« ПредишнаНапред »
which are all the saloon this Spa can boast of, draughts of water, either cold as an ague fit-as was only to be had recently-or warm it to our taste, by pouring a little of it boiling hot into our goblet, from a dirty smoked tea kettle, for, I assure you, gentle companion of this my panoramic view from the mount, this alone is the expedient hit upon for increasing the temperature of the healthful fluid to any thing above the colic degree of Farenheit. Verily, the visitors at the Wells must be easily pleased with their accommodations there, which, especially if contrasted with the luxurious refinements of Cheltenham, Leamington, and Bath, might revolt their taste fully as much as their draughts may benefit their stomachs, or the apparently endless walk of three miles from their lodgings do good to their limbs.
But, mark, the town seems in a bustle, which oddly contrasts with the usual solitude of its streets, or is it but the visitors to the place, who are on the qui vive, whilst the inhabitants, from douse and worthy Mr. — the merchant, down to Leezy, the good old body of a chambermaid at Kinros's, remain in their habitual state of imperturbability? There seems to be a happy admixture of both in the motley throng—for here fifty is a mob—who bend their steps upwards and beyond that tasteful mansion in the English manorial style, where dwells the Sheriff of the place. Let us descend and ascertain the occasion of so unusual a sight as that of sixteen people in one group, or at one time visible on the streets of Dumblane-Sunday apart.
At this observation, it may be supposed that those who chose to accompany me, left the subterraneous catacombs of the holy brothers, who knew so well how to moisten their clay, where it blew cool in summer, and was cozy at Christmas eve, and found themselves in a few moments passing the great western window of the Cathedral, now so tastefully restored. I soon satisfied myself of the cause; and, as a sight-hunter, was not at all grieved to learn that the notorious Alexander Fletcher was to hold forth in a few minutes in the open air, at a place called the How Mill.
After taking a comfortable cup of tea from the hands of the ubiquious little Leezy of all work, for the waiter was off to the raree-show; and securing for myself the “ wee wee bed-room," off the public chamber, on the ground floor, which is like the aforesaid cellars of the monks-suited to all seasons-in preference to sleeping in the church-a practice which, however I may fall into it, when any of the ponderose school hold forth, I have a conscientious objection to, even where, as in the case of Dumblane, an active innkeeper may have fitted it up into a series of very becoming dormitories, I sallied forth, and arrived at the amphitheatre, where this apostle of impudence was holding forth, in time to get quite a surfeit of impiety and hypocrisy, although escaping all but the fag end of the discourse. The exhibitor, like other mountebanks, was holding forth from a stage, composed of deals, stretched over tressels, and covered with a stripe of carpeting. He flourished his arms about in all the pomp of canonical bombazeen muffles, for his gown was after the Episcopalian fashion, and poured forth a torrent of unmeaning common places, or audacious self-appropriations of scripture, with an unhesitating fluency truly astonishing. The place where he stood was the lowest part of an area, almost of a basin shape, so regularly did the ground rise amphitheatrically around him, which, within its enclosure, partly of walls and gables, could easily have held 2,000 people; and this extent could easily have been embraced, on an evening so still, by even a weaker voice than that which quacks find 80 invaluable to their profession, that few of the tribe set up as preachers without it. But the faithless Sandy's auditory did not amount to one-twentieth of that number, and these consisted chiefly of the working classes of the place and surrounding district. I was quite disappointed in my expectations of seeing a turn-out of all the undenizened beauty of the place, as well as of the flowers which may have succeeded " Sweet Jessy," who, it is to be hoped, is the mother of seven children by this time, or Smith and Tannahill have sung and set in vain. Here and there a parasol and a pretty face, and prettier printed calico, were seen; and at wide intervals of an assemblage, by no means dense, a pursey mother might be observed, whose curiosity had prevailed over her esprit du sex; and she had ventured to bring her daughters to look at the clerical Theseus. One beautiful blue-eyed girl I did see, but the bulk of even that portion of the auditory who wore bonnets, were, in one respect, like the discourse of the preacher- not very likely to fascinate any one who " is nothing if not critical.” But I forget. The modern Marplot-the genius of meddling—the incarnation of old maidenish acerbity, and sister-in-lawish jealousy, was there, in the person of the honourable Jean, wrapped up in a silken cloak, and a self-sufficient composure, and looking a smokedried portrait of her brother; and with her there was a pretty silly little thing who had been prevailed upon to listen twenty times to the same sermon, on condition of being allowed to admire and exhibit, on these occasions, the riding habit her mamma had got made for her July journey into Scotland. I only waited the conclusion of the Psalmody, which was beautifully led, and had a charming effect-pealed up from this green hollow, in a balmy summer's eve-and bidding adieu to the old wives, in their little red cloaks, who sat groaning at the piety of the man whom they had known as a boy, and liked because of this locality, I turned my back on the Reverend Alexander Fletcher and How Mill just as he was offering up a most fervent prayer to heaven for blessings upon the family who had lent him the use of it, and wended my way to the house of my invalid friend, catching a glimpse, at every step, of some pretty face, peering from behind the windows their curiosity could have wished out of the way, if the tacit agreement of nearly the whole maiden population of Dumblane not to open them that night, had permitted of it; and meeting, on my way downwards, the venerable dissertator on Ossian and worthy parish priest, I fell into one of those reveries of comparison which would, perhaps, be exceedingly tiresome, if told, but surely are more in keeping than any description I durst venture to give of the next morning's promenade to the Wells—wry looks there-and return home, by roads that, like a late act of Parliament, even dare to sunder what a marriage had made one, with the gravity of
The HERMIT OF THE WEST. P.S.-Whether it be that a place almost exclusively resorted to by the bilious must, of necessity, be exceedingly yellow-like and dull, I know not, but Miss Verdantique must excuse me from chiding the girls, for even eccentricity in their merriment, where there is not one tolerable beau of a visitor. My only wonder is, that, amid the theological lore of Bishop Leighton's library, and the solemn gloom of the paths to Kippenross, a vestige of animal Vivacity survives in the breast of any one but that of a recovering valetudinarian, or, like me, a professional
THE HERON CORRESPONDENCE. No. XIV. CHARLES HERON TO A FRIEND IN GLASGOW.
Dumfriesshire. MY DEAR - You will have concluded, from seeing the well-known band ere you opened the envelope, that I am actu
ally alive,-yea, have contrived to exist for a whole fortnight far away from cronies, new books, London newspapers, and theatrical performances! Yes ! such is the fact, startling as it may appear; and, more, I have been happy—but as you can guess at my company, your wonder, I presume, will not be overwhelming. What with pleasant society, and the revisiting of scenes pregnant with the recollections of happy infancy, the time passed away so imperceptibly, that it was the date of your else pleasant letter which recalled me to the knowlege that such a thing as days had been invented to measure the speed of the old rogue.
In that letter, my dear fellow, it is in vain that you seek to provoke me into even one regret that I did not see Miss Foote, and the pretty new scene of the Forest of Arden. It may be that she has improved as an actress, as you assure me she has-for you know that I held there was room for it, and that she is even prettier than before-for which there was hardly room, or dresses in better taste-which was barely possible, even where, as on Wednesday night, she had to change her costume seven times— by the bye, only a pleasant diversion that to a woman, which is labour hard to every man but Yatesyet I can console myself for not seeing her in “ The £100 Note,” and the short petticoats and light-blue stockings of a Bavarian broom-girl, bewitching though you describe her to have looked, and talked, and sung as such, by one glimpse, while I write, at as pretty an ancle, although far less of it be visible in its black silken covering—the one I most admire-which peers out beneath the piano of a certain damsel. Yet I could not but relish your description of Miss M‘Keever's practical joke in “ The Lady and the Devil.” Johnson, who is a great favourite of mine, must have been irresistible when begrimed, and even that night would anticipate his part in “ More Frightened than Hurt!” The ladies, you say, turned out pretty well. It is right to do so now. The penance has been paid -the quarantine submitted to and they need not now object to wearing the Levant silks, although the vessel was at the Lazzaretto, nor be so squeamish about looking at a pretty woman who had made one faux pas, after two years of irrem proachable behaviour, and wonderful industry exerted for the benefit of those whose natural claims are more than their acquired ones upon her kindness. But, then, they were unequal in their attendance, you say: and why? Be assured it was not, as you imagine, from satiated curiosity, for when is a woman gorged ? but-on my life, I am serious--tbe rebellious conduct of the orchestra! O fye, ye sons of Dan Phoebus, to frighten away the ladies by your horrid discords--their ears being so nice--and make Miss Foote laugh when the part did not need a titter! It was as bad as setting her agog with a caricature in Virginia, or playing that character to an empty house.