Imágenes de páginas

between the two. “It was very odd” ture perchance-a mere surmisema -no two natures could be more dissi- something that would be nothing in milar—but, in making a salad, we in- any other case, if it light upon the corporate oil and vinegar together, by name of a female-leaveth her not as the addition of mustard, and so-but, it found her. The impression is efafter all, “ it's very odd !”

fected upon the tablet of our menory, “A dog that brings a bone to you and however slight and almost imperwill steal one from you,” said we, as ceptible it may at first seeni, it will a young mongrel whelp (for our reve re-appear unbidden, at some future rend is no sportsman) thrust himself time. “ Shall we admit a doubt ?” to the hearth rug. “Well, I declare!” said we, “ upon such authority too? ejaculated it in the bonnet and rustling No, Sally shall be as immaculate in silk, “ I thought how it would be. I our eyes, as when we first recomsaw the dear creature watching at mended her to the widow Jones; when Syms the butcher's door, and I met she was ncither child nor lassie, and that Sally, Mrs. Jones's maid, whom her only ambition and hope were, that they call “pretty,' pshaw! and I look- she might be thought worthy of some ed back, and saw her go into the wages, by which she might obtain a shop, and it is not the first time, I'll few of the grocer's luxuries for her venture to say, that she's been there, poor mother.” without any business, for I know Mrs. But it would not do. Poor Sally Jones always goes to market herself. appeared to us like one of those beauSo-well done, poor Mungo !” Here tiful peaches, over the bloom of which it stooped to caress the animal, but the reptile snail hath crawled, and left Mungo showed his teeth, most dog- its slime behind. It may not be rigishly ; bravo ! thought we; now, valled by any on the tree, but we pass mongrel as thou art, dear unto us it by for no other reason, than that the shalt thou henceforth be, if thou wilt stain is thereon. We care not to exabut make a snatch at those five lean mine farther. The disgusting crawlbones, though they be unworthy of a ing thing hath been there, and defiled gripe. But the Rector interfered to it. Alas! even thus is it with the vicsave that withered hand, and yet, “it tims of idle gossip, or rather, to speak was very odd,” not a word was said correctly, of calumny. We look-we in defence of poor pretty Sally, who hesitate-perchance we pity, and then, had no teeth wherewith to bite the like the Levite and the Pharisee, we slanderer, and whose character was, “pass by on the other side.” And at least, worth a bone. “ Bone of not we alone, the coarser and grosser his bone shall she be, however,” said portion of our race, but, “It's very we, as we stalked away from the odd !" Ye! ye, the fairest creatures Rectory in no placid mood, and, con- of God's fair crection ! Ye withdraw sequently, deeming ourselves some- the light of your countenance. Ye what better than the generality of our are like the bounding graceful herd of fellow creatures. “ If that fellow deer, that roam the forest in passing Syms dare to play the fool with poor beauty, surpassed only by your own. Nanny Inglis's daughter !” and we If perchance the hunter's arrow strike grasped a “grievous crabtree cudgel,” in suddenly among them, they startle which graced our right hand, most at the sound, and, as though borne upcrabbedly.

on the wings of the wind, scour orer We began then to ihink the matter bill and dale in wild dismay, dreading orer. Why was it, that, holding the perchance the hunter's spear, but apslanderer, as we did, and yet do, in parently still more fearful of being utter contempt, the slander should again joined hy that poor stricken one, have wrought any effect upon us ? that pants afar off after them in vain, “ It is very odd !” but so it is, that a and then, in tears and loneliness, lays wbisper, true or false, aimed at a ven- him down to die unpitied, and, in a

2 ATHENEVM, vol. 2, 3d series.



few moments, forgotten by those with nose, reading the Bible, or, at the whom erewhile he, breast to breast, farthest, nothing less edifying than the brushed aside the young underwood, Whole Duty of Man. No such or cropped the mossy turf. The poor thing. There were the spectacles, dumb animals are right. They have and there was the widow Jones in her no skill to medicate the wound, no arm-chair, with clean-starched ruff, power to extract the winged shaft, and cuff, and apron, perusing Moore's they know that the spoiler cometh to Loves of the Angels! (More puellaseize his prey. But ye have power, rum matrumque !)

" It was very and ye are well aware that ye have; odd !” If there be any invention by and, on certain occasions, mayhap use which an old woman may be ground it wisely and well. Exert it then, and young, it must be poetry. The good chase not the innocent or thoughtless soul was quite in the extatics, and victim, but the detracter, from among seemed essaying to believe herself a you. Guide ye the steps of the young, sort of Peri !-indeed, she gave us a friendless, and the orphan. First er- look, which appeared sufficiently rors are seldom the consequences of whitosical considering all things.depravity, and she who stands giddy “ It's very odd,” thought we. We are upon the brink of a precipice, may not very vain ; but we began to think often be recalled by a friendly word: of the Dragon of Wantley, and had albut, another step taken, the poor in- most commenced carolling aloud, fatuated being is, perchance while ye Oh, oh, Mr. Moore ! you son, &c." are deliberating, rushing headlong to when we recollected in what presence destruction,

Now the widow Jones Ye know how little we may do for may have been a pretty woman in her the poor persecuted victims. Ye know day; but, certes, hath now as fair a that even the proffer of our advice and title to the Bruce motto Fuimus, as assistance individually, rendereth the any of that noble family. breath of the slanderer doubly veno Alas, for human nature ! -We had,

in a moment of weakness, beguiled, Really, ladies, “it is very odd” partly by bright eyes, and carried that


do not combine to send these away captive by “the harmony of hybrids to Coventry. Verily, on our sweet sounds,” both which have a knees would we willingly go to crave wondrous influence upon our usual stosuch a boon.—Away! away with them ical inflexibility, particularly after from among ye ! Then shall the or- Burgundy or Champaigne, (and the phan be glad, and the “widow's heart squire “delighteth to honor us," dur. shall sing for joy." For the unpro- iny our summer haunt, and brief wintected, the poor, and her “who hath ter visit, by the trout stream,)-we no helper,” are marks for the bolt of bad written some execrable rhymes in the slanderer.

one of those man-traps, called So, pondering on these and similar « Album,” which, gay and gaudy as fantasies, and having narrowly es- the snake, reposeth in splendor in the caped slipping from a narrow wooden drawing-room, at the manor-house, bridge into the trout stream, we found ever ready to unclasp and unfold itour footsteps wending unconsciously self to the dismay of loitering, loungtowards the widow Jones's. Nay, ing swains. Now he who committeth madam, why that smile ? “ It's very himself in such a book, achieveth unto odd!” The widow Jones can scarce- himself a fame, the average extent of ly be less than sixty-five years of age, which shall be about five miles in diand we are—no matter what. It is ameter in the country,-about twice not our wont to visit “ lone women," the number of family circles in Lonas they are called; and that may pos- don,--and as many “flats” in Edinsibly account for our expecting to find burgh.-Alas! the widow Jones had the widow Jones, with spectacles on heard of our " original,” though she



had never seen it. If she had, per- member to have seen elsewhere in haps we might have escaped ; but, as bygone days. matters were, nothing would the pro There were only two faces in the voking old body talk about save poe- room beside our own, (which we have try for the first half hour. Then fol- not been latterly much in the habit of lowed a rhapsody of " Paradise and scrutinizing,) so we looked upon Salthe Peri," and she subsequently seem- ly’s-it was all beauty and innocence. ed disposed to converse on anything Heavens ! thought we, and shall this rather than Sally, who had open- butcher, with his marrow-bones and ed the door to us on our arrival, cleaver-" It was very odd !”- What and had “ been running in our head” concern could it possibly be of ours if ever since. And is this, thought we, she liked the man of beef ? He had in very deed, the wife of Poor Simon thrown as good men as ever we were, Jones, the village lawyer? whose in our best days, upon the village Burns was him of the “ Justice,” and green. Did that mortify our pride ? the law ecclesiastical ? Who knew Not a whit. We were angry we no difference between John o' Groat scarcely knew why, and cared not and Tam o' Shanter ? Who had wherefore; and were resolved to have heard of one Sir Thomas More, but of the matter set to rights, and sisted to Anacreon Thomas never ? Who the bottom. So, when Sally left the would have been puzzed to discrimi- room, we spake of her; and the winate between an epic and an epidemic ? dow Jones, now in her natural sphere, Unto whom a bill of inclosure appear- gave us so good an account of the lased a finer composition, than aught that sie, that when we took our leave, and Milton or the wondrous Shakspeare she opened the door for us, we slipped ever indited ? Poor Simon ! well is a half-crown into her band. Bless it for thee thy bones are in peace, her little eyes !-how she looked !-and thy plodding spirit resteth No doubt she was thinking of her from its labors ! for, of a truth, hadst poor mother.

We confess we were thou lived to see thy Penelope turn so not; but forth with betook ourself to very blue,-worse than the blue devils the butcher's, who had arrived a few with which thou wert occasionally be- minutes before us, and was busily set, what would it have been to thy engaged in cutting up a lamb. bewildered sense? What couldst “ It is very odd !” thought we-for thou hare done with a cerulean wife ? though not given to regard the “ omniA sorry Simon wouldst thou have ap- nous,” we cannot help an occasional peared in her eyes ! But this comes touch of weakness, when odd “coinof “ Reading Societies !”

cidences" present themselves, and we Now the widow Jones had a back- reflect that the ancients, before whom door, which caused a marvellous turn occasionally our boasted intellects in our conversation.

twinkle like stars around the moon, “ Pray,” inquired she, most ear- thought somewhat more deeply of nestly, as though the thing was of the these matters. “ We have been killutmost importance, “ have you seen ing to-day,” said the butcher.· The Lights'

Humph !” said we, “ likely enough. “ The butcher has brought the li- And what have you killed ?”—“ As ver, ma'am,” said pretty Sally, open- fine a young lamb, your honor, as ever ing the door at the moment; “ but the was taken from its dam; it cuts up lights are gone to Miss Simkins's delightfully tender.”—“Humph! anycats.”

thing else ?”—“Aye, indeed,” repli“Why didn't he come the front ed the fellow, “ I've floored as great door ?" inquired Mrs. Jones.

a calf as ever I see'd in my born “ I don't know, indeed, ma'am,” days.”_“It was very odd!” Why replied Sally ; and there was a light should we have been out of humor ? in her eyes, the like of which we re But we were, and positively half sav



[ocr errors]


age at the moment, and the next we he listlessly 'roameth from Dan to burst out into a fit of laughter at our Beersheba, seeking rest and finding own folly. The butcher, in his turn, none, and ever exclaiming, “ Cui looked as th ugh he wished to say, bono !" doth not understand this, let “ It is very odd !” yet be held his him be of good heart, for, “ there are peace respectfully. Indeed, we ever more things in heaven and earth” have been treated with no small defe- than have - been dreamt” of in his rence by the villagers, (among whorn “philosophy.” We, too, have “heard we are wont to sojourn during the the chimes at midnight," and summer months,) principally, we ima “ Run each extreme of folly through, gine, from the general belief that we

And lived with half the town." are of that privileged class which “ It is very odd,” that men should “much learning" bath warped aside blunder so aboininably in their search froin pursuing the ordinary course of after happiness. Our senses mankind. This character we obtain- given to us for the purposes of ened alınost on our first visit, having joyment, and our reason was meant been descried by some rustics,

to direct us. Well, « it is very odd !”, “ Recubans sub tegmine sagi,"

-away we go, in expectation of find

ing “Happiness, our being's end and at the “grim and sultry hour of noon,” aim,” by gallopping after fashion, folreading in a “printed book,” when ly, and even vice; anything rather we had given out that we were going than poor reason, who is kicked into “a-fishing." It was not the way to catch the ditch by the way-side, to struggle fish, they were certain, and yet our forth

she may. And for our basket was generally well filled.

senses-What do we with them?

Do very odd !” they said; and

we not everything in our power to thenceforth we were never expected deprave and vitiate them? Stewto do anything like anybody else. pans, and all the infernal“ baterie de And, sooth to say, we seldom did ; cuisine,” are invented for the purpose for the feeling of independence, as

of bribing the appetite to admit into Sancho Panza saith of sleep,“ doth, the system a series of villainous comas it were, cover a man as with a blank- pounds that shall destroy our natural et."

There are, perchance, times iaste and relish for that which is simand places when and where men must ple and wholesome. The eye is tu“mow, and chatter, and grin,” and tored to judge of beauty by Fashion, play the ape among their fellow-men; and to consider even lovely woman but, where the pure streamı glides by

frightful,” if her bead be not bound in its eloquent beauty, and the thou

up tight as the wax of a Burgundy sand graceful forms and tints of the cork, or encumbered by a square yard waving foliage rustle around, and the of thatch, patch, pomatum, or lace, as clouds sail high in the blue firmament that capricious goddess may dictate. above our head, our spirit leaps with- Under her guidance, the exquisite and in us with joy and gladness, we inhale endless variety of forin displayed in the free air of Heaven, ourselves as vegetation becometh

rugged and free; and exclaim, in the fulness of

coarse to the eye of man; and be our delight,

planteth his trees in straight lines, and " Thy spirit, Independence ! let me share, clippeth them into the misshapen sem

Lord of ibe lion heart and eagle eye !" blance of birds, beasts, and hobgobAnd we feel that we are indebted to lins. And, for his ears, he knoweth and blest by ONE alone-Him “in not what he would have. Could he, whom we live, and move, and have in bis fastidiousness, command the our being.”

birds of the air, the rooks, as they Now, if the man who hath lived an passed overhead, might caw,

“I'd be artificial life, till his enjoyments fade a butterfly;” the nightingale warble, before himn for very weariness, so that Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled;"

and the pigeon and the ring-dove, he of the old school, for we never en“Rookety coo,” “ I've been roam- courage your “Waterloo” cutting ing.” “It is very odd !”

shops-your village barber is, geneAnd yet this is man! Phaugh! rally, a good civil sort of a fellow, and Fob! This is the “similis Deo" somewhat of an angler withal, a name animal, who strutteth to and fro upon which with us covereth a multitude of the face of the earth, “ vaunting him- sins. And so old Jerry M‘Nab is a self and being puffed up,” with scorn.. bit of a favorite, or “crony” of ours ; ful brow and haughty mien, as though and he opened his door, and stood he verily believed that he had made with glistening eyes to welcome us, himself, and all the vast creation with ere we had crossed half the space bewhich he is surrounded !

tween him and the butcher's. Now, « Mais, retournons à nos moutons.” Jerry is firmly persuaded, that, when -Let us return to the butcher's a man's hair begins to baldify,” shop. We ordered the calf's head, (that is his term,) it cannot be cut too opining that Cunegunda might bedevil often ; therefore, in ten seconds, we it into mock turtle for to-morrow, when were installed in his arm-chair, and the rector, the squire, and the captain, enveloped in a table-cloth, and the are to dine at our cottage. And then, glittering scissars were flourishing “it is very odd,” we knew not what about our pericranium. Such bath to say next. Had we been intent on been the legitimate situation for gosmischief, however, we are firmly per- sipping from time immemorial, and suaded we should have been at no we felt that we had a right to inquire loss; but ever thus is it when a good if any news were stirring in the vildeed is to be performed_a lion start- lage. “None,” was the reply ; and, eth up in the way. It suddenly oc- unlike the generality of inqui rers, we curred to us that we might really be were pleased to bear that such was doing mischief, if there was nothing the case. But a wretched shaver in“going on” between the parties, deed is he, who, when he hath got a should we introduce the name of such man down in one of his chairs, and, a lilly of the valley as Sally Inglis to as it were, at his mercy, cannot say such a long-legged, hard-trotting something to him. Yet such we have butcher. Then, why came we here ? seen, (our flesh seems crimping on It was not to seek after a calf's head, our bones as we think thereof,) when for we had all that we wanted in that compelled to commit a “morning call,” way at home, and, moreover, we gene- and endure a sumposion aoinon, for rally leave those inatters to Cunegun- what wot we of the adulterated white, da. “ It was very odd," and we mayhap Cape at home made, which thought it more particularly odd, goeth its eternal round, with a tail of when, casting our eyes on the opposite gingerbread, or jaw-breaking biscuits ? side of the way, we saw the short Think not, fair and gentle lady ! name and long pole of M‘Nab the that we do not properly estimate thine barber, the very man of all others, industry in the manufacturing, or conwithin ten miles round, to throw a cocting of thy “home made,” from light upon the subject. There he sat, thy worthy grandmother's receipt. according to his wonted habit, twist- No-we agree with you perfectly, and ing a few hairs about, and composing think “it ought to be kept in the falamentations over the days of perukes, mily.We really swallow a glass, cauliflowers, toupees, and powder; occasionally, at three houses : but, as while bis own locks had assumed a a general custom, we have not dared snowy whiteness, as though despairing to make the experiment since a lady, of keeping up their long accustomed for whom we feel the greatest respect, alpine tint from extraneous and towards whom we source.

ious to make the agreeable, took us Now, your village barber, that is, in hand, and played us as skilfully




« AnteriorContinuar »