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the neighbouring frolic—may you never find accommodation when you require none—and may you ever lose your way when you and your partners are agreed! The dreary winter passed along, and the warm sun of May called me again to the woods: for what is a farm in the interior of America but the clearing away of a few trees from the forest—an oasis in the desert? My newly acquired property was little more than a mile from the lake, on the banks of a romantic creek, shaded by oaks, sycamores, and other majestic trees, and winding its course through a beautiful valley. On ascending a hill above the creek, a meadow of about fifteen acres appeared, and beyond it, in the very centre of my farm, amidst a tuft of apple-trees, rose the log-house on the declivity of the hill. Farther up the hill, immediately behind the house, was the orchard, containing about two hundred peach and apple-trees. Round these were the various fields, containing in all about sixty acres of excellent land. On all sides the forest bounded my little farm, and my view extended not beyond my own territory. “I was lord of all I surveyed.” On one side of my dwelling was a large garden; and the orchard was on the other. Even in the intervening space, small though it was, between the house and garden, I enjoyed the delightful shade produced by a lofty apple-tree, which was nearly three feet in diameter. Round the trunk of this tree I constructed a verdant seat of turf, to which I was wont to retire in the heat of the day. To solace my leisure hours, I had a tolerable collection of books, but this summer they were little used. Immediately on my arrival began the bustle of corn-planting, and this, my first essay in farming, proved highly agreeable; in fact, every occupation was pleasant after the repose of the winter. My garden became likewise an object of care; and my attentions were so amply rewarded that it formed ever afterwards a source of great and constant satisfaction. Could it be otherwise than delightful to behold the rapid progress of vegetation in such a fertile soil, shone upon by such a glorious sun ? My attention to my garden was not at all consonant to the rude habits of the settlers; and, in fact, they began to entertain strong suspicions of my sanity when they saw me working in my garden before sunrise, watering it after sunset, and in the afternoon reposing under the shade of my spacious apple-tree, reading some book that contained not one particle of information respecting corn, cattle, flour, or lumber. Yet my crops were as plentiful as those of others, and my garden became a proverb through the country for beauty and fertility. My neighbours were beginning to form rather a favourable notion of my savoir faire, when their good opinion was totally altered at finding that I did not sell the produce of my garden, but gave it away to any one who thought proper to ask for it. This was indeed a proof of dementia furiosa. My garden, my books, my occupations, and the novelty of every appearance around me, made me pass the summer without much ennui, and often even with high satisfaction. To a passing traveller, indeed, nothing can be more delightful than a summer's day in the lovely regions of the West. The coolness of morning braces the nerves, the beautiful variety of the birds of the forest is pleasant to the eye, the odour of the most splendid vegetation is grateful to the sense, and the serenity of the world around dispels every sorrow from the breast. The splendour of the noontide-sun is unequalled in the fairest climes of Europe. The deep shade of the forest protects from the scorching rays of mid-day, and the delightful coolness of evening invites you to enjoy "the calm, the quiet hour" in peaceful meditation. On every side the whip-po-will pours its plaintive notes; the humming of birds of every species forms a grateful music that "steeps the senses in forget fulness;" and the very lowing of the bull-frog is an agreeable variety in the scene. Oft have I enjoyed this delightful serenity till the midnight hour has passed along—till the brilliant unclouded moon has risen high in the heavens, and all Nature has been hushed to repose.
Yes!" 'twas sublime, but sad."—Even in the most lovely scenes that Nature ever unfolded to man, we derive half our pleasure from the delight they afford to our companions, and from the associations we form between the animate and inanimate world. When we have no one to whom we can say—" How beautiful is the prospect of that lake—how delightful the aspect of Nature!"—we feel a dreariness within ourselves -—wish to encounter every toil and every danger, so that we enjoy again the society of our fellow-beings, and can find no permanent pleasure in all the beauties and bountiful gifts of Nature without a companion:— we feel that " it is not good for man to be alone."
Such were some of the feelings that impressed me in my first Canadian summer. My second summer was spent among the Indians of Michigan, and the fur-traders of the Mississippi. There began my adventures in the West. Y.
O Charity, meek daughter of the skies!
Thou loveliest of the lovely sisters three,
(Sweet members of Heaven's holy family)
The rainbow-smile of Hope, dispelling gloom;
But oh! Heaven's mildest radiance doth illume
Like soothing harmony, doth gently raise
Ev'n blank Despair, and, whispering sweet, allays
In thee burm clear and bright the holy flame
Of pure benevolence; the voice of Fame
Brings instant succour! Gentle spirit blest!
No thought of evil harbours in thy breast;
Long dead to pity's kindly throb; in the eye
That knows not how to weep in sympathy.
c. c. c.
—— Tentanda via est qua me quoque possim
The public papers related a short time since that a certain "grande dame de par k monde," (to borrow a phrase from Brantome) placing herself, in order to remove to the supper-room, between the conqueror of Waterloo and Signor Rossini, observed with complacence to her conductors, that she was between "the two greatest persons of the age." This was most likely intended to be very civil; but I would not give sixpence for the choice in betting on which side the compliment was worst taken, by the "generalissimo des doubles-crochets," or the "great captain." For however much the world may be agreed in thinking the slayer of many men no fit comparison for a fiddler, who, on the authority of Joe Miller, does not even kill time, for he only beats it, it is quite as clear that a fiddler "has the same organs and dimensions" for vanity, as le marechal le mitux decore among the 1,500,000 troops of the Holy Alliance; and is quite as likely to exaggerate his own importance. In the Temple of Fame there are many chambers; and the inhabitants of its cellars and back garrets are very little disposed to yield in pretension to those of the loftier apartments : just as a French marquise is as proud of her " au cinquieme" in the Tuileries, as Charles the Tenth can for his life be of the "au premier," of which he has just taken possession. "La tanitc," says Charron, "est la plus essentielle et propre qualite de thumaine nature;" and the worst of it is, that jealousy not only subsists between the several candidates for reputation in its various departments, but even the mob are as open to the passion, and as angry at the success of a neighbour, as if he were "taking the bread out of their mouths;" insomuch that it is impossible for the plus mince personage to be great with impunity. An honest citizen cannot arrive at the " dignity of knighthood," or a thriving tradesman be elected for the ward, without being as much persecuted for his success, as if he had really done his fellow-creatures some essential service. Nay, if a man makes but " a neat and appropriate speech" at a parish meeting, or is voted a silver snuff-box by his club for telling fat stories, he will be sure to find some slavish rascal at his elbow to remind him that he is but mortal. Accordingly, when a great reputation gets a tumble, all the world of underlings flock to enjoy the sport, and run the round of their coteries, with an hypocritical and a lackadaisical air, wondering, pitying, and lamenting their victim out of every possible excellence, and leaving his reputation " not worth picking out of the gutter." Yet, after all, what is fame that it should be so desirable? Is it to hear oneself cited as Mr. Washerwoman Irwine by a malaprop pretender to literature? or, like the modern Anacreon, to hear a fair imbecile cry "ah! que e'est drole!" in the midst of one's most impressive and pathetic melody? Or is it (to mount from the ridiculous to the miserable) so vast a pleasure to have one's time occupied, and one's privacy broken in upon, by every stranger's affairs ?—to find one's table covered with MS. epics, unpublishable novels, and unreadable sermons; all of which claim at least the trouble of a reply, more difficult to word so as to avoid offence, than if it were intended for the perusal of an AttorneyGeneral? Is it delight to be open to the impertinence of anonymous letters, from those to whom you have refused
Your friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound9?
or to the still more impertinent communication of the existence of lampoons and criticisms against yourself, that may be bought in for the moderate sum of twenty guineas? Is it so exceedingly agreeable at all times, and in all places, to be "upon your best behaviour," and obliged to wear better clothes, lodge better and feed better, than you can afford, or than is compatible with ease and comfort, because you are conscious that the eyes of all the world are directed towards you, and that you cannot cross the street without the certainty of being recognized as the celebrated Mr. This, or the famous Mr. That, by half the blackguards in the parish? All this, however, and many more equally charming particulars, "too tedious to mention," do not prevent all sorts and conditions of people from aiming at notoriety ; and as a few only of Nature's favourites can even attempt to acquire fame in the higher departments of renown, the mass of the species arc compelled to seek the gratification of their darling passion by some strange by-path, and to achieve renown by some whimsical singularity, some unimagined affectation, some pleasant extravagance; or, to sum the whole in one word, since they cannot become eminent for virtue or talent, to make themselves notorious by being simply ridiculous.
This thirst for distinction is among the most pregnant sources of absurdity and miscarriage among the lower classes. However humble a man's station in life may be, he is dignified and respectable as long as he fulfils its duties simply and unaffectedly, and pretends to nothing beyond it. In the sober eye of philosophy, the London artisans assembling round the lecture-table of the Mechanic's Institution after their day's labour, and seeking knowledge in the midst of privation, will appear perhaps among the best specimens of the human species. But when once the being, whose habits, means, and education confine his ideas within a narrow sphere, looks down upon his condition as abject, and strives to carve for himself a personal notoriety, foreign from his circumstances, it is well if he only become "an eccentric," and does not lapse into some dangerous excess. This abominable passion for becoming conspicuous, breaks out in a thousand extravagances, turning " from grave to gay, from lively to severe," and shewing itself as much in the serious business of life, as in the idlest pastimes. It is this petty ambition which has sent to Coventry the good old Saxon term "shop," a term which is never now heard except at the banker's, with whom it is technical. One gentleman opens a register-office for servants, and strives to become "famous" by dignifying his bureau with the modern Greek title of Therapolegia (or, as the servants pronounce it, the-rap-o'-the-leg-ia) by which he thinks himself as high-sounding a personage as the Hospodar of Wallachia. Another ingenious artist, presiding over a second-hand carriage shop, and not contented with the modern neologism of" repository," christens his establishment Rhedarium. A third has a " hall" for selling stockings; a fourth opens "a warehouse" for green groceries and small beer; while blacking and polonies can be found in no place less elevated than an " emporium;" and if you are in want of a child's kite, it js no longer to be had in a
toyshop, but is readily to be met with in arcades and bazaars. This folly is not confined to the humbler walks of trade. Every tradesman is a merchant; every conspiracy of "two or more persons" against the purses of the community, is " a company," and the retailing instrument of the speculation, no longer a plain shopkeeper, but "an agent."
But the easiest road to personal distinction, and therefore the most frequented, is through dress; and in this particular, the ruling passion developes itself about the age of puberty, in a slight lateral and sinister inclination of the hat, a knowing tie of the silk handkerchief, or a full plaited shirt. Not but that dandyism, when it arrives at the dignity of an etat, is a legitimate ground of fame. My remarks are confined to those who not being "up" to the true elements of Schneiderography, trade rather on the oddity than the perfection of their dress. Of this the apothecary's mulberry coat is an instance. (The Dalmahoy wig, "which should accompany it," has long fallen, with other remnants of the wisdom of our ancestors, " into the yellow leaf.") Another case in point is the enormous powdered cue of the French postilion, which still keeps its place in spite of all,revolutions, knocking synchronously between his shoulders to the cracking of his own whip. Need I mention the violent mal-assortment of colours in dress, such as was many years exhibited on the persons of the three Mr. Wiggins's? As for genuine dandyism, the "aliquid plus quam satis est" in dress, is not less dangerous to the reputation than to the purse of the lower orders. It is ever a failure ; dress alone will not make a shopboy look like a dragoon officer, nor convert an attorney's clerk into a guardsman; it will not do alone; dress may make a kiddy of a raff, but it will not make him a dandy; and so there's no more to be said on the matter. This sort of personage had therefore better look to some other ground of distinction; waggery, for instance, which is wonderfully taking. The singing a droll song, the smutting a friend's face, as an Irishman would say, behind his back, or sticking his wig full of straws, are claims to reputation rarely denied. Imitating a bassoon with a poker is a good passport to club-renown; so is mimicking the noise of a saw, or favouring one's friends with the loves of "two intriguing cats in a gutter." These, however, are but inferior routes to renown. At present there is no better sort of celebrity than that which is obtained through the police-office; beating a watchman or kicking a prostitute are sure cards. The youth who cannot get a wrangler's degree at Oxford may attain "an honour" by his disputations in the boxing-schools; and he who cannot cross the "pons asinurum" may distinguish himself by his calculations in Bennet-street, St. James's. It belongs exclusively to the age in which we live to have struck out a new route to celebrity through a chalk-pit, and to have founded reputations on the dead walls of the metropolis, where they glitter in cretaceous characters "in form so palpable" that he who runs may read them. What is the name of Byron to,the bonassus? what the " great unknown" to the no less mysterious B. C. Y? or what even are the all-pervading " peptic precepts" of Dr. Kitchener to that metaphysical ubiquitarian Dr. Eady, who reminds one of the Frenchman of whom his friend said, "Le pauvre homtnc il est mort sans doute; je ne l'ai vu qu'une fois aujourd'hui." It is no longer true that wisdom cries out in the street and no one regards it.