« PreviousContinue »
When they had come under the ḥad the sense to take the fruit which
half filled with what seemed to be
among us, and we fought; but I have In the meanwhile, the new-comers no idea what it was about. The last below began pulling my dead old thing that I can call to mind appears wife about in a strange manner, turn
like a dream; and I should ever have ing her round and round, and jabber- believed it nothing more, but for the ing to each other. At first I fancied deplorable consequences, by which they were going to eat her; but, at the whole tenor of my life has been length, they laid her down, and I was changed. It seemed as though the glad to perceive that they had not strange and great animals suddenly
came upon us; but their manner former any punishment; on the con-
than any one else, and believes himIt seems that the liquid which they self the only animal fit to rule over had left in the calibashes (as they call his tribe. One can hardly conceive them) was of an intoxicating nature, any thing more ridiculous. If they and had deprived us of the use of had any quality at all comparable with our faculties. I had got drunk. What instinct, it would be impossible for "drunk” means, together with many them to fall twice into such a stupid other terms and things unknown error; for they really make themamong us, shall be explained in a selves quite ill by this foolish cusglossary, which I shall annex to this tom; and I have heard that some manuscript, for the benefit of all in even hasten their death, and make quisitive monkeys.
their lives miserable thereby. Yet, The cruelty of thus depriving us while they are at it, they every of our senses, for the sake of after now and then interrupt the general wards taking us prisoners, must ap course of conversation, and cry out pear to the reader as most execra “ Health!” But enough of this folly! ble. But, to do justice to the human race, they do not consider the
THE COUNTRY IN WINTER.
At one time it was a proof of the ria, to bless the listening ear of Anne truth of any thing, however impro- of Swansea. Strange effect of
a rebable it might appear, that it was in sidence in Grub-street! The cries print. Allegory itself became real of London, which fall harshly on the the moment it came forth in types, outward ear, are changed, by some and a mere supposition in manu unaccountable power, into the mescript issued with the dignity of his lody of birds and the gush of watertory from the press. Now indeed falls; the breezes of Arabia whisper the case is greatly altered. I very in dulcet music through the unseldom believe above one half of mended pane, and every sound and what I hear, and refuse my credence sight in that lofty chamber is transentirely to any thing I read. By per formed in a moment into somesisting in this resolution, I avoid thing rural and picturesque. Who, numberless mistakes. I follow my in reading an account of the fragrant own judgment, without being misled meads and dewy uplands in which by the prejudices of others; and now every volume is certain to abound, the accounts of Bloomfield's piety would imagine that he was in danger, and Rowland's Kalydor, Sumner's
at every step, of spraining his ankle learning and Warren's blacking, are in some half-hidden rut, of being viewed with the same respect as the stung by unnumbered nettles, pricked veracious chronicles of Gulliver and by a thousand thorns, and, finally, of Munchausen. In former times Ima- being run through the body by the gination was the mark of the poet, as long
sharp horns of some outrageous well as his privilege ; but now, pro cow, or trodden to death by the hoofs ser and bard, writers of essays and of some prodigious bull? Yet to all writers of epics, are equally devoted these accidents, and a hundred others, to fiction and romance. Descriptions he is liable in the very scenes which even of scenery, which any one may look so harmless and inviting in desee for himself, are not free from this scription. And babbling rills are besetting sin; cascades spout up in scarcely less liable to objection, the page which were never visible though so warmly and unanimously in the landscape, and rivers glide in applauded by bards and Cockneys. silvery meanders through winding The Romans, to be sure, managed to sentences in print, which never were add some more pleasing circumstanheard of in the neighbourhood where ces to their meads and rivers than the scene is laid. The country has our northern fancies have hitherto been the most fruitful theme of fan- devised. Every stream that murciful declamation from Horace's days mured gently down the valley, or ran till now-woods have been clothed
sparkling through the plain, was the in everlasting, verdure by authors habitation of some nymph clothed in whose ideas of a forest are formed ethereal beauty. Every secluded nook from the dusty trees of some suburb formed by the windings of the river, an villa-fields, whether in May or was hallowed to their imaginations December, have been loaded with
as the resting-place of the Guardian perennial flowers, and the country, Naiad ;-every deep recess where in all climates and at all times, has the osier bent over the stream, or the flourished, according to our novelists willow cast its shade upon the waand romancers, in perpetual charms. ters, was the bower where she reNo sooner has Mrs Radcliffe descri. tired to shade herself at noon; and bed the smiling vales and clear skies the wanderer along the banks heard of Italy, than the sublime Mr Joseph the whispers of her voice in every Fox gives us the airs of Lapland, ripple of the current, or caught the breathing with equal softness over flashing whiteness of her naked limbs the laurel groves of that delicious in every crest of foam that glistened region; daisies burst forth on the for an instant against the rock. But summits of the Andes, to reward the surely in our days the case is miselabours of Mr Francis Lathom, and rably altered. Naiad-mortal or ethenightingales sing in every hedge of real—who should fix her pellucid the flower-enamelled fields of Sibe, home in one of our northern streams,
or float down its stone-encumbered in the morning; walks, wades, climbs,
vil tempted me to remain a single At all seasons of the year the coun week in the country after June. try is dull and uninteresting, but Away, away! the coach and I upon about the dreary month of Decem- the pinions of the wind and ber, to every one but a regular sports- Bath, with its unnumbered lamps, man, it becomes altogether intoler- glowing like a single file of stars in able. To him time passes pleasantly the high blue firmament of Lansenough. He begins his labours early down, presented itself to my longing
eyes." Ten minutes after I had left tits soupers of the Castle and Ball! my seat upon the box, I found my Thomas's brown wig and the bald self as comfortable as if winter had pate of Bob shall be equally dear to been banished to the Pole, and the my heart; and whisky punch shall word Rus expunged from the Dic be to me a blank in the creation ere tionary of Nature.
I forget one smile of the loveliest Is there a happier hour in the re bar-maid and best maker of toddy in collection of a human being than that the King's wide dominions. On one in which, after a cold seat on the out occasion, and one only, I established side of the mail, with the wind whista myself at a boarding-house; but great ling round the enormous hat of the and manifold are the dangers and coachman, jutting past the promon- discomforts of that situation. For tory of his shoulder, and doubling the first two days I sat at dinner next the cape so as to come with full to a young lady, who paid me the force on your unprotected visage, most marvellous attentions. Smiles you at last arrive in the coffee-room, followed my commonest remarks; with fires blazing, gas shining, clean and, such is the force of good-nature, sanded floors, and a couple of grilled I almost began to fancy, in spite of fowls smoking in a quiet box for your a squint, and an unusual prolongaown peculiar entertainment, flanked tion of the nasal feature, that she with a huge birlas of Meux's own, was interesting and pretty. A friend and succeeded by toasted cheese, and mine, who had received a call to an ad libitum of cogniac and water ? repentance just before marrying a Moments such as these never depart lady of great piety and fortune, was from the memory. Old men of eighty very desirous of effecting a similar years of age remember (after their conversion upon me; and, on my sainted wives are quietly forgotten) dining with him, he reasoned very the hot suppers which enchanted deeply on the ugliness of vice and them after cold and travelling sixty the beauty of virtue, magnifying at years before. The eye of one of the same time the charms of temthese, which is dimly fixed on the perance, till, in the middle of a senwhite head of his youngest grand- tence about matrimony and hell, his daughter, and scarcely distinguishes eyes grew glazed, his mouth opened the flaxen ringlets on which his to a superhuman width, and, about palsied hand is laid, sees quite dis- the same moment, a confusion came tinctly the beef-steaks which cheer on my own thoughts, for which I ed him that dreadfully cold night have never been able to account. I in November when he returned recollect, however, that I left him from London in the year 1769. With with tears running down his cheeks, preternatural vision he beholds the muttering something which soundfoam of the tankard, and recollects ed very like a song. On arriving even the individual features of the at my temporary domicile, I hurfowl, the breast melting in loveli- ried as rapidly and unostentatiousness and gravy, the parson's nosely as possible up stairs, but unluck, lying half hid beneath the odorife- ily encountered some one in my rous ocean, and the mushrooms scat- progress-rank, name, and denomitered over its surface, as the Isles of nation to me unknown, Oblivion Greece repose on the bosom of the rests on what I said on that occasion, blue Ægean. All these memories and all my efforts to remember only come vividly back upon his heart;and, involve me in greater uncertainty in the gradual failing of nature-in the and forgetfulness. Next morning, decay of his fancy, and blunting of what deep silence brooded over the his feelings--the suppers of his youth breakfast tablewhat awful dignity are the only ties which still bind him gloomed upon every brow !-alas! to his fellows. Yes! till the last even my smiling friend smiled and pulse of pain in my gouty toe, before was attentive to me no more. She, it follows my other foot into the it appeared, had been my fair intergrave—till Memory comes to the locutor in my hurried ascent to my last page of her day-book, and Death couch; and from what I gathered from writes Finis to all the accounts of life the hints of the disconsolate damsel -shall I remember, with a pensive herself, and the hostess's guarded and melancholy satisfaction, the pe- enquiries, I began to discover that I