Imágenes de páginas

* Oh that I had you but in a wood !! • In a wood l'exclaimed the disappointed dame; "What would you do then? Would you rob me?' It was on this Mrs. Strawbridge that was made the ballad

• My Strawberry-my strawberry

Shall bear away the bell.' To the burthen and tune of which Lord Bath many years afterwards wrote his song on 'Strawberry-hill.?.

Doddington had no children. His estate descended to Lord Temple whom he hated, as he did Lord Chatham, against whom he wrote a pamphlet to expose

the expedition to Rochfort. “ Nothing was more glaring in Doddington than his want of taste, and the tawdry ostentation in his dress and furniture of his houses. At Eastberry, in the great bedchamber, hung with the richest red velvet, was pasted, on every pannel of the velvet, his crest (a hunting-horn supported by an eagle) cut out of gilt leather. The foot-cloth round the bed was a mosaick of the pocketAaps and cuffs of all his embroidered clothes. At Hammersmith his crest, in pebbles, was stuck into the centre of the turf before his door. The chimneypiece was hung with spars representing icicles round the fire, and a bed of purple, lined with orange, was crowned by a dome of peacock’s feathers. The great gallery, to which was a beautiful door of white marble, supported by two columns of lapis lazuli, was not only filled with busts and statues, but had, I think, an inlaid floor of marble; and all this weight was above stairs.

“One day shewing it to Edward, Duke of York, Doddington said, “Sir, some persons tell me that this room ought to be on the ground.' "Be easy, Mr. Doddington,' replied the prince, it will soon be there.'

“ Doddington was very lethargic: falling asleep one day, after dinner, with Sir Richard Temple, "Lord Cobham, the general, the latter reproached Doddington with his drowsiness; Doddington denied having been asleep, and to prove he had not, offered to repeat all Lord Cobham had been saying: Cobham challenged him to do so. Doddington repeated a story, and Lord Cobham owned he had been telling it. "Well,” said Doddington, I did not hear a word of it; but I went to sleep because I knew that about this time of day you would tell that story.'

Lord Waldegrave has said in his Memoirs, that those who could lift the veil from the privacy of royalty, would not envy its hours of retirement; and the picture he has drawn of the independence of George tbc Second and the pleasures of his court is reflected in these pages, in colours that offer no temptation to the eye to dwell upon

it. So little power had the King to consult his own inclinations, that for two years he was unable even to promote Dr. Thomas, the preceptor of his grandson, to the preferment he wished ; and when General Ligonier offered him the nomination to a living in his gift, he warmly thanked him, expressing the utmost joy and gratitude, and saying, “ There is one 1 have long tried to make a prebendary, but my ministers never would give me an opportunity; I am much obliged to you; I will give the living to him.” (Vol. i. p. 255.) To shew, however, that the walls of a palace may occasionally immure characters of as many virtues as few enjoyments, we will close these extracts with the following account of the Princess Caroline, the King's third daughter, who died December 28th, 1757.

“ She had been the favorite of the Queen, who preferred her understanding to those of all her other daughters, and whose partiality she returned with duty, gratitude, affection, and concern. Being in ill health at the time of her mother's death, the Queen told her she would follow her in less than a year. The princess received the notice as a prophecy; and though she lived many years after ii had proved a vain one, she quiited the world, and

«and yet

persevered in the closest retreat, and in constant and religious preparation for ihe grave; a moment she so eagerly desired, that when something was once proposed to her, to which she was averse, she said, “I would not do it to die ! To this impression of melancholy had contributed the loss of Lord Hervey, for whom she had conceived an unalterable passion, constantly marked afterwards by all kind and generous offices to his children. For many years she was totally an invalid, and shut herself up in two chambers in the inner part of St. James's, from whence she could not see a single object. In this inonastic retirement, with no company but of the King, the Duke, Princess Emily, and a few of the most intimate of the court, she led, not an unblameable life only, but a meritorious one: her whole income was dispensed between generosity and charity; and, till her death by shutting up the current discovered the source, the jails of London did not suspect that the best support of their wretched inhabitants was issued from the palace.

"From the last Sunday to the Wednesday on which she died, she declined seeing her family, and when the mortification began, and the pain ceased, she said, 'I feared I should not have died of this !"»

THE FIRST OF MARCH. The bud is in the bough and the leaf is in the bud, And Earth's beginning now in her veins to feel the blood, Which, warm’d by summer suns in th’alembic of the vine, From her founts will over-run in a ruddy gush of wine. The perfume and the bloom that shall decorate the Aower, Are quickening in the gloom of their subterranean bower; And ihe juices meant to feed trees, vegetables, fruits, Unerringly proceed to their pre-appointed roots. How awful the thought of the wonders underground, Of the mystic changes wrought in the silent, dark profound, How each thing upward tends by necessity decreed, And a world's support depends on the shooting of a seed. The Summer's in her ark, and this sunny-pinion's day Is commission's to remark whether Winter holds her sway; Go back, thou dove of peace, with the myrtle on thy wing, Say that floods and tempests cease, and the world is ripe for Spring. Thou hast fann'd the sleeping Earth till her dreams are all of flowers, And the waters look in mirth for their overhanging bowers ; The forest seems to listen for the rustle of its leaves, And the very skies to glisten in the hope of summer eres. Thy vivifying spell has been felt beneath the wave, By the dormouse in its cell, and the mole within its cave, And the summer tribes that creep or in air expand their wing, Have started from their sleep at the summons of the Spring. The cattle lift their voices from the valleys and the hills, And the feather'd race rejoices with a gush of tuneful bills ; And if this cloudless arch fills the poet's song with glee, O thou sunny first of March, be it 'dedicate to thee.


CAMPAIGNS OF A CORNET.-NO. 1. The many valiant names with which our pedigree was enriched, commencing with Ezekiel Thunder, adjutant in the Parliamentary army, who fell at Cropready Bridge, and terminating with Captain John Thunder, who died of the cholera morbus in the campaign against Tippoo Saib, together with the warlike effigies of many a "Captain or colonel, or knight in arms," that filled an old lumber-room in my father's house, had early inspired me with an inclination for a military life. Eleven hundred pounds procured me a cornetey. During the meridian of my martial ardour, one fine summer evening, a letter of very portentous dimensions was put into my hands. My eye immediately caught the authoritative words_-"On his Majesty's service"“ Commander-in-chief's office;" and breaking the large official seal with eagerness, I read as follows : “Sir, I have the honour to inform you, that his Royal Highness the Prince Regent has been pleased to appoint you to a cornetcy in the .... regiment of dragoons, and I am directed by the Commander-in-chief to order you to proceed without delay to Portsmouth, with your horses, to join a detachment of your regiment, under the command of Captain Baron Holster, in order to embark for the army under the command of his excellency Lieut.-General the Earl of Wellington. On your reaching Portsmouth, you will be pleased to report your arrival to the Adjutant-general on that station. I have the honour to be, &c. &c.” “To Cornet Julius Wood Thunder, Hall, Northamptonshire."

After bidding a hasty adieu, and receiving the usual cautions against the dangers of my new situation, I hastened to London, to purchase my paraphernalia and equipments, and in about a week's time from the receipt of my orders I arrived at Portsmouth. I was informed by the adjutant-general, to whom I made the usual report, that the detaehment of my regiment was then in a neighbouring village, where I must immediately join it. I proceeded instantly to the quarters of the commanding officer, at the Spread Eagle inn, where, without delay, I was ushered into the presence of Captain Baron Holster. It was about eight o'clock on a July evening, and the captain was in the full enjoyment of all the delights which a pipe and a bottle can bestow. Taking the pipe from his mouth, he arose on my entrance, and received me with great courtesy. As usual with military men, we soon became intimate: I speedily fathomed my companion's character. He mi truly be called a soldier of fortune, for money seemed his great object, and profit and glory were in his vocabulary synonymous. Mars and Venus appeared to exercise a joint dominion over him, “ both them he served, and of their train was he."

We were engaged the whole of the ensuing day in the embarkation of our horses. Surely some better mode might be discovered than swinging the noble animals in the air by ropes and pullies, to their infinite terror. It was surprising that no accident happened. We rode that night at anchor at Spithead, with the wooden walls of Old England all around us. At day-break the next morning, convoy-signals were hoisted on board a frigate, for all ships proceeding with our convoy to prepare for sea. It was nearly noon before all the vessels were under weigh, and we shaped our course through the beautiful passage of the

Needles, between the Isle of Wight and the main-land. Before dusk we could but imperfectly distinguish the cliffs of Albion, which ere morning had entirely disappeared. As usual in such cases, I suffered all the extremities of sea-sickness, which vanquished even the bravest of us all. Our accommodations and provisions were tolerable, considering our situation; and notwithstanding the dull monotony of sky and ocean, the novelty of a sea-voyage furnished us with considerable amusement.

On the fourth day after leaving Spithead, to the infinite joy of all on board, we discovered the mountains of Spain, at the distance of eighty miles, according to the captain's information. It was, however, four days afterwards ere our feet touched the Spanish soil. As we approached the shore, every eye was strained to discover the flag which floated on the summit of the sea-girt castle of St. Sebastian. Although we could not immediately distinguish whether the Gallic standard still maintained its lofty station, yet the constant cannonading which we heard, and the volumes of smoke which the land-breeze wafted towards us, gave us hope that we were not yet too late to share in the glories of the capture of the castle of St. Sebastian. On the morning of the day on which our convoy left us, the cannonading entirely ceased; but we still observed the tri-coloured flag waving above the battlements, when in one moment the flag-staff appeared perfectly bare, and in another, it was replaced by the British standard. One shout of exultation burst from the different vessels which were within view of this triumphant spectacle; but I must confess that my own patriotic feelings were dashed with a tinge of regret; for, heavy-dragoon as I was, I had set my heart on being the first to drag down this pestilential ensign from its “bad eminence,” and bearing it home, to hang in dread remembrance of my valour-fit companion for the fillebig which my great grandfather won from " a naked Pict,” at the battle of Preston-pans, and the cannon-ball which my maternal uncle carried away with him from the siege of Quebec.

The signal was made by the commodore on the morning of his leaving us, for the masters of the transports to proceed on board his ship, where they received orders to land the troops at Passages, but to anchor in the bay of St. Sebastian's, or, to use his own phrase, to bring up in four-fathom water," until the harbour was clear. chored about two o'clock in the afternoon, and the officers immediately proceeded on shore. The town and castle of St. Sebastian are nearly surrounded by water, connected by a narrow isthmus with the mainland. The bay lies to the west of the town, and in the midst of it rises the beautiful island of Santa Clara. The first attack on the town was made by our batteries, formed on the sand-banks, to the east of the place. After dislodging the enemy from a convent on the shore, which formed a sort of out-post to the town, and from their position in the island, our batteries on sea and land had played upon the castle and town from all sides ; and after having been twice stormed, the town had at last yielded.

As we stepped upon shore, we found ourselves in a new world. The contrast between the people we had left, and those by whom we

rounded, was most striking. The quay was covered with

We an

were now surro

Spanish women, selling strings of onions, bread, wine, and cider; their long plaited hair, reaching entirely down their backs, and their complexions of a sallow hue, impressing us with no very favourable idea of the vaunted Spanish dames. At a short distance from us, near the gate, a Spanish officer was marshalling his men, which, like Falstaff's soldiers, seemed excellent “ food for powder.” Their dress was not remarkable for its uniformity. The French soldiers who had fallen in action, had been stripped to furnish this motley corps; and wherever the eagle appeared in their appointments, it had been reversed. The commander, who seemed well worthy of the high station which he filled, perceiving we were Englishmen, took pains to let us know that his warriors were “ Espagnoles,” ( a fact of which very little doubt eould be entertained,) by continually addressing them by the title of primiero regimento d'Araggon." The appearance of every thing on the outside of the town was highly interesting and amusing ; but the spectacle as we proceeded into the town became disgusting and terrific, to eyes which had not been accustomed to gaze upon the stern features of war. The houses were levelled with the ground, and amidst the ruins lay the dead bodies of English and French, in the last stage of putrefaction. Shocked as we were at this scene, the horrors which presented themselves on the breach were indescribable. The dead lay piled in heaps; and we were forced to step over the bodies of our brave fellow-countrymen, which had lain parching beneath a fervent sun from the time of the storming of the town.

Sickening as the sight was to all of us, it did not seem to affect the stomachs of the Spanish soldiers, who sat, with the utmost composure, eating their meal, which consisted of a dried fish called baccalao, on the dead bodies, which supplied all the usual furniture of a salle à manger. We were fortunate enough, at the moment, to meet with an intelligent English officer of the First Regiment, who had been personally engaged in the storm. He pointed out to us the bodies of three sergeants who had formed part of the forlorn hope, and who seemed to have all fallen at the same instant. The officer who led the forlorn hope escaped the first onset, but was afterwards killed in the town by the enemies' fire. Our informant described very minutely the details of the attack. He pointed out to us the place where the French, by blowing up a mine too suddenly, had destroyed several hundreds of their own men.

We afterwards paid a visit to the castle, where we perceived the dreadful extremities to which the French had been reduced. Our perpetual firing had compelled them to excavate the ground, that they might obtain temporary repose and security. The castle presented nothing remarkable, except a clear spring of fresh water, which rose from the summit of the hill.

We returned to our vessel with no very favourable impression of the pleasures of a siege. The Baron frankly confessed that he by no means coveted the honourable fate of those heroes who had “ filled the breach up with English dead”; and shrewdly observed, that, considering the poverty of the land, he could not discover what honour there was in being engaged in a storming-party. During our dinner he appeared remarkably contemplative, but after a few hours smoking,

« AnteriorContinuar »