Зображення сторінки

character. As this was a “ chance able to rise. Although her countedinner,” it would be invidious to nance plainly said, make observations, more especially Get up, gudeman-save crummie's life, as Mrs H. lamented that my coming Antak your auld cloak about you, to take pot-luck should have happened on washing-day: I shall there. he replied, “ Well, what can I do? fore only observe, that the dinner send for David Purdiel'll not go was like what I afterwards found out. The lady's face expressed rethe minister's sermons to be, formed sentment at this declaration, and she of good material, but spoiled in the flung out, slamming the door behind cooking. I now discovered that this her. I expressed my surprise that worthy couple both earned the bread he should trouble himself with cows, they ate ; for as I had seen the hus having no glebe. He replied, that band digging his dinner from the Mrs H. being from the country, had bowels of the earth, so his helpmate's teased him into taking a few acres of hands now exhibited proof that they

land ; but that he found it more had been actively employed in the plague than profit, although she washing-tub. Instantly on the cloth found much pleasure in these rural being removed, the thrifty housewife cares. In a word, I discovered from made some apology for leaving us, his conversation, and what I had and withdrew to resume her labours.

observed, that both were worldlyAs we sat over a jug of whisky toddy,

minded; but that she rather outdid it came to rain heavily, and conti him, and, according to the proverb, nued through the afternoon sans in the grey mare was the better horse in termission. Before tea, in addition

his family. We adjourned to the to the rain,

study, where the fire, in the inflated

language of Hervey,mocked oarwish. The wind blew as 'twould blawn its last; es, rather than warmed our limbs; the big drops rattled furiously on the and a very small dipped candle windows, their sashes clattering in diffused a * dim, religious light.” the frames. The sun was now set, This I saw was the usual economy of and the parson facetiously observed, the house, but the parson ordered that“ it was an ill wind that blew an addition to the one, and an exnaebody good," for he should have change of the other. Tidings now the pleasure of my company for the arrived that the cow was dead. It evening, as it was impossible I could was not perhaps possible for a woman go home. As my proposal of going to of Mrs H.'s disposition to bear such sleep at the inn would have implied a loss with equanimity; and a scene dissatisfaction with my present quare now took place between her and her ters, I made some apology for the husband which did honour to neither. trouble, and agreed to stay ; but I The evening passed heavily, and we soon regretted my consent, for the retired at an early hour, which I. good lady's countenance changed at found was the practice in the family, my ready acquiescence. The tea was The howling tempest soon lulled finished, and she went down stairs, me asleep, and a noise in the kit. where her voice soon rose in no gen- chen below awoke me by day-light. tle tones ; the rain rattled, and the The morning was serene, and the sun tempest bellowed, but the ebullition just emerging from the sea ; I openfrom her lungs rose above both; and ed my window, to inhale a little fresh this din was still farther increased air, but was saluted with an odour by the screaming of the children, al. more powerful than pleasant, which together forming a loud, but most I soon discovered proceeded from the unbarmonious concert. The mini cow-house and pig-stye, in the court ster looked awkward and uneasy, and under my window, which I hastily at last rung the bell, ordering a fire closed. I had sat only a few minutes, to be lighted in the study, as the when a horrible uproar of grunting night was cold. Mrs H. now burst and squeaking assailed my ears. into the room, in great alarm, crying, Peeping from behind the windowthat one of the cows was swollen with curtain, I beheld the thrifty lady of wet clover, and lying in the field un, the mansion in a dishabille which I VOL. XV.


cannot describe ; her cap did not ri. but Tom was now turned seventeen, val the lily, and her matted locks and had shewn no partiality for any hung in disorder about her ears; her profession, except that of a gentlearms were bare to above the elbows; man. The father, although still cona petticoat, which seemed a stran. fident in his system, conceived there ger to the washing-tub, by its scanty might be no harm in giving Madam longitude displayed a considerable Nature a jog on the elbow; and acportion of a brawny limb; she was cordingly wrote to Tom, that he slip-shod, and in the act of adminise must now consult his genius, and detering a pail of slops to the bristly cide on his future course of life. fraternity in the stye; and plunging Tom had a strong attachment to the her arms into the pail, she stirred lighter species of the belles lettres,the mixture, before tumbling it into had been a member of a debating club, their trough, and then looked at the attended the theatre, spouting and squeaking tribe with much compla, supping with the players. He had cency. Retiring, she in a minute or a manly, handsome figure,-good two returned with a large basin of ear,-clear, but fine mellow voice, offals, and calling out, “ chuck, and sung with taste. His father chuck !” soon collected a cackling made no secret of his doctrine, and and quacking throng around her, to Tom now believed that Nature had all of which she distributed their destined him for the sock and buskin, morning dole, with her hand, from and that he had only to appear on the basin. Never had I seen a fe- the boards, to eclipse Garrick, then male in respectable life in a dress, in the meridian blaze of his glory. attitude, and employment, less at- Confirmed in this opinion by some of tractive; and as soon as the minister his dramatic cronies, he determined appeared, I took my departure, re- for the stage ; but prudently resolysisting every entreaty to stay break ed not to make his first appearance fast. At home, I could not help con- where he was known; and as the trasting the lady I had just left with company were soon to depart for Mrs Baxter; for never had I seen Greenock, he arranged with the matwo women about equal age, and in nager to accompany them, and make similar situations in life, more une his debut in that quarter. The tralike each other in their habits and gedy of Douglas was announced, the manners. “Ay,” said my father, character of young Norval by a gen“the parsons have both some pecu. tleman, being his first appearance on liar notions, and are very different the stage. He ranted, looked, and characters; both marriages, I be talked like a hero, and was greeted lieve, were the result of theories with applause. Had they hooted formed in carly life, and both are him from the stage, he might then unhappy."

have made a timely retreat, and I wish, for their sakes and that of saved himself from future ills; but their children, that I could wind up he was now sailing on the summer my story, by saying that they had sea of popular applause, and the Tembeen more fortunate in their respec. ple of Fame appeared at a short distive theories concerning genius; but, tance, the portals of which he ima. alas ! both were doomed by expe- gined would open at his approach. rience to see the futility of their He now wrote a farce, which he prespeculations. Andrew Baxter ad- vailed on the manager to bring for hering to his opinion, that genius ward. The good folks of Greenock would develope itself, by a decided were not fastidious; the pit clapped, predilection for some profession, kept and the gallery shook with thunders Tom at school and college, till he be of applause. This was all very well; lieved him skilled in languages, ma. but although his fame was flourishthematics, natural philosophy, and ing almost equal to his wishes, he chemistry; still expecting the latent felt his finances in a galloping conspark to burst forth, and that he sumption; still his benefit was near ; would only have to superadd the he prepared an original comic song, study of some particular branch, to and an address by way of epilogue, # mind of such general information; all of which were announced in the bills: the house was crowded, and with a firm resolution not to return, Tom cleared a sum beyond his ex- he contrived to secrete himself till a pectations.

vessel was ready to sail for the wesTo find a greater fool, or one more tern world. He landed on the shores inflated with vanity than a poet and of Columbia without a guinea in his player, whose acting and writing have pocket, and soon found that it was both been crowned with popular ap- not the market for either poetical or planse, the lad in the eighteenth year histrionic talent. of his age, all his debts paid, and a Jonathan had as little relish for dozen pounds in his pocket,- I say, Greek and Mathematics ; a stoneto find a greater fool than him, it mason would have been more eswould be necessary to visit a lunatic teemed than Dr Parr, and a millasylum. Tom hesitated and pondered, wright would have taken precedence whether he should stick to his pen, of La Place. It was before the taror continue to tread the boards; but ring and feathering scheme that Tom considering them as cousins-germain, landed at Boston, still considered as and having the precedent of Shakes the capital of a British colony. Tom's peare and Garrick before him, he re- necessities were urgent; he wrote a solved to unite both, and thus have good hand, and could manage pounds two strings to his bow. He continued shillings and pence upon paper beta with the company till their return to ter than in his pocket. He applied Edinburgh, by which time he had a to a store-keeper, was taken upon comedy ready for rehearsal : it was trial, and gave satisfaction ; for albrought out at the opening of the though awkward, he was active, and Theatre, Tom appearing as the prin- anxious to please. He had been cipal character ; but either the muse about a year in this situation, and had been less propitious, or the cri- had just come under an engagement ties in Auld Reekie were influenced for a regular salary, when one mornby caprice; the play dragged heavily ing, being at the quay superintende through the first act, in the second ing the unloading of a cargo, he was much disapprobation was displayed, informed that a British regiment was and in the third the hapless author to be disembarked from some transwas hissed from the stage, in what ports alongside. Turning to look, he believed the best scene in the he saw, with no pleasant feelings, the piece, which was not suffered to come uniform he had lately worn; and in to a conclusion. What a difference & few minutes his quondam Captain in his feelings in two short hours! came upon deck, while his former When he entered the Theatre, the tyrannical drill-sergeant leaped on thermometer of hope was just rising shore, almost close by his side. to the boiling point-it was now The regiment was to be stationed many degrees below zero. Bajazet in Boston, and as Tom had much in the plenitude of his power, and out-of-door business, he found deexhibited by Tamerlane in an iron- tection would soon follow. Having cage, had not more opposite feelings. once seen a culprit flogged for de Longer stay in the metropolis was sertion, he had no wish for a practiimpossible, and a decent or manly cal knowledge of this discipline, and retreat was impracticable, from the without loss of time fled to the state of his finances. Almost fran-, interior, opened a school in a village tic, he borrowed, or rather begged, a on the margin of a swamp, which guinea from the Manager, and in- soon affected his health, and he was stead of returning home, made bad seized with an irresistible desire to worse, by proceeding to Glasgow, re-visit Scotland, and die at his faand enlisting as a soldier in a marche ther's fire-side. By rigid economy ing regiment. But Tom had more and penurious living, he saved modexterity in wielding the mimic trun. ney for his passage, contrived to get cheon on the stage than he had with on board a vessel for Britain, and, the musket at drill; he was awkward, after an absence of more than three and the drill-sergeant tyrannical, years, reached the manse, the home and the ci-devant dramatic hero took of his father, penniless, way-worn, French leave. Aware that his ab- and weary. Here hecontinued to wan. sence would produce some regret, but der for some time in the sunny vale, Starting and shivering in th' inconstant was engaged was one of considerable wind,

importance and intricacy ; he hapMeagre and pale, the ghost of what he pened to have the right side, and was;

was opposed by a popular pleader of and sunk to an untimely grave, bem long standing. However, he dis; fore his sun of life had reached its played such a profound knowledge noon. Such was the result of the of law, and poured forth such a tora Reverend Andrew Baxter's theory rent of eloquence, that his client was concerning genius.

victor, and his fame spread over the • The Reverend Francis Halliday country. Business poured in upon had determined, when his son was him; but George was capricious ; yet whipping his top, or trundling for if he had doubts about the justice his hoop, that he should be bred to of a cause, he would not undertake the law. As the preliminary step to it; and when convinced that the lithis, no pains were spared to make tigant was wrong, flatly told him so ; him an excellent Latin scholar. not only recommending an amicable George had been early taught sub, settlement, but condescending to be, mission to the dicta of a parent; and come an arbitrator. When he did when informed of his destination for plead, however skilled in law, his life, although it gave him no plea- greater zeal was always displayed for sure, he did not start any objection, equity. Such was his pacific dispo. In the town where his father resided sition, that frivolous but profitable was a Notary, who was reckoned a litigation declined daily. Hence he Solomon for wisdom, and a Machiavel was considered among his brethren for policy and cunning; to this man as a dangerous innovator, who would, George was put as an apprentice, and if not put down, destroy the trade, afterwards sent to study and prac. They endeavoured to propagate a retise under a friend most learned in port that his brain was crackcd : and the law at Edinburgh; it being his litigious men, whose causes he had father's intention, that after his head refused, circulated the tale, till those was fully charged, and when he had who doubted its truth were afraid to been nursed to practice, that he trust their business in his hands. should set up for himself in the He persevered in his system,--his county town, as a Notary, and employment fell off,--the disappoint, pleader in the Sheriff-Court.

ed and angry parent remonstrated in George Halliday was a lad of a vain, and at last, in bitter, wrath, peculiar turn of mind, had much of told George he was a romantic and the milk of human kindness in his visionary fool; and he, in return, heart; and he had formed what told his father that his counsels and men of the world would term ro- opinions were at variance with, and mantic notions of probity and jus, unbecoming his character as a Mia tice, which were often shocked by nister of the Gospel of peace ;--they the specimens of legal quibbling quarrelled, and parted in great wrath. which now came under his notice. Hating the law, and having lost a He expressed to his father dislike to good part of the respect for his fathe law; but the parson replied, ther, George withdrew to a small " When you find it profitable, it farm, in a distant and sequestered will then become delightful.” After part of the country. Thus, by the what appeared a long and irksome injudicious resolve and pertinacious noviciate, George settled as a prace obstinacy of a parent, were talents țitioner in the county town, with a and principles buried in obscurity, firm determination to consult Con, which would have been useful to cience, along with Coke and Lyttle society, and an ornament to their ton. The first cause in which he country,

: The Pilgrim's Dream.

Post est occasio calva.
I resten at noon in a broad-spreading shade
Which the boughs of the elm and the hazel had made;
And, opening my corban, I took out my bread,

And thank'd the kind God on whose bounty I fed. · All weary and faint with the path I had trod,

I laid myself down on the green grassy sod;
I pillow'd my head on the root of a tree,
While the flowerets of summer a couch spread to me;
Thus lying, I mused upon man's mortal strife,
And I thought that each wight was a pilgrimn through life;
That he plods on his way to some far distant shrine,
The palace of Pleasure, or temple divine;
Till, wearied with years and their troublesome load,
He falters at length, and falls down on the road !
I thought upon this, and I sigh'd from my heart
To think how my brethren winced under the smart ;
And, whether it was that in slumber I dream'd,
(For the sight which I saw like a night-vision seem'd,)
But it fix'd on my bosom with all the controul
Which reality stamps on the high-throbbing soul :
Methought that the summer sun rose on the day,
While I was pursuing my pilgrimage way,
When a stranger o'ertook me, and bade me look back
On the landscape so fair I had left in my track :
I look’d, and I saw a most wonderful scene
Of mountains all rugged, and vallies all green,
Of rocks whose high summits peer'd up in the dawn,
And villas and cottages spread on the lawn;
Along the green path which my footsteps had traced
A crowd of poor mortals their pilgrimage paced ;
And, larger in figure, came beings behind,
That seem'd not to be of our own human kind;
I question'd the Stranger, and all that I sought
My mind from his eloquent answers was taught.

Oh! who is that being that stands on the hill,
Whose mantle flows free at the wild breezes' will ?
He has climb'd the rough summit so steep and so high,
And his form seems to stand in the blaze of the sky;
The clouds of the morning around him are roll’d,
Like curtains all fringed with the heavens' own gold;
· While along the fair east it is lovely and bright,
Like the beautiful hues of the newly-born light,
Save the dark-clouded form of the being that's there,
Obscuring the eye of a morning so fair!
Like the moon, when she labours in gramarye-spell,
Which the old wizard works in his wonderful cell.
He travels this way, though his steps are but slow,
For with caution and care must the aged man go;
Yet methinks if he mend not that tardy degree,
He will never be able to travel with me;
And 'tis well, for if such a griin figure came near,
My bosom would tremble with horror and fear.-
Oh! who is that being ? and what is his name?
And what solemn office on earth doth he claim ?

« НазадПродовжити »