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His remarkable gift of silence adds much to the impression made by this remarkable figure. I don't think that I ever heard him speak three words in my life. An approach of that bony hand to that earthy leather cap was the greatest effort of courte sy that my daily salutations could extort from him. For this silence, Isaac has reasons good. He bath a reputation to support. His words are too precious to be wasted. Our mole-catcher, ragged as he looks, is the wise man of the village, the oracle of the village-inn, foresees the weather, charms away agues, tells fortunes by the stars, and writes notes upon the almanack-turning and twisting about the predictions after a fashion so ingenious, that it's a moot point which is oftenest wrong-Isaac Bint, or Francis Moore. In one eminent instance, our friend was, however, eminently right. He had the good luck to prophesy, before sundry witnesses-some of them sober-in the tap-room of the Bellhe then sitting, pipe in mouth, on the settle at the right-hand side of the fire, whilst Jacob Frost occupied the left; he had the good fortune to foretel, on New Year's Day 1812, the downfal of Napoleon Buonaparte -a piece of soothsayership which has established his reputation, and dumbfounded all doubters and cavillers ever since; but which would certainly have been more striking if he had not annually uttered the same prediction from the same place, from the time the aforesaid Napoleon became first consul. But this small circumstance is entirely overlooked by Isaac and his admirers, and they believe in him, and he believes in the stars, more firmly than ever.
Our mole-catcher is, as might be conjectured, an old bachelor. Your married man hath more of this world about him—is less, so to say, planetstruck. A thorough old bachelor is Isaac, a contemner and maligner of the sex, a complete and decided womian-hater. Female frailty is the only subject on which he hath ever been known to dilate he will not
even charm away their agues, or tell their fortunes, and, indeed, holds them to be unworthy the notice of the stars.
No woman contaminates his household. He lives on the edge of a pretty bit of woodland scenery, called the Penge, in a snug cottage of two rooms, of his own building, surrounded by a garden cribbed from the waste, well fenced with quickset, and well stocked with fruit-trees, herbs, and flowers. One large apple-tree extends over the roof-a pretty bit of colour when in blossom, contrasted with the thatch of the little dwelling, and relieved by the dark wood behind. Although the own itary, his demesne is sufficiently populous. A long row of bee-hives extends along the warmest side of the garden-for Isaac's honey is celebrated far and near; a pig occupies a commodious stye at one corner; and large flocks of ducks and geese (for which the Penge, whose glades are intersected by water, is famous) are generally waiting round a back gate leading to a spacious shed, far larger than Isaac's own cottage, which serves for their feeding and roosting-place. The great tameness of all these creatures for the ducks and geese flutter round him the moment he approaches, and the very pig follows him like a dog-gives no equivocal testimony of the kindness of our mole-catcher's nature. A cir cumstance of recent occurrence puts his humanity beyond doubt.
Amongst the probable causes of Isaac's dislike to women, may be reckoned the fact of his living in a female neighbourhood (for the Penge is almost peopled with duck-rearers and goose-crammers of the duck and goose gender), and being himself exceedingly unpopular amongst the fair poultry-feeders of that watery vicini ty. He beat them at their own wea pons; produced at Midsummer geese fit for Michaelmas; and raised ducks so precocious, that the gardeners complained of them as forerunning their vegetable accompaniments; and "panting peas toiled after them
in vain." In short, the Naïads of the Penge had the mortification to find themselves driven out of Bmarket by an interloper, and that interloper a man, who had no manner of right to possess any skill in an accomplishment so exclusively feminine as duck-rearing; and being no ways inferior in another female accomplishment, called scolding, to their sister-nymphs of Billingsgate, they set up a clamour and a cackle which might rival the din of their own gooseries at feeding-time, and which would have driven from the field any competitor less impenetrable than our hero. But Isaac is not a man to shrink from so small an evil as female objurgation. He stalked through it all in mute disdain-looking now at his mole-traps, and now at the stars-pretending not to hear, and very probably not hearing. At first this scorn, more provoking than any retort, only excited his enemies to fresh attacks; but one cannot be always answering another person's silence. The flame which had blazed so fiercely, at last burnt itself out, and peace reigned once more in the green alleys of Penge wood.
One, however, of his adversaries -his nearest neighbour-still remained unsilenced.
Margery Grover was a very old and poor woman, whom age and disease had bent almost to the earth; shaken by palsy, pinched by penury, and soured by misfortunee-a moving bundle of misery and rags. Two centuries ago she would have been burnt for a witch; now she starved and grumbled on the parish allowance; trying to eke out a scanty subsistence by the dubious profits gained from the produce of two geese and a lame gander, once the unmolested tenants of a greenish pool, situate right between her dwelling and Isaac's; but whose watery dominion "had been invaded by his flourishing colony.
poor old creature, especially as ponds are there almost as plentiful as blackberries, yet it was not so easy to control the habits and inclinations of their feathered subjects, who all perversely fancied that particular pool; and various accidents and skirmishes occurred, in which the ill-fed and weak birds of Margery had generally the worst of the fray. One of her early goslings was drowned-an accident which may happen even to water-fowl; and her lame gander, a sort of pet with the poor old woman, injured in his well leg; and Margery vented curses as bitter as those of Sycorax; and Isaac, certainly the most superstitious personage in the parish-the most thorough believer in his own gifts and predictions-was fain to nail a horse-shoe on his door for the defence of his property, and to wear one of his own ague-charins about his neck for his personal protection.
This was the cause of feud; and although Isaac would willingly, from a mingled sense of justice and of pity, have yielded the point to the
Poor old Margery! A hard winter came; and the feeble, tottering creature shook in the frosty air like an aspen-leaf; and the hovel in which she dwelt-for nothing could prevail on her to try the shelter of the workhouse-shook like herself at every blast. She was not quite alone either in the world or in her poor hut : husband, children, and grandchildren had passed away; but one young and innocent being-a great grandson, the last of her descendants-remained a helpless dependent on one almost as helpless as himself.
Little Harry Grover was a shrunken, stunted boy, of five years old— tattered and squalid, like his grandame, and, at first sight, presented almost as miserable a specimen of childhood, as Margery herself did of age. There was even a likeness between them; although the fierce blue eye of Margery had, in the boy, a mild appealing look, which entirely changed the whole expression of the countenance. A gentle and a peaceful boy was Harry, and, above all, a useful. It was wonderful how many cars of corn in the autumn, and sticks in the winter, his little hands
could pick up! how well he could make a fire, and boil the kettle, and sweep the hearth, and cram the goslings! Never was a handier boy or a trustier; and when the united effects of cold, and age, and rheumatism confined poor Margery to her poor bed, the child continued to perform his accustomed offices-fetching the money from the vestry, buying the loaf at the baker's, keeping house, and nursing the sick woman with a kindness and thoughtfulness, which none but those who know the careful ways to which necessity trains cottage children would deem credible; and Margery, a woman of strong passions, strong prejudices, and strong affections, who had lived in and for the desolate boy, felt the approach of death embittered by the certainty that the workhouse, always the scene of her dread and loathing, would be the only refuge for the poor orphan.
Death, however, came on visibly and rapidly; and she sent for the overseer to beseech him to put Harry to board in some decent cottage; she
WHERE went my sweet Ameerin
When the angel's summons came ? Well I know she is not hearing!
could not die in peace until he had promised; the fear of the innocent child's being contaminated by wicked boys and godless women preyed upon her soul; she implored-she conjured. The overseer, a kind but timid man, hesitated, and was beginning a puzzled speech about the bench and the vestry, when another voice was heard from the door of the cottage.
But I love to speak her name. She knew that she was dying,
For she falter'd, " Do not grieve! Mother dearest! I am trying
Moussul Ali to believe."
"Margery," said our friend Isaac, "will you trust Harry to me? I am a poor man, to be sure; but, between earning and saving, there'll be enough for me and little Harry. 'Tis as good a boy as ever lived, and I'll try to keep him so. Trust him to me, and I'll be a father to him. I can't say more."
By Mrs. C. E. Richardson.
ADAPTED TO A FAVOURITE HINDOOSTANEE AIR, WRITTEN BY T. BAYLEY, ESQ. BEGINNING "She never blamed him-never!"
False Imaum! could the purest, Gentlest, sweetest of her kind, In the world to which thou lurest, Meet companions hope to find?
"God bless thee, Isaac Bint! God bless thee !" was all poor Margery could reply.
The following were almost literally the expressions of a Mahometan mother bewailing her child. She was a servant of the author's, and, for an Arab, a person of superior intellect. From her association with Europeans, she had begun to question the purity and infallibility of her Prophet's creed, and her child's fate naturally gave birth to a new solici tude.
They were the last words she ever spoke. And little Harry is living with our good mole-catcher, and is growing plump and rosy; and Margery's other pet, the lame gander, lives and thrives with them too.
Oh forgive! what am I sayingWhither has my phrenzy led? Through forbidden wilds I'm straying, Only knowing-she is dead!
She was my pride and treasure
Youth and beauty crown'd her brow; She was happy beyond measure— Oh! is she happy now? See! scatter'd round are lying
Gems that mock'd her brighter bloom, Useless-worthless!-nought replying But the silence of the tomb.
KIATIB-OGLOO, AND THE SMYRNA RESIDENTS.
ASIA MINOR has with much
been denominated, by many a traveller, the garden of the world. The peculiar beauty and variety of the scenery with which it abounds, the perfection of its regular and temperate climate, the richness and fertility of its soil-all combine in forming of this country a terrestrial paradise, to complete which the polishing hand of civilization is alone wanting. Smyrna, its capital, situated not far from the spot which gave birth to Homer, boasts of commercial advantages which have made it a place of the first importance to the mercantile world. The convenient anchorage of its spacious bay, and the facility of its communications with the remotest parts of the interior, have naturally pointed out this city as the general mart of home productions, of European manufactures, and of colonial produce. Its trade with England alone is tenfold more considerable than that which is carried on with all the other ports of Turkey together. Its population, including the Franks, (as they call there all the Europeans, and others wearing their costume,) is computed at two hundred thousand. It was for a long series of years governed by a Moossellim, or civil governor, and a municipal council composed of eight Ayaus, or magistrates, presided over by a Mollah, or judge, and called the Mehkiemmay. A Moossellim, being invested. merely with annual authority, has not the power of putting to death the Sultan's subjects, without the legal sanction of the Mehkiemmay. It is the possession of horse-tails which alone confers an arbitrary exercise of that odious power, so liable to abuses in the hands of barbarians; and the number of the tails, from one to three, defines the rank of a Pasha, and also indicates the number of heads he is allowed to dispose of per diem, without the liability of being called upon for any explanation of motives. Smyrna
was the only place of importance in Turkey, which was allowed for any series of years to be governed upon principles of a constitutional tendency; and it owed this advantage to the influence and power of the old established house of the Kara-OsmanOgloos, whose ancient rights of feudalism, in this province, had never been, till very lately, disputed by the Porte. With the fall of the last remnant of that celebrated race, in 1818, the system has changed, and a Pasha of three tails has been appointed to govern this city and its dependencies for the future.
The mercantile and industrious habits of the Smyrniots, and their constant intercourse with Europeans from an early period of their lives, have given a greater polish to their manners, and a readier disposition to good fellowship with strangers, than are observable among the Turks of other parts. Disturbances have indeed sometimes taken place at Smyrna, but they were invariably occasioned by disorderly recruits coming from the interior of Asia Minor for the purpose of embarkation, and by ferocious Candiot adventurers, over whom the Moossellims could exercise but little control. The property and persons of Europeans were, however, always scrupulously respected on similar occasions, and the depredations of the licentious rabble were confined to the defenceless Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. One exception, however, to the good feeling generally manifested towards the Franks, is too remarkable not to be here noticed; but it will be seen that great provocation was given, aud as the occurrence alluded to took place so far back as the year 1797, the time which has since elapsed, if not sufficient to operate any great change in the character of the Turks, has, at least, improved its polish in a remarkable degree.
A strolling company of ropedancers arrived at Smyrna in the
diately hired an appropriate space, surrounded with high palings, in which they commenced their exhibitions. A set of Janissaries, acting as the customary guard of honour to one of the foreign consuls, had been stationed at the entrance of the enclosure for the purpose of keeping order; and the interposition of their authority was rendered necessary by the clamours of several sailors, who were attempting to force their way through without payment, They were at last beaten off, and, enraged at the treatment they had received, determined on revenge. Their vessel (an Ionian, then under the protection of the Venetian republic) being close at hand, they speedily repaired on board, armed themselves with pistols and blunderbusses, returned to the spot, and fired a volley on the unsuspecting Janissaries, one of whom alone was killed; after performing this valorous exploit, they ran off and took refuge in the Venetian consul's house. This fracas naturally disturbed the numerous audience within, composed of Franks and Turks, and when the particulars became known among them, the greatest confusion' took place. The former were seized with the apprehension that the Turks, all armed, (according to the fashion of that period,) would, in the heat of the moment, fall on them, and revenge upon their heads the death of the Mahometan. There was, therefore, such a general scampering off, such rushing for safety under benches, such a precipitate climbing over the palings, that the Turks themselves, forgetting the cause, stood gazing on the comic scene with feelings of merriment. The next day, however, the whole populace made common cause against the unjustifiable outrage, and proceeded en masse to the Melkiemmay, where they insisted that the most guilty party should be claimed of his consul, in order to receive that public punishment which alone could atone for the murder of a Mahometan. But the Venetian consul, fearful lest
year above mentioned, and imme- the privileges to which his countrymen in Turkey were entitled, should be compromised by too speedy a compliance with the just demand of the Turks, and overawed, perhaps, by the threats of the very lonians themselves, who had taken refuge in his house, endeavoured to gain time, and proposed that the matter should be referred to the higher powers at Constantinople for decision. The people, however, were not easily to be diverted from their purpose; the delays opposed to them by the consul's hesitation irritated them the more, and threats of destruction were held out to the whole European community, if justice were not speedily done. In vain did the consuls of other nations press their Venetian colleague to give way to the dictates of a justly irritated and infuriated populace; finding their pressing remoustrances not likely to avert the threatened danger, every one then bethought himself of his own safety, and the foreign merchant vessels in the harbour (for unluckily there was no European ship-of-war present at that moment) were soon filled with Frank families and their removeable property. On the fourth day of the fruitless negociation, the Frank part of the town was, as early as five o'clock in the morning, filled with several thousands of armed Turks; their first act of violence was setting fire to the Venetian consul's house, but it had been evacuated on the previous night, and all the neighbouring houses being equally empty, the fire soon spread itself to a frightful extent. It raged with unabated fury for three days and nights, and at last extinguished itself after having destroyed the greater portion of the European houses. During this time many skirmishes took place between parties of Slavonian and Ionian sailors, who came from their ships for the purpose of amusing themselves with sport, against the numerous bands of Turks; the latter were invariably forced to retire with preci pitation from the field of battle, after leaving behind them many dead and