« ПредишнаНапред »
form, she remarked the crowd of people, Sybella regretted that she had not known of the races before. However, there was no help for it now, and as the train puffed off, she proposed to her companion to take a ly to the Park gates.
It was then discovered that Sybella's sketching apparatus (and, alas ! the basket containing their luncheon) was rapidly pursuing its journey to Windsor.
Poor Miss Saunders was in despair, but regrets were vain, and Sybella (though she hated cakes, and though maids of honour were her aversion) took her to a confectioner's, where, amidst the hum of myriads of Aies and the buzz of innumerable wasps, hovering about the transparent yellow gauze used as a protection against their attacks upon the bilious delicacies, she contrived in some measure to repair the loss at least of the luncheon.
This little matter accomplished they made for the hill, and were soon seated under the magnificent trees of Richmond Park.
Seeing the everlasting crochet of her companion about to be drawn from its receptacle, Sybella cried :
“Oh, Sawney! why on earth did you not leave your work in the same basket as the luncheon ? I wished you to enjoy the view and the fresh air in idleness to-day, not to work the whole time.”
The Hampton races had decidedly drawn away the general frequenters of the place; the terrace was deserted; no loiterers strolled about, and the telescope, with its attendant, might have shut themselves up and have gone to sleep at once, for any request they were in on this day, at least.
The banks of the river were gay with the painted boats lying about unused; the owners smoking idly, or drinking at some neighbouring tap.
Deprived, by the loss of her sketch-book, of her contemplated amusement, the sight of the boats suggested another mode of passing the time, and Sybella, looking longingly at the river, as she spoke, exclaimed to her companion :
Sawney, let's have a row, it would be so nice ; how long it is since I have rowed myself on the water!"
Thus saying, she forth with proceeded to put her idea into execution, and, as they neared the landing-place, a stalwart-looking young fellow touched his cap at their approach, and the aquatic bargain was concluded before any opposition could be got up by the nervous Miss Saunders.
Come, Sawney,” Sybella called out from the boat, in which she had quickly seated herself, be quick, there's a dear old thing, and jump in."
Miss Saunders detested the water. The very name of a boat made her shudder; and although, in her anxiety to give in to Sybella, she prepared to obey the imperious mandate, it was some time before (by the aid of the boatman) she could be safely deposited on the seat.
The plank she feared was unsafe, the boat surely swayed on one side, and no sooner was she settled than she tried hard to capsize the frail bark by jumping up hastily for the purpose of sitting by dear Sybella for greater safety.
“Now will you be quiet ?” laughed her companion, as she adjusted the sculls; "we shall be all right if you will only have faith in my skill. Why, how many times,” she rejoined, as they glided down the stream, “have I rowed on the dear old lake at Wilmington ? Surely you remember, dear ?"
But remembrance, or indeed anything which demanded a call upon the brain, was not at present in poor Miss Saunders's power. She was crouched almost at the bottom of the boat, and saying that she did not feel well, besought Sybella in piteous tones to land her at once.
“ I really believe if I were a man I should swear at you,” said Sy bella, making for the bank. “Of course it's those filthy cakes which have made you sick, and your nervousness is absurd; the river is quite deserted, so I shall go on by myself.”
And after having settled where they should meet in an hour's time she landed the governess, and returning for the boatman's son, whose services she had before rejected, she told him to pull gently in the direction of Eel Pie Island.
Left to herself, Sybella rested and gazed around, whilst the little craft glided peacefully along, the water making a gurgling noise as it rippled against the bows.
“How lovely it looks !” she murmured, as the landscape seemed to float past her. The Twickenham meadows sloping down to the water's edge, rendered greener than usual by the overflow of the river—the ancient trees standing out in the glory of the summer's afternoon, and the dark green mingled with the pure white of the water-lilies fringing the verdant banks in the foreground, made a bright and lovely picture. “What a charming scene !" "mused Sybella, “and how beautiful those gardens look! How I adore the country! and how I detest London !" And a deep sigh escaped her as she thought of her lonely lot and blighted future.
This called to her remembrance the letter she had received in the morning, which she once more opened and read.
“Ah! I must never see him again,” she said. “What a fearful thing it would be for me to love any one deeply! Death would be preferable.” And as she closed the letter, glancing once more at the signature, she uttered the name of “ David !”
“ That means well beloved,” said Sybella, almost feeling inclined to kiss the letter lying before her.
“Well, I hope he will find a wife worthy of him, and one who can love him as he ought to be loved.” And another sigh, even deeper than the first, rose up as she formed this benevolent wish for his future happiness.
“I like a bold, clear hand, and this is both; just like himself, in fact. I wonder if people's handwriting has really anything to do with their character ?
“Some one remarked the other day that all women write alike, so I suppose it follows that all women are alike in their characters ! Pope says, 'most women have no character at all ;' but I consider him to have been a very satirical old fellow, and if he were alive now I would call at his villa and tell him so. If the generality of women have no character at all, how happy ought the man to be who lights upon one who has !
“Oh! how fast this tide is beginning to run. I am sure we shall never be able to 'bout ship,' as the sailors call it, in the midst of the stream. I'll just land and get a bunch of those lovely forget-me-nots for poor patient old Sawney, and then go back at once."
ABOUT THINGS BEING TO US AS WE THINK THEM.
A CUE FROM SHAKSPEARE.
BY FRANCIS JAcox.
ING MAKES IT SO.
THERE IS NOTHING EITHER GOOD OR BAD, says Hamlet, BUT THINK
He is talking with his "excellent good friends,” Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, and desires to worm out the secret of their mission. What, he asks, have these, his good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune, that she sends them to prison hither?
Prison, my lord !” exclaims Guildenstern. Yes, in Hamlet's idea, for he takes Denmark to be a prison. If so, Rosencrantz submits, then is the world one. And Hamlet accepts the inference. Yes, the wide world is a prison, and
-a goodly one ; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons ; Denmark being one of the worst.
Ros. We think not so, my lord.
Ham. Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.* The thought is a well-worked one in Shakspeare, under divers and diverse aspects.
When Cassio bewails his lost reputation, Iago has no patience with such laments : reputation he declares to be a most idle and false imposition, oft got without merit, and lost without deserving : “ You have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself the loser.”+ Leontes, madly jealous, persuades himself into a full conviction of Hermione's guilt ; he is now" bless'd” with an assumed knowledge of it,
his sides, With violent hefts (heavings]. I Mark again how sage old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster, essays to cheer Boling broke under his sentence of exile. Let him think himself not exiled after all, and he will think to some practical purpose.
All places that the eye of Heaven visits
* Hamlet, Act II. Sc. 2.
† Othello, Act II. Sc. 3. Winter's Tale, Act II. Sc. 1.
And not—The king exiled thee: or suppose
To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou comest.* Doctrine more easily suggested than practised, as Bolingbroke proves by his reply, in a well-known outburst of impassioned rhetoric. But there is a fund of practical philosophy in the doctrine, nevertheless. When Harry the Fifth salutes that aged knight, Sir Thomas Erpingham, in the camp at Agincourt, he tells him, a good soft pillow for that good white head were better than a churlish turf of France. But Sir Thomas
as cheerily protests, " Not so, my liege; this lodging likes me better, since I may say-now lie I like a king.” To the brave old soldier's thinking, he is right royally bestowed; and there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. Therefore the king applauds his philosophy, and says:
'Tis good for men to love their present pains
With casted slough, and fresh legerity. When a later Harry, and a lesser, is met, discrowned and disguised, by the keepers in a North of England chase, and surprises their unaccustomed ears by familiar talk of royal personages, they roughly demand,
Say, what art thou, that talk'st of kings and queens?
A man at least, for less I should not be ;
And men may talk of kings, and why not I? 2 Keep. Ay, but thou talk'st as if thou wert a king.
K. Hen. Why, so I am in mind; and that's enough. I How reasons Helena, again, on the effect upon Demetrius of his not thinking her what others think her, and what she would have him above all others think her, or even alone of all others think her? Alas, Demetrius dotes on Hermia.
How happy some, o'er other some can be !
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind — to which that which it thinks good, is good; and is loved accordingly,
One other Shakspearean citation ; and from the same play. When Hippolyta pronounces the performance of Messieurs Bottom, Snug, Snout, and Co., the silliest stuff she ever heard, the more tolerant and
* King Richard II., Act I. Sc. 3. † King Henry V., Act. IV. Sc. 1. | Third Part of King Henry VI., Act III. Sc. 1. Š A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act I. Sc. 1. VOL. LA
courteous Theseus answers her, and apologises for them, in these kindly words: “ The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them."* There is hardly anything too bad for thinking to make good, if it will but amiably and resolutely think itself into the humour, and the discordant objects into a concatenation accordingly.
Nothing, says a Latin proverb, is wanting to make you wretched but to think yourself so. Nihil aliud necessarium ut sis miser quàm ut te miserum credas. We may apply to the same purpose the line of the comic poet, where blessings are said to depend simply on the disposition of him who possesses them:
Hæc perinde sunt ut illius animus qui ea possidet. But more direct and decided in its entire scope is the reasoning of Seneca: that no man is happy who does not think himself so; for what does it signify how high your
otherwise than a good one? Non est beatus qui se non putat; quid enim refert qualis status tuus sit, si tibi videtur malus? The chief of the apostles—pace St. Peter's chair-knew, and argued on his knowledge, that there is nothing unclean of itself ; but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. I In effect the passage is at one with a foregoing reflection of Leontes, on one who drinks and sees the spider in
An old English poetess, dear to Southey in the “Doctor" and elsewhere, aptly sings, in her tranquil, thoughtful way:
Opinion is the rate of things,
From hence our peace doth flow;
Because I think it so.g Depend upon it, writes Swift, in the person of a penniless poet, that poetry is meat, drink, clothes, washing, and lodging. He knows it; and appeals for the truth of it to every hackney author, in prose as well as verse, in town. “ You will allow, I believe, all happiness to consist in imagination, that is, in men's way of thinking themselves to be happy or not; crede quod habes, et habes. Now I hope there is nobody will dispute the right of imagination with a poet, Ergo,"|| &c. Thrice happy the disposition that can adapt this poetical optimism to the exigencies of the hour.
If pall and vair no more I wear,
Nor thou the crimson sheen,
As gay the forest-green. I
* A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Act V. Sc. 1. I Rom. xiv. 14,
§ Katharine Philips. i Swift's Letters to the Dublin Weekly Journal, Sept., 1728. | Scott's ballad of Alice Brand.