Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

and talent. J. E. then-to the eye of a common and Art never turned out a more elaborate observer at least-seemeth made up of contra- orator than he can display himself to be, upon dictory principles. The genuine child of im- this favourite topic of the advantages of quiet pulse, the frigid philosopher of prudence—the and contentedness in the state, whatever it phlegm of my cousin's doctrine is invariably at be, that we are placed in. He is triumphant war with his temperament, which is high san- on this theme, when he has you safe in guine. With always some fire-new project in one of those short stages that ply for the his brain, J. E. is the systematic opponent of western road, in a very obstructing manner, innovation, and crier down of every thing that at the foot of John Murray's street-where has not stood the test of age and experiment. you get in when it is empty, and are expected With a hundred fine notions chasing one an- to wait till the vehicle hath completed her just other hourly in his fancy, he is startled at the freight-a trying three quarters of an hour to least approach to the romantic in others : and, some people. He wonders at your fidgetiness, determined by his own sense in every thing, _“ where could we be better than we are, thus commends you to the guidance of common sitting, thus consulting ?—“ prefers, for his part, sense on all occasions.—With a touch of the a state of rest to locomotion,”—with an eye eccentric in all which he does, or says, he is all the while upon the coachman,--till at only anxious that you should not commit your- length, waxing out of all patience, at your self by doing anything absurd or singular. want of it, he breaks out into a pathetic remonOn my once letting slip at table, that I was strance at the fellow for detaining us so long not fond of a certain popular dish, he begged over the time which he had professed, and me at any rate not to say so—for the world declares peremptorily, that “the gentleman would think me mad. He disguises a passion in the coach is determined to get out, if he ate fondness for works of high art (whereof does not drive on that instant.” he hath amassed a choice collection), under Very quick at inventing an argument, or the pretext of buying only to sell again—that detecting a sophistry, he is incapable of attendhis enthusiasm may give no encouragement ing you in any chain of arguing. Indeed he to yours. Yet, if it were so, why does that makes wild work with logic; and seems to piece of tender, pastoral Domenichino hang still jump at most admirable conclusions by some by his wall ?—is the ball of his sight much process, not at all akin to it. Consonantly more dear to him ?—or what picture-dealer can enough to this, he hath been heard to deny, talk like him?

upon certain occasions, that there exists such Whereas mankind in general are observed a faculty at all in man as reason ; and wondereth to warp their speculative conclusions to the how man came first to have a conceit of it, bent of their individual humours, his theories enforcing his negation with all the might of are sure to be in diametrical opposition to his reasoning he is master of. He has some specuconstitution. He is courageous as Charles of lative notions against laughter, and will mainSweden, upon instinct ; chary of his person tain that laughing is not natural to him—when upon principle, as a travelling Quaker.—He peradventure the next moment his lungs shall has been preaching up to me, all my life, the

crow like Chanticleer. He says some of the doctrine of bowing to the great—the necessity best things in the world—and declareth that of forms, and manner, to a man's getting on

wit is his aversion. It was he who said, upon in the world. He himself never aims at seeing the Eton boys at play in their grounds either, that I can discover,—and has a spirit, What a pity to think, that these fine ingenuous that would stand upright in the presence of lads in a few years will all be changed into frivolous the Cham of Tartary. It is pleasant to hear Members of Parliament! him discourse of patience -—-extolling it as His youth was fiery, glowing, tempestuous the truest wisdom--and to see him during and in age he discovereth no symptom of the last seven minutes that his dinner is get-cooling. This is that which I admire in him. ting ready. Nature never ran up in her haste I hate people who meet Time half-way. I am a more restless piece of workmanship than for no compromise with that inevitable spoiler. when she moulded this impetuous cousin- While he lives, J. E. will take his swing.-It does me good, as I walk towards the street of With great love for you, J. E. hath but a my daily avocation, on some fine May morning, limited sympathy with what you feel or do. to meet him marching in a quite opposite He lives in a world of his own, and makes direction, with a jolly handsome presence, and slender guesses at what passes in your mind. shining sanguine face, that indicates some pur- He never pierces the marrow of your habits. chase in his eye-a Claude-or a Hobbima, He will tell an old established playgoer, that for much of his enviable leisure is consumed Mr. Such-a-one, of So-and-so (naming one of at Christie's and Phillips's—or where not, to the theatres), is a very lively comedian—as a pick up pictures, and such gauds. On these piece of news ! He advertised me but the occasions he mostly stoppeth me, to read a other day of some pleasant green lanes which short lecture on the advantage a person like he had found out for me, knowing me to be a me possesses above himself, in having his time great walker, in my own immediate vicinityoccupied with business which he must do— who have haunted the identical spot any time assureth me that he often feels it hang heavy these twenty years !—He has not much respect on his hands-wishes he had fewer holidays, for that class of feelings which goes by the and goes off - Westward Ho!- chanting a name of sentimental. He applies the definitune, to Pall Mall-perfectly convinced that tion of real evil to bodily sufferings exclusively he has convinced me—while I proceed in my --and rejecteth all others as imaginary. He opposite direction tuneless.

is affected by the sight, or the bare supposiIt is pleasant again to see this Professor tion, of a creature in pain, to a degree which of Indifference doing the honours of his new I have never witnessed out of womankind. purchase, when he has fairly housed it. You A constitutional acuteness to this class of must view it in every light, till he has found sufferings may in part account for this. The the best-placing it at this distance, and at animal tribe in particular he taketh under his that, but always suiting the focus of your sight especial protection. A broken-winded or to his own.

You must spy at it through your spur-galled horse is sure to find an advocate fingers, to catch the aërial perspective-though in him. An over-loaded ass is his client for you assure him that to you the landscape shows

He is the apostle the brute kindmuch more agreeable without that artifice. the never-failing friend of those who have Woe be to the luckless wight, who does not none to care for them. The contemplation only not respond to his rapture, but who should of a lobster boiled, or eels skinned alite, will drop an unseasonable intimation of preferring wring him so, that “all for pity he could die.” one of his anterior bargains to the present! It will take the savour from his palate, and

— The last is always his best hit-his“ Cynthia the rest from his pillow, for days and nights. of the minute." Alas! how many a mild With the intense feeling of Thomas Clarkson, Madonna have I known to come in- a Ra- | he wanted only the steadiness of pursuit, and phael !-keep its ascendancy for a few brief unity of purpose, of that “true yoke-fellow moons—then, after certain intermedial degra- with Time,” to have effected as much for the dations, from the front drawing-room to the Animal, as he hath done for the Negro Creation. back gallery, thence to the dark parlour, But my uncontrollable cousin is but imperfectly adopted in turn by each of the Carracci, under formed for purposes which demand co-operasuccessive lowering ascriptions of filiation, tion. He cannot wait. His ameliorationmildly breaking its fall — consigned to the plans must be ripened in a day. For this oblivious lumber-room, go out at last a Lucca reason he has cut but an equivocal figure in Giordano, or plain Carlo Maratti ! — which benevolent societies, and combinations for the things when I beheld — musing upon the alleviation of human sufferings. His zeal chances and mutabilities of fate below, hath constantly makes him to outrun, and put out, made me to reflect upon the altered condition his coadjutors. He thinks of relieving of great personages, or that woeful Queen of while they think of debating. He was blackRichard the Second

balled out of a society for the Relief of *** set forth in pomp,

* * * * * * * *, because the fervour of his She came adorned hither like sweet May Sent back like Hollowmass or shortest day.

humanity toiled beyond the formal apprehen


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

sion, and creeping processes, of his associates. | for the most exact, regular, and everyway conI shall always consider this distinction as a sistent kinsman breathing. patent of nobility in the Elia family!

In my next, reader, I may perhaps give Do I mention these seeming inconsistencies you some account of my cousin Bridget—if to smile at, or upbraid, my unique cousin ? you are not already surfeited with cousinsMarry, heaven, and all good manners, and the and take you by the hand, if you are willing understanding that should be between kins- to go with us, on an excursion which we made folk, forbid !With all the strangenesses of a summer or two since, in search of more this strangest of the Elias, I would not have him cousinsin one jot or tittle other than he is ; neither

Through the green plains of pleasant Hertfordshire. would I barter or exchange my wild kinsman


Bridget Elia has been my housekeeper a native disrelish of anything that sounds odd for many a long year. I have obligations to or bizarre. Nothing goes down with her, that Bridget, extending beyond the period of is quaint, irregular, or out of the road of commemory. We house together, old bachelor mon sympathy. She “holds Nature more and maid, in a sort of double singleness; with clever.” I can pardon her blindness to the such tolerable comfort, upon the whole, that I, beautiful obliquities of the Religio Medici ; for one, find in myself no sort of disposition but she must apologise to me for certain disreto go out upon the mountains, with the rash spectfulinsinuations, which she has been pleased king's offspring, to bewail my celibacy. We to throw out latterly, touching the intellectuals agree pretty well in our tastes and habits- of a dear favourite of mine, of the last century yet so, as “ with a difference.” We are gene- but one—the thrice noble, chaste, and virtuous, rally in harmony, with occasional bickerings --but again somewhat fantastical, and original-as it should be among near relations. Our brained, generous Margaret Newcastle. sympathies are rather understood, than ex- It has been the lot of my cousin, oftener pressed ; and once, upon my dissembling a perhaps than I could have wished, to have had tone in my voice more kind than ordinary, my for her associates and mine, free-thinkerscousin burst into tears, and complained that leaders, and disciples, of novel philosophies I was altered. We are both great readers in and systems; but she neither wrangles with, different directions. While I am hanging over nor accepts, their opinions. That which was (for the thousandth time) some passage in old good and venerable to her, when a child, Burton, or one of his strange contemporaries, retains its authority over her mind still. She she is abstracted in some modern tale, or never juggles or plays tricks with her underadventure, whereof our common reading-table standing. is daily fed with assiduously fresh supplies. We are both of us inclined to be a little too Narrative teases me. I have little concern in the positive ; and I have observed the result of progress of events. She must have a story- our disputes to be almost uniformly this—that well, ill, or indifferently told—so there be life in matters of fact, dates, and circumstances, stirring in it, and plenty of good or evil acci- it turns out, that I was in the right, and my dents. The fluctuations of fortune in fiction

But where we have -and almost in real life - have ceased to differed upon moral points ; upon something interest, or operate but dully upon me. Out- proper to be done, or let alone ; whatever of-the-way humours and opinions—heads with heat of opposition, or steadiness of conviction, some diverting twist in them—the oddities of I set out with, I am sure always, in the longauthorship please me most. My cousin has run, to be brought over to her way of thinking,

cousin in the wrong.

[ocr errors]

I must touch upon the foibles of my the care of Bridget ; who, as I have said, is kinswoman with a gentle hand, for Bridget older than myself by some ten years. I wish does not like to be told of her faults. She that I could throw into a heap the remainder hath an awkward trick (to say no worse of it) of our joint existences; that we might share of reading in company : at which times she them in equal division. But that is impossible. will answer yes or no to a question, without The house was at that time in the occupation fully understanding its purport—which is pro- of a substantial yeoman, who had married my voking, and derogatory in the highest degree grandmother's sister. His name was Gladman. to the dignity of the putter of the said question. My grandmother was a Bruton, married to a Her presence of mind is equal to the most | Field. The Gladmans and the Brutons are pressing trials of life, but will sometimes still flourishing in that part of the county, but desert her upon trifling occasions. When the the Fields are almost extinct. More than forty purpose requires it, and is a thing of moment, years had elapsed since the visit I speak of ; she can speak to it greatly ; but in matters and, for the greater portion of that period, we which are not stuff of the conscience, she hath had lost sight of the other two branches also. been known sometimes to let slip a word less Who or what sort of persons inherited Mackery seasonably.

End-kindred or strange folk-we were afraid Her education in youth was not much almost to conjecture, but determined some day attended to ; and she happily missed all that to explore. train of female garniture, which passeth by By somewhat a circuitous route, taking the the name of accomplishments.

She was

noble park at Luton in our way from Saint tumbled early, by accident or design, into a Albans, we arrived at the spot of our anxious spacious closet of good old English reading, curiosity about noon. The sight of the old without much selection or prohibition, and farm-house, though every trace of it was effaced browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome from my recollection, affected me with a pleasure pasturage. Had I twenty girls, they should which I had not experienced for many a year. be brought up exactly in this fashion. I know For though I had forgotten it, we had never not whether their chance in wedlock might forgotten being there together, and we had not be diminished by it ; but I can answer for been talking about Mackery End all our lives, it, that it makes (if the worst come to the till memory on my part became mocked with worst) most incomparable old maids.

a phantom of itself, and I thought I knew the In a season of distress, she is the truest com

aspect of a place, which, when present, О how forter ; but in the teasing accidents, and minor unlike it was to that, which I had conjured up perplexities, which do not call out the will to

so many times instead of it ! meet m, she sometimes maketh matters

Still the air breathed balmily about it; the worse by an excess of participation. If she

season was in the “heart of June," and I does not always divide your trouble, upon the could say with the poet, pleasanter occasions of life she is sure always

But thou, that didst appear so fair to treble your satisfaction. She is excellent

To fond imagination, to be at a play with, or upon a visit ; but best,

Dost rival in the light of day when she goes a journey with you.

We made an excursion together a few sum- Bridget's was more a waking bliss than mine, mers since, into Hertfordshire, to beat up the for she easily remembered her old acquaintquarters of some of our less-known relations ance again-some altered features, of course, in that fine corn country,

a little grudged at. At first, indeed, she was The oldest thing I remember is Mackery ready to disbelieve for joy ; but the scene End; or Mackarel End, as it is spelt, perhaps soon re-confirmed itself in her affections—and more properly, in some old maps of Hertford- she traversed every out-post of the old mansion, shire ; a farm-house, — delightfully situated to the wood-house, the orchard, the place where within a gentle walk from Wheathampstead. the pigeon-house had stood (house and birds I can just remember having been there, on were alike flown)—with a breathless impatience visit to a great-aunt, when I was a child, under of recognition, which was more pardonable

Her delicate creation !

perhaps than decorous at the age of fifty odd. farmer's wife, which would have shined in a But Bridget in some things is behind her palace-or so we thought it. We were made years.

welcome by husband and wife equally—we, The only thing left was to get into the house and our friend that was with us.—I had almost --and that was a difficulty which to me singly forgotten him — but B. F. will not so soon would have been insurmountable ; for I am forget that meeting, if peradventure he shall terribly shy in making myself known to read this on the far distant shores where the strangers and out-of-date kinsfolk. Love, | kangaroo haunts. The fatted calf was made stronger than scruple, winged my cousin in ready, or rather was already so, as if in anticiwithout me ; but she soon returned with a pation of our coming; and, after an approcreature that might have sat to a sculptor for priate glass of native wine, never let me forget the image of Welcome. It was the youngest with what honest pride this hospitable cousin of the Gladmans ; who, by marriage with a made us proceed to Wheathampstead, to Bruton, had become mistress of the old mansion. | introduce us (as some new-found rarity) to A comely brood are the Brutons. Six of them, her mother and sister Gladmans, who did females, were noted as the handsomest young | indeed know something more of us, at a time women in the county. But this adopted Bruton, when she almost knew nothing. With what in my mind, was better than they all--more corresponding kindness we were received by comely. She was born too late to have remem- them also—how Bridget's memory, exalted by bered me. She just recollected in early life the occasion, warned into a thousand halfto have had her cousin Bridget once pointed obliterated recollections of things and persons, out to her, climbing a stile. But the name to my utter astonishment, and her own-and of kindred, and of cousinship, was enough. to the astoundment of B. F. who sat by, almost Those slender ties, that prove slight as gos- the only thing that was not a cousin there, samer in the rending atmosphere of a metro- old effaced images of more than half-forgotten polis, bind faster, as we found it, in hearty, names and circumstances still crowding back homely, loving Hertfordshire. In five minutes upon her, as words written in lemon come out we were as thoroughly acquainted as if we had upon exposure to a friendly warmth,—when I been born and bred up together; were familiar, forget all this, then may my country cousins even to the calling each other by our Christian | forget me; and Bridget no more remember, names. So Christians should call one another. that in the days of weakling infancy I was To have seen Bridget, and her-it was like the her tender charge—as I have been her care meeting of the two scriptural cousins ! There in foolish manhood since - in those pretty was a grace and dignity, an amplitude of form pastoral walks, long ago, about Mackery End, and stature, answering to her mind, in this | in Hertfordshire.

[merged small][ocr errors]

At the north end of Cross-court there yet ; it to see my first play.

The afternoon had been stands a portal, of some architectural preten- wet, and the condition of our going (the elder sions, though reduced to humble use, serving folks and myself) was, that the rain should at present for an entrance to a printing-office. cease. With what a beating heart did I watch This old door-way, if you are young, reader, from the window the puddles, from the stillyou may not know was the identical pit ness of which I was taught to prognosticate entrance to old Drury-Garrick's Drury-all the desired cessation! I seem to remember the of it that is left. I never pass it without last spurt, and the glee with which I ran to shaking some forty years from off my shoulders, announce it. recurring to the evening when I passed through We went with orders, which my godfather

[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »