Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

I take to witness this westering credit and a poor wage to pay light to which I look that all the that was a good enough return for grumbling I have ever been guilty the commodity supplied, and to as of was official and for the public much consideration in the world good. With me as with the rest as modest worth should look for, of mankind there have been griefs whenever it cares about the world upon the road, disappointments, at all. I do not know what inhardship as well as error, and tellectual or artistic employment various kinds of wounding and could be called flourishing in those robbery to endure, as well as too dull years from the thirties to the much matter of self - reproach. fifties, unless in the hands of a Yet never as boy or man have I few individuals not all very great. been a grumbler, but only as jour- Mechanical invention and applinalist, and in performance of the ance, of course; but not painting, natural duties of journalism. nor sculpture, nor music, nor literaEven this I can say, that no one ture, nor the stage, and certainly has ever heard me grumble at being not journalism - which, with one so much a journalist, after deter or two exceptions, as in Printingmining to be in that line of life for house Square, seems rather to have only a little while and as a make- fallen back from an already poor shift, — the determination of so estate. I know of a London mornmany young men whose real voca- ing paper— rich enough in these tion is poesy and the writing of days, and no doubt as liberal as incomparable essays. And per- wealthy-which even toward the haps it would be ungrateful to re- end of that period filled its pages pine at a perversion which carried with leading articles, reviews, and the pervert into so many pleasures other high critical matter, at the and advantages, and even to a place rate of ten shillings per yard-long of power at least equal to half-a- column; and I also know of a great dozen seats in Parliament: at least. writer, already proved and popular, half-a-dozen, and these free of the who jumped at a scale of pay which Whip, independent of the Speaker, could not be offered now to scribes and subject not at all to the gentle with half his reputation : there are men of the front benches. It would none with half his charm, and few be ungrateful, too, because my long with all his fitness. Moreover, spell of journalism began at about till those times journalism was the most fortunate time in the hardly allowed to be respectable, history of what is sometimes called

even with writers like Coleridge a "profession,” though it is not and Hazlitt to ennoble its practhat any more than it is Cabinet- tice; and if in the third or fourth ministering, unless when calcula- decades of the century it was less tion chooses to make it so.

looked down upon, it was a poorer It was a fortunate time—I speak trade than ever, I fancy, for any of 1860 or thereabout—for almost but a few writers in one or two every reason that the good journalnewspapers alone. ist should rejoice at.

It was a A business so ill paid, so ill time of emergence from small thought of, and so limited in

a

opportunity, was little likely to Bohemianism was its reproach, attract young ambition, or to draw and the poverty which, in denying into it the kind of men who not the means of cultivating the graces long afterwards strove for a place and refinements of life, provokes in on that cloud-capped Olympus, the some hurt minds an affectation of * Times,' or to share the Byronic despising them. But journalism glories of the Saturday Review.' was practised out of Bohemia as And there are signs that when well as within that vanished land. journalism was a new employment, All newspaper proprietors were writing for

newspaper was not as Thackeray's Mr Bungay, thought more respectable than to nor all journalists like Captain edit it. Nor, for intelligible reasons, Shandon and Jack Finucane. "The is that an extinct prejudice yet. author of 'Vanity Fair' knew the Amongst writers of the superior world to which those gentlemen sort there are many whose feel belonged very well.

Most unings inform them that, whatever willingly, he had been in it; never the difference in emolument and willingly would he have remained authority, it is better to range at in it for an hour; finding therein large as independent contributors a vast deal that he despised, and than to sit in the editorial chair. despised with a certain hate and a Two generations ago it was a preva- certain fear which, in combination, lent feeling. Scott seems to have formed a very lively and a rather been much disturbed upon hearing worrying sentiment which he did that Lockhart might become editor not get rid of to the end of his life. of a newspaper which there could It certainly checked and hampered be no discredit in writing for; and him when he came to write of the same distinction_gleams out young Arthur's excursion into clearly in the late Lord Blach- journalism; and so it is that even ford's story of how he came to in ‘Pendennis' we have but faint write for the ‘Times.' At the age uncertain glimpses of an underof twenty-nine, before he had made world which has never been well choice of a career, he was repeat- described to this day. There are edly pressed by the proprietor of fields of observation which no that journal to take its editorship. satirist less stout than Swift can This he declined to do; but being hope to traverse, pen in hand, then urged to write for the paper, with comfort and composure; and, he almost thinks that he will try feeling this, the Muse of Titmarsh his hand. Not that Frederic allowed a tormentingly inviting Rogers (as he then was) quite theme to repose at the bottom of liked it. However, “this un- his inkpot. True, Bludyer was attached way of doing things fished up, but not as a contemseems to me very feasible. . . . porary specimen. To avoid unNo one will know anything about pleasantness, Thackeray explained the matter except my own private that Bludyer was no actual denizen friends, and I can do just as much of Fleet Street, but belonged to an and as little as I please.” No one anterior period. He was to be will know! This was in 1840, regarded as representing a lingerwhen the newspaper press had ing “monster of the ooze”; though, already made considerable pro- truth to tell, his race was not yet gress in gentility, and a yet more quite extinct. I myself knew a pronounced advance to the auth- very perfect Bludyer years after ority of a Fourth Estate of the 'Pendennis' came out,- his end Realm.

so miserable, from the fairest be

on

up the north bank. The keeper “It was your inteemate acquainwas sitting on a stone, quietly tance with the stanes which saved smoking, with no trace of anger me, indeed,” once more agreed the on his face, and before him, on a crofter. bit of smooth thymy turf, lay a “There's no anither man in the salmon such as many a man has whole wide world could have steered dreamt about, but few, indeed, you down yon places as I did !" seen with mortal eyes. Then for “There is certainly not one in the first time that day the poor many thousand score would have crofter forgot his troubles : for taken such a vast o trouble about half a minute his only feeling was it.” one of intense pride—at such a “I gaffed him—an' I told you victory.

the road to take him—an' saved "Well—he's safe now," Rory him many a timesaid at length.

" You did all that an'

more,

Mr “Ay!” replied Archie, still MacGilp. It's much obligedgaping at him.

“I doubt I made the varra fly 5. Erchibald,” went the that rose him?" keeper, “oh man!

you

worked “You did that, indeed,” said him just deevilish !” The other poor Archie, hopelessly. (He had shook his head deprecatingly, made it himself the night before.) “Just deevilish!. -frae start to “Dod !” cried the keeper, “I finish!”

believe I got yon muckle fish my" That was no' a bad bit o'work sell ! !" for a man o' my years,” the keeper The other stared at him. continued. “ Gin I hadna been “ Archie, lad,” said the keeper, waiting for him there when he and the voice of the man came by, it's little you'd have ever changed now, and he spoke so

was

your
fish!”

softly and low it was difficult to “I ken that fine," said Archie. recognise the same organ which a

“Gin I had no' been quick few minutes before had been hurlenough to slip it into him there, ing denunciations across the river, it would be at Bonaw he would be “I've been fishing here all my life; by this time.”

man and boy I've been fishing here "I'm believing that,” replied the for nearly fifty years, an' I never crofter.

yet had the luck to get the grip “It was no'an easy job neither. of such a fish as that !” Stand you on yon stane, and see MacOorquodale looked at him what footing you'll have.”

curiously, and he was never able “There was few could do it, to say positively — he was never indeed, Mr MacGilp.”

quite sure in his own mind“He was far more like a stirk whether it was a tear which fell to lift out of the water than a down over the rough cheek or not. decent saumon!”

Then there was a long silence. “He was, Mr MacGilp, far more, “ An' where will it be ye'll be indeed, like a very heavy stirk !" flitting to?" the old man asked, in

"If it hadna been my know- quite another tone, and so suddenly ledge of all they sunken rocks, and that it made the crofter-deep in shouting myself hoarse to guide & reverie-jump. you, where would you have been, “ Where'll I be-where-oh!my man, by this time ?

Mr MacGilp!”

seen of

“I believe I got yon muckle fish more he had a reprieve, and he MYSELL !” with great emphasis on wondered how it was he did not the last word.

feel happier. During the exciting Archie looked north and east fight he had many a time pictured and west, and then at the salmon. to himself the little house from

“MYSELL!” as if finally and which he would be banished at for the last time.

Whitsunday, its rough meadow in "I believe that - too,” said front, and the peat-stacks, and the Archie, with a groan. The last sunny untidy bitofgarden, halffilled three words came out with a with currant bushes and ribes and gulp.

southernwood, over which the bees "Well-he'll be an ugly burden came in the gloaming, slow flying to bear away doun. But a man after their afternoon labour on the canna pick an' choose as he would moor. Now he thought only of the in this world! Good day to you battle he had won, which was not then, Erchibald. And you might to bring him in any honour now, be going on wi' that new bit o' or happy reminiscences afterwards. garden you're sae proud of; I'll “ 'Deed, I'll never have the gie you a wheen grand potatoes— chance of doing the like of yon next year—for seed for't."

again !” muttered the

poor

crofter So MacCorquodale set out under to himself. the hot sun homewards. Once

GILFRID W. HARTLEY.

Note.—The writer would like to add that he knows who the chief guardian of the Awe was at the period of this sketch. The real keeper was a very different man from the entirely imaginary one here depicted, and it is only by a kind of poetical—or prose— licence that the latter is pushed into a position which he never occupied in the flesh.-G. W. H.

[ocr errors]

on

up the north bank. The keeper “It was your inteemate acquainwas sitting on a stone, quietly tance with the stanes which saved smoking, with no trace of anger me, indeed,” once more agreed the on his face, and before him, on a crofter. bit of smooth thymy turf, lay a " There's no anither man in the salmon such as many a man has whole wide world could have steered dreamt about, but few, indeed, you down yon places as I did !” seen with mortal eyes. Then for “There is certainly not one in the first time that day the poor many thousand score would have crofter forgot his troubles : for taken such a vast o' trouble about half a minute his only feeling was it.” one of intense pride—at such a “I gaffed him—an' I told you victory.

the road to take him-an' saved “Well—he's safe now," Rory him many a timesaid at length.

" You did all that an' more, Mr “ Ay!” replied Archie, still MacGilp. It's much obligedgaping at him.

“I doubt I made the varra fly “ Erchibald," went

the that rose him?keeper, "oh man! you worked “You did that, indeed," said him just deevilish !” The other poor Archie, hopelessly. (He had shook his head deprecatingly- made it himself the night before.) “ Just deevilish ! — frae start to “Dod!” cried the keeper, “I finish!”

believe I got yon muckle fish my“That was no' a bad bit o'work sell !!.for a man o' my years,” the keeper The other stared at him. continued. " Gin I hadna been “ Archie, lad," said the keeper, waiting for him there when he and the voice of the man came by, it's little you'd have ever changed now, and he spoke so of your fish!”

was

softly and low it was difficult to “I ken that fine,” said Archie. recognise the same organ which a

“Gin I had no been quick few minutes before had been hurlenough to slip it into him there- ing denunciations across the river, it would be at Bonaw he would be “I've been fishing here all my life; by this time.”

man and boy I've been fishing here " I'm believing that,” replied the for nearly fifty years, an' I never crofter.

yet had the luck to get the grip “ It was no' an easy job neither. of such a fish as that !” Stand you on yon stane, and see MacOorquodale looked at him what footing you'll have.”

curiously, and he was never able “There was few could do it, to say positively — he was never indeed, Mr MacGilp.”

quite sure in his own mind — “He was far more like a stirk whether it was a tear which fell to lift out of the water than a down over the rough cheek or not. decent saumon!”

Then there was a long silence. “He was, Mr MacGilp, far more, “An' where will it be ye'll be indeed, like a very heavy stirk !” flitting to ?” the old man asked, in

“If it hadna been my know- quite another tone, and so suddenly ledge of all they sunken rocks, and that it made the crofter-deep in shouting myself hoarse to guide a reverie-jump. you, where would you have been, “Where'll I be—where-oh!my man, by this time ?

Mr MacGilp!"

seen

« PoprzedniaDalej »