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fering among the village poor. Englishwomen are truly distinguished for these generous and unassuming offices of benevolence; and they belong almost exclusively to a life in the country.' In London or in Paris, but especially in London, benevolence displays itself in munificent institutions and the most universal subscriptions' for objects of poverty and misery of every description. This is a splendid spectaele: but it is a more touching and enchanting'one to see rank and beauty laying aside every worldly distinction and every selfish pleasure, exploring the scenes of village suffering, and personally consoling and relieving the sick bed of the humble peasant. The benevolence of cities is mixed with ostentation, and vague in its object: charity is there rarely brought into contact with its objects ;--but that of the country flows directly from the heart, is 'accompanied by personal consolations, and kept alive by sympathy for sufferings actually witnessed.
Sometimes, in a delightful equestrian ramble among the green lanes, or a gallop over the greensward by the river, we forgot how time passed, and, on referring to our watches, were obliged to rebrousser chemin at full gallop, in order to reach home in time to dress for some tiresome diner de cérémonie--more than once a venison-feast of some neighbouring squire, where we met all the Justice Shallows of the county assembled round a smoking haunch in a hot summer afternoon. Some
rosy parson or cognoscent baronet, of approved skill and experience in such matters, is invested with the enormous carving-knife and fork, and, with sleeves tucked up and erect posture, plunges the pointed steel into the plump and juicy thigh. With what watering lips and glistening eyes this coup-d'essai is observed and expected by the knowing squire-archy around! When the first échantillon is brought forth rosy and smoking, and delicately laid on the ready steam-heated metal plate, what a peal of applause breaks forth !--what a series of profound remarks and critical judgments then succeed! what encomiums on the depth of the fat-the tenderness of the meat--the fine feeding-the long keeping, the happiness of the roasting, the beauty of the carving ! Quintilian and Boileau might have learnt discrimination from the fine fitness of every eulogium. The health of the donor is pledged in bumpers of Madeira ; and, as the charms of the haunch begin to cloy, those of the grape grow more irresistible. The champagne (véritable Sillery) pops and sparkles---the hock in green glasses conveys a pleasing idea of coolness to every sense, which, however, is entirely lost on the old Rector (curé), who announces with audible voice that he is “contented to stick to the port.” Then, when grace has been buzzed in sotto roce by the said ecclesiastic, what a change of attraction appears! what a pouring forth of Ceres' whole horn! what piles of grapes, green and purple! what pyramids of peaches! what edifices of nectarines ! - The whole train of liveried attendants is hardly sufficient to bear these blooming honours of the kitchen-garden; till the stately butler puts the comble to the whole, by placing the triumphant pine-apple in the elevated china vase in the centre of the table. The serrechaud, the gardener, the walls, the aspect, then come in for criticisms and compliments. About this time a sallow nabob of bad digestion, perchance, grows eloquent on the exquisite heating of his hot-houses--his strawberries in March—and his costly garden of exotics : but a portly county member soon diverts the conversation to a more healthy and congenial channel a new inclosure of a fen, for which he is procuring an act in the House of Commons. This in a moment calls forth a zealous discussion of its advantages and demerits. Every body has a lively opinion on so interesting a subject. My lady seizes the opportunity, makes a significant movement, and rises, attended by the other ladies of the party (like Eve leaving Adam and the angel when entering 'on abstruse topics), while a young dandy, who has sat in silent ennui during the whole dinner, starts gallantly from his 'seat, rejoiced to extend his elegant form in opening the door for the retiring ladies, and simpering an observation to the young damisels as they pass.
The door being shut on the fair ornaments of the party, the master of the house deliberately rises with bottle and glass in hand, and walks to the upper end of the table, where he seats himself in the chair of the lady of the house-calls to the young dandy to ring the bell for a bottle of claret, while the whole party move up towards their President with that respect for constituted authority which distinguishes them. The debate on the proposed Inclosure Act is then carried on with renewed vigour, and its interest almost swallows up the occasional and less important topics of turnpike-roads, sessions-meetings, parish-bastards, partridges and poachers. The said county member, a Rev. Doctor of great skill in Burn and Blackstone and who acts as Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, and an old Justice of the Quorum, form the principal figures in the debate ; and a pale young lord, who speaks and votes with Opposition in the House, and who appears much read. in Malthus, Adam Smith, et notre Say, talks very elegantly against the plan, as tending to give an impolitic stimulus to population, and to increase that system of over-production which had beat down the price of produce, and occasioned such distress to the land
As your friend the Conseiller Cottu has observed, in his admirable book “ Sur la Jurisprudence Criminelle de l'Angleterre," the English cannot exist without the pleasure of argument; and their after-dinner conversations assume something of the shape of a House of Commons' debate. In France, conversation is considered a mere vehicle of amusement-a vent for high spirits and gaiety of constitution : in England, it takes a serious and instructive turn, and generally falls into a grave but animated, and often witty and sarcastic discussion of some book, some new law, some trial in the Courts, some question of politics or of literature. Before ten sentences on the point are uttered, the whole table are ranged on the two sides of the question ; the ablest men take the lead and direct the combat--the others, and often the ladies (who have admirable reasoning heads, a rare excellence in women) join as auxiliaries. There are no personalities! no exclamations, no gesticulations, no talking all at once and at the top of the lungs, as with us in Franceeach person delivers his sentiments, and has an attentive and silent hearing: his adversary takes a pleasure in listening to arguments which he thinks he can triumphantly refute when his turn comes. Every one is too practised and too conscious a master of his weapons to take the slightest uncandid advantage; and an unfair sophism or misrepresentation is detected in a moment by the youngest lady at table, and only injures the cause for which it was advanced. These conversations, among intelligent persons, certainly afford a very high enjoyment both to actors and listeners, and give to English society a very peculiar zest, and one of a totally distinct kind from the gay enjoyments of our metropolis. It is the true Horatian intercourse of reflective minds.
non de villis domibusque alienis,” &c. &c.
-you know the rest by heart.-A. propos of " heart." I send at foot å new epigram, which pray inscribe by proxy for me in Madame de G-'s album.
Horace's old Certius was not wanting at our venison-feast; and rarely is absent in any party in any country. We had him in the shape of an old superannuated Member of Parliament, who had sat in the House since Mr. Pitt's débút, and prosed forth eternal anecdotes of Burke, Lord North, and Charles Townsend, till a summons to coffee cut short his “ aniles fabellas." The young ladies from the park gave us some delightful music from Don Giovanni; the old 'squires played long whist; and about eleven o'clock we packed ourselves into the family coach to drive our ten miles home to As I am no great amateur des perdrix, and have eaten venison enough for this season, I shall return soon to London ; but on parle de courses des chevaur, bals, &c. &c. which possibly may tempt me. Adieu.
D. Epigram on a certain House-of-Commons Orator, not remarkable for the constancy of his attachments, and whose eloquent speeches sentent un peu la lampe.
G— has no heart, they say; but I deny it-
THE POTHIEN-STILL-WAKE. In the huge hull of a stranded ship, on the bleak coast of dwelt Torwy O'Donil, commonly known as “ The Merman of the Wreck." The spring-tide waves often washed over part of his roof, for the vessel lay imbedded in sand, on the brink of the waters, where a tempest had left her, after having been deserted and pillaged by her mutinous crew.
She was shattered and laid bare to the winds in many places, but the strong sand, that yearly accumulated round the hulk, kept her lower timbers tightly together, and Torwy enjoyed a warm, although rather a dangerous, retreat in the deep hold. For above half a century Torwy had been the wise man of the sea-shore. He foretold tempests and long calms, warned the bold and unwary fishermen against the delusive appearances of a promising morning sky, cured thein of maladies, griefs, and the most potent spells of mountainelves and sea-spirits, and, to the utmost extent of his power, protected the luckless mariners who were cast upon his coast, from the cruelties and piracy of his fierce inhospitable neighbours.
In the company of Gorry Duigenan and a party of his friends, I travelled across the country from the foot of the White Woman's Mountain, snowy-headed Sliabh-na-mann, (the summit of which, tradition assigns to have formerly been the dwelling-place of a mighty giant and his bride,) to the old Merman's wreck, by the sea-side. Gorry's father had met with O'Donil in one of his inland wanderings, shooting the strong salmon as they leaped from the green dewy banks of the freshwater rivers at twilight; and, after the fashion of the country, the old man had agreed upon a match, over their whiskey, between young Duigenan and a lass whom the Merman cherished, as one of his own blood, in the heart of the imbedded ship. At the appointed time Gorry, accompanied by a troop of young men, proceeded to the coast for his young wife, and the portion with which the Merman had promised to endow
her, if she approved of the unknown son of Old Duigenan for a husband. We found Torwy on the look-out, among the steep crags, seated in a wicker basket, which was safely strapped to the brawny shoulders of an athletic black. His eyes were concealed by a pair of shining perforated sea-shells, a bunch of dripping rock-weeds streamed over his brow, which, with the rest of his face, was purposely stained of a sea-green hue, several strings of coast-pebbles and scallops hung round his neck, and in his right hand he bore a short old-fashioned fusil. We had so often heard the Merman described, that we immediately recognised him in the strange figure before us, and unanimously performed the customary ceremony, of sprinkling sand or sea-water on our heads in his presence. He was apparently above eighty years of age; and his long white locks fell over his bosom and mingled with the crisp woolly hair of his faithful black. He accosted us in a tone of mingled dignity and frankness, surveyed the intended husband of his lass from top to toe, and after pronouncing him to be a proper youth, and fit for a woman of the best blood in Erin, he led the way to the wreck.
His wooden citadel was separated from the land by a wide trench, into which the sea water flowed at all times; and that part of his wreck which lay at the verge of the beach, served as a dock and safeguard for his skiff, by which he could eventually retreat if forced from the hold by his rough neighbours, in one of their frequent moods of rage and discontent at his interference and attempts to stay them in their mad career of rapine and bloodshed. They know,” said he, “ that I possess some little treasure, the honest gleanings of a long life, and would not scruple to fire my abode for the value of the dross. They idolize me when it is calm weather and there isn't a wreck upon the coast ; but whenever the sky looks black, and a sail beats near the rocks, they wish me out of the way altogether. They are much too violent in their love, and I fear lest they may be one day sudden and deadly in their momentary phrenzy, or disappointed passion for lucre. Many a night have their hatchets been quivering over my head; and often have I wandered about at midnight to extinguish the false lights which the villains affixed to their horses' heads, for the purpose of drawing the ships off the coast towards the most dangerous parts of the shore. Thanks to Tim, my black, I can still go about though a cripple; and the rogues tremble at the sight of my sure-killing gun. I've a trusty gossoon, too, who watches the fort when I'm away ; but the deaf and dumb black is my best treasure. Faithful in danger, and strong as a young lion, he bounds over the rocks with me like a kid. Twenty years ago I was strong and able as the best of ye; but a timber from a ship that was blown up off the reef, crushed my legs to atoms. I had, however, previously saved my Tim from the waves, and the good lad bore my maimed body on his shoulders, the moment he could well support its weight. Often does he lie upon the sea-weeds with me and gaze upon the spot where the ship, that bore, perhaps, all that he loved under the Heavens, was rent into a thousand spars. We have told the tale of misery a thousand times with our eyes,---nor will either of us ever forget it on this side the grave. It was a thick, warm, heavy night,-- little wind was stirring, but the sea was uneasy, and the waves arose and died within one another, not chasing onwards, storm-like, but rocking and swelling up as if a great fire was raging below them. A long glare of light that expanded across the waters from a fame in the roads, like the tail of an angry comet in the heavens, glimmered upon me where I lay in my bed. I arose in alarm, and hastened to my glass. There was a brave ship in flames about half a league out, and beating right upon the shore. My neighbours were soon upon the alert, sighing for plunder, but scared from approaching the ship by the threatening swell of the waters, and the dreadful fire that ran up every rope, and coiled like lightning around the masts. In a little time my stout skiff was pushed off and struggling with the beach-waves." I tugged at my oars to get through them, and triumphed. The guns of the ship went off as the fire reached them,—the balls scudded along on the red surface of the waters, the main-mast fell a prey to the flames, and the wind began to puff heavily from the main and fan the increasing blaze; but no sooner had I cleared the surf, than the fishermen, taking courage from my example, put off their boats and made away to the ship. Plunder was their object--and they met with their reward. Many a widow still mourns that night;—but the fate of the victims did not deter the living from following their old ways.
• The stern of the vessel was still sound and staunch when I reached her. She was driving before the wind, which increased prodigiously, and kept the fames a-head. But fearful, indeed, was the spectacle aboard. The fire had burst out so suddenly that even their boats were destroyed. The survivors of the crew were huddled together on the quarter-deck. Some laughed aloud, others shrieked and bewailed their miserable situations. One man had drunk to excess, and, fearing the waters more than the fire, reeled forwards into the flames. A few Tan to and fro without motive or object, and the rest sat despondingly gazing on the blaze. They were seared by the burning tackle that Aew over them in every direction, but their deep internal agony and 'fear of death rendered them proof against any outward infliction that was less than mortal. I had made a circuit round the ship and approached her from the main, so that they did not perceive me until my boat was lashed to the rudder, and I was among them on deck. A woman with a child at her bosom stood nearest me. I lowered her in a moment to my skiff; but the sailors observed me in the act, and numbers of them leaped over the stern. I had now much ado to get into the skiff myself; but it was already so full that I knew too well we should never reach the shore. They did with her as they pleased, and pushed off with all their might, loudly shouting. The magazine ! the magazine ! she 'll be up in a moment ! The fishermen heard them not in the roar of the blaze, but madly climbed up the ship on every side, even while the despairing crew were leaping over their heads into
We kept above the waters for a few minutes; but the swell increased; the sailors were ignorant of the coast; they were deaf to my prayers; and a cross wave suddenly overwhelmed us close along the reef. Those who could swim escaped, for we were very near the shore ; but the greater part miserably perished. My lass I snatched from her mother's arms as the skiff was going over; and Tim, the black youth, (then a mere boy,) whom a mulatto woman had thrown among the crew as the boat pushed off, I found a few yards from the