Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

:

was placed before the fire, and as I wondered why we were left in the dark, the Admiral came in, carrying a taper and a bottle of brandy, which he poured all over the almonds and raisins, then set light to the spirits, and all the large dish was on fire ; such beautiful blue flames were kindled, licking the pan round like fiery tongues, then darting and curling up like snakes, lighting all the room fitfully, and casting a lurid glare on the children's faces, as they danced round it. The fun then began : such dashing at the burning almonds, such snapping at the raisins dropping liquid fire, as they threw them about with their fingers tipped by blue flames; such screaminghalf fright and half pleasure. Reginald's hand was never out of the dish,-scattering fire in every direction, till the dish was empty. Candles reappeared, and the noise subsided for a while. Mrs. Parsons now entered, carrying a bullet-pudding, and a large kitchenknife-a horrid instrument! I never see a knife without feeling a cold chill running through me! the knife is in reality the natural enemy the apple: I always sympathised with a king called James, of whom I heard mistress tell the children; King James never could bear the sight of “cold steel” from his birth. It is a very natural feeling.

To return to the bullet-pudding : it was formed in the shape of a solid, well-pressed pyramid of dry flour, on the conical top of which was placed a leaden bullet, or.a boy's marble ; each child, by turns, cuts a slice of the flour down, and the child whose cut brings down the bullet, is bound to hunt for it in the dish in which it has buried itself as it fell, and to bring it out with his teeth! At first they cut boldly enough; but as the pyramid diminished, and got undermined, and the bullet began to topple over, the children became more cautious. Thompson brought it down, and a fine figure he was when he found the bullet, his hair, face, and eyelashes all powdered, like a rat in a meal-tub. I was laughing fit to kill myself at the drollery of this sport, when I saw the table and dish taken away, and a great wooden tub—a washing-tub—-put into the middle of the room; I heard a shout raised of “Now for the apples ! now for the apples !" re-echoed from all sides. I felt agitated, I knew not why. Reginald, seizing both dishes of apples, hurried us to the brink of the tub. I just remember the flash of the lights gleaming in the dark, cold water beneath me,---when, without the slightest warning, he plunged us all headlong in! The shock, the surprise, were overwhelming for some seconds; but after a while, finding the cold freshness of the sparkling waters rather agreeable than otherwise, and having always been a hardy apple of my kind in the summer showers, I rallied; and entering into the merriment of those around me, I bobbed and danced

a

about with very considerable spirit, while the children were trying to catch us in their mouths, without being allowed to use their hands. I gave the young creatures some trouble in this sport, bobbing against their fresh, wet faces, till they were tired with laughing. I saw them catch a pippin or two that had not my activity in eluding the foe. However, as all things must have an end, when I saw my friend, Reginald, trying his chance, and boldly diving after me, I felt I could not fall into better hands ; I no longer avoided him, I yielded, and he drew me out by the stalk, in triumph, with his teeth!

This ended the frolics; the party was all thoroughly tired out, as if it had been work instead of play, and it was ten o'clock. Reginald wiped my face and his own, and slipped me into his jacketpocket.

THE CATARACT OF LODORE.*
HOW DOES THE WATER COME DOWN AT LODORE ?

SOUTHEY,
My little boy asked me

Thus, once on a time;
And moreover he tasked me

To tell him in rhynie.
Anon at the word,

There first came one daughter,
And then came another

To second and third
The request of their brother,

And to hear how the water
Comes down at Lodore;

With its rush and its roar,
As many a time

They had seen it before.
So I told them in rhyme,

For of rhymes I had store :
And 'twas in my vocation
For their recreation

That so I should sing,
Because I was Laureate

To them and the king.
From its sources which well
In the Tarn on the fell;

From its fountains

In the mountains, * A celebrated cascade, near Keswick, in Cumberland, with a fall of 100 feet

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

And through the wood-shelter,

Among crags in its flurry,
Helter skelter,

Hurry skurry.
Here it comes sparkling,
And there it lies darkling,
Now smoking and frothing,
Its tumult and wrath in,
Till in this rapid race

On which it is bent,
It reaches the place

Of its deep descent.
The cataract strong
Then plunges along,
Striking and raging,

As if a war waging,
Its caverns and rocks among.

Rising and leaping,
Sinking and creeping,
Swelling and sweeping,
Showering and springing,
Flying and flinging,
Writhing and ringing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting,
Around and around,
With endless rebound;
Smiting and fighting,
A sight to delight in;

Confounding, astounding,
Dizzing and deafening the car with its sound.

Collecting, projecting,
Receding and speeding,
And shocking and rocking,
And darting and parting,
And threading and spreadingi
And whizzing and hissing
And dripping and skipping,
And hitting and splitting,
And shining and twining,

And rattling and battling,
And shaking and quaking,
And pouring and roaring,
And waving and raving,
And tossing and crossing,
And flowing and glowing,
And running and stunning,
And foaming and roaming,
And dinning and spinning,
And dropping and hopping,
And working and jerking,
And guggling and struggling,
And heaving and cleaving,
And moaning and groaning,
And glittering and frittering,
And gathering and feathering,
And whitening and brightening,
And quivering and shivering,
And hurrying and skurrying,

And thundering and floundering,
Dividing and gliding and sliding,
And falling and brawling and sprawling,
And driving and riving and striving,
And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
And sounding and bounding and rounding,
And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,

And clattering and battering and shattering,
Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,
Delaying and straying and playing and spraying,
Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
Recoiling, turmoiling, and toiling and boiling,
And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping,
And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
And thumping and plumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing,
And so never ending, but always descending,
Sounds and motion for ever and ever are blending
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar,

nd this way the water comes down at Lodore.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »