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for all this the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant as ever. If you drop the least expression of sympathy or concern, he takes fire in an instant; swears that he is the richest, and stoutest fellow in the country; talks of laying out large sums to adorn his house or to buy another estate; and, with a valiant swagger and grasping of his cudgel, longs exceedingly to have another bout at quarterstaff.
Though there may be something rather whimsical in all this, yet I confess I cannot look upon John's situation without strong feelings of interest. With all his odd humours and obstinate prejudices, he is a sterling hearted old blade. He may not be so wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himself, but he is at least twice as good as his neighbours represent him. His virtues are all his own; all plain, home-bred and unaffected. His very faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His extravagance savours of his generosity; his quarrelsomeness of his courage; his credulity of his open faith ; his vanity of his pride ; and his bluntness of his sincerity. They are all the redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own oak; rough without, but sound and solid within; whose bark abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth and grandeur of the timber; and whose branches make a fearful groaning and murmuring in the least storm, from their very magnitude and luxuriance. There is something, too, in the appearance of his old family mansion, that is extremely poetical and picturesque; and, as long as it can be rendered comfortably habitable, I should almost tremble to see it meddled with during the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his advisers are no doubt good architects that might be of service; but many I fear are mere levellers, who, when they had once got to work with their mattocks on the venerable edifice, would never stop until they had brought it to the ground, and perhaps buried themselves among the ruins. All that I wish is, that John's present troubles may teach him more prudence in future. That he may cease to distress his mind about other people's affairs; that he may give up the fruitless attempt to promote the good of his neighbours, and the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of the cudgel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get his house into repair ; cultivate his rich estate according to his fancy; husband his income-if he
thinks proper; bring his unruly children into order-if he can; renew the jovial scenes of ancient prosperity; and long enjoy, on his paternal lands, a green, an honourable, and a merry old age.
CONSEQUENCE. The doctor now felt all the dignity of a landholder rising within him. He had a little of the German pride of territory in his composition, and almost looked upon himself as owner of a principality. He began to complain of the fatigue of business; and, was fond of riding out." to look at his estate.” His little expeditions to his lands were attended with a bustle and parade that created a sensation throughout the neighbourhood. His wall-eyed horse stood stamping, and whisking off the flies, for a full hour before the house. Then the doctor's saddle-bags would be brought out and adjusted; then, after a little while, his cloak would be rolled up and strapped to the saddle; then his umbrella would be buckled to the cloak; while, in the mean time, a group of ragged boys, that observant class of beings would gather before the door. At length the doctor would issue forth, in a pair of jack-boots that reached above his knees, and a cocked hat flapped down in front. As he was a short, fat man, he took some time to mount into the saddle and when there, he took some time to have the saddle and stirrups properly adjusted, enjoying the wonder and ad. miration of the urchin crowd. Even after he had set off, he would pause in the middle of the street, or trot back two or three times to give some parting orders which were answered by the housekeeper from the door, or Dolph from the study, or the black cook from the cellar, or the chambermaid from the garret window; and there were generally some last words bawled after him, just as he was turning the corner.
The whole neighbourhood would be aroused by this pomp and circumstance. The cobler would leave his
the barber would thrust out his frizzed head, with a comb sticking in it; a knot would collect at the grocer's door, and the word would be buzzed from one end of the street to the other, “ The Doctor's riding out to his country seat,"
THE COCKLOFT FAMILY.
The Cockloft family, of which I have made such frequent mention, is of great antiquity, if there be any truth in the genealogical troe which hangs up in my cousin's library. They trace their descent from a celebrated Roman Knight, cousin to the progenitor of his Majesty of Britain, who left his native country on occasion of some disgust; and coming into Wales, became a great favourite of Prince Madoc, and accompanied that famous argonaut in the voyage which ended in the discovery of this continent.— Though a member of the family, I have sometimes ventured to doubt the authenticity of this portion of their annals, to the great vexation of cousin Christopher, who is looked up
to as the head of our house ; and who, though as orthodox as a bishop, would sooner give up the whole decalogue than lop off a single limb of the family tree. From time immemorial, it has been the rule for the Cocklofts to marry one of their own name ; and as they always bred like rabbits, the family has increased and multiplied like that of Adam and Eve. In truth their number is almost incredible; and you can hardly go into any part of the country without starting a warren of genuine Cocklofts. Every person of the least observation, or experience, must have observed that where this practice of marrying cousins, and second cousins, prevails in a family, every member, in the course of a few generations, becomes queer, humourous, and original; as much distinguished from the common race of mongrels as if he were of a different species. This has happened in our family, and particularly in that branch of it of which Christopher Cockloft
, Esq. is the head-Christopher, is, in fact, the only married man of the name who resides in town; his family is small
, having lost most of his children when young, by the excessive care he took to bring them up like vegetables. This was one of the first whimwhams, and a confounded one it was; as his children might have told, had they not fallen victims to his experiment before they could talk. He had got from some quack philosopher or other, a notion that there was a complete analogy between children and plants, and that they ought to be both reared alike. Accordingly he sprinkled them every morning with water, laid them out in the
sun, as he did his geraniums; and if the season was remarkably dry, repeated this wise experiment three or four times of a morning. The consequence was, the poor little souls died one after another, except Jeremy and his two sisters; who, to be sure, are a trio of as odd, runty, mummy-looking originals as ever Hogarth fancied in his most happy moments. Mrs. Cockloft
, the larger if not the better half of my cousin, often remonstrated against this vegetable theory ;-and even brought the parson of the parish, in which my cousin's country house is situated, to her aid; but in vain, Christopher persisted, and attributed the failure of his plan to its not having been exactly conformed to. As I have mentioned Mrs. Cockloft, I may as well say a little more about her while I am in the humour. She is a lady of wonderful notability, a warm admirer of shining mahogany, clean hearths and her husband: whom she considers the wisest man in the world, bating Will Wizard and the parson of our parish ; the last of whom is her oracle on all occasions. She goes constantly to church every Sunday and saint's day, and insists upon it that no man is entitled to ascend a pulpit unless he has been ordained by a bishop; nay, . 80 far does she carry her orthodoxy, that all the arguments in the world will never persuade her that a Presbyterian or Baptist, or even a Calvinist, has any possible chance of going to heaven. Above every thing else, however, she abhors Paganism; can scarcely refrain from laying violent hands on a Pantheon when she meets with it; and was very nigh going into hysterics, when my cousin insisted that one of his boys should be christened after our laureate, because the parson of the parish had told her that Pindar was the name of a Pagan writer, famous for his love of boxing-matches, wrestling, and horse-racing: To sum up all her qualifications in the shortest possible way, Mrs. Cockloft" is, in the true sense of the phrase, a good sort of a woman; and I often congratųlate my cousin on possessing her. The rest of the family consists of Jeremy Cockloft, the younger, who has already been mentioned, and the two Miss Cocklofts, or rather the young ladies, as they have been called by the servants time out of mind; not that they are really young, the younger being somewhat on the shady side of thirtybut it has ever been the custom to call every member of the family young under fifty. In the south-east corner of the house, I hold quiet possession of an old-fashioned apartment, where myself and my elbow chair are suffered to amuse ourselves undisturbed, save at meal times. This apartment old Cockloft has facetiously denominated Cousin Launce's Paradise ; and the good old gentleman has two or three favourite jokes about it, which are served up as regularly as the standing family dish of beefsteaks and onions, which every day maintains its station at the foot of the table, in defiance mutton, poultry, or even venison itself. Though the family is apparently small
, yet, like most old establishments of the kind, it does not want for honprary members.
It is the city rendezvous of the Cocklofts; and we are continually enlivened by the company of half a score of uncles, aunts, and cousins in the fortieth remove, from all parts of the county, who profess a wonderful regard for Cousin. Christopher; and overwhelm every member of his household, down to the cook in the kitchen, with their attentions. We have for three weeks past been greeted with the company of two worthy old spinsters, who came down from the country to settle a law suit. They have done little else but retail stories of their village neighbours, knit stockings, and take snuff, all the time they have been here: the whole family are bewildered with church-yard tales of sheeted ghosts, white horses without heads, and with large goggle eyes in their buttocks; and not one of the old servants dare budge an inch after dark without a numerous company at his heels. My cousin's visiters, however, always return his hospitality with due gratitude, and now and then remind him of their fraternal regard, by a present of a pot of apple sweetmeats, or a barrel of sour cider at Christmas, Jeremy displays himself to great advantage among his country relations, who all think him a prodigy, and often stand astounded, in " gaping.wonderment,” at his natural philosophy. He lately frightened a simple old uncle almost out of his wits, by giving it as his opinion that the earth would one day be scorched to ashes by the eccentric gambols of the famous comet, so much talked of; and positively asserted that this world revolved round the sun, and that the moon was certainly inhabited.
The family mansion bears equal marks of antiquity with its inhabitants. As the Cocklofts are remarkable for their attachment to every thing that has remained long in the family, they are bigoted towards their old edifice, and I dare say would sooner have it crumble