Зображення сторінки

the fact of the scalding tears I most dis One thing I will only mention, that in tinctly remember.

some child's part, where in her theatrical I was always fond of the society of players, character she was to sup off a roast fowl and am not sure that an impediment in my (O joy to Barbara !) some comic actor, who speech (which certainly kept me out of the was for the night caterer for this dainty-in pulpit) even more than certain personal dis- the misguided humour of his part, threw qualifications, which are often got over in over the dish such a quantity of salt (O grief that profession, did not prevent me at one and pain of heart to Barbara !) that when time of life from adopting it. I have had she crammed a portion of it into her mouth, the honour (I must ever call it) once to she was obliged sputteringly to reject it ; have been admitted to the tea-table of and what with shame of her ill-acted part, Miss Kelly. I have played at serious whist and pain of real appetite at missing such with Mr. Liston. I have chattered with a dainty, her little heart sobbed almost to ever good-humoured Mrs. Charles Kemble. breaking, till a flood of tears, which the wellI have conversed as friend to friend with fed spectators were totally unable to comher accomplished husband. I have been prehend, mercifully relieved her. indulged with a classical conference with This was the little starved, meritorious Macready; and with a sight of the Player- maid, who stood before old Ravenscroft, the picture gallery, at Mr. Mathews's, when the treasurer, for her Saturday's payment. kind owner, to remunerate me for my love Ravenscroft was a man, I have heard many of the old actors (whom he loves so much), old theatrical people besides herself say, of went over it with me, supplying to his capital all men least calculated for a treasurer. He collection, what alone the artist could not had no head for accounts, paid away at give them-voice; and their living motion. random, kept scarce any books, and summing Old tones, half-faded, of Dodd, and Parsons, up at the week’s end, if he found himsel and Baddeley, have lived again for me at a pound or so deficient, blest himself that it his bidding. Only Edwin he could not restore was no worse. to me.

I have supped with ; but I am Now Barbara's weekly stipend was a bare growing a coxcomb.

half guinea. — By mistake he popped into As I was about to say—at the desk of the her hand—a whole one. then treasurer of the old Bath theatre Barbara tripped away. not Diamond's—presented herself the little She was entirely unconscious at first of Barbara S

the mistake : God knows, Ravenscroft would The parents of Barbara had been in repu- never have discovered it. table circumstances. The father had prac But when she had got down to the first of tised, I believe, as an apothecary in the those uncouth landing-places, she became town. But his practice, from causes which sensible of an unusual weight of metal pressI feel my own infirmity too sensibly that ing her little hand. way to arraign-or perhaps from that pure Now mark the dilemma. infelicity which accompanies some people in She was by nature a good child. From their walk through life, and which it is her parents and those about her she had impossible to lay at the door of imprudence imbibed no contrary influence. But then -was now reduced to nothing. They were they had taught her nothing. Poor men's in fact in the very teeth of starvation, when smoky cabins are not always porticoes of the manager, who knew and respected them moral philosophy. This little maid had no in better days, took the little Barbara into instinct to evil, but then she might be said company.

to have no fixed principle. She had heard At the period I commenced with, her honesty commended, but never dreamed of slender earnings were the sole support of its application to herself. She thought of it the family, including two younger sisters. as something which concerned grown-up I must throw a veil over some mortifying people, men and women. She had never circumstances. Enough to say, that her known temptation, or thought of preparing Saturday's pittance was the only chance of a resistance against it. Sunday's (generally their only) meal of meat. Her first impulse was to go back to the


old treasurer, and explain to him his blunder. her own agency, as it seemed (for she never He was already so confused with age, besides felt her feet to move), she found herself a natural want of punctuality, that she transported back to the individual desk she would have had some difficulty in making had just quitted, and her hand in the old him understand it. She saw that in an hand of Ravenscroft, who in silence took instant. And then it was such a bit of back the refunded treasure, and who had money! and then the image of a larger been sitting (good man) insensible to the allowance of butcher's-meat on their table lapse of minutes, which to her were anxious next day came across her, till her little eyes ages, and from that moment a deep peace glistened, and her mouth moistened. But fell upon her heart, and she knew the quality then Mr. Ravenscroft had always been so of honesty. good-natured, had stood her friend behind A year or two's unrepining application to the scenes, and even recommended her pro- her profession brightened up the feet, and the motion to some of her little parts. But prospects, of her little sisters, set the whole again the old man was reputed to be worth family upon their legs again, and released a world of money. He was supposed to have her from the difficulty of discussing moral fifty pounds a-year clear of the theatre. And dogmas upon a landing-place. then came staring upon her the figures of I have heard her say that it was a surprise, her little stockingless and shoeless sisters. not much short of mortification to her, to And when she looked at her own neat white see the coolness with which the old man cotton stockings, which her situation at the pocketed the difference, which had caused theatre had made it indispensable for her her such mortal throes. mother to provide for her, with hard This anecdote of herself I had in the year straining and pinching from the family 1800, from the mouth of the late Mrs. stock, and thought how glad she should be Crawford,* then sixty-seven years of age to cover their poor feet with the same—and (she died soon after); and to her struggles how then they could accompany her to upon this childish occasion I have sometimes rehearsals, which they had hitherto been ventured to think her indebted for that precluded from doing, by reason of their power of rending the heart in the repreunfashionable attire,—in these thoughts she sentation of conflicting emotions, for which reached the second landing-place—the second, in after years she was considered as little I mean, from the top—for there was still inferior (if at all so in the part of Lady another left to traverse.

Randolph) even to Mrs. Siddons. Now virtue support Barbara !

And that never-failing friend did step in • The maiden name of this lady was Street, which -for at that moment a strength not her she changed by successive marriages, for those of Dancer,

Barry, and Crawford. She was Mrs. Crawford, a third own, I have heard her say, was revealed to time a widow, when I knew her. her—a reason above reasoning-and without

[blocks in formation]

Though in some points of doctrine, and mortification when, after attending the perhaps of discipline, I am diffident of choral anthems of last Wednesday at Westlending a perfect assent to that church minster, and being desirous of renewing my which you have so worthily historified, yet acquaintance, after lapsed years, with the may the ill time never come to me, when tombs and antiquities there, I found myself with a chilled heart or a portion of irreverent excluded; turned out, like a dog, or some sentiment, I shall enter her beautiful and profane person, into the common street, with time-hallowed Edifices. Judge, then, of my feelings not very congenial to the place, or

to the solemn service which I had been silently for ourselves detecting the genius of listening to. It was a jar after that music. it? In no part of our beloved Abbey now

You had your education at Westminster; can a person find entrance (out of service and doubtless among those dim aisles and time) under the sum of two shillings. The cloisters, you must have gathered much of rich and the great will smile at the antithat devotional feeling in those young years, climax, presumed to lie in these two short on which your purest mind feeds still—and words. But you can tell them, sir, how may it feed! The antiquarian spirit, strong much quiet worth, how much capacity for in you, and gracefully blending ever with enlarged feeling, how much taste and genius, the religious, may have been sown in you may coexist, especially in youth, with a among those wrecks of splendid mortality. purse incompetent to this demand. A You owe it to the place of your education ; respected friend of ours, during his late visit you owe it to your learned fondness for the to the metropolis, presented himself for architecture of your ancestors ; you owe it admission to St. Paul's. At the same time a to the venerableness of your ecclesiastical decently clothed man, with as decent a wife establishment, which is daily lessened and and child, were bargaining for the same called in question through these practices— indulgence. The price was only two-pence to speak aloud your sense of them ; never to each person. The poor but decent man desist raising your voice against them, till hesitated, desirous to go in ; but there were they be totally done away with and abolished; three of them, and he turned away reluctill the doors of Westminster Abbey be no tantly. Perhaps he wished to have seen the longer closed against the decent, though tomb of Nelson. Perhaps the Interior of low-in-purse, enthusiast, or blameless devotee, the Cathedral was his object. But in the who must commit an injury against his state of his finances, even sixpence might family economy, if he would be indulged reasonably seem too much. Tell the Ariswith a bare admission within its walls. You tocracy of the country (no man can do it owe it to the decencies, which you wish to more impressively); instruct them of what see maintained, in its impressive services, value these insignificant pieces of money, that our Cathedral be no longer an object of these minims to their sight, may be to their inspection to the poor at those times only, in humbler brethren. Shame these Sellers out which they must rob from their attendance of the Temple. Stifle not the suggestions of on the worship every minute which they can your better nature with the pretext, that an bestow upon the fabric. In vain the public indiscriminate admission would expose the prints have taken up this subject,-in vain Tombs to violation. Remember your boysuch poor, nameless writers as myself express days. Did you ever see, or hear, of a mob their indignation. A word from you, sir,-a in the Abbey, while it was free to all ? Do hint in your Journal-would be sufficient to the rabble come there, or trouble their heads fling open the doors of the Beautiful Temple about such speculations? It is all that you again, as we can remember them when we can do to drive them into your churches ; were boys. At that time of life, what would they do not voluntarily offer themselves. the imaginative faculty (such as it is) in They have, alas ! no passion for antiquities ; both of us, have suffered, if the entrance to for tomb of king or prelate, sage or poet. so much reflection had been obstructed by If they had, they would be no longer the the demand of so much silver !—If we had rabble. scraped it up to gain an occasional admission For forty years that I have known the (as we certainly should have done) would Fabric, the only well-attested charge of the sight of those old tombs have been as violation adduced, has been—a ridiculous impressive to us (while we have been dismemberment committed upon the effigy weighing anxiously prudence against senti- of that amiable spy, Major André. And is ment) as when the gates stood open as those it for this—the wanton mischief of some of the adjacent Park; when we could walk school-boy, fired perhaps with raw notions in at any time, as the mood brought us, for a of Transatlantic Freedom-or the remote shorter or longer time, as that lasted ? Is possibility of such a mischief occurring again, the being shown over a place the same as so easily to be prevented by stationing a

constable within the walls, if the vergers are themselves with contemplating the ragged incompetent to the duty—is it upon such Exterior of their Cathedral ? The mischief wretched pretences that the people of was done about the time that you were a England are niade to pay a new Peter's scholar there. Do you know anything about Pence, so long abrogated; or must content the unfortunate relic ?


Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep

Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas ? I do not know when I have experienced a on,-shall I confess ?—in this emergency it stranger sensation, than on seeing my old was to me as if an Angel had spoken. friend, G. D., who had been paying me a Great previous exertions—and mine had not morning visit, a few Sundays back, at my been inconsiderable—are commonly followed cottage at Islington, upon taking leave, by a debility of purpose. This was a moment instead of turning down the right-hand path of irresolution. by which he had entered—with staff in MONOCULUS—for so, in default of catching hand, and at noonday, deliberately march his true name, I choose to designate the right forwards into the midst of the stream medical gentleman who now appeared—is a that runs by us, and totally disappear. grave, middle-aged person, who, without

A spectacle like this at dusk would have having studied at the college, or truckled to been appalling enough ; but in the broad, the pedantry of a diploma, hath employed a open daylight, to witness such an unreserved great portion of his valuable time in experimotion towards self-destruction in a valued mental processes upon the bodies of unforfriend, took from me all power of speculation. tunate fellow-creatures, in whom the vital

How I found my feet I know not. Con- spark, to mere vulgar thinking, would seem sciousness was quite gone. Some spirit, not extinct and lost for ever. He omitteth no my own, whirled me to the spot. I remember occasion of obtruding his services, from a nothing but the silvery apparition of a good case of common surfeit suffocation to the white head emerging ; nigh which a staff ignobler obstructions, sometimes induced by (the hand unseen that wielded it) pointed a too-wilful application of the plant cannabis upwards, as feeling for the skies. In a outwardly. But though he declineth not moment (if time was in that time, he was altogether these drier extinctions, his occuon my shoulders ; and I—freighted with a pation tendeth, for the most part, to waterload more precious than his who bore practice ; for the convenience of which, he Anchises.

hath judiciously fixed his quarters near the And here I cannot but do justice to the grand repository of the stream mentioned, officious zeal of sundry passers by, who, where day and night, from his little watchalbeit arriving a little too late to participate tower, at the Middleton's Head, he listeneth in the honours of the rescue, in philanthropic to detect the wrecks of drowned mortality, shoals came thronging to communicate their partly, as he saith, to be upon the spot and advice as to the recovery ; prescribing partly, because the liquids which he useth to variously the application, or non-application, prescribe to himself and his patients, on of salt, &c., to the person of the patient. these distressing occasions, are ordinarily Life, meantime, was ebbing fast away, more conveniently to be found at these comamidst the stifle of conflicting judgments, mon hostelries than in the shops and phials when one, more sagacious than the rest, by of the apothecaries. His ear hath arrived a bright thought, proposed sending for the to such finesse by practice, that it is reported Doctor. Trite as the counsel was, and he can distinguish a plunge, at half a furlong impossible, as one should think, to be missed distance ; and can tell if it be casual or

deliberate. He weareth a medal, suspended coming up now, when his heart was made over a suit, originally of a sad brown, but tender as a child's—for the tremor cordis, in which, by time and frequency of nightly the retrospect of a recent deliverance, as in divings, has been dinged into a true profes- a case of impending danger, acting upon an sional sable. He passeth by the name of Doc- innocent heart, will produce a self-tendertor, and is remarkable for wanting his left eye. ness, which we should do ill to christen His remedy-after a sufficient application of cowardice ; and Shakspeare, in the latter warm blankets, friction, &c., is a simple crisis, has made his good Sir Hugh to rememtumbler or more, of the purest Cognac, ber the sitting by Babylon, and to mutter of with water, made as hot as the convalescent shallow rivers. can bear it. Where he findeth, as in the Waters of Sir Hugh Middleton—what a case of my friend, a squeamish subject, he spark you were like to have extinguished for condescendeth to be the taster; and showeth, ever! Your salubrious streams to this City, by his own example, the innocuous nature of for now near two centuries, would hardly the prescription. Nothing can be more kind have atoned for what you were in a moment or encouraging than this procedure. It washing away. Mockery of a river-liquid addeth confidence to the patient, to see his artifice-wretched conduit ! henceforth rank medical adviser go hand in hand with him- with canals and sluggish aqueducts. Was it self in the remedy. When the doctor for this that, smit in boyhood with the exploswalloweth his own draught, what peevish rations of that Abyssinian traveller, I paced invalid can refuse to pledge him in the the vales of Amwell to explore your tribupotion? In fine, Monoculus is a humane, tary springs, to trace your salutary waters sensible man, who, for a slender pittance, sparkling through green Hertfordshire, and scarce enough to sustain life, is content to cultured Enfield parks ?–Ye have no swans wear it out in the endeavour to save the lives —no Naiads—no river God—or did the of others—his pretensions so moderate that benevolent hoary aspect of my friend tempt with difficulty I could press a crown upon ye to suck him in, that ye also might have him, for the price of restoring the existence the tutelary genius of your waters ? of such an invaluable creature to society Had he been drowned in Cam, there would as G. D.

have been some consonancy in it; but what It was pleasant to observe the effect of the willows had ye to wave and rustle over his subsiding alarm upon the nerves of the dear moist sepulture ?- or, having no name, absentee. It seemed to have given a shake besides that unmeaning assumption of eternal to memory, calling up notice after notice, of novity, did ye think to get one by the noble all the providential deliverances he had ex- prize, and henceforth to be termed the perienced in the course of his long and inno- STREAM DYERIAN ? cent life. Sitting up in my couch-my couch

And could such spacious virtue find a grave which, naked and void of furniture hitherto,

Beneath the imposthumed bubble of a wave? for the salutary repose which it administered, shall be honoured with costly valance, at I protest, George, you shall not venture some price, and henceforth be a state-bed at out again—no, not by daylight-without a Colebrook,—he discoursed of marvellous sufficient pair of spectacles—in your musing escapes—by carelessness of nurses—by pails moods especially. Your absence of mind we of gelid, and kettles of the boiling element, have borne, till your presence of body came in infancy—by orchard pranks, and snapping to be called in question by it. You shall not twigs, in schoolboy frolics—by descent of go wandering into Euripus with Aristotle, if tiles at Trumpington, and of heavier tomes we can help it. Fie, man, to turn dipper at at Pembroke- by studious watchings, in- your years, after your many tracts in favour ducing frightful vigilance-by want, and the of sprinkling only! fear of want, and all the sore throbbings of I have nothing but water in my head the learned head.—Anon, he would burst out o’nights since this frightful accident. Someinto little fragments of chanting-of songs times I am with Clarence in his dream. At long ago—ends of deliverance hymns, not others, I behold Christian beginning to sink, remembered before since childhood, but and crying out to his good brother Hopeful


« НазадПродовжити »