« НазадПродовжити »
island, and it was now a mere acci- on an occasion like that to which I dent which enabled me to spend a now refer-happier than we would dozen of hours in the very heart of have been without it. all my ancient associations.
“And now," said I, after we had The fire blazed brightly, and we talked over a few of our more recent had scarcely finished our first bottle. adventures at Paris, “ you must tell Are there any beings in existence so me something of former times--of unfortunate as never to have en auld-lang-syne,' as the Scotch call joyed the extacy of such a moinent ? it. Stands Edgefield where it did ?" If there are, they may die when “ How can you suppose it possithey please, for they do not know ble?" answered Dickson; “ does not what it is to live. We were both Time roll his ceaseless course, and twenty years older than when we change every thing, even the appeara last sat in this very parlour; but ance of the natural and moral world, though time had somewhat changed as effectually as the bloom of a lady's the expression of our features, and al- cheek, or the brilliancy of her eye? tered the appearance of our persons, If the hoary tyrant spares neither it had still left us hearts and souls cities nor kingdoms, making his trade as capable as ever of cherishing that of devastation a melancholy monoenthusiasm and warmth of feeling poly, will he overlook, think you, which, with us, had ever constituted an humble and defenceless village ?" the chief charm of our existence. « Well,” said 1, smiling, “ let us Let the plodding slave of Plutus, talk somewhat less metaphorically. and the cold laborious book worm, toil Let us pass from theory to reality. on for ever through their appointed Are the Pearsons still in the old mole-hills, and let them, if they house adjoining the parsonage? do please, sneer at what to them appears you recollect the predatory incurthe absurd eccentricity of those who sions we used to make into their orhave ventured to trace out for them chard, to rob the ancient trees of their selves a little by-path widely differe very parsimonious supply of apples, ent from the broad and beaten road not quite like those of the Hesperi. of life. « There are more things in des? The old man used to catch us heaven and earth than are dreamt sometimes, but the good dame inof in their philosophy.” Happiness terfered in our behalf, and as soon as is not external-it is not to be sought her Kρειων Αγαμεμνων, υποδρα ιδων' for far and wide, like a diamond was about to announce our fate, she mine, or a vein of gold-it is within playfully tapped him on the cheek ourselves. It consists neither in with her spectacles, and giving him wealth, nor knowledge, nor power, one of the sweetest smiles that ever but in that blessed constitution of a Venus of sixty bestowed upon a our mental and physical capacities Mars of seventy, eloquently deprewhich induces us to clothe in ver cated his wrath. The appeal was dure and sunshine every thing irresistible; and with many a good around us, which can convert a de- advice, all of which we commonly sart into an Arcadia, and change a contrived to forget by the following melancholy world into a glorious afternoon, we were restored to liberelysium. Confident in the elasticity ty. Is the venerable couple still in of an unchanging temper, and the the land of the living ?” “No; they luxuriance of a sunny imagination, are both dead. Their old house has there are none of the calamities of been pulled down, and a field of corn mortality which individuals, thus is at this moment waving where framed, need fear. They move on once their garden smiled.'” in their own orbits, and, like Saturn “ Peace be to their ashes ! What with his ring, they are independent can you tell me of the Arnots ? Edof all light except their own. But I ward was the cleverest boy at school ; am wandering from my subject ; all his sister Magdalene the prettiest I meant to say is, that (thanks be girl in the village ; and their fam to the gods !) Dickson and I had al. ther the only Justice of Peace in the ways a little romance in our constie county that no one ever thought of tutions, and that consequently we laughing at. What has become of were alwaysand more especially Edward? After yourself, Dickson, he was my favourite playfellow. Per. “Elle etait de ce monde, ou les plus belles haps his sister had some connection
choses with our friendship, for I daresay Ont le pire destin ; you may recollect that I could dis- Et rose, elle a vecu ce qui vivent les roses tinguish, at a tolerably early period, L'espace d'un matin.” the difference between a black eye “Is she there indeed?” cried I, catchand a blue. Magdalene's was of the ing the import of his words almost most bewitching blue. She was a before they were uttered. “I had year or two older than I, but I liked almost fancied a being such as she her the better. Every body who could never die.” “ You should raknew her liked her,-every body, I ther have wondered,” said Dickson, mean, who was not of her own sex, “ that she ever lived.” “Is there for, to their shame be it spoken, any of our former friends in the vilthere was not a woman between the lage at all ?" I at length inquired, years of fifteen and fifty who did after another pause. "A few," was not look upon her with jealousy and the reply, “ a very few; but they envy. I had the vanity to suppose are all changed ; it is difficult to that our esteem might be mutual, distinguish these from strangers; and I remember that, when alone, I girls have become wives and mothers; not unfrequently indulged in a few boys have grown into fathers; and day-dreams of felicity, of which she the generation of seniors to whom we was ever sure to be the heroine ; but looked up with so much deference, as they were only dreams; her gentle the wisest and most august of huimage was soon destined to pass from man beings, have either been gatherbefore mine eyes, and, under another ed to their fathers, or, having dwinheaven, new cares and hopes were to dled down into their second childbe awakened in my bosom. Yet I ishness, and mere oblivion,' exist never forgot her, though I daresay only in the slippered pantaloon, she has long since forgotten me; Í
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans can call her up to my mind even now, with her thickly clustering ringlets
every thing.' of dark hair, and soft expressive eye,
“ Has this change of persons," and her sweet smile, that seemed to asked I, “ effected any change in the rest upon you like moonlight; and habits of the society and general chathen the tones of her beautiful voice, racteristics of the place?” “Much," there was so much feeling, so much answered my friend; “the Sir John soul in them! You will smile at me, and Lady Lambert, who, in our Dickson, but you will forgive my younger days, resided at the Castle enthusiasm, when you recollect that in the neighbourhood, and to whose I talk of my first love.” Dickson, decision in all points, civil, political, however, seemed to have as little in- and moral, the whole village bowed, clination to smile as I myself had. were, as you must remember, a couHe appeared as much interested in ple of the most eminent Christians,' the subject as I was. Perhaps he also that is to say, of the most outrageous had loved her. We were both si. Methodists then in the kingdom. lent for some minutes. My reverie Under their administration Edgewas what would commonly be called field was a sort of New Zion in miniaa melancholy one, for it carried me ture-a most godly sanctuary, where back to the “ fairy haunts of long- all the saints delighted' to tarry till lost hours ;" but who does not know their beards grew! It was here that that the pensive and mellow sorrow the itinerant orators employed by (if I may be allowed the expression) Bible and Missionary Societies loved produced by such applications, is to sojourn. Here did these sweet worth a whole eternity of careless and holy men' contrive most easily to and clamorous joy ?
open the pockets of the elect,' and My friend spoke first, but it was to teach the new-born babes of with reluctance, as if unwilling to grace' how they might make their chase away the vision which our fan- calling effectual,' and their 'salvacies had created. " Alas," said he, tion sure.' Here were religious tracts with a sigh,
diffused with a lavish hand; and he who had not read · The Death-bed ed, in particular, with a prodigious Scenes of Susan Fry,' or ' The sud- passion for poetry, and possessing, den and wonderful Conversion of Ti. or imagining she possessed, some litmothy Purvis, Tailor in Notting- tle portion of the divinus afflatus her. ham,' was one who had as yet made self, she instituted, in place of the but small progress towards the New now neglected and forgotten Bible Jerusalem,' and who might still be Societies, a Society of a very differconsidered as wandering in heathen ent description, to which she was darkness. But at length Sir John pleased to give the name of The and his lady had their lives and their Literary and Poetical Association.' labours of love brought to a close. This Society, consisting as much of They died, of course, most comfort- ladies as of gentlemen, meets in the ably,' and were buried with all due castle once every fortnight, and, now pomp. The heir to the titles and that I think of it, this is the very estate was a nephew of Sir John; he evening. To cut a long story short, drove his lady down to the castle in therefore, if you like the proposal, I a barouche and four; he ordered all shall be happy to take you with me the old furniture to be consigned to as a stranger, I being a member, and a lumber-room, and brought down every member having that privilege.” his own at great expense from Lon I never neglect any opportunity don; he collected all the tracts and that offers for seeing human nature innumerable books of Theology, with in any thing like a new light, even which the house was stuffed, into though the gratification of my curiothe stable-yard, and, setting fire to sity should subject me to some little them' en masse,' he honoured Edge personal inconvenience. On the prefield Methodism with as magnificent sent occasion, I availed myself most a funeral-pile as it could have wished. willingly of my friend's invitation, Then at last did the potent, grave, and as the rain had now ceased, and and reverend inhabitants, begin to the moon was shining brightly, we think they might venture to steal out had a pleasant walk of about a mile of their cloak of hypocrisy, and rem and a half to the castle. On the sume somewhat of the manners and way thither, I was informed that I feelings of human beings. A stroll. would have to pay a trifling price for ing company of players, that had the privilege I was about to enjoy, been literally pelted out of the place for that every stranger who was inabout three years before, now ven. troduced into the presence-chamber tured to return; and the children, al of this most enlightened body was most unconscious of their backslid- expected to favour them, either with ing,' began to entertain some very some piece of literary information, sceptical notions as to the probability or some little scrap, in prose or verse, of their being taken up to the moon, if of his own. “ But this is a condithey ventured to gather a few prim- tion," added my friend, “with which roses on a Sunday afternoon. The new - you will find no difficulty in comlady was as active as her lord. She plying, for you were at one time a is a professed blue-stocking, and of very illustrious poetaster, and must course, to suppose that she could be retain on your memory many of your religious, would have been the next most successful productions. You thing to high treason. She has a need be under litile apprehension of smattering of Greek; she reads La- any thing like criticism, for, among tin with tolerable fluency; in French the other poetical effusions which and Italian she is au fait. With all we may have the good fortune to this load of learning, it was not to hear, I will venture to say, you will be supposed that she should have hardly find one that would be thought any wish to resemble the flowers that worthy of a place even in 'La Belle
are born to blush unseen.' Accord. Assemblée.'" Comforted with this ingly, the whole efforts of her genius assurance, I promised to do all in my were expended in endeavouring to power to recal to mind some of those diffuse a love of literature over the juvenile essays which I had now for village, or rather among such of its so long a time forgotten. inhabitants as she condescended to The members of the “ Association" make her associates. Being inspire were on the point of commencing the
business of the night, when we were were made, and Lady Caroline there. ushered into their place of meeting, fore intimated her intention to prowhich was a spacious and elegantly, ceed with the second chapter of her furnished room, no doubt, set apart novel. It was the dullest thing I for the purpose. Lady Caroline Lam- had ever heard ; an attempt, namely, bert, a showy, rather than a beauti- to describe the company assembled ful woman, sat at the upper end of at a new inn in the immediate neigha large table, covered with books, bourhood of a lately-discovered mipapers, and writing materials ; her neral well. There was a blustering friends, both male and female, had Highland Chieftain, a coarse English taken their seats on either side ; and fox-hunter, a cunning vulgar attorat the lower end, opposite her lady. ney, a very common-place doctor, ship, was a young clergyman, probahalf a dozen young men of “ decided bly not yet provided with a church, genius," and a few other male ciphers. but who, in the well-grounded hope Then, among the women, her heof securing her ladyship’s patronage, roine, as it seemed, was a half-crazed, was happy to hold, in the mean time, unnatural sort of character, ycleped, the highly-honourable situation of in the true spirit of a modern romance, Secretary to the literary institution Clara Mowbray; the minor stars which she had succeeded in establish- were, a worn-out coquette,-a dising at Edgefield. After the cere, contented wife, ready to run away mony of my introduction to the fair with the first man who offered,ma President had been duly performed, low-bred Scotch woman, introduced, the minutes of the previous meeting for the first time, into any thing like were read, and, as near as I can re- good society,-and some half score of collect, they were of the following silly, giggling girls, stantes sine noimport:
mine umbrae. Her auditors seemed “ Lambert Castle, Edgcfield, delighted ; but I, though no novel.
20th Sept. 1823. reader, recollected something of Smol. “At the fifteenth meeting of the let and Fielling-names which one · Literary and Poetical Association' almost never hears of now, and of this place, Lady Caroline Lam- could not bring myself to believe, bert in the chair, her ladyship was that even the slightest approximagraciously pleased to favour the So- tion had been made to them in the ciety with the first chapter of her present production. Yet there was new novel, which she hopes to have evidently an attempt to sketch chaready for publication by the end of racter strongly and decidedly, as they the year. *Her ladyship also read to had done_“ Heu! quanto intervallo." the Society a few deeply pathetic and Lady Caroline's task being ended, beautiful stanzas upon the death of much to her own and the company's a favourite lamb, which Sir William, satisfaction, Miss Digges, the successbeing unfortunately somewhat short- ful debutante of the previous evensighted, had shot, mistaking it for ing, was called upon for any “ sweet one of his own deer. Miss Jemima effusion” which she had been so kind Digges then produced her long-pro- as bring with her. Of course, all mised Sonnet, being an address to eyes were instantly turned upon the the Evening Star. Mr Theodore Pea- amiable poetess. She was a sallow, cock repeated his two parodies of sentimental-looking girl, with red Moore's celebrated songs, The Last hair, and a mouth which, when she Rose of Summer,' and 'The Meet ventured to smile, stretched itself ing of the Waters.' Miss Ellen Som- out to a most portentous longitude. mers read an interesting translation Upon the present occasion, casting of several scenes from Jouy's new a pair of pale blue eyes up to the tragedy, entitled 'Sylla.' The Hon. ceiling, with a look intended to reMr Cecil Rae communicated his re- present the most seraphic sweetness, cent discovery in the art of penman- she entreated to be passed over for ship, by which all authors will be this night; but Lady Caroline would enabled to write with both hands at take no refusal, and Miss Digges, not once. At half past eleven the Society daring to rebel any longer, only obadjourned.”
served, by way of preface-"You Upon these minutes no remarks know I make Wordsworth my mo
del," and then recited, with much Sweet artless victim ! if thou wert my pathos, the following Sonnet-a copy
child, of which, as well as of the other (Which thou art not, and ne'er, alas! pieces that follow, my friend Dick
can be,) son afterwards procured for me:
I'd snatch thee from those billows salt and
And, putting on thy clothes, would set By a Lady of Sensibility.
thee free; “I saw a beggar knock at Mary's door,
But, as it is, I must in silence gaze, As old a man as ever I had seen ;
Omniscient Heaven ! how strange are all I daresay he was eighty-five, or more,
thy ways !". And pale, and weak, and very, very
« With your ladyship’s permislean; And, as he walk'd, his poor old limbs
old limbs sion, I shall now read my Sonnet," seem'd sore,
cried a voice from the lower end of And through his tatter'd clothes the
the table, which proceeded from & wild winds blew ;
little man, with bright grey eyes, a His pantaloons were made of many a score brown scratch wig, and a cork-leg. Of different patches--every shape and “ We shall be delighted to hear it, hue;
Mr Winterdykès," answered her The fragment of a coat was on his back, ladyship. All eyes sparkled, for Mr
And on his head the remnant of a hat; Winterdykes was looked on as the His hair was grey, though it had once Peter Pindar of the Society, and been black,
though nobody liked to be made the His back was round, though it had
subject of his satire, yet every one once been flat :
was pleased when he seemed disposed Mary soon saw him, and the generous soul
to vent it on another. Assuming the Gave him a penny to procure a roll.”
solemn air of mock-heroic dignity, Long and loud was the applause he rose from the table, walked into with which this production was receiv. the middle of the room, planted his ed, and it unfortunately produced the cork-leg firmly behind, moved his same effect on the sweet poetess which wig somewhat awry, rolled his little applause, in general, is too apt to do. twinkling eye “ in a fine phrenzy," It silenced, at once, any faint whis- and casting up his hands to heaven, perings of modesty, and brought into remarked, before commencing, in a full play all the conceit of a little sort of parenthesis, but so gravely, mind, puffed up, almost to bursting that it was impossible to say whether with the consciousness of its own he was in joke or in earnest, “You powers. Spontaneously, therefore, know I make Milton my model ; and and with a smile of condescension, happening, last week, as I returned she announced to us her intention of home a little tipsy from a convivial favouring us with something more. party, to have my attention arrested “ I was at Ramsgate," said she, "in by the Moon, these lines flowed from the autumn of last year, and the my mouth in a fit of irrepressible shocking barbarities which I saw inspiration : daily committed on the shore, called from me, in a fit of indignant inspi. Sonnet to the Moon. ration, the following
Cream-coloured Moon! you now are in Sonnet.
the sky Poor little innocent ! I grieve to see Smiling, aye laughing, till you hold Thy mother plunge thee in the deep, your sides ; deep ocean,
You don your “ seven-leagued boots," Whose waves, although they hardly reach
and then you fly her knee,
Through the blue ether with a giant's Sweep o'er thy shoulders in severe
strides ; commotion.
You're like a jaunting-car, or pleasureIndeed it is a fearful thing to me,
boat To view thee sprawl, and scratch, and That through the vast expanse of wa. tear, and kick;
ters goes, And hear thee, in thy depth of misery, Only you care not for a helm one groat, Vent all thy soul in one unbroken As people say, you follow your own shriek.