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The latter supposition is by no means unlikely, as there have been and are still in our more sedentary age many members of John de Leek's profession who have proved themselves admirable cricketers. I may perhaps be tempted to take a retrospective glance at the comparative merits of players of different callings on a future occasion.
T. R. H,
« Pray let me come in,” said a fine chubby-cheeked curly-headed thorough-bred-looking school-boy in blue jacket and trowsers, on whose expressive countenance hope and fear were each striving for the mastery, as the mail-coach in which myself and three other passengers were seated stopped the other morning in the town of Rodwell*_“ pray let me come in ; I have been disappointed this morning of a place in the Magnet, and mamma in her last letter strictly charged me on no account to venture outside. do so long to get home, and know she will be disappointed too if I don't go to-day: I am not very big, and will take up very little room; and I will sit in the bottom of the coach, or anywhere, if you will only let me come in.”
Cold would have been the heart, even had Lablache himself formed one of the four insides, to have turned a deaf ear to such an appeal as this; so in defiance of the Postmaster General, the common informer, and the guard's remonstrance, we all joyfully assented.
There was in the coach a young man, apparently about one or twoand-twenty, dressed in the deepest mourning, and whose heart, judging from the wo betokened on his countenance, seemed clad in sable also. He had joined but little in the general conversation, and, being opposite to him, I had occasionally remarked an effort to suppress an emotion struggling within. No word escaped his lips, but there was a smile of sorrow on his brow, as he held out his hand to help the little fellow in, placing him on the side he himself was occupying. Great indeed was the happiness of the petitioner on finding his wishes thus readily responded to, and now his only anxiety on earth appeared to be respecting the safety of his luggage. There was a little black portmanteau neatly strapped, with his initials in brass nails on the lid; and there was a small hair trunk, tied with a bit of new rope, which I felt morally certain must contain books, seeing that I had one precisely similar for that purpose when a boy at school; and there was apparently a writingdesk cased in green baize, with strict injunctions to the coachman and those whom it might concern to “keep this side upward;" containing
* Rodwell, also a village near Weymouth in Dorsetshire, celebrated (as its name denotes) for its Classical Academy.
VOL. XIX.-SECOND SERIES.No. 113.
as a matter of course as of curiosity all the treasures of the “last half," and which were then destined to be displayed in all the dignified importance becoming the occasion to the wondering optics of the family circle on the morrow. But there was no hat-box amongst his luggage for what boy ever yet carried home two hats from school ? Deeply indeed must the march of intellect be developed if such be the custom now; aye ! though butterflies may be no longer in fashion, and boys no longer boys as they were in my day, when, “all round my hat,” the brim, or part of it at least, was often wanting : but those were merry days when we were young.”
Before we had gone a mile we were in full possession of his history, name, birth, parentage, and education. He was the only child of a gentleman of large fortune, residing five-and-twenty miles from the place where he had just joined us, and where he had been at school. ne years old last Christmas, and it was, moreover,
first breaking-up day he had ever known, consequently (excuse me, ladies !) the happiest day of his whole life, be the span of it never so extended. He was in such spirits that I sighed o'er feelings I had once felt, and could almost have exclaimed-with “ the little Lord Linger"_“I wish I was a school boy too !"
« Who has not felt, as time and care creep on,
And childhood's laughing hours are faded, gone,
To Christmas revels and to school-boy days * !” The happiness of breaking-up day's blissful sun-rise may be conceived, but it never can be accurately described. The vision (for life is but a talking dream, from which we shall all one day awake_and may our lamps be burning for “weal or wo!" to a boundless, never-ending reality of feeling !) still floats around me. Again am I beholding through the mind's eye the polished looks and sparkling (because well scrubbed) countenances of the boys on that eventful morning. Again are the hot rolls, and the cold meat, and the bunches of flowers, peonies and all, reposing in pristine loveliness on the festive board, groaning. beneath the weight of so much happiness, so many good things. Again the company-kettle is hissing “bright and beaming” on the shining hob, and the white and red cups and saucers are arranged in apple-pie-order on the best japanned and beautifully-bordered tea-tray. Again am I listening to the sound of approaching wheels; and, no longer mis-led by the “miller's cart," behold
“ A chariot and a pair of blacks
With the coachman on their backst," are stopping at the “ White Gate.” Again am I in thought, though with a heart somewhat heavier and not less sad than formerly, dancing round the desks, and singing, as then, with more mirth than melody, “ Dulce Domum !” -a spot how changed, alas ! to many since ! But life on that day is the perfect synonyma of bliss, when all do what they like, and say what they like, aye, and, what is more, eut what they
* If the reader would wish to witness or promote real unalloyed happiness, he has only to stop at the first “ seminary of sound learning” he comes to, and turn out the boys (or girls either, ponr things !) unexpectedly for a half holiday ! an act I have always respected and strongly recommend.
# From Breaking-up-Day Verses, by a late M. P, for W
like! In this wide and wayward world there is no happiness for man in the proportion to what a school-boy feels on his first breaking up day. As a fond mother remembers no more her“ pain and peril” for “joy that a boy is born ;” so that boy a few years after forgets his last half's (imaginary) sufferings in that delightful day-dream which doubt never darkens
“ When all goes merrier than a marriage bell !" What a train of thought, what a wide field of reflection does breakingup day not recal!
years have now glided by since I last mingled in those festive scenes, the commencement of life's fitful feelings; and yet is the remembrance of them as fresh and as unforgotten as the bitterest throb of yesterday! Then, every heart was closely riveted to each other by one powerful all-pervading sympathy; but into how many separate links is friendship's early chain now riven ! Then, every thought, hope, feeling, were brightly beaming on the caredefying brow of the boy; but how altered would be the aspect now were they to be as clearly demonstrated on the brow of man! Nature, too, smiled on our bliss, for the day was generally a fine one, and all was glad. Even “Mr. and Mrs. B.” I always fancied looked happier that morning than usual; and the servants, from “ Jane,” the pretty housemaid, to “ Little John,” the lad of all work (and it was no sinecure), seemed out of their wits too with joy, and yet they were on the point of losing us all for at least six weeks ? Not even the accomplished“ Fop,' who would have sat for ever on his hind-quarters provided a delicatelooking bit of well-buttered toast had been in perspective; nor the celebrated “ White Cat,” that used to jump so often and so cleverly through our extended arms in the parlor after tea-not even these seemed particularly grieved that we were going: and yet I well remember occasionally lending the former a helping hand, when out walking, not over the stile, but into the river, to say nothing of once attaching (with two other culprits more wicked than myself) a tin-canister to his latter end, from the benevolent motive of his entering with alacrity into the novelty of the joke; while the pleasing recollection of the "still small voice," from more than one sly kick, still sits lightly (of course) within, which was quite accidentally beneath the table bestowed on the latter, because she was ever ready to “come to the scratch whenever we thought it proper to pull her by the tail! Their time of trial, however, is long since passed, while their tormentors’ is but beginning*.
* Let it not be supposed, that, in alluding thus lightly to early acts of wanton cruelty, I would fain be countenancing the continuance of them now: on the contrary, I gladly seize this opportunity of earnestly remarking to those whose means may afford them the gratification of subscribing to many charities, that there are few in our great metropolis more worthy of individual sympathy or of public support than the “ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals." day is not far distant, when, by an alteration in the existing law, heavier penalties may be inflicted
The Government, I have reason to believe, intend early next Session bringing forward a measure with this object in view; and by whichever side it may then be introduced, let it be ever remembered that humanity should be depending on no political feeling, embracing no
An universal principle demanding general support, it is implanted in the mind as a connecting link between man and his fellow, even his inferior fellow, the animal--between the creature likewise and the Creator-thus becoming the cause alike of our country, our religion, our
Like Mercy, of which it forms a principal ingredient, it bears with it a double blessing-and like Charity, its twin sister, it will never fail ! reader to aid by donation or subscription the excellent Society alluded to, I shall have cause to feel indeed with thankfulness that they have not been made in vain!
I trust the
than now allowed.
nature, our God !
Should these remarks induce but one
Perhaps this little sketch may meet the eye of some who in boyhood felt with me what maturer age still refers to with mingled sensations of pain and pleasure! Perhaps this very page may awake thoughts that have long slept, may rouse feelings that have for years been dormant; while the following lines may call forth from some fond familiar bosom a sigh over days and doings that are for ever gone :-
There stands the pear-tree, no temptation now,
Those scenes recall d-around a brother's tomb ! There is no period of human existence, I am inclined to think, so forcibly or so indelibly stamped on the recollection at a later stage of life than our early scholastic days-none, I am quite sure, to which memory can in general look back with less real alloy.
Now, be it known to you, my juvenile reader (if such you are), that in one corner of the play-ground which we choice spirits of the age inhabited, stood a delicious mud-pond, and in another corner a still more delicious pear-tree, both invariably proving, unfortunately for us, far more prolific than any others in the immediate neighbourhood: they were likewise from their locality of course more available, and were often referred to. The former I wellremember was always in season, a fondly cherished spot, and the source of never-failing “ intellectual amusement to us—not the less so from being on the “ the post," a little way out of bounds. It was moreover (to borrow the words of a celebrated auctioneer of modern times) the tastefully chosen and highly-flavored resort of the Toad family! tadpoles and ourselves (and dirty toads some of us in those days were) of course included.
How many pleasant thoughts and agreeable associations are revived by the recollection of that very mud-pond! There was no reflection in it formerly I remember, but probably some things get clearer as we grow older.......But the horses are changed, and the horn is sounding, and we are once more seated in the mail-coach! The little fellow's pockets were stuffed full of presents.
There was a velvet pincushion, most elaborately painted with a striking likeness of the “ Siamese Twins," for mamma: percussion-caps on the most approved principle, warranted, he assured us, to shoot straight, for papa : ribbons of more than every orthodox hue under Heaven, for the maids : a plan of that inimitable work of art, the “ Model of Waterloo," for the head gamekeeper, who, having been there in the “ Blues,” had since exchanged his profession for the more peaceable, if not to him more pleasant, employment of shooting pheasants instead of Frenchmen :
wrong side of
a chain collar, with his name engraved on it in the no-nation characters of every age, for “Old Grouse;" and a new whip, which he would probably have been quite as happy without, for the long-tailed black pony: not forgetting a pound of “Howqua's precious mixture,” carefully stowed away in the pocket of the coach, for old nurse.” How she must have doated on him! Old nurse is the only old woman in the whole world, unconnected by the ties of consanguinity, from whose embrace one ever derives in after-life the slightest gratification. The dear old things, they do hug one so! He was without exception the most engaging boy I ever beheld. There was no mistaking the high aristocratic blood of England in him, his fine open intelligent countenance and pleasing manners winning him favor with us all in five minutes, and seldom do I recollect twenty miles appearing so short as when we pulled up at a turnpike-gate to deliver a parcel.
On leaving this spot, every turn the wheels made appeared fraught with additional interest to our young companion. His little head was bobbing every moment in and out of the window to see how far we had gone since he last had looked, the toll-bar being evidently a “landmark to his best affections. A little farther on, we were told, and we should come to a mile-stone; then there would be a cottage to the right, and a convent to the left; while on the top of the next hill we should be sure of seeing a Roman encampment, and an old ruin in the distance. Every man, woman, child, horse, dog, cart, or carriage we now passed, he seemed to know something about, the name or destination; while to every cow, sheep, oak, and elm by the road side belonging to his father were we formally introduced. Frequent were now the nods of recognition he gave the laborers and others of his acquaintance, while many were the hats doffed, and the curtsies dipped to him by the peasantry at the cottage doors, as we rolled along. Presently the village near which he lived, and which he had been on the tip-toe of expectation to catch the first glimpse of, presented itself to our view; and on turning an angle, he suddenly and vehemently exclaimed, his eye beaming with rapture, and his little bosom throbbing with delight,
56 There's the carriage ! there's the carriage! and there, I declare, is Thomas ! and O! do look, do look," pulling me forward at the same time by the collar, “ there's dear old Grouse,” as a servant in crimson livery, accompanied by a large and beautiful buff-colored setter, came from beneath the gateway on hearing the sound of wheels. His joy now knew no bounds : “ Mamma, I am quite sure,” he added, “can't be far off :” and as we stopped at the inn we saw a lady peeping intently over the
green blind of one of the lower apartments. I really thought he would have gone headlong out of the window as he clapped his hands on beholding the well-known and beloved features of his mother. The door was speedily opened, but his impatience disdained the step, and before it could be let down a jump conveyed him in safety to the ground. His mother met him beneath the porch, and the next moment was folding him in her arms.
« dear Old Grouse's ” turn next, for no sooner was he disengaged from her embrace, than that fond and affectionate animal had sniffed him out in a moment, and (to our great amusement), with his fore-paws round his neck, was busily occupied in welcoming his arrival, after his own peculiar fashion, by licking his