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I looked; and lo! the portraits about the wall became animated! The old authors thrust out, first a head, then a shoulder from the canvass, looked down curiously, for an instant, upon the motley throng, and then descended, with fury in their eyes, to claim their riffiled property. The scene of scampering and hubbub that ensued baffles all description. The unhappy culprits endeavoured in vain to escape with the plunder. On one side might be seen balf a dozen old nonks, stripping modern professor; on another, there was sad devastation carried into the ranks of modern dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcher, side by side, raged round the field like Castor and Pollux, and sturdy Ben Jonson enacted more wonders than when a volunteer with the army in Flanders. As to the dapper little compiler of farragos, mentioned some time since, he had arrayed himself in as many patches and colours as Harlequin, and there was as fierce a contention of claimants about him, as about the dead body of Patroclus. I was grieved to see many men, to whom I had been accustomed to look upon with awe and reverence, fain to steal off with scarce a rag to cover their nakedness. Just then my eye was caught by the pragmatical old gentle. man in the Greek frizzled wig, who was scrambling away sore affright with half a score of authors in full cry after him. They were close upon bis haunches; in a twinkling off went his wig; at every turn some strip of raiment. was peeled away; until in a few moments, from his domineering pomp, he shrunk into a little, pursy, “chopp'd bald shot,” and made his exit with only a few tags and bags fluttering at his back.
There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of this learned Theban, that I burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, which broke the whole illusion. The tumalt and the scuffle were at an end. The chamber resumed its usual appearance.
The old authors shrunk back into their pioture-frames, and hung in shadowy solemnity along the walls. In short, I found myself wide awake in my corner, with the whole assemblage of bookworms gazing at me with astonishment. Nothing of the dream had been real but my burst of laughter, a
sound never before heard in that grave sanctuary, and 80 abhorrent to the ears of wisdom, as to electrify the fraternity.
The librarian now stepped up to me, and demanded whether I had a card of admission. At first I did not comprehend him, but I soon found that the library was a kind of literary "preserve,” subject to game laws, and that no one must presume to hunt there without special license and permission. In a word, I stood convicted of being an arrant poacher, and was glad to make a precipitate retreat, lest I should have a whole pack of author's let loose upon me.
And the sage Oloffe dreamed a dream-and lo, the good St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees in that selfsame waggon wherein he brings his yearly presents to children; and he came and descended bard by where the heroes of Communipaw had made their late repast.
And the shrewd Van Kortland knew him by his broad hat, his long pipe, and the resemblance which he bore to the figure on the brow of the Goede Vrouw. And he lit bis pipe by the fire, and he sat himself down and smoked ; and as he smoked, the smoke from his pipe ascended into the air and spread like a cloud overhead. And the sage Oloffe bethought him, and he hastened and climbed up to the top of one of the tallest trees, and saw that the smoke spread over a great extent of country; and as he considered it more attentively, he fancied that the great volume of smoke assumed a variety of marvellous forms, where in dim obscurity he saw shadowed out palaces and domes and lofty spires, all of which lasted but a moment, and then faded away, until the whole rolled off, and nothing but the green woods were left. And when St. Nicholas had smoked his pipe, he twisted it in his hatband, and laying his finger beside his nose, gave the astonished Van Kortlandt
à very significant look; then mounting his waggon, he returned over the tree tops and disappeared.
And Van Kortlandt awoke from his sleep greatly instructed, and he aroused his companions and related to them his dream : and interpreted its that it was the will of St. Nicholas that they should settle down and build the city here. And that the smoke of the pipe was a type how vast should be the extent of the city'; inasmuch as the volumes of its smoke should spread over a vast extent of country. And they all with one voice assented to this interpretation excepting Mynheer Tenbroeck, who declared the meaning to be that it should be a city wherein a little fire should occasion a great smoke, or, in other words, a very vapouring little city-both which interpretations have strangely come to pass.
THE PRIDE OF THE VILLAGE.
In the course of an excursion through one of the remote counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross roads that lead through the more secluded parts of the country, and stopped one afternoon at a village, the situation of which was beautifully rural and retired. There was an air of primitive simplicity about its inhabitants, not to be found in the villages which lie on the great coach roads. I determined to pass the night there, and having taken an early dinner, strolled out to enjoy the neighbouring scenery.
My ramble, as is usually the case with travellers, soon led me to the church, which stood at a little distance from the village. Indeed, it was an object of some cúriosity, its old tower being completely overrun with ivy, so that only here and there a jutting buttress, an angle of gray wall, or a fantastically carved ornament, peered through the verdant covering. It was a lovely evening. The early part of the day had been dark and showery, but in the afternoon it bad cleared up; and though sullen clouds still hung over head, yet there was a broad
tract of golden sky in the west, from which the setting sun gleamed through the dripping leaves, and lit up all nature into a melancholy smile. It seemed like the parting hour of a good Christian, smiling on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giving, in the serenity of his decline, an assurance that he will rise again in glory.
I had seated myself on a half sunken tombstone, and was musing, as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, on past scenes and early friends on those who were distant and those who were dead and indulging in that kind of melancholy fancying, which has in it something sweeter even than pleasure. Every now and then, the stroke of a bell from the neighbouring tower fell on my ear; its topes were in unison with the scene, and, instead of jarring, chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before I recollected, that it must be tolling the knell of some new tenant o the tomb.
Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village green; it wound slowly along a lane; was lost, and re-appeared through the breaks of the hedges, until it passed the place where I was sitting. The pall was supported by young girls, dressed in white; and another, about the age of seventeen, walked before, bearing a chaplet of white flowers; a token that the deceased was a young and unmarried female. The corpse was followed by the parents. They were a venerable couple of the better order of peasantry.
The father seemed to repress his feelings; but his fixed eye, contracted brow, and deep', ly-furrowed face, showed the struggle that was passsing
within. His wife hung on his arm, and wept aloud with the convulsive bursts of a mother's sorrow.
I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was placed in the centre aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, with a pair of white gloves, were hung over the seat which the deceased had occupied.
Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of funeral service; for who is so fortunate as never to have followed some one he has loved to the tomb? but when performed over the remains of innocence and beauty, thus laid low in the bloom of existence--what can be more affecting ?
At thát simple, but most solemn consignment of the body to the graves" Earth to earth-ashes to ashes-dust to dust!--the tears of the youthful companions of the deceased flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to struggle with his feelings, and to comfort himself with the assurance, that the dead are blessed which die in the Lord; but the mother only thought of her child as a flower of the field cut down and withered in the midst of its sweetness: she was like Rachel, “ mourning over her children, and would not be comforted.”
On returning to the inn, I learnt the whole story of the deceased. It was a simple one, and such as has of., ten been told. She had been the beauty and pride of the village. Her father had once been an opulent farmer, but was reduced in circumstances. This was an only child, and brought up entirely at home, in the simplicity of rural life. She had been the pupil of the village pastor, the favourite of his little flock. The good man watched over her education with paternal care; it was limited, and suitable to the sphere in which she was to move; for he only sought to make her an ornament to her sta-, tion in life, not to raise her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of her parents, and the exemption from all ordinary occupations, had fostered a natural grace and delicacy of character, that accorded with the fragile love
liness of her form. She appeared like some tender plant of the garden, blooming aocidentally amid the hardier natives of the fields.
The superiority of her charms was felt. and acknowledged by her companions, but without envy; for it was surpassed by the unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her manners. It might be truly said of her: “ This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems,
The village was one of those sequestered spots, which still retain some vestiges of old English customs. It had its rural festivals and holyday pastimes, and still