« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
IN A LETTER TO B. F. ESQ., AT SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES.
MY DEAR F.-When I think how welcome Now—in good health, and enjoys a fair share the sight of a letter from the world where you of worldly reputation. You are glad to hear were born must be to you in that strange one it. This is natural and friendly. But at this to which you have been transplanted, I feel present reading—your Now he may possibly some compunctious visitings at my long silence. be in the Bench, or going to be hanged, which But, indeed, it is no easy effort to set about a in reason ought to abate something of your correspondence at our distance. The weary transport (i. c. at hearing he was well, &c.), or world of waters between us oppresses the at least considerably to modify it. I am going imagination. It is difficult to conceive how a to the play this evening, to have a laugh with scrawl of mine should ever stretch across it. Munden. You have no theatre, I think you It is a sort of presumption to expect that one's told me, in your land of d- -d realities. You thoughts should live so far. It is like writing naturally lick your lips, and envy me my felifor posterity ; and reminds me of one of Mrs. city. Think but a moment, and you will Rowe's superscriptions, “Alcander to Strephon correct the hateful emotion. Why it is Sunday in the shades.” Cowley's Post-Angel is no morning with you, and 1823. This confusion more than would be expedient in such an of tenses, this grand solecism of two presents, is intercourse. One drops a packet at Lombard- in a degree common to all postage. But if I street, and in twenty-four hours a friend in sent you word to Bath or the Devizes, that I Cumberland gets it as fresh as if it came in was expecting the aforesaid treat this evening, ice. It is only like whispering through a long though at the moment you received the inteltrumpet. But suppose a tube let down from ligence my full feast of fun would be over, yet the moon, with yourself at one end, and the there would be for a day or two after, as you man at the other; it would be some balk to would well know, a smack, a relish left upon the spirit of conversation, if you knew that my mental palate, which would give rational the dialogue exchanged with that interesting encouragement for you to foster a portion at theosophist would take two or three revolu- least of the disagreeable passion, which it was tions of a higher luminary in its passage. Yet in part my intention to produce. But ten for aught I know, you may be some parasangs months hence, your envy or your sympathy nigher that primitive idea-Plato's man—than would be as useless as a passion spent upon the we in England here have the honour to reckon dead. Not only does truth, in these long interourselves.
vals, un-essence herself, but (what is harder) Epistolary matter usually compriseth three one cannot venture a crude fiction, for the fear topics ; news, sentiment, and puns. In the that it may ripen into a truth upon the voyage. latter, I include all non-serious subjects; or What a wild improbable banter I put upon you subjects serious in themselves, but treated after some three years since of Will Weatherall my fashion, non-seriously.--And first, for news. having married a servant-maid! I remember In them the most desirable circumstance, I gravely consulting you how we were to receive suppose, is that they shall be true. But what her-for Will's wife was in no case to be security can I have that what I now send you rejected ; and your no less serious replication for truth shall not, before you get it, unac- in the matter; how tenderly you advised an countably turn into a lie ? For instance, our abstemious introduction of literary topics mutual friend P. is at this present writing-my before the lady, with a caution not to be too
forward in bringing on the.carpet matters more stream-was it ?or a rock no matter-but within the sphere of her intelligence ; your the stillness and the repose, after a weary deliberate judgment, or rather wise suspension journey 'tis likely, in a languid moment of his of sentence, how far jacks, and spits, and mops, Lordship’s hot restless life, so took his fancy could with propriety be introduced as subjects ; that he could imagine no place so proper, in whether the conscious avoiding of all such the event of his death, to lay his bones in. This matters in discourse would not have a worse was all very natural and excusable as a sentilook than the taking of them casually in our ment, and shows his character in a very way; in what manner we should carry our- pleasing light. But when from a passing senselves to our maid Becky, Mrs. William Wea- timent it came to be an act; and when, by a therall being by ; whether we should show positive testamentary disposal, his remains more delicacy, and a truer sense of respect for were actually carried all that way from Will's wife, by treating Becky with our cus- England ; who was there, some desperate sentomary chiding before her, or by an unusual timentalists excepted, that did not ask the deferential civility paid to Becky as to a person question, Why could not his lordship have of great worth, but thrown by the caprice of found a spot as solitary, a nook as romantic, a fate into a humble station. There were diffi- tree as green and pendent, with a stream as culties, I remember, on both sides, which you emblematic to his purpose, in Surrey, in Dorset, did me the favour to state with the precision of or in Devon ? Conceive the sentiment boarded a lawyer, united to the tenderness of a friend. up, freighted, entered at the Custom House I laughed in my sleeve at your solemn pleadings, (startling the tide-waiters with the novelty), when lo ! while I was valuing myself upon this hoisted into a ship. Conceive it pawed about flam put upon you in New South Wales, the and handled between the rude jests of tar devil in England, jealous possibly of any lie- paulin ruffians—a thing of its delicate texture children not his own, or working after my -the salt bilge wetting it till it became as copy, has actually instigated our friend (not vapid as a damaged lustring. Suppose it in three days since) to the commission of a matri- material danger (mariners have some superstimony, which I had only conjured up for your tion about sentiments) of being tossed over in diversion. William Weatherall has married
a fresh gale to some propitiatory shark (spirit Mrs. Cotterel's maid. But to take it in its of Saint Gothard, save us from a quietus so truest sense, you will see, my dear F., that foreign to the deviser's purpose !) but it has news from me must become history to you; happily evaded a fishy consummation. Trace which I neither profess to write, nor indeed it then to its lucky landing—at Lyons shall we care much for reading. No person under a say I have not the map before me- - jostled diviner, can with any prospect of veracity con- upon four men's shoulders—baiting at this duct a correspondence at such an arm's length. town-stopping to refresh at t'other village Two prophets, indeed, might thus interchange waiting a passport here, a licence there ; the intelligence with effect; the epoch of the sanction of the magistracy in this district, the writer (Habbakuk) falling in with the true concurrence of the ecclesiastics in that canton; present time of the receiver (Daniel); but then till at length it arrives at its destination, tired we are no prophets.
out and jaded, from a brisk sentiment, into a Then as to sentiment. It fares little better feature of silly pride or tawdry senseless affecwith that. This kind of dish, above all, re- tation. How few sentiments, my dear F., I quires to be served up hot; or sent off in am afraid we can set down, in the sailor's phrase, water-plates, that your friend may have it as quite sea-worthy. almost as warm as yourself. If it have time to cool, it is the most tasteless of all cold meats. though contemptible in bulk, are the twinkling I have often smiled at a conceit of the late corpuscula which should irradiate a right Lord C. It seems that travelling somewhere friendly epistle-your puns and small jests are, about Geneva, he came to some pretty green I apprehend, extremely circumscribed in their spot, or nook, where a willow, or something sphere of action. They are so far from a hung so fantastically and invitingly over a capacity of being packed up and sent beyond
to Lastly, as to the agreeable levities
sea, they will scarce endure to be transported true that the young Spartans among you are by hand from this room to the next. Their born with six fingers, which spoils their scanvigour is as the instant of their birth. Their ning ?-It must look very odd ; but use renutriment for their brief existence is the intel- conciles. For their scansion, it is less to be lectual atmosphere of the by-standers : or this regretted, for if they take it into their heads last is the fine slime of Nilus—the melior lutus- to be poets, it is odds but they turn out, the whose maternal recipiency is as necessary as greater part of them, vile plagiarists.- Is there the sol pater to their equivocal generation. A much difference to see, too, between the son of pun hath a hearty kind of present ear-kissing a th**f, and the grandson ? or where does the smack with it ; you can no more transmit it in taint stop? Do you bleach in three or in four its pristine flavour, than you can send a kiss.- generations ?-I have many questions to put, Have you not tried in some instances to palm but ten Delphic voyages can be made in a off a yesterday's pun upon a gentleman, and shorter time than it will take to satisfy my has it answered ? Not but it was new to his scruples.—Do you grow your own hemp ?hearing, but it did not seem to come new from What is your staple trade,-exclusive of the you. It did not hitch in. It was like picking national profession, I mean? Your lockup at a village ale-house a two-days’-old news- smiths, I take it, are some of your great paper. You have not seen it before, but you capitalists. resent the stale thing as an affront. This sort I am insensibly chatting to you as familiarly of merchandise above all requires a quick as when we used to exchange good-morrows return. A pun, and its recognitory laugh, out of our old contiguous windows, in pumpmust be co-instantaneous. The one is the famed Hare-court in the Temple. Why did brisk lightning, the other the fierce thunder. you ever leave that quiet corner ?—Why did I ?
A moment's interval, and the link is snapped. —with its complement of four poor elms, from A pun is reflected from a friend's face as from whose smoke-dyed barks, the theme of jesting a mirror. Who would consult his sweet vis- ruralists, I picked my first lady-birds! My nomy, if the polished surface were two or three heart is as dry as that spring sometimes proves minutes (not to speak of twelve months, my in a thirsty August, when I revert to the space dear F.) in giving back its copy?
that is between us ; a length of passage enough I cannot image to myself whereabout you to render obsolete the phrases of our English are. When I try to fix it, Peter Wilkins's letters before they can reach you. But while island comes across me. Sometimes you seem I talk, I think you hear me,—thoughts dallying to be in the Hades of Thieves. I see Diogenes with vain surmiseprying among you with his perpetual fruitless Aye me! while thee the seas and sounding shores lantern. What must you be willing by this
Hold far away. time to give for the sight of an honest man ! Come back, before I am grown into a very You must almost have forgotten how we look. old man, so as you shall hardly know me. And tell me, what your Sydneyites do? are Come, before Bridget walks on crutches. Girls they th**v*ng all day long? Merciful heaven? whom you left children have become sage what property can stand against such a depre- matrons while you are tarrying there. The dation ! The kangaroos—your Aborigines-do blooming Miss W—r (you remember Sally they keep their primitive simplicity un-Europe-w-r) called upon us yesterday, an aged crone. tainted, with those little short fore puds, Folks, whom you knew, die off every year. looking like a lesson framed by nature to the Formerly, I thought that death was wearing pickpocket ! Marry, for diving into fobs they out, I stood ramparted about with so many are rather lamely provided a priori ; but if the healthy friends. The departure of J. W., two hue and cry were once up, they would show as springs back, corrected my delusion. Since fair a pair of hind-shifters as the expertest then the old divorcer has been busy. If you loco-motor in the colony.-We hear the most do not make haste to return, there will be improbable tales at this distance. Pray is it little left to greet you, of me, or mine.
THE PRAISE OF CHIMNEY-SWEEPERS.
I LIKE to meet a sweep-understand me- pence. If it be starving weather, and to the not a grown sweeper-old chimney-sweepers proper troubles of his hard occupation, a pair are by no means attractivebut one of those of kibed heels (no unusual accompaniment) be tender novices, blooming through their first superadded, the demand on thy humanity will nigritude, the maternal washings not quite surely rise to a tester. effaced from the cheek—such as come forth There is a composition, the ground-work of with the dawn, or somewhat earlier, with their which I have understood to be the sweet wood little professional notes sounding like the peep | ’yclept sassafras. This wood boiled down to a peep of a young sparrow; or liker to the matin kind of tea, and tempered with an infusion of lark should I pronounce them, in their aërial milk and sugar, hath to some tastes a delicacy ascents not seldom anticipating the sun-rise ? beyond the China luxury. I know not how
I have a kindly yearning toward these dim thy palate may relish it; for myself, with every specks—poor blots-innocent blacknesses, deference to the judicious Mr. Read, who hath
I reverence these young Africans of our time out of mind kept open a shop (the only own growth-these almost clergy imps, who one he avers in London) for the vending of this sport their cloth without assumption; and from “ wholesome and pleasant beverage,” on the their little pulpits (the tops of chimneys,) in
south side of Fleet-street, as thou approachest the nipping air of a December morning, preach Bridge-street—the only Salopian house—I have a lesson of patience to mankind.
never yet adventured to dip my own particular When a child, what a mysterious pleasure lip in a basin of his commended ingredients it was to witness their operation ! to see a chit -a cautious premonition to the olfactories no bigger than one's-self, enter, one knew not constantly whispering to me, stomach by what process, into what seemed the fauces must infallibly, with all due courtesy, decline Averni—to pursue him in imagination, as he it. Yet I have seen palates, otherwise not went sounding on through so many dark uninstructed in dietetical elegancies, sup it up stifling caverns, horrid shades !—to shudder
with avidity. with the idea that “now, surely, he must be I know not by what particular conformation lost for ever !”—to revive at hearing his feeble of the organ it happens, but I have always shout of discovered day-light-and then (0 found that this composition is surprisingly fulness of delight !) running out of doors, to gratifying to the palate of a young chimneycome just in time to see the sable phenomenon sweeper—whether the oily particles (sassafras emerge in safety, the brandished weapon of his is slightly oleaginous) do attenuate and soften art victorious like some flag waved over a con- the fuliginous concretions, which are somequered citadel! I seem to remember having times found (in dissections) to adhere to the been told, that a bad sweep was once left in a roof of the mouth in these unfledged practistack with his brush, to indicate which way the tioners; or whether Nature, sensible that she wind blew. It was an awful spectacle certainly; had mingled too much of bitter wood in the lot not much unlike the old stage direction in of these raw victims, caused to grow out of the Macbeth, where the “ Apparition of a child earth her sassafras for a sweet lenitive—but crowned, with a tree in his hand, rises." so it is, that no possible taste or odour to the
Reader, if thou meetest one of these small senses of a young chimney-sweeper can convey gentry in thy early rambles, it is good to give a delicate excitement comparable to this mix. him a penny. It is better to give him two- ture. Being penniless, they will yet hang
their black heads over the ascending steam, to populace; the low-bred triumph they display gratify one sense if possible, seemingly no less over the casual trip, or splashed stocking, of a pleased than those domestic animals-cats— gentleman. Yet can I endure the jocularity when they purr over new-found sprig of of a young sweep with something more than valerian. There is something more in these forgiveness.-In the last winter but one, pacing sympathies than philosophy can inculcate. along Cheapside with my accustomed precipi
Now albeit Mr. Read boasteth, not without tation when I walk westward, a treacherous reason, that his is the only Salopian house ; yet slide brought me upon my back in an instant. be it known to thee, reader—if thou art one I scrambled up with pain and shame enough who keepest what are called good hours, thou-yet outwardly trying to face it down, as if art haply ignorant of the fact—he hath a race nothing had happened—when the roguish grin of industrious imitators, who from stalls, and of one of these young wits encountered me. under open sky, dispense the same savoury There he stood, pointing me out with his dusky mess to hambler customers, at that dead time finger to the mob, and to a poor woman (I supof the dawn, when (as extremes meet) the pose his mother) in particular, till the tears rake, reeling home from his midnight cups, for the exquisiteness of the fun (so he thought and the hard-handed artisan leaving his bed to it) worked themselves out at the corners of resume the premature labours of the day, his poor red eyes, red from many a previous jostle, not unfrequently to the manifest dis- weeping, and soot-inflamed, yet twinkling concerting of the former, for the honours of through all with such a joy, snatched out of the pavement. It is the time when, in sum- desolation, that Hogarth But Hogarth mer, between the expired and the not yet has got him already (how could he miss him?) relumined kitchen-fires, the kennels of our in the March to Finchley, grinning at the pyefair metropolis give forth their least satis
-there he stood, as he stands in the factory odours. The rake, who wisheth to picture, irremovable, as if the jest was to last dissipate his o’er-night vapours in more grateful for ever—with such a maximum of glee, and coffee, curses the ungenial fume, as he passeth; minimum of mischief, in his mirth—for the but the artisan stops to taste, and blesses the grin of a genuine sweep hath absolutely no fragrant breakfast.
malice in it—that I could have been content, This is saloop—the precocious herb-woman's if the honour of a gentleman might endure it, darling—the delight of the early gardener, to have remained his but and his mockery who transports his smoking cabbages by break till midnight. of day from Hammersmith to Covent-garden's I am by theory obdurate to the seductivefamed piazzas — the delight, and oh ! I fear, ness of what are called a fine set of teeth. too often the envy, of the unpennied sweep. Every pair of rosy lips (the ladies must pardon Him shouldst thou haply encounter, with his me.) is a casket presumably holding such jewels; dim visage pendent over the grateful steam, but, methinks, they should take leave to“air" regale him with a sumptuous basin (it will them as frugally as possible. The fine lady, cost thee but three-halfpennies) and a slice or fine gentleman, who show me their teeth, of delicate bread and butter (an added half- show me bones. Yet must I confess, that from penny)—so may thy culinary fires, eased of the mouth of a true sweep a display (even to the o’er-charged secretions from thy worse- ostentation) of those white and shining ossifiplaced hospitalities, curl up a lighter volume cations, strikes me as as an agreeable anomaly to the welkin—so may the descending soot in manners, and an allowable piece of foppery. never taint thy costly well-ingredienced soups It is, as when -nor the odious cry, quick-reaching from street to street, of the fired chimney, invite
Turns forth her silver lining on the night. the rattling engines from ten adjacent parishes, It is like some remnant of gentry not quite to disturb for a casual scintillation thy peace extinct; a badge of better days; a hint of and pocket!
nobility :-and, doubtless, under the obscuring I am by nature extremely susceptible of darkness and double night of their forlorn disstreet affronts ; the jeers and taunts of the guisement, oftentimes lurketh good blood, and
A sable cloud