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Be that as it will, I never felt in better spirits than when I set out. The prospect before me was one of hope, of adventure ; and hope, as Lord Bacon says, is a good breakfast though a bad supper ; but be it noted, I was then twenty years old, and thought only of breakfast. Fothergill's prognostics, too, in regard to Lord Castleton, still tingled in my ears; and meanwhile, to use his words, it was holiday time, and I was to see a little of the world with my own eyes, instead of those of the book-men. What could be more taking to a sanguine youth, who thought that world all his own?
The weather, too (no small ingredient in a scheme of happiness), was opportunely propitious; nay, it seemed bespoke. It had rained in the night, not in torrents, that sweep and lash the plains, but in mild and gentle showers, just sufficient to cool the earth, and by their genial moisture to wake every thing into freshness. Sweet indeed was this breath of morn; for the meadows were full of butter-cups, the grass emitted perfume, the hedges and their wild-flowers breathed fragrance, and the birds sang pæans. Could a young collegian fail to think of his Virgil ?
“ Lucifero primo cum sidere frigida rura
* Before the sun when Hesperus appears,
First let them sip from herbs the pearly tears
I thought, too, of something almost still more beautiful, from its simplicity:
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages ; let us go up early to the vineyards ; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth.”*
I doubt if the fine people of the world, who live upon excitement, and sicken at the very name of quiet, will agree with me; but setting its concomitant sentiment aside, I know not a sensual pleasure equal to the vivifying return of life to fields and gardens after showers. Every plant seems restored, every tree looks grateful, as if it had a soul, and thought, and felt, and thanked the giver.
Could the real soul of man not respond to this, or not confess the benign influence of that Deity who is present, as it were, within him, on contemplating such a scene ?
With this feeling, bursting into soliloquy, I exclaimed,
“ The morning breathes, and cometh on with new gladness. Arise, fair morning, and bring on the day, that
every living thing may wake and praise the Lord.”
The sentiment recalled a similar one, only dressed
* Canticle 7, 12.
was mounted on high to salute the opening day. Elevated in air, she seemed to call the husbandman to his toil, and all her fellow-songsters to their notes. • Earliest of birds,' said I, companion of the dawn, may I always rise at thy voice ! Rise to offer the matin song, and adore that Being who maketh the outgoings of the morning and evening to praise him.' How charming to rove abroad at this sweet hour of prime! To enjoy the calm of nature; to tread the dewy lawns, and taste the unrifled freshness of the air !" Many perhaps will think this an ebullition of Rous
It is at least very like him. Let them not laugh when I tell them it belongs to a country parson, as opposed to Rousseau as light to darkness; save that both were men of genius, and Hervey as great an admirer of nature, with a hundred times his virtue, as Rousseau himself.
Well, my tour was commenced, and I may say, perhaps without self-flattery, that I was not the last man in the world to be sent upon such an expedition. My health was restored, and I felt stronger than I had been in earlier parts of my life. My heart, too, though I had not drunk too copiously of Lethe, was tolerably at rest. Without at all extinguishing that romance, without which no pleasure of the imagination (which a tour always is) can hold for a day, I really longed to behold more of the moral as well as natural world. Perhaps I hoped in time to imitate Fothergill in this. I certainly was not ashamed of the hope.
But, exclusive of this, I had notions of mental
pleasure to be drawn from a tour, or journey, which, if not peculiar to myself, were certainly not belonging to every traveller. I was not like a certain great earl, notorious for his causticity, who made the tour of Europe in his carriage without once allowing its back to be touched by his.*
My brothers' notion of my hunting a Will-with-awhip was not absolutely incorrect ; for, with Jiberty thus all before me, I felt any thing but disposed to confine myself to the beaten track. Once the silly shame of my knapsack conquered, independence seemed inclosed in it with my shirts and stockings, for I had not any thing else, not even the black silk breeches of Sterne, which stood him in such stead with the Piedmontese lady, in his journey over Mount Taurira.
Accordingly, I resolved that no consideration, either of time or place, should prevent the indulgence of any object, or even any whim I might propose to myself, and that I would follow my fancy wherever it
One pleasure indeed of a journey (I should say its greatest) is, to give the fullest play to the imagination. For with that, every fine prospect every gentleman's seat, with its avenue or park-and, in the same manner, every snug box, farm, or hermitage, becomes our own. A garden of flowers, or bees, brings Virgil before us; a flock of goats among rocks, Horace.
* James, sixth Earl of Abercorn. + See the last and most amusing chapter of the “Sentimental Journey."
But if a castle appear in the distance, with its donjon keep, its towers, and labelled windows; its mullions and corbels; Kenilworth or Ashby, Plessis des Tours or Inverary, rise to one's view : what chivalry, what passages
of does not that draw forth! At the same time, what oubliettes and legends of bygone tyrannies are not conjured up, making us hug ourselves that these last exist now only in story, and that a peaceable, way-faring pilgrim, like myself, may walk by, without danger of being run up in a noose, for not doing as Macallum More bids us.
On these occasions, the eye is not the only faculty set to work in the sentimental traveller. In passing a dwelling, whether a mansion or farm, or rustic vicarage, we plan the lives and occupations of all their inhabitants, or our own, should we ever come to possess
No end to Châteaux en Espagne, and the more the sun shines, the more does our fancy. If we roam through a wood, be sure 'tis the forest of Ardennes; and Orlando and Rosalind flit before our eyes.
A circle on the greensward is straightway thronged with fairies; and a glade of soft turf, skreened with trees, is peopled by the figures of Watteaux. We see his groupes of court ladies, with their well-dressed partners, and flutes and guitars. We then moralize upon elegant pleasures, and think the business of the world (we are indeed flying from it) nothing but use
This, with health, and hope, and money (ever so