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Sooth to say,
rived great advantage from a perusaltended for the production of an exand diligent study of the ancients, tended sound—which, however, camio and, upon the whole, tender my filial nat. affection to Alma-Mater, with a live " What the devil's to be done, 1 ly gratitude ; but a greedy reception say?" bellowed the Major.
" Shall of certain philosophical dogmas, or a we convict and hang the scoundreltoo implicit reliance upon them, did for such he is; and if not, why not? go far to dislodge that solid substra- - Eh ?” This emphatic “Eh ?" tum of reason which should have laiu violently contracted as it was in over the too ductile imagination. length of expression, roused me to a Thus, by pursuing and adopting the scene of acute mental anguish; but visionary theory of Bishop Berkeley, I was roused; and, heaving up a I certainly vindicated my claim to the prodigious groan, which relieved me, title of a lad of spirit ; and, while I prepared to counsel, and, all prelibelieved that “nothing is but wbat minaries arranged, to accompany my is not,” forgot straight-waistcoats, ill-fated uncle. and a monosyllabic keeper. I never But the Major prepared to unlock cared to ask, because I suppose there those hidden gifts and graces of phiwere gone to answer
losophy, whereof not the possession, “ An me ludit amabilis
but even the enjoyment and casual Insania ?”
exercise, were previously unknown
he did in timeand, in consequence, the wings of to me. my imagination began to indulge in ly exordiums, extraordinary flights-flights which
“ unsphere quite carried away my
The spirit of Platn,”. them. Indeed, it was a physiologi- and discovered immortal things ~ cal problem, whether I had not now chewed in mental detail the bitter become total head and wings ; like a sweets of adversity-and touched and carved cherub over a grave-stone purified, with the tongue's fire, the all pinions and pericranium !
loathsome malefactions of the world. But, just in time to avert the en “Poverty-phew !" cried the Matire defection of my understanding, jor; and he sang a stanza ;—“poverthe Major appeared one morning be- ty is the mere fact of being without fore me ; and, without much cere- nothing more; a negation of means mony, explained in few words, the reverse of a settled income, thus
do you observe ? A positive condi“Jack, we must go to town to- tion of humanity, nevertheless. Pov. gether. You'll not have a farthing erty is the region of speculation—" to bless yourself with or me ; for « Very true," I despondingly inthat rascally agent !” I scratched terrupted ; but the philosopher has my head ruefully.-
swallowed up the man. My dear sir, “ You are to learn, Jack, I did not not poverty, but famine, is the word marry for money. No,"-observing -philosophic famine, that supplies my incredulous grin,-"no! that's that desideratum in science-a vaall settled upon her.”' I grinned not. cuum.- Oh, Major !" " It was not my wish to step into the He was moved. I continued :property; but to vault into her af “ You marvel-let us not wonderfections, Jack-to hop into her good our property is gone!" He strode opinion. Now the agent, in whose violently towards the coach-office: I hands my property lay, has failed. trotted briskly and busily after him. What the devil's to be done ?" Here “Our destiny is fixed !" was an announcement !
“Hold your d-d croaking !" roarfortitude hurrying away with my ed the Major. reason, at the rate of ten faculties a
“ We are ripe for the sickle, and miņute, and sank upon a chair, with shall be cut down and garnered ; a ghastly arrangement of mouth, in- beggary and want shall enlist us, with
I felt my
out the formulary or payment of a that infested the place, and took this shilling, in
method of poisoning me.
Then there came into the room the grisly legion that troop Beneath the sooty flag of Acheron.'
two individuals, who served to divert
my attention awhile from my sorIn a word-we shall go to the dogs, rows. They caused to be procured and be sent to the devil !”
glasses of brandy and water, and it Thus did I, by trope and figure, was astonishing to behold their pour out the bitterness of my soul to prompt appropriation of them. But my companion, who now perspired I soon grew tired of these swillers ; copiously, and coined new modes of nay, I seemed to wish to pick a expression and modifications of utter- quarrel with them- they looked so ance in the effectual transmission of happy. There was one with a sort the agent's soul into the regions of of orange-peel comp'exion and rhuLucifer.
barb-coloured wig, who talked in so Inmediately upon our arrival iu low a key that I could not hear a towo, the Major departed, blasphem- word; and the other was a mere fat ing, to the office of the ill-starred in- occupier of space, who never spoke solvent; leaving me to order my so at all. But what particularly enrage litary dinner at a tavern, to which ed me was, that these unintelligible he directed my attention.
words caused a violent laughter to It was a fine winter evening. The distend the midriff of this fat one ; well-dressed people” were passing but it was altogether a noiseless efthe windows, with shawls over arms, fort-save a finely-attenuated wheeze apd oranges in pocket, destined for that, at intervals, escaped from its the pit and gallery of the theatre; pectoral prison. They were not fits the boys, with ferocious voices, were of langhter, but lethargies, during presenting their bills; and the gen- which he lay in a trance. ilemen of the ubiquitous finger wero these went away, and left me to becoming possessed of bandanas
myself. “ under prime cost."
During this interval of solitude, There was no living creature in
my mind underwent wonderful alterthe coffee-room but myself
. A full- nations of feeling, which ended in length clock stood moralizing in one comparative tranquillity. I became corner, with its hands upon its face; cheerful and composed-imagined like a wine-bibber, stung with come castles in the air, and countenances punction for past offences. The very in the firem dog had betaken bimself to the scullery, to be kicked about by the satur->
“ The ghastly colour from my lips was fled ;" nine and extensive cook, by way of and, in short, I was, to all intents a change of life; and the waiters and purposes, but my creditors, quite were lolling their egometical propor- another man? so that, whev my untions on each side of the street-door. ele came gasping in, about midnight,
Having succeeded in overcoming with a look like Jeremiah, and told the patient resistance of the most me that all indeed was lost, I con. obstinate pullet that ever stepped ont trived to demean myself with decent of egg-shell, and drank about a pint resignation. of a black nixture set before me, and As for the Major, he worked his called port, I grew excessively de- inside out, like a spider, to very little pressed--(I remember that evening purpose.
Seated before the fre, well !)—and began to analyze, and with his legs upraised upon the hob, curse, and continue to guzzle the and brandishing the puker, which he wine, till my lips dyed black; and I occasionally plunged between the looked, for all the world, like Mr. bars, he expounded his private views Beverley in the last scene. I suspect upon the question. that the landlord took me for a rat “The villainous embezzler," quoth
he," set a heap of books before me, took a strangely general turo. Now of which I could make neither head and then, indeed, would he cast bis nor tail ; and took me up stairs to eye mournfully upon my fac-simile see his starving wife and eleven figure, with a sort of “ ingenui vultus
little s!—a superhumanly im- puer" comment, and break out with, mense brood !-each of whom, as I Egad, Jack, we must contrive entered, flew off to another region. something for you ;" at which peThe wife pretty—but he a knave !" riod I made interest for the supplies ; And thus he went on and on, till the but all serious debate was inevitably candles fell into convulsions in the interrupted at its outset by some sockets, and the curious stare of the cursed mischance or another. aye-yawoing waiter reminded us of
For my own part, my avocations bed.
partook equally of the sublime and Here, between a pair of wonder- the ridiculous. I hated mediums. fully wet sheets, I rheumatized till I drank largely of Burton ale and morning, when Í
metaphysics ; at one moment, pourlike an exhalation,” ing over the philosopher of Malmes
bury; at another, snoring over the from my vapoury couch, and met details of a prosing incurable, twadthe Major in the coffee-room, restor- dling behind a long and pallid pipe, ed, by his night's rest, to his habitual with an asthma and eternity of good spirits.
tongue-and no snuff-box! We entered at once into a long My leisure begot aspirations after conference touching future arrange- better things-hopes and yearnings ments, when it was decided that I of the soul, which I am almost sorry should remain in town—the Major to have parted withal. I fell in love vowing to exert his interest with his at the theatre with a married wolady to permit my domestication un man, and looked like the “ Last der their London roof. In the mean- Man” for three days ; during which time, he furnished me with a sum of I read Rousseau and Werter. I bemoney, and we parted—he to his a connoisseur in milliner's own home, and I into the wide wil- girls, and took to small poetry and derness of streets, in quest of lodg. the columns of the Morning Post ; ing, which I procured.
--nay, I might have written a trageTo a young man just entering life, dy, but for the difficulty of disposing adversity is the pleasantest thing of some of the unoffending interlocuimaginable—for a short time: there tors in the last act; unless by causis just enough of romance in the ing one of the characters to take situations to render them interesting. offence at a trifle, and so give occaWe console ourselves with the “pre. sion for the promiscuous slaughter of cious jewel in the head,” and find the rest. out the precious value of the heels In the meantime I waxed melanin a brief period. “No prospect !” choly, and took to crossing of arms says Reason ;—“No matter !” says and legs-opined that my talents Sentiment. “Facilis descensus Aver were overlooked and felt convincni !" and some enjoy an alacrity in ed that their diminutive extent was sinking.
not the cause. . I grew selfish and The Major and I now met less and disagreeable, quarrelled with my less frequently. I have good reason to landlady, and cut myself vilely in suspect that his domestic roof wanted shaving. Then I succeeded in walk, repair-or, at least, he seldom made ing in my sleep, till I perineated a a segment of the family circle. He sky-light, and scared the maid-serchiefly spent his time between his vant into hysterics, and the cat into club and the Opera ; and when he, the copper. Assuredly, I was in a by chance, stumbled upon me at the pitiable state, and looked out, above play or in the park, our conversation all things, for the approach of death.
And now the Major was about to coffee-room, amusing my leisure by leave England, for India, with his committing to memory the births, regiment, once more. Any prefer- marriages, and deaths, and observing ence of his native land had long how ludicrously some of the first had since been buried—a ceremony of slipped down into the third, since interment, at which his lady had my last review of those interesting officiated as sexton; and my pros- menorials ;-I repeat, I sat thus empects alone occupied the intervening ployed, when my friend, Lieutenant space.
Jacks (whom I have erewhile reWe discoursed at large upon this membered), entered the room. To topic the evening before his depar- start up, and crush the paralyzed paw ture.
of that martial man, was the work “What do you think of the law ?” of an instant; to compel himn to ,a I inquired.
seat, the employment of another. “ As of a gown and wig, which, in But Jacks drooped strangelydefiance of the proverb, you may gloom, of the most decided charackeep for seven years without having ter, overspread the inane diameter any occasion for; unless you should, of that absurdly idiotic face; he perchance, be employed to adjust sighed Æolianly-by gusts. What the ownership of a mad dog at could he have to communicate ? I Clerkenwell sessions, and so forth.” knew he was just arrived from In
“ What say you to the army?” dia ;-probably a letter from the “ No, to that.”
Major-for which I tendered my “ Marriage with an heiress, or a hand; but, having sorted to his satrich widow ?" and I tipped a very isfaction the figures of his rhetoric, sagacious wink.
Jacks ejaculated, “Ha, ha, ha, ha—ah !" replied " Jack, your uncle is no more! the Major, the final note thrilling A determination of bullets to the like a passing bell; and, again, “ Ha head, my dear fellow! Here are his -ha-ah!" and straight he re- watch, seals, and ring. I have comsorted to mandarin-like movements mupicated the intelligence to your of the head, rockings of the chair, aunt.” He ended, munbling, and and extractions of the watch ; but formed grimaces hitherto unknown. be answered never a word.
I saw him not-I heard him no “ No, Jack," said the Major, mus. longer-I answered him not. My ing, " I'll speak about you to some heart was 100 full for endurance ; of my friends before I go ; they'll and, covering my face, I dropt my do something for you, never fear; head upon the table, and burst inio we shall manage, never fear.- But an agony of tears.
All that the Major had done for I rose to go: he took the candle, me—all his kindness, his affectionand followed me down stairs. It rushed into my mind at once. Evewas raining inhumanly ;-he handed ry kind and every unkind word he me a kind of green sieve, fastened to had ever spoken to re-but, more a stick.
than all, my many follies and un6 God bless you, my dear, boy, grateful returns of his generosityJack !" said the Major, and wrung all that might have caused a pang of my hand; “ I shall see you again.” disquietude to him-came, now that
I ran half the length of the street, he could no longer be sensible of my and stopped. I looked back. The regret, like the very retribution of Major was still upon the door-steps, the grave itself! with the candle flaring in his hand. The Major was, in truth, the only He turned, and went into the house. one in the whole world for whom I I never saw him more!
had ever cared a rush. One evening, as I sat dyspepsi- gone! cally at my accustomed box in the I have done. The portrait of the
it grows late."
Major, as I conclude my last glass, of happiness. In fact, the only hap seems to smile benignantly upon nie. piness I now enjoy is the pleasing Yes——there was a happiness, 10- satisfaction of knowing how wretchknown at the time, in those admira- ed I have been—a kind of enjoy. ble retrenchments-those salutary ment which, as far as appearances withholdings of wealth, which I more go, I think not unlikely to continue. than fear I may yet live to envy. Be it so! “Worse than the worstOur very miseries, remembered, turn content." iuto motives and superinducements
ning at a large village, where I morning from all but the delights of proposed taking up my quarters for angling; and who, as day declined, the night, I observed a general stir had followed the windings of the and agitation, as if a bee-bive were stream for many a weary mile, to pouring forth its swarning colonists ; seek rest and refreshment at the viland as I proceeded down the long lage hostelrie. It was well for me straggling street, towards the sign of that I arrived not in equestrian equi“The Jolly Miller," the whole pop- page, for neither landlord, hostfer, ulation of the place seemed stream nor male biped of any denomioation, ing in the opposite direction of the was visible about the large old house churchyard, which I had passed at and its adjacent stable-yard. But I the entrance of the village. Men, needed no attendance ; so stooping women, and children, were hurrying with my shoulder-load of rod, baskalong, with an appearance of eager et, and landing-net, as I stept down trepidation; and there was a general one step into the low heavy old hum of voices, though every one porch, I passed straight on into the seemed to speak below his natural kitchen, where a blazing fire in the key, except a few blustering young- huge gaping chimney, gave me a sters, who were whetting their own cheerful welcome, though neither courage, by boasting of it with val- there, nor in the adjoining tap-room, iant oaths and asseverations, and could I espy signs or tokens of any ridiculing the cowardice of the wo. living creature. I could have been men and children. The latter were well contented take silent possesrunning along close by their mothers, sion of one of the high-backed settles holding fast by their gowns or within the ingle-nook, had there been aprons, and every minute pressing wherewithal within reach to appease nearer, and looking up in their faces, “the rage of hunger," whose imporwith
eyes of fearful inquiry. As the tunate calls were rather incited than different groups scudded swiftly by suppressed by the feeling of warmth me, I caught here and there a few and comfort which circulated through disjointed words about “ a ghost," my whole frame, as I stood beside and "the church-yard,” and is all in the companionable hearth. So I white,” and “Old Andrew," and called lustily, and thumped the end “ ten-foot high,” and “ very awful!” of my fishing-rod against the heavy Half-tempted was I to turn with the oak table and dark wooden partistream, and wind up my day's sport tion, till at last came hurrying forth with a Ghost hunt, but the sign of froin an inner-chamber, a little old the Jolly Miller waving before nie, woman, whose sharp shrivelled face and the brown loaf, and foaming can, betokened no mood of sweet comso naturally depicted thereon, were placency. But a few words, intimatirresistible attractions to a poor Pis- ing my intentions of sojourning in