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The little man in black seemed recalled, by the tones of compassion, from the lethargy into which he had fallen; for, though his heart was almost frozen, there was yet one chord that answered to the call of the good old man who bent over him : the tones of sympathy, so novel to his ear, called back his wandering senses, and acted like a restorative to his solitary feelings.
He raised his eyes, but they were vacant and haggard : he put forth his hand, but it was cold :-he essayed to speak, but the sound died away in his throat :-he pointed to his mouth, with an expression of dreadful meaning, and, sad to relate! my grandfather understood, that the harmless stranger, deserted by society, was perishing with hunger. With the quick impulse of humanity, he despatched the servant to the Hall for refreshment. A little warm nourishment renovated him for a short time, but not long:--it was evident that his pilgrimage was drawing to a close, and he was about entering that peaceful asy'lum, where "the wicked cease from troubling.”
His tale of misery was short, and quickly told. Infirmities had stolen upon him, heightened by the rigours of the season :-he had taken to his bed, without strength to rise and ask for assistance :-"And if I had," said he, in a tone of bitter despondency, “to whom should I have applied ? I have no friend, that I know of, in the world! The villagers avoid me as something loathsome and dangerous; and here, in the midst of Christians, should I have perished without a fellow being to soothe the last moments of existence, and close my dying eyes, had not the howlings of my faithful dog excited your attention.”
He seemed deeply sensible of the kindness of my grandfather; and, at one time, as he looked up into his old benefactor's face, a solitary tear was observed to steal adown the parched furrows of his cheek. Poor outcast! It was the last tear he shed; but, I warrant, it was not the first, by millions.
My grandfather watched him all night. Towards morning he gradually declined; and, as the rising sun gleamed through the window, he begged to be raised in his bed, that he might look at it for the last time. He contem'plated it a moment with a kind of religious enthusiasm, and his lips moved as if engaged in prayer. The strange conjectures concerning him rushed on my grandfather's mind :-"He is an idolater,” thought he, “and is worshipping the sun,'
He listened a moment, and blushed at his own uncharitable suspicion. He was only engaged in the pious devotions of a Christian.
His simple or'ison being finished, the little man in black withdrew his eyes from the east, and, taking my grandfather by the hand, and making a motion with the other towards the sun,- I love to contemplate it,” said he ; “it is an em. blem of th versal benevolence of a true Christian ;-and it is the most glorious work of Him who is philanthropy itself.” My grandfather blushed still deeper at his ungenerous surmises. He had pitied the stranger at first; but now he revered him. He turned once more to regard him, but his countenance had undergone a change :-the holy enthusiasm, that had lighted up each feature, had given place to an expression of mysterious import:-a gleam of grandeur seemed to steal across his Gothic visage, and he appeared full of some mighty secret which he hesitated to impart.
He raised his tattered night-cap, which had sunk almost over his eyes; and, waving his withered hand with a slow and feeble expression of dignity-" In me," said he, with laconic solemnity,—“In me you behold the last descendant of the renowned Linkum Fidelius !"-My grandfather gazed at him with reverence; for, though he had never heard of the illustrious personage, thus pompously announced, yet there was a certain black-letter dignity in the name, that peculiarly struck his fancy, and commanded his respect.
“ You have been kind to me,”—continued the little man in black, after a momentary pause," and richly will I requite your kindness by making you heir of my treasures ! In yonder large deal box are the volumes of my illustrious ancestor, of which I alone am the fortunate possessor. Inherit them :-ponder over them, and be wise."
He grew faint with the exertion he had made, and sunk back, almost breathless, on his pillow. His hand, which, inspired with the importance of the subject, he had raised to my grandfather's arm, slipped from his hold, and fell over the side of the bed; and his faithful dog licked it, as if anxious to soothe the last moments of his master, and testify his gratitude to the hand that had so often cherished him.
The untaught caresses of the faithful animal were not lost upon his dying master.
He raised his languid eyes,-turned them on the dog,—then on my grandfather,—and, having given this silent recommendation,-closed them forever.
The remains of the little man in black, notwithstanding the objections of many pious people, were decently interred in the church-yard of the village and his spirit, harmless as the body it once animated, has never been known to molest a living being. My grandfather complied, as far as possible, with his request. He conveyed the volumes of Linkum Fidelius to his library : he pondered over them. frequently :--but whether he grew wiser, the tradition does not mention.
This much is certain, that his kindness to the poor descendant of Fidelius was amply rewarded by the approbation of his own heart, and the devoted attachment of the old turnspit; who, transferring his affection from his deceased master to his benefactor, became his constant attendant, and was father to a long line of runty curs, that still flourish in the family. And thus was the Cockloft library first enriched by the valuable folios of the sage Linkum Fidelius.
Danger of being a good Singer:--LONDON LITERARY
ONE of the pithy remarks in Lacon, though I cannot remember the precise words, amounts to this, that any man, who is an excellent å måteur' singer, and reaches the
of thirty, without, in some way or other, feeling the ruinous effects of it, is an extraordinary* man. “ True it is, and pity 'tis 'tis true,” that a quality so pleasing, and one that might be so innocent and so amiable, is often, through the weakness of “poor human nature,” converted into a bane,-a very pest,--and occasions it to be remarked, when this miserable result occurs, that a man had better croak like a frog, than be a good singer.
That the ruin too frequently occasioned by a man's being a good vocalist, arises from want of resolution, and from his inability to say no, when invited to a feast; or, when there, to use the same denying monosyllable, when pressed to take another glass, and then—what then ?-why, another; cannot be denied; and that such is the manifest and frequent consequence, he who runs may read! A few mornings ago, I was accidentally reading the Morn
* Pron. ex-tror de-ner e.
ing Herald, in the committee-room, when my attention was roused by a sort of debate at the table, between the presiding overseer, the master of the workhouse, and a pauper, who wanted permission to go out for a hol'ğday. On raising my head, I discovered, in the pauper, a young man, rather above thirty, to describe whose carbuncled face would be impossible, and whose emaciated appearance bespoke premature decay, and the grossest intemperance; whilst the faculties of his mind were evidently shown, by his conversation, to be as impaired as his body.
To my surprise, I discovered, in this shadow of a man, one who had been, but a very few years prior to this, in a good business, from which his father had retired with a comfortable fortune, and who is still living reputably in one of the villages adjoining the metropolis. At the time I speak of, I frequently met this young inan'at the Freemasons', the Crown and Anchor, and other taverns, where public dinners are held, and where he was always hailed with rapture, as a second Braham; and he really sung very delightfully; but he could not stand the flattery attendant on it, and the hard drinking, which he thought necessary, poor fellow, but which is well known to be a singer's greatest enemy.
He frequently attended two or three dinners in one day; and, in short, he altogether verified the old proverb of "a short life and a merry one;" and, descending in the scale of society, step by step, he exchanged his elegant tavern dining for evening clubs and free-and-easys, till, ejected from the public-house parlour, he sunk into a frequenter of common tap-rooms, and an associater with the vilest of the vile,--he cared not whom,--and, provided he could get liquor to drink, he cared not what.
His business had been entirely lost, long before this utter degradation; though his friends had, from time to time, with great sacrifices, upheld him; and he was, at the period spoken of, a pensioner on their bounty, and on the occasional treats still procured by his failing voice ; till, at length, finding he was attacked by a grim disease, and having become so lost to all decency of feeling as to make it impossible for his friends to take him into their houses, the parish workhouse was his only resource, where he is now paid for by those friends; an older man in constitution than his father, though still, by age, he ought to be numbered with our youths.
After he had left the room, the overseer told me that,
although he could not find it in his heart to refuse this lost being his request, yet he knew that he would only go begging round among his old friends and acquaintances, the consequence of which would, in all probability, be several days of intoxication before his return, when he would again come into the workhouse, in the same sickly state, from which, by good care and attention, he had been greatly relieved.
Let this communication, every syllable of which is true, sink deeply into the hearts of all my young male readers, who are just entering into life, and who may happen to have tolerable voices. Singing is an elegant, but, as I have shown, a dangerous accomplishment. Far be it from me to assert, that there are not many good singers, both public and private, who are prudent men. I have only sketched, feebly indeed, and slightly, what has been the result of musical talent of this sort, and what, therefore, may be the result again ; and I have good reason to know, that a fate, similar to the one I have related, has befallen many a man besides him of whom I have been writing, whose youthful pride has been to be called a good singer.
The Country Clergyman.-GOLDSMITH.
NEAR yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
His house was known to all the vagrant train,"