« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
I gazed with intense interest upon to put any faith in old women's gosa a city where a million of human sip, or Moore's Almanack; he therebeings were pursuing pleasure or fore does not imagine that a comet business, mischief or downright vil- has had a "finger in the pie” lately, lainy; the bird's eye view of it which but he has revived the notion, and was before me diminished its ag- pushed it very far too, that the obgregate effect. The inhabitants were liquity of the earth's axis is conto me as ants in their little cells, and stantly varying, and that we are I a giant of Brobdingnag contem- getting every year more and more plating them. The mighty accumu- under the perpendicular action of the lation of buildings seemed but one sun's rays. He had consulted the entire mass, no streets, nor passages Gentleman's Magazine of forty years of communication being visible. Yet ago, and found that seventy degrees among these ants what schemes were of Fahrenheit was then the extreme devising, what scenes acting, what of summer heat, and of late it had acts perfecting, what ingenious me- been ten or fifteen degrees more elechanisms constructing, what acts of vated several times in the season. virtue and benevolence performing, This was basis enough for one of his what vices committing, what monu- theories. He accordingly asserted ments of glory rearing ;-royalty, le- that the Regent's Canal will one day gislation, nobility, learning, science, be choked up with mangroves; that trade, and commerce, were concen- palms and plantains will flourish on trated before me in a mightier whole the banks of the Thames ; date trees than they had ever before been in the overshadow the sands of Hounslow ; history of the world; and its fame and cocoas and ananas spring up and glory had gone forth and been wild in Hyde Park, while the boa felt in the most remote corners of the constrictor writhes himself in many earth. Pondering in this way, I gra- “ fold voluminous” round the old dually lost the irritability from which oaks of Windsor Forest, now and I had suffered during the heat of the then feasting on royal venison, or day. The “ intellectual being” ac- gorging a prime Merino ram.
He tively employed itself in conjecturing confidently anticipates that the manwhat might be the predominating go, kissmiss, and tamarind, will be. passion of the congregated mass, as plentiful at our desserts as apples
are now; that our ladies, a little quisite satires on more elevated staduller in complexion than at present, tions. When we seek to observe the will bathe themselves in rose water, natural man only, the more he is diand go shopping in Bond-street invested of the mere garnish of life the their palanquins; that the perfumed better. Outside the garden fence, hookah will supersede the segar; we saw two well-dressed persons, indigo and cochineal be grown at with double-barrelled guns, of prime Chelsea ; the window tax, from the workmanship. A round table with uselessness of glass, die a natural bottles and glasses upon it stood death, to the consternation of some near them. There were several lookfuture Chancellor of the Exchequer; ers on, and a servant, and five or six and tallow candles, butter, and fat ragged boys in attendance. A box London mutton, be altogether dis- which had contained ten or twelve pensed with. As Montesquieu has dozen of unlucky sparrows destined demonstrated that laws depend upon for the amusement, some of thein dimate, M. asserts that our present scarcely fledged, was under the care ones will all be repealed, and others of an attendant who supplied the enacted more suitable to tropical ha- place of the fugitives or slain, with bits. A plurality of wives will be fresh victims. These birds were let tolerated; our lords will establish out of a secondary box, at about harams; while our cits, jealous as twenty yards distance, having a trap Turks of their wives and daughters, door which opened with a string on will keep them closely locked up in a signal being given for the purpose. the loftiest stories of their dwellings. Though so near to the shooters, not He admits, however, that we shall more than one in ten was killed outnot get the warmth of India more right; numbers were cruelly maimthan a month together in the year, ed, and some flew away unhurt, not for a century or two to come.
from the mercy, but clumsiness of Full of this subject, he continued the marksmen. These two wouldexplaining the effect of this change be sportsmen had amused themselves on our habits and manners, as we thus the entire afternoon of a burning walked to the bottom of the hill, on day, when, as they say at Naples, the side of Chalk Farm, that most “ None but Englishmen and dogs pugnacious of tea gardens, celebrated would be out of doors.” A number in the annals of duelling, and re- of the poor birds lay about on the nowned among volunteer riflemen. ground, convulsed and bleeding to There many a tyro in the art of death in the hot sun. M. and I passed rifle-shooting, first soils the virgin these men of coarse natures with purity of his weapon with a leaden disgust; my friend observing, that bullet, and pulls the trigger at the un- he was sorry
« human blood was not endangered target with heroic reso- the only kind wantonly spilled at that lution. As we proceeded further, we place. The English vulgar, wheheard the hum of voices, and saw a ther those in mind among the better number of people assembled in the orders, like the late Mr. Windham, garden of the tavern. It is pleasant or those in manners and person a. to observe holiday-keeping folks in mong the lower, are far more cruel their relaxations from the affairs of to animals than any classes of perbusiness. The Frenchman dances, sons in other countries. The agonies the Italian both sings and dances, of suffering nature only heighten the Dutchman smokes in a state of their flagitious merriment. The true apparent insensibility and apathy, sportsman derives little advantage and the Englishman drinks himself from these practices, and they always drunk before he utters more than a tend to brutalize the heart. monosyllable, and finishes with a We now entered the garden, surboxing match. The visitants of a rounded by boxes, in which people tea-garden may furnish as good mat- of every age, and both sexes, were ter for observation as the more showy regaling themselves. Every spot was devotees to Almack's or the Opera. occupied with a table or form, save The humour of Hogarth, in his de- where the green sward extended it. lineations of vulgar life, is as con- self, and a number of children were spicuous and interesting as his ex- gambolling. We entered the tavern,
o thin pota
and while sipping our port, amused tures of primeval innocence, and lit ourselves with contemplating the up by something that approached company outside. English people, of very near to happiness; their fine a certain class in particular, have a eyes flashing with animation as they strange method of pleasure taking. flung about the flowers in the wanNothing can be more extraordinary tonness of their delight. Can there than their sullenness and stiff un- be original sin ?-the child of the bending manner on such occasions. Hottentot and Briton, of the Negro The man of virtue cannot hold vice and Esquimaux, is the same innoin greater detestation than most of cent, light-hearted joyous thing ; it our good citizens do the least ap- must be maturer age that makes sinproach to flexibility of limb and fea- ners of us, begging pardon of divines ture, or the levity of an innocent for the supposition. mirthfulness. They drink and smoke, Ohappy years ! once more who would not or both, and may easily, by the sti- be a boy! mulus of the bottle, bé roused into an argument on business or politics;
There is something of the innocent but all is serious. A dinner is their playfulness of children in its amusegrand fête, and a speech to the chairments seen in genius. Scipio played an indispensable duty; at every toast and Mr. Burke used to roll on the
at ducks and drakes on the sea-shore; eyes sparkle, and the fresh glass is swallowed as if it were to be carpet among the children and share the last. They scorn
their pastimes. The generality of men tions,” and gulp down bumpers that cannot do this; they must preserve no heads but their own can with their imagined dignity even among stand, and then taciturnity is changed attended these young ones, looked
children. The nursemaids too, who into loquacity, and their eloquence becomes boisterous. Meetings for careless and happy; one of them, charitable purposes, art, science, li- sweetly pretty, held an earnest con terature, and politics, 'must finish versation with a young man whom with a dinner. The lawyers eat their
we fancied her lover, for the dialogue way to the bar, and the judges hold was low, and the hearts of both seemtheir feasts at the assizes. In truth
ed to be upon their lips. it is at such times only that English- to a table, at which sat a little prim
Our attention was next attracted men relax and seem to be enjoying life and society; at all others, in figure of a man, his wife, and son, spite of their many virtues, their
rusticating over their punch. Many manners are cold and austere, and
a wishful eye was cast by the sickly they seem incapable of simple lively children at play hard by. Once he
looking urchin towards the other enjoyments of any kind. Three plain went towards them as if he wished to well-dressed men were sitting in a box opposite to us; two of them ex
mingle in their sport; and a discord. changed a few syllables about the
ant scream from his mother, who deweather, but the third sat as if he
sired him not to “ wenture upon the had but just emerged from the cave nasty vet grass," was not sufficient of Trophonius, and left even the her unwieldy bulk after him ; it could
to recall him, till she arose, and rolled shadow of every former recollection behind him. All three did not seem
not be said she ran, as if soto possess more than one idea a- Elle courut alors pour la premiere fois.. mong them that belonged not to the and she brought him to her side, pamevery-day concerns of life. Their pering his disappointment with a notion of enjoyment might be guessed glass of punch. She seemed to be to imply an absence from labour, a one of those women whom nature had neutrality between pleasure and pain, well treated in respect to person, una momentary insensibility to every til her suppers and strong waters bething the regions of fancy or rea- came ascendants. She was an imlity that was not under their noses. mense rotunda, and more like an What a contrast they afforded to a animated woolpack than any other groupe of fine healthy looking chil- thing earthly. Her studded red face dren near them, who were all enjoy- reminded me of the sign of the full ment; their countenances the pic- moon in my native village, which the
artist for want of leaf-gold had co- equitable distribution of the good vered with vermilion. Her voice, things of this life, had not the girls of as she snappishly addressed her hus- a large charity school at that moment band, is still present to my ear; but entered the gardens. They are a a Scotsman playing a clarionet pre- pleasing sight, these charity schools, vented our catching the dialogue they cover a multitude of our sins. which ensued with her spouse, whose Noʻnation under heaven has ever yet meekness and resignation were too come near us in deeds of charity. It plainly the result of long discipline, is true we are rich, and therefore the conviction that resistance was un- can give more than others, but in availing, and that only to imagine these days we have demands enough treason towards her would infallibly upon us that leave little superfluity. make him its victim.
Much money is no doubt given away The clarionet player was an old ostentatiously to shine forth in public man with white locks that hung over advertisements, for we have our Phahis shoulders, and that meagre but risees as well as the Jews had. But never unmeaning physiognomy which we have also a stock of pure unadultedistinguishes his countrymen. He rated feeling—a redeeming charity of had lost an eye, and stooped and hob- the most exalted kind, that does hobled in his gait, but his features were nour to human nature. The sums good though timeworn; they had that expended in good done “ by stealth” kind of expression that told his life's are enormous, and perhaps equal in tale better than his tongue could have amount all that is given away pubdone; they spoke of care, sorrow, licly. Let it be recollected too, that and isolation. He was dressed in this benevolence is free from superragged plaid, and as he tuned a stition. Few think, at the time they merry air to amuse the bystanders, are giving, that the act will propiwe thought how very little his feel- tiate secret crime, and recommend ings must agree with it. He should them to the Being who has been sufhave played only the melancholy ficiently bountiful to them to enable music of his country, for he had them to give-modern charity in this tasted of the waters of bitterness. country is therefore of the most hom After long serving as a soldier in nourable species. The children beevery climate, he was discharged with fore mentioned had come to be rehis glory and wounds for a subsist- galed with tea on their annual public ence, and begged his way to his na- day, when they are marshalled to tive place in Sutherlandshire, where gratify their patrons as they did us, his fathers had dwelt for ages. He by their wholesome neat appearance, found it a desart. Its inhabitants and to exhibit their proficiency in had emigrated to the frozen shores reading and writing. The sight is of Canada, or haply
heart-cheering, it is the triumph of Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
social life over savage, of intellect
over ignorance, of Christianity over Two-thirds of the county were the thousand creeds that divide mandepopulated to make sheep walks ; the moral tie, (why was it not a le
By this time the sun had set, and gal one?) that bound the lord of the the coolness tempted us to ramble soil to his tenantry, scorned and vio- homewards. I might enlarge my lated. He wept over the heartless description with other incidents, but desolation before him and fled from the reader will doubtless think I havę it for ever. We dropped our mite said enough of objects encountered into the old man's bonnet, and he in an evening ramble; yet he will not went away playing, “Queen Mary's do amiss to remember that subjects Lament.” M. in the mean time was are sometimes valuable for their simrepeating to himself,
plicity, and that a home scene by Has heaven reserved in pity to the poor Teniers Wilkie is universally No pathless waste-no undiscover'd shore? pleasing, while the Last Judgment No secret island in the boundless main? of Michael Angelo or the Cartoons
And he would have communicated of Raphael must be “caviare to the to me a scheme for removing the evils general."
W. of poverty, and achieving a more
LYCUS, THE CENTAUR.
Nec fuerat pudas pæna videre Deas. Propertius.
There I stood without stir, yet how willing to flee,