Page images
PDF
EPUB

sal partiality for Spring. As it comes on, their little spirits rise-expectation is afloat-and their memories retrace with wonderful accuracy every recreation and indulgence which the season was wont to bring with it. To ramble in the fields and woods is to them the highest felicity; they have learned to explore the stores of nature; I have assisted them to have eyes for every thing; and they are tolerable naturalists for their age, and know something beyond the names of every thing they see. If one of them makes any new acquisition in any department of nature if they find a flower, a bird, or shell, &c. &c., hitherto unknown to them, the happy discoverer is reward ed by being placed at my right hand at supper; and Columbus himself, when first espying the coast of his promised land, was not more joyful than my little explorer. When I intend a superlative degree of indulgence, I produce my magnifying glass-than which no conjuror's tricks ever attract ed more wonder and delight. I never found occasion for any greater degree of punishment amongst my children, (since the dawn of reason in their minds,) than a prohibition to accompany me in my evening ramble; and I consider that education rests on a good basis, when their highest enjoyments consist of simple pleasures, easily and cheaply attained, and which will not grow less pleasant in advancing years. This relish for the concerns of rural life is not derived, as a matter of course, from simply living in the country; but requires to be taught and encouraged like all other knowledge. I often call to mind the ingenious story of Eyes and No Eyes, in that treasure of juvenile instruction, the Evenings at Home; and the truth of the picture has frequently been exemplified to me by persons who confess that they have lived all their days in the country without understanding it, and would be thankful to any one who would teach them how to read the volume of Nature. Now and then I give my children a jaunt to town, on a visit to their uncle, who is a constant resident there. I have a sort of malicious pleasure in observing the effect of the confinement, and different mode of life, on their looks and spirits. They seem to languish like so many flowers plucked from the parent root; they appear listless and not happy, without being

aware of the cause. It is with pleasure I hear them murmur at the constraint laid on their liberty, in regard to going out of doors; I gladly see their impatience of being confined strictly to the side of their friends when walking the streets. They lament the absence of the flowers, the birds, and all accustomed objects; and pine for the free air of their bonny meadows, where they have been used to rove unconstrained. All this I enjoy exceeding ly-knowing that the temporary privation will enhance their value for the country. When the day of our return arrives, I am still more delighted to watch the exhilaration of their spirits

the heartfelt, unpretending joy with which they again behold the little smiling spot, which has been to them their youthful Paradise-their abode of liberty and innocence. How often am I hastily summoned to see some new wonder which has appeared during our absence! Every flower is pointed out to me, and every budding shrub rapturously announced. Foolish boys and girls! They do not know, that so intimately acquainted is my eye with every individual object in my Eden, that I could shew them blindfold where every wild-flower root would spring-where the earliest violet would grow-and which bank the blue-bells loved best to adorn. But though these sights are better known to me, my pleasure in them is not less keen than theirs.

When I speak of the pleasures of country to my London friends, some of them understand me well; but others have no ideas on the subject, beyond a summer excursion to a seabathing place to which, indeed, perhaps they are led by a kind of happy instinct, as to a purification quite necessary, after so long an imprisonment amid the impure air of London.

These persons seem to have no images of the country, otherwise than as a sort of wild and uncivilized region which they mention with an involuntary shiver-they talk of a visit to the country as an heroic exploit, and assume a tone of benevolent commiseration in speaking of its inhabitants. It has been happily said by those who love the country as I do, and who would give the highest sanction to their taste that God made the country, but man the town. Surely it must be inexpressibly superior to live

where we are constantly reminded of the goodness of the Creator by every beautiful work of his hand, and where our communion with him is more in'timate; than to endure that artificial state of existence which is led in that huge prison of man's construction, where every impediment is offered to the indulgence of calm contemplation, and where the perpetual hurry and dissipation of the mind, and the follies and vanities of the world, must induce indifference, if not utter forgetfulness of that bountiful Creator; whereas, the pleasures of rural life, while they most truly sweeten the present, are so far from obstructing our views of the future, that they dispose our hearts to aspire after that still better and more beautiful country; and teach us the exercise of those nobler faculties of the soul, which we hope to exert in perfection, in a future state of existence. It is, perhaps, unwise in man to be anxious concerning any of the minor particulars of that last inevitable hour, which, whenever it shall arrive, will have too much of awe to leave room for lesser considerations-but I confess I have an aversion to the idea of exhaling my mortal breath in the close atmosphere of a town-I should almost fancy the soul would with difficulty escape from her confinement in such a situation.-The idea of Rousseau having his window thrown open on the approach of death, recurs to my mind, and appears to me a very natural movement, and I have always felt a strong desire to breathe my last sigh in the bosom of the country, amid those scenes which have made the delight of my whole existence.

visitors in mamma's drawing-room, a great influx of beaux and belles in the Park-the shops present a lively display of every bright and attractive colour, and sweet silks, and sweet gauzes, reappear, which have lain dormant during the winter. Once a-week or so, as the weather is remarkably fine, she and a train of younger brothers and sisters are conveyed in mamma's carriage to Kensington Gardens; after a long morning's stopping, they alight, and a little prim procession of masters and misses demurely walk forth hand in hand, the former in dresses with shining buttons, fenced round with stiffly-plaited frills, which preserve the strictest composure during the walk; the latter in nice white frocks, with furbelows round the ankles and borders of the garments-kid slippers and gloves, and each a silk parasol and veil. The eldest demoiselle takes mamma's arm, and if she be not too much fatigued with the labours of the morning, the young lady has the benefit of a detail of her bargains. She remarks to her mother that Spring is certainly come, she notices that jonquil, and even primrose colours, are worn already by several of the fashionables in the Gardens. If any of the little ones is attracted by the sight of the trees or flowers, and is inquisitive of its attendant nurse, "Don't point, Master Henry-go on, Miss Harriett-pray, put down that nasty weed; your mamma don't like you to point or to stand still, and you will quite spoil your gloves." After a few turns, they re-enter the carriage in complete order, and all agree, looking at their slippers, that Spring is the most charming of seasons. Then come panoramas, and exhibitions, and sweet landscapes; such faithful representations of rural scenery! Inimitable Glover! so true to nature! Then such sweet fashions-so new— so charming-dear Burlington Arcade is surely the Arcadia that the poets dreamed of! Such crowds of equipage in the Park the first Sunday in Maythe movement so slow-and time so ample, for reconnoitring the tenants of each carriage en passant-what variety! and what innumerable ideas gleaned even on Sunday, (when no shopping can be done) for the important science of dress. And then the delightful multiplicity of engagements, dinners, routs, balls, &c. &c. &c. the

The pleasures of the town appear to me to be very happily pourtrayed in the mock festival on Mayday, in which the unfortunate race of beings, called chimney-sweepers, perform so conspicuous a part; and in which the union of glitter and dirt, merriment and misery, aptly shew the wretched incongruity of Spring in London. Nothing on earth can be so widely different as the town and country notions of Spring. Let us briefly consider a London young lady's ideas of that season. In the middle of April she begins to perceive an unusual stir around her, as though life had, from some cause, received a new impulse; she sees a prodigious increase of carriages in the streets, of

meeting with hundreds of dear affectionate friends,the noise, bustle, and fermentation of spirits-oh, there is nothing can equal London in Spring! The scene, if you please, gentle Reader, changes to my study in the country-the door of which is clamorously besieged early before breakfast by a troop of chubby-faced youngsters, each laden with some article of wonder from Nature's repository; and a long tale to tell during the repast of what has occurred in the course of the walk. "Oh, Papa, do you know we have found the wren's nest which you looked for yesterday-but we did not touch it, and I called Ellen away, for I saw the hen-bird watching." "Yes, Papa, and there are daffodils and cowslips quite out in blossom, and here's a nosegay I have brought for you and mamma; and I want you to tell me what this is, and this, &c. &c." In the afternoon, when school is happily over, and they are out again, Laura bursts into the room, open-mouthed, her hat flying, and her eye sparkling with animation, to announce to her mamma the arrival of the first butterfly seen that season! Never did such delight brighten the countenance of her cousin in London, even at the sight of a coronetted coach stopping at the door. In the evening the young people may be seen issuing forth a joyous train, busily engaging in the labours of the several gardens appropriated to each, simply clad,unencumbered with gloves, and their frocks perhaps ornamented with a fringe of good garden mouldwhich with us is considered neither calamity nor crime; and is amply compensated by the first early sallad produced by the young horticulturists. On a May-day, when it has been such as poets love to paint, what a group have I seen carrying the Garland, and how I have followed the steps of their airy dance, with emotions of pleasure, far, far superior to what they them selves felt, or I could have experienced at their age!

Nor is our life so unchequered by events as the gay beings of the town are pleased to imagine. The various changes and additions to the several members of our society are no less interesting, and make quite as much noise with us as the same events in the great metropolis of fashion. We have not to complain of monotonyfar from it-and to convince our

[blocks in formation]

520

much noticed-the costume of each party was thought very becoming, and skilfully assorted to set off the colours and charms of each.

Spring.

The Miss Blue Bells, robes of azure tissue, much admired for the sylphlike elegance of their forms.

The beautiful Germander family, with their never-to-be-forgotten eyes of heavenly blue, attracted universal attention.

The arrival of the Rose family was anxiously expected.

The Miss Cowslips were presented -it has been the fashion to call them the "pretty rustics;" but they were most graciously received, and the delicate propriety of their dress and manners much admired.

ed with a concert of vocal music from
a large party of the best performers in
of amateurs.
the neighbourhood, consisting wholly

[ocr errors]

The Lady Cardamines-costumes of the finest linen. The simplicity of this novel style of dress was thought very bewitching.

In this belle assemblée it has been whispered that radical principles had been very generally disseminated, though studiously kept out of sight.

The good order and obedience to the attendants on this court are rethe laws of their Queen, for which markable, is the best refutation of every calumny. We are happy to add, that though in so large and mixed an assembly, many individuals must have been unavoidably thrown into the shade, yet no umbrage was the utmost harmony, the parties contaken, and the evening concluded with tinuing together till the shadows of evening; when, having partaken of a few drops of a light and charming beverage, (the receipt for which is not to be found in Mrs Rundell), the court broke up; but not before the widow Nightingale (who had joined the performers of the morning) had been entreated to favour the company with a songthat well-bred lady instantly complied, and poured upon the ears of her delighted auditors one of her most heart-thrilling melodies.

M.

Mrs Tulip-body and train of crim This truly grand dress son and gold. had a superb effect.

Messrs Chesnut, Oak, Birch, Lime, &c. &c. sported new bright green li

veries.

Messrs Blackthorn, Pear, Apple, &c. &c. crowded round their sovereign, eager to pay their dutiful homage: they made a magnificent show, in rich suits of white, red, and green.

The company were greatly delight

SONNET TO

THE world bursts in between us-we must part!
Earth is no home for happiness; the dreams
That lapp'd us in Elysium, were but gleams
Of phantasy, and mock'd the easy heart ;-
Ah! never more such landscapes of delight

Shall spread their bloom around us; never more
yore,
The western sun behold us as of
Nor such a glory gild the vault of night!-

Why should we wish a heritage of years,

Since joy is but a vision! why should we,
Children of error, seeing what we see,
Anchor upon an isle that disappears?

All sublunary things take wings and flee,
Save disappointment, treachery, and tears.

KOTZEBUE'S VOYAGE.*

[blocks in formation]

The expeditions fitted out by England having rendered the first plan unnecessary, the Count determined to confine his views to the latter. His first intention was to send out a small vessel, in frame, in some of the ships belonging to the Russian-American Company, to be set up at Kodiak or Oonalashka. Want of room in these vessels prevented this plan, and a brig of 180 tons was built for the purpose, and named the Rurick. Lieutenant Kotzebue, son of the celebrated German author, was intrusted with the command, at the recommendation of Captain Krusenstern, with whom he had made the former voyage of discovery in the Nadeshda.

Prefixed to the account of the voyage is an introduction by Captain Krusenstern, and instructions for the astronomical and physical observations, by Dr Hörner; besides which, there is in the original, but not translated, "A View of the Voyages to the North Pole, and for the Discovery of a Northern Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea, by Captain

Krusenstern." It is short and unsatisfactory, chiefly taken from the superficial work of Forster, and contains nothing new; it is particularly meagre, where it ought to have been fullest, in the account of the northern voyages performed by the Russians.

The Rurick sailed from Cronstedt on the 30th July, 1815; and, after touching at Copenhagen, Plymouth, Teneriffe, and Brazil, anchored in Conception Bay, on the coast of Chili, on the 13th of February, 1816. They remained here till the 8th of March, and, on the 28th of the same month, made Easter Island. Upon attempt→ ing to land, a number of the natives prevented them, and attacked them with stones, till several shots were fired, which dispersed the crowd, and enabled Captain Kotzebue to land, for the purpose of looking for the remarkable statues mentioned by Cook and Peyrouse. He could only find a heap of stones, which lay near an unbroken pedestal. Finding, from the threatening aspect of the natives, he could not penetrate into the interior; he reembarked, but was obliged to fire a second time upon the natives, we are not told with what effect. Nothing but necessity can justify such a measure; and it appears to have been wanting in this case, at least in the first instance, when the natives were fired upon from the boats, in order to clear the landing-place.

Captain Kotzebue ascribes this hostile feeling to an outrage committed upon them by the captain of an American schooner, who kidnapped several of them, for the purpose of carrying on the seal-fishery at Massafuero.

"In pursuance of this wicked design, he landed at Cook's Bay, where he endeavoured to seize upon a number of the inha

bitants.

"The combat is said to have been

bloody, as the brave islanders defended themselves with intrepidity; but they were obliged to yield to the terrible arms of the Europeans; and twelve men and ten wo

men fell into the merciless hands of the Americans. Upon this, the poor crea tures were carried on board, fettered for

A Voyage of Discovery into the South-Sea and Behring's Straits, for the purpose of exploring a North-East Passage, undertaken in the years 1815-1818, by Lieutenant Otto Von Kotzebue. 3 vols. 8vo. London, Longman and Co. 1821.

VOL. XI.

3 U

« PreviousContinue »