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Old Baron Vanteaser, a man of great wealth,
This description of the two sexes bathing in common in the chief water-drinking place of England so recently as during the American War, would seem incredible if it were not confirmed by an almost cotemporary writer, Smollett, in his last, and incomparably his best novel, "The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker."
Our friend Simkin prepares for a ball:
Thank Heaven, of late, my dear mother, my face is
Not a little regarded at all public places:
For I ride in a chair with my hands in a muff,
And have bought a silk coat, and embroidered the cuff;
But the weather was cold, and the coat it was thin,
So the tailor advised me to line it with skin.
But what with my Nivernois hat can compare,
Bag-wig and laced ruffles and black solitaire's
And what can a man of true fashion denote
Like a yard of good ribbon tied under his throat 1
My buckles and box are in exquisite taste;
The one is of paper, the other of paste;
And my stockings of silk are just come from the hosier,
For to-night I'm to dance with the charming Miss Toser.
He goes to the ball. After two or thee pages of rhapsodies:
But hark! now they strike the melodious string.
The vaulted roof echoes, the mansions all ring;At the sound of the hautboy, the bass and the fiddle, Sir Boreas Blubber steps forth in the middle,
Like a hollyhock, noble, majestic and tall,
Sir Boreas Blubber first opens the ball.
Sir Boreas, great in the minuet known,
Since the day that for dancing his talents were shown
Where the science is practiced by gentlemen grown.
How he puts on his hat with a smile on his face
And delivers his hand with an exquisite grace!
How gently he offers Miss Carrot before us
Miss Carrot Fitz-oozer a niece of Lord Porus!
How nimbly he paces, how active and light!
One never can judge of a man at first sight;
But as near as I guess from the size of his calf
He may weigh about twenty-three stone and a half.
Now why should I mention a hundred or more
Who went the same circle as others before
To a tune that they played us a hundred times o'er1
I must find room for some scraps of a public breakfast. Simkiu invokes the desire of popularity:
'Twas you made my Lord Ragamuffin come here,
You've heard of my Lady Bunbutter, no doubt,
How she loves an assembly, fandango, or rout;
No lady in London is half so expert
At a snug private party her friends to divert;
But they say that of late she's grown sick of the town,
And often to Bath condescends to come down:
Her ladyship's favorite house is "The Bear,"
Her chariot and servants and horses are there.
Now, my lord had the honor of coming down post To pay his respects to so famous a toast;In hopes he her ladyship's favor might win, By playing the part of a host at an inn. He said it would greatly our pleasure promote If we all for Spring Gardens set out in a boat;Though I never as yet could his reason explain Why we all sallied forth in the wind and the rain. For sure such confusion was never yet known, Here a cap and a hat, there a cardinal blown;While his lordship, embroidered and powdered all o'er,
Was bowing, and handing the ladies ashore.
How the misses did huddle, and scuddle, and run, One would think to be wet must be very good fun;
For by waggling their gown-tails they seemed to take pains
To moisten their pinions, like ducks when it rains;
And 'twas pretty to see, how like birds of a feather
The people of quality all flocked together;
All pressing, addressing, caressing, and fond,
Just as so many ganders and geese in a pond.
You've read all their names in the news, I suppose,
There was Lady Greasewrister,
And Madam Van Twister,
Her ladyship's sister j
Lord Cram and Lord Vulter,
Sir Brandish O'Culter,
With Marshal Carouser,
And old Lady Drouser,
Now why should the Muse, my dear mother, relate The misfortunes that fall to the lot of the great 1
As homeward we came—'tis with sorrow you'll hear What a dreadful disaster attended the peer: In landing old Lady Bumfidget and daughter This obsequious lord tumbled into the water;But a nymph of the flood brought him safe to the boat, And I left all the ladies a cleaning his coat.
A worse disaster than that which befell Lord Ragamuffin is in store for our good-humored letter-writer. His friend, Captain Cormorant, who, by the way, turns out to be no captain at all, and who had undertaken, among other fashionable accomplishments, to initiate him in the mysteries of lansquenet, cheats him out of seven hundred pounds; so that Miss Jenny loses her lover, and her cousin his money at one stroke. Prudence and Tabitha also come in for their share of misadventures; and the whole party return crest-fallen and discomfited to the good old Lady Blunderhead and their Yorkshire Manor-house.
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER—FITZ-GREENE HALLECK.
I Did a great injustice the other day when I said that the Americans had at last a great poet. I should have remembered that poets, like sorrows,
"Come not single spies But in battalions."
There is commonly a flight of those singing-birds, as we had ourselves at the beginning of the present century; and besides Professor Longfellow, Bryant, Willis, Lowell and Poe do the highest honor to America. -„ /
The person, however, whom I should have most injured myself in forgetting, for my injustice could not damage a reputation such as his, was John G. Whittier, the most intensely national of American bards.
Himself a member of the Society of Friends, the two most remarkable of his productions are on subjects in which that active although peaceful sect take a lively interest: the anti-slavery cause, in the present day; and the persecution of the Quakers, which casts such deep disgrace on the memory of the Pilgrim Fathers and their immediate successors in the early history of New England.
Strange it seems to us in this milder age, that these men, themselves flying from the intolerance of the Old Country, should, the moment they attained to any thing like power, nay, even while disputing with the native Indians, not the possession of the soil, but the mere privilege of dwelling peaceably therein, at once stiffen themselves into a bigotry and a persecution not excelled by the horrors of the Star Chamber! should, as soon as they attained the requisite physical force, chase and scourge, and burn and sell their fellow-creatures into slavery, for that very exercise of private judgment on religious subjects, that very determination to interpret freely the Book of Life, which had driven themselves into exile! Oh! many are the causes of thankfulness which we owe to the Providence that cast us upon a more enlightened age; but for nothing ought we more devoutly to render thanks to God than that in our days the deeds recited in Mr. Whittier's splendid ballad of "Cassandra Southcote" would be impossible.
His poem itself can scarcely be overrated. The march of the verse has something that reminds us of the rhythm of Mr. Macaulay's fine classical ballads, something which is resemblance, not imitation; while in the tone of mind of the author, his earnestness, his eloquence, his pathos, there is much that resembles the constant force and occasional beauty of Ebenezer Elliot. While equally earnest, however, and equally eloquent, there is in Mr. Whittier, not only a more sustained, but a higher tone than that of the Corn-law Rhymer. It would indeed be difficult to tell the story of a terrible oppression and a merciful deliverance, a deliverance springing from the justice, the sympathy, the piety of our countrymen, the English captains, with more striking effect. I transcribe the prose introduction, which is really necessary to render such an outrage credible, although one feels intuitively that the story must have been true, precisely because it was too strangely wicked for fiction.
"This ballad has its foundation upon a somewhat remarkable event in the history of Puritan intolerance. Two young persons, son and daughter of Lawrence Southwick, of Salem, who had himself been imprisoned and deprived of all his property for having entertained two Quakers at his house, were fined ten pounds each for non-attendance at church, which they were unable to pay. The case being represented to the General Court at Boston, that body issued an order which may still be seen on the court records, bearing the signature of Edward Rawson, Secretary, by which the Treasurer of the County was 'fully empowered to sell the said persons to any of the English nation at Virginia or Barbadoes to answer said fines.' An attempt was made to carry this barbarous order into execution, but no shipmaster was found willing to convey them to the West Indies. Vide Sewall's ' History,' pp. 225-6, G. Bishop."