Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση


'Twas said

[ocr errors]

and adorned.” But the sight of sleek well-fed poor wicket, which was opened by an aged blue-coat boys in pictures was, at that time, I woman, meanly clad. Suspicion was believe, little consolatory to him, or us, the ripened into certainty. The informers had living ones, who saw the better part of our secured their victim. They had him in their provisions carried away before our faces by toils. Accusation was formally preferred, and harpies ; and ourselves reduced (with the retribution most signal was looked for. Mr. Trojan in the hall of Dido)

Hathaway, the then steward (for this happened To feed our mind with idle portraiture.

a little after my time), with that patient sagacity L. has recorded the repugnance of the school which tempered all his conduct, determined to to gags, or the fat of fresh beef boiled ; and investigate the matter, before he proceeded to sets it down to some superstition. But these sentence. The result was, that the supposed unctuous morsels are never grateful to young mendicants, the receivers or purchasers of the palates (children are universally fat-haters), mysterious scraps, turned out to be the parents and in strong, coarse, boiled meats, unsalted, of an honest couple come to decay-whom are detestable. A gag-eater in our time was this seasonable supply had, in all probability, equivalent to a goule, and held in equal detesta- saved from mendicancy ; and that this young tion. suffered under the imputation : stork, at the expense of his own good name,

had all this while been only feeding the old He ate strange flesh.

birds !—The governors on this occasion, much He was observed, after dinner, carefully to to their honour, voted a present relief to the gather up the remnants left at his table (not family of and presented him with a silver many, nor very choice fragments, you may medal. The lesson which the steward read credit me)-and, in an especial manner, these upon RASH JUDGMENT, on the occasion of disreputable morsels, which he would convey publicly delivering the medal to. I believe away, and secretly stow in the settle that stood would not be lost upon his auditory.-I had at his bedside. None saw when he ate them. left school then, but I well remember It was rumoured that he privately devoured He was a tall, shambling youth, with a cast in his them in the night. He was watched, but no eye,not at all calculated to conciliate hostile pretraces of such midnight practices were dis- judices. I have since seen him carrying a baker's coverable. Some reported, that, on leave-days, basket. I think I heard he did not do quite so he had been seen to carry out of the bounds a well by himself, as he had done by the old folks. large blue check handkerchief, full of something. I was a hypochondriac lad ; and the sight of This then must be the accursed thing. Con- a boy in fetters, upon the day of my first putting jecture next was at work to imagine how he on the blue clothes, was not exactly fitted to could dispose of it. Some said he sold it to the assuage the natural terrors of initiation. I was beggars. This belief generally prevailed. He of tender years, barely turned of seven ; and went about moping. None spake to him. No had only read of such things in books, or seen one would play with him. He was excommu- them but in dreams. I was told he had run nicated; put out of the pale of the school. He away. This was the punishment for the first was too powerful a boy to be beaten, but he offence. As a novice I was soon after taken underwent every mode of that negative punish- to see the dungeons. These were little, square, ment, which is more grievous than many Bedlam cells, where a boy could just lie at his stripes. Still he persevered. At length he length upon straw and a blanket-a mattress, was observed by two of his school-fellows, who I think, was afterwards substituted—with a were determined to get at the secret, and had peep of light, let in askance, from a prisontraced him one leave-day for that purpose, to orifice at top, barely enough to read by. Here enter a large worn-out building, such as there the poor boy was locked in by himself all day, exist specimens of in Chancery-lane, which are without sight of any but the porter who brought let out to various scales of pauperism, with him his bread and water-who might not speak open door and a common staircase. After to him ;—or of the beadle, who came twice à him they silently slunk in, and followed by week to call him out to receive his periodical stealth up four flights, and saw him tap at a chastisement, which was almost welcome,

because it separated him for a brief interval suffering inflicted. Report, of course, gave from solitude :—and here he was shut up by out the back knotty and livid. After scourging, himself of nights out of the reach of any sound, he was made over, in his San Benito, to his to suffer whatever horrors the weak nerves, friends, if he had any (but commonly such poor and superstition incident to his time of life, runagates were friendless), or to his parishmight subject him to.* This was the penalty for officer, who, to enhance the effect of the scene, the second offence. Wouldst thou like, reader, had his station allotted to him on the outside to see what became of him in the next degree? of the hall gate.

The culprit, who had been a third time an These solemn pageantries were not played offender, and whose expulsion was at this time off so often as to spoil the general mirth of the deemed irreversible, was brought forth, as at community. We had plenty of exercise and some solemn auto da fe, arrayed in uncouth and recreation after school hours; and, for myself, most appalling attire — all trace of his late I must confess, that I was never happier, than “ watchet weeds” carefully effaced, he was in them. The Upper and the Lower Grammar exposed in a jacket resembling those which Schools were held in the same room; and an London lamplighters formerly delighted in, imaginary line only divided their bounds. with a cap of the same. The effect of this Their character was as different as that of the divestiture was such as the ingenious devisers inhabitants on the two sides of the Pyrenees. of it could have anticipated. With his pale and The Rev. James Boyer was the Upper Master; frighted features, it was as if some of those but the Rev. Matthew Field presided over that disfigurements in Dante had seized upon him. portion of the apartment of which I had the In this disguisement he was brought into the good fortune to be a member. We lived a life hall (L’s favourite state-room), where awaited as careless as birds. We talked and did just him the whole number of his school-fellows, what we pleased, and nobody molested us. We whose joint lessons and sports he was thence- carried an accidence, or a grammar, for form; forth to share no more; the awful presence of but, for any trouble it gave us, we might take the steward, to be seen for the last time ; of two years in getting through the verbs deponent, the executioner beadle, clad in his state robe and another two in forgetting all that we had for the occasion ; and of two faces more, of learned about them. There was now and then direr import, because never but in these the formality of saying a lesson, but if you had extremities visible. These were governors ;

not learned it, a brush across the shoulders two of whom by choice, or charter, were always (just enough to disturb a fly) was the sole reaccustomed to officiate at these Ultima Suppli- monstrance. Field never used the rod ; and in cia; not to mitigate (so at least we understood truth he wielded the cane with no great good it), but to enforce the uttermost stripe. Old will—holding it “like a dancer.” It looked in Bamber Gascoigne, and Peter Aubert, I re- his hands rather like an emblem than an instrumember, were colleagues on one occasion, when ment of authority; and an emblem, too, he was the beadle turning rather pale, a glass of brandy ashamed of. He was a good easy man, that did was ordered to prepare him for the mysteries. not care to ruffle his own peace, nor perhaps set Thescourging was, after the old Roman fashion, any great consideration upon the value of juvelong and stately. The lictor accompanied the nile time. He came among us, now and then, criminal quite round the hall. We were gene- but often stayed away whole days from us ; rally too faint with attending to the previous and when he came it made no difference disgusting circumstances, to make accurate to us—he had his private room to retire report with our eyes of the degree of corporal to, the short time he staid, to be out

of the sound of our noise. Our mirth and * One or two instances of lunacy, or attempted suicide,

uproar went on.

We had classics of our accordingly, at length convinced the governors of the im

own, without being beholden to “insolent policy of this part of the sentence, and the midnight

Greece or haughty Rome,” that passed current torture to the spirits was dispensed with.—This fancy of dungeons for children was a sprout of Howard's brain ;

among us

s-Peter Wilkins-the Adventures of for which (saving the reverence due to Holy Paul) methinks,

the Hon. Captain Robert Boyle—the Fortunate I could willingly spit upon his statue.

Blue Coat Boy—and the like. Or we cultivated a turn for mechanic and scientific operations ; brance of Field comes back with all the soothmaking little sun-dials of paper; or weaving ing images of indolence, and summer slumbers, those ingenious parentheses called cat-cradles ; and work like play, and innocent idleness, and or making dry peas to dance upon the end of Elysian exemptions, and life itself a “playing a tin pipe ; or studying the art military over holiday.” that laudable


“ French and English,” Though sufficiently removed from the jurisand a hundred other such devices to pass away diction of Boyer, we were near enough (as I the time-mixing the useful with the agreeable have said) to understand a little of his system. -as would have made the souls of Rousseau We occasionally heard sounds of the Ululantes, and John Locke chuckle to have seen us. and caught glances of Tartarus. B. was a rabid

Matthew Field belonged to that class of pedant. His English style was crampt to barbamodest divines who affect to mix in equal pro- rism. His Easter anthems (for his duty obliged portion the gentleman, the scholar, and the him to those periodical flights) were grating as Christian ; but, I know not how, the first ingre- scrannel pipes*.—He would laugh, ay, and dient is generally found to be the predominating heartily, but then it must be at Flaccus's quibble dose in the composition. He was engaged in about Rex—-or at the tristis severitas in cultu, or gay parties, or with his courtly bow at some inspicere in patinas, of Terence—thin jests, which episcopal levee, when he should have been at their first broaching could hardly have had ris attending upon us. He had for many years the enough to move a Roman muscle.- He had two classical charge of a hundred children, during wigs, both pedantic, but of different omen. The the four or five first years of their education ; one serene, smiling, fresh powdered, betokening and his very highest form seldom proceeded a mild day. The other, an old, discoloured, further than two or three of the introductory unkempt, angry caxon, denoting frequent and fables of Phædrus. How things were suffered bloody execution. Woe to the school, when to go on thus, I cannot guess. Boyer, who was he made his morning appearance in his passy, or the proper person to have remedied these passionate wig. Nocometexpounded surer.-J.B. abuses, always affected, perhaps felt, a delicacy had a heavy hand. I have known him double in interfering in a province not strictly his own. his knotty fist at a poor trembling child (the I have not been without my suspicions, that he maternal milk hardly dry upon its lips) with a was not altogether displeased at the contrast “Sirrah, do you presume to set your wits at we presented to his end of the school. We me?”—Nothing was more common than to see were a sort of Helots to his young Spartans. him make a headlong entry into the schoolHe would sometimes, with ironic deference, room, from his inner recess, or library, and, send to borrow a rod of the Under Master, and with turbulent eye, singling out a lad, roar out, then, with Sardonic grin, observe to one of “Od's my life, sirrah,” (his favourite adjurahis upper boys, “how neat and fresh the twigs tion)“I have a great mind to whip you,”looked.” While his pale students were batter then, with as sudden a retracting impulse, ing their brains over Xenophon and Plato, Aling back into his lair—and, after a cooling with a silence as deep as that enjoined by the lapse of some minutes (during which all but Samite, we were enjoying ourselves at our ease the culprit had totally forgotten the context) in our little Goshen. We saw a little into the drive headlong out again, piecing out his imsecrets of his discipline, and the prospect did perfect sense, as if it had been some Devil's but the more reconcile us to our lot. His Litany, with the expletory yell—“ and I will, thunders rolled innocuous for us : his storms

* In this and every thing B. was the antipodes of his came near, but never touched us; contrary coadjutor. While the former was digging his brains for to Gideon's miracle, while all around were crude anthems, worth a pig-nut, F. would be recreating drenched, our fleece was dry* His boys his gentlemanly fancy in the more flowery walks of the turned out the better scholars ; we, I suspect,

Muses. A little dramatic effusion of his, under the namo have the advantage in temper.

His pupils

of Vertumnus and Pomona, is not yet forgotten by the

chroniclers of that sort of literature. It was accepted by cannot speak of him without something of

Garrick, but the town did not give it their sanction.-B. terror allaying their gratitude ; the remem

used to say of it, in a way of half-compliment, half-irony, * Cowley.

that it was too classical for representation.

too.”—In his gentler moods, when the rabidus as it is rare, to find the same arm linked in furor was assuaged, he had resort to an ingeni- yours at forty, which at thirteen helped it to ous method, peculiar, for what I have heard, turn over the Cicero De Amicitia, or some tale to himself, of whipping the boy, and reading of Antique Friendship, which the young heart the Debates, at the same time; a paragraph, even then was burning to anticipate !-Coand a lash between ; which in those times, Grecian with S. was Th-, who has since when parliamentary oratory was most at a executed with ability various diplomatic funcheight and flourishing in these realms, was not tions at the Northern courts. Th-was a calculated to impress the patient with a vene- tall, dark, saturnine youth, sparing of speech, ration for the diffuser graces of rhetoric. with raven locks. Thomas Fanshaw Middleton

Once, and but once, the uplifted rod was followed him (now Bishop of Calcutta), a known to fall ineffectual from his hand—when scholar and a gentleman in his teens. He has droll squinting W— having been caught putting the reputation of an excellent critic ; and is the inside of the master's desk to a use for author (besides the Country Spectator) of a which the architect had clearly not designed Treatise on the Greek Article, against Sharpe. it, to justify himself, with great simplicity M. is said to bear his mitre high in India, averred, that he did not know that the thing had where the regni nocitas (I dare say) sufficiently been forewarned. This exquisite irrecognition of justifies the bearing. A humility quite as priany law antecedent to the oral or declaratory, mitive as that of Jewel or Hooker might not struck so irresistibly upon the fancy of all who be exactly fitted to impress the minds of those heard it (the pedagogue himself not excepted) Anglo-Asiatic diocesans with a reverence for -that remission was unavoidable.

home institutions, and the church which those L. has given credit to B.'s great merits as an fathers watered. The manners of M. at school, instructor. Coleridge, in his literary life, has though firm, were mild and unassuming.pronounced a more intelligible and ample Next to M. (if not senior to him) Richards, encomium on them. The author of the Country author of the Aboriginal Britons, the most Spectator doubts not to compare him with the spirited of the Oxford Prize Poems; a pale, ablest teachers of antiquity. Perhaps we studious Grecian. Then followed poor Scannot dismiss him better than with the pious ill-fated M--! of these the Muse is silent. ejaculation of C.-when he heard that his old

Finding some of Edward's race master was on his death-bed : “ Poor J. B.!-

Unhappy, pass their annals by. may all his faults be forgiven ; and may he be Come back into memory, like as thou wert wafted to bliss by little cherub boys all head in the day-spring of thy fancies, with hope like and wings, with no bottoms to reproach his sub- a fiery column before thee—the dark pillar not lunary infirmities.”

yet turned—Samuel Taylor Coleridge-LogiUnder him were many good and sound cian, Metaphysician, Bard !-How have I seen scholars bred.–First Grecian of my time was the casual passer through the Cloisters stand Lancelot Pepys Stevens, kindest of boys and still, intranced with admiration (while he men, since Co-grammar-master (and insepa- weighed the disproportion between the speech rable companion) with Dr. T

What an

and the garb of the young Mirandula), to hear edifying spectacle did this brace of friends thee unfold, in thy deep and sweet intonations, present to those who remembered the anti- the mysteries of Jamblichus, or Plotinus (for socialities of their predecessors !—You never even in those years thou waxedst not pale at such met the one by chance in the street without a philosophic draughts), or reciting Homer in wonder, which was quickly dissipated by the his Greek, or Pindar—while the walls of almost immediate sub-appearance of the other. the old Grey Friars re-echoed to the accents of Generally arm-in-arm, these kindly coadjutors the inspired charity-boy!—Many were the “ witlightened for each other the toilsome duties of combats,” (to dally awhile with the words of their profession, and when, in advanced age, old Fuller), between him and C. V. Le G, one found it convenient to retire, the other “which two Ibehold like a Spanish great galleon, was not long in discovering that it suited him and an English man of war ; Master Coleridge, to lay down the fasces also. Oh, it is pleasant, / like the former, was built far higher in learning,


He made the best executor in the world ; he and Sawbridge, and Bull, and Dunning, and was plagued with incessant executorships ac- Pratt, and Richmond,--and such small policordingly, which excited his spleen and soothed tics.his vanity in equal ratios. He would swear A little less facetious, and a great deal more (for Tipp swore) at the little orphans, whose obstreperous, was fine rattling, rattle-headed rights he would guard with a tenacity like the Plumer. He was descended,,not in a right grasp of the dying hand, that commended their line, reader, (for his lineal pretensions, like his interests to his protection. With all this there personal, favoured a little of the sinister bend,) was about him a sort of timidity--(his few from the Plumers of Hertfordshire. So tradition enemies used to give it a worse name)-a some- gave him out; and certain family features not thing which, in reverence to the dead, we will a little sanctioned the opinion. Certainly old place, if you please, a little on this side of the Walter Plumer (his reputed author) had been heroic. Nature certainly had been pleased to a rake in his days, and visited much in Italy, endow John Tipp with a sufficient measure of and had seen the world. He was uncle, the principle of self-preservation. There is a bachelor-uncle to the fine old whig still living, cowardice which we do not despise, because it who has represented the county in so many has nothing base or treacherous in its elements ; successive parliaments, and has a fine old manit betrays itself, not you : it is mere tempera- sion near Ware. Walter flourished in George ment; the absence of the romantic and the the Second's days, and was the same who was enterprising ; it sees a lion in the way, and will summoned before the House of Commons about not, with Fortinbras, “ greatly find quarrel in a business of franks, with the old Duchess of a straw,” when some supposed honour is at Marlborough. You may read of it in Johnstake. Tipp never mounted the box of a stage- son's Life of Cave. Cave came off cleverly in coach in his life ; or leaned against the rails of that business. It is certain our Plumer did a balcony; or walked upon the ridge 'of a nothing to discountenance the rumour. He parapet; or looked down a precipice; or let rather seemed pleased whenever it was, with off a gun ; or went upon a water-party ; or all gentleness, insinuated. But, besides his would willingly let you go, if he could have family pretensions, Plumer was an engaging helped it: neither was it recorded of him, that fellow, and sang gloriously. for lucre, or for intimidation, he ever forsook Not so sweetly sang Plumer as thou sangest, friend or principle.

mild, child-like, pastoral M-; a flute's Whom next shall we summon from the breathing less divinely whispering than thy dusty dead, in whom common qualities become Arcadian melodies, when, in tones worthy of uncommon? Can I forget thee, Henry Man, Arden, thou didst chant that song sung by the wit, the polished man of letters, the author, Amiens to the banished Duke, which proclaims of the South Sea House? who never enteredst the winter wind more lenient than for a man thy office in a morning, or quittedst it in mid- to be ungrateful. Thy sire was old surly day-(what didst thou in an office ?)—without M- the unapproachable church-warden of some quirk that left a sting! Thy gibes and Bishopsgate. He knew not what he did, when thy jokes are now extinct, or survive but in he begat thee, like spring, gentle offspring of two forgotten volumes, which I had the good blustering winter :-only unfortunate in thy fortune to rescue from a stall in Barbican, not ending, which should have been mild, concilithree days ago, and found thee terse, fresh, atory, swan-likeepigrammatic, as alive. Thy wit is a little gone Much remains to sing. Many fantastic shapes by in these fastidious days—thy topics are rise up, but they must be mine in private:staled by the “new-born gauds” of the time : already I have fooled the reader to the top of -but great thou used to be in Public Ledgers, his bent ;—else could I omit that strange and in Chronicles, upon Chatham, and Shel- creature Woollett, who existed in trying the burne, and Rockingham, and Howe, and Bur- question, and bought litigations ? — and still goyne, and Clinton, and the war which ended

stranger, inimitable, solemn Hepworth, from in the tearing from Great Britain her re- whose gravity Newton might have deduced the bellious colonies,-and Keppel, and Wilkes, law of gravitation. Ilow profoundly would he

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »