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tears at night after parting as the coach sped on the journey to school and London; that looked out with beating heart as the milestones flew by, for the welcome corner where began home and holidays?
It is night now, and here is home. Gathered under the quiet roof elders and children lie alike at rest. In the midst of a great peace and calm, the stars look out from the heavens. The silence is peopled with the past; sorrowful remorses for sins and shortcomings— memories of passionate joys and griefs rise out of their graves, both now alike calm and sad. Eyes, as I shut mine, look at me, that have long ceased to shine. The town and the fair landscape sleep under the starlight, wreathed in the autumn mists. Twinkling among the houses a light keeps watch here and there, in what may be a sick-chamber or two. The clock tolls sweetly in the silent air. Here is night and rest. An aw
ful sense of thanks makes the heart swell, and the head bow, as I pass to my room through the sleeping house, and feel as though a hushed blessing were upon it.
ON A JOKE I ONCE HEARD FROM THE LATE
HE good-natured reader who has pe
has long since seen (if to see has been worth his trouble) that the writer belongs to the oldfashioned classes of this world, loves to remember very much more than to prophesy, and though he can't help being carried
onward, and downward, perhaps, on the hill of life, the swift milestones marking their forties, fifties-how many tens or lustres shall we say?- he sits under Time, the white-wigged charioteer, with his back to the horses and his face to the past, looking at the receding landscape and the hills fading into the gray distance. Ah me! those gray, distant hills were green once, and here, and covered with smiling people! As
we came up the hill there was difficulty, and here and there a hard pull to be sure, but strength, and spirits, and all sorts of cheery incident and companionship on the road; there were the tough struggles (by Heaven's merciful will) overcome, the pauses, the faintings, the weakness, the lost way, perhaps, the bitter weather, the dreadful partings, the lonely night, the passionate grief-toward these I turn my thoughts as I sit and think in my hobby-coach under Time, the silverwigged charioteer. The young folks in the same carriage meanwhile are looking forward. Nothing escapes their keen eyes-not a flower at the side of a cottage garden, nor a bunch of rosy-faced children at the gate: the landscape is all bright, the air brisk and jolly, the town yonder looks beautiful, and do you think they have learned to be difficult about the dishes at the inn?
Now, suppose Paterfamilias on his journey with his wife and children in the sociable, and he passes an ordinary brick house on the road with an ordinary little garden in the front, we will say, and quite an ordinary knocker to the door, and as many sashed windows as you please, quite common and square, and tiles, windows, chimney-pots, quite like others; or suppose, in driving over such and such a common, he sees an ordinary tree, and an ordinary donkey browsing under it, if you like-wife and daughter look at these objects without the slightest particle of curiosity or interest. What is a brass knocker to them but a lion's head or what not? and a thorn-tree with a pool beside it but a pool in which a thorn and a jackass are reflected?
But you remember how once upon a time your heart used to beat, as you beat on that brass knocker, and whose eyes looked from the window above? You remember how by that thorn-tree and pool, where the geese were performing a prodigious evening concert, there might be seen, at a certain hour, somebody in a certain cloak and bonnet, who happened to be coming from a village yonder, and whose image has flickered in that pool? In that pool, near the thorn? Yes, in that goose-pool, never mind how long ago, when there were reflected the images of the geese-and two geese more. Here, at least, an oldster may have the advantage of his young fellow-travelers, and so Putney Heath or the New Road may be invested with a halo of brightness invisible to them, because it only beams out of his own soul.
I have been reading the Memorials of Hood by his children,* and wonder whether the book will have the same interest for others and for younger people as for persons of my own age and calling. Books of travel to any country become interesting to us who have been there. Men revisit the old school, though hateful to them, with ever so much kindliness and sentimental affection. There was the tree under which the bully licked you; here the ground where you had to fag out on holidays, and so forth. In a word, my dear sir, You are the most interesting subject to yourself of any that can occupy your worship's thoughts. I have no doubt a Crimean soldier, reading a history of that siege, and how Jones and the gallant 99th were ordered to charge or what not,
*Memorials of Thomas Hood. Moxon, 1860. 2 vols.
thinks, "Ah! yes, we of the 100th were placed so and so, I perfectly remember." So with this memorial of poor Hood, it may have, no doubt, a greater interest for me than for others, for I was fighting, so to speak, in a different part of the field, and engaged, a young subaltern in the Battle of Life, in which Hood fell, young still, and covered with glory. "The Bridge of Sighs" was his Corunna, his heights of Abrahamsickly, weak, wounded, he fell in the full blaze and fame of that great victory.
What manner of man was the genius who penned that famous song? What like was Wolfe, who climbed and conquered on those famous Heights of Abraham ? We all want to know details regarding men who have achieved famous feats, whether of war, or wit, or eloquence, or endurance, or knowledge. His one or two happy and heroic actions take a man's name and memory out of the crowd of names and memories. Henceforth he stands eminent. We scan him; we want to know all about him; we walk round and examine him; are curious, perhaps, and think are we not as strong, and tall, and capable as yonder champion; were we not bred as well, and could we not endure the winter's cold as well as he? Or we look up with all our eyes of admiration; will find no fault in our hero; declare his beauty and proportions perfect; his critics envious detractors, and so forth. Yesterday, before he performed his feat, he was nobody. Who cared about his birth-place, his parentage, or the color of his hair? To-day, by some single achievement, or by a series of great actions to which his genius accustoms us, he is famous, and antiquarians are busy finding