast at the St. James’s, set out with my own horses upon a dashing drive through the west end of the town. We were turning down the Haymarket, when whom, to my utter horror and consternation, should I see crossing to meet us, but my old warmhearted, but severe and peppery uncle, Sir Thomas.


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To escape was impossible.—A cart before, and two carriages behind, made us stationary; and I mentally resigned all idea of ever succeeding to his five thousand per annum. Up he came. “What! can I believe my eyes? George? what the-do you here? Tandem too, by—— (I leave blanks for the significant accompaniments which dropped from his mouth like pearls, and rubies in the fairy tale, when he was in a passion.) I have it, thought I, as an idea crossed my mind which I resolved to follow. I looked right and left, as if it was not possible it could be me he was addressing.—“What! you don’t know me, you young dog? Don’t you know your uncle? Why, Sir, in the name of common sense—Pshaw! you’ve done with that. Why in ——— name a’nt you at Cambridge?”

“At Cambridge, Sir?” said I. “At Cambridge, Sir,” he repeated, mimicking my affected astonishment; “why I suppose you never were at Cambridge!—Oh! you young spendthrift; is this the manner you dispose of my allowance? Is this the way you read hard? you young profligate, you young ——— you ———.” Seeing he was getting energetic, I began to be apprehensive of a scene; and resolved to drop the curtain at once, “Really, Sir,” said I, with as brazen a look as I could summon upon emergency, “I have not the honour of your acquaintance.” His large eyes assumed a fixed stare of astonishment. “I must confess you have the advantage of me. Excuse me; but, to my knowledge, I never saw you before.”—A torrent, I perceived, was coming.—“Make no apologies, they are unnecessary. Your next rencontre will, I hope, be more fortunate, though your finding your country cousin in London is like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.—Bye, bye, old buck.” The cart was removed, and I drove off, yet not without seeing him, in a paroxysm of rage, half frightful, half ludicrous, toss his hat on the ground, and hearing him exclaim—“He disowns me! the jackanapes! disowns his own uncle by ———.”

Poor Philip Chichester’s look of amazement at this finished stroke of impudence is present, at this instant, to my memory. I think I see his face, which at no time had more expression than a turnip, assume that air of a pensive simpleton, d’un mouton qui rêve, which he so often and so successfully exhibited over an incomprehensible problem in “Principia.”

“Well! you’ve done it.—Dished completely. What could induce you to be such a blockhead?” said he. “The family of the blockheads, my dear Phil,” I replied, “is far too creditably established in society to render their alliance disgraceful. I’m proud to belong to so prevailing a party.”

“Pshaw! this is no time for joking. What’s to be done?”

“Why, when does a man want a joke, Phil, but when he is in trouble? However, adieu to badinage, and hey for Cambridge, instantly.”


“In the twinkling of an eye—not a moment to be lost. My uncle will post there with four horses instantly; and my only chance of avoiding that romantic misfortune of being cut off with a shilling, is to be there before him.”

Without settling the bill at the inn, or making a single arrangement, we dashed back to Cambridge. Never shall I forget the mental anxiety I endured on my way there. Every thing was against us. A heavy rain had fallen in the night, and the roads were wretched, the traces broke—turnpike gates were shut—droves of sheep and carts impeded our progress; but in spite of all these obstacles, we reached the college in less than six hours. “Has Sir Thomas ———— been here?” said I to the porter, with an agitation I could not conceal. “No, Sir.” Phil “thanked God, and took courage.”

“If he does, tell him so and so,” said I, giving veracious Thomas his instructions, and putting a guinea into his hand to sharpen his memory. “Phil, my dear fellow, don’t shew your face out of college for this fortnight. You twig! God bless you.”—I had barely time to get to my own room, to have my toga and trencher beside me, Newton and Aristotle before me—optics, mechanics, and hydrostatics, strewed around in learned confusion, when my uncle drove up to the gate.

“Porter, I wish to see Mr. ———,” said he; “is he in his rooms?”

“Yes, Sir; I saw him take a heap of books there ten minutes ago.” This was not the first bouncer the Essence of Truth, as Thomas was known through college, had told for me; nor the last he got well paid for. “Ay! Very likely; reads very hard, I dare say?”

“No doubt of that, I believe, Sir,” said Thomas, as bold as brass. “You audacious fellow! how dare you look in my face and tell me such a deliberate falsehood? You know he’s not in college!”

“Not in college! Sir; as I hope——”

“None of your hopes or fears to me. Shew me his rooms.—If two hours ago I did not see ———. See him,—yes, I’ve seen him, and he’s seen the last of me.”

He had now reached my rooms; and never shall I forget his look of astonishment, of amazement bordering on incredulity, when I calmly came forward, took his hand, and welcomed him to Cambridge. “My dear Sir, how are you? What lucky wind has blown you here?”—“What George! who—what—why—I can’t believe my eyes!”—“How happy I am to see you!” I continued; “How kind of you to come! How well you’re looking!”—“How people may be deceived! My dear George (speaking rapidly), I met a fellow, in a tandem, in the Haymarket, so like you in every particular, that I hailed him at once. The puppy disowned me—affected to cut a joke—and drove off. Never was I more taken off my stilts. I came down directly, with four post-horses, to tell your tutor; to tell the master; to tell all the college, that I would have nothing more to do with you; that I would be responsible for your debts no longer; to inclose you fifty pounds and disown you for ever”—My dear Sir, how singular!”—Singular! I wonder at perjury no longer, for my part. I would have gone into any court of justice, and would have taken my oath it was you. I never saw such a likeness. Your father and the fellow’s mother were acquainted, or I’m mistaken. The air, the height, the voice, all but the manner, and—that was not yours. No, no, you never would have treated your uncle so.”—“How rejoiced I am, that—”

“Rejoiced; so am I. I would not but have been undeceived for a thousand guineas. Nothing but seeing you here so quiet, so studious, surrounded by problems, would have convinced me. Ecod! I can’t tell you how I was startled. I had been told some queer stories, to be sure, about your Cambridge etiquette. I heard that two Cambridge men, one of St. John’s, the other of Trinity, had met on the top of Vesuvius, and that though they knew each other by sight and reputation, yet, never having been formally introduced, like two simpletons, they looked at each other in silence, and left the mountain separately and without speaking: and that cracked fellow-commoner, Meadows, had shewn me a caricature, taken from the life, representing a Cambridge man drowning, and another gownsman standing on the brink, exclaiming, ‘Oh! that I had had the honour of being introduced to that man, that I might have taken the liberty of saving him!’ But,—it, thought I, he never would carry it so far with his own uncle!—I never heard your father was a gay man,” continued he, musing; “yet, as you sit in that light, the likeness is—” I moved instantly—“But it’s impossible, you know, it’s impossible. Come, my dear fellow, come; I must get some dinner. Who could he be? Never were two people so like!”

We dined at the inn, and spent the evening together; and instead of the fifty, the “last fifty,” he generously gave me a draft lor three times the amount. He left Cambridge the next morning and his last words were, as he entered his carriage, “My brother was a handsome man; and there was a Lady Somebody, who, the world said was partial to him. She may have a son. Most surprising likeness. God bless you. Read hard, you young dog; remember. Like as two Brothers!”—I never saw him again.

His death, which happened a few months afterwards, in consequence ol his being bit in a bet, contracted when he was a “little elevated,” left me the heir to his fine estate; I wish I could add, to his many and noble virtues. I do not attempt to palliate deception. It is always criminal. But, I am sure, no severity, no reprimand, no reproaches, would have had half the effect which his kindness, his confidence, and his generosity wrought on me. It reformed me thoroughly, and at once. I did not see London again till I had graduated: and if my degree was unaccompanied by brilliant honours, it did not disgrace my uncle’s liberality or his name. Many years have elapsed since our last interview; but I never reflect on it without pain and pleasure—pain, that our last intercourse on earth should have been marked by the grossest deception; and pleasure, that the serious reflections it awakened, cured me for ever of all wish to deceive, and made the open and straightforward path of life.



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The Art of Tying the Cravat is an art without the knowledge of which all others are useless.


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It is the very key-stone to polite society; it is the open sesame to the highest honours both in church and state. Look at any individual making his entrée into a drawing-room, where there is a circle in the slightest degree distinguished for taste and elegance. Is it his coat, his waistcoat, his shirt, his inexpressibles, his silk stocking, or his shoe, to which the glass of the critic, or the soft eye of beauty, is principally directed? No! it is none of these. It is the cravat that instantaneously stamps the character of its wearer. If it be put on with a recherché air—if its folds be correct, and its set comme il faut—then he may defy fate. Even though his coat should not be of the last cut, and his waistcoat buttoned a whole button too high, still he will carry everything before him. The man of fashion will own him for an equal—beauty will smile upon him as a friend—and humbler aspirants will gaze with fond and respectful admiration on the individual who has so successfully studied the art of tying the cravat. But behold the reverse of the picture! Suppose that the unhappy wretch is but an ignorant pretender to a knowledge of the proper mode of covering that part of the person which separates the shoulders from the chin—a being who disgraces his laundress by the most barbarous use of her well-ironed and folded neckcloths, starched with that degree of nicety, that a single grain more or less would have made the elasticity too great or the suppleness too little;—suppose this Yahoo, with a white cravat tied round his neck like a rope, somewhat after the fashion most in vogue among the poorer class of divinity students, were to enter a drawingroom! What man on earth would not turn away from him in disgust? The very poodle would snap at his heels, and the large tortoise-shell cat upon the hearth-rug would elevate her back into the form of an arch, bristle up her tail like a brush, and spit at him with sentiments of manifest indignation. Ladies would shrink from the contamination of his approach, and the dearest friend he had in the world would cut him dead upon the spot. He might, perhaps, be a man of genius; but what is the value of genius to a person ignorant of the “Art of Tying the Cravat?” Let us inquire for a moment into the history of the cravat, and the influence it has always held over society in general. “L’art de mettre sa cravate,” says a French philosopher (Montesquieu, we think), “est à l’homme du monde ce que l’art de donner à diner est à l’homme d’etat.” It is believed that the Germans have the merit of inventing the cravat, which was first used in the year 1636, by a regiment of Croats then in their service. Croat, being pronounced Cro-at, was easily corrupted into cravat. The Greeks and Romans usually wore their neck free and uncovered, although in winter they sometimes wrapped a comforter round their throats, which they called a focalium, from fauces. Augustus Cæsar, who was particularly liable to catch cold, continually used a focalium or sudarium. Even now, it is only some of the European nations who use cravats. Throughout all the east the throat is invariably kept uncovered, and a white and well-turned neck is looked upon as a great beauty, being, metaphorically compared to a tower of ivory. In France, for a long period, the ruff, stiffened and curled in single or double rows, was the favourite ornament of the neck; but when Louis XIII. introduced the fashion of wearing the hair in long ringlets upon the shoulders, the ruff was necessarily abandoned. In 1660, when a regiment of Croats arrived in France, their singular tour de cou attracted particular attention. It was made of muslin or silk, and the ends, arranged en rosette, hung gracefully on the breast. The cro-at (now cravat) became the passion; and the throat, which had hitherto been comparatively free, lost its liberty for ever. Many varieties were introduced; but a fine starched linen cloth acquired the ascendency over all other, and retains it to this day. Abuses crept in, however, for the fancy of the èlégans ran wanton on the subject of pieces of muslin, stiffeners, collars, and stocks. At one time it was fashionable to wear such a quantity of bandaging round the neck, that shot has been known to lodge in it with perfect impunity to the wearer, and few sabre cuts could find their way through. Stocks are a variety of the cravat species, which are now very general. Collars were the avant-couriers of stocks, and were sometimes worn by the Egyptians and Greeks, made of the richest metals, and ornamented with precious stones. Of late years, a black silk cravat has come into great favour, and with a white or light-coloured waistcoat especially, it has a manly and agreeable effect. Bonaparte commonly wore a black silk cravat, and in it he fought at Lodi, Marengo, and Austerlitz. It is somewhat remarkable, however, that at Waterloo he wore a white neckcloth, although the day previous he appeared in his black cravat. Some persons have attempted to introduce coloured silk cravats, but, much to the honour of this country, the attempt has failed. A cravat of red silk in particular, can be worn only by a Manchester tailor.

Such is a very brief abstract of the rise and progress of cravats; if they are ever destined to lose the place they at present hold in society, we fervently trust that some Gibbon may appear, to furnish us with a narrative of their decline and fall. But though all this knowledge is valuable, it is only preliminary to the great art of tying the cravat. Hic labor, hoc opus. The first tie—the parent of all the others, the most important, and by far the most deeply interesting—is the noeud Gordien, or Gordian knot. Alexander the Great would have given half his empire to have understood it;—Brummell was a prouder, a happier, and a greater man, when he first accomplished it. The mode of forming this noeud Gordien is the most important problem that can be offered to the student of the cravat. It is no easy task; and we seriously advise those, who are not initiated into the mysteries of this delightful science, to make their first essays on a moderate-sized block.

We can confidently assure them, that, with tolerable perseverance, they will be enabled to pursue their studies with pleasure and advantage, and in a more profitable manner—on themselves. All the practice that is necessary, need not occupy more time than a couple of hours a day!

After the noeud Gordien come a host of others, all of which ought to be known for the sake of variety, and that the tie may be made to suit the occasion on which it is worn. There is the cravate à l’Orientale, when the neckcloth is worn in the shape of a turban, and the ends form a crescent;—the cravate à l’Américaine, which is simple, but not much to our taste, and the prevailing colours are detestable, being sea-green, striped blue, or red and white;—the cravate collier de cheval, in which, after making the noeud Gordien, the ends are carried round and fastened behind; a style much admired by ladies’ maids and milliners, but in our opinion essentially vulgar, unless when used out of doors;—the cravate sentimentale, in which a rosette is fastened at the top immediately under the chin, and which ought to be worn only by dapper apprentices, who write “sweet things” on the Sundays, or by Robert Montgomery, the author of “The Omnipresence of the Deity”—a young man much puffed by Mr. William Jerdan;—the cravate à la Byron, very free and dégagée, but submitted to by the noble poet, only when accommodating himself to the bien séances of society;—the cravate en cascade, where the linen is brought down over the breast something like a jet d’eau, and is a style in great vogue among valets and butlers;—the cravate à la Bergami, and the cravate de bal, where there is no knot at all, the ends being brought forward, crossed on the breast, and then fastened to the braces;—the cravate mathématique, grave and severe, where the ends descend obliquely, and form two acute angles in crossing;—the cravatte à l’Irelandoise, upon the same principle as the preceding, but somewhat more airy;—the cravate à la gastronome, which is a narrow neckcloth, without starch, fastened very slightly, so that in cases of incipient suffocation it may be removed at a moment’s notice;—the cravate de chasse, or à la Diane, which is worn only on the hunting field, and ought to be deep green the cravate en coquille, the tie of which resembles a shell, and is very pleasing, though a little finical; the cravate romantique, à la fidélité, à la Talma, à l’Italienne, à la Russe, together with the cravate Jesuitique et diplomatique, are interesting, and may all be studied to advantage.

In concluding these observations, which are meant to rouse, if possible, the attention of a slumbering public to a subject, the vast importance of which the common herd of mankind are too apt to overlook, we cannot help reflecting with feelings of the most painful kind on the very small number of persons who are able to tie their cravats in any thing like a Brummellian or Pe-tershamic style. We call upon our readers, if they value their necks, to show a greater regard for their cravats. They may rest assured that a well-tied cravat is better than the most flattering letter of introduction, or most prepossessing expression of countenance. An elegant noeud Gordien has been known to secure for its possessor 5,000 L. a-year, and a handsome woman into the bargain. Let it not be viewed as a light or trifling matter; a cravat, comme il faut, is synonymous with happiness, and they who know the difference between neck and nothing, will at once perceive that the “march of intellect” means little more than a due appreciation of the value of the cravat, and as near an approach as possible to perfection, in the art of tying it.



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In the year 1704, a gentleman, to all appearance, of large fortune, took furnished lodgings in a house in Soho Square. After he had resided there some weeks with his establishment, he lost his brother, who had lived at Hampstead, and who, on his death-bed, particularly desired to be interred in the family-vault at Westminster Abbey. The gentleman requested his landlord to permit him to bring the corpse of his brother to his lodgings, and to make arrangements there for the funeral. The landlord, without hesitation, signified his compliance.

“The body, dressed in a white shroud, was accordingly brought in a very handsome coffin, and placed in the great dining-room. The funeral was to take place the next day, and the lodger and his servants went out to make the necessary preparations for the solemnity. He staid out late; but this was no uncommon thing. The landlord and his family, conceiving that they had no occasion to wait for him, retired to bed as usual about twelve o’clock. One maid-servant was left up to let him in, and to boil some water, which he had desired might be ready for making tea on his return. The girl was accordingly sitting all alone in the kitchen, when a tall, spectre-looking figure entered, and clapped itself down in a chair opposite to her.

“The maid was by no means one of the most timid of her sex; but she was terrified beyond expression, lonely as she was, at this unexpected apparition. Uttering a loud scream, she flew out like an arrow at a side door, and hurried to the chamber of her master and mistress. Scarcely had she awakened them, and communicated to the whole family some portion of the fright with which she was herself overwhelmed, when the spectre, enveloped in a shroud, and with a face of deathlike paleness, made its appearance, and sat down in a chair in the bed-room, without their having observed how it entered. The worst of all was, that this chair stood by the door of the bedchamber, so that not a creature could get away without passing close to the apparition, which rolled its glaring eyes so frightfully, and so hideously distorted its features, that they could not bear to look at it. The master and mistress crept under the bed-clothes, covered with profuse perspiration, while the maid-servant sunk nearly insensible by the side of the bed.

“At the same time the whole house seemed to be in an uproar; for though they had covered themselves over head and ears, they could still hear the incessant noise and clatter, which served to increase their terror.

“At length all became perfectly still in the house. The landlord ventured to raise his head, and to steal a glance at the chair by the door; but, behold, the ghost was gone! Sober reason began to resume its power. The poor girl was brought to herself after a good deal of shaking. In a short time, they plucked up sufficient courage to quit the bed-room, and to commence an examination of the house, which they expected to find in great disorder. Nor were their anticipations unfounded. The whole house had been stripped by artful thieves, and the gentleman had decamped without paying for his lodging. It turned out that he was no other than an accomplice of the notorious Arthur Chambers, who was executed at Tyburn in 1706; and that the supposed corpse was this arch rogue himself, who had whitened his hands and face with chalk, and merely counterfeited death. About midnight he quitted the coffin, and appeared to the maid in the kitchen. When she flew up stairs, he softly followed her, and, seated, at the door of the chamber, he acted as a sentinel, so that his industrious accomplices were enabled to plunder the house without the least molestation.”



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The following tale is taken from a work by M. Loeve Veimars, entitled ‘Les Manteaux.’ The scene is laid in Germany, and the story opens with the election of a magistrate of the little city of Birling. Full of his new dignity, he repairs to his home, where he acquaints his patient wife, to whom he is in the habit of playing the tyrant, with the accession to his importance. His old friend, Waldau, the town clerk, comes to ask him if he has any commands for Felsenbourg, the seat of the administration, whither he is about to repair. The new councillor requests him to deliver a letter to his younger brother, Maurice, who had quitted his home suddenly, and of whom he has heard nothing until very recently, and who has now applied to him for a share of their father’s property, or some pecuniary assistance. The answer of the elder brother is at once unsatisfactory and unfeeling: he tells him that their parent died without any fortune, and concludes with a sneer at his youthful irregularities. The councillor’s amiable spouse is affected by her husband’s cruelty; Waldau’s dress is more consistent with his scanty means than adapted to the inclemency of the weather, and she expresses a hope that his travelling costume is a warmer one.

‘Alas! no,’ replies Waldau; ‘I had a cloak, but I have given it to my grandmother, who is confined to her arm-chair with the gout, and I am in truth, setting off like the prodigal son.’

‘Dear Philip,’ said Marie to her husband, in a supplicating tone, ‘lend him yours.’

‘Mine!’ replied the councillor, ‘indeed I cannot; but my late father’s is somewhere upstairs, and I will look it out for you, Waldau.’

Marie blushed at her husband’s selfishness. ‘It is old, indeed,’ said she, ‘but it is large and stout. There is nothing splendid about it, Waldau; it is simple and useful, like its former possessor; and I beseech you, when you shall see our brother Maurice, give it to him in my name. It may be useful to him, notwithstanding its homely appearance; at all events, while it must recall to Maurice’s recollection the memory of his father, it may also bring him wise reflections.’

She bids him also tell Maurice how much she feels for him, and regrets that she is unable to offer him any assistance. Waldau wraps himself in the cloak, and proceeds to Felsenbourg, which he reaches, but not without being overturned on the road. He is rather hurt by the fall, but not so much as to prevent his repairing immediately to find Maurice.

The evening was somewhat advanced, and the streets of the city, very different from those of the obscure but peaceful town in which Waldau dwelt, were crowded still with passengers on horseback and on foot. Waldau observed directly before him a portico well lighted, over which he saw inscribed, in large characters, “The Palace of Felsenbourg.” He entered with some timidity, and looked around for some one who might direct him in this vast building, when a young man, passing close by him, attracted his attention. He was clothed in a court dress, glittering with embroidery, and held in his hand the hat of a noble, adorned with large white plumes. The old town-clerk drew himself up hastily, but who can describe his surprise when he saw, in the half glance which his awe permitted him to cast upon this person, that he was the banished son, his early friend; in short, Maurice himself? Waldau was petrified with astonishment: could he believe his eyes, or did they abuse him? He wished to speak, but the words died upon his lips; all that he could do was to follow with his eyes this unexpected figure.

When he recovered the use of his faculties, the object who had deprived him of them, was no longer before him; but he saw him as he withdrew beneath the shadows of the columns, by the splendour of his garments, the gems on which glittered beneath the lamps which filled the vault. A little man dressed in black now approached, and dispelled the ideas which were bewildering his brain. ‘Will you be so obliging,’ he said to this person, ‘as to tell me the name of the gentleman who passed us just now?’

‘It is Mr. Wiesel.’

‘It is Maurice, then! Good heavens! but tell me what part does he play here?’

‘A very important part, Sir: nothing less than that of the prince’s confidant,’ replied the little man, gravely, and with a low bow.

The honest old man is overjoyed, and, without pressing his inquiries any further, he writes in all haste to the councillor, to inform him of his brother’s good fortune. Upon the receipt of the letter, the elder Wiesel sets out for Felsenbourg, frightened to death lest Waldau should have delivered the unkind epistle, which he now wishes he had never written. Poor Waldau is, in the mean time, suffering from the effects of his fall; and, on the day following his arrival, he finds himself unable to rise from his bed. To crown his misfortunes, his money is exhausted; and, relying upon the generosity of Maurice’s temper, and ever doubting that the prince’s confidant is well able to assist him, he writes to him for a loan, requests an introduction to the minister, and his interest in procuring the remission of a tax. Maurice hastens to him immediately, and, after the first congratulations are over, the following conversation ensues:—

‘To speak seriously, my dear Waldau,’ said Maurice, ‘your request for money distresses me, because I am not in a situation to comply with it; but, as to your other request, I have laughed heartily at it. That I should introduce you to the minister! that I should procure the remission of a tax! pray, for whom do you take me?’

‘For whom? Good heaven!’ replied the old man, cursing in his heart all courtiers and their impudence; ‘why, for the favorite of his highness, for his Jonathan, for the elect of the tribe, the primus a rege.’

‘My poor friend,’ said Maurice, ‘is more ill than I thought; and the joy I feel at meeting him again, is damped at this discovery. It must be the fever, dear Waldau, which has thus troubled your judgment.’

‘Oh, yes,’ said Waldau, ‘I suppose so; aegria somma? said Waldau bitterly. ‘It was one of those delusions which a fever works upon sick brains, that I beheld yesterday traversing the palace of Felsenbourg to go to the court; it was in a delirium that I beheld him shining in gold and jewels, gemmis atque auro.’

‘I, going to the court V ‘You, or who else is the prince’s favorite?

‘The prince’s favorite! Dear Waldau, am I to laugh or to weep at these extravagances?’

Auri sacra fames, the thirst of wealth will soon render you incapable of doing either the one or the other.’

‘How can you thus deceive yourself!’

‘He deceived himself too, then—the little man in black, who followed the glittering Weisel under the portico of the palace.’

‘Ha, ha, what charming simplicity!’ cried Maurice, laughing heartily. ‘Still the same honest, excellent, innocent Waldau.—I a courtier, I a favourite! this is indeed an everlasting joke. Know, then, my poor credulous friend, that I am a member of a strolling company who are engaged to play in the hotel of the Count of Felsenbourg. I played yesterday the part of the Confidante, in the new piece; and the little man in black, of whom you speak, is the head tailor, who had just been fitting me with a coat of scarlet serge, covered with tinsel and spangles, and to which habit I am indebted for the respect with which you have overwhelmed me.’

‘God bless me!’ cried Waldau, ‘and are you then a player?’

‘A player, it is true, but of the prince’s company; and, I swear to you, vanity apart, not one of the worst.’

‘Then am I ruined—totally undone,’ ejaculated the town-clerk; ‘the councillor will certainly kill me.’

Maurice ceased to laugh when he saw the terror of Waldau. He soon saw his brother’s letter, which lay upon the table, and, opening it, found not only that Pierre was still the same, but that his last hope—the share of his father’s fortune—was for ever gone. He was burdened with debts, the payment of which could no longer be postponed. ‘Ah! my Louisa—ah, my promised happiness—farewell,’ cried he, mournfully.

This Louisa, of whom Maurice spoke, was the preserving angel of an infirm mother and two sisters, for whom she procured, by her own exertions, the necessaries of life. The obscure chamber which they occupied was near that of the player; and they frequently saw each other, and the innocence of the young girl, her simple candour, and the boyish good temper of Maurice, soon gave rise to a tender and reciprocal feeling. Poverty has at least this good effect, that it breaks down some of those obstacles which beset the more exalted ranks. Wiesel soon became the assiduous and indispensable friend of the family. Louisa, daily more attracted by his amiable character, and charmed by the frankness with which he expressed his affection, did not seek to conceal that she loved him. The deplorable condition of their fortunes alone stood in the way of their union they swore eternal constancy, and resolved to wait for better times; but the letter of Pierre seemed to make that time more distant than ever.

Maurice is obliged to quit the sick man to go to the theatre, and an old woman comes to take his place. The weather is excessively severe, and Waldau requests him to put on the old cloak which his brother has sent, and in which, he adds, ‘Your father breathed his last.’ Maurice seizes it, and, kissing it respectfully, goes out.

The councillor arrives, and, finding from Waldau that his brother has had his letter, he runs, without waiting for an explanation, to the hotel Felsenbourg, where the porter, in answer to his inquiries for M. Wiesel, tells him he is in the theatre. He enters, and is first terrified by seeing an old man on the stage dressed in the gray cloak of his dead father; and no sooner has he recovered from his terror than he finds that his brother is a player. He rushes out of the theatre, half mad with rage.

Maurice, in the meantime, has returned to his sick friend, where he finds his brother’s wife, for whom he has a warm affection. Quitting the chamber, to fetch some medicine from a neighbouring apothecary, he sees an old woman, who, looking at him very attentively, passes her shrivelled hand several times over the collar of his coat.

Maurice, not quite understanding this familiarity, draws back, and looks at her attentively. Her thin and colourless features were strangely contrasted with the benevolent vivacity which seemed to animate them. She asks him to sell his cloak, and, on his refusal, expresses some surprise that he can be attached to such a rag.

‘No matter,’ he replies; ‘rag as it is, it is dear to me.’

‘Not for its beauty, surely?’

‘No; but if you must know, it’s my father’s legacy.’

‘Your father’s! Oh, my child, you ought to honour his memory; for no one can deny that you are his son. Every feature resembles him, excepting that you have a good-natured sort of smile in the corner of your mouth, which he never had.

‘Oh, yes, he had once, but the world had deprived him of it?’

‘Say rather, that years had, child; for they do every thing in this world; and even I, who now talk to you, if I had some few scores of years less, would you have let me stand here in the snow so long? Oh, no; you would have whipped this precious cloak over my shoulders.’

‘Go along, you old gipsey; such nymphs are not to my taste.’

‘Well, my son, the frankness of your heart pleases me, and I will reward it.’

‘Oh, pray keep your rewards: I am not in want of them.’

‘How naturally that word want comes out of your mouth; and merely because your head is full of it.’

‘Who are you, infernal sybil?’ said Maurice, drawing her towards the light.

‘The sight of my wrinkled face will give you no great pleasure, my child, but, perhaps, my advice may. Listen to me, then. Go home to your own chamber, lock the door, and rip up the collar of your cloak, and when you have done so you will have nothing more to do but to pray to God, as the great king Solomon did, to grant you wisdom.’ As she spoke thus, the old woman hobbled hastily away.

Maurice put his hand to the collar of his cloak, and thought he heard a noise like the rustling of paper. He hastened back to Marie and the town clerk, and told them of his adventure.

‘Just heaven!’ cried Waldau, ‘it must be so. You remember your late father, Maurice, and his eternal apprehensions, which all the locks in the world could not have quieted. You know, too, that he was often obliged to come to this city for the purpose of receiving large sums of money. What would a suspicious man do in such a case? He would convert his money, not into gold, but into paper, because they might easily be concealed.

I do not doubt, from the story of the old woman, who has perhaps been his hostess, his housekeeper, or some faded flower of the mysterious garland of the past, that this cloak served your father for a strong box. Better acquainted with handling ducats than a needle, he probably had recourse to this old woman. You know it was upon his return from a journey that he died. Marie, open the collar quickly—Maurice, take my scissors, they are in my bag—quick.’

Marie uttered a joyful exclamation, as she felt papers through the fold of the cloth. At the same moment, a loud noise was heard, and Maurice rose.

The unhappy Pierre, upon quitting the theatre in a state of distraction, had fallen into the canal, and, although he was quickly extricated, he had only time to mention the place of his abode before he died. The noise was caused by persons bringing home his corpse. In the confusion which followed, the cloak, now become so important an object, was stolen, and all searches and inquiries for its recovery were fruitless.

When the first grief for the death of Pierre is over, Maurice finds that his father’s property, which he divides with his brother’s widow, is enough to enable him to marry his Louisa: he returns to Berling, and on the day fixed for the wedding, on which also Waldau is married to Marie, the old woman appears at the door in the old cloak. Maurice brings her into the middle of the room.

‘Who are you?’ said he, ‘and whence did you get this cloak?—What brings you here?—Quick—speak—explain yourself.’

‘You put a great many questions at once,’ said the old woman. ‘What brings me here?—your good stars. As to the cloak—it is mine, for I bought it.’

While she spoke, Maurice looked at her, distrustingly. ‘This old woman,’ said he to himself, ‘has duped me once, and would willingly do so again. She has found the money in the cloak, and has now come to make a merit of restoring just so much of it as she thinks fit.’

The old woman seemed to comprehend what was passing in his mind. ‘I see what you think,’ said she; ‘but why, Mr. Giddybrain, did you despise my advice? why did you so easily abandon this precious cloak? Did I not find it one fine day hanging up before the shop of my neighbour, the old clothesman, who told me he bought it of a porter? and what would become of the bills for twenty thousand florins which are sewed up in it, if I had not bought them at the exorbitant price of three silver pieces? There, take your own; keep it more safely for the future, and thank heaven for having preserved the life of your father’s nurse.’

Maurice embraces the old woman, who receives the praises and thanks of every body present. ‘Well, children,’ said she, ‘since you are all happy, you must find some little corner among you for me, where I may end my days in peace.’

‘O, yes!’ said Marie, with warmth, ‘you shall never quit us.’

A few days afterwards you might have thought that the old woman had never quitted the ancient dwelling, so much did the two families seem to look upon her as a mother. Their happiness was such as springs from humble virtue. Piety, innocence, and gentleness, adorned their lives, and their days had passed in an uniform and peaceable manner, when, about a year after the return of the old nurse, she appeared one morning before Maurice in the same attitude as on the day of his marriage, and covered with the same old cloak. He offered to embrace her, but, repulsing him, ‘Gently,’ said she, ‘take care.’—‘Do you bring me another treasure, then, my good mother?’ She smiled as she opened the cloak;—it was a son, which his Louisa had just given him.



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As a sort of proëmium to the relation of the following adventure, I must preadmonish my readers, that I have always entertained a monstrous aversion to being roused from a comfortable sleep, by the appalling cry of “murder.” Heaven defend us! the very thought of such matters, even in broad day-light, causes a queer sensation about one’s throat and fifth rib: but at the solemn hour of midnight,—“just as the clock strikes twelve,”—when the winds are howling, and casements creaking, with all the other paraphernalia of a portentous night (vide ‘Mysteries of Udolpho’)—oh! it festers up the faculties, and acts as a scare-crow to the senses. Having premised thus much, and not in the least doubting that I have touched a sympathetic string in every bosom, I will forthwith proceed to relate my adventure.

Those who have travelled in the north of Scotland, may perchance recollect the road between Kincardine and Dingwall. On the right, stands a decently snug tenement, from which a swinging appendage announces to all peregrinators, that excellent entertainment is there provided for “man and beast.” In those parts it was my fortune to be travelling, on a bleak November evening, with no remarkably near prospect of supper or bed, when my eyes were suddenly gladdened by the appearance of the afore-mentioned sign; and so, it appears, were those of my horse, for without receiving previous notice from me, he instinctively halted at the door. I alighted, and after a comfortable supper, found myself snugly deposited in bed, next floor but one to the sky, the other floors being pre-engaged. But scarcely had gentle sleep diffused its balm over my eyelids, when I was aroused by a horrible confusion of noises in an adjoining apartment, from which I was separated only by a slight partition. First, I heard sundry stampings, and divers violent exclamations; then I plainly distinguished halfstifled cries of murder, and, at last, the groans of one, as it were, in his last agony. I was on my feet in the twinkling of an eye, and the reader may imagine that there was no occasion to make use of my hands in doffing my night-cap; the first sound of the word “murder” caused that to deposit itself very quietly on my pillow. My first movement was towards the door, from which I as quickly retreated, on discovering a murderous-looking person through the half-opened door of the next apartment; not, however, before I had uttered a yell loud enough to rouse all the inmates of the house. I next made towards the window, but there saw nothing, save a fearful profundity, which, I was well aware, was terminated by a yard, paved with rough stones.‘Twas agony.

My last resource was the chimney, in which I forthwith proceeded to enshell myself, taking good care to leave the space of a yard or two between me and the floor. Scarcely had I thus disposed of myself, when the landlord entered my apartment, followed by his wife and domestics; whose voice I no sooner distinguished, than I began very coolly to descend: but, unfortunately, this being my first attempt at chimney-sweeping, I made such an unsweeper-like descent, that the landlord and his train, thinking Old Nick was at hand, scampered off, myself following with all imaginable speed. Helter-skelter we rushed down the first flight of stairs; at the bottom of which, finding a door half open, with a night-capped head protruding, in order, no doubt, to discover the cause of such a disturbance, we all burglariously entered, knocking down in our tumultuous incourse, the lawful possessor. There at length the foremost of our party wheeled to the right about, and the landlady, discovering me, hastily asked me what was the matter. I explained, as well as I could, the cause of my alarm; to which explanation, turning up the whites of her eyes, she replied, half festily, half laughing, “Quwhy, Gude safe us, Sir, ’twas nae mair than just Sanders Mac Grabbit, ane o’ the play-folk, a skirlin the bit tregedy, as he’s ganging to play in our barn like.”—“Um!” re-answered I; and in less than five minutes my nasal organ was playing bass to my next door neighbour’s treble.



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The Editor sitting with his hands in his breeches’ pockets, leaning back in his chair, and looking very earnestly at the ceiling. In about ten minutes he gets up and walks to the window, breathes hard upon the glass, and flourishes a capital R with his finger in the wet he has made. Looks at his watch, and rings the Printer’s bell. Enter Printer.

Editor. How much matter have you got, Mr. Pica?

Mr. P. (After a pause.) Not more than two columns, Sir.

Editor. The devil!—How many ads * can you muster to-day?

Mr. P. Three columns and a half, Sir, including quacks; but I must use “When men of education and professional skill,” and the “Real blessing to mothers.”

Editor. Have you no standing matter? ** Mr. P. Not a line, Sir, I used the last of the standing matter yesterday, the account of the “American sea-serpent,” which was left out full two months ago, to make room for the “Fire in Fleet-street.”

Editor. (Musing.) Very well: I’ll touch your bell as soon as I have any copy ready.

* Advertisements.

**  Articles already composed, or in type, but not yet used;
such as good jokes that will keep a week or two—murders in
America—or curious discoveries in the East Indies; that
will read as well at Christmas as in the dog-days.

Mr. P. The men are all standing still, Sir, just now If you have any matter which you intend to use a week hence, they may as well be going on with it.

Editor. (Rummages among his papers.) Here, take this “Romantic suicide.” It will do for any day when you want half a column for the back page.

[Exit Mr. Pica; and a minute after, enter reading boy, in a hurry.

Boy. Copy—if you please, Sir!

Editor. I have just given Mr. Pica half a column.

Boy. Oh—I beg your pardon, Sir—I did not see Mr. Pica—I came from down stairs. [Exit.

Editor: (Puts his hands into his breeches’ pockets again, and begins to whistle a tune.) This will not do—-I must write something—but what it is to be about I know no more than the monument. (Nibs his pen—settles his inkstand—and gets his paper ready). The parliament is up—the law courts have adjourned for the long vacation—the Opera House and the Winter Theatres have closed—and at the Haymarket and English Opera House, they have both brought out pieces which are having a run—nothing stirring—not even a case of decent oppression in a night constable—or of tyranny in a police magistrate. Whigs and Tories have shaken hands, and political delinquencies are too common to be either new or scandalous. The editor of a daily paper may be aptly compared to a galley slave. When the winds roar, and the tempest is abroad, and the waves swell, his bark moves along swiftly; but when the calm comes, and the sky is serene, and the breeze is hushed, and the sea is smooth, it is then he must ply the oar, and tug, and pull, and toil, to give the vessel motion.—( Takes his pen and writes furiously.) That will do for one of those short leaders * about nothing—. which look very much as if they alluded to something that could not be mentioned, (Reads.)—“There are certain rumours afloat—upon a delicate subject which has lately occasioned a great sensation in particular quarters. We are in possession of facts connected with this extraordinary affair, which we may perhaps feel ourselves at liberty to mention in a few days. Meanwhile, all we can say at present is, that disclosures must take place, however painful they may be to more than one distinguished individual. We shall only add, that the Duke of Wellington left town yesterday in his travelling chariot, with four horses, for Windsor, after a private interview of nearly three hours with an Illustrious Personage; and that it is reported his Grace ordered summonses for a cabinet council this day, before his departure from London. We shall not lose sight of this business.” (Rings the Printer’s bell—Mr. Pica enters.) Make this the first leader, and you may as well put it in double leads. **

* “Leaders”, are those important articles in a paper, which
are printed in large letters, and wherein the editorial We
is supposed to utter oracles de omnibus rebus.

** “Double leads” is a technical phrase for a mode of
printing which is employed only when an article is either
supposed to be, or is wished to be supposed, super-import-
ant. The lines stand wide apart, and look like the bars of a

Mr. P. Very well, Sir. There’s a long police case just come in, of a baronet’s daughter taken up for shoplifting; and an account of the bursting of a gasometer, which killed eleven men, three boys, and an old woman, who lived in a front garret over the way.

Editor. Use them both, the shop-lifting under the head of “Mysterious Charge of Theft,” and the accident to the gasometer under that of “Tremendous Explosion!—Fifteen Lives Lost!”

Mr. P. We shall do better with the ads. than I expected. Robins has just sent a long list of his auctions, which he says must go in to-morrow; and Kidd’s clerk has left eight or ten good book ads., so I shall be able to make out a full page without using the quacks. *

* It is necessary to remark here, by way of explanation,
that there are gradations of rank and respectability in
advertisements; and that a high aristocratical feeling
pervades their location in a well regulated paper. The
quack ads., alluded to by Mr. Pica, are those benevolent
offers of aid to the afflicted, which announce that
“rheumatism and lumbago are effectually relieved by a new
process;” that the most excruciating toothache is allayed in
one minute by an unrivalled anodyne cement; that “gout is
cured without medicine, in a few hours,” and “blotched faces
in no time at all;” that red whiskers are changed in a
single night to beautiful shades of brown or black;” that
“the healthy functions of the stomach and intestinal canal,
are restored by an improved domestic instrument,” &c. &c.
These are never allowed to show their faces in the genteel
company of the other advertisements, unless there happens to
be a lack of gentility, but herd together in what is
technically called the, “back page” of the paper.

Editor. So much the better: I abominate “Nervous complaints and debility,” or the “Patent bug destroyer by steam only,” side by side with, “Thirty-five thousand pounds wanted”—“The daughter of a clergyman”—“Books published this day.”—(Exit Printer, laughing at the humourous vein of the Editor.)—Well! one leader only: I must write something else. No Paris papers—no Dutch mail—no Flander’s mail—no German mail—no mail from Buenos Ayres—no New York papers! By-the-bye, it will look like a piece of information to announce that there is nothing. (Writes.’)—“We have seldom known a day so barren of intelligence of every description. There has not been a single arrival from the Continent, nor any ship, letters, or papers from the other side of the Atlantic. Whether this profound calm may be considered as the harbinger of a coming storm we know not; but when we remember the ominous complexion of the advices last received from the East of Europe, and the louring aspect of affairs in general in the transatlantic hemisphere, it is not unreasonable to conclude that our next accounts from both quarters will be important. Our readers have not forgotten the opinion we expressed on Tuesday, and the comprehensive view we took on Wednesday, of the whole of our political relations. We are standing, as it were, upon the crater of a volcano, which may break forth every moment. The attitude of Russia is equivocal—the intentions of France are doubtful—Austria still wears her mask (though we are not deceived by it)—while the Peninsula becomes more and more embarrassing to the great powers of Europe. If we turn our eyes towards the United States of North America, what do we behold? Alas! this question needs no answer from us. And if we look at the new republics of South America, does not the same scene present itself? But we will not pursue this painful theme. A few hours, in all probability, will put us in possession of facts that will more than justify all our predictions.” (A knock at the door.) Come in. (Dr. Froth enters.) Froth, how are you?

Dr. F. Quite well, at your service, my friend.

Editor. Thank you—but you may keep your health for yourself, and your service for your other friends—you shall not physic me.

Dr. F. Ha! ha! ha! very good—you are always brilliant—any news to-day?

Editor. Not a syllable, that I have heard—have you any?

Dr. F. (Looking grave.) The king is very ill!

Editor. Indeed!

Dr. F. He is, by Jove! It wont do to mention it, because of the way in which it came to my ears; but you may depend upon it he is in a very ticklish situation just now.

Editor. How do you mean? (Dr. F. points to his head, with a very significant look.) Pooh! I don’t believe a word of it! where did you hear it? (Dr. F. looks round the room, and then whispers in the Editor’s ear.) That should be good authority, but——

Dr. F. It is a fact, and you’ll hear more about it, before long. I met Mr. Peel on his way to Downing-street as I came here, and he appeared very agitated. He was walking uncommonly fast, though the day is so hot. But I’ll not interrupt you any longer, for I know your time is precious—so good bye. Do you happen to have the Haymarket card disengaged this evening? And if you could spare me your Vauxhall ticket for next Friday I should be very much obliged to you. And when you have no other use for it, I wish you would remember me for Mathews and Yates at the Adelphi. I have promised Mrs. Froth to take her; and she particularly desired me to ask you whether you have orders for any of the minor theatres? She does not care which—the Cobourg, or the Surrey, or Astley’s—-but she wants to give our cook a treat before the season is over.

Editor. My Haymarket card is engaged this evening, I know; but the English Opera House is at liberty, if that will do.

Dr. F. Thank you, I’ll take it—and perhaps you’ll keep the Haymarket for me to-morrow evening? Can I have Vauxhall on Friday?

Editor. Yes.

Dr. F. You are a fine fellow—You’ll not forget Mathews and the minors—Good bye.

Editor. No, no. (Exit Dr. Froth.)—D—n these tickets—it is half my business every day to remember to whom they are promised. ( Writes. )

“There is a painful rumour in circulation this morning, in the highest quarters, upon a subject which is too delicate to mention explicitly. We hope it may prove altogether unfounded, or at leastmuch exaggerated: but the peculiar sources, from which we derive our information, justifies us in attaching more than ordinary weight to the distressing report. Should any thing further transpire, after our paper is put to press, we shall not fail to communicate it to our readers in a second edition.” (Rings the Printer’s bell. Mr. Pica enters.) Here are two more leaders, Mr. Pica. How does your matter stand now?*

* (i.e.) How much more do you want to fill the paper?

Mr. P. I measured it just before you rung the bell, and I had about a column and a quarter open; but these leaders will make a third of a column.

Editor. Rather more I think.

[Exit Mr. Pica. Editor alters a paragraph, just left for him to insert by an irritated dramatic manager, and falls into a brown study, which lasts several minutes. It is interrupted by the entrance of the clerk, who brings him the card of a gentleman below stairs, who wishes to speak with him for one minute. The clerk is ordered to show the gentleman up, and the Rev Judiah Flinn enters.]

Rev. Mr. Flinn. Are you the Editor of the A—?

Editor. I am.

Rev. Mr. F. Then I have called upon you, Sir, to request that you will contradict a most malicious and unfounded report of the death of my uncle, which appeared in your paper yesterday.

Editor. With great pleasure, if it be unfounded; but I can assure you there was nothing malicious in the statement. Who is your uncle?

Rev. Mr. F. The Bishop of ————. This is a letter I received from him this morning, dated only yesterday; and your paper says, he died suddenly at his Episcopal palace, last Saturday. These false reports are not only most distressing to the friends and relations of an individual, but they are cruel disappointments to a numerous class of your readers. I have met three deans and one prebendary already, who have hurried up to town in consequence of the scandalous rumour.

Editor. I am really very sorry; but the fact is the rumour did not originate with us; it was copied from another paper: however I shall be most happy to give it a positive contradiction.

Rev. Mr. F. Sir, I am obliged to you. (The Rev. Judiah Flinn puts his uncle’s letter into his pocket and departs.)

Editor. (Writes.) “We cannot sufficiently reprobate the manner in which some of our contemporaries give circulation to the most unfounded reports. We, yesterday, incautiously copied from another paper a statement of the pretended death of the Bishop of ————. We have the best authority for asserting that this paragraph is wholly without foundation. We have seen a letter from the Right Reverend prelate, written four days after the date of his alleged decease, and at which period he was in the enjoyment of excellent health. We are happy in being thus enabled to dispel the gloom which the report of his lordship’s death must have occasioned, wherever talents, piety, moral worth, private virtue, and public integrity are held dear. At any time, the loss of such a man as the Bishop of ———— would be severely felt; but at a moment like this, when the best interests of the church are in danger, it would be a national calamity. In the words of Shakspeare we are ready to exclaim—

—‘He’s a learned man. May he continue
Long in his country’s favour, and do justice
For truth’s sake, and his conscience, that his bones,
When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphans’ tears wept on’em.’”

Come, I shall do pretty well for leaders, after all, though there is nothing to write about. (Rings Mr. Pica’s bell.) Here is more copy ready;—this is a leader, and this a common par. in l. p. *

* “A common par.” is “a common paragraph;” and “l.
p,” stands for that description of letter which is called
long primer. Paragraphs, in a paper, have their places of
precedency, and their select company as well as
advertisements. There is as much difference, in point of
dignity and rank, between an l. p. par. (or a paragraph in
large letters), coming immediately after the leaders, and a
scrubby minion par. (or a paragraph in small letter), shoved
any where, as between a minister’s private secretary, and
the private secretary’s private clerk. Your l. p. par. is a
gentleman, and keeps good society. You will always find him
in the midst of their excellencies the ambassadors, who have
paid visits to the foreign office, or received despatches
from their own governments; side by side with peers and
west-end commoners, who have gone out of town, come into
town or given grand dinners; surrounded with princesses and
other illustrious personages, who have taken an airing or
paid a morning visit. But your minion par. is a sneaking,
shabby, obscure little fellow, poked down in a corner by
himself, or at best, only permitted to associate with
“melancholy accidents”—“daring robberies”—“more fires”—
“extraordinary longevity”—the puff particular of Warren’s
Blacking, and the puffs universal of Colburn’s authors. It
is only when parliament is sitting, or there is “a press of
matter,” that these distinctions are levelled in one common
fate of pars, and even leaders. It is then only, that lords
and ladies, M.P’s. and quack doctors, hops, crops, and
concerts, fops, fiddlers, and philosophers, large turnips
and theatrical stars, bishops and burglaries, are all
equally the minions of the daily press, and distinguished
only by their “station in the file.”

Mr. P. I have too much already, by at least half a column, and I don’t know what to leave out.

Editor. Half a column too much!—then you do not want any more from me.

Mr. P. No, Sir; I was thinking of keeping the “Awful thunder storm” till to-morrow, only it is a week old already.

Editor. Never mind. We shall have some more thunder storms by to-morrow, in all probability, and then you can put them all together.

Mr. P. Do you care about the “Grand Seignior” and the “Flying Fish” going in to-day? Because, if they are left out, I can make room for the “White Witch,” the “Persian Ambassador,” and “Waterloo Bridge.”

Editor. Find a place for the “White Witch.” She has been standing for a long time—ever since Monday.

Mr. P. So has “Waterloo Bridge,” Sir. Editor, (with an arch look.) Yes, but that was intended to stand.

Mr. P. (laughing.) I shall want two or three small pars., of about six lines each, to make out the columns, for none of the long articles will fit exactly.

Editor. Wait a moment, and I’ll give them to you. ( Writes.)—“Mackarel are just now in season, and remarkably cheap. We are glad of it, for they furnish an economical and wholesome meal to the poorer classes, with a few potatoes.”

“The metropolis was visited by a violent storm last night. The rain fell in torrents. We have not heard it extended beyond the immediate vicinity of London.”

“If the hot weather continues much longer, there will be too much of it. The farmers are already crying out sadly for rain.”

“As a man was driving a pig yesterday down the Haymarket, the obstinate animal ran between the legs of an old woman who was carrying a heavy basket of cabbages on her head, and threw her down. The poor old creature bruised her elbow shockingly. The pig ran off in the direction of St. James’s-square. The writer of this saw the accident. What are the street-keepers about, to allow fellows thus to drive their pigs on the foot-pavement, in one of the most crowded thoroughfares of the metropolis?”

Anecdote.—An exquisite, that is, a tiptop dandy, was calling a coach the other day, opposite Southampton-street in the Strand. The delicate creature could not make his voice heard; when a rough Jack-tar, who happened to be passing by, hailed coachee, in a voice like a speaking-trumpet.

“‘Here,’ said Jack, looking unutterable things at the dandy, ‘here’s something wants you.’”

A Legal Conundrum.—When a ship of war has but an indifferent crew, and is ill provided with cannon, she is in want of the assistance of two learned counsel. Who are they! Man-ning and Gun-ning.—N.B. This is not one of Lord Norbury’s lasts.”

There are half-a-dozen pars, for you. If you do not want them all to-day, use any of them that will fit, and keep the rest for another time.

[Exit Mr. Pica. The Editor puts away his letters and papers—locks up his writing-desk—washes his hands—adjusts his cravat—buttons his coat—puts on his hat and gloves—and sallies forth into the Strand? to enjoy the fresh air, while Mr. Pica is usings all necessary diligence to get the paper ready for publication.]



Original Size


I come in the gleams, from the land of dreams,
Wrapp’d round in the midnight’s pall;
Ye may hear my moan, in the night-wind’s groan,
When the tapestry flaps on the wall;—
I come from my rest in the death-owl’s nest,
Where she screams in fear and pain;
And my wings gleam bright in the wild moonlight,
As it whirls round the madman’s brain;
And down sweeps my car, like a falling star,
When the winds have hush’d their breath;
When ye feel in the air, from the cold sepulchre,
The faint damp smell of death.
My vigil I keep, by the murderer’s sleep,
When dreams round his senses spin;
And I ride on his breast, and trouble his rest,
In the shape of his deadliest sin;
And hollow and low is his moan of woe
In the depth of his strangling pain,
And his cold black eye rolls in agony,
And faintly rattles his chain.

The sweat-drops fall on the dark prison wall—
He wakes with a deep-drawn sigh;
He hears my tread, as I pass from his bed,
And he calls on the saints on high.

I fly to the bed where the weary head
Of the poet its rest must seek,
And with false dreams of fame I kindle the flame
Of joy on his pallid cheek.
No thought does he take of the world awake,
And its cold and heartless pleasure,
The holy fire of his own loved lyre
Is his best and dearest treasure.

But neglect’s foul sting that cheek shall bring
To a darker and deadlier hue;
The last dear token, his lyre, is broken,
And his heart is broken too.

When the maiden asleep for her lover may weep,
Afar on the boundless sea,
And she dreams he is press’d to her welcome breast,
Return’d from his dangers free—
I come in the form of a wave of the storm,
And sweep him away from her heart,
And then in a dream she starts with a scream,
To think that in death they part;
And still in the light of her stream-bound sight
The images whirl and dance,
Till my swift elision dispels the vision,
And she wakes as from a trance.

When the clouds, first-born of the breezy morn,
In the eastern chambers roam,
I glide away in the twilight gray
To rest in my shadowy home;
And darkness and sleep to their kingdom sweep,
And dreams rustle by like a storm;
But where I dwell no man can tell
Who hath seen my hideous form;
Whether it be in the caves of the sea,
Where the rolling breakers go,
Or the crystal sphere of the upper air,
Or the depths of hell below.



Original Size


When Dr. Gall first announced his new system of Craniology, the wits of Paris found it a good subject on which to exercise their talents, and it was attacked with all the light artillery of jokes and epigrams. Among others, Mercier, the author of the Tableau de Paris, entered the lists with his Podology against Craniology, in a squib, in which he contended, that “it is not in the head that ideas reside, nor by the head that man differs from other animals; that a man without a head would not on that account, be less reflecting; in short, that the head says nothing, does nothing, and contributes nothing to the observation of man. It is his foot which does every thing. It is in the foot that we must seek and find the stamp of man’s original dignity. In the foot? Yes, Sir, in the foot. Look at the footman, who smiles at your surprise—is it not the foot which supports the head? Does not the foot express anger and indignation? In Spain, all matters of love and gallantry begin with the foot. The foot, in China, plays the first part. There is nothing more rude than to tread upon another’s foot; when a man gets intoxicated, his foot refuses to carry him in that state of debasement; in fact, the foot cannot lie like the mouth and eyes. You must perceive, then, that the foot has all those qualities which prove a man to be a thinking being, or, in other words, the foot is the seat of the soul. If you would know, therefore, whether a woman is tender or faithless, if a man has the understanding of Montesquieu, or the folly of ———, instead of looking at his skull, you must see his foot. Yes, good Dr. Gall; you shall see my head, and I will examine your feet.”—So much for the System of craniology.


Original Size

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