Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

years the classical charge of a hundred but then it must be at Flaccus's quibble children, during the four or five first years about Rex-or at the tristis severitas in of their education; and his very highest vultu, or inspicere in patinas, of Terence form seldom proceeded further than two thin jests, which at their first broachor three of the introductory fables of ing could hardly have had vis enough to Phædrus. How things were suffered to move a Roman muscle.—He had two (530 go on thus, I cannot guess. Boyer, who wigs, both pedantic, but of different was the proper person to have reme- (480 omen. The one serene, smiling, fresh died these abuses, always affected, per- powdered, betokening a mild day. The haps felt, a delicacy in interfering in a other, an old, discolored, unkempt, angry province not strictly his own. I have caxon, denoting frequent and bloody not been without my suspicions, that he execution. Woe to the school, when he was not altogether displeased at the con- made his morning appearance in his trast we presented to his end of the school. passy, or passionate wig. No comet exWe were a sort of Helots to his young pounded surer.-J. B. had a heavy hand. Spartans. He would

He would sometimes, with I have known him double his knotty (540 ironic deference, send to borrow a rod fist at a poor trembling child (the maof the Under Master, and then, with [490 ternal milk hardly dry upon its lips) with sardonic grin, observe to one of his upper a “Sirrah, do you presume to set your boys, “how neat and fresh the twigs wits at me?”—Nothing was more comlooked.” While his pale students were mon than to see him make a headlong battering their brains over Xenophon entry into the schoolroom, from his inner and Plato, with a silence as deep as that recess, or library, and, with turbulent enjoined by the Samite, we were enjoying eye, singling out a lad, roar out, “Od's my ourselves at our ease in our little Goshen. life, Sirrah” (his favorite adjuration), We saw a little into the secrets of his dis- “I have a great mind to whip you,” (550 cipline, and the prospect did but the more then, with as sudden a retracting impulse, reconcile us to our lot. His thunders (500 fling back into his lair-and, after a coolrolled innocuous for us; his storms came ing lapse of some minutes (during which near, but never touched us; contrary to all but the culprit had totally forgotten Gideon's miracle, while all around were the context) drive headlong out again, drenched, our fleece was dry. His boys piecing out his imperfect sense, as if it turned out the better scholars; we, I sus- had been some Devil's Litany, with the pect, have the advantage in temper. His expletory yell—"and I will too.”—In his pupils cannot speak of him without some- gentler moods, when the rabidus furor thing of terror allaying their gratitude; the was assuaged, he had resort to an in- 1560 remembrance of Field comes back with all genious method, peculiar, for what I have the soothing images of indolence, and (510 heard, to himself, of whipping the boy, summer slumbers, and work like play, and and reading the Debates, at the same innocent idleness, and Elysian exemptions, time; a paragraph, and a lash between; and life itself a "playing holiday.'

which in those times, when parliamentary Though sufficiently removed from the oratory was most at a height and flourishjurisdiction of Boyer, we

ing in these realms, was not calculated enough (as I have said) to understand to impress the patient with a veneration a little of his system. We occasionally for the diffuser graces of rhetoric. . heard sounds of the Ululantes, and caught Once, and but once, the uplifted (570 glances of Tartarus.

B. was

a rabid rod was known to fall ineffectual from his pedant. His English style was (520 hand-when droll squinting

Whavcramped to barbarism. His Easter an- ing been caught putting the inside of the thems (for his duty obliged him to those periodical flights) were grating as scrannel

manly fancy in the more flowery walks of the Muses. A

little dramatic effusion of his, under the name of Vertumpus pipes. He would laugh, ay, and heartily,

and Pomona, is not yet forgotten by the chroniclers of that

sort of literature. It was accepted by Garrick, but the town 1 In this and every thing B, was the antipodes of his co- did not give it their sanction.-B. used to say of it, in a way adjutor. While the former was digging his brains for crude of half-compliment, half-irony, that it was loo classical for anthers, worth a pig-nut, F. would be recreating his gentle- representation. (Lamb.)

were

near

master's desk to a use for which the of speech, with raven locks.-Thomas architect had clearly not designed it, to Fanshaw Middleton followed him (now justify himself, with great simplicity Bishop of Calcutta) a scholar and a [630 averred, that he did not know that the thing gentleman in his teens. He has the repuhad been forewarned. This exquisite irrec- tation of an excellent critic; and is author ognition of any law antecedent to the (besides the Country Spectator) of a oral or declaratory struck so irre- [580 Treatise on the Greek Article, against sistibly upon the fancy of all who heard Sharpe-M. is said to bear his mitre high it (the pedagogue himself not excepted) in India, where the regni novitas (I dare that remission was unavoidable.

say) sufficiently justifies the bearing. A L. has given credit to B.'s great merits humility quite as primitive as that of as an instructor. Coleridge, in his literary Jewel or Hooker might not be exactly life, has pronounced a more intelligible fitted to impress the minds of those (640 and ample encomium on them. The Anglo-Asiatic diocesans with a reverence author of the Country Spectator doubts for home institutions, and the church not to compare him with the ablest which those fathers watered. The manteachers of antiquity. Perhaps we (590 ners of M. at school, though firm, were cannot dismiss him better than with the mild and unassuming.–Next to M. (if pious ejaculation of C.-when he heard not senior to him) was Richards, author that his old master was on his death- of the Aboriginal Britons, the most bed—“Poor J. B.!--may all his faults spirited of the Oxford Prize Poems; a be forgiven; and may he be wafted to bliss pale, studious Grecian.—Then followed by little cherub boys, all head and wings, poor Sill-fated M-! of these (650 with no bottoms to reproach his sublunary the Muse is silent. infirmities." Under him were many good and sound

Finding some of Edward's race scholars bred.- First Grecian of my (600 Unhappy, pass their annals by." time was Lancelot Pepys Stevens, kindest of boys and men, since Co-grammar- Come back into memory, like as thou master (and inseparable companion) with wert in the dayspring of thy fancies, with Dr. T—. What an edifying spectacle hope like a fiery column before thee did this brace of friends present to those the dark pillar not yet turned—Samuel who remembered the anti-socialities of Taylor Coleridge-Logician, Metaphytheir predecessors!-You never met the sician, Bard!-How have I seen the casual one by chance in the street without a passer through the Cloisters stand (660 wonder, which was quickly dissipated by still, entranced with admiration (while the almost immediate sub-appearance (610 he weighed the disproportion between of the other. Generally arm in arm, these the speech and the garb of the young kindly coadjutors lightened for each other Mirandula), to hear thee unfold, in thy the toilsome duties of their profession, deep and sweet intonations, the mysand when, in advanced age, one found it teries of Jamblichus, or Plotinus (for convenient to retire, the other was not even in those years thou waxedst not pale long in discovering that it suited him to at such philosophic draughts), or reciting lay down the fasces also. Oh, it is pleas- Homer in his Greek, or Pindar—while ant, as it is rare, to find the same arm the walls of the old Grey Friars re- [670 linked in yours at forty, which at thirteen echoed to the accents of the inspired helped it to turn over the Cicero De [620 charity-boy! Many were the "wit-comAmicitia, or some tale of Antique Friend bats” (to dally awhile with the words ship, which the young heart even then of old Fuller) between him and C. V. Le was burning to anticipate!--Co-Grecian G-, “which two I behold like a with S. was Th-, who has since exe- Spanish great gallion, and an English cuted with ability various diplomatic man-of-war; Master Coleridge, like the functions at the Northern courts. Th- former, was built far higher in learning, was a tall, dark, saturnine youth, sparing solid, but slow in his performances. C.

on

to say,

V. L., with the English man-of-war, (680 about me the other evening to hear about lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could their great-grandmother Field, who lived turn with all tides, tack about, and take in a great house in Norfolk (a hundred advantage of all winds, by the quickness times bigger than that in which they (10 of his wit and invention.”

and papa lived) which had been the Nor shalt thou, their compeer, be scene so at least it was generally bequickly forgotten, Allen, with the cordial lieved in that part of the country—of the smile, and still more cordial laugh, with tragic incidents which they had lately which thou wert wont to make the old become familiar with from the ballad of Cloisters shake, in thy cognition of some the Children in the Wood. Certain it is poignant jest of theirs; or the antici- (690 that the whole story of the children pation of some more material, and, perad- and their cruel uncle was to be seen venture, practical one, of thine own. fairly carved out in wood upon the Extinct are those smiles, with that beau- chimney-piece of the great hall, [20 tiful countenance, with which (for thou the whole story down to the Robin wert the Nireus formosus of the school), Redbreasts, till a foolish rich person in the days of thy maturer waggery, thou pulled it down to set up a marble didst disarm the wrath of infuriated one of modern invention in its stead, town-damsel, who, incensed by provok- with no story upon it. Here Alice ing pinch, turning tigress-like round, sud- put out one of her dear mother's denly converted by thy angel-look, ex- (700 looks, too tender to be called upchanged the half-formed terrible "01" braiding. Then I went for a gentler greeting— "bless thy hand how religious and how good their some face!

great-grandmother Field was, how (30 Next follow two, who ought to be now beloved and respected by every body, alive, and the friends of Elia—the junior though she was not indeed the mistress Le G and F

and F; who, impelled, the of this great house, but had only the former by a roving temper, the latter by charge of it (and yet in some respects too quick a sense of neglect—ill capable of she might be said to be the mistress of it enduring the slights poor Sizars are some- too) committed to her by the owner, who times subject to in our seats of learn- (710 preferred living in a newer and more ing-exchanged their Alma Mater for the fashionable mansion which he had purcamp; perishing, one by climate, and one chased somewhere in the adjoining county; on the plains of Salamanca :-Le G- but still she lived in it in a manner [40 sanguine, volatile, sweet-natured; F- as if it had been her own, and kept up the dogged, faithful, anticipative of insult, dignity of the great house in a sort while warm-hearted, with something of the old she lived, which afterwards came to decay, Roman height about him.

and was nearly pulled down, and all its old Fine, frank-hearted Fr—,

-, the present ornaments stripped and carried away to master of Hertford, with Marmaduke the owner's other house, where they were T-, mildest of Missionaries—and (720 set up, and looked as awkward as if some both my good friends still-close the cata

one were to carry away the old tombs logue of Grecians in my time.

they had seen lately at the Abbey, and stick them up in Lady C.'s tawdry gilt (50 drawing-room. Here John smiled, as

much as to say, “that would be foolish DREAM-CHILDREN; A REVERIE indeed.” And then I told how, when she

came to die, her funeral was attended by Children love to listen to stories about a concourse of all the poor, and some of their elders, when they were children; to the gentry too, of the neighborhood for stretch their imagination to the concep- many miles round, to show their respect tion of a traditionary great-uncle or for her memory, because she had been grandame, whom they never saw. It was such a good and religious woman; so good in this spirit that my little ones crept indeed that she knew all the Psaltery (60

1

by heart, ay, and a great part of the Testa- ing but to look at-or in lying about ment besides. Here little Alice spread upon the fresh grass, with all the fine her hands. Then I told what a tall, up- garden smells around me or basking in right, graceful person their great-grand- the orangery, till I could almost fancy mother Field once was; and how in her myself ripening too along with the oranges youth she was esteemed the best dancer- and the limes in that grateful warmth (120 here Alice's little right foot played an -or in watching the dace that darted to involuntary movement, till upon my and fro in the fish-pond, at the bottom of looking grave, it desisted-the best dancer, the garden, with here and there a great I was saying, in the county, till a (70 sulky pike hanging midway down the cruel disease, called a cancer, came, and water in silent state, as if it mocked at bowed her down with pain; but it could their impertinent friskings,

I had more never bend her good spirits, or make them pleasure in these busy-idle diversions than stoop, but they were still upright, because in all the sweet flavors of peaches, necshe was so good and religious. Then I tarines, oranges, and such like common told how she was used to sleep by herself baits of children. Here John slily (130 in a lone chamber of the great lone house; deposited back upon the plate a bunch of and how she believed that an apparition grapes, which, not unobserved by Alice, of two infants was to be seen at midnight he had meditated dividing with her, and gliding up and down the great stair- (80 both seemed willing to relinquish them case near where she slept, but she said for the present as irrelevant. Then in “those innocents would do her no harm;' somewhat a more heightened tone, I told and how frightened I used to be, though how, though their great-grandmother Field in those days I had my maid to sleep with loved all her grand-children, yet in an me, because I was never half so good or especial manner she might be said to love religious as she and yet I never saw the their uncle, John L-, because he (140 infants. Here John expanded all his eye- was so handsome and spirited a youth, brows and tried to look courageous. and a king to the rest of us; and, instead Then I told how good she was to all her of moping about in solitary corners, like grand-children, having us to the great (90 some of us, he would mount the most house in the holidays, where I in particular mettlesome horse he could get, when but used to spend many hours by myself, in an imp no bigger than themselves, and gazing upon the old busts of the Twelve make it carry him half over the county Cæsars, that had been Emperors of in a morning, and join the hunters when Rome, till the old marble heads would there were any out—and yet he loved the seem to live again, or I to be turned into old great house and gardens too, but (150 marble with them; how I never could be had too much spirit to be always pent up tired with roaming about that huge man- within their boundaries—and how their sion, with its vast empty rooms, with uncle grew up to man's estate as brave as their worn-out hangings,' fluttering (100 he was handsome, to the admiration of tapestry, and carved oaken panels, with everybody, but of their great-grandmother the gilding almost rubbed out-sometimes Field most especially; and how he used in the spacious old-fashioned gardens, to carry me upon his back when I was a which I had almost to myself, unless when lame-footed boy-for he was a good bit now and then a solitary gardening man older than memany a mile when I could would cross me—and how the nectarines not walk for pain;—and how in after (160 and peaches hung upon the walls, without life he became lame-footed too, and I did my ever offering to pluck them, because not always (I fear) make allowances they were forbidden fruit, unless now enough for him when he was impatient, and then,-and because I had more (110 and in pain, nor remember sufficiently pleasure in strolling about among the how considerate he had been to me when old melancholy-looking yew trees, or the I was lame-footed; and how when he firs, and picking up the red berries, and died, though he had not been dead an the fir apples, which were good for noth- | hour, it seemed as if he had died a great

while ago,

such a distance there is betwixt life and death; and how I bore his (170 THE PRAISE OF CHIMNEYdeath as I thought pretty well at first,

SWEEPERS but afterwards it haunted and haunted me; and though I did not cry or take it I like to meet a sweep-understand to heart as some do, and as I think he me—not a grown sweeper-old chimneywould have done if I had died, yet I missed sweepers are by no means attractive him all day long, and knew not till then but one of those tender novices, blooming how much I had loved him. I missed his through their first nigritude, the maternal kindness, and I missed his crossness, and washings not quite effaced from the wished him to be alive again, to be quar- cheek—such as come forth with the relling with him (for we quarrelled (180 dawn, or somewhat earlier, with their sometimes), rather than not have him little professional notes sounding like the again, and was as uneasy without him, as peep peep of a young sparrow; or (10 he their poor uncle must have been when liker to the matin lark should I pronounce the doctor took off his limb. Here the them, in their aërial ascents not seldom children fell a-crying, and asked if their anticipating the sun-rise? little mourning which they had on was I have a kindly yearning toward these not for uncle John, and they looked up, dim specks-poor blots-innocent blackand prayed me not to go on about their nesses uncle, but to tell them some stories about I reverence these young Africans of our their pretty dead mother. Then I (190 own growth—these almost clergy imps, told how for seven long years, in hope who sport their cloth without assumption; sometimes, sometimes in despair, yet and from their little pulpits (the tops [20 persisting ever, I courted the fair Alice of chimneys), in the nipping air of a DeW—n; and, as much as children could cember morning, preach a lesson of paunderstand, I explained to them what tience to mankind. coyness, and difficulty, and denial meant When a child, what a mysterious pleasin maidens—when suddenly, turning to ure it was to witness their operation! to see Alice, the soul of the first Alice looked a chit no bigger than one's self enter, one out at her eyes with such a reality of knew not by what process, into what re-presentment, that I became in 200 seemed the fauces Averni—to pursue him doubt which of them stood there before in imagination, as he went sounding on me, or whose that bright hair was; and through so many dark stilling caverns, [30 while I stood gazing, both the children horrid shades!—to shudder with the idea gradually grew fainter to my view, reced- that “now, surely, he must be lost for ing, and still receding till nothing at last ever!”—to revive at hearing his feeble but two mournful features were seen in shout of discovered day-light-and then the uttermost distance, which, without (O fulness of delight) running out of doors, speech, strangely impressed upon me the to come just in time to see the sable effects of speech; "We are not of Alice, phenomenon emerge in safety, the brannor of thee, nor are we children at all. [210 dished weapon of his art victorious like The children of Alice call Bartrum father. some flag waved over a conquered citadel! We are nothing; less than nothing, and I seem to remember having been told, (40 dreams. We are only what might have that a bad sweep was once left in a stack been, and must wait upon the tedious with his brush, to indicate which way the shores of Lethe millions of ages before wind blew. It was an awful spectacle we have existence, and a name”—and certainly; not much unlike the old stage immediately awaking, I found myself direction in Macbeth, where the "Appariquietly seated in my bachelor armchair, tion of a child crowned with a tree in his where I had fallen asleep, with the faithful hand rises." Bridget unchanged by my side—but (220 Reader, if thou meetest one of these John L. (or James Elia) was gone for small gentry in thy early rambles, it is

good to give him a penny. It is better (50

ever.

« AnteriorContinuar »